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Boston Terror: "Danny" Speaks; Fingerprint Found on Bomb Debris; Rare May Snowstorm Targets Several States; FBI Affidavit Shows No Motive in Ricin Investigation

Aired May 1, 2013 - 06:30   ET



ZORAIDA SAMBOLIN, CNN ANCHOR: His bold move helped bring two terror suspects down. We are hearing in person from the man carjacked in Boston by the Tsarnaev brothers.

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: And she's the hero who likely saved lives at a local Starbucks. But what one customer did to keep people from drinking poisoned orange juice.

SAMBOLIN: Can you believe this?

BERMAN: And helped police catch a suspect.

SAMBOLIN: Sheriff's deputies on safari in a helicopter. Here's what they saw overnight while hot on the trail of a black bear.

BERMAN: Crazy.

SAMBOLIN: Just incredible.

Welcome back to EARLY START. I'm Zoraida Sambolin.

BERMAN: And I'm John Berman. It is Wednesday, May 1st. About 30 minutes after the hour right now.

And we do begin with new developments in the Boston marathon bombing and what could be a key piece of new evidence. A law enforcement official says investigators have lifted at least one fingerprint from bomb debris.

Meantime, the Tsarnaev brothers' carjacking victim known only as Danny, Chinese immigrant, he is speaking out publicly, describing in detail the fear he felt, his bold get away and the 911 call he made that really helped take out the two suspected terrorists.

Pamela Brown is in Boston with all the details.

And, Pamela, you actually spoke face-to-face with the carjacking victim. What did he have to say about the ordeal?

PAMELA BROWN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, that's right, John. I spoke to the carjacking victim Danny for more than an hour in an off-camera conversation. He told me that he is still recovering from the nightmare of being carjacked by Dzhokhar and Tamerlan Tsarnaev shortly after the Boston bombing.

He told me that essentially, it was a Thursday night, he was trying to relax driving around in Boston. He pulled over to send a text, all of a sudden, Tamerlan Tsarnaev walked up to the passenger side, he rolled down the window to hear what he was saying, and Tamerlan unlocked the car, got in, and told Danny to drive while pointing a gun at him. Dzhokhar eventually abandoned the car he was driving and jumped into backseat while Tamerlan got into the driver's seat.

Danny says Tamerlan was very talkative the entire time and made it clear he hated Americans. He kept asking Danny about his Chinese heritage. And at one point he even said, this is like something right out of a movie, isn't it?

After a harrowing 90 minutes of feeling he may lose his life, Danny made a brave escape at a Shell gas station in Cambridge. Here's what he told CBS' John Miller.


DANNY: He took out his gun, pointed to me, and like, "You know I am serious. Don't be stupid." He asked me a question like, "Do you know the Boston explosion on Monday?" I said, "Yes." He said, "He did that and I just killed a policeman in Cambridge."

Yes, I need to figure out a way, you know, to save myself. I was counting, I was counting, "One, two, three, four." And I just do it. And I did it. I can feel Tamerlan trying to grab him. I was running. I was just running as fast as I can and I never, never looked back.


BROWN: And as Danny told me at one point during the conversation, he heard them say Manhattan, and as it turns out, the two brothers had made spontaneous plans to go to New York and set off more explosives in Times Square, according to authorities. So, had Danny not made his way of escape, there could have been more lives lost.

I asked Danny if he considers himself a hero. He says no and that he was just trying to save his own life.

BERMAN: Pamela, one of the most interesting things, most mysterious facets of this whole investigation is the relationship between the two brothers. What did Danny tell you about the dynamic between these two men?

BROWN: It's really interesting, John. Danny said it was clear what role each brother played. He said that essentially Tamerlan was the ringleader. He was spearheading everything. He was the one that was calling the shots, and Dzhokhar was just following his lead, as Dzhokhar was at his beck and call according to Danny.

He said that from his get-go, you know, Tamerlan was the one that came up to the window with a gun. Dzhokhar was the one following behind in the car. Dzhokhar was the one who eventually was in the back seat, and was very quiet according to Danny. He said Dzhokhar didn't really ask too many questions. The only question he can remember him asking was how much he paid for his car. Contrast that with Tamerlan who was very talkative, very outgoing, kept asking Danny about his Chinese heritage.

So, there was -- it was clear that there was this dynamic at play. I spoke to a criminology professor who says the brothers were emboldened by allegedly setting off the bombs at the Boston marathon. Allegedly the secret between them solidified their bond.

BERMAN: Pamela Brown at the memorial site in Boston -- thanks so much for being with us this morning. Appreciate it.

SAMBOLIN: Thirty-five minutes past the hour.

A customer who allegedly left two bottles of poisoned orange juice on a Starbucks store shelf is behind bars facing attempted murder charges this morning. The unidentified hero told employees the suspect quickly left the store, and got into her car. The customer also had the presence of mind to write down the car's license plate number and help make that arrest.

The suspect is charged with attempted murder because the juice contained a lethal dose of rubbing alcohol. So far, there is no apparent motive.


SGT. JASON DWYER, SAN JOSE POLICE DEPARTMENT: We're still very much in the investigative mode at this stage, just because she is, you know, off the streets doesn't mean that we're still not trying to double-check and make sure there are no threats to the public.


SAMBOLIN: Nearby Starbucks stores were notified of the incident and told to check all of their juice bottles. No other tainted products have been found.

BERMAN: A potentially controversial move by the FDA approving over- the-counter sales of the so-called morning-after pill for women and girls 15 and older. The Plan B one-step emergency contraceptive will now be available on store shelves. Customers will not have to ask the pharmacist for it.

Earlier this month, a federal judge in New York ruled there should be no age restrictions for Plan B. FDA officials say the decision is not in response to the court case.

SAMBOLIN: Sheriff's deputies in Mesa, Arizona, had their hands full Tuesday night. Take a look. They were tracking down a black bear. It seems the bear had been wandering a little too close to a nearby neighborhood, and an elementary school.

The Maricopa County sheriff's department was eventually able to corner what looks like an adorable bear, right? Subdue him, capture him with a tranquilizer gun.

BERMAN: Can I make my joke again?


BERMAN: It was a bear on the lam. Not working for you?

SAMBOLIN: No, it's not working. I don't know if it's working for anybody this morning.

BERMAN: Tweet if you're in support of my joke. I'm John Berman. Thank you very much.

New this morning, strange weather setting the scene for an unprecedented May snowstorm in the Rockies and Northern Plains.

Jennifer Delgado was tracking the historic storm from the CNN weather center.

Oh, my gosh. Jim Spellman is in a blizzard.

It's May, Jim. It is May. What's going on there? That's real snow.

SAMBOLIN: Oh, my goodness.

JIM SPELLMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: I know. It's ridiculous. It's really coming down now. Take a look over here you can see all the grass is getting covered with snow. But over here the pavement is not. That's because it's been so warm, 60s and 70s the last couple of days.

I'm going to try to hit the camera again, John. And -- just shocking to have this big shift. To have this big shift.

But I did some research. The last recorded snow, latest recorded snow in Denver, June 12th of 1943. (AUDIO GAP)

It's still hard to say good-bye to these wonderful spring days, and have to deal with this snow here. And the kids I don't even think are going to get the day off because it's not sticking to the roads at this point.

SAMBOLIN: The big kid gets to play this morning. It looks like you're really enjoying all the snow fall.

BERMAN: The throws are getting better and better. I have to say, those snowflakes look huge. They're like monster may snowflakes out there.

SPELLMAN: It is. It's really wet snow. Usually we get that powder snow that's great to ski on. Horrible for snow balls and making snowmen. But this is really, really dense, heavy, wet snow.

BERMAN: Yikes. That's in Boulder, Colorado.

All right. Jim Spellman, our thanks to you. SAMBOLIN: So the conditions have to be just right for significant accumulations this late in the season. That's why snowstorms in this region are so rare.

Jennifer Delgado is live in the CNN weather center.

And tell us why the conditions are so right?

JENNIFER DELGADO, AMS METEOROLOGIST: So right. Because the cold air has returned down to the South, that jet stream and you saw the video coming out of Denver with Jim and it looks like some big flakes. You're right. It's the big wet stuff out there. A lot of that is not going to be sticking because the temperatures are so warm. But on the radar the snow coming down along Interstate 70 for Denver into Cheyenne, even spreading into areas like Nebraska and Iowa at this hour.

Now, the snow will get heavier as we go throughout the morning and the afternoon, as the temperatures continue to dip.

And in the snow, you're seeing coming out of Nebraska, into Minnesota, that is going to be changing over to all snow across many parts. Minneapolis, we are talking for you, potentially roughly right around six inches of snowfall.

But the big stuff, right along the Front Range, as Jim said earlier, the hippies are going to be mad because the snow coming down, especially in the eastern slopes for Denver. We are expecting four to seven inches of snowfall. And for the Upper Midwest, six to nine inches. Three to six for parts of Wisconsin. And it's not just snow.

I haven't forgotten about down in the South. We are looking at showers and thunderstorms. These are going to be some big rainmakers, as we go through the next couple days. Louisiana all the way over to Florida with a lot of lightning out there. And with the snow, of course, comes the cold. You can see where the cold air is going to be in place, dipping those temperatures down for St. Louis, as well as into Dallas.

Today, high of 85. Friday, 63. There's a reality check for Denver. At least your temperatures warm back up into the upper 50s by Friday.

So, snow is bad. Bear on the lam, it's not working.

BERMAN: Thank you. Sort of, for that. Jennifer Delgado, thank you so much.

DELGADO: I'm so exciting.

BERMAN: Forty minutes after the hour.

And just ahead, an unsealed affidavit shedding now light on the Mississippi ricin investigation. We're finding out more about the suspect right now. But do we know the motive?


SAMBOLIN: Welcome back. Forty-two minutes past the hour.

John Berman and I are co-hosting "STARTING POINT" this morning.

And here's a look for you at what's ahead.

The man who says he was carjacked by the Tsarnaev brothers for a terrifying 90 minutes is speaking out about that unforgettable night. We'll bring you his chilling interview, and get some insight.

BERMAN: Former CIA and NSA Director General Michael Hayden and CNN law enforcement analyst Tom Fuentes. They will be here to talk about this whole story.

SAMBOLIN: And then the desperate search for missing mother Jessica Heeringa continues this morning, as police try to identify a possible suspect. We'll talk with her mother Shelly (ph) and fiance Dakotah Quail-Dyer about the search.

BERMAN: And it is May 1st. But you would not believe it in Boulder, Colorado, also the Midwest. They can expect serious wintry weather this week. We're going to have a live forecast of what's behind the temperatures at the top of the hour.

SAMBOLIN: And Sheryl Crow is on a mission to feed 50 million Americans at risk of going hungry. She is going to join us live with her call to action. Looking forward to talking with her.

BERMAN: Very exciting.


All right. Forty-four minutes past the hour here.

There are new developments in the ricin investigation in Mississippi. An FBI affidavit unsealed yesterday shows why officials have arrested James Everett Dutschke. He is accused of sending letters tainted with the toxic substance to President Obama and two others but the affidavit does not provide a motive.

Here's Alina Machado.


ALINA MACHADO, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): We now know what led federal prosecutors to charge James Everett Dutschke in the ricin letters investigation. In an eight-page affidavit FBI agents say their surveillance team saw Dutschke remove items from the former martial arts studio he owned in Tupelo and dump them in a public trash bin. One of those items, a dust mask tested positive for ricin.

Ricin was also later found inside the martial arts studio, in sink drains and on the floor. The investigators say Dutschke ordered 100 castor bean seeds late last year through eBay. Castor beans are used in the production of ricin which can be deadly and has no known antidote. Dutschke denied to investigators he purchased the beans.

The FBI found publications on how to safely handle ricin and how to detect it on his computer. Also agents say they spoke with a witness who told them Dutschke said he knows how to make a poison that could be sent to elected officials and, quote, "whoever opens these envelopes containing the poison would die."

Dutschke denied any involvement in this YouTube video posted prior to his arrest.

JAMES EVERETT DUTSCHKE, CHARGED WITH SENDING RICIN-TAINTED LETTERS: This morning, I met with the FBI. I consented to a search, signed a paper saying go ahead and search the house. I don't have anything at all to do with this.

MACHADO: His lawyers have not yet commented on the information in the affidavit. The FBI says Dutschke filed a civil lawsuit against the same person the FBI identified as its witness. But it was dismissed by a Mississippi judge. That judge, Sadie Holland, received one of the ricin-laced letters. We spoke with Judge Holland's son, who beat Dutschke in a race for a seat in the Mississippi state house a year later.

STEVE HOLLAND, JUDGE SADIE HOLLAND'S SON: I've about decided that actually I might have been the target, not my mother. But I'm a momma's baby of extraordinary proportions, and maybe he just said, what the heck, if I get his momma, I've got him.

MACHADO: The affidavit also mentions a series of texts sent from two cell phones registered to Dutschke's wife, saying, "get the fire going," and, "we're coming over to burn some things." Later identified as, quote, "my paperwork and personal things." The FBI has not said whether any more arrests are likely in the case.

Alina Machado, CNN, Oxford, Mississippi.


SAMBOLIN: So many bizarre twists and turns there, right?

BERMAN: Man oh man.

SAMBOLIN: All right, 47 minutes past the hour. He broke the barrier for major league sports and coming up, we're hearing more from Jason Collins on his decision to come out of the closet.


BERMAN: Fifty-one minutes after the hour. The United States stepping up aid to Syrian rebels in the wake of suspected chemical weapons use by the Assad regime. Officials announcing the U.S. doubling the commitment of nonlethal aid to $250 million, and the Obama administration is now saying all options are on the table, including possibly providing arms to the rebels.

SAMBOLIN: Police in Honolulu, Hawaii, say a 21-year-old woman who told authorities that she found a newborn baby girl on a sandy beach Sunday night is actually the baby's mother. Keala Simeona was arrested Tuesday for filing a false report. She has been released after posting $250 bail. The eight-pound newborn is said to be doing well at a local hospital. We're happy to report that. The state's Department of Human Services is now investigating.

BERMAN: So the turkey hunt is now under way in Jefferson, Oregon. City officials say about 60 wild turkeys have been causing trouble around town, tearing the paint off cars and damaging the roofs of homes.


BERMAN: So the state gave the town the green light to start shooting the wild birds. An experienced hunter will first shoot three of the large male tom turkeys in hopes of scaring off the others. These wild turkeys, you could say they are turkeys on the lam.


SAMBOLIN: Gosh. Berman, you're really stretching this morning. What are they going to do with the turkeys once they kill them?

BERMAN: I don't know the answer to that.

SAMBOLIN: All right. So --


Are you wondering how this happened, folks? Take a look at this.


SAMBOLIN: Unbelievable. This is a Memphis police cruiser and it's up a pole. We're told the officer behind the wheel was attempting to pull over a driver when he lost control, hit a guide wire attached to the utility pole and rode it all the way up. The good news here, no one was hurt.

BERMAN: That is an amazing picture.

SAMBOLIN: It really is.

BERMAN: All right. So just days after revealing that he is gay, NBA veteran Jason Collins is speaking out and telling the world why he chose to reveal the details of his personal life. Andy Scholes joins us now with more on today's "Bleacher Report."

Hey, Andy.


Well, Collins said it was never his intention to become the first active professional athlete to be openly gay. But now that he's done it, he's the happiest that he's ever been. Collins, a 12-year NBA veteran, has received an outpouring of support from his peers since making the announcement. Yesterday he spoke about his decision to come out and how he hopes it helps others have the courage to come forward.


JASON COLLINS, FIRST ACTIVE OPENLY GAY NBA PLAYER: I hope it will encourage others to live an honest and genuine life. It's important for everybody to make decisions in their life that makes them happy. Once you've put on that mask, and you know, live an authentic life, it's liberating. And you don't have to hide anymore. You can just be yourself.


SCHOLES: Well, Collins will be a free agent this off-season and he says he hopes to continue his NBA career next season.

Well, the playoffs continued last night with Steph Curry and the Warriors looking to eliminate the Nuggets. This game would get a bit chippy first quarter. Kenneth Faried here trips Curry as he comes through the lane. After the game Mark Jackson said Denver was sending hit men after his star player all night. And the Warriors would retaliate. Andrew Bogut drilled Faried. Here as he's coming in for the rebound. That was a flagrant foul.

The Nuggets would win the game to stay alive in the series. And Curry clearly frustrated with the physical play by the Nuggets and got into it with a fan on the way out before being restrained by his teammate. Game six of the series is tomorrow night in Oakland.

Well, meanwhile last night in the big leagues, Tim Hudson had himself quite a night. The Braves aced pitched seven innings giving up only one run to earn his 200th win of his career in front of his wife and kids. And if the milestone win wasn't enough for them to cheer about in the fifth inning Hudson comes up to the plate and hits a homerun. His wife Kim starts bawling in the stands. She tweeted there's no crying in baseball but if there was, holy cow, go baby, go.

Well, NHL playoffs kicked off last night in Chicago, and NASCAR driver Danica Patrick was on hand to take part in the team's puck shooting contest. And check this out she's going to send her first shot right through the goal.


SCHOLES: That has to be Blackhawks good luck charm. Hometown team defeat the Wild.

SAMBOLIN: Atta girl.

SCHOLES: Two to one in overtime. More on the NHL playoffs.

SAMBOLIN: Yay, Blackhawks.

SCHOLES: You can head over to the And guys, unfortunately for the Blackhawks, though, Danica, she's not going to be able to make it to game two of the series. She's going to be dealing with her day job, practicing qualifying for Sunday's race at Talladega.

BERMAN: Andy Scholes, thank you so much.

What a great shot by Danica Patrick.

SAMBOLIN: Yes. That is wonderful.

BERMAN: All right. That is all for EARLY START I'm John Berman.

SAMBOLIN: And I'm Zoraida Sambolin. We are back with STARTING POINT right after this.


BERMAN: Good morning, everyone. I'm John Berman.

SAMBOLIN: And I'm Zoraida Sambolin. Our STARTING POINT, the man carjacked by the Boston bombing suspects speaks for the first time. Details from the terrifying night, including the moment he decided to run for his life.

BERMAN: Then a community in mourning. A mother thanking them for their support.


KRYSTAL WALTERS, LEILA FOWLER'S MOTHER: I just want to thank the entire community and all of our family and friends.


BERMAN: An emotional vigil for 8-year-old Leila Fowler as police search for her killer.

SAMBOLIN: Plus the calendar says May but for the Midwest it's more like February. Take a look at these live pictures. Unbelievable.

BERMAN: And then check out this picture.


JIM SPELLMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, it's May 1st but it feels like the middle of winter. Snow is falling in Colorado.


BERMAN: Jim Spellman with the bad snowball toss there.

And check out this video, Venezuela parliament erupts in violence. Imagine if our Congress did this. We will tell you how this happened.


SAMBOLIN: And she's a singer on a mission. Sheryl Crow is here live with her fight to end hunger in America.