tv ABC World News Tonight With David Muir ABC December 30, 2021 3:30pm-4:00pm PST
next and stay with us for abc 7 news at 4:00. we will see then. tonight, breaking news as we come on the air. life-threatening wildfires sweeping through parts of colorado. late today, the governor declaring a state of emergency. reports of multiple injuries, burn victims rushed to the hospitals. high winds fueling the flames. tens of thousands of people in the denver suburbs told to get out right now. evacuations under way throughout boulder county. powerful gusts downing power lines. transformers exploding. store customers rushing for the exits. the area expecting snow tomorrow, but it may not come soon enough. rob marciano standing by with the fire conditions and severe weather threats ahead of the new year. also tonight, the highly contagious omicron variant surging across america. the national case average climbing to an all-time high. 316,000 cases per day.
and with the record number of hospitalizations among children, reports tonight that booster shots for 12 to 15-year-olds could be authorized within days. the covid surge adding to the worsening travel nightmare. more than 1,000 flights grounded again today. the high stakes call between president biden and russian president vladimir putin. speaking for the second time this month. the call coming at putin's request, with nearly 100,000 russian troops at the ukraine border and fears of a full-scale invasion. gruesome new body camera images tonight. a tiger mauling a cleaning service worker at a florida zoo. a deputy forced to take drastic action. tonight, could that worker face criminal charges? survivors speaking out after the guilty verdict of ghislaine maxwell. now global scrutiny turning to her longtime friend prince andrew. news tonight on the urgent search for a 14-year-old boy. the prime suspect in a triple murder in texas.
the teenager considered armed and dangerous. and america strong tonight. a graduation story to remember. good evening. thanks for joining us on a busy thursday night. i'm whit johnson, in for david. and we begin tonight with that breaking news. life-threatening fires breaking out in boulder county, colorado, at this hour. the governor declaring a state of emergency just a short time ago. residents forced to evacuate with almost no notice. the images just coming in. drivers blinded by thick smoke blowing across the roads. powerful winds downing power lines, igniting fast-moving grass fires. homes and structures going up in flames. the fire spreading in just a matter of hours. reports of burn victims rushed to the hospital. customers in stores suddenly told to held for the exits. you see there. smoke fillinging the air outside. it's all part of a series of
severe weather threats from the west to the south and midwest. we're also tracking a new round of torrential rain, snow and ice across california. about 50 people rescued from the flash flooding in malibu campground today. we'll get to rob marcian in a moment on the dangerous conditions heading into the new year. but first, abc's will carr leads us off. >> reporter: tonight, powerful winds gusting over 100 miles per hour, fueling multiple fast-moving grass fires in boulder county, colorado. >> this is in the worst possible spot during the worst possible wintertime drought. >> reporter: the entire town of superior, 13,000 people, told to leave now. families evacuating this chuck e. cheese restaurant. shoppers evacuating this costco into the smoke and wind. >> this is an imminent threat to everyone who lives in this city, this town. and so, at this point, you need to heed the warning and get out. >> i have a party near the element hotel that's going to be trying to evacuate on foot
towards you. they are actively running from fire behind them. >> reporter: across the area, at least six people taken to the hospital. the flames and smoke knocking out power and forcing several major highways to shut down. millions across the country facing dangerous weather conditions. in california, a slow moving storm dumping torrential rain. floodwaters inundating this compground in malibu before dawn. >> everyone okay? >> reporter: first respond earns racing to rescue families and their pets. some 50 people in all brought to safety. in the south, a tree crashing down onto the pacific coast highway, bringing utility lines with it, shutting down the roadway. while it's raining here in california, it's been a record-setting dry season in colorado. add in those winds, up to 100 miles per hour, and you're looking at perfect wildfire conditions. it is supposed to start snowing in the morning in colorado, but at that point, the damage will have been done. whit? >> until then, still so much concern. will, thank you. let's get right to abc's
senior meteorologist rob marciano, and rob, you're tracking those dangerous fire conditions in colorado. when are the winds expected to finally let up? > reporter: we expect the strongest winds, whit, to retreat into the foothills over the next couple of hours, but this has turned out to be a historic what we call a mountain wave event and it's going to flip the switch to snow as will mentioned. we have advisories that are up in the colorado area and now winter storm watches that are posted for kansas city and chicago, as this low that was in california emerges into the plains. it will bring a severe weather threat again to the mid south tomorrow. but icing conditions in kansas city by saturday morning. lincoln will see some zmsnow. that presses into chicago and detroit by saturday. they had the tornadoes two weeks ago. and the expanded severe weather threat where tornadoes will be possible in big cities like shreveport, birmingham, atlanta and nashville. this is a historic holiday high impact event. whit? >> something to watch in the coming days. rob, thank you. we turn to tonight's other
major story. the explosion of covid cases across america. the u.s., for the third day in a row, reporting record numbers. the country now averaging more than 316,000 new cases per day. "the new york times" reporting the fda is expected to authorize the pfizer booster for children ages 12 to 15 as early as monday, as record number of children are now hospitalized with the virus. still, new york city pushing ahead with its new year's eve celebration in times square. dr. anthony fauci urging people, if you're going to celebrate tomorrow night, do it in smaller vaccinated groups. here's abc's trevor ault. >> reporter: tonight, a record number of children are going into the hospital with covid. 380 a day. now more boosters likely on the way. "the new york times" reporting the fda is expected to expand pfizer booster shots to 12 to 15 years as early as monday. and this news comes as a trio of new studies further show the vaccines are both safe and effective for children. but so far, 30 million eligible
teens have yet to get the shot. >> what you have now is you have an undervaccinated or relatively unvaccinated population of children with a highly contagious virus, and this virus is seeking out the susceptible. and that is children. >> reporter: massachusetts 12-year-old mikayla decelle has asthma. she was infected alongside her father mike. both of them are unvaccinated, and both were taken to intensive care. >> you got to really protect yourself, you know what i mean? even if you don't have any underlying health problems, you gotta protect yourself. get vaccinated. i should have did it. >> reporter: today in yonkers, new york, parents lining up with their kids, waiting for covid tests to return to school monday. but 1 in 4 of the district's tests are coming back positive. >> we want our kids in a classroom setting. we want them learning. but at the same time, we have to do so in a safe manner. >> reporter: today, the national case average climbing past its already record-breaking heights to a staggering 316,000 a day.
health officials say all indicators point to omicron likely being a more mild variant than delta, but with so many infections, some hospitals are still being pushed to the edge. >> we're hearing omicron is milder, but is it really? this omicron surge is causing a swift escalation in admissions. we've tripled our admissions in the last week and these are very sick people. >> reporter: the cdc now telling americans to avoid cruise travel even if you're vaccinated. now tracking more than 90 ships after a string of outbreaks. and dr. fauci urging people to avoid larger new year's gatherings, where you don't know people's vaccination status. >> that would be a risky situation that i would recommend against. >> reporter: new york city is steadfast, still hosting the iconic times square ball drop. 15,000 will be allowed on-hand. all masks and vaccinated. the celebration happening despite nyc cases skyrocketing to 74,000 a day, with 30% of ems
and 21% of nypd now out sick. >> the city hit hard once again. trevor ault joins us once again right here in new york. and trevor, you're learning more from a new study showing the effectiveness of the johnson & johnson booster shot against omicron? >> reporter: that's right, whit. the study found that second j&j dose provides strong protection even against omicron and it cuts the risk of hospitalization by 85%. whit? >> encouraging news there. trevor, thank you. the covid surge combined with extreme weather in parts of the country are crippling the final days of the holiday travel season. more than 1,000 flights canceled again today, with luggage piling up. you see here, seattle's sea-tac airport reporting the most cancellations in the world for the third day in a row. jetblue today announcing they're preemptively canceling more than 1,200 flights over the next few weeks because of an increase of covid sickouts. we move on now to the high stakes call between president biden and russian president
vladimir putin. the call coming at putin's request and lasting almost an hour. late today, the white house saying president biden urging russia to de-escalate tensions with ukraine. biden warning putin that the u.s. and its allies will respond decisively if russia pushing across the ukrainian border. here's white house correspondent mary alice parks. >> reporter: tonight, president joe biden and russian president vladmir putin speaking for the second time in a month. the conversation lasting 50 minutes, well past midnight in moscow. a senior administration official saying the call was serious and substantive, but suggesting they still do not know if putin will ultimately still decide to invade ukraine. it was putin who requested the two leaders talk again this week. tensions high in europe after the russian president's aggressive military buildup on ukraine's border. these recent satellite images showing just that. russian military equipment and as many as 100,000 russian troops on the border. according to internal emails
obtained by abc news, u.s. embassy staff in ukraine's capital city of kyiv is planning for "emergency preparations" to evacuate american personnel if necessary. putin denies he intends to invaid. in a new holiday message to biden, he says he's convinced the pair could work together. but his demands so far, nonstarters for the u.s. putin says he wants a guarantee ukraine will not be allowed into nato. today, president biden working towards a diplomatic path to d-escalate the situation. but standing firm in his decision to back ukraine should there be further incursions, saying the u.s. will respond with economic sanctions and nato reinforcements to the region if needed. the white house suggested the call tonight was largely to set the tone for more meetings that are scheduled in the new year, but that biden said tonight that those meetings would only be productive if the situation in ukraine de-escalates. whit? >> bharry alice, thank you. turning now to the disturbing tiger mauling at a zoo in naples, florida.
graphic body camera video shows deputies arriving on the scene, finding a maintenance worker with his arm locked in the tiger's jaws. a deputy heard saying he was forced to shoot the tiger. the worker now facing possible charges. a warning, the images are difficult to watch. here's abc's victor oquendo. >> where are the tigers at? >> reporter: new tonight, body camera video of florida deputies rushing into the naples zoo, where a tiger latched onto a man's arm after he stuck it inside the enclosure. it's tough to watch. >> you got a tranquilizer? no? >> reporter: the man's arm bloodied, severely injured. he's begging deputies for help. telling them to shoot the tiger. the deputy tries kicking and shaking the enclosure, trying to get the tiger to release the man before firing a single bullet, hitting the animal, who then retreats. >> i know i had to shoot it. i don't know where i hit it. >> reporter: the collier county sheriff's office identifying the
man as 26-year-old river rosenqvist, who called 911 himself. >> i'm being attacked by a tiger. please. please. please. >> reporter: rosenquist was transported to the hospital with serious injuries. authorities say he was a member of a cleaning service and was either petting or feeding the animal, both of which are unauthorized. >> it's a male tiger defending his territory. it was a tight defense. not a tiger attack. >> reporter: a veterinarian examined the 8-year-old endangered malayan tiger, seen here on the zoo's website, once it was safe to do so, and determined it died from the gunshot. is there anything that the deputies may have been able to do in that spot? >> that deputy did the absolute right thing at the right time. the bottom line is, there's no single animal life more important than a human life. >> reporter: authorities say that the cleaning service is responsible for the restrooms and the gift shop, not the animal enclosures. tonight, there is no update on that man's condition. an investigation is under way to determine if criminal charges
will be filed. whit? >> upsetting story all around. victor, thank you. next tonight, fallout on both sides of the atlantic, 24 hours after gihislaine maxwell was found guilty of sex trafficking miles. maxwell convicted. the verdict increasing pressure of her longtime friend, prince andrew. and we're now hearing from one of her victims, along with maxwell's brother, coming to his sister's defense. here's abc's erielle reshef. >> reporter: tonight, global scrutiny now shifting to ghislaine maxwell's longtime friend, prince andrew, after her sweeping sex trafficking conviction. the queen's son facing a civil lawsuit in new york filed by virgnia roberts giuffre, pictured here with him and maxwell decades ago. giuffre accusing the prince of having sex with her on multiple occasions when she was 17, allegations he has repeatedly denied. maxwell, the only close associate of disgraced multi-millionaire and convicted sex offender jeffrey epstein to face charges, found guilty on
five of six counts. the british socialite now facing up to 65 years in prison. four of her accusers taking the stand in her trial, annie farmer the only one to publicly identify herself, telling abc news the verdict shows no one is above the law. >> i wasn't sure that this day would ever come, and i just feel so grateful that the jury believed us. and sent a strong message that pep traitors of sexual abuse and exploitation will be held accountable. >> reporter: but maxwell's family standing by her, saying the government turned its sights on her only after epstein took his own life in 2019. >> ghislaine has been denied justice, has been denied a fair trial, and the presumption of innocence never existed. >> reporter: and as for giuffre's civil sugt, the next hearing is scheduled for next week. prince andrew's attorneys arguing that case should be thrown out. whit? >> okay, erielle, thanks.
there's also news tonight about a major verdict in a landmark opioid trial right here in new york. teva pharmaceuticals today found liable for creating a public new sans through its manufacturing, sale, and distributional of opioids, killing thousands of people. the six-month trial brought by the state was the firstover its kind to target the opioid supply chain. other defendants either agreed to multimillion dollar settlements or filed for bankruptcy. >> you n . now to the father and son accused of a triple murder in texas, allegedly killing three teenagers and wounding a fourth. the son still on the run, considered armed and dangerous. here's abc's mireya villarreal. >> reporter: tonight, the urgent manhunt for this 14-year-old murder suspect. captured on newly released surveillance video opening fire inside a convenience store in suburban dallas. police say he shot at least 20 rounds, killing three teenagers,
including 14-year-old javier gonzalez, an innocent bystander, who played football in high school. >> we sit there and wait for him to come home and we know he's not coming home. >> reporter: police say the suspect's father is behind the wheel of this white pickup truck, the alleged get if away vehicle. and he turned himself in. did he give you any insight as to why he would have allowed his son to do this? >> reporte . >> everything in our investigation shows that he had knowledge of everything going on. >> reporter: investigators say they believe the two other teens killed were the shooter's intended targets. >> we just want justice to be done. we want him to get caught. >> reporter: the suspect faces capital murder charges and so does his dad. right now, we understand police are telling us that he allegedly knew about the crime beforehand and he was also the getaway driver, which is why he is being charged with capital murder. whit? >> mireya, thank you. when we come back here,
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authorities identifying that officer as ashley ferris, and saying that the alleged gunman shot her in the about doe member, but while she was on the ground wounded, she returned fire, killing him. she is still in the hospital tonight. when we come back, a late update tonight on that truck driver's 110-year prison sentence, which sparked national outrage. we're carvana, the company who invented car vending machines and buying a car 100% online. now we've created a brand-new way for you to sell your car. whether it's a year old or a few years old. we wanna buy your car. so go to carvana and enter your license plate answer a few questions. and our techno wizardry calculates your car's value and gives you a real offer in seconds. when you're ready, we'll come to you, pay you on the spot and pick up your car, that's it. so ditch the old way of selling your car, and say hello to the new way at carvana. hi, my name is cherrie. i'm 76 and i live on the oregon coast. my husband, sam, we've been married 53 years. we love to walk on the beach. i have two daughters
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110 years in prison for causing a deadly interstate crash. his sentence has now been reduced to ten years, writing in a letter, the governor called his crime unintentional and the original sentence sis proportion gnat. ll cool j will no longer perform in times square tomorrow night after testing positive for covid. he was supposed to take the stage just before midnight at park of "dick collar eke nlark's eve with ryan seacrest." but other big performances are still a go. and a "jeopardy!" contestant is breaking ground and on a roll. amy schneider's latest victory marks her 21st in a row, the most wins by a woman in the show's history. last week, she became the show's highest earning woman and earlier this year, she became the first transgender contestant to make the tournament of champions. schneider's cash winknings tota $806,000. when we come back, a graduation 70 years in the making.
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ren renee. >> degree of recognition. >> reporter: just before christmas, the 88-year-old graduated from the university of texas san santonio. and right be behind him, rene's 23-year-old granddaughter, m melan melanie. receiving her bachelor's degree at the same ceremony. >> i wanted to cry out of happiness. you did it, grandpa, you did it! college is over! >> reporter: rene's graduation, 70 years in the making. >> since the '50s, he has been working towards his bachelor's degree, but he fell in love, started a family, so, wasn't able to continue school right away. >> reporter: overcoming and earn that degree he's always wanted. >> there were seasons where he didn't have a car and sometimes he would just take the public bus system to get to school. he has hearing loss.
knowing how hard he worked, i was especially all the more proud of him. >> reporter: the shared experience creating a special bond. >> we would be in the library together and just, like, work silently side-by-side. >> reporter: a grandfather's dedication delivering life lessons for all of us. >> i really admired his strength, the perseverance, to keep going no matter what. it's never too late to go back. >> never too late. way to go. thanks for watching. i'm whit johnson in new york. have a great night.
>> building a better bay area, moving forward in finding solutions. this is abc 7 news. >> we need more of these storms to keep coming through. anchor: we do but good news for california and the first snow survey of the season. anchor 2: you're watching abc 7 news at 4:00. take a look at the significant difference in our drought map. since last week, the majori of the state have -- the majority of the state has changed to yellow. only a part of northern california remains in exceptional drought. as good as it looks now, what really matters for california's water outlook is what is left in the spring. reporter: what a difference a few good storms make. california snow survey this last march was sometimes conducted
with more dirt than snow. not this year. >> our survey today water content of 20 inches which results in 202% today too. reporter: that means if it stopped snowing today, the sierra would have 4/5 of the snow. >> with all of that rain, climbed all of our watersheds. any future rain or snow would run off. reporter: california water experts caution against too much optimism too soon. well below the snowing mountain, some reservoirs are below where they should be for this time of year. shasta, 49% of average.