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tv   NBC Nightly News With Lester Holt  NBC  December 8, 2019 3:30pm-4:01pm PST

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breaking news tonight. the terrorism investigation into the pensacola navy shooter. did he act alone? his colleagues question their movements restricted as the man who lost their lives are honored. >> our hearts are so broken. >> all three hailed as her heros. police arrest a man who posted this disturbing video where he mimics shooting pedestrians from a california hotel room. and making their case, democrats working around the clock prepping their arguments for
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impeachment to the house and public tomorrow. and how did the 4-year-old twins escape a crashed car and climb 20 feet up a ravine to safety alone? we remember a giant in children's television. >> oh, hi there. i'm big bird. >> the puppeteer who gave life to big bird and to oscar the grouch. >> in is "nbc nightly news" with kate snow. >> good evening, the fbi said they're presuming the shooting at a naval air station friday was an act of terrorism. and they're working hard to uncover the motive of the saudi man who opened fire. saudi classmates who were also training with the u.s. navy in pensacola are being told to stay on base. we have learned the gunman recently traveled to new york with some fellow students. tonight, the three victims of the shooting are all being praised for what they did to save other lives. we begin with blayne
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alexander in pensacola. >> reporter: as pensacola giving a final salute, more questions are swirling about the shooter. mohammed alshamrani. >> our main goal is to confirm if he acted alone or was he a part of a larger network? >> reporter: while officials have yet to determine a motive they are investigating it as an act of terrorism. alshamrani walked into this building with a glock .9 millimeter hand gun and head the only gunman, investigators say. there have been no arrests in the case. but law enforcement sources tell nbc in the week leading up to the shooting, alshamrani showed three fellow saudi classmates videos of previous mass shootings over dinner. >> do you believe that those students or anybody knew about this attack before hand? >> i'm not prepared to answer that as we continue to investigate. there are several students that are cooperating and
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providing information. >> reporter: several known associates of his have been restricted on base by their saudi commander. as officials investigate why alshamrani opened fire, we are learning more about those in his path. 19-year-old mohammed haitham, a track star, who just graduated boot camp. >> beautiful smile and always just cared about other people. >> reporter: cameron walters. at 21 he dreamed of being a navy pilot and joshua kaleb watson who pointed the first responders to the shooter. >> he was a hero. >> reporter: all three receiving a hero's farewell. struck down on the battlefield in their open back yard. >> they're all big military families and this is horrendous. >> just heart breaking. moving tributes so that's next tonight? another ceremony, right? >> reporter: well, kate, within the hour the remains will arrive at dover air force base and it's
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typically what we bee for those killed in war. a big focus of the investigation is on the shooter's recent travel and pete williams is joining us tonight. what are your investigators telling you? >> well, at this point the fbi and justice department are calling this an act of terrorism and that's the way they're leaning. the u.s. attorney from florida is confident that's no threat from additional terrorist acts. law enforcement officials say after alshamrani arrived in the u.s. for training he returned to saudi arabia, then he came back to florida in february. his friends have told investigators that when he came back he was much stricter about his religious faith and he stopped going to nightclubs and socializing with other students. so that's now a big question. was he radicalized when when went back home? it is true that a few of the fellow students took out phones and recorded video of the attack on friday, but they say many others did the same thing.
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they also say alshamrani did visit new york recently with some of his fellow students but they believe that that was just a tourist trip. and law enforcement officials have repeatedly told us that his fellow saudi students are cooperating completely with the fbi. at this point officials don't believe that anybody else was involved in the shooting. >> how cooperative, pete, is saudi arabia being in this investigation? >> well, so far the officials say the saudis are cooperating and a key issue is going to be will they allow agents to work in saudi arabia to build a time line of what alshamrani was doing there? that approach seems very different than after the 9/11 attacks. this time, the king of saudi arabia immediately called the president to offer his condolences and pledged support and the saudi ambassador to the u.s. has been reaching out too, kate. >> all right, pete williams, thank you. now to a chilling video from california, that appears to show a gunman practicing for a mass shooting in downtown san diego. a 30-year-old man is now behind bars.
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kathy park has how investigators found him and a warning, the slow you're about to see is disturbing. >> look at that. jams, boom. >> reporter: this haunting video inside a san diego hotel room appears to show a man simulating a mass shooting targeting pedestrians below. >> yes. >> reporter: in the graphic role play posted online you can hear the southern california man talking to himself in a troubling sequence. >> what do you do with wit? >> reporter: he grabbed ammunition from the floor and he takes aim using a cache of weapons including an assault style weapons. police arrested steve homoki after receiving an anonymous tip. it stated in part he's gone off the deep end and that he is planning something or already has a plan. >> by the very nature
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of the tip, and what it was about we knew we had to move quickly and we did. >> reporter: in the search warrant obtained by our nbc station in san diego, homoki booked a room at the hotel for one night in march and he had purchased 14 firearms between last february and may of this year. >> drop the gun. mick up another gun. >> reporter: a potential rehearsal for an attack landed a man in jail. he'll face a judge on monday. kathy park, nbc news. to politics now and what will be an historic week in washington. the house judiciary committee presents the findings tomorrow, the next step that will likely lead to the impeachment vote before christmas. >> reporter: a working sunday, impeachment headquarters. >> well, we're continuing to prep for the hearing. >> reporter: media staked out and behind closed doors a dress rehearsal of sorts before tomorrow's
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hearing to lay out the evidence. >> i expect us to get all of our ducks in a row. >> reporter: the house judiciary committee is expected to take several hours monday as evidence against the president and testimony from past witnesses is presented to the country and the committee. chairman jerrold nadler would not commit to time line but expects articles of impeachment this week. >> my goal is to do it expeditiously. >> reporter: perhaps the biggest unknown the scope of the allegations democrats will pursue. limited to the ukraine saga or including aspects of the mueller investigation. >> it will be an abuse of power, might be obstruction of congress. it is not cooperating. >> reporter: in florida saturday night -- >> four more years! >> reporter: president trump made his peril a punch line. >> i need some good news. >> reporter: today his gop defenders argued
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that house democrats have only convinced themselves. >> it's not that they can't persuade me, but they can't persuade will hurd who are critics of the president. >> i don't see a single republican defecting. they know where we are on this. >> and kelly is with us. we expect heard from the justice department on how the russian investigation first started, right? >> a lot offer anticipation about this and those who have seen early drafts of the inspector's general report will say that there were several mistakes were made, but it was lawful. and president trump is saying that it will be tomorrow's big story. >> kelly o'donnell, thanks. diplomatic relations between the united states and cuba are in decline but one surprising area that cuba is helping the
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area. hunting down fugitives. >> reporter: these are james rays' final moments, the new jersey man accused of murdering the mother of his daughter. captured in havana after the fbi issued an alert. cuban authorities found pictures of him on airport surveillance cameras and tracked him to the hotel and turned him over to the fbi. this was the moment that u.s. officials came to bring him back. >> on behalf of the united states government we are incredibly grateful for your assistance and your support in detaining him and getting him back to the united states. >> reporter: an example of a surprising working relationship between two hostile governments. despite all the tensions over president trump's economic crackdown on cuba. how would you describe u.s. relations with cuba right now? >> they're in bad shape. >> reporter: carlos fernandez decos owe is a top diplomat for u.s. relationships. >> we share the
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maritime order and we share the issues that are problematic in the region. organized crime, terrorism, alien smuggling. money laundering. >> reporter: it's an agreement that benefits both countries. for example, take joseph dib by, captured in august of 2018, 12 years after he fled the u.s. with cuban help the fbi grabbed him at the havana airport before he could escape to russia. hernandez says regardless of the relations between the u.s. and cuba, cuba will not allow our country to be a refuge or the these criminals. one notorious exception joanne chesimard wanted for murdering a state trooper in 1973. the former black liberation army member was convicted and serving a life sentence. she escaped and was given political asylum in cuba. james ray who pleaded
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not guilty on the grounds of self-defense in the new jersey courtroom would not be facing trial without cuba's help. >> this was extraordinary and certainly their level of cooperation was essential. >> reporter: a hunt for justice a long way from cuba. andrea mitchell, nbc news, havana. a lot of hearts are breaking tonight, remembering caroll spinney who made big bird and oscar the grouch come alive. it was spinny who made kids feel like they had a friend. >> reporter: jim hanson asked him to join the team. >> he said i'm involved with a new show. and would you be interested in working with the muppets? >> reporter: on "sesame street" there needed to be an innocent.
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>> look at that. these have got letters on it. >> reporter: a character without guile. his was a child's voice that came from the two inch beak of a bird. >> i wanted to do the right thing, so that's why big bird is a good kid. >> reporter: awkward, sweet, big bird was the perfect counterpart to oscar the grouch who was also played by spinny. >> oscar is kind of cool. it's funny to play someone different from oneself. in some ways i love big bird. >> reporter: he opened he mind and he nurtured his soul. thank you, caroll spinney. for 50 years you have been our fine feathered friend. harry smith, nbc news, new york. and it just so happened that tonight for first time ever the prestigious kennedy center will honor "sesame street." you can see one
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>> there's two little girls they can't find their vehicle but they're -- or the other adults. their dad was bleeding. >> reporter: the 4-year-old girls twin sisters on a trip are their father cory simpson who lost control of the car. >> down a ditch, it's kind of hard to see. >> reporter: the family's car down a steep ravine. it killed simmons, but the girls survived. crawling through a broken window before climbing the steep embankment to the road. >> to realize that they -- they needed to get help at that moment and for their situational awareness to get them to the road is extremely brave and those are the two heroes of the day. >> reporter: a woman spotted the girls as she drove by and pulled over. >> the passer by had the children in her vehicle, scared, cold. she's in a white mustang with her flashers on. >> she put them in the car and got them to stay warm and they kept saying my daddy,
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and she knew something tragic had happened. >> reporter: for the woman who spotted the girls -- >> we are so incredibly thankful and desperately looking for she is. >> reporter: saved by a stranger. morgan chesky, nbc news. morgan chesky, nbc news. florida citrus will it feel like the wheend of a journey?p working, or the beginning of something even better? when you prepare for retirement with pacific life, you can create a lifelong income... so you have the freedom to keep doing whatever is most meaningful to you. a reliable income that lets you retire, without retiring from life. that's the power of pacific. ask your financial professional about pacific life today.
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price squeeze to tell you about. florida citrus industry is in trouble. the state is the leading orange producer in american and the crop crisis can mean you're paying more for your juice. >> reporter: orange juice from florida. >> a day without orange juice is like a day without sunshine. >> reporter: still a popular morning routine. by the $9 billion industry synonymous with the sunshine state is in serious jeopardy. a disease called citrus greening is ruining the fruit. and killing the trees. growers is discovering this -- >> this grove is dead. >> pretty much. sick and dying. >> reporter: the grove his grandfather planted 319 acres near tampa is mostly a ghost grove. >> you know, we put so much effort, so much love and money into something and it's still just dies and where there's -- it's hard not to be
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pessimistic. >> reporter: scientists are trying to stop a disease that is the leading reason florida's citrus industry saw a 70% drop in orange production over the last 15 years. the problem begins with the tiny bug called an asian citrus sillit. >> the bacteria moves through the vascular system of the tree. >> reporter: one it reaches the roots it's game over. and growers say replanting their groves with newly developed disease resistant trees is too costly. it's harvest season in florida and when you shake a tree some of the fruit naturally just drops off. but growers say because of the disease the fruit that drops is as soft as fresh baked bread. the infected trees bare fruit that in some cases has 50% less juice. causing the orange juice prices to jump almost 19% in just the last year.
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and why more and more packing houses now sit idle. citrus greening claiming another victim as adam gives up on his grandfather's dream. in florida where citrus is king, for some green is now the new orange. kerry sanders, nbc news, odessa, florida. and from oranges to bananas, an update we -- on a story we brought you last week about some pricey edible art. yes, this masterpiece is a real banana. duct taped to the wall. it sold for $120,000 at miami's art basel show and yesterday another artist ate it. calling his performance hungry artist. someone gave the gallery owner a new banana to replace it. crisis averted. we guess. when we come back, we used to love going out with julia and mike, but since they bought their new house... which menu am i looking at here?
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there's good news tonight about a dazzling display of love and one man's over the top holiday tribute to the light of his life. every night on new york staten island, a winter wonderland sparkles to life. straight from the imagination of joe dimartino. >> i'm going to put rudolph on. ♪ >> i think of christmas 365 days a year. >> he's a retired
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pepsi factory foreman who transforms his house that draws young and old. dubbed lights for life, he started this christmas tradition in 2002 in honor of his wife, deborah ann, after she died in the 9/11 attacks. >> that horrific date it stays with you. that first year i tried to run away from it and i couldn't run away in it. i made a vow to myself that i'm going to beat this and i'm going to fight it. and i'm going to light this house up, bigger and brighter each and every year. in her memory. >> reporter: he started modesty with this nativity scene adding new animatronics, lights and characters. after all, santa needs a full workshop of elves. and it wasn't just about christmas cheer for did martino. he wanted to continue what his late wife loved to do. give back. he's raised more than
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$300,000 for the children's cancer center at staten island university hospital. >> it's a win-win situation. i'm helping sick children and keeping my late wife alive. over the years when i see the kids come, their eyes light up. you see the glisten in their eyes. >> hey, thomas. how are you you? nice to meet you. thank you for coming. >> reporter: this is thomas first time here. he underwent treatment in the cancer unit that he supports. >> when i see i'm touching so many people, it gives me more strength and thinks what i can do for next year. >> joe is hoping to raise a record $40,000 this year. that is "nbc nightly news" for this
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nbc sports, home of the olympic games, the nhl, the indianapolis 500, premier league and prime time's number one show, "sunday night football" only on nbc. >> tonight, "sunday nigh football"! that's what it's all about ♪ i'm on the big stage i got my crew ♪ ♪ i'll get you moving ♪ it's what i do ♪ the party's starting ♪ it's going down let me show you what it's all about ♪ ♪ check it out to dominate.


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