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Frozen Friday; New Strain of Norovirus Sweeps Country; Teen Accused Of Killing His Family; Dreamliners Remain Grounded

Aired January 25, 2013 - 05:30   ET



JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: Frozen on a Friday. An ice storm threatens travel across the southeast.

ZORAIDA SAMBOLIN, CNN ANCHOR: A major massacre averted. The inside story of a cop's one-on-one encounter with a killer and how it prevented another mass shooting tragedy.

BERMAN: Hard to stomach, literally.

A warning from doctors about a bold norovirus strain sweeping the country.

Been there. It ain't fun.


BERMAN: Welcome back to EARLY START, everyone.

SAMBOLIN: You had norovirus?

BERMAN: It was bad.

SAMBOLIN: Oh, nasty! All right. We're going to talk more about that a little bit later.

BERMAN: Trust me. Take my word for it.

SAMBOLIN: Thanks for being us with, everyone. I'm Zoraida Sambolin. It is Friday, January 25th. It is 31 minutes past the hour, and it's the deep freeze we are talking about. It's still gripping much of the nation. Snow and dangerous accumulations of ice are expected today across the southeast as the arctic weather system continues to move in.

And take a look out west. Freezing rain forced the runways at Salt Lake City's international airport to shut down, at least, for some time yesterday. CNN's Jennifer Delgado is live in Nashville, Tennessee, freezing for us this morning. Thank you for that, Jennifer.



DELGADO: It is. It's very cold, absolutely. Right now, the temperature is 31 degrees. And we've been seeing rain come down. And of course, we're starting to see looks like a little bit of sleet popping in areas across parts of Middle Tennessee. Now, keep in mind, we are at the Tennessee department of transportation. And you can see all the salt back there.

Well, there's somebody who's in control of the salt, and his name is Burel Tidwell. Now, Burel, I want to thank you for joining us. Now, you have a big job here, because, of course, last week you had an ice storm that came through. That was a pretty minor one. But now, you're ready for this one. Tell us how you kind of tackle this storm. I know you do this in two different parts of this freezing rain event.

BUREL TIDWELL, SUPT. TN DEPT. OF TRANSPORTATION: Yes. Yesterday, we put out brine. We geared up for salt. And we're out tonight on our routes. If anything happens, we're out there ready to go.

DELGADO: OK. And why do you put the brine down first? I know when you put the salt down, it lowers the freezing point, but tell us why you put that brine down? I don't think a lot of people know about that.

TIDWELL: It actually keeps the frozen precip from sticking to your road, and this makes it easier to remove.

DELGADO: OK. So, how many crews do you have out there right now trying to protect everybody at --

TIDWELL: We have 40 personnel with 40 trucks.

DELGADO: Forty trucks. So, there seems to be a lot of salt there. Now, I know some of the winters have been a little bit quiet in the past. Do you have a surplus? Are we worried about a shortage? Because right now, when I'm looking at it, it looks the pile is pretty high.

TIDWELL: We have plenty this year. We'll be OK. I think we may have a mild winter. So, we'll be good.

DELGADO: You may have enough to share with other people. Now, really, you're concerned about people getting on those roads and those overpasses. That's kind of the biggest concern around here?

TIDWELL: Yes. I want everyone to be careful, because it may be some ice. And you don't know it's there until you actually run up on it. So, everyone, please be careful.

DELGADO: Absolutely. And, Zoraida, you know, I want to kind of point out to you again, right now, it's a little bit quiet, but we're going to continue to see bands and more of that moisture coming through in the form of freezing rain and sleet. Also, we want to show you look how Burel is dressed. I mean, hello? Where are you from?

(LAUGHTER) DELGADO: He's dressed much more modestly than I am.

SAMBOLIN: He's used to it, right? It doesn't phase him at all.


DELGADO: You understand the cold.

SAMBOLIN: But you know -- but it's nice to see that they're prepared for this weather that's headed their way. That's really good to see. Jennifer Delgado live for us. Thank you very much.

BERMAN: Jennifer Delgado with the brine boss of Nashville, Tennessee.

All right. Thirty-three minutes after the hour. And as if the flu outbreak isn't enough.


BERMAN (voice-over0: The CDC says a new strain of norovirus has reached the U.S. from Australia. According to the CDC, the bug accounted for 58 percent of last month's stomach flu cases causing nausea, forceful vomiting, diarrhea, and abdominal pain. Awesome!

One epidemiologist says it's too early to say now how severe or infectious this is, but he says new strains have the potential to increase disease because people haven't been exposed to it before.

SAMBOLIN: Wow. That's terrible. On the heels of the flu there.

So, outgoing Defense Secretary Leon Panetta saying its military members meet the qualifications they should have the right to serve. No matter their, quote, "creed or color or gender or sexual orientation." During yesterday's announcement, lifting the ban on women in combat, Panetta sang the praises of women who have served, are serving, or pay the ultimate price.

LEON PANETTA, SECRETARY OF DEFENSE: For more than a decade of war, they have demonstrated courage and skill and patriotism. A 152 women in uniform have died serving this nation in Iraq and Afghanistan.

SAMBOLIN: This is one of Panetta's last significant policy decisions. He is expected to leave in mid-February. It isn't clear where his nominated replacement, former Senator Chuck Hagel, stands on all of this, but he was reportedly briefed on Panetta's announcement.

BERMAN: Coming up on "STARTING POINT", Soledad will talk with Marine Captain Zoe Bedell, one of four service women who joined a lawsuit challenging the Pentagon's women's policy and author Kingsley Browne who wrote a co-ed -- who wrote co-ed combat of what the (ph) argues against women in combat.


BERMAN (on-camera): So, mess with the goat? You get the horns. A local reporter goes into an animal pen and watch this. (BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: from the County Fair, Linda Carson, ABC 7. Would you not eat my pants?



BERMAN (voice-over): Oh! Let's look at that again. Let's look at that again.

SAMBOLIN: What a good sport she is. She's laughing.

BERMAN: That is ABC 7 --

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Linda Carson, ABC 7 -- would you not eat my pants.



BERMAN: I'm sorry. Can we just cancel the rest of the show and watch that again for another hour and a half?


BERMAN: That's ABC 7 Linda Carson. She was at the (INAUDIBLE) recording a track for her story about kids that raise goats. She's totally OK. Completely OK. That's the only reason we can show this to you and laugh quite as hard as we are. We are told the pen was recently cleaned. So, you know, the father (ph) is not --


SAMBOLIN (on-camera): Look at her face. She's such a good sport. She's laughing right through it.

BERMAN (voice-over): That's a tough interview.


BERMAN: Man, I've had some tough interviews, but that's tough.

SAMBOLIN: All right. Thirty-six minutes past the hour. Two years ago today, the world witnessed a revolution in Egypt's Tahrir Square. We'll go live to Cairo. that is coming up.

BERMAN: Plus, a cop with a keen instinct may have helped prevent a mass shooting tragedy.


BERMAN: Welcome back, everyone. The details are disturbing enough. Fifteen-year-old Nehemiah Griego accused of killing his family at their home last week. Five people dead and the youngest, a girl just two years old. The scene at the house, it was horrific. The sheriff said he'd never seen anything like it before.

But, as bad as this all is, this story could have been worse. Much worse. Authorities say the boy had bigger, even deadlier plans. But for some reason, he did not go through with them. CNN's Kyung Lah has the details now from Albuquerque, New Mexico.


KYUNG LAH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Do you feel that this place, this church that you love, came pretty darn close to becoming Newtown?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Absolutely. 101 percent. Absolutely.

LAH (voice-over): Vince Harrison (ph) was staring at the gunman, 15- year-old Nehemiah Griego who, early Saturday morning according to detectives, had just massacred his entire family and planned to continue killing until the police killed him. Oddly enough, the former Albuquerque police officer was actually leading a drill on what to do when a shooter is loose in a church when he came face-to-face with the reality.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Thinking about it, you know, yes, does it send chills up my spine? I'm not sure if he came here for help. This is what he knew. This was his life away from his home.

LAH: A home life that was hard, according to neighbors who said the shooter's father, Greg Griego, practiced tough love.

BARON BRUMLEY, NEIGHBOR: I think he was a tyrant. And the kid under that type pressure. I didn't see any sign of love among those people.

LAH: The heartbreaking details of what happened in the Griego home start with young Nehemiah arguing with his mother according to detectives who say when she went to sleep, the 15-year-old took his father's 22 caliber rifle and shot her in the head. That woke up his brother. Investigators say Griego lifted his dead mother's head and showed it to nine-year-old Safanyah (ph) him before killing him as well.

Investigators say his five-year-old sister Jayel (ph) and the youngest member of the family, two-year-old Angelina were next. At this point, the investigators say Griego changed weapons and waited hours until his father, Greg, came home. Detectives say the one time gang member and now pastor was shot in the back and killed with his own AR-15.

(on-camera): Investigators believe the boy wasn't done yet saying he reloaded the AR-15 and the 22 caliber rifle and put them with more ammo into the family minivan. Investigators say he wanted to come to this Wal-Mart. Why? According to the criminal complaint, to murder more people in a populated area and then die in a gun fight with police.

(voice-over): But for some reason, the teen changed his mind and instead drove to his family's church. Griego left the guns in the van and went inside where he spent the day like an average teenager hanging out with his girlfriend at the church's skate park, the basketball courts, and bookstore.

The first time the trouble at the mega church was when Pastor Justin Marbury was told by a parishioner that something was wrong with Griego's family so he asked the 15-year-old if he knew anything.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What he was saying was, you know, my family is dead.

LAH: Griego told the pastor and Vince Harrison he had actually been home and discovered his dead family but for some reason did not call police.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Just his behavior was real quiet and cold and a matter of fact. And, the red flag started going up.

LAH: Harrison and the pastor decided to take Griego to his house to see if the story was true. But a mile from the house, Harrison felt something he hadn't since his days as a homicide cop.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Something evil was not right. It felt like a darkness.

LAH: He pulled over and got out of the car so Griego couldn't hear him call 911. Sheriff's deputies met them at the house. They used Griego's key and found the bodies. Deputies arrested the teen quietly. Authorities say he eventually confessed and told officers he started his killing spree because he was angry with his mother.

Griego seemed disconnected, say officers, only getting excited when he talked about his love of violent video games. A stunning turn for his church community who saw the youngster grow up as a normal child until the day of the murders.

PASTOR JUSTIN MARBURY, CAVALRY CHURCH: Part of what I do as a pastor is I'm watching out for the church for the people here. And part of that is paying attention.

LAH: Do you think paying attention made a difference here?

MARBURY: I think taking it seriously and following through did. Yes.

LAH: The difference between a family tragedy and what could have been another Newtown.

Kyung Lah, CNN, Albuquerque, New Mexico.


BERMAN: Amazing. Nehemiah Griego is in custody without bond. He has not entered a plea yet. Prosecutors say they will try him as an adult. More than 2,000 people went to the Cavalry Church earlier this week to honor the Griego Family. Church leaders called not only for justice but for mercy as well.

SAMBOLIN: Interesting.

Forty-four minutes past the hour. Coming up, the chase is on with a robbery suspect bent on trying to get away at all cost.

BERMAN: Plus, the revolution in Egypt two years later. A live look at Cairo's Tahrir Square. We're going to go there live coming up.


SAMBOLIN: Welcome back. Forty-seven minutes past the hour. Let's get you up to date. Here's Christine Romans with your top story.


A no relief right now from this arctic air that's gripped about a third of the country. People in the southeast are going to feel it today. Forecasters expect snow and dangerous accumulations of ice in the Carolinas also in parts of Tennessee.

All right. This is what's left of a battery from a Boeing 787 Dreamliner. Federal safety officials say the battery was spewing molten electrolytes before the plane land in Boston earlier this --

BERMAN: That's not good, right?

ROMANS: A battery is not supposed to look like that and it's never supposed to happen a fire event inside of a plane. No one was hurt, but the NTSB says nothing like this is supposed to happen and it could have ended in disaster. All 787 Dreamliners have been grounded while officials investigate this problem. It is still a mystery about what's going wrong in some of those Dreamliners.

All right. Check out this police chase in Albuquerque. A man driving a stolen SUV, he's clearly not concern with the traffic laws. He does a 360-degree turn in the middle of the road. Later, he's blowing (ph) through stop signs, crisscrossing medians, going the wrong way. He nearly hit a school bus.

SAMBOLIN: Oh, wow!

ROMANS: Also barely avoided some pedestrians. Thankfully, no one was hurt. He eventually pulled over and gave up.


ROMANS: Unbelievable.

SAMBOLIN: That was very smart. Got out of the car and got down right away.

ROMANS: Anyway, there you go.

SAMBOLIN: Christine, thank you so much. Appreciate that.

All right. It is 49 minutes past the hour. We're going to go overseas now. We're going to take a look at these live pictures. They're from Tahrir Square where violence and protesters have returned to Cairo this morning. They are marking that two-year anniversary of their revolution there.

The world was watching when thousands took to the Tahrir Square to protest what they called dire living conditions, corruption, and police brutality. It led to the overthrow of Hosni Mubarak, but there are critics who say they replace one dictator for another two years later. How much has changed there?

CNN's Reza Sayah is live in Tahrir Square in Cairo. Can we go back to those live pictures and explain exactly what's going on there?

REZA SAYAH, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Zoraida, there are clashes taking place, but we don't want to blow things out of proportion. This is a street a few blocks away from Tahrir that leads to some government buildings. Police have erected a concrete barrier on one side. You have young protesters.

They look like teenagers throwing rocks over the barrier at police, but a few blocks away from that street in Tahrir Square behind us. Things are very calm. Not a lot of people out here in Tahrir, a few hundred. We expect the larger crowds to come after Friday prayers which end about an hour and a half from now.

It's hard to believe it was two years ago when Egyptians started an uprising that toppled former president Hosni Mubarak. Of course, that uprising started here in Tahrir Square. Really the heart of the Arab spring, the Square, where Egyptians came and said enough with the oppressive dictator, Hosni Mubarak.

We want our personal freedom, our political freedom. We want jobs, a better way of life. I don't think a lot of people expected Hosni Mubarak to be toppled. Incredibly, he was. However, two years later, not all Egyptians are celebrating. In fact, the people who will be packing into Tahrir today are protesting against the president now, Mohamed Morsi and his supporters, Islamic factions, the Muslim Brotherhood.

The protesters behind us are the secularist, the moderates, the liberals who claim that Mohamed Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood have hijacked the revolutions and the principles of the revolution and that's why they're out here today, Zoraida.

SAMBOLIN: Some people believe that they're having a hard time really digesting the whole concept of Democracy and that that's just going to take some time. Have you heard that?

SAYAH: Well, we've heard a lot of opinions. The fact is, at this point, this is a country that's divided. It's going through an identity crisis on one hand. You have the secularists, the moderates who want their version of Egypt, and then, you have the President Mohamed Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood who say this is the right way to move forward with the democratic process.

In the end, the problems Egypt is facing today are very much what they faced two, three, four years ago, a bad economy, joblessness, inflation. The key is, can this government address those problems while it's fractured with these protests taking place, Zoraida.

SAMBOLIN: All right. Reza Sayah live for us. Thank you so much. We appreciate that.

BERMAN (on-camera): I can't believe it's been two years already. So many people in that country just want some sense of stability to get their lives back on track and face the future.

SAMBOLIN: And so many people were hopeful that this would be it, and yet, this is what we're seeing. Still, protest.

BERMAN: All right. It is 52 minutes after the hour. And when we come back, a little fun with a serious question. Brenda versus Kelly. Who you got in this? Dylan McKay finally decides once and for all. It's next.


SAMBOLIN: Welcome back to EARLY START. It is 56 minutes past the hour. I'm Zoraida Sambolin along with Mr. John Berman, and we are taking a look at the top CNN Trends on the web this morning.

BERMAN: So, first up, kicking him while he's down. says the league has fined Tom Brady --


BERMAN: -- for unnecessary roughness in the AFC Championship game against the Ravens. Patriots QB, what he did is he kicked his leg high during a slide in the second quarter into legendary safety, Ed Reed. So fined $10,000 for that. But you know what? He's still Tom Brady and he's still home with his Gisele --


SAMBOLIN: I know that you feel he can do no wrong.

BERMAN: He's never going to do wrong.

SAMBOLIN: Yes, right. Exactly. Dylan McKay would choose Kelly. And Berman is all over this. The most burning question in the history of teen soap operas has finally been answered for you. Actor, Luke Perry, who played heartthrob Dylan McKay on Beverly hills 90210 was on Bravo's watch what happens live playing its signature game, "Marry, Shag or Kill."

And he was told to choose between his three co-starts. So, he said he would marry Torre Spelling because of a promise that he made to her late dad. He'd shag Jenny Garth who played Kenny, and kill Brenda, a.k.a., Shannen Doherty. So, there you go, Kelly over Brenda.

BERMAN: In fairness, that is the right decision.


SAMBOLIN: You would have made the same decision?

BERMAN: You know, I was more of a "Melrose" guy than "90210," but you know, I think that's decision a lot of people would be (ph). How about you?

SAMBOLIN: I never watched. So, I think I'm the only person on planet Earth.

BERMAN: In fairness, you are a little older.


SAMBOLIN: You're just evil to me this morning.

BERMAN: To check at other top CNN Trends, head to

SAMBOLIN: Nine months older than you were something.

BERMAN: Late night laughs now, and Jimmy Kimmel's show under siege by celebrities. Matt Damon kidnapped the host and had a very special cue card boy --

SAMBOLIN: Whatever.

BERMAN: -- take a look at this. I have to run.


MATT DAMON, ACTOR: Let me ask you, guys, this. As an audience, is it weird to see a person with actual talent host the show?


DAMON: I'm very excited to be here, obviously. Jimmy has bumped me from his show 1,205 times.


DAMON: For ten years, every night, I wait in that greenroom. And every night, Kimmel says, apologies to Matt Damon, we ran out of time.


DAMON: I've been waiting for this moment for a long, long time.


DAMON: Every time I got bumped off this show, it left a mark. But if you bump a man long enough, a night will come when he bumps you back.


DAMON: And tonight is that night, my friends. I am in command of this ship!


DAMON: Good, Matt! I couldn't do it to Jimmy!

Ben, come on! Ben! Ben, where you've been?


SAMBOLIN: That is precisely what I want to do to you.

BERMAN: This actually was an epic television moment. People will be talking about that Jimmy Kimmel show for years to come.

SAMBOLIN: EARLY START continues right now.