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Explosion in Louisiana Kills One; Colorado Wildfire Rages; Mariarchi Singer Attacked Online; Self-Proclaimed Psychic Charged with Giving False Reports; NBA Finals All Even

Aired June 14, 2013 - 06:30   ET


NICK VALENCIA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Nick (sic) yeah. Despite that, those dangerous smoke plumes that went spewing into the sky, officials here in this area say this is now safe.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We were passing by on a delivery, we saw big flames and ash shooting up, next we looked over the whole unit was engulfed in flames.

VALENCIA: The flame are out, the plant is secure, but the cause of the blast that sent fire shooting high above this small Louisiana community remains unclear.

JEFFREY WILEY, ASCENSION PARISH SHERRIF DEPARTMENT: The chemical that we think was involved in this is a highly volatile chemical, but it's not one that would leave the fence line one would think clearly. So we think we're OK in that regard.

VALENCIA: The blast killed at least one person and sent dozens more to the hospital with injuries. Even those who escaped unharmed were left dazed.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Boom! Like that. Everybody started taking off running, chaos, jumped the fence, jumped the tables, went through the grass, buses running over people. Going everywhere.

VALENCIA: At a nearby Baton Rouge hospital doctors and nurses treating the injured.

LEIGH ANN, NURSE: Just the look on people's faces, the patients were just shell shocked. You know you talk to people as you take them out of the helicopter and they're just -- one man said, we didn't even know what happened, we heard a loud boom and the next one was so loud I felt like my chest was going to cave in.

VALENCIA: While investigators continue to assess what happened here Thursday, Louisiana's governor tried to reassure those affected.

BOBBY JINDAL, LOUISIANA GOVERNOR: Absolutely once the investigations are done, once there's a responsible party they'll absolutely be held responsible.

(END VIDEOTAPE) VALENCIA: A handful of people remain hospitalized this morning, but good news, Don, is that while we were at the hospital yesterday one of those in critical condition was upgraded to fair. Hospital officials told us this morning they expect more patients to be released throughout the day.

DON LEMON, CNN ANCHOR: All right Nick, thank you very much.

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN ANCHOR: The most destructive wildfire to hit the state of Colorado has now turned deadly. There are 750 firefighters on the front lines this morning, but they're no match for the wind- fueled 16,000 acre Black Forest fire. 379 homes already burned to the ground, 38,000 people forced to evacuate, and now two victims have been found burned to death. They were trying to flee their home but were overtaken by the fast moving flames. The Black Forest fires are being fanned by ferocious winds this morning. Firefighters report the flames were literally flying across the treetops making containment impossible. One of them says we don't have a high level of confidence right now.

LEMON: Indra Petersons tracking the conditions for us. Will these winds die down any time soon?

INDRA PETERSONS, AMS METEOROLOGIST: The interesting thing about the wildfires the actual weather conditions don't have the strong winds. However, fires when they get this big they start to make their own weather system so now it's kind of like the fire producing its own wild weather, and unfortunately those winds will continue as long as that fire is out there. So it will continue to produce them on their own.

No red flag warning today. One of the reasons the winds aren't actually as high, again that would be outside of the fire itself. Getting a little bit of moisture, water vapor satellite shows how much moisture's in the area, there is some moving through. Remember it is so dry out there and we have different levels of the atmosphere, there's up down, up high, and down low.

So we have moisture up here where the mountains may see thunderstorms but as it gets lower it evaporates because it's so dry. Only in the overnight hours they get out of the teens, we're seeing about 40 percent. As we go through the afternoon you get that daytime heating, you warm things up, that's where once again it's so dry. So, 14 percent, of course, that not helping the conditions out there whatsoever. But keep in mind, when you have thunderstorms and it's dry outside you also have the threat of dry lightning which could spark another fire. And that's a condition we're worried about as well.

ROMANS: Thanks, Indra.

LEMON: Day three of the trial of accused former mob boss James "Whitey" Bulger gets under way today in Boston. Federal prosecutors plan to call as many as 80 witnesses. Bulger is accused of murder, racketeering and corruption. Prosecutors have already played surveillance tapes recorded 30 years ago allegedly showing him meeting with known mob figures. He spent 16 years in hiding before being arrested in 2011.

ROMANS: A Florida judge will sequester jurors in George Zimmerman's trial once they're chosen. The trial expected to last two to four weeks, not the four to six weeks originally thought. Zimmerman is charged with second-degree murder in the death of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin in 2012. He's a former neighborhood watch volunteer who claims he shot Trayvon Martin in self-defense.

LEMON: And a court hearing for a Texas woman accused of mailing letters tainted with ricin. Investigators say 35-year-old Shannon Richardson sent letters laced with toxin to President Obama and New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg. She was arrested last week and claimed her husband did it. He denied any involvement. Richardson faces up to ten years in prison if convicted.

ROMANS: A workplace shooting in St. Louis that left four people dead appears to be a murder suicide. Surveillance tapes show an argument taking place inside the office of AK Home Care. Shortly before, shots rang out around 1:30 after -- Thursday afternoon. Police believe the gunman owned the business. The semiautomatic handgun was recovered at the scene.

LEMON: New developments in the Santa Monica shooting rampage that left five people dead. Police say the gunman, 23-year-old John Zawahri, left a remorseful farewell note behind. In it, they say he apologized for killing his father and his older brother and said good-bye to some friends. They also say he hoped his mother would be taken care of financially. Police say the note does not shed light on a motive but the " L.A. Times" reports Zawahri had an affinity for guns, suffered from mental problems, and struggled with his parents' divorce.

ROMANS: A day of remembrance in Newtown, Connecticut. Today marks six months since the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre where 26 people, children and adults, were killed. A moment of violence will be observed at 9:30 eastern time. At a ceremony, family members and local officials will read the names of the victims. They will urge lawmakers in Washington to support stronger gun control laws.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE (singing): Oh, say can you see --


LEMON: So it's supposed to be the most uplifting moment of any game, the national anthem, sung before tip-off, but at the NBA finals one youngster's stirring rendition of "The Star Spangled Banner" drew some surprising comments. Here's CNN's Mark McKay.


MAYOR JULIAN CASTRO, SAN ANTONIO, TEXAS: Please help me give a great welcome --

MARK MCKAY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: After being introduced by San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro, ahead of game four of the NBA finals on Thursday, Sebastien De La Cruz did what he does best.

SEBASTIEN DE LA CRUZ, SINGER (singing): Oh, say can you see --

MCKAY: It's rare that the same performer sings the national anthem in back-to-back playoff games. The Spurs didn't hesitate in extending another invitation to this talented 11-year-old.

DE LA CRUZ: When they first told me I was going to be doing the national anthem and my father told me I was like yes, another chance to show San Antonio what I have to give them.

MCKAY: De La Cruz's first appearance this week before game three of the series saw him targeted with taunts, not from the crowd, but on social media.

"Why they got a Mexican kid singing the national anthem?" Daniel Gilmore tweeted.

"How are you singing the national anthem looking like an illegal immigrant," tweeted Andre Lacey of Augusta, Georgia.

Matt Cyrus added, "who let this illegal alien sing our national anthem?"

A popular social media blog highlighted more than two dozen other hateful tweets. De La Cruz, who was born in San Antonio, was not going to let the negativity get him down.

DE LA CRUZ: I think people were talking bad was because of what I was wearing. It's not my fault, it's what I love, and I'm proud to be a mariachi singer. It's their opinion, actually. And if they don't like mariachi that's their problem, but I love it.

DE LA CRUZ (singing): -- And the home of the brave

MCKAY: It was an encore that brought down the house followed by congratulatory handshakes from the two head coaches. All this for a young man who sent out his own tweet this week telling the world "I am an American living the American dream."

Mark McKay, CNN.


ROMANS: He is the American, the crazies who say whatever they want with anonymity online I don't know who they are but that kid is awesome.

LEMON: Just one word: gross.

ROMANS: I mean you read comments and stuff online. The anonymity of online people say the craziest, craziest things.

LEMON: It's okay if you're a public figure and you're talking about an adult, but a child is quite different.

ROMANS: 11-year-old. It's just sick and ugly.

Six San Diego high school seniors were allowed to graduate this week after all, despite getting temporarily banned for participating in a racy twerking video. That's twerking, you ask? I have no idea. That's twerking. The suggestive dance video was shot during school hours, on school grounds. Oh my. My grandmother watches this, could we take this down?

With school equipment before it went viral. High school officials at first banned the kids in the video from graduation, but after much controversy, the kids were allowed to participate. I'm so embarrassed. Don, why are you laughing?


LEMON: What, what did you mean? Did you see the video? Your response is my grandmother is watching.

ROMANS: I'm sorry to any and all who were offended, grandma.

Coming up what's this plane doing stuck in the side of a building? A crash in California that left no one injured.


LEMON: And why do women go through menopause -- I would have to read this story -- the new research puts the blame on men.


LEMON: Welcome back to EARLY START. It is a cash -- crash I should say worthy of a photo caption. Look at that.


LEMON: Yeah. Whoops. No one was injured though when this plane crashed into a hangar while taxiing at the Chino airport in San Bernardino county, California. It happened last night The plane belonged to a private company and officials say the jet's engine was being tested at the time. Might want to check the GPS while we're at it.

ROMANS: Amazing video to show you here. This one comes from Russia, watch the SUV. It turns left, and into the path of an oncoming motorcycle, the tire got stuck in the window. Can you see it? The tire stuck in the window.

LEMON: Ouch.

ROMANS: A self-proclaimed psychic, multimillion-dollar court settlement in a bizarre case involved alleged defamation and filing false reports. As CNN's Pamela Brown reports, It started with a shocking allegation made on a 911 call.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hays County Sheriff's Office, do you have an emergency?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I need to talk to someone about the kids that y'all have an AMBER alert on.

PAMELA BROWN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It was this 911 call of a so-called psychic claming children's bodies were buried behind a farmhouse.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'm a reverend and a psychic. Souls and spirits talked to me and there were 32 of them that told me they think these kids are there.

BROWN: That call from Pressley (ph) Gridley led to a crush of cameras converging on this house in tiny Harden, Texas, near Houston.

CAPT. REX EVANS, LIBERTY COUNTY SHERIFF'S OFFICE: Your child was missing and we received information involving any type of children, you would certainly want your local law enforcement to investigate it.

BROWN: The FBI was called in to investigate. The lives of the family that lived here turned upside down. But in the end, no bodies turned up. It's not uncommon for psychics to work with police, but in this case, the couple's attorney says they'll never be repaid for what they went through after Gridley's tip.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They've had to remove themselves from their home. They literally have had to sequester themselves. They don't even like to tell people where they've moved to.

BROWN: This failed prediction comes with a hefty price tag, a judge is now ordering Gridley to pay $7 million for defamation to the family.

You may recall celebrity psychic, Silvia Brown, also came under fire after claiming this on "The Montel Williams Show" about Ohio kidnapping victim, Amanda Berry.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes, in heaven, on the other side.

BROWN: Ten years later, Berry was found alive.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Help me, I'm Amanda Berry.

BROWN: For Gridley, a costly lesson not even she could see coming.

Pamela Brown, CNN, New York.


DON LEMON, CNN ANCHOR: All right, Pamela.

So, something else to blame on men. Ladies can now blame menopause on men and you can point to a new Canadian study to make the case. Probably done by women, I'm sure. Here's the study's conclusion. Because men have always generally preferred sleeping with younger women, menopause became evolution's way of recognizing middle-aged no longer needed to reproduce, thus, the natural onset of menopause.

So, it concludes if men found older women more desirable over the ages, women would remain fertile right up until the day they died.

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN ANCHOR: I'd like to you to imagine yourself at your kitchen table with your mom and sisters and what's their reaction?

LEMON: Everything is always blamed on men. I mean, seriously, at least it's, you know, it's called menopause. At least, they named it after us.

ROMANS: Coming up, all even in the NBA finals. The Heat's big three showing up to play, taking down the Spurs. Now, it's a best of three. "The Bleacher Report" is next.


ROMANS: The big three showed up in a big way for the Heat last night as they handled the Spurs in game four to even the series.

LEMON: Oh, yes. Andy Scholes joins us with more on the "Bleacher Report." Hey, Andy.

ANDY SCHOLES, BLEACHER REPORT: Hey guys, good morning. When the Heat put this big three together, this is exactly what they were hoping for. The trio, Lebron, Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh dominated game four last night, combining to score 85 points, grabbed 30 rebounds. And when they produce like that, the Heat, they're pretty hard team to beat.

Now, Wade who struggled during the playoffs finally had a breakout game last night. He finished with 32 points and six steals. And as promised, Lebron also played much better. He led all scorers with 33 points. The heat ran away with this game in the fourth quarter to win 109-93. Miami still has not lost back-to-back games since mid- January. Game five of the finals is Sunday night in San Antonio.

Bad weather continues to be a problem at the U.S. Open. Play was delayed twice yesterday due to rain. Phil Mickelson was one of the golfers who was able to get through his first round. He had a great first day, shooting three under and he did it with little sleep. Mickelson was at his daughter's eighth grade graduation Wednesday night in San Diego, and he took a red eye to Philadelphia in order to make his tee time.

He's one shot back of the leader, Luke Donald. Now, Tiger Woods made it through ten holes yesterday. He bogeyed two of his first three but would rally with a 50-foot birdie putt here on the 6th. He's at two over (ph). Round one resumes this morning at 7:15 eastern.

The greatest closer baseball history, Mariano Rivera continued his farewell tour in Oakland yesterday. The A's, they gave him a personalized surfboard and a bottle of Napa Valley wine. But that's where the pleasant treats ended. This game went 18 innings, and it was Rivera on the mal (ph) when Nate Freiman hit the broken bat (ph) single for the walk-off win. This game, guys, took five hours and 35 minutes to complete.

NFL mini camps wrapped up yesterday and the best story of week comes from Redskins camp. Eight-year-old Lateef Brock (ph) who was born with chronic kidney disease got to spend a day as a member of the redskins. Lateef practiced with the team. And check this out, he's pretty fast.

He scored a touchdown near the end of practice and once he gets into the end zone, look at this, he's even got the celebration dance down. Now, his favorite player is Robert Griffin III'S. Now, RG3 said he was happy to help make Lateef's wish come true.


ROBERT GRIFFIN III, REDSKINS QUARTERBACK: you know, I felt blessed enough that he chose me to be the guy that he came out to practice with him, hang out with, and he's actually a pretty good athlete. I was playing with him a lot during the practice while everyone was doing the walk-through. And, you know, it was just an honor to meet him and just be able to be around him.


SCHOLES: Yes. Lateef had a successful kidney transplant in November and it's great to see him already out there running. He was pretty fast running and scoring that touchdown.

ROMANS: Yes. Real class act for the guys to give him so much time, too.

LEMON: I like the kid. Was that a Harlem shake or --

ROMANS: I don't know.


SCHOLES: I think they call it the Bernie.

LEMON: The Bernie. Oh, that's right. That was a Bernie.

ROMANS: Thanks, Andy.

LEMON: Andy Scholes this morning. Thank you.

Music fans, Ringo Starr has really paid his dues when it comes to being a big part of rock history and a new exhibition in Los Angeles puts it all on display. CNN's Tory Dunnan took a look.


RINGO STARR, MUSICIAN: You press the bass pedal.


STARR: Yes. Look how easy.

DUNNAN (voice-over): A drum lesson from Ringo Starr?

STARR: You only just started.

DUNNAN: It happened when the rock 'n' roll hall of famer took us on a tour at his new exhibit at the Grammy Museum in Los Angeles.

From the outside, everyone is looking on at the Beatles. They can't imagine what it's like to have been one.

STARR: No, they can't and I couldn't really ever explain it to you.

DUNNAN: But now, fans can put the pieces together themselves by looking at the man behind the music, his drums, his wardrobe, and even his personal belongings. I love this here. This postcard that you wrote to your mom at the bottom

STARR: I know, call me Ringo Starr, because it wasn't getting through when, you know, I'm Richard Starr. Tell your mother, I'm Richard.

DUNNAN: You got your name by the rings you're wearing.

STARR: I did, in Liverpool, everyone got a nickname.

DUNNAN: Would you ever change the name that you chose?


DUNNAN: Never?

STARR: No, I'm Ringo. Hello, Ringo.


DUNNAN: This drum kit is from the Beatles' first American appearance in 1964, on "The Ed Sullivan Show."

What do you think of when you see that?

STARR: Well, I think of an incredible moment of coming to America, even on the plane, you could feel New York buzzing.

DUNNAN: Do you ever wear any of these still?

STARR: Yes. I wear them around the house. Barbara and I have Beatle night.



DUNNAN: Starr even drummed up and developed a book of negatives. These are all photos he's taken during the Beatles heyday.

STARR: We're in a big fancy hotel in Paris and George is washing his hand -- just took our shirts and do it like that.

DUNNAN: And for those who were inspired to become drummers. You're going to see my lack of musical talent.

STARR: You and many others.

DUNNAN: Then arguably, the most influential drummer in all of rock 'n' roll crushed me like a bug.

STARR: You should play guitar.


DUNNAN: Oh, man!

Not everyone can be Ringo Starr.

Tory Dunnan, CNN, Los Angeles.


ROMANS: All right. That's EARLY START. We're going to be back on Monday from 5:00 to 6:00. So, you'll see us for an hour every morning. John Berman and Zoraida Sambolin still the anchors of that show. I'm doing the business for it. So, a lot of you are asking if we're going away, we're not going away. EARLY START is safe. I'm Christine Romans.

LEMON: I won't be.


LEMON: But they will be here. I'm Don Lemon. "STARTING POINT" begins right after the break.



ROMANS (voice-over): Our "STARTING POINT," deadly wildfire, a fast moving wildfire in Colorado quickly spreading, nearly doubling overnight. Two people found dead. We go live to the scene.

LEMON (voice-over): A sports bar deck collapses sending dozens into Miami's Biscayne Bay. Three people are in serious condition.

ROMANS: And how did something like this happen? Details on a routine engine check gone terribly wrong.


ROMANS (on-camera): Good morning. I'm Christine Romans.

LEMON (on-camera): Good question. How does something like that happen? I'm Don Lemon in today for John Berman.

It is Friday, June 14th. Welcome to "STARTING POINT".

ROMANS: Welcome to the final edition of "STARTING POINT." Come Monday, it's a "NEW DAY" here at CNN.

We begin this morning, though, in Colorado on the last issue of "STARTING POINT." We've never seen a wildfire quite like this one. The Black Forest fire in Colorado Spring is giving 750 firefighters more than they can handle this morning. You know, the 400 homes burned to the ground, and now, two people who couldn't flee fast enough to out race these oncoming flames, they're dead.