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Campus Shootings; Storm Slams Florida; Jena 6 Court Hearing; Gerri's Top Tips

Aired September 21, 2007 - 10:00   ET


HEIDI COLLINS, CNN ANCHOR: This morning after a suspected tornado.
And a woman in police custody tasered time after time. An Ohio police officer under investigation today.

Friday, September 21st. You are in the NEWSROOM.

Breaking news. Delaware State University on lockdown this hour. Two of its students shot and wounded. A gunman still on the loose. In Dover, Jill Horner now of CNN affiliate CN8.


JILL HORNER, CNN CORRESPONDENT, (voice over): All classes at Delaware State University have been canceled and all non-essential personnel has been told not to report to work.

In the early morning hours, two of Delaware State University students were shot. The suspect in that case is still at large. We're being told it is a single male shooter who may have known the students.

Now this campus sits on 400 acres. About 3,600 students attend Delaware State University. And about 1,700 of those students reside on campus. So, for them, this is a very challenging and difficult time. They are being told to stay in their dorm rooms while the hunt is on for the suspect.

Now the condition of the students. The male student is in stable condition. But the female student, her condition has not been released. Officials from the school have only said that she is in worse condition than the male student. They have been taken to nearby Bay Health (ph) Medical Center and updates will be given by the university throughout the day.

I'm Jill Horner in Dover, Delaware.


COLLINS: Also want to let you know that we are trying very hard to bring more information to you on this story. Still, obviously, developing at this hour. Our Kathleen Koch is headed to the campus of Delaware State University and we will bring her up just as soon as she gets there to provide you with some more information. In the meantime, want to give you a sort of a thumbnail sketch of Delaware State University. The main campus spans some 400 acres and is located in Dover. That's about two hours from Philadelphia and Washington. Three hours from New York City. There are more than 3,600 students enrolled. About 1,700 live on campus.

Also new this morning, shell shock in central Florida. Look at this video now. Residents picking up today after a suspected tornado touched down, blowing off roofs and taking out power lines. About 50 homes damaged in the town of Eustis. Many of them nearly flattened. Officials say the entire second story of one house was completely torn off. Amazingly, the people inside did escaped without injuries. Others, though, not so lucky. At least four people were hurt in the storm.


M. WRIGHT: It was kind of dark, so I really -- I seen the roof come off the house. That was really about all -- after the roof come off, then I seen the debris flying through the living room. And by that time, I already had my wife drug through the hallway going to the bedroom to get into a closet.


COLLINS: And even more weather worries for Florida. Forecasters keeping a close eye on a weather system. It could spell real trouble for the sunshine state.

And police now going door-to-door checking on residents. Joining us now by phone from Eustis, Florida, is Sheriff Gary Borders.

Sheriff, if you can hear me OK, tell us the latest situation. As we just said, going door-to-door to make sure everybody's OK.

SHERIFF GARY BORDERS, LAKE COUNTY, FLORIDA: Well, and that's exactly what we're doing. Actually, we're on our third trip. We did it early in the morning when it was dark. Once it became daylight, we went again, checked on the residents (INAUDIBLE). The third time we're just trying to make sure that everybody's OK. And we feel comfortable that everybody that was home is accounted for.

COLLINS: Well, that's great news. Talk to us, though, a little bit about sort of the complications that you go through and rescue crews go through because this thing hit in the middle of the night.

BORDERS: Well, yes, it hit at like 11:00 at night. And, of course, we -- the first obstacle we have is that we have live power lines laying on the ground. So we know we have to be careful of that for our law enforcement personnel and we're trying to keep the residents inside their home so they're not going outside.

Once we got the power turned off then, obviously, we were in checking on the residents in the middle of the night. And by about 4:00 in the morning, we had inmates from the county jail out there clearing roadways and get the roads cleared and actually had that done before daylight to where we were able to start assessing what kind of damage we had.

COLLINS: Boy, I, you know, as I talk to you, we keep showing this video. It's just -- the damage just looks extensive to me. Really powerful thing that came through. As we know from our meteorologist Bonnie Schneider here, not even sure if, in fact, this was a tornado. Takes some time to actually survey the damage and make that determination and then categorize it as well. But, boy, I just saw an RV that was flipped on its side and some other cars overturned and, obviously, these roofs of homes just torn right off. Surprise you to see this much damage now since daylight is there?

BORDERS: Well, I mean, we really felt like we had that kind of damage last night just from our initial assessment of driving around. Where we are very fortunate and thankful is when you're looking at that damage that we didn't have injuries and we didn't have any fatalities. We're just fortunate for that.

COLLINS: Yes, very, very lucky indeed.

Well, Sheriff Gary Borders, we appreciate your time here this morning. I know you will have a busy day ahead of you. We'll keep bringing more information to our viewers as soon as we get it here. Thanks again.

Want to go directly over to our meteorologist, Bonnie Schneider, now in the severe weather center to talk more about this.

As I was just mentioning to the sheriff, takes a little bit of time to determine actually how strong that suspected tornado really was.

BONNIE SCHNEIDER, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Right. And there are specific criteria as to the damage of buildings and the structure of those buildings and how much damage that actually occurred, whether or not an entire roof came off or whether it was partial. A lot of surveying will actually be going on throughout the morning and into the afternoon in the Lake County area.

You know, we talked a lot about how this happens late at night when it was dark and people didn't have a lot of time to prepare. Looking at the time lapse of radar, going all the way back from yesterday early evening to 11:30, 12:00, even 1:00 at night, you can see that's when we actually had the worst of the storm sweeping across northern Florida after the sun had set and that makes it even more dangerous because people can't quite see exactly where the storms are and exactly what's happening.

What's happening right now is, a lot of that rain has pushed further to the north and further to the west, right now coming into the Panhandle area. Our next concern is not only the heavy rain and the frequent lightning we're seeing with these storms -- and certainly that's going to be tough if you're driving in Tallahassee and Panama City, but the larger picture -- what does this storm mean? What is going to happen with this larger-scale storm system?

Well what's happening right now, hurricane hunters are flying at different heights, at different flight levels through this region here where we have the thunderstorms in the Gulf to determine what the temperature is at the different flight levels, whether or not there is a war core center to this system, what are the maximum wind speeds.

All that data is being gathered right now. And later on this morning we'll have an idea of whether or not this is indeed going to be a tropical storm. And if it does become a tropical storm, the computer models are developing it as such. So we're likely to see heavy rain, possibly several inches over parts of the Gulf Coast as early as Saturday. So it's going to be a fast mover, but it's something to keep an eye on because it could bring a lot of wind and flooding.


COLLINS: Boy, absolutely. All right, Bonnie. We know you're tracking that for us. Thanks so much.

New developments in the Jena 6 case now to tell you about. The only defendant still behind bars could be released. A court hearing for Mychal Bell about an hour away. Our Sean Callebs is in Jena, Louisiana, now with more on this.

Sean, tell us a little bit more about what exactly will take place today.

SEAN CALLEBS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Heidi, actually we've got a significant amount of information in the last hour or so. Now because the appeals court kicked out the conviction of Mychal Bell as an adult and threw it back to a juvenile court, the proceedings that will be going on inside in juvenile court are not going to be open to the public. So we won't be allowed to go in.

Want to show you a mug shot that we just got of Mychal Bell. I think this shows a lot different picture of this young man than the earlier photo that we have been showing you when he was younger. It was a football picture we had been showing you. Now this mug shot shows he is an individual who's 5'10", 180 pounds. You see a very stout, young man.

A little bit more about what's going to go on in the court. Before the juvenile hearing about the possible bond that could release Mychal Bell from jail where he has been held for the past nine months, there is going to be a hearing trying to get -- the defense is trying to get the judge to recuse himself in this matter. Now this is something that the defense had kicked around on Monday, but once the appeals court ruled that the case would be heard in juvenile court instead of adult court, at that time the recusal hearing was off on Monday. But that will happen first.

Now the big question, what if the judge is recused in this? Well, at that point then the court has to call the state supreme court to find out what to do next. So indeed all the effort by the defense attorney may come to really nothing today. It depends on what the state supreme court says. But the defense has told us that they feel very good about the activity going on in court and they fully believe -- fully hope that Mychal Bell will be released from jail.

A little bit yesterday -- a little bit -- back up and tell you a little bit more about this case. This massive demonstration in the town of Jena, 15,000 to 20,000 people demonstrating very peacefully here yesterday. But all saying they want justice for the so-called Jena 6. These are six young African-Americans, including Mychal Bell, who had been accused of savagely beating a white high school student at Jena High School. So badly that Justin Barker had to be taken to the hospital.

Now want to show you something else, Heidi. This is an i-Report picture that we just got in. As if this situation here in Louisiana wasn't inflamed enough, look at this red pickup truck pulled over in the town of Alexandria last night. That's about a 45-minute drive from where we are in the small town of Jena. Look on the back of the truck. Two nooses hanging from the back of this red pickup truck. And it's got the attention of the Alexandria Police Department.

They pulled over that truck. And we know that the chief of police of Alexandria is holding a news conference right now. Our David Mattingly is there. He's going to get us all the latest information and then pass it on to us. But this is certainly the last thing that this community needed right now. That's coming from law enforcement officials.


COLLINS: Sean, I'm sorry, so did you say that they found the owner of the truck, the driver of the truck, and they have that person -- they're questioning him or her?

CALLEBS: Well, we know that the truck was pulled over. So they know who was driving it. What we don't know is, were charges filed. What became of all this. We do know that the police department in Alexandria -- once again, I want to point out, that is a much larger town than Jena and that's where a lot of the demonstrators actually gathered. A lot of the hotels are there. And a lot of the people who were . . .

COLLINS: Yes, a lot of people stayed there.

CALLEBS: Exactly. So if that truck was driving around, certainly it was basically flying right in the face of so many people who demonstrated very peacefully in this town yesterday. And perhaps the significance of the noose, to back up once again, but really is being blamed for causing a lot of the racial tension in this small town. A tree that was in the high school yard where traditionally white students had sat underneath.

Well a group of African-Americans wanted to. Once they did that, then students hung three nooses from that tree. Now that goes back a full year. Those students, one we know was suspended. Another one left school. And we believe the third one graduated.

COLLINS: All right, Sean. Boy, a lot of angles to this story certainly. Appreciate it very much. CALLEBS: Indeed.

COLLINS: And we'll continue to follow it as it develops further today.

Sean Callebs from Jena, Louisiana, this morning.

Thanks, Sean.

Back to our top story now. Today Delaware State University on lockdown right now. Two of its students shot and wounded. A gunman still on the loose. CNN's Kathleen Koch is now in Dover.

Kathleen, what are you hearing?

KATHLEEN KOCH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Heidi, I just arrived here in Dover just about 10 minutes ago and I can tell you as I was approaching this sprawling 400-acre campus which is located on the north side of the Delaware state capital, I could see helicopters in the air. There are police in the area. They are searching, not only the campus, but also the surrounding area. There's a major highway that runs on the north side of campus here. Lots of shopping centers.

So the police, obviously, combing this area. And as you stated, they're looking for a male suspect who they believe was responsible for shooting two of the students here at the university shortly before 1:00 a.m. this morning. A young woman shot twice, police say, young man shot once. The spokesman for the university has more on their condition.


CARLOS HOLMES, DELAWARE STATE UNIVERSITY, SPOKESMAN: We know that the male student, his injuries weren't as serious and he probably could be considered in stable condition right now. The female student, her injuries were more serious, and they could potentially be life threatening. So we're, you know, we're praying. We're, you know, hoping the best for her.


KOCH: Now, Heidi, this entire campus is on lockdown right now, according to a statement put out by the university. It say, "until the suspect is apprehended, students, faculty and staff are being directed to remain in their buildings until further notice."

Now they put this out not only on campus websites. It's posted in the residential halls. It's also gone out on campus phone messages. But the university does say that police believe they're making progress in the case and they hope to have an arrest soon, Heidi, but that's all we really have on that.

COLLINS: All right. Kathleen Koch, thanks for speeding to the scene there very much. We appreciate it. We'll check back with you should anything else happen there. Thanks so much.

Kathleen Koch from Dover this morning.

The battle over U.S. troops in Iraq. Democrats planning a new push in the Senate.

And mystery target. Israeli warplanes go on a raid inside Syria. We'll tell you about the secret site some say they were attacking.

And this. Tasered time after time. Police tape shows a woman repeatedly stunned by an officer. Days later she says her suffering has not ended.


COLLINS: You are in the CNN NEWSROOM. I'm Heidi Collins.

Protesters plugged in.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You saw with our membership, you know, an e- mail go out that made 10,000 or 20,000 people read and took action on and they spread that to over 200,000 people.


COLLINS: Jena 6 demonstrators connecting on the worldwide web.


COLLINS: Want to bring you some more information now about a picture that we just showed you coming out of Alexandria, Louisiana. If you remember, that was sort of the staging site for yesterday's rallies and the march that took place in Jena, Louisiana, regarding the Jena 6. Alexandria is about 45 minutes or an hour or so away. It's a much larger town than Jena, Louisiana.

We now have the mayor on the phone with us, Jacques Roy, to tell us a little bit more about this picture that we've been showing. If we can take a look at it one more time, from one of our I-Reporters who actually took some footage -- actually I should say it's a still picture, of a pickup truck with two nooses hanging off the back. You see them there, the yellow nooses.

Mayor, if you can hear me, tell us what you know. Tell us what you've been able to find out about this incident.

JACQUES ROY, MAYOR OF ALEXANDRIA, LOUISIANA: Sure, Heidi. Good morning to everybody.

What we found out, I've received a call some time after 9:00 p.m. last night and immediately headed back to where all of the staging occurred in our downtown. Heidi, we had a wonderful day without incident. I mean not only not an arrest, but not a single incident. It was the most peaceful and moving experience I've had in public life or seen in my lifetime. I was extremely concerned when I heard that a pickup truck, that involved possibly one major and several minors, rode by the last group of folks leaving our city, all of whom were probably from Nashville. The pickup truck drove by several times, I understand, and we have confirmed that they had nooses hanging from the truck.

At that point, I arrived there still in pajamas, actually, and addressed the crowd. When I got out of the vehicle, the crowd immediately said, you know, "there's the mayor," and they recalled from our discussions during the day who I was. And we had a very frank discussion, a big huddle, if you can imagine, of about 200 people.

And I addressed the crowd and told them that this was nearly unforgivable. That in 2007, the seriousness of a symbol of hate of that nature wouldn't be recognized by kids even 15 and older. And that is a very serious thing. There's a lot of discussions about what those symbols meant in Jena, which is north of us.

We can confirm that the folks involved in this were not from our city. And I am proud to say that not an incident with the protester here, not an incident with one of our citizens. Some folks from outside. And that's a shame. And I didn't want them to have that taste in their mouth when they left. They told me their last taste would be our discussion. So it ended up being a positive again any way and no one can take that moment in our city away from us.

COLLINS: Sure. As the mayor of Alexandria, I can imagine you would have been very concerned this happening in your town. And you said -- let me just make sure I understand you correctly. You said that the people who were involved in this -- and again, police have pulled this truck over, apparently you said it was from Nashville? Is that correct?

ROY: No. The folks that were leaving on the bus were going back to Nashville.

COLLINS: Oh, pardon me.

ROY: The folks involved in the incident were from up north of Alexandria, I guess coincidentally, perhaps ironically, they were from around Jena. Not in that same parish. We call counties parishes here, as you know. But right next door. But they were not, we confirm, from Alexandria, Louisiana.

COLLINS: All right. So what is your police force doing about this? Have these people been questioned or what has happened?

ROY: They were arrested last night, Heidi. They will be questioned. It will be determined whether these constitute hate crimes. It will be determined whether this goes from disturbing the peace, to the more serious issues that would involve inciting a riot potentially or terrorism. Those kinds of things have to be determined.

Obviously, Heidi, when you're talking about minors, some different rules kick in. So we have to be concerned about that. As I told the crowd last night, my promise to them, which anybody with any sense would know they were required morally to do, is that we're going to look into this completely, fully and transparently.

COLLINS: OK. So you did say minors. Obviously one of them at least old enough to drive. How many people are we talking about here?

ROY: I believe that we've confirmed at least one minor and one major. And as the news breaks, we would be happy to share it with the national media, with you, Heidi. We're still getting some information.

It gets tough when you deal with minors because there are certain rules that apply with regard to contacting their parents first and all of that. So identification of the folks we may not be able to do for some time, if at all. But certainly we can give you the specifics about what happened.

I just want to reiterate to people who are listening, this is not indicative of the city where I live. These were people from outside of the city. We have a wonderfully diverse and culturally rich city here in Alexandria and we hosted an event that I think will make history.

COLLINS: Yes, but, unfortunately, it is in your state and it is in our country that it's happened. So we will, obviously, want to bring as much information to our viewers about this as possible.

We certainly appreciate your time. The mayor of Alexandria, Louisiana, Jacques Roy.

ROY: Thank you, Heidi.

COLLINS: We'll continue to get more information if we can from you.

ROY: Thank you, Heidi.

COLLINS: You bet.

Once again, those individuals apparently, according to the mayor now, have been arrested. So we will bring you more information just as soon as we get it here.

Meanwhile now on to this. San Diego's mayor does a 180 on same- sex marriage.


JERRY SANDERS, MAYOR OF SAN DIEGO: I want for them the same thing that we all want for our loved ones, for each of them to find a mate whom they love deeply who loves them back.


COLLINS: Very emotional. We're going to tell you more about what prompted his dramatic change of heart.


Jobs for moms that pay. And will a rate cut affect your credit card. We answer all that next on "Top Tips" in the NEWSROOM.


COLLINS: Let's take a look at the big board on this Friday. Always like to see a plus sign there, don't we? Up about 87 points for the Dow Jones Industrial averages. Yesterday things ended sort of on the down note, but it was only down by about 50. So I guess it could be worse. The Nasdaq also, at the moment, up about 16 points or so. We're going to be bringing in Susan Lisovicz in just a little while and talk more about our business stories.

But for the meantime, credit card interest rates and help for first-time home buyers. Just some of the questions from viewers today. And here to answer all of those e-mails, CNN personal finance editor Gerri Willis.

Hey there, Gerri. Happy Friday!

WILLIS: Hi, Heidi. Happy Friday to you.

COLLINS: All right. Let's get to the first one, coming to us from Kim in Texas. She wants to know this, "will the lower rate affect the interest rate the credit card company charges me?"

WILLIS: Good question. You know, the rate cut is a good thing if you're a credit card holder. If you have a variable rate card, you could see your interest rate go down slightly. Now that could save you hundreds of dollars if you have a very high balance.

But for the vast majority of people, this won't mean substantial savings. We're talking about saving about $2 per month on a $5,000 credit card balance. It could take up to two to three billing cycles before you even see a decreased interest rate.

And, don't forget, you can always negotiate a lower rate. If your credit card is good and you haven't called your issuer to negotiate a better rate in the last six months, call that issuer and ask for a lower rate. You're likely to get it.

COLLINS: Yes, you know, I don't think very many people realize that they can do that. Just ask and you may receive.

WILLIS: I've done it myself. It works.

COLLINS: Yes. All right. Very good. And the question that's coming in to us from Dary in California is a good one too. Looking to buy a new house. "Can you share your thoughts on any federal resources for first-time homebuyers?"

WILLIS: Well, this is a great question. Your first stop should be the Department of Housing and Urban Development. Go to and then type in home ownership programs in the search bar. Here you'll be able to get a state-by-state breakdown of what regional or statewide programs are available in your area.

COLLINS: OK. Great. And last one for you from Grace. She wants to know, "can you provide some suggestions of lucrative at-home businesses that would be a good investment for a mom?" And I'm listening very closely here, too, Gerri.

WILLIS: It's a great question. Lots of moms want to know this. You know, the U.S. Small Business Administration has a website at Now this lists local business centers that help women start and grow their own businesses. There's also a listing of representatives around the country who are trained specifically to help women entrepreneurs.

If you're just testing the waters and seeing what other kinds of work-at-home jobs are available, check out Now this website posts job listings for people who want to work from home.

Finally, go to This site also compiles home job listings and online forum.

And, of course, if you have any questions, send them to us at We love hearing from you. And, you know, if you missed anything, go to our home page at


COLLINS: Anybody have like a broadcasting studio in their home? Could we work on it?

WILLIS: Wouldn't it be ideal? Wouldn't it be ideal?

COLLINS: We'll hire some engineers. Yes, it would be great. It can happen.

Gerri Willis, thanks so much.

WILLIS: You're welcome.

ANNOUNCER: Live in the CNN NEWSROOM, Heidi Collins.

COLLINS: You are in the CNN NEWSROOM. I'm Heidi Collins. Tony Harris is off today.

Senate Democrats fail again to pass an anti-war legislation. Live directly to CNN's congressional correspondent Jessica Yellin. She is on Capitol Hill this morning.

Jessica, what's the latest now?

JESSICA YELLIN, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Heidi, it's back to the drawing board for the Democrats who, as you say, just failed this time on a hard-line measure that would have a firm deadline for withdrawing troops from Iraq. They did not get the votes they needed. They also failed, as you know, earlier this week on a compromise measure. And one key moderate Republican, Senator Gordon Smith, has told CNN that he really believes that prospects for the Democrats to get any significant legislation on Iraq through that would change the course in Iraq are very dim before next summer.

The Democrats have been thrown off course in part by that MoveOn ad last week which really changed their message. They've been trying to say, we support the troops but object to the policy. They spent a lot of time having to bat back accusations that they were undermining troops through MoveOn, distancing themselves from MoveOn.

And they lost a lot of the Republicans they were hoping would come to them because of Petraeus' testimony last week. This morning, off-campus here, John McCain was speaking at a convention and was heckled by some anti-war protesters, and he gave this in response, sort of gloating about the victories they've had this week.


JOHN MCCAIN (R-AZ), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Well, my friends, we beat you yesterday, we beat you the day before, we'll beat today, and we'll beat you tomorrow. We won't choose lose. We won't choose to lose this conflict.


YELLIN: We won't choose to lose. So you can see those Republicans who are strong supporters of the president's strategy in Iraq are feeling heartened and the Democrats are having to get back together, try to figure out what they're going to do next. They will try to attach some sort of legislation to some upcoming Iraq bills, authorization and funding.

But again, who knows if they really could get any kind of measure through that would attract enough votes to force a significant change -- Heidi.

COLLINS: Jessica, any idea how long it would take them to regroup and get some more of this legislation attached to the other bill?

YELLIN: Well, there are some votes coming up next week. And they are hoping to come out with something before then. But again we've talked to enough people who believe they just have -- the chances are dim, but they will keep working through the weekend and into next week.

COLLINS: All right. CNN's congressional correspondent, Jessica Yellin for us this morning. Jessica, thank you.

The military now reporting the deaths of two more U.S. soldiers in Iraq. One killed in an explosion near his vehicle in Diyala province, the other died in a noncombat-related incident in Tamim province, 52 U.S. military deaths in Iraq now this month. And unfolding this hour, bloodshed on a college campus. A gunman opens fire. A school scrambles to protect its students. The search for the gunman on Delaware State University campus ahead.

Also a Central Florida community takes it on the shingles. Residents wake up to find this, their town in shambles after a night of violent weather.

Breaking down a legal development in the Jena 6 case. We'll talk to the criminal defense attorney about the hearing set to begin next hour.


COLLINS: Some pretty incredible pictures we are getting in here at CNN from our affiliate in Los Angeles, KTLA. Look at this now. You are looking at a metro rail train that apparently -- boy, collided with one vehicle and sparked a pretty massive fire there. You see the fire crews trying to put it out. One fatality. One person that was killed, and one injury that we know of at this point.

Again, this information just coming in to us out of Los Angeles -- or somewhere near Los Angeles. Our affiliate KTLA is on the story, and bringing us these pictures. One person has been killed, at least one injury that we know of. Live pictures now once again of the scene.

Obviously looks like they've been able to extinguish the fire but horrible situation where a metro rail train collided with a vehicle. Not quite sure if that vehicle was trying to cross the tracks as the train was coming through or what exactly the situation was. But we will continue to follow it, bring you any more information as we get it here.

Also, want to take a moment to go to our correspondent David Mattingly, who has been following the story that we told you about just a little while ago about these nooses -- two nooses that were hanging from the back of a pickup truck in Alexandria, Virginia. You see this coming in from one of our I-Reporters, Casanova Love, who shot this still picture for us.

You may remember, Alexandria, Louisiana was sort of the staging point for yesterday's rallies and the march that took place heading to Jena, Louisiana, for support of the Jena 6. David Mattingly is on the phone with us right now.

Apparently, David, I understand you've been able to get a look at the police report.

DAVID MATTINGLY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Not only that, I had a long conversation, just got out of a meeting with the police chief, Daren Coutee, here in Alexandria, Louisiana. He tells me that two teenagers have been arrested, one of them was 18, one of them was 16. The 18 is being charged with DWI -- DUI first offense, and contributing to the delinquency of a minor. I'm also told that the D.A. has been asked to explore possible charges of attempting to incite a riot. Now this is because the two teens had nooses tied and hanging off the back of their pickup truck and they were driving through town where so many people were still out and about who had participated in the marches and the demonstrations yesterday.

Some of those people were on the side of the street waiting for a bus to come by and pick them up. They saw the nooses, they reported it to an officer nearby, and within minutes these two teenagers were picked up and arrested and taken away.

Now at this point the juvenile -- the 16-year-old, according to the police chief, is taking responsibility for all of this. He said he tied the nooses, they were just trying to drive through town and probably make some the people angry. Well, they did exactly that. And now both of them are going to be in quite a bit of trouble for it.

But this was an isolated incident, the chief says. And he says he was very happy that his officers were able to get on this right away before anyone -- any sort of conflict did arise from it. But these two teenagers thinking they might be doing something to get some attention. Well, they definitely got it and got the kind they probably didn't want to get.

COLLINS: Yes. And you know, David, we had a chance to speak here with the mayor of Alexandria who had talked a little bit -- again, it might be too early for this question, but about possible charges. You say possible charges here of intention to incite a riot. He was talking a little bit about possible charges, a hate crime.

MATTINGLY: The police chief didn't say anything about that. He said that they have had conversations with the D.A. to look into possible other charges beyond the DUI and the attempt to -- or the contributing to the delinquency of a minor.

But they are exploring the possibility that this 18-year-old may also be charged with the adult crime of attempting to incite a riot. Now the juvenile is in juvenile custody right now. They're looking at charges of possible criminal mischief, underage drinking, a probation violation. But at this point, the chief says that the conversation did not involve hate crimes.

COLLINS: OK. All right. David Mattingly is working this story for us. David, thank you so much for that. We'll continue to follow that one.

Meanwhile, more information coming in to us today. Something that's happening at Logan Airport. According to the Associated Press, here is what we know at this point. Apparently an MIT student has been arrested at gunpoint now after allegedly walking in to the airport, Logan International Airport, with a fake bomb strapped to her chest.

State police say it was a 19-year-old sophomore from Hawaii, had a computer circuit board that she had wired and put putty on that later turned out to be Play-Doh. It was in plain view over a black hooded sweatshirt that she was wearing. Again, this information coming in to us from the Associated Press. You are looking at the location of Logan International Airport, Boston there. Again, MIT student arrested at gunpoint after she walked into the airport there with a fake bomb strapped to her chest.

All right. We're going to follow that one for you as well and bring you any more information.

Boy, it's a busy morning, that is for sure. Want to get you back now directly to Louisiana. New developments this morning in the Jena 6 case as well. A court hearing for the only one of the six defendants still behind bars. Attorneys for Mychal Bell trying to get him released on bail. His convictions in the case have been thrown out.

Yesterday thousands of people marched through Jena, Louisiana, in support of Bell and the other defendants. They are charged in the beating of a white classmate. Demonstrators say the charges against the teens are excessive. The district attorney denies race played any role in the prosecutions.

Let's go beyond some of the legal jargon now and get to the heart of this morning's hearing in the Jena 6 case. Criminal defense attorney Georgia Goslee is joining us now from Washington this morning.

Thanks for being with us today. We've been following this story for quite some time now, Georgia. Tell us more about this writ of Habeas Corpus and how likely that the judge today will actually issue one of them for Mychal Bell?

GEORGIA GOSLEE, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Well, Mychal Bell is in a very precarious position this morning. He is being -- the hearing this morning is to determine whether or not he should be released on bail.

And quite frankly, if you examine the legal elements of what the court should consider when determining whether to release him on bail or to grant the writ of Habeas Corpus, which is just a fancy legal term for saying that the body of this young man is being held illegally -- and one of the factors that the court should consider is not only the allegations or the seriousness of the crime, Heidi, the court should take into consideration, even to a larger degree, the community ties of Mychal Bell and the likelihood that he would return to court whenever he is ordered to do so.

So I think this morning because the crime that he has been charged with is being reduced, that is certainly a great incentive on behalf of the court to reduce his bail and to allow him to be free now. I think he has been confined for a little over nine months.

And if you look at this crime, then you'll see that the young man who was battered -- and by no means do any of us condone that, is certainly a criminal act. But this young man was battered and assaulted, but he was well enough to attend an evening function the very same day of the assault.

So I think if you take a look at all of the circumstances, then I think you could come to a clear decision and I think and hope that the court will reach that decision today, that even though these are serious charges, these young men, including Mychal Bell, the charges are extremely excessive.

COLLINS: We know that Mychal Bell has four prior convictions. Would you have expected him to be charged in this case?

GOSLEE: I would expect him to be charged if in fact there are facts that substantiate, Heidi, that he participated in this assault and battery. I think the fact that he has been -- he has prior convictions, it plays a role. But as I said, the purpose of a bail review hearing, or placing bond or bail on a particular defendant, you take into consideration more than just the charges.

The whole point of placing someone or releasing someone on bail is -- the major determining factor is, is he likely to return to court whenever he is ordered to do so? So I don't think that he should not have been charged. But I do think -- and I think this is one of the reasons this huge disparity in the administration of justice in Jena is one of the reason that there has been such a colossal and a huge outrage in the country, sheerly because of the disparity that the state's attorney, in his own discretion, has used in this case.

COLLINS: Quickly, before we let you go here, Georgia, how will today's decision, no matter which way it goes, affect the other five defendants who we've not heard very much about?

GOSLEE: Well, I think if the charges have been reduced. I mean, there is one young man, and I don't know -- exactly know which one it is. There is one young man who says that he was not involved in it at all. And what I'm really hoping, Heidi, is that the state's attorney, in his wisdom, will reexamine the facts and take another look at facts and adjust the charges against all of these young men, because it does seem to be fairly unfair the way he's dispensing justice there.

COLLINS: Georgia Goslee, we appreciate your information today, coming to us from Washington this morning. Georgia, thanks so much.

GOSLEE: Thank you.

COLLINS: I want to get to this breaking news that we have been sharing with our viewers today. Once again out of Boston's Logan Airport. CNN has now been able to confirm what we were telling you about a little bit earlier, a young woman, an MIT student, apparently has been arrested at gunpoint after walking into Logan Airport with a fake bomb strapped to her chest. Our Dan Lothian is on the telephone with us now and has been looking into this.

Dan, what can you tell us?

DAN LOTHIAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, I just got off the phone with an official over at Boston Logan Airport and she did confirm that in fact a 19-year-old, Star Simpson, a student at MIT, was arrested. The way she described it is that the student was in Terminal C. She walked up to one of these public information centers or kiosks, started talking to someone there. We don't know what the extent of that conversation was.

But that person, who was behind a desk, noticed that the student was wearing what she described as a circuit board. It had putty attached to it. It also had some wires attached to it. She picked up the phone and called the state police at that moment. The student walked off away from the desk, into Terminal C and, and at that point state police were able to arrest her.

So we have confirmed that this student, 19-year-old MIT student, arrested for carrying what appeared to be a fake bomb strapped to her chest -- Heidi.

COLLINS: I can't imagine what that scene must have been like, Dan. I'm sure you're probably trying to do the same thing, inside the airport someone sees this woman with this bizarre-looking thing strapped to her chest. Is this an incident where the TSA gets involved, where they swarm and tackle her? I mean, I don't know. How does that all go down?

LOTHIAN: Well, the state police typically is in charge of any sort of law enforcement activities at that airport. They have a very, very -- a big presence there. So they were the ones who were involved in this. I don't know what the extent of TSA was in this particular incident, but we do know that the state police, they cornered her at gunpoint and did make the arrest.

We are headed there, by the way, officials holding a press conference in about 15 to 20 minutes or so. We are on our way there and should be able to get more information.

COLLINS: All right. Very good. And we'll look to you for that just as soon as you get it, CNN's Dan Lothian coming to us from near Boston. Going to get more information from the press conference that he just mentioned there about what happened at Logan International Airport, boy.

All right. For now, though, two students shot on campus. And police are scrambling to find the gunman still on the loose. We'll go live to Delaware State University in just a moment.

And Central Florida in shambles. A suspected tornado destroying everything in its path. And another dangerous storm could be on the way. The very latest after a quick break.


COLLINS: All right. We've got several breaking stories here, we want to give you an update on all of them directly here. Right now we are looking at a live shot of the control tower in Boston's Logan International Airport, coming in from our affiliate WCVB. Here is the situation here, and our Dan Lothian is working this story.

Apparently an MIT student has been arrested at gunpoint after she walked into the airport with a fake bomb strapped to her chest. Police are saying 19-year-old Star Simpson, who is a sophomore at MIT, from Hawaii, apparently had this computer circuit board that had a bunch of wires and putty, which they later determined to be Play-Doh, that was in plain view, it was strapped over a black hooded sweatshirt that she was wearing.

So apparently state police sort of move in and handle that situation, and again, our Dan Lothian is working that story. He will bring us more information as soon as he gets it. Apparently a press conference coming our way.

Also want to get you directly to L.A., our affiliate there, KTLA, we're looking at the aftermath of a metro rail line that collided with, from what we're hearing now, was either one or three vehicles. That sparked a pretty big fire here that, again, this video is new that we're showing you, but we do know currently if we looked at the live picture, that that fire had been put out.

One fatality in all of this, and at least one injury is being reported at the time. Again, so apparently that train was moving on the tracks, and not quite sure if there was a car that was trying to cross the tracks or what the exact situation, but we are being told by firefighters on the scene that when they got there, the train was empty. So either everybody got off the train on their own, or there was no one on it to begin with. So we're following that story very closely for you as well.

Another story that we've been following all morning long, a gunman opened fire on a college campus, two students were shot and wounded. It happened early this morning. Right now the main campus of Delaware State University is still in lockdown. Students have to stay in their dorm rooms. Nobody is allowed on campus. The wounded female student suffered potentially life-threatening injuries. The male student is in stable condition at this time. Officials say the school acted very quickly to warn other students of the shootings.


CARLOS HOLMES, UNIVERSITY SPOKESMAN: We immediately got word out to the residential halls. We did postings in the dorms. We put notifications on the Web site, timely warning notifications on the Web site. We utilized our telecommunications. Any time you pick up the phone you're going to automatically hear a message there that lets you know what the situation is.


COLLINS: The school says the students were shot near the Memorial Hall Gymnasium. It happened around 1:00 a.m. Police hope to gain more information on the gunman of course, once the victims are able to talk.

Also new this morning, shell-shocked in Central Florida. Residents are picking up today after a suspected tornado touched down, blowing off roofs, taking out power lines. About 50 homes damaged in the town of Eustis. Many of them nearly flattened. Officials say the entire second story of one house was completely torn off. Amazingly, the people inside though did escape without injuries. Others not so lucky. At least four people were hurt in the storm.


MICHAEL WRIGHT, WITNESS: It was kind of dark, so I really -- I seen the roof come off the house. That was really about all. After the roof come off, then I seen the debris flying through the living room. And by that time I already had my wife drug through the hallway going to the bedroom to get into a closet.


COLLINS: And even more weather worries for Florida. Forecasters keeping a very close eye on a weather system that could spell real trouble for the Sunshine State.

And we are just getting in now from the National Hurricane Center, they have posted a tropical storm warning for parts of the Gulf Coast. Bonnie Schneider is coming ahead now with the details. We'll get to that very shortly.

Also want to get you this, arrest in Louisiana after nooses are displayed on a pickup truck. It happened just as the day's civil rights rally in Jena, about 45 minutes away from Alexandria, was winding down. We'll tell you more about that.

Despite outrage and protest, Columbia University hosts Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Bill Bennett jumps into the fray next hour right here in the CNN NEWSROOM.