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EARLY START WITH JOHN BERMAN AND ZORAIDA SAMBOLIN

Suspect Killed By Police; Nearly 200 Air Traffic Towers to Close; Three Dead at Quantico; Teenagers Shoot Infant; Teen Helps Bust Burglary; Brackets Ruined

Aired March 22, 2013 - 06:30   ET

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


ZORAIDA SAMBOLIN, CNN ANCHOR: And in other news today -- developing story out of Texas may help solve the murder of Tom Clements. Colorado police in Texas this morning, at the scene of a police shoot- out that left the suspect dead. The dead man may have been the subject of a massive manhunt for the Colorado prison chief's killer. . CNN correspondent Ed Lavandera is live in Decatur, Texas, with the very latest.

This story is just absolutely bizarre. What is the very latest on it?

ED LAVANDERA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Indeed, a lot of twists and turns. Now, that investigators from Colorado are taking a closer look at the suspect in this high speed chase that ended in a wild shoot-out, but not for just one murder, but now two murders.

(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 he's 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 I must 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 now investigators from those two different murder investigations in Colorado have scrambled to get to Texas. We're told by law enforcement officials in Decatur that there's evidence inside that Black Cadillac that the investigators from Colorado will be very interested to look at. In the meantime there's a press briefing scheduled for 1:00 Eastern today. Perhaps more light being shed on the situation.

We'll bring that to you later on in the day -- Zoraida.

SAMBOLIN: Your heart really goes out for those families. Ed Lavandera reporting live for us -- thank you.

ROMANS: All right. Nearly 200 air traffic control towers are facing shutdowns today. Today is the day we learn which ones get the ax. It's all because forced spending cuts are forcing the FAA to make some tough decisions.

The big question is, what does it mean for you when you fly?

CNN's Rene Marsh is at an airport in Frederick, Maryland, that will be affected.

Rene, that tower practically brand-new, built with government money. And now, because of government money problems, it could be shut down.

RENE MARSH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: I know. Does that even make any sense here? That's absolutely right here, Christine.

Not even a year, the federal government spent money to build this tower and they could find out today that they will have to shut down.

So the trickle-down effect for flyers, it means delayed flights, fewer flights, as well, and for the people who work inside these towers, it means they're out of jobs.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Three-zero report three miles.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Three miles, three-zero.

MARSH (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 23 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: Look 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 flyers 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?

(END VIDEOTAPEP)

MARSH: All right. Well, the FAA says that the goal here is to shut down the towers that will have the least impact on the passengers.

Back to you, Christine.

ROMANS: It just shows how -- how that whole sequester forced spending cuts. All of these across-the-board cuts without the wiggle room to make choices that are best for people and flyers.

All right. Rene Marsh, thanks.

SAMBOLIN: Thirty-six minutes past the hour.

In just a few hours, President Obama will be arriving at the final stop of his Middle East tour. He'll be in Jordan for talks with King Abdullah.

Earlier this morning, the president visited the gravesite of slain former Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin. Topping the agenda in Jordan will be the Syrian civil war, 350,000 refugees have fled to Jordan and that number is continuing to climb. The president also expected to discuss Israeli/Palestinian relations with King Abdullah.

ROMANS: All right. Let's get back to the breaking news out of the military base at Quantico. Three people dead, it's believed they're all marines.

Let's get straight to Shannon Travis. He's live on the scene in Quantico with new details.

Good morning, Shannon.

SHANNON TRAVIS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Christine.

Yes, we have new details. We've been saying, we've been told earlier that they were all believed to be marines. We can now confirm that they were, in fact, all three marines.

We also were a little unclear about the genders of the victims. We can now confirm, according to the spokesman here, that two of them were male, one of them was female. The shooter was male. The first victim was male. And the second victim, who was found in the room with the shooter, was a female.

Now, let's go back over what actually happened. About 11:00 p.m. last night, basically there was a 911 alert, essentially that went out. Essentially, that went out over the base that there was a shooting over at the officer's candidates school. I'm just going to show you. It's a massive base. Basically that would be down here on the map. We are actually way up here, Christine, because, again, the base is so huge.

After that 911 call went out, essentially there was a lockdown on base. People were told to stay inside and lock their doors and not go out. Police sprung into action, obviously, started to look for and apprehend the shooter.

They found the shooter in a barrack, essentially where the service members actually sleep at, barricaded himself into a room. There was some time that they tried to establish communication with the shooter. Unclear, if they were successful or if the shooter was unresponsive or not.

About two hours after receiving that call, and actually going into the room pass, once they got into the room, again, they found the shooter apparently dead of a self-inflicted gunshot wound, and the woman who was also in there, we're expecting a few more details about motive and more about the shooter in about 30 minutes when they'll have a press conference to tell us more -- Christine.

ROMANS: Clearly, they'll be looking at what the relationship is among these three people, the order of events here, and just what may have -- what may have propelled that, that shooter and what -- there is a briefing in just a few minutes. Am I right?

TRAVIS: That's right. At the top of the hour at 7:00, we expect officials to step up to the microphone and tell us more.

ROMANS: All right. Shannon Travis, I know you'll be following it very closely for us. Thank you.

SAMBOLIN: Thirty-nine minutes past the hour.

Calm and composed in the face of danger. A young girl hides from burglars that are lurking so close you can actually hear them on the 911 call. We're going to play that for you, coming up.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SAMBOLIN: Welcome back.

John Berman is joining us with a look at what is ahead on "STARTING POINT."

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: So great to see you guys.

You know, we're going to follow that breaking news you've been talking about all morning. Three people killed on a marine base in Quantico, Virginia. The details have been coming in by the minute.

Right now, we believe all three were marines, including the gunman. We are live on the scene at the top of the hour with the latest.

Then, another story where the details are coming in by the second. That manhunt for a person who killed Colorado's prison chief, the manhunt may be over this morning. Police in Texas shot and killed a man, possibly responsible for this murder. We're going to talk with Bill Long, the Bent County Commissioner, and Paula Presley, the El Paso County undersheriff, to see what new information they can give us.

Plus, check this out: is the amount of salt you eat killing you? A new study shows we're eating too much sodium and playing a high price. Dr. Sanjay Gupta will be here to explain.

And applying to college can be a nightmare but a new film with Tina Fey is taking a lighter approach. We're going to see an interview with the co-stars with the new film, "Admission", with the stars Wallace Shawn and Gloria Reuben.

We'll fit that all in, but mostly what we'll be talking about is Harvard's glorious victory at the tournament last night. Two hours of Harvard coverage coming up on "STARTING POINT."

SAMBOLIN: Did you pick Harvard?

BERMAN: No, actually I didn't.

Who would think Harvard would win? I would never pick them.

SAMBOLIN: I think you're second to last in the brackets, Berman.

BERMAN: I'm pacing myself. It's positioning.

ROMANS: I can't remember who's first in the bracket? I can't --

SAMBOLIN: It's either you or John King. We can't decide that, either. We're kind of confused about it this morning.

ROMANS: I'm just going to relish while I can, since it will not last long, I'm sure.

Thank you, John. See you it.

BERMAN: All right.

ROMANS: All right now, developing story in southeast Georgia. Hunt right now for the person who fatally shot a 13-month-old boy in the face. Shot his mother in the leg. Sherry West says she was pushing her son Antonio in a stroller yesterday near her home when two boys approached, showed a gun, and demanded money.

CNN's Nick Valencia is in Brunswick, Georgia.

Nick, what can you tell us about what she says happened here?

NICK VALENCIA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Just so tragic what happened in Brunswick, Georgia. The fatal shooting happened Thursday morning, early Thursday morning at about 9:00 a.m. on this corner right behind me here. The mother says that she was on her morning walk, pushing her 13-month-old in a stroller when two young boys approached her. She said she had never seen them before in her life. She describes the shooters as a 13 to 15-year-old boy. He was accompanied by somebody as young as 10 years old. Now, I spoke to the city manager of Brunswick yesterday. He says there is no clear motive of this fatal shooting. Meanwhile, the mother spoke to our local affiliate WAWS, and she said the two boys were trying to rob her.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Why? Why my little one? You know. They should have just taken the pocketbook and go.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: They said we're going to kill you if you don't give your money. I said I swear I don't have any. I put my arms around my baby and he shoves me and then he shot my baby right in the head.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VALENCIA: Now the mother is -- she did that interview just a few hours after her baby was pronounced dead and you can tell from that interview the emotions are still very raw.

ROMANS: So, Nick, what can you tell me about this neighborhood? Does it have problems with crime? are shootings rare here? Give us a little sense of what -- where Brunswick, Georgia, is and what the community is like.

VALENCIA: Yes, that's a great question. And context for our viewers, what makes this all the more shocking is that this is traditionally a good neighborhood. If you look around me here, this is a mixture of historic homes flanked by public housing. But there are some really good schools just around the corner here. Those schools went on lockdown yesterday during the shooting. But what makes this all the more tragic is that there were no witnesses. This happened at about 9:00 a.m. Just as people were getting the full stride of their day. Police are offering a $10,000 reward and there currently is a manhunt underway here in Brunswick.

ROMANS: Nick Valencia, really a sad story for that baby and that family. Thanks, Nick.

SAMBOLIN: Forty-seven minutes past the hour. Quick-thinking teenager in California helped police bust up a burglary ring by hiding very quietly in a closet. 15-year-old Doyen Oladipupo (ph) called 911, ran into her parents' walk-in closet, when the alarm system went off while she was home alone. The emergency operator told that frightened girl not to say a word after she heard the criminals' voices just inches away from her as she hid behind those clothes there.

(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Bring the bucket over here.

UNIDENTIFIED DISPATCHER: Okay, don't talk.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Bring it over here. (END AUDIO CLIP)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DOYEN OLADIPUPO (ph), AIDED POLICE: I don't know how I did it honestly. Because when I think about it now, my heart just starts beating.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SAMBOLIN: Wow. Police arrived shortly, arrested three teen suspects in a stolen car that was sitting in the driveway. The heroic high school student was not physically harmed. That is a brave girl right there.

ROMANS: Terrifying. Oh, my. Good for her.

If you have perfect brackets this morning you're among the few. Thanks, Harvard. Even alum John Berman didn't pick you to win. Highlights of the tourney in the bleacher report, next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SAMBOLIN: 51 minutes past the hour. One day into March madness and brackets are busted everywhere, thanks to Harvard beating New Mexico. But not mine. Andy Scholes joins us now with the "Beacher Report." How's your bracket doing?

ANDY SCHOLES, BLEACHER REPORT: See, this is my bracket and this is what I did this morning with it. Because like many people I had New Mexico going all the way to the final four. So my bracket now in terrible shape thanks to Harvard. This was such a big upset. President Obama, who went to Harvard, he picked New Mexico to win this game. In his bracket. But it's a perfect example of why it's called March madness. The Crimson knocked down threes (ph) all game and hit the clutch shots down the stretch to get their first-ever NCAA tournament win. They move on to play Arizona in round three.

After last night's upset less than 1 percent of more than 8 million brackets filled out on ESPN are still perfect. Mainly thanks to this New Mexico upset.

One person's bracket who wasn't busted by Harvard is the Crimson's most famous hoops alum, Jeremy Lynch (ph). He tweeted this pic after the win saying "yes, Harvard wins, ha, ha, I told you." If only I would have listened to you.

There was almost a bigger upset than New Mexico yesterday. Gonzaga nearly became the first top seed to lose to a 16th seed as Southern University gave the Bulldogs all they could handle. This game was tied with four minutes to go. The Zags closed the game on a 10-4 run to avoid disaster. They will play Wichita State in round three.

Top-seeded Louisville moves on, as well. They will play Colorado state in the next round. The other two top seeds will look to join them. Indiana takes on James Madison while Kansas goes up against Western Kentucky.

Well, we did have a game-winning shot yesterday. Right now it's number four in the lineup on Bleacherreport.com. Arquette trailed Davidton (ph) by five points with 40 seconds to go, but they hit a couple threes and Vander Blue takes this inbound all the way for the game winning lay-up with one second left. Golden Eagles avoid the upset with a 59-58 win.

Tiger Woods fresh off his big relationship announcement with Olympic skier Lindsey Vonn is competing this weekend in the Arnold Palmer invitational. Tiger won the tournament last year and is looking for an eighth win at Bay Hill. Coming into the day (ph) he's four shots off the lead. If Tiger wins the tournament he'll also regain the world's number one ranking since Rory McIlroy isn't playing this weekend.

Everyone's eyes are out there looking for Lindsey Vonn to see if she's going to be out on the course cheering on Tiger. No sign of her through the first few rounds. She's probably still a little hobbled recovering from the ACL surgery.

SAMBOLIN: Cameras will be clicking when she's ready to join him. Thank you so much. Appreciate it. And now a look at stories that are trending on CNN this morning. Yoko Ono joining the gun debate by tweeting this picture of blood-stained glasses that John Lennon was wearing when he died. So her tweets included this message to put it in perspective, quote, "over 1,570,000 people have been killed by guns in the U.S. since John Lennon was shot and killed December 8th, 1980." They were sent on what would have been John and Yoko's 44th anniversary this week.

ROMANS: Call it the Jimmy Fallon tax credit. The "New York Daily News" reports that New York's state budget includes tax breaks for any talk or variety program that filmed at least five seasons outside of New York prior to being first relocated in season to New York. Rumors have been swirling that Fallon will take over for Jay Leno as the host of the "Tonight Show" next year and NBC will move the show back to New York. And hence the tax break. No announcement so far from NBC.

SAMBOLIN: It turns out I think this is my favorite story of the day, Groundhog's Day just wasn't the ground doing's day. A prosecutor in Ohio has indicted Punxsutawney Phil for getting the winter forecast wrong. Can we join in? Is it a class action? The legal term is misrepresentation of an early spring. Can you extradite a rodent from Pennsylvania to Ohio? Phil has no comment. His handler said it was 65 degrees one day a couple of weeks ago, so the prosecutor is barking up the wrong burrow.

ROMANS: I don't know. It sets a dangerous precedent for meteorologists and stock pickers all over the country. Just minutes from now we're expecting a news briefing at Quantico Marine base in Virginia. Three Marines shot dead overnight. Live coverage coming up on "STARTING POINT."

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SAMBOLIN: That's it for EARLY START. I'm Zoraida Sambolin, have a great weekend. "STARTING POINT" begins right now.

BERMAN: Good morning, everyone. I'm John Berman.

ROMANS: I'm Christine Romans this morning. Soledad has the day off. Our "STARTING POINT," breaking news at the Quantico Marine base in Virginia. Three Marines there are dead. Officials trying to piece together what happened. We're live on the scene and we're expecting a briefing from Quantico any moment.

BERMAN: Then a suspect in a police chase and shoot-out in Texas may be connected to the murder of Colorado's prison chief. We will have the developing details in moments.

ROMANS: Plus, how did this man apparently get on a plane and impersonate a pilot? You have got to hear this one.

BERMAN: And how is your bracket doing? We've got one huge upset in round one of march madness. It is a very important story. It is Friday, March 22nd. "STARTING POINT" begins right now.