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New Info on Nevada School Shooting; Texas Judge Changing Parties

Aired October 22, 2013 - 15:00   ET


BROOKE BALDWIN, CNN ANCHOR: And we continue on, on this Tuesday. I'm Brooke Baldwin. A blond-haired, blue-eyed girl has been discovered living among Romanis, historically known as gypsies, in Ireland. Police have removed the girl from a family who look nothing like her. It sounds like the case of little Maria. Her face is everywhere, but we still don't know who this little girl is. She was found living in -- living with a dark featured Roma family in Greece. But, today, there's a new twist in this case. And this one hits very, very close to home, because the big question, could Maria be a missing American child?

CNN's George Howell is here.

And, George, we know that one couple in Kansas City has stepped forward saying Maria could be their missing little girl. I'm sure they're very hopeful. You talked to them. What did they tell you?

GEORGE HOWELL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Brooke, so the Irwin family -- and when you talk to them, when you talk to this mother, this father, they see similarities. They look at the two pictures side by side. You know, the mother, she looks at it and says there are similarities in the nose. There are similarities in the eyes. Even though the color has changed, she says that happens with young children.

She believes this very well could be her missing daughter. However, there are some discrepancies. There are some differences. Keep in mind we have heard from the group Smiles of a Child that Maria is 5 or 6 years old. That's according to dental records. And here, Lisa would be 3 years old this month -- or rather next month. I talked to the family about those discrepancies. I want you to listen to what they had to say. We can talk about it here on the other side.


JEREMY IRWIN, FATHER OF MISSING CHILD: The dental records that you just mentioned, that's kind of the first time we have heard about that as a for-sure type of thing.

HOWELL: And does that discourage you? Or when you look at that picture --

DEBORAH BRADLEY, MOTHER OF MISSING CHILD: Absolutely not. Doesn't discourage me at all, because like I said, Lisa is very, very big for her age. When she was kidnapped, she was almost 11 months old, and she was wearing 18 months and 2-T. She's a very big girl. We're unbelievably grateful and shocked at the compassion pouring in from all over the world, everything from on her Web site to her Facebook page to her e-mail. People from all over the world are contacting us, have you heard about this, or we think this might be Lisa. Even if it's not, we hope your baby comes back soon.

And it just feels good that Lisa has so much support and people care about her and want to see her come home.


HOWELL: So, Brooke, they're optimistic. They're hopeful.

You really have to look at this story in its full context. Look back two years ago. We're talking about a family, a mother and father, who themselves were questioned by police at one point, a case that's been a mystery here in Kansas City for quite some time. But we have seen this family holding candlelight vigils.

We have seen posters. In fact, if you look here back at the house, you might be able to see there are banners all over front of this house. They're very hopeful, you know, that this could be an answer to a mystery here to this city and certainly this family.

BALDWIN: Gosh, your heart goes out for that couple and so many couples. We cover so many missing kid investigations. George Howell, hopefully, they find her. George, thank you.

And it took just three months for a seventh grader to forever scar Sparks Middle School in Nevada, killing a teacher, wounding two students, and then ultimately shooting and killing himself.

But, really, the big question remains later today, who is he, and why, why did he do this? Just this afternoon, police gave new details on what the 12-year-old boy did Monday before school even started. Authorities say he first shot a student in the stomach and then math teacher Mike Landsberry tried to step in, tried to stop him.

The shooter, as we now know, ultimately shot and killed Landsberry, shot another student in the stomach, and then ultimately turned the gun on himself. Officials also gave credit to students, other staff members at this school from keeping the boy from getting inside the school.


MIKE MIERAS, WASHOE COUNTY POLICE CHIEF: The procedures that are in place that the staff used did not allow the shooter to enter the school. I cannot thank their actions, what they did, along with the students of the school, I cannot thank them enough for what they have done.


BALDWIN: Investigators are trying to figure out again the answer to the question, why? But a friend of the shooter says he was bullied. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

AMAYA NEWTON, WITNESS: He was really a nice kid. He would make you smile when you're having a bad day. If you were -- he'd just ask you if he could buy you something. And, you know, he was just really a nice kid. I believe it was because I saw him getting bullied a couple times, and I think he took out his bullying on it.


BALDWIN: Joining me now, forensic psychologist Jeff Gardere.

Jeff, we hear this girl describing the shooter as a nice kid. And what strikes me is his age, 12 years young.


BALDWIN: Are these school shooters getting younger and younger?

GARDERE: Well, we know that the incidents of the shootings, when we're looking at the ages of the individuals involved, we do see that they're getting younger. We see that they're more immature.

And it really doesn't surprise me, Brooke, that these students are saying that this young man was probably a very, very nice kid and bullying may have had something to do with his murderous actions.

BALDWIN: You know, I was sitting, I was talking to a number of my colleagues today. You know, I know bullying is not new. People were bullied 10, 20, 30 years ago. So why are we hearing so much more about this today?

GARDERE: Well, I think first of all, that there is much more violence in the world. A lot of these kids who were bullied way back when, back in our generation, my generation certainly, didn't have the violent video games, and it wasn't such a violent world.

Now when you add on the violent video games, you add on the increased incidents of homicides in some of our cities, and then you add that on to the bullying, I think all of that becomes the very deadly recipe. And, of course, you have to look at the Internet.

Of course, it has been a savior for many of us, as far as giving us information. But there's a lot of bad stuff out there that kids latch on to, which also pushes them over the edge.

BALDWIN: I know, you know, video gamers staunchly defend what they do and what they play as fantasy and not reality. Perhaps there is some truth to that.

But I just -- I also do want to ask you, because we heard from the police chief today, and in this case, specifically in Sparks Middle School, he will not name the shooter. This is what he said.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) TOM MILLER, SPARKS POLICE CHIEF: We have been in contact with the parents of the suspect in this matter, and out of respect for them, we will not be releasing the identity of the shooter.

They are grieving parents and are going through a very challenging, difficult time.


BALDWIN: Beyond tough for the parents of this 12-year-old.

What do you make of the fact, though, that they are not releasing this young person's identity?

GARDERE: Well, first and foremost, he is a minor. Secondly, this is a situation which may be a little bit different from the others in that we see what we call the premorbid history.

In other words, his psychological history may not be there for this individual child. There may have been bullying involved. If nothing else, they're trying to look at what happened. Remember, this isn't just the case of murder. This is a murder-suicide. This was probably a young man who had some predisposing issues, perhaps some depression which was not diagnosed, and the bullying, if that was part of the complex picture here, may have pushed him over.

He may have come from a stable family, so another reason that we're seeing some sensitivity to this young man.

BALDWIN: Yes, we also know police are investigating the parents, because apparently this gun came from the home. So we will follow it. Jeff Gardere, sad all the way around. Thank you so much.

GARDERE: Sure, Brooke.

BALDWIN: Coming up, moldy locker rooms, long bus rides, football players at Grambling stage a boycott against the university. Did they win that fight?

Plus, CeeLo charged with slipping a woman ecstasy but not charged with rape. How did investigators come to that conclusion?

And a Republican judge says he's had it with his own party. He will tell me live why he's switching to become a Democrat. Stay right here. This is CNN.


BALDWIN: It is hardly new in Texas for politicians to switch parties. Take Governor Rick Perry, for example, one of many Texas Republicans who once called themselves Democrats.

Well, now Democrats are hoping that this San Antonio judge is a sign that things are changing in that direction.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) JUDGE CARLO KEY, BEXAR COUNTY, TEXAS: I can no longer be a member of the Republican Party. I will not be a member of a party in which hate speech elevates candidates for higher office, rather than disqualifying them.

I cannot place my name on the ballot for a political party that's proud to destroy the lives of hundreds of thousands of federal workers over the vain attempt to repeal a law that will provide health care to millions of people.


BALDWIN: That was the voice of Judge Carlo Key, elected in 2010 as a Republican. He says he will run for reelection as a Democrat.

Judge Key is with me now from San Antonio and he joins me from the phone.

Judge Key, welcome.

KEY: Thank you. Thank you for having me.

BALDWIN: You say the Republican Party -- and let me quote you here -- "demeans Texans based on their sexual orientation, the color of their skin, and their economic status."

Can you explain what you mean by that?

KEY: Well, I mean, ultimately, the issues that have been coming before the media on a national level, it seems like those are the issues that the Republican Party wishes to address most often and most loudly, you know, gay marriage, things of that nature. There were some things going on here locally that addressed the same types of issues, also, you know, with immigration, issues that are now going to be -- start getting fired up this election cycle. I would anticipate you could kind of assume that more of the same is going to be coming.

BALDWIN: I found it interesting just in reading about your story, you mentioned specifically the government shutdown as one of the reasons why you're leaving your party. And so I wanted to ask you about this guy, this fellow Texan, Ted Cruz. Let me play some sound. This is Ted Cruz returning home last night.


SEN. TED CRUZ (R), TEXAS: You know, have you all noticed you know, the Nigerian e-mail scammers? They have been a lot less active lately, because they have all been hired to run the Obamacare Web site.



BALDWIN: Senator Ted Cruz. And I just wanted to ask, Judge, did the emergence, did the Ted Cruz strategy, what we saw play out in Washington the last couple weeks, and really hailed as a hero to a lot of Republicans, did that have any bearing on your decision to quit your party?

KEY: I would have to say absolutely. The Tea Party represents one of the most extreme positions of the Republican Party.

And, you know, down here in South Texas, where I am, there's a lot of support for that. It seems to be that Texas happens to be one of the ground zeros for the Tea Party. And it really is, you know, pushing the conversation to the extreme.

BALDWIN: Here is, though, where I need to press you, because I know, running as a Republican judge, you already had attracted a primary challenger. So will running now as a Democrat make your path to reelection a little easier? Did that influence your decision here to switch --

KEY: No. To people who say that, I would say, you know, look at the history.

And I would say that, you know, the incumbent Republican historically is in the driver's seat. And that has always been. I would say that, honestly, it's not to a politician's best interest to run as a Democrat down here. But, you know, unfortunately, I felt like that is what I had to do.

This is a personal decision. And anyone that says I'm doing that to gain advantage doesn't know very much about political history down here in Texas.

BALDWIN: When you look at this video -- I watched the whole thing, all two-and-a-half minutes, this video announcement of yours. It's pretty smartly packaged. Dare I say it probably cost a chunk of change to produce. Did you get any help from Democrats to pay for this production?

KEY: Well, I can say that, you know, the local party here, the Democratic Party here has known I'm a moderate. When I was elected in 2010, everybody knew me to be a moderate. And when they saw that I had an interest, that I had -- that my values were taking me somewhere else, that they supported me. Honestly, you know --


BALDWIN: So that is a yes that they paid or they helped you pay for this ad?

KEY: No, you know, we just kind of threw this up.

And, I mean, I'm sure there's people that have been working on it. We haven't -- I have my own team. You know, it's trying to be a political issue, but I'm way down on the ballot. I'm a county court of law judge. This is not a big financial business here. So we're just trying to get the message out. Grateful to social media. You can do it cheaply.

BALDWIN: OK. Judge Carlo Key calling in from San Antonio, we appreciate it, Judge, very much for taking the time.

KEY: Thank you very much.

BALDWIN: Coming up, we're just confirming that Kathleen Sebelius will be testifying next week about the mess over the Obamacare Web site. But will she deflect blame, or will she take responsibility?

Plus, college football players refusing to play ball because they say they are being neglected, including the conditions inside this locker room. You have to hear this story. It's next.


BALDWIN: One of the most storied college football programs in the South is trying to put its season back together after a football player boycott.

Grambling State University, historically black college, home to a legendary football program, had to forfeit Saturday's game against Jackson State because only 22 players showed up last Friday to get on the bus. Players have been angry ever since head coach and former Super Bowl MVP Doug Williams was fired in September. His replacement was reassigned earlier this week.

And players also boycotted two days of practice. A lot happening here in this story.

I want to bring Alina Machado. She joins me here in studio seven. Also in Jackson, Mississippi, professor Emmett Gill of North Carolina Central University. He is the national director of the Student Athletes Human Rights Project.

Professor, we're going to get to you in a second.

But, you know, there was a lot to this story in terms of this boycott, in terms of players being frustrated over this coach's firing. Specifically, what are these players frustrated about?

ALINA MACHADO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: The coach's firing, Brooke, is really a small piece of this entire puzzle.

We found a letter online that was reportedly written by the Grambling State football players to the university's administration detailing a number of complaints. That letter also mirrors what was noted on a Twitter page that we found that appears to belong to Naquan Smith. He's one of the players and the apparent team spokesperson.

That page, we want to show you some of the pictures on that page that shows what the letter is talking about. It shows pictures of broken equipment and moldy ceilings and walls and those pictures are captioned with, "See our struggle."

In the grievance letter, it's noted again that the equipment in the weight room is falling apart, that workout benches are tearing and ripping. The players seem to be unhappy with the fact they're now taking bus rides in excess of eight hours right before a game, rather than flying. As you mentioned, the team did not play last weekend against Jackson State, forfeiting that game.

However, players seem to be willing to play this Saturday against Texas Southern. And here's what Smith has to say about that.


NAQUAN SMITH, GRAMBLING FOOTBALL PLAYER: Although we're going to continue our season, we have not forgotten the situation and how we have gotten here. Grambling has given the opportunity to be a part of its legacy. And we're looking forward -- we're looking to improve its conditions for the university and future student athletes.


MACHADO: Now, there are reports that state budget cuts are to blame. The university says it's not just affecting the football program, but also the university as a whole. University officials are also saying, Brooke, that they are working with the players to deal with these issues.

BALDWIN: So is that what it is? It's budget cuts specifically at Grambling that have led to the moldy locker rooms we saw and the deteriorating equipment? Is that part of the issue?

MACHADO: It appears to be the issue. It seems that the university says that these budget cuts are affecting the university as a whole, including the football program.


Professor Gill, I know you got this anonymous e-mail, heads-up, as far as what's happening at Grambling, which really, it's just -- it's sad to look at when you know the storied football program there. What do you make of the boycott by these players?

EMMETT GILL, NORTH CAROLINA CENTRAL UNIVERSITY: Well, first of all, I would like to say, Brooke, that I would like to commend the players at Grambling State University for standing up for their rights in terms of having, you know, a weight room and travel accommodations that fit the demands of their schedule.

But Grambling State University is in a difficult position, as are many historically black colleges, when we talk about the budget cuts -- $18 million was cut from the Grambling State University budget. That's difficult for any athletic program to deal with.

BALDWIN: And when you read about it and you hear about football players just forfeiting games, not showing up to get on the bus, I was curious as far as how the university would handle this. I know the president at Grambling said, listen, we're not going to retaliate against these players because this is shining a national spotlight on this budget plight.

But, at the same time, this school here could be slapped with a $20,000 fine for forfeiting the game. Is it fair for these players just to walk away?

GILL: Well, again, Brooke, I think that the players did the right thing. I think that they on Friday and last week, they were under tremendous pressure in terms of playing the game at Jackson State University for homecoming.

The Student Athletes Human Rights Project became concerned when it was alleged that an e-mail was sent en masse to the players saying that they faced the forfeiture of scholarship if they did not play the game at Jackson State University. So that was of concern.

I think, Brooke, when you have situations like this, especially when this is a first when we talk about Division I student athletes protesting their conditions, that there are going to be some mistakes that are made on both sides. But I do feel after visiting the campus over the past couple of days that the administration, in particular the athletic director, athletic director James, has taken a more sensitive approach to these players' needs and some of their concerns are going to be addressed.

BALDWIN: Emmett Gill, professor, we appreciate you.

Alina Machado, thank you very much. We will stay on it and we will see what changes happen at Grambling and perhaps other HBCUs as well.

Today, the Obama administration announces major changes to the health care Web site, but the blame game, as you well know, is well under way. CNN has learned some people working on the site saw problems coming a long time before the launch of that Web site.

Plus, two of the Cleveland kidnapping victims are working on a very special project together. We will tell you how they plan to reveal more information about their horrific ordeal and their survival.