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Boston Marathon Bombing Investigation; Interview with Peter Brookes on Boston Bombing Terror Ties; Flood Watches, Warnings Across Midwest; Back To School

Aired April 22, 2013 - 06:30   ET



JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: 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, athletes and 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 in Boston, that wonderful city. It is Monday, April 22nd, about half past the hour right now.

And the big question this morning, is he cooperating? We're waiting to find out this morning what, if anything, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev might be communicating to law enforcement officials just one week after the Boston marathon bombing. Nineteen-year-old terror suspect, he is in serious but stable condition at the hospital with a gunshot wound to the neck. He could be criminally charged as early as today.

All this while the city of Boston prepares to bury one of his alleged victims, Krystle Campbell.

Pamela Brown in Boston with us with the latest on the investigation and the recovery here.

Good morning, Pamela.

PAMELA BROWN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good morning to you, John.

The suspect, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, still in the intensive care unit, handcuffed to his bed here at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center. We are told that he is still intubated and sedated with serious injuries.

Now, sources tell my colleague Susan Candiotti that he has a gunshot wound to the neck and can't speak. Even so, federal prosecutors are hoping to file charges, possibly as early as today. When he does face charges they will include, at least federal terrorism charges, and possible state murder charges. In neighboring Cambridge, the transit officer Richard Donohue injured Thursday night during a shoot-out with the suspect remains in critical condition. At a press conference yesterday, doctors said he barely made it, but now they are cautiously optimistic about his recovery.


DR. RUSSELL NAUTA, CHAIRMAN, DEPT. OF SURGERY: This was a truly exsanguinating injury, meaning that the officer's blood volume was almost entirely lost, to the point of the heart stopping. The heart was resuscitated over the next 45 minutes or so, by a very aggressive effort by first responders, and by our people in the emergency department, to the point of restoration of a rhythm and pulse.


BROWN: This morning, at 11:00 a.m., the 29-year-old victim, Krystle Campbell, who was killed in the blast last Monday, will be laid to rest. There will be a memorial service tonight on Boston University's campus for Lingzi Lu, the third victim.

Meantime, today at 2:50 p.m., the exact time the first blasts went off a week ago, there will be a moment of silence throughout the state of Massachusetts -- John.

BERMAN: Pamela, we know that Dzhokhar Tsarnaev has been sedated, intubated. How would it be possible for investigators to communicate with him?

BROWN: It is certainly possible with what doctors call a sedation holiday. I spoke with our medical correspondent Elizabeth Cohen earlier this morning. And she tells us that if doctors or authorities really wanted to talk with him, they can decrease his sedation so that they would be able to communicate with them and that he could perhaps communicate with them in writing. Because you have to remember, there is a tube down his throat. He's still on a breathing machine.

But with the sedation holiday, apparently patients are still pretty out of it but they are able to understand what's being said to them. This could last anywhere from a few minutes to a few hours -- John.

BERMAN: All right. Pamela Brown with us here in Boston this morning.

I want to bring in former CIA analyst Peter Brookes. He's a former analyst for the CIA, as I said, also with the Defense Department.

Thank you so much for being with us this morning. I really appreciate it.

And, Peter, here's the question, we know that the suspect is sedated. We know that he's intubated with injuries to the throat. If there is communication going on, we can presume it's probably by writing. You probably can't get all the answers you want, so what are the key questions to ask right now?

PETER BROOKES, FORMER CIA ANALYST: Of course, the other question is, I'm not a medical professional, but, you know, to what level of competency can he answer those questions? But as we said, the most important thing right now, John, is to know if there's any other plots under way. If there's any other bombs out there. You know, issues of public -- of public safety.

Eventually down the road they're going to want to get into the history of this, because obviously the other terrorist, his older brother, is gone. They're going to want to know how this all came about. But right now, it's public safety, any other plots under way, any other bombs out there they need to know about, are you working with anybody else, are your accomplices -- things along this line.

So that's in the limited time they have with him, and his ability to answer those questions. Those are the most important questions they're going to want to know.

BERMAN: As an interrogator, as you're working a suspect like this, how do you convince him that he has incentive to cooperate?

BROOKES: Well, I mean, there's legal things -- side to that. Once again, I'm not a lawyer here. You know, you may try to appeal to his sense of regret. If he's understanding of what has actually happened, depending on his medical state, he may be willing to speak with you because he's regretful about what happened, remorseful, may want to get this off his chest.

So there's a lot of ways to appeal to his emotions, his logic chain, and to get him to talk about the things that you really want to know in terms of the act and potential future acts. There's been some reporting out there that they perhaps were thinking about doing this in other places.

That's not clear right now. But, you know, are there other terrorists, other accomplices out there? So, you're going to want to appeal to him, get a sense of him, the best way to try to get him to start talking or actually, in this case, writing about those important issues that you want to know about.

BERMAN: All right. Peter, last question here. We're just getting information from Dagestan, our Nick Paton Walsh reports that an aunt to the suspect says that Tamerlan Tsarnaev actually became more religious, more interested in Islam, while in the United States. Not during his trip to Russia last year.

How unusual would it be to find these stronger religious roots here in America?

BROOKES: You know, it's a good question, John. And I'm really -- I think this is what's going to be the key question. How was this individual radicalized? Did he meet somebody here in the United States? Was there -- there have been some reports of other people, including a convert. Was he radicalized over the Internet?

You know, I'm really interested in this chain of events. The Russians contacted us in 2011. It appears from what we know, about concerns about him having ties back to Russia and Islamist militants and extremists there. Then, in 2012, he traveled to Russia, and then in 2013, we have this terrible tragedy in Boston.

So what happened in there? You know, we really want to know.

So my sense is some things were going on before 2011 that came to the attention of the Russians. Was that via the Internet? Were there phone calls?

You know, the Russians have that part of the world, Chechnya and Dagestan covered pretty tightly for intelligence purposes. So something happened in 2011 or before 2011, and then he traveled there in 2012.

Did he have contacts there? Were there people here that radicalized him? Was it the digital jihad of the Internet? A lot of questions out there.

BERMAN: All right, Peter Brookes, former CIA analyst, our appreciation. Thanks for coming in this morning.

BROOKES: Thanks for having me.

BERMAN: We'll talk to you again soon.


ZORAIDA SAMBOLIN, CNN ANCHOR: It is 38 minutes past the hour.

Floodwaters, cresting rivers and sandbags are the big news this morning in Middle America. Millions of people are feeling the effects of last week's really heavy rain. A number of river towns under flood watches or warnings this morning with more rain sadly in the forecast. I feel terrible saying that.

CNN's Jim Spellman is in one of those towns. He's in Peoria, Illinois. Jim, people there are looking at water levels, I understand, that haven't been this high in more than 60 years.

JIM SPELLMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Since the 1940s since the Illinois River here in Peoria came up this high. But it's not just Peoria. Rivers across the Midwest are flooding.


SPELLMAN (voice-over): From North Dakota to Indiana to Mississippi, flood watches and warnings throughout the middle of the country, as rainwater from torrential spring storms barrels down rivers and streams.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: So far, it's held.

SPELLMAN: In Peoria Heights, Katie Eaton (ph) hopes these sandbags and this pump will protect her home from the rising Illinois River.

(on camera): What's it like to know your home's at risk?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's scary. I've had family lose house to floods, so I mean I know what to expect. But it's -- it's scary.

SPELLMAN (voice-over): At the end of the block, neighbors Gail and Jerry Schuzetti (ph) knew their home would be the first to flood. They spent the last few days removing all their possessions knowing they would likely never move back into their home of 13 years. You were prepared, but what is it like to actually watch your home go under water?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's devastating. It's hard -- you know, you can't put it into words. It's devastating.

SPELLMAN: A few miles downriver in Peoria, the water is expected to hit levels not seen since the 1940s.

MAYOR JIM ARDIS, PEORIA, ILLINOIS: We've had a lot of close calls to that. But this is the first time since in 60 years that it's going to surpass that mark.

SPELLMAN: The pumps are running and the sandbag levees are built. Now, it's a matter of waiting to see exactly how high the floodwaters will rise.

(voice-over): You're really hoping to dodge a bullet here?

LARRY NAILON, BUSINESS OWNER: I think we will. With the levees that they've built, that hopefully keeps it back. As long as it doesn't get any higher than what they've said, predicted it will be, I think we'll be good.


SPELLMAN: So far these sandbags are holding. But the river's got about another foot and a half to come up here in Peoria. It's going to be a similar story all down all these rivers throughout the Midwest -- Spellman.

SAMBOLIN: Unfortunately, as we reported earlier, there is some rain in the forecast as well for the Midwest. So, really concerned about them.

Thank you for that. We really appreciate it. Jim Spellman live.

And up next on EARLY START, Boston bombing suspect, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, hiding in plain sight on a college campus in the days before his capture. CNN's Chris Lawrence has been talking to his stunned classmates at UMass-Dartmouth. We'll hear what the suspect told his friends about the bombings.


BERMAN: Welcome back, everyone. I'm John Berman live in Boston.

We are learning more this morning about what Boston bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev was doing in the days between the attack, and his capture. It turns out he was hiding in plain sight on the campus of UMass-Dartmouth. CNN's Chris Lawrence has been talking to really stunned classmates. He's live in Dartmouth, Massachusetts, about 60 miles south of us.

And, Chris, what are you hearing this morning?

CHRIS LAWRENCE, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: Well, John, students are telling us Dzhokhar not only came back here to campus, he talked about the bombing. Now, his friends tell us he didn't admit to being a part of it, but when they were talking about the attack, Dzhokhar joined right in.


LAWRENCE (voice-over): A little more than 24 hours after video cameras captured him at the Boston marathon, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev jumped back into campus life, seemingly unfazed, classmates say, by the terror attack he's accused of committing.

ZACH BETTENCOURT, UMASS DARTMOUTH STUDENT: I saw him Tuesday, the day after at the gym.

LAWRENCE: And Zach Bettencourt says Dzhokhar was acting like he didn't have a care in the world.

BETTENCOURT: He (INAUDIBLE). He didn't seem, like, I mean, like, nervous or anything.

LAWRENCE: Dzhokhar worked out for a while. It didn't shy away when Zach brought up the bombing.

BETTENCOURT: I was basically like, yes, these things happen in other countries, you know, like maybe Iraq and Afghanistan. He was like, yes, tragedies happen like this all the time. It's sad.

LAWRENCE: Just days before helicopters and SWAT teams descended on UMass Dartmouth, Dzhokhar was seen all over campus.

(on-camera) Students have to swipe their I.D. to get entrance to the building, and records show Tsarnaev did just that right here on Wednesday.

(voice-over) Friends saw Dzhokhar walking around his dorm. They say he went to this Italian restaurant on Wednesday hanging out with other intramural soccer players.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think it was a pasta party for soccer team.

LAWRENCE: The campus buzz over the bombings didn't seem to bother him.

BETTENCOURT: He was like, yes, tragedies happen, man. Like, these things happen around the world like it's crazy.

LAWRENCE: To some students, scary.

BRITTANY, LETENORE, UMASS DARTMOUTH STUDENT: I ate where he ate. I slept like a few feet away from him. I've had class where he's had class, like, with a terrorist.


LAWRENCE (on-camera): And she knew him. Brittany was telling us and says she hung out with him a few times at an off campus house called Russia House, the place where some of the international students would get together and hang out.

And I got to tell you, the students are saying despite what's out there and being reported about the older brother feeling isolated and not having any American friends, all the students here are telling us, it was the opposite with Dzhokhar. That he was a fully assimilated, average American student -- John.

BERMAN: He really seemed to be part of the campus life there. Chris Lawrence in Dartmouth, Massachusetts. And again the question, what brought the suspect from Dartmouth back to the Boston area and ultimately that shoot-out with police. All right. Chris, our thanks to you.

This is what's happening today in Boston in the aftermath of the Boston marathon bombings. The surviving suspect, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, could be charged as early as today. The city of Boston is working to reopen parts of Boylston Street, but right now, it is still an FBI crime scene.

And bells will toll across Boston today as the city remembers the bombing victims. That will happen at 2:50 p.m. And later this morning, the funeral for bombing victim, Krystle Campbell (ph), that's at 11 o'clock eastern time -- Zoraida.


And still ahead, actress, Reese Witherspoon, arrested and she is now apologizing. The bad behavior that has her saying she is very sorry. That's coming up next.


SAMBOLIN: Welcome back to EARLY START. Fifty-one minutes past the hour. Reese Witherspoon acting up, arrested, and apologizing this morning. There's her mug shot on the left. Her husband is on the right. A state trooper in Atlanta pulled over her husband Friday for not staying in his lane. Apparently, he was zigzagging in and out. Witherspoon got out of the car after she had been warned to stay put, so the trooper arrested her as well.

This, after Witherspoon repeatedly asked the trooper, do you know who I am? She is now charged with disorderly conduct. Her husband is charged with DUI. Witherspoon put out a statement saying that she had had too much to drink and was really sorry and embarrassed by her behavior.

And Boston's sports teams are back in full swing and it's giving the city a chance to unite and find some sense of normalcy there. Jared Greenberg is here with more in today's "Bleacher Report." It's been really nice to see the show of solidarity across the country, actually, across the world, Jared.

JARED GREENBERG, BLEACHER REPORT: It really is. And sports is a great forum for people to begin the healing process. And Zoraida, giving the shirt off your back, it's just a cliche anymore, in Boston, literally what athletes are doing in an attempt to help the city heal. In sports, well, you don't get more of a sports centered city than Boston. It's usually the Bruins who are typically referred to as heroes.

However nothing, as you know, has been typical over the past week. And now, the guys was applied the highlights (ph) on the ice are giving the true champions of Boston a thrill of a lifetime. First responders and marathon runners were among those to receive game-warn jerseys, the least the Bruins say they can do.


CLAUDE JULIEN, BRUINS HEAD COACH: So much has happened in this past week that all of a sudden, you know, we turn the corner and say we've forgotten. We haven't. And we never will. But at the same time, you know, there's still some good electricity in the air, and you know, people out there are showing solidarity, which is great.

And we're just trying to entertain them, and like I said, from day one, to give them something to cheer about and something to smile about.


GREENBERG: A fearless first responder last Monday, Sunday (ph) Rachel McGuire (ph) got a much deserved standing ovation from Red Sox fans. McGuire stood over a man who got knocked to the ground by the explosion as he neared the finish line. The owners of the baseball team are not stopping with just having people like McGuire recognized.

The Red Sox along with major league baseball and its players association are donating nearly $700,000 to the one fund. That's all money going to victims in need.

He's the most colorful player in the NBA. Meet Chris Anderson, A.K.A. "Bird Man," covered in ink, "Bird Man" played a key role in the defending league champs winning game one of their opening round best of seven playoff series against Milwaukee. Lebron James scored 27 points for the Heat in their win.

On, when it's going bad things like this happen, but at least, the rest of us get to laugh at the Houston Astros. Houston right fielder, Rick Ankiel, tracking a ball near the wall. And look at what the fan does. The guy is an Astros fan. And you better hope that Ankiel likes some extra butter on his popcorn.

Not only does the fan cost his team a chance to record an out, he dumps the tub of popcorn. That costs a lot of money these days. Now, this comes in a number three on's lineup. Check that out and so much more. And we kid with Astros fans because we know how difficult it's been. Last year, they were the worst team in baseball. This year, they're tied for the second fewest wins in major league baseball.

SAMBOLIN: I am outraged. Are you sure that that bucket of popcorn didn't just fall accidentally out of his hands?

GREENBERG: He's an Astros fan. Why would he want to do that?

SAMBOLIN: All right. Jared Greenberg, thank you.


SAMBOLIN: Let's get out to John in Boston for a look at what's coming up on "Starting Point."

BERMAN: All right. Thanks so much, Zoraida. Obviously, we'll have in-depth coverage in the investigation into the Boston marathon bombings. We will exploring the questions that so many people are asking right now. How one of the suspects seemed to be radicalized and what the FBI knew about that? We're going to speak with Boston police commissioner, Ed Davis. He has been at the center of this investigation.

We'll also speak to Massachusetts attorney general, Martha Coakley. There are key state and federal issues here and we will speak to Congressman Michael Capuano from the great state of Massachusetts.

Then, people returning to their homes in West, Texas, after that deadly fertilizer plant explosion. We will speak with one person who was evacuated when that fireball simply blew.

Plus, a six-year-old survives a horrifying alligator attack. Hear how Joey Welch was saved after an eight-foot gator chomped down on his arm. He and his father both join us.


SAMBOLIN: That's it for EARLY START. Thanks for being with us. I'm Zoraida Sambolin. CNN's live coverage of the aftermath of the Boston marathon bombings continues on "Starting Point" with John Berman live in Boston.

BERMAN: Good morning, everyone. I'm John Berman in Boston this morning. Our "Starting Point," searching for justice. Charges against the surviving suspect in the Boston marathon bombings may come as early as today. A throat wound may keep him from talking, but that's not stopping investigators from trying to get some answers.