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Ongoing manhunt for Steve Stephens; latest threat from North Korea, The White House refusing to reveal what it plans to do in response to the country's latest missile tests; President Trump says China really is the key in helping with North Korea; Aired 6-7p ET
Aired April 16, 2017 - 18:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ANA CABRERA, CNN ANCHOR: We are shocked and horrified like everyone else to think that one of our employees could do this is awful.
Now, I want to bring in former FBI Director Tom Fuentes. Tom, the FBI now assisting Cleveland police, what does that tell you?
TOM FUENTES, FORMER DIRECTOR, FBI: Well, it just says that Cleveland, you know, wants all hands on deck.
So, you would also be probably getting assistance for them from counties, from the state police in Ohio, as well as other federal agencies but the FBI, with a global reach, can be looking into records and contacting people who would know him pretty much all over the world if it becomes necessary.
We don't know the background of Steve. We don't know if he was in the military. We don't know what other cities or states he might have lived in or what kind of travel he's done.
So, I think that, you know, the more that the Cleveland police get into this case, the more they realize that they're going to need a lot of help from other agencies, especially with the greater reach than just the Cleveland metro area.
CABRERA: Now, police say this man posted him killing somebody on Facebook. Given we do know the suspect has been active on social media, how might that impact the law enforcement response here?
FUENTES: Well, I think the first thing for law enforcement is, is it true and have they found the body? We don't know how the police were even notified. The fact that the police were able to put his name and vehicle description out so quickly after this story went public indicates to me that somebody that knew him or pretty much knew of him contacted the police very quickly after that Facebook posting showed the murder and helped them identify him.
We also don't know, at this point, what's the relationship of the victim. Is this a friend? Is this -- you know, did they have a fight? Is there some other story behind that that we don't know, of yet.
So, the police, obviously, know a lot more than we know and, right now, they're trying to get as much help from the public using social media, putting his description out and saying, look, we have a major manhunt for him. Please help.
CABRERA: Is this a situation which you think police would be going door to door in an area? How else would they be warning the community, as well?
FUENTES: Well, certainly in the neighborhood, if they've identified where exactly the murder took place and does that where he lived or someone else's residence, then, yes, they could be sending officers door-to-door for any information, maybe, someone was looking out the window of their house or on their front porch and saw him leave the building, get in the vehicle, drive off. Get a clothing description in addition to the vehicle.
So, there's a lot of information that they may do that but, again, I think they're going to stop at nothing to get information about who he is and where he might have gone.
CABRERA: Now, it's been at least a couple of hours since the situation has been developing. Obviously, he is still out there to the best of our knowledge. Police continuing to ask the public for help and you talked about the benefit of having social media as a tool for police to get his description out there to warn people and the public, but, could it also complicate matters in terms of their search for him? I mean, could they get false leads with the panic in the situation?
FUENTES: Well, that can happen and that happen to cases where a reward is put out. If the police say that there's, you know, so much of a reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of a person then, you know, I know from experience that you get thousands of false leads and people call in and say they know all about it, and they don't and, yes, you do have that but it still helps to have as much to go on as they can and that's why the assistance of other agencies, so, that they can cover every lead no matter how large or how small.
Now, again, he posted that he murdered other people and we don't know if the police have verified any of the victims or any of the other victims to know if it's true and, you know, that -- we still need to learn much more about the investigation.
CABRERA: And, police are telling us, right now, they've only been able to verify one murder even though he has posted that he's killed others. So, this is a developing situation. We hope to get more answers.
Tom Fuentes, thank you for offering your insight. We are expecting a news conference from Cleveland police in just a few minutes. We will bring that to you live as it happens, so, stay with us.
Now, our other top story tonight, the latest threat from North Korea, the White House refusing to reveal what it plans to do in response to the country's latest missile tests, saying President Trump has made it very clear he is not in the business of announcing his next move.
The one thing the administration will say is that all options are on the table. Military, diplomatic, economic, President Trump just landed in Washington moments ago. In fact, we have live pictures of Air Force One. This is at Andrews air force base in Maryland and, of course, he is coming back from Mar-a-Lago where he spent the Easter weekend with his family.
We know he attended church this morning and this issue of North Korea and what to do about North Korea has clearly been a topic of discussion. We know he is been in contact with his national security team throughout the weekend.
Meantime, Vice President Mike Pence is also in the region. The Korean peninsula. He went to South Korea. He landed there early this morning and he had strong words for North Korea today, calling the attempt a provocation and a reminder of the dangers of the regime.
CNN's Suzanne Malveaux is now joining me from Washington. Suzanne, what else is the White House saying tonight?
SUZANNE MALVEAUX, CNN ANCHOR: Well, the White House is conveying several different messages. First of all, they are downplaying the significance of North Korea's failed missile test. They are suggesting that it is not a required response from the United States regarding this specific provocation.
We heard from the national security adviser General McMaster. He was speaking from Afghanistan today and he said it's a failed test which followed another failed test. So, there is no need to reinforce their failure.
We also heard from a U.S. official who told us that the White House response is intentionally low key to not to give North Korea the attention that it's seeking.
The second message, however, Ana, is that the national security council in coordination with the pentagon, the state department and U.S. intelligence agencies, they're working on having a wide range of options ready for President Trump to use if North Korea continues this pattern of provocation or destabilizing or threatening behavior. Namely, it's march to get the nuclear weapon.
Now, McMaster says the U.S. and its allies, Japan, China, South Korea, they're all in agreement that the problem is coming to a head, and that all options are on the table.
HERBERT RAYMOND "H.R." MCMASTER, ADVISOR, U.S. NATIONAL SECURITY: And, I think it's really the consensus with the president, our key allies in the region, Japan and South Korea in particular, but also the Chinese leadership that this problem is coming to a head. And so, it's time for us to undertake all actions we can, short of a military option to try to resolve this peacefully.
MALVEAUX: So note, Ana, that he said short of a military option. So, he's talking about economics and diplomatic options as well and like President George W. Bush and Obama's administrations, the emphasis really is on China's role.
This is North Korea's biggest trading partner, energy provider. They influence -- they could influence, try to curtail North Korea's nuclear ambitions but President Trump recently held a summit with China's president and he has dangled some carrots in front of him suggesting the U.S. could make a sweeter trade deal with China if it got tougher with North Korea and he also suggested that he could reverse his campaign promise to designate China as a currency manipulator.
He was tweeting this this morning saying, "Why would I call China a currency manipulator when they are working with us on the North Korean problem? We will see what happens."
At the same time, he is suggesting that the U.S. is preparing for more aggressive action against North Korea if necessary. He also tweeted this saying, "Our military is building and is rapidly becoming stronger than ever before. Frankly, we have no choice."
CABRERA: All right, Suzanne Malveaux, reporting. Thank you. Let's get right to our panel now, joining me, CNN Global Affairs Analyst and National Security Investigations Editor at Reuters, David Rohde. CNN Political Commentator and Washington correspondent for The New Yorker, Ryan Lizza, and former Senior Advisor for East Asian Affairs at the U.S. state department, Balbina Hwang.
And, as we await the president stepping off Air Force One, which is now back as he heads back to D.C. He is in Maryland, of course, at Andrews air force base there.
Let me ask you, David, what do we do about North Korea? What kind of a response might we expect given what we heard from the president's national security adviser, H.R. McMaster?
DAVID ROHDE, NATIONAL SECURITY INVESTIGATIONS EDITOR, THOMSON REUTERS: I think the big question is, what is China going to do? It seems that Trump, in his tweet this morning, he's dropped this whole issue of declaring China a currency manipulator. He attacked China for cheating Americans out of jobs and cheating on trade.
So China has to deliver, somehow, with North Korea. They have all the leverage, you know, and what's interesting is that Trump is really following the game plan of past presidents, both, Barack Obama and George W. Bush tried this. Can Trump get more concrete action from China on North Korea than past presidents. That's the big question now.
CABRERA: Now Balbina, President Trump has echoed what David is saying. Saying China really is the key in helping with North Korea. You have advised the former ambassador to this region. You don't necessarily see it that way. Explain.
BALBINA HWANG, FORMER SENIOR ADVISOR, BUREAU OF EAST ASIAN AND PACIFIC AFFAIRS: No, I really don't. I think China will do the minimal that is required to show some signs of possibly toning down some of North Korea's aggressive behavior in the short term but, ultimately, China is not going to do what it takes maximally to fundamentally bring down that regime because that is not in China's strategic interest to do so.
CABRERA: Now, we're watching Air Force One and the first family coming off the plane. You can see they are dressed in their Easter attire. We understand the president went to church with his family this morning. They've had Easter festivities but, clearly, there's a lot going on around the world and the president of the United States has a very pivotal role, right now, in the world in addressing this issue, specifically, of North Korea.
Ryan, the president promised during the campaign to label China a currency manipulator and, really, the main response we've seen from the president today in regards to North Korea is to point out that China is working with this nation on this problem.
He writes, "Why would I call China a currency manipulator when they're working with us on the North Korean problem? We'll see what happens."
So, do you see this as another reversal from his nationalist America- first agenda that he was pounding on the campaign trail?
RYAN LIZZA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: You know it, definitely, is. He -- but the fact of the matter is the reason he didn't declare China a currency manipulator is because China is no longer a currency manipulator, right? The facts are what they are.
There was a time, a few years ago, where you could credibly accuse China of manipulating it's currency but that is an outdated accusation. So, it would've been beyond curious for him to have actually declared that.
Now, he's couching in these terms of -- well, China if you help the United States on this North Korean problem, some of our bilateral trade relationships will be better off for you, which also is a, sort of, strange linkage to link those two issues but, I think there's a little bit of spin here in Trump saying that he didn't declare them a currency manipulator because of the North Korea issue.
The fact of the matter is his economic advisers have pointed out to him that it's just not a credible accusation to make because it's not true and --
CABRERA: So, these are facts -- the facts of the facts of the facts and that's influencing him now or do you think --
LIZZA: I think he's -- yes. Yes.
CABRERA: It's something different that he's learning on the job?
LIZZA: I think all this conversation we've had over the last two weeks about the flip-flops is basically someone who spouted a lot of campaign rhetoric and had a lot of boogeyman, China, NATO, NAFTA, getting into office and looking at the reality of the world and adjusting accordingly.
HWANG: You know, that may -- if I could, that may all be true but there's also something else that we need to consider. That may, actually, be even more clever that's going on.
Aside from the flip-flopping, the reality is this kind of tweet or statement, actually, what it does is it allows China -- it, essentially, says to China, look, you know what you need to do. You know what we've discussed in private. I'm willing to support you publicly. Go ahead and do that.
So, it actually gives China some credibility. So, I think we ought to consider that as a tactic and it's quite a useful one.
CABRERA: I want to broaden the conversation just a little bit, though, because it's not just North Korea in which the president seems to be -- I don't know if you can call it shifting, but certainly a lot of people thought that he was going to, kind of, turn inward on America when he took office based on what he said on the campaign trail but, instead, we've seen him order a missile strike in Syria.
We know the U.S. dropped a big, huge bomb, the Mother of All Bombs as they like to call it, in Afghanistan just in this week. So David, I'm wondering, could one make the argument that showing all of this American might, ultimately, does make America safer and, actually, is putting America first?
ROHDE: Well, I think it's -- he's got, sort of, a honeymoon now, a short-term boost where he can have these early foreign policy victories. What if China doesn't produce on North Korea? What does he do then? He's sort of stuck with the same very difficult dilemmas past presidents felt.
Dropping that one bomb in Afghanistan will not make difference in the conflict in Afghanistan. The American command in Afghanistan has asked for several thousand more ground troops, more advisers to fight and train -- fight alongside the Afghans and train them and, again, the missile strike in Syria didn't changed the, you know, that conflict, the real military balance there.
So, you know, this all helps and, I think his -- you know, his approval numbers could rise. He looks strong and decisive but if he doesn't have a more coherent strategy in each of these countries, you know, he's going to have a hard time producing results in terms of foreign policy.
CABRERA: Balbina, there are still a number of state department and other positions left unfilled in the Trump administration. Is this a problem?
HWANG: I am certain that it is but the administration, nevertheless, just concluded its North Korea policy review and that seems to have gone, relatively, seamlessly and it seems to be very clear. So, you know, the administration has its marching orders in terms of what to do, at least, in the short term with -- regarding North Korea.
CABRERA: Do you agree Ryan?
LIZZA: Well, if that's true, I would -- we don't know what it is, I guess. I didn't -- there's been no, sort of, public policy pronounced.
HWANG: Actually, they did announce that the policy is --
LIZZA: What is it?
HWANG: Well, it's -- what is the phrase? Aggressive pressure along with engagement which, frankly, is not strategically that much different, again, from George W. Bush and President Obama as was already stated.
LIZZA: I mean, that's the -- I think that's the interesting point here is with some of these intractable problems like Syria and North Korea, the last three presidents really haven't been that different because the facts are what the facts are and you're only left with certain options, right?
And, what McMaster said today was not all that different than what any of the Clinton officials would have -- excuse me, any of the Obama officials would have said in the last year about our policy options with respect to North Korea.
CABRERA: All right, everybody. Thank you so much for weighing in. We appreciate it, got to leave it there.
LIZZA: Thanks, Ana.
CABRERA: Balbina, Ryan, and David, great to see all of you.
Coming up, National Security Advisor H.R. McMaster is in Afghanistan right now after last week's launch of that so-called Mother of All Bombs. What he says about the president's strategy in that country going forward.
And, still to come, more on the story breaking this afternoon. We are expecting a news conference from the Cleveland police as they continue to search for this man, a man who they say has claimed to have killed multiple people in the Cleveland area.
We will bring you that news conference live as it happens. We're live in the CNN news room. Stay with us.
CABRERA: President Trump's national security adviser is in Afghanistan this weekend. H.R. McMaster's visit comes just a few days after America's most powerful nonnuclear bomb ever used in combat was dropped on ISIS fighters in Afghanistan.
Now, it's known as the Mother of All Bombs or MOAB and we're learning more about this massive bomb strike on ISIS caves and tunnels.
U.S. military officials now say four ISIS commanders were among the 94 fighters killed on Thursday. McMaster was asked if he thought there should be more American troops in Afghanistan during an interview on ABC today. Listen.
MCMASTER: What's clear in here in Afghanistan is the stakes are high. I mean, this is really the modern day frontier between barbarism and civilization and, so, with those high stakes in mind, recognizing that the Taliban groups that we're fighting here, that the ISIS groups that we alongside really -- the Afghan forces are, really, fighting and we're just enabling them in the Eastern part of the country are threat to all civilized people and, so, the president has asked for a range of options and we'll give him those options.
CABRERA: Senior international correspondent Nick Paton Walsh is joining me now from Erbil, Iraq. Nick, it sounds like the national security adviser is not ruling out sending more American troops there to Afghanistan.
NICK PATON WALSH, CNN ANCHOR: Quite possibly but you have to ask yourself, what kind of number really are we talking about? Yes, maybe, a few hundred, maybe, a few thousand more advisers might provide some, kind of, assistance to Afghan security forces and the increasingly desperate task.
Frankly, they face at holding back a very fast-moving Taliban insurgency across the country that now either contests, tries to control or controls about half the country.
Remember, Ana, we've been to the point now where we've seen the Obama administration do a full on surge of 100,000 troops. They've tried as it were flooding the zone and putting American boots on the ground wherever they can to secure the country. It's simply the -- wasn't something they could sustain for longer than a few years and they relied upon Afghan security forces, police and military, to do the job for them. That simply hasn't worked.
The billions of dollars spent each year on keeping them going has been lost in corruption, has not seen their control of the government increase in the country, quite the opposite, they've lost control of whole cities for periods of time. Kabul is as less safe as it, frankly, ever has been and the Taliban's control is as powerful it was since the United States invaded a full 16 years ago. So, the options are slight, although, the challenge has, frankly, never been greater. Ana.
CABRERA: It's interesting because you just talked so much about the Taliban's influence but we know the U.S. forces dropped the most powerful nonnuclear bomb on ISIS fighters there in Afghanistan, why now, Nick? Is ISIS also picking up strength in Afghanistan?
WALSH: Well, yes. The chaos that the Taliban fosters by being such a comparatively powerful insurgency, weakening government control has also led ISIS to have a stronger foothold there too and they benefitted from at times disillusionment, people being tired with the Taliban, younger fighters perhaps preferring the ISIS brand of ideology and, also, at times Taliban had been fighting ISIS.
So, it's an extraordinarily messy fight but also to -- some insurgents who have been Taliban, have joined ISIS is a very mixed picture but ISIS is effectively are the sharper end of the threats that has emerged from Afghanistan purely because of their ideology.
Remember too, Al-Qaeda are still a strong presence there, potentially, they're in their hundreds in core members. And core members, that's something I heard last year, in fact, from U.S. officials.
So, the concern are certainly there that this chaos is allowing groups the U.S. doesn't want to have a safe haven, to have as much breathing room as they could possibly like. That bomb against ISIS, a bid to knock them on their back feet.
But they've been progressing quite fast despite some setbacks recently and they managed to project strength, if you want to call it that, in a recent horrifying attack in a military hospital in the very center of Kabul.
They shot doctors and patients in their beds but that was right across the street from the U.S. embassy, a secure part of the capital that simply shouldn't have been vulnerable to that kind of threat, Ana.
CABRERA: All right, Nick Paton Walsh, reporting. Thank you.
Coming up any moment now, we are expecting a news conference from the Cleveland police department as they are searching for a man who they say has killed multiple people in the Cleveland area. We will bring you that news conference as it happens right here on CNN.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (voice-over): This is CNN "Breaking News."
CABRERA: Breaking news on the man hunt for a suspected killer, Steve Stephens, in Cleveland and any minute now you see on the right hand side of your screen, we are anticipating a news conference with Cleveland police to bring us new information.
Now, here is what we know. Police say Stephens apparently broadcast the killing of an elderly man today on Facebook. Police are searching for him near Cleveland State University. They are warning people there to shelter in place. We also know the university hospital is on lockdown.
Stephens is considered armed and dangerous. He was last seen driving a white ford fusion. Now, he works at a behavioral health facility that serves thousands of children, teens, and families every year and the spokeswoman for this facility says, quote, "We are shocked and horrified like everyone else to think that one of our employees could do this is awful."
I want to bring in former FBI Director Tom Fuentes and CNN Law Enforcement Analyst, former Washington, D.C. Police Chief and Philadelphia Police Commissioner, Charles Ramsey. Charles, as we await this press conference, we know you are actually
on your way there to Cleveland because your part of this team monitoring the use of force, consequently, in Cleveland. What are you learning about this active situation?
CHARLES RAMSEY, FORMER COMMISSIONER, PHILADELPHIA POLICE DEPARTMENT: Well, I mean, it's still very fluid. Obviously, the focus is going to trying to find this individual as quickly as possible. They're checking any known haunts they may have. There is a good description out there right now.
I'm sure they've notified all the surrounding jurisdictions, and possibly even neighboring states just to make sure that they have a very wide area covered right now. I'm sure they're gathering as much information as possible before they step out in front of the public to answer questions. But there's always some information that they are not going to make public, and they may actually have a lead on this guy, I don't know.
CABRERA: Well, police have verified one death, but on social media, this suspect has claimed to have murdered other people. Tom, we know the FBI is now assisting Cleveland Police. Does that escalate or up the ante in terms of how big of a situation this is?
TOM FUENTES, FORMER ASSISTANT DIRECTOR, FEDERAL BUREAU OF INVESTIGATION: No, Ana, it's serious as it can be already, so it just means that they're getting more help at the federal level. Before I go on too far, I need to demote myself. I was an assistant director at the FBI, not the director at the FBI.
CABRERA: Got you, got you. Well, we'd like to give you a promotion in that. Let's talk a little bit about the fact that this is an active situation. We know the suspect has been active on social media. As far as social media as a tool for law enforcement, Charles, how do you see that impacting the response?
RAMSEY: Well, it has a huge impact. I mean, I think you saw that even with the Boston bombing, the way in which the Boston Police Department leveraged social media to keep people informed. I'm sure Cleveland is doing is same thing right now. You have to try to reach as many people as possible through as many ways as possible. Certainly, mainstream is one but social media is another thing that we do use quite often (inaudible).
CABRERA: We are very careful because we don't want to, you know, provide any information. We don't want to escalate the situation ourselves through our platform here. We hope to have more information exactly about what this person has done, where he could be, how close law enforcement are, perhaps, to apprehending him. But we are getting drips and drops of new information.
Right now, we can tell you hospitals are reporting that they have not received any shooting patients related to this person who claimed on Facebook to have killed multiple people or shot multiple people. So that's some new information. We also know Cleveland State University has issued a shelter in place as police continue to look for the man on your screen, again, identified as Steve Stephens.
Tom, back to you. In terms of trying to track this person down, how do you think law enforcement is going about that if he's believed to be in a vehicle and possibly on the move?
FUENTES: Well, first of all, if they know his cell phone number and if that phone is turned on, that's one method of trying to track the phone. Now, that will only place him, you know, within a few block area. It's not real precise as a GPS would be but it's a lead, and it would help indicate what general area he's in and whether he's in the vehicle because of how fast he would be moving. That would be one aspect.
And I think that the rest of it is good old-fashioned police work, is trying to contact as many people that knew him or know him, friends, neighbors, colleagues, co-workers. Look into his background. Was he in the military? Does he possibly have something like post-traumatic stress disorder or some other mental problem that's leading to this?
So a lot of this is just going to be good old-fashioned fugitive work at this point. But the fact that, so quickly into this case, they had his name and his vehicle description, that's a huge head start that you don't often have in a homicide case.
CABRERA: And yet, Charles, it seems they got that information quickly, but it's now been over two and a half hours since we have confirmed that this person murdered somebody, and they put his name own his description out. And the fact that he's still on the run, is that concerning to you, that they haven't tracked him down yet?
RAMSEY: Well, I mean, look, you always want to bring people into custody as quickly as possible, but this isn't T.V. I mean, it's real life and it's not always that easy. He's a guy that obviously does not want to be captured at this point in time. We have no idea what else he may have done.
I heard you mention earlier about checking hospitals, which is something, obviously, we did. But if you got an indoor crime scene and if he did, in fact, kill other people, then you wouldn't have anybody at the hospital at this point.
[18:35:04] But right now, they're tracking down as many leads as possible. You know, who are some of the people that he knows? They're knocking on doors, trying to, you know, make sure everybody is OK that's within his sphere of influence. And they're working as hard as they can possibly work. And hopefully, they have him before too much longer, but you never can tell.
CABRERA: Charles Ramsey, Tom Fuentes, thank you for being there for us as we await this news conference, again, from the Cleveland Police Department. We will continue to monitor this situation. We'll bring you that news conference live as it happens. Stay with us. We'll have a quick break and we're back after this.
(COMMERCIAL BREAK) [18:39:54] CABRERA: You are in the CNN NEWSROOM. We continue to follow breaking news. And any minute now, we are expecting a news conference with Cleveland Police to bring us some new information in their search for the man you see on the left there. This is a man who, they say, claimed he has killed multiple people in the Cleveland area, and he posted it on Facebook.
Here is what we know at this moment. Police say Steve Stephens is their suspect. He broadcast the killing of at least one person, an elderly man on Facebook today. And police are now searching for him near Cleveland State University, and they're warning people there to shelter in place. Stephens is considered armed and dangerous.
Let's bring in Tom Fuentes who has been joining us in following the story with us. As we await this press conference, you obviously know what it's like to be behind the scenes in a search for a suspect like this. What do you anticipate they may be able to share with us if they don't yet have him in custody?
FUENTES: Well, I think that, at this point, Ana, they may be able to share some information about the victim of the murder, who they have, and how they found that out. How the investigation began, how they were notified, they may be able to share all of that. If they have any update in the direction of travel, the vehicle he's traveling, clothing description, anything like that, you know, they could probably share that.
But, you know, much of the behind the scenes investigation, they're still probably not in a position to put too much information out. And, you know, they're also going to have to worry about alerting him, you know, as to how much they know about what he did. So I think that, you know, they can probably give a fair amount of information, but I wouldn't expect too much.
CABRERA: Given he has been so active on social media, do you anticipate that they would be trying to communicate with him on social media as well?
FUENTES: Well, we don't know that. We also don't know, you know, if he's driving in a vehicle, does he have satellite radio? Is he listening to CNN now, or is he just listening to local Ohio stations in the Cleveland area? So, you know, they have to be a little bit careful about what they put out.
They want to, obviously, get enough information out to help capture him, but they don't want to put out enough information to help him escape, to help him in his fugitive status. And I think at this point, too, they've probably been able to contact many of the people they've identified as individuals who would know him and might be in danger if he's out on the loose and possibly trying to kill other people.
CABRERA: If this is an individual who killed somebody, put it on social media, what does that tell you about the person they're dealing with? FUENTES: It tells me he's an extreme narcissist. He's looking for
his glory from this. He's probably proud of what he did at this point, and it makes him all the more dangerous.
If he's put this much out and if he's filmed a murder, which is evidentiary, which would help put him in jail for the rest of his life, then, in a way, he may feel he's got nothing to lose, and it would be more of a blaze of glory to actually go out in a shootout with the police, suicide by cop, or try to, you know, run other people over or shoot other people. It just makes him really dangerous. The direction --
CABRERA: All right, Tom, I'm going to have to interrupt here for just a moment because the presser is starting. This is Mayor Frank Jackson. Let's listen.
MAYOR FRANK JACKSON, CLEVELAND, OHIO: -- elderly gentleman. We want to personally, on my behalf and for the city of Cleveland, give our condolences to the family of the victim.
Now, Steve Stephens, we want to communicate to him that we know who he is, and that he will eventually be caught. And that we're saying to him that he need not do any more harm to anybody, any innocent people. And that whatever concerns or problems that he's having, we're here to have a conversation with him.
We also want to say that if the public has any information, they can call 911, and we are gathering all information, all tips, that will lead to the arrest of Steve Stephens. I'll turn it over to the Chief to give more details.
CALVIN WILLIAMS, CHIEF OF POLICE, CLEVELAND DIVISION OF POLICE: Thanks, Mayor. Well, we need Steve to turn himself in. Right now, there are two families out there that are hurting. Mr. Goodwin's family, and, of course, there are people out there that care about Steve and want to see this not go any further. So we're asking him to turn himself in.
We brought everything to bear on this from our federal partners, our state and local national partners, and everybody is out there looking for Steve. We want this to end with as much peace as we can bring to this right now, and we want him to turn himself in. If that doesn't happen, then, again, we have all of our partners in on this, and we'll look until we find him.
[18:45:10] Currently, the Division of Police is, of course, the lead on this. But of course our partners from the FBI, our state and county partners, are also working with us diligently to make sure that we get this person off the streets. I mean, what happened today is senseless. And if Steve has an issue, he needs to talk to some folks to get that resolved.
I know, Steve, that you have a relationship with some of our clergy out here in northeast Ohio. I encourage you to give them a call and talk to them, and then call us and turn yourself in.
Thank you. Questions?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Chief, do you mind talking about the fact that he has mentioned on the Facebook Live that he had killed 13, 14 people because so far we have video of one homicide. Any word on any other victims?
WILLIAMS: Currently, there are no other victims that we know of. We've checked several locations that were either in the post itself or that we got information about. And so far, there are no more victims that we know that are tied to Steve's and this incident.
But we are still encouraging people, if you have information, definitely on Steve's whereabouts, or any more victims that may be out there, to definitely give us a call. Just call 911. Our dispatch center is open and taking calls as we speak.
But we need to bring this to a conclusion today. We need to get Steve off the streets, give Mr. Goodwin's family some closure, and then, you know, people later on can dive into exactly why this happened. But there's no need for any further bloodshed in this incident tonight.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: How concerned are you for your officers' safety at this point?
WILLIAMS: Well, we're always concerned for our officers out there. Currently, our officers are doubled up. There are no one-man cars in the city of Cleveland, and they're almost tripled up because we're riding in tandem with some of our state and our county partners out there in this search for Steve.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Are there any areas on a lockdown?
WILLIAMS: No, nothing's on lockdown, but we are encouraging people to be careful, to be vigilant, to watch out for one another. I think we put the vehicle out there a few times. It's a white Ford --
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Fusion.
WILLIAMS: -- white Ford Fusion. It was recently purchased. We think there's a temporary tag on it, but the plates could have been switched. But it's a white Ford Fusion, a newer model vehicle. It's listed in Steve's name. So we encourage people, if you see that vehicle, give us a call.
The description of Steve is out there. He's a Black male, medium complexion. He's about 6'1", 240 pounds, currently bald with a beard.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Did you get in touch with his girlfriend or with his mother?
WILLIAMS: We're in touch with a lot of Steve's family members and friends. And they're all trying to do the same thing, trying to get him to turn himself in.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Chief, do you know if he's still in this area or if he's fled the area?
WILLIAMS: We're still searching every place that we either get tips or that we think he may be. Yes?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Are you officially leaking (ph) his name including his age?
WILLIAMS: Yes, we'll give it to you later.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Chief, how many of the leads you received checked out today and how many proved to be connected with this incident?
WILLIAMS: We've checked probably hundreds of leads since this happened at 2:00 p.m. today. So far, there is nothing else that connects him with any other incident that's happened in the city today. But, still, we're encouraging people, if you know something, if you see that vehicle, or if you see Steve himself, definitely give us a call.
Call 911. Don't approach him. He is considered armed and dangerous, so we want people to be careful out there. Be careful in your comings and goings, but we're not putting the city on lockdown or anything like that. People just have to be careful and watch out for one another. And if you see something that looks suspicious, call 911.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Now, this happened at 2:00 p.m. It's now almost 7:00 p.m. Have you had enough confirmed sightings of him to know that he's still in the East Cleveland area, or are you concerned that he's left the area?
WILLIAMS: We don't know. We're still looking at every lead that comes in. We haven't had an official sighting of him since this incident happened. Of course, there are thousands of white Ford vehicles out there, so we ask the public to definitely be careful. You know, if you think it's that vehicle, give us a call, but be careful in that regard.
JACKSON: And they are to call 911.
WILLIAMS: Yes, call 911.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Do you think this is random? It seems to be from the Facebook post. Is that what we can tell?
WILLIAMS: From what we can tell now, it's just a random person that he picked out. We don't know why but, again, it's senseless. There's no need for this gentleman to lose his life.
[18:50:09] And, you know, if this person needs some help, which obviously he does, he needs to call someone. He needs to turn himself in so he can get the help that he needs. And he can't keep victimizing this community based on his issues. So we encourage him to turn himself in. Anybody that knows his whereabouts, call 911.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Can you tell us how many departments are working with you? The departments that are -- WILLIAMS: I can't give you an exact number.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: -- involved.
WILLIAMS: But we've put out alerts throughout the state of Ohio and beyond.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Thank you.
WILLIAMS: All right. Thank you.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We'll be continuing to update on social media as well as the Cleveland Police blog if you follow Twitter for all the updates. And that we'll include any additional press briefings on this matter. Thank you.
CABRERA: OK. We were just listening in to a press conference with Cleveland Police Chief Calvin Williams as well as Mayor Frank Jackson. They were briefing the community and the media about their manhunt for this man you there on your screen, identified as Steve Stevens.
Police say this man killed at least one person today, an elderly man who they identified as Mr. Goodwin. We are working to get more about Mr. Goodwin, his first name. It's believed to be a random killing, according to the Police Chief.
I want to bring in our Polo Sandoval who is standing by, also listening in to that press conference.
Polo, fill us in on the new details we've just gleaned.
POLO SANDOVAL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, obviously, the Police Chief there, Ana, making that very important point there and speaking directly to their suspect here. In his own words, Chief Williams is saying, you need to turn yourself in. This is coming, obviously, several hours after that video began spreading online and, of course, that manhunt began in Cleveland.
As you may imagine, Ana, something like this definitely strikes the core of this community, especially for a major American city like Cleveland. We have just heard from law enforcement.
We've also heard from some people who have direct ties who are hurting right now including the families of the victim, this man who was shot and killed, allegedly, by this individual. I want you to hear directly from what they have to say as they spoke to CNN affiliate, WOIO. Take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: -- putting on a show. We were laughing. I mean, he's a good guy! I mean --
LISA (PH), FAMILY OF THE VICTIM: He's very good father. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He would give you the shirt off his back. And I'm
not just saying that for these cameras, like people do knowing that their people really ain't right but I'm telling the truth that this man right here was a good man. I hate he's gone. You know what I mean? I don't know what I'm going to do. It's not real.
LISA (PH): I feel like my heart is going to stop. I feel like.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Lisa (ph), you'll be all right.
LISA (PH): I feel like it's going to stop.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You're going to be all right.
LISA (PH): I feels like it's going to stop.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Lisa (ph). Lisa (ph). She got lupus.
LISA (PH): It feels like it's going to stop.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: She got lupus. That's enough.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SANDOVAL: As you just heard there, again, from two individuals who are believed to be related to this gentleman who was shot and killed this afternoon. As you may imagine, this incident is provoking not only shock, fear but sadness as well. As you mentioned a while ago, too, Cleveland State University is currently recommending that people shelter in place as authorities continue searching for this individual.
And finally, Ana, I can tell you that my producing colleague, Chris Lead (ph), had an opportunity to speak to a woman who identified herself as the mother of Steve Stevens, told us that her son had never had any serious issues and that she has heard from her 37-year-old son since that video first surfaced and since this manhunt started.
She described it as a brief conversation and simply reiterated that message that we heard just a few moments ago from Chief Calvin Williams, to turn himself in and bring things to a peaceful end for the residents of Cleveland, Ana.
CABRERA: All right. We know you will continue to work getting more information for us. Polo Sandoval, thanks.
I want to bring in CNN Law Enforcement Analyst Tom Fuentes. Also joining us, CNN Law Enforcement Analyst Cedric Alexander.
So, Tom, you also were listing in to this press conference we just heard. A few other pieces of information that stood out to me was that they do not believe, at this time, that there are additional victims despite the fact this man claimed apparently on Facebook that he had killed other people. But they have only been able to identify the one person, one victim that they've identified as Mr. Goodwin who they believe was a random target. They also said this incident happened about 2:00 p.m. local time and
that they have not had any confirmed sightings of their suspect since then, Tom.
FUENTES: Yes. I think that that, you know, shows his sense of grandeur that, you know, he is bragging about killing so many people, and he may not have killed any of the other ones, other than the one we know about. And if he did, he didn't film them and stream that on Facebook at the time so that could be part of his just delusional concept of himself that the world revolves around him.
[18:55:01] And when you have extreme narcissism like that, that's exactly what you have. There is no remorse. There is no concern for any other living human being, not even family members. Only for himself. So if that's the case, that makes him all the more dangerous.
CABRERA: And when you hear them say they have received hundreds of leads, that they've been in touch with family members and with friends and, yet, it seems that this individual is nowhere to be found, the fact that they are pleading with him through the television to please contact them, to contact his clergy, that he has some relationship, as they understand, with clergy members, Tom, does that tell you anything about where this investigation stands?
FUENTES: No. This is a typical investigation, it takes time. There's actually probably a thousand and more leads that they need to cover as quickly as they can in the first 24 hours. You know, we're just so expectant of these cases from watching T.V. shows. We can't understand, why hasn't this been solved in the first 60 minutes? And it's only been five hours.
We don't know where he drove to. The description of a white SUV, every third vehicle that you see on the road is a white SUV these days. So, you know, they're going to have to look at highway cameras and see if they could see that vehicle go through. Gas stations and other public 7-Eleven type stores where he might have gone to and ended up on camera.
You know, he is rather unique looking in his size and, you know, the bald head and the large beard, so, you know, he would stand out. He does have a distinctive appearance. We know that the word has gone out from cable news as well as local stations in the Cleveland area to be on the lookout for him, so I think at some point I would expect him to be captured.
CABRERA: Cedric Alexander, to you. We just got a statement from Facebook. Apparently, this individual, according to police, put a video of him murdering somebody on this platform, and here's what Facebook tells us, their statement.
"This is a horrific crime. We do not allow this kind of content on Facebook. We work hard to keep a safe environment on Facebook and are in touch with law enforcement in emergencies when there are direct threats to physical safety."
Do you see social media helping or hurting in this incident?
CEDRIC ALEXANDER, PUBLIC SAFETY DIRECTOR, DEKALB COUNTY, GEORGIA POLICE DEPARTMENT: Well, you know, I think that's a question that's going to be answered over time. We know that social media is very much a part of American way of life, but, unfortunately, there are those who are finding nefarious ways in order to utilize social media such as in this case.
It appears very much, Ana, that this gentleman is really struggling with some psychosis that is very much active as we speak in order to carry out such a horrific act on camera. But in terms of him being caught tonight or tomorrow it's really going to be dependent a great deal upon that community being eyes and ears for the police, and family members who know other family members, friends that he may associate himself with.
And in addition to that, I think what's going to be really important as time goes by is that the sighting of him or vehicles that look similar to him are going to be stopped. And we just ask that the community there in Cleveland be very patient with their Police Department as they go through trying to identify and find this individual. And it's going to be a challenge, but it's going to be one in which I'm quite sure Chief Williams and his people are going to work 24 hours around the clock on.
CABRERA: Cedric Alexander, Tom Fuentes, and Polo Sandoval, our thanks to all of you. Much more after a quick break. Stay with us.