Return to Transcripts main page


Dallas Gunman Identified; Interview with Dallas Deputy Chief; Confirmed; Dallas Shooting Service in Army Reserves. Aired 11-11:30a ET

Aired July 8, 2016 - 11:00   ET


[11:00:00] WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: I'm Wolf Blitzer, in Washington.

AT THIS HOUR with Berman and Bolduan starts right now.

ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: Hello, everyone. I'm John Berman. Kate Bolduan is off today.

Our breaking news this morning, a major American city is reeling. An entire nation is hurting. And many bewildered citizens are wondering what's happening here. What began in Dallas as a peaceful protest against violence ends with one of the deadliest days for law enforcement in nearly 50 years.

This hour, we expect a statement from attorney general, Loretta Lynch, addressing this horrific event.




BERMAN: That's just one vantage point we have. There's remarkable foot only of this terrifying evening. Five Dallas officers killed, seven wounded, two civilians hurt. And a tense nation already stunned and outraged by the controversial deaths at the hands of police this week, now stunned and outraged by the deaths of police officers trying to protect people who were protesting those very incidents.

Listen to some of the frantic calls between officers at the scene and the dispatcher.


UNIDENTIFIED LAW ENFORCEMENT OFFICER: Assist, officer, shots fired. Code three, staff the radio, officer down.

UNIDENTIFIED LAW ENFORCEMENT OFFICER: We have a guy with a long gun but we don't know where the hell he's at.

UNIDENTIFIED LAW ENFORCEMENT OFFICER: Parking garage. UNIDENTIFIED LAW ENFORCEMENT OFFICER: Slow down, he's in the damn building right there. We don't know where he's at. He's in that building, across from that building.

UNIDENTIFIED LAW ENFORCEMENT OFFICER: 69, we have got to get DSD down, 159, get him here.

DISPATCH: They're on their way.

UNIDENTIFIED LAW ENFORCEMENT OFFICER: We believe possibly El Centro College building.

UNIDENTIFIED LAW ENFORCEMENT OFFICER: Suspect is inside the El Centro building. Inside the El Centro building.


BERMAN: This morning, we learned from the Dallas police chief that the shooter is dead. He was killed by a robot bomb. Moments ago, officials identified the shooter as 25-year-old Micah Xavier Johnson, of Mesquite, Texas. Negotiators say he was upset over the shootings of black men in Louisiana and Minnesota and he wanted to kill white people, especially white police officers. He also told them he acted alone.

This investigation, though, still very much active, still looking for clues, still chasing down leads.

We're joined now by CNN justice correspondent, Evan Perez.

Evan, you just broke the news for us of the identification of this shooter. What more are you learning about him? What more are you learning about the investigation?

EVAN PEREZ, CNN JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: John, one of the first questions that law enforcement had is whether or not he was on their radar. We're told at this point they found no idea he was on the radar for the FBI or any other law enforcement agency for ties to extremist groups or even a criminal background. It appears until he started shooting last night in Dallas they had not

come across this man before. Obviously, then, he proceed to have a standoff with police officers and where he told them exactly what he was trying to do. He said he had some kind of vendetta against white police officers and that he was angry about the Black Lives Matter movement. That was part of his motivation, at least according to what he told officials.

The question is, is there anybody else? At this point, we know of only one shooter. And it may well be despite all the reports of multiple people shooting, people might have just been hearing the bullets hitting the ground there and hitting these officers with the sound bouncing off all those tall buildings in downtown Dallas. That at this point what officials are looking at. This is possibly the only shooter who carried out these shootings last night.

The other question that comes to mind is what kind of training did he have, where did he learn to shoot this way? He appeared to have been a pretty good shot. The question now is, where did that come from? Was he self-trained or did he have some type of military training. That's a question ongoing.

We talked to neighbors from where he lives in Mesquite, Texas, and they said he was kind of a recluse. He lived with his mother. We know police are there, waiting to do a search. They're going to try to learn more about who he was connected with, what he might have been posting on social media, anything that might have indicated this was coming -- John?

BERMAN: As they look at his possible connections, are you learning anything about the three other people in police custody, or even if they are still in police custody, and if they have established any connection between any one of these folks and the man they just identified?

PEREZ: No, we have not. One of the things the police there said that these people who they had arrested were not being cooperative. They were being tight-lipped. That may well be because there is no connection. The police still apparently have them in custody. They're still talking to them. We have not heard they've been released. At this point, the police, though, are still going on this possibility that maybe there might be somebody out there who might have helped. Obviously, it's hard to understand how this thing could have gone through, how possibly there might have been other people there. Certainly the witnesses describe the feeling or the idea there were multiple shooters. That's one reason they haven't crossed this off the possibility. Right now, we've not heard of any links to other people. Again, the police are still doing a lot of investigation right now. We expect to hear some more -- John?

[11:05:41] BERMAN: All right, Evan Perez, working your sources in Washington, D.C.

I should add, we'll hear from attorney general, Loretta Lynch, shortly. She may have some more information as well. You're looking at live pictures from the Justice Department. We'll hear from the attorney general in the next 20 minutes or so.

I want to go to CNN's Sara Sidner, who has been in Dallas all night for the latest details on what you're seeing and hearing on the ground there -- Sara?

SARA SIDNER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, John, you can see behind me, you can see what's going on, and it's not a whole lot. Before, several hours ago, there were dozens of police officers filling this road. We are right on Main Street in downtown Dallas which would normally on a Friday during work hours be bustling with people, and people going about their business, but now what we are seeing is a very quiet downtown.

I also want to mention to you what we've been hearing, some extraordinary things from the chief of police here. Dallas police chief, David Brown, talking about how it was that the suspect ended up dying, that he sent in a robot that had an explosive on it, that they detonated in order to suspect. Most of us have never heard of law enforcement using something like that, trying to save the remaining officers, after five officers have been killed and seven others injured. He also talked a little bit about the suspect who is now deceased. The suspect who told police he was the only shooter.


DAVID BROWN, CHIEF, DALLAS POLICE DEPARTMENT: The suspect said he was upset about Black Lives Matter. He said he was upset about with the recent police shootings. The suspect said he was upset at white people. The suspect stated he wanted to kill white people, especially white officers.


SIDNER: So you're getting some idea of the profile of this suspect and what he was thinking. You're getting to understand a little bit about why he was doing what he was doing and to further those ideas. The police look, we need right now to work on this divisiveness, to stop being divisive. We don't want to see this sort of thing continuing again and again. And so you also have, of course, the protests that began in the days before this all happened, those protests, because people were angry about what they see as police brutality and the treatment of black men at the hands of police. This now coming full circle. Police saying, you know, this gentleman, who ended up dying, the suspect, saying that he wanted to particularly kill white police officers and he was upset with what he was seeing happening in the communities. It is a stark reminder of the divisiveness this can cause and the police chief saying let's not do that, let's come together a country -- John?

BERMAN: Sara, what's the posture on the streets now? Are people being told stay home from work, don't come to downtown Dallas?

SIDNER: Absolutely. There's a Bank of America building behind me that is one of the iconic buildings because at night it glows green on the outside. We had someone come up to us, John, and say, what's going on, I'm trying to get to work, and police were very clear, not today. Not today. This is still a crime scene. Imagine, after 45 minutes of a gun battle, there are going to be bits of forensic evidence all over the place. So they'll have to go through and collect that. This could take a while. They're telling people if you work in these areas that have been blocked off not to bother to come downtown, not today any way.

BERMAN: Still a crime scene, still a lot of evidence, still a concern that they tie up any loose ends and make sure there's not anyone connected to this shooter still on the street.

Sara Sidner, thank you very much.

This was the deadliest incident for U.S. law enforcement since September 11th. The deadliest in 60 years, besides September 11th and Oklahoma City. That gives you a sense of the historic horrific scope of this. Five officers killed in this ambush. One of them, 43-year- old Brent Thompson. He was a Dallas Area Rapid Transit Officer. No Rapid Transit Officer has ever been killed like this in the line of duty. What's truly tragic here, he got married just two weeks ago to another officer.

[11:10:11] BERMAN: Kyung Lah is at Baylor Hospital, been there for so many hours now.

Kyung, you've seen people coming and going. You've seen family coming and going. You've seen officers coming and going. This is the hospital where people have been treated and some of those killed were taken initially.

KYUNG LAH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: What we're seeing here is, throughout the evening, police officers holding vigil. And you called it, John, they are coming back and forth. This emergency room you have gathering place for law enforcement who have a major scene downtown. But also here, they have a number of wounded officers. The bulk of the officers came here to Baylor University Medical Center. The city tells us that the people who came here, they thought would do well. And according to the police chief, most of the people who came to this hospital, they have been treated, some have been released or they're about to be released. On that note, that is a very positive note.

Police chief coming by, stopping by, speaking with them, as well as the DART president. Here's what he said.


GARY THOMAS, PRESIDENT & EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, DALLAS AREA RAPID TRANSIT: We're doing everything we can to make sure that we support them during this time and, again, praying for a quick recovery. They're in good spirits. Visited with two of the three last night. Chief visited with all three. They're professionals, through and through. It's their job. You don't plan on this. You don't count on it. But this is what they train for.


LAH: This police agency also remembering one of their own. 43-year- old Brent Thompson, the first officer killed in the line of duty, who had just recently been married.

What we've also seen here is an extraordinary show of solidarity between the medical workers at this hospital and the police, trying to shelter the police, trying to give them some privacy. And what they've been doing overnight, they created a human wall between the gurneys of bodies of police officers exiting the hospital, being loaded onto the white vans. The medical personnel trying to protect the police officers and give them some privacy in this horrific public spectacle -- John?

BERMAN: Obviously, that privacy being respected right now. We only know the identity of one of the officers killed. Once those families are comfortable with it, you can imagine we will learn the identities of four other deceased law enforcement officials.

Kyung Lah, at Baylor Medical Center, thank you so much. Right now, I want to bring in the deputy chief of the Dallas Police

Department, Malik Aziz.

Thanks so much for being with us.

Again, we've been saying it all morning. I want to make sure you know we are thinking about you this morning. We stand by you hear. I know everyone around the country stands by you as well.

I wonder if you can give us the latest on the investigation. We've now identified the shooter as Micah Xavier Johnson. Do you believe still, as he claimed to officers this morning, he was acting alone?

MALIK AZIZ, DEPUTY CHIEF, DALLAS POLICE DEPARTMENT: Right now, Dallas police is doing a very thorough investigation. We have some of the best investigators in the nation. I'm sure they're not going to leave any rock unturned and to finding out if he was -- if he acted alone o did he have help. I can tell you this, Dallas police, as professional, as great as they are, they will find out if there were any other people in collusion with this cowardly act.

BERMAN: Any reason to believe the streets of Dallas are not safe this morning?

AZIZ: We have reason to believe wee professionals and we're going to go and do our job still and in the face of tragedy because I have to say our hearts are heavy and our prays and thoughts go out to the family, friends, loved ones of the officers, a few who I knew very well. Our hearts are heavy and we want to send our condolences out to the family. But I can guarantee you that we're on the ground now and we're protecting and serving the citizens of this great city because we're professionals and we do that -- 800,000 law enforcement officers across the country, we go in day in, day out. We have an understanding in our hearts and our minds we may go out and may not come home to the people who love us and the people we love. And we still go out every single day to make sure we give people the protection we believe that they deserve. So we're going to continue to do that, even this morning. We're going to do that today and we're going to do it tomorrow because that's what we do. We have no choice. We adorn this badge and this uniform and we go out and we make things happen for the city to make sure we protect the people who are in our cities across the nation, and Dallas being no different than any other city. And we plan on making sure that everyone is safe and we plan on making sure every officer is as safe as he can be.

[11:15:19] BERMAN: We know you will go out and do your jobs because we saw you doing it last night, even in the most dangerous and difficult circumstances as five of your own were murdered, were killed.

Deputy Chief, you say you know some of those who were killed. What can you tell us? I know you don't want to release the names of these officers but in general terms what can you tell us?

AZIZ: I can tell you some officers, some are very good and young. I can tell you, you know, we r have some veterans who is very good at what he did. I can't -- I don't want to say any names or have any -- without the families' permission or what the Department officials release. That's up to our chief commander at his direction. As the national chair of the National Police Association, I respect that. I can tell you we have some brave officers. The coward who -- the coward to the tenth power who would elevate himself and kill officers who have done nothing wrong to this individual, are not connected to the other issues around the nation. I can tell you these officers, they ran to the face of danger. They put themselves in danger to go combat an individual who was intent on killing as many officers as he can. As our chief of police stated across media today, this individual was talking about killing white officers and his dissatisfaction with what had been occurring across this nation, and he decided to take his vengeance out on officers who were protecting protesters, a peaceful protest of Black Lives Matter, a peaceful protest to address grievances against the government, in which they have every right. We have police officers taking pictures with protesters, protecting them, guarding them, making sure they were getting from one point to another. And this individual decided he would elevate himself in a cowardly position and take the lives of people who we love, our brothers in blue. And across this nation, I received so many phone calls, text messages and e-mails for our safety because we are one organization in blue and we -- when one hurts, all of us hurts and our hearts are heavy across the nation. These officers are brave. They were heroes. They were protecting people who they may not even agree with. We do it all the time. We did it a couple of weeks ago. We do it for politicians. We do it for religious leaders. We were doing it yesterday. And then one individual, at least one individual, decided that he would take the lives of officers who were doing nothing wrong except protecting t interests of the citizens of this city.

BERMAN: This man told police last night he wanted to target white people. He wanted to target police officers, wanted to kill police officers. This is something we've heard for some days now, for some months, that police officers feel like they are under attack. Do you feel under siege right now?

AZIZ: Well, I think across the nation, officers are feeling under siege because how many times, even if we look at what the numbers say is the stats, when people pull out those things, and we say that 98 percent of us do it right. And 98 percent of 800,000 officers go across this nation in big cities as large as Dallas, a heavy community policing effort, a direction of interaction and engagement, and we do these things in this city and across the nation, and we try to do them right. We strive for perfection. But sometimes we make errors. Sometimes things don't go the way they should. We should be held accountable. And that is what we have a criminal justice system for. So we can be held accountable. So officers across the nation, it means so much when someone says thank you or we appreciate what you do, because officers don't hear that. Only on days like this, where we suffer a tremendous loss in our cities to our brothers and sisters in blue, and then we say, oh, thank you, and we appreciate your service. And we don't hear -- we hear it very few days. So our officers who go out with the expectation they may not come home to their family of loved ones, they feel underappreciated. [11:20:00] What we need now is a real engagement, a real dialogue

with the community, that we can no longer be separate. We can't divide ourselves. The community needs the police and the police need the community. We are one and the same. We have a 50/50 partnership. We have to sit at the table to see what is the best way forward, and we're not doing that. We have devolved into some separatism and we've taken our corners and every avenue in the United States now that we don't seem to want to work together.

And in Dallas, it's been a really concerted effort for us to work together with the community, for us to get out and build bridges with people and make sure we have looked into 21st century policing. We've looked at the points we was -- I personally was involved in the testifying in Cincinnati about 21st century policing. The president has given us a directive. We need to come together. Come together, community, politicians. And we need to resolve this. And whatever issues they surround, whatever issues are surrounded. However they -- whatever they may. Then we need to form a united front and we need to sometimes agree to disagree, but agree that we can move forward because days like this should not happen. Days like yesterday or day before, they shouldn't happen, but when they do, let's be human beings. Let's be honorable men and women and sit down at a table and say, how can we not let this happen again and be sincere in our hearts and be sincere in our minds and our efforts. And we are failing at that on all sides, even though we're trying to put one foot in front of the other. It's not meshing out.

This is a very rough day for us in Dallas and the police. You heard our police chief speak. You've heard other people speak. It's a very rough day for the families. We're going to be hurting that we know it's going to be some rough weeks to come and rough months to come but we are -- we are dedicated. We are resolved in that we will work with the community. Dallas will work with the community. Other cities will embrace and engage with the community for a better way forward. And it's just not police. It's all of us together. And if we don't wake up and we don't realize what's going on, then these things are becoming the norm and we don't need this to become the norm.

We need to thank police officers. We need to understand that citizens have rights and we want better communities. We want safer communities where we live, work and our children play, and we want police officers to go home and we want citizens to go home to their family and we want to feel for everyone, and this is not some utopian idea, this is not utilitarian. 800,000 police officers across the nation, it's 3,500 police officers in Dallas, but yet, we are not monolithic in our thinking and we are trained.

So please, I implore the listening audience to work with your politicians, sit down at the table together and let's see how when we can stop days like this from happening in the future.

BERMAN: Deputy Chief Malik Aziz, thank you so much. Dallas, a model of policing in this, a model of service. And I would like to say thank you for your service today and always.

Deputy Chief Malik Aziz, thank you so much. AZIZ: Thank you.

BERMAN: Any minute now, Attorney General Loretta Lynch will make a statement on the Dallas attack on police there. You can see a live look on where she will be. We'll bring you her remarks as soon as they happen.

Plus, we get details about the gunman, including his identity. The latest news, next.


[11:27:49] BERMAN: All right, welcome back to our continuing coverage of the shootings in Dallas. Five officers killed, 12 wounded. We just got the identity of one of the officers wounded. You're looking at a picture of Misty McBride. She is a Dallas Area Rapid Transit Officer. She was wounded in this attack. Our local affiliate did speak to her father and daughter. I don't have word on her condition. Earlier, we heard from the police chief who said most of those wounded, many of them have been released. I don't know the level of concern for those who still are in the hospital but you're seeing there Misty McBride, Dallas Area Rapid Transit. We know the victims include both men and women here. You can see the scope of what's been done.

I want to talk about this, including some new information on the attacker. I've joined by Gregory Thomas, president of the National Organization of Black Law Executives; and CNN law enforcement analyst, Tom Fuentes, former FBI assistant director; and Harry Houck, a retired NYPD detective.

Tom Fuentes, this bit of news we got from Barbara Starr at the Pentagon. The Pentagon confirms apparently the shooter did serve in the U.S. Army Reserves. Did I get that right, control room, in the U.S. Army Reserves?

All right, Tom, so we do know this individual had military training. I suppose that's not surprising give given how much he was able to carry off during that time period last night.

TOM FUENTES, CNN LAW ENFORCEMENT CORRESPONDENT: I think so, John. We looked at the shootings and the accuracy, given the distance, plus his tactics, indicated he had some type of training. That could have been in the Reserves, in the military or privately at gun ranges where former military people were conducting training for people. Now we're finding out he did get it as an Army Reserve officer.

BERMAN: This guy clearly knew how to use a gun. He had so much ammunition it was falling out of his pockets during this incident.

Harry Houck, another bit of information we got that was interesting was he was killed by the use of a robotic device carrying an explosive. It set off an explosive, law enforcement did, carried by a robot. That ultimately killed him. Why would you use -- in what circumstance would you use such a device? [11:30:09] HARRY HOUCK, RETIRED NYPD DETECTIVE: Well, I'll tell you,

John, this is the first time I've heard about this device. It's interesting to me.