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Law Enforcement Arrests Suspect in Mail Bomb Spree; President Trump Comments on Media and Political Environment in Wake of Mail Bomb Suspect Arrest; Suspicious Package Discovered Near Post Office in Buffalo; Authorities Report Active Shooter Near Synagogue in Pittsburgh. Aired 10-11a ET
Aired October 27, 2018 - 10:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[10:00:31] CHRISTI PAUL, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning to you. I'm Christi Paul.
VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN ANCHOR: And I'm Victor Blackwell.
PAUL: We have some breaking news this hour.
BLACKWELL: We have breaking news this hour, yes. We are in New York this morning, and we have some breaking news on that mail bomber investigation. Sources tell CNN that Cesar Sayoc apparently made his package bombs inside the van that we saw yesterday that was captured and taken out of that Florida parking lot.
PAUL: You see it there as they're wrapping it up. We're also learning more about the suspected bomber's background this morning. Before federal agents say he built at least 14 mail bombs, he was apparently a deejay, a body builder, a pizza delivery man.
BLACKWELL: Investigators tracked him down in south Florida where hours before his arrest yesterday he had reportedly been deejaying at a strip club.
PAUL: And coincidently, according to WPTV, that was the same strip club where Trump accuser Stormy Daniels had performed earlier this year. We do want to bring CNN senior correspondent Joe Johns. He is live from the federal detention center in downtown Miami where Sayoc is being held. CNN law enforcement reporter Mark Morales is also with us. Mark, first to you. What are sources saying to you about what they found inside this van?
MARK MORALES, CNN LAW ENFORCEMENT REPORTER: We're learning a lot about what investigators have found inside the van. Soldering equipment, which is used to actually make these devices was found in the van. A printer was found, which, as you know, nothing was handwritten on these envelopes. More manila envelopes just like the ones that had been used to make the packaging. More stamps similar to the ones that were used to mail these out.
We also have more powder that was found. We're not sure if it was the dark powder or the lighter powder, but we do know that there was powder that was also found inside that van. Investigators didn't have a lot to go through because everything was very contained inside the van, but they were able to go through, and these are the materials that they found.
BLACKWELL: All right, Mark Morales, thank you for that breaking news. Let's go to Joe Johns now in Miami. Joe, we know that although they're finding all of this evidence in the van, that Sayoc is not speaking with investigators. He's now lawyered up.
JOE JOHNS, CNN SENIOR WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: Right, and that's very important, because authorities are very worried and very interested about whether or not there could be any more packages in the system. The word has come from the FBI director himself in the news conference just yesterday saying we're not out of the woods yet. In other words, the postal inspector service, the FBI and others need to be vigilant in case there are some other packages. This is, as you know, a coast to coast investigation with packages found in New York, California, Delaware, D.C., and right here in Florida as well.
We're also learning a little bit more information about how this man, Sayoc, actually supported himself. We do know that he worked as a pizza delivery man for some time around January, and we also learned that he worked essentially as a deejay at a strip club in West Palm Beach about an hour's drive, 95 North up from here. Worked there about four times a week over the last two months, apparently even worked there rolling music sets as recently as Thursday, the day before he was arrested. The indication from that location, the manager, says there was really no idea about his political views, and he was viewed as a fairly friendly person.
Very different of course from the manager of the pizza delivery operation who said he was very vocal about his conservative views and very clear that he had problems with blacks, with gays, and with Jews. So those are some of the interesting facts.
Also, I think we need to throw in more about the body building. We are told he was a body builder as well. He held himself out as a choreographer for male dancers. That's interesting of course because he has also said that he was in fact himself a male dancer at one time.
The last thing I think we have to throw in just again as an interesting fact that really doesn't go anywhere, Stormy Daniels, the very famous adult film star who has been linked to President Trump apparently performed this year at the strip club in West Palm Beach, but it doesn't sound as though that information goes anywhere else. No indication that the two ever met. Back to you.
[10:05:07] BLACKWELL: All right. And he is in that facility right there behind you, first appearance on Monday. Joe Johns for us there, thank you so much.
PAUL: Joe, thank you.
So President Trump has acknowledged the mail bombing suspect was his supporter, didn't disavow his support however. BLACKWELL: And at a rally in Charlotte, he blasted the media's
response after the suspect was caught.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Everyone will benefit if we can end the politics of personal destruction.
TRUMP: We must unify as a nation in peace, love, and in harmony. The media has a major role to play whether they want to or not.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
PAUL: CNN White House reporter Sarah Westwood live from the White House with us now, and Amie Parnes, CNN political analyst, with us as well, co-author of "Shattered." So here's the thing. President Trump, he's cast himself, particularly this week, as a unifier. He wants to bring people together he says. But he is blaming journalists. He's not taking any responsibility for this. And Amie, the fact that Sayoc is somebody who was a big supporter, obviously, of the president, does he have a responsibility to acknowledge that personally?
AMIE PARNES, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: I think a lot of people are actually looking for him to kind of say, look, this is not right, to actually talk about the tone and tenor of the nation right now and how it is so divided and where we are.
And a lot of people, I heard from someone say, well, when the Bernie Sanders supporter came and shot everyone at this Congressional baseball game, what about that. And the difference was that Senator Sanders wasn't out there, kind of saying the media is to blame for this, and images of body slamming the press and all of that around that. And I think there's a difference there, there's a nuance. And I think people are looking for him to be kind of like a more sympathetic president, a more understanding president, and that's what's missing here.
PAUL: And that compassion in question to the fact that he did not call any of the people who were sent, President Obama, the Clintons, yes, any of the people that were sent these packages as well. No communication from the president to any of those people just to say we're on this and we've got it covered. And with that said, Sarah, is there any indication the president is going to make any sort of shift in light of what we're seeing, because this Sayoc investigation, this is not going to go away.
SARAH WESTWOOD, CNN WHITE HOUSE REPORTER: That's right. And we have seen the president use a more moderated tone at his rallies in Wisconsin and North Carolina, although on Twitter he has continued to blame the media. But there are Republicans who are worry that this whole thing could blunt the momentum that the GOP felt it had heading into the final week of midterm campaigning, because Trump has really lost control of the conversation when arguably he had it over the past few weeks, at least in the three weeks since Kavanaugh's confirmation. And instead he is allowing himself to get sucked into this unwinnable debate, because by continuing to blame the media for the attacks, he has really ceded his ability to just say this was a deranged guy doing deranged things. He alone is to blame. And he is engaging on the terms that Democrats have set for the conversation, which is that this didn't happen in a vacuum. This is a result of the current political climate.
So now Trump is accepting that frame. He's countering with what he thinks is more to blame for the climate, which is the media, but by doing so he's forfeiting his ability to say this was an isolated incident with no ties to himself. A lot of people might say that's a valid argument, but interestingly it is not the argument that he is making.
PAUL: Let's listen to the president here when he tries to talk about the Republican momentum.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The Republicans had tremendous momentum, and then of course this happened where all people talked about was that, and rightfully so, it was a big thing, rightfully so. But now we have to start the momentum again.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
PAUL: OK, he has to start the momentum again. Amie, there's a timeframe here. We're getting close to the midterms. He wants this to go away, it's not going to. What is his strategy? Can he ignore it? He can't ignore it.
PARNES: He can't ignore it, but I think instead of bringing politics into this mix, he has to be above it. People want him to be the president in this situation and talk about the fact that two former presidents, this was an assassination attempt against them, a former secretary of state and on and on and on. I think this is a huge moment for the nation. CNN had to be evacuated. It hurt people this week, it hurt a lot of people here. And so I think people -- to not even mention that, to not call out people by name and say we're here with you, this is above politics, this is not what the nation is about, that's what's missing here.
[10:10:06] And I am hearing that from a lot of Republicans here, that it is a bit of cringeworthy moment for them, too, the fact that he is talking about politics and that midterms are -- he is calling attention to it instead of being the president for everyone.
PAUL: Not only that, But the fact that the FBI director is also saying this isn't over. This is the beginning and there could be more out there. And so that's why people are looking for a real leader in this moment. This is a moment, this is a moment for the president. We have to see what he is going to do. Sarah Westwood, Amie Parnes, always good to have you here. Thank you. BLACKWELL: The mail bombing suspect's former boss says that she had
noticed some red flags about his personality, but otherwise he was a model employee.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DEBRA GUREGHIAN, SUSPECT'S FORMER MANAGER: As far as an employee goes he was wonderful. I wish I had more like him as far as that aspect goes.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
PAUL: So odds are if you're up with us this morning, you probably gave up and missed the end of the World Series game, maybe. It kept going and going. It was a historic game, stretching into the wee hours of the morning. We'll show you.
BLACKWELL: And Megyn Kelly's time at NBC may soon be up. Coming up, what's at stake as she begins negotiating her exit from the network.
[10:15:25] PAUL: So we are learning new details about the man arrested for allegedly mailing bombs to prominent Democrats. Fity- six-year-old Cesar Sayoc, Florida, has a criminal history, has ties to New York.
BLACKWELL: But his former lawyer and former employer at a pizza restaurant say they saw red flags in his personality. Watch this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DEBRA GUREGHIAN, SUSPECTS FORMER MANAGER: He called himself a white supremacist and he called himself a Nazi support, and he loved Hitler. And this is what people seemed not to understand, I can't fire somebody because of their political views. Whether they don't like me or they don't like a black person or a gay person, I can't do that. I can't. As much as I'd like to, I couldn't. But his van was freaky scary.
RON LOWY, SUSPECT'S FORMER ATTORNEY: I interacted with Cesar, and if I would say "apples," he would say "cardboard." He didn't react like a normal individual. He wasn't working on all cylinders. And this is a sad result of someone who is very sick, didn't get the help, became a loner, and then found a cause that adopted and accepted these types of people.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
PAUL: OK, and Cesar Sayoc, we want to point out, posted multiple images. If you haven't seen them, take a look here. This is him at Trump rallies, on Twitter he posted this, posted this string of attacks on former president Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, other top Democrats. A frequent TV political analyst alerted Twitter to his threats, including one that was made to her personally, but Twitter didn't act on it. BLACKWELL: And now Twitter has since apologized for mishandling the
threat and said it should have taken different action when it was initially reported.
Here with us to discuss, CNN national security analyst Samantha Vinograd and former CIA counterterrorism officer Jeff Beatty. Thank you both for being here. And let me start pretty broadly here with you, Samantha. Do you see here from a national security standpoint something that should change that we've learned over the last week?
SAMANTHA VINOGRAD, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: I think what should change is the divisiveness that's coming straight from the White House. And I look at this from a national security and a global perspective. And I think Vladimir Putin's thinking right now, boy, I really bet on the right horse in 2016. Even a terrorist attack against the president's predecessor, against the office of presidency, is a divisive issue for this president. He is using it to pit Democrats against Republicans still. He is assailing our First Amendment rights. We work here at CNN, we were attacked, and he is blaming the media. And he is even undercutting a democratic institute, our law enforcement community, by peddling a conspiracy theory yesterday or the day before whether this bomb threat was in fact real.
So for all of those reasons, the president looks like the divider in chief rather than using this as an actual unifying moment, which really signals that the Russians were right, that Vladimir Putin was a candidate -- or excuse me, Donald Trump was a candidate that helped their objectives, not the objectives of unifying our country.
PAUL: And what's so pivotal at this time is that this situation with Cesar Sayoc is not over. The FBI director Wray said he fears there could be more potential devices out there, bombs out there that have been mailed. So with that said, Jeff, if you were working on this investigation, what would your biggest concern be right now?
JEFF BEATTY, FORMER CIA COUNTERTERRORISM OFFICER: Well, I think it is important to understand, to look at the future, as the director of the FBI -- and by the way, kudos to them, great work to resolve this so quickly. As he said, there's more yet to come. Not only potentially more devices that haven't surfaced from this particular suspect, but also copycats.
And let me help people understand how this all comes about. We did notice that he had this history, previous bomb threats, et cetera. And we also then have to look at what possibly motivated this person to go ahead and commit these acts. Instead of being someone at a rally, now you have someone who is committing these acts.
He probably was motivated by the attacks that were perpetrated against the Republicans at their baseball practice where three people were shot, probably also was irritated by threats made to Senator Collins, et cetera, during the Kavanaugh hearings. And here's really one I think that really snapped him if it in fact was him, but there was a Democrat, registered Democrat in Utah, who sent ricin envelopes to the president in early October, to Secretary Mattis, to the chief of naval operations, and to Senator Cruz.
[10:20:03] So this I think is when he finally said, boom, I am going to retaliate. And there are operational acts. All of this could be done, and Victor, I think it was great that you pointed out that he made them in the back of his van, but he had time from the beginning of October to do a quick plan, to acquire these materials, very simple, easy to acquire, to do a rehearsal, which apparently, if these devices were supposed to function, he didn't do, and then carry out the act.
BLACKWELL: Jeff, let me jump in here. I see your chart here, and although this is speculation because we don't have all of the details of the investigation, based on a career of investigating this, I have got to jump in with what we're getting from Buffalo Police Department. Breaking news. I'm just going to read you what they tweeted. "BPD on the scene after suspicious device discovered outside a post office in the 2000 block of South Park Avenue."
Now, this is what we know. We do not know if this is similar to packages that have been discovered in the last seven days. We do not know the details more than this. But at a time when over the last seven days there have now been 14 packages that have come through the mail, that have been either delivered through the mail, through courier, found at sorting sites. To now have the Buffalo Police Department on the scene of a suspicious device discovered outside a post office, this could be part of the conversation. We just do not know. So we're not going to speculate beyond this. Hopefully we'll get more reporting on this at the moment.
But Samantha, let me come back to you. One of the major concerns that we've heard from law enforcement in the discussion of what the next steps could be, potential copycats, right? Your thought on the potential for this. This is overall relatively inexpensive, and we have been talking about it for now a week or so.
VINOGRAD: Indeed. And it is a scary day when investigators are probably looking at the president's Twitter feed to try to get leads on whom else might be a potential target in this kind of attack, whether a copycat attack or whether the suspect sent multiple bombs out that haven't been found yet. And I can tell you that out of an abundance of caution, when I was at the White House and something like this happened, there would be security measures that were taken in advance for potential targets just in case.
And so in this case you would imagine there'd be enhanced security taken for prominent Democrats, frankly, members of Congress, former cabinet secretaries, many of whom I worked for -- I currently work for Joe Biden -- just in case there was a copycat, and whether this attack inspired others to act similarly.
BLACKWELL: Jeff, let me come back to you. Who would the Buffalo Police Department be conversing with right now to determine if this is related to this spate of mail devices that we've seen over the last seven days or so?
BEATTY: Well, I'm glad we're talking about the possibility of copycats. First, we need to see who it was addressed to. That's going to be who they're going to talk to first, see what that person's political leanings are. And I say that, Victor, because not only do we have the possibility for copycats, but I believe that this perpetrator was motivated by what he saw as a Democratic attack on Republican figures, so he took retaliatory measures. We've had time now for someone else to start taking retaliatory measures in the mail as a copycat, but having a Republican target. So we don't know if it is going to be a copycat going after Democrats or media targets, or we don't know if it's going to be someone retaliating, going back against Republican targets. This is the danger of this escalation of violence, and it is fed by rhetoric on both sides of the aisle. Thus far, the only blood that's been spilled has been Republican blood.
BLACKWELL: We should also say that we don't know if this is politically motivated at all.
PAUL: We don't know who it is addressed to. That is the biggest question right now, who it's addressed to, because who it is addressed to could certainly give us a little bit of insight, and whether it looks anything like the other 14 packages that have already -- that are already in the FBI hands. So with that said, if any of that is true, how quickly before federal investigators are there in Buffalo?
BEATTY: Oh, federal investigators are all over it. They're all over it already, I'm certain. Within the hour certainly, the FBI's office in Buffalo is already on the case, joint terrorism taskforce in that part of the state in New York is already on the case. So they're looking at it, they're looking at it hard.
But we have got to get some sort of bilateral effort at toning down rhetoric. And I hope that we will see joint resolutions from Congress that say look, violence, political violence is not acceptable. And the president and leading Democratic figures need to support that.
[10:25:04] BLACKWELL: Jeff Beatty, thank you so much. Let's put up the tweet one more time guys, so people understand what is the impetus for this breaking news. This is from us Buffalo Police Department in the just last two minutes here. "BPD on the scene after suspicious device discovered outside of a post office in the 2000 block of South Park Avenue." We'll continue the coverage of breaking news in just a minute. Jeff Beatty, thanks for being with us. Samantha Vinograd, stick around.
We'll take a break and we'll be right back.
[10:30:00] PAUL: We have breaking news this hour. Police in Buffalo right now tweeting this. "BPD on the scene after suspicious device discovered outside of a post office."
Samantha Vinograd is still with us. We also have CNN law enforcement analyst James Gagliano, retired FBI supervisory special agent on set with us as well. Thank you both for sticking around. OK, so we do not know, let's just put it out there and make sure that we're very transparent about this. We don't where this came from. We don't know if it is addressed to anybody in particular. We do not know if any of the elements of what Buffalo is talking about mirror the 14 packages that have already been discovered and are now in FBI hands.
With that said, if it is similar, James, would that renew the investigation into perhaps more people being involved in this, because Sayoc has been in custody now since yesterday afternoon. Doesn't mean that the mail isn't slow, but what does that tell you?
JAMES GAGLIANO, CNN LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: We know that police had an initial crack at Sayoc when the arrested him due to that public safety exception we discussed this morning. They don't have to Mirandize him. They're going to ask about the immediacy of any potential threats. He might have given them something and told them I have got something here, something there, or maybe not.
Why are bombs such a huge concern for law enforcement? They are not precision weapons. They kill indiscriminately. There's three things that bombs do. The first thing is the over pressure. That's the number one thing that causes death, chaos, and destruction. Number two, the shrapnel inside, and number three, the thermal effect. Many people get injured because there's a fire that starts when you have an incendiary device. What people need to do in these instances, and the Buffalo Police Department have done the right thing putting this out on Twitter, we're sharing it now. People argue if you talk about it, you're inspiring copycats. The public needs to know. As the FBI director quoted yesterday at the Department of Justice press conference, we're not out of the woods yet. We need to be vigilant.
PAUL: In fact, he said this is just the beginning.
BLACKWELL: So this tweet, let's put it back up, I think that was 7:07:00 a.m. So that's when it came out. By the time the Buffalo Police Department sends this out on alert, one would assume they've already called the FBI, right? So they have got other agencies involved before they go public with it, correct?
GAGLIANO: Absolutely. Bombs are considered weapons of mass destruction. Anything thought to be terrorism, the FBI has exclusive purview. We're not the first responders. There's only 12,000 FBI just in the country. The New York City Police Department has 35,000 police officers. People on the street that saw this, that called this in, did the right thing. We're telling people don't touch them, don't try to photograph them, don't get closer. Move people to a safe distance away, reach out to the FBI, 1-800-call-FBI or your local police department.
BLACKWELL: Samantha, what's coincidental here, I think is probably the best way to put it, is the most recent tweet before this one from the Buffalo Police Department was about another suspicious device that they were investigating just a little more than 24 hours ago.
VINOGRAD: Exactly. So we now have two suspicious devices in what looks like under 24 hours in the same vicinity. But as you mentioned earlier, this could be wholly unrelated from the suspect currently in custody. We had a false alarm next door the other night here which turned out to be I believe a bag of presents. So we don't know what this is. We know that the device last night according to the Buffalo authorities was nonfunctional. Let's hope that it is that case this time around.
PAUL: So how do you balance hypersensitivity to this and panic with everyday activity and giving it the due process of determining what it is?
BLACKWELL: With vigilance.
PAUL: With the vigilance?
GAGLIANO: To Victor's point, to be vigilant. We don't want to shut things down. In New York City when we had the device that showed up here a couple of days ago, we were back in the building a few hours later, a couple of streets got blocked off. But we are resistant to allowing terrorists. And the people that employed WMDs or explosive devices like this are trying to terrorize us, because remember, terrorism is violence, intimidation, or the threat of either of those things for political or social goals, whatever that is.
Clearly this has not been labeled, the Sayoc piece, terrorism as of yet by the authorities. I think, and many of my colleagues think that it eventually and ultimately will. We have got to be careful because obviously as we talk about it, the public has a right to know. We're doing this in an abundance of caution, public safety. But by the same token, there are unhinged people out there that see these things and decide they want to jump on board.
BLACKWELL: James, Samantha, stay with us. We're going to take a quick break. We have got our law enforcement reporter Mark Morales who is working the story, getting new details for us right now. He will be up with those after the break. Keep it here for the breaking news right here on CNN.
[10:39:12] PAUL: We have some breaking news right now out of Buffalo.
BLACKWELL: Let's go to CNN law enforcement reporter Mark Morales joining us now. Mark, tell us what we know, and as important, what don't we know at this hour.
MARK MORALES, CNN LAW ENFORCEMENT REPORTER: Right now what we're hearing is Buffalo police is calling this a suspicious device that was found outside of the post office on South Park Avenue. We don't know if this is connected to the other manila envelopes that have been sent around. We don't know if this is like those other packages. That's still being determined. We're still trying to figure that out on our end. All we have right now is a Buffalo PD call this a suspicious device.
BLACKWELL: OK, Mark Morales, thanks so much for being with us. Continue to work your sources, see what we can find.
An as we mentioned yesterday, Samantha Vinograd, James Gagliano back with us as well, that suspicious device that was identified yesterday and then determined to be nonfunctional was also found on South Park Avenue yesterday as well.
[10:40:07] And just a few hours after discovering it, they determined that it was nonfunctional and not a threat. But James, let me come to you. The difference between the way we're learning about this suspicious package and the way we learned about the suspicious packages that investigators say was sent by Cesar Sayoc throughout the week, who that information came from, the local authorities versus the FBI.
GAGLIANO: Leak analysis is critical here, right, Victor. You want to tie these things in together. And we always look at bombers from this perspective, they're just like bakers. They have a particular signature. Baker makes an apple pie, crimps the edges a certain way, puts the apples in a certain way. Same thing with bomb makers.
Now, the bomb makers are typically criminals that take the path of least resistance. They get a particular way of doing things. And as we discussed earlier off camera, a successful bomb maker is one that survives putting the package together.
We know that the Sayoc bombs had the functioning four components. We talked about the power supply, the switch, the initiator, and the actual explosives. We've got no details yet on this. I am sure our reporters are asking questions. And I'm pretty certain if there was some type of link to the Sayoc devices, I think we would have heard something by now.
PAUL: And that was my question. In terms of what they're putting out here, and I want to read the tweet again. "BPD on scene after suspicious device discovered outside a post office," that's different as well, "outside of a post office of the 2000 block of South Park Avenue." That is a difference. They're not saying that there's any similarities right off the bat. Does that give you pause?
GAGLIANO: Let's just go back in the near past, right, the Austin serial bomber. So last march, 18 days of terror, employed different switching devices. A couple of them were set on a porch and they were booby trap detonated, meaning the subject, the person it's address to, went out to their porch, opened it up, exploded. He also did devices that had a tripwire. That was the switch that set the electrical impulses off to make the bomb.
So is it out of the realm of possibility that this couldn't be part and parcel of the one we've been looking at all week? No. But just with what we see now, and I'm looking at the investigative tea leaves here, this does appear to be a different kind of set of bombmaking.
BLACKWELL: Samantha, the director of the FBI, Christopher Wray, said that there's a chance more are out there, right? But now that Sayoc is in custody, just by the timing of mail delivery, we're going to soon be outside of that window that if he is working alone, that there would be more in the system, right?
VINOGRAD: Yes, but we're not there. Snail mail is called snail mail for a reason. But at this point we have not really reached the window where anything he may have sent before he was put in prison did not reach its target.
But that really raises the question of whether he either was in direct contact with anyone else, he planned these attacks with anyone else, or whether he inspired anybody else. We know how many incidences of domestic terrorism or terrorism are there around the world today inspired by a terrorist group without direct contact. So I think the FBI and local law enforcement like the Buffalo Police Department are really looking at social media footprints, tweets, and other things online to see if anybody else is captivated by his rhetoric, who is following him on Twitter, who is liking his posts to try to figure out if there are copycats.
PAUL: So that's my question. Can we pull up a shot of the van again? Because this van he was in that is now in FBI custody that they're going through, it caught a lot of attention before he was even arrested. We found pictures of it on Twitter, people had seen it. They said I thought this was so strange because there's so much, quite frankly, political hate I suppose as Vice President Biden talked about, plastered all over the outside of it.
At what point do -- people look at that and say that could be on the side of a lot of people's vans now based on the climate we're living in. At what point does it become I need to make a call about what I'm seeing? How do we determine that? People are out there right now going I don't know if I should make a call or not.
GAGLIANO: Again, Christi, we go back to the thing, we live in open society, a free society, the greatest representative republic in the world.
PAUL: Free speech.
GAGLIANO: And we're on that continuum. If you want to be entirely safe, allow me to impose martial law. No one here wants that. Absent martial law, we're moving down towards full civil liberties, privacy, free speech, and, unfortunately, hyperbole. Things are said on Twitter, on social media platforms every day. At what point -- I don't think it's a bad idea to make that phone call, but unfortunately in a lot of situations law enforcement has to triage. Can they send agents to knock on every door? And it's hard.
BLACKWELL: James Gagliano, Samantha Vinograd, stay with us. We're going to take a quick break. More on the breaking news on the other side.
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[10:51:22] BLACKWELL: More breaking news now, this from Pittsburgh. The Pittsburgh Public Safety Department has just sent out this tweet. I'm going to read it to you here. "Alert. There's an active shooter in the area of Wilkins and Shady. Avoid the area. More info will be released when it is available."
PAUL: We understand police have confirmed there is a shooting near the Tree of Life Synagogue, or that there has been. Here are some pictures that we have, live pictures coming from the area. Nick Valencia is following the developments for us. Nick, what else have you learned?
NICK VALENCIA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hey there, Victor and Christi. All of this is still a very fluid situation. But we can confirm now from the Pittsburgh public safety Twitter handle that this is an active shooter situation. The website for the Tree of Life which is located in east Pittsburgh, it says that their service, Saturday's service, is Shabbat. It's the busiest service day of the week.
It started at about 9:45 a.m. according to the Tree of Life Synagogue website. First reports of this active shooter were just after 10:20 this morning from affiliate KDKA whose images you're looking at now. There are also reports that there are ambulances on the scene which we could see there with our own eyes as well as multiple police officers that have made their way to the scene. All of this still a very fluid situation. We are working on gathering details.
So far, we can confirm, though, that there is an active shooter situation in east Pittsburgh at the Tree of Life Synagogue on their busiest service day of the week. Their service, again, started at 9:45. These reports coming in just after 10:20 this morning. We're still working to gather information, guys. We'll get more to you when we can.
BLACKWELL: Nick, I want to be pretty precise about this. We have on the screen near the synagogue, and I heard at the synagogue. Do we know if this was inside, outside, or just in the vicinity of?
VALENCIA: Right now, we should just go by what the Pittsburgh public safety is saying, Wilkins and Shady. They're saying people should avoid that area. I'm not quite familiar with the Pittsburgh area, I don't know if any of you guys are, but this alert here coming from Pittsburgh public safety saying that this synagogue, near the synagogue, perhaps around the area, and these images are the first images that we're getting now from our local affiliates. Guys?
PAUL: So I guess one of the other big questions is, if this was inside, is the shooter still there? Because when we say active shooter, we're saying they don't have the shooter in custody or they don't have their eyes on who that shooter is, and they may not have the shooter cornered. When you watch this --
GAGLIANO: Christi, you may have someone in custody or you may have somebody down. They don't know if there are other accomplices. I think as we make this pivot from talking about bombings to talking about active shooters, most important thing we have got to tell the public is this -- there are four things that you do in active shooter situation. The first is run. Get out of there. If you cannot do that, hide. And there's a difference between concealment and cover. And then third, fight if you have to. And lastly, and critically important, tell. Go to law enforcement and give them as many details as possible. Run, hide, fight, tell, in that order.
BLACKWELL: Obviously, a pretty large police presence here. And we saw some men with tactical gear. We don't know which direction they were going. So we don't want to assume, we don't want to speculate. But we can show you exactly what is happening and report what's coming from Pittsburgh public safety department as well.
PAUL: Wait a minute. And I just want to point out.
BLACKWELL: That's a message for us.
PAUL: New tweet. OK, OK, we see it. So again, the tweet from the public safety is that there's an active shooter in the area, in the area of Wilkins and Shady Avenue. And they're asking all of the public to just avoid that area right now. [10:55:02] And as Victor said, obviously there are ambulances there,
which would signify that there are people may be hurt. We do not know that to be. We have not heard of injuries. We have not heard of how many people may be injured or how many people may be shooting, how many people they're looking for. But when they say active shooter situation, that tells us that they do not have their eye on that shooter or they are not talking to them.
BLACKWELL: So there's this breaking news. There's also the breaking news from the Buffalo Police Department. They're investigating a suspicious package that was found near a post office there. James Gagliano, Samantha Vinograd, thank you both. We'll take a quick break and continue coverage of both breaking news stories right here on CNN. Fredricka Whitfield is up after that break.