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NEW DAY

Sub-Surface Search for Flight 370; Piecing Together Fort Hood Shooting; Mental Health Possible Underlying Issue

Aired April 4, 2014 - 08:00   ET

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


(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning and welcome to NEW DAY once again. It is Friday, April 4th, 8:00 in the East.

And after 28 days of searching the surface of the Indian Ocean, the hunt for Flight 370 has gone underwater.

CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: High tech listening devices are being deployed across a 150 mile search zone. Maybe it's just a shot in the deep, but it could be the last best hope of finding the missing plane.

Let's bring in Matthew Chance live from Perth, Australia -- Matthew.

MATTHEW CHANCE, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Chris, thank you very much.

New phase in the search for Malaysian Flight 370, with search teams now looking beneath the surface of the Indian Ocean in a race against time to find the missing airliner.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

CHANCE (voice-over): Today, the underwater search begins. Two naval vessels now on location scouring a single 150-mile track in the new search area. The ships outfitted with the U.S. Navy's unmanned robot and black box detector. Australian authorities say they're confident in their refined search zone.

ANGUS HOUSTON, FORMER AUSTRALIAN AIR CHIEF MARSHAL: The area of highest probability as to where the aircraft might have entered the water is the area where the underwater search will commence.

CHANCE: But the Ocean Shield and HMS Echo are racing against time as the batteries powering the black box pinger are expected to run out any day now.

HOUSTON: We're now getting pretty close to the time when it might expire.

CHANCE: Today, Australia announced they're a partner in the investigation with Malaysia and they're taking the lead in the search. This is 14 aircraft and 9 ships are on the lookout for large objects that may be related to missing Flight 370.

HOUSTON: We're looking for something big and unfortunately all the leads we've got from the satellites turned out to be other things.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

CHANCE: Australian officials say they're still hopeful they will find some debris from the Malaysian airliner on the Indian Ocean but after 28 days consecutively looking for this aircraft, there's still not even a trace.

Kate, back to you.

BOLDUAN: All right. Matthew Chance, thank you so much for that.

Let's bring in Mary Schiavo, a CNN aviation analyst, and former inspector general for the Department of Transportation, and also David Soucie, a CNN safety analyst and the author of "Why Planes Crash." He's also a former FAA inspector to talk about this again this morning.

David, what do you make of this move announced by the search effort, that they're now moving it underwater?

DAVID SOUCIE, CNN SAFETY ANALYST: I think it's about time. I think it's wonderful.

I think that a couple of things that are includes to me. One is they haven't found any debris. He said, we're looking for a large object.

So, what that tells me is they've concluded somehow that the aircraft isn't in a lot of pieces, there's not going to be a lot of debris, so they're looking for something under the water. They're looking for a more complete hull of the aircraft, and that makes sense to me. That makes a lot of sense to me. How they're doing it makes great sense.

They're doing 24-hour shifts now. They've machines and equipments on the ground -- on the ground, on the water, doing the work 24-hour day now. I'm very encouraged by where this is going right now. I really am.

BOLDUAN: Mary, I want to get your assessment if you're encouraged as well, because to this point we've been told over and over again this technology, underwater robots, are not going to be deployed until they have narrowed it down and they have something concrete to work with. They seem to be deploying it in the absence of that.

MARY SCHIAVO, CNN AVIATION ANALYST: Right. It also gives us a little clue as to what they are thinking, since they didn't find a debris field and they are searching in what they believe according to the pings are the best areas in which to search for a debris field. Their thoughts have apparently turned to the idea that perhaps the plane has entered the water without a massive breakup and there won't be a large debris field.

In that case, if the pinger has died or will die soon, they will have a larger object to look, a big object to look for. If you have to rely on side scan sonar and other ways to find the object, it's very helpful that it's a big object and they apparently believe the plane is largely intact. So, I think it gives us a better clue of what they're thinking and also gives us better hope for finding a large object underwater rather than a small one if you don't have a ping.

BOLDUAN: Mary, does that surprise you, that clue that they might be leaning towards thinking that it stayed largely intact, and there isn't a large debris field. I think anyone looking at this from the outside would say when it hits the water, it has to break up.

SCHIAVO: Well, most of the time it does. You know, water, when you are jumping in it, it doesn't feel hard. A plane falling from a high altitude obviously is like hitting cement but there are rather, rather occasions, not many, where a plane can actually come upon the water, I don't think it landed, but I think it could have settled upon the water.

The 777 is a tough plane. It does have some composite parts but I think it's a process of elimination. They probably aren't saying they know anything to tell them that it entered the water and stayed in one piece, but since they don't have a debris field, it's the next logical assumption.

BOLDUAN: And Richard Quest put it pretty well, David. He said, what other option do they have? We'd be here criticizing them 28 days in if they hadn't thrown everything they've got at it. Do you think this indicates that they're reaching the end of their options in this search?

SOUCIE: Well, I mean, what would you have them do? Have that equipment out there and not use it? I mean, it wouldn't make any sense not to. Every day that it's looking, every place that it's looking eliminates that area.

So regardless of how large this area is, you have to start. You have to start moving forward and doing this. There's ebbs and flows with every investigation. This is a flow. This is where it's going.

There's just an energy that changes with every investigation I've ever done, and at some point, the synergy begins to happen. Everybody starts working together. You get some energy going and typically that's when you find something. So, again, I'm very encouraged.

BOLDUAN: And those leading the search also described this as the area of highest probability. This many days in, how unusual, David, would you describe it that they're working off of such little data, at least that they've revealed publicly, that they're working with such guesswork?

SOUCIE: Well, to me it's not guesswork. You know, we've been going back and forth about this. They've ruled out things. They've ruled out certain assumptions and the more assumptions you rule out, the more specific even the same assumption -- same math can be.

So, if you look at the pings and where they're locate and then you take away the assumption of 450 miles an hour, you take away the assumption of 35,000 feet, search in those areas, you say, wait a minute. Let's say that didn't work so let's go to the next one. The next assumption is 400 miles an hour. The next assumption is 275 at 12,000 feet. Let's look there.

So, again, they're narrowing it down. They're not narrowing it down necessarily by searches, they're narrowing it down by probabilities. The closer you get the fewer options there are and the more chance for success. That's where they're getting.

BOLDUAN: Well, everyone is hoping that no matter the probability, we can call it probability, guesswork, whatever we're going to call it, that they're coming upon something soon, because we're running out of time. That's absolutely sure.

David, Mary, thank you so much.

Chris?

CUOMO: All right, Kate.

Let's get to the latest in the shooting at Fort Hood. New this morning there are strong indications that the shooter was involved in an altercation with another soldier in the moments before he opened fire. We're also learning more about the shooter's past including issues of mental health that could have led to the violence.

Let's get to George Howell in Texas with more -- George.

GEORGE HOWELL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Chris, good morning. The more information we get about Lopez, you start to juxtapose these two very different personas. Soldiers that knew him knew him as a good soldier, an extraordinary individual. But investigators are painting the picture of a mentally ill person who went on a shooting rampage.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

HOWELL (voice-over): Officials are now looking into the moments before Ivan Lopez set off on a shooting rampage at Fort Hood, saying it could shed light on the Iraq veteran's motive.

LT. GEN. MARK MILLEY, COMMANDER, FORT HOOD: There may have been a verbal altercation with another soldier or soldiers and there's a strong possibility that, in fact, immediately preceded the shooting.

HOWELL: But officials say there is no indication he targeted anyone specifically. We also know Lopez was undergoing a variety of treatments for depression and anxiety and PTSD. Doctors prescribing the 34-year-old medication, including the drug Ambien and antidepressants.

Those who knew him say Lopez was an extraordinary human being with lots of values. Co-workers are in disbelief.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: One of my best soldier in the mobilization. HOWELL: Lopez, his wife and their 2-year-old daughter lived in this apartment. One neighbor says she spoke to him just hours before the shooting.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He didn't seem like, you know, the type that would do what he did.

HOWELL: Another neighbor was with Lopez's wife the moment she found out the shooter was her husband.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: She just broke down and I did as I would do anyone, I ran and I comforted her.

HOWELL: Around 4:00 p.m., Lopez armed with a .45 caliber handgun opened fire, killing three and injuring 16. The gun was purchased at the same gun shop where nearly 5 years ago, Major Nidal Hasan bought the gun he used to shot and kill 13 people at the same place.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You have to wonder, five years later, have we learned anything from the shooting incident that happened with us? What progress has been made?

HOWELL: Sergeant Timothy Owens, one of Wednesday's victims, was working as a counselor when he was shot and killed. His mother says the death of her 37-year-old son still hasn't sunk in.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He was a good person. Why would they shoot a good person that was helping out?

(END VIDEOTAPE)

HOWELL: Of the 16 people who were injured in this shooting, some hopeful news here. We learned that the three people yesterday who were in critical condition, they've been upgraded to serious condition but, again, you know, very difficult. Very tragic situation here on this base when you consider what happened just five years ago happened again.

MICHAELA PEREIRA, CNN ANCHOR: A little bit of positive news at a time when so many people need answers.

George Howell, thank you for that.

Some other big headlines to look at right now, starting in eastern Afghanistan. A veteran "Associated Press" photographer is dead. A reporter is wounded after an Afghan police officer apparently targeted the women while they were sitting in their car. "The A.P." says Anja Niedringhaus was killed and reporter Kathy Gannon wounded. They were there covering the run-up to the presidential elections. The suspect, we're told, is in custody.

I want to show you a live look at storm damage in north Texas. Tornado touched down in Hopkins County Thursday. You can see pieces of debris. Homes ripped away. Debris tossed around. Other parts of the south were hit by heavy rain and hail. We're told as big as baseballs. More storms, perhaps even tornadoes are in the forecast today for parts of the eastern U.S., 20 million people could be affected.

A German sky diver was killed during a 222-person jump in Arizona. The group was going for a world record when 46-year-old Diana Paris (ph) fell to her death. Apparently her main chute malfunctioned and she was too close to the ground for her backup chute to save her. The team says they'll try to complete the same jump. But with 221 people, they want to keep the woman's spot open in the formation to honor her memory.

Search crews have pulled another body from the mudslide in Washington state. The death toll is now 30, 17 people remain missing. Authorities say the debris is 70 feet thick in some places. Some scientists think the giant wall of mud and debris was moving around 60 miles per hour when it hit that area -- 60 miles an hour, 70 feet deep in some areas. You can see what arduous work it has been for them.

CUOMO: We keep covering it, but I still feel like it's not being covered enough. I still feel like what's being dealt with there is much more extreme than people realize and it's going to last for months and months.

BOLDUAN: Especially when you see that information about what they're up against.

CUOMO: Families are going to be displaced and in great need.

PEREIRA: Absolutely.

CUOMO: We'll try and do our best to let you know how you can help because the help is going to be need.

BOLDUAN: Still ahead on NEW DAY, why would a combat veteran open fire on his own? And how can it happen twice at the very same base? We're going to talk to an army sergeant who saved nine people in the 2009 shooting there.

CUOMO: Care about the jobs report? Of course you do. The March ones coming out just a few minutes, and high hopes for good numbers. Question is, are hopes too high?

We'll bring you the results, the analysis and more as soon as they're out.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CUOMO: Can you imagine being forced to run for your life and take cover when some madman is shooting up a facility and you know that he's been trained to use a weapon.

Our next guest knows all too well the horrors Fort Hood endured this week. Sergeant Howard Ray saved nine people during the shooting there in 2009. His acts earned him the Army Commendation Medal. Now, he says he and his brothers at arms, if they had been allowed to carry weapons on base, both shootings would have had better outcomes.

Sergeant Howard Ray joins you now. Sergeant, first, please, let me thank you for your service. Appreciate you being with us on NEW DAY this morning.

Give people a reminder --

SGT. HOWARD RAY, SURVIVOR OF 2009 FORT HOOD SHOOTING: Thank you, Chris. Thanks for having me.

CUOMO: No, the pleasure is ours. Give people a reminder of what you dealt with back in 2009.

RAY: Back in 2009, we dealt with a terrorist that came in and murdered 13 men and women. My actions that day basically stemmed from having to run from the gunfire that ensued after he opened fire on our men and women in arms and our civilians that day.

CUOMO: Now, you feel very strongly that if you had been allowed to have a weapon that day, if soldiers in general were allowed to have weapons, a shooting like this would not have as horrible an outcome. Why?

RAY: Why? First of all, we as soldiers are trained very well. Myself that day of the Fort Hood shooting, I had extensive private training aside from my army training. Thousands of dollars, hundreds of hours of training and I could have effectively taken that target out as it should have been and eliminated so we didn't lose a possible six others brothers and sisters in arms this day.

And, you know, the truth of the matter there were people the other day here at Fort Hood that were in that same situation that, you know what? Guess what? They're going to live with what I have to live with the rest of my life, and that's -- I could have saved my brothers and sisters that day but I was unable to.

CUOMO: Well, first, Sergeant, just allow me to say that any objective person would point out that you went above and beyond the call that day and if you're going to carry memories, they should be that you saved lives, not that you were unable to save lives.

I hope you know that about yourself. And when you're talking about the gun issue in general, obviously there's not going to be a system that values the use of a weapon more than the military, and they seem pretty insistent, your commanding officers, that you shouldn't have weapons on base. Why do you think they believe that?

RAY: Well, I'll point to something that the DOD had put out yesterday and it's partially a funding issue as far as training and extra weapons and ammunition goes. The thing about it for me is it's a pretty sad thing that we're going to put a dollar value on the lives of our men and women that protect this country.

We spend money, you know, in our government on lots of wasteful things and I don't think it's wasteful to train our soldiers to protect themselves or their families and the soldiers and civilians around them. CUOMO: And yet the military though pushes back very hard on this issue, Sergeant. They say the more people who are carrying weapons on base like this, the more chance for violence. That during a shooting like this you have increased chance for cross fire and unintended victims and they took very significant steps after 2009 to point out guns on base aren't the answer. They obviously came up with a lot of other directives.

What do you think the difference is between your perspective and the management of the military?

RAY: Well, my perspective is the real world perspective. I've been there. Nobody at the Fort Hood shooting this week or back in 2009 was better off unarmed.

If you can find someone that will actually come forward and tell me that they were better off, I would like to sit down and have a very genuine conversation with them about where their morals are.

The second part to that is, you know, you look at things like our own concealed handgun data here in the state of Texas. We have 17 years of data that our concealed handgun license holders here in the state of Texas are law abiding citizens. In fact, they're 15 percent more likely to obey the law than the average citizen. Now, you extrapolate that on to our soldiers, are you saying that you can't trust our soldiers?

Everything that was put out in that regard as far as more violence, these are actually talking points that have been around from the anti- gun crowd for a really long time and, frankly, they're simply not true.

CUOMO: One thing we know for sure is that one holder of a concealed weapon permit couldn't be trusted and he was a soldier and he wound up doing a lot of harm. Luckily, he didn't do more.

Let me get your take on two different issues, Sergeant, while I have you. PTS, post traumatic stress. I think I'm going to drop the D. I think the D winds up making it a statement and it shouldn't be. I agree with former President Bush and a lot of people associated with the military.

Do you believe it's underreported? Do you think that they're afraid or embarrassed with coming forward with many of the wounds that they still carry?

RAY: Well, you know what, as a combat soldier, you know, there's a lot of things that we do in a zone of combat that we have to deal with that really kind of lead us to not want to speak about these things.

And what really needs to happen is not so much at the Army level but at the unit level we need to make it OK for soldiers to seek the help and do what they need to do and not be frowned upon like they're not a part of the team and often that's what happens. Now, I will say this, that there's plenty of studies out there that indicate that those with any type of mental illness, except for severe dementia and that type, are more likely to be victims of violent crime rather than actually perpetrate the crime and there's also such a variety of PTSD that we have to deal with.

I mean, there's people that have PTSD because they lost a loved one. And then there's people that have that, post-traumatic stress, because they've seen some very, very horrific things in their life. And very, very traumatic experiences that keep them not able to function, and that's -- you know, that's a big variety there. We can't make a blanket statement with post traumatic stress, too.

CUOMO: Understood and we'll be careful about that as we go forward. There's so many of your brothers and sisters that have survivor's guilt as well that winds up manifesting as post-traumatic stress. We also know that you care very much that the families of the victims involved in 2009 didn't get enough support and you want to make sure that doesn't happen again.

We will stay on that issue. We will follow how the families are treated. Please feel free to come forward and let us know what you find out along the way, Sergeant. Thank you for your perspective this morning. Appreciate having you on NEW DAY.

RAY: Well, thank you. Always keep the families in your prayers.

CUOMO: We will. We will.

Kate?

BOLDUAN: Absolutely.

Let's take another break. Coming up next on NEW DAY: the monthly jobs report just minutes away. We're going to have the results for you as soon as they come in. That's coming up after the break.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

PEREIRA: Welcome back to NEW DAY.

And it is time for the five things you need to know for your new day.

At number one, search teams now looking under water for Flight 370. Pinger locators are trying to detect the signal from the black box in a 150-mile section of the Indian Ocean.

Officials are trying to piece together what sparked Wednesday's shooting at Fort Hood. Authorities say psychological conditions are believed to have been an underlying factor. Ivan Lopez also may have had an argument with someone before he opened fire.

What a situation in the weather. Some 20 million people are in the path of powerful storms today. Severe thunderstorms and the threat of tornadoes all the way from Cleveland to Atlanta, a lot of folks going to feel that.

President Obama with the prime minister of Tunisia today at the White House. Last night, he met with congressional leaders to discuss the crisis in Ukraine.

Former President George W. Bush will unveil two dozen never before seen paintings at his presidential library in Dallas. The exhibit is expected to include portraits of former British Prime Minister Tony Blair and Russian President Vladimir Putin.