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Newtown Residents Speak at State Task Force on Gun Rights; Kaufman County, Texas, Assistant DA Gunned Down; NY Times Is Hacking Victim.

Aired January 31, 2013 - 13:30   ET



SUZANNE MALVEAUX, CNN ANCHOR: A lot of opinions over gun control. Some very much on opposite ends here expressed by a community that is still very much in pain. We are talking about, of course, the folks in Newtown, Connecticut. It was just last night that they packed into a high school auditorium just minutes from where the massacre took place. They were speaking to a state task force on gun laws for six hours. You can imagine they spoke from their hearts. Many of them parents who lost their kids in that mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School. Some really don't believe there should be gun rights. Others are gun rights or restrictions as well on assault rifles.



NEIL HESLIN, VICTIM'S FATHER: Defense. Everybody says we need them for home protection and to protect our families and children. Where were those weapons the day of Sandy Hook Elementary massacre? They weren't in the hands of somebody who could protect our children or my family, my son, or the other 25 victims. They were in the hands of a mentally unstable person who took those lives of those kids and those teachers.


MALVEAUX: That was Neil Heslin, father of 6-year-old Jesse Lewis, one of the 20 children killed in the Newtown rampage six weeks ago.

He joins us live from Newtown.

First of all, my condolences to you and the family. I can't even imagine what you are going through right now.

What give use the strength to come out and speak about this publically?

HESLIN: I really don't know. I just feel it's something I have to do for Jesse, along for the other victims. But I feel a change has -- a stance has to be taken with the assault weapons and military-style weapons and high-capacity magazines. That's a starting point for safer schools. I just feel very strongly that we don't need those weapons. I want to see them banned.

MALVEAUX: Do you think there are other parents who are listening to you, because there are other parents as well who lost their children who don't agree and who feel like, you know what, if somebody has a gun and they want to kill people, they will find a way to do it no matter what laws are in place.

HESLIN: I agree with that. I'm not looking to ban or see all guns banned or weapons banned. But I just feel very strong. There is no place for these assault rifles in our community or in the hands of civilians. They were designed for military purposes and their sole function is to kill people. I have seen what they have done in our school, the battlefields and on the street. There is just no purpose for them.


HESLIN: They're not something that you would -- that would be used for hunting. And that was a big factor in what happened at Sandy Hook Elementary, and what caused the massacre there.

MALVEAUX: Neil, let me ask you this. This may not be something your community agrees on. It may never be a point of agreement for people who are on different sides of the aisle on this. How do you move forward? How do you heal as a community?

HESLIN: Well, I think it's going to take a long time for this community to heal. I think time is the only thing that's going to make it heal or help heal. There is a lot of heavy hearts. There is a lot of sadness here still. It's going to be a long road. And I don't know if it ever will heal to where it was before. But the community has come together. The people bonded together. They have stuck together. There's a lot of support coming from all over.

MALVEAUX: Neil, do you feel like it is a good idea what is taking place here, the fact that you were out there six hours, other people in the community out there, who were just simply explaining what this means to them, what it means to you? Is this process help in any way?

HESLIN: Yes. I believe it's a positive thing that is helping. I believe it helps people to talk, to express their feelings.

There's not just one answer or one solution to prevent things like the massacre that happened at Sandy Hook Elementary from happening again. There's many factors, there's many changes --


HESLIN: -- that I believe have to occur to make it a reality. The one thing I feel very strong is the ban on these assault weapons. I believe the mental health issue is another strong factor.


HESLIN: Those, all together, will lead to safer and more secure schools. MALVEAUX: Neil, did it frustrate you -- did it frustrate you at all? We saw some of the hearings and it looked like -- at some points, it looked rather contentious, that there were people shouting Second Amendment, Second Amendment, for gun rights. Did that moment frustrate you at all?

HESLIN: No, it didn't. It didn't really faze me or bother me. I respect everybody's rights and their opinions. I think the way it was brought on was disrespectful. I don't think it was appropriate to blurt out like that at the legislative hearing. I asked a question. Nobody answered the question. I haven't heard a legitimate answer to that question.

MALVEAUX: What was that question?


MALVEAUX: What was that question, Neil? I'm sorry.

HESLIN: My question that was asked that day was, what purpose do those weapons serve in the hands of civilians?


HESLIN: And nobody could seem to give me an answer to that. Their response was the Second Amendment.


MALVEAUX: Well, we know -- go ahead, I'm sorry.

HESLIN: I do fully support the Second Amendment. But my question still goes unanswered. What purpose do they serve? They're not weapons that you will use as a hunting rifle, home security. I don't think it's -- I don't think it's even a safe thing to have in the home with children or inexperienced people.

MALVEAUX: Neil, we know that's a question, of course, that is unanswered for you. We know that you're going to continue to seek answers to the many questions to the loss of Jesse and why things like this happened in the first place.

We appreciate your time. We certainly hope that, in time, like you say, that you and the community are able to actually heal.

Thank you very much. Appreciate it.

The criminal investigation into the Newtown shootings may take several more months to actually finish. Prosecutors say, right now, it appears that no criminal charges will be filed. The gunman, 20-year- old Adam Lanza, killed himself after the rampage. But prosecutors say officials need to look at all of the evidence before closing that investigation.

The nation's largest retailer putting a temporary cap on ammunitions sales. Wal-Mart said that customers can buy only three boxes a day. Ammunition has been in short supply in recent weeks. It is not known how long the limit will last.

And for the National Rifle Association's stance on the Obama administration's plan to curb gun violence, go to our web site,

After the shooting in Newtown, President Obama made it his mission to minimize gun violence. Tonight, Anderson Cooper will talk about gun control, gun rights, advocates, both sides. Watch "Guns under Fire," an "Anderson Cooper 360" town hall special. That's at 8:00 p.m. eastern.

We now have breaking news out of Texas. This is where the assistant district attorney of Kaufman County was just gunned down. We are just learning this now. We're going to have more information on this right after a break.


MALVEAUX: We've got breaking news out of Texas. We understand an assistant district attorney of Kaufman County, named Mark Haas, was just gunned down.

Nick Valencia joins us to talk about this.

Describe the circumstances of this. How did this happen?

NICK VALENCIA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Earlier this morning, Suzanne, we got off the phone with the Kaufman County Sheriff's Office. Early this morning, there was a shooting outside a county court house. Assistant district attorney for Kaufman County, Mark Haas, was arriving to work, just getting out of his car when he was assaulted and gunned down, according to the Kaufman County Sheriff's Office. The circumstances surrounding the shooting, there is a lot to speculate. Little confirmed right now. But another day, another shooting -- Suzanne?

MALVEAUX: The gunman, do we believe it is one or two? Multiple gunmen? Where are they now?

VALENCIA: The sheriff's office says there are suspects or a suspect still on the loose now. This is an active investigation. They are still actively looking for those shooters or a shooter. Right now, we don't know much about who did this or the motive. We do know police are looking for an older model Ford sedan. No description on the suspect or suspects at this time though -- Suzanne?

MALVEAUX: When we say Mark Haas was gunned down, is he alive?

VALENCIA: He died of his wounds. He was pronounced dead shortly after the shooting.

MALVEAUX: Is there any indication that investigators are looking at whether he was targeted, that this was not a random shooting outside of the courthouse?

VALENCIA: That's a good question, a question we posed to the sheriff's office. They told us, Suzanne, they are looking into the backlog of cases he may have been working on. Previously, he was a district attorney in neighboring Dallas County. He left that job to be the assistant district attorney, a prosecutor in Kaufman County. We don't know the motive behind the shooting and if he was, as you mention, perhaps targeted. We don't know at this point.

MALVEAUX: Do we know why we left the previous precinct? Was he in some sort of danger and had to leave to go to this other location?

VALENCIA: Our assignment desk is working on making calls right now to find out more about the victim. An adult male, Mark Haas, his name just confirmed to us recently. But this is a very developing and fluid situation. Suspects are on the loose. Schools, neighboring schools are on lockdown at this moment because this is, as we mentioned, a very active scene.

Texas DPS is involved with aircraft. And the Texas Rangers are also involved in the investigation. It's very fluid. A lot of details pouring out of Kaufman County near Dallas.

MALVEAUX: Is he the only one they shot?

VALENCIA: He's the only victim so far, the only fatality we have heard of. So far, that's all we've got.

MALVEAUX: All right, Nick, thanks.

VALENCIA: You bet.

MALVEAUX: That's a breaking story, developing story. As soon as you have more information, we'll get you right back on.

VALENCIA: Absolutely.

MALVEAUX: Thank you, Nick.

Hacked. "The New York Times" falling victim to a four-months long computer attack, saying that the source was China.


MALVEAUX: "The New York Times," one of the most respected newspapers, has now a hacker problem, or at least it used to. The editors say hackers from China broke into the paper's servers, stole passwords and e-mail information. It apparently has been going on for several months.

I want to bring in Mary Snow from New York to talk about this.

Mary, we talked to the author of the article, Nicole Perlroth, in the last hour. She said the paper kept it quiet for some time because they were really just trying to figure out what was behind it all. What do we know now?

MARY SNOW, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Right. And, Suzanne, "The Times" knew about it for four months and they kept quiet until the hackers were blocked out of their system. The paper says this was a targeted attack, and it appears the hackers were looking for sources of a "New York Times" investigative piece on the Chinese prime minister. "The Times" report said nothing sensitive from the investigative piece was taken, but it said passwords for every employee were stolen. Their security experts they hired concluded it was hackers from China using techniques, they say, similar to those used by the Chinese military in the past.

In a statement from the Chinese foreign ministry, a spokesman tells CNN, quote "That all such alleged attacks are groundless, irresponsible accusations lacking solid proof or reliable research results."

"The Times" said they have gotten the hackers out of the system. But, Suzanne, security experts warn that they are likely to come back.

MALVEAUX: Mary, I understand we are learning more about who these alleged hackers were in China. What do we know about them?

SNOW: I just spoke to the head of the security firm that was hired by the "New York Times." A company called Mandian (ph). They identified this group as APT12, which stands for Advanced Persistent Threat. They are saying is the characteristics they have seen before associated with this particular group, including these spear-fishing schemes and also that they say the line of attack is first for these hackers to infiltrate computers at universities in the United States and then go after specific targets.

And what they are saying is what's unusual about this "New York Times" story is that "The Times" is speaking about it and they say they are getting calls every day from companies across the United States about these hacking problems, and not many of them want to go public with it. They said that's what's unusual in this case, that we know so much about it.

MALVEAUX: Mary, thank you. Appreciate it.

We have another story, "The Los Angeles Times" dealing with its own set of problems. Check this out. Police say a repairman who worked for the newspaper's distributors was also a thief. They say he stole a list of "Times" subscriber who wanted their papers held while on vacation. Police say the repairman and three others allegedly burglarized the subscriber's homes while they were away. More than a million dollars worth of property was stolen over a three-year period. "The L.A. Times" said it's no longer going to share vacation information with distributors. Good idea.


MALVEAUX: Soccer star, David Beckham, taking his talents to Paris. The mid-fielder was there today to announce he is joining the Paris St. Jermaine team. He was considering offers from several teams since ending his stent with the Los Angeles Galaxy last month. He said he is going to donate his salary to a children's charity in Paris.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) DAVID BECKHAM, SOCCER PLAYER: I won't receive salary. We've decided that my salary will go towards a children's charity, a local children's charity in Paris. That's one of the things we are very excited and proud to be able to do.


MALVEAUX: Nice. Beckham's new contract is for five years.

Singing legend, Barbara Streisand, doing something she has not done in about 36 years. Watch.




MALVEAUX: I love her. She will be singing at the Academy Awards ceremony February 24th. Last time she performed at the Oscars, it was back in 1977 when she sang "A Star Is Born." This year, she will be performing a tribute to music and movies. Streisand, of course, a two-time Academy Award winner.

What is the most popular job for women in America right now? We will let you know in a minute. But first the runner ups -- it's a tease -- nursing aide, followed by being a nurse. Elementary or middle school teacher, the third most common job held by women. The top two jobs in a moment.


MALVEAUX: The most popular jobs for women today reads like a list from the 50s -- nursing aide, nurse, teacher, and the top two, cashier and secretary. That includes administrative assistants. Almost four million women work in the United States today work in that category. Being a secretary was the top job back in 1950.

So why so many secretaries still? An expert on administrative professionals says the development of computers and the Internet made business more efficient and you need folks who can use those tools. And full time secretaries, administrative assistants make about $34,000.

That does it for me. Brooke Baldwin continues with CNN NEWSROOM.