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Tulsa Dentist, Menace to Public Health; Disturbing New Information about Adam Lanza; Pope Francis Celebrates his First Holy Week as Pontiff; Warmer Times Ahead; Schools Ban Dodgeball

Aired March 29, 2013 - 05:30   ET


JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: He's being called a menace to public health. Investigators looking and a rogue dentist who may have exposed thousands to HIV and hepatitis.

POPPY HARLOW, CNN ANCHOR: Wild animal on the attack. A zoo keeper takes on a tiger and lives to tell about it.

BERMAN: New this morning, the Obama administration ready to change the rules for cars that cause smog. But will this mean you pay more at the pump?

HARLOW: Welcome back to EARLY START, happy Friday, everyone. I just read John's line. I'm John Berman.

BERMAN: I'm actually John Berman. This is Poppy Harlow. It is Friday, March 19. It is 30 after the hour right now.

HARLOW: New information on a very dangerous health threat to tell you about this morning. Our top story, 7,000 patients put at risk of exposure to HIV and hepatitis by their dentist. Dr. Scott Harrington is being called a menace to public health this morning. Ed Lavandera is outside his dental office in Tulsa, Ohlahoma. And Ed, we understand that some of the inspectors who investigated his office came out and said they were actually physically sickened by what they saw.

ED LAVANDERA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: That's what they said yesterday, Poppy. All of this started because a patient of Dr. Scott Harrington, the practice you see behind me, was infected with hepatitis C. Health officials here in the state were trying to backtrack and figure out how that person could have been infected. That led investigators to this dental practice. Over the last two weeks, what they say they discovered as they were inspecting this dental practice was shocking and disturbing. Listen to one of the health officials who spoke about this yesterday.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'll tell you that when the health department investigators, when we left, we were physically kind of sick. That's how bad. And I have seen a lot of bad stuff over the years. The instruments that came out of the autoclave were horrible. I wouldn't let my nephews play with them out in the dirt. I mean, they were horrible. (END VIDEO CLIP)

LAVANDERA: Some of the highlights that health officials have found here at the practice of Dr. Scott Harrington. Rusted and unsterilized equipment. Needles that were reused in drug vials, non-sterile gauze pads that were used as well as open vials of medications found in there as well as assistants that were not properly qualified to be doing some of the work they were doing inside the dental practice. The allegations being leveled against this doctor shocking and disturbing to say the least.

HARLOW: We know thousands of patients are now going to or are in the process of undergoing tests to see if they have been infected or not. That's the most important thing while we wait to hear from them, have we had any response from the dentist? On top of that, what charges could he face?

LAVANDERA: Well, we have made attempts to reach the doctor, there's a -- the only -- the voice recording message at the practice here says that the office is closed. We have tried to reach out to his attorney, so far, no response. Health officials say that no criminal charges have been filed yet. But that they are in contact with the district attorney's office here in Tulsa. Maybe depending on what the results show here for the tests of all those patients, that could change that. We'll have to wait and see on that part of the story.

HARLOW: Ed Lavandera, live for us this morning from Tulsa. Ed, thank you.

BERMAN: 33 minutes after the hour. The father of a former U.S. soldier charged with conspiring with all al Qaeda in Iraq as he fought in Syria says his son is no terrorist. In fact, he says his son, Eric Harroun is a hero, fighting alongside Syria's opposition. The FBI arrested Harroun Tuesday near Dulles airport in Virginia. He is charged with conspiring to use a weapon of mass destruction outside the U.S., specifically a rocket-propelled grenade in Syria.

HARLOW: Also new this morning, prosecutors in the Aurora movie theater mass shooting case say they're, quote, "extremely unlikely to accept a guilty plea from James Holmes in order to take the death penalty off the table." Prosecutors say they're seeking, quote, "specific access to information that think will fully allow them to fully assess Holmes on his alleged actions in order to get a just outcome." They also suggest that the defense isn't acting in good faith. They accused the defense of disclosing information in a public filing.

BERMAN: New this morning, the Obama administration is moving to retire cleaner blends of gasoline in vehicles that emit less pollution. The "Washington Post" reports the EPA is set to announce the new rules today. They'll require reduced amounts of sulfur in gas, and a fleet of cleaner vehicles on the road by 2017. The oil and gas industry claims new rules could translate into a hike of gas prices of up to about 9 cents a gallon. Environmental groups say it's closer to about a penny a gallon.

HARLOW: And disturbing newly released documents show that the shooter in the Newtown, Connecticut massacre, Adam Lanza, showed up at Sandy Hook Elementary School practically armed for war. He had ten 30 round magazines for his assault weapon, two handguns and a shotgun. And was in less than five minutes, he fired off 154 rounds, killing 20 children and six adults.


DOUGLAS FUCHS, POLICE CHIEF, REDDING, CT: Just having those types of magazines, having those types of weapons out there, that are available to the average civilian, not law enforcement, not the military is a problem we don't know in whose hands they're going to be.


HARLOW: And now we also know what investigators found in the Lanza home. They found more than 1600 rounds of ammunition, three samurai swords inside the Lanza home, where Adam Lanza also shot his mother to death.

BERMAN: A zoo keeper in Canada has survived an attack by a Siberian tiger attack. He was cleaning the tiger pen yesterday morning when he was set upon by a female Siberian. The animals are supposed to be in separate enclosures whenever their pen is cleaned. An investigation is underway to determine why the tiger was there in the first place. The zoo keeper was seriously wounded. He is in the hospital right now in stable condition.

HARLOW: The past catching up to $338 million Powerball winner Pedro Quezada. Turns out he owes child support going all the way back to 2009. Lucky for him, though, his winnings will more than cover it. $29,000, that's what he owes in child support. It's expected to be paid by the state before his Lottery winnings are released. He has five children from the ages of 5 to 23. I think they all want to get on his will.

BERMAN: I'm sure.

Now the epic question that so many people are asking. What is going on with Justin Bieber lately? Our daily Bieber updates have been full of questionable activities. We're talking about reckless driving claims, paparazzi fights, and now, the 19-year-old is under investigation by the Los Angeles county sheriff's department for assaulting a neighbor, also excessive use of beeps (ph). Well, now Justin Bieber's mother, Pattie Mallette (ph) is speaking out defending her famous son. Does she think he should be more careful because he's so famous? Here's what she said on HLN's SHOWBIZ TONIGHT.


PATTIE MALLETTE, JUSTIN BIEBER'S MOTHER: It's a tough call. I think that it's tough not having privacy. But it's also a great platform to be able to use it to do so much good.


BERMAN: She went on to say she views all the headlines about him differently because, after all, she's his mother.

HARLOW: And today, Catholics celebrate Good Friday with a new pope. Already, he's done things his way this holy week. We're live in Rome next.

BERMAN: And hear from two strangers who teamed up to take down a robber. Stay with us.


BERMAN: Welcome back to EARLY START. It is the most solemn day on the Christian calendar, when believers around the world mark the death of Jesus on a cross. For Catholics today, it's the first Good Friday with a new pope who does things his own way. This holy week has already had its own firsts. Pope Francis presiding over observances today. Senior international correspondent Jim Bitterman is following all from Rome. And Jim, yesterday Pope Francis really broke with tradition again. He washed the feet of two women. One of them was a Muslim. This has never been done before. What does this tell us about the pope?

JIM BITTERMAN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Never been done before by a pope. He's in fact has washed the feet of women when he was the cardinal archbishop back in Argentina. Fact is, this is the first time we have seen this. I think one more piece of evidence that the pope is going to do things completely differently from his predecessors. He told us journalists about a week ago, when he had an audience with the media, that basically, there's nothing more he would like to see than a poor church in the service of the poor. He is constantly, and the first few days of his reign here, here's constantly repeated the idea that clergy should get out, get out, he keeps talking about leaving the church and getting out into the streets where is the people are. I think we're going to see a quite different papacy from the regal monarchy-style papacy we have seen in the past.

BERMAN: The Vatican wanted to have a new pope in place for this Easter week. Good Friday celebrations start today, then Easter, Sunday morning. What is on the agenda for pope Francis? Do you expect we'll see more surprises as the weekend continues?

BITTERMAN: I think so. This afternoon is a very a traditional ceremony here in Rome. And that's basically the pope will start off at St. Peter's basilica. He'll read the story of Christ's passion, the suffering, death of Christ, and then the resurrection. He'll do it in the basilica. Then, he'll travel across Rome to the coliseum. And this is a traditional spot for the popes to observe the stations of the cross, the 14 stations of the cross, basically, they symbolize Christ's passion. And after that, there are have vigil services tomorrow and Saturday. Then of course Easter Sunday. And his message to the city and to the world. That is always a big high point. Though he's already done one. He did one when he was inaugurated ten days ago. In fact, the pope will be following some tradition. We're expecting there will be breaks with tradition. He's already, several time this is week, broken away from his prepared statements and ad- libbed, as it were. We'll be on guard for anything, John. BERMAN: All right, Jim Bitterman in Rome on this Good Friday, our thanks to you.

HARLOW: Well, Rush Limbaugh telling his listeners that the battle over same-sex marriage is over. Listen.


RUSH LIMBAUGH, RADIO TALKSHOW HOST: This issue is lost. I don't care what the Supreme Court does. This is now inevitable. Once we started talking about gay marriage, traditional marriage, opposite-sex marriage, same-sex marriage, we lost. It was over. It was just a matter of time. Because in -- once -- and this is the point the friend of mine sent me a note about. Once you decide to modify the word marriage then the other side has won.


HARLOW: The issue now goes behind closed doors. Supreme Court justices will spend the next three months drafting their legal opinions all of it out of the public eye, until of course their decision is rendered.

BERMAN: Two strangers turn into good Samaritans when they teamed up to take down a robber. Look at this security video from a drugstore in Mesa, Arizona. The suspect demands cash from the cashier. He took the money but couldn't run. Two customers tackled the guy like a couple of football players. Look at this.


DUSTIN HOLLANDER, FOILED ROBBERY: I threw my stuff down and told him no. He decided to try to get bast me. My wife works as a cashier. If she was getting robbed, I wish somebody would step if for her, so --

JACOB HEWARD, FOILED ROBBERY: It's strange. It's in my neighborhood. I'm glad I could help.


BERMAN: Police got there a few minutes later. Took the suspect to jail. Dustin and Jacob should get a gift card at least. Mesa police plan to honor them for their bravery.

HARLOW: Listen up, a gym class classic now banned? We're going to tell you why one school is getting rid of dodgeball.


BEN STILLER, ACTOR, "DODGEBALL": You're out, four-eyes.

Dodgeball. And we know it.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And then -- there are these.



HARLOW: Good morning, everyone. It's 48 minutes after the hour. Let's get you up to date on our top stories. 7,000 patients in Oklahoma being notified they may have been exposed to HIV and hepatitis by their dentist. That dentist, Dr. Scott Harrison (sic) is being called a menace to public health by state health officials this morning. A complaint against him alleges that he used rusty, unsterilized equipment, and reused needles.

BERMAN: Alaska Congressman Don Young is backpedaling this morning after using a derogatory term to describe migrant workers. The Republican lawmaker was talking about how technology was affecting the economy when he made this remark to an Alaskan radio station.


REP. DON YOUNG, (R) ALASKA: Um, I used to own -- my father had a ranch. We used to hire 50 to 60 wetbacks and pick tomatoes. It takes two people to pick the same tomatoes now. It's all done by machine.


BERMAN: So, you heard him say the term wetbacks. That triggered quite a backlash in the Latino community. Congressman Young put out this statement last night saying, "I used a term that was commonly used on my days growing up on a farm in central California. I know this term is not used the same way now a days and I meant no disrespect."

HARLOW: And chief justice John Roberts proving he's just like everyone else, in one regard. Someone stole his credit card numbers and might have been charging stuff on his card. Roberts was overheard talking about it at a Starbucks. He had to use cash to pay for his coffee because he canceled his credit card.

BERMAN: Someone was eavesdropping on the chief justice at a Starbucks.

HARLOW: Of course. They want every word they can get.

BERMAN: Check out this truck, which is really kind of teetering at Huntsville, Alabama right now. Police tell our affiliate WHNT the pickup was going the wrong way on an overpass last night when it hit two cars, the driver lost control, the truck ended up crashing over the guardrail, dangling right on the edge. Rescue crews got to he driver, who was pinned inside. Two people were seriously hurt. One with life-threatening injuries.

HARLOW: Now for the question a lot of people are asking because it has not felt like spring in a long time. What kind of weather can we expect this holiday weekend? Our Alexandra Steele is live at the CNN weather center with details. Good morning.

ALEXANDRA STEELE, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Hi guys. Good morning to you. You know why also, last March, it was 20 degrees above average for a lot of the country. This March, we're 20 degrees below average. The difference is palpable.

Hi, everyone. Good morning to you. All right, here's a look at the southeast, it's been incredibly cold the last couple of weekends. Last couple of weeks as well. Frost and freeze threats still in place, 30's and 40's, but it's as low as it's going to go. Temperatures will only warm up in the southeast until Sunday. Then, believe it or not, another arctic shot of cold air making its move.

The holiday weekend, Good Friday, Easter. Temperatures, just at average. Atlanta, Dallas, Chicago, New York, Philadelphia, at average, until Sunday. Then we get cold. Easter forecast. Here's the front along it. Showers and storms. I don't think it will be a total washout from Charlotte to Atlanta and the upper Midwest. But, we will see scattered showers and storms. But here's what's going to change. So, on Sunday, we're warm, we're average, until then. Next shot of arctic air comes down southeast, mid-Atlantic, northeast again, Tuesday into Thursday. Then, believe it or not, we begin to warm up once again. On the whole, look at the average. We head toward April. Next month, temperatures above average is the expectation. Second week of April, guys. I think we'll begin the warm-up to get above average.

HARLOW: Right when I get back from vacation.

BERMAN: We'll believe it when we see it. Thank you.


HARLOW: Do you remember playing dodgeball in school? Maybe you liked it maybe you hated it, maybe you're the one that got pelted. One school district in New Hampshire is saying no more to the gym class staple. The Windham school board voting to ban all kinds of dodgeball or what they call human target activities. They argue that this game promotes violence, it promotes bullying. But not all parents agree.


PRISCILLA FLYNN, WINDHAM RESIDENT: It's dodgeball. Dodgeball's been around as long as I can remember. Personally, I think it's a blast. If you don't want to play it, don't play it.

HEATHER DEVRIES, PARENT: Everything these days, they're worried about kids feelings getting hurt, kids getting hurt. How are they ever going to learn?


HARLOW: The school board insists is games like dodgeball open up avenues for bullying activities which are not consistent with the district's anti-bullying campaign.

BERMAN: We called it bombardment when I was growing up. It could get dicey.

HARLOW: Did you get pelted? BERMAN: I did. But I did my share of pelting too. You know, I don't know how they play dodgeball up in Windham. Maybe they have issues up in Windham, New Hampshire right there. I think every district has to make their own decisions. That woman in that sound bite said, we're all worried about kids feelings. Yes. They're kids.


BERMAN: All right. Still ahead, you know what they say. Everything tastes better with bacon. Well, even mouthwash? We're going to tell you about the newest product about to hit the market. You're watching EARLY START.


HARLOW: Welcome back to EARLY START everyone. A look at what is trending on the web this morning. Monday, April fool's day. Scope might be getting a jump on things. This is an ad for a brand-new product. Bacon mouthwash.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Behold, the time has come to declare the crowning achievements in the world of bacon. Level one, bacon. Level two, carbonated bacon. Three, spreadable bacon. Four, lather up. Five, naming your offspring bacon. Six, set the mood. Seven, permanent bacon. Eight, honey, I love you bacon. Nine, oh this little thing? Bacon level ten, a bacon Bacon. What could top level ten? It's bacon level 11. Scope bacon, for breath that sizzles.


HARLOW: For the record, I'm not buying this at all. If this ends up on the "Daily Show" I don't believe it's real, but Proctor and gamble, Scope's parent company, claims this product is real. What do you think, Berman?

BERMAN: I hope it's real. That's all I can say. Who doesn't love the smell of bacon on someone's breath early in the morning.

Was this a fashion faux pas or fashion fantastic. Check out Victoria's Secret model Adrianna Lima this week at a gala event in Miami. Huge buzz over this gown because it appeared to be on backwards. Here's how the dress is supposed to be worn. This is from a runway last spring. Here's how Adrianna decided to wear it. It doesn't matter to me.

HARLOW: I think she looks great.

BERMA: It's a very versatile dress. I think that's a plus in fashion, if you can wear it both ways.

HARLOW: From our fashion correspondent.

To check out our other trends, head to

BERMAN: EARLY START continues right now.

HARLOW: A terrifying discovery. A dentist accused of using dirty instruments, exposing thousands potentially to HIV and hepatitis.

BERMAN: Rockets ready to strike. A new provocative move by North Korea's young dictator.

HARLOW: And turning the tables. A store clerk gets the best of a would-be robber. And it is all caught on camera.

BERMAN: And the need for speed in space. Three men and a rocket just reached the international space station faster than ever before.

HARLOW: And another number one knocked off. Top seed Indiana toppled by Syracuse tonight. The long shots from Florida Gulf coast looking to keep the magic alive in their Cinderella story.

Good morning, everyone. Happy Friday. Welcome to EARLY START. I'm Poppy Harlow. Zoraida Sambolin is off.

BERMAN: Go dunk-city (ph) I'm John Berman. It is Friday, March 29, it is 6:00 a.m. in the east. And our lead this morning is just some shocking news. Some 7,000 patients getting exposed to HIV and hepatitis by their dentist in Oklahoma. Officials there calling Dr. Scott Harrington and his Tulsa practice, quote, "a menace to public health." We're told some of the investigators who inspected his office were physically sickened by what they found.