Return to Transcripts main page
ERIN BURNETT OUTFRONT
All Six Police Officers Indicted in Freddie Gray's Death; Manhunt On For Suspect in D.C. Mansion Murders. Aired 7-8:00p ET
Aired May 21, 2015 - 19:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[19:00:10] ERIN BURNETT, CNN ANCHOR: OUTFRONT next, breaking news, a Baltimore grand jury indicting six police officers in the death of Freddie Gray and now new charges announced tonight. We have a live report on this breaking news in just a moment.
More breaking news, a manhunt on for the suspect in the murders of a wealthy Washington, D.C. family. New information tonight about the suspect's connection to that family. A horrific depraved and evil act.
And ISIS, taking over another key city where President Obama says the United States is not using the war. Let's go OUTFRONT.
Good evening, I'm Erin Burnett. And OUTFRONT tonight we begin with breaking news, a grand jury indicting all six police officers in the death of Freddie Gray, as the 25-year-old black man who suffered a severe spinal cord injury in police custody. He died from that. Late today, the city's top prosecutor Marilyn Mosby made the announcement in a last-minute press conference. This was unexpected everybody. And she also added a major new charge today of reckless endangerment for all six officers.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MARILYN MOSBY, PROSECUTOR IN FREDDIE GRAY CASE: As our investigation has continued, additional information has been discovered and is often the case, during an ongoing investigation charges can and should be revised based upon the evidence.
FREDDIE GRAY, ARRESTED BY BALTIMORE POLICE: Ahh! Ahh!
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: This of course was the video of Freddie Gray. You can hear him here screaming in pain as he's dragged by officers to a police van. This triggered days of unrest in Baltimore. There were riots, looting and violence.
Miguel Marquez is OUTFRONT. And Miguel, this was, I think this is important to emphasize, this is breaking news. We did not know this was going to happen today. She came out, gave this press conference, all six officers indicted. A new charge added of reckless endangerment. What's the reaction there?
MIGUEL MARQUEZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, look we had a pretty good idea something like this was going to happen before that initial appearance on the initial charges that she brought. But this is an absolute stunner by the Baltimore City state's attorney and another huge change in the trial in the course of the justice here with these 28 charges being brought. Keep in mind, she brought 28 charges the first time. There are 28 charges now. That word is only getting out now. We're on a corner here in West Baltimore, one of the corners that have been seen some of the recent violence here from -- the street violence has been happening here. The 300 men march movement that has been out here in force several years now and certainly big in several weeks to try to keep the peace in these neighborhoods and keep young black men from killing each other, they're out there, they're starting to react. And here what is happened there. They think it really strengthens her case. The fact that you had citizens of the city hear the evidence against these officers in the death of Mr. Gray and that they came back with very similar charges sends a very powerful signal -- Erin.
BURNETT: Now, Miguel, I mean, you know, she came out with this announcement as you said, you know, significant, shocking in some ways. But you know, it was not all victory for the prosecutor today. She was forced to change a few of the charges that she had filed against some of the officers, including false imprisonment and assault. You know, she's obviously been under fire for weeks for what critics say was overcharging and for her own alleged conflicts of interest. So, what's the bottom-line? Is she stronger or weaker tonight?
MARQUEZ: Well, it sounds like she's much stronger now that you have individuals from this community that actually heard the evidence and that she's been able to get them to charge these individuals. And it's not clear to me how much this really affects her case one way or the other. Keep in mind, she had been -- a motion had been filed by the police union, by the defense lawyers for the police officers asking her to recuse herself from this case. That was filed in one court. Now all of this, this sort of short of the situation, gets her critics to shut up because now it goes into another court system and they'll have to refile or rethink their strategy what it comes to going after Marilyn Mosby. She has great support in this neighborhood and across West Baltimore, I think, and it's going to be very difficult for the defense to go that publicly with what they did before, I think, at least in these quarters. It's become a much tougher chess game in Baltimore tonight -- Erin.
All right. And she's much stronger tonight as you heard Miguel say. Miguel, thank you very much.
OUTFRONT now, Baltimore Defense Attorney Kurt Nachtman. He worked with Marilyn Mosby for four years. Also OUTFRONT, our political commentator Marc Lamont Hill who has been a core part of our coverage of this story. Kurt, let me start with you. You know her well. The grand jury decided to indict all six officers, including on the strongest charge issued by Mosby which was second degree depraved heart murder which was against the driver of the van. That was something that the critics who said she overcharged said there was no way it was going to be held up. A grand jury just held that up. What's your reaction? [19:05:25] KURT NACHTMAN, FORMER PROSECUTOR, STATE'S ATTORNEY'S
OFFICE FOR BALTIMORE: My reaction is that I'm not really surprised. I mean the old quote from "bonfire of the vanities" is a grand jury will indict a ham sandwich. And so, it's not really a surprising. What was very surprising to me was what wasn't charged. The three false imprisonment counts as well as -- make sure I have it right here, three counts of second degree assault for Lieutenant Rice, Officer Nero and Officer Miller were not charged. There's only one of two possibilities. The one possibility is the state's attorney general changed her theory of the case and now the knife that she originally said was legal, she's now realized or recognized that it's illegal. Or what's another possibility, that the grand jury saw the knife, as they have the right to do and decided not to charge those counts.
BURNETT: Right. And as you point out, that is significant. The knife has been at the heart of this. But, you know, Marc, you've been a part of conversation. People say if the knife didn't hold up, nothing was going to hold up. Well, it looks like the knife didn't hold up but the most serious charge did and that is significant.
MARC LAMONT HILL, PROFESSOR, MOREHOUSE COLLEGE: That's incredibly significant. People thought everything hinged on the knife.
HILL: Another option here is not that she decided the knife was suddenly illegal when in fact she thought it was legal before. I don't think that would happen. I can't imagine doing it about face. I think it's far more likely the second option that he just stated which is that, the grand jury asked to see it and they made a different decision or they said it was at least plausible that a police officer could believe that this knife was illegal and therefore the falls imprisonment went from there.
NACHTMAN: Mark --
BURNETT: Right. Go ahead, Kurt.
NACHTMAN: The only problem with that is that as a prosecutor, I was a former prosecutor, I'm a defense attorney, you don't charge a case, especially as publicly and as wide open as was done in this situation, without having all of the facts and without knowing exactly what the knife was, whether or not it was a lawful knife or unlawful life. I mean, if I'm one of the defense team, I'm saying, right now I'm going, wait a minute, if were incorrect about this, what else are you incorrect about?
BURNETT: But Kurt --
HILL: What I'm disagreeing -- I hear you, what I'm saying is that I'm not necessarily conceding that she's suddenly decided or conceded herself that the knife was in fact illegal. There was some technical points being debated about whether or not it's an illegal knife or a legal knife based on the spring action, based on how it opens. Whether it's a spring in there. Whether it's a spring assisted, et cetera. And what I'm saying is they may have decided that it was too fuzzy to indict. That doesn't necessarily mean that she didn't have all of the evidence. I think the bigger question here though is the other stuff.
BURNETT: Right. And I want to get to that. But Kurt, I mean, are you surprised that they would go ahead because everyone said the knife was so important. Right? If she was wrong about the knife whether she decided she was wrong or the grand jury decided she was wrong. It almost doesn't matter. If she was wrong about the knife, they wouldn't be able to go ahead with that murder charge, that crucial charge. But they are. That is significant, right? That the knife is suddenly, okay, maybe not the most central thing.
NACHTMAN: Yes. You know, and that's a really good question. I'm not sure what the state's theory of the case is at the point. I mean, it sounded like from the original charging and the original press release that they were going with one theory.
NACHTMAN: And now it seems as though they've done a complete about face and now they're going to hang their hat on the seat belt and the seat belt issue. The problem with the seat belt issue, is I read recently that this general order which was supposedly had come out two weeks prior to this actually didn't get finalized and approved until two days prior to this incident.
BURNETT: Yes, I understand that's the case. Right.
NACHTMAN: So the question would then be, you know, are the officers are on proper notice? Have they been notified of the new general order? I mean, just as an example, you know, if the officer who was driving the van was on vacation two days before and didn't check his e-mail or didn't go to Roll Call, he would have no idea that the general order has changed. And the state wouldn't have anywhere to approve it. That's going to be a critical issue in this case.
BURNETT: Would be critical in the case. Now what about the issue that you, you know, Kurt said at the beginning, Marc, you know, a grand jury could indict a ham sandwich.
BURNETT: Which people make that comment all the time except for it isn't always true. Right? It didn't happen with Mike Garner, the case in New York, right?
HILL: Yes. Eric Garner.
BURNETT: Eric Garner, I'm sorry. And it didn't happen with Michael Brown. Now, one thing that's different about this grand jury is it does reflect the actual racial demographics of Baltimore City, 63 percent black. That's what we understand. HILL: Yes.
BURNETT: And of course you didn't have that of course in Ferguson.
BURNETT: You had a grand jury that was white when you had race as an issue. So, do you think that's part of it?
HILL: I think that is part of it. I mean, I think the reason you could indict a ham sandwich so to speak is because the prosecutor could make that happen. Many of us believe must have included that the Ferguson prosecutor didn't have the will to make that happen. So, I won't blame white people in Ferguson for example or white jurors in Ferguson as much as I said it didn't seem that the prosecutor was committed to making this happen.
BURNETT: But in this case you do think that a jury that would be primarily black did make a difference?
HILL: I think a jury that saw the evidence and saw a compelling and persuasive argument from the prosecutor made a decision to do that. I don't want to put they're black -- I would like to think that white citizens who saw compelling evidence would make the same choice.
BURNETT: That what you would hope.
HILL: I would like to hope that, yes.
[19:10:12] BURNETT: And Kurt, what's your verdict. You heard our reporter saying that Marilyn Mosby, you know, who has been under fire, right? I mean, she has been under fire with people saying, she overcharged, she's been under fire for people saying, she has a conflict of interest because she's too linked into this community, because she's linked to the attorney who's representing the Freddie Gray family. He says no question tonight, she is emerging much stronger. Do you agree? You've known her for a long time.
NACHTMAN: You know, I think that the issue with the knife, you know, as a defense attorney again, I can't emphasize that enough. As the prosecutor you wear the white hat. You always have to be above board, you always have to be on the right side of the law. And, you know, one of my old judges said that any appearance of impropriety is too much if you're a prosecutor. And so in this case we've got a situation where she said the knife was an issue, she said the knife was critical, and now it's become abundantly clear that they've backed away from that position whether by choice or by the grand jury's decision which is not the prosecutor's choice. The grand jury in this situation could have decided not to indict. It's rare but it could have happened.
BURNETT: All right. Interesting that you still think the knife could be at the center of it. I know we'll be having more conversations about that.
BURNETT: Thanks very much Kurt, Marc, to both.
And next, we have breaking news, at this moment we're just learning Texas officials are investigating new threats from biker gangs against law enforcement. Words that biker have grenades and C4 explosives. It's very explicit. We're going to have that breaking news here as our reporter is breaking it in just a quick moment.
And more breaking news in the brutal murder of a wealthy family in Washington, D.C. A manhunt is on tonight for that suspect who was on the loose. Police say he's armed and dangerous. And the big break in the D.C. murder case. Did it truly all come down to a pizza crust?
[19:15:43] BURNETT: Breaking news, we have an intense manhunt under way tonight. It is in New York at this hour. Authorities canvassing the city desperately searching for the suspect behind a horrifying quadruple murder in Washington. The suspect on the run is this man, 34-year-old Daron Dylon Wint. Sources tell CNN be bound and tortured a couple, their 10-year-old son and a housekeeper last week. And he ate pizza while doing it. Police believed he then killed before the following day after torturing them, putting their home on fire. And he took off with $40,000 in cash. Tonight the suspect's girlfriend is speaking with police. She claims Wint arrived in Brooklyn last night by bus. She says they spent the night together. He hasn't been seen sense.
Pamela Brown is OUTFRONT. She's live in Washington tonight outside that home. And Pamela, what are you learning tonight about the suspect?
PAMELA BROWN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, we're learning from authorities the 34-year-old Daron Wint the suspect had the connection to the family through their company. We also know from court records that he has been arrested several times over the last several years and also police saying today that he is armed and dangerous as this massive for him continues tonight.
BROWN (voice-over): D.C. Police say, 34-year-old Daron Wint is the suspect in the brutal killings of the prominent D.C. couple Savvas and Amy Savopoulos, their 10-year-old son Phillip and their housekeeper inside this charred multi-million dollar mansion. Wint's girlfriend told police he fled to New York on a bus Wednesday night according to a source familiar with the investigation.
CHIEF CATHY LANIER, DC METROPOLITAN POLICE: You have just about every law enforcement officer across the country are looking for him. I think even his family has made pleas for him to turn himself in.
BROWN: We're learning more tonight about Wint's pass. He served briefly with the marines but left before completing basic training. He's had numerous run-ins with police and more recently work at American ironworks with, the construction company where Savvas Savopoulos was CEO.
LANIER: It does not appear that that was just a random crime, but there is a connection through the business of the suspect and the Savopoulos family business.
BROWN: A major break in the case came Wednesday when ATF forensic specialists recovered Wint's DNA on a pizza crust according to a source with knowledge with the investigation. A nearby dominos franchise says, it delivered pizzas to the home that night and left the food at the door unaware that the family was bound with duct tape inside.
RON HOSKO, FORMER FBI ASSISTANT DIRECTOR: It is incredibly brazen. Shows an element of calm that the person didn't feel rushed.
BROWN: Investigators say, Savopoulos' assistant dropped off around $40,000 in cash to the family's house. But the assistant was apparently told not to come inside. This as we learned more grisly details about the murders. Phillip Savopoulos had stabbed wounds and was killed before he was burned beyond recognition.
HOSKO: Certainly, he was sadistic killer. The son might have been used as the tool to make sure the parents were compliant.
BROWN: So while Wint is still at large, D.C. Police Chief Cathy Lanier said today that there could be more suspects involved with this case. She says she cannot rule that out. The funerals for the family are set for June 1st. Making this even more heartbreaking, Erin, they had two daughters who were away at boarding school when this happened -- Erin.
BURNETT: Pamela, thank you very much.
And OUTFRONT now, Dr. Lawrence Kobilinsky, a forensic scientist and forensic psychologist Brian Russell is also with me. Brian, let me start. You heard that FBI officer in Pamela's piece talking about this individual and how he felt calm and didn't feel rushed, the fact that he would go ahead and order a pizza and have them come to the door. We understand these victims suffered blunt force trauma. They were bound with duct tape. That 10-year-old boy was stabbed and tortured in front of his parents while this suspect, the alleged suspect was ordering and eating pizza. What kind of a human being is capable of doing this?
BRIAN RUSSELL, FORENSIC PSYCHOLOGIST: It's unfathomable Erin, for most people watching us, to even think about spending and enjoying money that they got by taking someone else's life. Not only did this guy allegedly do that, but as you said he took multiple lives. He killed a kid. And not only that, he did gratuitous violence. He inflicted extra suffering, the only purpose of which could have been the fun that he got out of it. That takes it to a whole other level and makes this guy likely to be a psychopath to not only feels male compassion and empathy for others, not only uses others as means to an end but actually takes pleasure in inflicting suffering on others, Erin.
[19:20:28] BURNETT: Someone who is sadistic. I mean, Dr. Kobilinsky, you just heard Pamela also reporting there could be others involved. They haven't ruled that out. But again, the suspect that they have, Mr. Wint. What does it say to you that he would erase the home security footage, he would burn the home down to erase all of his tracks and yet pizza was left? I guess he presumed that that would be burnt down. But yet his DNA is on it.
DR. LAWRENCE KOBILINSKY, FORENSIC SCIENTIST: Well, first of all, it's clearly premeditated. There's no question about that. But what happens often in burglaries is that people make mistakes. They leave their calling cards behind. They break glass. They bleed, they cut themselves, they drop hair that's got DNA. They drink out of beverage containers, orange juice, a glass they leave fingerprints. In this particular case there was a casual hunger. And there was a need to eat pizza. Well that pizza did him in. Because evidence collection teams know that you can secure DNA from food. Okay. People will, burglaries would --
BURNETT: Saliva would still survive even in a fire?
KOBILINSKY: Well, saliva is a great source of DNA. And, you know, fire, or son, is a good way to destroy evidence and it can destroy DNA. I think that the pizza crust was spared from the arson. It was sufficiently intact that you could secure a good sample. And you know where the bite is, you see, you not only have bite mark evidence but, you know, there's saliva there. So what we have to do is collect the sample from the right region and the rest is standard operating procedure.
BURNETT: Now, Brian, investigators are looking for a motive. Here's what we do know tonight. We know that the suspect, Wint, used to work at American ironworks. That is the company the victim owned. What does it say to you that he attacked his former employer? There's no evidence by the way that they would have ever known each other. All we know about Wint is that he is registered as being a former welder which would fit with the idea of American ironworks but we don't know if that was his role there or not.
RUSSELL: Well, Erin, I think that it sounds like there are sort of multiple motives. There's a financial motive. There may also be a revenge motive if he's a disgruntled employee and there may just be this psychopathic motive that I talked about, this enjoyment of being able to inflict suffering on people. One thing I think is important for viewers to understand --
BURNETT: Do you think it could be partly random, Brian. I mean, in a sense, he knew this guy was wealthy, he wanted some sadistic pleasure, that was the name that came to mind?
RUSSELL: I think this guy probably knew that this was a house that would have a high chance of him being able to find cash there and probably knew that based on the business practices that he became familiar with as an employee. But it's important for the viewers to understand, this is not a mentally ill person who is running around doing things that are out of his control. This is a person making cold, calculated, conscious decisions to inflict harm on other people which makes him -- you cannot over-estimate the danger imposed by this guy. The people in this search area should take the same level of caution they would take if there was an ISIS person on the loose on their neighborhoods because there's just no reasonable expectable limit to what this guy is willing to do.
BURNETT: All right. Well, I appreciate both of you taking the time. And as we said, the suspect is on the run tonight. And we're going to continue our breaking news coverage with the latest on that story. Police are on a manhunt for that murder suspect Daron Wint. We're going to give you the very latest on that manhunt here in New York. And one of our next guests is a man who knows Daron Wint very well. You're going to want to hear what he has to say about him.
Plus, another story breaking tonight, law enforcement officials warned of new threats by biker gangs. We just have obtained here at CNN a warning of car bombs and a hit against troopers. We'll have that live report in a moment.
[19:28:23] BURNETT: We're following breaking news out of New York tonight. A major manhunt under way to track down a deranged fugitive wanted in the murder of four people, including a 10-year-old boy in Washington. The suspect is Daron Dylon Wint. He's been on the run. CNN has learned, the police say he tied up a couple, their 10- year-old son and housekeeper. He tortured them, he stabbed the young boy in front of them. He killed them. Even setting their home on fire. One psychologist just telling us he is not mentally ill. This was cold, calculated and conscious. Wint's girlfriend is now speaking to police, and she claims that Wint arrived in Brooklyn last night, had planned to turn himself into police but officials are bracing themselves just in case when he does not plan on quietly surrendering and of course given the horrific act of which he is capable. They are afraid of him being on the loose for obvious reasons.
Deborah Feyerick is on the phone. She is in Brooklyn reporting on this manhunt. And Deborah, you've been talking to police. What are they saying about how close they are to finding him?
DEBORAH FEYERICK, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (on the phone): Yes. Erin, we've been talking to a lot of law enforcement forces all day today. Police believe that sometime after the murders, the suspect traveled to Brooklyn. They had been tracking him by cell phone. Police say that he's got friends and relatives in this area, specifically a girlfriend. And that girlfriend was picked up this morning, she taken to the 69th precinct staging house, she was questioned by detectives and federal law enforcement agents. Two sources are telling CNN that the girlfriend told police that the suspect said he planned to surrender, possibly by returning to Washington, D.C.
Well clearly Erin, he's not surrendered. He remains a fugitive. Authorities believe that the girlfriend may be covering for him or at least there is enough conflicting pieces of information that they're not quite sure whether in fact she's telling the truth. Now, it does appear, according to a law enforcement source, that the suspect ditched his original cell phone and that he may now be using someone else's cell phone. His family has appealed to him to turn himself in, to surrender are.
But right now, you've got a major manhunt under way. You've got U.S. marshals, police both from New York and as well as the metropolitan area in Washington, all looking for him using every available resource to try to track this guy.
BURNETT: All right. Deborah Feyerick, thank you very much.
As Deb gets new developments, she's going to bring them to you and to us. Now, the former NYPD officer and private investigator Bill Stanton joins me along with Robin Ficker, a former attorney for Daron Wint.
Robin, obviously, very significant that you know who he is.
Let me start with you. You have defended Wint in prior cases. When you heard he is the suspect in frankly a horrific, sadistic and evil act, those -- there are no other words than those to describe this, what did you think?
ROBIN FICKER, FORMER ATTORNEY FOR DARON DYLON WINT: It's not his act. He's a nice guy, he's patriotic, he's kind. I defended him in six cases. He was not found guilty in any of those cases in 2005 and 2006.
They're got the wrong guy. It's not him. It's a witch hunt. It's a group grope. They're out to get him.
Why is the mayor holding a press conference putting out his picture? Why don't they let the police do his work, find him, bring him in for questions if indeed he wants to be questioned. Why are they trying the case in the media and brand him publicly?
BURNETT: Robin --
FICKER: How do they know -- how do they know he was armed? They're calling him armed and dangerous?
BURNETT: Well, they know he was there. They know he was there, right?
FICKER: There's no evidence that a gun was involved in this case.
BURNETT: Well whatever it was, there were stab marks all over an 8-year-old boy, there's evidence, they have DNA evidence -- I was just talking to a forensic pathologist. He said there's no question they were right about the DNA evidence. He was in the house. He ordered pizza. He had worked for this guy a long time ago, this company has hundreds of employees.
His job description was a welder. We don't know if that's what he was at the company. But certainly you don't expect them to be sitting there having pizza together.
FICKER: No pizza man said she delivered pizza to Mr. Wint. They said they left it outside the house.
BURNETT: Yes. But his DNA was found on the pizza, sir.
FICKER: Where did the pizza crust come from where they supposedly found this DNA? They haven't said where it was. Was it in the trash can behind the house? Where was that DNA?
I've had many cases where the DNA results have been thrown out of court because they simply aren't valid and they well be contrived in this case.
BURNETT: Bill, what do you say to that?
BILL STANTON, FORMER NYPD OFFICER: I think, first, they think the counsel respectfully check his intellectual honesty at the door. What's next, if the glove doesn't fit we must acquit?
What we have a sociopath and a coward. They matched his DNA to that crust.
STANTON: Where is this gentleman? The fact that he said he defended him six times, isn't that statement enough? I mean, this man is out there. If he's innocent, let him turn himself in.
I mean, this is making no sense. I think between the PD in Maryland and the NYPD, the over and under 24 hours on this, they will have him and they will be tried, and the good counsel can do his best.
BURNETT: Robin, have you spoken to your former client and told him to turn himself in?
FICKER: I'm not going to have any comments on conversations I may or may not have had with him. But I think that in the past, he's been a good guy. And it's just unbelievable to me that he would do anything like this. They should be checking on people who have been convicted of torturing animals or torturing people in other cases, not a good guy like this who tried to get into the marines.
BURNETT: All right. So, let me just -- to be clear, they said that they are looking at other people. But, Robin, this is also a guy who has a rap sheet, charges of second degree assault, burglary, sexual offense. "The Washington Post" is reporting he allegedly threatened to kill a woman and her two-year-old daughter. And there are instances like that that are out there.
FICKER: I haven't heard you use the term convictions. He's presumed innocent in this case. We must never forget that he's presumed innocent until tried and proven guilty.
And I predict at the end of all of this, Erin Burnett is going to be saying not guilty. STANTON: Well, this nice guy right now is alleged to have
tortured a child, to have burned human beings whether they happen to be before or after they were killed or alive. This man is reprehensible and I say he's a coward.
Let him turn himself in before anybody else is hurt including himself.
And, Counsel, I sincerely hope you look at yourself in the mirror and listen to what you're saying and reconsider what you're saying.
[19:35:00] This isn't a good person.
FICKER: What proof is that there Mr. Wint tortured any child? What proof do you have, sir? Are you guessing?
STANTON: Well, let's put it this way.
FICKER: You have a vivid imagination.
STANTON: You're saying how he's a nice guy after you've defended him six times. You know, I think it's little dubious at best.
FICKER: Not guilty in all six cases. He was not found guilty in any of these cases.
STANTON: Well let's get him now. Counselor, if you're in communication with him, I would think you're doing him a service and the community a service by negotiating his surrender. Hopefully, you'll do that if you are in communication.
BURNETT: And, Robin, if you are in communication with him, that you would be telling him to turn himself in, you would be communicating with police and doing all of that, right?
FICKER: I think he should have a nice long talk with an attorney about any possible alibis on the day in question and talk to an attorney about his future.
BURNETT: But not turn himself in to police?
FICKER: I think he should talk to an attorney before he turns himself in with where the police might force him to say something that he shouldn't say. He has the right to remain silent. Don't forget that.
BURNETT: All right. Robin, thank you very much. Bill, thank you very much.
STANTON: Thank you.
BURNETT: And OUTFRONT next, ISIS seizing a new city, another prison and military base in their hands. But President Obama says the U.S. is not losing to ISIS. Plus, breaking news out of Texas tonight, official statewide, we
just have this alert in. We're going to have the details, warn of bikers looking to retaliate against police for shooting their brothers. Sergeant with the Waco police is going to joint me right after this.
[19:40:33] BURNETT: Breaking news, Texas officials investigating new threats against police officers from criminal biker gangs. This comes on the heels of the deadly shootout between motorcycle gangs in Waco.
Evan Perez is breaking the story at this moment. He joins me now.
I know, Evan, you have some new information about a warning that's very specific.
EVAN PEREZ, CNN JUSTICE REPORTER: That's right, Erin.
This is a warning that was sent out by the Texas Department of Public Safety goes out to law enforcement now around the country really. The warning said that the members of the Bandidos and the Black Widows motorcycle gang members are seeking to target law enforcement officials. Now, that includes top members of law enforcement and their members of their family.
Now, according to this warning, members of the gang are trying to get or getting supplied with grenades and C4 explosives. The idea is to perhaps target law enforcement officers at traffic stops and even to follow them home and target them there.
Now, there's some specific locations mentioned in the warning that has gone out and that includes Austin, El Paso, Dallas, Corpus Christi and Houston. These are some of the biggest cities in Texas. We know that this weekend, the coming Memorial Day weekend, is often a very important time for motorcycle clubs to do some gatherings.
So, it's something that law enforcement is definitely concerned about.
BURNETT: All right. Evan Perez, thank you very much. And as I said, incredibly specific talking about grenades, C4 explosives, targeting police, as well as members of their family.
OUTFRONT now, Sergeant Patrick Swanton of the Waco Police Department. He joins me now on the phone.
Sergeant, thank you for being with me.
This warning, you just heard Evan going through it. You've read it. You received it. How worried are you?
SGT. W. PATRICK SWANTON, WACO POLICE (via telephone): It is certainly something for law enforcement to be aware of. And unfortunately in our line of work, it's something we deal with day in and day out. I would however like to say this, to those that are listening that are making those threats. The incident that occurred here Sunday afternoon on a lazy Sunday afternoon in Waco, Texas, was an absolute tragedy.
However, those of you that were there know that we did absolutely nothing to start that. We would ask you to remember that and remind you that although you have totally different ways from us, law enforcement did not start the melee that occurred at Twin Peaks on Sunday afternoon.
BURNETT: When you see the specifics of this, they talk about grenades, they talk about C4 explosives and they talk about not just targeting law enforcement officials like yourself, Sergeant, but also the families of law enforcement officials. I mean, do you make this seriously or is this something that you think is bravado? I mean, do you think something horrible could happen? I mean, I'm trying to understand where this falls on your spectrum.
SWANTON: It falls very high on the spectrum of increasing our awareness and threat levels. Certainly, something we consider. Again, we live with the threat every day. It has heightened because of what have occurred here Sunday afternoon. But that's something that we're aware of and we're ready to respond to in the event that it's necessary.
BURNETT: And what are you telling officer to do to protect themselves? Are you making any changes for people at their homes, with their families, when they're on the job? What are you doing?
SWANTON: We wouldn't comment on the specifics of what we're doing to protect ourselves.
BURNETT: All right. I appreciate your time, Sergeant. Thank you very much.
And next, ISIS taking control of a key city on the same day the President Obama says the United States is not losing against ISIS.
Plus, the Santa Barbara oil spill, five times larger than first thought. Wildlife tonight fighting for survival. There's sludge, a nine-mile-long slick. These pictures are hard to see but important.
We'll be back.
[19:48:25] BURNETT: Breaking news: ISIS take over tonight. The terror group making big gains across Iraq and Syria, moving closer to Baghdad tonight. Announcing they've taken full control of the city of Palmyra. Fears tonight that ISIS will destroy these ruins which are thousands of years old in Syria.
ISIS also releasing video claiming control of oil and gas fields in Syria. And in Iraq, moving in on Baghdad, striking another town on the road to the capital. Plus, an attack on a military base southeast of Fallujah.
Still, President Obama holding firm, telling "The Atlantic" magazine in a new interview that, quote, "I don't think we're losing."
Arwa Damon is on the ground now in Baghdad.
And, Arwa, where you are, does it feel like ISIS is winning or losing?
ARWA DAMON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, it certainly does not feel as if ISIS is losing, Erin, making all of these significant gains. And add to all of that, they just recently managed to take over the last border crossing between Iraq and Syria that was under Syrian government control after Syrian forces withdrew from there.
And look, here's the problem in all of this, is that the U.S. tends to try to look at it as progress or not progress, winning or losing, without having a full comprehension it would seem or a realistic understanding of the dynamics on the ground when they don't fit the narrative that America wants to put forward.
Yes, as the U.S. consistently said, this is a long-term battle. It is going to last potentially for years. But America's strategy vis-a-vis Iraq is not working.
[19:50:04] And it is also not going to be working moving forward unless there is a comprehensive strategy that encompasses both Syria and Iraq when it comes to trying to defeat ISIS.
BURNETT: All right. Arwa Damon, thank you very much.
And OUTFRONT now, Retired Colonel Peter Mansoor. He served as executive officer to General David Petraeus during the Iraq surge.
Colonel Mansoor, our reporter on the ground, you just heard her. She said it doesn't feel like ISIS is losing. The president today said, quote, "I don't think we're losing."
But every day ISIS gains ground or holds ground, which we're now seeing every single day, is that a failure for America?
COL. PETER MANSOOR (RET), CNN MILITARY ANALYST: Well, it is. I would characterize the situation right now as one of strategic equilibrium. Coalition gains near Mosul and Tikrit have been offset by is games in Ramadi and Palmyra. But every day that the Islamic State continues to hold its territory, it allows itself, we allow it, to consolidate its gains, to gain new adherence, to bolster its defenses and really stalemate in the long run benefits is far more than it benefits the United States, Iraq, or anyone else opposing ISIS.
BURNETT: President Obama put the blame on the loss of key towns specifically Ramadi on Iraqi forces. The United States is the one that's supposed to be training Iraqi forces and we keep hearing about how a few ISIS fighters here or there are defeating hundreds, sometimes thousand of Iraqis at a single time. I mean, the United States - can they really say they can train Iraqi, to fight and avoid putting American troops in? I mean, is that just a farce?
MANSOOR: I don't think the fighters, or the Iraqi army forces in Ramadi were actually trained by our train and equip effort. But what it does show the train and equip effort isn't big enough, isn't substantial enough to train all the Iraqi army formations that are required to defeat ISIS on the ground.
And I think in the end, the president either this one or the next one is going to have to back off the "no boots on the ground" mantra and put U.S. combat advisers into these Iraqi army formations to make sure there competent, well-led and have sufficient support from the air and logistical in order to defeat ISIS.
BURNETT: All right, Colonel Mansoor, thank you very much.
MANSOOR: Thanks, Erin.
BURNETT: And next, rescuers in California tonight are trying to save animals who are covered in oil after a spill estimated to be five times larger than originally thought. Santa Barbara pristine beaches are caked and sludge tonight. We're going to take you there live.
[19:56:16] BURNETT: California is under a state of emergency tonight, a massive oil spill along the Santa Barbara coast it turns out is five times bigger than anybody thought possible. Crews are desperately trying to clean up more than 100,000 gallons of oil. At least 21,000 gallons has reached the ocean, and wildlife have been suffering along this beach. You can see the crabs, pelicans -- you're seeing these animals dying a gruesome death.
Sara Sidner is OUTFRONT from Santa Barbara.
And, Sara, these pictures of the dead animals, the wildlife drenched in oil are incredibly disturbing, they're hard to watch.
Are they going to be able to save any of them? I know it can be -- I mean , this is just horrible looking at this pelican. Are they going to be able to save any of them?
SARA SIDNER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes. They have five right now that they've rescued, pelicans that they say are very stressed out as you might imagine, they are covered in oil but they're trying to get them cleaned up. They also have a young sea lion that they have taken into a refuge that they are saying is about 35 percent of its body covered in oil. And they're going to try to clean that animal up as well.
We also noticed just earlier today, there was a dolphin out there swimming in the area where there is still an oil slick.
So, obviously, there's going to be a lot of animals who are affected by this, and never mind the flora and fauna, we can see oil all along the coast. Even now, a couple of days later, you can see it spotted all along the rocks. It is a big task but they're definitely going to be able to save some of these animals. -- Erin.
BURNETT: I'm glad they can save some. I know it's hard, with each of the little feathers to get the oil off, you can't rinse it off and it's fine.
Sara, you know, Plains All American Pipeline, that is the name of the company here, responsible for the ruptured pipe that is causing all of this. They actually from your reporting have a history of safety infractions. What have you learned?
SIDNER: Yes, that's true. Their history is not a good one. Between 2004 and 2007, there were 10 oil spills in places like Louisiana and Texas and Kansas. There were so many of them that they were sued and had to basically come to an agreement with the Environmental Protection Agency, a settlement, $41 million settlement that they agreed to spend that money on upgrading 10,000 miles of crude oil pipeline.
And just last year, this past May, in Los Angeles, one of their pipes ruptured. Crude oil was all over the street, 10,000 gallons of it on an L.A. street. That happened just last May.
The company we tried to talk to them about that, as did many others. Here's what they had to say when we questioned them about their record.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SIDNER: How do you explain the record of your company when it comes to spills and problems that you've had which far exceeds many other companies?
PATRICK HODGINS, PLAINS ALL AMERICAN PIPELINE: Our focus today has been on the response to this incident. I'll be happy to follow up with you later to address other concerns you may have.
SIDNER: But would you agree that your company has had more than its fair share of spills?
HODGINS: Again, we continue to operate, we move quite a bit of product across the United States.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SIDNER: And they say they're working with the EPA. They're working with the government agencies. Bottom line, they didn't really answer question.
Lastly, I do want to tell you this beach in particular, Refugio Beach, is closed for a week. That gives you some idea how long the cleanup is going to take -- Erin.
BURNETT: All right. Sara, thank you very much. I mean, I guess it would be a miracle even if they can do it in the week. I mean, the scenario here is the worst-case scenario. You see all the innocent wildlife who are fighting for their lives and so many of them, of course, will not survive this spill.
Thank you so much for joining us. Be sure to set your DVR to record OUTFRONT so you can watch our program any time. I'll be back here same time, same place tomorrow night.
In the meantime, "AC360" with Anderson Cooper begins right now.