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Ex-Navy Sniper And Friend Killed; Kyle Remembered As Family Man; Funeral Today For School Bus Driver; White House Releases Obama Gun Photo; Iran To Resume Nuclear Talks; North Korea's Nuke Plans; Man Tasered Outside Queen's Palace; King Richard III Found Buried In Car Park; Raising America

Aired February 3, 2013 - 14:00   ET


MIGUEL MARQUEZ, CNN ANCHOR: It's 2:00 p.m. in the East, 11:00 a.m. out West. I'm Miguel Marquez in for Fredricka Whitfield. If you're just tuning in, thanks for joining us.

These are the top stories we're following right now in the CNN NEWSROOM. We're finding out more information about the murder of a highly decorated former Navy SEAL, considered one of the military's best snipers.

The 38-year-old Chris Kyle was shot and killed today along with a friend at a gun range near Fort Worth, Texas. A suspect is under arrest. Susan Candiotti is following the story for us and she joins us now live from New York. Susan, how exactly the shooting unfold?

SUSAN CANDIOTTI, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Miguel. What a tragedy. The sheriff tells me Chris Kyle and Chad Littlefield were at a shooting range together with the suspect, Eddie Ray Routh who is 25 years old. They all apparently knew each other.

Kyle is well known for helping vets transition back into civilian life, some of them suffering from posttraumatic stress. They appear to be alone, all of them, at the range yesterday afternoon when this happened and the sheriff says they don't yet know what was behind the shooting, what prompted it.

But they recovered, listen to this, 25 to 30 weapons, including handguns and long guns and AK 47s. According to the sheriff, they're still trying to sort out which one was the murder weapon.

Now, after the shooting, police say the suspect took off in former SEAL Chris Kyle's pickup truck. The bodies were not discovered for almost a couple of hours, 911 was called and investigators eventually found the suspect at his home about 75 miles away.

He allegedly took off in a vehicle and police said they caught him about four to six miles down the road after first trying to talk him out of the house. Apparently, they caught him without a struggle, took him into custody and Routh is charged with two capital murder counts. He'll likely be arraigned tomorrow -- Miguel.

MARQUEZ: Do we have any motive behind what the suspect did? CANDIOTTI: Not at all. We also don't know much about the suspect. We know according to the sheriff that he's unemployed. We don't know much more than that. However, our Pentagon correspondent, Barbara Starr, tells us the suspect is a former Marine himself who left the service in 2010 after four years.

He served in "Operation Iraqi Freedom" for about six months from 2007 to 2008 and in Haiti after the earthquake and he received ten medals, including several for his service in Iraq -- Miguel.

MARQUEZ: Terribly tragic. Thank you, Susan Candiotti in New York.

Chris Kyle was well known to millions of Americans. He was the author of the bestselling book "American Sniper" and he appeared last year in the NBC reality show "Stars Earned Stripes."

Nick Valencia joins us now. Nick, this is a guy who had an amazing career. What can you tell us about Kyle?

NICK VALENCIA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Miguel, Chris Kyle grew up in East Texas and he had a big affinity for horses and he also grew up handling guns for a young age. In fact, he went on to become a prolific sniper for the Navy SEALs. He chronicled this as time overseas in his book called "The American Sniper."

In Iraq, Miguel, he became infamous among Iraqi insurgence. In his book, he wrote that he had killed more than 150 insurgents and, as you mentioned, his legacy lived far beyond the service community. He was known to millions of Americans.

In a recent interview with Conan O'Brien, he talked about his time in the field in Iraq and why he had a $20,000 bounty on him by the Iraqi insurgents. Take a listen.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: How did the Iraqi insurgents identify who you were?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: When I'd go into the house and we'd have to occupy houses. I would take the top of my uniform off and have my short sleeve shirt on and you could see my tattoo coming down my arm and they identified that with me and started every time somebody would be shot by a sniper in the area, they would associate that with me.


VALENCIA: He was incredibly humble man. In fact, Miguel, when I spoke to his friend a little while ago, Travis Cox, he said he was most proud not of his service, but for being a family man -- Miguel.

MARQUEZ: You know, after he left the SEALs, he had a very mission helping other soldiers with posttraumatic stress syndrome. Is that something that he battled himself?

VALENCIA: Well, I spoke to his friend, and though, Chris Kyle was never officially diagnosed, Travis told me that he struggled with everything that goes along with being in combat. He did have some struggles. But, as you mention, almost immediately after coming back to the United States he got involved with a non-profit called "Fitgo."

Now, "Fitgo," is a Dallas-based fitness company, but they have a signed project called the "Hero's Project." What they do, Miguel, is they work with soldiers suffering from PTSD. Chris Kyle was very involved in that community, but as I mentioned he was more proud of being a family man.

Though, as you could imagine, those deployments he was gone. In those three years, he was gone all but six months. He only spent six months at home after three years. It was incredibly difficult on him and his family.

In a recent interview, Taya Kyle, his wife, I spoke to our affiliate KTVT and talked about those pressures.


TAYA KYLE, CHRIS KYLE'S WIFE: Emotionally, it is very taxing.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Took it as an ultimatum. Either you get out or she and my kids were going to be gone.

KYLE: Of course, he looked at that and thought the marriage would be over. You know what, he's probably right. I honestly didn't think that far ahead.


VALENCIA: Chris Kyle is survived by his wife and his two children -- Miguel.

MARQUEZ: Nick Valencia, thank you very much.

In about an hour from now, the funeral begins for Charles Pollin. He is the Alabama school bus driver killed as he tried to protect the kids on a bus after the gunman boarded it. All the children escaped except for one 5-year-old boy. He has been held in an underground bunker for six days now.

Our Victor Blackwell is live in Midland City, Alabama. Victor, what are people in the community saying about Mr. Pollin?

VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, before I answer that question, Miguel. I have to tell you what you're hearing behind me is a helicopter and it's pretty loud. So hopefully, you'll be able to hear this.

But what you asked about, Charles Pollin and what the community thinks about him. They call him a hero, no short of it. They say that by putting himself between that gun and the children, he might have saved many of the lives on that bus.

He's not from Midland City. He's from a little town just outside of Midland City, Newtown. It's kind of the place where everybody knows everyone else, population 1,500. Got that motorcycle, as well, going by.

Population 1,500 where we're expecting a lot of those people to be at his funeral today and actually, the crowd is expected to be so large they had to move it to a civic center in Ozark.

I met a friend of his, Pastor Robert Smith, who's going on for 20 years says, that if he was alive, if he survived, he would probably be here trying to get that boy out of that bunker.

Also, listen to what a person who lives here in Midland City says about Ethan, that 5-year-old in that bunker we were told with Jimmy Lee Dykes and the community that surrounded him, she says, with love and support. Listen.


MICHELLE RILEY, FAMILY FRIEND: We can fight and we can push through and we can pray and that our prayers are going to be answered that Ethan is coming home to be with his large family.


BLACKWELL: Her name is Michelle Riley. She is making black, blue and red ribbons, black to mourn the death of Charles Pollin, and blue and red to symbolize the school colors of Dale County Schools -- Miguel.

MARQUEZ: Sounds like a very fitting tribute for Mr. Pollin today. Police have not saying much about the kidnapping itself, but what is the latest there?

BLACKWELL: They have not said much about the kidnapping itself. There was a news conference that was very brief and all Sheriff Olson said was this is a tough day for our family speaking about the funeral of Charles Pollin.

We do know that they are in constant communication and that line is open with Jimmy Lee Dykes and they said that they are ready to speak with him whenever he is ready to speak with them.

Also, we are told that there is a possibility that more of those comfort items, the toys and games and coloring books, food and even the medication that needs to be delivered to that bunker, that could be delivered today -- Miguel.

MARQUEZ: Victor Blackwell in Alabama for us, thank you very much.

Super Bowl Sunday is finally here after Americans spent an estimated $12 billion getting ready for the big game. It's time to cook those wings and prepare the dip, order the pizza and put the beer on ice.

The Baltimore Ravens face off against the San Francisco 49ers in just about four hours in New Orleans. All eyes will be on the quarterbacks, Joe Flacco and Colin Kaepernick. Singer Beyonce is expected to wow the crowd with her halftime performance and she promises it will be live, not lip-synched.

OK, all you doubters, President Obama said he went skeet shooting, now, the proof is out. And you've got to hear what the president advisors are saying about the controversy on Twitter. Is North Korea about to test a nuclear bomb? We'll get the details straight ahead.


MARQUEZ: President Obama heads to Minneapolis tomorrow to talk about his plan for gun control, but back in Washington, everyone is talking about a certain photo release by the White House. This photo is the response to calls for proof after the president revealed in an interview that he likes to go skeet shooting at Camp David.

The president's senior adviser, Daniel Pfeiffer tweeted this. For all the skeeters, shoots clay targets on the range on Camp David, August 4th, 2012. And this from his former adviser, David Ploof, attention, skeet birthers, let the Photoshop conspiracies begin.

Before the picture was released, a chorus of conservatives had questioned the White House's claim like Congresswoman Marsha Blackburn of Tennessee.


REPRESENTATIVE MARSHA BLACKBURN (R), TENNESSEE: If he is a skeet shooter, why have we not heard of this? Why have we not seen photos and why has he not referenced it? At any point in time, as we have had this gun debate that is ongoing, you would have thought that it would have been a point of reference.


MARQUEZ: The NRA is responding saying, quote, "one picture does not erase a lifetime of supporting every gun ban and every gun control scheme imaginable."

Iran will resume its nuclear talks later this month. The announcement comes after Vice President Joe Biden said that, "Washington is open to holding bilateral talks with Iran."

Biden and other leaders are in Munich, Germany, for a security conference. Iran's nuclear program is a great concern to western nations into Israel in direct talks over Tehran's nuclear ambitions will be held in Kazakhstan.

Another country trying to play the nuclear card is North Korea. It previously conducted nuclear tests, but its facilities, capabilities and intentions remain a mystery. Now, North Korea is threatening to conduct an underground nuclear test after successfully launching a long-range rocket that could threaten the U.S. last December.

Let's bring in Dr. Jim Walsh from MIT who has hosted North Korean delegations here in the U.S. and been part of nuclear talks in that country. Dr. Walsh, the North Koreans recently covered the tunnel to their nuclear test site. What do you think is happening on the ground?

JIM WALSH, RESEARCH ASSOCIATE AT MASSACHUSETTS INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY'S SECURITY STUDIES PROGRAM: Well, you know, we've had a couple false alarms. It's a little hard to know when exactly North Korea is going to do something because they engage in deception, but I expect that some time during this month we're going to get a test.

Now, they don't want to telegraph in advance exactly when that's going to happen because they know that the U.S. and other countries are going to be trying to including activity at that site that you mentioned.

Statements from the government and certain anniversaries that are coming up this month as well as the inauguration of a new South Korean president and all that points in the direction that a test is more likely than unlikely.

MARQUEZ: Is this just acting out by the North Koreans?

WALSH: Yes, you know, I don't think nuclear weapons are going to solve their problems, right. They have domestic problems, economic problems. Nuclear weapon isn't going to help with that. Their foreign policy problems and nuclear weapons aren't going to do nothing for that either.

North Korea is not out to start a war. That isn't the danger here. Because they know if they start a war, they would lose a war. South Korea is the 13th biggest economy in the world. The U.S. is the most powerful country in the world. They would lose any war that they started.

But there are some symbolic significance for them. They would also be able to perhaps try to use it as leverage in negotiations. I think its domestic factors and nose factors that more at play.

You know, there's an interesting thing going on in North Korea. We have a fixed image in our mind. It's undergoing change with this new leader and the new leader is trying to strengthen some new constituencies and weaken others. So this test and some of this activity may be part of this larger, domestic process that's going on.

MARQUEZ: Yes, but a couple of concerning things sort of happening at the same time here. North Korea launched that three-stage rocket into orbit last month. Now with this nuclear test, they are set to have a handful of nuclear devices. Is there any chance they could marry these two technologies?

WALSHI: Not in the short term. This is not an immediate threat. Remember, we've had two previous nuclear tests in North Korea in 2006 and 2009. They had a couple of rocket launches and a nuclear weapon requires more than that.

You have to take a crude device, fashion it into a weapon, miniaturize it so that you can put it on a rocket and that rocket has to be 100 percent reliable. You can't shoot it up and have it come crashing back down on your own territory with a nuclear weapon. So, that's going to take quite a while. They are definitely moving in that direction. It is an unwelcome set of developments. No one wants their program to progress, but I wouldn't say this poses an immediate threat to the United States.

For me, the real threat here is that because of changes in South Korean military doctrine and because we have two new leaders in Korea. A new president in South Korea, a new leader in North Korea, I worry more about one of them making a mistake and then a crisis sort of getting out of control.

If you ask me, that's the near term danger more so than them launching a nuclear weapon somewhere.

MARQUEZ: North Korea is quite poor as well and it pours a lot of its resources into this nuclear program. Given that dynamic with the south, can they really hang in there and keep up this and keep up the way they're going?

WALSH: The short answer is no. I mean, they spent something like 25 percent to a third of their GDP on their military, which is an inordinate amount, you know, a percentage of their economy.

Some had speculated that one of the reasons they're pursuing a nuclear weapons program, if we have nuclear weapons, we need fewer troops, fewer conventional weapons which are soaking up all this money in their economy.

But, you know, in the long run, we don't know -- North Korea is the most closed country in the world. We all have guesses and we've all been wrong in the past. We really don't know what's going on there.

But I think one thing that comes from this what we're doing right now isn't working, right. The sanctions are not working and we'll have to start talking to them or doing something else to try to put this on a different path.

MARQUEZ: Dr. Jim Walsh, thank you very much for joining us.

WALSH: Thank you.

MARQUEZ: One of the most infamous monarchs in British history may have been found buried beneath a parking lot in England. We're about to find out if it's the real final resting place of Richard III.>

Plus, there's a new place for you to get parenting news. I'm talking to host Kyra Phillips about her brand-new show.


MARQUEZ: Some dramatic video today from outside Buckingham Palace, of all places, what you saw there, the man was holding a knife to his throat before cops tazered him and took him down. The queen and Prince Philip were not in the palace at the time. The whole thing took place during the famous changing of the guards' ceremony. This story is for all you royal lovers out there. Experts say they may have found the remains of King Richard III. You won't believe where. Erin McLaughlin has the details.

ERIN MCLAUGHLIN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Miguel, they're calling him the king in the car park. Richard III is one of the most infamous monarchs in English history portrayed by Shakespeare as a vial and twisted villain accused of murdering his own nephews in order to secure his place on the throne.

He met his demise all the way back in 1485. He was killed in action at the battle of Bosworth Henry VII and the tutors won that day and they won the throne. Richard III's burial place has long since been forgotten.

That is, until now. Over 500 years later, a team of archeologists is set to reveal their findings as to whether human remains found buried underneath a parking lot in Central England is, in fact, the king, Richard III.

Now, so far circumstantial evidence released to the public points to the fact that this could very well be him. The skeleton shows signs of possible battle trauma and also shows signs of scoliosis or curvature of the spine and the location of findings all consistent with various historic accounts of his demise.

And experts have spent the past three months analyzing the remains in greater detail, including DNA analysis. They've actually tried to take a sample of DNA from the remains and compare it to a DNA sample of one of Richard III's families' descendants.

Now those findings will be released at a press conference tomorrow. I can tell you that Richard III enthusiasts are waiting with bated breath -- Miguel.

MARQUEZ: Bated breath indeed, thank you very much.

Our sister network, HLN, will kick off their new parenting show, "Raising America" tomorrow. I asked anchor Kyra Phillips what makes this show unique.


MARQUEZ: All right, Kyra, so the new show launches when?


MARQUEZ: Tomorrow. Fantastic.

PHILLIPS: Little nervous. Fantastic for you. We're a little nerve, but we're ready.

MARQUEZ: You're ready. What is the first program?

PHILLIPS: It's news through the family's perspective. One thing we're talking about the Super Bowl. Not just the game. What is the family perspective? Two coaches, their parents don't know who to love more because their kids are going at each other, right? So what is the parents' perspective?

Also, let's get the serious issues here. For the boy who is sitting home with the family and wants to play football and wants to be that 49ers star or that Baltimore Ravens' star and parents know what they know about concussions and brain injuries.

And about, you know, all the controversy concerning helmets and their little boy says, I want to play football, mom and dad. How do you handle that and talk to them that maybe it's something they don't want their kids to do?

MARQUEZ: And a lot that kids are concerned with these days whether it's Newtown or this young man who has been taken hostage in Alabama. Is it how parents talk to their kids about these things?

PHILLIPS: You're going it get the news, OK. This is a news program, but it's through the lens of a parent. So, what parent isn't sitting home hearing about this story, of this 5-year-old in a bunker with a deranged man and, you know, he's crying for his mother.

You can hear him through the PVC pipe. OK, as a parent, I start thinking about my kids. Do I want them riding the school bus? How are school buses protected? How is the driver trained to protect my child?

MARQUEZ: Is this how, how are you putting it together? Does it fill a need that is out there?

PHILLIPS: There is nothing like this out there. Everyone asks me how this is different from any show on a network? It's different because it's news with your family in mind. It's the angle that you're not going to see on any of the other networks. They're all doing the same story, right, talking about the same story. For anybody that is raising a family, they're going to see angles that you don't see on other networks.

MARQUEZ: All right, noon to 2:00 on Monday, every week day.

PHILLIPS: You're involved raising, you know, the family. You're close with your parents, you're a great uncle, all that good stuff.

MARQUEZ: Noon to 2, every week day, Headline News.

PHILLIPS: That's right.

MARQUEZ: Break a leg, good luck.

PHILLIPS: Thank you.


MARQUEZ: All right, so don't forget to tune in to HLN, "Raising America" premieres noon tomorrow. It's an elite group of super star athletes and former Vikings wide receiver Chris Carter is one of them. Who else was elected to the NFL hall of fame? Stay right here for the answer.


MARQUEZ: Here's what's trending on the web. The man who brought us "Etch A Sketch" has died. He debuted the drawing toy at the European Toy Fair in 1959. He died in a Paris suburb. He was 86.

There are seven new members of the NFL Hall of Fame. The league has announced Larry Allen, Cris Carter, Curly Culp, Jonathan Ogden, Bill Parcels, Dave Robinson and Warren Sapp.

I'll be back at 4 p.m. Eastern and I'm talking to a reported who got to know that highly decorated former Navy SEAL who was murdered at a gun range near Fort Worth, Texas.

Plus Super Bowl Sunday, I'm talking about God and football with former NFL Great Rosy Greer, don't miss that. Stay here. "THE NEXT LIST" starts right now.