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Owner Blasts "Cowards" in Horse Racing; Comedian Tracy Morgan Survives Deadly Crash; Flight 370 Family Members Try to Buy Answers; Possible Motive in Shooting Case

Aired June 9, 2014 - 06:30   ET




It's half past the hour. Here's a look at your headlines.

A possible motive for weekend killing spree in Las Vegas. Law enforcement source telling CNN that a married couple suspected of ambushing two police officers held extreme views toward law enforcement. Those shooters killed a third person at a Wal-Mart before taking their own lives. Witnesses reported hearing one of the suspects yell, "This is a revolution."

Breaking overnight, 28 people are now dead, dozens others injured in an attack on Pakistan's busiest airport. The assault began late Sunday night at the international airport in Karachi. Ten of the dead are militants. They stormed the cargo area with guns, grenades, suicide vests. Pakistani Taliban says it carried out the attack as retaliation for an American drone strike.

A rather unique gathering at the Vatican, as Pope Francis led the presidents of Israel and the Palestinian a prayer summit on Sunday. The symbolic ceremony was an expression of hope for an end to one of the world's longest conflicts. But the meeting was more about prayer than politics as the three also joined together to plant an olive tree.

Pope Francis says he hopes the symbolism would be the beginning of a new journey.

Let's hope it is so, Chris.

CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: Mick, that was a good sign at least, right?

All right. Let's talk about this Triple Crown controversy. It seems to only be getting worse this morning.

Here's the deal, California Chrome, as you know, lost his bid. Then, his co-owner, Steven Coburn, lost his cool, suggesting that owners who didn't run their horses in all three races of the Triple Crown were cowards. The top two horses only ran the Belmont on Saturday, not the Derby and not the Preakness. We're going to talk about this with Mike Battaglia. He's a horse

racing analyst for NBC sports and one of the best odds makers in America.

Mike, let's bring everybody into the conversation by playing the sound of what Coburn said after the race. Take a listen.


STEVE COBURN, CALIFORNIA CHROME'S CO-OWNER: If you've got a horse that can -- if you've got a horse that earns points to run in the Kentucky Derby, those 20 horses that start in Kentucky are the only 20 available -- eligible to run in all three races. This is the coward's way out.


CUOMO: I think his wife was trying pull him back there for a second, Mike. First of all, I think that was happening. But no one could stop him. He was upset. The question is, was he upset for good reason? What's your take?

MIKE BATTAGLIA, NBC SPORTS: You know, I think the whole scene was very disappointing. No, I don't think he had much of a reason at all.

You know, the Triple Crown is three separate races. Three separate entities -- the Kentucky Derby, the Preakness, then the Belmont. There are three separate races. There are three separate trophies.

The deal is, you have to win all three. All three have different rules. All three have different eligibilities. That's just the way, it has been for years.

I've heard some people talking recently about trying to change the time between the races which I don't even agree with that. But to say that the only horses that can be eligible are the 20 that ran in the Derby, see, I have never heard anybody say that in my 40 years. So --

CUOMO: Well, help us understand a little bit better. Because there's definitely some debate fomenting because of this. There are two perspectives that we need to understand. One, does it make a horse really tired to run these first two races and then the third within five weeks? Is that a relevant consideration?

BATTAGLIA: Of course, it does. That's why the Triple Crown is so tough. That's why it's such a coveted prize. It's such a hard thing to do. It takes a special kind of horse to be able to do that. And there's not many that can stand the test.

And, you know, I just thought that California Chrome, he looked great in the Derby. He looked great in the Preakness. But to come back in three weeks, it is very hard. And that's why it's hard.

CUOMO: OK. So --

BATTAGLIA: To say that you don't want to face any morel challengers in that Belmont Stakes, though, that, to me, that's just not right.

CUOMO: I get that. You know, you always want the best competition against you to prove that you are the best. However, is there anything to this point that the Belmont becomes a spoiler race and that people almost hold back their horses to race against these emerging champions and, you know, maybe up their value or just, you know, ruin the Triple Crown?

BATTAGLIA: Nobody's looking to ruin the Triple Crown. If you go back and look, Tonalist and Commissioner, one, two, finishes in the Belmont, they had not even won a stakes race going into the Belmont. Neither one of those hours was eligible to run in the Kentucky Derby.

I'm sure their connections would have loved to have had the chance to win the Triple Crown. But 3 year olds develop, they develop very quickly in the spring. And if you get a horse that develops quick enough for the Kentucky Derby, you're lucky. Now, you've got to get them to the Preakness and the Belmont.

These other horses have to catch up with it. It's as simple as that. It's a very grueling test. It's hard to do.

But we've had horses do it before, and we're going have another Triple Crown winner. But California Chrome, did the injury leaving the gate have something to do with it. That very well -- that could have done something to him, too. But it is hard. But I don't think you need to make it easier.

CUOMO: But Coburn could have mentioned the hoof, and he didn't. He kind of blew that off, so did one of the assistant trainer, he doubled down on this point, Mike. He said, you know, it's like me, it's 6'2" playing basketball against someone in a wheelchair.

Now, that's an incentive thing and it's not PC. But it goes to his passion that he thinks he's making the right point, that this is unfair. You're saying he's more emotion than reason right now?

BATTAGLIA: Exactly. He knew the rules going in. I didn't hear him say a word about it before the race. Going into the Belmont, he knew these horses were coming in fresh. He said, hey, my horse is going to win, he thought he would. It just didn't happen.

After the race to come back like that, like I said, very disappointing, it would have been. I talked to Art Sherman. I talked to Victor Espinoza. They were very classy in defeat. They said, hey, you know, that's how it was. That's the way it is. It wasn't our day. We'll be back to fight again.

CUOMO: We've got Art on the show coming up, Art Sherman, so we'll get his perspective as well. And I did hear, you know, some very reason analyst from you and others that Chrome was boxed in a way that he had been in the other two races this time. And then people were talking about whether his bloodlines came into play, that he didn't have distance in his blood, and others discounted that.

But, certainly, people are talking about this, Mike. There are a lot of good points to be made. Thank you for laying them out for us. Appreciate you helping us forward this debate.

The rest of you can take to Twitter. You heard what Mike said, he knows the race game very well. Those are the issues. What do you think? Do you think the owner's right, should they change the rules? Is he well off base and sour grapes? Tweet us with the #NewDay, please?


BROOKE BALDWIN, CNN ANCHOR: We'll discuss that all morning. It's fascinating to talk about the different angles on the story. I know all of you are a pretty opinionated on that one.

But coming up next here on NEW DAY, Tracy Morgan starting to improve. We're hearing, thank goodness, after surviving that horrendous crash that killed a fellow comedian. Now, a truck driver is facing charges accused of causing that crash. We'll have the latest.

Also ahead, the families of that missing plane, Malaysia Airlines Flight 370. These passengers here, these families of these passengers -- they have demanded answers for three months. Now, they're taking matters into their own hands and offering a huge reward.

Stay here.


BALDWIN: And here we go. Welcome back to NEW DAY.

Comedian Tracy Morgan is showing some signs of improvement after being severely injured in a deadly highway crash over the weekend. Morgan and two others remain in critical condition.

Look at that vehicle here. Another comedian was killed in the crash. And today, the truck driver charged with slamming into this limo is expected in court.

CNN's Nischelle Turner joins us with more.

Tough look at that limo.

NISCHELLE TURNER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes. I have to tell you, though, it was good news from-to-hear from his rep yesterday.


TURNER: Tracy Morgan's rep that he is improving. We're seeing some signs of improvement. That was a very good thing to hear because, yes, look at that, very scary.

Thirty-five-year-old Kevin Roper is scheduled to be in court sometime today in New Jersey. He is the man said to be driving the truck that slammed into Tracy Morgan and his friends.

Meanwhile, Tracy, Ardie Fuqua and Jeff Millea remain in the hospital.


TURNER (voice-over): Actor/comedian Tracy Morgan is in critical condition after a deadly car crash on ate New Jersey turnpike over the weekend. Morgan's publicist says the former "30 Rock" star is responsive following Sunday's surgery at Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital in New Brunswick, New Jersey, where he's being treated for broken rib, a broken nose and leg.

Around 1:00 a.m. Saturday, Morgan was riding in a limo van after forming at a casino in Delaware. State police say Morgan's vehicle was struck from behind by a Wal-Mart tractor trailer that failed to observe slow-moving traffic. The impact flipped Morgan's vehicle on its side, killing one person and injuring several others.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: All I know I saw traffic and I stopped and I was upside down.

TURNER: Morgan's friend and fellow comedian James McNair, known as Jimmy Mac died in the crash.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Devastated, James, I love you.

TURNER: Police arrested 35-year-old Kevin Roper, a Wal-Mart employee and driver of the tractor trailer, charging him with one count of death by auto and four counts of assault by auto.

Wal-Mart's CEO released a statement on the tragedy, saying in part, "We are profoundly sorry that one of our trucks was involved. If it's determined that our truck caused the accident, Wal-Mart will take full responsibility.

On Sunday, Tracy Morgan's publicist noted his recovery would be a long one.


TURNER (on-camera): Now Morgan's rep tells us that he did have surgery on his broken leg. He also broke his nose. He's got broken ribs. He's expected to be in the hospital now for several more weeks. The driver of that limo that night said in an interview that he heard Tracy screaming after the crash, but he couldn't reach him. So you know, along with all of these broken bones, guys, there's going to be a lot of emotional healing that has to be --

BALDWIN: One of his friends died in the crash.


CUOMO: Weeks. That suggests more than even just broken bones. That's a long time to be in the hospital.

TURNER: Yes, several weeks, they said.

CUOMO: I'm looking at that van; he's lucky to be alive.

PEREIRA: Exactly. Exactly. Nischelle, thank you.


CUOMO: Coming up on NEW DAY, Malaysia cannot find the answers. Now family members of Flight 370 will try to buy them. A multimillion- dollar fund to figure out the mystery. We're going to talk with one of the family members who started the fund.

BALDWIN: Plus, in his very first (ph) public comments, Secretary of State John Kerry defending the release of those five Taliban prisoners in exchange for Bowe Bergdahl. We have details from an exclusive new interview with us here at CNN.


CUOMO: So, you watched the first game. You see LeBron cramp up. You question him. You start to think maybe he's not all that, if he just succumbs to --

BALDWIN: How can he not be all that? I don't understand.

CUOMO: You start feeding the conspiracy that the Spurs heated up the arena on purpose and other pithal (ph) like that. And then what does the king do? The king comes and reigns the pain in game two of the NBA finals, making people like Brooke Baldwin and Andy Scholes watch their mouths the next time.

BALDWIN: What do you think about that? You like that?

ANDY SCHOLES, BLEACHER REPORT: Yeah, you know what? You're right, Chris. The story was going to be how would LeBron respond after that having to leave game one? How would he would answer all of his critics?

Well, you know, as expected, he came out like a man on a mission in game two. Now this game, it was a close one. It was tied at the half. Then in the third quarter, LeBron just took this game over. He made six straight shots to start the quarter. Then you fast forward to the fourth quarter, the Heat were down one. LeBron drives, it to Chris Bosh who knocked down the three. Miami takes the lead for good. LeBron finished with 35 points, 10 rebounds and most importantly, zero cramps as the Heat (inaudible) with the 98-96 win.


LEBRON JAMES, NBA PLAYER (?): What happened on Thursday was Thursday. You know, my whole focus was how was I going to help this team, you know, even the series up and just kind of try to make some plays.

For me, the ball is in our hand, and I'm going to make the right play for our 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.

(END VIDEOCLIP) SCHOLES: Number two, (inaudible) on this morning, ace pitcher Fernando Abad throws way inside at the Orioles Manny Machado yesterday. The very next pitch, Machado blows his bat. It landed near Josh Donaldson at third. The Ace (ph), think he did it on purpose. The benches would clear. Machado and Abad were ejected from the game. This was the second time in the series when Machado was involved in a bench-clearing altercation, maybe a little east coast/west coast rivalry starting between these two teams.

Speaking of east coast/west coast, the Stanley Cup final returns to New York for the first time in 20 years. Tonight, Rangers-Kings, game three at eight eastern. And Michaela, your Kings, despite never leading in either of the first two games during regulation have a 2-0 lead in the series. So I'm sure you're pretty happy about that.

PEREIRA: I'm sorry, I couldn't quite hear that. Could you repeat that one more time just real quick? I just wanted you to say it again. Up two in the series. We love that, Andy Scholes, thanks so much.

We want to turn to another big story that we've been following for months now. In fact, it has been three months since Flight 370 disappeared. This morning, we could be closer to seeing a dramatic change in the search zone. That's according to "The Wall Street Journal" saying that investigators are recalculating the plane's speed, the flight, path and a altitude.

That news comes as some of the family members of those on board have launched their own $5 million campaign, a crowd source campaign to try to find answers, offering an reward for whistle-blower and private investigator.

Sarah Bajc, partner of -- Philip Wood was on board of Flight 370, and she has been very involved in getting the fund-raiser up and running.

Joining us this morning from Beijing. Sarah, thanks so much. We'll get to that crowd sourcing information in a minute, but we are getting some updates overnight about the shifting search area because of questions over speed, the flight path, the altitude. Is this promising to you? Or does this feel like they're grasping at straws?

SARAH BAJC, PARTNER WAS ON BOARD FLIGHT 370: Your words, not mine, but I would totally agree with that. It feels like they're grasping at straws. You know, on the one hand, I think it's terrific that we can advance the state of using satellite data to position an airplane. And it's certainly something that we need to look at.

But as an isolated way to track where an airplane went, it's just a ridiculous proposition. We all believe that there is some other kind of intervention involved here. And we need to go back to the beginning.

PEREIRA We know that there was a press conference early this morning, Malaysia and government officials talking about the fact that this new search area isn't going to be tremendously far away from the area where the search currently is. Were you hoping that maybe there would be more coming out of that press conference today? I know we were hoping there was going to be.

BAJC: I don't have that hope anymore any more, because there has yet to be a press conference where we've actually learned something substantial. And it's usually something that happens kind of after the fact, the closing of curtain.

So, you know, at this point, I think the family members, and many of the experts who have been consulting with us along the way, have basically thrown up our hands and said, you know, you know, let's take a fresh look at it. Let's treat it as a proper investigation and see if we can't trace back to finding some actual evidence of what's happened with this airplane.

PEREIRA: Well to that end, I think a lot of us have to give you and the families a whole lot of credit for keeping this investigation alive. To that end, you and some of the families have gotten together and have started a crowd-sourcing campaign. Your goal is to get some $5 million. What are you hoping to achieve? And what do you want to do with this money specifically, Sarah?

BAJC: Well, there's a very real potential here that somebody knows something that they haven't brought forward, probably because they're afraid of repercussions. So we feel that a large reward will provide sufficient incentive for that person to come forward and to do the right thing and tell us where the airplane is.

You know, the entire story about the southern Indian Ocean just does not hold water. It doesn't hold water whether it's in area a, area b, or area c. Because there's still no wreckage after three months. That airplane's path still flew over Butter Worth Air Force space, which I just don't believe that they didn't see it. And the Jordan radar systems didn't see it. And those are three major holes in this theory that no Inmarsat calculations are going to solve.

PEREIRA: So you're really hoping that this will be, like you said, an incentive, that if there is somebody that knows something, that they'll come forward, encouraged by this reward?

BAJC: We hope so. And then part of the funds will also be used by an independent private investigator. They're a fully licensed firm. They do a lot work with insurance companies, including on aviation disaster, and they will chase down those leads.

Now, it might be a long shot. I mean, we might never find a lead that comes forward, in which case we'll continue to expend the funds on private investigation services. Or if at some point in time it looks just totally hopeless, we'll use it to lobby for changes in aircraft safety. But we have to give it a try. You know, the alternative is just despair and hopelessness, because we've certainly gotten no place so far.

PEREIRA: Well, I think most of us can relate to that. We want to do something in a case like this for any kind of tragedy that has no answers. We want to look for answers ourselves. We understand that, Sarah.

Thanks for joining us here on NEW DAY. As always, we appreciate that. Brooke, Chris?

CUOMO: All right, Mick, here are the big stories starting your new day. The Vegas shootings, disturbing details about the couple behind the shots.

The Kerry exclusive, revelations about monitoring those released Taliban fighters.

And owner outrage after California Chrome loses at Belmont. Let's get after all of them.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's a tragic day.

UNIDENTIIFED MALE: When police arrived, they discovered two of their own were murdered.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I think he was going for his gun.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He just told me to tell the cops that it was a revolution.

SEN. DIANNE FEINSTEIN, (D-CA): I heard John Kerry say, you know, don't worry about them in Doha. You can't think but worry about them.

JOHN KERRY, U.S. SECRETARY OF STATE: We have any number of avenues available to us to be able to deal with that.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is what the edge of humanity looks like and (inaudible) is dying.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Co-owner blasted competing horse owners.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is the coward's way out, in my opinion. This is the coward's way out.


CUOMO: Good morning. Welcome back to NEW DAY. Kate is getting some vacay, very happy. Mick and I are joining Brooke Baldwin here this morning.

BALDWIN: Thanks for having me.

CUOMO: Our pleasure.

Breaking overnight, we have now a possible motive emerging for a killing spree in Las Vegas. Three people gunned down, including two police officers who were just eating lunch. Authorities now say the suspects, a married couple, apparently held extremist views towards law enforcement.

CNN's Dan Simon, live in Los Vegas, with the latest. Dan.

DAN SIMON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Chris. Well, CNN is not naming this married couple until they're identified

by law enforcement, but it's clear based on things they wrote on social media, that they had a clear hatred towards law enforcement.

And it all apparently came to a head at a pizza restaurant. That's where these two police officers are having lunch, and a couple walks in. They shoot these officers dead. They then take the officers' guns and the ammunition.

Then they come over to this Wal-mart, and they kill a woman near the front entrance. Then police converge on the scene. There's some kind of shoot-out. But apparently, this couple had a suicide pact. And the wife shoots the husband, then she shoots herself.

At this point, police are still trying to determine a motive, but as I said, you look at some of these social media sites, and it's clear that they really had a disdain towards law enforcement. There's going to be a press conference at 10:00 a.m. here in Los Vegas.

Brooke, we'll send it back to you.

BALDWIN: All right, Dan, thank you so much.

Let's continue this conversation. Let me bring in Mark Potok. He's a senior fellow with the Southern Poverty Law Center, which studies these different extremist groups across the country.

And Mark, good morning.


BALDWIN: Let's first just begin with the fact that we don't know a whole lot about this couple this morning. Investigations underway, though. A source did tell CNN that this couple had extremist views towards law enforcement, specifically. Apparently, the woman, at some point during this whole rampage, yelled "This is a revolution".

On a superficial level, Mark, how do you read this?

POTOK: Well, there are also reports out of Las Vegas saying that the couple apparently had swastikas in their apartment.