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At Least 3 Dead in Mass Shooting at Michigan State University; Pentagon: Object Shot Down Over Canada "Small, Metallic Balloon"; Voices Heard Beneath Rubble Eight Days After Disaster. Aired 5-5:30a ET

Aired February 14, 2023 - 05:00   ET




UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We started barricading doors. I thought I was safe, because there are metal, doors in their. We started barricading, go, go, go. Everyone just trampled through.


CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN ANCHOR: Right now on EARLY START, terror on campus as a gunman killed three people at Michigan State.

Plus, mysteries in the sky. What a Pentagon memo reveals about the fourth high altitude object shot down by the U.S. military.

And more rescues in the rubble more than a week after Turkey's earthquake. How much longer can the last holdout survive?


ROMANS: Welcome to our viewers in the United States and around the world. I'm Christine Romans.

At least three people killed in a mass shooting on the campus of Michigan State University. The victims bodies were found in two different locations at the school, five other people were wounded. They are hospitalized in critical condition right now.

We know that this suspected gunman is a 43-year-old male, who is not affiliated with the school. Police say he took his own life last night after being tracked down by police off campus.


CHRIS ROZMAN, INTERIM DEPUTY CHIEF, MSU DEPT. OF POLICE & PUBLIC SAFETY: The suspect in this incident was located outside of the MSU campus. It does appear that suspect has died from a self inflicted gunshot wound. It is confirmed that he is deceased. This truly has been a nightmare that we are living tonight.

But we have remained laser focused on the safety of our campus, our students and our surrounding community. We are relieved to no longer have an active threat on campus, while we realize there is so much healing that will need to take place after this.


ROMANS: CNN's Adrienne Broaddus is live for us this morning in East Lansing, Michigan.

Adrienne, what is the latest there on campus?

ADRIENNE BROADDUS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Christine, good morning to you.

Throughout the night, investigators behind me have been combing through the crime scene here on campus. We know there are at least three crime scenes. Two here on campus, as well as that other one, where police say the shooter ended his life off of campus, in Lansing, not East Lansing.

But this is the day, Christine, where folks celebrate love. Here on campus, hearts are hurting. We know at least five people are listed in critical condition at this hour, at least three people died in that shooting. It is unclear if the eight victims are students, staff or if they have any affiliation with Michigan State University. What is clear, students who are here on campus were terrified.

Listen in.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You never think it is going to happen until it happens. You think you are safe, we all thought we were safe on the second floor in the cafeteria. But obviously, we were told to evacuate, we all ran out, it was terrifying, pretty scary.


BROADDUS: Terrifying indeed.

Again, investigators saying that the threat is no longer walking around on this campus, authorities telling us that the 43-year-old ended his life. Investigators are also saying, they do not know a motive at this hour. They say the 43 year old had no ties to Michigan State University.

But, as a proud Spartan alumna, I can tell you this and as you community, as many have said throughout the night's close knit. One of the first things you learn is a freshman, is how to beat other Spartans. If you see someone wearing a Spartan cap, hat, or bracelet like I have on now, when you see that person, you greet them with the "Go Green". They respond with "Go White".

Today, all those Spartans will come together -- Christine.

ROMANS: Just heartbreaking, what a tragedy there. Thank you so much, Adrienne.

Let's bring in CNN national security analyst Juliette Kayyem.

Juliette, we know the suspect is a 43-year-old man. Authorities say he had no affiliation with the university. We know he is dead. What will investigators be looking for here now?

JULIETTE KAYYEM, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: So, they will begin with him, his history. Had he made any remarks about the university, and university students, did he have a hostility towards them, what were his dealings in the community?

So they will look at his network, and of course if they have any information online, in terms of hatred, radicalization.


We just have no evidence right now. They will retrace who steps in the days before and how much planning took place, had he gone to the campus before to see how to do this? Where did he get the gun? What is the status of the gun? He had a lot of magazines -- he planned to do more.

And they're going to retrace the steps as to what happened just last night, which is that he seems to, at least in the pictures we saw, know the building. Why did he stop in one building, go to another? What happened in that other building?

Basically what they will do to try to find a motive, accomplices if there are any, although they are saying that he appears to have acted alone. For the most part, what is going to be happening at the college and university, is obviously, first an assessment of access points, how can they make it safer, and then of course the healing that we have been talking about in that community.

ROMANS: You know, Michigan State's interim deputy chief says hundreds of officers from the university, state, federal department all collaborated on the initial response to the shooting.

What is your assessment I guess, of the law enforcement response last night?

KAYYEM: So, right now, and I was on last night, it was what we deserve, what we should expect from our public safety entities. These things don't happen on accident. I work with a lot of colleges and universities. There is a lot of training in planning, in what we call a unified command, an incident command.

The university believes are the first to know what will be going on. Most of these cases, obviously, it is not like this. In most cases on colleges and universities, you would have locals, and other surrounding areas join the effort, and then state, as we saw last night, even the federal government.

I really do want -- we are living in a post-Uvalde world, and when there is an expectation that nothing good can happen in these incidents. I think that the quick reaction, the notification in real time to the community really did help save lives. The kids got inside, they locked down.

And the consistent messaging once we sort of knew what was going on with the press conferences, and then also to families and parents, so for parents, they were rushing to the campus, they want to find the kids. And I felt they handled that very well.

So, so far, I don't like saying that we have practice in this, we obviously do, but they had an expectation that something like this could happen, and they seem to have performed about as well as you can expect them to in those -- when it actually does happen.

ROMANS: What a terrifying situation for kids. Now counseling will have to come next for sure, just a traumatic experience and a loss of life.

Juliette Kayyem, thank you for walking us through that.

KAYYEM: Thank you.

ROMANS: All right. The unidentified object shot down in Canadian airspace on Sunday appears to be a small, metallic balloon with a tethered payload below it. According to a pentagon memo, sent to lawmakers, the object crossed U.S. sensitive U.S. site, and slowly descended into the water after it was hit.

The latest now from CNN's Oren Liebermann.


OREN LIEBERMANN, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT (voice over): More questions than answers after U.S. fighter jets roared into the skies above North America for the third time in as many days with a mission, shoot down something.

JOHN KIRBY, NATIONAL SECURITY COUNCIL COORDINATOR FOR STRATEGIC COMMUNICATIONS: We assessed whether they posed any kinetic threat to people on the ground. They did not.

We assessed whether they were sending any communication signals. We detected none.

We looked today see whether they were maneuvering or had propulsion capabilities. We saw no signs of that.

LEIBERMANN: Here's what we know so far about the objects in the sky. According to U.S. officials, the object shot down ten miles off the coast of Alaska on Friday was a metallic object that broke up into several pieces when it fell to the sea ice from 40,000 feet.

The second object shot down over the Yukon Territory on Saturday appeared to be a balloon with a metal payload hanging underneath, according to a Pentagon memo sent to lawmakers Monday and obtained by CNN. It crossed near sensitive U.S. sites of 40,000 feet before it was downed.

And the third object shot down Sunday afternoon over Lake Huron was described as an octagonal object, this one traveling at only 20,000 feet.

LLOYD AUSTIN, DEFENSE SECRETARY: We're going to confirm what they are once we collected the debris. But to answer your question, we have not recovered any debris from the three most recent shootdowns.

LIEBERMANN: The aerial objects were detected following the shoot down of a much larger Chinese surveillance balloon two weeks ago with a payload the size of three school buses. NORAD adjusted its radar systems to effectively make them more sensitive and radars set to spot and intercept Russian bombers are now picking up smaller, slower objects.

JUSTIN TRUDEAU, CANADIAN PRIME MINISTER: Obviously, there is some sort of pattern in there. The fact that we are seeing this in a significant degree over the past week is a cause for interest and close attention.


KIRBY: One of the reasons that we think we're seeing more is because we're looking for more.

LIEBERMANN: National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan will lead an interagency team on how the U.S. handles unidentified objects that are safety or security risk. One thing we do know --

KARINE JEAN-PIERRE, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: There is no, again, no indication of aliens or extraterrestrial activity.

LIEBERMANN: The Pentagon says the latest objects didn't pose a direct threat to people on the ground, but according to multiple sources, even allies of President Joe Biden worry about the silence from the commander in chief.

KIRBY: We have been, I think, as transparent as we can be. I won't speak for the president's personal speaking schedule, but, I mean, he has been deeply engaged in every one of these decisions.


LIEBERMANN (on camera): As for the ongoing recovery efforts for the balloon off the coast of South Carolina, the Chinese surveillance balloon, a defense official says a quote significant portion of that balloon has been recovered, a salvage vessel has been on the scene since Friday. Divers have not been able to work every day because of the conditions of the water over there, the rough seas essentially. But they have been able to recover again, a significant portion, that includes the structure and some of the electronics will be analyzed by the FBI.

Oren Liebermann, CNN, in the Pentagon.

ROMANS: All right. Oren, thank you for that.

The United States denies flying surveillance balloons over China despite accusations from Beijing. The Chinese claim the U.S. has illegally flown at least ten incidents balloons over China in the last 13 months, an allegation which was shot down quickly by the State Department.


WENDY SHERMAN, U.S. DEPUTY SECRETARY OF STATE: There are no U.S. government balloons over the People's Republic of China, none. Zero. Period.


ROMANS: All right. Let's go live to Beijing and bring in CNN's Steven Jiang.

Steven, what is the Chinese government saying about all of this?

STEVEN JIANG, CNN BEIJING BUREAU CHIEF: Christine, the Chinese are doubling down, and they are saying is the U.S. that needs to investigate this allegation and give them a proper answer. But again, without presenting any concrete proof.

When asked about evidence, they dodged the question. Remember, these reports at all yesterday, state media reported the Chinese have spotted the UFO out there, off an own coast and preparations underway to shoot it down. That seem to have vanished as well.

So, a lot of this narrative from Beijing very much directly, and an audience at a time when nationalistic sentiments are very strong, on both sides, when tensions are high between the two governments. But that is the concern now, according to many analysts. That is, for example, this could embolden the Chinese military down the road to target U.S. reconnaissance assets in the region, and especially unmanned craft.

But there is also a glimmer of hope now, this coming weekend, there is a narrow window and both countries, top diplomats, Secretary of State Blinken and his Chinese counterpart, Wang Yi, both men will be in Munich, Germany, for a security conference.

So there is some speculation that they could meet on the sidelines. Obviously, that's no substitute for the now canceled Blinken visit to Beijing, but anything that kind of face time, at least the very constructive at this critical juncture, to prevent this relationship from going into a freefall -- Christine.

ROMANS: All right. Steven Jiang for us, in Beijing -- thank you, Steven.

OK. Rescuers digging debris pile after last week's 7.8 magnitude earthquake in Turkey and Syria. They claim they can still hear voices in the rubble. If you more survivors have been safe over the past several hours. But how many more can hold out here.

Nada Bashir live in Istanbul.

It is just astonishing, that they are still finding people alive. What is the situation there?

NADA BASHIR, CNN REPORTER: It is truly miraculous that they are still finding survivors beneath the rubble. Just the early hours of this morning, an 18-year-old boy was rescued after volunteers heard his voice from beneath the rubble. This is eight days on since the earthquake struck southeastern Turkey. And of course, the window for finding survivors beneath the rubble is closing very, very quickly. There are still so many in the country who are holding out hope that their loved ones might be still alive beneath the rubble.

But this is, of course, now shifting from a rescue effort to more of a recovery effort. Also, there's a real focus on providing aid and humanitarian assistance to the thousands of people who have been left homeless and impacted by this earthquake. We are already seeing people being evacuated to other parts of the country, including over here in Istanbul, there have been university dormitories open up to house those who have been made homeless.

We've been visiting one of two large donation centers here in Istanbul, where volunteers around 20,000 of them have been working around the clock for the last week, sorting through those donations, sending those donations onwards to southeastern turkey. But the message we have been hearing from the coordinators there is that this is not enough. They need more support, not only from the Turkish government but also from the international community.


And look, this has been a truly international response. We have seen search and rescue teams coming in from across the globe, even from Los Angeles, to support that effort. Today, the Australian authorities have announced they are also sending a team of specialists equipment to Turkey to support in that recovery effort.

It is important to mention what's happening in northwest Syria. Not enough aid is getting in there. The U.N. says they have agreed with the president to open more crossings. But I do not believe there are any more survivors beneath the rubble.

ROMANS: All right. Nada Bashir, thank you so much for that. A tragedy there.

Next, passengers are terrified as their plane plunged towards the Pacific Ocean. What caused the dangerous nose dive?

Plus, a truck driver plowed into pedestrians in New York. What police are now saying about that driver?

And scenes of destruction as a total powerful cyclone plunges New Zealand into a state of emergency.



ROMANS: Welcome back. United Airlines flight jobs thousands of feet, dropping to 800 feet from the Pacific Ocean before finally recovering. It is yet another incident in a series of recent problems the aviation industry has faced.

CNN's Gabe Cohen takes a look -- a closer look at what happened.


GABE COHEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Another alarming incident in U.S. aviation. A United 777 diving toward the ocean just after takeoff.

ROD WILLIAMS, PASSENGER: It certainly felt like a roller coaster.

COHEN: Rod Williams was traveling home from vacation with his family.

WILLIAMS: You start counting your blessings. You start asking yourself, is this the last time you're going to see your family.

COHEN: The flight takes off from Maui, December 18th, climbs 2,200 feet, then suddenly plunges 1,400 feet toward the ocean, falling for 21 seconds, reaching just 775 feet above sea level, before level in ascending once again.

The plane, which can carry more than 300 passengers, was mostly full, according to Williams.

What did pilots tell the passengers?

WILLIAMS: They got on the intercom and simply said, well, ladies and gentlemen, you probably felt a couple Gs on that one. Everything is going to be fine. It's going to be okay.

COHEN: The crew itself reported the incident after landing safely in San Francisco, according to the FAA. After its investigation, the pilots, who have a combined 25,000 hours of flight time, received additional training, but neither the FAA nor United will say why the pilots ended up in a dive, telling CNN those safety investigations are confidential.

LES ABEND, RETIRED 777 PILOT: They're being corrected to prevent this behavior from happening again, which indicates to me that something occurred that could have been prevented by the crew.

COHEN: Les Abend is a retired 777 pilot.

What might have happened here?

ABEND: There are numerous things that would cause a distraction. They may have unintentionally lost control of the airplane to the extent that the altitude decayed.

COHEN: It's unclear if weather played a role with a severe storm pounding parts of Hawaii that day.

WILLIAM: It was torrential.

COHEN: Hours earlier, 36 people were injured during extreme turbulence on board a Hawaiian air night approaching Honolulu after a cloud shot up in front of the airplane the n a matter of seconds and there wasn't enough time to avoid it, according to the NSTB.

It's been a rough few months for the aviation world, from cancellations to system meltdowns, two near collisions in New York and Austin, and now this mysterious incident with little explanation.


COHEN (on camera): And this Wednesday, the FAA's acting administrator is set to testify in front of the Senate Commerce Committee about all of these recent problems. A spokesperson for that community tells CNN that this incident will likely come up during that questioning.

Gabe Cohen, CNN, Washington.

ROMANS: All right. Quick hits across America, now.

One dead, seven injured after a U-haul truck plows into pedestrians in Brooklyn, New York. Police believe the driver was emotionally disturbed, and was trying to get away from a traffic stop.

South Dakota's Republican governor signing a bill banning surgical and nonsurgical treatments for transgender minors. Opponents say the measure harms transgender children and hinges on medical decisions for individuals.

Trustees of Florida's New College have approved a $700,000 contract, for new interim president, Richard Corcoran. Governor Ron DeSantis recently overhauled the liberal arts college with conservative appointees.

All right. Coming up, hijacked confrontations on the high seas, one ship using lasers on another.

And riveting new evidence in the Alex Murdoch trial, body cam video from the night of the murders.



ROMANS: Welcome back.

Germany has started to train Ukrainian soldiers on his advanced Leopard 2 tanks, at a polish military base, weeks after Berlin and other Western allies agreed to provide these tanks.

CNN's Nic Robertson joins me live this morning from Warsaw, Poland.

And, Nic, when does Ukraine expect delivery of these tanks?

NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR: Yes, they are told that it could be next month. In fact, the troops we saw getting trained over here in Poland, yesterday, 105 of them getting trained, 21 different tank cruise, you support teams as well, the recovery teams, mechanics, all of those personnel getting trained as well. They should be trained within the next month. That would put them, ready at the sort of middle of March to receive the tank.

There is a real question about when they get into the battlefront. At the moment, the training has been going on for a week, much faster training and than the Leopard 2 crews normally get. One of the Polish instructors we spoke to said look, there's no trouble motivating of Ukrainian troops, they are ready to fight, eager to learn. Many of them have tank experience.

And he said one of the difficulties is we sort of have to try to slow them down a bit, teach them a systematic way. But the training will include live fire training. It is just sort of drive training at the moment. We saw them on the range, the tank ranged in western Poland yesterday, getting that driving training, going through straight lines, clouds of smoke, heading back. Poland's president was there to watch them.

But the reality here is for those troops, getting the training, we were speaking to one of the Ukrainian troops yesterday, is that they want to get back in the front line as fast as possible. Indeed, this Ukrainian instructor we spoke to said, we were given two days notice, literally pulled out of the frontline.