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Georgia Mom and Baby Shot; Texas Shootout May Have Colorado Ties; Saturday Mail Delivery; The Real Story on Salt; Close Call For Teen Hiding In Closet; FAA Closing 200-Plus Airport Towers

Aired March 22, 2013 - 09:00   ET



CAROL COSTELLO, CNN ANCHOR: Happening now in the NEWSROOM, breaking overnight, murder on a Marine base.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A shooter appeared to have barricaded himself inside of a room.

COSTELLO: Three are dead, including the shooter. A community looking for answers this morning.

Also, offline. The FAA possibly shuttering more than 200 air traffic control towers nationwide. Your safety now a huge concern.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's going to be close calls, just some of the mid-air --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Tragically, something is going to happen.

COSTELLO: Plus neither rain, nor sleet nor snow nor deficit? New word this morning, Saturday mail delivery is back on.

And 911 shocker.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Can you tell me by tapping on the phone once that do not open the door. OK. Do not open that door.

COSTELLO: Quick thinking by a 15-year-old with an eerie similarity to the movie "The Call."

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: 911, where your emergency?

COSTELLO: The frightening moments and the amazing end.

You're live in the CNN NEWSROOM.


COSTELLO: Good morning, thank you so much for joining us. I'm Carol Costello.

We begin this hour with a murder investigation unfolding on a military base. Three people dead at the Marine Corps Base Quantico in northern Virginia. Police say a gunman shot and killed one person and then fled into the building you're about to see. The base went into lockdown and law enforcement surrounded this building.


COL. DAVID MAXWELL, COMMANDER, U.S. MARINE CORPS BASE QUANTICO: The shooter, an active duty Marine, was pronounced dead of an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound by law enforcement at the scene. Two other victims, a male and female, both active duty Marines, were pronounced dead at the scene.

The three Marines involved in this incident were all permanent personnel assigned to officer candidate school. All of the candidates in the school are accounted for and safe.


COSTELLO: The base is used mostly for training and that's why it's known as the crossroads of the Marine Corps.

CNN's Shannon Travis is in Quantico. He'll join us with a live report at the bottom of the hour.

We're also following a truly horrifying story from Georgia's southern coast. Police in Brunswick say two young boys between 10 and 15 years old approached a woman and shot her in the leg and then they turned the gun on her baby as the mother pleaded with them.


SHERRY WEST, MOTHER: Then he said, I'm going to kill you if you don't give me your money. And I said, I swear I don't have any. He said, well, I'm going to kill your baby and -- and I said please, don't kill my baby.


COSTELLO: CNN's Nick Valencia is in Brunswick, Georgia, with the latest.

Nick, this happened around, what, 9:15 in the morning? Are there witnesses?

NICK VALENCIA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, good morning, Carol. There are no witnesses. In fact the only account of what happened is coming from the mother. As you mentioned this happened around 9:00 a.m. yesterday morning. Just about 24 hours ago. Almost exactly.

Now we have new developments to share with you this morning, Carol. Just a short time ago, the father of that 13-month-old that was shot and killed showed up here on the scene right behind me is exactly the corner where it happened. He was visibly emotional. Uncontrollably sobbing at some points.

We asked if we could interview him. He declined and would not go on camera. He voluntarily -- at one point voluntarily got in the back of a police cruiser and took off. Shortly after that three investigators showed up on the scene, two of which appear to be federal marshals. In tow, they had two canines. They were canvassing this area, looking for any leads, any witnesses at all whatsoever.

Another new development here, Carol, I just got off the phone with the Brunswick Police Department and they tell CNN that they will be reviewing the full, raw interview that the mother gave with our local affiliate, WAWS, they've just requested that interview and they will be reviewing that.

I asked them, is there anyone beyond the two suspects that you currently identified that you are looking into? They said, quote, "They're looking at anything and everything," as part of this investigation -- Carol.

COSTELLO: So, again, take us through what happened. So this mother is walking with her stroller, the baby is in the stroller, and these two suspects approach. They shoot the mother in the leg and then they kill the baby.




COSTELLO: Why wouldn't they --

VALENCIA: Well, Carol, it's worth pointing out this is all according to the mother. This is all according to the mother. She said she was on her morning stroll walking with her baby -- with the stroller when two young boys who she said she had never seen before, approached her. She said, you know, I asked the city manager for Brunswick if there's any motive in this fatal shooting, he said as far as the official stance is there is no clear motive.

She claims, though, in that interview, in the lead-in to the story, that it was a robbery and they were trying to get money from her. Again this account is only coming from her. There are no other witnesses to this.

And just to give context to our viewers here, this is a very, you know, quiet neighborhood. This is a good neighborhood. If you can see behind me here, these are the investigators that were showing up here just a little while ago, two what appeared to be federal marshals strolling along this block with canines and another investigator just behind them. This is happening live right now on this corner.

But it's worth pointing out just to give some context to our viewers here, this is an area with mixture of historic homes that's flanked by some kind of, you know, poorer areas, public housing areas. I asked the city of Brunswick -- the city of Brunswick spokesperson, what kind of area this is, a lot of shootings occur here, if there's anything like the gang activity, he said shootings that happen here are usually drug related. But this is a very quiet neighborhood and right now there is a manhunt underway and authorities are offering a $10,000 reward -- Carol.

COSTELLO: All right. Nick Valencia, reporting live for us this morning.

Other top stories for you. President Obama will arrive in Jordan in the next hour. The president spent his final hours in Israel on a memorial trip, visiting the graves of Theodore Herzl and Yitzhak Rabin.

At Rabin's grave, Mr. Obama placed a stone that came from the Martin Luther King Memorial in Washington.

And the president's Twitter account is using John Lennon's death in its push for stricter gun control laws. It re-tweeted a post from John Lennon's widow Yoko Ono. She says -- these are Lennon's blood- stained glasses. More than one million people have killed since Lennon's death in 1980.

An incredible video captures a shooting in Philadelphia. A man walks up to a Chinese food restaurant, pulls out a gun and begins firing. Now watch what happens from inside the restaurant. A young man quickly jumped into action, blocking the door so the shooter cannot get inside while dodging a hail of bullets. Incredibly no one inside the restaurant was seriously injured. Philadelphia Police are releasing this video, hoping someone can identify the gunman.

Police think there is a strong connection between the suspect in a high-speed chase and shooting in Texas and the murder of Colorado's prison chief. The suspect shot a deputy twice after he was pulled over and then fled. The chase ended when he crashed into an 18- wheeler, jumped out of the car and fired at police.

Police shot back and the man later died. Colorado and National Wire Services identified that man as 28-year-old Evan Ebel from Denver who had just been released on parole. The sheriff's deputy now accusing officials of leaking the name and says it undermines the investigation.

CNN has not independently I.D.'d the suspect but its car, a black Cadillac, had Colorado plates and it's similar to the one witnesses describe as leaving the home where this man, Colorado prison chief, Tom Clements, was shot and killed on Tuesday night.

CNN's Jim Spellman joins us now from Colorado Springs.

Good morning, Jim.

JIM SPELLMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Carol. The undersheriff here in El Paso County, Paula Pressley, has confirmed to me that indeed the man in that car, his name is Evan Ebel, she's confirmed that for us. They do feel that he is a strong suspect in this case, but they are quick to point out that they really have a lot more work to do before they can really say that definitively.

We know a little bit about him from the undersheriff. She tells me that he was in a prison gang -- in and out of prisons, called the 211s. They are working with the Department of Corrections to investigate inside the prisons to find out if there was anybody else somehow involved in this case, if it was perhaps a conspiracy to kill Tom Clements.

We also know that at the site of the Tom Clements murder here near Colorado Springs, that they obtained at least some sort of evidence that they could potentially link to the car and that is something that they are working on. They've sent deputies down there to Texas to try to lock this up -- to do those confirmation.

Now they haven't told us whether this evidence is shell casings, fingerprints, DNA, what have you, but they do have something that they potentially hope to make a positive link on later today -- Carol.

COSTELLO: And if all this isn't bizarre enough, this may also be connected to the murder of a pizza deliveryman?

SPELLMAN: Yes, this is a -- just a terrible case. Last Sunday, a delivery man, 27 years old, his name is Nathan Leon, he was working an extra job delivering pizzas to try to make some more money for his family, his wife and three girls, and he got an order to go to sort of a remote, industrial area to deliver a pizza, at that point he was murdered. His body police believe was then dumped in a separate area of town.

Now I believe that this could be linked to him as well. Denver has also said detectives to Texas to try to confirm that. Here is some of Mr. Leon's family members speaking about him.


ERIC MURPHY, VICTIM'S STEP BROTHER: Since that day we've just been a total wreck. And just when you think you've cried your tears and you can't cry anymore, it's all you do.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We just one way or the other, want to know who did this and bring them to justice, so if this is what it ends up being, you know, we're just hoping that this ends swiftly so that we can move on.


SPELLMAN: We hope to get more details throughout the day from the investigation, carol.

COSTELLO: Jim Spellman, reporting live from Colorado Springs this morning.

Another blow for the financially strapped Postal Service. Congress' watchdog arm said in a legal opinion the Post Office must, must deliver mail six days a week. Yes, that would mean Saturday. That would end the Post Office's plan to cut first class service on Saturdays.

Zain Asher is in New York with more. Consumers are probably happy but the Post Office is going broke.

ZAIN ASHER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, exactly, Carol, I mean, but this is, as you mentioned, just a GOA's legal opinion. But still, you know, a lot hangs in the balance for the Postal Service if they can keep Saturday delivery it will cost them the $2 billion they had planned to save now.

The Postal Service has been losing money for a number of reasons but primarily because of first of all a 2008 congressional mandate forcing them to pre-fund healthcare benefits of future retirees. So it's been borrowing billions for that.

Also, you know, Carol, we live in a time where people prefer to go online to stay in touch, to pay bills, people are using the Web more often than ever. So it's really been a downward spiral for the Postal Service, plus we've got their fourth budget cuts to think about as well.

And also, let's not forget, I want to reiterate this. The Postal Service isn't actually completely ending mail delivery on Saturday, they just want to make that day's delivery for packages only. So you get mail Monday through Friday, Saturday it would just be packages.

The Government Accountability Office says that still violates current law that requires six-day a week delivery. The Postal Service disagrees, saying they are simply responding to the, quote, "financial realities of America" -- Carol.

Zain Asher reporting live from New York.

You might want to put down the salt shaker. A new study at Harvard finds 1 in 10 Americans dies from eating too much salt. Researchers look at how salt affects blood pressure and the rate of heart attacks and stroke. They pointed the finger at packaged and processed foods like bread and cheese and acknowledge it's hard for the average person to actually avoid salty foods.

Our Lisa Sylvester takes a closer look at how much salt is in the food, especially if it's marketed to your kids.

LISA SYLVESTER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Carol, so now I'm thinking twice about everything that I eat and feed my children. But bottom line is we are eating way too much salt, mostly from processed food.


SYLVESTER (voice-over): Karen Nudelman is a healthy cooking coach. She gets lots of practice feeding her 10-month-old daughter, who is a big fan of carrots.


SYLVESTER: And she has introduced a range of foods and spices to her 4-year-old son, Ryan.

(On camera): There aren't many moms going out there and bringing their children spices. You know that.

(CROSSTALK) NUDELMAN: They -- he loves it.

SYLVESTER: Their 4-year-old to a spice drawer.

NUDELMAN: You know I'd rather the spice drawer than the toy store.

SYLVESTER (voice-over): But one seasoning this mom uses sparingly in the family meals is salt. But that's not the case in other households. A new report by the American Heart Association finds most Americans consume double the recommended amount of sodium.

(On camera): So this is the amount of sodium than an adult is actually supposed to consume. About 2300 milligrams of sodium. For a toddler, it's about half that amount, about 1,000 milligrams, but most adults actually consume double the amount or 4,000 milligrams.

(Voice-over): Too much sodium causes our body to retain excess fluid and over time raises blood pressure and could lead to hypertension. The American Heart Association in a separate study found that some of the saltiest foods are being marketed to children. The study looked at salt content in baby and toddler foods and found 3/4 of the pre- packaged meals and savory snacks found in the baby and toddler food aisle like mac and cheese, pizza, and chicken and vegetables have too much salt defined as over 210 milligrams of sodium per serving.

That's not a surprise for Dr. Warren Levy.

DR. WARREN LEVY, CARDIOLOGIST, VIRGINIA HEART: Anything that comes out of a can. Anything with preservatives automatically has high sodium. Anything that's easy for us to make usually has high sodium, but we do need to start paying attention to the sodium content of foods we're giving our kids because high blood pressure is starting at a younger and younger age.

SYLVESTER: But the Salt Institute believes the recommended daily allowance for salt is not rooted in science, but politics. There are benefits to salt. It regulates blood sugar and the body's hydration. Mort Satin says sodium has unfairly gotten a bad reputation as a cause of blood pressure and heart disease.

MORTON SATIN, SALT INSTITUTE: We are simply eating a bit too much and not getting enough exercise.

SYLVESTER: For Karen Nudelman, it comes down to reading food labels and tasting your children's food.

NUDELMAN: I think they should. I think you should know what your child is eating.

SYLVESTER: Start them young and eat healthy for life.


SYLVESTER: We also reached out to Gerber, and they said that they use international dietary standards for sodium, and that is a higher level than U.S. standards. Gerber added that they are working currently at reducing sodium in toddler meals -- Carol.

COSTELLO: Lisa Sylvester, many thanks to you.

Just ahead in the NEWSROOM, a teenage girl grabs her phone, hides in a closet when three burglars break in.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And I was -- I was so scared. I could see them. And I thought they were going to see me.


COSTELLO: Hear how she was just inches away and survived.


COSTELLO: At 18 minutes past the hour, time to check our top stories.

The founder of hot yoga movement may be in hot water. "The New York Post" is reporting a former student is suing Bikram Choudhury. The 29-year-old Sarah Baughn claimed the yoga guru sexually assaulted her and tried to derail her yoga career. The 67-year-old yogi has not responded.

The Senate attempting to end the practice of showrooming. You know, when you look at a TV at Best Buy and then you buy it on Amazon? They're holding a symbolic and nonbinding vote today on whether online merchants should collect the sales tax. On this plan at least, both sides of the aisle have shown some agreement.


SEN. ROY BLUNT (R), MISSOURI: Are you supposed to pay this tax, and people -- people don't do it. I think last year in Missouri, we had about 300 people pay the tax in the entire state.

SEN. MAX BAUCUS (D), MONTANA: Basically, it will have the virtual effect over a period of time and say all states have to have sales taxes. Forget your income tax. And beyond that, it's going to be the same rate.


SAMBOLIN: But not everyone is on the same page. Senators from both parties also argued against the Internet sales tax.

A Canadian highway has reopened after a massive pileup, injuring 100 people. The mile-long accident happened on a highway outside Edmonton, during a spring snowstorm. The CBC reports police and fire department also had to help. Well, as you might imagine, they had to help several stranded passengers.

Like a scene from a horror movie. A teenage girl hiding inches away from three burglars robbing her home. She was on the phone with 911, and the operator could even hear the burglars. CNN's Miguel Marquez has more for you.


MIGUEL MARQUEZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Doyin Oladipupo was home alone when three burglars broke in.

DOYIN OLADIPUPO, 15-YEAR-OLD: And I was -- I was so scared. I could see them.

MARQUEZ: The quick thinking 15-year-old grab as a phone and called 911.

DOYIN: Please hurry.

911: We're on the way. We also have a helicopter on the way too.

MARQUEZ: She then hid behind clothes in her robber's closet. The robbers so close, the 911 operator could hear them.

BURGLAR: Hey, bring the bucket over here.

911: OK, don't talk.

MARQUEZ: As she hid, the thieves stole right in the closet, right next to her. Terrifying.

OLADIPUPO: They were taking things, all this right here.

MARQUEZ: The 911 operator, call, calm and quiet.

911: Can you tell me you understand by tapping the phone once, do not open the door. OK. Do not open that door.

MARQUEZ: It is life frighteningly mimicking art in the film, "The Call", amazingly out just last week. Halle Berry plays a 911 operator in a similar situation.

HALLE BERRY, ACTRESS: 911, what is your emergency?

CALLER: OK, they are breaking into my house. I'm all alone.

BERRY: OK, so you got to calm down.

MARQUEZ: For this 15-year-old and her mother, a very happy ending.

DOYIN: The door is opening.

OFFICER: You here?

DOYIN: Yes, I'm here.

MARQUEZ: The dispatcher, Angie Rivera, takes as many as 200 calls a day. Never one like this.

ANGIE RIVERA, 911 DISPATCHER: I won't lie. I did shed a couple of tears, just the adrenaline release, just knowing she was safe. You know, when we take the calls, we don't know how they're going to end.

MARQUEZ: Police arrived, found her, and even arrested the three burglars, still in the driveway in a stolen car.


MARQUEZ: Now, police arrested two juveniles and an adult. They charged with, among other things, conspiracy, possession of stolen goods and first degree robbery and also believe they had other stolen goods in their car as well.

So, this young woman not only saved herself, but may have helped neighbors who were being robbed as well -- Carol.

COSTELLO: One brave young lady.

MARQUEZ: Amazing.

COSTELLO: Miguel Marquez, thanks so much.

Still ahead in THE NEWSROOM, a first-class phony. How one man sweet talks his way into the cockpit of a U.S. Airways plane.


COSTELLO: It sounds like a real life "Catch Me If You Can". Remember that movie? Well, a Frenchman has been arrested at Philadelphia's airport for impersonating a pilot on a U.S. Airways flight. Police say the man boarded the plane, wearing what appeared to be an Air France uniform. He talked his way into the cockpit. The lie was uncovered when an actual pilot arrived. Police say the man had also a counterfeit Air France credentials and he does not work for that airline.

Today, air traffic controllers at nearly 200 airports will learn if they will be out of a job. The FAA blames forced spending cuts. It's a big blow. Those towers, those air traffic control towers handle 20 percent of our nation's air traffic.

Rene Marsh has more for you.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Three-zero report three miles.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Three miles, three-zero.

RENE MARSH, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): CNN is inside Frederick, Maryland, airport control tower.

MAMIE AMBROSE, AIR TRAFFIC CONTROLLER: Number one-nine victor, affirmative, make right traffic.

MARSH: It's brand-spanking new, built with $5.3 million in federal stimulus money, opened just last May, and now, you guessed it, likely to be shut down by -- who else? -- the federal government. Frederick is one of 238 towers at small and medium airports the FAA may close because of forced spending cuts.

KEVIN DAUGHERTY, FREDERICK MUNICIPAL AIRPORT: We're awarded the money, and you know, 10 months later, they say that you don't need a tower here. So, it's the world of mixed messages.

MARSH: In Florida, the government also giveth and now may taketh away -- $1.8 million in stimulus money went to construct this new tower at Opa-locka. One million for this new tower in St. Petersburg. Now, all on the chopping block.

AMBROSE: It looks to be at three miles.

MARSH: Mamie Ambrose, a Navy veteran, has been clearing pilots for takeoff and landing for the past 11 years. It's all she knows.

AMBROSE: It's scary, because I'm going to have to figure out something else to do, for an income. It means I'm going on unemployment, and that's the only income I'll have for me and my daughter.

MARSH: While airports will remain open, she says closing towers affects safety.

AMBROSE: There's going to be close calls. There's going to be mid- airs. There's going to be a runway accident.

MARSH: Some pilots agree.

CRAIG FULLER, AIRCRAFT & PILOTS ASSOCIATION: And tragically, something is going to happen and then we're going to review this decision.

MARSH: But the FAA says fliers will be inconvenienced but safety won't be compromised. A tough sell for Ambrose.

AMBROSE: Then why did they build this tower? In 2010, they said that safety was an issue, and then they funded this tower. Now, we're in 2013, and safety will not be affected. Which is it?


COSTELLO: Yes, which is it? Rene Marsh joins us now live.

So, Rene, bigger airports could be impacted, too, right?

MARSH: Absolutely, Carol. You know, when these closures happen, that means that a heavier load will be transferred to those bigger airports and then next month, when workers start getting furloughed, have you furloughs, and coupled with the heavier workload, that's going to really will impact the flyer, and FAA says flyers can expect delays up to 90 minutes if this all goes through.

Back to you, Carol.

COSTELLO: Rene Marsh, reporting live for us this morning -- thank you.

As the U.S. Supreme Court prepares to tackle same-sex marriage, one Georgia senator doubles down on his opposition to the issue. And now, Senator Saxby Chambliss facing a social media backlash.

Our political panel will break it all down for you.