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Chicago Gun Violence; Fire Photographer; '72 Dolphins Visit White House; No Charges for Limo Driver in Fire; Prosecution Rests in Nidal Hasan Case

Aired August 20, 2013 - 15:30   ET



BROOKE BALDWIN, CNN ANCHOR: Big city crime, we all know about it. What's going on in Chicago is really tough to believe. An epidemic of gun violence plagues the city.

Just last night over a 10-hour period, 12 people shot in Chicago, including five people standing outside a church that was feeding the homeless. The pastor of that church was visibly shaken by what he saw.


REVEREND MICHAEL ALLEN, UPTOWN BAPTIST CHURCH: I've never been that up close and personal to such a scene of carnage and blood everywhere and so many people shot.

Obviously in Uptown, we've seen shootings before, but this was probably the worst I've ever seen.


BALDWIN: Mike Brooks is with me, HLN law enforcement analyst and long- time police officer, spent many a year in D.C.


BALDWIN: We were talking on commercial break he was in Chicago the last couple of days.


BALDWIN: Let me make sure our viewers know. We learned that one of Illinois's U.S. senators was raising the idea to get a federal coordinator in to oversee gang efforts. Could that be a solution?

BROOKS: Senator Kirk wants to earmark money to have a coordinator. He wants over $30 million to round up 18,000 gang members, but, you know, Brooke, you've had the federal government there over the past number of years.

You've had the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms which he wants to oversee this and be the coordinator, but you've also had the FBI, the U.S. Marshals there, working on violent crimes and task forces. BALDWIN: Is that going to help?

BROOKS: It does help. It puts more boots on the street, if you will.

I talked to an officer who is in one of the districts where the majority of these shootings are taking place. They just go from one call to another call to another call.

I was listening the other night to the radio traffic in one of these districts, three shot, one shot, two shot. It's constant there.

Yes, it could help, but you're going to have to change the mentality of the people on the street to make any kind of program work, Brooke.

BALDWIN: You know, we were talking in our morning editorial meeting. Some folks were talking about L.A. There has been a turn around.

L.A. was rife with, not to say it isn't still, gang activity, gun violence and it's much, much improved.

Is that an example? Is there something that the city of Chicago could look to L.A. and say, how did you do it?

BROOKS: They could. Right now, I think Superintendant McCarthy is looking anywhere he can to get health. You look at Chicago. They cleaned that up at Cabrini Green. They went elsewhere.

The gangs fractured from one gang to another gang. You have the Gangster Disciples, Latin Kings, many other small gangs that are fighting for turf in most of the neighborhoods on the south side and the west side of Chicago. The shooting, the five shot, that was up on the north end.

So it's all over the city, but most of it is in the south and southwest. I saw police everywhere. No matter what part I went to, I saw a large police presence, even the Magnificent Mile. They've had people snatching purses.

BALDWIN: Good to know boots are on the ground. They're talking about the street level, grassroots level trying to tackle this.

BROOKS: It's tough.

BALDWIN: Mike Brooks.

BROOKS: Got to get better.

BALDWIN: It does. Thank you, Mike.

BROOKS: Absolutely.

BALDWIN: Coming up next, the devastating Idaho fires through the lens of a camera, a still photographer took some pretty stunning images at the wildfires tearing through the state right now, and, you know, these images provide a pretty unique view of the flames, the fire crews, the destruction. Coming up next, we're going to speak to this photographer about the pictures he's taken in the midst of the smoke.


BROOKS: Firefighters in Idaho hoping to get a break in the weather today as they try to get ahead of this enormous Beaver Creek fire. These flames have consumed more than 100,000 acres since it was sparked by lightening two weeks ago.

We're getting, in addition to some incredible video, some stunning photos of the fire like this one, shows the brilliant orange flames in the mountains behind the firefighters' tents there.

Ashley Smith of the "Times-News" is the professional photograph who took that shot and so many others.

Ashley, you're joining us from Haley. I know Ketchum is just a mile north of you. I sat this morning and went through a picture of a firefighter sort of taking a cat nap, a burned out home with a sign that said, please don't take my stuff.

What one or two photos really resonated for you?

ASHLEY SMITH, CHIEF PHOTOGRAHER, "TIMES-NEWS": Yes. I think those are the moments that really stand out to me, like you're saying, with the hotshot crew member taking a quick cat nap after being out in the field for four days.

It's incredible the effort these firefighters go through to battle these flames. It's great when I can get that access. We work closely with the PIOs to help get us that access because I want to tell the true story.

It's nice getting the helicopter shots showing dropping fire retardant with the mountains and the flames, those are nice shots, but it's nice to dig a little bit deeper and find those real moments with the firefighters.

BROOKS: One of the pictures you took was from the Prescott hotshot crew who we know, not too long ago, all but one in one instance were killed.

More men are out doing their jobs in battling this fire. Since you're right there next to these crews, what are they telling you?

SMITH: Yes. So when we get close to them, it's normally about, you know, five or 10 minutes that we may have with them.

Frankly, their heads are down. They're buried in the task at hand and they're working feverishly generally to dig the line. We don't have a lot of time to chitchat.

When I get an opportunity to photograph that kind of action, I'm definitely just snapping away and taking shots. I look forward to after the fire to be able to talk more with some of the hot shots. I mentioned great guys from the Idaho City hotshots. I was able to talk to them. They're working away and chipping away at these huge fires that have raged across Idaho.

BROOKS: It is yeoman's work for the fire crews. Ashley Smith, thank you for the images flew through your lens to tell this story. Ashley Smith from the "Times-News," thank you.

A trip to the White House, 40 years in the making, the president not too long ago welcoming the 1972 Miami Dolphins.

They are the only undefeated team in NFL history. The reason behind the delay and what they gave the president, next.


BALDWIN: As first lady Michelle Obama put it, the Obama pet, Bo, just wasn't getting enough dog interaction.

So much for that problem. Welcome to the White House, Sunny. She's the Obama's new pooch, another Portuguese water dog, a puppy really, just a year old.

The first lady immediately sent out a tweet yesterday. Quote, "So excited to introduce the newest member of the Obama family, our new puppy, Sunny."

But I think this new story might have just upstaged the new first pup. Talk about new faces at the White House, well, maybe we can't exactly call them "new" anymore.

The 1972 Miami Dolphins, the only undefeated team in NFL history, got their long awaited photo op with the president today. It was 40 years in the making. They are a little grayer now.


PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: I know it's a little unorthodox, four decades after the fact, but these guys never got their White House visit after winning Super Bowl VII.

I know some of them are a little harder to recognize these days. You know, they don't have the afros or the mutton chops, the Fu Manchus.


BALDWIN: Going to bring in the host of "THE LEAD," Jake Tapper. This was just an awesome moment, and I know you're talking to Larry Csonka, Dolphin Hall of Famer, on your show in a couple of moments.

But, you know, when you go back to '72, was it President Nixon and Watergate kept him a little busy? I mean, why has this taken so long?

JAKE TAPPER, CNN ANCHOR, "THE LEAD": It really is a mystery we don't fully know. I will say that back in that era it was not a hard and fast rule that if you won the Super Bowl or any sort of championship you automatically went to the White House.

And it does turn out that the two years that they won the Super Bowl, the '71 Dolphins winning it in '72 and the '72 Dolphins winning it in '73 were years that Nixon was somewhat preoccupied --

BALDWIN: Somewhat.

TAPPER: -- with the Watergate scandal.

But that said, there are some conspiracy theorists out there. And we should know that the Dolphins during this undefeated, amazing year when they won the Super Bowl, they beat the Redskins. And President Nixon was a big Redskins fan.

BALDWIN: I see where you're going.

TAPPER: You might remember there's actually a tape of him calling Coach Allen of the Redskins and suggesting a play to him, so there's a possibility that there was a little grudge, that he was a little -- not that Nixon was known for holding grudges because certainly he was not. He was a forgiving man.

But there is the possibility that he didn't like what the Dolphins achieved. In any case, the team who showed up today, the men who showed up, were very, very excited if for no reason, in addition to it being kind of cool to go to the White House, it's a reunion for them. They stick together. They are a big -- they are still a team.

BALDWIN: And there was two coaches still alive, Don Shula on the motorized scooter in the front row there for the photo op, gets up, hands the jersey over

It was a great moment. I know you're going to have it all. We'll look for that and all of "THE LEAD" treatment on this fantastic story.

Jake Tapper, thank you very much.

TAPPER: Thanks, Brooke.

BALDWIN: We'll see you at the top of the hour.

And a lot of eyes today on Fort Hood, Texas, because just a short time ago, the prosecution rested in the case against Major Nidal Hasan. He is the man accused of killing those 13 people in that attack on the military base there.

Now he could take the stand in his own defense. We're going to take you to Fort Hood, next.


BALDWIN: He was behind the wheel when a limo turned into a fire trap, killing a bride and her four friends, but Orville "Ricky" Brown will not face charges for that tragedy. In fact, no criminal charges are happening after this fire last May.

Investigators now blame a mechanical failure, saying there was, quote, "a catastrophic failure of the rear suspension system," and that caused one part of the car to start rubbing up against this other part of the car and that is the friction that sparked the fire you're watching here.

I talked to Brown just a couple of days after that fire, and he was still reeling from what he witnessed that night.


ORVILLE "RICKY" BROWN, LIMO DRIVER: Everything happened so fast. I just wish that there could have been something done more. I don't typically know.

BALDWIN: What could that something have been? I'm sure you've played it back in your head, Ricky, so many times since Saturday.

What could have been done differently? What could you have done differently, possibly?

BROWN: You know, I really don't know. You know, if I would have known that -- and everything happened so fast. But, if I had known she was saying, you know, smoke, instead of, OK, I want to smoke a cigarette, maybe 30 seconds, 60 seconds would have been spared.

But everything happened so fast. I -- you know, it's -- I really don't know. You know, everything happened so fast.


BALDWIN: Investigators also say the owner of the limo company will be fined $7,500 for having two more people in the limo than was actually allowed.

The massacre at Fort Hood, Texas, about to hit its legal climax here, those who survived the carnage and the relatives of those who did not may have to listen to the admitted shooter, Major Nidal Hasan, try to justify why he did what he did.

That is if -- and again, if -- Hasan testifies. The prosecution rested its case just a little while ago. The defense begins tomorrow morning.

Ed Lavandera has been covering the trial. He joins me live from Fort Hood. And, Ed, what's the word? Will he or won't he take the stand?

ED LAVANDERA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Everything we've been led to believe suggested that Nidal Hasan would testify in his own behalf, but I'm not so sure as this moves along exactly how this is going to play out.

I do suspect we will hear from Nidal Hasan at some point. The question is when.

He had three witnesses on his witness list, two doctors, medical experts, that would talk about his religious conversion, but he has dismissed those witnesses. He is the only witness left to call.

So it sounds like there's a possibility that Nidal Hasan just says, look, I'm not going to testify.

There are severe limits on what the judge will allow him trying to say in terms of him trying to justify the shooting here at Fort Hood, so perhaps he decides to wait and testify, knowing that he's going to be convicted, perhaps he waits to testify in the punishment phase of this trial.

So it will be interesting to see tomorrow morning if he decides to take the witness stand or if he waits until the punishment phase after he's convicted.

BALDWIN: And since, Ed, he's representing himself, just sort of logistically, if he does choose to testify, how does that even work?

LAVANDERA: Well, this is really the fascinating thing about all of this. He's been asked repeatedly if he wants to continue working as his own attorney. He consistently says that that's what he wants to do.

He's asked very few questions of any of the prosecution witnesses. And now if he does take the stand, it has to be in a question-and- answer form, according to the judge.

And what he will be told to do is leave a written list of the questions he wants to be asked, give that to one of his assisting attorneys and that attorney will then read his own questions to him and then he would be allowed to answer.

So it's not like he's going to be able to get up there and give some sort of soliloquy, some speech as to why he justified the massacres of the unarmed soldiers here at Fort Hood and wounding more 30 others. But that's the form it will take.

The question, I think, now becomes, will it be tomorrow or will it be later, assuming, as everyone here fully expects, him to be convicted?

BALDWIN: We'll be watching right along with you, Ed Lavandera, tomorrow in Fort Hood, Texas. Ed, thank you.

And a dramatic rescue for a 1,300 pound man, this is video of him being taken out of his room for the first time in two years.

Next, we'll tell you where he's going and why doctors think he gained so much weight.


BALDWIN: There's obese, there's morbidly obese and then there's the man you're about to me.

CNN's senior medical correspondent Elizabeth Cohen is here to tell us his story. Elizabeth? ELIZABETH COHEN, CNN SENIOR MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Brooke, obesity and diabetes have become a huge problem in the wealthy Gulf States. This young man perhaps the most dramatic example.


COHEN: Meet Khalid bin Mohsen Shaari. At 1,345 pounds he may be the heaviest living man in the world and he's not even 21-years-old.

Shaari hasn't been able to leave his bedroom for more than two years. These pictures show the dramatic moment when he was taken out of his home using a forklift. Part of it has to be demolished to bring him out.

DR. ROBERT LUSTIG, PEDIATRIC ENDOCRINOLOGIST, UCSF: It's obviously an extreme case. The chances that this guy is really sick are really high.

COHEN: It's unclear how he got to be this severely obese, but Dr. Robert Lustig, a leading pediatric endocrinologist, has a theory.

LUSTIG: I don't think he can eat himself to 1,345 pounds, but he can certainly drink himself to it. Liquid calories don't stimulate satiety like solid calories. It's hot there, and so it goes down really easy.

COHEN: Liquids don't fill you up so perhaps he never felt satisfied.

Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah is playing for a military plane to transport Shaari to Riyadh to undergo medical treatment.

Step one, says Lustig, a restrictive diet, not weight-loss surgery.

LUSTIG: You can't do surgery on him now. It's too dangerous.

You would basically have to keep him in the hospital for years on a restrictive calorie diet. At some point, it will become safe to do a bariatric procedure.


COHEN: According to the Guinness Book of World Records, the heaviest living man is Manuel Uribe, a Mexican man who weighed 1,235 pounds, actually less than the man in Saudi Arabia.

Now the man in Mexico, he did manage to lose some weight, got down to about 900 pounds.


BALDWIN: Elizabeth Cohen, thank you.

And before we go, I want you to see this insane video. A cliff diver from a helicopter, this is the extreme athletes at Red Bull at it again.

Here he goes, Colombian cliff diver back flipping, here he goes, 75 feet above the Hudson River with the Statue of Liberty looking on.

Just a little promotion for the Red Bull cliff diving world series taking place. If you'd like to go and try it, it's in Boston, this weekend.

I'm Brooke Baldwin. Thanks for being with me. I'll see you back here tomorrow.

"THE LEAD" with Jake Tapper starts right now.