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SUV Safety; Housing Numbers; Guns In Schools; Minding Your Business

Aired October 11, 2007 - 06:00   ET


KIRAN CHETRY, CNN ANCHOR: Moment of crisis.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: There was a shooting at Success Tech Academy and my son is trapped in one of the back rooms.


CHETRY: This morning, the panicked 911 calls after a student opens fire at school. Who was he?


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We already knew that he was like a little off.


CHETRY: Who was protecting the school?

X-ray vision. A revealing look at the high-tech airport security of tomorrow, rolling out today.

Plus, big surprise. Dramatic, new crash test results on SUV safety. So how did your car stack up, on this AMERICAN MORNING.

CHETRY: Yes, some surprising results and we'll reveal how all the different models did.

Good morning, once again. It is Thursday, October 11th. I'm Kiran Chetry.

JOHN ROBERTS, CNN ANCHOR: And good morning to you. I'm John Roberts.

Why did he do it and could he have been stropped? Schools in Cleveland will be closed today after a 14-year-old gunmen opened fire at his high school. Police identified him overnight as 14-year-old Asa Coon.

They say that he entered the school with two revolvers firing eight shots. He appeared to be targeting teachers after he was suspended earlier this week for getting into a fight. Two teachers and two students were shot. All of them survived. Police say the 14-year-old gunmen had a juvenile records, including an arrest for domestic violence last year. And according to juvenile court records obtained by a local Cleveland newspaper, Coon was suspended from school last year for trying to injure a student. Records also show that he threatened to commit suicide last year while in a mental health center.

One student said that Coon had made threats in front of students and teachers last week but no one took him seriously. The school is equipped with metal detectors but students say they were rarely used.

This morning we're also hearing from neighbors of the young gunman. They were clearly stunned, but didn't seem overly surprised that the 14-year-old snapped.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He was a good person. He never -- I don't know why he did what he did. I couldn't tell you. Pushed too far, that's all I can think of. You get pushed and pushed and pushed and sometimes you go over the edge.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Joel (ph), why did he do this?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I don't know. I ain't justifying nothing. I ain't saying he did the right thing but I'm saying he got pushed for a long time and asking people to help, help, help, help and nobody helped.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Who did he ask for help?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I don't know. I'm saying here -- I ain't saying it. I'm just saying, I know him as a person.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What about the guns, Joel, do you know where he got the guns?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No, that's what I just said to him. I would like to know where the hell them guns come from because that boy should have never had access to any.


ROBERTS: That's one of the question that just about everyone is asking this morning, where did 14-year-old Asa Coon get the guns that he carried into school? This morning a lot of people are taking a close look at one of his family members. Reporter Matt Stevens of our affiliate WOIO talked to Anderson Cooper about that last night.


MATT STEVENS, WOIO REPORTER: He also has an older brother, an 18-year-old bother, who's been in and out of jail. And neighbors tell us that he's been known to carry guns.

In fact, two night ago there was an incident where two teenage girls, who had been having a feud with the boys' older sister, 15- year-old sister, for some two years now, saw her on her porch. She yelled something at them a couple of nights ago. The older brother came out and actually fired a shot at them.

They called the police. The police came to that scene and arrested the older brother. But we've been told that no search warrant was on obtained to go into the house to try to get the gun. And so there's going to be some questions that have to be answered by the Cleveland Police Department this week as to why they didn't pursue a search warrant to try to get into that house and maybe, maybe if they had, the questions will be asked, this kid wouldn't have had anything to go to school with.


ROBERTS: We'll be covering this story throughout the morning for you. Later on in the show, we're going to talk with one of the teenagers who was shot in yesterday's rampage. And in our next half hour, more of the 911 calls that were released late last night. You'll hear from a panicked mother whose son called her from his classroom as the first shots rang out.


CHETRY: Well, there is some surprising crash test results that are just in on some mid sized SUVs. The bottom line, they're not as safe as you think if you get hit from the side. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety says that SUVs without optional side air bags only got a marginal rating.

The Toyota 4Runner is one that got the highest rating in the side impact crash test. The highest rating would be good. But the Chevrolet Trailblazer got only a marginal rating on the same test. The Chevy Trailblazer did do well in other crash tests.

For complete results, by the way, you can go to our website.

Greg Hunter, though, is looking out for you. He's at the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety high crash facility. That's in Ruckersville, Virginia.

Hi there, Greg.


This is the Toyota 4Runner. It did well in the test. Got top marks in the side crash tests. And let me tell you why.

If you take a look down here, you can see it was hit 31 miles per hour in the side crash test. There wasn't a lot of what they call intrusion into the cabin. That was plus number one why it got a good rating.

The other thing is it has a side curtain head air bag, you can see it here, this red dot. That's the dummy's head that whiplashed into the curtain. And it also has this, a torso air bag. Now some of the vehicles tested, like that Chevy Trailblazer, only have this head curtain air bag. Other vehicles tested have optional air bags for head curtain and torso air bags. And they also have head and torso air bags that you can get as special order equipment.

This one comes standard with a torso and a head air bag. That's the reason why this vehicle did well. Not a lot of intrusion, has a head air bag and a torso air bag.

We'll tell you what other vehicles didn't do as well as some cars, mid size SUVs. It's pretty shocking. You think, wow, I'm in an SUV, I'm safe, I'm safer than a car. Not in this case. Some of the vehicles didn't do well. We'll talk more about that in the next hour of AMERICAN MORNING from Ruckersville, Virginia.

Back to you, John, Kiran.

CHETRY: All right. Sounds good, Greg, thank you.


ROBERTS: New this morning, a deadly attack on the main U.S. base outside of Baghdad. The military says two coalition soldiers were killed and 40 others wounded in a rocket or mortar attack at Camp Victory overnight. That's out near the Baghdad Airport. Two foreign contractors were also hurt.

Big changes in the Iraq War being talked about at the Pentagon. The Marines want to take over the war in Afghanistan, get out of Iraq and leave it to the Army. They floated that idea in a session with Defense Secretary Robert Gates last week.

And the State Department may cut back or completely phase out private security guards in Iraq. Firms like Blackwater USA. The Associated Press is reporting that's one of the responses being considered to the shooting in September where Blackwater was accused of killing 17 Iraqi civilians. The news comes a day after another private firm, used by the United States, killed two Iraqi women in a car.

Also new this morning, testing begins on a new screening technique that takes revealing pictures of air passengers to search for hidden weapons. The new machine will be in place today at Sky Harbor Airport in Phoenix. The Millimeter Wave Machine, as it's called, uses harmless radio waves to produce a clear outline of each passenger all the way down to their underwear. You can see the images there. The government wants to know if this machine is quick and accurate enough to replace medal detectors.


ELLEN HOWE, TRANSPORTATION SECURITY ADMIN.: It is passenger imaging technology which allows us to see the image of the passenger's body and detect any anomalies or weapons or other items that could be hidden there. (END VIDEO CLIP)

ROBERTS: Well testers are trying to protect people's privacy by blurring faces and keeping the screener who sees the body image in a separate room, which brings us to today's quick vote. We want to know what you think. Would you mind a more revealing airport screening machine for the sake of security? Cast your vote this morning at We'll have the first results in our next half hour.


CHETRY: I think one thing people want to know, is it faster than having to go through the metal detectors.

Well, another "made in China" toy under fire this morning. Marvel Enterprises says it has stopped shipments of Curious George toys after a California consumer group tested the doll's plastic face and found that it contains illegally high amounts of lead. The toy company says it is conducting its own test and will issue a voluntary recall if those results are confirmed.

What's going on with the Gipper? Well, the body of Notre Dame legend George Gipp has been exhumed for DNA testing. Gipp's family requested the testing, did not reveal why, though. Gipp was famously played by Ronald Reagan in a movie that inspired the rallying cry, "win one for the Gipper." He died in 1920 of pneumonia and a strep infection.

Britney Spears heads to court today. She's filed an emergency motion for joint custody of her two young sons with her ex-husband, Kevin Federline. Right now Spears is only allowed monitored visitation rights during the day. Federline's attorney, Mark Vincent Kaplan, released this statement late last night. It says, "the fact that a party, one week after a full court hearing, attempts to change the orders of the court, in the absence of an emergency or without any new facts, suggests a continued lack of respect and understanding for what an order of the court actually means."

Howard K. Stern, Anna Nicole Smith's longtime companion, is suing Rita Cosby (ph) for $60 million. And he's claiming that in the book that Rita wrote about him that the claim about him and Larry Birkhead having sex are not true. Stern tried to set the record straight on "Larry King Live" last night.


LARRY KING, "LARRY KING LIVE": The book says that Jackie (ph) claims she and Anna saw you and Larry in a compromising position in Los Angeles. The book also says Jackie claims that Anna told her that you were gay.

HOWARD K. STERN, FORMER ANNA NICOLE SMITH ATTORNEY: Totally false. Totally false. I don't believe Anna would have ever said that because it's false and Jackie Haden (ph) was never in the same room with Larry and myself. Absolutely impossible.


CHETRY: Stern is facing his own defamation suit filed by Anna Nicole Smith's mother, Virgie Arthur.

ROBERTS: Nine minutes after the hour now and time to check in with our AMERICAN MORNING team of correspondents for other stories new that we're following this morning.

Home foreclosures in September were double what they were a year ago. Ali Velshi at our business update desk with more on this.

Further weakness in the housing sector here, Ali.


Why do you always got to be leading with the bad news? That's the bad news.

ROBERTS: Because it's the news. It's the . . .

VELSHI: It's the news, that's right.

Compared to last September, home foreclosures in the United States, as reported by Realty Trak, are up, get this, 99 percent. Take a look at the numbers. Almost 250,000 -- 223,538 foreclosure filings. And that's everywhere from default notices all the way to auctions where you lose your house. That's 99 percent higher than it was in last September.

However, here's the good news. All of the numbers, or most of the numbers, are actually down from August. August was the highest foreclosure month in 32 months. In fact, many experts believe that was the peak of foreclosures and resets. It doesn't mean we're out of the housing bubble, but it might mean that we're seeing lower numbers. In fact, 39 states reports that their numbers in September for foreclosures were lower than they were in August.

Right now Nevada still leads the pack, one in 185 houses is in foreclosure. Has some sort of foreclosure filing. Also want to tell you a little bit about interest rates. They've moved up just a bit. A 30-year fixed rate is going to run you 6.4 percent and a one-year adjustable is 6.15 percent. I'll be bringing you more on this through the course of the morning. So it's a good news, bad news story.


ROBERTS: A huge housing and population boom in Nevada. Now it looks like, you know, a bust as well there.

VELSHI: That's right.

ROBERTS: Ali, we'll see you soon.

Our Rob Marciano is off today. Just couldn't take it anymore because his Yankees lost. Bonnie Schneider in this morning on the CNN weather desk, tracking some extreme weather for us this morning. You've got some thunderstorms that may actually hit us here in New York today, Bonnie.


CHETRY: Well, a failing grade for Virginia Tech's new emergency alert system topping your "Quick Hits" now. Hundreds of people say they did not receive a message that was sent out during a trial run of the system. It uses text messaging, voice mail, e-mail and instant online messages to deliver the alert. The university spokesman says it's not clear if everyone was signed up for the service.

A potential wing problem could delay this month's shuttle launch. NASA is now studying whether some of the thermal shields on Discovery's wings need to be replaced. That would require taking the shuttle back to the hangar from the launch pad and force a delay in the scheduled October 23rd launch.

Well, not everyone agrees that the deaths of more than a million Armenians 90 years ago was genocide. And now an angry U.S. ally is making threats that could cause trouble for the war effort in Iraq.

Also, a rampage inside of an Ohio school. How did a suspended 14-year-old get into the building with guns?

And believe it or not, it's not the first time weapons made it into Cleveland schools this week. We have a closer look next on AMERICAN MORNING.


ROBERTS: Sixteen minutes now after the hour. And some of the best shots of the morning in our "Quick Hits" now.

Firefighters putting out a fire at a tractor trailer accident in Burlington, North Carolina. Police say an elderly driver went the wrong way on the highway and hit that tractor trailer head-on. Luckily both drivers suffered only minor injuries.

And a rally in the Philippines to support the monks in Myanmar. Protesters were wearing bandanas that say, "free Burma now!" Burma was the name of the country before the ruling military junta changed it to Myanmar. Demonstrations have been going on in front of the Myanmar embassy in manila for two weeks now.

And a mass propaganda festival. Where else, North Korea. Gymnastics performed at Pyongyang's massive Mayday Stadium to celebrate the 62nd anniversary of the ruling workers party in Korea. Many of the participants held up signs. That's a favorite thing that they do at these celebrations. It said "hoorah for patriot General Kim Jong-il."


CHETRY: Well, yesterday's school shooting in Ohio was not the only gun incident at an Ohio high school recently. Joining me now by the phone is Jean Dubail, an online assisting managing editor of "The Cleveland Plain Dealer." He joins me on the phone now.

Thanks for being with us, Jean.


CHETRY: First of all, let's get the latest on this school shooting. Asa Coon, the suspect. He had been suspended for fighting two days earlier. Is there a better idea as to why he was allowed back in school yesterday?

DUBAIL: Well, to the best we know, that there was just not much of an effort to stop him. The school, Success Tech, where he was a student, where the shooting took place, is kind of an odd building for a school. It doesn't look like your traditional school. It looks more like an office building.

There's a -- in order to get to the classrooms, you take an elevator up to the fourth or fifth floor of this office building. And it doesn't have the same type of traditional security that you would see in a lot of schools. It wasn't felt necessary, I think, because it's not anywhere near the most violent school in Cleveland or the most dangerous. And it's one of the best schools with one of the highest graduation rates.

CHETRY: Right, 95 percent graduation rate as compared to 56 percent in some of the other schools in that district. Clearly this district seems to have a problem. Just looking at a little bit of the research on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and a day last week a student was found with a gun in one way, shape or form, a 17-year-old found with a semiautomatic rifle and 43 rounds of ammunition. Another 16- year-old had a .25 caliber handgun and six-shell clip, saying that he paid $25 for it because he felt threatened by gangs. What's going on in the Cleveland school district?

DUBAIL: Well, see, the irony of this is that a couple of our reporters and an editor were speaking yesterday morning before this happened. One of the reporters had come up with some of these statistics and thought, you know, it's time for us to take a look at this because there seems to be a trend here. And, sure enough, later that day, you know, my thought would be that this might not be that different from, you know, big city school districts all over the country.

I don't think this kind of experience with guns would be that unusual. It just so happens that because we had a shooting yesterday, we bring stats out, it looks like -- it looks unusual. But my guess . . .

CHETRY: Well, it seems to me that this was, you know, just an incident waiting to happen when you're talking about this many incidents of kids with guns. Are there metal detectors at schools in the Cleveland district?

DUBAIL: No, not in all of them. They generally rely on those wands that security officers will carry around the schools. And it's not -- so it's not unusual that there wouldn't be a metal detector. In this case, however, the student -- or the parents group had repeatedly asked the district to install a metal detector and been turned down.

The problem here is that several years ago in Cleveland they passed a huge bond issue for school construction and they were going to divert a large part of money, a large part of it, for what they called a warm, safe and dry program. And certainly the safe part seems to have been neglected in some parts.

CHETRY: Yes, obviously, from these statistics, 304 incidents involving possession of dangerous weapons statewide last year.

DUBAIL: No, no, that was district wide 304. That was in this district alone.

CHETRY: That was district wide?

DUBAIL: That was in this district alone.

CHETRY: Wow. All right. Well, Jean, as we saw yesterday, the tragedy coming to light with a lot of these gun incidents. Thanks for being with us this morning. Jean Dubail, the managing editor with "The Plain Dealer."

ROBERTS: Coming up now to 21 minutes after the hour. Your "Quick Hits."

Just how safe is America's food supply? At a House committee hearing today, congressional investigators will hold the FDA's feet to the fire with questions about what federal health officials are doing to protect the nation's food supply from potential threats.

And ConAgra Foods is under fire for not immediately recalling pot pies linked to a salmonella outbreak. Banquet brand chicken and turkey pot pies have been linked to at least 139 cases of salmonella in 30 states. ConAgra only issued a consumer alert, asking stores to pull the pies from freezers, and shut down production at its plant in Missouri.

Well, do you have one of these? I mean, how many people don't these days? Some people are so connected to these little electronic devices that they feel them vibrating all the time, even when they don't have them anywhere near them. We'll tell you how that Blackberry could be doing a number on your head today.

And boot camp. It's supposed to help straighten out troubled kids with a little tough love. But in several cases, teenagers have died at these camps. What can be done about it? That's ahead on AMERICAN MORNING.



Are you so connected to your Blackberry that you feel it vibrating even when the device is nowhere in sight? Well, if so, apparently you're not alone. They say that heavy Blackberry and cell phone users report having phantom vibrations. They have them in their pajamas. Even in the shower. A little research there suggests that people don't feel whole without their electronic devices because they connect them to the world. This phenomenon has also been called ringxiety or phosealarm (ph). Get it, phosealarm.

Now I'm calling you right now, John. Are you feeling the vibrations?

ROBERTS: Oh, it's (INAUDIBLE). Yes. You know what's -- mine comes up even with a cute little picture if Kiran here.

VELSHI: Oh, sweet.

ROBERTS: Isn't that nice.

VELSHI: That's excellent.

ROBERTS: Can you see that?

CHETRY: Yes, I'm not that high tech. I don't have a camera on mine.

ROBERTS: It's got a cute little picture of her right there. Kiran's calling me.

VELSHI: Is he (INAUDIBLE)? What is that?

CHETRY: You should hear his ring. It's -- can I tell him what your ring is?

ROBERTS: Well, here, let me show you the ring.

CHETRY: His ring is Jack Bauer's ring from "24."

VELSHI: No kidding. Well, he is a super hero by night.

Mind if I tell you about that little strike that's over?

CHETRY: Yes, at Chrysler.

ROBERTS: Yes, how about that little strike?

VELSHI: Little strike. I mean that thing lasted less than seven hours. You thought the GM/UAW strike was short in two days. This strike was over by the end of the day. They went on strike at 11:00 Eastern yesterday. They were done by 5:00 p.m. yesterday. In fact, there were 32,000 workers who struck, but one entire shift never got to strike. They were called back to work before the whole thing was over.

Still getting details on what that contract deal is, but it looks like the UAW workers at Chrysler got a $3,000 signing bonus. Sounds like a good thing off the top, but it's a bit of a red herring because a signing bonus means that your base pay doesn't actually increase. It's a way of keeping those salaries lower.

I'm going to come back in a while -- and, oh, let me show it to you right now actually. Let me show you what is at issue here. The cost. The total hourly cost per worker at U.S. factories. This is not wages. They say you earn about $25 an hour at all of them. The same wages. But look at the cost when you take in all -- what these legacy benefits, which is the money that they pay to retirees' health care benefits, Chrysler, about $75 an hour, GM, $73, Ford $70. Look at the jump then, Toyota, $48, Honda, Nissan and Hyundai, $46 an hour. That's the challenge that the American auto makers face right now in bringing the costs down and being competitive.

And that is the ring.

ROBERTS: Jack Bauer for you.

VELSHI: That's the Jack Bauer. Thank you. Oh, hi, Jack!

ROBERTS: I think he's in jail, actually. But you can see that that cost automatically goes into the production of the car, right?

VELSHI: Because they make a car. There's a competing GM or Chrysler car with a Toyota or a Honda. Something's not happening. You're either not getting as much in the car or you're paying more for the equivalent car. So it's a big challenge and this isn't over. Ford is still to come.

ROBERTS: Ali, thanks. We'll see you soon.

VELSHI: All right.

CHETRY: Here's a story coming up right now that you can't miss. Imagine -- they go through so many lengths to make sure this doesn't happen. But what a nightmare. You take the wrong newborn home from the hospital, bond with that baby and don't find out until almost a year.

ROBERTS: Yes, can you imagine. It wasn't like a matter of days or anything like that. It happened in the Czech Republic. How did it come to light, how did it happen and what do the parents plan to do about it? We'll have that story for you and the headlines coming up next on AMERICAN MORNING.



JOHN ROBERTS, CNN NEWS ANCHOR: Good morning. Welcome back to "AMERICAN MORNING." It is Thursday, the 10th of October. I'm John Roberts.


A lot of questions this morning about the Ohio gunman, the 14- year-old who brought weapons to school. Were there warning signs and could it have been stopped? ROBERTS: Can I make one correction? It's the 11th of October. Sorry about that.

CHETRY: Schools in Cleveland will be closed after the 14-year- old gunman opened fire at his school. Police identified him as 14- year-old Asa Coon. They say he entered the school with two revolvers firing eight shots. He appeared to be targeting teachers after he was suspended earlier this week for getting into a fight. Two teachers and two students were shot, all of them survived. The gunman killed himself.

Late last night, police released some of the 911 calls. Let's listen.


911: Where is the student at?

STUDENT: He's in the building.

911: OK, do you know where at in the building?

STUDENT: no, I ran out of the school.

911: Was he threatening somebody with it?

STUDENT: He shot it.

911: He shot the gun?


911: How many shots did he fire?

STUDENTS: How many shots did he fire?

Two or three?


CHETRY: Police say the 14-year-old gunman did have a juvenile record, including an arrest for domestic violence last year. According to Juvenile Court records obtained by a local Cleveland newspaper, Coon was suspended from last year trying to injure a student. Records also show he threatened to commit suicide last year while in a mental health center. One student said Coon had made threats in front of students and teachers last week but no one took him seriously. The school is equipped with metal detectors but students say they're rarely used.

High school students are back in class in Crandon, Wisconsin, after a shooting rampage at a party over the weekend. All of the victims and the off-duty police officer who shot them went to or graduated from Crandon High, including 17-year-old Leanna Thomas.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) ANDREW HIGGINS, CRANDON SOPHOMORE: She was a nice girl, really happy, always smiling, not to see her in school really hurts. We're trying to cope with it, you know. They're not throwing anything at us right away, how hurt we are.

DR. RICHARD PETERS, SUPERINTENDENT: Don't expect to be teaching geometry, English literature or whatever. Allow the students to have time to talk and process and begin to work out a new reality for them for school.


CHETRY: 20-year-old Tyler Peterson killed all six people at a house party Sunday morning before turning the gun on himself several hours later.

ROBERTS: Angry reaction from Turkey over a vote in the U.S. Congress. The Foreign Affairs Committee voted to condemn the mass killing of Armenians as genocide. Turkey denied that its predecessors carried out the systematic killing of 1.5 million Armenians in the World War I era.

President Bush is concerned about strained relations with Turkey and urges Congress not to pass the resolution.


GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We all deeply regret the tragic suffering of the Armenian people that began in 1915, but this resolution is not the right response to these historic mass killings. Its passage would do great harm to our relations with a key ally in NATO and in the global war on terror.


ROBERTS: Turkey is threatening to stop the U.S. military from shipping supplies through their country into Iraq.

An attempt by the government to crack down on companies employing illegal immigrants was blocked by a federal judge. The Social Security Administration and the Department of Homeland Security had planned to warn companies that they could face penalties for employing workers whose Social Security numbers didn't match their names. The San Francisco judge said the new rule would pose a hardship on businesses and workers, and issued a temporary injunction.

CHETRY: An ambulance driver charged with being under the influence of drugs while transporting a patient. Ashland, Kentucky, police said they pulled over Steven Ray Marcum after he ran through two lights without flashing lights or a siren on. He failed a field sobriety test. Another ambulance was called to transport the patient.

Imagine taking home the wrong newborn from the hospital and not finding out about it for 10 months. That's what happened to two couples in the Czech Republic. Somehow, two girls were swapped at birth. They didn't find out until one of the girl's fathers became suspicious. His daughter didn't look like him. They got a DNA test and they proved it was right. The hospital called it a regrettable case and is investigating how it happened. The couples met last week. They still haven't swapped babies yet. They're spending time getting to know each other and figuring out the best way to make that transition.

ROBERTS: Tearful testimony on Capitol Hill from parents outraged when their children were abused or left for dead at teen boot camps.


BOB BACON, SON DIED AT BOOT CAMP: Of course, being normal, trusting and honest people ourselves, we assumed we were being told the truth. We were dead wrong. His mother and I will never escape our decision to send our gifted 16-year-old son to his death. We were coned by their fraudulent claims, and will go to our graves regretting our gullibility.


ROBERTS: What can be done to regulate this growing industry? Joining us now is "AMERICAN MORNING's" legal contributor Sunny Hostin.

Boot camp horror stories in Congress, 1,600 incidents of abuse just in 2005. Why are the numbers so high?

SUNNY HOSTIN, "AMERICAN MORNING" LEGAL CONTRIBUTOR: There are a lot of reasons why the programs are high. These programs are not federally regulated. There are generally no checks and balances. They're generally not licensed by the state. And that's why Congress is conducting the hearings. The Government Accountability Office, commonly referred to as the GAO -- most people don't know it exists -- but it is the investigative arm of Congress. And from 1990 to 2007, they've been looking at this and have found, as you mentioned, 1,600 cases of sexual abuse, physical abuse and up to ten deaths.

ROBERTS: One of the most prominent cases is the death of Martin Lee Anderson in January, 2006. He was at a boot camp. He was beaten by seven guards. He had sickle cell anemia. He was forced to inhale ammonia while his mouth was being held closed.

HOSTIN: The seven ex-guards and the nurse that was responsible for making sure that these kinds of things didn't happen are on trial. The testimony has been extremely compelling. As you mentioned, the guards have indicated that they did hit him, that they forced him to breathe ammonia. They beat him. They covered his mouth and, by all accounts, these children -- this one child did have sickle cell and that's the defense but really, I don't think it's a very strong defense because prosecution witnesses have indicated, bottom line, he would have died anyway because of the abuse.

ROBERTS: There's no federal regulation of these boot camps, which I think to many people is astounding. How is that?

HOSTIN: Congress just hasn't passed a law. These boot camps are typically wilderness boot camps, military-style training. And it really sort of fell under the radar and parents were being told what they needed to hear, parents dealing with behavioral challenges, emotional challenges. And it's something that fell through the cracks.

ROBERTS: Another important case out there, at the Supreme Court yesterday, a ruling on the case of the child of Tom Preston, who used to be one of the co-presidents of the Viacom enterprise. He was suing because his child had to go to private school and he wanted to recoup the cost of the private school because the New York City public school system couldn't give him that type of attention and education. And he won.

HOSTIN: He did.

ROBERTS: What are the implications of this case for other parents who may have children in a similar type of situation?

HOSTIN: This is a very, very, very important case. What set the case apart was that his child never attended public school. He always attended private school. Initially, the New York City Board said we are not responsible for paying for private school. The Supreme Court and the appellate court before them said actually all children with disabilities, regardless of whether or not they attended public or private school, were entitled to an appropriate free public education. So it's a wonderful case for parents out there with disabled children. You are entitled to appropriate education for your child.

ROBERTS: This guy has millions upon millions of dollars so it wasn't about the money. It was about the principle here.

HOSTIN: It was about the principle.

ROBERTS: And he won on principle.

HOSTIN: That's right.

ROBERTS: Sunny Hostin, good to see you. Thanks for being with us this morning.

HOSTIN: Thank you.

ROBERTS: And coming up at 7:15, we'll talk to Paul and Diana Lewis, whose son died in a boot camp. Stay around for that.


CHETRY: A cocaine bust on the high seas now topping your "Quick Hits". U.S. Customs agents spotted a suspicious fishing boat off the coast of Ecuador. On board, they say they found three metric tons of cocaine mixed with some sort of fuel.

Medicaid enrollment and spending is down for the first time in more than a decade but there's some dispute over why. State Medicaid directors saying new rules requiring applicants to prove their citizenship slows down the application process. Federal authorities say it's a very small problem and the booming economy means fewer people need Medicaid.

There's some new numbers out on the Republican presidential candidate Fred Thompson, not in polls, but in dollars. So how much did he make in the last year? Our political ticker has that for you ahead on "AMERICAN MORNING."


CHETRY: Welcome back to the most news in the morning. This great picture tops your "Quick Hits" now, the Atlas 5 rocket launched from Cape Canaveral last night, carrying a new satellite into space.

Ski season starting in Colorado. Hundreds of skiers and snowboarders lining up at the Arapahoe Basin. It opened with 18 inches of snow, mostly man-made, but they had a blast on it and bragging rights for the first ski resort in the state to open.

On the other end of the spectrum, it's not just the heat, but it's the humidity. There's a new study saying global warming isn't just making the planet hotter, it's making it stickier as well. According to a study in the journal "Nature," the moisture in the air has risen on average 2.2 percent over the last 30 years.

42 minutes past the hour and Bonnie Schneider is in for Rob Marciano covering extreme weather for us.

It was interesting. They say some parts of the world haven't gotten wetter. They've gotten drier, including the desert southwest in America.

BONNIE SCHNEIDER, CNN METEOROLOGIST: And it's not that surprising we'd have a rise in humidity because when you have warmer temperatures, the warmer air can hold more moisture. That's why you may have higher levels of humidity.


CHETRY: Bonnie, we'll check in with you in a few. Thanks a lot.


ROBERTS: Some of the top stories on today's political ticker. Former president Jimmy Carter ripping the White House. He told CNN's Wolf Blitzer that America tortures prisoners in violation of international law.


WOLF BLITZER, CNN HOST: Your definition, you believe the United States, under this administration, has used torture?

JIMMY CARTER, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I don't think it, I know it, certainly.

BLITZER: So is the president lying?

CARTER: The president is self-defining what we have done and authorized in the torture of prisoners, yes.


ROBERTS: A "New York Times" article specifically mentions techniques like head slapping, simulated drowning and frigid temperatures. The White House rejected Carter's comments and reiterated that the administration does not condone torture.

Former Attorney General Alberto Gonzales has hired a high profile Washington attorney George Terwilliger. Gonzales is under investigation for allegedly lying to Congress about the warrantless wiretapping program and letting politics influence the hiring and firing of federal prosecutors. Terwilliger says Gonzales did nothing wrong and his hiring a lawyer is not a sign of guilt.

Today is the fifth anniversary of the Senate vote giving President Bush the authority to use force in Iraq. Democrat Barack Obama is going after Hillary Clinton for supporting that resolution, saying she was too quick to give the president a, quote, "blank check."

Senator Obama is Wolf Blitzer's guests on "The Situation Room" today. That's 4:00 eastern right here on CNN.

Republican Fred Thompson is revealing how lucrative life has been as a star and television and in the movies. The Federal Election Committee reports Thompson made $12 million since January of 2006 with most of it coming from various entertainment-related roles.

On the campaign trail today, Republican Rudy Giuliani addresses NATO and military leaders in Norfolk, Virginia. Republican John McCain is in Iowa talking health care at the Rotary Club of Des Moines. Democrat John Edwards in South Carolina today to talk about education and graduation rates in rural counties. And Democrat Bill Richardson goes to New Hampshire. He's expected to announce a plan to give college students financial aid, one year of tuition for two years of public service after graduation.

Find all the day's political news around the clock at

CHETRY: A Halloween crackdown on registered sex offenders in Maryland. They're required to post signs saying "no candy at this residence." They're required to stay home all night, turn their lights off and refuse to answer the door.

A woman in Houston arrested for leaving her 2-year-old nephew alone in her SUV, the SUV then got towed. The little 2-year-old wasn't discovered until he made it to the impound lot. Hey say he was confused, sleeping in the car but doing fine. His aunt was taken to jail. She faces charges of child endangerment.

Family members of famous Notre Dame George Gipp dig up his body for DNA testing more than 80 years after his death. Why?

Also, a new airport security process making you feel a little overexposed? If it can get you quicker and keep you safer, are you up for it? We'll talk about a new body screening coming up on "AMERICAN MORNING."



Right now, if you're just waking up, time to get you caught up on the headlines. And the top news stories of the day. We start in Cleveland. Schools will be closed this morning after a 14-year-old gunman opened fire at his high school yesterday. Police say Asa Coon came to school with two guns, firing eight shots. Two teachers and two students were wounded before Coon turned the gun on himself. He had a juvenile record including an arrest for domestic violence last year.

Testing begins today on a new airport security screening machine. It creates a picture of the passenger right down to their underwear, as it searches for hidden weapons. They say that this machine will blur out some of the more private areas and that the people who are viewing it will be kept in a separate room.

Surprising crash test results are just in on some mid-sized SUVs. They're not as safe as you think if you get hit from the side. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety says that SUVs without optional side air bags got only a marginal rating.

You can check our website, to find out more, find out how your car did.

Another potential problem with a toy made in China. Marvel Enterprises stopped shipments of Curious George toys pending tests to figure out whether or not they contained illegally high amounts of lead.

Also the State Department may cut back or completely phase out private security guards in Iraq, like Blackwater USA contractors. The Associated Press is reporting that one of the responses being considered to the shooting in September, where Blackwater is accused of killing 17 civilians, is again to tell all security firms they cannot operate there.


ROBERTS: Eight minutes to the top of the hour.

Heart attack rumors topping your "Quick Hits" now. Bobby Brown's attorney says the singer is recovering from a mild heart attack. But Brown says he didn't have a heart attack. He just went to the hospital for a pre-tour checkup.

A change of tune for Madonna. Media reports say the 49-year-old singer is close to leaving Warner Brothers Records. She's worked with the label since debut album in 1983. Madonna now reportedly in talks with concert promoter Live Nation for an unprecedented $120 million deal that includes cash, stock and three studio albums.

The Spears-Federline custody case will be back in court this morning just a week after Spears was forced to give up her children.

The latest crash tests show your SUV may not be as safe as some cars. We'll have the results ahead on "AMERICAN MORNING."


ROBERTS: Defense Secretary Robert Gates outlines the fighting force of the future. That tops your "Quick Hits" now. In a speech, Gates said the Army of the future will need to focus on training militaries, mastering other languages and customs, and learning to fight insurgent forces. Also to bolster current forces, the "Washington Post" reports that Gates has OK'd cash bonuses of up to $35,000 to retain young officers in key specialties.

The Pentagon says 180,000 recruits joined up in the past year. The U.S. armed forces will have enough troops to meet their needs. Officials concede the numbers include fewer African-Americans and high school graduates and more people with legal problems.

Prince William will serve in the Royal Navy and Air Force next year, according to Prince Charles' office. He'll start after completing duty as Armored Reconnaissance Troop leader with the Household Calvary Regiment. The new attachments are primarily designed to help the 25-year-old prince become familiar with the Royal Navy and with the RAF.

CHETRY: Here's a look at a story coming up you can't miss. Howard K. Stern, Anna Nicole Smith's long time companion, is suing over the book "Blonde Ambition" that was written by Rita Cosby to the tune of $60 million, and spoke to Larry King last night about it.

What is he charging and what is he planning to do about it? We'll have that coming up here.

The next hour of "AMERICAN MORNING" begins right now.

CHETRY: Possible pullout. Talk this morning that the Marines may move out of Iraq and into Afghanistan.

Cries for help.


BEATRICE BROWN, MOTHER OF STUDENT: There's a shooting at Success Tech Academy and my son is trapped in one of the classrooms.


CHETRY: The dramatic calls after a school shooting in Ohio.

And a new eye on missed signs in a teen gunman.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You get pushed and pushed and pushed and sometimes you go over the edge.


Plus shocking news. Dramatic new crash test results on SUV safety, on this "AMERICAN MORNING."

Welcome. Thanks for being with us on this Thursday, October 11th. I'm Kiran Chetry.

ROBERTS: And good morning to you. I'm John Roberts.

Why did he do it, and could he have been stopped. Schools in Cleveland will be closed today after a 14-year-old gunman opened fire at his high school. Police identified him overnight as 14-year-old Asa Coon. They say he entered the school with two revolvers and fired eight shots. He appeared to be targeting teachers after he was suspended earlier this week for getting into a fight. Two teachers and two students were shot. All survived. The gunman killed himself.

Late last, night police released some of the calls to 911. Let's take a listen.


911: 911, what is your emergency?

BROWN: Yes, there is a shooting at Success Tech Academy and my son is trapped in one of the classrooms.

911: OK, ma'am, we have cars on the way over there, OK? Your son is trapped in a room you said?

BROWN: Yes. Yes, in a classroom.

911: OK, I'm sorry -- calm down, OK? Where's he calling you from?

BROWN: He's calling from his classroom from a cell phone that only has fifteen minutes on it.

911: OK. Ma'am, does anybody know who's doing the shooting there?

BROWN: No. He's in the back but they just shot somebody in his room and he doesn't want me to come up there because he doesn't know where the shooter actually is.

911: OK, you have any idea what room he's in?

BROWN: No. I forgot to ask him.

911: OK.


ROBERTS: Police say the 14-year-old gunman had a juvenile record, including an arrest for domestic violence last year. And according to Juvenile Court records obtained by a local Cleveland newspaper, Coon was suspended last year for trying to injure a student. Records also show he threatened to commit suicide last year while in a mental health center. One student said Coon had made threats in front of students and teachers last week but no one took him seriously. The school is equipped with metal detectors but students say they were rarely used.

This morning we're hearing from neighbors of the young gunman. They were clearly stunned but didn't seem overly surprised that the 14-year-old snapped.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE, NEIGHBOR: He was a good person. He never -- I don't know why he did what he did. Couldn't tell you. Pushed too far, that's all I could think of. You get pushed and pushed and pushed, and sometimes you go over the edge.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I don't know, I ain't justifying nothing. I ain't saying he did the right thing. But I'm saying he got pushed for a long time and asked the people to help, help, help, help.