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tv   NBC Nightly News With Lester Holt  NBC  June 7, 2022 6:30pm-7:00pm PDT

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testifying his powerful message and at the white house, uvalde native, matthew mcconaughey joining the briefing, saying now is a window for real change. ahead, the emotional moment the actor's wife with a replica of the green sneakers used to identify one of the ten-year-old victims. also, gas prices surging past $5 a gallon in 13 states. the rest of the country likely not far behind will americans start cutting back on driving? primary election night in seven states. all eyes on california where progressive democrats are facing a major test on crime. the severe storm threat and potential tornado danger across 15 states tonight. we're tracking it. major trouble for the airlines will there be enough pilots when you fly this summer and beyond and the 94-year-old who still climbs 17 stories to brighten the lives of others >> announcer: this is "nbc nightly news"
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with lester holt good evening i'm savannah guthrie in for lester. tonight, the impassioned calls for change in this country, from the uvalde teacher, the lone survivor of his classroom among 11 dead students, to a grieving son of buffalo in a hearing room on capitol hill to the white house briefing room where this afternoon the actor and uvalde native matthew mcconaughey made a surprise appearance, eulogizing the dead in heart wrenching detail, down to the green high tops the only identifying marker left for one little girl, so ferocious the wounds from the gunman's ar-15. for a moment the nation was captivated. rare roadblock coverage on cable news we have been here many times. tonight, bipartisan momentum appears to be growing for some change to the nation's gun laws what's on the table and will it make a difference nbc's gabe gutierrez leads us off >> reporter: tonight as the u.s.
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grapples with the dramatic surge in gun violence, relatives of those killed in the buffalo massacre are taking their grief to capitol hill. >> gun access is certainly the driver of this violence >> reporter: garnell whitfield lost his 86-year-old mother, ruth >> what do you miss most about your mother >> i miss everything about my mother. >> reporter: pamela prichett will never again see her 77-year-old mother, pearl. >> i had to bring a hat to the funeral home because this vile monster, he wasn't just satisfied to shoot my mother one time he stood over her and shot her again. >> reporter: today the white house got a high profile boost its push for new gun legislation from actor and uvalde native matthew mcconaughey. >> we are in a window of opportunity right now that we have not been in before. >> reporter: an emotional mcconaughey, grimly highlighting a
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replica of green shoes worn by one of the uvalde massacre's young victims. ten-year-old maite rodriguez. >> these are the same green converse on her feet that turned out to be the only clear evidence that could identify her at the shooting how about that >> reporter: bipartisan negotiators now say a gun deal could be reached this week democrats don't have votes to raise the minimum age to buy ar-15 style rifles negotiators are instead focusing on stricter background checks, incentivizing states to pass red flag laws, more money for mental health, and school security. mcconaughey pleading for compromise >> we need to restore our american values, and we need responsible gun ownership. can both sides rise above? can both sides see beyond the political problem at hand and admit that we have a life preservation problem on our hands? >> reporter: also in washington, seemingly a world away from halls of congress. >> he was fun loving
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he did his best to stay out of trouble. >> reporter: alvancia jackson is mourning the loss of he grandson, maliki the 15-year-old shot and killed in april. near his home in northwest d.c. police arrested a 16-year-old for the killing. violent crime in washington is up 16% in the last year. >> these kids is getting guns like they get ice cream. >> reporter: with this week's focus on headline grabbing mass shootings, she wants those dealing with daily gun violence not to be forgotten. >> what would you tell members of congress right now as they debate gun reform this week >> harder laws we need harder gun laws >> gabe, more emotional testimony expected tomorrow. survivors of the uvalde shooting will appear in congress >> reporter: that's right, savannah. among the witnesses, that fourth grader who covered hersel in blood and played dead to survive. meanwhile, the gun violence memorial is back up here at the
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national mall. more than 45,000 flowers representing gun deaths each year savannah >> gabe in uvalde tonight. more frustration, new demands for information from key officials who are saying little two weeks after the massacre at robb elementary morgan chesky is there. >> we want facts and answers. >> reporter: today inside an emergency city council meeting >> it makes me feel real frustrated. >> reporter: uvalde's mayor still demanding answers. >> regarding transparency, mayor, it has been more than a week since a public statement on the investigation. >> i don't control that side of it. you have to take that up with the district attorney. >> reporter: the d.a. kristina busbee no overseeing the investigation has yet to speak publicly. noticeably absent today council member pete arradondo, the school chief of police angela gomez rushed in when she says police
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weren't acting quickly enough >> i just made my way in >> reporter: the mother captured on video, running from the school after rescuing her sons. >> i didn't see not one cop running with me or one cop run in there with me. they weren't doing nothing. >> reporter: after sharing what she witnessed, gomez said law enforcement called her, threatening obstruction of justice charges if she kept speaking out meanwhile, insid room 112, arnulfo reyes' class was watching a movie told everyone to get under a table and pretend to sleep he spoke with abc news about his anger how long it took officers to move in. >> you have bulletproof vest i had nothing. there is no excuse for their actions. >> reporter: reyes was shot three times he says he prayed under the table hiding with his 11 students >> the shooter killed every single student in your classroom. >> yes, ma'am. that's when i got to thinking, you know
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this family lost one. this family lost one. i lost 11 that day and i say to the parents, i'm sorry i tried my best. that's what i was told to do. please don't be angry with me. >> reporter: morgan chesky, nbc news, uvalde now to the staggering prices at the pump, just pennies away from a national average of $5 a gallon with no relief in sight. what's also unchanged at least for right now, demand heading into summer. here is miguel almaguer. >> reporter: tonight with the u.s. in overdrive and likely just days away from topping the national average of $5 a gallon, gas prices in several states are now spiking upwards of 10 cents a day. >> i think we're getting ripped off. >> reporter: with the
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west coast by far paying the most, the pinch at the pump is hitting families like hector alvarez's hard. >> it is starting to affect the budget. >> reporter: in los angeles, many are dishing out $7 a gallon, alvarez who supports a family of seven is juggling skyrocketing housing prices, staggering inflation, and now record fuel costs. >> we have to really think about how far we can travel or where we can go. >> reporter: with a recent poll showing americans cutting back on eating out, making impulse purchases, and driving, the u.s. is poised to officially hit $5 a gallon as early as thursday according to aaa, 75% of commuters say that's the benchmark where they'll put the brakes on driving. that's what happened in 2008 when the national average hit $4.11, or roughly $5.40 a gallon today with inflation. >> the consumer is in a different position than they were in 2008. as we get around
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$5.20, $5.30 national average, might see some change in consumer behavior. >> reporter: as pent-up pandemic demand pumps up prices for now, there's also a surge for electric vehicles take a 310-mile road trip from l.a. to the bay area a gas guzzling sedan will set you back nearly $250. the same trip in an ev, just 43 bucks after 3 super charges. >> feel bad for people that are not able to get an electric car right now and ar stuck paying those prices. >> reporter: for most americans, electric is still out of reach soon the price at the pump may also be miguel almaguer, nbc news, los angeles. tonight, we are watching primary elections in seven states in california, san francisco's progressive district attorney may not survive a recall election facing critics calling him soft on crime. jake ward is there >> reporter: this san francisco bike store
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has been under attack. >> they actually pulled the gates out with a truck completely into the street. >> reporter: jason gomez says something has to be done about all the break-ins. >> we need it to change now, sooner than later after having the car broken into eight times in the last few years, it gets ridiculous. >> reporter: stories like his are why the progressive district attorney chesa boudin is facing a recall tonight. boudin won office promising to fight inequality in the justice system with alternatives to prison pushing against what he calls mass incarceration. defending his record. >> we managed to deliver on a lot of core promises, ending cash bail, freeing an innocent man after 32 years in prison, significant expansion of police accountability. >> reporter: polls show boudin could easily lose his job in one of america's mos progressive cities as san francisco struggles with homelessness, hate crimes, and violence homicide and assault up 11% this year brooke jenkins a former prosecutor in boudin's offic supports the recall, calling boudin soft on crime.
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>> most voters didn't understand when he said he was going to work to end mass incarceration, that simply meant all consequence for crime went out the door. >> reporter: but boudin supporters argue san francisco is safer than many other cities its size and crime is nowhere near its 1990s peak. >> the police union are making every effort to undermine the ability of progressive reformers to actually get the job done. >> reporter: but jason gomez who voted for boudin two years ago told us he is desperate for someone new. >> we live moment to moment here with everything that's happening daily. can't wait months, years for things to happen. >> reporter: tonight the l.a. mayor's race also hinges on the issue of crime, and progressive district attorneys across the country will be closely watching results here in san francisco. savannah >> jake ward, thank you. we are tracking more severe weather tonight. 16 million under threat from south dakota to north texas and parts of the mississippi valley bracing for torrential rain and high winds, along with the possibility of large hail and isolated tornadoes. and tomorrow, the threat of severe
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weather grows potentially impacting up to 30 million people in 60 seconds, with so many of us returning to the skies, why your flight could be grounded this summer and johnny depp's new message to fans.
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if you are looking forward to that summer vacation, beware airlines have been cancelling flights left and right and often blaming it on the ongoing pilot shortage and it may last through the entire year. we get more on that now from tom costello. >> reporter: for a second straight summer, airlines are again struggling with staffing and schedules. american airlines says it has been forced to ground almost 100 smaller regional jets. >> we don't have the pilots that we need to fly a full regional schedule. >> reporter: american's announcement comes after united, delta, jetblue and alaska airlines all said they
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grounded some planes or trimmed schedules american's pilot union says many airlines encouraged pilots to retire early during the pandemic, not expecting the sudden surge of returning passengers and more covid sick cases >> management teams did not plan for this. they were caught on the backside of the pandemic demand was powerful, and they were not ready. >> reporter: part of the challenge, the faa and international regulators require pilots to retire when they're 65 regardless of their physical health after flying wide body planes to europe, captain patty marsh had to retire after 38 years in the cockpit. >> if it weren't for that, i would continue flying i would still be up in the sky. >> reporter: congress may consider raising the retirement age, while republic airlines wants to lower the flight hour and training requirements for new pilots big airlines are opposed. >> extending the age, the union is opposed to it. i don't think that's going to be the answer >> reporter: the pilot shortage expected to last through the summer, into
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thanksgiving and christmas. fewer seats on fewer planes with smaller cities most affected savannah >> tom, thank you. also tonight actor johnny depp thanking his fans for sticking by him during his trial against ex-wife amber heard. depp making his debut on tiktok with a video and message to his quote unwavering supporters the jury last week largely sided with depp, ordering heard to pay more than $10 million in damages over her domestic abuse claims heard called the verdict a setback for women. a programming note, johnny depp's attorneys will join me to discuss the verdict and the fallout live tomorrow morning on "today." and next, making the cost of hospital care public. it is now the law. but it is being widely ignored. what you should know next
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back now with "the y" for hospital care. a recent survey finding the vast majority of u.s. hospitals aren't complying with the federal law requiring them to post their prices publicly. catie beck on what's being done to hold them accountable >> reporter: life for the past year has been an uphill climb to clear medical debt for jason and deeanne dean >> the moral of this story is that you have to be prepared to walk into a hospital. >> reporter: jason injured his knee last may. he went to a local hospital where he was told he needs stitches the cost of his care should have been
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posted online. under the federal hospital price transparency rule. jason hadn't heard of it he says he was told his insurance would cover everything weeks later, a bill came for $6,500. >> what was your reaction >> i couldn't believe it i thought it was a joke. >> reporter: insurance covered some of it, but left jason owing more than $3,000 >> hospitals have been able to keep patients in the dark. >> reporter: cynthia fisher, founder of patient rights, is on a mission to stop scenarios like jason's. >> nowhere else in our economy do we not get prices in advance of purchase. >> reporter: the hospital price transparency rule, born as part of th affordable care act, took effect in january of 2021. presidents obama, trump, and biden hav all openly supported it it requires health systems to publicly post costs of items and services online, standard charges and also by health insurance plan, showing patients what to expect to pay,
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giving them power to shop and compare >> how dramatic could the result be? >> it is huge. it is absolutely huge. that unleashes competition. it unleashes a market. >> reporter: but a recent report from fisher's group based on a study of 1,000 hospitals found a year in only 14% of u.s. hospitals were complying with the rule >> roughly 85% of hospitals are noncompliant. >> that is correct. >> reporter: when asked to respond to fisher's report, the american hospital association said it supports price transparency and believes patients deserve the best possible information the federal department of health and human services enforces the rule, can fine hospitals up to $5,000 a day for being in violation. >> we will do robust enforcement. >> reporter: hhs secretary xavier becerra promised tha accountability for hospitals at his confirmation the buck stops with you. you're the secretary have you issued fines? >> we have issued several hundred warnings we have to go through the process. >> i think a lot of
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people's complaint is that this is a federal law but it has no teeth. >> remember, the teeth just grew out. >> reporter: no fines issued yesterday becerra said he need the public's help to get noncompliant hospitals to follow the rules, helping people like the deans make informed decisions. can you assure those people in the future there's going to be different way of doing things >> there already is a different way of doing things we have to accelerate it so everyone knows it there's got to be a new sheriff in town. >> you're telling them you're the new sheriff? >> if i can implement this the right way, i will walk into dodge and try to do something about it >> reporter: until then, americans' right to know the cost of their care before they receive it remains a law largely ignored. catie beck, nbc news, washington. coming up next, he is 94 and still on top of his game. the light keeper "inspiring america."
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and finally tonight, the man who has become a beacon of light, climbing new heights and "inspiring america. here is harry smith. >> reporter: lighthouses like this one in atlantic city were built to be a
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sailor's friend, a guide to safe harbor, and should you be a lighthouse, you couldn't ask for a better friend than buddy grover what drew you to the lighthouse what made you think i want to volunteer here >> i haven't decided what i want to be when i grow up yet. >> reporter: his bearing belies his age. buddy is 94. and for a dozen years, he's donned his light keeper's cap and coat to climb the stairs of the tallest lighthouse in the state. he says he counts in spanish to keep his mind sharp we dropped out when he started counting backwards. it is 228 steps, in case you were wondering. is it hard for you to climb those stairs >> absolutely not. >> reporter: here, buddy greets young visitors with tales of the tower's historic past. >> you have seen the light. >> reporter: as charming and affable as a docent can be >> we have been tourist attraction since the light went on in 1857.
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>> reporter: buddy says his time in the marine corps and then decades as a letter carrier prepared him for his most recent career turn. >> actually, i live like a king, even though i don't have much money life has been good to me, and i have good health. >> reporter: and a place where he is needed and much appreciated. how long do you think you're going to continue to do this? >> as long as i am able arbitrarily, i chose 105. >> reporter: for buddy, as the song says, is indeed young at heart harry smith, nbc news, atlantic city, new jersey >> the lights in his eyes that's "nightly news" for this tuesday. thank you for watching i am savannah guthrie. for all of us here at nbc news, thanks for joining us we'll see you bright and early tomorrow mornin on "today.
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next on nbc bay area news, have you voted? the polls close in two hours. a new covid-19 vaccine that could provide more protection against variance. and the warriors are on the road and so are we. we are live in boston we will show you what is happening tonight on the eve of game three. good evening. this is nbc bay area news. this is your chance to make a change if you are frustrated with political leaders. the polls close


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