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Egypt Launched Second Wave of Airstrikes on ISIS; Terror in Denmark; Islamists Threatening Artists and Journalists; Lars Vilks Talks about Copenhagen Attack; Crude Oil Fire in West Virginia; Boston Overwhelmed with Snow; Confession of Chris Kyle's Killer Played in Court

Aired February 16, 2015 - 20:00   ET


ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Good evening. Thanks for joining us.

A freight train carrying crude oil has gone off the tracks, it's burning out of control right now, it's happening in Southern Virginia. The governor there has declared a state of emergency. You see the fireball right there. We're working to get as much information as we can on this breaking story. We're going to bring you the latest details shortly.

Also tonight, a dangerous night on the road in places where snow rarely falls, like it's falling tonight.

That and even more snow in New England. We'll have the latest on all of it.

We begin though, with yet another country joining the battle against ISIS. Drowning to it by yet another ISIS horror chef (ph). Egypt bombing ISIS targets in Libya for a second time late today, after the kidnapping, beheading of 21 Egyptian Christians there. This is from one of those ISIS propaganda videos; the victims being led on do the beach to their death.

Barbara Starr joins us now from the Pentagon with the latest of this airstrike. What kind of new targets, where there actually going after, do we know?


The Egyptian government is saying it went after a number of ISIS targets, training camps, other ISIS facilities in and around the Eastern Libya City of Derna. This is a well-known stronghold of militants in Libya. Now they say they are ISIS. They are clearly adherence to ISIS. At this point, we don't know if they're central members of the ISIS organization. Egypt also denied in any claims that there were civilian casualties, saying the strikes were surgical and precise against very specific targets that they went after earlier today. Anderson.

COOPER: But I want to be clear, that's coming from the Egyptian government, not U.S. officials, or outside information, correct? STARR: Yes, that's right. I mean, I think it's exactly what you

would expect the Egyptians to say at this point. They have no evidence of civilian casualties, and that they took great care to be surgical, you know, this is a case where we will see if there are any credible claims, sort of emerge in the coming hours and days.

COOPER: Right. We should point out we don't have people on the ground obviously there due to security concerns.

Is there any indication, Barbara, that these strikes are the beginning of a wider campaign against ISIS targets in Libya by Egypt?

STARR: Well perhaps so, the Egyptian government making it very clear how very angry it is at this mass murder of 21 Christian Egyptian men who went into Libya looking for work, very low-wage work. The Egyptian government, moving very quickly to begin these airstrikes. The question is going to be, as our own Ian Lee has pointed out, how long can the Egyptian military keep it up. They have some limited stocks of bombs and the kinds of emission that they need to drop to get after these targets and destroy them. The question is going to be, are they going to need resupply. Is that resupply going to come from the United States?

COOPER: It's also interesting to try to understand how much direct connection these groups in Libya have to ISIS central, if you want to call that, operating in Iraq, operating in Syria. I understand, the U.S. is looking into who carried out this latest killing.

STARR: Well, that's exactly right. You know, as far as this take goes, they are looking very closely frame by frame especially at a man in the center of the tape. He's wearing camouflage. Not the type of black loose-fitting gear that you see others in the tape wearing. So they're looking to see who he might be, why he speaks such good English. But also, is this a sign that ISIS fundamentally is expanding to Libya, and there are signs of them or their adherence also in places like Yemen, Afghanistan, and Pakistan. Anderson.

COOPER: Yes. Barbara Starr, appreciate the update. We're obviously not showing the video. But you look at that spill image of all those people lined up in a beach, you see a man burned alive earlier. You watch one Arab country after another bombing ISIS and listen to cleric Sunni and Shia condemning ISIS. They prod a prayers and you might have asked yourself, what the terror group actually hopes to achieve, signally without a single ally elsewhere in the world. The answer, maybe just to terrifies the harsh they create.

Joining us "New York Times" David Kirkpatrick, and CNN National Security Analyst Peter Bergen, who's just written an item for about the kind of war that ISIS hopes to start.

So, David, these killings, what's the reaction been like on the ground in Egypt?

DAVID KIRKPATRICK, THE NEW YORK TIMES REPORTER: Well, it's very, very morose. I think a cloud is really hanging over the whole country. I feel like anywhere in the country you walk into a room you're going to see people looking a little bit hang-dog today. It's just -- it's such a shocking thing to see not only the loss of life, but a killing in this way. This kind of yet, gruesome theatrical brutality really takes a toll on people.

COOPER: Peter, it's hard to understand, I think, for a lot of people what ISIS is hoping to achieve with these kind of killings. I mean, if you're looking from at it rationally, you might think that they would try to get support across the Middle East, rather than what it seems like they're doing, which is alienating themselves and growing a list of enemies.

PETER BERGEN, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: Yes. Means it's not an effective strategy to keep adding to your list of enemies. And now we've added -- ISIS has added the Egyptians, previously the Jordanians, the United States, and a very large coalition, pretty much every ethnic and religious group in Syria and Iraq. And so from a rational point of view, so what's the point here.

But when you think about it in the way they think about the world, they really believe that we're living in the end times, a sort of apocalyptic view, that the final battle for the soul of Islam is being played out. And in fact, their English language magazine is called "Dabiq" which is town in Syria which the Prophet Muhammad said would be the place where the final battle between Islam and the crusaders would take place.

And, you know, ISIS has that town. And in their view, that final battle is coming, too. So they don't really -- they're not behaving in a way a rational group would. They're behaving in a way of sort of an apocalyptic death cult in some would called them. And I think that's a very good way describing them.

COOPER: An apocalyptic death cult. So in -- if they're thinking about the world in those terms, Peter, the people that they are actually trying to reach out to, I mean, this kind of brutality, this kind of horror in terms of gaining new recruits, I mean, that's what it's all about. It's not about attracting a mass audience.

BERGEN: I guess not. I mean, you know, you have thought that it would repeal a lot of people. But even in the United States, we've seen, you know, teenagers in Colorado and teenagers in Chicago trying to join the Islamic state. Luckily, they were, you know, headed off at the airport before they could do that. But the point is, is that, you know, in some people's mind, the Islamic state is creating the perfect caliphate, despite all this terrible violence. And that -- you know, that accounts for the fact that they're the most successful terrorist group in terms of recruitment arguably in the modern era.

COOPER: David, I mean, in terms of Libya itself, I think a lot of people kind of haven't, maybe paid that much attention to it, since the Benghazi attacks, certainly even since Gaddafi was overthrown. How chaotic now has it become?

KIRKPATRICK: You know, the funny thing is, there's still money there. There's still Libyan Central Bank with about $100 billion in cash reserves, and it continue to pump out money to civil servants, to teachers, to doctors, to municipal workers. So the country continues to grind on in a way, even though there's been a total collapse of authority. You know, each little city is its own city state now. And each town is controlled by its own militia. And what we -- what we have really are two coalitions of militia. And that's all it is. There is no central authority in either one, really, fighting against each other for control of the country, ultimately for that bank.

COOPER: Peter, is there an understanding how -- or among people you talk to, how much the ISIS affiliates in Libya are connected with core ISIS in Iraq, in Syria?

BERGEN: Well, I think the beheadings of these Egyptian cops actually points to a rather tight relationship. Because in this English language magazine, "Dabiq" we saw pictures of these prisoners. And then we saw this video from ISIS central. And to me, that indicates that there are very much in touch with the folks in Libya. Of course, go back to the first Iraq war, Anderson, you know, the United States found that the largest number of foreign fighters that went into Iraq by overwhelming numbers was from eastern Libya, the very place where this is all playing out. So that link between eastern Libya and Iraq and Al Qaeda in Iraq has been there for almost a decade.

COOPER: David, is that what you're hearing as well from deeply talk to either Egypt or elsewhere about the connection?

KIRKPATRICK: Yes, especially in Derna in eastern Libya. As I understand it, you know, there are now three different groups around Libya who have pledged loyalty to this Islamic state. The group in Derna is actually, I think, partially or largely a group of returnees who have been fighting with the Islamic state in Syria. So that's -- that's an especially connected group. I'm not sure how deep the connection goes in Tripoli of Kenya where these people were apparently executed in the western part of the country.

COOPER: David Kirkpatrick, I appreciate you joining us, and Peter Bergen as well, thank you.

COOPER: Well, coming up next, another act of terror, another city in Europe, another possible connection to ISIS being investigated. We're going to go Copenhagen where police killed a gunman after his deadly rampage at a free speech meeting and outside a synagogue.

Also our breaking news, we'll talk to people on the scene of that tanker train explosion, which not only shot flames high into the air, but also caught part of a local river on fire.


COOPER: A 40,000 people got together this evening to say they are not afraid. The gathering in Copenhagen, Denmark, outside the first of on a killing rampage, on the side of conference on free speech where filmmaker was killed and three officers were injured.

Hours later, the would-be terrorist then went on to a synagogue where he shot and killed the guard there. He was later gunned down by police. And people were been gathering outside all day and all evening leaving flowers, paying respect in both locations.

Late today, President Obama's spoke with Denmark prime minister offering condolences and expressed solidarity with the Danish people. As in Paris, the killer, Omar Al Hossain was apparently motivated by radical Islam, and perhaps by ISIS in particular, targeting people who speak out against it and targeting Jewish people.

In a moment you'll hear from one of the intended targets. This time a Swedish cartoonist who is on Al Qaeda's hit list who says for him, there's now no way out. First have a latest terrible episode unfolding.


COOPER(voice-over): Saturday, just after 3:30 in the afternoon, a free speech forum interrupted by this.

INNA SHEVCHENKO, UKRAINIAN FEMINIST PROTEST GROUP FEMEN MEMBER: Yes, it is freedom of speech. But at a turning point is but -- why do we still say but, when we -- [ gunfire ]

COOPER: CNN cannot authenticate the recording obtained by the "BCC". But on it, more than 20 shots occurred. Fifty-five year old filmmaker, Finn Noergaard is killed, three officers injured. The assumed target, cartoonist Lars Vilks, his on Al Qaeda's most wanted list for his satirical drawings of the Prophet Muhammad.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It was a bang, bang, bang, and very quickly we could understand that something was going on. The bodyguards they immediately became active and they rushed up to the scene and took me on -- threw me into a storage room, together with a chairman. And we were put under a table there. And we were guarded by policemen withdrawn guns.

COOPER: Surveillance cameras show the suspect fling the scene. A manhunt is launched. Police say they're familiar with the suspect.

A little over nine hours later, on a Sunday morning, another attack. Shots fired outside a synagogue. Matte Bentow was inside celebrating her daughter's bat mitzvah, when the guests were taken to a safe room.

MATTE BENTOW, HID DURING SYNAGOGUE SHOOTING: We were 40 -- 30, 40 people, a lot of them the guest children, 15 children, a lot of them without their parents there. Classmates of my daughter. And a lot of them were crying, and panicking.

COOPER: Out on the sidewalk, two police officers are wounded. 37- year-old volunteer guard and basketball fan, Dan Uzan, is shot in the head and killed. The shooter evades police again.

HELLE THORNING-SCHMIDT, DANISH PRIME MINISTER: We stand here in front of the Jewish synagogue in Copenhagen. We are devastated today. A man has lost his life in his service of that synagogue. And we are devastated. Our thoughts goes to his family. We are with them today. But our thoughts go to the whole of the Jewish community today. COOPER: Police finally manage to corner the suspect just before 5:00

a.m. outside this apartment complex. Police say he opens fire. They fire back, killing him.

THORNING-SCHMIDT: Denmark was hits by terrorism. Two innocent people have lost their lives. And five police officers are injured. The pictures and accounts of these events will not easily be forgotten in Denmark.


COOPER: Nor should they be. And this bring us up to the minute for more with the investigation revealing about the killings, as well as the killer's possible allegiances. We're joined by Justice Correspondent Pamela Brown in Denmark. What is the latest with the investigation?

PAMELA BROWN, CNN JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: Well, Anderson, we know from authorities that the suspect had been on Danish authorities' radar for a while because of his gang ties. But it's becoming increasingly clear that he also had extremist ties. In fact, just before the shooting here last weekend he apparently posted his allegiance, pledged his allegiance to ISIS on his Facebook page.

Also, we spoke to a former classmate of his, a recent classmate who said that he is vows anti-west views in class. We learned today that he had been released from jail, just a couple of weeks ago for a conviction violent crime that he had committed. And there are indications, Anderson, that he had been radicalized in jail, very similar to the Paris suspects. There are a lot of parallels being drawn between what we saw here and the Paris attacks. And speaking to people on the ground here, Anderson, there's a growing concern of radicalization in jail, and violent criminal, gang members spilling over and becoming jihadists as well. As one official said, it's becoming phenomenon here.

COOPER: And I mean, obviously, it could have been so much worse. We heard earlier from the woman that you spoke to in the report who is inside the synagogue. A lot of children inside that synagogue because of the bat mitzvah of her daughter. He did not actually -- he didn't actually get into the synagogue, is that correct? I mean, did he during the shooting outside, did he then run off?

BROWN: That's our understanding. And in fact, she got very emotional during our interview, Anderson, and started crying because she basically said, if it weren't for Dan Uzan, the victim here who was killed, and perhaps others would have been injured or killed inside. What we have found out is that he shot him point-blank right outside of the synagogue and then ran away after that. And then as we know there was a shoot out. But Matte said that were having a celebration, a bat mitzvah for her daughter inside that synagogue, they were dancing, having a great time and she said all of a sudden someone ran in and said, turn the music off, go down to the safe room. She said it was a horrifying two hours. I asked her though; if after this experience, she wanted to leave Denmark. She said, no, I'm Danish and I'm proud to be Danish. Anderson. COOPER: All right. Pamela Brown. Thank you, Pamela.

Dig in deeper now with Magnus Ranstorp for the Swedish Defense University, also Maajid Nawaz a former Islamic extremist who now battles extremism.

Magnus, do you think authorities should have been more prepared for the possibilities of an attack at this event, I mean the apparent target of the first shooting, Lars Vicks, whom I'm going to talk to in a few minutes, is certainly on the Al Qaeda hit list, just like attacker (ph) of "Charlie Hebdo."

MAGNUS RANSTORP, SWEDUSG DEFENSE UNIVERSITY: In some extent they were a bit complacent, the fact that they had the most of the security inside the venue, suggests that they could have perhaps had a perimeter security ring around the event. But they've had this event here behind me several times before, and nothing had happened. So I think that they rested all their laurels a little bit too much. But they responded with fire. And that was critical, to prevent another "Charlie Hebdo" like in Paris.

COOPER: Maajid, in terms of what we now know about the would-be terrorist in this, what do you make of him? What stands out to you? Because, I mean, you and I have talked often in a wake of this kind of things that threats post by young people who, whether they're directly connected to a terror cell or not, almost doesn't matter at this point.

MAAJID NAWAZ, FORMER ISLAMIC EXTREMIST: No, Anderson, it doesn't. One thing we've learned of the attacker is it seems like he served some time in prison, and he must have interacted with some people that radicalized him in prison. It's a huge, gaping, big black hole across Europe. We have a disproportionate number of European born and raise Muslim citizens who are in prisons, and many of our prison services are yet to come to grips with this sheer extent of a problem of radicalization on our prison services.

COOPER: And Magnus, I mean, there were warnings about the shooter before, he have been red flagged, apparently two security services last year. Do you have a sense of how much he was being tracked or how much he was on their radar?

RANSTORP: He was on the radar. By sort -- I think they thought he was more of a gang member than anything else.

COOPER: Magnus, do you find a lot of crossover, especially in Denmark, between gangs and extremists?

RANSTORP: Yes, it's one of the distinguishing features in Denmark. Yes, you have criminal gang members who have an interface with extremist elements. He had an M-95, which is an automatic rifle used by the military. Very difficult to get a hold of in the black market. There was an arms cache stolen, 44 rifles from the army stolen in 2009. It may be one of those. But he at least had access to weaponry, which made him very lethal terrorist.

COOPER: And Magnus, the police are not as heavily armed, or at least the police were on the scene there were not, correct?

RANSTORP: Well, the police was armed. You had a layer here behind me. You had the armed police officers who were screening the people coming into the building. You had the Danish Security Service who were protecting Lars Vilks. You had the Swedish Security Service who was armed, who are protecting also Lars Vilks. They had a heavy armed presence inside. But nothing really on the outside. Not enough.

And when he came to the Jewish synagogue, he pretended to be drunk. He approached the guard and two police officers that were outside. And he sort of pretended to be drunk and he walked up and he shot the guard in the head point-blank. And injured two of the guards. Two of the police officers in the arm and the leg. And then he disappeared.

COOPER: And Maajid, the uptick in the anti-Semitic violence that we're seeing, what do you think is behind it? I mean, it's not just the shooting of the synagogue in Copenhagen or shooting at the kosher market in Paris, it seems like more and more, every other day, there's some kind of incidence.

NAWAZ: Yes, it's hugely unfortunate. I think Europe is reaching a stage where, you know, we're reaching a crisis point with our fellow Jewish citizens. And unfortunately, jihadists, not only are they going for soft targets, but within the soft targets, they are attacking those that come to symbolize the clash of civilization rhetoric that they ascribe to. And so cartoonists are, one of course, in Paris and now in Copenhagen. Cartoonist has been targeted but in both instances, Jews were also targeted. And that's because both can seen respectively to come to symbolized the millennial sort of the millenarian clash of the civilization rhetoric that these jihadists subscribed to.

COOPER: Magnus, I know you know people who are inside the synagogue in Copenhagen at the time of the shooting. I'm just wondering what sort of impact has this had in Denmark?

RANSTORP: It's been -- it has a massive impact in the sense of outpouring of sympathy, sadness, huge amount of love for the Jewish community. You see the flowers outside. It's just like behind, and continuously coming people long after midnight, just visiting, paying their respects. There is a debate about how much security the synagogue should have. And of course, there is the prime minister, was visibly moved when she visited the synagogue. And they're taking this very seriously. And they want this to -- they want to be very strong in supporting and making a safe environment for the Jewish community.

COOPER: Magnus Ranstorp, I appreciate you being with us, and Maajid Nawas as well. Thank you, Maajid.

NAWAZ: Thank you.

COOPER: Well, just a head, you heard a little bit from Lars Vilks there, the man I believed to be the target in the initial attack in Denmark. We'll talk to him now about what his life is like on the Al Qaeda hit list. He's on the run, in hiding tonight. We'll talk to him ahead.


COOPER: We spoke a moment in this latest terror attacked about how the killer and others have been targeting people in the Al Qaeda hit list. In a moment, you'll hear from Lars Vilks who's on it himself and who was nearly killed or could have been killed on Saturday. But first, Randi Kaye on the list itself.


RANDI KAYE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: The poster reads wanted dead or alive for crimes against Islam, published by Al Qaeda. Those pictured are primarily people who have criticized or satirized the Muslim faith. In the eyes of militant Islam, punishable by death.

Salman Rushdie. 1988, he publishes the satanic verses, a book highly critical of Islam. Protests erupt. Bookstores in the U.S. and Britain and a newspaper are bombed. Iran Ayatollah Khomeini even issues fatwa ordering Muslims to kill Rushdie --

SALMAN RUSHDIE, AUTHOR "THE SATANIC VERSES": This threat is not theoretical. And I think - I think in many cases, some people may think that because nobody's killed me, there's not anybody trying to kill me. And actually, that's just not true. I wish it were.

KAYE: 2004, a Dutch filmmaker Theo van Gogh, produces "Submission," a movie which criticizes the treatment of women in Islam. A few months after the film's release, van Gogh was shot to death, stabbed and nearly decapitated in Amsterdam. His killer, a 26-year-old Dutch Moroccan Islamist, is serving life in prison. Theo van Gogh's partner in that controversial film "Submission," is also on the hit list. Ayaan Hirsi Ali. Plus, Kurt Westergaard, 2005, the Danish cartoonist draws an image of the Prophet Muhammad with a bomb in his turban. Muslims across the world are outraged. Danish embassies in the Middle East are set ablaze. Westergaard receives numerous death threats. Eventually a man wielding an ax breaks into his home, but he survives the attack. Stephane Charbonnier, 2011, his satirical French magazine "Charlie Hebdo" publishing the caricature of the Prophet Muhammad and names him as its editor in chief for the next issue. Their offices are firebombed, but no one is hurt.

STEPHANE CHARBONNIER, EDITORIAL DIRECTOR OF CHARLIE HEBDO KILLED IN ATTACK (through translator): One has the impression that everybody is driven by fear. That's what the small handful of fundamentalists that doesn't represent anyone wants to do, govern through fear.

KAYE: Tragically last month Charbonnier and 11 others are killed when two Islamist extremists opened fire inside the French satirical magazine's office. More than 50 shots are fired.

Also on al Qaeda's most wanted list, Lars Vilks. 2007, the Swedish artist sketches a series of drawings depicting the Prophet Muhammad as a dog. Protests erupt. Vilks receives death threats and an al Qaeda affiliate offers up to $150,000 for his assassination. In 2009, a plot to murder Vilks is stopped by law enforcement. Among the plotters, three Americans, one of them a woman named Colleen LaRose, who is dubbed Jihad Jane.

In the attack this weekend on the free speech forum in Copenhagen, Denmark, Vilks narrowly escaped death again, escaping unharmed when a gunman opened fire. Randi Kaye, CNN, New York.


COOPER: And he's now said to be in hiding. By phone now joining us Mr. Vilks himself on the shooting and what it's like to live the rest of his life as a target.

Mr. Vilks, just be clear, I know you're in hiding right now. How concerned are you for your safety, the safety of those around you?

LARS VILKS, SWEDISH ARTISTS: Well, I've had bodyguards for a long time, so I trust that they - are professionals. So, I feel very safe.

COOPER: So, you don't worry about your personal safety?

VILKS: No. No. Now I think it's very clear. I mean, they're good. I mean I've been around with these guys for a long time, so they're handling the situation carefully.

COOPER: What went through your mind when you first heard the gunfire at the forum that you were speaking at in Copenhagen? Did you immediately think -- did you immediately know what was happening?

VILKS: No. No. It's that - it's kind of a surrealistic thing. You know, we heard this, you know, bang, bang, bang, bang. And that what's going on here? It's someone, I mean a firework. I mean, there was - there was - for my thinking, it was - I mean the bodyguards, they reacted very quickly. So suddenly I was drawn off the seminar table there. And they took me out into a storage room. And I was put on a table there, and I was surrounded by bodyguards with drawn guns. And then joined by a police officer who was wounded. But still in fighting spirit. And it went very quickly then.

COOPER: And I know that in terms of firepower, you said that the gunman was actually better equipped than the police. I believe he had an automatic weapon. Do you believe the police should have had stronger weapons? Would that have made a difference?

VILKS: Yeah. Yes, it would. It would. You see, the point is that when you fire -- they were firing through the glass. Because there was a glass - it was a glass entrance. And this gun was more efficient when they - the glass pile. And the police (INAUDIBLE) had handguns. And these are very -- it's very difficult to actually do something on a distance, at the same time shoot through glass.

COOPER: I know you have been on an al Qaeda hit list, the same list the editor of "Charlie Hebdo" was on, as well as others, and certainly I know, I'm not going to press you for details, but do you feel - I mean as you said, you've been under protection for a long time, since 2010. Do you think the threat to you, to other free speech advocates in Europe, has changed significantly over the course of the last several years? VILKS: Yes. I mean, and when I got these bodyguards, that was a new

division that they didn't have before. So there's much more need for security today. In the beginning of this year it has reached a really high point. And I've just got to know that I would not be able to return to my home. So they will put me away somewhere else.

COOPER: And for you, there is no going back. Just purely on a security level, this is the reality for you.

VILKS: No, they - but when once you get on the Islamists' list, and you're pointed out, you cannot -- you cannot excuse, you cannot withdraw. Because there is no forgiveness. You are pointed out and you are bound to die in these people's eyes. And there's no way out.

COOPER: Mr. Vilks, I appreciate you taking the time to speak to us. And I wish you well. Thank you.

VILKS: Thank you.

COOPER: Bye-bye.

No way out, he said.

Just ahead, breaking news, fire in the sky after a train carrying crude oil derails in West Virginia, explodes. A live update ahead.


COOPER: More information now on the breaking news from the top of the broadcast. The train pulling 110 cars of crude oil that derailed in southern West Virginia. You see the result, a massive fireball there. At least one home catching on fire. People have been evacuated. A state of emergency now in effect. It's happening in Adena Village. Matt Heckel, reporter from our affiliate WCAZ. He joins us now by phone. So, Matt, I mean the video from the crash, the fireball is just as massive. What's the scene like now?

MATT HECKEL, WCAZ REPORTER: Well, actually, we just got done talking to a state trooper here a little bit ago. He tells us that the fire is finally starting to die down a little bit. Unfortunately, though, the heat, as you can imagine, is still really intense out there. They cannot get crews in there to really investigate this. They're hoping to be able to do that come tomorrow, when hopefully the fire will now die down even more. But I can tell you, just driving in to here, a couple of miles from the scene you can just see the black cloud in the sky. And when that eruption happened, we were there for one of those explosions. We were talking to some people from across the river when one of those explosions happened. The heat was just so intense. And it just shot right up into the sky. It's obviously a major, major crisis that they're working with here.

COOPER: So, there have been more than one explosion?

HECKEL: Yeah. From the people we were talking to, actually, they had just told us that they witnessed another explosion a few minutes before we got on scene. We were actually talking to someone about that, about what he had witnessed when the explosion that we were on scene for happened. At that point a couple of minutes later, fire crews came over and actually told us that we had to leave. We had to drive a couple of miles down the road. Right now we're in (INAUDIBLE) Virginia at a high school, where a shelter has been set up for people who have been evacuated here.

COOPER: And I mean first of all, have there been any reports of injuries or fatalities? And also, how is the weather impacting the response to this?

HECKEL: Obviously, the weather is slowing things down. Right now it's about 20 degrees. It's been snowing all day here. There's a lot of snow on the ground. That's going to definitely have an impact. The good news, though, you mentioned injuries, we have heard that one person is being checked out, possibly for some inhalation problems. But no other real serious injuries, and no fatalities. So as bad as this looks, and as bad as this is, especially for the water system right now, where water treatment plants are being shut down, affecting - about 2,000 customers here in the area will lose water service tonight. That could obviously have a major impact. But with no real serious injuries or fatalities to report, a lot better than what it could have been here, Anderson.

COOPER: Yeah, no doubt about that. Matt Heckel, I appreciate your reporting, thanks very much, Matt.

There is a lot more happening tonight. Amara Walker has a "360" bulletin. Amara.

AMARA WALKER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Anderson, the man accused of shooting to death three students in Chapel Hill North Carolina last week was indicted today on first-degree murder charges. Police say the incident may have been tied to a parking dispute. But they're also looking at the possibility it was a hate crime. All three victims were Muslim.

Disgraced cyclist Lance Armstrong must pay $10 million to a sports promotion company for bonuses it paid for three of his Tour de France championships. An arbitration panel said Armstrong was responsible for an unparalleled pageant of perjury, fraud and conspiracy due to his use of performance-enhancing drugs.

Fireworks and more celebrations in North Korea today to mark what would have been the 73rd birthday of the dear leader Kim Jong-Il. He died three years ago. His son, the current leader, Kim Jong-un, also took part in remembrances. Analysts say, all of this is meant to give the perception his government is strong with no cracks.

COOPER: All right, Amara, thanks very much. Quick programming note. Coming up next on CNN at the top of the hour, stay tuned as I host the CNN quiz show in honor of President's Day. Three teams of CNN anchors will put their presidential trivia knowledge to test. You can play along and hone, and they're going to raise money for charity. If you ever wonder what trash talking sounds like in this type of scenario, here's a look behind the scenes.



COOPER: Jake Tapper takes this really seriously.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Martin van Buren. That is correct.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Erin Burnett, John Quincy, Berman, you guys are going down, like the President Andrew Jackson shot in that door.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Dead weight is how I would describe that. Deadweight Jake.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Anything could happen.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And there's done - there's the testosterone overload.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Look out for Cuomo. That fancy boy from the governor's mansion.

COOPER: It's just nice to see these anchors sweat.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What competition? I mean the premise of the question is -- there is no competition.


COOPER: It's at the top of the hour. The CNN quiz show, president's edition airs next, at 9:00 p.m. Eastern here on CNN. It's a lot of fun. You can play along at home as well.

Just ahead, a videotape confession played in court with a man who's on trial for murdering American sniper Chris Kyle said just after the killing, next.


COOPER: The jurors in Texas today heard the taped confession of the man accused of murdering Chris Kyle, a former Navy SEAL, who is the subject to the blockbuster movie "American Sniper." The defense said the man who killed Kyle at gun range in 2013 was suffering from psychosis and didn't know right from wrong at the time. That's their claim. His confession right after the killing contradicts that, at least during parts of the 90 minute tape that was played in court today. Ed Lavandera reports.


ED LAVANDERA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: In the videotaped confession from two years ago, Eddie Ray Routh looks far different than he does today. He's dressed in the same clothing he wore to the gun range when he shot and killed Chris Kyle and Chad Littlefield. One of the investigators says he even noticed these bloodstains on Routh's boots. This was recorded just after Routh surrendered to police after a car chase in a few hours after the killings. Routh starts with a rambling and incoherent answer when he's asked what happened. He says, "I keep talking to Chris. There's a few dozen Chrises in my world. And it's like every time I talk to another man named Chris, or get sent to another man named Chris, it was like talking to the wolf, you know? The ones in the sky are the ones that fly, you know what I mean, the pigs." Routh then becomes obsessed with talk of his soul. "You can't just keep letting people eat your soul up for free. You know, it's not what it's about. It's about having a soul that you have in you for yourself. And there are tons of people that are eating on my soul right now." The detective asks, who did you shoot first? And Routh says, the one I could clearly identify. He's talking about Chris Kyle here. I knew if I did not take out his soul, he was coming to take mine next.

TIM MOORE, ROUTH'S ATTORNEY: (INAUDIBLE) over psychosis. The psychosis is so severe at that point that he did not know what he was doing was wrong.

LAVANDERA: The interrogation video lasts nearly 90 minutes. Routh complains about the handcuffs being uncomfortable. He's left alone and tries to put on a pair of glasses. He asked to speak with his mother and asks for a cigarette. And when he doesn't get one, pops off, doesn't anyone smoke anymore? The investigator asked Routh, after you killed them, what did you do next? Routh responds, "I fled. I didn't know what else to do. My adrenaline was so high. I didn't know what was right, I didn't know what was wrong. I mean know what was right now." The investigator would come back to this nearly a half dozen times leaving Routh alone and then coming back to ask him repeatedly if he knew that killing Kyle and Littlefield was wrong. After first answering he didn't know, each time after that, Routh says he knew it was wrong. The detective then asks Routh what he would like to tell the victims' families. "I would tell them I'm sorry for what I've done." Prosecutors say the tape proves Routh knew what he was doing.

ALAN NASH, PROSECUTOR: (INAUDIBLE), even the ones that (INAUDIBLE) pretended nice or may not - Don't - surprise - (INAUDIBLE). But these are citizens. You know right from wrong.


COOPER: Ed joins us now. I mean we learned investigators didn't do a blood test on the shooter. Is that significant?

LAVANDERA: Well, I think it might be interesting. It'll be at least really interesting to see exactly what kind of role this detail plays when the jury begins its deliberations. Because remember, prosecutors have been making a big deal over Eddie Ray Routh's recreational drug abuse and alcohol use, and that sort of thing, and they brought it up several times, that he had smoked marijuana earlier in the day before the killings. And now it turns out that there is no blood test. So no way of really telling this jury what amounts of marijuana were in his system, what amounts if any of alcohol, any of that kind of bloodwork that might have been able to bolster their case on this. So it will be interesting to see exactly what kind of role, what kind of significant role that might play when the jury begins its deliberations.

COOPER: Yeah. He looks a lot different in court than he does in that video. It's amazing.

LAVANDERA: A strikingly different, yes. Absolutely.

Ed Lavandera, thanks very much.

Up next, mountains of snow and bitter cold in Boston. But also in places far beyond a lot of people in the path of this new snowstorm. Details ahead.


COOPER: Looking at a shot of snow coming down on the north lawn of the White House. And just a short time ago, take a look, President Obama in Air Force One arriving. Tonight, at a very snowy joint base Andrews. And, of course, New England, there are Boston area, simply cannot catch a break this winter. The snow's gotten 95 inches of - the area's got 95 inches of snow this year. February is already snowiest month ever. On top of that, today was the coldest morning in there in 11 years, minus three degrees. People in the Boston area are certainly not alone in their suffering. Wind chills throughout the northeast are making it feel as cold as 40 below. And this time, as you saw, it's not just the north, 55 million people currently under wind chill warning or advisory, with more than a dozen states from Kansas and Oklahoma, to North Carolina and then Washington, D.C., area bracing for, experiencing snow, sleet and ice. Will Ripley joins me with the latest from Boston. So, what's it like there now, Will?

WILL RIPLEY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Anderson, I've never seen anything like this. 7 1/2 feet of snow dumped on Boston since January 23RD. And a lot of it is ending up here at what was an empty lot, until three weeks of snow event after snow event, including this big blizzard over the weekend. Trucks have been scooping the snow up from all over the city and bringing it here. And it has created a mountain of snow. That's not overstating it, when you look at the fact that the heavy equipment that is scooping this snow is dwarfed by the size of this. It really is overwhelming for the city of Boston. All of the snow, they need to remove it. People will be going back to work, many of them after the President's Day holiday tomorrow. Transportation still isn't running at capacity.

It could be another 30 days of snow removal like this before they're able to get everything up and running again. And that's only if there isn't another blizzard. All the snow going from that mountain to this large snow melter. It's a machine where they dump in 150 tons of snow every hour. It comes out, you see there, they dump it in the sewer. It's a tremendous capacity, and it certainly speeds up this process, but still is not enough to handle all of the snow that has been dumped on the city of Boston. The flow of trucks is continuing the snow removal effort continuing here in Boston tonight, Anderson. But they still have a long way to go.

COOPER: Yeah, the machine is amazing. Will, thanks very much. We'll see you all again 11:00 p.m. Eastern. Right now, the CNN quiz show starts. Enjoy.