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ERIN BURNETT OUTFRONT
Awaiting Press Conference On Train Derailment; Dozens of Passengers Injured, Three in Critical Condition; American Woman Kidnapped; Sixty Two Million in Path of Dangerous Winter Storm; Nearly 100 Christians Abducted By Terror Group; Manhunt On For "Black Hat Bandits"
Aired February 24, 2015 - 19:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ERIN BURNETT, CNN ANCHOR: OUTFRONT next, a fiery train cash. Dozens of passengers injured three critically when a truck driver mistakenly turned on to the track. An eyewitness is OUTFRONT.
Plus nearly 100 Christians abducted by ISIS. Where are they tonight? Will ISIS spare their lives in the so-called road rage murder? New information at this hour about the relationship between the suspect and the victim. The prosecuting attorney is my guest tonight. Let's go OUTFRONT.
Good evening, I'm Erin Burnett. And OUTFRONT tonight, the breaking news, investigators at the site of a terrifying train derailment outside Los Angeles will release new details live this hour. As we await those, we can tell you the crash has left passengers tonight fighting for their lives. It happened just before dawn when a truck mistakenly turned into the path of an oncoming train. The conductor doing everything in his power to stop the double-decker train but there just wasn't enough time. The truck sheered in half bursting into flames. The impact so powerful it caused five cars to derail including three as you can see which toppled completely on their sides. Twenty eight passengers are now being treated for injuries to the head, back and neck. Three of them in critical condition tonight.
Kyung Lah is OUTFRONT live at the crash site in Oxnard, California. And Kyung, I mean, the fundamental question here. You have this, right before dawn, a truck is coming along and it turns on to the train tracks and drive for a bit. How did that happen?
KYUNG LAH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It comes down simply to perhaps confusion. At least that's what investigators are telling us right now. That he thought the train tracks were a road. And I want to explain to you if you look over my right hand shoulder here. You can see that this is what's happening right now. They're trying to right those train cars. There has been one that's been completely removed. You can see the cranes are lifting one. Well, directly parallel to what you're looking at is the roadway. There's only one car length separating the railroad tracks from the roadway. It's easy to get confused when you consider it's pre-dawn hours. 5:45 in the morning. The driver simply turned. He got stuck. He could not get out. The conductor of the train slams on the brakes. The emergency brakes hits the horn, but it was too late. The car simply was a barrier. The train barreled through, collided and there was that fire and those cars derailed, Erin. It certainly was frightening for all the people in this valley who heard that explosion and who also saw that ball of fire climb into the sky -- Erin.
BURNETT: When we see the video of that ball fire, Kyung it's remarkable that only 28 people were injured. When we're looking at what you're just showing live behind you. The condition of those cars on their side that there were only 28 people injured. At this point we know people are fighting for their lives right now but no one has died. What is it that kept passengers safe when you look at a fire ball like that?
LAH: Unfortunately, it's something that this community here in Los Angeles has learned from experience. There has been some terrible train derailments, trains versus cars in the past ten years or so. So, there's a new technology that's being used. It's collision energy management technology. And basically, that prevents the train cars from crumpling. And if prevent some from crumpling, then more people will live. Yes, people have broken bone. They had head trauma for being tossed around. But because of train cars remained intact, because they simply tipped over, there are many, many more survivors here. This certainly could have been a lot worse -- Erin.
BURNETT: I mean, it is a miracle when you think about it in so many ways. Kyung Lah, thank you very much. And, you know, within seconds of that crash and the fire ball that Kyung was just showing us, witnesses were on the scene to help the injured passengers. Commuters who are going to work. 5:45 a.m. jumped out of their cars. Many of the survivors were wrapped in blankets after just making it out of that train obviously in shocked and terrified.
One of the men who risked his own life to help others rushing into that fire is Ted Maloney. And Ted is with us tonight. Look, investigators say that the truck accidentally turned on to the tracks. And Kyung was just explaining to us that there's the tracks and there's a little sliver there and then a road so that maybe the driver of the truck was confused. You were there. You saw the crash. What did you see?
TED MALONEY, HELPED RESCUE VICTIMS FROM TRAIN CRASH: I heard the horn of the engineer blasting. And I looked up and I just saw the huge fire ball. I didn't actually see the truck. I've seen the fire ball.
BURNETT: And when you saw that fire ball, what did you think might have happened? What went through your head?
MALONEY: I knew there was a vehicle that exploded into flames. And then I grabbed my cell phone and dialed 911.
BURNETT: And then you also actually jumped out of your car and ran to help people. You ran into rescue people that when you saw that fire, you know, you thought could be dying. What made you do that? What made you run in?
MALONEY: I heard people screaming. And so, there were some people that were picking strawberries came over and I asked them to help me. And they lifted me into car that was on its side. And I jumped in there and screamed, is there anybody bleeding and looked for a first aid kit and then found lady that had head injuries that was pretty banged up and kind of comforted her. I put a sweater around her neck and another coat on top of her. And just held her hand and told her help was on the way. That everything is going to be okay and just tried to keep her talking to me. Asked her where she livered. Her name. Where she worked just to be keep her conscious.
BURNETT: I'm sure she feels you were her guardian angel. She'll never forget you. When you were on that train, I mean, how many people were in that car when you went in and, you know, on its side on that condition. What did you see?
MALONEY: I counted seven people in the car. Two men were standing up and the other four were laying down. And I just wanted to see who was bleeding to administer first aid to the worst one which was the lady I was comforting. They were in state of shock.
BURNETT: I'm sure they were. I'm sure you were. Did you happen to get her name? Are you going to stay in touch with this woman or sort of literally you were her guardian angel and you came and helped her?
MALONEY: Her name was Cat. I got that out of her. She lived in Oxnard and worked in downtown Los Angeles. You know, I just asked her all kinds of question. She kept talking to me like, does she have pets? Where does she work? And then she kept saying where's my purse? Where's my purse? So, I found her purse and picked it up. Everything spilled out of her purse. Put it into her bag and then slipped it on her arm and just comforted her.
BURNETT: And Ted, when you think about what happened this morning and you ran into that train to try to help. The fire ball that you saw, you know, we were just talking about the shock. Of the fact that there was a train crash here on the East Coast. Six people died with a woman in an SUV. Here you have a big truck, you know, three cars toppled on their side, double decker and at this point, there are people fighting for their lives but no one has died. You were there. Are you shocked that no one died? Do you think that that's some sort of a miracle?
MALONEY: I'm really surprised that nobody died. Because the cars were strewn all over the road. There was car laying on Fifth Street in the middle of the road. One of the train cars was out on the highway.
BURNETT: It's amazing. And of course, I know that that woman Cat and others are so grateful to you. Thank you so much.
MALONEY: You're welcome.
BURNETT: And today's derailment comes three weeks to the day that a train here in New York smash into that SUV. As I mentioned, six people died. So, how dangerous are America's rail crossings?
Brian Todd is OUTFRONT.
BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): As crash investigators arrive on the scene of another accident between a train and a motor vehicle. New concerns tonight about the safety of rail crossings. In California it was the truck driver official say who took an inexplicable wrong turn.
ASST. CHIEF JASON BENITES, OXNARD, CALIFORNIA POLICE DEPARTMENT: Rather than make the right turn onto westbound street, it actually turned on to the railroad tracks.
TODD: The truck driver was unhurt and safety experts say was fortunate to have gotten away from the onrushing train.
LIBBY RECTOR SNIPE, OPERATION LIFESAVER: The power of a train impacting a vehicle is the same as a car crushing a soda can.
TODD: Libby Rector Snipe of the rail safety group Operation Lifesaver says, so called highway grade crossings where roadways cross railroads tracks at the same level, are often lethal intersections. Just this month, a metro north train collided with an SUV outside New York City killing six people. The government says fatalities at railroads crossings have decreased about 75 percent in the U.S. since the 1970s. But safety experts say, there are still about 2,000 incidents a year at those crossings. More than 200 people were killed at those intersections last year and a train hits a person or a vehicle every three hours in the U.S. Why?
SNIPE: We think drivers are very distracted in their cars. Crossings like this I think when the drivers approach, sometimes whenever they're in a hurry in this society today. People feel very rushed and they think they can beat a train.
TODD: Other factors, Rector Snipe says, there aren't standard barriers or signals at every crossing. Trains are quieter and faster than they were. And vehicle drivers make tragic miscalculations.
(on camera): What don't people understand about the speed of train? How long will it take them to stop?
SNIPE: If a train is coming this way, it can take an average train up to a mile to stop. That's the length of 18 football fields. So, if a train sees something on the tracks it can't necessarily stop in time.
TODD (voice-over): Rector Snipe say, if you're stuck on track, some steps are obvious. Try to somehow get the vehicle off the track. If you can't, exit the vehicle and run. Brian Todd, CNN, Washington.
BURNETT: And next, as many as 100 Christians kidnapped by ISIS. Where are they tonight? Plus, at least 30 weather related deaths in Tennessee alone. And
62 million more Americans in the past, of record breaking temperatures, ice and snow, forecast ahead and exclusive video OUTFRONT from the FBI.
A manhunt is on for these two men. They are known as the black cat bandits. They are wanted in a string of bank robberies. They are armed and dangerous. We have the exclusive footage and it's coming your way later in the show.
BURNETT: An American woman kidnapped in Nigeria today. Reverend Phyllis Sortor is a missionary from Seattle. She was abducted yesterday from a school. She was teaching there. And according to officials from her church, the FBI is desperately trying to find her and rescue here.
Arwa Damon is OUTFRONT with the story with our coverage. And Arwa, what can you tell us about how Phyllis was captured?
ARWA DAMON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, it does seem as if this was a carefully orchestrated kidnapping according to the police commissioner from the state where the kidnapping took place. Not too far away. A couple hours drive from the capital of Fujah (ph). Five men scaled the walls of a school where her office was based. Two of them were masked, they whisked her away firing their weapons into the air to try to clear people out of the area before disappearing into the nearby mountains. There is according to the commissioner, an investigation under way. But it's unclear exactly how many resources the Nigerians can really try to dedicate to try to somehow secure her release or even rescue her. Her abductors have according to the police commissioner asked for a ransom slightly upwards of $300,000 -- Erin.
BURNETT: And Arwa, what do you know about her and what she was doing in Nigeria?
DAMON: Well, she was in Nigeria effectively running an NGO that was helping some children of the nomadic Fulani tribe. Trying to educate them, perhaps even providing them with some other assistance that they did not have before. Very much focused on humanitarian work. Unclear exactly why she herself would have been targeted except for the fact that the police commissioner is saying that this was carried out by a criminal gang perhaps just looking to benefit financially from her. The concern at this stage is though Erin that if that ransom is not paid, she could perhaps be sold off to the highest bidder. The state where this kidnapping took place is not one that's particularly known for having extremist groups operate within it. Certainly, it's quite far away from Boko Haram's territory. But again, great concerns as to what her fate is going to be.
BURNETT: And Arwa, but obviously when we hear about Nigeria, you know, you think about Boko Haram, obviously an Islamic extremist group with terrible brutality. It is possible at this point that she could end up in their hands if she's not already. Right? Is that still a question?
DAMON: It's still very much a question that is out there. Again, the police commissioner saying this was carried out by a criminal gang. She could perhaps end up changing hands. There are large parts of Nigeria that are incredibly lawless. The authorities are stretched very thin. Their hands quite full with the ongoing battle against Boko Haram happening in the Northeast. We did speak with a Nigerian intelligence official who told us that there were cells of another organization calls (INAUDIBLE) that do operate in this state but at this point in time everything is very murky -- Erin.
BURNETT: All right. Thank you very much. Arwa Damon.
And joining me now the former Navy SEAL John McGuire. John, Arwa was just talking about how organized this assault was. Five men scaled the walls of this school that they've clearly planned this out. They were clearly organized. How hard does that mean a rescue mission would be say for SEALs?
JOHN MCGUIRE, FORMER NAVY SEAL, SEAL TEAM 4: Well, let me first start by saying my heart goes out to Phyllis and her family. It's a tough situation. I also want to say that, you know, I served in the '90s. And our men and women in our military today are just so much more capable and they're just getting better every year. But certainly, the missions that we do, and the army navy air force marines, they're dangerous and they're tough missions. That's why not everybody can do what we do. Certainly, the further away, the less information we have on the ground, the more difficult it is, certainly dangerous.
BURNETT: So, British construction worker and six foreign nationals were captured in Nigeria in 2013 by an offshoot of Boko Haram. This vocal group that we have heard so much about. They were killed. All of those hostages died. Perhaps, at least, Boko Haram says, because of a rescue attempt that was carried out impart by British Special Forces. Now, rescue attempts obviously have been tried before. One was tried as we know for the American hostages in Syria. Right? They missed them by day. One was tried in Yemen. And again, hostages were taken, hostages ended up dying. Should SEALs go in in a case like this?
MCGUIRE: Well, we should know if it's SEALs or army special forces, marines or who does it. But I think that all Americans are important. That's what we train for. And all Americans are important. So, in my opinion as a private citizen that we should protect all Americans. So, I would say, yes. If the opportunity is there or we have a chance of success, I think that's what we do and we should do it.
BURNETT: But yes, you go in. All right. I guess, the big question though, we keep hearing about these horrific hostage situations and a lot of them of innocent Americans, Kayla Mueller, right? The aid worker who was working near Syria. Now you have Phyllis Sortor who were there trying to help teach children. Is it riskier being an American overseas right now? MCGUIRE: Well, you know, I think that when I was growing up as a
child, there was a time in our country where our enemies were afraid to take Americans hostage. I think the world is changing. And I think that we appear less strong or less of a threat. And I know that if you reward negative behavior, you're going to get more. You know, release in a low level deserter for five high level terrorist operatives on paper just doesn't look like a good deal and can only encourage or embolden our enemies or even copycat enemies to do more hostage taken.
BURNETT: All right. Thank you very much. I appreciate. John McGuire as we said, former SEAL. And breaking news now, severe weather across the nation tonight. At least 30 deaths in Tennessee alone due to the weather. It's only going to get worse. Ice is now covering roads from Texas all the way to the Carolinas. There are accidents everywhere. And as we said, 30 deaths in Tennessee. Tonight 62 million people across the southern United States are going to get another big hit.
Meteorologist Jennifer Gray is OUTFRONT. Jennifer, how bad is it going to be?
JENNIFER GRAY, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Wow! We are going to see more of the same. And that's the bad news. This is basically the fourth storm in ten days that we're going to be looking for as we go through tomorrow through Thursday morning. And you can see the tail end of the storm we have been watching today is pushing off the North Carolina coast. Finally, a lot of icing conditions there during the day today. So, we did have a lot of accidents. We had quite a bit of snowfall in downtown Raleigh even. And now the next system is on its way. And it's going to impact places like Dallas tonight on into Louisiana, overnight into tomorrow morning and then impact Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, Tennessee, South Carolina and North Carolina by the time we get to Thursday morning.
So, let's time this out for you. By the time we get to the wee hours of tomorrow morning and your rush hour, we're going to see possible snow in Dallas. Ice anywhere from say, Lufkin all the way to Shreveport, Southern Arkansas, rain for South Louisiana. It pushes to the east by tomorrow evening. The drive home is going to be very rough for portions of Southern Arkansas and Northern Mississippi Alabama, even North Georgia getting in on the action tomorrow afternoon beginning and then it will taper off by the time we get to Thursday morning it will push off the North Carolina coast by Thursday around lunchtime. So, snow accumulation. We're expecting more snow than ice with this system, which is the better news.
But a lot of these areas in the South don't have the proper equipment to get the snow off the road. So, we are expecting more trouble anywhere from Dallas could see an inch or two. Shreveport even picking up an inch or so. And then as we head through the east, we could see six to eight inches of snow in the Georgia Mountains. Or even forecasting even one to three inches of snow in downtown Atlanta, the metro area and we also could see quite a bit around coastal North Carolina even up towards Norfolk. And the cold air is not going anywhere any time soon. Erin, we are going to continue to see bitter cold across much of the country. That does include the north, the northeast actually getting a break from this snow this week. But your temperatures are still awfully cold. We'll be at 32 in Boston tomorrow then dipping back down in the 20s. New York City even in the 20s Thursday and Friday -- Erin.
BURNETT: All right. Jennifer Gray, terrible news because I'm just sick of the cold like I think everyone around this country is.
All right. Next, ISIS abducted dozens of Christians. Nearly 100 now. We have seen the horrific evidence of what ISIS does to its hostages, does to Christians. Will these be spared?
And the so-called road rage murder. Another new twist in the story tonight. The district attorney my guest OUTFRONT. We'll be right back.
BURNETT: OUTFRONT at this hour. Nearly 100 Christians abducted by ISIS. They were taken today and hundreds more forced to run for their lives. Activists telling CNN that nearly 100 Christians in Northeast Syria were kidnapped. Earlier this morning, about 700 more families fled. They escaped by going to a church, they were able to get refuged there.
Jim Sciutto begins our coverage, OUTFRONT tonight. Jim, what's going to happen to these kidnapped Christians? Because we of course have seen this horrific beheading video of the 21 Egyptian Christians who were murdered in Libya.
JIM SCIUTTO, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: Well, based on ISIS' past bloodthirsty practice, the sad fact is it is unlikely these Christians will be spared. We have seen this before. That's certainly the view of U.S. officials and it's the view of officials in the region. And it serves ISIS' interest. Because they get a brutal propaganda bump both from the kidnapping. You know, they'll parade the people they have captured and then sadly from the brutal death that they film as well that serves their propaganda purposes. So, really the sad reality is, it's unlikely they'll survive this just based on what we've seen so far.
BURNETT: I know, essentially you just have to be, you have to state the facts as they are. But in a sense, Jim, this would be a game changer. When we saw 21 Christians, that shocked the world because it wasn't just one person or two people. It was 21. You're talking about nearly 100 people.
SCIUTTO: Yes. It is. And keep in mind in the case based on past practice as well, they tend to kill the men and subjugate the women and the children somehow perhaps forced them into marriages. So, there might be different faiths for the men and the women and children involved here. But let's just look at all the panoply of people who fall on their target list. Because it is certainly Christians but remember we had the Yazidis, a minority faith and ancient faith in Iraq who were some of the first victims of ISIS. We've had Shia Muslims of course opposed to the Sunni Muslims that make up ISIS. But remember, even Sunni Muslims who don't buy their particular brutal interpretation of the faith, they have been the targets of killing as well. But I do think there's a fair point here to be made, Erin about the particular attention to Christians in the region because this is a message to them but it's also a message to the west. In other words saying, we will target them here close to home, just as we will target you in your homes in the U.S. and Europe, et cetera again. They're trying to scare all of us with these kidnappings and the way they sadly kill them.
BURNETT: All right. Jim Sciutto, thank you very much.
And OUTFRONT, Jim Zogby from the Arab American Institute, and Asra Nomani, the author of "Standing Alone: An American Woman's Struggle for the Soul of Islam".
Asra, the president of the United States says ISIS is a death cult, a criminal group. He is a very specific to say that ISIS is not in any Islamic. You say ,though, that is wrong, that ISIS is Islamic. And I know you have analyzed two of the most recent ISIS videos. In what way can you show us?
ASRA NOMANI, AUTHOR: Well, I had the same question, you know, several weeks ago, when a Malaysian video emerged. I had a colleague that speaks Arabic and we spent weeks studying these videos.
And the sad truth is the Islamic State is very much Islamic. They ground their justification for their violence on the Koran, the Hadith, the sayings of the Prophet Muhammad, the fatwas, or the rulings of Islamic scholars, and a science of the end times called eschatology.
In the last video of the Coptic Christians, the main executioner takes a knife points to the camera --
BURNETT: And this is the video of the 21 Christians that we all unfortunately heard about last week that you're referring to?
NOMANI: Exactly. He stands behind them in bent position and he points his knife at the camera and he says, Isa, that Jesus is coming back to earth and will pray behind the Mashi, who is the Muslim messiah. And then they will proceed to Jerusalem and the world will be saved, by the principles of Islamic thinking.
I study the recruitment video. What they teach in there is that Christians and others who do not think like them practice a philosophy called Shirk (ph), which is the belief of entity equal to god. So, that's why Christians have a target on their back.
And that indoctrination video of the children, you can see the children in prayer and they are behind an imam, a prayer leader. And what does he have in front of him but two assault rifles crossed in front of him and so I would argue that in fact, what these men are worshipping is an extremist, violent interpretation of Islam, but it is very much an issue of a theology of Islam. And they're not just a death cult. They are an Islamic death cult.
BURNETT: James, what do you say to that? They're not just a death cult, they are an Islamic death cult.
JAMES ZOGBY, PRESIDENT, ARAB AMERICAN INSTITUTE: They are a death cult that uses Islamic language. Nobody has a question about that. It's challenge the Muslim world is taking up. I'm really pleased to see the degree to which several Muslim and Arabic countries have engaged this battle and promising to engage it even further.
The question was should the president have called them Islamic and the answer is no, because the president is not our theologian in chief. He's our commander in chief, and he's leading a coalition, a political coalition of groups, including many countries. And he's trying to push them, as you listen to his speech, to take the steps in their own countries to snuff out the conditions that have spawned this movement.
But it's for the president -- the president is after all a representative of -- he's a Christian. And despite the fact that several people in the country don't think he is, he is a Christian.
ZOGBY: And he doesn't want to give them that to say that I'm engaging you on your ground. No, the ground I'm engaging you on is bombs from the air and ultimately troops that are going to go in hopefully from other countries that are going to defeat you.
BURNETT: So, James, when you talk about how he's working with moderate Muslim leaders, though, this is a question that's central to this issue of whether the world is going to call this Islamic radicalism or not, right? The president met today with the emir of Qatar. It was an important meeting. This is a very wealthy country we've reported on extensively on this program, specifically Qatari- based funding for Islamic radical groups.
BURNETT: Including al Qaeda-linked terrorists.
And I know you don't think the president should use the world "radical Islam". But if he doesn't do that, does that absolve a supposedly moderate regime, right, like that of the emir of Qatar, from stopping the funding of terror that is coming from that country?
ZOGBY: Look, the president is engaging everybody who he believe, and I think correctly so, is either part of the problem or should be part of the solution, and he's pushing them in the right direction. If he gets the emir of Qatar to in fact join in full, they're already a part of this coalition -- he wants them to engage even further in this coalition, he wants them, yes, to stop the funding but he wants them to be fully engaged in supporting the effort to snuff this movement out.
I believe it can be snuffed out. And it's not going to be snuffed out theologically. We're not going to defeat it by having different ideas. You don't defeat Christian fundamentalists or Jewish fundamentalists or Hindu fundamentalists by teaching them other ideas. You defeat them by removing the conditions that have created them in the first place, and when they step out of line and commit criminal acts, you punish them.
That's what this president is doing. I think he's actually taking some pretty interesting and creative steps. That meeting here in Washington was a very important step forward in bringing these countries together and designing a strategy to move forward.
NOMANI: Erin, can I just --
NOMANI: Yes. I think that this strategy of which James talks about is completely ineffective. Ultimately a root cause of this ideology in the world is many of the same government. They are putting out into the world the same time of intolerant, sexist and violent ideologies that we are now facing in the name of the Islamic State.
When we were fighting Nazi Germany, we studied "Mein Kampf". We wanted to know exactly what the battle plan was for Hitler. In that same way, we are fools if we don't study the Koran and the Hadith and the eschatology that fuels the Islamic State. We have the battle plan. They are very clear that they are following the battle plan that's been laid out by Islamic scholars throughout history.
And we would just sell ourselves short in facing this enemy if we don't study it fully. I mean, the great scholars of military strategy has said, you have to know your enemy. And part of the enemy here is very much the religion that they are practicing and their interpretation of Islam. We should not -- I want to say this idea that we are going to give them an ideological victory and a propaganda victory is to me very shortsighted.
ZOGBY: Listen, I --
NOMANI: Excuse me, the greater propaganda victory will be if we say clearly that they're extremist interpretation is Islam is one that we do not follow and we move forward with rejecting that interpretation and saying clearly that this is unacceptable.
ZOGBY: Guess what? The president has no business saying he doesn't follow that interpretation of Islam because it's not his religion. But Muslim leaders do --
NOMANI: Nobody can call it out.
BURNETT: James, should he call out those leaders? You're funding this stuff. Why are you doing that? Should he call them out?
NOMANI: Yes, basically --
ZOGBY: He did.
NOMANI: -- you're giving the leaders a pass.
ZOGBY: I don't think so. Did you hear the speech at the State Department? I know you had translator with the Arabic thing, but did you listen to the president's speech?
NOMANI: I was in the room at the White House -- excuse me, James, but I was in the room when President Obama gave his speech there. I heard the cheering of so many people who are part of the Muslim lobby that are very much arguing this position that this has nothing to do with Islam. Excuse me, if I can just make my point.
ZOGBY: I'm not part of the Muslim lobby and I cheered for it.
NOMANI: James, if I could just finish.
BURNETT: Hold on, finish, Asra, and James would respond.
NOMANI: My point is that we are going to sell short our country and our national security and our foreign policy if we continue to simply make decisions based on political correctness and diplomacy. We are not going to be looking at the issue completely.
ZOGBY: That's not what this is about. It's about military strategy.
The president had every Muslim leader in that room at the State Department and talked to them about democracy, about reforming their country, about increasing rights for women, about ending all of the very practices that in fact, you feel spawn this movement. He did it, and he did it with them.
NOMANI: What good is that talk from the pulpits of our mosques we're hearing intolerance?
ZOGBY: That's your job as a Muslim. That's not the president's job, Asra.
NOMANI: That talk is useless. We need to name it, to tame it. And we need to get rid of this ideology in our world today.
ZOGBY: Yes, that's what your job is. The president is the commander in chief of the U.S., that's what he does. Thank you.
BURNETT: OK. I will hit pause on that there. Thanks very much of both you have for a fantastic conversation. We look forward to your feedback. Do you think the president should call this radical Islam or not?
Next, a new twist on the so-called road rage murder. What we're learning about the relationship between the suspect and the victim. The district attorney on the case is OUTFRONT. Plus, manhunt tonight for a pair of bank robbers known as the
Black Hat Bandits. The exclusive video here just on OUTFRONT just obtained from the FBI. We're going to show you the action.
BURNETT: A new twist in the road rage murder that left a mother of four dead. Tonight, questions about whether the murder could have been part of a drug deal gone bad. Witnesses tell our affiliate KTNV that Tammy Meyers would purchase things from the suspect, Eric Nowsch.
Meyers' husband spoke to ABC News earlier today about the murder.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ROBERT MEYERS: Every day that goes by, I miss my wife.
He did not have follow my wife home and murder her.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: Nineteen-year-old Nowsch is facing murder charges for killing Tammy Meyers.
OUTFRONT tonight, Clark County District Attorney Steve Wolfson. His office will be prosecuting this case.
Thank you very much for being with me. I appreciate it.
Look, the Meyers family originally said Tammy's death was the result of a road rage incident with a stranger. There was that week- long manhunt, of course, and they admitted they knew Nowsch the entire time. Do you know the exact relationship between the victim Tammy Meyers and the suspect Eric Nowsch?
STEVE WOLFSON, CLARK COUNTY DISTRICT ATTORNEY: You know, there's been a lot of speculation about the relationships between the parties. All I can say is a preliminary hearing date is set for March 10th. That's when we plan to present the evidence in a court of law. And that's when hopefully the truth will come out and we can learn a lot more about the case.
BURNETT: So, Eric Nowsch says he shot in self-defense. Our correspondent Sara Sidner spoke with his attorney yesterday. And here's exactly how he put it.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SARA SIDNER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Is Eric Nowsch going to say, I was defending myself?
SUSPECT'S ATTORNEY: Yes.
SIDNER: Did he indicate he was afraid for his life?
SUSPECT'S ATTORNEY: Yes, he was afraid for his life. (END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: Do you have any point of view at this point as to whether it's possible it was self-defense?
WOLFSON: Well, you know, we base our prosecution on the evidence. You know, the bottom line is this 19-year-old chose to equip himself with a handgun around 11:00 at night. There was some altercation or interaction between Mr. Nowsch and Ms. Meyers. It resulted in them arriving in front of the home of Ms. Meyers and Mr. Nowsch admittedly to two other people and the physical evidence seems to support his statement that he shot and killed an unarmed woman.
You know, the law of self-defense allows a person to use force and sometimes deadly force if they are faced with a degree of force that a reasonable person would be in fear of. It has to be force that would give them the legal ability to use deadly force and I don't see that in this case.
BURNETT: So, you don't see that in this case. OK.
So, one thing we know again is that the Meyers family story has changed multiple times, right? The bottom line was, again, I come back to this. But they knew who Eric Nowsch was. They didn't tell anyone for a week. The question I have for you is, could the Meyers family be held responsible for withholding such crucial information?
WOLFSON: You know, I'm not going to accept the statement that they knew it was Eric Nowsch that committed this murder and failed to tell the police. I'm not going to accept that because I don't believe that to be the case. We have conflicting statements. We have a family that's in distress. They lost a loved one that was gunned down by a 19-year-old in a senseless, stupid murder.
BURNETT: But you believe that -- they knew he was in the car. That's what I'm confused about that they didn't share his name.
WOLFSON: Well, I'm not sure that's the case. I'm just being up front with you. We heard a lot of statements.
You know, people say a lot of things. In this case, it's a fluid case. It's an ongoing case. But at the end of the day, we're going to have court hearing where people are going to be put under oath and they're going to ask question about what they knew about certain circumstances of the case.
BURNETT: That's interesting if they had shared it, as you pointed out, that would go against lot of what we heard so far.
There is another suspect still on the loose. What do you think his involvement might be?
WOLFSON: Well, we know from the physical evidence as well as Mr. Nowsch's own words that he was the passenger. This was the drive-by shooting. He shot out of a moving vehicle at an unarmed person. So, we know that somebody had to be driving the vehicle. Under
the law an aider and abetter is equally as guilty as the principal of the crime. So, based upon what we know at this point, we're very interested in talking to the driver and potentially a third passenger. We're not sure -- but certainly the driver.
The driver has certain culpability in this case and that's why it's an active ongoing investigation.
BURNETT: All right. Thank you very much, Steve. We appreciate your time. We'll be following the story.
WOLFSON: Sure, thank you.
BURNETT: And OUTFRONT next, a manhunt on tonight for the so- called Black Hat Bandits. This is pair of arms and dangerous men. They are suspected in a string of bank robberies on the loose tonight. The FBI is releasing this surveillance video exclusively to OUTFRONT. We're gong to show it to you so you can see what they are doing.
Plus, the mystery behind the shroud of torrent. Was it real or not? Answers.
BURNETT: Tonight, a manhunt on for a dangerous pair of bank robbers dubbed the Black Hat Bandits.
All right. This is FBI video released exclusively to OUTFRONT of one of the bandit's heists. You can see with the wide brims going up in the bank. They're suspected in seven bank robberies in the past month alone.
Joe Johns is OUTFRONT.
JOE JOHNS, CNN SENIOR WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It's a chilling bank heist all caught on tape in the surveillance video obtained exclusively by CNN. A well-coordinated bank robbery this past January in suburban Annapolis, Maryland.
The FBI is on the hunt for two people dressed in black from head to toe and considered armed and dangerous. They're smart, they're skilled, and disciplined. Agents are trying to catch them before somebody gets seriously hurt.
TIMOTHY GALLAGHER, FBI, SPECIAL AGENT IN CRIMINAL DIV/WASH. FIELD OFFICE: These guys are the worst of the worst. You know, I've been in this business 20 years. I've seen bank robbers no one knew except the teller knew the robbery occurred. As I said, here we have individuals throwing customers on the ground, vaulted counters. These individuals need to be brought to justice and soon.
JOHNS: These guys have done it again and again, seven times now in Virginia and Maryland wearing disguises, brandishing guns. They've earned their own nickname, the Black Hat Bandits for the headgear they wear.
And the FBI has gun public with this video because the crimes have gotten increasingly outlandish and law enforcement wants as many eyes on them as possible.
GALLAGHER: These individuals are heavily disguised, but they're not ghosts. They're members of our community. So, somewhere along the line, you know, they take off these disguises, they go and from the banks, and we're relying on the general public to pick up on them somewhere in that chain.
JOHNS: Each robbery is run like clockwork. They're in quickly, they're out, and they're gone. So smoothly that it's not even known for sure whether a third accomplice is driving a getaway car.
GALLAGHER: These individuals are professionals. It's well- thought out, the way they move around the banks, the weapons they use, the way to handle it. These individuals knew what they're doing.
JOHNS (on camera): The FBI, keeping with policy, would not comment on how much money the bandits have stolen but a posted reward for them now stands at $30,000 and goes to whoever gets the government the right tip in the case -- Erin.
BURNETT: Joe Johns, pretty stunning video.
All right, OUTFRONT next. The CNN journey to find Jesus. You heard me right.
Plus, allegations of sexual assault against Bill Cosby. Tonight, a new revelation.
BURNETT: And tonight, CNN is airing special report on the shocking allegations with dozens who accused Bill Cosby of sexual assault. Here's a preview.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And he offered me a large white pill.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The last thing I remember, I blacked out and Cosby mounting me.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He drugged and raped me.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You are such a perverted creep.
ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): Bill Cosby has not been charged with any crimes, yet he has gone from one of America's most revered entertainers to one of its most reviled.
(END VIDEO CLIP) BURNETT: And Alisyn Camerota, you just heard her voice there,
the host of "No Laughing Matter: Inside the Cosby Allegations", it's tonight at 9:00.
Alisyn, you have been covering this for months, you've interviewed a lot of these women and some of what they say is, as we just heard, is graphic. I mean, they do not mince words.
CAMEROTA: Absolutely. There have been at least two dozen women who have come forward and they can speak in very graphic detailing. You'll hear that tonight about their memories of these alleged incidents with Bill Cosby.
You know, it's interesting. I mean, their stories are all unique, yet eerily similar. And as you know, I mean, Bill Cosby has not really responded. His lawyers have, but he hasn't really responded.
And I think what you'll hear tonight that is being revealed that that hasn't been heard before is how he allegedly perpetrated these crimes. There was a ritual and they all talk about that.
BURNETT: All right. Thanks so much, Alisyn.
And we should say Bill Cosby declined CNN's request for an interview, but in recent months, his attorneys have vehemently denied the accusations of sexual assault.
But don't miss "No Laughing Matter." It is tonight at 9:00 with Alisyn right here on CNN.
And Anderson starts now.