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Perry Crashes into Pier in New York; Newly Released Photos of Missing FBI Agent; Hollywood Accused of Hypocrisy; Ferry Crashes into Pier in New York; Hall of Fame Announcement Today

Aired January 9, 2013 - 09:30   ET



ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.

CAROL COSTELLO, CNN ANCHOR: At 30 minutes past the hour. I'm Carol Costello. Thanks for being with us again.

Le's head to Lower Manhattan in New York City for that breaking news, Pier 11 on the East River there's been a ferry accident. Apparently, the ferry ran into the dock there. This is in the Wall Street area, 12 to 15 people are injured.

You see emergency crews on the scene. You see a lot of people on stretchers on the dock there with their heads secured because as you know, when something crashes, you can see the gash in the boat right there.

So you can see how hard that thing hit so you can understand there might be cases of whiplash or other injuries.

We have a little interview from the WABC chopper pilot, one of our affiliates there. Let's listen.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, I'm just going with what I'm watching here at the scene, you can take that injury count up to around 20. That's how many patients we count again on the ground, you can see on the stretchers and in wheelchairs. One other note in the rear of the boat we just saw them starting to come out with another injury there.

So injured people are still coming off of the boat. There's one and another just coming out the door. We saw at the front entrance of the boat firefighters and EMS workers entering with empty stretchers. So I would have to think there are still more injuries inside, again, it's an informal count that I'm doing from the air, but right now counting the three that have just been taken out of the boat we can move that injury count to above 20, and probably closer to 23 or 24. That's the unofficial count I'm seeing from the air.


COSTELLO: It looks pretty serious with that big hole in the boat there. We don't know what caused the captain of this boat to run into the dock that hard. We're efforting emergency crew workers from New York City and police officials and fire officials to tell us more. When we get them on the phone, of course, we'll put them on the air.

We're now getting a clearer picture of what happened inside a suburban Atlanta home where a mom opened fire multiple times on an intruder. The woman's husband talking her through the terrifying ordeal on the phone as 911 operators listen in. That 911 call obtained by our affiliate WSB captures what happened next.


CALLER: She shot him. She's shooting him. She's shooting him. She's shooting him. She's shooting him. Shoot him again! Shoot him. Oh, no --


COSTELLO: The intruder, 31-year-old Paul Slater, according to police. He's shown here, accused of breaking through three doors in the home to get to the woman. She was hiding in a crawl space with her 9-year- old twins. Slater tried to escape but was later picked up by police when he crashed his car. She did hit him. He was hospitalized with a punctured lung, stomach and liver.

Now to the case, the strange case of Robert Levinson, a retired FBI agent who went missing in Iran during a trip there to 2007 to the island of Kish. This morning, strange and frightening photos taken of the American citizen released by the family.

There are five photos in all. We'll only show you two. These were taken by Levinson's captors.

In one, Levinson in chains is holding a sign saying "help me". And in another a reference to the four years Levinson has been missing. His appearance is ragged. Levinson has diabetes, his family is frustrated American politicians aren't doing more to rescue him.

Susan Candiotti has been following the story. Do we even know who his captors are?

SUSAN CANDIOTTI, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Carol, it's not clear exactly who is holding Bob Levinson captive or exactly where he is and his family is getting more and more worried with each passing day.

They decided to release these disturbing photos they received more than a year and a half ago because they are anxious and frustrated that not enough is being done to free Mr. Levinson. Not enough progress after nearly six years.

The photos were sent to a family friend of the Levinsons when his captors failed to email them unsuccessfully to the family, according to a spokesman. In one photo, Levinson is holding a sign, in fractured English, that reads, "why you can not help me." Another sign reads, "fourth year, you can't or you don't want."

Seeming Levinson with a long, scraggly beard and in chains is making the family even worried about his health. He suffers from diabetes.

You'll recall that he's a retired FBI agent who disappeared in Iran. His family says he was on a business trip investigating cigarette smuggling. He was last seen on Kish Island off the coast of Iran.

The family and the State Department flatly deny he was working for the U.S. government -- Carol.

COSTELLO: In one of the signs that he was holding up, it said Guantanamo. It made some reference to Guantanamo. Why do you suppose that was?

CANDIOTTI: You know, Carol, clearly, he is not there. We are left to speculate as to whether his captors thought anyone might believe that he is in Guantanamo, but there's no proof of that.

And you know, Carol, when the family first received these photos, they also earlier received a proof of life video back in 2010. Officially the U.S. government says Levinson is being held in Southwest Asia and as recently as last fall Iran's President Ahmadinejad told CNN he has no idea where Levinson is being held and insist Iran has offered to help -- Carol.

COSTELLO: The poor family. So, the poor family. So, the family is coming out. They're putting more pressure on the politicians to get him out. I mean --

CANDIOTTI: They're trying.

COSTELLO: -- I just can't imagine how that would feel.

CANDIOTTI: It's awful and it's been especially hard on the family because he has a large family, and Mr. Levinson, the family says, has missed so much, for example, his daughter, Susan, is getting married next month and he won't be there to walk her down the aisle either apparently - -unless something changes.

COSTELLO: We hope it does. Susan Candiotti, thanks so much.

Quick update to the breaking news happening in Lower Manhattan near Wall Street. A ferry has run into the dock there injuring as many as 23 to 25 people. Emergency crews are still taking the injured off of that ferry. We'll have more after a break.


ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.

COSTELLO: All right. We're keeping an eye on a situation in Lower Manhattan. This is near Wall Street at Pier 11. A ferry has run into a dock, and when I say run into, there's a huge gash in the boat there, so it ran into the dock pretty hard. At least 20, 21, 22 people injured right now.

You can see some of those people being treated on the scene, and you can see that emergency workers are covering those people with blankets because it is frigid in New York City today. It's very cold.

According to our affiliate WABC some people are being treated at the scene. Others have taken to a downtown New York City hospital for treatment. When we know more about this accident, of course, we'll pass it along to you.

A national debate on gun violence in Hollywood once again finds itself in the spotlight.

Entertainment correspondent Nischelle Turner joins us now from Los Angeles. Good morning.


COSTELLO: I'm good.

I understand some big celebrities are demanding change in the wake of the Newtown shootings but that seems to be causing some controversy.

TURNER: Yes, you know, you and I have talked about this before, I know you really have been interested in how Hollywood is responding after the shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School.

You know, a couple of things have been done. They've canceled a couple movie premieres, Hollywood has done some soul searching. But at this point, it seems to be business as usual.


TURNER (voice-over): Explosions, gore and gunshots. Violence on screen is the bread and butter of the blockbuster machine, and blaming the industry for inspiring real-life tragedy is as old as Hollywood itself.

But in the wake of the shooting in Newtown, Connecticut, as Americans looked for answers, the head of the NRA directly linked the tragedy to Hollywood.

WAYNE LAPIERRE, NATIONAL RIFLE ASSOCIATION: There exists in this country, sadly, a callous, corrupt and shadowing industry that sells and stows violence against its own people.

TURNER: Action star and politician Arnold Schwarzenegger calls that accusation simplistic and inaccurate.

ARNOLD SCHWARZENEGGER, ACTOR/POLITICIAN: We have to look at the gun laws and we have to look at everything, every aspect of it has to be looked at rather than just one thing.

TURNER: Some stars came together after the Newtown massacre for an anti-gun public service announcement.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: For the children of Sandy Hook.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Demand a plan. TURNER: But the contradiction between Hollywood's steady diet of on screen shoot-outs and the gun control message in the PSA has brought out a backlash of critics. This YouTube remix of the ad ridiculing the celebrities involved matches some of them with film clips where they're using a gun.

The video has been seen and liked on YouTube by hundreds of thousands of people.



TURNER: But one actor in the PSA doesn't want people jumping to conclusions about what he believes personally.

JEREMY RENNER, ACTOR: It's important for me to do and honor to do. I'm for guns. I own guns and I don't think guns kill people, I think people kill people. It's much deeper issues into it.

TURNER: What's clear already is the most recent mass shootings have some in Hollywood thinking differently about their professional choices, Ben Affleck is one of them.

BEN AFFLECK, ACTOR/DIRECTOR: I think filmmakers do have a responsibility. I don't permit my children to watch a lot of things and I'm on it as much as I can, but, you know, as a filmmaker you ask yourself like, where is my line?

TURNER: The man who played Rambo and made a career out of action movies, he says he would hope movie violence comes with an underlying moral but concedes that's not always the case.

SYLVESTER STALLONE, ACTOR: If you're going to do a film like that, that has that kind of violence, there has to be a certain morality that good triumphs over evil and that it's not random. Like so many times, we've seen in action films, a guy runs in, he's after the bad guy, but four other people get killed on the subway and we never even look at them. Oh, yes, I've got them myself, boom.


TURNER: So now is there some soul searching going on? Yes. Absolutely. Does it seem more genuine this time? I would say yes to that, too.

But the question is, and, Carol, you asked me this question and I really didn't have the answer to it, when we were talking about it, them canceling the "Jack Reacher" premiere, is there going to be a difference in how movies are made in Hollywood? And that's the question that we don't have an answer to right now.

COSTELLO: If people continue to go see those movies and they enjoy them and Hollywood makes money off those people, nothing will change because money talks louder than anything in America, right? I'm just being realistic. TURNER: Yes. What were the top two movies at the box office? "Texas Chainsaw Massacre 3D" and "Django Unchained." Both of those movies extremely violent.

COSTELLO: We all need to do soul searching and see why we like to see that stuff. I mean, I'm going to violent movies, I'm not excusing myself. But I did -- I mean, I paused and I really thought about it, why?

TURNER: Well, and maybe this and hopefully, we won't have another tragedy like this. But maybe this will give us pause and have us really asking questions.

I'm not a big fan of violent movies. I usually don't go see those, but I'm a little bit different because I just don't like the gore, but there is a line between art and entertainment and what bleeds over into real life, and I think those are questions that a lot of America is asking themselves right now.

COSTELLO: Nischelle Turner, thanks so much. I appreciate it.


COSTELLO: Pier 11 in lower Manhattan. That's near Wall Street, there's been a big ferry accident there. The ferry somehow ran into the dock and I mean ran into the dock hard. You see in your -- if you can see the corner of the boat up in the front of the boat there's a huge hole there, so that boat hit the dock pretty darned hard. At least 20 people are injured right now.

You can see emergency workers putting blankets on people on stretchers on the dock because it's cold in New York City. Here is the WABC chopper pilot to describe the conditions there this morning.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I want to stress for folks at home that are just tuning in you see a lot of these people covered with blankets. That is for warmth. A lot of times you get on a scene like this and you see people covered with blankets and you assume the worst.

We've seen every -- every patient that we have seen whether they're on a stretcher or in a wheelchair, or obviously walking, they have been alert. They have from what I've seen up here at least they've been responsive. These blankets are just, some of these patients have been laying here for 15 or 20 minutes here on the cold concrete directly on the water so those blankets are for warmth. They're being provided by FDNY and EMS. These patients now are being triaged and been staged for transport to a local hospital, New York downtown being one of the hospitals they'll go to.


COSTELLO: Yes we don't know how many have actually been transported to the hospital. Some of those people are being treated on the scene and are getting up and walking away and they're a-ok. But as I said and you can look at the hole in the boat and you see how hard that thing hit the dock, so emergency crew workers want to be careful and really check people out before they let them go on their way.

A Twitter follower has actually sent us some -- some pictures from the scenes and we're going to look at those pictures right now. And you can see how many people there and how many police and emergency workers have gone to the scene to help all of those people on boats, who were probably going to work this morning, as so many New Yorkers get to work and maybe tourists because as you know the 9/11 Memorial is down that way, and maybe they take that ferry to that historical place.

We're going to keep you posted on what's happening in lower Manhattan but again, Pier 11, a ferry ran into a dock, as many as 23 people injured, some of them taken to area hospitals, some of them being treated at the scene. We'll keep you posted. We'll be back.


COSTELLO: Talk Back" question of the day. "Why the secrecy surrounding guns?"

This from Joseph. He says, "Simple: NRA pours funds into lawmakers that support their views."

From Kathleen, "It's no one's business if I own a gun."

This from Chris. "I am all for gun control, but creating a database for all the registered gun owners sounds like the most ridiculous move towards gun control. Couldn't criminals just use that database if they wanted to see who not to rob?"

Keep the conversation going. or tweet me @CarolCNN.

We'll be right back.


COSTELLO: We are keeping an eye on what's happening in lower Manhattan. At Pier 11, that's by Wall Street on the east river, a ferry has run hard into a dock. There's a big, gaping hole in the front of the boat. As you can see, passengers have been injured.

We think up to 23 passengers, maybe more, because emergency workers still are taking people off of that ferry. Some of the people are being treated at the scene. You can see they're covered with blankets, but don't think the worst. It's just really cold in New York City right now, and they're lying on concrete.

So emergency workers are trying to make patients more comfortable. We also understand -- and we don't know how many -- but some people have been taken to area hospitals. One in downtown New York City. We don't know how serious their injuries are. We understand from our affiliate WABC at least one passenger had head injuries. And also we have no idea why the boat's captain ran into that dock so hard. We're going to take a break and come back with more.


COSTELLO: It seems simple enough. Baseball's best players are eligible for induction into the Hall of Fame five years after retirement if their names are on 75 percent of the ballots filled out by baseball writers. But nothing is simple in the steroids era. And because of that, there's a chance no one will go to Cooperstown this year.

Voting results for the class of 2013 will be announced later this afternoon. "Sports Illustrated" Ben Reiter is here to talk about some of the names on the ballots. Welcome.

BEN REITER, SPORTS WRITER, "SPORTS ILLUSTRATED": Thanks -- thanks for having me.

COSTELLO: Ok well let's with those big names. Roger Clemens, Barry Bonds are the biggest. Could they get in today?

REITER: This was once destined to be a celebratory day. Five years after Clemens and Bonds retired, finally the greatest hitter of his generation and the all-time home run king, that's Bonds and the greatest pitcher of his generation and a seven-time Cy Young award winner, that's Clemens, would be elected to the Hall of Fame.

However, now because of the cloud of PED use, that performing enhancing drugs that surround both players, I'm afraid that the announcement will land with a thud. Not only do I expect neither player to get 75 percent of the vote, that's the amount that's necessary, I don't think either will even reach 50 percent.

COSTELLO: Oh well just for the record, Rafael Palmeiro is the only one on the ballot who -- who failed a drug test, who failed a steroid test. So why not put Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens in? I mean, Barry Bonds, what, was convicted of obstruction of justice. Roger Clemens, he went through this big, long trial. Nothing happened.

So why not vote them in? I mean, what justification will sports writers have for not allowing them into the hall?

REITER: These are very complicated times. Sports writers will tell you that anyone who has even had a hint of linkage with performance enhancing drug use will not be on their ballots, ok? Of course, this is an era in which we don't exactly know which players might have used performance enhancing drugs or might not have.

Bonds and Clemens have been strongly linked to them. it's almost certainly that they were -- almost certain that they were users. However, this is something that will extend to virtually every player of an era. And the hall of fame and the Baseball Writers Association of America really needs to address this and make a firm policy as to who is eligible and who will kind of dangle on the ballot for years to come. COSTELLO: Oh, see, you have a good point. But that's so logical and baseball is a game filled with traditions that cannot be broken for hundreds of years for some particular reason. Even in a case like this where something -- you're right -- something needs to be done, some rule, something.

REITER: Absolutely. You know and the problem is that today not only might Bonds and Clemens not be elected, I think it's quite -- there's quite strong of a chance that no one will be elected to the hall of fame today. There are some other very good candidates, Craig Biggio, the second baseman with 3,000 hits, Mike Piazza, the best-hitting catcher of all time.

However, I think that perhaps no one will include the necessary 75 percent that means that come July we could have an induction weekend without a living member on the stage for the first time in 1965. The Hall of Fame might not just be a fantasy land in which history is denied, it might become something worse.