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Injured Taken to Hospital After Mall Shooting

Aired November 20, 2005 - 17:00   ET


FREDRICKA WHITFIELD, CNN ANCHOR, CNN LIVE SUNDAY: Officials from camp Fallujah say he was on patrol Saturday northwest of Baghdad. Another Marine died yesterday. The military says a roadside bomb hit his vehicle during combat operations near the city of Hadifa. Fifteen Iraqis also died in that explosion.
Iran's parliament puts a bill regarding its nuclear activity on the front burner. Under the measure, the legislature would stop cooperating with the United Nations nuclear watchdog agency if Iran's nuclear program goes before the Security Council. Iran says its program is for peaceful purposes, and that it has the right to pursue nuclear power.

Tropical storm Gamma may have weakened to a tropical depression, but not before striking a deadly blow to Central America. The storm is blamed for nine deaths in Honduras and three in Belize. The 24th named storm of the season is expected to drop steady rain on northern Honduras and central Cuba as it breaks up.

More now on this developing story out of Tacoma, Washington, right now. At least five people have been injured in a shopping mall in downtown Tacoma after a shooting there. Police now have ordered a lockdown. Joining me now on the phone is Deputy Chief John Landoski with Tacoma's fire department. And what is the situation there right now?

JOHN LANDOSKI, TACOMA FIRE DEPT: Fredricka, it's still as it was last time I spoke to you, the mall still locked down and we're just waiting for the police to let us know that it's been taken care of.

WHITFIELD: Last we spoke they had transported five people who had been wounded to nearby hospitals. Have any more people been transported since our last conversation?

LANDOSKI: The latest number I have now is that six people have been transported to local area hospitals, but those are with minor injuries. I can't confirm the number actually that have been shooting victims.

WHITFIELD: Is there believed there's one shooter or more than one?

LANDOSKI: That (INAUDIBLE) That would be more from the police side.

WHITFIELD: And what's your understanding of the circumstances of the shooting? What took place earlier? LANDOSKI: Actually, I don't have any of those details.

WHITFIELD: Can you give me an idea in what capacity the fire department is being used there to help secure this mall in this lockdown?

LANDOSKI: Actually, the security part is certainly with the Tacoma police department. We're here for medical support.

WHITFIELD: And what kind of medical assistance, if any, are you administering there on the scene?

LANDOSKI: Well, as people are injured, we are able to treat them and transport. So that's essentially what our role is here.

WHITFIELD: All right. John Landoski with the Tacoma fire department, thank you so much.

LANDOSKI: Thank you.

WHITFIELD: More on that story as we get more information.

Now to Iraq, where two U.S. troops, one British soldier and 16 Iraqi civilians were killed today in attacks across the country. The violence ranged from roadside bombings to firefights between coalition forces and insurgents. British troops were attacked in the south in an area that had largely escaped the insurgency. CNN's Nic Robertson is in Baghdad.

NIC ROBERTSON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, one British soldier was killed in the southern town of Basra when a roadside bomb went off as his patrol was passing. Four other British soldiers wounded in that attack. Basra has generally been relatively quiet in the south, but Iraq, to the west of Iraq today in the town of Hadifa, one U.S. Marine was killed when a roadside bomb went off near his convoy. Fifteen Iraqi civilians were also killed in that blast.

It appears as if the insurgents had also made an ambush, just as the roadside bomb went off. They started shooting at the Marine convoy. There was an exchange of gunfire. According to the U.S. military, eight Iraqi insurgents or eight insurgents were killed in that exchange of gunfire. One was wounded and managed to try and flee the scene.

Roadside bombs also causing casualties in Baghdad. One roadside bomb went off killing a child, wounding five Iraqi civilians in the area. Another bomb, roadside bomb again wounding five Iraqi civilians who were in the area. And a task force Baghdad soldier, a U.S. soldier killed in small arms gunfire just north of Baghdad. An Iraqi police major, the target of an assassination, an assassination in the south of Baghdad this morning. He was driving his car about 9:00 a.m. in the morning, his own private car, wearing civilian clothes. He wasn't in uniform, gunned down by unknown assassins. And on the eastern side of Baghdad, early this morning, three bodies were discovered. Their hands had been bound. They'd been shot in the head. Nic Robertson, CNN, Baghdad. WHITFIELD: President Bush will leave China in a few hours for Mongolia, the last stop on his Asian trip. China's president hosted the president and Mrs. Bush at a dinner last night in Beijing. But the war in Iraq has followed the president throughout Asia. Days ago Democratic Congressman John Murtha called an immediate withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq. The decorated Marine Corps veteran said the U.S. can't win militarily in Iraq. In Beijing, President Bush responded to the congressman's comments.


GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Congressman Murtha is a fine man, a good man who served our country with honor and distinction as a Marine in Vietnam and as a United States congressman. He is a strong supporter of the United States military, and I know the decision to call for an immediate withdrawal of our troops by Congressman Murtha was done in a careful and thoughtful way. I disagree with his position.


WHITFIELD: The president's remarks contrast sharply with Republican lawmakers. They slammed Murtha for suggesting the withdrawal.

U.S. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld says the U.S. will be reducing troops in Iraq after parliamentary elections there next month. But Rumsfeld says there are no plans now to pull the bulk of U.S. troops out of Iraq.


DONALD RUMSFELD, DEFENSE SECRETARY: We'll be going down from 160 back to 138,000 after the December 15th election. But reductions beyond that are things that the president will decide, based on the recommendations of the battle field commanders. And my guess is we'll continue to find that the conditions permit reductions, as the Iraqi security forces continue to grow.


WHITFIELD: And later on CNN's "Late Edition with Wolf Blitzer," Rumsfeld strongly defended the U.S. military presence in Iraq.


RUMSFELD: What I see is progress being made on the political side. I see progress being made with the Iraqi security forces, and I think that it's fine to have this debate. It's important to have the discussion. But when we look back a year from now, we'll see that progress was, in fact, made.


WHITFIELD: Rumsfeld suggested talk of an early withdrawal encourages Iraqi insurgents and discourages U.S. troops. More voices on the war. Former Senate Bob Kerry, a Democrat from Nebraska, supported the U.S. decision to go to war in Iraq. But the Vietnam veteran says he disagrees with the way the Bush administration is conducting the war.


BOB KERRY (D) FORMER U.S. SENATOR: My problem, Wolf, is I don't think the president understands what's going on in Iraq. He's not showing the right kind of leadership. He attacks people for their proposed alternatives as people who are cutting and running. But the fact is, it feels like we're cutting and running right now under the president's leadership, not just from the war in Iraq, but the war on terrorism. That's the greatest fear that I've got is that we're losing American public support to fight the war on terrorism as a consequence of the way that the war in Iraq is being fought.


WHITFIELD: Richard Perle, assistant defense secretary for President Reagan added his voice to those rejecting calls for getting U.S. troops out of Iraq. But he took issue with Republicans who slammed John Murtha's call for withdrawal.


RICHARD PERLE, FMR ASST. DEFENSE SECRETARY: I think Congressman Murtha is not in any sense a coward. On the other hand, I do believe that while his diagnosis is right, we have to win this politically in conjunction with the Iraqis. The suggestion that we should withdraw immediately would be catastrophic.


WHITFIELD: Now, in 1993, Texas executed 26-year-old Ruben Cantu (ph) who was arrested in 1984, tried and convicted, and sentenced to death for a brutal murder. He was just 17 at the time. Twelve years later, a witness has recanted and a co-defendant now claims Cantu wasn't even there on the night of the shooting. Lise Olsen is the "Houston Chronicle" reporter whose investigation raises the question, did Texas put an innocent man to death. She joins us now. Hi, Lisa.


WHITFIELD: Your lead of your article is heartbreaking and it says so much. You write quote, Texas executed its fifth teenage offender at 22 minutes after midnight on August 24th, 1993 after his last request for bubble gum had been refused and his final claim of innocence had been forever silenced. But now, his innocence has not been silenced. In fact, it's been broken once again. The silence has been broken once again, this time by his co-defendant, as well as the man who was the alleged victim of the shooting that he was supposed to have carried out, Ruben Cantu. What happened? How did you uncover this?

OLSEN: Well, we're here in the capital of the death penalty of the United States and we get a lot of tips at the "Chronicle" about innocence cases. A lot of them don't check out. But this one had something a lot of the other claims didn't. There were people who had never spoke about this case, never had been interviewed by attorneys. And --

WHITFIELD: And why was that? What was the explanation?

OLSEN: It's a very hard question to answer, Fredricka. I think partially the answer is that the attorney that had this on appeal was very inexperienced and didn't have an investigator, was not paid herself. There was some evidence that the folks who worked on this case believed that the witnesses were, for example, the surviving victim was actually back in Mexico, although he never left the country. They didn't seem to believe that David Garza, the co- defendant, would have anything to say that would help.

WHITFIELD: And we're saying because that surviving victim, at the time was an illegal immigrant. And you write, Juan Moreno actually said that he felt coerced or pressured to testify, coerced or pressured to point at Cantu as the man who shot him. Was this out of fear because he was an illegal immigrant or was there something else?

OLSEN: Well, he was only 19 years old at the time. He had seen these people for just a couple of minutes. He had rejected Ruben Cantu's photo twice before the police came back to him on a third time. This third time around, I've spoken to several people about what happened. Juan's version is that he was made to know by someone that Ruben Cantu was a person the police suspected and that he knew that they wanted him to identify him.

WHITFIELD: Of all these people that you've interviewed, is anyone expressing regret, remorse, anything along those lines?

OLSEN: Well, one of the strongest reactions comes from the juror whose verdict sent Ruben Cantu to death row. And she said, the quotes in the story that we all have our finger in this. An innocent man was executed. Certainly, the co-defendant is devastated by his silence, by the effect of his silence. The surviving victim still suffers from this crime.

WHITFIELD: OK, Lise Olsen, we'll have to leave it there. We're out of time, with the "Houston Chronicle." Thank you so much.

OLSEN: Thank you.

He was honored by "People" magazine as an outstanding dad. The story of the tragic death, however, of a teenage single dad who had just one thing on his mind, to provide the best for his daughter.

And a soap opera on Arab TV takes on the issue of terror, including female suicide bombers.

Also coming up, 10 years ago tomorrow, the Dayton accord ended one of the most brutal European wars in recent history. Ahead, a look at Bosnia, then and now.


WHITFIELD: This just in to CNN. It's possible that Abu Musab al Zarqawi was among the dead in a U.S. assault in Mosul yesterday. This matches what the Associated Press has been reporting. Right now the U.S. military is in the process of trying to identify the dead in that attack and determine if al Zarqawi is among the bodies. Eight suspected al Qaeda members died in the gunfight with U.S. forces. Some may have taken their own lives to avoid capture. CNN is working all of its sources to confirm the al Zarqawi angle. He is the leader of the Iraqi branch of al Qaeda. We will bring you the latest information as soon as it becomes available.

An 18-year-old was shot and killed in front of his home in Philadelphia last week. What makes the story even more -- even tougher to take, that is, is that Terrell Pough was a single dad going to school and working nights to raise his daughter. Back in August, "People" magazine featured Pough as an outstanding father. Amanda Martin from affiliate WTFX has more.


AMANDA MARTIN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): At almost two years old, Diamond can't yet understand exactly what she's lost. She's lost her protector, her caretaker, her dad.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That's where he got his drive. I mean you look at his daughter, how can you not -- how can you not want to give your all to her?

MARTIN: After she was born, when he was 16 years old, Terrell Pough made a lifetime commitment giving her his all.

RICHARD NESBITT, POUGH'S UNCLE: He was the personification of excellence. He had every opportunity, because of his background, to do the wrong thing. And it would kind of been statistically understandable, but he chose -- he was the exception to the rule.

MARTIN: Terrell made Diamond his number one priority, raising her on his own while going to school and holding a steady job. He was recognized by "People" magazine in August for being an outstanding single father and then earlier this month, honored by the 76ers to stand at the game (ph) for being a responsible young adult.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He was capable of doing anything.

MARTIN: Terrell's mentor in a teen parenting program says he was on the path of true success.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There's not much that Terrell probably couldn't do with his life.

MARTIN: But now someone has taken Terrell's life and a major part of hers. Thursday night at 10:30 police say Terrell was shot and killed in the 5400 block of Wayne Avenue in Germantown. He was leaving work on the way to pick up Diamond. Police say they have no suspects and no motive. LIZ POUGH, TERRELL'S MOTHER: What happened to Terrell was senseless; it's sad, and if anyone knows anything about what happened to him, if they would come forward, I would be grateful.

MARTIN: For Diamond, life will never be the same.


WHITFIELD: That was Andrea Martin of CNN affiliate WTFX.

Time now rather for a quick check of other news across America. Renewed Santa Ana winds could spell trouble for crews battling a wildfire that has scorched nearly 4,000 acres northwest of Los Angeles. More than 1300 firefighters hope to have the blaze fully contained by this evening.

Health and Human Services Secretary Mike Levitt says if a flu pandemic hits the U.S., the country wouldn't be ready. Levitt says migratory birds could bring avian flu to the U.S. and he says, if that happens soon, the U.S. won't have enough vaccine for everyone.

Inside the Arab world, terror meets the entertainment business. Is a soap opera the right vehicle to denounce terror and violence? That's ahead on CNN LIVE SUNDAY.


WHITFIELD: A Jordanian man died today from injuries suffered in the November 9th suicide bombings in Amman. It raises the number of people killed in three attacks to 60. You'll recall an Iraqi woman confessed to being one of the suicide bombers. She was assigned to attack a hotel where a wedding party was under way. Her suicide belt apparently failed to detonate. Her husband's didn't. The bombings in Amman, Jordan and countless attacks in Israel demonstrate terrorists don't limit their suicide attacks to Iraq.

Arab leaders often come under criticism for failing to condemn suicide bombings and other acts of terrorism carried out by Muslim extremists. Now some prominent Arabs are using the entertainment industry to denounce violence linked to fanatical followers of Islam. CNN's senior editor of Arab affairs, Octavia Nasr has that story.


OCTAVIA NASR, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Across the Arab world, a TV soap opera grabs the headlines. The title describes beautiful virgins promised to Muslims after death while the images show fires burning, rockets firing and people suffering. The title (INAUDIBLE) which translates to English as "Beautiful Maidens," tackles a Muslim subject taboo so far for the region and the world.

Jihad or holy war and the Koran's alleged promise of beautiful wide-eyed virgins to those who perform it. Messages spread by hard line Muslim clerics, espoused by followers of the radical (INAUDIBLE) and propagated these days on message boards and videos distributed and posted to extreme websites on the Internet. SOUHEILA AL-JADDA, JOURNALIST: I think that Muslim militants have been effective in warping the religion in order to serve their own political military interests. Unfortunately, because of the events on the ground, militants have better recruiting tools, better political rhetoric than do Islamic leaders, political leaders.

NASR: This led Arab entertainment industry professionals such as Nesdev Onsord (ph), director of "Beautiful Maidens," to condemn the violence in their own way. He says he wanted to shock. His characters carry his message. Here a moderate cleric teaches a compassionate version of Islam. This man explains that killing innocent civilians has nothing to do with Islamic teachings or beliefs. The program drew some Arab criticism with a Saudi newspaper calling for its cancellation. But it also got praise with one newspaper editorial calling it a blow for all terrorists.

This insurgency video posted on a radical Muslim website calls for the killing of so-called infidels and all those who cooperate with them, including Muslims, regardless of their gender, age or background. And this one glorifies suicide bombers and portrays them as heroes and the ones who it says carried the torch of Islam. While the word jihad became synonymous with terrorism to many non-Muslims after 9/11, (INAUDIBLE) director says his program aims to clear away this unfounded misperception. Arab media watchers believe this is a step in the right direction.

AL-JADDA: The media is covering these issues and not shying away from them. It indicates a sense of maturity, a sense of awakening in the media.

NASR: A maturing industry facing off against high-tech terror groups spreading their hate message with speed and determination. Now, as a new TV season begins, Arab audiences wonder whether such daring programming will continue. Octavia Nasr, CNN, Atlanta.


WHITFIELD: And during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, television viewers in the Arab world saw such programs take on the subject of terrorism. We're going to take a closer look at some of their reactions. Jamal Dejani is a producer of Mosaic world news from the middle east, a program on link television. He joins us now from San Francisco. Good to see you.

JAMAL DEJANI, PRODUCER, MOSAIC, LINK TV: Thank you for having me.

WHITFIELD: So what is the reaction? Is this being embraced the notion of these television shows depicting suicide bombers, talking about the consequences, et cetera?

DEJANI: Well, you know, images of carnage and attacks from without is nothing new to the satellite TV in the Arab world. But this season it was the first time that the Arab audience got to take a look at the enemy within. So this is an experimental time to discuss and take a look at the -- all the enemies that are attacking the Arab world and major proof to this is what happened just a couple of weeks ago in Amman, Jordan. It's almost prophetic because this is exactly what these type of shows have been debating and discussing.

WHITFIELD: Well, when you talk about these shows looking at the enemy from within, why has it been avoided on this scale before? Why is this such a courageous move now?

DEJANI: Well, I mean, it's definitely, it's a taboo because, you know, the focus was on the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, the invasion of Iraq, the invasion of Afghanistan and now people are more seeing that the largest number of victims of suicide bombings are Arabs, just like happened in Jordan, just like what happens on a daily basis in Iraq.

WHITFIELD: Is the hope or is part of the objective that perhaps these images depicted in these television shows might reach would-be bombers and potentially discourage them from carrying out an act that they might have, had they not seen this kind of television show based on terrorism or the acts of suicide bombers, et cetera?

DEJANI: I don't think you can reach out to terrorists and the would-be bombers. But you definitely, you are reaching out to the public. You know, if 200,000 people in Jordan alone went denouncing the act of terror. So basically, they are trying to reach other people that support these terrorists or applaud them or condone them and that's what's going to be effective to alienate them from the society and to differentiate between what the message of Islam is all about.

WHITFIELD: So if these shows are not trying to reach would-be bombers to discourage them because you say they are likely to do what they want to do anyway, then why would anyone else in the Arab community who is condemning such acts want to watch this on television?

DEJANI: Well, I mean, they are trying to reach out to the public because you have to remember, would-be bombers also receive support or some sort of infrastructure. So you're trying to alienate them and cut them off from the rest of the society and basically to stop the people from supporting, you know, or applauding. Because today people applaud, the suicide bombing against some innocent civilians outside your country, then that's fair game. But when it hits you at home, it shows you that this could happen possibly in Jordan or in Egypt. That this is something really against the teaching of Islam and this is something that's got to stop immediately.

WHITFIELD: It is part of the reason why these television programs have come about, too is because perhaps many members of the Arab community haven't liked the way western television producers have been able to convey these very same images or tackle the same subject lines?

DEJANI: Yeah, it's a self-examination, rather than getting it from the outside now. It's examining it within. And, remember, also, people are very mistrustful of politicians. So they don't believe what their politicians are telling them or their governments. So it's a soft sell way to approach them through drama, through miniseries, rather than having all this, you know, pundits or politicians go on TV and tell that these actions are wrong.

WHITFIELD: All right, Jamal Dejani, thank you so much for joining us, appreciate it.

DEJANI: Thank you.

WHITFIELD: Now in the news, a


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