Return to Transcripts main page


Prison Escapee David Sweat Says It Was Joyce Mitchell's Idea to Have Her Husband Killed; Heightened State of Alert Going into Weekend; Corrections in Dannemora look like Sunday school; Analysis of Trump's Speech; Sharks Attacks in South Carolina; Man Saving Others While Attacked by Shark. Aired 8-9p ET

Aired July 2, 2015 - 20:00   ET


[20:00:00] ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: Good evening. Thanks very much for joining us. We're following some tense developments as we go into this holiday weekend including a massive emergency response to the Washington Navy yard where 12 people lost their lives nearly two years ago. Thankfully, it was a false alarm. It is also a sign one of many today of the growing preparation for keeping people safe over the holiday in light of a string of attacks overseas. We'll talk about that tonight.

The concern runs so deep, a major air force fighter base is canceling July 4th celebrations to remain vigilant. We have late word on that tonight.

First though, the New York prison break. New details tonight including on the final deadly confrontation between law enforcement and the killer, Richard Matt near the (INAUDIBLE) trailer not from the cell he broke out of nearly three weeks ago.

Jason Carroll is outside the Clinton correctional facility in Dannemora. He joins us now.

What do you know about the standoff between Matt and the border patrol agent?

JASON CARROLL, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, we know now that it could have been much, much worse given what federal authorities are telling us. We have seen the aftermath of that. You have seen the graphic picture, we are going to put it up for you. We know some viewers may find it disturbing. But it shows what happened after the shooting.

But we are now, Anderson, learning what happened in the moments leading up to that shooting. Federal authorities telling us that that border agent told Richard Matt to comply, put his hand up. Instead he pointed a 20-gauge shotgun at that officer. That officer then forced to shoot. So, as deadly and as violent as the situation ended up it could have been much, much worse. If not for the quick thinking of that border patrol agent, Anderson.

COOPER: And the claims by David Sweat that it was Joyce Mitchell's idea to have her husband killed, Lyle Mitchell's attorney spoke about that today. What did he have to say? CARROLL: He did. And we should say that Joyce Mitchell through her

attorney she has denied that, she said she had nothing to do with the murder plot. David Sweat telling a different story. Saying that it was actually her idea, not his, not Richard Matt's idea as well.

Well, late today, Anderson, Lyle Mitchell's attorney, Joyce Mitchell's husband, Lyle Mitchell's attorney coming out and saying the following. Saying Lyle only knows what Joyce told him and that was that he didn't want Lyle hurt.

Joyce Mitchell saying all along that she did not want to go along with the murder plot. That she loved her husband. In fact I remember telling -- her attorney telling you in an interview that, that Joyce Mitchell very much loved her husband and did not want to go through with the plot. But Lyle Mitchell out turns out basically saying that he still loves his wife. And still at least in some ways standing by her at least emotionally -- Anderson.

COOPER: And you are also learning more about the staffing shake-ups at the prison itself?

CARROLL: That's right. New superintendent here, Michael Fitzpatrick. He is Kirk Patrick. He is now taking over for Steven Racit, the former superintendent. He is on administrative leave along with 11 others. And this new superintendent, Anderson, what's interesting about what is going to be happening here at the correctional facility is going to have to oversee several new rules. Some of them include inspecting the structure of each cell each week. What he -- what we mean by that are actually the walls and that catwalk behind the cells, those are going to be checked each week. And executive level executive now must be on the 11:00 to 7:00 a.m. shift. And in addition to that, the number of cells that are searched randomly for contraband, that is going to be tripled. So a lot of new measures that this new superintendent is going to have to oversee, Anderson.

COOPER: All right, Jason Carroll. Appreciate the update.

Now, the heightened state of alert going into the weekend. Late word that some members of the United States armed forces are taking very seriously, actually canceling July Fourth celebrations. The day began with police and other security forces swarming the Washington Navy yard. People there getting a message that some sadly have heard ones before, active shooter in the building.

This time thankfully, there was no shooter. It was a false alarm. There is however a lot of concern about that kind of attack or others.

Our chief national security correspondent Jim Sciutto, he has been talking to his sources joins us now.

So first of all, at the Navy yard. The police response very quick and very significant.

JIM SCIUTTO, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: Enormous. Dozens of vehicles. They shut down some major streets here in response to that. I mean, keep in mind, you have the country on alert with July 4th weekend approaching. This was a military base. They are on their own level of alert because they're considered a particularly high target. And then, of course, the Navy yard had the shooting in 2013. So when that woman in the building, she heard what was construction work what she thought it may be gun fire. She calls 911. And this is the kind of response. This shows you just how seriously law enforcement and the military are taking this threat around the country.

COOPER: Also, British air base used by the U.S. forces actually canceled its July 4th events. Do you know why?

[20:05:02] SCIUTTO: This is the thing. I have spoken to European command. We have spoken to the base as well. This was a base decision. Decision by commanders that in effect the risks of holding the July 4th celebrations outweighed the benefits.

Now, they did not have -- they have not said that they had a specific and credible threat. But keep in mind, Anderson, there are other bases around the UK that have U.S. forces there that did not cancel their events. Same in Europe as well.

So either they heard something specific to the base that made them uncomfortable or simply the commander there, and the commanders have the right to do this, made his own decision that he just prefer not to. That the risks were too high. And keep in mind as high as security alert is here, it's equally or arguably higher in the UK. They have many more jihadists, known jihadists than we have here. It is a country on alert as well.

COOPER: And Jim, let's talk about the alerts here in the United States. Law enforcement across the country upping security measures ahead of the weekend, right?

SCIUTTO: They are. This is difficult thing to do in a country of 300 million people. But what they're doing is they are focusing on what they perceive to be targets, public monuments, gathering places, July 4th events. And then you have cities like Washington, New York, Los Angeles. They considered themselves particular targets. New York City putting out radiation detectors. They are going to take advantage of the thousands of cameras they have downtown to look for suspicious activity. But you heard from the head of counterterror in New York saying that this is an unprecedented complex operation, just in New York City.

But you can say the same around the country because you don't have specific or credible threats. You just have a general sense that people who support ISIS might carry out attacks on the weekend. That's a very difficult thing to protect against.

COOPER: We have the chief of counterterrorism here. Jim Sciutto, thank you.

Few places see the kind of threats that Washington does. New York obviously tops the list. It also leads the country in how much intelligence and counterterrorism it does on its own. The NYPD possesses in-house the equivalent of a small country's intelligence agent, CIA and FBI, as well as liaison officers in hot spots around the world. And they have been especially busy these last several days.

Joining us now is James Waters, chief of counterterrorism for the department.

Thanks very much for being with us, chief.


COOPER: How big -- is this really that different from previous Fourth of July weekends in terms of the security preparations and the threat?

WATERS: Well, as you know, Anderson, there is no credible threat to this event or New York City in particular. But our operating premise is that we are the target in New York City all the time. So the information that is out there is for awareness purposes and for people to go about their lives, enjoy the holiday weekend, come and enjoy the fireworks.

COOPER: That is your message to people. I mean, don't worry about it. We'll --

WATERS: We're well experienced in policing large events in New York City. This Fourth of July will be no different.

COOPER: When you think about the variety of threats that exist out there, you know, we just saw the concern over active shooter this morning at the Navy yard. Thankfully, it turn out to be a false alarm, but there was one two years ago. We have obviously seen just last week, active shooter situations in a number of places. Is that the biggest concern for you from a law enforcement prevention standpoint? And you know, an individual or several individuals?

WATERS: So we have a number of concerns. And the lone wolf who are an active shooter are certainly those concerns that we have that threat. Down in D.C., the Navy yard this morning, that just goes to show that there is a lot of planning, a lot of training, and in this case, all of those authorities under Kathy Lanier, they executed. And they executed perfectly.

COOPER: And that is what is interesting about because I was down there and talking to her a while ago. It used to be the idea was, create a perimeter. Wait for tactical units to show up if there is an active shooter. A pre-Columbine. Now it seems very much NYPD, Washington, police around the country know, this stuff gets dealt with very, very quickly. The shootings take place in the first couple minutes. And you have got to go in with the officers you have on hand right away, is that correct?

WATERS: That's correct. We have studied the active shooter going back to 1966. The amount of perpetrators, the amount of shots fired, and we train the officers to move to the shooter. Move to the shooter quickly and neutralize the threat.

COOPER: And that's a new way of looking at it than years ago?

WATERS: The officers have to make a split second decision that it is an active shooter and not some kind of hostage situation or a barricaded situation where we would take time to negotiate a surrender. But an active shooter is moving. His idea is to move in and kill as many people or hurt as many people as possible. And so the training is very specific. Move to the shooter. Neutralize the threat.

COOPER: Fast as possible. Some lawmakers are now saying this is the kind of the highest level of concern since 9/11. Do you think that's accurate?

[20:10:00] WATERS: I think it is one of the concerns. I think it is something that has happened around the country unfortunately in many different places. And it gets a lot of media attention. But certainly, you know, we worry about many different things, many different types of threat. But, you know, low cost, low tech, high yield would be right in, in the, framework of an active shooter.

COOPER: It is interesting now because of social media, and the presence of cameras on cell phones. An attack doesn't really have to be a large scale attack in order to have a global impact. I mean, you know, the "Charlie Hebdo" attack was, you know, a confined event. Although it did drag on for several days. But because people can videotape it, it can have a much bigger impact even if it is one or two individuals.

WATERS: That's correct. I mean with social media, it's exponentially out there in the media. And it is covered. Just like the events leading up to the Fourth of July. So the tempo is raised. But we are, you know, we're well prepared.

COOPER: And that's the bottom line message you want to get across to people. Enjoy the weekend. Don't worry.

WATERS: And if there anyone out there that is intent on coming to do us harm, we are well prepared.

COOPER: All right, James, it is always good to have you on. Thank you very much.

WATERS: Thanks very much.

COOPER: Chief Waters.

It is going to be a busy weekend, no doubt, for the chief and for a lot of officers in New York. A brief word about a picture we showed you in Jason Carroll's report a moment ago on the border. Officer who shot and killed Richard Matt. We mistakenly showed you a photo of the New York State police Sergeant Jay Cook that you may remember shot with Matt's partner, David Sweat over the weekend. We apologize for that.

Just ahead tonight, we are going to take you inside of jail that made what went on at Dannemora look like Sunday school, from drug sales to guards sleeping with inmates to having children with them.

And later, my conversation with the man who tangled physically with one of these creatures, with a shark, a shark that could have very easily killed him, killed his 8-year-old son, it was in the water with him. Tell you -- he is going to tell you what he did to get the shark away from his child.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If I would have been in the ocean for another, you know, few minutes, the other sharks showed up pretty quickly. I don't know if I would have made it out alive.


[20:15:57] COOPER: Hey, welcome back. Between the sex, the raw meat and oil paintings, what went down at Clinton correctional facility in Dannemora sounds more like the fall of Rome than upstate New York. But it happened. And as outlandish and apparently out of control as it was, the one thing it was not is unique.

Randi Kaye has another story tonight from a different lockup where the inmates essentially took over.


RANDI KAYE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Before a sweeping investigation into the Baltimore city detention center, the inmates seemed to be running the place. A deadly gang called the black guerrilla family, lorded over an empire of drugs and contraband in the jail. All the direction of their leader inmate Tayvon White.

IAN DUNCAN, THE BALTIMORE SUN: Tayvon White is wire tapped as part of the investigation in this and a quote that really stood out where she said "this is my jail." Something along the lines of, you know, his word is law.

KAYE: So how is White and his gang able to gain such a stranglehold on the entire system? Largely through seducing its female correctional officers into sexual relationships. According to the government, White even fathered five children with four different officers, all while behind bars.

DUNCAN: The sexual dynamic of the corruption was really important. And what the FBI thinks is that that was a way to establish power over these women, to build these relationships, to really strengthen these bonds. They really had a playbook for how to use sex essentially to ensure their dominance.

KAYE: This is one of those guards, according to the government. Tiffany Linder, seeing here eight months into her pregnancy got into an argument with another guard who was also pregnant with White's baby. According to court documents, she said, did he tell you we was having a son? Did you know about our baby?

The other pregnant guard responded, don't give a (bleep) about the baby, that's you all baby, not mine. We having one too, so what? Two of the pregnant guards allegedly even got tattoos of Tayvon's name.

Up until the scandal broke wide open back in 2013, 75 percent of the jail's 650 correction officers were women. And according to one inmate who was a witness for the government, up to three-quarters of those female guards were involved in quote "contraband smuggling" and/or having sexual relationships with inmates.

That all begin to unravel when the FBI and other law enforcement begin to investigate.

DUNCAN: They were able to tap the contraband cell phones that the gang members were using to build up a picture of the network, who was connected to who, who Tayvon White what has controlled over, and build their case that way.

KAYE: The head of Maryland's corrections department accepted responsibility whey charges were first brought. And said people will be held accountable according to "the Washington Post."

More than 40 people were charged with racketeering related charges including Tayvon White. He pleaded guilty to racketeering conspiracy. And this past February was sentenced to 12 years in prison. Twenty four correctional officers were also found guilty, including Tiffany Linder and three other women who allegedly were impregnated by White.

Randi Kaye, CNN, New York.


COOPER: So given what happened at the prison in Dannemora, New York, you can't actually be all that surprised by a story like this one. Still, it is hard not to be shocked by the degree of it all.

I want to dig deeper now with two people who the story -- know these stories inside out, Robin Kay Miller worked as corrections officer at New York City's Reikers Island Complex, and just written a book about her experience "sex, drug, thugs, the untold truth of New York jail corruption." It comes out in September. And with us tonight is Patrick Dunleavy, former deputy inspector general for the New York state department of corrections as well as corrections officer himself.

Robin, let me start with you. I mean, a lot of what went on in Baltimore and certainly what we have been learning about Dannemora, I mean, it surprises people. It shocks people. It doesn't surprise you, though. What were your experiences like?

ROBIN KAY MILLER, FORMER CORRECTIONS OFFICER, NEW YORK CITY: Well, the stuff that is going on in all these jails has been going on for years. It has been going on since probably before I started the job.

[20:20:01] COOPER: You were on the job for your career, 20 years?

MILLER: Yes. From 1983 and I retired in 2005.

COOPER: And the problems existed, I mean, you had, you were in a room sometimes with 200 inmates the only guard around.


COOPER: Who did you have problems with, though, inmates? Because you are saying, you have a lot of problems with other corrections officers.

MILLER: The problems was never the inmates. Once you set your ground rules with inmates, once you demand respect, you give respect, it's like I used to run my house in areas, when I was on Reikers Island like we was in the army. Once you show respect, they'll give you've the respect. It was my colleagues that gave me such a hard time.


MILLER: Just -- because they don't come to work and do what they're supposed to do. Our jobs is care, custody, control. We are supposed to be worried about the inmates. When instead a lot of the colleagues worrying about the inmates, they was worried about the officers, what they got on, who they're dating, who is going to give me some, who is not going to give me some. It is like they took the focus off the job which was the inmates and put it on everyone else.

COOPER: And Patrick, the relationships between officers and inmates, you say they're actually often dictated by the inmates. Why is that?

PATRICK DUNLEAVY, FORMER DEPUTY INSPECTOR GENERAL, NEW YORK CORRECTION DEPARTMENT: Well, because the inmate is able to use different type of techniques to gain kind of an intimacy whether an emotional intimacy or physical one. It can start off with simply saying, hi, good morning. How you doing today, Ms. Jones? You are looking good? Did you lose weight? Or Officer Smith, would you like a cup of coffee? Stuff like that.

COOPER: It starts off small. And then, manipulation takes off from there you are saying?

DUNLEAVY: That's correct.

COOPER: Did you find that as well? Because I know I was reading an article you wrote. And you would have inmates kind of try to kind of test your boundaries?


COOPER: Robin?

MILLER: No. They're going to test you. I mean, to me being in jail is just like being on the street you. You have a male, you got a female. They're going to test you. I don't care where you are at.

COOPER: So, you were saying you had to demand respect, you had to set the rules?

MILLER: You look good today? I'm look what? Who you talking to? You got to put them in check. Your hair looks like -- what? COOPER: Because if it started off small, if you gave them an inch it

would go further and further.

MILLER: It was occasions, Ms. Miller can you bring me in a sandwich? Really? I'd be like, really? Ms. Miller can you mail this for me? It starts out like that. But what they do is they look for the loneliest and most isolated? And I always say, the reason why I bring up as far as relationships, between officer and officer and officer and inmate, and how I am getting all the respect from the inmate and not getting it from my colleagues. Because the inmates they sit back and they watch that. And what happens is - and I know it happens to a lot of females coming on the job, the guys, the male officers, they try to rap to you. And when they can't get nowhere, then you are a bunch of -- stay away from her. And the inmates watch that, you know.

Plus they probably have problems going on at home. So now they come to work and then once the guy stops speaking to the male officer they've tell the female officers. Don't speak to her.

COOPER: It's interesting, Patrick, what she is saying. I mean, when you were a corrections officer earlier in your career, you actually had an inmate try to give you a $10,000 bribe, is that right?

DUNLEAVY: Yes, I was actually a sergeant. I was a young sergeant. And there was an inmate in prison for murder. And it started off small. And then one day he came to me and offered me a large sum of money if I would help him go out of prison. And it was $10,000. I came forward. Went to the inspector general's office. They asked if I would go under cover, wear a wire, meet with stock brokers and lawyers and I did. And I accepted thousands of dollars.

But the most interesting part of that is after the first payment was made. We want of on a wire and listened to the inmate talk to his stockbroker. As soon as the stockbroker conveyed to him that he had given him the money, the first thing the inmate said is now I own him. And that stuck with me for the rest of my career. You've don't sell for a price.


DUNLEAVY: And eventually what we did is we locked up the stockbroker. We locked up the inmate. We locked up other individuals. Confiscated money.

COOPER: And you relate to that Robin? I mean, you relate to that idea that they will feel they own you if you give them an inch?

MILLER: Yes. Once they have some dirt on you.

COOPER: That's it.

MILLER: That's, that's just, you know, human nature when you're dealing with slime.

COOPER: I look forward to reading your book when it comes out in September. Thank you so much for being with us. And Patrick Dunleavy as well.

Thank you very much.

MILLER: And I need to go to to preorder my book. Remember that,

COOPER: All right.

DUNLEAVY: Thanks for having us.

MILLER: Thank you.

COOPER: Thank you. Appreciate it.

Just ahead, what Donald Trump said about illegal immigrants from Mexico and how the claims he made square with the facts, just Keeping Them Honest.

And now, take a look at this. This is what a shark can do. And that is just if you are lucky. Tonight, I will talk to a swimmer who is more than lucky. He saved, not only his son's life, his own life. Probably a lot of other people's lives as well. We'll be right back.


[20:29:09] COOPER: Donald Trump continue to pushed for boycott at the Macy's department store chain which parted ways with him yesterday over remark he's made about illegal immigrant from Mexico. He retweeted this word, of praise this afternoon from a supporter. Macy's stock drops after coming out in support of #illegals and dust up with @RealDonald Trump and public #boycottMacys.

The stock did fall by less than one percent. That is a fact. It was indisputably true. So the fact that Mexicans, Mexican Americans and other Latinos have been offended by what he is staying on the stump. The question is how factually accurate are the words themselves.

Dan Simon tonight is Keeping Them Honest.


DAN SIMON, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): This is the line that brought Donald Trump so much attention and trouble.

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: When Mexico sends its people, they are not sending their best. They are not sending you. They are not sending you. They are sending people that have lots of problems and they are bringing those problems with us. They are bringing drugs, they are bringing crimes, their rapists and some, I assume, are good people.

SIMON: Now, let's go through it line by line.

TRUMP: When Mexico sends its people, they're not sending their best. They're not sending you. They're not sending you.

SIMON: First of all, Mexico as in the government, is not sending anybody. So, that's problem number one. But moving on.

TRUMP: They're sending people that have lots of problems. And they're bringing those problems with us. They're bringing drugs.

SIMON: Drugs coming in from Mexico is certainly a well-documented problem, oftentimes through underground tunnels. And experts say there is certainly an overlap between human and drug smuggling. But the vast majority of undocumented people caught at the border are nabbed on immigration charges. 89 percent. While drug trafficking charges account for just five percent according to Politofact. So, Trump's statement ...

TRUMP: They are bringing drugs ...

SIMON: ... may be true, but is far from the complete story. Next?

TRUMP: They're bringing crime.

SIMON: Keeping him honest. This is not a fair generalization. And there are many data points, as "The Washington Post" reported shredding that notion. "The Post" cited numerous studies including one from Northwestern University that concluded there is essentially no correlation between immigrants and violent crime. The public policy institute also found that immigrants are underrepresented in California prisons compared to their representation in the overall population. In fact, U.S. born adult men are incarcerated at a rate of over 2 1/2 times greater than that of foreign born men. And on this other highly inflammatory remark.

TRUMP: They're rapists.

SIMON: The data does not at all support this categorical statement that undocumented immigrants from Mexico are responsible for large numbers of rapes. Sex crime stats are difficult to track in part, because it's estimated only 66 percent of rapes are ever reported. Trump, though, has continued to double down on the rape comments.

TRUMP: 80 percent of Central American women and girls are raped crossing into the United States. Now I mentioned this and they said how could you mention a thing like this? I had no idea it was this bad. It's horrible.

SIMON: The author of that investigative report says Trump completely misread the article. She says many of the women are being raped by traffickers and officials before they reach the border. Not immigrants entering the U.S.

SIMON: We're not talking about Mexican immigrants. But that's a pretty big jump to make.

DON LEMON: Why did you have to say they were rapists?

SIMON: When presented with contrary facts, Trump didn't back down when speaking with CNN's Don Lemon.

TRUMP: Somebody is doing the raping, Don. I mean, you know, I mean somebody is doing - you think it is women being raped. Well, who is doing the raping?

SIMON: It's worth pointing out that when making these generalizations, Trump has always followed up.

TRUMP: Mexico is smart.

SIMON: With comments like this.

TRUMP: I love Mexico. I love the Mexican people. I do business with the Mexican people.


SIMON: Well, these comments on Mexico may be hurting Donald Trump with Univision, NBC and now, of course, Macy's. But they don't seem to be hurting Donald Trump with the voters. At least not at this point. But if past behavior is a future predictor of current behavior then maybe no one can be too surprised by Donald Trump after all. He went after Obama on that birth certificate issue, even though he was presented with facts all day long to the contrary. Perhaps he's doing the same thing now. Anderson.

COOPER: Very extremely high polls in New Hampshire. We'll continue to follow you. Dan Simon. Thanks.

Up next, terror in the water: fears of more shark attacks this Fourth of July weekend. We are checking with Jennifer Gray on a North Carolina beach, and we hear from a shark attack survivor, who's being hailed as a hero for what he did in the water.


COOPER: Beach-goers are on edge this Fourth of July weekend along the coast of North and South Carolina. Ten shark attacks this year, most in recent weeks. And that's up from the initial six all year long. The latest just yesterday in North Carolina's outer banks. 67-year- old Andrew Costello bitten by a six or seven foot gray shark. Injuries to his hands, rib cage, hip, and lower leg. Incredibly his niece says he is doing well. In a moment, another survivor who's being called a hero, but first CNN meteorologist Jennifer Gray joins us from Wrightsville Beach, North Carolina. Obviously, big weekend coming up. Are they any plans to close the beaches where these attacks occurred?

JENNIFER GRAY, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Yeah, not at all, Anderson. In fact, the park service is responsible for the beaches, and they say they only have jurisdiction up to the shore. After that once you get in the water it is out of their control. They have no plans to close the beaches, and they say they are going to stay open throughout the weekend.

COOPER: It is very easy to hype shark attacks and most people do it an awful lot. But there really has been an unprecedented number of attacks in this area in the last few months?

GRAY: Absolutely. It is a little unusual to see this many bites. Just in the past couple of weeks we have seen ten. But researchers are saying they can't really pinpoint it to one thing or another. Look, sharks are wild animals. They're constantly looking for food. There are actually a lot of tiger sharks off the mid-Atlantic right now looking for turtles. And if you are in between the shark and the food source, you could possibly get bit. But it is obvious that we are not on the menu, because they always bite and then they let go. So, they tell people just to be smart about it. Try to stay pretty close to shore. Do not go swimming where people are fishing. A lot of the surf fishermen are actually targeting sharks. So, you don't want to be swimming around them. You definitely don't want to be swimming around structure, like piers, where people are fishing off of. Fish like structure. They like to hang close to that. And so, try to stay away from those. And just be aware of your surroundings.

COOPER: Yes. Jennifer Gray. Thank you very much. .

Now, Patrick Thornton, he was in shallow water. Friday, he was swimming with his eight-year-old son in Avon, North Carolina. His niece, nephew, many others were also in the water. Tonight he's being hailed as a hero. And you are going to see why. Because he warned others and fought off a shark that was biting him. Pulling his own son to safety. Getting others out of the water. Patrick has wounds to his leg and back. He joins us with his incredible story.

Patrick, this is so incredible that you had the presence of mind to not only fend off the shark, but to save your son and probably other people as well.


COOPER: Take us through what happened? Because I know you were swimming with your eight-year-old son Jack. When did you realize there was a shark around?

PATRICK THORNTON: When the wave, you know when the rip curl of a wave comes down and it is like white caps.

COOPER: Right.

THORNTON: That's kind of the, the shark must have been in that, because when the wave crashed down, I stood with my back towards the wave. And as the, as the -- as the surf, if you will, was getting pulled back into the ocean, that's when the shark bit me.

COOPER: Wow! So, it's actually in the wave?

THORNTON: It actually must have come in the wave. Because I didn't see anything. And -- that's when it started to pull. I thought it was really odd because it was a pretty big pull. And I thought the last thing I thought in my mind was there was a shark there. But I really noticed the shark when it, it actually came around my back and then it -- it started. It actually came around and I saw its fin.

COOPER: I have got to ask, I mean that is probably everybody's nightmare, seeing a fin in the water coming towards them. What went through your mind when you saw that fin? THORNTON: Well, it happened so fast. The very first thought I had

was -- I have got to get jack out of here. Number two, my niece and nephew were also in the ocean. I just started, I started shouting, shark, shark. Everyone out of the water. At the same time I'm punching the shark trying to get the shark away from me. And then went over to, you know, to obviously grab my son.

COOPER: I mean I assume Jack heard you shouting shark. I don't know if he saw the fin as well. How was he? Was he in shock? Did he know what was going on?

THORNTON: He just looked at me, our eyes met. And he knew by looking at my eyes that I was serious and that he needed to listen and we needed to get out as soon as possible.

COOPER: You have no doubt it was the same shark that bit you each time?

THORNTON: I never saw it, but the folks that were on the beach at the time said there were two or three sharks that came up afterwards. So I believe it was the same shark. But it could have been -- it could have been a different shark because, by the time I got out of the ocean there were two or three sharks swimming in the same area. If I would have been in ocean for another few minutes. The other sharks showed up pretty quickly. I don't know if I would have made it out alive.

COOPER: When you were punching the shark. Do you think that had an effect on the shark?

THORNTON: I do, Anderson. You know the force, at which I was punching the shark would have been hard for him to hang on. I was punching as hard as I could. And I do think that's the -- why he was -- I believe that's the way he disengaged from me. I have learned since that that was supposed, that's something you are supposed to do. And by happenstance and just being alert and reactive, that's what, that's what I did naturally, actually.

COOPER: You were flown to a hospital. How, how is the healing process going?

THORNTON: Yeah, thanks, I appreciate it. A couple of things I said, the Avon first care responders did a phenomenal job. They were there within, within ten minutes of me being on the beach. And then they, they, like you said, they air lifted me right to the Norfolk General Hospital. And as soon as I got, as soon as I came in on the helicopter, they brought me right into surgery and operated immediately.

COOPER: Does this change the way, I mean is it mountain vacations from here on in for you?

THORNTON: You know, it's a good question. I haven't really thought about going on another vacation.

COOPER: You deserve another vacation, I got to tell you. THORNTON: Well, thank you, I appreciate that. You know, I don't

think I am going to take a different approach. I think what happened, happened. Having said that, the biggest surprise here was the shark attacked me at, what I thought would be, you know very shallow water. And was surprised it did that. So, the next vacation I take just may be in the mountains, not the beach.

COOPER: I can understand that. Well, I mean, Patrick again. It's just - you are obviously a great dad that, you know, you were able to be so kind of rational in the midst of all of this. And think, you know, and save Jack and your nieces and other people on the beach. Because I know, I have seen interviews other people on the beach credit you with, with possibly saving their kids as well. So there is a lot of people very thankful for what you did. And I appreciate you talking to us tonight. Thank you.

THORNTON: Well, thank you, and I think I am only here by the grace of God. So, thank you, Anderson.

COOPER: Just ahead. It is incredible. A couple in Texas - two men who have been together for 27 years. They want to get married. As it is now their right to do so. But the county clerk, someone we told you about this week, still isn't making it easy. [20:45:06]


COOPER: It's been less than a week since the Supreme Court made marriage equality a reality in all 50 states. So, it's a fairly new ruling, but a ruling nonetheless. You wouldn't know it, though, in at least one county in Texas. We have been telling you about Hood County clerk Katie Lang who said she would not issue licenses to same-sex couples despite the Supreme Court's ruling. She seemed to back down from her position a bit. But that doesn't mean she is making it easy for gay couples to get what is their legal right, a marriage license. Tonight, we want to introduce you to one of those couples. CNN's Ryan Nobles has their story.


RYAN NOBLES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: This may be the epicenter in the fight over same-sex marriage.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What do we want?

CROWD: Marriage equality.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: When do we want it?


NOBLES: Granbury, Texas, a small town roughly 65 miles southwest of Dallas boasts the first town square in Texas.

UM: Welcome to God's country.

CROWD: Yeah!

NOBLES: The town may be the last to issue marriage licenses to same- sex couples.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's one man, and one woman. That is how marriage should be.

NOBLES: Jim Kato and Joe Stapleton have been together for 27 years and were prepared to get married on Monday. It was their first opportunity after the Supreme Court declared gay couples have a constitutional right to marry. They want their license to read Hood County where they live and pay taxes.


NOBLES: But so far, the county's clerk, Katie Lang, is holding up the process.

Um: We want to be the first people in Hood County to get married. We thought we would be married on Monday, but that's not going to happen.

NOBLES: Lang initially said she would not issue the licenses because of her own religious objection. But then later in the week, she said she would allow other members in her office off to do so. But couples like Jim and Joe, have been told the proper paperwork has not arrived. But in similar small counties like, say, in Sabine, Texas, the logistical issues have been worked out and gay couples like Jonathan Means and Jason White successfully obtained a license. While Jim and Joe continue to wait.

UM: When do I come in your office? She said I don't know. And everything was she didn't know.

NOBLES: Lang's reluctance has sparked a bitter battle from both sides in this normally quiet town. Religious freedom supporters on one side of the street. Gay rights activists on the other. One side defending Lang's right to object.

Um: We have a message for Katie Lang. You are not alone. Your community is here with you.

NOBLES: The other demanding she abide by the Supreme Court's order or quit.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Get on board with equality or resign today.

NOBLES: And as many Americans come together to celebrate the country's independence, a Texas sized battle remains over an issue the highest court thought they'd settled.

COOPER: And Ryan Nobles joins me now. Has the clerk's office explained what's holding up the paperwork if that really is something that is being held up?

NOBLES: No, they haven't, Anderson, and frankly, that's one of the reasons that Jim and Joe are so frustrated. They don't know exactly the reason why their marriage license is being held up. They even printed out an example of a marriage license from another county already issuing same-sex marriage licenses, but that wasn't enough for Hood County. They continue to wait. And they may file a lawsuit on Monday if this issue isn't resolved by then.

COOPER: And is this woman, Katie Lang, I mean is she making any public statements about this? Besides this alleged paperwork problem?

NOBLES: Well, she is represented by an outfit called the Liberty Institute, which is a nonprofit law firm based in Plano, Texas, near Dallas, who's representing her in this case. She's talked only through those lawyers. I spoke with her lawyer earlier in the week. And tried to contact him again tonight to find out what the status of the situation is. They continue to maintain that it is her right not to issue those same-sex marriage licenses herself. But that she will do it for everyone. When exactly that will happen we are still waiting to find out.

COOPER: All right, Ryan Nobles, I appreciate the update. Thank you. Just ahead. CNN films, Glen Campbell's "I'll Be Me." That means remarkable singer's journey across America after he was diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease. I'll speak with Campbell's wife and daughter in a moment about their journey of love and music. Next.


COOPER: This Saturday, CNN is going to air an encore presentation of "Glen Campbell, I'll be me." Now, the film follows the music legend's tour across America right after he was diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease.


Um: Glen, last time - you sometimes forgot what key it was in, but you can always remember the melody. How is that?

GLEN CAMPBELL: I couldn't answer it. But I can do it. And I can do it when I want to do it. It is amazing. Sometimes I don't want to do it.


CAMPBELL: No, it's just something that is in your system that's -- I really don't know what it is. I wish I wish I knew.


COOPER: And it's really extraordinary documentary. I recently spoke with Glen Campbell's wife Kim and daughter Ashley.


COOPER: Kim, I think it was so brave of -- of you and your daughter and your husband to go public with, with your husband's Alzheimer's diagnosis and also for him to go out on the road and -- why did you want to do this? And to make this film about it? KIM CAMPBELL, GLEN CAMPBELL'S WIFE: Well, Glen had just finished

doing an album. And he was all set to go out and do a tour to promote it. And we got the diagnosis of Alzheimer's. And so, we did have a discussion about it, you know, is this something we should do? And I asked the doctor about it. And the doctor said well, if Glen is still functioning and he enjoys it I think it would be good for him. And Glen said I feel fine. I am going to go out and do my show. And so we talked about it. We said. You know, well, what is going to happen if you mess up or if you start forgetting lyrics or just do something odd on stage. You know, and he said I will just tell them I got Alzheimer's. And so, that's what we did. He's just really open and honest about his life. And I think it really worked out well. Because when he was honest about his condition and opened himself up. People just came out in droves to support him and root for him.

COOPER: Yeah. And Ashely, I mean you were performing with him. What was that like to -- to do that to be on the stage? Because I mean there would be 15 standing ovations in a performance?

ASHELY CAMPBELL: Well, he made it easy just by being so great. But just getting to play with him and watch his musicianship and to see how much love the fans had for him. That's something that you don't experience a lot in modern day. Just that kind of long-term, almost unconditional love for someone who has created such beautiful music and has such great talent.

COOPER: To you, what is the message about, because so many people are going to experience Alzheimer's, so many people already have through, having a loved one do it, you, you still find joy in every day with, with Glen?

KIM CAMPBELL: Yeah. You just have to make the most of each day. And we, we have a sense of humor as a family. Glen kind of led the way with that. And you just -- you have to surround yourself with a support team. You know, the person who has Alzheimer's needs lots of support, and the caregivers need support for each other as well. There is -- I mean there's a lot of sadness. And a lot of depression that can go with it when you are losing somebody that you love. But also just to -- no one person can take of someone with Alzheimer's 24/7.



KIM CAMPBELL: It takes a team.

COOPER: It's just such an amazing thing -- John, and I appreciate you coming and talk about it. Thank you.

KIM CAMPBELL: Thank you. Thanks for having us.


COOPER: Well, Glen Campbell, "I'll Be Me," that Saturday 9 p.m. Eastern. I really recommend it. The CNN original series "THE SEVENTIES" starts now.