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STARTING POINT WITH SOLEDAD O'BRIEN

Severe Storms Kill at Least Six People; Dzhokhar Tsarnaev Left Message in Boat; Dzhokhar Tsarnaev Left Message in Boat; Angelina's Decision Sparks Debate

Aired May 16, 2013 - 08:30   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


ANNOUNCER: This is CNN Breaking news.

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: Welcome back to STARTING POINT, everyone. I'm John Berman.

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN ANCHOR: And I'm Christine Romans.

We're tracking breaking news this morning. A deadly tornado outbreak in -- outbreak in north Texas. Wow, six people killed. This is a live look at the devastation in the town of Granbury. We now know at least 10 tornadoes touched down overnight. Rescue crews still searching for 14 more people.

Overnight, terrifying funnel clouds bore down on Granbury. That's where those six people were killed in a Habitat for Humanity neighborhood. Most of the 120 homes there destroyed.

Victor Blackwell is in Granbury for us this morning.

What can you tell us? As the sun comes up, what are they finding there, Victor?

VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, we're finding a lot here. As we saw those live pictures of the damage. What the sheriff says it looks like a war zone. We're also seeing now some of the response. Some of the help coming in from not just here in Granbury, but from other cities across north Texas.

I can show you right over my shoulder that are cherry pickers are working to try to get power back to the homes that survived the tornadoes that came through here. We're also seeing people drive up to a local church. They're donating clothes, they're donating food, they're offering places for people to stay.

We also know that there is that rescue task force here looking for the 14 people still unaccounted for. Especially in that neighborhood of Rancho Brazos, where those Habitat for Humanity homes are. Listen to the sheriff's description of that community.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SHERIFF ROGER DEEDS, HOOD COUNTY, TEXAS: There is about 110 homes in that residential area. And there is a number of them that are fairly new within the last five years that were built from Habitat for Humanity. I have not been out there myself, but I've been told that most all of that is in heavy damage to totally destroyed conditions out there.

It was a -- a war zone I guess like we saw in the past with hurricanes from the coast. It's -- it was bad from what they have told me.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BLACKWELL: Listen, every element of the story is tragic. But if you have ever seen a family receive that Habitat for Humanity home, the keys to the home, they actually worked on it to help to build, you remember that facial expression, you can only imagine their facial expressions this morning that those homes have been destroyed.

ROMANS: Victor, any word on how much warning these residents got? I mean, John and I are kind of looking at these live pictures and some of these homes look as though it's a concrete slab underneath. Doesn't look as though there is a basement. Maybe some people do have basements, some -- some people do have shelters. How much warning was there, Victor?

BLACKWELL: Well, we're told minutes, and it ranges from 10 to 15, maybe 20 minutes. There was a system put in place that was led by EMS here in the county and by the county sheriff's office. We spoke with a spokesperson for the county and he described just how much headway and how much warning the residents received. Listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SARGENT NATHAN STRINGER, HOOD COUNTY, TX SPOKESMAN: The sheriff's office sent out a reverse 911 call prior to the storms passing through, advising of severe weather. They -- you know, they had their early warning system. The sirens went off, so the best information we can get is about 10 to 15 minutes of warning they had.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BLACKWELL: So there was some warning here and people got into their hallways and dove under tables and tried to get away from windows. But this is one community. There were many tornadoes, 10 tornadoes, the city of Claiborne, other cities here in -- around the Dallas-Fort Worth area are dealing with the same thing. This just unfortunately the loss of life is centered here, still searching for 14 people.

ROMANS: All right. Victor Blackwell, thank you so much.

BERMAN: We're actually getting word right now that, Victor, that search right now down to six or seven people still unaccounted for, so apparently they have found a few of those people who were believed to be missing.

We're going to get much more information on this in a press conference that will happen within a half hour. Of course, we will bring you that information the minute we get it.

Victor Blackwell, thank you so much for that report. We want to bring in Pastor Dean Porter now. He was leading a bible study at Lake Granbury Christian Temple when hail started raining down on the church.

Pastor, thank you so much for being with us. You were leading a bible study group. There were kids there. Describe to us the scene as it unfolded.

PASTOR DEAN PORTER, LAKE GRANBURY CHRISTIAN TEMPLE: Yes, sir. Thank you very much. There was -- there were some reports that tornadic activity was quite possible for that evening and wasn't to be taken lightly.

We were in the middle of a bible study when we had dismissed our bible. The bible group next door to a brick building where we began to take cover. And we were watching the whole thing unfold in front of the church. At this particular point, the clouds at the time the first tornado came and touched down, what we were seeing in front of us was a formation of that tornado in the sky.

Funnel cloud began to form, and the -- the debris was being pulled up into a rotation, which is kind of what tripped this -- tripped us into running back inside and giving everybody underneath tables and in a secure area.

That particular tornado that we were watching I understood later was the one that was on the ground for I think it was 2 1/2 minutes, and went through Rancho Brazos and I believe from my understanding, it touched down at the very, very back edge of our property and had affected a -- a house next to us. I think it -- the natural gas pipe had been crashed or loosened, where it was leaking. Power lines were pulled down into the road. It was amazing. It was devastating.

BERMAN: Pastor, you were hiding under tables with the people in your church. I should ask you this morning, are you doing OK? Is everyone in your church community doing OK? Both the people who are hunkered down there with you at the moment and the greater community. Have you had a chance to contact people?

PORTER: We have been getting reports from families that were out there in that particular neighborhood, and at this point, just about all of them have been accounted for and are fine physically. But so many of them have lost their homes. As I had stated before, the children's ministry that we have on Wednesday night, we had released them early in an effort to get them home before the storms hit.

So unfortunately -- but fortunate on the same grounds, I guess. They were with their parents, but they were home when the tornadoes hit and their homes were destroyed. All of them were accounted for and their families accounted for. There were no casualties, just a complete loss of house and property.

BERMAN: Pastor Porter, we're looking right now at live pictures in Granbury I believe. And the -- the pictures are simply devastating. There are large buildings that have been destroyed. We see these cars that have just been shredded and are standing on piles of debris right now. I don't know if you had a chance to take a look around and see the situation. Have you been outside at all?

PORTER: Last night we tried to make an effort to get around the block to help people to -- we understood were walking the streets. They were in no way able to get anywhere else. No traffic was able to come in or out. The debris across the road. But there were people that were just walking away from their homes and properties and try to get to a place of refuge.

Our church, Lake Granbury Christian Temple, was open to them and still is to come and eat and rest as well as the first responders and the other workers in the area. But they -- nevertheless we're going to try to make our way out this morning and find out how much damage was done.

ROMANS: Pastor, can I ask you a little bit about the early warning and specifically in that region where you are, do most people have basements?

PORTER: No, ma'am. No. Basements really aren't a common thing around our area.

ROMANS: So when you got the warning even if it was 10 or 15 minutes, people really had to scramble to figure out where was the safest place in their home or in the building.

PORTER: They really did. And like you had mentioned before, earlier it was, what, 10 reports of tornadoes that were forming in some capacity at some place in our area. The sirens were nonstop. I remember for what seemed to be like an hour, an hour's time, it was almost a nonstop siren. So it was very hard to detect, you know, what siren was for which area and what families in what area needed to be prepared. It was just a nonstop going on of warning after warning.

ROMANS: All right.

PORTER: Obviously it was terrifying.

BERMAN: Pastor Dean Porter, we're so glad that you're OK this morning and we hope everyone you know and you're associated with there is OK as well. Thank you so much for being with us.

PORTER: Thank you.

BERMAN: We should tell you that we are expecting a news conference at 9:00 a.m. from officials there. We will take that live when it happens. We hope to get more information about the number of people who may have been affected by the terrible storm.

And, Christine, I just want to say, because you've been pointing out there are no basements in that area. You grew up in Iowa.

ROMANS: Yes.

BERMAN: And you've seen your share of tornadoes. Why is that significant? ROMANS: Well, I lived through a tornado actually in 1981. And my whole family went to a basement. If you have a basement, and there's even a few minutes warning or you're hearing the sounds of the storm right outside of your window, you can get to the basement and usually what happens is the storm tears off the roof, caves in some -- you know, caves in some doors or caves in some walls, but you're safe in the basement if you're just not exposed to the outside.

A lot of people where there aren't basements, where basements aren't common, what they do is they have storm shelters, either a storm cellar or above ground or underground. So, you know, you need the time, though, to be able to know that the storm is real and to get in there and to get secured.

The basement is still the safest place. A lot of times in places like this, when there aren't basements that are common, and people go for an interior room, a room that doesn't have windows, where there isn't glass. A lot of times people go to the bathroom. And you heard some of these -- some of these say they pulled mattresses over them to protect themselves from flying debris. Flying debris very, very dangerous in storms like this. If you are not in a basement or a storm shelter, there's so much flying around.

BERMAN: You're looking again at live pictures from Granbury, Texas, where at least 10 tornadoes touched down overnight. And they are literally picking through the pieces there on the ground right now. We will bring you the latest as we learn more.

STARTING POINT, back after the break.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK))

ROMANS: Just in to CNN. New information about the night Boston bombing Dzhokhar Tsarnaev was found hiding in a boat in Watertown, Massachusetts.

Susan Candiotti joins us by phone now with a message -- a message Dzhokhar Tsarnaev left in that boat. Susan, what do you know?

SUSAN CANDIOTTI, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Good morning. Yes it turns out that he wrote a message literally on the inside of the boat while he was lying there injured and bleeding from injuries that he and his brother sustained during that shoot-out with Watertown police -- Watertown police hours earlier.

Dzhokhar apparently used a pen or some kind of writing instrument according to a U.S. law enforcement official and he scribbled that he would not miss his older brother Tamerlan and expected to be joining him soon.

Now in this makeshift message, according to our source, it indicated a motive for the Boston bombing. That it was payback against the United States for attacks against Muslims in Afghanistan and Iraq, that's according to our source.

That those children injured in Boston were simply in so many words, collateral damage that an attack against one Muslim is an attack against all. Now this seems to match messages we have seen in the past from suicide bombers in other attacks, including the one in -- in London a few years ago.

Now the source added that what he wrote inside the boat is something that Dzhokhar later told investigators, mainly the same thing. When he was interrogated bedside at the Boston hospital after his capture, explaining why he and his brother carried out their terror attacks. So, fascinating that we are still getting details about this a month after the investigation.

ROMANS: All right Susan Candiotti, thank you Susan.

And John it's interesting to because is that you know what kind of evidence could that be? You know how can they use that in a trial against him? What he wrote -- wrote inside of the boat?

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: Investigators said that the whole time too.

ROMANS: Yes. All right thanks Susan.

46 minutes after the hour. Angelina Jolie's decision to have a double mastectomy sparked a national debate now on breast and ovarian cancer treatment. And our Zoraida Sambolin is herself doing with this very emotional issue and has been very forthright this about this story and -- and your own journey.

ZORAIDA SAMBOLIN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Angelina Jolie's story a little bit different than mine now. So while every woman must make the personal decision about what course of treatment is right for her, some doctors cautioned that all the publicity surrounding Jolie's choice may lead to some of us having unnecessary tests and procedures.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SAMBOLIN (voice over): Angelina Jolie's revelation about having a preventative double mastectomy may have had just the effect she intended to start a conversation.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: More on Angelina Jolie's stunning revelation that she's had a double mastectomy --

SAMBOLIN: Today, the brave mother of six is again making headlines. For the next step she may soon be taking to reduce her chances of getting cancer. "People" magazine reports that Jolie may undergo additional surgeries, this time to remove her ovaries. In her "New York Times" op-ed, Jolie wrote quote, "My doctors estimated that I had a 50 percent risk of ovarian cancer, although the risk is different in the case of each woman."

Ovarian cancer is what took the life of Jolie's mother, Marchelein Bertrand at the age of 56. Much like a mastectomy surgically removing one's ovaries is not an easy decision.

When I sat down yesterday with four women who underwent mastectomies what they said about ovary removal surprised me. VICTORIA FLYNN, UNDERWENT DOUBLE MASTECTOMY: I felt like I had control over my breast cancer surveillance every six months religiously I was in that -- I was in New York, getting tested. I thought they were doing a great job, I felt comfortable.

Ovarian cancer, they're like well, now we hope we can -- we'll do our best with what we have, but we really don't have a test to help you and I'm like well that's just really not acceptable and what are we going to do about this?

SAMBOLIN: And what was the answer?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Oophorectomy.

FLYNN: Well yes.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And we had our ovaries out?

SAMBOLIN: So you did.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'm going to.

SAMBOLIN: You're going to.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'm going too. Yes.

SAMBOLIN: Really even though you don't have the gene.

GERALYN LUCAS, AUTHOR OF, "WHY I WORE LIPSTICK TO MY MASTECTOMY": Yes it was funny I met with the doctor, and he said I have such bad news. And I said what? And he said when you're 35, I recommend you get your ovaries out. And I said that's fantastic. And he said why and I said you think I'm going to live until I'm 35?

SAMBOLIN: Oh my God.

LUCAS: And he said that never occurred to me. And I said well I was diagnosed when I was 28. I just wanted to hit 30.

SAMBOLIN: Jolie's announcement about her experience will no doubt raise awareness, but it also sparked discussion in the medical community. Some doctors are concerned that her public op-ed will cause many women to seek out unnecessary testing and aggressive treatment.

ISABELLE BEDROSIAN, M.D., CANCER CENTER, M.D. ANDERSON: My greatest concern really is unnecessary testing for a woman who is not BRCA, for woman who does not have a family history of ovarian cancer I really don't think that there is a need to consider a removal of the ovaries in that situation.

SAMBOLIN: Genetic tests like the one Jolie had can be expensive. I sat down with the founder of Susan G. Komen for the cure who hopes to help change that.

NANCY BRINKER, FOUNDER OF SUSAN G. KOMEN FOR THE CURE: Our view is Susan Komen we would like to see if people have access to this as much as possible and hopefully in the near future, people will have access, wide access to this because it is expensive.

SAMBOLIN: When you have a mastectomy -- I've chose to have a double mastectomy. Reconstruction is it covered by insurance companies?

BRINKER: In many policies it is and usually is today is an option for women.

SAMBOLIN: As for Jolie she's made it clear that her number one priority is to be around for her six children. As her partner, Brad Pitt said yesterday, quote, "All I want is for her to have a long and healthy life, with myself and our children."

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SAMBOLIN: I have to say that there are a lot of different opinions on this issue of what you should choose to have done or what you shouldn't have done. There's been a really great dialog that has been created. I did a piece on CNN.com and a lot of people have asked me specifically, why are you having a double mastectomy when you were diagnosed with DCIS in one breast?

And I thought that is a very valid question that you're asking me and if I'm going to put my life out there, then I'm going to go ahead and continue the dialog. So I'm actually going to go ahead and do a piece that talks about why I chose this because it is more complicated.

At the end of the day, I really want women -- we just need to empower each other and we need to support the decisions that we're making, because this is very personal. And it's a very difficult decision to make. I cannot imagine any woman making it lightly. I cannot.

BERMAN: Thanks so much. Most people will be able to make their decisions for themselves and we want to support them for that.

SAMBOLIN: Absolutely. Absolutely.

ROMANS: Thank you.

BERMAN: Fifty-one minutes after the hour right now.

Ahead on STARTING POINT, major backlash against Abercrombie & Fitch, stemming from comments made by the company's CEO. We're going to speak live with the creator of a viral video that takes a direct hit at the popular clothing retailer.

You're watching STARTING POINT.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BERMAN: So popular clothing retailer, Abercrombie & Fitch, facing major backlash after a 2006 interview with its CEO Mike Jeffries (ph) resurfaced and went viral. The 68-year-old executive told "Salon" magazine that a lot of people don't belong in their clothes and they can't belong.

ROMANS: The comments have let some people to protest and boycott Abercrombie stores. And in a new viral video, a recent USC graduate heads to L.A.'s infamous skid row donating Abercrombie and Fitch clothes to homeless people. It's called Fitch the Homeless.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GREG KARPER: Abercrombie & Fitch only wants a certain kin of person to be wearing their clothes. Today, we're going to change their brand. I traveled to a Los Angeles good will, where I scoured the racks for donated Abercrombie & Fitch clothing. They embraced it wholeheartedly. And my expedition was a huge success.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BERMAN: Creator Greg Karper is with us now; Greg, so great to have you this morning. Explain to us why you have made this video, which is now wildly successful.

KARPER: Well, like a lot of people, I was very upset by the CEO's comments that sort of resurfaced into our collective consciousness last week and I wanted to do something to show him and other people that this wasn't acceptable.

ROMANS: And what do you -- we're showing a picture of him right. I mean what do you think his message was? His message was there is a clientele for Abercrombie & Fitch, a target market and that irritated you?

KARPER: Well, he didn't just say that there was a target market for Abercrombie and Fitch. He said that certain people can't ever belong and that sort of message of exclusion is just a horrible thing for a giant, massive retailer of clothing for, you know, teens and young adults.

BERMAN: You clearly struck a chord because now your video has 4.2 million hits. Do you ever think you would get that kind of success so quickly?

KARPER: No. Absolutely not. The last video that I uploaded I think before this one got 71 views. So this was completely unexpected.

ROMANS: You know, and it's even like entered the public conscience. You look at Kirstie Alley, for example, last night talked about it on "Entertainment Tonight". Listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

KIRSTIE ALLEY, ACTRESS: Even if I was cool and thin and I have two kids in that bracket that will never walk in those doors because of his view of people. Forget women -- his view of just people.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ROMANS: Do you feel like this could be the beginning of a groundswell against the retailer?

KARPER: Definitely, absolutely. And that's where, I think, my video fits in. I think it's part of a much larger movement against him and hopefully against these sort of bullying marketing strategies.

BERMAN: Yes. It's all about the cool kids. With this wild success you had, these 4.2 million hits and counting, what are you going to do with this? Where are you going to take this next?

KARPER: Well, I hope that it just didn't become a re-tweet and forget thing. I hope that people actually go out and they donate to the homeless and they engage with homeless people and help reduce the stigmatism that homeless people face in our society. This is a great way to not only stick it to a corporate CEO, but also to make a positive difference in our society.

ROMANS: If you could speak right now directly through this camera to the CEO and top executives of Abercrombie & Fitch, what would you tell them?

KARPER: I would tell them to stop being such jerks.

BERMAN: If you were trying to be blunt with them, though, what would you say?

KARPER: Well, I can't say that on CNN.

BERMAN: I'm kidding. Greg Karper thank you so much for being with us. This is such an interesting video and we appreciate the message you are trying to send here. Thanks a lot.

ROMANS: A side note.

KARPER: Thank you for having me.

ROMANS: -- Abercrombie & Fitch is the only second retailer to join the Bangladesh pack. The pack of European retailers to make Bangladesh factories safer, where the Abercrombie & Fitch are made. Abercrombie & Fitch only the second retailer to join -- that was the news out of that company today..

BERMAN: Interesting. STARTING POINT back in a moment.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BERMAN: We want to take you straightaway to north Texas, right now there ten tornadoes touched down overnight killing at least six people. This is a press conference from officials there, really the first we're hearing from them this morning.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: On 377, and some have left. And the total is 22. The Red Cross let me know as of 7:30 this morning. And then a recap of everything -- the injuries that we had last night, we had estimated around 50 people that responded up to the hospital either with people or had injuries, and the total seen by Granbury Medical Center, last night, through the night, early evening hours was 37 total people and 15 were transferred to the Metroplex, 19 were treated and released. And as of this morning, they only have three that had been admitted or still in the hospital.

Last night I reported that there was -- I believe 16 that were transported straight from the scene up to Forth Worth. So that wouldn't count in that group. And this is what Lake Granbury Medical Center has.