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NEW DAY SATURDAY
California Wildfire Jumps Highway, Destroys Cars; Shooter's Computer, Cell Phone Investigated; Domestic Terrorism Or Lone Wolf Attack; Mohammad Abdulazeez' Trip Overseas; Remembering Marines Slain in Chattanooga; Woman Arrested for Traffic Violation Died in Police Custody; Is it Time for Tiger Woods to Leave? Aired 6-7a ET
Aired July 18, 2015 - 06:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN ANCHOR: Breaking this morning, a huge wildfire rapidly spreading this morning in Southern California. It's burned cars and forced people to run for safety as others scramble to save their homes.
CHRISTI PAUL, CNN ANCHOR: Also breaking this morning, new details about the gunman who killed four Marines in Tennessee. Investigators now zeroing in on a trip he made to the Middle East. We are taking you live to Jordan in the search for a motive.
BLACKWELL: And the mystery death of a woman who was pulled over by a police for minor traffic violation and winds up dead in her jail cell three days later. Police say it's a suicide. Her family says, "no way."
PAUL: We are so grateful to have your company with us. Good morning to you. I'm Christi Paul.
BLACKWELL: I'm Victor Blackwell. It's a pleasure to be with you this Saturday morning. We are starting with the breaking news. A wildfire racing across a California freeway, here are the latest pictures now into our newsroom.
Early morning hours now, the scene still very active as crews battle this advancing blaze, burning about 3,500 acres now. We have new information about evacuations this morning. This was the scene last night. Look, unbelievable. Have you heard of anything like this ever happening?
Let's switch to the picture, guys. You got people running from their cars up the side of a mountain to escape the raging flames here. And this morning, the images of the charred -- just frames of the cars ling the roads. Dozens of people running here. Dozens of cars were set ablaze along with several homes.
Thankfully, though, no injuries. The fire is still spreading. Witnesses reported seeing smoke, looked to be a mile away. And then the fire grew four times its size in less than an hour.
Paul Vercammen is in San Bernardino this morning. Paul, get us up-to-speed on what is happening now.
PAUL VERCAMMEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Victor, Christi, the Cahon Pass behind me open to traffic in both directions. The Interstate 15 which connects Los Angeles and Las Vegas, but yesterday a harrowing ordeal, a brush fire jumped the freeway.
Cars were stopped on the freeway and many of those stopped cars, about 20 of them in all, catching fire here with the people who are in those cars having to literally run for their safety. Now they said 20 vehicles in all. That included a semi and a car carrier. Also a boat burned up in this fire.
Now, no one was hurt right here. There were some minor injuries. The fire department telling us early this morning that there was a firefighter who suffered minor injuries. What happened after that is the blaze raced up the hillside and toward a city of Fielin. It was an unbelievable scene here.
Let's hear from some of the people who fled from this blaze on the 15 freeway.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: At first, it was a little -- OK, it's going to take care of it and it will be put out but as it got closer and closer, we panicked.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We couldn't get out. It started that end and then it started to slowly move forward and then it jumped a lane.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLACKWELL: All right, so we are seeing the pictures here from yesterday. We have covered, of course, wildfires every summer it seems like there's some that are coming up. Now with California in that drought, more frequent. But the fact that people had to run from cars and then the question, run where?
PAUL: Where, that was the first thing I said this morning when we got in and looking at these pictures and you see people on the side of the freeway and they are walking and you think where on earth are they trying to go?
I want to bring in -- we have Lee Brier with us. He is with the San Bernardino County. He is a fire information officer for the U.S. Forest Services.
First of all, Mr. Brier, thank you so much for being with us. We are looking at these pictures from last night of these cars that were burning. Can you give us an assessment of where the fire stands right now?
LEE BRIER, FIRE INFORMATION OFFICE, U.S. FOREST SERVICE (via telephone): Our latest estimate, we are still at a little over 3,500 acres and still 5 percent contained.
[06:05:10] PAUL: I'm sorry. Can you repeat? Is it contained at all?
BRIER: It's at 3,500 acres and 5 percent contained.
PAUL: It's 5 percent contained, OK, good to know. You know, we know this is not necessarily new to California. Authorities there are so adroit at giving warnings, at closing roads. Do you have any idea for us as to how this could have happened?
BRIER: No. The fire is still under investigation so we still haven't determined the cause.
PAUL: The cause of the fire, but how is it that it was able to jump on to this freeway? As I said, California authorities, they are so skilled and adroit at stopping traffic and recognizing when there is a danger. Why was this so fast moving that perhaps nobody could catch it before we are seeing pictures like this?
BRIER: Well, we know California has been in a four-year drought, and there is a shield for it to burn. The wind didn't help, thus, going 15 to 20 miles an hour, so that is how it raced and jumped up and went up and threatened homes and people.
PAUL: We were talking a couple of minutes ago about people abandoning their cars and running on the freeway. Where did those people go?
BRIER: They went north of the fire and south of the fire.
PAUL: But, I mean, was there a shelter that was set up? Were there emergency vehicles there to pick them up?
BRIER: No. They just kept, you know, running on foot and so they were clear of the fire danger.
PAUL: OK, Lee Brier, we appreciate that. One last question, what are we hearing about any other evacuations?
BRIER: Still have the same evacuation order in place, so residents are still evacuated at the local high school.
PAUL: OK, Lee Brier, thank you for the latest update there from California. You take good care along with you and all the crews out there who are working so hard to try to get this thing under control, 5 percent containment and 3,500 acres now and those cars still sitting there on the freeway at this hour this morning. We're going to continue to follow this and give you the latest as it develops this morning.
BLACKWELL: There are new details this morning in a deadly rampage that left four Marines dead in Tennessee. Electronics now, including a cell phone and a computer belonging to Mohammad Abdulazeez is en route to the FBI's lab in Quantico in Virginia as investigators dig into the shooter's background.
They are focusing on a trip Abdulazeez made last year to Jordan. A longtime friend tells CNN that, quote, "something happened over there" and that the shooter was different when he came home.
Investigators want to know if Abdulazeez came in contact with any extremist groups and if that could have motivated Thursday's attack. CNN's Sara Ganim is live in Chattanooga, Tennessee. Sara, what's the latest on this investigation?
SARA GANIM, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Victor. You said it motive is the main focus of this investigation. The question hasn't been answered yet. Why did he commit this horrific act? This is someone who did not have a social media presence. Something that investigators often look to when they are investigating links to terrorism.
He also was not on any U.S. terror watch list. This morning, here in Chattanooga and also in Nashville where this man worked, they are looking into whether or not he got these guns legally, where he purchased them.
If he is the one who purchased them and they are also calling local gun ranges to see if people around here recognized him practicing at any local gun ranges. We also know that local authorities are looking into whether he was staying at a second resident.
Where he worked, Victor, is about two hours where we are, where the shooting happened and where his family lived. The home was searched two hours away from where he lived. So was he commuting?
They are looking into whether or not he had a second residence there. He called in sick and took days off the days in which this shooting occurred. Take a listen to the latest.
GANIM (voice-over): Cell phone video captures the intense gun battle between Muhammad Youssef Abdulazeez and Chattanooga police. Officials say the 24-year-old engineering graduate had a handgun and two long guns, including an AK-47 style rifle when police killed him on Thursday. He was also wearing a vest to carry extra ammunition.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Some of the weapons were purchased legally and some of them may not have been. We will examine that.
[06:10:09] GANIM: Authorities this morning are trying to figure out why Abdulazeez went on the killing spree that left four Marines dead and three others wounded. Was it a lone wolf attack or terrorism?
BILL KILLAN, U.S. ATTORNEY FOR EASTER DISTRICT OF TENNESSEE: We will continue to investigate it as an act of terrorism until the proof shows us otherwise. We will let the facts and the evidence lead us where it may.
GANIM: Though officials say there is nothing to connect the attacker to ISIS, a longtime friend said Abdulazeez changed after spending time in Kuwait and Jordan. "Something happened over there. He never came close to me like he was before he went overseas." The friend goes on to say "I'm sure he had something that
happened to him overseas." New details are emerging about Abdulazeez's family and employment background.
In 2013, he worked as an engineer at a nuclear power plant in Ohio, but was dismissed after ten days. His current employer, a wire and cable manufacturing company in Franklin, Tennessee, said he called in sick Monday and Tuesday and was scheduled to be off Wednesday and Thursday, the day of the massacre.
Meanwhile, his father was the subject of a post-9/11 FBI probe into donations he made to overseas charities, but the elder Abdulazeez was never charged with any crime.
And in 2009, Abdulazeez's mother filed for divorce accusing her husband of being physically abusive to her and her children. The case was dismissed.
GANIM: Now context is important here, Victor. The case was dismissed after the husband, Abdulazeez's father, agreed to go to counseling. It alleges he not only abused his wife but also his children -- Victor.
BLACKWELL: All right, Sara Ganim, thank you so much for that context. We will take a closer look at these new developments with our experts coming up.
Also new this morning, investigators are zeroing in on a trip that the gunman made to the Middle East. We'll take you live to Jordan where federal agents are searching for a motive.
CNN reporter, Nick Paton Walsh is there. He has the latest for us. We will remember the victims of this tragic shooting, including a vigil held last night in Chattanooga.
PAUL: A lot of other news that we are following this morning as well including a deadly attack in a market in Iraq. Dozens people were killed when a car bomb exploded. We will have details for you ahead.
BLACKWELL: And new this morning, hundreds of people on the streets for new calls for justice, one year after the death of Eric Garner, who died at the hands of the New York City police officer.
PAUL: Plus, family members are demanding answers after a woman dies in her jail cell. What happened to Sandra Bland? Guards call it suicide. Her relatives say, no way.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Each one of us feels like we lost a part of ourselves. It's hard. It's going to be hard for a very long time.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
PAUL: We will give you the new details we have learned about this investigation and why the FBI is involved now.
BLACKWELL: Is the Chattanooga shooting just the latest in a growing list of lone wolf attacks or is there some coordination here? Before we left for the break we learned new details about the shooter's past and what we want to focus on now.
Let's talk now with CNN contributor and co-author of "ISIS Inside the Army of Terror," Michael Weiss. Michael, good to have you back. I want to go through these new details we've learned one by one.
First, let's start with this longtime friend of Abdulazeez who said he changed after this trip to the Middle East. He says, quote, "Something happened over there. He never became close to me like he was before he went overseas. He was back to Jordan as recently as last year."
Now on the left we have got a picture here we will pop up in a moment, Abdulazeez in 2011 and then on the right a picture taken just three months ago. You know, the details become clear after an event like this, but any red flags here?
MICHAEL WEISS, CO-AUTHOR, "ISIS INSIDE THE ARMY OF TERROR": Well, a trip to the Middle East can mean, you know, almost anything. But given now what we know that Abdulazeez was capable of and what he, indeed, perpetrated, yes, I wouldn't be surprised if he immersed himself of -- when he was there.
There is no lack of that stuff in Jordan, I must say, it's worth mentioning and although there has not been any link to any known terrorist franchise including ISIS, the founder of ISIS was from Jordan, he was from a Palestinian refugee camp area that awash.
He brought with him into Iraq actually after the U.S. invasion or actually slightly before a whole host of Jordanian and Levantine contacts that he had made.
So it's quite possible that he was radicalized or that he was somehow converted into a Jihadist. I mean, the photographs, yes, he has grown this sort of long beard, which, you know, to the average viewer seems dispositive, although I must say, it's not say necessarily so.
They are playing people in the Middle East who don't blow things up who have beards like that. In terms of the abusive background, I mean, I have to admit this is slightly new. Usually we don't see this kind of thing with, you know, acts of terrorism.
I mean, one thing of Abdul Mutallab, the so-called underpants bomber who tried to blow up an airliner in the skies of Detroit several Christmases ago, he took a trip to Yemen, linked up with Anwar Awlaki and then the AQAP lead cleric. His father though was a well- respected Nigerian minister. BLACKWELL: And when you say, abusive history, I just want to add, in 2009, Abdulazeez's mother filed for divorce claiming her husband was physically abusive to her and their five children, and if you add to that, that authorities also say his father was investigated for funding terrorist operations.
But then was cleared, I mean, when you start to add this list of details, is there a time in which in this chronology that someone should have flagged authorities?
WEISS: Well, this is almost the impossible thing to say in retrospect, right? I mean, any one of these scenarios or any one of these circumstances in the life of a young man, you know, might have amounted to nothing, right?
[06:20:08] It's just an aggregation and the fact that he took this trip over to the Middle East. We still just don't know. I mean, you know, we are living in a day and age now where you can essentially Google your way to Jihadism, right.
I mean, you can become self-radicalized and listen to the sermons and the propaganda statements that are issued via the internet. So it's very difficult to say at this stage, you know, was it because he had a father who might have should have flirted or dabbled in Islamist ideology prompting this investigation although as you point out, he was cleared.
Was it because he came from his traumatized household and there were acts of physical violence perpetrated. Again, it's a little too soon to tell, but you know, look, what does fit a pattern here so far at least in my estimation.
He comes, you know, a middle class background. He is fairly well educated. He had a degree in engineering. He had sort of a criminal past and some run-ins with the law and dui, I think.
He was drinking alcohol. I mean, he was growing up in a sort of normalized teenage American environment in the southern suburb. We see this all the time. You know? It's almost out of central casting.
Muhammad Emwazi (ph), Jihadi John, the guy who brutally beheaded ISIS victims had a similar background. His father is a taxi driver in a London suburb. So that to me does resonate here. This guy was not from a poor or impoverished background.
BLACKWELL: Yes, but you know, there is that inconsistency with friends and family who say that he was religious, but then you have these substances that were involved in the past couple of months. Michael Weiss, thank you so much. We'll continue the conversation throughout the show.
And of course, still ahead, we will take you to Jordan where federal agents are searching for potentially the motive.
PAUL: All righty, and Victor, the other thing that we are watching very closely this morning is this breaking story out of California. Let me show you some of the pictures. This wildfire is spreading so rapidly. We have the latest on where it is moving and whether there are evacuations. We know homes are in danger. We will have the latest. Stay close for that.
Also following new details on the manhunt for El Chapo, several arrests in connection with the prison break now of the world's most notorious drug trafficker.
PAUL: Look at this picture as people are running from the flames. Can you imagine being in the midst of all that? This was a desperate scramble to get off Highway 15 in California last night, as that rapidly moving wildfire spread and continues to do so, by the way, today.
Homeowners in San Bernardino here playing defense now. Look at this poor guy, the blaze known as the north fire is targeting new homes. It's 3,500 acres at this point, and we've learned it's just 5 percent contained at this hour.
We are certainly wishing the very best to all of those who are working so hard to fight it. For the weather conditions, let's bring in meteorologist, Ivan Cabrera, because I have to think the weather is not helping.
IVAN CABRERA, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Not helping. Just amazing pictures coming out, we get fires all over the place in California, but just the fact that it jumped the interstate. You have cars involved and if you hear the sound, if you hear some of the cars exploding as some of all the gas in there.
It is 5 percent contained but here is the thing. They have opened the highway. So there's traffic moving in other directions. They have done a fantastic job of at least containing the fire right around the highway so cars can get through.
Now my concern is because of the winds, it will get a little gusty this afternoon between 15 and 20 miles an hour. They don't have complete containment. Some of those embers could get picked up by the winds and get deposited into some more brush.
And we get another fire going here so we have to monitor that very closely. There is some rainfall coming in. The problem with that, we will have lightning there as well.
CABRERA: So we will get more containment later this afternoon, but again, I-15 at least reopened in both directions.
PAUL: Did they collect those vehicles or they just move them on the side of the road, those that were burned out?
CABRERA: They had to get them out of the way somehow.
PAUL: That's impressive, very impressive. Ivan, thank you so much.
BLACKWELL: Thank you, Ivan.
All right, the search for answers in the Chattanooga shooting. Investigators now zeroing in on a month's long trip that Abdulazeez made to Jordan and whether that could have played a role in Thursday's tragedy.
PAUL: Calls for justice one year after the death of Eric Garner following a confrontation with New York police. Coming up, what the community is doing to remember Garner today?
BLACKWELL: To the latest development now in this search for answers in the deadly shooting of four Marines in Chattanooga, Tennessee. The federal investigators are now in Jordan focusing on a trip Mohammad Abdulazeez made to that country last year. The trip lasted the better part of a year. And a friend of Abdulazeez says that CNN that he wasn't the same when he returned to the U.S.
PAUL: So, we want to focus on that trip overseas. CNN is able to cover this story, obviously, like no other network. We are live inside Jordan right now where senior international correspondent Nick Paton Walsh is joining us from Amman. Nick, what have you learned first of all about this investigation so far this morning?
NICK PATON WALSH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, we know that he went for a period last year in 2014. And it wasn't his first trip, and he made numerous trips using his American passport. Now, in 2014, it appears the major person he was visiting here was his uncle. Now, of course, people will be scouring his movements here, cell phone records perhaps, computer records to see who else he may have had contact with. And also, most importantly, whether or not he stayed in Jordan that whole time. It's said by various - to have been as long as seven months he was here last year and that leaves plenty of scope for him, maybe less likely to across north into Syria where there are plenty of extremists he could have - mingled with, possibly have headed east into Iraq, that is a perhaps more viable route. But also entirely have left the area altogether and maybe traveled to Yemen. That being suggestions that may have been an ultimate destination for him, too.
He does appear to have got his sense on Jordanian travel document, passports that - quite common for people of his Palestinian heritage, many of the refuges here have got those documents and may have passport. Investigators now - be piece by piece, desperately trying to work out who he spoke to and exactly where he was during that period of time. Victor, Christi.
PAUL: Nick Paton-Walsh, we appreciate it so much. Thank you.
PATON-WALSH: So, let's look down a few of those avenues now. We've got with us is Lieutenant Colonel Bob Maginnis. You just heard, Lieutenant Colonel, all of the reports and angles that will be analyzed here. Which of those avenues is most important to you? LT. COLONEL BOB MAGINNIS, U.S. ARMY (RET.): Well, certainly, Victor,
if he has traveled to a place like Yemen or Syria or even into northern Iraq where the war continues to rage, you know, it's possible that he had contact with some Salafists, some ISIS people or other groups. Clearly, Jordan is in a bad neighborhood. And if you don't go to those countries, you could have people that are refuges or perhaps fighters that it left and is regrouping and preparation to go elsewhere. So, it's hard to know. Once the facts come in and once all of the signal intelligence comes in and so forth, we will have a better picture, but right now, it's very fuzzy.
BLACKWELL: Let's stick with your analogy here that Jordan is in a bad neighborhood. Let's say he didn't go onto another block.
BLACKWELL: If he stayed there in Jordan, who has strength there? Inside Jordan.
MAGINNIS: Well, you've had, obviously, ISIS people there. You had al Qaeda people there. Your previous guest indicated an al Qaeda sympathy in part of Jordan. If you do polling in Jordan, you find there is a significant group of people that have sympathy for a lot of the international bad stuff that is happening in the region. And, of course, the Palestinian refugees, they have been there since they were kicked out of Israel in 1948. So, it's a cauldron of potential animosity against the West. And we recognize that and perhaps that is one of the reasons why the uncle of this young man will be interrogated and questioned and try to find out where perhaps he went. If he took him places, if he, perhaps, planted ideas. Seven months is a long time in Jordan, especially if you consider some of the influences that he may have come across.
BLACKWELL: All right. Lieutenant Colonel Bob Maginnis. Thank you so much for the analysis. We will have more on the story throughout the morning, of course. And ahead, we'll talk more about the Marines who were killed, of course, and later this hour, our panel will weigh in on the challenges of preventing attacks like this from happening.
PAUL: Now, to eastern Iraq, where at least 86 people were killed and 116 others wounded in a suicide car bombing at a busy market. Look at the video we are getting in here. ISIS has claimed responsibility for this attack on a predominantly Shiite town. Just 21 miles from the Baghdad. Now, hundreds of people were shopping for the festival of Eid al-Fitr that marks the end of Ramadan, of course, during this attack.
Now, the story we are following, a mystery at a Texas jail. How did a woman arrested over a minor traffic violation end up dead? Three days later? Was it suicide, as police say? Or was there foul play? There is a growing call to find some answers here.
BLACKWELL: Also ahead, all eyes are on Tiger Woods at the British Open. Some are saying Tiger should retire. We want to know what you think. Get those thumbs warmed up. We are going to use the #newdaycnn. Should Tiger retire? That is the question. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Wimbledon, 2015 finished with a couple of familiar faces raising the trophy Sarina Williams and Novak Djokovic proved why those are top rank tennis players in the world.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: As soon as I stepped on the grass court in center Florida, I knew that is where I belonged and this is a very special tournament that I need to, again, find that necessary motivation to go all the way.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Williams defeated Harpinio Mukuruza (ph) in straight sets to complete her second Serena slam, winning all four grand slam titles in a row. Now, she is looking to make even more history by getting an elusive calendar slam at the U.S. Open starting in August.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's so exciting to have that opportunity of people just coming to watch, and hopefully cheering me on in New York and going for it. And regardless I'm going to do the best I can and have fun. So, I can do - I have nothing to lose now. And I've gotten three this year so, obviously, I want to win the U.S. Open. But if not, three isn't bad, so I'm going to enjoy that.
PAUL: Look at the hundreds of people here feeling the pews at interface vigils Friday. Yesterday, of course, remembering the four U.S. Marines who lost their lives in this week's shooting rampage. Chattanooga mayor Andy Berke, Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam and Senator Bob Corker all speaking at the Baptist church calling for the community to stay strong, to stand together, and to answer hate with love.
BLACKWELL: You know, we are still learning more about these four shooting victims. The youngest, 21 years old. Let that settle in for just a second. 21. Two years out of boot camp. The others all, you know, risked their lives serving their country in Iraq and Afghanistan.
PAUL: And they were killed at home where people say you should be safe, you should feel safe.
BLACKWELL: You should be.
PAUL: CNN's Alexandra Field has their story.
ALEXANDRA FIELD, CNN CORRESPONDENT:
ALEXANDRA FIELD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Gunnery sergeant Thomas Sullivan earned two purple hearts fighting the war in Iraq. A son of Massachusetts, saluted today in the city of Springfield with flags lowered to half-staff.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And my heart just went down to my toes, because I said my god. And I suppose when things hit home close to this area, it affects you a lot deeper.
FIELD: He was our hero, he will never be forgotten, thank you, Tommy, for protecting us, a loved one wrote on Facebook. From Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker, terror comes home to Massachusetts. God bless Tom Sullivan and his family and his friends. Sullivan's last day of duty spent in Chattanooga, Tennessee, at the Naval Marine Reserve Center. His Marine brothers by his side.
Sergeant Carson Holmquist, a decorated Marine from Wisconsin served two tours of duty in Afghanistan before he was killed here at home. He leaves behind a wife and son. The youngest victim, 21-year-old Lance Corporal Skip Wells graduated three years ago from Bravery High School in Marietta, Georgia. Service was in his family.
BARRETT REED: I mean, he loved this country. You know, his mamma, his mamma served in the military. (INAUDIBLE). I believe she was a Marine also. So I figured he just wanted to follow in her footsteps. He was in ROTC in high school. He loved that. You know, I just think, you know, that is a calling that he had.
PAUL: Wells recently took a trip to Disneyworld with his mom. She says, my son died doing what he loved for the love of his country and his family. A decorated 11-year veteran who served multiple tours. Staff Sergeant David Wyatt is pictured with his two children. There is no sleep tonight, someone writes. Wyatt was from Arkansas, but he lived in Chattanooga, where they are honoring the fallen and the families left behind.
PAUL: Certainly, thoughts and prayers going out to all of those folks today. Thank you, so much, Alexandra Field.
BLACKWELL: Right now to the story you've probably seen on Facebook or Twitter.
BLACKWELL: Did Sandra Bland commit suicide herself or is there foul play here?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We have reviewed the video and at no point in the video this appear that anyone goes into that cell.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: When you think through the circumstances that has been shared with us to this point, it's unimaginable and difficult for us to wrap our minds around.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLACKWELL: Well, the FBI is now investigating and we will take a closer look at what we know at this moment about the 28-year-old woman's death. That's coming up in just a moment.
BLACKWELL: What happened to Sandra Bland? That's the question her family and friends are asking right now. Here is the back story. Bland was arrested after a routine traffic stop just outside of Houston that was last Friday. Then three days later, she was found in her jail cell dead. Investigators say Bland committed suicide, but her family, her family does not believe that. Of course, they are questioning that and so are a lot of people on social media. The news of Bland's death, I mean, this has gone viral. I'm sure you have seen it. I mean as a hashtag #what happened to Sandra Bland, that's the question that CNN's Ryan Young is trying to get an answer to. Ryan.
RYAN YOUNG, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Christi and Victor, Sandra Bland was moving from Chicago to Texas to start a new job and to start a new life. And then she was pulled over by police and everyone wants to know what happened to her after she was taken to jail.
YOUNG: A traffic stop for an improper lane change leads to a tense struggle between Sandra Bland and a Texas trooper.
SANDRA BLAND: You just slammed my head to the ground! Do you not even care about that? I can't even hear! You slammed my [EXPLETIVE DELETED] head to the ground!
(END VIDEO CLIP)
YOUNG: 28-year-old Bland was arrested and taken to jail for assaulting a public servant. Three days later, she was found dead in her cell.
SHERIFF R. GLENN SMITH, WALLER COUNTY, TEXAS: The female jailer that had to be on duty at the time ran into the kitchen area, went back there to offer to see if she will need to go outside for recreation and that is when the jailer found her. Of course - (INAUDIBLE), hit the intercom.
YOUNG: Texas sheriff officials say Bland took her own life.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hi, everybody.
YOUNG: But there is a growing concern by her family and friends that something about her death doesn't add up.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It is unimaginable and difficult for us to wrap our minds around the Sandy that we knew, for this to be characteristic of her.
YOUNG: A video from Sandra Bland's Facebook page shows the young woman discussing her mental state a few months back.
SANDRA BLAND: I am suffering from something that some of you are maybe dealing with right now. It's a little bit of depression, as well as PTSD. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: She may have been suffering from some sort of mental illness, and that self-diagnosis is certainly something that we are going to look at and consider with the motive for a suicide.
YOUNG: But for family members, the thought that Sandra Bland would commit suicide is something they are not willing to accept.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Based on the Sandy that I knew, that's unfathomable to me.
YOUNG: Her family from Chicago has flown to Texas and they want to talk to investigators. Investigators now say they plan to talk to the family to give them the information they need so everyone can come to a conclusion about what happened to Sandra Bland. Victor and Christi?
PAUL: Ryan, thank you so much. Joining me now is criminal defense attorney Eric Guster. Eric, good to see you. First of all, what legal recourse does the family have at this point?
ERIC GUSTER, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: The legal recourse that the family has there are several things that the family can do. One problem that the jailers have is that they are - they have a duty to protect every inmate from themselves and others. So they are supposed to check in on the inmates and make sure this person is not harming him or herself and make sure that they are safe. And with this young lady dying in the jailers care, that's a big problem for them. And the thing that sticks out to me with this, Christi, this was a traffic ticket. This wasn't a kiddie porn case, this wasn't a rape case that someone was being accused of. This was a traffic ticket which makes zero sense as to why someone would take their own life and that is why so many people have a problem with it.
PAUL: And why she would be in jail for three days for that? What really stands out to you in this case as it does for family and friends? What is it that you can't get away from?
GUSTER: The initial video. This officer - even just a stop. When you have someone who didn't put on a traffic signal, there is no reason for them to be taken into custody. How did it get to that level? The Sandra Bland was telling the police officer, you're pushing my head into the concrete, you're hurting me, stop. And that shows that it looks like to me almost a prelude to murder. Well, this person was being harmed by the police and luckily there is a cell phone video to show that this has happened. And one of the reasons that people are very concerned with police and don't believe police is the Walter Scott case. Without police - without video of the police actions, then that narrative would be exactly what the police officer wanted.
GUSTER: And these - I just want to - I want to stop you real quickly so we can show our viewers what you're talking about here. We have some more of this cell phone video of Sandra Bland's arrest and let's listen here for a second.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SANDRA BLAND [EXPLETIVE DELETED]: You just slammed my head into the ground! Do you not even care about that? I can't even hear! You slammed my [EXPLETIVE DELETED] head to the ground! Traffic ticket -- traffic signal -- thank you for recording!
(END VIDEO CLIP)
PAUL: OK, again, Eric, what is the first thing that you think of when you see that and you hear it?
GUSTER: I want to know why. Why did it escalate to that point? Why did it get to the point where a young lady was being pushed to the ground and handcuffed and being hurt, obviously, by the police officers and they seem like they didn't care? That is exactly the problem that so many people in the community have with this case. And other cases where we police being overly excessive with force and overly excessive with arrest. That is why people are very concerned to see and get answers and that's why luckily the FBI is involved to investigate.
PAUL: OK, and I want to ask you about that in a minute. But I have to read the statement from the Waller County sheriff's office. It says "Any loss of life is a tragic incident and while the investigation is being conducted by outside agencies, the Waller County sheriff's office will continue to observe the daily operations of the jail to always look for improvements and/or preventions of those incidents." Now that you mentioned that the FBI is involved, what do you make of that?
GUSTER: It's great for the family and for the community. That way it's a totally independent investigation. Because we all know sometimes police officers and police agencies will protect their own. That's what a lot of people are concerned about. I had a case once where the police agency did not give us the full video involving an arrest. So we don't necessarily trust them with cases like this because it could be a situation where they are protecting their own and protecting themselves from any kind of liability. So it's very important for an agency that doesn't have a dog in the fight that is a federal agency that is much higher than them would come in, fully investigate, find out the holes in the case and ask questions.
PAUL: Already. Eric Guster, always appreciate your voice. Thank you so much.
GUSTER: Thank you.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLACKWELL: Let's take a look at other stories making news right now. Watch.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What do we want?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: When do we want it?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What do we want?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
PAUL: Hundreds of protesters in the streets of New York City to commemorate the anniversary of the death of Eric Garner. One year ago, he died after being placed in a chokehold by Officer Daniel Pantaleo. A grand jury declined to indict that officer, but a federal probe is ongoing.
BLACKWELL: Seven people who worked in the maximum security prison that held inmate El Chapo Guzman have been charged in connection with his escape. This as Mexican officials reveal that on the night Guzman escaped, it took 18 minutes for guards to arrive at his cell after they lost sight of him on surveillance video. And coming up on next hour, take a closer look at the escape route that he took, along with the new arrests in this case.
PAUL: Turning to sports. Tiger Woods, rough golf season continues it seems to get worse. The look on his face is there for a reason. This time, of course, the British Open, he's five over, not even close to making the cut. And he begins to take shots from AARP, some are wondering if it's just time for him to retire.
BLACKWELL: Let's talk about it. We've got Coy Wire here. We were talking a lot about this during the break.
COY WIRE: Yeah, it's a highly debatable topic. You know, do you finish on top or you just walk away when may be many think you should. And he has seven holes left to play. And he has to birdie on five of those holes just to make the cut at the open. And he has come out and said this is his favorite course. So, you know, some golfers have to play today because they couldn't get that second round finished at St. Andrews. Tiger, as I said, needs to birdie five on the last seven holes just to make the cut. It doesn't look likely. Now, he hasn't won a major tournament in seven years and he has missed the cut - he will have missed the cut in three of his last four majors if he doesn't today. So, that begs the question should Tiger Woods retire from golf? And we want to know what you think and why. Tweet us with the hashtag "NEW DAY CNN." We want to use your comments as we continue this conversation later. But, you know, it's tough to walk away from a dream, especially one that you've had since you were a child and it becomes your passion and then becomes you.
BLACKWELL: Yeah. WIRE: Maybe that is why he is continuing to stick at it.
PAUL: I asked if it was an ego thing or what do you want your legacy to be?
BLACKWELL: And we have seen a lot of professionals who have been great. I mean you look at Mohammed Ali who was the greatest, but continue to fight long after it was plausible that he would win a bout against some of his competitors.
WIRE: No doubt about it. It's just a year, remember, last year Tiger Woods was ranked number one in the world. He is now 241. So, it is just really tough to see. It seems like he is on a slippery slope and we will see what people have to say. We are looking forward to hearing your comments. Again, hashtag, "NEW DAY CNN." We want to hear what you think. Should Tiger Woods retire and why?
PAUL: Well, that's what I mean by ego, because we know that so many times even just regular folks retire and then you go, hey, I'm bored and you go out and you find another job. So you think what else he would do. But at the same time, with that ego, do you want this to be your legacy? Thank you, Coy.
WIRE: See you guys soon.
PAUL: Good conversation.
Well, there is so much more news to tell you about this morning.
BLACKWELL: A lot going on today. Next hour of your "NEW DAY" starts right now.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: As it started to get closer, we panicked.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It got bigger and bigger and bigger, and then it came to us.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: (INAUDIBLE) got out and started running up the hill.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
PAUL: It is just stunning. A wildfire out of control in California jumping the interstate and forcing drivers - look at this, to abandon their cars and look at them now - hundreds running into the mountains just to get away from those flames.
BLACKWELL: Plus, new information about the shooter who gunned down four Marines in Chattanooga. Why a friend of Mohammad Yousuf Abdelazeez says a visit to the Middle East change him?
PAUL: And new details in the hunt for Mexican drug king - seven prison workers charged in the escape of El Chapo and did an 18 minutes delay give him an head start?