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Gunman Opens Fire At New Jersey Mall; Obamacare Sticker Shock?; "I Am An American"

Aired November 5, 2013 - 05:30   ET



ZORAIDA SAMBOLIN, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): A gunman found dead hours after sending panicked shoppers scrambling from a suburban New Jersey mall. We're going to have a live report straight ahead.

MIGUEL MARQUEZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): And the hits keep coming for the Obamacare website. Now, new internal documents warning of impending sticker shock for Americans in search of affordable health care.

SAMBOLIN: And kidnapping survivor, Michelle Knight, she is speaking out, describing being tied up and having money thrown at her after Ariel Castro captured her.


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

MARQUEZ (on-camera): And I'm Miguel Marquez. It is 31 minutes past the hour. Glad to be here.

SAMBOLIN: Oh, we're happy to have you.

MARQUEZ: Thank you. Thank you very much --


MARQUEZ: -- for being nice to me.

SAMBOLIN: It's temporary, dude.

MARQUEZ: Tomorrow will be heck.

We begin with a night of mayhem in a New Jersey mall. The drama unfolding at 9:30 last night shortly before closing time at the Westfield Garden State Plaza Mall in Paramus. A gunman opening fire, triggering chaos and a massive police search. And we've just learned the suspect's body has been found. Nic Robertson is live for us in Paramus with the very latest. Nic, what do you have?

NIC ROBERTSON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Miguel, just about two hours ago, police say that they discovered the body of Richard Shoop (ph), a 20- year-old young man. They say his body was over at the back of the shopping mall in a building area behind the building area, it was some distance, they say, from where he had entered the mall about six hours earlier when he began shooting.

They say he fired at least six shots into an escalator, an elevator, into a couple of stories stores, but they did say that he wasn't shooting at people. This is somebody they described as trouble and who had a history of drug use.


JOHN MOLINELLI, BERGEN COUNTY PROSECUTOR: He does have a history of drug use. But we do believe that the motive for what he did tonight was suicide, whether self-inflicted or, God forbid, suicide by -- no one ever wants to say that. It looked like that was his motive and this time based upon what we know, it did not appear that he entered the mall to actually shoot anyone and I say that only because it appears that he did have ample opportunity of that and chose not to do that.


ROBERTSON: Now, the weapon that he used was a modified rifle .22- caliber weapon, modified to look like an AK-47. He stole it from his brother is what the police say, that his family unaware that he was taking the weapon but aware that at this time that he was troubled. The prosecutor said that they had talked with the family and they had information which really led them not to be surprised when they discovered his body, a victim of his own gunshot taking his life, Miguel.

MARQUEZ: Such a shocking case. Do we know why he would do it in public and feel the need to go to the mall and do this, Nic?

ROBERTSON: This is something authorities are not able to answer at the moment. They say this is clearly somebody they don't use the word depressed, but clearly, that's what they're talking about. They say this history of drug use using MDMA and possibly using heroin as well, they say, contributed to his state of mind.

But again, they pointed out that he didn't go in to take other people's lives, only his own life because he had plenty of opportunity to do that and he didn't do it, Miguel.

MARQUEZ: Yes. Thank God he did not. Nic Robertson for us in Paramus. Thank you very much.

SAMBOLIN: And now to latest on the Obamacare mess. website is still a disaster, and officials are forced to shut it down nightly for repairs as well. And if it ever gets fixed, some Americans hoping to buy quality health care at an affordable price might be in for a bad case of sticker shock. Here's Joe Johns.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Ladies and gentlemen, the president of the United States. JOE JOHNS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Outwardly, the administration is confident and optimistic when it comes to Obamacare's promise of more choice and lower priced health insurance.


JOHNS: The president made the case for that in a Rose Garden event at the White House.

OBAMA: What we've done is essentially created competition where there wasn't competition before. And, as a result, this choice and this competition, prices have come down.

JOHNS: But privately, there is concern. A stunning internal war room document created last week submitted to Republican investigators and obtained by CNN details worries that when the website is up and running, there might be sticker shock and anger because the media attention will follow individuals to plan selection and their ultimate choices and, in some cases, there will be fewer options than would be desired to promote consumer choice and an ideal shopping experience.

Additionally, in some cases, there will be relatively high cost plans. Meanwhile, the White House was once again on defense Monday after other war room notes suggested the administration's request to consumers to call in to register for Obamacare wasn't really a way of bypassing the glitchy website. Why? Because the call centers and the website use the same computer system.

JAY CARNEY, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: The point of the call-in centers was to reduce the frustration that individuals were having. That's what he said. That's what we were doing. That's what we're doing. In the meantime, we're, you know, busting rocks every day to fix the website.

JOHNS: Joe Johns, CNN, Washington.


SAMBOLIN: Thirty-five minutes past the hour. Let's get a quick check of the morning forecast. Karen Maginnis, she is live in the CNN Weather Center. Good morning to you.

KAREN MAGINNIS, AMS METEOROLOGIST: And good morning, Zoraida and Miguel. And we're looking at kind of a very volatile situation as far as the weather is concerned. Up and down as far as the temperatures are concerned, especially over the next several days. As we see, that big dip in the atmosphere across the interior west and a frontal system moving fairly rapidly towards the east.

So, what does that mean for you? Well, if you're traveling and you live in the northeastern corridor along the I-95 corridor, you've got the next 48 hours it looked to be pretty good, but by about Thursday, if you've got travel plans, you may want to rethink that because temperatures are going to be a little bit lower and on the order of a quarter of an inch to maybe half an inch of rainfall associated with the frontal passage. Then that ridge of high pressure moves in before another weather system moves in by Sunday. Now, temperatures this morning not nearly as cold as they were yesterday morning. Temperatures were in the 20s and 30s. Well, yesterday in New York City, Central Park, 46. That was it. That was all the temperature was. Well, expect 50s for today and guess what? As we go by Wednesday, looks like temperatures expected in the 60s, even 66 for Pittsburgh.

So, it looks pretty good. Temperatures running about five to 10 degrees above where they should be but just wait. Here comes that frontal system and that's going to kick up the wind and drop the temperatures and produce some rainfall. Zoraida, back to you.

SAMBOLIN: All right. Thank you, Karen.

Thirty-seven minutes past the hour. One of the three women who survived a decade in captivity in a Cleveland house is opening up about her harrowing ordeal.


SAMBOLIN (voice-over): In an interview with Dr. Phil, 32-year-old Michele Knight describes in disturbing detail how her captor, Ariel Castro, tortured her for ten years.


DR. PHIL MCGRAW, PSYCHOLOGIST: So, he gets you in this room. What did he tie you up with

MICHELE KNIGHT, KIDNAPPING SURVIVOR: One of those orange extension cords. I was tied up like a fish, an ornament on the wall. That's the only way I can describe it. I was hanging like this, my feet, and I was tied by my neck and my arms with the extension cord going like that.

MCGRAW: Oh, my God. So, he tied your hands and feet and also around your neck, and hung you?


SAMBOLIN: Knight, Amanda Berry, and Gina DeJesus were rescued in May. In August, Castro pleaded guilty and was sentenced to life in prison. In September, he killed himself, discovered by guards hanging in his cell.


MARQUEZ: Hard to believe that story gets any worse.

William Potts wants to come home. The former Black Panther left this country for Cuba three decades ago to become a revolutionary. It didn't work out. Now, the 56-year-old fugitive could be just a few days from making his return to America. Patrick Oppmann has more.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) PATRICK OPPMANN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): William Potts hasn't left Cuba since hijacking a passenger flight to Havana nearly 30 years ago at gunpoint. He threatened to shoot one of the plane's pilots.

WILLIAM POTTS, AMERICAN FUGITIVE IN CUBA: Two pilot. He said, OK, OK, we were going to Cuba. I say I know we're going to Cuba.

OPPMANN: But now Potts, a member of Cuba's small Muslim community, is desperate to be reunited with family in the United States and praise U.S. officials will let him return. It's a prayer that could land him in prison.

(on-camera) U.S. officials accused the Cuban government of harboring dozens of fugitives, some of them was authorities say are terrorists and they placed million dollar bounties on their head. William Potts most likely is the only fugitive here fighting to go back to his country.

(voice-over) Unlike many of the other fugitives who fled to the island, Potts went to prison in Cuba, spending nearly 15 years behind bars for the hijacking. Time, he says, he shouldn't have to serve again in the United States.

POTTS: My position is that I'm free. I did the crime. But I did the time. I paid the price for that crime that I committed. Now, you know, I'm entitled to a second chance.

OPPMANN: U.S. officials say Potts still faces a federal air piracy charge. They're assisting his return. According to Potts, issuing him a single use passport, an exemption from the no-fly list and arranging for U.S. marshals to accompany him to Miami. Even if he has to do it from a prison cell, Potts says he wants to speak to the passengers and crew of the plane he hijacked to apologize.

POTTS: I regret taking that plane and putting those people's lives in jeopardy. I didn't have that perspective at the time, but I have it now and I carry it until the day, you know, that I die.

OPPMANN: When told by CNN of Potts' apology, the captain of the hijacked plane said he would, quote, "consider forgiving the fugitive."

Patrick Oppmann, CNN, Havana.


SAMBOLIN: All right. And coming up, a yard sale to beat all yard sales. Oprah Winfrey cleaning out her closets and earning some really big bucks for her charity.

MARQUEZ: I bet some good stuff there.


SAMBOLIN: It's another step forward for gay rights advocates, legislation to ban work place discrimination against gay, bisexual, and transgender workers clearing a key procedural hurdle in the Senate.


SAMBOLIN (voice-over): Seven Republicans joined Democrats in support. The historic bill is expected to pass the Senate next week. But it faces an uphill climb in the House where Speaker John Boehner and other top Republicans oppose it.

MARQUEZ (voice-over): Week four of the murder trial of Martin MacNeill gets under way this latest morning in Utah. The former doctor is accused of murdering his wife so he could continue an extramarital affair. Four inmates who served time with MacNeill are expected to take the stand and testify the doctor told him he killed his wife but didn't think police would ever be able to prove it.

SAMBOLIN: Sorry rocket man. It turns out it's no so lonely out in space. Cal Berkeley astronomers say our Milky Way galaxy is crowded with tens of billions of earth-like planets orbiting around distant stars much like our sun. And their temperatures may be just right to inhabit life. The findings are based on a flow of data provided by the Kepler telescope over the last several years. Are you going to tell us a little bit more?

MARQUEZ: The Goldilocks zone. Not too hot, not too cold. Could be tons --

SAMBOLIN: Who knows what's going on, right?

MARQUEZ: -- self-defying (ph) right now.

SAMBOLIN: All right. So, the big Oprah Winfrey auction at the Santa Barbara Polo Club pulled in nearly $600,000. That money will go to the Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy for Girls. That is in South Africa. The talk show queen acutioning off a personal collection of antiques, furniture, some artwork, a set of six 18 century Louis XVI arm chairs made the biggest splash going for $60,000.

MARQUEZ: I went looking for Tupperware and --

SAMBOLIN: Didn't find any.


SAMBOLIN: It's a lot of stuff there.

MARQUEZ: Well, World Series won, beard's done, Red Sox star, Shane --

SAMBOLIN: Thanks goodness.


SAMBOLIN: I did not like those beards.

MARQUEZ: No? Well, you know, they're being shaved off now. Shane Victorino and series MVP, David Ortiz, held a ceremonial shave-off in Boston on Monday, raising some hundred thousand dollars for marathon bombing victims in the process. The beards became a symbol of solidarity on their march to a third World Series title in nine years.

SAMBOLIN: Some of -- trim off, not a shave off.


MARQUEZ: Oh, yes. They could use probably a little more -- a close shave.


SAMBOLIN (on-camera): All right. So, let's take a look what's coming up on "NEW DAY." Chris Cuomo, Kate Bolduan joining us this morning. Good morning.


CHRIS CUOMO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: We're following two situations. We have the one in New Jersey at the shopping mall. Just before closing time, the government walks in dressed they say maybe in a motorcycle outfit with a helmet, with the visor up. He starts shooting. The people are scrambling. Now, they say his body was found in an apparent suicide. Unclear what his motive is. There's a lot reporting on the ground there. We're going to give it to you.

Also in Colorado, there was a stakeout of a school. It was closed overnight. There was a witness that said two men entered. They believe they were gunmen. They are now in custody. We'll take you through that story as well.

BOLDUAN: Yes. A lot developing this morning.

Also, we have some shocking new developments in the case of a Miami Dolphins player who left the team after being bullied, he said. One of his fellow players has been suspended and we are now hearing the voicemails that that player reportedly left for Jonathan Martin. They are truly disturbing. We're going to have that for you this morning.

SAMBOLIN: Looking forward to hearing much more in that. Thanks. See you soon.

BOLDUAN: All right.

MARQUEZ (on-camera): Thanks.

Five French teenagers facing criminal charges for kidnapping a llama from a local circus and taking him for a joy ride on a subway train.


MARQUEZ: Well, you can't make -- well, you can't make this stuff up.



MARQUEZ: That Surge (ph), the circus llama, who was minding his own business as llamas want to do early Thursday morning last week when five llama-nappers --


MARQUEZ: Come on -- leaving a nearby nightclub stole him. Well, it must have been some nightclub. They were arrested by police while riding with Surge on the subway.


MARQUEZ: Surge did not have his card. He didn't pay. Cops say the teens were drunk.

SAMBOLIN: Clearly.

MARQUEZ: Yes. Shocking. They set off to steal a zebra but the llama proved just a little bit cooperative. It probably sensible (ph) kids because those zebras can kick. Surge --


MARQUEZ: -- is doing a-OK. They can spit. Yes.

SAMBOLIN: Yes. Really far distances. Kind of a crazy story.

MARQUEZ: But maybe Surge was up for it. Who knows?


SAMBOLIN: All right. So, it is time for your "Morning Rhyme." Our tweet of the day comes from Mary Elizabeth Ramsey (ph) who writes, "John Berman's fill-in Miguel Marquez a sure morning win." I said there would be extra brownie points if you mentioned him. Congratulations. Good for you.

MARQUEZ: You get extra brownie points.


MARQUEZ: I don't know what that means. I don't know. We're going to work on that rhyme a little bit. We're going to take it to the rhyme doctors.

SAMBOLIN: And fix it?

MARQUEZ: And a little surgery, I think.

SAMBOLIN: Thanks for chiming in. You can come up with your own rhyme. Tweet us with the hash tags morning rhyme and EARLY START.

MARQUEZ: And coming up, Twitter is getting set for its big IPO. If you're looking to get in, Christine Romans will be here to tell us how much the price just might be.


SAMBOLIN: Welcome back to EARLY START. It is "Money Time." Christine Romans is here this morning. Good morning.

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN CHIEF BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, you guys. You know, T-minus 2 and counting. We're waiting for Twitter. It's expected to begin trading in two days. What's the big deal about Twitter? An initial public offering, they're really hot right now. So, companies send stock to investors for the first time in order to bank roll growth, maybe by other companies, raise a bunch of money.

Twitter isn't just any IPO. This is a social media IPO, and investors salivating right now by its prospect. The company is seeing heavy demand for its stock so much so that Twitter plans to close the order books today at noon. The company raised initial price range yesterday to about 25 bucks a share. Analysts say don't be surprised if you see the final price for Twitter shares set even higher than that.

Here's the fun fact for you. Twitter's IPO is expected to be bigger than Google's. Twitter expected to raise $1.9 billion in change slightly higher than what Google raise when it went public some nine years ago. So, you, the real ordinary investor will get your first shot at buying or selling those shares on Thursday if you have the stomach for it.

Now, if you don't have a lot of cash on hand, you want to buy a house, I have some good news for you this morning. Banks are starting to loosen the purse strings. They're offering loans with down payments of just five percent.


ROMANS: This is a huge change. Buyers had to come up to -- come up with 20 percent down after the housing bubble burst. But now, banks like TD Bank, Bank of America, Wells Fargo, they are making it a little bit friendlier for you. Why? Well, the banks think they can offer better deals than the Federal Housing Administration. And quite frankly, you know, last month I told you, 49 percent of homes sold in September were cash.

We've got this super low mortgage rates but real people are saying we can't get in on it. First-time home buyers are saying, look, we are good, good credit -- you know, we're good credit risks, but they don't have all the money in the bank. So, watch this phase. We'll see if that actually gets the housing market moving some more. And can you hear this?


ROMANS: Christmas music?

SAMBOLIN: I saw a wreath at midway airport in Chicago and I almost fainted.

ROMANS: Is it too early?

SAMBOLIN: Oh my gosh, yes! Wait until Thanksgiving!

MARQUEZ: it is never too early for Christmas. (CROSSTALK)

ROMANS: We are three weeks away from Thanksgiving and now here you go. Black Friday already beginning. And, K-Mart now jumping ahead of its competitors. It says you can shop at K-Mart for 41 straight hours starting at 6:00 a.m. on Thanksgiving to 11:00 p.m. on Black Friday. Black Friday is so 2012. Black Friday now starts before Thanksgiving.

This is, we think, the earliest opening day yet of any retail store for Black Friday shopping. It's usually the day after Thanksgiving Black Friday. It's considered the unofficial start of the holiday shopping season, but it's being moved forward by a month. Actually encroaching and now surpassing the traditional Thursday Thanksgiving dinner.

In fact, Macy's this year is going to be open on Thanksgiving. It's going to break a more than 100-year-old tradition for the retailer opening on Thanksgiving. And Wal-Mart, Wal-Mart has already -- this Friday, you're going to be able to get Black Friday deals on Wal-Mart. already has a Black Friday section.

SAMBOLIN: Insane. So, you get stuff --

MARQUEZ: And I'm getting you both of my Christmas lists before we --


ROMANS: How do you (inaudible).


SAMBOLIN: Thank you. Thank you, Christine.

MARQUEZ: Thanks.

SAMBOLIN: All right. Just ahead, Department of Homeland Security workers accused of wasting taxpayer money with bogus overtime pay. We'll have the very latest right after this.


SAMBOLIN: Welcome back to EARLY START.

Employees at six Homeland Security offices under investigation this morning for allegedly abusing overtime procedures. Seven federal workers are blowing the whistle on a scheme that is allegedly costing taxpayers millions of dollars in bogus overtime pay. A spokesman for the DHS says it is conducting a department wide review of how overtime pay is used and whether it complies with the law.

MARQUEZ: Interesting. That is it for your EARLY START this morning. "NEW DAY" starts right now.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Mall cops came running past us, screaming shots fired and they were telling everyone, run, run, run.

CUOMO: Breaking overnight. A gunman opens fire at closing time in a crowded New Jersey mall. Hundreds trapped inside. Early this morning, police confirmed the shooter has taken his own life. We hear from those terrified shoppers.

BOLDUAN: Also breaking now, a Denver school surround by S.W.A.T. teams reports of two men armed inside now in custody. We are live with the very latest.

MICHAELA PEREIRA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: NFL scandal. The Dolphins bullying case growing bigger. The NFL now launching a full investigation as disturbing voicemails and texts emerge.

CUOMO: Your "NEW DAY" starts right now.

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


CUOMO: Good morning. Welcome to "NEW DAY." It's Tuesday, November 5th, six o'clock in the east. We're following two developing situations right now. Information still coming in. The first one is in New Jersey. A mall shooting unfolding overnight ending just 90 minutes ago. Police confirm a gunman is dead hours after entering the mall just before closing time and opening fire.