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Zimmerman Trial Enters Week Two; 19 Arizona Firefighters Killed; Ocean City Crash; Unexpectedly Making History; Giant Jewelry Heist; Shocking Death At Cirque Du Soleil; Supermarket Stop Turns Tragic

Aired July 1, 2013 - 07:30   ET


SUNNY HOSTIN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: But I certainly think if you put them on the witness stand, you almost have to get into this videotaped statement. But I want to disagree with Danny just a bit because he said he felt the tape was really, really great for the defense.

I didn't see it that way. I've seen it as well. I mean, I saw a lot of inconsistencies. Of course, usually, Chris, when I'm looking at these cases, I have my former prosecutor hat on, right. So when I was looking at it I thought there are a lot of inconsistencies here. His story didn't make a lot of sense to me.

He was saying a lot of things like after he shot Trayvon Martin, Trayvon Martin stood up and said you got me? That just doesn't really fit with a lot of the evidence. So I think there were a lot of embellishments there in many of his statements.

CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: Remember, Sunny, after they did the initial investigation based on that interview, they thought it was textbook stand your ground and they weren't going to bring any charges against the man. Danny, let me end on you on this, one word answer. At this point in the trial going in, you're defense counsel. Do you put George Zimmerman on the stand as things stand today?

DANNY CEVALLOS, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: No. They have enough for a jury instruction on self-defense. The safe move is no.

CUOMO: All right, Sunny Hostin, Danny Cevallos, thank you as always. So we head back here to the scales. Based on what's going on right now and the huge decision that these prosecutors have to make about whether or not to use this video statement, what it will mean, right now it's a balance, it's a balance right now. This is a huge day, very important day to watch.

Now, we're going have a lot more coming up on the Zimmerman trial. We'll have HLN's Nancy Grace to go through this and that is going to be important. And as always we want to know what you think. So use Twitter, Facebook, and today, Kate, big day to watch.

KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR: A lot more to discuss and we'll continue down in the next hour. But still coming up next on NEW DAY, a man takes a baby hostage at knife point inside an Oklahoma Wal-Mart and the terrifying moments caught on camera. We'll tell you what police had to do to get her out of danger. Also Jennifer Lopez is taking heat for an overseas concert. Some people aren't so happy with the guest of honor at J. Lo's performance Saturday night and they are definitely letting her know it.


CUOMO: I'm joined by two of the best people I know. Welcome back, everybody to NEW DAY. I'm Chris Cuomo. It's just after 7:30 in the morning on July 1, Monday.

BOLDUAN: I'm Kate Bolduan. We're here with NEW DAY anchor Michaela Pereira. A lot is going on and coming up this half hour. Imagine your toddler grabbed in front of you and threatened with a knife. It happened. It happened at a Wal-Mart and the whole shocking ordeal was caught on surveillance camera. We're going to tell you what happened coming up.

CUOMO: Not frightened for your children enough then how about this? A little girl proving she's a champ in the pool. That kid isn't even a year and a half old. Her parents getting a little backlash for this video and it will be an opportunity for my co-anchors to gang up on me when we discuss it. A lot of news this morning here on NEW DAY so let's get to Michaela.

MICHAELA PEREIRA, CNN ANCHOR: All right, good morning to the two of you. Good morning at home, making news, it is the worst firefighting tragedy since September 11th. A team 19 elite firefighters considered the very best in extreme situations trapped and killed by the Yarnell Hill fire northwest of Phoenix. Kyung Lah is in Prescott, Arizona with the very latest for us -- Kyung.

KYUNG LAH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Michaela, the hot shot crew is as their name suggests the team that goes into the hottest, most dangerous part of the fire. That's exactly what they were doing. They went dealing with these erratic winds, in the words of a firefighter monsoon-type winds, low humidity, extreme heat in a place that hasn't burned in some 40 years and they lost their battle.

I want you to take a look at this team picture, 19 people, elite firefighters who put their lives in between the wall of flames rushing to innocent people's homes. These firefighters according to the fire department did deploy their fire shelters. It was a method of last resort -- Michaela.

PEREIRA: Kyung, there's plenty there, 40 years not having burned, tough conditions certainly and a tough time for that community. Thanks for the report.

Other news, the Coast Guard search for a small plane that crashed in the water off Ocean City, Maryland has been suspended because of dangerous conditions there. The single engine aircraft crashed Sunday afternoon about 500 yards from shore. The plane can hold one passenger along with the pilot, but police are not sure if anyone other than the pilot was actually aboard.

A married couple who lived in Florida, Lou who lived in Florida have unexpectedly made history. Julian Marsh and Triumph Papa were the first same sex married couple to be approved for a green card. Marsh says he was celebrating his birthday over dinner Friday when they got word. He told the "New York Times" it felt like winning the lottery. This milestone comes less than a week after the Supreme Court struck down the defense of marriage act.

In New York police bust a woman involved in a Super Bowl size scam. Authorities say the woman stole nearly half a million dollars of jewelry back in March from the Miami hotel room of a New York Giants Player Sean Rogers. The woman was apparently part of a sophisticated ring that picked up men at high end night clubs, drugged them and robbed them.

J. Lo now apologizing for serenading Turkmenistan's dictator for his birthday. Jennifer Lopez said she wouldn't have performed had she known about human rights issues there. Her publicist told the Associated Press the event was hosted by the China National Petroleum Corp. and was not a political event.

BOLDUAN: Not good to be caught in the middle of that.

PEREIRA: She was thinking she was doing something fun and got to do your research.

BOLDUAN: Exactly. Michaela, thanks so much.

Coming up next on NEW DAY, Cirque Du Soleil is canceling shows in Las Vegas after an acrobat falls to her death during a performance. We're going to hear from a former performer about the safety measures in place at these big shows.

CUOMO: And look at this toddler again. Look how precocious. Whether or not you like that her parents with letting her do this, we'll get into it . But how is she able to turn around, take a breath and keep swimming? Viral video. We'll take you through it. Watch your head, little one.


CUOMO: Welcome back to NEW DAY, everybody. Performances of the Cirque Du Soleil have been indefinitely canceled at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas. The shocking death of one of its high flying acrobats is being investigated. Sarah Guyard fell 50 feet to her death in front of a live audience. CNN's Dan Simon is following the story live from Las Vegas. Good morning, Dan.

DAN SIMON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Chris. Well, those performers really do some incredible things. If you've ever been to a show, you know what I'm talking about. In this case it appears to be nothing more than a tragic mishap and it's also the first time a performer has ever died in the show's 30 year history.


SIMON (voice-over): It's an edge of your seat show that features an incredible array of acrobatics, pyrotechnics and larger than life sets. Cirque Du Soleil performers are highly skilled and intensively trained, but an accident on Saturday night claimed the life of a 31- year-old performer, acrobat and aerialist, Sarah Guyard featured in this show died while performing in the production of Ka at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas.

The "Las Vegas Sun" quotes witnesses that say Guyard was being hoisted above a vertical stage like the one seen here during the show's finale when the acrobat fell into the hollow pit 50 feet below. According to those accounts, some audience members thought the fall was part of the show until they heard screams from the stage.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You could hear people crying. All the actors were looking down.

SIMON: Guyard reportedly a mother of two pictured here at a camp taught physical fitness and circus skills to kids. In a statement, Cirque Du Soleil's founder says, quote, "I'm heartbroken. I wish to extend my sincerest sympathies to the family. We are all completely devastated with this news.

The accident is an unfortunate reminder of the dangers of performing in high flying shows. Just last week, a performer in the production of Michael Jackson 1 suffered a concussion after falling from a slack rope. And in 2010, a stunt man fell 30 feet off the stage in the production of "Spiderman." He suffered numerous injuries including a fractured skull, broken rib and broken vertebrae.


SIMON: Well, Guyard was incredibly experienced. She had been doing this for more than 20 years. And as we said, the performances will be on hold pending further notice. Kate, we'll send it back to you.

BOLDUAN: All right, Dan Simon in Las Vegas. Thanks so much, Dan. Let's talk more about this tragedy with Kristin Wingfield. Kristen performed with Cirque Du Soleil from 1993 to 2002. You have a unique perspective, Kristen, on what it takes to perform in these amazing shows that Cirque puts on day in and day out. So thanks so much for coming in.

I mean, I know of course your heart as ours does goes out to this performer's family as well as the entire cast. And this is the first death during a live show's 30 year history. But when it happens, it begs the question how safe is it. Talk to me about the safety measures that are in place for these big shows.

KRISTIN WINGFIELD, FORMER CIRQUE DU SOLEIL PERFORMER: Well, certainly I know firsthand that Cirque Du Soleil takes every possible precaution to make sure that the artists are safe and that there is safe measures back stage. As an artist myself, I had multiple safety checks that I performed on my rigging and I know the crew were always putting safety first. So it's a top priority because there are risks in something like this.

BOLDUAN: And as a performer, you performed with Cirque Du Soleil for some 10 years, you know that this job comes with a serious element of risk. How do you approach it every day, how do you make it as safe as possible for you and other performers out there with you?

WINGFIELD: Yes, it's true there is inherent risk. As a performer, as a professional, you take that with the job. It's always in the back of your mind. As I say, I was always making safety checks. I had routines down write checked everything multiple times to make sure there would be no mistakes or technical mishaps. So it's something you live with, but you can't be scared of it or you can't do your job.

BOLDUAN: When Cirque Du Soleil put out a statement, in their statement after the tragedy, it mentions our focus needs to be on supporting each other as a family. How difficult is it going to be for Cirque Du Soleil especially the performers in Ka to get back up and get back on the stage once the show begins again?

WINGFIELD: Well, it's a devastating accident. And my heart goes out to her family and to everybody in Ka. I don't know. I think it will take a lot of regrouping and they will have to support each other as they have said. It's a big incident and tragedy and it will take a lot of work to get beyond that.

BOLDUAN: Kristin, you have two young children I understand. And as I'm reading that this performer had young children herself, so you were not a mother when you were still with Cirque Du Soleil. How do you balance that risk of your job and needing to do your job, but knowing you have a family waiting for you at home? Do you think you could do it now?

WINGFIELD: Well, I don't think I could. My children are quite young. I think it's very difficult for the mothers and the families to know they have young kids at home. And I think it just makes them even more concerned about the safety and they're more aware of what they're doing and taking precautions.

BOLDUAN: Regardless, a tragedy for everyone. You can see the sadness in your face. Thank you so much for coming in and speaking with us a bit about this. Kristin Wingfield, it's a pleasure to meet you. Thank you -- Chris.

CUOMO: Amazing that there aren't more injuries given what those people are doing up in the air there.

Coming up on NEW DAY, let me set the stage for you, a terrifying hostage standoff at an Oklahoma Wal-Mart. This man deranged takes that 2-year-old, holds her at knife point, and starts a death countdown. How her life was saved. The hero when we come back.


CUOMO: Welcome back to NEW DAY, everybody. I don't know that I've ever seen one like this. Terrifying moments caught on tape inside an Oklahoma Wal-Mart. Police say a man described as unstable, grabbed the 2-year-old girl right in front of her mother. Then he holds her at knife point for almost half an hour.

Pamela brings us the latest on this. To see it all unfold on video, unusual and it could have really been a horrible situation. PAMELA BROWN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It really could have been. Unbelievable video there, just imagine going shopping with your children at a local supermarket and have your child plucked off. It all unfolded in the middle of the day at an Oklahoma City Wal-Mart.


BROWN (voice-over): Store surveillance video shows a mom wearing a white shirt shopping with her two daughters. Seconds later while the mother's back is turned, this stranger reaches in and grabs her 2- year-old little girl from the shopping car. Her stunned 12-year-old sister watches in horror. The man hands a cell phone to the girl's mother and demands she call a police officer he knows in Dallas, Texas. All while holding the knife to the little girl's stomach according to police. Frightened shoppers frantically call 911.

UNIDENTIFIED CALLER: He took this woman's kid and we need police here immediately.

UNIDENTIFIED CALLER: There's someone with a knife holding a little girl hostage.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You can see the knife, baby, momma.

BROWN: Terry Parker, a local pastor, watched the dramatic scene unfold and heroically blocked Wallace with his cart until police arrived.

TERRY PARKER, BLOCKED PATH OF HOSTAGE TAKER: If that gentleman was to come my direction he had to come through me or our cart.

BROWN: Moments later SWAT team evacuated the building and two police officers began to negotiate. It's not working. Police say Wallace was not responding coherently and he was acting unstable and making unreasonable demands. Afraid for the child's safe they move the mother and daughter to the front of the store. Wallace starts counting down from 60 moving the child to the girl's neck. Then while one negotiator distracts Wallace another goes up and shoots him point- blank.

BRANDON CLARES, MIDWEST CITY POLICE CHIEF: He knew if he was going to take the shot, he had one chance. He made sure he was at point-blank range so that there was no immediate harm the child.


BROWN: The officer immediately grabbed the little girl who has unharmed, by the way, and Wallace was killed instantly. The police officer who shot Wallace has been cleared of any wrongdoing by both the Midwest City Police Department and Oklahoma County District Attorney David Frater who called his actions heroic.

CUOMO: The wrong doing issue would come from whether or not the child was put in danger by the police's action while reasonable.

BROWN: He thought she was being harmed. CUOMO: Why wouldn't he? The guy was talking about this crazy group like the Illuminati. He was counting down.

BOLDUAN: That was not a small knife. This was absolutely life and death.

BROWN: But it was interesting to see the strategy. They had him to sit down so he was in a more vulnerable position.

CUOMO: Think about doing that job as a police officer. There's a 2- year-old girl right there. What do you do? You have one shot. He took a life, but he saved a life.

BOLDUAN: Pamela, thanks so much.

CUOMO: Coming up on NEW DAY, 19 heroic firefighters killed while taking on raging wildfires in Arizona. We'll bring you the latest and the look at the protective shelters that weren't enough.

BOLDUAN: A YouTube clip going viral, a baby swimming alone in a pool. Just look at her.

CUOMO: Little Elizabeth.

BOLDUAN: Lots of questions though, what is she doing in that pool alone?

CUOMO: Stop making me carry you around with those crazy tubes.

BOLDUAN: Your two-year-old around on those tubes.