Return to Transcripts main page

Anderson Cooper 360 Degrees

Western Wildfires; Verge of War?; Terror on the Tracks; City in Fear; Hunting Serial Killers; California Fires; No Butts about It;

Aired July 12, 2006 - 23:00   ET


ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: It is hot in the West, that's a given, but where there's heat, there's also fire. Lots of fire, acres and acres of it.
ANNOUNCER: Wall of flames, a massive wildfire raging in the West, scorching the earth and sending thousands from their homes. We're live with the latest.

On the brink, the Mid East explodes in violence as Israel battles militants on two fronts and the White House holds Syria and Iran responsible.

And twice the terror. Two serial killers on the loose, stalking Phoenix. Who are they? Tonight, a profile of the predators.

Across the country and around the world, this is ANDERSON COOPER 360. Tonight reporting from the CNN studios in New York, here's Anderson Cooper.

COOPER: Well, to give you some idea of what they are facing out West tonight, the forecast for Yucca Valley, California, calls for at least 10 more days of 98 degree plus temperatures and no rain until next Tuesday. In other words, miserable enough. And that's without the wildfire -- a big one. One of just 23 major fires now burning west of the Mississippi. Seven in California alone.

CNN's Gary Tuchman right now is trying to get in a chopper, trying to get above the flames. He's in the chopper. We will have contact with him shortly.

But at ground level right now, CNN's Chris Lawrence reports.


CHRIS LAWRENCE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Two hours east of Los Angeles, the fire swept through Pioneertown, a tourist area where several old western movies and TV shows have been shot.

Built in 1946, Gene Autry filmed movies here, but dozens of structures around the area were lost.

The fires also killed some smaller animals and scared a lot of families into evacuating their larger ones.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The vegetation is gone, you can actually see what's out there now, whereas before it was actually a pretty lush area for the desert. But with all of this ash in the air, it's very unsettling.

LAWRENCE: It's bone dry. The day topped out around 100 degrees. The winds are whipping through the canyons, rough and rocky areas, where it's too steep to bring some equipment into use.

(On camera): Even in the areas that were missed by the main part of the fire, you still got pockets like this one where the flame can jump up at any moment.

(Voice-over): 37,000 acres burned, more than 1,000 residents evacuated, and as Wednesday ends, a wildfire only 16 percent contained. But when you consider they started the day at zero containment, it shows firefighters are making some progress.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I've been in this desert since the early 1960s, and I've never seen nothing like that as far as -- I've seen a lot of fires in the surrounding mountains, but it's ominous.

LAWRENCE: At least six communities have been ordered to evacuate and up to 1,000 homes could potentially be at risk.


LAWRENCE (on camera): The fire ran down the mountain we're on right now and scorched it pretty good. But this gives you an idea of how dangerous the situation is. Even though the fire has wiped out just about anything that can burn, still little pockets of fire springing up behind me, and that is the danger, even after the firefighters put the fire out.

And we just did a humidity reading about an hour ago. Humidity was only at about 9 percent, so the air is not very moist. It's still dry even at night. It just shows you how hard it is to really get a handle on a fire like this.

COOPER: The temperature turned today 108 degrees. Unbelievable conditions. Chris, where is the fire from where you are now, and I mean, how are people trying to fight it? We're seeing pictures right now of what looks like firefighters trying to dig a fire line.

LAWRENCE: Yes, it is right now, as I understand it, it's literally right over the top of the mountain. And it goes for quite a ways. I mean, this fire has burned some 37,000 acres, it's still a very, very large fire that they have, only, you know, at this point about 16 percent containment. It's in these canyons, and literally when you drive through, it takes about, you know maybe about an hour from where the main road is, but as you snake through and you get to some of these back areas, you can see pockets where the fire is literally coming out of the canyons.

And we passed a lot of firefighters coming out of these areas. They're hot, they're sweaty. And that's the one thing they keep talking about is just the heat. I mean, when it's over 100 degrees, they're saddled with all this equipment.

And this isn't like a building structure. This fire jumps. We've had firefighters tell us how it will literally be right behind you and then it will jump five feet ahead of you, because the embers are literally getting tossed that far.

COOPER: So dangerous for firefighters right now. Chris Lawrence, thanks for the report.

We turn now to CNN's Gary Tuchman, covering the same fire, but from a very different angle, from above.

Gary, what are you seeing?

GARY TUCHMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Anderson, we are in a helicopter, but the fire right now and the view would be considered awe inspiring, if it wasn't so dangerous. Let's give you a look from the bottom of our chopper right now.

And you can see it is not even night time here. The sun has not set yet. You can see the orange flames clearly and the smoke wherever you look. The latest figures, we're being told 38,000 acres are burning, 2,500 firefighters are down on the scene, 93 fire engines. We are told there are prison crews -- prison crews from the jail who are helping firefighters try to put this out.

It's only 16 percent contained, according to the authorities. That means that more than eight-tenths of this fire still has to be fought. But that certainly is better than yesterday.

But what you're looking at right now is near the town of Flamingo Heights, which is next to towns like Gamma, Gulch and Rimrock. And they are very concerned right now. About three dozen homes and businesses have burned, but hundreds are very vulnerable.

We are being told right now that because the winds are not as strong as they were yesterday, firefighters have reason to be optimistic. Yesterday we had gusts of up to 45 miles per hour. Right now the gusts are around 20 miles per hour, so that makes it better. But the fact is the humidity is very low, it's less than 10 percent.

The temperature where we just were, in Palm Springs at the airport, which is about 20 miles away from the worst part of the fire, was 108 degrees. And when you have those hot temperatures and you have that very low humidity and you have the winds, that is a prescription for disaster.

What they're worried about here in this county, is that the flames can blow to the west, they could blow to the east, and affect more houses.

So more than 1,000 people have evacuated, eight air tankers, 14 helicopters are above the scene trying to fight these blazes 100 miles east of Los Angeles.

The good news so far, and we must emphasize this, nobody has been killed, but there have been 10 injuries, eight firefighters, two civilians who suffered from burns, suffered from smoke inhalation. The hope, the fervent hope right now as we look in the sky, look right now at about 9,000 feet in the air, is that it doesn't get worse than it is right now. But this is a huge fire.

Anderson, back to you.

COOPER: Gary, looking at that picture on what looks like sort of the summit or ridge of a mountain, are they able to fight that blaze in particular, or is that something, given that altitude, given the conditions, they just have to let...

TUCHMAN: It's a little hard for me to hear you right now, Anderson, but I think what you're talking about are the back fires and they're setting. And that's a key component to fighting these fires, is setting the back fires, hoping that the fires don't spread past those back fires.

As we fly right now, be see them all over the place. It's hard for us to differentiate at this level, at this altitude, what are the fires, what are the backfires that they're setting. That is a key component. The water spreading, also the retardant, the red retardant, to try to stop the path of the fire, and setting those back fires. But they're used to it.

These are great firefighters here in this part of California, because they deal with these wildfires every year. Some years are worse than others. They're used to it. You pointed this out before, Anderson. A real important point -- 108 degrees, they wear this heavy equipment, it is so hot, but this is what they train for.

When they train at the fire academies, they know they're going to deal with this heat. There is nobody in the world better prepared to do it than the firefighters in this part of California.

COOPER: And unsung heroes they are. Gary Tuchman, thanks for that.

As Gary was coming to us in the chopper, graciously on loan to us from CNN affiliate KTLA in Los Angeles.

This has been one of the worst fire seasons in years. And the season is really still young. The question a lot of people are asking is why is that.

New research shows, and CNN's Rob Marciano reports, it has a lot to do with the weather and quite possibly our warming planet. Take a look.


ROB MARCIANO, CNN METEOROLOGIST (voice-over): It's become a familiar story -- big fires early in the season, a trend that may be the result of a warming climate.

THOMAS SWETNAM, UNIVERSITY OF ARIZONA FIRE ECOLOGIST: We see that this increase in fire frequency is well correlated with warming temperatures.

MARCIANO: It's not just more fires more often, but the fires are getting bigger.

SWETNAM: Increased in occurrence of large fires is pretty striking, and the length of time that it's taken to put out fires has also increased. So, the typical fire would take about a week from 1970 until the mid 1980s to put out, about a week to extinguish. Now it's taking almost a month.

MARCIANO: Not good news if you're on the front lines of a wildfire. And if that's not enough, there are other factors making things even worse in southern California.

ROGER LAMONI, NOAA FIRE WEATHER EXPERT: That portion of California has a fairly large amount of what we call fine fuels. And those are grasses and small shrubs from a wet winter last year and a wet spring this year.

And that fire area is located close to where Palm Springs is. Anytime you get a sea breeze, the funneling of the mountains will increase the wind through the fire areas.

MARCIANO: Which means that fire could burn for a long time. And the National Weather Service is predicting more hot weather this summer.

LAMONI: Well, you know, we're forecasting above normal temperatures for much of the upcoming summer season here in the West.

MARCIANO: Throw in some lightning for ignition and there will be more headaches in what's turning out to be a painful fire season.


MARCIANO (on camera): The problem with that lightning is you don't always get the rain to fall underneath the thunderstorm. We call that dry lightning, and that is often the case, that is often the igniter of these storms. That's what we think happened in the Yucca Valley area.

On the radar still tonight, all the moisture is pretty much east of Arizona. So the monsoon flow, which is typical this time of year, sometimes will sneak into southern California. But that is not the case tonight.

We slide in a little bit closer to home. Here is I-10, Palm Springs is right about here, the fire about two hours east of Los Angeles. We're estimating winds now out of the west at about five miles an hour. So that's good.

Wind not that big of an issue, at least away from the fire. But humidity is extremely low, even though we're not seeing a big time wind.

All right. Areas of interest tomorrow, actually around Las Vegas, the storms Prediction Center is saying fire weather there critical, not only there but across parts of Montana and Wyoming, because of the threat of dry lightning. We're seeing lightning strikes tonight and you can see there's not a lot of blue or green on the map. That means that a lot of these lightning strikes are coming down in areas that are not seeing much in the way of rainfall. So that is an issue.

On another weather note, where there has been a lot of rainfall and where folks in New York are about to get hammered tonight, there have been wind gusts with this line of thunderstorms across parts of Newark, up to 50 miles an hour, in Manhattan right now and the Big Apple are getting pounded with some thunder and some lightning.

Wish we could sure use some of that rain, Anderson, over in Arizona. Unfortunately this time of year, that's a tough go.

And it will get warmer, not only in the coming months, but it looks like warming trend will go into effect for the next couple of days. So that won't happen to help matters. But the winds shouldn't be too bad.

COOPER: Rob, I had never heard of dry lightning before, which I guess shows my ignorance. But explain it again. That's interesting. It's, I mean, normally when I think of lightning, I think of it become accompanied by rain. Why isn't it raining?

MARCIANO: Well, it's so dry out there. I mean, they get the convection with the thunderstorms, but not all of that moisture reaches the ground. So you get the thunderstorms and the lightning, but that moister, it actually evaporates before it hits the ground. The lightning makes it to the ground, the rain doesn't, and that's not good news for firefighters out there.

COOPER: Dry lightning. Interesting, Rob, thanks. Appreciate it.

The lightning that Rob talks about sparked the fires raging in southern California tonight probably. And that's actually pretty unusual. Here's the raw data.

So far this year more than a quarter of wildfires in California were caused by equipment that can spark dry brush, including lawn mowers, chain saws, weed eaters, things like that.

Nearly 17 percent had an undetermined cause. Arson was to blame in 13 percent of the fires. And lightning caused less than 1 percent.

In the Middle East, a fire of a very different kind, fire from tanks, bombs, and machine guns. Today, Israel opened up a second battle front, invading Lebanon after the Islamic militant group Hezbollah kidnapped two Israeli soldiers after killing a number of others.

At the same time Israeli forces are fighting militants further south in Gaza, where today alone, at least 19 Palestinians were killed. The White House making it clear who it blames for today's kidnapping. They say they hold Syria and Iran directly responsible. Tonight we're covering all the angles.

CNN's Ben Wedeman is in Gaza, CNN's John Vause is on the Israeli- Lebanon border. I spoke to them earlier.


JOHN VAUSE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Anderson, there have been more than 100 Israeli air strikes today, mostly in southern Lebanon, targeting Hezbollah training camps and building, also roads and bridges have been bombed. This assault is by air, sea and land.

The head of Israel's northern command now says all of Lebanon is a legitimate target. Eight Israeli soldiers have been killed so far, three in the initial attack by Hezbollah guerrillas in which two Israeli solders were taken hostage. Four others were killed when their tank hit an explosive just inside Lebanese territory. Another died by gunfire when he went to their rescue.

Residents here in northern Israel have been forced to take cover inside bomb shelters after Hezbollah fired dozens of Katusha rockets and mortars, injuring at least four people.

The Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert says responsibility for all of this goes way beyond Hezbollah and rests with the Lebanese government, who he says has committed an act of war. And the Israeli cabinet has approved a severe response to punish those responsible for the attacks and the kidnappings -- Anderson.

COOPER: John Vause, thanks for that.

Ben Wedeman is standing by in the other hot spot right now in Gaza. Ben, what's the latest?

BEN WEDEMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: The latest is just about 3 1/2 hours ago, Anderson, we heard a huge blast. This building shook, the power went off. It was an Israeli missile making a direct hit on the Palestinian foreign ministry.

That ended Wednesday, which the bloodiest day in Gaza in more than two years. Now, I've been coming to Gaza for more than 15 years, and I've really never seen things so bad.

At the end of June, the Israelis took out Gaza's only power plant so there's no electricity most of the time. Without electricity, the water pumps don't run, so many of the taps are dry.

Meanwhile, the Hamas led government has run out of money and therefore doesn't have enough money rather to collect the garbage which is burning in the street.

Now opinion here in Gaza is pretty much divided between two schools of thought. There are the hardliners, who want to continue the confrontation with Israel. Today some of them were handing out sweets to celebrate news that Hezbollah had captured two Israeli soldiers on the Israel-Lebanon border.

There's another school of thought here that simply exhausted by years of death and destruction, pandemonium, and hopelessness, many of them would simply like to move away from here to the other side of the world and don't want to hear the name "Gaza" again -- Anderson.

Ben Wedeman and John Vause reporting.

Meanwhile, we're learning more about yesterday's terrorist attack in India. It appears that sophisticated timing devices triggered the savage blasts. Some of them hidden in pencils. Don't count on surveillance video to help investigators. We'll explain why ahead.

Also, in Phoenix, in the crosshairs of not one, but if you can believe it, two serial killers tonight on the loose, being hunted. A close look at the men authorities are trying to find.

And conditions permitting, and it's getting rough up there for Gary Tuchman. We'll have more on the wildfires, some of the winds picking up from where they are. Another live update when 360 continues.


COOPER: Well, as you see there, India's largest city, Mumbai, tried to regain its footing today as the death toll from yesterday's train bombings climbed to at least 185.

Now, in the last 24 hours, investigators have turned up some clues that they hope will lead them to those who turned an evening commute into a massacre.

CNN's Seth Doane has the latest now from the city formerly known as Bombay.


SETH DOANE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): For 11 terrifying minutes, a train line in Mumbai becomes a killing field. Explosions during rush hour ripping through trains packed with commuters headed home.

Those 11 minutes, it turns out, were carefully planned. Investigators found timers hidden in pencils at three of the bomb sites, suggesting the attackers were very sophisticated and were not suicide bombers. Police think the bombs were made with RDX, a powerful explosive. Forensic tests are also being performed on a leather bag and other items found at one of the bomb sites. And the search for more clues continue.

SAJJAN GOHEL, ASIA PACIFIC FOUNDATION: Some of these bombs exploded in the first-class carriages. Now, they will check the logs, the registers, people that bought tickets. And it could actually provide detailed information as who the perpetrators were.

DOANE: No one has claimed responsibility for yesterday's bloodbath, but U.S. officials say two Islamic terrorist groups in the disputed Kashmir region are suspected. One of them, Lashkar-e- Tayyiba, is known to favor RDX, the explosive believe used in the Mumbai attack. A spokesman for the group denies it was involved. Much like the bombings in London last July and in Madrid more than two years ago, yesterday synchronized attack in Mumbai was devised to cause maximum carnage and it worked. Nearly 200 people were killed, hundreds injured. One of the deadliest terrorist attacks to target Mumbai, a city that has seen many before.

CONDOLEEZZA RICE, SECRETARY OF STATE: We will stand India on the war on terror. It simply shows that this kind of hideous incident can happen anywhere in the world.

DOANE: Unlike London and Madrid, where security cameras captured images, Mumbai doesn't have many security videos, but it does have resolve.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We will work to defeat the ill designs of terrorists and will not allow them to succeed.

DOANE: Today local train service resumed in most parts of the city. Commuters who, by sheer luck, dodged death hours ago, putting their fears behind them.

Whoever is behind yesterday's terror has made sure July 11, 2006, will be a day that few in Mumbai will ever forget, even as they move on.


COOPER: Seth joins is now live. Seth, how are things in the city this hour?

DOANE: It is incredible the resilience in this city. We went to one western Mumbai train station, Anderson, and it looked like life was going back to normal, at least at that one station. Trains were running, people were pushing, crowding to get back on the trains. I was asking them, hey, aren't you scared? It was at that point less than 24 hours after the attacks, and they said no, this is a lifeline to the city, these trains are a lifeline and it is essential that we ride the train to get to work, to get around. And also their statement was, hey, we will not show terrorists they can stop us from going about our daily routine -- Anderson.

COOPER: Life goes on. Seth Doane. Thanks.

Tonight, people in one major American city are living in fear. Authorities say that two serial killers are on the prowl, two in one city. One is said to become intoxicated by getting away with murder. We'll have the latest on the investigation.

And the reality is that serial killers are among us across the country. The scope of the threat they pose is now being better understood. We'll have all that and more when 360 continues.


COOPER: In Phoenix, nothing is the same and nobody is safe. Two serial killers are on the loose, one known as the baseline rapist, the other a gunman who shot at least a dozen people. The city is in lockdown. Mothers don't take their kids out. Some residents are simply packing up and moving away temporarily. They'll not wait for the killers to strike again, they say.

CNN's Rick Sanchez is there and reports.


RICK SANCHEZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): The killers who stalk Phoenix, Arizona, by night, are by their own actions sociopaths. They have no social conscience. To them, experts say, right and wrong may simply not matter. With each crime they commit, each killing, each shooting, each rape, experts say they become more willing to do it again and again.

DR. STEVEN PITT, FORENSIC PSYCHIATRIST: Most offenders find it very intoxicating to achieve serial success with their serial offenses.

SANCHEZ: Dr. Steven Pitt is a clinical psychiatrist who has advised police on renowned cases like the killing of JonBenet Ramsey and the high school shootings in Columbine, Colorado. He says the serial offenders get more intoxicated with their own crimes; and the media notoriety they're receiving, they start getting sloppy and begin their own undoing.

PITT: When you achieve that kind of intoxicating feeling, you become more bold, you become more brazen, you start to change your method of operation. Say, if you're an offender that operates in the evening, maybe you'll take a risk and operate now during the day. You're going to slip up somewhere along the way, you're going to make a mistake.

SANCHEZ: Pitt is convinced both of Phoenix's serial killers are already intoxicated by their crimes. But how are they different? To understand their differences, we compare their criminal behavior.

We start with this man, the so-called baseline rapist who has attacked 20 people, killing six of them. He engages his victims in a non-threatening manner by coming up and talking to them before pulling out a gun.

PITT: It takes a different type of human being to be up close, to engage a potential victim in some ruse, engage them in some type of dialogue, knowing full well that your plan is to take that person's life.

SANCHEZ: However, Phoenix's other serial killer, for whom police have no description, kills in a more detached way. Police say he shoots people from a distance, often from inside a vehicle.

PITT: Well, it tells me that one's operating in random sort of a fashion from a distance and one is being up close and personal.

SANCHEZ: Keyword "random." Police say as many as 34 people have been shot by this random shooter, who goes unseen by his victims. Five have been killed. Police say it's that randomness of the shootings that makes this suspect so difficult to catch.

But Pitt says he's convinced both of Phoenix's serial killers will be caught because they're addicted to their crimes and they simply can't stop.

PITT: To be a serial rapist, serial bank robber, serial killer, it is extraordinarily rare for the offender to stop until they're apprehended.

SANCHEZ: Now it's just a matter of time and how many more lives may be lost.

Rick Sanchez, CNN, Scottsdale, Arizona.


COOPER: Well, the Phoenix Police Department is asking for help. They've set up a tip line for information on the serial killers. If you know anything or think you do, you can call the number there, 480- 948-6377.

Nancy Grace, of course the host of her own "CNN HEADLINE NEWS" program joined me earlier to talk about the search for these killers.


COOPER: Let's start with the baseline killer. There's a sketch out. What do authorities know about them?

NANCY GRACE, HOST OF "CNN HEADLINE NEWS": Well, right now there's a lot of confusion, Anderson, because there are actually two predators in the Phoenix-Maricopa County area.

One is known as the baseline rapist, baseline rapist/killer. He's a serial killer. Then there is a more random predator who is shooting animals, horses, dogs, and people at random. So far we've got about 40 shootings, between 9 and 11 murders and police are not revealing how many rapes.

What do we know about the baseline murderer? We know that he is most likely a light-skinned black male, between 160 and 200 pounds, between 5'6" and six feet tall. And his age is around 24 years old. Now, here's the weird part -- the weirder part. Some of the victims have stated he had a shaved or bald head. Then sometimes he will wear a wig with a hat, a Gilligan-type hat over it.

The way I see the drawing, it looks as if it's a wig with dreads on it.

COOPER: Right. That's what it looks like in the pictures.

GRACE: That's all we know now. And he very often approaches people, women, when they are out in public, sometimes in secluded public areas such as parks.

COOPER: It's pretty brazen that, I mean, he approaches and then kind of engages with them.

GRACE: Well, one of the most recent victims, he came up to them at a car wash. And the M.O. is he starts a conversation, sometimes about something innocent like asking directions, or where's the bus stop, or just an innocent conversation, and suddenly the woman is put into a car and the rest is history.

COOPER: Have they found any DNA? I mean, there's seven alleged rapes at this point.

GRACE: Well, I interviewed a sergeant with the Phoenix police last night. And he was holding the cards pretty close to the vest, Anderson, but there's got to be a DNA link. It just makes sense. We know now that there are six murders of the baseline rapist/killer. There are 20 attacks.

Anderson, he was about 14 victims into it before he started murdering his victims. Now, there has been a guy taken into custody. This guy's name is James Dewayne Mullins. He's 32 years of age, he's connected to Georgia Thompson (ph), age 19.

Now, if you listen to Phoenix police, they say they think he's connected to the baseline killings, but all the other authorities say he's not the guy. There's a lot of confusion, but Anderson, I think there's DNA.

COOPER: This other shooter, this other serial killer out there, the shooter, totally different M.O., shooting from a distance.

GRACE: Yes, it's been called a sniper-type shooting, and it's leading to a lot of confusion, because how often does one city the size of Phoenix-Maricopa County have two high-profile serial killers stalking? This other guy is allegedly responsible for about 20 shootings. And this is the kicker. He has shot dogs, horses, men, women, bus stops, parks, always out in public.

COOPER: Really? It's that random?

GRACE: Very random. There are some links to a tan van. But how many times in history have links been made to a tan or white van? I'm not buying that.

COOPER: Well, you think back to the D.C. sniper case, people were running around looking for the vans.

GRACE: Exactly.

COOPER: And of course, that never...

GRACE: Exactly. In fact, during that, I had flown to D.C. to meet up with the "LARRY KING" show. And from the airport to the studio, I counted 18 white vans, all right? During the sniper shootings.

COOPER: Well, let's hope they get something soon. Nancy, thanks. GRACE: Thank you.


COOPER: You know, the media tends to hype this kind of stuff, but we actually were checking today and it's hard to imagine but there are actually dozens of serial killers believed to be at work in this country right now, stalking their victims just for the thrill of it. Catching the monsters, of course difficult work. We're going to see how law enforcement is trying to piece together the various clues.

Also tonight, wildfires out of control in a handful of states. We'll take you again to the frontline of fighting the flames, next on 360.


COOPER: Jeffrey Dahmer, John Wayne Casey and Ted Bundy, three of the most infamous serial killers in history. They are all dead, of course, but there are others who have taken their place, including at least two who are right now stalking victims in Phoenix.

Serial killers can also be, of course, anywhere. Tonight there are predators hiding in plain sight without a conscience, waiting to take another life.

CNN's Randi Kaye investigates.


RANDI KAYE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): In cities big and small, there are killers among us, serial killers who kill often and kill for the thrill.

JAMES ALAN FOX, AUTHOR, "WILL TO KILL": They kill not for reasons that we can relate to, such as profit or jealousy or rage. They kill oftentimes just for the fun of it.

KAYE: Criminologist James Alan Fox has studied serial killers for more than 25 years. How do police distinguish them from others?

FOX: If you have several victims killed in a very singular way.

KAYE: Fox believes dozens of killing machines, as he calls them, are at work at any given time. Today we found more than a half dozen cities haunted by a suspected serial killer.

Lubbock, Texas, one woman murdered, two missing, including a 16- year-old girl. Worcester, Massachusetts, at least 10 women and girls gone, including this mother of two, found dead in a trash can.

AMANDA MORELLO, WENDY MORELLO'S DAUGHTER: I don't know how someone can do this to someone else, have no remorse over it. There's sick people out there.

KAYE: In Niagara Falls, Canada, five women dead, all exotic dancers or prostitutes. Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, as many as 380 women and girls, one as young as seven, dead. And in Daytona Beach, Florida, the so-called spring break killer, shot three prostitutes dead. Women in the area are scared.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I carry a switchblade with me now. Everybody else does too.

KAYE: Why is it so many serial killers choose prostitutes?

FOX: He can ride down in an area where prostitutes hang out and he can select the victim who most fits his sexual fantasy.

KAYE (on camera): Wondering why some cases involving serial killers get more publicity than others? Fox says media coverage is influenced by the victim's age and gender. Women get more coverage than men. Younger victims, more headlines than older ones. The style of the slayings and the city where they occur also play a role.

(Voice-over): Which may explain why you may not have heard of the suspected killer in Houma, Louisiana -- 22 deaths in the last 10 years, all of them men, most strangled to death.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We're going to treat as the victim was actually killed perhaps by a serial killer.

KAYE: So why if police know the killers are out there, aren't they behind bars? Oftentimes, Fox says, there is little evidence. Investigators can't establish a relationship between killer and victim. That leaves them at the mercy of the murderer, until he makes a mistake, which in some cases takes decades if in fact they don't simply just get away with it.

Randi Kaye, CNN, New York City.


COOPER: Well, another deadly threat. Wildfires across the western U.S., one in southern California has intensified, homes destroyed, thousands evacuated. We'll have the latest on a live report ahead.

Plus, the Internet's take on the head-butt seen around the world. Ouch. 360 continues.



COOPER: Before we head back to the fires in California and the latest developments there, we have some breaking news from the Middle East to bring you.

A number of reports are coming in now that the Israeli attacks on Lebanon have now touched Beirut. The wire service, Reuters, is say an Israeli war plane fired three rockets into a runway at Beirut International Airport. We have not independently confirmed that. Airport employees telling the Associated Press simply that the airport is being shelled, and we are now hearing the airport is actually closed. Beirut International Airport closing, according to the Associated Press.

Whatever the method of attack, if true, it would mark the deepest operation so far after in the invasion that began after Hezbollah terrorists kidnapped two Israeli soldiers earlier today. We'll have more of that throughout the remainder of this hour and of course on "AMERICAN MORNING" tomorrow morning.


COOPER: But more now on our other major story tonight, a major wildfire in Yucca Valley, California, simply out of control right now. Homes destroyed, others are threatened. At least 1,000 people have been evacuated. It is among the latest blazes of what has been so far a wicked year of wildfires. No end in site.

For more, we go to Nathan Baka (ph), of our Palm Springs Affiliate KESQ.

Nathan, what's the latest?

NATHAN BAKA (ph), KESQ CORRESPONDENT: We're live right here at Yucca Valley High School, the command post for hundreds of firefighters from all over southern California, here to fight a large complex of fires, now called the sawtooth complex of fires.

Because just recently we've learned that two fronts of the fire have basically converged into one, now heading toward an area known as Big Morongo Canyon. Those residents have had to evacuate just about a few hours ago. And at that point, those residents are heading out of here, heading here to the command post at Yucca Valley High School.

Now, some good news to tell you is that the main tourist attractions of Pioneertown, where yesterday the fire just swept right through. There are tourist attractions there, the movie sets from a lot of old westerns, those have been saved with one exception. About a few -- quite a few homes have also been destroyed at that point. We've been able to count four in the Pioneertown area, and the county firefighters are saying at least quite a few structures all over this high desert have also been destroyed.

Now, we've also been able to notice the acreage of the fire has been growing, 36,000 acres, only at 15 percent containment. It's gone down just recently due to the fact that the winds have carried the fire over to the west out toward these other communities, Whitewater and other communities out in this area because at this point the fire just keeps on hopscotching from ridge to ridge.

Two interesting things we've seen. We've seen not only people having to evacuate so quickly from their homes that they don't even have time to put their horses in trailers, they just tie them up to their trucks and just drive them slowly. Another thing we have seen, one man with his own bulldozer, charging into the fire trying to save his own home and ultimately trying to help the firefighters make their own fire breaks.

Anderson, back to you.

COOPER: Unbelievable. Nathan Baka (ph), appreciate the report. Thank you.

We're joined now by Tim Turner. He is the San Bernardino unit chief of the California's Department of Forestry and Fire Protection.

Appreciate you joining us, Chief Turner, on this busy night. The fire spans about 36,000 acres. How do you get something like that under control?

TIM TURNER, UNIT CHIEF, CALIFORNIA DEPARTMENT OF FORESTRY AND FIRE PROTECTION: Well, I don't know if you can see the outline of the slope behind me. One of our problems we're facing here is extremely steep terrain. That means that we're not going to be able to drive around this fire. We're relying on our aircraft assets and hand crews. We're going to physically cut this line, when we can get it sloped down enough and get it stationary.

COOPER: Do the hand crews have to hike up to these ridges? Or are they dropped in by helicopters?

TUNER: We do all of those things. Where we can get close enough to drive them in, we drive them in. If they have to, we'll fly them in and drop them off. We're also working them on 24-hour shifts on the line and 24 off. That's because it's so difficult to get them on and off the line.

COOPER: That has got to be exhausting. I mean 24 hours is long enough, but in 108-degree heat during the day, how are your guys and men and women holding up?

TURNER: Well, they're doing well. Our professional firefighters are professionally trained. They're all in shape. And that's what I attribute no serious injuries. We hydrate them well. We take our time in the sun and we make the darkness our friend, and we work our hardest in the evenings when it's cooler.

COOPER: I know you said no serious injuries. I know eight firefighters, two civilians sustained injuries, none of those particularly serious?

TURNER: That's correct. All those firefighters were injured yesterday as this fire moved through Pioneertown behind 25 mile an hour winds gusting to 40. We were physically moving people out of their homes in fire engines or escorting them. Some of those places, those firefighters were trapped for a short time. We had four or three burn inhalations, four more burn injuries, and a couple more bruises and cuts. I'm happy to say that all those firefighters were treated and released and they're all back on the line tonight. COOPER: Wow, they're already back on the line. That's remarkable. What are meteorologists telling you about what, you know, tomorrow may bring? What the next day? I mean is there help down the road from Mother Nature coming?

TURNER: Well, I hope so. We're better today than yesterday. Yesterday we were 25 gusting to 40. Today we're a steady 20 and down some lower than that. We're allowing us to run our aircraft all afternoon. Yesterday we had to shut down our air tankers down because the wind was so severe, it was dangerous for our pilots. We're hoping to get a break in the weather, but nothing in the next day or two.

COOPER: You got about 1,000 people evacuated so far. Any idea of when they may be able to return to their homes?

TURNER: You know I hate to speculate on that because the minute I say, gee, I think some can come back tomorrow and then we have to change our mind, they're all extremely disappointed.

We're not sure it's 1,000, but it's something close to that, and we'll be ready pretty soon we hope to get them back in around Pioneertown.

COOPER: Well good luck to you, Chief Turner. Appreciate you joining us. Thank you.

TURNER: You're welcome.

COOPER: The infamous World Cup head butt coming up. Something much lighter to talk about as you go to bed. It's no laughing matter, of course, trouble is nobody told the Internet jokesters that.

But first Erica Hill, from "HEADLINE NEWS," has some of the business stories we're following -- Erica.

ERICA HILL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Anderson, President Bush is paying a visit to the former East Germany tomorrow. The president is going with the new German Chancellor Angela Merkel while she visits her constituents in Trinvilershoken (ph). It's a town that was an agricultural cooperative until communist rule. Mr. Bush is on his way to Russia this weekend for a G-8 summit.

In Washington, police have increased security around national landmarks after a recent crime wave. At least 14 people have been killed in Washington this month and the number of armed robberies and armed assaults has also risen. Two groups of tourists were robbed at gunpoint at the national mall, just hours after police said security would be tighter.

A one a day pill for fighting AIDS has been approved by the FDA, according to its manufacturers. Now, one of them, Bristol-Myers Squibb, says the new drug could actually do away with the so-called drug cocktail that in the past required AIDS sufferers to take up to 25 pills a day.

And it turns out working long hours takes a greater toll on women than men. A new study finds are more likely to smoke, drink coffee, eat unhealthy food and skip regular exercise. That study, from a British University found long hours didn't have those same negative effects on men, Anderson.

I should probably go home now.

COOPER: And so you shall. Erica, thanks.

HILL: Thanks.

COOPER: So the French soccer captain, you know, the guy who head-butted the guy, is in the hot seat for head-butting an opposing player during the World Cup final. He's apologized and he's finally explained why he did it. You'll hear it in his own words, next on 360.



ANNOUNCER: He comes back and he nails him like that. Wow...


COOPER: So even if you didn't watch the Word Cup final this week, and you've probably already seen that head butt. The French captain head-butting a guy from the Italian team. Down he goes. Soccer officials are investigating. The captain could be stripped of his player of the tournament award.

But as CNN's Jeanne Moos reports, he's already suffering punishment of a, well of a different kind.


JEANNE MOOS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): Sure the World Cup was exciting, but it's that head butt folks can't get out of their heads. And the biggest butt of all? But what did the Italian say to provoke it? Dirty terrorist was just one of the lines supposedly uttered by the Italian who got butted.

Lip readers, recruited by the media, tried to read the Italian's lips, but now Zinedine Zidane's very own lips have told French TV that his opponent, "said many harsh words and repeated them many times ... very personal words directed at my mother and my sister."

Zidane said, "I would have preferred a punch in the face rather than hear that." Instead, he's become a punch line.

JAY LENO, HOST OF "THE TONIGHT SHOW": In fact that's the closest anyone in a French uniform has come to combat in 60 years.

DAVID LETTERMAN, HOST OF "THE LATE SHOW WITH DAVID LETTERMAN": It was so hot today, French Soccer Star Zinedine Zidane head-butted Al Roker.

MOOS: Lampooned in cartoons, Bend it like Beckham, Butt it like Zidane, Zidane swansong has become an actual song, a French sensation.


MOOS: Coup de boule means what else? Head butt for which Zidane finally said, sorry, sort of. I apologize to all the children who were watching, but he added...

ZINEDINE ZIDANE, TEAM CAPTAIN, FRANCE (through translator): I can't say I am proud of this action. But at the same time I don't regret it, because if I regretted it, it would mean giving reason to all these words that this person said to me. And I can't accept that.

MOOS (on camera): Of course the head butt has become the butt of jokes on the Internet. How many of your opponents can you mow down?

(Voice-over): The head butt has been multiplying. Internet pranksters have given it alternate outcomes. The head butt is being imitated and set to music. At this rate, we'll never kiss the World Cup good-bye because if we've lost our heart to the head butt.

Jeanne Moos, CNN, New York.


COOPER: That's what that whipping sound was coming from Jeanne Moos's office today.

COOPER: Breaking news out of Lebanon. Reports that Israel has fired on Beirut's airport. That story is coming up. We'll be right back.



COOPER: Now, we continue our breaking news coverage on developments out of the Middle East. Our first look at what is being called either an Israeli air strike on or shelling of Beirut airport.

The shot on left is a distant shot. You can see the airport there in the middle, obviously where there are no buildings. On the right, what we are told, are plumes of smoke which have arisen from the attack.

The wire service, "Reuters," is saying an Israeli war plane fired three rockets into the runway. The "Associated Press," the "A.P.", reporting two war planes. Airport employees telling the "A.P." simply that the airport is being shelled and we're now hearing the airport is actually closed. Beirut International Airport, they say, is closed. We have not independently confirmed it.

Whatever the case, if true, this would mark what is the deepest operation so far in the invasion that began after Hezbollah terrorists kidnapped two Israeli soldiers earlier today.

We'll have continuing developments over the night. "CNN INTERNATIONAL," if warranted. And more on "AMERICAN MORNING," tomorrow morning.

"LARRY KING," though, is next. His exclusive interview with Dan Rather.