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STATE OF THE UNION
Three Officers Killed In Baton Rouge Shooting; Multiple Suspects In The Baton Rouge Shooting; Baton Rouge Crime Scene Contained. Aired 12-1p ET
Aired July 17, 2016 - 12:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[12:00:00] ART RODERICK, CNN LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: Three officers dead.
JAKE TAPPER, CNN ANCHOR: That's a lot.
RODERICK: That's a lot. That's a lot. So something is --
TAPPER: Something -- that reads different to you.
RODERICK: Completely reads different to me because it's just a lot of casualties here, a lot of injuries for just a normal day in the life of a police officer.
RODERICK: This rings to me more along the lines of Dallas.
TAPPER: All right. Of course, all the information coming in right now and we don't know right now. Let's bring in Chuck Canterbury. He is the president of the Fraternal Order of Police. He joins us now on the phone.
Chuck, thanks so much for joining us. We appreciate it. I don't know if you have any information from your brothers and sisters in blue down there in Baton Rouge, but tell us what you know.
CHUCK CANTERBURY, NATIONAL PRESIDENT, FRATERNAL ORDER OF POLICE (on the phone): Well, I know exactly what you've been reporting on CNN at this time. The guys that we have on the ground in Baton Rouge are obviously very busy, so we've not been able to make contact with them other than through text message. They're responding to the area to see what they can do to the families.
I agree with the assistant director of U.S. marshal. This is not a normal day in the life of a police officer. Law enforcement's under attack in this country. I've been ringing that bell since Ramos and Liu were shot in New York, assassination type assaults on police are up. Although the total number of officers killed are down. We attribute that to much better emergency medical services than in the '80s and '90s. And the country needs to wake up.
We're in a point now where the government needs to put a full court press on, assist law enforcement in what we've been telling them for years, the disconnect in these communities.
TAPPER: It is. When I say day in the life of a police officer, I mean that we are constantly reminded and appropriately so that when police officers leave their home in the mornings and say good-bye to their wives or husbands, they do not know if they're going to come home. They hope that they are.
Because they are the first responders. They are the thin blue line. They're the ones who protect the public from criminals and others.
We don't know. This might be a horrific criminal. This might be a horrific terrorist. We do not know yet.
But Chuck, let's dive in more to what you're talking about because I know a lot of police officers across the country feel under attack. Have you heard from the police officers, law enforcement officers in Baton Rouge since obviously this has been such a hotbed of tension since Alton Sterling's death less than two weeks ago?
CANTERBURY: We have some people on the ground. Our national chaplain has been in Baton Rouge for the last week praying with the officers in the community. He's been keeping me updated.
And I think that, you know, rank and file officers for a long time have known that in communities where we have tremendous poverty that we're in a disconnect. And even the president finally acknowledged that in his trip to Dallas when he said that we can't be all things to all people. But this is a time for Americans to stand up and say enough is enough.
TAPPER: Chuck, were you in the meeting with President Obama and Vice President Biden last week, I believe it was, talking about the concerns of police officers?
CANTERBURY: I did not attend that meeting because I was in Dallas attending funerals for the officers that were killed in Dallas. We thought that that meeting should have been postponed until a number of us could have returned. But I did have a representative in the meeting, and I did talk to Vice President Biden by phone the Friday before the meeting. And he very much understood my concerns. And he's always been (INAUDIBLE) with the law enforcement and I know that he expressed by concerns to the president.
TAPPER: The reason I ask is because Vice President Biden did an interview with me after the meeting. I think it was six days ago, a week ago, Monday. And in that meeting, he told me and the viewers of CNN that at least two of the, I believe, five or so police organizations represented at that meeting expressed in very candid terms their concern about the lack of support that they feel from -- not from Vice President Biden, who as you point out has had a decades' long relationship with police, authored a bill in the '90s to put a hundred thousand more officers on the floor et cetera -- on the street rather et cetera, but lack of support expressed by President Obama. Is that what you expressed to Vice President Biden?
CANTERBURY: We've been expressing that directly to the president and Vice President Biden going back for over a year. Excuse me. But --
TAPPER: The reason I ask -- I'll just interrupt while you take a drink of water. The reason I ask is because the president's response was, well, then we need to get you lists of information and all the times that I did express support for our men and women in blue because, I do it all the time. That's what the president responded. And I don't know if that information got to you or if you knew of it already but you still think...
TAPPER: ... the expressions of support are not strong enough.
CANTERBURY: Jake, we've seen it, but it's qualified. It's just like going all the way back to the Cambridge incident where he spouted off that the officer acted stupidly. After the beer (ph) summit, you know, he makes comments that were appropriate. But it's usually the first comments after the Dallas situation, rather than immediately recognizing as a domestic terrorist act. Regardless of whether it was with a known terrorist group, without doing that, he said we needed to wait (INAUDIBLE).
But in contrast of that, on the Sterling situation in Baton Rouge and the attempt in Minnesota he -- there was no caution that we wait for a thorough and complete investigation. He made comments of (ph) concern (ph). And that sends the wrong message to law enforcement that, you know, one or two incidents are framing every -- all 850,000 state and local officers under the same light. And all we're asking to do is to refrain from those comments prior to the investigation being (ph) completed (ph).
TAPPER: Interesting. Just to bring a quick update. We're told by the sheriff's office, I believe that's of the East Baton Rouge Parish in Louisiana, that the scene is now being described as active but contained.
Active but contained. Chuck Canterbury, national president with the Fraternal Order of Police. I assume that means that they believe that the shooter is no longer a threat. But translate that for us if you would, active but contained.
CANTERBURY: Well, they believe they either have the shooter eliminated at this point or secured where he can't hurt anybody else.
Yes, you can't read too much into it. Terminology varies. They feel that they've got control of the situation, which would tell me that they've identified the suspect and most likely he's either down or put in a position of disadvantage.
TAPPER: If you're just joining us, CNN is bringing you live coverage from Baton Rouge, Louisiana, where the local authorities are reporting that seven police officers were shot in the incident this morning. Three officers, we are told, are believed killed.
We just got a statement from the sheriff's office of the East Baton Rouge Parish in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, saying that the incident took place at approximately 9:00 a.m. Central time. So that's 8:00 a.m. -- I'm sorry. 10:00 a.m. East Coast time. When Baton Rouge police officers in East Baton Rouge, sheriff deputies were involved in the shooting, Airline Highway near Old Hammond Highway. And the sheriff's office goes on to report, multiple officers from both agencies sustained injuries and were transported to local hospitals. At this point we do not have concrete numbers or the extent of the injuries. Updates will be provided as available.
Chuck Canterbury, president of the Fraternal Order of Police, is that -- since we have heard from local authorities that three of the officers were killed -- and again, this is all early and preliminary information. I'm just wondering is it protocol with police as with the military that before announcing any people have been killed, specifically trying to get notice to friends and family?
CANTERBURY: Well, it's obviously -- before they release names, they will do that. I think probably because the national media was on scene at Baton Rouge anyway that they realize they weren't going to be able to keep that information. So I'm sure that there are people now that are notifying families, if they haven't already been notified. And I just want to say how much the 300,000 members of the FOP extend our heartfelt condolences to our brothers and sisters in Baton Rouge and let them know that we're going to be there for them.
TAPPER: If you're just joining us, we are bringing you horrible news out of Baton Rouge, Louisiana, where we're told seven officers are down, three of them are believed to have been killed.
Chuck Canterbury, stand by because I want to bring in Nick Valencia, CNN correspondent, who is on his way right now to the scene of the shooting which we're told by the sheriff's office is described as active but contained, meaning they do not believe that the shooter or shooters are any threat to anybody anymore, whether they've arrested or killed of course we'll find out later.
Nick, you have been in Baton Rouge covering all the tension since the death of Alton Sterling in a confrontation with police. And you also covered last week, I believe, the alleged plot to kill police officers, three individuals arrested, one still wanted, breaking into a pawnshop stealing guns with the alleged stated purpose of killing police.
NICK VALENCIA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: I think it's incredibly important for us to remind our viewers just how intense the environment and the atmosphere in Baton Rouge has been over the course of last week.
Certainly police officers all across the country on a heightened state of alert, especially after what happened in Dallas. There in Baton Rouge, speaking to state and local law enforcement officials, there was incredible amount of concern that something like this could happen in Baton Rouge. Especially after the announcement on Tuesday. We had sources in law enforcement tell us that there was an alleged plot, credible threat, as they categorize it, to kill police officers. There was some discrepancy over that language used in the days that followed because none of those suspects were officially charged with a plot to kill police officers. And then we hear the news this morning.
At about 9:00 a.m. reported a suspicious man walking up and down U.S. Airline Highway which is just a couple blocks there from the Baton Rouge Police Department headquarters. That call coming in with units from the Baton Rouge Police Department and the East Baton Rouge Parish Sheriff's Office responding what would transpire would be at least seven to eight officers who were shot, three of those believed to be killed.
And what I'm hearing from a source was the investigation that it is still an active scene because there's the possibility of a second gunman still out there. We're hearing of course this updated information, this news from East Baton Rouge that they believe the scene to be contained. So perhaps that it's good news in this otherwise very dark and grim update that we're getting from Louisiana, Jake.
TAPPER: Nick Valencia, stand by. I'm going to read a statement from the governor of Louisiana who has just issued a statement saying -- quote -- "This is an unspeakable and unjustified attack on all of us at a time when we need unity and healing. Rest assured" -- the governor goes on -- "every resource available to the state of Louisiana will be used to ensure the perpetrators -- plural -- are swiftly brought to justice. For now, I'm asking all Louisianans to join Donna and me in praying for the officers who are involved and their families as the details continue to unfold."
Just to take one second to unpack that, he is saying, the governor, in this statement are -- I think you'll agree with me, first of all, he's telling us more than one person involved. It was perpetrators. And second of all, he is clearly suggesting this was -- he's calling it an attack on all of us, unspeakable and unjustified. This is not some horrific crime scene that went horribly, horribly wrong. This was something else.
RODERICK: Yes. This was not your usual criminal act.
Unfortunately, we have heard in the past this ambush type killing law enforcement officers. And generally, this is how it happened. You get a 911 call, man with a gun walking down Airline Road. Law enforcement officers respond and then somebody shoots them from a different location.
RODERICK: So this very well could have been exactly what happened. If he's saying perpetrators, that's the first we've heard of multiple shooters from this statement.
We've kind of assumed that that was a possibility that could have happened. But with an assault rifle, you can do an awful lot of damage with just one individual as we saw in Dallas. If this is more than one person, then this is -- this is -- this has really got to be looked at.
TAPPER: Yes. I mean -- look, the people who get the information first are people like the presidential candidates...
TAPPER: ... or the governors. And when they issue a statement, for instance before we knew the details out of Nice, France...
TAPPER: ... Donald Trump canceled his announcement of his vice presidential running mate. He knew before the rest of us knew that it was really, really, really horrible. And now we have the Louisiana governor suggesting that this is more than just a criminal act that went really horribly wrong. That this was an attack and that there are perpetrators. Plural.
We are going to take a very, very quick break. And then when we come back, we're going to bring you more details about this rapidly evolving and horrific scene out of Baton Rouge, Louisiana. This is Jake Tapper with CNN. Stay with us.
TAPPER: Welcome back to CNN. Breaking news.
We are bringing you this horrific story out of Baton Rouge, Louisiana, where we are told seven officers have been shot in an attack this morning. Now, I want to caution viewers. We are getting conflicting information from different authorities. The Parish mayor in East Baton Rouge Parish is saying that preliminary reports indicated one shooter was down and has also said he believes three of the seven officers have been killed. But we do have this message from the governor of Louisiana suggesting clearly in his words that this was an unspeakable and unjustified attack on all of us and talking about how the state of Louisiana will use every resource available to ensure the perpetrators, plural, are swiftly brought to justice.
So the question is how many officers have been wounded? How bad are the injuries? How many shooters are there?
[12:20:00] All this information just coming in. And like I said, authorities do their best to bring us the best and most complete information as they can. But in breaking news stories like this one, and we're told that the scene there, the scene of the crime is contained but still active meaning that the shooter or shooters are no longer a threat. But it is still an active crime scene. It's still developing.
That said, obviously this attack as the governor calls it does not occur in a vacuum. It comes 10 days, I believe, after the assassination of five police officers in Dallas, Texas. It comes less than two weeks after an African-American man was killed in a confrontation with police. That man, Alton Sterling. And his death caused -- has prompted many protests from coast to coast. It also comes just a few days after police reported three individuals breaking into a pawnshop to try to steal guns for the purpose allegedly of killing police officers.
Let me bring in Polo Sandoval right now who joins us from Atlanta. And Polo, you spent time in Baton Rouge. Recently you were there for the funeral of Alton Sterling. Tell us about the community, tell us about how tense things are in Baton Rouge right now.
POLO SANDOVAL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: And Jake, you put out something very important here. It's still unknown whether or not there's a direct link between this tensed climate that's being experienced by law enforcement and this shooting. But as we wait to hear more on that it's important to point out that this community has been concern.
We were there, as you mentioned, for Alton Sterling's funeral, the man who was shot and killed by a Baton Rouge police just closely -- at least two weeks ago rather. And we did see that there was this growing concern among the community for their law enforcement members. Thursday I spent some time at Baton Rouge Police Department. We were watching as people were dropping off really just small food and drink. It shows the support really for the law enforcement officers. And before they left all of them really made an effort to at least shake the hand of the officers and say, please be careful.
So that, I think, speaks to that growing concern among the community for their police officers. After this wave of protests that we witnessed which it's important to point out, did remain relatively peaceful, but at the same time did add to the concerns. So as we wait to hear more from officials on what exactly led up to the shooting that took place is morning.
Again, I can tell you that Baton Rouge community has come together not only for law enforcement but also for the community in general, particularly at the funeral of Alton Sterling in which I was at on Friday afternoon in which they renewed that call for peace, Jake.
TAPPER: I am told that Marquis Gibson is joining us now on the phone. Marquis, tell us where you are and what you saw.
MARQUIS GIBSON, HEARD GUNSHOTS AT BATON ROUGE (on the phone): I'm at Walmart on (INAUDIBLE) Airline and I was going outside. And as soon as I was going outside, I just heard shots fired everywhere. And then everyone started running inside the building. And then I was just -- everyone just standing at the store. Then all of a sudden, about 10 minutes later, there's a chopper in the sky, a helicopter.
TAPPER: What we're being told, Marquis, is that at about 9:00 in the morning Central time there in Baton Rouge, police officers were called to the scene. There was somebody on the highway -- Airline Highway near Old Hammond Highway. And we're told now there were multiple shooters and seven officers shot. We're told that the scene is contained, but still active. Are you being told that you are able to leave where you are or you're being told you have to stay where you are?
GIBSON: We're on lockdown at the moment. Everyone is in the back. We cannot leave. And even if we could leave, the police are blocking down the streets. So everyone has to stay where we are.
TAPPER: Have you heard anything from any of the police officers or anyone in authority down there about why you're being -- why you're in a lockdown in that Walmart?
GIBSON: Not at the moment.
TAPPER: Did you see anything unusual when you were walking around today? When you -- because there is this report that somebody with a gun was walking on airline highway near Old Hammond highway and now we're told seven officers are down?
GIBSON: Only thing I seen was -- what I said like the shots that I just heard. After that, everything happened, everyone was inside looking out the window. And police came (INAUDIBLE) and I've seen a police with an AK-47 and other police ducking behind their car. That's all I've seen.
TAPPER: How tense are things in Baton Rouge right now from your perspective, whether related to the death of Alton Sterling or anything else?
GIBSON: Just pretty tense. Just pretty tense. That's all I can just say.
TAPPER: Do you feel as though there is support for your community by the police and conversely do you feel that the police are supported by your community?
GIBSON: It goes both ways to be honest. I really can't talk too much because, like I said, we're on lockdown. And I'm really sneaking on the phone at the moment. (INAUDIBLE) it's really like both ways.
TAPPER: All right. Marquis Gibson, we appreciate it. We hope you stay safe and we hope that Baton Rouge enjoys some sort of peace sometime soon, although it's hard to imagine that happening right now given these horrific events.
We're going to take a very quick break. When we come back, we'll bring you more of this developing story out of Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Seven officers down. We're told that three of them have been killed. Stay with us.
[12:30:26] CPL. L'JEAN MCNEELY, BATON ROUGE POLICE DEPARTMENT: This information that I'm getting to you we just got. That's why we are rushing to get this information as quickly as possible.
REPORTER: Is there any indication that this morning's incident -- MCNEELY: We're not sure of anything right now. We're not sure of
anything right now.
All we know at this particular time is that there was a shooting. We believe multiple, suspects. One suspect is deceased. Multiple officers were shot. We do have some that have been killed. That's what I know for sure right now.
REPORTER: Do we still have an active --
MCNEELY: We're securing the area with the deceased suspect, the suspect that has been killed. We're making sure there aren't any explosives in the area.
REPORTER: You mentioned --
MCNEELY: We're not 100 percent sure of that. We do know and believe there are more than one suspect. That's why we're reaching out to the community.
MCNEELY: We don't know. We don't know. We're taking every precaution necessary to make shire that all of our lives are safe. So, we're going to check the scene thoroughly and make sure we do what we can to make sure not only us but the citizens of Baton Rouge are safe.
REPORTER: Did the officers engage with the suspect?
MCNEELY: Officers did engage. There was no talking. There was shooting. So that's why we're working the scene.
REPORTER: So, he didn't give you any indication --
MCNEELY: We are working the scene. We're working the scene.
REPORTER: Is this a citywide search or just local?
MCNEELY: I believe right now, local, because that's where the shooting happened. But we can't for sure say. That's why we're putting the word out. Somebody might saw something suspicious. They might know of something, they might know of guys that were plotting to do this. So, that's why we're reaching out to the community and asking for help.
REPORTER: Can you give the location?
MCNEELY: I don't have the exact address. It's over here in the B Quick on Airline Highway.
REPORTER: Outside or indoors?
MCNEELY: We're not 100 percent sure. It was a combination of both. Shooting happened we believe inside and outside the building. We're sure outside. REPORTER: Suspect down outside.
MCNEELY: One suspect is down in that area over there.
REPORTER: Was the suspect shot by police?
MCNEELY: I believe so, yes. I believe so, but it's still an ongoing investigation. So I can't say. We haven't reached his location. We are where he's at, but we're sending our robot in to check to make sure he doesn't have any explosives on him.
REPORTER: He's not been taken away?
MCNEELY: No, no, he's still there. We're checking the scene with our robot, to see if there are any explosives in the area, and make sure there aren't any explosives on him. But he is dead.
REPORTER: As the investigation continues, what are the biggest priorities?
MCNEELY: Well, safety for officers and safety for the community. After that, we're going to gather as much information as we can and work this case as best as we can so we can find all individuals that were involved in this.
REPORTER: Any description of the suspect that's deceased, black, and white male?
MCNEELY: We're not 100 percent sure. I don't want to give that information right now until we confirm.
REPORTER: Federal investigators involved here?
MCNEELY: Yes, it's state, city, sheriff, the federal government is here, ATF is here, all agencies are here working with us.
REPORTER: What time --
MCNEELY: I don't have an exact time. It was this morning. I got a call around 8:30. So, it was around that time.
REPORTER: Where were the other multiple suspects last seen?
MCNEELY: I can't give you that information right now other than this immediate area. So, that's what we're working out.
REPORTER: How sickening is this?
MCNEELY: Very sickening. We're not going to get into that right now. That's all I have. So --
REPORTER: Any prior indications --
MCNEELY: As soon as I get additional information on this, I will come back. We will come back and give you what information we do have and what information we can release at this particular time. Thank you. REPORTER: That was Corporal L'Jean McNeely with the Baton Rouge police --
JAKE TAPPER, CNN ANCHOR: You heard Jean McNeely there with the Baton Rouge Police Department, giving the latest after this horrific shooting. He just told us, confirmed the horrific news, that three police officers have been killed in this incident. Three were wounded. He said that one shooter is down, was shot by police, and that there are multiple suspects who remain at large.
He asked for anyone in the community of Baton Rouge who sees anything unusual, and he described somebody wearing military fatigues, he described somebody dressed in all black, somebody as looking as though they were part of this attack on police officers, that they call 911.
Just a devastating, devastating news. You could see the emotion in the officer's tone and what he had to say, understandably so with three colleagues probably still lying there on the street dead, killed in what the governor is referring to as an attack on all of us, not just on the police, but on all of us.
[12:35:07] Art Roderick is here with me, formerly of the U.S. Marshal Service.
And he wouldn't go into the motivations of the shooters, Art, but this seems -- the way he was describing it, it sounds like he thinks this was a planned event, not a -- you know, not a shootout where they were caught robbing a bank. That this was an event where they planned to go after police, the way he described it.
ART RODERICK, CNN LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: This is the absolute worst case scenario. At least when we looked at Dallas, we had one deranged individual that went out and shot five police officers. Now, we're hearing multiple possible, multiple subjects that committed this crime. This sounds to me like a straight up ambush of law enforcement officers.
Now, the critical part is -- this is a conspiracy. We have two or more persons involved in this particular incident. Why? What is the motivation behind this? This is not just a couple of sick individuals deciding to ambush law enforcement. There's got to be a specific reason behind this particular crime.
TAPPER: I just want to offer one note of caution, Art, since this began, we've been saying law enforcement authorities, other authorities bring us the best information they have when they have it. I do remember during the Navy Yard shooting a few years ago, the chief of police coming out saying there were multiple suspects.
It turned out there was only one. She was going by the best information she had at that moment. We all hope that there was just one shooter here who is down. By the law enforcement officer that we just heard from said they believe multiple suspects are still at large. If anyone in the public sees or hears anything unusual, they need to call 911 as soon as possible.
They seem fairly sure that there are multiple suspects.
TAPPER: At this point --
RODERICK: I absolutely agree. Nothing's 100 percent. It's just if there is more than one shooter, it changes the whole scenario here.
TAPPER: Then it's a conspiracy. Absolutely.
We're going to take a very quick break and we'll be back with this developing story, horrible news out of Baton Rouge. Three police officers killed.
Stay with us.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
[12:41:30] UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He has a mask on, looking like a ninja, baby, (INAUDIBLE) looks like sniper rifle. He is military. I don't know who this man is. He's about to start popping again, baby.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
TAPPER: If you're just joining us, we are covering this horrific attack on police officers in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.
What we know at this hour is that one suspect down, multiple suspects wanted. But in the killing of three police officers, three law enforcement officers in Baton Rouge this morning. We have heard horrific accounts about what happened. The governor of Louisiana releasing a statement calling this an unspeakable and justified attack on all of us.
It sounds from the information we have right now that multiple shooters were involved in this. That they were dressed in black, that this was a planned attack on law enforcement.
A note of caution: at times like this, it is a breaking news situation. We are getting all sorts of conflicting information. Authorities are giving us the best information they have. As soon as they can share it with us, we are bringing it to you, but sometimes that information changes.
But as of right now, the Baton Rouge Police Department saying three of their officers have been killed, three others injured. One shooter is down. Multiple shooters are on the lam, are out there, somewhere. And they're asking if anybody in Baton Rouge sees anything suspicious, please call 911 as soon as possible.
I want to bring in former sheriff Bob Reid of Cuyahoga County here in Ohio, where we are covering the Republican convention. Sheriff, this is the nightmare of every man and woman who joins law
enforcement or has someone whom they love in law enforcement.
BOB REID, SHERIFF CUYAHOGA COUNTY: It is. It's a horrific morning. You know, every law enforcement officer thinks about this when they start duty, that it could happen, but not like today and not like over the last couple weeks where unprovoked attacks.
It makes -- it actually makes every call you go on, even the most routine, putting officers on edge. And I certainly believe that what happens with this is in the future, and maybe it's going to be in the future, is that you may see more police shootings because of this. I think officers just get on edge obviously because of what has happened.
TAPPER: And it might make, even if there's not more shootings -- and hopefully there won't be -- but certainly make encounters with individuals, with the public more tense because, as you note, if you fear any possible call might be your last, which is something that's possible all the time, I suppose, but driven home even more in the last few weeks.
REID: Yes. And I had a discussion with the union president this morning, CPD, in reference to the open carry law here in Ohio and around the convention center that could happen. And now, where law enforcement looks at anyone with a firearm, other than law enforcement, as a hostile. And I think that's bad and it creates a real tense environment for law enforcement.
TAPPER: Well, it definitely complicated the situation after the five police officers were assassinated in Dallas by that domestic terrorist, because as we heard from Chief Brown a week ago on the show, it made the job of the police department trying to figure out who was shooting them all the more complicated.
[12:45:11] And, unfortunately, I'm not saying it never happens, of course, it does happen. But, unfortunately, the idea that the only way to stop a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun did not happen with the open carry laws in Texas that day. That's not to say it never happens or wouldn't happen. But those individuals did not fire back.
When you hear that these killers out of Baton Rouge, Louisiana, today are dressed in all black, and you heard that woman on that video describing one of them as looking like a ninja, as a former sheriff, what's your first response? How do you interpret that?
REID: Well, I think my first response was that it's almost an attack on America. I mean, I just worry about all of law enforcement throughout the United States. Is this a calculated, by design starting in Baton Rouge? Is it one lone gunman or three, whatever it turns out to be?
I just think that a gun going on any call today, a man -- a dog call, disorderly conduct issue, it becomes a hostile situation for law enforcement. I think law enforcement is going to be very, very on edge for a while.
TAPPER: Definitely a tough time.
Art Roderick, let me bring you back.
When you hear -- and again, this is just one witness describing one of the shooters, one of the killers this morning in Baton Rouge, describing him as in a ninja uniform. And we have heard the police officer who spoke at that live press conference a few minutes ago describing the shooters as dressed in all black, telling the public if you see anything unusual, if you see somebody dressed inappropriately in a full military fatigue outfit, obviously not a member of the military.
TAPPER: If you see somebody dressed in all black, call the police.
What does that say to you as a former U.S. marshal?
RODERICK: Well, she also mentioned military, he looks like military, he looks like military tactics, he's got a ninja mask on.
This is scary. We've got to figure out as quick as we can what is behind this conspiracy. I mean, if there are confirmed that this more than one shooter, we've got a really big issue on our hands here. And we got to get to the bottom of this as quick as we can and put out whatever alerts we have to all law enforcement officers, especially with what we have going on here in Cleveland and what we're going to have next week in Philadelphia.
TAPPER: Let me bring in a former assistant director of the FBI, Tom Fuentes who joins us now on the phone.
Tom, this manhunt that is going on right now in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, and we've been told by police directly on camera at a press conference that there are multiple suspects wanted in what appears to be an ambush on police officers with the horrific news that three officers have been killed, three others wounded, what does a manhunt like that even begin to look like?
TOM FUENTES, CNN SENIOR LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST (via telephone): Well, the problem, Jake, is that the manhunt requires some kind of a realistic description of what you're looking for. In a situation like this, if they're wearing camouflage or wearing all black, they can ten minutes after the shooting change clothes and be walking down the street like anybody else and then that creates the problem.
So, this is going to have to be intelligence-driven, if there were threats, there were postings on social media or people talking about it or somebody in the community that saw somebody coming out of an apartment dressed like a ninja this morning, help the police try to narrow this down. But the description is I think pretty inadequate given that it's this many hours after the shooting and they certainly could change clothes to conceal who they were. TAPPER: Former sheriff of Cuyahoga County here in Ohio, Bob Reid,
when Tom Fuentes talks about intelligence-driven, he's saying and correct me if I'm wrong and please ad to it, they have a killer down, they can I.D. who that killer is, and then they have to find out who his accomplices were.
REID: That's correct. As Art said, it's more than one issue -- more than one suspect, it actually would help law enforcement. Now, we know that the possibility that there are three. When there's three people involved in a conspiracy like this, sometimes things aren't as secret as they ordinarily would be.
I think if there's two additional suspects out there, and as Thomas says, it's intelligence-driven, I think we're going to get more information and we're going to get it fast.
TAPPER: It's a horrific attack. We're going to take another quick break. We'll be right back with more out of this developing story in Baton Rouge.
[12:50:03] Three officers have been killed, three wounded in what appears to be a horrific ambush.
Stay with us.
TAPPER: If you're just joining us, we are bringing this developing breaking news story to you live, horrific news out of Baton Rouge, Louisiana, where three officers have been killed, three officers have been wounded in what looks very much like an ambush.
The local police in Baton Rouge saying that one suspect is down, is dead, and multiple suspects are at large.
We have reports that the suspects, the shooters, the killers were wearing -- dressed in all black.
[12:55:00] One woman we heard in an account said that they looked like ninjas. It is just a horrific, horrific event and it comes at a time, as we all know, of tremendous tension that preexists between law enforcement and many communities, especially communities of color and communities in Baton Rouge where an individual was shot in a police confrontation couple weeks ago.
Don Lemon, the CNN anchor, is on his way to Baton Rouge right now. Don is from Baton Rouge, knows the town, knows this specific area very, very well, and he joins us after talking to sources and friends and family, no doubt, in the area.
Don, what can you tell us?
DON LEMON, CNN ANCHOR (via telephone): Well, it was this morning when this started to unfold. I got a call from someone in Baton Rouge. One of them was a source. The other one works in the police department. (INAUDIBLE) initial reports, which was three dead then. And sadly, I
should say, one of the officers -- there are a number in critical condition. But they're worried fairly soon that that toll may rise. So, you know that, hopefully that doesn't happen. But it could be a fourth officer. Again, hopefully not.
The initial reports --
TAPPER: Just to interrupt one second, Don. I'm sorry to interrupt. Just to add to what you just said, we just got a report from Our Lady of the Lake Hospital in Baton Rouge reporting, that they have five officers there, three of them are dead, and one of them is critical, one of them fair condition. So, as you know --
LEMON: Yes, so there you go --
TAPPER: Please continue. I'm sorry to interrupt.
LEMON: No, that's OK, Jake. And it's not that far from the scene. This happened at Airline Highway and Old Hammond Highway which is, you know, not far from, you know, the hospital. Baton Rouge is not that big a city, by the way.
You know, they were saying it was at Blue Bonnet which is one or two streets over from the hospital, which is Our Lady of the Lake, all in short proximity. Our Lady of the Lake Hospital is a very good hospital. So hopefully they'll take care of all of these officers.
But again, they said seven, I don't know now, Jake. It could be up to as many as eight officers injured. I'm not exactly sure because I'm trying to make arrangements to get there. Today is the day I'm supposed to go to the convention, but I'm trying to figure that out now.
But the initial reports were, that there were more suspects because my source in the police department did not want it out there that there were other possible suspects they were looking for because, you know, that is investigative information. They don't want it out immediately so they can track down the suspects before the suspects have knowledge of it.
So, it was other dressed in black, they believe again initially that this was some sort of ambush. They're saying that someone called 911. And they believe as officers an assault rifle, they told me an AR-15 type of assault weapon walking down Airline Highway. When they got there, the suspect opened fire and they believe others opened fire and these three suspects dressed in black.
Now, that's the initial report. But again, now, officers are coming out and confirming that they are looking for more than one suspect.
Also, I'm being told that the state police department is now in charge of this investigation, although there are multiple agencies and units that are now involved in this. But I think the head of it will be the state police department which is now investigating, even though it happened inside the city limits of Baton Rouge. So there you go. I mean, you know, it's awful that three officers are
dead. Let's hope not that there's not another officer -- you know, the tension there, Jake, as you know, the shooting of Alton Sterling has really just been at an extreme levels. And officers have been going out in pairs. They don't even go out alone anymore. No, you know, one man band as they call them inside the police department. It's all team effort now because of this.
And then we have the last week breaking news on the air during Wolf's show and your show about the suspects that were arrested at this pawnshop saying they were going to target officers with the weapons and ammunition they were trying to steal. So, here were just a couple days later with this.
TAPPER: Yes, truly, truly horrible. Don Lemon, Godspeed. Have safe travels.
Just to recap before I hand it off to Poppy Harlow. Horrible news out of Baton Rouge, Louisiana today, where we're being told by law enforcement authorities that there was some sort of ambush on police officers.
At least six were shot, six or seven were shot. We know that three officers have been killed, taken to Our Lady of the Lake Hospital in Baton Rouge. Three were wounded. Of the wounded, one of the officers is in critical condition. We hope and pray that he or she recovers and this death toll does not rise any further.