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Kenya Mall Attack; "Soft Attack" Attack In Nairobi; Typhoon Kills At Least 25 People; Rockin Sendoff For Yankees Legend

Aired September 23, 2013 - 05:30   ET



UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'm OK. I'm very grateful to be alive.

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): A shopping mall under siege. Dozens killed, nearly 200 injured. The latest from the scene this morning at this ongoing standoff.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Something bad should happen here. We don't want our responses to start with and law enforcement will be here and they will protect you.

ZORAIDA SAMBOLIN, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): Kenya's mall massacre raising concerns of a similar here in the United States. What some malls are doing to keep shoppers safe?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I like to go around and tell people that anything is possible and I don't ever want to hear the words, "I can't."

BERMAN: He has proved that anything is possible. A musician born without arms sharing his story of triumph over disability.


SAMBOLIN (on-camera): Welcome back to EARLY START. Glad you're with us this morning. I'm Zoraida Sambolin.

BERMAN (on-camera): And I'm John Berman. Thirty-one minutes after the hour.

SAMBOLIN: So, first this morning, breaking news out of Kenya mall terror attack. Sources telling CNN three of the Islamic militants who attacked an upscale mall in Nairobi killing 69 people were American. Nearly 200 people were injured. The weekend long standoff between Kenyan security forces and the terrorists is not over.

There were reports of heavy gunfire at the mall overnight. Kenya's military says it now controls most of the shopping mall and most of the hostages have also been freed. The al Qaeda linked group al Shabaab is claiming responsibility for the attacks.

CNN's Arwa Damon is live on the phone for us this morning. And Arwa, we understand that officials in Kenya are saying on Twitter at least that they have managed to secure more hostages at this hour. What can you tell us about the situation? VOICE OF ARWA DAMON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: They have. But there is that very delicate stage where there are at least ten remaining hostages, we believe, according to Kenyan authorities that are being held in one of the levels of the West Gate Mall. They managed to clear the other levels, but now, there are volunteers waiting to go in to begin removing bodies. You know, there are still a lot of people who don't know what happened to their loved ones.

Here at a community center where we are very close to West Gate Mall, there was a woman who has been looking for her husband utterly distraught as you can an imagine who was an employee in the mall itself and, of course, there is the ongoing trauma that this entire nation is having to deal with at this stage trying to cope with the scope and magnitude of what took place, because a lot of people were saying that, yes, they were, in fact, anticipating that al Shabaab was, perhaps, make (INAUDIBLE) an attack in Kenya, but no one was really anticipating this type of a dramatic hostage-taking scenario.

They were anticipating, perhaps, a -- what happened that day at the mall there was a children's cooking show under way. This was like a Kenyan version of Junior Master Chef. The kids were cooking and, all of a sudden, in that moment, they stormed inside. The attackers stormed inside and a lot of stories of great heroics and many of the adults to people that were there using their own bodies to try to shield and protect the children.

SAMBOLIN: Arwa, can you tell us anything about three Americans who were involved in the attack?

DAMON: Well, at this point, we don't know a lot about them. We don't even have that 100 percent confirmed. That information initially came out on a Twitter account that is claiming to be linked to al Shabaab, itself. It was since the posting of the names actually taken down, taken off line here -- from U.S. officials that they're also investigating this.

It certainly will not be the first time that al Shabaab has recruited and used Americans in any number of attacks that it does, in fact, carry out. According though to this Twitter account, it wasn't just the Americans. There were a number of other foreign nationals involved as well. And analysts will look at this as an example of just how far reaching al Shabaab's tentacles are at this stage.

SAMBOLIN: All right. Arwa Damon reporting live for us in Nairobi. Thank you very much.

BERMAN: So, the attack at that mall in Nairobi, a so-called soft target, is raising the concerns about a potential similar attack at locations in the U.S. You know, it's long been one of terrorism experts' greatest fears. CNNs Margaret Conley has more on that.


MARGARET CONLEY, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It may be more than 7,000 miles from Nairobi, Kenya, to the United States, but the mall massacre halfway around the world couldn't bring a tragedy any closer to home. Washington, D.C. Resident, Sara Head, was inside the mall when shots were fired. She kept hidden in a stairwell with dozens of others as the chaos unfolded.

SARA HEAD, EYEWITNESS: We just waited in the stairwell for about an hour and a half. There were two individuals with me who had superficial gunshot wounds -- well, individuals in the stairwell with me. They were not with me. But there was about probably, I don't know, 60 of us. There were there a few floors worth of people.

CONLEY: The attack on these so-called soft targets raises a question about mall security on U.S. soil. Could what happened overseas happen here?

LT. COL. RICK FRANCONA, CNN MILITARY ANALYST: Soft targets also attracted to terrorists because they're usually defended. It's very effective way of causing a lot of panic, a lot of damage very quickly and achieving the objective of terrorizing people.

CONLEY: Back in this country, one mall that put its security front and center is Minnesota's Mall of America, one of the largest enclosed shopping centers in the country, visited by 42 million people a year.

DOUG REYNOLDS, MALL OF AMERICA: I think that if you're looking for 100 percent safety, you should probably wrap yourself in bubble wrap and never leave home.

CONLEY: It even has something many government facilities do not.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This is a drill. Mall of America is now going into lockdown.

CONLEY: Twice a month, without fail, its tenants and its customer participate in a lockdown drill, practicing how to shelter in back rooms of stores to try to prevent casualties in an attack.

REYNOLDS: If something bad should happen here, we don't want our response to start with, and law enforcement will be here and they will protect you. We want to know what can be done until law enforcement gets here.

CONLEY: Even with heightened security, an awareness of your surrounding may end up being your best defense.

TOM FUENTES, LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: For the average American citizen, you go to the grocery store, you go to the gas station, you go to the shopping mall, you go to a movie theater, you take walks in your neighborhood, any one of those situations could make you vulnerable if other people or another person is out there determined to conduct an attack.

CONLEY (on-camera): Tom Fuentes went on to say you could just be in the wrong place at the wrong time. We spoke with another security expert and he said the best thing the public can do is strengthen our resolve.

Margaret Conley, CNN, New York. (END VIDEOTAPE)

SAMBOLIN: Thirty-seven minutes past the hour.

The son of Cleveland kidnapper, Ariel Castro, is speaking about his infamous father.


SAMBOLIN (voice-over): In an article published in the "Cleveland Plain Dealer," Ariel Anthony Castro says he is not his father and he cannot explain his actions. The younger Castro writes, quote, "If my father's life and death can lead to changes on how we deal with sexual predators, domestic violence, mental illness, and, yes, prison safety, then we should have those discussions."

BERMAN (voice-over): Surviving suspect in the Boston marathon bombings is back in court today. Dzhokhar Tsarnaev faces 30 federal charges including using a weapon of mass destruction. He has pleaded not guilty and could face the death penalty if convicted. Federal attorneys are preparing a sentencing recommendation for Attorney General Eric Holder who has the final say on whether to seek a capital punishment.

SAMBOLIN: Landing at an airport, apparently not an option here. Chicago's Lake Shore Drive, had to do, look at this, the pilot of a small plane, 51-year-old John Peterson set the aircraft down along the famed windy city drive after it developed mechanical trouble. Peterson says that he tried to time his emergency landing for when cars were stopped at a red light.

So, he managed to set the two-seater down safely. He was not injured, however, there were two cars that actually hit the plane and then sped off which I thought was unusual. And this is the deal. This is what's very lucky for this pilot that there are actual lights on Lake Shore Drive. And so, I thought that was interesting because had it been anywhere, the Dan Ryan, the Kennedy, any other expressway that doesn't have traffic signals, then God only knows what would have happened.

BERMAN: You need to land a plane in Chicago.

SAMBOLIN: At six o'clock in the morning also.


BERMAN: Call Zoraida, she will tell you the best places to do it.

SAMBOLIN: -- thinking about, and then I thought how did it happen without any injuries? And it was at six o'clock in the morning and he actually was looking at the lights to see when they turned red.

BERMAN: Lucky man.

SAMBOLIN: Smart guy! Smart guy!

BERMAN: All right. Thirty-nine minutes after the hour.

Three people are dead and a man is in jail after shots rang out in an Elk's Lodge in Michigan. Police in Muskegon say they found two men dead outside the social club. A woman was shot and then run over by a driver who was trying to get away from police. She died from her injuries. At least four other people were wounded. Police say this is the second shooting at the lodge this year.


And after five months, we're near the end of the Michael Jackson wrongful death trial. Closing arguments are set to begin tomorrow. The jury should get the case by Thursday. Katherine Jackson claims the promoter in charge of her son's comeback tour is liable for his death. She blames AEG Live for hiring Dr. Conrad Murray.

He's serving time for involuntary manslaughter. AEG Live claims Michael Jackson hired and controlled the doctor.


BERMAN (on-camera): Closing argument should be interesting.

SAMBOLIN (on-camera): Yes.

BERMAN: All right. It is fall officially now.


BERMAN: If it wasn't --

SAMBOLIN: I almost wore boots this morning and a turtleneck. Well, because I'm claiming that -- it's a hint of it, yes, but I'm still hopeful.

BERMAN: All right. Indra Petersons, bring us the weather. What's going on?

INDRA PETERSONS, AMS METEOROLOGIST: I don't have any good news. Definitely cool today. I think we know that. You kind of felt the wind in your face this morning, especially out here in New York and temperatures below normal. Yes, it is fall. Cold arctic air is in place and we're actually a little bit cooler than that we were yesterday. Notice Boston, you're -- 73 down to 64 today.

But you go farther back, notice towards Pittsburgh, they're going to actually start warming up. So, that's the good news. It is not here to stay as we go through the next several days. Temperatures will rebound to average and that's what we want to see. The other story we're really watching is that same cold front that brought the cool air in but notice it has stalled out into the southeast.

So, all weekend long, even though overnight in the northeast, we got rid of the rain, well, in the southeast, it is lingering again. I mean, this is in the story months after months now. Heavy rain throughout the region. Actually, take a look at what they saw over the weekend. About 2 1/2 inches anywhere from Louisiana all the way through Florida and more of it expected today.

All of that, of course, because we have another front in the area and another one making its way moving in. So, you know what? Suddenly, 65, a little bit of wind doesn't look bad, right?

BERMAN: -- roughly 37 feet of rain --


PETERSONS: What do you wear over there? That's like --


SAMBOLIN: I have a question for you. You call it cool, I would call it cold. At what point -- what temperature do you say -- do you switch from cool to cold?

PETERSONS: Actually, I can call it freezing --


PETERSONS: I just have to do this for TV because they make fun of me as it is.


SAMBOLIN: All right. I want an answer to on that. When the cool to cold --

PETERSONS: Sixty-eight, cold for me.

SAMBOLIN: Oh, OK. Thank you.

PETERSONS: You're welcome.


SAMBOLIN: Sixty-eight. Wow.

Take a look at this marriage proposal and you'll understand why it's gone viral.


SAMBOLIN (voice-over): Oh, my goodness. A young Idaho man decided to pop the question while he and his girlfriend were wake surfing. Somehow, he managed to get down on one knee during all of that and you can see her jaw drop. Where?


SAMBOLIN: That happened way early. She said yes. Ah! So, they decided to do this on the boat where he actually put ring on her finger. How beautiful. The groom to be was smart enough to wake until they got back into that boat.


SAMBOLIN (on-camera): Because if not, that ring would be where?


BERMAN: You had rugged wake surfing, outdoorsmanship, and then that schmaltzy music. I think it's a great combination.

SAMBOLIN: Very sweet. I think that's the best one we've seen so far.

BERMAN: Congratulations to them.

Coming up, we are talking about the weather. A powerful typhoon blowing into China. Dozens killed. Hong Kong is on alert this morning. We'll tell you all about the damage when we come back.


SAMBOLIN: Welcome back to EARLY START. Typhoon Usagi downgraded to a tropical storm but not before cutting a deadly path through Southern China. Chinese state media report at least 25 people died in that storm and tens of thousands of people evacuated along the coast as forecasters warned of heavy rains, storm surge and more flooding.

Four of six reactors at the Daya Bay Nuclear Power Station reduced operating capacity ahead of the storm's arrival.

BERMAN: All right. We could use a little inspiration, yes?

SAMBOLIN: Yes, we could.

BERMAN: All right. This is a wonderful story here. George Dennehy is a gifted guitar player despite being born with no arms. Dennehy was given up for adoption, but when he found a family, he says things all started to change for him at the age of eight.


GEORGE DENNEHY, ARMLESS MUSICIAN: My mom signed me up for music lessons and I started playing the cello. And then when I got to be in middle school and high school, I started picking up the guitar. I like to go around and tell people that anything is possible and I don't ever want to hear the word, "I can't," or "this is too hard," because, you know, anything is possible.


BERMAN: How about that? Now, he's traveling around the world, sharing his message and playing for people. Anything is possible. Never tell anyone you can't, right?

SAMBOLIN: That is a beautiful story.

BERMAN: Lovely.

SAMBOLIN: All right. Let's take a look what's coming up on "NEW DAY." Chris Cuomo and Kate Bolduan join us this morning. Good Monday morning.

KATE BOLDUAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good Monday morning. I hope you had a good weekend, guys.


BERMAN: Too short.


BOLDUAN: It's the way it is sometimes, right?

CHRIS CUOMO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Never can't wait to get here, especially this morning, a lot of news to talk to you about.

The situation in Kenya, you probably heard about it, but it's not over yet. Hostages are still inside. It's a very big area. There's very little known. We're going to be following the latest from there.

Also, this new twist back here. The FBI is investigating whether or not Americans could have been involved from of all places, Minnesota. We'll take you through that.

BOLDUAN: We're also having -- trying to have a little bit of fun this morning. She just won an Emmy for Best Actress in a comedy series. Actress, Julia Louis Dreyfus, talks with us about her show, "Veep," about her new movie with the late James Gandolfini. The movie is called "Enough Said." It's going to be good conversation. You don't want to miss it, especially on the heels of her big win last night.

BERMAN: One of the few shows I watch on TV. It is hilarious. Guys, can't wait to see that. Thanks so much.

BOLDUAN: Of course.

BERMAN: Coming up for us here, Major League Baseball divisions clenched, including - Boston --

SAMBOLIN: Blah, blah, blah.


BERMAN: We will tell you who else has clenched. Andy Scholes breaks it all down for us, including the best non-Red Sox moment in the "Bleacher Report."


BERMAN: That's coming up next.


BERMAN: After 19 of the most dominant years you will ever see, Mariano Rivera is calling it a career. At the Yankees Stadium yesterday, Yankees gave him a sendoff for the -- Andy Scholes now joins us with the "Bleacher Report." Good morning, Andy. ANDY SCHOLES, BLEACHER REPORT: Yes. Good morning, guys. Well, Joe Torre and many of the Yankees former teammates of Rivera were on hand yesterday to celebrate his hall of fame career and there were also a few special guests.


SCHOLES (voice-over): Metallica made a surprise appearance to play Rivera's signature ninth inning entrance song, "Enter Sandman." The rock band along with the Yankees showered Mariano with farewell gifts including a rocking share made out of bats. Rivera's number 42 was retired in Monument Park. He's the last player to ever wear the number. That's because Major League Baseball retired it back in 1997 to honor Jackie Robinson.

Rivera, he pitched a scoreless ninth inning, but unfortunately, the giants spoiled the day beating the Yankees 2-1.

Well, two more teams punch their tickets to the postseason yesterday. The Braves beat the Cubs 5-2 to clench the N.L. East. They join the Dodgers and Cardinals as playoff teams in the National League. In the A.L., Oakland A's are postseason bound. Oakland beat the Twins 11-7 yesterday. That win coupled with the Rangers lost gave them the A.L. West title. The playoffs get started a week from tomorrow.

To the NFL, Colts quarterback, Andrew Luck, played for Jim Harbaugh at Stanford before both men made the leap to the National Football League and it was the student schooling the teacher in this one. Luck did it in the air and on the ground to lead the colts to a shocking win over the 49ers. The Colts are now 2-1 after winning 27-7.

Well, New York football fans are either happy or sad this morning, depending on whether they're Jets or Giants fans. The giants were absolutely man-handled by the Panthers, losing 38-0. They're 0-3. Their worst start since Bill Clinton was president. The jets, on the other hand, they, once again, found a way to get a "W." Sure, they had a team record 20 penalties, but, hey, a win is a win, guys.


SCHOLES (on-camera): They're now 2-1 right on the heels of your Patriots, John, who are 3-0. Interesting fact, the Giants and Redskins are both 0-3 for the first time in NFL history.



BERMAN: You know, Andy, you know what I did this weekend? I got the NFL red zone thing, which lets you see all of the scoring drives. And I got it about 12 hours ago and I'm still married. So, it's like, hey --


BERMAN: -- it's a shocking development unexpected. All right. Andy Scholes, great to see you. Appreciate it, man.

We'll be right back.



SAMBOLIN (voice-over): Take a close look here. Rihanna causing a bit of a stir in Thailand. While on a break from her world tour, she visited the island of Phuket and befriended that little guy right there. The pop star posted it in Instagram picture showing her posing with Eloris (ph). It is a furry, cute, but endangered prime mate native to Southeast Asia.

Well, that did not sit well with the authorities in Thailand. So, it turns out it is actually illegal to charge tourists to take photos with the endangered species. Two men were arrested and they could actually face up to four years in prison for that what most people think is a cute moment, right?


BERMAN: Instagram. Beware of the Instagram. That's it for EARLY START. It is time for "NEW DAY."

SAMBOLIN (on-camera): Take it away, Chris and Kate.

BOLDUAN: All right. you guys, thanks so much. We'll see you a little later.

CUOMO: All right, everybody. Happy Monday. It is time for "NEW DAY" to begin.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We heard machine guns, and then, we started to run.

CUOMO: Breaking news. The Kenyan Mall attack isn't over. Hostages are still inside. The FBI now involved checking to see if Americans were behind the attack. We're live with the latest.

BOLDUAN: Well, gun debate reignited. The president's plea as he eulogizes the victims of the Navy Yard shooting. While the head of NRA says more guns for the good guy is the answer.

MICHAELA PEREIRA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: All in the family. "Modern Family" wins big yet again. Breaking bad finally cooking up a win. We have your backstage pass for television's biggest night.

CUOMO: Your "NEW DAY" starts right now.

ANNOUNCER: This is "NEW DAY" with Chris Cuomo, Kate Bolduan, and Michaela Pereira.

(END VIDEOTAPE) CUOMO: Good morning. Welcome to "NEW DAY." It is Monday, September 23rd, six o'clock in the east.

A very big question to get answer this week, is this a new era for U.S. relations with Iran? The newly elected president of Iran is on his way to New York for the U.N. general assembly, but it is unclear whether President Obama will meet with him. It could be an important first step after decades of animosity between the two countries, but it does come with great risks. We'll take you through it.

BOLDUAN: Speaking of president or maybe the search to be president. Hillary Clinton opening up about her whole life, her daughter and, of course, whether or not she plans on running for president. it's a revealing new interview, and we're going to bring it all for you. We're going to talk about it all.

PEREIRA: And it is arguably one of the most annoying parts of flying, having to turn off all your electronics for take-off and landing. The FAA is meeting this week. And reportedly, they're set to recommend changing those rules, but the question is, how far they're going to go? Will cell phone calls and cell phones calls and texting finally be allowed?

BOLDUAN: We will see.

CUOMO: We want to take you right to Kenya, though, because it's a developing situation. More gunshots were fired overnight in an upscale mall where least 69 people have died. The government there says security forces have taken control of most of that mall in Nairobo where armed al Shabaab militants have been hold up since Saturday.

The attackers are believed to still be holding several people hostage. There's a report coming out right now that there have been hostages recently released.