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Power Outage During Super Bowl; Ed Koch Laid to Rest; Bus Accident in California Leaves Eight Dead; Obama Speaks in Minneapolis About Gun Laws; Navy SEAL Fatally Shot by Fellow Veteran; Remains of Richard III Found Beneath Parking Lot

Aired February 4, 2013 - 11:00   ET



ASHLEIGH BANFIELD, ANCHOR, "CNN NEWSROOM": Hello, everyone. I'm Ashleigh Banfield.

Don't blame Beyonce. The NFL says last night's Super Bowl half-time show had nothing to do with the blackout that followed. We are on this story for you.

Hot Wheels and Cheese-Its, a five-year-old's wish list after six days underground as a hostage and police in Alabama deliver.

And Texas police looking for an answer in the murder of a legendary sniper. The suspect is a fellow vet.

Super Bowls can be and have been terribly, terribly dull, but not Super Bowl XLVII. It started out like many previous ones, Baltimore Ravens dominating the San Francisco 49ers in the first half and then it continued at the start of the second half with an electrifying 108- yard kickoff return for a t.d. by the Ravens.

And then, poof, lights went out, a mysterious blackout, a power outage knocking out most of the lights at the Superdome in New Orleans and those lights stayed out for more than half an hour, about 35 minutes.

Rachel Nichols is on the story . She joins us from New Orleans.

And we at CNN like to pride ourselves in doing the news, my friend, and, when that happened, we all went into news mode. We wanted to know what happened, how did it happen, who's responsible and I am still waiting for those answers.

RACHEL NICHOLS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: No Beyonce, well, we know that.

In fact, Commissioner Roger Goodell spoke this morning and said the NFL is still looking into all of those issues, but here's what we do know.

We know that the power company here said not an issue with the grid at all. They were supplying power the entire time to the Superdome.

What Superdome officials tell us, though, is that there is a piece of equipment that monitors that power feed coming into the building and that it registered a, quote, "abnormality." This is different from the malfunction we had at the Super Bowl a few years ago.

The word of the day is "abnormality" and that would have triggered an auto-shutoff, basically opened a breaker. And then it is like in your house when a breaker blows. You've got to go to the basement, flip the switch back. That's what the Superdome officials had to do. And then they had to wait for all the power to ramp back up.

Now, Goodell said that he does not consider this any kind of black eye on the Superdome or the city of New Orleans. He said that the NFL will absolutely consider having future Super Bowls here and he declared this week a total success, even with a little bit of a blackout.

BANFIELD: A little bit of a blackout? My goodness.

What did the coaches -- or, you know what? I always wonder if, when the game over, it's done, it's behind you, move on. Or if you hear some harping on the things they don't like about coaches, players, anybody weighing in on this?

NICHOLS: Well, it is interesting. The blackout, we keep saying, was 34 minutes, but I have a little inside information for you. It could have been a lot longer.

You may have noticed, if you were watching the game toward the end of that blackout period, the players all got back on the field and then there was even more waiting around.

In the Superdome, a lot of the fans started booing, everybody wanting to know, why don't you just play already? And Coach John Harbaugh from the Ravens was on the field yelling at some officials.

Well, here's the inside story on what he was yelling at. A Ravens official tells me that problem was that power had been restored everywhere enough to replay -- start restart -- restart playing the game, but the headsets on the 49ers side actually went out.

And, so, the NFL officials asked the Ravens to turn off their headsets so they could restart while they still worked on getting all the headsets set up.

The Ravens have coaches up in the upper press box. The 49ers don't. And, so, John said it wasn't going to be fair if the 49ers could communicate with their players and the Ravens couldn't. He wanted them to even stop the game longer, bring his coaches down, could have been a much longer -- almost an hour -- affair.

But they did get those headsets back working. They were able to play again. But it could have been even worse. So, that's, I guess, some solace for everyone.

BANFIELD: Well, I think speak for you and me, us broadcasters who rely mightily on these things called IFBs for our communications and our direction -- I think that's a legitimate reason to be upset.

Rachel Nichols, thank you and excellent work, my friend, out there. Some really good "gets" after the game, too. Rachel Nichols, one of our newest CNN additions and we're proud of that.

The critics are wasting absolutely no time, though, in blasting the officials over this power outage, taking on city officials, those who run the Superdome and the NFL and, for good measure, throwing in CBS, too.

Our Howard Kurtz joins us with his take from Washington via Skype, another mode of communication.

So, listen, one of the big things, Howie, that a lot of people are wondering about is it's been several years since Hurricane Katrina. This is the first game that New Orleans hosted since Katrina.

Should we make any ado about this? Or was this just one of those things that would have happened in New Orleans, would have happened anywhere else. It was just a power outage, pure and simple?

HOWARD KURTZ, CNN'S "RELIABLE SOURCES": Well, it wasn't just a power outage. It was a half-hour delay in the most watched television event of the year.

They had a couple of years to prepare for it. This is an embarrassment for the city of New Orleans and the Super Dome.

I was following the action on Twitter with something like 24 million tweets sharing the big game, Ashleigh, and, during that blackout, everybody was keeping each other entertained.

And there were jokes like, well, now, a bunch of people will know what it is like to be trapped in the Superdome.

BANFIELD: But is it fair, Howie, to be getting so angry before -- you just heard me talking with Rachel Nichols. We're still trying to figure out exactly what the abnormality was. And until we have that answer, nobody should be slinging arrows.

KURTZ: I don't think it is fair to be angry. I think people are, frankly, puzzled at how there could be a malfunction. Not a wardrobe malfunction like a few years ago at Super Bowl halftime, but a electricity malfunction at this level.

And I didn't think that CBS News covered itself with glory because, rather than making more of an issue out of the fact the NFL would not put out a statement during that seemingly endless 35 minutes, the sportscasters and reporters kept coming on, saying, we are told the power will be restored in 15 minutes. And then, 15 minutes later, they would repeat the same thing.

Now, in fairness, they didn't have a lot of information either, but it did seem a little bit like they were almost apologizing for what had gone wrong.

BANFIELD: I have to admit I don't often watch the Super Bowl. I like the ads. But this one I love the Harbaugh brothers, so I made a point of getting my kids in front of the set for as long as I could keep them awake. But then I had to put them to bed and all this happened while I was out of the room. And when I came back, I felt something is wrong and no one is telling me what is wrong.

So, I completely hear your point about the news not being delivered.

KURTZ: You missed the story of the century.

And another thing about this blackout, Ashleigh -- I know you're not a huge football fan -- but it completely changed the game. It stopped the Baltimore Ravens' momentum. It let the San Francisco 49ers get back in it.

So, there would be a lot of angry in Baltimore had the Ravens ended up losing that game at the very end.

BANFIELD: We're going to talk mojo a little later on in the program, but I appreciate you bringing your mojo to this segment. Howie Kurtz, good to see you.

KURTZ: Thanks, Ashleigh.


BANFIELD: It is kind of hard to imagine New York without Ed Koch. We've got some live pictures for you right now of his funeral. And that thing that I just said, explains the tears you might be seeing here.

This was a three-term New York mayor who passed away on Friday at the age of 88. Mayor-schmayor, he was an icon. If you see smiles at this theater -- at this funeral, it is also because that's Ed Koch. He was hilarious.

He once famously told voters, if you agree with me on nine out of 12 voters, well, vote for me. If you agree with me on 12 out of 12, see a psychiatrist.

These are his nephews who are eulogizing him right now live at the podium. He's also going to be eulogized by some very for people. New York's current mayor, Mike Bloomberg, who calls Ed Koch an irrepressible icon. Bill Clinton is also due to speak as well as a representative for President Obama.

Years after Ed Koch left office in 1989, people were urging him to run again, but he always declined. And the reason, he said the people voted me out and the people must be punished. Ed Koch, we're going to continue to watch that ceremony.

In the meantime, other news, South Korea bracing for a possible North Korean nuclear test. President Lee Myung-bak and senior officials assessing their government's readiness as the U.S. and South Korea begin three days of joint naval exercises.

Yesterday, North Korea said its leader, Kim Jong-un, had made, quote, an important decision to strengthen the country. South Korea and the U.S. and Japan are warning any provocative moves will bring significant consequences.

Turkish authorities have arrested at least 11 people in connection with the disappearance and now the death that's been reported of Sarai Sierra. She's a New York woman who went missing in Istanbul almost two weeks ago, but police found her body this weekend.

And they found her body by the ruins of this ancient stone wall near a popular tourist attraction. They say she had multiple stab wounds and a blow to the head.

A speeding bus full of terrified passengers careening down a long and winding hillside road, smoke pouring out the back, crashed violently into two vehicles last night and the death toll is expected to rise today.

At least eight people are dead, currently, but police say they are only just beginning to identify the bodies and the body parts. Dozens more people were hurt.

Up until this terrible crash, the California bus company had a pretty good safety record with no prior crashes in two years and a, quote, "satisfactory rating" given just last month.

Our Paul Vercammen has more from San Bernardino County, due east of L.A. Paul, do we have any clearer reason as to why this happened and how it happened?

PAUL VERCAMMEN, CNN SENIOR PRODUCER: Well, right now, authorities are looking at the brakes.

Caltrans had told us that they had witness accounts that they said the back of the bus smoking and that they now suspect that the brakes could have played a role in the crash, Ashleigh, so that's where the focus of the attention will be.

But right now, the crime scene is so ghastly and grisly and there are bodies still inside the bus and bodies outside the bus. It extremely difficult for the coroner and others to get to all of the bodies.

And that's why, as you said earlier, the death toll right now stands at eight, but they say that is sure to change, meaning that it will undoubtedly rise, Ashleigh

BANFIELD: And the bus driver and you'll have to maybe update me on this. One of the reports had a terrible amount of damage near where he was seated, but that he lived.

So, presumably the authorities are going to be able to question him about what happened immediately preceding thing disaster.

VERCAMMEN: Absolutely. In what was just probably a miracle of some sort, the bus rolled over, completely, and then landed upright again.

Part of the top of the bus, very near the bus driver's seat, is caved in, but there was just sort of a little window, if will you, a little -- we'll call it maybe a cone where the bus driver was sitting. That did not get caved in and somehow he survived.

According to the highway patrol, they have interviewed him already. Of course, he probably may not be as lucid as they would want, but he reportedly said to them that the brakes were at fault here.

BANFIELD: So, I'm just looking behind you, Paul, at the mountains and a producer who works with us lives in that area, has lived in that area, and says that this is a very treacherous area in terms of navigating.

Can you give as you bit of a feel for the path that that bus was on just before this happened?

VERCAMMEN: Well, we are at the foot of the mountains here and a lot of Southern Californians will go up for a day trip or a weekend trip to Big Bear off in the hills behind me for sort of a winter wonderland, a chance to play in the snow, maybe even do a little bit of skiing.

We are at the bottom of the mountain, though, and, while much of the road is extremely treacherous, this particular part kind of levels out. The grade isn't as steep and it wasn't as winding where the bus crashed.

However, one reason the brakes are part of the suspicion is you can imagine, if for miles and miles and miles, the brakes were being ridden by the bus driver -- and, of course, we are not saying that they were -- but it is possible that someone would overdo it.

You know, Caltrans talks about this, as well, and the danger of this road. You have a situation here where you could have put a lot of pressure on the brakes.

BANFIELD: All right, Paul Vercammen is going to stay on this for us. Thank you, Paul. And just update us when you hear anything from those officials on the number of people who were not able to survive this crash.

We're back after this.


BANFIELD: President Obama is heading to Minneapolis right now. The president plans to talk with city leaders and others about his plans to change gun laws across the country.

Minneapolis has been praised for initiatives that have drastically lowered gun violence there. Over the weekend, the White House released this photograph of the president skeet shooting at Camp David.

The president had mentioned that he had this hobby during an interview last week, but Republicans had demanded proof, so this is the proof they got.

But the critics jumped on the photo as a stunt and conspiracy theorists even went so far as to say that this was photoshopped. So, the story continues.

As a Navy sniper, Chris Kyle, was a killing machine, especially in Iraq. As a veteran, his legend only grew, but his focus turned towards helping other veterans with PTSD.

And, sadly, that may have been what ultimately killed him. Kyle and a friend of his were shot to death on Saturday at a gun range at a Texas resort.

CNN crime and justice correspondent Joe Johns has our story.


JOE JOHNS, CNN CRIME AND JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: Former Navy SEAL Chris Kyle, who claimed a record 160 kills in Iraq, died at the hands of another vet, authorities say, allegedly using a semi-automatic handgun.

What police don't know yet is why.

CAPTAIN JASON UPSHAW, ERATH COUNTY, TEXAS, SHERIFF'S OFFICE: I don't know that we'll ever know. He's the only one that knows that.

But, at this point, he hasn't made any comments to law enforcement as to why he did it.

JOHNS: Kyle friend Chad Littlefield and the suspect, Eddie Ray Routh, all drove to the gun range together in a pickup truck, authorities said. Less than two hours later, police say, Kyle and Littlefield were dead. Routh had fled to his sister's house.

He told her what happened, she called police and Routh was eventually caught.

Routh is an Iraq war veteran. He left the Marines in 2010.

Kyle, who wrote the bestselling autobiography, "American Sniper," talked about his duty to those he served with in an interview with KTVT last year.

CHRIS KYLE, FORMER NAVY SEAL: My only regrets are the guys I couldn't save. That's what keeps me up at night.

But every shot I took, I felt extremely justified.

JOHNS: When he left the military, Kyle became a fierce advocate for vets, starting a foundation to help those suffering from PTSD.

Authorities say that may be why Kyle and Littlefield went to the gun range with Routh.

SHERIFF TOMMY BRYANT, ERATH COUNTY, TEXAS: Mr. Kyle works with people that are suffering from some issues that have been in the military. And this shooter is possibly one of those people that he had taken out to the range to mentor, to visit with, to help.

JOHNS: Kyle's friend, Travis Cox, says that's just the kind of man he was.

TRAVIS COX, CHRIS KYLE'S FRIEND (via telephone): The man he was when he came home, if I could describe it in any way, is a servant-leader. He served others.

He was a humble, humble man. He had a vision to support veterans and their needs and he was fearless in that. And he gave us life doing so.


BANFIELD: Joe Johns joins me live now from Texas.

Joe, do we have any idea at this point if this alleged shooter actually suffered from post-traumatic stress or anything else of that ilk?

JOHNS: There's no report of that, Ashleigh, at least so far, but it's pretty clear the sheriff's department here wants a psychiatric evaluation of Routh.

There was a problem here overnight. He had to be tased. He was put in a restraint chair. Apparently, he became aggressive with some of the jailers and, now, he's on a suicide watch.

He's also in a cell by himself for his own protection because they're concerned that other people here in the community or even in the enforcement community might harm him, prisoners, in other words.

BANFIELD: And I -- you know, there are so many different jurisdictions that have different kinds of functioning appearances.

But in that photograph that we just showed, beneath where the photograph ends, it looks like he is handcuffed for his mug shot.

And I'm just wondering if they're going to have to take any other kinds of precautions in order to adjudicate this and get a first appearance and actually get him charged.

JOHNS: Well, they've already been through part of the process. Preliminary hearing is the next thing that's going to happen on all of this. That, of course, is up to the district attorney here.

We are also told Routh now has two lawyers, both of whom are going to have to be appointed because, if this case goes to trial, it could be a capital case and you have to have someone who's experienced in those kind of cases in order to defend an individual like this.

BANFIELD: You know what? You're going to have to remind me on this one. Capital case because it's a first-degree murder in Texas or because there's an actual veteran involved here?

JOHNS: As far as I know, it's because of the murder charge. I don't know what they call it here. You know, most typically you call it first-degree murder in a lot of different states. It might be called capital murder in this state. But you know, that's -- we have to look at the statute. It could range anywhere from pre-meditation to who knows what else. But I'd rather look at the statute before I talk about it.

BANFIELD: And that's exactly -- I feel the same way. I lived in Texas for a number of years and I recall that capital murder can be involved when you kill a law enforcement, member of law enforcement.

And I'm just trying to -- I'm trying to remember if a veteran would qualify under that statute.

Joe, great reporting. Thank you for that. Do appreciate it.

President Obama is also going to be in Minneapolis later today to talk about the need for new gun laws.

And coming up, Wolf Blitzer is going to look at why the president chose Minneapolis and if the city can be a model for the nation. That's at 4:00 p.m. Eastern time today.


BANFIELD: Sometimes when you pave paradise and put up a parking lot, some pretty amazing things get locked underground for a long time, like a medieval king of England, Richard III, whose bones have just surfaced and have just been identified by some very excited scientists.


RICHARD BUCKLEY, LEAD ARCHAEOLOGIST: It is the academic conclusion of the University of Leicester that beyond reasonable doubt the individual exhumed at Greyfriars in September 2012 is, indeed, Richard III.


BANFIELD: OK, so, that's about as excited as scientists usually get.

But make no mistake, identifying the arch villain of English royal lore is a big deal.

If you go back to your high school Shakespeare, Richard is the one who supposedly killed his nephew so that he himself could take the throne.

Here's CNN's Erin McLaughlin.


ERIN MCLAUGHLIN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: For over 500 years, this was the resting place of King Richard III.

What was once the location of a church is now in municipal car park. Archaeologists found his remains here in an ill-fitting shallow, hastily dug grave. They say that he did not have any sort of shroud or coffin. Now, earlier today, a panel of experts released their findings, culmination of months of detailed analysis involving DNA testing, bio- carbon testing, environmental sampling and they can now say beyond any reasonable doubt they have found the remains of King Richard III.

DR. TURI KING, PROJECT GENETICIST, UNIVERSITY OF LEICESTER: And I can now tell you there's a DNA match between the maternal DNA from the descendants of the family of Richard III and the skeletal remains we found at the Greyfriars dig.

In short, the DNA evidence points to these being the remains of Richard III.

MCLAUGHLIN: Richard III will be reburied at Leicester Cathedral which is not far from here.

Officials say that they're planning to hold a memorial service in his honor so that he can have one final resting place, they say, that is dignified and fit for a king.