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NEW DAY

Sub-Surface Search For Flight 370; Shooter's Mental Health Under Scrutiny; Mudslide Death Toll Reaches 30; FDA Approves Anti- Overdose Device; Woman Who Stopped Fort Hood Shooter; Army: Mental Health The Underlying Factor

Aired April 4, 2014 - 06:30   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


MICHAELA PEREIRA, CNN ANCHOR: Welcome back to NEW DAY on this Friday. It's half past the hour. Let's take a look at your headlines now. The underwater phase of the search for Flight 370 is now underway. Pinger locaters are in the water, which search teams hoping to detect a signal from the missing jetliner's black box. Australians now are taking charge of the search. They are focusing on a 150-mile target zone. As a reminder, it has been 28 days since Flight 370 vanished.

Authorities are focusing on the mental health history of the man who opened fire Wednesday at Fort Hood. The post commanding general says psychological conditions for Specialist Evan Lopez are believed to be an underlying factor. Lopez may have also had an argument with someone before the shooting. Security procedures are coming into question now after the base's second shooting in just five years.

Search crews have pulled another body from the devastation in Washington State. The death toll from last month's square mile mudslide is now 30. Seventeen people are still missing. Authorities say the debris is some 70-feet thick in some places. Scientists think the slide was moving around 60 miles an hour when it hit the area.

A major decision from the FDA that could save thousands of lives. Regulators approved a hand-held injector containing medication that reverses the effect of heroin and can be used on people who have overdosed. It's called Evzio. The prescription device is kind of like the Epipen used to treat severe allergy attacks. It's injected into the muscle releasing a drug that stops heroin and other opioids from fatally slowing a person's breathing. Quite an innovation. Kate, over to you.

KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR: Thanks, Michaela. Let's get back to the underwater search for Flight 370's black box. Joining us for a closer look, CNN aviation analyst, Jeff Wise, also a contributor to Slate.com. I want to talk about the fact that we not only continue the search from the air, but also now below the surface. But I think it's important to once again remind our viewers, the question's always asked, Jeff, why can't they just find it?

Here's one reason. Let's just lay out how vast the Indian Ocean is. You can fit both the United States and China in the Indian Ocean. This is an area where clearly the radar is not tracked. So with all of that in mind, what -- what -- talk to me about the challenges they're not only facing from above and now starting today, from below. JEFF WISE, CNN AVIATION ANALYST: Really set a daunting challenge for themselves. I mean, yes, the Indian Ocean, is as big as kind of the United States and China. Of course, we're not looking at the entirety of the Indian Ocean. We narrowed it down to this arc, but the arc itself is about the size of the Continental United States. You mentioned we've narrowed it down to something like the lower 48. Huge, huge area.

BOLDUAN: Jeff, I think it's also worth pointing out. They've narrowed it down, but it's all based on guesswork, very educated, very complex guesswork, but it's still just guesswork.

WISE: Well, that final arc is pretty solid. We think we have very good reason to believe it's on the section of a circle. Part of it is in the Indian Ocean. There is another part of that's up north. Right now, we're focusing on the southern part. It's something on that huge arc, but again that's the size of the Continental United States. What they're trying to do today is narrow that arc down to a much smaller slice.

And to get to that smaller size you basically plug in assumptions about the speed that the plane was flying into this formula that Inmarsat has come up with. We don't know what that formula is. They assure us that it's very sophisticated and based on advance reasoning and thinking. We're taking their word for it essentially.

BOLDUAN: We have to take their word for it at this point of course.

WISE: Right.

BOLDUAN: So we know the challenge. We have seen the challenge over the past four weeks from above.

WISE: Right.

BOLDUAN: But they're now also dealing with starting today, the challenges going below the surface.

WISE: Right.

BOLDUAN: Offer some perspective there. When you look at the depth, the average depth of this area of the ocean, it's ten times Empire State Buildings stacked upon each other.

WISE: Deep, deep water, more than two miles deep. You can look at it that way too. This is way down so you get your pinger locater down there. If once the pinger dies, you've got to get these remotely operated vehicles or your autonomous subs down there.

BOLDUAN: This equipment also has limitations in of itself. The pinger locator can search to a max depth of 20,000 feet as I understand it, which is I guess we could say good because that's generally kind of the depth that they're looking at --

WISE: It's still functioning.

BOLDUAN: But that's a huge challenge.

WISE: Well, right. Normally the plan would have been find wreckage on the surface and then search under that spot. We haven't had any luck doing that so what they're doing is throwing a Hail Mary pass and saying, look, we don't have a narrow search area, so we're just going to go and throw those things in and see if we can come up with something. It's a very low probability strategy.

BOLDUAN: Does that give you any confidence that they will end up finding anything? They continue the search from above. They are now trying it from below.

WISE: Listen, the kind of language that we're hearing from authorities has been really changing dramatically in the past week. They started out confident in where they're looking. What we're hearing now is more language along the lines of it's a tough search, we might not ever find it, but we're going to try our best.

BOLDUAN: When you are also kind of putting I do wonder from your expertise, do you think it's more likely that they'll find something on the surface first or do you think below?

WISE: Absolutely. I mean, the problem with looking underneath the surface is your range of vision is so much less. You're talking about the scale of yards or maybe miles versus, you know, being able to see over hundreds of miles at a time. So your field of vision is so tiny that it's very, very difficult to find something, even if you have a good idea where you're looking.

BOLDUAN: Which we don't at this point. Just how much the search area has moved over time, I find that fascinating. Yes, it will happen in any search in such a vast area. But it has changed quite a bit. With all of the changes that we've seen, I've also noticed we haven't heard much more about new satellite images. Does that indicate anything to you?

WISE: I think there's a lot of disappointment. We started out hearing every day about debris being found. We had a hard time locating that stuff on the surface. When we did locate it, it always turned out to be something else. So I think we've learned to not put too much into that. They have a lot more assets right there on the surface. It's an area easier to reach. There seems to be more of a focus of looking at stuff from the air.

BOLDUAN: With everything that we know, which is little and the time frame that we are looking at, do you think it's smart that they're deploying these underwater assets at this time.

WISE: To me it sounds more like optics like we want to be perceived to be doing as much as possible. We don't put a lot of stock in the chances of this strategy working out. But we have the material, we might as well put it in the water and see what happens.

BOLDUAN: A Hail Mary pass may be the only thing they have right now. Jeff, thank you very much -- Chris. CUOMO: All right, Kate, we're going to take a break here on NEW DAY. You know, we keep on talking to you about this woman who's an MP who put a stop to the shooting at Fort Hood. But who is she? We're actually learning more about this extraordinary soldier who risked it all to stop the violence. We're going to tell you what we know.

Plus 20 million Americans in the tornado zone. Where are the storms headed? What do you need to do to stay safe? Coming up.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CUOMO: Welcome back to NEW DAY. There are many questions about the shooting at Fort Hood. But one thing is certain, a female MP stood up to the shooter and stopped the violence. Now we're learning more about this soldier who is certainly being called a hero this morning. CNN's Brian Todd has it for you.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Ivan Lopez first opened fire in the Medical Brigade Building and then used his weapon again, shooting from a car. He then walked into the Transportation Battalion Building and fired, again, then moved into a parking lot. His destruction, while terrifying could have been so much worse, had it not been for one female MP.

LT. GEN. MARK MILLEY, COMMANDER, FORT HOOD: She clearly performed her duty exceptionally well.

TODD: Officials at Fort Hood won't release the MP's name, saying she is germane to the investigation, but former soldiers at Fort Hood tell us she's likely with the 720th MP Battalion of the 89th MP Brigade. The base commander said she arrived in the parking lot 4 minutes after the first 911 call. He says Lopez approached her from 20 feet away, put his hands up and then reached under his jacket and pulled out his gun.

MILLEY: At which time, she saw that and interpreted that as a threat and then engaged him with small arms fire, at which time then the shooter did a self-inflicted gunshot wound.

PHILLIP CARTER, FORMER MP CAPTAIN, FORT HOOD: Most police officers would have stepped back and waited for backup but she stepped forward.

TODD: Phillip Carter is a former MP captain at Fort Hood, was responsible for patrols on base. Carter believes she was a junior enlisted person patrolling by herself. She had gone through 18 weeks of training, Carter says, including a segment on a range called shoot, no shoot.

CARTER: You have to make a decision on the range as to whether to engage or not. They're designed to create that split-second impulse because that's all you have in this kind of situation.

TODD: Phillip Carter says the MP who stopped Lopez is probably inexperienced. CARTER: So, imagine that you're a college student and you're in that sort of life and death situation and you're making the right call in a matter of seconds. It's incredible that she did what she did.

TODD: Phillip Carter says that MP will likely receive an award for valor and maybe slated for promotion. Brian Todd, CNN, Washington.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

BOLDUAN: Unfortunately with all of these situations, there's probably no way to know what motivated something like this. But it's good to know there are people like that MP out there doing their job.

CUOMO: She certainly stepped up and did the right thing. The big concern down there is going to be how do they create a safety net around so many men and women who are dealing with issues to make sure they control circumstances before they get out of hand.

PEREIRA: Let's hope something can be done.

CUOMO: Right.

PEREIRA: We got it. We can't give up on this, you know, way too important. All right, a severe threat of storms today including the possibility of tornadoes cutting a really wide path from Cleveland all the way down to Atlanta. It could affect an estimated 20 million people.

We want to get right over to meteorologist, Indra Petersons. We were even seeing where George Howell is reporting from at Fort Hood. Really gusty winds there. A lot of people are going to see this and feel its effects.

INDRA PETERSONS, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Take a look at the scene yesterday in North Texas where people heard those tornado sirens sounding. People outside Walmart were actually looking at funnel clouds forming in the distance. There were eight tornadoes reported yesterday and that threat is still out there even at this hour. There were eight tornadoes reported yesterday. We are talking about place like Missouri, Illinois even back in through Texas.

But that wasn't the only concern. These strong straight-line winds are out there as well, 91 reports of that, and of course, the large hail that many people saw, especially out towards Texas yesterday. Here is the threat. It is imminent right now. We are talking about places like Tennessee, Mississippi, Alabama, Louisiana, even back in through Texas.

Not only looking for severe thunderstorm watches right now, but where you see those red boxes, that is a tornado watch box. So that threat is out there. Where's the threat currently? As we go throughout the day, the cold front moves throughout the east. Charleston all the way to Natchez, that's going to be the strongest risk area today.

It's not the only concern. Heavy flooding with those rains out there, just look at what we saw yesterday, 4 inches to 5 inches of rain in a short period of time, did cause some imminent flooding throughout the region. Today, not as much of the rain, but that system spreading farther to the east eventually making its way into the northeast exiting off by the weekend.

That's the one piece of good news we have at least for Saturday and Sunday. This should kind of kick on out here, but by no means should people take that lightly. It's a huge day of severe weather still ahead of us especially into the afternoon.

BOLDUAN: Definitely pay attention today, Indra. All right, Indra, thank you very, very much.

Coming up next on NEW DAY, what was the motive behind Wednesday's deadly attack at Fort Hood? Investigators looking at the gunman's history of depression and anxiety. We'll have the lead mental health expert from the 2009 Fort Hood shooting here to discuss.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CUOMO: Welcome back to NEW DAY. We're beginning to learn more about the soldier who killed three people at Fort Hood this week and injured many others. A big question is possible motive. Fort Hood's commanding general now says, quote, "unstable psychiatric or psychological condition" is believed to be the cause and that won't come as any surprise to you.

Joining us now for more is Xavier Amador. He is a psychologist from the Leap Institute. He was the lead mental health expert in the 2009 Fort Hood shooting case. Doc, it's good to have you here. Thank you.

The issue of mental health looms large in many of these shootings in society in general and, yes, specifically in the military because of what they're dealing with right now. Is this a situation that you believe bears any fruit in terms of comparing it to 2009? Is it worth even doing that or are they very different?

XAVIER AMADOR, PSYCHOLOGIST, LEAP INSTITUTE: I think there's some comparisons. The problem with 2009 is I can't talk about the mental health evaluation I did on Major Hasan because he pled guilty, fired attorneys, and there was no mental health evidence presented. There are things about how the military assesses and addresses mental health problems. Not just PTSD, by the way, we're talking about depression, anxiety, suicide.

CUOMO: And all of those came to play in what we just saw unfold at Fort Hood. The supposition is this, the military does it better than the rest of society. They pre-screen their soldiers. They have the safety net. They have personnel. He self-reported TBI. Somebody wrote that down. Started treating him for depression and anxiety and were evaluating him for PTSD. It seems like there's a lot of care. You say it's not as good as it seems from the outside.

AMADOR: The reason I say that is I've interviewed psychiatrists at Darnall Medical Center during the course of my evaluation of Major Hasan and like a lot of places that are utilizing things like online pre-deployment forms, post-deployment forms, veterans will lie. I've treated veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan who are reporting to me homicidal thoughts, suicidal thoughts. They're not going to the VA because they're concerned.

If you reveal that to the psychiatrist treating you in the military. This is not the military's fault. I don't criticize the military for this, but it's an unusual circumstance. If you're my psychiatrist and I revealed I'm feeling suicidal and homicidal, you can call my boss, you can call my commander. You should call my commander and let him or her know I've got a specialist here who is reporting homicidal, suicidal thoughts.

So what I've seen is that there really is a bias to underreport. Yes, he reported anxiety, depression, maybe some other symptoms of PTSD. That doesn't mean he reported, I'm thinking about killing myself.

CUOMO: Are you impressed when I tell you that a month earlier they say he underwent a psychiatric evaluation -- no.

AMADOR: no. I heard what the base commander said that he had a full mental health evaluation. I'm paraphrasing. There's no such thing as a full mental health. There is a standard of care comprehensive mental health evaluation, which includes spending enough time with the individual that he will trust you to tell you what's really going on.

CUOMO: So I'm not going to give it to you the first time that we meet?

AMADOR: Very unlikely.

CUOMO: You are not going to be able to leave there and say, this is someone who needs to be watched because of what they just said.

AMADOR: It's not typical. If he's acutely ill. If he is really, really distressed, yes, it will come out because people are off guard at that moment. Let me say something again that I say every time I'm on, people with mental illness are not more violent. Vets returning with PTSD are not more violent than the general population. Let's stop focusing on the PTSD alone.

Let's talk about the system and what the Army is doing and what the military is doing. I think they've improved tremendously what I've seen over the last 10 years. But we can't say things like the mental health system was wrapped around him. He was getting care. We don't know that yet. That's what really needs to be looked at very, very closely.

James Holmes, the Colorado shooting, he was in the mental health care system that was broken. The psychiatrist was telling the police. This guy is homicidal, nothing happened, same issues --

CUOMO: Why can't we -- I don't believe that acute focus on the military is warranted. I think that sure, they're probably falling short and your opinion sounds right, but they have more in place than the rest of society does especially when you get to issues about who's allowed to have a conceal carry permit, who should be flagged as a potential mental health threat before they get a weapon. It seems like there's very poor communication on that level. Even the NRA is in favor of better communication between agencies of trying to figure it out. So what does that tell us about what needs to be done?

AMADOR: You can lead a horse to water, but you can't make him drink. So the military has a lot more in place. I agree with you in terms of services and funding, but what they aren't funding, what they are not servicing is enough mental health care professionals and the ability to bring the veteran to -- or the active soldier who hasn't deployed to the services that are in place. It's not enough to have the services in place. We have to do linkage, build relationships. The vet to vet programs are fantastic. They work very well. Vets who go online and give talks and say, I suffer from thoughts of depression. I sometimes feel homicidal.

CUOMO: That's within the culture that discourages it as you said. It's personally a problem for all of society, let alone when you're in a culture where being tough is at a premium. And important for people to remember, one of the reasons we're harping on mental health is while the rate of suicide in the military is actually lower than the rest of the population, the rate of increase is 80 percent higher.

Yes, that was measured during wartime, 2004 to 2008. That's an acutely stressful period because they are at war, but that's a big problem, 20 a day, 6,000 a year. Doctor, it's something we have to deal with and you have to ask whether or not the military is taking it seriously enough. Has enough to deal with it because this could be looked at as a suicide.

AMADOR: It is a suicide. There's no question. It is de facto, a suicide. He could have shot at the MP that you were just talking about in the last segment. He didn't point a gun at her. He pointed the gun at his head. This was a suicide. That thought did not occur to him in that moment. That was a premeditated thought.

CUOMO: You made a very strong point early on, one of them was you can lead a horse to water, but you can't make it drink. It's tough to get people care. Representative Murphy from Pennsylvania has a bill to help people -- it's getting pushback. We're going to have him onto discuss it because that's the best we can do in a situation like this, try to use it as a conduit to improvement.

AMADOR: Absolutely.

CUOMO: So Doctor, thank you for your perspective. Appreciate it.

AMADOR: Glad to be here.

CUOMO: All right, there is a lot to cover this morning. We're going to keep getting into what happened at Fort Hood and the big issues. We're also going to get the latest in the search for Flight 370. So let's get right to it.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Malaysia requested that Australia lead the search for the missing aircraft. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We cannot be certain of success.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Today, the underwater search begins.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We've got so much equipment out there now. Everything out there right now is 24 hour service.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There may have been a verbal altercation with another soldier or soldiers.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Lopez was undergoing a variety of treatments for depression and anxiety and PTSD.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BOLDUAN: Good morning. Welcome back to NEW DAY. It is Friday, April 4th. Now 7:00 in the east. Up first, we're going to go to Australia because they are taking over the search for Flight 370. The mission is expanding this morning below the ocean surface. Why? They're using pinger locators that are in the water right now trying to detect a signal from 370's black box.

The hunt underwater is focused on 150-mile stretch of the Indian Ocean as nearly two dozen planes and ships continue their work above the sea surface. So we are going to cover every angle. First, let's bring in Matthew Chance. He is in Perth, Australia -- Matthew.

MATTHEW CHANCE, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Chris, thanks very much. That's right. The new phase in this search for Flight 370 with search teams moving under the water, probing the seas of the Indian Ocean, trying to find any trace of that missing Malaysian Airliner. A couple of reasons why they've got under water at this stage. The first is that assets that they needed to do that, the two ships, they've now finally moved into place. It took them several days, if not longer to get there.

Now they're there, even though there's not a high degree of certainty of where the plane is. They're using their assets that they've got. They are using their tracing technology to try and locate the pinger on the black box. The other reason is there's a race against time underway. The battery life on a pinger lasts about 30 days. It's been 28 days since the Malaysian airliner was lost. They have a couple of days left. It could last longer than that, but there's a certain amount of time pressure being felt. That's why this operation is being intensified -- Chris.

BOLDUAN: All right, Matthew, thank you very much. Let's continue talking about this. Australian authorities embarking on an underwater search as Matthew is discussing based off what some say is just an educated guess. So what are search crews facing this morning as they explore new territories below the surface? Let's get to Will Ripley off the coast of Western Australia monitoring the "Ocean Shield" -- Will.

WILL RIPLEY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Kate, the coming hours and the coming days are critical in this search because for the first time now, the search doesn't stop when the sun goes down. It's dark. The visual search is over for the night, but the audio search under water using this sonar equipment will continue 24/7. That towed pinger locator behind the "Ocean Shield" is constantly scanning the area around it trying to find some sort of a signal from the in-flight data recorders.

As for the search tomorrow when those 14 planes get back up in the air, weather conditions were fair today. But Kate, as you know, from flying over the Indian Ocean in this search zone, the weather is highly unpredictable. Just in the last hour since we last spoke, the winds have picked up. It's gotten significantly cooler and we've had rain on and off. So what the weather will hold for crews in the coming days?