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ERIN BURNETT OUTFRONT
Four Firefighters Held Hostage In Georgia; Suspect in Hostage Situation Is Dead
Aired April 10, 2013 - 19:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ERIN BURNETT, CNN ANCHOR: OUTFRONT next, breaking news, a gunman takes four firefighters hostage. We're going to go live to that scene in Georgia tonight.
Plus new fear in North Korea, U.S. intelligence shows Kim Jong-Un could launch multiple missiles at any moment.
As Washington celebrates a breakthrough on a bill on background checks, it turns out that states have passed a lot of gun bills since Newtown. Are they doing more harm than good? We have an OUTFRONT investigation tonight. Let's go OUTFRONT.
And good evening, everyone. I'm Erin Burnett. OUTFRONT tonight, we begin with breaking news, four firefighters are being held hostage right now in Swanny, Georgia about, 35 miles outside of Atlanta.
As you can see there, let me go through what we know right now. It's a quickly developing situation. Right now, we can tell you SWAT teams have surrounded the building where the firefighters are. There are hostage negotiators there.
However, the police have not identified the suspects nor have they identified a motive for why this is happening. The incident began late this afternoon after the fire department responded to a medical call.
Washington Police Detective Mike Brooks is on the phone. Mike, I know you have new information from the people who are on the scene. What can you tell us right now?
MIKE BROOKS, FORMER DETECTIVE, WASHINGTON POLICE (via telephone): Well, Erin, apparently the firefighters from Net County, Georgia, there was an engine company that responded for some kind of medical emergency there in Swanny, which is in Gwinnet County. Now apparently when they got there, they were confronted by a man who was apparently heavily armed and is still heavily armed. There were initially five firefighters on the scene.
The initial radio contact with the dispatcher was that there was a man there asking to have some -- apparently utilities restored. We don't know exactly what's going on. But, you know, what brought them -- what brought him to this, what apparently the firefighters, one of them was released to move one of the vehicles.
So there are now four firefighters inside that house apparently with a lone gunman. Anything else right now, any other demands, we do not know. The police department, their SWAT team as you said and negotiators are on the scene.
We do not know if they made contact with the subject, but he is still inside with four members of the Gwinnet County Fire and Rescue Department.
BURNETT: Now, Mike, as you say, he made a call. He wants cable, internet, and phone service back. We're not sure about the mental state or I guess, maybe it's more appropriate if I use the word stability to describe this person.
But you know, the fire department spokesman said they're not sure if this is going to turn violent or not. You look at these kinds of situations before. What do you think?
BROOKS: Well, you know, Erin, a former negotiator, an FBI harsh negotiator. And the early stage of this, that is the most crucial, the initial stabilization control phase of an incident like this, but the firefighters are inside.
I have listened to the initial radio traffic myself and you can tell that there was a lot of tension with Engine 10 with Gwinnet County who was inside there. We do not know what else he's asked for besides utilities will be restored.
We don't know what brought him to this, but I did tell you usually something within the last 24 to 48 hours, something that's happened to this person to bring him to this particular situation, but it was a medical call as I said initially.
They say that he has no medical condition, but I don't want to get into any numbers. He does -- he is armed with some handguns and a rifle.
BURNETT: All right, well, mike, let me bring in David Mattingly now who is actually on the scene. Our David Mattingly has been -- left CNN Center, went to this location. I know you're there now, David. What you are seeing?
DAVID MATTINGLY, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (via telephone): Erin, obviously, this is a very delicate situation and what they're trying to do right now is naturally to keep the gunman calm. The first choice in any situation like this as Mike Brooks will tell you is to get the man talking. Find out what he needs and find a peaceful resolution to this.
So we're seeing a lot of law enforcement here. They're keeping residents from going into the neighborhoods. This is happening before anyone could get home from work. So there's a large crowd outside the neighborhood right now.
We've been told that some residents near the house in particular have been taken away to safety, but most residents are staying in their homes. They were already in the neighborhood. And this is a nice neighborhood, large houses, four, five bedroom houses, and well manicured lawns.
Suburban area, about an hour north of the center of Atlanta so you're seeing a lot of confusion on the part of the people who live here, this is not something that you would expect to see in their neighborhood -- Erin.
BURNETT: Yes. I mean, if not something at all. Mike, let me ask you. We're talking about firemen here. These are guys in great shape, they're strong. They're big. Are they going to try to overpower the hostage terror or are they trained for this? I'm trying to figure out what they would try to do in this situation? Right now, I mean, I guess from our understanding it's four to one.
BROOKS: They have to create a rapport with the person inside there. They're not going to do that because again, they -- they put their lives on the line every day. But this is something that they're not used to confronting. Yes, they do train for active shooters and that sort of thing.
But it's very rarely -- it's very rare where you have firefighters who are confronted with a gunman. Usually if there is an incident, the police come in and they will make sure the scene is secure before the firefighters come in. But this came out as a medical emergency.
So was that the reason that he was trying to bring firemen in? We don't know. It is still the early stages of this incident. You know, hopefully right now the Gwinnet County is able to get the negotiators in place to try to talk to him.
But there again, you have firefighters that deal with folks who are under stress every single day. And, you know, they're inside there and trying to create a rapport. We don't know what is going on inside there. Very, very tenuous situation right now in the early staged.
BURNETT: All right, I want to add Tom Fuentes into the conversation now, a former FBI assistant director. Tom, what is your assessment of the situation right now? I mean, obviously this hasn't been going on that long, but you know, it's been a couple hours now. Is it getting more and more dangerous for these firefighters every minute that this is not resolved? That their lives could be at risk?
TOM FUENTES, FORMER FBI ASSISTANT DIRECTOR: Hi, Erin. Normally the longer it goes, the safer it is based in this period of time. It means the situation is stable and whatever was going on in the mind of the hostage taker or takers. They are in a period of not wanting to do something immediate.
So in a way it's good news. It gives the authorities plenty of time to try to assess and try to establish and enhance the communications with them and find out what's behind this. What are the motivations and continue to try to keep these men safe.
BURNETT: David Mattingly, what is your understanding? I know this may be very unclear at this point, but as to this man, how armed he is? What he is armed with? MATTINGLY: All we're being told is this man is a gunman. That's all we know and that he is barricaded inside with the four firefighters. A couple of other details that we've heard from people living in the neighborhood, people who actually observed what was going on, that they saw the initial fire vehicles pull up to the house.
They went inside with a stretcher. And then about a half hour later, one of those firemen runs outside to the fire engine to move it away from the front of the house. We later learned that that was one of the five who was released. That happened about 30 minutes time for him to move the fire engine away from the front of the house.
People asking the question why would this going on right now? There is no indication from any of the law enforcements here about a motive. They don't want to talk about that right now. They're very careful about what kind of information they're putting out, obviously.
But we have been able to look at real estate records. We found that the house was in foreclosure. We have no idea at the moment if that was any sort of contributing factor. But clearly, these firefighters arrived here on the scene for what they thought was a medical emergency. They went in with the stretcher and that's when everything happened.
BURNETT: Tom Fuentes, let me ask you, and obviously, I know David Mattingly said we don't know whether the foreclosure situation was related to this incident or not. You know, I'm just thinking of an incident recently in New York State where someone called law enforcement and the goal of that was to try to kill somebody in law enforcement.
Is this something that more of this is happening? Is this something that's always happened? I think a lot of people would say it's very strange and very frightening that the people that you trust for law enforcement or you trust to help you, the policemen, the firemen could be called to a scene on purpose to be taken hostage and tried to be attacked?
FUENTES: Well, normally, Erin, you know, this is true of law enforcement if the house foreclosure has something to do with it and that they would be worried about the sheriff coming to evict them or at least somebody in a law enforcement mode.
Normally firefighters don't take on the public. They come to rescue people, to help people, to save them from fires or other problems. You don't normally see this with firefighters.
So you would think, I should say, if they intended to harm law enforcement, they could have made a phone call that would have indicated maybe a domestic disturbance or some other issue that would have led police to coming as opposed to firefighters.
BURNETT: All right.
BROOKS: I want to also add, you were talking about your incident that happened in Webster, New York. BURNETT: That's right.
BROOKS: I don't really see a lot of similarities between this. You know, we heard David talk about this house and public records being in foreclosure. We heard some initial radio communication with the firefighters inside with their communications division talking about having wanting the utilities restored.
So that makes sense to me. That maybe that is -- you know, one of the things that has driven this man to do this, but we don't know what else has been going on in this person's life. And that's what the firefighters, that's what the county investigators are going to try to determine when they made contact with this person inside the house.
BURNETT: All right, we're going to keep monitoring this situation closely and hope for a safe revolution sometime in the next few minutes. That's all we can hope for. Tom, Mike and David Mattingly, we'll be checking back with them and our David Mattingly will be there with our camera up in just a few moments. So we'll be going back to this as we watch it very carefully.
Still to come though, we're also going to be talking about the tensions going on with North Korea tonight, which are escalating. U.S. intelligence that we have shows multiple missile launches could come at any moment. So we're going to go live to Seoul and speak to a former CIA agent on what the United States really knows.
Plus, President Obama unveiled his budget today and absolutely everybody is mad. And how much would you spend for that?
BURNETT: And now our second story OUTFRONT. Everybody's mad at President Obama. So his budget was proposed today. Sure, it was a couple months late, but you know, there was the sequester fight. So you got to forgive him for that. He calls for cuts to Medicare and Social Security, and he asked for tax increases. That's why everybody's mad.
But the president says it is courageous, and he stands by it.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The numbers work. There's not a lot of smoke and mirrors in here.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: The powerful AARP said it were dismayed by the budget and they quote, "it's wrong for the president to try to balance the budget by weakening the programs that provide the very foundation of retirement security for current and future generations."
Well, is anyone happy with the budget? OUTFRONT tonight, Stephen Moore, member of the "Wall Street Journal" editorial board and Hilary Rosen, the Democratic strategist and CNN political contributor. All right, good to see you both. Hilary, you've seen the headlines. Politico: "Obama's budget's fantasy land." Reihan Salam, of course familiar to all our viewers, writes on CNN.com "Obama budget may bite middle class." And CBSnews.com writes, "Two months late, Obama's budget proposal irks both sides." What is the point of alienating your base and the other side?
HILARY ROSEN, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Well, here's the thing. I don't love this budget. And I think it's probably just fine with the White House if I don't love this budget. Because you know, I'm on the left. They know that they're angering some of their base.
But what the president said today with very important which is that this is a balance. We can no longer afford to play to one base or the other and expect to get anywhere in this country. We made some good progress on the deficit cutting $2.5 trillion. The president saying here is another $2 trillion of deficit reduction we can achieve. But we're still going to protect, you know, the most downtrodden.
I think that we have to get the president some props here. The people who are not going to give the president props are the ones who want to play to their base. I just don't think that that's really going to sell. The American people rejected that in November. And I think that are going to reject it once this goes on the road in the next few months.
BURNETT: All right, so, Steve, I'm here -- here is John Boehner's response. Another angry person. The House speaker chose to speak about it. Here he is.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. JOHN BOEHNER (R-OH), HOUSE SPEAKER: I would hope that he would not hold hostage these modest reforms for his demand for bigger tax hikes. Listen, why don't we do what we can agree to do? Why don't we find the common ground that we do have and move on that?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: So Steve, the president is not giving up on tax increases. He's just not.
STEPHEN MOORE, "WALL STREET JOURNAL" EDITORIAL BOARD: It's a big problem. By the way, if you think people are angry, wait until you read our editorial tomorrow in the "Wall Street Journal!"
BURNETT: Oh, I can imagine! It will be scathing.
MOORE: We're not too enthralled with this budget, either. And look, the truth is we would cut spending more if we did nothing than adopted this budget. Because one of the first things that Oresident Obama does in this budget is suspend the sequester and suspend any future spending caps that he already agreed to. And Republicans are saying why would we agree to that in exchange for a trillion dollars of new taxes? I mean, Hilary, I think the reason that Republicans and people like myself are saying this is not a balanced approach is the president just got a $600 billion tax increase in January. He also had a trillion-dollar tax increase in Obamacare. But there haven't really been any spending cuts.
And I want to make one other point. I think some of the reaction to the president's proposal to make very small trims in the Social Security benefits -- very tiny given how big the crisis is and entitlement programs -- what are they talking about? We have multi- trillion dollar problems ahead of us, and we can't even cut $150 billion over ten years out of this program?
BURNETT: Well, let me just throw one thing in here. Again, I guess it all depends on how you count the numbers. But "The Washington Post" says that the debt goes up no matter under any situation. The president -- you're right, does add that situation. $19 trillion over the next ten years. The current budget we do $19.9 billion. So, he's only $900 billion less, Hilary, which is pretty grim.
The House GOP, though, bill also would add more than $14 trillion to debt. Look, the president --
MOORE: Except -- except it's worse.
MOORE: Wait, hold on. It would balance the budget in ten years. That is something neither the Senate Democratic budget nor this budget do. They don't reach balance.
ROSEN: Yes, but it balances the budget -- it's a philosophy document. It's not a budget. It's saying let's get rid of all daycare. Let's get rid of all education. Let's get rid of eventually Medicare. I mean, the Republican budget is not a real budget --
BURNETT: Wait, get red of Medicare?
ROSEN: It might please you, Steve, and the "Wall Street Journal" editorial board. But it's not going to please anybody in America who is really living on a fixed income. It's just the tax increases in the --
MOORE: Hilary, the American people --
ROSEN: Let's just clarify what these so-called tax increases are. OK? We're not talking about, you know, massive upset of a financial system here. What we're saying is that millionaires who put money away in a retirement savings account ought to be capped from tax-free income once it gets over $3 million or $4 million of retirement income. That is not significant.
MOORE: But Hilary, that's not fair. What you're doing is -
ROSEN: We're talking about really modest things here.
MOORE: But you're changing the rules on people in the middle of the game. Why would anybody put money in an IRA or a 401(k) account? When you put the money in, the government promises you won't have to pay taxes on this to encourage saving. And then they see this big pot of money and they say, you know what? We are going to tax you on that.
I mean, Hilary, that has very negative consequences for people's willingness to save for their retirement.
BURNETT: All right, we'll hit pause. Thanks to both of you. And all of you, please let us know what you think about the budget.
And next, bullied to death. A teenage girl has taken her life. She was gang raped and then bullied. How her mother found her, and why no one has been arrested.
Plus, the return of Anthony Weiner. The former congressman who resigned after sending inappropriate tweets about his -- himself. Says he is reconsidering running for office.
And an update on a jail that has been called the worst in the America after this video showed inmates with guns, beer, and drugs. A big move tonight in New Orleans.
BURNETT: Our third story OUTFRONT, bullied to death. A 17-year-old girl in Canada has killed herself. Her mother says she was devastated by being gang raped and seeing her attackers go free.
But it was the cruel cyber bullying after the assault, her mother says, that drove her to suicide. Paula Newton is OUTFRONT with the story.
PAULA NEWTON, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: At just 15, Reteya (ph) Parsons, according to her parents, admitted she could barely remember what happened to her that night. After drinking with friends, she said she was left alone with four teenage boys, and each proceeded to rape her.
Parsons' family says the alleged assault was traumatic enough. But a photo of the incident that was texted to dozens at her high school inflicted a punishing toll on Reteya. A year-and-a-half after that night, she was still emotionally broken and locked herself in the bathroom one day. Her mother knew she was in trouble.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I didn't even knock on the door. I just picked it open. I could feel the weight of her body on the door. I didn't think anything. I just opened the door and said "Reteya." And I had to cut her down. She was hanging.
NEWTON: After several days on life support, her family gave up hope. Reteya died on Sunday.
Through grief and pain, her mother is now speaking out. She says Reteya was devastated when no charges were filed for lack of evidence, and her mother is shedding light on the raw cruelty of the bullying that she says followed the alleged incident.
One girl that was a friend put on her status, "Sluts need to leave this school anyway." Just bullying and boys that she didn't know sending messages, "Want to have fun?" "You did it with my friends. Why don't we get together?" It just was nonstop.
NEWTON: Reteya's case is outraging many, including the family of Amanda Todd, who killed herself last year at the age of 15 after allegedly being bullied and stalked online. Carol Todd says she reached out to Reteya's mother.
CAROL TODD, AMANDA TODD'S MOTHER: I wrote to her that in my deepest of hearts, I'm so sorry for what her and her family are going through. That I, for one, truly understand what she's going through. And that I give her as much strength as I have.
NEWTON: Reteya's family now tells CNN they have met with justice officials, and they understand the outrage over the lack of charges. They're satisfied that authorities will take a fresh look at the case.
Paula Newton, CNN, Ottawa.
BURNETT: Awful story.
Still ahead, the crisis in North Korea. The country could launch a missile at any moment. And we have new intelligence about North Korea's plans. That's next. We go live to Seoul.
And then we've all noticed the lack of action in Washington on gun laws. You may think nothing happened since Newtown on the regulation front. But you know what? That is totally not true. An OUTFRONT investigation. Are all the new gun laws since Newtown doing more harm than good?
BURNETT: Our fourth story OUTFRONT: close to a dangerous line. That's how Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel described the escalating tensions today with North Korea.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CHUCK HAGEL, DEFENSE SECRETARY: Their actions and their words have not helped diffuse a combustible situation.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: Hagel went on to say the U.S. is prepared to deal with the rogue nation and tonight, North Korea threatens to launch a medium- range missile.
OUTFRONT: Kyung Lah is in Seoul with the latest.
And, Kyung, I know you've been there now for a while. So, you really have a sense of what it's like for people? U.S. radar and satellites are pointed at the east coast of the Korean peninsula right now. Is there a time frame for this launch?
KYUNG LAH, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, the idea and the suspicion from U.S. authorities were that it would be yesterday. That yesterday appeared to be the day that this missile launch may take place. Well, now, it's perhaps yesterday into April 15th. This is the working time frame that the South Korean authorities and the U.S. officials believe could be a potential window into this missile test launch.
What they're looking at is that date, April 15th. It is the 105th birthday of Kim Il Sung, Kim Jong Un's grandfather.
And that's generally the timeframe. But, Erin, it's a lot to figure out what Pyongyang is doing. Are they simply trying to increase the pressure on the peninsula to try to get something else?
You know, the intelligence is simply pointing to the missile launch is expected to happen at any moment.
BURNETT: And, Kyung, I mean, you know, you talk about what's going on in Pyongyang, what we know. I mean, talk about conflicting messages. We're reading the tea leaves here and then, all of a sudden, Pyongyang invites foreigners in for a marathon?
LAH: Yes. I mean talk about trying to predict the crazy. I mean, it is very difficult to try to predict what Pyongyang is going to do that marathon message you're talking about, Erin, came out yesterday. Pyongyang saying if you are an international runner, come on in to the international Pyongyang marathon.
They're actually inviting foreigners in for this. At the same time, just days earlier, they're telling embassies, foreign embassies inside Pyongyang that we cannot guarantee your safety.
We're suggesting that you leave on April 10th, which was yesterday. And they're also telling foreigners inside South Korea, you should evacuate South Korea, evacuate the peninsula. So, it's very difficult to tell what's happening. We are getting multiple reports inside North Korea saying that there's almost like a festival type atmosphere leading to the birthday of Kim Il Sung.
So, yes, Erin, it is -- whenever you deal with a hermit kingdom, very serious, you have to take their threats seriously but at the same time, it is very, very nutty.
BURNETT: All right. Well, Kyung, thank you very much. I mean, nutty is the right word, even though, of course, this is so dire and serious. All right. We have a little more on our breaking news story. I want to get straight to Atlanta. Four firefighters are being hostage in Suwannee, Georgia. It's about 35 miles outside Atlanta.
Our David Mattingly is on the scene and just heard shots fired -- David.
DAVID MATTINGLY, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (via telephone): What we heard, Erin, were some -- a series of explosions. First, a loud explosion like a shock grenade, which is usually the first thing that SWAT teams use when they enter a location like this. That's what we heard. And then immediately after, there were several smaller concussions, possibly tear gas that was being used on this.
Now, this has all transpired in the last five minutes. We're hearing sirens in the neighborhood. The police at this end of the neighborhood where they have everyone held back seem to be a bit on edge. The fire teams here that the ambulances they have, have revved up like they're ready to move into action.
But right now, it appears that the SWAT team here has moved on that house to rescue those four firemen that are still being held in that house.
BURNETT: And, David, it sounds like what you're saying this is all coming from the police and law enforcement side, the explosion that's you're talking about. They could have been the entry grenades, but not from the gunman. Or is impossible to totally be sure?
MATTINGLY: They did not sound like gun shots. They specifically sounded like what you would have with a concussion blast and then several smaller sounds of what might be tear gas canisters being fired at a location.
We can't see any of this going on. But I have heard the sounds before at other situations that I've been at, that sounded very familiar to me. And that's what it sounded like to me.
But these were not gun shots that I was hearing.
BURNETT: And, David, just to make sure we understand the reaction of the law enforcement that you've seen. I know you were describing that the ambulances were sort of revving up their engines. But what else were you able to see from law enforcement that are standing where you are?
MATTINGLY: And just after I told you all of that, everyone seems to be just standing by. It is a moment where spectators and the officials alike are all standing here at the opening of the neighborhood looking inside, probably wondering just as we were what is going on.
The house is out of sight. We can only guess at this moment what is going on. But we specifically heard those tell-tale signs of a SWAT team making their move. BURNETT: All right. Those explosions. Well, David Mattingly, thank you very much. We'll be checking back in with David. Obviously, as you all can tell, the story has been developing incredibly quickly since the top of the hour.
Well, at this moment, President Obama is meeting with Senate Republicans at the White House. And one of the topics being discussed is gun control. The sit-down comes just hours after a major breakthrough.
Joe Manchin, a Democrat, and Pat Toomey, a Republican, announced a deal to expand background checks to most gun sales, including gun shows and internet sales. Manchin got very emotional while meeting with Newtown families and talking about it.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. JOE MANCHIN (D), WEST VIRGINIA: I can't imagine. Just --
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: Very emotional.
And one senator who is going to be key in helping the deal go ahead is Georgia's Johnny Isakson. He has an A rating from Gun Owners of America, which is a powerful lobbying group, which called Senator Toomey, who also has an A, a sellout because of this deal.
Well, Senator Isakson came OUTFRONT and told me while the bill has drawn the powerful gun lobby's ire, he is not concerned about the potential backlash if he votes for it. Here's exactly what he said on that.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. JOHNNY ISAKSON (R), GEORGIA: The most important record card I ever had was the one I got in elementary school and high school. Anybody can give out grades if they want to try and make a point. I'm interested in knowing how everybody feels. But most importantly, how the people I represent in Georgia feel.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: So maybe some real standing up to the NRA. But is today's breakthrough really all that? If you take a step back from that debate and all the noise out there, you maybe amazed that there are a lot of gun laws in this country. Some people have said as many as 20,000.
So, is one more law really the answer?
Joe Johns has an OUTFRONT investigation.
(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) JOE JOHNS, CNN CRIME AND JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Twenty- one-year-old Matthew Krister was killed by police after he shot a Somerville, Massachusetts, detective at point blank range through the window of a car November of 2010.
The mayor still remembers the day vividly.
MAYOR JOSEPH CURTATONE, SOMERVILLE, MASS: It's the calls (INAUDIBLE) one of those calls you never want to get. An officer was shot.
JOHNS: Krister was under investigation in Massachusetts for buying firearms in gun-friendly New Hampshire, which doesn't require background checks or licensing and keeps no record of sales. Authorities suspected Krister was selling firearms in Massachusetts which has tough gun laws.
CURTATONE: Those weapons that utilitized as community guns were sold off to other potential perpetrators whether they are involved in gangs or commit other crimes.
JOHNS: Besides from New Hampshire, guns also slip into Massachusetts from nearby Maine and Vermont, where a license isn't required for gun purchases.
SHERIFF PETER KOUTOUJIAN, MIDDLESEX COUNTY, MASS.: Over two-thirds of those crimes were committed with guns that were bought from outside of our state, not even from within our state, which is especially concerning.
JOHNS: Gun control has become a war between the states. Since Newtown, at least six state legislatures have passed tougher gun control measures, slightly more states have acted to weaken gun laws and a couple have done both. In Washington, D.C., the nation's capital, is tough on guns. But neighboring Virginia acted to make concealed weapons permits confidential.
Across the Potomac River, Maryland's legislature voted to fingerprint gun owners, bans so-called "assault weapons" and limit gun magazines to 10 rounds.
The National Rifle Association says it's unconstitutional.
DAVID KEENE, PRESIDENT, NRA: Mostly, these are feel good laws, but they're dangerous. One thing that you shouldn't do you in a democratic society, or in any society for that matter, is to make policy the height of an emotional kind of feeling.
JOHNS: Nowhere is the patchwork problem seen as more serious than the national instant check system for gun purchases known as NICS.
SHERIFF RICHARD STANEK, HENNEPIN COUNTY, MINN: The dirty little secret has always been that the states don't even have to contribute to the NICS database system.
JOHNS: Half the states don't pull fully participate. It's a national system that has never been nationwide. MIKE BOUCHARD, SECURITY DYNAMICS GROUP: If you don't have background checks on all gun sales, everything else is virtually useless. There is no way of tracking it. There's no way of enforcing it. There's no way of holding people accountable to who they sell their gun to, without a background check.
JOHNS: And the tough thing to change until the war between the states over guns comes to an end.
For OUTFRONT, Joe Johns, Washington.
BURNETT: And OUTFRONT next, Anthony Weiner's come back. The former congressman who resigned after sending inappropriate photos is considering another run at a political career. An investigation on that.
And then, how much you would spend for this?
BURNETT: Breaking development in the hostage situation in Georgia. The suspect is now apparently dead. There is a press conference going on in Suwannee, Georgia, and I want to go there live and hear what police have to say. Let's listen.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: -- financial issues and the power is turned off, along with the cable and cell phone and so on. And he wanted all those things turned back on, and that's why he was holding them hostage. We're still in deep into this investigation. This is all I have right now.
As we get more information, we'll be able to release it. And the officer's identity and the firefighters at a later date as well.
REPORTER: Whether did you decide to go in?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's going to be the lives of those firefighters. It got to a point that we believed their lives were in immediate danger and our SWAT team made the decision to go in there and neutralize the situation.
REPORTER: How did the firefighters get injured? You said they have superficial wounds.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The superficial wounds are from the explosion you heard. That's going to be from the explosive that they used to distract the suspect to get in the house and take care of business.
REPORTER: Can you tell us how this individual died?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I don't know at this point. He's deceased. I would suspect it's going to be through the gunfire. REPORTER: Did the suspect fire at the officer?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I cannot confirm any of that at this point. It just happened. As soon as I get more information, we'll be able to get to you all.
REPORTER: Can you say what his demands were?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Again, his demands were, he wanted power turned back on. I guess some of the other utilities, cable, cell phone and so on.
REPORTER: Can you tell us again how the officer was injured?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He was shot in -- I believe in his hand or his arm. It I'm not sure where yet, but it's going to be nonlife threatening.
REPORTER: Shot by the suspect?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I believe so.
REPORTER: The firefighters, they're injuries?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They're going to be superficial wounds and primarily from the explosion that we set off to get inside the house.
REPORTER: Is it like shrapnel?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There were four firefighters in the house and, again, there are superficial wounds.
REPORTER: Wounds from shrapnel?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm not sure, sir.
REPORTER: This was a surprise --
REPORTER: The suspect been identified at this point?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I don't have that information at this point. As soon as we release that information, I'll get it out. It's still deep into the investigation.
REPORTER: Tell us about the weapons this individual had. How large a stockpile?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I don't know.
REPORTER: Were there any explosives in the home?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I believe it was to get the fire truck out of the way. I don't believe he wanted the fire truck in the house. That's why he wanted to let the firefighter go to remove that fire truck.
REPORTTER: What about the surprise element? Can you discuss that? UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That was the explosion that you heard, the surprise element to get our officers in there and neutralize the situation.
REPORTER: Surprise element also for the firefighters no doubt?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Everybody involved. We wanted to get control of the situation and do it instinctively and quickly. That's what we did.
REPORTER: Minimal injuries to everybody?
REPORTER: Which side did you go in? You mentioned there was a point --
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I can't go into that information. I don't have that.
REPORTER: We want to recap a little bit of what you were hearing in that news conference if we can, Justin and Erin.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They went in there and took care --
REPORTER: Any indication the house is rigged at all?
REPORTER: Who was in those ambulances that we saw leaving the neighborhood?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: One is going to be our officer and I believe a couple of firefighters that had --
BURNETT: All right. You've just been listening to a press conference there in Suwannee, Georgia, right outside of Atlanta. As you just heard, the suspect has been killed. The SWAT team made the decision this is escalating and could become life or death for the firefighters. So, they used those fireballs, those grenades, and went in. And apparently, four firefighters in there do have superficial wounds from that.
But as you just heard, there the policemen say they are superficial. They also did sat earlier firefighter who had left had been shot in the arm or hand. But it was just going to be a wound. It is not life threatening in any way.
A lot of questions. Still don't know how many weapons. Still don't know exactly what the motive was from this man.
But as we get that information, we're going to share it with you and, of course, we're still waiting to hear his full identity. We'll get that to you as soon as we hear that information.
Now, our fifth story OUTFRONT: Anthony Weiner's come back.
The former congressman tells "The New York Times" magazine he is considering a return to politics and he's apparently eyeing the New York City mayor's race. Weiner quit Congress after tweeting lewd photos of himself to women and then lying about it. And he told "The New York Times" magazine the window for the second chance may be now or never.
But are voters ready to forgive and forget? Jason Carroll is OUTFRONT.
JASON CARROLL, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The cameras, once again, following former U.S. congressman from New York, Anthony Weiner.
ANTHONY WEINER (D), FORMER NY CONGRESSMAN: I don't have anything more to add than what you read in the "New York Times" story. But I'll be glad to sit down with each of you individually sometime next week.
CARROLL: This after "The New York Times Magazine" released its profile on him and his wife. In it, Weiner admits he may want to run for New York City mayor, saying, "I want to ask people to give me a second chance. I do want to have that conversation with people who I let down.
This image is what caused Weiner who had one time many Democrats considered a rising star to resign in disgrace. It wasn't just the lewd tweet he sent to a 17-year-old girl but also his explanation of it.
WEINER: Someone was pranking me and punking me.
CARROLL: A lie Weiner repeated.
WEINER: This is a Twitter hoax, a prank that was done. When we caught up with Weiner mid-scandal, he was still trying to save his political career.
CARROLL (on camera): Can you tell us about the communications, or any communications that you've had between yourself and, say, the Clintons, or anyone else who's been advising you at this point?
WEINER: No, I mean, I've had conversations with people, but I'm -- you know, look, I made pretty serious mistakes and I need to redeem myself and I'm working hard to try to get back to normal and try to serve the people of my district the best I can.
CARROLL (voice-over): Calls for his resignation kept coming, soon, Weiner had no choice.
WEINER: So today I'm announcing my resignation from Congress.
CARROLL: In the nearly two years since then, Weiner disappeared from the political spotlight, until now. "The Times" says Weiner spent more than $100,000 on polling and research to gauge voters' feelings about a mayoral bid. Weiner telling "The Times" he is a different man, saying, "If I ever go back to doing politics again, I don't think I'll be as good at it. Either that or I'll be this crazy new kind of politician." Could a comeback work?
HANK SHEINKOPF, POLITICAL ANALYST: The problem here is what people will visualize as a campaign poster. Normally, you see a head shot. But not a shot of someone's crotch. And what they're going to be seeing when they see Anthony Weiner's face is those Twitter photos.
CARROLL: An informal poll suggests many would forgive --
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The Lord says to forgive, and you will be forgiven.
CARROLL: But not forget.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I would never vote for him for mayor.
CARROLL: Weiner has until July to decide.
For OUTFRONT, Jason Carroll, CNN, New York.
BURNETT: That was a trip down memory lane.
All right. CNN contributor Reihan Salam joins me now and political comedian Dean Obeidallah.
All right. Good to have you with us.
So, Dean, realistic shot at winning here for Mr. Anthony Weiner?
DEAN OBEIDALLAH, POLITICAL COMEDIAN: As a comedian, I really hope he runs so that comedians across the country --
BURNETT: He's the gift that keeps giving.
OBEIDALLAH: He is. And the last name and what he's done. I think, honestly, I don't think the people of New York want a punch line as their mayor. I think it would be very hard to overcome that.
BURNETT: Even if his name weren't Weiner, he could have gotten away with it?
OBEIDALLAH: You can't forget it every time you say his name. Honestly, it's true.
BURNETT: Reihan, you say he should run.
REIHAN SALAM, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Yes, I think he should. Here's the thing: New York City is about to run into a fiscal buzzsaw. It's going to be Ragnarok.
BURNETT: What? We could have --
(CROSSTALK) SALAM: And I'm quite serious about this. New York City has had sunny skies for 20 years and we're about to go into the jungle, into oblivion. And I think that Anthony Weiner who had a terrible qualities, deeply unpleasant man.
But I think that New York City needs a deeply unpleasant man as mayor. I'm not saying I rooting for him as such. I'm a Republican, I want a Republican to win. But he is someone who has mettle and he's someone who's not bought and paid for by local public workers, unlike many of the other candidates.
OBEIDALLAH: But he's a guy who couldn't even use Twitter properly. I mean, he thought he was sending direct messages. He thought he's sending pictures of himself. I mean, I'm not sure how much confidence, frankly, it will give to people in New York and for other, you know, businesses to get the economy going, even stronger, unemployment still above the national average in our city.
SALAM: Many of the most formidable political leaders of our time have been scumbags. It's just a fact of life. And I think that doesn't disqualify him.
BURNETT: There's something to be said that and I wonder why that is.
All right. Let's talk about political comebacks after a sex scandal, Dean.
BURNETT: Newt Gingrich, Bill Clinton, Mark Sanford.
BURNETT: Big Clinton, people will forgive him anything. There's something special about him. All right. They got a second chance.
The other guys some people have not. John Edwards, forget about it.
BURNETT: Eliot Spitzer, jury is still out on that one. And Anthony Weiner.
So what is it that makes people forgive a Newt Gingrich, a Bill Clinton, even a Mark Sanford and Anthony Weiner is unredeemable?
OBEIDALLAH: I'm not sure -- I don't think people forgiven Newt Gingrich. I think Bill Clinton, we get to know him. I think he showed he was sincere and he was contrite about what he had done wrong, and went out there and won us back over.
BURNETT: They're all contrite after they're caught.
OBEIDALLAH: Yes, but there has got to be sincerity and backed up with real earnestness. And I think you believe that with Bill Clinton. I don't think you believe -- SALAM: You expect the person to be a paragon of moral virtue or not. Who believed that Anthony Weiner was a paragon of moral virtue? The guy was always a slightly shifty character.
The thing is, if you want a shifty character arguing on your behalf.
BURNETT: Oh, yes. You know what? He may be right. And if he is, I'm sad about it.
OBEIDALLAH: Great for comedy, though. We'll all be very happy.
BURNETT: All right, thanks to both of you.
And everyone let us know what you think. Anthony Weiner as mayor of New York City. New Yorkers, do you like it, would you laugh at New York or say way to go?
Up next, one of the most famous islands in the world has been sold. It's tonight's essay.
BURNETT: One of the most famous private islands in the world has been sold. It's called Scorpios. It's a Greek island, and it features secluded coves, beaches, tennis courts, a farmhouse, cottages and block of housing for the year-round staff. Of course, you know, that's what you have if you live there, I suppose.
But you know, it's not the amenities that make it attractive. It's the legend. It was owned by Aristotle Onassis and was the site of his wedding to former First Lady Jackie Kennedy in 1968. In fact, the media coverage of that wedding is credited for sparking a private island craze, as owning your own island quickly became the highest symbol of wealth and status. There's even a book where you can buy them.
It brings me to tonight's number, $153 million. That is the estimated price paid for the island by, da, da, da, da! An anonymous Russian billionaire. Sure, it's a lot of money and for some reason we thought the most famous private island in the world would have cost a heck of a lot more. Still, the Russian overpaid, because we scoped out the neighborhood today. You know, that's what you do in real estate. We checked it out.
We found this place right next door to Scorpios. I mean, it looks the same, it's called Nasica (ph) Island, 1,200 acres. That's 1,100 acres bigger than Scorpios, sheltered base, three large natural harbors, 360 degree views from high mountainous craggy outcrops, and at just $8.5 million, it's almost $145 million less than Scorpios.
To be fair, it doesn't have no tennis court or houses or that Onassis thing, but I'm willing to bet you could find some contractors in Greece that would throw those things up for a lot less than $140 million.
"ANDERSON COOPER 360" starts now.