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Marines Expand Ban on Mortars; Minnesota School on Lockdown; Geeks Spend $20,000 for Dating Help; Colorado Prison Chief Killed

Aired March 20, 2013 - 10:30   ET


CAROL COSTELLO, CNN ANCHOR: First of all, just explain to us how this weapon works, how these mortars work.

JOSEPH TREVITHICK, MUNITIONS EXPERT, GLOBALSECURITIES.ORG: The mortars are one of the simplest pieces of armament you would find in the military. It's basically just a metal tube and there's a firing pin at the bottom and that firing pin is either always on or it's activated by a manual trigger and you basically just drop a round down the tube and out it goes.

COSTELLO: And sometimes it expels the mortar shell automatically and other times you actually have to physically pull the trigger, so to speak.


COSTELLO: What do you suppose happened that day in Western Pennsylvania?

TREVITHICK: Well, the specifics haven't come out yet, but there's a number of places where a catastrophic failure could have occurred. The mortar round could have prematurely detonated in the tube, because the fuse was improperly set, the fuse malfunctioned, the fuse could simply have gone off, the initiator cartridge could not have propelled the round out of the tube properly, and then the tube could have slid -- the mortar round could have slid back into the tube and then detonated.

The firing pin could have malfunctioned and fired after the round was supposed to have left the tube, and it did fail to function. There are any number of possible combinations of factors.

COSTELLO: Has they -- has the military experienced problems with these weapons before?

TREVITHICK: I'm not aware of any specific incident involving this type of mortar, but training accidents do happen.

COSTELLO: But the military has suspended the use of these kinds of weapons for a time, while they investigate. What will they be looking for? What will they be looking for?

TREVITHICK: They'll be looking to see whether this was a problem, potentially with the training, whether the crew improperly followed the training procedure, either because of not understanding the training requirements, not understanding how to operate the mortar, or because they weren't trained properly. They'll also be looking to see if there's a mechanical problem with the mortar round itself, the mortar, or any other piece of associated equipment.

COSTELLO: Thank you so much for being with us today. We really appreciate it.

TREVITHICK: Thank you.

COSTELLO: As we've been telling you, the Governor of Colorado is set to speak at any moment outside of Colorado springs. This morning, a tragic shooting took place. The man in charge of all of the state's prison systems was shot and killed in his home. In fact, there was a knock at -- there was knock on the door. He answered the door and someone shot him in the chest. The suspect is still on the loose.

We're going to take a break and we'll come back with much more.


COSTELLO: I am telling you, it is not stopping today. More developing news to tell you about this -- this out of Minnesota. This is at a middle school in New Prague, Minnesota, that's an hour and a half away from Minneapolis. The school is now on lockdown. There was a call of an active shooter in the area. That's about all we know.

Again this is happening in New Prague, Minnesota at a middle school, that's an hour and a half away from Minneapolis. An active shooter, police are now investigating. That middle school now on lockdown. We're working to get more information for you. We'll be right back.


COSTELLO: They're leaders of industry, but maybe losers in love. Silicon Valley geeks are getting help in fighting a mate and money is no object. Laurie Segall from CNNMoney has our story.


LAURIE SEGALL, CNNMONEY.COM (voice over): Silicon Valley's computer nerds cracked the code to successful tech companies, but when it comes to the language of love, they're enlisting a little help. Meet Amy Andersen.

(On camera): You're a matchmaker. That's an old job, right?

AMY ANDERSEN, CEO, LINX: It's an old world business.

SEGALL (voice over): An old world business with tech IPO pricing, access to link and drink events like this one, plus a guarantee of a quality matches cost members $20,000. Members who go to the party but aren't promised dates pay up to $2,500.

(on camera): How much is the most that a client is kind of willing to put out there to find the right match? ANDERSEN: A lot. I mean people will put so much into the process, anywhere from $50,000 to in some cases if we're doing a nationwide search, to $100,000.

SEGALL (voice over): Many of Amy's clients work in tech.

KENNY HAWK, ENTREPRENEUR: The most valuable resource you have in the world whether you not spreading not is time and if you have a professional that can help you find the right person I think it save a lot of time.

SEGALL: Like many businesses in the Valley Amy gets a boost when tech companies are doing well.

Facebook's IPO brought in customers for Linx.

ANDERSEN: Facebook's been really important for us, for a multitude of reasons. Certainly, we've gotten a lot of clients from their pre-IPO and post-IPO, just like Google in 2004.

SEGALL: But what these people are paying for is the one thing for which they don't want to rely on an algorithm.

STEFFANY BOLDRINI, LINX CLIENT: You come to her office and she goes over several other questions, which is about an hour long as well and within a few days, she'll match you with a couple of people.

ANDERSEN: There are often a lot of metrics by Silicon Valley standards that people are looking for, ranging from ethnicity, religion, personality type.

SEGALL: Before you end up here, you go through boot camp.

ANDERSEN: Ok, so remove the hoodie?

Yes so take it off right now?

SEGALL: Did she outlaw you from anything? Any habits that died hard when you met Amy?

KEN KENGATHARAN, LINX CLIENT: Like being on time. Geeks are notorious for being late.

BOLDRINI: It's been great. I met two people. One of them I was in a relationship with for a while.

SEGALL: And Amy boasts results, 45 couples in exclusive relationships and nearly 20 marriages.


COSTELLO: Not bad. Laurie Segall is here. So Laurie can anyone be a client of this matchmaker or does she just work for Silicon Valley execs?

SEGALL: Well, look, anyone who can pay up. Well she's based in Silicon Valley, she's based near San Francisco. So generally the people that can pay in that area happen to be tech executives, happen to be these kind of geeky, nerdy guys. That's why you see her kind of laying down the law saying, you can't wear the hoodie and can't text while you're on the date -- Carol.

COSTELLO: So how much does it cost again?

SEGALL: It's you know the prices are pretty steep. It's $20,000 for eight matches. So you've got to be really committed to this and you've got to be making some money to be able to do this. But you can attend these events for $2,500.

So it's not cheap, but you've got to be willing and willing to pay and you've got to be committed to looking for love.

COSTELLO: I know but can't you just hang out at a gym or a coffee shop? There are plenty of those out west.

SEGALL: Very true. I think these guys spend too much time inside coding.

COSTELLO: I think so too. Laurie Segall thanks so much.

SEGALL: There we go.

COSTELLO: Coming up in the NEWSROOM, our "Talk Back" question today, will the possible use of chemical weapons -- actually, that is not our "Talk Back" question today. We're going to be right back.


COSTELLO: All right. we're going to go live to Colorado Springs, Colorado now. This is the Colorado Governor, Hickenlooper. He's going to talk about the chief of the state prisons was shot and killed at his home earlier this morning, actually, last night around 8:30 West Time.

So let's listen to the governor.


GOV. JOHN HICKENLOOPER (D), COLORADO: Last night at his home. Our thoughts and prayers are with his life, Lisa and their two daughters, and certainly with all the employees of the Department of Corrections who Tom worked so hard with. Tom's family has requested privacy at this time and we have -- we sincerely ask the community and the media to respect that request. You can imagine this is the hardest time that anyone could possibly go through.

They are grieving, as we are all grieving. We lured Tom away. He was retiring as the number two guy in corrections in Missouri after 31 years. He was far and away the -- the best choice we could find anywhere in the country. He understood the importance of building a team and operating an enterprise where your staff is motivated, focused. He understood the importance of making sure that as you released prisoners, especially those who had been incarcerated for extended periods, that the better job you did at preparing them for returning to the community, job training, making sure they had medication, they had mental illness, that this dramatically would decrease the chances of them being re-incarcerated.

You know, he first turned us down. Was going to go to another state and then upon reflection, came to Colorado and we are so grateful for the time that he gave us. He was a dedicated, committed, funny, caring expert at corrections. He had a sense of humor that all us -- you almost can't describe it but his sense of timing when he would let a zinger fly was so unpredictable and yet so astute.

He was a great friend to me, to I think all of us. In many ways, he -- he helped define what a public servant is. He did his job quietly and intently. He cared deeply about his staff, his family, and the community.

In his approach to corrections he was all about best practices and using data and information to continuously improve the way -- the way we do things. How do we make our prisons safer, not just for the employees but for the inmates. How do we do a better job of preparing inmates for returning to the community?

His unfailing good nature would come through in everything he did and his, the depth of his caring about, again, not just the people he worked with, but the inmates that were there, about those of us here that he worked with was remarkable.

When I first interviewed him, we talked about, what was called administrative segregation. I had an old friend whose son had gone on the wrong track and had been arrested and put into administrative segregation for a long period of time, you know, solitary confinement. At that time, we had a very large number of people in administrative segregation.

And part of that interview was Tom had thought deeply about it before he ever came to interview with us, and his own experience in Missouri, and saw how it was doomed to failure, that number of people, in many cases, people who had been in administrative segregation and solitary confinement for years would be released directly into the community, which is a very, for those individuals, really emotionally traumatic. And he laid out a plan, to analyze the issue, get what the facts were, and make sure we moved in the right direction.

That we segregated those people that were a danger to other prisoners or staff, but that we begin that a more active rehabilitation on a large number of the others that were in administrative segregation for other, in many cases, not sufficiently important reasons.

Tom was an unfailing partner in the repurposing of Fort Lyons, the prison we closed a couple of years ago. He saw the impact of that facility on the community. He was committed to making sure that we did everything possible to try and put that building back to good use. He was so dedicated to his staff, and he would have town hall meetings at the various prisons around the state on a regular basis. He would ask in those meetings, almost always, how do we uplift staff? How do we help our staff do a better job, but also, how do we uplift them and make their days better and easier?

Tom Clements dedicated his life to being a public servant, to making our state better, to making the world a better place, and he is going to be deeply, deeply missed.

Questions? Yes.


Hickenlooper: I can't hear you. There's too much -- say it a little louder, please.


HICKENLOOPER: not that I know of, but, I mean, it's an active investigation, so we can't talk about the investigation, but we don't know anything at this point, or enough to make -- to answer that kind of a question.


HICKENLOOPER: The -- we are certainly going to, as we get information about this, we will make sure that our cabinet members are safe and that everyone is -- that we anticipate every possible eventuality. I don't think this -- what little we know was something that was directed at the cabinet.

Corrections is a very difficult job, you make difficult decisions all the time that affect different people.


HICKENLOOPER: You know, an incident like this, in some ways, whether it's an act of retaliation for someone that we have yet to know about, it is also an act of intimidation. And my gut feeling, I think the cabinet is good with this, that we go forward with our work. That's the kind of thing that Tom would have understood, I think, and would have supported. So we expect to sign the bills, answer questions, and try to continue to move this state forward.


COSTELLO: All right. We're going to break away from news conference. This is Colorado's Governor John Hickenlooper. He was talking about the murder last night of Tom Clements, the chief of all of Colorado's prisons.

Mr. Clements, according to police, sheriff's deputies, rather, there was a knock on his door last night at his Colorado Springs home. He answered the door and somebody shot him in the chest. A family member was at home at the time, but saw nothing. Police are still looking for a suspect. They do believe the suspect has left that neighborhood right now. You heard just a little bit of the governor talking about this landmark gun control legislation he's about to sign in as law today. That law would require stringent background checks in the state of Colorado and also impose limits on magazines, just a bit of irony there, as Mr. Clements died from a gunshot wound.

Let's head back live to Colorado and check in with Jim Spellman. Were you at the press conference? The governor was clearly emotional.

JIM SPELLMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, indeed. No, I'm heading down towards the scene of the shooting, Carol. I tell you, I've touched base with a couple of people in law enforcement, and people are just shocked. Everybody, at this point, seems to feel, and certainly the investigation is centered on finding somebody who may have had some sort of personal beef with Mr. Clements through the prison system.

They're looking at family members or people that were recently paroled. Someone who would have that kind of connection with him.

But just shock in this community of law enforcement people, that are not easily shocked, that something so personal could happen to somebody like this, Carol?

COSTELLO: Take us back to last night, when that knock on the door came in Mr. Clements' neighborhood. This neighborhood was an upscale, beautiful neighborhood. Wooded, but there's a highway nearby.

SPELLMAN: Yes. It's not far off of the road. It's some place where people who work in Colorado Springs or Denver both might live. Like you said, it's a nice neighborhood. Almost has the feel of a resort home.

8:30 in the evening, just about, knock at the door. Mr. Clements then is and apparently then is immediately shot in the chest. A family member, we're not sure who, calls 911 and he's declared dead at the scene.

We know that he's married and has two daughters. We don't know who was home, who called this in. But, you know, immediately they began searching this wooded area. They used dogs, and now we know, this morning, that they've called in the Colorado Bureau of Investigation. That's a statewide agency that has a lot more resources that they can bring to an expanding search.

As far as we know at this point, they don't have a suspect pinpointed. We know, though, that just law enforcement agencies across the state are working on this. They take this personally, Carol, and they want to be sure they find this guy. And you say they take this personally, because I have been struck, and I interviewed a Colorado state legislature earlier this morning, and she too spoke in glowing terms of Clements. Governor Hickenlooper, as I said he was emotional, and that's unusual for the governor.

SPELLMAN: It is. And the couple of people I've been able to speak with just on background have had nothing but good things to say about him. He's been was working here in Colorado just over two years, but he just left a great impression on people. But this was not a guy who you would see on the news a lot, not an extremely public figure. Certainly not anybody I've ever been aware of any controversy around.

That's one of the reasons why investigators here feel that it must have been a direct link with somebody involved, somehow, in the prison system, because he's just not a guy that normally you would associate, you know, being a public figure, somebody that you would randomly go after, just because of their position. But that's obviously way early in the investigation, Carol. But that's what their thoughts are at this moment.

COSTELLO: And it's just a bit of irony that the governor is set to sign this landmark gun legislation later this morning. Tell us about that.

SPELLMAN: Yes, he's going to sign this legislation. There's been a heated contention there in the statehouse over this. Long, hours and hours of testimony from people on all sides of the issue. Essentially, it's background checks and a magazine ban, is my understanding, at this point, are the two main parts of that.

But just to be clear, Mr. Clements was not a person that I've ever heard associated with this debate, at all. So, and nobody I've spoken to, so far, in the early hours of the investigation, feel like it's linked.

But certainly the irony is not lost, that it's the day that the governor is set to sign this legislation. You know, we've had so many incidents here, Columbine, of course, the Aurora theater shooting, and it's -- guns have been so, you know, much on people's minds, to have a gun used, killing somebody in such a personal fashion, right at their own front door, it's just hard to come to terms, Carol.

Korea search

It really is. And just going back to the controversial nature of this landmark gun legislation, there's actually an ammunition company in town, threatening to leave the state, because these bills were passed into law.

SPELLMAN: yes, a company that makes magazines. And, you know, they make magazines in different capacities, but certainly, they make the higher capacity magazines and, you know, they feel this would be bad for business. They've been talking about leaving. That's something that opponents of the legislation have certainly brought up, that it would hurt the economy, just as things are getting back on track here.

You know, it's a lot for these legislators and the governor to weigh, weighing those sorts of issues with, you know, crimes like this.

COSTELLO: And when will the governor come out and actually sign those bills into law? Do you know, Jim?

SPELLMAN: I believe that's scheduled for later this afternoon. I don't know if that's changed, because of what happened today. I would tend to doubt it, but I think he's scheduled later this afternoon to sign that.

COSTELLO: All right. Jim Spellman, I'm sure you're still on the case trying to get more information for us and just a sad story at Colorado Springs, Colorado this morning.

We'll be right back.


COSTELLO: I'm Carol Costello. A lot of breaking news. Thanks for sticking us. And thanks for joining me. "NEWSROOM" continues now with Ashleigh Banfield.

Thank you very much, Carol. And hello everyone. Thanks for joining us. As Carol mentioned, a lot of breaking news. The President, Mr. Obama, in Israel, his first foreign trip of his second term. Many Israelis sort of feel as if they got the short shrift in his first term and the expectations not necessarily soaring right now, either.

But when they speak to reporters any second now at the home of Israeli President Shimon Peres, both leaders are sure to stress their, quote, unbreakable bond. Especially in the face of perceived threats from Iran and now Syria in particular.