April 19, 2013
Guest: Clint Van Zandt
CHRIS MATTHEWS, HOST: Well, he`s still out there.
Let`s play HARDBALL.
MATTHEWS: This could be it right now. There are shots that have been
fired just recently up in Watertown. The last two minutes or so, heavy
police activity right in that area as the manhunt continues for one of the
suspects in this week`s Boston marathon shooting.
Where is Dzhokhar Tsarnaev?
Well, the 19-year-old bombing suspect has so far evaded capture, but
he could be on the verge of being caught here by authorities despite a
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We do not have apprehension of our suspect this
afternoon but we will have one. We`re committed to that. I want the
neighborhood here in Watertown to know that we went through about 20
streets here door to door.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Tsarnaev and his brother were identified as the bombers.
And since then, they shot an MIT officer, held him in captive, after
carjacking him and -- let`s go right now in a dramatic -- let`s go right
now to a live picture. A lot of activity.
There`s Kerry Sanders. Let`s go to Kerry.
We don`t have him yet. Looks like we have -- we`re hoping to get
Kerry Sanders --
KERRY SANDERS, NBC NEWS CORRESPONDENT: There is a suspect that
somehow was able to elude the police here. That is the second suspect.
And it`s possible that he -- because he was on foot, it`s believed, is
somewhere still in Watertown. Now, the authorities spent all day combing
through 20 streets here and they were even going indoor homes and checking
inside houses and finally they lifted that order for people to remain in
Some of them were driving out here with smiles on their faces and now
all of a sudden this. I`m going to step out of the way because we have
some of the folks here from the military that are pulling out as well.
So the barrage of gunfire down in that general direction, it`s west
here in Watertown and I wish I could tell you I understood more about what
it is, but clearly, the police are responding to the gunfire.
MATTHEWS: You`re also on the scene. Erica, can you hear me? Erica
ERICA HILL, NBC NEWS CORRESPONDENT: Yes. Yes.
MATTHEWS: You`re on the air.
HILL: Yes. Chris, is that you?
MATTHEWS: Yes, you`re on the air right now.
HILL: Yes. Hi, Chris. So, just to update you on what`s happening
behind us. We are here in Watertown and there has been an increased police
presence and with certainty, to say the very least.
So, just a couple minutes ago we saw what appear to be SWAT vehicles
at the end of this street just behind me to the right. All of a sudden,
they peeled out of here. And right after that, a number of vehicles came
through very quickly, much faster than we had seen throughout the day.
Lights on, sirens going and a number of officers came in.
You can see the ones behind me here. This time really moving with a
sense of purpose. We had seen just about every imaginable law enforcement
vehicle today come through this area as they were doing those house to
house searches on 20 blocks here in Watertown and we saw that increased
police presence but they weren`t walking nearly as quickly nor with as much
purpose as we have seen in the last couple of minutes.
Clearly, there is something going on. There were reports of shots
fired at another area of Watertown not where we are standing right now.
And I should point out that there are a lot more people on the streets and
we`re not just talking about law enforcement, that`s because as soon as we
heard at that press conference after 6:00 p.m. that the stay indoors had
been lifted, we saw so many people going out on the streets. They are
bringing their dogs out for a walk.
And as those vehicles are pealing around the corner and down the
street behind me, there were a number of people gathered around the street
corner just over my right. They started cheering, clapping, saying go get
him. Now, where exactly they were headed, that is being looked into. We
don`t want to dive into speculation at this point.
But as you can see, there is a lot of focus from people here on the
ground. There is a lot of chatter behind us with the officers. So,
clearly, there are some sort of developments happening at this hour.
MATTHEWS: OK. Erica, hold on. We`re going to WHDH for their live
broadcast of the location.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So, they do have -- I don`t know if they have fire
on the way but they are all coming here.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Wow. All right. So --
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: So where do you believe the shots are being
fired? Have you any idea about that?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No, I have not heard any shots.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You have not heard any shots?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No, but I`m not all that close. I`m Laurel (ph)
Street, at the beginning of Franklin Street.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I see where you are. OK.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Well, we heard Dan running towards the scene and
I heard at least one time what sounded like a popping noise and he was
reporting that he was talking to a neighbor on Laurel Street which was the
site of the big gunfight last night and that they heard similar sounds.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Rudy, stay on the phone with us. Stay on the
phone if you will. We`re going to check in with Dan Housley (ph).
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: There`s the cemetery.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Dan, are you back with us?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes. I`m seeing an ambulance come in from behind
here, not all the way up to the scene. Again, I see dozens of officers
crouched in an edge of an area that I don`t want to get into too many
details here to give too many operation details. But just about 100 feet
back with the next officers lined up behind vehicles and trees, and I`m
watching the officers up front run behind some trees and behind some houses
where they are crouching in position and I have not heard any more gunshots
and it`s not clear who was firing at whom.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: All right. Dan, we had just spoken with Rudy, our
photographer. Of course, you know him well. I guess from his perspective,
he did not hear any gunshots but he`s not perhaps as close.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Or in the same spot.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Or in the same area that you are. But again, we
want to make it clear, Kim thought he heard it through your speaker but you
did hear several gunshots at different times?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Absolutely. As I say, that first series of shots
I heard a dozen and then since coming up I heard a pop, pop of one or two,
one or two. Sheriff Peter (INAUDIBLE) I`m seeing walking up here in the
back end and the other officers taking their defensive positions as they
find ways to check out the target area and I`ve seen officers, one or two
at a time move up a little closer.
MATTHEWS: All right. Now we`re going to -- I`m not sure who we`re
getting reports from. Let`s go back to Erica Hill right now who`s on the
scene near Watertown.
HILL: Chris, we`re seeing a number of folks coming in now. People
are being told to clear out of the street. We know that the Boston police
department apparently sent out a tweet noting that residents on Franklin
Street in the Watertown area should stay in place. That`s about a mile,
mile and a quarter from where we are here in Watertown and again we are
seeing this increased presence come through.
There are a number of reports coming out on social media, people
tweeting but what we want to do is be very cautious and in what we`re
reporting and make sure it`s accurate again before it goes on the air. But
this increased police presence is definitely something that you cannot
ignore. As they continue to come through on the street here, we are sirens
both in front of me, the road that would bring them here and then behind
me. And more and more people, we really have crowds gathering now out here
in Watertown, as people -- Watertown, rather, these people have been cooped
up inside all day.
As soon as that order was lifted, we saw half a dozen, dozen people
trickle outside. Now, just over my side, there`s easily a dozen people.
That`s just on one corner. We are looking at people on every corner coming
out. Everybody watching and waiting to see what will happen.
They are watching very carefully the officers behind me. You can see
they are starting -- they have now moved down the road a little bit. They
are not as close they were. They are moving down closer to whatever the
location is where they have all made their way to coming back down that
MATTHEWS: You know, Erica, we`re familiar with that because every
time we broadcast from Boston for MSNBC, we use that site right there, that
video link right in that area of Watertown. It`s so familiar.
It`s a neighborhood. It`s one of the old-time downtown neighborhoods
that Wal-Mart hasn`t removed from its action, regular business community
there. Watertown is right near Cambridge, Massachusetts. I am impressed
by the fact that we`re hearing gunshots and we`re hearing a lot of chatter
as we say internationally on the tweets now that suggest something is very
deadly here and serious. We can`t say what it is.
But it being looks like what you think it is. It looks like we are
into something. We got Andrea Mitchell with us that can help us a bit --
ANDREA MITCHELL, MSNBC ANCHOR: Erica was just referring to a Boston
police tweet which says, "Police operations in the Franklin Street,
Watertown areas, resident shelter in place."
This is coming an hour or so after the governor and mayor said you no
longer have shelter in place. Obviously, there`s an operation going on
here, something is going on.
MATTHEWS: Shelter in place means --
MITCHELL: Shelter in place means get back inside, which was the
lockdown that they were under all the day. They were just let out.
The governor and mayors just said you can come out of your homes about
an hour ago but be careful, if you see anything, call. So, now, what they
are saying is get back in your homes if you`re in that Watertown area.
There`s a police operation under way.
MATTHEWS: Can we tell by the number of police cars, squad cars that
have been called to this scene how intense this situation is, Roger
ROGER CRESSEY, NBC NEWS TERRORISM ANALYST: There`s been that massive
presence since last night. The good news is they have hit all of the
infrastructure and resources since the event began but once we heard in the
press conference that the individual was on foot, I think there was an
expectation, if something was going to happen, it was going to happen
quickly. Because the likelihood of him having an escape plan or escape
route, that went away last night.
So, this could go very quickly if in fact this is the final element.
MATTHEWS: Clint Van Zandt, do you think that was on purpose to alert
whoever the suspect was in this case that things weren`t going to be that
hot for them, and things are cooling off, it was time to make a run? We`ll
see, of course.
CLINT VAN ZANDT, FORMER FBI AGENT: Yes, we`ll see. Dusk would be a
good time if he was in one place to start moving but Chris, one report we
had from the local affiliate was that dozen shots. That`s about the
capacity of the magazine for certain semiautomatic pistols.
So the big concern that I have right now, Chris, is this over
abundance of manpower and firepower. This takes very disciplined on the
part of law enforcement. You don`t want to get there, you want to get a
perimeter around the area, but you only want a few designated officers or
SWAT teams to deal with it.
The last thing in the world we need is crossfire going at the same
time so whoever is on the on scene commander has got to be real disciplined
right now with what they have. Worst case scenario we could end up
shooting somebody we don`t want to shoot.
MATTHEWS: What do you make, Roger, of the ATF? We just saw someone
putting on a bulletproof vest, going into action?
CRESSEY: Well, remember, we have --
MATTHEWS: They expect explosives.
CRESSEY: But we have over 30 federal agencies represented right now.
So, anybody part of that effort who has a capability to engage in a close
environment like this certainly is going to be deployed.
There could be explosives. You have to assume if there is this
individual here, Tsarnaev is held up, or is in some other type of
situation, he may have additional explosives with him. He may be armed
with semiautomatic or pistols. You just have to assume the whole broad
range of force capability. He might have at his disposal.
MITCHELL: Don`t forget that this is a 19-year-old young man who was
really falling the lead, we believe, from all reports of his older brother.
His old brother rather than being captured was throwing devices, throwing
explosives at authorities and had an IED strapped to him. So they are
expecting the worst here.
MATTHEWS: And also his desperation would be multiplied by the fact
that he has knowledge that he ran over his brother as he escaped and the
fact that he had anything to do with the killing of his brother is
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Right.
MATTHEWS: And now he`s alone. Obviously guilt-ridden. Terrified.
CRESSEY: I mean, since Monday, you can`t believe this individual had
any type of normal arrest. So, all of these factors are playing in right
He may be injured. Since Monday you can`t believe this individual has
had any type of normal rest. So, all of these factors are playing in right
now. So we may in fact be back where we were several hours ago where we`re
talking about a situation where there could be a standoff and we could try
to engage the individual to try and negotiate and allow him to surrender to
MITCHELL: That is a very important point. They desperately want to
take him alive.
They need information. Was he a lone wolf, his brother and he? Were
they connected to a home-grown cell? Were they connected to foreign
operatives? We have never before seen Chechen operatives going against the
They go against Moscow. They go to Pakistan --
MATTHEWS: I agree with the strategic need for that, but just think
about the immediate situation. You know he`s going to get the first couple
guys coming for him. That`s the danger.
MITCHELL: I would count on the sharpshooters.
MATTHEWS: They can get him from a distance.
Let me go right now to Jim Cavanaugh. Mr. Cavanaugh, thank you for
joining us, as always. ATF agents involved going in with protective vests
on already. We`ve seen something of the operation even eye visible here.
JAMES CAVANAUGH: Chris, I think probably what happened -- we don`t
know. We`ll find out in the next half hour or so certainly -- but when the
superintendent of state police lifted the order to stay in your house, all
the residents came out of their house and naturally you`re cooped up, you
may not want to walk to the grocery store but you`re going to come out in
your driveway, you garage, walk fast your roads bushes, and likely Dzhokhar
was laying somewhere in the bushes, in the weeds, behind the garage, under
the car, in the back of a pickup truck.
CAVANAUGH: And he was spotted. So, you know, then the call went to
MATTHEWS: I see what you mean. Jim, we need to go right now to HDH.
We`re going to live coverage from the local station. Let`s go.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I just saw in the center here them take a robot
and put it in the back of a bomb squad vehicle. Maybe they are transported
it closer to that location.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I`m being held back. I am about a block behind
the location. You guys don`t have it yet but we were rolling on our camera
here when the shots went off.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We did get that, actually. Yes, we did get that.
It was -- what sounded a bit muffled on our end. But sounded maybe 12?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I would say more than that. It was more like 20.
But it certainly sounded like a long lasting firing there.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: All right, trying to get a confirmation on
obviously a serious manhunt under way. People are looking for resolution,
looking for an apprehension in that case. We`ll see if we can find out if
police have their man.
Adam, stand by and see what you can do and let`s check in with Dan
Housley and see what he`s uncovered. Dan?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They moved me back a little bit. But I`m still
closer than any other reporter, I would say, to the scene. The backyards
on Birch Street are what they are focusing on and they have a first line
nearby and then a second line behind it. It`s the second line behind it,
they pushed me back a little bit.
The robot you talked about, it just went by me about 10 feet away and
it`s being brought up closer to the scene. I can see up on Birch Street,
through some of the yards. That`s where they`re focusing. It`s
interesting that Susan talked about the lack of water around here and
talked about a boat with blood in it and there doesn`t seem to be any
significant water in the area.
Now, I do see some things with tarps on them and there could be boats
in someone`s backyard or -- an officer just asked me to move. He`s moving
me a bit closer to things. But they are definitely staging an area and
going in and out.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes, so that is birch road. We`re seeing it on
the map now right off of Walnut Street. There is the Charles River south
of there but if there`s a boat in that neighborhood, I would assume it
would be in somebody`s yard.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes. We are seeing some things in the yards
between the houses. Some of them covered with tarps. One could imagine
someone tried to hide in that but we just don`t know right now. This is
definitely the area they`re focusing. That`s the area where I heard the
single shots when we were closer, the dozen or so shots we heard from the
distance and you heard it, I was running up basically near the backyard.
You could hear the single pop, pop occasionally in a distance.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And it looks like -- Dan, it looks like there are
approximately 12 homes on Birch Road, maybe 14 depending on the ones at the
intersection of Walnut Street and Birch Road. But looking at some of these
pictures here, trying to get a better idea of what you`re hearing and not
getting a good idea from what I`m looking at here.
But again, we do know that gunshots, as Dan heard yourself, Adam
Williams heard it, Adam Williams his photographer caught it on camera. We
heard it as well -- a succession of multiple shots.
So, once again -- and, Dan, the twist of irony here because this
community apparently had just been let back in after this massive sweep
through their homes and this happens.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes. The Laurel Street had just been let in but
the other homes the people were already inside them. This is four or five
blocks away at least from Laurel Street but it is -- I believe it would
likely be in the 20-block zone that investigators said they searched
through very thoroughly and searched as well as they could as we heard 60
to 80 percent during the day.
And it would appear -- not certain, but it`s probably within that 20-
block zone that they searched and thought they had eliminated the
possibility of a suspect.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Well, looking at the map, Arsenal Street is
south of the Laurel Street area and then if you just move further west, the
streets circle a lot but if you counted, I would say a quarter of a mile,
somewhere between eight and 10 blocks, likely in that ten-block perimeter
that they said they were checking.
So, the irony that he spoke of, it was 6:00, an hour and to minutes
ago, just over on Laurel Street, and you`re standing there talking to these
people who are getting back into their homes after this wild gunfire last
night only to hear shots as you`re having the conversation. Susan is there
on the scene. We`ve been noticing that the bomb squad device did move
closer to this house in the neighborhood on Birch Road.
Susan, are you with us?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes, Kim. If you could just come over to our
camera right now, this is the FBI. They are in what looks like a military
gear, long rifles. They have binoculars. They are fully geared for what
could be night vision necessities. They have their police dog with them.
They`re making --
MATTHEWS: Me, too.
We`re watching the local broadcast up there from local WHDH. We just
saw the heavily armed men in heavy rifles. Boy, they`re carrying major
equipment there. And they are also in camouflage and heading in with night
vision goggles on.
Roger Cressey, I don`t know what else that could be except they`re
going in to face a dangerous situation.
CRESSEY: Well, they`ve assessed the situation, because of the gunfire
and all the other elements we`ve discussed, they are bringing the full
weight of the agencies that are deployed there to bear and this could,
again, go very quickly or they could be engaged in establishing a perimeter
and looking at the different options and deciding where to go completely in
or wait and see what to do.
MATTHEWS: Clint Van Zandt, I want to talk about the rules of
engagement, if you can use that term here. You know, you have someone who
is a highly valuable person to explain to us the geopolitical aspect, the
motivation, everything we need to know about why this happened at the
marathon on Monday. All we need to know is in the head of that one person
who is still out there perhaps alive.
And yet, you also have the lives of these police officials and other
paramilitary officials at this point going in to get him knowing he`s
How do you -- how do you balance those two concerns? Do you get him
alive and avoid getting killed?
VAN ZANDT: Well, they`re going to try to get him alive. Our best
case scenario is the men you saw going in there, FBI squads or HRT, the
reporter on scene suggested they have the weaponry, the body armor, the
night vision goggles. They can engage this guy in ways you never even
So, it`s not a question can we take him out or not. It`s a question,
can we get him caught there and talk?
MATTHEWS: OK. Let`s go to Pete Williams right now in Washington --
PETE WILLIAMS, NBC NEWS JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: Telling word here is
body -- body found in a boat and, as you know, they have sent in the SWAT
teams and the bomb teams I assume as a precaution to make sure that the
situation is indeed over but we don`t have an identity on the body. We
don`t know who it is. We don`t know whether the body is a result of the
shooting. That would seem to be the logical conclusion, though.
BRIAN WILLIAMS, NBC NEWS ANCHOR: Yes, Pete. Right where they are in
Watertown, the Charles River takes a kind of dramatic dip to the south. It
does widen there but to your point, you`re absolutely right. A lot of
people have boats on trailers in their yards, not quite the season for that
But -- and then again, there`s always a lot of activity on the Charles
River, the scale of this map is too broad to zoom in with any specificity.
P. WILLIAMS: But the other thing that stands out to me and I`m sure
to you, just looking at the pictures here, they certainly contrast with the
pictures that we`ve seen earlier today, for example outside the house,
where everyone was in a tactical position for a long time.
This is a picture of people waiting. This is a picture of people
waiting for word from the team that presumably went down to this boat to
find out. It doesn`t seem like a lot of anxiety. It looks like they
anticipate that whatever danger there was has passed.
So this is a group of people waiting to get the word and we are, too.
B. WILLIAMS: Yes, that`s right. I mean, obviously, whatever activity
is happening at its own perimeter and this is all the folks that weren`t
needed down there.
Lester Holt, anything over that police radio?
LESTER HOLT, NBC NEWS CORRESPONDENT: No. Nothing at all. They seem
to be holding this now as one of the perimeters.
WILLIAMS: We`re back here. We were listening basically a simulcast
with Brian Williams and Pete Williams. And I thought, Andrea, that was
very interesting, because you and I were getting unconfirmed reports of a
boat with blood in it and a body in it.
MITCHELL: There is a boat with what looks like a body under a blue
tarp on the last house on Franklin Street in Watertown. We hadn`t had that
confirmed. Pete Williams has completely confirmed that yet. So, that`s
why we went --
MATTHEWS: Like in the backyard --
MITCHELL: In the backyard. It appears that they have surrounded the
area. People standing outside as we saw on WHDH just now on our camera
don`t appear terribly concerned.
MATTHEWS: What do we make of the barrage of 12 bullets?
MITCHELL: Well, we don`t have an identification of this body so we
don`t know if this is the suspect or some other citizen. But -- so that is
Right now, by the way, just looking at the White House picture behind
you, there`s a tornado warning.
MATTHEWS: I can hear it overhead it. We are getting August weather.
MITCHELL: We are getting August weather. So, the White House, as you
can see, is working behind you and in that White House within an hour or so
we understand the president spoke to Vladimir Putin by phone.
MATTHEWS: We`re going to get back international implications from
Let`s go now to Erica Hill who`s on the scene.
Erica, can you confirm what you`re getting about a boat, blood, a
body, and whatever?
HILL: We have not had that confirmed but I can tell you, though, is
that in terms of the increased police presence in the area, the Boston
Police Department continues to send out tweets for residents in the area.
You`re talking about Franklin Street. They are saying again, for residents
in that area, on Franklin Street, stay inside, remain inside.
Also I think as you can see, over my shoulder here, a bus just came
in. That bus was full of police officers all coming in, we should see them
getting out pretty soon and again they are trying to keep us as far away as
possible trying to keep this area clear because they continue to expect
more and more officers and law enforcement officials to come through. We
can see again a number of officers arriving on scene.
MATTHEWS: Erica, thank you for that report.
Roger Cressey is with me.
This is one heck of a thing to be covering live. I`ve got to tell
you. And what we`re covering is possibly a dead suspect, possibly. The
description of a dead body in a canoe in this situation, the coincidence
would be overwhelming if it was someone else. But also this idea that we
had a block-to-block intensive search going on all day in that area and
that means that the suspect eluded the police during the day and only when
the lockdown was lifted did we see something like this develop.
CRESSEY: Yes. And I think if this is the suspect, and if he is dead,
then there`s going to be a different type of forensics investigation right
now with him.
What is around him? Does he have any other explosives with him? Is
it just one or two weapons? Was it the exchange of gunfire that was heard?
Was his gun being discharged back and forth between law enforcement and the
All of which we don`t know right now. But this massive deployment of
law enforcement officials right now could bring this all to a head very
MATTHEWS: Clint Van Zandt, your thoughts on what`s happening now. I
know we`re still in the age of the stage however of a moving story that
we`re only getting bits of right now, but it looks like the police are
closing in. They`re not on guard in a sense of planning to go to further
action. They are there waiting for something to be resolved at this point.
VAN ZANDT: I just saw a picture of a guy taking a vest off. I would
say there are a number of officers who feel they have the ability to stand
down as far as their tactical readiness and the earlier report we had,
Chris, on site where someone said there was a dozen shots and then some
other shots fired, that could easily suggest some type of confrontation
that took place between officers still conducting a search or on patrol and
the subject himself.
That`s what we have to find out but the urgency and level of response,
it appears that they have stood down. So, they feel they have something.
Is it the guy they are looking for? We ought to know that in the next 30
MATTHEWS: OK. Shots have been fired. There may be a dead body. It
may be him, the suspect. We`re going to find out.
Let`s go to local broadcast, WHDH in Boston.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: But again, now, this whole area has been sealed
off and we`re in a waiting pattern right now and the reason they are not
moving in is because they have their subject surrounded. So, he`s not
going anywhere. The only question is whether or not he`s still armed with
explosives because we know they had explosives with them last night or
early this morning.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Well, wow, first of all, for a neighbor to be
that observant to see. I mean, imagine, a boat with a tarp in someone`s
backyard. There`s a lot of bushes, and trees and shrubbery there to notice
a ladder had all of a sudden been added to the scene and not to think
twice, just did not take a chance and make the call.
So, you`re saying that the helicopter is showing that the suspect in
the boat, which we believe to be the second bombing suspect, is still
alive, and I wonder, Steve, what kind of shots may they have fired because
would they, for sure, know in fact who was hiding in that boat when they
started taking fire?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Right, and why they started firing. And, again,
we initially heard that they did fire some shots and then they pulled back
and then we heard that there was secondary shots that were fired that were
nonlethal bullets. So, you know, again, these are SWAT teams that race to
the scene so fast. You know, this just happened literally at the end of --
this happened at the end of the news conference, not long after that.
We were standing there outside the Watertown mall and as quickly as we
were standing there, things were breaking up within a few moments these
SWAT teams were breaking down Arsenal Street. Every road was quickly
sealed off and again that`s when all this went down but again all these
people, residents that we`re talking to describe the same thing, hearing a
flurry of shots going off.
But again, according to my source, the reason they are not moving in
and approaching the boat right now is because of this thing about
explosives. These guys were loaded with explosives. They were throwing
them off the window. They had a pressure cooker at the last minute that
they threw out the window. And we know that --
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Steve, we`ve got to interrupt you. I do
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No problem.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We`ll check back. We have to get back to 7`s Dan
Housley, he has some updated info for us -- Dan.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think another reason that the officers may be
waiting to move in is because they want to get this area cleared of
civilians, if any of the scenarios that Steve outlined might happen. We
just saw from one of the houses in the same area, carrying what appear to
be young women in their arms, in pajamas or something, disabled or sleeping
or couldn`t get themselves out there. These officers carried them quickly
100 yards to safety with some other young people who could move following
them behind. So the effort continues to clear civilians out of the area
while officers hope to deal with this just the suspect and them.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes, I guess if they`ve got the boat and it`s
covered and they know they have a suspect inside, that`s a big cavity in
there. Who knows what else and I guess they have to take every precaution,
absolutely. The power of some of the explosive devices that the suspects
are accused of using at the marathon and the power that they have and the
distance that they can do to cause damage. So, that does make perfect
I find it interesting that as we continue the discussion, Steve Cooper
was talking about he fact that they could see the suspect still moving and
seemingly alive. He said they were using some nonlethal shots which I
think everyone wants to hear that this guy has been apprehended. Some
experts will say a guy like this won`t be taken alive. Maybe people will
want more answers and first of all would love to just see him off the
streets and feel some sense of safety again, but maybe to get some answers.
MATTHEWS: We`re back again.
To recap, we have a situation apparently where there`s a person alive
or dead, perhaps well alive, moving around according to the surveillance
from a helicopter in a boat in a backyard, obviously up on a trailer and
under a tarp. A woman -- a neighbor apparently discovered a ladder after
looking at the boat and then seeing a ladder, discovering a person in there
and they were bleeding. We`re not sure whether they are dead or not but
clearly they are preparing the area as if he is alive because he may be
ready to detonate an IED again, and that`s going to be the situation like
we had down at the marathon, another big explosion.
So, that is a concern certainly here by t police. That`s why they are
pulling people back. As Andrea pointed out, do it now. The questions on
the minds of the strategic thinkers, bigger networks, collaborators, we
could learn something if this guy is alive.
MITCHELL: They want to know if he`s a lone wolf, he and his brother,
or do they have accomplices. Was it a local cell? Were they directed by
They want to know who else is out there with explosives with intent to
MATTHEWS: And what was the motivation perhaps besides family business
of his brother going over to Russia and perhaps to Chechnya, or just one of
MITCHELL: They want to trace the roots of this and find out how big
of a terror plot this was. Clearly, was it two brothers? Was it bigger?
MATTHEWS: And so, let me go to Clint Van Zandt on this because we may
have a situation like we see in film and in television where the guy`s
barely alive and they are going to start questioning him. Your thoughts
because they need this information, they are going to try to keep him
alive. Your thoughts, Clint?
VAN ZANDT: Yes, they want to keep him alive. They want to get him
out of there alive. So, they have a number of choices tactically, Chris.
They could fire smoke into that boat, they could fire gas, they could use
rubber bullets, they could put a net over the top. They could electrify
it. They could do a lot of things to force him out.
What we don`t want right now is an officer to have to commit himself
or herself over the top and go in that boat and have the subject, as you`ve
just pointed out, detonate an IED. So we`re going to try to either talk
him out or force him out of that boat so we can get eyes on and see how
much threat he presents to the officers around and how much of a threat he
presents to himself and at the same time hopefully they will have a hostage
negotiator there trying to talk to him, trying to give him a reason to give
himself up and share his story as opposed to making a decision to do a
suicide at this point.
MATTHEWS: And, Jim Cavanaugh, in terms of ATF, you have sort of hurt
locker situation, you got to get in there and diffuse whatever is going on
at the risk of your life.
CAVANAUGH: You know, this is a good place to be for the tactical
commanders because you`ve got the guy in a boat and you can see he`s in
there moving around. I mean, the most he can have is a tarp or maybe
Likely the homeowner called about the ladder. Officers come up. He
might come out, the additional few shots we heard, five shots and responded
to with a barrage, maybe if he tried to get out of the boat a minute later.
In other words, the officers or agents would, if he`s trying to leave
the boat, he would then take a barrage of rifle fire to get back in the
boat. So now a helicopter and he would flee and looking at radars, they
would be able to see he`s still in the boat, he`s alive.
Look, now the determination is, secure the perimeter, get the lone
rifle teams, we can send a robot up there. There`s a lot of robots. Put
up a big arm, look right in there.
What you`re trying to determine is, does he have a bomb. Because
that`s the assessment. Does you have a bomb strapped on him? No bomb, OK,
he`s got a pistol.
So, he shot five bullets maybe, or they know. He doesn`t have a
million rounds of ammo.
So he`s not going to win with the tactical team. He`s not going to
win. So, now, it`s time, just like Clint said, this is how -- when you`re
in command of this, you`re in control of this.
You can deal with this and then you start talking to him. You can
talk to him through the robot with an upfront negotiator around the side of
the garage and likely how they first engaged him was when the homeowner
said there`s a ladder and agents would come up you in the boat can
surrender, and he might have popped right up with the pistol.
So, this is a good situation. He could be taken alive here and that`s
the way justice should be done in America. Chris, you pointed out John
Adams and the British soldiers the other night when we talk. That`s
exactly what should happen here. He should be taken alive.
And then, like Andrea said, and the intelligence, Roger said, may have
debriefed and get all you can. But right now, slow down would be good.
MATTHEWS: OK, Jim, let`s got to Erica Hill. I want to go to Erica
Hill right on the site on -- Erica Hill, come in now.
HILL: Yes, Chris, I just want to give you a sense of what NBC is
learning in terms of the police response. We`ve been talking so much about
seeing more officers and more cars, more vehicles coming through. We`re
learning in terms of the Massachusetts State Police in terms of the
divisions that are either en route or may already be in place, bomb,
ballistics and also stop, which is effectively their hardest SWAT team.
So, as you`ve been reporting and I know you`ve been seeing from the
local affiliate coverage that you were taking over the last half hour or
so, this is really a full-scale operation as we see them coming through.
That gives you a sense of what the Massachusetts State Police is sending
MATTHEWS: The state police have put out an official statement. It`s
not too helpful but it`s preliminary. What we`re watching right now and
the police action here is related to the day`s events, which I guess is
another way of saying this is the suspect involved here -- Erica.
HILL: Yes, and, of course, remember, too, in terms of the day`s
events, just before this happened, the state police held a press
conference. And that press conference, Governor Patrick said, look, we are
lifting this stay in place, this request for you to shelter in place that
we`ve had all day long. The streets here in Watertown and frankly all
around Boston as I made my way in were eerily quiet today.
As soon as that order was lifted, that`s when we started to see more
people out on the streets and not long after that is when there were
reports of shots of other areas of town and then not very long after that,
of course, Boston`s police department sending out not one but at least two
tweets where they urged residents of the Franklin Street area in Watertown,
which is just about a mile from where we are now, urging those residents to
stay inside and to in fact go back in and, in effect, ordering yet another
order for them to stay in place to shelter in place and not go outside
under any circumstances.
MITCHELL: One of the things that is going to be asked as we go
forward, depending on how this all turns out, is what about the trapping of
these two brothers? Because we`ve been told that until the Boston marathon
and they showed up on the surveillance video, that they were not on
anyone`s register but now Ann Curry interviewed the father tonight in
Russia and the father says that the FBI came to their Cambridge house two
years ago to interview Tamerlan Tsarnaev, the older brother.
So, the FBI --
MATTHEWS: Before he went to Russia?
MITCHELL: Before he went to Russia. So they have some record of him,
there was some reason why they went and interviewed him.
MATTHEWS: That is something. After he knew he was a subject of
interest, he went over and took that trip.
MATTHEWS: Let`s get back to WHDH.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They are just trying to secure the scene so that
way they keep themselves safe and, of course, the people in and around the
immediate area safe as well should this person possess any dangerous,
lethal types of weapons.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: All right, Adam. Thank you.
Let`s go back to Steve Cooper with some new information.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I was just speaking with another source who is
close to the scene. I`m now being told that there`s no movement in the
boat. I`m also hearing that he may be bleeding out and not -- and it`s not
safe to approach and again the reason why is concern of possible explosive
devices that he may have on him or with him. So --
MATTHEWS: It`s off to that thing you look up. It`s Google.
MITCHELL: That`s Google Map. You can put it up.
MATTHEWS: I know how to do this.
Let`s get the image on screen right now. This is the house with the
boat behind you.
This is not a live picture. It`s a Google picture, the way you look
up any house address. And you can look to back of it, when you get the
picture up here, you`re going to see the boat under the trees here in front
of what looks like a garage or a workshop back there, or a guest house.
We haven`t got it yet. It`s pretty fascinating. There it is. If you
look between the house in the upper left going forward, where the marker
is, look down between that and the -- what might be a guest house further
there with the white wall on the back of it, right in that area there of
grass is a boat, and you can see it very clearly on the picture I have.
So, we`re looking at the scene right now. Everything that is going on
right now, the circling of that situation there which may involve a dead
body or a live person with an IED strapped to him. There`s a lot of
potential -- the police are letting out very little information except it`s
related to what we`ve been talking about, the marathon bombings and that`s
clearly intended to say this is the suspect, that either he`s in that boat
or -- well, there is no other suspect. That`s it. This is about the game
right now, Roger Cressey.
CRESSEY: So what you`re going to see here if in fact this is the
subject and is not captured but is ultimately dead, we`re going to get
additional pieces to help explain the why. And what you`re seeing is
tremendous effort in going after cell phone records, communications,
computer records, all the type of pocket litter that the FBI would find at
the house and if there`s anything else on this individual if in fact this
is him, then this helps to better round out the picture so we can better
understand why they did what they did on Monday.
MATTHEWS: You know, Clint, it seems to me the way that we do it, it`s
like in sports between an air game and ground game, we were told on Monday
and Tuesday, as we began covering this horrific bombing at the Boston
marathon finish line, that they were going to go by granule by granule,
various pieces of bomb that are able to be recovered. All kinds of
physical evidence that they are going through and some sort of very slow,
very deliberate effort to some day reach the person who bought this
material. However, we`ve seen the speed with which this apprehension has
gone on now. It`s just totally different than perhaps the old Dick Tracy
world of going into the crime lab.
It`s being done now with surveillance pictures from Lord & Taylor.
It`s got everything going. People recognizing these people. Their attempt
to escape last night, the use of publicly distributed pictures of these
guys, a sort of digital APB going out last night.
This is a fast-moving crime -- well, catching situation here.
VAN ZANDT: Well, Chris, as you and I talked in your 7:00 show last
night, we said 24 hours both subjects would be in custody.
MATTHEWS: You did.
VAN ZANDT: And we`re pushing right at 24 hours. You can`t beat a
picture. You cannot beat a picture. If you take a picture in the American
public, we will catch a bad guy. We will catch a terrorist.
And there was every reason between Jim Cavanaugh and Roger and others
as we`ve talked, every reason to believe these guys were from the local
area. They knew their way around, they had to live locally to build the
bombs. They had to have everything there. They were going to be known in
the local area.
Once we had those pictures, law enforcement had everything going for
them and the two subjects who somehow thought that the authorities wouldn`t
be able to pick them out, out of a million pictures, learned a lesson and
hopefully that lesson goes out and those that are sitting on the edge of
the abyss, the emotional abyss and thinking they want to be copycats, they
have to look at how quickly law enforcement has really been able to take a
bomb blast and injured and dead people and turn that into who did it and
basically get them in custody in less than a week.
MATTHEWS: Andrea, this has been done without political assessment or
analysis. These could be guys who didn`t like people and yet we`re finding
out this backdrop of Chechnya and Russia, and that break away from Soviet
Union and all. And without any effort understanding that, they are caught
by police methods but yet you know a bit of that backdrop.
MITCHELL: We know that the Chechens have twice lost, they fought and
lost wars against Russia. That they now have a president who answers to
Moscow, that Vladimir Putin spoke to President Obama tonight. He has been
telling the U.S., you don`t understand this Chechen situation, don`t tell
me about human rights. I need to crack down on these people.
MATTHEWS: What do you think the president came back with?
MITCHELL: I think the president -- you have the national security
adviser in Moscow this week talking to Russia about Syria, about Iran,
about what we want from them.
What we want is the intelligence on this family. We want to know
about the Chechens. We want to know, was this connected to politics? Was
this connected to Chechen terror or some other faction?
MATTHEWS: Or Putin has claimed before, perhaps accurately, a
connection to al Qaeda?
MITCHELL: Exactly. Let`s face it. These could be two kids who have
their own aspirational jihadism, who have very different personal anger and
are dealing with something that isn`t Chechen.
MATTHEWS: Well, we are not pro or anti-Chechen. We are not involved.
MITCHELL: This would be the first time a Chechen, if this were
Chechen terrorism, be the first time it was directed against the United
States. They`re directed against Russia. We saw what happened in 2010
when they hit the subways. In 2002, with the theater.
MATTHEWS: But they have been anti-Russian. That`s what they do.
MITCHELL: Absolutely. They have exported jihadist to Afghanistan,
Syria now, but never before if this were the case to the United States.
MATTHEWS: OK. We`ve got some news here from WHDH, the actual event.
(VIDEO CLIP PLAYS)
MATTHEWS: Roger, that`s a lot of gunfire.
CRESSEY: That is a lot of gunfire and I`ll have to defer to Jim or
Clint on, if you can see or hear any difference on the report, and
understand if it was an exchange or not.
MATTHEWS: Jim, your thoughts about what you just heard, because we`re
looking at the houses on Google Map here and those very same houses a
moment ago or an hour ago, we saw what happened there. The police firing a
lot of rounds there.
CAVANAUGH: Chris, I`ve been in a few fights. He lost that one. That
was mostly law enforcement. I`m afraid he`s in the boat and he`s wounded
by those police combat rifles and that he`s bleeding out severely and they
cannot get to him because of the fear of having a suicide vest on, I`m
afraid this terrorist is going to bleed out in the boat and that may be his
Normally, police would rush up, even though he just shot at them and
they would apply pressure, tourniquets, life saving ambulance -- you can`t
do that here. So, what you`ve got to do is get the robot to go up there,
look in there, see if there`s a bomb and if there`s not try to look around.
If there is a bomb, dismantle the bomb.
I`d say this doesn`t bode well for him surviving because if he`s
bleeding and he`s going to be bleeding after that exchange, he`s not
probably going to last very long.
MATTHEWS: Let me play it again for everyone who just missed that.
This is quite dramatic. Here`s the shooting apparently of the suspect.
(VIDEO CLIP PLAYS)
MATTHEWS: You know, Clint Van Zandt, we`ve been through a lot of
these and it`s like from a novel, "Watch on the Rhine", perhaps by Lillian
Hellman, all of a sudden an international event in this case goes to a
little community in Massachusetts with the dogs barking and the community
hiding in sight, all of a sudden when it`s now a fugitive being shot
involved in perhaps an international event. This is an extraordinary
VAN ZANDT: Yes. And realize what we just heard was probably two
officers with 30 round magazines, each opening up on this guy. So I`m sure
that boat looks like Swiss cheese right now. And as much as they would
like to get this guy out of there and get this guy out alive -- again, I
agree, he`s kind of made his own fate right now and we are going to have to
deal with it.
But, you know, the interesting -- the terrible situation, we lost one
officer yesterday, a college police officer. We had another officer
wounded, a transit officer. We have all of this heavy armament, SWAT, and
everything else, and it`s time after time, it`s the local officer who is
just in there doing his or her job on a low level. They are the ones that
always have seen, confront these subjects, and takes the brunt of the
MATTHEWS: That`s what happened in Dallas in 1963 as well.
MITCHELL: I just want to -- one word of caution. Because in looking
that video just now with the gunshots, it was daylight. And it could well
be -- we`re not at WHDH in their control room, that`s our local affiliate,
they could have been replaying video from earlier in the day. Those could
have been gunshots earlier in the day, a different view of it.
MATTHEWS: That`s what I thought it was.
MITCHELL: OK. On the police scanner, it says movement reporter,
suspects sitting up, all personnel ordered not to fire weapons.
That was moments ago on the local police scanner.
MATTHEWS: We made a point of saying it was earlier. This was an hour
ago. But that report you just got from the police is --
MITCHELL: That`s the police scanner, is at 7:45.
MATTHEWS: So after all those rounds fired, the person is sitting up?
MITCHELL: According to the police scanner.
MATTHEWS: That`s the day as it`s progressing. We started here a bit
after 7:00 when it started. It was daylight after 7:00.
CRESSEY: Fast-breaking situations, official reports.
MATTHEWS: That`s about right. We`re clear on this thing.
CRESSEY: We`re close.
MATTHEWS: I guess the question is, the accuracy of those rounds.
CRESSEY: Well, if they are fired by law enforcement, you can
guarantee they were extremely accurate. And if they are fired by the
suspect, they could have been going anywhere.
MITCHELL: Police scanner is ordering that the media move back.
MATTHEWS: Well, I don`t know why we`re not hearing from the police.
I guess they`re busy. But I would like t know more.
Clint, it seems to me we`re not getting reports on all this. We are
trying to get it from the pictures we are getting and tweets. That`s not a
great way to put together an entire situation at all.
VAN ZANDT: What the police want, what the tactical teams want, is out
of the boat under his own power. They want him to come over to the side,
they want him out, they want him to show he doesn`t have a bomb or anything
else on him. That`s best case scenario for a tactical arrest, is to get
him out of boat where we can see him. Get him down on the ground. And
deal with him from that point.
So if he is sitting up within that`s, you know, he is still alive in
theory. Now he`s got to get over to the side of the boat. Because I don`t
think we want to go and try to help him if he`s got a bomb vest on.
MATTHEWS: Jim Cavanaugh, the situation as it`s developing here
involves perhaps a live suspect, perhaps going to be in custody, able to
CAVANAUGH: Yes, that`s a better scenario that if he`s bleeding out.
Of course, sitting up doesn`t guarantee he`s not wounded. But it would be
the best scenario to get him alive if that`s possible. It is going to --
if he is sitting up and he can communicate, then just like Clint said,
there will be some interactions.
Clint, is he then not wounded and ambulatory where can get out of the
boat and surrender, or is he wounded and won`t get out the boat? We have a
lot of things we don`t know obviously, and we`re trying to determine from
But the main thing to understand is the police are in control. The
police are in control of the situation. He`s in a boat. He`s not in
control. We`re in control, the police.
MITCHELL: Pete Williams reported sources say he`s been hit, he`s been
in the boat much of the day. He`s been hit but is still alive.
CRESSEY: Question, Jim and Clint. It`s Roger. There are scenarios
where if they do surround him that SWAT and some of the AT and others will
come in with nonlethal round and try to establish a situation where, if
they have to fire, they will fire with nonlethal -- nonlethal ammo in order
to try and keep the suspect alive or simply that scenario doesn`t play out
when it`s this fast-moving?
CAVANAUGH: Sorry, Clint. When he has a firearm, if he has a firearm,
I wouldn`t put t guys to shoot less than lethal on him unless -- because
that is just not -- you`re putting the agent or police officer in danger.
If he doesn`t have a firearm, if it is dropped outside the boat and he just
doesn`t want it come out because he is antagonistic or something web can
shoot him with a beanbag round or rubber round or something.
You know, probably not going against the firearm because of the risk
to the officer. It is a judgment call. But that`s the way I would call
VAN ZANDT: I`ve seen situations, Chris, where we`ve had a guy in a
car with a gun and he refuses to come out. We used shotguns to put gas
rounds in the car and let the gas drive him out.
Now, there`s an upside and downside, of course, once you`ve got gas in
the air, if confuses things, fogs things up. Law enforcement have to have
gas masks on and be toward ready to do it. So, it`s not just throw gas in
and be done with it. But that is an option the on-scene commander will
have. But again, Jim makes the obvious point, we`ve got a 360 degree
perimeter. This guy is going nowhere. He`s been shot. So, it`s his
choice, surrender or die.
MATTHEWS: Andrea --
MITCHELL: No, just clearly. It is clear that as Jim Cavanaugh says,
the police are in control here and we have to wait it out as everyone does,
to see whether this is the suspect and whether he is going to surrender.
CAVANAUGH: Chris, if you talk to him -- if they talk to him, Chris,
if they can start a dialogue, we had one that lasted four days. We shot
the guy a number of times. We shot him with a long rifle. We talked to
him for eight hours and got him to come out after we shot him all up.
So you can shoot people and you can still talk them into surrendering.
If they can start talking with them, maybe he will surrender. That`s the
MATTHEWS: Who is making the rules of engagement here? Clint, is it
the federal authorities telling the local police, this guy is of interest
to us, do they set the rules here or is it the local police in charge of
VAN ZANDT: Well, there`s a number of things going on. Now I`m sure
everybody together made an agreement we would rather take this guy alive if
we have the chance. But they are also going to be told, don`t put your
life in danger.
If this guy shoots at you and you`re in fear for your life or the life
of somebody else, you have to put him down. It is not like on television
where a 100 wards away, you can rip off a shot and shoot him in the
shoulder. Maybe a sniper can do that if we have a sniper on scene.
But the first responding officers probably there with .223 rifles and
if, in fact, that was gunfire we heard from the initial confrontation, what
they`re going to do is lay down a bunch of rounds to get this guy`s head
down so he`s not shooting back at them.
MATTHEWS: We have a report from a senior police department official.
Yes, we think so that it`s him. A woman called in a report of blood, in
her backyard, leading to a boat. The Boston P.D., the police department,
says, quote, "He`s hit. Probably been there all day. Was seen on thermal
Boston police department says, "Wasn`t moving at first but is now."
So there we have that -- let me read that again. Can we put that up
again? I want it good through that again. From senior police department
official, "Yes, we think so. That it`s him. A woman called in a report of
blood in backyard, leading to a boat."
The police department, Boston Police Department says, quote, "He`s
hit. Probably been there all day." That`s in quote. "Was seen on thermal
Boston Police Department says, he wasn`t moving at first but he is
Jim, that confirms that we`ve been able to get so far. And that`s
So, we know what`s going on. They think he`s the suspect, and he`s
CAVANAUGH: Yes. And it tells you one thing. It tells you he`s weak.
You know, we talked about that last night on your show, Chris, and we
talked about it today. That Clint was talking about it. I was talking
about it. You were talking about it.
If he is wounded, he`s been wounded all night. There`s a lot of blood
and it makes you weak. From the Boston police, you know, he wasn`t moving
at first. He is weak.
And now they are detecting movement. You know, sit up -- report of
sitting up, is he propped up against the side of the boat barely conscious,
or is he sitting up, you know, pretty active? So, that remains to be seen.
What is the movement? He is barely movement, he`s active, is he pointing a
gun? We will just have to wait and see.
MATTHEWS: Let`s take a look right now. What happened an hour ago as
we went on the air about that time, the police confronted someone in the
backyard of this home in Watertown right near that boat. Let`s listen to
what we saw.
(VIDEO CLIP PLAYS)
MATTHEWS: I want to thank Andrea Mitchell and Jim Cavanaugh and also
Clint Van Zandt for joining us, and all the others tonight to help us
understand this moving story. It continues now hotter than ever for our
coverage, continuing now, with "ALL IN WITH CHRIS HAYES.
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