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Tamerlan Tsarnaev's Body Rejected; Limousine Fire Kills Bride- To-Be; Syrians Vow Retaliation Against Israel

Aired May 6, 2013 - 05:00   ET


CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN ANCHOR: Not in our town. The family of Tamerlan Tsarnaev looks for a burial plot, but one community says, look somewhere else.

ZORAIDA SAMBOLIN, CNN ANCHOR: And tragedy on what should have been a night of celebration. Five women killed on their way to a bachelorette party. The soon-to-be bride among the dead.

ROMANS: Shark attack. A teenage surfer keeps his cool after a shark takes a bite out of his leg.

SAMBOLIN: Good gracious.

ROMANS: Good morning. Welcome to EARLY START. I'm Christine Romans. John Berman has the day off.

SAMBOLIN: And I'm Zoraida Sambolin. It is 5:00 a.m. in the East.

And begin this morning with a new development in the Boston bombings. Tamerlan Tsarnaev's body left without a final resting place, two weeks after he was killed in a shootout with police. The suspected bomber still has not been buried. That is because his relatives want him lay to rest in Cambridge. The town officials say absolutely no way.

Susan Candiotti is live from Boston this morning.

Good morning to you, Susan.

SUSAN CANDIOTTI, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Zoraida. You know, as thousands continue to pay tribute at this bomb victims' memorial, what to do about one of the suspected bombers remains a open question. No one wants to touch his burial. And last night, the city of Cambridge issued a statement saying, we don't want him either. Let the feds get involved.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Send him back to Russia.

CANDIOTTI (voice-over): For days, protesters outside a Worcester funeral home, making it clear suspected bomber Tamerlan Tsarnaev is as hated as much as dead as he would be alive. One sign reads, bury the garbage, but not in America. His remains in limbo at a funeral home, much to the chagrin of its director. PETER STEFAN, FUNDERL DIRECTOR FOR TSARNAEV FAMILY: The thing is we have to bury this guy. Whatever it is, wherever he is, this country, we bury people, I don't care who it is.

CANDIOTTI: So far, not a single cemetery will take Tsarnaev's remains. His uncle from Maryland, who in the days after the bombing called his two nephews losers, spent Sunday at a funeral home to cleanse and shroud the body, as required by Islamic faith.

RUSLAN TSARNI, UNCLE OF TAMERLAN TSARNAEV: I'm left alone to deal with this matter and I also stress that Tamerlan Tsarnaev has no other place to be buried.

CANDIOTTI: President Kennedy's assassin, Lee Harvey Oswald is buried in the Dallas area. Homegrown Oklahoma City terrorist bomber Timothy McVeigh's ashes were scattered after his execution, where remains a mystery. As for Tsarnaev's widow, according to her in-law, she's steering clear of burial plans. Her attorney says she's still cooperating with the FBI.

On Sunday, FBI investigators wearing protective suits spent hours back at Tsarnaev's home where a law enforcement source says bomb residue had earlier been found on a kitchen sink, table and bathtub.

Surviving bombing suspect Dzhokhar told the FBI the bombs were built in that top floor apartment. And a few hours from now, one of the younger brother's three jailed friends, American student Robel Phillipos, will ask a federal judge to set him free on bail pending trial. He's accused of lying to investigators about going to Dzhokhar's dorm room, two other students from Kazakhstan are accused of ditching evidence.


CANDIOTTI: And in court paper, Phillips says that charges have ruined his once promising future. If found guilty, he faces up to eight years in jail -- Zoraida.

SAMBOLIN: Susan, let's go back to Tamerlan Tsarnaev and who's going to claim his body. In fact -- for burial, rather. If, in fact, the federal government does step in, what does that mean? Does that mean he goes to a federal cemetery, or does that mean that the federal government can force someone to take his body?

CANDIOTTI: You know, it's completely unclear what the federal government's role could possibly be. And in fact, the funeral home director, Zoraida, said that he intends on contacting the governor's office today. We talked to his press secretary and got a no comment -- Zoraida.

SAMBOLIN: Do we know what he's contacting the governor's office for?

CANDIOTTI: No. I mean, that's unclear, too. The funeral director simply says he wants him to get involved as well, just as he's suggesting the federal government might be able to help in some way.

The bottom line is, the man needs to be buried and no one can figure out what to do.

SAMBOLIN: All right. Susan Candiotti, reporting live from Boston, thank you very much.

It is four minutes past the hour. New this morning, some shocking images to show you, of a vintage plane going down during an air show in Madrid, with thousands of people watching in absolute horror. The plane crashed into a building, it exploded into a huge fireball. Oh my goodness!

The pilot was killed, several people on the ground was injured as well. The victim was an experience pilot who worked as an assistant to Spain's defense minister. The cause of the crash is under investigation.

ROMANS: No details this morning in a tragic limousine fire near San Francisco. This is brand new video released overnight of that fire. You can see flames shooting out the backs, smoke out the front. The limo was carrying nine women to a bachelorette party Saturday night when it bursts into flames, killing five of the passengers, including the bride to be. Four others managed to escape. You see what we can assume are those women who escaped on the side of the road there.

CNN's Nick Valencia is following the story.

Nick, do we -- this is just so sad. Do we have any idea what caused that fire?

NICK VALENCIA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, good morning, Christine. It is just a very tragic situation. You expect for a fun night out with the girls, a bachelorette party. It turns into a very tragic situation.

I called the California Highway Patrol earlier this month. They said they won't be able to determine an official cause for that fire until the vehicle inspection is done. That's expected to be completed some time later today.

But when I spoke to the CHP yesterday, Christine, they told me they believe the fire started somewhere outside of the passenger area of the vehicle, perhaps even underneath the limousine or in the back in the trunk. Now, over the weekend at the scene, one of the CHP officers that responded to the incident said they were still searching for many answers.


OFFICER AMELIA JACK, CALIFORNIA HIGHWAY PATROL: The driver was able to get out. Some Good Samaritans did stop and assist and try to pull people from the fire, but unfortunately, it's just an unfortunate situation. We have no idea what actually happened yet. Everything, like I said, is still under investigation.


VALENCIA: Now, CNN has repeatedly reached out to the limousine company, LimoStop Inc. We've left messages, we've tried to call. They have not called us back, unfortunately.

But they did release a statement to the media. I'll read part of that. It read, "LimoStop Inc. will do everything possible to investigate and assist authorities in determining the cause of this fire in order to help bring forth answers and provide closure to the victims and their families."

As we mentioned, there were nine women altogether in the limousine. Five of them did die there at the scene and four were able to get out along with the limousine driver -- Christine.

ROMANS: And authorities and the witnesses say, Nick, that it just went so -- the whole thing happened so fast.

Have we heard any word from the survivors?

VALENCIA: They did release the names of the survivors, Christine, and we tried calling them yesterday, getting in touch with them at the hospital. We were unsuccessful.

But earlier yesterday, our affiliate KTVU caught up with one of the mothers of one of the survivors. Her name is Rosita Guardiano. Take a listen to what she had to say.


ROSITA GUARDIANO, MOTHER: We did not sleep, both of us crying and crying. No. Thanks God that she survived.


VALENCIA: Now, earlier report suggests that those that were seated towards the front of the limousine, they were the ones that were able to get out unharmed. The fire just spread so quickly, according to initial reports, that it was those that were in the back, towards the back of he limousine that were just engulf in planes. I spoke to the coroner's office yesterday, Christine. They said those buddies were so severely born and charred that it could take days before they positively identified -- Christine.

ROMANS: Just tragic. Nick Valencia, thank you so much, Nick, for that report.

SAMBOLIN: Eight minutes past the hour. An investigation under way this morning to figure out what happened after a woman was killed in a fall off a party bus. Twenty-six-year-old Jamie Frecks was helping celebrate a friend's upcoming wedding in Kansas City Saturday night when she fell to a bus' emergency door and unto Interstate 35. Police say three vehicles hit her. No one else on the party bus was hurt. Frecks leaves behind a six-week-old baby and a fiancee.

ROMANS: New this morning, a surfer sharing a story after escaping the jaws of a shark. Sixteen-year-old Michael Adler now recovering from surgery, which included 20 stitches to repair tendons in his foot.

Here's what he said happened Saturday morning off the coast of central Florida.


MICHAEL ADLER, BITTEN BY SHARK: I caught one of my last waves (ph) in and I kicked off the wave and I was off my board. And when I went to go back on the board, the shark bit right in the foot and I immediately tried to yank it out.


ROMANS: Whoa! Doctors expect him to make a full recovery.

SAMBOLIN: And coming up, massive air strikes near Damascus this weekend. Syria is pointing the finger at Israel and warning that new violence opens the door to all options. We're live in the region coming up next.


ROMANS: Welcome back.

Syria vowing this morning to exact revenge on Israel after a series of massive explosions rocked Damascus Sunday. The Syrians say the Israelis are targeting a military research facility just outside their capital and they claim Jerusalem, Jerusalem has joined forces with al Qaeda.

More from CNN's Fred Pleitgen in Damascus.


FRED PLEITGEN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: It's absolute here mayhem in Damascus. We were woken up in the middle of the night to massive explosions that went on for more than an hour, and there was so much explosions, so much gunfire, that people that live near that area actually thought there was a major battle going on there until they found out that it was probably a rocket strike by the Israelis.

(voice-over): It was at around 3:00 a.m. local time that gigantic explosions lit up the skies over Damascus. One deafening blast after another, it went on for more than an hour, rocking a large military area in the suburbs of Syria's capital and prompting terrified nearby residents to run for cover.

The Deeb family lives a little over a mile away. Daughter Anna tells me what happened.

ANNA DEEB, WITNESS: After the first two bombs, we kept hearing explosions. There were like nine of them, because everything kept exploding over and over again. We can hear gunshots, we can hear people screaming. So, basically, we didn't know what to do.

PLEITGEN: In the second alleged Israeli airstrike in three days, the Syrian government says the latest target was a military research facility. The opposition says it was an ammunition depot. In an exclusive interview with CNN, Syria's deputy foreign minister said Syria would retaliate at its own time and way.

FAISAL AL MEKDAD, SYRIAN FOREIGN MINISTER: This is an alliance, I mean, between al Qaeda, Wahhabism (ph) and Israel attacking together Syria. It chose common interests. And what Israel and its allies have tried to hide for a long time is more clear.

PLEITGEN (on camera): Is it a declaration of war?

AL MEKDAD: When they attack, this is a declaration of war.

PLEITGEN (voice-over): Israel has neither confirmed nor denied the attack, but as the violent uprising against the regime of Bashar al Assad drags on, Israel has become increasingly worried about Syria's chemical weapons stockpiles and believes the regime is trying to ship conventional weapons to Hezbollah, an extremist group that the United States and other countries have declared a terrorist organization.

AL MEKDAD: Until now, the information is not very clear on what happened. Did they fire a missiles or planes? It's not clear for me because me I'm not aware how it happened. But, of course, it's worrying but Israel will suffer the same.

PLEITGEN: The Syrian government vows that it will retaliate against Israel, but they're not saying at this point how they want to do that and when.


SAMBOLIN: Our thanks to Fred Pleitgen in Damascus. And while the Syrians didn't take long to make some very public accusations and threats, the Israelis won't even confirm that they are behind the bombings.

So, let's get right to Sara Sidner. She is live in Haifa, Israel this morning.

And, Sara, Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu met with his security cabinet Sunday. Can we infer anything from that? Do we believe that more attacks are imminent now?

SARA SIDNER, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, it's general that they do have these meetings. I think what w can infer is actually from the actions of the prime minister because after that cabinet meeting, he ended up going ahead and going forward with a planned trip to China. And if you look at past conflict, usually the prime minister would stay in place if he did indeed think there was going to be a full scale war.

Let me let you hear what he said when he was asked about the situation in Syria. He really doesn't address it, nor have any Israeli officials publicly.


BENJAMIN NETANYAHU, ISRAELI PRIME MINISTER (through translator): My father taught me that the greatest responsibility we have is to insure Israel security and guarantee its future. This legacy should unite all of us, every day, every hour and it does.


SIDNER: So, you heard there talking about security and in speaking to that, the military has made some moves that they did make back in January when Israel was also accused by U.S. sources of hitting inside of Syria. You heard from the Syria deputy prime minister who basically said that we are going to retaliate.

But what we now know was that the military has moved two Iron Dome batteries. Those are anti-missile defense batteries to knock anything that comes out into the sky from the Lebanese border and we're standing here in Haifa, which is close to the Lebanese border and they have put them there because there is some kind of a fear that if there is going to be a reaction, it may not be directly from Syria, but from Hezbollah, an organization both the U.S. and Israel consider a terrorist organization inside Lebanon -- Zoraida.

SAMBOLIN: And, Sara, how is Israel reacting to the threat of war this morning?

SIDNER: I want to let you know what's happening here. The mayor has asked the central government to consider perhaps if they feel that it's necessary, moving some of the elements here that are explosives in the facility that they have here. There are several refineries here in Israel's third largest city and back in 2006, during the Lebanon war, some of those things, such as gasoline, were taken out in tankers to a much safer, secure place, where rockets they did not believe could access.

So, that has been requested, though the government has not actually ended up doing that. They are watching and waiting. But we do know, as I told you, two anti-air defense missile batteries have been put on the border with Lebanon -- Zoraida.

SAMBOLIN: All right. Sara Sidner, live in Haifa for us this morning, thank you very much.

ROMANS: It is 18 minutes after the hour. Let's get you up to date this morning.

There doesn't seem to be a cemetery anywhere near Boston that's willing to take the body of suspected marathon bomber Tamerlan Tsarnaev. His uncle wants him buried in Cambridge but the town is refusing. Several other cemeteries in the area have also rejected the body.

SAMBOLIN: And a very different kind of sermon this week at a church in north Kansas. The teacher leading the congregation, a concealed handgun class. And the free training drew plenty of takers.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There's a lot of crazy stuff going on in the world.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: School shootings and movie theater shootings. You just never know what's going to happen.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I want to be able to protect myself and protect my friends and family.


SAMBOLIN: The class was offer to anyone who met state eligibility requirements.

Tabloid mainstay Lindsay Lohan is back in rehab and now back at the Betty Ford Center. But days before checking in for her latest round, she talked to our Piers Morgan for an interview published in "London Daily Mail." In it, she claims she's never been a huge drinker and that she's only used cocaine, maybe four, maybe times.

As for rehab, Lohan considers herself an expert, saying quote, "I've been court-ordered to do it six times. I could write the book on rehab. Constantly sending me to rehab is pointless. The first few times, I was court-ordered to rehab. I was like a joke, like killing time."

Lohan is supposed to be in rehab for 90 days.

ROMANS: I don't even know what to say about about.

SAMBOLIN: Speechless.

ROMANS: All right. The Biebs attacked by a fan. A hard core believer overcome in Dubai and attacked the pop star during his show. Lucky for Bieber, the security guards quickly tackled the fan before he could disrupt the show too much. His rep had no comment. But Bieber tweeted, "Dubai, nothing stops the show."

SAMBOLIN: Nineteen minutes past the hour.

Coming up, what is one of the richest men in the country think about the growing income gap between workers in the United States? Warren Buffett's thought may surprise you.


ROMANS: Welcome back to EARLY START. Minding your business this morning.

The Dow Industrials in unchartered territory. Futures point to more gains this morning. This number has a ring to it, 15,000. The Dow hit that mark briefly Friday before finishing just below there. It's a psychologically important level. So, let me give you some really impressive numbers that really matter to you for the year. The Dow is up 14 percent. The NASDAQ is up 11 percent. And the S&P 500 is up 13 percent. You will see that in your 401k statement.

One man who knows a little something about making money, Warren Buffett. His company Berkshire Hathaway wrapped up its annual shareholder meeting this weekend. Our Poppy Harlow was there. She caught up with Buffett and asked him about the growing income gap in the U.S.


WARREN BUFFETT, BERKSHIRE HATHAWAY: The rich have come back strong from the 2008 panic, and the middle class hasn't. And that affects demand and that affects the economy. Outside from that, I think that the -- we want equality of results in this country. We want equality of opportunity and equality of results. The people at the bottom end should be doing better.


ROMANS: Here's somebody at the very top who has been saying for sometime that that people in the middle and bottom should be doing better. Buffett is worth $53 billion according to "Forbes". Bill Gate is the only American with a higher net worth. Buffett says the biggest mistake people make when investing is listening to other people. He says do your homework and get your money's worth always. You can go to for more coverage on the shareholder meeting and more insight from the so-called "Oracle of Omaha". You can see more of Poppy's interview there.

SAMBOLIN: That's easy to say when you're Warren Buffett, right? He can trust his gut, for the rest of us, I don't know.

All right. Twenty-five minutes past the hour. Ahead on EARLY START, a really disturbing story here. Soccer game takes a violent turn, a referee gets punched and then died. And now, we know what started it all.