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EARLY START WITH JOHN BERMAN AND ZORAIDA SAMBOLIN

Quantico Marine Base Shooting; Suspect Killed by Police; Biden: "I Haven't Given Up on This"; "You Are Not Alone"

Aired March 22, 2013 - 05:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


ZORAIDA SAMBOLIN, CNN ANCHOR: Breaking news: shots fired at Quantico -- three people dead, all marines, including the gunman.

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN ANCHOR: A wild chase and shoot-out on a Texas highway. The suspect may have ties to the murder Colorado's prison chief.

SAMBOLIN: The NRA takes aim, slapping New York state with a lawsuit against its own new gun control.

ROMANS: Bracket buster in the NCAA tournament.

SAMBOLIN: Yes.

ROMANS: Big upset on day one of the big dance.

Good morning, welcome to EARLY START this Friday morning. I'm Christine Romans. John Berman is going to stop by later today. He's going to host "STARTING POINT" today.

SAMBOLIN: And I'm Zoraida Sambolin.

It is Friday, March 22nd. Thanks for being with us. It's 5:00 a.m. in the East.

ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.

SAMBOLIN: And we begin with breaking news, a fatal shooting leaving three people dead at Quantico and it is believed that they are all marines. The Virginia base placed on lockdown earlier this morning when the shooter barricaded himself inside a building. Police say he is among the dead after apparently shooting himself.

Shannon Travis is live from Quantico, Virginia, this morning.

Shannon, what is the very latest here?

SHANNON TRAVIS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hey, Zoraida.

The details are still emerging. We are being told that this is an active crime scene right now because the investigation is ongoing, but let's go over what we know. Three people are dead. We're told that they are all believed to be marines.

The shooter we're told is believed to be a male, the first victim is also believed to be a male, and the second victim, the gender is unclear.

Now, what actually happened around 11:00 p.m., we are told, that a notification went out, that a dispatch was made, that there was a shooting near the officer's candidate school. And basically after that, the base was essentially on lockdown.

A public address went over the loud speakers telling everyone in their homes to stay in hair homes and to lock the doors. From there, a first victim was found near the officer's candidate school. Shortly after that, they begin to apprehend the shooter. The shooter then went over to a barrack, basically where the service members on base asleep, and barricaded himself inside of a room.

There was a period of about two hours between the time that the first dispatch call went out about the actual shooting and the time that they actually entered this room where the shooter was. Once they entered the room, Zoraida, they found the shooter who apparently died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound. And another victim, it's unclear how that victim got into the room with the shooter, but that was the second victim that was in there.

Again, about two hours between the time that the dispatch went out about the initial shooting and the time that they actually entered that room -- officials tell us that they also tried to make communication between those two hours with the shooter, unclear if they were successful or not. Again, officials here are telling us that this is a crime scene, it's an ongoing investigation. One of the things that we pressed them on was if there's any chance that any other victims that they have yet to find anyone on base, they said unequivocally, no, that this is limited to those three victims that we mentioned.

And again, a lot of the marines on the base, and the officials we spoke to asked everyone to basically pray for them -- Zoraida.

SAMBOLIN: I know it is an ongoing investigation and we'll get to the motive eventually.

Shannon Travis reporting live, thank you.

ROMANS: Major new developments this morning in the murder of Tom Clements. Police in Colorado taken a, quote, "strong look" at whether a suspect shot dead by police in Texas is the same man wanted in the killing of the Colorado prison chief.

A man was gunned down after a wild chase in a car, similar to one seen leaving the home where Clements was shot dead as he answered the door.

CNN correspondent Ed Lavandera, he joins live from Decatur, Texas.

Good morning.

ED LAVANDERA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Zoraida.

Well, after that high-speed chase yesterday that topped out at times at more than 100 miles per hour, the case here in Texas is getting a great deal of attention from those investigators in Colorado.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

LAVANDERA (voice-over): This is how a high-speed chase across Texas ended -- a black Cadillac with two 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. He was shot and killed in the firefight.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He wasn't planning on being taken alive. I mean, that's obvious, that he was trying to hurt somebody and 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 bullet-proof vest and is expected to survive. That triggered a long high-speed chase.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: When he came by me, I would say he was probably running 100 miles an hour, just 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 Denver Post" quoting federal and state officials reporting that the suspect is 28-year-old Evan Spencer Ebel, 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 the Colorado's prison system.

In a press release Thursday night, El Paso County investigators in Colorado did not deny the accuracy of the reports but instead criticized the leak of Evan Ebel's name by law enforcement sources.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I know there's a lot of rumors going around and people wanting to know if this is connected to the Colorado shooting of the director of the prison system. We don't know that it is or it's not.

LAVANDERA: And in another strange twist, Denver police investigators also say there's a strong connection between the driver of the Cadillac in Texas 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.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Since Sunday, we have just been a total wreck. Just when you think you have cried your tears and you can't cry anymore, that's all you do.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

LAVANDERA: So with those two murders in Colorado, exactly their connection is not clear at this point, but a great deal of attention from these investigators. Investigators from Colorado from the El Paso County area, as well as from the Denver area have flown down here to north Texas. They are in Decatur.

And we are told by law enforcement officials here in the town of Decatur that there's evidence inside that Black Cadillac that was involved in that high-speed chase here yesterday that would be of great interest to those investigators. But it was hard to get specifics after exactly what they were talking about, but those investigators are now on the ground here in Texas combing through the evidence from the high-speed chase yesterday -- Christine.

ROMANS: All right. Thanks, Ed.

SAMBOLIN: And new developments in the gun control debate. The National Rifle Association taking aim at gun control measures in New York suing over the state facts, which strengthens the state's existing assault weapons ban. The NRA's New York affiliate claims the law would push through without committee hearings or public input.

The new laws include a statewide gun registry, a uniform licensing standards and a seven-bullet limit in magazines.

Vice President Joe Biden isn't throwing in the towel on the prospect of federal gun limits, joined by Newtown families and New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg yesterday, he vowed to revive the battle to ban assault weapons.

And he had a message for lawmakers including Senate Democrats who dropped the assault weapons portion of a gun regulation passage. He says, quote, "Think about Newtown."

Here's crime and justice correspondent Joe Johns.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

JOE JOHNS, CNN CRIME AND JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): With a ban on so-called assault weapons all but dead in the Senate, according to top Democrat Harry Reid, the vice president said he's not giving up.

JOSEPH BIDEN, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I'm not going to rest nor is the president until we do all of these things, all of these things.

JOHNS: He told the family of a teacher killed protecting children in the Newtown, Connecticut, school shooting that the country needs some political backbone.

BIDEN: You know, it's time for a political establishment to show the courage your daughter showed.

JOHNS: The father of a 6-year-old also killed at Newtown said shame on the Congress.

NEIL HESLION, FATHER OF NEWTOWN VICTIM: I'm really ashamed to see that Congress doesn't have the guts to stand up and make a change and put a ban on these type of weapons and universal background checks.

JOHNS: From New York's Mayor Bloomberg, a call for public pressure.

MAYOR MICHAEL BLOOMBERG (I), NEW YORK CITY: If you want to make a difference, you've got to pick up the phone, call your congressperson.

JOHNS: But what happened was no surprise. Conservative Democrats in the Senate up for re-election risk riling up pro-gun forces in an election year if they vote for the ban. Democratic supporters like retiring Michigan Senator Carl Levin are frustrated do.

(on camera): You think it's worth just having a vote?

SEN. CARL LEVIN (D), MICHIGAN: Sure. I think it's important that people express their views and have a chance to vote those views. There are people back home that can judge if agree or disagree.

JOHNS: Bad for red state Democrats.

LEVIN: It's not the politics I want to get here. The stakes here go way beyond politics.

JOHNS: All the pressure from gun control advocates appears to be working. Late Thursday, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid released a statement saying he wants to bring a gun safety bill to the floor after the upcoming recess, including provisions on background checks.

He said he also wants a vote on an assault weapons ban amendment. So there appears to be one last chance for the Senate to vote on the ban after all. The NRA saying they've always expected there would be a vote on the ban and they say they are prepared for a lot of pressure on senators to pass it.

Joe Johns, CNN, Washington.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

SAMBOLIN: Our thanks to Joe.

And later on "STARTING POINT", we'll talk with Aurora shooter survivor Stephen Barton. He's been working with Newtown families in the wake of that massacre.

ROMANS: All right. The United Nations launching an investigation to find out whether chemical weapons were used in Syria's bloody civil war. The Assad regime and rebel forces accusing each other of chemical warfare, but U.S. military officials tell CNN their intelligence suggests neither side used those weapons.

SAMBOLIN: A hundred and eighty-three air traffic control towers on the chopping block. Today, we learn which ones the FAA will shut down. Some of the towers are practically brand new. Blame the four spending cuts for all of this. The towers in question handle low to moderate amounts of air traffic and use mostly contract workers as well. ROMANS: A combination of technical and communications breakdowns are being blamed for the big blackout of this year's Super Bowl. The power was caught off to half the Mercedes Benz Superdome, causing a more than half-hour delay between the Baltimore Ravens and San Francisco 49ers. According to an independent analysis, a design defect in a recently installed relay device caused the power to trip and the utility in trouble reaching the manufacturer to solve the problem.

SAMBOLIN: Hopefully, it won't happen again.

So, how is that bracket holding up for you? The first full day of the NCAA tournament delivering the first huge upset -- 14th seed Harvard pulling off a stunner in Salt Lake City, knocking off 3rd seeded New Mexico, 68-62, last night. The Ivy League champs were dramatically undersize. But apparently, here, size does not matter with the Crimson hitting three-pointers all night, capturing their first victory ever in just their third appearance in the big dance.

And a big scare for top-seeded Gonzaga, the Bulldogs hold off 16th seeded Southern, 64-58, to avoid becoming the first one seed in history to lose to a 16th seed.

ROMANS: Wow.

SAMBOLIN: Other teams advancing yesterday -- Louisville, Michigan State, Michigan, St. Louis, Marquette, Syracuse, Oregon, Memphis, Wichita, Arizona, Butler, California, Colorado State and Virginia commonwealth.

Are you keeping track there?

ROMANS: I was tying first place for the first couple of days. I have to check, but I did not have Harvard.

All right. Right now, President Obama is wrapping up his mission to the Middle East and headed to his last stop, as we speak. A live report from the region, coming up.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ROMANS: All right. Fifteen minutes after the hour. Let's get you up-to-date right now.

A breaking new this morning, three dead after a shooting at the Quantico Marine Base in Virginia. It's believed all the victims are marines. Police say the gunmen barricade himself inside a building with a victim, then later turn the gun on himself. That triggered a lockdown that was lifted just before 3:00 this morning. The identities of the victims and the motive are still not known this morning.

SAMBOLIN: And check out this huge traffic pile up in Canada -- 100 vehicles mashed up on the main highway between Edmonton and Calgary. About 100 people ended up in hospitals but only one person was seriously hurt there. Police think bad weather and excessive speed helped setoff that crazy chain reaction. They hope to have the highway back open this morning.

ROMANS: All right. Legal troubles for former French President Nicolas Sarkozy. An investigative judge charged him with breach of trust. Sarkozy is accused of taking advantage of France's richest woman, L'Oreal cosmetic heiress Liliane Bettencourt to help illegally fund his 2007 presidential campaign. His lawyers say they'll appeal.

SAMBOLIN: And there could be a hitch in the plane to ditch Saturday mail this summer. The Governmental Accountability Office says the Postal Service legally must deliver the mail six days a week. And that opinion could mean lawsuits to stop the plan. If the Postal Service's plan does go through, you'd still get packages and express mail on Saturdays, just no mail delivery.

President Obama preparing for the final stop on his Middle East tour. He'll be in Jordan later this morning for talks with King Abdullah.

The president is wrapping up his visit to Israel and the West Bank, spending time earlier this morning at the grave of Yitzhak Rabin, the former prime minister who was assassinated in 1995. The president is trying to revive peace talks and reassure Israelis that America is on their side.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Today, I want to tell you, particularly the young people, so that there's no mistake here -- so long as there's a United States of America -- ah-tem lo lah-vahd.

(APPLAUSE)

OBAMA: You are not alone.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SAMBOLIN: You are not alone.

Senior international correspondent Ivan Watson is live from Amman, Jordan, this morning.

So, Ivan, what's on tap for the president today for the president?

IVAN WATSON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, he's continued his term offensive trying to convince a skeptical Israeli public that he is very much a friend of Israel. He visited the Holocaust Memorial in Israel, and he spoke out about never wanting to see some evil like this happen again.

He also went and visited the tombs of two important figures in the history of Israel. Theodor Herzl, the founder of the Zionist movement. He placed a stone at his grave. And he also visited the grave of Yitzchak Rabin, the assassinated leader, killed by an Israeli who protested to the moves that Rabin had made towards peace.

And this was a symbolic gesture because President Obama placed a stone from the Martin Luther King memorial on that grave trying to draw a parallel basically between the African-American civil rights movement and Yitzchak Rabin and his efforts towards peace.

Of course, President Obama is trying to balance his outreach to Israel with his push towards trying to restart a stalled peace process between the Israelis and the Palestinians.

He's expected to travel into the occupied Palestinian territories, into the West Bank soon, to visit Bethlehem. Of course, we all know Christians believe this to be the birthplace of Jesus Christ. Visiting the Church of the Holy Nativity, he'll be there with the Palestinian Authority president, Mahmoud Abbas, and he'll have to pass through those huge security barriers. These enormous walls that the Israelis have set up around this traditionally Christian city, and perhaps get a good look at some of the conditions that the Palestinians live in.

Part of this is probably to try to raise some awareness about the Christian -- indigenous Christian Palestinian population very much caught in the middle of this grinding conflict between the Israelis and the Palestinians -- Zoraida.

SAMBOLIN: All right. Ivan Watson live from Amman, Jordan, this morning. Thank you.

ROMANS: All right. Coming up, are you debt-free or do you owe more? New numbers this morning -- surprising new numbers showing exactly who owes how much and the people most affected by debt.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SAMBOLIN: We are minding your business this morning. The proposed bailout in Cyprus is coming down to the wire now. But Dow futures are down only a few points.

ROMANS: I know. But we are watching all this uncertainly, Zoraida, in Cyprus, and the investors reason to take a bit of break after a record-setting run. So much hangs in the balance. Protesters took to the streets last night in Cyprus last night. Lawmakers there have to come up with a way to raise money by Monday or else the European Central Bank will stop providing Cyprus with emergency cash.

So, it's getting more tense by the minute in Cyprus.

Meantime, Google's Eric Schmidt is making a rare visit to Myanmar. He's pushing for a free and open Internet in a country emerging from decades of military rule. Internet access in Myanmar is very rare and a small amount of people there have cell phones. The trip comes just two months after Schmidt made a controversial journey to North Korea.

And good news -- good news here, fewer Americans have debt. That's right, fewer Americans have debt -- 69 percent of people are in debt. That compares with 74 percent in 2000. A big reason why: people are laying off their credit cards. But for those who do have debt, they have a lot more of it -- $70,000 compared to $52,000 in 2000.

SAMBOLIN: Wow. ROMANS: And bearing the brunt of it, seniors, people over 65 saw their debt level double. Seniors are less likely to own their house outright in these days, are also more likely to have unsecured debt. That includes things like student loans and medical bills.

China is now the world's second biggest movie theater box office, taking in nearly $3 billion in ticket sales last year. That's second only to -- you guessed it -- the U.S.

The Motion Picture Association says 10 movie screens are being built in China every day. Ten new movie screens a day in China. The most popular movie there last year, "The Avengers."

SAMBOLIN: All things in the West, right? They just love it all.

Twenty-five minutes past the hour.

It's like something out of a horror movie. A teenager girl cowers in a closet as burglars break in. Hear how she survives in her own words, coming up.

ROMANS: And if you're leaving the house right now, you can watch us any time on your desktop or your mobile phone, just go to CNN.com/TV.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SAMBOLIN: Breaking news this morning, three dead after a shooting at Virginia's Quantico Marine Base.

ROMANS: A high-speed chase and gun battle in Texas. Was this the last stand of the suspected Colorado prison chief?

SAMBOLIN: Washington's forced spending cuts affecting you, we are just hours from learning which airport control towers will have to close, 183 of them. Can you believe it?

All right. Welcome back to EARLY START. We're really happy you are with us on this Friday morning. I'm Zoraida Sambolin.

ROMANS: I'm Christine Romans. I'm in for John today.

It is 5:29 in the East.

Let's get started -- breaking news, a shooting at the Marine base at Quantico, leaving three people dead. It's believed they are all marines. The Virginia base was on lockdown earlier this morning. The gunman barricading himself inside a building before apparently killing himself.

Shannon Travis is monitoring the latest developments for us. She's live from Quantico this morning.

Shannon, what do we know right now?

TRAVIS: Yes, we are still monitoring those developments as they unfold. We are being told that an official briefing for the media will happen at about 7:00 a.m., but let's go over exactly some of those details as we know them now.

As you've mentioned them, Christine -- three people dead, all of them believed to be marines. The shooter believed to be male, the first victim believed to be male as well, and the second victim, gender unclear.

Now, let's walk through the series of events as we understand them.