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Suspect in Georgia Hostage Standoff Killed; Tensions Rise in North Korean Crisis

Aired April 10, 2013 - 22:00   ET


ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Good evening, everyone. It's 10:00 here on the East Coast.

We're going to pick it up on the breaking news out of suburban Atlanta, a SWAT team entering a home in suburban Atlanta, rescuing four captive firefighters. The gunman who has been holding them is dead.

That is all unfolding. It has been unfolding right now in Gwinnett County, the town of Suwanee, about 30 miles northeast of the city.

Local authorities have just been briefing the media.

David Mattingly is there. He joins us now.

So, David, what's the latest on this?

DAVID MATTINGLY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Anderson, this all went down 15 minutes ago.

Everyone here had hoped for a peaceful resolution to this. And that is not what happened here. The SWAT team had to make a move on this house to try to attack the captor, the man who was holding these four firefighters hostage in the home in the neighborhood behind me.

What we saw, from what we were able to hear in the distance here was a series of explosions, concussions. It sounded like a concussion grenade that they use when they start to make a move on a hostage situation followed by what could have been tear gas. What we now find out is that when the officers went in, gunfire was exchanged between the officers and the man who was holding -- the gunman who was holding the firefighters hostage. That man was killed.

And one police officer was wounded in the hand. It is not a life-threatening injury. He's already been rushed from the scene to the hospital. Right now, we're told that all four of the firefighters that were inside sustained some minor injuries because of the explosive devices that were being used in this operation.

But they are going to be OK. As a precaution, they're going to be taken to the hospital as well. But at this point, Anderson, the investigation really just beginning. No one here ready to say exactly why or who this man was and what he was trying to do here. COOPER: And, again, we don't know if he killed himself or if he was killed by the SWAT team. It sounds like the SWAT team. Again, they have not given out that information.

David, I have got some more questions for you, but I also want to bring in Wesley Gossan, a neighbor who has been watching this all unfold.

Wesley, what did you hear and see?

WESLEY GOSSAN, WITNESS: Well, you know, I have been here I had the confrontation with the guy, you know, at 3:00 this afternoon, before he took the firemen into custody.

COOPER: What was the confrontation?

GOSSAN: I was on my motorcycle making laps. I live in the same cul-de-sac. Well, he lives about a house outside my cul-de-sac.

And I was working on my bike, so I was just making laps, and he was waving at me, and I stopped. And he started coming at me. But there was a German shepherd that came running behind him. I guess he has this -- I have never seen his dog, nor have I seen him. It's funny, because my wife was saying, we have never ever seen this guy. His yard is always a mess.

We live in a nice neighborhood and it's really ironic that this would be going down the first day I see him. I have lived here for a year-and-a-half.

COOPER: So you didn't know him? You haven't had experience with him before, so he starts coming toward you. And he had a dog, you're saying?

GOSSAN: Yes, he had a German shepherd that came out behind him of his house. But he came out of his front door and was coming towards me to stop me, because I was, you know, just putting by on my motorcycle, making laps. I didn't have a helmet on. I was in my shorts and flip-flops and he's checking my bike out in my cul-de-sac.

COOPER: Did you see the SWAT team going in or hear the concussion grenades, the flash bangs?

GOSSAN: Absolutely. I mean, I'm two doors over so everything was you know -- to me, everything was just normal. Obviously, there was a situation.

But as I have been sitting here, time is flying, as you know, when you're sitting here. It was like an explosion, so...


COOPER: How many booms did you hear?

GOSSAN: Well, I heard the first initial one, so I thought it was a bomb, because, like, you know, people were telling me there's been these robots up and down the street coming in and out. So I just assumed that probably they're checking to see if there is bombs or whatever it is. And there was a giant explosion that shook my house.

And then there was a second seemed like a smaller one and then there were several semiautomatic gunfire, you know, exchanged. So it was -- you know -- and then it was done -- 30 seconds later, I knew everything was OK, because the guys walked out they took their hardhats off. And I just assumed everything was OK.

COOPER: About how big is this guy's house? You said this thing was over in 30 seconds. So I imagine it's not a large house.

GOSSAN: It's a 32, yes. It's a 32. It's probably one of the smaller houses in the neighborhood. It's -- we live in a safe community with kids running out, playing outside every day. Thank God there were no kids. Thank God I didn't stop.

This guy -- who knows. I don't know if he was singling out firemen or neighbors or what he was doing. But his German shepherd, thank God he came out, because he scared me off.

COOPER: Let me ask you, there are reports this guy was having financial problems, that he had some of his utilities turned off. Did you -- I know you didn't know him. Could you -- were you aware of that at all, in the neighborhood?

GOSSAN: I was not aware of that.

As you know, Atlanta, like any other large market, has been hit with the economy. And we live in the neighborhood, and we have got a great deal on our house a little over a year ago. And I would imagine there are people in the neighborhood...


COOPER: And about how old was this man?

GOSSAN: He's probably 50, 50 years old. He's, you know, Caucasian, balding, you know, first time I have ever seen this guy. And I'm out every day.

I'm like the neighborhood -- I'm out talking to people, playing with kids. You know, it's -- you know, I have never seen the guy, nor have I ever seen this German shepherd. But thank God that German shepherd was there, because that's was what scared me back in my house seeing this dog, he's running around.


COOPER: Sure, yes.

Hey, Wesley, stay with us for a second. I just want to bring in our reporter David Mattingly, because, David, we just had a press conference from authorities and I know you're going to play some of what was said. MATTINGLY: That's right, Anderson. You hit on something just a moment ago that may be important, as we go down this investigation here.

This house, we were able to confirm from real estate records, was in foreclosure. And when we asked officials here about what sort of demands did this gunman make, they said he was demanding that his utilities be turned back on. No details further than that. But they were able to set the scene for us and tell us what the officers were going through. Listen.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We had our officers make contact with the individual. They made entry into the home. That's what you heard when you heard the explosions. Gunfire exchanged between the suspect and our SWAT team.

The suspect is deceased at this time. One of our officers was injured with a gunshot wound, and was transported to the hospital. It appears it's going to be non-life-threatening, as well as the firefighters. There were four firefighters injured, but they were all superficial wounds. They're all going to be OK and they're going to be going home tonight.

The officer, we're going to check him out, make sure he's going to be OK and he will be going home eventually as well. The suspect is deceased. It appears that the fire department was called out there originally. We don't know if it's going to be a fake heart attack or if he was actually suffering from some type of medical condition.

But when they made entry into the home, they were taken hostage by him and then he started making demands. These demands were to have his power turned back on. Apparently, he's going through some financial issues. And the power was turned off, along with the cable and cell phone and so on. And he wanted all those things turned back on and that's why he was holding them hostage.

We are still in -- deep into this investigation. This is all I have right now. As we get more information, we will be able to release it and the officer's identity and maybe the firefighters at a later date as well.


QUESTION: What made you decide to go in?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's going to be the lives of those firefighters. It got to a point where we believed that their lives were in immediate danger. And our SWAT team made a decision to go in there and neutralize the situation.

QUESTION: How did the firefighters get injured? You say they had superficial wounds.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The superficial wounds are going to be from the explosion that you heard. That's going to be from the explosive that they used to distract the suspect, to get in the house, and take care of business.


COOPER: David, a couple key points in that. It's not clear if the man who took these firefighters hostage actually had some sort of medical condition, which is what got the firefighters there in the first place, or if he was faking that in order to get them there to take them hostage, correct?

MATTINGLY: That's right.

That hasn't been confirmed yet one way or the other. But we do know that when the firefighters arrived here at the point that they arrived, everything seemed normal. They came to the house. They took the gurney inside, as if they were expecting a medical emergency and to bring someone out for medical treatment. That is not what happened.

They suddenly all five of them at the time found themselves hostage with this man wielding some sort of firearm. So within about a half-hour after that, we're hearing from residents, one of the firefighters was allowed to go free to move the fire engine away from the front of the house.

We don't know exactly why, possibly so that the man inside could have a clearer view of what was going on. But that's just speculation at this point. But you are hearing from authorities right there about how this happened, and how they carried this out.

There was an exchange of gunfire inside. One police officer was wounded, we were told later in the hand, not a life-threatening injury. He's already probably at the hospital right now. The gunman himself, he was -- he did -- was killed during this exchange. We don't know if he was shot by one of the officers or if he took his own life. Again, Anderson, now that this is over, the investigation truly, it is just now beginning.

COOPER: And, David, the other question I had is, was there much contact between authorities and this hostage-taker over the course of the hostage situation? Obviously, that's one of the first things they try to do is establish contact.

Was there you know -- did they send in food, was there any kind of give-and-take negotiation going on?

MATTINGLY: All we know right now, they did make contact with him. This only transpired over just a couple of hours. So they were able to determine rather quickly this situation was not going to change and, in fact, was probably going to get worse. They were fearing for the lives of the firefighters. That's why they decided to make their move.

The object always is to get the person inside talking, to end this peacefully and that's not what happened. Something that man said or did told these officers they had no choice but to go in there and use potentially deadly force to end this.

COOPER: David Mattingly, obviously, it is early hours in this investigation. We will learn more in the hours ahead.

Wesley Gossan, a neighbor, I appreciate you talking to us as well.

Up next, tensions rising even higher in the Korean missile crisis. South Korea now on the highest military alert short of actual war. What does that actually mean? We're going to examine that.

And later, with Congress fighting over background checks at gun shows, an exclusive 360 investigation into gun show dealers who are breaking existing laws already and selling firearms with no I.D. check, no paperwork, nothing. We will see what our hidden cameras discovered ahead.


COOPER: Welcome back.

The other big story we're obviously watching tonight, North Korea and the missile test it is preparing to launch at any time. According to reports, South Korea has now raised its military alert level to the highest threat short of war. A U.S. intelligence source says the intel suggests that North Korea could be planning actual multiple launches.

Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel today warned North Korea that it is -- quote -- "skating close to a dangerous line." He told North Korea to ratchet down its rhetoric and if it doesn't Hagel said the U.S. is fully prepared to deal with any contingency.

Our Kyung Lah and Christiane Amanpour join me now.

Kyung, we have been hearing for a while now that some kind of missile launch by North Korea could be imminent. Is there any update on that tonight?

KYUNG LAH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, it's really much sort of waiting, holding your breath.

South Korean authorities are certainly trained with their eyes to that east coast on the peninsula here. And certainly we're seeing a state of readiness as well from the U.S. authorities, especially at the bases where the Patriot missile batteries are pointed at the sky to the north. Among the population, it's the same sort of thing, kind of waiting to see if it's going to happen.

It's between now and April 15, when it's Kim Il-Sung's 101st birthday that people are expecting something to happen. It's just sort of waiting now for it to happen.

COOPER: And we're seeing these bizarre propaganda pictures of Korean troops, or North Korean troops waving to their leader.

But, Kyung, American and South Korean troops raised their watch con level of vigilance today. What exactly does that mean?

LAH: What it means is that the surveillance level has been elevated. When I spoke to the U.S. forces here, what they're saying is, it's almost like a troop readiness level, that they want to be prepared, if something does happen, in case a missile doesn't end up going into the water, that it actually gets pointed to a U.S. base.

When we were in the town of Osan, which is home to one of the prominent air bases here, a lot of the merchants there said the troops were not going out, that they weren't having recreational time, that they are being told to stay at the base. So it's not that it's an alarm level, per se. But it's almost a readiness state.

COOPER: Christiane, you have been in this region a lot. What's your gut here? Is this just talk on the part of an insecure new leader?

CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CNN CHIEF INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Look, the gut is in having talked to a lot of experts now who really -- it's their life to actually try to figure out what's going on in North Korea -- is that we should all be acting like South Korean people.

In other words, take a deep breath. This is business as usual by North Korea. Obviously, the unknown is Kim Jong-un so people really do want to know what he is going to do and how he's going to do it. Most people believe, whether it's United States military, U.S. officials, South Koreans, Japanese, that it probably will be a test fire.

Now, obviously, that would be better than a hostile act targeting an ally or so. But there is always room for miscalculation. So, again, you hear the secretary of defense, Chuck Hagel, saying we're prepared for all contingencies. You hear the head of the Pacific Command, Admiral Locklear, saying, yes, we can defend ourselves and we will not and I would not recommend shooting down a missile if it specifically didn't attack our allies.

Nobody wants to escalate it. But of course once this crisis is over -- and what some people believe is that it will be over, and that Kim Jong-un will be able to turn around to his people and say, hey, I stared down the United States, I stopped them from invading North Korea, you know, once all that is over, then what? And that's where the hard work comes in.

COOPER: Christiane, we have a digital dashboard question, and I think it's a good one. It comes from Daniel. He says, "Do you think that Kim Jong-un is merely a puppet of the military leaders of the DPRK?" which is the official name of North Korea.

AMANPOUR: Well, I do think that's a really good question, and it's one we have all been trying to figure out. Who is Kim Jong-un?

And that is one of the big things the United States doesn't know, because no official from the United States has met with Kim Jong-un. No amount of third-hand snippets from diplomats in Pyongyang is going to really stand in for what's vital. And that is some kind of knowledge from some kind of top U.S. envoy, not in the administration, maybe, but a top envoy who can go and talk to Kim Jong-un at some point. So, yes, that is the problem.

They think, the experts, that he is in charge, that he's actually test-fired several things over the last, you know, year or more that he's been in power, that he's shuffled around areas of the military, that he's made speeches on trying to, you know, improve the economy, that, yes, he probably has a good and solid relationship with his generals, and particularly with that famous uncle of his who we have heard so much about.

COOPER: Kyung, it's interesting. I read someone from Seoul say that the farther one is from the Korean Peninsula, the more worried about the recent developments there is.

There is certainly is -- I have had people come up to me on the subway today saying, gosh, what do you think is going to happen? What's this North Korean guy going to do? Are you seeing that in South Korea, or as Christiane said, is this kind of business as usual?

LAH: It is mainly business as usual.

There is a bit more concern on the part of people who are visiting South Korea. We're sensing a bit more concern might be the best word to use among international visitors, because the words they're using this time around are directed more towards the United States, to -- directly to international visitors.

That's where we see a little more ratcheting up. But there is generally in the sense in the population overall that big question mark that Christiane is talking about. What's he going to do? And regardless of who is pulling the strings, what's happening here? The rules appear to have changed slightly.

And the opinion of Kim Jong-un among the general population is very low here in South Korea. They do not like him. The more this goes on, the more they just view him as an irresponsible man-child.

COOPER: Christiane, thanks. Kyung Lah, thanks.

Well, just ahead, a 360 exclusive that might just change the way you think about existing gun laws. You're supposed to show I.D. at gun shows and fill out a form when you're getting a weapon. Instead, you will see what our undercover cameras saw, just how willing some gun dealers are willing to sell weapons, including a rifle almost identical to the one used at Newtown with no I.D., no paperwork, no questions asked. Our undercover cameras caught it all.

Also ahead, a 360 exclusive, Gabby Giffords opening up about her physical struggles more than two years after being shot in the head. We will tell you how far she has come in her recovery and how far she still has to go.


COOPER: Well, tonight we go undercover to find out just how easy it is to purchase firearms, no questions asked, even no I.D. necessary in as little as 70 seconds, 70 seconds to pick up a weapon at a gun show that for all intents and purposes becomes untraceable the moment you bring it home.

Martin Savidge's exclusive is next. But there is news out of Washington tonight, a bipartisan compromise in the Senate to expand federal background checks with certain limitations to gun shows. Pennsylvania Republican Pat Toomey hammered out the deal with West Virginia Democrat Joe Manchin, who got emotional today talking with Newtown families.




COOPER: The debate on the issue may come up tomorrow. Regardless, there are laws that already apply to gun shows, laws that an exclusive undercover investigation by our producers shows are being broken.

Here's Martin Savidge's report.


MARTIN SAVIDGE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It's a simple idea. Just how easily can you buy a gun at a gun show? So a CNN crew took a weekend drive, 600 miles with a pocket full of cash, hitting five gun shows in three states, Tennessee, South Carolina and Georgia.

First stop, Ellijay in North Georgia. The venue is small and the selection limited.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There weren't a lot of vendors. There wasn't a lot of product out there for people to buy.

SAVIDGE: Next, the crew went north to Kingsport, Tennessee, for a Saturday morning local gun show held in a hotel convention center. It was a Smith & Wesson M.P. .45-caliber semiautomatic that first caught our producer's eye, asking price, $625.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's a nice one. It's not brand-spanking new, but make me an offer.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Cash and carry or do I have to fill out any paperwork for it?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Cash and carry.

SAVIDGE: But it's early and the team opts to keep looking; 10 to 20 minutes later, they circled back to the same table, negotiating for the same gun.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Six hundred for that?


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, box it up.


SAVIDGE: It's a deal. No background check. It's not needed for a private sale. But the seller is legally required to check I.D., like a driver's license, to make sure the buyer is not from out of state. In this case, no identification asked for, no paperwork, not even a question like, what are you going to do with it?

In fact, neither the seller or buyer even used a first name. And if that's not surprising enough, listen to where the seller said he got the gun.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I got that off a police officer yesterday.



SAVIDGE: That's right. He got it from a police officer.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Any way you would part with both of these for $1,000?

SAVIDGE: It was so easy, for the next buy, the team decided to up the ante.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Probably not at this point by now. That one there is very, very new, 17s.

SAVIDGE: This time, they see two .9-millimeter semiautomatic handguns, Glock 17s. Asking price for the pair is $1,100. The producer offers a flat 1,000 bucks. That's rejected. The next bid of $1,050 prompts a phone call.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Let me see what he says. One of them is his and one of them is mine.

SAVIDGE: In fact, in all of the deals, the team paid less than the asking price.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: All right. We can do $1,050.

SAVIDGE: The producer boxes the guns in their carrying cases and heads for the door, again, no names, no I.D., no paperwork, not even a receipt.

Total time at the gun show, 45 minutes, $1,650 spent, three semiautomatic handguns purchased. Incidentally, because there's no paper trail, none of these weapons can ever be traced to the buyer.

Later, the same day in Greenville, South Carolina, and it's the biggest show of the five our team attended. After wandering the floor, our producer spots this gentleman carrying a semiautomatic rifle on his shoulder, asking price, $1,200.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The strap doesn't come with it. That's on my .22.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You're just moving it over there.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I just moved it over.

SAVIDGE: The Bushmaster XM-15, as it's known, is a semiautomatic-only civilian version of the M-16 U.S. military rifle first introduced in the Vietnam War and still used by U.S. troops today.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Do you have the case and stuff with you or out in the car?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's out in the car. I just didn't want to...

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Carry it all around.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I brought it to a gun show a couple weeks ago, and in Columbia, and the case, this is big and bulky. And there were so many people in there, I kept banging people. And that's why I didn't bring it with me.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, either one, the .223 or 5.56.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Any way you can go down 50 bucks?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes. I can go down 50.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: All right. You want to walk out and I will pay you?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Sure. Let's do it.

SAVIDGE: The seller takes our offer, $1,150. From first conversation to settling on a price takes just 70 seconds.

Out in front of the convention center, the money is exchanged. And the rifle, complete with case, is handed over. Our team walks away with a variation of the same weapon used in the deadly Sandy Hook shooting, again, no questions asked.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There's the case. There's the gun and there's the clip.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Good, six, eight, nine, 10, 11, 50.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: OK. Thank you very much.



SAVIDGE: We should make clear that there were three instances, one in each state, where the team was asked for I.D., including during this potential sale in Tennessee.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Where are you from?


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So I have to have a Tennessee license?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You have to have a Tennessee license for a private seller.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, you sure do. You do.


SAVIDGE: Without proof of residency, the seller refuses the deal and our team walks away.

Our total weekend weapon haul is three semiautomatic handguns with extra magazines and one semiautomatic rifle with a 30-round magazine, total spent, $2,800, all done without showing any identification. Without filling out a single form. Not even so much as a name exchanged. The team now has a small arsenal, which can never be traced.

Martin Savidge, CNN, Atlanta.


COOPER: We should point out that we've turned the weapons over to CNN security to deal with.

New CNN/Opinion Research polling out today reveals that 86 percent approval for expanded background checks on would-be gun buyers. But as you saw, gun sellers are willing to break existing laws in some cases.

We wanted to get the National Rifle Association's take on the push for greater background checks. So joining me tonight, NRA president, David Keene.


COOPER: David, in the story we just saw, the producer very easily obtains those weapons at gun shows without showing any identification. It could have been a criminal, could have had a criminal background. Why shouldn't he have to undergo a background check to buy those weapons?

DAVID KEENE, NRS PRESIDENT: Well, if they're private sales, as you know, under the law, you don't have to. But private sales and gun shows are not the source, and the FBI has done many studies on this. And they're not really the source of guns for criminals. The current system doesn't work very well, and we think it needs to be fixed.

COOPER: My question is, somebody seeing that would -- might say, why shouldn't a person -- I mean, our producer could have been a criminal. You know, could have been anybody. Nobody even asked for an I.D. Why shouldn't he have -- why shouldn't he have to undergo a background check, whether it's a private sale, whether it was from a dealer?

KEENE: Well, I think the question is, when you're dealing with fundamental rights, the question is, first of all, if you're going to put a burden and a restriction on those rights, what do you get from it? Is there empirical evidence that, while you say he might have been a criminal, is there empirical evidence that a lot of criminals get firearms at gun shows? The answer to that question is there is not.

COOPER: But by your own admission...

KEENE: Not that -- that is not a source.

COOPER: Right. I understand.

KEENE: They're not a source of many firearms that are used in crimes.

COOPER: But by your own admission, the current background checks that exist have caught thousands of people, more than 10,000 people, who have lied on their background checks.

And part of the point that the NRA has made, and I think it's an effective point, is those people should be prosecuted for lying on the background checks. They're able to walk out the door. They're not being prosecuted. So why not extend background checks and just logic tells you, you would catch even more people lying and cheating?

KEENE: That would be true if, in fact, all of these people caught were lying and were criminals. Many of those people were not prohibited. There were false-positives, as they call them. There were people that had -- their names were confused with somebody else's. There were mistakes. The system didn't work very well. Because what we've suggested is that before you run, you ought to walk.

COOPER: I don't know what that means.

KEENE: Before you start dumping millions of -- more transactions into this system, you ought to fix the system so it works.

COOPER: I just don't get the logic of saying, well, the system is not perfect. Therefore, we should allow people to buy guns in all these other ways without checking who they are. I mean, again, in that piece, our producer could have been anybody with a criminal background and walk out with an arsenal of weapons that are not traceable.

KEENE: He could have walked out on the streets of Washington, D.C., and bought a gun.

COOPER: Well, not quite as easily.

KEENE: Illegal guns are -- illegal guns are available, and there are people who will sell them to him. You know that and I know that and every criminal knows it.

COOPER: That's like saying a murderer doesn't obey murder laws, we wouldn't have murder laws.

KEENE: We shouldn't worry. No, I'm not saying that. What you're saying is we shouldn't worry about the fact that all these people who have committed felonies are not being prosecuted.

COOPER: I'm saying we should worry about that.

KEENE: It isn't enough to say yes, it should be done.

COOPER: You're making my argument.

KEENE: It has the laws, it has the people, it's identified the criminals. It could prosecute them. Instead of doing that, they say, "Let's have another law."

COOPER: I just don't understand why it's either/or. I don't understand why you can't do both.

KEENE: I think you do things in an orderly way.

COOPER: Yes, but when kids are dying and people are being shot needlessly and people committing suicide with weapons at a high rate, isn't time of the essence rather than trying to do everything orderly?

KEENE: The thing that we've talked about from the very beginning and all of this discussion is that, if you're going to deal with gun crime, you deal with gun criminals. And if we're not dealing with them now, what makes us think that, if we pass another law that has tremendous effects on innocent people, that we're going to prosecute more gun criminals?

COOPER: But how do you know everyone buying a gun at a gun show is an innocent person? How do you know everyone buying a gun from their relative is an innocent person or buying from a friend in the back of a car is an innocent person, unless you do a background check?

KEENE: Well, you know, most firearm sales, most private sales, there have been studies that show maybe 3 or 4 percent of them are arms'-length sales, where you don't know. The kind of sales that you -- that you showed there in your tape. Most of them are, in fact, family. COOPER: Well, you know what...

KEENE: Families sell guns to -- most of them are friends.

COOPER: Right. Friends are stupid.

KEENE: Are you suggesting...


KEENE: Even the president of the United States -- even the president of the United States, when he talked about universal background checks, was going to exempt families. So you think they should be included, as well?

COOPER: I don't know. I'm asking the question. But I'm asking the question for viewers who do believe that. I don't take a position on this one way or another. But if friends can sell their car to a friend and have to file paperwork for it, I guess my question is, why shouldn't that be done with guns, as well? I know driving is not a right.

KEENE: I don't think that there's a constitutional amendment or part of the Bill of Rights that gives you a fundamental right to an automobile.

COOPER: David Keene, always appreciate having you on. Thank you.

KEENE: My pleasure.


COOPER: Let us know what you think. Follow me at Twitter right now, @AndersonCooper, about that discussion.

Just ahead, a "360" exclusive, Gabby Giffords talking candidly about her health and future. How she made peace with the damage that bullet caused. What about plans for kids? What she told Dana Bash in a rare interview, next.


COOPER: Tonight's "360" exclusive. As we reported last night, Gabby Giffords and her husband, Mark Kelly, are not just watching the battle over new gun regulations from the sidelines. They're actively fighting for expanded background checks through an organization they formed in January called Americans for Responsible Solutions.

The battle is, of course, deeply personal for both of them. More than two years ago, Giffords was shot in the head at pointblank range. She's still on a journey of recovery. She has come a long way for sure, but she's also had to face some tough new realities.

Giffords hasn't given many interviews since the shooting. Dana Bash recently spent two days with the former congresswoman at her home in Arizona. Here is part two of Dana's exclusive interview.


DANA BASH, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): What's most shocking about Gabby Giffords now is how much she looks like her old self. Her golden locks are back. The sparkle in her eyes. Her broad smile. The Gabby Giffords we knew before she was shot.

Gone is the short hair and thin frame we saw at the beginning of her recovery. But she knows she will never be the same.

(on camera): In your recovery process, do you want to find and discover the old Gabby Giffords, or do you want to sort of rediscover another new Gabby Giffords?

GABRIELLE GIFFORDS, FORMER CONGRESSWOMAN/GUN CONTROL ADVOCATE: Stronger. Stronger, better. Tougher. Stronger, better, tougher.

BASH (voice-over): Being with Giffords, it's immediately clear, she understands virtually everything going on around her. She follows conversation, reacts, offers unsolicited ideas. But it is still a huge struggle to turn her ideas and thoughts into words. Like when trying to explain how she spends her days.

GABRIELLE GIFFORDS: Occupational therapy. Yogurt.



BASH: The right-handed Giffords still has no use of her right hand. That arm is paralyzed. So is her right leg. She wears a brace and literally drags it with her good left leg to walk. She also doesn't see very well.

(on camera): How is your vision?


BASH: Not great.

GABRIELLE GIFFORDS: Not great at all.

KELLY: So Gabby's blind to the right side. Right, in both eyes.


KELLY: So she has no peripheral vision to the right at all. So she's looking at you. She can't see anything to the right of center.

BASH: Over there.


BASH (voice-over): But you can easily see how she and her husband, Mark Kelly, keep up her spirits. Humor. KELLY: Which is good for me to, like, if I want to sneak up on her.

BASH (on camera): You wouldn't do that, though, would you?

KELLY: Oh, yes, all the time. I'll come from that direction. You wouldn't want to come from this direction.

BASH (voice-over): For Giffords and Kelly, a retired astronaut and space shuttle commander, this is the new normal.

KELLY: It's different in good ways, too. In a lot of good ways.

BASH: Like living and working together now.

GABRIELLE GIFFORDS: I'm just looking forward to making a change this fall.

BASH: Before she was shot, they had a commuter marriage. She jetted between her congressional district in Tucson, Arizona, and work in Washington, D.C. He lived in Houston, Texas, where he worked at the space center. This is the first home they bought and live in together.

Another plus: before Giffords was shot, she had a rocky relationship with Kelly's two teenage daughters from a previous marriage.

(on camera): But the sort of tense relationship that you had with your daughters, that's changed.


BASH: So that's a positive that has come out of this tragedy.

KELLY: A lot better.


KELLY: They've also grown up a little bit, too. And, you know, as a family, we've evolved, because of -- certainly, you know, because of what happened. But it's -- so it's brought us all closer together.

BASH (voice-over): Giffords now fully understands that six people died, and thirteen were injured because a deranged young man, Jared Loughner, set out to assassinate her. In fact, she brought him up unsolicited.


BASH: Kelly spoke at his sentencing as Giffords sat stoically, staring Loughner down.

(on camera): To sit in the courtroom and look at the man who shot you through the head, what was that like?


KELLY: Well, yes. He had -- had some interesting expressions on his face.


KELLY: And she did not look away. She stared him...


BASH: Did he look back at you?


BASH: Did you get a sense that there was any kind of remorse, any kind of understanding? Of what he put you through and what he did to the six people who didn't survive?

GABRIELLE GIFFORDS: I'm so sad. Mentally ill.

BASH (voice-over): Newly-released court documents reveal that Loughner's parents knew something was wrong, that he heard voices and exhibited other alarming behavior, and they did not get him help.

(on camera): I'm curious. Have you ever heard from his parents?



BASH: Would you want to?

GABRIELLE GIFFORDS: Mmmm, not really.

KELLY: As a parent, you know, you certainly, on one level, you can empathize with somebody who went through that, where their kid just did this horrific thing.

At the same time, you know, there were indications of his mental illness. The school knew about it; his parents knew about it. And he didn't have -- didn't seem to have a lot of options for good treatment.

BASH (voice-over): Giffords suffered yet another tragedy a few months ago. Her father, Spencer, with whom she had a special bond, died suddenly. He taught her a lot about humor, strength and responsibility, handing her the keys to his tire business when she was just 26 years old.

GLORIA GIFFORDS, GABRIELLE'S MOTHER: You know it would make a difference.


BASH: Giffords' grit and determination also comes from her mother, Gloria, a force of nature, an artist whose home is in the middle of the desert, miles from civilization. You have to go off- road to get there. So many desert rocks that on the way home Kelly got a flat tire.

KELLY: Should lower the tire.

BASH: He took this cell phone video of Giffords, daughter of a tire salesman and expert tire-changer in her own right, out in the dark helping.

GLORIA GIFFORDS: I'm kind of concerned.

BASH: Her bond with her mother is tighter than ever. Gloria Giffords sat by her daughter's hospital bed for countless hours and plays a central role in Giffords's recovery.

And there may be a sliver of hope for Giffords, now age 42, to have a child of her own. When she was shot, she was trying to get pregnant with fertility treatment.

(on camera): You were in the middle of IVF, hoping to have a baby.


BASH: Obviously, the challenges are quite different now.


BASH (voice-over): They still have two frozen embryos, but given Giffords's injuries, they'd likely have to use a surrogate.


KELLY: You know, we talk about it. We talk about it. Haven't made a decision.

BASH: Sure, Giffords has her moments of frustration and anger. But that does not define her.

(on camera): Not resentful?


BASH: How is that possible?

GABRIELLE GIFFORDS: Move ahead. Move ahead. Happy.

BASH: You are happy. Where does it come from? How do you -- how do you keep this kind of optimism, given what you've been through and what you're still going through?

GABRIELLE GIFFORDS: I want to make the world a better place. I want to make the world a better place.


COOPER: Dana Bash joins me now.

Dana, you spent so much time with her. What would you find most interesting in observing her at home?

BASH: I think probably the most interesting is that she clearly understands the conversation going on around her. Sometimes it's very fast-paced conversation. And she comprehends everything, absorbs everything. And then when she wants to engage, she can say something, as you just heard, with one or two words. And she has found a way to express herself with those few words in a way that you and I might use three sentences for. And it's kind of remarkable the way she has figured out how to do that.

The other thing is that, when she feels really comfortable, she will, if she wants to really say something or make a point, and she can't get her word in edgewise, she will put up her hand. And the people around her know, OK, it's time to let her take her time to express what she wants to say. It's a struggle. There is no question about it.

But the fact that she has a purpose, that she's focused on public policy again and politics with regard to new gun legislation, that does seem to be helping her with her progression.

COOPER: And you've got information about her coming to Washington next week?

BASH: That's right. She's going to be in Washington next Tuesday, which just happens to be when the Senate is going to be knee- deep in debate on this gun legislation.

It's a coincidence she is going to come, because there is going to be a dedication for a bust of Gabe Zimmerman, one of the people who died in the assassination attempt of Giffords. He was one of her aides. And so there is a room already dedicated inside the Capitol visitor senator. This will be a bust that was actually made by a local -- a local artist. So she's going to be there already, and they hope that she's going to be able to get to make some remarks in the Senate while she's there.

COOPER: OK. Dana, thanks very much. Fascinating interview.

BASH: Thank you.

COOPER: Up next, an update on our breaking news: late details on the explosive ending to that hostage crisis outside Atlanta.


COOPER: Learning more about the hostage crisis that ended tonight with an explosion and dead gunman about 30 miles outside Atlanta. David Mattingly is on the scene, joins us now with late details and some audio from one of the firefighters being held at gunpoint before this all came to a deadly conclusion.

David, what's the latest? DAVID MATTINGLY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Anderson, this all started out as a routine medical call. The firemen arrived on the scene. Everything looked and seemed like they expected it to be. They took a gurney and their medical equipment inside the house, presumably to treat someone in medical distress. But that is not what they encountered.

And just a few minutes later, this was heard over the radio, via scanner traffic. Listen to what one of the officers -- one of the firefighters was saying to his people back at the station. Listen.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We are in a situation where we have an armed person. And he is requesting certain -- certain utilities to be turned back on at his house. And he is armed, and we are in the room with him.


MATTINGLY: Very calm description of what was a very tense situation for those firemen. Eventually, one of them was let go to move the fire engine from in front of the man's house. But the four there remained inside until the SWAT team came in just a short time ago.

All four of the firemen are in good condition. They had some minor injuries from some of the explosive devices that were used in this operation. The man holding the gun on them was killed in the operation. We don't know if he was shot by officers or if he took his own life. But he also exchanged fire, shooting one of the officers in the hand. That is not a life-threatening injury.

I spoke to someone who lives in this neighborhood, someone who actually knew that man who lived in the house. We're not releasing his name at this point, because the officials are not doing so either.

He was saying that he lived there by himself, that the house was in a bad -- bad shape. It was very dirty inside. He said there was a lot of junk in the yard, and he knew this because he cut the man's grass for three years. He said, though, in spite of the problems that he seemed to be having, he never expected anything like this to happen -- Anderson.

COOPER: All right. David, thanks very much.

Very busy night. Isha is here with a "360 News & Business Bulletin" -- Isha.

ISHA SESAY, HLN ANCHOR: Anderson, at least three people were injured in strong storms, including a confirmed tornado in northern Arkansas tonight. There are reports of overturned vehicles, including an 18-wheeler. And in Van Buren County, at least 20 homes, one business and one church were damaged. And 15 homes were damaged in Izard County. Officials say 20-year-old Dylan Quick, accused of injuring 14 people in a stabbing rampage at Lone Star College, has been forthcoming with investigators. The sheriff's department says he told police he had fantasies of stabbing people since he was 8 years old, and has been planning yesterday's attack for some time. His first court appearance is set for tomorrow.

Record highs on Wall Street again today. The Dow and S&P 500 both closed at new highs. The Dow was up 129 points, closing at 14,802. The S&P closed at 1587.

And scientists say they've learned a lot from the discovery in China of the oldest known collection of fossilized dinosaur embryos. In the study, published in the journal "Nature," scientists say that dinosaurs grew fast and flexed their muscles while still in the egg like modern-day birds do.

We'll be right back.


COOPER: Due to breaking news, we ran out of room for "The RidicuList." Apologies about that. Thanks very much for watching. That does it for us. "THE SITUATION ROOM" begins now.