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AMERICAN MORNING

Church Shootings: Police See Possible Connection; Winfrey Campaigns for Obama; Questions for CIA Regarding Interrogation Tapes

Aired December 10, 2007 - 06:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


VERONICA DE LA CRUZ, CO-ANCHOR: And I'm Veronica De La Cruz. Kiran Chetry is off today. Good morning to you.
JOHN ROBERTS, CNN ANCHOR: Good to see you here. This would be fun.

DE LA CRUZ: I'm excited to be here. It's going to be fun.

ROBERTS: You'll get your exercise this morning. I tell you. All right.

New developments in this morning in those two shootings in Colorado. Police say another person, a fourth, died overnight. Investigators are working off of the theory that the shootings may be related. And overnight, police executed a search warrant at a home in Inglewood, Colorado.

The first shooting happened in Arvada. That's a northwest suburb of Denver. The second, several hours later, at the New Life Church in Colorado Springs some 80 miles to the south. It all happened just after midnight on Sunday when a man wearing a black jacket killed two people at a missionary center in Arvada. He had asked if he could spend the night at the mission. When he was told no, he started shooting.

Then about 12 hours later in Colorado Springs, at any mega church where about 7,000 people had just attended a service, a man dressed in black opened fire, killing two people before a security guard shot and killed him.

Ed Lavandera is live in front of the church for us this morning in Colorado Springs with more. Ed, is there anything more on this potential connection between these two crimes?

ED LAVANDERA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Not so far this morning. Police in both cities in Arvada and here in Colorado Springs, authorities say that both law enforcement entities are comparing notes this morning, and as you mentioned, they do say that there is reason to believe the shootings might be connected but nothing official at this point in shootings that turned a quiet Sunday morning of worship into a nightmare.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

LAVANDERA (voice-over): It's just after midnight Sunday morning, when police say a man who looks to be about 20 years old wearing dark clothing enters the youth with the mission center in the Denver suburb of Arvada. He asks for a place to spend the night but is turned down. The man then starts shooting at a group of people inside who had been cleaning up after a banquet. Two mission center workers are killed, two others wounded.

SUSAN MEDINA, ARVADA POLICE SPOKESMAN: He may have a beard or a mustache. He may be wearing glasses, and we believe he might be wearing a dark-colored skull cap or beanie as it's known.

LAVANDERA: The gunman escapes. Police search dogs can't hunt the killer down in the snowy darkness. Then almost 13 hours later and about 80 miles to the south in Colorado Springs, another attack. A gunman who fits the same general description opens fire on worshipers, leaving Sunday morning services at the New Life mega church.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: OK.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Let's go. Come on.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He shot me in the arm.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We just heard screaming and people running through the cafe eating area, and so some of us got to see what's going on, because it kind of sounded like there was a fight, and then we just hear gunshots. And then, we just like, oh, my gosh, what do I do next?

LAVANDERA: But the shooter didn't get away. A New Life Church security guard takes control, shooting and killing the attacker. But authorities still aren't saying if the same man is responsible for the deadly rampage.

CHIEF DON WICK, ARVADA POLICE: We are not in a place to confirm any information about any possible similarities to these incidents being widely reported throughout the media, and I'm asking that all of our communities be vigilant until we determine who's responsible for these crimes.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LAVANDERA: Now, as we've mentioned, the shooter in both cases appeared to be dressed alike. But one, the discrepancy in the shooting that in the Arvada shooting near Denver, a handgun was used. In the shooting here in Colorado Springs, a rifle was used.

And also, one other development here overnight, we have learned that authorities in another suburb of Denver and Inglewood are executing a search warrant at a home. Not a lot of details on that at this point, but we are under the impression it is in connection and related to one of the shootings. Not exactly sure which, but that's what's going on here overnight. We'll continue to monitor that in the hours ahead -- John.

ROBERTS: So, Ed, the gunman there in Colorado Springs was killed by a security guard at the church. Any idea when police may identify him? LAVANDERA: Oh, hopefully there -- we'll get that in the next couple of hours. We understand we're expecting a news conference with officials here in Colorado Springs investigators earlier this morning.

ROBERTS: All right. Ed Lavandera for us this morning following this breaking story in Colorado Springs. Thanks, Ed, we'll get back to you as soon as we can -- Veronica.

DE LA CRUZ: We're also following extreme weather this morning. A deadly ice storm affecting millions of Americans from the southern plains to the Great Lakes. Only six traffic desk reported on the streets of Oklahoma. I (INAUDIBLE) to see Chris working overnight to clear two sections of I-40. The interstate, so slick and treacherous, it had to be closed temporarily. Forecasters say ice storm warnings are in effect over the next couple of days.

Also power outages, another problem. More than 130,000 homes across four states are without electricity this morning. Thick ice knocking down power lines. Parts of Missouri reporting ice almost an inch thick in some places. That state's governor has declared a state of emergency.

And ice on the ground means trouble in the air. Chicago's O'Hare Airport canceling more than 400 flights, and that is leading to a domino effect of delays across the country. Airports in Kansas City and St. Louis are having the same problems and the trouble is nowhere near over. The system is moving east.

Rob Marciano off today. Jacqui Jeras is at our weather update desk, and she is tracking extreme weather. More of the same today, Jacqui?

JACQUI JERAS, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Yes, you know, it's unbelievable, Veronica. We've got a series of disturbances moving in from the southwest through the plains states, into the Ohio valley and into the northeast. So this entire week really is going to be ugly for so many people and even when this ice stops, the freezing temperatures are going to be remaining.

And when you're talking about more than 100,000 people without power, that's some uncomfortable conditions throughout much of the week. This is where we have the ice storm warnings in effect in this dark purple area. In the lighter pink there, you can see near Lubbock, Texas, and also up towards Cleveland, Ohio, that's where we have freezing rain advisories so the accumulations are going to be lesser there.

It's been an incredible day along the I-44 corridor. The last 24 hours really, the freezing rain has been continuing to come down. Some spotty conditions right now into the Oklahoma City area. From Tulsa extending up towards Springfield, this is where the biggest ice accumulations have been. In fact, as much as three inches has been reported and numerous towns are without power. Like entire cities of, you know, 500 to 5,000 people, there are at least a dozen from up there waking up without power this morning. Just to put in perspective, Veronica, take a look at this piece of paper. I measured it out. This is three inches wide. So imagine a tree branch or a power line with ice this thick on top of it.

DE LA CRUZ: Yes. Definitely a big problem for lots of people. Jacqui Jeras in the CNN weather center. Jacqui, thank you so much. We'll check back with you in a bit. Send it back to you, John.

ROBERTS: Thanks, Veronica. Coming up to seven minutes after the hour, new this morning. Funerals will be held today for some of the eight victims of last week's mall shooting in Omaha.

Flowers, signs and balloons cover a makeshift memorial outside of the Von Maur department store. We're also hearing from families who lost loved ones at the hands of suicidal gunman Robert Hawkins. 48- year-old Gary Scharfe's ex-wife sent these family photos to CNN. The divorced couple were planning to remarry. Scharfe was shopping for Christmas presents when he was gunned down. His sister says he called 911 after he heard the first few shots and then got in front of other people and shielded them from the bullets.

Football start Michael Vick will be sentenced today. He could get up to five years in prison for financing a dog fighting ring. Two of Vick's codefendants got 18 months and 21 months. And for the first time, we're getting a look at Vick's house in Virginia where the dog fighting took place. It's going to be sold at auction later on this week.

A developer bought the house and fixed it up but left some of the remnants of the dog fighting operation in the back yard including rusty cages and syringes.

Democratic presidential candidate Joseph Biden wants an independent prosecutor, not the attorney general to investigate the CIA's destruction of interrogation tapes. Biden says Attorney General Michael Mukasey should not be involved because during his confirmation hearings, he could not say if waterboarding was torture.

The destroyed tapes include hundreds of hours of interrogation of two top Al Qaeda members back in 2002. CIA Director Michael Hayden will face questions about the interrogation methods tomorrow when we appears before the Senate intelligence committee.

No major fireworks at the Republican Spanish language debate last night. Border security was the main issue with candidates noticeably toning down their anti-illegal immigration talk. Arizona Senator John McCain had warned in the past that strong rhetoric on illegal immigration would drive away Hispanic voters. McCain is the only Republican candidate who favors creating a path to citizenship for illegal immigrants.

Oprah Winfrey says she is beginning to like life on the campaign trail. Tens of thousands of fans packed rallies in the early voting states of Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina this weekend, as Oprah tries to turn the Illinois senator into a political best seller. Winfrey told voters that Obama's lack of political experience doesn't mean he won't make a good president -- Veronica.

DE LA CRUZ: Well, Al Gore will pick up his Nobel Peace Prize today. Gore will receive his award at a ceremony on Oslo, Norway, the next hour. But like Jerry Lewis in France and David Hasselhoff in Germany, Al Gore seems to be more popular in Europe than he is here in the United States.

Our Miles O'Brien joins us now from Oslo to try to explain why that is. Good morning to you, Miles.

MILES O'BRIEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Veronica. I'm live at Oslo City Hall. It's right behind me there. In a little less than an hour, Al Gore and the group of scientists responsible which is responsible for studying climate change will accept the Nobel Peace Prize. It's interesting. The Peace Prize is a --

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

MILES O'BRIEN (voice-over): It's a long way from Oslo to Peoria, and Al Gore is sure playing better over there.

OLE DANBOLT MJOS, NOBEL COMMITTEE CHAIRMAN: One of the worst leading environmentalist politicians.

O'BRIEN: Than he is here.

CHRIS HORNER, COMPETITIVE ENTERPRISE INSTITUTE: Al Gore is the embodiment of wretched excess.

O'BRIEN: That's global warming skeptic, Chris Horner. He is no fan of Gore, that's for sure.

HORNER: He clearly is more popular there than here. But as you open, so is Jerry Lewis.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, "THE NUTTY PROFESSOR")

JERRY LEWIS, ACTOR: I do have some very essential matters that I must take care of.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O'BRIEN: Jerry Lewis? Could Al Gore share something in common with the nutty professor, loved mostly overseas? Well, it all comes down to politics. And many Americans view the Nobel Prize through a political prism, so says CNN senior political analyst Bill Schneider.

WILLIAM SCHNEIDER, SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: There are a lot of sophisticated Americans and certainly, a lot of people in Washington understand that there's a lot of politics in the Nobel Prize, particularly the Nobel Peace Prize.

O'BRIEN: In Europe, not so much.

PETER KELLNER, PRESIDENT, YOUGOV: Our company can't think of an occasion where anybody has said the Nobel committee is up to no good. O'BRIEN: British pollster Peter Kellner also says Europeans are less likely to question science and scientists, and 90 percent of Europeans believe global warming is a clear and present danger. Americans are split down the middle. Oh, and speaking of that, there's one more factor to throw into the mix.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's those northern Europeans doing what northern European politicians want to do and that is engage in anti- Bush symbolism.

O'BRIEN: Bush's approval rating in Europe, about 12 percent to 15 percent. Al Gore may be the nutty professor, but whichever side of the ocean he is on, he is still faring better than the man who beat him seven years ago.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

O'BRIEN: Back now in Oslo, there was a kid's concert here just a little while ago. Here are some of the kids. They're having a good time here. They're day off from school here on Nobel Prize day. Take a look at -- give me a little space here.

Take a look at some of the newspapers here. This is all Norwegian today, but this is the story. The only mildly critical story here says that Al Gore has just made a lot of money off "An Inconvenient Truth" is all a piece about the security detail for the prince and princess getting some extra money.

This is a story about the Norwegian prime minister giving a lot of money for rainforest support. And then inside the paper, there's a huge excerpt of "An Inconvenient Truth," the book version. Check out this. Clearly, Al Gore, Veronica, has a receptive crowd here in Norway as he prepares to receive that Nobel Peace Prize. Veronica?

DE LA CRUZ: Clearly. It looks like you are having lots of fun as well. Miles O'Brien there in Oslo, Norway, thanks.

Vice president Gore will receive his award in our next hour, around 7:25 Eastern. We're going to be turning that live as well. His acceptance speech, that is scheduled for 8:00 a.m. Eastern. And if you have a question for Al Gore, you can e-mail us. Send your question to CNN.com/ireport. And CNN's Jonathan Mann asks your question. That's at 11:00 a.m. Eastern live on CNN.com -- John.

ROBERTS: We're looking forward to all of that.

DE LA CRUZ: Yes.

ROBERTS: This week all eyes are on the fed and another possible cut in interest rates. Our Ali Velshi is at the business desk with that. What's the betting, Ali? Is it going to cut rates again, or is this mortgage relief perhaps take the pressure off of that?

ALI VELSHI, CNN CORRESPONDENT: No. It took some of the pressure of, but really, it does look like we'll get some rate cut. You know, every six weeks or so, John, the fed decides on interest rates, and this is the meeting they're at tomorrow. They'll make a decision that will come out around 2:15 p.m. Eastern time, and most people are expecting 0.25 percent percentage point cut in the prime rate, which means 0.25 of a percentage point cut in your interest rates in the prime rate.

Let's take a look at how markets did last week, which will probably have some influence on what the fed decides. The Dow, the Nasdaq and the S&P, all up more than 1.5 percent, which isn't a bad game for a week. Also, considering we've had some rough weeks in the past six weeks or so. Now, here is the important thing.

Where are these markets for a year? If you were invested in any of these broad indices, where are you for the year on the Dow? You're up almost 10 percent. Not bad on the Nasdaq, better than 12 percent. The S&P 500 which is the broadest is not as much of a gain. So the fed is going to be taking all of that and housing and unemployment and every economic indicator into account tomorrow, and we will be live with that decision and what it means to your interest rates and your money generally -- John.

ROBERTS: It's been a rough ride to get there but, hey, the journey is half the fun. Right, Ali?

VELSHI: That's right. Exactly.

ROBERTS: All right. We'll see you soon, thanks. Veronica?

DE LA CRUZ: Oh, when it says steel, bent like a banana is exactly like it was. A super unit explosion fueled by fireworks. Now, investigators are sifting through tons of rubble for the tiniest piece of evidence.

And she is the queen of daytime, but can she rein in the votes for Barack Obama? Taking a look at Oprah's voter influence straight ahead on AMERICAN MORNING.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

DE LA CRUZ: Sixteen minutes after the hour. A train derailment in India, topping your "Quick Hits" now. Cranes being used to remove the wrecked train cars. One person was killed, 49 injured. Police are investigating the cause of the derailment.

And three major wildfires burning right now in Australia's Kangaroo Island. Five hundred firefighters have been brought in to fight the fire. The area has been declared a danger zone. Firefighters think it could take several days to get the flames under control.

And the space shuttle "Atlantis" will not launch until the New Year. A fuel gauge glitch forced mission controllers to delay, and fuel sensors weren't the only problem. The shuttle was also attacked by a giant spider. At least -- yes, that's how it looked on NASA's camera, walking over a live picture of the launch pad. John, I guess you can add exterminator to the list of pre-flight check for January's launch now. ROBERTS: Look at that. Incredible.

Oprah Winfrey speaks to tens of thousands of Barack Obama supporters over the weekend. Will her star power translate to votes come primary day, and will it mean more turnout especially among women voters?

Joining us now from Des Moines, Iowa, CNN political analyst and slate.com, John Dickerson. So, John, how is Oprahpalooza, as it's being called, playing there in Iowa?

JOHN DICKERSON, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, everybody is talking about it. It's a big deal. The question for Obama is whether people are talking about it because it's just Oprah or whether people are talking about Oprah and then saying, hey, what about this Obama guy?

She's a phenomenon and it's a big deal, but it's not clear how much of that is going to translate into Obama because politics is about a sustained message and this was a huge burst.

ROBERTS: Yes.

DICKERSON: But what's going to happen next week?

ROBERTS: She took a subtle shot at Hillary Clinton in one of her addresses over the weekend. Let's take a quick listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OPRAH WINFREY, TALK SHOW HOST: I believe that Barack Obama will lead with a sense of strength and conviction with honor and compassion. I've never done this before, but this is what I also know. If you keep on doing the same thing, the same way, all the time, you get the same results.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ROBERTS: So there -- a slight dig at Hillary Clinton. You can see the impact that she has, John, on the audience. But can she actually change people's minds, particularly among women who Obama needs to get into his camp if he wants to win that nomination?

DICKERSON: Well, it's interesting. She said she hasn't done this before, but you heard her lapsing into the cadence of someone who is used to doing this. But Iowa is about convincing voters one at a time on these doorsteps where all the campaigns have volunteers knocking on doors, trying to make the case for their candidate, and that's a conversation that has to do with the way people live their lives and the real things that affect them, and Oprah Winfrey has this.

She's a phenomenon and she does pull a lot of viewers and touches a lot of women. But the question is on that doorstep, does Oprah Winfrey matter when an Obama supporter is trying to convince somebody else to vote for their man? ROBERTS: We'll try to find out about that a little bit more this morning.

On the Republican side of things, Mike Huckabee standing by his statement he made in 1992, where he suggested that people infected with the AIDS virus should have been isolated. He also referred to homosexuality as a "abhorrent, unnatural and sinful lifestyle." It's a somewhat extreme statement compared to what else was being said at the time. Is that going to hurt him, John?

DICKERSON: I'm not sure it's going to hurt him here, at least in Iowa, or with a lot of his supporters who tend to be Christian evangelicals who would share that view with him. In the more general sense, though, you know, he's been the kind of sunny, kind conservative who talks about it. I'm a Conservative. I'm just not angry at anybody.

And those quotes, particularly if they're taken out of context and without his smiling affable way, sound quite a good bit harsher than what we've heard from him so far.

ROBERTS: Right.

DICKERSON: So I'm not sure it hurts him politically in Iowa, but it does change our view of him as a candidate.

ROBERTS: You know, when you look at the national polls now, Mike Huckabee is coming in second. And many of those and you look at his progress, it's almost on a log or rhythmic curve. This is real.

DICKERSON: This is absolutely real. It's not, you know, his opponents used to say, oh, it's just Iowa and this quirky funny little statement. But now, he's doing well nationally. He's doing well in South Carolina and other important state in the progression here of primaries. So he is the first tier candidate and, of course, you can tell that by all of the other campaigns are whacking at him at every turn to try and knock him down now.

ROBERTS: As he had said, if somebody's kicking you in the butt, it means you're out in front of them. John Dickerson for us this morning in Des Moines. John, always good to see you, thanks.

DICKERSON: Thanks so much.

ROBERTS: And that brings us to this morning's "Quick Vote" question. Will celebrity endorsements make a difference in how you vote, which John was just talking about there?

Cast your vote at CNN.com/AM. We'll have the first tally of votes later on in this hour -- Veronica.

DE LA CRUZ: And it is a no show. A fireworks factory explodes, shaking homes and leveling buildings. Take a look at these pictures. Did someone light the fuse?

Plus, a fight at a nightclub and an NBA star in the middle of it all. We have the details ahead on AMERICAN MORNING.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ROBERTS: Twenty-four minutes after the hour now. Welcome back to the most news in the morning. A first in Argentina tops your "Quick Hits". Christina Fernandez will be sworn in as the country's first ever elected female president. She is taking over from her husband, President Nestor Kirchner. It's up there. Fernandez we'll continue his efforts to help the country recover from past economic woes.

And the first major cultural contact between the United States and North Korea. The New York Philharmonic will go to Pyongyang in February. State department officials say the invitation is a promising sign that the country is beginning to open up. The critics say that the trip only legitimizes a brutal regime. The Philharmonic will reportedly play the "Star-Spangled Banner" during its performance.

DE LA CRUZ: Well, it was all caught on tape. Thousands of tons of fireworks exploding all at the same time. A factory packed with gun powder exploding in Australia. Reports from down under say people heard it 20 miles away. The blast damaged all 50 buildings on the storage sight. They also blew out windows and buckled roofs on nearby homes. Investigators are now trying to find out if someone triggered the explosion. They say so far, there is no evidence that anyone was inside at the time.

All right. What do you do when your house is overtaken by a giant wall of snow and ice? Well, you take a picture of it, of course. Check out our "Hot Shot" this morning. Derek Hilt (ph) took these photos of his front door in Granby, Colorado, and he says he can't use the door anymore because it's blocked by this really cool snow and ice sculpture. He said it happens when the weather has been just right. It's been growing for four days and counting, and now he uses the garage to get in and out.

ROBERTS: It's almost looks like a glacier coming off the roof.

DE LA CRUZ: Yes. Kind of nice, I like it. Well, if you out there got a "Hot Shot," make sure you send it to us. The address is amhotshots@CNN.com. Be sure to include your name, where you're from, a little bit about the picture and video. And one more thing, do make sure that the image is yours and not someone else's -- John.

ROBERTS: An NBA star in hot water after another late night bar incident. Now, his team is demanding answers and police are on the case. Plus, police think there may be a link between the two shootings in Colorado yesterday. That story and today's headlines when AMERICAN MORNING returns.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

DE LA CRUZ: Good morning and welcome back. Twenty-nine minutes after the hour now. We're looking at some slick roads there in St. Louis, Missouri. Travelers there have lots to contend with this morning, all that ice on the roadways. Tens of thousands of people still without power as the governor there is declaring a state of emergency. Definitely, a mess out there.

It's Monday, December 10th. It is nice to see you. I'm Veronica De La Cruz in today for Kiran Chetry.

ROBERTS: Good morning, good to see you. I'm John Roberts. New this morning, Al Gore is in Oslo, Norway, this morning, where he will pick up his Nobel Peace Prize in the next hour for his efforts to bring attention to climate change.

We'll have live coverage of the ceremony and carry the vice presidents Nobel's acceptance speech when it happens. It sets around 8:00 a.m. Eastern. Al Gore, by the way, will be joining us live later on this morning at CNN.com. If you have a question for him, e-mail us. Send us your question at CNN.com/ireport. CNN's Jonathan Mann will be asking your questions to the former vice president at 11:00 a.m. Eastern. Again, live on CNN.com.

That oil spill in the Yellow Sea has South Korea preparing to declare a coastal disaster area. Oily sludge has fouled 31 miles of beach so far in an area that depends on fishing and tourism. More than 10,000 tons of oil leaked from a tanker on Friday when it was hit by a drifting barge.

A man accused of faking his own death for the insurance money is due in court today. British police say 57-year-old John Darwin showed up at a police station last week, five years after they thought he had drowned on a canoeing trip. His wife is also back in England and being questioned. She had been in Panama.

Darwin claims he doesn't remember what happened -- Veronica.

DE LA CRUZ: Well, this morning, Michael Vick will find out how long he has to stay in jail. Vick turned himself in and is already serving time for his role in an illegal dogfighting ring that could get as much as five years, but two of his codefendants was already sentenced. One got 18 months, the other 21 months.

And shots fired at the car of a pro athlete. Indiana Pacers guard Jamaal Tinsley was leaving a club in Indianapolis early Sunday morning with a group of friends when another group gathered around his car.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SGT. PAUL THOMPSON, INDIANAPOLIS POLICE DEPT.: There was a group around his Rolls-Royce that were making comments about the expense of the car or perhaps how much Mr. Tinsley made. This is about the place in time that the shots were fired from a dark blue pickup truck with an assault rifle that struck two of the three vehicles that Mr. Tinsley had in his group.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

DE LA CRUZ: Tinsley was riding in a Rolls-Royce, and his friends were behind him in two other cards when they noticed they were being followed. So they pulled into a hotel parking lot. That's when the shooting started.

At least eight shots from an assault rifle hitting two of the cars. That's according to police. One member of Tinsley's party was shot in both arms but he has already been released from the hospital -- John.

ROBERTS: A wave of attacks this morning in Baghdad one day after Iraq's defense minister promised to crack down on an insurgent stronghold. Mortars slammed into a prison killing seven inmates. Another mortar hit an oil refinery, setting it on fire. Three civilians were wounded by mortars in central Baghdad.

There was also a drive-by shooting and a roadside bomb attack,. It all happened around 8:00 local time this morning.

Also new this morning, The Associated Press is reporting the United States and Iran will hold a meeting to discuss Iraq on December the 18th. The news comes as British troops prepare to hand over security responsibility of the port city of Basra. Prime Minister Gordon Brown, visiting troops in Iraq, says the transfer to Iraqi forces will happen within two weeks.

DE LA CRUZ: All right. We go back now to Colorado, where police there believe there is a link between two shootings yesterday.

Two people were killed at a mission in a Denver suburb early Sunday morning. Later that morning, two more people were killed in a shooting at a megachurch in Colorado Springs. A security guard at the church eventually shot and killed the shooter.

Our Ed Lavandera is in front of the church in Colorado Springs this morning with more on this developing story.

Ed, what can you tell us?

ED LAVANDERA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Veronica.

Well, here in Colorado, not only all of the parishioners here at the New Life Church in Colorado Springs, but the entire religious community of Colorado, anxiously trying to figure out if these two shootings are connected, these two Sunday shootings, if indeed they are connected. Investigators here in Colorado Springs and in the Denver suburb of Arvada say they are comparing notes to try to figure out if indeed that is the case.

The gunman in the first shooting escaped. They weren't able to track him down. But as you mentioned, the gunman here at this shooting here in Colorado Springs was shot and killed by a female security guard at the church. And so as investigators continue to try to figure out if these shootings are connected, they're saying they still need to gather a lot of information.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) CHIEF RICHARD MYERS, COLORADO SPRINGS POLICE: We are working directly with the Arvada Police Department to explore if there is any possible link to the incident that they had.

Colorado Springs police are requesting that any witnesses to this incident who were here today that have not already directly been interviewed by an investigator, to please contact us.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LAVANDERA: Now, witnesses in the Arvada shooting and witnesses here in the Colorado Springs shooting described the gunman as looking very similar. However, in both of those shootings, police say different guns were used. A handgun was used in Arvada, and here in Colorado Springs, a rifle was used.

Clearly, that's a piece of evidence and a conflicting piece of evidence that investigators are trying to sift through here this morning. And we hope to learn a lot more here in the coming hours. Investigators here in Colorado Springs are planning a news conference for later on this morning -- Veronica.

DE LA CRUZ: All right.

Our Ed Lavandera there in Colorado Springs, Colorado.

Ed, thank you.

ROBERTS: Flu vaccines for preschoolers tops your "Quick Hits."

New Jersey's Public Health Council will decide today whether to require them by law. A lot of parents are furious about the idea. They are concerned about the possible negative side effects of the vaccine. If approved, New Jersey would be the first state to make preschool flu vaccines mandatory.

And some pretty alarming news about the security of your identity. According to the "USA Today" newspaper, thieves are stealing personal data from companies, colleges and government agencies in unprecedented amounts. More than 162 million records have been reported lost or stolen this year alone. It's tripled the amount that went missing last year.

Well, hurricane season in overtime, a tropical storm threat 10 days after it was all supposed to be over. Could it hit home for the holidays? We'll have the forecast for you coming up.

And will Oprah Winfrey bring in big vote numbers? Democratic presidential hopeful Barack Obama hopes so, especially women who never voted before.

We'll take a look at that, ahead on AMERICAN MORNING.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

DE LA CRUZ: Thirty-eight minutes after the hour. Welcome back to the most news in the morning.

A tropical disturbance in December topping our "Quick Hits" now.

Forecasters say the system off Puerto Rico could become a tropical storm, even though the Atlantic hurricane season ended more than a week ago. It would be the 15th named storm of the extended season.

And snow in southern California. I-Reporter Christopher Nelson sent these pictures in from Big Bear Lake in San Bernardino County, elevation there 7,500 feet, definitely a winter wonderland. His car though was completely snowed in. He says the snow is actually a little late this year. It usually starts coming down in October.

And it is pretty, nevertheless.

(WEATHER REPORT)

ROBERTS: It's 41 minutes after the hour. She has gone from her book club to the Obama club. She can sell books, no question, but can she sell politics? And will her whirlwind weekend of campaigning for Obama in Iowa, South Carolina and New Hampshire result in votes, particularly among women who have not participated in the primaries before?

CNN's Suzanne Malveaux is at one of their weekend campaign stops. She joins us live from Columbia, South Carolina.

I imagine this morning there's a lingering buzz from yesterday's appearance, but will that translate into votes? That's the big question, Suzanne.

SUZANNE MALVEAUX, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: That is the big question. And really, John, Oprah's star power comes from the fact that she talks to, speaks to nine million viewers a day. Seventy-five percent of those viewers are women. And the big question is whether or not that is going to translate to votes for Obama. That is a group that he is desperately fighting for.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

MALVEAUX (voice over): Whether you saw it as Oprahloosa or Obamamania, it was contagious.

OPRAH WINFREY, TALK SHOW HOST: It's Obama time!

MALVEAUX: The talk show diva and billionaire businesswoman Oprah Winfrey throwing all her star power behind him.

WINFREY: That moment is now.

MALVEAUX: It was the largest crowd ever for Barack Obama, 29,000 in this South Carolina stadium.

The pull?

TERRI BRANDON, MOTHER: I came for Oprah, hoping to hear something good from Obama. And I think I did.

MALVEAUX: And that's just fine with the Obama campaign. Oprah fans Terri Brandon and Jamie Dees (ph) were like many in the audience, Obama's aides say, first-timers, voters who had never been to an Obama event, nor voted in a primary, who came out of curious.

Beverly and James Murphy drove two hours to attend the rally and heard just what they needed to go for Obama.

BEVERLY MURPHY, VOTER: She said now is the time. She said now is the time.

JAMES MURPHY, VOTER: We also said, you know (INAUDIBLE), I'm going to do it.

MALVEAUX: These are the voters Obama and his closest rival, Senator Hillary Clinton, are fighting over. In Iowa, the greatest competition is over white women over 50. In South Carolina, it's young African-American women, like Tonya Thompson, a registered Democrat who came undecided and left undecided.

TONYA THOMPSON, UNDECIDED VOTER: Think I know Hillary a little bit more. You know, she's been around for a long time, so, you know, I know more about her and what she stands for and, you know, her ideals. And so with Barack, he's a new, fresh face.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

MALVEAUX: And John, even Oprah joked that she wasn't giving out free cars or refrigerators. If you came for that, you weren't going to get it. But what she did do is that she certainly opened up this opportunity, even this moment for Barack Obama to capture the attention here and to deliver his message. But his aides know that's going to be hard work to translate into votes. But what they did do, they used it as really an organizational tool. They took down addresses, names, telephone numbers of all of those folks in that stadium to follow up to try to convince them that he's their guy -- John.

ROBERTS: Yes. In other places they're actually using those lists, I guess, to get people to work for them as well. So, interesting strategy they got there.

Suzanne Malveaux for us this morning in South Carolina.

Suzanne, thanks.

That bring us to this morning's "Quick Vote" question. Will celebrity endorsements make a difference in how you vote?

Cast your vote at CNN.com/am. Right now, 20 percent of you say, yes, it will make a difference, but 80 percent say, no, it doesn't matter.

We'll continue to update the results throughout the morning -- Veronica. (NEWSBREAK)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

DE LA CRUZ: There are new questions this morning over the destruction of those interrogation videotapes by the CIA. Officials say the White House and the Justice Department advised the agency not to destroy the tapes. So why did they do it anyway? That's what the CIA, the Justice Department and members of Congress are all investigating.

CNN's senior legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin joins us now this morning.

Jeffrey, thanks so much for joining us today.

JEFFREY TOOBIN, CNN SR. LEGAL ANALYST: Good morning.

DE LA CRUZ: It's nice to see you.

So, say you're Director Michael Hayden. He's expected to testify before Congress tomorrow. Let's just break this down for a second. How ugly could this get for the CIA?

TOOBIN: Well, this could certainly lead to criminal charges based on what we know now, but there are a lot of facts that will determine that, that we don't know. And the key issue is, what was requested of the CIA? What specific documents, tapes were asked of them, and when? The timing's going to be very important, because if you destroy something that later turns out to be requested, that's not a crime.

DE LA CRUZ: That's obstruction.

TOOBIN: Well, it's not obstruction if you do it before there's been any requests. So the question is, when were they asked for what?

DE LA CRUZ: All right. So we're looking at the timing here.

Now, Hayden says the tapes were destroyed because they weren't relevant and also because they could identify certain CIA employees, you know, who might be at risk of retaliation by militants.

Do you think that investigators are going to buy this?

TOOBIN: Well, that's not a legitimate reason to destroy something that has been requested by a government authority, whether it's the 9/11 Commission or the court in the Moussaoui case, because it's not up to the holder of the document to make that decision. If you have something that's subpoenaed and you think it's very sensitive, what you do is you go to the judge and say, look, if I turn this over, there could be terrible consequences, and the judge oftentimes will say, OK, I accept that explanation. But you can't make that decision secretly and unilaterally and then say after the fact, well, I made that decision. It's just not legal. DE LA CRUZ: You know, the bottom line here is that the tapes have been destroyed. So what do you think the impact will be on current and future cases?

TOOBIN: Well, you know, probably not that much. Moussaoui actually pled guilty and then won his penalty phase. He got the -- he got life in prison, not the death penalty, so there were no bad consequences to him. The only legal proceeding in his case was the penalty phase and he actually won that.

DE LA CRUZ: Right. And future cases?

TOOBIN: Well, you know, it's hard to say, because I don't think there are any pending legal cases where these documents would be relevant, but I think the CIA is facing a real institutional problem. If they are shown to have just destroyed documents that were being requested, or documents or tapes, that could lead to really serious consequences for the individuals involved. And the institution, which has had a very rough few years, could be in for more trouble.

DE LA CRUZ: Yes. Interesting to see how it's all going to play out.

Jeffrey Toobin, our CNN senior legal analyst.

Always nice to see you. Thank you so much.

TOOBIN: Nice to be here.

(NEWSBREAK)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

DE LA CRUZ: Welcome back to the most news in the morning.

An online stampede forcing an Olympic ticket system meltdown in China. Sales have now restarted with a few changes. Instead of first come, first serve, it's now a lottery.

People also have the option of filling out a handwritten application for the '08 Beijing games at a Bank of China branch, but the ticket limit has been knocked back from 50 to just about eight. Tickets are already reporting going for thousands of dollars on the black market.

ROBERTS: The original limit was 50? Boy, we thought Ticketmaster was bad.

(BUSINESS REPORT)

(NEWSBREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

ROBERTS (voice over): Overnight raid. Police look for clues in the shootings at two Colorado places of worship. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We saw somebody shooting. They turned around and shot at us.

ROBERTS: This morning, the search for a connection and the rising death toll.

Global award. Former vice president Al Gore picks up his Nobel Peace Prize, live.

Plus, ice belt. From the Southern Plains to the Great Lakes, a treacherous line of ice and freezing rain heads east on this AMERICAN MORNING.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ROBERTS: A lot of problems all across the Midwest this morning. We'll keep you updated on all of that.

Welcome back. It's Monday, December the 10th.

I'm John Roberts.

DE LA CRUZ: And I'm Veronica de la Cruz. Kiran Chetry is off today.

It's nice to be here.

ROBERTS: It's great to see you here. Well, you're always here every day, but it's nice to sit beside you for three complete hours.

DE LA CRUZ: And you know, you're right, I'm getting a workout today. Lots of moving around.

ROBERTS: You will. It's a good deal.

New developments this morning in those shootings in Colorado. Overnight, police executed a search warrant at a home in Englewood. Police say there is reason to believe that the shootings may be related. And a fourth victim died overnight.

The first shooting happened in Arvada. It's a northwest suburb of Denver. The second, several hours later at the New Life Church in Colorado Springs. That's about 80 miles to the south.

The first shooting happened just after midnight on Sunday at a Youth With a Mission in Arvada. A man wearing a black jacket asked if he could spend a night at the mission. When he was told no, he started shooting.

About 12 hours later in Colorado Springs, about 7,000 people had just attend a church service when a man dressed in black opened fire. A security guard shot and killed him.

Our Ed Lavandera joins us now from Colorado Springs with the very latest in this case.

Good morning, Ed.

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