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THE LEAD WITH JAKE TAPPER

Boston Medical Press Conference; Boston The Day After; Runner Escapes Chaos By Seconds; Second Bombing Victim Identified; Olympian Frank Shorter Heard Explosions

Aired April 16, 2013 - 16:30   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


JAKE TAPPER, CNN HOST: With very little fanfare, lawmakers took the first step on a long road toward immigration reform. A bipartisan group of senators unveiled a bill which links the pathway to citizenship with border security. Under the legislation, most undocumented immigrants would have to wait a decade or more for full citizenship. But those without criminal backgrounds would get some form of legal status.

In the meantime, the federal government would pump billions into building new fences and adding extra security at the border.

You've seen the photos: a woman praying to God, strangers whispering to victims to hold on, and police officers jumping barricades to help. They're the images you cannot get out of your head. We'll talk to the man who captured these photographs coming up next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

TAPPER: Some of the photographs from last night. Welcome back to THE LEAD. I'm Jake Tapper, coming to you live from the streets of Boston. A series of still frames paints a haunting picture of chaos here just moments after the marathon bombings. We want to warn you some of the photographs we're about to show you may be disturbing. They were captured by a Boston Globe photographer who stood steps away from the -- actually we'll interrupt our coverage right now to go to Boston Medical Center for a live press conference.

(BEGIN LIVE PRESS CONFERENCE COVERAGE)

DR. TRACY DECKERT, TRAUMA SURGEON, BOSTON MEDICAL CENTER: -- today after the incident at the finish line, so as we discussed earlier there had been 23 patients who did come to us. Four of those patients were able to be discharged after an evaluation and then the 19 patients that remained with us had 16 operations.

Today we did five more operations on these patients, but luckily, the patients are progressing. So earlier today we had said there were ten patients who were in critical condition. Some of those patients haven't improved throughout today and were able to be extubated. And three of them are now no longer in critical condition. So our patients who are currently still critical are seven. We now have six in serious condition and then six in fair condition. So patients are progressing. Some faster than others, of course. And there are still many of these patients who still need operations both tomorrow, the next day, and Friday are planning to go back to the operating room with these patients.

QUESTION: Can you talk about any of the shrapnel-like material and (INAUDIBLE) procedures you took to - (INAUDIBLE).

DECKERT: Several patients, as you know, had fragments removed, and we do that separate from just this incident. We do that whenever there is a foreign body such as a gun shot wound or something like that. And the evidence is handled the same each time where as it's removed it is sent to the pathologist to then record it and then it gets sent on its way so it has a chain of evidence. So, that hasn't really changed. That's what we always do for this type of situation.

We've been removing various things from people in the sense of it's not necessarily (AUDIO GAP) there are various, random things.

QUESTION: Medical center press conference, and we just learned from the doctor that ten of the patients yesterday were in critical condition. Now the number is seven.

QUESTION: It's just little particles of metal?

DECKERT: Particles of metal and plastic. Right. That's what we're seeing in our patients.

QUESTION: Of the patients who are able to speak, who are well enough to, what kind of stories are they telling you?

DECKERT: Believe it or not as the doctors, we often don't ask them the stories. We usually just focus on the surgery and the care.

QUESTION: Are they quite traumatized? How do they seem themselves?

DECKERT: They seem remarkably calm, and most of them do have family and loved ones with them, which is nice. So they seem to be handling this very well, given the circumstances. Usually it's our social workers or the other people who work with us that sort of talk to them more about what happened. We sort of focus on the surgery and the care.

QUESTION: Can you tell us how many you have with you that have lost limbs, or -- ?

DECKERT: So, the number hasn't changed. I believe it was five total. But I cannot -- I don't know the count of how many it was one versus two.

QUESTION: Do you know how many were runners or how many were spectators?

DECKERT: I think not all -- we did have one runner possibly. It was -- but not one of the critical people. All the critical people are spectators.

QUESTION: Of the five surgeries performed (INAUDIBLE) can you describe what they were?

DECKERT: So this was all planned operations. So the person who needed -- or I'm sorry, the person who had their abdomen operated on needed to go back to the operating room, and that happened today. Then a couple people who needed their wounds, what we call washed out, irrigated, they went today as well. So it was all planned operations.

QUESTION: (INAUDIBLE) - tomorrow. Will there be discharges of some of these people?

DECKERT: Possibly. We're obviously taking our time with them. A lot of these wounds we're concerned about infection given the nature of what happened. So it's nice to sort of keep an eye on them to make sure that they don't have an infection. But we have planned operations again for tomorrow for maybe nine of the patients are going to be going back again tomorrow. And then the next day several patients again going back.

QUESTION: You also have a child?

DECKERT: Yes.

QUESTION: And what is the condition of this child?

DECKERT: Still critical condition. Improving.

QUESTION: (INAUDIBLE)

DECKERT: I would rather not go into the detail.

QUESTION: Okay.

DECKERT: But yes, traumatic injury from this, and he's still in critical condition.

QUESTION: The particles of metal I know it is really hard to tell what they were or are. But is there any theory about whether they were packed into the bomb?

DECKERT: Yes, I couldn't really comment on that. Just, yes. I couldn't really comment on that. Nothing obvious that showed it was from the bomb, per se.

QUESTION: (INAUDIBLE)

DECKERT: Dr. Ulrich from the E.D. had commented on that. I personally haven't seen BBs. But he might have. Obviously the wounds, once we removed the leg, the wounds are gone and sent off to the pathologist.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Any other questions?

QUESTION: Doctor, was the five-year-old one of the surgeries today?

DECKERT: No.

QUESTION: You said you're going to have nine more surgeries tomorrow, you think?

DECKERT: It's several. Might be eight or nine we have planned so far. So...

(END OF PRESS CONFERENCE COVERAGE)

TAPPER: You're listening to Dr. Tracy Deckert (ph). She's a trauma surgeon at Boston Medical Center, telling reporters about the patients at the medical center. They have been -- several of them have been upgraded. Ten were in critical condition yesterday. Now it is seven of them in critical condition. That means the patients are improving, obviously. She talked about the metal and plastic serving as shrapnel. Some very gruesome images when you think about it.

I'm joined now by somebody who knows from gruesome images. Boston Globe photographer John Tlumacki. John, you've been a photographer for more than 30 years. You were at the finish line. You took several of the pictures that we have seen that have haunted us. One of them we just learned is going to be the cover of Sports Illustrated, which I guess in a normal situation would be something you'd be excited about. But it must be something of a mixed emotion today.

JOHN TLUMACKI (ph), PHOTOGRAPHER, "THE BOSTON GLOBE": I can see them using it. I mean, it shows the horror of the situation. You know, here was a runner blown over by the explosion, and three Boston police officers almost in shock, realizing something bad has happened. One female police officer has her gun out. I mean, if that's the cover of Sports Illustrated and what the marathon has come to, that's sad.

TAPPER: It is a sad statement. How does somebody -- a lot of people think about photographers as just there, passionless, taking photographs. But I know, obviously it does take a mental and emotional toll. How have you been doing, dealing with seeing these horrifying images right in front of you, recording them obviously. But then going back to "The Boston Globe," handing them in. Are you doing okay?

TLUMACKI: I'm doing okay. I guess it really hit me this morning when I get the Globe delivered at home and there on the front page is my picture. And then, you know, it makes me think that I'm doing my job. I don't want to get in people's way, but I think the world needs to see what tragedy has happened.

I mean, I'm there. I can't go back. I have to go forward. I have to go into the scene of the explosion, and I'm sensitive. I'm emotional about it. But, you know, my number one job is to be the eyes of the reader.

TAPPER: Lastly, we know from too many of these incidents or too many scenes of carnage whether 9/11 or the Fort Hood shootings or what's going on in Afghanistan that there are photographs that the public is not shown. How do you decide when you're handing in pictures which ones you're not even going to let your editors see?

TLUMACKI: Very difficult, you know, incredible question. I went through them yesterday. I came back. I was shaking when I was looking through them. It brought back everything. It was, you know, very difficult to edit through them. There was pictures I had of limbs blown off and people in agony, and I don't want to look at those again. I don't want people to see those. I try to be as discreet as possible, you know. We try to get around showing the blood and things like that, but in this case you just have to see what I saw, what everybody else saw.

TAPPER: All right. Thank you for your work. I appreciate it, John.

TLUMACKI: Thank you.

TAPPER: The sadness here in Boston, it's palatable. But there's also been an amazing amount of courage and community in the face of terrorism. Here's a look at what I saw on the streets of Boston after the attack.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

TAPPER (voice-over): This is Boston, the day after. Marathoners are still here, easy to spot in their yellow and blue. Instead of celebrating their victories, they seem unsure of what to do next.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This is the stuff that happens in Bosnia or Syria, but not the United States.

TAPPER (on camera): It is a city on edge. This is downtown Boston, the heart of the city that's Copley Square behind me and it is always jarring to see a place like this turned into a crime scene and what looks to be in some cases, a war zone.

(voice-over): Some people we spoke to were trying to pick up where yesterday so violently ended. This woman picked up a medal for her friend, who was injured in the blast and is still in the hospital.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He's OK, but they're keeping him for observation and I'm going to go there and give him his medal today.

TAPPER: On one street cups that once contained water for runners left here. A memorial to the panic what was once felt here, some of the witnesses here with their children.

(on camera): What do you tell your kids?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We talked about it and make sure they understand we are safe and there are lots of helpers making the city safe for us. Bad things like this happen but there are many, many other people out there who are making it right.

TAPPER (voice-over): On another street medals and the possessions of those who didn't finish the race.

(on camera): What is today like for you?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Scary. It's not like a normal Tuesday after a marathon when you put things away and drive home instead, we're doing this.

TAPPER (voice-over): Perhaps the most emotional place in Boston today is this corner of Boylston Street. Wreaths hang from lamp posts. Flowers have begun to pile up, part memorial, part crime scene.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It is very disturbing to see all this debris on the side and know that, you know, right up there I could have been running down this way and been part of it. Very grateful I wasn't.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

TAPPER: Our day in Boston. The last few steps this runner took he'll never forget for the rest of his life, directly through the smoke and carnage and hustling first responders into his fiance's arms. Leo and his fiance Lori Stoma are here with us. Leo, I'll let you go first. Tell us your experience, what you saw.

LEO VERDE, WAS SECONDS AWAY FROM MARATHON BLAST: It's a combination of, I mean, exuberance. I was about to finish, you know, one of the biggest dreams of my life, you know.

TAPPER: This is your first marathon?

VERDE: No. This is my fourth one but this one was very important to me because I raised so much money for the local chapter of Baton Rouge cystic fibrosis almost $33,000. I was running for a lot of people back home.

You know, and you turn on Boylston Street and you see the crowds screaming for you and all of a sudden the first bomb went off and I thought it was like a cannon, like a celebratory cannon.

TAPPER: Right.

VERDE: Then the second one was about a hundred yards away and now I knew something was wrong because then I saw fires with things flying up in the air. I stopped, you know, I was looking to finish up under four hours and I knew I had like four or 5 minutes left. And I just stopped.

And then I saw people running toward me. I went to the first bomb and I don't even know if I should ever go and keep walking. I mean, things are so -- at the first bomb was just horrible, horrible.

TAPPER: So the victims you saw --

VERDE: Yes. I had to go right through it to get to her. I knew she was standing in the grand stands. She was right there. She had gotten a VIP pass from John Hancock who was re-sponsoring me. I knew where she was. She knew where I was because she was tracking me. I finished the race at I think two hours and --

LAURE STOMA, WAITED FOR FIANCE AT FINISH LINE: At 2:54.

VERDE: And the bombs went off at 2:50.

TAPPER: Where were you? You were in the stands?

STOMA: I was actually on the ground in front of the grand stands. At that point, I was behind the finish line. It was our first marathon not running together so I wanted to take a picture and they allowed me to come down with my pass and take a picture.

I was waiting and all of a sudden the first bomb went off and I was confused then realized -- I didn't realize what it was at first and then the second one went off and we knew what it was. We just saw things flying and a couple -- I remember a couple that tried to pull me back and then they said it's going to be OK.

I didn't know what to do. I was confused, but I knew he was out there and I knew by the time I had just tracked he was seconds away. He should be coming through any time. And I knew they were trying to help me, but I just fought my way away and I fell to my knees and screamed his name.

And got back up and I just proceeded to the finish line again to go find him and there he was coming in.

TAPPER: Tell me about the moment when you found him.

STOMA: I held him tight and we hugged and kissed, but it seemed like eternity. Very happy to see him again and very blessed.

TAPPER: Tell me about the moment that you saw her and knew she was OK.

VERDE: You know, it's like -- I wanted to -- all I wanted to do was get to her. You don't know how to react. Yes after running 26 miles your adrenalin is still just going at it, you know, going strong, and it just kicked up even more.

I don't remember -- I remember making that turn. My legs were killing me. You know, my calf was hurting. I don't remember feeling anything, you know, and I don't remember people screaming or crying, you know.

People without limbs and there was no sounds, you know, when I got to her we hugged and I remember I just told someone else, you know, with CNN in Spanish, somebody interviewed us right when we finished.

STOMA: Right after it happened.

VERDE: I don't remember, to be honest with you, I don't remember. STOMA: We were in shock still.

TAPPER: We're glad you guys are OK.

STOMA: Thank you.

TAPPER: Appreciate it so much.

Coming up, he was steps away from the terrorist attacks at the Munich Olympics in 1972, and he had just been right near the finish line here in Boston as the bombs exploded. I'll talk to gold medal marathoner Frank Shorter, next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

TAPPER: I'm Jake Tapper in Boston at this hour. We know the names of two of the three people who died here in the terrorist attack on the Boston marathon, 29-year-old Krystle Campbell of Medford, Massachusetts is the latest name we've learned. We spoke to her grandmother at the top of the hour.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

LILLIAN CAMPBELL: She was just beautiful. She was just a fun- loving girl and out there to help anybody and everybody.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

TAPPER: The other name we know is Martin Richard, the 8-year-old with a sweet smile, who was the first confirmed dead. President Obama today made it clear that the bombings in the city are considering an act of terrorism in the eyes of the federal government.

The flags at the White House and every federal building are at half staff. We're also learning more about the bombs used to carry out this attack. Federal law enforcement sources confirmed to CNN that these bombs were in pressure cookers.

The items needed to build these bombs are said to be easy to come by which could make the bomb maker's signature harder to nail down. We expect to learn more at a news conference with law enforcement at 5:00 p.m. Eastern Time CNN will bring that to you live.

We've also just learned Senator Saxby Chambliss the ranking Republican on the Senate Intelligence Committee said, quote, "There are a lot of things that are surrounding this that would give an indication that it may have been a domestic terrorist, but that just can't be assumed."

"I realized it was a horrific situation and that nobody deserved it." Those were the words of Olympic marathoner frank shorter after a terrorist attack, but this time he was talking about the Munich games in 1972.

Those same words also ring true for what Shorter witnessed in Boston yesterday. He had just stepped away from the celebration in Copley Square when he heard the boom of the explosions. It was a gut- wrenching de javu for Frank Shorter.

He witnessed terrorists carry out the attacks on Israeli athletes at the 1972 Olympics. Days later, he went on to win the gold medal in the Olympic marathon. Frank shorter joins me now live from Denver.

Frank, thanks so much for joining us. What went through your mind when you first heard the explosions yesterday?

FRANK SHORTER, WON GOLD MEDAL IN MARATHON AT '72 OLYMPICS: The first thing that went through my mind was that's a bomb. Unfortunately, as you said, I have the experience. I'd been there before. I was actually sleeping on the balcony in the Olympic Village.

I was outside my room because my roommate, Dave Wattle, was inside and we were deciding to sleep separately and I heard the shots. When I heard the first bomb, I just had come off the street and then the second bomb actually was about 40 yards away from me just across the street.

The first thought that went through my mind was no, no, because I knew -- I knew that anyone near something that severe was -- there were going to be fatalities. To have a connection to that and see the face of young Martin Richard after he just hugged his dad finishing the marathon, it was just too much coming all back together, really.

TAPPER: You heard the gunshots in Munich and you heard the bombs in Boston. I don't know if there have been any terrorist attacks at a major sporting event since 1972. It's a horrifying coincidence that you were at both.

SHORTER: Right. And that's what struck me. I said, we really in the athletic community had kind of maybe been a little bit lulled thinking the international community and perhaps even the terrorist community kind of considered international athletics because the whole world was there to be pretty much off limits.

But this is the view that we used to have, the view of that terrorist with the stocking cap. We as athletes stood out there and watched him from across the court yard just wondering what to do because it was the first time, the first international act of terrorism.

But I think what's a parallel here is we as athletes, and this is where I hope people can learn from what's going on in terms of how to move forward and how to process this, everyone talks about shock. We as athletes had to go through the shock, the depression, the bottoming out, and the emergence and in a matter of days because we were going to compete.

I, for example, competed five days later in the Olympic marathon. And my choice really, and this is the message I want to sort of convey to people, was I decided at that point the one thing over which I had control were my emotions and my fear. And I made the decision and I told my friend Kenny Moore on the way back from the Olympic memorial service and the Olympic stadium. I said, Kenny, you know, in our race I'm not going to think about the fact that the only place the terrorists can do anything else in these games is going to be out on the marathon course because if I do they win. And I ran the whole race and I never thought about it.

And I think all those runners who were in the race in the Boston marathon and runners in other road races around the world now moving forward, I think many of them are going to take that same attitude and I think that's really what you have to do primarily. Stay moving and really concentrate on that over which you have --

TAPPER: Frank Shorter, an inspiring message for all of us. Thank you so much for your time.

It is a day where we all, as a nation, can come together and decide to not let the terrorists infiltrate our brains, as Frank Shorter just spoke.

And now I'm going to hand over the show to my colleague, Wolf Blitzer, right here on the same street corner in Boston.