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Six Men Charged in Plot to Kill U.S. Soldiers; Queen Elizabeth Visits Children's Hospital; Fresno Police Capture Shooting Suspect; News Conference on Shooting Near Fresno State; N.J. Terror Arrests
Aired May 8, 2007 - 15:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
MELISSA LONG, CNN ANCHOR: It is a law firm in Chicago that's turning some heads with a five-word message for the unhappily married.
T.J. HOLMES, CNN ANCHOR: Yes. Life's short. Get a divorce. And there are a couple of pictures that go along with that billboard. There's one of them. And there's the other. Critics are saying -- I probably don't really have to tell you what the critics are saying.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think it's ludicrous. I think it's basically showing people that marriage is no longer a commitment in this country.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I think it's disgusting. I think it's sexist. I think it's going to backfire on her, because I think what's going to happen is, women are going to be so disgusted, that she's not going to get the business she wants.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HOLMES: Well, the firm calls it a cutting-edge answer for couples looking for a way out, and they want to turn to cleavage.
The next hour of the CNN NEWSROOM...
LONG: And abs, six-pack of abs.
HOLMES: The CNN NEWSROOM really needs to get going right now.
All right, folks. I'm T.J. Holmes, live at the CNN world headquarters in Atlanta, Georgia.
LONG: And hello. I'm Melissa Long, in today for Kyra Phillips.
What used to be the dust bowl could be a fish bowl today. Oklahoma City is swamped, and some motorists are driving straight into danger.
HOLMES: Also, the feds say they thwarted a terror attack that started with paintball in the Poconos and could have ended in bloodshed at Fort Dix, New Jersey. A court hearing continues for six suspects.
You are in the CNN NEWSROOM.
We want to start this hour with a developing story out of Orlando, Florida, where we understand that at least four people have been shot at an Orlando apartment complex. We're trying to get more details on this.
And we turn to Sergeant Barbara Jones of the Orlando police, who is on the scene of this shooting.
Can you update us on the number, among the four, how many you have dead and the severity of the injuries of the others?
SERGEANT BARBARA JONES, ORLANDO POLICE DEPARTMENT: yes.
Actually, I just got out here. We do have one deceased on the scene. And the others have been transported to the hospital. I don't have an update on their medical condition.
But there was a shooting here at around 2:00 this afternoon, where we got shots fired. When we got up here, that's, unfortunately what we found. We are looking for two black male suspects that were in some type of gold Intrepid.
And we have only a description of one. He's probably about 18, white headband, and a red shirt. The other just had dreads. So, we're actively working to try to locate that suspect's vehicle. And, obviously, the fire department responded. And three of them were transported to the local hospitals. And I don't have an update right now to release on those.
HOLMES: And, Sergeant Jones, do you all have any idea right now about a possible motive or a link between the suspects and the victims?
JONES: Yes, you know, it happened at 2:00, so you're talking about 40 minutes later. It's so early in the investigation.
But we do -- we will have our crime scene people out here. We have not only our homicide unit, but our assault and battery unit out here. So, we have got a lot of resources out here. But we're going to hopefully try to figure out exactly what happened, find out who did it, and then make them accountable. That's -- that's our goal.
And that's pretty much all I can tell you right now. It just continues to be a developing story.
HOLMES: And, ma'am, what's the best line you have right now on possibly where the suspects were heading? And I think you mentioned possibly a vehicle and other suspect descriptions. We want to make sure we get that out, if we can.
JONES: Yes. It sounds as though that the vehicle was a -- two black males in a gold Intrepid. It may have been southbound on Mercy (ph) Drive, towards Selby (ph), which would be heading back towards the Colonial Drive area.
So, a gold Intrepid, I mean, there are some of them out there, but we would be interested in knowing any suspect that matched that description that would be in that type of vehicle.
HOLMES: And are you fairly comfortable right now that you don't need to be warning other folks around this neighborhood to stay away, since you do have gunmen on the loose? Do you have pretty good confidence that they are fleeing and certainly have gotten out of this area?
JONES: Well, you know, I can never be sure. Any time there's a shooting, and you have anybody shot, whether they are deceased or they are still alive, that's a violent act. And we want to find them, no (AUDIO GAP) are. We're going to look everywhere we can and work with any agencies that we need to, to find who these guys are and where they are. I mean, that's our obligation. It's a public safety for the entire community and any county that we are incorporated in.
HOLMES: And, just to wrap up here, ma'am, can you tell us, did this happen -- I know it was at an apartment complex, but was it in an apartment or do you know if you have many witnesses who may have actually seen the shooting take place?
JONES: Well, certainly, we're going to be working with anybody that's here. There's a lot of people that live here that are not in our scene, but are out observing, watching the police activity.
So, right now, we're just trying to sort through everything. And, obviously, any eyewitness testimony, we would appreciate. And, if you don't want to come forward at the scene, we always encourage people to call Crimeline, remain anonymous. But we are going to need the help of those that saw whatever happened here to put the pieces of this puzzle together.
So, we are going to beg the community that, if you saw something, you need to please come forward.
HOLMES: All right.
Sergeant Barbara Jones, ma'am, thank you so much for your time. I know you all have a lot of work to do there.
HOLMES: But, again, the word is that they are looking for two black males, one maybe as young as 18 years old, traveling in a gold Intrepid, possibly, after four people have been shot, at least one dead, the other three, not sure about the conditions of those three, who have been taken to the hospital, and no idea about a motive right now.
But at least two suspects, according to police there, that are on the loose, they are keeping an eye out for.
We're going to stay on top of that story. We will bring you any updates as it warrants.
Also in Florida right now, Sarasota County, Florida, specifically, we were showing you pictures, live pictures, of this a short time ago, another brushfire. We have been keeping an eye on these the past several days, and certainly several we have seen in Georgia as well.
But the Southeast, some dry conditions, and also a low-pressure system sitting right off the coast that's sending some pretty wicked wind that way, which isn't helping the situation at all.
This is some new video out of Sarasota. This latest brushfire, the one we have an eye on here, don't have word if this is -- how close this is getting to threatening homes and other structures -- no word yet on any evacuations associated with this fire, but very dry conditions, again, in the Southeast area, Florida, at least four major brush fires burning there.
We have seen several in Georgia as well, at least four that have been going pretty strong for over a week or so now. But the conditions there have just been -- been dry and terrible, and essentially perfect for these kind of fires to continue to burn and continue to spread, but live pictures there of another fire we're keeping an eye on in Sarasota, Florida.
LONG: And, T.J., one of the other stories we're following today, news again related to the pet food recall and the chemical melamine. Today, we have learned that, according to U.S. health officials, fish intended for the human food supply, well, apparently they were fed meal that was contaminated with melamine, again, that chemical at the heart of the investigation into the pet food.
Since mid-March, as you know, hundreds, more than 100 brands of pet food have been recalled, causing an unknown number of deaths to domesticated cats and dogs. And, again, it's the chemical melamine, in terms of the dog and the cat food that was found in wheat gluten.
But, again, U.S. health officials saying that that chemical was found in the -- in meal that was fed to fish intended for the human food supply -- now, according to the Associated Press right now, the level of contamination is expected to be too low to pose any sort of danger to human health.
This is a quote from the -- Dr. David Acheson of the FDA, Food and Drug Administration.
So, we will continue to keep you posted. CNN's medical unit is looking into this story. And we will bring you the latest information.
One of the other big stories, of course, this weather in so much of the country -- you were just talking about -- T.J., about the fires in Florida, but also the wet weather in the Midwest.
Jacqui, what are you seeing right now? The river has already crested. JACQUI JERAS, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Yes, well, it crested in Saint Joe, but not downstream just yet, so, it's something we are going to have to be watching very closely.
All the rain that came in last night and early this morning has now moved on up to the north and the east. But the next big concern is this wave of wet weather that's going to be pushing on in towards the Oklahoma City area and into eastern parts of Kansas.
Look at all of that rain here into the Texas Panhandle. And we could be seeing a good one to two inches per hour as they pull on through. So, we could see another two, three, four inches in some of the same areas that got hit. But, right now, it looks most favorable that that's going to be pushing into western parts of Oklahoma.
Now, the Missouri River situation, as I mentioned, it's already crested in Saint Joe. So, that's good news. And it crested lower than they had anticipated.
Atchison, you're seeing major flooding here. Flood stage is 20 feet. Look where you're forecast to be, 29.5, cresting Wednesday morning. As we take a look at Leavenworth, moderate flooding expected there -- that should crest Wednesday morning as well. In Kansas City, moderate, not major, flooding is expected there. And that should top out probably at 38 feet.
Also, the town of Parkville, which is just to the north of Kansas City, guys, is all sandbagged up. They closed down the downtown, and they are talking about evacuations for the people who live closest to the river.
And this is not just Missouri and Oklahoma, by the way. This is from South Dakota all the way down to Texas, affecting a lot of people.
LONG: Yes, huge storm system. Jacqui, thanks so much.
HOLMES: A half-dozen men, a sinister plan to kill as many American soldiers as possible -- investigators say they foiled that alleged plan to attack in New Jersey, specifically at Fort Dix.
The suspects are in federal court this afternoon.
And CNN's Deborah Feyerick joins us now from Camden, New Jersey, with the latest.
DEBORAH FEYERICK, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hey there, T.J.
Well, right now, those men being read the charges against them -- they do not have the to enter any sort of a plea. They were arrested overnight in Cherry Hill. They were taken into custody early this morning.
Now, when -- now, when the first man walked in, a man by the name of Mohamad Shnewer, a woman who was sitting with family members in the front row began to sob audibly. And you could hear this straight across the courtroom.
He stood in front of the magistrate judge as the judge read the charges against him. He has been charged with one count of conspiring with others to kill military personnel. And that charge carries a maximum life in prison, as well as a $250,000 fine.
Following him, the three brothers, all of them believed to be ethnic Albanians, walked into the courtroom one by one. They are Dritan, Eljvir, Shain Duka. All of them are in the U.S. illegally. They have also been charged with the same conspiracy to kill U.S. military personnel and a second count of possessing weapons illegally.
They had guns. They had other assault weapons that they were using during training in the Poconos, when a lot of details of this plot seem to have been hatched. They talked about building bombs. They talked about possibly attacking a warship docked here in Philadelphia.
Now, as far as those three brothers, they were quiet. None of them needed a translator. One of them, Eljvir Duka, he, as a matter of fact, after the hearing, waved and smiled to family members sitting in that section.
He also told a judge that he didn't know whether he was going to retain the federal defender, saying that he had not been given an opportunity to make any phone calls since they were arrested overnight.
And, so, he was the one who was pretty outspoken speaking with the judge, and really just even looking happy to be in that courtroom, with that smile and wave.
The two other defendants are expected to show for their first appearance as well. They are setting preliminary hearings. None of them are going to be released out on bail. But, instead, they are going to be detained until a hearing on Friday. And then a second hearing, a preliminary hearing, that will be held May 22 -- T.J.
HOLMES: All right, our Deborah Feyerick, on the story for us in New Jersey, thank you so much.
And we're also awaiting a joint news conference by the FBI and U.S. attorney's office on this developing story, expecting that from Camden, New Jersey. And we will bring that to you live.
LONG: Well, you can't stop a tornado, but you can stop one from killing you, or at least improve your odds with preparation. Ahead in the NEWSROOM, we are going to show you what it takes to build a safe room.
RICHARD QUEST, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It is the last day of Queen Elizabeth's state visit to the United States. You will find out what she's been up to, that is, as long as you stay in the NEWSROOM -- back in a moment. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
HOLMES: It's 3:15 now. And here are three of the stories we're working on in the CNN NEWSROOM.
Police in Fresno, California, say it started with a fight over a video game. And they are now looking for a college student who allegedly shot one person, killed that person, and then wounded two others near Fresno State University. Police have talked to the suspect by cell phone, but he hasn't surrendered.
Six men, also, accused in a domestic terror plot are appealing in federal court this afternoon in New Jersey. Described as Islamic radicals, they allegedly plotted to gun down U.S. soldiers at Fort Dix in New Jersey.
Also, thousands of people in the Midwest and Plains have retreated to higher ground. Drenching rains have caused the Missouri and other rivers to overflow, causing some of the worst flooding in years.
LONG: Most people on their final day of vacation try to relax, enjoy every moment. But Queen Elizabeth II certainly isn't most people. She has a full itinerary today, on her final day in the states.
And I guess that also means that Mr. Quest, who joins us live from Washington, this may be our final day chatting as well.
It's been a pleasure chatting with you here on CNN on CNN Pipeline.
QUEST: Yes, well, you don't get rid of me that easily, Melissa.
QUEST: No, you are absolutely right.
But, for the queen, this will be one of the things that she enjoys doing. She wants to make sure that every moment of her time is spent as productively as possible.
And, so, it is, at the moment, that she is visiting the Children's National Medical Center, along with the first lady, Laura Bush. The queen, after 50 years of doing this, knows that, for the people she will meet today, this could well be the high point of their day, their week, their year. So, she is terribly conscious of the fact, especially when it comes to children who may be in difficult circumstances, like these children at the National Medical Center.
She will be making sure that those children get the most out of this short visit that she will make to the center.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
QUEEN ELIZABETH II, UNITED KINGDOM: I grew up in the knowledge that the very survival of Britain was bound up in that vital wartime alliance forged by Winston Churchill and President Roosevelt.
That is the lesson of my lifetime. Administrations in your country, and governments in mine, may come and go. But talk we will; listen we have to; disagree from time to time we may; but united we must always remain.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
QUEST: Now, the queen there was talking about the relationship between the United States and the United Kingdom.
The point about that, Melissa, is that, after the hospital, she will be going on to the World War II Memorial here in Washington. And there, of course, she will be paying her respects, and she will be meeting some of those so-called G.I. brides that came over here after the Second World War.
LONG: Richard, she has such a packed agenda.
Let's go back. Let's rewind to yesterday, not the elaborate white-tie dinner, but actually the address in the garden before that. The president, President Bush, winked at the queen while part of a joke.
How did that go over for Buckingham Palace?
QUEST: Look, we can play this any which way and backwards.
The reality is that there was an uncomfortable moment, which, frankly, the president made slightly worse with his off-the-cuff remark.
QUEST: But the truth is -- and the queen takes all these sort of incidents in her stride.
Let me give -- I mean, what you can't hear -- if you listen to the tape, when that happened, you hear the queen in the background saying something like, oh, dear.
She was quite relaxed about it. And I think, when taken in the totality -- and this is the important point that the palace would want to get across -- it was a warm, it was a generous, it was a kind moment. It was not the sort of breach of protocol, embarrassment, humiliation, or anything like that.
So, I personally -- and I have covered the palace for quite a long time -- I personally think that you can put that one on the back- burner. In fact, better still, put it to bed.
LONG: Mm-hmm, amusing moment. And, of course, it looks -- once again, the queen looks lovely in her many hats that she's brought with her to the states.
Richard, I expected a hat today. QUEST: Well, what, from me?
LONG: Mm-hmm. Yes.
QUEST: No, no, no, no, no. You see, if I was wearing a hat -- all right, you want to go down that road?
QUEST: If I was wearing a hat, it would have to be a top hat. It would have to be -- no, no, no, no, no, no, nothing with feathers on a Tuesday.
LONG: OK. Maybe for next Sunday, then.
Richard Quest, pleasure having you on CNN and CNN Pipeline.
QUEST: Thank you.
LONG: Thanks so much for bringing her majesty's stories to this side of the pond. We appreciate it.
HOLMES: We do need to take you to Chicago now, where at least two schools right now are in lockdown.
If you can forgive me, my microphone has just fallen down. So, stay with me. I am going to keep talking to you about this story. You can hear me all right.
But this is happening in Chicago, where two schools are in lockdown, we understand, at least one middle school and one elementary school locked down because there is apparently a standoff situation going on nearby. You are looking at pictures here, taped pictures, not live pictures, here of police who have gathered, after what local affiliates are reporting was a bank robbery, or attempted bank robbery, where the suspect then took off, and is now holed up in a home, and actually exchanged gunfire with police.
Police now, I understand, have that home surrounded. And -- but, just as a precaution, two schools have been in lockdown. Again, we have been looking at some pretty dramatic pictures of police surrounding a home, certainly on guard, certainly alert here, because they believe they have a dangerous suspect that they are dealing with.
According, again, to local affiliates reporting, that the man is now locked down in a home, and has been in communication with police, and asking for his girlfriend to come to the scene, or to talk to his girlfriend. And police are working to make that happen, and trying to deal with this situation without any violence or further violence, I should say.
But, again, word is, two schools are in lockdown right now because of a possible bank robbery suspect who is holed up in a home. We have our eye on this story as well.
LONG: One of the other developing stories Today is happening in a New Jersey courtroom. We're waiting for a news conference about the details on a terror plot involving Fort Dix. We Are going to bring it to you when that gets under way.
You're watching CNN, the most trusted name in news.
LONG: Twelve twenty-four in Fresno -- we're learning more about a deadly shooting in an apartment complex just across from California State University in Fresno.
This is the chief, Jerry Dyer, at the mike.
(JOINED IN PROGRESS)
JERRY DYER, FRESNO, CALIFORNIA, POLICE CHIEF: ... had contacted her over the cell phone. She contacted us via her cell phone. And there was three-way communication established between her, her son and our negotiators.
This lasted for several hours, conversations that occurred off and on, for the purpose of trying to negotiate a peaceful surrender. It was also during this time that we communicated with the suspect's father. He lived in the Hayward area. And he drove to Fresno.
We also had him speak to his son, and made arrangements for his son to come to police headquarters, turn himself in, in the presence of his father. And that was to occur at 9:00 a.m. this morning. Unfortunately, that did not occur. What we did find out, in the interim, was that that there had been contact made with a local attorney.
That attorney, David Mugridge (ph), was contacted. Once we learned that he, in fact, was going to be the attorney representing this individual, we believe that he was en route to try to locate the suspect. I personally telephoned the attorney, spoke with him, asked him if we could work on this together and negotiate a peaceful surrender. He agreed to do that.
He responded to the location that I was at. I had two of our detectives, Detective Alcorn (ph) and Detective Grey (ph), accompany attorney Mugridge (ph) to the area of Peach (ph) and Olive (ph).
It was at that point we received a phone call from a female -- actually, the phone call was made to the attorney, said that there were too many police officers in the area, that she felt, and they were -- he was not going to be able to surrender himself.
Our detectives backed out of the area, left the attorney there. And, a few minutes later, he contacted us. We drove in and placed the suspect, Jonquel Brooks, into custody for murder.
The suspect had altered his appearance significantly. He had -- he shaved his head and had also changed his clothing, apparently in an attempt to avoid being recognized. We did not locate the gun on the suspect at this time. Our detectives have prepared six search warrants, search warrants for the apartment complex, individual rooms within the village, University Village apartments.
And we're in the process at this time of searching each of those locations for evidence this case, to include the gun that was used in this homicide.
It appears our preliminary investigation reveals that there was some type of a dispute that occurred between suspect Brooks and four other individuals inside of Brooks' apartment. That dispute was over a PlayStation. I can't elaborate on that, but that's the information we have at this point.
And it was at that time that the suspect pulled out a handgun and fired repeatedly towards the direction of these individuals. Three of them were shot. One of the suspects that was the most seriously injured ran into his own apartment, apartment 128, where he collapsed. Again, he was later transported to the hospital and pronounced deceased.
The other two victims were treated, and they were treated at the hospital. And, then, ultimately, they were released.
I do want to say that we were in constant communication with university officials. I personally had several calls with Dr. Welty, president of Fresno State University. And at no time were the students on campus at Fresno State in danger. There was no threat of danger to them. All of the information we had at the time was that the suspect was away from that location, either at the apartment in University Village or a separate apartment.
We knew that based on conversations we had with him. And, so, in discussions with the university, that's when a decision was made for the campus to be left open.
I would like to thank a number of agencies that were involved in this with us. The Fugitive Apprehension Team from State Parole, the United States Marshals office, both of those were instrumental in helping us to track this suspect -- obviously, our SWAT team that spent many hours out there, and Street Violence Bureau detectives.
And, at this time, I would like to release the names of the victims that were involved in this case.
The first victim is a Brant Daniels. He is 19 years of age. And, again, he is deceased. He is currently not enrolled at Fresno State, however, he is a past student.
The second victim is a Roderick Buycks.. He's also 19 years of age, and he is currently enrolled at Fresno State University.
And the third is a Drew Pfeiff. He is 22 years of age, and he is not enrolled at Fresno State.
Again, the suspect in this case, Jonquel Brooks, has been arrested. He is being charged with Penal Code Section 187, murder, along with two additional counts of PC-245, assault with a deadly weapon. And he will be processed and booked into Fresno County Jail as charged.
At this time, I'd like to have Dr. Welty come up and speak on behalf of the university.
JOHN WELTY, PRESIDENT, CALIFORNIA STATE UNIVERSITY, FRESNO: I want to thank the Fresno Police Department and all of the officers that were involved in this very tragic matter. We did activate at the university our emergency operations center. I went on site about 1:30 this morning and have been in communications with Chief Dyer and his staff through that period. As he indicated, at no time did we have reason to believe that there was a danger to the campus or any individuals on the campus.
This is obviously a tragedy, especially when it involves young people. But I am very grateful for the police department's response and the outstanding work of everyone involved to bring it to as best a conclusion as we possibly could under the circumstances.
DYER: Questions at this time?
QUESTION: Was the suspect brought in wearing a black baseball hat and a white T-shirt?
DYER: Yes, he was.
QUESTION: What time did he surrender (INAUDIBLE)?
DYER: The time on that would have been approximately 11:30.
LONG: You are listening to Chief Jerry Dyer of the Fresno Police, bringing us up to date on their investigation. They now say they have one person in custody ready for booking today on charges of murder and assault.
Jonquel Brooks is in custody. Again, the fight, deadly fight, apparently over a Playstation. It happened last night, according to police. And again, over a Playstation.
Three people were shot. One person is dead today. The two people that were shot have been released from the hospital.
Also heard from the university administrators, Dr. Welty of Fresno State, saying they did activate the emergency operations center early this morning to make sure that the campus was, in fact, safe. The shooting itself apparently took place in an apartment complex just about one block from the campus.
The confrontation, again, happened late on Monday. And one person dead. One person in custody, likely to be -- will be booked today and charged for murder -- T.J.
HOLMES: We are also awaiting a press conference from federal authorities, FBI, about this alleged plot to attack Ft. Dix in New Jersey.
Stick around. We're expecting that maybe at any moment. When we see that, we will bring that to you live.
Stay here with CNN.
HOLMES: Need to take you to New Jersey now, where federal officials are talking about the alleged plot to attack Fort Dix in New Jersey.
We'll listen in.
(JOINED IN PROGRESS)
CHRISTOPHER CHRISTIE, U.S. ATTORNEY: Law enforcement in New Jersey was here to stop them. We brought criminal complaints today against six defendants involved in a plot to bring a violent attack on military and civilian personnel at Fort Dix, here in the state of New Jersey -- Mohamad Shnewer, a United States citizen and a taxicab driver in Philadelphia; Eljvir Duka, who was illegally here in the United States and was associated with a roofing business, along with his two brothers, Dritan Duka and Shain duka, also both here illegally in the United States and associated with the same roofing business; Serdar Tatar, a legal resident of the United States whose last known employment was as a clerk at a 7-Eleven convenience store; and Agron Abdullahu, a legal resident of the United States, a ShopRite clerk locally.
The first emphasis I would like to make to the people of New Jersey is that the threat that was being brought against Fort Dix has been taken care of through the efforts of the law enforcement people you see arrayed behind me, and all of the people they represent. We were able to do what American law enforcement is supposed to do in the post-9/11 era, and that is to be one step ahead of those who are attempting to cause harm to innocent American citizens.
This was a plot that had its origins in late 2005. In 2006, in January, a clerk at a local store here in New Jersey came into possession of a video which the defendants wanted dubbed on to a DVD. That local store clerk, having viewed the video of these people in military garb yelling out jihadist statements and shooting semi- automatic weapons, brought his attention to the fact that there could be a problem. And this person did exactly what we want all citizens to do when confronted with something unusual in their business life that gives them concern.
He called his local police department. Called the Mount Laurel Police Department who, in turn, called the Philadelphia division of the FBI, and our investigation began.
Through the amazing efforts of these law enforcement officers, we were able to infiltrate cooperating witnesses into this terror cell, to be able to give us more information and allow us to effectively surveil their conduct over the last 16 months.
These people were in possession of numerous jihadist videos. They had possession of the video of the last will and testament of two of the 19 hijackers from September 11th. They had video of Osama bin Laden calling Muslims to jihad. They also showed videos to each other of armed attacks and killing of United States military personnel around the world.
They also covertly surveilled not only Fort Dix, but other installations here in New Jersey and in Philadelphia -- Fort Monmouth; Dover Air Force Base, in Delaware, the Lakehurst Naval Station; and the Coast Guard building on Delaware Avenue in Philadelphia. They ultimately settled upon Fort Dix.
Why? Defendant Tatar said he knew the base "like the back of" his "hand" because of his experience in delivering pizza to that base from his family's business in Cookstown, New Jersey.
Defendant Shnewer made his intentions known very clearly on tape. He said, "My intent is to hit a heavy concentration of American soldiers, light up four or five Humvees full of soldiers."
Tartar prepared using his knowledge of the base a detailed map of Fort Dix and described where they could hit the base to cause a power outage at Fort Dix. They wanted to do this to make it easier for them to kill as many American soldiers as possible. At the same time, he said on tape that he was prepared to die in service of Allah.
Shnewer told Tatar that they missed an opportunity to kill even more military personnel by foregoing the opportunity to perpetrate an attack on U.S. military personnel at the Army-Navy game in Philadelphia.
They rented a house in the Poconos in late December of 2006 to use for training purposes for their attack on Fort Dix. They wanted then to purchase RPGs and also fully automatic weapons to complete their training and get ready for the attack on Fort Dix.
They trained at Pennsylvania State Game Land Number 127, which law enforcement was effectively surveilling, and watched them train with semi-automatic rifles, handguns and shotguns in preparation for this attack. Most despicably, while they were training in the Poconos, they also watched more videos depicting more attacks on U.S. military personnel around the world. During one video, as detailed in the criminal complaint, they watched the blowing off of the arm of a United States Marine, and the room burst out into laughter.
These are the type of people that we were dealing with in this investigation. Their intent is summarized clearly by Shain Duka, who stated on tape, "We can do a lot of damage with seven people. We can do big things with seven people."
And defendant Tatar was said to be of one mind. The quote was, "... to figure out how to kill as many American soldiers as possible."
Terrorist attacks are not always going to be on the grand scale of September 11th. They are not always going to involve commercial aircraft and thousands of deaths at one time. But please keep in mind that terrorist attacks are about creating terror. And an attack on an American military institution in our country clearly would have created the type of terror that people like these who believe in jihad want to try to perpetrate against innocent American citizens.
And so, I want to thank so much the people arrayed behind me for the concerted, coordinated effort between federal, state and local police officers. This is the model for the post-September 11th era. This is what we've been talking about developing since that time. And each one of these people put their resources to bear to make this happen.
Now, what we're going to do is I'm going to call a few people up here for additional comments. And then we'll take questions after that.
So next I'd like to introduce Jody Weis, special agent in charge of the FBI in Philadelphia -- Jody.
JODY WEIS, SPECIAL AGENT IN CHARGE, FBI, PHILADELPHIA: Thank you, Chris.
QUESTION: How do you spell your name?
QUESTION: And the first name?
WEIS: J-O-D-Y. OK.
Ladies and Gentlemen, today we dodged a bullet. In fact, when you look at the type of weapons that this group was trying to purchase, we may have dodged a lot of bullets.
We had a group that was forming a platoon to take on an army. They identified their target, they did their reconnaissance. They had maps. And they were in the process of buying weapons.
Luckily, we were able to stop that.
What we are witnessing here is kind of a brand new form of terrorism. Today, threats come from smaller, more loosely-defined individuals and cells who may or may not be affiliated with al Qaeda, but who are inspired by their violent ideology. These homegrown terrorists can prove to be as dangerous as any known group, if not more so.
They operate under the radar. They have no specific command and control. They strike when they feel it is right, whenever that might be.
This case should remind all of us that while we have made tremendous progress in combating terrorism, the struggle is far from over. We cannot afford to be complacent. The threat is real. And the stakes are very, very high.
Across the United States, the law enforcement community is rising to meet this challenge. As you all know, the FBI's highest priority is counterterrorism, and the FBI's joint terrorism task force in south Jersey led the effort to detect and disrupt this terrorist cell before harm could be done.
Our success is due to the outstanding work of our partners. We worked closely with the Camden County Prosecutor's Office, the Delaware River Port Authority, the New Jersey State Police, Immigrations and Customs Enforcement, and the New Jersey United States Attorney's Office.
I would like to thank all of these agencies for their service, their dedication and their continued leadership.
There's one other person I would like to thank, as Chris said. It's that unsung hero, that clerk in that local store who saw a video and said, you know, somebody needs to know about this. And that's why we're here today, thanks to the courage and heroism of that individual.
HOLMES: Well, we're going to continue now on. And as we've been listening in to this press conference about that -- about those six now, planning that attack on Fort Dix in New Jersey, we're going to talk more with our security analyst, Pat D'Amuro. We got him standing by, a former assistant director at the FBI.
Standing by. We're going to chat with him in just a moment a little more about this. But haven't got word exactly -- if you all could tell me exactly where are we going if we're not going to Pat D'Amuro right now?
All right. We're going to the Michigan propane explosion. We can go ahead and get these live pictures up for you here. This is happening in Bedford Township.
LONG: Yes, exactly. Our affiliate WDIV out of Detroit brings us these live pictures right now.
This is a propane company in Monroe County. If you are familiar with that community, it's Bedford Township where this is happening live right now. It's Reliance Propane.
Not really sure exactly what caused this explosion today. Officials have shut down a railroad in that area in order to cordon off that area.
At this point, our affiliate is reporting that there is one minor injury. And fire crews are there on the scene, but you can't see them trying to extinguish this fire. At this point they're not doing anything about that fire. Perhaps trying to see if that can burn off today.
These live pictures, again, from our affiliate, WDIV, in Bedford Township, Michigan. One person injured. Again, still don't know how that explosion happened.
This is a story we'll continue to follow for you and bring you more here on CNN.
HOLMES: We're going to take you now to some new pictures, a live picture here. This has been one busy woman since she's been on this visit to the U.S.
The queen, as we're seeing here, she's live -- in this live picture, being shown around here. This is at the National Mall. She just laid a wreath not too long ago at the World War II memorial. Just another -- there's the picture, the video from just a short time ago, laying this wreath.
She has, no doubt, been a busy woman since her visit to the U.S. She's been here several days now. And this is just one more stop in her trip there.
So we are going to keep an eye on her visit. She's about to wrap it up and head back home.
Just wanted to bring you that picture as we've been following her visit here on CNN. But -- there's back to the live picture. But we have several, several...
LONG: She looks lovely in her hat.
HOLMES: As always, she does so well with the hats. She pulls them off well.
But this and several other developing stories, several we're having in the CNN NEWSROOM.
Hope to also talk to our security analyst, Pat D'Amuro, about the situation with the Fort Dix Six, as they're now being called.
Stay here in the CNN NEWSROOM.
HOLMES: All right. We now want to get to our CNN security analyst, Pat D'Amuro, former assistant director at the FBI, to talk about this alleged plot to attack Fort Dix in New Jersey. Six now in custody, being arraigned this afternoon.
Sir, do you have confidence when you hear this that the threat has been taken care of? We heard in that press conference that, yes, the threat is over, but there were just six. They got this six. Do you have confidence that there aren't more out there who might have been part of this?
PAT D'AMURO, CNN SECURITY ANALYST: Well, part of what gives me the confidence they have the individuals that they feel were a threat is the fact this investigation was going on for some time, well over a year. We see some tactics here that aren't traditional to al Qaeda- trained individuals. So I'm sure we'll learn in the future whether or not these individuals actually received any training or had affiliations with any al Qaeda people. But what's significant about this is that it shows the radical fundamentalist thought from disparate groups here in the United States that wish to conduct jihad.
HOLMES: Listening to this, did we get lucky? Sure, it took some good investigative work, I guess, after the fact, but it sounds like these six slipped up.
They went to a store trying to have a VHS dubbed off into a DVD. And yes, an alert clerk there alerted the authorities because they thought this was alarming. But, I mean, had that slipup not happened, if they are homegrown, how tough of an issue do we have?
D'AMURO: Well, this is why since 9/1, you've seen much more of an outreach by FBI offices and joint terrorism task forces to the communities that they serve to look for individuals that may overhear something or information that may come to their knowledge, to bring that information to the attention of the FBI and joint terrorism task force.
This obviously was a slipup on their part. They didn't follow intelligence rules that they would have learned. And that's why I think this is a disparate group and we're going to see they probably didn't receive some of the traing that al Qaeda offers in Afghanistan. Or again, they didn't -- they didn't follow the proper protocols of trying to keep this information secret.
HOLMES: And to wrap up here with you, we heard in that press conference, too, one of the officials called this a brand new form of terrorism. How brand new would you call it, and are we going to see more of this even though they're not al Qaeda trained, they may not have the top of the line training that might mess up, make these little slipups? But are they going to keep trying and trying until they get it right here in the U.S.?
D'AMURO: Well, sure they will. Right now there's a trial ongoing in the southern district of New York in which a former FBI supervisor in an undercover capacity interviewed two individuals that wanted to pledge their allegiance to al Qaeda and conduct terrorist attacks.
Those individuals led to another three individuals, that Mujahideen that received training in Afghanistan, that also wanted to participate in attacks in this country. So you will see these types of investigations again.
HOLMES: All right. CNN security analyst Pat D'Amuro.
Thank you so much for your time.
D'AMURO: Thank you.
LONG: The closing bell and a wrap of the action on Wall Street next.
(STOCK MARKET REPORT)
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