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Shooting In A Small Town; State Department Orders Americans Out of Yemen; Is Terror Network Gaining Strength?; Preemptive Strike from RNC; A-Rod to Fight Suspension

Aired August 6, 2013 - 05:30   ET



JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: A deadly shooting in a Pennsylvania town meeting. Three people killed. Four others injured. We are going to tell you how the gunman was stopped during this rampage. We're live on the scene.

ZORAIDA SAMBOLIN, CNN ANCHOR: An al Qaeda threat shutting down more than a dozen U.S. embassies and consulates. This morning, many are asking, is the terrorist organization gaining strength?

BERMAN: Confessions of a presidential mistress? This is true, folks. A new book claiming that Marilyn Monroe opened up to Jackie Kennedy about her affair with the president.

SAMBOLIN: We're going to have a lot more details on that.

Welcome back to EARLY START. We're really happy you're with us this morning. I'm Zoraida Sambolin.

BERMAN: And I'm John Berman. Great to see you this morning. It is 30 minutes after the hour right now.

SAMBOLIN: And we have more now on our top story. It's the deadly shooting at a government meeting in Eastern Pennsylvania. At least three people were killed, four others were hurt when witnesses say a man opened fire during a monthly meeting of supervisors in Saylorsburg. That is not far from Allen Town. Poppy Harlow is in Saylorsburg for us this morning. Poppy, what's the very latest here?

POPPY HARLOW, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good morning to you, Zoraida. Well, you know, as one county official explained, this is a town that is never in the newspapers, and it is today because of the horror that unfolded here. Just hours ago last night, a gunman bursting into a meeting with about 15 people. It was a town supervisors meeting.

This gunman shooting rampantly through the windows outside before he got inside, then sprang bullets, police say, throughout the meeting, killing three people, injuring others. But heroism prevailing in all of this. Police say that actually two people tackled the gunman to the ground, preventing more deaths. Listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) Lt. ROBERT BARTEL, PENNSYLVANIA STATE POLICE: They absolutely would have saved lives. He was entering the building again with a handgun, and certainly, his intent had been shown that he wanted to harm the people. And certainly, if they would not have done that, he would have killed or injured other people.


HARLOW: Now, as you heard there, what we know from police is that this gunman entered the meeting with what is being described as a long gun. Then, apparently emptied it, and then went back out to his car to get a handgun. That's when he was tackled to the ground. He was prevented from shooting other people, but three people are dead, at least two more in the hospital at this hour -- Zoraida.

SAMBOLIN: Poppy, are there any details on the shooter, a motive, perhaps?

HARLOW: That's a big question. I can tell you what we know, so far. Police have identified the main suspect and the suspected shooter is someone named Rockne Newell. He is from here. He is from Saylorsburg. We know that he had an ongoing dispute, a year's long dispute with the township about his property. It had been condemned.

He had been evicted. He had been fighting for it. He had said if I have to leave here, I will have nowhere to go. He has said, they, meaning the town has wronged me for so long. So, obviously, there was discontent. Police aren't directly saying that was a motive at this point in time. But I want you to listen more to what the state police said about this property dispute. Listen.


BARTEL: Apparently, the property was condemned possibly last Thursday. And he'd been out of there since then and possibly even longer than that. He showed up at this meeting unbeknownst to people that he was coming today. He showed up in a car with Texas registration plates.


HARLOW: Now, it's not clear, Zoraida, if the suspected shooter knew any of the victims, if anyone was being specifically targeted here. And also, at this early stage, we don't know the names of the victims yet. We're awaiting a press conference here later this morning where we will likely start hearing some of the names of those injured and those killed. But absolute horror in this quiet, small town outside of Philadelphia -- Zoraida.

SAMBOLIN: All right. Live for us in Saylorsburg, Pennsylvania, thank you so much, Poppy Harlow.

BERMAN: About 34 minutes after the hour. A frantic search is underway on the west coast for a man police may -- believe may be on the run with a teenage girl and her young brother as well. James Lee Demacio (ph) is said to be heading either in Canada or Texas. Wide area (ph) there. Police believe he killed the children's mother.

Her body was found in his burned out home near San Diego on Sunday along with the remains of a child and dog. He and the mother, apparently, were in a close platonic relationships, but authorities aren't saying anything about a motive.

SAMBOLIN: And breaking news this morning from the State Department. Now ordering all Americans out of Yemen over growing terror concerns. All non-emergency government personnel are being pulled out. And the threat level in Yemen is now considered extremely high. The embassy there is one of nearly two dozen diplomatic posts that remain closed as the U.S. takes precautions against a potential al Qaeda threat.

But, is it a sign the terror network once thought to have been decimated is actually regaining strength? As Jim Acosta reports, the White House insists that the answer to that question is no.


JIM ACOSTA, CNN NATIONAL POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The Obama administration is defending its decision to shut down almost 20 diplomatic posts near al Qaeda hot spots as a temporary measure. That's out of an abundance of caution, not weakness.

JAY CARNEY, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: We believe that this threat is significant and we are taking it seriously.

ACOSTA: But it's a new terror touch (ph) for the president who made the call to take out Osama Bin Laden and has talked up his administration successes against al Qaeda, a key theme in his re- election campaign.

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: And al Qaeda is on the path to defeat and Osama Bin Laden is dead.

ACOSTA: And months into his second term.

OBAMA: Core al Qaeda is a shell of its former self.

ACOSTA: In light of the attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi and the new terror alert, Republican senator, Lindsey Graham, says far from it.

SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM, (R) SOUTH CAROLINA: After Benghazi, these al Qaeda-types are really on steroids thinking we're weaker and they're stronger.

ACOSTA (on-camera): Is it fair any more to say that the core al Qaeda is on the path of defeat?

CARNEY: Well, I think it's most people who cover these issues understand that al Qaeda core is the Afghanistan/Pakistan base. There is no question over the past several years al Qaeda core has been greatly diminished. And we have made clear over the past several years that AQAP, al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula is a particular concern. ACOSTA (voice-over): But al Qaeda core appears to be evolving. The man leading AQAP, Nasir al-Wuhayshi, is now believed to be al Qaeda's number two in command.

JASON CAMPBELL, RAND CORPORATION: I think what we've seen particularly since the death of Osama Bin Laden is a metamorphosis of sorts within al Qaeda.

ACOSTA: The ultimate question terror analysts say is whether this new al Qaeda still has the capacity to pull off another 9/11-style attack. The closing of embassies, some of which are already like bunkers, a reminder the terror network can still make an impact.

CAMPBELL: To some degree, there is at least somewhat of a propaganda victory for al Qaeda because they're forcing us, the United States to act in a way that we otherwise wouldn't or don't want to.

CARNEY: I think, again, any fair assessment would conclude the opposite.

ACOSTA (on-camera): As for those NSA surveillance efforts that have been leaked to the public in recent weeks, lawmakers are pointing to this latest threat as proof these programs work. As for the White House agrees with that assessment, press secretary, Jay Carney, said he'd rather not blend the two issues.

Jim Acosta, CNN, the White House.


BERMAN: Police in Michigan are looking for your help trying to find a killer. Medical student Paul DeWolf was found dead in his apartment last month. He'd been shot. Investigators say it was murder, but they're stumped. Who would kill a popular student and air force officer who wanted to be a surgeon?

Now, there's a $10,000 reward for information leading to a possible arrest. An autopsy shows DeWolf had been shot in the neck, but police are not sure who pulled the trigger.

SAMBOLIN: Two children of the admitted Cleveland kidnapper, Ariel Castro, are taking what they can from his former home. His son and daughter were at the house on Monday to gather up photos and other mementos from their childhood before that building is torn down.

Castro admitted last month that he held three women captive for upwards of a decade, fathering a daughter with one of them. He agreed to spend the rest of his life in jail as part of a plea deal.

BERMAN: Mitt Romney is back in politics. Tonight, Romney will appear at a fundraiser for the New Hampshire Republican Party. It's happening near Romney's summer home in Wolfeboro on lovely Lake Winnipesaukee. The former Massachusetts governor has been keeping a low profile since losing the presidency last year or the election, at least. But Romney hasn't given any indications that he will be active during -- he has given indications that he will be active during the 2014 midterm elections.

SAMBOLIN: And a preemptive strike from the Republican National Committee, threatening to bar CNN and NBC from future GOP primary debates if they air planned programs on Hillary Clinton. RNC chairman Reince Priebus says an NBC mini-series and a CNN documentary on Clinton amount to an extended commercial for Clinton presidential campaign.

CNN responded in a statement urging the RNC to quote, "reserve judgment until they know more about the program." And that limiting debate participation seems to be the ultimate disservice to voters.

BERMAN: And from the proud to be an Americanphile. According to TMZ, Sydney Leathers, Anthony Weiner's sexting partner, is making a foray into the world of entertainment. Adult entertainment, that is, which I understand some people call porn. The web site is posting pictures of Leathers in her first film.

Leathers signed a deal with Vivid Entertainment after revealing that Weiner exchanged lewd messages and photos with her after, after, his resignation from Congress.

SAMBOLIN: So much to say.

BERMAN: There is so much to say.

SAMBOLIN: I'm going to keep my mouth --

BERMAN: You know, you need a cold shower after something like that, which is why we'll go to weather now, right?

SAMBOLIN: Yes, days of gray in Kansas and Missouri. And the flood risk, unfortunately, remains high -- Indra.

INDRA PETERSONS, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Yes. I mean, unbelievable. Sunday morning, you may remember, we had seven inches of rain in Hutchinson, Kansas in the morning hours, and they had flash flood emergency. This morning, we're still talking about these training thunderstorms. And we have flash flood emergencies right around Waynesville, Missouri.

So, southern (INAUDIBLE) to Missouri this morning. Look at the heavy rainfall. Since midnight, we're talking four to nine inches of rain in the area. That is an unbelievable amount of rain. We're still talking about another additional two to four inches in the area. What we're talking about here now currently is -- rescue. We're talking about literally flash flood going into people's homes.

They're currently trapped on the roof, because I cannot tell you how much water that has rainfall rates now talking about two inches per hour. More rain still on the way. We're looking at the cold front expected to sweep through the area today, so we talked about additional rainfall expected there. But really today stretching from in front of the plains and eventually making its way into the mid- Atlantic by tomorrow.

The severe weather threat also today going to be anywhere from the Plains kind of extending right there again to northern portions of Missouri. So, very scary thing going on right now. We're talking about a lot of rain and all those floodwaters moving into people's homes in the Missouri currently.

BERMAN: All right. Thanks.


BERMAN: Appreciate it.

SAMBOLIN: And coming up, a love triangle at the White House? Hmmm. A new book detailing how much Jackie Kennedy knew about her husband's affair with Marilyn Monroe and what she had to say about it.


SAMBOLIN: Welcome back. Forty-four minutes past the hour. Explosive new allegations about Marilyn Monroe and the Kennedys in a new book, "This Few Precious Days: The Final Year of Jack with Jackie." Author, Christopher Anderson, claims Monroe called Jacqueline Kennedy on at the White House phone to confess to an affair she was rumored to be having with the president.

Mrs. Kennedy allegedly responded by saying, "That's great. You'll move into the White House and you'll assume the responsibilities of first lady and I'll move out and you'll have all the problems."


NICK RAGONE, PRESIDENTIAL HISTORIAN: The claim that Marilyn Monroe actually called Jackie at the White House is the first that's been heard. And so, while his sourcing is pretty good and he's a respected biographer, you know, whether or not that actually happened is hard to prove.

I'd be interested to see if others come out and verify that story. It does seem slightly farfetched, but then again, with Marilyn Monroe, seemingly, anything was possible.


SAMBOLIN: Monroe allegedly confided her most intimate details of the alleged affair to a friend, convinced the president would leave Jackie for her and even fantasizing about being first lady. Is it true?

BERMAN: I don't know. I feel like we're going to be hearing stories like this forever and ever.

SAMBOLIN: Oh yes, we are. Everybody's always interested, right?

BERMAN: Sure are. All right. Let's take a look at what's coming up on "NEW DAY." Chris Cuomo, Kate Bolduan join us now. What's on tap, guys? CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR, "NEW DAY": He says he feels like we're going to be hearing stories like this. We've been hearing them for 40 years.

BERMAN: I know. Like the sun rises in the east.


CUOMO: It's quite the revelation from JB this morning.


KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR, "NEW DAY": Zoraida, you better get used to it. Settle in. This is what we do.

CUOMO: I've learned that we sit with the same lean. Look at the both of us right now.


CUOMO: I need to move.

BERMAN: I lean because I like -- want a little bit of protection. There's got to be some pads, for that. For that.

BOLDUAN: See, you're lucky. I don't beat you.

CUOMO: They moved me out.



BOLDUAN: You and then I beat you, and I'm kidding. We kid because we love. That's it. The only thing -- that's the only reason why we can do it. All right. What's coming up in the show? They want to get rid of us.

CUOMO: Serious news. Shooting overnight, a gunman goes into a town hall meeting, literally, starts melee there. He kills three. He injures more. He only is stopped by a heroic, local comes in. We're going tell you the entire story about what happened there and why.

BOLDUAN: What a horrific scene. And then, this is the story everybody has been talking about now. A-Rod greeted with boos and jeers by fans just hours after receiving this historic unprecedented 211-game suspension. Hear those boos? People are pretty much enjoying themselves at that game last night.

The Yankee's slugger, he is no stranger to controversy, obviously, but he is fighting back. He says he's going to prove his innocence. We're going to take a look at what this means going forward not just for A-Rod but for the league and how long this appeal is going to --

CUOMO: Historic day, they say, this was for baseball.

BOLDUAN: They do.

CUOMO: Speaking of history, are you going to give a little juice to the big interview? The big stuff? We've been waiting a two-day build up the news?

BOLDUAN: Talk about a lean up.


CUOMO: The news is going to be great. Come on, tell them. There he is.

BOLDUAN: All right. All right. So, we're going to bring you, as promised, the interview with Matt Damon. The lead role in new sci-fi movie --

CUOMO: He's shaking his head, because he's so happy to be with you.

BOLDUAN: It was very fun. He's a very nice person. Well, he at least played nice during the interview.


BOLDUAN: He's taking on a new role. Big sci-fi flick, "Elysium." It's coming out this week if you want to see it. And,we sat down and talked about that and much, much more.

BERMAN: You know, they said the interview would never happen. They said we would never see it. Yet, today, finally, on our television, we will see --


BOLDUAN: There's a bit of a technical glitch that delayed our release of the interview. But we upgraded, we had John Berman on.

SAMBOLIN: It seems like a really nice time. Looking forward to it, Kate. Thank you.

BERMAN: It's nice to them (ph) to wait until today. All right. Guys, take care. We'll see you in a little bit.

Coming up here, Tony Stewart leaving the racetrack in an ambulance. One of the best drivers on the circuit. Breaking news on the NASCAR champs racing injury. We'll have that right after the break.


SAMBOLIN: Welcome back. Fifty-one minutes past the hour. As expected, Major League Baseball suspended Alex Rodriguez for the rest of the season, all of next season, but he was out on the field playing for the Yankees last night.

BERMAN: Andy Scholes here with the "Bleacher Report" to tell us how the Yankees lost last night. Good morning, Andy.


ANDY SCHOLES, BLEACHER REPORT: Good morning, guys. Well, Major League Baseball hit A-Rod with the hardest steroid-related punishment this sport has ever seen yesterday for his part in the biogenesis drug scandal, but since A-Rod is appealing the suspension, he gets to play while his case is being heard and that can take three or four months (INAUDIBLE).

The fans in Chicago let A-Rod hear it when he came to the plate, the second inning last night. The Yankee's third baseman is able to bloop a single into left field during his first hit bat. That was A-Rod's only hit of the night. He finished one for four. After the game, A- Rod said he was happy to be back on the field with his teammates and he just wants to concentrate on baseball for the rest of the season.


ALEX RODRIGUEZ, YANKEES PLAYER: I felt OK for the first game. It was a hard day today, that's for sure. Long day. Felt pretty good. You know, from this moment on, I want to focus on baseball and play every game like it's do or die. Every game is very important for us.


SCHOLES: There's more troubling news for Texas A&M and Johnny Football this morning a day after ESPN reported that the NCAA is investigating the Heisman trophy winner for receiving money to sign autographs. More details have emerged. Another autograph dealer (ph) told ESPN that Nate Fitch (ph), who is Manziel's friend, told him that Manziel would not be signing autographs for him without compensation.

Now, Texas A&M says they are looking into the situation and they announced that they have retained those same law firm that Penn State and Auburn used while being investigated by the NCAA.

Well, bad news for Tony Stewart fans. A three-time Sprint Cup series champion suffered a broken fibula and tibia, ouch, during a dirt track race in Iowa last night. This comes just one week after Stewart was involved in a roll-over accident during a race in Ottawa. He walked away from that wreck, but was not as lucky last night. No word yet on how long Stewart is going to be out. He's currently 11th in the Sprint Cup standings with five races to go until the chase for the cup field is set.

Well, here's something you don't see very often, a beaver riding a tricycle through the Indiana state fair.


SCHOLES: And inside that beaver costume is an Indycar driver, Alex Tagliani. He wore the costume because he lost a bet with driver Scott Dixon on who could raise more money for charity. And guys, it's pretty funny. Tagliani had to go around the whole fair in the beaver costume doing all kinds of thing like milking cows. He had to go to take a picture with the largest male hog.



SCHOLES: There you go. The spin out on the tricycle. Pretty funny stuff.

SAMBOLIN: Oh, but it gives us something to laugh about this morning. So, thank you for that.

SCHOLES: Nothing like a guy in a giant beaver costume.

SAMBOLIN: Yes. Making dumb bets. All right. Thank you, Andy. We'll be right back.


BERMAN: We have a great deal more to say this morning, but we can't, because that is all for EARLY START. It is time for "NEW DAY." Chris, Kate, take it away, guys.

CUOMO: All right.

BOLDUAN: Thank you.

CUOMO: Thank you very much. Almost the top of the hour and you know what that means here on "NEW DAY," time for the top news.