Return to Transcripts main page


Jovan Belcher Commits Suicide; Egypt's Demonstrations; Beckham's Last Game

Aired December 1, 2012 - 16:00   ET


DEBORAH FEYERICK, CNN ANCHOR: It is the top of the hour, and you are all in the "CNN Newsroom." I'm Deborah Feyerick.

Well, tragedy strikes the NFL today, the Kansas City chief's linebacker Jovan Belcher has apparently committed suicide, after allegedly killing his girlfriend. Belcher allegedly shot his girlfriend multiple times at the couple's home. He then apparently drove to a practice facility at the Chief's Arrow head Stadium, walked up to the coach and general manager and pulled the trigger, after thanking them for what they had done for him.

Last hour, I spoke to Mark McMillian, a former Chief's player. He says he's trying to make sense of it all.


MARK MCMILLIAN, FORMER CHIEF'S PLAYER: I am kind of at a loss for words, it is - no one knows what was going on in that young man's mind at that particular time. First, I would like to say my prayers, and condolences go out to the family, his girlfriend as well - I want to send my prayers out to them. But like I said, it is a tough situation, and you know, to hear something like that for the young man, actually go to the facility of his work place and do that, is kind of - you know, you kind of wonder what is going through his mind on his way to the facility. And what was his main goal, or what was his purpose, of you know, taking his life in front of his coaches?


FEYERICK: Now the team released a statement just a short time ago. It says in part, "The entire Chief's family is saddened by today's events. Our collective hearts are heavy with sympathy, thoughts and prayers for the family and friends affected by this unthinkable tragedy. Of course, we'll continue to fully cooperate with authorities and reach out and work to ensure that the appropriate counseling resources are available to all members of the Chief's organization."

Well, a double decker tour bus slams into an overpass at the Miami International Airport. Two people are dead, 30 others, many of them elderly were treated for injuries after the crash which happened about 8:00 this morning. It is still not clear why the driver tried to maneuver the nine-foot tall bus over an overpass that was just eight and a half feet high. Well, in Egypt, thousands once again are crowding into the streets of Cairo. The demonstrations are both for and against President Mohamed Morsi. Morsi announced today that Egyptians will vote in two weeks to approve or reject the new constitution. Those who opposed Morsi set up tents in Tahrir Square, and are protesting what they call his recent undemocratic power grab.

Two days after internet and phone service crashed across most of Syria, coverage was restored today. But who actually caused the widespread outage. That is not clear. The government points the finger at rebels but an internet security firm says it was most certainly the work of Bashar al-Assad's regime. Meanwhile, opposition activists say at least 73 people have been killed today in Syria, most of them in and around Damascus and in Aleppo.

CNN's Arwa Damon visited Aleppo, and found a microcosm of a nation gripped by civil war.


ARWA DAMON, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): To the tune of "Jingle Bell," a chant in Aleppo, with original lyrics.

Hand in hand, we are all hand in hand, they say, until we get rid of Assad, the only monkey. The bulk of the crowd here pro democracy but also some carrying black flags, the Islamists. At the mic (INAUDIBLE) an Islamist declares -

Let's agree that each has a right to their perspective.

A show of unity, but later Islamist groups take up their own chant.

The people want an Islamic state.

When we say we want an Islamic state, it means that every citizen will have their rights, (INAUDIBLE) tells us. Islam respects the rights of others, but according to their own interpretation. One of the Islamists (INAUDIBLE) a member of the CNN team here, "I should cover my hair." Twenty-five-year-old Hussain says the Islamists are being nurtured by outside forces but he is not worried that they will take over the country.

Syria is beautiful, a nation of many colors, he says, whether they like it or not.

What we just witnessed is a microcosm of a larger dynamic in Syria, and the country's future challenges, amidst the calls of the downfall of the regime, criticism of some rebel units.

They looted and called it spoils of war. This is not right, (INAUDIBLE) declares. This affects the revolution. We can't have fees in the army for freedom, he adds.

In streets that were once deserted, families pick their way through rubble. Traffic has increased in front of the (INAUDIBLE) Hospital, the main hospital for the wounded here, bombed last week. (on camera): There used to be a government checkpoint just down the road here. This is one of the first neighborhoods that saw fierce clashes between rebel fighters and government forces. It is also, we're being told, the first neighborhood to fall to the Free Syrian Army.

And around three weeks ago, residents began to feel confident enough to return. And now in the streets we're seeing a fair amount of activity, and we are naturally drawing quite a bit of people's curiosity.

(voice-over): But real safety? That is still a long way off. This week, a regime air strike took out a water main cutting off supplies to some homes. Children gather, among them, 14-year-old Hamza with his container.

He says he was wounded in the village that his family fled to for safety. Up the road, a desperate crowd clamors for bread. Prices have doubled at this bakery. In other parts of the city, it costs even more if available at all.

(INAUDIBLE) waited for three hours, her husband was wounded after they returned. And she has three children to feed.

What can I do? Say I am afraid, are my children not going to eat, she says? Amid all the destruction and the threat of more, valiant efforts to start repairs. With winter closing in, these people gamble, the relative safety of escape, or the promise of shelter. And came back to their homes. A different landscape but the same lottery of survival.

Arwa Damon, CNN, Aleppo.


FEYERICK: Well, North Korea says it will launch a rocket capable of carrying a satellite into orbit. The time-table? Sometime in the next three weeks, some countries including the U.S. see this is a cover for a possible ballistic missile test, if it succeeds it may show that North Korea has the ability to deliver a nuclear bomb. The State Department calls it "a highly provocative act."

In soccer, he is one of the all-time greats, but today he playing his last game. We're going live to Los Angeles for the end of an era in soccer.

And surveillance video from a Maryland convenience store may hold the second half of the secret to who won last week's half a billion dollar Powerball jackpot.


FEYERICK: Well, it is the end of an era in sports, can you guess why? Fans are saying it all. Soccer icon David Beckham is playing the final game of his career today in Los Angeles, with the L.A. Galaxy. Paul Vercammen is in the middle of it all and Paul, is it fair to say that this is an historic day for soccer, not only in the U.S. but worldwide?

PAUL VERCAMMEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, absolutely, because now the speculation has started, where will David Beckham go next? And among the countries that are being mentioned possibly Australia, and as you behind me, Deb, fans piling in here.

You know, before David Beckham came in, I don't think you would see all the pomp and circumstance for an MLS final you're seeing today. The blimp is in the air. Gerard Butler, the actor, is here. A lot of these people super fired up and the Galaxy fans, of course, hoping that David Beckham leaves with a victory, and the dynamo fans are the ones you can see passing behind me in the orange. They're ardent supporters as well. And they want to see the dynamo pull out with another victory.

And over here to the right, international media teams, Al Jazeera among others, really a lot more firepower and interest in this than you ever would have seen as we said more than six years ago, when David Beckham came to the league, Deb.

FEYERICK: You know, Paul, why is he - is it he is not going to play altogether? Is he taking other opportunities? Does he want to go to management? Why this decision? It's not sports related injuries or heaven (INAUDIBLE) age, is it?

VERCAMMEN: Well, age is a factor, but let's go to all of the above, he is interested in management. And we could easily see him managing or coaching a team down the road. He has a clause that would allow him at one point, to have ownership in an MLS team. Also though I believe he is going to end up somewhere overseas and play for a year, maybe two. That's the (INAUDIBLE) made that suggestion that he had made in a press conference earlier this week. And that is why so many people around the globe, many supporters of other teams are crossing their fingers, hoping that Becks, as he is called, lands on their team.

FEYERICK: So, you know, he has meant so much to the sport. You know, when he left Europe, people were not quite sure that he would get up all the energy up here in the United States. There were less than 12 teams. Now there is almost double that. What is his legacy here in the United States when it comes to soccer?

VERCAMMEN: Part of it is just what you said, Deb, that there are now more teams, also, soccer was sort of - well, in the back waters sort of. Because the games that were being played in the MLS, in football, stadiums as well and they weren't quaint and they weren't like the stadiums in Europe where the fans are very close to the field. If you look behind me the Home Depot Center, it is a soccer only stadium, very intimate, great setting.

Now, there were only four stadiums in the MLS that were soccer only. Beckham leaves? And that number is going to soon swell to 15. So that is also considered to be a remarkable achievement by Beckham, or at least it happened during his era, granted many people would say soccer is starting to naturally grow in the U.S. anyway. Deb.

FEYERICK: All right. Well, listen, if you see Gerard Butler, just say hello for me. He doesn't know who I am. OK. Thanks, Paul.

VERCAMMEN: OK. I promise.

FEYERICK: Thank you. It's a mission. OK, go ahead, go.

All right. Well, a guy walks into a Maryland convenience store and take his Powerball ticket, but instead of tearing it up and tossing it in the trash like most people who played the $550 million jackpot, he dashes out of the store, then he dashes back in. And muttering something about a date with Beyonce. Now the place is buzzing whether the mystery man really is a multi-millionaire.

CNN's Brian Todd reports.


BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The usual midday buzz at a gas station convenience store. On this surveillance video, the buzz starts really humming. This mystery man at an Exxon station in upper Marlboro, Maryland Thursday checks a Powerball ticket with the manager, Negassi Ghebre.

(on camera): And you're saying, what did you say?

NEGASSI GHEBRE, MANAGER; I say he got, it I said. That's the right number.

TODD (voice-over): The man may be the Arizona winner of the Powerball drawing, could be holding a ticket worth nearly $200 million. Customer Bill Kilby was right next to him.

BILL KILBY, WITNESS: I asked him and I said "Well, the winning ticket was from Arizona." And he said "Well, I just got back from there" and said he was in the military.

TODD: The winning ticket was bought at a convenience store near Phoenix. When he found out back in Maryland, the apparent winner sure made an impression with the cashier, Kamran Afgan.

KAMRAN AFGAN, CASHIER: He hit really bad to the counter, like really bad news and said "Oh, my god," really hard. I'm scared, I think he would have a heart attack.

TODD: Afgan says the man ran out and then came back realizing he had forgotten to get his gas, but who is he? So far we don't have a name.

(on camera): This is the spot where all the excitement took place. The counter, the machine that printed out ticket where the man checked his numbers, but it's on the surveillance tape where you can pick up a couple more clues about the guy and about his behavior here.

(voice-over): On the video, we see him before he finds out giving some cash to a young man who doesn't have enough for his purchase. We see the man's car pulling out but can't make out his license plate. A witness says he may have had a Virginia Department of Transportation logo on the back of his vest. We searched for that logo and found a pattern that looks similar. A spokeswoman for that agency says it does look like one of their vests, maybe worn by somebody in their safety service patrol. But they don't know he this man is. We do know he has a sense of humor.

(on camera): How did his behavior change once he figured out he may have won?

KILBY: I don't know. The last comment I heard is he had enough money to ask Beyonce out so I guess he was pretty happy about it.

TODD (voice-over): We cannot say with certainty that this was the Arizona winner. An Arizona lottery official tells us no one has come forward yet to redeem the winning ticket. The person has 180 days to do that and has to redeem it in Arizona or mail it in.

Brian Todd, CNN, Upper Marlboro, Maryland.


FEYERICK: Well, often ordinary people do extraordinary things, when they do like this former Army dog trainer they can become a CNN hero. We'll go live to Los Angeles to preview tomorrow night's award ceremony.


FEYERICK: So often, the people who make the biggest difference in the world and their communities go unnoticed. Well, tomorrow night, CNN will honor some of them for their outstanding deeds. We call them heroes, because that's what we believe they are. Kareen Wynters joins us from Los Angeles and give us a snapshot about some of the incredible things they've done.

KAREEN WYNTERS, CNN ENTERTAINMENT CORRESPONDENT: Well, they have definitely gotten the attention of our top 10 heroes from 2011, so you know that has to be a great thing. Deb. In fact, over the last several days, I've had a chance to speak with some of our 2011 honorees and they have just been beaming about the inspirational work of our 2012 honorees. Honorees who just They spoke to others, and shared their stories of courage and inspiration. We're talking about people like Wanda Butts.

She's from Toledo, Ohio, and you know, she turned tragedy, Deb, into triumph, after losing her teenage son in a drowning accident several years ago. Instead of sitting back doing nothing she started the Josh Project in her community to help minority kids learn how to swim. So every day that she is out there she is saving lives. But we don't just have heroes here in the States, we have international heroes such as (INAUDIBLE). He is coming all the way from South Africa. He felt the need after apartheid there to help hundreds of kids and teens in impoverished slums by providing academic resources, meals, activities, you name it just to help to give them a fresh start. So Deb, it gives you a snap shot of just the powerful players out there that we'll be spotlighting with "CNN heroes: An All Star Tribute," and I got to tell you, we're honoring those in 2012. We're also going way back and you know, really reflecting on those who did tremendous jobs. It has been such a treat here speaking to heroes, honorees, all day long. We're also going to be talking to Dan (INAUDIBLE), he is coming up the next hour. He has looked at as such a community crusader, by building homes for vets returning from war, here on the front lines - so just keep continuing, you know, they don't just have their moment in the spotlight and it ends. It is a never ending network and collaboration to continue doing that important work ahead. Deb.

FEYERICK: Kareen, thank you so much and isn't it amazing - I don't know about you but every time I watch these folks I really just want to do something -- I want to do something that really kind, you know, helps people, makes a difference. Well, thank you so much, really appreciate your great reporting on all of this.

And of course, tomorrow, all of you can watch the "CNN Heroes" pre- show, that is what we'll be doing. It is called "Sharing The Spotlight." It is on at 8:00 Eastern and then of course, the main event. Bring your tissues and bring some popcorn, and bring the spirit of hope. "CNN Heroes, An All Star Tribute," that is at 9:00 p.m. Eastern.

Well, adopting a child is an amazing way to build a family. But when mom and dad are a different race than the kids it can also be very challenging. We got one family's story.


FEYERICK: Well, families looking to adopting a child have tons of issues to deal with, and for some that even includes race. Some question is adoption across racial lines really in the best interest of the child, if the child will be able to understand his or her true cultural identity.

Jason Carroll has more.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Some protestors went home -

JASON CARROLL, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Frank Somerville is a news anchor in Oakland, California. He is used to hearing from the public, but when he posted a picture doing his daughter's hair on Facebook, he and his wife, Donna, were overwhelmed.

FRANK SOMERVILLE, ADOPTED A BLACK DAUGHTER: The Facebook page just lit up and kept going, and going.

DONNA WRIGHT SOMERVILLE, ADOPTED A BLACK DAUGHTER: I think it hit a racial cord, and also hit a father-daughter chord.

CARROLL: Eight years ago, the Somerville adopted Callie, a decision that raised tough questions about themselves.

FRANK SOMERVILLE: We also thought, you know, there is a baby out there that needs a mommy and a daddy. If we all of a sudden back out because we're scared that this happens to be a black baby, what does that say about us?

CARROLL: They cherish watching Callie's playtime with older sister, Sydney but know that as Callie gets older there will likely be unique challenges. Studies show trans-racial adoptees can experience a lack of cultural identity.

MARCUS SAMUELSSON, AUTHOR "YES CHEF": We dealt with it, my mom always turned everything that was an obstacle into confidence.

CARROLL: Facing identity issues head on helped world renowned chef Marcus Samuelsson. He's Ethiopian, adopted by Swedish parents.