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ERIN BURNETT OUTFRONT
First Republican Drops Out of Presidential Race; Poll: Trump Nearly Triples His Support in Iowa; Republican Candidates Take Aim at Trump; Police Question Man in Freeway Shooting. Aired 7-830 ET
Aired September 11, 2015 - 19:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[19:00:08] JIM SCIUTTO, CNN ANCHOR: OUTFRONT next, breaking news. The first republican candidate to bow out of the race. And it's not Donald Trump. His support tripling in a new Iowa poll. Do voters really want a man who calls himself an entertainer?
Plus, police question a man in connection with the Arizona highway shootings. Are investigators closer to catching a potentially deadly shooter on the loose?
And new surveillance video shows the moment a former tennis star was slammed to the ground by the police officer with the history of alleged use of excessive force. Did he go too far again? Let's go OUTFRONT.
Good evening. I'm Jim Sciutto in again for Erin Burnett. And OUTFRONT tonight, the breaking news first republican presidential candidate drops out of the race. The field now down to 16 after former Texas Governor Rick Perry suspends his campaign. At this point, four years ago Perry was the GOP frontrunner. In fact, 41 percent of Republicans at the time thought he would be the GOP nominee. The exact same number who today believe that Donald Trump will be their party's choice. But today, Donald Trump's numbers are reaching a new high. Trump nearly tripling his support in the key state of Iowa just since July. Trump's lead in the Hawkeye state showing that his blistering personal attacks are not turning off voters. Still tonight, Trump launching a new defense for his jabs at rival Carly Fiorina and other women saying, he made them as, quote, "an entertainer."
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Many of those comments are made as an entertainer. And as everybody said as an entertainer, it's a much different ball game.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
Joe Johns is OUTFRONT tonight. And Joe, why is Rick Perry leaving the race now?
JOE JOHNS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Jim, it comes down to money and momentum. The Perry campaign was struggling for cash and buzz in the early voting states. Part of the dynamic here is about Donald Trump and how he is been dominating the republican field. And the headlines since he got into the race. And today, the latest candidate to take a big swipe at Trump was Carly Fiorina.
JOHNS (voice-over): The latest twist in the increasingly bitter battle for the republican nomination, former CEO Carly Fiorina, once attacked by Democrats as a corporate jet conservative.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Bought a million dollar yacht and five corporate jets.
JOHNS: Now, using a similar line of attack against Donald Trump.
CARLY FIORINA (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Leadership is not about the size of your office. The size of your airplane. The size of your helicopter.
JOHNS: Fiorina now officially set to come face to face with Trump and the other top contenders on the main stage of a CNN republican debate next Wednesday at 8:00 p.m. Eastern. Many waiting to see whether Fiorina will directly address Trump's rude comments about her this week. The frontrunner telling "Rolling Stone" Magazine, "Look at that face. Would anyone vote for that? Can you imagine that the face of our next president? I mean, she's a woman and I'm not supposed to say bad things, but really folks, come on, are we serious?"
Now, Trump often doubles down on his most controversial remarks. This time he seemed unsure how to address the criticism that he is again disparaging women, making comments about the looks of the only woman on the republican side of the race.
TRUMP: Many of those comments are made as an entertainer. Because I did "The Apprentice" and as everybody said, as an entertainer is a much different ball game.
JOHNS: But before that he offered a different explanation.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You know, it's not presidential --
TRUMP: I'm not talking about look. I'm talking about persona.
JOHNS: Despite his latest controversial comments directed at a woman, Trump still has strong support from republican women voters right now according to the latest CNN/ORC poll. As for Fiorina, so far, she hasn't been keen on directly addressing Trump's comments.
FIORINA: I'm not running because I'm a woman. I've never been a token in my life. And I don't expect people to vote for me because I'm a woman. I expect them to vote for me because I'm the most qualified candidate to do the job.
JOHNS: Perhaps because Fiorina herself has weighed in about the looks of a female opponent in politics before.
FIORINA: Barbara Boxer briefly on television this morning and said what everyone says, God, what is that hair? So yesterday. JOHNS: At the time in 2010, Fiorina was running for the Senate
and eventually lost to Barbara Boxer.
JOHNS: And as we enter the final weekend before the CNN debate, Donald Trump is headed back to the stump in Iowa. A rally in Boone and a trip to see some big rivalry football. The Iowa versus Iowa state game -- Jim.
SCIUTTO: And his numbers jumping there.
Joe Johns, thanks very much. OUTFRONT tonight, former RNC communications director Doug Heye. Also, CNN political commentator S.E. Cupp. And former political director for President Ronald Reagan, Jeffrey Lord.
Jeffrey, I would like to begin with you. You heard Donald Trump defending his comments today about Carly Fiorina's face saying he made them as an entertainer. But he is running for president. Is he in your view acting presidential?
[19:05:14] JEFFREY LORD, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Sure. Sure. You know, he is an entertainer in that sense. I mean, he was on television for a long time. You know, towards the end of his term, President Reagan was interviewed by I think Tom Brokaw who asked him about being an actor and being president. And Reagan's answer was something to the effect that I don't know how I could have done the job without it, without his acting background. You know, in this day and age of television and mass communications, it really does help. Arnold Schwarzenegger became governor of California. I mean, these things help. So, I think he was quite frank about it. Sure it helps.
SCIUTTO: I want to give you a chance to pipe in, Doug. I saw you shaking your head there. Having an acting background is one thing. But I think the difference here is the nature of the comments we are hearing. Not just against women, but against Latinos, against, you know, his imitation of an Asian voice. Is it presidential in your view?
DOUG HEYE, FORMER RNC COMMUNICATIONS DIRECTOR: No, it's not presidential. Keep in mind also, today is 9/11. And there was a tweet from Donald Trump's twitter feed today talking about 9/11 losers. These aren't serious things. This are noise. He is playing the role of a bad guy professional wrestler who is there to gin up a crowd. And he is doing that, he is doing that very well. Meanwhile, what we are not talking about when it comes to Trump on any level are issues. And this is where the press, Dana Bash certainly did a great job on this when she asked him questions on -- when they were at the border together.
And he had trouble answering questions on specific issues. And if you are a republican candidate, don't worry about the name calling that Donald Trump gives or receives. Focus on why he supported the single healthcare plan, why he said great things about Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama? Why he supported partial birth abortion. If you do those things and you stick to those things, you can beat Donald Trump, especially now that we are past Labor Day when voters start to focus on real issues and just not noise.
SCIUTTO: You mentioned a tweet by Donald Trump on that level. Just to be clear, that came from 2013. S.E., I do want to talk to you. Because this new poll out of Iowa shows Trump dominating the GOP field there. It's 27 percent support. That's up from just -- up by 10 points since July. I just wonder, in this climate of anti- Washington sentiment, throw the bums out kind of sentiment, do you see in those numbers evidence that voters would prefer an entertainer to a typical Washington politician?
S.E. CUPP, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, Trump certainly doing well at the moment, there's no denying that. But he is also the candidate most Republicans would not vote for. So, I think that, you know, registered Republicans who are responding to poll calls are divide on this. Some like the entertainment and like the Donald Trump is a so-called outsider. I wouldn't go so far as to call him anti- establishment. I think he has been pretty cozy with the establishment. And then I think the rest of the, you know, republican voters recognize that he is probably unelectable in a general election. Now, the angst over Washington insiders existed in 2012 as well, remember. And conservatives weren't all that happy with Mitt Romney. He still won the nomination. Now, he didn't go on to win the general election. But for better or worse, the establishment candidate or candidates generally end up doing fairly well, despite some civil unrest within the base.
SCIUTTO: Jeffrey, I want to give you a chance to respond.
LORD: Hey, Jim.
SCIUTTO: You heard that, S.E. say unelectable in a general election. What's your response to that?
LORD: Yes. Jim, one of the -- I thought very interesting statistics deep in the internal side of the Quinnipiac poll in Iowa, 87 percent of republican potential republican caucus goers in Iowa said that they would prefer somebody who had no Washington government experience, period. And then it went across the board to different categories, men, women, evangelicals, it was even higher than that or in the 90s. That's a pretty amazing statistic. And I think that that gives you a pretty good snapshot of the, you know, the energy out there that's fueling the Trump and to some extent the Carson campaign and the Fiorina campaign and Ted Cruz.
SCIUTTO: Doug, I want to ask you. There are other non- Washington candidates in the race as you well know. Ben Carson as Jeffrey mentioned is one of them. I'm just curious, how do mainstream candidates who are tarred with that Washington brush, how do they break through, particularly as we have the debate coming up next Wednesday?
HEYE: Sure. If they are a governor, they focus on what they did on that state. That's true whether you are talking about Jeb Bush or say, Scott Walker. Even Jim Gilmore for that matter. If they are a senator, you look at Marco Rubio, Ted Cruz and Rand Paul, they haven't been a creature of Washington for a long time. They can talk about that. But we should also step back for a minute. I ran communications for the Iowa caucus last time. And I can tell you, Iowa is not going to determine necessarily who is going to be our nominee. What it does is it winnows down who our nominee will eventually be. It's almost like the first round of the NCAA tournament.
But also, let's remember, if we go back four years ago about this time, Rick Perry was the leading republican candidate. People thought that Rick Perry was probably going to be our nominee. As we learned today, Rick Perry is not going to be our nominee this time around. So, keep that in mind as we talk about all things Trump all the time, even if we're not talking about Donald Trump in policy, which is ultimately what's going to matter to voters in the long term.
[19:10:35] SCIUTTO: What's your response to that, Jeff? Just before I'll let you go. Forty one percent four years ago virtually today thought Rick Perry was going to be their candidate. We know how that turned out. The same 41 percent of republican voters believe that Trump is going to be their nominee. Are you concerned that that will disappear? That that will probably will burst?
LORD: No. Rick Perry stumbled and stumbled over his own, you know, over his own doing. Donald Trump, you know, everybody thought Donald Trump had stumbled. And he hasn't. I mean, he keeps going. And when these sort of incidents or whatever you want to call them happen, his poll numbers go higher. So, no, I don't think they are comparable at all. People have a totally different impression of Donald Trump than they did of Rick Perry. Rick Perry as a matter of fact attacks them for being a cancer on the Republican Party. He's the one that's out of the race.
CUPP: Well, actually Donald Trump's unfavorables are pretty high as well.
HEYE: Jim, ultimately I think that's the issue.
SCIUTTO: Let's give S.E. a chance. S.E., go ahead.
CUPP: I just want to point out, I mean, Donald Trump's unfavorables are very high as well. So, people actually don't have a very positive view of him, even as he is doing well in the polls.
SCIUTTO: Okay. Well, S.E., Jeffrey Lord, Doug Heye, we have to leave it there. Thank you for joining us again tonight. And OUTFRONT next, the second republican debate is five days away with Trump taking center stage. Will his rivals double down on their latest attacks against him?
Plus, as a number of possible highway shootings in Arizona grows, police are being inundated with tips. Are they helping? Our report on how serial shooters in other states are being caught.
And video of the devastating moment a massive crane plunges into a roof killing 107 people, injuring nearly 250 others. We will have the latest.
[19:15:18] SCIUTTO: Tonight, republican candidates eager to reverse Donald Trump's ever rising poll numbers are trying to beat him at his own game. They are taking shots, even personal ones, at the GOP front-runner as the final stage is set for Wednesday's CNN debate. But will this prove to be a winning debate strategy?
Sunlen Serfaty is OUTFRONT.
SUNLEN SERFATY, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It's the question at the center of each candidate's debate playbook, to play offense or defense against Donald Trump. This week some have given a preview of what could be their upcoming play.
JEB BUSH (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I think he believes that he can insult his way to the presidency. And I don't think history is a pretty good guide for that.
SERFATY: Calibrating their message going more aggressively after Trump.
BOBBY JINDAL (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: He doesn't believe in anything other than Donald Trump. He is a narcissist, he is an egomaniac.
SERFATY: In the first debate, the differing tactics taken against Trump led afterwards to a massive reshuffling of the field. Jeb Bush with his strategy of staying out of the fray --
BUSH: I'm done.
BRET BAIER, FOX NEWS ANCHOR: I'm through.
BUSH: I'm through. I gave my views. I just think that we need to be much more hopeful and optimistic about our ideology.
SERFATY: Was overshadowed. I the time since he has seen support plummet. And may be looking now to tee up a standout moment against Trump to stop his slide. By comparison, Carly Fiorina --
FIORINA: I didn't get a phone call from Bill Clinton before I jumped in the race. Did you get a phone call from Bill Clinton? I didn't.
SERFATY: Whose strong debate performance helped earn her a spot on the main stage this time around.
RYAN LIZZA, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: They have to make a decision here. Go negative on Trump and take him down or offer something positive and introduce yourself in a positive way to the public. And that might benefit that you win eventually when Trump falters. SERFATY: A fresh spotlight on Ben Carson now with Trump at
center stage. Aides to Carson say, he won't back away from drawing distinctions with Trump.
DR. BEN CARSON (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I'm not taking debate. I'm not going there. Next question.
SERFATY: But will not go after him in a personal way. The debate stage is unforgiving, creating a series of make or break moments for the candidates that can soar --
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I have as much experience in the Congress as Jack Kennedy did when he sought the presidency.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Senator, you are no Jack Kennedy.
SERFATY: Or flop.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A lot of static.
RICK PERRY (R), FORMER PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I can't. The third one I can't. Sorry. Oops.
SERFATY: Leaving a lasting memory tied to each candidate for better or for worse.
SERFATY: And 24 million people watched last month's debate. So, for the candidates, especially the ones that are really struggling, this is their best chance to try to reach out to a larger audience and potentially even get some momentum Jim as they try to move forward and away from the summer of Trump -- Jim.
SCIUTTO: Huge platform, no question. Sunlen Serfaty in Washington. OUTFRONT now, Ben Ferguson, conservative radio talk show host and Lanhee Chen, he's former policy director for Mitt Romney's campaign. He helped prep Romney for those presidential debates. Ben, I want to begin with you. Because we have seen several of the candidates, make a bit of a court's change here, going after Trump in recent days. We've seen it from Bush, and Jindal, and Fiorina and others.
BEN FERGUSON, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Yes.
SCIUTTO: The debate, a huge platform. Is this the best way to make their mark in the debate?
FERGUSON: I think it depends on you as a candidate. For example, Ben Carson, if I was advising him, I would not tell him to change. The way that he has been handling himself, because people don't look at him as some sort of trash talker. I think for him that would actually be a bad strategy. Well, if you look at Carly for example, she's actually pretty good at it. And I think if she goes after Donald Trump, especially after he treated her this week, I think in her situation she could capitalize on this and really make even more of a name for herself. So, you have to be true to who you are. And I don't think you want to get in a game where you are somehow getting outside of what you really are as a candidate and as a person.
I think Carson again is an example of, if he comes out with really solid ideas and challenges Donald Trump on ideas or lack of substance, that's where it could catapult him. So, you have to look at each one of the candidates says as who they are as an individual. Chris Christie, when you are on the end like he is, I think you throw serious punches at Donald Trump. And you have nothing to lose there when you are in this position, because I think he is under performed really up to now. And that may be for him a good strategy.
SCIUTTO: Lanhee, I wonder, you prepped Mitt Romney of course for the 2012 campaign debates. But this is a different field from 2012. Certainly seeing that now with the front front-runner. Does the public want to see a shouting match up there? Do voters want to see a shouting match up there? Or, is there a benefit in coming across as an adult in effect?
LANHEE CHEN, FORMER POLICY DIRECTOR FOR ROMNEY CAMPAIGN: You know, Jim, I don't think voters are looking for a shouting match. I don't think that's what they desire. But that having been said, if there is an engagement between two candidates, if two candidates do begin to get into it, I do think the public values a candidate that can stand up for themselves, a candidate that could counterpunch. I don't think it does any good to get up there and to not be able to respond or to look weak. I think that could be the biggest concern. So, the difficulty with Trump is he is just such a wild card. You don't know what he is going to do. And so, that makes prep very, very difficult. It also makes a strategy premised on what Trump is going to do very difficult as well -- Jim.
[19:20:35] SCIUTTO: No question. Ben, you know, in the past, candidates faced a risk of some sort of flop or fumble. The oops moment for Perry. You know, a campaign can falter with this single debate. You have Al Gore size for instance there. Does Trump run the same risk as the frontrunner here? Or I mean, he is really a Teflon done. Right? I mean, has he rewritten the rules that he doesn't really have that same kind of risk as he goes into this?
FERGUSON: I think he has rewritten the rules in the fact that he can pretty much say whatever he wants to say and people continue to put it in the category of, that's straight talk, that's blunt talk, that's a non-politician. Where he could get himself in serious trouble is if someone challenges him on an actual aspect of foreign policy or domestic policy or taxes and he can't come up with a good enough answer. And then everyone piles in on the lack of maybe experience in that area. We really saw that when he was doing a radio show earlier this week. And it made big headlines because it wasn't I got you question. It was a basic question that Donald Trump did not know how to answer. And that's where he could get himself in huge trouble.
SCIUTTO: On foreign policy, couldn't identify some of the leaders, et cetera.
SCIUTTO: Lanny, I want to ask you, because a lot of eyes are going to be on Carly Fiorina. Because she is the most recent target of a Trump blast here. The comments about her face. Although, you know, five days to go, there could be someone else. But looking at her and how she has risen, she's now on the main stage, what is her best strategy here? Directly address that issue, go after Trump on it? Is that the best idea? Should she kind of rise above it?
FERGUSON: You know, I think her response thus far has been pretty good. I think her strategy has been to rise above it. You know, the comments are outrageous. And the outrageousness speaks for themselves. And so, I think for Carly to come out and be aggressive in terms of confronting him may not work to her advantage. I think she needs to stick to character. It's very, very difficult to try and force a conflict on it. I think it's out there. There may be a different opportunity on a different issue for her to confront Donald Trump. If that occurs, I think she would be great at doing that. I think she has done a good job confronting Hillary Clinton so far. But ultimately, I think her big question mark is going to be, how does she translate her performance from the jayvee stage to the main stage this time? And I think if that transition goes well, it will serve her well. If it doesn't go well, she could drop back on the jayvee stage for the next debate.
SCIUTTO: True. And that main stage is a crowded stage. Lanhee Chen and Ben Ferguson, we have to leave it there. Thank you.
SCIUTTO: Don't forget that CNN will air the next republican presidential debate, that is Wednesday, starting at 6:00 p.m. Eastern. And of course, right here on CNN.
And OUTFRONT next, police questioning a man in connection with nearly a dozen highway shootings in Phoenix. But anxiety still running high. It took more than a year to catch the last road way shooter.
Plus, new surveillance video tonight of the moment an NYPD officer tackled a former tennis star to the ground. You see it there. What we are learning tonight about that officer's past?
[19:27:30] SCIUTTO: Right now investigators are questioning a person in connection with 11 confirmed shootings along a busy Phoenix highway. Police detained the man during a traffic stop. They are now searching his vehicle for evidence. This is the first potential break in a case that has alarmed an entire community for two weeks. Police describing the attacks as domestic terrorism.
Sara Sidner is OUTFRONT.
SARA SIDNER, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: After nearly two weeks with at least 11 vehicles hit with bullets or projectiles along an eight mile stretch of Interstate 10, DPS troopers have detained and are now questioning a man in connection with the shootings.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We are calling him a person of interest. But we really wanted to talk to him about a lot of things. So, it's fair to say this will probably come up. But we basically want to spend some time with him and find out what he knows.
SIDNER: The man along with a woman were detained at a traffic stop. Investigators released the woman but continued questioning the man.
(on camera): What can you tell me about what the circumstances were that led you to tip related or was this something that investigators figured out?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's reasonable to say that it's a combination of the two.
SIDNER: But no one has been arrested. And police are still asking for citizens to call in tips. This as two other incidents, one along highway 17 and another off Interstate 10 are being investigated to determine whether they are linked to the recent shooting spree. Interstate 10 has been a target zone for a serial shooter or shooters. Cars to big rigs have been hit during all times of the day and night with no apparent pattern. Tremaine Jackson is one of many DPS troopers driving the shooting zone. He says the department is adding numerous resources to the investigation.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's never a one man situation. And that's from the troopers, to the Police Department, to the citizens. It's a total team effort.
SIDNER: This is not the first time police and the public here have had to deal with serial roadway shootings. A decade ago eight people were killed as two gunmen stalked the roadways in Phoenix. That case took more than a year to solve. The man heading the current investigation was a lieutenant working at the Phoenix Police Department during those shootings.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That was what they called the serial shooter case. They were literally driving down roads and with a 14 caliber shotgun, they were shooting people walking down the street and killing them.
SIDNER: After nearly two weeks with at least 11 --
SIDNER: That was then. This is now. And in talking to investigators, they say that basically having this case involved within a couple weeks' time would be unheard of for a serial shooting case such as this. They have to remind the public that it took 15 months to solve that case back in 2005 -- Jim.
SCIUTTO: Let's hope it doesn't take that long this time. Sara Sidner out there by that highway. And OUTFRONT tonight, former FBI Assistant Director Chris Swecker
and former U.S. Marshal Arthur Roderick. He was heavily involved in the investigation to the D.C. sniper attacks.
Arthur, I want to begin with you. They have a person of interest. They are questioning this person now, this man. What are officials likely to be asking a possible suspect right now?
ARTHUR RODERICK, FORMER ASSISTANT DIRECTOR, U.S. MARSHALS. Well, it's interesting that the previous speaker brought up the fact that they want to talk to him about a lot of things. So, there might be other crimes involved here that he could be a suspect in.
Obviously, they want to go over where has he been over the last couple of weeks, where has he been during the time frames of the shootings and try to backtrack there. I'm sure they are searching the vehicle, looking for any type of physical evidence. But you also got to remember that -- I mean, they've got to verify any of these phone calls, any of these leads coming in. And I know that during the D.C. sniper case, we looked for a white van for 2 1/2 weeks. It turned out to be a blue Chevy Capri.
SCIUTTO: No question. And those early leads, Arthur, can certainly be wrong, they can be misleading. And, certainly, early suspects can be wrong as well. So, you have to keep that in mind.
What other things would they be looking for now? You heard the police chief there saying there was a combination of tips and what they found in the investigation that led them to this person.
RODERICK: Well, I think it's good that we have people calling in. But I think people calling in can also keep in mind that this individual might not be an eyewitness to the fact that they saw somebody drive down a road or they saw a shooting. It could have been something somebody said three or four or five months ago about getting on the highway and committing some type of crime.
So, if people keep that in the back of their head and if anybody has had past conversations with somebody who mentioned that, police call the local tip line.
SCIUTTO: Chris, what's interesting about this case here is that you still have people driving along this what's become a dangerous stretch of highway. They might have someone of interest, but they don't know they have the shooter in custody.
Is that a mistake?
CHRIS SWECKER, FORMER ASSISTANT FBI DIRECTOR: No. Well, it's not a mistake. I can guarantee you that the highway patrol and other state and local law enforcement and federal law enforcement are out there doing mobile surveillance, static surveillance. They are on buildings. They are traveling the highways.
And that's mainly to suppress the shooter, to make sure that they are not out there doing this again. I have a sense that we're not going to hear from the shooter for a couple of days, if it is one shooter. Of course, there's always forensics. They are going to be entering all of this data from the expanded shells -- excuse me, the expanded rounds if they have recovered some into a national database and hope to match that with some other weapon.
SCIUTTO: One other odd thing about this -- and this could just be luck, right, in that you haven't had anybody hit, thankfully, by bullets yet. I mean, do you have past cases where shooters looked to hit rather than to hurt, to terrorize, in effect, without hurting? What's your view, particularly you, Arthur, with your experience with the D.C. sniper case?
RODERICK: Yes, I mean, the D.C. sniper case was quite a bit different. He was shooting at individuals that were more or less in a static position. It's very difficult -- if a vehicle is moving at 60 miles an hour, it's very difficult if you are shooting from the side to be able to pick a driver off or pick a passenger off. But I do believe we have been very lucky up to this point that nobody has been seriously injured.
SCIUTTO: Chris, in your view with the FBI, you heard local police call this a case of domestic terrorism. And it is terrorizing, no question. You are firing shots at a busy section of highway on a major American city.
As you look at this, what kind of suspect do you profile -- if you are profiling, what kind of suspect would police be looking for?
SWECKER: Well, first I think he is misusing the word, phrase "domestic terrorism". Domestic terrorism is committing violence to impose your ideology, political or social ideology, on the population or the public. And in this case, we don't know what the motivation is. So, yes, it terrorizes the public, but it isn't necessarily domestic terrorism yet.
So, there's a lot of other aspects to this case. These suspects could be anybody or suspect could be anybody. They could be in the neighborhood. They could be -- this could be a gang initiation.
People throw objects off of overpasses all the time. Highways are notorious for this type of activity. Not necessarily shootings, but we do see this type of activity pretty -- it's pretty prevalent.
SCIUTTO: And we do know that the police are working with their local gang unit to explore exactly that possibility, that possible connection.
[19:35:05] Chris Swecker, Arthur Roderick, thanks for your views on this.
RODERICK: Thanks, Jim.
SCIUTTO: And OUTFRONT next, highway shootings day and night. How will police track down this serial attacker? Can other sniper cases offer some clues? Plus, new surveillance video showing former tennis star James
Blake body slammed by a plainclothes police officer. How did this happen?
SCIUTTO: A potential break in the shooting spree along a busy Phoenix highway. Investigators questioning a man they detained this afternoon. For two weeks, the ongoing attacks have left the county of more than 4 million people on edge. Commuters taking different roads, schools rerouting school buses.
And as investigators chase down hundreds of tips and potential leads, it's a reminder that this is not the first time that a gunman has stoked fear on the highway.
Ed Lavandera is OUTFRONT.
ED LAVANDERA, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The headlines can send a chilling feeling through drivers along any roadway, a series of mysterious shootings around Interstate 10 in Phoenix, Arizona.
[19:40:02] The shots seemingly coming out of nowhere.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Any time you have multiple shootings against American citizens on a highway, that's terrorism. They're trying to frighten or kill somebody.
LAVANDERA: So far, only one person, a 13-year-old girl, has been injured. Highway shootings like this are not uncommon. The most notorious in recent memory was the D.C. sniper attacks in 2002 -- a three-week rampage that paralyzed and drove a stake of fear around the nation's capital.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's terrifying at this particular point. You don't know which way you are going, I mean, who is going to shoot.
LAVANDERA: Ten people were killed, three critically wounded. The attacks carried out by John Allen Muhammad and Lee Boyd Malvo. A year later, Charles McCoy unleashed a series of 24 sniper attacks along Interstate 270, around Columbus, Ohio. One person was killed.
(on camera): We watch people here driving up and down the road. Just because you are in your car and moving, maybe a decent speed, you are a sitting target.
CRAIG MILLER, POLICE CHIEF: Any time you are in a vehicle, you are trapped.
LAVANDERA (voice-over): Chief Craig Miller has spent more than 30 years in law enforcement. He investigated hundreds of murder cases and at least a dozen different highway shootings for the Dallas Police Department. He says each shooter's motive may be different but they all have one thing in common. MILLER: They're not going to stop shooting until they are
captured. I think these people are going to be more -- taking more chances because I think right now they are getting off on what it is they are doing.
LAVANDERA: Last year a gunman shot nine cars on the highways of Kansas City over the course of a month.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The glass from the back and hit us in the back of the head and we don't know what was going on.
LAVANDERA: After intense police work, a 27-year-old was charged with carrying out the attacks. Chief Miller says serial highway shootings are some of the hardest crimes to investigate.
MILLER: You just don't know whether you are looking for one suspect or you are looking for multiple suspects. You don't know whether or not the individuals are shooting from a platform, are they shooting from a vehicle much like the beltway sniper? Are they shooting from an elevated, even a building?
LAVANDERA: And like this time in Arizona when a shooter could be out there lurking, there's no such thing as a peaceful drive down the highway.
Ed Lavandera, CNN, Dallas.
SCIUTTO: Tonight, at least 107 people are dead and more than 200 others are injured after a crane collapse at the holiest site in the Muslim world. This is the moment the crane plunged through the roof of Mecca's grand mosque in Saudi Arabia, coming down on worshipers right in the middle of evening prayers.
Saudi officials believe severe storms and heavy rain could have been a factor. The collapse comes just a week before more than 2 million people flock to Mecca for the Hajj. That is Islam's annual pilgrimage.
And OUTFRONT next, new surveillance video shows a former tennis star suddenly tackled by a plain clothed police officer. The NYPD admitting it was wrong. So, who is being held accountable?
SCIUTTO: Tonight, we are seeing alarming new video of the violence arrest of a former pro tennis star. The surveillance video just released by the NYPD shows James Blake right there standing quietly when a plainclothes officer rushes up, slams him to the ground. Police admitted soon after that they had the wrong person.
Jason Carroll is OUTFRONT tonight.
So, Jason, as we look at this surveillance video, walk us through. What do we see there? JASON CARROLL, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, you can see the
way after looking at that video, Jim, why James Blake felt the way he did. Let's show some of that video again.
You can see he was standing there in front of the hotel there on Wednesday. And that officer, James Frascatore, rushes him, grabs him, throws him to the ground. Within seconds, he is in handcuffs. He was held there for about ten minutes. You don't see that on the videotape. That happens after, off camera there. But he's held for about 10 minutes.
While he is there on the ground, according to Blake, he kept saying, there's no audio but he kept saying to him, what are you doing? Why am I here?
He says at no point did the officer identify himself. He said at no point did Officer Frascatore say why he was taking him down, why he was under arrest. Again, Frascatore was undercover, not -- according to Blake at no point could he see a badge a shield, anything at all that would identify this man as an officer. So, you can imagine the way he felt as he was there on the ground, and then was taken into handcuffs.
Also I should tell you, in terms of what police are saying about this, the police union says that this officer, Officer Frascatore, Jim, actually acted in somewhat of a proper manner. He says he was going after a suspect. Obviously, this is a case of mistaken identity. But that he was going after what he thought was a suspect and he took the man down simply because he thought he might be a flight risk. But also saying that the police union saying that they regret any embarrassment or injury suffered by Mr. Blake. Also, as you know, New York City's mayor and police commissioner apologizing for this incident as well.
SCIUTTO: We have learned more about the cop, prior allegations of excessive use of force by him.
CARROLL: Right, there are actually from what we have gathered here two civil suits where Officer Frascatore is named in both of those suits. You see a picture of him there. He is 38 years old. There was no admission of wrongdoing in any of those -- either of those civil suits.
But one thing is interesting about this. We just found out that as of today, a settlement conference for both of those cases have been scheduled. That was scheduled today.
[19:50:01] Both of these cases at least two years old. And so, what's interesting is while there seem to be not very much legal movement with either of those civil cases as a result of seemingly of what we're seeing now today, there has been some movement in the two civil suits.
SCIUTTO: All right. Jason Carroll in New York, thanks very much.
OUTFRONT now, criminal defense attorney Joey Jackson.
Joey, you know, you look at the video, you see the violence. What I don't see -- you don't see him showing his badge, telling -- asking for his ID. Is that -- is that, not just proper police work, but is that legal police work?
JOEY JACKSON, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: No. What happens is -- we have to know and understand police have a difficult job. They want to go home at end of the day, Jim. We get that.
However, there is a certain type of protocol associated with making a stop. Now, going back to whether the stop is proper -- if somebody identifies him and says, "I am 1,000 percent sure it's that guy," certainly the police have a proper and legal basis to go off. And to do what is called a pat frisk. And they do that for their safety because they have a reasonable --
SCIUTTO: That's different from tackling him. No questions asked.
JACKSON: Way different, exactly. So, the legitimacy of the stop, OK. It's the tactics that is associated with the stop that causes pause. There is a use of force continuum. And that continuum would suggest any force used has to be proportionate to any threat that is posed.
SCIUTTO: He's not running away there.
JACKSON: It doesn't appear, exactly.
SCIUTTO: Not punching back.
JACKSON: And so, it's troubling and problematic in as much as it's one thing to make inquiries and say we have reports of or maybe you get backup, maybe you surround him concerned for your safety. But outright tackling him, it is seemingly without basis. That's what the frustration is here.
SCIUTTO: Yes, so you look, he had a history of allegations, the two civil suits. And I was reading some of the details, someone riding their bike on a sidewalk, and he tackles them there. He arrests the wife, took the bike away, that kind of thing.
When you see that kind of history, what's next for an officer in a case like this?
JACKSON: Well, the issue how that's going to impact the current civil cases that he has against him and then, of course, this case. So, those go to prior bad acts.
Now, of course, any type of civil case is always an allegation against someone. Then you are going to settlement discussions no admission of liability, as Jason was speaking, Jason Carroll in his report. But you are always concerned with regard to other things coming out about an officer because then it's admissible.
SCIUTTO: It's admissible?
JACKSON: It's admissible because it goes to common plan, common scheme, it goes to intent. It goes to absence of mistake. In other words, there are legal bases to get in other bad acts you engage in. And quite frankly, and backing up, understanding the allegations you have to look at whether the police department should have had him in position to begin with, based upon --
SCIUTTO: In light of that history.
JACKSON: Exactly, in light of the history.
SCIUTTO: Joey Jackson, as always, enlightening. Appreciate it.
JACKSON: Thanks, Jim.
SCIUTTO: We'll be right back after this.
[19:57:18] SCIUTTO: We are looking at live pictures of the 9/11 tribute in lights at Ground Zero. Those beams of light, of course, representing the towers lost that day 14 years ago. It was one of the most beautiful memorials on the 9/11 anniversary.
For many of us, each 9/11 anniversary send us back to that morning, 14 years ago now and the first word, the first sight of our nation under attack.
I was in Washington, remember going to the roof of my building to see a thick cloud of smoke rising from the Pentagon. And hugging a neighbor I didn't know as she cried. I think of the people I knew and didn't know who were lost that day and today was filled with tributes to the victims.
At ground zero, they read their names all 2,977 of them. They laid wreaths at the Pentagon, and at Shanksville, Pennsylvania.
At the White House, Mr. and Mrs. Obama stood for a moment of silence at 8:46 a.m., the time that the first plane hit the Twin Towers.
The president spoke later to members of the armed forces who have given so much in the wars borne out of that day.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: That evening, I have very vivid memories of -- of, you know, giving Sasha a bottle and rocking her to sleep while we were watching the aftermath of those attacks. And like I think everybody here, you know, although most of you were a lot younger, you know, it gave you a sense for the first time in my lifetime, that our homeland could be vulnerable in that way. (END VIDEO CLIP)
SCIUTTO: In each place, there are large memorials now to honor the dead on every day, and for generations to come. But it is our memories that can be most enduring. And now, there is what has risen literally from the ashes, a refurbished Pentagon, the Freedom Tower, and from the Freedom Tower last night by luck or providence that a rainbow stretched high into the sky.
Many of us here at CNN took it as a sign of hope and for that, tonight, we're thankful.
Thanks for joining us tonight. I'm Jim Sciutto. I'll be back next week.
"AC360" is up next.
Before we go, we want to leave you with these live pictures of the 9/11 tribute lights at Ground Zero next to the Freedom Tower. Again, those beams of light representing the towers that we lost that day. We will never forget.