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Colorado Killer Had Military Background; Recreational Marijuana Now Legal in California; Trangenders Allowed in Military Today; Freezing Temperatures Grip the U.S.; New Details on Costa Rica Plane Crash. Aired 2:30-3p ET

Aired January 1, 2018 - 14:30   ET



[14:30:50] BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN ANCHOR: Authorities in Colorado are still sorting out the motive behind Sunday's deadly shooting of sheriff's deputies just outside of denver. One deputy was shot dead and four others were injured by gun fire while they responded to a domestic disturbance at an apartment complex. Two civilians were also hurt. The slain deputy was 29-year-old Zachari Parrish. And he'd only been on the job seven months. And he leaves behind a wife and two children. The suspect was eventually shot and killed by SWAT team members. California law enforcement says Matthew Riehl fired off more than 100 rounds and he'd had previous encounters with authorities and did not have a criminal record.

Scott McLean is following this story from Denver.

Scott, you learned that the suspect had a military background and was accused of suspicious behavior by his alma mater. Can you tell us more about that?

SCOTT MCLEAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Sure, Brianna. So we are learning that he was Matthew Riehl, the suspect in this case was an Army reservist who enlisted in 2003. He was also part of the Wyoming National Guard between 2006 and 2012. In 2009, he was deployed to Iraq where he served on security missions and he was honorably discharged in 2012. He held the rank of an E4 specialist. He was also a lawyer who practiced law in the state of Wyoming. He graduated the University of Wyoming Law School in 2010. He was admitted to the bar in 2011. He was actually on the Dean's List while he was at that school. But for whatever reason he removed himself from the Bar Association in 2016, according to the Wyoming state bar.

Things turned bizarre after that. In November of this year, according to the University of Wyoming, there were some social media posts that the school was aware of that they call outrageous, vulgar and alarming. And those posts actually prompted the school to put out two letters to faculty and students warning them that Riehl was suspicious. They put out a photo of him, and it was a photo of his car, and said if anyone sees him on campus, they should report it immediately.

We are also learning, Brianna that Matthew Riehl took a tactical rifle class this past summer in Colorado Springs which is not far from denver. According to the owner of that training facility he said that Riehl seemed proud of his military career, that he provided his own weapon and his demeanor did not seem alarming. Police will tell you they knew about him. They'd had interactions with him, but he didn't have a criminal record -- Brianna?

KEILAR: But significant this he was on their radar.

Scott McLean, thank you so much for that report.

Coming up, people in California can ring in the New Year on a high note after laws with recreational pot use are headed into 2018.


[14:37:25] KEILAR: New Year, new milestone and a laundry list of new state laws. Baffling, bizarre and precedent-setting among them, custody battles over pets. And in Illinois, pets will be treated more like kids than property and divorce. In Tennessee, barbers can now legally make House calls and while North Carolina's driver handbook will now give instructions on how to deal with police during a traffic stop. California employers can no longer ask about your prior salary and potential employees can, but probably shouldn't show up to their job interviews high.

As of today, weed is legal there and the drug is now being sold legally for recreational use about California. Medical marijuana is legal, and now adults over the age of 21 can buy up to an ounce of weed without a doctor's letter.

Joining us now from San Jose, California, Miguel Marquez, CNN national correspondent.

That made me crack up there. The idea that yes, you know, people still need to use discretion on how they exercise their new rights. How is this day one of the rollout looking, Miguel?

MIGUEL MARQUEZ, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, look, it's interesting. There's only a handful of cases across the entire state. Not a single one in San Francisco or Los Angeles, the biggest cities in the state where you can buy a recreational weed yet because the regulations just haven't been put in place, but we are at one in San Jose.

This is Buddy's, and the reason we're here, this is the guy who got the very first license for medicinal and adult use, license 0001, and it is made at the behest of the bureau of cannabis control. That's not fictitious. That is the actual State Department in California that controls all the cannabis trade here. So how much can you actually buy? It depends on whether you are shopping for yourself and recreationally or medically. If you're shopping for recreational stuff you can buy this much. This is an ounce of weed. This is -- this one in particular is called homemade cherry pie. One of those little buds in there would set you back about, I don't know, $35, $40 or so. Marijuana going from $130 to $140 to over $250 for a half ounce. If you were shopping medically and had your card, you could buy this much. This is what a half pound of marijuana looks like. But again, if you are shopping for recreational purposes, you can only have an ounce on you, otherwise, it's going to raise questions.

I want to speak to Matt Lucero whose company it is, Buddy's Cannabis

How busy is it?

[14:40:20] MATT LUCERO, OWNER, BUDDY'S CANNABIS: Is it beyond expectation. We were looking at a 30 percent bump, and looking at the crowd, it will be more like 50 percent, 60 percent.

MARQUEZ: You've been planning for this for some time. How much more marijuana did you bring in to service the needs over the next couple of days?

LUCERO: Quarter million was what we purchased. Plus we grow on site.


MARQUEZ: You grow your own and plus you brought more marijuana yourself?

LUCERO: We heard others go recreational and we heard they've run out and that's not going to happen at buddy's.

MARQUEZ: As this takes roots and grows that you will see the types of businesses change the products. What will happen here, big picture?

LUCERO: We're getting more legitimate which means that the vendors that we work with, the guys who make constant trades and edibles are getting way more professional so you can see the products we offer today, everything is lab tested and dosed out so you know what you're getting when you consume it.

MARQUEZ: Sir, thank you very much.

Also what makes California different is we've seen legal marijuana in other places. It's about a billion-dollar industry right now. California will turn this into a $7 billion or $8 billion if you fold in the black market it's $20 to $30 billion. It is going to be massive -- Brianna?

KEILAR: Wow. We're getting a sense from your report.

Miguel Marquez, thank you so much for us from San Jose.

Another first, as of today, transgender recruits can start enlisting in the military. This is despite President Trump's efforts to ban them.

And CNN Pentagon correspondent, Barbara Starr, is joining us now to talk about this.

Barbara, the court decision, so far, and the issue have been temporary, but they've also been opposed to what the Trump administration has tried to do. Could there be eventually a reversal though? BARBARA STARR, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: There might be. I think

this is a final chapter just yet because what everyone is waiting for is to see if the Justice Department comes back in the next several months and again tries to instate through the court system and gets the courts to rule in favor of a ban, which, so far, they've not really done.

There's two issues on the table. First, those transgendered individuals who are currently serving the country in the military, and not clear when and if and even how they could ever be removed from military service. The issue right now is, late last week, the Justice Department said it would not continue to pursue a court case that would ban people from being recruited into the military, brand-new recruits who are transgendered persons. So now those people can, for now, try to join the military. And there are qualifications that every American has to meet to join the military. They will have to meet all of those qualifications.

In the meantime, the Pentagon works on plans, policies, regulations, if you will, and they are to have a plan in place roughly by the end of March, recommendations to the president about how to proceed and with whether that ban that he wanted last year can even legally happen given all of the court rulings, and will the Justice Department come back and try one more time to institute a ban -- Brianna?

KEILAR: You said that applicants would have to meet the qualifications. I'd spoken with one reporter, Barbara, who said, you know, there are certain parts of treatment and certain parts of the process whether it's hormone therapy or other things that could create some sort of obstacle that might disqualify some individuals. Have you heard that?

STARR: Well, so there are two things on the table here. The basic physical, mental health standards that every person would have to meet to join the military. Things would be no different for them. For those people going through transition or treatment of or may be in the middle of surgical procedures, they would have to be evaluated. Basically, they're going to have to be able to serve and be in some sort of stable medical condition, if you will, so all of this will be part of what will be evaluated for those people trying to join at this time, but it all is a bit of a longer-term picture. This is why they are looking at having a policy in place sometime in the coming weeks. They hope by the end of March, that will really spell all of this out and make it very clear to everyone what the standards are.

[14:44:49] KEILAR: All right, Barbara Starr, at the Pentagon, thank you very much for that report.

Coming up, a frigid start to the New Year. Temperatures well below freezing are gripping the country, from the gulf coast to the Canadian border. And even parts of Niagara Falls are frozen solid, if you can believe that. How long will this deep freeze last?


KEILAR: The New Year is getting off to a frigid start in 2018. In New York last night, hundreds of thousands of people were not deterred. They packed Times Square. They braved those 9-degree temperatures and gusty winds to watch the ball drop bringing us into 2018. The icy temperature made it the second-coldest New Year's Eve ball drop on record. And with much of the Midwest and the northeast already besieged by freezing temperatures, ice and snow, that was under way. So now the bitter cold is spreading down to the south. Record lows are predicted for much of the country.

And I want to bring in CNN Meteorologist Tom Sater with more on this deep freeze.

Tom, I am upset as I look at my forecast on my phone, just how long this is going to persist.

[14:49:36] TOM SATER, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Right. I hate to tell you, Brianna, we're looking at temperatures by the end of the week even into the weekend, New York City a high of 8 degrees. That's colder than it was for the revelers at 9 degrees. Coldest New Year's Eve in New York City. And the record was in 1917. And the cold air in place is really dangerous. We've seen an increased number of patients for frost bite. The winds don't have to blow very hard when you're looking at dangerous wind-chill values. Earlier this morning, 180 million Americans were under a wind-chill advisory. These are the current wind-chill numbers. Duluth, minus 22 and that's better than the minus 15 the other day. The cold air in place is reaching all of the way down to the Deep South where we're looking at a number of low temperature records, maybe 24, 25 tonight, 8 in St. Louis and 18 in New York City and that will seem balmy compared to what's coming because we have another blast on the way, but record low temperatures in Louisiana, southern Mississippi, Alabama, we'll probably be talking about the orange juice prices are going up. But the next blast and again, I'm sorry to say this, moves across the Great Lakes in toward the northeast for the rest of the week and through the weekend. Lake Erie is starting to freeze over. 30 percent right now by the end of the week, 60 percent. That will put the brakes on that lake-effect snow machine. But Erie, Pennsylvania, ending the month of December with 121 inches and that's 20 inches above the entire seasonal average. 19 in since natty and this is for tomorrow, tuesday. New York, 25. Look at Wednesday, Detroit, 15. These are high temperature, 35, Nashville. New York, 30. The numbers are going in the wrong direction. New York, Thursday, 26, 14 and, as mentioned, and we'll get down to 8 degrees. The bad news is that we're starting to see real problems for firefighters, Brianna, car batteries. The roofs are collapsing because of the weight of the heavy snow in parts of the Great Lakes. It can't end soon enough, but it will be with us for some time and getting a break in the Midwest in the next couple of days.

KEILAR: So tell us about the bright side that 2018 is starting off with? What is this, a Wolf Moon?

SATER: It's not just a full moon to start the New Year. This is a super moon which means it coincides this full moon with being its closest proximity to earth and with the snow pack on the ground and these frigid temperatures it will seem like almost daylight for some states in the Ohio Valley. The moon's going to seem 16 percent brighter, 7 percent larger. So we're starting the year with not only a full moon, but it's a super moon, and then by the end of the month we'll have another full moon and that's called the blue moon and for some in the U.S. It will be a lunar eclipse by the end of the month. Not a bad way to start off the first month of the year.

KEILAR: That is very cool.

SATER: Even with the frigid cold.

KEILAR: That is pretty neat.

Tom, thank you for explaining those things to us that we have to look forward to this month.

Thank you so much, Tom Sater.

SATER: Sure.

KEILAR: And if you're into a different kind of Wolf Moon, you know, this is a T-shirt that we have it's featuring our own Wolf Moon Blitzer. And it's actually available online. Yes. I know I'm getting one.

We'll be right back.


[14:56:38] KEILAR: A plane crash in Costa Rica has claimed the lives of 10 Americans. This was a small, private airplane that went down in northwest Costa Rica on Sunday afternoon. The accident happened just minutes after takeoff. And Costa Rican authorities are investigating at this point what went wrong. The State Department is pledging to provide assistance to those who have been affected. And five of the victims are members of one New York family. The couple and their three children all died in the crash.

CNN's Jean Casarez is joining us now.

Jean, tell us what you know about this.

JEAN CASAREZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: This is really horrific. And the Costa Rica civil aviation has confirmed not only that the 10 passengers were all American, but it appears as though that two families just went down upon impact in this very fiery crash, as you can see.

The time line yesterday, according to officials, they took off at 12:10 and they were at the Punta Islita Airport bound for San Jose, the capital of Costa Rica. By 10:20, that the plane had crashed. So we don't know how long it was up in the air. That obviously, will be an important factor in this investigation.

But as you had said, one of the families we have a little information on. It's the Steinberg family out of Westchester, New York, Bruce and Irene Steinberg, their three sons. You see them there. They were all onboard that plane and their rabbi tells CNN that they were extremely devoted to their temple and the community doing an immense amount of charity work.

As far as the plane itself, it was a single-engine Cessna plane, Cessna 208B Grand Caravan. Nature Air was the airline. And it was a utility plane, we're understanding, that it could carry passengers, and it could also carry cargo. It's been around for quite a while, the plane itself.

We are hearing that the investigation will begin today, that autopsies are planned for the victims. But as you can see in this fiery crash, when fires are involved, autopsies can be extremely important.

But the question remains, why did it go down? Interestingly enough, Brianna, an earlier flight yesterday on this plane had to be diverted to another airport because of extremely high winds. And so it was late to get into the airport that then took off, the passengers bound for San Jose. Is it relevant or not in this crash? We don't know at this point.

KEILAR: All right. Jean Casarez, thank you so much. It is heartbreaking when you see the beautiful family, and two families that were lost in the crash in Costa Rica. Thank you.

It's the top of the hour. I'm Brianna Keilar, in for Brooke Baldwin. Thank you very much for joining me. And a very happy New Year to you.

In less than an hour, President Trump is expected to fly to Washington after celebrating the start of 2018 at his Florida estate. And about seven hours into the New Year, the president launched into his first tweet, slamming Pakistan. He said, quote, "The United States has foolishly given Pakistan more than $33 billion in aid over the last 15 years, and they've given us nothing but lies and deceit, thinking of our leaders as fools. They give safe haven to the terrorists that we hunt in Afghanistan with little help. No more."

Within the hour, President Trump sent another tweet. This time, about Iran.