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11 Dallas Officers Shot, 4 Killed, Stand Off with Suspect; Culture of Fear Growing in U.S.; Press Conference on Officer Shootings in Dallas. Aired 1-2a ET
Aired July 8, 2016 - 01:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[01:00:00] DON LEMON, CNN ANCHOR: OK everyone, if you are just joining us, it is 1:00 am Eastern Time. I'm Don Lemon, live in New York. We're reporting on the death of three officers at least -- four officers, excuse me, killed in Dallas this evening, 11 officers shot. We're speaking now to an eyewitness to one of those officers being shot and killed. He witnessed this and shot the video from his hotel room. We are speaking to Ismael Dejesus on the phone right now. Ismael tells us that he -- the shooter drove up in a black SUV, or a dark SUV, that you can see there, started shooting wildly at an intersection. A police officer quickly engaged him and then what happened after that, Ismael?
ISMAEL DEJESUS, WITNESS (via telephone): Right after the first officer that responded was actually the officer that was fatally shot, he -- this officer, without any fear, he didn't care. He went up and stood up to that pillar, he engaged in a fire fight. Came up to the back of the assailant, shot a few rounds, wasn't able to damage him or wound him at all. The assailant then turned around, came around the corner, the corner to where the back of the officer was, and he ended up shooting the officer point-blank about maybe a foot, half a foot away. It was just point-blank. There was no way he could miss, and stood over the police officer, he was down, and shot him another maybe three or four times in the back, and you know, this is extremely, extremely saddening and tragic to watch that happen.
LEMON: Stand by, Ismael. I want to bring in Anthony May who is an ATF -- an explosives and firearms expert. According to Ismael, Anthony May, he said it looked like clearly an AR-15. He said the shooter had lots of 30-round magazines, so many that some were falling out of his pocket. When you look at this video, walk us through this video. What do you see here?
ANTHONY MAY, ATF EXPERT: It's kind of difficult to see, Don. I'm not really that much of a firearms expert. I'm more on the explosives side, other than I have fired assault weapons. But the 30-round magazine is a typical issued magazine with an AR-type weapon. We use the term AR-15, but there's a variety of type of weapons out there that look similar to that. They do have a large capacity, are able to fire in rapid succession on a semiautomatic mode. Your eyewitness talked about how the officer apparently did engage and fired shots. If an officer is carrying standard duty weapon, either 9 mil or 40 cal and a guy is wearing any kind of body armor, probably up to include maybe level four, that weapon wouldn't do anything to the perpetrator. And hence he turned around and engaged the officer and shot the officer.
LEMON: Neill Franklin, a retired Maryland State Police Major, we hear all the time from law enforcement, and even when we talk to William Bratton, the police commissioner here in New York City -- oftentimes his officers and officers around the country are outpowered by people on the street.
NEILL FRANKLIN, RETIRED MARYLAND STATE POLICE MAJOR: Yes, I mean, it's very true. This really began back in the 1980s when we saw a rise in, you know, drug activity in our country. And gangs and crews were arming themselves for the business that they were in. And so then we law enforcement have been in a game of catch up ever since. And it's a very, very troubling situation for law enforcement. But you know, we have to figure out a way to head in the other direction. I don't know how we're going to do that. It's going to be a very difficult task for us in this country. But we just -- we cannot continue to go in a direction of heavier fire power, more fire power, again, this is something for society to eventually deal with.
LEMON: As you are looking at this video, and I know it's difficult to see. It's just into our system here at CNN. We haven't had time to enhance it or blow it up. But what do you read into this? What does it tell you about a coordinated attack, random, what kind of fire power he's using? What does it tell you as a law enforcement expert?
FRANKLIN: What it tells me is that this individual has some skills. He's appears to be very, very proficient with his firearm. Not only in use of it, but in the way he tactically took down that one police officer. And in the way he was able to evade police for such a long time.
[01:05:09] I think we were -- when we came on the show, I mean, from the time we came on to the show to apprehension, it was over two hours, in an area that has been literally flooded by the police. So he's got some skill sets that are important to what he's doing, but again, the planning of it is rather interesting. Because if it is -- and again, we don't know. But if it is related to the incidents that occurred over the past couple days, it's very quick planning. Or is this something else where he had been planning something for a very, very long time and this scenario over the past couple days presented an opportunity for him to put to use what he had been planning to do for a very long time? It's very difficult for me to believe that he just decided to do this over the past 36 hours or so.
LEMON: Do we have new video or this is just the enhancement of this video? We have new video into CNN. Can we play it, please?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Holy (bleep). (gunshots). Holy (bleep). (gunshots).
They're shooting right now, and there's an officer down. It's coming from the right over there from around these buildings. I don't know where -- Main Street and Lamar. This is Main Street and Lamar. There's an officer down. They're moving in on somebody. I think they might have got somebody. Don't worry, I'm behind a tree. I think another officer's down around the corner over here. They got SWAT over here. I can't really get any closer. I'm safe, man, don't worry about it. I appreciate it, though. I love y'all. So they just dragged one of the officers up into this police car right here, and there is somebody else down over there, if you can see around this corner. I don't know if y'all can see that.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Get out of there! Get out of the street! Get out of the street!
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They're telling me to go. I got to go.
I got everything, man, I got everything. All right, I'm going to have to switch over to another app because I got -- I got to get my bosses on this, all right. I love you all.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: All right, so that video is from Michael Kevin on Facebook. We're going to re-rack it and we'll play it, but Tom Verney, retired New York City Police detective, this appears to be a different angle of the same shooting that we have from Ismael Dejesus. So walk us through this. There is a lot of fire power, and officers are on the scene pretty quickly.
TOM VERNI, RETIRED DETECTIVE, NEW YORK CITY POLICE: As the other gentleman was talking about, he had talked about the shooter being behind one of the pylons of that building, and then the officer had come up, I guess, to try to, I guess to try to take him out, and this guy is clearly very well armed, very well protected, and certainly outgunning the officers. So he was able to unfortunately shoot him and then it sounds like -- you know, to add insult to injury, after the officer was down, he basically executed him. And then he went around the corner. It is just a horrific situation that is taking place down there.
[01:09:50] LEMON: Well we do know that according to police that there was one suspect who was in a shootout with the SWAT team. One can assume possibly that this is a suspect and the one who is in custody this evening. And you heard him say, Ismael Dejesus, who we had on the phone live, saying that the suspect pulled up, the shooter pulled up in a dark SUV, put his flashers on, stopped right there, began shooting randomly in the intersection, then was engaged by a police officer and then shot that officer, which we saw on two different sets of videotapes. And then as Tom Verney said, it appears that he stood over him and then shot him again, execution style.
Also as this is playing, I want to say that when we saw police out on the interstate just a little bit earlier from that aerial shot, we were wondering what's going on. We are being told by the Dallas police officer, the public information officer, that there are other persons of interest being questioned. Dallas police office observed an individual carrying a camouflage bag, walking quickly down Lamar Street. The individual threw the bag in the back of a black Mercedes and the Mercedes sped off at a high rate of speed. Officers then followed the vehicle southbound on I-35 East and performed a traffic stop at I-35 East and (inaudible) and police are questioning both occupants of the vehicle now. So that's what we saw earlier from those aerial shots.
But this video is -- and this technology age, it is just unbelievable the things that you get on camera. We have witnessing the execution, sadly, of a Dallas police officer, one of four killed this evening. Is Ismael Dejesus still on the phone? Ismael, are you there? Ismael is not there anymore. Anthony May is there. Anthony, I want you to take a look at this video and then read to us what you are seeing from this angle as well.
MAY: Well I'm going to have to agree that the perpetrator here is fairly well armed and you know, he said he pulled up in that SUV, he gets out, starts randomly shooting -- it appears that he was trying to draw police into that area to engage them in this. He's very well trained and must be, must be wearing body armor. I'm sure those officer didn't waste an opportunity to take a shot at him to try to take him out. But apparently, he was still able to continue with what he was doing. The officers, you know, talk about being outgunned. That's been a typical problem for patrol officers. Then we went into this state where people were complaining that the police were looking like military with the bearcat and these other types of equipment. Well, that type of equipment would have been very useful here in these early stages. The complaint of militarizing the police, they are outgunned. They need to be able to match the fire power that is out there on the street.
LEMON: Yes. I want to go around to my law enforcement experts. Neill Franklin, you talked to us about the other video, now this one. What do you see?
FRANKLIN: Yes, it's very difficult to see exactly what's going on from these angles with the police cars in front. But obviously we have a number -- a large number of police personnel on the scene and yet one person is still able to hold them at bay. It reminds me of the bank robbery in L.A. many years ago, I believe back in the 1990s, where the two bank robbers were heavily armed with semiautomatic rifles and head to toe with body armor, and they held police at bay for a very long time, injured quite a few police officers, and it went on for quite some time. So we heard that this individual may be wearing body armor. It's highly likely. From the report from one of your witnesses there who filmed the video I believe from the hotel room. And this is one of the things that -- you know, unfortunately, this is what law enforcement is facing today as we attempt to do our job.
LEMON: Yes. And again being -- as Anthony May said, being out- powered and outgunned on the streets, there's been lots of discussion about whether police departments should be militarized and there is obviously a difference in thinking. Some people believe it is too much. Others think, as Anthony May said, that you have to keep up with the criminals, because they have bigger and better guns than police officers. Tom Varney --
VARNEY: And Neill brought up a good point earlier. I came into the police department in 1992. I started off with a .38 revolver, a six- shot .38 revolver, and then we switched over to 9 millimeters, the glocks, because that's what we were facing on the street at the time. And Neill is completely correct to have brought that out. We were facing that threat, and this is in the early 90s, and he was mentioning back in the 80s as well.
[01:14:58] And now you're dealing with a situation where people are walking around with AR-15s or some other type of sniper rifle with a large capacity magazine, and when you get someone who is clearly deranged and -- for all practical purposes, this is a terrorist act. This is a mass shooting, this is a terrorist act, committed by a crack pot walking around with a lot of fire power, and this is what the cops have to deal with. So I understand the apprehension of people saying, well, the police shouldn't be militarized, they shouldn't have these military style weapons, but when you're dealing with individuals like this who already have them and now are picking off cops like it's for free, and also endangering the public at large. You have to be able to match what people are able to get their hands on.
LEMON: You're saying a crack pot, but to me, as a layperson, this seems extremely planned. As one of the guests said, it appears he was trying to draw officers in in order to injure officers. And by the way, our condolences to all of these officers and their families tonight. Can you imagine what they're dealing with this evening? You said -- who was it --
VARNEY: You can be smart and still be crazy. Think of the mental place where this person is in that they feel the need to start picking off police officers. As enraged as they may have been by events, we don't know what drove them to do this. I find it hard to believe that it's a coincidence, that there's more of a correlation. But someone that's walking around feeling the need to assassinate police officers is someone who's clearly deranged.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: But this idea, I think, is really important, but it's probably a discussion for another day. But it totally tips over into the gun debate, this idea of having to match fire power for whatever people could have on the street, because what we're seeing is that people have -- there are a lot more of these types of weapons and this is where I think a lot of minds can meet. We want our police officers to be safe, we want our communities to be safe, and the more resource of weapons out there, the more police have to arm up to it in order to defend themselves against those types of weapons.
Again, we don't know about this. I think this is a discussion for another day, but I think we need to put a pin in it. Because we have to come back to this discussion about the idea that people -- more and more people are in open-carry states, they can carry these sorts of weapons around, police don't know if the person who has the weapon out in the open is just a protester or not, and that puts them in a very kind of awkward position of having to just kind of make guesses about this, and that is not what we want as a society.
LEMON: And Areva Martin, how much more fire power, where does it end? Go ahead, Areva.
AREVA MARTIN, ATTORNEY AND WOMEN'S RIGHTS ADVOCATE: I just want to say, I think that point is illustrated by one of the witnesses on the phone that said they saw a man, who we now know was a person of interest, probably not the shooter, but he was a man walking around with a rifle, and they didn't know if that was normal or not. That is scary to me as a parent, that's scary to me as an American, as a woman, as an African-American woman, that I could be in a city at a protest and someone is walking around with a high-powered assault rifle and yet I don't know if that's OK. Because we're telling people, if you see something, say something. If you see something, do something. But people are confused. They don't know if that was a legitimate place for him to be with that gun or not. So I wonder how many other people may have seen someone at this protest with a gun and they didn't contact law enforcement because they didn't know if that person had the right in this open-carry state to have that gun. That's a really scary -- I think, proposition and issue we have to deal with in this country and it goes right to that gun issue that is so divisive.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Open carry just started in January in Texas. This is new phenomenon for all of the citizens there as to whether or not -- if you see somebody with a weapon, do you say something or not.
LEMON: And we will get into the gun debate later. As Charles so brightly and eloquently pointed out, that's maybe a discussion for another day. Right now, our thoughts and prayers and our hearts go out to the victims this evening, and that's the 11 officers who were shot and of course the four police officers who were killed and their family and friends and all of their brethren and comrades around the country who are tonight, I'm sure, watching this in fear and they're scared and sad and saddened by it. And Neill Franklin brought up the point earlier, it was with a shaky, cracking voice, saying it just reminds him of officers and friends who he has lost, for people who, you know, shoot and kill police officers. Neill --
[01:19:56] FRANKLIN: Yes. This whole gun debate is for another day, but also the militarization piece, you know, yes, we need these pieces of equipment in law enforcement. What's really important is, when we deploy them, when they're available, the image that we portray, how we use them -- again, not using them when there are nonviolent protests, not having them out in the open, but they should be readily available and the people who are assigned to use them properly trained with very strict protocol about when and how they can use them for different situations. We've got a lot of work ahead of us in this country, again, and I'm going to repeat this again, with violence in general, why people do the things that they do.
LEMON: Can I ask you something, Neill?
LEMON: So Ismael Dejesus, who is the -- one of the witnesses who took the videotape said, I think he said, this is terrorism, right? Tom, you said that this was a terrorist act. Neill, do you think it's terrorism?
FRANKLIN: Well -- yes, I mean, it's a form of terrorism because it's something that causes us -- it's an act of a person or people that is causing us to change our way of life. How we live, how we go about our daily business. And right now, I guarantee you there are a lot of people watching this unfold, who've been watching it for the past couple hours, they're going to change the way they conduct business on a daily basis, how they go about their lives. So whether it's -- despite the intent, whether it's terrorism from ISIS or whether it's terrorism from one of our home-grown groups or organizations, or where it's terrorism from one individual, it's terrorism. It's causing us to alter our way of life and freedoms in this country.
LEMON: Anthony May, same question. Anthony may, you there?
MAY: No one agency can agree on what is --
LEMON: Anthony, can you start over? We missed the first part of your response.
MAY: Can you hear me?
LEMON: Yes, we can hear you now.
MAY: Yes. The problem with terrorism is that there are so many definitions of the term terrorism. And different agencies use different definitions, but clearly this act is not a random, somebody that just got upset a few hours ago and decided to go in downtown Dallas and start shooting. This is something that was preplanned. Equipment was purchased for this, and they went out to create as much -- let's use the term, terror as they can. And our police officers, they're doing their job. In an active shooter situation, they're not standing around waiting for SWAT. As you saw, those other officers engaged with their handguns, going after a guy with a long gun. That's like taking a knife to a gunfight, in this particular manner with those handguns. But terrorism, yes, there's no doubt that our cities are being terrorized now. And what people need to understand, not all terrorism comes from the Arab nations or ISIS or al-Qaeda or Boko Haram or any of those. We have a lot of terrorist groups that are active in the United States that have the ability to do what happened here tonight in Dallas.
LEMON: I have some new information to report as we continue to watch the situation unfolding in Dallas and this new video that -- two different videos that have come into CNN. So the FBI and local authorities respond -- and this is according to our justice correspondent, Evan Perez -- the FBI and local authorities responded to a possible hostage situation at the El Centro Community College in Dallas. That's according to a law enforcement official. The FBI responded at the request of Dallas Police. Police have cleared the Omni hotel. There are reports that there was a gunman holed up, but that appears not to be true. Also, I need to tell you that they have restricted and stopped the -- the FAA says that it has issued a temporary flight restriction order over downtown Dallas over that area where the shooting occurred. Now, I want to bring in Sarah Mervosh from "The Dallas Morning News". She is on the phone. Sarah, what information do you have for us?
SARAH MERVOSH, JOURNALIST, THE DALLAS MORNING NEWS (via telephone): So things have calmed down a lot here in downtown Dallas, as of a few hours ago. Tons of police and protesters were on the scene. I witnessed one person get arrested. It was not, as far as I can tell, the shooter, just a protester wearing a mask that alarmed police. But things have calmed down significantly. There is still one -- as far as I can see, at least one officer in the parking garage where the alleged suspects were shooting from. He is up on maybe the fifth or sixth floor at this point looking down, but otherwise, the streets right now have calmed down.
LEMON: So do you know anything about the other suspects? Because they were saying that they had one suspect in custody, they had one person of interest in custody, but they fear that there could be more people involved. Have you heard anything about that, Sarah?
[01:25:06] MERVOSH (via telephone): I have not personally confirmed anything. I know there was some sort of car chase on Interstate 35, where there was some sort of package, and it sounded like there was another suspect there but I have not personally confirmed that. And in terms of the person of interest, sounds like there was a suspect that was cornered and that was one person, and there was a separate person of interest who, I talked to people who say that person was in the crowd with them marching and he was not a shooter, according to the protesters themselves.
LEMON: Yes. So yes. That person is -- excuse me -- was a person of interest. They don't believe he was involved. As far as you said, the I-35, what happened with that is that they said they witnessed someone throwing a bag into a Mercedes and then speeding off. They chased him down the interstate and they are questioning two people -- two persons of interest in that. So Sarah, you said it has calmed down, but still, calmed down, but that's still not back to normal?
MERVOSH (via telephone): Oh, definitely not. This is the most crowded I've seen downtown in the four years that I've lived here, at this time of night. People -- witnesses and just onlookers, people are out walking their dogs to see what's going on, and I just talked to a mother and son who witnessed the shooting and the son is a 16- year-old black boy and he had -- he is wearing patriotic gear and he had his hands up as the cops drove by, just to be safe.
LEMON: Yes. Have you been able, Sarah, to look at any of the video coming in? Because there's lots of video, it appears, of the suspect, or at least one of the suspects, shooting and possibly being apprehended coming in to us and I'm sure to other news sources.
MERVOSH (via telephone): So -- as I am on the scene, I don't have the same access as you do. I have seen -- I interviewed one of the marchers who took a Facebook live video of the shooting itself and I have seen that.
LEMON: Michael Kevin --
MERVOSH (via telephone): I'm sorry?
LEMON: Was it Michael Kevin?
MERVOSH (via telephone): Michael Batista. LEMON: OK. That's a different -- same person. Go ahead.
MERVOSH (via telephone): And so he witnessed what he said was the first officer go down, and he saw that officer being dragged into a car. The officer could not move or get up on his own.
LEMON: All right. Sarah Mervosh from "The Dallas Morning News" joining us. Sarah, thank you very much. And Sarah is referring to the video that you're seeing on your screen right now, shot by this man, Michael Kevin, on Facebook. Again, he witnessed the shooting. It appears to be the same shooting of the officer from a different angle as Ismael Dejesus, who was in a hotel in the area, who shot the video of this from a higher angle, from his balcony. He said he came out just around 10:00 pm Eastern Time because the he heard shots, pulled out his camera, and saw an SUV that was parked and a man who was shooting randomly into an intersection, and then police -- one officer engaged him and then he turned around and started shooting the officer and then eventually ended up shooting -- firing at the officer execution style, and then the officer laying on the ground.
And as Sarah Mervosh from "The Dallas Morning News" is reporting, one person is saying that they quickly put the police officer into a squad car and rushed him off to a hospital, and again, we believe it's one of the officers who died but not exactly sure. What we do know at this point, 4 Dallas police officers are dead, 11 shot in a chaotic scene happening in the business district of Dallas tonight, right during a protest that initially was peaceful. We're staying on the air for you this evening because we are waiting a news conference and an update from Dallas Police at any moment. They gave one just a couple of hours ago led by the chief, David Brown, and at that point, he -- the information was a bit different. There weren't as many officers who had died then. And the number of injured was just one shy.
They also told us in that press conference that there was one civilian who had been injured in all this as well. There were several officers who were still being treated and still in critical condition. But hopefully the number of injured and killed will not go up this evening. And as I want to say -- as often and as vehemently as possible, that our thoughts and prayers go out to the officers and their families and colleagues and friends involved in all of this.
Police officers around the country are watching this and are saddened by it and they're also frightened.
[01:30:00] As some of our guests have pointed out this evening, we are now living in a culture of fear for police officers who are being shot by citizens, and a culture of fear from citizens who are in fear of being shot by police officers and people who are in fear of walking down their streets and becoming victims of random violence as well.
Charles Blow is with me, CNN political commentator and op-ed columnist; Neill Franklin, a retired Maryland State Police major is here. A police major is here, Tom Verni, a retired New York City Police detective; and Areva Martin is an attorney and women's rights advocate. Areva, talk about the culture of fear. That is one of the truest
things said this evening.
MARTIN: I think we can't overemphasize that, Don. We started again, the show, a couple hours ago talking about the police shootings in Baton Rouge and Minnesota and we were going to talk about the woman, the courageous woman, the fiancee of Mr. Castillo who did that Facebook live video, and now here we are three hours later looking at Facebook video and video that was taken by citizens and how the video was used to show us that violent exchange with the police officer and that woman, the fiancee and her little girl in the backseat. And now to look at the violence on the video we have been watching for the last hour of this police officer being shot and the shootout between the police officer and the suspect, this violence is not something that is abstract. It's not something that is removed from us. It's all something we witness on a daily basis through these types of videos. It's chilling and having a traumatic impact, not just on our kids but all of us. I'm sitting here almost just numb watching this violence play out as we started the hour, the couple of hours talking about horrific murders of citizens, and we're ending three hours talking about four dead police officers. It's just mind boggling, Don.
LEMON: As you can see on the screen we are awaiting a news conference from the Dallas Police Department.
Charles Blow, where do we go from here? This is not a world that I want to live in.
CHARLES BLOW, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Right. A couple of the guests before were talking about terror and how you define it. But we have to say who among us at this point is not living with some level of ambient terror? Right? That if the police officers feel like they are in fear of their lives when they -- in cases like this which are obviously --
BLOW: And which are obviously terror attacks but also just in comments with individual citizens but the citizens feel like that.
LEMON: Let's go to the press conference now in Dallas.
MIKE RAWLINGS, (D), DALLAS MAYOR: -- keep you updated with as much information as we have real time. And that's the purpose of this press conference. I'll make a couple of comments after Chief Brown. And then we'll take a couple of questions. And then you probably won't hear from us in person until the morning again. We will be sending information out as we get it online.
I do want to say that I've heard from both the White House and the governor's office, extending their help, and we're sure going to be able to use some help from the governor's office.
And we've got so many police officers out tonight that we want to make sure that they're back filled in the right way.
But there is news to be given to you. And I'll let the chief talk about that.
DAVID BROWN, CHIEF, DALLAS POLICE DEPARTMENT: Currently, we are in negotiations with a suspect involved in the shootings at the garage of El Centro in downtown Dallas. This suspect we're negotiating with for the last 45 minutes has been exchanging gunfire with us and not being cooperative in the negotiations. Before I came here, I asked for plans to end this standoff. And as soon as I'm done here I'll be presented with those plans.
In addition to this second-floor garage, as we recap the previous press release, we have in custody a female who was in the same area of the El Centro Garage. And we followed a Mercedes with two suspects who had camouflage bags who officers end up stopping on traffic in the Oak Cliff area near Polk and 67th and they are in custody and being interviewed.
[01:35:12] The suspect that we are negotiating with that has exchanged gunfire with us over the last 45 minutes has told our negotiators that the end is coming and he's going to hurt and kill more of us, meaning law enforcement, and that there are bombs all over the place in this garage and in downtown. So we are being very careful in our tactics so that we don't injury or put any of our officers in harm's way, including the citizens of Dallas, as we negotiate further.
We still don't have a complete comfort level that we have all the suspects. So we will continue a very, very rigorous investigation and search of downtown. We'll likely to be working throughout the early morning hours of Friday, until we are satisfied that all suspects have been captured and have an opportunity to be interviewed so that we can fully understand what's motivated this attack on our officers.
As I mentioned in the press release before we came out, one of our officers who was in surgery who we had hopes would survive, passed, bringing the total count of officers passed to four -- that passed away to four, three Dallas police officers and one DART officer. We're continuing to ask for the public's prayers and support -- of support and encouragement.
But I could just tell you I've never been more proud of a police officer and being a part of this great, noble profession, seeing the courage, the professionalism, and just the grit to stay on scene in an area looking for suspects knowing that we are vulnerable. We don't know where they are. And our downtown is very large with a lot of high buildings. And some of the stories I've heard from officers talking about what happened, running toward gunfire to help the injured officers, to get them transported to hospital by patrol car, not having the time to wait for ambulance, and just so many stories of great courage. So we continue to fight the good fight to bring this to a conclusion. But it's still a very tenuous situation and again as soon as the mayor's done we will take additional questions from you then we'll have to be leaving.
RAWLINGS: Thank you.
Concerning what is going the happen tomorrow morning, this is still an active crime scene, and we are determining right now how big that crime scene is. There are many people that work in the downtown area. We ask them to stay away from that crime scene. How are you going know where it is? We're going to post it on Dallascitynews.net. You can check with your buildings that you work in and make sure that those buildings are open.
We've got to support our police force and do their job to make sure we get to the bottom and the root cause of all of this. So, please, make it easy for the police force and other citizens, to check your traffic routes in the morning before you come in.
I want to add that it is a heart-breaking morning to lose these four officers that proudly served our citizens. To say that our police officers put their life on the line every day is no hyperbole, ladies and gentlemen. It's a reality. We, as a city, we as a country, must come together and lock arms and heal the wounds that we all feel from time to time. Words matter. Leadership matters at this time. I'm proud of our chief.
With that we'll take questions.
[01:40:02] UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: What can you tell us about the suspect? Is it someone local? What brought this person to Dallas?
BROWN: At this point, we don't have a lot of cooperation to find those answers. But we will be continuing our interrogation of the people we have in custody. We just are not getting the cooperation we'd like to know that answer of why? The motivation, who they are. But our detectives are diligently interviewing and interrogating these people, and we'll find out and share it with you as soon as we have.
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: So, Chief, it's fair to say you are talking about four people, one in the garage, two in the car, and the other one that was in the garage. You believe they were all working together at this point?
BROWN: That's our assumption now. Working together with rifles, triangulated elevated positions in different parts of the downtown area where the march ended up going, the route of the march. There had to be a speculation from us that there has to be some knowledge of the route, where you'd be, how would you know how to post up there? We are leaving every motive on the table of how this happened and why it happened. But we are waiting for the suspects to break and let us know what they're doing.
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: But you have a lot of resources at your disposal. Were these people on anyone's radar? You have the FBI here, I know. You had a lot of other agencies.
BROWN: We were monitoring social media and we had attended the planning meetings for the protest group and we have yet to determine whether or not there was some complicity with the planning of this but we'll be pursuing that.
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: That takes me to my next question. Do you know if they were a part of the rally or were posted in the garage the whole time?
BROWN: That's yet to be determined.
Yes, last question.
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: There was a person on Facebook making threats and advocating the shooting of Dallas police officers, did you take a look at that and is that person involved in any way?
BROWN: Yet to be determined. There's a lot of things on social media that are posted that we monitor and follow up on. Whether or not there is a connection to that post with any of these suspects we have yet to determine that. But we are pursuing any of that to a connection that we can prove and charge a person with.
RAWLINGS: The chief -- the chief and I have some business. He's got to make some tough calls, and he and I are going to be going to the hospitals right now. It's important for us to do that.
Thank you very much.
BROWN: Thank you.
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Our sympathies, Chief.
BROWN: Thank you.
LEMON: That was a police conference -- news conference just wrapped up a short time ago with the Police Chief David Brown and Mayor Mike Rawlings giving us new information. And the mayor being very emotional.
Let me give you the read out of what happened here. They are saying they are still now trying to engage with the suspect who is in a garage there. And he is still shooting with them. There is a standoff. He is in a second story -- a two-story garage, still in a standoff with police. There's still shooting. There has been gunfire exchanged.
They are also telling us they have three people in custody. One of them is a female. The other two people came from the car. We saw them on the interstate earlier where there was -- we saw all of the police cars on the interstate and there was somewhat of a chase.
According to the mayor and the police chief there, the suspects are not cooperating. They said they don't know who the person is in the garage. They are not giving up any information or being cooperative.
They are also saying that the person in the garage is saying the end is coming. They're going to hurt more of us, meaning hurt more police officers, law enforcement officers. Said there were bombs that were placed all over the place. They don't know where the bombs are being placed. They said that basically, almost the entire downtown is an active crime scene. They don't know how big the scene is, and they don't know who is going to be able to get to their place of business tomorrow, their work tomorrow. If they want to find out they need to go to Dallascitynews.net to find out if they can get to their job tomorrow.
The mayor said, in a very poignant moment, with his voice cracking, that it is a heart-breaking morning for Dallas. He said it is not just hyperbole to say that officers put their lives on the line every day, it is a reality. And I second that emotion with him.
Again, they don't know who the suspect is, why he's doing it, not cooperating. He said that they were, though, these suspects, he believes, working together in triangulated areas of downtown through elevated areas as well, targeted, and leading us to believe that this had been planned, and it appears to have been planned in a coordinated fashion. In order to do this, it would have to be planned over a period of time.
[01:45:09] So we're being very careful, although this did happen while the protests were going on. As Neill Franklin, our retired Maryland State Police major pointed out, we need to be careful about that. We don't know if, indeed, it is involved. It happened during the protest. But in order to coordinate something in that amount of time is -- it just seems like a short period of time. It could be, but we don't know at this point.
The police chief also saying that four officers are dead. They were hoping one would pull through. He was in critical condition but they were hoping that one would pull through. Four dead. Three of them are Dallas police officers. One of them is a DART officer, which is a Dallas Area Rapid Transit officer. 11 police officers, total, shot and one civilian. And he said that he's asking for prayers. For people to pray and for the citizens of Dallas basically to be vigilant. And what I'm reading into that is he's saying, maybe you should think about not going to work tomorrow if you work in downtown Dallas. Here's what's interesting why. They don't know how long the operation is going to go on. They're still in negotiations in a standoff -- in a standoff with one suspect and they are not confident they have all the suspects in custody at this point.
This is unbelievable.
VERNI: And also seems, based on what he was saying, that the people that they do have in custody are not all that willing to cooperate. So that is unnerving that these people are in custody and they are not forthcoming with their information to cooperate with the police.
I would advise people who work in downtown Dallas tomorrow to take off. Tomorrow might be a good day to take off. The police are going to have an unbelievable investigation on their hands. You know, we don't know the scale of what has taken place here tonight. We don't know how many actors are involved. So until the police feel confident that they've rounded up all the people that they had needed to round up that people need to be extremely cautious. If people live downtown are and see something out of the ordinary in the area they live in or work in, the overnight people, they need to report that immediately to make sure all the bases are covered so that every person who is involved is apprehended.
My condolences to the families of the officers, and kudos to the chief. He is -- got a tremendous, unbelievable scenario that is unfolding by the minute, which I'm sure they had not planned off when they started off the rally protest.
LEMON: Yeah, Areva?
MARTIN: I just want to say, one of the things the chief said was he talked about the fact that he believes, or at this point, they believe the shooters may have had knowledge of the route of the protest because of where they were posted throughout the route. And he said that police were involved in the planning of this rally. So I just hope that to the extent anyone involved with the planning of what was going to be this incredibly powerful yet peaceful protest, if they have information they give that information to the police. What I know about the protesters that have been protesting the shootings of African-American men by police is that they want to protest in a peaceful way. They have been, for the most part, peaceful. They wanted to lift and raise the issue of police shootings, but not in any way that would cause any harm or damage or injury, and definitely not death of police officers. I hope anyone that was involved in the planning of the rally that may have information that they cooperate fully with the police.
LEMON: Go ahead, Charles.
BLOW: There's two things that the chief said that I found fascinating. One was, you know, the idea that he's been told by at least one of the suspects that they have bombs planted all around downtown. That may just be bluster. But if it turns out to be true it bolsters the argument this is something that didn't spring up in the last 24, 36 hours. The building of and transporting of explosives is not something you do in the last minute. And whether or not they had I.D. on them or whether the truck was registered, which would lead you to know if these were local people or from somewhere else. And something he did not say, which a lot of America is keen to know at this point, was in the conversations that they've had so far, was whether or not they associated themselves in any way with those protests. The little bit of information he gave -- he didn't know very much -- but the little bit that he gave did not give any indication so far that that was an association that the people -- the suspects were willing to make at this point.
[01:50:16] LEMON: Neill Franklin, I hear you saying yes, but people are pointing out it was a woman and two other men in custody, but did not give information about ethnicity or anything like that.
FRANKLIN: Yeah, I found that interesting as well. Of course, they're going to I.D. these people quickly and they have ways to do that without their cooperation. But something that sticks in my mind is, what is the significance of Dallas when there hasn't been, you know, none of these incidents that we initially started the show about with the shooting in Baton Rouge at the hands of police and Missouri, what's the significance of Dallas, you know? Why pick this protest here in Dallas? Unless this group, the individuals are based in Dallas, which is -- it's probably likely, because the transporting of these weapons and explosives if that is in fact the case --
LEMON: Knowledge of the city and the routes.
FRANKLIN: Knowledge of -- a lot of knowledge and obviously they're not flying in by plane from either up north or Baton Rouge, you know -- I mean, I guess, driving in from Louisiana, I guess you could do that in a relatively short period of time. But again, what is the significance of Dallas? Why not Baton Rouge? Protests are occurring there. Why not Missouri? Protests are occurring there.
FRANKLIN: That's sticking with me as well.
LEMON: Why not Minneapolis where the shooting happened just overnight that we were reporting. You bring up a very good point.
But you know, I did find it interesting the details that they did give and the details they did not give. And I'm sure doing it on purpose because of investigative techniques, correct?
VERNI: Exactly. You can't show all your cards. This is an active investigation. There are some things they are going to want to put out there. And they are in an active negotiation right now with a shooter. So --
LEMON: Might we -- you know, if it's a terrorist group, I have to ask.
VERNI: It could be. Look at the San Bernardino shooters. They were well armed and they planned to do certain things. It happened during a holiday party. Was that a coincidence? That was the time they chose. This was a clear great opportunity for a person or a group of people to go out and use the armament they clearly had to go out and cause chaos, but specifically targeting the police?
You know, the fact that there was a bystander that was shot within proximity of the police, if that was an unfortunate shot, they meant to shoot the police and missed? It's disturbing across the board.
I mentioned before my condolences to the Sterling and Castillo family as we started off this broadcast, that each of the incidents that someone dies as a result of their interaction with the police should be investigated to the fullest extent to find out what was the cause of why things ended up the way they did. Baton Rouge is a separate situation from what happened in Minneapolis, or in Falcon Heights, and they have to be, you know, investigated and brought to their -- make our judgments based on the merits of each individual case.
Now, if race has something to do with either of those are both that is a serious situation.
The president made a statement today that we need to do better, we can do better as a country. This is clearly not doing better. Regardless of whether or not they are upset by Baton Rouge and Minneapolis, as we all are disturbed by what happened there, we have to make sure that doesn't happen again. This is not the answer. Just complete and utter chaos in a major city or --
LEMON: I don't think the people who -- this is just me -- the people who did this act were listening to the president today. I don't think they were --
-- they were out planning this.
But, Neill, you --
MARTIN: And I don't think, Don, that the people who did this, either were part of the peaceful protesters who want to raise the issue of police brutality. This is not the modus operandi of the typical protesters that we've seen --
LEMON: It does seem odd. I mean, we don't know. But it does seem odd.
LEMON: Neill, what were you saying?
FRANKLIN: I agree 100 percent. I doubt seriously they were part of the protests. You know, this -- from my experience, this is an independent group, organization of folks who have come together to inflict harm with their own agenda and something again that we need the police -- the police need to get a quick handle on to find out who else is involved. I seriously doubt if the ones they have apprehended and the one they are still trying to apprehend in the garage, I doubt if -- I really doubt if they are the only ones.
Again, I mentioned the significance of cell phones. I guarantee you they had to be used to coordinate this attack. Hopefully, the police have the cell phones that would have been used and can quickly access them to find out who else may be involved or --
[01:55:47] LEMON: Neill, when I was talking to Tom about a terrorist group, you were hmming in the background. Why is that? FRANKLIN: Well, we have -- again, we just have a number of home-grown
terrorist groups in this country. We pay a lot of attention to our -- Muslim terrorist groups from ISIS and al Qaeda but, you know, we've got a number of groups here in this country that are, you know, up to terrorizing groups of people within our own borders. And I don't know -- I don't know what the FBI is doing behind the scenes and other law enforcement groups. But we still need to make sure that we have a really good handle on those particular groups as well.
LEMON: You know, I asked Charles Blow this earlier. I don't want to live in fear like this. Where do we go to?
Areva, what do we do from here? What do we do?
MARTIN: I think we all have to go home and kiss our loved ones and say some prayers and then roll up our sleeves and get to work. I think there are solutions to these problems. I think we saw efforts being made in the Congress around this whole issue of guns and what types of guns people should be allowed to have and be allowed to have them. I think the answers are here in front of us, Don. It's the question of our will and our courage to face some of these really difficult, complex issues. But I think we can solve them. I'm with the president. We can do better.
LEMON: We can do better.
MARTIN: And we must.
LEMON: Every time there is a mass shooting, everyone says this will change it. 20-some kids die at a school. Nine people die in a church. Terrorist acts happen all over the country, and everybody says, oh, this will change it, but none of the acts seem to change anything, Charles.
BLOW: Yeah, isn't that the depressing thing?
LEMON: It is. But it's the reality of it. Is this the final one?
BLOW: You ask yourself how much blood has to be spilled to change a mind. And it seems like we haven't reached that point yet.
LEMON: I want people to at least work together.
BLOW: Working together is changing some minds. There are some minds that refuse to be changed on these particular kinds of issues. And I think, you know -- again, we have to figure out who is this? Where did their weaponry come from? What did they -- how did they obtain it? Was it legal, illegal, whatever?
But at the end of the day, we know this for a fact. A group of people have used a certain sorts of weapon, at least some of these weapons, to terrorize and shoot 11 cops, kill four of them in a major American city. That's us. That's not separate from us. That's not separate from our decisions about whether or not we want an intellectual debate around guns. No, these are the choices that we are making if, in fact, they have -- depending on how they obtained those weapons. That is something we have to wrestle with as a country.
LEMON: And we are wrestling with a lot today. What a day it was. We went to bed with a shooting in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, and woke up with a shooting in Minneapolis, Minnesota, all caught live on tape. And we end the day and begin the morning with this, with 11 police officers shoot, four dead in Dallas. And police and city leaders calling for calm and saying this, which is true, to say that police officers put their lives on the line is not hyperbole. It is reality. We have to figure out how we get a grip on all of this, on police violence, on citizen violence, on all of this, and come together as a country, as the president said so eloquently today.
I want you to take a look as we are about to go off the air, this broad cast, the front page of the "Dallas Morning News," and the headline is "Ambush," with a photo of a grief-stricken Dallas police officer at the hospital where some of the wounded officers were taken.
Make sure you stay with CNN overnight for the latest on this. I'm Don Lemon.
Our coverage continues right now with John Vause and Isha Sesay.