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Violence Breaks Out Across Ukraine; V. Stiviano Speaks Out; First Case of Deadly MERS Virus Hits U.S.; Malaysia Airlines Closes Hotel Support Centers; Bad Behavior in Sports; Sterling's Legal Options to Battle NBA; Storms Caused Tornadoes and Flooding; Remembering Kent State

Aired May 3, 2014 - 11:00   ET


CHRISTI PAUL, CNN HOST: All right. So we hope you make some great memories today -- beautiful Saturday. Thank you so much for spending part of your day with us.

VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN HOST: But stay with us because there's so much more in the NEWSROOM as we hand it off to our colleague and friend, Fredricka Whitfield.

FREDRICKA WHITFIELD: I received that -- no, wrong side. Here we go. Got it.

Thank you. All right. Good to see you guys. Have a great one.

PAUL: You, too.


WHITFIELD: We have got lots straight ahead in the beginning of the 11:00 Eastern hour. It begins right now in the NEWSROOM.

All right. Up first -- fast moving developments in Ukraine. A tense standoff over a team of abducted observers ends, but the threat of civil war as troops face-off with pro-Russian militants.

And in the U.S. the controversy over embattled L.A. Clippers owner Donald Sterling heats up. The woman who recorded his racist rant breaks her silence defending his character and describing the nature of their personal relationship.

Plus, a deadly respiratory virus that has infected hundreds in the Middle East is now in the United States. Hear what health officials are saying about the first U.S. case of the MERS virus.

People warned to stay in their homes and off the streets today in a city in Ukraine -- Eastern Ukraine. A video posted on YouTube shows a bus burning in the road. It is just another sign of violence plunging the divided country even deeper into crisis. And in that same city, Ukrainian forces seen rolling in earlier today one after the other.

CNN cannot confirm the authenticity of either video, but our crews in Ukraine have seen the violence firsthand. Nick Paton-Walsh is right in the middle of all of it now. So Nick, there was some positive news today in the midst of all these very terrible stuff when western military observers who had been abducted were actually released.

Give me some more details of all that has been taking place.

NICK PATON WALSH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: -- for eight days the 12-strong team, seven of them foreign military observers and their Ukrainian escorts have been held by the (inaudible) administration of Slavyansk. And they owing apparently the intervention of an aide and envoy from the Kremlin -- they are released and are now said to be in safe hands back with another (inaudible) delegation.

Perhaps the intervention there of Moscow may be a wise PR move on their part to try and get a bit more positive opinion on this sort of pro-Russian protests and militants who have taken over a lot of the towns here in Donetsk.

But Fredricka, where I'm standing is on the outskirts of Kramatorsk and that is where today there has been heavy fighting, we understand where the army moved in a substantial number of armored personnel carriers, pulled in moved towards one of the checkpoints in the outskirts of town.

We understand from medics in the hospital there, that a total of two people were killed today during the clashes and about 15 more injured as well. There are also some people taken to that same hospital we went to from separate clashes on the outskirts of Slavyansk as well.

But bizarrely the mood in the center of Kramatorsk an absolutely normal quiet rural town is also equally, bizarrely, eerily quiet as well. You see behind me here the remains of a protest. That barricade that's been erected and was burned and clearly moved out of way by the advancing army as they came through.

Inside Kramatorsk, despite the claims from the interior minister that they control the TV tower, the security service building you don't see the army at all. They seem to have gone through and moved on somewhere else.

A lot of people angry about their intervention there, a lot of tire fires still burning. And interestingly enough, in fact, the interior minister likes to boast that they have taken the TV tower in Kramatorsk. Well, actually that is a position that they cleared and held yesterday and they seemed to have retreated to it. We saw a number of armored personnel carriers there because they got in trouble lower down -- below that TV tower on the bridge under attack, they say, from Russian militants.

So a really odd series of messages from the interior minister here and they look successful on the ground for the so- called (inaudible) operations -- Fredricka.

WHITFIELD: All right. Nick Paton Walsh, thanks so much, near Slavyansk.

So this violence comes just a few weeks after Ukraine, Russia and Western countries reached a peace deal -- remember that? Now Russia says the deal is dead. The spokesman for President Putin said Ukraine's military movement is the last nail in the coffin.

Matthew Chance is joining us live, right now, from Moscow. So Matthew, it is hard to tell who is really provoking what. Is Putin using the violence as an excuse to toss the deal out the window, push further into Ukraine? What is happening here?

MATTHEW CHANCE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well actually, Fredricka, within the past few minutes there's been a statement issued by the foreign ministry in which Sergey Lavrov, the Russian foreign minister said, look, the Geneva agreement is the best way of deescalating essentially the situation in eastern Ukraine. There's been a telephone conversation between Foreign Minister Lavrov and U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry in which Mr. Lavrov called on the United States to use everything within its power to try and get the Kiev authorities to end their military operations in eastern Ukraine.

This, of course, comes after the terrible deaths that took place in Odessa -- nearly 40 people killed many of them pro-Russian supporters when a government building they were inside was torched by pro-unity, pro-Kiev supporters.

And that's not gone down well at all obviously with the Russians. The Kremlin has condemned that action saying that their condolences are with the victims and the families of the victims; and also saying that Moscow has received thousands of requests from eastern Ukraine for assistance. And that's significant because all along, Moscow has reserved the right to intervene to protect Russian Lives if it sees the need to do so. And the moment there's been no military action yet. They don't see this as something that is a possibility in the days ahead.

WHITFIELD: All right. Matthew Chance, keep us posted. Thank you so much for that new development on that.

And earlier this week, President Putin demanded that Ukraine withdraw its troops from the south eastern region of its own country.

Listen to what the U.S. ambassador to Ukraine had to say about that.


GEOFFREY PYATT, U.S. AMBASSADOR TO UKRAINE: It is Ukraine's place to defend its territory in the face of the instability and the separatist activity that's unfolding in several of these cities in Donetsk and Luhansk. We see it as entirely legitimate that Ukraine is using its own defense forces, acting within the framework of the international law, acting within the framework of its own constitution to get a handle on the security situation. We don't see that as something that Russia should be able to exercise any sort of a veto over.


WHITFIELD: Coming up in the next hour, I'll talk to the man who used to have that job -- the former U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine. I'll ask what he thinks the United States should do next. All right. And now to the controversy surrounding L.A. Clippers owner, Donald Sterling -- it is heating up after the woman who recorded his racist comments came to his defense in an interview with ABC's Barbara Walters.


BARBARA WALTERS, ABC HOST: Is Donald Sterling a racist?


WALTERS: Have you heard him say derogatory things about minorities in general and blacks in particular?

STIVIANO: Absolutely.

WALTERS: You heard him say derogatory things?


WALTERS: Don't they sound racist to you?

STIVIANO: I think the things he says are not what he feels.


WHITFIELD: All right. Deborah Feyerick is covering this story from New York for us. So Deborah, you know, did V. Stiviano make any other explanation in her view for Sterling's comments?

DEBORAH FEYERICK, CNN CORRESPONDENT: You know, this is something that also came out initially when the first audio was released. That they are from a different generation; he is 80 years old, 50 years older than she. He grew up in a very different time period, lived through the 60s. His parents were Holocaust survivors.

So you know, it's really an age thing. She continues to say that no, he doesn't feel like this in his heart. At least she doesn't believe he does. So it's a little bit of a change from the audio tapes in which she keeps questioning him and pushing him. How can you say these things? How can you believe these things? I'm sorry for you -- she didn't say she feels sorry for him.

So it's a little bit different what she is saying now. And she said that he really should apologize for the comments that he's made.


WALTERS: Can you tell me what your relationship with Donald Sterling is?

STIVIANO: I'm Mr. Sterling's right hand arm -- man. I'm Mr. Sterling's everything. I'm his confidante, his best friend, his silly rabbit.

WALTERS: His what?

STIVIANO: His silly rabbit.

WALTERS: Silly rabbit? Is that what he calls you?

STIVIANO: No. I call myself that.


STIVIANO: I joke around and I make him laugh. I do things that some people find very silly or I do things that sometimes people can understand our relationship. I'm his everything.


FEYERICK: You know -- and Fred, when you hear her say, you know, "I'm his everything", whether she was or wasn't, that is what she believed. As a matter of fact, Barbara Walters made it very clear in this interview that the two of them had been together just hours before Stiviano sat down with her. Whatever it was, whether you want to label it and say she was his girlfriend, this was definitely not platonic.

The wife -- the estranged wife alleged there was a sexual relationship and that she was given very expensive gifts by Donald Sterling. A friend says Stiviano described it as a professional relationship. But that same friend also said that she's heard additional audio tapes and seen video.

And that if it wasn't a personal relationship, certainly it crossed the line many, many times and that it was uncomfortable moments to watch sections of the video because the connection that the two of them have, V. Stiviano and Donald Sterling, just seemed so totally inappropriate according to the friend.

Again, it depends what you want to call it. But clearly, it was certainly more than certainly ordinary business relationships -- Fred.

WHITFIELD: All right. Deborah Feyerick, thanks so much. We're going to have much more on V. Stiviano, the relationship, the man, the message and the legal road ahead -- coming up.

Also, we're going to get back to that search for Flight 370. After nearly two months now of waiting at a hotel that offered support to families, the airline tells them it is time to go home. I'll talk to a family member who as there.

And the first case now of the deadly MERS virus hitting the U.S. -- who's got it and how it got here. Next.


WHITFIELD: All right. Welcome back.

And now to a health story that you've got to hear. A deadly virus from the Middle East has spread to the U.S. for the first time. It is called MERS and it stands for Middle East Respiratory Syndrome. The CDC says a man from Indiana was hospitalized after he began experiencing symptoms including shortness of breath, coughing and a fever. Well now officials are trying to figure out how he contracted the virus.

CNN's chief medical correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta has more.

DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Fred, we are getting some more details. We know this is an American. He's someone who works as a health care worker and was doing that job in Saudi Arabia and traveled back from Saudi Arabia through London, Chicago and then took a bus to Indiana.

It was three days after they arrived here that he began to get ill and a day later was in the hospital in isolation. He appears to be in stable condition right, you know, on oxygen but not on a ventilator.

There are still a lot of questions though Fred. I'll tell you, we don't know exactly where this virus comes from. They believe it made a jump from camels to humans.

About three-quarters of single-humped camels in Saudi Arabia have the anti-bodies of this particular virus. They've even found the virus itself in camels over there. But exactly how it gets transmitted -- is it from droplets in camels, spit, could it be camel meat or even unpasteurized camel milk -- they just don't know.

This particular patient appears to be doing well. One-third of patients die from this particular infection. Right now he's just on oxygen and appears to be recovering well in the hospital.

Unlike SARS, which a lot of people think of, this does not appear to spread as easily from human to human. With MERS, we just don't know yet. We're certainly going to keep an eye on things. In many ways Fred, this wasn't unexpected. You have a global air travel system. You have people moving very quickly from country to country. There have been cases in Europe and now he is the first case in the United States. We'll keep an on it Fred. Back to you.

WHITFIELD: All right. Thank you so much. Sanjay Gupta -- appreciate that.

All right. Families of passengers aboard Flight 370 have needed all the help that they can get as they wait for news. Now the airline has closed on of their main support center. A family member speaking out to us next.


WHITFIELD: Three Bangladeshi navy ships are searching the Bay of Bengal for traces of Flight 370 -- that's thousands of miles away from the official search area in the southern Indian Ocean. The ships are operating off a tip from an Australian company that claims to have found possible traces of an underwater airplane wreck in that area. Meanwhile, the heartache grows for the families of the 239 people who were on board. Malaysia airlines closed support centers at the hotel in Beijing. Hundreds of relatives of Chinese passengers have been gathering there for weeks. I want to go to Beijing right now and bring in someone who was there -- Steven Wang, he has become a familiar face in all of this. His mother was on board that plane. He's also now the spokesperson for so many of these families.

Steven, can you take us to that moment that you heard that announcement? What was your initial reaction?

STEVEN WANG, MOTHER WAS PASSENGER ON FLIGHT 370: Well, we are totally disappointed and really angry about the way they are giving us the announcement. You know, they haven't given the preliminary report, the full version to the next of kin. Even today, they have not given it to all of the next of kin. They just simply announced that you have to go back. They will no longer supply for accommodations. That is irresponsible.

And we cannot go home. At time, you give us an answer. What happened to the plane? What happened to our loved ones? With no answer, simply just announcement telling us, that is terrible.

WHITFIELD: And so I'm hearing your feeling is if they would give you more information about the investigation, perhaps there would be a greater understanding of closing the centers, but the centers would be closed first without any real full explanation about what happened. In your view it's very insensitive and it is just not enough.

WANG: Yes, of course, you know. They have told us that there will be a preliminary report given to us. We are really looking forward to it because we may know something useful. They haven't told before, we are really expecting if that thing about -- I know what happened to the plane. But they have told us on May 1st. They did not tell us what is in the report until today.

Three days past, no full version of the report was given to any of the next of kin. We still don't know what happened or what is inside. It was said by my friend who told me what is in the report. It is like five pages -- contains nothing new. They did not mention about turning back.

WHITFIELD: Yes. Well, tell me about that. Even in some of the detailed information that was given, that there was a 17-minute delay before the plane leaving radar before there was any real response. Based on that kind of information, what more information do you feel the families are owed?

WANG: Well, we just want to know what happens. Who makes the decision not to -- the 17-minute delay happens for the civil aviation. But at the same time, the military is also tracking the play on the radar and they didn't take any action about it. The civil aviation didn't take any action, they delayed both of them. I have to say both of them should be responsible for the losing of the plane. They never mentioned it in the report. They simply mentioned nothing about the military radar in the report. That is the most important thing. You know, a plane flying over your country. It is heading to somewhere else, but you did not take any action. That is totally irresponsible. That doesn't make sense. They did not mention anything about it. That is the most important thing we think they are still hiding.

WHITFIELD: Steven, I want to bring in a few more people in the conversation. CNN safety analyst, David Soucie and CNN aviation analyst, Jeff Wise -- so gentlemen, you are hearing Steven. He says how irresponsible that the authorities would not release a preliminary -- a thorough preliminary report and give some sort of explanation as to why military would not be involved, why this plane would go off radar for 17 minutes before anyone noticed or any action was taken.

He has some very strong points there. Irresponsible, is that one word, Jeff, that you would use in all of this?

JEFF WISE, CNN AVIATION ANALYST: Well, certainly this has been an emotional rollercoaster for the families and part of why it is been so difficult is that information has been so scant. I think that there is really one big elephant in the room that the authorities are going to have to deal with. That is that they have been telling the families that their relatives are dead and that they will never see them again, but they won't tell them why.

They said it has to do with INMARSAT data, the way that they'd analyzed it but they won't open the books and show what is the nature of this analysis that leads them to this conclusion? And frankly, some very interesting information was released in the preliminary report this week, but the big gap, the gaping hole, was that there was no further explanation and indeed the chart that they released that showed the projected flight path that they think the plane must have taken to the southern Indian Ocean is very strange. It requires the plane to fly in an unusual way that most pilots would never fly.

If I could add one thing, I mentioned earlier -- last hour that in the absence of information, all kinds of crazy theories become widespread. And I mentioned that, you know, there is talk about the potential wreckage in the Bay of Bengal. That was on the basis of information provided by a company called Georesonance. In 2011, that company had a Web site. It wasn't about looking for minerals. It was called Georesonance Rejuvenation and Innovation and Holistic Healing. So it was an entirely different kind of company back then.

WHITFIELD: And David, you have to empathize and feel for the family members who say they just want more information. They want to know what happened to that plane and where are their loved ones. Where does this investigation go? But at the same time, you have to wonder from the airline's point of view, how long -- you know, is it their duty to have some kind of comfort place assistance office and to inform the family members in the manner in which they did.

You heard Steven talk about how insensitive and how irresponsible this process has been. Could they have done better?

DAVID SOUCIE, CNN SAFETY ANALYST: I think it is their duty. I think it is their duty to allow them to grieve in whatever way that it is. They've lost a lot. There are still no answers as to what's going on. And they need to have a place to do that. They need to have a place to be together.

It appears to me that the Malaysian government is feeling pressure from the families because they are all in one and that they are all kind of combining into one force. And that is a good thing. It's a very good thing for them. It may not be good for the Malaysia government nor for Malaysia Airlines. But that's not the point. The point is their job at this point is to console and their job is to try to indemnify the best they can, what these families have been through. And they are doing a terrible job at that.

WHITFIELD: And Steve are you still with us from Beijing? There you go. So Steve, what is next for you? What next for the many family members who are really looking to you as the spokesperson to convey what information you are learning to them? How will you do that from this point forward?

WANG: Well, we are really organized. We are forced to go back home, but we're still organized. We will use every way to communicate with each other and share the information together. At the same time, we are already organized. The United States relatives and Malaysian relatives and relatives from all over the world. We will organize and discuss about the next step. Maybe we will just keep on and asking for the truth for Malaysia airlines and Malaysian government. At the same time, we want Boeing and their announcement that they are very sympathetic with the next of kin. So we really need their help to do more things.

WHITFIELD: All right. Steve Wang, thank you so much. Our hearts go out to you and to the other families of the 239 people on board. David Soucie and Jeff Wise, thanks as well.

WISE: Thanks, Fred.

WHITFIELD: All right. Coming up next, L.A. Clippers owner Donald Sterling is in big trouble for his racist comments. But he is not the only sports figure who has said something very wrong.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Are you a racist, Mr. Sterling?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No, of course not.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Why are you wearing a shield?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Why are you holding a microphone?

ADAM SILVER, NBA COMMISSIONER: I am banning Mr. Sterling for life from any association with the Clippers organization or the NBA.

(END VIDEO CLIP) FREDRICKA WHITFIELD, CNN ANCHOR: It has been quite the week, hasn't it? After the whole world heard the racist comments by L.A. Clippers owner Donald Sterling. All the controversy is distracting for the team. Tonight, they are up against the Golden State Warriors in game seven of the NBA playoffs. For L.A. Clippers owner, Donald Sterling, he has been banned from the NBA because of his racist remarks and ten NBA owners are meeting next week to talk about trying to force to sell the team.

But it turns out he is not the only big time sports figure who has gotten into some kind of trouble. Here is Randi Kaye.


RANDI KAYE, CNN INVESTIGATIVE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): In Orlando, Florida, another outspoken basketball team owner is suddenly back in the spotlight. It was 2009 when Rich DeVos, who owns the Orlando Magic first opened up about AIDS patients.

RICH DEVOS, ORLANDO MAGIC OWNER: AIDS is a disease that people gain because of their actions. It was not like cancer.

KAYE: DeVos was talking with his hometown newspaper, "The Grand Rapids Press." And he did not stop there. When asked about same-sex marriage, here is what he said.

DEVOS: Live your life, I will respect you, but don't keep asking for favors. Don't ask for a concession on a marriage issue, which is not vital to them, in my opinion.

KAYE: Then he went further.

DEVOS: I deal with a lot of wonderful gay people. I hire a lot of them. I use them, I respect them. They're terrific. I am good friends with them.

KAYE: Even before that DeVos had fuelled protests for giving $100,000 in support of an anti-guy margay marriage amendment in Florida which passed, controversial, to be sure. But are his personal beliefs now considered to be over the line for an NBA owner?

LZ GRANDERSON, SENIOR WRITER, ESPN: Once you start to monitor what owners say now you really open yourself up to saying well, which remarks are OK and which ones are not OK?

KAYE: ESPN senior writer, LZ Granderson wonders where the league will draw the line and how will it decide who to punish?

GRANDERSON: If you're in league with an openly gay player, how then do you turn a blind eye towards owners?

KAYE: And what about players? Remember in 2011 when Los Angeles Laker Kobe Bryant reacted to a referee's foul call? He was caught on television saying this. Bryant was fined $100,000 and apologized on the radio days later. And what about cases of sexual harassment? Hall of famer Isaiah Thomas was sued when coaching the New York Knicks by this woman, a Knicks executive. She claims he verbally abused her and tried to kiss her. She says she was fired after complaining.

ISIAH THOMAS, FORMER HEAD COACH, NEW YORK KNICKS: I am very innocent and I did not do the things that she accused me of in this courtroom of doing.


KAYE: In 2007, a jury found Thomas and Madison Square Garden libel for sexual harassment. The Garden was asked to pay the accuser more than $11 million. Isiah Thomas paid nothing. Randi Kaye, CNN, New York.

WHITFIELD: All right, so let's get back to the Donald Sterling case. What is going to happen next in his situation? Let's bring in my guests to talk all about it. Bradley Shear is an attorney and professor of sports law at George Washington University. Mark Ganis is the president of the sports business consulting firm, Sports Core, and Joe Carter is with us from CNN sports. All right, Gentlemen, good to see all of you.

OK, so we know that Sterling could be forced to sell the Clippers if 3/4 of the owners of the NBA team owners agree. We know that ten of those owners are going to be meeting next week to talk about it. But we also know that he is not afraid of the word suit. He is very litigious. A friend and associate of V. Stiviano said she worked for him. She was his confidante and that he is not a racist. So Bradley, how might her latest interview influence what kinds of legal moves by might be next for Sterling?

BRADLEY SHEAR, SPORTS LAW ATTORNEY: From a legal perspective, all options should be on the table for Sterling. But the problem is his options really are limited because the league constitution. Bottom line is the league has the authority and the ability to require him to sell because of the fact it says within the best interest of the game. Here, it appears within the best interest of the game, may lead them to vote that he should have to sell the team.

WHITFIELD: But then, Mark, you know, there are some legal experts who are saying wait, team owners are a little concerned about what could be the consequence from a private conversation and how much will be revealed about themselves along the way. How do you see this is being a potentially complicated issue for many of the team owners?

MARK GANIS, PRESIDENT AND FOUNDER, SPORTSCORP LTD: Fredricka, the lead-in tells the story. In different points of time and perspectives have different meanings. Do they have to go after DeVos and take the team away from that family because he espoused views, which are not considered mainstream. What about the guy from Mozilla? He had similar views about gay marriage. Are we going into that kind of a timeframe?

This was over the top. We all recognize this was really excessive. This is exactly the kind of situation that calls for a negotiated resolution. He is out of the game for life. That is a determination. That has been done. Now, find a way to avoid the courts and get into a negotiated settlement with Donald Sterling rather than just imposing this.

WHITFIELD: Joe, this becomes a big problem, too, because this is a track record. This is not out of the blue. This recording is accompanied by other situations and other suits whether they were paid settlements or not.

JOE CARTER, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: According to "The L.A. Times," back in 1982, Donald Sterling's second year as owner of the team. They were based in San Diego at that time, he was recorded at a luncheon essentially saying that he wanted the team to lose on purpose in order to improve their draft position. He later said that those comments were misunderstood. That really upset a lot of the owners at the time.

He was always accused of doing a lot of shady practices and not paying players on time and not paying hotel bills and bad travel arrangements. He stalled that force-out by saying he would sell the team. That dragged out the process and the push to force him out lost steam. Here we are 32 years later and the effort to push him out again resumes. There was another tape.

WHITFIELD: So Mark, therein lies part of the problem. Other owners concerned about their behavior or private conversations. As Joe pointed out, if you have the track record and number of incidents and delayed pay, et cetera, people can say, wait a minute, those recorded conversations, is that in large part, you know, the reason why I did not get my pay or did not get a pay raise, et cetera? He is an employer and that is the difference, right?

GANIS: That is part of the difference. The things that were just raised happened many years ago. Those would not -- the parts of the team got paid or hotel accommodations, is ancient history. The current history of what he was doing with the real estate companies as it related to discrimination in housing where he had to pay some fines that ties directly into the racial bias issues. That could very well be taken into account in this matter. But in any event, Adam Silver has made a determination. He is out of the game. Period. Now he has to try to rehabilitate himself in some form or fashion. That will not come in a court of law.

WHITFIELD: All right, it may not be that easy. All right, Mark Ganis, Bradley Shear and Joe Carter, thanks to all of you, Gentlemen. I appreciate it.

We will talk much more about the Don Sterling scandal straight ahead.

We will also talk about massive flooding to twisters as well. It's been a week of horrible weather across the country. A look at the devastation and how victims are trying to move forward from here.


WHITFIELD: It has been one nasty week in weather. Severe weather leaving a path of destruction across much of the country in fact. A slow moving storm brought swift moving tornados to the south and Midwest. Record flooding from the gulf coast to the northeast and then there were mudslides in Maryland. In all, nearly 40 people were killed.

The White House says President Obama will tour some of the hard hit areas next Wednesday. Meteorologist Chad Myers has been on the ground covering the storms from Arkansas to Florida. He gives us a firsthand view of the damage and share some of the stories.

CHAD MYERS, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Fred, it was an amazing five days, five days I cannot describe. Look at the tornado damage in front of me. No, we're in Pensacola. This is flood damage, but it looks just like what I saw in Little Rock except the house is still standing. They're tearing every bit of this home out of the inside because the water was all the way up to the gutters. The house here, a bit lower in elevation, absolutely lost everything.

Some of the other scary stories here, people were cut from their attics. They had to climb to their attic as the water closed on the ceiling. No more air left for them. They climbed in the attic to be safe there. House across the street, they had to hatchet their way out by the roof to be saved by a boat. We start in Little Rock. We saw Mayflower and Vilonia. Then we move to Tupelo with the damage there.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It is moving to the right.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That's a tornado.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This could be deadly.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Everything was flying.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Boom! A tree fell on the house.


MYERS: We moved from Tupelo to Tuscaloosa expecting big tornados in Tuscaloosa on the third day, but that didn't happen. It didn't happen because down here on the gulf coast, there was a front. It did not move. It wasn't a stationary front, but it was a cold front. It just didn't keep going. That front right where we are here, caused rain to rain all night, almost 6 inches of rain in one hour at one reporting station. The water came up.

This is the confluence of two rivers that never flooded before. The water over my head and not much before I get to the attic. Neighbors helping neighbors. The damage you incur from being wet or knocked down by a tornado, can be, at times, similar, except being picked up by a tornado you can get put back together by insurance. People here don't have flood insurance because this place never floods.

I can't tell you the devastation I have seen, but it is hard to describe the help. Thousands of people in Bristol Park in Pensacola, and few of them know each other, they are strangers helping neighbors. People coming to help because they know the people here are hurting. People that did not get hurt or damaged or did not get water damage are coming here to help in droves, in buses with churches, coming here to help people they never met -- Fred.

WHITFIELD: All right, thanks so much. Chad Myers, I appreciate that.

Straight ahead in the newsroom, the first Saturday in May. You know what that means. Churchill downs. We will take you there live for the Kentucky derby.


WHITFIELD: Sunday marks 44 years since the deadly shootings at Kent State University. The Ohio National Guard fired on students protesting the Vietnam War. Four students were killed. Now there's a May 4th Visitors Center to remember that moment. Here is a preview in today's "American Journey."


CHUCK AYERS, KENT STATE SENIOR: I thought this is going to be perfect for my photography class. Went out and saw the kids in the common, heard the bell, saw the guardsmen sent out a jeep to tell everybody this was an illegal gathering.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Leave the area immediately.

AYERS: And that was the part where I really started to get angry because it was on the campus. Nobody was doing anything but standing in a group.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Canterbury said we have to disperse them, it is an illegal assembly. With that I called my grenadiers forward and we fired tear gas on the hill and in front of them. I never imagined the National Guard determined they had to break up the crowd, that we were illegally on the hill side and that we needed to get out of there. So I didn't like that. I thought man, you guys aren't even giving us a chance.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I was about 150 feet away, about 50 yards away from the National Guard. I was shouting at them, mostly anti-war slogans, perhaps a few insults if I remember correctly. I saw they were aiming at me, they had their fingers on the triggers. I felt that my life was in danger. But still, I thought it was unlikely that they would shoot. We all ran away back over the hill behind us and we were very surprised to see the guardsmen come up over the hill and chase us.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And when they reached the top of the hill being a farm boy and a country boy, I saw them wheel with their rifles, I knew what that intention was.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I saw them turn in unison with their rifles in unison and start to fire.


WHITFIELD: Wow, incredible slice of history. Don't miss the CNN documentary, "Witnessed, The Killings at Kent State" this Sunday night at 7 p.m. Eastern Time.


WHITFIELD: As we get ready for Sinco De Mayo, Anthony Bourdain looks at the two sides of Mexico in this week's "PARTS UNKNOWN."


ANTHONY BOURDAIN, HOST, CNN'S "PARTS UNKNOWN": Mexico, you know, you see it on TV, murder, corruption. Mexico is a deeply troubled, maybe even cursed land. It is also just as deeply magical and enchanted. This amazing, amazing country, incredible food, unbelievable music, old school colonial streets, mountains, beaches, did I mention the food? Should pay more attention to this place, man. It's our brother. It's right down there next to us and it's really one of the greatest places on earth.


WHITFIELD: It is beautiful. Mexico. Catch Anthony Bourdain, "PARTS UNKNOWN" Sunday, 9:00 p.m. Eastern Time.


WHITFIELD: Woo! Very fun. You know what that means. The 140th Kentucky Derby is getting ready. The main event, the thoroughbreds lining up for the fastest 2 minutes in sports. CNN's Francesca Komani is live for us in Louisville with the countdown. I knew you would have a fabulous hat on! That's beautiful. Francesca, history is being made potentially today, besides the 140th anniversary marker, but what's going on with this one jockey in particular?