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Boston Marathon Bombing Investigation; Hints that Suspect was Turning Radical; Boston Terror: Search for Answers

Aired April 22, 2013 - 05:00   ET


JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: New developments and live coverage of the Boston marathon bombings. The surviving suspect in a hospital bed may be charged today as investigators try to learn more about how it all unfolded and whether there are more threats out there.

ZORAIDA SAMBOLIN, CNN ANCHOR: And the FBI accused of dropping the ball. Why did agents question one of the suspects two years ago, and then just let him go?

BERMAN: And new this morning, the suspect's aunt speaks out. What she had to say just moments ago, we are live from Russia.

Good morning, and welcome to EARLY START, everyone. I'm John Berman live in Boston again this morning.

SAMBOLIN: And I'm Zoraida Sambolin in New York City. It is Monday, April 22nd. It is 5:00 a.m. in the East.

And I know you've got a lot going on, John.

BERMAN: That's right, Zoraida.

We begin this morning with new developments unfolding right here in the Boston marathon bombing investigation. The surviving suspect, 19- year-old Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, could be criminally charged today. We're waiting to find out what, if anything, he might be communicating to law enforcement officials.

And there are new questions this morning about whether the FBI dropped the ball after being warned by the Russians in 2011 about Tsarnaev's older brother, Tamerlan.

And in six hours, funeral services will be held for marathon bombing victim Krystle Campbell, while the city of Boston reopens and recovers from a week of just unimaginable hell.

CNN is covering every angle of the story, really like no other network can. Nick Paton Walsh is in Dagestan, where he has spoke to the suspect's aunt on moments. Joe Johns is in Washington with the scrutiny now facing the FBI.

But we're going to begin here in Boston with Pamela Brown on the latest on the investigation -- Pamela.

PAMELA BROWN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, John, after a week of terror, chaos and heartache, the city of Boston is still recovering. There are signs that life is starting to return back to normal here. There is a sense of relief after the arrest of the suspect, 19-year-old Dzhokhar Tsarnaev. Now, the big focus is on what charges he will face and when.



BROWN (voice-over): One week after two deadly bombings exploded in downtown Boston, killing three and injuring 183 people, the only surviving suspect remains in serious condition in Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center. As federal prosecutors prepare to bring charges against him, law enforcement sources say Dzhokhar Tsarnaev is unable to talk after a gunshot wound to the neck. Exactly when he suffered this injury is still unknown.

ED DAVIS, BOSTON POLICE COMMISSIONER: This is a complex investigation. And it's hard to say exactly how he received that injury. There was certainly a shootout in Watertown. There were explosives thrown. So that's being looked into right now. It's hard to say exactly how it occurred.

BROWN: We're learning more about the tense moment right before Tsarnaev's arrest. This aerial video shows infrared images of him hiding out in a boat in a backyard of a home in Watertown. According to a law enforcement source close to the investigation, after 25 minutes of negotiations with FBI agents, Tsarnaev was apprehended as he was leaving the boat.

DAVIS: There were three police officers surrounded the boat, other officers came and assisted. And we held that position until the FBI hostage rescue team could come into place.

BROWN: In Boston's Copley Square, crews are cleaning up the crime scene. Police announced a five-phase plan to have the area open soon. Despite signs the city is slowly returning to business as usual, heartache remains for many.

Later this morning, 29-year-old Krystle Campbell, who was killed in the explosions, will be laid to rest in Bedford, Massachusetts.

A memorial was planned for the third victim, Lingzi Lu on Boston University's campus tonight.

Meantime, critically injured transit officer, Richard Donohue, remains hospitalized.

DR. RUSSELL NAUTA, CHAIRMAN, DEPT. OF SURGERY, MT. AUBURN HOSPITAL: This was an injury where the officer's blood volume was almost entirely lost to the point of the heart stopping.

BROWN: Now doctors are saying they are cautiously optimistic about his recovery.

(END VIDEOTAPE) BROWN: And today at 2:50 p.m., the exact time the first bomb went off a week ago, there will be a moment of silence throughout the state of Massachusetts. That will be followed by a ringing of the bells here in Boston and elsewhere -- John.

BERMAN: That's right, Pamela. The city and the state will come together one more time today at 2:50 p.m. Pamela Brown, our thanks to you.


SAMBOLIN: And as developments unfolding, investigators will examine the activities of Tamerlan Tsarnaev, including a trip that he took last year to Russia. He was on the FBI's radar for a short time because of concerns about possible Islamic extremism. So did the agency drop the ball and that they missed warning signs about him?

Joe Johns is in Washington with that part of the story.

Good morning to you, Joe.


Investigators still have a lot to learn about this case, but there's already enough information for policymakers to start asking questions. The question being asked in Washington is whether the FBI dropped the ball at the very start.


JOHNS (voice-over): In the search for how suspected marathon bomber Tamerlan Tsarnaev turned radical, a big part of the investigation is focused on what role a six-month trip to Russia play and any contact he may have had with extremists in Chechnya, where his family originally hails from.

REP. MICHAEL MCCAUL (R-TX), HOMELAND SECURITY CMTE. CHAIRMAN: I think it's probable when he's in the region, that's a very dangerous region, that are known for tactics, he could have possibly been trained at that point.

JOHNS: When he got back from Russia, Tsarnaev started posting radical videos on a new YouTube page with an address that bore the names of prominent militant leaders among Islamist groups.

And CNN has learned, at one point, the page included this video since deleted from YouTube, of a jihadist killed this year by Russian foreign forces in a same town where Tsarnaev went to visit his father in 2012. The group denies any connection to him.

DON LEMON, CNN ANCHOR: What does that say to you if anything?

DAVIS: Well, it's certainly a major point in the investigation.

JOHNS: In hindsight, many are asking whether the FBI missed a rising radical, having investigated Tsarnaev in 2011, after the Russians raised concerns about possible ties to extremists.

SEN. CHARLES SCHUMER (D), NEW YORK: This man was pointed out by a foreign government to be dangerous. He was interviewed by the FBI once. What did they find out? What did they miss?

SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R), SOUTH CAROLINA: I want to know how the FBI or the system dropped the ball when he was identified as a potential terrorist.

JOHNS: The FBI says it interviewed him, his family and looked for concerning phone and Internet activities and found no threat. After asking Russia for more information, Moscow did not respond. The FBI closed the case and moved on.

TOM FUENTES, CNN TERRORISM ANALYST: Thousands of these requests come in worldwide. You don't have the resources to follow every person from then on for the rest of their life because they might be a bad guy.


JOHNS: But what's still not clear is why Tsarnaev would target his adopted city. One possibility, "The New York Times" reporting that his citizenship was delayed perhaps because of the FBI investigation -- Zoraida.

SAMBOLIN: A lot of questions this morning. Joe Johns, thank you.

John, back to you.

BERMAN: All right. So, the crime scene, Zoraida, stretches from behind me here in Boston, all the way to Russia's northern Caucasus.

Our own Nick Paton Walsh just spoke to the suspects' aunt and he is live for us in Dagestan.

Nick, what have you learned this morning?

NICK PATON WALSH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Interesting conversation with the aunt, particularly about the six months with Tamerlan Tsarnaev, who said to have spent here in Dagestan in fact last year. She said he arrived in her memory around about March before his father turned up and said he was surprised by how in America, he had become a pretty devout Muslim, a man actually who wouldn't look a woman he wasn't related to in the eye.

She also talked about how his family had fled from Chechnya before the second Chechen war. They've gone back there briefly to try to make a life, but ran away just before the war started, coming here to Dagestan. But, also a disbelief from her that her relatives could have been involved, John.


WALSH (voice-over): Is there a connection between this gun fight involving militants and police in Dagestan and one of the Boston bombers?

The YouTube page of the deceased brother, Tamerlan Tsarnaev, suggests there might be. He put up a link to a video entitled Abu Dudzhan Amir Rabbanikaly. The video was removed but CNN has now found it and it shows this man.

Abu Dudzhan is the name used by an Islamist militant Gajimurat Gulgatov (ph). Russian special forces hit Gulgatov's (ph) hideout last December. An armored car brought in to kill as much as six militants inside including Gulgatov (ph). The grisly aftermath showing their heavy weapons, but also the heavy hand used to kill them.

Four months later, the marks remain of the tit-for-tat violence fueling militancy across this region.

Neighbors told us the young men who once lived here seemed peaceful, ordinary. But in the dust lies a question, why did Tsarnaev's YouTube page linked to the rants of the militant who died here? In a town where Tsarnaev's father lived and the Tamerlan visited just last year?

(on camera): Where inside you can see how intense the violence must have been against this apartment. And here could be the clearest link yet between one of the alleged Boston bombers and the violence that's been gripping southern Russia.

(voice-over): A U.S. intelligence source told CNN Tsarnaev brothers social media accounts are being examined for possible links to extremism in the caucuses in case they reveal the darkest secret of Boston. Why did the bombers do it?


WALSH: Now, what we have to be clear here is there's no evidence that Tamerlan Tsarnaev and Abu Dudzhan actually met. But that link from his YouTube channel does provide an interesting question, why was he interested in extremist militants who were in the same town perhaps he was when he came back to visit his father last year, John?

BERMAN: All right. Nick Paton Walsh for us in Dagestan, thank you so much for putting these pieces together from the other side of the world. Our appreciation.

Coming up in our next hour, perspective from terrorism analyst Peter Brookes -- did the FBI miss some major signs here? We will have his take at 5:30 a.m. Eastern Time.

Plus, suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev was spotted all over his college campus in the days following the Boston marathon bombings. CNN's Chris Lawrence spoke to some of the stunned classmates at UMass Dartmouth, and we will hear what they had to say -- Zoraida.

SAMBOLIN: Residents of West, Texas, evacuated after that deadly fertilizer explosion begin picking up the pieces. We'll have a live report from the scene coming up.

You are watching EARLY START.


BERMAN: About 13 minutes after the hour right now. I'm John Berman live in Boston. Let's get you up to date.

Funeral services will be held later this morning for Krystle Campbell, one of the three people killed in last week's Boston marathon bombings. The surviving suspect, 19-year-old Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, is hospitalized at this hour in serious but stable condition with a gunshot wound to the neck. He could be criminally charged as early as today. And we are waiting to find out what, if anything, he may be communicating to law enforcement officials -- Zoraida.

SAMBOLIN: Everybody is working for it today. Thank you, John.

A late developing story overnight, five people shot to death at an apartment complex. This is Federal Way, Washington, just south of Seattle. Police report that officers responded to a shooting, they discovered four bodies, three men and a woman. Police say a fifth person was shot to death by officers when he reached for a gun as they approached him.

And today in West, Texas, investigator s are heading into the blast crater. They are hoping it has clues about what started a fire and set off a massive explosion last week at that fertilizer plant. At least 14 people, mostly first responders were killed. Two hundred people were injured, and about 50 homes nearby were destroyed.

Also questions this morning about what kinds of chemicals were stored at that 10-acre site.

CNN's Martin Savidge joins us now from West, Texas, with the very latest.

Good morning to you, Martin.


Yes, we're standing in front of what is the primary checkpoint to get into the explosion zone. And right now, most of those who live there cannot get back home.

Last week, this community was focused on search and rescue. This week, they will be focused on funerals.


SAVIDGE (voice-over): At checkpoints that divide the town, residents lined up to go home over the within. But only a few of the most undamaged areas were allowed in, facing strict curfews and little or no water or electricity. New video shot by CNN in the explosion zone continues to demonstrate the power of last Wednesday's blast.

Like this apartment building where two people died. The outside walls have vanished. Trees blown over, town out by their roots, and boulders of reinforced concrete lie everywhere, left over from the deadly hail that came from the plant.

CALLER: My ambulance station just completely exploded.

SAVIDGE: 911 calls paint their own pictures of horror.

CALLER: All the windows on the north side of the house are blown in. The walls, part of it is blown off.

SAVIDGE: Investigators say they have found where the blast originated at the fertilizer plant.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We do have a large crater. You guys have seen photos of some of that, I'm sure. But we do have a crater there.

SAVIDGE: But they still don't know what caused the fire that first brought emergency crews to the scene and ignited the cataclysm that wiped out a third of this small town's fire and EMS force instantly.

Meanwhile, volunteers struggle to keep up with the donated aid pouring in.

Cybil Monahan (ph) is grateful. At 83, she is starting over. The blast threw her against a wall and destroyed her home.

CYBIL MONAHAN (ph), RESIDENT: This is a typical West or should I say Texas, because if it happened somewhere else, we would have been there to help them also.

SAVIDGE: A mile from the plant, St. Mary's was untouched by the blast, but not its congregation. Most of the first responders who were killed used to worship here. Some were married here. And one is the son of the church secretary.

At Sunday mass, townspeople leaned on their faith and each other, as shock gave way to grief.


SAVIDGE: Zoraida, there is an urgency to try to determine what exactly exploded and why at this plant. And here's the reason, this plant is not unusual. There are about 6,000 of them spread all across the country in typically rural, small towns. The concern is was this just a one-time accident, or is there something wrong in the practice of how we handle fertilizers that could make all of those plants a threat to the community in which they're located -- Zoraida.

SAMBOLIN: It's great. At least that's something positive I guess you could say that came out of this, right? That they're going to be able to see some safety concerns potentially in other communities. I know at height of all of this, we were on the air, and all the utilities have been shut down in the area.

Are those back up and running again for folks there?

SAVIDGE: They're back up somewhat. In fact, anybody who does get to go back home faces some very strict curfews. You can only be about from 7:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m., then, you've got to be inside your homes. And if you're in your home, there's a good chance you have very little water and very electricity. And it's likely to be that way for some time.

It's a rough life even if you can get back.

SAMBOLIN: No kidding. Those folks suffered so much.

Martin Savidge, live for us, thank you.

And still ahead, as the manhunt for marathon bombing suspect number two ramped up, the city of Boston shut down. What's the economic cost when a city is literally closed for business? Christine Romans will have that, coming up next.


SAMBOLIN: Welcome back to EARLY START. And good morning to you.

We are minding your business this morning. The stock market is coming off its worst week of the year.

Christine Romans is here.

Will we see a rebound today?

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: Futures are higher this morning. So, I think you will. When we say the worst week of the year, you know --

SAMBOLIN: It's all relative, right? Let's put it in perspective.

ROMANS: It's been a great deal and the Dow is still up 11 percent. So, if you're checking your 401(k) this morning, Zoraida, you are still probably up on the year.

But we are watching the economic impact on Boston, the bombings of Boston. It made investors a little bit nervous last week. At this point, any reason to sell stocks is enticing for people who want to take money off the table.

We're also going to get a bunch of corporate earnings this week. Also, Apple on Tuesday, a lot of you have been asking me about Apple and what's going to happen with Apple shares, Tuesday, we're going to get Apple results. So, a lot to digest this week.

Three hundred thirty-three million dollars, that's one estimate of how much it dos shut down Boston and some surrounding suburbs on Friday, $333 million.

Now, the losses will likely be short-term for companies because Boston is a big company that's getting back to work this Monday morning. The Boston metropolitan area produces $325 billion worth of goods and services every year. It's a little less than $1 billion a day. That makes it the ninth largest GDP in the country. And, look, Friday, everything simply stopped. Businesses closed. Public transit known in Boston as the T shut down, 16 of the area's 35 colleges canceled classes. Harvard, MIT, Boston University, Northeastern. Most of the taxis as you know, Zoraida, were off the roads. And shopping centers were shut.

But while many people worked from home or had the day off, some workers were very busy. Thousands of law enforcement officials, hospital workers, hotel workers. There was overtime. So, where you saw some companies shut down, other area there's was economic activity.

Dunkin' Donuts locations, by the way, some of them stayed open at the request of first responders who need to feed and fuel all of those people out in the field.

Now, insurance claims that businesses can file for terrorism related losses, some of it will be covered if you have that type of insurance policy. And an analyst at Risk Management Solution says property damage claims less than a million dollars. It's going to be difficult for a lot of small businesses to get back the revenue and meet their payroll.

Imagine if you've got a company in Boylston Street, or Dartmouth, one of those streets around, that's been closed for a week essentially as they were doing this investigation, that's lost revenue even as you are paying people. So, there are some companies that are sort of combing through their insurance policies to see what we can do.

As we've seen throughout this tragedy, the community, though, coming together. Boston business owners started the Pats Day Fund to help victims. He's calling for business around the country to donate a percentage of their profits today right to the Red Cross. He's donating 10 percent of what his store makes.

You're going to start to see a lot of that kind of activity, I think, as people try to get together.

SAMBOLIN: We've already started seeing it, right? MLB raised a lot of money as well.


SAMBOLIN: I think $600,000 as of this morning. So, happy to hear that.

ROMANS: Yes, definitely. So, everything trying to get back to normal today as the new normal, I guess, for Boston.

SAMBOLIN: Yes, no kidding. Thank you, Christine.

ROMANS: You're welcome, Zoraida.

SAMBOLIN: All right. Twenty-five minutes past the hour.

Ahead on EARLY START, making sense of the senseless bombings at the Boston marathon. How the city plans to mourn its victims a week after the terror attack.


BERMAN: So why did the Boston marathon bombers attack? Right now the answer lies in a hospital room with the surviving suspect. A wanted man hiding in plain sight with every cop in America on the lookout for the bombers, one of them was just hanging out on a college campus.

And Boston strong. All over the world today, all over the world over the last few days, marathon runners, sports fans, unite to honor those lost and salute the resilience of this wonderful city.

Welcome back to EARLY START, everyone. I'm John Berman live in Boston this morning. It's Monday, about half past the hour right now.