American Morning

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December 15th, 2010
08:25 AM ET

Board members share accounts of shooting at Florida school board meeting

(CNN) – Clay Duke, a 56-year-old resident of Panama City, Florida, opened fire at a school board meeting Tuesday afternoon. The dramatic incident was captured on tape and streamed live on the internet.

During the time for public comments, Duke approached the front of the room, painted a red “V” with a circle around it on a wall, wielded a small handgun and ordered the room cleared. Ginger Littleton, a board member, returned to the room and swung a purse at him. After a brief struggle with Duke, he let her leave the room. Duke then began a rambling discourse, eventually facing the School Superintendent, William Husfelt, who attempted to reason with him. Amazingly, no one on the school board was hurt. However, the gunman, Clay Duke, eventually turned the gun on himself and took his own life.

Ginger Littleton and William Husfelt shared their amazing stories with us on Wednesday’s American Morning.

Read more: Rambling gunman dead after opening fire at Florida school meeting

Filed under: Crime • Top Stories
December 15th, 2010
07:11 AM ET

Helmet-wearing gunman robs Bellagio casino of $1.5 million in chips

(CNN) – Police say they're trying to find a helmet-wearing gunman who robbed one of Las Vegas' most recognizable casinos of $1.5 million in casino chips Tuesday morning - and may also have robbed a different casino last week.

With a helmet and visor hiding his face, the man rode to Bellagio casino on a motorcycle, walked inside and pulled a gun at a craps table where several people were gambling at about 3:50 a.m., said Lt. Clint Nichols of the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department.

Tom Fuentes, CNN contributor and former FBI Assistant Director, joined us on Wednesday’s American Morning to discuss the brazen robbery and the investigation going forward.


Filed under: Crime • Top Stories
December 15th, 2010
05:30 AM ET

Astronaut Cady Coleman's blog post before launching into space Wednesday

EDITOR'S NOTE: Over the last year, CNN's John Zarrella has been following mom and NASA Astronaut Cady Coleman as she prepares to launch into space to work on the International Space Station. On Wednesday, Coleman is scheduled to embark on her journey. In her last blog post before lift off, she explains what is racing through her mind as she prepares for her trip. Watch "American Morning" at 6am ET to follow Coleman's progress. Watch the story of Cady Coleman here

Birthday Blog
By Cady Coleman

I’ll keep this short because there are still a few things that I’d like to pack into my last few hours on the planet until next May, not to mention I’m spending as much time as I can with my husband Josh and my sons Josiah and Jamey, before I go. I’m hoping that the photos attached will tell the story of our final few weeks of training before launch.

Who would have thought that it would all happen so fast? This day was always something that would happen sometime in the future… but I find myself in Baikonur, Russia, preparing to launch on a Soyuz for a six-month mission to the International Space Station (ISS), AND I’m turning 50 today. If this is what “Downhill from Here” means – then bring it on!

I thought I knew what getting ready to launch would be like. As a backup for Expedition 24, I watched the prime crew as they completed all the training that precedes a Soyuz launch. I climbed into their spacecraft for a fit check, took all the last classes, got signed off by the medical and training commissions and was pronounced “Certified for Spaceflight”. If my counterpart on the prime crew couldn’t launch for some reason, then I would go in their place.

Now I’m finding that everything feels different when you are really the NEXT crew to launch. I realize that the prime crew always had a look in their eyes – a kind of wonder and anticipation that can’t be felt by the backups. Not many people get to leave our planet in a spacecraft bound for the International Space Station – and Dmitry Kondratev, Paolo Nespoli and I, the crew of Soyuz TMA 20, are launching in less than 24 hours!

Two weeks ago we flew to Baikonur, Kazakhstan to complete the last phase of our training. We are in quarantine at the Cosmonaut Hotel here. That means that we can’t see anyone who hasn’t had a physical, and we can’t leave. Three great meals a day, it is a cross between prison and paradise! Even family have limited access, which is probably the hardest part of the last few weeks. I’ve tried to put that aside as we completed a busy series of fit checks in the REAL Soyuz and some final classes to review the important points of launching and then working aboard the ISS.

Our families and the backup crew got to watch OUR VERY OWN SOYUZ taken by train out to the launch pad and placed upright in the launch position. Josh likes to joke that arranging a ride to space in the Soyuz was the least he could do for my birthday present!

I look forward to sharing our 5 month mission with you. The steps that Gagarin took just 50 years ago were huge. Who knows what new first steps will result from our work aboard the ISS? I’m proud to be a part of the space program and I look forward to sharing our mission. I’ll sign off for now with launch less than a day away.

As Yuri Gagarin would say, “Поехали!” or “Let’s GO!”

December 15th, 2010
03:49 AM ET

Gallery: Sgt. Randy Shorter on third tour of duty

See Sgt. Randy Shorter as he prepares for his third tour of duty in Afghanistan.

Watch Sgt. Shorter's story on "A Soldier's Story," airing on CNN Saturday, December 18th and Sunday, December 19th at 8:00pm ET.


Filed under: A Soldier's Story
December 15th, 2010
03:44 AM ET

Gallery: Will McLain becomes a soldier

See the progression of Will McLain as he goes from civilian to soldier.

Watch Will's story on "A Soldier's Story," airing on CNN Saturday, December 18th and Sunday, December 19th at 8:00pm ET.


Filed under: A Soldier's Story • American Morning
December 15th, 2010
03:36 AM ET

Gallery: Latricia Rose goes from civilian to soldier

See the progression of Latricia Rose as she goes from civilian to soldier.

Watch Latricia's story on "A Soldier's Story," airing on CNN Saturday, December 18th and Sunday, December 19th at 8:00pm ET.


Filed under: American Morning
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