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Mom And Baby Shot, Baby Dies; Workers Keep Gunman Out Of Restaurant; Texas Shootout May Have Colorado Ties; Three Dead At Quantico Marine Base; Online Tax Measure Is Not Binding; Seattle Retrains Drug Sniffing Dogs; Man Charged With Impersonating Pilot; FAA Closing 200 Plus Airport Towers; Obama Arrives In Jordan This Hour; Chambliss: No To Same Sex Marriage
Aired March 22, 2013 - 10:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
CAROL COSTELLO, CNN ANCHOR: Happening now in the NEWSROOM, a high- speed car chase and a shoot-out in Texas. Is this related to the murder of the prison chief in Colorado?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We will confirm and say Colorado is sending and should be here this evening investigators that are working on that case.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COSTELLO: Also, drug-sniffing dogs being trained not to sniff out drugs.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So there's some natural concern from people out in the community that if they're driving, they've got some weed, the drug dog going to show up as they get stopped, and what's going to happen?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COSTELLO: In Washington State, where pot is now legal, the question is to sniff or not to sniff.
Plus March Madness, the NCAA turning off to an incredible start, we're courtside with the CNN March Madness Express. You're live in the CNN NEWSROOM.
Good morning. Thank you so much for being with us. I'm Carol Costello. One hour from now, we're expecting a news conference on a truly horrifying story from Georgia's southern coast.
The woman you see limping says two young boys between the ages of 10 and 15 approached her on a quiet street and shot her in the leg and then, the unimaginable happened. She says they turned the gun on her baby, ignoring her frantic pleas.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
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 and he says, well I'm going to kill your baby. And I said, please don't kill my baby.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COSTELLO: CNN's Nick Valencia is in Brunswick, Georgia, with the latest. Nick, this happened yesterday in the morning. Are there witnesses?
NICK VALENCIA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It did happen yesterday morning, just over 24 hours ago, Carol, and so far there are no witnesses that have come forward, at least publicly, with more information.
So far, the only account of what happened comes from the mother. Now, the incident, the fatal shooting happened right behind me here on the corner of London and Ellis in Brunswick.
At about 9:00, she was walking, she says she was coming back from the post office, strolling along with her 13-month-old when she was approached by two young boys, who she says she's never seen before. Now, she described one suspect, the shooter, as between 13 and 15 years old.
She says there was another suspect with him, and Carol, very chilling details, this suspect, as young as 10 years old. Now, what's further confusing authorities is the fact that no one else saw this.
Just to give context to our viewers, this is a very quiet neighborhood, and traditionally a good neighborhood. I spoke with the city manager of Brunswick yesterday, asked him if this neighborhood has a crime problem or gang activity.
He said, no, this is a traditionally very nice area, a mixture of historic homes, flanked on either side by public housing. Having said that, he says this is a nice area and it's just shocking what happened here yesterday morning -- Carol.
COSTELLO: And our local affiliate interviewed the mother in this case and police there are asking to review that interview -- is that right?
VALENCIA: That's right. That's a new detail that I learned just about an hour ago. I spoke with the Public Information Officer, Todd Roads, who told me that they will be fully reviewing that raw interview with WAWS, the interview she did just hours after her baby was pronounced dead.
I asked him if they're looking beyond these two suspects, asking him if there's anyone -- have they ruled anyone else out of this fatal shooting. He said they're leaving everything and anything on the table.
The manhunt is currently underway and local authorities are offering up to $10,000 for any information leading to the arrest of these two suspects -- Carol.
COSTELLO: Nick Valencia reporting live for us this morning.
Now to Philadelphia, where surveillance camera video captures a shooting in Philadelphia, you can see a man walks up to a Chinese restaurant, he pulls out a gun, and he begins firing at several men inside through the door.
But you can see what's happening inside the restaurant, those young men, they jump into action, they block the door, hold it closed so the shooter can't get in, and all the while, the shooter outside is shooting bullet holes into the glass door. You can see these men, how they're scrambling to keep that door closed.
Now, watch from the outside. You can see the gunman, he's trying to force his way in, and then he backs up and he fires several bullets into the door, like I told you. You can see debris flying in front of the surveillance camera. And when he's finished doing this and he can't get in, he runs off around the corner.
Incredibly, no one inside that restaurant was seriously hurt, but Philadelphia police want your help. They're releasing a video and they hope someone can identify this gunman.
Joining me now is Lieutenant John Stanford from the Philadelphia Police Department. Lieutenant, welcome.
LT. JOHN STANFORD, PHILADELPHIA POLICE (via telephone): Good morning.
COSTELLO: First of all, did the bullets go through the door or did the glass stop the bullets?
STANFORD: Well, the bullets actually went through the door and this suspect, unfortunately, was able to actually reach through the door at some point and fire into the store at the actual victims inside, prior to him stepping back and firing straight through the glass of the door, striking the victims inside.
COSTELLO: It's just amazing no one was more seriously hurt.
STANFORD: Yes, it actually is. I mean, these victims are very lucky. They sustained some minor gunshot wounds to the arms and legs, but nothing life threatening and they are extremely lucky because this could have been deadly.
COSTELLO: My goodness, do you know what kind of gun it was?
STANFORD: Right now, we have preliminary indications that it's a 9- millimeter handgun.
COSTELLO: And did this man want to rob the place or were these young men inside the target, do you think?
STANFORD: Well, that -- investigators in Northwest Detective Division are still working on that, to ascertain a motive behind the situation. But right now, we're asking for the public's help to get this guy off the street. Because as you can see, he has no regard for human life to do something like this.
COSTELLO: So the men inside the restaurant were unable to tell you who this guy might be?
STANFORD: That's correct. We only have a description of the suspect as a black male, approximately 6'2" in height, medium build, wearing dark-colored sweatshirt and sweatpants, and also with baseball gloves and just firing at the suspects inside -- or the victims inside.
COSTELLO: So in the city of Philadelphia, is this something unusual?
STANFORD: Well, in this sense, I mean, we have, you know, violence, it takes place at different areas and at different times, but this is unusual in terms of for a suspect to do this type of action, and very unfortunate. We're working very hard to eliminate this type of incident here in Philadelphia.
COSTELLO: Lieutenant John Stanford, thank you so much for joining us this morning.
STANFORD: Thank you.
COSTELLO: In a shocking twist, the man killed after a police shoot- out in Texas may be connected to the murder of Colorado's prison chief. CNN's Ed Lavandera is in Decatur, Texas. Ed, do you have any new information about the suspect?
ED LAVANDERA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Carol. We're learning from Colorado investigators that the man who led Texas authorities on a high-speed chase through the remote Texas highway and into a violent gun battle on the streets of the town here in Decatur, Texas was a parolee from the state of Colorado and has ties to a white supremacist prison gang called the 211 crew and authorities say he's now the main focus in the murder of Tom Clements.
LAVANDERA (voice-over): This is how a high speed chase across North Texas ended, a black Cadillac with two different Colorado license plates smashed by an 18-wheeler. But the crash didn't stop the driver from getting out of the car and firing away at law enforcement officers. Colorado investigators say the driver was Evan Spencer Ebel. He was shot and killed in the fire fight.
CHIEF REX HOSKINS, DECATUR, TEXAS POLICE: He wasn't planning on being taken alive. I mean, that's obvious that he was trying to hurt somebody and he was trying to hurt the police.
LAVANDERA: The chase started when a sheriff's deputy tried to pull the Cadillac over on a remote stretch of Texas highway. Deputy James Boyd was shot twice in the chest. But he was wearing a bulletproof vest, and is expected to survive. That triggered a long, high-speed chase.
HOSKINS: He came by me. I was say going about 100 miles an hour. Had his left arm out the window and he was just shooting. He shot four times when he passed by my car parked in the median of the highway.
LAVANDERA: The 28-year-old Evan Spencer Ebel, is a parolee from the Denver area. The "Post" says Ebel is the focus of the investigation into the murder of Tom Clements, the director of Colorado's prison system.
UNDERSHERIFF PAULA PRESLEY, EL PASO COUNTY, COLORADO: We have received information, obviously, that he is a parolee and he was identified as a gang member in the prison system. Again, you know, that is information that we're receiving from Department of Corrections.
LAVANDERA: And in another strange twist, Denver police investigators also say there's a, quote, "strong connection" between Evan Ebel and the murder of a 27-year-old pizza delivery driver last Sunday afternoon.
Nathan Leon's body was found in a remote area outside of Denver. His family has struggled to figure out why anyone would want to kill a young father of three girls, who was delivering pizzas to earn extra money to support his family.
ERIC MURPHY, VICTIM'S STEP BROTHER: Since Sunday, 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.
LAVANDERA: And just after that high-speed chase ended here in Texas in that shoot-out, where Evan Ebel was killed, investigators from those two different murder investigations have flown down here to Texas to look at the evidence inside that black Cadillac that he was driving.
And we're also told by Colorado investigators that in the Department of Corrections, they're looking to other white supremacist members of this 211 crew gang that apparently Ebel was affiliated with.
Trying to ask around questions in that area of the investigation to see if there's any kind of connection with members who are currently in prison and how this all might have transpired and played out with Evan Ebel on the outside so we'll continue to dig into that throughout the day as well -- Carol.
COSTELLO: Of course, Ed Lavandera reporting live for us this morning.
Now let's turn to a murder investigation unfolding on a military base. Three people are dead at the Marine Corps base Quantico in Northern Virginia. Police say a gunman shot and killed one person and then fled to a nearby building, a barracks.
The base went into lockdown and law enforcement surrounded the building. When police swept in, they found the shooter dead along with another victim, the death toll, two men dead, one woman, all of them active Marines.
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COL. DAVID MAXWELL, COMMANDER, U.S. MARINE CORPS BASE QUANTICO: As we take care of our marines and their families that are dealing with this tragedy, I'd also ask for the support of our neighbors, the community, and their thoughts and prayers as well. For our Marines who have lost their comrades in arms.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COSTELLO: The base is used mostly for training, that's why it's known as the crossroads of the Marine Corps. The killer worked at the officer candidate school there, a motive not yet known.
President Obama is on his way to Jordan now. He just boarded Air Force One. In Jordan, the president will meet with King Abdullah as part of his Middle East trip. The president spent his final hours in Israel meeting with the prime minister and visiting graves. At Rabin's grave, President Obama placed a stone that came from Martin Luther King Jr.'s memorial in Washington.
The Amazon tax makes its way to the Senate floor today. It would allow states to collect sales taxes on internet purchases. Now, the vote won't be binding, but many states and bricks and mortars retailers think it could be a step in that direction.
Let's bring in CNN business correspondent, Zain Asher. Good morning.
ZAIN ASHER, CNN BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Carol. So the Senate is addressing this as part of the budget debate. We're expecting to see an amendment filed on it today. Even though this would mostly be a symbolic vote, it does raise the chance of actual legislation later on.
Here's what officials are trying to do. They basically want to level out the playing field between store retailers and online retailers. We have a situation right now where people tend to sort of go into Best Buy or Macy's, go look around, and go and buy the exact same product online for cheaper.
Now if you introduce an online sales tax, it will help bring -- it will help brick and mortar retailers compete more fairly. You know, there's definitely a lot of pressure for this legislation to move forward -- Carol.
COSTELLO: Zain Asher, reporting live for us this morning.
Just ahead in the NEWSROOM, if you live in Seattle and have marijuana, you no longer have to fear those nosy police dogs. The dogs have to learn some new tricks, you see, because they're used to sniffing out pot and it's legal now there.
COSTELLO: It's 16 minutes past the hour, time to check our top stories. Another blow for the financially strapped Postal Service, Congress' watchdog arm said in a legal opinion, the post office must deliver mail six days a week. That would end the post office's plan to cut first class mail service on Saturdays.
Seattle's Police Department is teaching their drug-sniffing dog some new tricks. Since the state legalized marijuana, the department is re-training the dogs not to respond to the smell of marijuana.
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SARGEANT SEAN WHITCOMB, SEATTLE POLICE: What we're doing, ever since it was passed is de-sensitizing them to the smell of marijuana. There's some natural concern from people out in the community that if they're driving, they've got some weed, is the drug dog going to show up if they get stopped is, and what's going to happen? Are they going to treat me like a drug trafficker?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COSTELLO: But not every police department is following Seattle's lead. Tacoma's Department says their dogs will keep their old tricks and sniff for any kind of drugs.
It sounds like a real life "catch me if you can." You remember the movie? Well, a French man is 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. His lie was uncovered when the actual pilot arrived for work.
The FAA ax falls today. Some of the nation's smaller airports will find out if air traffic controllers will continue to work. It's money versus safety. We'll be back.
COSTELLO: Today, airports around the nation will get some grim news. The FAA will start announcing which control towers will go dark because of forced spending cuts, sequestration. These smaller airports handle one fifth of the nation's air traffic each year. Some brand-new towers will collect dust and controllers worry about safety.
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MAMIE AMBROSE, AIR TRAFFIC CONTROLLER: Why did they build this tower? In 2010, they said that safety was an issue and then they funded this tower. Now we're 2013 and safety will not be affected. Which is it?
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COSTELLO: Which is it? In other words, federal tax money went to build that brand-new tower and now there's not enough federal tax money to keep the tower open.
Miles O'Brien is a pilot and aviation analyst for PBS and Paul Rinaldi is the president of the National Air Traffic Controllers Association. Welcome to you both.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Good morning, Carol. COSTELLO: So Paul, I'll start with you. So, which is it? Do we need those air traffic control towers at these smaller airports or don't we?
PAUL RINALDI, PRESIDENT, NATIONAL AIR TRAFFIC CONTROLLERS ASSOCIATION: We absolutely need those towers at those -- the air traffic controllers in those towers. It's the safety of the system. We have the safest, most efficient system in the world. And sequestration is basically dibs m dismantling it, one tower at a time, and we are against these cuts.
COSTELLO: And Miles, when you hear that federal tax dollars went to build these brand-new towers and now there's not enough federal money to operate them because Congress can't get it back together, that must be maddening?
MILES O'BRIEN, AVIATION ANALYST, PBS "NEWSHOUR": It's maddening and it's concerning, as a pilot. You know, Carol, as drivers, we know the rules of the road, and when you come to a four-way stop, you yield to the person on the right and so forth. And we all get by pretty well with that.
And you can do that in aviation, but sometimes you need a traffic cop, when there's a lot of traffic, in Midtown Manhattan. And some of these airports, even though they're not, you know, it's not like Atlanta Hartsfield, have enough traffic that you need that traffic cop.
COSTELLO: And also, Paul, I mean, the FAA says that will be safe, and nobody needs worry, but somebody's got to handle the traffic at these smaller airports, where these air traffic control towers will go dark.
RINALDI: That's exactly right. Safety is always our top priority, but this is going to have a devastating impact on capacity. The controllers at the other facilities that now have to work these airplanes, and it's going to be reduced tremendously, are also subject to furloughs, starting on April 21st.
So we're going to have less control towers in the control facilities that are remaining open, and it is going to have a devastating effect on our national air space system, which is an economic engine for this country. And it's reverse -- trickle-down economics in reverse, so to speak.
COSTELLO: And Miles, you fly out of these small airports all the time. How much air traffic are we talking about?
O'BRIEN: Well, it's enough that it's sometimes really good to have a controller there. You know, you're supposed to come to an airport, if it doesn't have a control tower, you get on a frequency and say, I'm out here. Are you guys out there? And where are you?
And you basically sequence yourself for landing. That works OK if there are two or three other planes there, but when there's a big stack of actor, that can be a problem. Now, on the day after sequester, will planes start clonk into each other? I don't think that's going to be the case, necessarily. But the system is built on layer upon layer of safety. And this is an important layer to just remove it willy-nilly and say it's not going to affect safety. I guess, the important question is, why did you have the control towers there in the first place, which is where you began the segment?
COSTELLO: Exactly. Paul, is there any compromise here? Is anyone putting the heat on lawmakers or maybe even if FAA, who insists that it would be safe for some of these control towers to go dark?
RINALDI: We worked really hard to see if we could actually keep these facilities up and running, and to actually take a look at some of the situations and see, do we have the amount of traffic we need to keep them open?
But not just to have a two-week window and tell us what the national interest is for this control tower. And if you don't, we're just going to close it. It's a deep concern of ours that they're dismantling our great air traffic control system, our national air space system, which is a treasure to this country.
COSTELLO: We'll await that list. It's supposed to come out ladder today. Miles O'Brien and Paul Rinaldi, thanks so much for being with us.
The founder of a wildly popular yoga movement is facing startling accusations from one of his students. The details ahead in the NEWSROOM.
COSTELLO: Good morning. I'm Carol Costello. Thank you so much for joining us. It's just about 30 minutes past the hour, time to check our top stories. President Obama's Middle East tour makes its second stop and it's a visit to a close ally.
The president will land in Jordan in just a few minutes. He'll spend the day with King Abdullah, follows one final meeting in Israel with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. The president will return to Washington tomorrow.
Senator Saxby Chambliss is reaffirming his opposition to same-sex marriage. When asked by "Politico" if he would consider changing his views, the Georgia Republican said, quote, "I am not gay, so I'm not going to marry one." Recently, Senator Rob Portman of Ohio announced on CNN that he now supports same-sex marriage after his own son told him he was gay.
The founder of the hot yoga movement may be in hot water. The "New York Post" reporting a former student is suing the founder. She claims the yoga guru sexually assaulted her and tried to derail her yoga career. The 67-year-old yogi has not responded.
It is a big day for Blackberry, yes, Blackberry. The new Blackberry Z-10 finally goes on sale today. It had been delayed for months and expectations are rather high. CNN's Zain Asher is standing by in New York. Good morning.
ASHER: Hi, Carol. You know, this is an absolutely crucial release for the company. It's had so much trouble competing with Apple and Samsung over the years.