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Lieutenant Skip Arms Discusses Successful Capture of Final Two Texas FugitivesAired January 24, 2001 - 7:30 a.m. ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
LINDA STOUFFER, CNN ANCHOR: We, of course, have been following a developing story overnight, the surrender of the last two fugitives who escaped from a prison in Texas. Our CNN crew on the scene of the fugitive siege in Colorado is one of many media groups covering the story.
What we want to do now is give you a look at how our Denver affiliate, KCNC, has been reporting on this story overnight.
ANNOUNCER: We interrupt this program to bring you a seven news special report.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We have breaking news to tell you about from Colorado Springs that relates to the Texas seven case.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: They are holed up inside a room, inside the Holiday Inn, which is directly across from the Hungry Farmer Restaurant, where their van was found earlier today.
Now those people have identified themselves as the suspects, Patrick Murphy and Donald Newbury.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I've been hearing it on the TV and everything and then when I, you know, came out here and realized what was going on, that they were in our hotel, it was just a complete shock. I mean scary.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What'd you think when you heard that these possibly were the Texas two?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Pretty surprised.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Negotiators have been brought in and we've been engaged in dialogue with these individuals now for several hours. I believe it started sometime around nine or ten o'clock this evening. It's been constant dialogue, and we feel that, as long as we are in a talking mode, time is our ally.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They're willing to let the media speak with them by phone. They will not allow a camera into the building though. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: At this point, yeah, we made the contact with him and asked him to come to this location, and it's our hopes that, by establishing the trust with them and honoring their request, that they in turn will honor our request and will surrender themselves.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I felt that by trying to make this statement maybe we can make more people aware that there is a definite wrong within the penal system.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A remarkable job.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm stepping out of these doors with the sole purpose of honoring the person I love and to keep my voice in the media.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We feel extremely fortunate that this happened without any injury to anybody. That was our objective from the beginning and, you know, we came to that kind of conclusion. So this episode is now closed and finalized.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
STOUFFER: And we want to give credit where credit is due. We used material from several CNN affiliates for that piece you just saw there: KNGH, KCNC, KUSA, and KKTV. So our thanks to them for allowing us to share their coverage.
Now moving on, Lieutenant Skip Arms of the Colorado Springs Police Department briefed reporters all through the night. You saw him a short while ago. He filled reporters in on the negotiations with the final two Texas fugitives.
Lieutenant Arms joins us this morning to fill us in on what's going on now.
Lieutenant, thank you so much for being with us.
LIEUTENANT SKIP ARMS, COLORADO SPRINGS POLICE: Good morning.
STOUFFER: First of all, we have spoken a lot this hour about how the decisions were made overnight. I'm hoping you can take us back to earlier in the day yesterday. How did the police department find those two fugitives in the hotel?
ARMS: We had used the media as a tool to put out information to our community, asking anybody who had information as to the whereabouts to contact us. And we were literally flooded with calls in the afternoon.
All the agencies involved were assigned leads to follow up. And one of the leads led us to this location. We were able to verify the information and actually establish contact with the fugitives.
STOUFFER: I was struck when we finally saw video of these two men just how much they were able to change their appearance. One of them had very dark hair in the police photos we were given earlier. When he came out today, it was bleached sort of a blonde-orange. Did someone call in with a description? Did they think that they were able to recognize the men by the face? What'd they tell you?
ARMS: Well, I don't have the specific information that came in. I do know that we had received a couple of different calls. And, again, the officers were able to take that information and track it down, and it ultimately did lead them to here. And you are right, they did substantially change their appearance.
STOUFFER: Now when you were able to confirm, or at least able to convince yourselves that you believed the two men were in there, how did you make the decision to contact them by phone instead of just going in?
ARMS: Our objective throughout this was to try to bring this potentially dangerous situation to a peaceful conclusion. We felt that by gaining a position of advantage, and then making the telephone contact, allowed us the opportunity to at least try to establish the environment of negotiations. And so that's the path we chose. If we had just gone in without any kind of notice, we really don't know what we would have encountered in that room.
STOUFFER: And I know that the agents that went in there just recently did find a dozen weapons loaded. Let me get your take, if I can, lieutenant, on why police decided to pull in that television station and the reporter to do the interview. Why did you decide to do that?
ARMS: We felt that it didn't add any additional risk to the situation, and that as long as we had the open lines of communication, it was a risk we were willing to take. We had taken several hours in the negotiations to try to establish a good rapport and develop a level of trust with these individuals. And so, it was our opinion that, if we granted them this request, having established that level of trust, that hopefully they would return that and then honor their commitment to us to surrender peacefully.
STOUFFER: Someone from the outside looking in, it does seem a little bit odd that you'd be talking about a level of trust with men who, as far as investigators are concerned, are convicted felons, broke out of prison, are accused now of killing a police officer. How were you so sure that it would work?
ARMS: Well, we weren't sure. The negotiators felt pretty comfortable that there was a good chance that this would happen. We were prepared for any other contingency, if need be, but we wanted to try to take the peaceful route if we could.
STOUFER: Lieutenant Skip Arms, thank you so much for your time and insights today. And again, just to update you, those two men did surrender peacefully to police in Colorado Springs earlier today. Thank you, Lieutenant.
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