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Tropical Storm Florence Hits Carolinas with Heavy Rain and Strong Winds; At Least Five Killed as Storm Slams into the Carolinas; Twenty Thousand Evacuees in Shelters as Florence Moves Through; Protesters Rally, Demand Justice for Death of Botham Jean; Firefighters Pray for Mother and Baby Killed By Downed Tree; Tropical Storm Florence Causing Catastrophic Flooding; 950,000 Customers Without Power Across The Carolinas; Trump Tweets Praise For FEMA Without Mentioning FEMA Chief; WSJ: President Trump Slams Manafort Plea Deal; Manafort Pleads Guilty, Will Cooperate In Russia Probe; Woman Accuses Kavanaugh Of Assault In Letter To Senator. Aired 6-7a ET

Aired September 15, 2018 - 06:00   ET


CHRISTI PAUL, CNN ANCHOR, NEW DAY WEEKEND: It has been a pummelling and though the winds might not be as strong as they once were, it is the flooding that is so dangerous this morning and more than 900,000 people waking up in the Carolinas without power.

Good morning to you. We're so glad to have you with us. I'm Christi Paul. Victor Blackwell live for us in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. How you doing there, Victor?

VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN ANCHOR, NEW DAY WEEKEND: Christi, good morning to you. You said the winds have died down. That is true, but they are still stiff and getting strong here in Myrtle Beach and, as we've said this morning, that this is not primarily a wind event. It is about the rain and the surge that is coming that is flooding so many communities. This is a multi-day event that could stretch well into next week as the flooded waters that are in North Carolina come down through the rivers into South Carolina and flood some of the communities along the banks there.

I'm in Myrtle Beach, as I said. This is a town that's under a curfew for another hour. No one who is not emergency personnel is to be on the streets right now. We've gotten reports from officials across Myrtle Beach that the expectations were much worse, but here, things for the moment, are looking good. But again, this is one of many chapters of this event.

I want to start with my colleague, Nick Valencia, who is out across Myrtle Beach checking around, seeing if there's any damage thus far that's come from the winds and rains. Nick, what are you seeing where you are?

NICK VALENCIA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hey, Victor. We decided to go up about 20 miles away from Myrtle Beach, drive around the area to see what kind of damage this storm brought to the area. You know, they were expecting catastrophic damage all week long. We have been out here since earlier this week warning residents that this storm, it's not -- it wasn't a storm that one should take lightly.

And here, though, we haven't really seen any significant damage. We're in an area called Conway, South Carolina. It's about 20 miles inland from Myrtle Beach. It's an area that is prone to flooding. In fact, I spoke to the emergency manager early this morning just a short time ago, asking him if they've seen any reports of damage or have any reports of injuries.

He says really, right now, it's too early to tell, but just like where you are right now, Victor, this area is still under a curfew. The only cars we see as we talk about this are police vehicles cruising the streets to make sure everyone is OK.

We are not seeing really any, as I mentioned, significant damage, but that wind is steady, the rain is still coming down pretty steady. We are continuing to cruise around after these hits to see if we can find anything else.

But earlier this week, we thought this would have been a storm of a lifetime. It was projected to make landfall at a category four, a hurricane along the Carolina coast. That, of course, got downgraded and it made landfall as a category one, now a tropical storm just sitting and sort of hovering over us.

I also managed to speak to the mayor since we were last on and she says really it's -- we're not out of the woods yet. What she expects to happen in the next three to five days is cresting. So even if there's not flooding now, that doesn't mean it's not going to happen later this week.

As the sun comes up, they're going to get a little bit more of an assessment to see if there are any other significant areas of damage, but right now, from what we can see, the 20 miles that we drove, Victor, we haven't seen anything so far.

BLACKWELL: All right. Nick Valencia, we'll check back in with you. Thank you very much. And I don't want you to be left, after that report and the first couple of minutes of this hour, to believe that everything is safe here. Although the first reports here in Myrtle Beach are positive, this is a killer storm.

Five people in North Carolina have lost their lives because of Hurricane Florence, now a tropical storm. A mother and her infant were killed when a tree fell onto their home in Wilmington. A 77-year-old man who was going out and checking on his hunting dogs, he lost his life. His family believes that the wind knocked him over.

There was also a woman who suffered cardiac arrest and officials say they were en route to her home to try to respond to that call, but because of fallen trees in the road, they were unable to get to her in time and by the time they arrived she was deceased. And there was also a man who died when trying to hook up a generator.

These are all after the height of the storm. These are deaths that come in the aftermath of the worst of the wind and the worst of the rain. So this is not a time to come out and survey the damage. Although we just had a report of things looking better than expected, there are still plenty of dangers with downed power lines and saturated grounds and trees that could topple over at any time.

Let's go now into meteorologist Chad Myers to tell us what we can expect over the next several hours as this now stretches on for another day. Chad, what are you seeing?

CHAD MYERS, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Absolutey brutality in North Carolina.

[06:05:01] There's no other word. A sobering flash flood emergency over almost the entire eastern half of that state. Now, you guys are farther down to the south. You're closer to the center, but you're not closer to the action. The action is up here. This is where the tornado watch still is in effect. Flooding is still coming in from the ocean. A big band of convection coming off the ocean will eventually push all of that moisture back into North Carolina.

And I'm going to show you some river gauges that are going to be alarming. The same type of gauges that we saw near the New Bern area yesterday as all of this has worked its way on up. Now, yes, it's only a 50 mile per hour storm and we are west-southwest at five miles per hour. Barely moving, but not that far from Conway, if you know where that is, not that far from Myrtle.

But there's still another 10 inches of rainfall to come on the north side of this, on top of places that have already seen 30. So 10 plus 30 is 40. I can do that math. Here comes the rain. This is the high- res forecast radar for the rest of the day. Here's 2:00 o'clock, 3:00 o'clock this afternoon. The rain stays in the exact same place because the eye center stays in the exact same place and this is the rub here with this storm.

Now I'm going to get granular on you. It's not going to be the greatest graphics we've ever seen, but this is USGS data. Live data right now, what the rivers look like and it's alarming.

Let me take you to the first place here. This will be the -- click or click. Here we go. The Trent River at Trenton. So all week we were at four feet. This morning, we wake up to 18 feet. People are living this just like they lived the New Bern River yesterday.

Here's the Neuse River at Kinston, from five to 14 and still going up. Well above stage. Well above major flood stage. Here's Goldsboro. Here's the Neuse River at Goldsboro. We are going to go from three feet and right this morning, we are at 20 feet high. So this river has gone up 17 feet in 24 hours.

Another one here. The New River near Gum Branch. We've gone from two feet to 23 feet this morning and the rivers all the way up and down, even from northern North Carolina all the way down to the ocean will have to take all of this water.

Here's another one. Cape Fear River at Fayetteville, 10 to 16 and the forecast is almost 60 feet. So another, what? Thirty, 40 feet to go. So people are going to have to get out of the way of this water. It's all running back down and it's still coming in, Victor. BLACKWELL: Wow. All right. And that's why this will be a multi-day event. Chad Myers, thank you so much. We'll check back in with you to get the latest on what's coming for people here across the Carolinas.

Let's go now to George Sturm. He is riding out this storm on Oak Island. George, good morning to you. What are you seeing outside your window?

GEORGE STURM: Good morning. It's raining. We have a bit wind. So when a say "a bit of", I've been through several of these so it's about 45 miles an hour. Rain, steady rain. A lot of branches down. A lot of the roads -- the beach road's impassable. Just a lot -- a lot of branches and all. No injuries. Some parts of our area have lost power. We did not lose power. We lost water for a little bit yesterday, but that's about it, you know? We got fairly lucky.

BLACKWELL: OK. So -- OK. So yes, fortunate you didn't even lose power there. Who do you have with you?

STURM: I'm with my sister Lynn (ph) and brother-in-law Gary (ph) and so we're ...

BLACKWELL: So why did you decide to ...

STURM: We're doing quite well. Pardon?

BLACKWELL: All right. I apologize to people at home and you, George, for the delay that we're having that we occasionally speak over one another. But why did you decide to ride it out at home?

STURM: Because it's a -- it's a real pain to try to get back on the island when you realize that it's a -- it's not going to be a cat four, it's a cat two. I feel for the people that are going to -- that are going to have a lot of difficulty getting back home. We have two bridges that we have to come over to get to the island and once you leave that -- for instance, yesterday there was a 24-hour curfew. We couldn't leave our homes.

And these poor people trying to get back, you know, with all the flooding and everything. We've been through it before so this was the prudent move to make was to stay on the island.

BLACKWELL: Now you say you had some branches down. No major damage, no major trees down in your yard?

STURM: No. Just some big -- just big branches and thank God. We were concerned, as were a lot of people, about just big pines that we have falling over your house. A few, yes, fell over some vehicles and all, but no big deal. It's just a car, you know?

BLACKWELL: Yes, yes. It is just a car, especially when we're having a conversation about people losing their lives in this storm. George Sturm, thanks so much for spending a few minutes with us to give us a look at what's happening outside your window there at Oak Island.

[06:10:06] And everybody be safe there because we know that this is not over. This will stretch on for several days. Christi, I'm going to give it back to you and we'll talk more a little later about what we're seeing as the sun will soon come up in North Carolina.

There have been hundreds of rescues over the last 24 hours. Some by members of the Cajun Navy, some by members of the local and state government and some by just neighbors trying to help one another. So we'll tell some of those stories in just minutes.

PAUL: Yes. And one of those stories about some firefighters and how emotionally this is really impacting them, as well. Very interesting. Thank you so much. Victor Blackwell there live in Myrtle Beach.

Now, I want to tell you about President Trump. He's praising FEMA for its response to Florence, but the President did not make mention of the agency's embattled leader, Brock Long. Long been in the news lately, under investigation for his alleged misuse of government vehicles.

Now, the President's tweet comes in the wake of a report that the White House considered replacing Long in the days prior to Florence hitting. According to the "Wall Street Journal", there were discussions over potential replacements for Long. However, Chief of Staff John Kelly decided to keep him on until the probe was complete. Long says he'll fully cooperate in the investigation.

The Department of Homeland Security tells CNN the department is fully focused on preparing for, responding to, and recovering from Hurricane Florence and the storms in the Pacific, because we know there are other storms out there and watching exactly what they're going to do in the future.

I do want to put it out there, though, here, that if you want to help the people that are impacted by Hurricane Florence, because they do need help, there are ways that you can donate. You can give blood, you can get in touch with charities that are responding. And I know that can feel a little overwhelming trying to decipher who can do what for whom. Well, visit We've broken down the ways there that you can help and thank you for doing so.

Coming up next, former Trump campaign chairman, Paul Manafort, makes a plea deal, tells the judge, hey, I'm ready to talk. What that might mean for his former boss, for President Trump, or others, as well.

And a woman says Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh assaulted her when they were in high school. A lot of people saying, why are we just hearing about this?




PAUL: Sixteen minutes past the hour right now. Take a look at your radar there and that live picture coming to us from Myrtle Beach. Tropical Storm Florence still tearing through the Carolinas this morning. We're going to have more on that storm in a couple of minutes.

But we want to get to another big story that we're following this morning. This huge win for, seemingly, for the Russia Special Counsel. Former Trump campaign chairman, Paul Manafort, pleading guilty to one count of conspiracy and one count of witness to tampering. This is part of a plea deal. He's going to cooperate with the Special Counsel's Russia probe now.

Now, President Trump told the "Wall Street Journal" he got, quote, "hit with an artificial witch hunt that should never have happened." CNN's Sarah Westwood joining us now. What do we know about this plea deal, Sarah?

SARAH WESTWOOD, CNN WHITE HOUSE REPORTER: Christi, we know that after months of trying to fight these charges in a federal court, Paul Manafort is now admitting to two federal crimes, that conspiracy and obstruction of justice crimes. And that's on top of the eight charges on which Manafort was convicted just weeks ago. Now, we know Manafort will be cooperating with investigators. The extent of that cooperation, however, is still unknown.

Now, President Trump and his allies have been trying to distance the President and the White House from this plea deal. Sarah Sanders, the Press Secretary, saying in a statement yesterday this had absolutely nothing to do with the President or his victorious 2016 Presidential campaign. It is totally unrelated.

And Trump's allies are also seizing on the fact that the charges to which Manafort admitted, are related to work he performed well before he joined President Trump's campaign. Rudy Giuliani, Trumps' attorney, made that argument on Fox News last night. Take a listen.


RUDY GIULIANI, ATTORNEY: The plea agreement has and the cooperation agreement has nothing to do with the Trump campaign. Quote, "There is no evidence of collusion." Now, I know that because I've been privy to a lot of facts I can't repeat, but the reality is no evidence of collusion. All you have to do is look at the plea. The plea is to crimes that have to do with Manafort's past. No involvement with President Trump. No involvement with the campaign. No involvement with Russia. And by the way, there's also no evidence of obstruction.


WESTWOOD: Of course, while the Special Counsel has not yet made a determination about those allegations of collusion, it has secured guilty pleas not just from Paul Manafort, but also from former deputy campaign manager Rick Gates, former national security advisor Mike Flynn, former campaign advisor George Papadopoulos, a lawyer, Alex van der Zwaan and it's brought criminal charges against more than a dozen Russian people and companies.

With the storm raging, President Trump has not responded to Manafort's plea deal on twitter, but Christi, today, that might change.

PAUL: Certainly. Sarah Westwood, thank you so much for walking us through it.

Errol Louis, CNN political commentator and political anchor for "Spectrum News" with us now, as well as Joey Jackson, CNN legal analyst and criminal defense attorney. Gentlemen, thank you for getting up so early for us.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Good morning, Christi (ph).

PAUL: Joey, listen, I want to go to you first and I want to read something from this cooperation agreement specifically because it seems so incredibly broad. This is what Manafort signed, "Your client shall testify fully, completely and truthfully before any and all grand juries in the District of Columbia and elsewhere, and at any and all trials of cases or other court proceedings in the District of Columbia and elsewhere."

It seems like there are no boundaries on this thing. Can you compare this plea agreement, say, to others? Is something with this much leeway standard?

[06:20:02] JOEY JACKSON, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Now, it is, and good morning to you, Christi. Yes. Of course. If you're entering into a plea agreement, the prosecutors want full and thorough and complete cooperation. And so the issue is not some much the language that you just spelled out. The issue is who the language applies to. Who are we speaking about?

We're speaking about Mr. Manafort who held fast for the President, who was the chairperson of the President's campaign, who could provide critical knowledge and information not only as to the President, his knowledge of the Trump Tower meeting, issues regarding the platform and whether the platform in the republican party was changed to make it more favorable to Russia, the President's men, so to speak. Roger Stone, his former associate, Jared Kushner.

So the issue is we're dealing with Paul Manafort, a person who had really held fast, right? And who had said no-holds-barred, I'm going ahead. And who was convicted in Virginia, faced this trial now. And the thought that I always believed in speaking about this on air, off air was that, look, he's holding out for a pardon. This is complete and utter capitulation.

Now, no matter how you spin this -- final point, Christi -- you could go on Fox News, you could go on any news and talk about, oh, these are prior issues, it didn't have anything to do, no collusion. The fact is is that cooperation means that we're going to give you leniency no matter what the charges are for what you know about what we want to know. And so collusion, no clue. We'll find out. We'll see.

But the reality is he knows so much critical information and, to your point at the outset, he's agreeing to talk about it in all forums. That is terrible news for the President and the President's people who surround -- who he surrounds himself with.

PAUL: Yes. Errol, what does this tell you about the power Mueller has now? And I mean, is it fair to say that Mueller essentially owns Manafort at this point?

ERROL LOUIS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, I think legally speaking, he's certainly got the upper hand. Paul Manafort is going to surrender at least $46 million in cash, a couple of very valuable properties in New York City. And of course, his freedom is at stake because at the end of all of this, then and only then does a note go to the judge suggesting that he take into account, he or she, take into account whatever cooperation was given by Paul Manafort. So he has every incentive in the world to tell Mueller everything he knows.

Joey's exactly right. What this is going do is open the door to the Special Counsel being able to sort of fill in a lot of the different blanks. Who was at the June 2016 Trump Tower meeting? What was their mindset? What, if anything, was said or believed to have been said to the President? I mean, all of these things are going to come into much sharper relief from a incredible source.

Now, Donald Trump himself has tweeted multiple times that Paul Manafort is holding strong and not going to make up stories and so forth and so on, but this notion that he was somehow going to take a guilty plea or a conviction and then hold out for a pardon, I think that's now gone. I mean, that's just dead and buried.

PAUL: Yes. A very good point to make. Listen, gentlemen, I want to read -- get people caught up on another story because, Joey, I want to get your take on this one. This decades' old assault accusation against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh that's coming into play. That's threatening to impact his confirmation vote, we know.

So here's the thing. A woman sent a letter to Senator Dianne Feinstein accused Kavanaugh of assaulting her when they were in high school. This was back in the early '80s. Feinstein has now referred that letter to the FBI. Judge Kavanaugh has denied the allegation, but this comes at a critical juncture, obviously, of his confirmation battle.

What we understand is, again, this happened in the high -- in high school in the '80s. This woman has not gone public. She has no desire to go public. She sent the letter to feinstein. We know that she didn't -- she didn't go to police when this happened, but she says that she did seek medical attention. She's saying it happened. What if there's no proof that it -- that it did happen? I mean, what evidence needs to accompany this for it to be effective or is the accusation enough effective, Joey?

JACKSON: Well, Christi, there are really two components. The accusation itself goes to, really, a political issue of, look, his confirmation is there and whether there's proof or no proof, the fact is is that it certainly could be harmful to that nomination.

Beyond that, in regard to the proof, in the event she sought medical attention, it would be of interest what she told the doctors at the time. How significant and severe is it? In the event you engage in assault, a sexual assault or any other assault in any part of your life, certainly it's a relevant component of who you are. Is it who you are? Well, that's for people to determine. But understand this, we are in a different generation. We're in the Me Too generation where there is -- there is zero tolerance for any of this. And so certainly it's something that should come up. It's something that should be debated. It's something that he has, that is the judge, due process rights to refute as he has with regard to its credibility or lack thereof.

[06:24:06] But there needs to be an airing of exactly what, when it happened, how it happened, why it happened. And in the event that it's true or not true, and then there'll be a vote accordingly. But I think it's certainly a part of the record that needs to be talked about.

PAUL: Yes. It is part of the record now. And questions about the timing of how this came out, we're going to talk about that a little bit later, as well. Errol Louis and Joey Jackson, I'm sorry we've run out of time. Always so good to get your perspectives. Thank you.

JACKSON: Thank you.

LOUIS: Thank you, Christi.

PAUL: So still to come, excruciating. That's how North Carolina's governor is describing Florence. Even this morning as this storm is just slogging its way south. We have an update for you on the relentless rain, the catastrophic flooding from this storm that has happened and that they are still expecting.


[06:30:00] CHRISTI PAUL, CO-HOST, NEW DAY SATURDAY: Thirty minutes past the hour right now, it is still dark in the Carolinas, we're waiting for the sun to come up to see exactly what Florence has left them with, and what is yet to come. I'm Christi Paul, Victor Blackwell in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina right now.

You've been feeling a lot of different weather already this morning just in the last hour, hour and a half.

VICTOR BLACKWELL, CO-HOST, NEW DAY SATURDAY: Yes, it's just a mix of wind and rain, add a little more one, take a little less of the other. But that's what we've been seeing for the last 90 minutes. Sunrise expected at the top of the hour, and I want to focus this segment on North Carolina.

I mean, the governor there, Roy Cooper has said that this storm is relentless. And look, they have been going through this for days now, and there will be days more of this even after the wind dies down and the rain dies down. There will be the concern of flooding of those major creeks and rivers across North Carolina.

And all that water is coming here to South Carolina. But I want to now talk to Skippy Winner along Carolina Beach, a community that's being cut off because of the bridge that goes into and out of that community. It's now inaccessible because of the wind.

Skippy, good morning you to, and I understand the community lost power, but you have a generator. How are you holding up?

SKIPPY WINNER, RETIRED SEA CAPTAIN (via telephone): We're holding up fine, just sitting here, hanging out.

BLACKWELL: Just hanging out in the middle of a tropical storm. Hey, Skippy, how does this compare to other storms you've ridden out over the years?

WINNER: It's lasting longer, much longer than before. The only other one that lasted like this was Erika and Diana in 1984, came up into Carolina Beach, went offshore just a little bit. We went the west side of it, doing that middle day, joined, came back in and went on north, and done a lot of damage. Other than that, most of them when they hit, they keep on going.

BLACKWELL: Any damage to your home or your property this time around?

WINNER: No, I don't have any damage, you know, small limbs, I've got one old tree blown down on my corner lot that is vacant and submit -- I've got a lot of rains, a lot of wind and a lot of leaves.

BLACKWELL: What's the flooding situation there at your house?

WINNER: We do not have -- we have not been flooded. The only flooding we've had here on Carolina Beach was around the Marina and Canal Drive, the parking lot around the Marina, and Carl Winner Street; which is at the end of the Marina, and that floods -- most all hurricanes, but it has not reached the rest of the island.

BLACKWELL: Now, we know there have been calls for -- ahead of the storm -- for people who live there in Carolina Beach in your community to leave ahead of the storm. Why did you decide to stay?

WINNER: Well, I've always stayed, my family has always stayed. My great granddaddy started this little island and we've been here ever since now. I've never found much on the other side of the bridge, what's going to.

BLACKWELL: So Skippy, tell me this, have you heard from officials when you'll be able to go out and assess the damage, drive around or even get across that bridge back to the mainland?

WINNER: No, but normally the bridge will be -- stay closed after we have a hurricane for two or three days to give the emergency people power cut this and what have you to come here and to make sure there's fire alarms and check everybody and see that there's no hazard that would hurt the homeowners and businessmen when they come back on the island.

So it will probably be two or three days before the bridge opens back up.

BLACKWELL: OK, have you been able to speak with any of your neighbors and what are they telling you?

WINNER: No, they have a -- we have a curfew where you cannot go off of your property this time. So all we can do is walk around our area and see what is happening, and I have seen no damage to any now immediate neighbors. So we're kind of limited to how far we can go this time.

BLACKWELL: Are you one of the few who stayed or give me an idea of how many people you know ahead of this storm who decided they're going to ride it out?

[06:35:00] WINNER: There's about 5,000 or 6,000 residents, and I understand there's probably 500 to a 1,000 of them still on the island. Most of the -- a lot of the people that have been here a long time and they have the experience to remain.

Everybody on the ocean-front needs to leave. Nobody needs to stay on the ocean-front in North Carolina.

BLACKWELL: All right, Skippy Winner, an old timer there on Carolina Beach who decided to ride this, well, he's ridden out several other storms. Good to hear that you don't have any major damage, you've got your generator there because the power is out. Thank you so much for speaking with us for a few minutes and stay safe as this passes through.

WINNER: Yes, sir, thank you for calling. Everything is fine in our immediately location, north of us and our shoreline is catching the devil. Thank you, sir.

BLACKWELL: Thank you, sir, Christie, back to you in Atlanta.

PAUL: All right, take good care up there, Victor, we're going to check in with Victor here -- Victor again here in just a little bit. But I want to tell you what's happening overnight in Dallas. Demonstrators were protesting the police shooting death of Botham Jean; a black man who was killed inside his own home. We have a Cnn exclusive look as well inside his apartment up next.


PAUL: Well, 40 minutes past the hour right now. And demonstrators were rallying in downtown Dallas overnight. They were protesting a police shooting death of Botham Jean. Now, this group demanded the officer involved be fired and charged with murder rather than manslaughter.

Remember, Jean was shot and killed inside his own apartment last week by an officer who claims she mistakenly entered his apartment, thinking it was her own. In the meantime, Cnn has gained this exclusive look inside his apartment. Cnn correspondent Ryan Young has more details for us here.


RYAN YOUNG, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Unit 1478 was Botham Jean's apartment. It's where the 26-year-old young life was cut short when he was shot by a police officer in his living room. A small memorial of flowers and a photo with his mother adorn his front door.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: At 26 years old, he had done so much.

YOUNG: With permission from the family, we're getting a look inside Botham's apartment. It's a typical single man's apartment, except for the bullet hole in the wall indicated by an evidence marking more than six-feet high.

There's also a pool of blood on the floor which we will not show you. There's a laundry pile on the couch and Botham's half-eaten bowl of cereal still had milk in it. He may have been reading one of the many books littered in the apartment before he was shot and killed by officer Amber Guyger.

This is video witness of Guyger pacing around, upset moments after the shooting. Officer Guyger tells investigators she shot Jean after mistaking his apartment for her own. Guyger tells investigators that after work, she parked her car on the wrong floor, walked to the wrong apartment, and that Jean's door was slightly open.

In her statement to police, Guyger says she gave verbal commands before firing two shots. Lee Merritt says witnesses tell a different story.

LEE MERRITT, ATTORNEY: They both heard a knock or a pounding on the door followed by a female's voice saying, "open up, let me in." She said the voice didn't sound like an officer command, it sounded like someone who wanted to be let into the apartment.

She said that was shortly followed by the sound of gunshots and the sound of a man's voice, saying what she believed to be, oh, my God, why did you do that?

YOUNG: The Jean family's attorney and the family are now upset by the leak of a search warrant that indicates officers went inside Jean's apartment looking for drugs. Officers say they did find and removed several items including a small amount of marijuana.

The warrant does not indicate who the items belonged to. It's unknown if a search warrant was executed at the officer's apartment.

MERRITT: Twenty six years on this earth, he lived his life virtually without blemish. And it took being murdered by a Dallas police officer for Botham Jean to suddenly become a criminal. There's a clear intent here to smear the name of Botham Jean.

YOUNG: During a moving funeral service, we learned much more about Jean and his accomplishments, family and friends talked openly about his love of people, for singing, and the fact that he was a high- achieving employee on a partnership track at the accounting firm PWC.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: PWC is hurting, not just in Dallas, but all over across our country.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He was so joyful and we know how much he loved to sing. You know, he was the biggest extraverted accountant you'd ever find.

YOUNG: Amber Guyger is on administrative leave during an investigation. The DA's office will take the case before a grand jury will determine the next course of action. Cnn has reached out to the officer Guyger's attorney and they have not returned our calls. For a heartbroken mother who wants answers.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: So I'm calling on the Dallas officials, please, come clean, give me justice for my son because he does not deserve what he got.

YOUNG: Ryan Young, Cnn, Dallas.


PAUL: And we'll of course continue to follow that story for you. Still to come though, excruciating, that's how North Carolina's governor describes Florence as it slogs its way south now. We're going to update you on the relentless rain and the catastrophic flooding from this storm that has happened and that they still expect is to come.


BLACKWELL: Hi, I'm Victor Blackwell live in Myrtle Beach as we continue our special live coverage of now tropical storm Florence. And new numbers in, nearly 950,000 customers without power across North and South Carolina. Most of those nearly 800,000 of them in North Carolina.

And they may be without power for a few days more because it's unsafe right now to send crews out to try to repair some of the downed power lines. So, those without generators who decided to stay around will be without power potentially for a few more days. This storm is moving at a lazy walker's pace. So it's going to be here for a while.

[06:50:00] And because this storm is so big, as it moves into South Carolina, North Carolina is still feeling the worst of that northeastern quadrant that is slapping communities that already felt some flooding. The rough winds, those downed trees, and of course the power lines. This is what North Carolina's Governor Roy Cooper said about this storm.


GOV. ROY COOPER (D), NORTH CAROLINA: This storm is relentless and excruciating and very slow, moving at three miles an hour. And with every inch of rain that falls in our rivers, it's that much closer to significant inland flooding.

We're still evacuating areas all along the rivers in North Carolina. There's probably not a county or a person that won't be affected in some way by this massive and violent storm.

(END VIDEO CLIP) BLACKWELL: And one of the communities hit hardest by this, it's now

been isolated because of those winds that made the bridge into and out of town impassable. Derek Van Dam there in Carolina Beach, we've been checking in with him throughout the morning. Derek, give us the latest.

DEREK VAN DAM, METEOROLOGIST: Oh, good morning Victor. The first glimmer of light here at Carolina Beach. It has been a grueling 36 hours as the mayor just mentioned a moment ago, relentless rain, relentless wind, and it continues.

And it's set to continue at least for another 12 to 24 hours where I'm standing along the coastal areas of North Carolina. We are part of the hundreds of thousands that you just mentioned without electricity. We still have no communication, very difficult for any cell phone service around here.

And the emergency personnel are asking and urging the residents that decided to brave the storm not to call them unless they are in a dire emergency because obviously, bringing help to them will put other emergency officials into harm's way.

Now, we still have the potential for flooding. Flash flooding is a major concern here, because heavy feeder bands are setting up, and they have a potential of dumping another foot of rain on top of what has already fallen here.

In terms of damage, it has been minimal. The wind, of course, as we know, has not been as gruesome as they predicted category three hurricane four days ago. But nonetheless, there still have been some walls that have collapsed, there have been some roofs that have been taken off of some of the weaker buildings, shingles dislodged, trees that have snapped and still some power lines in some of the waters that have collected here from all the heavy rainfall lately.

We're going to keep monitoring the storm very closely as it moves at a snail's pace, Victor, but that's all right now from Carolina Beach.

BLACKWELL: All right, Derek Van Dam for us, Derek, thank you so much. And those gust of wind had come and listen, they're enough to make you adjust your footing out here, but they are not those category three and four winds that were out a couple of days ago before the storm hit the shore.

Now, we know from South Carolina Governor Henry McMaster who says that, here on the coast, yes, the story will be in some part, the wind. But his concern primarily is the surge and the flooding of those rivers in North Carolina as the water comes into South Carolina.

And that will be over the next several days. And what will that be for the communities that live along the banks of those rivers, along the Waccamaw, along the Edisto, along the Catawba, the rivers that PD, they come into this community, that will be the challenge after the wind passes and this storms heads north, Christi.

PAUL: Yes, and I've heard experts say those slicing rivers, they could really hit record levels between Monday and Wednesday, which gives us a real indication of how long this thing is going to last. Victor, thank you so much, we're going to continue to go to Victor.

But he said something really interesting, and I don't know if you caught it. What exactly happened as this category one hurricane hit land? Of course, as you know, we said it's now a tropical storm. But I want you to take a look here at some of what we have seen. The fury of this storm as it hit.


MIGUEL MARQUEZ, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: The wind is whipping stronger than it has in the last 24 hours.

JOHN BERMAN, CNN: The eye did make landfall in Wrightsville Beach about six miles from where I am, with a wind speed of about 90 miles per hour.

CHRIS CUOMO, CNN: This isn't just water that's coming this way. The ocean and the winds are forcing sand up into the air.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If you look all the way down, that's beyond most people, you might be able to make it out, that is the ocean, it's not supposed to be there right now.

[06:55:00] BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Power is out all over the city. That tree over there to my left, to your right, looks like it's about to be uprooted and we're getting a lot of strong gusts of wind.

DIANNE GALLAGHER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: We are in river bend, experienced an extraordinary amount of flooding here. And a lot of people have said that they weren't expecting it to flood like this here.



PAUL: Well, listen in, an emotional moment for a group of firefighters we want to share with you right now. This was in Wilmington, North Carolina. They now -- look at them here, and prayed outside this home where a mother and infant were killed by a tree that fell on their home.

The father was injured, he was taken to a local hospital. These crews are so exhausted, they worked for hours trying to free this man's family. And so you can imagine -- I mean, they talk about this is emotional for them as well. The things they see, the things they do. And to still have something like that happen where they don't survive after the effort they gave, it's very hard to take in for them. Keep --