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EARLY START WITH JOHN BERMAN AND ZORAIDA SAMBOLIN

Gunman Unmasked; "If I Die It's God's Will"; Google Maps App Comeback; Star-Studded Concert for Sandy Relief; Cop Wraps $100 In Traffic Ticket

Aired December 13, 2012 - 06:30   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: The Oregon gunman unmasked. New pictures of the man who opened fire in that crowded shopping mall.

ZORAIDA SAMBOLIN, CNN ANCHOR: Back by popular demand, an iPhone app that was sorely missed by a lot of you.

BERMAN: And this story is fantastic. To protect, surf and inspire. The story of a Texas police officer who gave out much more, much more than just a traffic ticket.

SAMBOLIN: Police officers rule this morning on our show, right?

BERMAN: This is a great story. I want you to stick around for that.

Welcome back to EARLY START, everyone. I'm John Berman.

SAMBOLIN: And I'm Zoraida Sambolin. Thirty minutes past the hour.

So, we still don't know a motive but we are learning more about the 22-year-old sandwich shop clerk who decided to put on a hockey mask and open fire on holiday shoppers at a Portland area mall.

An ex-girlfriend says the usually upbeat Jacob Roberts quit his job last week and announced that he was moving to Hawaii. He never made it.

Instead, he headed to the Clackamas Town Center mall, killed a dedicated hospice nurse and a respected radio executive, and critically wounded a 15-year-old girl as well. And then he turned the gun on himself.

Dan Simon is live from suburban Portland this morning. And what else are you finding out about the gunman?

DAN SIMON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, hi, Zoraida. You know, his name just surfaced less than 24 hours ago, so things still a bit early. But, you know, when you look at his background, you delve into his family life, you look at his relationships, his work, at this point haven't seen really any obvious signs that he was capable of committing this atrocity. Perhaps you might look at his Facebook page and might say there were some psychological problems there. There's this thing there that says "follow your dreams" and it's cancelled. It says cancelled, there's a stamp over it.

So, you know, there are reports that he inherited a bunch of money. He was telling friends that he was going to move to Hawaii. Of course, none of that's true. In terms of the people we've talked to, nobody has really said anything bad about him, including this ex- girlfriend who spoke out to ABC.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

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.

He had his plane ticket. He was ready to go. And then this happened and it just makes me think if Hawaii was even in the back of his mind.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SIMON: Well, he seemed to be living in a fantasyland in terms of Hawaii. You know, we're also getting a better sense of the people who were killed, the two adult victims -- 54-year-old Cindy Yuille, the mother, respected hospice nurse, and 45-year-old Steven Forsyth, an executive here in the Portland area.

A former co-worker remembered him this way.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

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.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SIMON: And then there's the 15-year-old girl in the hospital who was injured during this attack. She took a shot right in the torso. She bruised her lung, but it missed any vital organs. She is expected to survive.

You know, just months ago, she also survived an ordeal where the van she was riding in was hit by a drunken driver. That drunken driver was killed and everybody in the van survived.

But, boy, just a terrible ordeal for her and everyone in this community -- Zoraida.

SAMBOLIN: Yes, she's a little fighter there.

Dan Simon live for us from suburban Portland this morning -- thank you so much.

BERMAN: We have a CNN exclusive right now, as we profile a heroic teenager caught in the crossfire of Syria's civil war. His name is Abdullah. That's him -- you're going to see right now -- on the blood-soaked streets ignoring gunfire, risking his life to save a complete stranger. He is a ray of light in a sea of despair.

We want to warn you, this story may be hard for some of you to watch. But it is important. It needs to be told. And it is a gripping, gripping tale.

Here's Arwa Damon, one of the most powerful things you will see today. Take a look.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

ARWA DAMON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): A fighter slithers across the street. Yards away, a woman lies motionless. She's been shot by a sniper.

Her rescuer is not a relative, nor a neighbor. He's never met her.

Abdullah Hadid Seihan (ph) is just 17. He knew he had to save the woman or die trying.

When we met him later, he tells us: "We had a feeling that she was still alive. We wanted to save her, to get her to a hospital."

As he crawled closer, he can feel her hand. She is shaking.

"Cover him, cover him," someone shouts.

Other fighters have cover fire.

(GUNFIRE)

DAMON: "I said to myself, if I die, it's God's will that I die next to this woman," he tells us.

Finally, he makes a run for it. And the rebels drag the woman back.

(GUNFIRE)

DAMON (on camera): The woman and her son were walking right down the street there. Rebel fighters shouted at them to stay away, but it was too late.

Aleppo is crisscrossed with similar sniper alleys. Some are known but others do not reveal themselves until the first shot has been fired.

(voice-over): Despite Abdullah Hadid's efforts, the woman dies. Her son recovered (INAUDIBLE).

"Don't die now, don't die today," he pleads. "Answer me, mom. Answer me. She's not dead, she's not dead," he says, as he collapses.

Abdullah Hadid is left wondering whether her life could have been saved if he'd reached her sooner. Until recently, he worked at a bakery. Now, like thousands of young Syrians, he puts his life on the line.

"I am not a hero, I am just like anyone else," Abdullah Hadid tells us.

And we're left to wonder, how many similar acts of courage go unrecorded every day in Syria, and how many innocents are lost.

Arwa Damon, CNN, Aleppo.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SAMBOLIN: Soledad O'Brien joins us with a look at what is ahead on "STARTING POINT." Good morning.

SOLEDAD O'BRIEN, CNN ANCHOR, "STARTING POINT": Good morning. Nice to talk to both of you.

Heading overseas to bring jobs and businesses to the United States, Delaware's Governor Jack Markell is going to join us to talk about how he's courting Asia to our shores.

And then rebuilding after Sandy. Why is there a holdup in federal aid? Should some of those neighborhoods even be rebuilt at all? Some people are asking that question.

We'll talk exclusively this morning with Secretary Shaun Donovan. He's in charge to the response to the storm.

And would you do genetic testing on your baby to find out if there would be problems in your baby's future? It's a controversial article on the cover of "TIME" magazine asks if knowing too much is a very dangerous proposition.

We'll talk about that and much more straight ahead on "STARTING POINT", right at the top of the hour.

BERMAN: It sounds like the movies, but it's here.

O'BRIEN: Yes, it really is.

BERMAN: All right.

SAMBOLIN: Thank you, Soledad.

BERMAN: Parts of the Southwest looking at some snow today. That's right, snow. It is December, after all.

We're joined now by meteorologist Rob Marciano. Hey, Rob.

ROB MARCIANO, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Good morning. Yes, guys. Yes, a little bit of snow for the Southwest. They will take it, as well the Intermountain West, which hasn't really seen a whole lot actually this winter. It is winter. We consider December 1st to be the beginning of winter, because it does start to feel that way usually. Although we gotten off to a slow start.

All right. Some rain across parts of southern California. They'll take it this time of year when they get it. Some snow in the higher elevation, San Gabriel Mountains to the east of L.A. at the 4,000 and 5,000 foot mark, could see six to 10 inches of snow at that level.

And then you push a little bit further inland, into the mountains of New Mexico and Arizona. Flagstaff could see six or so inches, 12 inches, a foot-plus in some of the San Juans of southwest Colorado. Telluride, Durango, Purgatory, you might get a little bit as well.

You go east of there and we're looking at more in the way of above average temperatures. Boy, the plains have seen not much of a winter. A little bit of rain across parts of North Carolina right now, at least the coastal sections. That will move offshore and the rest of the East Coast looks pretty good today.

Temperatures will be pretty seasonal, with the exception of the warm spot, in Dallas, 65 degrees, it will be 49 degrees in Chicago and 45 degrees in New York City.

Looking ahead towards next week, this is one of our computer models that kind of peers into the future. And whenever we get a couple of zeros near the East Coast, which is what we've got going on here Tuesday and Wednesday, that's when things could get a little bit interesting in the form of a nor'easter.

Right now, it just looks like mostly rain, but we'll see what happens as we get towards next week.

Guys, back up to you.

BERMAN: Right. Next week, we'll be paying attention. Rob Marciano, thanks very much.

MARCIANO: You bet.

SAMBOLIN: But not today, right?

BERMAN: No, she's always paid attention to Rob.

SAMBOLIN: So we're taking a look at the top CNN news story trending on the web this morning.

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton chosen by Barbara Walters as one of her 10 most fascinating people of 2012. It's the third time that she has made the list. And, of course, Walters pressed her about running for president in 2016.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

HILLARY CLINTON, SECRETARY OF STATE: I've said I really don't believe that that's something I will do again. I am so grateful I had the experience of doing it before, but, you know, I -- I think there are lots of ways to serve, so I will continue to serve.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BERMAN: But that's not no. That's not no.

SAMBOLIN: That's right. I don't believe I will. Hmm. So the person chosen by Walters as the single most fascinating person of 2012 is disgraced former CIA director, David Petraeus.

BERMAN: The Hillary Clinton thing is so fascinating. She's going to have to answer this question so many times, but every time she answers, she says -- you know, adds doubt.

SAMBOLIN: Didn't she say no the first time out?

BERMAN: No. She has actually never said no, ever, ever, ever. She always leaves the door open a tiny little bit.

SAMBOLIN: All right. We'll see.

BERMAN: Also trending -- smuggling taken to the extreme. I mean, real extreme. Woman lands in Barcelona on a suspicious flight. Here story doesn't sound right.

Then the telltale signs, bandages and blood under her breast. She told police they were fresh implants, but they weren't convinced. They hold her off to the hospital. Doctors extracted these bags from her breasts containing three pounds of cocaine. My goodness.

SAMBOLIN: That is such a bad reason -- that is such bad thing for so many reasons, right?

BERMAN: Every possible reason. She, by the way, now in jail.

SAMBOLIN: Yes, all right.

So, our long navigational nightmare, folks, is over. Google Maps is back and possibly better than ever. The app is now available for download with turn-by-turn navigation, subway, bus and walking directions are back, along with Street View. So much more.

If you remember, Apple replaced Google Maps with its own version of the app. The new software was slammed by users for warped 3D GFX and misplacing landmarks. Some cities were even placed as far as 70 miles away from their actual location, but this is getting rave reviews. Rave reviews.

BERMAN: Big-time reviews.

All right. You were probably up last night. Billions watching the 12-12-12 concert for Hurricane Sandy relief in Madison Square Garden. The bill included everyone famous on Earth, including Billy Joel, Bruce Springsteen, Rolling Stones, The Who, so many, many more. Final figures are not available, but ticket sales raised $30 million alone.

SAMBOLIN: That's fantastic. So listen to this, a 13-year-old's battle for a gender neutral Easy Bake oven for her little brother will take her to the toy maker's headquarters. McKenna Pope and her family have been invited to meet with Hasbro's Easy Bake team. She says Hasbro is sending the message that women belong in the kitchen while men work.

She started a Change.org campaign to encourage Hasbro to create -- create an oven, that is, for both boys and girls.

BERMAN: Good for her.

SAMBOLIN: I love this. Absolutely love it. So, you're good with that. If your boys wanted an Easy Bake oven for Christmas, you're perfectly fine with that?

BERMAN: Sure. We have a play kitchen. There's a little play kitchen that they use all the time.

SAMBOLIN: That's fantastic.

BERMAN: Someone's got to cook, but it ain't going to be me.

(LAUGHTER)

SAMBOLIN: Prepping them for the future there.

All right. Coming up, one driver's personal confession to a police officer during a traffic stop. We'll have the inside story of how both men drove away richer in more ways than one.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SAMBOLIN: Good morning to you, Dallas. It's 43 degrees right now. Oh, listen to this, do you have Berman's mic open?

(LAUGHTER)

SAMBOLIN: That's it. Were you singing for us this morning?

BERMAN: That's the Dallas theme song.

SAMBOLIN: Yes. We're really excited to be in Dallas this morning. Why? Because listen to this. Being pulled over by the police usually means trouble, right? But for this driver, it meant an act of kindness. After Hayden Carlo (ph) told the officer that he didn't have the money for his car inspection, the officer handed him a citation for the expired inspection sticker with a $100 bill wrapped inside of it.

The officer is preferring to remain anonymous, but his Plano, Texas, department is speaking out for him. David Tille joins us now, Plano Police department spokesman. We are so delighted to have you on here this morning.

So, David, how did you find out about this, this random act of kindness that happened? DAVID C. TILLEY, PLANO POLICE DEPARTMENT SPOKESMAN: Actually, we were contacted by this gentleman's grandfather. He had contacted the police department and wanted to let us know exactly what this officer had done. It touched his heart. It was something that meant a lot to him as well as the individual that received the citation. And he just wanted to let us know because a lot of these type of random acts, you know, never get reported to us.

SAMBOLIN: So walk me through exactly what happened.

TILLEY: Basically, it was his registration rather than an inspection was what it was. And. the officer had seen the individual operating his vehicle with an expired registration, pulled him over, made contact with him, advised him of the violation, and ultimately issued him a citation for the expired registration, which, you know, the good thing about that is this officer knows as well as long as he gets the registration taken care of, they will dismiss this ticket.

So, the most is going to cost him is a very, very minor filing fee, processing fee is all it is. The officer, you know, inquired as to why he hadn't had his registration taken care of and the young man told him that basically it was either register his car or put food on his family. He's a young individual that has a young family. And times are tough right now. We recognize that.

And that's when the officer decided to -- you know, that the right thing to do was to do the act that he did. And whenever he issued him the citation, folded up in the citation was a $100 bill.

SAMBOLIN: What is the officer saying? Is this something that he does often?

TILLEY: You know, this is -- you know, you talk around and you speak with different officers around there. This is not something that is uncommon, not only in our department but in law enforcement. It's just you never really hear about these acts. I don't know as far as how often he's done this in the past.

I know this individual personally. He is a very, very upstanding not only officer but human being. And this is just something that he felt inspired to do. And you have sympathy. We have a job to do, and our job is to go out and enforce the laws of the state of Texas, but at the same time, we also are considered to be problem solvers and caretakers in our community.

SAMBOLIN: That's fantastic.

TILLEY: And we have to act in that role as well.

SAMBOLIN: You know, it's very rare that you hear that, right, caretakers. So we're really excited about that. So this young man who got the $100, did you hear from him? What has he done? Did he get his violation taken care of?

TILLEY: Actually, my understanding, I have not spoke with him personally, but I did speak to his grandfather and, yes, he actually used that money to get his registration taken care of so that he wouldn't have to worry about that anymore.

SAMBOLIN: I just want to mention one more thing because we keep on saying this, and actually, we love stories like this. Officers all over the country seem to be doing this. It happened here in New York. A city police officer who bought a homeless man a pair of boots, and now we have this incredible story.

So congratulations to you. I'm glad that you spent some time with us this morning sharing it. And we wish we could find out the name and meet the guy who did this. Wouldn't that be fantastic?

TILLEY: Yes. Unfortunately, as I said, he did this for his own -- for the right reason. He wasn't looking for any recognition. And he wants to continue to remain that way. And that's the type individual he is. He just wants to -- he did it -- he made a decision on his own, and it was for that sole purpose of this individual.

SAMBOLIN: Well, thank you, Officer Tilley, for sharing his story. Really appreciate it.

TILLEY: Sure.

SAMBOLIN: Spokesman for the Plano Police Department. Nice to be with you this morning.

TILLEY: Thank you very much.

BERMAN: -- going out to him whoever he is.

SAMBOLIN: Hero.

BERMAN: Coming up, today's "Best Advice" from actor Frankie Muniz, that's coming up.

SAMBOLIN: And ahead on "STARTING POINT, the question Barbara Walters called the elephant in the room and how Chris Christie answered it on national television.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BERMAN: The clock is ticking. Fifty-eight minutes after the hour. As always, we wrap it up with "Best Advice." Here's Christine.

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: And a good one this morning, you guys. Today's advice comes from actor Frankie Muniz. Take a look.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

FRANKIE MUNIZ, ACTOR: The best advice I ever received, and I tried to stick to every single day is just to be appreciative and enjoy your life that you're living and don't take anything for granted.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ROMANS: Yes. SAMBOLIN: I'm so grateful for the two of you. Yes.

BERMAN: So, this guy just survived, by the way, a mini stroke.

ROMANS: At the age of 26.

BERMAN: But he's doing great. He is the most upbeat, friendliest, happiest guy I have ever met.

SAMBOLIN: He looks really good.

BERMAN: He is fantastic. We love him.

(LAUGHTER)

BERMAN: Seriously.

SAMBOLIN: That's good.

BERMAN: That is all for EARLY START. I'm John Berman.

SAMBOLIN: And I'm Zoraida Sambolin. "STARTING POINT" with Soledad O'Brien starts right now.