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STARTING POINT WITH SOLEDAD O'BRIEN

Boston Facing Up To 34-Inches Of Snow; "Historic" Storm Targeting Northeast; Hero Dies After Saving Boy; Manhunt For Ex-Cop; The Mind Of An Alleged Killer; Number One Indiana Loses!; Recruit's Dad Signs Letter Of Intent; Pitcher Moving To Canada Alone Due To Dog; Super Bowl Winning Coach On The Couch; Top Dog At Westminster Show

Aired February 8, 2013 - 07:30   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


SOLEDAD O'BRIEN, CNN ANCHOR: Let's start with you. What's going on there?

ZAIN ASHER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Soledad. Well, you know, there's simply no way of sugar coating it. It certainly going to be a tough day for commuters, 3,300 flights canceled, not delayed, completely canceled. Airlines at this point is not taking any chances, making the decision to cancel those flights preemptively yesterday.

So if you do have travel plans, schedules for today, any time of the 1 p.m. through to tomorrow, just make sure you call the airlines in advance. Don't simply show up at the airport hoping for some kind of miracle because chances are, you may be disappointed.

I just want to show you the radar map. You see those little blue dots right there. Those represent flights that are currently in the air right now. As you can see, it is relatively active, but that could, of course, change this afternoon as those flights are going to be grounded.

Now some passengers I spoke to basically not taking any chances, deciding they had flights basically later on this afternoon and tomorrow. They didn't want to take any chances. They decided to reschedule to this morning. They were fortunate to board their flights. Here is what they had to say.

(BEGIN VIDEO LCIP)

JAMES RUBINO, AIRPORT TRAVELER: Back to about 20 minutes from Newark Airport, so this was about an hour away and a $200 cab ride.

MIKE SERIO, AIRPORT TRAVELER: I was really tired, but you know, I would rather get out on time and safely so I had to.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ASHER: And those guys, as I mentioned, were extremely lucky to be able to board their flights. I just want to show you what LaGuardia looks like right now. It's starting to snow outside. I'm going to step aside so you can see. We got here 3:30 this morning, it was completely empty. Now things are slowly, slowly starting to pick up. And just to give you an idea of how badly LaGuardia is probably going to be affected by the snowstorm on any given day, 1,000 flights take off and leave from LaGuardia.

So when the snowstorm comes and goes, it's pretty much going to be mayhem here. A lot of passengers are converging at once to re-board, to board their rebooked flights -- Soledad.

O'BRIEN: What a mess, potentially to be an absolute mess over the next couple of days. All right, Zain, thanks a lot. Appreciate the update.

Let's get a look at where the storm is, where it's expected to go. Meteorologist Jennifer Delgado, as I mentioned, is tracking this for us. Hi, Jennifer.

JENNIFER DELGADO, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Hi, Soledad. You're right. We are tracking the storm system. We have our eye on two different storms out there, one in the Great Lakes and one of course, across the Mid-Atlantic. And I want to point out to you right now, again, we've been following this, still looking at some of that wintry mix coming down through parts of Virginia.

I also want to point out, you can see a little bit of the changeover happening just to the south of Connecticut as well as into Rhode Island. That means as we have been saying, we will start to see the snow, very wet snow working into New York and then by 9:00, we'll start to see more of that in Boston, as well as into Hartford and into Providence.

Now some of these locations, we're talking 1 to 3 feet of snow, roughly right around a meter of snowfall in some of these locations. Again, the heaviest, certainly going to be in through parts of New England, but for New York City, we could still see about 12 inches of snowfall.

Now keep in mind, blizzard warning now in place for several states. That includes for Newark, all the way up toward Maine and what we're talking about, winds will be gusting in some locations, up to 70 miles per hour.

This is also going to create a storm surge even down towards the south for areas damaged by Superstorm Sandy. They certainly don't need something like this, but the reality is blizzard conditions very likely to arrive as conditions get worse later this evening into tomorrow morning.

And we're talking when you are dealing with a blizzard, talking wind gusts, sustained or frequented at 35 miles per hour and visibility drops down to a quarter mile. That's why we're saying, Soledad, don't attempt to get on the road because you are not going to be seeing anything.

And we're also talking about snowdrifts and the potential for power outages across the region in addition to potentially 3 feet. Soledad, potentially we're talking historic hopefully. You've got a plan when you get out of work today.

O'BRIEN: That's right. My plan is to head south. I'm going to New Orleans today, but my plan is, Jennifer, and I understand her. She's not calling for snow in New Orleans or anywhere around there. Thanks, Jennifer, appreciate the update.

I got to turn now to this really sad story out of Columbus, Ohio. A man jumped into an icy pond at an apartment complex. He was hearing a 5-year-old boy screaming as he was literally drowning in the water. So he grabs the boy, kind of had him in his arms the whole time, but he could not get back to land.

Yesterday, the 30-year-old hero, his name is James Jenkins died. He had been in the water more than 49 minutes. The little boy was in the water for even longer, for more than an hour, and he is in critical condition this morning. So the man trying to rescue this boy lost his life. The little boy is still struggling to survive.

Another big story we're following right now as well, massive search on for this man, an ex-cop, who allegedly has killed three people including another officer. He's declared war in the manifesto on the Los Angeles Police Department. There was a possible lead we were talking about overnight.

But that lead went nowhere. His name is Christopher Dorner. He is 33 years old. He has threatened now to target other cops, their families as well. His manifesto is online. Police say the killing spree began on Sunday in Irvine, California.

Two people were killed yesterday in Riverside. A police officer was killed and two others were wounded. Anderson Cooper takes a closer look at Dorner's rambling manifesto online.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

ANDERSON COOPER, HOST, CNN'S "AC 360" (voice-over): The subject line reads last resort. Perhaps the only explanation we'll ever hear from the alleged shooter, Christopher Dorner, over 11,000 words posted on his Facebook page earlier today addressed simply to America.

Its pages and pages of threats, confessions and rambling opinions and it is chilling to read. He writes, quote, "I know I will be vilified by the LAPD and the media. Unfortunately, this is a necessary evil I do not enjoy, but must partake and complete for substantial change to occur within the LAPD and reclaim my name."

The question is, what would you do to clear your name? Dorner clearly wants vindication from the LAPD, which terminated him in 2008 for making false statements to his superior officer. "The attacks will stop when the department states the truth about my innocent publicly," he writes.

"I will not accept any type of currency or goods in exchange for the attacks to stop. Nor do I want it. I want my name back, period. There is no negotiation." The alleged shooter details evidence he says shows he was telling the truth and he urges the media to investigate his case.

He writes, quote, "With the discovery and evidence available, you will see the truth. Unfortunately, I will not be alive to see my name cleared." Dorner writes repeatedly about his own death. At one point, he writes, "self-preservation is no longer important to me. I do not fear death."

He also writes, "I have nothing to lose. You cannot prevail against an enemy combatant who has no fear of death." Dorner wants to make sure he is not branded a liar, but seems to have no concerns about being a killer.

He promises, the violence of action will be high and he list members of the LAPD by name in his manifesto writing, "In essence, I've lost everything, because the LAPD took my name and knew I was innocent. Your day has come."

Later, he writes, "You destroyed my life and name because of your actions. Time is up." Dorner doesn't stop there. He writes, "Suppressing the truth will lead to deadly consequences for you and your family. I never had an opportunity to have a family of my own, I'm terminating yours."

(END VIDEOTAPE)

O'BRIEN: Dorner also sent Anderson a package that included a DVD, a post-it note and a coin wrapped in duct tape. The coin had turned out had many bullet holes in it. It came with the label that said "thanks but no thanks, Will Bratton." Bratton told Anderson that the chances are that he gave Dorner that coin. He doesn't remember any specifics about Dorner or even why he was fired. Listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

WILLIAM BRATTON, FORMER LAPD CHIEF: That is a -- what is called a challenge coin. It's my personal coin that I give out to people and usually about an inch and a half, 2 inches in width. So it looks like he probably shot that through with like a .22.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O'BRIEN: I want to get back to Dr. Michael Welner. He is one of the nation's top forensic psychiatrists. He's developed a research to define evil crimes. It's nice to have you back with us this morning.

MICHAEL WELNER, M.D., FORENSIC PSYCHIATRIST: Good morning.

O'BRIEN: There are so many interesting things in the manifesto, but you've read the whole thing so give me in a nutshell.

WELNER: I think it's pornography. I don't think -- I think it was a huge mistake for Anderson Cooper to do just what he did because you've just sent a message out to every disaffected person in the United States. That if they have a grievance and they can write, you will give them 30 seconds of air time on CNN to go through and give it legitimacy. I don't see any difference between -- O'BRIEN: It's how they caught the unibomber.

WELNER: Look, they caught the unibomber because David Kazinski provided them with information, but at the same --

O'BRIEN: Because the manifesto was printed in the paper and he could read it and say 'that sounds like my brother.'

WELNER: These crimes were copied. We've learn that by now. The unibomber was on the loose. Just a moment. The unibomber was on the loose for a while. There were no clues. The FBI had failed. You cannot compare these situations. You want to compare this situation to something?

Compare it to Anders Brevik who is a resentful, paranoid guy who wrapped his agenda to something that people can relate to. People can relate to resentment for the LAPD. People can relate to racism. So he gives something begrudging and full of resentment a tinge of legitimacy and then it's framed in a way of mass media exposure.

O'BRIEN: OK, let's talk specifically. We can debate about whether or not this should have been run and made public or not, right, because it's been made public all over the place. That's kind of a separate debate.

I want to talk specifically about the manifesto. When you read that manifesto, what does it tell about Christopher Dorner.

WELNER: Everything you need to know about Christopher is found more fittingly at don'tdatethisguy.com, single, sexually incompetent, has not been able to achieve intimacy and he's redirected to destruction like other spectacle killers.

And as a long-time resentful individual, who harbor as a grudge and finds a way to make it legitimate. There are absolutely other channels. Look, if he could find Anderson Cooper's address today, he could have found it a month ago, a month before that.

He is living in a United States where the Department of Justice is especially sensitive to discrimination complaints, the idea of this as a last resort, the idea of giving us a Facebook page where he tells us he likes and you other people and this music.

It's a quest for relevance wrapped around a -- here's a justification for why I did it. But at the end of the day, someone who has close proximity says don'tdatethisguy.com. He is a weirdo. He is strange and he is paranoid. That's his core.

O'BRIEN: That is what I found interesting, this juxtaposition. Half of his manifesto is I'm a victim. I've been wronged. The other half is I'm amazing. I've always been top of my class.

WELNER: It's what he wants us to see.

ABBNY HUNTSMAN, HOST "HUFFPOST LIVE": He wants the attention. WELNER: Look, you come from the Mormon community. You know all about injustice. Can you imagine a Mormon by virtue of the fact that exclusion or death or mass execution, which is part of the entire legacy of the Mormon faith doing something, saying I have justification to carry out the grievance because things are not better obviously not --

O'BRIEN: Wait, wait, wait. Stop for a second. What are you saying?

WELNER: What I'm saying is he is saying I'm doing this because there is endemic racism. I'm doing this because the LAPD has not reformed itself. You know something? Life isn't fair. All of us --

MICHAEL SKOLNIK, EDITOR IN CHIEF, GLOBALGRIND.COM: To call him crazy simply dismisses him (ph), isn't there a mental health issue. He served our country, served our police force.

O'BRIEN: He did serve in Iraq, that we know about.

SKOLNIK: Sure, he served our country, he served our police force. Isn't there a mental health issue possibly?

WELNER: He is not serving the country now.

SKOLNIK: But he did.

WELNER: The lion's share of mass shooters or spectacle killers have resentment that may be paranoid, but the lion's share of seriously mentally ill people do not embark on spectacle crimes. This is an attention-seeking crime. It's a Facebook driven crime. It's a crime in which he sends things to mass media.

It's a crime in which like Luke Magnota in Canada, who sent body parts, because he knew the media would be interested. How was he caught? Reading about himself on the internet in a Berlin cafe.

He is watching the response just as other people are who would copy him, he sent something to the major media because he knew if he named names somebody would say he sent it to me and let's talk about it. And I realize it's critical of CNN and it may be uncomfortable.

O'BRIEN: Critical of CNN doesn't bother me at all, as you know, and it's not uncomfortable at all. And that's a separate issue, we can talk about that. But I think that in the manifesto as well it's were you sort of dismiss what he's talking about. I find that interesting.

I want to understand what drives someone who clearly feels he's been wronged for whatever reason. Go back to Mormonism, I feel like we're going off topic on that. I think any individual could find a thing that has pissed them off for five years where they have been wrong.

WELNER: To use mass violence and mass destruction or spectacle destruction and to kill someone who is the daughter of someone, who is the child -- but the point is, it's irrelevant.

O'BRIEN: We are way over time. I have got to - (CROSSTALK)

HUNSTLAN: Covered a lot in this conversation.

O'BRIEN: If I don't hit a commercial break, we will not be back on the other side of the commercial. Thank you for being with us. We have a lot to talk about. We're going to keep talking about this case.

Because you're right it's fascinating on a lot of levels. We're going to talk to James Usera. He is a friend of Mr. Dorner's and we'll talk with him about what he knew about him from their college days.

Also ahead, we're going to talk to a baseball player and a guy who loves his dog so much, they are making a really dramatic decision. We'll tell you what that is, next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

O'BRIEN: It's happened once again for the fifth straight week. The top ranked team lost. How they lost. Joe Carter has got the morning's "Bleacher Report" for us. Joe, good morning.

JOE CARTER, "BLEACHER REPORT": Good morning, Soledad. Wow is right. Illinois shocked number one Indiana with a come from behind buzzer beater. You know, it seems like if you are number one in college basketball, more of a curse these days.

This game was tied 72-72 with 9/10 of a second left, Illinois ball, Tyler Griffey the hero. No one as you see is defending the basket, the lay-up is good just before the buzzer. Illinois went on a 13-2 run to close it out. What a night in champagne. Fans rush the court. Illinois beats number one, Indiana 74-72.

Well, it's official, Alex Collins will play football for the University of Arkansas. He is considered one of the best high school running backs out there. But earlier this week, his mom refused to sign the letter of intent. Mom split mid press conference.

So when mom says no, what do you do? You ask dad. That worked. His father signed the papers yesterday. Mom, like a lot of people, is expecting him to play closer to home at the University of Miami, which was Alex's original verbal commitment.

Pitcher Mark Buehrle loves his dog so much he would rather spend the entire baseball season living alone than give up his best friend. Buehrle was recently traded to the Toronto Blue Jays where owning pitbulls is illegal.

So rather than leave his dog with someone else, he is going to live alone in Canada while his wife, Jaymie, their two kids, and slate of dogs stay behind in St. Louis some 800 miles away.

Well, here's the perp for winning the Super Bowl, on Monday night, Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco was on "Letterman," last night it was coach John Harbaugh's turn. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It started well, it finished well. There was that little thing in the middle that was a little destructive.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We have some videotape here. This is, I believe, you during the blackout. Who are you talking to?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That's Mike with the NFL.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What is the issue?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, there was a concern about the restaurant after the game. New Orleans got a lot of great restaurants. Not sure where to go.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CARTER: Right. So for more entertaining news, go to bleacherreport.com. Soledad, so much to choose from, Gator tail, crawfish, so much to choose from oysters.

O'BRIEN: Keep going, keep going. Thanks, Joe. Appreciate it.

Still ahead this morning on STARTING POINT, two new breeds will get to compete in the Westminster dog show this year. We'll meet them live and in person along with last year's best in show winter, a Pekingese. We're back in a moment.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

O'BRIEN: Welcome back, everybody. Who is going to be top dog? The 2013 Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show is back this Monday and Tuesday. For 24 years, David Frey has been the voice of the show. He joins us this morning with Malachi, a Pekinese. I had trouble last year when he was the winner saying the same thing.

He was the 2012 best in show winner. He's got his handler. David Fitzpatrick is with us this morning. Two breeds are new in the show. Perla is a Russell Terrier and Et Cetera is a treeing walker coonhound.

DAVID FREI, HOST, WESTMINSTER KENNEL CLUB DOG SHOW: We have a stand- in for Et Cetera, this morning. This is Meg and this is Callie (ph) our Russell Terrier.

O'BRIEN: Let's talk about the new breeds. Why were they finally allowed in when they weren't allowed in last year?

FREI: Well, it's up to the American Kennel Club. The breed has to demonstrate a good following in this country, a certain number of them. They have a parent club that watches out for them. But we say new breeds, they're new to Westminster, but the reality is these breeds have been around for hundreds of years.

O'BRIEN: What makes a dog best in show? Walk me through the Pekinese.

FREI: Well, Malachy, first of all, the ground he stood over you can't see it.

O'BRIEN: Hello, Booboo.

FREI: All of the dogs standing in line for best in show.

O'BRIEN: He's so beautiful.

FREI: They're great specimens but they have to have a certain charisma, personality and showmanship.

O'BRIEN: So it's all about personality and less than beauty.

DAVID FITZPATRICK, SHOW DOG HANDLER: He has to conform to the standard and have a great personality.

O'BRIEN: What has he done in the years since the big win?

FITZPATRICK: He's had a lot of events to attend. He hasn't competed since then, he's been retired. He mostly enjoyed life at home. We live in the country and likes being a country dog.

O'BRIEN: He is so beautiful, you're so sweet. I see why you're the big winner for last year. Let's talk about the chances for these two guys.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They're new breeds so to have them and have everybody see them on the dog show and television and all of the things we do with live streaming video and on our Facebook page and things like that, you get to see these wonderful dogs.

O'BRIEN: They're so beautiful and also so calm. You know, I'm used to dogs that are a little yippier. Is that how they're measured as well?

FREI: Each breed has to have a personality appropriate for the breed and the job they're bred to do. Usually you see these dogs running crazy through the field chasing a fox. And the same thing with Meg, you see her chasing raccoons up a tree for hunters.

O'BRIEN: Is it like the Oscars, where people send copies of the movie and they really advertise. Are you calling people saying my dog this year, vote for me?

FREI: When we're proud of our wins we advertise and share that. David didn't do a lot of advertising.

O'BRIEN: Are you doing that for your dog?

FITZPATRICK: Callie has her own Facebook page.

O'BRIEN: She does? She can type?I'm so impressed.

FRIE: It's a whole new world. FITZPATRICK: She's also excited to meet you, also from Long Island.

O'BRIEN: Whereabouts in Long Island are you from?

FITZPATRICK: From Baldwin.

O'BRIEN: From Baldwin, my God.

(LAUGHTER)

O'BRIEN: What are you trying to do to get your dog more noticed that people vote for your dog, and then you can be the big winner?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Putting people on Facebook, enjoy her going to the events, the shows.

O'BRIEN: Are you as anxious? Like are you nervous as the dogs? They don't look nervous at all. You're more nervous.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It only comes down to one person, one person at three different levels, first at the breed level, 2,721 dogs and 187 different breeds, seven different groups, you win in your group, you're one of seven group winners, the best in show judge picks the winner.

O'BRIEN: I'm nervous and excited for you. Thanks for bringing your beautiful dogs with you. Appreciate it. We have to take a short break. The best in show crowned Tuesday live February 12th 8:00 p.m. on "USA Network."

Ahead for us this morning, about to be buried in snow, an epic winter storm about to wallop the northeast, we're going to update you on that.

Plus a manhunt continues for a former cop who reportedly declared war on the Los Angeles Police Department. We'll talk to a college friend of the suspected killer straight ahead.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

O'BRIEN: Welcome, everybody. Our STARTING POINT this morning, a blizzard that could cripple parts of New York and New England is already falling snow here in New York. How much snow we're expected to see and what you should know about your flights, trains and potential power outages is a long and ugly list. We got full team coverage ahead for you.

Right now police looking for a suspected cop killer in California, could the discovery of his truck be a break in the case? We're going to talk to James Usera straight ahead. He is a former classmate of the suspect, Christopher Dorner.

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: John Brennan in the hot seat as he tried to become the new CIA director. He's surprising views on interrogation tactics and drones, we'll talk with a lawmaker who was in that hearing. O'BRIEN: It's Friday, February 8th and STARTING POINT begins right now.