Return to Transcripts main page


Armed Suspect Shot in Colorado; New Jersey Father Makes Request of Governor Christie

Aired August 16, 2013 - 15:00   ET


BROOKE BALDWIN, CNN ANCHOR: Breaking news into us here at CNN. Police have shot a man who went on a deadly shooting spree in Denver, Colorado.

Police say the suspect, who is currently undergoing surgery, killed one woman, shot another woman in the leg before police could ultimately take him down. But the story here, this is still developing, because right now -- and you're looking at these pictures here, talking about possible explosives. The bomb squad is on the scene, because the suspect had apparently armed himself with propane tanks, gunpowder, a hand grenade. There's a propane tank there.

Police think there could be more explosives at the scene. No motive is known as of yet. We will stay on that for you out of Denver.

Meantime, the governor of New Jersey, Chris Christie, known for his outspokenness, is so far noticeably quiet on a bill that one family says really means life or death for this 2-year-old little girl. This is Vivian Wilson. And she suffers from a form of epilepsy that responds well to pot, and only to pot. This is according to her family.

So Governor Christie says today is the day he will decide whether or not he will sign this bill that would allow Vivian to consume medical marijuana by eating it or by drinking it. So right now, she can't do that. And you're about to see what happens to her when a seizure strikes.

Just a warning, it's tough to look at this 2-year-old on the floor seizing. But this is part of the story here. Her father says that this kind of seizure could one day -- here she is -- could one day end up killing her. This is called sudden unexplained death in epilepsy.

The fear of her dying, he says, compelled him to confront the governor just this past Wednesday at a campaign stop. Here they were.


BRIAN WILSON, FATHER: I'm just wondering if I can have a half-a- minute, because we have been trying to get in touch with you. We can't get through to you. I was wondering what the hold-up is. It's been like two months now.


GOV. CHRIS CHRISTIE (R), NEW JERSEY: Sir, because these are complicated issues.

WILSON: We have had this discussion.

CHRISTIE: Listen, I know you think it's simple. And it's not. It's simple for you. It's not simple for me.

WILSON: We have had our experts reach to you. Have you heard from our doctors?

CHRISTIE: I have read everything that has been put in front of me and I will have a decision by Friday. I wish for the best for you, your daughter and your family. And I'm going to do what I think is best for the people of the state.


BRIAN WILSON, FATHER: Do you think it's best for the governor to come in between the doctors and their patients? Is this a nanny state?


CHRISTIE: Sir, I'm making -- I'm elected to make these decisions. I will make the decisions and I will make it in time...


WILSON: Our elected representatives have spoken to us and told you that they wanted to. Please don't let my daughter die, Governor. Don't let my daughter die.


BALDWIN: "Please don't let my daughter die, Governor."

Here's Sanjay Gupta, Dr. Sanjay Gupta.

Gosh, you think about the governor, right? He says today is the day he's deciding. You hear this father basically pleading to him for his daughter's life if he signs this bill. What do you think he's weighing in this decision?

DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN SENIOR MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: I went through an evolution in my own thinking on this.

I imagine Governor Christie is going through some of that as well. If you look at a lot of the literature, you would love to have great science to just make these decisions very clearly. But, you know, marijuana has been very difficult to study in this country. First of all, it's difficult to study in adults because you're dealing with a substance that's illegal at the federal level.

It's even more difficult to study in children. I'm sure people would like more science behind this. But with this particular condition, having looked around the world, looked at the existing studies, Dravet syndrome, which is what Vivian has, and also a little girl named Charlotte in our documentary, medical marijuana of a particular strain that is high in CBD and low in THC can be very effective.

We saw it with Charlotte who went from 300 seizures a week to three or four a month.


GUPTA: I imagine Brian Wilson, who is the father of Vivian, he's -- I know he watched the documentary. He told me. He's hoping for the same thing for his daughter.

BALDWIN: Do me a favor. If the decision comes down any time soon, stay close, because we want to bring that, of course, to our viewers. We would love your reaction...

GUPTA: Absolutely.

BALDWIN: ... given everything you have been doing.

Just quick reminder to you. Don't forget to watch Sanjay's special. It's called "Weed." He takes this in-depth look at whether or not marijuana, as you mentioned the governor is grappling with, harmful, helpful. That airs tonight 10:00 p.m. Eastern and Pacific only here on CNN.

Dr. Gupta, we will see you if we get some news.

GUPTA: I will be here.

BALDWIN: Thank you.

GUPTA: Thank you.

BALDWIN: At this hour, blood is flowing once again on the streets of Cairo.

Backers of the Egypt's Islamic religious political party are defying curfew. You see the flames. These are live pictures from Cairo, flames shooting through windows of this building as, you know, people are defying a curfew. Thousands are staying on the streets to confront their opponents, confront the military. And this was the scene a little earlier.

Today's official death toll is 17. But a view of this morgue, look at this body next to body next to body. Plus, let me just tell you, other reports we're getting here at CNN suggest that count is much, much higher. Close to 600 have been killed since Wednesday. I want to show you something that happened just a couple of hours ago.

This is CNN's Reza Sayah in Cairo.


REZA SAYAH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Let's go see what's happened.

OK. This is someone who appears to be injured. I see a hole in his side. Come this way, if you can. OK. OK. It looks like -- it looks like he's been shot. He looks remarkably calm. I saw what appeared to be a bullet wound in his leg, and as we have seen so often, one of the fellow demonstrators taking him on a motorcycle away. And then I think we have another person who's injured. We have another person who appears to be injured on the ground here. OK. We will see if we can -- OK.

This is just an awful, awful scene.


BALDWIN: CNN's Reza Sayah there looking at those wounded, gunshot wounds there today.

We have also seen this, Egyptians standing on this bridge, jumping off on to the street below, apparently to avoid gunfire, so complete and utter chaos.

CNN's Fred Pleitgen joins us now live from Cairo tonight and also John King is in Washington.

Fred, just to you first. We saw those live pictures of flames shooting out of a building. Despite the curfew, clearly people are defiant on the street. Set the scene for me tonight.

FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes. People definitely are defiant. They are supporters, of course, of Mohammed Morsy, the ousted president, as you said, part of that Islamist Muslim Brotherhood movement.

And those clashes are still going on in a place called Ramses Square, which is in downtown Cairo. You can see that building there that is still on fire. And from our vantage point here, we can actually hear gunfire ring out occasionally. There are a lot of people who are defying that curfew.

However, by and large, the streets of Cairo really are an eerie place at this point in time. There are vigilante groups out there, pro- government, pro-military vigilante groups who are wielding machetes, who are wielding batons and baseball bats. They have makeshift checkpoints. It really is a difficult place to navigate. You really don't want to be out there as long as this curfew is going on.

There were some more protest marches, because keep in mind this was going to be the big day of rage for the Muslim Brotherhood, for the supporters of the ousted President Mohammed Morsy. Tens of thousands went on the streets. However, many of them never even made it to that place where those clashes are taking place right now because they were held up by the military. They were held up by supporters of the Egyptian government.

There were some clashes there as well. And, of course, as you said, the death toll still is on the rise. Right now officially, it's 17. But we have seen in the past couple of days that those death tolls tend to vary and they certainly tend to go up as the day progresses and the bodies are counted. We are getting reports that there are some mosques and some makeshift morgues that are collecting many, many bodies from what's been going on.

There are still helicopters in the air as well. Clearly, the chaos is continuing, Brooke.

BALDWIN: We have seen the pictures of the bodies in the morgues.

And from Egypt to Washington, John King, we saw the president yesterday, really the big announcement that the U.S. will not do the joint military exercise Bright Star. It goes back decades. The next big question, as we have discussed, that $1.3 billion, $1.5 billion in aid the U.S. gives them each and every year. Some people are calling on the U.S. to stop.

But if we were to do that, would that be sort of like selling out a friend despite how, perhaps, egregious they are acting at the moment?

JOHN KING, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: That is part of the calculation, Brooke. The question is how long do you stand by what has been a traditional friend.

You go back to 30 years of President Mubarak. Now Egyptians would tell you that was an autocratic dictatorship, and one of the reasons the United States doesn't have great standing among the reformers in Egypt is because they supported Mubarak so long. What the administration would say, what the previous Republican administration would say, is that military relationship, you have generals. You have colonels. You have captains who have trained with these Egyptian counterparts who could pick up the telephone.

But what the critics of the aid are saying in recent days, what are you getting from that trust? Those relationships? Because the military is clearly not listening when the State Department and when now the president of the United States say, please, take a more measured approach. Please, try to find a way to defuse the tension here.

This will become part of the debate. What the administration is hoping that after the president's word yesterday is that we wouldn't have another day like this. Your words are so important, complete and utter chaos. This is supposed to be the anchor of stability. This has always been the moderating force.


BALDWIN: The cornerstone of Middle East peace.

KING: The cornerstone of the Middle East. It is a mess right now, and it is spiralling out of control.

The administration is hoping that situation comes to some relative stability and then we see what happens in Egypt and there's less about what should the United States do about that aid package.

But, at the moment Fred's right there watching it play out. Things are getting worse, not better.

BALDWIN: John King and Fred Pleitgen, both of you, thank you so much, talking Egypt here with me today.

Back here at home, the custody battle for toddler Veronica may be near a turning point. This is a case that has gone all the way from local courts in South Carolina and Oklahoma all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court.

For months and months, the toddler's adoptive parents have squared off against Veronica's biological father.

Want to bring in CNN's Randi Kaye outside Oklahoma's Cherokee County Courthouse.

What's the update in this, Randi?

RANDI KAYE, CNN ANCHOR: The update, Brooke, is that right now both sides are in mediation, which is pretty remarkable, because they spent hours here at the Cherokee County Courthouse behind me this morning. We thought maybe there might have been a handover of Veronica who's now almost 4 years old.

But it turns out that it doesn't appear there was, because now both sides are back in mediation at tribal court. Just to explain that a little bit, you probably need a little bit more of the background. Dusten Brown, the biological father, is Cherokee. He's a member of the Cherokee Nation here in Oklahoma. He went to the South Carolina Supreme Court after the Capobiancos, the adoptive parents, had tried to adopt Veronica at birth.

He went there and said, you can't do this. There's a federal law on the books that says you have to keep Indian children in Indian families. That went all the way up to the Supreme Court, Brooke. The Supreme Court said this law doesn't apply to this case. They handed it back to the South Carolina Supreme Court, which said, guess what, the adoption holds. This child has to go back to the Capobiancos, Matt and Melanie, the adoptive parents.

Dusten Brown was supposed to hand her over just a couple of weeks ago. He's now had her for about 19 months. The Capobiancos had had her for almost two years or more than two years. It's a bit of a tug of war. It seems to be continuing. It was really interesting out here this morning. Both families came in. Their heads were hung pretty low.

Neither one of them wanted to talk to the media. There were protesters outside saying Native American children aren't for sale, almost as if they own Veronica and they want her. I can just tell you what happened after both sides left. We only saw Dusten Brown, the biological father, and his parents leaving, Veronica's grandparents, and his lawyer.

And look what happened when we tried to speak to him.


KAYE: Sir, can you say anything about the next steps here or what happened inside?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I can't. I'm sorry. I would like to.


KAYE: I threw a lot of questions at Dusten Brown, Brooke. I kept asking him did it go your way? Are you OK with what happened inside? He wouldn't even look in my direction. We have interviewed him before. But he had nothing to say.

His mother, Veronica's grandmother, was actually crying. She was in tears in the truck. We thought there was a handover. But now once again both sides back in tribal court also trying to get jurisdiction in this case, the Cherokee Nation. It's quite a mess still.

BALDWIN: Sounds like it. Randi Kaye, thank you for coming on. We will look for you on "A.C. 360" tonight there for us in Oklahoma.

Meantime, got an update for you on the shocking video we showed you earlier this week. This maximum security jail, it now has leaders investigating. A lot of people asking, what happened? Remember this? This is the jail. In an instant, all those cell doors fling open. You see the inmates rushing out. Was this an inside job? One expert now says it could be a hack. We will explain.

Plus, the truth about Area 51. Conspiracy theorists have made this Nevada base popular with stories, alien secrets lurking inside. Well, now new details and documents released by the CIA try to put all those rumors to rest.


BALDWIN: Was it a computer glitch? Or was it a rogue security guard? Questions abound when it comes to the shocking video of the moment all these cell doors at this Miami maximum security jail, boom, open up.

You see them. Some of them begin to run, not tall. The prisoners running out who run toward their apparent target. Realizing he's under attack, this reputed gang leader Kenneth Williams bolts down the hallway of the top-tier maximum security wing. You will see it in a second. Here he goes with his shorts on. He jumps over the rail.

We see him once he hops over the rail, here he comes. And we see him once he falls, he's writhing in agony. Here he goes. The fall fracturing his vertebrae, breaking his ankle. "Wired" magazine got access to William's handwritten account of what happened. I read it.

There are all kinds of grammatical issues. Let me give you the gist of what he's saying. You can read his actual note here on the screen. He says: "I was sitting in my cell room when the doors opened and I saw four inmates come into my room with something in their hands. I had something, too, but I jumped off the second floor because I was scared for my life. I want to know why the doors were kept open."

Kim Zetter wrote this article for "Wired" magazine. She joins me now.

Kim, good to see you. Before, I guess my first question, you talked to the prisoner's attorney. He told you this, that "It's hard to imagine the doors open without an assist from guards or some other accomplice on the inside."

What are prison officials telling you? What about this possible glitch?

KIM ZETTER, "WIRED": Well, the officials don't really know what happened. The guards are saying that they didn't do it. They feel they didn't even accidentally push the button.

And all the prison has to go on right now are some computer logs that show an operator error occurred. But they don't really understand what that means, what the computer is referring to when it says operator error.

BALDWIN: Let me be clear for the viewers. I talked to the "Miami Herald" reporter who broke this story earlier. This actually happened some months ago. They -- in an effort to safeguard this further, it's not just one button you hit and all the doors open. There's actually a second prompt here, prompt.

So somebody would have had to have responded to the second prompt. You talked to some security researchers who say that there is even a chance this could have been an outside hack. Do you think someone could really pull this off at this maximum security jail?

ZETTER: Yes, well, there are two possibilities here. One possibility is that it is someone completely outside the prison and that they obtained some kind of remote access to the prison.

The other possibility is that it involved someone else inside the prison who's on another computer not in a control station. It really depends on how the system was set up and configured. In some cases, there are prisons that don't set them up securely and have some systems that are facing the Internet.

If you have any one system facing to the Internet and that's also connected to the network that controls secure systems inside the prison, an outside hacker can route their way into the control system. Even if you don't have the systems connected to the Internet, however, systems inside the prison tend to be networked together, so that you could have a control system computer that seems to be secure, but you have other computers throughout the prisons that are for administrative purposes, either in the cafeteria or someplace else.


ZETTER: They may be connected to the same network. So it's possible that someone else inside the prison then hacked into the control system through another computer.

BALDWIN: Yes. You know -- we know for a fact they're talking to these guards, and they're trying to figure out if it was someone on the inside or possibly someone on the outside.

Kim Zetter, "Wired" magazine, Kim, thank you.

ZETTER: You're welcome.

BALDWIN: Ahead, allegations of sex, drugs and conspiracy. The person facing charges? A well-respected judge. Police say his secretary cut off an affair with him, and that's when he took action. Now this man is accused and charged with abusing his power. We will tell you what he allegedly did and what he has to say about it.


BALDWIN: With more than 21 percent of the population living below the poverty line, Chicago is a city with a lot of need.

So this week's CNN Hero takes goods that would end up in landfills and gives them to Chicago's needy.




JUDSON KINNUCAN, COMMUNITY CRUSADER: On a day-to-day basis there are tons of items that are thrown away. It's shocking to understand how much hotels have in excess. I was doing a lot of volunteering and I saw how desperately in need people were for all those types of things and I thought to myself, I could be that connection, that matchmaker.

My name is Judson Kinnucan and I collect donations around Chicago for charities that don't have the money and the manpower to do it on their own.

We get a multitude of different items donated and whatever charities need, we can get them those items.

They are four barrel of shampoo and conditioner and lotion for you. We partner with over 40 hotels and we work with dozens of companies. Oh fantastic that is just a lot of showers right there. They're going to love this.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: There is a double impact here where it's being environmentally responsible and people are really benefiting.

KINNUCAN: Men and women who were struggling with the issue of poverty, they have as much personal dignity as anyone else. So anything that they can do to keep themselves looking good and feeling good is important.

It's a simple concept, but it's very labor-intensive.

This thing is full. But it's fun to me, when this is empty give me a call and we can come pick it up.

And if I can improve people's lives, it's a double bonus.


BALDWIN: And we always want to remind you, go to to nominate someone who's making a difference.

Coming up, the RNC targets CNN and another network over a Hillary Clinton documentary. Today, Republicans voted whether or not to take action here, and that decision and our response is next.


ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.

BALDWIN: All right. Got an update on two breaking storying we're following for you on this Friday.

First stop, Denver, Colorado. Police have shot a man who went on this deadly shooting spree in Denver. Police say the suspect who is still undergoing surgery killed one woman, shot another woman in the leg before police could ultimately take him down. The story doesn't end there because right now the bomb squad, you can see their trucks there, they're still on the scene. There's a propane tank.

The suspect had apparently armed himself with not just propane tanks, gunpowder, hand grenade. And police think there could be more explosives at the scene. The big question, obviously, is why would this person do this. No motive is known at this point. As soon as we get more information on that, we will pass that along to you live.