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Accused High School Shooter in Court Today; Decision Day in Michigan, Arizona; Kenseth Wins Rain-Delayed Daytona 500; Ohio Shooting Suspect In Court Today

Aired February 28, 2012 - 05:00   ET


ASHLEIGH BANFIELD, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning, everyone. Welcome to EARLY START. I'm Ashleigh Banfield.

ZORAIDA SAMBOLIN, CNN ANCHOR: And I'm Zoraida Sambolin. We're very happy you're joining us this morning. We are bringing you the news from A to Z.

It is 5:00 a.m. in the East. So, let's get started.

BANFIELD: And bad news to begin with. The accused Ohio school shooter is due to appear in court today. A little later on in this program, you'll hear from a student grazed by a bullet in that attack as parents waited outside in desperation.

More questions about warning signs. Were they missed with this alleged shooter?

SAMBOLIN: The Daytona 500 officially ended in the wee hours of morning. It was delayed twice by rain. Then two hours by a horrific fire. You're looking at it there -- the flaming wreck at the Daytona 500. The winner crossing the finish line just a few hours ago.

BANFIELD: Decision day in Michigan and Ohio, big states, lots of delegates.

Rick Santorum is asking something weird. Are you ready? He's asking Democrats to come on out and support him. Do him a solid and help defeat Mitt Romney. We'll explain a little bit more about what's behind that.

SAMBOLIN: And trouble at sea for the Costa Concordia's sister ship. It's drifting away after a fire. Everyone is safe. But we have a lot more details on that for you.

BANFIELD: It is one minute past 5:00 in the morning. And we are certainly learning a lot more this morning about that deadly high school shooting in Ohio.

Chardon High School outside Cleveland is closed today. But grief counselors will be on hand for the kids who need them. Flags will be lowered across the state in Ohio.

People were gathering last night. Look at the pictures. This was a candlelight vigil.

Of course, one of the young people who was shot yesterday did not survive. Four others are injured. The community is certainly coming to grips with the horror that happened early on Monday morning.

SAMBOLIN: The suspect identified by one of the victims is T.J. Lane. He will be in court today. He went to a nearby school for at- risk kids.

He posted a long rant on Facebook that included this, quote, "Feel death. Not just mocking you, not just stalking you, but inside of you."

As Ashleigh mentioned, one student was killed, four others wounded -- all the horror unfolding on emergency dispatch. Listen.


DISPATCHER: Attention Chardon Rescue. We have an active shooter at the high school. Repeat -- active gunshots at the high school.

Chardon, we have three students down in the cafeteria at this time. We still don't know where the shooter is. Also, there's a fourth one down in room 200.


BANFIELD: One of the students who was nearby, Nate Mueller was slightly wounded in the attack. If you can see closely his bullet or his ear was grazed by one of the bullet. He knew T.J. Lane and the other victims as well and was close friend with at least one of those victims.

And our colleague Soledad O'Brien spoke with him last night and he talked about how the shooting unfolded.


NATE MUELLER, VICTIM (via telephone): His third shot made me look. His second shot I watched him take which hit somebody behind me. And his third shot hit me as I was turning away.

His face was expressionless. It was -- I can't even explain. It looked like he was on a mission and he knew that he was about to do it and he was I think he was a little distant from himself.

SOLEDAD O'BRIEN, CNN ANCHOR: Tell me a little bit about him.

MUELLER: He -- he's a quiet kid, in the past like few years. But back in middle school, he was always really nice and funny. And he was like one of us, one of the guys. And he was just a normal kid, and we all liked him.


SAMBOLIN: Ted Rowlands joins us now live from Chardon, Ohio.

We've heard that so often now. He was a normal kid, but certainly not normal behavior. I understand that the family of the shooter released a statement just last night. Do you have that for us?

TED ROWLANDS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes. Actually, we're getting it from an attorney. They have taken an attorney, a local attorney here in the Cleveland area.

And he actually came out and made a statement talking about the family, saying that there was no way that they could have seen this coming.

Take a listen to what he said.


BOB FARINACCI, ATTORNEY REPRESENTING T.J. LANE: This is a very scary circumstance that I don't think you could have possibly foreseen him self-in the middle it.

REPORTER: How was his state of mind when you spoke to him? What is he like now?

FARINACCI: Very upset. Very scared. And extremely remorseful.


ROWLANDS: That is the attorney for T.J. Lane. Lane is expected in court today. He's 17 years old. And it's also expected that at some point early on in the proceedings, he will likely be pumped up to adult court.

Right now, he's a juvenile obviously at 17, whether or not prosecutors will ask for that to take place today or in the very near future. He's expected to make a first court appearance today.

Meanwhile, we are getting for the first time the names of the other victims who are recovering from their injuries. Three of them are in critical condition. One of them is in stable condition. They are 18-year-old Joy Rickers, 17-year-old Nick Walczak, 17-year-old Russell King, and 16-year-old Demetrius Hewlin.

We have been in contact with some family members of some of these victims. I talked to a family member of one of the victims last night who was shot in the stomach. They were very concerned about this individual's life, but they say he actually is making a better recovery than first anticipated. So, good news there.

But we don't have any up-to-date information in terms of any overnight developments in terms of their condition at this point, Zoraida.

SAMBOLIN: And is the school remaining closed today?

ROWLANDS: School closed today. In fact, the superintendent of schools here said today he asked everybody not only here but around the country to take the time to reflect on family. He said don't come to school. Told his teachers, administrators, don't come here. Spend time with your families and reflect on what has gone on.

It is expected the school will be open tomorrow.

SAMBOLIN: And could I just have one final question for you here. We know that he was at Chardon High yesterday. That's T.J. Lane. But we have here that he attended Lake Academy.

Do you have any clarity on that for us?

ROWLANDS: Yes. Apparently, the students that went to Lake Academy, which was for at-risk student, would come to the high school here and then get a bus to go to another school. Same thing for a trade school that some of the students would come to. So, it wasn't odd that he was in the cafeteria on the school grounds because he came here every day apparently to take a bus to Lake Academy.

SAMBOLIN: All right. Ted Rowlands, live for us in Chardon, Ohio -- thank you very much.

BANFIELD: It's seven minutes now past 5:00 on the East Coast. And every morning, we like to give you an early start to your day. We like to talk about the big news for tonight.

It's primary day in Arizona and Michigan. Voting set to begin in Michigan in less than two hours. But most of the recent polls showing that Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum are in a virtual dead heat.

SAMBOLIN: And on the same day of the Michigan primary, a not so subtle message to voters from President Obama. He'll be speaking to the United Auto Workers conference in Washington. He is expected to talk about his administration's role in saving the auto industry and GOP candidates who opposed the auto bailout.

BANFIELD: Eight minutes past 5:00 now. And this where I give you the bad news. Are you ready?


BANFIELD: While you were sleeping.

Wow, we have a graphic. OK.

SAMBOLIN: And the music.


BANFIELD: It sounded like from "CSI."


BANFIELD: Sorry guys. But while you were sleeping, gas went up another 2 cent a gallon. So, it's sitting pretty there at $3.72 per gallon.

Of course, I feel like a broken record. I say this almost every morning. If I don't say it, she says it. It's getting close to the $4 a gallon mark.


BANFIELD: It's nuts. And here is the deal, again, broken record. Tension with Iran, problems in the Middle East -- all those speculators, all causing the problems here.

SAMBOLIN: Yes. The cost of gas is up more than 12 percent since the start of the year.

Alison Kosik is in for Christine Romans.

So, this was a hand you saw earlier, handing this piece of paper to me.

Here's a big question this morning. You know, I try to decide -- well, I don't, I am going to tell the truth. I never choose premium gas. Should we at a time like this?

I'm not going to tell. At the end of the day, it says on there use premium gas. But I don't.

ALISON KOSIK, CNN BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: OK. For your car, it may be required. And the thing is, if you don't have a high performance vehicle, you don't immediate to put premium in your tank. You know, there are few cars that actually require premium. You know, the Dodge viper is one. Not to say that's what you're driving.

SAMBOLIN: I have a big SUV. That's why I didn't want to say.

KOSIK: OK. You know, but it's really no big surprise that demand for premium right now is actually lower. So, 90 percent of the gas out there that's sold is regular gas, 10 percent sold is for mid and premium levels.

Now, the question is whether or not to use it. Do I use it in my car? Well, it really depends on whether your car requires it or recommends it.

If your car requires premium, you have to use it because premium gas is for high octane, high performance car. If it's recommended, you know what? You can get by without it.

We talked with Phil Reed from, he said, if your car recommends premium, experiment with lower grade. It's going to be cheaper.

You know, try a tank. See if you notice of any problems. You may see a small drop off in performance pick up, fuel economy. Otherwise, you may not even notice there's a difference and you just can offset the price there because you're paying, well, you're not because you're not following --

SAMBOLIN: I can't do it, you know? I'm embarrassed actually, nowadays when you drive a big SUV, a gas guzzler, you almost feel embarrassed to drive it.

KOSIK: And that's why --

BANFIELD: No one is driving Hummers anymore.

KOSIK: Right. Yes, I mean, it's just too darn expensive.

But if you want ideas on other ways on how to save money, you can actually change the way you drive your car.

BANFIELD: Don't be a jerk, right? Don't be a jerk.

KOSIK: Don't be an aggressive driver. Exactly.

BANFIELD: Or a jerk.

KOSIK: Not only being horrible on the road to deal with, you also waste a lot of money, you know?

SAMBOLIN: What about your gas bill? How can you save money on that?

KOSIK: OK. So, also, don't idle your car. That's another thing. You know, you're better off shutting the car off.

Also, check the tires. They want to be inflated properly. That will save you money as well.

SAMBOLIN: Don't idle your car. So, that's only when you're -- is there a time period for that?

KOSIK: You know, there really isn't. This information is coming from a source that says there really is no exact time. But if you're going to be sitting there a while, shut it off. You're going to waste less fuel.

BANFIELD: I have another suggestion -- don't drive like the IndyCar drivers. How about that? Or the NASCAR drivers.

Thanks, Alison Kosik.

SAMBOLIN: I have so much fun.

BANFIELD: Isn't it though? Wow, driving in the track, girl.

Well, if you like driving on a track and you like watching people drive on a track, nearly 36 hours after people were supposed to start driving on the Daytona 500 track, they finally crossed the finish line. But it was a bit of a problematic race. Ten cushions involved in this race. A really scary crash actually too.

Look at that. Holly molly. Fireball.

And that's even more dramatic in the night sky, isn't it? That caused -- that little fire caused a two-hour delay. It was Juan Pablo Montoya slamming into a track drying truck. He's OK, good to report -- says the car malfunctioned.


JUAN PABLO MONTOYA, CRASHED AT DAYTONA 500: I was moving, traveling a lot. It felt really strange and as I was talking in the radio, the car just isn't right.

I didn't think about the truck, I thought I'm actually hitting the jet and it's not going to be fun.


BANFIELD: So after all that, it was a bit of an anti-climactic finish. Matt Kenseth taking the checkered flag, Dale Earnhardt, Jr. second, and Greg Biffle third.

The race was delayed twice because it was raining in Florida. It was supposed to start Sunday afternoon like it always does, was rescheduled for noon yesterday but had to be pushed back to a primetime event under the lights. This is all in a nod to Brian Williams who is perhaps the biggest NASCAR fan I have ever met in my life.

SAMBOLIN: This is the biggest hurry up and wait ever, right?


SAMBOLIN: And we're going to switch gears here. Actually, we're going to give this guy credit. What could be the biggest snowstorm of the year is heading to the Northern Plains and the Midwest.

Rob Marciano is live for us in Atlanta.

And, yesterday, you thought they wouldn't get this race in. You were kind of right. It finished moments ago really. Four hours ago.

ROB MARCIANO, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Unbelievably cursed race. I mean, for it to be delayed, postponed, they've never done that. And then to have a car during a caution run into a jet dryer would have basically the truck engulfed in jet fuel was unreal.

BANFIELD: But you know what, Rob? If you're having something spectacular, it's good that everybody is OK so we can all talk about it and sort of have fun with it.

MARCIANO: That's right.

BANFIELD: You never want to talk about these things and actually come out, you know, the better for it.

ROMANS: Absolutely. And congratulations to the number 17.

Good morning again, ladies.

We're looking at that storm you mentioned into the Rocky Mountains. The Northeast looks OK today. But it's going to be breezy. That's going to slow things down.

This storm, which brought some winter weather across southern California is now injecting into the four corners and the Rockies. That's going to bring the threat for severe weather later on today and also, we'll bring some snow to Minneapolis. That will slow things down.

Some wind delays expected across the Northeast. No precip left over from this. But there will be precip from Minneapolis back to Denver. This will begin to fill in as this storm takes shape and it will dump beneficial snows across not only the Rockies but the next pulse coming into the Sierra Nevadas. They need snow desperately.

Across parts of the Upper Midwest, 10 to 12 inches of snow possible. Mostly Minneapolis northward. Chicago, you missed this one. You'll be on the mild of this.

But on the book backside, it is going to add not only snow but wind. We got blizzard watches and warnings that have been posted. We'll see snowing sideways and it's going to be a dangerous travel. No doubt about that with over a foot of snow possible.

Here's your mild air -- 68 degrees expected in Memphis, 67 degrees in Atlanta, and 83 degrees in Tampa. Probably about the same, maybe a little bit cooler in Daytona. No rain. Beautiful racing weather today for Daytona.


BANFIELD: Well, that's no good.

SAMBOLIN: Thank you, Rob.

MARCIANO: All right, guys.

SAMBOLIN: All right. Still ahead, disaster averted. Have you seen the pictures? Look at that. A plane makes an emergency belly landing at Newark. One passenger said, quote, "I thought it was the end."

BANFIELD: We've got some good news to report. Thank God. Not such great news for the drifting cruise liner. That's a pretty picture, isn't it?

Well, don't let the picture fool you because the boat is getting a tow through pirate-infested waters. And if that's not bad enough, the ship is in trouble had a sister ship that's lying on its side off the coast of Italy after running aground.

What is going on with this cruise line, folks?

You're watching EARLY START.


SAMBOLIN: It is 18 minutes past the hour. And it's time to check the stories that are making news this morning.

BANFIELD: The FBI is searching home in Ohio where accused high school shooter T.J. Lane lives. In the meantime, he is expected to be in court this afternoon. Police say a teacher allegedly chased him out of Chardon High School after he accused of killing one student and shot four others ran from the school.

And it is primary day in Arizona and Michigan. The voting will begin in Michigan in less than two hours -- with most of the recent polls showing that two frontrunners, Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum, are in a virtual dead heat.

The Santorum campaign has been robo-calling Democratic voters. Wait, yes. Back it up.

Yes. Santorum has been robo-calling Democrats in Michigan and asking them to come out and support him.

SAMBOLIN: Kind of kooky, right?

BANFIELD: It's crazy.

SAMBOLIN: Is that a new one?

BANFIELD: He wants to basically, you know, make it a little easier to get Romney to go down it flames. And Mitt Romney is calling this a dirty trick. How dirty is it, though? We'll get into that later.

SAMBOLIN: The Federal Housing Administration is planning to raise the insurance premium that it charges borrowers. The hike effect takes effect April 1st. The up front insurance premium increasing to 1.75 percent of the base loan amount. Annual insurance premiums are also going up.

Take a look at this. Amazing. A belly flop landing at Newark International in New Jersey. A United plane lying on a bed of foam there. That's what you're seeing underneath it.

The front landing gear on the aircraft apparently collapsed. So the pilot was forced to make an emergency landing. Sixty-nine passengers, including an infant, actually used that emergency chute to get off of the plane. Luckily here, folks, no one was hurt.

But some scary intense moment for those folks there.

BANFIELD: No kidding.

Eight Americans are on board a stranded cruise ship that's now being towed by a fishing boat in the middle of the Indian Ocean where pirates are known to ply their trade. Yes, pirated-infested waters.

You've seen some earlier video of the ship in better days. But an engine fire flashed on the Italian cruise ship, the Costa Allegra. And that caused a whole lot of problems -- power out, no A.C.

If it sounds familiar, Costa Allegra, that's because the sister ship is the Costa Concordia, which wrecked off the coast of Italy six weeks ago.

A thousand passengers and crew are still trapped on this drifting dark ship. Everybody is safe at this point. But the towing is going to take some time. They're about 200 miles southwest of Africa's Seychelles Islands and they're not expected to arrive until tomorrow.

And did I mention these were pirate-infested waters. They are pirated-infested waters, folks.

This morning a helicopter is delivering food, radios and satellite telephones.

David McKenzie is live now for us with the very latest.

So, obviously, this is a bit of a P.R. nightmare for this ship. But more importantly than that, they got a thousand people to look after. And it's going to take some time for them to get to safe shores.

What are they doing to protect them on the way there?

DAVID MCKENZIE, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, there are some marines, Italian marines on board, Ashleigh, certainly going through these areas. As you said, pirate-infested is the right to describe these waters between the Seychelles and African mainland.

This Costa Allegra was going from Madagascar the largest island in the east coast of Africa, up towards the Seychelles on this pleasure cruise -- pleasure cruise that ended up in a nightmare with the engine fire starting and everybody plunged into darkness.

The Costa Allegra, according to authorities, put out a call. The Costa ship was a large French fishing troller. They came to the aid and are slowly towing this some thousand passengers, eight Americans, mostly Europeans, towards the Seychelles island. Later on today, we expect two tugboats from the Seychelles authorities to arrive there.

But as you say, nervous times for those passengers and a P.R. disaster for the Costa Cruise Line which earlier this year ran aground off the coast of Italy where some 21 people were killed, Ashleigh, when the Costa ship ran aground there.

You know, one positive thing possibly for these passengers, where they're ending up is the small island in the south of the Seychelles islands. That's a favorite hangout for royals, particularly the British royal family. So, perhaps the ending won't be so bad.

But for now, up for the next 24 hours, at least it will be terrifying -- Ashleigh.

BANFIELD: Well, David McKenzie, let's hope that is a small consolation prize if in fact they get there safe and sound. Thanks very much, David McKenzie -- reporting for us live this morning.

SAMBOLIN: Twenty-three minutes past the hour here.

Still ahead, we're talking to a victim who survived the deadliest school shooting in U.S. history. We're going to talk about yesterday's tragedy in Ohio. Colin Goddard is his name. He was shot four times during the Virginia Tech rampage.

And he's now working to tighten a loophole in gun laws. He's going to talk about what these students should be doing and their families in order to survive that emotional toll this is taking on them.

You're watching EARLY START.


SAMBOLIN: It is 28 minutes past the hour. Welcome back to EARLY START. I'm Zoraida Sambolin.

BANFIELD: Good morning, everybody. I'm Ashleigh Banfield.

It's time to check your top stories making news.

People are gathering and praying for the victims at a deadly shooting in Ohio. The suspect, teenager T.J. Lane is due in court later on today.

Also, the polls are opening in about 90 minutes in Michigan. Today also primary day in Arizona, too.

Rick Santorum is making a pretty aggressive final push. He's backing off on the suggestion that maybe it was high gas prices that caused the great recession in 2008, suggesting they just sort of added to it.

Also, the bodies of two U.S. soldiers are back home this morning. Their flag-draped caskets arrived yesterday at Dover Air Force Base in Delaware. Both brave heroes gunned down in Afghanistan Friday during protests over the accidental Koran burnings in Afghanistan.

SAMBOLIN: It looks like Bob Kerry has had a change heart. CNN has learned the former Democratic senator from Nebraska wants to run for his old seat after ruling it out earlier this month. He's considered the party's best chance to hold on to that seat that will be vacated by Democratic Senator Ben Nelson at the end of his term this year.

And a deadly tanker crash caught on tape on Interstate 94 in Wisconsin. Police say the driver of this truck was hauling, coming up here, 7,500 gallons of fuel when he crossed the median early yesterday morning, collided with a bridge pier. The tanker caught fire and that driver was killed. Wow.

Well, the Daytona 500 was delayed twice by Mother Nature. It was raining. But it finally got started last night under the lights as they said they would. There were ten cautions and a two-hour delay.

One Pablo Montoya's car malfunctioned exploded after he crashed into a track-drying truck. He's OK in a race that didn't end until nearly one o'clock in the morning. Matt Kenseth took the checkered flag.

BANFIELD: Chardon High School is shut down this morning, and flags are flying at half-staff throughout the state of Ohio. This after a vigil last night where students, parents, teachers and many in the community got together, trying to cope with the loss after one student was shot dead, and four others were hurt at a suburban Cleveland school yesterday.

SAMBOLIN: We now know the identities of the four wounded students. Seventeen-year-old Nick Walczak, 17-year-old Russell King, 18-year-old Joy Rickers, and 16-year-old Demetrius Hewlin. The suspect is identified as T.J. Lane. He is expected to be in court today. Friends, a lot of friends say that he was a normal kid.

He attended a nearby school for at-risk kids. He posted a rant on his Facebook. Here's an excerpt from it. "Feel death. Die all of you." He opened fire on students in the cafeteria yesterday morning and that horror unfolding on emergency dispatch tapes. Listen.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Chardon, we have three students down in the cafeteria at this time. We still don't know where the shooter is. Although, there's a fourth one down in room 200.


SAMBOLIN: The suspect was apprehended outside of the school. Student, Nate Mueller, slightly wounded in that attack. A bullet grazed his ear. He describes -- there he is right there. And he describes what unfolded just a few feet away from him.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He took one shot. He didn't say anything the entire time. He took one shot, and then, that's when we looked to see what was happening. It sounded like a firecracker almost. I saw him shoot, which hit one of my other friends that was sitting at the table with us. And then, as I was turning around, that's when he hit me.


SAMBOLIN: CNN's Ted Rowlands is live in Chardon, Ohio. I spoke to one of the students in that school yesterday when this was unfolding, and he said that this guy was a normal guy. He would have never expected anything like this from him. What are we -- he did say, though, one thing. He said, he came from a troubled home, a broken home. Do we know anything about that?

TED ROWLANDS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, we do. He came from a home that had violence, and apparently, drugs involved. His father has been arrested multiple times over the years and arrested for domestic violence, and in one case, against his mother, in another case against another woman who he fathered another child with.

There was a restraining order involved. He stayed, apparently, with his grandparents during brief periods and long periods in his life and was living with his grandparents and his mother, apparently, at the time of the shooting currently. The bottom line here is that people you talk to, who know this kid say, he absolutely had a very, very difficult time at home.

We talked to a one young woman that knew him a little bit and said that she asked him about it, and he was very reluctant to discuss it with her. She would never be able to get any details out of him, but that she knew that he was having a tough time at home and that his home life was very troubled.

SAMBOLIN: And, is the family speaking out at all? The family of the shooter?

ROWLANDS: The family of the shooter has retained an attorney, and the attorney has made a statement, made a statement last night basically saying in part that this family is absolutely devastated, that they could not have seen this coming. Made -- setting the table that warning signs that maybe people are looking for weren't there in terms of the family's situation.

They didn't see this coming. That's what the attorney said in a statement last night. We do expect him to be in court, T.J. Lane, at three o'clock local here in the Cleveland area today.

SAMBOLIN: All right. And I just wanted to clear something up, because I know we talk about Chardon high a lot, but there are some reports that he attended Lake Academy. Can you tell us a little bit about Lake Academy and why he was at Chardon High?

ROWLANDS: Well, Lake Academy is a school for at-risk kids or some for kids that want an alternative school and it feeds out of Chardon and the neighboring community here. It's close by. And what we understand is there's a also vocational school that a lot of kids go to, in fact, some of the victims went to this vocational school and they meet in the morning. We believe that there's a bus service that takes kids to both of these places. What we do know for sure is that this young man, T.J. Lane, was known in the school, and his presence at the school was not a surprise.

So, the idea that he walked into the school and wasn't a student didn't set off red flags before he started the shooting. It would have been normal, I guess, talking to students for him to be there. And that's why the discrepancy. He didn't go to the school, but he was known at the school and was a former student.

SAMBOLIN: And one last question here. I was reading that, perhaps, he had a relationship with one of his victims. Do you know anything about that?

ROWLANDS: Yes, well, there are unconfirmed reports according to some students. He had a relationship with a girl that was now seeing another boy who was one of the victims.

We haven't been able to independently confirm that, but that is one of the stories out there, of course, that would bring up the speculation that maybe this had some sort of a love interest scenario that may have put him over the edge, but, again, we haven't confirmed that. We just don't know that to be fact.

SAMBOLIN: All right. Ted Rowlands reporting live for us from Chardon, Ohio. Thank you for that.

BANFIELD: We want to get you live to Beirut where there has been a pitched effort to try to get the bodies of those dead journalists out and also much-needed supplies into that community. Our Nic Robertson has been on this story from the beginning. He's been in and out of Syria. He's live in Beirut. He's in Lebanon right now right next door.

The violence is heating up in Syria. Friends of Syria, as they're called, are trying to bring some kind of a (INAUDIBLE) or some kind of an effort to at least abate the violence. Nic, what is the current situation with, A, trying to get some kind of humanitarian corridor opened up to get supplies in and bodies out, and B,that journalist, Marie Colvin, her body out to her family in Long Island.

NIC ROBERTSON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, there has been a development in the last hour or so. Paul Conroy, the photographer working with Marie Colvin, who was injured in the legs and in the abdomen who's been stuck in Baba Amr in Homs for the last six days since that attack took place, we now understand from an activist network, he has now been brought to Lebanon.

We are told that he's in a safe house. The activists say they brought out 40 other wounded people from Baba Amr as well, but it's not clear about the other journalist at the moment, the French journalist, Edith Bouvier, and it's not clear this time whether or not Marie Colvin and Remi Ochlik, the French photographer -- dead bodies have been brought out.

All we know at this time is that Paul Conroy has arrived in Lebanon and is safe that is a step forward. The Red Cross sent a team in to Baba Amr to try and bring people out. It was the Syrian Red Crescent. They only came out with three people. So, humanitarian corridor there is really not happening at the moment, and this is incredible news for Paul Conroy's family, incredible news all around.

BANFIELD: It is. And as you mentioned, it is a step, but it is a certainly a baby step. Keep an eye on that for us, Nic, if you would and bring us any other details if they become available. Certainly, the family of Marie Colvin is awaiting any detail they can get. Nic Robertson reporting live in Beirut this morning.

SAMBOLIN: It is 38 minutes past the hour. Ahead on EARLY START, primary day. Arizona and Michigan up for grabs. How Democrats are trying to swing Michigan to Rick Santorum. It's kind of bizarre, and I think, Ashleigh, you're going to delve into that, aren't you?

BANFIELD: Democrats voting for Republicans? Cats and dogs living together? Mass hysteria, what's going on?

SAMBOLIN: You're watching EARLY START.

BANFIELD: You're watching EARLY START.



SAMBOLIN: So, welcome back to EARLY START. Forty-one minutes past the hour. Fifty-nine big delegates up for grabs this morning with voters getting ready to head to the polls in two states. The Michigan, Democrats are actually trying to swing the outcome in Rick Santorum's favor.

BANFIELD: Did she just say Democrats?

SAMBOLIN: Yes, I did.


BANFIELD: What is going on, folks? It's an open primary, and here's how it can work. If you got a guy like Joe Disano, he gets up to little bit of mischief and admittedly so.

Joe Disano is an influential Democratic strategist in Michigan, and he decided to go after 50,000 Democrats with e-mails and phone calls and tell them to yes, vote for a reason, for Rick Santorum because he thinks it would be easier to beat Rick Santorum up against Obama than it would be against Mitt Romney. So, here's what he had to say about that.


JOE DISANO, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: We've got two Republican candidates for president who I feel are both damaged goods. Hopefully, my efforts and the efforts tomorrow in the state to turn this election over to Romney -- or excuse me, over to Santorum will throw an anvil in Romney's lap and cause havoc all the way to the Republican convention in Orlando.


BANFIELD: Oh, Joe, Disano. What makes you so sure that Rick Santorum would be so easy to beat up against Obama, huh? And by the way, wouldn't Rick Santorum be annoyed to find out that you're doing this? Not so much. Rick Santorum is on board with this. In fact, Rick Santorum is not only on board, he's into it. He's got a robo call out there. He's asking Democrats, yes, Rick Santorum is asking Democrats to send a loud, clear message to Massachusetts Mitt. Vote for me, Rick Santorum, the republican. Yes. For a while there, I didn't get it either until I went through a couple election cycles then realized happens all the time like the lady in Gecko (ph) says.

Live from Washington is our Democratic strategist, Kiki McLean, our Republican strategy, Trey Hardin is also with us live, and in Atlanta, independent political analyst, Goldie Taylor. Kiki, is this dirty politics or what?

KIKI MCLEAN, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: You know what, it wouldn't have much impact at all if either of this candidate had a real message that was attracting voters.

BANFIELD: Are you going to talking points? Are you going to answer my question?

MCLEAN: No. No. I don't think this is dirty politics. Look, I think Mr. Disano has his own sport or game going on, but the reality is, you have one candidate who looks up and boasts about the number of cars his family owns. The other candidate who looks up and says, well, if you support a college education, that makes you a snob.

These guys wouldn't be vulnerable to the activities of somebody like Mr. Disano if they had a real message that was attracting voters. That's what makes it possible. That and the little open primary structure as they say.

BANFIELD: Can we read that? Can you guys read it? It's really hard. Oh, I have the crappiest pan (ph). It says talking points. Talking points. You went to talking points.

MCLEAN: Trey will tell you, that's the point.

BANFIELD: OK. Let Trey tell you. Are you outraged, Trey? Are you angry?


MCLEAN: Get angry, Trey. Get angry.

TREY HARDIN, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: Ashleigh, here you go. I'll answer your question for you, OK? Election manipulation rarely works. Yes, all's fair in love and politics. It sounds to me like this political consultant in Michigan is looking for a job in the White House, but it rarely works. Voting is a powerful and honorable thing to people and to get to try to manipulate them rarely, rarely works.

BANFIELD: You're killing me. You are killing me. I thought you would show you outrage, and you know what I was going to come back at you with, Rush Limbaugh in 2008. Are you ready, everybody? Are you sitting down? I'm asking people to cross over and if they can stomach it, and I know it's a difficult thing to do. Vote for Hillary Clinton. HARDIN: Yes.

BANFIELD: But it will sustain this soap opera, and it's something I think we need, and it will be fun, too. So, both sides do this dirty stuff. Goldie, what is the deal and why is the deal?

GOLDIE TAYLOR, INDEPENDENT POLITICAL ANALYST: This is business as usual. Yes, we engage in crossover open primary voting.

BANFIELD: Why do we have open primaries that they're going to bicker with the system like this?

TAYLOR: Well, you know, people get to choose up until the last moment if they're going to be a Democrat or Republican that day. I think it's a free and open process. I actually don't agree with party registration. I should be able to choose up until the moment that I vote which party I'm going to, you know, decide to go with.

But at the end of the day, this might work. You know, turnout in Michigan is expected to be so very low, if you get 10,000, 20,000, 30,000 Democrats to show up and vote for, you know, Santorum, you know, he could really pull this out, and I think he's running ahead anyway.

BANFIELD: Go ahead.

MCLEAN: Goldie raises the point. I mean, you can accuse me of talking points, but if you just go at it from a purely clinical operative standpoint, to her point, when turnout is that low, somebody pulling a stunt, if you will, can have that kind of impact. But the open primary system is really for candidates who are performing well and attract voters from all different places, not just their own party.

And in fact, you saw a lot of new participants in 2008 participate. Not just those who were egged on by Rush Limbaugh, because they were inspired by the candidates who were in the race.

BANFIELD: Trey, let me ask you this last question. Go ahead. Make it quick so --

HARDIN: It historically, does not impact or influence elections.

BANFIELD: OK. Well, that is the question I wanted to ask you. Not necessarily whether the vote impacts it or whether people like me get angry, and say you know what, I'm tired of this. I'm not even going to polls. Does it really hammer away and chisel away at voter turnout because people just get teed (ph) off?

HARDIN: Right. Well, first of all, any votes for Santorum if this does happen are going to be canceled out by independents showing up for Mitt Romney. But people, again, take their vote. It's a powerful thing for people. It's an emotional thing. And frankly, I think they get offended when they're asked to vote for someone that they really don't want to vote for.

BANFIELD: But apparently they don't, because they come out in droves and they do it. They get mad.

HARDIN: It doesn't work. It doesn't influence elections. It's --

MCLEAN: I'm with Trey here. I'm with Trey here that

BANFIELD: Oh, my God! Oh, my God! Get that on tape. Get that on tape. Kiki is on board with Trey.

MCLEAN: If you want to know what makes me mad is when people say they're offended so they're just not going to vote.


MCLEAN: It's a responsibility and it's a right.


BANFIELD: You know what, I voted in 2008 and I have my voter sticker sitting there on my desk --


MCLEAN: Good for you.

BANFIELD: Kiki, Trey, Goldie, we'll see you in the next hour. Can you stick around?

HARDIN: Absolutely. Thank you.

BANFIELD: Oh, by the way, I should tell you because it's an important day. Tonight, we have some serious coverage on CNN. Live coverage of the Arizona and Michigan primaries begins at 6:00 p.m. eastern with special edition of "John King USA." And that, of course, will be followed by our live coverage of the Arizona and Michigan primary results with the best political team on television starting at 7:00 p.m. eastern. And, now, we'll be right back.


BANFIELD: Hi, welcome back. It is ten minutes now before 6:00 in the morning.

And the suspect in the deadly high school shooting in Ohio is doing court today. He's been identified as teenager, T.J. Lane. Police say he allegedly killed one student and wounded four others after he opened fire at the Chardon High School cafeteria.

SAMBOLIN: The deadliest school shooting on U.S. soil was the 2007 massacre at Virginia Tech. That was back in 2007. Student, Seung-Hui Cho, killed 32 people before committing suicide. Colin Goddard was shot four times at Virginia Tech. He recovered, graduated, still has a bond with fellow survivors as well.

And Collin now advocates stronger gun laws as well. He's working with the Brady campaign to prevent gun violence. And Colin Goddard joins us live from D.C. this morning. Thank you so much for being with us. Can you tell me where you were and how you felt when you saw this unfolding yesterday?

COLIN GODDARD, SHOT FOUR TIMES AT VIRGINIA TECH: Good morning. I was literally getting ready for work, putting on my clothes, and I saw the news break. Immediately, I knew that yesterday was going to be a tough day. You know, as much as the progress I think I made since the shooting at Virginia Tech almost five years ago, I get thrown right back to day one when I something like this happen to another family.

And I know that other people are getting a phone call now, amassing in the hospital room, not knowing the outcome of one of their loved ones. And they're going through the whole same series of emotions and actions that my family went through, and I just hope at some point that they'll find a new place in their life where they can move forward.

SAMBOLIN: You know, we still don't have a motive here, but I was reading here that you say that almost every case of a shooting like, that there is someone at the school that knows that something like this is about to happen. Why do you think that the students don't speak out?

GODDARD: That's a great question. Unfortunately, I think students think that their friends are joking. They think that no one is going to take it seriously. They think nothing like this could happen here until it does. Unfortunately, you know, the students need to be aware of programs like speak up.

It's a hotline you can call if you think that one of your classmates is going to bring a gun to school and allows you to report it anonymously, and it can be dealt with by the proper authorities.

SAMBOLIN: I'm going to read something to you, because it's really caught me as a parent of a 13-year-old. It was a rant that the T.J. Lane posted on Facebook, and it says, "feel death. Not just mocking you, not just stalking you, but inside of you. Wriggle and writhe. Feel smaller beneath my might. Seizure in the pestilence that is my scythe. Die all of you"

This is posted. Other students are reading it. So -- and perhaps, parents as well. One of the students that I spoke to yesterday said that he read some of the stuff that this guy had posted on Twitter, yet, he felt that, perhaps, it was a joke. How do you know when this is a red flag?

GODDARD: You don't know. You really just need to take every incident like that and address it and look at it. Sometimes, it will turn out to be nothing, and sometimes, you know, you can avert a national tragedy. You know, in my opinion, you have to look at this problem. What happened yesterday at the high school in two ways.

From the supply side, how did someone this young get a weapon that they weren't legally allowed to own and you also have to look for the demand side. Why did this young man feel like using a gun was the way to solve his problem, the way to escape. You know, you have to come at it from both.

I mean, clearly, if we cannot send our children to school without worried about getting shot by their peers, we have a problem we have to address in this country.

SAMBOLIN: You mentioned the hot line number that folks can call whether it's students or parents. Can you share that with us?

GODDARD: Yes. It's 100-speakup. It was started by our new president of Brady Campaign, Dan Gross, after his brother was shot in the head at the Empire State Building in the late 1990s. It's allowed thousands of students to report one of their classmates come to school with a gun and who knows the number of other incidents like this that it is averted.

SAMBOLIN: Colin Goddard, thank you so much for your perspective, for joining us this morning. We really appreciate it and the hot line.

GODDARD: Thanks for having me.

SAMBOLIN: We're going to take a quick break, and we'll be right back.


SAMBOLIN: Coming up in our next hour, we have new details about the teen accused of a deadly high school shooting in Ohio. The survivors are talking about the horror.

BANFIELD: And first, skyrocketing gas prices, and now, could your water bill be about to triple?


BANFIELD: Yes, baby. You're watching EARLY START.