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Capitol Shooting; CNN Hero; Pope Francis Goes to Assisi; Meet "Siri"

Aired October 4, 2013 - 08:30   ET


SHEMAIAH OFFORI-ATTAH (ph), WITNESS TO CAPITOL SHOOTING: I think the speed of the car also caught our attention with so many cop cars. Then when we heard the gunshots, we knew that this was something serious and we just dropped (ph) to the ground.

KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR: And so you dropped to the ground, Edmund. What did you see and hear from there on out?

EDMUND OFORI-ATTAH (ph), WITNESS TO CAPITOL SHOOTING: Well, we saw the car pass us, followed by the two cop cars. Then the cops - the car went up about maybe 100 yards, tried to make a left and got caught on the grassy divider. Now at that point, we heard about what we thought was five or six rounds of gunshot. So my wife and I, we just hit the ground. We just ducked for cover. And we stayed there for about maybe two, three minutes. And we saw on onslaught of cop cars, SUVs, just (ph) automatic weapons. I think all the cop cars in Washington, D.C., it seemed, was there.

And we stayed on the ground for about a good two, three minutes. And after the gunshots and two, three minutes of silence, I thought, well, everything is over. So I get up and I take my iPhone and start filming things as I'm walking towards the scene. And I see the cops bringing a baby out of the black car and they put the baby into the patrol car.

So I'm walking toward the scene and at that point I see a police officer telling me to get away, get away. So I stopped, I turned around, I start walking back towards where the cops are trying to direct us. I get across the building - I think we were on the other side of the Hart Building now. And once we get to the front, there are about maybe some 10 to 15 employees just standing out. The building was under lockdown evidently and no one could get in.


OFORI-ATTAH: So we just stayed there. So I just took just pictures of whatever was happening around me.

BOLDUAN: And what's going through your mind?

OFORI-ATTAH: And then I saw all these cops --

BOLDUAN: And what's going through your mind as this is happening?

OFORI-ATTAH: I'm thinking - well, at this time I got a little more worried than before because before I was sure everything was under control. But then when I saw all the cops running past us in the general direction, I realized, wow, it's not over.


OFORI-ATTAH: I mean the driver probably was on foot. And at that point I was like, whoa, this was more dangerous than I thought.

BOLDUAN: Absolutely.

And, Shemaiah, I mean I can only imagine that you were pretty shaken afterwards. Not what you were expecting to see play out in front of you yesterday afternoon. Is it sticking with you still this morning?

OFFORI-ATTAH: Yes. I've gotten a chance to process everything a little bit more and that's helped, but right after I was pretty traumatized. I wasn't able to talk about it.

BOLDUAN: Hugging - yes, well, hugging each other a little tighter this morning to say the least.

Thanks --

OFORI-ATTAH: Yes, that's for sure.


BOLDUAN: Thank you both. It's great to meet you. Thank you both for coming in this morning. Edmund and Shemaiah, great to meet you. Thank you.

OFORI-ATTAH: Thank you. Thanks for having us.

OFFORI-ATTAH: Thank you too.


We'll continue to follow this. Let's get straight over to Chris.


An unprecedented number of severely wounded troops have returned home from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Helping them is the mission of this week's CNN's hero. Michael Conklin rallies communities to embrace injured soldiers, giving them the tools necessary for a new and successful life.


MICHAEL CONKLIN, CNN HERO: The first trip to Walter Reed was one of my toughest trips. When I saw the amount of wounded, it was shocking.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Both my legs are amputated above the knee.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I lost my right eye and I have a titanium rod in my leg.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I was on my fifth deployment when I got my traumatic brain injury.

CONKLIN: I wanted to take them all home.

I'm Mike Conklin. My organization helps our severely wounded members of the armed forces reach their full potential. My oldest son was wounded in Iraq. His whole group was wounded. We have a very tight family, and not all of them do. Some of them don't have anybody to come home to. We just can't forget them.

When Ryan moved into this unit, we put in these poles to assist him.

Each case is different.


CONKLIN: Some will need service dogs, housing assistance, mentors, getting an education.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think those are World War II vets over there.

CONKLIN: It's a comprehensive package. We really look at it as an investment. These were at one time children who grew up on our baseball fields, went to our grade schools, and then left our community to serve us, and eventually they come back. It's a full circle of service.


CUOMO: You know all year we've introduced our viewers to remarkable Americans changing the world. This Thursday, Anderson's going to be here. Anderson Cooper will join us to announce this year's top 10. That's where you come in, OK? You're going to help pick the 2013 CNN Hero of the Year. Starting next week, you get to go online or on your mobile device and you vote for your favorite. All 10 will be honored at CNN Heroes, an all-star tribute.

MICHAELA PEREIRA, CNN ANCHOR: That's one of my favorite things that CNN does.

CUOMO: Right.

BOLDUAN: It's great.

PEREIRA: It's really solid.

BOLDUAN: So great.

PEREIRA: Really good.

CUOMO: Agreed. Agreed.

Coming up on NEW DAY, a big day for Pope Francis. He's in the hometown of his saintly namesake, channeling the message of St. Francis of Assisi, whom he referred to as il poverino (ph) for the modern church. What does he want to remind people?

BOLDUAN: And, Siri, who is your favorite NEW DAY anchor?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'm sorry, Kate, I can't answer that.

BOLDUAN: Dang it! I thought I had her. But you can ask her a bigger question, who is Siri? The woman behind that voice is here in person to tell us her story. It's an interview you won't see anywhere else.

PEREIRA: Siri's a diplomat.

BOLDUAN: She really -- she said me earlier.


BOLDUAN: Welcome back to NEW DAY.

Indra Petersons is in Pensacola, Florida, this morning, keeping an eye on that approaching tropical storm, as well as your forecast for the weekend.

What are you seeing, Indra?

INDRA PETERSONS, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Oh, yes, you know, really it is unbelievable. This started off as such a quiet season and we've only had two hurricanes so far, Humberto, which went out to sea, Ingrid, which did not make landfall on the U.S. mainland. And now things are so quickly changing. We even passed the peak of hurricane season. It was quite quiet.

That all changes starting today, where all eyes are on the Gulf right now. We are currently under a hurricane watch here in Pensacola, Florida. We're watching anywhere pretty much east of New Orleans, all the way in through the panhandle of Florida, really Destin (ph), Florida, for that hurricane watch.

What are we talking about? Well, let's talk about current conditions. About 16-mile-per-hour winds already. You can actually see the seas behind me kind of starting to ramp up, the winds picking up here a little bit. Really the last several hours before conditions continue to worsen. Landfall expected late Saturday evening in through Sunday. But, of course, the outer bands come ashore even earlier than that, so we're going to be talking about those conditions worsening as we go through these overnight hours.

What are we talking about? Four to eight inches of rain, in some places even 12 inches of rain on top of many places that are over rainfall for the amount of year already, I mean 10 to 15 inches above average. You add that to it and then you talk about strong winds. What is the concern there? Well, it's going to be those trees uprooted straight out of the ground almost like it was a stronger system just because the ground really cannot hold those trees at this point. So that's going to be a big concern. Flooding, not only from the heavy rain, but also from that storm surge out there as well. All big concerns. That's one concern. Then we have this huge storm across the country we're continuing to watch. A huge snowmaker now moving in through the Dakotas. Blizzard warnings out in that area. A foot of snow. Visibility down through zero. Seventy mile per hour winds. What happens when you put that against warm air? We're talking about the threat for tornadoes today from Minnesota down through Oklahoma. Iowa even a moderate risk. So definitely something to be concerned with. That same system actually moves through Chicago tomorrow with a threat for severe weather there as well. Lot to keep an eye on.

CUOMO: All right, Indra, so you get to enjoy the beach right now, but it's going to change there. So, you know, the mission will change and we look forward to your reporting. When it does change, stay safe. Stay safe.

PETERSONS: Sure thing (ph).

CUOMO: All right, Pope Francis, we've been talking to you about him this morning. He's on a mission it seemed to bring his church back to the purpose of simple charity. Now he chose the name Francis after Francis of Assisi. He called him il poverino, the poor one, who cast off his wealth for the poor. Well now he is in Assisi to bring that message home. Ben Wedeman is in Rome with more about that.

Good morning, Ben.


Well, that focus on poverty really is intensifying. Already we've heard Pope Francis condemning what he called rampant materialism inside the church, as well as outside of it. And as we've seen since he became pope last March, this is one man who practices what he preaches.


WEDEMAN (voice-over): For a man with a message, his every move is full of symbolism. And Pope Francis' pastoral village to the hilltop Italian town of Assisi Friday is indeed long on meaning.

It's the birthplace of St. Francis, who some 800 years ago abandoned a life of wealth and privilege to serve the poor. Since becoming pope, Francis has turned his back on the trappings of power, choosing to live in the modest Vatican residents, the Casa Santa Marta, preferring to use a secondhand car to drive around the Vatican. He stressed repeatedly he wants the church to be a poor church, serving the poor. In a recent interview published in an Italian newspaper, Francis condemned church leaders at narcissistic.

This week he held three days of closed door meetings with eight cardinals, where they discussed ways to reform the church, its finances, its bureaucracy, its very nature, leading some observers to suggest Pope Francis may be more of a revolutionary than a reformer.

(END VIDEOTAPE) WEDEMAN: And he's an energetic one at that. This visit to Assisi is scheduled to last 11 hours. Keep in mind that Pope Francis is 76 years old but he doesn't show any signs of tiring out.


CUOMO: All right, Ben, thank you very much for that this morning.

It is time, everybody, for "The Good Stuff." This is a good one. Today's edition, soldiers protect our freedom, right, but who protects them? A soldier out of Ft. Carson was saved by one of the most unlikely of heroes, a 12-year-old boy out fishing with his dad on an 11 mile reservoir in Colorado. I don't know why the miles are relevant, but it was a particularly rough day and he spotted a kayaker in trouble.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I yelled to him, "are you OK?" And he said, ugh, yeah.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: As it filled with water, it was -- the boat was pulling me under. I was fearing for my life.


CUOMO: That's Staff Sergeant Wesley Patten (ph). Soon, his kayak had overturned. Worse yet, he was trapped under it and tangled in his fishing gear. So what happens? Twelve-year-old Aiden Pruitt (ph) throws anything that floats to Patten, got him back afloat and helped pull him aboard. Trouble over. Wrong. Patten has asthma, soon experienced an attack. Aidan drove the boat back to shore, ran to Patten's car, got his inhaler in the nick of time.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I was just like, woo, you saved a guy's life.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He was very mature and helpful. I live another day for him.


CUOMO: I love it, live another day because of him. You know what I love, the nonchalance of the kid. You know it's not that, oh, I did something extraordinary. That doing the right thing, helping somebody in crisis was just another day fishing.

BOLDUAN: I love it. His reaction is great. I just saved a man's life. That was great.

CUOMO: Love it, right?

PEREIRA: (INAUDIBLE) better about the world knowing that these group of kids are out there saving the day.

CUOMO: Right. And it's not some extraordinary event to them.


CUOMO: That's where you know the goodness is really in there.

BOLDUAN: Really in there. That was a good one.

CUOMO: That was "The Good Stuff" right there, right?: And, you know what? Even better, came from you. Remember that. Go to the iReports part of our web page. These come from you, these stories. Help us tell you "The Good Stuff."

BOLDUAN: Yes, you want the good news, we've got "The Good Stuff."

PEREIRA: And we've got some cool stuff coming up. Maybe that should be a segment. We've been waiting for this moment all morning long. In just a few minutes, the woman behind the voice, it is Siri. Get your questions ready, folks, like how much does the human head weigh? How exactly tall is Chris Cuomo? And how much --

BOLDUAN: Not that tall.

PEREIRA: How much wood does a woodchuck chuck?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Stay tuned. Just minutes away.


PEREIRA: Who is that girl?


PEREIRA: You know many of us can't fathom the idea of trying to get through the day without that trusted confidant who always seems to have just the right answer. Who is Siri really?

CNN's Jessica Roberts, the writer and producer of exclusively cracked her identity. She essentially stumbled upon the woman behind the original voice of Siri by mistake. We've been asking all these name questions all morning long. And again I'll ask it because we're dying to know, Siri, who is the voice of Siri?

BENNETT: I am the voice of Siri.

PEREIRA: There she is. I could have gotten chills. Her name -- her real name is Susan Bennett. She's here with us this morning. Let's ask her questions.

Siri why is one foot longer than the other?

BOLDUAN: Siri, what is the driving time from New York to L.A.?

CUOMO: Great to meet you.

PEREIRA: Siri, are you happy to be here this morning?

BENNETT: I am sorry, Michaela, I cannot answer those questions.

BOLDUAN: Really cool.

PEREIRA: Susan Bennett, what a delight to meet you.

BENNETT: Thank you. It's nice to be here.

PEREIRA: How long ago did you get the voiceover gig for the Apple iPhone?

BENNETT: This happened in 2005 before anyone ever thought of an iPhone. I take that back, Steve Jobs sure thought of it. The original recordings were done text to speech voices and it was done in 2005, the whole month of July 2005, four hours a day. I was speaking all kinds of crazy sentences.

BOLDUAN: Yes. What did you record? How many words or lines do you record? Because I've asked Siri almost everything and gotten a lot of different answers.

BENNETT: I know people think that they came up with the phrases that she speaks originally, but originally it was just a bunch of sentences and phrases that were created so that every single combination of vowels and consonants and syllables could be spoken.

PEREIRA: And this is sort of a typical way of voice-overs. You're a working voice over and this is the kind of recordings that you do. Did this one seem different? Did you have a sense that it would become the cultural phenomenon or crutch?

BENNETT: This was not typical because, you know, I've mostly done a lot of radio and television commercials and narrations and all that kind of thing. No, this was something very different. But what actually happened before the text-to-speech I did something for Lucent Technologies, and they had me wearing this thing called a laryngiograph that went around my neck.

PEREIRA: Sounds terrifying.

BENNETT: Yes. It was -- I just found it so fascinating, I said "I'm in". And then I don't know. Lucent went away or something and that never happened but eventually they did the text-to-speech and, of course, back in that day we didn't have ay clue. Back then concatenations sounded like this, it was very, very robotic and very hard to imagine that in just six years it would have smoothed out to the point that --

CUOMO: How often do you reveal to people that oh, yes, that's actually me?


BOLDUAN: Is this the first time?

BENNETT: This is it. CUOMO: Well, it could come with a lot of baggage. I mean you look at some things like "The Simpsons" with their actors and they're doing it and they want to hide their identity. You know they work to hide the voice. Some people don't want you to exist.


CUOMO: Right. They have all these theories about what it really is and other people would just pepper you with questions all the time, no?

BENNETT: Well, you know, of course my colleagues in Atlanta, family and friends of course immediately recognized my voice, but it's kind of been a mystery. And it's such an unusual thing, such a unique, you know, it was a very serendipitous thing that I was chosen.

PEREIRA: How does it feel to pull back the curtain a little bit and reveal yourself?

BENNETT: I don't know yet. I'll let you know later today.

BOLDUAN: We asked our Twitter follows to send in some questions and it ranged. Here's some of the TV appropriate questions.

BENNETT: Ok, good. Yes because that's something that people would like me to do is make a little naughty Siri app but -- of course.


BOLDUAN: The first thing. The first question that anyone ever asked Siri -- one of the questions that came to us was why sometimes when they're asking you a question do you say "I'm not allowed to answer that"?

BENNETT: It's either because they don't know the answer, she doesn't know the answer or she's just being coy.

BOLDUAN: Siri does have a bit of attitude.

BENNETT: She does have some attitude but she also has a sense of humor.

PEREIRA: Are you happy with how it all turned out? You didn't necessarily know it was obviously going to become this big.

BENNETT: Right. It was kind of a surprise, but I was extremely flattered that my voice had been chosen. Our house is full of Apple products, so you know.

PEREIRA: Do you ask Siri questions?

BENNETT: Well, I'll tell I had just bought the regular iPhone 4 and not long after that they introduced the 4s. I didn't have it for the longest time. When I got an iPad of course she was there.

PEREIRA: But wait there's a development, there's a man crowding your space, Siri.

BENNETT: I know.

PEREIRA: There's a man in the new --

BENNETT: I know.

PEREIRA: -- the newest incarnation of the iPhone.

BENNETT: And the newest incarnation of the iPhone they manipulated the voice to the female voice so I'm not even sure that it's still me. I'm Siri classic, you know.

BOLDUAN: Her very self.


BENNETT: As things progress I'm sure they're going to give people lots and lots more choices.


BENNETT: And of course, I know some people have had difficulty with Siri. By the way, please don't curse at Siri because she's very sensitive.

BOLDUAN: You cannot claim responsibility.

BENNETT: That's right. That's right.

CUOMO: It's a cultural impact you have.

PEREIRA: It's true.

CUOMO: You know what I mean. At the end of the day there is only one first, you know by definition and it's you, it's your voice.

BENNETT: Well, actually it's the technology. I really have to give credit where credit is due. I was very pleased that they used my voice but it's the technology that's absolutely astounding.

BOLDUAN: So what are you doing now?

BENNETT: More of the same. I just do a lot of messaging and commercials and that kind of thing.

CUOMO: I feel like I've heard your voice a lot. I feel like some kind of airline, are you connected with one of the airlines?

BENNETT: Yes. I'm the voice of all Delta Airlines worldwide.

CUOMO: That's what it is.


CUOMO: That's what it is. PEREIRA: And the beauty of it, everybody, we may have found the perfect gig for those of you that are not morning people you can actually work in your PJs from home, can you not?

BENNETT: I can and this is really not my time of day. Siri is definitely a night person.

BOLDUAN: I'm going to keep calling you Siri.

BENNETT: Ok, ok. Technically I have to say voice of Siri.

BOLDUAN: Susan, real quick who is your favorite NEW DAY anchor? You didn't answer my question.

BENNETT: I'm sorry, I cannot answer that.

CUOMO: It's got to be Michaela, she's the closest thing to Siri we have.

BOLDUAN: All right. We're going to keep peppering you with questions. We'll be right back.

PEREIRA: What a delight, Susan. Thanks for coming on.

BENNETT: Thank you.

BOLDUAN: It's so cool.

BENNETT: Thank you.

PEREIRA: So cool.


BOLDUAN: That is it for us on NEW DAY. Happy Friday, everyone. We are finished up. Since we have the real -- the classic voice of Siri here. Susan, why don't you toss it up?

BENNETT: Time for "NEWSROOM". Fredricka Whitfield is in for Carol Costello.

FREDRICKA WHITFIELD, CNN ANCHOR: Oh, that sounds so good.

BENNETT: Take it away.

WHITFIELD: Siri, thank you so much. And Chris, Kate, Michaela, all good to see you and have a great weekend.

All right. "THE NEWSROOM" starts right now.

Good morning, everybody everyone. I'm Fredricka Whitfield. Carol Costello has the day off. Gunshots, panic and chaos on Capitol Hill.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Once they catch them. What (EXPLETIVE DELETED), oh, my god, what the (EXPLETIVE DELETED) is up on that? That was supposed to be (inaudible)


WHITFIELD: Happening before everyone's eyes, a police car slams into a barricade and a wild high-speed chase that sent lawmakers and tourists scrambling for cover.