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Minnesota Vikings Running Back Adrian Peterson Has Been Indicted on Felony Charge of Injury to a Child; James Foley's Mother Claims They Were Threatened to be Prosecuted by Government if They Would Give Ransom in Exchange for Son's Release; Alleged Palin Birthday Brawl; Gun Instructor's Children Console Girl Who Killed Him; "Terror At The Mall" On HBO

Aired September 12, 2014 - 20:00   ET


ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Good evening, everyone. Thanks for joining us.

We begin tonight with breaking news and more bad news for the NFL. In the middle of the Ray Rice scandal, another awful allegation to tell you about involving one of its players, this time the alleged victim, a child. Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson has been indicted on felony charge of injury to a child. That, according to the Montgomery county Texas sheriff's office which is has issued an arrest warrant for Peterson. We'll have more on that in a moment.

As you know, this comes of a time when no one is really seeing in the NFL phrases when it comes to how it deals with players involving crimes alleged or otherwise. The fallout continues over former Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice punching out his then fiancee in an elevator knocking her unconscious.

Today, the NFL players association got an official confirmation of Ray Rice's suspension by the league in a letter signed by NFL commissioner Roger Goodell, according to ESPN. That letter could be more trouble for Goodell.

CNN sports' Rachel Nichols, host of "UNGUARDED" joins me now, along with CNN senior legal analyst, Jeffrey Toobin.

I mean, another domestic violence incident, this time against a child. I mean, this is the last thing showing the NFL wants to hear. What do we hear about this?

RACHEL NICHOLS, CNN ANCHOR, UNGUARDED WITH RACHEL NICHOLS: And it is not just anyone committing this. Adrian Peterson is one of the biggest stars in the NFL. He has been deactivated this weekend from playing, which for anybody watching this, this is really a little bit of a step forward because really, we have seen many players just play after these incidents. He has been pulled off the field.

But what happened was, and this is not really in disputed since, is that he was disciplining his 4-year-old son. He has told police according to multiple sources that he used what he called a switch, a tree branch that he had removed the leaves from and that he was disciplining him for getting into an altercation with one of his other children.

Now then, he returned the 4-year-old son to the child's mother after the custody visit and the mother noticed bruises and scratches on the child's body. Again according to the -- has television station that you seen the police report, they say there were bruises on the child's legs, ankles, buttock, and scrotum. And that the child showed enough bruises and some open cuts and scratches that the mother took him to the doctor, and that the child then talked to the police and describing also being hit in the face. So this is troubling.

COOPER: And Jeff, he apparently told the Houston station or the police say that he told them that he gave the child what he called a whipping.

JEFFREY TOOBIN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Right. And I was emailing, right before we went on the air with Rusty Harden who represents Adrian Peterson, a very distinguished lawyer in Texas who happens to be in Italy right now, and this is what Rusty wrote to me. He said the story is pretty simple. A father disciplines his child for harming another child in the same manner that he, the father, was disciplined and he unintentionally caused an injury he never intended or meant to happen.

Now, obviously, we need to know what the facts are. But even if Adrian Peterson was disciplined in this way, even abused as a child that certainly is no excuse to abuse his own child.

COOPER: But now, there are plenty of parents in the United States who do believe in using a form of corporal punishment against a child.

TOOBIN: That is certainly true. And there are areas where this becomes controversial and difficult for the legal system to sort out. When you have significant bruising as this is apparently the case here, that is when discipline can turn into a crime. And at least the grand jury in this -- in this Texas County thought it was a felony.

COOPER: And you know, according to the attorney he is going to turn himself in.

TOOBIN: Correct, yes. Rusty Harden said to me in the email that he will head to Houston and turn himself in shortly. I don't know when exactly. But as Rachel said he will not be playing this weekend.

COOPER: It is interesting. Now, there is also this development of a letter sent to the player's association.

NICHOLS: It is kind of amazing to me that Roger Goodell and the NFL offices are doubling down on this defense that Ray Rice did not tell them the truth in the hearing and that is why they levied such an unfortunately lenient punishment.

COOPER: Which by the way it goes against what the coach of the Ravens said in a press conference just several days ago --

NICHOLS: And several witnesses and sources that the different news outlets that had. And the police report, the original police report from the incident clearly states that Rice struck Janay Palmer at the time, that is how they refer to her, and that rendering her unconscious. It is not confusing. It is very clear in the report. So the idea that they didn't know is frankly preposterous. I mean, it seems strange to me that the NFL and Roger Goodell are going so hard with the defense that so easily knocked down. And even if you maybe sort of believe them, I'm not sure who we justify the idea of hey, the guy committed the crime to me didn't exactly describe the crime to me. I didn't bother to check the police report say what are you going to. I mean, it just seems like a strange defense all the way around.

COOPER: If Ray Rice's attorney had that tape -- I mean, I keep coming to this, and they were in a meeting with Ray Rice and wife or his fiancee and the attorneys couldn't they have just said to the attorneys look you have to give us what you have?

TOOBIN: Well, we are now in the famous Watergate question of what did the NFL know and when did it know it? When did they know what Ray Rice really did to his fiancee in the elevator? It seems apparent to all of us that it was obvious from day one that he punched her. And that video was available with it seems very minimal effort. And again, if you believe the report yesterday from the associated press, they did -- someone --

COOPER: Someone in the NFL did have it.

TOOBIN: Some woman at the NFL did have it as long ago as April.

NICHOLS: I mean, there are so many sources for this information that they did have access to just sit there and say well, Ray Rice lied to us. It is just crazy to me that when they are under so much pressure that that is the best defense they can come up with?

COOPER: What is likely to happen on this other charge of the abuse of a child?

TOOBIN: Well, there will be an arraignment in Houston or in the region and he will certainly get out on bail. But then the NFL will have to decide how to proceed. One of the -- you know, as Rachel said earlier, the policies of the NFL are not clear. There are people in the NFL who have been convicted of domestic violence who are still playing.

COOPER: Who is appealing --

NICHOLS: Greg Hardy and the Carolina Panthers is appealing. But he has been convicted. So you would think that would be enough to pull him off the field and it has not been.

TOOBIN: It has been basically a dictatorship. You know, what Roger Goodell thinks about each individual's player's situation is what -- what goes, but I think that is increasingly unattainable and they need a policy.

COOPER: Rachel Nichols, thanks very much. Jeff Toobin, as well.

Be sure to tune into Rachel's program "UNGUARDED," at 10:30 eastern tonight right here on CNN all the latest developments on these. The Ray Rice affairs turned to harsh spotlight, obviously, on the way to professional sports handle cases of domestic violence. As you know, before the videotape came out Rice was only suspended just for two games. It is not just the NFL, of course, it seems to be leaning about this type of criminal behavior.

Kyung Lah reports.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They don't care about the violence. They care about the bottom line.

KYUNG LAH, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Outrage in the open, over the air waves of talk radio.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, who the hell is going to play in goal tonight? He is our number one guy. He has to play, if a woman got bruised up a little bit.

LAH: Domestic violence doesn't just happen in the NFL but sports watchers point out, pro football handles domestic violence the best.

MIKE TUCK, RADIO HOST: The truth about the other sports is that the NBA and Major League baseball have not taken it any more seriously than the NFL.

LAH: Radio host Mike Tuck says take a look at a rest across professional and penalties had lagged behind the NFL now six-game suspension, the handling of Ray Rice because of this video is the exception. In some cases, professional players from other leagues are back the same week.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: My lawyers have advised me not to comment.

LAH: And the MNL Phillies player, Brett Meyers, arguing on Boston street corner with his wife in June 23rd, 2006. Witnesses called 911 saying that Meyers struck his wife. Hours later, his team supported him.


LAH: Meyers pitched less than 48 hours later. His wife did not testify and the charges were dropped. Another MLB player and eventual manager Bobby Koch (ph) face a charge for a number of arrests for abusing his wife who showed up in court holding his hand. He was inducted into the hall of fame this year.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: My husband just hit me in the face.

LAH: A 911 call from the wife of then Phoenix Sun's (ph) basketball player, Jason Kidd.

JASON KIDD, FORMER BASKETBALL PLAYER: I love my wife. I love my family. LAH: He publicly apologized for hitting his wife. Kidd pled guilty

to a misdemeanor, reportedly paid a $200 fine to the courts and went back to the basketball court. He is now a coach for the Milwaukee bucks.

Former Memphis player James Johnson was arrested on a charge of domestic violence. Charges were dismissed and he signed a new contract with the Toronto raptors.

Former L.A. Lakers Matt Barnes was also arrested for domestic abuse. But after his fiancee called it a misunderstanding, he has moved on to play with the Clippers. Then, there is the NHL, Colorado avalanche Golli Senya Barlama (ph) arrested and charged for assaulting his girlfriend. He was on the ice the very next game. The prosecutor eventually dropped the charges saying he could not win a conviction.

Individual teams like baseball's Seattle mariners have been pro active with domestic violence, educating players in drawing a harder line than the league. But they are the exception.

TUCK: There is no question that this is a signal not just for the NFL but for all professional sports to take domestic violence more seriously.


COOPER: Kyung Lah joins me now. So I mean, do the leagues have official policies on this?

LAH: Well, we actually reached out to ever single league to see if we can get it in writing. What we did find out is when it comes to hockey. They essentially don't have a policy. They treat these cases on a case by case basis as far as baseball. The only set discipline that they have is for drug use when it comes to domestic violence. They bring the neutral expert. And as far as basketball, there is a ten games suspension. But Anderson, it is only if there is a conviction for a violent felony. The takeaway here is that the NFL, you may dispute or say they're not treating them more harshly, these cases of domestic violence, they're actually the harshest on paper when it comes to policy.

COOPER: All right, Kyung Lah, appreciate it. Thanks very much.

Just ahead, new snags in the fight against ISIS, late word on uncooperative allies who leave in hear a version of the Iraq phrase, coalition of the willing and. White House confuses whether to call this war and other late developments.

Also later, the Palin family goes to a birthday party in Alaska and apparently lands in the middle of a large brawl. Details on that and more when we continue.


COOPER: Welcome back. New developments tonight in the fight against ISIS, also some big obstacles, they range from the complicated assembling a coalition of the not so willing to the very, very basic naming what to call it, is it war or is it not?

Yesterday, the administrations said no. Today, some in the administration say yes. Chief correspondent Jim Sciutto has more on that tonight as well as other new developments in the fight, whatever you want to call it.

So Jim, I mean, the administration does seems to be all over the map on whether or not we are at war with ISIS. State department said no. Secretary Kerry said no, don't use that word. White House says yes, Pentagon says yes.

JIM SCIUTTO, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: Well, it seems like now they are giving up that battle. They say they are at war with ISIS, but not like with the Iraq war or the Afghan war, more like, in their words, the war against al-Qaeda in various places -- Yemen, Somalia, against core al-Qaeda in northwest Pakistan.

So what does that mean? It means drone strikes, it means partnering with local forces. It does not mean U.S. boots on the ground, but the fact is, Anderson, this campaign as outlined by the president against ISIS is much bigger than anything the U.S. has done against AQAP (ph) in Yemen or al-Shabaab in Somalia. Already in the last month, we've had 150 air airstrikes. That's more than you had in years in Yemen or Somali. So this is going to be bigger, but not quite the invasion of Iraq or Afghanistan.

COOPER: But the number of U.S. personnel has already more than doubled just in a couple of weeks. There was 500 advisers and an additional several hundred, who knows how many ultimately. As far as gathering a coalition is concern, though, I mean, there has been a lot of talk about and obviously that is something critical to President Obama and a lot of his past military actions, but it doesn't seem like things are going off to a rousing start here.

SCIUTTO: At least in public, no, based on the comments you heard that Secretary Kerry has been traveling the region. I mean, you look at the key partners there, Saudi Arabia. The U.S. wants Saudi Arabia to host the training camp for these moderate Syrian rebels, arming trade, no public commitment from Saudi Arabia to do that.

U.S. may want Turkey, neighboring Syria, to be a base of air strikes against ISIS forces inside Syria. And Syria reluctant to do that because there are a number of its own citizens, they are now being held I inside Syria. They are concerned about their safety.

Then you have Jordan, also neighboring Syria, the U.S. may want to train rebels there, but the Jordanian leaders making the point, they already have a CIA training camp. But the things is, Anderson, what they say in public may be different than what they say in private because it is dangerous for some of these countries to make those prediction -- those commitments in public. We will see. We will see what the secretary comes away with it.

COOPER: It is also important to point out, these are countries which (INAUDIBLE) have more to fear from ISIS, certainly than the United States does in the short term. I mean, they are in the region. They are certainly countries, the leadership of which would be targeted by ISIS.

At the Pentagon briefings today, U.S, -- if the U.S. was prepared to take the lion's share of this military effort if it doesn't get support from these countries, what was the response?

SCIUTTO: Well, it is interesting. What the Pentagon spokesman admiral John Kirby said, rather than leadership, he said to me, rather than lion shared, he said this is the U.S. taking leadership of this effort. But he said it is asking its partners in the region to do what they can. And it is interesting in this answer, Ander, which we will play just in a second here, you will hear a phrase that will be very familiar to our viewers from just before the Iraq invasion. Have a listen to this.


REAR ADM. JOHN KIRBY, PENTAGON PRESS SECRETARY: The United States is leading this effort to build and sustain a coalition of willing partners. And that is the key word, Jim, willing partners. Everybody has to come to this effort with what they can, where and when they can.


SCIUTTO: So there you go. Coalition of willing partners sounds a lot like -- the coalition of the willing. Before, and you remember what that was. That was kind of a piecemeal thing. You have all these countries involved in Iraq with some with just a few forces here, you know, South American and Central American neighbors, you know, allies sending a few forces here and there.

I mean, what the U.S. really needs is hard support. They need boots on the ground. They may need, you know, countries willing to do airstrikes to host training camps. And that is something the U.S. has no public commitments yet.

COOPER: It is a fascinating turn of events for President Obama who campaigned on, you know, obviously the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Democrats made fun of the whole notion coalition of the willing, and here we are yet again.

Jim Sciutto, thanks.


COOPER: And in addition to not so eager allies and message confusion and criticism from all makers of both parties, the White House is a critic. And Diane Foley, mother of murdered ISIS captor Jim Foley. She is, we should say, (INAUDIBLE) reluctant critic who is speaking out. She says so that others may find themselves in her situation in the future will have things better than she did.

We spoke yesterday and recall she was critical of how the government officials dealt with the family during their ordeal. We got a limited official response last night who are concerns. Tonight, we got a bit more. First, I want to play you some more of what she said in other

conversation about the foundation launching today in Jim Foley's name and new details about his captivity.


DIANE FOLEY, JAMES FOLEY'S MOTHER: We were told we could not raise ransom. That it was illegal. We might be prosecuted.

COOPER: You were told you would actually be prosecuted --

FOLEY: Yes, that was a real possibility. Told that many times. We were told that our government would not exchange prisoners, would not do a military action. So -- we were just told to trust that -- he would be freed somehow miraculously. And he was not, was he?

We, Americans failed him. It's nobody's fault. It's just the fault of a lack of discussion around it and understanding of the problem.

COOPER: When Bowe Bergdahl was released and there was that prisoner exchange --

FOLEY: Exactly.

COOPER: I'm sure obviously, you were happy for his family.

FOLEY: Of course, absolutely.

COOPER: But did it raise questions for you because you said you had been told there would be no prisoner exchange.

FOLEY: Absolutely. Well, we didn't understand. And I am told that Jim and the others in captivity were hopeful that we -- that deal that allowed Bowe Bergdahl's freedom, that our government would try to find a way to get them free. And it did not appear to be an issue that -- they were willing to prioritize, you know.

COOPER: There was a rescue effort, apparently made.

FOLEY: Yes, late, very late. Yes.

COOPER: You wish it would have been sooner.

FOLEY: We feel that the location -- their location was known for more than a year.

COOPER: It was?


COOPER: They had been moved a couple of times. That is true. When there was a movement of is from Aleppo to Raqqa. There were several moves in that transition. But there was also two times when they were at a location that we were aware of for months.

COOPER: Do you believe ransoms should be paid? FOLEY: Anderson, I believe our son deserved a chance to come home. I

really do. And we're dealing with very difficult people when we talk about ISIS. Their hate for us is great. And yet, some of our response to them has only increased the hate. You know? So I feel there is a need for debate, discussion. I pray that our government would be willing to learn from the mistakes that were made and to acknowledge that there are better ways for American citizens to be treated.

COOPER: I know you have received an e-mail asking for a huge amount of money. Did you -- when you got that email what did you think?

FOLEY: At that time, we were delighted to receive the proof of life questions and to have any contact with them. We were given hope by that. However, their requests were impossible for us, 100 million Euros, or all Muslim prisoners to be freed. The requests from the terrorists were totally directed towards the government, really. And yet we as an American family had to figure out how to answer them. So there was a real disconnect with that.

COOPER: And the situation like that, is it left to you to figure out how to answer to them?

FOLEY: It was.

COOPER: People in the government don't say here is what we recommend?

FOLEY: No. The FBI was kind. They would look over our letter and tweak it, give suggestions, they did give some suggestions. But there was no feeling of real strategy or negotiation. It was, we did all the answering of the e-mails, you know? Which was ridiculous, we didn't know what we were doing.

I think ISIS thought the government was answering them. You know? I think the ISIS group wanted to engage our government. And our government refused to be engaged. You know? And I understand it. I know -- forgive me for making this sound simplistic. It is very complicated.

So all I'm saying is that I hope this legacy foundation can make some changes and challenge all of us both as families and our government to talk about this. And have a policy that gives hope for kidnapped Americans and their families.


COOPER: One quick note, the James W. Foley legacy Fund and foundation which she spoke about, you can find out more information about it @jamesfoleyfund, that is one word, dot-org. We also have a link to it on our Web site. I also tweeted about it.

More now on reaction to the interview from justice correspondent Pamela Brown.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) PAMELA BROWN, CNN JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): James Foley's mother tells Anderson she was threatened by government officials that she would be prosecuted if she raised money to free her kidnapped son.

FOLEY: We were told we could not raise ransom. That it was illegal. We might be prosecuted.

BROWN: Last night after we aired the Foley interview on "AC360," the national security council took a hard line saying the law is clear, that ransom payments did designated individuals or entity such as ISIL are prohibited, doing so would only put more Americans at risk of being taking captive. But today, in response to Foley's accusation, secretary of state John Kerry said he was not aware of any official suggesting criminal charges.

JOHN KERRY, SECRETARY OF STATE: I am totally unaware and would not condone anybody that I know of within the state department making such statements. So I don't know about it.

BROWN: Bryan Cunningham is a former prosecutor and CIA officer. He says government officials are supposed to help advice families of hostages.

BRYAN CUNNINGHAM, FORMER PROSECUTOR: Threatening someone with a criminal prosecution when they're trying to save their child is not only in my opinion is reprehensible, it is also counterproductive.

FOLEY: As an American, I was embarrassed and appalled.

BROWN: In the CNN interview, Diane Foley also made it clear, the U.S. needed to do more to rescue her son. But administration officials say their track record with Foley was solid, pointing to the fact that he had been kidnapped once before a few years ago in Libya. He was released by efforts from diplomatic efforts by U.S. officials. And today, in a response to CNN's interview with Foley, the White House reiterated that rescuing Foley this time was such a priority, it sent in U.S. special forces in July.

JOSH EARNEST, WHITE HOUSE DEPUTY PRESS SECRETARY: Despite the way the mission was executed, that is to say successfully it did not end in the release of Mr. Foley.

BROWN: While Diane Foley is not blaming anyone in the U.S. government she says the fact her son is now dead is proof something needs to change.

FOLEY: As a family we had to find our way through this on our own.


COOPER: And one of the things I think she is really talking about is better communication for family members even between family members. Could a family actually be prosecuted for paying ransom or trying to raise ransom? Has that ever happened?

BROWN: Well, Anderson, not that I'm aware of. I'm still going to a lot of U.S. officials today, former prosecutors, they say they're not aware of any cases where a family has paid ransom to a terrorist organization and then be prosecuted. Now, could it happen? Technically yes, there is a material support laws on the books that would make it illegal for any American to pay a terrorist organization but a prosecution o matter the circumstance, but a prosecution would be highly unlikely -- Anderson.

COOPER: And I hear you have been speaking with administration officials, today. I was wondering about their reaction to the claim that the family was, I don't know, threatened or told this?

BROWN: You know, the officials I have spoken to were really shocked by this that any government official would threaten a family to try to dissuade them from paying ransom to a terroristic organization. Officials I spoken to says, obviously, it is a very complicated delicate situation when you are dealing with families who have a love one that is being held hostage. And there is a way to get the point across that perhaps, it is not the best idea to pay ransom because it may not get your loved one back and it could jeopardize the mission of rescuing them and put others in harm's way. But the idea of threatening the family with prosecutions, the officials I'm speaking to are just, they are just shocked by that notion, Anderson.

COOPER: All right, Pamela, appreciate it. Pamela Brown, thanks.

Coming up next, from the serious to -- seriously, that is what you will say when we tell you if Sarah Palin, Todd Palin, and the rest are in the news for. Story from way up north, and we'll bring it to you next.


COOPER: Well, Sarah Palin is back in the headlines tonight, for a party in an alleged fight and fallout, and yes, snow machines were apparently involved. Details from Suzanne Malveaux.


SUZANNE MALVEAUX, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The Palin's reality show on TLC features the family dog, target shooting and caribou hunting. But according to blogger, Amanda Coyne, who broke the story out of Anchorage, Alaska, reality maybe a lot more interesting.

AMANDA COYNE, ANCHORAGE BLOGGER: I would describe it as a big brawl, other people there were describing it as a big, crazy brawl.

MALVEAUX: It allegedly happened last Saturday at a joint birthday party in a suburban neighborhood. Coyne says Sarah Palin, her husband, Todd, and their children, Bristol, Willow and Track, pulled up in a stretch hummer limo together, it was Todd's 50th birthday, so he was one of those the party was celebrating.

COYNE: Track approached one of Willow Palin's ex-boyfriend and got into some sort of scuffle with him, then Todd Palin somehow got involved in that scuffle. That was broken up, Willow and Bristol started approaching the family of the ex-boyfriend. Bristol, witnesses say, began to punch the owner of the house in the face.

MALVEAUX: Coyne says she talked to several eyewitnesses including Eric Thompson who told this to ABC News.

ERIC THOMPSON, ALLEGED EYEWITNESS: Bristol just reached back and started clocking him. And she hit him you know, reached way back here and caught him right in the chin like, you know, I counted at least six times.

COYNE: Sarah Palin then herself according to witnesses, got involved, and tried to get into the middle of the brawl and was screaming and yelling.

MALVEAUX: CNN cannot independently confirm that the Palins were involved in the melee. But the Anchorage police say the family was there telling us just before midnight Anchorage police responded to a report of a verbal and physical altercation taking place between multiple subjects outside of the residence.

Alcohol was believed to have been a factor in the incident. Some of the Palin family members were in attendance. The Palin family has not commented on the alleged incident despite CNN's numerous attempts to reach out to them.

Sarah Palin did post on her Facebook page the next day, but made no mention of the party. She says, I was traveling yesterday so I'm posting Todd's 50th birthday greeting a day late, which is fine because the handsome guy barely looks a day over 50.


MALVEAUX: Anchorage police tell us at the time of the incident, none of the parties wanted to press charges and no arrests were made. Suzanne Malveaux, CNN, Washington.

COOPER: Coming up, a new chapter to the terrible story of that 9- year-old girl who accidentally killed the instructor at a gun range while he was teaching her to shoot an Uzi. Now his children have a message for the little girl. You do want to hear it that's next.


COOPER: The recent accidental death of an Arizona gun instructor is a story that certainly hard to forget. It's put a spotlight on children in shooting range. It's also a tragedy that's like to leave deep emotional scars.

The man who was killed was a father of four, his kids obviously had suffered a tremendous loss. And yet, remarkably, they have reached out with compassion to the young girl who killed their own father. Randi Kaye has more.


UNIDENTIFIED CHILD: We wrote this letter to the little girl. We don't know your name, but we are connected by this tragedy. RANDI KAYE, CNN INVESTIGATIVE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): A tragedy that took place last month at this Arizona gun range. When a 9-year- old girl learning to shoot an Uzi --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: All right, go ahead and give it one shot. All right.

KAYE: Accidentally shot and killed her instructor, the Uzi jumped out of her left hand when she tried to fire it. He was airlifted to a hospital and later pronounced dead from his injuries. His name was Charles Vacca and these are his children, ages 11 to 19.

They wrote this moving letter to the 9-year-old girl their father spent his final moments with. They want her to know they don't blame her for what happened.

ELIZABETH VACCA, DAUGHTER OF CHARLES VACCA: My dad would want you to move forward with your life. You should not let this define you. You should love yourself and love your family.

KAYE: The children's attorney say they hope this can give her closure.

MARC LAMBER, ATTORNEY FOR VACCA CHILDREN: It is their wish to look her eye to eye and to be able to tell her it's OK.

TYLOR VACCA, SON OF CHARLES VACCA: You're only 9 years old. We think about you. We're worried about you. We pray for you and we wish you peace. Our dad would have wanted the same thing.

KAYE: Their dad was a family man and an Army veteran who served two tours in Kosovo. The kids say they want the world to know him for who he was, not for the tragedy that took his life.

ELIZABETH VACCA: My dad was not just an instructor, he was funny, strong, a hero and our protector, he was a good man.

KAYE: Open hearts at such a young age and in the face of such sudden loss.

JAMES GOODNOW, ATTORNEY FOR VACCA CHILDREN: They're going through an unbelievably difficult process and they know that the young girl involved in this is going through the same.

ASHLEY MOSER, DAUGHTER OF CHARLES VACCA: Like you, we are living through this tragic event that we cannot shut off. It's with us all the time.

CHRISTOPHER VACCA, SON OF CHARLES VACCA: Someday we hope we can meet you, hug you and tell you that it's OK.

KAYE: A message of forgiveness written for a child who they know is hurting too. Randi Kaye, CNN, New York.


COOPER: Extraordinary compassion. There is a lot more happening tonight. Susan Hendricks has a 360 Bulletin -- Susan.

SUSAN HENDRICKS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Anderson, a Florida driver has accused George Zimmerman of threatening to harm him during a road rage incident and then showing up at his work place the next day. The Lake Mara Police Department said the man is not pressing charges and Zimmerman was not arrested.

A judge has found Oscar Pistorius guilty of culpable homicide. The South African equivalent of negligent homicide. He was released on bail. His sentencing is set for October 13th. Now the Olympic track star was acquitted of murder, the most serious charge that he did face in the killing of his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp.

Earlier today, Steenkamp's parents told NBC News they are in disbelief over the verdict.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: She suffered, you know, and he shot through the door and I can't believe that they believe that it was an accident.


HENDRICKS: And CBC reports that Toronto Mayor Rob Ford is withdrawing from his re-election race after doctors found a tumor in his abdomen. His brother, Doug Ford, will run in his place while he waits for a definitive diagnosis.

And Apple was overwhelmed by pre-orders for its iPhone 6. Demand was so heavy, some people were unable to access the web site. There were reports that the larger iPhone 6 Plus was sold out completely. No comment from Apple on that. So Anderson, you may have to wait.

COOPER: What? They sold out -- that is the one I want.

HENDRICKS: Got to wait for the 7, I think.

COOPER: What? My phone is all cracked out and broken and has been like this for six months. I got to have that new phone. All right, Susan, thanks very much.

When we come back, a remarkable story out of Kenya. You may remember the attack that occurred there in the mall in Kenya, killed dozens, injuring hundreds more.

A filmmaker has now put together all the footage, the footage for more than 100 security cameras for a gripping documentary about the siege. I'll speak with him next. This may be the most videotaped terror attack in history. Details ahead.


COOPER: One year ago, the al-Qaeda-linked Somalia group, Al-Shabaab attacked the West Gate Mall in Kenya. You probably remember that. It was a two-day siege. It left 71 people dead, hundreds more wounded. Well, on Monday, HBO's premier a really extraordinary

documentary from a director named, Dan Reed, who got hold of footage for more than 100 security cameras that were inside the mall. I spoke to the filmmaker a short time ago.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: There were tracer rounds, the flash was wide as they were flying through the air.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: People were confused. They were trying to go, stepping on each other. I saw a white lady with three children. So they are running different directions. That is when I picked one.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You know, I started to run and then a Kenyan woman came and grabbed one of the girls from me, and we dove behind a display table. She had my 4-year-old, laying on top of her to protect her.


COOPER: Just extraordinary. Director and producer, Dan Reed, joins me now. I have seen a lot of your films, you have done the terror film, Mumbai. You did the theater film. And in all your films, there is extraordinary use of surveillance footage, CCTV cameras. It seems like in this you have more cameras than ever before.

DAN REED, DIRECTOR, "TERROR AT THE MALL": We have, this was an attack on a shopping mall on a Saturday lunchtime. They were installed to stop people from running or stealing. We have an unbroken time line of the attack, which was very important because that allows us to figure out exactly what happened.

COOPER: This is probably one of the most videoed.

REED: The most videoed attack in history.

COOPER: Without a doubt.

REED: Without a doubt, yes.

COOPER: And can I ask how you got the footage?

REED: Well, the footage was not released to us by the authorities.

COOPER: I have only seen a few -- they only released a few little clips here and there.

REED: They did. They released a few clips in the immediate aftermath of the attack. And I thought what if we have could get all the security footage, what if we could get a complete record of the terrorist attack for the first time ever and see from every angle step by step how this attack took place.

COOPER: And you were able to do that?

REED: We were able to do that.

COOPER: You can't say how, though.

REED: I can't say how we got the footage.

COOPER: How many cameras?

REED: My estimate is maybe 150.

COOPER: That is incredible. So what about this attack surprised you or was different than some of the others that you have worked on?

REED: This was an attack in one location, the attacks in Mumbai were over five locations. This was one team, four guys who went into a crowded shopping mall. Lunch time on Saturday. The four guys open fire with Kalashnikovs. And they're opening fire until there is nobody else to kill.

COOPER: And yet many of the deaths occurred very early on?

REED: Most of the deaths occurred early on, that is one of the really alarming things. When you make it, you think how can we prevent so many people dying? The only way to do it is to get armed response there very quickly in the first half hour if possible.

COOPER: And just quickly, the eyewitness accounts of people you have. I want to play it a little bit more for the phone.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I was counting every single second that passed. And all of a sudden it happened. There he was. I looked up at him and just mouthed the words, he is just a baby. He is just a baby. And after a while, he looked to the side at some of his colleagues over there.

And said something in a language that I didn't understand. And someone in a broken voice said lady with baby, stand up. Then as I'm looking at them the terrorist that is in the middle in the front looks at us, sees the baby peering around and turns his head to the side and kind of cocks his head and makes a cute baby face.

And I just remember thinking, if they see my face now they're going to know how crazy I think this is. I can't believe what just happened. They're killing women and children and making baby faces at us and waving.


COOPER: That is extraordinary. The dichotomy between how they interacted with her and killing women and children.

REED: And one of the handlers in Somalia, there seems to be some sort of instruction to release women and children and release Muslims, as well. They started to ask people their faith. COOPER: This may seem like an odd question, but do you find mothers with kids, do they act differently in an event like this? Somebody who has a life to protect?

REED: Yes, that came to the fore, I found women with their children. They seemed to be a lot sharper, a lot more switched on. A lot more able to -- to cope with the situation and able to make really very difficult, difficult decisions.

COOPER: I always talk to the police about this. It is surprising to me this has not happened in the United States yet. And obviously, there are law enforcement. This is a huge concern, not just someone bringing a bomb into a place, but a small group of terrorists, three or four people with automatic weapons really can bring -- in Mumbai can bring a city to paralysis for days at a time. Is there a lesson, how would you respond if you were at the mall?

REED: If I was at a mall, run and keep on running, pick a direction, it doesn't matter which one, just run as fast as you can and that is your best chance.

COOPER: You would not hide or wait for authorities? You would try to get out? That is the lesson for you.

REED: The people who were hit, I think most of the people in this story were executed as they lay on the ground, you know, men, women and children old people just mercilessly killed. The people who ran, the majority of them survived, just take to your heels and survive.

COOPER: It is an extraordinary film. Your work is so extraordinary. I really appreciate you being on.

REED: Thank you so much.

COOPER: The movie "Terror at the Mall" debuts Monday, September 15th on HBO, which owned by Time Warner, which also owned CNN.

Just ahead for us tonight, a journey through American history told in signatures.


COOPER: Tonight's "American Journey," an exhibit that is running through January in Washington, D.C. It's taking visitors in a pretty unique ride from history on ink. Tom Foreman reports.


TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): In the heat of war, in the cool of peace and in the daily struggle with life, great souls have left their marks. And now, at the National Archives, those marks are getting their due in a show of historic signatures. Jennifer Johnson is the curator.

JENNIFER JOHNSON, CURATOR: I think the power of it can't be over- emphasized, whether it was a letter or the act of Congress, making the words law the power is hard to walk away from.

FOREMAN: General Dwight Eisenhower traveled much of Europe in World War II collecting these signatures on bank notes from people he met all along the way. There is much joy. This is Michael Jackson's patent for a dancing shoe where he signed his name with a flourish, as did the magician, Harry Houdini, who put his pen to his draft card as it were yet another spectacular trick.

JOHNSON: It was truly the power of the time. That was his signature.

FOREMAN: There are surprises too, like calling card left for Vice President Andrew Johnson, by John Wilkes Booth, the very day Booth assassinated President Abraham Lincoln or the wedding registry of Adolf Hitler.

JOHNSON: I think some of the most powerful ones are at least the most interesting to me are the examples that you might not expect to find.

FOREMAN: Katherine Hepburn, Frank Sinatra, Jackie Robinson and so many others pulled from the billions of papers in the archives each making a mark in history.

Tom Foreman, CNN Washington.


COOPER: That's very cool. I want to check it out. That does it for us. Thanks for watching.

Anthony Bourdain Parts Unknown starts now.