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Shooting in Colorado; Remembering Sandy Hook; Americans Not Feeling a Strong Economy; A New Ring on the Business of Beyonce; The Business of Being Tyler Perry

Aired December 14, 2013 - 09:00   ET


CHRISTI PAUL, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning. We're so glad to have you on board with us. I'm Christi Paul.

VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN ANCHOR: I'm Victor Blackwell. 9:00 here on the East Coast, 6:00 out West -- this is NEW DAY SATURDAY.

And this morning, the country is marking the one-year anniversary of that shooting rampage at Sandy Hook Elementary School, Newtown, Connecticut. Also dealing with another school shooting.

PAUL: Yes, we're learning more about what may have sparked this latest rampage -- this one in Colorado that just happened yesterday.

Here's what we know this hour. Police say 18-year-old Karl Pierson went into his high school in suburban Denver and opened fire. A 15- year-old girl was critically-injured and when police rushed in to the school, they found Pierson dead on the floor.

BLACKWELL: CNN's Casey Wian joins us now from Centennial, Colorado. So Casey, you have information about what might have been the reason why this may have happened. The question everybody asks after a shooting like this happens. What have you learned about why?

CASEY WIAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: That's right, Victor and Christi. The reason that he came to the school armed with a shotgun and two Molotov cocktails, police say, is revenge against a teacher. A teacher who is also the coach of the debate team, of which Pierson was a member. They are still trying to figure out why that 15-year-old girl, who remains in critical condition at a local hospital, was shot.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: School is on lockdown. I'm not sure why. There's smoke. North side of the school.

There's a fire in the library.

WIAN (voice-over): Chaos and confusion at Colorado's Arapahoe High School as a gunman opens fire.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm on the north side in the west parking lot. I have a student down in the athletic hall.

Shotgun shell on the ground. I assume they have a shotgun. I see two shotgun shells on the ground here.

WIAN: And this morning, the suburban Denver high school is still a crime scene.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Be advised at this time we do have one student down and they have found shotgun shells.

WIAN: Police say the gunman identified as 18-year-old Karl Halverson Pierson shot one student before turning the gun on himself and taking his own life.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's pretty scary. There were two shots by my classroom. We heard this screaming.

WIAN: Police say Pierson appears to have been seeking revenge against a specific faculty member because of what police call a confrontation or disagreement. Witnesses saw Pierson enter Arapahoe High School carrying a shotgun and making no attempt to hide it.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I saw him. He was kind of running military towards the building. I alerted everybody in the building. That's when I heard two big bangs. Boom, pop.

WIAN: Police say Pierson asked other students the whereabouts of a faculty member. Reportedly, the school's librarian and head of the speech and debate team.

GRAYSON ROBINSON, ARAPAHOE COUNTY SHERIFF: When the teacher heard that this individual was asking for him, the teacher exited the school immediately. In my opinion, it was the most important tactical decision that could have been made.

WIAN: In addition to the shotgun, authorities found two Molotov cocktails inside the school. One was rendered safe, the other had been detonated.

And that's why the deputies encountered a large amount of smoke in the immediate area. That was ignited either immediately prior to or during the shots being fired.

WIAN: As part of the investigation, authorities will be looking at school surveillance video. They are also searching Pierson's car, his home and another home he had access to.

The shooting happened just 10 miles from the infamous 1999 Columbine High School shooting where Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold killed 12 students and one teacher before killing themselves.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: My husband was a freshman at Columbine so he's freaking out right now. It's bringing back horrible memories about and yes, it's just way too close to home.


WIAN: You can see the cars in the parking lot of the school behind me, those are cars left there by students in the aftermath of yesterday's shooting. Authorities say they will allow students to come get those cars beginning in about an hour. Their personal possessions, backpacks and other things left inside the school, that's going to take a little while for them to retrieve those because this entire school remains a crime scene.

Victor, Christi.

PAUL: All right. Casey Wian, we appreciate the update so much from Centennial, Colorado there. Thank you.

BLACKWELL: Yesterday's shooting brings back all the painful memories and we were just talking about a few of them, from Newtown, Connecticut. Today marks one year since that tragedy claimed 26 lives at Sandy Hook Elementary School.

In 20 minutes, President Obama and the first lady will observe a moment of silence and light candles to remember the victims. We will have that live for you when that happens right around 9:30 this morning Eastern time.

CNN's Poppy Harlow joins us from New York. The families in Newtown have asked that the media not go to town. Understandably that they don't want to have to relive the stories and everyone will grieve or remember or honor the victims in their own way. Poppy.

POPPY HARLOW, CNN CORRESPONDENT: You're absolutely right. That is why we're not there. This is the message that they sent this week. They held a press conference on Monday saying we all need to heal in our own way. We are asking for this day and for the media trucks and cameras not to come to give us this peace and privacy. That is exactly what we and most of the media are doing.

Just think, they are going through this and then yesterday, they had to see another school shooting. As you said, Victor, adding to the pain. You know, we heard from one of the pastors in Newtown this week. Matt Crebin (ph). He said something that stood out to me so much. He said, "Newtown is cracked. We have been through a devastating experience." But he said "in the midst of those cracks, that brokenness, there is light. Through the actions of kindness from families, from neighbors, from friends." That is the beauty that we are seeing in Newtown and the way that that community has come together. Every family is dealing with it in a different way. Some are fighting for tougher federal gun laws.

We have seen sweeping changes to state gun legislation in Connecticut and in Colorado, but we have not seen changes to federal gun laws. So some family members are fighting very hard for that. I was at a vigil in Washington, D.C. on Thursday. It was for the Newtown victims and also all victims of gun violence. It was put on by the Newtown Foundation and the Newtown Action Alliance. And there, I talked to two men, Monty Frank from the Newtown Action Alliance and Pastor Sam Saylor from Hartford, Connecticut. He lost his son to gun violence. They just represent how so many people have come together to fight gun violence.

I want you to take a listen to the message that they are sending. (BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

HARLOW (on camera): What is the message that you both hope that this sends?

PASTOR SAM SAYLOR: Well, I hope that this sends a message that we are united as in honor with action. The children that have fallen, the lives that have (INAUDIBLE) that we honor their dreams, beyond the lives that are lost with action and (INAUDIBLE) that we have a better world.

HARLOW: For you, Monty?

MONTE FRANK, NEWTOWN ACTION ALLIANCE: When Americans look at the faces of the people on the stage, all those who have been lost to gun violence, I want them to see that this is unacceptable. I want Congress to see that this is unacceptable. I want them to have the courage to move ahead with stronger gun legislation so we don't come back here next year and have to honor another 30,000 gun victims.


HARLOW: And you see the candles lit at that vigil at the National Cathedral. It was a beautiful ceremony and in just about 20 minutes, we will see the president and the first lady light 26 candles before that moment of silence in honor of the victims of Newtown.

But if you are sitting at home and wondering what you can do today, the people of Newtown have asked for acts of kindness, volunteer work, whatever you can do to honor the lives lost.

Victor, Christi.

BLACKWELL: All right. Poppy Harlow, we know that everyone will take a moment to remember where they were a year ago when they heard not just that there was a shooting at a school, but when they heard the number and the ages of those children.

Stay with CNN right here. We will, in less than 30 minutes have that moment of silence from the White House. President Obama expected to pay tribute to the victims of Sandy Hook. The president and first lady will observe the moment of silence, light candles in honor of the 26 people who died that day.

PAUL: And we're going to be right back. Stay close.


BLACKWELL: Live pictures here from Chicago on the left. And then you've got Mt. Kisco on the right. Both of them dealing with some rough weather but in other parts of the country, I mean, they are dealing with feet of snow. So yes, this is bad, but not as bad as some other folks.

PAUL: That's true. But let's start in Chicago. Shall we? You know, the snow has been falling there through the night, we understand, covering roads, keeping drivers on the lookout. Those folks there though they know what they're doing.


PAUL: This is part of the territory for them. But Jennifer Gray is braving the cold in Grant Park this morning. What are you seeing this morning? Are people out and about?

JENNIFER GRAY, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Yes, people are getting out and about. We had the snow plows out early this morning. They have been working very, very hard to keep these roads clear. The snow has been coming down since the wee hours of the morning. We had a fine snow early this morning and now we're getting the bigger snow flakes. We've gotten about 1 1/2 inches to almost two inches probably right here in Grant Park.

Guys, it is cold. Temperatures are about 26 degrees here in the Park. Outside the city, temperatures around 31 degrees. So below freezing for all of Chicago. Winter weather advisory in effect. We could see two to four inches of snow right outside of the city. This is just the beginning. This huge snowstorm is pushing to the northeast for today.

We are going to see anywhere from an inch of an icy mix to snow in Washington, D.C. and then we could see anywhere from three to five inches and up to seven possibly in New York City and then up to eight inches in Boston, possibly. This is going to last throughout the day, pushing out by tomorrow. Guys.

PAUL: All right. Jennifer Gray, stay warm, have fun. Start a snowball fight. Whatever you got to do to keep going. Thank you.

And of course, from Chicago, we have to head to New York.


All right. So snow has already begun falling and people there are starting to get ready for the storm. That could dump really, nearly a foot before it wraps up.

Our Fred Pleitgen is out in the thick of all this morning, he is in Mt. Kisco. What do got up in upstate New York?

FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, the snow is coming down pretty heavy here, guys. It also started around 5:30 when it was still dark. At that point, it was really a pretty wet snow, almost rainy kind of snow. Right now, the snow flakes here are also getting a little bit thicker, a little bit drier. Of course, it is a lot nicer to make snow balls with these snowflakes here.

People here are out and about as well. As you can see behind me, a lot of the streets are clear. That's because the snow plows came out immediately after it started snowing. Also vehicles that were spreading salt coming out as well. We are seeing people who are out and about also but they are also making preparations. Some stores are opening a little earlier. People are trying to get things done as early as possible because they know that the weather is most probably going to get a lot worse. We were able to speak to one store owner who owns a hair salon. And he said that people were actually making appointments to try and get here as early as possible, to get things done because they did not know if they were going to be able to do it later on. Let's listen in.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I brought my boots with me just in case it gets heavy. But we start nice and early every Saturday. And we're prepared for whatever we can do. Depends on the driveways. People who get out of their driveways and get in, that will be great.


PLEITGEN: So the driveways are the big issue. The side roads, of course, as well, where a lot of that snow is piling up. As we have said, it has been snowing for a couple of hours here. Right now, people are coming to terms with it quite well. But this is also that part of the country where this snow at some point later today or tomorrow, is going to turn into icy rain. Then the conditions on the roads could get very, very ugly. It could be some very icy conditions and very difficult for people trying to drive around here guys.

BLACKWELL: So, all right, so the guy who owns this hair salon he says that people are rushing out so they can get their appointments now? So they're getting their hair done so they can go and just sit in the house?

PAUL: Well, if you have to get your hair colored, right, Fred? You got to get it done.

BLACKWELL: Well, if you want to get your hair, come in. Listen, you want to look good in the snow as well, don't you? Not like me. I'm getting my hair dyed for free today. I'm getting it dyed white today. All right. That was a decision I made today but you want to look good in the snow as well. Although some of them will probably have to put a hat on. But yes, you said people are coming early. Some people actually moved their appointments from today to yesterday to get their hair done. Who knows? Maybe they have people coming over and they want to look good.

PAUL: That's right, it's the holidays. They have company.


PAUL: Come on.

BLACKWELL: But I keep my butt at home and just do something different. But you know, I don't have that issue.

Fred Pleitgen in upstate New York for us. Thanks.

PAUL: I do. So I can understand. BLACKWELL: All right.

PAUL: We're going to be right back. Stay close.


BLACKWELL: Live look at 26 candles. This is the map room at the White House. This is the one-year anniversary of the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut. President Obama and first lady Michelle Obama in just about 10 minutes will walk in and light those candles together and then observe a moment of silence.

This is how the president and the first lady are choosing to remember the tragic day, especially considering the request from the people who live in Newtown, to try to keep the media away from the community so best not to go there and take all of the reporters who travel with the president to a community that is asking for privacy. This will be how the first family will honor those who were killed.

PAUL: Yes, and a lot of times, you know, a year goes by and we forget. But this was the second deadliest mass shooting in U.S. history. You know, when you think about the people in that town right now, and the fact they are asking for their privacy, we get that. That's why we're not there.

A lot of national media has chosen to stay away as well. We want to honor all of these children. 20 children and six adults killed. And so out of respect for them and their request, we are honoring that today. But we do want to share with you what some parents told our Anderson Cooper, some of the parents of these children that were lost.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I was sure she was going to walk out. I did not understand the magnitude of the situation until about 2:00 in the afternoon.

BOB GRAY, JOSEPHINE GAY'S FATHER: I was at work and I was driving back. I'm calling her and asking for information. She said "I don't have information." I said "Why am I getting better information off a.m. news radio than I am from you. You're standing right there."

I was about a mile from Newtown when they came out and said 20 children had been killed and six adults. It struck me. Thank god it was only a mile from there because if I had to drive on 84, I would run the car off the road. Because it was such a disturbing, disconcerting moment.

KAITLIN ROIG-DEBELLIS, TEACHER SANDY HOOK ELEMENTARY: Eventually, a knock came and it was a police officer. I finally unlocked the door and there was S.W.A.T. team. I grabbed two of my students' hands. The S.W.A.T. team members each grabbed a hand or two and we fled out the back of the school.

ANDERSON COOPER, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Kaitlin Roig- Debellis and her 15 first graders all survived. Three of the five first grade classrooms escaped unharmed that day. And the other two a different story.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: They finally said if you are in this room and you're waiting, there's - you know.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Your loved one is not coming back.

COOPER: Among the 20 children and six educators who died that day -

JEREMY RICHMAN, AVIELLE RICHMAN'S FATHER: I think there's not a minute, not a second of any day, that goes by where somewhere in my head I'm thinking I don't have my daughter, Avielle. She's gone. That's always in my head.

JENNIFER HENSEL, AVIELLE RICHMAN'S MOTHER: It's every second of every day that she's not with me.

JEREMY RICHMAN: Literally days after we lost her, we said we have to do something. It is just in our nature.

JENNIFER HENSEL: It may have been that very day. I remember asking why would somebody walk into this school and kill my child. I need to know that answer. I have to have that answer.

COOPER: Do you think there is always a why?

HENSEL: Because we don't know the answer doesn't mean there isn't a cause.


COOPER: Even before Avielle's funeral, her parents set off on a mission to honor here by searching for answers. They weren't the only ones.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You know, we can't go back in time but we can take what we learned and honor our daughter by doing something with it.

GRAY: You know, we're kind of faced with do you want to do something or do want to do nothing? And there was no question.


PAUL: Oh, such strong people. We can all learn so much from these families.

BLACKWELL: Yes, and you can learn more about what they're doing. There's a full special honoring the children of Newtown one year later. That is tonight at 8:00 p.m..

PAUL: And we are expecting President Obama and the first lady any moment now to stop for a moment of silence. This is in the map room at the White House. You see 26 candles there. They will light them together to honor the 26 people who were killed, including the 20 children. Stay close.


BLACKWELL: Welcome back. We're expecting in just a moment, President Obama and First Lady in the Map Room of the White House lighting 26 candles to honor the -- 20 children and six adults killed one year ago today at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut.

We were speaking with Poppy Harlow who was there in Newtown for several days after that tragedy.

And, Poppy, you know, we saw a portion of the special that will air tonight on CNN. And you were just about to say that everyone is grieving in their own way.


BLACKWELL: And some of the parents have chosen to remember their children through activism, through political action.

HARLOW: Yes, absolutely. Everyone in their own way, that's why they're asking for this privacy today, for us, the media, not to be there with our cameras, et cetera. They're all healing and grieving in their own way.

We have seen some of the families come forward fighting for tougher federal gun legislation. We have seen sweeping changes to gun legislation in the state of Connecticut following this tragic shooting, but not on a federal level.

I have spoken with parents there. Different community members who have formed the Newtown Foundation and Newtown Action Alliance, fighting for change. I spoke with one of the fathers in Newtown, not who lost a child, but who has a child in Newtown. And he's on the Newtown Foundation and Action Alliance.

And he says we will continue this fight. They believe that there needs to be changed. You know, this morning, in the president's address, he said from the very beginning our efforts were led by the parents of Newtown. Men and women and possibly brave who stepped forward in the hope these might spare others their heart break. Possibly brave.

And that really sums up what this entire community is and possibly brave. And we wish them peace and comfort today.

BLACKWELL: Yes, I remember seeing that people were sending 26 angels as you mentioned, 26 wreaths.


BLACKWELL: And 26 teddy bears because people across the country, Christi, you remember this you were on the desk at the time the news broke, wanted to do something.

CHRISTI PAUL, CNN ANCHOR: Something. And it was one of the great things, too, was to get your kids involved. Remember, they had the kids to make snowflakes. BLACKWELL: Yes.

PAUL: And send it to the school. So -- because kids at other schools were hearing about this. And it was frightening for them. And as parents are trying to explain it to your kids and you're trying to watch, and you're grieving for these parents, too, so, I think Poppy wrapped it up very well to say, you know, we wish you peace, we are praying for you still, we hope for you still, and for your children.

BLACKWELL: Hug your kids today.

PAUL: Yes. Go hug your kids.

BLACKWELL: We'll be back at the top of the hour. After the break, "YOUR MONEY" with Christine Romans.