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Charleston Eulogy; Historic Ruling; Fugitive Killed. Aired 18- 19:00p ET
Aired June 26, 2015 - 18:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: Are authorities closing in on him?
More on the breaking news, historic ruling. The U.S. Supreme Court says same-sex marriage is a constitutional right, paving the way for gay and lesbian couples to get married in all 50 states. Will the decision put an end to the controversy?
Mourner in chief. President Obama delivers a remarkable eulogy for the pastor killed in the Charleston church massacre, speaking bluntly about race, the Confederate Flag, and guns and leading the crowd in singing "Amazing Grace." How will his remarks influence the debate raging right now?
We want to welcome our viewers in the United States and around the world. I'm Wolf Blitzer. You're in THE SITUATION ROOM.
ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.
BLITZER: We're following the breaking news.
Sources say the escaped murderer Richard Matt has been shot and killed in a shoot-out with police in Upstate New York. Officers now are in hot pursuit of the other fugitive, David Sweat.
Also breaking, President Obama delivers an emotional eulogy and a passionate appeal for the nation to rise above racism, hatred, and gun violence. He even led mourners in singing "Amazing Grace" during a funeral for the pastor killed in the Charleston church shooting.
Just hours earlier, the president was declaring a victory for America amid joyful celebrations at the U.S. Supreme Court, the justices making history today by ruling that same-sex marriage is legal in all 50 states.
We have correspondents, analysts and newsmakers standing by on this very, very busy day of breaking news.
Let's go to the search area in Upstate New York first.
CNN's Alexandra Field is on the scene for us.
Update our viewers on what's going on, Alexandra.
ALEXANDRA FIELD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hey, there, Wolf.
Right now, we are learning new details about how police managed to close in on escapee Richard Matt, shooting him dead. His co- fugitive, co-escapee, David Sweat, still on the run at this hour. But we are now learning that a Malone resident called police this afternoon, picked up the phone, dialed 911, when he noticed a liquor bottle that was left out inside his cabin. He knew he hadn't put it there.
When officers arrived, they began to speak to him. Shortly after that, they heard shots fired. The 911 caller stayed in his cabin. We know that ultimately Richard Matt was shot dead. But, Wolf, it took a lot of different leads to get police to that point. Let me take you through the sequence of events here.
It starts around 1:30 this afternoon, when there are reports of shots fired newer route 30. About a half-hour later, there is another report of shots fired. At that time, a man driving a camper notices that his camper had a bullet hole in it. He didn't even realize that the vehicle had been shot. Authorities converged on that area. They did a sweep.
And then sources tell CNN that's when Richard Matt approached officers armed with a shotgun. We know that officers eventually shot at Richard Matt. He is now dead. But the search for David Sweat continues. Authorities are focused in the -- in an area south of Titus Lake right now. That's not far from the area where a lot of the searching has gone on. Authorities had been very tightly focused on the town of Malone over the last day two days.
And that was because of another reported burglary at a cabin where investigators found evidence that the two fugitives had spent some time there. They then found more items this morning in the area that led police to again believe the men were in the area. And then, finally, Wolf, those two sets of shots being fired leading authorities to the location of Richard Matt.
David Sweat still on the loose, but authorities taking every precaution, pursuing every lead now, trying to close in on him. Our own CNN colleague Gary Tuchman headed up toward the Canadian border a short while ago. And he reports back that at two of the checkpoints, U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers are actually checking cars that are leaving the U.S. and heading toward Canada.
Typically, you would have Canadian officers doing that work, but the U.S. officers are adding a second level, a second barrier there, in order to search every car that goes through to ensure that David Sweat does not manage to cross that border, Wolf.
BLITZER: A very, very delicate moment, very dangerous moment right now as the hunt for David Sweat is under way. It's been more than two hours now since authorities there shot and killed Richard Matt.
I want to get some more from our national correspondent, Deborah Feyerick, who is working her sources. What are you learning, Deb?
DEBORAH FEYERICK, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Wolf, what we're learning is that authorities are working on the premise that in fact the men were trying to carjack that camper van.
Malone, New York, where this went down, is about 30 miles from the Canadian border. We were also told earlier that the two men were moving largely at nighttime, not during the day, which means they may have just tried to make a run for the border. Now, we are told that a resident of Malone, Bob Willett, called 911 on Friday afternoon when he found a liquor bottle on the kitchen table at his hunting cabin.
He told authorities that he had not left that there and he's been checking on this cabin every couple of days just to make sure that it's been secure.
Well, Willett, the man, began speaking to authorities and that's when all of them began hearing gunshots. He was told to get back inside as police moved closer to the sound of those gunshots. And, again, that's one of the things that sort of tipped them off, triggered this entire sort of movement to that area of Malone, New York, Wolf.
BLITZER: It's a really -- obviously, a very, very dangerous moment right now.
I want to go quickly to our justice correspondent, Pamela Brown, who is also working her sources.
What else are you learning, Pamela?
PAMELA BROWN, CNN JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: Well, Wolf, we're learning a bit more about what led up to the shoot-out between authorities and Richard Matt. We have learned that that driver of the camper heard gunshots, called 911 earlier this afternoon.
But at that point, apparently, the driver didn't realize that his camper had been hit, got out, and noticed that there was a gunshot in the camper. And this is about 20 minutes after he heard the initial gunshots. This driver of the camper called 911 again, so made a second call to 911, to alert authorities about what happened.
And we have learned, Wolf, that authorities converged on that area from all different police agencies and apparently, according to sources, Border Patrol tactical units shot and killed Richard Matt, who was armed with a shotgun. We know a shoot-out did ensue. The question is, does David Sweat also have a weapon? That is the big concern, Wolf.
BLITZER: It's a huge concern right now, whether or not David Sweat, who's still on the loose, is armed. The authorities have to assume he is very, very dangerous. Remember, this guy's a convicted killer. I want to go to CNN's Polo Sandoval right now. He's on the
ground in Upstate New York.
What are you seeing where you are? I sense there's a lot of the police activity.
POLO SANDOVAL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Those are just two of the latest patrol units that really sped right by us here just south of the town of Malone.
We have seen authorities just pour into this area. In fact, just a few minutes ago, we watched as several vehicles -- I will step out of the way while -- set the scene for you here. Several vehicles actually drove by with some of these floodlights, clearly, Wolf, an indication that this is far from over. Officers now getting ready to -- really, they're in it for the long run here as they prepare for nightfall.
We have been speaking to just some of the few people who call this part of Upstate New York home, many of them still, as you might imagine, quite fearful that this other individual is still on the run.
I spoke to one individual in particular, Matt McGuire (ph). He actually just lives not very far from where I'm standing right now. He says this is happening simply too close to home. He will not be spending the night here as, again, the search continues. But, again, what we have seen, though, Wolf, is this tremendous mobilization of authorities from the town of Malone.
About an hour ago, many of them were seen -- many of these officers were seen suiting up, arming up, packing into SUVs, and then speeding in this direction, because, again, this development really just the very latest in what we expect to be a very busy night in Upstate New York -- Wolf.
BLITZER: Yes, it will probably get more complicated as it gets dark over there as well, a very dangerous moment right now, the assumption being that David Sweat is armed. And this is a convicted killer. Polo, thank you.
I want to go to Jean Casarez right now. You're getting more information as well, Jean, right?
JEAN CASAREZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: We are.
We're here at the command center for the New York State Police. We're miles from the Clinton Correctional Facility, where this all happened. But New York State Police are telling us that in addition to the burglary of that cabin of Bob Willett, they found at a field site, and we don't know how far away from that cabin, but they found items that they believe were dropped by the two inmates.
And this afternoon, those items are being processed. But I think more than anything, those bread crumbs, we could say, led them to an area which helped facilitate everything and the takedown of at least one of these two inmates. And we do want to remind everybody that this inmate that is still
on the loose, David Sweat, he's a convicted murder, because he killed a trooper. He killed a law enforcement officer. And so to be head to head with someone who protects us would be nothing for this inmate who is now on the run.
And we also were learning that despite the processing being done for this DNA, they have experts out in the field right now to discern how far the inmate can travel in one day, in a 24-hour period. Do they travel during the day or night? And what they discovered through their expert testimony is they believe that they travel at night, that that's when they get on the move.
Now, it is 6:00 on the East Coast. There's just a couple more hours of daylight, maybe two-and-a-half-hours, to be precise. But we also were told by New York State Police that they can at night discern and help find someone that may be hiding in the brush.
And when this all broke several hours ago, helicopter after helicopter behind me went up in the air because they knew that David Sweat was on the loose. They were going to try to find him obviously from the air. And that's where the search continues now -- Wolf.
BLITZER: All right, Jean, I want you to stand by as well.
Our law enforcement analyst Tom Fuentes is here. He's a former assistant director of the FBI. And the former Chief Deputy U.S. Marshal Matthew Fogg is with us as well.
I assume you believe it's just a matter of time, sooner rather than later, the second killer is going to be found?
MATTHEW FOGG, FORMER CHIEF DEPUTY U.S. MARSHAL: That's right, Wolf.
now that nightfall is coming in, that might make it a little more bit difficult, but they should be able to stay on the trail.
BLITZER: David Sweat, he knows -- I assume he knows that his partner in this escape, Richard Matt, was shot and killed.
He's on his own right now. Assuming he wants to live, as opposed to die, is there a chance he just gives up, raises his hands, and says, you know, take me?
TOM FUENTES, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Could be. Could be, Wolf.
We have had cases where people swore they would never be taken alive and they went like little puppies. We have had other ones where they have decided to do the death stand and shoot it out, which either one of these is possible with him. We don't know that he would know whether Matt died. He might know that Matt was shot and didn't stay with him as he was running through the woods, assume that Matt was wounded, assume maybe that he's captured, but he wouldn't necessarily know that Matt's still alive.
BLITZER: I assume this guy wants to live, right?
FOGG: I would think so.
But, the bottom line is, we just don't know. Like Tom said, we have locked up a lot of people that said they would shoot it out with the police, and then we catch them. They're docile as they could be. But we just don't know. Right now, they have to assume -- this guy killed a police officer. And that's one of the things that has got me very concerned, that he doesn't have a problem shooting at the law enforcement people.
BLITZER: When all is said and done, these guys didn't get very far away from that prison, the Clinton Correctional Facility, at all. And the assumption was that, 21 days, they could have been out of the United States, they could have been someplace, right?
FUENTES: You know, unfortunately, Wolf, if they both get killed as a result of this manhunt, we may never know what exactly went wrong, what was the second plan, did they have a plan B or a plan C? We thought they were so smart, and here they are only 20, 30 miles from the prison after three weeks.
And now we hear they're believed to be headed for the -- or have been headed for the Canadian border. They could have walked to Canada the first night, when nobody was looking for them. It wouldn't have been a big deal. Now, three weeks later, they're still just a few miles from the prison.
It's astounding to me. And if Sweat gets killed overnight, we may never know exactly whether they had a second plan, who else helped them at the prison, what else happened in this case.
BLITZER: Yes, because I remember, that first night, they -- there was about five, six hours when they escaped that no one even knew in the prison that they had escaped. And the assumption was during those five, six hours, they could have been far away.
FOGG: That's right.
But that tells me again, Wolf, that probably what this woman said early on, that she was going to be the pickup person, maybe they didn't have a person to pick them up, that we thought maybe they might have had somebody pick them up. So, it says they're still out in the woods. They went to a particular location. They hunkered down, and then they were kind of lost from that point on. That's the way I see it now.
BLITZER: And remind our viewers, Tom. The authorities now say they are in hot pursuit of David Sweat, the second escapee who's still on the loose. Define that hot pursuit term.
FUENTES: Well, I could define it from the way it's been used my whole career, would mean you're right after them. They're ahead, you almost have visual sighting, either a high-
speed chase by vehicle, running after a subject on foot, or the dogs are howling and chasing, and you know you're very close to them. To use that term just that we think we're close or arrest is imminent might be an exaggeration of the term. But I don't know how they define it when they put that out.
BLITZER: Matthew, you agree?
FOGG: I agree with Tom.
BLITZER: Hot pursuit, they're close and they're getting closer.
FOGG: Double foot tracks.
BLITZER: Find -- find this guy before it gets dark over there
Stand by, guys. We have much more coming in to THE SITUATION ROOM.
All of our reporters on the scene are getting new information. We will share it with you when we come back.
BLITZER: We will continue to follow the breaking news in New York, that manhunt, but there's other important, historic news actually happening right here in Washington, D.C., the U.S. Supreme Court ruling on same-sex marriage.
In a 5-4 decision, the justices ruled it's a constitutional right, clearing the way for gay and lesbian couples to marry in all 50 states.
Let's bring back our justice correspondent, Pamela Brown. She was there when the ruling announced earlier today.
Pamela, what was it like?
BROWN: It was certainly an extraordinary, historic day at the Supreme Court, Wolf. In fact, as soon as the decision was announced that there is a nationwide constitutional right to same-sex marriage, gay rights advocates stormed the plaza at the Supreme Court, a highly unusual move, to celebrate their victory.
BROWN (voice-over): Celebrations erupted on the steps of the Supreme Court.
CROWD: USA, USA!
BROWN: Right after the decision was handed down. A men's choir leading the massive crowd singing the national anthem. The Supreme Court was divided on the issue in a 5-4 split decision.
Right-leaning Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote the majority opinion, saying -- quote -- "No union is more profound than marriage, for it embodies the highest ideals of love, fidelity, devotion, sacrifice, and family," saying gay couples "ask for equal dignity in the eyes of the law. The Constitution grants them that right."
Jim Obergefell, the lead plaintiff and face of this historic case, fought on behalf of his marriage to his now deceased husband, John.
JIM OBERGEFELL, LEAD PLAINTIFF: It's my hope that the term gay marriage will soon be a thing of the past, that from this day forward, it will simply be marriage. I love you. This is for you, John.
BROWN: And in an incredible moment, Obergefell received a phone call from the president while live on CNN.
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I just want to say congratulations.
OBERGEFELL: Thank you so much, sir. I think it was your wishes.
OBAMA: Your leadership on this is a -- changed the country.
OBERGEFELL: I really appreciate that, Mr. President.
BROWN: The U.S. is now the 21st country in the world to recognize same-sex marriage nationwide.
OBAMA: This ruling will strengthen all of our communities by offering to all loving same-sex couples the dignity of marriage across this great land.
BROWN: The opposition to the decision was strong. Reading from the bench, Chief Justice John Roberts said -- quote -- "Do not celebrate the Constitution. It had nothing to do with it."
And Justice Clarence Thomas said -- quote -- "The court's decision today is at odds not only with the Constitution, but with the principles upon which our nation was built."
But, today, history was made on behalf of Jim Obergefell and all Americans who argue that marriage is a fundamental right for everyone.
OBERGEFELL: Today's ruling from the Supreme Court affirms what millions across this country already know to be true in our hearts. Our love is equal. (END VIDEOTAPE)
BROWN: And Chief Justice Roberts did something today he has never done, by reading the dissent from the bench. That just shows how much he cared about this case. And, as for Justice Kennedy, he certainly cemented his legacy today as a gay rights champion -- Wolf.
BLITZER: He certainly did. All right, Pamela, thank you.
Meanwhile, President Obama appears to have gotten caught up in the emotion of the day as he traveled to Charleston, South Carolina, after that U.S. Supreme Court ruling. He spoke at the funeral for the pastor killed in the shooting at the Emanuel AME Church.
And at times, he sounded himself a bit like a preacher delivering a sermon, and even leading the congregation in "Amazing Grace."
Let's go to our White House correspondent, Michelle Kosinski.
Michelle, it was an amazing day for the president.
MICHELLE KOSINSKI, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Wolf, definitely a President Obama we have not seen before, maybe at times a little dramatic in there, but you could say the unencumbered president that many, especially black Americans have been wanting to see for a very long time.
It just makes you think, is this a speech he ever would have done early on in his presidency? This follows a strikingly emotional week. You know that he was feeling that. This is one that will surely help define his presidency. And he didn't hold back, preaching, and then right in the middle of this eulogy breaking into song.
OBAMA (singing): Amazing grace.
KOSINSKI (voice-over): At first, even the crowd was surprised. Was that really President Obama singing, not just as president, but as himself?
OBAMA (singing): That saved a wretch like me.
KOSINSKI: Using grace as a theme, the president energetically eulogized state Senator and Pastor Clementa Pinckney, a man he knew, and the other eight lives gunned down while in prayer here.
OBAMA: Susie Jackson found that grace. Ethel Lance found that grace.
Depayne Middleton-Doctor found that grace.
KOSINSKI: Vibrant lives taken by a young gunman driven by racial hate. OBAMA: The alleged killer could have never anticipated the way
the families of the fallen would respond when they saw him in court in the midst of unspeakable grief with words of forgiveness. He couldn't imagine that.
KOSINSKI: President Obama as preacher is not something anyone expected here, far removed from his frequent attempts to walk a very careful line in his words, strike the perfect balance on the most divisive issues. Not this time. He spoke of moving from blindness in this country to seeing on race.
OBAMA: We now realize the way racial bias can infect us even when we don't realize it, so that we're guarding against not just racial slurs, but we're also against the subtle impulse to call Johnny back for a job interview, but not Jamal.
(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)
KOSINSKI: On guns.
OBAMA: For too long, we have been blind to the unique mayhem that gun violence inflicts upon this nation.
KOSINSKI: Even on the Confederate Flag.
OBAMA: Removing the flag from this state's capitol would not be an act of political correctness. It would not be an insult to the valor of Confederate soldiers. It would simply be an acknowledgment that the cause for which they fought, the cause of slavery, was wrong.
(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)
KOSINSKI: Early this week, the president told comedian Marc Maron that he had made mistakes and now feels fearless, and today, again, speaks directly, emotionally on what he believes needs to change in America and what must be said.
OBAMA: Oh, but God works in mysterious ways.
(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)
OBAMA: God has different ideas. He has allowed us to see where we have been blind.
BROWN: And we have said it before, but it keeps getting more pronounced, that we seem to be in this new period of how the president is choosing to express himself.
He's getting lots of attention too for his manner as well as his content, and, Wolf, the president seems to be relishing that. BLITZER: He certainly does. It was really an amazing moment
when he opened up singing "Amazing Grace" as well.
All right, thanks very much for that, Michelle.
I want to bring in our anchor Don Lemon, who's in Charleston, for all of us tonight.
Don, you have got to agree it was really amazing. And you're there on the scene. What was going through your mind?
DON LEMON, CNN ANCHOR: Listen, it is amazing.
And, Wolf, you know I'm not an ideologue. I'm not a very political person. But just watching this and experiencing it and being so close to it, I just thought, as you said, it was amazing. It was amazing.
"Amazing Grace." If -- I'm not the president of this network or any other network, but I would run that entire speech over again, because I would want as many people as possible to listen to it. The country needs to hear what the president said today. And if you didn't get it, it went over your head. You're trying -- you're trying really hard not to understand or not to get something or not to be part of the American fabric if you didn't understand what the president said today.
He has said similar words before. We have heard him sing before, Al Green. And if you -- when I lived in Chicago, I would see him go to church events all the time, especially when he was running for senator years ago and he would get and up sing at churches, but nothing like this in public, similar words, but, as we say, today, he put his back into it. He put his whole being into it.
And he spoke words that many African-Americans, as Michelle Kosinski said, wanted to hear him speak the way he spoke today for quite some time. And, as he said in his speech, we can't go back as Americans to tiptoeing around this subject or being concerned how people will think about us if we involve, if we become engaged truly in a conversation about race. And that means all of us, white, black, Hispanic, Puerto Rican, everybody, just freaking anybody.
We should be able to have constructive conversations where we allow room for people to make mistakes and we listen to each other and stop yelling at each other. I thought the president did a world of good today in this speech. And I want to listen to it over and over again to hear it. He was in full preacher mode today -- Wolf.
BLITZER: Yes, he certainly -- as he said earlier in the week, on a different subject, he says he's become fearless during this final quarter of his presidency as well.
BLITZER: That was very, very evident in his amazing speech today. All right. It was a eulogy. It was a beautiful eulogy, I must
I want to bring in South Carolina State Senator Marlon Kimpson, who was there as well.
What did you think about the president's eulogy, Senator?
MARLON KIMPSON (D), SOUTH CAROLINA STATE SENATOR: Wolf, the gravity of the nation was in Charleston, South Carolina. The speech was a rallying call.
And we have to muster the energy to move on the progressive agenda he laid out in light of the Charleston massacre. The president addressed many key issues, not only in the nation, but right here in South Carolina. It was very moving and I think may be transformative.
BLITZER: Did he do everything you wanted him to do, plus, or were there some subjects you might have wanted him to spell out a little bit more?
KIMPSON: Well, I think given the time constraints, he certainly hit all the key points.
And what I was so impressed by is, he talked about Reverend Pinckney and his dedication to making sure that we have proper education in the corridor of shame, that we do what we can to make sure that all of our citizens have affordable health care, and we get rid of the symbols that divide us and a call to action for the symbols that unite us.
It was a very powerful speech. I'm pleased with it. And what we have to do in the General Assembly -- and he spoke to the South Carolina Senate and the House -- is, we have to have a plan of action.
The one area that I would have addressed, that we will address, is economic empowerment for all citizens. Not just some but all. We have to raise the poverty level, South Carolina being the ninth highest poverty level in the country. And make sure that the procurement opportunities, the meaningful procurement opportunities, not only in the state but in Charleston, are spread around to the low and moderate income and disenfranchised businesses.
We have an agenda now, and the president aided us a lot, and we're well on our way.
BLITZER: What did you think of when he opened up with "Amazing Grace" at the very end of his eulogy?
KIMPSON: Well, it was powerful. It's grace and mercy and healing. You know, we all know that song. And my wife and I, we sang along. I saw members of my fraternity, Omega Psi Phi, Incorporated.
I saw -- I sat next to my good friend, Vincent Sheheen, who's been calling for the removal of the flag for a long time now, and Isadore Lourie, Joel Lourie, who's a Jewish brother. And he, I'll just tell you, it was very, very touching. He brought us together today.
But we would be -- I would be remiss if I didn't tell you, Wolf, that we have to move forward, heed his words without delay, undeterred. Focus on an agenda in the South Carolina statehouse.
BLITZER: Senator Kimpson, thanks very much for joining us. You've been very helpful to us these past several days.
KIMPSON: Thank you for having me, Wolf.
BLITZER: Thank you.
And to our viewers out there, you can certainly help the city of Charleston heal by donating your time or money. Find out how to do so. Go to CNN.com/impact. You'll be able to impact your world.
Just ahead, we're going to have much more on the president's powerful eulogy today. His very emotional day. And we'll also have more reaction to the historic U.S. Supreme Court ruling on same-sex marriage. Our own Anderson Cooper, he's standing by to join us.
[18:37:25] BLITZER: We're back with the breaking news. One escaped convict killed in a shoot-out, police now in hot pursuit of the other. Let's go back to CNN's Polo Sandoval. He's on the scene for us in upstate New York. What's the latest, Polo?
POLO SANDOVAL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: And Wolf, you see that checkpoint behind me here. At least that police barricade that's been set up, roadblock, rather, we're just a few feet from the perimeter that's been set up here in Franklin County.
From our vantage point, Wolf, we have seen this seemingly endless parade of patrol cars speeding by us. And it's not just resources, police officers.
But also floodlights that are being brought in. Again, It's clearly an indication that this story or at least this situation here, far from over. There are a few folks who call this part of upstate New York home. I had an opportunity to speak to a few of them. One in particular, he says he does not plan on staying here tonight if, in fact, David Sweat is not located.
All of this drama, really, unfolding only about five miles from where we're standing here, just beyond our vantage point here. Just spoke a few minutes ago with the Clinton County sheriff, who was telling me, really, the message he wants to get out to the people who live in this corner of the country is to stay home, mainly tonight. There are some concern that many people will want to venture out.
This story obviously gaining a lot of attention the last three weeks now since it broke. So a lot of people may want to be close to the action. Authorities, though, recommending that they not do that, stay home, and of course, stay informed at this point. Because there is still -- there seems to be this evidence to suggest that David Sweat is still in and around this area.
There was a second set of tracks that was located near the scene of that shooting, where federal agents are believed to have shot and killed Richard Matt. Again, it's an indication that it's still a very fluid situation here in Franklin County, Wolf.
BLITZER: And there seems to be, Polo, a lot more police activity on the scene where you are right now. Looks like they're, as they say themselves, in hot pursuit of this second convicted killer.
SANDOVAL: Yes, one thing we haven't noticed, we haven't seen those air assets that we've -- that we did notice early on after the story really broke in Dannemora. However, that could potentially change, or at least from our vantage point we haven't seen that quite yet.
We have seen our officers just speeding by us. But at this point you do see that just regular folks are being turned away. The actual people who live here that are already beyond this -- this roadblock here are allowed to drive out of the area. But if you're trying to get into the area without a badge at this point, Wolf, that's not going to happen.
BLITZER: Yes. It's been three hours now since the Border Patrol tactical unit there on the scene shot and killed Richard Matt. They're on the search now for David Sweat. We'll check back with you and get some more information. Polo, thank you.
We're also following two other breaking stories, including the historic ruling by the United States Supreme Court, clearing the way for same-sex marriage in all 50 states. And we're also following President Obama's truly remarkable eulogy for the pastor killed in the Charleston church massacre. Let's get some more on all of this.
Joining us is the NAACP president and CEO, Cornell William Brooks. Also joining us are CNN anchors Anderson Cooper and Don Lemon.
Cornell, first to you. What was your reaction to the president's powerful words, the emotional side of him that clearly was evident in that eulogy?
CORNELL WILLIAM BROOKS, NAACP PRESIDENT AND CEO: Well, I was extraordinarily moved. As a fourth-generation minister in the AME Church, I knew that a eulogy does first one thing. It reaches out and comforts the grieving family.
And what the president did was he comforted a grieving family, but beyond that, comforted and challenged a grieving nation. And he spoke to some of the contemporary challenges of the moment in terms of racial profiling, the Confederate flag, discrimination in the employment market. But he did so in a way that he wrapped his arms around the
family, wrapped his arms around our nation, but also spoke in a soothing, powerful, and challenging way to the nation.
And I might note, Wolf, he sang a little. And he has not a bad set of pipes.
BLITZER: Yes, we've heard him sing a little bit in the past. Not like today, though.
Stand by for a moment, Cornell. I want to bring Anderson into this conversation.
Anderson, the other huge story, a landmark decision by the United States Supreme Court going ahead and deciding that all U.S. states should now honor the opportunity for gay Americans to go ahead and get married if they want to get married. It's a story you've covered for a long time, all of us have covered for a long, long time. What was your reaction?
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: You know, I thought today not only about, obviously, all those people who want to get married in states where they haven't been able to.
But I really thought about the millions of gay and lesbian Americans who have, for generations, lived in the shadows and loved in the shadows and been subject to harassment, who haven't been able to hold hands on the street or express affection in public, who have been fired from their jobs if their boss suspected or didn't like the fact that they were gay, who couldn't serve openly in the military. People who, for generations, have lived half-lives.
And I thought about them today and how this is really a huge shift for gay and lesbian Americans, that generations from now will grow up not knowing what that trauma was like, what that was like for so many of their gay brothers and sisters who have come before. And I think that's an extraordinary change that this ruling has made. It's affected the lives of millions of millions of Americans, and untold millions of Americans yet to be born.
BLITZER: Yes. It's an amazing moment in American history, a decision that future generations will look back upon, and they will have to reflect on this period in time right now.
I want to go to Don and get your reaction in a moment. But Cornell, you're a civil rights leader, what was your reaction to the Supreme Court decision?
BROOKS: I think it's an extraordinary moment in American history. Several years ago, the NAACP came out in favor of marriage equality. Because we understood that we cannot tolerate a de minimus amount of discrimination, or major amount of discrimination directed against any group of Americans.
And so the fact that gay and lesbian Americans are able to partake of a sacrament, a way of expressing love, a civil ceremony, just like all other Americans, is an extraordinary moment in our country. And not just for gay and lesbian Americans, for Americans in general.
BLITZER: And Don, you heard the president say very, very clearly that gay Americans should not be second-class citizens. Like all Americans, if they want to get married -- two men fall in love, two women fall in love, they want to spend the rest of their lives together -- they should have equal rights under the law to go ahead and get married. When you heard the president react in the Rose Garden to the decision by the Supreme Court, what was your reaction?
DON LEMON, CNN ANCHOR: I heard the president say that before when he said that he evolved on the issue. But I think both Anderson and Cornell are right. I have to say that, you know, my generation growing up, I never even thought about marriage. I never thought that I would be able to get married. I never thought I'd be able to call my partner my husband. You know, your partner was just your roommate or your friend.
And so now it's not separate but equal, or as Anderson said, a hidden life or half-life. It's a full life. You're a full part of the American experience. And so I think it means a lot for a gay person, someone who happens to be gay, a gay American, to say, "My husband" or "my wife," and have the full benefits and have the full pledge... *
DON LEMON, CNN ANCHOR: And so, I think it means a lot for a gay
person, someone who happens to be gay, a gay American, to say, my husband, or my wife, and have the full benefits and have the full, you know, pledge of being an American, the American Constitution behind them.
[18:45:13] That means a lot. And those words that the president said and what happened at the Supreme Court I think is invaluable now. Now, we're all just one America. To me, it was similar to when two people of different ethnicities could get married. I think it's just as big, what happened today. Very emotional.
WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: Yes, a very emotional, very powerful moment in American history today.
Don Lemon, Anderson Cooper, and Cornell Brooks -- guys, thanks very much.
Important note to all our viewers. Stay with CNN all evening. Anderson Cooper's going to be back at 8:00 p.m. Eastern with much more of all the breaking news, including the historic same-sex marriage ruling. Don Lemon is going to have much more from Charleston later tonight, on "CNN TONIGHT", 10:00 p.m. Eastern.
Stay with CNN for all the historic breaking news that's unfolding today. Much more of our coverage when we come back.
BLITZER: Right now, a frantic manhunt is underway for fugitive David Sweat after a shootout, sources say, killed another murderer Richard Matt.
Let's get the latest from our national correspondent Deborah Feyerick who's working her sources.
I understand, Deb, there are fast breaking developments unfolding right now.
DEBORAH FEYERICK, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, there really are. And you can see just the manpower that's headed up to the area where they believe David Sweat is now on the run. The chase began a couple of hours ago.
We know that at about 1:30, shots were fired in a camper van along Route 30. That's near the town of Malone, and that's about 30 miles from the Canadian boarder. Now, shots were fired. The driver of the camper van called 911 and drove a little bit further not realizing that the vehicle had been shot, and then once again, called 911.
That's the first sign that led authorities to that area and, as a matter of fact, we are told that law enforcement had been questioning a man also in that vicinity and the man had reported seeing a bottle, a liquor bottle that he had not left. It was opened on the table, of his hunting cabin. So, that also drew law enforcement to that area.
We know the prisoners have been taking basic supplies from the hunting cabin. Once the shots were fired, a lot of authorities began running. They shot and killed Richard Matt dead and they then started chasing David Sweat in that area. If they can flush him out and take him down, that right now is the objective, Wolf.
BLITZER: Stand by, Deb. I want to get a quick reaction to the latest developments. Tom Fuentes says we watch what's going on. This is a critical moment.
TOM FUENTES, CNN LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: Yes, it's very critical, especially with darkness approaching shortly, especially in the woods, it's probably already getting dark right now.
But I think that will change everything overnight. If they don't have him in custody, they'll probably just want to hunker down and rely on the helicopters. I think the reason we're not hearing about the helicopters in the air is that they're probably in their planning stages now, deciding how their grid search is going to be conducted after dark with the infrared.
BLITZER: All right. Stand by, guys. Matt Fogg, stand by as well.
Much more with the breaking news right after this.
[18:57:18] BLITZER: Let's get more on the breaking news. We're following the death of one escaped murderer and the other now being hunted town by authorities in Upstate New York. I want to bring back our law enforcement analyst Tom Fuentes, and
the former chief deputy U.S. Marshal, Matthew Fogg.
It sounds, based on everything, all the little indications we're hearing this hot pursuit is getting hotter and hotter.
MATTHEW FOGG, FORMER CHIEF DEPUTY U.S. MARSHALL: That's right, that's right, Wolf. And that's what I would think. If they got a hot pursuit, they're closing and they're crunching into that perimeter, steadily closing and tighter and tighter. And right now, like I said, they want to try to grab him before night fall.
BLITZER: And we don't know if David Sweat, escaped killer, is going to give up and fight or whatever, right? We have no clue.
FUENTES: We have no idea at this point, and, you know, the fact that they're bringing in lighting equipment to use at night up there means there's a possibility they could end up with either a hostage situation or he goes into a house and takes people or a barricaded subject where he goes into an unoccupied building and hunkers down.
So, I think that possibility is why they're bringing lighting equipment out there.
So, I think they would be bringing it there if they didn't think they were close.
BLITZER: And remember, all of this break today came in including the shooting and death of Richard Matt, a 911 call from an individual who just made a call saying he saw something suspicious. And all of a sudden, it happened. It underscores how important it is to get those 911 calls and to follow up on the leads.
FOGG: That's right, that's right, Wolf. And that's exactly what someone did. I guess in that area so much attention about these guys that escaped. So, everybody is probably on alert. So, they did the right thing.
BLITZER: This guy saw a liquor bottle on his table in his cabin. He knew it wasn't his liquor bottle. And all of a sudden, just a simple thing like that has resulted in the death of one of the killers and now potentially the capture of another.
FUENTES: Right. And it also shows that members of the public were coming so close to them when they were together, and now possibly to Sweat. So, they're missing each other a little bit. If it was an attempted carjacking where they shot bullets into his camper, the public is in danger, and they've had a couple of close calls with members of the public.
BLITZER: What's your final advice to the public who may be in the vicinity of this hunt?
FOGG: Just remember, these guys are extremely armed and extremely dangerous, armed and we should just be on the lookout. If you see anything that looks strange, contact the authorities right away. Don't waste any time.
BLITZER: And don't approach this guy because he is a convicted killer. Tom, don't even get close to him. Make the call and hide. It's probably a good idea to stay indoors right now if you're in that area just to be on the safe side.
FUENTES: That's right.
FOGG: That's right.
BLITZER: All right. We're going to stay on top of this story obviously here on CNN throughout the night. Breaking news, an historic day here in the United States on several critically important issues.
Thanks very much for watching. I'm Wolf Blitzer in THE SITUATION ROOM.
"ERIN BURNETT OUTFRONT" starts right now.