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Flu Spreads With Vengeance; Oscar Nominations This Morning; James Holmes' Evidence Hearing Ends; Deer Breaks Into Classroom; Biden's Gun Violence Commission Meets with NRA Today

Aired January 10, 2013 - 05:30   ET



JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: Creepy, but is he insane? Chilling self- portraits of accused Aurora shooter James Holmes emerged in court amid talks of an insanity defense.

ZORAIDA SAMBOLIN, CNN ANCHOR: The flu virus, it is running rampant. And the surge of cases and a major U.S. city declaring a flu emergency.

BERMAN: Wildlife 101. A close-up lesson for some school kids in Ohio when a deer dropped in for an unexpected visit.

This is really --

SAMBOLIN: It is a bizarre story. And I cannot wait to find out. Can I give some of it away?

BERMAN: No, none of it. You have to watch it.

SAMBOLIN: All right. You have to stick around, folks, because it is so crazy. A little unbelievable.

BERMAN : That is a fantastic tease.

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

SAMBOLIN: I'm Zoraida Sambolin. It is 29 minutes past the hour. Glad you're with us this morning. For the flu, it's spreading with a vengeance, and this is across the United States. Take a look at that. The CDC's latest flu advisory suggesting 41 states are dealing with widespread activity. More than 2,200 people have been hospitalized.

The hardest hit states, Pennsylvania and South Carolina, each reporting 22 flu-related deaths. Massachusetts declaring a medical emergency, 18 deaths there. And since October, 700 confirmed cases in Boston and raise ten times higher than what they saw last year.

A Texas teen who was visiting family in Wisconsin over the holidays actually died when his flu turned into pneumonia which was followed by a staph infection.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) MELANIE SCHWOLERT, SON DIED OF THE FLU: He said, mom, I'm scared. I said I know, buddy, I am, too. And then, he saw me crying. He said ma, it's going to be OK. You're going to be OK. I love you. That's really the last really coherent thing that he said to me.


SAMBOLIN: Oh my goodness. The CDC said the flu strain is going around -- that is going around. It's tougher to shake. But the good news is the strain matches up well to the vaccine that is being given out nationwide. Elizabeth Cohen is going to join us a little bit later to talk about this and that specific family and what they went through.

BERMAN: In Colorado, the evidence hearing against James Holmes is over. A judge will decide tomorrow if this case is going to go to trial. Holmes is accused of killing 12 and wounding dozens and dozens in the Aurora movie theater massacre last July. The prosecution showed that Holmes had taken pictures of the theater prior to the shooting and also showed self-portraits Holmes had taken up himself posing with his guns.

Families of the victims believe the evidence shows that Holmes planned the shootings down to the very last detail and that he knew exactly what he was doing. We want to get the very latest from this from CNNs Ed Lavandera who is in Centennial, Colorado.


ED LAVANDERA, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Six hours before James Holmes burst into theater nine, the accused killer snapped self- portraits using his iPhone. These are sketches of the photographs shown in court wearing black eye contacts, Holmes smiled while holding a handgun near his face.

Fully dressed in the all-black bulletproof gear, he'd later wear into the theater. In another, Holmes' bright orange hair is seen flaring out of a dark stocking cap while he sticks out his tongue. James Holmes smiled in court as he looked to the pictures of himself pop up on a TV screen. to tom says holmes is an animal.

Tom Teves, whose son was murdered in the theater, says Holmes is an animal.

TOM TEVES, FATHER SHOOTING VICTIM: He was smiling. He was having a hard time controlling himself. But he's not crazy one bit. He's very, very cold. He's very, very calculated.

LAVANDERA: Prosecutors spent the last three days laying out a detailed timeline of how Holmes planned the Aurora theater massacre.

(on-camera): Investigators say James Holmes started casing the century 16 movie theater about three weeks before the shooting. They say he came here on three different occasions and snapped off a series of pictures they found on his iPhone that showed various hallways and doors, even the exit area of theater number 9. (voice-over): James Holmes' deviant and deadly plan feels more like a deranged creation of fictional character in a "Batman" movie. Prosecutors say Holmes spent weeks planning the attack, stockpiling weapons, and rigging an explosive system in his apartment timed to detonate just before he started the killing spree.

(on-camera): This is the backside of the Century 16 movie theater. It's still closed surrounded by a chain-link fence. But we've learned from investigators that they say James Holmes parked his car right there and walked into the theater just like anybody else, but in his pocket, he was carrying a metal clip that you would use to fasten a table cloth to a picnic table.

Holmes walked in the theater and then came out through this exit door. That's the exit door to theater 9. And investigators say he put that clip on the door, and it propped it open. He came out here, put on his ballistic gear, picked up his ammunition and weaponry, and was able to walk right back into the theater.

JESSICA WATTS, COUSIN OF SHOOTING VICTIM: It was complete, you know, planning. It was competency. It was everything on his part to make sure that this act was carried out from start to finish.

KAREN TEVES, MOTHER OF SHOOTING VICTIM: It was well thought out. It was very deliberate. It was calculated.

LAVANDERA (voice-over): But all these disturbing details we've learned in the past three days still don't explain why James Holmes wanted to kill so many people.

Ed Lavandera, CNN, Centennial, Colorado.


SAMBOLIN: Our thanks to Ed for that.

President Obama is considering using executive orders to bypass Congress and the gun lobby to push through comprehensive new gun control laws. That is according to Vice President Joe Biden. The vice president is heading up the president's gun violence commission, and he has a full and packed schedule today.

This morning, he meets with sportsmen and wildlife groups. Then, this afternoon, it is representatives from gun owners groups, including the NRA. Then tonight, the entertainment industry gets to weigh in. Biden says all ideas are welcomed, but the president, he already has a plan.


JOE BIDEN, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The president is going to act. There are executive orders, executive action that can be taken. We haven't decided what that is yet, but we're compiling it all with the help of the attorney general and all the rest of the cabinet members as well as legislative action, we believe, was required. (END VIDEO CLIP)

SAMBOLIN: Biden's commission is charged with making recommendations for new gun control laws to the president by the end of this month.

BERMAN: So, what's in Hillary Clinton's future once she leaves her post as Secretary of State? Once again, she has left everyone guessing. In her first public appearance Wednesday since returning from her illness, Clinton described her final days leading the State Department as bittersweet, but, when asked -- when a reporter asked if she's heading into retirement, this is what she said.


HILLARY CLINTON, SECRETARY OF STATE: Well, I don't know if that's a word I would use, but, certainly, stepping off the very fast track for a little while.


BERMAN: For a little while. What does that mean?


BERMAN: Clinton has said repeatedly --

SAMBOLIN: You read into everything that she says, right?

BERMAN: I absolutely do, because she shut no doors there.


BERMAN: She repeatedly said that running for the White House in 2016 is not something she's, quote, "thinking about" but, you know, she hasn't completely ruled it out.

SAMBOLIN: No, that's true (ph). Everybody is watching it.

BERMAN: Absolutely.

SAMBOLIN: Let's see what happens.

BERMAN: RGIII is back on the road to recovery this morning. The Washington Redskins rookie quarterback is now in store for months and months of rigorous rehab after having surgery to repair two ligaments in his right knee yesterday. Dr. James Andrews, one of the best, who operated on Griffin said he expects a full recovery and he hopes RGIII will be ready for the 2013 season.

SAMBOLIN: That would be a super recovery.

BERMAN: I think it would be -- it's optimistic to expect he'll back at the beginning of the season.


BERMAN: But we'll see.

SAMBOLIN: But hopefully, he will be.

All right. So, the Oscar countdown begins in earnest, it's just three hours from now. That's when the nominees will be announced in Los Angeles. Steven Spielberg's blockbuster, "Lincoln" is expected to receive the most nominations, including one for Best Picture. Another film starting to be recognized this morning is "Silver Linings Playbook." Also likely nominee is the film's two stars, Jennifer Lauren and Bradley Cooper.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Are you going want me home or what?


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes, you. You want me home?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You have poor social skills. You have a problem.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I have a problem?


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You say more inappropriate things than appropriate things. You scare people.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I tell the truth.


SAMBOLIN: Along with Lawrence, Jessica Chastain for "Zero Dark Thirty," Marion -- how do you pronounce --

BERMAN: Cottilard.

SAMBOLIN: Cottilard for "Rust and Bone," and Naomi Watts for "The Impossible" are expected to contend in the Best Actress. Cottilard.

So, our special coverage with Soledad O'Brien and "SHOWBIZ TONIGHT's" A.J. Hammer begins at 8:15 Eastern. And of course, we will bring you the nominations here live. We're very excited about this. And we want to hear your predictions as well and your opinion on the Oscar nominations.

Go to the "STARTING POINT" blog, We're asking for your picks for Best Actor, Best Actress, and Best Picture. And if you're tweeting, it's #CNNNOM. Keep in touch with us throughout the morning. We can't wait to see if you actually pick the ones, right?

BERMAN: Absolutely. And there could be up to ten Best Picture nominations.


BERMAN: So, it's kind of hard to get it wrong if you're being --


BERMAN: But we'll see. Thirty-eight minutes after the hour right now.

And, not a typical school day by any means. Coming up, we're talking to two people about their close encounter with a deer in the classroom.

Plus, illegal use of the hands, a basketball fan crosses the line.

SAMBOLIN: Oh, no. Shame, shame.


BERMAN: All right. You have to look at this. Some unbelievable video this morning out of Ohio. A deer broke into a classroom, you can see it running around there trapped, angry. Oh, poor thing. This is at King's Junior High School in Ohio. Now, this went on until a teacher shot the deer with a tranquilizing gun.

That's the teacher there with the gun. You can se it. And the great news is, he's here with us this morning, Dustin Goldie, and also with us is Nick Montag, also very cool who shoot some video of that deer that you just saw right there. So interesting, guys. All right. Dustin and Nick, both here with us this morning. Dustin, let me start with you. Why do you have a tranquilizing gun?

DUSTIN GOLDIE, TEACHER WHO TRANQUILIZED DEER IN CLASSROOM: Well, I'm a white tail deer farmer. And, it's kind of a must to have in the business. And, we got to be able to tranquilize our deer to give them medicines, to saw off their antlers, and to be able to transport them. So, that's why I'm in possession of that.

BERMAN: So, you didn't have it at school, though. They called you at home. How did this go down? It was very early in the morning, wasn't it?

GOLDIE: Yes. It was seven o'clock in the morning. I was told to come down to the junior high to assess the situation with the white tail deer because people knew that I raise them. I went down, checked it out, and indeed, there was a white tail deer running around in the classroom. And then, what I decided to do was to offer my services.

I let my principal, Doug Mater (ph), know that, hey, I've got a tranquilizer gun, if you need me. And after many local authorities showed up, it came to the -- everybody came to the conclusion there was no one available with a tranquilizer dart that was, you know, around. So, they asked me. They said, Mr. Goldie, would you go and get your tranquilizer gun? And, I left school, and I went and got it.

BERMAN: As we said, this happened early in the morning. There was a teacher and a student in the classroom at the time. They got out safely. Any idea how long that deer was in there?

GOLDIE: I want to say probably about two, two and a half hours.

BERMAN: All right. Nick, there's an interesting little side bar here. You were in a media class as this was going on. And what did they have you do?

NICK MONTAG, STUDENT, SHOT VIDEO OF DEER IN CLASSROOM: Well, we're supposed to portray news broadcast team. And we were walking around trying to get, you know, some news stories. And we had all of our film equipment with us. And, this happened, and we're like, oh my gosh, we have to go get this.

And, we were sitting there, out there for hours, you know, just filming everything, get anything we could.

BERMAN: At CNN, we would have put up a breaking news banner as this was happening, as you were covering it. Is this the first time you've had news like this to cover?

MONTAG: Yes, definitely.

BERMAN: You know, Dustin, have you seen deer do this before? You raise white tail deer on your farm. They have crashed through any windows that you've seen?

GOLDIE: Well, you know, it really helps raising white tail deer and being around them, knowing their behavior. Yes. They're a very exciting animal to be around and to see him in a confined space like that, I knew that was a problem.

And, you know, thank goodness, you know, our principal, Doug Mater (ph), our superintendent Valorie Browning (ph), they all were able to come together quickly, get the kids safe. That was our number one priority was to keep the students and all the children safe that day.

BERMAN: And they were safe. Everyone (INAUDIBLE) it must have been an interesting morning. We should say, obviously, the law where you are says that deer did have to be destroyed afterwards after breaking into the school. So, a bit of a sad ending there, but happy in the sense that no one was hurt.

Dustin Goldie, Nick Montag, thank you for coming in and really sharing this amazing moment with us this morning.

GOLDIE: You're welcome. Thank you.

MONTAG: Thank you.

SAMBOLIN: What an incredible story. Isn't that crazy, that a deer would just come crashing through the window?

Forty-five minutes past the hour. A mix of old and new will take the stage at next month's Grammy Awards. The Black Keys and Fun will perform at the Grammy's for the very first time. They will join Grammy superstars, Rihanna and --


SAMBOLIN (voice-over): Oh, yes.

BERMAN (voice-over): It's Taylor Swift, right?

SAMBOLIN: Why are you shaking your head?

BERMAN: She's the most honored, awarded, recognized person on planet Earth.

SAMBOLIN: Yes. And this song plays incessantly in my home. Swift and Rihanna are both offer (ph) three awards. Grammy organizer more performers will be announced soon. The awards will be handed out on February 10th.


SAMBOLIN (on-camera): I actually work out to that song.

BERMAN (on-camera): Do you really? Apparently a lot, I can tell. You look like you're in great shape.


BERMAN: All right. Forty-six minutes after the hour right now. And the danger from above. Coming up, a narrow escape from death for some workers when a crane collapses.

SAMBOLIN: Plus, ejected. A sports fan gets into the action. You know what happens. He gets himself tossed out.


SAMBOLIN: Forty-nine minutes past the hour. Let's get you up to date. Here's Christine.


Vice President Biden and his gun violence commission will face off with the NRA today. Biden's panel also talk to representatives of the entertainment industry and sportsmen and wildlife groups today. The vice president revealing the White House is considering the use of executive orders to bypass Congress and the gun lobby and push through tough new gun control laws.

A close call for seven New York City construction workers injured when a crane collapsed at a Queens work site. The 380-foot mobile crane tumbled on to the construction site yesterday afternoon. Three workers suffered serious injuries. The crane's owner was involved in a deadly collapse back in 2008. One construction worker who narrowly escape injury said he was this close to death.

Check out this fan getting a little too involved in the action during last night's college basketball game between Nevada, Las Vegas and New Mexico. The fan pushing UNLV guard, Anthony Marshall, after he stepped out of bounds while chasing a loose ball. Fortunately, the ref was able to restrain Marshall. The fan was escorted out of the building.

BERMAN: That's got a little too involved. That's way, way too involved.

SAMBOLIN: Why did he do that?

ROMANS: Let's just --


BERMAN: He loses fan points there for sure. All right. Thanks, Christine.

ROMANS: You're welcome.

BERMAN: Fifty minutes after the hour right now. Severe weather to start the day in the gulf region. Alexandra Steele here from the weather center. Hey, Alexandra.

ALEXANDRA STEELE, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Hi, good morning, guys. You know, we've got two storm systems, one is a rainmaker and the second one, I'll show you, is a snowmaker. So, let's start with the rainmaker, and also, you could see this pummeling in Louisiana, east of Lake Charles, reports of already of 12 inches of rain, and there is just no led up.

Tornado watch there denoted until 12:00 Central Time, so, 1:00 Eastern. And even within that, we do have north of Lafayette, Louisiana, a tornado warning reported. Meaning, there is potentially some rotation. That's for the next 20 minutes or so.

All right. So, here's what's going to happen with that. Through today and into tonight, it finds Chicago, rainmaker, though. Chicago in the 40s today, 50s Friday and Saturday. So, rain for the Midwest, believe it or not. And then, by Friday night rush hour, it moves to New York. But, temperature-wise, you won't believe how warm we're going to be.

It's really the yin and the yang, the tale of two stories, right? Here on the East, it's warm. You can see New York averages 38. It's going to be 50s on Saturday, 60s in Washington. You should be in the 40s. How about 70 in Atlanta, Georgia, should be about 52. So, 20 degrees above average on the East Coast.

And on the west coast, a whole different affair. We're going to look at Salt Lake City, between about five and 10 inches of snow between today and Friday. So, big-time cold, guys, coming to the west. Rockies, Sierra, bit of rains, a boom for skiers, trouble if you're traveling here in the west, but that's where the snow will be.

BERMAN: Meanwhile, Alexandra, a summer weekend here in New York. Thanks very much.



STEELE: That's 20 degrees above average.

SAMBOLIN: Thank you.

STEELE: You're welcome.

SAMBOLIN: We have a packed hour ahead on EARLY START, including a race to save the whales. A pot of killer whales trapped up north on the frozen edge of civilization. Ice is closing in. It is such a tragic story. The technology needed to save them still very far away.

We will be talking to an expert from one of the biggest aquariums in the world about their chance of survival.

BERMAN: And a surprise for a couple of hurricane Sandy victims. Their house was filled with four feet of water and mold, they thought it was going to be gutted, but they had no clue that volunteers made it as good as new. They're going to join us from their newly renovated house.

SAMBOLIN: I am so excited to meet them.

But first, I call thimble, I call the top hat, and no matter which Monopoly piece you prefer, you better vote for it soon or it might be gone forever. We're going to tell you why.


BERMAN: Welcome back, everyone. Fifty-six minutes after the hour. I'm John Berman. She's Zoraida Sambolin. We're taking a look at some of the top CNN trends on the internet this morning.

SAMBOLIN: Do not puzzle (ph). Do not collect $200. Your favorite Monopoly piece could be forced to go to jail forever if you don't vote for it. Hasbro, the maker of the board game, is replacing one of the tokens with one that's, quote, "more representative of today's Monopoly players."

And it wants fans to vote on Facebook for the piece that they want to save. Voting ends February 5th.

BERMAN: I had a friend who was so alarmed by this yesterday he called me. He's concerned he's going to lose his --

SAMBOLIN: What's the piece? What's the piece?

BERMAN: Well, I'm a hat fan. So, please, save the hat. Save the hat.

SAMBOLIN: What does your friend want to save?

BERMAN: He wants the thimble.

SAMBOLIN: OK. I'm going to do the thimble.


BERMAN: All right. Reports of a lion on the loose in Norfolk, Virginia did turn out to be somewhat exaggerated, like a lot exaggerated. Some very startled people called 911 to report that a lion was roaming the streets. Listen to this.


911 DISPATCHER: Norfold 911, what's your emergency?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'd like to report a lion sighting.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I just saw an animal that looked like a small lion, had the mane and everything.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I just saw a baby lion on Colley Avenue and 50th Street.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This is a lion that ran across the street. A baby lion.

911 DISPATCHER: OK. Where --

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It was about the size of a Labrador retriever.


BERMAN: You hear that? A lion the size of a Labrador retriever.


BERMAN: That last caller was actually on to something, because the reason the lion was the size of a Labrador retriever is because the lion was actually a labradoodle, a cross between a Labrador and poodle.

SAMBOLIN: It's so cute.

BERMAN: His name is Charles the Monarch (ph), and this is why it looks like a lion. The owner gets him groomed to look like the mascot from nearby old Dominion University. We're told he's much better with kids than a lion would be. He really does --


BERMAN: But he looks like a lion.

SAMBOLIN: You see that and you'll be calling 911, too. How adorable, though. And he's wagging his tail. He's happy.

To check out our top CNN trends, head to

Late night laugh time now and the boys going to a couple of their favorites for laugh, Chris Christie and the vice president. (BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

CONAN O'BRIEN, HOST, "CONAN": Consumer Electronics Show is happening in Vegas, and their -- the most amazing gadgets are being talked about.


O'BRIEN: Yes. It's been in the news. One of the gadgets everyone is talking about this year is a fork, this is real, a fork that tells you when you're eating too fast.


O'BRIEN: That's true. A fork that tells you when you're eating too fast. In a related story today, Chris Christie was spotted yelling at his fork to mind its own business.


O'BRIEN: Shut up!


JIMMY FALLON, HOST, "LATE NIGHT WITH JIMMY FALLON": And today, the president hosted a screening of NBC's White House comedy "1600 Penn" which centers on a goofy guy who keeps embarrassing the White House or as Joe Biden put it, why does everyone looking at me?



SAMBOLIN: It is kind of cool. Sorry. I was tracking the flu on my iPhone.

EARLY START continues right now.