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Boat with Migrants Capsizes Off Libya; 300 Homes Threatened in California Wildfire; New Information in Volunteer Cop's Training. Aired 7-7:30a ET

Aired April 19, 2015 - 07:00   ET


[07:00:00] CHRISTI PAUL, CNN ANCHOR: Of course, they would. I mean, if the same thing happened to me, you bet! I think any mother or parent out there would be thinking the same thing.

JOE JOHNS, CNN ANCHOR: After all these years!

PAUL: They have no idea why. Remember, this, as you heard, the hospital closed in 1979. Trying to investigate why this happened and even prosecute people is a long shot but if people can continue to be reunited, that's what's important. Yes.

So, thank you for starting your morning with us. We always appreciate seeing you.

JOHNS: Absolutely. We've got so much more in the next hour of NEW DAY which starts right now.


PAUL: Running from flames. Take a look at these new pictures we are getting in. Hundreds of homes threatened by a wildfire in drought-stricken southern California.

JOHNS: New documents. The 73-year-old Tulsa deputy who shot an unarmed man releases paperwork he says proves he was properly trained.

Plus --


POLICE OFFICER: And you try to unbuckle her. And we're going to pull her out. Or at least try to at least.


JOHNS: Two New Jersey police officers now being called heroes for pulling an unconscious woman from a burning car. We have the dramatic dash cam footage.

PAUL: And the elementary teacher with a simple question. What she need to know about her students? You are not going to believe these answers. They just jolt you. They really jolt you. We are talking to the teacher in just a bit.

ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.

PAUL: Always so grateful to have your company this morning. Thank you. I'm Christi Paul.

JOHNS: And I'm Joe Johns, in for Victor Blackwell.

We begin with some breaking news off the coast of Libya. Officials in Malta say 700 are feared dead after a boat carrying migrant capsized in the Mediterranean Sea off the coast of Libya. A joint rescue operation is under way. We are told 49 have been rescued but 23 bodies have also been recovered.

Barbie Nadeau, Rome bureau chief with "The Daily Beast", joins us now on the phone.

Barbie, what do we know about this accident at this stage?

BARBIE NADEAU, THE DAILY BEAST: Well, the rescue operation going on. The distress call came in last night at about 11:30. This boat, one of the larger vessels for these migrants coming to Italy by -- to Europe by way of Italy, they sent out a distress call and the Italian coast guard alerted a merchant ship that was in the area.

We understand when the people on the boat saw the merchant ship, they all rushed to one side of the boat and that contributed to this capsizing of the vessel. It was dark out. The water was very cold, the seas were rough, a lot of people just simply went underwater.

We understand from the coast guard that they are many, they are seeing bodies in the water, 23 have been picked up so far. They'll be taken to the Italian mainland. But this is just one of many, many disasters at sea. Eleven thousand people came by way of Italy to Europe last week alone, more than 25,000 since the beginning of the year, and really the boat season, the usual the season time when people come, hasn't even started yesterday.

PAUL: You know, Pope Francis, just yesterday, was calling for greater international efforts to help Italy cope with this issue because we understand that Italy is really taking care of most of the rescue efforts here, 90 percent of them. Why is this happening? Can you help us understand that, Barbie?

NADEAU: Well, you know, it's just a situation we've got desperate people, a lot of them coming from sub-Saharan Africa, traveling weeks, maybe months, before they even get to the port of Libya. This is all handled by human traffickers, people who first trafficked them by land and then you got these traffickers that just mass many, many people, thousands of people into the port, they put them on boats, sometimes, 500, 600, as we see this one, maybe as many as 700 people.

They make a lot of money. It's a big business. The human traffickers charge anywhere between, 6,000, 7,000, 8,000 euro a person for the dangerous voyage. If they make it or not, it doesn't really matter. Once they get to Italy, they are put in refugee camps, many of them, though, just make their way up into other countries in Europe.

These are not gated refugee camps. The Italians do what they can to take care of them and offer medical service and give them clothing or food and most don't want to stay in Italy, they just want to move up join family. A lot of them go to France, a lot of them to Germany, a lot of them would like to go to the U.K. as well.

JOHNS: Barbie Nadeau, thanks so much for that. We'll stay in touch.

PAUL: Thank you, Barbie.

We also have some breaking news we want to share with you out of southern California this morning. More than 300 firefighters are racing right now to battle a raging brush fire.

JOHNS: The fire broke out around 6:00 last night near Corona, California, about an hour outside of L.A. and has already forced the evacuation of 300 families.


FIREFIGHTER: Any time we have structures threatened, life and property are a priority. So, it is serious.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm actually quite squared right now for my family and don't know what to do -- if I need to get back and start planning evacuations or what.

[07:05:09] UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: There are some new housing developments. If it goes further the other direction, there is a lot of new housing.

FIREFIGHTER: This is an example of what the drought has done to these fuel conditions. Normally, this wouldn't burn in this type of area.

Right now, the wind is creating fuel from the fire so we are seeing an aggressive critical rate of spread.


JOHNS: We've got hundreds of firefighters from 14 crews on the scene.

Joining us right now is Captain Mike Mohler of the Riverside County Fire Department.

Captain, do you have any idea how this thing started?

CAPT. MIKE MOHLER, RIVERSIDE COUNTY FIRE DEPARTMENT (via telephone): We don't. It's still -- the cause is still under investigation but we do have Cal Fire Law Enforcement on scene trying to determine that as soon as we can.

PAUL: You were talking about the fact that this area hasn't been touched by fire in decades. How is that complicating efforts for all of you?

MOHLER: Well, it hasn't been touched in decade. This is a dam basin area, normally a basin, so this vegetation is so thick, one, it's making it hard for crews to access it, but, two, the fuel in here is so extreme, it's producing critical fire conditions.

JOHNS: So, you're getting a lot of people out of their homes. Where are they going right now?

MOHLER: We actually have an evacuation center in the city of Norco. It's called Riley Gym that is being staffed by the Red Cross right now.

PAUL: How are your resources holding up? They were talking about that drought and how that is affecting the way you can fight this. Do you have enough resources?

MOHLER: We do. We do have enough resources. We're going to bring -- we have additional resources responding to relieve the crews on the line right now. And we have ordered additional aircraft that will be up this morning.

JOHNS: All right. Thanks so much there, Captain. Mike Mohler from Riverside. We really appreciate you and we will be checking back with you.

PAUL: And best of luck to you and the crews there. Do stay safe.

JOHNS: Now, Ivan Cabrera, the question I guess is, among other things, are things going to get worse out there before they get better? They say they have got enough people in resources to put this thing down.

IVAN CABRERA, AMS METEOROLOGIST: They certainly -- we look at three things and we are talking about conditions that could be much worse. But we look at temperature, we look at moisture, and we look at wind. I think one of those components is going to be an issue today and that is the wind. The moisture very low because of the drought and also current patterns and we're going to be talking about gusty winds later this afternoon. Temperature, I'm not too concern about.

All right. So, let's reset here -- 300 acres now impacted with only 15 percent containment. We were at zeros, so we're doing a little bit better. The winds are going to gust to 25, not right now, but later this afternoon as we get heating, that's when we're going to be talking about some winds.

So, here's the moisture, dry conditions persist, despite this marine layer here -- well, that's not going to penetrate to Riverside. They are 60 percent in the morning. But as we heat the air, look at that -- relative humidity, 25 percent, that is very low and that is not good for firefighting efforts.

As far as the humidity, that's good at night and as the temperatures go down at night, that is helpful but by this afternoon, we're going to be the low 80s. Not low 90s but certainly that would be terrible. But low 80s is bad enough when talking about firefighting efforts.

As far as any rainfall -- no, it's not going to happen. We are dry and not looking at any rainfall the next couple of days so we will have to watch for dry conditions. We have been mentioning how fire creates its own wind patterns. Any time you have air rising you have to replace that. Some of that air replacing the air that is rising is gusty and wind speeds forecasting 25 miles per hour -- well, that air can be anywhere from -- as much as seven to 10 times stronger. So, that's what they are having to deal with here.

And, of course, the topography, guys, fire likes to climb. And so, we are talking about hilly terrain and the fire is going to continue to climb on up. So, those are the conditions that they are going to be dealing with today. Again, not terrible. Could be better. But I think the wind is going to be the issue today.

JOHNS: I think you could call that challenging for sure. Thanks so much, Ivan Cabrera.

PAUL: So, a lot of people are wondering, are we now seeing a possible defense strategy for the Tulsa reserve deputy, the one who pulled his gun instead of his taser and the man died? CNN that a newly released training records that could help him.

JOHNS: Plus, dramatic body cam video shows one officer's life or death judgment call after a murder suspect charges at him. You'll see that play out.



[07:12:54] POLICE OFFICER: Roll on your stomach now!


PAUL: We want to share some new information with you this morning on this deadly shooting that was recorded by a police body camera. CNN has obtained new documents that could shed light on the training of reserve deputy had before mistakenly shooting and killing a man. Reserve Deputy Robert Bates says he pulled out his gun rather than his taser and killed Eric Harris.

CNN first reported this story last Sunday, and since then, a lot of the attention and the focus has been on the training that he received. Well, the records which were released by Bates' lawyers include his training hours, gun qualifications, even reviews from other officers.

CNN's Polo Sandoval has been reading through the documents.

And, Polo, I understand, the sheriff's department didn't released these records. The attorney released the record. So, has CNN been able, first of all, to independently authenticate them?

POLO SANDOVAL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hey, Christi, good morning.

And that's something that we are still trying to do right now is actually verified the authenticity of these documents, because we are extremely crucial to the story than seven days after it broke, they do appear to certify Robert Bates' training. But, at the same time, Christi, they are also raising several questions.

I want you to take a look at some of the documents released yesterday, again, by Robert Bates' attorney yesterday. These documents seem to show that Bates actually went through at least one taser training class over six and a half year period. Now, Scott Bates attorney supplied these documents and says the states only requires one hands-on class on use of the taser.

And then there are also Bates firearm qualification records, scores from four dates in 2012 and 2013 are still missing from the entire sheriff's office. Now, Tulsa County's officials saying that they find them, but they can't say that there's a department summary that seems to suggest that Bates actually passed the training during those dates in question.

And, finally, a closer look at the records also revealing that Bates took about 34 -- actually 34 training classes within a 48-hour period in late 2013.

So, the question is, why so many in such a short amount of time? His lawyer saying that Bates could have simply been trying to cram in these classes for certification before the end of the year.

[07:15:00] But, again, CNN has independently requested these documents from the Tulsa County sheriff's office. Their response is they can't provide them because they are a part of the ongoing investigation. So, we tried to go to CLEET, which is actually on Council on Law Enforcement Education and Training, which maintains his records, and their response is, two things would have to happen in order for them to release the documents to us. Bates himself would actually have to sign off on a release or a court order would have to be issued.

At this point, Christi, neither one of those has happened.

PAUL: All right. So, one thing that stands out there are several records that are still missing. Is that correct? And what's the attorney saying about it?

SANDOVAL: Right. And Bates was the first to admit to that. In fact, as we mentioned there, some of those documents are still missing for the entire sheriff's office at this point for those crucial dates, but really, the attorney for this reserve deputy did say they wanted to release what they had in response to some of this reporting from one of the local publications there that claim that Bates lacked the appropriate training and that any documents that were, in fact, put out there, three published were, in fact, falsified.

Again, the "Tulsa World" continues to maintain, or at least stand behind that reporting. But the Tulsa County sheriff's office is denying those claims at this point. Christi, it's very crucial for us to be able to verify the authenticity of the documents that we have in hand.

PAUL: Absolutely.

All right. Polo Sandoval, great work. Thank you so much.

SANDOVAL: You bet.

JOHNS: A lot to think about there.

Eric Harris family is still working through the new information, we're told. They are also dealing with saying good-bye. They held a viewing ceremony yesterday in Tulsa. His son says he believes the officers involved are trying to cover up the shooting. And he is demanding justice.

A memorial for Harris is going to be held later today.

Great restraint in the line of duty.


POLICE OFFICER: Get your hand out of your pocket now!


JOHNS: One officer refuses to open fire on a double murder suspect who is urging the police officer to shoot him. See the dramatic body cam video of the entire incident coming up next.


[07:20:37: We got some pictures of what you would call a dramatic judgment call for one Ohio police officer after body cam video shows him refusing to use deadly force against a double murder suspect. We are going to show you the entire video of Officer Jesse Kidder confronting the suspect who is actually rushing toward him and demanding that Officer Kidder shoot him.


OFFICER JESSE KIDDER: Get your hands up! Get your hands up! Get your hands up right now!

(EXPLETIVE DELETED) stop! Stop right there! I don't want to shoot you, man. I don't want to shoot you!


I'll shoot you, I'll shoot you.

SUSPECT: No, you won't! No, you won't!

KIDDER: Get back! Get back! Get back!

SUSPECT: Shoot me!

KIDDER: Get your hands out of your pocket now! No, man, not going to do it.

SUSPECT: Shoot me! Shoot me! Shoot me!

KIDDER: Stop right now. Back up!


Back off! Get down on the ground!

DISPATCHER: Subject is running. Subject is running.

KIDDER: Get your hands out. You understand that?

SUSPECT: Yes, sir.


JOHNS: Now, that doesn't tell you what police officers face on the street, the officer admits there were some tense moments as you can see there, but, ultimately, reveals why he never pulled the trigger. Listen.


KIDDER: He got towards my face right as I lost balance. I'm thinking at this point if he goes to attack me, I will to use deadly force. Law enforcement officers across the nation deal with split- second decisions between life and death. I wanted to be sure before I used deadly force.

POLICE CHIEF RANDY HARVEY, NEW RICHMOND, OHIO POLICE DEPT.: For him to make the judgment call he did shows great restraints and maturity. This video footage eliminated all doubt that this officer would have been justified if, in fact, it came to a shooting. >


PAUL: All right. We want to bring in CNN law enforcement analyst and former FBI Assistant Director Tom Fuentes.

Now, Tom, I understand you had been in some sort of a similar position as this gentleman is as you were watching the video. Help us understand the thought process you have when you're confronted by somebody like that.

TOM FUENTES, CNN LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: Well, you're trying to make a judgment about the entire situation, the entire threat that the person poses, Christi, and in this case, this officer who happened to be a Marine Corps veteran who served in Iraq which probably gave him a little more confidence that he could maybe wait that extra split second and still be successful if the individual did draw and fire on him.

I think that's the problem in this thing is you are talking about probably less than a tenth of a second for the time it would take for that individual to pull something out of his pants, pull a pistol out, let's say, and take a shot at that officer, the officer may only get one shot and may not even get that and it would have to be good enough to stop that person or he could be easily killed in that.

So, it's a very difficult situation and in this case it worked out well for the officer. He could have ended up being killed also.

PAUL: Tom, you know, we have spent leach the last several months talking about police officers' actions and a lot of them -- a lot of people questioning, but this one being questioned, I think, for other reasons. How is it that more scenarios don't end up like this?

FUENTES: They do. This happens all the time every day across the country. Police officers face shoot/don't shoot, decision making scenarios and unless they shoot somebody and it gains the notoriety of some the recent cases, you don't hear about the successful outcomes.

In this case, we had a body cam or you wouldn't hear about this either. If this had been a normal situation, nobody gets killed, the officer makes an arrest, no one in this country would have known what that police officer faced and what decision he made during that split- second if we didn't have the body cam.

PAUL: You know, you mention the body cam. What is interesting about this story too is the fact that apparently the officer revealed this body cam was given to him by one of his relatives. It wasn't something that was traditionally on the force. How -- is that rare?

[07:25:02] And do you think we need to see more of these cameras?

FUENTES: Hopefully, it's not rare that wives love their husbands and vice versa but, yes, personally buying is probably is pretty rare.

I said when I was a street cop years ago, I would have thought against wearing a body camera tooth and nail. Now, I would buy my own. And, you know, because you do have these, you know, intense studies.

And don't forget -- if that officer had used deadly force and if he didn't have the body cam, not only is his life in jeopardy, his career is in jeopardy. That could be the last day he works as a police officer, depending what happens in that split-second scenario.

PAUL: Yes, no doubt about it. As many questions there are still are, body cameras do have to at least help answer a few.

Tom Fuentes, so appreciate your perspective. Thank you, sir.

FUENTES: You're welcome, Christi.

PAUL: And if that is not enough, we've got more dramatic police video to show you. This time out of New Jersey after a convertible flips over and leaving the driver trapped inside. Police had to spring into action. We will show you what happened to the woman behind the wheel.


PAUL: Past the hour right. Want to give you a heads-up of the stories that are developing this morning.

A California brush fire, first of all, is raging. It's burning at least 300 acres, forcing the evacuation of hundreds of families this morning and more than 300 firefighters are on the scene. There is tough terrain, though, there that is preventing them from gaining the upper hand.

Also right now, rescue crews are searching for possibly 650 plus migrants after their boat capsized in the Mediterranean.