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tv   ABC World News Tonight With David Muir  ABC  February 15, 2023 5:30pm-6:00pm PST

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tonight, emotional outbursts in court. the gunman in the racist killing of ten black people at a grocery store in buffalo sentenced to life in prison. anger erupting as families confronted payton gendron, a man charging at him. officers rushing him out of the courtroom. family members sobbing as the judge read the names of each of his victims. sentencing him to life without parole for every hate-filled murder. the judge telling him, quote, there can be no mercy for you. aaron katersky in the courtroom. tonight, tracking a major winter storm as we come on the air. 25 states on alert for heavy snow and rain, wind, and possible tornadoes. severe storms from texas to alabama to ohio through tomorrow. rob marciano timing it all out. breaking news. disturbing video showing a military black hawk helicopter
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crashing near huntsville, alabama, killing everyone onboard. the images just coming in. growing concern tonight about airline safety. the head of the faa testifying before congress about the cause behind a nationwide ground stop last month. the faa promising action following a series of dangerous close calls, including a fourth incident we're just learning about in honolulu. gio benitez standing by. days of mourning on the campus of michigan state university. vigils honoring three classmates shot and killed during a shooting rampage. students protesting at the state capitol, demanding gun reform. dramatic testimony in the alex murdaugh murder trial. for the first time, jurors seeing the moment he denies killing his wife and son. detectives asking, "did you kill maggie? did you call paul?" murdaugh asking if he's now a suspect. the catastrophic earthquake in turkey and syria. at least six survivors pulled from the rubble today, buried for roughly 200 hours. heartbreak over the more than
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41,000 dead. many of the victims being placed in mass graves. the humanitarian crisis growing worse. james longman reporting from turkey tonight. new body camera video of the deadly u-haul rampage here in new york city. officers rushing to get elementary school children out of the street. news on the driver tonight. newly released rare images of the "titanic," shot after being discovered on the ocean floor nearly four decades ago. and tributes tonight to a hollywood icon. good evening. it's great to have you with us on this wednesday night. i'm whit johnson, in for david tonight. and we begin with the emotional hearing in a buffalo courtroom. the white supremacist who killed ten black people at a neighborhood supermarket last may hearing from the families of his victims, confronting him with their pain and anger. before he was sentenced to life in prison without the
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possibility of parole. at one point, a grieving family member rushing forward, trying to reach the gunman seated at the defense table. court officers jumping in to hurry the gunman away. the outpouring of emotion over that carefully planned massacre. payton gendron drove more than 200 miles to that black community, wearing body armor and livestreaming the attack. in a brief statement, he apologized, acknowledging he killed his victims because they were black. strong words from judge susan eagan, telling gendron he deserved no mercy, no understanding, no second chances. and as she sentenced him, judge eagan described each of his victims, the lives they led, and who they left behind. gendron had pleaded guilty in order to save his life, but he could still face the death penalty when he's tried on federal crimes. abc's senior investigative reporter aaron katersky leads us off from buffalo. >> reporter: tonight, the pain of that racist attack at a buffalo supermarket roared into court, as families of the ten
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black men and women shot dead faced their loved ones' killer. >> don't do it. >> reporter: a spectator lunging at peyton gendron. deputies rushing him out of the courtroom. his sentencing hearing paused until order was restored. >> i understand the anger, but we cannot have that in the court room. >> reporter: the dramatic interruption coming as the sister of 72-year-old victim katherine massey pointedly addressed the shooter. >> kat didn't hurt anybody. none of these families did. you're going to come to our city and decide you don't like black people. man, you don't know a damn thing about black people. we're human! >> reporter: nine months after gendron opened fire at the tops supermarket in a well-planned attack, the emotional wounds are still raw for wayne jones, remembering his 65-year-old mother, celestine cheney. >> while i was writing this, tears fell from my eyes, thinking about what a beautiful person you took. >> reporter: and with gendron watching passively in an orange
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jumpsuit, the widow of tops security guard 55-year-old aaron salter, who was hailed a hero for facing down the shooter, explaining why she wore red and black. >> red for the blood that he shed, for his family, and for his community. and black because we are still grieving. >> i'm very sorry. >> reporter: afterward, the shooter briefly apologizing. >> i did a terrible thing that day. i shot and killed people because they were black. >> reporter: but relatives and prosecutors doubting his sincerity. >> i firmly do not believe that that was from his heart. >> reporter: with gendron pleading guilty to domestic terrorism motivated by hate, the judge sentenced him to the mandatory life in prison with no chance of parole. >> there is no place for you or your ignorant, hateful, and evil ideologies in a civilized society. there can be no mercy for you,
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no understanding, no second chances. >> aaron katersky joining us now from buffalo. and aaron, we saw just how painful it was for these families in the courtroom. and they'll have another chance to confront the shooter. >> reporter: they will, whit, because payton gendron faces federal hate crimes charges. and the justice department is deciding whether to pursue the death penalty. the families are also working with the city to try and establish a permanent memorial to their loved ones. whit? p>> aaron, thank you. now to that breaking news from alabama. a military helicopter belonging to the tennessee national guard plunging out of the sky near huntsville. there were no survivors. abc's victor oquendo with the disturbing images and the details just coming in. >> reporter: tonight, a black hawk helicopter from the tennessee national guard crashing near huntsville, alabama, killing two people onboard. >> it's crazy. >> reporter: security video capturing the moment the helicopter plunges to the ground. a black cloud of smoke in the
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distance. plums rising near highway 53. >> hope everybody all right. hopefully ain't hit no cars or nothing like that. >> reporter: first responders finding no survivors. and the chopper engulfed in flames. >> saw the helicopter go over our head and bam, i just hollered, my lord, my god, because nobody could have survived that. >> reporter: authorities in alabama say that they are now securing the crash scene. it's unclear what led to the crash, but we do know that it was bright and sunny when that black hawk helicopter came down. whit? >> victor oquendo, thank you. next, to the major storm on the move tonight. 25 states from colorado to maine on alert. 80 million people in the path of strong winds, heavy snow, and a tornado threat. plus, a severe thunderstorm watch at this hour in parts of the south. blizzard conditions near morhead, minnesota, stranding drivers on i-94. snow in denver for the morning commute.
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the airport canceling more than 160 flights. as that storm moves east, severe storms and the tornado threat start to pick up. let's get right to abc's senior meteorologist rob marciano. and rob, the most dangerous hours coming after dark. >> reporter: yeah, whit, this is becoming a really big system with a big range of impacts. here in memphis, we're really nervous about what the storms will bring tonight. a threat for tornadoes. we're kind of in that bulls-eye of that enhanced area. and there's that watch you spoke of, just issued for dallas north and oklahoma. everything's kind of evolving right now, including the snow threat. winter storm warnings posted from utah all the way through the great lakes. that snow shield will expand, basically five to eight inches of snow across that swath. and the thunderstorms that will come through little rock overnight and then memphis, couple of pulses of that. they'll be reinvigorated during the day tomorrow in alabama, mississippi, in through georgia. and also, all the way up through the tennessee valley. places like nashville, louisville, and cincinnati could see storms that have damaging or tornadoes there. the next 36 hours across the mid-south will be dicey. whit? >> yeah, important for people to heed those warnings. rob, thank you. next tonight, the faa
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launching a safety review of our country's aviation system, after a string of recent close calls, four incidents in just thrhsstai honolulu. a united passenger jet crossing the runway where a cessna was landing. the head of the faa on capitol hill today, insisting the system is safe, but saying, we can absolutely be better. abc's gio benitez covers aviation for us. >> reporter: tonight, the ntsb and faa revealing another alarming near-miss in honolulu, just as the acting head of the faa appeared before a senate panel. a united jet told by air traffic control to stop on a taxiway, instead crossing the runway as a cessna plane was landing in mid-january. the fourth major close call in the last three months, including at jfk, when a delta plane nearly collided with an american airlines flight that was on the wrong runway. >> [ bleep ]. delta 1943, cancel takeoff plans. >> reporter: the faa now launching a safety review team
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to investigate the series of near collisions. >> i formed a safety review team to examine the u.s. aerospace system's structure, culture, processes, systems, and integration of safety efforts. >> reporter: billy nolen on capitol hill to testify about that system failure last month, when the faa says an employee unintentionally deleted a file, causing a nationwide ground stop. but most of the focus today on those close calls across the country. senator ted cruz pressing nolen on a february incident in austin, texas, where a fedex cargo plane attempting to land came within 100 feet of a southwest flight filled with passengers. >> how can this happen? >> it is not what we would expect to have happen, but when we think about the controls, how we train both our controllers and our pilots, the system works. >> reporter: and whit, nolen did not detail exactly how to prevent those issues in the future, but again, he insisted that the american aviation
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system is safe, though it clearly could be a lot better. whit? >> gio benitez for us, thank you. next tonight, students at michigan state university grappling with their grief and many calling for change, after a gunman killed three of their classmates and left five in critical condition. some leaving flowers at the spartan statue on campus. others rallying on the steps of the state capitol. all of them, and investigators, too, trying to understand the latest deadly mass shooting at an american school. here's abc's alex perez. >> reporter: tonight, calls for gun reform in michigan's capitol. students staging a sit-in there today, calling for change. >> how many will die before it is enough? >> reporter: five students still in critical condition as the university mourns the deaths of junior arielle diamond anderson, sophomore brian fraser, and junior alexandria verner, whose high school paid tribute to her overnight. >> she was kind and positive and empathetic. >> reporter: police say anthony mcrae had no known connections to the university, when he unleashed a rampage
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monday night, later turning the gun on himself. his motive, still a mystery. these three students and friends among the many across campus who ran in horror to safety. >> oh, my god! >> reporter: some hiding in classrooms. >> i've had the fear of a school pshooting in my mind since, i think, sixth grade, when newtown happened. >> reporter: the anxiety, all too familiar for the watson family. their younger son, ayden, injured at the oxford high school shooting in 2021. their older son, caleb, on campus during the terror this week. >> in 14 months, two times this household has been impacted by a major shooting. and that's two more than ever should have occurred. >> reporter: and whit, authorities today began the process of allowing students to retrieve the belongings left behind in the panic to get to safety. you can see thousands of people behind me here, this is one of several vigils being held this week to honor those who were killed. whit? >> and that community going through so much right now. alex, thank you. now to the dramatic testimony at the trial of alex
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murdaugh, on trial for the murder of his own wife and son. for the first time, jurors seeing video of murdaugh being questioned by police two months after the killings. detectives asking, "did you kill maggie?" here's abc's eva pilgrim. >> reporter: for the first time in the trial of alex murdaugh, the jury seeing the moment the once prominent attorney denied killing his wife and son. >> did you kill maggie? >> no. did i kill my wife? >> yes, sir. >> no, david. >> do you know who did? >> no, i do not know who did. >> did you kill paul? >> no, i did not kill paul. >> do you know who did? >> no, sir, i do not know who did. >> i have to go where the evidence and the facts take me. and i don't have anything that points to anybody else at this time. >> so, does that mean that i'm a suspect? >> reporter: murdaugh was being questioned for a third time, a few months after the murders. >> did you consider alex
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murdaugh a suspect in the death of his son and his wife? >> he was the only known suspect that time, yes. >> reporter: and the defense today pressing that agent, getting him to admit they never asked murdaugh for those clothes seen in paul's video. whit? >> eva pilgrim in south carolina again tonight. thank you. now, to turkey, where nine days after that first powerful earthquake, survivors are still defying the odds. but tonight, the call for humanitarian aid to help those survivors is growing more urgent. abc's james longman is in turkey. >> reporter: tonight, miraculous stories of survival, nine days after that catastrophic earthquake devastated parts of turkey and syria. this is the epicenter of where the earthquake hit. and take a look, the destruction is almost absolute. but incredibly, after 200 hours under the rubble, some people are still being found alive. 42-year-old melike, pulled from the rubble in kahramanmaras, one of six people rescued in turkey today.
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crews finding 62-year-old huyseyin. he says he found one bottle of water. and when that ran out, he drank his own urine to survive. today, investigators collecting chunks of concrete and iron, to check if the collapsed buildings were built to code. and across town, the reality of how many couldn't be saved. thousands of victims have already been laid to rest. and you can see through the graves, diggers there in the distance, clearing more land to make more space for, no doubt, more graves. abdullah has come to bury his brother, his wife, and their two children. one just a few months old. "we were digging at the rubble with our bare hands," he says. "you just don't think something like this could happen to you." the united nations has announced a six-month plan to scale up aid for the millions of people across this region who are in dire need. there's a lot to do. whit? >> there sure is. remarkable images. james, thank you. back here at home tonight,
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republican nikki haley kicking off her 2024 presidential campaign at a high energy rally in charleston, south carolina, calling for generational change and mandatory mental competency tests for all candidates over 75. abc's senior congressional correspondent rachel scott in charleston tonight. >> nikki haley! >> reporter: tonight, former south carolina governor nikki haley becoming the first republican candidate to take on donald trump, launching her campaign with veiled swipes at her former boss. >> america is not past our prime. it's just that our politicians are past theirs. we're ready. ready to move past the stale ideas and faded names of the past. >> reporter: haley, who served as trump's ambassador to the united nations, says it's now time for a new generation to lead.
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even suggesting this -- >> mandatory mental competency tests for politicians over 75 years old. >> reporter: trump is 76. president biden, 80. haley is the first major candidate for the republican nomination who is a woman of color. she insists that under biden, a self-loathing has swept the country. >> every day we are told america is flawed, rotten, and full of hate. joe and kamala even say america is racist. nothing could be further from the truth. >> reporter: donald trump's campaign put out a long statement accusing nikki haley of being weak on immigration, soft on the border, pointing out that she once said that she would support trump in 2024, and now she's running against him. whit? >> rachel scott, thank you. lawyers for congressman matt gaetz say the justice department has ended its investigation and he will not be charged. the investigation focused on the florida republican and his one-time political ally, joel greenberg, for alleged relationships with women recruited online. gaetz has always maintained he did nothing wrong. when we come back here
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tonight, new body camera video of that deadly u-haul rampage here in new york city. news about the driver. and newly released images of the "titanic," shot after being discovered on the ocean floor nearly four decades ago. when you know what you're looking for, you pursue it. and with vitiligo, the pursuit for your pigment is no exception. it's time you had a proven choice to help restore what's yours. opzelura is the first and only fda-approved prescription treatment for nonsegmental vitiligo proven to help repigment skin over time. restoring what's yours. it's possible with a steroid-free cream that you can apply yourself. opzelura can lower your ability to fight infections, including tb or hepatitis b or c. serious lung infections, skin cancer, blood clots, and low blood cell counts occurred with opzelura. in people taking jak inhibitors, serious infections, increased risk of death, lymphoma, other cancers, and major cardiovascular events have occurred.
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finally tonight, tributes to finally tonight, tributes to a hollywood icon, raquel welch. raquel welch was an international icon. >> introducing the fabulous raquel welch, the sensational star discovery of this or any other year. >> reporter: emerging from the sea in the 1966 film "one million years bc." her role, her costume, recognizable for generations to come. she was an early pioneer in action roles for women, starring alongside burt reynolds in 1969's "100 rifles." >> i knew him when he was young, when he brought the people together to fight. >> reporter: winning a best actress golden globe award for 1973's "three musketeers." >> can i tell you? can i trust you? >> reporter: born in chicago in 1940 -- >> american actress raquel welch. >> reporter: her career spanning
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50 years. joining bob hope in vietnam, performing for american troops. tonight, we learned raquel welch died at her home in los angeles at 82 years old following a brief illness. she is survived by her son and daughter. and this evening, welch, early in her career, before her breakout role, on the importance of being prepared when opportunity comes. >> even though it depends a lot on luck, when the opportunity does arise, you have to be prepared for it. if you have the background and the training and the ability, then you can take advantage of it. if you don't, it just goes by and forget about it. you've lost it. >> an incredible life and career. i'm whit johnson in new york. have a great night. ♪ announcer: now from abc7 news,
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live, breaking news. >> this was not an easy decision, but one that is necessary. >> with that, the police department needs a new chief after going through half a dozen in a decade. dan: less than two hours ago, we learned oakland was parting ways with the police chief following a report from the federal monitor that question his handling of personnel matters. ama: our reporter joins us live from oakland and was there as the mayor announced she was firing the chief. reporter: well been put on leave, even calling out the federal monitor at times, but the mayor not reversing course, and making this announcement earlier. >> chief armstrong has my respect and appreciation for his service to the department and to the city he grew up in and that he clearly loves dearly.
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he will continue to have my respect and appreciation. but, i am no longer confident chief armstrong can do the work needed to achieve the vision, so today, i have decided to separate from chief armstrong from the city without cause. but one i believe is necessary for that progress to continue. reporter: the federal monitor question armstrong's response after two officers were involved in lawbreaking incidents. the first involving with another officer involved in a hit and run accident with a vehicle in san francisco. the second involved the firing of a gun inside opd headquarters. the mayor stating the chief did not believe es