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STARTING POINT WITH SOLEDAD O'BRIEN
Second Student Dies from Wounds from Ohio School Shooting; Daytona 500 Delayed by Crash; Primary Day In Arizona And Michigan; Santorum Seeks Support Of Michigan Dems; Second School Shooting Victim Dies; Tanker Fireball Melts Interstate; Bodies of Two Slain U.S. Officers Returned; Phylicia Rashad Discusses Performances; Congress Holds Hearings on Insider Attacks in Afghanistan
Aired February 28, 2012 - 06:59 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
SOLEDAD O'BRIEN, CNN HOST: Our STARTING POINT this morning, some breaking news to begin with. A second victim now to tell you about in the Ohio school shooting, a young man now dead. We're learning this as we learn more about the shooter, T.J. Lane.
The victims have described the deadly rampage like this --
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
NATE MUELLER, VICTIM AT THE OHIO SCHOOL SHOOTING (via telephone): His face was expressionless. He looked like he was on a mission and he knew that he was about to do it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O'BRIEN: What were the warning signs and how were they missed? We're going to examine them and that this morning.
Also, the polls are opening right now in the State of Michigan and it could set the tone for Super Tuesday which happens in a week.
Plus, Rick Santorum is now asking Democrats to make Mitt Romney a loser in his home state. Talk about that.
Plus, gas prices are inching closer to $4 a galloon and it's putting an even tighter squeeze in your family this morning. We'll talk about the why behind that.
STARTING POINT begins right now.
ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.
O'BRIEN: Welcome, we've got breaking news to begin our morning. A second victim has now died in that Ohio school shooting. According to the county medical examiner, Russell King Jr. died at the Metro Health Medical Center where he was being treated for a gunshot wound. Danny Parmertor was also killed in the attack. And there are three other students reported as hurt this morning, Joy Rickers, Nick Walczak, Demetrious Hewlin.
It all started, you'll recall, when T.J. Lane opened fire at his high school yesterday. Now he is expected in court this afternoon, and we're learning much more about him today. He attended the Lake Academy Alternative School, a school dedicated to serving at risk students. His Facebook page on December 30th concluded with a post that said this. "Die, all of you." One witness to the shooting says that lane's face was basically expressionless when he opened fire, and all the horror, of course, was caught on the emergency dispatch.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: 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 is a fourth one down in room 200.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O'BRIEN: T.J. Lane would ultimately be chased from the school by a teacher and then arrested less than half a mile away near his own car. All of this unfolding in a small town roughly 30 miles east of Cleveland. And at Chardon High School, classes for the roughly 1,150 students were canceled today. The flags will be lowered across the state.
Let's get this morning to Mike DeWine. He's going to start us off, the Ohio attorney general. Also joining us, our panelists. Will Cain is with us this morning, and Marc Lamont Hill is back, and Jennifer Rogers is here from Reuters. Appreciate it. Thanks for being with us, Mr. Attorney General. I want you to start off with the very latest on this investigation. What can we expect today?
MIKE DEWINE, OHIO ATTORNEY GENERAL: Well, I don't think you're going to get any surprises. The young man who has been -- will be charged today will appear in court. And the investigation continues to try to find out exactly why he did this.
But, you know, while I think it's important to point out is that Chardon high school did a fabulous job. They had a plan in place. They executed the plan. Everyone did exactly what they should do. Chardon police and all the other departments, the sheriff's department, everyone responded and did it correctly.
You know, horrible, horrible, horrible tragedy. Our investigators and the attorney general's office were there very quickly. We were doing the crime scene, our investigators from what we call an Ohio BCI and processing the crime scene. It's just so sad to think that you have a high school that's a crime scene.
O'BRIEN: You know, it's amazing really when you think of the lessons learned from Columbine, which is a story you know well and I covered as a reporter, to think that all this many years later that schools really did a good job by all accounts of immediately sort of clamping down, locking down and teachers were getting tremendous credit today for helping rescue and even save some of these students.
There is, we're told, videotape, surveillance videotape of this young man, T.J. Lake, opening fire basically -- Lane, excuse me, T.J. Lane, opening fire in the cafeteria. Have you or your investigators seen this videotape and can you tell me what it describes?
DEWINE: Well, the investigators have seen it. I know it does exist. You know, I don't want to comment much beyond that. We are dealing in this case with a juvenile. Court proceedings have to take place. But, you know, what has been reported in the press is pretty much accurate about that.
O'BRIEN: OK. So we know as you mentioned, there's a crime scene certainly at the school. I know investigators as well were at the young man's home. Apparently he was being raised by his grandparents. His parents weren't really in the picture. We know that both of his parents had arrest for domestic violence. His brother served time in jail, I believe his father as well. What will the investigation involve in terms of his youth and background as far as his family?
DEWINE: Well, I think any time you have a tragedy like this, one of the things you want to find out is if there were any warning signs, if there was anything that, you know, we need to know about this young man. That would include questioning his friends, questioning his family members, exactly what you would think very good police work in trying to talk to anybody who has any knowledge about him. It doesn't bring the people back who died, these students who died, who were injured, but it's simply part of the investigation, part of what we simply have to do to try to figure this out. Sometimes there are things in life you never can quite figure out.
O'BRIEN: Can I ask you a question?
DEWINE: Why someone does this, very difficult to tell.
O'BRIEN: Let me ask you if this is going to be part of your investigation. We know that all of these students were at the cafeteria that morning and one of the things that was not unusual about T.J. Lane coming, even though he attended a different school, is it seems that all of the buses met at the one high school and someone off to vocational school, some stayed that the high school, and some of the buses went to this alternative school for kids who were clearly having some kind of a rough time. Is this going to be an area of your investigation, you know, sort of having all of those populations together, could that be just inherently some kind of a problem?
DEWINE: Well, I suppose it could be, but I doubt that. You know, we'll find out what the facts are. But I don't think there was anything wrong with the protocol that the school was following. This is a standard procedure in many schools, where you have basically a bus transit area or transportation area. So there's nothing that I see in that that is alarming or would indicate that something was done wrong.
O'BRIEN: Before I let you go I want to ask you a last question. We know that the hearing is set for 3:30 this afternoon. What happens in that hearing? How does that go?
DEWINE: Well, typically, you know, this is the initial hearing in regard to possible bond or in regard to, you know, what happens at this point. We would assume -- I have not talked to the prosecuting attorney, David Joyce, yet, but what we would assume is this case would be at some point bound over and he would be tried in all likelihood as an adult.
O'BRIEN: Obviously gun laws have been your issue. What are you doing on that front, sir?
DEWINE: Well, again, we have a task force that we have been working on in the attorney general's office to look at repeat offenders who use guns. But in his case it simply does not apply. There's no indication that -- he's only 17. There's no indication he's a habitual offender. So what we have been looking at which deals with, you know, majority of crime in this country is because caused by people who have had crime in the past. In this case it may not be true. There may not be the predictors we would hope to see to be able to tell what he's going to do in the future.
O'BRIEN: All of these cases you try to figure out what happened, what was really ultimately behind it. Mike DeWine is the Ohio attorney general. Thank you, sir, we appreciate your time.
DEWINE: Thank you.
O'BRIEN: So interesting, isn't it? I covered Columbine. It's just one of those cases that months and even years in the Columbine's case, or decades, actually go by, you start to really piece together what exactly happened. But from what we know, this young man had a really troubled background. His family history was kind of a mess, just a disaster that -- but what led to the immediate act is really unknown that the point.
WILL CAIN, CNN POLITICAL CONTRIBUTOR: Beyond just incredible sadness that's involved in this story, would guest there are going to be two things we're going to wonder about in the future. Facebook page hinted at possible trouble, posts you just read. We're all going to be asking questions and wonder in the future, how much do you monitor Facebook page. What can Facebook page provide as insight into future troubles?
O'BRIEN: And twitter, too. Apparently he was tweeting some very disturbing things.
JENNIFER ROGERS, JOURNALIST, REUTERS: I think the whole thing with social media is interesting when you compare it to Columbine and how long ago it was and now just what it was like yesterday not just at the school but for the whole country as well. It will be interesting to see if there can be lessons land because, as Mike DeWine pointed out, lessons in the school and the school did a good job.
O'BRIEN: You wonder, right, because of course there was no Twitter in Columbine and no lessons learned for how you monitor social media and take those necessarily seriously. Will you put up his Facebook page? You may not be able to read it from a distance. This was a quaint and lonely town sits a man with a frown. No job. No family. No crown. I mean -- his luck had run out.
MARC LAMONT HILL, HOST, "OUR WORLD WITH BLACK ENTERPRISE": These are warning signs. Even before their t. There were social media, social interaction where kids are sending outcries for help. Oftentimes these cries for help are linked to bullying. That's something we have to pay attention to, not only the kids who cry out for help. They say this kid was being picked on for his hair and clothes. That's something that we have come to accept as everyday school life, but it's not.
O'BRIEN: That's what I was asking about the drop-off points, the bus taking kids going to the vocational school and kids going to the school for troubled kids, and the main school. You have to wonder if you have kids who are already sort of struggling, does it makes a lot of sense, would they stick out inherently. Already you have this issue. I wonder if that could add to problems or not.
CAIN: One other element, Soledad, in this story, this part about the teacher I think is pretty amazing, this coach Frank Hall who chased the kid out of the school. I mean, what an amazing -- apparently from the facts we know, what an amazing act.
O'BRIEN: That kid -- that guy is a hero. We'll learn lots more about him in the days to come.
Let's get right to Alina Cho. She's got some of the other headlines making news this morning. Good morning to you.
ALINA CHO, CNN ANCHOR: Hey there, Soledad, good morning to you. The U.N. Human Rights Counsel is meeting today to talk about Syria's government and crimes against humanity. At least 41 people reportedly killed across Syria just this morning as Syria's government continues its latest round of shelling attacks.
A British journalist is wounded in the same shelling attack that killed American journalist Marie Colvin is now reportedly safe in Lebanon after being smuggled out of Syria. Another wounded French reporter is apparently refusing to leave. Our Nic Robinson is live in Beirut with the latest. Nic Good morning to you.
NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Good morning there. We do understand from the activists now to help get to Marie Colvin photographer and bring him to Lebanon. It took several days. Three activists were killed in the operation just to bring him to safety. What the activists are saying is that the other three journalist, the French journalist is very badly wounded in her thigh bone, she and the other two are still in a field hospital in Homs.
This is what the activists tell us that they believe at this time and, of course, they're very, very concerned about how they're going to get these other journalists out at this time. We also understand these journalists have so far refused to get help from the Syrian Red Crescent who went in last night, part of the Red Cross team to try and get them out because they don't want the Syrian authorities to take away all their evidence of what's been happening in Homs. They say they refuse to leave. So the other three at the moment as far as we know still in that neighborhood of Homs.
CHO: All right, Nic Robertson, thank you for the update.
Turning now to our CNN in-depth this week focusing on gas prices. National average rising another two cents to $3.72 cents a gallon according to AAA. The average price of course inching closer and closer to that $4 mark. Rising oil prices due to tensions with Iran are pushing gas prices up here in the United States. And the cost of gas, up more than 12 percent since the beginning of the year.
Voting under way in Michigan right now. It is GOP primary day there and in Arizona. And what happens today could set the tone for super Tuesday next week when voters in ten states go to the polls. The most recent polls show that Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum in a virtual tie in Michigan, Romney's home state. In just a couple of minutes Soledad will talk to former Michigan governor Democrat Jennifer Granholm. She's going to tell us why she thinks blaming President Obama for gas prices could backfire for the GOP big time.
Two California police officers are recovering from injuries after a protest rally turned violent in Sacramento. Officials say a white supremacist group called the South Africa Project clashed at the capital with counter protesters, many of them from the Occupy Oakland movement. One of the injured officers was reportedly hurt by a tear gas canister.
A united airlines plane made a belly flop on the runway at Newark international airport in New Jersey. The pilot was forced to make an emergency landing when the pilot's front landing gear collapsed. And 71 people on board including an infant had to slide out on those emergency chutes. Nobody was hurt.
And for the first time in the history of the Daytona 500 the winner crossed the finish line on a Tuesday. Matt Kenseth took the checkered flag just before 1:00 a.m. eastern. The race was marred by 10 cautions and a terrifying crash that caused a two-hour delay. There you see the beginning of it there. Juan Pablo Montoya slammed into a track drying truck. That triggered a violent explosion. Montoya, shockingly, is OK. He said the crash was caused by some kind of malfunction with his car.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JUAN PABLO MONTOYA, CRASHED AT DAYTONA 500: It's moving and it's moving and it's traveling a lot. It just felt really strange. As I was talking to the radio car just turned right. I didn't think about the truck. I'm hitting the jet. It's not going to be fun.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CHO: He looks incredible. The race was originally scheduled for Sunday afternoon but rain postponed it twice. Then, of course, there was the crash and the 10cautions. The green flag finally dropped after 7:00 p.m. last night, 36 hours later, Soledad.
O'BRIEN: Wow. You know, if you can do a press conference after your big fiery crash, it's all good. It's all good. Alina, thank you, appreciate it.
CHO: You bet.
O'BRIEN: Still ahead this morning on STARTING POINT, the former Michigan governor, Democrat Jennifer Granholm is going to join us and tell us why she thinks today's X factor will be the auto bailout and Mitt Romney's lack of support for it.
Plus, Gordon Gecko's change of heart saying greed isn't good after Michael Douglas is now helping the FBI catch people like the guy he played in "Wall Street."
And here's Jen's play list this morning.
O'BRIEN: We judge harshly here, by the way. Dolly Parton "9:00 to 5:00," more like "2:30 to 9:00."
LAMONT HILL: Exactly.
ROGERS: It's my go-to karaoke song.
LAMONT HILL: (INAUDIBLE). I love Luther Vandross.
LAMONT HILL: I like my mom, but I love Luther Vandross.
O'BRIEN: Yes, yes. I completely agree. That's Luther Vandross starting us off this block. Yes, yes. And that's Marc's pick, but, really, it's all over my iPad, too.
Voting is under way in the State of Michigan. It's Mitt Romney's home state, of course. He won Michigan four years ago against John McCain.
And now the polls are showing him neck and neck with Rick Santorum. One point behind, according to American Research Group. There are 30 delegates at stake in the State of Michigan.
And I spoke to Jennifer Granholm. She's a former Democratic governor of Michigan. She's also the host of Current TV's new show, which is called "The War Room With Jennifer Granholm."
O'BRIEN: Why do you think Mitt Romney is facing such a tough battle in what's considered to be his home state?
JENNIFER GRANHOLM, (D) FORMER MICHIGAN GOVERNOR: That Romney supported a bailout for Wall Street and not for the auto industry in his home state when his father ran an auto company was as though he pierced us when we were on our knees.
And so I think that has a lot to do with the fact that he's not doing well. In addition to all of the, you know, flip-flopping and pretzel spinning that he's been doing about why he took that position.
O'BRIEN: Let's talk a little bit about Michigan, in fact, and the voter population there. I know obviously the voters in Detroit are different than the voters who are in the suburbs who are even different than voters who are on the exurbs. Tell me a little bit about them.
GRANHOLM: Yes. Well, on the - you know, if I - if I held up my Michigan map, Upper and Lower Peninsula, you know, in the Detroit area right here, the Detroit area is largely Democratic.
But, you go up the I-75 Corridor that's Flint, that's Detroit, that's Saginaw, that's where Romney is going to do well because the Republicans that are in those places are more economic conservative.
But if you go to the west of the state and the north, then you would see that it's much more of a social conservative. So you're going to see a split, I think. I mean Michigan's primary will be divided. The delegates will be divided by congressional districts.
So even if Mitt Romney wins the number of votes cast, actually Rick Santorum could come away with more delegates because he may win more congressional districts. The west and the north, I think, play to his favor.
O'BRIEN: The president is running a new ad and it focuses a lot on the auto industry. I'm going to play a little bit of that for you.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Jobs are on the line. Every Republican candidate turned their back, even said "Let Detroit go bankrupt." Not him.
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: Don't bet against the American auto industry.
O'BRIEN: Do you think that there is not as much leverage in that ad? When you look at the poll and you reference this a little bit before, something like only 42 percent of people in the State of Michigan supported the bailout, even now looking back saying that it was successful. Is that a problem?
GRANHOLM: Actually of all voters, it's - it's very popular. But among Republicans, which is, of course, what we care about tomorrow or today, the bailout was a challenge. Nonetheless, people here understand that it worked.
And the thought that - that Mitt Romney would say, Let Detroit go bankrupt in a "New York Times" Op-Ed is really so - so utterly - such an example of pandering to a national audience when he comes from Detroit.
And then when he comes back to Detroit and he says, I love the American car, I've got all these cars and not only that, my wife has two Cadillacs. Then I've got every automaker covered because I've got one from each of the big three. I mean, it's not so much about his wealth, but that he appears to be trying to make up for something that everybody knows he opposed.
So I do think that the president - it all bodes well for the president in a general election. I think that Michigan, unlike in other years where it was a swing state, I think Michigan will be solid blue in November because it worked and Michigan's economy is back on track.
O'BRIEN: How much of a role could gas prices have? Here's what Rick Santorum said about President Obama talking about gas prices.
RICK SANTORUM, (R) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We now have $4 a gallon gasoline and some are suggesting it's going to be $5 and maybe more this year. Why? Because the president is doing nothing to allay the fears of the world that America is going to try and help replace the oil that is tenuous right now in the Middle East.
O'BRIEN: Even people who admit that the White House doesn't directly control the price of gasoline at the pumps will say, hearing the president over the weekend talk about - well, you know, it's not really his fault, about the gas prices, isn't going far enough. Do you think it's a mistake for him to take that position?
GRANHOLM: Well, I mean, it is the truth. I mean, the gas prices are up. Let's be very clear about it, because of the unrest in the Middle East and speculators who are taking advantage of that.
Truly, to blame the president for gas prices, I've said earlier, is like blaming Rudy Giuliani for 9/11. It's ridiculous.
However, people who are putting money into their gas tanks want something done. And who else do you blame but whoever is in charge. The reality is - and the president out there explaining this. That even if - even as he has opened up more oil and gas leases, even as there is more drilling off of the Gulf, if you opened up every potential possibility for drilling, the U.S. Energy Information Agency has said that it would only affect gas prices to the tune of three cents per gallon.
So Newt Gingrich and others who said they want to bring it down to $2.50 when this is a commodity that is traded on world markets is absolutely ridiculous. The president has to get out there and say that, but he also has to say, I understand this hurts.
O'BRIEN: Jennifer Granholm is the former governor of Michigan. It's nice to see you. Thanks for talking with us. I should mention she's also the current TV host of "The War Room with Jennifer Granholm."
Thanks for your time. Appreciate it.
GRANHOLM: You bet.
O'BRIEN: Then we're going to have live coverage of the Arizona and Michigan primaries begins at 6:00 P.M. Eastern tonight and with a special edition of "JOHN KING USA" followed by live coverage of the results which starts at 7:00 p.m. Eastern.
Still ahead this morning on STARTING POINT, following Breaking News, a second student has now died in that Ohio school shooting. We're going to hear from Chardon High School student Nate Mueller, who describes the shooter's silent rampage.
Plus, Rick Santorum is now urging Democrats to vote against Mitt Romney in Michigan's primary. The Romney campaign is calling it a new low. We're going to ask Will Cain what he thinks.
CAIN: A whole lot.
O'BRIEN: So do wish.
Also, we've got Will Cain's play list this morning. Oh, back to Willie Nelson. I love Willie Nelson, but, my God, don't you have anything else in your iPod?
LAMONT HILL: (INAUDIBLE).
CAIN: Let it play for 10 seconds.
O'BRIEN: I know the song.
LAMONT HILL: You only have six songs on your iPod.
O'BRIEN: Yes, it's true.
O'BRIEN: You know, as they say, that wakes you up a little. Nicki Minaj in the morning.
LAMONT HILL: Nicki Minaj does wake you up in the morning.
O'BRIEN: I have no comment on some of things that she's done and Will contrast (ph) (INAUDIBLE). But musically, I like her.
All right. We've been talking a little bit about this big primary day, of course, in Michigan and Arizona.
Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum kind of in a dead heat if you look at the - the margin of error in the polling. And, of course, it's an open primary, which means that all registered voters can cast ballots.
And Rick Santorum has been sending out these robocalls which are not in and of itself unusual, but the robocalls that are going to Democrats to ask Democrats to support him against Mitt Romney. Here's how it goes.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) UNIDENTIFIED MALE: On Tuesday, join Democrats who are going to send a loud message to Massachusetts' Mitt Romney by voting for Rick Santorum for president. This call is supported by hardworking Democratic men and women and paid for by Rick Santorum for president.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O'BRIEN: So, of course, Mitt Romney no surprise is calling it a new low.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He's right. He's absolutely right.
O'BRIEN: Is there a backlash on it? If you're going into Republican primary and you get a robocall that says this is paid for by hardworking Democrats supporting Rick Santorum. Doesn't that sound kind of mixed messages?
WILL CAIN, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Backlash will last one day and one day only, and that day would be today because if anything it's an admission of un-electability.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Exactly.
CAIN: It's an admission that, Democrats, if you want to win, you want Rick Santorum to be Barack Obama's opponent. Yes, you might still beat Mitt Romney, but your odds are a lot better with Rick Santorum.
And if that affects Santorum today in Michigan, Republicans are like what is that? No, we want to win this election. They go vote for Mitt Romney. But tomorrow and a week from now this will be long forgotten. If Rick Santorum wins Michigan, we'll never talk about this again.
MARC LAMONT HILL, PROFESSOR, COLUMBIA UNIVERSITY: I don't think that's true. I think Mitt Romney has been really good at beating his opponents and picking on his opponents when he finds weak spots. And this is a silent vulnerability and if I am Mitt Romney I would beat this like a drum for the rest of the election cycle.
O'BRIEN: But Democrats for Rick Santorum who is supposed to be a real true conservative --
CAIN: You take that wager. You say we'll do this and hopefully win Michigan and this gets drowned out in my victory in Michigan. If he loses, maybe you're right, Mitt Romney can just pound this home.
HILL: That's the one thing I would agree with, Michigan is that high stakes. If you want to take a risk like this, take it in Michigan.
This could be a back breaker in Mitt Romney because if he loses, you can't win you home state, the narrative of him unwinding begins to develop and the next thing you know he could lose out big in the Super Tuesday. JENNIFER ROGERS, ANCHOR, "REUTERS INSIDER": I get why he's doing it, but really why is he doing it? Why not just let the Democrats do it for him. There was already talk out there that people were going to be doing it.
O'BRIEN: Sticking his name on it.
ROGERS: Why go out there and say this is paid for by Rick Santorum. Just like let everybody else do it.
CAIN: You can be kind of that Reagan Democrat model, that I am the blue collar Republican, I'm the blue collar politician, Rick Santorum, I'm here for you auto workers. It didn't say vote for me because I'm less electable. He is trying to play blue collar here maybe Reagan Democrat.
HILL: Let's send a message to Mitt Romney.
O'BRIEN: Let's continue this conversation through the commercial break, but I like the way everybody is getting hot and bothered about it.
Still ahead this morning on STARTING POINT, some breaking news that we have to get to this morning. A second student has now died in that Ohio school shooting.
We're going to hear from another student, Nate Mueller, a bullet grazed his ear in the attack. He knew the suspect, TJ Lane, was close friends with at least one of the victims.
Also, greed apparently not good. Gordon Grekko is now helping the feds get guys like him.
Plus, you might remember her as Claire Huxtable. Phylicia Rashad is going to join us. She'll be here live. You're watching STARTING POINT. We're going to take a short break. We're back in just a moment.
O'BRIEN: Welcome back, everybody. Breaking news to tell you about this morning. A second victim has died in the Ohio school shooting. Now, according to the county medical examiner, Russell King Jr. died at the Metro Health Medical Center where he was being treated for gunshot wounds.
Danny Parmertor was also killed in the attack. There are three other students who have been hurt, Joy Rickers, Nick Walczak and Demetrius Hewlin. Of course, it all started, we were actually on the air when TJ Lane allegedly opened fire at this high school.
It happened yesterday. TJ Lane is expected in court this afternoon. And classes for the roughly 1,150 students at that school have been canceled today. Flags will be lowered across the state.
School shooting is a nightmare for anyone, but certainly for anybody who is in a position of leadership at a school. Principal Steve Perry is a CNN educator. He is a contributor as well and the founder of the Capital Prep Magnet School.
He joins our panel from Hartford. Good morning, Steve. Usually we're talking about education policy. I have to imagine though when you see something like this unfolding, the first thing you think about is your school.
STEVE PERRY, CNN EDUCATION CONTRIBUTOR: Rocks me to my core to think about one of my kids who I welcome every day coming in and hurting some of my other kids, to the point where it kills them.
It's a frightening thing that, honestly, can't be stopped, but can be -- the folks in Chardon did an amazing job of making sure the rest of the children were safe.
O'BRIEN: It sure did. You know, there was a young man who I was talking to, Nick Mueller, one of the things he was telling me was sort of the description of the shooter. It's honestly, almost like a cliche, you know, expressionless, didn't really say anything. Here's what he said.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
O'BRIEN: Tell me a little bit about him.
NATE MUELLER, VICTIM: He was a quiet kid in the past three 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 a normal kid, and well all liked him.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O'BRIEN: You know, that's something I think you hear every time you have a tragedy like this. Some version of that. So what do you do as a principal to monitor and try to watch the kids while also making sure that, you know, you're educating them, which is your first priority?
PERRY: Well, actually, one of the things that we do is we have a pretty large what we call affective side of the house, that means social workers and other people who are there to help children.
In addition that we've designed the school in such a way so that every single child has an adviser so this is someone who communicates on a fairly regular basis with the child on a daily basis and the home on a biweekly basis.
More important than that, we actually go on Facebook. Many of the things that we see happen in the school have a root or have in some way go through Facebook. Our kids are pretty unfiltered on the internet fortunately, unfortunately. So we find out a lot about what they're dealing with through those various avenues.
O'BRIEN: OK, so let me show you a little bit of TJ Lane's Facebook post. I think it was right from the end of December and it's kind of bizarre.
It goes like this, "In a quaint lonely town sits a man with a frown, no job, no family, no crown. His luck had run out, lost and alone. He longed only for one thing, the world to bow at his feet. Feel death, not just mocking you. Not just stalking you but inside of you. Die, all of you."
So would be you say things like that so that your teachers would say, listen, we now know what student x is saying and it's kind bizarre?
PERRY: Absolutely. In fact, one of the things that happened to us not long ago was a child had posted something and his mom found it. And she contacted the child's adviser, meaning each teacher has a dual responsibility as adviser and teacher.
By 8:00 a.m. that morning that child was in a facility receiving the support that he needed because children are often far more expressive than we give them credit. We just don't listen. They're all about the symptom.
If you look at the children, some of them are withdrawn, some of them are disengaged. Some of them become volatile towards their parents. These are sure signs of a child who is doing something or grappling with something bigger than them.
So parents, you have to look at the signs. Again, I don't want to say that this parent or these parents had anything to do with this horrible tragedy. Sometimes, as I said earlier, someone just goes too far and we're here.
In the meantime, there are some signs that you can look for to monitor what's going on inside your home. And then within the school we have to design schools so that we can engage the children where they are.
Too often we leave children to feel like they're isolated. That's where this starts to fester, when children feel like they're isolated.
O'BRIEN: We're going to talk in our next hour about really heroic acts, I thought, by some of the teachers in this school and we bring Steve Perry back to talk to us. Thank you, Steve.
Other headlines making news. Alina has got that for us. Hi, Alina.
ALINA CHO, CNN ANCHOR: Hi there, Soledad. Good morning. An incredible video from a deadly crash on the interstate. So fiery it actually melted pavement. A tanker truck crashing and bursting into a fireball.
It happened on I-94 in Wisconsin, killing the driver. Police say the tanker was hauling about 7,500 gallons of fuel when it crossed the median and crashed. The accident closed both directions of the highway for hours. The bodies of two senior U.S. officers who were killed Friday inside Afghanistan's Interior Ministry have come home. The caskets of Air Force Lieutenant Colonel John Loftis and Army Major Robert Marcanty arrived at Dover Air Force Base in Delaware yesterday. They were gunned down in retaliation for that Koran burning at a U.S. base.
A French fishing boat now telling the cruise ship carrying 1,000 people including eight Americans had been stranded in the pirate infested waters off the Indian Ocean after an engine room fire on the Italian Costa Allegra cruise liner yesterday. Passengers and crew were actually trapped in the dark because the ship's power shut down. Everyone is safe.
Minding your business this morning. Gordon Gekko now saying greed not good. Michael Douglas who played Gekko in the famous movie "Wall Street" is now helping the feds tackle fraud and he made this PSA for the FBI.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MICHAEL DOUGLAS, ACTOR: Hello, I'm Michael Douglas. In the movie "Wall Street" I played Gordon Gekko, a greedy corporate executive who cheated to profit while innocent investors lost their savings. The movie was fiction, but the problem is real. Our economy is increasingly dependent on the success and the integrity of the financial markets. If a deal looks too good to be true, it probably is.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CHO: The FBI also announced that in the past fiscal year, 241 corporate criminals were convicted and it secured $2.4 billion in restitution for victims.
All those beautiful beaches and sunny weather apparently making life brighter for Hawaiians. That's right a new Gallup well- being poll shows it's the happiest place to live because Hawaiians are less stressed and depressed than people living in other parts of the United States. They report better eating and exercise habits, which helps boost their mind. That's a really big surprise.
O'BRIEN: Yes. Guess what, if I lived in Hawaii, I would be happy, too.
CHO: New York, by the way, New York, you would think at the bottom of the list. Not so.
CHO: -- in the middle. West Virginia has that distinction.
O'BRIEN: I would think we would be higher up. You're here because you love it. Someone break into "New York, New York" for me. Thank you, Alina. Still ahead this morning on STARTING POINT, we told you about the bodies of two men, both fathers returning home from Afghanistan. They were killed by an Afghan who was trained by the U.S. This morning we'll talk to the Representative Adam Smith who has held a hearing on insider attacks.
Then, of course, who could forget her. Claire Huxtable, Phylicia Rashad is going to join us up next. Play out with Usher.
O'BRIEN: Phylicia Rashad became famous around the world playing TV mom, Claire Huxtable, on "The Cosby Show," which ran from 1984 to 1992. Of course, she's a star of the stage as well. In 2004, she was the first African-American actress to win a best actress Tony award for her performance in "A Raisin in the Sun." Now she's in Tyler Perry's film called "Good Deeds." This Wednesday and Thursday, on New York Public Radio, she's going to play in a radio adaptation of "Their Eyes Were Watching God." One of my very favorites. It's the 75th anniversary of that publication.
It's nice to have you come in to talk to us.
PHYLICIA RASHAD, ACTRESS: Thank you.
O'BRIEN: It's such an interesting idea, a radio adaptation of that. It's a book that was written in the mid to latish '30s. Do you think it's still relevant today?
RASHAD: It's good literature. Good literature is always relevant, isn't it?
O'BRIEN: Yes. I know the right answer is yes.
Yes, it is.
I was an English Lit major. I should be able to answer that.
What do you love about that? It's such a great, great story.
RASHAD: Isn't it?
RASHAD: And when you read it, did you feel that thaw could see everything that you were reading?
O'BRIEN: Yes, she was a beautiful writer. Really, until alike Walker brought her back, you never thought about that book much at all.
RASHAD: She was a -- she was very descriptive. Very good at that.
O'BRIEN: Do you -- when you are in Tyler Perry's new movie, "Good Deeds," it really is, I think it's kind of about race and class to some degree. Is that something that's interesting to you sort of outside the realm of art and literature? Are you thinking about it today? and it's politics basically today?
RASHAD: Race and class, race and class. Race to class.
O'BRIEN: It's a little bit --
RASHAD: I tell you, it's race and class and changing from race and class to race to class so that you will learn something.
O'BRIEN: Sadly, that's not what I --
O'BRIEN: Good point though.
RASHAD: No, no, no. This is a -- this is a spiral that just keeps going on. So that lets me know there's no end game out of that one so I'm not going to go in there.
O'BRIEN: All right.
I like someone who is going to dodge my question, but tell me --
O'BRIEN: -- respectfully, I'm dodging your question.
RASHAD: No, I'm not dodging your question. I'm really answering your question. You asked me was it of interest to me.
O'BRIEN: Yes, you're not. It's not --
RASHAD: No, no, no.
What's interesting to me is how humanity creates this maze for itself, is how we continue to create this foggy thought in which we see ourselves separate from each other. This is amazing to me. After how many millions of years in existence on the planet, after how many great civilizations have come and gone, how many inventions, how many discoveries, and yet we continue to do the same thing.
O'BRIEN: I feel like I'm being chided.
And you asked that question.
RASHAD: What question did you ask me?
O'BRIEN: Let me ask you a question. Let me ask you this question. When you see -- SNL did a send-up, which was -- I don't know if you had a chance. Did you see this?
CAIN: I saw that.
O'BRIEN: Oh, my god, it was so cute. Let's play a little bit of it first.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O'BRIEN: That's Maya Rudolph playing you.
RASHAD: Oh, my God.
O'BRIEN: There are people who said -- I think it was Karl Rove, who said this, this is what paved the way for the Obama presidency.
RASHAD: Did he say that?
O'BRIEN: I believe so.
RASHAD: He said so many things.
I'd rather not listen to it.
I think that "Saturday Night Live" did what it does. It made good sport of everything. And, whereas, people will get a chuckle and a laugh out of it. Having spent years with Mr. Cosby, my mind goes another way. I think, you're marginalizing too many things. You're marginalizing the president's level of intelligence and preparation and his ability to hold office and to govern.
O'BRIEN: So "The Cosby Show" was not directly responsible for the president taking office?
RASHAD: Why would you give American people the credit that he deserves, that we are intelligent people and can cast a good vote? Why not call it like it really is?
O'BRIEN: I like it.
This is a feisty interview early this morning.
It's so nice to have you.
As you know, over the years, we've done a lot of interviews. I'm a huge, huge fan. I'm going to go see "Good Deeds."
RASHAD: Oh, good.
O'BRIEN: Thank you for coming in to talk to us. We appreciate it.
Although, I think she slapped me on my hand.
RASHAD: No. No.
O'BRIEN: Totally. Yes, I did.
Still ahead this morning on STARTING POINT, stopping insider attacks by Afghan forces, who have been trained by the United States. The issue has been magnified now after the death of two U.S. offices who were killed during those Koran burning protests. We're going to talk to Congressman Adam Smith up next.
Stay with us. We're back in a moment.
O'BRIEN: The bodies of two Americans killed in Afghanistan are back home this morning, victims of backlash for the burning of Korans. We've seen the protests in Afghanistan intensify this week. Military insists that U.S. and Afghan relations are not in crisis, even in spite of these pictures that you're seeing.
Let's get right to Democratic Congressman Adam Smith, from Washington. He's a ranking Democrat on the Armed Services Committee.
It's nice to see you, sir. Thanks very much for being with us.
REP. ADAM SMITH, (D), WASHINGTON: Thanks for having me on.
O'BRIEN: What was your take away from these hearings where you were trying to figure out the best way to eliminate the threat of attacks from some of the troops that are being trained by the United States? SMITH: Well, certainly, we need to do more in terms of screening, who comes into the Afghan national security forces, who contracts for them. Make sure that we have some background.
Second, we need to identify problems sooner. People who look like it could be -- have a potential conflict and remove them from the situation.
But even if you do all of that, this is a very, very difficult situation. It's a volatile country. And it is a problem to have almost 100,000 U.S. troops in that country fighting in a war. These conflicts are difficult. I think it points up the necessity of, as soon as possible, turning over authority for governance and security to the Afghan people and pulling our troops out. It's a very hostile situation and there is no way to completely solve this kind of problem.
O'BRIEN: Here's what Jay Carney said during a White House press conference. Listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JAY CARNEY, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: It is important to remember that 95 to 97 percent of the missions the U.S. forces embark on in Afghanistan, they do so with their Afghan partners. We're talking about thousands and thousands of operations that proceed successfully with Afghan partners.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O'BRIEN: So you talk a little bit about how one important role is vetting everybody ahead of time, but what's the role of understanding culture, do you think? And is that done as well as it could be done?
SMITH: Well, it's important. It's something we've worked on, particularly in the last two or three years, trying to -- I've been to training centers in our military bases here in the U.S. that train specifically for that.
But, look, there's a limitation. It is a vastly, vastly different culture. Our servicemen and women do an amazing job of understanding it, of working with the local Afghan people, of understanding what their concerns are. But there's no way to perfectly do that. We're talking about two vastly different cultures.
And, again, I think it points up the need overall to get us to the point where we can get our troops out of that country and turn over responsibility to the Afghan people.
O'BRIEN: But how often --
SMITH: It's a very different and difficult place. O'BRIEN: When there are attacks, and I think there's something like 42, how often are those attacks based on some kind of Taliban infiltration and how often is it just almost like a personal conflict?
SMITH: Well, according to the military, it's more the latter than the former. More often, it is a conflict between the Afghan and the U.S. forces that arises out of some of the cultural stuff, a whole bunch of different things. Sometimes it's Taliban infiltration. More often, it's the conflict you talk about. As I've said, those things are difficult to avoid.
But, look, the president has put us on a realistic path here. The goal in Afghanistan and Pakistan is to stop al Qaeda and the Taliban from being in a position to threaten us. The president has aggressively prosecuted that war, taken out bin Laden, taken out a lot of the senior members of al Qaeda, pushed the Taliban back in parts of the country. He's been as aggressive as he needs to be. But at some point, responsibility has to be turned over to the Afghan people. It's critically important that we move in that direction, we give them the greater responsibility and begin to draw down our forces.
O'BRIEN: Congressman Adam Smith is a Democrat from the state of Washington.
It's nice to see you, sir. Thank you for being with us.
SMITH: Thank you.
O'BRIEN: STARTING POINT continues in our next hour. We're back in a moment.