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PIERS MORGAN LIVE
Australian Baseball Player Shot to Death; Interview with Star Jones; Hero Rescued Van Dyke from Burning Car; Interview with Cynthia Nixon & Bill de Blasio
Aired August 20, 2013 - 21:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
PIERS MORGAN, CNN HOST: This is PIERS MORGAN LIVE. Welcome to our viewers in the United States and around the world. You know my position on guns. As if this country needed another example of why it's time to do something about them, tonight there are two for you. In Georgia, frantic parents breathe a sign of relief. The children are safe after a gunman wielding an AK47 opened fire in an elementary school. Nobody was hurt. The gunman was 20 years old. And in Oklahoma, a shocking thrill kill. An Australian baseball player here in America on a scholarship gunned down dead allegedly by three teenagers. Police say they did it for the fun of it.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PETER LANE, FATHER OF CHRIS LANE: It was just so senseless. There wasn't anything he did or could have done.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MORGAN: A top criminologist tells me why kids kill.
Plus a beloved Hollywood legend escapes death and tweets about it later. I'll talk to the man who saved 87-year-old Dick Van Dyke from his burning Jag.
Also, "Sex and the City" star Cynthia Nixon with a man she hopes will be the next mayor of New York. I'll give you a hunt, it's definitely not Anthony Weiner.
But I want to begin with tonight's shocking big story. An Australian baseball player over in America on a scholarship, shot at the back and killed while out jogging in Duncan, Oklahoma.
Charges were filed today against three teenagers who police say -- just wait for this. Police say that they shot Christopher Lane for fun, because they were bored. Fifteen-year-old James Edward Jr. and 16-year-old Chancey Luna were charged as adults with felony murder in the first degree, and 17-year-old Michael Jones faces two charges. A judge set bond at $1 million for Jones, while no bond was set for Edwards and Luna.
Joining me now on the phone is Captain Jay Evans of the Duncan, Oklahoma, Police Department. Thank you for joining me now, Captain Evans. Few stories have been incensed me quite like this one. The randomness, the senselessness of this killing. Tell me your reaction to it.
CAPT. JAY EVANS, DUNCAN POLICE DEPARTMENT (via phone): It's been very hard on the community here. Just -- our community is approximately 23,000 people. It's a wonderful community, a great place to have your kids grow up, and normally, it would be safe to go anywhere in town any time day or night. You wouldn't have to worry about being attacked or anything like that.
In this particular neighborhood, it's an affluent neighborhood. Everyone is out at various times of the day, walking with their wives or jogging up and down this particular street. It is a pretty long street and runs wide in front of the golf course and this happened just shortly before 3:00 in the afternoon on a Friday afternoon, so you had a lot of people out.
It was fairly hot day, so there wasn't that many people out jogging or exercising at that particular time, but the residents are just absolutely appalled, and shocked that it happened because everyone realizes that, you know, your kids are out playing, that it could have been anybody it was such a random act, that could have been any of their kids this happened to.
MORGAN: Well, it's totally -- certainly disgusting. I mean, just for the viewers who have not been following this today, tell me exactly what these thugs did.
EVANS: Well, this young man, the young victim was just jogging, and I believe that he was listening to his radio that he had on his arm, and he was just jogging. He was jogging with traffic. This road is pretty wide and then it narrows down to where it's just a two-lane, and he was jogging with traffic. So these individuals came up behind him in a car and they were very close because the road is, like I said, two lane with no shoulder on it.
So it's very narrow there and they pulled up behind him and shot him in the back and then sped away.
MORGAN: I mean, in all your time in police work, Captain Evans, have you ever come across anything quite so callous?
EVANS: No, I haven't. I mean, you know, crimes happen all over the place, but normally, you always have some kind of relationship, you know, be it may be brief between the victim and the suspect. You know, even at the briefest of times, you may have people that have gotten into, you know, a heated exchange over some traffic issue or something else, but to just -- I mean, this guy just happened to be running, and the opportunity was there. And they were close, so they thought well, let's just shoot this guy. So --
MORGAN: And final question for you, Captain Evans, just clarify for me, is it right that their explanation was simply that they were bored and they did it for fun? EVANS: You know, I really, as captain of investigations, we have a policy over here that, you know, I can't discuss what anybody's statement is, you know, if anybody discusses that, they are a little bit higher pay grade than me, but -- so I really can't go into the specifics of what any of them said, but one thing I can say about this group is they had the desire to be gangsters.
And that's just from prior instances that we'd had coming in contact with them, and based on various aspects that we were aware of. They just wanted to emulate that gangster lifestyle.
MORGAN: Captain Evans, I do appreciate you joining me. Got to leave it there. But I thank you very much indeed.
EVANS: Thank you.
MORGAN: Reaction in Australia, as you can expect, has been shock and horror.
Joining me now is Ahron Young, Sky News Melbourne Bureau chief, and on the phone is Tim Fischer, he's the former deputy prime minister of Australia, who says in the wake of this crime tourist should think twice about coming to America.
Let me start with you, if I may, Ahron Young. There's been widespread fury and distress in Australia over this, hasn't there?
AHRON YOUNG, SKY NEWS MELBOURNE BUREAU CHIEF: There really has. Hello, Piers. There's been disbelief, shock, no one can understand how this happened. Chris was a rising star. He was having the time of his life over in the United States. We've all heard about gun violence in America, but this has really brought it home to us here, right across the country. Parents in Australia who may have children on scholarships in the U.S. Also the students themselves, just out of disbelief that this could happen to one of ours
Now this is the front page of a local newspaper here in Melbourne today, "The Herald Sun" newspaper. You can see the three accused who were in the front page. It says, "The Teens American police Shot -- Say Shot Our Star."
Now our political leaders have described it as senseless. It's been the reaction from the family as well as reporting from that baseball club in the suburb of (INAUDIBLE), just north of Melbourne here. Family, friends, as well as team mates and people from the local baseball club have all been down there this week. It's been terribly sad. They've been placing a baseball with tributes, with flowers on the home base there.
His mother and father, they held back tears. They described Chris as just another normal kid. He loved his baseball. He's loved the game since he was 15 years old and he loved it because he always wanted to go to college in the U.S., Piers, and he saw that this was his chance.
MORGAN: It's an absolutely appalling story. I want to bring in now, Tim Fisher. He served as deputy prime minister in the John Howard government from 1996 to 1999. Significance of that being that after an appalling massacre in Port Arthur in Australia in 1996, huge changes were made to gun control in Australia.
And as a result, they've had hardly a mass shooting since and certainly nothing of this random nature.
Tim Fischer, you call for a boycott of America by Australian tourists, showing the depth of your feeling. What is your reaction to what has happened here?
TIM FISCHER, FORMER DEPUTY PRIME MINISTER OF AUSTRALIA: Just for the record, Australia has had zero gun massacres since 1996 and the United States 80 people killed by guns every single day. So it is another example of murder mayhem on main street. Yes, people thinking of going to the USA on business or tourist trips, should think carefully about it given the statistical fact you are 15 times more likely to be shot dead in the USA than in Australia per capital per a million people.
MORGAN: I have had this debate countless times on this show in the last two years, and I keep being assured by the gun rights people that the only way to deal with gun violence is for more people to be armed and more guns to be in circulation. Obviously, Australia went a completely different direction and took away guns. There was a huge amnesty and a ban on many semiautomatic and automatic weapons.
Tell me what you think of the logic that more guns means less gun crime.
FISCHER: Well, you've done well over there. You've got 215 million guns in the U.S. of A. You have semiautomatics and automatics in the suburbs. We don't in Australia and we still have freedom and sporting shooters still have rights to have their guns. Farmers have the right to have guns.
Anyone with licensing has the right, but we don't have gun shows where you can walk up and not even be subject to a background check in one of the most dumbest decisions so far in the litany of agony over the gun laws and gun policies of the NRA and the USA.
There is deep-seeded anger this time, I can tell you. There is disbelief. A fine young Australian gunned down by three boys -- three teenagers, allegedly, and I just want to say -- would appeal to the deep thinkers in the USA to think again about the drift in the state of the nation.
I went to Philadelphia to the constitutional convention, constitutional museum to look particularly at aspects of the Second Amendment. The Second Amendment does not provide for semiautomatics in the suburbs of main street, USA.
MORGAN: Let me just ask you, you were in a conservative government, weren't you, Mr. Fischer?
FISCHER: Yes, I was leader of the Republican Regional Party equivalent, congressman equivalent, in a sense a Dick Cheney or Joe Biden equivalent, deputy prime minister, and I supported strongly John Winston out, and the initiatives for gun law reform and also former Vietnam veteran thanks to the USA, and I have and own guns, which CNN had footage of, as a matter of fact.
I believe in a sensible balanced approach which is in the interest of public safety, what happened in Oklahoma is just a manifestation of what's happening in every -- almost every state every day in the USA. Enough is surely enough.
MORGAN: Tim Fischer, thank you very much indeed for joining me. I do appreciate it.
My next guest is the president of the Essendon Baseball Club in Melbourne where Christopher Lane was a member. He remembers Christopher as a fantastic player and a good person. He joins me now on the phone.
Welcome to you, Mr. Cornish. A devastating blow to your club, to the people of Melbourne, to people of Australia. What would you like to say?
TONY CORNISH, PRESIDENT, ESSENDON BASEBALL CLUB (via phone): Well, I would just like to let you guys know that it shocked our world. You know, the baseball community in Australia is a very tight group. Most baseball is known, most baseballers, and everyone shattered.
MORGAN: What kind of man was Christopher?
CORNISH: Well, he was this kid that started actually at 7 years old at our club playing tee ball which is, you know, looked like a little league type program. Played for 12 years at the club. He always had (INAUDIBLE). He was a very good athlete. He could have chosen another sport, Australian football or baseball, but because he had a level head on his shoulders, he chose baseball because it offered him a college education in America.
We have an affiliation over there with colleges and send many of our players over there. And this is obviously the first time we've ever had any problems and it's been a great relationship thus far until now.
MORGAN: His dream, obviously, was to play baseball professionally and to do that really in any meaningful way you have to come to America. Did he like the idea of buying into the American dream?
CORNISH: Look, look, Chris was such a level-headed kid that I think he knew his downfalls. And I don't think Chris really thought he might have been a Major League baseballer. I mean, that's such a small percentage. He was obviously going to have a crack but that's why he chose college so that way if it didn't work out he could come back to Australia with an education and also a -- been a much better baseballer than he would have been an elite player in Australia and our club. But -- so that's the type of kid he is, that he created a win-win for himself in a way there.
MORGAN: Well, Tony Cornish, I thank you for joining me. I'm just so sorry for this devastating loss to you as a friend and to your club and the people of Melbourne. Thank you for joining me.
And also to Ahron Young, thank you for joining me, too. Much appreciated.
One of the most shocking aspects of this case is the fact that the young men charged with the crime are all teenagers and they allegedly killed for fun. So what would cause anyone to commit a crime like this so young?
Joining me now is James Alan Fox, professor of criminology at the Northeastern University, and the author of "The Will to Kill: Making Sense of Senseless Murder."
Thank you for joining me, James Fox. I mean, yet again, the word senseless murder barely does this credit. The suspects are 15, 16, 17. They're driving along, would-be gangsters, and pick out this poor young Australian, sports star with everything, everything in this life to play for, and just gunned him down.
What do you make of this?
JAMES ALAN FOX, PROFESSOR OF CRIMINOLOGY, NORTHEASTERN UNIVERSITY: Well, you know, what often characterized as juvenile violence is a senseless nature. Adults, when they kill, will do it over jealousy or greed or revenge. But when kids kill it's often over no reason at all.
When you look at a case like this, of course, Mr. Lane was picked out at random but to understand this crime, you have to consider the relationship among the three kids. Oftentimes, kids kill not because they are committed to murder but they're committed to their friends. There's a concept called shared misunderstanding where oftentimes kids will do things because they believe everyone else believes in it, but no one does.
So they participate in this awful crime like this because they don't want to be called a wimp. They don't want to be rejected by their friend, so it's really -- they do it out of loyalty for their friends, as opposed to any negative feeling toward their victim. And that's how kids often think.
MORGAN: How empowering is the gun to kids like this?
FOX: Well, very much so. And particularly, you have kids who aren't very empowered. I mean, teenagers generally are not and we have minority kids for whom oftentimes they see the American dream as a nightmare. For them their goal is to be in a gang, as these kids have said they are perhaps want to be gangs, and just like for traditional pursuits where an education and a book might be the important tool if you really want to be in a gang, learning how to use a gun is the important tool. So gangs are always hiring, always recruiting, whereas the legitimate job market may not be. MORGAN: Professor Fox, thank you very much indeed for joining me.
And one more gun story tonight in Iowa. A 71-year-old man shot and killed an escaped inmate today after the convict held him and his 66-year-old wife hostage in their home. Investigator said Jerome Mauderly and his wife Carolyn were asleep when escaped inmate Rodney Long broke into their rural home. He held them hostage for about four hours until Mr. Mauderly shot him dead.
When we come back, Star Jones is in the chair. I want to know what she thinks about these cases and about a new some say rather shocking Trayvon Martin video.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LANE: He's left his mark, as we know, you know, there's not going to be any good come out of this because it was just so senseless.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MORGAN: The father of Christopher Lane speaking out about the thrill kill murder of his son, the senseless violence that's shocking America and Australia. All three suspects accused in this horrific crime are teenagers.
A lot of people are talking about that tonight including my next guest, Star Jones, attorney and national spokesperson for the National Association of Professional Women.
Star, I bet you know where to start with this this week with you because it makes me so bloody angry that this young, handsome, talented Australian sportsman come here to live the American dream of playing baseball is just gunned down by a bunch of wannabe gangsters, kids who just are bored. What do you have to say about it?
STAR JONES, ATTORNEY: You know, it breaks my heart that a young man lost his life in such a senseless manner. But the fact that you even had to identify him as young, handsome, talented, with all these dreams and hopes and aspirations, distinguishes him from other murder victims in our country and brings his story to light.
But let me tell you something. This happens on the streets and cities across our country from St. Louis to Miami, Florida, to New York City to Chicago, Illinois, to Detroit, Michigan. And as senseless as this homicide is, those other homicides are just as senseless, and those people were somebody's kid, also.
So my heart breaks for this family and what they are experiencing. Having prosecuted murder cases, I can tell you that their lives are altered forever. It will never be the same, and the same goes for the defendants, for the men who -- the young men who have been accused of this crime and I understand are going to face a very serious charge.
MORGAN: I mean, I've read before I came on air tonight that apparently there have been 10 kids age 7 or younger who have been shot in Chicago since the end of June. Not all killed but all shot, and some of it just so random, just walking upstairs to their home. So that's Chicago. We know that they have problems there.
We have this going on here in Oklahoma. We have it in every major city. Every outback. Where does it end? You know, in Australia they had this massacre in '96 and it changed everything, and the people that drove the change were all conservatives. They were Republicans.
It was no political partisan thing over there. What is wrong with America that it has to be partisan? That you have to be a pro- gun, you're Republican so therefore you can't bring in gun control. If you're anti-gun outrage as I am. Apparently you're some liberal freak. What is wrong with the argument in America that makes it so nonsensical?
JONES: It's not a partisan issue, especially when there is a dead kid on the ground or -- or in the ground. In this particular situation, it's not about being conservative or about being liberal. The Constitution of the United States provides us with the right to bear arms. It does not provide us with the right to bear arms under all circumstances.
Every single right under the Constitution has some sort of provision to it where there is some limitations. And we have to have good, common sense gun control as it relates to the Second Amendment. You were talking about how young these defendants are, 15 to 17. And the senseless nature of the randomness of the murder.
I actually tried a homicide case where a guy sat on a park bench, and said, I'm going to kill the next person that talks to me. And another man just happened to walk by and said, can I get a light? And the guy shot him dead in Brooklyn, New York.
I tried a case -- I tried the first 13-year-old in New York state that was convicted as an adult for murder in New York. And I want you to know that nothing has changed, which makes me very, very sad. But very experienced in this regard.
MORGAN: I mean, you know, you look at the school shooting incident today where luckily nobody was hurt, but there you got a kid of 20. He apparently said he was off his meds, just clearly having some kind of treatment for some kind of mental health issue. Five months ago apparently he'd been detained by authorities after making offensive terrorist-style threats. So you've got a known attachment there to law enforcement people. You've got a known attachment to mental health issues and he's got an AK-47.
JONES: And you have no -- and you have gun laws that say that we can't do a true background check on people with those specific qualifications. If we had some sensible gun control laws in place, each and everything that you have alluded to as it relates to this particular suspect would have been caught before he would have had access to some sort of semiautomatic rifle. I mean, it makes no sense whatsoever.
But you and I can go around and around, because we're already on the same side in this debate.
MORGAN: Yes, I agree. I agree.
JONES: The real debate is with people who try to say to you that having access to weapons is just a fundamental right and we need to have as many weapons on the street as possible, and the only way to stop gun violence is with more people having guns. That's what's nonsensical. And this young man being killed in such a horrific way just so people can have some fun showed a lack of core values that should trouble us as Americans that we have now reduced our young people to basically sit around and say, you know, I have no hope, no dream for where I sit in society, that I would take the life of someone that I don't know with all callousness, without any thought whatsoever, as to the impact that it'll have on my family, the impact it'll have on the victims' family. The impact it'll have on my community.
Why -- where is the responsibility to your fellow man? We have stopped instilling that in our young people and that's the debate that we should be having.
MORGAN: I completely and utterly agree with you, Star Jones. Stay with me. I want to come back after the break and talk about "The Butler," the movie that's gripping America. Want to get your thoughts on -- well, I had a fascinating conversation last night with Lee Daniels and Lenny Kravitz and Cuba Gooding, about whether America is more or less racist since it's got its first black president. I want to get your view on that.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
FOREST WHITAKER, ACTOR, "THE BUTLER": Get the hell out of my house.
OPRAH WINFREY, ACTRESS, "THE BUTLER": No, no, no.
WHITAKER: Get all out.
WINFREY: Now, everybody, just sit --
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm sorry, Mr. Butler, I didn't mean to make fun of your hero.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MORGAN: Oprah Winfrey in "The Butler." The number movie that's number one in the box office. It tackles America's racial history.
Back in the chair now is Star Jones. I had a fascinating discussion last night, Star, with Lee Daniels. Obviously, he's the man behind the movie. And with Lenny Kravitz and Cuba Gooding and others, about the nature of racism in America since Barack Obama became president and you have the first black president.
I want to play you what Lee Daniels said about this when I asked if he thought America was more or less racist as a result.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MORGAN: Lee, do you think America is more or less racist country since Barack Obama became president?
LEE DANIELS, DIRECTOR, PRODUCER, "THE BUTLER": Wow, that's a powerful question. I think that people are angry that he's president, and I think that they are showing their true colors. And I think that -- I think that you know when Danny Strong wrote those words, any black man could be killed by any white man and get away with it, Trayvon Martin had not happened.
I end the movie with hope. You know, he's walking down and Obama is giving that famous speech, you know, and then I come out of my edit room and Trayvon Martin has happened. And the -- so yes, I think, I think so. Sadly, I think so.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MORGAN: Very provocative.
If you're watching at home and want to give me a view, tweet me @PiersMorgan. I got a tweet in, Starr, about the last segment from Robert Zimmerman. He's the brother of George Zimmerman, who's tweeted me saying very tragic about the shooting incidents that I spoke about earlier. But remember, bans would have done nothing to stop either tougher laws and armed resistance may have. But, of course, had you banned assault weapons, then it wouldn't applied to potentially both the cases.
So, I understand he has a view, I just don't agree with it.
Let's turn to racism. What do you think, Star, to that central question of whether Barack Obama's ascent to the White House drew out more racism to America or it was always there and they just made the debate noisier?
STAR JONES, ATTORNEY: I think people just have a little more freedom to have this discussion and to say some of the things that they would normally not say in polite company. When you see a brown man in the White House on Pennsylvania Avenue, there is a tendency to say.
And I've actually heard people say, well, you have a black president, what more do you want? Well, I want a lot more. I want African-American men and women to have healthcare that is equal and/or better. I want employment rates to go up and unemployment rates to go down. I want senseless gun violence to not be as prevalent in one community versus another.
And I don't want people to become complacent thinking because there is a brown president that we don't have any more work to do and what has happened is people who have racist tendencies have allowed themselves to verbalize what they have been feeling in a way that is just a little outrageous for me. I'm just fascinated by hearing some of the comments that have been made about the president of the United States, the kinds of insults that are laid at his feet and the things that are said about the first lady that under no circumstances would any man dare to say about the wife of the president of the United States.
And I can't help but say they feel the freedom to treat this black woman less than who she is, less than what she's accomplished.
MORGAN: But, Star, Star, let me jump in there. Do you actually believe that? I mean, Hillary Clinton caught tremendous flak when she was at the White House as the spouse of Bill Clinton --
JONES: But it wasn't about her race.
MORGAN: And she was a white -- she was a white first lady. She had it everything about her hair to her fashion to anything else. I mean --
JONES: But they didn't --
MORGAN: -- what was the difference really?
JONES: They didn't throw race.
And let me tell you something, the way I was taught to fight is you hit people with something you know will penetrate their spirit. And when you go after an African-American person with race, you're trying to penetrate their spirit. It's like going after women with gender or going after someone gay about their sexuality.
JONES: You're looking to penetrate that person's spirit so they can't recover and that's what the difference.
MORGAN: Let me flip the argument on its head slightly and say, has Barack Obama, as the first black president, done enough himself for the black community in America? Because many in the black community tell me that they are disappointed at him.
JONES: Am I happy with everything that has happened? Absolutely not.
Am I happier that he's the president of the United States than Mitt Romney? Absolutely, without question. The changes that are occurring in our criminal justice system, stop and frisk, the fact that we have an African American who sits at the head of the Justice Department gives me much more feeling that there are opportunities there. What we have done in healthcare, are you kidding me? With Obamacare, that has absolutely changed the course of what will ultimately be African-American, Latino and poor people in America receiving benefits that they otherwise would not be.
So, am I happy with everything the president has done? No. I've never been happy with anything that everything president does.
JONES: The president is not going to be able to make Star Jones or Piers Morgan happy all the time. But I'll tell you one thing -- I'd rather have him sitting there than what my other options were.
MORGAN: I'll be happy, you spoke in a British accent.
But lets move on to Marissa Mayer. Marissa Mayer appears in "Vogue." A very glamorous photograph of her that we saw last night, you can see again there.
And the piece reads, "Marissa Mayer's ascent up the corporate ladder and to the top of the tech world are enough to make her the mentor that every working woman wants."
Do you agree with that?
JONES: You know what? She is a fantastic mentor. But, you know, there is a relationship between a mentor and mentee. And I think Marissa Mayer would completely agree with me. Not only would she want to be the right mentor but she need a mentee that brought something to the table.
I was actually so inspired by this piece. It gives the opportunity for women, women executives, women professionals, to say that I can care about my business. I can move up the corporate ladder. I can move towards success and power, and I can still keep my femininity.
I thought this was extremely powerful and it allows us to not just be thought of in one category or another. It's OK to be pretty and smart and powerful. It's all right. That makes her a triple threat.
MORGAN: It certainly is, Star. And you were (INAUDIBLE) under that context, not to mention your stunning hairstyle which has not gone unnoticed. So, congratulations on that and I appreciate you joining me.
JONES: Hair is an accessory, I change it with my mood.
MORGAN: Come back next week, Star. I love our little joust. It's good to see you.
JONES: Nice to see you. MORGAN: Coming next, the hero who saved Dick Van Dyke from his burning car joins me to talk about the incredible rescue.
MORGAN: Dick Van Dyke is a talented entertainer. He's also one lucky man. His jaguar burst into flames yesterday and that's when Jason Pennington leaped into action, pulling Van Dyke from the car and probably saving his life.
And Jason Pennington joins me now, along with his wife Kimberly.
Welcome to you both.
Now, to put this into context, you yourself, Kimberly, three weeks ago on the 405 were in a terrible accident and a Good Samaritan came to your aid, you broke five ribs and punctured a lung, a major actually here. So cut forward three weeks and the same thing happens but not to you, you're helping as it turns out, one of the most famous people in Hollywood.
Jason, tell me what happened.
JASON PENNINGTON, RESCUED DICK VAN DYKE FROM BURNING CAR: Well, we were driving down the freeway and there was a car on fire, which isn't uncommon in L.A. in the summertime, and as we were driving by, there was nobody around the vehicle, so we thought maybe they were standing away, and my wife looked over, actually and the car was full of smoke and the flames were on the hood.
And she said, "There is a man in the front seat of that car hunched over." I said, "You're kidding me?" She said, "No, there really is, there really is."
And I just thought -- I don't know. I didn't think. Somebody can't burn. Nobody is helping him.
So, I flipped around and went up the onramp of parkway Calabasas part so I could get close to the vehicle. Park around there and I opened the door. There was an elderly gentlemen trying to gather his things. I said, "Sir, you got to get out of the car. You got to get out of the car." And he said, "I'm trying to all the DMV." I didn't know who it was. He was bent over.
And then the flames actually engulfed front end of the vehicle and I could feel the heat --
KIMBERLY PENNINGTON, WIFE OF GOOD SAMARITAN: Yes.
J. PENNINGTON: And you don't want to really lay hands on anybody or grab somebody. So, I just grabbed him by the arm and I pulled him out and said, "You got to get out now." As he stumbled out he looked at me and I realized who it was and he says, 'I'm OK. I'm OK." I said, "That's good, let's get away from the car." He said, "Really, I'm fine."
MORGAN: Looking at the pictures of the car going up completely in flames.
J. PENNINGTON: Very fast.
MORGAN: How fast after you pulling him out did it go up?
J. PENNINGTON: As we're walking away, I sit him down and he looks at his car and he goes, "Is that my car on fire?" And I said, "Yes, that's your car." And he said, "Man, I just got it out of the shop." Kind of made a joke. He's very polite.
I said, "You're Dick Van Dyke." And he goes, "Yes, I am. What's your name?" I said, "Jason Pennington." And he goes, "Nice to meet you, Jason," and he was just sitting there as his car burned.
MORGAN: How long after that did the car --
J. PENNINGTON: It was gone then. It was completely in flames --
MORGAN: So, within several minutes, moments.
K. PENNINGTON: Within three (ph) minutes --
MORGAN: So, Kimberly, from what you were watching, he would almost certainly be dead, probably.
K. PENNINGTON: There is no question in my mind. My husband ran over to him, and the front end of the car was already burning. He opened the car door, and tried to assist the gentleman, and in the time that he was just standing at the car door, the entire front end of the car was in flames. I was shocked. I was absolutely shocked at how quickly that entire car was engulf in flames.
K. PENNINGTON: And I was terrified for my husband, but he was really amazing. He got the gentleman out of the car. Of course, we had no idea who was that. You know, coaxed him away from his car.
MORGAN: So, tell me, Jason. How do you feel about saving Dick Van Dyke's life? I mean, not every day you do that in Hollywood.
J. PENNINGTON: Yes, living in L.A., you see lots of stars. But the whole thing is what I'll say is, you know, policemen and firemen -- you know, my brother-in-law is a NICU doctor and he saves babies every day. Like he's my hero.
To me, I thought it was just doing the right thing, being a good human.
MORGAN: I think you were a hero, I got to say. J. PENNINGTON: He was in the car and I would have done it for anybody. And that's why he didn't get my name because when the paramedics and I were there, I said, hey, I'm glad you're all right and shook his hand and left. She didn't even know who it was and I got --
MORGAN: Have you heard from Dick Van Dyke?
J. PENNINGTON: No.
MORGAN: He's probably watching, because I know he watches this show. It's (INAUDIBLE) we're talking about that.
So, Dick, if you're watching, why don't you get together with Jason and buy him a pint or something. I'd buy him a pint. He saved your life.
Amazing story, but I'm so glad that you're OK after your freakish coincidental accident three weeks before that. I'd stay off the roads (ph), you two.
J. PENNINGTON: Yes, right?
MORGAN: But thank you both very much. Jason, congratulations, because Dick is a good guy and you almost certainly saved his life. So, thank you.
Coming up, actress Cynthia Nixon, the "Sex in the City" star is a New Yorker, born and bred, and she's here with Bill de Blasio, a man who many believe could be the city's next mayor. We're going to grill him after the break.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BILL DE BLASIO (D), NEW YORK MAYORAL CANDIDATE: I've made it very clear that Mr. Weiner should step aside for the good of the city, because we need a debate on the issues.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MORGAN: New York mayoral race is hitting up as Bill de Blasio is taking a shot at Anthony Weiner. Both men are battling to be the next boss of the Big Apple. But as the progressive, de Blasio is now topping the polls.
Can this Red Sox fan -- yes, you heard me -- Red Sox fan win over New York?
Bill de Blasio is with me now, along with supporter and "Sex in the City" star, Cynthia Nixon. And they join me exclusively.
Welcome to you both. CYNTHIA NIXON, ACTRESS: Thank you.
MORGAN: This is the big question, isn't it? A Red Sox fan -- Bill, how are you going to pull that off?
DE BLASIO: You know, Piers, New York City is a city of immigrants, including immigrants from the Boston area.
DE BLASIO: So, I think New Yorkers are open to all.
MORGAN: I've tried that line about the Brits. It doesn't go down very well.
DE BLASIO: It does work out.
But I'll tell you one thing -- it's the team I grew up with and I'm not changing. So hopefully people realize there's some integrity in sticking to what you believe.
MORGAN: I'm sure they're very sympathetic down to the Yankee Stadium for that argument.
MORGAN: Now, Cynthia, why Bill? What is it about him that you prefer to the other candidates? Because, you know, there's an openly gay candidate, would be the first gay mayor of New York, first woman. It's the same person obviously. So why not go with the glass ceiling and go with old Bill?
NIXON: I've known Bill for 10-plus years. I've known him fighting in the trenches for public schools and for public school funding and fight budget cutbacks. And for me, there is no other candidate that is going to, you know, change the course of the last 12 years and create a fairer and more equitable New York for everybody. There was never any choice in my mind.
MORGAN: The subtle charms of Anthony Weiner haven't -- haven't appealed to you?
NIXON: Not so far.
DE BLASIO: Don't hold your breath, Piers.
NIXON: I feel like in a race that's been marked by scandal and really small ideas -- in Bill de Blasio, we have a guy with big ideas who's a real game changer. And I think that New Yorkers, that's what they're reacting to and it's so welcome and it's so overdue.
MORGAN: Now, we've got a great clip here. This is from your daughter, bragging about you. Let's watch this.
(BEGIN VIDEOCLIP) CHIARA DE BLASIO, BILL DE BLASIO'S DAUGHTER: I'm so happy that I get to work with my dad and the rest of my family on this campaign, because it would be one thing if I thought he was like some boring white guy who didn't know what he was talking about. But, you know, he cares about everybody in the city, every different type of person, you know, rich, poor, black, white, blue, whatever, and, you know, that's what we really need.
B. DE BLASIO: I'm Bill de Blasio, and I'm not a boring white guy.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MORGAN: I've got to say, Bill, I love your daughter. I thought that was fantastic.
DE BLASIO: You know, she's got a lot of charm, and she just tells it like it is. That was a real sweet moment. It was a room full of young progressives and I was so proud of her. You know, I was so proud of her.
And she and my son, Dante, are playing a big role in this campaign. There's Dante in the background with the rather prominent hair.
And, you know, I think people love it. They love seeing a family together representing the kind of changes we need in this city -- a city that would be inclusive of everyone again.
MORGAN: Cynthia, tell me why Bill's not a boring white guy?
NIXON: Why is Bill not a boring white guy? He's a real profound thinker, all the issues that he really cares about and that he really speaks out on. He's not a Johnny-come-lately to them.
There are issues he's been working on in some cases for decades and he's the only person running who has the guts to go out there and say, we need to have a small tax on the rich so we can provide universal, full-day pre-K for every 4-year-old in New York City, which I think will make such an impact on the city and the education system as a whole. And as a public school parent, that just means worlds to me.
MORGAN: Bill, let's flip forward five, six years. You've been mayor of New York and all been going swimmingly. You've pushed through your agenda.
What are the things you would have liked to have achieved most? Give me the top three.
DE BLASIO: Yes. You know, Piers, right now, I think the issue this city is the inequality that is really unfortunately fundamentally affecting people all over the city. So, I would say we're living a tale of two cities right now, where some are doing very well and a lot of New Yorkers are struggling.
So the number one hope is after four years to have addressed the inequality, the tax on the wealthy to start to fix our schools, for example. Paid sick leave, here's an area where hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers had no paid sick days, and the city has the power to pass local legislation that would achieve that.
And, finally, stop and frisk. Let's face it. We've had two systems of policing in this city in recent years, there's separate and unequal. Different neighborhoods treated very, very differently and that's created a rift between the police and community making it harder to protect public safety in the long run, and obviously been found unconstitutional in this last week by a federal judge.
So, I want to say at the end of four years that we've actually brought police and community back together and we've respected the Constitution.
MORGAN: That sounds a pretty good premise to me.
Cynthia, if you were doing a slogan for Bill, what would it be?
NIXON: Bill de Blasio, for a more fairer, more equitable, more just New York.
DE BLASIO: Wouldn't fit on a bumper sticker, though.
MORGAN: I sort of prefer your daughter's line.
NIXON: Is it long?
MORGAN: I think I prefer your daughter's line, Bill. I'm sorry, Cynthia, I don't want to --
NIXON: Not a boring white guy?
MORGAN: Yes, I think that's the best tag line I've ever heard.
NIXON: OK, I think you win. I think you win.
DE BLASIO: Piers, we're going to follow your advice and print hundreds of thousands tonight.
MORGAN: If you do posters say that say, "Not a boring white guy, vote Bill de Blasio," you will win and you will thank me and your daughter.
NIXON: All right.
DE BLASIO: Well, from this point, I'll break all of our relevant news on this show and thanks for that advice.
MORGAN: That is exactly where I was steering the conversation. Bill de Blasio and Cynthia -- thank you both very much. Good to talk to you.
DE BLASIO: Thanks, Piers.
NIXON: Thank you so much.
MORGAN: We'll be right back.
MORGAN: Tomorrow night, Steve Wozniak, the Woz, joins me to talk about Apple and the new movie starring Ashton Kutcher.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
STEVE WOZNIAK, APPLE CO-FOUNDER: It had Steve Jobs' mannerisms but it didn't have his thinking and his thoughts.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MORGAN: I got say, Steve may go one of my favorite guests ever and he doesn't disappoint. Tune in tomorrow night for a very honest and colorful interview, as always. Be sure to watch that.
That's tomorrow night. For tonight, that is it from us.
Anderson Cooper starts right now.