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Erin Burnett Outfront

Awaiting NYPD News Conference On Subway Shooting; NYPD Seeking 62-Year-Old "Person Of Interest" In NYC Subway Shooting; Reports Of Possible Chemical Attack In Mariupol Being Investigated; Putin Critic, Who Says He Was Twice Poisoned, Arrested And Sentenced. Aired 7-8p ET

Aired April 12, 2022 - 19:00   ET


WOLF BLITZER, CNN HOST: A significant development, indeed. Paula Reid with all the latest information. Paula, thank you very much. Appreciate it very, very much. Let's stay on top of this story. I'm Wolf Blitzer in "THE SITUATION ROOM." Erin Burnett OUTFRONT starts right now.

KATE BOLDUAN, CNN HOST: OUTFRONT next breaking news, a manhunt underway in New York City after a gunman opened fire inside of busy subway car. At least 29 people hospitalized and tonight we're learning investigators have identified the suspect. We're awaiting an NYPD press conference as we speak.

Also more breaking news, President Biden says Putin is committing genocide. A word Biden and most of his allies have not used. So if it's genocide, what is the U.S. willing to do about it?

Plus, a top Putin critic who survived two suspected poisonings arrested outside his Moscow home. His wife is speaking out tonight. She's our guest. Let's go OUTFRONT.

Good evening, everyone. I'm Kate Bolduan in for Erin Burnett.

OUTFRONT tonight breaking news, intensifying manhunt. Right now we are awaiting an NYPD press conference scheduled to start truly any minute and any moment. This comes as CNN is learning investigators have identified the shooter who opened fire inside a subway car in Brooklyn, sending at least 29 people to the hospital.

Sources tell CNN that he was identified through a credit card that was dropped at the scene this morning. The NYPD's bomb squad is now looking at a U-Haul van that was reserved with that credit card before the gunman carried out this mass shooting. And for the first time tonight, CNN is hearing from someone who was wounded in this mass shooting.

Hourari Benkada, he says that he sat next to the shooter when he got onto the train and just about 20 seconds later the gunman set off a smoke bomb and started firing. The lifelong New Yorker telling CNN after he got out of surgery tonight this, "I feel shocked, I feel shaky, I don't know if I can ever ride a train."

Several major cities across the country are increasing patrols at mass transit systems after the shooting and urging the public to be on alert. President Biden addressed this terrifying incident just moments ago.


JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We're grateful for all the first responders who jumped into action including civilians. We're not letting up on it till we find out and we find the perpetrator.


BOLDUAN: Shimon Prokupecz is OUTFRONT for us tonight. Shimon, you are standing by for that press conference. It should begin really any time, but what are you learning?

SHIMON PROKUPECZ, CNN CRIME & JUSTICE REPORTER: Yes, Kate. What we're hearing from officials is that the gunman picking perhaps the worst time to open fire in a crowded subway car. He did it at a time when the train was coming into the station at one point even briefly, stopping before it entered the station, trapping dozens of passengers inside that smoke filled subway car.

And so now officials are telling us they are going to have this press conference here. We were supposed to get it some time ago, but now there has been some delays and so officials say that they will be having this press conference soon.

What we have learned from officials is that they have recovered the weapon that they believe was used in this shooting. They have recovered the smoke canister that the suspect use as well as a bag filled with some kind of fireworks and other smoke canister. They also recovered high capacity magazines.

But as you said, a key piece of information for them that they recovered was this credit card. A credit card that they believe the alleged shooter dropped in a panic as he was fleeing the subway stop. And they almost immediately within hours of this shooting were able to identify him and then link him to this U-Haul that he rented and they say that is how this all started to unravel and that is how official started putting pieces together about learning who the person they believe is responsible.

As you said, many, many people still remain in the hospital. Some of them have been released. Some of them suffering from smoke inhalation. Some of them suffering from shrapnel wounds and also just trying to get away. Just the sheer panic, the terrified moments inside that subway car, that smoky subway car as passengers were trying to flee.

Officials here say they responded fairly quickly and that perhaps save live. They also say, the other thing here, Kate, is that the gunman's gun, the gun that he used jammed and they think this could have been far worse had that not happened.

BOLDUAN: It's a terrifying prospect of where we would be and what we would be looking at if that gun had not jammed. On the U-Haul, Shimon, is there any detail yet of what they have found, if anything in it? I know that at first they were warning to - they were telling people to be on the lookout. They were saying do not approach or approach very carefully if you find this vehicle.


PROKUPECZ: Right. We don't have any information what they found inside. But as you can imagine, they want to make sure there's not some kind of booby trap in there that he may be leading authorities there to try and lure them in and hurt them in any way, so they're taking some precautions, that's why they've pushed people back and so you have the bomb squad there.

So they're going to do their work through robots and other ways to make sure there's nothing inside that van that could cause harm to them and obviously explodes. So we don't know what's inside there yet and how they even came to find that U-Haul.

But remember, they put out an alert to the city to people here in New York City saying they were looking for this U-Haul. We had reported it. The police put out an alert along with the NYPD. Their officers notifying them that they were looking for this U-Haul. But it's just remarkable how quickly they were able to put all of this together and really learn so much about this individual so quickly.

And we had some indications early on and talking to sources that they knew who they believed to be the suspect. Police have not released any information about him and that's in part because they say they don't want him to know that they're onto him and so they're going to continue to look for him. They have some good leads, so hopefully this could get wrapped up tonight.

BOLDUAN: All right. Shimon stick with me. We're going to dip in now. It looks like this presser is finally getting it away.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm here to provide an update on the ongoing investigation into the shooting that occurred earlier today in Brooklyn. We're going to hear from Police Commissioner of the City of New York, Keechant Sewell, Chief of Department Kenneth Corey, we First Deputy Commissioner Ed Caban here, Chief of Detectives James Essig will update us on the investigation.

We also have Assistant Director in Charge of the FBI, in Charge of the New York office, Mike Driscoll and the JTTF efforts are with the NYPD that are ongoing as well as the Special Agent in Charge of the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms, John DeVito. But we'll begin with word from Gracie Mansion from the Mayor of the City of New York Eric Adams.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We can't hear him. He's talking. Okay. He's talking but we cannot hear the Mayor.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Okay. Hang on a second. We'll work on the audio on our end.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (Inaudible) ...


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We're having audio difficulties. What we're going to do is we will get - we're going to come to the Police Commissioner and when we resolve the audio (inaudible) ...

BOLDUAN: All right. They clearly are having technical difficulties. We're going to stick ...

SEWELL: Thank you all for (inaudible) ...

BOLDUAN: ... well, actually, let's listen to the Policeman Commissioner.

SEWELL: ... get this information out to the public is so important. We are truly fortunate that this was not significantly worse than it is. As we reported this afternoon, a man who was traveling on a Manhattan bound N train opened two canisters that dispense smoke throughout the subway car. He then shot multiple passengers as the train pulled into the 36th Street Station in Sunset Park.

Ten people were injured by gunfire and an additional 13 were either injured as they rushed to get out of the train station or they suffered smoke inhalation. Some good news is that none of the injuries appear to be life threatening. As detectives process the crime scene they recovered a nine millimeter semi-automatic handgun, extended magazines and a hatchet. Also found is a liquid we believe to be gasoline and a bag containing consumer grade fireworks and a hobby fuse.

About an hour ago, detectives located a U-Haul van in Brooklyn that we believe is connected to the suspect. At this time, we still do not know the suspect's motivation. Clearly, this individual boarded the train and was intent on violence. We're conducting a highly coordinated investigation that includes NYPD detectives, the FBI NYPD Joint Terrorism Task Force and the ATF ...


... who have been instrumental in tracing the firearm and ballistics. The suspect is a dark skinned male and was wearing a neon orange vest and a gray colored sweatshirt. We do have a person of interest in this investigation. But we need the public assistance with additional information. We're asking anyone with information to call Crime Stoppers at 800-577-TIPS.

We know this incident is of grave concern to New Yorkers. We cannot lose sight of victims in this city. We will use every resource we can to bring those to justice who continue to prey on the citizens of New York. I'll ask Chief James Essig to come in and give details of the investigation.

JAMES ESSIG, NYPD CHIEF OF DETECTIVES: Good evening, everybody. Today at 8:24 am, aboard of Manhattan bound N train, 10 people were shot, seven males, three females and they were removed to area hospitals. An additional 13 people suffered injuries related to smoke inhalation falling down or a panic attack. The information I'm about to give you was preliminary and it's subject to change right now.

As that end train was between stations 59th Street and the 36th Street stations, seated in the second car in the rear corner was a dark skinned male, various descriptions of his height are given. He is heavyset, wearing an orange green nylon tight construction vest. He also had on a gray hoodie, a surgical mask and a neon green construction helmet.

As the train approached the 36th Street Station, witnesses state the mail opened up to smoke grenades, tossed them on the subway floor brandishes a Glock 9 millimeter handgun. He then fired that weapon at least 33 times, striking 10 people. The male then fled the scene and detectives are actively trying to determine his whereabouts.

Recovered at that scene was a Glock 17 9 millimeter handgun, three extended Glock-type magazines. One was still in the weapon, one under the seat and one in a backpack. We had 33 discharge shell cases, 15 bullets, five bullet fragments, two detonated smoke grenades, two non- detonated smoke grenades, a hatchet, a black garbage can, a black mil- type style rolling clothe, the gasoline and a U-Haul key.

The U-Haul key at the scene led us to the recovery of a U-Haul van a short while ago in Brooklyn. The male who we believe is the renter of this U-Haul in Philadelphia is a Frank R. James, male, 62 years old with addresses in Wisconsin and Philadelphia. We are endeavoring to locate them to determine his connection to the subway shooting, if any.

The two crime scenes, the subway and the van are very active and are still being processed. We are asking for anyone's help with information, cell phone video, witness information or any if they can identify the perpetrator or the renter of this vehicle to call Crime Stoppers at one 800-577-TIPS.

There is a $50,000 reward out right now, 25,000 from the New York City Police Foundation, 12,500 from the MTA and 12,500 from the TWA local 100. I just want to assure everyone that we in the NYPD have all our resources working this along with our partners in the FBI and the ATF to find this perpetrator. With that I'd like to turn it over to Mike Driscoll ...

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We're going to turn (inaudible) ...

ESSIG: ... oh, the Mayor? Okay.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: ... (inaudible) that issue.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Mr. Mayor, we're ready for you.

MAYOR ERIC ADAMS (D) NEW YORK: Thank you, Commissioner and Chief. As we indicated, today was a difficult day for New York.


Days like these are playing out too often in cities across America. As mentioned this morning we witnessed a smack of violence and evil in the heart of Brooklyn where a shooter attack this subway full of innocent people at the 36th Street station.

We saw a quiet Tuesday morning turn (inaudible) into a war zone as a smoke bomb was detonated and multiple shots ring out. We witnessed 20 individuals have been (inaudible) so far as it was mentioned. And thanks to the quick thinking of the MTA crew and the bravery and cooperation of passengers, lives were saved. And thanks to our first responders, the injured were quickly taken to area hospitals and all of them expected to recover.

You know I have been realistic and outspoken about my commitment to protecting public safety. I stand by that and will continue to do everything in my power to dam the rivers that feed the sea of violence. But this is not only a New York City problem. This rage, this violence, these guns, these relentless shooters are an American problem and it's going to take all levels of government to solve it.

It is going to take the entire nation to speak out and push back against the cult of death (ph) that has taken hold in this nation. A cult that allows innocence to be sacrificed on a daily basis. A country where buying weapons of mass destruction is as easy as picking up a piece of plywood or garden shovel, a country where there are more guns than people.

There are over 400 million guns in this country alone. The U.S. gun homicide rate is 26 times that of other high income countries. We are over a hundred people die in gun violence every day. Guns are the leading cause of death for American children and teens (inaudible) 16- year-old baby (inaudible) in the Bronx.

From schools in Columbine, Sandy Hook in Virginia to music festivals in Las Vegas, to nightclubs in Orlando, to movie theaters and yoga classes across the nation, these killers have used weapons of mass destruction to massacre innocent people. They control no armies or military forces. Yet these individual killers terrorize our nation.

I want to say that this city is not going to adapt to dysfunction. Ending gun violence means changing gun laws. We cannot clean up a flood when the water is still pouring into the basement. And we can never stop the killing, if we cannot stop the guns.

To be clear, we will not submit our city to divine (ph) view and we will not surrender all of America to this cult of death. The sea of violence comes from many rivers. We must dam every river that feeds the greater crisis. That is the root of my life. this administration and this police department and we're not stopping till peace we deserve becomes a reality we experience.

You have my word as a former police officer, a fellow New Yorker and your Mayor that we will end this epidemic and that we'll capture the individual responsible for today's attack. We will capture him and prosecute him to the full extent of the law. Thank you, NYPD, FDNY, our first responders and in collaboration from the federal government, the state, the city agencies.

SEWELL: Thank you, Mr. Mayor. I'd like to turn it over to Assistant Special Agent in Charge at the FBI in New York office Michael Driscoll.

MIKE DRISCOLL, ASSISTANT SPECIAL AGENT IN CHARGE, FBI NEW YORK OFFICE: Thank you, Commissioner. I want to start by expressing our hopes and prayers that the victims of this event will enjoy a quick recovery. They are our primary focus right now. I also want to echo the thanks for the partnership to the NYPD, the ATF and all the partners who are contributing to this investigation.

Right now the FBI, NYPD Joint Terrorism Task Force is fully engaged with this investigation, providing assistance through manpower, technical assistance and basically everything we can throw at it. We expect the process to be alone one as we gather all possible information to track down all possible leads. And I would encourage you as it was mentioned earlier to please reach out to the NYPD tip line at 1800-577-TIPS.

And I would also add as frequently the case in many - of our current investigations, everyone's got a cell phone in their pocket. There's a lot of video out there. If you have digital information that you'd like to share with us in connection with this investigation, please visit where you can upload that information.


So we are seeking the public's help. You heard mentioned before the name of possible interest. Videos would be particularly helpful or any other additional witnesses who have yet to come forward that can provide information that might help this investigation. So thank you for your participation and I thank everyone for their partnership in the course of the investigation. Thank you.

SEWELL: We'll take a couple of questions.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes, Commissioner Sewell, (inaudible) that he fled on foot after abandoning the van (inaudible)?

SEWELL: We are not sure where he went at this point. That is subject to investigation. We have a number of resources that are combing on foot and doing video canvases as well to determine where he went.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'm sorry. (Inaudible) posted videos online talking about (inaudible) to the Mayor's mental health program (inaudible)?

SEWELL: So based on some preliminary information, there were some postings possibly connected to our person of interest where he mentions homelessness, he mentions New York and he does mention Mayor Adams and as a result of that an abundance of caution we're going to tighten (inaudible) security detail.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (Inaudible) ...

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Just to be clear, so this person, Frank James, he's not the person of interest that was in custody at this moment? SEWELL: (Inaudible) answer that.

ESSIG: We have no one in custody at this time. No. We are looking for Frank James. We know he rented this U-Haul van. The key of that U-Haul van was found at the crime scene in the subway.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And Mr. James made those social media posts?

ESSIG: We're poring through the but, yes, correct.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: (Inaudible) N train, is that correct?

ESSIG: We are looking to determine if he has any connection to the train. We know Mr. James rented that U-Haul truck in Philadelphia.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (Inaudible) ...

SEWELL: So we're not calling them threats. He made some concerning posts or someone made some concerning posts, we cannot attribute it to that individual yet. That's under investigation. But again on, in an abundance of caution, we're going to tighten (inaudible) security detail, that's all.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (Inaudible) ...

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Does he have - Commissioner, does he have any connection at all to (inaudible) worker and any connection whatsoever to that subway station (inaudible) ...

SEWELL: That is subject to investigation. We don't have that information yet.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Does he have a criminal record?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (Inaudible) ...

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Does he have a criminal record (inaudible) ...

ESSIG: Mr. James is just a person of interest we know right now who rented that U-Haul van in Philadelphia. The keys to that U-Haul van were found in the subway, in our shooter's possessions. We don't know right now if Mr. James has any connection to the subway. That's still under investigation.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (Inaudible) ...

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Chief Essig, do you have any - what they call robust DNA evidence from the crime scene or (inaudible) ...

ESSIG: The crime scene is still being processed. Now the van is being processed and the subway crime scene is being processed, but we - it's too early right now to tell.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (Inaudible) ...

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Can you just (inaudible) where this U-Haul was located, was it nearby and also (inaudible) you're investigating these videos, can you confirm that it is him in the video or people (inaudible) ...

ESSIG: The video - the YouTube videos or the videos on (inaudible), there's a man who posted there, Frank James. We're still working to see if that's our person who rented the video (ph).

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And where was he You-Haul located?

ESSIG: Kings Highway in Brooklyn.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Kings Highway (inaudible) ...

ESSIG: 30 - West Brooklyn Kings Highway.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Is there anything more you can tell us about the content of the post (inaudible) said about the Mayor (inaudible) ...

SEWELL: They were general topics of concern and I don't want to go into too many details about the Mayor's security detail. We're just doing it just to be on the safe side.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And this video detail about homelessness, you mentioned that he (inaudible) about homelessness.

SEWELL: Complaints about homelessness, complaints about New York, nothing in general. I'm sorry. Just general comments that caused us some concern, that is subject to investigation at this point.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (Inaudible) ...

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Why was there no working surveillance cameras in the station? Why didn't police radios (inaudible) in station, how much did those factors hamper this investigation?

ESSIG: Yes. We know that there were three stations that the video wasn't working. We're still investigating that to see why or how those - whether it was a mechanical problem or electrical issue, why those videos weren't up.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (Inaudible) ...

ESSIG: There was no issues with police radio.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (Inaudible) reports that one of the first officers on scene (inaudible) who call 911.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes. So patrol officers - so officers work topside, if you will, in patrol precincts, when they go down the station they have to switch frequencies, it's a UHF versus VHF.


So if they didn't switch the radio over to the VHF frequency, they would not be able to transmit them in the subway station. So it's user error. It wasn't a problem with the actual radio. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Bloomberg News.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: How many officers assigned to the 36th Station and were there any officers in the station at all (inaudible) ...

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So we don't typically assign officers to subway stations, officers patrol on a rotating basis. They ride trains. They come out. They patrol the stations. Patrol officers from the precinct stop, go down. They do station inspections. We've been doing that since January, so that station was patrolled several times today. There were no officers present in the station at the time of the shooting, but it had been patrolled several times on this calendar date prior to the shooting in the early morning hours.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What do we know about Mr. James and (inaudible) in New York City?

ESSIG: We know Mr. James has addresses in Wisconsin and Philadelphia as far as New York, it's still under investigation, but he's just a person of interest right now in this case.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (Inaudible) when he enter the station and is he on video anywhere after the fact?

ESSIG: We know the shooter was - entered the station on Kings Highway, so we're asking for anybody who knows from Kings Highway, the 35th Street, these eight stops, anybody who sees him with any information, please call Crime Stoppers.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And where was James last scene? Is that clear? Is he on video at all?

ESSIG: We literally have hundreds of detectives out in the field right now poring through video at train stations. The (inaudible) recovery sites of the vehicle, so we hope to have clearer pictures of who we believe is shooter.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Two more questions, CNN.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (Inaudible) be trace back to Mr. James at all and is there any (inaudible) ...

ESSIG: Well, that's - as far as pulling the trigger, that still are under investigation. As far as the firearm is concerned, we know it's not part of a (inaudible), we know it's not stolen. We're working with our partners in the ATF to track back to the point of sale and then move forward on that gun.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (Inaudible) your physical description of James, does it match the description authority put out today?

ESSIG: Again, as I said we - there was to smoke grenades thrown. We have various descriptions of height. I gave the description out of the man with the vest. We're looking through all possible leads on our person of interest.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (Inaudible) social media see through photos of the person of interest posted. All right. Thank you very much.

ESSIG: Thank you, everyone.

BOLDUAN: All right. We've just been listening to the latest update from the NYPD on the Brooklyn subway shooting this morning. Shimon Prokupecz is back with me. Shimon has been on the scene all day and he's been listening in to this press conference as well. Shimon, a lot of information that we just got here.

PROKUPECZ: A lot of information and you can see in the hours since this happened how the NYPD and the FBI have been working backwards to figure so much out and they have. They know what subway stop he got on at the Kings Highway station. So it's about eight stops to get to this location here.

Interestingly enough and I think this is an important point to make, they are being very cautious in calling him a person of interest. They're not saying that at this point, they believe that he was directly involved in this shooting, but they are calling him a person of interest. And that could be for many, many reasons why they're doing that.

But what they say is that they found those three extended magazines and that the suspect here, the shooter fired 33 times. Think about that, Kate, 33 times in this subway car, about 50 or so people in there, jam-packed, doors closed, smoke grenades. He set off two smoke grenades, they say.

So can you - just the sheer panic and fear and just how horrific this must have been for these passengers inside this car. And it is - the point that he chose to do this which is even more sinister and more evil, when you think about it, he chose to do this at a time when the doors were closed, as a subway car was rolling into the station.

Some other information they revealed they found two other smoke grenades that weren't detonated. They found hatchet, gasoline, fireworks. There is now a $50,000 reward seeking this individual. They've identified him as Frank James calling him a person of interest.


They say that he rented this u-haul in Philadelphia. And they now found it at this Kings Highway area.

And so, the hunt is on, they're so looking for him. They don't know where he is, they say, but they are searching for him and they're hoping that by releasing his name and photos, that the public will see him and perhaps they can get some information.

But certainly, these details about what they found and the number of shots that were fired and the method and how he went about -- the gunman went about doing this is certainly just so scary and horrific to hear all these details, Kate.

BOLDUAN: Absolutely. A hatchet, gasoline found as well. All of it adding together to make what the commissioner said off the top, we can understand now why she said it which is, it's truly fortunate this was not significantly worse than it already is.

Shimon is there, Shimon, thank you so much.

Let me add to the conversation, let me bring in right now, Tim Clemente, he's a former FBI counterterrorism agent. He was part of the search team who tracked down the Olympic Park bomber, Eric Rudolph.

Also with us, Juliette Kayyem, CNN national security analyst and former assistant secretary for the Department of Homeland Security. And also with us is Peter Licata, former FBI supervisory special agent.

Tim, let me start with you.

Let's start with the person of interest. NYPD could not have been more careful to make sure to say, right now they would like to speak with him because they he is connected to the U-Haul. He is the name on the rental for the U-Haul. They are not calling him a suspect. They are not calling him the shooter.

Talk to me about why this is.

TIM CLEMENTE, FORMER FBI SPECIAL AGENT: Well, they said they have a couple of images of the shooter. So they know the shooter looks like from witness testimony and also apparently from a couple of images. And those images may not match whatever they can find in drivers license records or whatever that they have on this person of interest. So what they have is circumstantial evidence connecting him to the crime.

The fact that he rented a vehicle, the keys for the vehicle were found in the possession of or in the possessions but behind by the shooter. The vehicle was left in the proximity of him entering the subway station or where he's playing to leave. So that's circumstantial evidence but it certainly very damning circumstantial evidence.

So, unless this guy has this great alibi that someone stole the vehicle and stole the keys, or he lent it somebody he doesn't know. There's very little likelihood that is not going to be in some way to this assault, this attack, this horrific event.

BOLDUAN: Yeah. Juliette, what's stood out to you most from this press conference addition to that? Firing at least 33 times in such a small space packed with people, it's a horrifying image to think of.

JULIETTE KAYYEM, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: Right, there is a tremendous amount of luck in what unfolded today whether the gun got locked and he was unable to continue. The two takeaways from me -- the sheer amount of weaponry, not just

guns that were in the suspect's possession in terms of the smoke, the smoke bomb, the grenade or some sort of explosive material, a hatchet, gasoline, it's like a litany of things that will kill a lot of people. So, we have to assume that he is going to -- he wanted to do more.

The second just to explain to people, why, that presser was a little bit complicated. Is James the same person as a suspect? The reason why the NYPD is not saying they're not viewing him as a suspect you know may seem obvious is to call in a suspect, there's a benefit to them now because if he, if there is someone else out there who actually committed the crimes, they just made it very hard to make a prosecution.

So that is why they're talking about two separate individuals, the suspect in the person of interest. They may be the same person, we don't know yet, based on the evidence. But there's no benefit to calling him the suspect yet, just trying to clarify a press conference that seems like they were trying really hard not to call James the suspect. And that's the reason why. They are preparing for a prosecution which they have to do.

BOLDUAN: Very interesting and important clarification. Obviously, that was lingering through other press conference, Juliette.

Peter, to what Juliette was talking about, just the sheer amount of weaponry and was brought onto the subway, subway car. I think it's interesting as Shimon pointed out, where the shooter entered was about eight stops from where the shooting actually played out. They found nine millimeter handgun, one of the things that they found three extended magazines, for smoke remains, this hatchet and a bag of fireworks, gasoline.

I'm wondering, should anyone be able to get into a subway with what he was able to get on the subway with. I mean, what does this say just about the vulnerability of such a target?

PETER LICATA, FORMER SUPERVISORY SPECIAL AGENT FBI: Well, New York city subway system as well as it can be protected with law enforcement officers on platforms and writing in cars, all the time, it's still a very soft target.


Any public transportation system is considered a soft target. And if you're a terrorist, if you're looking to do any type of violent crime, you are looking for soft targets where you can affect the maximum amount of damage, where you can hurt the most people. So, any type of transportation, any type of crowded event, sporting event, et cetera, it's always going to be of interest anyone that wants to conduct some nefarious activity, terrorist or not, and especially something like the New York City subway system.

This is now the third terrorist attack or plan, we call a terrorist attack for sake of argument, in the last about 11 years. Started in 2009, there was an actual device detonated, 2017. And now you have this one as well, a mass shooting with pyrotechnics, with smoke devices, smoke emanating devices.

And this individual fortunately for everyone else in a car, this individual, the gun jammed and did not get all four was able to use all the weapons that he had in his possession at the time.

BOLDUAN: Yeah, absolutely. I want to go now to -- thank you all so much.

I want to go now to Polo Sandoval. He is live in Brooklyn where the suspect U-Haul van was found and we heard a lot about the U-Haul in this press conference. The fact that keys that were found at the scene or what led them very quickly there.

Polo, what are you hearing?

POLO SANDOVAL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: You know, the press conference, Kate, really provide a clearer picture now of the police work that's been going on since early this morning. And what it does, it basically just shows us how investigators got here, that crucial key that was found at the site of this morning shooting, a U-Haul key that corresponds to a vehicle that was found just down the street for standing. This is that close we can take you right now but is still very much an active scene as we've heard authorities applauds headquarters a short while ago.

They are still in the process and actually going and pouring over that van to try to find out a little bit more about what actually happened this morning.

I also to tell you that we've seen last couple of hours of just a massive police presence and investigators actually going to door to door, some of the surrounding businesses and speaking to business owners perhaps trying to see if they can get maybe some surveillance video that might paint a clearer picture of what happened earlier today and could potentially have a suspect or at least a person of interest in that video.

So that's what's happening at this particular location in South Brooklyn, and just to give you some perspective, also some of our viewers, or about four miles just southeast of where the original incident happened earlier this morning, Kate.

BOLDUAN: All right. Polo, thank you so much for that update. Let me bring back in Tim, Juliette and Peter.

You know, one thing we also heard during the press conference, Tim, was they referenced how big the job was still in going through all of the videos that they have through the CCTV system, kind of throughout the city.

And earlier on CNN, the chairman and CEO of MTA actually said that there are almost 10,000 cameras in the MTA system and all the 600 are in the Brooklyn section where the shooting took place. How long is it going to, will kind of a herculean effort is going to take right now to comb with through all of that? CLEMENTE: It's quite a herculean effort. It's going to take

tremendous amounts of man power, thousands and thousands of man hours to go through just a few minutes of video and each of these locations. And that's just those that are sanctioned or actually operated by the city and by the MTA.

Don't forget, there's ATM cameras, this private ring doorbell cameras, there is a host of other security devices that are data collectible, that the investigators would want to come through to find whatever they can as far as this person's ingress, egress, any accomplices that might've been seen with them.

So there is a host of information that we don't even know that they're going to find yet that hopefully they will. And that process is very time consuming and very manpower consuming right now.

BOLDUAN: I was just looking at my notes, Peter, they also said that during the press conference that among kind of with the fireworks, they found a fuse amongst it. And I know that you are lead bomb tech for the FBI in New York City.

What do you think that's about?

LICATA: The fuse is what we call hobby fuse. If they fire cracker or fireworks, fuse is usually green control. So, the fuse -- you could light the fuse, it's an external burning fuse. So just a regular matter lighter we'll initiated. And you can tie that fuse around other pyrotechnics in order to initiate them simultaneously.

Again, these are consumer grade pyrotechnics. Not going to do a lot of damage but again, it's going to cautions traction, it's going to scare people, diversionary tactic. And that's basically what I think that individuals trying to do there.

BOLDUAN: Especially in an enclosed space.

Final thought from you, Juliette.

KAYYEM: What's remarkable, I want to say, the transit system is inherently vulnerable. You just can't make it safer in urban environment. You try to make it a safe as possible, people have to move. What I think is really -- just remind people how quickly the system essentially got back up and running after an incident like this.


That's not -- I don't want to say that's good. It's just a measure of the progress we've made over the last 20 years in terms of adapting and responding to these kinds of incidents.

BOLDUAN: Juliette, Peter, Tim, thank you all very much.

KAYYEM: Thanks.

BOLDUAN: All right much more to come on that. But also, OUTFRONT next, our other breaking story this evening,

President Biden going further than he has ever gone, now saying that Vladimir Putin is committing genocide.

Plus, a top Putin critic who survived two suspected poisoning in the past detained outside his home in Moscow. His wife is my guest.


BOLDUAN: We're following breaking news.

President Biden going further than he's ever gone and also further than most also for the most Western leaders when it comes to describing the atrocities committed by Vladimir Putin. Speaking about the impact Russia's has had on the U.S. invasion has had on the U.S. economy, President Biden had this to say.


JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: None of this should on whether hinge on whether a dictator declares war and commits genocide half a world away.


BOLDUAN: And when pressed about those comments later, this is what Biden said just moments ago.


BIDEN: Yes, I called it genocide because it's become clearer and clearer, that Putin is just trying to wipe out the just trying to idea wipe out the idea of even being of the Ukrainian. And the evidence is evidence is mounting, we'll let the lawyers decide internationally whether or not it qualifies, but it sure seems that way to me.



BOLDUAN: Up until now, Biden has stopped short of saying just that. He stopped short of using the word genocide. This comes as the U.S. says it is taking seriously unverified reports that Putin has possibly used chemical weapons in Ukraine. U.S. officials warning the world should be prepared for exactly this.


ANTONY BLINKEN, SECRETARY OF STATE: I think I pointed to the possibility that these kinds of weapons would be used. And it's something that we're very, very focused on.


BOLDUAN: Now, the use of chemical weapons could completely change the trajectory of this war, a war which the Russian president made clear today he has no intention of stopping.

At a news conference, Putin said peace talks with Ukraine have reached a quote, dead and.

Fred Pleitgen is OUTFRONT live in Kyiv for us tonight.

Fred, what's the latest on the ground there?


Well, the president of Ukraine, Volodymyr Zelenskyy, he's already come out and he's praised the words of President Biden, calling them true words from a true leader. And one of the reasons why Volodymyr Zelenskyy did that is something I saw up close today. I was able to speak to the general prosecutor of Ukraine, of this country, and we spoke at a mass grave site just outside of Kyiv where the Ukrainians have launched a massive investigation into possible war crimes by the Russians, and crimes against humanity as well.

Here's what we saw.


PLEITGEN (voice-over): Even as Russian troops amassed in eastern Ukraine for what the U.S. believes will be a huge offensive, authorities in Kyiv continue digging up bodies, painstaking work that goes hand in hand with investigating Russia's attack on Kyiv and possible crimes committed by Vladimir Putin's invading troops.

Prosecutor General Iryna Venediktova is leading the charge. She spoke to me at the edge of a mass grave in the Kyiv suburb of Bucha.

IRYNA VENEDIKTOVA, UKRAINE GENERAL PROSECUTOR: For us, the best motivation is justice, and, of course, we understand that all Ukrainian want fast justice, true and fast justice. That is why we do everything to document all evidence, all facts of war crimes that we have here in Ukraine.

PLEITGEN: French forensic investigators are now also on the scene. Not because Ukraine lacks expertise, but because Kyiv wants to be as transparent as possible in the face of Russian disinformation efforts.

VENEDIKTOVA: We want to do our job absolutely open, with standards of international humanitarian law. It's very high standards. That's why we're here, we have our international colleagues, we understand, they can see everything. They can see a real situation here -- the real graves, real dead bodies.

PLEITGEN: After Ukraine forces managed to expel Russian troops from around Kyiv and some other areas that occupied Ukraine, authorities have discovered scores of dead bodies. Today, another six found in just one basement outside Kyiv.

The prosecutor tells me they are collecting evidence in thousands of cases. VENEDIKTOVA: Now, we started a more than 6,000 cases. It's cases,

it's crimes, war crimes, crimes against humanity, aggression crimes. And we started on the third day, so -- we started a case about genocide.

PLEITGEN: All this as Russia still claims its forces then invaded Ukraine have not harmed any civilians.

On a visit to a space port with Belarusian strongman Alexander Lukashenko, Russian President Vladimir Putin again claimed his forces are fighting against would-be Ukrainian Nazis in what he calls a, quote, special operation.

The goals are absolutely clear and they are noble, he said, I said from the beginning. We want to draw your attention to that.

There are some in the U.S. at the top level who have spoken about possible war crimes trial against Vladimir Putin. Is that something you think could ever be possible, it's something that you're working towards to provide evidence for?

VENEDIKTOVA: Of course, I think that everyone understand who is responsible for this war. That is why we do everything to fix -- to document evidences. But we here in Ukraine actually understand who is responsible for all of this.

PLEITGEN: The investigators work is complicated by the fact that the war is still going on. And they can't reach many devastated areas like the encircled city of Mariupol where Ukraine's president says tens of thousands have been killed.

But Iryna Venediktova says no matter how long it takes, she will press on.

VENEDIKTOVA: It's actually extremely important because if we will be successful as a prosecutor, I assure that we can stop such aggressions in the future.



PLEITGEN: And, Kate, I was standing there of course that the edge of that mass grave in Bucha with the prosecutor general and also we've been in Bucha over the past couple of days. We've seen bodies in the streets, bodies that have been found in basements, some people hands tied behind our backs, and gunshot wounds to their heads. Yet, Vladimir Putin at that event that we saw in the report and that space port said that he believed that everything that's being shown out of Bucha is, quote, fake -- Kate.

BOLDUAN: Yeah, ridiculous propaganda, still. Fred, thank you.

OUTFRONT now, Lesia Vasylenko, a member of Ukraine's parliament.

Thank you so much for being here. So investigators have now been able to reach some areas of Mariupol as

we're hearing. You've tweeted that a chemical attack happened there. U.S. officials say they have not been able to confirm the use of chemical weapons there.

Why are you convinced it was a chemical attack?

LESIA VASYLENKO, UKRAINIAN MEMBER OF PARLIAMENT: We have evidence coming in from some of the regiments, some of the battalions which are stationed there, that the Ukrainian soldiers have come down with symptoms which are visible to chemical attacks. And it is not possible for me at least to say which chemicals are question but I know that already, there has been a lot of action around searching for certain types of antidotes that, again, are linked to chemical attacks.

So it's a bit difficult when you have all this evidence piling up and when you put two and two together, it gives you the outcome of a chemical attack. And then, on the other side, you have the sources, military sources, intelligence sources saying that oh no, we're not quite sure yet.

BOLDUAN: We know fierce fighting is also continuing in Mariupol. The military governor of the Donetsk region told CNN today, as many as 22,000 people have died in that city. Yet the U.S. Defense Department says tonight still, Mariupol remains contested.

Do you believe Ukraine can still hold on to that key city?

VASYLENKO: We are going to do everything in our power to hold Mariupol. And same guys in every single city across Ukraine. We are fighting for the very fact of the existence of Ukraine and for the livelihood of the Ukrainian people as a nation of Ukrainians. This is a lot of motivation already to keep us going. And for us to be pushing back on Russia's aggression, whatever form it takes inward happens.

BOLDUAN: There have been many reports of sexual violence during this war as well. "The New York Times" is actually documenting some of this is a new piece. And "The Times" spoke with Ukraine's top official on human rights. And it really struck me what she said.

She said, in one instance, just one example, a group of women and girls were held by Russian troops in a basement for 25 days. Nine of them are now pregnant.

Have you heard similar stories, what is your reaction to that?

VASYLENKO: Absolutely. Unfortunately, the stories we are hearing, they're not getting any better. We uncovered more and more absolutely atrocious and horrific facts. And this is evidence that we are dealing with an army of savages, of pure savages who stop at nothing, who have zero value for human life, human dignity, who don't care who to attack and who actually take the pleasure of attacking women, children.

And the actions of the Russian army, they are sadistic in nature. They want to cause as severe a suffering as they can to the civilian population. And they boast about it, they boast about it to their mothers, to their wives.

Just today, the security service of Ukraine published an intercepted conversation between a Russian soldier and his wife. And his wife back in Russia was telling this Russian soldier that, you know, you go ahead and you rape as many Ukrainian women as you can. Just don't tell me about it but just do it. And just make sure that you are using contraception.

Can you just believe that? How mad and how just perverted and disgusting that is. And how much hate the Russians for Ukrainians and how much will there is there to make sure that our nation -- a Ukrainian nation is humiliated and is destroyed.

BOLDUAN: Wow. I mean, CNN has not receive those reports of that intercepted conversation but if true, it is, it leaves you speechless, some of the atrocities that we are seeing playing out in some of these reports of sexual violence happening to women and girls.

Lesia Vasylenko, thank you so much for coming on.


VASYLENKO: Thank you.

BOLDUAN: Also tonight, a top Putin critic suddenly arrested outside his home in Moscow. A lawyer for Vladimir Kara-Murza, who previously survived two suspected poisonings, says that he was charged with disobeying a police order. But he has been a vocal critic of Putin for years and very critical of the invasion of Ukraine.

His arrest came also just hours after he told CNN+, Putin's government was, quote, a regime of murderers, and he predicted Putin's reign would end over the war.

OUTFONT now is Vladimir Kara-Murza's wife, Evgenia.

Thank you so much for being here this evening.

I know you are able to speak with him once, briefly, after he was detained. What did he tell you?

EVGENIA KARA-MURZA, WIFE OF DETAINED RUSSIA OPPOSITION POLITICIAN VLADIMIR KARA-MURZA: Well, Vladimir was like himself, he was energetic, and he was in good spirits, and he asked me to say goodbye to everyone, and he told me everything would be fine because I know that he will continue fighting for as long as it takes. He will never stop. He will not be intimidated.

And I fully support him, and I admire and respect my husband deeply for his courage and his commitment to his cause.

BOLDUAN: He was arrested, as I just mentioned, just hours after an interview with him aired on CNN+, and he was speaking out against Putin and his invasion of Ukraine.

Evgenia, why do you think he was arrested now? KARA-MURZA: Well, because of what you just said. He has been an

outspoken critic of the Putin regime since Putin came to power. He has been advocating, fiercely advocating for personal sanctions against murderers and thieves in the Putin regime since 2010, and since the beginning of this war, he has been as loud and clear about Putin's atrocities in Ukraine, and about -- he called the war a war, which is considered a crime now in Russia.

But people just stay the same (ph). So there's nothing surprising about that, and he has always been as outspoken as he could about the Putin regime, and this is why he's been targeted so many times already.

BOLDUAN: He was on the show last month from Russia. I want to play for everyone a little bit of what he said.


VLADIMIR KARA-MURZA, RUSSIAN OPPOSITION LEADER: There are absolutely no limits to what Vladimir Putin can do. The tragedy is that this was all unpredictable, and, in fact, so many people for years and years warned the world about just who Vladimir Putin is, and what this will lead to.


BOLDUAN: And you talk about his strength and resilience and speaking up for so long against Putin, but even after surviving two suspected poisoning attempts, he's still speaking out like this against Putin from inside Russia. Why, Evgenia?

KARA-MURZA: Because this is his home, this is his country, he is a Russian citizen and he is a true patriot, and because of those 15,000 people who went out in the street to protest against the war, and were detained and arrested since the beginning of the war.

There are Russians in Russia living behind an iron curtain that Putin installed in less than a month. And they continue protesting against the war, coming out in the streets by one, holding, you know, their slogans, no war, stop the war, and they get detained, they get thrown in prison. And Vladimir believes that he has to be where his -- where Russians are, the Russians' fight against the Putin -- bloody Putin's regime.

BOLDUAN: And, look, he has been under threat for quite some time, you said previously that you are terrified every time that he would leave the house for one of his trips. Are you more scared now, though, Evgenia, having him in prison in the middle of Putin's war?

KARA-MURZA: Well, you see, fear should not stop us from doing the right thing, right? So even though I am terrified for him -- of course, we have three young children, and I want them to see their dad. I want them to be able to hug them every night. And, of course, when I know when he goes on one of those trips, I know he's putting himself at risk yet again and again. But I know he's fighting the right cause, and we understand, both he and I, that in today's Russia, in order to change things, you have to fight against fear. You have to do what you need to do despite your fears, just push forward, there is no other way.

And all Putin's critics risk -- they run the same risks.

BOLDUAN: Yeah. Evgenia Kara-Murza, thank you so much for coming on and speaking out for husband who in this moment, he cannot do it for himself. I really appreciate it.

KARA-MURZA: Thank you very much for having me here.

BOLDUAN: Thank you.

And thank you all so much for being with us tonight. I'm Kate Bolduan.

"AC360" starts now.