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Investigating the Boston Terror Attack; A Life Full of Promise; Beware Fake Boston Bombing Charities

Aired April 17, 2013 - 04:30   ET


BROOKE BALDWIN, CNN ANCHOR: New photos here from the scene of the Boston marathon bombing this morning show remains of an explosive device and what appears to be a circuit board. A lot of questions including, could this provide a valuable clue for investigators here?

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: Thousands of people turning out for a candlelight vigil in the neighborhood of Dorchester remembering a bright and energetic 8-year-old boy who died on Monday.

BALDWIN: And New York and Boston united in grief. A moment of silence and a special song at Yankees Stadium last night to honor the victims of the Boston marathon bombing.

Welcome back to a special edition of EARLY START. I'm Brooke Baldwin.

BERMAN: And I'm John Berman. Right now it's about 30 minutes past the hour.

New developments to tell you about this morning in the Boston marathon bombings. The investigation does continue. Again as we've been saying, the crime scene is just one block behind us. Chilling new photos show the remains of one of the detonated devices. They show wires, they seem to show a battery and they seem to show bits of what appears to be a circuit board.

The news agency Reuters says a government official who do not want to be identified shared these photos overnight. Again, we're getting a look at them for the first time. Along with the images we see of a mangled pressure cooker. In one photo you can see what appears to be a cluster of BBs, likely fused together by the heat of the blast. The FBI now saying the second bomb was also in some type of metal container.

BALDWIN: Also new this morning Boston area hospitals have released as many -- the 183 people initially injured in Monday's attack. At least 100 of them, now as we understand, are now out of these different hospitals in the Boston area. We are also learning more about the third person who was killed Monday. A Chinese graduate student who's studying at Boston University. We are respecting her family's wishes not releasing her name at this point in time.

But we want to begin here at the bottom of the hour with this investigation because the FBI confirmed overnight that one of the two bombs used here in this Boston marathon terror attack just on the other side of the Boston Public Library here was packed into a pressure cooker. The second was found inside some kind of a metal container, it's still really unclear at this point if it was a pressure cooker as well.

National correspondent Susan Candiotti is live in Boston as well this morning with more on the investigation.

Susan, good morning. What are you learning?

SUSAN CANDIOTTI, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Brooke. Yes, we're talking about pressure cookers. I mean, these are pots that you would cook in. That's what we're talking about here when we're talking about the people who are responsible, one or more than one, for putting together a homemade bomb. And you can't look at these things often enough to see the hard work these investigators are involved in right now in trying to track down who was behind this terrorist attack.

Let's look again at some of those photographs including parts of that metal container twisted bits and pieces of metal. And we're also seeing nails. We're also seeing, as you said, parts of what appears to be a circuit board, they also found what they believe to be a timing device. And as well, there is a nylon bag into which this metal container or containers were placed. They believe they probably used a nylon bag, a backpack or some other type of bag into which these were placed then put on the ground to try to do maximum damage.

These items that were put inside are providing the deadly shrapnel that was -- that what happened when it blew up that injured so many people and took the lives of at least three.

Now when you look at these things, you see how someone was able to put these devices together. And we also have some animation to show you as well. This is sort of indicates when they put gunpowder inside with these pieces of shrapnel, and they were ignited. When the gunpowder ignited. The pressure built up inside this container, according to our experts, and that's what blew the thing apart eventually.

Now the FBI is asking for as much help as they can from the public. They've already received hundreds if not thousands of tips and many, many photos, as well, and they need more because they said someone out there knows who did it.


RICK DESLAURIERS, FBI SPECIAL AGENT IN CHARGE: The person who did this is someone's friend, neighbor, co-worker or relative.


CANDIOTTI: And certainly this isn't the first time that known terrorists have used something like a metal container as part of a bomb. For example, back in 2010, I'm sure we all remember in Times Square in New York, someone put a pressure cooker as well as other items inside an SUV. Convicted terrorist, admitted terrorist Faisal Shahzad, in that case it fizzled out thankfully and no one was killed or injured. But this is the same kind of homemade bomb, once again, as apparently being used in this attack as well -- Brooke and John.

BALDWIN: That's right. There were all kinds of fireworks loaded in that pressure cooker back in 2010. Susan Candiotti, thank you.

BERMAN: Let's bring in Robert McFadden. He is the senior vice president of the strategic security firm called the Soufan Group. He's a former senior NCIS official.

Thank you so much for being with us this morning, Robert. We're looking at these brand new images that we received overnight. The bits and pieces of this exploded pressure cooker, along with what appears to be a circuit board, along with what appears to be pictures of cluster BBs, the shrapnel that's designed to explode outward.

You look at these pictures and what does it indicate to you, if anything, about who might have pulled this off?

ROBERT MCFADDEN, SENIOR VICE PRESIDENT, THE SOUFAN GROUP: Good morning. It's good to be here. Well, the FBI confirmed overnight what had started to trickle out yesterday. Really quite reminiscent of a number of major cases I worked over the course of a year where a device like this was used.

I would say the best adjective to apply would be simple relative to saying it's crude. Simple and deadly effective where individual or individuals involved used an item that can be filled with some kind of explosive, black powder, for example, sealed, and then a triggering device hooked up and then detonated. And there's little doubt that whoever was behind this meant to kill and maim as many as possible.

BALDWIN: Let me ask you this, Robert, because I was reading, you know, there was the al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula English language magazine "Inspire" a couple of years ago. There was an article in this magazine basically that the title was "Make a Bomb in the Kitchen of Your Mom." So there was that instruction manual, if you will, also it was in the "Anarchist's Cookbook." I mean -- can you glean anything from that as far as the who did this?

MCFADDEN: Unfortunately the short answer for that is no, especially coming from outside the actual investigation. What it really points to is just the large amount of information out there on the Internet and other open sources on how to make a device like this. One of the other things about using a pressurized device could be something as simple as a fire extinguisher, is that it's easy to practice and do test runs with something like this and it's also easy to conceal because the -- actually using the device for the pressure provides the primary fragmentation.

And then items placed inside represent the secondary fragmentation for cutting and tearing. So it's been used by the spectrum of different terrorist groups around the world. My experience in the Middle East and places like Pakistan, Yemen, and even among the opposition movement in places like Bahrain, it's a very commonly used device as well as extremists right-wing fringe elements in our country.

BERMAN: It's so interesting that you say it's something you can practice with because one of the things that was brought out in the news conference yesterday with the FBI, they say, have you heard -- they're asking the public. Have you heard an explosion? An unexpected explosion? Something blowing up in a yard near you over the last few days to indicate someone was maybe training and practicing to do this.

Also the FBI putting out a plea to everyone in the public, if they heard anything. They said someone knows who did this.

Wondering what you thought about that request from the FBI?

MCFADDEN: Absolutely expected something like that. You see, in an investigation like this where it's national and international, it really is a collaborative approach the way U.S. law enforcement goes about it. Even if it was a lone individual, it's very, very difficult to do these kinds of things in the preparation phase, buying components to do it without being detected by someone such as family, neighbors, and others in the public. So excellent move. And that's part of the massive amount of leads being followed right now by law enforcement.

BERMAN: All right, Robert McFadden, thanks so much for being with us this morning. Really appreciate.

MCFADDEN: Thank you.

BALDWIN: Three people lost their lives here in Boston Monday right at the finish line. Among them, an 8-year-old little boy by the name of Martin Richard. He was there with his family to watch the marathon. Look at him.

CNN's Gary Tuchman has more on the youngest casualty of this tragedy.


GARY TUCHMAN, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): This is how Martin Richard will be remembered. The beaming 8-year-old boy holding the sign in a picture taken last year when he participated in a walk to promote peace in inner city Boston. The sign declaring "No More Hurting People" and the word "peace."

This is also how he'll be remembered. As a brother and son. Martin was attending the marathon with his family on Monday, the finish line, in Boston's Back Bay. His father Bill and older brother Henry on the lower left were not hurt. But his mother Denise and younger sister Jane were seriously injured. His sister who was a dancer lost her leg and may lose part of the other leg.

The father releasing a written statement describing this real-life nightmare. "My dear son Martin has died from injuries sustained in the attack on Boston. My wife and daughter are both recovering from serious injuries. We thank our family and friends, those with know and those we had never met for their thoughts and prayers. I ask that you continue to pray for my family as we remember Martin. We also ask for your patience and for privacy as we work to simultaneously grieve and recover. Thank you." In front of the Richard Family house in Dorchester section of Boston, friends and neighbors left flowers. We talked to the Richard's next- door neighbor, who saw Bill Richard when he came home Monday night without his son, daughter and wife.

JANE SHERMAN, RICHARD FAMILY NEIGHBOR: He looked like he was in a state of shock, and I said, Bill, he didn't answer me, he just walked very slowly into the house. So I -- his friend came over. And I said, is everything OK? He said, no. Martin was the little boy that was killed. And I was --I was speechless. And I didn't -- I think he probably said something about Denise and the little girl but I was really --

TUCHMAN (on camera): His wife and daughter?

SHERMAN: Right. And I was in such a state of shock I didn't eve hear what he said. I started to cry, and I said if there's anything I can do, please -- just let him know I'm here.

TUCHMAN (voice-over): This is also how Martin will be remembered. A Boston Bruins fan. Attending a hockey game at the Bruins home rink, the TD Garden. And he will also be remembered like this, a faithful boy who regularly attended church with his family and friendly and smart, too, as his school said in a statement.

"Martin was a bright, energetic young boy who had big dreams and high hopes for his future. We are heartbroken by this loss."

Martin's relatives took to Twitter to write about the 8-year-old. One cousin saying, "I love you, Martin. You will be in my mind forever and ever." And Martin will also be remembered this way, from an aunt on Twitter writing, "Martin, you were the sweetest, funniest boy. I'm going to miss you so much. But now you are an angel."

Gary Tuchman, CNN, Boston.


BALDWIN: One life taken way too soon here in Boston on Monday. You know, being -- he was talked about being a Bruins fan, a lot of questions over whether sports can really transcend the tragedy that happened here on Monday. And from hockey to baseball, of all the rivalries, right, you have the Yankees and Red Sox rivalry. And I don't know if you saw the video, we want to play this for you. Yankees Stadium in the Bronx, big night last night, because the home team offering a moment of silence and prayer for their rival city, specifically for young ones like Martin and others killed and wounded in the Boston marathon tragedy.

And then from a moment of silence to a moment of song, the Yankees played "Sweet Caroline," it's a signature tune, bottom of the eighth played every game at Fenway for the Red Sox games. And the fans singing along. Did you ever think Yankee fans would be singing --

BERMAN: Never thought I would see this. BALDWIN: To this Neil Diamond classic, certainly touching the heart of the man who wrote the song, Neil Diamond. The singer took to Twitter and also thanked the Yankees saying this, "You scored a homerun in my heart."

You know, I was at the hotel right down here, right, you know, he felt -- this guy felt the blast on Monday and I was telling him when he just found out that the Yankees would be doing this at the bottom of the third and he just -- he starting tearing up.

BERMAN: I can tell you every Red Sox dude fan that I have, and I have 10 million of them.

BALDWIN: Including yourself?

BERMAN: Including myself, we all got the lump in our throat.


BERMAN: When we saw this. And we saw the big B on the side of Yankees Stadium right there.

BALDWIN: You never would have thought you would ever see that.

BERMAN: A big, big moment from the Yankees. We appreciate it.

Up next on EARLY START, we are learning more this morning in this investigation into the double bombings here in Boston. We are also learning more about the victims as well.

BALDWIN: Also the funeral procession for former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, it is about to get underway in London amid, as you can imagine, tight, tight security there. We will take you to London live.

You are watching a special edition of EARLY START. Be right back.


BALDWIN: Welcome back here to Boston and to a special edition of EARLY START.

You know we're learning much more this morning about the investigation into the Boston marathon bombings, which again just happened on the other side of the Boston Public Library here, including some photos this morning. These newly released pictures of the remains of one of the explosive devices that now shows wires, a battery, bits of what looks like some kind of circuit board. Reuters says a government official who did not want to be identified released these pictures.

BERMAN: Also these images which you're looking at right now, images of the pressure cooker investigators believe held the bomb. Badly mangled when the device detonated. And in another photo, you can see what appears to be a cluster of BBs which were likely melted together by the heat of the explosive. Again, the BBs, the shrapnel that injured so many people. Investigators also say the second bomb was in some kind of metal container. Not sure what kind yet, but they're looking into that as we speak.

We want to check in on the day's other developing stories. Zoraida Sambolin in New York for that.

Good morning, Zoraida.

ZORAIDA SAMBOLIN, CNN ANCHOR: : Good morning to you. And happening right now, funeral services for former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher. They're about to get underway in London. So it begins with a two-mile procession through the streets of London. Baroness Thatcher will then receive a ceremonial funeral with full military honors. This is at St. Paul's Cathedral.

Margaret Thatcher was a very controversial figure during her time in power and protests are planned as well. Some protesters say that they will turn their back on Thatcher's casket when the funeral procession passes by.

And early tests show a letter sent to a senator from Mississippi did contain a lethal biological agent, but more tests will be done today to make sure that it was indeed ricin. The letter was addressed to Senator Roger Wicker but it was intercepted before it reached his office. Authorities say it had a Memphis postmark but they don't know exactly who sent it.

And senators begin voting this afternoon on amendments to a gun control bill. Majority leader Harry Reid says a bipartisan deal on expanded background checks will be among the first votes along with a proposal to ban sales of military-style assault weapons. The debate could last for two weeks or perhaps even more.

And still ahead on EARLY START, did "Family Guy" predict the Boston marathon bombings in an episode last month? Creator Seth McFarland says no and is blasting what he claims is an Internet hoax.

You're watching a special edition of EARLY START.


BALDWIN: And welcome back to a special edition of EARLY START here this morning live from Boston. And we want to talk about "Family Guy" creator Seth McFarland. You heard about this? He's angry about what he calls a "Family Guy" hoax that's now making the rounds on the Internet after the Boston marathon bombings.

So he says that an episode last month aired. It was carefully edited to suggest the show predicted the Boston marathon bombing. McFarland tweeted this. Quote, "The edited 'Family Guy' clip currently circulating is abhorrent. The crime was a crime and a tragedy. And my thoughts are with the victims."

He says absolutely no way.

BERMAN: Yes, just an awful taste.

BALDWIN: Whoa. It's getting windy. BERMAN: Awful taste to parody something like that.

BALDWIN: Awful. Awful.

BERMAN: Not funny at all.

So as we learn more about those who lost their lives here in this awful, awful event, and the suffering of so many people, there are others who are rushing to donate money to the victims of the bombing. But here's the thing. You have to be really careful. There already have been some charity scams. And our Christine Romans has the details.

Good morning, Christine.

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: And, you guys, Americans are very generous at times like this. They reach into their pockets and guess what, scammers want to reach into your pocket with you. Within hours of the attack, a fake Twitter account was set up. It claimed to be associated with the marathon and promised to donate $1 for every re-tweet. Twitter shut it down but guess what, not before it got 50,000 re-tweets.

The social media charity scams are getting easier to run. They're very quick and they appeal to you right away. So a lot of people want to donate $1 via e-mail or text. So be very careful. You know, we know that people are very likely to donate in the immediate days after an event like this. Dozens of new charity websites have referenced the bombing and they've already been registered. So be very careful. Experts say stick to well-known names with established reputations, something that you know.

Also most states require charities to register with a government agency, so check with your state attorney general or the Better Business Bureau. Ask how much goes to the victims, very critical, and be wary of e-mail and text solicitations. Most legitimate charities won't ask you for money by e-mail unless you've already donated to them and you're -- you know them.

There's a lot at stake. Americans donated, you guys, nearly $3 billion after 9/11. You'll recall after the earthquake in Haiti there was a rush of money to little-known, very new or not very transparent legitimate charities even that didn't necessarily get the money there right away. So just be very, very careful. Again, we reach into our pockets after a tragedy like this, and scammers and criminals want to reach right in there with you.


ROMANS: Brooke and John?

BALDWIN: It is infuriating to think that someone would try to cash in and capitalize on such a horrible thing that happened here. Shame on them.

BERMAN: And there are so many good ways to give, to give money and also other things besides money. You know Governor Deval Patrick yesterday was talking about giving blood.


BERMAN: Not today or tomorrow necessarily.


BERMAN: But next week or the week after because that is when they'll run short because of all the people they've been helping this week.

All right, Christine Romans, thanks so much to you.

BALDWIN: Coming up next hour, Bostonians coming together here to heal. Thousands turning out for a candlelight vigil to remember an 8- year-old boy who touched so many lives.

BERMAN: And developing overnight, these new photos of the bombs that caused so much pain and so much suffering. Can these brand new pictures lead the FBI to whoever planted them?

We'll have the latest on the investigation at the top of the hour.