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Officials Have Picture of Suspected Bomber; New Arrest In Texas D.A. Killings; Officials Believe Bomb Suspect I.D.'d

Aired April 17, 2013 - 13:00   ET


WOLF BLITZER, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: -- unfold. But let's bring in our Law Enforcement Analyst Juliette Kayyem right now who's here with us in Boston. Come on over here, Juliette.


BLITZER: Let's talk, first of all, about John King's reporting substantial progress in the criminal investigation here in Boston, a significant development. We don't know what that --

KAYYEM: Right.

BLITZER: But you know what, John is joining us on the phone right now. So let's talk to John. John, go ahead and tell us what you can.

JOHN KING, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Wolf, I'm on my way to you now. I want to report some breaking news information from two sources. One is a Boston law enforcement source who tells me they believe they do have a significant breakthrough in the investigation. This source is calling this substantial progress. That source declined to be more specific but said to anticipate more details later today.

Now, I want to give you some information -- additional information important from a second source who has been briefed on the investigation. And I am told by sources that both Governor Deval Patrick and Mayor Tom Menino of Boston have been briefed on this investigation and I knot the Boston Police Commissioner after one of the briefings this morning went to talk to the FBI officials in charge.

I'm told now that the breakthrough came from analysis of video from a department store near the site of the second explosion. I'm told that's the Lord & Taylor department store. It's on Boylston Street, not too far from the finish line and very close to the site of the second explosion that happened on Monday. I'm also told that some video from a Boston television station also was used during this video analysis that helped contribute to the progress in that breakthrough.

And significantly I'm told from that analysis the source tells me authorities now believe they have identified a suspect, an individual who placed one of the explosive devices at that location of the second explosion. I repeatedly asked whether this person was in custody, I could not get further answers. But I did get from this source a clear indication that the authorities believe they have identified this individual and that that is now the focus of the investigation. I was told to expect more information to be released publicly later today, but I can tell you, Wolf, from both of these sources a significant shift. Last night they were saying that they had done a good job with the forensics, a very good job of reconstructing how this happened and the type of explosion, but they were quite frustrated as to the question of who. Now I am told based largely on the video analysis that came from closed-circuit cameras from the Lord & Taylor department store that according to one of these sources, they have made a clear identification of a potential suspect and they are calling this substantial progress, hopefully a breakthrough they believe in this investigation.

BLITZER: That Lord & Taylor store is only a block or so away from where Juliette and I are standing right now, right near the finish line of the Boston Marathon. John, the suspect that they've identified a suspect, I just want to be precise. We don't know if the suspect has been apprehended. Is that right?

KING: I do not know that information. I was told that once they identified the suspect that obviously was the focus of the investigation, the way folks were talking they're much more optimistic, but as for that critical detail, I don't have that information. I was told by somebody who asked me how long I was staying in town to hang around because they do think they're going to have a big breakthrough relatively soon in this investigation.

BLITZER: I know that they're going to be doing some briefings, the FBI agent in charge, Governor Deval Patrick, the police chief, they've been doing them every day. So I assume they will be doing one at this point if they have this kind of significant progress to report that will be dramatic indeed. I assume you don't know if the suspect is American, foreigner, anything along those lines?

KING: A physical description was given to me of the suspect, Wolf, I want to be very careful here because this is very sensitive information, but the description given to be was (INAUDIBLE) is a dark-skinned individual. And I want to just stop there. Further descriptives were given by this source, but it was a background conversation. They're not willing to discuss it on the record right now. Given the sensitivity when we get into these things, you heard Governor Patrick saying yesterday it's so important that the people of Massachusetts and the country for that matter in his words turn to each other and not against each other. It was described to me as a dark-skinned male individual that was shown in the video. There was some further descriptions used, but just for sensitivity purposes until we get more information, I think it's best to stop there.

BLITZER: And this suspect, this individual was seen on videotape that the FBI and other law enforcement authorities actually went through, is that right?

KING: That is my understanding. That the breakthrough came when they analyzed the video from the Lord & Taylor department store. Which if you look (INAUDIBLE) the picture today - I don't mean to single this out but if you look at the front page of the "New York Times" today, you see the picture of that site where the second explosion took place, there's a mailbox there, it is Lord & Taylor is just out of that video frame. It's right across the street. Ring Road (ph) is the street, the intersection.

I grew up in Boston, I'm very familiar with the area. I'm told that the video analysis -- most of the breakthrough came from the department store video from the Lord & Taylor. I'm also told some video from a Boston television station that was submitted to the FBI, many stations, many individuals here submitted everything they have, but I'm told one of -- some of the video from one particular Boston TV station was then used as sort of a backup to reaffirm this. And from that the suspect was identified. And now we're waiting to hear word -- trying to get additional information as to where the investigation head from there, but yes, I was told there is a clear identification of a suspect and described as a breakthrough because of the department store video.

BLITZER: John, I'm holding here in my hand this pressure cooker, a typical pressure cooker that people use in their kitchens all the time. Earlier Fran Townsend, our national security analyst here at CNN reported that the top of a pressure cooker, similar to this one, actually when it exploded was later discovered on the roof of one of those buildings and could potentially hold tremendous evidence as far as DNA or other suspicious activity and potentially could lead to a suspect. In your information now, the exclusive information you're reporting about a potential breakthrough in the investigation, are they saying that the discovery of the top of this kind of pressure cooker may have played a role in what they're learning?

KING: No, it's two separate pieces of the investigation as they put the pieces together, Wolf. Number one, that physical evidence will be used now to reconstruct the bomb and obviously going to look for fingerprints, whether they can find a line of purpose (ph), whether they can find additional information about that. But that is part of the forensics and physical evidence, but I'm told from the video analysis that they now have what they believe to be clear video image of a suspect approaching the site, placing a package and leaving the site and placing a package that matches the description of what they have been looking for, the size of the package, the black bag and like and they have those images now being analyzed and to such detail I am told that they believe they have a clear identification including a facial image of a suspect. The question I have been unable to answer from my sources is whether they are searching for that suspect or whether they have a name attached to that suspect or whether that suspect might be in custody. Those are questions I've been unable to answer and you understand the obvious sensitivity when you try to ask those questions at the key moment in the investigation.

BLITZER: Very key moment indeed. All right. Standby if you can. Juliette Kayyem is here with us as well, our law enforcement analyst. You heard the dramatic exclusive reporting John has done now about a potential breakthrough in the investigation.

KAYYEM: Well, it's good news. And it will probably be confirmed. It would suggest why we're hearing about delays on the normal briefing schedule that the public officials have been given is that they actually need time before they go public. So a couple things to take away from John's reporting. One is this is exactly how they hoped it would unfold. On Monday and Tuesday they were out there saying everyone give us their pictures, talk to places like the department store to put pieces together and it seemed like it worked relatively quickly. The second issue is sort of who is this person? and that is going to be the pivot point. If it's an individual lone person, then you have a normal criminal investigation.

If there are ties to somewhere else and like, John, I'm just going to reiterate we have no idea that investigation will involve foreign countries and international realms, but right now the focus is on finding that individual. I wouldn't be surprised if they have a photo of him that they didn't make that public if they don't know where he is because someone here knows who that is.

BLITZER: And we have no way of knowing at least at this stage and John is going to be joining us momentarily if this was an isolated individual what they call a lone wolf who may have been responsible for this horrible, horrible double-bombing at the end of the Boston Marathon or connected to some other individual.

KAYYEM: Or connected in their own mind. That's what people have to remember. Sometimes people say I'm a member of something in their own head, right? they have delusions of grandeur about some organization or group when they really have no formal tie with that organization. Or it could be just a criminal who's going to go through a normal process of a criminal investigation. But this is exactly we talked about why were they being so public about the information and getting information, it's exactly how they wanted it to unfold. We thought it would take a lot longer. If they found some link to an individual, then that's good news. And now it's just a search for the individual.

BLITZER: All right, John is here. Come on over. Juliette, don't go away. John is joining us right now just back from your reporting. And we have viewers who are watching us John in the United States and around the world. So just recap precisely what we know and what we don't know as we await what we expect later today to be a formal news conference by FBI, local law enforcement, the mayor, the governor and others.

KING: And we believe that briefing will now be at 5:00 p.m. Eastern time. It was originally scheduled to be at 1:00PM. They delayed it and I'm told the reason is because of the significant change in the breakthrough in the investigation.

Let me relay the information I have from two different sources, one is a law enforcement source here in Boston who first told me earlier this morning as what he described as a significant breakthrough in the investigation. Said he believed this would be a game changer, a turning point in the investigation. That source declined to be very much more specific except saying it was the continued analysis and they had gotten past the point of frustration we were talking about last night in trying to get beyond the what happened to the who did it. A second source who has been briefed on the investigation and I'm told a number of top state and city officials have now been briefed on progress told me that the breakthrough came from video analysis right up the street here of a department store later identified as the Lord & Taylor department store, which is very close to the site of the second explosion.

BLITZER: You were just a block away from there.

KING: And I'm told because of that video and I'm also told video given by a Boston TV station was also helpful into corroborate that and to help match things up, the timing, the sequencing, the framing if you will. But largely from the department store surveillance video that they actually got what they were looking for, Wolf, which was an individual coming in and placing. And then walking away. That's what they had been looking for to try to get the actual -- the drop.


BLITZER: Then they can focus in on the place of that individual.

KING: Video enhancement technology improved dramatically in recent years allows them to go in from there, and try to make a facial identification. I was told they had clearly identified one suspect. And then I would add (ph) forgive me, I went to ask additional questions, do you know of anyone else involved and I was told by the person briefed this morning they had been told of one suspect. That doesn't mean there aren't others, but they've been told of one suspect, and to the point you were just discussing with Juliette, I asked do they know anything more about a motive? Domestic, international? And this person said they didn't ask about that when they were briefed this morning, they were waiting for a breakthrough in the investigation. They said the focus then had shifted now that they had identification to apprehension of a suspect. Where they are on that front, that's the information we're trying to get.

KAYYEM: So last night we were talking about why was the FBI and Secret Service coming out so often about needing this material, the film, photos, everything else, in particular from the media is that they did have this gap in sort of that moment when someone drops something. It appears that a stationary camera on the department store would have picked up something that was good that then leads to this individual.

And on this front, you know, the motive comes later. If you get the individual -- everyone has to remember, the motives are sometimes in the person's head. They have an idea of who they are, these visions of grandeur. Think about for example the Columbine killers. They thought they were martyrs for a bigger cause. So that sort of matters less than if you have an individual who then you can put through the legal process and question rather than worrying about sort of who do they think they are and then find out where they were trained, how they were trained, how did they learn to do this.


BLITZER: Right. How does someone learn for example to take a pressure cooker like this one and put explosives inside with some sort of timing device. All sorts of shrapnel if you will, inside.

KING: (INAUDIBLE) Carpenter nails.

BLITZER: Right. Just to kill and maim as many people as possible. And what we've been saying is, sadly this kind of information is readily available out there on the internet.

KAYYEM: Domestically and internationally. And on the investigation if we do see a picture of individual as we've been saying all day, this was constructed (ph) here. There's no way that anyone who knows about -- the entire apparatus. They're not going to move in a car or plane. It's people around here will have some information about who this individual may be.

BLITZER: : Because even to take it for a short ride is too dangerous.

KAYYEM: Yes. You would know that.

KING: Another thing I want to say and make clear about this Mayor Menino was not the initial source of my information, but I was doing this reporting while waiting to see Mayor Thomas Menino this morning, he's recovering -- the mayor of Boston. He told me when I pressed him on what I've been told by the source about the progress of the investigation, he did confirm to me and he was very careful he confirmed that the police commissioner told him of significant progress in the investigation and he did confirm to me when I pressed him that it was Lord & Taylor, he'd been told the Lord & Taylor video was critical to the breakthrough. He would not discuss in any detail anything else. He said stick around, there should be more information hopefully later today. But the mayor on the record did confirm he was briefed on progress, he was very sketchy about what that would be.

BLITZER: I was told, Juliette, earlier in the day. John, you would know this as well, this investigation is huge. That there are so many people that have been brought in from so many different federal, state, local law enforcement agencies. It's almost unprecedented.

KAYYEM: It is. So they're all working under an umbrella known as the JTTF, the Joint Terrorism Task Force. There is a lead of the JTTF. There are thousands of people who work through a process that this person is the lead person and working with state, local, federal and a number of federal agencies, Secret Service, ATF, Department of Homeland Security.

Really in a lot of ways while this is an evidentiary problem, it's also a management issue -- sort of making sure that everyone's sharing information. And it seems to be going, at least from what we're hearing so far. Monday -- it's only Wednesday. I mean, this is pretty remarkable. It seems like it's a long time ago because we've been here a long time, but it's pretty remarkable.

KING: You've got the mood shift. If I started making calls this morning, the mood shift was palpable in the sense that --

BLITZER: Yesterday they didn't sound very upbeat.

KING: I heard words like stymied last night, frustration. Look, there's an urgency here especially among those, you know the FBI folks who are located here I Boston. They have dozens and dozens of help coming in from all around the country, but for the folks who live and are based here, this is their community and this is the heart of their community, this is a big event. So you take it as a personal blow. I want to show this, Wolf. I don't mean to single out the "New York Times" by any means and this is a Reuters photo on the front page of the "New York Times," but this is the site we're talking about. This is the site of the second explosion.

BLITZER: This is where the mailbox is.

KING: The mailbox here --

BLITZER: -- and the bag was placed right near the mailbox.

KING: You can see the scarring, the darker. Some sort of explosion here caused the dark scarring on the surface. This photo is of the very site where I'm told the Lord & Taylor video if my memory of Boston is right, go up here, Ring Road (ph) is right here. The Lord & Taylor is over here and so they had what they believed to be a very good static view of this and enhancement of that video from the department store.

And I'm told some Boston TV station video then used to go back through and make further refinements in the analysis. From that I was told they had a breakthrough in identification of a suspect. I want to be very careful about this because people get very sensitive when you say these things. I was told by one of these sources who is a law enforcement official that this was a dark-skinned male.

The official used some other words I'm not going to repeat them until we get more information because of the sensitivity. There are people who will take offense even at saying that. And I understand that. I'm just saying this was relayed to me by a reputable law enforcement source -- a source who had been briefed on the investigation I should say that the suspect was a dark-skinned male. That information comes from the police. I know there are people out there --

BLITZER: You can't say whether the person spoke with a foreign accent or American accent or anything like that. That would be premature.

KING: Again, this source did use further language to characterize and I'm just as a reporter who's been through a lot of these who knows sometimes the information you get does not in the end turn out to be what happens in the end, I'm making a personal judgment, forgive me, but I think it's the right judgment not to try to enflame tensions and say the law enforcement source was clear, they've enhanced the video and have a close-up look at this individual they have on video they say dropping a package, making a placement that they believe to be the explosive device. And they say it's a dark-skinned male. I'm going to stop there and not go further because it's obviously very sensitive.

KAYYEM: Until we see the picture, we won't know sort of what that description means. And they may release the picture. They moved the press conference from 1:00 to 5:00. That's because they want to get all their ducks in order. And just as they engage the media and public and everyone else in finding these pictures, they might do so in the hunt, which is essentially what this is. If they have him in custody, great. If they don't, there's an individual this is very similar what they did with Atlanta, what they did with a number of criminals, you've got to engage the public. Somebody here housed him, fed him, he lived here or he was part of this community for some time.

BLITZER: Somebody may have seen him actually go out and purchase a pressure cooker like this one that could cause so much damage and destruction. Three people killed, nearly 200 people injured on Monday at the end of the Boston Marathon.

Other stories that we're watching and we're not going to go too far away from this one, what's happening in Washington as far as the suspicious letter sent to a U.S. senator, now sent to the President of the United States suspicious because they may have, may have been laced with the poison ricin, a deadly poison. We're watching what's going on there. Lots of activity up at the Senate.

The Hart Senate office building and the Russell Senate office building, both of those developments are potentially significant. Also in Texas there's been an arrest in the murder of the Texas D.A. And his wife, Martin Savidge is on the scene for us. He's getting new information. We're going to go to him momentarily. He'll update us on that very surprising development in that. In fact, Martin is ready right now. Martin, update our viewers here in the United States and around the world on what is happened in Texas on the murder. In fact, the news conference is starting right there.


LT. JUSTIN LEWIS, KAUFMAN COUNTRY SHERRIF'S OFFICE: -- McLelland and Mark Hasse. Kim Lene Williams, 46, of Kaufman has been arrested charged with offense of capital murder for her part in the deaths of Mr. And Mrs. McLelland and Mr. Hasse. She's being held in the Kaufman County jail on a $10 million bond. Copy of the arrest warrant affidavit will be provided after this conference the identifying information, driver's license, Social Security number of Miss Williams been redacted. Out of respect for the families of the victims during this time we are not answering any questions at this briefing until we're able to brief the family on the events of the past several days. Press conference will be held tomorrow at 1:30PM at a location that will be determined this afternoon. Thank you.


BLITZER: So there you have it. An arrest in the murder of the Texas D.A. and his wife. Very, very important development. Martin Savidge, I think you're there for us. Go ahead, Martin, and tell our viewers who this person is who has now been arrested. It almost came out of the blue.

MARTIN SAVIDGE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: You're right, Wolf. Yes, this was one that many people had not seen anticipated. There were names circulated in this investigation, Kim Williams is not one of them.

However, she's married to another person whose name has been circulated widely. There have been a lot of avenues that investigators have been looking at, but bne name was Eric Williams. He's a former justice of the peace. The reason he's been looked at is because last year he was convicted of theft from office. The man who led that investigation was the D.A. who is now dead and also the assistant D.A. who is also dead. So could that have been a motive in any way?

Eric Williams is being held, but he's being on a charge unrelated to the murder. He's being held for making a terroristic threat according to authorities. Now his wife has been taken into custody. And the question is what is the exact link here? Did she somehow facilitate? She is the first person to be charged in direct connection with the murders of the district attorney -- the assistant district attorney and Cynthia McLelland, the wife of the district attorney.

It is those murders that have thrown this community into the depths of fear and concern. And now word of this arrest is going to spread like wildfire, but it leaves open the question what about Eric Williams? As you heard there, from the public information officer, another news conference is anticipated tomorrow and it could be then that we learn if her husband will also be charged with capital murder in connection with these crimes, Wolf.

BLITZER: Connection with all three murders or just two of the murders? Do we know the answer, Martin, to that?

SAVIDGE: As the public information officer said, Kim Williams has been charged in connection with all three of the murders. So I guess if you go by that and extrapolate, it would be anticipated that if her husband is charged, he would also be charged with all three of the murders. This case really began to speed up and the focus began to narrow over the weekend with a number of search warrants that were carried out. A search warrant that was conducted on Eric Williams' home and also a search warrant that was conducted on a storage unit that allegedly had been rented by someone on his behalf. In that storage unit they found a vehicle, a vehicle which some witnesses say was bearing a resemblance to a vehicle that's been seen at the various crime scenes. Also, apparently a number of weapons were recovered, a cache of weapons, described as maybe 20. And as a result of that ballistics are being checked, Wolf.

BLITZER: Obviously very dramatic development, martin. We'll stay in close touch with you. Surprising development in the murder of the D.A. And his wife and an earlier murder of another D.A. Out in Texas. We'll watch that story.

Let's get back to the breaking news in Boston. Dramatic potential breakthrough in the criminal investigation into the bombings on Monday at the end of the Boston Marathon that killed three people and injured nearly 200 others.

John king has been working his sources here in Boston. Law enforcement sources. John is here, Julette Kayyem is here as well, our law enforcement analyst. And, John, I want you to recap for our viewers exactly what we know. We're awaiting a news conference we believe will happen around 5:00PM eastern with the FBI, local police, the governor, the mayor, and others. They'll tell us what they can at that time. In the meantime, your breaking news. KING: I was told by one source this morning, a Boston law enforcement source, that they believe they had a breakthrough of significant progress in the investigation. This source declined to be much more specific just said as the analysis continued, and we know the analysis was centered on video analysis, all the surveillance camera stuff turned in by local television stations, images turned in by individuals, whether they're video or still photos.

I was told there was a much better mood this morning and what they believe to be significant progress in the investigation, a turning point. That's how a Boston law enforcement source described it to me. I spoke to a second source who had been briefed on the investigation and unfortunately just based on my arrangements with that source, I can't identify that source any further, but a reliable source someone getting detailed briefings on the progress in the investigation, that source said the breakthrough came from video analysis, much of the key video I'm told came from a department store right near the site of the second explosion, Lord & Taylor was the department store this source told me.

BLITZER: They have the video cameras from the roof or ground level?

KING: I don't know that. But I am told that the video showed clearly at the site of the second explosion an individual showing up and placing a black bag. Officials said they've been looking for a black backpack or duffel bag, placing it at the scene of the second explosion and leaving it at the scene of the second explosion. And I'm told video enhancement, whether it was department store video -- I was told by this source that some video provided by a Boston television station also helped in the analysis.

Some of this video, again, the department store video said to be the most significant was then enhanced. And they have a clear image of a dark skinned male placing the bag at the site and then leaving it at the site. From that I was told that is the breakthrough they have been looking for.

They have done a good job with the forensics of reconstructs the pressure cooker bomb, the fragments, shrapnel, the ball bearings and carpenter nails. Where they had been frustrated yesterday is trying to get to the the who, they had done a pretty good hob on the what and how. But they hadn't gotten to the who.

From these breakthroughs, I'm told they are very confident now they have an individual suspect seen placing that device at the second explosion location as to whether that suspect is in custody, where they are in the investigation, that's where most of the questions we're not getting detailed answers and you have to understand that given the sensitivity of the investigation.

I am told because of this breakthrough the briefing scheduled for this hour, the 1:00 hour here in the east coast in Boston had been delayed until now we know rescheduled for the 5:00 hour.

I will say subsequent to the conversation with the sources I had a conversation with the mayor of Boston who is recuperating at a hospital nearby here, he was very circumspect, but he did confirm to me he'd been briefed on what they called significant progress by the Boston police commissioner. He said to hang around. He expected more information later today.

And he did confirm the information I received from this source that he had been told the video from the Lord & Taylor surveillance camera had been key to progress in the investigation. The mayor would not go beyond describing what that progress was, but clearly in a much more upbeat mood about progress in an investigation that he of course takes personally.

BLITZER: Let's hope this is a breakthrough and they have the suspect as opposed to searching for a suspect. We don't know the answer to that precisely yet.

I want to update our viewers on some other news we're getting. We have now been told by Boston University the name of the graduate student, the third person killed in the Boston bombings. Her name Lingzi Lu a graduate student from China. An 8-year-old boy was killed, a 29-year-old woman was killed and now we've confirmed this graduate student from Boston University Lingzi Lualso killed.

Boston University just tweeting this. "Grad student Lingzi Lu has been Ided as the third death in the blast. Our thoughts are with her loved ones." That tweet just coming from Boston University.

Now we know, Juliette, three people dead. Nearly 200 injured. Half have been released from the hospital and treated for their wounds. But so many others they remain in the hospital. I've been speaking with doctors here, amputees, major head injuries. The shrapnel, the ball bearings, the nails that were packed -- and this I want to show our viewers. This is a pressure cooker. This is the actual model of the pressure cooker that this terrorist apparently used to put a bomb inside, put shrapnel inside and an explosive, maybe a timer to kill and injure as many people as possible.

KAYYEM: And the fatalities -- yes, John's from here, a reflection of the city and what the marathon meant. You have a young child, you have a young girl starting her career and you have a student from abroad who came here to get the best education in a school like this.

So for people who live here, people think of Boston as sort of old and stodgy and really a dynamic city and what the marathon meant. I want to now that we know who this is, make it clear the impact this is going to make for the city.

The good news is, we've had no more casualties since that original three. So the doctors are doing tremendous work. They're releasing people quickly as possible. So they're getting the best medical care they can. And that is making the doctors very optimistic here. One of the benefits of this attack being right here is all the hospitals are about half a mile or a mile away. And they're getting tremendous care. That was a triage unit. So this is you look for silver linings in incidents like this and this is certainly one of them.

KING: And the advancements in medical treatment, some of the doctors will tell you based on lessons learned in Iraq and Afghanistan, again hearts out to the families who lost loved ones and people waiting to get more word and more progress we hope from the hospitals but what the police tell you and medical community tell you that to have so many people in such a confined space, you have these explosives go off, they thought the first responders and amazing medical people and just the citizens who helped pulling off their own clothes using them to make tourniquets, God bless them, every one of them who saved additional life.