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MIT Student Arrested After Allegedly Walking Into Boston Airport With Fake Bomb; Alexandria, Louisiana, Police Investigate Pickup Truck With Nooses; 'Jena 6' Court Hearing
Aired September 21, 2007 - 11:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
HEIDI COLLINS, CNN ANCHOR: Meanwhile, you're with CNN. You're informed.
Good morning, everybody. I'm Heidi Collins.
Developments keep coming in to the NEWSROOM -- boy, that's for sure -- on this September 21st. A busy Friday.
Here's what's on the rundown.
Symbols of hate. Nooses on display for civil rights demonstrators just as their rally winds down in Jena, Louisiana.
And Delaware State University on lockdown at the moment. Two students shot and wounded. Police hoping for an arrest soon.
Dozens of homes south of Orlando wrecked by a suspected tornado.
Battered in Florida, in the NEWSROOM.
Want to quickly get to this first story for you that we have been following for you. Our CNN's Dan Lothian is on the way to Logan Airport because, as we look at the live shot there of the control tower coming out of our affiliate WCVB in Boston, apparently an M.I.T. student has been arrested. She tried to walk into an airport with a fake bomb strapped to her chest.
Dan, good morning.
DAN LOTHIAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Heidi.
Well, I spoke earlier with an official with Massport. That's the agency that runs Boston Logan International Airport. And they did confirm that 19-year-old Star Simpson (ph), who's a student at M.I.T., walked into Terminal C, approached what they described as a public information center or kiosk.
According to the person who was behind that kiosk, behind that desk, this student was allegedly wearing a circuit board. There were wires attached to the circuit board, and also some putty. It appeared to be a fake bomb.
That's when the person behind the desk called the state police. That is the law enforcement agency that's in charge of security at the airport. And she walked away from that desk. State police officials were able at gunpoint to make an arrest a short time later.
Officials holding a press conference shortly out at Logan Airport. We're headed there and should be able to get more information -- Heidi.
COLLINS: I'm just reading something here, one of the reports coming in here, and not sure if you'll have any info on it, but apparently we're hearing from some of the people who responded, which would have been state police, as you've been telling us, Dan, that she's extremely lucky she followed the instructions or deadly force would have been used. Everybody knows you don't take a bomb threat lightly at an airport.
LOTHIAN: That is correct. I mean, just saying the word "bomb" can get you in a whole lot of trouble, let alone having a bomb or fake bomb allegedly attached to your chest. So certainly police would have used deadly force in a situation if she did not respond. But by all accounts, at least according to officials at Massport, she did respond when they pulled their guns and they did -- they did arrest her.
COLLINS: All right. CNN's Dan Lothian following the story for us out of Logan International Airport in Boston.
Also want to let you know that we are awaiting some more details. Dan had let us know that there will be a press conference coming up shortly. You see the microphones there and some of the crews trying to get ready to bring that to us. So we will follow it and get more information just as soon as it happens.
Also breaking this hour, nooses hanging from the back of a pickup truck. Authorities in Alexandria, Louisiana, investigating a disturbing incident that was photographed by one of our CNN I- Reporters. Look at this now coming in from I-reporter Casanova Love.
Police say two people were arrested as they drove through town with these two nooses on the back of the pickup truck. It happened as protesters who took part in the march in Jena, Louisiana, yesterday were preparing to board buses in Alexandria. Again, Alexandria about 45 minutes or so away from Jena.
Just a short time ago, I talked with the mayor of Alexandria about what happened.
MAYOR JACQUES ROY, ALEXANDRIA, LOUISIANA: What we found out, I received a call some time after 9:00 p.m. last night and immediately headed back to where all of the staging occurred in our downtown.
Heidi, we had a wonderful day without incident. I mean, not only not an arrest, but not a single incident. It was the most peaceful and moving experience I've had in public life or seen in my lifetime.
I was extremely concerned when I heard that a pickup truck that involved possibly one major and several minors rode by the last group of folks leaving our city, all of whom were probably from Nashville. The pickup truck drove by several times, I understand, and we have confirmed that they had nooses hanging from the truck.
At that point I arrived there, still in pajamas, actually, and addressed the crowd when I got out of the vehicle. The crowd immediately said, you know, there's the mayor, and they recall from our discussions during the day who I was. And we had a very frank discussion, a big huddle, if you can imagine, of about 200 people.
And I addressed the crowd and told them that this was nearly unforgivable, that in 2007, the seriousness of a symbol of hate of that nature wouldn't be recognized by kids even 15 and older. And that is a very serious thing.
There's a lot of discussions about what those symbols meant in Jena, which is north of us. We can confirm that the folks involved in this were not from our city. And I am proud to say that not an incident with a protester here, not an incident with one of our citizens. Some, you know, folks from outside. And that's a shame.
And I didn't want them to have that taste in their mouth when they left. And they told me their last taste would be our discussion. And so it ended up being positive, again, anyway, and no one can take that moment in our city away from us.
COLLINS: Sure. As the mayor of Alexandria, I can imagine you would have been very concerned, this happening in your town.
And you said -- let me just make sure I understood you correctly. You said that the people who were involved in this -- and again, police have pulled this truck over. Apparently you said it was from Nashville? Is that correct?
ROY: No. The folks that were leaving on the bus were going back to Nashville.
COLLINS: Oh, pardon me.
ROY: The folks involved in the incident were from up north of Alexandria. I guess coincidentally, perhaps ironically, they were from around Jena, up -- not in that same parish -- we call counties parishes here, as you know.
ROY: But right next door. But they were not, we confirmed, from Alexandria, Louisiana.
COLLINS: All right. So what is your police force doing about this? Have these people been questioned or what has happened?
ROY: They were arrested last night, Heidi. They will be questioned.
It will be determined whether these constitute hate crimes. It will be determined whether this goes from disturbing the peace to the more serious issues that would involve inciting a riot potentially, or terrorism. Those kinds of things have to be determined.
Obviously, Heidi, when you're talking about minors, some different rules kick in. And so we have to be concerned about that. As I told the crowd last night, my promise to them, which anybody with any sense would know they were required morally to do, is that we're going to look into this completely, fully and transparently.
COLLINS: OK. So you did say minors. Obviously one of them at least old enough to drive. How many people are we talking about here?
ROY: I believe that we confirmed at least one minor and one major. And as the news breaks, we would be happy to share it with the national media, with you, Heidi.
We're still getting some information. It gets tough when you deal with the minors because there are certain rules that apply with regard to contacting their parents first and all of that.
So identification of the folks we may not be able to do for some time, if at all. But certainly we can give you the specifics about what happened.
And I just want to reiterate to people who are listening, this is not indicative of the city where I live. These were people from outside of the city. We have a wonderfully diverse and culturally rich city here in Alexandria, and we hosted an event that I think will make history.
COLLINS: Once again, the mayor of Alexandria, Louisiana, talking with me a few minutes ago.
You know, we first got this picture in, again, from one of our I- Reporters where we learned about it. It was about 8:00 this morning or so. So the story has developed a little bit. You can get a good look at it there with those two nooses hanging off the back of that Ford truck there.
Our David Mattingly has been following this story as well.
And David, I'm looking at a copy of the police report as well. I know you have been able to speak with the police chief of Alexandria.
DAVID MATTINGLY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: That's right, Heidi. I had a long conversation with Chief Daren Coutee, and he says that there are definitely two individuals that have been arrested, both teenagers.
One is 18 years old. And they are able to identify him as Jeremiah Munson (ph). He lives about 30 miles north of here.
With him was a 16-year-old, also from the same area. The 16- year-old being the minor, they will not release his identity. The 18-year-old is facing charges of DWI, contributing to the delinquency of a minor, and the city prosecutor is looking into the possibility of charges of attempting to incite a riot because of the way they were displaying these nooses outside their vehicles and driving past the crowd to have been involved in the rally here in town yesterday evening.
The 16-year-old, looking at this police report, and speaking to the chief, the 16-year-old, when he was questioned, claimed that he had a KKK tattoo on his chest and that his family was involved in the Klan. But as far as motive last night, if you look at the police report it says that it was racially motivated what they were doing. And because -- they have feelings of anti-black. That's what it says here on the police report.
Now, police also found an unloaded .22 rifle in the back of the vehicle. They also found a pair of brass knuckles. The chief tells me at this point they don't believe that the two had any intentions of using them, that they were driving through town drinking beer, having the nooses displayed, trying to get a rise out of people.
Well, that's exactly what they did. People waiting for a bus who had been involved in the rally saw the vehicle driving by, immediately contacted one of the police officers who was there. These guys were picked up just minutes later. In fact, not too far from city hall.
They were down here, a lot of police presence. They didn't get very far at all -- Heidi.
COLLINS: Yes. So we're all pretty familiar, David, with what a DUI charge means and what it involves. You talk about the seriousness of these charges that could actually be filed, when you talk about possibility of inciting a riot, it sounds obviously very serious.
MATTINGLY: It does sound serious if you know how laws vary from state to state and from city to city. We have been trying to get in touch with the same prosecutor to find out exactly what that would mean if they decide to pursue those charges here.
Again, there was no riot that actually ensued from this. There was no confrontation. These guys were driving around in that pickup truck with two nooses displayed hanging out of the truck, and they weren't able, apparently, to do it for very long.
COLLINS: All right. CNN's David Mattingly trying to get more information on this latest incident just happening -- or at least that we heard about this morning out of Alexandria, Louisiana, with those two yellow nooses hanging off the back of the truck there just one day after the rally and march in Jena, Louisiana.
Thanks so much for that, David Mattingly.
Also unfolding this hour, a court hearing set to begin shortly in the Jena 6 case. The only defendant still behind bars could be released.
Sean Callebs is in Jena this morning.
Tell us a little bit more, Sean, about what's going to be taking place at the courthouse.
SEAN CALLEBS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, we know there are a couple of proceedings that are scheduled to go on here at the LaSalle Parish courthouse. Here are some pictures just a short while ago.
Mychal Bell's mother, Melissa, as well as Mychal Bell's grandfather, made their way into the courthouse. Now, Bell, of course, was convicted as an adult of aggravated battery. But last Friday an appeals court tossed out...
COLLINS: Sean, forgive me, I'm so sorry. I'm not sure if you're aware, but we've got all kinds of stories popping all over the country right now.
We want to get back to Boston and the incident that happened with the fake bomb being strapped on a woman's chest at Logan International Airport.
Let's listen in.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Good morning.
At approximately 8:00 this morning, we had a female walk in to lower Terminal C. She was wearing a black-hooded sweatshirt, and she had a circuit board with a battery attached to it on her chest.
She approached the information booth and asked about an incoming flight. The Massport information worker who has been trained in Logan Watch (ph) by the state police made this observation and immediately became concerned, asking her about the item that was located on her chest.
With no response, the female began to walk away. The Massport information worker called the state police immediately, making notification.
State police responded. A number of officers found her out in the lower roadway on the island. We had canine, we had an explosive ordnance division there within minutes.
She followed instructions as required by the state police. Within minutes, an EOD unit found that it was an innocuous device and we took her into custody.
Thankfully, because she followed instructions as required, she ended up in a cell as opposed to the morgue. Had she not followed the instructions, deadly force may have been used.
At this time she's been taken she's been taken to East Boston District Court where she'll be arraigned for disorderly and a hoax device. Again, this was a serious defense. We take it very serious. But it was through the great actions of the Massport employee and the state police officers that responded that it was resolved immediately and safely.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: She is a sophomore who claims to be a student at M.I.T. And she said it was art and she wanted to stand out in Career Day.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, she was. She was holding what we later found was Play-Doh. It was probably about five to six ounces of Play- Doh. Again, that was further concerns for the responding officers.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It was Star Simpson (ph).
QUESTION: Did she not understand the seriousness of what she was doing? And how would you characterize this incident?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: She claims that it was just art and that she was proud of the art and she wanted to display it. I'm not sure why she had the Play-Doh in her hands. She couldn't really explain that.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I don't think she understood the seriousness until the information person said, "I'm calling the state police."
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No, she didn't. She did seem a bit upset that she was in custody. However, she was rational and she answered all questions as required.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: She gave a name of a passenger incoming. By the time we verified it with the airline, we did have a passenger by the name that she gave us. He had already arrived and already departed the airport.
QUESTION: So was she asking about his flight?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes.
QUESTION: She wasn't looking to get on a flight?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No. She was looking for an arrival flight of the incoming plane.
QUESTION: Which flight was that?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It was a flight from Oakland.
QUESTION: (OFF-MIKE) UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The flight was a Continental flight inbound connecting flight from Oakland. And as the major said, the passenger was verified that the name that she gave the authorities was on that flight.
QUESTION: And was it her boyfriend and where is he now?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We don't know the relationship at this point.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We're not sure at this point.
QUESTION: When the police showed up, can you describe what it was that they went through? (INAUDIBLE)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: She was immediately told to stop, to raise her hands and not to make any movement, so we could observe all her movements to see if she was trying to trip any type of device. But there was obviously concern. Had she not followed the protocol, again, we may have used deadly force.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We're not sure -- we're not sure how long she had it on.
QUESTION: After 9/11, does it surprise you at all that people still continue to do things like this? (INAUDIBLE)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm shocked and appalled that somebody would wear this type of device to an airport in this time. We're currently under orange. The threat is there against aviation.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And the MP5 officer.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We did have MP5 officers respond to the scene immediately.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: All right. We're going to take one more question, and then we're going to wrap it up, please.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We had MP5s, which is a submachine gun here at the airport go right to the scene.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Last question.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It was a circuit board, rectangular, approximately this size, attached with wires to a battery and actually lit up.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: All right.
Thank you very much. You can see how serious this is... COLLINS: OK. So a press conference that we've been telling you about coming out of Boston and regarding the incident that happened at Logan International Airport.
Just to update you quickly, an M.I.T. student -- actually, a woman claiming to be an M.I.T. student -- not sure if that has been verified yet or not -- 19-year-old Star Simpson (ph), walked into Logan International Airport with a fake bomb strapped to her chest. It was sort of a circuit board with a bunch of wires and some putty which they later determined to be Play-Doh.
She was questioned and talked to quite sternly by state police there. And we are hearing from the official there, Scot Pare (ph), as you listened to him say, that she was very lucky that she listened to instructions, because otherwise deadly force would have been used on her.
So, once again, that's the situation that we know coming out of Logan International Airport and Boston there.
Want to get back to Jena, Louisiana, at this point. A court hearing set to begin very shortly in the Jena 6 defendant Mychal Bell case.
Sean callebs, want to get back to him outside of our courthouse.
Sorry for the interruption there, Sean.
Tell us what you know about these proceedings today.
CALLEBS: Well, couple of proceedings are scheduled to go on. And because Mychal Bell is being treated as a juvenile in the court system right now, the public is not allowed to attend these court proceedings. We do know Bell's mother and grandfather are inside at this hour.
Basically, this is going to be two separate hearings going on. The first, the defense is trying to get the judge recused in this case. They want him off of this case. So they've brought in another judge from a neighboring parish who is going to hear that case.
But the defense is also trying to get a bond set for Bell so he can be released from jail. He has been held there for the past nine months.
We have a new picture of him. That's the mug shot photo, and it differs dramatically from the pictures we have been showing you of Mychal Bell over the past several days.
Here you see him much older. He is 17 in this, a very stocky young man. He's listed at 5'10, 180 pounds. And, of course, the D.A. in this case has said that Bell was really the ring leader in an attack by six African-Americans on a white student who was beaten so badly he had to go to the hospital.
Now, we had a chance to speak just briefly with one of Bell's attorneys as he went in, and he talked about the prospect of getting Bell released on bail today.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BOB NOEL, MYCHAL BELL'S ATTORNEY: We're trying to get an order for his release at the time.
CALLEBS: Are you confident you'll get it?
NOEL: We'll see what happens. Don't like to speculate.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CALLEBS: Don't want to speculate. But we do know, if indeed bail -- if bail is going to be granted today, apparently Bell would have to go back to the LaSalle correctional facility, the LaSalle jail, which is about 20, 25 minutes from here, and he would have to process out. So very difficult to say if indeed that would happen today.
Another possible stumbling block in all of this, if the judge is recused, apparently the court would then have to call the state Supreme Court and find out exactly what to do next, if another judge would be brought in or if they would use the judge who was actively hearing the recusal hearing. So this is somewhat complex, Heidi. And we'll be following these events as they unfold here in front of the courthouse -- Heidi.
COLLINS: Yes. It seems to be getting more complex every day, that's for certain.
Sean Callebs, thanks so much, live from Jena, Louisiana, this morning.
Want to take a moment to get back to the story that we were telling you about very near Jena, Louisiana, and that's Alexandria. It was sort of the staging point for yesterday's events, the rallies and the march to the high school of the Jena 6.
Our I-Reporter that we have been showing you this photo of, the red pickup truck with the nooses hanging off the back, Casanova Love, he actually took this photo and he is with us on the telephone now.
Casanova, tell us exactly what you saw.
CASANOVA LOVE, CNN I-REPORTER: Well, I seen two white males riding around town real slow in a pickup truck with a real disgruntled look on their face. And they passed by several times.
And the last time I seen them it was probably the third time I think they had passed by. The police pulled them over. And they pulled them out of the vehicle, they searched the vehicle, they found a weapon in the vehicle, and they placed them under arrest. And that was about it.
I mean, people -- they did it. It was still like a couple hundred protesters still left over, they was waiting on their buses. And so they just kept passing by those guys, just trying to stir up something.
But I don't think they got them -- I don't think they got what they wanted. What they got was some handcuffs. So...
COLLINS: Yes. In fact, Casanova, we have been able to speak with the police chief of Alexandria and the mayor as well. We know that there are two individuals, one 18, one 16, under arrest at the moment, trying to determine a little bit more about what their intentions were. They've been -- they could possibly be charged, I should say, with DUI and the possibility of inciting a riot.
Did it surprise you? I'm not sure where you were when you saw them, but at the age of these two individuals?
LOVE: Well, it kind of did, but it kind of -- it comes from where they come from. I mean, that's kind of expected. I mean, the area out there is very -- it's not friendly at all to black people.
So, I mean, it just didn't surprise me. I didn't think they would come all this way though to show their hate. You know?
COLLINS: So you live in Alexandria and you are familiar with where they live.
LOVE: Yes, ma'am.
COLLINS: All right. Well
Well, we are going to continue to look into this story. We've got a couple of correspondents on the ground. And as I said, we've been able to speak with the mayor of the town and also the police chief. And we'll follow what happens with the situation.
Casanova Love, our I-Reporter who brought us that shot.
Thanks so very much.
We're going to take a quick break and we'll be back in just a minute right here in the CNN NEWSROOM.
COLLINS: Iran branded a terror sponsor by the United States. Now Iran's president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, heading to New York. Speeches at the U.N. and Columbia University. The latter stirring outrage.
With us to talk about that, radio host and CNN contributor, Bill Bennett.
And Bill, boy, it has been a busy morning. We've got nooses in Alexandria, Louisiana. We've got a woman who strapped a fake bomb to her chest in Boston. And we've got a school shooting in Delaware.
BILL BENNETT, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Troubling issues in the republic. And they all cry out for leadership. You know, leadership from both political parties. So these are things presidential candidates have to address, in addition to the international stuff.
COLLINS: Yes. And the international stuff is certainly, as we said in the intro here, stirring a little bit of outrage in the fact that Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has been invited to do a speech at Columbia University. And of course, going to address the U.N. General Assembly.
Let's show some -- or actually listen to some audio here. I know that you had Mitt Romney on the show the other day.
BENNETT: Yes. Yes.
COLLINS: I want to listen first to some comments from Fred Thompson and then also from Mitt Romney.
Listen to this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
FRED THOMPSON (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I would deny this character a visa and not allow him to come here and make an issue of whether or not he would visit the place. What's he going to do, visit there to get pointers for his own activities? I wouldn't let him in the country.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
MITT ROMNEY (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We could simply have issued a visa that allowed him to land, get into the United Nations, make his remarks, and get out. But instead, you know, he's got a two- day visa and he's able to tour around. And my view was, if he's got time to tour, take him to the Holocaust Museum.
(END AUDIO CLIP)
Hey, Bill, I know that you had your own protested visit to Columbia. What do you make of all of this?
BENNETT: Yes, that's exactly right. Well, I think politically, purely politically, Heidi, this is great for Thompson.
He came out. The debut a lot of people thought was a little dull. So now he's got a fight, he's got a real fight.
He went a step further than Romney and said I would not let him in the country. I would just defy that treaty with the U.N., let the U.N. object.
COLLINS: Yes, but there's a lot of people, aren't there, Bill, that would say, listen, he's got a right to go to the U.N. And that's it, as we heard Mitt Romney say. This has been talked about before.
BENNETT: Yes. No, it has been talked about before. But remember before we had denied Arafat a place to come in. We have denied -- remember the Korean Airlines shootdown of the jet?
BENNETT: The jet that -- that shootdown. We denied Governor Kean and Cuomo, bipartisan, denied landing rights to the Russian aircraft after that.
So you can do this if you think this guy is what he is, a terrorist, a murderer, a tyrant. You can certainly deny him a place. And the Columbia thing is I think a special kind of embarrassment.
COLLINS: Tell us what happened when you went there.
BENNETT: When we went there we had a huge protest. They let us speak, indeed, but there was a huge protest.
Remember when the Minutemen went there they were not allowed to speak. Now Ahmadinejad is there.
The president of Columbia saying, well, it's an open campus, we believe in free speech. However, people should note that the U.S. military is not welcome on campus, ROTC is not welcome at Columbia. But Ahmadinejad is.
Any Columbia graduates troubled by that? I think they should be.
COLLINS: Does it bring up any issues about the university system, public or private?
BENNETT: They need to recognize that universities, as these little republics, are totally dependent on the larger republic and its well being and the people who swear to protect that republic should be as welcome as dictators, more welcome than dictators on those campuses.
COLLINS: All right. Let's for a moment get back to Fred Thompson here. Everybody's been joking for a very long time, hey, it's about time you're in the race! As if we had no idea you were going to be in there. But what type of race is he really running?
BENNETT: Well, it took a little different turn I think with this. He was affable Uncle Fred, you know. Came out, very folksy, did the Jay Leno thing. Now he's involved in a really tough issue and he's taking a very strong stance. I think it is a smart thing for him to do.
Rudy has this fight with Moveon.org. He's thrilled with that. Romney has had a long-standing argument with Iran. John McCain is constantly going at it with the democrats. Thompson needed to mix it up. Hillary has her fight with what she calls the vast right wing conspiracy. To draw attention to yourself when you've got a field you have to grab a hold of some issue. I think Thompson did that. I also think he did the right thing. I think what he's saying is right that will appeal to a lot of people in the base.
COLLINS: I think he's running for VP.
BENNETT: You do?
COLLINS: I do.
BENNETT: This was a presidential kind of move. I'll tell you, if you pull this on the president, when the president had a different position, you wouldn't be VP very long. I think it was a big leadership position.
COLLINS: Good point. All right, very good. Bill Bennett, our CNN contributor, Bill Bennett Morning in America. Sorry, Bill. Thanks so much.
BENNETT: Get through the day. It's tough stuff. You're doing a great job.
COLLINS: It is. Thanks so much. We'll have you back very shortly.
Meanwhile we want to show this to you, more information in this whole situation at Logan International Airport. Look at this now. This is apparently the sweatshirt, the one that 19-year-old Star Simpson, that is the name of the suspect here, wore in to the airport. It was strapped with some type of circuit wiring, a circuit board and some putty. You can kind of see it. They can hold it up one more time, there it is. You see all that wiring and this putty strapped to it with a battery.
I'm not sure if you saw the press conference we had just a few moments ago from some of the officials there in Boston who have been looking into this. But here's what they tell us. She said this was a piece of art and she wanted to stand out on career day. She's claiming to be a student at M.I.T.
Again, 19-year-old Star Simpson says this is art and that's why she wore it into Logan international airport. The police also told us she wasn't really very worried about being in custody and that they obviously are shocked and appalled that anyone would walk into an airport with something like this strapped to their chest.
There you have it, the latest information coming out of Boston International -- Logan International Airport. Our affiliate there WHDH.
Also this story happening, breaking news in Delaware State University on lockdown still at this hour. Two of its students were shot and wounded and a gunman is still on the loose.
CNN's Kathleen Koch is now in place in Dover getting us more information as she learns it.
Good morning to you, Kathleen.
KATHLEEN KOCH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Heidi.
Yes, a very frightening morning for the roughly 3,700 students who attend Delaware State University. They woke up, as you said, to find out their classes had been canceled, the entire campus was in lockdown, only essential university personnel allowed on campus. The students have to stay in their dorms.
Basically what happened is around 12:54 early this morning, police received a call that two students, young woman and a young man, had been shot on campus near Memorial Hall Sports Arena. Now police are right now looking for a male suspect. They're searching the 400- acre campus. They're also searching the surrounding area with the shopping centers, neighborhoods. The two students, a woman was shot twice, a young man shot once. They are hospitalized right now at Bay Health Medical Center.
CARLOS HOLMES, DELAWARE STATE UNIVERSITY SPOKESMAN: We know that the male student, his injuries weren't as serious. He's probably considered in stable condition right now. The female student, her injuries were more serious and they could potentially be life threatening. So we're praying. We're hoping the best for her.
KOCH: Now campus officials say they were able to put out an alert to students within just a half an hour of the reported shooting this morning about again just before 1:00 a.m. They put it out, both on Internet Web sites, made postings in the residential halls, and used campus phone systems to alert the roughly 1,700 students who live on campus.
What they're trying to do now is come up with a way to provide essential services for those students, basically get them food, get them any medicines they might need. The only people again being allowed on campus are essential personnel.
Students who are arriving who lived off campus are being simply turned away as spokesmen for the university will have a press conference here in just a couple of minutes. Right now they say police are developing some leads, that they've made some progress but Heidi there's been no arrest yet.
COLLINS: Wow. All right. CNN's Kathleen Koch reporting for us from Dover, Delaware this morning. Kathleen, thank you for that.
And another developing story, California, southern California this morning, a crunching collision, a train colliding with a vehicle. We'll have the latest on that.
Plus, a central Florida community takes it on the shingles. This video unbelievable as residents wake up to fine their town in shambles after a night of violent weather.
COLLINS: An awful lot going on a busy, busy Friday. I want to get you some more information about that horrific commuter train accident in L.A. this morning. That video there that we've been telling you about, our affiliate station KTLA is reporting a metro train hit an SUV and burst into flames. Initial reports indicated that one person was dead. Now reports say that five people were injured. So at this point we are learning there has been no fatalities. Five people injured instead. That accident happened shortly after 7:00 local time this morning. Of course, in situations like that, they tend to get quite a bit of information coming in and sometimes it does change.
Also, new this morning, shell shocked in central Florida. Residents there picking up today after this, a suspected tornado touched down blowing off roofs and taking out power lines. About 50 homes pretty much leveled in the town of Eustis. Many of them really, really destroyed. Officials say the entire second story of one of the homes was completely torn off and amazingly, the people inside did escape without injuries. But some people weren't quite so lucky. At least four people were hurt in the storm.
MICHAEL WRIGHT, WITNESS: It was kind of dark so I really -- I seen the roof come off the house. That was really about all after the roof come off, then I seen the debris flying through the living room. By that time I already had my wife drug through the hallway going to the bedroom to get into a closet.
COLLINS: Even more weather worries for Florida now. Forecasters keeping a close eye on a weather system that could spell real trouble for the sunshine state.
One of those forecasters, our meteorologist Bonnie Schneider, has been telling us about it sort of this second wave moving towards Florida.
BONNIE SCHNEIDER, CNN METEOROLOGIST: That's right and you know there is a lot to tell you since our last update. We now have subtropical storm, tropical depression number 10. Number 10 right here in the northeastern corner of the Gulf of Mexico. Doesn't look very impressive. A lot of thunderstorm activity to the north and east of the storm's center but it is strong enough we have winds that have classified this as a subtropical depression.
We actually have tropical storm warnings in place now that extend all the way to the west and include the city of New Orleans. When you are talking about a subtropical storm, it still means a storm that has winds that could be as strong as 39 miles per hour but we're also talking about the temperature, the center of the storm. That's why it's called subtropical. Because in some parts of the storm where hurricane hunters flew into this they found some temperatures cooler than what we'd normally classify as a tropical storm. I know it is a little confusing. The main thing to note is that anywhere you see highlighted in orange or red on your screen is where we're watching for very heavy rains and strong winds and we go to the next 24 hours. So a warning means that these conditions are imminent.
Now in terms of rainfall totals, we're looking on the high side six inches, on the low side two inches. But right now we're getting plenty of rain coming up from the Gulf of Mexico making for some tough travel into northern Florida, along the panhandle. If you're driving from I-10 further to the west, you'll definitely see that rain. We're also getting it pretty strong into parts of Georgia, like Savannah, out into South Carolina.
As we zoom in to the region, you can see some of the heavier storms working their way into the Panama City area right now. In terms of the accumulating rainfall, we are looking on the high side six inches, but we'll see that rain stretch all the way to the west and it will be moving in Saturday, into Saturday night. So a developing system that we're watching closely.
Heidi, soon enough we may see this storm called tropical storm Jerry. We'll let you know if that update does occur.
COLLINS: All right. CNN's Bonnie Schneider watching that situation for us out of Florida. That's sad news for them there. We will stay on top of that.
There is another story to tell you about now, something that's happened in Clayton, North Carolina. A plane flown into a restaurant there. We want to get more from our reporter with our affiliate WRAL. Let's take a listen.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Across the street, back on the scene, most of the front of restaurant is gone. We talked to an eyewitness who saw this plane go down about 10:00 this morning. She said that the plane seemed to be going full throttle. Was not having any sort of engine trouble, that it seemed to be going full speed. She saw it go right over the roof of her house down low. She wondered why it was flying so low. Just continued right in through the front door of the restaurant.
We don't know much about the plane at this point. The plane was flying under visual flight rules according to the FAA. It was a small plane. They had no flight plan filed with authorities. The Smithfield Airport, Johnson County Airport, tells us that no planes flew out of its airport this morning. So we are still waiting to hear details of that plane, who the owner of that plane is, who was the pilot of that plane and where it was coming from and where it was going to. Still a lot to be learned there.
COLLINS: Yes definitely still a lot to be learned there.
I quickly want to tell you, that was our affiliate, as you saw there, WDTV. Instead that report coming in to us from our affiliates in Durham. Also, some other footage coming in from Raleigh as well. As he mentioned there, usually visual flight rules you usually don't file a flight plan. We'll continue to follow that one and bring you any more information that comes from that situation as well.
Meanwhile some interesting and disturbing video here. Tasered, time after time. Look at this.
Police tape shows a woman repeatedly stunned by an officer. Days later she says her suffering has not ended.
And sure, they look good but do you know what's really in that Twinkie? The answer might surprise you. That is if you really want to hear it. Dr. Sanjay Gupta reports right after this.
COLLINS: All right. Want to take a minute to show you some brand new video we are getting in here regarding a situation that happened at Boston's Logan International Airport. You see the suspect there. This is 19-year-old Star Simpson. She is apparently the woman who police say walked in to the airport there in Boston with a very suspicious device strapped to her chest. We showed it to you earlier. She was wearing over her black sweatshirt, you see it there, some type of circuit board with a bunch of wires and some putty on it. She called it "art" and said she wanted to "stand out on career day." She claims to be a student at M.I.T. Now this video coming in to us, we do understand that she will be arraigned very shortly, today, like within an hour or so in east Boston district court. You can tell officials moving very, very quickly on this one. Charges so far we know of are possession of a hoax device, which is a felony, also disorderly conduct. We will have crews inside that courtroom and we will be reporting to you more information on all of this coming up just as soon as we get it. Again, coming to us from Boston, our affiliate there, WHDH. So we'll stay on top of that one for you.
In the meantime, Ralitsa Vassileva is over at CNN international. Boy, Ralitsa, there's an awfully lot going on here on the domestic side of things. You guys will have "YOUR WORLD TODAY" coming up in about ten minutes.
RALITSA VASSILEVA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Absolutely. Heidi, imagine having to live with 7,000 percent inflation. I certainly can't but these people in Zimbabwe are living with it. Few western reporters, if any, have been allowed into the country but now we have someone in there who has managed to give us a first hand look of the situation to how people are doing.
Also, Iran's President, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, not welcome at ground zero and now protesters don't want him to go to university campus in New York either. We'll tell you why the university is coming under pressure to cancel on him.
Also, three weeks since the disappearance of millionaire adventurer Steve Fossett, well, now an army of internet people are going on the internet looking, scanning images trying to find him. We'll tell you a very interesting idea. Hopefully they'll find something out there in the wilderness where is he missing.
Heidi back to you.
COLLINS: All right. Ralitsa, thank you so much. We'll be watching.
Twinkies who didn't love them as a kid? But, would you still if you knew how they were made?
CNN's chief medical correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta took a closer look inside the Twinkie for his special report this weekend called "Fed Up, America's Killer Diet." DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: With more than 500 million sold every year, chances are pretty good, you've tasted a Twinkie. But have you ever wondered what's in one?
We asked Christopher Kimball, host of "America's Test Kitchen," to deconstruct the Twinkie for us.
CHRISTOPHER KIMBALL, AMERICA'S TEST KITCHEN: The Twinkie is one of the finest examples of modern engineering. Here's why. It started out in 1930 as basically a sponge cake with the basic ingredients, milk, butter, eggs, et cetera and they filled it with cream. It lasted maybe three days on the market. Hence, the problem. How do you create something that's going to be shelf-stable, not going to change over time?
GUPTA: To do that, Hostess replaced egg yolks with lecithin.
KIMBALL: It's an emulsifier like egg yolk which means it takes lots of ingredients and sort of lets them blend together.
GUPTA: Cellulose gum replaces fat.
KIMBALL: It brings in moisture. It holds moisture and gives you that mouth feel you get from fat.
GUPTA: Artificial colors take the place of natural ones.
KIMBALL: Those colors actually come from oddly enough, the petrol chemical injury from benzene and aniline and other chemicals which in quantity is actually poisonous, about in the small quantity it is used here the FDA has approved it.
GUPTA: In response, Interstate Bakeries, maker of Hostess products, say the core ingredients have been the same for decades, flour, sugar, water. Adding that deconstructing the Twinkie is like trying to deconstruct the universe. Some people look at sky and think it is beautiful. Others try to count the stars. Urban legend would have you believe a Twinkie can last for years. Hostess says, just 25 days.
Dr. Sanjay Gupta, CNN, reporting.
COLLINS: "Fed Up, America's Killer Diet," premiers tomorrow night at 8:00 eastern only on CNN.
The battle over U.S. troops if Iraq. Senate democrats lose, again.
And he expressed his rage in words, then action. A murder victim's relative goes after the convicted killer in court.
COLLINS: A suicide car bomber hits a NATO convoy in Afghanistan killing a French soldier. That's according to the French defense ministry. Eight afghan civilians were hurt in the blast. It happened in Kabul.
Meanwhile to the south, NATO reports 40 Taliban militants killed in a combined operation of U.S.-led coalition and afghan forces. No NATO troops hurt or killed in that operation.
The military reporting the deaths of two more U.S. soldiers in Iraq. One was killed in an explosion near his vehicle in Diyala province. The other died in a non combat related incident in Tameem province. 52 U.S. military deaths in Iraq now this month.
Senate democrats fail again to pass an antiwar legislation. The bill would have ordered combat troops home from Iraq in nine months. This culminates a losing week for democrats. They were unable to pass legislation that would have cut off funding for combat as of next June. They also couldn't push through a proposal that would have given troops time at home equal to their time in combat.
A woman repeatedly tasered, even after she's in handcuffs. Did a police officer cross the line?
COLLINS: Rage in a Washington state courtroom. A uncle lashing out at the man convicted of killing his niece.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I hope (EXPLETIVE DELETED) until you die.
COLLINS: The outburst temporarily put Jeremy Lawstrom's sentencing on hold. Lawstrom, convicted of brutally attacking his wife while she slept. Other relatives of Sarah Lawstrom also spoke at the hearing.
TRACIE TICKNOR, VICTIM'S AUNT: Our family's never going to get past this. It was so brutal.
KELLY LUCE, VICTIM'S MOTHER: Did you feel like a tough man butchering a sleeping woman? You're nothing but a coward.
COLLINS: Lawstrom then apologized to the family. The judge sentenced him to 28 years in prison.
Woman tasered. Police tape shows an officer repeatedly tasering Heidi Gill after an incident in a Warren, Ohio bar. Later, inside the cruiser, she is seen trying to kick out the window. On the way to another police car, she is tasered again. Patrolman Richard Kovatch has been placed on administrative leave while the case is being made. She tells our affiliate WYTV she still has bruises over her body and her vision has not returned to normal.
CNN NEWSROOM continues in just one hour.
"YOUR WORLD TODAY" is next. I'm Heidi Collins. Have a great weekend, everybody.
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