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Winter Storm; Super Bowl Security; UNC Academic Failure; Son Hunted by Demons

Aired January 28, 2014 - 14:00   ET


DON LEMON, CNN ANCHOR: Hello, everyone. Don Lemon here. A crazy day. I'm in for Brooke Baldwin. So, stand by.

Fasten your seat belts when it comes to the weather. The Midwest, Northeast might be used to it, but much of the deep south is about to get slammed with a winter cold snap it hasn't seen in decades. And we're talking a big swath of freezing rain, sleet, and snow. I've been talking to my friends in Atlanta and they're freaking out right now. Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, all under states of emergency. Birmingham, Atlanta, and, yes, New Orleans, right in the storm's path.

First we're going to go to meteorologist Jennifer Gray. She is live in downtown Atlanta, where it's already snowing. It's so weird when it snows in Atlanta. Everything comes to a halt. I hear there is a huge traffic mess brewing right now, Jennifer. Is that true?

JENNIFER GRAY, AMS METEOROLOGIST: You have no idea. They are telling people to stay home. Nobody is staying home. Just look behind me, the entire city is gridlocked right now. We have cars coming. Everyone's on the roads. And, yes, the snow is coming down. We've gotten reports that a lot of people are running out of gas. And the Department of Transportation says that's not a priority right now. They're just trying to clear up the accidents. And so people really need to get home, they need to get where it's safe and they need to stay inside.

We've gotten about an inch of snow right now. And I'll show you the very powdery snow, but you can see the roads are definitely on the slushy side, so overnight tonight a lot of that will freeze the bridges and overpasses. It's going to be a slow go as we go through the overnight hours.

I want to get to the forecast, though, because we have winter weather warnings. We have weather advisories in effect all across the Deep South, anywhere from Houston, all the way through south Louisiana, including New Orleans. And this is a look at the radar. You can see Birmingham, Atlanta, Jackson, all in this snow. We have a wintery mix, including Montgomery, Mobile. Even outside of New Orleans we've had reports of freezing rain. And then rain, of course, to the south.

So let's time out this system and show you exactly what's going to be happening as we go through the next couple of hours. There's a look at your watches and warnings across the south and the southeast. By rush hour tonight, it looks like we're going to see quite a bit of snow. Anywhere from Atlanta, including Raleigh, could see a wintery mix around Wilmington as we go through 9:00 p.m. Should be clearing out in the Atlanta area. And then as we get through rush hour tomorrow morning, most of this is going to be cleared out, which is the good news.

Of course, it is going to be a slow go, Don, as on the roadways, especially if it stays slushy like this and it starts to freeze overnight. But it is a pretty sight. It's just folks need to get off the roads in Atlanta because the entire city, I'm telling you, is in gridlock.

LEMON: And when it rains there people have issues. Hey, producer, is that a live -- was that a live driving cam picture that we had up a little bit? It was live in Atlanta. Thank you, Jennifer.

The last big snowstorm there was two years ago and I remember I lived 10 minutes away. It took me about two hours to get home. That's how bad it gets in Atlanta when it starts to snow.

Our meteorologist Chad Myers in New Orleans. People there are being told now, Chad, to get a game plan. New Orleans, much the same as Atlanta.


LEMON: They're not used to dealing with snow. What's the city's plan?

MYERS: Nope. Basically be off the roads by 2:00 local time because that's when this rain and sleet will change over to all frozen. And, Don, this is a streetcar rail. These are rail tracks here for the -- this is a bus. Why is a bus driving on the streetcar? Because the streetcars aren't running today because the power's going to go out and the streetcars will get stuck because that's all they run on is electricity. So the buses are running on the streetcar rails, trying to get people out and about and home, if you can, because we will see the bridges freeze up very quickly.

We already know that a lot of I-10, 55 miles of I-10, is already closed because, you're from here, you know what it's like, I-10 is a bridge, literally. It goes over a bayou or it goes over a lake. And so those bridges are completely frozen up. And (INAUDIBLE) only about 10 miles north of here, that cold air is working its way here in the next hour or two. Everything that you see that's wet will be completely black ice, and this place will look a lot like Atlanta, gridlocked traffic, because people aren't taking this seriously enough. That's just -- oh, it's 32 and rain. It will be fine. No, it won't, because it's going down to 28 and it will freeze.

LEMON: Oh, my goodness. They're not used to these conditions. Any weather forecast like that when I grew up there, schools were closed, businesses closed, everything was a mess, Chad, so they're in for it.

Thank you, Chad Myers.

MYERS: Everyone here says hi, by the way.

LEMON: Tell them I said hello.

Thank you, Chad Myers. Thank you, Jennifer Grey, in Atlanta as well.

Speaking of winter weather, what's in store for football fans on Super Bowl Sunday? Well, currently, there is a chance of rain and snow on Saturday, but all of that is supposed to move out just in time for Super Bowl Sunday. The current forecast is for temperatures in the mid 30s, partly cloudy skies. Keep your fingers crossed.

And the biggest sports game in the country, though, which makes the Super Bowl a big target for terrorists. It's not happening until Sunday. But tomorrow, some people who live around Metlife Stadium in New Jersey will feel the effects of securing the big game. Random baggage checks will begin and there is so much more. At the stadium complex alone there will be more than 700 state troopers, 3,000 private security guards and hundreds of federal workers assisting them. And these details are coming in from CNN to our justice correspondent Evan Perez. He has been looking into the security bowl - the Super Bowl, I should say, security.

I guess you can call it the security bowl as well because they are ready.


LEMON: Do authorities know of any threats to the game? Is this why they're doing this, Evan?

PEREZ: Well, Don, no, there's no known threats so far to the game itself, but this is what they try to do, you know, before every Super Bowl. And this Super Bowl in particular, because it's in the New York region. It's in northern New Jersey. It's a very congested area. It's got an airport right next door. You've got train lines -- commuter train lines that go right next to the stadium. It's very focused on transit. So that creates some special worries for federal officials and for local officials.

So one of the things they're doing is that the TSA is deploying some behavioral specialists and some -- what usually are federal air marshals to help look at, you know, different aspects of the transit situation and the transit hubs, for instance, in Grand Central, in Penn Station, at Secaucus Junction, they're going to be doing random checks on Super Bowl Sunday. They're going to be doing 100 percent baggage checks at Secaucus Junction for 15,000 fans that are expected to go from Secaucus Junction to the Metlife Stadium, which, as you know, the train station is right -- a few yards away from the entrance (INAUDIBLE).

LEMON: So, Evan, they're saying no big bags, no big purses, no backpacks or anything like that. So if you're even going to try it, either you're going to have to get rid of it, but just don't try it, that's it.

But, listen, we do this every time there's a Super Bowl and this is always very shocking to hear. There are concerns about sex trafficking, as we lead up to the Super Bowl weekend.

PEREZ: Right. LEMON: Tell us why they're doing that.

PEREZ: Well, you know, this happens at every big sporting event, any big event, frankly, even the conventions, the political conventions, that happen every four years, they notice that there are more sex trafficking, there's more prostitution, there's more call girls, there's more operations that are focused on the cities that are hosting these big events. So what we're hearing from law enforcement is that the FBI and the NYPD have been doing these operations already. They're already -- the NYPD apparently has already rounded up nearly 200 people, arrests made for everything from sex trafficking, prostitution, and the related crimes.

And this is a big problem every few years with these events. And especially in New York, which is such a big metropolitan area, they see a lot of this. And they were expecting it. So they're acting ahead of time to try to stop some of this because their - you know, as you know, you know, the young women and the young men are really the victims in this.

LEMON: Right.

PEREZ: So they're trying to make sure that this doesn't get out of hand, Don.

LEMON: And many times we're talking about child sex trafficking as well when it comes to these big events. Evan Perez in Washington, D.C. Evan, thank you very much. We will get back to you.

New developments to tell you about in this CNN investigation of student athletes at the University of North Carolina. Listen closely. An admission by top school officials that a failure of academic oversight at UNC lasted for years. As CNN has reported, phony classes were set up so athletes could maintain their eligibility. And some UNC athletes, CNN found, had reading skills far below college level. The school's vice chancellor told Bloomberg News over the weekend, quote, "we made mistakes. Horrible things happened that I'm ashamed of. Student athletes and other students too were hurt. The integrity of our university was badly damaged."

I want to talk about this story and the broader issue of college athletics with Terence Moore. He's a sports contributor at and a columnist for

Terence, I would imagine that you are stuck in this traffic down in Atlanta. North Carolina acknowledging this problem. But this is a billion-dollar industry. How widespread are practices like phony classes and athletes who read at a grade school level?

TERENCE MOORE, SPORTS CONTRIBUTOR, CNN.COM (via telephone): Well, I'll tell you what, Don, it is very prevalent. And let's just start with something that's recent. Florida State just won the national championship in college football. And at Florida State, they've had a class in hip-hop. And needless to say, many of the athletes were a part of that class. And not just because they like to dance, OK? So you're got situations like that. You've got situations such as - I can't tell you how many times I've been in a press box, particularly at an S.E.C. game, and look at the media guide and what these guys are majoring in, it makes you want to cringe.

And the other thing that people can relate to out there, if you just listen to some of these athletes talk in interviews, your first response is, what college did they go to?

LEMON: Right.

MOORE: So this has been going on for a long period of time. Not just at the University of North Carolina, but this is particularly bad.

LEMON: So you're not - you're not -- this doesn't shock you?

MOORE: No, not at all. Listen, right here in Atlanta, back in the early 1980s, the University of Georgia had this huge scandal. It was called the Jan Kemp scandal. She was an English teacher and she exposed Georgia for having a slew of football players who could not read or write. In other words, illiterate. So that was back in the early 1980s. So here we go, fast forward, to around 2000 to 2004, same University of Georgia, when Jim Harrick took over the basketball program, Jim Harrick Sr. and Jim Harrick Jr., another scandal. This one involved Jim Harrick Jr. running classes, basketball classes, with such questions as tough as, how many points do you get for a three- point shot? So the point here is, Don, there's no shame with these universities.


MOORE: And it goes back to, they just want to win, period. They need to win. All things barred (ph), you can do anything besides just (INAUDIBLE), I guess.

LEMON: Terence Moore, losing you there. I have a lot more questions for you, but we're losing you because of the weather. Terence Moore, stuck in traffic down in Atlanta. But again, following up on this UNC story. We'll have more coming up on CNN. Thank you, Terence Moore.

Coming up, an interview you'll never forget. A state senator describes being stabbed by his own child just before his son took his own life. You'll hear his riveting account of what happening and what he is begging America to do about mental illness.


CREIGH DEEDS, VIRGINIA STATE SENATOR: I need balance. I need there to be discussion. I got ready -- went ahead and got ready. I went out to the barn to take care of feeding the equine. And I was feeding them. I had some of them in the barn. I had another big feed tray in my hand for this old (ph) line (ph) thoroughbred that belongs to my oldest girl. And he was coming across the yard. I said, hey, bud, how'd you sleep? You know, I'd waved my hand because I had feed in my hands.


LEMON: Slashed and stabbed repeatedly. His face bearing the scars inflected by his own son. Virginia State Senator Creigh Deeds telling CNN what it was like to be attacked by his 24-year-old son, who had been struggling with mental illness. It all began after Deeds took his son to the emergency room and was told there were no beds available for your son. And what happened in the hours afterwards at his home in the rural part of Virginia is unthinkable.


CREIGH DEEDS, VIRGINIA STATE SENATOR: When we got home, I sat at one end of the dining room table. He sat at the other end. I ate my sandwich. He was writing furiously in his journal. And when I -- after I ate my sandwich, I said, night, night, Gus. Night, bud. He said good night. And he was still writing away.

So the next morning, you know, I'm - I got up. As I said, I was a little nervous because I knew that the job of taking him to Lexington was going to be tough and I knew there would be some, you know, confrontation. I didn't think there would be any violence. I knew there would be discussion.

I got ready -- went ahead and got ready. I went out to the barn to take care of feeding the equine. And I was feeding them. I had some of them in the barn. I had another big feed tray in my hand for this old (ph) line (ph) thoroughbred that belongs to my oldest girl. And he was coming across the yard. I said, hey, bud, how'd you sleep? You know, I'd waved my hand because I had feed in my hands. And he said, fine. And I turned my back, and I took it twice in the back.

ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: He stabbed you twice in the back?

DEEDS: Yes. Yes.

COOPER: Did you know instantly what was happening?

DEEDS: No, I had no idea. No idea. I mean, you know, when I turned around, I could see that he had something in his hand that was coming at me, but I didn't really - you know, I had no idea what was coming. It was in his left hand. Nothing coming -- I couldn't tell -- you know, I thought it was a screwdriver. I had no idea what it was. And he just kept coming at me with stuff. And I said, what's going on? You know. And that's - you know, when I told -- I said, Gus, I love you so much. Don't make this any worse than it is. He just kept stabbing.

And I think he either knew that I was disabled enough that I couldn't interfere with whatever else he wanted to do. He decided at some point, maybe after I said that I loved him, he decided that I don't need to die after all. Or he thought from the amount of blood that he'd already done some damage. And the first - the first blow to my back was pretty, you know, pretty close to a spot where he could have drawn a lot of blood.

Gus was, you know, was just slashing away. I mean and I -- you know -- and then suddenly he just turned around. And I think he thought that I was bleeding enough. I don't know. And so I staggered through the barn along top a - along a ridge, climbed a gate, because I just -- I didn't have much -- and I still don't have much strength in my right side. But my arm was pretty much disabled. And I - so I didn't open the gate. I climbed it. And I staggered out to this road. And my cousin was, you know, taking some hunters back to the national forest and he saw me coming through the field bloody. And he got his hunters out of the truck, put me in, took me back up to his house. His wife is a nurse at the University of Virginia Hospital. They got a rescue squad and a helicopter and with instructions for me to go to the UVA hospital.

Either in the rescue squad or the helicopter, I heard a scanner report that there was a second victim with a gunshot wound to the head. Well, at that point, I was - I was worried about Gus. You know, when I got -- when my cousin took me up to his house, there was a trooper up there. And I said he was going - going down to the house, because I told him I thought that's where Gus had gone back to. And I said, please don't hurt him, you know, I -- because I had no - I, you know, honestly, I didn't know, even at that time, that Gus was trying to kill me. I just couldn't - you know, I didn't want to think that.

COOPER: Right.

DEEDS: And I certainly didn't think he was going to hurt himself. And I said, please don't hurt him. And when I heard that on the scanner, you know, I worried - I was worried about Gus, but I knew there weren't any bullets in the house.

COOPER: Right.

DEEDS: So I - there weren't any - there was no ammunition for that 22 rifle in the house that I was aware of. And so I didn't think it was possible for it to be Gus.


LEMON: Coming up, more on Creigh Deeds chilling interview with CNN and we'll talk to a mother who knows all too well the suffering, the stigma and the desperation of having a mentally ill child, next.


LEMON: We are back now with the story of Virginia State Senator Creigh Deeds. His son attacked him last November, stabbing him repeatedly. The day before the attack, Deeds had tried to get his adult son Gus committed to a hospital but was told there were no psychiatric beds available in the area. By law, Gus was released after six hours. Now Deeds is trying to change that time limit to 24 hours. And he told our Anderson Cooper that the system failed his son.


DEEDS: Whatever took my son, you know, the bipolar disorder, the schizophrenia, whatever mental illness there was, it took my son and worsened in the last - the last few months because he wasn't on medication, he wasn't keeping appointments and there was very little I could do to turn that around. And I had done everything I could the day before. I had taken him to the mental -- you know, it's not like, you know, he's my son, so I could automatically enroll him in a hospital somewhere. He's an adult.


DEEDS: So everything I had done the day before, we -- you know, we tried and had been rejected. My son was allowed to suffer and --

COOPER: And he was suffering for a long time?

DEEDS: He was suffering for a long, long time. I mean that's -- at least he's at peace now. But it's a price to pay.

COOPER: So, you know, I think - I always feel like if somebody has cancer, they're suffering from cancer, if somebody's suffering from, you know, leukemia --

DEEDS: That's it. I mean --

COOPER: People can get help.

DEEDS: There's a real -- there's a real disparity in this country between mental illness and what we consider as physical illness. And physical illness, we treat. Mental illness, we hide behind (INAUDIBLE). We sweep it under the rug.

COOPER: There's still such a stigma about it. People - people don't talk about it.

DEEDS: There's a -- they don't talk about it. They're embarrassed about it. People that are mentally ill don't - you know, they don't want to be considered - they don't want to be considered ill people. They have mental illness in their family oftentimes, want to look the other way and pretend that it will go away. A lot of people in my own situation would say, well, Gus will grow out of it. He'll work -- it will work out just fine. Gus will be all right. Because he had so much ability. But, you know, the problem is, there's - you know, he wouldn't -- he needed treatment. He needed medication.


LEMON: Well, few people know the pain felt by Deeds better than our next guest. CNN has been following her story for months. Her 14-year- old son Daniel suffers from bipolar disorder and psychosis. He hears voices and demons haunt him as well. His mom Stephanie Escamilla joins me now.

Stephanie, thank you for joining us. Your son has been hospitalized 20 times.


LEMON: Before we go into that, that was very tough for you to hear, wasn't it?

ESCAMILLA: Yes, very. Yes. Only because I've been in his shoes. Several times when he was at least - when he was 10, at least, we were always declined -- told because he didn't have a plan to hurt himself or someone else, there was nothing they could do to help us. And so a lot of times we were home and I'd watch him go through an episode for hours until he'd fall asleep. And it was just really hard.

LEMON: Is this something that you talk about much? Do you not let it out? The emotion?

ESCAMILLA: It's really hard for me to let the emotion out because I've taught myself not to. Only because of when he goes into his episodes, I am always on the fence. You know, I'm always making sure he's OK. I make sure that, you know, everything -- everyone else is OK. And I don't let myself feel the emotion until sometimes days later, sometimes weeks later. And so it's really hard for me just to show that emotional side of it.

And reading Senator Deeds' story, it was really hard for me to read it. And when I heard it, it was even harder. And it was hard for me not to cry because it's a really sad story. I could have been in that situation with my son September of 2012 when he attempted suicide, overdosing on his pills. It was really -- that was really hard to deal with. And every day after that, I couldn't get it out of my mind that today could have been that day. Every day I felt that way.

And what was more upsetting is that he was hospitalized for a few days in the medical hospital for the overdose, and then, when he was transferred to the psychiatric hospital, he was there for about two days and they discharged him. And you could tell by his (INAUDIBLE) he was not ready. He was still very depressed. He still was stating he would attempt to commit suicide. And I tried my hardest to convince them to keep him there. And it was really hard because they said his insurance won't continue to pay for this anymore.

LEMON: Do you -

ESCAMILLA: And it was really hard and I - go ahead.

LEMON: Do you feel - because, you know, a lot of people are rooting for you, a lot of people want change when it comes to mental illness, mental health in this country and to get people to really take a serious look at it and make some change. Do you feel alone in this battle or in this situation with your son, or do you feel that you have a proper support system?

ESCAMILLA: When it all began, I felt alone. I felt really alone. I didn't have the proper support system. Now it's a lot different. I have more support. I -- he has really great doctors that take care of him. I have more people I can reach out to. I didn't have those people before.