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ANDERSON COOPER 360 DEGREES
Man Beheads Former Co-Worker and Wounds Another; New Airstrikes in Syria, Iraq; Ferguson Police Chief Angers Protesters
Aired September 26, 2014 - 20:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Good evening. Thanks for joining us.
We begin tonight with a truly horrific crimes set against a very troubling back draft with ISIS beheading westerners on a regular basis. Police in Moore, Oklahoma say that this man beheaded a former co-worker and wounded another at the place he was just fired from.
His name is Alton Nolen. And according to police other former co- workers say that prior to his firing, he had been trying to convert people to Islam. And as you might imagine, this is a potentially explosive story which is why we're taking extra care not to get ahead of the facts, but that of local authorities are telling us and it turn to the FBI for help. They say today's horror ended when a company executive, seen here on the left, who is also an off-duty reserve sheriff's deputy, shot and wounded Nolan. That crucial moment was caught on tape during a 911 call.
Martin Savidge reports.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It sounds like he is running around out here.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: OK.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And that -- that is a gunshot.
MARTIN SAVIDGE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Horror in Oklahoma. Police say a knife-wielding man stormed the offices of Vaughan foods in Moore, killing the first person he saw. 54-year-old Colleen Hufford first stabbing her, then cutting off her head.
SGT. JEREMY LEWIS, MOORE POLICE: He encountered the first victim and began assaulting her with the knife. He did kill Colleen and did sever her head.
SAVIDGE: According to police, the suspect then began attacking a second woman when he was shot and stopped by an armed company executive. Mark Vaughan, son of the company's founder, is also a reserve sheriff's deputy. Officials credit his actions with preventing more deaths.
LEWIS; It definitely got a lot worse. This guy death when he was not going to stop, he didn't stop until he was shot. SAVIDGE: Initially, the attack was described as a work place dispute.
33-year-old Alton Nolen, seen here in a mug shot from a previous arrest had just been fired by the company that day. But the police investigation has turned up some red flags causing some to wonder if there be more of the attack. Authorities believe Nolen converted to Islam and tried to convinced others at work to join him.
LEWIS: After conducting interviews with co-workers of Nolen, information was obtained that he recently tried it -- started trying to convert some of his co-workers to the Muslim religion.
SAVIDGE: Recent calls by the Islamic State asking sympathizers to strike back inside nation's now part of the coalition out to destroy the terrorist's organization had law enforcement agencies across the countries on alert looking for so-called lone Wolf threats. The FBI is now investigating the Oklahoma suspect social media footprint, trying to determine if this vicious deadly rage was inspired by Islamic extremism.
Meanwhile, in Moore, residents would rather focus on Mark Vaughan, the company exec who has put his life on the line for employee. He has been given a promotion from COO to HERO, hero.
COOPER: Martin Savidge joins us now. So the suspect was shot, he survived. Correct?
SAVIDGE: He did survive in fact. And he has been undergoing treatment at a hospital. We were asking authorities if they had a chance to talk to him. Because, of course, he could answer many of these questions immediately. But authorities say he has been sedated. And only now is he coming out of that sedation. So either tonight or tomorrow, they are going to begin asking those questions what motivated him.
COOPER: All right, Marvin Savidge. Appreciate the update.
Joining us now is former FBI and CIA counterterrorism official Philip Mudd and former senior FBI profiler, Mary Ellen O'Toole.
Philip, I mean, you have looked at a lot of these kinds of incidents with these kinds of guys. What was your first impression on this? I mean, does it sound like a pattern of a lone Wolf or does it simply seem like somebody who was deranged and did something incredibly disturbing and brutal?
PHIL MUDD, CNN COUNTERTERRORISM ANALYST: This is to me sounds like somebody who is emotionally deranged. But what I think, if I were still back in my chair at the bureau or the agency is not relevant. You have to proved a negative in this case particularly since we are (INAUDIBLE) in a weekend to strikes in Syria. That is you got to look at his social media, email, friends, who he called. What he was saying around the work place in the last week or two or month or two. You have to before you make an assumption into a fact determine exactly what went on and prove that it was just an emotionally deranged person and not somebody who had some deep or ideological emotion -- motivation.
There is what I think, Anderson, and there is what I know. And I don't know very much at here.
COOPER: And Mary Ellen, even if he had no connection with any group, he obviously, was a convert, apparently, according to others who worked with him and had been trying to convert people. It is very possible that he just watched videos or had seen videos. I mean, this is certainly in the news. The idea of beheadings. Because it is a pretty bizarre way to end up killing somebody.
MARY ELLEN O'TOOLE, FORMER FBI PROFILER: Well, it is very bizarre. And with crimes of violence there can be multiple motivations. So this could end up being a work place violence incident, but it is very influence in this case by what he has recently see all the news was the beheadings.
But he was fired right before this happened. I think that is a very important point. The other important point is he has a history of violence. Because he was spent time in prison, which is where he converted to Islam. So with all that said, it could still be a crime of workplace violence but influenced by what he has seen recently on the news and his own maybe interests or -- yes, interests with the beheadings.
COOPER: Philip, I mean, to your earlier point, given all that has been in the news, given the reality of the war that is happening right now, one cannot discount some sort of connection, some sort of whether it is ideological motivation or simply copycat based on what he seen on television.
MUDD: Anderson, look. Let me be clear here. I think, as I said earlier, he was deranged. But I would guarantee, virtually guarantee, there has to be a connection to what we've seen overseas. I mean, this is such unique experience, that to suggest if there was not a connection between what he did and what we witnessed over the past few weeks in Syria, to me, would be absurd.
The difference, though, is to say whether he was a member of a group or sort of deeply ideologically inspired by a group and was he just a victim of sort of a workplace incident and he saw something that inspired him.
I'd agree with what I heard earlier, by the way just a moment ago. And that is, I saw a lot of terrorists who you would think ideologically inspired, but instead what you saw was emotion. They would see an image, for example, a child killed in Palestine, a child killed in Iraq and now would set them off very quickly to an act of violence, just an image they saw on the Internet.
COOPER: But Mary Ellen, I mean, there has to be something on whether it is this person or anybody who commits a crime like this. There has to be something -- it is not just ideology. There is something within them that pushing them towards doing this to where in their mind. They feel that this is an appropriate thing to do or an OK thing to do. O'TOOLE: No, I would agree with you. We know that there are people
who really have these ideas and these thoughts of violence. In fact, violence is more of a coping behavior. But that kind of thinking in terms of "I'll use violence when I get fired." "I'll use violence if I have a breakup in a relation." That type of ideation starts very early in life and it evolves over time.
This may appear so this individual snapped. But when you go back in his history, you are going to see -- I believe a history of violently overreactions to things that have happened to him in his life. So it is not going to be a simple a equals b, it will be evolutionary, and this is how he handles his anger. But he did not really snap. This is a man who has been angry the past and he has overreacted to whatever has happened to him.
COOPER: And Phil, the difficult in reporting on these kinds I think is you don't -- I mean, the more it is talked about in a way the more it becomes part of the language and perhaps other people will act out in this way.
O'TOOLE: Other people --
COOPER: Sorry, Philip, go ahead.
MUDD: I'm sorry. This is what I would worry about in this case. I remember sitting at the White House and being evacuated 15 years ago in the anthrax attacks. And you know, you sit there back then, that was such a unique experience. I was in the executive office building of the White House and we had anthrax letters coming in. You're saying what is going on here? That was weeks after al-Qaeda that attacked the towers on 9/11, obviously. I was a CIA officer, then, detailed the White House. Five years later, I'm detailed the FBI sitting in morning of threat briefings over the course of year -- 2005, 2006, 2007.
You know what we were getting regularly in the threat briefings regularly? Hoax anthrax letters. So what I worry about when I see a case like this is not just an individual snapping, I worry about the uniqueness of beheadings in a country where we have a lot of emotionally damaged people. And over the course of years, people saying hey, in the case of, you know, work place dismissal, the appropriate response for a deranged person is beheadings. That's what I worry about, copycats.
COOPER: Philip Mudd, I appreciate you being on. Mary Ellen O'Toole, thank you.
More now on the back drop to this all late developments tonight in the air campaign in Syria. New airstrikes to tell you about, senior White House correspondent Jim Acosta joins us with that. Jim, what do we know about the latest airstrikes?
JIM ACOSTA, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, Anderson, I can tell you from talking to a defense official in the last several minutes at these airstrikes that are happening right now are happening in Syria and Iraq and that they are ongoing. They're not being described as part of any major offensive. They're talking about targets of opportunity.
But they are starting to rack up some big numbers when you look at the overall picture, Anderson. The defense secretary Chuck Hagel told the reporters earlier today, they are now over 200 airstrikes as part of the U.S.-led coalition in Iraq and 43 in Syria. And yet, those numbers that we're seeing tonight and the toll is getting even higher.
COOPER: The White House today, they were pressed on the earlier claims that core al-Qaeda has been decimated whether it was in fact true given the most recent threats. Did they stand by the earlier searching that the core al-Qaeda has been decimated?
ACOSTA: They do. And they are splitting some hairs. They are talking about al-Qaeda leaders who are basically stationed in Afghanistan and Pakistan, people like Osama bin Laden. They say that core of al-Qaeda has been decimated. They continue to say that, but they do recognize, Anderson, that offshoots and remnants of al-Qaeda do remain.
Keep in mind this Khorasan group, that is an off shoot of al-Qaeda, that was part of Osama bin Laden's organization in Afghanistan and Pakistan. They have relocated over to Syria where they have found a safe haven. And as we know from -- hearing from officials earlier today that group, the leaders of that group, it is not believed all of them were killed and those airstrikes that targeted them earlier this week. It is believed that some of them have survived. And that is a worrying sign because you heard the FBI director say earlier this week that this is at the top of his list of concerns right now. And they believed that that group was really on the verge of carrying out a major attack against the United States when the airstrikes were hit earlier this week. So they're going to be keeping an eye on this group.
COOPER: All right, Jim Acosta, appreciate the update.
Quick reminder, make sure you set your DVR. You can watch "360" whenever you want.
Coming up next, the closer look at the only vital ally in this fight, the Iraqis themselves. The question is can Iraq's new government, and you see the prime minister there on the left of your screen, can he -- can the government be counted on? Can Iraq even hold together in the Obama administration even talking the right Iraqis? We're keeping them honest with Dexter Filkins and former CA officer analyst Bob Baer.
And later, we will take you right up to the frontlines, Kurdish and ISIS forces meeting embattle and CNN was there broadcasting it all live.
We will be right back.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE REPORTER: ISIS fighters in action. We just saw a trace of fire move across the skyline there. (END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Keeping them honest tonight on what may be this country's biggest challenge defending Iraq from ISIS. Namely, the Iraqi government itself and the Iraqi military. It is a military of the United States equipped, trained and now advises. It is government headed by new prime minister, Haider al-Abadi, that the Obama administration at least publicly endorses loudly.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOHN KERRY, SECRETARY OF STATE: Let me congratulate you on the formation of the government and your assumption of the responsibilities as prime minister.
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I have been very impressed with Prime Minister Abadi's vision.
MARIE HARF, STATE DEPARTMENT SPOKESWOMAN: We have commended Prime Minister Abadi for taking in to account the views of all the political blocks.
OBAMA: We are also encouraged about his willingness to reach out and work with other countries in the region.
KERRY: We're delighted and looking very, very closely together.
OBAMA: We're grateful for your willingness to take on this leadership mantle in such a critical time in your country's history.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Now, Keeping them Hones, though, some of that phrase appears premature. He is off to a pretty shaky start. Parliament rejected his choices to head the defense and interior ministers unlike secretaries on interior here, interior ministers in Iraq run the police and intelligence agencies, crucial, obviously.
So the top -- the two most important ministries during a counter insurgency is currently a vacuum and it certainly shows. Soldiers who survived the recent ISIS attack outside Fallujah told our Ben Wedeman that their commanders who are either enable or unwilling to rescue, resupply or even answer their pleas for help.
Remember, all of this happened about a half hour's drive from Baghdad. As for the prime minister, he spent a week in New York, with the U.N. general assembly where in addition to meeting with President Obama and making his debut on the global stage, he also set off a full pledge terror scare.
Speaking to reporters yesterday, you may remember he said that his country had received credible intelligence of an ISIS plot. I'm quoting now "there are networks planning from inside Iraq have attacks, they point to have attacks on the metros of Paris and the U.S."
American officials first said they had no evidence to substantiate what he said, then spent the rest of the day doing damage control, including on this program.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BRETT MCGURK, DEPUTY ASSISTANT SECRETARY OF STATE FOR IRAQ AND IRAN: I think what the prime minister was discussing today information streams who are always out there. And then we have to work very closely to assess the veracity. But he was quite clear with me and the vice president that there was no specific and credible threat to United States based upon this information.
COOPER: Just to be clear, though, that is not what the prime minister of Iraq said publicly. The Prime Minister of Iraq said and he said he had received accurate reports from Baghdad of arrests of French and Americans who were plotting attacks on metros in Paris and the United States. Just to be accurate, you're just saying what he was saying was absolutely not true?
MCGURK: What he told us was that the veracity of this information has to be as assessed. And I think the Iraqis put out a statement in that regard as well. And we are actively working with them as we do daily. What I think the prime minister was getting at as I understand it, of course, he will speak for himself but in the very detailed conversation we had, is that here we are in New York and the entire world is coming together united against ISIL.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: That last part about uniting against ISIS gained credence today when Great Britain, Denmark and Belgium joined the coalition. Even Russia today offered support to Iraq in the fight. The big question remains though, how committed is Iraq actually saving Iraq? It is a question with a lot riding on and I put it directly to Pentagon spokesman rear admiral John Kirby who I spoke to earlier.
COOPER: Admiral Kirby, a base, some 25 miles from Baghdad has fallen to ISIS. More than a hundred Iraqi troops at least were killed perhaps as many as 300. And the Iraqis soldiers who survived said that their calls to their generalship, their leadership were basically not answered. That help was not sent. That they were basically yet again abandoned.
We heard this time and time again. At what point does something begin to change within the Iraqi military, replacing these corrupt generals or these generals who frankly have no battlefield experience?
REAR ADM. JOHN KIRBY, PENTAGON PRESS SECRETARY: One of the things we have been working on is trying to get an advising mission, get up and going here with the Iraqi security forces. No question, Anderson, that since 2011 when we left, the Iraqi army was not properly led, properly resourced, properly supplied, properly trained. And we know that.
Prime Minister Maliki squandered the opportunity that he was given back then. And so, getting them more capable and competence, it is going to take a long time. It also is going to have to take a good government in Baghdad. And Prime Minister Abadi I think is well aware of that challenge that he has in the regard. But this is ultimately their army. They are going to have to do that.
COOPER: And it is all riding on that. I mean, if they fail to do that short of U.S. ground forces in or some coalition ground forces in, or some other force, unless the Iraqi military itself is able to reform, is able to stand up and fight it is a lost cause.
KIRBY: Well, you're absolutely right. They have got to do this. They have got to make this their fight. It is their campaign. And they have to step up to this very real challenge they're facing.
Commander-in-chief has been very clear that there is not going to be a return on the ground of the U.S. forces in the combat role. The ground forces that matter are the Iraqi ground forces and in Syria eventually, the moderate Syrian opposition that can fight. They have to take on that responsibility. We are willing to help them and advise them and try to rebuild some of the competence and confidence that they lost since 2011, but they have to take responsibility for this.
COOPER: Do you really have confidence, though, in the new government? I mean, I know the prime minister said, you know, publicly a lot of the right things about reaching out to Sunnis, he has even disciplined one or two generals. But he is from the same party as Nouri al- Maliki. It is not as if he comes from -- I mean, a lot of people say look, he is essentially come from the same cloth or at least the same party.
KIRBY: NO. Sure, we have heard that criticism. But look, you have got to start somewhere and you have to give somebody the benefit of the doubt. Everything he has done so far, everything he said so far leads us to believe he is on the right path. And that he really does want an inclusive government that is representative of all Iraqis. And that is our expectation of him. And we have made that clear. But look, he is just getting started. He is just getting up and going. We're willing to help. We made that clear. We need to start working with him.
COOPER: Admiral Kirby, appreciate your time. Thank you.
KIRBY: My pleasure. Thank you.
COOPER: I want to dig deeper now with two people of deep and broad experience in the region, the "New Yorker" magazines Dexter Filkins, who just wrote a very powerful piece on the problems in Iraq and former CIA officer Bob Baer who recent been serving as (INAUDIBLE) of the Obama administration on the conflict with ISIS. So Dexter, the people you talked to Iraq, do they expect, I mean, the
Kurds you talked to and others, do they actually expect this prime minister to be able to accomplish what Maliki did not, or undo what Maliki did?
DEXTER FILKINS, THE NEW YORKER: Well, that is a really big question. I think people hope he is not as sectarian as Maliki. But when you look at what he faces -- I mean, he lost a third of the country. And the Iraqi army is in no shape to go in there. And so --
COOPER: Right. They just lost a base 25 miles from Baghdad that they could not resupply.
FILKINS: Yes. And I mean, and you have tens of thousands of Iraqis soldiers and police just disappearing. And then they have not come back. And so, that is really toll order. And the other thing he is going to do is keep the Kurds in the country and they want to leave. So I mean, just to kind of hold it together, like what he has inherited, that is going to be hard enough.
COOPER: Bob, what about you? The people you have been talking to -- I mean, this is the guy who is from the same party as Maliki. It is not as if he is, you know, come from some other place. He is, a lot of people say, cut from the same cloth.
ROBERT BAER, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: Anderson, I talk a lot to the Sunnis, especially the Sunni tribes in Anbar and Diala (ph) and (INAUDIBLE) provinces. And the four major tribes there told me explicitly, that they think Abadi is just as bad as Maliki.
BAER: Yes. They don't like him. They see no change. They are complaining that the army still shelling in Fallujah, civilian targets.
COOPER: And these are people -- you say you're talking to are the critical ones in order to get them to stop working with ISIS to really support the central government. I mean, if anything is going to change it is critical to get the Sunnis on board.
BAER: Well, Anderson, exactly. But these people led ISIS into Anbar province, or at least set it out. But they are saying they're not going back. It is partition or nothing. They said ISIS will be gone in a year or two. It will collapse under its own weight. But they will not work with the government in Baghdad.
COOPER: And Dexter, I mean, I was just reading your article in 'New Yorker" which is fascinating. Anyone hasn't read it, it should be essential reading because you spent a lot of time in the Kurdish north. And you know, when we look at this from the west, we think everybody is on the same page. It is all about defeating ISIS. But when you talk to the Kurds, yes, they want to defeat ISIS in the areas that -- where their troops are, but they want break away. They want their own country. And they see themselves now in a prime position to do that. They're not about rescuing the central government in Baghdad, a government which has basically cheated them out of billions of dollars of oil revenues.
FILKINS: Yes. I mean, look, they felt they will fight ISIS in so far as it is necessary to keep ISIS out of the Kurdish areas. But they're not going to push them into the other areas. No way. I mean, they want out. And you know, they are sitting on the ocean of oil. I mean, this is -- look, this is one of the great ironies of the war. You have this ocean of chaos, which is the Middle East. And right in the middle of it is this island that is pro-western, reasonably democratic and reasonably prosperous.
COOPER: Right, the Kurds have done everything the United States has asked over those and more over the last, you know, decade.
FILKINS: Including doing a lot of fighting for Americans and helping out during the war.
COOPER: Yes. I mean, you read your article and it is very hard to see how Iraq stays together. To Bob's point about Iraq kind of being finished as one single country.
FILKINS: It seems that way. I mean, you know, the trouble for the Kurds is they're sitting on a lot of oil, but it is a land-locked country. So they have to get that oil out and they're basically surrounded by a lot of countries that don't want them to be independent.
COOPER: Bob, I know you have been advising people in the U.S. government. You have been trying to sort of talk to I guess as many people as you can. I mean, you told the administration that essentially they're talking to the wrong Sunnis. Who should they be talking to? Who should they be dealing with?
BAER: Well, Anderson, yes, I have sent a couple of memos to the government, one ended up Obama's desk. I don't know that he read it. But the point is, the Sunnis they are talking to are living in Baghdad, that there are Sunnis that were close to Maliki. Some of them were from the first awakening. But there has been a second generation of Sunnis who completely (ph) repudiated that generation once it sold out the Baghdad as they describe it. And the administration is we're just talking to the wrong people.
COOPER: I just don't understand, Dexter, where the Iraqi soldiers are. Because, I mean, I know they were supposed to be 250,000, and I heard estimates that maybe half of that force is actually viable. But where even -- where are the viable troops if 25 miles from Baghdad, they cannot resupply hundreds of troops who are being besieged and ultimately get killed.
FILKINS: You know, the thing about Baghdad, this was during Saddam's time, it is basically a Shiite city but it is surrounded by towns which are Sunni. And so, ISIS has supporters very, very close to Baghdad and they basically ruin the city.
COOPER: Dexter, it is good to have you here. And again, the article in "New Yorker," it is just fantastic on the Kurds. Bob Baer, great to have you on, thanks. Well, up next, CNN cameras captured incredible firefight between ISIS
fighters and Kurdish forces along the Syrian-Turkish border. Our correspondent Phil Black was just yards away (INAUDIBLE), coming up.
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: Breaking news tonight, new airstrikes on targets in Iraq and Syria. In the meantime, from the ground we have some pretty remarkable video to show you of a firefight on the Iraqi/Syrian border today. Kurdish forces taking in ISIS fighters with CNN's Phil Black right there along watching it all. Take a look.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PHIL BLACK, CNN CORRESPONDENT: An extraordinary scene, dusk is falling here on the Syrian border, ISIS fighters in action with a trace of fire move across the skyline there. Something of an ooh and an ah from the crowd here. This crowd of Turkish and Kurds brothers fighting.
They will be cheering them on the other side. We can see they are still receiving incoming fire and it is that position, that the photojournalist has seen ISIS fighters take casualties, take hits.
ISIS has been making progress, a few more miles each day. What you're seeing is traces of fire moving into that line that is currently occupied by ISIS forces. And around me, the Kurdish crowd is cheering. Take a listen.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: And Phil Black joins us. Now, it is remarkable that you were that close to the fight. Was there any sign of U.S. or coalition aircraft in that area?
BLACK: No, Anderson, there wasn't nor has there been throughout the last week or so, ISIS forces have been making an advance through that northern region of Syria, and it has been noted by the Kurdish fighters who are resisting them on the ground and the many tens of thousands, almost hundreds of thousands of refugees that this advance has triggered.
These are the big hordes, the exodus, if you like, of local Kurds from Northern Syria that had moved into Turkey because of this progress that ISIS is making through this region. They have all been asking us, where are the coalition airstrikes?
They believe the coalition must strike to stop what they very strongly believe is an imminent massacre by ISIS of the remaining Kurds in this region.
COOPER: How secure is that border area?
BLACK: Well, it is about as secure as a border can be given that Syrian refugees constantly move backwards and forwards. It is strongly believed that most of the foreign fighters in Syria have made their way by Turkey, as well.
Despite that, the fact that it is very porous. You have the humanitarian traffic going one way, the fighters going the other. There is a very strong military presence by the Turkish military all the way along the border.
Regular patrols, a lot of armed, well dug in, well-fortified locations, as well. So there is a strong security presence. But it is not in any way focused on the conflict that is taking place just across the border. And really, it is getting closer to the border by the day.
COOPER: All right, Phil Black, appreciate the reporting, be careful, thank you. It has been a year since al Qaeda-linked militant targeted a shopping center in Nairobi, Kenya. It was all caught on security camera. It has now been made into a compelling documentary.
Tonight CNN presents, the HBO documentary "Terror at the Mall" right at the top of the hour. And there has been more on the tensions in Ferguson, Missouri, the police chief that went to talk to the protesters may have done more harm than good. We'll tell you what he said. We'll give you a live update from Ferguson next.
Also ahead, the latest on the manhunt for a suspected cop killer in Pennsylvania, after two weeks police have not been able to find him. They have found more clues.
COOPER: Welcome back. Ferguson's police chief tried to walk and talk with protesters last night and let's just say it kind of went sideways. Earlier in the day, Chief Thomas Jackson issued a video apology to Michael Brown's parents for the fact that the unarmed teenager's body had not been moved out of the street for hours after Officer Darrin Wilson shot and killed him.
As protesters gather in Ferguson last night, Chief Jackson went out to talk to them, but things got tensed. Stephanie Elam reports.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What do you mean?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I mean, what do you want? Talk to me.
STEPHANIE ELAM, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It was supposed to be the Ferguson police chief's so-called apology tour.
CHIEF THOMAS JACKSON, FERGUSION POLICE DEPARTMENT: I have been wanting to apologize.
ELAM: A time to say sorry to the community for how his department handled the shooting death of Michael Brown by Officer Darrin Wilson in early August. But instead, Chief Thomas Jackson was outside of police headquarters defending himself against calls for his resignation. JACKSON: All I have to say is this is a (inaudible) tragedy, we all know that. And I'm sorry, and I said it from my heart. You don't have to accept it. That came from my heart. I had to get that off my chest. That has been sitting there for two months.
We have increased training and awareness. We have to get out in the community. We've got to change our court system and our ticketing system. We have to change our fine system. No, I'm seriously -- this is where the mistrust is coming from. (Inaudible), isn't that right?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That is coming from your department.
JACKSON: And all of those things (inaudible) -- causing mistrust.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Up until yesterday -- change.
ELAM: And then, considering all that has gone on in this town during recent weeks, Jackson said the nearly unthinkable.
JACKSON: Do we have a lynch mob?
ELAM: A lynch mob? With the temperature then raised a scuffle broke out behind him.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Stop it, I was talking next to the chief. He knocked me down. We're not doing anything.
ELAM: In the end, several people were arrested, but there is one man who was not there. Devin James, the man behind the Ferguson Police Department's recent public relations outreach. Up until yesterday when he was fired by the St. Louis Development Partnership, which had hired him to handle community relations in the region before Brown's death.
His firing came after a local newspaper reported that James was convicted of reckless homicide in 2006 for killing an unarmed man. James said he acted in self defense as the victim had broken into his home.
DEVIN JAMES, THE DEVIN JAMES GROUP: Being a government contractor, there is a high level of scrutiny, they typically do background checks. We always disclose this on the front end because the risk is that you will get fired if you don't disclose it. So we had those conversations initially and that is one of the things they thought was beneficial.
ELAM: Ferguson Mayor James Knowles stands by Devin James saying Ferguson will continue to work with him, even as some argue that the optics are flawed for a town already in turmoil.
COOPER: Stephanie Elam joins me now from Ferguson. So we are learning that the Department of Justice sent the Ferguson chief two letters this week. What did they say? ELAM: Right, two letters addressing two different issues, but the things that we heard about here in Ferguson, the first one addressing complaints that some police officers were not wearing name tags. And this letter, basically saying that remaining anonymous undermines their ability to do their job with the community.
The other letter also talked a bit about those arm bands that we've heard about. The "I am Officer Darrin Wilson," obviously that is the man who shot and killed Mike Brown.
They are saying that they're suggesting that those arm bands not be allowed for police officers to wear when they are in uniform. And that's what they would like to see now happen as they work to repair relationships here in Ferguson, and obviously, Anderson, they still have a road to go.
COOPER: Stephanie Elam, appreciate it. Thanks.
A short time ago, I spoke to St. Louis Alderman, Antonio French and Neil Bruntrager, general counsel for the St. Louis Police Officer's Association.
COOPER: Antonio, you were in Ferguson last night when the police chief addressed the public there. What did you make of his comments?
ANTONIO FRENCH, ST. LOUIS ALDERMAN: So I thought his comments were heartfelt. I think the chief thought he was doing the right thing by coming out and talking to the protesters directly. But I think it is another example of how he misread the situation.
And then didn't convey the information to his officers when he went out into the crowd and as a result, we saw a confrontation and violence when there did not need to be some.
COOPER: Neil, what about that? It does seem like the chief's presence last night did make an already tense situation worse.
NEIL BRUNTRAGER, ST. LOUIS POLICE OFFICERS ASSOCIATION: You know, the problem that we have when we look at this is that there is a mea culpa. There is a person who is coming out saying, look, there have been mistakes made.
The interesting thing about this and I'm not going to cast an opinion on whether or not that is a sincere or a heartfelt one. I don't know the man. My assumption has to be that he means it when he says it.
And so you have to start with that. Really since August 9th, he has almost had no role. I know that he has been the focus of a lot of attention, but he has almost had no roles.
COOPER: Well, I guess, Neil, then if he has had no role since the very beginning, why did it take him seven weeks to come forward with some form of apology? He has been saying, you know, he's been incredibly busy. Every day there's been a new challenge. There have been something going on. That's what he said in the CNN interview. Essentially he has been side lined. Did it really take seven weeks to kind of realize, OK, maybe it would be good to come forward and address people?
BRUNTRAGER: I have to wonder about the timing question, Anderson. I agree with you. Why now? I don't know the answer. But I will tell you and I'm sure Antonio will agree with me when I say this, the attitude in the region is one, there is a pall that's over the region.
I mean, people are thinking about this every day. I mean, it is part of our everyday lives and it takes a toll on a lot of different levels. Is it perhaps now just to the point where in the weariness now that is created in the situations, has it now gotten to the point where they think it is now time for a mea culpa? I don't know.
FRENCH: And Anderson, I would say too that the chief's misreading of the timing, the question is why now? This is the second time he has misread the timing. The first, of course, is when he chose the unfortunate time of when he released Darren Wilson's name to also release an unrelated video of a reported theft by Mike Brown. That timing led to a riot that night. And again, his timing led to another act of violence last night.
BRUNTRAGER: Anderson, let me if I could, let me chime in on that. You know, I don't think it is fair to blame the violence on him. If he is coming out and saying, I'm sorry and that somehow results in people responding in a violent manner, I am hard pressed to say --
FRENCH: But that is not what I'm saying.
BRUNTRAGER: It is not how it happened last night. I mean, again, he went out to the crowd in an effort to talk to them. The crowd responded and there were some people who responded violently. And again I can't put that -- say that that is his fault.
FRENCH: What happened is he decided to come out with the crowd and engage them, and they asked him to march with them, he did, he agreed. They asked for him alone to march. He agreed, came out and marched.
And apparently he did not convey those orders or that conversation to his officers, and when his officers tried to come into the crowd with him that is when the pushing and shoving started and the situation got violent.
COOPER: It does seem on the other hand, Antonio, it does seem as if the police chief is damned if he does or doesn't, goes out and addresses the crowd, altercations result. He gets criticized if he chooses to go out or not go out and march with the crowd, and people say look, he is not communicating with us. He is not reaching out to us.
FRENCH: Yes, I agree. I think it is a case where he is damned if he does or doesn't. I think the relationship with this particular chief and the community is irreparable, which is why I think he should resign. If this city is going to move forward, unfortunately, I don't think he can continue to serve as chief.
COOPER: Antonio French, I appreciate it. Neil Bruntrager, thanks very much.
COOPER: Coming up tonight, two weeks into the search for the suspected cop killer in rural Pennsylvania. What police think they know about the man from objects they found in the woods as well as on the computer.
Also stranded passengers in O'Hare, seeing chaos, more than a thousand flights cancelled. We'll tell you what caused the massive traffic jam.
COOPER: In crime and punishment tonight, the search goes on in Pennsylvania for the suspect in the shooting death of one state trooper and the wounding of another. An attack that police say they now think he had planned it for years.
Police say they think that Eric Frein is still in a wooded area in the Pocono Mountains, but he has alluded capture for two weeks now. Investigators are getting new clues from the suspect's computer as well as what they are finding in the woods as they search for him.
Alexandra Field joins me now. So what's the latest?
ALEXANDRA FIELD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Anderson, while the physical search is still going on out here tonight, there is also a parallel investigation that is helping us understand a little more about Eric Frein.
As for the hard drive, they're getting a lot of answers. It shows that Frein researched a great deal of time researching police manhunt, law enforcement techno and survival technologies. They are looking into purchases that Eric Frein made before going on the run.
They wonder if any of those purchases could have been used to build the bunker. They haven't found the bunker, but more alarmingly, they tell us that their investigation has shown them that Frein had been experimenting with developing homemade explosives.
It is one reason as the police conduct an aggressive search, they're told to approach with caution. They believe there could be booby traps behind them.
COOPER: We also heard that Frein called his parents, do we know when that happened?
FIELD: Yes, that is a pivotal moment in this investigation. We're told that the here Frein phoned his parents, but that he hung up after it rang just one time. What is not clear is whether or not he made that phone call with the hopes of luring police here to his position or whether he decided to hang up fearing it would do just that. COOPER: The police were very clear today and they addressed Frein directly saying they will find him. I mean, are they any closer?
FIELD: Yes, they continue to insist that they have every confidence he is in this area based on a few things they have seen. The repeated reported sightings of Frein, on top of this they tell us as they go through the wooded areas, they're finding some structures.
There are a lot of abandoned empty structures here, they're now seeing signs the structures have been tampered with. When you put the pieces together along with supplies left out in the woods it is enough for police to believe they're in the right location.
But if you talk to police in the community nobody thought it would take this amount of time to find somebody hiding in the woods.
COOPER: And they already found the AK-47 that he had with him, but they believed he still has that other rifle?
FIELD: Right, they believe he is armed and dangerous. They found the AK-47. They also found cigarettes, which they believe are his and Anderson, they tell us that they found adult diapers, and he was studying techniques so that he could stay stationary for a long time.
They really believe this is a suspect who wanted to engage in some sort of game with law enforcement and that the running and hiding are a part of this game. But everyone wants to see it come to an end.
COOPER: All right, Alexandra Field, thank you very much.
The suspect in the disappearance of missing UVA student, Hannah Graham is no longer in Texas. We'll tell you where he is now and why the search zone could be changing next.
COOPER: A lot more we're following let's check in with Randi Kaye in the 360 Bulletin -- Randi.
RANDI KAYE, CNN INVESTIGATIVE CORRESPONDENT: Anderson, a travel nightmare, nearly 2,000 flights were cancelled in Chicago today. It all started when a fire broke out at an air traffic control center, shutting down operations. Police say a contractor set the fire and then tried to kill himself. He now faces federal charges.
The suspect in the disappearance of a University of Virginia student back in Charlottesville tonight after extradition from Texas. Jesse Matthews was arrested in Galveston County on Wednesday. Hannah Graham vanished nearly two weeks ago. Investigators say the search zone could expand to cover 1300 miles, the distance between Virginia and Texas.
A 360 follow now, a former Montana high school teacher convicted of raping a student, was re-sentenced today for nearly ten years in prison. You may recall the original judge came under fire for only Stacey Rambolt a 31-day sentence and making it seem like the victim was to blame for the attack, the victim committed suicide.
North Korea's leader hasn't been seen in public for three weeks even missing a key meeting Thursday. State television reports Kim Jong-Un is suffering from discomfort, no more specifics were given.
And in tonight's "American Journey," retiring New York Yankees shortstop, Derek Jeter, playing in his last game at Yankee Stadium last night. Hit a game winning single in the bottom of the ninth, a storybook ending, a lot of folks are going to miss seeing him play for sure.
COOPER: No doubt about that. Randi, thanks very much. That does it for us. The HBO documentary "Terror at the Mall" starts now.