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NEW DAY SATURDAY
Dylann Roof Faces Families At Bond Hearing; Judge At Bond Hearing Calls Shooter's Family "Victims"; Possible Sightings Of Escaped Killers; Recent Attacks on Houses of Worship; Providing Security in Church, Lake Fire in California. Aired 6-7a ET
Aired June 20, 2015 - 06:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN ANCHOR: Breaking developments in two big stories this morning. The mass murderer who allegedly gunned down nine parishioners in a South Carolina church, we are learning new details this morning into what he is telling investigators reportedly, including the amount of ammo he was carrying.
CHRISTI PAUL, CNN ANCHOR: Also breaking this morning, a possible sighting of the two convicted killers who are still on the run. Witnesses say they spotted them near the Pennsylvania border.
It is always so good to have you with us. Thank you for being here. I'm Christi Paul.
BLACKWELL: I'm Victor Blackwell. A pleasure to be with you. This morning we begin in South Carolina with new information on the shooter and his plans.
PAUL: With nine people killed, there are some pretty shocking revelations this morning that the death toll certainly could have been even higher. Affiliate WBTV reporting Dylann Roof told investigators he had seven clips of ammunition loaded and ready to kill. That is one of many developments we are following this morning.
BLACKWELL: Also the judge in Roof's hearing faces a social media fire storm this morning. Is there a defense for a sitting judge to use the "n" word in court? And the bonds of heartbreak, listen.
PAUL: Faith and fortitude. Vigils unfold in Charleston and around the country. This one you're looking at here happened last night. There are so many, though, planned throughout the weekend.
BLACKWELL: We beginning this morning with CNN's Nick Valencia joining us now from Charleston. Nick, tell us more about these new details, what you're learning about Dylann Roof and why he chose that church, what many people have wondering why travel so far to go to that church to carry this out?
NICK VALENCIA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, the church carries so much historic significance as we have been reporting throughout the week. It is the oldest historic AME church in the south and it has a long history of civil rights, just a long history of civil rights.
Many speakers, prominent speakers have taken the podium there. It seems as though he knew the significance of that church. We also are learning new details this morning from our local affiliate in Charlotte, WBTV, again, that's the area where Dylann Roof was captured by authorities after carrying out massacre here.
According to WBTV, he told authorities that he had at least seven magazine clips before he entered that church and, apparently, he had some second thoughts as well as about carrying out his shooting spree.
If you remember, he spent an hour with these parishioners during the bible study session praying with them and spending some time with them and intimate setting, just 13 people there including the gunman.
According to investigators that WBTV spoke to, they treated him very nicely so that that's why he had second thoughts about carrying that out. He also was told he killed nine people and something came as a shock to him.
Yesterday, during this bond hearing, his first appearance in the state of South Carolina, that happened behind me via video link. Some of those family members of the victims were inside and, given the circumstances, they handled this situation with integrity and grace.
VALENCIA (voice-over): In shackles and wearing prison stripes, gunman, Dylann Roof, walked into his first court appearance with little emotion. His image broadcast via a video like from the detention into a North Charleston courtroom. On the other side of the screen, off camera, relatives of the innocent victims.
JUDGE JAMES B. GOSNELL, CHARLESTON COUNTY MAGISTRATE: Before we go into the bond process, I would like to ask are there any members or is there a representative of any of the family that would be here that wish to make a statement before this court before I post or set the bond?
VALENCIA: Through tears, some of them spoke.
NADINE COLLIER, DAUGHTER OF ETHEL LANCE: I forgive you. You took something very precious away from me. I will never talk to her ever again. I will never be able to hold her again, but I forgive you, and have mercy on your soul.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Your name, Ma'am?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Felicia Sanders.
VALENCIA: One of them, Felicia Sanders, a survivor of the slaughter who lost her son in the attack, seems to speak for them all.
FELICIA SANDERS, MOTHER OF TYWANZA SANDERS: We welcomed you Wednesday night in our bible study with open arms. You have killed some of the most beautifulest people that I know. Every fiber in my body hurts and -- and I'll never be the same.
[06:05:09] VALENCIA: Roof listens expressionless. Staring down, he says nothing.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Your honor, I've met with Mr. Roof. I think he understands the proceedings.
VALENCIA: Law enforcement sources say he confessed to killing people, all shot multiple times. In a bizarre twist, the chief magistrate asked the court to give sympathy to Roof's family.
GOSNELL: We must find it in our heart that, at some point in time, not only to help those who are victims, but also to help his family as well.
VALENCIA: In their first statement since the massacre, Roof's family says they are devastated and saddened. "Words cannot express our shock, grief, and disbelieve what happened that night." They go on to say the Roof family extends their deepest sympathy and condolences to the families of the victims.
Forgiveness also a vocal point at a prayer vigil on Friday, quite a remarkable response from a city still healing.
VALENCIA: And according to investigators, it may have been Roof's own family that led to his capture. According to local reports here, his parents saw him on TV, that image being broadcast all across the local news and national news outlets here on CNN as well.
They called investigators to I.D. him. Of course, Dylann Roof eventually captured about four hours north of here just outside of Charlotte, North Carolina -- Victor, Christie.
BLACKWELL: All right, Nick Valencia, thank you so much.
Joining us now is a former senior FBI profiler and special agent, Mary Ellen O'Toole, and also CNN law enforcement analyst and former FBI assistant director, Tom Fuentes. Thank you both so much for being with us.
I want to get to some of this new information that we are learning about today. First of all, Tom, we are learning Dylann Roof had seven magazines on him. Then we know he reloaded five times. It sounds as though he certainly had the capacity to kill more people. What do you make of the amount of weaponry that he went in there with?
TOM FUENTES, CNN LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: Well, certainly, Christie, he went in there with enough to kill every single person in there, kill them over and over again and shoot them many times. You're talking about 70 rounds for 13 people including himself.
So he certainly could have stayed and just made sure that he killed everybody. Why he decided to do what he did or shoot the persons he did shoot and not the others, or not kill everybody, we just don't know.
PAUL: Mary Ellen, he did say as well, this is another new piece of information we are getting today, he thought about not shooting anyone and then he apparently changed his mind. Have you seen that in your career as a profiler that there are people who commit violent acts who did second-guess themselves?
MARY ELLEN O'TOOLE, FORMER FBI SPECIAL AGENT: Well, certainly offenders can second-guess themselves, but I think what is so unique in this case is that it became part of his confession where he tells investigators that he did that.
And it really is very stunning because what that tells us is that, yes, I spent an hour with these people, he probably prayed with them, he may be held their hands. Yet, he was still cold-blooded enough to say, yes, OK, but I'm still going to go ahead and kill them.
I think that is very profound when it comes to realizing just how cold-blooded and callus his behavior is.
PAUL: Yes, I think that is what has a lot of people what is so raw about this. Because if you sit with somebody for an hour, they are not a statistic to you anymore, they are a person. You know them on some level. Let's listen here to somebody who knows him quite well, one of his friends. Let's listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOEY MEEK, DYLANN ROOF'S ROOMMATE: I mean, he was just saying he wanted segregation. He wanted to be white with white and black with black.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What did you say when he said that?
MEEK: I didn't agree with his opinion at all and we just argued about it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
PAUL: The gentleman said it could have been prevented if people would have taken him seriously, but Dylann wasn't a serious person. Tom, how can you discern if somebody is truly a threat or if they are just speaking?
FUENTES: Well, I think, normally, you could, unless they go ahead and do something going beyond what they talk about. In this case you have these friends saying that they knew had he purchased a gun and, at one point the same kid said that they were drinking and he drank a liter of vodka and he took his gun away.
And then later didn't want to be accused of stealing, he'd gave him back the gun. So obviously he is with Dylann and didn't take him serious in his rants about black people, and you know, all the hatred that he had. He gave him back his gun. So I don't know. If the closest people to him don't take it seriously then you don't see others doing it as well.
[06:10:03] PAUL: Mary Ellen, real quickly, according to WBTV, investigators say he knew he shot a few people. When he was told him that he killed nine people, he appeared remorseful, is that common?
O'TOOLE: When you say he appeared remorseful, that doesn't necessarily reflect how he is really feeling. Both Tom and I have been around offenders for many years that will tell you they feel remorseful, but they really don't feel it and, in this case, I would have to doubt that feeling.
PAUL: OK, yes, wondering if it's just an act or -- OK, we appreciate both of you so much in your insight. Mary Ellen O'Toole, Tom Fuentes, thank you.
FUENTES: You're welcome.
BLACKWELL: Well, investigators are still working and will continue to work for some time to get answers about what happened in Charleston, but that community and communities across the country are looking for answers. They are also looking for some comfort.
PAUL: And they are finding that in each other in these vigils that are echoing across the United States particularly though in Charleston, a place known as the holy city for its, you know, many churches and a cherish role that they play.
BLACKWELL: There will be more vigils and ceremonies today and tomorrow, as people stand in solidarity with the community there in Charleston.
We are also hearing from the family of Dylann Roof for the first time, offering what they call their deepest sympathy and condolences. The family's written statement was issued through the public defender. Here is part of it.
"Our thoughts and prayers are with the families and friends of those who were killed this week. We have all been touched by the moving words from the victims' families offering God's forgiveness and love in the face of such horrible suffering."
PAUL: A lot more coming up for you including the judge who a lot of people are talking about this morning. We are learning more about this magistrate who really sparked some outrage after calling the church massacre shooter's family victims as well. Coming up, find out why he has been reprimanded in the past?
BLACKWELL: And breaking this morning, a possible sighting of the two convicted killers on the run still from a prison in New York. We are learning that another corrections officer has been placed on administrative leave. What could this mean? That is still ahead.
BLACKWELL: It's 16 minutes after the hour now. The judge who presided over the bond hearing of the shooter, Dylann Roof, is sparking a bit of a firestorm over some comments made during that hearing. Listen to what he said about sympathy for the killer's family.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GOSNELL: We have victims, nine of them, but we also have victims on the other side. There are victims on this young man's side of the family. Nobody would have ever thrown them into the whirlwind of events that they have been thrown into. We must find it in our heart that at some point in time, not only to help those that are victims, but to also help his family as well.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLACKWELL: All right. So pair that with what we are learning about the judge's past. Documents show that Judge James Gosnell Jr. received a reprimand by the South Carolina Supreme Court. He was reprimanded for making racist marks during a hearing in 2003. The comments were made towards an African-American defendant.
Here is what he said. He is the quote, "There are four kinds of people in this world, black people, white people and red necks and n words." Of course, he said the "n" word. The judge alleges he was repeating a story told to him by a sheriff's deputy in an attempt to encourage the defendant to change his ways.
Let's talk about this now with HLN legal analyst and criminal defense attorney, Joey Jackson. Joey, good morning to you. I wonder when a case like this that is high profile and racially sensitive, is it a sign, as in this case, the chief magistrate, or is it random, or are past statements and reprimands taken into consideration?
JOEY JACKSON, HLN LEGAL ANALYST: Good morning, Victor. Well, you consider the contacts and what happens here is that a judge has a job and that job in this particular case is to inform the defendant of what the charges are and to, otherwise, set bail. That's it.
Generally, at a sentencing hearing, or some other type of pronouncement, if it's a bench trial and you're giving statements of fact and making conclusions of law, then it's perfectly appropriate for the judge to opine and to give their theory of the case, and so otherwise their reasoning and logic which underlies what they are doing.
When you're at a forum like this where your job is to allow a family to, you know, give words if they would like to and that could be a very therapeutic experience, not all jurisdictions do that.
And when your job is to set bail, it's highly unusual to, you know, give your point of view as to the earth and the world. So it's seemingly not in keeping with generally a judicial function.
The only thing I could potentially think about in terms of trying to justify or wonder why he said it was potentially to avoid retribution or retaliation against the families in any way.
Other than that, I just don't know why the judge sort of went off the script and said something like this.
BLACKWELL: Yes. And the reporting conversations that we have heard, thus far, is there haven't been reports of retaliation against the family. You know, we both attended -- obviously, in different roles -- bond hearings in the past.
This seemed to me like a bit of a performance, as if there was a script written somewhere in the delivery.
[06:20:00] How often do we hear, even not just from the judge, as emotional as the statements were and as therapeutic it might have been for the families, to hear these victim impact statements?
JACKSON: We generally don't, Victor. There is a reason for that. You hear victim-impact statements, but that is done after the entirety of the trial. In other words, a trial occurs, someone is found guilty, and then when the judge is going to pronounce a sentence, you hear the victims and the impact and the grueling nature of what occurred and what the victims, you know, have meant to their lives.
But you generally do not hear this at a bond hearing with the entire purpose of the bond hearing is to set bond. Now, we know that based upon the murder charges, there is no ability to set bond. What happens is that there is no jurisdiction by the court. You stay in.
So, therefore, the only thing the judge needed or had to do was set bond, as he is required under the law on the possession of a weapon charge. What he did is a million dollars. But number one, in terms of victim-impact statements you don't hear them in this form. Number two, generally, you don't hear a judge opining about who should have sympathy for who, what, why, or when.
The judge's role is assess the facts and assess the case as you know them to be at that particular point, and to set bail, period. So I'm not entirely sure, you know, why on earth the judge did what he did here.
BLACKWELL: All right, we have a few more questions and hold those for next hour. Joey Jackson, good to have you.
JACKSON: Always a pleasure, Victor, thank you.
PAUL: Also breaking this morning, two possible sightings of the two convicted killers, who are still on the run from a New York prison. Witnesses say they believed they spotted them near the Pennsylvania border.
Plus more coverage on the Charleston church massacre next. We are taking a look at what length some churches have gone to keep their houses of worship safe.
PAUL: Breaking news this morning in the search for two killers who escaped a New York prison more than two weeks ago now. We are learning another correction officer has been placed on leave from the Clinton Correctional Facility. We'll have more on that in a second.
But first, New York State Police are investigating a new possible sighting of these two men, Richard Matt and David Sweat. Witnesses first spotted two men apparently last Saturday walking near a rail yard some 13 miles from the Pennsylvania border.
The two men with the same description were later spotted walking along county Route 115, that's in the town of Lindley, which is heading toward the Pennsylvania border. Police are asking residents who live in that area, be on the alert and call 911 immediately if you see anyone who looks like these two convicts.
CNN law enforcement analyst, Tom Fuentes, is joining us now. Tom, first of all, if this happened last Saturday, why are we just learning about it now?
FUENTES: I think the problem is we don't know, you know, the exact time they notified the authorities. I think a lot of people around the country may have seen a suspicious pair of people or even just one man meeting one of the descriptions and just thought, you know, there was so much focus in New York, the dogs were on the scent and 800 officers were in the woods in the immediate proximity to the prison.
That a lot of people said it must not be them, they are still in New York. I think in fairness the marshals in particular were stressing all along don't just dismiss a sighting because you think all the focus is on New York. They could still be anywhere.
Many people from the first day saying they could be anywhere in the United States, Canada and Mexico for sure. I think now the scent has grown cold in New York and I think more people are likely to be more alert and if they see someone suspicious call it in and say they haven't caught these guys yet so maybe they are still out there.
PAUL: So let's talk about the practicality of it. This would be day eight, nine, that they would have been spotted and 300 miles to the Pennsylvania border. Would that be on fast do you think if they are traveling on foot alone to make that much head way?
FUENTES: Well, anything is possible in this case and we don't know if somewhere along the way found a house to hang out in, which would give them shelter, water, possibly food, clothing and firearms maybe even a vehicle.
And decided they would lay low and then in a home not being used, just wait there until the heat dies down because, at some point, they are not going to be able to maintain 800 to a thousand officers searching the woods up in upstate New York.
They are going to go back into a more normal duties that have not been attended to while they are devoting all of this attention in New York, and when they go back to regular duties, the heat would die down and maybe they would make their way out of the area at that time. We just don't know.
PAUL: Tom, did they tell you they would still be traveling together or would anything tell you they would split up?
FUENTES: Tells me both. To me, I would lean they are probably still together and helping each other until they get to somewhere where they feel safer to separate. If they are in a survival mode, they are probably together.
PAUL: OK, let's get to this development late last night that an unnamed corrections officer was placed on administrative leave as part of the investigation into the escape. Does administrative leave translate to we think he might have assisted in some capacity?
FUENTES: I think if it was assist inside a capacity, we would looking at something more serious like criminal charges. It could also mean there was negligence in the bed checks or roll call checks that they do or the check of doors, perimeters and security like so it could be a neglectful act that led to this. We just don't know.
PAUL: OK, Tom Fuentes, always appreciate your insight. Thank you, sir.
FUENTES: Thank you.
BLACKWELL: There are some people who are making connections between what happened in Charleston and shootings in the 1960s during the civil rights era. Consider this. There have been nearly two dozen church shootings in the last decade alone.
Next, we are taking a look at how some congregations are working to stay safe and asking a difficult question although it should be. Can a church still be a place where all are welcome?
Plus another U.S. citizen arrested for supporting ISIS, this time it's a guy from Ohio, he makes the third ISIS-related arrest this week. Is this terror organization ramping up for U.S. attacks?
[06:30;00] BLACKWELL: You're seeing here, this is Dylann Roof as he appeared in court. But investigators say he has offered startling insights into the shooting rampage that left nine people dead in that church in Charleston. According to CNN affiliate WBTV, this confessed shooter told investigators he had seven magazines of ammunition that were loaded and ready to kill. And that he chose his targets because it's an historic African-American church.
PAUL: Here is what is so sad about this, in addition to everything that happened, that the attacks at houses of worship are not necessarily new. I mean, the last decade alone, there have been 23 reported shootings at churches in America and 45 people have died because of that. CNN's Ed Lavandera visited one church in Texas that invested in an elaborate security plan after a massacre back in 1999.
JEFF LASTER: Just pulled out a nine millimeter and shot me twice.
ED LAVANDERA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Just like that?
LASTER: Just like that. Yeah.
LAVANDERA (voice over): The moment is still crystal clear for Jeff Laster. In September of 1999 a gunman walked into the Wedgewood Baptist Church in Fort Worth, Texas with several hundred rounds of ammunition and a pipe bomb and killed seven people. Laster was the first person wounded that day.
LASTER: He did ask me, is this where the religious meeting was being held? And he didn't give me a chance to answer. He just said it as he was firing. He just pulled it out and shot twice sideways and hit me once in the stomach and once in the arm.
LAVANDERA: That moment changed this church forever and today the signs of that change are everywhere. Outside the memorial to the seven victims, but the church has invested in an elaborate security plan, dozens of security cameras.
(on camera) These are all cameras that were not in place here back in 1999. This is all ...
LAVANDERA (voice over): So, you have really good views of basically everywhere from the parking lot all the way into the inner parts of the building, right?
LAVANDERA (voice over): Doors that locked during the day, there are evacuation plans in place, background checks for new church members. And here is a twist. Jeff Laster now helps run the church's security plans.
(on camera): 16 years later, you still come to church here.
LASTER: I do.
LAVANDERA: Obviously, you feel safe and you are in charge of security.
LASTER: Well, I am. I was on staff then and I am on staff now. I'm the administrator. A church is supposed to be a warm, open, inviting place. I want people to feel comfortable coming here. And you want people -- you know, our normal worshipers feel comfortable here. It's home to them. But you also want it to be open and inviting to somebody who doesn't belong here.
LAVANDERA (voice over): But here at Wedgwood they have learned a painful truth. Sanctuaries are not safe.
LASTER: There is no place in American society or in this world where a terrorist can't come in and start firing away or a crazy man or violence. It knows no borders and it knows no sanctuary.
LAVANDERA (on camera): This used to be a safe place. You grew up thinking this was a safe place.
LASTER: Yeah. And everybody. So it makes it such a shock. You think, in a house of worship, how can they do that?
LAVANDERA (voice over): It's happened again, and this congregation's heart aches for them. Ed Lavandera, CNN, Fort Worth, Texas.
BLACKWELL: Our Tim Miller joins us now. He is the president and founder of the Lionheart International Services Group, it's a group that provides security training and training support to nonprofit groups. Tim, good to have you this morning.
TIM MILLER, PRESIDENT, LIONHEART, INTERNATIONAL SERVICES GROUP: Great to be here, Victor. Thanks for having me.
BLACKWELL: So, as we've said this morning, 23 shootings reported at churches across the country, 45 deaths. How seriously do most religious leaders and we're not just talking churches, but synagogues, mosques take security?
MILLER: Well, you know, Victor, it's a challenge to the opening and welcoming, while, at the same time, to have good security. And your last piece, Wedgwood, very familiar with that. You know, you don't expect someone to come in and to do the kind of violence in a church, unfortunately like we saw in Charleston, and by the way, my prayers are with those in Charleston. It's just an unimaginable tragedy. But to answer your question, I think we in America are starting to come face-to-face with the fact that churches are on the target list. We are seeing directed violence at church, and like you talked about earlier, it's time for us as a nation to address it, and especially for church leaders to recognize that we do have a duty to protect our congregation.
BLACKWELL: So, what is realistic here? I mean you can treat it like an airport. Take off your shoes, your belt, empty every bag, no large bags, but that may not be realistic. Should it be every day, I mean even on a Wednesday night Bible study and what realistically should people for these churches take into consideration when checking security?
MILLER: Well, that's a great point, because I think it can't be the same as an airport. We don't want churches to look like Secret Service events. We want it to be welcoming. We want it to be a natural flow of people coming in and being ministered to across the different religions that we have, but we definitely must look at it as a focused effort. Leadership must look at it as something they must do and in days past, they've never really considered security as a priority. So that must be the first thing. And then the congregation, you know, wherever I go, I like to say that church security is a team sport, it's something that all of us need to be involved in. You know, DHS tells us that if we see something, say something. And I think that's a huge step for churches to take, just to begin to raise the awareness of the need for folks, if they see things, if there are things that come to their attention, that they have a mechanism in place to address those issues and not just ignore them like we have done in the past.
BLACKWELL: Tim, I'm going to ask you something that's - it's a difficult question to ask and uncomfortable for attendees of religious ceremonies and I'll also ask a clergy later. But although churches should be places where all are welcomed, is it realistic to believe in this climate that they can be still a place where all are welcomed?
MILLER: Yeah. Victor, I think -- I think - I attend a great church in South Florida and it's every race, every type of wealth spectrum. And we make a focused effort to welcome everyone. And I would suggest that that is the atmosphere of most churches in America. I think that is what we saw in Charleston, a very different young man came in and he was evil and he had a definite agenda. But they welcomed him. That is the tragedy of this. So I think the good news is a focus security effort allows you to maintain that welcoming atmosphere while, at the same time, you can have clear security measures across the spectrum to deal with whatever threats there are.
BLACKWELL: All right, Tim Miller, thank you so much for helping us understand how in this environment, in this climate, places of worship have to take security very seriously. Good to have you this morning.
MILLER: Thank you, Victor. Have a good day.
BLACKWELL: You too.
PAUL: Well, the FBI have arrested multiple people this week who, it says, were gathering material for ISIS-inspired attacks in the U.S. So has ISIS changed how it's operating here? That is one of the questions. Plus, we will be right back with that and more.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Serena Williams isn't the only tennis player halfway to the calendar slam this year. American Bethanie Mattek- Sands won the Australian and French Open women's double titles with her partner, Lucie Safarova. Then the pair gelled quickly. The oggie (ph) Open was the first tournament that they had ever played together.
BETHANIE MATTEK-SANDS: And I think one of the biggest things for doubles is communication and me and Lucie are really good friends, we are having fun. And I think we are taking each match as it comes.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The 30-year-old has been plagued by injuries for much of her career. And missed most of last season due to hip surgery.
MATTEK-SANDS: You know, it was a tough decision to undergo another surgery. I had one in 2008 on the same hip, but, you know, it was the right decision.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And her bid to win all four majors now moves on to the grass courts of Wimbledon.
MATTEK-SANDS: I definitely don't think I'm finished. I think there are still things to do. I'm feeling fresh. I feel like the time I've spent at home and, you know, the time I've missed on tour, I'm adding it kind on the back end of my career.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLACKWELL: New this morning, an American citizen in Ohio is in jail after the FBI says he pledged to support to ISIS. Amir Al Ghazi was arrested just outside of Cleveland yesterday when he tried to purchase an AK-47 from an undercover agent reportedly. After further investigation, Al-Ghazi allegedly pledged to support to ISIS via social media and even tried to make propaganda videos for ISIS. This is the third arrest this week of an American attempting to aid the terrorist organization.
Now, Jeff, Wednesday, Fareed Mamuni was arrested in Staten Island in New York and trying to stab an FBI officer who was searching his home.
PAUL: Let's get straight to Retired Major General James Spider Marks. General Marks, thank you so much for being with us.
MAJOR GENERAL JAMES SPIDER MARKS, CNN MILITARY ANALYST: Sure.
PAUL: Let's take about this. So, we have got four arrests just since last Saturday, all allegedly kind of on the edge of criminal acts. Do you think this means that ISIS has evolved from, you know, recruiting to actual action in the U.S.?
MARKS: No. It really is -- this is a continuum that is not unusual for us to see at all, Christi. And first of all, thanks for having me this morning. The key thing in my mind is in each one of these instances, these individuals self-declared through social media. What does that tell you? The recruitment takes place online. It's very cynical, it's very agnostic, it's very impersonal. Yet within this recruitment, it suddenly gets very, very deep, it gets very personal as they progress through it and now they are on board. There also has to be an inclination for that recruitment. So they are phishing for where they want to - where they - the individuals are phishing for where these communities might be. They find some affiliation and now they are deep into it and then they declare what their intentions might be. So, thank goodness we have such a robust and very aggressive forensics and law enforcement agencies that can jump on top of this and get them before these events occur. So it's not unusual to see recruitment, advancement through different stages. All of this is online and then they move to the point where they might, in fact, execute one of these operations.
PAUL: OK, so they may - they get to the point where they may execute. Before that, are they also getting to the point where not only are they communicating and recruiting only online, but do you think there are people who are actually sitting down, physically meeting and plotting?
MARKS: Well, you'd like to figure that out, obviously. But I got to tell you none of that has to take place. Every one of the steps of both the recruitment process and then moving further into the possible execution of an operation can be done, learned, proselytized and you can do the training, you can do the education, and all of that online, so you don't have to make yourself that much more vulnerable in terms of establishing a physical network. This can be done virtually.
PAUL: OK, real quickly. Munther Omar Saleh, he appears to be at the center of this pressure cooker bomb plot that we are talking about. Do you believe that there are now people who have assumed leadership roles for ISIS in the U.S.?
MARKS: Oh, sure. Because they are absolutely - That is an absolute important ingredient in all of that. That becomes a touch point for these very vulnerable young men mostly, these young men as they go about the process of self-radicalizing, if you will. There's always a touchpoint ...
PAUL: Do they explain themselves to be the leader or do they just come about it based on what they do online?
MARKS: By affirmation. Mostly, it's because they have established themselves. They have got to have some type of street credit in order for them to assume this role.
PAUL: All right. General, thank you so much. I appreciate you being here.
MARKS: Thanks, Christi.
Well, the lake fire is raging out of control this morning. Firefighters we know have been battling it since Wednesday. Only contained 10 percent of it thus far. We are going to have the latest for you.
BLACKWELL: And coming up at the top of the hour, the mass murderer who shot and killed nine people in the South Carolina church, we are learning new details this morning about what he is telling investigators and how a friend says this could have been prevented.
PAUL: All right, you just heard us mention the lake fire. There are pictures for you. This is in San Bernardino, California. And apparently, it is moving quickly and threatening hundreds of buildings this morning. It started Wednesday and firefighters have been able to contain only about ten percent of it so far. It's burned 13,000 acres. Highways have been shut down. And we understand 500 structures at least in danger of being torched.
BLACKWELL: Meteorologist Ivan Cabrera has been tracking the lake fire. Ivan, I wonder if the weather is going to cooperate. If it's going to be dry or getting any rain that they need in California.
IVAN CABRERA, CNN METEOROLOGIST: The weather is not going to help. And apparently in California, when we start talking about wildfires you have to talk about the drought. That is a constant and that is always going to be an issue here. Let's take you to California to show you exactly what we are talking about here. This is the lake fire. As we mentioned, 13,000 acres burning east of San Bernardino. This started on Wednesday, but I think it's going to continue in fact over the next few days. Ten percent is, well, some containment, but it's not where we need to be. And in fact, we are talking about the next few days, not being good. 500 structures are threatened. So far, in a testament to the firefighters there, none of the structures as we understand have been burned yet. But there is the exceptional drought that is ongoing in California. So, what that means, is that the fires that do start have infinite amount of fuel and so anything that gets going is going to be a problem. Now, the temperatures are not going to help. This - mostly at the surface here about 105 to 110.
CABRERA: I think right where the fire is being fought, we are talking about temperatures into the upper 80s. Another thing we look at is humidity. That is not going to help either. By the time we get into the afternoon, relative humidity values are going to crash into the low single digits. And then the wind is going to get a little bit gusty later on today, anywhere from 20 to 25 miles an hour and that is going to be an issue as well.
So, yes, conditions not helpful for firefighting efforts over the next few days. Hot temperatures and low relative humidity and, at times, some gusty winds. We will keep you posted.
PAUL: All righty. Hey, thank you so much, Ivan. I appreciate it.
BLACKWELL: All right, so what is next in the case of this church shooter Dylann Roof? Ahead at 7:00, we will talk about the potential strategies for the defense and the prospect that the prosecution will ask for the death penalty.
PAUL: Also, in case you haven't heard this morning, a possible sighting of the two convicted killers still on the run from New York. Witnesses saying now they spotted them near the Pennsylvania border.
PAUL: New details this morning about the Charleston church shooter. His actions inside the church before that massacre, and what Dylann Roof has been telling investigators now.
BLACKWELL: And listen to this:
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