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Cops: Shooting Wasn't Random; Heart Stopping Helicopter Rescue; Obama Sending Message To Russia?; Tech Execs Frustrated With The President; Zimmerman Painting Tops 100K; Run Over By A Runway Train; Mega Winners

Aired December 18, 2013 - 07:30   ET


MICHAELA PEREIRA, CNN ANCHOR: The gunman killed one person and critically wounded two others before turning the gun on himself. The shooting happened in a Neurology Office at the Renown Medical Center in Reno. The shooter has yet to be identified publicly.

Amanda Knox once again is declaring her innocence, this time in an e- mail to an Italian court. The former U.S. exchange student is being tried again for the murder of her roommate back in 2007. Her attorney submitted the e-mail as part of her defense. In it she says, quote, "I didn't kill, I didn't rape, I didn't rob, I didn't plot, I didn't instigate. I didn't kill Meredith." A verdict is expected in January.

Cantor Fitzgerald, the New York brokerage firm that lost 658 employees in the World Trade Center on 9/11 has settled its lawsuit against American Airlines. The firm was seeking $1 billion in damages from the airline, claiming that American was negligent in failing to detect the hijackers that flew American Flight 11 into the north tower. American Airlines agreed to pay Cantor $135 million in the settlement.

Heart stopping rescue to show you out of Canada, this worker in Kingston, Ontario trapped on a crane with nowhere left to go as a huge fire raged below at a construction site. A military chopper was brought in and plucked him out before the crane could collapse. The pilot described the man as petrified. He reportedly only suffered minor injuries. They are very concerned about the remaining part of that crane that is standing. That it could collapse after all that damage.

KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR: The worst place to be. Thanks, Michaela.

PEREIRA: You're welcome.

BOLDUAN: All right, it's time now for our political gut check. For the first time in a decade, the president, vice president, and first lady, none of them will be attending the opening or closing ceremonies at the Sochi Olympics. But it's who they are sending in their place that appears to be sending a pretty clear message to Russia.

CNN's chief national correspondent, John King, is here to talk more about it. I guess it's where the relationship is right now with Russia and the tension between the two countries, I guess it's not a surprise that the president is not going, but what do you make of the message?

JOHN KING, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: It's a clear public snub, Kate and Chris. Good morning. Michaela as well. No question. As you mentioned, the president have had this up in the past, the first lady went the last time. He is sending a former cabinet secretary, Janet Napolitano sent the delegation. What was her job, Homeland Security? Who's sitting in Russia right now? Edward Snowden.

So there is no question about that. Also in the delegation, several athletes who are openly gay led by Billie Jean King, the tennis great, again, a direct message to Vladimir Putin because of the anti-gay policies of the Russian government. This is President Obama saying to President Putin, things are testy, I'm not going to deny that and in fact, I'm going to make a political statement here.

BOLDUAN: What will it do though? Is it just a public statement basically or do you think it will actually will do something to kind of shift the balance between U.S./Russia relations?

KING: This is a relationship that is broken and it's getting worse not better as we speak. Now both governments say when they have to deal with the big issues, they still can have a conversation. They can say we disagree about this and this, but let's talk about that. Let's look at what's happening right now even with the Ukraine.

Vladimir Putin extending money, trying to keep Ukraine away from the European Union, so there are a number of tensions in this relationship. You know, we see the Edward Snowden case, chief and publicly among them, it's getting worse, not better. This is the president's way of sending the world a message and the American people as well.

That delegation will be seen, you know, at ceremonies and the like of where he stands. He's going to not only sending this message through private diplomacy, but through a very, very public statement.

BOLDUAN: And talk about tension. The meeting yesterday at the White House with the president and the vice president and some of the biggest names in tech are going there to talk about the NSA. Inevitably you talk about something else, but some of these tech leaders left saying that they were really frustrated and upset that there was too much focus on the troubled web site. What do you think?

KING: We heard a lot of grumbling afterwards, some directly from the execs, some from their representatives. And this is actually something you hear about this president quite frequently. When you bring up something that he doesn't want to talk about, his message we are told from the tech people and their representatives, I got you. I know you are upset about this. We are working on it. Don't worry. I got your back on this. We're going to have some changes pretty soon.

This is because the tech companies are very concerned that their users are mad at them, if you have G-mail or Yahoo! that the government, the NSA is taking this information. The companies want permission to tell their customers. This is what the government is asking. This is what they are getting. The admission so far said, well, let us review this. The president kept trying to turn it back to the economy, back to health care. We need more details because this is our livelihood.

CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: Do you think it's fair to put it on the government what the tech community is dealing with in terms of information they take from their users? There's been hypocrisy at play here. If they want to start telling their users what's going on, shouldn't they start with what they're doing with our information?

KING: I think that's one of the reasons, Chris, that the American people, you know, a lot of people expect more outrage when this story became public. Logon to a web site right now, the two of you sitting next to each other and you'll get a different ad. It's Christmas season. They know what you're looking for. They know everything about you.

And I think the American people are actually reasonably conditioned to the fact that whether it's big brother of the government or big brother of the business community and the banks. That's one of the reasons you hit the nail on the head that a lot of the people who want more public outrage to help them push for changes in these policies say the public is kind of numb to this because they think everybody knows everything anyway.

BOLDUAN: All right, John, great to see you. Thank you.

KING: Almost didn't come. I have a winning ticket.

BOLDUAN: Yes, right.

KING: Two bucks, 2 bucks, one number and the mega ball.

BOLDUAN: Good. You can buy me a fourth of a coffee.

CUOMO: John King would show up. Good haircut working. I like the cut, fresh cut for Christmas.

BOLDUAN: But if you'd know John King, you would not show up.

KING: I would show up to show you my ticket, Kate.

BOLDUAN: Exactly. Thanks, John.

CUOMO: Indra Petersons is somebody else who says she would show up if she won the lottery.

BOLDUAN: Indra loves her job.

INDRA PETERSONS, AMS METEOROLOGIST: I would show up, right. It's weather. Who doesn't love weather? I have the easy gig here. I get to enjoy it all. Today, not many of you are going to have to deal with much because we're getting a breather, that big system. That was in the northeast yesterday. Still seeing just a hint of it, out towards Maine as it is exiting out of the area. Sure, another 1 to 3 inches can be seen. The lake effect, we'll see that firing up up here for another day or so. Otherwise, we are going to transition to a couple of new storms. The first thing you need to know, temperatures, they are mild today in the northeast, thanks to the system from yesterday. They're going to moderate. They are going to get a little bit better.

But by no means are they going to be as warm as what you're seeing in the southeast. These temperatures are going to start climbing near almost 70. We notice Memphis by Friday looking for 67 degrees. This matters because there will be a severe weather threat by the weekend. The reason why a storm that's out in the west today? It's great news.

I mean, Big Sur, talking about that fire, a chance for showers. So that should help the firefighters, but there are two systems. So there they are, one and two, notice one goes a lot quicker. Number two is slower, impacting you as we go towards Saturday and Sunday.

Let's take number one. Number one here is going to bring some light showers into the Midwest. By Friday, it should hit the northeast and bring lightly slight rain here. How much rain or snow we get out of it, the takeaway is the severe weather threat for Saturday and Sunday. I can't stress it enough. Awareness is key, Washington, Illinois, huge tornado outbreak, no one was even aware. That is why five days ahead of time, I'll keep telling people there is a risk.

BOLDUAN: Pay attention. Thanks, Indra.

CUOMO: Coming up on NEW DAY, a dramatic scene in the New York City subway system. A blind man and his guide dog tumble on to the tracks. The train is approaching. How did they survive? We'll show you.

BOLDUAN: Would you pay $100,000 for this, a painting by George Zimmerman? His work is getting big bids on eBay. We're going to talk about what it's worth with an art critic coming up next.

CUOMO: Jerry doesn't look happy.


CUOMO: Welcome back to NEW DAY. George Zimmerman, he's been called many things, hasn't he? Well, here's something he's never been called until now, an artist, surprising title. Why, well, Zimmerman's first work of art has been listed on eBay and the bidding started at 99 cents. The latest bid is more than $100,000. Why? Is the painting even any good?

Let's bring in an expert. Shall we? Jerry Saltz, senior art critic for "New York" magazine. Jerry, happy holidays, great to have you here. All right, so people want to be outraged. How can someone like this, assuming you believe the worst about George Zimmerman, how could someone ever want art from someone like this. Not the first time we've seen this, have we?

JERRY SALTZ, SENIOR ART CRITIC, "NEW YORK" MAGAZINE: Mass murders have made arrest and people have tried to buy it, have bought it. Charles Manson, John Wayne Gacy. In my humble opinion this person got away with a crime and in that sense, that is the only reason that anybody would want to buy anything that he made.

CUOMO: Now what have we seen in terms of why, what is the fascination? What is the desire to buy the artwork of someone who's been connected to or convicted for a horrible crime?

SALTZ: Well, first of all, honestly, I wouldn't call this a work of art. It's a travesty, a placard, a poster, something you might see in protest. I mean, it's a bid of confession to me.


SALTZ: It's talking about liberty, justice for all. Well, you know, it's almost like none of this ever happened and then also, you have this is his funny little -- he's almost trying to be a cause. And the cause that I think he is a travesty of justice, a crime. It's insipid, it's not -- there's no thought in it. It's needing to be the center of attention. I think it's a bit psychotic.

CUOMO: Now this is your art criticism, of course, because that's what you are. You're also basing it somewhat on this. Tell us, what am I looking at here?

SALTZ: Well, it doesn't matter but he copied it. That's fine. He finds the most obvious image of a flag and he does the exact same thing. It's all here. There's no thought in this person. He just needs attention. It's just the beginning. This guy is, I think, a kind of person heading for a fall.

CUOMO: He certainly had his problems, right?

SALTZ: He created a problem.

CUOMO: The problems follow him often. He says this as well after the fact. He said he's finding release in this and he certainly needs cash, right, which takes me to another point. This price tag of $100,000, what class does it put Zimmerman in as an artist for what goes to this amount of money?

SALTZ: I almost can't stand that we have great artists, Picaso, Warhol, Liechtenstein, up in the same segment because these are artists. What Zimmerman made, he's not an artist. To me, what he made was a Simpleton, quasi psychotic in my opinion as an art critic.

CUOMO: But people want to pay 100 grand for this.

SALTZ: Right.

CUOMO: What does it speak to then?

SALTZ: What that speaks to is they think George Zimmerman is a cause. They're not buying this work of art. They're buying the idea that George Zimmerman, a person that, in my opinion, got away with a crime, is worthy of supporting. In my opinion he should not even be allowed to make the money sold for this painting. CUOMO: A cause would be one rationale. What are other ones we've seen with notorious figures in terms of what drew the interest in them?

SALTZ: In the others, good point. It's a flirtation with evil, a flirtation with death, a flirtation with these men who are supposedly creative. John Wayne Gacy painted clowns. To me, as an art critic, this is a clown making painting.

CUOMO: Is that because of how you feel about the art or you cannot divorce yourself from your feelings about the case?

SALTZ: I feel this way about whatever this thing is, this placard. I could imagine it outside any protest. I don't see it as a painting. I just see it as a poster or placard.

CUOMO: Thematically, there are things that resonate with the American people, God, one nation under God with liberty and justice for all. I mean, you get the adaptation.

SALTZ: I get it. I find is simplistic, limited, silly, it's not art. It's just a poster. And yes, it has ideas that resonate with all of us, all of us. But it seems ironic that the person who might have gotten away with something is making things about justice, when I think that's not what happened.

CUOMO: One thing we have to say for sure, one of the goals of art is to make people think. This raises a lot of questions for us, the value that's been put on this, about why that is, fair point?

SALTZ: Not for me but for you.

CUOMO: You're smarter than I am. You're the answers. I'm the questions. Thank you very much. Appreciate your doing that.

SALTZ: Thank you.

CUOMO: Mich, over to you.

PEREIRA: All right, Chris, thanks so much for that.

Next up on NEW DAY, a quick-thinking transit employee helped save a blind man and his guide dog who fell to the tracks in New York City. How did they survive with only a few scratches even though the train went right over them?


PEREIRA: You see that picture. Let me tell you the story as I welcome you back to NEW DAY. A New York man's canine companion is also his hero. This is 61-year-old Cecil Williams. He is blind. He collapsed, fainted and fell onto New York subway tracks Tuesday. His guide dog sprang into action as a train closed in on them.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) PEREIRA (voice-over): It was smack in the middle of rush hour at this Harlem Subway Station when Cecil Williams, a blind man, began feeling faint.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I saw a man saying, no, and fell into the train tracks.

PEREIRA: Williams collapsed onto the northbound track and depending on who you ask, his seeing eye dog, Orlando, jumped or fell right in after him.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He was all the way at the edge backwards and the dog was trying to pull him in.

DANYA GUTIEREZ, WITNESS: When he was falling down to the track and his dog fell down with him as well, and everyone started freaking out.

PEREIRA: Witnesses told Williams to lie down between the rails, not to try to climb back onto the platform. Others frantically waved to keep the train from running him over, but the train operator could not stop in time and a couple of cars passed right over him and his dog.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It must have been a lucky day for him.

PEREIRA: Amazingly Williams was admitted to the hospital for only minor cuts to his head and Orlando emerged unscathed.

CAPTAIN DANIEL O'SULLIVAN, FDNY: He was semi-coherent. He asked us how his dog was doing. We told him that his dog was fine.

PEREIRA: The service dog stuck by his master's side at the hospital all day, then went home with Williams' grateful girlfriend, and later seemed unfazed by the glare of news cameras, the trademark of a true New York media star.


PEREIRA: So Orlando, let's talk about him for a second the hero is turning 11. He'll retire from service soon. Williams is looking for a home for him along with a new guide dog because he will need that. He said that if he had the money, he would definitely keep Orlando, but his insurance won't cover it.

But wait, in response, someone created a "Go Fund Me" page online to raise money so that Williams can keep and care for Orlando well into his retirement. So far we're proud to report the site has already raise over $8,000 toward a $10,000 goal. We've watched that steadily climb from early this morning.

BOLDUAN: Just throughout the morning. It's been amazingly, thousands of dollars.

CUOMO: It's barely 8:00 in the morning. You hear about amazing survival, but I don't know if you've been in the New York City subway.

PEREIRA: Not a lot of room. CUOMO: The only way to survive would be to take action so it was amazing that the man was able to do this and stay face down especially when obviously he didn't have the same sensory recognition what was going on.

PEREIRA: And the fact that the dog was able to.

CUOMO: The dog knowing to lie down in between the -- that's amazing.

BOLDUAN: Call it a lucky day or I don't know what you call it. It's lucky day plus.

CUOMO: Lucky dog, amazing.

PEREIRA: The picture, the one little bandage on his head. I mean, it's amazing.

BOLDUAN: Great story.

PEREIRA: Mr. Cecil.

CUOMO: I'm happy people are stepping up. It's nice. You're all a function of the good stuff and we haven't gotten to that part of the show yet. We'll take a break now.

Coming up on NEW DAY, an Indian diplomat arrested and strip searched in New York. Now Indian officials are retaliating. We'll tell you how, this morning you're looking at it, there is a clue.

Also ahead, two winners in two states are mega, mega rich, sharing $636 million. We're going to take to you the places where the Mega Millions winning tickets were purchased and we'll hear from someone who is getting a slice of the prize.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The lottery called me, I'll be the good one!


CUOMO: We have a winner, actually, we have two jackpot winners splitting $636 million. So where are they? Plus we're going to hear from someone who gets a slice of the pie.

BOLDUAN: Motive up known, a gunman storms into this Nevada medical center and opens fire, killing one person, injuring others and sending the whole facility into lockdown. We're live with the latest.

PEREIRA: Diplomatic furor, an arrest playing across two continents, India livid at the U.S. for arresting one its diplomats. They're now removing security around the U.S. embassy there. So what started it all?

CUOMO: Your NEW DAY continues right now. ANNOUNCER: This is NEW DAY with Chris Cuomo, Kate Bolduan and Michaela Pereira.

BOLDUAN: Good morning once again and welcome back to NEW DAY. It is Wednesday, December 18th, 8:00 in the east. We are all back at work this morning.

Safe to say we did not win the $636 million jackpot last night, but if you're watching us in Georgia or California, have another very close look at your Mega Millions tickets, folks. A winning ticket was sold in both states.

We'll put the winning numbers up on the screen so check it one more time. Make sure to check that mega ball number 7. Who are the winners? We've got the results covered coast to coast this morning.

Let's start with Dan Simon at a gift shop in San Jose, California, where the winning ticket was purchased. Hi, Dan.

DAN SIMON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: All right, Kate, good morning. Since this is a gift shop at a strip mall perhaps the winner came to buy a Christmas present and left with two presents including the winning lottery ticket. We'll just have to see if this person comes forward today. In the meantime, the owner of this store is absolutely ecstatic. He is a 37-year-old Vietnamese man.