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UN Security Chief Discusses Shooting

Aired October 3, 2002 - 14:59   ET


KYRA PHILLIPS, CNN ANCHOR: Now we're going to go to the UN and listen in from there.

MICHAEL MCCANN, CHIEF, UN SECURITY AND SAFETY: ... today a male entered the UN compound at approximately 43rd Street. He had a hand weapon, which he fired in the direction of the Secretariat Building. He then put down the gun, threw some pieces of paper in the air, and he was apprehended on the ground by United States Secret Service, U.S. Department of Security Service and NYPD and UN Security. The U.S. Secret Service, State Department Security and NYPD were on the grounds with a dignitary protection detail.

UN security then escorted the man into the Secretariat Building where he was interviewed, and now he's in the custody of the U.S. government authorities.

As far as we are currently aware, bullets may have struck the Secretariat Building on the 18th and 20th floors, narrowly missing several employees. At this point, it's our understanding that no one was hurt. We have a number of people that have received medical attention, but not because of any injuries received because of the shots being fired.

The pieces of paper that the man threw into the air were all identical, and contained a rambling political message about human rights in North Korea. These papers have been handed over to U.S. investigating authorities, and we will not say anything further about their content. Thank you.

QUESTION: Can you tell us whether or not the identity of this person? I mean, did he has made any statement of why he came here to do that?

MCCANN: At this point, it's our understanding his name is Steve Kim. It's our understanding that why he came here was to make this statement concerning human rights in North Korea.

QUESTION: Did the U.S. -- what is nationality?

MCCANN: We are not positive about his nationality at this point.

QUESTION: How did he get on the grounds? How did he get inside?

MCCANN: He climbed over the fence north of 43rd Street and 1st Avenue, and entered the grounds by climbing over the fence and walking across the small piece of grass...


MCCANN: Yes, the fence is about five or six feet high.

QUESTION: (OFF-MIKE) shots were fired?

MCCANN: We believe seven shots were fired.

QUESTION: Are you advocating more stringent weapons inspections at the UN?

MCCANN: The issue is not weapons inspections. What the issue is is the access to the complex. This is not an area where people would enter through a gate. We have a number of mechanisms in place for access for people that are authorized to come in here or visit as they come into the complex.

The issue here is part of our strengthening security budget in our capital master plan, which is to strengthen the perimeter access control, look at the fence design -- the fence is designed and it's easily designed for people to climb over the fence the way it's made.

So what the project is, under the capital master plan in the strengthening security budget, is to either replace the fence, to put a fence behind that fence to prevent people from coming over, from passing items through the fence, and then to have a control system, a CCTV system that would be able to monitor those areas of the grounds and of the perimeter where we do not have UN security.


MCCANN: We're checking the tapes now.

QUESTION: (UNINTELLIGIBLE) to get to the Secretariat Building?

MCCANN: He was in the roadway between the UN -- the fountain in the Secretariat Circle and 1st Avenue. So he was closer to 1st Avenue than the Secretariat Building.

QUESTION: How many policemen are assigned to this fence, or what other security at this fence where he climbed over?

MCCANN: We have people positioned along the UN perimeter at the entrance points. So there were people at those entrance points providing security at each of the access points.

In between those points, the project for the capital master plan is to have a camera system, a CCTV system, that would enhance our capability to monitor what's going on, to strengthen the fence so that there is a backup fence where people would not be able to climb over and not be able to enter the grounds.

QUESTION: Is the suspect a UN employee?

MCCANN: Excuse me? QUESTION: Is he a UN employee?

MCCANN: No, he's not a UN employee.

QUESTION: Sir, is there any further assistance you think you could use or require from the NYPD for that perimeter area or do you think that's at the level that -- I'm just curious as to how you think that might be able to supplement it...

MCCANN: We receive a great deal of cooperation and assistance from all U.S. government authorities, including the NYPD. They've assisted us much more since September 11 and they have people positioned around the complex on the FDR Drive and on the exit to 42nd Street and along 1st Avenue.

To answer your question I think what's needed is for this capital master plan project to go ahead and for us to put the physical and the technical security enhancements in place.

QUESTION: Can you tell us how the case will be handled, who will be charging him and what does he face?

MCCANN: It's my understanding that we've turned the gentleman over to the U.S. government authorities. The FBI will be processing the arrest and the U.S. Attorney's Office will handle the arrest.

I don't have the specific charges at this point, but I'm sure we can get them.

QUESTION: Is there some kind of host country agreement that you have in cases where this sort of thing happens?

MCCANN: The host country agreement states that U.S. government law applies here on the grounds, so this gentleman will be prosecuted under the U.S. government law.

QUESTION: Since this person throwing away the manifesto of human rights in North Korea and he is (UNINTELLIGIBLE) advocating the human rights in North Korea, at the same time, U.S. involving the shooting to the building, violence, instead of shooting into the air. Have you or anyone asked him why he was shooting at the building?

MCCANN: I would leave that to the U.S. government authorities for them to -- when they conduct their investigations to see if there's any logic to what he did. But we don't see any logic to that bringing attention to his cause by that manner.

QUESTION: Do you know anything what is the contents and can you tell us anything what is the contents of those papers that are thrown away?

MCCANN: The contents of the paper, generally -- I would leave that with the U.S. government authorities, because it would be a question...


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