tv NBC Nightly News With Lester Holt NBC March 18, 2019 7:00pm-7:30pm EDT
tonight a pairf disasters raging out of control. a massive inferno exploding neao hoand a plume of thick black smoke billowing for miles near one of the biggest cities in america. kofficials warning it coup burning for days. to the north, states of nc emergefrom a record-shattering flood disaster. cities and towns overwhelmed by water and cut off. meghan mccain firing back after president trump goes on a high raid attacking her father over six months after his dead. >> he spends his weekend i sessing over great men because he knows it and know it and all of you know it, he will never be a great man. an accused killer in court. the man authorities say murdered a mob boss in front of his home. the messages he scrawled on his hands flashing them e cameras to see. a big reversal from doctors
about that daily dose of aspirin hi preventing heart attacks. what everyone wa should hear. a stunning new turn in the case of a violent shove caught on camera. hethe teenager seen pushinr friend off a bridge, plunging 60 icet below. a police offer dragged down the street in a swarm of atvs. tonight the hunt for the driver amid a growing nuisance in y.cities around the countr the young chess champ beating the odds and inspiring america. toni world's most infamous mysteries finally been solved?, good evenieryone. we're following two dangerous situations developing as we coon on the air tht. a raging inferno in houston, and the massive flooding in nebraska that has left entire communities cut off. we'll go there in a moment. but also unfolding as we've said, that petrochemical fire si just o houston now in its second day, spewing a dangerous tower of black smoke tonight visible for miles. more than a half dozen storage a tank caught fire and authorities are monitoring air
quality. wir gabe gutierrez is ther the latest. en nothing like this for this long. ever. >> reporter: tonight this a massive fia petrochemical plant near houston is still raging after spreading to seven storage tanks. thick black smoke billowing for miles. >> this is the worst i've seen in the last 12 years. >> reporter: the blaze started sunday morning, then it spread overnight. th tanks were filled chemicals used in gasoline, paint thinners, and glues that could cause nausea, breathing problems, and skin irritation.w authorities nosaying it could take two more dayso douse the flames. >> emergency responders continue to work with foam and water to control and prevent the fire from spreading. >> reporter: still they lifted a shelter in place order for the town of deer park, texas, and 's say afe. >> we continue monitoring the air quality in and around the eas in several locations. as of this time, they're still nothin normal range. >> reporter: it'clear how
the fire started. no injuries have been reported. as a precaution schools in the area were closed today. residents like michael comber are on high alert. >> everything out there is under anessure. it's got gasolinalong with it other chemicals. >> reporter: public health officials say the plume is high enough off the ground so that it's not affecting us here, but local authorities say they are monitoring wind conditions very carefully and are on shindby in casesmoke descends. lester? >> dangerous and dramatic background there, gabe, thank you. em anothegency we're following tonight, the historic flood disaster in the midwest and plains. at least three people are dead, 10 million under flood warnings and advisories.y nbc's kark is in hard-hit frf ont, nebraska, northwest omaha. >> reporr: record high rivers turn small midwest towns into islands. offuttir force base near omaha under feet of water.
entire parking lots submerged. in nebraska extreme flooding cut off communities across the state the water raced in. some homeowners have been stranded for days. >> ian't believe how much water came in, it's insane. >> reporter: heavy rain and significant snow melt fueled this disaster.th e worst the region has seen in decades. minnesota, wisconsin, iowa, and illinois also hit hard. river gauges there near or above flood stage. naonal guard soldiers are pulling people and pets to safety. strangers also pitching in. >> this is what nebraskans do. we pull up our britches and help each other. >> reporter: russ zime says the lake is now in his home and the watee.could take days to reced >> the sad thing is the persona memorabid family heirlooms, they're priceless and can't be replaced. >> reporter: historic flooding quick to move in, now slow to move out. as the waters here slowly start to recede, states south of t region could be next.
river flooding is likely in the erming weeks as the floodw head downstream toward the gulf of mexico. lester? >> all right, kathy park in nebraska tonight, thank you. ni this e nbc news has confirmed a federal investigation is looking at boeing 737 max jet and how it was approved for flight. the max had been the best-selling pla in the world, but as we've been reporting, it waounded last week after two crashes in five months killed more than 300 people. the question this evening, did the plane get the proper ersight before it was certified to fly? with more on that, here's nbc's tom costello. >> reporter: with the world's 737 max fleet grounded, a federal grand ju is investigating the development of the faa g max and h certified it. understaffed and underfunded, the faa has delegated much of that process to boeing itself under a plan approved by congress. there is always a risk of delegating some of your direct certification authority over the
aircraft design. rebut you need the manufacs expertise. they know their product better than anyone. >> reporter: online the faa says the goal of the program is to identify bt practices and develop strategies to streamline certification and oversight. i asked the acting faa chief la week about the interaction with boeing. did yourlose relationship with boeing and with the airlines in any way lead you to delay the decision to ground these plas? >> absolutely not. >> reporter: meanwhile french investators analyzing the black boxes from the ethiopian crash said today clear similaritiesere noted between the ethiopian and donesian planes before they crashed. bad sensors on the plane or a software glitch, and a new anti-stall system called mcas, is suspected of forcing the indonesian pla down. and possibly the ethiopian airliner too. but pilots weren't td about mcas until after the indonesian crash. then given an ipad course to follow. before they were grounded, american airlines pilots stood by the plane, now they want mu tor time.
>> we don't want to see anotherm 10 or ute ipad course to tell us, here's the differences, now move along and fly. it doesn't work that way. we take this much too seriously. >> tom, i know boeing is standing by the certification process, but when are we expecting that software up they've been talking about, they've been promising since the indonesian crash? >> reporter: yeah, that could come within weeks, they say. t listen, that alone won't be enough to get this plane back in the air. it's going to have to be certified all over aanin by the faother authorities. tonight canada says it will now decide for itself whether to certify the ane, it will not rely on the faa. >> all right, tom costello, thank you. this evening meghan mccain firing back after esident trump unleashed a days-long tirade against her father, the late senator john mccain. the president continuing to attack him more than six months after he died. we get more from nbc's kristen welker. >> reporte tonight meghan mccain's blistering rebuke. >> that tells you everything you
need to know about his pathetic life. >>eporter: going after president trump for his new twitter attacks against her father this weekend. >> he spends his weekend obsessing over great men because he knows it ani know it and all of you know it, he will never be a great man. my father was his kryptonite in life, his kryptonite in death. >> repter: the president's tweets nearly seven months after senator john mccain's death from brain cancer. in one tweet the president citing former independent r counsel ken stwho blamed a mccain ally for leaking a copy of that unverified steele dossier about mr. trump and russia. u >> this ortunately a very dark stain. >> reporter: the president tweeting mccain had far worse stains than this, including thumbs down on repeal and replace of obamacare. tonight democrats blasting the tweets. >> well, it's despicable. john mccain is a hero. r ulsive, repulsive. >> reporter: the white house on defense. >> so i will always respect and applaud senator mccain's service.
i think what the president wantk to focus on there is just the origins of the dossier. >> reporter: and another focus s for the ent, joe biden and this slip of the tongue. >> i'm the most progressive y record of anybnning for the united -- anybody who would run -- >> reporte the president tweeting, biden was unable to properly deliver a very simple line about his decision to run r president. get used to it, another low iq individual. biden has been hinting plicly about a possible presidential run for weeks, and telling iends that he's all but certain to launch a third presidential bid. he's expected to make a final decision by next month, lester. >> all right, kristen, thank you. there's a new twist this evening in the killing of a reputed mob boss. turns out it may not have been a mafia hit after all. poli now believe the suspect who was in court today, may have wanted revenge over a relationsh with the victim's niece. here's nbc's anne thompson. >> reporter: in court today, 24-yeaold anthony comello, the man police say put 10 bullets
into alleged mob boss franceo "frankie boy" cali, scribbled on comello's left hand, "mauga forever," "united we stand." comello nabbed in new jersey blalong with police say th pickup truck used in the crime. >> is it true you're waiving your right to extradition? >> yes, sir. >> reporter: waiving extradition to sten island where cali wa gunned down in front of his home last week. >> we do not believe this was a random act >> reporter: but is it connected to ali's role a leader in the gambino crime family? tonight law enforcement sourc say comello was angry he was told by cali to stop seeing his niece. at ended in cali's death began with comello ramming his truck into cali's parked su according to police, every step captured on surveillance video. >> was he acting alone?he wacting for other people? are there others involved? what is the motive?ta i simplying here do not have all those answers for you. >> rorter: comello's attorne says his family has no answers
either, promising in a statement, there is someing very wrong here, and we will get the bottom of it. a young man perhaps trying to end one problem now facing so many more. anne thompson, nbc news, new york. let's turn overseas now to a deadly attack today in the netherland investigators are trying to determine whether a suspect had an iernational terror motive when he opened fire on a tram killing three people and injuring five. the suspect's family in turkey says it was part of a domestic dispute. the suspect was captured after a massive manhunt. new fallout from the deadly terror attacks in new d. the prime minister vowing to reform that country's gun laws in just ten days after a gunman killed 50 people at twmosques. our miguel almaguer is there with new details for us tonight. >> reporter: tonight new accounts of heroism during 36 r. minutes of ter ali adib says his father took a bullet forim.
>> all he said was, take care of your mom a your brother and sister. >> reporter: abdul aziz came face to face with the shooter, scaring him away after grabbing one of his unloaded guns and second him out of t mosque. >> i just wanted to take his focus out from the mosque. >> reporter: but already 50 lives had been taken. the suspect, brenton tarrant, in court smiling, flashing a white power sign, his face blurred. while shootings of this magnitude in the u.s., from parkland to las vegas to sandy hook, have sparked debates over what to do about gun violence, tonight new zealand's prime minister has given a deadline to change gun laws here. >> within ten days of this horrific act of terrorism, we will have announced reforms which will, i believe, make our community safer. >> reporter: is unclear how this country, where many people own guns, will react. meanwhile, tonight dozens are still hospitalized. wasim and his 4-year-old daughter areuffering from multiple gunshot wounds.
>> please pray for myself, for me and for my daughter >> reporter: among the victims killed, refugees from syria o survived the civil war. tonight nine people remain in critical condition.st ? >> all right, miguel almaguer outside that memorial, thank you. h bae, nashville police are asking for the public's helo find an atv driver caught on camera dragging a poce sergeant down the street. officials warn swarms like these are growing prominent across the country. let's get more from kerry sanders.>> h my god!ep >>orter: a nashville police officer dragged by atv along a downtown street.tu the cop les violently. police say offroad dirt bikes n d atvs swarmed the area with little warning wrgeant john borque, trying to stop one driver, was entangled. >> then he just accelerated into him. >> reporter: miami to new york to philadelphia, now nashville, detectives believe the throngs
of offroad riders organize these eeb takeovers of urban strts on social media. in nashville, another offroad biker in that horde slammed into a car. p >> there's alace for atvs and it's not the city highways. it's not in front of my church. >> reporter: tonight one na ville police officer is lucky he wasn't seriously injured. as invesgators now try to determine who is this man? kerry sanders, nbc news. there is important news tonight about aspirin and heartl . a big reversal from doctors about who should be taking a pi daily n after new evidence shows the daily pill could actually cause more harm than good. here's nbc news medical correspondent dr. john torres. >> reporter: it's long-standing advice followed by millions of y americans, an aspirin a n prevent a first heart attack. but now a major abt-face. new guidelines from the americas hearciation now say adults over 70 should not be taking the drug. >> aspirin isn't harmless. >> reporter: the new
recoendation comes after thr large studies found that aspirin did not prevent heart attacks and strokes in older adult in fact, taking it every day raised the risk of serious harm like stomach and brain bleeding. those who should not take aspirin include people over 70, anyone who does not have heart aeeding. for someone takiirin right now what should they do? >> people taking aspirin should not just stop. they should have a conversation with their physician and really determine their individual risk. >> dr. torres, who should still be on aspirin? >> people o have already had a heart attack or stroke, for them daily aspirin can be life saving. people at high risk of their first heart atck or stroke should consider the pros and cons of taking airin with their doctor, though, before they start taking it. >> dr. torres, thank you. just ahead, a major reversal in the case of a teen seen on camera violently shoving a friend off aridge. then who was jack the ripper? has the 130-year-old mystery finally been solved?
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next tonight the dramatic reversal in court today for a young woman seen on next tonight the dramatic reversal in court today for a young woman seen on video e shing a friend off a bri and causing serious injuries. our gadi schwartz has the latest. ?> rea oh! >> reporter: a violent sve caught on camera, set to be played in court in thease against then 18-year-old taylor smith, seen push hing her frien jordan helger son off a 60-foot bridge.ng this m the teen changing her plea to guilty on the day wa her triasupposed to begin, admitting to reckless endangerment as part of a plea deal in exchange for house arrest, community rvice, and work crew detail. jordan ss it should have come sooner. >> if she would have pled guilty in the beginning of all of this, it kind of would have showed responsibility. >> reporter: back in august the video going vira jordan spitalized for a punctured lung and broken ribs.
it was what happened prior to the shove that was expected to play prominently i prosecution's case. taylor heard saying she was going to push jordan. >> jordan, i'm going to push you. >> no. >> reporter: video showing jordan shaking with fear. >> i'm so scared right now. >> jordan? go. go. >> reporter: at times others saying jordan didn't want to jump. >> well, she's saying no. >> no. >> ready? oh!or >> reporter: jdan says she still has anxiety attacks and hopes despite the plea deal the judge sentences her former friend to jail. >> for the jail sime i've spent ing in a bed in the hospital. that she put me in.te >> rep gadi schwartz, nbc news. >> it always remains hard to see. coming up, how the infamous jack the ripper case may have finally been solved. you
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>> that's noame, i'm sorry -- >> reporter: jack the ripper, serial killer, never caught. a murder mystery 130 years old that has fascinated moviemaks -- >> altogether a different breed of killer. >> reporter:nd now scientists. they've published new evidence taken from a shawl belonging to cathere eddowes, one of five women the ripper killed. at the time of the killing spree on these streets, the bloodstained silk shawl found re ffered no clues. now scientists say new dna tests link jack the ripper's fourth victim clearly to one man. aaron kosminsky, 23-year-old barber, once a prime suspect. his dna taken from living relatives. scientists began analyzing it four years ago. other scientists are skeptical, saying the dna could match many suspects
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an "unjection™". tonight, inspiring america, the 8-year-old overcoming so many obstacles to become a chess master. here's harry smith. >> i can't go there. >> no. an >> reporter:oluwa adewumi is tenacious and smart, and like other good chess players, he simply sees things oard his opponents do not. >> what i like most about chess is deep thinking.
>> deep thinking? >> yeah. deep. >> reporter: he handily won the new york state chess tournamen in his age group this year, not bad for an 8-year-old who only learned to play the game a year ago. his family came to america from nigeria twyears ago. christians fleeing persecution, his dad works two jobs and his mother just passed a home he care course. where do you live? >> we live in shelter. >> reporter: they're homeless. one of his coaches started a nd go page to help out. and as tani's story spread the money started pouring in. >> people are good. fople want to support them. >> reporter: theily are overwhelmed, proud of their son who is heading to nationals in may, and stunned by the generosity of a city and country where they prayed to find refuge. in i'm so proud of him. >> reporter: like hess, making the right move can make all the difference. harry smith, nbc news, new york. >> here's some more good news.