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Colorado Ravaged By Floods; Desperation Deepens In Colorado; Disaster In Colorado; Deadly Storms Sandwich Mexico; Summers Withdraws; House GOP Focus Back On Benghazi; Ex-FAMU Player Killed; Presidential Frontrunners; Miss New York Crowned Miss America; Wild Scene Near Times Square; U.S./Russian Plan Goes to the United Nations

Aired September 16, 2013 - 06:00   ET


CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning. Welcome to NEW DAY. It's Monday, September 16th, six o'clock in the east. We have some great picture to show you this morning. You know what that is? That is the Costa Concordia submerged off the Italian coast since January 2012. Just hours ago, they finally started the process of lifting it out of the water, an operation more than a year in the making.

Now, you look at that, you think, they can't raise that. You may be right. We're going to bring you a live report with all the challenges they face coming up.

KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR: There are a lot of challenges with something about size. That's for sure. We're also following new developments on the deal with Syria. Secretary of state, John Kerry, is in France at this hour, meeting with his counterpart there. This, after hammering out a deal over the weekend to destroy Syria's chemical weapons.

But the question this morning is, of course, will the deal work? We'll talk about it all with Republican senator, John McCain, will be joining us live in studio coming up.

MICHAELA PEREIRA, CNN ANCHOR: You don't need me to tell you football and Sunday is definitely bag (ph). We have two stories of family and football crashing into each other. Peyton, the older brother, one the Manning bowl, with it is younger brother, Eli. We're going to hear from both of them coming up.

But also, get this, super bowl champ, Joe Flacco, won yesterday, too, but he missed the birth of his son in order to make that game. We'll get the reaction from him and from his teammates coming up.

CUOMO: That one will get lots of --

PEREIRA: Lot of chatter.

CUOMO: All right. Up first this morning, we want to tell you about this natural disaster of epic proportions unfolding right now in Colorado. Take a look at these stunning pictures. Homes under water, 3,000 damaged or destroyed, roads washed away, six people dead, more than 1,200 unaccounted for. Two thousand people have already been rescued by air. One member of the National Guard says it's the most people rescued by helicopter since hurricane Katrina. The struggles continue.

Sixteen rescue helicopters remain grounded because the storms just won't let up. George Howell begins our coverage live from Longmont, California. Good morning, George.

GEORGE HOWELL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Chris, good morning. Just take a look at this. This is what people are waking up to again here in Colorado. This after more rain on Sunday sent rivers and streams rushing again, cut off more communities and brought rescue operations to a temporary standstill.


HOWELL (voice-over): At least four counties in Colorado qualify for disaster relief and they'll get that help today as FEMA moves into the hardest hit areas. The flooding so widespread officials haven't begun to estimate the full extent of the damage. Over the weekend, President Obama declaring a major disaster in the state. While his state's governor touring the devastation, his helicopter rescuing seven people along the way.

JOHN HICKENLOOPER (D), COLORADO GOVERNOR: We will rebuild better than it was before.

HOWELL: But Mother Nature isn't helping rescue efforts. Clouds and heavy rain grounded air rescue missions Sunday. More than a thousand people have yet to be evacuated and with roads and bridges crumbling under the deluge, for some, rescue by air is the only way out.

LT. COL. MITCH UTTERBACK, COLORADO NATIONAL GUARD: I think what we have going on here in the last 24 hours is the greatest number of Americans rescued by helicopter since Hurricane Katrina.

HOWELL: Entire neighborhoods like this one in Jamestown isolated. Cities like Aurora already plagued by flooding contending with hail that pummelled the area over the weekend. Officials in Boulder County alone say they will need an estimated $150 million to repair more than 100 miles of lost roadway and between 20 and 30 bridges. The scene in Colorado is devastating but not hopeless.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The question I had is how can we ever recover from this? I know exactly inch by inch mile by mile community by community.


HOWELL: So from the story we covered Friday here on NEW DAY all the way to today, it has been a wild couple of days. These are early estimates, but we can at least say we know that some 19,000 homes either damaged or destroyed from this storm system. We do know that the rescue operation is expected, Kate, to resume today.

KATE BOLDUAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: All right, George, thanks so much for starting us off. As George mentioned, 19,000 homes damaged or destroyed. Six people dead at this point and this disaster that's battling Colorado is far from over this morning with hundreds of people stranded or unaccounted for and no way to help them. Right now, here is our Ana Cabrera.


ANA CABRERA, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The desperation continues to find the missing. This morning, rescue crews still struggling to reach communities cut off. The barriers, dangerously high rushing water, ripped up roads and mud filling up homes. Heart wrenching images like these are disturbingly abundant. Yet, we haven't seen the worst of the destruction. Places like Jamestown have been completely off limits, the terrain rugged, rocky, steep, and accessible only by helicopter during brief breaks in the rain.


CABRERA: Tiffany Voeller's husband and son were trapped in that zone for two days on a 5th grade field trip when the floods hit.

LUCA VOELLER, 5TH GRADER: Something just took a waterfall, rubbed out the sky like Niagara Falls, just put down there on the road.

CABRERA: The 10-year-old Luca learned the road to camp was destroyed. While the camp, itself, was spared, he and his 77 classmates had no way home. Teacher Shannon Burger says the adults hatched a plan.

SHANNON BURGERT, TEACHER: They figured that we could hike out, which would have been three-and-a-half, four miles for our kids with some water crossings, that we would need harnesses and all of that.

CABRERA: But their escape would not need harnesses instead the National Guard came to the rescue.

LUCA VOELLER: The helicopters. Those were the best.

CABRERA: Four Shinook helicopters and a Blackhawk arrived Saturday morning.

BURGERT: So we're shouting constantly. You two go there. You two go there.

TIFFANY VOELLER, MOM: Everyone was cheering when the buses were pulling up. It was very fun, very celebratory.

CABRERA: The Voellers know they are among the lucky ones. Too many families have no home to return to. Ana Cabrera, CNN, Boulder, Colorado.


CUOMO: All right, thanks, to Ana. You heard that this has been the largest air rescue ever since Hurricane Katrina. So we are lucking to have a guest right who understands what happened to Katrina very well to give us some context, Retired Lieutenant General Russel Honore. He led the task force in Katrina in that aftermath. A devastating hurricane struck the gulf coast. Also authored, "Leadership in the New Normal," he is live this morning from Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Thank you very much for joining us, sir.


CUOMO: All right, so first, let's give a little bit of positive context to what we are hearing coming out of Colorado. The unaccounted number, people feel terrible within they hear that. Are all those people gone? Give us a little perspective on why it could mean why they are unaccounted for.

HONORE: Because nobody -- no one has spoken to them. People who know where they live have no communications with them. One of the biggest challenges now is for the National Guard and first responders to be able to communicate with people and the result of the array and flooding has taken out much of the communication. So it's people they don't know because nobody has talked to them. That is the problem.

CUOMO: But that number can go up or down. It doesn't mean they're all lost, right. I mean, there is cause for hope there, right, sir?

HONORE: Absolutely. You are talking about a very resilient on the Front Range. They are accustomed to go on several days being isolated from the heavy snows that can get in there. That's the good news. The other good news is we elected, the Colorado National Guard have some of the high altitude pilots we have in the nation.

As a matter of fact, we sent people there to train before they go off to Afghanistan to learn how to fly to in that terrain. They will get in there. Get it done, have the capacity under General Barnes to bring in even more National Guard and federal helicopters as needed and when the weather breaks.

CUOMO: One of the things you understand very well from Katrina is the difficulty with evacuations. There are a lot of evac orders going on in Colorado right now. What makes that a complicated effort?

HONORE: Well, number one, people who don't know what's going on because really none of them have lost communication and reinforce the fact while Red Cross talk about having your weather radio so you can stay informed. That being said, the other part is you got some people evacuating, Chris, you got other people that still need to be rescued and this weather has not broken sufficiently.

So they can't get in there. Every home, every building that's been evacuated will have to be entered by a search and rescue team to be sure no one is in that home. So there is much work that can be done and this us now could get worse before it gets better, which is sustained rain and as that water flow out mountains into the low ground, Chris.

CUOMO: Now a lot of people are saying we know that we were told to evacuate, I'm not leaving my property. Let's put that decision aside. There is something people can do to mark water on their property that you know very well. What's the advice for how people can monitor the situation in their own home and make the decision whether or not to get out.

HONORE: If you live near stream or a creek that might be a river now, if you want to make sure you understand, just takes you some sticks, put them on at the edge of the water, and every 10 feet put a stick between you and your home. That way you can tell if that river is rising and if you still have time to evacuate, you can get out. Particularly at night, you cannot tell if that river is rising or the creek is rising. That is a technique we use in the army.

CUOMO: All right, Lt. General Russel Honore, thank you very much for the perspective. Hopefully the weather abates so they get it under control so we don't deal with anything like we lived through down south before. Thank you for being with us this morning on NEW DAY -- Kate.

BOLDUAN: All right, Chris, thanks so much. Let's talk about some other weather that we're all watching this morning. Mexico is getting battered on both sides today. Tropical Storm Manuel attacking from the west and Hurricane Ingrid from the east, both storms dumping lots of rain and furthering fatal landslides with it, more than 20 people have been killed and thousands have been forced to leave their homes this morning. Parts of the U.S. are also feeling the storm.

Let's get straight to Ingrid Petersons who is following the track and really the devastation in its path. Good morning, Indra.

INDRA PETERSONS, AMS METEOROLOGIST: It is unbelievable we are dealing with both the Pacific and the Atlantic storms, both coming together pretty much in Mexico so potential for devastating flooding in the region. You had remnants here about 30 miles per hour for Manuel. We are looking at really all this flooding. Now, notice, here is Manuel and there is Ingrid. You can see they are both really narrowing in, in the same region.

With that, especially in the mountainous areas here, we are quite concerned that we are going to see a lot of that flooding down those canyons and see a lot of landslides in the region. Here right now we have Ingrid currently a Category 1 hurricane, pretty weak, about 75 miles per hour at this point in time.

Notice those got very windy out there, 90 miles per hour winds currently gusting to that region. We will be watching as the two come together is the very large amount of rainfall. We're talking anywhere from 10 to 15 inches of rain. But in the mountainous areas, we already saw this in Colorado, when you have that enhanced rain over the mountain. They can see as much as 25 inches of rain.

So just imagine the devastation that's potentially possible here. Flash flooding and mudslides likely over towards Brownville and Corpus Christy, yes, we have it moving to shore, but they are not regionally about one to two inches of rain tonight and then again tomorrow. But definitely going to be a big concern as we move into the afternoon today in Mexico.

BOLDUAN: Lots to watch this morning. Thanks so much, Indra. There is a lot of news developing at this very hour so let's straight to Michaela for the latest headlines.

PEREIRA: All right, good morning, guys. Good morning, happy Monday to you at home, making news at this hour. Former Treasury Secretary Larry Somers has withdrawn from consideration to be the next treasury secretary. He was believed to be President Obama's top choice, but a source tells CNN he pulled out because of lack of support. Summers' decision leaves the fed's Vice Chair Janet Yellin as the favorite.

Meantime, President Obama will deliver remarks this morning marking five years as the start of the financial crisis. CNN will bring that to you live at 11:40 Eastern.

House Republicans set to release a report this morning slamming the Obama administration's handling of last year's terror attack on the U.S. compound in Benghazi. Four Americans including Ambassador Chris Stevens were killed. A house hearing is set for Wednesday with a top State Department official expected to testify.

A court date today for North Carolina police officer who opened fire on an unarmed former Florida A&M football player who police now believe was merely looking for help after crashing his car. Police say they unsuccessfully tried to use their stun guns to subdue Jonathan Ferrell so a second officer, Randall Kerick opened fire.

They say they believe Ferrell matched the description of a possible breaking and entering suspect called in by a woman who did recognize Ferrell when he approached her home. Kerick has been charged now with involuntary manslaughter. Ferrell's parents will join us exclusively coming up in our next hour.

New this morning, a just released CNN/ORC poll shows a clear presidential frontrunner for Democrats in 2016. Not so much for Republicans. About two-thirds of Democrats would support Hillary Clinton if she chooses to run, 10 percent would back Vice President Joe Biden. He stoked 2016's speculation at an Iowa Stake Prize Sunday. Meanwhile, on the GOP side, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, Congressman Paul Ryan and former Senator Rick Santorum lead the pack.

Well, for the second time in a row, a New Yorker wins the title of Miss America. Miss New York, Nina Davaluri takes home the tiara. Look at how beautiful she is. She is 24. She is from Syracuse and this is history in the making. She is the first Miss America of Indian dissent. In fact, she performed a fantastic Bollywood fusion dance for the talent portion.

Unfortunately, there was ugly backlash on Twitter, some people calling her a foreigner or a terrorist, an upset this happened so close to the 9/11 anniversary. But let's set the record straight. She is American born. She is of Indian dissent. She is not Muslim, but she sure can dance.

CUOMO: This is amazing. You know, she is beautiful in every way that there was. As soon as you say on Twitter, everybody should kind of like turn down the volume of how significant this criticism is about.

PEREIRA: It's not significant at all.

CUOMO: Because social media is becoming more and more anti-social media.

PEREIRA: It really is.

CUOMO: She deserves the praise. She was great. She's an American. So leave it alone.

Coming up here on NEW DAY, we're going to talk to you about Syria. There are some very important questions going on. How real is this plan? How workable is it? The role of time? We have Senator John McCain here. We are going to have reports for you. Is time making the United States seems stronger or weaker here? We'll take you through it.

BOLDUAN: Also ahead, two innocent bystanders hit by police gunfire during a weekend shootout in Times Square. A scary situation, we are going to tell you why the police insist they had to fire on an unarmed man.

CUOMO: And we are going to take you back to Italy, this epic salvage operation a year in the making. They say they can raise the ship and it's going to happen right on your screen. All these engineers are getting ready to do it over there. Big challenges, we'll tell you about them when we come back.


CUOMO: All right. Welcome back to NEW DAY.

We have a wild incident near New York's Time Square to tell you about. A man is facing charges and two women are recovering from police gunshot wound.

New York City Police say an emotionally disturbed man tried to commit suicide by walking into traffic and pretending to point a gun at cops.

Our Rosa Flores is here with more.

What a story, Rosa.

ROSA FLORES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Oh, I know, a lot of folks describe it as out of a movie, because imagine this, you are walking down a public street. . You hear what appear to be gunshots. Then you realize, they are gunshots. Of course, you guessed it, in the age of cell phones, it was all caught on camera.



FLORES (voice-over): This amateur video captures the frightening and chaotic scene that broke out near New York's Times Square Saturday night. Shots ringing out as police try to pursue an emotionally disturbed man in a crowded intersection. (GUNFIRE)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Oh my God! Go, go, go, go.

FLORES: Kerri-Ann Nesbeth was there and says a woman next to her went from shocked to shot.

KERRI-ANN NESBETH, WITNESSED SHOOTING: I kind of got hysterical at that point. I started crying. I realized this is real. That's when it became extremely real for me when I actually saw someone injured.

FLORES: Officers were trying to arrest 35-year-old Glenn Broadnax. But the three shots police fired missed him, instead hitting two bystanders.

BESBETH: I literally froze in fear. And I just stopped.

FLORES: Nesbeth snapped this photo with a woman in a walker with a bullet in the knee. The other took a grazed wound on her back side.

Investigators say Broadnax was disoriented, weaving through traffic and seemingly throwing himself in the path of oncoming traffic.

And then --

RAY KELLY, NYC POLICE COMMISSIONER: He put his hands in his pocket, took out his hand and simulated shooting at the officers.

FLORES: That's when all bets were off. Police responded with gunfire.




FLORES: This isn't the first time New York City police were forced to fire on the crowded streets of the city, mistakenly injuring bystanders.

Last August, nine pedestrians were wounded when police fired shots outside the Empire State Building, at a man that killed a former co- worker.

As for Broadnax, he told police that he had a mission to kill himself. It does not appear to have a history of mental illness.


FLORES: Broadnax is facing a slew of charges, including criminal possession of a controlled substance and resisting arrest. And this is not the first time he's had a run-in with police. He has a long rap sheet that includes at least 23 arrests. That's according to NYPD.

Now, as for those two women who were shot, they were transported to the hospital in stable condition. What a nightmare.

KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR: And kind of beyond belief that it can be happening out in front of you as you are walking down the street. No matter what city do you live in America, right?

FLORES: And do you do? Do you stop and duck? Do you run? Just one of those things.

BOLDUAN: Exactly.


BOLDUAN: All right. Thank you so much. So terrifying.

Coming up next on NEW DAY: the president's pick on the Federal Reserve chairman, withdrawing his name from the nomination. Why Larry Summers pulled his name from the White House to find another candidate.

CUOMO: And we're going to try and show you this great picture this morning. You're taking a look at the Costa Concordia over there off the coast of Giglio in Italy. Engineers are trying to right the crippled cruise ship. Question is, will it break apart?

One of the biggest salvage operations on its kind ever done, $800 million plan. Will it work? You may get to see it right on your TV. See it in a second.


ANNOUNCER: You're watching NEW DAY with Chris Cuomo, Kate Bolduan, and Michaela Pereira.

CUOMO: Welcome back to NEW DAY. It's Monday, September 16th.

Coming up, a former college football star shot and killed by police. Now, an officer facing charges, a family looking for answers. The victim's mother and brother will join us live in the next hour.

BOLDUAN: Plus an $800 million mission to raise the Costa Concordia. What engineers are attempting this morning. It's unprecedented. And so, is the disaster it can cause if this whole operation doesn't go according to plan. A lot at stake here.

CUOMO: Right. One of the stories we are following this morning. But there is a lot of news. So, let's get right to Michaela.

MICHAELA PEREIRA, CNN ANCHOR: And things are bad in Colorado. Let's begin there.

Historic flooding has left 1,200 people unaccounted for. There are fears that as many as six people are dead. More than 2,100 people have already been rescued. Rain, though, hampering rescue efforts, and more of it sadly in the forecast for today. FEMA is on scene as our three urban search and rescue teams; 19,000 homes have been damaged or destroyed. A report from U.N. weapons inspectors is due out today on last month's apparent chemical attack on Syria. Secretary of State John Kerry in France this morning to discuss a plan to get chemical weapons out by 2014. It calls for a full accounting of weapons within a week and for inspectors to be in Syria by November.

A man who is suing former NFL star Aaron Hernandez for allegedly shooting him in the face in a Miami nightclub wants his lawsuit to move forward. Alexander Bradley is seeking compensation from Hernandez and insists the murder case against the former tight end should not slow things down in his case. Attorneys for Hernandez said he cannot defend himself properly against civil charges while he is fighting murder charges in Massachusetts.

Five months after heightened political tensions closed it, North and South Korea have reopened the joint Kaesong industrial complex came to a screeching halt in April, following North Korea's long-range rocket launch and underground nuclear tests. More than 120 companies operated in the area. Kaesong sits just north of the demilitarized zone that divides the two Koreas.

Coastguard rescuers took to the air to save two fishermen from the Bahamas whose capsized boat was spotted Saturday off Riviera Beach, Florida. The rescue swimmer was lowered from a helicopter to help bring the voters to safety. They say they were drifting for eight days and had swallowed seawater. Those men were taken to Delray Medical Center for treatment. Eight days on the open ocean.

CUOMO: Lucky to be alive.

PEREIRA: Very, very lucky.

BOLDUAN: Absolutely.

All right. Thanks so much, Michaela.

PEREIRA: You're welcome.

BOLDUAN: Let move now to -- it's time for a political gut check. The deal brokered between U.S. and Russia on Syria is leaving a whole lot of fodder for critics. Some saying the agreement to confiscate Syria's chemical weapons and destroy them makes the president look weak.

Joining us now is CNN political analyst and executive director of "The Daily Beast", John Avlon, in for John King this morning to talk more about this.

Lots to cover. A lot happened while you were away I guess we could say for a lot of people.

JOHN AVLON, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Yes, this weekend was chockfull of news on Syria.

BOLDUAN: So I want to get your take on where things stand on Syria. The deal brokered over the weekend. You are reading, I'm reading different place. You're hearing from lawmakers, kind of guarded optimism. They're not everyone is pooh-poohing it.

But, of course, some critics are. Do you -- is it like a wait and see position now for the White House? Where do you think things stand?

AVLON: Here's where things stand. I mean, this is a blockbuster deal by any measure. To some extent, it's a vindication of the president's approach, because in reaction to the threat of credible force, Russia all of a sudden changed its tune, went from President Putin denying or questioning whether rebels used chemical weapons to saying that basically Assad had done so, and that Russia would be an enforcement with the U.S. in a definite time period to get Syria to turn over the chemical weapons.

But here's the real catch, Vladimir Putin. How much is the U.S. trust Vladimir Putin to be the honest broker in a region with his client state, Syria?

That's going to provoke a lot of skepticism, as well it should. Ronald Reagan's rule applies again, trust by verify.

BOLDUAN: And I also want to get your take. You know, the president did an interview with George Stephanopoulos over the weekend for ABC News. And during the interview, he kind of responded to his critics seeing that they are judging him more on style rather than policy in terms of his approach to Syria. Do you think that is a creative spin or do you think he has a valid point?

AVLON: It's like Olympic gymnastics, style points. No. I mean, at the end of the day, this is really about outcomes. We focus a lot on process because that's how we judge the tick-tock. But looking in the rear view mirror of the history, it's all about outcomes. And as with the Cuban missile crisis, if you can get an outcome without violence, that's always best for pretty much everybody. That would be judged as a diplomatic success.

But the atmosphere also in Capitol Hill is so polarized. There are folks who are going to criticize the president no matter what position he takes. All that gets caught up in the noise. You got to take a step back, see what happens at the U.N. today, see if these deadlines are real or this is a delay tactic by Syria.

BOLDUAN: Yes, really, Friday is clearly a critical day to see what happens in terms of that.

So, another big debate that's going on in Washington, maybe not so much in the forefront until today is the who will be the next Fed chairman? Larry Summers taking his name out of contention. He really was Obama's top choice, everyone says, behind the scenes, you know?

So what do you think is going on there?

AVLON: This is a classic Washington whodunit? You know, was he killed or was this is a case of suicide? He technically pulled his name.

But he wanted the job. Obama wanted to give him the job. So who is culpable in this case?

It's the far left of the Democratic which is increasingly resurgent. There were real doubts about whether President Obama could get Larry Summers' nomination through the Senate, because he was very much an advocate of deregulation back in the 1990s.