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CNN Correspondent Hears Shots; Police Rush Into Watertown Neighborhood
Aired April 19, 2013 - 19:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: If we have, want to get the latest from them. Susan Candiotti, just update our viewers right now on what's going on. It looks like potentially a critical moment. Here we're getting reaction as well.
SUSAN CANDIOTTI, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Exactly. Now we -- I did not hear any gun shots from this perspective. I heard people hooting and hollering a little while ago. And then you started to see, again, about three or four police vans come here in a series of police vehicles with lights going.
In fact, the back door in one of the vans was flipping wide open. There were police officers inside that vehicle. It took off the street. So talk about a sense of urgency. I would say 10 minutes before that, we started to see a series of helicopters.
Whether that was related to this, I don't know. But we saw one flying rather low in an area over here and certainly the vehicles have been going off in that direction. But I attempted to find out from the officers here what was going on. I'm not surprised.
I didn't get a response only to get back and stay in this area. So we'll continue to monitor and try to figure out what's going on. Again, you were just starting to see people from their homes come out here and check things out after announcement had been made it was OK for them to leave their house.
And, yet, they were warned that this was a very dangerous time. There is a rather dangerous individual out there and that people should use a lot of caution. Maybe we can swing over in this direction.
But again, more people responding and obviously, all of them are going in this direction. If we can get down there, we can. Quite frankly, we're restricted to this area. Every time we try to go out and about, we're told to stay back, stay back. Stay back.
In fact, we were out earlier today and under no uncertain terms when we tried to find out what was going on, we said -- we have two more cars going in that direction as well, unmarked police vehicles heading in that direction. There's a sense, certainly the air has changed around here.
It was very quiet. The streets are virtually empty. No one is really driving around here. We continue to see police vehicles coming this way. I can see about three or four more coming in our direction. We are also being told to stand back.
BLITZER: Susan, stand by for a moment. Erin Burnett is here with me as well. Erin, just when we've been standing here in the last few minutes, we've seen a whole bunch of cars blazing behind us, presumably heading toward that area in Watertown right now as well.
ERIN BURNETT, CNN ANCHOR: That is what we presume. I have to say we've been standing here throughout the day since 9:00 this morning. We have not seen activity like that. This was probably 10 or 12 cars. They were going very quickly and they were clearly on their way --
BLITZER: Let's quickly go to Drew. Drew is back in Watertown. Drew, you heard the gun shots maybe two dozen gun shots just a few moments ago.
DREW GRIFFIN, CNN INVESTIGATIVE CORRESPONDENT: Yes. It sounded like from automatic fire. I haven't heard a single gunshot since. We've seen tons of activity, Wolf, SWAT teams moving in the direction to my right in an impressive amount of people. Lots of police cars.
I just did see a very hot running ambulance heading in the direction towards the gun shots that I heard. I want to say that instructively to our viewers, but also to alert all our crews around this town to be on the lookout for any kind of admissions to hospitals at this moment.
That ambulance was running pretty darn hot. It is the first time I've seen an ambulance fully loaded with his lights on heading in that speed since I've gotten to Boston what a week now. So that is what we've heard.
We have no idea what has just taken place other than what sounded like gun shots in quick bursts and then a lot of police activity heading towards the gun shots and now finally an ambulance just racing straight down arsenal street towards the site -- towards the position that I heard the gun shots coming from -- Wolf.
BURNETT: All right, I want to reset a little bit where we are, Wolf, when we think about what just happened and the press conference we had just a few moments ago. And in that they said, look, we have not found him. That was the take away.
We're lifting the lockdown on Boston. We haven't found him. We think there is a place near the perimeter but we haven't found him. And then a few minutes later, unclear exactly what is happening, but it looks like that situation could have changed dramatically.
BLITZER: A clear change in what's going on in Watertown right now. Drew, for our viewers who may just be tuning in right now, update us why Watertown? Why the hunt in Watertown, this manhunt, this search has focused in on Watertown? People are just tuning in now. They want the latest information. GRIFFIN: The most detailed information we have comes from our friend Townsend, former homeland security adviser to president who sources told her that this all started last night campus of MIT and Cambridge. That is like I would say five miles away from here.
A police officer shot and killed there. From there we believe these two brothers hijacked or carjacked a car. They took somebody in with them, drove them around for a half hour, stopped at another vehicle and removed items from the car that they stopped at and put it into their carjacked car.
Then what ensued was a police chase. That police chase came straight here to Watertown. At which time police were being fired at and ordnance, pipebombs we know and other types of improvised explosive devices were being thrown out the window of that car, the chase car at the police officers.
There was a tremendous shootout, literally up the block from where I'm standing. That is where the 26-year-old suspect was either killed or assisted by his own brother that drove over him on the car and then the 19-year-old ran away from this scene, he ran off in the middle of the night with police officers being shot at, et cetera.
Somehow Dzhokhar got away. Police have gone door to door searching for this suspect that as last they knew had escaped by foot. And just a little while ago we got a disappointing announcement that after a house-to-house intense search and a shutdown virtually of all of Boston, police didn't have them.
Just in the aftermath of all that kind of letdown and as police were casually leaving this scene and some of the crime tape that you see behind me was being removed, bursts of shots to my right and the scene is chaotic again. I see a police helicopter up above.
The police and SWAT teams took off in that direction. The last I saw was an ambulance. That kind of brings you up to date on why here, why Watertown. Watertown is the focus of this since that car chase ended here in a dramatic way last night. The suspect fled on foot. We've been here all day -- Wolf.
BLITZER: You know, Drew, as we await -- this is clearly a switch. We don't know what's going on. We know we heard gun shots. We know we see an enormous amount of police activity where you are if Watertown where Erin and I are here in Boston. We haven't seen this kind of activity, the police and the vans and cars, Erin, they're speeding by, sirens blazing. They're moving quickly. Something is going on. I want to be precise. We don't know what it is.
BURNETT: We don't know, but there is an intensity here. We have police behind us that there have been all day. The city has been in lockdown. When -- now that the city not technically under lockdown, when a passenger car are goes by. They're screaming at them to get out of the way so the police vehicles can go behind them. That's what I've seen. I've been counting now 12 or 13 dark tinted SUVs and police cars have gone by where we are now. All right, we want to bring in a CNN producer. BLITZER: David Fitzpatrick is there on the scene for us. What are you seeing, David? David, are you there?
DAVID FITZPATRICK, CNN PRODUCER (via telephone): Yes. Yes, I am.
BLITZER: Can you hear us?
FITZPATRICK: I can hear you.
BLITZER: We hear you, David. Go ahead. Tell us what you're seeing.
FITZPATRICK: I see dozens and dozens of arms police officers, Wolf, slowly creeping, some of them crouched against a wall there, moving towards a series of houses. In this part of the world they call them two-family or three-family houses. One is white in color, one is yellow.
They're pressed against fences. We heard two gun shots. There are officers all over the place. They're being very careful. They have guns pointed in the direction of one of these houses. I don't know what the outcome is.
But there are more officers arriving by the second. They have now pushed the media back, back from where we were earlier. We can't really see anything too clearly. I see some officers moving very gingerly in the far distance in the middle of one of these houses. But clearly, something significant is going on inside that home.
BLITZER: All right, David, we have now been told they just local police in the Watertown area have told everyone forget about what they said an hour ago. Stay inside. Don't go outside. This is clearly significant moment. Erin, we're seeing a lot of activity in Watertown and we heard gun shots just a few moments ago as well.
BURNETT: We heard gun shots in Watertown, police presence where we are in central Boston we think heading in that direction. It seems like this is building up to -- it seems this is building up to something big.
BLITZER: Something big is going on. We haven't seen this kind of police activity in Watertown or for that matter here in Boston all day. It's been pretty intense.
BURNETT: The last time that there was a big moment in Watertown, our reporter was there in the 9:00 a.m. hour. There was a lot of police presence coming in.
BLITZER: She's about to join us. She is getting new information. She is going to be walking in here as soon as she --
BURNETT: She is literally getting microphoned as we speak. But we do know that she has new information. She is sharing us with.
BLITZER: Come on over. We have a microphone here. OK, here is Deborah Feyerick. Tell us what you're learning.
DEBORAH FEYERICK, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: We do have some new information. In fact, they do have him cornered right now.
BLITZER: They have who cornered?
FEYERICK: They have the suspect. They believe it is the suspect. They know exactly where he is. They have a section of Watertown cordoned. That's where the operation is going on now. They believe he is in an enclosed structure. I'm going to leave it vague.
They can see him. And right now, we're told that they are firing gas to try to get him either to come out or to get him to basically pass out. So that's what we're being told right now. It's very much in the area where we were earlier this morning.
BLITZER: Hold on for a moment. Susan Candiotti is in Watertown. What you are picking up, Susan?
CANDIOTTI: Well, I'm just hearing what Deborah was reporting to us and we can't tell where that is from where we are. But we continue to see more police cars go in and just a short time ago we saw someone from the Boston Police Department and he led a group of other officers in there and down the street in this direction.
We're continuing to see some helicopters come out and about and, again, heading in this direction. We're finding out what is happening. We don't know. There are a lot of nervous people standing around. And police officers at attention as we try figure out the latest developments.
In fact, as Deborah is explaining, if this is correct, then they appear to have, in fact, cornered possibly the suspect, at least some individual as she is explaining. And people are being warned, in fact, I'm getting an alert on my Blackberry right now telling people they should stay in place, extreme alert.
They are reminding people to stay inside. The police, as you indicated, have told -- earlier told people not long ago what was if the last hour or so that they could start to come outside. Obviously, that situation changed. It is still a very fluid, very unsteady situation.
I was talking with a father who said he was giving his children an extra hug because the whole situation is surreal. He is out here now watching all this happen now as well. As they try to figure out whether, in fact, the suspect may be cornered. If that's the case, we'll see what happens next.
As Deborah reported, apparently they're using tear gas on whoever this individual is to try to corner him and subdue him. But until then, we're just seeing more of a line of police cars go by. And no announcement about what is happening.
Most of them unmarked police cars going by here as they continue to apparently respond to a scene according to the information that my colleague is getting -- Wolf.
BLITZER: This is all clearly a very dramatic moment, an extraordinary moment. You see intense activity going on right now. I want to caution everyone, this is potentially also a very delicate moment, a dangerous moment for law enforcement, for civilians, people in the neighborhood. So I want to be careful in what's -- in our reporting.
BURNETT: We do. They want to take the suspect alive and avoid any casualties. The suspect has already killed a number of people.
BLITZER: Yes, let's hope no one else is hurt.
BURNETT: All right, I want to bring in Drew Griffin now who is also on the scene in Watertown. Drew, what are you seeing right now.
GRIFFIN: Just more of the same, Erin, just different kinds of vehicles. We saw SWAT vehicles. We saw different kind of, you know, tactical vehicles all heading down the direction. David Fitzpatrick, my producer, is heading that way.
We asked him to -- if he sees, smells, smoke to call in immediately to tell us what is happening. But just to recap, other than that first burst of gunfire we haven't heard any gunfire since.
But that is what sparked this tremendous amount of activity from local law enforcement heading all in the same direction. And it just seems like in an instant that entire ramped up feeling that we had last night here in downtown Watertown has surfaced again where all the police are once again on edge and we're just waiting to find out what's going on.
BURNETT: I remember last night when Drew went over there it was right around the 11:00 hour. Drew went over because there was a shooting reported at MIT. At the time it seemed completely unrelated. Not even 24 hours later, here we are in Watertown and it seems as if there is a culmination.
BLITZER: Here they come again. Look at this vehicle. It's about to go right behind us. Special Operations, there they go. They're moving quickly.
BURNETT: I hear more.
BLITZER: A lot of black vehicles moving here in the Boston area. I suspect, Erin, they're heading towards Watertown.
BURNETT: Yes, that's what we believe and now we're looking at 15 or 16. It was immediately after Drew heard the first shots within two or three minutes, we started to hear all the sirens go off, more than we have heard all day. And then they came by and at high speed. They were going somewhere. They had a destination.
BLITZER: Drew, you heard what two dozen gun shots behind you? That's what started this maybe 20 minutes or so ago? Is that right? GRIFFIN: Yes. You know, now listen, I'm no expert in firearms, but I've been around them. I can tell you it was bursts of automatic weaponry and it sounded like more than one gun. I'll ask you, Phil. You heard the same thing.
Yes, we both kind of come up with the same thing, four or five people firing and then silence. Just tremendous amount of burst from multiple guns at the same time and they were definitely fully automatic weapon fire, just the speed of the bullets and then nothing. And that's what -- that's what got me waiting at the camera and got this attention going down in that direction.
BLITZER: Yes. This is clearly one of those moment that's we're always going to remember if, in fact, this is the climax, the decisive moment in this massive manhunt that has been under way for this 19- year-old Dzhokhar Tsarnaev. It's been quite intense -- Erin.
BURNETT: It has been. Let's add Tom Fuentes to the conversation. Tom, you've been watching this. You heard the gun shots that Drew heard. You saw the emergency vehicles go behind us. You heard the reports that Deb is saying about the suspect perhaps being cornered. Do you think this is it? This is the moment?
TOM FUENTES, CNN LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: Well, right now, Erin, we have no way to know whether it is or is not for sure. But what they're hoping or what you would hope in a situation like this is that you have a -- what would be characterized as a barricaded subject with no hostages.
Meaning he's hold up in some room or apartment or facility but he's alone. He doesn't have anybody else. The police can surround it. They can inject gas and try to just flush him out and try to get him to surrender that way. That would be the optimum.
BURNETT: David Fitzpatrick is our producer as we said who is on the scene. David, tell us exactly again where you are and what is happening.
FITZPATRICK: Erin, I'm in a parking lot -- commercial parking lot, probably 400 yards away from were heavily armed officers moving in amongst some houses. I see some of the officers withdrawing down, some are moving under new positions.
I see dogs at the ready, not yet going into the backyard area where presumably some of these incidents have been taking place. I did hear one gunshot when I first arrived on the scene. I can still see officers in front of me. They're leaning on their automobiles.
Weapons are at the ready, crouched. I see more officers coming in as I speak to you. They're all wearing their tactical vests. Some of them are in military clothing. Some are in civilian clothes. They're advancing very carefully now, Erin.
I want to tell you that there has been very little activity since I first reported a few moments ago and there have been no gun shots since. But there are several police activity here. There is no question about that. And there is a sense, a sense here that there is some sort of finality will soon be reached.
BURNETT: A sense of finality which we're all feeling. Of course, we don't know that. But there is that feeling. Part of this is that this has been going on for 24 hours and there is a sense of exhaustion, the feeling of needing to be over. It does feel different this time.
David, when you said they're crouching and at the ready, how many of them are there? How many have come in the past few moments as you started reporting on this?
FITZPATRICK: I'm sorry. I've seen at least a dozen maybe 20 more officers come in. There are groups of them now huddled underneath a pine tree, which is at the top end of this office parking complex. The press has been moved back a significant way. We were much closer about 15 minutes ago.
We've now been moved back to a holding area. Officers are crouching and standing sometimes against their vehicles. I see FBI. I see Massachusetts state police. I see Watertown police. The whole array of law enforcement agencies in front of me just waiting to see, waiting to see what's going to happen next.
BURNETT: Everybody is waiting. We are waiting. There are thousands of people involved in this manhunt. There are special operations, FBI, police, all of them currently involved in this, Wolf. This is something we have never seen before.
BLITZER: How close, David, are you to the scene, the actual scene where we believe these gunshots were fired, the activity becoming so intense?
FITZPATRICK: Wolf, I have to say it's about 500 yards, maybe a little closer than that. What I'm sending a low rise parking lot of a commercial facility and the houses where this activity is going on is on a slight rise above me. I can look across this parking lot and up.
On the -- on my right there is a pastel blue house, right next to it, sort of a cream colored house. And the yard where all this was happening, and one officer now coming slowly out to the yard and jogging, actually a little bit. I see him out from the house where the activity is presumed to be happening.
I can't see the house directly now. I was able to see it earlier, but they moved us out of eye line. We cannot see it directly. There are at least -- at least 100 officers here now and we're being asked to move back slightly a little bit more as I'm speaking to you.
But I see an FBI agent right in front of me now getting some -- getting his weapon ready, actually. He is in the back of his car.
BURNETT: All right, David is going it stay with us. Of course, as you see things, David, you have to let us know. We also want to show you right now you're looking at WHDH. We're showing live pictures -- actually, they are 5 seconds delayed. They are slightly delayed. You can see in full gear, forces going in. John King --
BLITZER: I want to make sure our viewers understand why there is a delay. God forbid if something happens that we shouldn't show on worldwide television, we're not going to show it. We're going to make sure you don't see that. It would be inappropriate. That's why there is a slight delay. These are almost live pictures but not completely live. And I just want to be transparent with our viewers who are watching us, Erin.
BURNETT: All right, and just want to share some information that we are getting in right now that we are able to report. An FBI official says agents did interview Tamerlan, the older suspect would was killed last night in 2011 at the request of the foreign government.
The official was not named. We can confirm that the FBI had indeed interviewed the older of the two brothers, suspect number one, who was killed last night in 2011. The government, the foreign government that requested that interview suspected that Tamerlan may have had ties to extremist groups. This is a very interesting and important development. John King is with us.
JOHN KING, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: A development that I think will play out more after we find out what is happening here in the sense of if there was government contact with any of these suspects beforehand, you know, what happened then?
What was the report back to the international government that asked for this information? Was this person kept on a watch list or any surveillance? Those will be answered in the day ahead.
I want to bring in information that I have about a source about what is happening right now in the Franklin Street area of Watertown. This is a federal law enforcement source back in Washington, but monitoring the information here minute by minute basis through the FBI.
He told me this, police have engaged a possible suspect in the Franklin Street area of Watertown and additional units are responding. They responded almost instantly. They have come from here in downtown Boston and come from other places in the state.
The police on the scene have been told to be cautious and wait for bomb and SWAT units. That would be consistent with the fear that the younger suspect, the younger brother might still have explosives either some vest of the body or some explosives in his presence.
As this was taking place, the Boston Police Department also sent out an alert. Watertown is outside the city limits. They have been taking part in the lead in communicating locally. The Boston Police Department sent out an alert, residents of the Franklin Street area should shelter in place.
Meaning stay in your homes, do not go out. Obviously, this operation is unfolding. There is a whole mix of information on the police scanners. Sometimes that is reliable, sometimes it's not. I can tell from you this senior federal lost official in Washington.
The report back, I am told, was that police have engaged the possible suspect and additional units are there and again the police, the first responders on the scene have been told to be extra cautious and wait. We see the SWAT and bomb units arriving now because of the fear of additional explosives.
BLITZER: It's one of those moments. This is a tense moment because we saw an enormous amount of activity, Erin, just a few moments ago. And now it seems to have at least in the pictures that we're seeing died down a little bit here in Boston as well as in Watertown.
BURNETT: It seems that way. It seems that way right now, but I want -- we're going to get her on in just a couple of moments with more information.
BLITZER: She is working her sources, too.
BURNETT: Working her sources. But I want to make sure you all know this, a lot of our reporters are on the phones making calls and Deb is on the phone right now. As soon as she gets off, I believe she'll have an important development that she is able to share us with.
As we watch this and the pictures that we're trying to show you, the various angles that we have of what is happening in Watertown, I want to again emphasize significant development in terms of whether the FBI was aware of these two young men prior to this time.
And an FBI official has confirmed that they indeed were aware at least of the older brother in 2011. They interviewed him at the request of a foreign government. They suspected him of ties to an extremist group. After that, though, they said no derogatory information, Wolf and John, was ever found, and the matter was concluded. So they moved on at that time.
BLITZER: And it's interesting because the mother earlier in the day, Erin, had said to reporters that she believed her son, the older son, Tamerlan Tsarnaev had been in her words persecuted by the FBI over the past few years. And it's interesting now that we're learning from the FBI in a formal statement that they did question the now deceased 26-year-old a couple years ago.
BURNETT: Yes, that will be an avenue for much questioning from this point on. Susan Candiotti, as you know, is in Watertown. Susan, what are you seeing right now?
CANDIOTTI: Well, at the moment just a little while ago a few moments ago, this city bus pulled up and about -- maybe ten or so police officers got off the bus. Now you can see them walking by it, getting back on. Just a bit in front of it you can see those lights flashing.
That is an ambulance that pulled up about 10, 15 minutes ago and it's been sitting there ever since. In the meantime, we've seen a helicopter go by. But you see a number of police officers sort of in a standby mode. I think that's the best way to describe it.
I don't see any guns drawn in this direction. Yes, we're still seeing an occasional squad car go by or unmarked vehicle with the lights going. For the most part, there are groups of officers standing over here, for example, either getting instructions, from time to time you see them checking their radios or talking on the telephone.
It's as though they're getting updates as to what the situation is. We're not getting any information on this end. So we're only left to use our eyes and our ears to try to pick up what is going on. So at the moment, I don't see anyone standing at attention here.
There is no one standing around with their guns drawn at this particular location. But, of course, then again, we appear to be at least several blocks at this point from where my colleague David Fitzpatrick is where they heard the gun shots and have the police officers in that direction -- Erin.
BURNETT: Susan, thank you. We'll be checking back with you. I want to go David Fitzpatrick, our producer who is seeing much more action where he is closer to the location -- David.
FITZPATRICK: Erin, I just seen about 10 or 12 residents who appear to be residents being escorted out right now what I'm looking at is an officer carrying what seems to be a young girl, a child. He is carrying her in her arms. I don't know if she's hurt. I have no idea.
I'm just telling what you I see. He is racing, racing with this individual to authorities, FBI and state police agencies are taking this person in their arms. It may be a little girl. I can't really tell. I see a -- another agent with a young child on his shoulder.
He is running. About ten people were evacuated by officials and they're all walking across the parking lot in front of me right now. They're children, Erin. They're children. They are obviously frightened.
They're being well taken care of by the state police and by the FBI. There's a young man, maybe a teenager, 17 or 18 walking purposely by himself. They're all walking towards -- there are awaiting ambulance as cross this parking lot and being taken to the ambulances right now.
BURNETT: You said there is a little girl. You said a small girl. Was she all right, the one that the officer was rushing with?
FITZPATRICK: She looked OK. I can't tell from the distance. We're being kept away. She was wrapped in a pink bath bathrobe. She appears to be OK, just shaken. I really can't tell though. I'm being kept about 20 or 30 yards away.
I went over there to try to speak with one of them. The officers on the scene wouldn't let us do that. So they were taken away to medical authorities and that's -- and I can see that helicopter hovering above us as I'm talking to you now.
BURNETT: And as David is us with, again, I want to let our viewers know exactly what we're watching. We're watching what feels like a palpable change in the intensity here as the police, the special operations, the FBI have all gone in to a certain area of Watertown and we feel that this could be the culmination of that. Wolf and I said from Drew Griffin reporting, from David Fitzpatrick's reporting, from Susan Candiotti's reporting.
But we want to emphasize, as you all are watching this live, we're live also. We do not know exactly what's happening. We're learning this as much as you're learning this.
So we want to make sure everyone understands we're reporting what we see, minute by minute, Wolf. And sometimes that's what we can do.
BURNETT: We don't exactly know. But this is what we've seen. We've seen, of course, a big law enforcement presence from where we are in central Boston, heading out, we think, to Watertown also.
BLITZER: We've seen intense, intense activity over the past half hour or so ever since Drew Griffin reported hearing about two dozen gun shots in the Watertown area -- gun shots that clearly sparked this activity. Enormous amount of black vehicles heading towards Watertown and moving around Watertown, followed up with ambulances at the same time.
And we just want to caution everyone, this information is just coming in. It certainly does look like a pivotal moment in this manhunt for this 19-year-old suspect.
BURNETT: It does, and another development. You all may have seen throughout the day as we were all standing here bringing you various family members of the Tsarnaev family who were speaking. A lot more of them perhaps and people thought the family has been very talkative.
The father Anzor Tsarnaev, who is in southern Russia, who is in Dagestan in southern Russia, we can report now according to the Russian state news agency is getting ready to come to the United States. He says to, quote-unquote, "look for justice."
His interview was one of the ones that stood out to me the most today, Wolf, as he said he thought that his sons had been perhaps framed.
BLITZER: All right. Deb, you're here. I know you're working your sources. So, let's be precise. Tell our viewers what you're learning right now.
FEYERICK: I want to be very careful. This is on going. This is happening right now, playing out in real time. You have hundreds of law enforcement officers who zeroed in on a man they believe is the suspect. They have him cornered. They have a visual. They can see what he's doing. They believe he is still alive.
They have also detected what appears to be something out of the ordinary. It may be a device. So not only are they trying to get him and take him alive, but they're also trying to make sure that whatever -- if there is some sort of a device, that they're able to detonate that device without anybody getting injured. That's the point of this.
They want to make sure that he's alive and that nobody is involved in this operation is harmed in any way. But we do understand from a source that we're talking to that, in fact, they do have him. They believe it is a possible suspect. And I do apologize for that.
But it's a possible suspect. And they see him. They see him moving because the structure he's in, they've got visuals on where he is going.
But they do have him pretty much cornered.
John, what you are hearing? I think you're hearing something similar.
KING: Very consistent, that the police, federal law enforcement, they have engaged the suspect in that area, the Franklin Street area of Watertown. We've been told somewhere in the ballpark of 30 to 40 shots were fired as part of this. Again, that's from witnesses on the scene. So, you pick sometimes those echoes play together.
But federal law enforcement says that they're engaging a possible suspect. Additional units are responding. We've seen that my out as we've been talking to our sources, the massive, massive sweep in. Because as Deb noted, the concerns about additional explosives, the officers on the scene, the first responders there have been told to wait for the heavier armed SWAT units, for rubout units to come in, for the sniffer units to come in, and also for additional surveillance help to come in, so that they don't want to approach this scene, especially with some residents in their homes nearby, not just the law enforcement officials are at risk, but the residents who have been told now to shelter in their homes.
From what David Fitzpatrick, reported, may be an effort to get some of those in the closest areas to get them out, but because of all those concerns and what the enforcement authorities believe is the likelihood, the likelihood of additional explosives, they want to be extra careful here.
BLITZER: Just to be precise, this is a possible suspect. We don't want to say 100 percent that they cornered the suspect. They believe it's the possible. It is 19-year-old suspect.
FEYERICK: And one of the reasons clearly is they have a visual on this individual. And so, for them, you know, we sill have the viewer out there today. We saw them stop a couple of people that weren't supposed to be in that area. One man they made put his hands on his head and they stopped him. So this they know.
Also, this particular structure, we're not going to mention it just yet, because it is ongoing. But this particular structure is a place that he would have gained access pretty easily and been able to hide after his brother was killed.
And we also have to keep in mind that his brother was wearing an explosive, some sort of an explosive device that also had a trigger. So, police are working under the assumption that this man also has some sort of detonation device, possibly, that he might have on him. So we've got to be very careful, because there is a home right in this vicinity. There are several homes in this vicinity.
So there is an ebb and flow of people coming in and people going out.
BURNETT: I want to go to Susan Candiotti, but, first, a follow up on something you said, a structure that was easy to gain access to. I don't want to push you any further that you're able to go with your reporting. But is it fair to read into that that he could have gotten in there without help from somebody else?
FEYERICK: Absolutely. Absolutely. It would have been a perfect hiding place. It would have been a perfect hiding place because he didn't have to -- he didn't have to knock down a door. He didn't have to gain access.
So, yes, there were openings in this particular structure.
BURNETT: An important distinction as we've been trying all day to find out how many people may have been involved in helping these two men.
Susan Candiotti does have some developments where she is in Watertown near the scene that Deb is speaking of -- Susan.
CANDIOTTI: Also talking with two sources as well. And they're telling me to just be on stand by that this could very well be the person but there's no confirmation of that at this time. However, we are seeing, for example, a unit from the Cambridge Police Department bomb squad that also arrived now on the scene. Also in a stand by mode.
You can see next to that vehicle a number of police officers who are standing in a group. They're talking with each other, conferring about the latest. Obviously, they've got their radios going and are in touch with what's going on.
And in the front, to the right of that, you can also see the flashing lights of an ambulance that is also standing by as well, as we're all waiting for word on whether whoever is this person, the person that are have now appeared to have cornered could very well be him. But, clearly, by having the bomb squad unit here as Debra was talking about before, because of what happened last night here with all the homemade explosives that were involved with the pipe bombs that were discovered, with what happened when police cornered at that time the two brothers, they're using extra precautions to be very careful as they approach this person. As they wait for a confirmation that, in fact, they have him.
But we're told to be on stand by because clearly this could be the big moment.
Back to you, Erin.
BURNETT: It could be the big moment. And, you know, last night, Wolf and John and Deb, what happened was there was a great uncertainty over whether they had both suspects. When they then suspect number one was killed, suspect number two ran away on foot. So, all day they've been looking at this area.
But at that press conference this afternoon, I don't know what you took away it from, but it seemed the door was open for maybe he really did get away. They were looking for cars. They had license plates for Massachusetts. They were looking for cars in the state of Connecticut today. They thought he might have escaped the net.
KING: In part that was because of a mix. You expect that to happen in such a confusing, chaotic situation. People are trying to help by calling in tips when they think they see something. And so, there is a possibility -- if just look at a map of the area. There are two options, he was on foot and trapped in the neighborhood. This is what is happening here, might turn out to be correct.
Or that he somehow gained access to some form of transportation. So, one of the things they were checking for any additional cars stolen or a bicycle stolen. Any kind of transportation if you look at the area and the proximity, can you get on the mass turnpike. So they had to debate all of the things and the possibility.
And given the fact how stunned they were as he left the scene, all of that was a possibility.
So, you do door to door, yard to yard, house-to-house search in the area and then listen to the hundreds of tips that came in from people suggesting the possibility of something suspicious. And police, rightly so, need to follow up on those.
FEYERICK: And even the pacing of this, even the timing of how they were doing this. For example, one of the reasons it got so quiet in the middle of the afternoon is because they thought that maybe he was sleeping, resting, maybe he would bolt, he would try to get out under the cover of darkness.
It was another theory that perhaps he himself had been injured because they found a trail of blood. And so there was a possibility, for example, that maybe he was so injured that his -- the injuries were going to weaken him sufficiently to basically neutralize him. So they also thought they were going to go look down by the water.
Again, those vehicles that are passing, the area that we're talking about in Watertown is flooded with those kinds of vehicles.
And now, we're being told they're bringing in a bear cat which is a huge device that allows them to make entry, access and protect people so they can circle back around in behind it and sort of begin to move into whatever it they want to gain access to.
BURNETT: Very interesting point. You brought up something that is so basic. At least I hadn't thought of. At some point he would have had to sleep. Maybe that is why it got so quiet this afternoon. It did feel different.
BLITZER: And we do see a lot of the military SWAT type vehicles passing behind us or presumably heading towards that area.
BURNETT: All right. Let's get to Jason Carroll also near the scene in Watertown, joining us on the phone -- Jason.
JASON CARROLL, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (via telephone): Yes. I'm at the area of Mt. Auburn and Bailey Road, massive police presence here. Above us, there is a helicopter. I look down the streets here, numerous police officers.
I spoke to two folks out here, Stephen Lafave (ph) and Tom Pyor (ph), they said they were sitting on their sofa and they thought everything was fine. Then they thought what they heard was approximately 20 shots. They heard ring out. They ran outside their home, ran down the street to where we are now. They saw a number of officers running down the street, and another helicopter now passing overhead.
We're sort of being moved back a bit here. Listening to the police activity how the here and the scanner traffic talking about a crossfire situation at one point. And mention a boat that is significant. There was no further clarification in terms of what that may or may not have meant. So as we're standing here now, police are keeping us back, again, helicopters overhead.
A number of people here who are coming out of their homes are being kept back. Officers telling people to be patient, to wait back there. The situation in front of us here seems to be unfolding. Again, a massive police presence here where we are at Mt. Auburn and Bailey Roads, as officers -- and the situation here appears to be definitely more intense than it was moments ago.
BURNETT: All right. Thank you.
We want to bring in Fran Townsend and Tom Fuentes now.
What is your take on this, Fran? Because we are getting the feeling that this is it? This is the final moment. This is when it's going to happen.
FRAN TOWNSEND, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: Erin, it sure feels and looks that way. I would say to you, though, you know, in a barricade situation, law enforcement controls the pace at this point. Unless the suspect makes a move, time is on law enforcement's side. They can wait him out. They can pick their moment. They can get all their assets in place.
And, you know, as we're hearing from various reporting sources, Deb, John and others, they want to do this pretty methodically. What they're trying to do is insure not only their own safety but the safety of -- we haven't had any reporting on whether or not they think he's alone or there is anyone in there. They don't want to be a threat to them. They don't want to be a threat to the neighbors and the surrounding houses.
And so, they will pick their moment. Of course, it's getting dark. You know, we can see from the pictures here, the sun has set in Watertown. And so, the later it gets and the darker it gets, you run the risk that if there is a fire fight, if something happens, he will try to escape, because he's fighting for his life.
And so, law enforcement will have to calculate when is the best time for them to make the approach?
BURNETT: Tom, Deb's been talking about how they believe that the person that they think is the suspect, the possible suspect is in a structure that he could have gotten easy access to. And she said it was fair to say that would mean he could have gotten access without help from somebody else. So to this crucial question that she is asking, do you think what could be the final moment that he is alone?
TOM FUENTES, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Well, that's what they're trying to determine that. That's the key to this. If he's a single person barricaded, then they can pick and choose how they go about this. And when they decide to go ahead and go after him, you don't have to worry about it if he's by himself the way you would if he has a hostage.
If he has an innocent person in there with him, then everything changes in the sense that they're going to want to try to negotiate with him. They're going to try to save the other person that may be with him. And again in, a situation like this, if someone's holding a hostage, you know, as a tactical matter and they think that the person is threatening to the hostage, especially if they have explosives, you could have a situation where a police sniper could take that person out.
But this is somebody they've been wanting to get alive. This is someone they want to talk to and try to have the opportunity to learn more about why they did what they did and how they did it and whether they did it with anybody else. So I think that's the --
BURNETT: So, what -- Tom, you know, Wolf and I are standing here and we've seen this whole barrage of law enforcement go by. As we've seen the intensity and heat pick up on this. What happens from here?
I mean, Fran, let me ask you this question. What happens from here? If he really is cornered in this structure and this is life or death last few moments. They're bringing in this bear cat as Deb was describing to protect people nearby if there are explosives in the final moments.
How does it go from here? If we've got just couple of minutes, what happens?
TOWNSEND: Well, Erin, you mentioned they're bringing in the bear cat. The whole idea is to try to do this in a way that preserves life including the bad guy's. And so they will ratchet this up. They're only going to use violence and force to the extent that it's necessary to try and protect his life so they can get the intelligence from him when they capture him.
So I expect you're going to see. But once they begin that process, once they begin the approach to the house, even in a nonviolent way, it will go quickly, because the suspect is going to react to that and once that chain of events begins, it will unfold quickly.
BLITZER: All right. Let me update our viewers who might just be tuning in right now. What we're seeing, we're looking at live pictures coming in from Watertown, that's just outside of Boston.
Drew Griffin, our reporter who is on the scene what about a half hour, 45 minutes or so ago heard at least two dozen or so gun shots that were fired. Then we saw an extraordinary amount of activity -- military-style vehicles speeding to the area, police, law enforcement, military personnel running to the area.
We heard sirens going off behind us. Erin and I, we're standing here in Boston and we saw a fleet of cars just moving with a lot, a lot of activity. And then Deb Feyerick has been here, John King has been here. They've been working their sources.
I'm going to let Deb Feyerick pick up the story right now, the possible breakthrough right now. Possible. We don't want to go too far.
But based on everything you're hearing, Deb, we believe that the suspect at least the possible suspect has been cornered right now.
FEYERICK: Absolutely. Absolutely. And they have -- I'm being told by a source that they are almost certain that this is the individual that they've been looking for over the last week. That he is still moving. He is in a structure. But they've got to be very careful. There is a family nearby.
In addition, we're told there is also the presence of gasoline. Not because it's his gasoline, but because there is a tank nearby. So, they've got to be very careful about that. They brought in snipers. They brought in a bear cat.
The bear cat will allow them to get cover for those trying to gain entry into the place where he is hold up basically. As we mentioned, this is a place that is very easy to get in and it's a place where he could have easily hidden without calling any attention to him. But he would have had to do so without food, without water and clearly if he was injured, he knew that he was going to have to make a decision assuming that this is the man which our sources are telling us they really believe that this is the right person.
BURNETT: They believe it is him.
KING: To Fran Townsend's point a bit a earlier about time is on the side of law enforcement, that is certainly true if they believe that they have this suspect surrounded. But as we see, it's also night fall here, which is why we're seeing additional units respond. The SWAT unit is responding, the National Guard is responding. If they want to, if they choose to, they can light that up just like day.
And remember, the military and some of the police resources on the team have night vision equipment as well.
So as this situation changes in terms of night fall here, they have clearly decided to wait this out and both for the safety of the neighborhood and the safety of the law enforcement officers because, again, they do believe as Deb noted, they believe this is the suspect they're looking for and they do believe very highly the probability of explosives on that scene.
BURNETT: And as you say, that means this is something that could truly be at its final moments. As we watch this, I just want to bring in the chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, Chairman Michael McCaul.
And, Chairman McCaul, thank you for taking the time. We're here in Boston. What is the very latest that you understand?
I mean, our belief from what we've been seeing, what we've been reporting is that we could be reaching the final moments.
REP. MICHAEL MCCAUL (R), TEXAS: I think we are. The reports we have is they believe the suspect is in this structure. It's a very dangerous situation.
Remember, they have -- they have suicide vests. So, the believe is, in addition to pipe bombs that they threw at law enforcement and other explosive devices, that he could actually be wearing a suicide vest.
So what could be happening right now and based upon my experience as a federal prosecutor is the fact that they may be in a negotiation phase right now. They want this suspect alive because he has intelligence. They don't want him to blow himself up. Obviously, we don't want law enforcement to get collateral damage as well.
So my belief is they could be in a negotiation phase with him right now. This is an extremely dangerous, volatile situation when you talk about an individual wearing a suicide vest as we know his older brother was wearing as well. I think the fact that there is an ambulance at the scene and an overwhelming presence of law enforcement indicates to me that this is exactly where they believe the suspect is. BURNETT: And to just make sure we're clear on what you're saying, you also believe as we reported it is possible and you believe this possible suspect is wearing a suicide vest?
MCCAUL: Well, I know that -- we have reports that they have suicide vests. We know the older brother had one. And we believe the younger brother has one as well.
And you can imagine if you're a police officer and you're an FBI hostage rescue guy going in there, the amount of danger that you're in when the suspect can blow themselves up suspect can blow themselves up at any given moment.
So, they could be in negotiation, as I said, negotiation phase at this time and it's my sincere hope that we will finally be able to bring this horrible nightmare that we've lived this you're in when the suspect can blow themselves up suspect can blow themselves up at any given moment. They could be in negotiation, as I said, negotiation phase at this time and it's my sincere hope that we will finally be able to bring this horrible nightmare that we've lived this entire week to a final end.
BURNETT: Chairman, I want to ask you one other important point we just learned this evening. That is that the FBI had in 2011 questioned the older brother at the request of a foreign government, which had said that he had links to an extremist group. The FBI later determined from their determination that he did not.
Is this new information to you and how important is this new development?
MCCAUL: It's new information to me and it's very disturbing that he's on the FBI's radar screen. I don't want to say anything, but the FBI, Joint Terrorism Task Force did a remarkable job in this case releasing the video expedited. But if he was on the radar and they let him out of their sights, that's an issue certainly for me.
And also, when you look at the older brother, he's the real key here. He travels to the Chechnya region where the Chechen rebels are. That's where his father is. He goes there last year around January and stays there for six months.
When he returns, he starts putting up on the YouTube Web site these radical jihadist Web sites and what I'm very concerned about is that when he went over there, he very well may have been radicalized and trained by these Chechen rebels who are the fiercest jihad warriors. They work hand in glove with al Qaeda in Pakistan and Afghanistan.
And you look at the tools or weapon of al Qaeda, it's the same device, explosive device, that we're seeing that was used by these two suspects, these two terrorists. In addition, the suicide vests really elevates that to a whole other level and then the pipe bombs. These are all the tools of warfare for al Qaeda.
I'm very concerned he was out of the sights of the FBI, he went over to Chechnya and got trained and recruited and he came back and was successful in pulling off the largest terrorist operation since 9/11.
BURNETT: All right. Thank you very much, Chairman. We appreciate your taking the time.
I'm here with Wolf Blitzer along with John King and Deb Feyerick. John on the phone working his sources tonight because that's what it's like with everyone making the calls.
But, again, to reset exactly where we are, Deb, can you update us on exactly what you know as we believe this is reaching the very final moments.
FEYERICK: Yes, it really is. Clearly, this they believe is the person they have been looking for, for the last week. He was able somehow to find shelter in a structure, an open structure, which didn't require a key, didn't require any sort of break-in, it appears. Maybe that's overstating it, but he was able to hide there.
Then they knew he was in the Watertown location. They were thinking about looking down by the river bed today, because it's right near the river, but then however they got the visual on him, whether it was waiting him out, they finally were able to find where he was.
They had helicopters in the air, a helicopter now is on scene. We are told actually, this is a little bit of a development, we are told that it does not appear that he had on any sort of explosives on his body and it does not appear that he had any pipe bombs with him, either.
So whether he got rid of them or whether he realized he couldn't carry them after he allegedly was injured --
BURNETT: He was running on foot, too. He would have had to have them in his arms.
FEYERICK: Right. Exactly. Exactly. We understand there are snipers and they are surrounding or they are very close to throw in flash bangs, and they are targeting that structure.
BLITZER: We do know that in the exchange overnight with police, pipe bombs were thrown at the police. A grenade supposedly was thrown as well.
So there are other, John King, other explosive devices that the law enforcement right now have to worry about.
KING: There have been conflicting reports about how much could he have carried with him running away from the scene, that's one of the questions. However, they believe he is dangerous. They believe -- because of the pipe bombs, because of everything else in the history here, they are going -- if they are going to make a mistake, it's going to be on the side of caution and assuming there are explosives at that site. I was just speaking to a federal law enforcement official who as Deb was noting says the initial indications were they thought the suspect was down. Then they saw movement and they're watching now and they have a very good visual. They have him surrounded. There was just a call back in saying movement has stopped.
That doesn't mean anything, doesn't mean they know anything, just that in terms of moving back and forth within the structure, has stopped and the last report was no movement. Again, they're just watching this now trying to figure out as the chairman said, whether there are conversations going on. We don't know that. But, obviously, law enforcement now is waiting to decide when it will decide whether to engage further.
BURNETT: Movement, no movement doesn't mean dead or alive.
KING: It doesn't mean anything. Just means the visual on the side, because they were watching him moving about within the structure. Now there's a point where either he drops out of their actual sight, movement stops.
BURNETT: I want to go to David Fitzpatrick, our producer, right near the scene.
DAVID FITZPATRICK, CNN PRODUCER (via telephone): Erin, there have been a series of eight explosions. I thought it was the flash- bang grenades John King was talking about, a series of eight of them, about four minutes ago. There were two loud explosions.
(AUDIO GAP) a total of eight. What I see in front of me, uniformed SWAT men standing by.
BLITZER: You're breaking up a little. I want to make sure we have a good connection. Erin, you heard him say?
BURNETT: Eight explosions is what he's heard. Eight explosions is what David Fitzpatrick just said. Obviously his cell phone is going in and out. He will get to a better place and call back with more. All we can tell you is what we were able to pick up off that call.
FEYERICK: Just a little bit of context, we do know they are firing flash-bangs in. So what those do is it creates a very loud noise and a sharp light and it's designed to stun the individual. So what they're trying to do is they're weaken him even more, basically, because they know he's been without food, without water, and it's very, very interesting because I think of where I was this afternoon. This individual, assuming that he was there for the duration, same time we were there this afternoon, was only four blocks from our live location right in the heart of Watertown this afternoon.
BLITZER: If he's there, where you think he is right now, and if this is in fact the 19-year-old suspect who remains on the loose.
BURNETT: That means this morning, because there was a moment with you, Deb, when you were there and the entire police presence and special forces were swooping in, there was a moment where it felt like something might be about to happen.
FEYERICK: A hundred percent.
BURNETT: You were right there. They were so close.
FEYERICK: Yes. That's exactly right. They knew it. They seemed to have, for whatever reason, clearly, these guys are really good at what they do. They know how to find people. You've got ATF, you got Secret Service. You've got FBI. You've got U.S. Marshals, the whole gang who was looking for this person, so they know how to find individuals.
We had some information that perhaps he was still active on the Internet, so whether they were somehow able to track him down that way, but they were using every single resource they had available in order to find him, and they did it by simply piecing the clues together and picking up the different parts that would lead them to where they thought he was.
BURNETT: When you talk about the flash-bangs or explosions, we don't know that that's what they were but the eight explosions David Fitzpatrick just heard --
FEYERICK: We know at least some were flash-bangs. We're being told.
BURNETT: The goal of that would be to stun him because again, if possible, they would still want to take him alive.
FEYERICK: Absolutely. Absolutely. That is the goal. They really want to take him alive. They want to understand whether in fact he's part of a larger cell, whether he had any other accomplices, how he got involved in this. He is a treasure trove of information.
BLITZER: Tom Fuentes, the former FBI assistant director, our law enforcement analyst, has some more information. What else are you hearing, Tom?
FUENTES: Well, Wolf, in a situation like this, you would only use one flash-bang. They're designed to stun an individual, element of surprise, and while the individual is stunned and the nervous system is frozen, do the assault.
If you're hearing multiple explosions, and that sounds more like gas is being injected and you would have the same thing. You would have the sound of a loud bang and it could either be injected by shotgun or they have special gas grenade launchers they could use also. But if you're hearing multiple explosions like that, that sounds more like gas is being injected to get him flushed out rather than -- because the flash-bang is no good after the first one. There's no surprise.
BURNETT: What would be the goal, Tom? If they were doing that?
FUENTES: Get him out. Get him to not be able to breathe. You know, the tear gas going into your system just burns and stings and makes it hard to breathe. You can't see straight. Fluid comes out of every part of your body.
It's very, very painful experience, having been gassed myself, because they make us learn how it feels as SWAT team members. So they would inject it in there, especially if it appears that he doesn't have a gas mask or some kind of protective gear against it, it would be designed to get him to suffer so much that he would just want to come out and surrender.
BLITZER: Then local law enforcement, the SWAT teams on the scene, they do have gas masks and they would be protected as opposed to the possible suspect who has been cornered, he would not.
FUENTES: Yes. That's true, Wolf.
BURNETT: I want to ask you about another important point that John and Deb were talking about. That is what kinds of explosives might he have on him, whether or not he had some of the pipe bombs that they allegedly had last night when they were throwing them out of the car at police.
Tom, I guess the big question is, he would have had to carry those.
BURNETT: So the fear has been that he is armed and dangerous throughout the day, that he could have explosives on him. It is possible, however, possible, that he does not.
FUENTES: Well, in this case, it sounds like the people that have a visual on him have a pretty good look at what he's doing.