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Authorities Arrest Four Members of Texas Seven

Aired January 22, 2001 - 4:48 p.m. ET


JOIE CHEN, CNN ANCHOR: At this hour, authorities in Colorado tell us they have been able to arrest four of the Texas Seven; those would be George Rivas, Michael Rodriguez, Joseph Garcia, and Randy Halprin. Authorities in Colorado -- in Teller County, Colorado there, outside of Colorado Springs, say that a fifth man, Larry Harper, is still barricaded inside the mobile home park where the others are arrested. He is demanding to talk to a family member by telephone, and they are trying to negotiate with him to bring him into custody without incident as well.

The most important thing here, being that local authorities saying they have not received any reports of any shots fired, and that has been a great concern, because the individuals -- the seven escapees from the Texas prison were convicted on very serious crimes -- there were two killers involved, two rapists, a child abuser, a kidnapper, and a robber, and they were all the original Texas Seven.

They left the prison in Texas with 14 revolvers, a shotgun, a rifle and more than 200 rounds of ammunition, and they were then involved with a robbery in a sporting goods store, in Irving, Texas, where they shot a local police officer to death on Christmas Eve, and they have been on the run ever since.

At this point, authorities have not been able to give locations or any reports of the whereabouts of Donald Newbury or Patrick Murphy; these are the two remaining members of the Texas Seven. But there was a great deal of concern in the community of Woodland Park, and indeed, local reports say that within a half mile area of the trailer park where the others were arrested, there's been a complete shut down of activity. Authorities have shut everything down, as can you see, there are roadblocks underway. There has been an evacuation of offices; six local schools have been closed, people have been told to stay inside until authorities are able to assess this situation, and to make sure that everyone in this area is safe.

You see that this is a pretty mountainous area -- it's outside of Colorado Springs -- the very tip of the Rocky Mountains -- on the very edge of the Rocky Mountains, in the southern part of Colorado, very close to Colorado Springs. Colorado Springs, of course, also home to a rather large Air Force facility as well. And you see that there is a great deal of police activity under way. The local reports from Dallas, Texas say, Texas Rangers, as well as other police authorities in the state of Texas are on their way up to Colorado Springs to join in and try to help to try to end this situation there as peaceably as possible.

Again, reminding our viewers, we have been standing by, waiting for a live news conference in the Texas Board of Corrections. They are said to be offering a news conference in Huntsville, Texas as soon as they are able to bring us more detail on that. At this point, we have been waiting about 50 minutes for it, and have not yet heard anything from Texas Board of Corrections about what is happening there, but they have advised reporters and television stations that they do plan to make a statement, so we are standing by for that.

We are now going to join KUSA, one of our other affiliates in Denver, Colorado, and their coverage of what is going on in Woodland Park. Let's listen to this.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: ...strong chance, the two others are still in the state of Colorado?

GINGER DELGADO: It is a strong possibility that they are here. They are telling us that they received a tip late yesterday afternoon, and then, as far as a time frame goes, the three fugitives emerged from that trailer home at about 10:00 this morning and then the 4th one emerged about 30 minutes later. So, if that gives you some idea of when they were apprehended -- now, we are approaching 3:00, and those two others could be long gone by now, but certainly, all authorities throughout Colorado are on high alert right now.

ADELE ARAKAWA: What is the latest on the negotiations with Larry Harper?

DELGADO: They're not saying much about the negotiations and they certainly won't let us anywhere near there, Adele. The road is blocked off about a half mile before you reach the motor home where he's held up, so we can't get anywhere near there, and as far as how many deputy are there or who is doing the negotiating or any specifics we are just -- we just don't know.

ARAKAWA: Also, Ginger, as far as -- three schools are not in session today -- but three schools we understand in Woodland Parks and there are evacuated offices along with that mobile home park; what other impact on the community has that particular event had?

DELGADO: They have evacuated about a half mile area, just the area where the mobile home park is. But other than that, the rest of the community is not really effected by it. They've really evacuated a very specific area.

ARAKAWA: Does Highway 24 run right smack through town?

DELGADO: Yes, right through town. It's the main road through Woodland Park.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Ginger, for the people living in that area around Woodland Park, probably have seen the news coverage, might be trying to get back to their homes -- we know that you are at that area that has been barricaded off; are there a lot of residence in that sealed off area kind of milling around, wondering when they can get back into their homes?

DELGADO: There's not, Jim. Basically, because we are not close to any of the homes. The homes are sort of off on the side streets, so there are no residents milling around the area where we are located in right now. We do have some crews in other parts of Woodland Park, right now just trying to get a feel of what is going on in other parts of the town, so as soon as those crews get back, they can give us a better understanding of what residents are going through and what their thoughts are.

ARAKAWA: Ginger, we will put you on stand-by here for just a second. Thanks a lot for the information. Jim, you were talking about this interview with a woman who talked to CNN about befriending the suspects.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Going to church services, introducing them around to friends, having no idea who he was.

ARAKAWA: Actually, we are going to hear from her right now.

CHEN: All right, CNN watching coverage from KUSA in Denver. Clearly, a lot of affiliates watching each other. CNN watching affiliates in both Denver and in Dallas, Texas as well as our affiliate KKTV in Colorado Springs, as we try to pool all this information and bring you the latest and clearest information about what is going on in Woodland Park, Control, on the edge of the Rocky Mountains very close to Colorado Springs, where authorities say that earlier today, they were able to arrest four men they believe are part of the Texas Seven, the seven escapees from the Texas maximum security facility that disappeared on December 13, who were involved in a holdup and a shooting of a police officer in Irving, Texas on Christmas Eve. Four of the seven arrested in Woodland Park, Colorado earlier today and 5th man, Larry Harper, remains barricaded inside the RV park, where the four others were arrested.

Now, most importantly at this point in the day, two men, Donald Newbury and Patrick Murphy, are still at large. Authorities say they do have reason to believe they might still be in the area, but at this point, they have no reports, specifically that they are able to give us, about where they have been seen or whether they might still be in area. KUSA's report included information that authorities are searching for a 1975 brown Ford conversion van with white curtains and temporary plates. Again that information comes to us have KUSA-TV in Denver. That is the report they are being given by authorities looking for this 1975 brown Ford conversion van, and they want anyone who has seen it to report in immediately, so that they might be able to work more quickly on being able to find these two remaining escapees, Donald Newbury and Patrick Murphy.

You can see the authorities in Woodland, Colorado have tried to close off the area about a half mile very close to the Recreational Vehicle park, where the arrests were able to take place earlier in the day. And in this area, an evacuation of offices, six schools have been closed, people have been told to stay inside, pretty much, a shut down of this area of Woodland Park, Colorado. Reporters also being kept at a distance from the RV park. As you can see, there's a number of helicopters trying to develop additional information on what is going on, on the ground, as authorities continue their negotiation with Larry Harper, who remains barricaded inside the RV park, according to the latest reports we have received from authorities there. Larry Harper, as you see there, a who remains barricaded inside the mobile home park.

We heard earlier from the Texas Department of Criminal Justice -- a spokesman there told us that Harper had asked to speak by telephone to his father as one of the conditions of him turning himself in. Most importantly in all this; two of the most important features: these two men, Donald Newbury and Patrick Murphy remain at large, but so far, authorities have not given us any report of any shooting or any firing or any kind of assault, as they move to try to move in to apprehend them. They have not heard any reports of any shots fired, and that is very significant, because the inmates, when they left the Texas maximum security facility, left with a rather significant arsenal: 200 rounds of ammunition, 14 revolvers, a shotgun, a rifle, and then, were able to get some additional weapons when they robbed a sporting goods store on Christmas Eve in Irving, Texas. There has been a great deal of concern, given level of crime -- the criminal activities that these men had previously been convicted of, and the amount of firepower at their leisure there that they might turn on any authorities that try to move on them to try to affect their capture. And there had been great deal of concern that they might fire on officers who move in on them.

We are now receiving a report here at CNN that Larry Harper, the man who authorities told us was barricaded inside the RV park a short time ago, received information from authorities in Teller County, Colorado, that they were able to throw some gas into that area, apparently to try to smoke him out. Larry Harper is the only person that they have reported to reporters who remains barricaded inside the mobile home park, but, of course, there is also concern that Donald Newbury and Patrick Murphy might still be at large, might still be in the area -- they really aren't sure about that.

For the last hour here at CNN, we have been standing by, bringing you live continuing coverage of all that is happening in Woodland Park, because we are waiting for a statement by the Texas Board of Corrections of course handling the very beginning of the escape -- we are waiting for press statement from them in Huntsville, Texas, and we will bring that to you live. We are expecting that any time now, so please stay with us, as we continue our coverage after a break here.



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