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tv   CBS Evening News With Scott Pelley  CBS  September 17, 2013 5:30pm-6:01pm PDT

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>> remember, the latest on our website >> my husband was a wonderful, wonderful man. >> pelley: the victims of the navy yard shooting are identified and their families speak out. >> i don't want people to remember him as a victim because he never was in his life and he never will be. >> pelley: we've learned about troubled history of the shooter and how one man killed so many, so fast. details. chip reid catches up with the rescuers as evacuees are airlift the from the torrent in colorado. anna werner is there. mark phillips shows us the most daring ship salvage ever attempted. and trapped by flames five stories up. a construction crew attempts a heroic rescue. don dahler has the rest of the story. captioning sponsored by cbs
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this is the "cbs evening news" with scott pelley. >> pelley: good evening. the enormity of the tragedy at the washington navy yard became painfully clear today as numbers became names and names became faces, all with stories of lives cut short. secretary of defense chuck hagel placed a wreath at the navy yard in memory of the 12 people who were killed in the shooting rampage yesterday. we've learned a lot about the gunman tonight, but first, we want to tell you about some of the victims. john johnson was 73. he managed construction work. his wife, judy, spoke today with four of their eight children. >> we were going to retire soon, and he loved his job. he wanted to keep working because he just loved it. loved all the people he worked with, never met a stranger in his life. just a very happy, positive, wonderful, loving human being. >> pelley: richard ridgell, 52,
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was a security analyst who also served in iraq. his daughter megan spoke today for his wife tracy and their family. >> i don't want people to remember him as a victim because he never was in his life and he never will be. he's strong, and i want him to be known as a dad above a victim of a shooting because he was a great dad for all of us. >> pelley: 50-year-old frank kohler worked for defense contractor lockheed martin. he was married with two college- aged daughters. and 63-year-old kathy gaarde was a financial analyst. her husband wrote, "today, my life partner of 42 years was taken from me. we were just starting to plan our retirement activities and now none of that matters." all 12 of the dead have now been identified. all of them were civilians. we put together a complete list along with stories about many of them on we learned today that the
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killer, 34-year-old aaron alexis, told police just a month ago that he was hearing voices and thought he was being followed by strangers out to hurt him. a virginia rifle range told us this evening that he practiced there two days before the shooting. alexis was a former navy reservist with a troubled service record. at the time of the shooting, he was working as a computer technician for a navy contractor. we have a team of correspondents covering this story. first, we'll go to bob orr. bob. >> reporter: scott, this is looking more and more to investigators like a case of workplace violence. while investigators can't yet pinpoint a motive, it's becoming clear that aaron alexis was a troubled man prone to angry outbursts. investigators say aaron alexis drove this car on to the navy yard base monday and walked directly to building 197. surveillance cameras captured alexis using his security card to open a door. he was carrying a bag, which investigators believe contained
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the shotgun he used to launch his attack. records show he legally bought that weapon saturday at this virginia gun store about 20 miles south of washington. alexis arrived in the area about three weeks ago to work as an i.t. contractor at the navy yard. he shared a room with other contractors at this hotel just a few blocks from the shooting scene. investigators say the roommates were not involved in the attack. sources say a search of alexis' hotel room and car did not produce any manifesto or notes to explain his actions. until recently, alexis lived in fort worth at the home of melinda downs. she says alexis suffered from post traumatic stress disorder and insomnia. she told reporters, "he loved the military and showed no signs of violence." >> it's like dr. jekyll, mr. hyde. who was this guy? the guy that i knew was so honorable.
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it breaks my heart. >> reporter: alexis' family has told investigators that he suffered from mental illness for a decade. he sought and received treatment through the department of veterans affairs. just last month, there was an incident in newport, rhode island. alexis called police there on august 7 to say he was hearing voices and that people were stalking him and using a microwave to send vibrations into his body. at the time, alexis denied ever having a mental episode. he also had several run-ins with authorities. twice he was arrested in minor shooting incidents. in seattle in 2004 and in texas in 2010. the texas shooting case led to alexis' discharge from the navy reserves. source say it was the last straw in a string of 8-10 misconduct incidents. now, we understand the navy wanted to dispatch alexis with a less-distinguished general discharge but after he appealed, that was then upgraded to an honorable discharge.
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scott, he then went on, as we know to become a defense contractor. >> pelley: bob orr in our washington newsroom. thank you, bob. john miller has been putting together the story of how the killer struck the headquarters of navy sea system command. >> reporter: it appears aaron alexis planned his attack very carefully in the days leading up to his rampage. once he entered the building with the hidden weapon he seemed to turn the very training the navy gave him against him. police say it appears alexis headed straight for the fourth floor that overlooks an atrium that was filled with employees having breakfast or coffee. investigators believe he chose that spot because it offered a position of tactical advantage, allowing him to shoot down into the atrium or across on to other walkways. alexis stayed there until he was confronted by responding police and security officers. a d.c. police officer exchanged shots with him and was wounded. n.c.i.s. agents confronted alexis and fired. alexis took to the stairwells, moving from level to level of
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the atrium, continuing to shoot. alexis shot a security officer and took his weapon. once he left the atrium, teams of police searched with no contact for a long time, some estimate as much as 15-20 minutes. police searched until a team made up of a d.c. police officer and a u.s. park police officer suddenly came face to face with him in an upper floor hallway. they opened fire, killing him. police say within seven minutes, they had reached the scene and engaged in the initial gun battle with alexis within half an hour, alexis was killed. part of police training for dealing with an active shooter situation is to take officers from the various agencies as they arrive on the scene, form small teams, to get to the gunman as quickly as possible and stop him, whatever it takes, and that's exactly what happened yesterday. >> pelley: they don't necessarily wait for the swat team anymore. >> reporter: no, the idea is to stop the killing with whoever they have.
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>> pelley: three of the wounded remain in the hospital tonight, two office workers and a washington, d.c., police officer. all are expected to recover. they were saved in a daring rescue operation that started during the gun battle. we asked chip reid to find out more about that. >> reporter: minutes after the shooting began, park police helicopter eagle 1 was over the navy yard. sergeant ken burchell was at the controls. did you worry at all that you were making yourself a big, fat target for this shooter? >> oh, we were fully aware that we were a big, fat, blue and white target. but that's our job. that's what we're suppose to do. and there was nothing that was going to dissuade us from that. our job is it to get in and rescue the people we could rescue. >> reporter: with no idea where the shooter was, private mike abate provided cover with his m- 16. >> i was concerned about the shooter firing at our aircraft or any of the operators on the rooftop or the immediate area around that.
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>> reporter: a woman who had been shot in the shoulder made it to the roof. she needed medical treatment immediately. >> as we hoisted her up to the side of the aircraft, we're hovering and very, very vulnerable to ground fire at that point. and we weren't going to stay in that position any longer than it was absolutely necessary. so we didn't even take the time to bring her inside the aircraft. >> reporter: so she's bleeding fairly profusely and she's hanging outside a helicopter. how did she respond to that? >> she was a strong, strong woman. she impressed us all. >> rescue technician, dave tolsen. >> with a tremendous sense of duty, i suppose, on her part, he began to relay details about the incident and the shooter himself to one of our officers aboard and that was valuable in us helping to get the situation under control and relay that information down to our command and control. >> reporter: there is the opportunity to make a
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difference, to save lives, to protect people, but there is also a fair amount of heartbreak in your job. is there not? >> i think in some ways, we have an easier situation than people who are sitting at home watching these terrible things unfold on television because we have an opportunity to get in there and do something about it. >> reporter: by the end of the day, the crew of eagle 1 had rescued four people off the roof of that building behind me and, scott, the woman who was shot in the shoulder survived. today, she was listed in fair condition. >> pelley: chip reid at the washington navy yard. chip, thank you. moving on now to colorado, where the floodwaters are dropping, giving us a better idea of the magnitude of the disaster which has killed at least eight people there. 581 are still unaccounted for. by one estimate, 19,000 homes were damaged or destroyed. this one collapsed into the south platte river. more than 400 miles of road has washed away, including u.s. 34
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outside greely. today, rescuers stepped up their search for victims and here's anna werner. >> reporter: clear skies allowed military helicopters to rescue 800 more stranded coloradans today. larimer county executive officer nicholas christensen. >> we were looking at lots of pinpoint extractions, many locations smaller numbers, so it's taking longer. we're also encountering a number of refusals which is a concern to us. we want people to get out while they have the chance. >> reporter: on the ground, construction crews have moved in where the water has receded. this is hayden court in longmont. we found chanda robberson going through her waterlogged possessions. so when you saw the scene here, i mean, what does that feel like? >> kind of like you've been kicked in the stomach. yeah. like the rug had been pulled out from under you. >> reporter: this was a shirt from the day her son was born, marked with his footprints. >> it's just soaking wet. >> reporter: and a doll she made
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by hand for her daughter. >> those little special things are what you make your life from, and she loved it. but in the end, it's just things and we have each other. so i'm trying to stay positive. >> reporter: with more than 400 miles of road damaged or just not there, the only way to see the full extent of the destruction is from above. this is highway 34, the main road into estes park. the torrent of water ripped away tons of asphalt. power, phone, and clean water lines must be repaired or reinstalled in towns along a 200-mile stretch. state officials say it could take a month to get a full picture of the damage. >> we have a wonderful community where everybody is supporting each other. but it does make you feel like you don't know what tomorrow might hold. >> reporter: there will be a lot of cleaning up going on here, but the number of people missing is dropping. scott, officials say roughly 580
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people are now listed as unaccounted for. >> pelley: anna werner in longmont, colorado, thank you very much. a police officer has been charged with manslaughter in the death of an unarmed man. we now know the cause of that devastating board walk fire in new jersey. and strangers risk their lives in a daring rescue attempt when the cbs evening news continues. . if you have persistent diarrhea, co doctor right away. other serious stomach conditions may exist. don't take nexium if you take clopidogrel. relief is at hand for just $18 a month. talk to your doctor about nexium.
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>> pelley: in charlotte, north carolina, a man involved in a car accident over the weekend when looking for help and wound up dead. he was shot again and again by a police officer who is now facing criminal charges. mark strassman tells us how it all started. >> reporter: it was 2:30 saturday morning when 24-year- old jonathan ferrell swerved off the road in a single-car accident. he climbed out the rear window and knocked on the front door of this house look for help. the startled home owner thought it is a burglar and called 911. >> 911, hello. >> i need help. >> reporter: police have altered the caller's voice to protect her identity. protect her identity. >> is he still in the house, did did he s not in house. he's in the front yard yelling. >> reporter: three police officers responded when ferrell ran toward them randall kerrick drew his gun and shot ferrell 10 times. the dead man was unarmed. >> i don't want to bury my son. my son should be burying me.
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>> reporter: georgiaa ferrell says her son jonathan respected the police. his sister is a cop. do you have questions? >> i have questions but they will be answered soon enough. >> reporter: but you do want those answers? >> we're going to get those answers. >> reporter: the charlotte- mecklenberg police charged kerrick with voluntary manslaughter and said he did not have a lawful right to discharge his weapon. michael green is his defense attorney. >> it will be found that officer kerrick's actions were justified on the night in question. >> reporter: ferrell, a former collegiate football player, had no criminal record. charlotte-mecklenberg police have not released video from a cruiser dash board camera that shows ferrell approaching the officers, but they did show it to ferrell's family. they plan to sue the police for kerrick's deadly force. >> i do forgive him. >> reporter: you do? >> i so forgive him but i do want justice. >> reporter: if convicted of voluntary manslaughter, kerrick could receive a sentence of 17 years in prison. mark strassman, cbs news,
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charlotte. >> pelley: a federal judge today ordered a new trial for five former new orleans police officers convicted in connection with the deadly shootings of two unarmed men on a bridge after hurricane katrina. the five are serving long prison terms. the judge said the case was tainted when prosecutors posted anonymous comments online that disparaged the defendants. who would dare to try lift a 115,000-ton shipwreck? you'll meet the man who refloated the "costa concordia" next.
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>> pelley: tonight, the doomed cruise ship "costa concordia" is resting on an underwater platform off the coast of italy after being pulled upright off the rocks. this is a salvage operation like no other. 20 months in the planning. and mark phillips is there. >> reporter: seen from above it looks like 950 filthy feet of trouble. the "costa concordia" even right-side up is a scum-covered ghost ship. the massive dent where she capsized against the rocks looks like a giant locomotive ran into the side of an immense bus. doors of cabins where the terror struck still swing in the waves. a floating palace of leisure turned into a death trap. the operation to roll her over may look simple in time-lapse images. it was anything but. this all took 19 hours, almost
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twice as long as it was supposed to. it wasn't until 4:00 in the morning local time that ships' horns and cheering betrayed the sense of relief that the operation was over. nick sloane is the man who ran the job. >> i think we need to get some sleep, but we'll have a quick beer and then maybe tomorrow have a barbecue. >> reporter: instead, for sloane, this turned into a day to get over the high anxiety of the operation. >> people got more and more nervous and quieter inside the operations room. and i guess they were waiting for something to go bang. then she came up off the reef. >> reporter: without a bang. >> and she just rolled over. >> reporter: the italian authorities have now taken control of the ship. 32 people died here, and they still have to search for the bodies of the two victims that
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have never been found. a broken ship sitting on its bottom is better than a broken ship lying on its side but it's still a broken ship. it's still an eyesore, and it's still an environment disaster waiting to happen. they've got to get this wreck out of here and that could be as difficult as it was to flip her over. but things won't get back to normal on this beautiful stretch of sea and islands until there's nothing left of the "costa concordia" but a bad memory. mark phillips, cbs news, giglio, italy. >> pelley: investigators said today the fire that whipped through the board walk on a new jersey shore last week began accidentally in electrical wiring that had been corroded by ocean water from superstorm sandy. more than 50 businesses were destroyed. property owners, whose homes were flooded by sandy, are now being urged to have their wiring inspected. when an apartment went up in flames, the neighbors had to improvise. their daring rescue attempt is
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charging stations went bank. next on kpix-5 weather talent appears at wx center with generic >> pelley: finally tonight, would you put your life on the line to rescue a complete stranger from a burning building? the folk you're about to meet say they just did what anyone would do, but we're not so sure? here's don dahler. >> hurry up!
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>> reporter: the apartment fire in washington heights, new york, started quickly. a worker who had been refinishing the floor was trapped. rosendo lopez, the superintendent of the building next door, looked up and saw the man climbing out of the window. how high up was he? >> on the fifth floor. >> reporter: he was on the fifth floor. >> yes. >> reporter: lopez yelled for gaudencio portillo and two other men to grab a ladder and help him. portillio and the others didn't hesitate to risk their lives for a man they didn't know. were you afraid? >> yeah. >> reporter: you were afraid. >> yes. >> reporter: of course it was a long way up. 50 feet or something like that. at first they tried to prop it up against the building but it wasn't stable. the smoke was growing thicker. they were afraid the man would use his grip so they used the ladder as a bridge from the window to the fire escape. one of them walked across to guide him to safety. >> yay! ( applause ).
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>> reporter: a lot of people would say that you are a hero? >> nah. >> reporter: you don't think so? >> no. >> reporter: you just wanted to help the guy. >> yeah. >> reporter: at the very moment they reached the fire escape, the firemen reached them. the man, whose name they still don't know, went to the hospital with minor injuries. lopez and portillo went back to work. don dahler, cbs news, washington heights, new york. >> pelley: amazing. and that is the cbs evening news for tonight. for all of us at cbs news all around the world, good night. ight. captioning sponsored by cbs captioning sponsored by captioned by media access group at wgbh
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tonight some of the biggest names in the auto industry, putting the pedal to the me- to tesla. the pulse of the electric car industry beats powerfully here in the b. tonight, some of the biggest names in the auto industry are trying to catch up to tesla. i am elizabeth cook. >> i'm allen martin. it is a bay area super star. tesla stock is on a roll. cars are out selling other luxury brands, but now here comes the competition. kpix 5's ryan takeo on how one of the world's largest auto makers is gunning for tesla. >> you could call it a testment to tesla's success. >> just a few years ago, nobody believe that a pure electric vehicle was worth fighting over. now they are picking a fight. >> the fight is for electric vehicle drivers. now general motors is working
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on an ev that cost about 30,000. >> they are going to have tough competition because the entire auto industry is going in that direction. volkswagon wants to be the world's biggest provide. >> the largest seller is nissan. >> we sold 25 of them last month, i think. we're down to three. we have a bunch more on the way in. >> tesla has set the standard for long distance charges. its model-s can already go 200 miles a charge. this one in freemont opened last week and is already drug crowds. they say the factg is gunning for tesla means it is catching on. >> sort of funny thatg is picking a fight. seems like they are picking a fight against a much smaller company when they are the big giant in the industry. >> the knock on tesla has always been the price. the model-s was about 70 grand. but company officials say in three or four years they will