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Police: Suspects Armed With Explosives, Pipe Bombs; Report: Gunmen Were In An Armored Vehicle; Prison Worker Charged In Prisoners' Escape; Shooting Standoff and Explosions in Texas. Aired 6-7a ET
Aired June 13, 2015 - 06:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[06:00:30] CHRISTI PAUL, CNN ANCHOR: Two breaking news stories this morning. We are getting the first pictures of Joyce Mitchell, that is the prison seamstress, who helped two ruthless killers allegedly escape and she is waking up in jail after her late night arraignment. All of this while Texas authorities are issuing a bulletin to look out for those murderers.
Also breaking this morning --
VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN ANCHOR: A shoot-out and standoff in Dallas after an armored van tries on plow through a police cruiser there. You see it here. Officials there say it is the first-ever attack on the Dallas Police Department Headquarters.
Good morning to our viewers here in the U.S. and also around the world.
PAUL: I'm Christi Paul. We are so glad to have you with us.
BLACKWELL: I'm Victor Blackwell.
We begin with that breaking news out of Dallas. It is an active standoff continuing between potential suspects, Dallas SWAT team, in a restaurant parking lot there. Let's take a look at to how this all started. Watch.
PAUL: Here is what we know. Up to four attackers may have been firing automatic weapons from various locations. This was a really brazen attack. After the shoot-out, police found suspicious bags near the headquarters. We know at least one contained explosives prompting evacuations from areas around the police headquarters right now.
BLACKWELL: Now after this shoot-out, it was about 1:30 this morning Eastern Time, police chased, as more suspects jumped into the van. The attack was and officers exchanged gunfire and shot back and forth before police cornered that van in a fast food restaurant parking lot near an interstate, leading us to where we stand now with SWAT teams in talks with the suspects reportedly. At least one says he has been injured.
Let's bring in CNN's Nick Valencia joining us now with more and this is all moving very quickly.
NICK VALENCIA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It is moving very rapidly and the details are pouring into the CNN NEWSROOM so forgive us if we -- just with us here as we work through these details.
What we can tell you is at about 12:30 local time in Dallas, that armored vehicle showed up outside of Dallas Police Department Headquarters. What the video appears to show an armored vehicle ramming police cruisers and shots were exchanged with that suspect after that initial contact was made.
A chase ensued right afterwards and as Victor was talking about, the suspect, we believe, is currently in a standoff with police. A SWAT team has been brought in to negotiate with the suspect outside of a fast food restaurant, possibly up to four people involved in this attack.
We don't know exactly what that means, whether this is four people linked to this attack or those four people were physically there, but we know at least one shooter was involved, according to a press conference a short time ago.
And what police are worried about right now, is concerns of small explosives, four suspicious bags are being investigated outside of police headquarters. At least one has confirmed to have a pipe bomb.
About 15 minutes ago, guys, as police were handling one of those bags, it self-detonated according to the Dallas Police Department Twitter account. No officers have been injured.
They are however asking for the public's assistance and evacuations and additional security measures are being taken in the city of Dallas, a very fluid situation this morning, a very active situation as we understand that police are still negotiating with the suspects -- Christie, Victor.
PAUL: Nick, thank you so much.
VALENCIA: You bet.
PAUL: Let's talk now to CNN law enforcement analyst, Cedric Alexander. He is the public safety director for DeKalb County, Georgia. Guess what? He happens to be in Dallas this morning. Cedric, so glad you could be with us. What are you hearing?
CEDRIC ALEXANDER, CNN LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST (via telephone): Good morning. No more than what I'm hearing is currently being reported right now. You know, this is a full-blown attack on an American police station and there in Dallas, unfortunately. They were confronted with this certainly unexpectedly. The fact that you have explosives found at the scene as well too is extremely troubling for that community. BLACKWELL: Cedric, let me ask you this. The timing I find interesting here. You, obviously, have something that is coordinated with the report from the explosive ordnance robot that one of the bags exploded on its own. You have this armored vehicle. How does one acquire an armored vehicle for an attack like this? Is it as simple as just buying one?
[06:05:14] ALEXANDER: Well, we are not sure it's an armored vehicle. It appears to be an armored vehicle at this point. It's no telling how it might have been modified by someone who planned this attack and there certainly may have been some modification of some vehicle in order to launch this attack as well too.
I think that will be determined throughout the morning and throughout the day as this investigation continues, Victor. It is still very early in this incident and I think there is going to be a lot more here to come throughout the day.
BLACKWELL: About the timing here, I mean, if this were an attack to, unfortunately, in this case, rack up a body count or go after a specific person, what do you glean from this happening at 12:30 a.m. local time?
ALEXANDER: Well, it's very, very hard to tell. Certainly the hour and the time that it occurred create some interesting questions in regards to why and how they may have planned this attack. But here again, Victor, it is still very early.
We don't know how many subjects may be involved. We don't know the motivation behind this attack and we don't know if there is still other subjects that are out there and other explosives as well too.
I would imagine Dallas Police Department is like any other police department across this country, is going to take all precautions and going to set up perimeter in and around their station, in and around that community until they do full sweeps and that is going to take some time.
But at this particular moment, it's my understanding that they do have one or all four of the subjects somewhere and with SWAT teams currently there as well too, so we will see how this unfolds and it's unfolding as we speak.
PAUL: Cedric, listen, there are two important words, especially in this tweet from the Dallas Police Department, a little bit ago on Twitter that said the first time the DPD headquarters has been under attack, their words. Help us understand what police officers right now are going through.
Feeling as though they are under attack by a coordinated effort that obviously we don't know what is happening. We don't know what the motivation is, but certainly terrorism has to be at the forefront of the thought process right now.
ALEXANDER: Absolutely. These officers are going to take all precaution. They are going to make sure that they protect that community, that station themselves. I'm quite sure there's a lot of anxiety going on at this particular moment.
A lot of questions are being asked that are going to need to be answered. You have multiple scenes there, the scene where the shooting took place there at the police department and at the location as well too where they may have these subjects surveilled and maybe in contact with them.
But great deal going on with these officers but they understand the responsibility that they have and the men and women there are going to stand tall to this threat, which has been placed upon them and we, as a community, in that community and across this country, we got to stand with them as well too.
PAUL: Cedric Alexander, we so appreciate your voice in this. Cedric is going to with us all morning long. It's a developing story. It's happening right now. As you heard, Cedric believes, based on what he has heard, they have these four people cornered in this van and we know there are explosives involved.
You heard the shots there. Very dangerous situation unfolding right now in Dallas and we will stay on top of it. In fact, we did speak earlier with a witness who saw this whole thing happen. Let's listen now to Eric Burt.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ERIC BURT, EYEWITNESS (via telephone): We heard loud noises. My wife asked if I thought they were shots. I was in the Marine Corps so she thought I would be an expert on that. I said it sounded more like a jackhammer with a lower frequency and it's hard to tell with the windows down.
So I went over to the windows and put one of them up and we heard more shots being fired, and I turned to my wife and said, yes, that's definitely gunfire because I can hear the snaps overhead.
And so she went further into the apartment and I got my iPhone out and started taking some video. Our apartment is west facing. It's actually directly across from the police headquarters parking lot and that is where they found the explosives.
So they had all of us evacuated. So we are down on the ground floor of our apartment building right now. They actually just did a controlled detonation at 4:27 and they have instructed this we may be out of our homes for a while.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
[06:10:13] PAUL: All right, thank you again to Rick Burt for that information.
BLACKWELL: Let's bring in CNN law enforcement analyst and former FBI assistant director, Tom Fuentes. Tom, we know that the Dallas police are working with the FBI and also the ATF in what is being described as a brazen attack there in Dallas. Again, the Dallas police tweeting this morning, "This is the first time that the DPD headquarters has been under attack generally. What is your reaction to what you're seeing in Dallas? What stands out to you?
TOM FUENTES, CNN LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: Well, I think right now, Victor, it's so early in the incident that we still don't know who is behind the attack and can we say it's international terrorism, ISIS- inspired, al Qaeda-inspired, is it a domestic terror group, a militia group?
Is it anti-police, hate motivated based on all of the anti-police rhetoric that we have had in the last few months that somebody wants to take it out on the police? We just don't know yet.
If the police have a name, which we have been told they do, we don't know if that is accurate because they are negotiating with someone in that armored vehicle to try to get them to surrender right now.
The other thing is that the -- you know, the safety issue of doing control detonations on bags with explosives is one thing, but on the other hand, you know, in some way if they examine the explosives it can give them an idea of how they were made, who may have been behind the manufacture and production of those devices.
BLACKWELL: Yes, kind of going through the ingredients and finding where those would be readily available and where they were purchased in the past couple of days or weeks.
FUENTES: The other question, Victor, if I could add on armored vehicles. I purchased armored vehicles for our overseas staff when I ran international operations in the FBI. There are a number of companies in this country that make or transform regular commercial vehicles into armored vehicles.
They up armor them. This is for corporate presidents and their officials, either here or overseas. So there is a number of ways that and a number of people that own these vehicles and it could be a stolen vehicle or we don't know if it's an armored car that has been taken from, say, one of the bank delivery companies, something like that.
So they haven't described in detail the type of armored car it is, but there are many of them and they are readily available to purchase.
BLACKWELL: OK, so not as difficult as one would expect.
BLACKWELL: All right, I just heard something from my producer. Give take to me again, Michael. All right, OK, Tom, stay with us. You'll be with us, I understand, all morning. We have new video in now -- Christie.
PAUL: Right. This is in house, a cell video apparently of this attack. Again, this is another piece of video someone posted on Facebook. Let's listen to this.
PAUL: This is just some of the video. I'm sure many that will probably come out throughout the morning. Again, this is something, if you're just joining us, that happened about 12:30 Dallas time as police termed it on Twitter they were under attack. Not only the police department.
At the end of the day, we have two scenes here. First of all, we have got the police department where there are four suspicious bags. We know at least one of them has exploded. They found a pipe bomb in another one, I believe.
PAUL: So we are waiting, as they have a robot there to examine those bags. And secondly, we have allegedly multiple suspects holed up in an armored back outside of a "Jack in the Box" after a chase and those are the suspects that they believe shot at police, left those bags out there. But it is an active scene at both different scenes right now.
BLACKWELL: We have got on the phone with us Tristan Hallman, a reporter for "The Dallas Morning News," who has been doing excellent reporting we have been following online. Tell us what is happening right now. Where are we in this negotiating process between police, between authorities and the suspects?
TRISTAN HALLMAN, "THE DALLAS MORNING NEWS" (via telephone): Well, the negotiations have been going on for several hours now. It sounds like they have got the armored van cornered. It's not clear how many people are in there.
The police have actually talked to only one of the suspects that we know of at this time and there may be only one person in there, but it sounds like that person may be wounded. But the negotiations have been going on quite a while.
BLACKWELL: Tristan, I want to start this by say we are not using the name this man gave to police. I hope you'll respect that.
[06:15:06] But do police confirm that this is the person, that he is who he says he is? Are they any closer to determining who the suspect who claims possibly has been injured is?
HALLMAN: Well, that person, they released the name hoping that someone would come forward. They believe that -- they are not sure whether that person is the person and they really have no way to tell right now, because they are still holed up in the van.
But that particular name has been associated with someone else who was arrested a few years ago for threatening to shoot schools and churches and other buildings, and was wanted here in Dallas on a family violence charge.
PAUL: All right, so, Tristan, if you'll hold on for us here. We need to get to Cedric Alexander, who is also in Dallas, our CNN law enforcement analyst.
As Victor was saying, Cedric, when you're talking about negotiation and you have got somebody in this van who clearly means to do harm, talk to us and help us understand the verbiage that is used, how do you get through to somebody so you can try to get them to surrender, essentially?
ALEXANDER: Well, that is going to vary certainly from person-to- person, but in the case such as just this, it's going to take some patience and time. You're going to have to do everything you can as a negotiator to try to join with that individual and try to find some point of mutual communication in which you can begin to engage in a conversation.
The longer I can stay in a conversation with you, the higher the chance that it will possibly come to some resolve. Here again, this case is still unfolding there in Dallas and it's still very early in this and this standoff is no telling how long it may last. But it's going to take a little time here this morning to put all of this together.
BLACKWELL: We just got a tweet. This is from the Dallas Police Department in the last minute. I'm going to read it, "Breaking, we have found an additional package under a police truck in the parking lot at Dallas Police Department Headquarters. EOD, the Explosive Ordinance Division, is checking it."
Again, they now have found an additional package under a police truck in the parking lot at the Dallas Police Department Headquarters. Again this would be in addition to the four bags that were found, suspicious bags.
One of them we know detonated as the explosive ordinance robot approached that bag to detonate it. It went off and exploded on its own. I want to go back to Tristan. Give us an idea of the resources that are pouring in right now that you know of to assist with this standoff and now this search for potentially more explosives.
HALLMAN: Well, as you mentioned before, the federal authorities are now working with the Dallas police. Dallas police have now expanded their perimeter around the headquarters. They are working to evacuate everyone. They have got a ton of officers down at the second location.
There are officers working security at all of the patrol stations around the city. They have got security over at city hall. They are trying to keep every possible target, even though it seems like it's limited to the police headquarters and where this van is now. But they are trying to keep them all secured.
PAUL: Did you see also just a couple of minutes ago breaking -- forgive me. Investigating a suspicious package at a dumpster at the northeast substation? It sounds as though, Tristan, that -- I mean, we know that the police said they have secured all of their substations. But it sounds as though -- I think we are learning just how elaborate this is, yes? That this is -- there are things that have been placed in specific areas over a long period of time, it seems it would have taken to facilitate this kind of attack.
Do you know when you said that they are talking to at least one person in that van? Is there any confirmation as to how many people might actually be involved here?
HALLMAN: No. That is something the police are trying to figure out. They are not sure how many people are in the van. They have heard rumors that there might have been another second shooter rumored that someone was up in the adjacent apartment building shooting.
But they haven't been able to confirm any of that and part of the reason they are evacuating that building. They are looking for people who might be part of an ambush, but this is all stuff that could come up in the heat of the moment whenever there is something that happens like this.
There are fully automatic weapons being fired. You could easily attribute that to more people than just the one, even if it was just one person.
PAUL: Go ahead.
[06:20:10] HALLMAN: I was going to say, as for the package in the dumpster in the Northeast Patrol, Northeast Patrol is a ways up, so, you know, I'd be cautious to associate it with it just yet. They have looked at suspicious packages before that don't end up being anything. Obviously, they are taking abundance of caution right now.
BLACKWELL: I hear that caution, but after a suspicious package exploded this morning, considering the context of what is happening. They are taking every precaution with all that has happened. Tristan Hallman, a reporter with "Dallas Morning News," stay with us.
We have Cedric Alexander, a CNN law enforcement analyst with us. We've got Tom Fuentes, a law enforcement analyst as well. As we push forward on the breaking news, Dallas Police Department in their words under attack. Now investigating several suspicious packages after an explosion outside of headquarters.
Several men up to four potentially firing automatic weapons as they have been described at officers and ramming as you see on your screen a police cruiser what is described as an armored vehicle. Again, they call it under attack. We will continue with the breaking news after this.
BLACKWELL: More now on the breaking news out of Dallas. The police department there tweeting that it is under attack. You see video shot by someone, amateur cell phone video here of what's been described as an armored vehicle ramming into a police cruiser. There was then a shoot-out with as many as four suspects, we are told. Right now, there are negotiations under way to try to get at least one suspect, potentially more, to exit a van and surrender.
[06:25:09] There were suspicious packages left outside of the Dallas Police Department Headquarters. One of them exploded this morning. We now have learned from the Dallas Police Department that they are investigating a suspicious package at a northeast substation in a dumpster there.
Also they found a package under a police truck in the parking lot of the headquarters there and the Explosive Ordinance Division is now checking that out. We will, of course, follow all that is happening in Dallas this morning, but there is more breaking news this morning.
PAUL: That being the new images that we have of prison employee, Joyce Mitchell, who is accused of helping two convicted killers, Richard Matt and David Sweat, who are still on the run this hour. Those are some pictures of her as she is getting out of, obviously, a trooper's car, as she is heading to her arraignment.
She is facing felony and misdemeanor charges this morning. Court documents reveal she was the one who gave Matt and Sweat hacksaw blades and chisels that helped them break out of prison.
In the meantime, search teams are really hoping that they are closing in on this pair. More than 800 state and federal law enforcement officers have shut down an upstate New York community.
We are going to talk to someone who is living through this in just a moment. We start with CNN investigations correspondent, Sara Ganim. She is live for us up in New York. Sara, what have you learned this morning?
SARA GANIM, CNN INVESTIGATIONS CORRESPONDENT: We are on the eastern edge of the search perimeter here, Christi. A lot of law enforcement officials out here. More than 800 local, state, federal, they are searching and chasing more than 700 leads. Those two convicted killers still on the loose. But this morning, the woman who police say helped them escape is now behind bars.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The defendant is charged here with two offenses.
GANIM (voice-over): Shackled and appearing terrified. Prison tailor turned prisoner, Joyce Mitchell was arraigned late Friday night accused of helping Richard Matt and David Sweat break out of the Clinton County Correctional Facility. She faces a felony charge of promoting prison contraband and a misdemeanor of criminal facilitation charge.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Bail will be set in the amount of $100,000 cash and $10,000 cash and $20,000 bond on the misdemeanor.
GANIM: The two killers have been on the run for a week, but it's Joyce who now faces up to eight years behind bars. Authorities say she provided them lighted glasses, hacksaw blades, chisels and drill bits to cut their way out of prison. But she got cold feet, authorities say, when it came time to get behind the wheel as the get- away driver.
Since then, Joyce has been cooperating with police. She told investigates that Matt made her feel special, but sources tell CNN she had a relationship with both prisoners. And it gets even more complicated.
Joyce is married to a fellow prison worker, who is now also under investigation. Lyle Mitchell worked in the maintenance department of the same tailoring block that his wife worked and where both fugitives worked.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We have information that is coming through, through interviews through our investigation that he possibly could have been involved or at least had knowledge of what was happening.
GANIM: Any idea of what his role might have been?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We have information on what part of his role would be and I hate to keep saying this to everyone, but this is an investigation not only is focusing on, obviously, taking Matt and Sweat back into custody, but we are pursuing other people that were involved.
GANIM: Bloodhounds picked up the fugitives' scent Wednesday night a mile away at a gas station, but nothing has panned out despite hundreds of leads and an intense manhunt.
GANIM: Now yesterday, that search intensified when a woman posted to Facebook that two men were seen scaling a wall behind her parents' home. Authorities moved, Christie and Victor, in with all-terrain vehicles but, ultimately, they didn't find anything -- Christie and Victor.
PAUL: All right, Sara Ganim, we appreciate it, thank you. We have much more on this search in couple of minutes.
BLACKWELL: But first, let's get more insight into the charges against this prison worker, Joyce Mitchell. We have with us now HLN legal analyst and criminal defense attorney, Joey Jackson. Joey, I want to start with a bit of Mitchell's first court appearance. Listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The defendant is charged here with two offenses, including misdemeanor criminal facilitation in the fourth degree and felony promoting prison contraband in the first degree. Do you waive a more formal reading of those charges?
KEITH BRUNO, ATTORNEY FOR JOYCE MITCHELL: Yes, your honor. We acknowledged (inaudible) not guilty pleas in all charges. (END VIDEO CLIP)
[06:30:12] BLACKWELL: All right, facilitation and promoting contraband, make it plain for us.
JOEY JACKSON, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Good morning, Victor. Whenever you're in a facility, obviously, it's supposed to be secured and you can't introduce anything into that facility which would endanger someone that has caused them serious injury, result potentially in their death or assist and aid in a prisoner's escape. And so, anything could be deemed contraband generally into a facility. And there is a distinction between just contraband, which when you go on a visit, a visitor can bring or, in this case, an employee can bring a cell phone in, you could bring food in, a pen, a piece of paper and that could be deemed contraband because it's not acceptable. Then it gets to the level for which she is charged with, which is promoting prison contraband in the first degree and that is introducing something that would be deemed dangerous. And we see what she introduced, ultimately, assisted them into their escape.
And so to the extent, that anything that an employee or a visitor could bring in and give another inmate which would assist them in escaping or represent a danger to anyone in the facility, it would be deemed promoting prison contraband, a D felony punishable up to seven years. Briefly, Victor, turning to the criminal facilitation charge. That's a misdemeanor charge. And all that means is, I shouldn't say all that means is, it's certainly significant, it' punishable by up to a year in jail, whenever you provide the means or the opportunity for someone else to commit a felony, it's deemed to be criminal facilitation. So, that is what she is facing at this point. Certainly, it doesn't mean that those charges couldn't be upgraded later, depending upon what those felons ultimately do before they are caught, if anything.
BLACKWELL: All right, Joey, let's look at this strategically from the perspective of the 800 plus law enforcement who are charged with finding these men. We understand that she has been cooperative generally and has been offering information. Do they jeopardize that by charging her? Because now she will have an attorney. She has been charged. Is it possibly that she will just clam up and not say anything more that could help in the search?
JACKSON: I think that is certainly possible, but, at the same time, you want to level charges against her for a variety of reasons. The first thing is you want to hold and detain her and that is very significant. So you want to have her under your control. As a second matter, you want to deter crime. Should we now, because anybody assists someone in escaping, saying, we won't charge you, just help us find them? That's not how the system works. You don't want others to engage in this. Furthermore, Victor, although she's been charged, let's be clear about this, her attorney will understand that continuing to provide whatever assistance or cooperation would certainly have an impact on what a potential sentence would be, thereby, rendering it light as opposed to very significant. And so, there are benefits from a criminal defense perspective to, although your client is charged, to continue to assist and cooperate with the authorities because, ultimately, it's going to affect your client's standing in terms of whether she is free and at what time frame she is free, or whether she remains in jail for a long time.
BLACKWELL: All right, Joey Jackson, thank you so much.
JACKSON: Thank you, Victor.
BLACKWELL: And a breaking news this morning. A shoot-out, and active standoff in Texas after suspects armed with explosives, pipe bombs, automatic weapons, we are told, attack the Dallas police department headquarters. And here is how it all started. About 12:30 local time this morning. Watch.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
(SOUNDS OF SHOOTING)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (INAUDIBLE)
(END VIDEO CLIP)
PAUL: Can you imagine waking up to that at 12:30 in the middle of the night? We understand up to four attackers may have opened fire from various locations in what is being described as a brazen attack. Now, after the shoot-out, police found suspicious bags near the headquarters. We know at least one contained explosives, prompting evacuations from areas around those police headquarters.
BLACKWELL: Now, after the shoot-out, police then chased the suspects and cornered a van in a fast food restaurant's parking lot near an interstate leading us to where we stand now, with the SWAT team in talks with the suspects. At least one says that he has been injured.
PAUL: Now, as we understand it, they have only spoken with one person who is in that van which police just tweeted out a short while ago, about ten minutes ago, they are still in the standoff with the suspect, but the suspect's vehicle has been disabled.
PAUL: Listen. There was an eyewitness, Rick Burt, to this whole thing. He's on the phone with us now. So, Rick, first of all, where were you and what happened?
RICK BURT: I was in my apartment building, which is directly across from the police headquarters, actually, on the southwest side of the police headquarters facing the parking lot where they eventually found the explosives. And 12:24, my wife heard, what, to me, sounded like a jackhammer but at a lower frequency and asked me if I thought they were gunshots. And then I went over to the window, which faces the police headquarters and opened it and, eventually, heard sirens and I would say 15 squad cars. Went to the northwest corner of the police headquarters and surrounded an armored vehicle. Then we heard several shots and I heard snaps overhead so I could tell that that was rounds coming in our direction. And got out my phone and started taking video. PAUL: So, did you see - OK, as we saw right there that vehicle, that armored van as it plowed into the police vehicle there, and then this van is going to drive away and that is when the chase ensued, but did you see any people trying to get away from police? Anybody running?
BURT: Negative. I saw several police officers. One was walking from the northwest side of the police headquarters towards that vehicle and I believe he tried to enter the vehicle, and then there were several police officers on the south side of the headquarters running, I believe, to try and outflank the armored vehicle, and then the armored vehicle fled.
PAUL: OK, so, the fact that you are so close in proximity to the police department, we are hearing, too, based on some tweets and some information from the police department, that as the explosive ordinance robot attempted to move one of the four bags that was found near the police station, that one of the bags exploded on its own. Did you hear any of that?
BURT: Yes. That was at 4:27 central time, we heard that explosive go off.
PAUL: And can you help us understand what is happening at the police department now? Do you see any activity whatsoever?
BURT: We have been evacuated because we had so many windows facing that parking lot and the explosives were found there. And so, everybody with an apartment facing the police headquarters was evacuated. So we are on the ground floor. I don't have a good vantage point of the police headquarters, but there are probably 20 to 25 officers, three squad cars, and a fire rescue vehicle just outside, probably about 20 feet from me now.
PAUL: OK, so when you say you were evacuated - and that has to be jolting to have somebody come to your door at 4:00 in the morning and evacuate you. Where are you - where have all of you congregated and what kind of conversations are you having?
BURT: Well, we are in a hallway on the ground floor of our apartment building and I would estimate there were about 50 to 60 people here at one point.
PAUL: And what are you all - what are the conversations that you're having about all of this?
BURT: Just people speculating, wondering what is going on. People were obviously - People were obviously scared talking about it and so, and there were several police officers here and they explained to us, but it's an ongoing situation, that they did find explosives, that two police officers that came to our door that evacuated us, after we left, regarding an area, one of the apartments down the hallway from us and it looked like they had a suspect, it looked like several of them was surrounding a suspect there. And I do know that one of the ladies that had an apartment there just moved out so that apartment was vacant. I can only speculate from there.
PAUL: OK, OK, Rick Burt, we so appreciate your insight here. Thank you. And best of luck to all of you.
BURT: There was just another - There was just another explosion.
PAUL: You just heard another explosion?
BURT: That is correct.
PAUL: What are the police doing where you are? You said you had a couple of police officers there with you.
BURT: That's correct. A lot of them are standing near the vehicle. There is somebody that just tapped out, but then I see several other officers walking towards police headquarters.
PAUL: OK, so, again, you have just heard, based on my count, I believe, would be a second explosion near that police department headquarters.
BURT: That's correct.
PAUL: Thank you so much, Rick. Stand by with us and please do stay here as we -- and just take good care of yourself there obviously. Also, we have CNN law enforcement analyst Cedric Alexander with us now. He's also the public safety director for DeKalb County, Georgia. And he just happens to be in Dallas this morning. Cedric, you know, we saw this tweet from the Dallas police just a few minutes ago saying that the standoff with the suspect is still ongoing there in the parking lot, not near the department, but that the suspect vehicle has been disabled. What does that mean to you in terms of how they would disable a van?
CEDRIC ALEXANDER, PUBLIC SAFETY DIRECTOR, DEKALB COUNTY: Well, it could have been a variety of ways in which that vehicle could have been disabled. I don't want to speculate too much into this as this continues to unfold. But what is certainly very troubling is that they are continuing to find these explosive devices in and around the police department.
In addition to that, I just heard you speaking to one of your witnesses there on the scene that there may have been another explosion. We don't know whether that is a controlled explosion or what. So as you can see, and as I mentioned right at the top of your show, this is going to continue to unfold right in front of you. But we have an American police department that came under attack earlier this morning and this is going to certainly play itself out throughout the day. This is very serious here.
PAUL: We are also getting - I'm just noticing a new tweet that came out from Dallas police. The SWAT disabled the suspect's vehicle with a 0.50 Cal rifle. The standoff is ongoing. The longer the standoff go, good news, bad news, Cedric?
ALEXANDER: Well, they are in a standoff. The vehicle can't go anywhere, so those subjects, at some point, are either going to have to surrender or we will see how this plays out in the end. But that vehicle certainly cannot go anywhere and this may take some time. We don't know who those subjects are. Subject or subjects inside that supposedly an armored vehicle, but this is going to be a very interesting unfolding of events as we continue here this morning.
PAUL: You made a good point, that the explosions, those latest explosion and to my count two, is that right, Victor? Two explosions?
BLACKWELL: Yes. Two. There was one this morning, one of the bags exploded as the robot was approaching it, the explosives ordinance robot was approaching it, and then, if this report is correct from Rick Burt, that there was a second explosion, but we have not heard that directly from ...
PAUL: From the police department.
BLACKWELL: From the Dallas police department.
PAUL: But Cedric made a very good point in saying that could have been a controlled explosion.
PAUL: Correct, Cedric? That they may have - have found something and detonated it on their own?
ALEXANDER: It may have been. But I think until we know for certain, we certainly don't want to make an assumptions. But according, you know, to your witness there who just said it to you, who is in that neighborhood, you heard a second explosion. So, we probably will have some information here shortly as to whether it was controlled or not.
PAUL: Cedric, give us here assessment based on what we know so far. Because OK, we know about the shooting and we hear that. And we see the van ramming the police officer there. Then we know about the chase. So, we are talking, as we understand it, about at least six different packages now. Four in front of the police department, one that was found under a police truck there in the parking lot at the police department, and a fourth in a dumpster at the northeast substation. Do you believe - and again, we don't know for sure -- but do you believe that one person could pull all of this off?
ALEXANDER: More than likely, probably not. At this point, I think we can reasonably assume there may have been others involved, but certainly we don't know for certain. What really is very, very disturbing here is the fact that number of explosives have been found here very recently, and in and around the Dallas community, certainly those other stations are going to have to be secured as well too, because we don't know how widespread this may happen to be at this point. But I think it's very important that the Dallas community stay tuned to what is going on and more so, let's keep our police department here in Dallas lifted up as well, too, because they are going to need a lot of support from this community in and around them.
[06:49:59] PAUL: Yeah, we should point out that the Dallas police actually tweeted out earlier this morning, seeking public's help, support and prayers for Dallas police officers. They are certainly feeling the jolt as everybody around there is. Cedric Alexander, thank you so much. He's going to be staying with us throughout the morning.
BLACKWELL: And we've learned also from Dallas police department, that there will be another news conference in the next several hours. A lot of the questions we have about these suspects, starting with the number of suspects, their identities, what they are learning about these packages, these bags as they search. We will hopefully get some answers. But again, we heard from Rick Burt just a couple of moments ago that he heard what sounded like another explosion which would be the second this morning. We don't know if that was something that was initiated by the Dallas police department explosives ordnance division in trying to detonate one of these packages in a controlled environment, but of course, we will try to get some of those answers throughout the morning and we will continue to get more on this breaking news and other breaking news throughout the morning as the attackers open fire outside the Dallas police department headquarters. The department tweeting out this is the first time the department headquarters has been under attack. A quickly developing story here. Things are moving fast. We will continue to follow all of it. We'll talk to Tom Fuentes, CNN law enforcement analyst, next.
PAUL: Following two breaking news stories this morning. The one you're watching here is Dallas police under attack. Those are their words this morning. It's about 12:30, and you can hear the gunfire there. They were attacked with gunfire.
PAUL: We know they are looking at at least six suspicious packages, two of which we understand have already exploded. We do not know if one of them exploded under a controlled situation, where they detonated it themselves, but they are also, at this moment, in another location. There are two scenes here. The one that you're looking at is the Dallas police department when the incident began with all of that gunfire. They are still there looking at suspicious packages that were left outside the department. At least three more, we believe. There is a second scene where they are in a standoff with the suspect in this case after a chase ensued. They did follow the suspect and they have disabled the vehicle that suspect was in, an armored van and they are now negotiating with at least one person who may be in that van.
BLACKWELL: And we have an updated tweet here from the Dallas police department. And it says the device found under police vehicle at headquarters has detonated. No injuries. Now, from the clean reading of it, it would suggest that it's detonated on its own. It was not detonated by the EOD, the explosives ordnance division, and the robot they used. However, let's just go with what they are telling us and hopefully we will get some clarity. Device found under police vehicle at headquarters has detonated. I want to bring in CNN law enforcement analyst Tom Fuentes. We want to start with this, but then move to the other breaking story in just a moment, the search for these two escapees out of New York. But first, when you hear device found under police vehicle at HG has detonated, does that suggest to you that it detonated on its own like the first explosion this morning, or that it was detonated using one of the robots?
TOM FUENTES, CNN LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: Well, Victor, I would think that it detonated on its own because they wouldn't want to destroy a vehicle in the process of setting it off if they could have the robot pull it out or slide it away from that vehicle, you know, so that maybe they could put a container around it or put it in a container to control it. They might have tried to do that, but we don't know at this point if it did detonate by itself and they just decided to go with that. But, you know, given now the number of explosive devices that have been found, two that have been detonated, the number of shots fired, you know, this does seem to be an attack obviously. But whether it's domestic terrorism or international terrorism, it's essentially taking on the scope of a terrorist incident, taking on the police like this.
BLACKWELL: And appearing to be highly coordinated with the use of reportedly this armored vehicle. Now, two devices that have been detonated. One, according to the police department, clearly that it detonated on its own here. The suggestion that this second device under a police vehicle detonated on its own. Oh, here we - 16 seconds ago, the device found under the police vehicle at the headquarters was detonated by EOD. So it was detonated by the explosives ordnance division using this robot.
So, as we now have it, two detonations. One, this bag outside of headquarters that exploded on its own, according to the police department, and then the package found under a vehicle, this truck as it was described in the police department parking lot, was detonated using the robot likely from the explosives ordinance division. But still, highly coordinated here. Go ahead, Christi.
PAUL: I just want to bring in some new information that we are getting in and Tom, I want to get your take on this. We apparently have been cleared to report the name of one of the possible suspects. One of the possible four suspects identified himself as James Boulware. A white male, 5 10', 200 pounds, police haven't been able to authenticate his name, but they believe there may be up to four people involved in this situation. They can confirm at least one person at this time. Again, they believe, though, it is James Boulware. And based on some of the information that we could find, this may be - and actually another one of the reporters from "The Dallas Morning News" talked about earlier this morning, James Boulware may be a man who was arrested back in 2013 for threatening to go on a shooting spree in schools and churches and that he was in jail at that time after that arrest on a possession of marijuana charges. Police pursued him, though, on an assault warrant because he allegedly choked a family member with both hands. That is some of the information coming in on James Boulware who has obviously had some communications in the past with police. Police are now saying, and we are cleared to say he may be one of these -- he may be the suspect in this case because that is who he identified himself to be when police have been negotiating with him. What do you make of that, Tom?
FUENTES: Well, I think it also adds to the question, then do we have a member of a white supremacist group or a militia group or just somebody, and a couple of his friends maybe that just have a complaint or hatred of the police and decided to do this for their own purposes. So, you know, that's one of the things - the other issue I want to bring up is that the reports of shots being fired from a number of locations at the police department, often in urban shootings, you have the echo off of buildings going back and forth and they very often sound like a number of different shooters when it could be the same shot or coming from one shooter and just the sound waves echoing off the building. So that is something else that they will have to determine.
Also I'd like to add that all of these police facilities and their parking lots where police vehicles are put, will have video cameras. So, they will have the ability for police department, the FBI, ETF, to be analyzing all of video cameras and try to determine when each device was placed where it was. Does the person appear to be a different person? Based on the timing and based on the appearance, it could be one person made the rounds and put devices at various locations. Then got in the armored vehicle and waged the attack. So, we could have, as few as one person, or we could have multiple people. That they will be able to determine later on.
BLACKWELL: All right, the latest update just within the last few seconds from Dallas police department, they are working on processing at least two crime scenes, inclusive of the ongoing standoff near I-20 and I-45. Again, this being tweeted out from the Dallas police department. Tom, I know we are supposed to turn over to another story. But with the information now of this self-identification of one of the suspects is James Boulware. Again, the police have not been able to authenticate that, but there are reports that a James Boulware back in 2013 made threats against schools, churches saying he was going to shoot those. We talked to - a lot about surveillance of terror suspects as it relates to ISIS, but if there are these types of threats from someone who has spent time in jail before, is there continued surveillance from the police department potentially from 2013 of a James Boulware?
FUENTES: Probably not. You know, it is a question of resources. And if they didn't have new information for whatever reason that he was intending an attack, it would be difficult to sustain or justify continued use of resources to follow him. One of the things, you know, with individuals like him, some of the older, you know, whacko types aren't necessarily using social media the way the younger people would be doing and ISIS is relying heavily on young people going to their websites, seeing all of their propaganda online. A lot of these guys like Boulware, we don't even know if he is computer literate to know if he had any social media. So, when you have someone that is not posting on different social media sites it's harder to have an idea of what he might be up to. It's harder for his friends, neighbors and other colleagues to report to the police, hey, this guy is threatening an attack, he is getting - you know, gathering guns, gathering friends. You won't hear about that as much if they are not using the computer like a 20-year-old would.
BLACKWELL: OK, Tom, we originally asked you to come in this morning to talk about the search for these two suspects and coincidentally, that keeps us out of New York, Richard Matt and David Sweat. But coincidentally, it keeps us in Texas because there has been this request for authorities in Texas to be on the look-out to Richard Matt. He has family ties in south Texas there, a border city there. And officials warn that Matt may have intentions to cross into Mexico. Of course, we want to tell our viewers that there is no that we know of, connection between what we are seeing in Dallas and the search for Richard Matt and David Sweat. But initially, obviously, because of the location, the thought was that they could possibly pass into Mexico. Do you think it's credible they could now cross into -- cross into Canada, I should say? Do you think it's credible they could cross now into Mexico?
FUENTES: I think so. I think they could be just about anywhere at this point. We don't know if they slipped through the dragnet that they have set up in New York. It's not impossible for that to happen. You know, and the authorities in New York, the New York state police, the U.S. Marshals, the FBI, everyone working on that task force has said, don't just go by the media reporting and our thoughts that they might still be close to the prison area in Dannemora. Don't give up calling in if you see somebody suspicious in another state, in another location, because they might be somewhere else and don't just give up on it thinking they are in upstate New York still.
BLACKWELL: All right, Tom Fuentes, CNN law enforcement analyst, keeping us up to date on the different contexts as we are seeing things develop in Dallas and with the search for the two inmates out of New York.
BLACKWELL: And now, this alert to be on the lookout in Texas for Richard Matt. Tom, stay with us.