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McAfee Back in the US Today; Syrian Regime Fires Scud Missiles; Mall Killer's Final Days

Aired December 13, 2012 - 05:30   ET




ZORAIDA SAMBOLIN, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): Unpaid and undocumented. An intern with a criminal past faces deportation after he is found working for a U.S. senator.

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): Batter and fighting back. How a brave young woman used Facebook to single out the man she says attacked --


And a weighty question. Hear what New Jersey's Chris Christie has to say when Barbara Walters asks if he is too heavy to be president?

BERMAN: Quite an exchange.


SAMBOLIN (on-camera): Yes. Quite a talker this morning. Welcome back to EARLY START. Happy you're with us. I'm Zoraida Sambolin.

BERMAN (on-camera): And I'm John Berman. It's great to see you. Thirty-one minutes after the hour right now.

We still do not know why a 22-year-old sandwich shop clerk decided to put on a hockey mask and open fire on holiday shoppers at a Portland area mall, but, we are learning more about gunman, Jacob Roberts, and the two people he killed. An ex-girlfriend says the usually happy Roberts quit his job last week and announced he was moving to Hawaii.

He never made it. Instead, police say he entered to the Clackamas Town Center Mall Tuesday, killed a dedicated hospice nurse and a respected former radio executive and critically wounded a 15-year-old girl. Then, he turned the gun on himself.

Dan Simon live from suburban Portland this morning. And Dan, what else do we know about the gunman at this point and have they talked about any possible motive yet?

DAN SIMON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, good morning, John. You know, no real obvious warning signs, you know, the things you would look for a criminal history, a violent past. We haven't seen anything like that. But, you know, there have been some disturbing hints about his psychological wellbeing.

Friends say if you look on his Facebook page, you'll see the slogan that will say "Follow your dreams," with the stamp over it saying, "Canceled." And then, you talk about these reports that, you know, he was talking to friends that he inherited a bunch of money and he was planning to move to Hawaii, and you know, that's not grounded in any truth.

But when you talk to his friends, everyone seems generally shocked that the person they remembered as sort of this happy-go-lucky popular kid in high school could do such a heinous act. Here's what an ex- girlfriend told ABC. Take a look.


HANNAH PATRICIA SANSBURN, EX-GIRLFRIEND OF JACOB ROBERTS: This is the last thing I would have ever expected, especially from him. He was just too sweet. Never mean to anybody.


SIMON: Well, we're also getting a better sense of the victims this morning. Such heartbreak, you know, taken in this incident. Fifty- four-year-old Cindy Yuille. She's a mother and dedicated hospice nurse. And also 45-year-old Steve Forsyth, a father of two, coach of his kid's little league team, a respected executive in the Portland area. A former co-worker is speaking out.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He told me, Felix there's two types of people in this world. There's dream makers and there's dream breakers. And he said I'm a dream maker. Go live out your dreams.


SIMON: Well, we're also getting an update about the 15-year-old girl who was wounded during the attack. She is in the hospital but expected to survive. She was shot in the torso. The bullet bruised her lung but had missed any vital organs. And, just months ago, she survived another ordeal when her van -- when the van she was riding in was struck by a drunken driver. That driver was killed, but she survived. I mean, just incredible -- John.

BERMAN: She is a survivor. Glad to hear she is in stable and improving condition. Dan Simon outside Portland, Oregon, thanks very much.

SAMBOLIN: Thirty-four minutes past the hour. A Missouri beating victim fighting back on Facebook.

Twenty-three-year-old Amber Taylor posted this picture of her bruised and battered face on her boyfriend's Facebook page while she was in the hospital. She said she wanted everyone to know that he beat her with a baseball bat after he found out she was sending texts to another man. Her boyfriend, 19-year-old Austin McCauley, pleaded not guilty to second-degree domestic assault.

BERMAN (voice-over): After weeks on the run and several days behind bars in Guatemala, computer security tycoon John McAfee is back in the U.S. this morning. McAfee says Guatemalan authorities refused his request for asylum and kicked him out of the country placing him on a flight to Miami. Now, right after his flight arrived in the U.S., McAfee thought he'd be facing more legal trouble right here at home.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They said, "Is John McAfee on the plane? Please come forward." And there were some officers, they thought, gee, this is continuing, and they said, we're here to help you, sir, please come with us.


BERMAN: This is such a twisted story. McAfee says he's willing to talk to authorities from Belize about the death of his neighbor there, but he'll do the talking right here in the U.S., he says.

SAMBOLIN: An embarrassing situation for Senator Robert Menendez of New Jersey. Federal immigration officials have arrested an unpaid intern who worked in a Democrat's office. They say the young man is undocumented. He's an immigrant from Peru and that he is a registered sex offender as well. He remains on custody, and he is facing deportation.

BERMAN: Elizabeth Warren is on the fast track to join the Senate Banking Committee this after the Democratic steering committee recommended the incoming Massachusetts senator for this position. The full Senate still has to approve this when it convenes next month. This is mostly a formality.

Warren has a notable -- she has a notable background as a consumer advocate, and of course, she's pushed for much tougher regulations for Wall Street.

SAMBOLIN: You can add fascinating to the list of adjectives that have now been used to describe New Jersey governor, Chris Christie. Christie has been chosen by Barbara Walters as one of her 10 most fascinating people of 2012.

And listen to Christie's response when Walters delicately asked him why he's so overweight.


GOV. CHRIS CHRISTIE, (R) NEW JERSEY: If I could figure that out, I could fix it.

BARBARA WALTERS, HOST, "THE VIEW": Do you try to diet?

CHRISTIE: Barbara, I've had more diets and lost and gained back more weight in my lifetime than I care to count.

WALTERS: There are people who say that you couldn't be president because you're so heavy. What do you say to --

CHRISTIE: That's ridiculous. I mean, that's ridiculous. People watched me for the last number of weeks in hurricane Sandy doing 18- hour days. So, I don't really think that would be a problem.


SAMBOLIN: So, in case you were wondering, Barbara Walter's most fascinating person of the year is disgraced former CIA director, David Petraeus.

BERMAN: Fascinating means a lot of things, clearly.

SAMBOLIN: Oh, yes.

BERMAN: Thirty-seven minutes after the hour. The Assad regime taking the war on its own people to a whole new level. The new thing now in play, apparently, in Syria coming up.

SAMBOLIN: Plus, when the majority becomes a minority. More on census projections and a shift in America.


SAMBOLIN: Welcome back. Forty minutes past the hour. The Assad regime in Syria appears to be pushing new limits in its battle to hang on to power. U.S. intelligence confirms that Syria launched four short-range scud missiles from the region around Damascus into Northern Syria presumably targeting rebels trying to overthrow the regime.

This military assault is the latest bid by Assad to up the ante in this very long civil war. Foreign affairs correspondent Jill Dougherty is at the State Department with more this morning. What do you have for us, Jill?

JILL DOUGHERTY, CNN FOREIGN AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT: Well, Zoraida, you know, the significance of this really is that with the gains that the rebels are making, these are very lethal weapons, the scuds. And so, that's a sign, as they have been making grounds, that the regime of Bashar al Assad is taking more and more serious weapons, more lethal weapons to counter that.

Now, these were fired toward the north, toward the Turkish border. And in fact, it was pointed out they came close, but they didn't go over the border, and that's significant because, remember, just last week, NATO approved patriot missile -- anti-missile defenses that will be installed in Turkey.

And that, the United States will be doing that, so will Germany, and the Dutch. And then, finally, Zoraida, another point to this, as we were talking with experts, you can actually put chemical weapons on scuds. That, apparently, has not been done but that was a concern. Remember, just a week or two ago about the chemical weapons. So far, it's conventional, but that's another very worrisome thing.

SAMBOLIN: All right. Jill Dougherty live at the State Department, thank you.

BERMAN: We have some new numbers out from the U.S. Census Bureau this morning. The agency predicts that by 2043, White people will no longer make up the majority of Americans. That's based on figures gathered during the 2010 census. The U.S. population currently stands at 315 million people.

It's expected to cross the 400 million thresholds in 2051. And officials say that by 2060, the U.S. population will be considerably older and much more racially and ethnically diverse.

SAMBOLIN: I was about to ask you how you feel about that.


BERMAN: I'm fine with it.

SAMBOLIN: Crazy question, right?


BERMAN: I'm fine with it.

SAMBOLIN: We've been talking about this for a while, how the world is changing and also the browning of America. And we were talking about this on Soledad's show that a lot of kids are mixed now. So the whole identification thing also is really kind of fascinating. So I think there's a big shift and a big change coming about. A lot of dialogue will happen, don't you think?


BERMAN: Let's talk about it.

SAMBOLIN: All right. Forty-two minutes past the hour. We also have some incredible video to show you. It is surveillance video of a tornado lifting up a truck and tossing it around as if it were a toy. The story behind the pictures coming up.

BERMAN: Holy cow!

Plus, some incredible swagger from NASA this morning. They're already saying "I told you so" to the folks who think the world is going to end on December 21st.



BERMAN: It's really, really funny. Stay with us.


BERMAN: Forty-seven minutes after the hour right now. A perfect time for a look at the top stories. Christine Romans is here with that.


You know, police still don't know why 22-year-old Jacob Roberts killed two people in a packed suburban Portland mall on Tuesday. An ex- girlfriend says the sandwich clerk quit his job last week and decided he was moving to Hawaii, but he never left town. And there's an update on the condition now of the 15-year-old girl who was shot in the chest by the gunman.

Kristina Shevchenko is in stable condition. She is expected to recover after undergoing surgery. We certainly wish her the best.

California governor Jerry Brown is being treated for prostate cancer. His doctors say his prognosis is excellent. Brown was what doctors call early stage localized prostate cancer. He's being treated with a short course of conventional radio therapy. Jerry Brown is 74 years old.

BERMAN: Great.

ROMANS: Yes. The first section of the giant spire that will sit atop one world trade center in New York City has been hoisted into place. Seventeen more sections will follow that will create a spire that stand 408 feet tall. When one world trade center is completed, it will be the tallest building in the western hemisphere.

The next story shows you the sheer power of a tornado. This video is grainy. It's from a surveillance camera at a gas station in Gonzalez, Louisiana, but watch closely. The circle at the top of the screen. You see that? That's a pickup truck.

BERMAN: No way.

SAMBOLIN: A truck?

ROMANS: The tornado picked it up, threw it around like a toy. It's a pick-up truck. Watch the circle again. That is pickup truck. The driver was shaken up. Amazingly, though --

SAMBOLIN: The driver was in it?


SAMBOLIN: Oh my gosh.

ROMANS: He walked away with only minor cuts and bruises. And quite, quite a story to tell.

All right. A menorah from the Long Island temple that was hit hard by Hurricane Sandy will be on display tonight at the White House Hanukkah party. The 90-year-old brass menorah survived a ten-foot storm surge that caused severe damage to Temple Israel in Long Beach, New York. It's being seen as the symbol of hope for the holiday. You know, a lot of different houses of worship up and down New Jersey, Long Island, they're all kind of grappling, reaching out to other congregations to help them. It's just -- it's been nice to see people really help each other.

SAMBOLIN: What a unity. That's really nice, and it's great to see that at the White House, also the menorah. Thank you so much, Christine.

Forty-nine minutes past the hour. Parts of the southwest looking at snow today finally. Is this meteorologist, Rob Marciano, joining us?

BERMAN: I feel like we have to savor every minute with Rob.

SAMBOLIN: Good morning.

ROB MARCIANO, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Oh, please do. Good morning again, guys. Yes. A little bit of snow across much the southwest. And you're right, it's been kind of a dry start to the winter for much of the inner mountain west, and this will help build some of the snow pack that's been yearning for some of the white stuff.

There's your pulse of energy moving into Southern California, a little bit of rain yesterday. Some claps of thunder in some spots and some more showers this morning, and some white at the higher elevations of the San Gabriel Mountains, snow level about 4,000 or 5,000 feet. And that could bring anywhere from six to 10 inches of snow there.

But then you get into the mountains of Utah, the San Juans of Colorado. You could see a foot or more in some of those spots. So, they will take it for sure, especially as we get deeper into the holiday season and those vacations for skiing and snowboarding are planned.

In between the coasts, we've got some warm temperatures. Once again, the above-normal temps continue across the southern and central plains. A little cool slice of air is trying to push through the northern tier, but that's going to have a hard time really getting too far down to the south. The temperatures right around seasonable.

You go east of the Mississippi River, 58 degrees in Memphis. It will be 60 degrees in Atlanta, 45 degrees in New York City, and I'm still in awe of the fact that there was somebody in that pickup truck that went flying across the parking lot in Gonzalez, Louisiana. That's near Baton Rouge. They're tough down there.

A lot of Cajuns in that part of the world. And, if anybody can survive a tornado in a pickup truck that goes flying across a parking lot, it's my friends down in Southern Louisiana. There it is. Ba, ba, boom. Nicely done. Happy Hanukkah, guys, on top of that note. I'm not sure which night it is, but --

BERMAN: It was the fifth last night. We're on to number six. Thank you very much, Rob. Always great to see you. Like I said, we have to cherish these last few days we have with you.

MARCIANO: I appreciate it.

SAMBOLIN: All right. Fifty-one minutes past the hour. We have a packed hour ahead on EARLY START, including Santa cop. An officer wraps a surprise in a ticket for a driver who's fallen on tough times. It is the feel-good story of the morning. I tweeted this out this morning. People are trying to figure out exactly what this guy did. We're going to tell you. Plus --

BERMAN: Yes. This is the feel-something else story of the morning coming up.


BERMAN: Cocaine breast implants. A pat-down at the airport you need to hear about. Get out of town.

SAMBOLIN: But first, what were you talking about --


SAMBOLIN: -- and tweeting about in 2012? The top trend of the year was not this.


SAMBOLIN: So, welcome back to EARLY START. It is 55 minutes past the hour. I'm Zoraida Sambolin along with Mr. John Berman. And, we're taking a look at the top CNN trends that are on the web this morning.

BERMAN: So, what was the top trend, the very top trend of 2012?



SAMBOLIN (voice-over): Wow. I'm a little surprised.

BERMAN (voice-over): That's right. According to Google, it was Whitney Houston. Searches for news about her drowning death and her music after the tragedy got the most traffic on the web. Her death also generated more than 10 million tweets and was the third biggest event on Facebook in 2012.

Second on Google's list, the most watched YouTube video ever, of course, "Gangnam Style." Third on the list, hurricane Sandy.


SAMBOLIN (on-camera): Oh, wow. You know, you kind of forget the things that have happened in the year, right? And they --

BERMAN (on-camera): -- serious stuff along with "Gangnam Style."

SAMBOLIN: Yes. Along with that.

Well, they might be jumping the gun, but NASA is releasing its Mayan calendar, told you so, it's a video a week early.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If you're watching this video, it means one thing, the world didn't end yesterday.


SAMBOLIN: So, this was supposed to be out on December 22nd, the day after the Mayan calendar allegedly predicts doomsday. The video goes on to explain why we are still here. But does the fact that they released it early mean that someone thinks we're not going to be around to see it later?


BERMAN: I have to say NASA actually seems ticked off about this whole thing. They've been doing a lot saying, you know, the world isn't going to end the 21st.


BERMAN: We have more news about "Gangnam Style," thank goodness.


BERMAN: "Gangnam Style" this time with an orchestra.


BERMAN: That is Korean-American student, Jun Curry Ahn with his violin cover of the viral hit. Yes. He is playing the violin and dancing at the very same time. The TV and film major clones himself in this video. He said it took about 45 minutes to make. So much production value, though, you would think it would take like 52 minutes to make. He did some great stuff.

SAMBOLIN: He's got some good moves.


SAMBOLIN: All right. On the late-night talk shows, Jimmy Fallon is concerned about the latest missile lunch from North Korea, while Jay Leno has had enough of the slumping L.A. Lakers.


JIMMY FALLON, HOST, "LATE NIGHT WITH JIMMY FALLON": Here are some major international news. Japan and South Korea are on high alert after North Korea successfully launched a long-range rocket this morning. Both countries are surprised by North Korea's successful launch, but definitely not as surprised as North Korea.


FALLON: It worked. It worked! It worked. (APPLAUSE)

JAY LENO, HOST, "THE TONIGHT SHOW WITH JAY LENO": Again, the Lakers lost again last night. This time, to Cleveland! That's like getting beat on "Jeopardy" by Honey Boo-Boo. Come on!


LENO: Lakers are doing bad.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: How bad, Jay? How bad?

LENO: I'll tell you how bad it is. You know a lot of Laker players are giving each other for Christmas this year? Clipper tickets. That's how bad. How bad. The Lakers are so bad when Mitt Romney talks about the 40-some percent, he means Dwight Howard's free-throw shooting. That's how bad. It is so bad, Laker fans referring to last year's NBA lockout as the good old days. That's how bad.



BERMAN: The Celtics won last night, you know? Double overtime.

SAMBOLIN: I didn't know that.

BERMAN: Go Cs. EARLY START continues right now.

SAMBOLIN: What made him snap? We're learning more about the mass gunman who opened fire in a crowded Oregon shopping mall. Also, we have some brand new pictures of the gunman to show you this morning.

BERMAN: A serious scare for Justin Bieber. A report says police foiled a plot to kill him.

SAMBOLIN: And superstars for Sandy relief, some of the music's greatest performers on stage for last night's all-star hurricane benefit.

Good morning and welcome to EARLY START. I'm Zoraida Sambolin.