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ANDERSON COOPER 360 DEGREES
Several Police Officers Suspended After Arrest And Mysterious Death Of Suspect In Custody; Italian Authorities Arrest Two Alleged Human Traffickers; Officer Holds Fire as Suspect Begs to Be Shot; Two Bombing Survivors Move Forward Together; Dramatic Rescue. Aired 8-9p ET
Aired April 20, 2015 - 20:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[20:00:08] ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: Good evening. Thanks for joining us.
We've got breaking news tonight at home and at sea where American warships are steaming toward what could be a confrontation with Iran.
Also tonight, take a look at this police body cam video and ask yourself what would I do?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Get your hands up! Get your hands up! Get your hands up right now!
(Bleep) stop. Stop right there. I don't want to shoot you, man. I don't want to shoot you.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: The officer had just seconds to decide whether to take a man's life. We'll show you how he responded. That is just ahead.
We begin with breaking news out of Baltimore. New video and several police officers now suspended after the arrest and mysterious death of a suspect in custody.
This is the arrest. Police dragging the man across the sidewalk and into a police van. A short time later, he's comatose, in the hospital dying of a spinal cord injury. Today calling it a tense time for the city, Baltimore's mayor and top police officials went before the cameras. They said the officers involved have been suspended and asked for patience during their investigation which they say is expected to conclude a week from Friday.
Now in the meantime, protesters have taken to the streets marching again tonight demanding answers that so far at least have been in short supply.
More now at it all from Joe Johns.
(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) JOE JOHNS, CNN CRIME AND JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Police released street camera video recorded at the scene where Freddie Gray was first taken into custody, but it only added to the mystery of how he ended up dead.
The camera pans, but shows nothing that looks like excessive force by police. At least up to the point that he was placed inside a police transport van.
DEPUTY JERRY RODRIGUEZ, BALTIMORE POLICE DEPARTMENT: When Mr. Gray was placed inside that van, he was able to talk. He was upset. And when Mr. Gray was taken out of that van, he could not talk and he could not breathe.
JOHNS: Leading Baltimore's mayor to conclude that Gray's injuries occurred not on the street but during his transport.
MAYOR STEPHANIE RAWLINGS-BLAKE, BALTIMORE: It's clear that what happened, happened inside the van.
JOHNS: Police say Freddie Gray was stopped on suspicion of criminal activity, possibly drug related, but that doesn't explain all that happened here. Cell phone video and audio on the street at the time of Gray's arrest paint a disturbing picture. He's on the ground. He's screaming in apparent pain. He's being taken into custody, legs limp. A woman is describing an apparent problem with his legs.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: His leg is broken and y'all are dragging him like that?
JOHNS: He's taken to a hospital where he went into a coma and then he dies a week later. Question number one is how long it took to get this man medical attention. The city's mayor pledged a full investigation.
RAWLINGS-BLAKE: According to the timeline as we know, it took around 30 minutes.
JOHNS: Question number two, how did Gray get hurt? Police confirm that he had severe trauma to his spine and his family's attorney is raising the issue of excessive use of force.
WILLIAM MURPHY JR., GRAY'S FAMILY ATTORNEY: He was in good health when the police first contacted him, and he died of an 80 percent severed spinal cord and three broken vertebrae in his neck.
JOHNS: Court documents filed in the case say Gray was arrested without incident after an officer noticed a knife clipped to his pants. He was charged with having a switch blade. The family's attorney says the knife was of a legally permissible size. Gray has a long criminal record, including more than 20 arrests.
CROWD: No justice, no peace.
JOHNS: The case has sparked a public outcry here, including demonstrations. Over the last week, Baltimore's police commissioner has been measured in his comments about the case, citing the active investigation. He did speak at an unrelated event today at Johns Hopkins university where he talked about the community's lack of trust in the police.
Baltimore police are reviewing their procedures, especially on getting medical care for prisoners taken into their custody, and the police commissioner says he wants to wrap up the investigation into the death of Freddie Gray by May first.
Joe Johns, CNN, Baltimore.
COOPER: Well, that's the backdrop. For more on how this is playing out in local communities, we're joined by Miguel Marquez who has been talked to people all day. What are the protests like there?
MIGUEL MARQUEZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, at the moment they have really calmed down a lot. We had a big rain shower come through here, but this is the western district for Baltimore police, the department where Mr. Gray was brought and eventually transferred into an ambulance.
This is ground zero. He was arrested just down the way here, about six blocks away. A commander, Melvin Russell, waded into a very angry crowd here of several hundred protesters. Here's what that looked like.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Killed the person.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You're asking the wrong person.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He was OK before he got put in that wagon how? How?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I don't know.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
[20:05:00] COOPER: You also spoke with several eyewitnesses earlier today. What did they tell you they saw.
MARQUEZ: A range of things. One of them said that they actually heard Mr. Gray saying "you're on my neck, stop hurting my neck." Another one saying very early on that he heard them talking about that he had asthma and needed his inhaler. A lot of things that we're now hearing coming out from police.
Police saying today that they probably should have gotten him medical attention at that point, with the first time he said "I have asthma and I need my inhaler" and didn't have it on him. We talked to another witness who had this to say. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He put his hands up like this. The officer walked straight to him, hit him in his mouth, put the cuffs on him.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MARQUEZ: There is a lot of indication out here that something happened of a more violent nature when he was initially taken into custody. That he was arrested in one spot, dragged about 20 feet and then put into handcuffs. And police said that despite the fact that he was lucid and talking when they initially put him in the van, if you look at that video, that cell phone video of him being picked up and dragged into the van limp, it is hard to believe that he didn't suffer something while out there on the street, Anderson.
COOPER: Yes. Miguel Marquez, thanks very much.
It certainly looks like that. (INAUDIBLE) now with me here is former NYPD Harry Houck, legal analyst and former federal prosecutor Sunny Hostin who we should mention is a friend of the mayor of Baltimore and forensic scientist Lawrence Kobalinsky from New York's John Jay college of criminal justice and joining us from Los Angeles, CNN legal analyst and criminal defense attorney Mark Geragos.
Mark, let me start with you. What do you make of this? I mean, the police are saying that he was arrested without force or incident. That was the initial report.
MARK GERAGOS, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Well, they can say that. They can also say that they arrested him without any probable cause and for no reason at all. The idea that they're saying they arrested him for suspected criminal activity is nothing more than cop speak for we were rousting another black man.
You know, this idea that they're now saying, well, maybe we should have given him more medical attention because he had asthma? They broke his neck. That's what the injuries are.
This is really -- I hate to say it, we're on here week in, week out. What's finally happened is you've got cell phone videos now so you understand what cops do. Cops are in these inner city communities rousting these young men in a -- basically a system of criminal justice apartheid, which is what we have now. And unfortunately there's no trust in these communities of law enforcement.
COOPER: Sunny, the initial report said that essentially there was a police presence and he turned around and ran. Can police run after somebody just because they have run from police?
SUNNY HOSTIN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Well, certainly. I think the law makes it pretty clear that if someone is running away from police officers, that may give the police officer reasonable suspicion to stop the person and even to go further and to frisk the person.
But I think what we have to look at is the gravity of the injury and the suggestion that somehow this arrest was effectuated without any force. We're talking about a broken back, a broken neck. That just really doesn't make sense. And when you look at it in context, Anderson, with the situation with this Baltimore city police department, we're talking about since 2011 almost $6 million in settlements in civil cases paid by the city for police misconduct.
The mayor in Baltimore even asked the department of justice to conduct a coordinated federal review because of all the problems that have been happening in Baltimore. So we've been talking a lot about his criminal records and his actions about running. I think in order to be fair in looking at this in context, you've got to talk about the issues and very serious problems the police department in Baltimore city has had.
COOPER: Harry, what do you make of this arrest? To say as the police did early on that it was without force or incident, clearly there was some kind of an incident.
HARRY HOUCK, FORMER NEW YORK POLICE DEPARTMENT DETECTIVE: Clearly -- excuse me, clearly you can see when they're putting the man inside the van that he can't walk. There's clearly some kind of problems with his neck or his back and I think the police officers probably should have done something at that time.
I mean, you pretty much know when you arrest somebody, most guys walk to the car, walk to the van. This guy was screaming in pain. And this is after he's handcuffed, all right. So, you know, a lot of these young kids today, they also have asthma. I've seen a lot of people die from asthma all the time out on the streets. So you have to -- as a police officer, you've got to be aware of that and they should have probably got an ambulance for him right away.
COOPER: Doctor Kobilinsky, what do you make of this? The autopsy, according to the Gray family, shows spinal cord 80 percent severed, three vertebrae broken. What kind of severe trauma would actually --
LAWRENCE KOBILINSKY, FORENSIC SCIENTIST: Several vertebrae don't just fracture. You need severe force. This is what I would consider blunt force trauma. Now, whether it was inflicted by a police baton or perhaps he was tackled and fell backward. There's a small stone wall there where he has located and it could very well be that he fell backwards and took that blood trauma to the cervical area in the neck. Perhaps, that is where the --
[20:10:09] COOPER: But an 80 percent sever of a spinal cord, is that the same -- I mean, would that be in the same area as the vertebrae?
KOBILINSKY: Sure, sure, absolutely.
COOPER: So that's one injury.
KOBILINSKY: It's all explainable. And of course people after having a severed spinal cord will succumb to respiratory failure. So it is not surprising that this --
COOPER: So that's related to that or could be. KOBILINSKY: That's correct.
COOPER: Is this something that could have happened with an officer sitting on the suspect with a knee on the spinal cord?
KOBILINSKY: I don't think so, Anderson. I think this looks more like blunt trauma. And I think if we had video, if we actually had witnesses, we would know a lot more. I'm not saying it was inflicted by police, but there was some incident that resulted in that incident to the vertebrae.
COOPER: Mark, you know, you talk about rousting. When you look at it, and the reason for the initial stop for this arrest, police say that Gray fled when he noticed them. Is that actually enough for police to stop somebody, and I mean if it's a high crime area? Can you just, as a police officer, can you just stop somebody because they turn around and run away or turn around and walk away if they see you?
GERAGOS: We in California at least years ago, that used to be one of the grounds for cops to stop you was it was a high-crime area. We at one point said, no, that isn't enough. It is -- all you have to do is take a look at what they're putting out there right now. The cops are saying, well, he was suspected of criminal activity. That means they didn't have anything. That means they were rousting him. That's exactly why the community is so outraged.
COOPER: I mean, he ended up -- again, he had a switchblade in his pocket and they came one of the officers saw the switchblade.
HOUCK: Yes, they say the switchblade.
GERAGOS: Yes. Well, and remember, the switchblade was in the right front pocket and they claim that they were chasing him from behind. So either they had x-ray vision or what really happened is they saw a young black man and they were going to go roust the guy.
COOPER: Doctor Kobilinsky, again, when you look at the video and you see him being dragged, and you see -- I mean, does it seem to you he's already sustained the injury?
KOBILINSKY: Yes, it's consistent with that, that the trauma had already occurred prior to him getting into the van.
COOPER: Right, because I don't get why the city is saying it was something that happened to him in the van. It seems like from this video at least --
KOBILINSKY: Probably it's consistent with the police statements, and that's the reason they're saying something happened in the van. It's just more consistent with trauma having occurred before he was brought to the van.
COOPER: And Sunny, it's been eight days and still no firm word really from police of exactly what happened. I mean, isn't that after eight days wouldn't you be able to get a pretty accurate report from police? HOSTIN: You would think so. And I think that's one of the problems
that you see in a lot of cases we've been covering, Anderson. You see this lack of transparency. In Maryland, at least, there's this sort of law enforcement officers bill of rights. And so, oftentimes you're not allowed to interview and speak to these officers for a period of time, and that is what has been the problem in Maryland. And we have to really move towards a place of transparency.
What I am happy to hear is that there will be an independent investigation, because, again, I don't believe that you can have police officers investigating their own. I don't think you can have the Baltimore state's attorney's office investigating the folks that they work with day in and day out, so I suspect that's one of the next steps.
COOPER: And the 29-minute or 30-minute lag time between the arrest and actually going to the hospital, does that sound long to you, Harry.
HOUCK: For a severe injury like this?
COOPER: For a guy who's been screaming --
HOUCK: Yes, exactly. And the guy can't walk. Get him an ambulance. I mean, they knew he was severely injured.
COOPER: All right, Harry Houck, Sunny Hostin, Lawrence Kobilinsky and Mark Geragos, guys, thanks very much. As always, make sure to set your DVR. You can watch 360 whenever you want.
Coming up there is more breaking news tonight. The American carrier, Theodore Roosevelt, heading to the waters off Yemen in possibly a showdown with Iran. Late details next.
Also as many as 900 lives possibly lost in a shipwreck over the weekend. A staggering death toll, all of them people trying to flee Libya. Now late word of arrests connected to the disaster.
[20:18:02] COOPER: There's more breaking news tonight, news which could put American and Iranian sailors eyeball to eyeball on the high seas. Warships, including the USS Theodore Roosevelt heading tonight toward Yemen where the U.S. and Iran are on opposite sides of a civil war. They are also on opposite sides of the nuclear negotiating table.
Chief national security correspondent Jim Sciutto has been monitoring late developments and he joins us. So what's the latest on this?
JIM SCIUTTO, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: Well, Anderson, there are now nine U.S. warships in the area of Yemen. The latest to, the U.S. Roosevelt, as you mentioned as well as a guided missile cruiser that travels with it. They were actually diverted from the Arabian gulf where they were taking part in operations against ISIS in Syria and Iraq. I'm told they have multiple missions. One, is to give the president
military options off of Yemen, another and to keep key trade routes open. But among those missions is to be in position to be prepared to intercept a convoy of Iranian ships, seven to nine Iranian ships. The suspicion is they're bringing weapons to Houthi rebels. This will be done in conjunction with U.S. partners in the region. You have the Saudis, Saudis there, some of their ships, the Egyptian, et cetera. It's not something that they want to do to intercept, but it is something that they're getting in a position to be prepared to do.
COOPER: And if the U.S. does intercept the convoy, I mean, what happens then?
SCIUTTO: Well, this is a question. And whether it's U.S. ships or allied ships, I'm told if that convoy enters Yemeni territorial waters, they would be in position to board those ships. That's about the most sensitive thing you could do at sea. There was a previous case a number of weeks ago where the U.S. consensually boarded a Panamanian ship. The suspicion at the time was it what might be carrying arms. It was not. But an Iranian flag warship would be a different thing. It would be extremely tense, I'm told. This is not an eventuality that the U.S. wants to happen, particularly in light of negotiations with Iran, but they are moving those assets into position.
COOPER: And the Iranian Navy chief, I understand, talked about the warnings against these ships approaching Yemen. What did he say?
SCIUTTO: He did. And he basically said we don't take warnings from other countries. We act in our own interests and the interests of our allied countries. But he said if those Iranian ships are only for anti-piracy and to keep trade routes open as well. But, of course, the suspicion not of just the U.S. but of its allies is that they have -- they're up to other things. We do know that Iran has armed the Houthi rebels in Yemen so, you know, it's conceivable. That's not a pie in the sky possibility.
[20:20:19] COOPER: Let's talk about the timeline of all this. When are the Iranian ships scheduled to actually reach Yemen?
SCIUTTO: We don't know. There's not a schedule. It's a decision that would have to be made by Iran as well. Do those ships carry on into Yemeni territorial waters. And you have to read these movements of American ships, a U.S. aircraft carrier out of the Arabian gulf off of anti-ISIS operations as a very visible warning to Iran to enter into the calculus as to whether Iran lets those ships proceed into Yemeni waters if indeed that was the intention. So this is one of those high seas, high stakes gambles, particularly in light of the very sensitive negotiations going on over the nuclear program.
COOPER: High stakes indeed, Jim Sciutto. Jim, thanks very much.
We have more breaking news tonight, Italian authorities have arrested two alleged human traffickers who themselves were survivors of a naval disaster that's already on its own one of the deadliest in modern memory. Hundreds and hundreds of men, women and children, refugees, many of whom could not even swim, dumped into the Mediterranean when the refugee ship they were packed onto capsized.
Now, compounding the tragedy, this was not an isolated incident. What happened to that ship and all those people over the weekend has been happening again and again and again. This latest shipwreck, which may have already taken more than 800 lives, was merely the worst of many such disasters.
According to new estimates from the international organization for migration, more than 1500 people have died so far this year alone on the risky passage from Northern Africa and southern Europe.
Karl Penhaul joins us now from the port of Catania, the Italian island of Sicily.
So, you're close to where survivors have been brought to shore. What's the latest, Karl?
KARL PENHAUL, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, in fact just in the last few moments, 27 survivors from that weekend shipwreck arrived here on the dock in Catania and they brought with them horrific tales.
A spokeswoman for the United Nations has just finished talking to us. She talked to the whole group of survivors to try and find out what really happened that night. And she said that there are consistent stories now, which gives her confidence that she is getting to the bottom of what really went on. She says that the sailing vessel, the fishing boat about 80 feet long set sail on Saturday morning around 8:00 a.m. from the coast of Libya. By 10:00 p.m. at night, that fishing vessel was in grave trouble and the survivors say that there were 850 people on board. Of those, only 28 survived, and that effectively makes this the worst disaster involving migrants crossing from Northern Africa to Europe by far.
And now, that U.N. spokesman also said that these migrants are horrified, they are shocked. Many of them were repeating time and time again that they have lost friends, they have lost families. They need time to decompress and we expect more details to come out in the coming days, Anderson.
COOPER: I mean, do we know exactly what happened to the boat? I mean, did the boat capsize? Did it go under? Or were people pushed off? I mean, I know there have been reports of arrests over the last hour. You've got some information about that as well.
PENHAUL: Yes, absolutely. Again, based on the statements that were given to this United Nations spokeswoman, she said that a Portuguese vessel was sent to answer a distress call put out by this fishing vessel that set sail from Libya. It was when the Portuguese vessel got close to the migrant boat that the capsize happened. The U.N. spokesman says that two boats might actually have bumped into one another.
Now, because so many migrants were locked beneath decks, it was the poorer ones, the ones who couldn't afford a spot on the higher levels of that three-level fishing boat that were essentially condemned to die. Because when that boat sunk, they went with it. It was only the ones on the upper decks that could jump into the sea and get to safety. And that is the other piece of news in terms of the human smugglers, the human traffickers cramming these migrants on board like sardines. Tonight the prefect of Catania district Maria Fedrico (ph) says police have arrested two of the 27 survivors on suspicion of being part of that human trafficking ring, Anderson.
COOPER: It just sounds horrific, trapped, locked below deck with the ship going under.
Karl Penhaul appreciate the details.
Coming up next, a lone officer, a dangerous suspect and body cam video capturing a most important decision a police officer will ever have to make.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That's enough. (INAUDIBLE). Don't do it, man. I'll (bleep) shoot you.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Do what you want.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
[20:25:06] COOPER: The suspect saying "shoot me, shoot me." What this officer did next you'll see in a moment. It has some calling him a hero, others questioning his judgment. Decide for yourself who's right, ahead.
[20:29:12] COOPER: In all the reporting lately on fatal encounters with police, we never lose sight of just how little time that officers sometimes have to make decisions that may involve taking a life or sometimes sparing a life.
Tonight, a rookie officer who did just that, spared a life. His boss tonight saying he showed in his words great restrain restraint. Now, this officer saw something, something during a tense confrontation with a fairly dangerous suspect that made him think twice even though as you'll see from his body cam almost everything else seemed to argue for pulling the trigger.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Get your hands up! Get your hands up! Get your hands up right now! (Bleep) stop! Stop right there! I don't want to shoot you, man. I don't want to shoot you.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: It has unfolded in the town of New Richmond, Ohio just upside Cincinnati. Our Gary Tuchman now with more on why it ended with the suspect in custody and not in the morgue.
(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) [20:30:00] GARY TUCHMAN, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: This looked like it was going to end violently.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Get your hands up! Get your hands up! Get your hands up right now!
TUCHMAN: A cop named Jesse Kidder with his body cam. A potential life and death face-off with a man who had just allegedly killed two people.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Stop! Stop right there. I don't want to shoot you, man. I don't want to shoot you.
TUCHMAN: This is the neighborhood where it all went down. Officer Kidder had heard radio traffic that a dangerous suspect was driving in the area. He waited in a nearby intersection, saw the car, and then started following him for about 11 minutes. This is where it ended, a very quiet affluent neighborhood in the Cincinnati suburbs.
The New Richmond, Ohio, police officer was warned the suspect was likely armed and apparently wanted to be killed by a cop, as you will hear.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Shoot me!
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Get your hands out of your pocket now! No, man.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Shoot me.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm not going to do it.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Shoot me! Shoot me!
TUCHMAN: Officer Kidder's boss said the rookie police officer was smart and composed enough to notice something.
CHIEF RANDY HARVEY, NEW RICHMOND PD: At one point in time he reaches in his pocket, but the officer, having keen observations, realized that the hoodie pocket that he's reaching in is not sagging with something heavy, which could indicate a weapon.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Dude, I'll (expletive deleted) shoot you. Back up!
TUCHMAN: The cop is rushed by the suspect. The officer loses his balance, a critical moment, but he still doesn't fire. Backup police officers arrive. The suspect, Michael Wilcox (ph), decides to give up and stays alive, largely because of the valor and fast thinking of this man, Officer Jesse Kidder.
OFFICER JESSE KIDDER, NEW RICHMOND PD: I was trying to open a dialogue with him. I don't want to shoot you, just get on the ground, but he wasn't having it. He just kept repeating shoot me. At one point he said shoot me or I'll shoot you.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Shoot me, shoot me! TUCHMAN: Jesse Kidder has only been a cop about one year. He's a
Marine, served in Iraq, earned a Purple Heart, and only had a body cam because his family had bought it for him for his safety after the police shooting in Ferguson, Missouri.
KIDDER: He got toward my face right as I lost balance. I'm thinking at this point that if he goes in to attack me, that I will have to use deadly force to defend myself.
TUCHMAN: But it didn't come to that. The suspect, now in custody, and the police chief now talking about getting funding to get body cameras for all his officers after this incident with his rookie officer.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm proud of him.
COOPER: It's incredible that his family are the ones that bought the body cam for him. Did police find a weapon on this guy? He had allegedly killed two people already.
TUCHMAN: Well, Officer Kidder's, Anderson's, observations appeared to be accurate, because they did not find a gun or another weapon on Wilcox. They also did not find a gun in his car. But police say they found one of his guns at a previous crime scene. He is alleged, police say, to have killed his girlfriend in Brown County, Ohio, which is nearby where we're standing right now, and then shortly afterwards killing a friend of his across the state line, across the Ohio River in Kenton County, Kentucky. So right now he is in jail on $2 million bond. It does not appear he has a lawyer. He's in a lot of trouble. But, Anderson, he is alive.
COOPER: It's just incredible to see it all play out like that. Gary Tuchman, thanks very much.
Just ahead, Boston bombing survivor Rebecca Gregory returned to the marathon today. We'll show you her journey to recovery and the friendship that she and a fellow survivor forged out of that tragedy.
COOPER: Great display of Boston strong today. The cold and the rain did not keep the crowds away at the Boston marathon. Today's race coming two years after the double bombing that killed three people at the finish line, maimed and injured more than 260 others. Now tomorrow, the death penalty phase begins in the trial of the convicted bomber. Today, though, was a day for moving forward mile by mile, whether you were an elite athlete or a recreational runner. Caroline Rotich of Kenya won the women's division. Lelisa Desisa of Ethiopia took the men's. He also won in 2013, hours before the bombs exploded.
The attack shattered so many lives. It also forged new bonds among survivors. Tonight Randi Kaye has the story of two of them. (BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)
RANDI KAYE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: They were standing at the finish line cheering on others when the bombs went off. Two strangers whose lives were about to intersect.
REBEKAH GREGORY, BOSTON MARATHON BOMBING SURVIVOR: And I realized by looking down at my legs I couldn't see them. And my bones were laying next to me on the sidewalk.
ERIKA BRANNOCK, BOSTON MARATHON BOMBING SURVIVOR: I completely blacked out and fell backwards. I just remember myself slipping away.
KAYE: Part of Erika Brannock's left leg had been blown off and her right leg was broken. Rebekah Gregory was seriously hurt too. Her left leg was mangled. In the chaos of it all, strangers helped get both Erika and Rebekah into an ambulance. The first time they were likely together, but not the last.
Do you remember being in the same ambulance?
BRANNOCK: We didn't know that it was each other, but I remember hearing we have two criticals, we have one amputee. And we've talked things through little by little and remember hearing the same things. I think you had told me that you thought it was you that was the amputee because looking down at her leg, she had seen her bones.
KAYE: They were taken to the same hospital. Erika has had 21 surgeries and lost the lower part of her left leg. Doctors operated on Rebekah 17 times. She finally chose to have her lower left leg amputated last November, penning this break-up letter to her leg, suggesting the relationship had become a real burden, and telling her leg, it's not you, it's me. They found strength in each other from the first day they met.
BRANNOCK: Just to be able to sit and hold her hand, you know, she's really real. So it's nice to be in the city that brought us together.
GREGORY: It was just that connection, because this is somebody that's gone through the same thing. And it was a promise that we were going to be there for each other.
KAYE: And it was a promise kept after they both left the hospital. A promise and a friendship. Erika went to visit Rebekah in Texas last September.
BRANNOCK: We both got pedicures.
GREGORY: That might surprise a lot of people.
BRANNOCK: We went and bought canvas shoes from Hobby Lobby and it was her sister's idea, and we painted them with acrylic paint and put all kinds of designs on them and stuff, and then we ended up switching our left shoes, so we each have the other person's left shoe. And we have our own right shoe.
KAYE: Last year, they both returned to Boston for a special tribute walk.
GREGORY: I was in such a state of limbo, but it was so healing to be able to cross the finish line, even in a wheelchair, and take back that part of our life that we had left there. And to do it with Erika and to be holding her hand, and at one point she pushed me, she actually pushed me across the finish line. That was -- that was a pretty incredible moment.
KAYE: Both have grown stronger over the last couple of years. Erika is now living on her own, driving, and enjoying her new kitten. Rebekah is hoping to inspire others. She even ran the last three miles of the marathon this year.
GREGORY: The race was intense today. Nothing could have prepared me for just the weather and the swelling of my leg and just everything kind of working against me, but I had to cross the finish line, I just had to.
KAYE: Neither spends too much time thinking about the past or the sole surviving bomber. Despite what they have lost, they are both so thankful for what they have found.
KAYE: Do you feel stronger?
BRANNOCK: Oh, yes. Without a doubt. I mean there's -- there's parts about me that I never realized that I had.
KAYE: And you actually say you feel blessed?
GREGORY: Absolutely. I am totally blessed. My child was sitting on my feet at the time the bomb went off. The fact that he's here and running around, I can't feel sorry for myself for one second. I don't know why his life was spared. I don't know why I was spared. You know, what he tried to destroy, he didn't, and he made everyone stronger as a result.
COOPER: They're awesome. Randi joins me live from Boston. The penalty phase for the bomber picks back up tomorrow. It was dark for a week. Did you get a sense of that trial looming over the day today?
KAYE: Not really, Anderson. I don't think people here were giving him much thought today, quite frankly. They were interested in cheering on those runners and they are interested in looking ahead to the future. Just look at Rebekah Gregory. She was here, she ran the last three miles of that race, as I said. She withstood that wind, the 40-degree temperatures, those whipping winds and the rain. And then you have Erika, who came here to watch her cross the finish line. Erika also embraced the city. She went to see Fenway Park for the first time. She named her new cat Fenway. You think about what they both lost here in the city and how much tragedy they witnessed here, yet they still embrace it with such love and have such a friendship to take away from it.
COOPER: So great to see her cross the finish line. Thank you very much.
Up next, a burning car. A woman trapped inside and the men who risked their lives to save her. The police officers who saved her, they join us when we continue.
COOPER: A daring rescue in New Jersey where two officers pulled an unconscious woman out of an overturned car which burst into flames just a short time after they got her out. It started when someone reported an erratic driver. By the time the officers got there, the car was already wrecked. The officers had to cut off the woman's seat belt to get her to safety. She was airlifted to a hospital and survived, and has since been charged with a DUI. But she's lucky to be alive, thanks to the quick work of officers Rickey Ferriola and Mark Ehrenburg, who join me now.
The video of this, I mean it's just incredible. Just walk me through what happened. You get a report about an erratic driver.
MARK EHRENBURG, POLICE OFFICER: Yes. We got a report of an erratic driver, and it came from in Denville, that there was an erratic driver driving threw the Booton (ph) township, which is the bordering town entering Kinnelon Road.
COOPER: So you wanted to get to them before they entered your town.
EHRENBURG: We wanted to get to them prior to something like this happening.
EHRENBURG: We made it to the next -- the first street that they could turn onto to set up so as soon as they would pass, we could get behind them and hopefully initiate a stop.
COOPER: And at that point, had the vehicle already had the accident?
EHRENBURG: Well, what happened was the caller that they were on the phone with, there's a dead spot in the road so they lost the caller. When they were able to get him back online, he had told the dispatch that the car is now overturned. The individual inside the car is trapped, and the car is starting to catch fire.
COOPER: Rickey, when you get to the scene and see this, what goes through your mind?
RICKEY FERRIOLA, POLICE OFFICER: At first I saw Mark actually already up to the vehicle. He was trying to talk to the lady that was upside down inside there. The first thing I wanted to do was get my gloves on because I wanted to get up there and see what was going on. You saw the vehicle was upside down. When you get there, you kind of just go with it. You don't really -- you're not thinking of am I in danger or anything like that, just we've just got to get the lady out. We knew it was the driver, one driver, but we weren't too sure if there's anybody else in the vehicle, maybe somebody in the back, maybe another passenger. So that was the first thing I looked in the back to see if anyone was there and I saw her upside down, still seat belted in. I actually saw liquid pouring down the entire time right next to her.
COOPER: And you didn't know what it was.
COOPER: Mark, what did she seem like when you got there?
EHRENBURG: When I initially rolled up to the scene, I saw her laying there -- well, not laying there, in her seat, seat belted in. Her arms were dangling. She was completely lifeless.
EHRENBURG: Yes. It didn't look good when I first initially showed up.
COOPER: In a situation like this too, there's smoke coming out of the car, you've got to be concerned about the vehicle itself exploding or going up in flames.
EHRENBURG: Initially, and he might touch upon this, there started to become like a loud hiss.
COOPER: You heard a hissing sound.
FERRIOLA: One thing I actually did not notice until the end, until I watched the video again, it's kind of like I blocked it out, I didn't heard the horn.
COOPER: The horn was going off the whole time?
FERRIOLA: The horn was going off the entire time, and I actually don't recall the horn going off.
COOPER: That's interesting.
FERRIOLA: But when we were up there and I was looking at her, we discussed about Mark having a knife. He always keeps a knife on him so we discussed that. He pulls the knife out --
COOPER: To cut her out of the seat belt.
FERRIOLA: To cut her out of the seat belt, and I'm holding her head. You hear like a hissing and it's getting louder and louder. I couldn't see the fire or the smoke. He turns to me and he says hey, we've got to go. We've got to get her out. But when he cut her, that was the one thing we tried to do, I tried holding her head and her neck here, in my right hand, I was holding on to her arm, so when he cut her, we knew she would drop. We tried to do everything possible to stabilize her neck because of the injury.
COOPER: At what about point did you realize that she was alive or did you start doing CPR or by that time had the paramedics arrived?
FERRIOLA: Once we were carrying her across the street, once we dragged her across the street, we wanted to get her as far away from the car as possible. When we laid her down, I checked her pulse and I didn't feel anything. Mark checked her pulse by the neck, by the carotid artery, and he felt it was faint, so we knew it wasn't good. He immediately said we've got to get a bird in here. We got to get (inaudible) out fast -- a bird meaning --
COOPER: Do you know how she's doing now?
FERRIOLA: The last we heard, our detectives were at the hospital, and they said she's making a full recovery, minor injuries.
COOPER: And I guess she was inebriated. When you heard that, does that change at all your feelings about this? Because what you did is extraordinary. It's the kind of thing you guys, you know, are paid to do, but it's an extraordinary act that you did.
EHRENBURG: It's a life, and we're here to protect and serve whoever.
COOPER: Well, it's really an honor to talk to you guys. Thank you so much.
EHRENBURG: Thank you for having us.
FERRIOLA: I appreciate so much you having us.
COOPER: Let's get the latest on some of the other stories we're following. Amara Walker has a 360 bulletin. Amara.
AMARA WALKER, CNN ANCHOR: Anderson, two Tulsa deputies have been reassigned in the wake of the fatal shooting of unarmed suspect Eric Harris. Volunteer deputy Robert Bates is charged with second-degree murder. The two deputies who pinned him to the ground have been reassigned because of death threats against them and their families.
Two journalists who reported on the Bates story for the Tulsa World, including a report alleging his training records were falsified are leaving the newspaper. Executive editor says the pair got other jobs and the timing is a coincidence. The editor says the paper stands by their reporting, but is still reviewing and verifying their sources.
Federal prosecutors have arrested six young Somali American men from Minnesota who allegedly conspired to sneak into Syria and join ISIS. A cooperating witness helped crack the case. Officials say the alleged recruits were not planning to launch attacks inside the U.S. And at least one person is dead in a major 40-car accident west of
Laramie, Wyoming. The pile-up included a tanker carrying a chemical solvent. The fire burned for hours and closed Interstate 80 in both directions. Anderson.
COOPER: Incredible pictures. Amara, thank you very much. Be sure to stay tuned at the top of the hour, Dr. Sanjay Gupta investigates the medical marijuana revolution. In "Weed 3," coming up next. I'm going to make you smile at the end of a long day. The Ridiculist is next.
COOPER: Time now for the Ridiculist.
The presidential campaign season is only in the larval stage, but if you're on Facebook, you know it's never too early to start posting unsolicited political opinions. After Hillary Clinton announced her candidacy, the CEO of a marketing firm in Dallas posted this, and I quote. "If this happens, I'm moving to Canada. There is no need for her as she is not the right person to run our country, but more importantly, a female shouldn't be president. Let the haters begin. But with the hormones we have, there's no way we should be able to start a war."
It's noteworthy, not only for the threat of moving to Canada, which is as tired as it is idle, but also because the person who posted that is herself a woman. CEO Cheryl Rios continued to wax poetic. And I quote, "Yes, I run my own business and I love it and I'm great at it, but that is not the same as being the president. That should be left to a man, a good, strong, honorable man."
Now, I think the simplest explanation is that her Facebook got hacked by a man from the 1700s in some sort of a Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure phone booth scenario. Cheryl Rios was on CNN this weekend. Let's give her the benefit of the doubt.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CHERYL RIOS: I've always felt that a woman shouldn't be president. Men and women are not the same. Hormones are a piece of the difference that is between us.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Yes, and as we all know, of course, men, especially men in politics, I mean, they never have problems related to hormones. Testosterone, for instance. I don't know how this argument is even around anymore after it was so deftly skewered on "30 Rock."
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This is Amelia Earhart. I'm almost across the Pacific. Oh, no, my period.
I'll now take questions. Oh, no, my period. (inaudible).
TINA FEY: That is an ironic reappropriation. I don't know anymore.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: So what about the fact that Ms. Rios runs a company, that she herself is a woman in power?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RIOS: That is not the same as running the best country in the world and being commander in chief and head of state, the president of the United States. To me, it should be a man, not a female. Again, it's my belief in how I run my household and how I am, like I believe that the woman should cook the meal for the man.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Say what now? Oh, okay. Wow. All right. Well, see, I guess, you know, that's one perspective. The other perspective is that's just an outdated way of thinking. Did we learn nothing from those '70s and '80s perfume commercials? Frankly, all that bacon based multi tasking, it sounds sexist and exhausting, but look, what do I know? Maybe this is all a smoke screen and she really doesn't care for Hillary Clinton. Maybe that's it.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RIOS: I would never vote for Hillary in no way, shape or form. If she wants to run, that is her decision. It's a free country. I don't believe as a woman she should be running. Now, as a vice president, go for it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Hang on now. A lady vice president is a mere heartbeat away from becoming a lady president. Does Ms. Rios not watch "Veep?"
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You could say as a woman I believe --
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No, no, no, no. No, no, no. I can't identify myself as a woman, people can't know that. Men hate that, and women who hate women hate that, which I believe is most women, don't you agree with that?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: I suppose there's really only one place where true equality exists, and that's on the Ridiculist.
That does it for us. We'll see you again in a 11:00 p.m. Eastern for another edition of "360".
"WEED 3," starts now.