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Trump, Cruz Unite To Slam Iran Nuclear Deal; Trump: Jeb Threw His Brother "Under the Bus"; Police: 11 Highway Shootings in 11 Days; Highway Shooting Terrorize Phoenix Drivers; Source: Plane's Fire Emergency Equipment Failed. Aired 7-8p ET

Aired September 9, 2015 - 19:00   ET


[19:00:09] JIM SCIUTTO, CNN GUEST HOST: OUTFRONT tonight, Donald Trump and Ted Cruz, rivals now teaming up on the trail to attack the Iran nuclear deal, even though they disagree on how to fix it.

Plus, breaking news. Eleven vehicles hit by gunfire on an Arizona highway all in the past 11 days. Is there a sniper on the loose? And the referee taken down in a blindside tackle by high school football players. His lawyer calling it assault and battery. Could the players face jail time? Let's go OUTFRONT.

Good evening. I'm Jim Sciutto in again tonight for Erin Burnett. And OUTFRONT tonight, Donald Trump's team of rivals. Trump teaming up with his 2016 opponent Ted Cruz, together lashing out at President Obama's Iran nuclear deal today at a huge rally in front of the U.S. capital. Cruz invited Trump to the rally, even though the two of them actually disagree on what to do about the nuclear agreement. Like most of the republican candidates, Cruz promises to tear it up on his first day in office. But Trump opposes abandoning the deal, saying only he would renegotiate. Still, both men warned of catastrophic consequences, including the possibility of nuclear war if this deal goes through. Trump saying the U.S. is led by, quote, "very stupid people."


DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Never, ever in my life have I seen any transaction so incompetently negotiated as our deal with Iran.

SCIUTTO: But are either of the candidates offering a viable alternative? Dana Bash is OUTFRONT tonight.

DANA BASH, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: That's right, Jim. You know, it is not a typical event to have two rivals next to each other, especially at a rally like this. But I think we can just add this to the long list of reasons this is not your typical presidential race. I'm told it was Ted Cruz's idea to invite his competitor. They have similar messages about Washington, but no one can diss a politician or anyone for that matter like Donald Trump.


TRUMP: We are led by very, very stupid people. Very, very stupid people.

BASH (voice-over): True to form, Donald Trump boiled down his opposition to the Iran deal to basic and blunt talk.

TRUMP: They rip us off, they take our money. They make us look like fools.

BASH: Trump was invited to this anti-Iran rally by an unlikely source, one of his rivals for the White House, Ted Cruz.

SEN. TED CRUZ (R-TX), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I want to thank my friend Donald Trump for joining us today.

BASH: Instead of attacking Trump, Cruz has embraced him, especially when he can help draw a crowd for a cause like this one.

CRUZ: This Iranian nuclear deal is catastrophic. It is the single greatest national security threat facing America.

BASH: Although they agree that the Iran deal is bad, they disagree on what to do about it. It's a difference that divides the republican 2016 field. Cruz would get rid of the Iran deal on day one he's in office.

CRUZ: Any commander-in-chief worthy of defending this nation should be prepared to stand up on January 20th, 2017. And rip to shreds this catastrophic deal.

BASH: Trump would not do that.

TRUMP: This would be a totally different deal. Ripping up is always tough. Don't forget, we lost all of our so-called allies in the deal. They were all making a lot of money. We're not making anything. They're all selling missiles and getting involved with Iran, using the money that we gave to Iran. I will do something that will be very strong, and believe me, Iran will come back and they will be much different.

BASH: If the horse is out of the barn, what are you going to do about it?

TRUMP: You're going to have to watch. You just watch. It will be a whole different barn.

BASH: No specifics he insists because he doesn't want to telegraph it to the Iranians, but he did make this Trump-esque promise to the crowd.

TRUMP: We will have so much winning if I get elected that you may get bored with winning. Believe me.

BASH: Also at the rally, the woman who says she would like to serve in Trump's presidential cabinet, Sarah Palin.

SARAH PALIN (R), FORMER ALASKA GOVERNOR: Only in an Orwellian Obama world full of sparkly fairy dust blown from atop his unicorn as he's peeking through a pretty pink kaleidoscope would he ever see victory or safety for America or Israel in this in this treaty.


BASH: As for this year's republican presidential candidate, the frontrunner in particular, the question still is what a President Trump would do about this Iran deal he doesn't like so much. Again, he talked, when I spoke with him in general terms, saying he would do something, quote, "very strong" Jim. He said Iran will come back and they'll be much different because they're laughing at us right now. He says they never laughed so hard in their life. Again, we're not sure how he would make them stop laughing -- Jim.

[19:05:06] SCIUTTO: No question. That's the key question, what is the alternative at this point. Thanks very much, Dana Bash in Washington.

And OUTFRONT tonight now, republican strategist Mercedes Schlapp who worked in President W. Bush's administration. Also former political director for President Ronald Reagan, Jeffrey Lord. And conservative radio host Ben Ferguson.

So Jeffrey, you heard Dana there. Trump says the Iran deal will be, in his words, totally different if he's president, but again won't offer any details and what he'll do beyond saying, he'll just negotiate better. Why can't he describe the specifics of his plan B?

JEFFREY LORD, FORMER REAGAN WHITE HOUSE POLITICAL DIRECTOR: Because number one, I don't think he thinks it's a good idea, which is the way he negotiates in general. He doesn't give away his hand before he does these things. Number two, I'd have to say -- and we've had some of this discussion before. He is not a -- you know, he leaves the details to others. He's a good manager. A good executive. He is a Reagan style president. Not a Jimmy Carter style president who reads, you know, every last line in the Air Force budget. That's not his thing. His message, though, is delivered which is peace through strength and that message gets through. Certainly his audience receives it. That's why there were so many people there. That's why Senator Cruz teamed up with him. I thought the two of them did a great job today.

SCIUTTO: Ben, peace through strength, is that a fair response, or do you have to show how your strength would make a difference?

BEN FERGUSON, RADIO HOST, "THE BEN FERGUSON SHOW": Ronald Reagan gave specifics on how he was going to conquer and tear down, you know, communism around the world. He didn't just go out on TV --

SCIUTTO: No, he didn't.

FERGUSON: When he was running and say, "I'm a winner, we're going to win so much, you're going to be bored because that's how much we win, and I win so much that they're going to hate us and I'm going to tear this apart, and I'm going to win some more." That's literally the plan he gave today, was we're going to win a lot.

LORD: Ben, Ben -- FERGUSON: That's not a real foreign policy plan on how to deal with

Iran. It may sound good like hope and change when Obama came out and said, I'm going to give you hope and change. No one knew what it meant.

MERCEDES SCHLAPP, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: Hope and change is what helped Obama win.

SCIUTTO: Mercedes, I want to give you the chance to answer.

SCHLAPP: Sure. Well, I think hope and change was the simplest message that obviously did very well for President Obama when he was a candidate running for president. So, here's what he got.

LORD: That's right.

SCHLAPP: Trump's got his own style. And it is resonating with so many of these GOP voters out there. Political novices. Individuals who had never even looked or even been interested in politics. So I think, you know, he will at some point need to give more specifics. He did talk about the idea that he wants these prisoners released and the fact that he's going to have to probably go back to Congress and ask for more sanctions.

FERGUSON: But here's the thing. When Donald Trump came out today and he said they will release these four prisoners, these four Americans before I'm even inaugurated because they'll be so afraid of me.

SCHLAPP: They'll be so scared.

FERGUSON: That's great rhetoric. It doesn't mean it's beginning to happen. And it's not a plan. It's not a plan.

LORD: Ben, I hate to tell you this, but this is the kind of thing that Ronald Reagan did. Who not coincidentally was also a good negotiator as president of the screen actors' guild. When he got to Reykjavik, he sat there with Gorbachev. Gorbachev made certain -- and Reagan said, I'm sorry, that's it. He picked up his papers and walked out. That's one of Donald Trump's all-time favorite lessons is, know how to walk on a deal and he doesn't.

SCIUTTO: Let me ask you for a moment. Because Trump touts his record of flipping, in his words, bad contracts in real estate for his rationale, for his experience in effect to say that he could turn around the deal. But Mercedes, do real estate negotiations translate into difficult international diplomacy?

SCHLAPP: Well, here's the deal. I think and working for a past president, I can tell you it's incredibly important to have the negotiating skills, the diplomacy skills, the management skills. I mean, this is what's happening. We've seen these politicians in Washington unable to get things done. Or in the case of President Obama, negotiate really bad deals. And so what's happening is that you have like the outsider, the Carly Fiorina, the Donald Trump, who have actually met with foreign leaders, who have cut deals for their businesses. Why can't that not translate, that still translates into negotiations?

FERGUSON: There's a difference between negotiating to buy a building that's in foreclosure or buy more computer parts and dealing with the supreme leader in Iran. Let's not act like they're the same thing. They're not the same thing. Hold on, Jeffrey, Jeffrey, Jeffrey, hold on, hold on, one second, Jeffrey.

LORD: It's only an act --

FERGUSON: Jeffrey, hold on. There's a completely different set of scenarios --

SCHLAPP: I think he needs strength and character.

FERGUSON: -- and guidelines here.

SCHLAPP: And I'm not --

FERGUSON: And Ronald Reagan, let me finish this. Ronald Reagan was very good at understanding the character and where there needed to be some sort of movement to get a deal done. It's the reason why I didn't grandstand. Donald Trump is not one of those guys that understands how to do that without being boastful. He's out there taunting Iran tonight. Is that how you get a deal done?

[19:10:06] SCIUTTO: Jeffrey, I want to ask you. Because that's fair about taunting Iran. You talked about bringing home the four Americans being held by the Iranian government. Take a listen to how he put it.

LORD: Right.


TRUMP: I will say this. If I win the presidency, I guarantee you that those four prisoners are back in our country before I ever take office. I guarantee that.


SCIUTTO: I just want to make the point here. I've been to Iran ten times. I have covered this prisoner story for years now. And I've been in touch with the family as well. They are very sensitive to public comments that could derail possible negotiations about an exchange, about their freedom. Is it irresponsible, Jeffrey Lord, for Trump to make this kind of progress in such a promise and such a public forum, while possible negotiations could be going on?

LORD: This is a campaign for president of the United States. The American people have a right to know where every single candidate stands on these things. This is Donald Trump's position. It was quite similar to President Reagan's position. As we know, when President Reagan's hand was barely off the Bible at his inaugural in 1981, the Iranians released their hostages that they were holding from the American embassy that they had held for something like 400-some- odd days. So it makes a big difference what these candidates say and what the message is that's delivered.

SCIUTTO: Jeffrey Lord, Ben Ferguson, Mercedes Schlapp, we've got to leave it there, but I know the conversation is going to continue. Thanks to all of you for joining us again tonight.

LORD: You bet.


SCHLAPP: Thank you.

LORD: Thanks, Jim.

SCIUTTO: And don't forget. CNN will air the next republican presidential debate. That is next Wednesday starting at 6:00 Eastern Time. And OUTFRONT next, Jeb Bush vowing not to back down against Donald Trump, even getting big laughs on late night television at Trump's expense. Will that strategy work?

Plus, breaking news tonight. Eleven vehicles shot at and hit on Arizona roads in just days. Police unsure if they are random or connected to a lone gunman.

And Donald Trump's family, a sister who's a pro-choice judge, an older brother who died of alcoholism. Our special report on the heavy influence of his siblings.


[19:15:15] SCIUTTO: Tonight, new jabs in the verbal boxing match between Donald Trump and Jeb Bush. Trump tweeting, "Man, did Jeb throw his brother under the bus last night on Colbert late show. Probably true. But not nice." Last night, Jeb Bush told late night host Stephen Colbert that George W. Bush should have done more to curb federal spending. But Trump may have been reacting to the shots the former Florida governor fired his --

Joe Johns is OUTFRONT.


JOE JOHNS (R), CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Jeb Bush offering his usual tank on the Iran deal to Stephen Colbert.

STEPHEN COLBERT, LATE NIGHT TALK SHOW HOST: What's your reaction on the Iran nuclear deal?

JEB BUSH (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I think President Obama is being naive to trust the Ayatollahs.

JOHNS: But the late night host asked Bush to try a different approach, to channel republican frontrunner Donald Trump.

COLBERT: What we've done is that we've written up here an answer that's just a little bit, just Trumpier. Okay, I just read it right off there. BUSH: Uh-oh. This could be dangerous.

COLBERT: No, that would be fine. Governor, what is your reaction to the Iran deal.


BUSH: I will build a wall between the United States and Iran and make Mexico pay for it. I will turn the national mall into a luxury golf course. And China will respect that. I promise to put meet meatloaf on the ten dollar bill.

JOHNS: The Bush-Trump feud had been going on since Trump announces campaign in June, by raising a question about Bush's marks.

TRUMP: Is he intelligent?

JOHNS: Bush who graduated Magna Cum Laude and Phi Beta Kappa from the University of Texas chose to remain above the fray at first, but decided ultimately to engage.

BUSH: I have been consistently pro-life. He, until recently, was for partial birth abortion.

JOHNS: The war spilled out on social media, of course. Bush tweeting, why are you a republican @real Donald Trump? The answer is, you're not. And this from Trump. Jeb Bush never uses his last name on advertising, signage materials, et cetera. Is he ashamed of the name Bush? The central front in the Trump-Bush battle, immigration reform. The bilingual Bush charge in English and in Spanish that Trump is not a conservative. Trump responded in an interview that, quote, "He should really set the example by speaking English while in the United States. The two men differ on style as well as substance. Trump slamming Bush as low-energy.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Having trouble sleeping at night? Too much energy? Need some low energy? Jeb, for all your sleeping needs.

JOHNS: Bush attacking Trump for his newfound embrace of the Republican Party.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Do you identify more as a democrat or a republican?

TRUMP: Well, you'd be shocked if I said that in many cases I probably identify more as a democrat.


JOHNS: Despite their differences, the two men do share some common ground. On taxes, for example, both have said they would eliminate a loophole that allows hedge fund and private equity managers to avoid paying millions to the IRS. Bush and Trump have also agreed in the past that the Iran deal should not be torn up on their first day of office, even though they have harshly criticized the agreement -- Jim. SCIUTTO: Joe Johns in Washington. And OUTFRONT tonight, Rick Wilson,

a republican strategist who worked for George H.W. Bush, and Katrina Pierson, she's a spokeswoman for the Tea Party Fund.

Katrina, you saw Jeb Bush mocking Trump last night, poking fun at his plans for a wall on the Mexican border by joking, he'd build a wall between the U.S. and Iran and have Mexico pay for it. Is he starting to get the better of Trump?

KATRINA PIERSON (R), FORMER CONGRESSIONAL CANDIDATE: No, these recycled remarks aren't really anything. This was just Jeb Bush's attempt to get out there in the mainstream and try to be more personable, have more fun with people. I thought it was a bit of a weak interview, but Jeb is really going to have to start being his own person. He's trying to compete with Trump in Trump's element and it's not working.

SCIUTTO: Rick, I have to ask you. There is a danger here for candidates when they try to change a style, right? I mean, is it a risk for Jeb Bush to be a candidate that he's not?

RICK WILSON, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: Well, listen, Jeb is a very bright guy and he's a very policy-driven, policy centric guy, and I don't think he likes to step too far outside of that comfort zone in a lot of ways. He has shown that she's trying to be a good sport about this. And look, he went on a show last night that had over six million people watching it. That's a benefit all by itself. But it is going to be something that he's going to have to continue the cadence and the pace and the tempo of going after Donald Trump if he wants it to be effective.

And I think, you know, having watched Jeb campaign in the past against Democrats, he's going to campaign a lot like he did against Democrats in the past. He's going to at them start tearing their record down a little bit. He's not the stiff. But he's not, you know, unlike Trump, he's not a guy who's been in front of a TV camera every single day of his life for the last, you know, 20-plus years.

SCIUTTO: Katrina, I have to ask you, if Bush is so far behind Trump in the polls, and we've seen that, why is Trump spending so much time relentlessly attacking him and in such a clearly personal way?

[19:20:10] PIERSON: Well, why wouldn't Trump attack him? He was the potential nominee we've been told for the last three and a half years. We're going to have Bush as the republican nominee. He has the most money in the campaign. So of course he's going to stay on Bush. Everybody else is just trying to catch up. Bush is the target for many Republicans and many conservatives simply because of what he stands for.

But I agree with Rick when he says, six million people watch and that's great. I agree with that. However, Bush spent a lot of time criticizing Trump for being out there in the mainstream and on TV, so did he really just make some sacrifices and go down to a different level just to go meet with common folk, or is he really trying to be somebody he's not? SCIUTTO: Rick, I want to give you a chance to respond.

WILSON: Listen, the fact of the matter is Donald Trump is a showman. There's nothing else underneath Donald Trump except for the character he's playing on TV. Donald Trump is an entertainer. Jeb Bush is a guy who, you know, he went out last night on TV. He's not the guy with natural fluency. He's not a natural comic timing guy. However, he took the risk, he went out there and he did it. It was a smart thing for him to do for his campaign. The smart thing for him to do for his image. And it allows him to start, you know, swimming in the waters of pop culture, which is a larger factor in these campaigns than people ever fully embraced until the age of Barack Obama.

He's going to have to do it. He can also back it up with an actual conservative record, unlike Donald Trump, who has nothing as a conservative record. He has quite the opposite in fact. And he can also back it up with the fact that he's able to articulate a more considerate set of policy options and go out there and speak to the American people about the vision he has for the country but beyond being just the single personality called.

SCIUTTO: But listen. I want to ask you. I don't want to catch you up there. But I do want to ask both of you, because Chris Christie, another republican candidate, governor of New Jersey on CNN today said that Trump and Bush have both forgotten that this campaign isn't about them. Has this Trump-Bush feud become a distraction that could hurt republican chances in a general election? Let's go to you first, Katrina.

PIERSON: Well, no. I mean, if you look at the recent polls, Trump is beating all the Democrats out there in the general election. And Trump is not just a caricature. He's also a businessman. He has businesses all over the world that has employed millions of people over his tenure in business. So he's more than just a character. And then when Trump says, he's going to do something, people believe that. If a Bush says he's going to do something, people just roll their eyes. So there's really more going on here than just showmanship. And Trump may not have this governor's conservative record, but you know what? We really get tired of those elite people telling who can and who can't be a member of the party.

SCIUTTO: Rick, I think a lot of folks at home though, they see these tweets back and forth, it seems petty for a U.S. presidential election. Is Governor Christie right when he says that the two of the main candidates, Trump and Bush here, are making it too much about themselves?

WILSON: Well, look, I think Chris Christie is looking for any angle to get back into the discussion. He's really sort of an afterthought in the campaign at this point.

PIERSON: That's true.

WILSON: However, look, we have entered an era where this has become an entertainment. It has become a reality TV show. You either play in those rules in that environment, or you don't. Trump may be with the advantage in some ways in that environment, however, the rules are not unknown. They're not secret. People can expose, you know, a different side of their character and their personality by exploiting that. And I think we're going to have something that, you know, you're going to continue to see this rising as a social media and television, you know, extravaganza.

SCIUTTO: A reality show. Thanks very much, Katrina Pierson and Rick Wilson. Good to have you on tonight. And Donald Trump and Jeb Bush will both be on CNN tomorrow. Be sure to watch Trump on "New Day" at 7:00 a.m. Eastern and Bush on "The Lead" at 4:00 p.m. Eastern.

And OUTFRONT next, tonight, breaking news out of Arizona. Nearly a dozen cars and trucks hit on the highway by gunfire all in a matter of days. Police calling it domestic terrorism.

And panic on a plane with more than 170 people onboard.


PILOT: Speedbird 2276 Heavy. We are evacuating on the runway. We have a fire. I repeat, we are evacuating.

TOWER: Speedbird 2276 Heavy. Roger.


SCIUTTO: Ahead, how that pilot averted a disaster.


[19:28:20] SCIUTTO: Breaking news. Authorities investigating an 11th shooting in 11 days along a busy Arizona Interstate. The latest shootings taking place in just the last few hours. One official calling these incidents, quote, "Domestic Terrorism." It's been a frightening two weeks for residents as police have received multiple reports of vehicles struck by bullets or possibly projectiles. At least one person has been injured. And the fear now that it's only a matter of time before someone is seriously injured or killed.

Stephanie Elam is OUTFRONT tonight. And Stephanie, what do we know about these latest shootings? It's three now just in the last 24 hours.

STEPHANIE ELAM, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Right, and two of them today. The most recent one Jim, happening about three hours ago. This is happening on a stretch of I-10, which runs through the heart of downtown Phoenix. In the same spot, an eight-block area. This most recent shooting, they said that there was a passenger-side front window that was hit around 1:30 local time. Another shooting around 11:00 a.m. as well. Keep in mind that there have been about eight shootings that they are investigating that have been happening around I-10 and then another three right off of the 10 on other nearby highways. And so, they're investigating those as well.

Amazingly, no one has been killed and the one injury that happened on Saturday morning was a 13-year-old girl who had a cut on her right ear. That's because the projectile or bullet came through the windshield and the glass cut her ear.

But she was treated on the scene. At this point, police are saying that they do have evidence that they're looking into ballistics. They're looking at what they can find, but they're still asking for the public's help to try to identify who might be doing this, because when they look at all the people that are driving these vehicles, they're saying that there's nothing to connect these people, there's nothing in common with them.

[19:30:00] So they do think it's just random shooting at these vehicles, but very terrifying because these shootings keep happening at all times of day as well. So there's no pattern to when these shootings are happening.

But all in all, they started on Saturday. There were three shootings on Saturday. And then we also know there was one on Monday, two on Tuesday, and now we have these two that happened today, as well, as well as those three just off of the ten, Jim.

SCIUTTO: And keep in mind, it's happening as these cars are going at highway speeds. Incredibly dangerous regardless.

Stephanie Elam, thanks very much.

And OUTFRONT, Colonel Frank Milstead. He is the director of the Arizona Department of Public Safety.

Frank, thanks for joining us. You have called this an act of domestic terrorism.

How concerned should residents in the area be?

COL. FRANK MILSTEAD, DIRECTOR, ARIZONA DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC SAFETY: I think you have to be incredibly concerned about the safety of yourself or others that traverse that roadway. All of these acts are potentially lethal encounters. When you're shooting into a moving vehicle with unwitting occupants, they're lethal encounters.

SCIUTTO: No question. We understand you're learning of several new attacks just in the last several -- just in the last 24 hours.

MILSTEAD: Correct. Yesterday, we had two, and this afternoon or late morning, and then this afternoon, we had two more. They seem to have a different M.O. than the ones we had before. But they're still projectiles being targeted on interstate 10. These areas have been compartmentalized into about an eight-block stretch of Interstate 10.

SCIUTTO: Incredible. Have you been able to link any of these attacks or all of them definitively at this point?

MILSTEAD: No, there's not a definitive answer. We don't have a suspect in mind yet, but we will find who this is. And hopefully we get to them before someone is seriously injured or killed.

SCIUTTO: Have you been able to determine an answer to this question, if the bullets -- even if they are bullets, or you say projectiles -- but if they were fired from the same weapon?

MILSTEAD: We're working on that now. I think we have a number of different weapons involved. But we're still trying to determine that. Some of those things, albeit we may already have some confidence in. We try to keep compartmentalized until we're ready to talk about it in detail. Somebody knows who this is. Somebody is very aware of who this is.

And just out of humanistic instincts, I mean, you've got to call and come forward. There should be no benevolence for this person or apathy. This is a cold-blooded crime. This person is a coward.

SCIUTTO: To this point, so far -- and very fortunately, only one person has been injured, that from flying glass. What are police doing now to keep people safe from future attacks?

MILSTEAD: We have -- our department, the Arizona Department of Public Safety, we've activated our SWAT team. We have our state gang task force. We have the SWAT team from Phoenix P.D. We have many covert and overt assets.

We are watching the freeway cameras to see what we can learn. We are -- there's a lot of investigative techniques that are going on behind the scenes. I'm really not at liberty to discuss, but I can tell you this is job one for the department. I have been keeping the governor's office apprised of what's going on and they have made all assets of the state of Arizona available to me to make sure that this comes to a swift end.

SCIUTTO: This is a major highway near a major American city. Would you personally feel safe driving on this stretch of highway now?

MILSTEAD: I do. I drive it every day, actually. It's Interstate 10, right to the heart of downtown Phoenix. My office is in downtown Phoenix. I come from the east side of town every day. I drive it, and what I make sure I do is that I'm not distracted by other things in the car.

I'm paying attention to what goes on. Is there somebody off the road, is there somebody on the embankment, is there somebody hanging out on the overpass? If you're even at Circle K or convenience market getting coffee in the morning, if you see something that doesn't look right, you need to call 911.

SCIUTTO: Frank Milstead, we wish you and your team luck. It's a scary situation there.

MILSTEAD: It is, sir, and I appreciate you taking time to talk about it. Somebody knows something and I need to know what you know.

SCIUTTO: And OUTFRONT, former U.S. marshal, Arthur Roderick. He was heavily involved in the D.C. sniper attacks investigation.

Arthur, looking at this, it's a real challenge for police and investigators. How are they going to be able to catch this shooter? ARTHUR RODERICK, FORMER ASSISTANT DIRECTOR, U.S. MARSHALS: I mean,

there are some very stark differences between the D.C. sniper case and this case here. They have a more localized area, but there is a difference. [19:35:02] It seems to be multiple weapons used, as the colonel had mentioned.

The D.C. sniper -- but it's very compact in time. The D.C. sniper case was a longer period of time. It was in a more larger area, including D.C., Maryland, and Virginia.

And, you know, one of the down falls was they only used one weapon. So, I think with the benefit they have here is that it's a very localized area and they're able to concentrate all their efforts on that particular area.

SCIUTTO: Now, they're not saying definitively yet because they can't determine definitely that all these shootings are connected. You say it is likely that they are. Tell us why.

RODERICK: I mean, you have to assume that they are. I mean, here you've got a spate of shootings -- I think what is it now, 13 over a period of 10 days currently? So, for them not to be related, then you've got almost some coordination going on between one or two or three individuals. I don't think that's going to happen. Something like this, as was mentioned earlier, somebody's going to stay something. Somebody knows that this is going on and knows who's doing it.

SCIUTTO: The D.C. sniper was tracked down in part from witnesses, but also because he exchanged messages with police. I mean, in cases like this, do attackers often if not want to be caught, they want it to be known that they're behind it to some degree, right? I mean, there's an ego factor to attacks like this often.

RODERICK: Yes, there's a notoriety factor to this. That's what we saw in the D.C. sniper case. And I'm sure we're going to see the same thing here. It sounds like they've got -- in the D.C. sniper case, I mean, we had all hands on deck, law enforcement, every agency. Of course, all the headquarters agencies are here, actually covered every intersection.

Every time there was a shooting, people rolled out of bed to cover intersections, to see who was coming and going. And I'm sure this will be the same case going on here. If you look at I-10, it's obviously a major highway with service roads and plenty of on and off exits.

SCIUTTO: Well, it seems like luck to this point that no one's been killed or injured seriously. Arthur Roderick, thanks for your experience on this.

RODERICK: Thanks, Jim.

SCIUTTO: And OUTFRONT next, all onboard this plane saved by the quick action of the pilot. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

PILOT: Mayday, mayday, Speedbird 2276. Request fire services.

AIR TRAFFIC CONTROL: Speedbird 2276. Heavy fire services are on the way.


SCIUTTO: So what exactly went wrong?

And the referee blindsided by players in this video. His attorney now charging that he is the victim of a crime, assault and battery. We have a new report.


[19:41:37] SCIUTTO: Tonight, an urgent investigation into why a Boeing 777 jet burst into flames on takeoff from Las Vegas. One early focus, why the plane's emergency equipment failed to put out the fire just as it's designed to do. We first brought you the dramatic pictures last night.

These images taken seconds after the captain brought the plane to an emergency stop on takeoff. And now we're seeing new images of the aftermath. The jet's fuselage burned right through, the engine charred, its metal skin peeling away. The heat so intense that witnesses say it melted the windows.

Sara Sidner is OUTFRONT.


PILOT: Mayday, mayday, Speedbird 2276. Request fire services.

AIR TRAFFIC CONTROL: Speedbird 2276. Heavy fire services are on the way.

SARA SIDNER, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): A British Airways pilot is forced to abort a takeoff as fire engulfs the left engine and hull of the Boeing 777.

PILOT: We are evacuating on the runway. We have a fire. I repeat, we are evacuating.

SIDNER: Inside, 159 passengers and 13 crew members scrambled to safety.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Jumped on the slide and looked up and it seemed to be about twice the height of the aircraft. This was before the fire trucks arrived.

SIDNER: Not everyone got out unharmed, 27 people have been treated at the hospital with minor injuries.

JAY JENNINGS, BRITISH TOURIST: We were just getting speed to take off. I opened up the cover of my window and just saw flames from the engine.

SIDNER: A source tells CNN the plane's fire suppression equipment was deployed but failed to put out the fire. Investigators now looking into whether a fuel line may have ruptured, causing the fire to spread.

Analysts say the British pilot and the crew's quick response prevented this accident from turning deadly.

DOMINIC WORTHINGTON, BRITIST TOURIST: I was just shouting at people, just run away from the flight, just run as far as you can get, because if it does explode, that's going to go some distance.

SIDNER: Tuesday's fire in Las Vegas comes just a month after this Delta commuter plane had an engine flameout on the tarmac in Cincinnati. No one was injured.

As for the Boeing 777, it has a stellar safety record. Put into service in 1994, there are now about 1,300 in use. In 21 years, only six other 777s have had serious incidents, according to

In 2008, both engines failed on a 777, ending in a crash landing at London's Heathrow airport. Everyone onboard survived. In 2011, an electrical fire broke out under the cockpit of an Egypt Air flight at the departure gate. Again, no one hurt.

But three people died in 2013 when an Asiana Airlines flight crashed while landing in San Francisco after the back of the plane slammed into a sea wall. The NTSB determining pilot error was to blame.

The other two incidents the world knows all too well. Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 disappearing over the Indian Ocean. No cause has been determined.

And MH17 ending in disaster. That Boeing 777 shot out of the sky over Ukraine.


SIDNER: It must be said that nearly half of all the major incidents with 777s have had nothing to do with the safety of the plane itself, making it one of the safest aircrafts out there. But when passengers see incidents like what happened in Las Vegas, it can certainly rattle their confidence -- Jim.

SCIUTTO: No question. They'll have questions. Sara Sidner in Los Angeles.

[19:45:00] And OUTFRONT, Richard Quest, our aviation and business correspondent.

So, we have these pictures now. And you look at this, and what's incredible is that the fire is not confined to the engine, it's here. What does that tell you?

RICHARD QUEST, CNN AVIATION AND BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: That the sheer ferocity of the fire. Just look at this. This vast hole. Some are even suggesting that the fire actually start this way and come out. Or was it fed from the engine going in?

SCIUTTO: Fuel line rupture a possibility.

QUEST: Absolutely. The way in which the fuselage was burnt through, and if you take a look at the engine and you see just how detailed the damage was on the leading edge of the wing, the engine itself. Which way did that fire go? Was it coming from the engine across or was it coming that way back?

That's one of the things that the investigators will be very concerned, because if this plane had gone into the air, if it had gone into the air, you'd be looking at some very serious --

SCIUTTO: How difficult for the pilot? This was going down the runway. We don't know how fast it was going. How difficult for him to pull the throttles become and to get that plane to a stop, to get the passengers off?

QUEST: It all depends on exactly what point they decided to abort the takeoff. There's various different sections of the takeoff, 18 knots, 100 knots. And then you get to this thing called V-1. That's the velocity 1, and that means if you're not going to abort then, it's too late.


SCIUTTO: Is that when the nose lifts off?

QUEST: No, that's rotate.


QUEST: So after V-1, goes rotate. But at V-1, obviously they weren't there -- I think they were just over 100 knots when this happened. But at V-1, you're going into the air, whatever happens, because it's safer to go into the air. Now, in that situation, to have gone into the air with an aircraft that was suffering that sort of damage --

SCIUTTO: Catastrophic.

QUEST: Well, you'd certainly extinguish the fire in the engines, but you'd be very worried as you saw with Qantas 32 what sort of damage was there to control surfaces.

SCIUTTO: Evacuation.

QUEST: That's fascinating, because here we had two aspects of the evacuation to note. Firstly, passengers took with them --

SCIUTTO: Incredible.

QUEST: Unbelievable.

SCIUTTO: You can see some of them were dragging their carry-on bags, which had to slow the evacuation.

QUEST: It did. But also what's interesting is you can see there and there that the emergency slides are on the side of the fire itself. Now, we can't criticize, because we don't know the circumstances.

But I will tell you the investigation will look very closely into whether -- and how that was manipulated, because obviously, that could have slowed down the evacuation, or it could have been a danger to the passengers. It certainly hindered the fire brigade here because they couldn't push the --

SCIUTTO: Is that passengers' failure to take the bags or is that the flight crew that didn't prevent them?

QUEST: No, you can't prevent them. You've got to get people off the plane. This is blatant, unabridged, unadulterated stupidity.

SCIUTTO: Right, fair enough. Say it like it is.

Thanks very much -- I mean, not to state the obvious, but it could have been far worse.

Richard Quest, as always, a pleasure.

And OUTFRONT next, prosecutors are considering possible criminal charges against the two players who brutally attacked this referee. The players now charging the ref used racial slurs against them.


[19:52:50] SCIUTTO: Tonight, Texas prosecutors are weighing criminal charges against two high school football players who violently tackle the referee in the middle of a game. The hits were capture on video. You can see one player here slamming into the official from behind, knocking him to the ground. Here it is again. And then, later, another player dives into him, head-first after the referee was already on the ground.

And now, the referee is denying new accusations that he instigated this assault by using racial slurs against the players.

Ed Lavandera is OUTFRONT.


ED LAVANDERA, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The video showing a brutal hit on a referee by two Texas high school football players has been viewed online more than 9 million times. Today as disturbing allegations against the referee have surfaced, school and league officials continue their investigation.

DR. BRIAN WOODS, NISD SUPERINTENDENT: This event is shameful to us.

LAVANDERA: John Jay sophomore Victor Rojas charged and tackled referee Robert Watts and then the senior Michael Moreno piled on, spearing Watts with his helmet. The attack capped a brutal game. At today's hearing, officials aimed much of their anger at the coaches

for not controlling their players.

GIL GARZA, DIRECTOR OF ATHLETICS, DALLAS INDEPENDENT SCHOOL DISTRICT: There were multiple ejections. There was punches thrown throughout parts of the game. There was trash talking, late hits, that is -- it seems to me like a time bomb waiting to happen and it did happen.

LAVANDERA: In the final second of the game after just giving up the lead, Jay High School's opponent was running out the clock when Watts was blindsided. The hit may have been triggered by simmering anger over what players considered bad calls by the refs.

But the players also alleged that Watts used racial slurs against them at least twice during the game. They say they told that to assistant coach Mack Breed.

PASCUAL GONZALEZ, NISD SPOKESMAN: The students allege that the assistant coach said, that guy needs to pay for cheating us, or words to that effect.

LAVANDERA: Breed, a former player at John Jay High School, has been placed on administrative leave. CNN tried to contact Breed for comment but so far he has not responded.

Watts' attorney says the players allegations of racial slurs are not just false, but a classic case of blame the victim.

[19:55:03] He said that Watts suffered a heinous and brutal assault, adding Watts is currently under medical care. Local police are investigating whether the two players should face criminal charges. They have already been suspended from the team and school.

WOODS: We will treat the incident as an assault on a school official.


LAVANDERA: And, Jim, those two students also face a disciplinary hearing. There with the school district. Their fate remains very much of in the air. They could be expelled from school altogether. Suspended for some time. Then, it's not exactly clear what happens to extracurricular career on the football team there at the John Jay High School.

The superintendent of the school district says the disciplinary hearing will come sooner rather than later -- Jim.

SCIUTTO: And possible criminal charges as well. Ed Lavandera in Dallas.

Stay with us. We'll be right back.


SCIUTTO: Thank you for joining us tonight. I'm Jim Sciutto. I'll be back again tomorrow night. "AC360" starts right now.