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Aired February 10, 2013 - 22:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN ANCHOR: You are in the CNN NEWSROOM. I'm Brianna Keilar in for Don Lemon.
We have breaking news tonight, powerful devastating weather in the southern states.
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KEILAR: This is new video just in to CNN. It was reported by a storm chaser in Hattiesburg, Mississippi, late this afternoon, when an enormous tornado touched the ground and started tearing up the town. We have extensive damage to show you tonight. There are some people hurt, and I will talk with the man who shot this amazing footage in just a few minutes.
But first, this breaking news to tell you about, thousands of people are stranded after a cruise ship lost power in the gulf of Mexico. An engine fire left the Carnival ship, Triumph, without electricity, but we hear it is now operating on emergency generator power. More than 4,000 people are on board the ship. The fire has reportedly been put out, and the ship is to be towed to the closest port which is in Mexico. Carnival says another of its vessels is on the scene bringing food and drinks to the stranded ship.
And in Southern California --
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MAYOR ANTONIO VILLARAIGOSA (D), LOS ANGELES: Collectively this group that by my office is posting an award of $1 million for information that will lead to Mr. Dorner's capture.
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KEILAR: The city of Los Angeles offering a hefty reward after days of fruitless searching in the San Bernardino mountains for a rogue ex- cop. Christopher Dorner allegedly killed three people before disappearing. Every LAPD officer is a potential target in his self- declared vendetta against the police force. Fifty officers and their families are getting around the clock protection until Dorner is caught. Even tonight's Grammy's had extra security just in case.
And 30 people have been crushed to death in a stampede in India. Officials say people were crowded a rail station during one of the biggest religious festivals of the year. The stampede happened after someone fell from a platform bridge in Allahabad. An estimate 40 million people are there for the Hindu pilgrimage to the Ganges river.
A lot of people in New England blizzard zone spent the day doing this, getting ready for tomorrow's commute. More than 300,000 homes still without electricity right now. Cleanup crews from Pennsylvania to Maine are working overtime to clear highways and city streets by the morning rush hour.
Tonight though, we are tracking a weather emergency in a large swath of the south is in a danger zone.
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UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes. Oh, my God. I've never seen a tornado before in my life.
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KEILAR: This is Hattiesburg, Mississippi, it's about 5:00 this evening, I think that's actually 5:00 Central, 6:00 Eastern, if I'm right. A massive swirling tornado suddenly struck the town and the campus of the University of Southern Mississippi. There were cars flipped over, buildings heavily damaged.
But by amazing coincidence, the campus is virtually deserted this weekend, it's a long school holiday weekend. Still, at least, three people were injured.
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UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The power's about to go out.
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KEILAR: The people of Hattiesburg who rode out the storm say it was a flurry of debris. Uprooted trees and darkness as the power lines fell. The power lines down as we said. Cars screed in the middle of the street. Debris everywhere.
That is what storm chaser John Sibley has seen in Hattiesburg. He is joining us now here on the telephone.
And John, I'm here, as well with our meteorologist Chad Myers, tell us what you saw.
JOHN SIBLEY, STORMCHASER (via telephone): Good evening, Brianna. I originally picked up the tornado out of Marion County, Mississippi. There was initial report that came out of their emergency management agency that a tornado had indeed touched down and struck several homes, injuring several people.
From there, I was able to pick it up about 10 miles to the west of Hattiesburg and then track it into town. The tornado itself on the west side on the interstate was indeed larger than the eastern side of the interstate. We have been able to go through and look at our video in the last couple of hours as the tornado moved through about 5:10 p.m. central time.
Now, the folks in West Hattiesburg, I didn't hear sirens over there, but as we moved in to the downtown area towards the college campus, the sirens were loud and proud.
Also want to give a shout out to the local fire department. As the tornado was paralleling highway 98 and moving into the city, they were out there blocking traffic to keep folks from driving into the tornado as well as police out on the interstate. They had the interstate blocked for a time.
CHAD MYERS, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Hey, John. This is Chad Myers. Just amazing video we're watching here. I mean, clearly, from what I'm seeing, an F2 or F3, obviously, it goes by damage not by the size of the funnel. What type of damage have you seen?
SIBLEY: The damage I've seen are telephone poles and power lines that are snapped off at the ground as well as windows blown out or blown in on one side of the building and blown out the other. There's significant roof damage to the music building here at the University of Southern Mississippi as well as a music store across the street that's been leveled.
MYERS: This was a long track tornado. But you see, you tracked it for a long time. How long do you think this was on the ground? How many miles?
SIBLEY: It's impossible to say. The initial radar signature we think the tornado touched down in Louisiana in the areas south of Marion County, Mississippi. That would put it roughly at least 60 miles at a minimum.
After the tornado crossed through town, of course, it hit all the residential areas and the roads became impassable. And unfortunately, we had to call off the chase. But from a radar signature as well as storm reports off to other h our east. The tornado tracked well into Washington county, Alabama in the direction of Jackson, Alabama.
KEILAR: And John, we are actually watching your video. I want to pause for a moment just so that we can listen to it as well.
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KEILAR: Just to get a sense, John, this is something you do all the time, actually. But certainly we don't often to get the ride along this storm chaser.
SIBLEY: This is something I've done professionally for the last 12 years. I kind of that little petted when people say it sounded like a freight train. To me, I say, o like to tell the general public, if you want to know what a tornado sounds like, go about 80 miles an hour down the interstate and stick your head out the window because you have that wall wind's blowing sound. It has a rushing sound. (INAUDIBLE). This tornado was a lot larger. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Oh my God. I've never seen --
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KEILAR: All right John Sibley, thank you so much. And for sharing those amazing pictures with us as well. We know you'll keep an eye on things.
But Chad, what are we looking at now? Because these are sorts of these bands of storms that move through the area. Is there still a threat?
MYERS: There is slight threat here still of rotation. We still have some watches in effect right now, Brianna. But you know what, the whole area has calmed down significantly. It really turned into a wind damage event. We will keep watching it. But right through Dothan, Alabama in the past 15 minutes, there is a really big winds rolling on through to Enterprise to the south there as that band that's moving down just into northwestern Florida.
There are still some storms back out here. We're not worried so much about the storm as that line up in one big line. We're worried more about the storms. Let me show you what this looked like, that are all by themselves. This is backing you up about three hours. That's the cell that moved through Hattiesburg. See, how it has not part of the line. See that red, this is all by himself, that turns into the big dog. It turns into the rotating super cell, and that's what went right through west Hattiesburg and the north part of Hattiesburg proper earlier.
KEILAR: You mean, Chad, in all of these iReport videos, they are coming in. And even, we heard from John. I mean, he has experienced something of this. And so many people were saying, oh my goodness, this is a large tornado.
Is it really a large tornado? Is this textbook for deal or does it just it kind of feel that way when it's happening?
MYERS: You know, we had the F3 that moved through Adairsville, Georgia, just a week, week and a half ago. I really think this looks awful lot like it, right there. It looks like what we call a stove pipe tornado. Almost completely symmetrical from top to bottom.
I saw a lot of debris in the sky from one of the first pieces of video I saw. Some of the debris was very large not just shingles in the sky, but maybe like the entire front of a billboard, just sucked up into the sky. And that that debris was raining down. Did you know that high school almost took a direct hit. We saw a lot of damage there.
And our Josh Levs has more extend damage coming up later in the show.
KEILAR: That's right. And we heard one of the guys we talked to who said the tornado went right over his head talked about his porches, as in floral porches, being peeled off of his house. So, a pretty serious storm there and we know you'll keep an eye on that, Chad. Thanks.
MYERS: I will.
KEILAR: Now, to the massive manhunt in southern California for an ex- cop with a grudge.
LA police chief Charlie Beck says Christopher Dorner is a trained assassin with every police officer a potential target. Authorities now hope a $1 million reward will give them a break in the week-long case in which three people have died.
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CHIEF CHARLIE BECK, LOS ANGELES POLICE DEPARTMENT: The search for Dorner continues. We continue to focus on his last known locations in the Big Bear area. But our search continues in and around the areas where we have known targets. There are over 50 LAPD families that have not only security but surveillance in and around their neighborhoods. These 50 LAPD families are targets of Dorner's and are likely, likely victims.
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KEILAR: CNN's Casey Wian is in Los Angeles.
Casey, there are 50 police families now under surveillance and protection and they will be it appears until this is resolved. How nervous are they? Is this just a precaution? And also what can you tell us before the Grammys having extra security?
CASEY WIAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Brianna, as far as those police families, they are very nervous. And it's not just a precaution. This is a very significant threat. As you mentioned, 50 different families under surveillance, 24 hour protection by police officers. That because of the manifesto from Christopher Dorner, which lays out a vendetta against the Los Angeles Police Department.
And also, remember, three victims of him, Dorner's, so far -- three people have been killed, all of them with ties to law enforcement. A young woman whose father was a former LAPD official. Her fiance, a security officer at the university of southern California. And then a police officer in Riverside, California.
You mentioned the Grammys ongoing right now. No problems reported. But the Los Angeles Police Department said it did increase manpower at the Grammys out of an abundance of caution. But frankly, the people that are really worried right now are the law enforcement officers who Dorner has vowed to target, Brianna.
KEILAR: And Casey, you are seeing some increased security there in L.A. but it seems that in Big Bear -- Big Bear Lake where his car was found torched that they have scaled back the manhunt. Do they think he's not there anymore? WIAN: Well, they're still looking for him. They have still been looking for him all day long. They had 25 law enforcement personnel on the case today, down from 125 yesterday. They did have a helicopter in the air with body heat imaging equipment unsuccessful in locating him. They are still looking for him, but they are going to decide tomorrow whether it's worth continuing the search in the Big Bear area, Brianna.
KEILAR: And Casey, tell us a little bit about this. One of the slain police officers in Riverside, his funeral has been set. I imagine this will be an emotional affair.
WIAN: Yes, law enforcement officials have kept his name under wraps until today. As you mentioned, there will be funeral services on Wednesday. That officer's name, Michael Crane. An 11-year veteran of the Riverside Police Department. He also served two tours with the U.S. Marine corps in Kuwait. He was 34-years-old. He leaves behind a wife and two children. Brianna?
KEILAR: That's so sad, Casey. You've been working this for days. We know that you will be bringing us details in the coming days as well as everyone wants to see how this is resolved and of course that Dorner is caught. We will talk to you, soon.
Now, coming up, we will speak with the mayor of Hattiesburg, Mississippi.
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UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes. Oh my God, I've never seen a tornado before in my life.
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KEILAR: This is Hattiesburg, Mississippi. This was at 5:00 Central, 6:00 Eastern this evening. It's the moment that an enormous tornado suddenly struck the town and also, the campus of the University of Southern Mississippi. Cars flipped over, building heavily damaged.
But by a stroke of good luck, very good luck, the campus is virtually deserted this weekend because the students are off for a school holiday. At least three people were injured by this huge tornado.
And now, joining me now on the phone, the mayor of Hattiesburg, Johnny Dupree. Mayor, give us a sense of the situation and just how lucky you're hoping you are at this point with no fatalities reported.
MAYOR JOHNNY DUPREE, HATTIESBURG, MISSISSIPPI (via telephone): Well, we just went on another major thunderstorm and we just lost our power. We really are blessed because we don't have fatalities that we know of right now. But we have a number of major damages to our structures around town.
KEILAR: Have you been able to determine where all the potential victims who may have injuries are? Are you pretty sure you've identified people or is there a lot more work to be done going house to house?
DUPREE: We've identified the area certainly where the tornado hit. That was to the east -- pretty easy to identify, you follow the pattern of the storm pretty well. If there's anything about this, it happened on a Sunday when most of these structures were vacant. Like our Red Cross building that was vacant and schools. Some of them are vacant. We're not going to have school tomorrow because we can't get structures fixed at the school. We have instruction was totally demolished and so -- but we have some major damage. But again, we have been very blessed we don't have fatalities right now.
KEILAR: Does that affect the Red Cross' ability to help people? I mean, they are sometimes the first folks who make sure that people who are out of their home get --
DUPREE: We're really blessed. We are a regional station for Red Cross, where we actually take care of this region. And so -- and we have an evacuation center that houses 900 people. So we mobilized them and our station. So, it sure is going to affect them. But I think that we have some facilities that they can move to continue their operations.
KEILAR: Where were you during the storm, mayor?
DUPREE: Well, we had some early thunderstorms and we had a building that was down on one of our streets. So, I was over assisting them. And you will see the sign, exactly what was happening with the storm. And they told me it was only blocks away from where I was. So, I tried to get home, and I just barely made it into my house. Just as all the windows and doors blew out of my house, and I was crawling to the bathroom trying to get in. So, I have firsthand knowledge what a hurricane can do when you're in the middle of it.
KEILAR: Oh, my goodness. You made it to an interior bathroom, then?
DUPREE: Correct. I mean, it's good that I went to the bathroom downstairs. And just awfully the interest to our back door. And, you know, it was -- it was a hairy situation. But it's been -- you know, we are all blessed. It is just going to -- we have people from all around the adjacent counties and cities who have come in. MDOT (ph) area has come in. Michigan power is bringing people from the coast and adjacent cities. Everybody stepped up to the plate and they're working well together.
We have to get through this. We have another storm that looks like it's headed this way. We're going to back off a little bit and keep people safe.
KEILAR: Well, that's what I was going to mention. It looks like you have a day or two of rain ahead of you, what does that mean for restoring power. Because even folks that weren't hit directly by the tornado, power is out all over Hattiesburg.
DUPREE: Yes. What we're trying to do right now is make sure we assess everything. We're trying to make sure that we -- safety is the main thing right now. We make sure with those power lines are down that -- and that's what the power company's doing, we make sure they're not live so we can get the debris. You can't mess with the debris until the power is -- has been shut off.
So, the power company is actually going there. And as they do that, we are coming behind in time to get the streets (INAUDIBLE). Our major highways are open right now. We have concern on some intersections. But we're addressing those as we go. But what I like to stress in the town who is listening, and if the towers are lit thing in Hattiesburg. Please do not get on the streets. Do not get on the road.
KEILAR: Do not get on the roads. That's what we've been hearing talking about weather.
Mayor Johnny Dupree, you are one lucky man. And it appears, at least so far --
DUPREE: Well, I think we're blessed.
KEILAR: Yes. I've been hearing that word a lot today. And I hope that continues to be the case as you get your head really around what all of the damage may be. And also, as those crews work to restore power. Thanks for joining us. We appreciate it.
DUPREE: Thank you for (INAUDIBLE).
KEILAR: Now, to California. A man the police call a trained assassin elusive and vowing to continue killing until his demands are met. The latest on the manhunt for a suspected cop killer.
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VILLARAIGOSA: Communities, we will not tolerate this reign of terror that has robbed us of the peace of mind that residents of southern California deserve.
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KEILAR: Now back to Southern California and the desperate hunt for a suspected cop killer. Despite a dragnet from San Diego to Las Vegas, and in all out search of the snowy mountains where his track was found, Christopher Dorner has eluded his trackers. The fear is that he will return to L.A. and make good on his vow to wage war against his former colleagues.
Right now, 50 LAPD officers and their families are under constant protection and surveillance in case Dorner re-surfaces. The city of L.A. today offered a $1 million reward for the tip that leads to his capture. And Park Dietz, a forensic psychiatrist to worked on the D.C. sniper case about a decade ago, joining me now.
Park, give us a thumb nail sketch of who Chris Dorner is and how he thinks this will play out?
DR. PARK DIETZ, FORENSIC PSYCHIATRIST: Well, he is a man who grew up believing that honor was more important than anything. His career as a naval reservist and he did see active duty and in the LAPD was dedicated according to him to trying to serve the community who is trying to serve the nation. And he feels that he was treated unjustly in the LAPD and set off on a mission to rectify that wrong.
He's now attached that mission to a broader plan to try to set right what he sees as a history of racism and unfair behavior by LAPD. And that justifies his doing what he knows to be evil to try to achieve those ends.
KEILAR: So, that's how he justifies it? Because you're saying that he finds honor so important. But anyone would say, look at what he's done. How is that honorable?
DIETZ: Well, he knows that what he's doing currently isn't in itself honorable. But he believes that if he can clear his name and cause LAPD forever after to behave properly, then, it will have been worth it.
KEILAR: And so, let me ask you this. Because the LAPD we learned yesterday has now reopened the case that was closed and led to his dismissal years ago. What effect do you think this will have on whether Dorner resurfaces? Is there any -- we heard from the LAPD, they're trying to say we want to do this for transparency, but might this affect whether he would resurface? Might he turn himself in or don't you expect that?
DIETZ: I think he would only turn himself in if the investigation were already done and cleared his name. That's what matters to him. His reputation, his honor for people to know that he didn't lie.
KEILAR: You have worked on a number of cases, including the D.C. sniper case. Do you see similarities here?
DIETZ: Well actually, I think they are very different. In the case of the D.C. snipers, the entire community was terrified. So millions of people felt at risk and changed their daily habits. Here in southern California, there are 50 families who have good reason to be afraid and to change their habits. But most Los Angelinos and others in Southern California are following with interest but not afraid for themselves. Because it's clear that there's a specific target group. Though that would include every uniformed officer in the area.
KEILAR: That's obviously that's an important distinction, yes. Terrifying for police officers, but maybe not as much for all of the folks in L.A.
DIETZ: And, of course, with the D.C. snipers, no one knew who it was. Here, everyone knows who's doing it.
KEILAR: That's true.
Doctor Park Dietz, very interesting insight. Thanks for joining us. DIETZ: Thank you.
KEILAR: Now, stay right there. We have a first person account of today's massive tornado that pounded Hattiesburg, Mississippi. I'm about to talk to a man who watched that storm hit and is standing in what's left of his home tonight.
KEILAR: Half past the hour now, let's take a look at the headlines. Some 4,000 people are stranded on a cruise ship that caught fire and lost power in the gulf of Mexico. The carnival triumph is now using emergency generator power. Officials say the vessel will be towed to the nearest port in Mexico.
Another cruise ship is on the scene and providing folks onboard with food and drinks.
Thirty people have been crushed to death in a stampede in India. Official say people were crowding a rail station during one of the biggest religious festivals of the year. The stampede happened after someone fell from the platform bridge at Allahabad. An estimated 40 million people are there for a Hindu pilgrimage to the Ganges river.
The severe snowstorm that pounded New England this weekend may be gone, but plenty of people are still snowed in and there is plenty to do before life can get back to normal. A lot of that going on.
This is Boston for more than 20 inches of snow piled up during the blizzard. And in the city, people are running out of space to put all of that snow.
In New York City, transit officials reopened the Long Island expressway just this afternoon.
More details now on the powerful tornado that touched down in southern Mississippi this evening.
Joining us now by phone is Joby Bass. He is a geography professor at University of Southern Mississippi. His home and cars were damaged by the tornado.
Joby, you told me earlier the porches were literally peeled from houses in Hattiesburg including yours. Tell me what you did when the storm hit?
JOBY BASS, PROFESSOR, UNIVERSITY OF SOUTHERN MISSISSIPPI (via telephone): Well, I was trying to watch it because I really wanted to see it. But I realized it was going to be bad. So, I went inside and got into a really small part and just huddles and waited it out.
KEILAR: So, you were in an interior closet, obviously, so that you were in the inside of your house, and you actually had some companions in there. Tell me about that.
BASS: Yes. Me and the dogs and the cat. I found the cat just in time. We were all kind of huddled in there.
KEILAR: How many dogs, two?
BASS: I have two dogs.
KEILAR: Two dogs and a cat and Professor Bass, all huddled in the closet. And you came out. We talked shortly after you came out of your house. You were amazingly, remarkably calm. I'm wondering if you've had the chance to venture out from your neighborhood and see any of the other damage around Hattiesburg?
BASS: No, unfortunately not. It got dark right after, you know, we kind of assessed everything, and got the generator out, and, you know, got that set up. And by then, it was dark. So, I just decided to wait. I had some work to do in the house, the roof's leaking because of the trees on the house, so it's been kind of dealing with that a little bit. It's been raining some. So, just kind of hanging out here and dealing with the leaking roof and playing the guitar.
KEILAR: Ohm, my goodness. It is amazing what composure you are exhibiting in the aftermath of this. I have to tell you, so -- but, so you're kind of --
BASS: Ask me in a couple days.
KEILAR: Yes. I think I will not be surprised if that is the case. So, really you're just kind of looking at this as hunkering down. I know you're expecting probably some more leaking, your roof leaking some more, because you'll be expecting rain over the next couple days. How are your neighbors handling this?
BASS: Well, I -- some of the neighbors were hit much worse than I was. So I think they -- a lot of them have gone out to stay with relatives and friends. They're -- everyone was calm. Everyone was kind of happy to be unhurt. And as far as I know, none of my neighbors were hurt.
KEILAR: What do you attribute that to? I mean, this is sort of -- it seems in a way that Hattiesburg got really lucky here. The high school was hut but it was a Sunday afternoon. The college was hit, but the students -- the college you work at, but the students were away on break. It appears so far that we're talking minor injuries. What do you attribute that to? Is it the people, they had enough time? They had enough warning?
BASS: Yes. A lot of it is luck, and a lot of it is, you know, really good warning systems that we have in place now. Everyone was aware -- everyone had time to take cover. There were sirens all afternoon in town, when there were warnings, and I think these warning systems actually do a good job. And everyone did the proper thing. And for the most part, as far as I know, as far as getting under tables or in closets or doorways or things like that, I think a lot of it (INAUDIBLE) for that.
KEILAR: Well, professor Bass, we're so happy to know that you came through this unscathed, along with your two dogs and your cat. It was important family members to keep protects as well.
Thanks for talking to us tonight.
BASS: I appreciate it.
KEILAR: All right, you have a great day. We know you're going to have time ahead of you where you have to get your house in order.
Coming up, synthetic marijuana, it is cheap. It is easy to find and it's often advertised as a legal alternative to pot. But it's side effects may be lethal. Next, you'll meet a family who lost their son to this dangerous drug.
KEILAR: Deadly and in demand. Fake pot sold in stores under the name "spice" or "K2", but it is not marijuana. It is actually a handful of herbs, sprayed with chemicals. And teenagers use it as a cheap high. It can be deadly though.
This is Chase Burnett. He was one of the teenagers who smoked it. And he was found dead in his family's home. His parents, David and Yvette Burnett shared their tragic story with me last night. And as we remember Chase, we also talked about their mission to make other parents aware of this danger and listen closely to the advice that Chase's mother has for all of us.
DAVID BURNETT, SON DIED AFTER USING SYNTHETIC DRUGS: What killed Chase was a synthetic kind of poisoning and marijuana. The chemical that were sprayed on to the leaves shut his lungs down. He suffered a violent death. He is asphyxiated and suffocated. And he obviously became unconscious and I found him in the hot tub that Sunday morning, March 4th.
KEILAR: Something that was legal allegedly that he had purchased. Did you have a sense after talking to some of his friends that he had any sense of the gang dangers of this?
YVETTE BURNETT, SON DIED AFTER USING SYNTHETIC DRUGS: No, none of the kids did. Especially Chase, he loved life too much. He would have never done anything that harmed himself. Knowing how much grief it put his friends and family through, never.
KEILAR: They were just being experimental as some teens are? That's the impression you got?
YVETTE BURNETT: Yes.
KEILAR: You're here because this has become a mission, a mission for you, right, to try to make sure other kids don't follow in Chase's footsteps. Why is this so important to you?
YVETTE BURNETT: Well, for us, just the heartache, your heart just ripped in two. We don't want this pain to affect other families. It's a senseless death. A child, teenagers walk into a store thinking it is legal, thinking it's not going to hurt them. They purchase something that shouldn't be sold. And we just don't want the pain of what we've gone through to affect other family. We have peace and strength from God and we have that peace in our hearts and have the joy because we do know where our son is, where he will live forever. But it is just, everyday it's with us the rest of our lives that we don't get him back.
KEILAR: What can you say to other parents so they aren't in your shoes, so they don't lose a child with so much promise?
DAVID BURNETT: That this is reason we're here. And it is the reason from the moment that our son, we knew he passed away that morning when the paramedics came and covered him up and told us that he had passed away. We had a sense of peace about us, both of us did, because we know where his soul was as well as Yvette and I, we know we will see him again. We have that heavenly hope.
But when they said he was passed, I instinctively told myself, this is wrong, wrong, wrong. You cannot walk into a convenience store in this country as a teenager or young adult or adult, purchase a product, obviously to get high, and then your lungs shut down and you suffocate. It is wrong in a pure form.
It's very frustrating as a parent to know this is being sold throughout the country. It is not only sold in convenience stores, sold in head shops, adult novelty shops and various other avenues to sell the product. But it is a deadly product.
KEILAR: Part of the problem is there is a loophole where it's sold legally. So, knowing that until you can get to the point where it's not sold, what can you tell parents to -- part of it is awareness, I'm sure. But also, what do they need to talk to their kids about so they understand the risks. You said Chase didn't.
YVETTE BURNETT: Well, it's talking to your children, your grandchildren, talking to them and saying, have you heard about this stuff? Do you understand and think about the choices. Get online with them. You know, as parents, as adults, we can understand. But the kids have to understand in their hearts that this is wrong. It can kill you, yes. Children think they're invincible. Teenagers think, yes, they are right. It can't happen us to. It can happen to you.
Look at us, we are normal family who loved our boy dearly. We talked to him about stuff like this. Our son made a mistake. He made a bad choice, never ever knowing this would take his life. So, I just parents and grandparents, talk about this stuff, don't shovel it under the rug, talk to the kids, make sure the kids talk to each other, do what's right.
KEILAR: And the Burnetts are on a mission to make sure that other kids don't do what Chase did. An historic building wrecked just as it reached a huge milestone. That's just part of the damage from that powerful tornado that ripped through Mississippi this evening. Our Josh Levs is just ahead with your iReports.
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UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Holy --
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KEILAR: Tonight, we are tracking a weather emergency. Major damage and casualties in southern Mississippi. This is the city of Hattiesburg where people rode out at direct tornado hit. They say the city was suddenly a flurry of debris, emergency sirens and then darkness where the power lines fell down.
Our Josh Levs has been monitoring Facebook, Twitter and iReports for picture of the storm.
What have you got, Josh?
JOSH LEVS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes. Brianna. We just got this actually. I want you all to see this. This is an iReport that came to us from Paul Wells. So, what he did was he went driving to the Hattiesburg campus of the university of southern Mississippi. And you were able to see in this powerful video, some of these really stricken areas. I'm going to let this breathe for about 20, 30 seconds so you can see where it brings you here.
Now, as we take a look at this, I want to remind everyone, what we've been telling you. The campus was largely empty. There is no word of any injuries and we do have information from the university there were four buildings that were damaged.
But take a look at that. You can see the power of the tornado there. Now, since I have this going, I want to show you something here. This right here is a really important building on the campus. It's the Ogletree House, the alumni house, very well known. It's historic. It was put up in 1912. Now, look at that building today. This is one of the ones that was completely wrecked. Well, at least, a largely wreck. This is also from Paul Well.
Now. we have iReporters throughout the region, and safely they've been able to take some videos today. So, let's bank in some of these. I want you to see. We are staring at this one. Let's listen to this one for a moment.
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UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Oh my God.
(END VIDEO CLIP) LEVS: You're watching it travel not far away. Let's go on to this next one now. We have a video from Eddie (INAUDIBLE). I spoke with his earlier. He looked out from where he lives. He felt safe taking this because it was not coming toward him. It was moving away from him. But these videos, it shows you how close and how powerful. Based on -- let's get to this one from Josh Sanford. Really amazing videos that are coming in.
We do have word, I was just seeing on Twitter from Governor Bryant declaring a state of emergency in four counties -- Lamar, Lawrence an Mary Ann. I will tell you folks, if you are in a position to take it and just them all on stage safely, go ahead and do that to iReport.com -- Brianna.
KEILAR: Amazing images, Josh. Thank you for bring those to us.
A woman charged with threatening to assassinate president George W. Bush still cleared a gun background check. How did that happen, next?
KEILAR: Tuesday, President Obama lays out his priorities for his new term. Tackling gun violence is expected to be front and center. But consider this, just last week a 28-year-old woman walked up to a Charleston, South Carolina, school with a gun. According to "The New York Times" she tried to shoot two faculty members. The only thing that stopped her, she failed to unlock the gun.
Here's what makes you really scratch your head about this, she had a history of mental illness. Alice Boland had been charged in 2005 with threatening to assassinate president George W. Bush and she still cleared a background check to buy the gun.
Tom Deets is a former Dekalb County, Georgia police officer, and you're the owner of sharp shooters USA, a gun shop, a shooting range and a training facility.
How did she manage to legally purchase a weapon?
TOM DEETS, OWNER, SHARP SHOOTER USA: Well, first issue was, when she went to the store, she had to complete a federal form called the 4473. When you complete that form, the seller of the firearms retailer looks at the identification. Runs down through the questions. To make sure they're answered appropriately. And then calls the FBI, the national forensic the NICS (ph) operations center to look. And the NICS (ph) operations center makes a determination whether or not that person is prohibited from buying firearms.
KEILAR: She was asked, basically, do you have a mental health issue? She said no. She should have said yes. But look, we are going to expect --
DEETS: No, I know. But when she do that, she committed a felony. But what I find unusual is, since the court found her not guilty by reason of insanity, that is the reason that -- the prosecution, the court should have forwarded that information to the FBI and that would have prohibited her from purchasing a firearm. At the same time family members and mental health care professionals, can also take the step. They can go to a petition the court to have somebody adjudicated mentally deficient. And so, it is a comment upon parents, love ones, et cetera to do that.
KEILAR: And police doing the Charleston area as I understand it, according to "the New York Times" story, they were well aware of this individual, that she had this history. So is this sort of like, exhibit A for why this information needs to be better put together and reported and shared between agencies?
DEETS: The mental health part of the NICS system I think does need to be improved drastically, The system does an excellent job in identifying people who are criminally prohibited, whether they've been convicted of a felony or domestic violence or if they're under indictment. The system does a good job there. But this is an example where I can't believe this fell through the cracks.
KEILAR: Particularly. She had threatened the former president of the United States. And with that adjudication of not guilty by reason of insanity, that should have gone through the NICS system, the way I understand it.
DEETS: To have -- and that would have prohibited her from purchasing a firearm.
KEILAR: Certainly unbelievable. It really does seems to back up that assertion that this seems to be -- the reporting needs to certainly be better.
DEETS: It can always be improved.
KEILAR: Tom Deets, really appreciate it, thanks for breaking this down for us. Thank you.
Now, it's "Les Miserables," taking a turn here, like you've never seen before. We will show you the parody video that's gone viral.
KEILAR: And finally tonight, something we could not keep to ourselves. It's one of those got to see web videos. And it's the coolest parody of "Les Miserables" we've ever come across.
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KEILAR: This has gone totally viral in South Korea. The stars of this musical are actually South Korean air force members. This is the story of an airman who wants to stop shoving or shoveling I should say, miserable snow so he can see his girlfriend. And the performances, I mean, they're actually quite impressive.
These are real life troops, people . And this was a video shot on a real air base in South Korea and posted on the official Air Force YouTube channel. A Korean officer says they produced the video to lift spirits of airmen stationed at remote bases and to show that the military is not a dull place to serve, they also, you may find this interesting, shot the whole thing in three days.
I'm Brianna Keilar at the CNN World Headquarters in Atlanta. hope you have a great night and a great week.