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Deadly Shooting Rampage; Terror Attack at Karachi Airport; Locked Up and Left in the Dark

Aired June 9, 2014 - 05:00   ET


JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: New information this morning about the couple behind a deadly shooting spree in Las Vegas, killing two police officers at a pizza place, then gunning down a woman as she shopped at Wal-Mart. What could be behind these crimes? That's ahead.

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN ANCHOR: Breaking news this morning. Dozens dead after terrorists storm Pakistan's largest airport. The Taliban seeking to avenge their leader killed in a U.S. drone strike. We are live with what's happening right now.

And then, locked in a cage and left in the dark for weeks, possibly even months. New details emerging about how the Taliban tortured Army Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl during his five years in captivity, this as we learn new information about his recovery. We have live, team coverage on this developing story. That's all ahead.

Good morning, everyone. Great to see you. A little later this morning.

Welcome to EARLY START. I'm John Berman.

ROMANS: I'm Christine Romans. It's Monday, June 9th. It's 5:00 a.m. in the east. Thanks for waking up with us this morning.

Breaking overnight, new details about a horrifying afternoon of gunfire and bloodshed in Las Vegas. Police aren't saying why an armed man and woman ambushed and killed two officers inside a pizza place before gunning down an innocent shopper at the Wal-Mart right next door. Witnesses say the couple was shouting about a revolution. The ordeal ending when the female suspect shot and killed her companion, then turned the weapon on herself, in what appears to have been some sort of suicide pact.


SHERIFF DOUG GILLESPIE, LAS VEGAS METRO POLICE DEPT.: Lost two officers with young families and a family of law enforcement who cares very, very much about them as well as a community that cares very, very much about them, as well as the innocent citizen that lost their life. What precipitated this event we do not know? My officers were simply having lunch when the shooting started.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They had a backpack and I saw their gun in their hand, and he just told me to tell the cops that it was a revolution and he had just killed two cops inside.


ROMANS: Investigators suspect the shooters were white supremacists and they had raided their apartment overnight. The murdered police officers are identified as 41-year-old Alyn Beck and 41-year-old Igor Soldo.

BERMAN: I feel for their families.


BERMAN: Breaking news, Pakistan's largest and busiest airport under siege. Ten heavily armed militants storming the cargo area of Jinnah International Airport in Karachi, leaving 28 people dead and parts of that facility on fire. Authorities say at least two of the attackers detonated suicide vests, and overnight, the Pakistani Taliban claimed responsibility.

I want to bring in Saima Mohsin live from Karachi.

Saima, give us a sense of the situation right now at that airport. Is it stabilized?

SAIMA MOHSIN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, John, just as you're coming to me, actually, it's been confirmed that the military has handed over Karachi International Airport to the Civil Aviation Authority, so it's now back in airport authority hands. They have been sweeping the area, combing it carefully, checking every nook and cranny to see that no man, no militants, in fact, has been left behind.

And this, of course, is after that late-night, bold and brazen attack where at least ten militants entered heavily armed, John. They came prepared. They were obviously trying to make their way to the main airport terminal. They came in through a smaller, older airport terminal, shooting out people running for their safety.

I spoke to one man who came out and said, we hid in the toilet and we didn't come out until security personnel in the morning told us we were safe to do so. They heard a bomb going off. They thought they were going to die -- John.

BERMAN: You used the words bold and brazen. This is Karachi. This is the biggest, busiest airport in Karachi. How did these armed men get in? Ten guys, heavily armed. What are authorities saying about that?

MOHSIN: Yes, this is Pakistan's largest city, 20 million people live here. It's Pakistan's largest and busiest airport. But what they did is they actually targeted an old airport terminal, which isn't really used anymore. It's used for private jets or government jets every now and again, John. So, this had lesser security in the extent that it wasn't as high security as the main airport terminal.

Nevertheless, it is an attack on a major airport. They did get inside and they managed to kill a lot of people. At least 18 people have been killed, plus the 10 militants in this attack.

Now, John, of course, the questions are already being raised how these groups operating right under the nose of the Pakistani government and security officials in Pakistan's largest city. This isn't the tribal areas. This isn't some remote area. This is an urban area.

In fact, questions are going to be raised about intelligence officials and the strength of that intelligence and what's being done to try and control these militant groups that are operating in major cities now -- John.

BERMAN: These are important questions with international implications. Saima Mohsin, thanks for being with us this morning.

ROMANS: All right, new details this morning about Bowe Bergdahl's five years in captivity and his recovery since being freed. According to "The New York Times," the former POW says he was tortured in captivity, kept locked in a metal cage for weeks at a time as punishment for trying to escape. More on that in a moment.

This morning, Bergdahl reportedly walking the halls of the hospital in Germany, talking to medical staff and said to be in remarkably good health, considering.

Karl Penhaul live from Landstuhl, Germany, this morning.

Good morning, Karl. What can you tell us? What do we know about his condition today?


We're here at the gates of Landstuhl Medical Center, waiting to see if there's any update this morning from Bowe Bergdahl's team of physicians and psychologists, because we know every morning that team gets in a huddle to decide whether Bergdahl is well and fit enough to head back to the U.S. to continue his treatment at that medical facility in San Antonio, Texas.

So far, though, this morning no word. We have had, though, new details coming out over the weekend. We heard from a Pentagon official that as part of his recovery, Bergdahl is interacting very much now with the medical team caring for him, and he's taking an interest in the program that they've set out for him, but he's also insisting that they continue to call him private 1st class.

As you'll remember, he was promoted during his time in captivity to the rank of sergeant but still very much wants to be considered a grunt. Also, over the weekend, information coming out from an unnamed Pentagon official via "The New York Times," and that saying that, really, there's no sign of any serious illness that Bergdahl is suffering. He has a gum problem. He has a skin problem, but that because he was exposed to the elements. They also tell us that he's now weighing about 160 pounds, which for a

guy of 5'9" is a pretty good weight. No sign of any emaciation there, Christine.

ROMANS: All right. Karl Penhaul for us this morning in Landstuhl, in Germany. Thanks, Karl.

BERMAN: And as to the other side of what went on when he was in captivity, tortured, beaten, locked in a cage after trying to escape from his Taliban captors. That is the story Bowe Bergdahl is reportedly telling the medical staff there about his years in captivity.

Let's get a sense of what we're learning now from the ground.

Senior international correspondent Nic Robertson joins us live from Doha, in Qatar, this morning. That, of course, where the Taliban -- the freed Taliban now are.

Nic, what can you tell us this morning?

NIC ROBERTSON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, John, I'm getting information from a Taliban source familiar with some of Bergdahl's captivity. This is a source who's been accurate on information about Western hostages held by the same Taliban in the past. He describes Bergdahl initially when he was captured being put in a house that was run by an old man. It wasn't very secure. Bergdahl escaped, was on the run for three days trying to get away from the area.

But according to this source, because the Taliban controlled that area, he was unable to do that, recaptured, put in a much more secure location. But they say while he was in that secure location, he was able to, or they allowed him, that's their words, he was able to celebrate Christmas and Easter, a strong indication there he stayed true to his Christian faith. They also say that they provided him with books, reading material, including Islamic literature, that he complained about his food, that he was getting lamb too often, that he didn't like the smell, wanted fruit and vegetables. They say they gave him those fruit and vegetables. He was able to get some exercise.

They say even on occasion that he was playing soccer with the Taliban. By the time he left, they say, he was able to communicate with them very effectively in their local language, Pashto, that over those almost five years, he had picked up that language to be able to communicate with them.

But the sense we get is that that second place he was taken to and then switched to others because of fears of drone strikes, very secure, not like the first one, unable to escape from them -- John.

BERMAN: What a long time to be in captivity.

All right. Nic Robertson live for us in Doha. Thank you so much. More news to tell you about right now. It looks like the search area

for Flight 370 is about to shift again. Investigators are revising some of their basic calculations about the jet, which has now been missing for three months. Officials say this new shift reflects uncertainties about the exact speed, the flight path and altitude of this flight. The new zone could be revealed in weeks, but the search probably won't be re-launched until late this summer.

ROMANS: The V.A. set to release more results from a nationwide audit of hospitals' scheduling practices today. They've been under the microscope since CNN first revealed secret waiting lists, cover-ups and very long treatment delays at the V.A. Medical Center in Phoenix.

Dozens of veterans there died waiting for care. The House Veterans Affairs Committee is expecting updates on the investigation at a hearing tonight.

BERMAN: We're waiting for a major announcement from the White House on student loans. Christine Romans, our chief business correspondent, very excited about this.

The president expected to expand an alternative repayment program that caps monthly payments for certain federal student loans at 10 percent of the borrower's discretionary income. An additional 5 million people could become eligible. The president is also expected to back a democratic proposal that would allow borrowers to refinance student loans.

ROMANS: Yes, we want to find out exactly when that's going to -- I think 2015, those loans in 2015 we're looking at here.

All right. Time for an EARLY START on your money this morning. A good morning for markets around the world. European and Asian stocks are up following positive economic reports. Japan had better-than- expected GDP growth. Chinese exports rose last month. Also driving markets, positive data from here, from the U.S. futures slightly lower right now after the Dow and S&P 500 reached record highs on Friday, record territory, folks, for your 401(k).

Positive jobs report showed we finally gained back all the jobs lost in the recession. Investor confidence around the globe climbing right now. According to Wall Street's so-called fear gauge, the CBOE Volatility Index, investors are pretty fearless, to the lowest level since before the financial crisis. But that confidence sometimes, Berman, can be a red flag.

Stocks have been climbing for more than five years and some fear investors have become complacent, but at least for now, you can watch your 401(k) and be excited about those all-time highs.

BERMAN: Yes, until it's not.

ROMANS: Oh, yes. Well, that always happens eventually.

New information this morning on how badly Tracy Morgan was hurt in this deadly, six-car crash over the weekend. How he's doing right now and how long his recovery could take.

BERMAN: And Hillary Clinton, she has a new book coming out, did you hear?

ROMANS: No, really?

BERMAN: And she's on the record about her health and whether this concussion that some claim left her brain damaged, could keep her running from president. Give you a hint on that one, too, next.


BERMAN: Welcome back to EARLY START, everyone. This morning, actor and comedian Tracy Morgan still in critical condition, but showing some signs of improvement. His publicist says that Morgan is more responsive after suffering a whole number of injuries in a chain- reaction highway crash over the weekend that left one of his closest friends dead.

CNN's Alexandra Field is following these developments.

ALEXANDRA FIELD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Christine, John, the driver of a tractor-trailer has surrendered to police in the aftermath of the deadly crash early Saturday morning. Kevin Roper, a 35-year-old truck driver from Georgia, now faces serious charges, one count of death by auto, four counts of assault by auto.

New Jersey state police say Roper failed to see traffic slowing down, tried to veer away at the last moment but slammed into a limo bus carrying Tracy Morgan and fellow passengers on the New Jersey turnpike. That set off a chain reaction involving four other vehicles. The Middlesex County prosecutor's office says investigators are still looking into the specific cause of the crash, why roper didn't see traffic slowing down.

Wal-Mart, the driver's employee, has issued a statement. In it, president Bill Simons says, quote, "We are profoundly sorry that one of our trucks was involved. If it is determined that our truck caused the accident, Wal-Mart will take full responsibility. We will do what's right for the family of the victim and the survivors in the days and weeks ahead."

Tracy Morgan and two other passengers were left in critical condition after the limo bus overturned. Another passenger and fellow comedian, James McNair, was killed in the crash -- Christine, John.

ROMANS: All right. Thanks for that.

Hillary Clinton's new memoir hits book stores Tuesday.

BERMAN: It does?

ROMANS: It does, but we already have an inside look, John, as the former secretary of state opens up about her relationship with President Obama and her regret over voting in favor of U.S. military action in Iraq back in 2002. In a new interview with ABC's Diane Sawyer, Clinton talks in detail about her health and her recovery after suffering a blood clot as the result of a fall nearly two years ago.


DIANE SAWYER, ABC NEWS: How serious was it?

HILLARY CLINTON, FORMER SECRETARY OF STATE: It| was, you know, it was I think a serious concussion.

SAWYER: The clot in addition.


SAWYER: If the clot had dislodged --

CLINTON: Well, can I tell you, that was the scary point.

SAWYER: You had trouble with vision.

CLINTON: Because of the force of the fall, I had double vision for a short period of time and I had some dizziness.

SAWYER: So, no lingering effects?

CLINTON: No lingering effects.

SAWYER: Of any kind?



ROMANS: Clinton says if she runs for president in 2016, she will release her medical records.

BERMAN: As has been traditional for candidates for some time.

So, today could be a pivotal day in the bridgegate investigation as New Jersey Governor Chris Christie's chief of staff prepares to testify. Kevin O'Dowd is the highest ranking aide to appear before this select panel looking into the politically motivated lane closures on the George Washington Bridge. O'Dowd, you can expect, will be grilled about exactly when the governor found out about these closures.

ROMANS: All right, extreme weather in Colorado.

Wow, a band of severe storms slamming the eastern plains with high winds, hail and tornadoes. One of those twisters touching down during a junior golf tournament.


ROMANS: The funnel cloud flipping off an empty trailer, sending golfers running for cover. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Wind was picking up. We saw the storm forming and we tried to get inside as quick as we could, but we were just caught in the middle of it.


ROMANS: Also caught in the middle of this twister's fury, a caddie trapped underneath a golf cart picked up by high winds. Luckily, he was hospitalized with just minor injuries.

BERMAN: From the ominous there and the threatening to the majestic. Look at this. The northern lights from Minnesota, or the Aurora Borealis as I like to call them. That's just amazing to look at right there. This light show was captured using time-lapse footage from St. Cloud. That's real.

ROMANS: That's awesome.

BERMAN: Yes. Really, really nice.

ROMANS: All right, Indra Petersons has a look at your forecast this morning.

Hi, Indra.

INDRA PETERSONS, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Hi, good morning. Have you guys seen those yet in person?


PETERSONS: Jealous. No, I have not.

All right. Let's talk about what's going on in the Northeast. We're talking about some showers really kind of kicking through the area right now, starting to see they're making their way in through New York City, currently seeing light rain, as well as D.C.

S, messy morning commute, but nothing again like we're still talking about in the South. Look at all this lightning we're still talking about this morning. This is going to be the concern. You have the low that's here in the Northeast. This guy's going to hang around for a day or so, but it will quickly make its way offshore tomorrow through Wednesday, background showers, but we're really looking at this slow mover still hanging on in the South.

What does this mean? Another round.

I feel like we were talking about this all last week, but again, still more severe weather into the South again today for places like Memphis. Keep in mind if you're traveling through Dallas, we're talking about delays there, and all the way back in through San Antonio. The toughest part of this course is going to be the threat for very heavy rain, day after day of rain. We're still talking about three to five inches possible in the South, even two to four inches around Texas today.

Just keep in mind, we are going to see a nice temperature spread. If you're farther in the South, kind of that hot and muggy feeling, but behind it, a little bit cooler feeling, a little bit milder towards Kansas City, about 68. D.C. today looking for 84. New York City, by the way, rainy but comfy in the 70s.

ROMANS: All right. We'll take it. Thanks, Indra.

The NCAA on trial this morning, facing an antitrust lawsuit that could end its reign over college sports. The suit was filed five years ago by former UCLA star Ed O'Bannon and others, alleging the NCAA used their villages in broadcasts and video games without paying them. They argue the NCAA acted like a cartel, violating federal antitrust laws by conspiring to keep players from earning paychecks. They're seeking an injunction to prohibit the NCAA for enforcing rules against compensating college athletes.

As a business reporter, it's so amazing that universities can make money off the images and the likeness of players but the players get nothing.

BERMAN: Yes, that's how it all started. Ed O'Bannon was playing a video game, saw a depiction of himself at UCLA, in a UCL uniform. Like how come I'm not getting paid for this?

Twenty minutes after the hour right now.

Coming up, some more sports. No one's talking about cramps anymore. LeBron James lifting the heat in game two of the NBA finals, perhaps the most predictable outcome in the history of outcomes. Andy Scholes breaks it all down in the "Bleacher Report", next.


BERMAN: All right, this just in. LeBron James is good at basketball. Yes. He turned in an epic performance in game two of the NBA Finals, quieting those critics who had been out there questioning his play.

ROMANS: Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate.

Andy Scholes has more in the "Bleacher Report."

ANDY SCHOLES, BLEACHER REPORT: Hey, good morning, guys.

You know, the story of game two was, of course, how would LeBron respond after having to leave game one with cramps? Well, as expected, he came out like a man on a mission. The game was tied at the half, and in the third quarter, LeBron took over. He made six straight shots to start the quarter. Fast-forward to the fourth quarter. Heat were down one when LeBron drives and kicks it to Chris Bosh for the three. Miami would take the lead for good right there.

LeBron finishes with 35 points, as the Heat pull even in the series with a 98-96 win.


LEBRON JAMES, MIAMI HEAT: What happened on Thursday was Thursday. You know, my whole focus is how was I going to help this team even the series up, and you know, just tried to make some plays. For me, the ball is in my hand and I'm going to make the right play for my team. And, you know, to have that trust from my teammates, that they know when I've got the ball, I'm going to make the right play.


SCHOLES: All right, don't you hate it when you're driving and some debris or trash just gets stuck on your car? That's what happened to Brad Keselowski at Pocono yesterday. He was winning, but the trash on his grill was causing his car to overheat, so he tries to get behind Danica Patrick to get rid of it with just five laps to go. Well, that's when Dale Earnhardt Jr. makes his move. Junior goes on to take the checkered flag for his first win at Pocono. Junior right now enjoying his best season in more than a decade.

All right. Number two in the lineup section on this morning, ace pitcher Fernando Abad throws way inside at the Orioles' Manny Machado. Very next pitch, Machado throws his bat. It lands right near Josh Donaldson at third. As you can imagine, the A's think he did this on purpose. Benches would clear.

Machado and Abad were both ejected from the game. It's the second time this series that Machado was involved in a bench-clearing altercation. These two sides, teams there, rather, obviously don't like each other very much.

All right. Stanley Cup Final returns to New York for the first time in 20 years. Tonight, guys, game three, Kings/Rangers. Puck drops at 8:00 p.m. Eastern. And the Rangers, they haven't trailed in regulation at all this series. Yet, they are down 0-2. Clearly need to get the job done tonight if they want to stay in the series.

BERMAN: Big whole for them.

ROMANS: And it's the last day of school and I'm telling you, there are kids all over New York who are staying up late for this series, you know?

BERMAN: They might have to learn to live with disappointment.

Andy Scholes, thank you. Good to see you this morning.

SCHOLES: All right.

ROMANS: All right. A Las Vegas couple going on a deadly shooting rampage before killing themselves. What could be behind their attacks? New information we've learned overnight, after the break.