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Texas Escapees Caught: Four in Custody; At Least One Refuses to SurrenderAired January 22, 2001 - 3:50 p.m. ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
JOIE CHEN, CNN ANCHOR: Hello, I'm Joie Chen at CNN Center. We want to bring our viewers up to date on the latest information we're getting about the "Texas Seven": Those are seven escapees from a Texas maximum security prison. They disappeared in mid-December, have been on the run ever since.
In the last 15, 20 minutes or so we heard from the Texas Department of Criminal Justice, which confirmed to us that four of the Texas Seven have been apprehended, arrested without incident near Colorado Springs, Colorado this afternoon. This area is just outside of Colorado Springs. It's called Woodland Park, Colorado.
They were picked up apparently at a place which is described both as a religious compound and a trailer park. A fifth man, who's also thought to be part of the Texas Seven, is said by the Texas Department of Criminal Justice inside the home where the others were apprehended and has been asking to talk to his father. Authorities are communicating with this fifth person who is barricaded, trying to work out a deal with him.
But authorities also tell us that George Rivas, who is thought to have been the ringleader of this group of seven escapees, was among those apprehended today. Two of the escapees, however, their whereabouts remain unknown at this hour, and authorities are certainly looking for them. Those would be Murphy and Newbury from the original seven.
The arrests were made based on a tip authorities received early this morning. Apparently, this is being handled by local authorities in Colorado, although they are passing information onto authorities in Texas. CNN has received this information: that four of the Texas Seven have been apprehended without incident this afternoon. A fifth man, who's also thought to be part of the gang, is barricaded now in a private trailer home in -- near Colorado Springs, and has been talking with negotiators, police negotiators there.
The ring leader of the group thought to have been apprehended as well, although two of the escapees, their whereabouts remain unknown at this hour.
CNN is continuing to follow up on this information. Let's listen now for a moment to WFAA, CNN's affiliate in Dallas, Texas, and their reporting, which is under way live right now. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Number of different stories (UNINTELLIGIBLE) talking about his ability to keep the others in -- into custody with him. Also into custody apparently, we are told, are Randy Halprin, Michael Rodriguez and Joseph Garcia.
Tell us a little, if you can, Mary Ann, background information about George Rivas. He has been, you have said, all along the person who authorities said was the ringleader in all this and the person who -- and in fact, had been involved in something similar to this in El Paso a number of years ago.
MARY ANN RAZZUK, WFAA REPORTER: Well, law enforcement officials tell us that George Rivas has made the point to inmates and to law enforcement officials over the years, very proud of the fact that he thinks he is the criminal of all criminals and can outsmart any law enforcement official. So with that sort of mentality, they feel like he was quite the leader and the person to lead this pack.
They suspect that he and Joseph Garcia were more than likely the leaders, Rivas the leader, and Joseph Garcia the -- possibly the first lieutenant, because Joseph Garcia's father was an ex-Green Beret, veteran of a couple of wars, and well-trained in military tactics. So those two are likely the masterminds.
But again, George Rivas is not your ordinary criminal. He studied military tactics, and he's also had some experience in armed robbery and similar types situations, taking-hostages situations at an Oshman's store, at a Toys "R" Us. So he's had some experience, and so therefore, it was the Oshman's, Irving robbery was kind of old hat to him.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: George Rivas, we're told, serving 99 years -- he's 30 years old -- for aggravated kidnapping and burglary, and two other men apparently robbed, as you said, that Oshman's in El Paso, in which the robbers forced the employees to handcuff themselves and then escaped with some money -- sounds frighteningly similar to the situation that happened last month -- I believe it was Christmas Eve -- in Irving.
Also apparently arrested Randy Halprin, 23, serving 30 years for injury to a child. Apparently, he beat up a baby. He had met the mother in an Arlington homeless shelter -- this is back in 1996 -- and moved in with the family a month later. The mother and the two children were playing in a different room, and Halprin, we're told, repeatedly beat the child, because he said later that the baby would not stop crying.
Michael Rodriguez also taken into custody. He's 38 years old, serving a life sentence for capital murder in San Antonio, convicted of paying another man $2,000 to kill his wife. Here's his picture.
And Joseph Garcia, 29, is serving 50 years for murder in San Antonio. We're told he stabbed Michael Luna to death after the two men had been -- had a frustrating drive together and Luna gave some bad directions. Garcia apparently stopped the car. Luna attacked him, grabbed his keys. Garcia chased Luna, jumped on him, and stabbed him 19 times. Garcia had claimed rather that he had acted in self- defense.
Again, bringing you up to date, in about four minutes we're going to have two news conferences going on. One is going to be going on in Huntsville. Our Mary Ann Razzuk is there right now. Another's going to be going on in the Colorado Springs area, Woodland Park, which is just outside of Colorado Springs, north and west of the city, about 20 miles north and west, just at the edge of the Rocky Mountains and the hills in fact next to the U.S. Air Force Academy.
These some pictures taken just a few moments ago of the Woodland Park area, where authorities last night apparently raided a trailer in a trailer park area that was full of the inmates in question.
The background information we have so far is that four of them, four of the seven have been taken into custody. There is one we are told that may be holed inside the trailer at this point, keeping authorities at bay because that person wants to talk to a relative. And there are two others who apparently -- we have heard nothing about. They may not be there. Maybe authorities are aware of where they are and they still haven't told us. But in about three, 3 1/2 minutes, we're going to get an update on that information.
Here's the -- some background information also to let you know. This, of course, all started December 13, when the gang broke out of the Connally unit in Kennedy, which, of course, is relatively close to San Antonio. They overpowered some civilian workers. Of course, ever since then there's been so much discussion about the prison system in the state of Texas and the problems with the system: the lack of guards, the shortage of guards, questions about guard training and guard pay.
The guards have complained that this was just something that was bound to happen sooner or later. Of course, the authorities saying that what really happened is that some guards did not follow the proper procedures, and as a result of that, these seven men escaped.
Of course, on the 24th of December, the convicts were suspected of robbing an Oshman's sporting goods store in the Irving area, in which an officer who responded to a burglary call, Officer Aubrey Hawkins, was shot and killed. They received 70 -- they got $70,000 in cash and checks, some weapons, some clothing.
There was some suspicion and continues to be some suspicion that one of the inmates as a result of this apparently was injured in some form or fashion. How we are not sure.
Again, they managed to get away from this, and between then and now, there have been all kinds of sightings, hundreds of sightings. Authorities had been talking about seeing them all over the place. The FBI, in fact, had authorized them to be picked in any -- any possible place in the world.
On the 26th of December, police raided a hotel in Arlington. They had a tip that several guests may have been involved or seen the escapees, but that turned out to be nothing. The 31st of December, there was a fireworks stand in south -- south Dallas -- you may remember that -- where someone said that they saw three men wearing some head bands and bandanas and some camouflage clothing. There was some suspicion that that may have been involving those individuals.
But again, until -- until just a few hours ago, we really had no indication of where these men were. And about an hour -- about a minute and 15 seconds from now, we're going to hear either from individuals in Huntsville or also from some individuals in Colorado (UNINTELLIGIBLE) County area. And they'll tell us more about all of that.
But right now, our Mary Ann Razzuk is standing by live. She is in the Huntsville area.
Mary Ann, any information on what they'll be able to tell us in just a few minutes?
CHEN: I'm sorry, John.
All right, to our viewers now, you've been watching coverage brought to us by our CNN affiliate in Dallas, Texas. That is WFAA of Dallas, Texas, reporting on a situation that has been very closely followed in their state, and that is the escape of the so-called Texas Seven: seven escapees from a maximum security facility in the state of Texas in mid-December, a killing at a sporting goods store of an officer who responded to burglary there on Christmas Eve. And then all that time, there had been a number of reports, but so far, those Texas Seven have been able to stay on the run, on the lam for weeks at a time.
The seven of them, though -- four, authorities, they say, have been apprehended in -- near Colorado Springs today, at Woodland Park, Colorado, at a trailer park: a park that has also been described as a religious compound. Texas Department of Criminal Justice telling us that four of the men they believe are the Texas Seven were arrested without incident today. A fifth man, who is also believed to be part of the gang, has been barricaded inside a trailer in this park and asking to talk to his father.
One of those who was confirmed to have been arrested today is George Rivas, who is thought to be the ringleader of this group; also the WFAA is reporting that Joseph Garcia, who was thought to be a lieutenant to Rivas in this group, was the co-master mind of the escape and of their ability to stay on the land for this long -- Joseph Garcia -- was among the others who was apprehended today, as well as Michael Rodriguez and a Randy Halprin, who also turned himself in to authorities there in Woodland Park, Colorado. In just a few moments here, we are expecting to hear from the Texas Board of Corrections spokesman -- I want to hear now a coverage from earlier this hour of the escapees. Let's listen now:
WITNESS (via phone):
"Yes, they're supposed to be five of them, they were supposed to all be Christians, and they have been just traveling and touring America, they said. They were just on a tour. And so that Jim was telling us yesterday that he's really wanting to stay here. You know, we were just visiting and having a good time -- we went out to lunch after church. He bought our dinner. We took him, you know, around to some of the sites here, and just had a very, very pleasant day with him."
CHEN: Again, that is coverage from earlier in this day from WFAA, our Dallas, Texas affiliate, speaking to an unidentified woman, who says that she was a witness, and she met some of these individuals -- these so-called Texas Seven were apparently hiding out in a trailer park in Woodland Park, Colorado.
Now, authorities, earlier today, told CNN that they have apprehended four of the seven, and that a fifth man is barricaded inside of the trailer and is talking to authorities there in Woodland Park, Colorado -- is trying to work out an arrangement where he can call a relative on the phone and talk to them, and at that point, he says that he will turn himself in. Two of the Texas Seven, however, remain at large. There is no information on the whereabouts of Murphy and Newbury, part of the original Texas Seven.
But the man who was thought to be the ringleader of this group, George Rivas, as well as Joseph Garcia, who was called something of a lieutenant in this band of escapees -- they are among those who were apprehended without incident in Woodland Park today.
Again, we now want to return to Mac Stringfellow who is with the Texas Department of Criminal Justice. He talked to us a while ago.
And Mac, if you can bring us any additional information now that you've learned; has an arrangement been worked out, so that this individual can talk to his relative and turn himself in?
MAC STRINGFELLOW, TEXAS DEPARTMENT OF CRIMINAL JUSTICE: At this time, we don't have any information regarding that -- I do know that was one of his requests, but I don't know if that has been provided or not. I am in San Antonio, and I think the people on the site there would have better information, more current and accurate than what I do now.
CHEN: I am sure that they would, of course. They certainly have their hands full at the moment, and probably not ready to talk to CNN at this time; but we do understand that there are press conferences coming up there, both in Woodland Park, as well -- we are also expecting a statement from the Texas Board of Corrections any minute now in Huntsfield, Texas.
Now, Mr. Stringfellow, if you could backtrack a little bit for us; you told me earlier, there was a tip made earlier this morning. Was that made directly to the officials there in Texas or in Colorado?
STRINGFELLOW: I am not sure. I believe -- I heard it from our inspector general at the Command Center this morning at about 6:30, and I am not sure exactly where it came from. CHEN: And the local affiliate there, WFAA in Dallas, a few minutes ago -- heard them say something of a raid conducted -- I guess it's a trailer park. Is that the way to describe it?
STRINGFELLOW: I believe, there again, the details that I have are still pretty sketchy and very vague as they come -- as they are coming in. And it may be some kind a trailer park. Yes.
CHEN: Yes, we are looking at pictures taken by our affiliate KKTV, which is in Colorado Springs, Colorado, of the area of Woodland Park, Colorado -- which is not, apparently, not very far away from Colorado Springs. The Coachlight Motel and RV PARK. This was also described to you as something of a religious compound?
STRINGFELLOW: Well, that is what the tip was, and there again, I have not been able to confirm that, so I can't say for positive that that's what it was. But that was just the tip that came in.
CHEN: I guess the most important thing in all of this is that there have been no reports, as you have heard yet, of any firing, any injuries taking place in the course of the arrest made today?
STRINGFELLOW: That is correct. That was the first question I asked when I notified of this about an hour and a half ago, you know -- was anybody hurt or killed? And right now, there have been no shots fired and the four have been taken into custody, without incident.
CHEN: Can you talk to us -- I mean, the reason for this concern is, of course, the gravity of the crimes committed by those in this group, but they also had a very significant arsenal. Can you talk to us a little bit about the weapons that you thought that these people had, while on the run?
STRINGFELLOW: Well, we knew what they had taken from the Connally unit when they escaped -- what type of firearms they had taken, and I am not at liberty to discuss what happened at the sporting good store up in Irving. The Irving Police Department is handling that part of the investigation and whatever evidence or -- that they might have up there, I am not at liberty to say.
CHEN: But in terms of what they left the prison with, initially, are we talking about high-powered weapons or what?
STRINGFELLOW: They had a shot gun, a rifle, and a few pistols.
CHEN: A few pistols; quite a bit of ammunition though?
CHEN: Aside from the assault on the sporting goods store and the killing of officer Aubrey Hawkins on Christmas Eve, have there been any confirmed incidents of them encountering anyone or any shots fired by this group since Christmas Eve?
STRINGFELLOW: No. To my knowledge, that was the only incident. CHEN: Can you talk to us a bit about the rewards being offered and the kinds of tips that you have been getting?
STRINGFELLOW: Well, the reward now is up to $500,000 and that's been as a result of several people and entities and agencies coming forward and helping us out. The -- I think it was a significant influence on getting people to come forward and helping us out with any -- any leads. We had received leads, oh, Gosh, since this started -- probably 2,500 leads we processed over the last five weeks.
CHEN: Mr. Stringfellow, yours is a name that I heard associated with Texas justice for quite a long time. Can you think of a case, an occasion where the escapees were able to stick together this long in your memory?
STRINGFELLOW: Well, this is something that is quite unusual and it goes against the norm of a typical escapee. Normally, they break up and they go their separate ways; one or two of them will, you know, get drunk or try to hold up a liquor store or do something like that and get caught. But these -- this group has been very well disciplined and I am not sure what the cohesive element was that held them together.
CHEN: Mr. Stringfellow, we will talk to you later again we hope. We want to go back to WFAA, our affiliate in Dallas, Texas -- they are talking with the mother of officer Aubrey Hawkins -- that would be Jayne Hawkins, the mother of the officer who was shot to death on Christmas Eve:
JAYNE HAWKINS, MOTHER OF MURDER VICTIM: That I don't know. The Irving police called me just now -- this is the first time that they have called me since this investigation began. First time. And told me that three of them were caught, and that two others were, I think, they had a trailer surrounded, and then they have an idea of where the others may be. Not certain.
QUESTION: And is it -- is the FBI out there, or the Colorado...
HAWKINS: They didn't tell me. No.
QUESTION: And it appears that someone in that area just recognized it.
HAWKINS: That is what he said. Someone in that trailer park recognized one of them.
(AFFILIATE COVERAGE -- WFAA, DALLAS)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That is Jayne Hawkins, of course, the mother of Officer Aubrey Hawkins who was shot and killed; allegedly by the individuals who were involved -- the Texas Seven, who, apparently now, at least four are in custody in the Colorado area. This is, of course, pretty good news for the Irving Police Department. The chief of the police in Irving is with our Janet St. James right now, and she joins us live with that -- Janet. JANET ST. JAMES: ...have been waiting and working anxiously for the last month or so to find the men -- the men who captured -- who shot and killed one of their own officers, Aubrey Hawkins, and joining me now is Police Chief Lowell Cannady. Give me your reaction when you heard that there were several, at least, in police custody.
LOWELL CANNADY, CHIEF OF POLICE, IRVING, TEXAS: Like most of the people around here, we were elated, and yet, there is a certain level of cautiousness involve, at least until we can determine for sure that these are the people that we are looking for.
QUESTION: Did you know that they were, in fact, going in, surrounding a mobile home park in Colorado to capture these men?
CANNADY: I didn't know that until after it happened.
QUESTION: And how were you notified?
CANNADY: I was notified by the personnel here at the office. Some of the people here at office were aware of it.
QUESTION: How were they aware of it?
CANNADY: Through the command post that has been set up down in Huntsville.
QUESTION: So you all didn't really have anything to do with the ultimate capture of these men? The tip didn't come through Irving police?
CANNADY: No, the tip -- I am not sure where the tip came from. It was a telephone tip. We were not involved in the actual operation in Colorado. We do have people that are in the command center down in Huntsville who are responsible for working on the leads and coming up with the operational plans.
QUESTION: You, in fact, are waiting for more word of exactly, who is in custody, who might still be on the loose, and what the current situation is -- you are not getting regular updates; is that right?
CANNADY: We get updates just as quickly as we can get them out of Colorado. They go from Colorado to Huntsville, and Huntsville is keeping us aware. It's just that we're not actually up there at the location. And it's very frustrating for us, too, because we're excited about this.
ST. JAMES: And that -- it's been a frustrating month for you, hasn't it?
CANNADY: It's been very, very frustrating. And we have police officers that want desperately to have these men caught. And it's been difficult for us because we haven't had any very good leads -- at least until today, we hope.
ST. JAMES: And so today, a lot of smiles around the Irving Police Department.
CANNADY: An awful lot of smiles, yes.
ST. JAMES: Thank you very much. We appreciate you joining us. And I know that you are anxiously awaiting a press conference that is supposed to happen in Huntsville as well. That is where they're getting part their information. They're waiting just like the rest of us to find out the details of exactly what has happened in the Colorado Springs area.
But good news for the Irving Police Department, as it appears, at this point, that some of the men who killed one of their own have been captured.
This is Janet St. James, reporting live from Irvin -- John (ph), back to you.
UNIDENTIFIED ANCHOR: All right, thanks a lot, Janet. I appreciate that.
And again, we are waiting for a news conference to begin, one in Huntsville -- another one to begin in the Woodland Park area of Colorado, just outside Colorado Springs.
But we do have an interview right now: a person who is joining us by phone, Sandy Pogue, who lives in the Woodland Park area, very near where all this commotion took place -- Sandy, can you hear me?
SANDY POGUE, WOODLAND PARK RESIDENT: I can hear you. Can you hear me?
UNIDENTIFIED ANCHOR: I sure can. Tell me exactly where Woodland Park is. My understanding is, this is very close to the Air Force Academy, right on the edge of the mountains. Is that right?
POGUE: Woodland Park is 14 miles West of Colorado Springs, just off of highway -- U.S. Highway 24.
UNIDENTIFIED ANCHOR: Now...
POGUE: And the Air Force Academy is north.
UNIDENTIFIED ANCHOR: OK, well, tell me, what -- when did you first notice that something was amiss in all this?
POGUE: Well, I work for the "Ute Pass Courier" newspaper here in Woodland Park. And I was on my way from Colorado Springs into Woodland Park and was stopped by the police officers and told that I couldn't get through. And then I heard it on the radio. I am back at the newspaper office right now. And, as luck would have it, I guess, on our part, the RV park is -- backs up to our parking lot. So right now, what I see are ambulances, fire trucks, helicopters, all of the media making this their headquarters, as it were.
UNIDENTIFIED ANCHOR: Sandy, we are told this is an ongoing operation, that there are four people apparently in custody, one who had been holding authorities at bay and two they were still looking for. Still look that to you?
POGUE: It appears as though they are still looking. We are not real sure which direction they may have fled. We don't have any information. The officers have not released any of that information to us yet. We are waiting just along with the rest of the country to find out what's going on. There's a lot of activity, but no information right now.
UNIDENTIFIED ANCHOR: There was some wire reports about an hour ago that indicated that most of the individuals who were -- who were at the RV area were members of the same church, and, in fact, were quite close. Have you heard anything about that at all?
POGUE: You know, I really can't comment on that because I really don't know. I just -- it's all just rumor and speculation. I wouldn't have any idea. I don't know what their personal relationships were with the people, where they were staying. I have -- I don't have that information.
UNIDENTIFIED ANCHOR: Woodland Park...
CHEN: OK, here on CNN, you have been watching coverage from WFAA -- which is our affiliate in Dallas, Texas -- covering the situation involving the escape of the Texas seven. They have been missing, on the run since mid-December, have been involved in a shooting at a sporting goods store, where a police officer was killed.
And this afternoon, CNN has confirmed through authorities in the Texas Department of Criminal Justice that four of the Texas seven they believe have been arrested without incident in Woodland Park, Colorado. A fifth man who's also thought to be part of the gang is barricaded there in Woodland Park, which is very close to Colorado Springs, Colorado. He has asked to talk by telephone with a relative. And he is communicating with authorities on the ground in Woodland Park.
The man who is thought to be the ringleader of the Texas seven, George Rivas, who is 30 years old, who was convicted in an armed- robbery and kidnapping case, he was among those who has been apprehended today in Woodland Park, Colorado, as well as the man who was thought to be his lieutenant of sorts in this group: Joseph Garcia, who was convicted of a homicide in Texas. Two other individuals, Michael Rodriguez and Randy Halprin have apparently also been captured late today in Woodland Park.
And a fifth individual -- that would be Harper on the pictures that you are seeing there -- is the one said to be still barricaded in the trailer park in Woodland Park, Colorado. The two other individuals, Murphy and Newbury, as you see on the screen -- the top on the far right, the bottom on the far left -- those are the individuals whose whereabouts, at this point, are unknown.
However, CNN heard, in the interview done by WFAA in Dallas just a short time ago, that the officer's mother -- the officer who was killed on Christmas Eve, his mother told by the authorities in Irving, Texas that authorities in Colorado have an idea where these two other individuals are at this point, and that someone who was in the trailer park recognized at least one of the individuals involved in this group and reported it in a telephone tip earlier today to police authorities.
Now, KKTV, which is our CNN Colorado Springs affiliate, a short time ago talked to an police officer with the Woodland Park Police Department. This is officer Kevin Dougherty speaking with KKTV earlier. Let's listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
OFFICER KEVIN DOUGHERTY, WOODLAND PARK POLICE: Basically, what we have is, we have four male subjects in custody, who we believe to be four of the Texas escapees. They were arrested out of -- from the Coachlight Motel area, south of Woodland Park. Three of them were arrested out of a silver jeep that was pulled over down at the west of a convenience as it left the motor home that's up in the Coachlight area. And the fourth one was taken from the motor home area.
QUESTION: So, what led law enforcement to seek out Woodland Park?
DOUGHERTY: Basically, the FBI, the U.S. Marshal Service was in contact with us with suspicions that this was up in this area, that we had some intelligence that these individuals were in the Coachlight area. And then the investigation began from there yesterday.
QUESTION: (OFF-MIKE) another person?
QUESTION: We're blocked off because there's -- why?
DOUGHERTY: There is still a belief that there is another individual in the motor home.
QUESTION: What is the process right now? Is it negotiations? What's going on?
DOUGHERTY: Basically -- and I have not been in contact with them just recently, but the -- at this point in time, if we believe there is somebody in there, we will try to negotiate them out of the motor home itself.
QUESTION: Any incident this morning -- taken easily?
DOUGHERTY: Everything so far has been actually per Hoyle, as they say. We have not had incident. We had three individuals that were taken into custody in the silver jeep, were taken into custody without incident. And the fourth subject was taken out without incident, at this point in time.
QUESTION: (INAUDIBLE) They were in a silver jeep, staying in the hotel (OFF-MIKE)
DOUGHERTY: The silver jeep was at the motor home. And they got into the silver jeep and left the motor home area and traveled down to one of the convenience stores south of Woodland Park.
QUESTION: OK. So what is the motel?
DOUGHERTY: It's kind of -- it's a Coachlight. It's kind of a motel, trailer-park-type area where you come and park trailers -- long-term, short-term.
QUESTION: And they were staying (OFF-MIKE)
DOUGHERTY: And they were staying actually in a motor home at the hotel itself. I call it the hotel.
QUESTION: But it's called Coachlight.
DOUGHERTY: Coachlight Inn.
QUESTION: Not Town & Country or something like that?
QUESTION: Do you believe the other suspects are in the area?
DOUGHERTY: No, we have reason to believe that, you know, if we have four, you know, we may have five, six and seven. And we are -- we are definitely -- we have strong belief that, you know, they may be in our area or close to our area.
QUESTION: Were they renting or do you believe somebody locally was harboring them?
DOUGHERTY: No, they came in on their own. So...
QUESTION: So we don't know why they chose Woodland Park?
DOUGHERTY: At this point in time, we still have a lot of interviews to do with these subjects. And we really don't know why they picked our area. And that intel is still coming from the FBI and the U.S. Marshal Service to determine why Teller County.
QUESTION: It's very close to the road. Is that why we are blocked off?
(OFF-MIKE) QUESTION: These guys have been -- these guys have been so extremely dangerous or so heavily armed is what we have heard. Can you shed a little light as to how it was so easy to take them in without incident?
DOUGHERTY: Basically because I think we did a pretty fair job of not letting them know that we knew that they were possibly the individuals out of Texas: a very covert operation done very well. And I believe that's why, you know, we took them down so quickly and without any incident.
(OFF-MIKE) DOUGHERTY: Pardon?
DOUGHERTY: Well, we had, of course, reason to believe that they were the individuals. And we had probable cause to pull them over after they had left the Coachlight and before they had gotten to any populated areas.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CHEN: OK, you have you been watching an interview done earlier by KKTV -- CNN's affiliate in Colorado Springs, Colorado -- with officer Kevin Dougherty of the Woodland Park, Colorado police, explaining to reporters there in Woodland Park about the apprehension of four men they believe are part of the Texas Seven. Those are the men who escaped from a maximum security facility in Texas in mid- December. They have been on the run -- considered to be extremely dangerous, well-armed individual -- for the last several weeks.
Four of those men, according to local authorities, have been captured without incident today. A fifth individual is barricaded still in the trailer park in Woodland Park, Colorado. But two of the individuals, Murphy and Newbury -- as you see on the screen -- are still at large, although this local police officer of the Woodland Park police telling reporters there that they have reason to believe the other two may still be nearby.
But at this point, there is no confirmed report of a sighting of these two individuals, Murphy and Newbury, and no indication whether they might still be armed as well -- this all taking place throughout this afternoon. Apparently, there is still conversation going on now with the individual who is still barricaded inside the trailer park -- the local police there telling reporters that they believe they were able to make the earlier four arrests without incident because they did not let on to the individuals who were holed up there that they recognized them or thought they might be part of the Texas seven.
And being able to do a covert operation there, they were able to bring them in without incident, which is considered to be one of the most significant worries of authorities, both in Texas and as well as the surrounding states over these last few weeks, because there was so much concern about the level of crime and danger involved with these individuals, and the amount of weaponry they might be carrying with them. There was a great deal of concern that, at the point of apprehension, they might very well become quite dangerous to any officers moving in on them at the time.
This incident today, the arrests of these individuals taking part in Woodland Park, Colorado -- that is outside of Colorado Springs -- 14, 15 miles from Colorado Springs. Earlier reports from local authorities -- from a local newspaper employee in that area said that authorities have closed down some of the roads and have blockaded some of the area. We did see some aerial photographs taken by the local news media trying to show this area -- the trailer park, as well, the Coachlight motor park, where authorities are now working to try to get this fifth person who is still barricaded out and get him to turn himself into authorities, and then continue the search for the two remaining individuals.
The arrests at the trailer park took place as a result of a telephone tip phoned in earlier in the day, when someone in the trailer park reported to authorities that they recognized at least one of the individuals involved in this group, who was staying within this trailer park -- however, the local police officer telling reporters there in Woodland Park they do not believe that anyone in the trailer park was harboring these individuals. They were staying in a rented mobile home and driving a silver jeep. But they do not believe that anybody in the mobile home was trying to defend them or protect them.
They just came in and rented this facility. They had had some contact with other people in the mobile home park. Earlier, WFAA in Dallas spoke with a woman who said that she had been taken out to dinner by one of these individuals, that they had talked about the community, and community that they had come from earlier in the day, and that he was open and friendly and considered part of the religious community.
Earlier in the hour, WFAA in Dallas talked with Jayne Hawkins. Now she is the mother of officer Aubrey Hawkins, who was shot while he was responding to a Christmas Eve robbery at a sporting goods store in Texas. Officer Hawkins was killed in his encounter with the men who are believed to be part of the Texas seven.
Jayne Hawkins, the mother of officer Hawkins, spoke with WFAA earlier. Let's listen to what she had to say.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JAYNE HAWKINS, MOTHER OF SLAIN OFFICER: My immediate reaction is sadness, because it makes it real. And while they were not caught, it still wasn't really real for some reason. And I have really left them at the bottom of the list even as at fault, because there's nothing I can do about people like that.
So I have really focused on the criminal justice system and the laxness in the elected and appointed officials. Now that they are caught, someone just asked me, "Do I want to see them?" Only because I want them to see me. I want them -- of course, they are psychopaths, so they have no conscience whatsoever. But they are going to see me. They will look at me. And I want to see what they look like when they look at the mother of a child who is gone.
QUESTION: If there were the opportunity, if they are convicted of capital murder and sent to death, would you go witness their execution?
HAWKINS: No. No. I'm not remotely interested in that. No. No.
QUESTION: From what you can -- you have been in contact with authorities -- from what you can tell us, what have they told you about how this happened? HAWKINS: They told me that someone in a trailer park in Woodland, Colorado recognized one of them and called the authorities.
QUESTION: That simple.
HAWKINS: I think it's that simple. And I think it's the reward. And, you know, sadly, the state of Texas has only contributed $7,000 to that, when those politicians, above all of the others, know full well that money talks, you know. So, I mean, the state of Texas, they are a joke to me at this point. It's very sad that my son worked for this state and protected those elected and appointed officials and the citizens of this state, and they seem to care so little. It breaks my heart. It truly does.
QUESTION: Anything further on what the authorities told you about how this transpired? Someone just called? And then who was called out? Was it local police, FBI, Colorado...
HAWKINS: No, actually, that I don't know. I don't know. The Irving police called me just now. This is the first time that they have called me since this investigation began -- first time -- and told me that three of them were caught and that two others were -- I think, they had a trailer surrounded. And then they have an idea of where the others may be -- not certain.
QUESTION: And is it -- is the FBI out there -- or the Colorado police?
HAWKINS: They didn't tell me. I have no idea. No.
QUESTION: And it appears that someone in that area just recognized them?
HAWKINS: That is what he said. Someone in that trailer park recognized one of them.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED ANCHOR: And that is Jayne Hawkins, of course the mother of officer Aubrey Hawkins, who was shot and killed, allegedly, by the individuals who were involved, the Texas seven -- who, apparently, now at least four are in custody in the Colorado area. This is...
CHEN: All right, CNN watching coverage of WFAA TV in Dallas, Texas. They interviewed the mother of the officer who was killed in a Christmas Eve shooting at a sporting goods when he responded to a burglary there. She says that she was told a different number than CNN has since confirmed. CNN has confirmed that four of the Texas seven were arrested by authorities there in Woodland Park, Colorado today.
A fifth man who is also thought to be part of this same gang is said still to be barricaded inside mobile home park, asking to talk to his father. The late report in from in Woodland Park, Colorado is that some of the offices in the area around Woodland Park have evacuated. Six schools have been closed. It is about 2:25 in the afternoon there in Woodland Park, Colorado. Six schools have been closed. It's not clear to us what has happened with the children in those schools. But the people of this community have been advised to stay inside.
That is because two of the individuals involved, Donald Newbury and Patrick Murphy, remain at large at this point in this community. And you see there Donald Newbury and Patrick Murphy. These are the individuals that authorities have not yet been able to tell us whether they have any specific reports of sightings of these two individuals or of their whereabouts at this time. They can only can say to us that four individuals involved, they believe, in the Texas seven have been arrested without incident -- a fifth man, they at least know what his location is, that he is barricaded inside a trailer park.
He is still communicating with police in Woodland Park about what his demands would be before he would turn himself in. George Rivas, who is thought to be the ringleader of this gang was arrested, apprehended earlier as part of this group -- all these arrests coming as part -- as a result of a telephone tip received by authorities earlier this day.
Then they moved into this trailer park, apparently not originally letting on that they suspected these individuals to be part of the Texas seven -- only gradually making those arrests clear and known, and then reporting to authorities in Texas that they had arrested these men Texas authorities had been looking for since mid-December -- very concerned about their whereabouts because of the significant arsenal of weapons they were thought to have.
CNN is continuing our live courage, because we are standing by for a news conference in Huntsville, Texas, coming from the Texas Board of Corrections. As you see, the cameras and the microphones are at ready in Huntsville, Texas, as they have been for the last half- hour. We have been waiting for a statement to be made by the Texas Board of Corrections. But so far, that has not come to us. So CNN is standing by, as are the cameras there in Huntsville, Texas. We will bring that coverage to you as soon as it happens.
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