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Massacre Suspect Caught; Church Massacre; Massacre Suspect Interrogation. Aired 2-2:30p ET
Aired June 18, 2015 - 14:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[14:00:28] JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: Over 150 years old and it is where last night nine people were murdered. They were murdered by a man who police believe they now have in custody. Twenty-one-year-old Dylann Roof was taken into custody this morning in Shelby, North Carolina, which is about a three hour and 45 minute drive from here. They picked this man up at a traffic stop. It was a tip from someone in the public who told local police that they think they spotted a car. The stopped the car and, without incident, police took this man into custody. He is being questioned right now.
That is welcome news to this city, which was, frankly, terrorized overnight. This man walked into this church behind me after 8:00, spent an hour lingering during a Bible study session before opening fire, killing six women and three men. As I said, it has rattled this city and it has rattled this nation as well.
President Obama, who frankly knows a good many people by running in the South Carolina primary in 2008 and has been speaking with them all morning, he spoke at the White House a little earlier today and was quite emotional. Let's listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: There's something particularly heartbreaking about a death happening in a place in which we seek solace and we seek peace, in a place of worship.
I've had to make statements like this too many times. Communities like this have had to endure tragedies like this too many times. We don't have all the facts, but we do know that, once again, innocent people were killed in part because someone who wanted to inflict harm had no trouble getting their hands on a gun.
But let's be clear, at some point we, as a country, will have to reckon with the fact that this type of mass violence does not happen in other advanced countries.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ANA CABRERA, CNN ANCHOR: Again, nine people killed. And among the victims who have been identified so far, speech therapist Sharonda Singleton, who you'll see on the right in this picture. And a recent graduate of Allen University, Tywanza Sanders, the youngest of the victims. Also killed, the church's pastor and a state senator, the Reverend Clementa Pinckney. Described as a giant and a legend. And we've just learned Cynthia Hurd is also among the victims. A long-time library manager in Charleston.
This senseless crime bringing the South Carolina governor to tears.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GOV. NIKKI HALEY (R), SOUTH CAROLINA: We woke up today and the heart and soul of South Carolina was broken. And so we have some grieving to do and we've got some pain we have to go through. Parents are having to explain to their kids how they can go to church and feel safe. And that is not something we ever thought we'd deal with.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BERMAN: You can hear the emotion in Governor Nikki Haley's voice. You could hear the emotion all night from the mayor, Mayor Riley, as well as the police chief here. It was - it was a very stressful night for them in this city.
The manhunt did end, though, again, in Shelby, North Carolina, about a four-hour drive from here. The police held a news conference releasing details about this apprehension. And Martin Savidge, who's with me right now, was at that news conference.
What are we learning about the suspect and how they caught him?
MARTIN SAVIDGE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: We know that he was essentially caught thanks to a tremendous amount of media coverage and a tip that came from the public. I mean that's the way it all went down. It happened around 11:30 this morning, according to the Charleston police chief. And this was Shelby, as you point out. That's a rural area of North Carolina. And they say that apparently there was a person who knew either the car to look for or certainly knew about the shooting and called authorities.
Well, up there, it was a local police officer that made the stop or went up to Dylann and he was taken into custody. No violence. And that is key here because that is what everyone in this community was so worried because if any man would go inside and murder people in a church, as he's alleged to have done, the fear is there is no limit in what he may do if he's cornered. And apparently in this particular case, he gave himself up. There were some who thought he might take his own life. That did not happen. So, we're still just learning as to who this young person is and right now authorities have been more focused on finding him than finding out who he is.
[14:04:58] BERMAN: You know, it's interesting because the area around the church is still closed down. It is still a crime scene. But when I got here this morning, there was a large police tactical vehicle, a command center truck, that has since gone, perhaps indicating that the investigation, at least part of it, is over.
SAVIDGE: Well, there was some initial concern, they thought, perhaps, he had remained in the Charleston area because they didn't initially get sightings. They didn't get people saying, oh, I know who that is and I know where he is. So there was some thought that maybe he was in the immediate area, which is why you had that heavy presence. But then they also, as you have to, they began putting out, you know, BOLOs. They began telling other departments and other places to be on the lookout. But again, the key here was that it was a civilian. It was somebody who saw something that just seemed out of place, didn't seem right, and they phoned it in.
BERMAN: And to be clear, what authorities tell us is that this suspect went into this church, he said he wanted to kill black people. That is what we were being told. He apparently also kept someone alive, we are told, because he wanted that witness to tell the world what had happened. It gives you a sense of just how diabolical they believe this suspect is.
SAVIDGE: That is. I mean that's - when I read that, you - you literally do feel a sense of chill, of someone that would be cold and calculating and would make that kind of a statement and do that kind of an act. Which also, again, leads to why the authorities were so concerned what he might do next. But then what did we find out? He really didn't go that far, not with the amount of time that he had since the shooting, and it's unclear whether he was planning some sort of explosive violent ending. It didn't seem that way.
BERMAN: He had a gun in the car?
SAVIDGE: He did. But here's what we don't know. Was it the weapon that was used in the attack? You could presume it may be, but the authorities won't speak anything about it. They haven't even identified what kind of weapons was used. Are we talking about a rifle or we talking about a handgun? They won't say for certain. How many shots were fired? That would be another critical factor to find out. They are reticent to tell anything right now that would harm the prosecution, because that's where they're headed next.
BERMAN: That's where it is next. And he's in North Carolina. He will be brought here to South Carolina.
SAVIDGE: We'll have to see if he fights extradition or tries in any way to delay his return.
BERMAN: That is the next step.
Martin Savidge, thanks so much for those details. Appreciate it.
Anywhere on the streets here in Charleston, you hear people discussing what happened behind me. This church, again, has been a pillar of community for more than 150 years. It has touched so many lives. And the events here brought out a lot of emotion. Let's listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We are community trying to live and survive. Why do we have to live like this?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You tell our people to go be - go to work, do right, go to church. These people were in church. They were in church.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: In church.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And they - and they're - and they violated the sanctity of that.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: One of the things that I've seen so far here tonight was everybody praying together. It didn't matter what color you are. Everybody praying together, joining hands. And we're going to continue to do that.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BERMAN: So you can hear what the events here have done to this community.
I'm joined now by a leader here, the Reverend Thomas Dixon.
Reverend Dixon, thanks so much for being with us.
REV. THOMAS DIXON, CO-FOUNDER, PEOPLE UNITED TO TAKE BACK OUR COMMUNITY: Yes. Thank you for having me.
BERMAN: Just your general reaction to what happened here behind us the night that passed here and the news that the suspect is now in custody.
DIXON: It's been a very rigorous night. I got on scene last night around 10:00 and I didn't get home until around 4:00 and right back again here at 6:00. Last night there was very sketchy information coming out, really nothing. The only thing that we - we knew was that, first off, it was really bad and then we got word that there were actually nine - nine fatalities involved in this - in this shooting. As the story progressed, we learned that one was our state senator and the pastor of the church, Clementa Pinkney. Three other preachers involved also. And it was a - carnage - just carnage, bloodshed.
BERMAN: You know, I think we need to focus on those we have lost. These people, by the way, ironically, who would be so helpful in healing the pain of this community today.
BERMAN: There's the Reverend Clementa Pinckney. There was Sharonda Singleton, who I understand was a speech therapist but also served as a reverend here.
BERMAN: Tywanza Sanders, a young graduate of Allen University. And then Cynthia Hurd is the other name that we have right now -
BERMAN: Who worked at a local library in the library system for over 31 years. These are people who are the fabric of the community. DIXON: Yes. Yes, yes, this was - this has done damage. This has done a
lot of damage. But also its opened up the door for healing, too. You know, unfortunately, at times like this, the community has a renewed opportunity to come together and to stand together and to have one concerted voice together against atrocities such as this. We don't have to tolerate this. But the thing is, there are a lot of times these - these situations go unchecked because the community is unwilling to come together and say we're not going to tolerate this anymore.
BERMAN: Have you had a chance to speak to the families of those who were lost here?
DIXON: Only extremely briefly last night for a couple of minutes. Just enough time to give them a hug and tell them I love them and I'm praying for them.
BERMAN: How they doing?
DIXON: They're - as far as I know, they're holding up well because they know that the community is standing up behind them. And not only the community locally, the community nationally. And thank you all for what you're doing also because it's actually helping with the healing process here locally and by extension nationally.
[14:10:11] BERMAN: What are the questions you're hearing in your congregation this morning?
DIXON: Questions such as conspiracy theories. Was he alone in this? Do you think that there might have been another anterior motive involved in this? That's one of the prominent questions that's being raised right now for myself. And all last night it was the question of the hate crime. I really - I couldn't - I couldn't address that issue until I had more facts. Now the facts that have came out today about his motives clearly says that this was all about hate of black people.
BERMAN: Reverend Thomas Dixon, thanks so much for being with us. Sometimes, you know, there's no answer. Sometimes there's just evil.
DIXON: Exactly. Thank you.
BERMAN: Reverend, appreciate it.
DIXON: Really appreciate you.
BERMAN: Ana, let's go back to you.
CABRERA: Such a tragedy. Nine people died and we're continuing to learn more and more of the identities of the victims. I do want to mention, just in, we've now learned the fifth name of the victims in this shooting, Myra Thompson. And this is confirmed by Bishop Alfonsa Gason (ph) who was notified by the victim's family. And she describes Myra Thompson as a person who loved the Lord and her every objective was to please him in all she did. She was teaching Bible study when she was killed, we're told.
Now, Martin Luther King Jr. famously spoke at this very church. His daughter Bernice is going to join us, next.
Plus, more on the investigation. You'll hear from someone who actually knows the suspect.
And we're hearing new details about how police caught him. Stay with us.
[14:16:09] BERMAN: Behind me is the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church, Emanuel AME, known as (INAUDIBLE) the city of Charleston.
Earlier today, we heard President Obama say he knows people who prayed here, who worked here. And, of course, the Reverend Martin Luther King Jr., we saw a picture that was tweeted earlier today by the King Center of where he preached in this church behind me in the 1960s. It has been that central to this community.
There was a slave revolt lead by one of the founders here. This was a site on the Underground Railroad. And this was one of the sites where people sought refuge, where African-Americans in this community sought refuge for so long.
I'm joined now by Bernice King, the daughter of the Reverend Martin Luther King Jr., the CEO of the King Center.
And, Ms. King, overnight you've been watching the developments here. I think you've been sensing the scope of this tragedy for the people here in this community.
BERNICE KING, DAUGHTER OF MARTIN LUTHER KING JR. (via telephone): Yes, I have. And let me just say, my condolences go out to all of the families that have been impacted by this horrific act, as well as especially I want to say for the daughters of Pastor Senator Pinckney because, of course, I lost my father to gun violence and so I know this is a very difficult time for them and their mother as well and rest - as well as the rest of the families that have lost their loved ones.
When I - when I heard about this, of course my heart was very heavy. And, you know, I really think this is a time that we have to begin to do serious examination in this nation to look at, you know, the issues of racism and hate and violence and what we may have - what we may be doing to create a culture of violence in this nation. My father, in fact, as we heard President Obama state, said in the eulogy for the four girls killed in the 16th Street Baptist Church bombing, we must be concerned not merely about who murdered them, but about the system, the way of life, the philosophy which produced the murders. And I think we're at that place now in America where we really have to look at the system, the way of life and the philosophy that produces these kinds of acts.
And I know that we are committed at the King Center through our Nonviolence365, a program and initiative to educate and train people about my father's non-violence philosophy and principles. It's helping people to understand it's more than just a social justice tactic, but it really is a way of life, hence why we call it Nonviolence365. And so we do educate and train. And until we become more astute in his philosophy and methodology, I think, unfortunately, we're going to see incidents more and more like this.
BERMAN: Ms. King, you did note your father is a victim of gun violence.
BERMAN: Your grandmother also, I believe, died in a church.
BERMAN: What would you say to these families who have lost their loved ones today? How do they get through today and tomorrow and the weeks going forward?
KING: Well, you know, it's a one-day-at-a-time process. You have to allow yourself to grieve. That's the first, most important thing. I always tell people in the face of death and loss and especially tragedy, you have to allow yourself to feel what you feel. And it's important that you surround yourself with people who love you and will allow you that opportunity.
But more importantly, one of the things that my grandfather was good at doing when he - when we had these tragedies in our family, he would pull us together and he said this very powerful statement, and that was, be thankful for what you have left. And I didn't understand that as a child. But as I've had more and more losses in - as an adult, I now understand what he meant is that, you know, although we've lost these precious loved ones, thank God we have the memories and the experiences that we had with them that are still with us, but we also have other loved ones and - who may be family and/or friends who are with us right by our side to help us get through this.
[14:20:36] And so, you know, I pray for the healing and it's not something that's going to come tomorrow. But every day, you know, I pray that they will find a sense of peace in the midst of all of this and you turn this into almost like a mission to begin the process of seeing how we can redeem the lives or the deaths of those who we've lost.
BERMAN: I know the people here in this community agree with you that in some ways their work is beginning anew today.
BERMAN: Bernice King, thank you so much for your wisdom, thank you so much for your time, I really appreciate it.
KING: Thank you and thank you for having me.
BERMAN: All right. Ana, let's go back to you.
CABRERA: All right, thanks so much, John. Of course, Dr. King's legacy and his memory and his message so
relevant still today as it was just 50 years ago.
And just ahead, I'm joined by a former FBI special agent to talk more about what's next in this investigation now that they have a suspect in custody and what can officers learn from their interrogation of this suspect. So, stay with us.
[14:26:03] CABRERA: The massacre at Emanuel AME Church happened around 9:00 last night. Police have since arrested the shooting suspect. That happened just a few hours ago around 11:00 a.m. Eastern. He was tracked down in this rural area outside of Charlotte, North Carolina, about three hours away from where this shooting happened. And as he announced the arrest of 21-year-old Dylann Roof, Charleston police chief showed signs of the pressure and the personal toll that those 14 hours put on him.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CHIEF GREG MULLEN, CHARLESTON, SOUTH CAROLINA POLICE: We have not only FBI agents there, but we also have SLED and city of Charleston detectives preparing to fly to Shelby, North Carolina, to begin the interview process, as well as evidence recovery.
This case could not have been cleared as quickly as it has been if it had not been for the cooperation, the unparalleled cooperation of all the different agencies that were involved in this investigation. I cannot say how thankful I am and how appreciative I am of all the people who have come together.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CABRERA: It's emotional for everybody. Joining me now to discuss this investigation moving forward, our national correspondent Deborah Feyerick. Also with us, former FBI special agent Jonathan Gilliam.
Jonathan, I want to start with you, because we just heard the police chief talk about what's going to be an interrogation process that's about to play out.
JONATHAN GILLIAM, FORMER FBI SPECIAL AGENT & FORMER AIR MARSHAL: right.
CABRERA: Walk us through what that might be like.
GILLIAM: So it's important to understand what interrogation is versus interviewing. When I interview you, I'm trying to collect some information. I'm not changing the environment that you're in at all. When we take you in and we interrogate you, we are putting you in a sterile environment and we're trying to create an environment that we can handle and we can manipulate.
And so what's going on with this individual now is that you have multiple officers in and around him coming in and out of the room or talking to him and handling him and trying to, you know, really, you'd be very surprised, put him at ease so that he feels comfortable to talk to you. It's not like in the movies, necessarily, where you have the good cop/bad cop. This is something really where you have to build a trust between you and this individual who has done a heinous thing, but you have to build a trust, if possible, so that you can get the information that you need. And you also need to make them aware of what they've done, especially somebody who probably, in this case, has some mental issues, if you can, convince them of what they've done wrong so that they'll -- the guilt side will eventually come out and they'll confess.
CABRERA: Again, this arrest happened about 14 hours after the shooting. The suspect found about three hours or three and a half plus hours from the crime scene itself.
Deb, you have been breaking the news of this arrest since it first happened. We know that the suspect was taken into custody without incident. He was cooperative. What more have you learned about how that all unfolded?
DEBORAH FEYERICK, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, one thing that investigators are also going to have to look at is where was he during those 14 hours because, as you say, the location was about four hours driving distance, about 245 miles from the scene. What we do know is that police officers received be on the lookout bulletin, it's called a BOLO, and local police in Shelby identified the vehicle, pulled it over and they realized that it was Dylann Roof. They took him out of the car. A gun was discovered. And we are learning from a law enforcement source that, in fact, the father had bought Roof a .45 caliber gun for his 21st birthday. It's not clear whether the .45 caliber was actually the gun that was discovered in the vehicle, though that is the gun that was mentioned to me when I had these discussions. Also not clear whether that .45 was the gun that was used at the massacre at the church. And what an ATF official tells me is that ballistic investigators are really going to have to run tests on that gun to see whether shell casings match - that were found at the massacre scene, in fact, match whatever gun Dylann Roof may have had in his possession, whether it be the .45 caliber or whether it be another gun.
[14:30:05] But they are going to have to look at where he was in that 14 hour period, whether he returned to home, whether he returned to another location.