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Killer Wrote Manifesto Before Rampage; Parents Searched For Shooter During Rampage; Obama Returns From Surprise Afghanistan Trip; New President, Fresh Violence in Ukraine; Thunder Win 106-97, Spurs Lead Series 2-1

Aired May 26, 2014 - 06:15   ET


MICHAELA PEREIRA, CNN ANCHOR: Six college students were killed, 13 other people were injured before Rodgers took his own life. This morning, we're learning more about those victims.

We have the story covered for you from all angles. We are going to start with Sara Sidner. She is in Santa Barbara, California this morning -- Sara.

SARA SIDNER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Michaela, this community wants the world to concentrate on the victims and not the shooter, and the sheriff released the names of those three victims. There were six in total, three more victims. He released the names of all of those victims were stabbed to death in the suspect's apartment.


UNIDENTIFIED CALLER: Shots fired, shots fired.

SIDNER (voice-over): All six victims in Elliot Rodger's killing rampage have now been identified. Rodgers roommates, 20-year-old Cheng Hung and 19-year-old George Chen found dead with multiple stab wounds inside the gunman's Isla Vista apartment along with another man, 20-year-old, Wai Han Wang. The three men students at the University of California Santa Barbara were Rodgers' first victims before taking off in his black BMW to this sorority house.

KYLE SULLIVAN, NEIGHBOR: I saw a gunshot wound to her abdomen and her side and one through her head.

SIDNER: This is where police say he shot, 22-year-old, Katherine Cooper and 19-year-old Veronica Wise killed right in the front yard. Less than two blocks away, Rodger opens fire again at the deli mart, according to officials, killing 20-year-old student, Christopher Martinez. Surveillance video captured customers diving and scrambling for cover as the bullets flew.

RICHARD MARTINEZ, SON SHOT AND KILLED: I'll never have another child. He's gone.

SIDNER: CNN's Kyung Lah spoke to Chris's father who blames the government for a lack of gun control. MARTINEZ: I can't tell you how angry I am. It's just awful. No parent should have to go through this. No parent, to have a kid die, my kid died because nobody responded to what happened at Sandy Hook. Those parents lost little kids. It's bad enough I lost my 20-year- old, but I had 20 years with my son.

SIDNER: The Rodger's shooting spree injuring over a dozen more before according to police the 22-year-old took his own life.


SIDNER: And you can hear the devastation in that parent's voice. Other parents also talking about how much this hurts them and the community itself has been looking at all of these different victims, six in total, all students who were trying to find their way in the world. Their lives cut short too soon.

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: We have to honor and remember those lives as much as we possibly can. Sara Sidner, our thanks to you.

When you see something this awful and tragic, it does beg the question, were warning signs missed. This case is so complicated because there were actions taken along the way. Police paid Elliot Rodger a visit in April after his mother expressed concern about videos on his YouTube page. His therapist apparently was concerned as well. This was the same page where Rodger posted his chilling final video sending his parents on the desperate race to find him. Our Pamela Brown has that part of the story. Good morning, Pamela.

PAMELA BROWN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good morning to you, John. As Elliot Rodger was on his deadly rampage, his parents were in a mad scramble to find him after receiving his chilling manifesto in an e- mail and seeing a video on YouTube. According to family friend we spoke with, as they were on their way to Santa Barbara, their worst nightmare came true after they heard what their son did.


ELLIOT RODGER: Tomorrow is the day of retribution. A day in which I will have my revenge against humanity, against all of you.

BROWN (voice-over): This chilling video shows Elliot Rodger, the 22- year-old Santa Barbara college student who police say killed six and injured 13 in Friday's mass shooting and stabbing spree. This day of retribution a plan Rodger outlined in a 137-page manifesto obtained by CNN affiliate, KEYT. Rodger wrote, "All of those beautiful girls I've desired so much in my life, but can never have because they despise and loathe me, I will destroy."

A family friend says Rodger sent it called "My Twisted World" to a couple of dozen people including his mother and father before terrorizing the campus. He wrote, I will kill them all and make them suffer just as they have made me suffer. It is only fair. Rodgers' mother discovered the terrifying threat in her e-mail at 9:17 that evening. She discovered her son's last YouTube video titled "Retribution." RODGER: I will slaughter every single spoiled stuck up blond -- I see in there.

BROWN: She called Rodger's father and 911, the parents frantically racing to Santa Barbara from L.A. Both parents enroute when they heard the news that they were too late.

POLICE SCANNER: There was a black colored bmw.

BROWN: On Sunday the ATF and county sheriff's office searched the mother's home. Rodger's parents feel a pivotal moment was missed last month. Six police officers conducted a well-being check on Rodger in April after his mother discovered other videos he posted online documenting his loneliness and misery. But officers found nothing alarming during their check.

In his manifesto, "Rodger expresses his devastating fear that police discovered his plan. I would have been thrown in jail, denied of the chance to exact revenge on my enemies. I can't imagine a hell darker than that," he wrote. He was visiting therapists on and off since he was 8 and in high school practically daily.

Right before the killing spree, Rodger was seeing two therapists describing him as reserved to a daunting degree, but the 22-year-old didn't appear to have violent tendencies and never expressed any fascination in guns.


BROWN: And on his blog, Rodger portrayed himself as an affluent young man, a son of an assistant director for "The Hunger Game Movie." A 22-year-old who drove a BMW 3 Series. He said he had a hard time fitting in. A deeply disturbed individual.

BERMAN: Indeed, all right, Pamela Brown, thank you so much. Joining us now exclusively to discuss this is Ryan Booth. He's the manager of the E Deli who was working at the time of the shooting. That's where one of the victims was killed. Ryan, thank you so much for joining us this morning. First off, let me ask you, are you doing OK this morning?

RYAN BOOTH, MANAGER, E. DELI (via telephone): As well as can be expected.

BERMAN: You were in the deli Friday night. The shooter gets out of his car and opens fire.

BOOTH: No, the shooter never got out of his car.

BERMAN: Tell me what happened then.

BOOTH: Myself, it was a typical three-day weekend. A lot of people go home, which honestly very thankful because it could have been far worse because that time of night we normally have 40 to 50 customers in the store waiting on food, coming in to get drinks before they go out to enjoy their evening. I was at the front counter with my cashiers, they were helping some customers. I was prepping some deliveries.

And a group came in, Christopher was part of that group and we heard a pop. And we have fire crackers and bike tires that go off. The second shot went off and we all realized what it was and we all got down. A third one went off and then four more in quick succession came. I looked out and see the black car outside.

And the last four shots were aimed in the direction of the cashiers and myself because I happen to look outside. You can see in the video that you guys have shown where the glass breaks. Our coolers, that is in direct correlation to our counters. I know the counters have been shown as well. Those holes were the last shots. Then he drove off. But he never got out of the car and came in and shot. That is a misconception. That never happened.

BERMAN: Ryan, no one should have to live through something like this. Such a terrible moment. What did it feel like as it was happening? What was going through your head as you saw this and felt this unfold all around you?

BOOTH: My first reaction was once everything triggered just like everyone else, get down. Myself and multiple people yelled get down now. And as we got down after basically the second round when everyone realized what was going on, everyone got down and then the other shots. My next concern was my people. My cashier, my cooks, my delivery guys, who were thankfully not there, that everyone was OK.

And then calling 911. Making sure everything, calling the owner, letting him know what was going on with the situation. Letting him know there was a situation because this is something you just don't expect. You can never expect this to happen, not here.

BERMAN: It should never happen, not there. Not anywhere. Ryan, let me ask. I don't know if you have had a chance to see this manifesto that this man wrote, I don't know if you have had a chance to see any of the horrible videos posted online before the shooting. Do you feel that you need an explanation for why this happened? What do you need here?

BOOTH: No, I don't need an explanation. It's unfortunately a very sad situation that no explanation can ever justify. It doesn't matter. I will never look at the manifesto, I can't -- all that does is justify his means. And this is something that has no justification. You can't glorify it in any way. That's why we have to as a community we have to stand up and be strong and try to move on. That's why we opened up again to let people know that we're stronger than this. We can be better and move on.

BERMAN: Ryan, you are strong. Ryan Booth, thank you so much for being with us this morning. We do wish you all the best going forward. Appreciate you being here.

PEREIRA: Right now, we want to talk about President Obama heading back to Washington for Memorial Day after a surprise visit with U.S. troops in Afghanistan. He will speak at Arlington national Cemetery as he prepares for a major foreign policy speech later this week at West Point. All of this amidst growing outrage over the widening VA scandal. CNN's Michelle Kosinski is in Washington with more for us this morning -- Michelle.

MICHELLE KOSINSKI, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Michaela. Right, in the midst of the V.A, hospital scandal back home, suddenly the president appears in Afghanistan before the troops. This was a few hours long trip. He was briefed on operations there. His adviser says the real purpose of this was to be able to thank the troops for their service in person.

And just before he makes some big decisions on what America's continued role in Afghanistan will look like. So he got some big cheers when he told the soldiers that will likely be their last tour of duty, but bigger cheers when he said this.


BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: But the end of this year, the transition will be complete and Afghans will take full responsibility for their security and our combat mission will be over. America's war in Afghanistan will come to a responsible end.


KOSINSKI: The president didn't mention the VA scandal by name, but he seemed to allude to it when he talked about America's sacred obligation in his words to take care of its wounded warriors -- Michaela.

PEREIRA: The significance of today and that growing and widening scandal with the V.A., Michelle Kosinski, thanks so much for looking at that with us.

We want to talk weather because we know people are going to be thinking about grilling today. Hopefully doing it. Our meteorologist, Jennifer Gray, is in for Indra this morning. Keeping track of all of the forecasts across the nation. How are things looking?

JENNIFER GRAY, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Well, things are looking pretty quiet to tell you the truth. The only trouble spot we have today is going to be in Texas. That's going to be from Del Rio, St. Angelo, Wichita Falls and Lubbock, you're included in that, large hail, damaging winds. Even the possibility of an isolated tornado. Keep your eye on the sky if you're in Texas. We have seen a lot of rain.

We're still seeing rain in Southwest Texas through San Antonio heading to the east. So we are looking maybe two to four even isolated amounts of 5 inches of rain across portions of Central Texas. So a lot of it is coming down. Luckily it should be clearing out in the next day or so. The place to be, the northeast, where you are 87 degrees today in New York City. It is going to be hot, but it is going to be sunny.

I think after the winter that we have had, a lot of folks are excited about a good holiday forecast. Los Angeles also looking good. Unfortunately still staying dry, but folks that do have plans outdoors, it's going to stay that way, 73 degrees the temperature perfect.

PEREIRA: Looking pretty good with the exception of the hailstorms. After Memorial Day, you're not allowed to have hailstorms.

BERMAN: No, no. Secondly, hail is not legal.

PEREIRA: You are white and you can't -- OK, good.

Jennifer, we'll talk to you later. Thanks so much.


PEREIRA: Coming up next here on NEW DAY, results are in from Ukraine's presidential election. Voters came out in droves despite threats of violence. One candidate already claiming victory, but will the results be respected?

BERMAN: This was unbelievable. It came down to the final few laps in the Indy 500, one of the closest in history. Who came away with the checkered flag? We'll tell you, right after the break.


PEREIRA: Welcome back.

To Ukraine now where violence has emerged overnight, a day after the country elected a new president. Officials suspending flights at Donetsk airport after a gunman stormed the terminal building.

This as candy tycoon Petro Poroshenko is claiming victory. Exit polls indicating that he won by more than half the vote in Sunday's presidential election. But the vote is not free of controversy. Turnout was almost non-existent in the country's volatile east where pro-Russian separatists make good n threats to block the vote.

CNN chief national security correspondent Jim Sciutto is live from Kiev.

Hello, Jim.


You know, we flew out of that airport in Donetsk yesterday, so literally getting I guess out to the capital under the gun. We saw a lot of the violence in the east and the effect it had on the voting. We went to a number of polling stations a that had been forcibly shut down, shut down at gunpoint, people threatened and that violence was enough to keep most people away from the polls there.

But not everyone, in Donetsk province, about 15 percent turnout. In Lugansk, neighboring the eastern province close to Russia that's had most of the violence. It was 39 percent. And when you look at the rest of the country, turn out much higher in the capital and in the west.

I think you can say that there were with reduced managed expectations that against the odds, Ukraine managed in very difficult circumstances to pull off something of a successful election and you're seeing now people already reuniting around Petro Poroshenko, the "Chocolate King" as he's called, a man who made his money making candy, but respected here and he's had positions in previous government, already making plans for next step, saying his first priority is integration with Europe.

PEREIRA: Speaking of Europe, I know all eyes on the west are watching what's going on there. What's the response pr the U.S. been about the election results and do we have an idea of what is next in terms of American involvement in the conflict?

SCIUTTO: Well, it's a good question. A lot is riding on these elections for the U.S. as well. They have been sort of saying, you know, if this election is successful we can move forward and the next round of sanctions was predicated on disrupting this election. If the U.S. and the West judge that Russia had impeded the election, they were going to bring sectoral sanctions. It remains to be seen how they make that judgment.

But when we've been speaking to lots of Ukrainians, they have been disappointed so far by support from the West including the U.S. saying they have heard words but not seen much action, particular in terms of pushing Russia from meddling. So, I spoke yesterday with the U.S. ambassador to Ukraine, Geoffrey Pyatt, and here's how he answered those concerns.


SCIUTTO: How do you answer those doubts from Ukrainians who say they have heard a lot of words from Washington but haven't seen a lot of action?

GEOFFREY PYATT, U.S. AMBASSADOR TO UKRAINE: Got to work with the Europeans. They play a crucial here. Nothing will help to build Ukrainian stability over the long term better than signing this association agreement, moving towards a closer institutional relationship with Europe and we've got to work closely, Brussels, the United States, Berlin, Paris, London to keep pressure on Russia.


SCIUTTO: Pressure on Russia, but the new leader of Ukraine saying cooperating with Russia will be a priority for his government going forward, but he wants Russia to respect the results of the election -- Michaela.

PEREIRA: All right. Jim Sciutto traveling there in Ukraine, thanks so much for joining us and bringing us the latest on that emerging story. We'll be watching.

BERMAN: I've got a big sports story to tell you about right now. Oklahoma City Serge Ibaka returned from injury last night. He made his presence felt in a huge way.

Joe Carter has more.

Joy, this was like a Willis Reid type of thing.

JOE CARTER, BLEACHER REPORTER: I like that. I like that very much.

I mean, he's key here, John. Serge Ibaka is key getting them back in the series. They're now down 2-1. But you know, originally, Serge Ibaka was said to miss the rest of the playoffs because of a nagging calf injury, but Friday, they just suddenly activated him. Some are saying, well, maybe this was a mind game on the part of the Thunder.

But right out of the gate last night, he made a huge impact offensively. He made his four shots, he scored 15 points on the night. But more importantly, it was his defense that completely discombobulated the Spurs offense. He grabbed seven rebounds, he had four blocked shots and an endless amount of energy.

The Spurs now lead the series 2-1. So, they cut it by one. Game four, by the way, is tomorrow night on our sister network TNT.

Let's talk a little baseball. The Dodgers' Josh Beckett threw the first no-hitter of the 2014 season. In the ninth though, he was in danger of not finishing his outing because his pitch count was adding up fastly. Chase Utley originally thought it was a ball and he walked. Bennett struck him out looking and that's where the game would end.

The 34-year-old earns his first career no-hitter.

And a wild finish at the Indianapolis 500 that's trending this morning on Ryan Hunter-Reay crosses the beats out Helio Castroneves. It's the second closest finish in race history and it prevented Castroneves from wining his fourth Indianapolis 500. Hunter-Reay, by the way, is the first American to win since 2006.

And real quick, guys, the other story Kurt Busch, he did the double, if you will. He ran at the Indianapolis 500 in the afternoon. He placed sixth. And then at night, he ran in the Coca-Cola 600 in NASCAR. He finished 40th.

BERMAN: An average finish of 26th if you combine the two races there is. Easy math there.

CARTER: I guess it works. If you're looking for the positive.

BERMAN: Not bad. Thanks so much, Joe.

CARTER: Yes, thanks.

PEREIRA: Short break here on NEW DAY. Up ahead, could more have been done to prevent this latest killing spree? The gunman points to problems over time. We're going to talk to an expert on whether signs were missed along the way. BERMAN: And the pope in the world east toughest conflict, trying to bring Israelis and Palestinians together in prayer at the Vatican. Could his efforts be a key step towards peace?