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THE LEAD WITH JAKE TAPPER
Source: Escapee Richard Matt Shot By Police. Aired 4:30-5p ET
Aired June 26, 2015 - 16:30 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[16:30:10] JAKE TAPPER, CNN HOST: Obviously when you have a New York state on the border with Canada, that would be a concern.
LENNY DEPAUL, FORMER U.S. MARSHAL (via telephone): Well, it's a huge concern, and Malone is not far from the border. They were focusing on Owls Head last Saturday. I think they're approximately 15 miles north of that location so it appeared they were trying to, you know, get into Canada is what it looks like, but again I can't confirm or deny that.
You know, New York State troopers did receive that call on the 9ll from the camper that was apparently shot at, you know, it's a joint effort. Hopefully this goes down without anybody else getting hurt.
TAPPER: At last count, I think there were 1,000 law enforcement officials from all sorts of law enforcement organizations, local police, marshals, et cetera, trying to find these two individuals. The big mystery was, would they still be together?
This would suggest, what you're telling us, Richard Matt having been shot, David Sweat still being pursued by police, this would suggest that they were together.
DEPAUL: That's the way it appears, yes, and again I'm just hearing it from the U.S. Marshals and the task force that's up there, you know, they're a little busy, as you can imagine, but Matt's down and they're chasing Sweat is how I got it.
So, yes, apparently they were together, they stuck together, they needed each other, they've been with each other for quite a few years. They fed off each other, they had this plan that they put together, and, you know, they stayed together.
TAPPER: All right, Lenny DePaul, a former commander, U.S. Marshal Service Regional Fugitive Task Force for New York and New Jersey. We will come back to you. Thank you so much for your expertise.
I want to go back now to Jean Casarez in Cadyville, New York. Jean, part of the team that is breaking story, this fast-breaking story, about the two fugitives who have been missing for three weeks, 21 days I believe as of today, Richard Matt and David Sweat, Richard Matt apparently having been shot by police who are still in pursuit of David Sweat. Jean, what else can you tell us?
JEAN CASAREZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, so many of these helicopters, the minute that we broke this news, these helicopters ironically at the same time left this command post as the New York State Police. It's silent now, but they were in mass leaving this area.
And a little bit more that they learning, they have brought in so many experts in this manhunt and we learned today, experts to denote exactly the rate of speed, how far these inmates could travel per day, whether they traveled during the daytime or nighttime, and what they have believed is they travel at night.
And so that is how they were proceeding along this and also talking about that they believe this evidence that they have found, sort of a breadcrumb type of evidence could lead them to where they are and now at this point, because of what Deborah Feyerick is confirming that Matt has been shot and they are in pursuit of David Sweat shows they were right in this testing this evidence.
The burglary of that cabin on Thursday, that the New York State Police told CNN about, culminated in finding what they say was conclusive evidence, which led them then to test things in the field around or toward the northwest area, and that's where they found other items, but silent here, the helicopters have left, but this is just unfolding as we speak, just the beginning -- Jake.
TAPPER: I know that law enforcement officials, Jean, were worried about all those hunting cabins in the area that would be easy for hardened criminals such as Richard Matt and David Sweat to break into, because a lot of them have shotguns, rifles, knives, other weapons.
It obviously is a pursuit that turned potentially lethal, although we don't know what happened with Richard Matt, but he was shot by police, sources are now telling Deb Feyerick, and David Sweat still being pursued.
For two hardened criminals like this, two convicted killers, who are fugitives, a search like this very difficult for U.S. Marshals. They want to find them, but they also don't want to get killed themselves.
CASAREZ: It's very different because as we learned a couple days ago, this is the largest wilderness area east of the Mississippi, these mountains, and the foliage, and it is very difficult and sometimes searchers can't see for two feet ahead of them.
But finding this potential evidence in the field and in a cabin that has been burglarized really has helped searches to narrow in the focus. I man, that evidence can be what led them to these two other than just grasping at straws, as they have been for much of this time.
But this is a very, very dense area and we do also want to reiterate that they believe these two were bound for Canada. They said they believed they were correct because of the northwesterly direction. That's why they changed the primary search area today.
[16:35:03] That's why they had a checkpoint in this area and not in previous areas that they had during the first part of the week.
TAPPER: All right, Jean Casarez, stay with us.
Also with us right now, the former assistant director of the U.S. Marshal, Arthur Roderick. Arthur, what are your sources inside the marshal's service telling you about this situation.
Do you know if there's any connection between the tip that we heard about from authorities, DNA evidence linking these fugitives to a specific location and these new developments, reports that Richard Matt has been shot, David Sweat is being pursued?
Is Arthur there? Arthur Roderick? We're obviously having some problems with our audio. We'll get Arthur Roderick, former assistant director of U.S. Marshal in a second.
But in the meantime let me go back to Deb Feyerick, who broke the story. Deb, do law enforcement authorities tell you that there is a link between that DNA evidence and this action that you're breaking here on CNN, the idea that law enforcement has shot one of the fugitives Richard Matt, pursuing the other one, David Sweat.
DEBORAH FEYERICK, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, it's very interesting because police had said earlier that in fact the evidence was conclusive. I'm getting a call from one of my sources.
TAPPER: Deb, why don't take that call from your source. We'll come back to you in a second.
Tom Fuentes is joining me right on stage. Information coming into Deb Feyerick she reports it right now. Tom Fuentes, formerly of the FBI. We have a report now that law enforcement is trying to hone in on these dangerous fugitives that have been missing for three weeks.
Police have shot one of them, Richard Matt. We don't know his status, whether or not he is alive. They are pursuing the other one, David Sweat. What immediately comes to mind? It's seems interesting that the two are still together.
TOM FUENTES, CNN LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: I think first of all, I'm not surprised by that, Jake, but I'm surprise they are still that close to the original escape place. So the fact that they didn't get out of the state, out of the country all this time, and they're still together in the woods trying to survive kind of surprises me that they didn't have a better backup plan than possibly just Joyce Mitchell picking them up when they came out.
TAPPER: Deb Feyerick and Jean Casarez both reporting that the original plan -- that they had been told -- law enforcement officials had been telling Jean Casarez and Deb Feyerick that it seemed as though, and law enforcement authorities were concerned that these two were intending to cross the border into Canada to go even northern New York and cross the border.
How does that complicate such a search such as this, obviously the U.S. and Canada cooperate on a lot of matters, but are U.S. Marshals not allowed into Canada?
FUENTES: No, no, certainly, the U.S. Marshals work in Canada. The FBI works in Canada. It's simply a matter of asking, can we send more? And they say yes. We can send all the officers we need out there to work with the RCMP, to work with the authorities -- TAPPER: The Canadians don't want American killers in their country
any more than we do.
FUENTES: No, they don't.
TAPPER: All right, Jean Casarez in Cadyville, New York, what more can you tell us?
CASAREZ: We're hearing more helicopters. More have taken off from this area, which is the command post for the New York State Police and other agencies. What we are learning also is that the evidence that they were processing this afternoon, I mean, it may still be processed right now in the New York State crime lab for DNA evidence, but that they believed was extremely significant.
They wouldn't say what they found, but they said they believed the pair dropped it, dropped it intentionally, dropped it not intentionally, but that's what they found that led them to believing that they could be near that area.
That processing I'm sure is continuing. There's preliminary DNA testing. There is also conclusive testing, but that sent them to the area to now try to locate these inmates that have been on the run.
I'm hearing more helicopters. I think you can see right behind me a New York State Police helicopter is taking off right now, and this is one of many helicopter, helicopter after helicopters has been taken off in the last few minutes. And there it goes.
A coordinated effort by law enforcement, because, Jake, if they are pursuing one of these convicted murders, a helicopter by air can help spot David Sweat in ways they may not be able to on the ground.
TAPPER: Tom Fuentes, formerly of the FBI, let me ask you a question, the law enforcement officials speaking earlier this week talked about their fear that because of the presence of all these hunting lodges and cabins up there that Richard Matt and David Sweat, who we should point out were already convicted killers and therefore deemed dangerous that they were even more concerned that they would have weapons.
[16:40:04] Now we hear that law enforcement has shot Richard Matt. Are law enforcement officials in such a situation trained to shoot to kill, or do they have to way to see if the fugitives has a weapon on them or do they not even want to take the risk?
FUENTES: I think that's hard to say, depending on the circumstances. If he was trying to surrender, they would let him surrender. They wouldn't just shoot him dead, but if he made any suspicious moves toward him, absolutely, they would stop him immediately.
Not prevent him from having a chance to shoot them and they had to presume that they might have weapons. They might have possibly gotten firearms from an abandoned cabin or from somebody who was helping them in the first place. TAPPER: What would the procedure be, though, if -- let's say you are a law enforcement official and you see at a distance an individual who is a convicted killer, escaped from prison, a wanted fugitive, is thought to possibly be armed. Is the strategy to shoot him? Is the strategy to approach him and say stop? I mean --
FUENTES: In my opinion they could shoot him under that circumstance. You have a fleeing felon. If they believe him to be armed and to pose a threat to the community and to law enforcement, which is absolutely the case that he's going to pose a threat even without a weapon. That he could jump on one of these officers, you know, from standing behind a tree as they go by and kill him or take his weapon away. So I think under those circumstances, yes, I think they would be authorized to stop him no matter what.
TAPPER: Yes, I mean, these are two convicted killers, two fugitives. I'm just wondering the protocol would be. Also joining us right now is the former assistant director of the U.S. Marshal is Arthur Roderick. Arthur, thanks for joining us.
The U.S. Marshal Service is not commenting on these reports. Obviously there is a lot of activity, obviously a lot of law enforcement sources are talking to CNN. What are your sources inside the marshal service telling you about the situation?
Do you know if there's any connection between the tip authorities talked about earlier today, the DNA evidence linking these fugitives to that specific location, I believe in Malone, New York, and these new developments?
Arthur Roderick? All right, once again we're having problems with the connection with Arthur Roderick. Tom Fuentes, it seems likely that there's a connection between authorities saying that there is DNA evidence tying these to a specific location.
And now reports that one of the fugitives wanted, Richard Matt has been shot, and another one being -- police are in hot pursuit of him.
FUENTES: Right. I think the importance is how long ago did they leave that DNA? If they think they dropped something on the trail as they were running away or walking away from that location that would tell them they're very close.
In the other locations they weren't sure, were they there three weeks ago, visited and dropped off items that now tested positive, but they are long gone or is this a recent sighting?
The fact that they have shot Matt and have him, means that Sweat is as close as can be. Now the perimeters, now the helicopters, the dogs, everything can zero in in a much tighter perimeter, an ever-tightening noose around him.
TAPPER: If you're just joining us, let me bring you up to speed about what's going on. For the last three weeks, you've been hearing about these two hardened criminals, two convicted killers who escaped from a prison, the Clinton Correctional Facility in upstate New York. The killers who escaped and there has been a manhunt for them for three weeks now, Richard Matt and David Sweat. Richard Matt, we are being told by a law enforcement source, has been shot by police. Police are in hot pursuit of David Sweat.
Obviously these individuals have been terrifying the area, people worried about coming into contact with them. On the phone right now is Harry Houck. He is a CNN law enforcement analyst and also a retired NYPD detective.
Harry, I'm not sure if your law enforcement sources are telling you anything, but in a situation like this, police have got to be very concerned about the predisposition of these individuals to violence.
HARRY HOUCK, CNN LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST (via telephone): Right. Exactly. We don't know 100 percent sure whether or not they are armed, but if they are armed, the one suspect -- police are probably very close to him right now, the fact they had to shoot one guy tells me that the other might be armed also himself.
So being so close and be able to grab one of them. I don't think these guys split up at all because all they had was each other. What Tom said before, there's probably a tight perimeter right now and they're probably sending hundreds of police officers into that area, and I'm -- it sounds like to me they're pretty close to maybe getting this guy sometime tonight.
TAPPER: So roughly within the last hour, a New York State Police spokesman told CNN that there was conclusive evidence of Richard Matt and David Sweat found at a cabin. We're being told that may have been DNA evidence.
[16:45:06] There are more than 1,100 law enforcement officers right now pursuing new leads with a high degree of confidence, but this news that where the prisoner's DNA was found, not far from where we're told this pursuit is going on, there must be a connection, don't you think, Harry Houck?
HOUCK: I think so. Maybe the dogs picked something up, maybe these found something, like Tom has said, close by, maybe there was some blood left on the trail when they were trying to make their way through the woods, and that in itself -- I know that they can get basically a DNA test within 45 minutes if they can get that from the location where they found it to a DNA lab. It sounds that they are very close to getting these guys and it worked out to be a great lead because they already have one in custody, right?
TAPPER: Apparently Richard Matt has been shot. I assume that he is in Custody. David Sweat, they are still in hot pursuit. When law enforcement is honing in on fugitives, individuals who are wanted, convicted killers, is the inclination, is the protocol to shoot to kill or I know there isn't a shoot to wound. That's just on TV and movies but --
HOUCK: Right, exactly.
TAPPER: But as a law enforcement would have --
HOUCK: They would try to take them out.
TAPPER: You try to take them out.
HOUCK: Yes, you got to take them out. I mean, these guys have been on the run for over 20 days now and they're armed -- we believe they're arms and even more dangerous than they were before. So if you get a sight of this guy, you can't let him go, you have to take a shot no matter what. The only way to take a shot is probably in the master part of his body, and there's a good chance of maybe killing him.
TAPPER: Speaking of that, we should report right now that law enforcement sources are telling CNN's Pamela Brown and CNN's Alexandra Field that Richard Matt, the fugitive, who has been missing after escaping from Clinton Correctional Facility roughly three weeks ago, Richard Matt, we have been reporting he was shot.
We are now going to tell you that law enforcement sources are telling CNN that Richard Matt has been killed by law enforcement. He is dead. Tom Fuentes joining us here in studio, a former top official of the FBI, actually Tom, hold on a second. I want to go to Deb Feyerick, who originally broke the story several minutes. Deb, what more can you tell us?
FEYERICK: Well, we do want to let you know that federal, state and local sources are now telling us here at CNN that in fact, yes, Richard Matt has been shot dead. This was a huge chase and police really believe that they were getting much, much closer early today when they said they believed for sure they were in the Franklin County area.
And we also heard from U.S. Marshal Lenny DePaul just a few moments ago, at about 1:35, shots were fired at some sort of camper van. It appeared that the men may have been trying to carjack that particular camper van. That may have been alerted everybody to their location.
Now we're being told, myself, Pamela Brown, Alexandra Field that Richard Matt has been shot and killed. I spoke to someone earlier today that was really the thinking of how this was going to play out, because one man said, that if captured, these two knew that they would die in complete and total isolation and segregation because of this prison escape.
TAPPER: All right, Deb Feyerick, thanks so much. Tom Fuentes, former top official at the FBI, this is not a surprise that this would end with Richard Matt dead. Two fugitives, escaped killers, Richard Matt in particular, a vicious killer, and David Sweat also fairly reprehensible individual, the idea that they would escape, was going to end this way in all likelihood.
FUENTES: Well, the hope was that if somebody was going to die, it would be these two guys and not an innocent citizen. That maybe they conducted a home invasion or a carjacking as we heard or law enforcement officers. So if they were determined that they are going to die or somebody was going to die, better them than anybody else. TAPPER: Certainly, I'm not questioning that, but I'm just saying when fugitives escaped, especially hardened criminals, who have committed murder, as is the case with Richard Matt, who has been killed and David Sweat, the likelihood that it ends with their death is very high.
FUENTES: It's a high likelihood, but we've had so many cases where people say you can't take me alive. Family members have indicated that you'll never take them alive, and then they give up like sheep. That happens all the time. They chicken out. They just don't even resist and you take them into custody.
So I think in these two guys, they weren't going to go along like sheep. We were pretty certainly they were so hardened and so psychopathic. They weren't going to have any qualms about trying to die or kill anybody else in the process.
[16:50:02] TAPPER: Yes, I just mean the very act of two convicted killers escaping from prison puts them in the firing line, because they are so dangerous that when it comes down to a confrontation, although as you point out, sometimes they give up like sheep.
TAPPER: Let's go back to Jean Casarez, who is back in Cadyville, New York, where there is tremendous law enforcement activity. Jean, what can you tell us?
CASAREZ: Well, the helicopters now have paused. They all have left, but there were many of New York State Police that left in helicopters. More than that, we did learn today that they believe an item was dropped by this pair, and that could have been what really led them to the area where all this came down today.
They wouldn't say what the item was, but they said it was significant. In the next breathe, they said, and we are proceeding with the belief that they are armed and dangerous.
A little earlier today, I spoke with a neighbor of one of the defendants that talked to me about the gun that they believed was taken from the cabin last Saturday. She knows the owner of the gun.
She said to me it was a shotgun, that it was a shotgun that was a relic, an antique, but the owner realized it was gone, because it was such a special gun that he kept in that particular cabin right there.
We don't know in ammunition was taken with that gun. We don't know if the inmates took it or if that's the only one they had, but he did confirm with her that his relic shotgun was missing out of the cabin that was burglarized last Saturday morning.
TAPPER: All right, so that would make law enforcement I would think, Jean, even more on edge, even more inclined to consider these individuals armed and presumed dangerous, as if they need to be concerned about that, even more so than they already were, Jean Casarez? CASAREZ: That's right, what Deb Feyerick just said, shots fired at a camper this afternoon may have alerted them they were in the area. And they have proceeded all along, even though there was one gun that they knew was missing, that they were armed and dangerous.
But they also told us, you know, these are hunting cabins. That's the definition of the word. That's what people in this area, and I found out they hunt moos and bear and white-tailed deer here, but they store the guns in these hunting cabins.
The families evolve. They are constantly changing the families that are in those cabins. So the amount of weapons are extraordinary that someone can get if they would burglarize the area. It is believed at this point two cabins have been targets.
TAPPER: Jean Casarez in Caddyville, New York. If you're just joining us, we're reporting that of those two fugitives, the two convicted killers who escaped from the Clinton Correctional Facility roughly three weeks ago, one of them, Richard Matt, has been shot and killed by law enforcement in this very intense manhunt, more than 1,100 law enforcement officers.
Apparently the other one, David Sweat, is still being pursued and is not in law enforcement custody. Are we going to Pamela Brown? We're going to go to Tom Fuentes. Tom, it does seem that they were traveling together. You say you're not surprised by that. Why not?
FUENTES: No, I'm just saying all along that I thought as long as they needed each other and were in the survival mode, they'd stay together. Now if they ended up, you know, in Mexico or somewhere --
TAPPER: What do you mean by survival mode?
FUENTES: Well, they are in the woods, trying to eat -- trying to feed themselves, trying to get water, trying to get weapons.
TAPPER: Why would they need to be together for that? Why would that help?
FUENTES: Because that would help to have two together survive and it also would help if they took turn sleeping to keep a look for if maybe police were closing that they would know to get up and run.
So I thought that they would stay together until they got to a point where they were very comfortable, which to me would be a long way away from New York.
TAPPER: OK, let's go back to Deb Feyerick, who broke the story for us several minutes ago and has been talking with her law enforcement source for the last 2 minutes. Deb, what can you tell us?
FEYERICK: Well, we can tell you right now and this is according to two sources now on the ground that it appears while they're still chasing David Sweat, there are no eyes on him so that is going to complicate this search, this chase a little bit as they continue to look for the second fugitive who remains at large. That's what we are now -- that's what we are now being told.
TAPPER: All right, Richard Matt is on the right side of your screen. David Sweat is on the left. We are told that Richard Matt on the right side of the screen, that individual right there has been shot and killed by law enforcement in this intense extensive manhunt in upstate New York.
David Sweat on the left side of your screen is still wanted. Pamela Brown, what are your law enforcement sources telling you about how this might have gone down and how close law enforcement might be to apprehending David Sweat?
PAMELA BROWN, CNN JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: Well, we're learning from law enforcement sources, Jake, that there was a shootout apparently with Richard Matt someday today.
[16:55:05] Apparently, according to sources, he had shot at the driver of a camper appeared to be some sort of carjacking. So he had clearly gotten a hold of a gun perhaps in one of the cabins he was in. There was a shootout and apparently as we know now from sources, Richard Matt was killed in that shootout.
The driver of the camper apparently called 911 after she was shot at and that is what alerted authorities. But we know right now that the manhunt is still very much underway for David Sweat and as we just heard Deb Feyerick say that apparently authorities don't have eyes on him at this point, but they are actively searching for him near Malone, New York. I'm told that is where the shootout happened earlier today when that 911 call was made -- Jake.
TAPPER: Joining me on the phone right now is Alexandra Field, CNN reporter. She is in Malone, New York. Alex, sources are confirming to you that Richard Matt was shot and killed by law enforcement authorities. What else can you tell us? Alexandra Field, are you there?
It seems to be some problem that we're having. Tom Fuentes, what else strikes you as you see this report and you hear this news coming in?
FUENTES: I think the fact that even as much trouble as you are having getting hold of reporters by cell phones, it just shows you what the authorities would have been facing trying to communicate with each other.
That when you're bringing in all these officers from different counties, from different jurisdictions to supplement the state police and the marshals and the others, that the communication becomes one of the most difficult things among law enforcement.
Just as you're experiencing it here, trying to report on it, that's what the authorities face every day when they're out there in the woods, spotty coverage or the radios have to be charged up.
Everybody has logistical problems in a situation like this, so now, though, the fact that they're so closed to Sweat, I think it would be much easier and much quicker deal to get him in custody or killed. TAPPER: We're having a much easier time getting through to Jean Casarez, who is in Caddyville, New York. Jean, what are your sources telling you about this fast breaking story? Jean, can you hear me?
Pamela Brown, what can you tell us? What are your law enforcement sources telling you?
BROWN: Again, a very fluid situation. This is rapidly developing, but what we are learned is that Richard Matt was shot and killed in a shootout with law enforcement. It appears he had gotten ahold of a gun along the way. It's unclear where he was able to gain access to a gun.
But I'm being told there was a shootout after the driver of a camper called 911 near Malone, New York. That's where it happened. Apparently that driver was shot at, called 911. Authorities came. There was a shootout, and Richard Matt was killed.
But there is still a manhunt under way for David Sweat, the accomplice, who escaped from prison, who is a convicted killer, so this is far from over, Jake. We're being told, by colleagues, that they don't have eyes on him right now -- Jake.
TAPPER: All right, Tom Fuentes, it does seem that, as we've been discussing for the last three weeks with these escaped killers, Richard Matt and David Sweat, already hardened criminals who had taken innocent lives before, and people were very concerned about how this would end.
As you know, better it end in their blood than innocent blood, innocent lives or police officers, law enforcement officers, but it does seem to be coming to a fatal end. Richard Matt already has been killed by law enforcement, as they try to capture him, make sure he doesn't kill again. He's already known for several horrific acts.
David sweat I supposed he has a choice to make right now. He can come out with his hands up and live and spend the rest of his life in prison or not.
FUENTES: Right. We just don't know. Only he will know the answer to that and he may not know until the circumstances come up and he makes a decision whether to live or die at that time. One advantage of the authorities, if you had the DNA confirmed in the cabin last Saturday, then you have a new location of DNA today.
That at least gives the authority also a direction of travel, were they trying to get to Canada, which to me is pretty stupid. They could have walked there three weeks ago. If that was the case, that they were still in New York, all this time, as we are now seeing.
And maybe now trying to get to Canada and Matt has been stopped, Sweat hasn't, at least they have a much better handle on where he might be going. However, he could still get into a cabin, a house. Still do a home invasion, still do a carjacking that's successful unlike the one Matt attempted. So this is a dangerous cornered animal right now. TAPPER: Indeed. Tom Fuentes, thanks so much for joining us. That's it for THE LEAD. I'm Jake Tapper. I will turn it over to Wolf Blitzer in "THE SITUATION ROOM," who will continue with this late- breaking story about the fugitives in New York.