NBC News

NBC’s Brian Williams Thanks ‘Nightly News’ Viewers: ‘We’ve Been Meeting Like This for 10 Years’

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TV Newser

At the end of Tuesday evening’s “Nightly News”, anchor and managing editor Brian Williams took a moment to note the decade he’s led the network’s flagship newscast. “A check of the calendar today revealed we’ve been meeting like this now for ten years,” Williams said. “And my thanks go to you. Without you, there would be no ‘Nightly News’.”

Williams thanked his “work family” at NBC News, and said “most nights, we wish we had better news to report. I can only promise to continue to do our dead level best at reporting the news.”

Watch it, after the jump:

Morning Maddow 11-25-2014

Fires burn in Ferguson after officer not indicted | Today Show

Morning Maddow

Here’s why Michael Brown was killed, according to Darren Wilson. (NY Magazine)

What’s next? Ferguson officer not out of the woods yet. (NBC News)

Missouri Governor orders additional guardsmen to Ferguson. (KSDK)

Congressional Black Caucus slams grand jury decision on Ferguson. (BuzzFeed)

Thousands rally across the U.S. after Ferguson decision. (AP)

Inside Sec. Hagel’s sudden firing. (Daily Beast)

Rep. Trey Gowdy reappointed to lead House Benghazi inquiry. (NY Times)

What are you reading this morning? Let us know in the comments, please.

10 things you need to know today: November 10, 2014

Smoke rises after an airstrike hits an ISIS position in Kobani, Syria. 

Smoke rises after an airstrike hits an ISIS position in Kobani, Syria. (AP Photo/Vadim Ghirda)

The Week

An airstrike wounds ISIS’ leader, an Alaskan storm sends record cold south, and more

1. ISIS leader reportedly wounded in airstrike
An airstrike on a meeting of Islamic State militants in western Iraq wounded the group’s leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, Iraq’s Defense and Interior ministries reported Sunday. Iraqi officials said they did not know the extent of Baghdadi’s injuries. President Obama said in an interview broadcast by CBS on Sunday that the battle against ISIS was entering a “new phase” with the addition of 1,500 U.S. troops to help train Iraqi security forces battling the Islamist group. [The Associated Press, CNN]

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2. Alaskan storm sends first winter blast to lower 48
A massive storm that hit parts of Alaska with hurricane-force winds drove arctic air eastward on Sunday, sending the first harsh winter blast toward two-thirds of the U.S. Montana and the Dakotas were the first Western states hit with heavy snow on Sunday. Forecasters said the storm would gain strength and dump as much as 18 inches of snow in the Great Lakes region on Monday, with parts of the nation due for record low temperatures. [NBC News]

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3. Obama says failure to sell Democrats’ policies led to midterm loss
President Obama took the blame for Democrats’ loss in last week’s midterm elections, saying in an interview broadcast by CBS on Sunday that his administration failed to sell voters on the benefits of his policies. “It’s not enough just to build a better mousetrap,” Obama said in the interview, aired as he was leaving for a high-stakes three-country Asia tour. “We’ve got to sell it.” Sizing up Tuesday’s results, which returned the House to GOP control, Obama said, “we got beat.” [The New York Times]

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4. George W. Bush says brother Jeb is torn on whether to run for president
Former president George W. Bush told CBS’ Face the Nation on Sunday that his brother, former Florida governor Jeb Bush, was “still wrestling with the decision” on whether to run for the Republican presidential nomination in 2016. “I think it’s 50-50,” the former president said. “He knows exactly, you know, the ramifications on family, for example. He’s seen his dad and his brother go through the presidency. I’d give it a tossup.” [The Associated Press]

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5. American Airlines flight attendants narrowly turn down contract
American Airlines and US Airways flight attendant crews rejected a joint labor contract on Sunday by just 16 votes out of 16,376 cast. American Airlines said it was “disappointed” in the result, which would have marked the first joint contract for the two companies’ workers since the merger in December 2013. The stewards will work under their old contracts while the two sides enter binding arbitration. [Reuters]

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6. Suspected Boko Haram suicide bomber kills 47 in Nigerian school
A suicide bomber attacked a school assembly in northern Nigeria on Monday, killing at least 47 people and wounding 79. No group immediately claimed responsibility, but police suspect Boko Haram, an Islamist group that has declared Western-style education a sin. The attack took place at 7:50 a.m., local time, outside the principal’s office, where students were awaiting a daily speech. [CNN]

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7. Germans celebrate 25th anniversary of the Berlin Wall’s fall
Tens of thousands of people gathered in Berlin on Sunday to mark the 25th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall. A nine-mile string of 8,000 illuminated helium balloons traced the footprint of the former barrier, which divided Germany and served as a symbol of the Cold War. The balloons were released into the night sky one at a time, symbolizing the moments when crowds first breached the Wall in 1989. [BBC News]

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8. Pastor and motivational speaker Myles Munroe killed in Bahamas plane crash
Bahamian evangelical minister Myles Munroe, an internationally known motivational speaker, and his wife, Ruth, were among nine passengers killed Sunday when their Lear jet crashed while trying to land at Grand Bahamas International airport. The group was traveling to Monday’s Global Leadership Forum, hosted by an organization Munroe, 60, founded, Bahamas Faith Ministries. Munroe wrote more than 100 best-selling inspirational books. [The Washington Post]

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9. Catalan voters back independence in symbolic referendum
Voters in the Spanish region of Catalonia overwhelmingly backed breaking away from Spain in a non-binding — and, according to the government, illegal — referendum held Sunday. Eighty percent of the two million casting ballots were in favor of secession, although turnout was low. Spanish Justice Minister Rafael Catala called the vote “useless,” while Catalan leader Artur Mas said it was a great success. [BBC News]

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10. Britons applaud Queen Elizabeth after foiled terror plot
British crowds greeted Queen Elizabeth II with applause on Sunday as she left her residence in central London to lead Remembrance Day ceremonies honoring the nation’s war dead. The spontaneous demonstration of appreciation on a day traditionally marked with silence came days after London police, in overnight raids on Thursday, foiled an alleged plot by Islamist terrorists to attack the queen on Remembrance Sunday. [Daily Mail, CTV News]

Landrieu Stands By Comments On Race And The South: ‘This Is The Truth’

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Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-LA) | AP Photo / Melinda Deslatt

This is yet another case of Republicans not wanting anyone to air their dirty laundry in public…

TPM LiveWire

Landrieu had told NBC News that one of the reason President Barack Obama struggles politically in the South, along with his energy policies, is the issue of race.

She held firm in a statement later on Friday, saying that “[e]veryone knows this is the truth.”

“The main reason the President has struggled here is because his energy policies are not in line with the people of Louisiana. We are a pro-drilling, pro-oil, gas state. The offshore moratorium was extremely unpopular and, in my opinion, wholly unwarranted. It made a lot of people angry and put many businesses at risk. In addition, the south has not always been the friendliest or easiest place for African Americans to advance, and it’s been a difficult place for women to be recognized as the leaders we are,” the senator said. “Everyone knows this is the truth, and I will continue to speak the truth even as some would twist my words seeking political advantage.”

Landrieu is facing a strong reelection challenge from Republican Bill Cassidy.

Report: NBC Actively Pursued Jon Stewart To Host ‘Meet The Press’

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Comedy Central | screen grab

I haven’t watched MTP for years.  If Jon Stewart had accepted the job, I would have watched every week…

TPM LiveWire

Before settling on Chuck Todd, NBC executives seriously considered tapping Jon Stewart to serve as the new moderator of “Meet the Press,” according to a report from New York Magazine’s Gabriel Sherman.

Sherman cited “three senior television sources” who said that NBC News president Deborah Turness held negotiations with the “Daily Show” host to take over the longtime Sunday morning program. The negotiations did not bear fruit, but it apparently wasn’t for lack of trying by NBC, Sherman reports:

One source explained that NBC was prepared to offer Stewart virtually “anything” to bring him over. “They were ready to back the Brinks truck up,” the source said. A spokesperson for NBC declined to comment. James Dixon, Stewart’s agent, did not respond to multiple requests for comment.
Turness did not respond to TPM’s request for comment.

Todd debuted as moderator of “Meet the Press” last month after the show’s ratings had slipped precipitously under David Gregory. The show saw an initial ratings boost after Todd took over, but has since slipped back to third place behind rival programs on CBS and ABC.

Todd, for his part, tried to make light of the news on Twitter with a reference to the sign-off for both “Meet the Press” and the “Daily Show.”
If it’s Sunday, it’s your moment of zen.
— Chuck Todd (@chucktodd) October 8, 2014

10 things you need to know today: October 6, 2014

A man walks to work in Hong Kong as protesters sleep.

A man walks to work in Hong Kong as protesters sleep. (AP Images/Kin Cheung)

The Week

A fifth U.S. Ebola patient returns for treatment, Hong Kong protests enter a new phase, and more

1. Fifth Ebola patient flies home to the U.S. from Africa for treatment
A fifth U.S. Ebola patient was flown out of Africa on Monday to receive treatment in the U.S. The man, Ashoka Mukpo, 33, became ill last week while working as a freelance cameraman for NBC News. He will start treatment in an isolation unit in Nebraska as Thomas Eric Duncan, the first person to develop symptoms after returning from West Africa to the U.S., takes a turn for the worse. Health officials said Duncan did not appear to be receiving experimental drugs. Supplies of one, ZMapp, were “all gone.” [The Associated Press, Reuters]

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2. Hong Kong deadline passes with some demonstrators still in the streets
Pro-democracy protesters in Hong Kong removed some of their barricades near the government’s downtown headquarters ahead of a Monday deadline to clear the streets. Crowds of demonstrators thinned near the government buildings as the deadline passed, although students vowed to maintain a long-term presence at another protest site near the Chinese-controlled city’s financial center. Student protest leaders have been meeting with a recently appointed representative of Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying. [The Washington Post, Voice of America]

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3. Brazilian president faces runoff in reelection bid
Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff finished far ahead of her rivals in a Sunday election, but she did not get the majority she needed to avoid a runoff. Rousseff, a champion of the country’s left, will face pro-business rival Aecio Neves, who surged ahead of environmentalist Marina Silva — briefly considered a contender to win — to finish second. The second round is scheduled for Oct. 26. Rousseff, who is touting her ambitious social programs, is expected to beat Neves, who is calling for greater austerity. [Reuters]

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4. Parents release letter from hostage threatened by ISIS
The parents of a humanitarian worker threatened with beheading by ISIS issued a statement pleading for his life, and released a letter in which he said he was “pretty scared to die” but at peace after converting to Islam in captivity. Kassig was kidnapped in Lebanon by ISIS in October while providing aid to Syrian refugees. He wrote that his parents should be comforted knowing he “went out as a result of trying to alleviate suffering and helping those in need.” [Fox News]

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5. Typhoon batters Tokyo
A powerful typhoon briefly battered Tokyo, Japan’s largest city, Monday with winds up to 112 miles per hour before heading out back to sea. The storm, Typhoon Phanfone, cut off power to thousands of people, and forced the country’s two largest airlines to suspend flights. Phanfone had already killed at least one U.S. airman and left two others missing after they were pulled into the surf while taking photos on the island of Okinawa, where the U.S. has a military base. [BBC News]

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6. Eight bodies found in Mexico after attack on teaching students
Mexican authorities found at least eight bodies in clandestine graves over the weekend in the southern Mexican city of Iguala, officials in Guerrero state said Sunday. A government spokesman said it was not yet clear whether the bodies were those of some of the 43 teacher trainees who disappeared in an attack a week earlier that killed six students and left another 25 wounded. Relatives of the missing students are calling for a nationwide march to demand a speedier and more thorough investigation. [Fox News Latino]

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7. Nobel Prize for medicine honors work on the brain’s navigating system
The Nobel Prize in Medicine was awarded on Monday to John O’Keefe of the U.K., and May-Britt and Edvard Moser of Norway for their work on cells that form a positioning system likened to GPS for the brain. The Nobel Committee said in a statement that O’Keefe 1970s work identifying so-called place cells that register locations, and the Mosers’ discovery of grid cells used for navigation solved the mystery of how the brain maps the world around it. The next Nobel — for physics — will be awarded Tuesday. [CNN]

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8. HP to split into two companies
Computer-maker Hewlett-Packard announced early Monday that it will be splitting itself into two companies. HP’s personal computer and printer division will make up one of the new entities, and its computer hardware, software, and services for businesses will make up the other. The move comes as many tech giants are reorganizing to remain competitive as consumers shift from personal computers to mobile devices and cloud services. [The New York Times]

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9. Michael Phelps enters treatment program after DUI
Olympic swimming champion Michael Phelps said Sunday that he was entering a six-week treatment program after his DUI arrest, and putting his comeback on hold. “Swimming is a major part of my life, but right now I need to focus my attention on me as an individual,” Phelps said in a tweet. The 29-year-old, 18-time gold medalist came out of retirement early this year to begin training for a bid to make the 2016 Olympic team. [The Baltimore Sun]

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10. Peyton Manning throws his 500th touchdown pass
The Denver Broncos’ Peyton Manning on Sunday threw his 500th touchdown pass, becoming only the second NFL quarterback to reach the milestone. The score came when Manning hit tight end Julius Thomas with a seven-yard bullet in the first quarter of the Broncos’ 41-20 defeat of the St. Louis Cardinals. Manning is now in position to surpass all-time leader Brett Favre’s record of 508 TD throws in the next month or two. [CBS Sports]

10 things you need to know today: October 3, 2014

An ambulance waits outside of the Dallas apartment where an U.S. ebola patient was staying.

U.S. journalist in Liberia is stricken with Ebola, Appeals judges uphold Texas abortion rule, and more

The Week

1. U.S. journalist in Liberia stricken with Ebola
An American freelance journalist working for NBC News in Liberia has been diagnosed with Ebola, the network said Thursday. The 33-year-old man, whose name is being withheld at his family’s request, began showing symptoms on Wednesday, one day after NBC hired him as a second cameraman for NBC News Chief Medical Editor and Correspondent Dr. Nancy Snyderman. The rest of the crew members, including Snyderman, are being monitored but have shown no symptoms of Ebola. [New York Daily News]

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2. Appeals judges uphold Texas abortion rule, forcing 13 clinics to close
A federal appeals court ruled Thursday that Texas can enforce a law requiring abortion clinics to be built according to the same standards as hospitals, effectively ordering 13 of the state’s 21 remaining abortion clinics to shut down immediately. The law had been struck down as unconstitutional in August and placed on hold pending appeals. Abortion rights activists said the latest decision “gutted Texas women’s rights” to safe abortion. State officials said it vindicated lawmakers trying to ensure that clinics are safe. [Los Angeles Times]

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3. 76 million JPMorgan Chase customers’ data exposed to hackers
A cyberattack on JPMorgan Chase that was disclosed in July exposed personal information from 76 million households, the company said in papers filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission on Thursday. The information included names, phone numbers, and email addresses. Data from seven million small businesses also was compromised. JPMorgan said it found no evidence that the hackers had acquired account information, such as account numbers, passwords, or Social Security numbers. [USA Today]

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4. Health officials place Ebola patient’s family in isolation
Authorities have placed four relatives of Thomas Duncan, the first Ebola patient diagnosed in the U.S., in isolation after they allegedly failed to comply with an order to stay home. The apartment where Duncan stayed before he was admitted at a Dallas hospital still had not been cleaned, and sheets and towels had not been taken out, out of fear of contagion. Health officials are trying to find at least 80 people who might have come into contact with Duncan since he arrived on a flight from Liberia last week. [The New York Times]

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5. Turkey joins the coalition against ISIS
Turkish lawmakers on Thursday voted to authorize the country’s military to attack Islamic State of Iraq and Syria militants. Turkey also will let other members of the international coalition against ISIS use its soil. The decisions came as ISIS forces advanced to within a mile of the predominantly Kurdish Syrian border town of Kobani. “Most civilians have left the city, and any minute Isis will be inside Kobani,” said Rami Abdulrahman of the U.K.-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights. [The Guardian]

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6. Four suspects arrested in killing of 920 chickens during farm break-in
California authorities have arrested four teenage boys for the slaughter of 920 chickens at a poultry farm. Some of the birds were beaten to death with golf clubs during a break-in last month at a Foster Farms facility in Fresno County. One of the suspects, 18-year-old Gabriel Quintero, was charged with burglary and felony cruelty to animals. The other three — all juveniles — were not immediately publicly identified but were booked on the same charges. [Reuters]

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7. Hong Kong leader agrees to meet with democracy advocates
Fewer pro-democracy demonstrators showed up in the streets of Hong Kong on Friday, after the city’s Beijing-backed chief executive, Leung Chun-ying, agreed to meet with protest leaders. Thunderstorms and fatigue after a week of protests also reportedly contributed to the dwindling crowds, so it was unclear whether the crowds would grow again over the weekend. Leung, however, refused to resign, as protesters have demanded, or to guarantee that 2017 elections to pick his successor will be free of the Chinese government’s influence. [The Associated Press]

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8. Two suspects charged with killing two British tourists in Thailand
Two unidentified workers from Myanmar have been arrested for the murders of two British tourists on the resort island of Koh Tao last month. The bodies of David Miller, 24, and Hannah Witheridge, 23, were discovered Sept. 15 on the beach not too far from their hotel. Witheridge had been raped. Police said DNA evidence linked the two suspects from neighboring Myanmar, or Burma, to the crime scene. Thai police have pinned crimes on migrants in the past, but one official said they wouldn’t dare try “bringing in a scapegoat” in such a high-profile case. [CNN]

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9. Google threatened with $100-million lawsuit over leaked nude celebrity photos
Google responded on Thursday to the threat of a $100 million lawsuit for allegedly facilitating the posting of leaked nude photos of actress Jennifer Lawrence and other celebrities. A Hollywood entertainment lawyer representing affected celebrities sent Google a letter accusing it of not trying to remove the pictures from search results even though it knew they were stolen private property. Google said it had removed tens of thousands of photos from its websites within hours of being notified they were there. [The Hollywood Reporter, The Telegraph]

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10. Royals accuse paparazzi of harassing 14-month-old Prince George
Lawyers for Prince William and Kate Middleton, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, are threatening legal action against a photographer if he doesn’t “cease harassing” Prince George. The palace said in a statement that the paparazzi, Niraj Tanna, appears to have placed the 14-month-old royal baby “under surveillance” and monitored his daily activities to plot opportunities to snap photos to sell. Tanna’s lawyers say he is “fully entitled” to take pictures of George in a public park. [BBC News]

David Gregory’s time on ‘Meet the Press’ is almost up

David Gregory on the set of “Meet the Press” in Washington Photo: AP

Yes…

Page Six – N.Y. Post

David Gregory’s time is nearly up at “Meet the Press,” sources told Page Six, and he could be replaced as moderator of the nation’s longest-running TV show soon after the November midterm elections.

While NBC News President Deborah Turness has publicly supported the embattled Gregory, there are serious concerns about the losing battle to turn around the show’s sinking ratings.

Viewership is down a whopping 43 percent compared to when Gregory ascended to the moderator’s chair in December 2008, after the death of Tim Russert. The show finished in third place behind CBS’s “Face the Nation” and ABC’s “This Week” in the second quarter of 2014.

An NBC source said, “The discussion is whether to make a change before or after the midterm elections. Just after the midterms would give the new moderator time to settle in.”

According to insiders, NBC political director and chief White House correspondent Chuck Todd is the rightful heir to Gregory, but he has not been officially offered the job.

Other names said to be in the frame include “Today” anchor Savannah Guthrie, who comes from a political background but is unlikely to be released from the flagship morning show where she’s hugely popular. Guthrie is also due to give birth to her first child next month and will return to “Today” after maternity leave.

MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” team of Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski have also been said to be angling for a Sunday slot, but NBC insiders said there are concerns about putting a partisan host in charge of “Meet the Press,” as Scarborough is a former Republican congressman.

After the Washington Post recently reported that NBC had commissioned a “psychological consultant” to interview Gregory’s wife and friends, NBC publicly stood by Gregory, who denounced the psychologist claim as “gossip reporting gone wild.”

An NBC spokesperson told us Tuesday night, “We heard the same false rumors and suggest you take them with a grain of salt, as we did.”

White House Asks Congress for $3.7 Billion for Border Crisis

NBC News screenshot from video

NBC News

The Obama administration is formally asking for $3.7 billion in emergency funds from Congress to address the flood of unaccompanied minor children coming illegally into the United States — more than the White House previously signaled it would request.

The funds include $1.1 billion for Immigration and Customs Enforcement, $433 million to Customs and Border Protection, $64 million for the Department of Justice, $300 million to the State Department and $1.8 billion to the Department of Health and Human Services.

The administration previously indicated that it would request about $2 billion but would wait to release the details until Congress returned from a week-long break.

The White House says the money is necessary to cover costs like increased man-hours for border patrol agents and aerial surveillance teams, legal services for children in immigration proceedings, the hiring of 40 additional teams of immigration judges, and care for unaccompanied children while they are in the country. Almost $300 million would go towards efforts to “repatriate and reintegrate migrants to Central America” and address the underlying economic and security causes of the spike in child migrants.

It’s not clear how the GOP-led House will approach the funding request, which must pass both Houses of Congress.

A spokesman for House Speaker John Boehner said: “The Appropriations Committee and other Members, including the working group on the border crisis led by Rep. Kay Granger, will review the White House proposal. The Speaker still supports deploying the National Guard to provide humanitarian support in the affected areas – which this proposal does not address.”

See video report from NBC News here…

Two Cops, Three Others Killed in Las Vegas Shooting Spree

Image: Metro Police officers stand outside a Wal-Mart after a shooting in Las Vegas

Metro Police officers stand outside a Wal-Mart after a shooting in Las Vegas |

NBC News

An  apparent ambush in a Las Vegas pizzeria that carried over to a nearby Walmart left five people dead on Sunday, including two police officers and a pair of shooters.

A man and a woman shot the two cops as they were eating lunch at Cici’s Pizza at about 11:20 a.m. local time (2:20 p.m. ET), Las Vegas Metro Police spokesman Larry Hadfield told NBC News.

Witnesses told police that one of the shooters yelled “This is the start of a revolution” before firing at patrolmen, who were identified as Officer Alyn Beck, 42, and Officer Igor Soldo, 32.

One of the cops was able to fire back at the duo before succumbing to his injuries, Sheriff Doug Gillespie said at an afternoon press conference.

“My officers were simply having lunch when the shooting started,” said Gillespie. “I can tell you that they were both family men, and they’re leaving behind loved ones.”

See videos on NBC’s website…

In a statement, Walmart said the store was closed and they were working with local police.

“We express our deepest condolences to everyone who has been affected by this senseless act of violence,” said spokeswoman Brooke Buchanan.

Cici’s Pizza also put out a statement saying, “We are deeply saddened by this tragic event and our hearts go out to the families and friends of the officers.” They said the store would remained closed until further notice.