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Source: Suspect Mentioned "Baby Parts"; FBI To Investigate Planned Parenthood Attack; New Hampshire Union Leader Endorses Governor Christie. Aired 6-6:30a ET
Aired November 29, 2015 - 06:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
CHRISTI PAUL, CNN ANCHOR: It is always good to see you. Thank you for making time for us today. I'm Christi Paul.
VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN ANCHOR: I'm Victor Blackwell. Good to be with you.
We are starting this morning with that disturbing information about a possible motive in the attack on that Planned Parenthood clinic that killed three people.
PAUL: Sources tell CNN that the accused shooter, Robert Dear, mentioned, quote, "baby parts, along with antiabortion views and anti- government statements." He did this apparently and said this to investigators. Officials caution, it is still too early to determine a motive until all of the evidence, however, is examined.
BLACKWELL: CNN also learned that propane tanks were found near the suspect's car. Authorities they believed he was trying to shoot them to cause an explosion.
PAUL: We are also getting a new look at Dear's past. He is believed to have lived here in this remote mountain cabin outside Asheville, North Carolina. Dear reportedly moved to Colorado about a year ago.
A CNN affiliate reports he purchased this plot of land. It's about 65 miles from Colorado Springs. There it is. Neighbors in the area describe it as, quote, "off the grid" and say their contact with the alleged gunman was quite limited.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ZIGMOND POST, NEIGHBOR OF ACCUSED SHOOTER: They were nice, really nice guy, you know? Talking to us and everything. Gave us some anti- Obama flyers, little pamphlets and I didn't really read them. I just -- I think I used them to start the fire in our camp fire that night.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLACKWELL: The president of Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains released a statement slamming the attack and here is part of it. Eyewitnesses confirm that the man who will be charged with the tragic and senseless shooting was motivated by opposition to safe and legal abortion.
Now, the FBI is conducting its own investigation, trying to determine if federal charges should be filed. We have with us now to talk about this, CNN law enforcement analyst, former FBI assistant director, Tom Fuentes.
First question here, Tom. We now know the suspect mentioned baby parts, anti-abortion views, and anti-government views, and still no determination by law enforcement of a motive here. What else do they need to see or hear to determine that?
TOM FUENTES, CNN LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: Well, I think, Victor, at this point, even hearing that and hearing what his neighbors had to say, what his family had to say, describing him as weird and unpredictable, you know, that does speak to his mental condition in a way or his attitude.
But it's not firm proof that that is why that moment he was motivated to do it. Probably is and everybody would probably think so, but, you know, at this point, I think they still want to get more information and have more details about his life and his attitudes.
BLACKWELL: Is there anything short of Robert Dear saying, I went on this shooting spree because I am opposed to abortion that will help law enforcement make that decision or are they waiting for some declaration from him?
FUENTES: Well, obviously, a declaration would be nice, but, you know, they still have to put the full information, they are still out there investigating and talking to people that knew him, family members, as I said.
They haven't put together the complete picture of him, and, still, you know, it's going to be difficult in any case to say that that motive was at that moment, unless he does like what you said, go ahead and confirm that to the police.
BLACKWELL: All right, so we know the FBI has launched their investigation to determine if federal charges are warranted. I want to read part of the statement from the Attorney General Loretta Lynch.
She says this attack was a crime against women receiving health care services at Planned Parenthood, law enforcement seeking to protect and serve, and other innocent people.
It was also an assault on the rule of law and attack on all Americans right to safety and security. Give us an idea of what is the table possibly federally.
FUENTES: I think, obviously, hate crimes and similar domestic terrorism type charges, but it's very difficult, again, as mentioned earlier, to add those extra motives to the crime.
You know, it will be easier to prove the first-degree murder of the police officer and the other victims that were in the building as opposed to trying to add the ideology and the specific motive and what he was thinking that morning and all of that where he might recant that later.
You know, that just makes it a much more difficult prosecution and, in a way, needlessly, if he can get the most severe sentence in state court.
[06:05:04]BLACKWELL: Tom, we are about, I guess, a day and a half since this attack ended and we still know so little about the chronology, where specifically it began and the kind of tick tock of those six hours. Why?
FUENTES: They haven't brought him into court and they haven't identified the names of the victims yet. So I think the police are being very methodical and going back through their logs of the events.
There is a crisis log that's created and kept every second of this, who is doing what, and what the orders are, and what is being thought about in terms of the on-scene commander and what decision making may occur and when it's going to occur, so we will get all of that.
The police, at this point, aren't in a hurry to get it out there, at least before Monday when the court documents are filed.
BLACKWELL: All right, Tom Fuentes, thank you.
FUENTES: Thank you, Victor.
PAUL: Now, of course, the Colorado Springs community, as you can imagine, you really can't imagine what they are going through, trying to reconcile all of this and the three people who lost their lives and did so violently.
Yesterday, last night actually, there was a vigil held for Officer Garrett Swasey, one of those victims. While the siege was going on, he actually heard the radio call for backup.
He rushed from his post as a campus police officer to help and his colleagues remembered him last night as a devoted officer, a husband, a father. Listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Garrett stood for something. Garrett stood for our American flag. He stood for justice. He stood for our university. He stood for our law enforcement brethren. Garrett was an amazing, amazing individual.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
PAUL: Our Stephanie Elam is live in Colorado Springs. Stephanie, I know that you've learned some things about those first responders. Because when we talk about how this affects people, the people who were there, the people who tried to help have so much to try to reconcile. Yes?
STEPHANIE ELAM, CNN CORRESPONDENT: So much to reconcile and so much to try to figure out how to move on after such a tragedy like this, Christi, and that is definitely the case.
We have learned more about Officer Garrett Swasey, the fact he was a national champion figure skater and many in the figure skating communities coming out and talking about what a nice guy he was and how dedicated he was to his sport.
And actually that's what brought him to Colorado Springs in the first place since this is an Olympic training ground as well. We are also learning about the other victims and the fact that we probably won't know, other than Officer Swasey, who those other two people were who lost their lives until at the earliest, Monday.
That's because they are waiting until the after the autopsies are done to release those names. So we don't know who they are, but we are learning more about what happened on Friday and what transpired.
We know that one of the officers that was wounded was a SWAT officer, Dan Carter. We have audio that you can listen to of everything going down when he was injured. Take a listen.
ELAM: You can hear it's a little tense to listen to that, and a little scary to hear but that is what was going on here. As far as we know, the last count, there are five people remain in the hospital and those nine people that were your injured so some improvement there, but obviously still a very devastated community here in Colorado Springs -- Christi.
PAUL: No doubt about it, certainly our thoughts with all of those folks out there. Stephanie Elam, thank you.
Before becoming a six-year campus police veteran, one of Officer Swasey's first loves was ice skating, and I don't know if you know this, but before becoming a champion ice skater Swasey was skating partners with former U.S. national champion, Nancy Kerrigan.
The two were childhood friends growing up in Massachusetts. Kerrigan said she is heartbroken by his death and said he was like a little brother to her.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
NANCY KERRIGAN, FORMER TRAINING PARTNER OF OFFICER SWASEY: A true friend, just very loyal, and loving, caring person. Good listener. He was sort of passionate about everything. Everything was done with great big giant smile and he had fun in life. It's so sad. He has two young kids that they literally run to him every time he comes in the door.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
[06:10:07]PAUL: We are also hearing incredible stories of survival from hostages who were held at Planned Parenthood for hours. In the next hour, you're going to hear from one woman who said she saw the gunman opening fire, saying he had no remorse. Her compelling story of what happened inside that clinic, that's coming up for you at 7:00 a.m. Eastern.
BLACKWELL: This morning also we have a new look at the shooting of Tamir Rice. Prosecutors now releasing hundreds of enhanced images of what led up to the 12-year-old boy's death by Cleveland Police Department, the shooting there. Can it help us understand, even a little better, what happened?
Also, imagine you're walking or riding along a path and you see something moving. Hear something. Well, that happened in this community. And what was moving there? A newborn baby pinned under the asphalt. Now the search, of course, is on for the person who left her there.
Governor Chris Christie gets a life line, a big one, an endorsement in the key battleground state of New Hampshire. But what is the impact?
BLACKWELL: It's 14 after the hour now. New for you this morning, Governor Chris Christie's struggling presidential campaign is getting a much-needed shot in the arm. It's coming after receiving this highly coveted endorsement by one of New Hampshire's most influential newspapers.
It's an editorial by the "New Hampshire Union Leader." The paper's publisher wrote this. "Governor Christie is right for these dangerous times. He has prosecuted terrorists and dealt admirably with major disasters."
Other candidates have gained public and media attention by speaking bluntly. But it's important when you are telling it like it is to actually know what you are talking about."
[06:15:07]Let's discuss now with CNN political commentator, Errol Louis. Errol, good morning first. Of course, the Christie campaign would rather have this endorsement than not, but what is the impact?
ERROL LOUIS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I think it's tremendous impact. First of all, New Hampshire is a small state and there are only a handful of papers. The "Union Leader," formerly the "Manchester Union Leader," is a very important newspaper.
They endorsed Ronald Reagan in 1980. They endorsed John McCain in 2008. They have picked some important winners and it's a brand that means a lot to conservatives, even nationwide.
So it sure of shores up Christie's conservative bonafides to get this endorsement and it makes it clear people will make choices about who is going to be sort of the insider candidate, the anti-Trump, the anti-Ben Carson, the person with actual government experience.
And in that lane, so to speak, are a handful of senators and governors. Chris Christie wants to be in the front of that pack. He has clearly stake a lot on New Hampshire, 35 town hall meetings and many of them lasting hours at a time.
So he has really sort of laid a huge bet in New Hampshire and this is the first part of it starting to pay off.
BLACKWELL: Yes. It seems like maybe nearly half of the field has bet a lot on New Hampshire. We have the latest poll here where we have got Donald Trump there at the top at 22 percent. He is doubling up his closest competitor here.
But you go all the way down to seventh place to get to Chris Christie at 4 percent. You say that he could be the candidate that, you know, the anti-outsiders can coalesce around. He has a lot of work to do.
LOUIS: Well, sure. As we have said many times before, Victor, it's a very fluid field. There is some evidence to suggest that a rather large percentage of the voters are going to make up their mind in the final two or three days before they go into the voting booth.
Keep in mind also that New Hampshire is one of these states where anybody can walk in and vote. You don't have to be just a registered Republican. It's sort of an open primary so there are a lot of middle of the road independents and even Democrats who might say, look.
I want to sort of push the direction of this election by selecting somebody who has some government experience, somebody who is conservative and, in this case, this is the newspaper sort of certifying him as an acceptable conservative from their point of view.
He really has the wind at his back. This is a big day and a big deal for Chris Christie.
BLACKWELL: All right, Errol Louis, thanks so much and we will continue this conversation throughout the morning.
BLACKWELL: Thank you -- Christi.
PAUL: It is certainly a startling find. A newborn baby left buried under a piece of asphalt and everyone is asking now, where is the person who left her there? We will tell you how she is doing.
Plus, he was responding to a domestic on dispute call. Now a Pennsylvania police officer is dead and investigators are forced to find that suspect.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And that hole there was, I believe that is the hole and it had pieces of wood on top of it with rocks on top of it and when she took the stuff out, she found a newborn baby.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
PAUL: Can you imagine? Two women finding a newborn buried alive along a bike path near riverbed in Compton, California. It's a baby girl. She is believed to be 2-days-old with under a foot of asphalt and debris.
Deputies took the newborn to the hospital. She is in stable condition just so you know. Police are looking for the person, obviously, who left that child, that person is facing attempted murder and child endangerment charges. We will have more on this story in the next hour as well.
BLACKWELL: In Pennsylvania, a veteran police officer 20 years on the force was killed while responding to a domestic dispute call last night near Pittsburgh. Investigators say 31-year-old Ray Shelter Jr. shot Officer Lloyd Reid and then ran off. Police eventually found and arrested Shelter, that search for him took about five hours.
PAUL: We feel for all of you who are dealing with this wicked weather. The central plains hit hard by a winter storm. Highways iced over and power lines ripped out and more than a dozen people have died in Texas, Kansas, and Oklahoma from ice wrecks and heavy flooding there.
This ice and snow hitting on one of the busiest travel days of the year, I know that so many of you are trying to get home from the Thanksgiving holiday.
Let's bring in meteorologist, Allison Chinchar. Wondering what the impact is for all of those folks today.
PAUL: Allison, thank you.
BLACKWELL: It's been a little more than a year since 12-year-old Tamir Rice was shot by Cleveland police. Now we are getting a new look at the moments leading up to his death, hundreds of new imagines released by the prosecutor's office. We are going to break down what they show us here.
Also, President Obama, leaders from around the world, all about to go into Paris. A major security concern after just two weeks now after the terror attacks. We are going to go live to Paris to find out why this may not be the biggest concern officials have to worry about.
PAUL: Here's a look at this week's mortgage rates for you.
PAUL: It is 6:30 right now. You're looking at police officers and community members coming together in Colorado Springs last night to honor Officer Garrett Swasey. He was one of three people killed during an attack on a Planned Parenthood in Colorado Springs on Friday. So it's a very solemn moment for all of those folks there as you see them holding hands. New details this morning, though, in a possible motive. Police sources tell CNN the suspect, Robert Dear, mentioned, quote, "baby parts" along with anti-abortion views and anti-government statements.
But officials cautioned it's just too early to be certain what the motive was here. It gives us a little bit of detail, though. CNN also spoke with some of Dear's neighbors who described this remote area where he lived and said, their contact with him was quite limited.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We have a lot of recluses out in the middle of nowhere out here.