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911 Dispatcher Demands Exact Address; Dad's Revenge Case; No Gays At Prom

Aired February 12, 2013 - 14:29   ET


BROOKE BALDWIN, CNN ANCHOR: Bottom of the hour. I'm Brooke Baldwin.

Here's the story. This teenager suddenly stops breathing. A call goes out to 911. But the dispatcher won't send an ambulance until he gets the exact address where this child is, even after they name the school. This happened to one Los Angeles family. This is according to our L.A. affiliate KCBS. I want you to listen here as the coach of a collapsed soccer player is talking to the dispatcher.


LOS ANGELES DISPATCHER (voice-over): OK, sir, can you repeat your address please?

COACH RIVAS: It's Wilmington Middle School.

LOS ANGELES DISPATCHER: What's the address, sir?

COACH RIVAS: Wilmington Middle School field. I don't know the --

LOS ANGELES DISPATCHER: OK, that's not an address, sir. That's just the name of the school.

COACH RIVAS: Where, where's the address. Do you know the address? Wilmington Middle School, come on.

LOS ANGELES DISPATCHER: OK, I'm sitting at a desk. I don't know where you're at. I have no idea just because it's a school. I don't -- I need an address.


BALDWIN: That sound, by the way, was edited for clarity. The coach and those on the scene scramble as the -- trying to find the address, finally told the dispatcher and they tell them the wrong one.

KCBS reports by the time the second ambulance gets to the boy, Jesus Sambrano, 13 minutes passed and rescuers could not revive the 16-year-old. On the case today with Defense Attorney Holly Hughes, and just to be crystal clear, you know, they still do not know why he died.

But you can hear the audio in that 911 call and so clearly he's at a specific school, the family told KCBS they believe the ambulance delay resulted in this 16-year-old's death. There is no lawsuit yet. If there were to be, would that family have a strong case?

HOLLY HUGHES, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Not as strong as you think and that sounds outrageous. You know, people are thinking, my gosh, this boy died because of your delay. Number one, it is very difficult to sue any kind of a county organization. Whether you're trying to sue, you know, the prosecutors or public defenders or in this case the 911 operators because you have to get a special waver from their commission, their county commission, in order to be able to sue them.

Secondarily, you have got to prove a causal link. And while we're all horrified and, you know, the emotional outrage is this dispatcher is somehow responsible, this dispatcher is trying to get the information he's trained to get. I need an address, please give me an address.

He doesn't hang up. He doesn't say call back when you know where you're at. He's just saying, you know, I don't have a way to access that address. So what we see is a breakdown in the actual system itself and I know they're correcting this now.

They're taking steps to input the addresses of every school in their district into the 911 system so it automatically pops up. But as far as being able to prove that what this dispatcher did in delaying is the reason, the causal connection for this young man's death, I just don't see it.

BALDWIN: Well, we should let you know that L.A. Fire Department not commenting on the Sambrano death because it is an open investigation. KCBS, they did speak with this deputy fire chief and the reporter asked a question that perhaps all of you are thinking. Here it was.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Couldn't the dispatcher just simply pull up Google maps, put in Wilmington Middle School and get an address within seconds?

DEPUTY CHIEF DAVID YAMAHATA, LOS ANGELES FIRE DEPARTMENT: It's possible. Again, this incident is being investigated. For a call taker to type in Wilmington Middle School, they're not going to get an address. So we wouldn't be able to determine which resource to send.


BALDWIN: I mean, we all have Google Maps, right? How hard is it? What is the responsibility ultimately from the dispatcher?

HUGHES: Well, what you need to understand is their system may not be set up where he has access to the internet. That's one of the reasons they're putting these, what we call remedial measures into place, after the fact, we're looking back and saying as a result of this tragedy, we're learning we need to input this information ahead of time.

If this particular dispatcher did not have access to the -- he can't leave his station. He's attached with his earbud to a call. So at this point, what we need to do is revamp the actual system itself because you and I, yes, we can play on our phone, but we're on the set right now.

I don't have my cell phone with me. You may have access to a computer, but I wouldn't. So if somebody need me to Google something immediately, I wouldn't have access to it at my work station.

BALDWIN: OK, Holly Hughes, thank you.

HUGHES: Thank you.

BALDWIN: Sad all the way around. Changes it sounds like are on the way.

Just ahead here, a dad is charged with murder for allegedly killing the drunken driver who ran over his two young sons. Could this be a case of vigilante justice? My panel weighs in next.


BALDWIN: I'm Brooke Baldwin. For the next 20 minutes, we're talking about hot topics. Hot topics you'll be talking about at the dinner table tonight. We start with the story of this father. Arrested and charged with murder in an alleged revenge killing.

According to the "Houston Chronicle," last December, David Barajas and his boys who were 11 and 12 years of age, they were pushing their family car along this county road in Texas. The truck had apparently broken down.

They were 150 yards from their driveway when suddenly a car comes around, slams into the truck and the two boys, one died there on the scene. The other died shortly after at hospital.

When investigators arrived, they discovered the driver of the crashed car had twice the legal limit of alcohol in his system, and a bullet wound in his head. Today, David Barajas is in jail after a grand jury indicted him for the murder of this drunken driver who killed his two young sons.

Following this two-month investigation, the witness told police they saw Barajas walk away from the crash scene to his nearby home, returned to the car, and then the witness told police he heard gunshots.

I want to talk about this with Rachel Sklar, founder of "Change the Ratio," Conor Knighton, pop culture commentator, actress Salli Richardson who is appearing in "Lifetime's Pastor Brown" this weekend, and Howard Kurtz, host of CNN's "RELIABLE SOURCES."

So what a story to sort of chew on and to the parents on the panel, Howard and Sally, let me begin with you, Howard, as a parent, for just a second, can you sympathize with this father?

HOWARD KURTZ, HOST, CNN'S "RELIABLE SOURCES": I can absolutely understand as a parent the mixture of anger and grief that you must feel to have your children snatched away from you, particularly if as alleged it is done by a drunk driver. But we don't have a system of vigilante justice in this country.

If the facts are as alleged, it sounds like an execution, and he acted as the judge and the jury and he carried out the sentence and I don't think even a great lawyer will be able to get him off.

BALDWIN: Sally what about you, as a mom?

SALLI RICHARDSON, ACTRESS: Well, I mean, just watching this story makes me sad. But I think that if there was ever a story for someone going crazy that this would be one, but also I think it is a case of why we need to have stricter gun laws. If you didn't have that gun in his house, if it wasn't so easy for him to get it, then maybe the most he could have done was beat the guy to a --

BALDWIN: Let me get one more detail on this. This is from the father's brother, quote, "It was worse than any movie scene because it was real. The next thing my brother remembered was waking up in a hospital naked after his clothing drenched in his sons' blood had been removed."

The next question then, Conor, I'm going to throw this one to you, so this grand jury, they absolutely indict him for murder because, let me quote them, "They reject this crime of passion defense."

Because apparently this guy had the time, you know, his kids are hit by this oncoming drunk driver, goes home, sort of assumption is he grab his gun and goes back, though this is all alleged. If you're a member of the grand jury, what do you think?

CONOR KNIGHTON, NEWS AND POP CULTURE COMMENTATOR: I think that's the key distinction here is that this is someone, I mean, even though it is a short walk, 150 yards, he still had that time to go, load the gun, come back, and I think that -- for that reason alone they won't be able to play off that crime of passion defense. I would imagine the grand jury would go that way if that's all true.

BALDWIN: Rachel, what is your takeaway?

RACHEL SKLAR, FOUNDER, "CHANGE THE RATIO": I think we need expert testimony to that effect. At this point, this is why we have experts weighing in, in terms of sentences and in terms of figuring out what level of crime we're talking about.

And to the extent that he -- it may have been a crime of passion, you have to assess his mental state, whether or not he was in his right mind, whether or not he had chance to appreciate his actions or whether or not he was blinded by grief, fury.

This is where experts would come in because the fact of the matter is this wasn't something he plotted and it wasn't like a pre- planned thing. This was a very reactive thing. So, again, it is not for any of us to be able to assess unfortunately, but you would have to have an expert weigh in.

BALDWIN: It is sad all the way around. I want to move on to the next hot topic here. This one comes out of the Midwest where some students and some parents, they are calling for not just one, but two proms, one for everyone and another prom where same sex couples are banned. Weigh in on those proposals next.


BALDWIN: Back with the panel. How about this story? Out of Indiana, where some parents and students at one high school say they want two proms this year, one for everyone, one where same sex couples are banned.

Now the school here in question, this is so important, it does not support banning gays from the prom, but that does not stop this group of parents and students at Sullivan High School from meeting to discuss having what they call a second, their word, traditional prom.

Meantime, see this Facebook page, other Sullivan High School students, they've launched this Facebook page in protest, they say prom should be for everyone. And I want all of you to jump in. If someone disagrees, jump in. It is OK to talk over someone else.

Rachel, let me begin with you. I'm going to give you the first swing at this. What do you make of this, one prom and then a traditional prom?

SKLAR: You know, I think that calling it traditional doesn't change the fact that it is flat out bigotry. I also think it is an unbelievably encouraging sign that the school has definitely and definitively not signed on to it and that students at the school have come out against it.

Yes, I mean, it is so clear not only wildly out of step with the country, which we heard in President Obama's inaugural speech, we'll probably hear tonight in the "State of the Union," I mean, they're out of step with where Dawson's Creek was a decade ago.

BALDWIN: Go ahead, Howie, jump in.

KURTZ: You know, why not have a traditional prom and exclude black people? I mean, the idea, and some of the people quoted in this story, one of the students said, we love the homosexuals, we just don't agree with them. This is offensive. It's insulting.

BALDWIN: This is the quote, "We want to make the public see that we love the homosexuals, but we don't think it is right, nor should it be accepted." Continue.

KURTZ: It's a pretty insulting way of showing your love and how ostracized would that mike these young gays feel? I think this is revolting. RICHARDSON: I think these ridiculous people should have their own prom themselves.

BALDWIN: Conor, go ahead.

KNIGHTON: Well, so in a way, I'm thankful for the story and that it is a good reminder that maybe we haven't come as far as we thought. Sure, Obama had a historic mention in his inauguration speech, will have one tonight, everybody loves the gay dads on "Modern Family."

But there are some kids in Indiana who is being told that, like, a special ed teacher in that town basically said that gay people have no purpose. And so I think a story like this, when they come out, in a way I think it is a good thing because it is a reminder that even though this might be a small group, there are a lot of people who think that and there are a lot of work that needs to be done.

BALDWIN: Salli, does it surprise you that these are kids?

RICHARDSON: Well, you know what? These are parents teaching them this. You know, I really want to know, you know, any religion that you have that teaches you about loving and caring for other people, not if you don't like them, you just exclude them. So it is just crazy that in 2013 that we have to still -- people are still thinking like this.

BALDWIN: More states are allowing gay marriage.

RICHARDSON: Yes, these kids have their own special prom then. If that's what they want to do --

BALDWIN: Listen, they're allowed. As we mentioned this isn't the school doing this, this is a private group of citizens, they can have it on private property and that's their right.

I will read this as we read one quote from one student, another student says this is bananas, said this, I absolutely hate how my town is getting called anti-gay bigots because a few Christians, in quotes, are planning a separate prom, not all of Sullivan is like that. I can guarantee it. Final word --

KURTZ: National embarrassment.

BALDWIN: Final word, Howie, embarrassment for them.

KURTZ: It's a national embarrassment for the town and good for the students who were standing up against this sort of exclusion.

BALDWIN: OK, moving on, getting ugly, folks, talking about -- you've been reading about the conditions each and every day on board this Carnival cruise ship that is slowly limping into port, as we've been saying, sewage running down the walls, air conditioning units not running. I could go on and on. Coming up next, finally, some good news for these thousands of passengers. Stay with me.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) BALDWIN: Welcome back. If you have been following this story about the stranded cruise ship passengers in the Gulf of Mexico, you know there are more than 3,000 of them who are experiencing seasickness on a whole new level right now.

Take a look at this picture. This is just into us showing these passengers, you see them all on the tip-top of the deck. This is the Carnival ship "Triumph." This picture was taken yesterday from another Carnival ship.

No doubt those people are trying to get fresh air. Wouldn't you escape the downright nastiness that some of these people on board the ship are describing to us here at CNN. Listen.


ANN BARLOW, ABOARD THE CARNIVAL TRIUMPH: The smells are I can't describe them. Our room is flooded. There is sewage, raw sewage, pretty bad. When you walk in the hallway, you have to cover your face. We don't have any masks for breathing. It is disgusting. It is the worst thing ever. We're sleeping on a mattress because our room is so horrible.


BALDWIN: The ship is still slowly being towed to Mobile, Alabama. It is expected to limp into port as early as Wednesday afternoon. Salli Richardson, if you have raw sewage running down your walls in your room, what are you doing?

RICHARDSON: Listen, I'm swimming to shore. I don't know what to do from here. I've been on one cruise. It was only for four days and things went well and I felt like I was in prison. I can't imagine. I definitely won't be on any cruise soon.

BALDWIN: You're one at done. Conor, what about you? Are you a cruiser? What if you were having to fistfight someone for food?

KNIGHTON: Yes, I've never been on -- I've been fascinated by them. It is a 4,000 person city with seven restaurants, four pools, a nightclub, a full size theatre, I think 100,000 tons, and it floats. So to me, it is amazing this doesn't happen every time they leave port. It is a miracle that they ever work, but, yes, sounds terrible. My heart goes out to the families.

KURTZ: Brooke, I haven't been on a --

SKARL: They don't have a plan in place? It seems like first thing you would think of, OK, something happens while we're at sea, how do we evacuate the passengers? That, to me, seems amazing. I've actually been on cruises and that 4,000 person floating city thing is awesome when it works. But it is unthinkable to me they don't have a plan for when it doesn't.

BALDWIN: Does this -- hearing this story, Rachel, keep you from second guessing when you make a reservation? SKARL: You can't live your life that way. You assume everybody learns and puts further plans into place when you're moving on. If I was offered to go on a fabulous cruise like the last one I went on, I would seriously consider it.

BALDWIN: And for every cruise, you know, that goes awry, there are so many others that we're not talking about that are just fine. Let me move on. Howie, I'm going to have you jump in because I want to talk about jobs.

We found this fascinating list because this talks about specifically where the jobs are now. "U.S. News" and "World Report," they put this list together of the 20 industries that are at record employment levels.

Some of them not much of a surprise, places like health care. But there are a couple that made us scratch our heads. Let me share this with you, for instance, bars and restaurants, 10.1 million jobs, obviously a lot of us still eating out, myself included.

Booze, 400,000 jobs, people -- breweries and wineries, people are boozing and celebrity handling. This is a job, 123,000 jobs, agents, you know, public figures, et cetera. So Salli, my question to you, sally, you're quite the job creator, apparently.

RICHARDSON: I need lots of handlers. It took ten people to get me in here. But I think that people don't know that these jobs, you know, if you're a high profile assistant, these people are being paid a lot. You don't have a good life because you're really at the beck and call of these people, but you make a nice living.

BALDWIN: You get some serious perks. Howie, I hear you call my name?

KURTZ: I don't think the cruise ship issue will be among those growth industries. What is sad -- I'm glad somebody in America is hiring, given the anemic state of the economy. But when you look at that list, nail salons, amusement parks, bars, as you said, doesn't seem like you're going to build the economy of the future on those kinds of service jobs.

Not many of them not terribly well paying jobs and not going to make up for all the jobs the higher wage manufacturing jobs that have been lost in America. I found the list kind of depressing.

BALDWIN: Yes, it's interesting you mentioned the nail salons. Rachel, I don't know if you get manis or pedis, is that a sign of the economy that we like to splurge on the little things?

SKARL: I think that's what's available, right? I think if those are the easy things to not cut off. Maybe I won't go get a massage and a facial, but the very least I can get a manicure.

What I found very fascinating about this was the growth in celebrity handling industry as well. It made me think of the change and what it means to be a celebrity these days and how many more celebrities are being minted online. So perhaps that could be part of it.

BALDWIN: Is that a good thing? I feel like that's a whole other panel discussion, all unto itself. Howie -- go ahead real quickly.

SKARL: I think that it is OK. We do need those other jobs for people. Those people, not everyone is going to be an attorney or a doctor. Other people need those everyday jobs and they contribute to their family and I think that does contribute to the economy.

BALDWIN: I'm dining out. I'm glad there are people working at restaurants that can help feed me. Howard Kurtz, my final question to you is, tomorrow night, a big night, you're going on Bill O'Reilly. What the heck are you going to be talking about?

KURTZ: Well, I took a -- I uttered some criticism of the host of "The Factor" on "RELIABLE SOURCES" on Sunday for not properly crediting NBC News for breaking the drone memo story while he was going off on NBC as he is wont to do. So O'Reilly hit me back last night. His producer invited me. We're going to have a little fruitful, frank and full exchange of views about the media, NBC and this drone story.

BALDWIN: Will there be yelling?

KURTZ: Well, I don't plan to yell. But if he ratchets up the decibel level, might just have to raise my voice a little bit.

BALDWIN: Rachel Sklar, Conner Knighton, Salli Richardson and Howard Kurtz, thank you all, so, so much. Appreciate it. Hot topic panel here on this Tuesday. We'll be right back.