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ANDERSON COOPER 360 DEGREES
New Details in Texas D.A. Murder; White Supremacists Involved in Texas Murders?; Kevin Ware's Grisly Break; New Data Show Sharp Rise in ADHD; Plan To Give Away Shotguns In Tucson
Aired April 1, 2013 - 20:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: Erin, thanks.
There is breaking news in the shooting of a Texas D.A. and his wife. Potentially important details from the crime scene. But the question remains. Who's behind not just this crime, but the murder of another prosecutor in the same county.
And a look you won't see anywhere else. Inside the violent white-powered group being eyed for both killings.
Also gun control crusader Mark Kelly on a plan not far from where his wife was shot and nearly killed to counter crime by giving away weapons. Free shotguns. Does that any make sense?
But we begin with the breaking news in the murder of Mike McLelland and his wife Cynthia. That and fears that his killing could be part of a wider plot. Mr. McLelland was district attorney for Kaufman County, Texas, that's just southeast of Dallas.
Gary Tuchman is there with the very latest on what a search warrant reveals and who might have been involved in this including possibly, possibly, a brutal white supremacist gang.
What are you learning -- Gary?
GARY TUCHMAN, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Wolf, we've just -- looked at that search warrant that was used for investigators to go into the McLelland's house. And what they say is that both victims were shot several times and many rifle casings were found by their bodies.
They also say the bodies were found Saturday night, two nights ago at 6:45 p.m. but it appears they were killed before then because friends were trying to call them on Friday night and were worried that nobody was answering so they could have been killed up to 24 hours before their bodies were found.
What has happened here has terrified and mystified this community.
TUCHMAN (voice-over): FBI investigators marching into the district attorney's office space in Texas' Kaufman County courthouse. Another ominous scene in a nightmare that has occurred in this small county. The murders of District Attorney Mike McLelland and his wife Cynthia this weekend and the killing of one of McLelland's assistant district attorneys two months earlier is causing grave concern here and throughout the state of Texas.
GOV. RICK PERRY (R), TEXAS: I suggest everyone should be careful about what goes on, whether they're public officials or otherwise, but the -- this I think is a clear concern to individuals who are in public life, particularly those who deal with some very mean and vicious individuals whether they are white supremacy groups or whether they're drug cartels that we have.
TUCHMAN: As of now it's not known who's responsible for the killings, but it is certainly assumed they are related. In December, the state of Texas issued a warning. High-ranking leaders of the Aryan Brotherhood have deliberate orders to inflict mass casualties of death on Texas law enforcement officials involved on indicting 34 of their members a month earlier.
(On camera): On January 31st of this year, just about a month after that warning a hardworking, respected prosecutor here in Kaufman County, Texas, parked his car in this lot. Mark Hasse was going to work at the courthouse about a block away. After he stepped out of his car, one or two masked gunmen stepped out of another vehicle.
Mark Hasse was shot and killed.
(Voice-over): The county's chief public defender, Andrew Jordan, ran to the parking lot minutes after the gunshots.
ANDREW JORDAN, KAUFMAN COUNTY PUBLIC DEFENDER: I got there roughly at the same time I believe that the (INAUDIBLE) did.
TUCHMAN: But he didn't know who the victim was yet. Then he found out it was Mark Hasse, who he was supposed to see in court only minutes later.
JORDAN: He and I had a case that we had spoken about the day before that we haven't agreed resolution on, and we were going to meet in court at 9:00 in the morning to finalize the plea.
TUCHMAN: That same day Hasse's now deceased boss, Mike McLelland, issued these forceful words.
MIKE MCLELLAND, KAUFMAN COUNTY DISTRICT ATTORNEY: I hope that the people that did that this are watching because we are very confident that we are going to find you. We are going to pull you out of whatever hall you're in, we're going to bring you back, and let the people of Kaufman County prosecute you to the fullest extent of the law.
TUCHMAN: Although the Kaufman County district attorney's office was involved in the Aryan Brotherhood case, Mark Hasse was involved minimally if at all. Less than two months after Hasse's murder, the director of prisons for the state of Colorado was killed. Tom Clements was shot at his home. But Colorado prison parolee, white supremacist, Evan Ebel, was killed in a shootout about an hour and a half away from Kaufman County, Texas. Authorities say the shootout led to an investigation into whether the two killings were related.
And then just over a week later, Mark Hasse's boss, Mike McLelland, the man who deplored the killing of his assistant D.A., is shot and killed along with his wife inside their house in Kaufman County.
A law enforcement source said the scene inside was awful with rifle casings littering the scene. The casings from a 223 caliber rifle.
Kaufman County is only 35 miles from Dallas, but is the kind of rural place you move to to get away from crime. The calm is now shattered.
JORDAN: There's sort of a sense of disbelief, it bursts. It takes a while for it to set in, that it really happened.
TUCHMAN (on camera): For now the remaining county prosecutors continue to do their jobs, but the governor of Texas announcing he will appoint a replacement district attorney as soon as possible.
(Voice-over): Security has been tightened at county government facilities, for government workers and for the 13 remaining assistant prosecutors in the office. Bruce Wood is the Kaufman Country judge, which is Texas's equivalent of a county administrator.
BRUCE WOOD, KAUFMAN COUNTY COURT JUDGE: So we're all dealing with shock and disbelief that this occurred in our county and everyone that works in this courthouse I think feels exactly the same way. We're all dealing with it and coping with it the very best that we know how.
BLITZER: Gary, does the warrant shed any light on whether the McLellands knew someone was in their house or that they put up any sort of struggle?
TUCHMAN: The warrant tells us nothing about whether they were asleep, whether they were awake, whether they struggled, what happened. We know it was brutal, we know it was terrifying. Some initial reports said they were in bed. Other initial report said they were running away from the gunshots. We just don't know for sure yet. And that's because investigators are purposely being quiet.
Don't interpret their quietness for meaning they don't know anything about what possibly happened in this case and that they possibly might know something about perpetrators just by being quiet. The fact that they're quiet is very relevant because as you saw before, the former district attorney spoke out very forcefully. It appears to be a strategic decision. And we know that because there was no news conference held today. We expected one after such a big news event, the first weekday after a weekend event. And there's nothing schedule for the future.
One other thing, Wolf, we want to mention just a short time ago, we just pointed out that the governor will announce the name of a new permanent district attorney for this country, but he has named temporary district attorney who is currently an assistant prosecutor who will hold the job for 21 days before that new D.A. takes the job here in Kaufman County, Texas -- Wolf.
BLITZER: Gary, thanks very much.
We'll dig deeper in a moment into the white supremacist group being considered, considered in connection with these killings. But first I want to bring in Peter (INAUDIBLE), he's a friend of the late district attorney.
Peter, thanks very much for coming in. You knew Mike McLelland. First of all, what kind of person was he?
PETER SCHULTE, ATTORNEY AND FRIEND OF MIKE MCLELLAND: You know he was a very honorable man. He served the United States and the Army before he retired and in 2010 decided to run for district attorney. His first on sought to public office. And he was elected. So he was in office a little over two years, was going to run for reelection in 2014 and pretty much let everything stay the way it was before he got there including keeping Mark Hasse as one of his top prosecutors. A very good man that the criminal justice community and the public has lost.
BLITZER: That's what everybody says. Peter, after his deputy was killed last month, and McLelland was very outspoken as we heard about catching those responsible for that crime. Did he fear, and his family, did they fear that they were in any type of danger?
SCHULTE: You know, Wolf, I'd say anybody in that role, whether you're the D.A. of Kaufman County, which has about 100,000 residents, or the D.A. of Dallas County, which is just west of it that has almost two million citizens in it, any time you're in that role, in the public limelight, I mean, your entire life is public. It's on the Internet. They know where you are. They know where you live.
I think anybody after the death of Mark Hasse which just doesn't happen was on heightened alert. You know, said that we do -- you know, dangerous jobs. Our law enforcement officials, our assistant D.A.s, out elected D.A.s, do dangerous jobs, but they choose to do it because it's a calling.
You know, I was not surprised to Mike out there making the statements that he made because he is the leader of the local criminal justice system in the county and he needed to let the people know that everything was under control.
BLITZER: As you say, Kaufman County, it's a small county. Just over 100,000 people live there. So what kind of effect have these crimes had on people in the county, particularly those in law enforcement?
SCHULTE: You know, I'll tell you, Wolf, this just doesn't happen. I think, you know, one of the numbers that we heard from the 1960s that they've been keeping records of assistant district attorneys or elected D.A.'s getting killed, I think the number is 14. With the last two being here.
So this just doesn't happen. And mainly because, if you take out a prosecuting attorney. You're not going to affect, really, the case. You know, this type of killing has the -- has the blueprint of a very personal killing because if this was a case that somebody was trying to change, they would have been going after witnesses, not the actual prosecuting attorney. So, you know, having that type of, you know, environment going on where people who are just doing their jobs are getting assassinated -- because this is what this is.
You have elected officials getting assassinated over doing their job and that is sending a chill through the law enforcement community and the community in general. I mean, I'm a criminal defense lawyer, and you know, still a commissioned officer here in Texas. And I -- and I am carrying a gun more now than I ever did even as a police officer. So, you know, it is sending quite a chill until these people are found.
BLITZER: Peter Schulte, that's what I'm hearing from a lot of your colleagues there. Thanks very much for joining us and once again our deepest condolences to you and to everyone on the scene there for this horrific loss.
Let's continue the conversation right now. Joining us our senior legal analyst, the former federal prosecutor Jeffrey Toobin. Also joining us the criminal defense attorney, Mark Geragos.
Jeff, until recently prosecutor murders here in the United States have been relatively rare, but threats against prosecutors and judges clearly have been on the rise for years at the federal level. They more than doubled over the past decade alone. So is there any sense of what might be driving this bad trend?
JEFFREY TOOBIN, CNN SENIOR LEGAL ANALYST: Well, Wolf, you know, maybe I'm cynical -- too cynical, but you know I've always been surprised that there were not more threats and violence against prosecutors and judges. I mean, look, it's the job of prosecutors and to a certain extent judges to make the lives of criminals terrible. And they're angry about it. But there have been relatively few cases of actual violence against prosecutors.
I know here in New York there has always been kind of an informal rule from the mafia. That the mafia leaves prosecutors alone. I had colleagues in the U.S. Attorney's Office here in New York how had protection at various times but there was never any actual violence. Fortunately there has not been that much violence -- until these awful recent cases. Threats, yes, but actual violence, no.
BLITZER: Yes. Two in Texas now, one in Colorado. Mark, it isn't just judges, prosecutors, prison wardens who are being targeted? This has got to be something that's crossed the minds of a lot of defense attorneys at one point or another. Isn't that true?
MARK GERAGOS, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Well, absolutely. But I do agree with Jeff. I'm always surprised that it doesn't happen more often, especially some of the anger in the -- how incensed people get. But there's also -- and I don't mean to make light of it, we often say when people ask about, isn't that a dangerous job? As the prosecutor or criminal defense lawyer, we often say no, the really dangerous part of the courthouse is over where family law is.
I mean, I can tell you here we've had a family law commissioner's murder in Los Angeles, which has been unsolved for years now. Three years ago we had another lawyer who did some civil and family law. And that's still unsolved. So that's generally where you see these people get very upset. There was kind of a round -- around the mulberry bush in Van Nuys a couple of years ago where the opposing council in a civil case was stalked by a man with a gun.
So you generally see it when people are fighting about family law, custody issues or money. It is an exceedingly rare for prosecutors to take the brunt of it because as Jeff says and Mr. Schulte said before, that really isn't going to help you if you're a litigant or a defense -- you know, a defendant in a case because the case is going to move on. The witnesses are still there, prosecutors, as they often say, are fungible. It doesn't really help much. So there is a personal aspect to this. There's some -- an animus here that I'm sure they're exploring.
BLITZER: Jeffrey, short of arming, assigning armed full-time guards to every lawyer, every judge, every criminal defense attorney dealing with dangerous defendants, that's obviously not in the cards any time soon, is there really any way to prevent these sorts of attacks?
TOOBIN: Realistically, I can't think of a reason. As I said, when I was a federal prosecutor, there were times when there were specific judges and prosecutors who received specific threats and got protection. But in general, there are far too many prosecutors who -- there are too many prosecutors to protect them.
The case I'm most familiar with is that of Tom Wales who is an assistant U.S. attorney in Seattle who was murdered in his home. They're actually under similar, it seems, circumstances to this last case in Kaufman County. He was sitting at home and he was shot through a window on -- on October 11th, 2001. A month after 9/11 so it didn't get that much attention. That crime has never been solved.
You'd think it was easy to solve these crimes because the list of suspects is pretty apparent. But that crime more than 10 years later has never been solved.
BLITZER: Mark, does any of this cross an attorney's mind --
GERAGOS: Right. I would echo --
BLITZER: -- before taking on a case be it the prosecution or defense? I mean, other -- just some cases where officers of the court like you live with the knowledge that you're involved and they may have a target on their backs?
GERAGOS: Yes, obviously it goes through your mind. You're not supposed to let it affect you. I remember about 10 years ago, I'd taken on a particularly kind of hated defendant and somebody ended up planting a bomb in the Port-a-Potty that's out in front of the house. So it is something you'd think about. You're not supposed to let the person's reputation affect whether or not you're going to take a case or not. But sure, it goes through your mind.
TOOBIN: But the thing -- the thing that's different about the Aryan Brotherhood, if we can say that they are the suspects here, is they don't have the usual checks and balances. The mafia knows if you kill one prosecutor, you just have another waiting in line and an even more motivated group.
The Aryan Brotherhood is crazy. Even by law enforcement standards. I mean they are -- first of all they are mostly in prison already so they have less to lose. And they are a uniquely desperate organization without the usual checks and balances, if you can call it that, even on criminal organizations.
BLITZER: Jeffrey Toobin, thanks very much. Mark Geragos, thanks to you as well.
Up next, we will take you inside the Aryan Brotherhood of Texas, considered one of the most violent gangs and we'll speak with a former leader and recruiter in the racist skinhead movement.
Later, millions saw it happen live. Tens of millions are talking about it. Tonight Louisville's Kevin Ware goes down, his right leg literally in pieces. Tonight we're going to show you how he's healing and how quickly all that is happening. But what are the chances he'll play basketball again. We will ask our Dr. Sanjay Gupta.
BLITZER: Updating you now on our breaking news in the killing of a Texas D.A. and his wife. According to a search warrant we've just obtained, the couple was discovered early Saturday night. They've been shot many times. The warrant also reveals that the last time anyone spoke with either one was the night before.
More now on one potential, and we underscore the word potential, group of suspects. It's a brutal gang that preaches white power and practices deadly violence. In addition to being considered in the Kaufman County, Texas, murders, this outfit is already implicated in scores of other killings over the years.
In a moment a former racist skinhead talks about what makes these people tick and why we all should be deeply concerned. But first Deborah Feyerick with a blood-soaked portrait of haters who kill.
DEBORAH FEYERICK, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): They call themselves the Aryan Brotherhood of Texas, the ABT. Considered one of the most dangerous gangs in the state with roots inside the walls of the Texas prison system.
MARK POTOK, SOUTHERN POVERTY LAW CENTER: I think the Aryan Brotherhood of Texas today is arguably the most violent white supremacist prison gang out there.
FEYERICK: They ABT modeled itself after a California-based prison gang called the Aryan Brotherhood who is the subject of this National Geographic documentary.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: While most gangs seek safety in numbers, the Aryan Brotherhood remains an exclusive crew. Only the most cunning and ruthless convicts may enter the brand's privileged ranks.
FEYERICK: Inmates in Texas asked the Aryan Brotherhood for permission to start a Texas chapter. But the Southern Poverty Law Center says they were denied membership. We don't know why but it didn't seem to matter. Authorities say the ABT followed the California model.
POTOK: It is said to be one of the gangs that live by the blood in and blood out code, meaning that you can only get into ABT by carrying out some kind of attack and similarly or so it said, you can only leave in a body bag. And like the larger Aryan Brotherhood movement, authorities say the ABT's main purpose turned from protecting whites in prison to criminal activities like drugs, extortion and murder.
And its reach began to extend outside the prison walls as more members served out their sentences. ABT members on parole are required not only to remain loyal to the gang, but also to recruit new members.
LANNY BREUER, FORMER ASSISTANT U.S. ATTORNEY GENERAL: Brutal beatings, firebombs, drug trafficking and murder are all part of ABT's alleged standard operating procedures.
FEYERICK: Last November 34 alleged members of the ABT were indicted on federal racketeering charges, more than half of the alleged gang members were operating outside of prison.
POTOK: The Aryan Brotherhood of Texas, as one can well imagine from the name, absolutely has a white supremacist ideology. But the bottom line is that at the end of the day, these organizations are really fundamentally criminal enterprises. That means, above all, their interest is in green, in money. Skin color comes long after that.
FEYERICK: Prosecutors say there 2,000 ABT members in Texas, 2,000 members who have pledged to unconditionally follow the orders of their gang leaders. Orders that authorities say include violence and murder.
Deborah Feyerick, CNN, New York.
BLITZER: All right. Let's get some perspective now from TJ Leyden, who once served as a top recruiter for the skinhead movement. He tells the story in "Skinhead Confessions: From Hate to Hope," and he's joining us now.
TJ LEYDEN, AUTHOR, "SKINHEAD CONFESSIONS: FROM HATE TO HOPE": TJ, thanks for coming in. What do you know about the Aryan Brotherhood of Texas and if, we stress if, if they were involved in these murders? What does that tell you? What could their motivations possibly be?
Well, the Aryan Brotherhood of Texas tried to become an Aryan Brotherhood chapter in Texas, but then as exactly said they're considered -- it was denied entry and they decided to create their own subset. They are one of the most violent, in and out of prison, white supremacy organizations in the United States. If they decided to do this hit on this family, they changed a lot of the rules.
There's always been a rule that law enforcement didn't mess with your family outside of you and you didn't mess with law enforcement's family outside of them personally. But them attacking and killing his wife, that's going to change the scales.
BLITZER: It certainly would. That would indicate to me. Give us a little insight -- further insight on how this group operates. If they indeed began this campaign of targeting local officials. Will they be deterred by a massive hunt by law enforcement or will they continue killing?
LEYDEN: Well, no, I don't think that this is going to deter them. It will be very interesting to see in the long run if, as you guys said, if they did do the first hit and they now have done the second hit. You know, I know they 're offering protection right now to different people inside the courthouse and different things, but 30, 60, 90 days out, are people going to want to continue to pay for 24-hour guard and once that diminishes and goes down, that security, will they decide to hit again?
The Aryan Brotherhood put a hit on law enforcement and everybody else in Texas to try to show that -- how tough they were and how superior they are to other groups.
BLITZER: There's been some speculation out there that another prison gang, the so-called, 211 crew was behind the murder of Tom Clements, the Colorado Department of Corrections chief. How does the Aryan Brotherhood of Texas compare with this 211 crew?
LEYDEN: Well, the 211 is a smaller crew. I believe when they did their hit, they were trying to make a name for themselves. It would be like kindergartners against high schoolers. That's about the best way I could put it. The Aryan Brotherhood of Texas is an elite group. Inside the Texas prison system, you know, you've got to watch them 24/7. These are the kind of guys that will stab you and kill you instantaneously and they won't even blink. Sad to say this, they would -- they can walk into your house, kill you, and have your dinner and then leave.
BLITZER: Pretty frightening stuff. TJ Leyden, thanks very much for joining us.
LEYDEN: Thank you, sir.
BLITZER: Just ahead here on 360, we have new information coming in on one of the most common childhood disorders and it's raising very troubling questions tonight. Are we over diagnosing ADHD and are we overmedicating our kids? Our own Dr. Sanjay Gupta is standing by to join us.
Also coming up, the uproar over a plant to curb crime in Tucson by giving away free shotguns. The city is still healing from a mass shooting two years ago, Mark Kelly, whose wife Gabby Giffords nearly died, he's standing by to join us. That's coming up.
BLITZER: No one was expecting to see this when Duke and Louisville faced off in the Midwest regional final. With less than 7 minutes to go, Louisville guard, Kevin Ware, went up and then landed the wrong way, breaking his lower right leg in two places where a shin bone broke through the skin, an injury too gruesome to show.
Here's all you need to see. Take a look at this. Ware's teammates as they watched from their bench just several feet away. You can see them recoil in horror. Ware was rushed to a hospital where underwent two hours of surgery to reset his leg.
Today, he was up on crutches. He is said to be in good spirits, but he has a long recovery ahead of him. Our chief medical correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, is here to tell us more about this type of injury.
We also want to talk to Sanjay about some startling new numbers on attention deficit hyper activity disorder. We'll talk about that in a moment, Sanjay. But the injury first to Ware, what exactly happened?
DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, it's a pretty unusual type of injury. He is obviously a big guy. He jumped pretty far horizontally and vertically and just landed in a very awkward position.
Wolf, when you think about the lower leg below the knee, you are talking about two bones. The shin bone as you mentioned called the tibia and then a smaller bone called the fibula.
Let me show you an x-ray, Wolf. This isn't his x-ray, but this is a pretty reflective type of injury that he had. If you take a look there, you see those two bones and how they are broken and in that case, the tibia is actually protruding through the skin.
You bear a lot of weight on that part of your leg. If you have an unusual awkward sort of jump and landing the way that he did, it can happen. Again, it's a pretty unusual thing, but that's probably the best way to describe it -- Wolf.
BLITZER: In terms of recovery, rehab, Sanjay, what's the process likely going to look like? Is there a chance bottom line, he will play basketball seriously again?
GUPTA: I think so. You know, I talked to a few people about this. Again, this is an unusual injury so you can't say among 10,000 people that have had this injury. They go back and play or don't play because the numbers are so small.
But one thing that is worth pointing out, obviously the fracture is pretty bad. But there a couple things that happened that were important. When the bone breaks through the skin like that, one of the biggest concerns is infection to that bone and also stripping away some of the blood supply to that bone.
Both those things can dramatically reduce healing. The biggest key there is getting into an operating room as quickly as possible. In his case, I understand, he was getting an operation within two hours. That will work in his favor.
He is up as you just showed pictures on crutches now. You want to weight bear. You want to sort of push that bone together. Now they put it back in place. You want to push it together almost just loading it it's called. He is already starting to do that. So it's a season ender, Wolf, but probably and hopefully not a career ender -- Wolf.
BLITZER: Let's hope indeed. We were wishing him a speedy, speedy recovery. Sanjay, let me switch topics with you and ask you about these new numbers on attention deficit hyper activity disorder. There's new data coming in from the Centers for Disease Control.
The "New York Times" did the analysis. Here's the upshot of what we know. Eleven percent of all school age children have received an ADHD diagnosis at some point in their lives. That is an increase of 16 percent since 2007.
The highest rates are among older boys. Also this, 19 percent of high school boys nearly one in five have been diagnosed with ADHD. Here's one more number that jumps out nearly two-thirds of kids with a current diagnosis of ADHD are taking medication for it.
Sanjay, one in five high school boys diagnosed with ADHD, that's a staggering, staggering numbers. You say, and correct me if I'm wrong, there are problems with the study.
GUPTA: I don't love these studies, Wolf. I'm not sure that I really fully appreciate their value. First of all, it's probably not even appropriate to call it a study. What it is, is a survey and it's a self-reported survey at that. So this isn't looking through medical records.
This isn't actually correlating definitively diagnosis with these kids. This is calling up parents and basically asking them questions about their children. As far as accuracy and confidence of these types of things go, these fall at the bottom end of things.
Having said that, you know, when you are looking at these numbers, it's probably safe to say that the number of children with ADHD has gone up over the last couple of decades. You know, we're not entirely if this is actually a number of diagnoses increasing or if this is just a question of people actually having the disease more or actually just being diagnosed more.
We are certainly not sure, but you're right, Wolf. I just think that there is not a lot of value in the studies.
BLITZER: Sanjay, thanks as usual. Thanks very much.
Tomorrow Anderson is back with the 360 exclusive, Conrad Murray, Michael Jackson's doctor. He is speaking out from prison where he is serving a four-year sentence for causing Jackson's death. What will he say about his patient and the fateful day? Tune in tomorrow right here at 8:00 p.m. Eastern.
Tucson, Arizona is certainly no stranger to gun violence, a mass shooting at a parking lot that left six people dead, 13 injured including Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords. Now there is actually a plan to give away free shotguns to homeowners in Tucson.
It's clearly a controversial plan. We will see what Giffords' husband, Mark Kelly, thinks of the idea. He is standing by live.
And later, an MTV reality star dead at 21. We will take you to where Shane Gandy of the show "Buck Wild" was found along with two other bodies when 360 continues.
BLITZER: A controversial plan in Tucson, Arizona to give away free shotguns. The man behind the plan says he wants to give the guns away in high crime neighborhoods saying that will bring down the crime rate. It's a super sensitive topic in Tucson where a mass shooting in 2011 left six people dead and 13 others injured including then Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords.
In a moment, Giffords' husband, Mark Kelly, he will join us with his thoughts, but first here's Miguel Marquez with more on the plan to give away guns.
MIGUEL MARQUEZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): At the Tucson Trap and Ski Club, shotguns are as common as sunshine. Here in Tucson neighborhoods though, the idea for some of the giving away shotguns to homeowners who couldn't otherwise afford them -- JOHN BANISTER, TUCSON RESIDENT: My gut reaction is to be against something like that. I think I don't believe the proliferation of guns will make us any safer.
MARQUEZZ: Shaun McClusky is leading an effort making shotguns available to willing and needy residents in three neighborhoods here, neighborhoods that he has identified as high crime areas.
(on camera): Do you really believe that putting more guns in neighborhoods, in the hands of homeowners is going to bring down crimes?
SHAUN MCCLUSKY, ARMED CITIZEN PROJECT: If you notify the criminals, absolutely. By flyering the entire neighborhood and making the entire neighborhood aware that this program is coming to your neighborhood, the criminal elements are bound to see the flyer and say now what? Which house has a gun? Which house doesn't have a gun?
MARQUEZ: Because you won't tell folks.
MCCLUSKY: No, not at all. It's going to be anonymous.
MARQUEZ (voice-over): A sort of Russian roulette with shotguns would be thieves unsure which house is armed and which isn't.
(on camera): The reason the program wants to offer up shotguns to use, they are very easy to use and whatever you are shooting at, you are sure to hit it.
(voice-over): Jack Money and Kelly King live in one of the neighborhoods being targeted. Money said he has been robbed four times and had a gun put in his face twice. He is all for the gun giveaway provided there are background checks and training, his girlfriend too.
(on camera): Do you have a gun at your house?
KELLY KING, TUCSON RESIDENT: I don't. I'd like one for protection.
MARQUEZ: Do you think you can handle a shotgun?
KING: I am not sure. I've never shot a shotgun before.
MARQUEZ: But it's something that would interest you?
KING: Yes, I think so.
MARQUEZ (voice-over): McClusky is working with the Armed Citizen Project starting in Houston, Texas. To get a gun, residents will simply have to ask for it, undergo a background check, a day's training and be vetted to try to prevent them from reselling the gun.
(on camera): What sort of neighborhood are we sitting in right now?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's middle class neighborhood. It's a sleepy neighborhood.
MARQUEZ (voice-over): Steve Kozachik represents one of the targeted areas. He calls the giveaway a bad idea from a frustrated politician who has unsuccessfully run for mayor here.
STEVE KOZACHIK, TUCSON CITY COUNCILMAN: I think it's a foolish program. I think it is twisted social experiment that does not have the backing of people. The constituents that I'm talking to are telling me that we don't want any part of it.
MARQUEZ: Sensitive to gun violence after the 2011 shooting in a Safeway parking lot. Six were killed and 13 others including Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords were wounded.
(on camera): Is it incumbent upon you to be more sensitive and to go about this in a more sensitive way?
MCCLUSKY, ARMED CITIZEN PROJECT: Naturally, we are sensitive to the situation here in Tucson, however neither one of them are related. That was an individual with the hand gun who had access who should not have had access to it. This is about home protection.
MARQUEZ: McClusky says he's already raised $12,000 and will give away as many guns as he can buy. Houston's program has already handed out 13 and hopes to give away 100 by year's end. Here in Southern Arizona, the firsthand out in the next 60 days. Miguel Marquez, CNN, Tucson, Arizona.
BLITZER: Once again, Tucson is already a hot spot in the gun control debate after the shooting that killed six people and wounded 13 others including Gabrielle Giffords. Joining us is Giffords' husband, Mark Kelly. Commander, thanks very much for coming in. What's your reaction to handout shotguns to people who want them?
MARK KELLY, GABRIELLE GIFFORDS' HUSBAND: Well, Wolf, I think it's somewhat of a distraction from the debate right now. You know, to be honest with you, it seems to be a lot to be like the NRA leadership's plan to arm teachers and put more guns in schools.
I don't think that's the answer. I think the answer is to make sure the criminals and the mentally ill don't have access to firearms and that's through doing a universal background check.
So what I'd be interested to find out is when all these shotguns are given away and they have done the background check, it would be nice to know how simple it was and how easy the background check is. So we can make sure that the background checks are part of the process for all gun sales.
BLITZER: I know you've been -- you and your wife Gabby have been very much involved in the struggle. Right now, it looks like an uphill struggle here in Washington to get major changes through Congress. To those who say the moment for serious movement on gun control has passed, you say what? KELLY: I don't think it's passed. You know, I am speaking almost on a daily basis with members of Capitol Hill. There is a lot of momentum. The momentum is really from the American people. I mean, they are pushing their members of the House and their senators to do this.
It is something that 90 percent of all Americans support, which is a universal background check. Even 74 percent of NRA members support a universal background check. So there is no reason why we shouldn't pass that legislation now.
BLITZER: But given the fact that even some Republican senators threatening to filibuster, I am not talking about the magazines, I'm not talking about the assault type weapons. I'm talking about universal background checks. Senator Inhofe told me today he is ready to filibuster even that. That would require 60 votes to break a filibuster. Is that doable?
KELLY: Well, it certainly is doable. You know, to the senators that are planning on filibustering the bill, they should recognize that for instance like Senator Rubio in Florida, 94 percent of his constituents support a universal background check.
In Kentucky, you know, where Rand Paul is a senator. It's over 80 percent. So, you know, I think when members of Congress don't listen to their constituents, ultimately there are consequences for that.
BLITZER: What's the most important to you? If you can't get everything, all the comprehensive gun control legislation you want, what is the single most important element that you'd like to see pass?
KELLY: By far the most important thing in this debate is the universal background check. It's to make sure that criminals don't have the access to a hand gun by going to a gun show or over the internet. It's the most common sense thing we can do to reduce the guns in the hands of criminals and the mentally ill, the dangerously mentally ill.
So that's number one with regard to this legislation. Then there's also, you know, addressing gun trafficking and getting the mental health status of people who are dangerously mentally ill into the national instant criminal background check system. That is so important.
BLITZER: Is there any way the Obama administration gun control supporters in Congress should be handling this whole issue differently to be getting more of what they want? Any recommendations you have?
KELLY: Well, you know, this is a process. Unfortunately, the way legislation is crafted and then passed in this country. It can sometimes be a slow process, but I met with a U.S. senator today and you know, it's important that they just continue to talk, you know, with their colleagues in the Senate and then eventually in the House. I think we can get this done. There is momentum. The American people want this and they want this now. BLITZER: Even it passes, let's say, universal background checks in the Senate, there is no guarantee it would pass in the House. You got a major struggle ahead of you given the opposition to what you are trying to achieve. Commander, thanks very much for coming in.
KELLY: You are very welcome, Wolf. Thanks for having me.
BLITZER: Up next, we have details in the strange death of a star of MTV's "Buck Wild." He was only 21 years old.
Also coming up, a beautiful moment after the new pope's first Easter mass. We will bring you the story behind this really amazing video.
BLITZER: Let's get the latest on other stories we are following tonight. Deborah Feyerick has a 360 news and business bulletin -- Deb.
DEBORAH FEYERICK, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Hi, there, Wolf. Hi, everyone. Well, prosecutors say they will seek the death penalty for James Holmes, the suspect in the Colorado movie theatre shooting that left 12 people dead and 58 wounded. Holmes did offer to plead guilty to avoid the death penalty, but D.A. rejected the deal after meeting with victims family members.
One of the stars of MTV's reality show "Buck Wild" has died. The 21-year-old Shane Gandy was found dead in a vehicle in West Virginia along with his uncle and one other person. The causes of death are still being investigated.
You got to watch this, a purse snatching at a mall in Australia caught on tape. After the suspect grabbed a bag, he ran right into a glass door and yes, that's right he knocked himself out. An accomplice helped him get away. Police are now looking for both of them. Now, Wolf, we know why he can't hold a regular job.
BLITZER: He ran through the glass. Not too smart. Deb, thanks very much.
Just ahead, a moment that melted many hearts in St. Peter's Square, a young boy, his name is Dominic. He gets a special Easter blessing from Pope Francis. So how did their paths cross in that overflowing crowd? Dominic's mom joins us next.
BLITZER: Pope Francis celebrated his first Easter mass this weekend as pontiff. Afterwards, he rode through the crowds. He was shaking hands and giving hugs and kissing babies. One moment though really stood out.
A young boy with cerebral palsy found his way to Francis. There is a story behind this very sweet moment. The boy's name is Dominic. Just a little while ago, I spoke to his mom, Christiania Gondreau. (BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)
BLITZER: It's not every day, Christiana, that someone's son gets kissed by the pope. What was that moment like for and Dominic, especially for Dominic?
CHRISTIANA GONDREAU, SON, DOMINIC, KISSED BY POPE FRANCIS: You know, it was really moving and he was -- it was really moving. Dominic is a people person, but I think he understood that that was exceptionally special and I think that you can see that in the picture and the video.
Because he broke out in a huge smile and wrapped his arm around the pope, which was very moving as a mother. For my family to see that was a beautiful moment even for the people around because there was not a dry eye around us. It was really, really moving.
BLITZER: We saw his arm around him and we did see that huge, big beautiful smile come from Dominic's face. That was very, very powerful. Did you have any idea that that might happen when you went there yesterday?
GONDREAU: No. Actually, I didn't even know if we were going to get seating because we left a lot later than we expected. I have four other children and so when we got to the piazza, it was packed. Really at my older children's bidding, we sent my husband out scouting to see if we can get in.
And we found the entrance and then we are told that we had to be separated that only person could go in. Normally it would have been my husband, but for whatever reason at that time, he said why don't you go in so I went in. Not in a million years really did I expect to end the Easter Sunday mass with a kiss from the pope. That was very beautiful.
BLITZER: It was very beautiful. You know, I read a really professor of theology college and in that article, he said a woman in the scare was so moved by the embrace that she said and I'm quoting now, "your son is here to show people how to love." What does it mean to you?
GONDREAU: You know, actually this past month is exactly what I've been thinking about trying to understand what Dominic's role is in this world. You don't ever plan to have a special child like Dominic, but he moved so many people that I was in that place thinking what is he here for?
That is what I had come to realize. For her to actually verbally say it out, she literally sort of yelled it out after he was kissed by the pope. It was exceptionally moving and exceptionally touching to get that so completely reaffirmed. Dominic is a beautiful child and if you ever get caught by the gaze in his eyes, that's it. You are a goner.
BLITZER: You and your entire family are blessed. Christiana, thanks so much for joining us. Please thank Dominic as well. We really appreciate your sharing these thoughts with our viewers.
GONDREAU: You are very welcome. You're very welcome.
BLITZER: And that does it for this edition of 360. Thanks for watching. "PIERS MORGAN LIVE" starts right now.