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Suspected Cop Killer On The Run; Victim In Own Home Saved By A Neighbor; Police Ex-Cop On A Murderous Rampage; News Conference of Cop-Killer Ex-Cop Soon; News Conference On Cop Killings; Marco Rubio: GOP Golden Boy?
Aired February 7, 2013 - 13:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
MICHAEL HOLMES, CNN INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: -- NEWSROOM continues with Mr. Don Lemon.
DON LEMON, CNN ANCHOR: Thirty inches in 24 hours, that's how much snow could fall on parts of the Northeast. And a suspected cop killer is on the run. This man accused of shooting three police officers this morning killing one of them. We are standing by for a news conference by LAPD at any moment. We're going to bring that to you live just as soon as it happens.
Then, he was locked up in a basement for months and treated like a prisoner in his very own home. How a 17-year-old was saved by a neighbor.
This is CNN NEWSROOM. I am Don Lemon. Suzanne is off today. We are covering all the angles for you of an expert marksman on a rampage in a Los Angeles area right now. The suspect is a former cop and a Navy reservist. He's identified as 33-year-old Christopher Jordan Dorner. He was fired from the police force five years ago and now he may be seeking revenge. Dorner is accused of shooting three Los Angeles police officers early this morning, one of them fatally.
Plus, he's the prime suspect in a double killing over the weekend. CNN's Paul Vercammen is covering the manhunt underway in Los Angeles for us. And Law Enforcement analyst Mike Brooks is here in Los Angeles with me.
Paul, I'm going to start with you. I want you to bring us up to speed, as we wait for this press conference, of this hunt for this ex- cop described as armed and extremely dangerous.
PAUL VERCAMMEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Extremely dangerous, Don, and this is a desperate search right now. And as of right now, I'm in Riverside, you can see the police officers behind me. They've blocked of part of this intersection. No sign of Dorner. When you talked about armed and dangerous, what they are worried about is he alluded to having a Barrett 50 cal, meaning a semiautomatic sniper rifle.
Now, beyond these police officers here, if you look down the street, Don, this is where Dorner allegedly ambushed, shot and killed one officer and wounded another. That officer is said to be in stable condition right now. Tensions are running so high here, that just a few moments ago, when a man driving a vehicle that looked very much like Dorner's, a Nissan pickup truck, officers came at him with their guns somewhat drawn, began to speak with him, quickly determined that it was not Dorner.
But as I suggested to you, the tensions here, Don, just running extremely high. And as of 1:30 this morning, no one has seen any sign of the suspect, Dorner.
LEMON: Let's talk about that, again, about police being on edge because we have gotten reports -- and I know you are seeing it out there of officers spying on blue pickups like the one that Dorner is believed to be. So, what can you tell us about it? Is that the only incident like that? Because I know that nerves are jittery out there right now.
VERCAMMEN: Nerves are absolutely frayed, Don. No, we have learned at CNN, that the LAPD was guarding another officer's home in Torrance, California. This was an officer listed in the manifesto which sort of reads like a hit list. A blue pickup truck resembling Dorner's pulled up, the officers believed it was the suspect and that it presented a threat. And the officers, according to our source then, opened fire. It turned out to be a newspaper delivery truck with two people inside. One of the occupants of that truck suffered a wound to the hand. And then later, a second vehicle was apparently fired upon in Torrance, no injuries there. But, yes, extremely, extremely high edge here among police officers as this all-out manhunt, spanning now about nine counties, is in full effect -- Don.
LEMON: And, Paul, listen, this chilling letter, we're just getting it, we had excerpts earlier, and now we have the full letter here. And I want to read -- this is how it starts. And it tells about why he is doing this. And I think the first paragraph explains why he is allegedly gone on this rampage. He says, I know most of you who personally know me are in disbelief to hear from media reports that I am suspected of committing such horrendous murders and have taken drastic and shocking actions in the last couple of days. You are saying to yourself that this is completely out of character of the man you knew who always wore a smile wherever he was -- wherever he was seen. I know I will -- I will be vilified by the LAPD and the media. And, unfortunately, this is a necessary evil that I do not enjoy but must partake and complete for substantial change to occur within the LAPD and reclaim my name. The department has not changed since the Rampart and Rodney King days. This has gotten worse. The dissent decree should never have been lifted. The only thing that has evolved from the dissent decree is those officers in the Rampart scandal and Rodney King incidents have since been promoted to supervisors, commanders and command staff and executive positions.
So, the question is what would you do to clear your name? Is he doing this, do they believe, to clear his name? By killing other people to clear his name for some perceived wrongdoing by the L.A. police department?
VERCAMMEN: He suggested in that manifesto, Don, that he wants the LAPD to make a public apology for firing him. And I should also note, as you look behind me at these officers, one of the reasons why they have cordoned off so many areas, in the manifesto, he alludes to coming back and possibly opening fire on more officers. And don't forget for a second, he almost killed another officer separate from this shooting incident in Riverside. It was an LAPD officer in the nearby town of Corona who was getting off an off ramp with his partner. He was grazed and shot in the forehead.
So, yes, they definitely think that he wants some sort of apology, and that, of course, he has suggested throughout the manifesto that he is seeking revenge on these named officers and will go as far as to harm members of their families -- Don.
LEMON: Paul Vercammen standing by for us in Riverside, California. And, Paul, as soon as that press conference starts, we want to tell our viewers we will bring it to you live right here on CNN. Again, we are awaiting that press conference.
I want to bring in Mike Brooks now. Mike, we know that Dorner is a former Navy reservist lieutenant. He was just recent honorably discharged.
MIKE BROOKS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Right.
LEMON: During his service he received two awards, a rifle marksman ribbon, a pistol expert medal. So, clearly, he is a trained killer. So, can the -- can the LAPD protect its own in this? If you look at this -- let's read this, he said, the violence of action will be high.
LEMON: I am the reason tac --
BROOKS: That's a tac alert like a SWAT team alert. You know, for a tactical alert.
LEMON: Tac alert is established. I will bring unconventional and asymmetrical warfare to those in the LAPD uniform whether on or off duty. Can they protect their own?
BROOKS: It's going to be tough. And you know what else scares me, Don, is down at the end of the paragraph, I also own Barrett 50s, so your APC are defunct and futile, which a Barrett 50 caliber rifle is one of the most powerful weapons you can get. And he talked about APC as an armored personnel carriers being defunct and futile. You know, it just -- it sounds like anyone with an LAPD uniform right now is at risk.
But you've got the metropolitan division of LAPD, Don, that are trying to protect some of the people that are mentioned in this manifesto and their families, because, over the weekend, there was a woman who was killed whose father, at the time, was an LAPD captain who represented him during his disciplinary board where he felt he was wrongly terminated. And so, he said that that was one of the reasons -- it's believed that's one of the reasons he shot her was because of retaliation.
LEMON: Let's get to the press conference, Mike.
(BEGIN LIVE FEED)
CHARLIE BECK, CHIEF OF POLICE, LOS ANGELES POLICE DEPARTMENT: Are you good? All right. Good morning. And I say good morning, following a night of extreme tragedy in the Los Angeles area. As you all know, the LAPD is working in coordination with law enforcement agencies throughout southern California in apprehending Christopher Jordan Dorner. Christopher Dorner is wanted for a series of crimes, including assaults on officers and three homicides in southern California in the past week.
The Los Angeles police department and our allied law enforcement agencies are implementing all measures possible to ensure the safety of our LAPD personnel, their families and the Los Angeles community. We will continue to do so until Dorner is apprehended and all threats have been abated. Dorner is to be considered armed and extremely dangerous. Christopher Jordan Dorner is described as a male African- American, approximately six foot, 270 pounds. He is 33 years of age. He has black hair and brown eyes.
Dorner's photos are displayed here. Dorner's photo -- Dorner's vehicle is described as a late model Nissan Titan pickup. It's a four door, dark gray in color. The vehicle is equipped with a roof rack and a tonneau cover over the truck bed. The truck has black rims and a Department of Defense sticker on the driver's side of the front windshield. We are unsure of the license plate, as we believe he has switched plates. There is a possible plate of eight, D as in David, 83997. Photos of the vehicle are also on display. We ask that anyone who sees him or this vehicle should not approach or attempt to contact him. But immediately, immediately call 911 and notify law enforcement authorities. The LAPD will remain in constant communication with allied agency until Dorner is apprehended.
It is believed that Dorner was involved in the following incidents. On Sunday, February 3, 2012, in Irvine, California, a double homicide. During this incident, we believe Dorner shot and killed Monica Quan and Keith Lawrence while they sat in a vehicle in a parking structure. Wednesday, February 6th, about 8:30 p.m. in San Diego, an attempt to robbery, boat (INAUDIBLE.) Dorner attempted to steal a boat from a boat owner in San Diego. He was not successful and fled the location.
This morning, at 1:25 in Chino, California, LAPD officers assigned to a protection detail, received a tip from a citizen that Dorner may be in the area. They observed Dorner and Dorner fired upon the officers. Officers returned fire and one officer received a nonlife threatening wound to his head, a graze wound literally inches from killing him. Dorner fled and due to damage to the -- to the police vehicle because of his gun shots, the officers were unable to pursue him.
Today, at 1:45 in Riverside, California, the murder and attempt murder of Riverside Police Department officers. Dorner ambushed two Riverside police officers resulting in the death of one and the severe injury of the other. I am confirming that Dorner was previously employed as a Los Angeles police officer between February of 2005 and September of 2008. His employment was terminated. Based on Dorner's threat, the LAPD initiated more than 40 protection details throughout the region. These protection details were based on information contained in his manifesto, much of which has been posted online.
During the course of the search for Dorner, an officer involved shooting occurred in the city of Torrance. During that incident which occurred at about 5:15 this morning, LAPD officers received information that a vehicle matching the description of the suspect's vehicle had been seen in the area of one of our primary protection details, one of the people that was under the most serious level of threat. The LAPD officers assigned observed a vehicle matching the suspect's vehicle driving down the street with the lights turned out. Officers approached the vehicle and an officer involved shooting occurred. The individuals in that vehicle were hit by gun fire. Both were transported to a local hospital. One has a minor gunshot wound and is in the process of being released. The second person is in stable condition with two gunshot wounds. Tragically, we believe that this was a case of mistaken identity by the officers.
The hearts of the Los Angeles Police Department and my own go out to the families that lost loved ones due to Dorner's criminal actions. Anyone who sees Dorner should contact 911. Anyone who has information or tips regarding these crimes is asked to call the robbery homicide tip line, number is 213-486-6860 or the LAPD 24-hour tip line at 877- LAPD-247. Anyone wishing to remain anonymous should call crime stoppers at 1-800-222-tips. Tipsters may also contact crime stoppers by texting the phone number 274637. That's crimes on most key pads. All text messages begin with the letters LAPD. Tipsters may also go to LAPD online and report information and we will act on that information.
The city mourns the deaths of Monica Kwan, Keith Lawrence and our brave Riverside police officer. I also feel great sadness for the injuries suffered by my officer, the second Riverside officer and the two uninvolved citizens in Torrance. With that, I'll answer a few questions. I will not answer specific questions about the Irvine homicide investigation. That -- the primary agency on that investigation is the Irvine Police Department. But I will answer general questions.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: In San Diego, there's a barricade situation at a hotel at Point Loma Base, we're being told, by San Diego Police Department. There are helicopters are over it. Do you have any information that this is indeed Dorner holed up in that hotel at Point Loma Base?
BECK: I have nothing I can release on that at this time.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Chief, the confusion on the color of the vehicle, are you sure what -- for a while it was blue, now it's gray. What is it?
BECK: For those familiar with the Nissans they have a series of dark colors that are similar especially at night. They have a bluish gray, so they are easily confused. But we believe that the manufacturer would list the color as gray.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Chief, is one of the scariest things going on here right now (INAUDIBLE) the commander (ph) and said that this guy knew what he was doing, is that especially frightening to you?
BECK: Of course he knows what he's doing. We trained him. He was a member of the armed forces. It is extremely worrisome and scary, especially to the police officers involved. The Riverside officers were cowardly ambushed. They had no opportunity to fight back. No pre-warning. Imagine going about your workday, having to worry about that threat.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (INAUDIBLE) Dorner is actually fleeing the LAPD for his actions (INAUDIBLE)
BECK: You are talking about a homicide suspect, who has committed atrocious crimes. And if you want to give any attribution to his ramblings on the internet, go right ahead. But I do not.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What kind of artillery do you believe that he has (ph)?
BECK: He has multiple weapons at his disposal including assault rifles.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (INAUDIBLE) Specific allegation about him being victim of some sort of investigation that never saw the way through (ph). Will you be looking back at that case as a result of (INAUDIBLE)?
BECK: We look at everything. That case was thoroughly adjudicated. It was reviewed at multiple levels. It went to the ultimate form of review in the LAPD, a board of rights, where two command officers and a civilian representative hear the entirety of the case, as represented by an attorney and make a judgment. I think that in the analysis, you will find Dorner's statements to be self serving. And the statements of somebody that is extremely (ph) with his lot in life.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: When did your department become aware of his manifesto (ph) and were there any (INAUDIBLE) in the department previous to that?
BECK: I don't know of any -- no threats came to my level prior to that, we became aware of the manifesto this week.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Do you have the manpower, we are talking obviously the detail you guys are doing, protective detail, you have officers outside, does LAPD have the manpower to adequately protect all of your officers and families from this threat?
BECK: It's extremely manpower intensive. But the safety of my employees, people that come on the job to protect the lives of strangers is of utmost importance to me, and I will expend whatever resources necessary.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Chief, obviously he is monitoring what you know (ph) and where you might be. If you could direct a message to him at this time, what would you say? (ph)
BECK: I would tell him to turn himself in. This has gone far enough. Nobody else needs to die.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The Riverside chief told us it was a direct attack on his department (ph). Would you qualify this as a direct attack on LAPD? (ph)
BECK: If you read his manifesto, this is a very - LAPD is a specific target, but all law enforcement is targeted. This is a vendetta against all of southern California law enforcement. And it should be seen as such.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: One more question, last one.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Chief, he said the killings will continue until you publicly come out and clear his male. Is that going to happen?
BECK: It is not going to happen. And thank you very much.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I have a Spanish speaker. He'll be right here, he will be able to answer any questions and talk to Hispanic media. We won't have talking points on this. We do have two news releases -
(END LIVE FEED)
LEMON: LAPD police chief Charlie Beck at a press conference there clearly saying he is not going to come out to clear the name of this officer, who is accused of all of these killings. And he is saying this -- the manner that this officer is talking about, he believes has been thoroughly adjudicated, and he says it clearly speaks of someone he believes is unhappy with his lot in life.
The disturbing thing about this, he says, the chief says this man has multiple weapons at his disposal, including assault rifles, he believes. Some of the things he is upset about: he says, which is Chief Beck. He says Chief Beck, and he names other people in this, I will not read their name when he talks about this incident, which he believes that he should have been cleared of but was not with the LA police department. He says this is when you need to have come to -- have a come to Jesus talk with sergeant. He goes on to name the sergeant he is upset with, and everybody else involved in this conspiracy to have me terminated for doing the right thing.
He mentions Chief Beck in that. Then he goes on to mention Chief Beck again in the last part of it. And he talks about -- he mentions Chief Beck and a number of people in the last page of his manifesto here. And so he's clearly upset with the chief of police right now. I want to bring in CNN's Paul Vercammen who is listening to this. Paul, if you are -- no Paul? Paul is not there? Anyway, Paul is in Riverside, California. He's following this story.
There was an incident. Someone asked a question about there was a standoff at a motel out in California, the chief would not comment on that as well. He would not say whether or not it was connected to Christopher Jordan Dorner, who is a suspect in this case, there's a manhunt in the California area.
There is the picture on your screen, African-American, six feet tall, 270 pounds. At six feet, he is a muscular gentleman, I has talking to Mike Brooks (ph), he has military training, gray 2005 Nissan Titan pickup. Police say if you see him do not go near him. Call 911. He's extremely dangerous and he is armed. You can dial 911, 1-800- 222-tips.
More on this story and others after the break.
LEMON: The Kappa Sigma fraternity has suspended its chapter at Duke University after the frat held a party that Asian students call racist. The party was called Kappa Sigma Asia Prime. The invitation used phrases that made fun of Asian accents. Outraged students posted pictures from the party online. They showed students dressed up in traditional Asian clothing and Sumo wrestler suits. We reached out to the Kappa Sigma chapter. They had no comment. But the frat's parent organization released a statement saying in part the Kappa Sigma fraternity finds the actions associated with this event are inappropriate and insensitive and Kappa Sigma does not condone such activity. This matter will be investigated.
The Republican party is sending Senator Marco Rubio to respond to the president's State of the Union address next week.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. MARCO RUBIO, (R ) FLORIDA: Thank you. Thank you.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: The first-termer from Florida was very visible during last year's presidential race, stumping hard for Mitt Romney despite the party's capturing just 27 percent of the Latino vote. The GOP certainly wants to change that. We are told Rubio will speak in both English and Spanish, so let's get some conversation going about this. About Senator Marco Rubio and a decision to put him upright after the State of the Union.
Anna Navarro is a CNN contributor and Republican strategist, Eduardo Rodriguez is on the other side. A Democratic strategist. Anna, first to you. Good afternoon, by the way to both of you. So Anna, we'll go to you first. Is Rubio the right choice to follow the president? ANNA NAVARRO, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: I think so. As you know, as you know, I'm a fan of Marco's, I have known him for many years, I have heard him give speech after speech, he is an eloquent, exceptional speaker, able to articulate a vision, able to express optimism. He draws from his humble roots. He draws from his parents' immigrant experience. He's a compelling speaker. He also represents what we need in the Republican party. He's a young guy. He's a Hispanic, he's able to be bilingual. I think it's a terrific choice. It's a tough gig. But a terrific choice.
LEMON: Eduardo, here's the thing, Rubio's mission is to get Latino voters into the tent (ph). What will the GOP have for them, that they can -- in order to get them into the tent, what will be different in 2016?
ESTUARDO RODRIGUEZ, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Well, first off, it's Estuardo. No problem. I get it every day. Halfway through last year and even before that the GOP realized they weren't going to make the gains they needed with the Latino community. Ever since then it's been a marathon to 2016.
I don't think many within the Latino leadership circles or those that watch the politics of both parties were surprised by the move to invite Senator Marco Rubio to make the address. I think it's a logical step. And I do have to say, though, ultimately, it's actions and not words. You can lose the Latino support in a day. You can't get it back in a speech. That's the challenge that Senator Rubio has.
LEMON: What do you mean by that?
RODRIGUEZ: Well, because, it's through that campaign, that we saw one misstep after another, one speech given by Governor Romney, or Republican spokesperson during that campaign, that may have said something that was insulting or inflammatory, in terms of the Latino community around immigration reform. Keep in mind, this is the same party, that at one time spoke publicly about English only, still has within it those that advocate English only. And yet, you have Senator Marco Rubio prepared to give the speech in Spanish as well. So it's a turnaround, again a marathon in 2016 for them.
LEMON: Anna listen, even Estuardo has said, and others, and you, you have said Rubio is the GOP's golden boy. But I want to know why. That goes beyond - It must go beyond just Hispanic heritage. Going back to what he said. You must do more than that, just be Hispanic, to deliver the Latino vote, Anna.
NAVARRO: Listen, the Hispanic thing here is not the reason he's being chosen. The reason Marco is being chosen, is because he has the ability to respond very effectively. Because he's an eloquent speaker, because he can do this. The fact he's Hispanic and can also do it in Spanish is icing on the cake, Don. But he's not a token Hispanic being chosen for that. He's being chosen for his merits.
I think he's being chosen, frankly, for the leadership role he's taking on immigration. We have seen him take on his shoulders in the last few weeks selling these bipartisan principles to the conservative base as well as explaining them to the Hispanic community. He's out there doing actions.
That's what the point is. He's out there taking risks out on a limb on immigration. He's certainly out of what would be considered the political safe zone, if what we are talking about is a Republican primary at some point. I think he has to be commended for that. And I think the Hispanic thing is important. This is the first time that a Hispanic elected official is giving the response in English and in Spanish. And it's a moment of pride for our community. Whether -- it was a moment of pride for me, when Julian Castro gave the keynote address at the Democratic convention. I would say to my Democrat Hispanic counterparts, put your issues with Marco and your Marco hating aside, and be proud. Because it's a Hispanic step for all of us.
RODRIGUEZ: I don't think, and I have to clarify --
RODROGUEZ: It's not Marco hating. I think as a Republican party has often said about President Obama, he's eloquent. Well, I respond the same way about senator Rubio, he's very eloquent. But the responsibility on real action, on real legislation, you are going to get more mileage out of what Cantor said this week about the Dream Act than you will get out of Rubio's State of the Union response.
What is the Republican party going to do on immigration reform? What are they going to do on jobs?