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tv   NBC Nightly News With Lester Holt  NBC  December 29, 2019 3:30pm-4:01pm PST

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breaking news tonight. a shooting in a texas church. the gunman opening fire in the middle of services. a church goer firing back. two people are dead including the gunman. the frightening moments captured on the church's live screen. a violent attack at a hanukkah celebration. a man with a knife invading a rabbi's home, stabbing five people. the suspect now under arrest. officials calling the anti-semitic assault an act of terror. also breaking, striking back. the u.s. launches a drone strike against iranian back militia. blizzard warning. whiteout conditions shut down
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highways across parts of the midwest, and the massive snowmaker barrels east. more than 50 million now in its path. the search for answers after a small plane crash that killed five, including a beloved tv sports reporter. the sports world reacting tonight. price shock. why prescription drugs that combine two cheap existing medications are suddenly 100 times more expensive. >> they get away with it because they can. >> an nbc news investigation. and the stunning announcement from a civil rights icon. the new personal battle for congressman john lewis. >> announcer: this is "nbc nightly news" with kate snow. good evening. i'm peter alexander in for kate. tonight just days after christmas, a gunman walked into a texas church and opened fire, killing a parishioner and critically injuring another. that shooting shattering the peace at a sunday service near fort worth. the terrifying moments caught on camera as that service was being
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live-streamed. amid the chaos, some church goers quickly jumping into action, pulling out their own weapons. we get late details tonight from reporter jack highberger. a warning, this video is disturbing. >> reporter: it happened in the middle of church service. this livestream showing the gunman approach someone standing at the side. he then pulls out what appears to be a long gun and fires. [ sound of gunfire ] shooting two people. another church goer pulls out his own gun and fires back, taking down the gunman. terrified parishioners dive for cover. some fleeing the church. others moving toward the downed gunman, their own guns drawn. it happened at west freeway church of christ in the town of white settlement, texas, just outside of fort worth. 911 calls about gunshots started to come in just before 10:00 a.m. >> we're going to need help. >> the person shot by the suspect died at a local
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hospital. as we stated, the suspect is deceased. >> reporter: governor greg abbott today issued this statement in response. our hearts go out to the victims and families of those killed in the evil act of violence that occurred. i am grateful for the church members who acted quickly to take down the shooter and help prevent further loss of life. >> places of worship historically have always been under attack. they're easy targets. >> reporter: multiple law enforcement agencies are now assisting the investigation as police work to figure out a motive for the deadly attack. >> beginning of the year, end of the year, holiday, it's all very tragic. anytime that we suffer loss in our community, it not only affects the people here today, but it affects the first responders as well. >> reporter: peter, tonight as law enforcement works to figure out a motive, they say this could have been much worse had it not been for the heroic actions of that church security team. peter? >> jack,ty. now to our other breaking
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news this evening. tonight new york's governor is condemning a vicious attack on a hanukkah celebration as an act of domestic terrorism. the intruder armed with a large knife burst into the home of a hasidic rabbi in a new york city suburb saturday night, stabbing and wounding five members of that jewish community. nbc's kathy park with the latest for us this evening. >> do you feel any remorse? >> do you feel bad at all? >> do you care? >> reporter: tonight our first look at 37-year-old grafton thomas, the suspect in the brutal stabbing in muncy, new york, now facing five counts of attempted murder. he's pleaded not guilty to all counts. on saturday night, a hanukkah celebration turned into an evening of horror as the suspect stormed a rabbi's home packed with adults and children. >> go ahead and head in. they're reporting shooter injuries. >> reporter: witnesses say he began stabbing at random, injuring five before running next door to the synagogue. >> he came in with a big sword,
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knife, machete. i don't know what it was. he pulled it out of the holder. >> reporter: officials have not announced a motive but the brazen crime has shaken this large orthodox jewish community, on edge after a state of anti-semitic attacks in the new york/new jersey area, at least the tenth incident in just the last week. >> it seems like it's open season against jews here in new york city. >> reporter: new york's governor has directed police to increase patrols in orthodox jewish neighborhoods around the state. >> i consider this an act of domestic terrorism. let's call it what it is. these people are domestic terrorists. >> reporter: just hours ago, the president tweeting, we must all come together to fight, confront, and eradicate the evil scourge of anti-semitism. on this final night of hanukkah, a call for peace while a community moves forward with resilience in the wake of darkness. >> and, kathy, what more can you tell us about the victims
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tonight? >> reporter: well, peter, officials are saying all the victims were hasidic men, and they were rushed to the hospital with stab wounds. one person is still in critical condition with a skull fracture. peter? >> kathy park from that awful story outside new york city tonight. thank you. now to those u.s. air strikes on a handful of targets in iraq and syria that the pentagon says are tied to militias backed by iran. those retaliatory strikes escalating tensions in that region. national security correspondent kathy kube is here with the details. >> reporter: peter, uss-15 targeted an iranian backed militia today striking five locations in retaliation for a dead deadly barrage of rockets that killed an american last week. in a statement, the pentagon said the group had a strong linkalin linkage with iran's quds force. u.s. officials say the militia has conducted 11 rocket attacks against coalition bases in iraq in the last two months.
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the largest last friday when militants fired more than 30 rockets as a base near kir cake killing an american contractor. defense secretary mark esper briefed president trump on a u.s. military response which required presidential approval. the u.s. is still assessing whether there were any casualties on the ground. peter? >> courtney kube in washington for us. thank you. now to that personal announcement tonight from congressman john lewis. the civil rights leader and longtime democratic lawmaker releasing a statement saying that he will undergo treatment for stage four pancreatic cancer. the 79-year-old from georgia says he will fight the disease, and he adds that while he may miss a few votes during this period, he hopes to be back on the front lines soon. tonight just in time for the trip home from the holidays, a series of extremely dangerous winter storms are blasting more than 50 million people with snow and ice. high winds and rain producing a
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violent mix elsewhere. all of it creating major travel worries on the roads and at airports. morgan chesky has tonight's details. >> reporter: tonight as new year travel heats up, a winter mess keeping thousands stuck in 2019. parts of the midwest blasted by snow. in north dakota, blizzard-like conditions forced officials to shut down parts of i-94. these pictures taken less than ten minutes after plows tried to clear roads. to the south, drivers faced a different dilemma. dangerous winds blowing cars right off the roads in arkansas, all part of a massive winter storm churning across the country since christmas eve. the system starting in california and slowly heading east. tonight winter weather alerts stretch from the dakotas to main maine, impacting 24 million people. down south, others are bracing for severe weather that could bring damaging wind gusts and even tornadoes. at major travel hubs, delays are piling up caused by snow and ice
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at destinations in colorado and idaho. where temperatures didn't drop, some took advantage. the weather in columbus, ohio, so warm and rainy, dedicated kayakers ran indian run falls, cruising the swollen winter currents. despite having the heaviest days of holiday travel behind us, the road to 2020 is looking anything but smooth. and tonight here in miami, flights are on schedule, but across the country, airports are taking extra precautions to keep those runways clear. at the current rate, the way the snow and ice is falling, it can be even tougher to keep things on track. the problem not the fact that the planes can't fly in the snow, but keeping it off the ground. peter? >> morgan, thank you very much. tonight as you just heard, that rough weather is moving east with ice likely to be a major problem in large parts of the country. nbc meteorologist janessa webb is watching where it's headed tonight. janessa? >> peter, this is an intensifying storm system that has already dropped about a half a foot of snow across the upper
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midwest. right now the northeast dealing with that wintery mix along with widespread rain. it's the ice accumulation that's going to be pretty much widespread across boston to northern new england where we could see upwards of a quarter inch of ice. on top of that, 12 to 15 inches, but the back side across the midwest, things will start to look a lot better for your monday. now, ice will continue to be a problem along with gusty wind, but by tuesday, the storm system pushes offshore. cooler temperatures behind the front. >> janessa, thanks so much. overseas now to australia where tens of thousands are fleeing deadly wildfires that keep growing there. they have been burning for months, killing at least nine people, and officials now fear thousands of koalas too. in sydney tonight, new outrage that the famed new year's fireworks show will go on. matt bradley has the details. >> reporter: desperation down under as thousands of
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australians, human and animals, seek relief from fast-moving forest fires. australian authorities have told tens of thousands to leave their homes. >> it's just gotten out of control, so i'm going. >> reporter: evacuating the entire region of east gipsland and engulfing the country's heavily populated southeast, fanned by drought, high winds, soaring temperatures, and thunderstorms. as over 100 fires burn, scorching nearly 20,000 square miles and killing nine people. animals taking the brunt of the blaze. this koala seeking out water from a cyclist. thousands of koalas feared dead. authorities worry 30% of their population killed in new south wales alone. the latest flashpoint, sydney's famous fireworks. more than a quarter million people want them canceled. the money spent given instead to firefighters and farmers. australia's prime minister says the show must go on. >> i can think of no better time
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to express to the world just how optimistic and positive we are as a country. >> reporter: come new year's eve, experts expecting already scorching temperatures to hit a new peak. fireworks are not. matt bradley, nbc news. ahead here tonight, the small plane crash that killed a young tv reporter en route to the big game. the heisman trophy winner who found out about it on live tv. also, nbc new investigates the shockingly h [farmers bell] ♪ (burke) a "rock and wreck." seen it. covered it. at farmers insurance, we know a thing or two because we've seen a thing or two. ♪ we are farmers. bum-pa-dum, bum-bum-bum-bum ♪ thouwhich is breast cancer metastthat has spreadcer, to other parts of the body, are living in the moment and taking ibrance. ibrance with an aromatase inhibitor is for postmenopausal women
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we are back now with an update on that plane crash in louisiana that killed five people yesterday. with investigators on the scene, the community remains stunned as friends and family of the victims are mourning their loved ones, including a beloved young tv sports reporter. nbc's sam brock is in lafayette, louisiana. >> it was just a huge billow of black smoke way up in the sky. >> oh, my god! >> reporter: vivid memories of a fatal plane crash haunting this louisiana town. five people dead and two others still critically injured tonight. the ntsb investigation expected to last 12 to 18 months. >> the wreckage is massively fragmented and charred, melted and partially consumed by fire. >> reporter: ntsb investigators have been combing this entire morning starting at the post and going through this entire field. they're going to be deploying drones to try to get an aerial
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perspective from here all the way to the airport a mile away. as investigators search for clues, families and one news community are just trying to pick up the pieces. >> everyone loves a good family football story. >> reporter: carley mccord killed on that flight, reported for nbc affiliate wdsu in new orleans. last night, carley's father-in-law, the offensive coordinator for lsu, wiping away tears on the sides of the peach bowl. joe burrow only learned of carley's dealt after the game live on air. >> did you not know? >> i did not know that. >> reporter: her husband telling nbc news tonight, i can't come up with words. she was my everything. she loved so fiercely. suzette fowler knew the youngest victim, walker vincent. today would have been his 16th birthday. >> people in our community who were loved and cared for and somebody's family, just gone. it's hard. >> my god. >> reporter: neighbors believe the outcome could have been much
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worse if not for the pilot. >> do you believe the pilot in this case saved lives? >> i think he did. i think there's no doubt about that. >> sam joins us now. sam, you're learning more about why carley was on that plane this evening. what do we know? >> reporter: yeah, peter. carley knew gretchen, walker's mom, through their mutual love of lsu. she was planning to driving to atlanta but was offered a seat on that plane is accepted. >> awful tragedy there. sam, thank you. when we come back here, an nbc news investigation. how some common medications with ingredies that sell fornt (dad) aaaah!
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investigation. for millions of americans, the high cost of prescription drugs is a major concern. in particular, those so-called combination drugs that rely on ingredients that individually cost just cents but when combined, are sold at shockingly high prices. anne thompson has the story. >> perfect. love it. love the art. so let's focus on the art. >> reporter: suzanne luddig is a freelance photographer in omaha. >> nicely done. love it. whoo hoo. >> reporter: but she works a second job as a teller because it comes with insurance to afford her acid reflux medicine, a jen iric version of zegrid. it's saved her a whopping $14,000 for a 90-day supply. >> it was immediate relief. >> reporter: she's taking what's called a combination drug. zegrig is one pill that combines two over the counter medications, generic prilosec and sodium bicarbonate, also known as baking soda.
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>> i don't understand why when you have prilosec and baking soda and you put those two together, why does it all of a sudden become $14,000? i don't get it. >> they get away with it because they can. they can set drug prices based on what the market will bear. >> reporter: dr. hannah sax, an internest and medical researcher at mass general hospital says combining two medications into one should not be so expensive. she studied the price difference between brand name combination drugs and their generic components. sake zegrid, $86 per pill versus 47 cents for the two generic ingredients. vimovo, an arthritis pain reliever, $30 per pill versus 35 cents for the generics, duexis, another pain reliever, $20 per pill versus 28 cents. >> these are small tweaks on existing medications that have been around for decades in some cases and that doctors have
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known and been using for these purposes for years. >> reporter: her study found that brand name combination drugs cost medicare close to a billion dollars. >> is there any kind of magic to these new combination drugs? >> magic? no. no, there's no magic. what i think about is in a lot of ways, we're paying for the repackaging here. >> reporter: what's more, list prices for some of these combination drugs have skyrocketed. duexis, $139 for a month-supply eat years ago tops $2,400 today. most patients and even doctors have no idea. how do these costs remain hidden? >> the costs remain hidden because a physician when they're prescribing may not know how much of a drug costs the patient only knows what the co-pay is. >> reporter: suzanne's co-pay, for example, is just $24. >> so if the patient doesn't realize it and the doctor doesn't realize it, and behind the scenes all of these price
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hikes are happening. >> vimovo price list has gone up ten times over the years. >> tim walberg, ceo of horizon therapeutics declined our request for an interview. the company told us patients don't pay the full list price. out of pocket cost for 98% of insured patients is $10 or less, and that the company nets less than $300 for each prescription. but it adds up. the two drugs have brought in more than $1.3 billion in eight years. over that time, wahlberg's total combination by the company which makes several drugs, more than $50 million. horizon also says providing pain relief and a stomach protectant in a single pill is better for patients. >> i could see the convenience in taking one pill instead of two for some people. the question here is at what cost? >> if patients are paying so
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little out of pocket, why should they care? >> because this is the cost that we all have to pay. this is part of the reason for the rising cost of prescription drugs and the rising cost of health care in this country that we all have to care about. >> reporter: the maker ever brand name zegrid declined to comment. the maker of the generic version said many factors go into the cost of a patient's medication. and if you're wondering whether you should take two cheaper generic drugs instead of one expensive combination drug, that's something you should discuss with your doctor. >> that was anne thompson reporting there. up next right here, special delivery. we will meet an inspiring child bringing love and laughtero ot t he in a world where everything gets a sequel. it's finally time for... geico sequels! classic geico heroes, starring in six new commercials, with jaw-dropping savings. vote for your favorites at: geico.com/sequels ahhh, which way do i go?! i don't know, i'm voting for our sequels. with geico, the savings keep on going
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there is good news tonight about a little girl with a very big heart. just 6 years old, she's a cancer survivor who is now bringing love, compassion, and plenty of smiles to other kids spending the holidays in the hospital. rehema ellis has her story. >> reporter: 6-year-old poppy is on a mission to deliver joy this holiday season. gathering up legos for the patients on the oncology unit at virginia's inova children's. she knows how it feels to spend holidays and even her birthday in the hospital. just a year ago, poppy was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia. >> it literally was the worst thing you can have happen to you and hear about your child. >> reporter: legos were the best medicine after chemo treatments. >> it just was like a very wholesome, feel-good thing for her when she just wasn't feeling good. >> reporter: but poppy never lost her spark. even when she was sick, she thought of others, loading a red
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wagon with donated toys and delivering them to other children. >> they would be like, oh, another round of the red wagon, yay. >> reporter: after 168 days in the hospital, poppy was released. how do you feel now? >> good, and my hair is already growing back, and it's very fluffy. >> reporter: now the so-called former mayor of the tenth floor is back spreading holiday cheer. >> i just want to put smiles on kids' faces. >> reporter: a simple facebook request for donated legos brought nearly 400 sets. >> want to pick a lego? >> reporter: poppy's lego express, delivering joy with a big wagon, a big bow, and an even bigger smile. rehema ellis, nbc new, herndon, virginia. >> that was one sweet little girl. that is "nbc nightly news" for this sunday. i'm peter alexander. for all ofs here a ut
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olympic games, the nhl, the indianapolis 500, the premier league, and prime time's number one show, "sunday night football." only on nbc. "sunday night football," it's in the 40s in beautiful seattle. the nfc west title and much more is on the line tonight. jimmy garoppolo and the 49ers, though, with a win, they game home field advantage for the first time since 1997. meanwhile, russell wilson and the seahawks know that if they win they'll get a home playoff game. and who's back to help?

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