tv NBC Nightly News NBC April 17, 2015 7:00pm-7:31pm EDT
on this friday night, nbc news exclusive. the reserve deputy charged with manslaughter speaking to nbc news about what he says was a deadly mistake. how he managed to grab his gun instead of his taser and kill a man. a powerful plea from the parents of little 8-year-old martin richard. why his mom and dad are urging prosecutors to spare the life of their son's killer. the sinking town in california where the town is literally dropping as fast as a foot every year as water and jobs run dry. and remote control, the big move tonight by a cable provider that wanting to make it easier for customers to pick and choose which channels they want to pay for and which channels they don't.
nightly news begins now. this is nbc nightly news reporting tonight, from los angeles, lester holt. good evening. the volunteer oklahoma reserve deputy who says he mistook his gun for his taser and accidently killed a suspect is speaking out, apologizing to the man of's family whom he killed. he spoke to matt lauer this morning to explain how he could have made such a critical error. >> would you do me a favor? would you stand up for me for one second and show me where on your body when you are in your uniform you keep your taser and where you keep your weapon your revolver. can you stand up and show sneeme. >> sure you bet. my taser is right here in the front, tucked in a protective vest. my gun is on my side, normally
to the rear. >> and people are going to look at that mr. bates and say how could you make this mistake? how could you think you were going for your taser on your chest, tucked into that vest and accidently pull your weapon? >> well let me say, this has happened a number of times around the country. i have read about it in the past. i thought to myself after reading several cases, i don't understand how this can happen. you must believe me it can happen to anyone. >> you yelled taser, taser. you mentioned the other deputy ducked and cleared so you could use your taser, and then you heard that gunshot. what were you thinking when you heard the shot? >> oh, my god, what has happened? the laser light is the same on each weapon. i saw the light, and i squeezed the trigger. and then realized i dropped the gun. this was not an intentional thing. i have no desire to ever take
anylife. >> that interview this morning. tonight the victim's family is reacting to bates' explanation while questions continue to pop up about his training and qualifications to be on the job. >> nbc's gabe gutierrez with that story. >> reporter: today tulsa county reserve deputy robert bates apologized to the family of the man he shot and killed. >> first and foremost let me apologize to the family of eric harris. i rate this as number one on my list of things in my life that i regret. >> reporter: on april 2nd, the 73-year-old insurance broker was acting as backup as a body camera captured sheriff's deputies chasing a spus pekt eric harris. he meant to pull his taser but instead pulled his gun, shooting harris. >> this was not an intentional thing. i have no desire to ever take anyone's life. >> reporter: bate's attorney
claims it's a phenomenon known as slip and capture. they do one action while intending to do another. dan represents harris' family. >> i don't think it could happen to anyone particularly someone with the type of advanced training that the sheriff's office has repeatedly stated that mr. bates has had. >> reporter: a summary ofbates' record says he has had 300 hours of training since 2008. his office has not been able to find all of bates' gun certification records, since the instructor no longer works there. >> we can't find the records that she supposedly turned in. >> reporter: bates flatly denies a report citing multiple sources that supervisors were forced to falseify some of his training records. today a spokesman said he believes the training records are true and correct.
his family describes him as a grandfather of six who survived cancer and donated thousands of dollars of equipment to the sheriff's office. >> he made his money working hard. he wants to give back to help people. is that wrong? >> reporter: the family of eric harris just released the statement saying that while they appreciate bates' apology, it will not bring eric back. we remain vigilant in seeking the whole truth, they say. bates is expected to be arraigned next week and intends to plead not guilty. >> gabe gutierrez in tulsa, thank you. there is breaking news in california. a massive gas line explosion in fresno. there are injuries. local officials tell nbc news they're expecting five to eight patients. they're describing the injuries as fairly significant, potentially first-degree burns. a local highway is shut down
near the site. the explosion may have occurred on or near a sheriff's office near a firing range, flames shooting 100 feet into the air. no word obviously at this early point on the cause of that blast. isis is claiming responsibility tonight for a deadly attack targeting the u.s. consulate inner erbil. >> reporter: the streets and caves in this erbil neighborhood were crowded when around 6:00 a car bomb exploded in front of the u.s. consulate. the blast echoed across the city. witnesses heard gunfire too. the state department says no consulate staff members were injured. the bomb went off outside the gate. but there were three cafes nearby and one seems to have taken the brunt of it. a kurdish medical official told
nbc news at least two people were killed, eight injured, including an american elementary teacher being treated for burns. her condition apparently not life threatening. erbil is generally thought to be one of the safest areas, which is pro-american but which can no longer insulate itself from the horrendous violence all around it. politics tonight, in a major event bringing together nearly every republican thinking about running to be the next president of the united states they're all converging in new hampshire this weekend. and the pressure is on to stand out from the pack. peter alexander is there. >> reporter: they say politics ain't beanbag, but chris christie put that to the test in new hampshire today, trying out this beanbag chair. >> you want to see me get up off that one? >> reporter: just one of the
ways these presidential prospects are being looking to connect with granite state voters. jeb bush scarfing blueberry pie. >> to hell with the diet. >> reporter: marco rubio connecting with people at a welding shop. there's at least one thing they all agree on. they're against hillary clinton, and they each think they can beat her. >> my style with hillary's? listen we're different people of different generations. so we're going to approach things in different ways. >> we're not going to fix washington by electing a president who is from washington of washington or for that matter, for washington. >> reporter: a cattle call they have the potential to propel a politician like an iowa event did for walker earlier this year. rapid rand paul speaks tomorrow.
jeb bush tried to downplay any personal tension between him and marco rubio. but the bigger issue is the ideological fight. how are you going to overcome the ideological issues that torpedoed it in 2012? >> i don't think we have an ideological problem. i think we need to be focussed on laying out a compelling alternative to where we are today. >> reporter: bush may dismiss any ideological problem. but conservatives on the right have serious concerns about his positions on immigration and education, both of which could give him headaches. hilly lyary n arriv here on monday. tornado warnings are in effect in texas after at least ten of them touched down down overnight.
here's janet shamlian. >> reporter: snow flooding across the country today. after a pileup involving two semis, a motor home and two buses caused a highway to be shut down. as snow and dense fog blanket the area. heavy wet snow collapsed carports damaging cars. another pileup caused chaos on i-80. in texas, it was tornados at least ten, including these in pampa. at sam houston university flooding brought down a glass wall but no one was hurt. tonight the threat of severe weather is high across the south. janet shamlian houston. meanwhile, in california the severe drought is causing
towns to sink as much as a foot a year in places as farmers drain ground water aquifers. we visited one town that's losing in more ways than one. >> reporter: for the first time in 50 years, there are no cantelopes on tony's farm. >> this would have been cantelopes. >> reporter: the crops he is growing get groundwater which is getting more precious the longer this drought lasts. like his neighbors he's strategic about what he pumps. >> we have many straws in the ground and one cup. >> reporter: that cup is getting smaller. stratford is sinking in more ways than one. >> a third of our ranch is idle. that's a third less we're spending the local auto parts store, tractor dealership.
>> reporter: the unemployment rate triples the national average. no gas station, no cafes. >> turning into a ghost town. >> reporter: you can get a fresh cup of coffee at the auto parts store. >> water brings people. without water you got nothing. >> reporter: water and no money monday. here people can promise to pay. hundreds of ious worth thousands of dollars. $7,000. can you afford to put that much out? it's the price he pays to help neighbors in need hoping his business will survive, and so will stratford for the next generation, like tony's kids who might take over the farm one day. >> i'm going to fight like hell not to lose it. >> reporter: a town fighting to keep from sinking further.
strats ford california. in boston the family of martin richard has issued an emotional plea to federal prosecutors to drop their pursuit of the death penalty for dzhokhar tsarnaev, the bomber convicted of killing their son. ron mott has their report. >> reporter: the parents of richard martin called for an end to the anguish and an end to the pursuit of death for dzhokhar tsarnaev. the defendant murdered our 8-year-old son, bill and denise wrote in the boston globe. maimed our 7-year-old daughter and stole part of our soul. we understand all it too well the heinousness and brew at that time -- brutality of the crime committed. we were there. we saw replicated bombs and even the clothes our son wore his
last day alive. we know the government has its reasons for seeking the death penalty. but the pursuit of that punishment could bring years of appeals and pro long reliving the most difficult day of our lives. the prosecutor responded, i care deep lay about their views and the views of the other victims and survivors, as the case moves forward, we will do all we can to protect and vind case those injured and those who passed away. opinions are split between the community at large about whether tsarnaev should die for his crimes. but the family is convinced they have to live their life based on his terms not theirs. they want to end the anguish. there is a lot more news still ahead on a busy friday night, including the price you pay to watch tv.
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customers from cutting their cord over entertainment over the internet. here's tom costello. >> this is sports center! >> reporter: it may be the biggest indication yet that cable tv is under threat for the internet bowing to customer demand verizon announced customers won't have to pay for channels they don't want at least not as many. >> starting at $74.99. >> reporter: it's called skinny bundling. smaller packages of canhannels, then packages with certain tastes. the cheapest plan would cost $55 per month, potentially a big savings for customers now paying $90 or more. >> i think increasingly we will have new customers attracted to these plans. i think about millennials. >> reporter: millennials like
25-year-old allison laird who has cut the cable cord. she watches videos on her internet tv and ipad. >> i don't have cable because i don't feel like paying for it and it doesn't seem necessary anymore. there are so many channels i would never watch. >> reporter: cable customers have access to some 200 channels, but they don't watch that many instead, switching among 17. verizon's biggest competitor is awaiting government approval to merge. today the cable industry called verizon's plan a positive since the marketplace is moving to meet the consumers' demands. verizon is betting that consumers will be happy not to pay for what they don't want to watch. we're back in a moment for
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here's kate snow. >> we just had some kind of explosion downtown. >> reporter: it was an act so brutal so unexpected. in those first moments 20 years ago it was pure chaos. it wasn't just adults. >> you haven't seen my daughter have you? >> reporter: there were children two. firefighter chris fields who had a 2-year-old himself at the time was handed this little girl and gently cradled her in his arms. >> for a long time i battled guilt because i was the last one to hold her baby. >> reporter: that photo became an iconic image. >> they know a lot of people. it means a lot to them. but it's different for me and my favipiravir family. >> reporter: her daughter would have turned 21 tomorrow. but she does have two other children. >> i know she watches over the kids and takes care of them.
so couldn't ask much more from a big sister. >> reporter: only six children made it out alive. pj suffered burns over more than half his body, and though he struggles to breathe, he is happy to be alive. >> i look at it as a blessing. what happened to me is what needed to happen for me to survive. >> i try to enjoy or appreciate the little thipngs that i have because they're precious, and sometimes they can be taken away. joe is a zoology major and p.j. hopes to run a hotel sometime. >> someone tried to destroy oklahoma in the heart of our nation and we as oklahomans said you can't do ha to us. we're generous and forward-thinking and we will help one another, and we have.