tv ABC World News Tonight With David Muir ABC January 2, 2023 3:30pm-4:00pm PST
tonight, the major new storm system sweeping across the country. tornado watches in effect as we come on the air. two dozen states from california to indiana on alert for snow, ice, flooding, and damaging winds. 24 million americans in the path. more than a foot of snow at in theer mingll theeewye. ging zra it all. mourners by the thousands paying tribute to the late pope benedict xvi, lying in state at the vatican. in his final letter, benedict asking for forgiveness from those he had wronged. also tonight, attempted murder charges filed gbs the alleged new year's eve attacker arrested here in new york. authorities also weighing possible terror charges against the 19-year-old suspect, accused
of wounding three police officers with a large knife just blocks from times square. the man accused of killing four college students in idaho expected to make his first court appearance tomorrow. law enforcement sources telling abc news they identified the suspect by using dna evidence found at the crime scene and a public gone yol. website. police now looking for evidence in the car he drove across the country. the war in ukraine. russia suffering a massive blow. ukraine claiming to have killed hundreds of russian soldiers in a major strike, but the kremlin saying 63 troops died in the attack. one of the deadliest attacks on russian forces since the start of the war. republicans on the eve of controlling the house, the potentially messy battle for house speaker. does kevin mccarthy have the votes within his own party? the deadly skaf fouling collapse in north carolina. at least three people killed, toe injured. the victims falliing 70 feet. actor jeremy renner remains
in critical but stable condi condition, badly injured in a snowplow accident. and tributes pouring in for broadcasti iing pioneer barbara walters. a true trailblazer in tv news. an inspiration to the generations who followed. remembering a beloved member of the abc family. good evening and thank you for joining us on this first monday of 2023, i'm whit johnson, in for david tonight. and we begin with that massive winter storm barrelling across the country, wreaking havoc from coast to coast. more than 20 million americans on alert. heavy snow, dangerous ice, high winds, flooding rains. and at this hour, a tornado watch for parts of five states. sirens and dark clouds seen near paris, arkansas, this afternoon. the threat lasting into the night. it comes afteristocaial in the west. a state of emergency in
sacramento county. multiple levee breaches. a person found dead in their flooded vehicle. tens of thousands losing power. in fresno county, responders rescuing a 78-year-old man from his pickup truck as flood waters rose around him. at higher elevations, heavy snow. parts of i-17 closed near sedona, arizona, up to five feet of snow in parts of the sierras. the avalanche risk is very high, as well. this one closing a major road through utah's little cotton wood canyon. the track showing the snow and ice threat on the northern side of the storm. severe storms and heavy rain to the south, stretching from the gulf coast to new england by tomorrow night. and tonight, that severe weather including those tornado watches after dark. ginger zee timing it all out, but first, abc's chief national correspondent matt gutman leading us off in sacramento county. >> repor >> reporter: tonight, an
atmospheric river that slammed the west fueling a massive storm system, now sweeping across the tornado repas ofto the o.ns. the south. rorr: oveth hti ca with historic avrain. in san francisco, restaurants and other businesses flooded. >> we noticed the water started to pool on the street, and cou say there are so many road closures, they can't possibly count them. and with two levees breached, they have ordered evacuations here. and you can see why. neighborhood after neighborhood flooded. >> we're looking at highway 99 as it runs north, south. >> reporter: parts of multiple key roadways underwater. >> we rescued dozens of people from the rooftop of their vehicle or from the bed of their pickup truck when it became
impossible for them to rescue themselves. >> reporter: authorities saying one person found dead in a flooded vehicle. in fresno county, a 78-year-old man pulled to safety after getting trapped in the fast-moving waters. in the sierra nevada mountains, that system generating snowfall rates of more than seven inches an hour. and this light ran we're seeing right now, whit, that is just the beginning. another atmospheric river is forecast to pummel the west coast, bringing inches of rain and feet of snow. that starts on wednesday. unlikely to give enough time to communities like this to begin even cleaning up before the next round begins. whit? >> and we can see that flooding behind you. matt, thank you. let's get right to abc's chief meteorologist jiginger zee tracking the weather. this could be a very dangerous situation tonight. >> reporter: you know, we've seen several tornado warnings popping within the watch area. the warning means it's imminent. it's either been spotted or the down to arkansas needs to be on alert. the ones you see there just east of tulsa, northeast oklahoma,
those just popped within the last couple of minutes. flood watches from southern indiana and illinois, including paducah, down to louisiana, because you're going to see one-inch, two-inch per hour rainfall rates. on the northern side, the ice. up to a half inch. if you are traveling interstate 80 or 90, it's going to be squeezed between there, where you have about a half inch of ice. and then on the southern, remember, those severe storms erupt, it's not just tonight, but throughout the day tomorrow. goes to atlanta by tomorrow night. whit? >> we'll be watching those warnings. ginger, thank you. now, to the vet atican, whe tens of thousands of mourners are paying their respects to pope emeritus benedict 16. his body lying in state at st. peters basilica after his death on saturday at the age of 95. he was the conservative church stalwart who broke centuries of tradition when he resigned nearly ten years ago. and tonight, what he wrote in his final letter. abc's terry moran from the vatican.
>> reporter: early this morning, te body of pope benedict xvi wae the cardinal archpriest of st. peter's blessed the body with holy water and incee. in benedict's hands, a rosary, and the ring on his finger with an image of st. benedict, his papal namesake, the patron saint of europe. the former pope had hoped his reign would bring many europeans back into the church's fold, but it didn't turn out that way. and then, the people came. 65,000 of them today, far more than the vatican had expected. and they came in sadness, but also in gratitude and real affection. >> i think that as people have seen him grow old, they've see a more gentle side of him, more of a grandfatherly role that he's played in the church. >> reporter: they stood in line quietly in the mild january weather from all over the world, including ukraine.
>> biggest wish that i would like for my family now is the war to stop. >> reporter: over the next two days, tens of thousands more are expected to pay their respects to a quiet man of fervent conservative faith who became pope. and then, with one radical act, changed the pap si forever by leaving it. >> terry moran back with us from vatican city. we know pope benedict left behind a final letter to the faithful that's gaining a lot of attention. >> reporter: it is, whit. this is his spiritual testament. it was written in his native tongue, german, 16 years ago. in it, among other things, he says, to all those i may have wronged in any way, i ask forgiveness. that covers many things, but it would certainly include those who by benedict's own admission of his own errors, would have been harmed by sexual abuse in the church. whit? >> all right, terry, thank you. next tonight, new developments in the murders of four students from the
university of idaho. law enforcement sources telling abc news the identified suspect by linking dna evidence from the crime scene to a public gonology da database. and what we have learned about that cross-country road trip the suspect made with his father. abc's kayna whitworth in pennsylvania. >> reporter: set to appear before a judge within hours, waving extradition and paving the way for his swift return to idaho. the lawyer for 28-year-old bryan kohberger says his client maintains his innocence. >> he's certainly eager to get back to idaho to start the legal process. and he believes that he will be exonerated when he does return. >> reporter: sources tell abc news police were able to link kohberger to the crime in part by running dna from the crime scene through a public genealogy database. it's an investigative tool used routinely since the capture of the golden state killer. police first finding relatives
then zeroing in on kohberger -- a ph.d student studying criminology at washington state university, just 15 minutes from the crime scene. kohberger was also a teacher's assistant. one of his students says he seemed a little different after the murders. >> i remember he looked a little bit more disheveled. he had like some stubble coming on. his hair was a little messed up or whatever. nothing like crazy. but enough that i remember seeing him and thinking like, oh, man, you know, finals must be really getting to him or something like that. >> reporter: dominic scheld told us he socialized with kohberger when he was a teenager here in pennsylvania. how do you remember him at those parties? >> withdrawn, kept to himself. >> reporter: tonight, investigators are processing kohbergers' white hyundai elantra they say was spotted on surveillance near the crime scene. kohberger and his father driving the car 2,500 miles from washington to pennsylvania, arriving at the family home a month after the murders. >> i can tell you, based on experience, that cars months,
sometimes and years old, we've been able to find trace amounts of blood and dna in a vehicle, despite the fact the naked eye could not see it. >> kayna whitworth joining us now from pennsylvania. and kayna, you're learning more about that cross-country road trip the suspect and his father were actually pulled over by police? >> reporter: yeah, whit, brian's lawyer actually telling me that it happened twice. both times in indiana, about an hour apart, once for speeding, and once for tailgating. now, brian was arrested about 17 days later, and has been held here at the monroe county correctional facility, awaiting his hearing tomorrow. whit? >> kayna whitworth with those new details tonight. thank you. back here in new york, the suspect in a new year's eve knife attack on police near times square has been charged with attempted murder. law enforcement sources say the 19-year-old was previously known to authorities, and may have been motivaed by radical islamic extremism. here's abc's senior investigative reporter aaron katersky.
>> reporter: tonight, this 19-year-old from maine is charged in the new year's eve knife attack on new york city police officers that investigators believe was an act of terrorism. >> go, go, go. >> reporter: trevor bickford now facing two counts of attempting to murder police officers and two counts of attempted assault. >> unprovoked, a 19-year-old male approached an officer and attempted to strike him over the head with a machete. the male then struck two additional officers in the head. >> move, move. >> reporter: the attack happened just outside the perimeter where police were screening new year's eve revelers, who scattered for safety. >> there's a ton of police officers running towards the scene that was like -- there ker dryouthe scene, bo the tib marttry bickford appeared on an fbi radar after his mother reported her son's drift to jihadist ideology. and we've learned tonight the fbi interviewed the suspect, determined he wanted to fight
for the cause overseas. so, he was flagged for international travel. nothing to stop him from broading a train to new york and carrying out an attack right here, but authorities are increasingly confident was motivated by islamic extremism. whit? >> aaron katersky, thank turning now to ukraine, delivering a massive blow on russian forces. the kremlin acknowledging 63 servicemen were killed, but ukraine claiming the death toll is much higher. u.s.-made guided rockets were used to level a building where soldiers were deployed, taking an unprecedented toll on russian forces. abc's britt clennett in ukraine tonight. >> reporter: tonight, one of the most deadly attacks on putin's troops since the war began. ukraine killing scores of russian soldiers in their barracks in the russian-occupied region of donetsk. even a russian-installed regional official calling it, quote, a massive blow. kyiv saying around 400 were
killed. moscow putting the number at 63. and claiming it was u.s.-made long-range himars rockets doing the damage. ukraine's spy chief telling me they're grateful for the u.s. military aid, adding ukraine is hoping america will soon send bradley armored fighting vehicles. >> these vehicles, i think, will increase our abilities in combat actions. >> reporter: regarding this weekend's attack, ukrainian officials telling abc news that unencrypted cell phones being used by new russian conscripts helped pinpoint the location. in the hours after the attack, russia launching 40 drones, ukraine saying their air defenses shot down all of them. andwhit, the holidays continue here in ukraine with orthodox christmas this week. ukraine saying russia could attempt to disrupt the holiday with yet another massive aerial strike. whit? britt clennett, thank you. in washington now, a null congress begins tomorrow. republicans taking control in the house, but with a slim majority, and battling over who
will be speaker. gop leader kevin mccarthy is still looking for votes, even after making some major concessions. abc's congressional correspondent rachel scott joins us now, and rachel, is mccarthy's path any clearer tonight? >> reporter: whit, it will certainly be a challenge. kevin mccarthy has already moved into the speaker's office, but right now, he does not have enough votes to be the next speaker of the house. with that razor thin majority, he can only afford to lose four members from his own party. right now, there are five republicans who have made it clear they will not support him, saying that he's not conservative enough or that he's untrustworthy. and there are nine republicans that have signaled that they are on the fence, as well. mccarthy has made some major concessions to try to win them over, including making it easier to remove him from the position if he were to be elected as speaker. if that first ballot fails, the until they elect a speaker of the house. that's something that has not happened in 100 years. it could drag on for hours, if not days, and it would
essentially paralyze the chamber. no bills can be passed, members can't even be sworn in. whit? >> a big day tomorrow. rachel, thank you. now, to actor jeremy renner, recovering in the hospital after a snowplowing accident near reno, nevada. he suffered a traumatic injury and aliir lifted on new year's day. here's abc's will carr. >> reporter: tonight, actor jeremy renner is in critical but stable condition after an accident while plowing snow near reno. >> medi fire is on scene. subject is currently breathing. care flights overhead. >> reporter: on new year's morning, authorities responding to a traumatic injury on renner's property. video from tmz capturing the movie star being airlifted by the wererarbyosl. a winter orwa wh e iving more 20 inches of snow. just last week, renner shared multiple videos of this large snowplow. in december, he posted this
image, saying "lake tahoe snowfall is no joke." renner is best known for his character hawkeye in marvel's "avengers." he also is known for his movies "the town" and "the hurt locker." tonight, renner's publicist says he's with family and receiving excellent care and authorities say he was the only one involved in the accident. whit? >> will carr, thank you. when we come back, news tonight about the deadly scaffolding collapse. victims falling 70 feet. and the tennis legend revealing her battle with two forms of cancer. eful state. full plate. wait, are you my blind date? dancing crew. trip for two. nail the final interview. buy or lease? masterpiece. inside joke. artichoke. game with doug. brand new mug. come here, kid. gimme a hug. have you gotten your updated covid-19 booster? they're designed to help protect against recent omicron variants. schedule yours at vaccines.gov. ♪ do you struggle with occasional nerve aches
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next tonight, a deadly scaffolding collapse at a construction side in charlotte, north carolina. authorities say at least three workers were killed when the scaffolding came down this morning. the victims falling about 70 feet. two other workers are being treated for minor injuries. construction has been stopped while authorities investigate. when we come back, the legendary tennis star revealing she's battling two forms of cancer. when you really need to sleep. you reach for the really good stuff.
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>> former drummer for earth, wind, and fire. a drumming prodigy. he joined his brothers in the band when he was 19. their hits including "shining star" and "start night." verdeen white writing his brother is drumming with the angels. when we come back, remembering barbara walter, and the tributes from her colleagues and friends. we're the ones getting it done. we're managing type 2 diabetes and heart risk. we're on it with jardiance. join the growing number of people who are on it with the once-daily pill, jardiance. jardiance not only lowers a1c, it goes beyond to reduce the risk of cardiovascular death for adults with type 2 diabetes and known heart disease. and jardiance may help you lose some weight. jardiance may cause serious side effects including ketoacidosis that may be fatal, dehydration, (that can lead to sudden worsening of kidney function), and genital yeast or urinary tract infections. a rare, life-threatening bacterial infection
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everything that was happening in the world. >> for a number of years, we kept her office just as is. she still retained her office extnsion. a part of that is, i think, our inability to let her go. st h . nancy reagan had passed away. one of the first calls we get was from barbara walters, still eager to come in and file a story on the evening news. and barbara walters is here with us tonight. >> thank you, david. >> the body of work was just so enormous and so varied and so important that there was no one else that was on her level. >> there is an old saying, you don't pass away until people stop saying your name. well, she'll never pass away really, because we'll never stop saying barbara walters' name. >> the work she did, that will live on. but the person i knew as a friend, that's the one i'll miss. there will only be one barbara walters ever.
>> building a better bay area. moving forward, finding solutions. this is abc 7 news. is back. you can see lots of green and even yellow and orange, which indicates heavy rain. >> the rain will be wors thaiwe had. >> no is the time for homeowners to protect their property. >> the next storm could bring even more rain and damage. thanks for joining us. i'm dan ashley. >> i'm liz kreutz. we begin with a terrifying crash near doubles slide. -- near devil's side. a car plummeted down a cliff with four people inside including two children. >> you can see on this map where the crash happened just south of the devil's side tunnel. the 250 feet is the approximate distance from the road all the
way down the cliff to the ocean below. suzanne phan is liv latest. sunn survived the harrowing crash. firefighters consider it a miracle. it was a complex rescue. it was a dramatic rescue that was right out of a movie. more than 30 rescuers from multiple agencies, and three helicopters involved. several choppers hovered above as rescue crews armed with ropes and special equipment scrambled to get to the victims. it started around 10:30 this morning. authorities got a call of a tesla that went over the cliff. the driver was going south on highway one. the crash happened by devil's side. authorities don't know why the car veered off the road. it was a tremendous