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STARTING POINT WITH SOLEDAD O'BRIEN

BREAKING NEWS: Boston Marathon Bombing Manhunt

Aired April 19, 2013 - 8:30   ET

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


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Somebody who is, you know, a coworker maybe. I can't say that any of my friends, my circle of friends have been in close contact with him. I know a couple of people are followers of his on Twitter. And vice versa. But as far as face-to-face contact, I can't say for sure.

JAKE TAPPER, CNN ANCHOR: Stay on the line, one of our producers is going to talk to you. We'll come back to you and talk to you more. Thank you for sharing your thoughts, and your views, and your history with Dzhokhar, the fugitive wanted in connection with the Boston marathon terrorist attacks on Monday and then, of course, this horrific manhunt.

In some other breaking news, we've been told that the Federal Aviation Administration has issued temporary ceasing of flights over Boston, a 3.5 nautical mile radius. That's the latest. No not only are there no trains or public transportation or cabs in Boston, you can no longer fly in or out of Boston as of right now. We'll take a quick break, right back to this incredibly enormous breaking story.

ANNOUNCER: This is CNN BREAKING NEWS

BERMAN: Welcome back everyone. John Berman here along with Jake Tapper. We are folowing this amazing breaking news out of Boston. The entire area right now. Two big developments. First, the city of Boston right now simply on lockdown. No taxis, no public transportation. We just learned the airspace --

TAPPER: No planes.

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: The air space effectively shut down. Two suspects in the Boston marathon bombings. Identified as brothers. From Chechnya. Jake you do a better job of pronouncing.

TAPPER: Tamerlan Tsarnaev, age 26, he is dead. He is suspect number one, the one what was seen in the black hat in the photographs that the FBI released yesterday. His younger brother, who is 19 years old. Dzhokhar Tsarnaev is he at large. And police are combing through the entire city of Boston. We started out with a warning in Watertown to stay in their homes, that expanded to other areas, including Waltham, Cambridge, and now it is the entire city of Boston. People being told stay in your homes.

BERMAN: One of the things remarkable. We got off the phone with a many who says he is a high school classmate of Dzhokhar. Who said that he went to Cambridge Latin, which is a very nice school, a very a good public school in the area.

TAPPER: He said he was a normal kid. Hh knew nothing about this. He did say he didn't know Dzhokhar had an older brother. His older brother is, or was because he's now dead, seven years older than him. He didn't even know he had an older brother and he was convinced his friend, Dzhokhar, now a fugitive. Wanted for his part in the murder of at least four individuals, three during the Boston Marathon terrorist attack and an MIT police officer last night. That he was a nice, normal kid and he was convinced, Eric is convinced, that somebody had led him into this life of terrorism.

BERMAN: And Dzhokhar is one of the two brothers that our Deb Feyerick says comes from an area near Chechnya. They emigrated to the Boston area. We understand that they've been here at least a few years. And right now, a door-to-door search is underway in the town of Watertown, Massachusetts as police look for Dzhokhar , the younger one of these brothers.

This follows a night, a night of violence really, that began with the fatal shooting of an MIT campus police officer. That happened at about 10:20 p.m. Right after that came a carjacking. Police say the two suspects were in the car, there was a shoot-out with police in Watertown, and the man identified by the FBI as suspect number one. We know that to be the older Tsarnaev brother. He was shot. He later died after being taken to a local hospital. Other reports of ours say that he had explosives on him. May have been an explosive device that actually killed him.

TAPPER: The doctor told us that he had burns on him, and he also had bullet wounds. Not clear which of those two horrible traumas killed him at the end of the day.

BERMAN: We want to bring you Elizabeth Cohen right now, who is on the ground very near where the suspect lived. What can you tell us?

ELIZABETH COHEN, CNN MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: John, what I can tell you is just one block away is the street where Dzhokhar Tsarnaev lived. Norfolk street. You might be able to catch a peek of that yellow crime scene tape. And just within the past half hour, CNN producer Jessica Metzker saw police coming out of his building with a woman. They didn't appear to be arresting her or apprehending her in any way, they were just speaking with her. We also have a neighbor --

DEB FEYERICK, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Guys, you got to come to us. Listen, okay --

A Jake, Jake, Jake, John. A huge caravan of cars, we can smell smoke right now. There's a helicopter in the air. Smell of smoke in the air is definite. So, there's a huge presence, look at the cars coming, something just happened. We don't know what it is. Let me catch my breath. We don't know what it is.

We smell smoke, there are people running to the center there, you've got cars going straight, cars peeling to the right. Whether they cordoned off this block, whether they've squared off this block, we don't know, but we can see a helicopter that is up in the air. Something has just happened.

Police officers are running, we have a dog, dog on its way. Interesting, that dog is barking. Whether that's a canine, we don't know. We can smell smoke. We can smell -- there is something in the air. Now passed over to us. Something definitely went off. Don't know what it is. Okay. So now that you see what's going on around here and now that I catch my breath a little bit, we want to update you momentarily, additional information on the young man. Let's take a look. I will actually let the pictures play out. Let's take a look for just a moment.

TAPPER: Deb, Jake here. Just a quick question for you. Can you identify the type of helicopter it is? An army helicopter, national guard, police helicopter?

FEYERICK: No, it looks like a police helicopter, Jake. It definitely looks like a police helicopter up in the air. But it happened quickly, and the amount of presence that got to this scene, it was absolutely timed to the smell of smoke that we ourselves just experienced. So, again, a lot of activity. But, Jake, I want to -- I don't know whether you have this in the system, but I want to update you on a couple of new pieces of information that we have received and have been cleared. In his profile, the 19-year-old, the white hat man, wrote his world view is Islam -- we're being moved. We're being moved right now. Officer, what's going on?

UNIDENTIFIED POLICE OFFICER: I don't know, but I need you across the street to keep you safe. That's what I'm doing. Can you please go across the street?

FEYERICK: Let's go portable for a minute. We'll walk across the street. We have a team here, Jake if you can sort of follow us. My guys will take the stuff. Jake, listen, so the world view, the world view on the web page is Islam. That's what he says. His personal property is career money, but what is interesting is when you get to the section that says send a gift and that gift according to the website is you see a picture of TNT, a second picture of TNT then you see a brick and a third picture of TNT.

Sort of icons, emoticons that are on his personal website. We are moving back, clearly there's a lot going on and I hope you can kind of bear with us. A little bit of chaos. We're being moved back.

Then when you click on, it also says another send a gift and in the second page, have you a picture of the sun, then you've got three cop cars, now whether that is a suggestion, whether that is an indication of what he was thinking, the two sections on send a gift, TNT, the second section on send a gift, you've got police cars. So that's a couple more pieces of information. That we've got right now. We're moving back as you can see. And I think what we're going to do, Jake, we're going to send it back to you. Unless you want to stick with us. It's your call.

BERMAN: Deb, one second here. Let me just -- clearly there is something going on where you are in Watertown right now, the police interacting with you, asking you to move. Just reset for a second. Explain to us when this latest round of activity started, and exactly how it unfolded?

FEYERICK: Okay. So we were -- we were standing here and all of a sudden we saw helicopter, helicopter come into focus and we focused up on the helicopter and as we did so, we smelled -- we didn't hear anything. Maybe have been because of the sound of the helicopter was drowning everything else out, but you can see the helicopter there up in the sky. And that's when I began to smell the smoke. The smoke was very definite. And a huge presence of automobiles.

(CROSSTALK)

TAPPER: Deb, while are you talking. I just want to show -- I want to explain to the viewers, we're looking at live pictures of some major law enforcement activity going on in Watertown, Massachusetts, right outside Boston. The Watertown area is where Dzhokhar, the younger brother, last seen by law enforcement officials and now there is apparently some major activity going on. You heard some sort of explosion. Smelled smoke. A huge rush of police into the area. Trying to see what exactly that vehicle.

BERMAN: Some sort of assault vehicle.

TAPPER: Up-armored assault vehicle in the area. You saw an army helicopter.

BERMAN: There is the helicopter right now.

TAPPER: A police helicopter rather in the air. I want people to know what exactly they are looking at. Civilians and the media are being escorted even farther away from the action, and with that - with that explanation, Deb, please continue. I'm sorry to interrupt.

FEYERICK: The one thing we want to clarify. We didn't hear anything and one of the reasons we may not have heard anything is because all of a sudden we saw the presence of the helicopter, looks to us from our vantage point to be a police helicopter.

We saw the helicopter, it was the first helicopter we'd seen. We pointed that out earlier and we were talking amongst ourselves. We said it was kind of strange there isn't any sort of air surveillance, then we saw the helicopter and we began to focus on the helicopter and you can see, it's stationary, seems to be hovering over a particular location, we don't know whether this is eyes in the sky, we don't know whether it's giving real-time information to guys on the ground.

But the possibility is clearly likely or possible I should say. But once that helicopter got in the air, we realized there was a distinct and heavy smell of smoke. We don't know what it is. And just to sort of put things in perspective it could be that there was a device that was found and detonated. Could be something more. But we do know that all of a sudden, there was a massive rush of police cars and vehicles that went to that distinct area.

And what they did is in law enforcement terms, they squared the block. Some went straight, some to cordoning off a particular area, the area where you can see the helicopter in the air. Whatever it is seeing, it's seeing what's going on in real time. We have S.W.A.T., tactical guys, in full gear, hands on the barrel of their guns, not the barrel, the base of their guns, and they are all at high alert, Jake. So this is all unfolding now. And taking a deep breath, see if I can smell anything more. I don't think I can.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The wind shifted.

FEYERICK: The wind definitely shifted.

Gabe Ramirez up all night, saw an arrest of somebody who was later released, he says the wind has clearly shifted. We have moved back. We'll get more of our stuff and actually, if I can send you out there to get the rest of the stuff, that would be great. And we'll clear out so they don't have any bags they need to worry about. Again, we're showing you what we're experiencing. Experiencing it live with us.

BERMAN: Obviously very large law enforcement presence where you are, Deb. A lot of activity. We're looking at pictures that I believe are behind you of that vehicle walking in and heavily armed officers right there. A man in a flak jacket. They are moving you back from the scene. Are police giving you any indication of what kind of activity is going on?

FEYERICK: No. No. They are not. They are not. They are not giving us any sense of what's going on, and, you know, now as I'm looking there is a black backpack under the tree and clearly you can't look at a backpack without being nervous. One thing that I was told by somebody who's keeping an eye on the situation, if you hear something --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Holding the guns. Over the rooftop.

FEYERICK: Okay, take a look. Jake, John, can you see? And actually we'll delay this. We want to delay this. We're on a delayed signal, correct, guys? We're on a delayed signal, correct, guys? We're on a delayed signal, correct?

(CROSSTALK)

BERMAN: You know, we're going to ask you --

TAPPER: Guys --

FEYERICK: We need to cut away. We need to cut away.

TAPPER: I want to make sure viewers know --

That's fine. We want to make sure viewers know that we are filming this, but are you not watching it precisely live, we're putting it on delay so that we don't show anything inappropriate and we don't show anything unduly violent, we don't show anything that compromises security.

BERMAN: This is Watertown, Massachusetts, where developments happening all night. This is the town where the shoot-out was, where one of the suspected Boston marathon bombers was hit, was alter taken to a hospital and he died.

This is Watertown, Massachusetts, the remaining suspect is believed to be at large right now. One of the two Chechnyan brothers on the run. An enormous manhunt under way. Watertown shut down. This enormous police presence. Looking at pictures, which we are again delaying. We believe there is a lot going on right now. We want to make sure we don't do anything untoward. Elizabeth Cohen on the ground there, near a large majority of activity. Elizabeth.

COHEN: Hi, Dzhokar Tsarnaev, the younger of the two brothers -- yes, I'm right here.

So I'm right here in Cambridge this is the town -- I'm in Cambridge, it's the town next to Boston. And a block down from the -- you may be able to see the yellow crime tape is Norfolk Street, which is where Dzhokhar Tsavraev, the 19 year old brother, lived at 410 Norfolk Street. And they have blocked off the entire block, and it's filled with FBI personnel. You can see them everywhere. And just about a half an hour ago, Jessica Metzker (ph), a CNN producer, saw -- and actually they're putting up new tape right now -- she saw a -- saw a policeman walk into 410 Norfolk, where he lived, and come out with a woman. They didn't appear to be arresting her, they didn't appear to be apprehending her, but they were definitely with a woman and were interested in speaking with her.

Now I have here right with me, he's got to go under the crime scene tape, Peter Hanley (ph), who is a neighbor. You live a couple of doors down from.

And what happened just moments ago?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So for the morning, we knew a lot was going on in Watertown. We never expected that it would come towards Cambridge again after last nights events. We were following things on TV, on Twitter, trying to inform ourselves. We knew that, you know, there was a lockdown going on, then Cambridge police tweeted that Norfolk Street was of interest.

COHEN: Hold on. I'm just going to tell you right now, we are showing live pictures of police activity in Watertown, police activity in Watertown.

Again, we're in Cambridge where Dzhokhar Tsavraev lived at 410 Norfolk Street. And here with me is Peter Hanley (ph) who is a neighbor.

And so you got a knock on the door this morning.

UNIDNETIFIED MALE: A knock on the door this morning and a very, very quick call to get out of here, you know, it's time to evacuate. So myself and my three housemates, we very quickly grabbed what we had. I think my housemates is in pajamas someplace around here on the street. So we got out of there out of there as quick as we could.

COHEN: I mean, that's so frightening.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, definitely a little too close to home for, but it's -- we'll do whatever we need to do to help the police.

You know, it's unexpected. It's a great little neighborhood. Everyone is really friendly, diverse neighborhood. I -- I looked at those photographs last night. This guy did not jump out at me as somebody living on our street. There are families, there's young professionals. This is not a guy I recognize from our street.

COHEN: But this is -- I mean, this is a very dense neighborhood, as you said, people from all over the world. You're from Ireland.

UNIDENTIIFED MALE: Yes.

COHEN: I mean, you -- people don't jump out you. I mean, people -- everyone looks like they belong here.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yeah, it's true. It's true. And, you know, as I said, it's a very diverse neighborhood. It's a friendly place. I have been living here now for four years.

COHEN; OK. Peter Hanley, thank you so much, Peter.

OK, back to you.

TAPPER: Elizabeth, we're going to come back to you -- we're going to come back to you in a second. We're going to go to Brooke Baldwin right now, who is about a block away. She's on the phone.

Brooke, what are you seeing?

BROOKE BALDWIN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: I am staring down the street, Norfolk Street, which is where these two suspects apparently lived with, according to this (inaudible), this 40s man, perhaps the father.

I am staring at a huge swarm of black SUVs. So just in the past couple of minutes, some FBI agents have gotten out of the car, we've seen their guns, walking down Norfolk, walking toward the scene that we cannot access.

So just to set the scene, there are dozens of members of the press here sort of watching and waiting to see what's going on. As we've been watching agents go toward this home, toward this apartment, we have seen families, babies, dogs, being walked away, because we now know that this whole area has been evacuated.

Two things I want to get across. I'm staring at an ambulance at the very end of the street. Is someone in it? I don't know, but the lights are blinking. And I also am looking at a big black SUV that actually has now pulled away, that was blinking as well, and a colleague here saw someone handcuffed, placed in the car and that SUV is now gone.

But in addition to police, Jake, we have seen a number of FBI agents roll up on the scene in the last couple of minutes. Huge scene here.

BERMAN: We're seeing -- Brooke, we are looking at pictures right now of a lot of law enforcement activity on top of roofs. We've seen really armored assault vehicles or law enforcement vehicles going in with any number of law enforcement officials headed to this scene. We just saw Deb Freyerick who just saw a sudden burst of activity where she was standing.

Let me ask you this, where you are right now has this been a consistent presence, or has this -- there's just been an uptick in the activity?

TAPPER: Actually, you know what, we're going to break away from Brooke Baldwin right now. We're going to Deb Feyerick who is on the scene in Watertown, breaking away from Brooke Baldwin who I believe is in Cambridge.

Deb what are you seeing in Watertown right now? We're looking these live images that come through with individuals, law enforcement on roofs, drawing guns, what are you seeing? What's going on?

FEYERICK: This is what I'm being preliminarily. What they are look at, is they are looking at perhaps an associate or somebody who is known to this particular individual, to the white hat man, not clear whether he is the one inside, but clearly there is somebody or some thing of interest in that home, whether that may have been a place where they were hiding, whether they just happened to be there, why they ended up in this particular area, that is a big question.

I'm also told they are being especially careful, especially careful. We had earlier reported that, in fact, the older brother, the 26-year- old guy in the black hat, that he had some sort of a device on him, some sort of an explosive device. We're also now being told that there was a trigger attached to the device that he was wearing, that raises things up considerably.

Whether, in fact, he meant to detonate or whether he was planning on detonating, because that totally changes the game. So that's why they are being extra special cautious in terms what they are doing now. This whole area has now been blocked off. This is a complete frozen zone, as law enforcement does exactly what they have to do, what they are trained to do. But again, they're doing it very cautiously.

Clearly one of the big concerns is if they have got -- if somebody is who in that house is monitoring the situation, we don't know the seriousness of the level of who is in the home, but, again, we have got the helicopter, we've got law enforcement, we've got the people on the roof and they -- they seem to be standing down just a little bit.

So whether that situation has been resolved, we don't know. We're sort of watching this as you are watching this and we're trying to be careful of when we are showing people those pictures, because clearly if they are inside monitoring, we don't want to be giving out or giving away the tactical situation here on the ground.

But, again, everybody is standing, everybody is waiting and we are just watching this play out, Jake and John.

BERMAN: All right. Deb Freyerick for us in Watertown right now monitoring developments that appear to be happening right before her very eyes there with law enforcement personnel on the scene and a great deal of activity.

TAPPER: And we should remind viewers that we have the activity coming in from Watertown on delay just because of the violent nature of what potentially could happen there on the scene. We have law enforcement officers with guns drawn.

Obviously, we have a very fluid situation, explosives have been used both on Monday at the Boston Marathon terrorist attacks, but also last night when police were pursuing these two suspects in the Boston marathon terrorist attacks, explosives were used.

One of the brothers, the older brother, the 26-year-old, is dead. He is the one who was wearing the black hat in the surveillance photographs that police released, FBI released yesterday. He is dead.

It is not yet known whether or not he was killed because of bullets in the shoot-out or because of explosives on his person, but it is known that he did have explosions and burns on himself.

BERMAN: Let's just tell you a little bit more about what we know about him and the two brothers. The two brothers are from Chechnya, our Deborah Feyerick reporting, from Chechnya. They emigrated from there, maybe through Kazakhstan, came to the United States. They've been here for at least a few years. The older brother was a student at Bunker Hill Community College studying engineering there. The younger brother, we talked to a high school classmate of him a short while ago from Cambridge, and, Jake this classmate described a very normal-seeming kid.

TAPPER: A normal kid. And Eric, the classmate with whom we spoke, said that he couldn't believe it. And he had to believe that somebody led Dzhokhar, that is the fugitive, that is the young man, the 19- year-old who is still on the loose, who is being pursued by thousands of law enforcement officers ranging from FBI to counterterrorism officials to local police.

This 19-year-old, Eric believed he had had to have been led into this life.

BERMAN: And what we're saying he's being pursued by a large number of people in a very wide area now. The city of Boston is essentially shut down. Public transportation is closed: no subways, no taxis, no buses, no Amtrak service, the air space over this specific area is also closed down. Logan Airport says it's still open, but check with your air carrier to make sure your flight is leaving, because there are certain air spaces are currently closed.

People in Boston being told to stay home, people in surrounding towns being told to stay home. Do not go outdoors, and businesses are not currently opened.

We're joined here by homeland security expert Juliette Kayyem, Boston Globe reporter and expert on this situation. TAPPER: Well, actually, we're going -- I'm sorry, we're going to go to Juliette in one second, but Deb Feyerick, we are told that she has some new news from the scene in Watertown where there is this incredibly powerful scene going on with law enforcement.

Deb, what is going on?

FEYERICK: Well, we're watching this all play out. There are a number of scenarios that law enforcement has to be very prepared to handle. For example, if the home that they are looking at, or if the location that they are looking at, is it a potential safe house? Has it been rigged? Is it booby trapped? Is it an associate of somebody who may be known to these two brothers? They are approaching this very, very carefully, because they don't quite know exactly what to expect.

Also we know that on this the -- on the younger brother's website, on the white hat website, he has seven followers and we are told that -- and I want to show you something actually while I interrupt myself, in that car -- and we've seen a number of these vehicles, the canine vehicles that are coming, that's at least the third canine dog that has come to the scene to scout out this location. So we've seen at least three.

And as those dogs got close to the scene, they began barking, barking very, very loudly. So, they may be smelling what we thought we smelled, probably within the last 30 minutes or so.

Again, it's unfolding quickly.

Right now everybody seems to be in place. And so we are just -- we are just watching. And we've got eyes in the sky as the police helicopter circles overhead.

So, that's where we are, Jake, John.

BERMAN: A lot of activity right there, right in front of you, Deb. Obviously law enforcement personnel being incredibly careful with the situation, because as you said it could be incredibly dangerous, no way of knowing whether these residences that they are searching could be booby trapped in any way. Obviously, we know that explosives have been used. As Jake noted before, exclosively clearly used on Monday at the Boston Marathon.

But last night during this car chase, law enforcement personnel tell us that explosives were being tossed from the car. We know that the suspect who was killed, we've been told that he had signs of explosives on him. It may have been in fact an explosive device that killed the young man, the older two of the Chechen brothers.

TAPPER: Let's bring in Juliette. I interrupted you before. Please proceed with what you were saying about the situation.

KAYYEM: So here's what we know. There's a massive hunt for the second brother. We are now in Lockdown in Boston. This is precautionary, because you don't want people moving around and sort of messing up all of this public safety activity going on. I -- you know, make it clear that not everyone is under threat in Boston, this is precautionary.

Two brothers, from Chechnya. We don't know their motivations. We don't know their ideology. We don't know if they have ties to other organizations or anyone abroad, are responsible for the bombings here and a lot of mayhem last night, including the death of a police officer.

So -- and there will be a lot of activity here today. There will be bomb detonations or safe detonations, there will be evacuations. It is going to happen until we find this person. He will probably be found relatively soon. There are about 9,000 police officers working this right now. I'm pretty confident about that.

But in terms of why they did this, this is where it gets really too early to say. That they are from a certain part of the world, or that they have a certain religion it really is something that we -- we just don't know. They could have very possibly self-radicalized and then planned this on their own with no ties to anyone else or one or maybe one or two other people.

But some foreign conspiracy, it's hard to -- there is no proof of it yet.

BERMAN: Former assistant FBI director -- sorry, I thought we had Tom Fuentes. I'm now told we do not have Tom Fuentes.

TAPPER: Just to underline the point you're making. You are not suggesting anything other than the fact -- other than questioning how big this network is. It certainly seems as though these individuals are Islamic terrorists.

KAYYEM: Well, yes. But that's -- those are two separate words at this stage, beucase I think after 9/11 we have this fear of tying a Muslim with terrorism. We shouldn't do that.

TAPPER: We don't know if it's a network or...

KAYYEM: Here is my -- exactly. And so the evidence is this robbing of a 7-Eleven -- all of this stuff after makes you think that -- and the fact that it wasn't a suicide bombing, makes you think they didn't have a lot of support from a huge financial network. You don't rob 7- Elevens if you have a master plan.

BERMAN: One of the things our Joe Johns is reporting here from law enforcement personnel is they clearly had a plan up until the bombings at the Boston Marathon, after that not much of a plan.

KAYYEM: Right, which we were saying earlier is little bit like arsonists. They like to watch and then they're sort of like what do I do now?

I don't know any more than what we're reporting. Certainly people were looking at the chase right now. There is a lot of people working within the government on the intelligence side of this and the tie (ph) side of it. This will unfold rather slowly, but we -- but there are two different pieces. Anit's just sort of an important statement, because obviously after 9/11, we tend to think of terrorism, Islam as a sort of mastermind conspiracy that kills thousands and thousands of people. Because of the successes of counterterrorism efforts -- I hate to say it this way, but it's more like whack-a-mole now. That there are individuals who self-radicalize who do all sorts of things in the name of some belief that they have.