tv NBC Nightly News NBC January 22, 2013 5:30pm-6:00pm PST
thankfully, it was not a massacre. it did start with a student. there was a gun. a heavy police response followed along with much confusion on a campus under full lockdown. all of it played out during live television coverage across the country for much of the day. tonight they are still sorting out what happened when the 911 call went out. nbc's janet shamlian is there for us tonight to start off. janet, good evening. >> reporter: brian, good evening. just three weeks into 2013 and this is already the fifth shooting at a school this year. and today when the alert went out here, many parents thought, please, not again. gunshots on a school campus yet again. this time it was a community college in the houston area. but the fear and the panicked response were the same. >> we heard six shots. and automatically we saw students running, and we went under our desks. our teacher shut down the
lights, and we went under the desks and tried to take cover. >> reporter: they are the desperate survival tactics teachers and students have taken elsewhere recently. three people on the campus were injured in what may have been an argument that escalated. >> your brother was shot? >> yes. they told us that he got shot three times. we're trying to figure out what's going on. >> reporter: so were the parents of four nearby schools that went on lockdown with hundreds of students inside from kindergarten up to high school. moms and dads waited hours to pick up their children. >> i got an alert. i was actually at work. and i left work to come over here. whether they're going to let the students out or not, i just need to be as close to my child as i possibly can. >> reporter: a familiar sentiment when violence comes to school and so much is unknown. >> it's just scary. just so much happening these days. it's just scary. the minute i heard about it, i jumped up and i came for my baby. >> reporter: late today police told us there is no suspect at large as it was originally feared. the campus will be opening tomorrow. but, brian, the anxiety level around here will not be going
away as quickly. >> janet shamlian outside houston starting us off tonight, janet, thanks. in washington tonight, one more inaugural ball to go. but for the white house staff members, for the most part, things are returning to business as usual after yesterday's inauguration. that means issues like gun control. there are several big fights on the agenda as the president begins this second term. white house correspondent kristen welker is there for us tonight. kristen, good evening. >> reporter: brian, good evening. one of those fights will involve gun control. in fact, tonight the white house is monitoring that shooting in the houston area. but here in washington, economic issues still top the list of things that need to be addressed. an invigorated president obama joined in a prayer service this morning. and this afternoon, along with the first lady and bo, surprise supporters, a moment captured by the white house and streamed on the web. on monday, resolve, defending entitlements and calling for
action on climate change and gay rights, a broad liberal agenda. >> but we reject the belief that america must choose between caring for the generation that built this country and investing in the generation that will build its future. >> reporter: the president, once criticized by his own party's left for caving into republicans, seemed emboldened by his reelection and ready for a fight. >> yesterday's speech at the capitol was not about bipartisanship. it was about the agenda that barack obama, a democrat, the direction he wants to take the country. republicans can come along if they'd like. >> reporter: on the other end of pennsylvania avenue, minority leader mitch mcconnell congratulated the president before he accused mr. obama of being hyperpartisan. >> the era of liberalism is back. an unabashedly far left of center inauguration speech certainly brings back memories of the democratic party of ages past. >> reporter: the immediate battle is over the nation's
borrowing limit, which will be reached next month. republican leaders once insistent that any increase be matched with an equal amount of spending cuts are now offering to raise the debt ceiling for three months in exchange for passing a budget. >> it's time for us to come to a plan that will, in fact, balance the budget over the next ten years. >> reporter: today, white house press secretary jay carney indicated the president would not oppose a short-term solution. now, the battles begin in earnest tomorrow when the house is expected to vote on the debt ceiling bill and when secretary of state hillary clinton will face some tough questions from congressional committees when she appears before them to talk about the terrorist attack in benghazi. brian? >> kristen welker on the white house north lawn tonight, thanks. late word tonight that top u.s. commander in afghanistan, general john allen, has been cleared of engaging in any inappropriate behavior regarding his e-mail exchanges with the woman from tampa, jill kelley. this case came to light originally as part of the petraeus affair.
and an investigation was launched. the u.s. state department confirms today three americans were indeed killed during that four-day hostage standoff in algeria. seven americans were able to make it out safely. the algerian government says in all, 38 hostages of different nationalities and 29 islamic militants died in the standoff. five people are still unaccounted for. in this country, the weather is making news tonight, specifically the cold. over two-thirds of the country, along with some weird extremes. it's expected to be 75 degrees colder in maine this week than it was last week. 75 degrees. and this latest push of arctic air has already made its way all the way south to florida. nbc's kevin tibbles is with us from the grip of it in chicago. kevin, good evening. >> reporter: brian, tonight bitter cold and treacherous winds have much of the country hunkering down. and this blast of winter is likely to last through to the
weekend. frigid, treacherous, siberia, all describe erie, pennsylvania. >> the wind is vicious here. the windchill is absolutely freezing. >> reporter: sideways blowing snow off the lakes snarled traffic, made walking miserable and kept plow operators happy. >> just constant phones just ringing off the wall. >> reporter: syracuse snowed under. shivering in the big apple. >> i have like 12 pairs of tights on today. >> reporter: in rhode island, the cold hampers sandy recovery efforts. >> things are a little slower. the days are shorter. the hands don't move. >> we haven't seen this much cold air in more than two years. this is definitely coming as a shock to many people's systems. >> reporter: in indianapolis, some celebrated the polar temps. >> i don't like 40, 50-degree weather in january. that's for miami. >> reporter: but when one homeowner turned up the stove to keep warm, his house caught fire. an 86-car pile-up on icy roads near cincinnati took the life of a 12-year-old girl.
a chicago apartment fire killed two, left some residents freezing on balconies and firefighters battling the cold as well as the flames. and on the dangerous lake michigan ice, a stranded dog eluded animal control officers for hours before being rescued. windchills in the windy city of 20 degrees below. >> i don't care how crazy i look, as long as i'm warm. >> reporter: the coldest spot in the lower 48 today, flag island, minnesota, at minus 17, before windchill. even hearty minnesotans are feeling it. >> sure am. you bet. >> i think it's awfully cold. >> reporter: and reporters in subzero climbs have gotten creative. >> instant ice crystals. >> if you ever start to feel cold, a little chilly, think about your friends up in north dakota. that will sure warm you up. >> reporter: tonight, brian, many of us feel like we're all in north dakota, although there's nothing wrong with that. parents, however, may want to check with their children's schools tomorrow to make sure the classrooms are open. brian?
>> kevin tibbles out in the cold of chicago tonight, thanks for that. a look at the calendar reveals there are some major milestones all of which happened 40 years ago this week. richard nixon was inaugurated to a second term. former president lyndon johnson died at his ranch in texas. a peace deal was reached ending the war in vietnam. and the u.s. supreme court decided the case of roe versus wade, legalizing abortion. tonight, nbc's andrea mitchell looks at what has changed and what hasn't over the last 40 years. >> reporter: four decades after roe v. wade, dueling protesters were again circling each other today at the supreme court. [ chanting ] after a campaign season when abortion rights and contraception became hot-button issues. >> if it's a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down.
>> i came to realize life is that gift from god. i think even when life begins in that horrible situation of rape that it is something that god intended to happen. >> this contraceptive thing, my gosh, it's such an expense. back in my days, they used bayer aspirin for contraceptions. the gals put it between their knees and it wasn't that costly. >> reporter: today, 7 out of 10 people in our poll don't want roe v. wade overturned. i think what it demonstrates is this two-year assault on women's health and rights by politicians has boomeranged and backfired. >> reporter: still in the last two years, republican state legislatures have passed 135 laws restricting access to abortions. sarah weddington argued the landmark case before the supreme court. >> you may proceed whenever you're ready. >> we do not ask this court to rule that abortion is good. >> reporter: sarah weddington today -- >> now, all of the issue is, but will abortion be available? because at the states, there are so many restrictions being passed.
>> reporter: congress has forbidden federal funding for most abortions and only 17 states fund abortion for low income women. and modern prenatal imagery gives abortion opponents a new way to make their case. >> before it was a philosophical argument. now they're looking at another human being saying there's two people to think about. >> reporter: an emotional and legal debate that continues to this day. andrea mitchell, nbc news, washington. big news in the world of education. federal officials say the high school graduation rate is going up. the nationwide average climbed to just above 78% in 2010, the last year with numbers available. there's a lot of work yet to be done. but it's the highest it's been since 1974. the main reason, they say, fewer jobs out there to tempt young people to leave high school. still ahead as we continue on a tuesday evening, a major breakthrough regarding a big worry for a lot of parents, a lot of athletes, detecting the damage done by concussions and what could happen then later in life.
as we mentioned, there's news tonight on the subject of concussions which are finally getting a lot more attention of late among athletes and among parents. up till now, there's been no good way to figure out how much damage has been done after a concussion exactly. but ucla researchers working with some former nfl players may
have figured out the answer. our report from our chief medical editor, dr. nancy snyderman. >> reporter: wayne clark had his first major concussion as quarterback of the san diego chargers back in 1972. the doctors talked to him on the sidelines. clark didn't even remember his own name. >> i lost all recollection of that complete day before and after the concussion. >> reporter: but you didn't lose consciousness? >> right. >> reporter: you got clunked so hard on the head, you had amnesia. now 65, clark wonders about the long-term impact of his injuries. he's not the only one. we've all seen the headlines about chronic traumatic encephalopathy, or cte, a disorder that comes from repeated brain injury. up to now, can only be found after death as with star linebacker junior seau who committed suicide. doctors found the telltale abnormal clumps of protein in his brain. now researchers have developed a way to detect the damage early with a chemical that targets those proteins.
the injected chemical lights up brain scans of former nfl players. >> it was kind of a common hit and i went down. >> reporter: finding the protein clumps in parts of the brain dealing with emotion, memory and behavior. >> if we can find them early, then we can predict who's going to get symptoms and hopefully try to protect their brains while they're still healthy. >> touch your nose with this finger. >> reporter: sports physicians say this could be one of the first real objective tools in diagnosing brain damage. >> telling how severe the damage is is part of the problem today. we don't have a good method of telling who is really at risk for long-term symptoms and who isn't at risk. >> reporter: wayne clark is now a grandfather. he says there will always be risk in football but hopes this research can help make safer the sport he loves so much. >> it will never be completely risk-free. but we can improve and that's my hope. >> reporter: this is the same protein that's found in alzheimer's patients and some patients with dementia. the hope is that the research at ucla won't just be focusing on
football players in the future but will have applications to the estimated 1.7 million people the cdc says have traumatic brain injuries every year. and in a note today from the nfl to nbc news, brian, the nfl says, this is promising work that we will evaluate. a step in the right direction. >> promising indeed. nancy, thank you, as always. when we come back, a battlefield interview with prince harry. he talks about military life and an episode from his civilian life he'd like to have back. there's this island -- and it's got super-cute kangaroos.
barrow island has got rare kangaroos. ♪ chevron has been developing energy here for decades. we need to protect their environment. we have a strict quarantine system to protect the integrity of the environment. forty years on, it's still a class-a nature reserve. it's our job to look after them. ...it's my job to look after it. ♪ prince harry of great britain is headed home tonight after a four-month tour of duty in afghanistan. his second tour. before he left, he granted a battlefield interview and access to his life in the field on the condition that it be held until he was headed to safety. it made headlines in great britain because of his comments about killing taliban fighters
in combat and because of what he said about his personal life and the glare of media attention. the story tonight from nbc's keir simmons in london. >> reporter: prince harry scrambles to get airborne. every second counts. it's his second tour of duty as a helicopter pilot and gunner in afghanistan. often supporting u.s. forces and targeting the taliban. >> take a life to save a life. if there's people trying to do bad stuff to our guys, we'll take them out of the game. >> reporter: back home, the media pounced. harry kills taliban, said the british press. harry in the headlines again. last august, there were those embarrassing pictures in las vegas. he admits now he let people down. >> i really let myself down, let my family down. >> reporter: but he says publishing the pictures was unacceptable. >> i was in a private area. there should be a certain amount of privacy. >> reporter: for this son of princess diana, anger at the media runs deep. >> i think it's fairly obvious how far back it goes.
to when i was very small. >> reporter: he is blunt with the television crew. >> i never wanted you guys to be out here. >> reporter: out here on duty in afghanistan, he can be one of the guys. >> yeah, it's quieter for me. it's easier, an easier way of life. >> reporter: the third in line to the british throne spent christmas on a cot. >> this is my bed. i don't really make it when i'm done here. which is a joy to have it made. >> reporter: just a phone call away from combat. >> one minute you're in bed asleep. 6 1/2 minutes later, you're speaking to somebody on the ground that's been shot up. >> reporter: the army is his escape from a world armed with a camera. >> every single mobile phone has a camera on it now. you can't move an inch without someone judging you. >> reporter: suddenly duty calls again. another rush, running toward danger and away from the camera. keir simmons, nbc news, london. when beyonce sang the national anthem after the president was sworn in, everyone thought she crushed it.
she sounded spectacular. though in fairness, a few savvy viewers watching the coverage at home thought they saw something unusual. then today came the crushing word from a spokeswoman for the u.s. marine corps band that she was singing to a prerecording in effect lip-syncing. it's the same thing yo-yo ma did four years ago. there's still some official confusion as to what we heard and what went on. and even though it was her voice either way, the story was tough for a lot of people to take today. when we come back tonight, what went on behind the scenes at yesterday's inauguration in washington, including what went on at the white house until the early morning hours. ♪ let me be the one
the big celebration may be over, the balloons swept up, party dresses put away. but tonight we wanted to take a last look at inauguration day, not necessarily the image we're all expecting to see, but the images we'll all remember and the ones that have since come to light. our report from nbc's chris jansing. >> ladies and gentlemen, my better half and my dance
partner, michelle obama. [ cheers and applause ] >> reporter: on a night to remember, the first dance raised the unexpected question -- how many pixels fit into a single room? the obamas tested the limits at the commander in chief's ball, arguably outshining even the flashing masses, a sea of inaugural visitors recording a story to tell their children and grandchildren illustrated. the story of a first lady, elegant and electric. >> people see a woman who's in charge. she's smart. she's accomplished. she's not going to take guff from anybody. >> reporter: at lunch, was she rolling her eyes at the speaker of the house or maybe her husband? the story of his presidency, bound to the narrative of a modern marriage and family. an 11- and 14-year-old acting so normal on a day that was anything but. sasha with her turtle phone case and that awesome yawn during her
dad's speech. sister malia sticking her face in the photo when sasha urged her parents to kiss. every picture telling its own story. of a democrat who apparently is a fan of kelly clarkson, of a republican who couldn't resist beyonce's star power, even while admitting he didn't know who that guy with her was. and of the ultimate insiders invitation to the after-party at the white house. a 3-month-old who wore his first tux to his first inauguration. girls with some moves they likely didn't inherit from dad. and a justice wearing a hat that one senator called really weird, but all-american weird and wonderful and chronicled by us all. chris jansing, nbc news, new york. and so back home from washington, that's our broadcast on a tuesday night. thank you for being here with us. i'm brian williams. we hope to see you right back here tomorrow evening.
good night. right now, an investigative unit exclusive allegations of theft, harassment and much more. a longtime east bay firefighter accused of some serious crimes. this sleepy little town will be way up past its bedtime for a proposed vote on affordable housing. plus, a gated community where one animal is not welcome. the plan to take action over deer in the south bay. >> announcer: nbc bay area news starts now. thanks for joining us. i'm janelle wang. >> i'm jessica geary. he's supposed to be one of the good guys, but an east bay firefighter is under fire himself tonight after police found illegal weapons and thousands of dollars worth of stolen fire equipment at his
home. vicky uncovered the details in an exclusive report you'll see only on nbc bay area news. vicky joins us live in the newsroom. >> jessica, these are court documents detailing a disturbing history of harassment, threats and alleged retaliation by fire captain john womont. the fire district has a workplace violence restraining against willmont just as a search of his home turned up 53 guns, including illegal assault rifles, many of them unregistered. that's not all that investigators found. court papers show they recovered more than 200 items, allegedly stolen from the district. this is public property ranging from firefightering equipment and uniforms to power tools worth thousands of dollars. in the petition for the restraining order, the battalion chief says willmont handed a bullet to a co-worker with that person's name on it. the chief also cites a