Date: June 26, 2015
Guest: Jonathan Gilliam, Clint Van Zandt, Jonathan Gilliam, John Cuff,
Mary Ellen O`Toole, Jonathan Dienst, John Cuff, Pat Brown
STEVE KORNACKI, GUEST HOST: Good evening. I`m Steve Kornacki, in for
We`re following breaking news on that manhunt for those two escaped
killers in New York. Richard Matt, one of the two escaped killers, has
been shot and killed by a Customs and Border Patrol tactical unit. David
Sweat is still on the run. Police say there is evidence that he`s nearby,
and there have been reports within the last hour of a second round of
gunfire as police close in on him.
We get the latest now from NBC`s John Yang He is at state police
barracks in Malone, New York -- John?
JOHN YANG, NBC CORRESPONDENT: Steve, here`s what we know for certain.
The New York State Police say that at 3:45, teams working in the woods
around Malone shot and killed a man they believe to be Richard Matt.
They`re awaiting confirmation of that body.
Here`s what we know from law enforcement officials, sources. Sources
tell NBC News that at that time, at about 3:45, it was a Customs and Border
Patrol SWAT team that was doing a search in that area when they came upon
Richard Matt. There was an encounter. There were some indications that he
might have been armed with a shotgun, and there was an encounter. They
shot and killed him.
WPTZ, the NBC affiliate in Plattsburgh, spoke with a witness in the
area who said they heard a single shot. There was not a barrage of
gunfire, but a single shot, which would suggest a high-powered rifle took
Richard Matt out.
We are also told by law enforcement sources that there was evidence
that David Sweat was nearby. They did not see David Sweat. But there is
now a pursuit. They believe they`re closing in on David Sweat.
We`ve seen this area around Malone, which is just a little bit south
of here, south of Malone, just be flooded with New York State Police. I`ve
seen Customs and Border Patrol vehicles, I`ve seen New York state forestry
vehicles flooding the zone.
This all came together very quickly today. There was a report
yesterday of a break-in of a home here in the Malone area, a cabin here in
the Malone area. State police investigated, found evidence inside that
home. They won`t tell us what it is. They will say that there`s evidence
that the two men picked up some items from that home and left some items
from that home.
Using those items that they left, they sent it to the state police
lab. They got a DNA hit, at least one of the escapees in that home
yesterday. And then this morning, in a field somewhere nearby, they found
more physical evidence. They won`t tell us exactly what.
But this led them to really close in on an area where they believe the
two were -- and they`ve always believed they`re together, they have no
evidence that they`ve split up -- close in on this area that led to that
3:45 encounter that ended with a man they believe to be Richard Matt dead -
KORNACKI: And John, what do you know about this -- reports here of a
second round of gunfire, so two different episodes of gunfire maybe? What
do we know about this second round?
YANG: Essentially, all we know is that law enforcement officials are
telling us that they`re -- a second round has been heard. We don`t know
what it is. They are saying that it is part of their continuing search for
They believe he`s there. They believe he`s nearby. They`re hoping to
close in, certainly close in before sundown. Sundown here is 8:47. In a
lot of ways, that may be a magic number here. There will still remain --
there will be some daylight remaining after the sun drops down below the
horizon. But they`re hoping to close in -- I would think, hope to close in
on him before it gets dark again and he has the cover of darkness to move.
Now, I can also tell you that we`ve been told to expect Governor Cuomo
here at 8:30 to hold a news briefing. He`s on his way here from either
Albany or New York, from downstate, by air, we`re told. And we expect him
here for some sort of statement, some sort of briefing at 8:30 -- Steve.
KORNACKI: Yes, and John, just what kind of area, do you have a sense
here, in terms of the size? What kind of area are we talking about that
they think he`s in right now? How narrow a space are we talking?
YANG: It`s hard to say because it isn`t -- this area narrowed quite a
bit. Once they got Richard Matt -- and we don`t know what evidence they
found, what law enforcement officials are telling us on background, that
they found some evidence that Sweat was nearby. We don`t know how far
This is an area around a lake called Lake Titus. There`s a ski area
where they`ve actually had the command post, the staging area for the law
enforcement -- since last night, called Mt. Titus ski area.
We have no sense of how big this area is. I was up there a little bit
ago earlier this afternoon, before this happened. It is very densely
wooded. It is thick forest. It is narrow -- narrow two-lane roads, some
unpaved roads. They`ve been looking along this area for the last couple of
days. It is narrowing, is really the best I can tell you, Steve.
KORNACKI: All right, John, please stay with us. Late today, we got
this video from a resident in Malone, New York. There`s a swarm of police
activity, and a police officer driving by says, We have one guy down. Take
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: (INAUDIBLE) pretty fast.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: There`s another!
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There`s one guy down.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yay!
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yay!
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: They got one guy? They got the guy? They got
one guy? High five! Dad, they caught one prisoner!
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They got one down!
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KORNACKI: All right, Jonathan Gilliam is a retired FBI special agent.
He joins us now. So Jonathan, John Yang was just telling us that 8:47
apparently is sundown. So that`s about an hour-and-a-half from now, about
an hour 40 from now. How crucial is it in terms of the ability to --
without risk of casualty, without risk of this guy getting away, how
crucial is it to find him in this hour-and-a-half we`re talking about right
JONATHAN GILLIAM, RETIRED FBI SPECIAL AGENT: Well, I would say that
it`s probably not as crucial now because they definitely know that this guy
is here. He`s in this closed area. I`m sure they have night vision,
probably thermals out there.
And the amount of manpower that they have had to spread out now,
because of all these different leads that they`ve had, can now, you know,
congregate on this one area.
So the chances of him getting away -- and the guys that I`ve talked to
that are out there, they`re pretty confident that he`s going to come down
tonight. Now, whether or not he, you know, lays the weapons down and comes
out willingly, or decides to go out in a blaze of glory is going to be up
KORNACKI: How dangerous do you think the situation is right now?
GILLIAM: It`s extremely dangerous for him. I mean, it`s dangerous
for law enforcement officers, as well. But he`s a felon. He`s an escaped
felon. He`s armed. I mean, it`s not going to get any better for him
there, you know? Until he drops that weapon, the use of deadly force
against this individual is justified.
KORNACKI: You know, I think back to how this all started a couple
weeks ago, what we`re learning about the help they got from inside the
prison, these two guys. And it sounds like there was a plan in place where
they had a getaway car.
KORNACKI: (INAUDIBLE) at the last minute, she got cold feet. There
was no car. And it`s amazing to me how close, relatively speaking, they
are to the prison. And if they had had that car when they got out, we
might be talking about an entirely different situation right now.
GILLIAM: It also shows you that when you escape somewhere and you go
into nothing, which, you know -- they`re in woods there. There`s -- you
got fight for water, fight for food, fight for shelter. They walk up on a
cabin -- whether or not that cabin was given to them is still to be seen,
but let`s say they walk up on a cabin that`s unlocked, that had some food,
some water. They`re not going the leave there.
So now what happened was they probably ended up getting a bit too
comfortable and saying, Let`s wait this out. Let`s wait this out. And
that played against them.
KORNACKI: All right, Jonathan Gilliam, please stay with us.
GILLIAM: You got it.
KORNACKI: Clint Van Zandt is a former FBI profiler. He joins us now.
So Clint, we know one of them apparently went down fighting. He went down
shooting. A surprise to you he went out that way, didn`t try to surrender
CLINT VAN ZANDT, FMR. FBI PROFILER: Well, I mean, law enforcement
would give them every chance in the world to surrender. Now, know that
state police last week suggested they`re belief they were armed and
dangerous. Part of that, allegedly, was based upon a trail camera picture
that showed the two of them moving down a trail.
And know there are a number of trails in and out of these areas,
hunting trails, ATV trails. But there was allegedly a trail camera that
took a picture of the two of these guys, one that at least showed Matt
carrying a shotgun that one can only suppose may have been obtained from
one of these hunting cabins.
Whether Sweat has a weapon or not, you know, we don`t know that at
this point. But I can tell you every one of those 1,100 law enforcement
officers that are at that scene or around that scene right now, they assume
that he`s got a weapon. And they`ll give him every chance in the world to
put his hands up, but they`re not going to let him point a weapon at any of
KORNACKI: What do you think, Clint, the mindset of Sweat is right
now? It sounds like he`s probably aware his buddy got shot, got taken out.
He -- I`m sure he knows he`s basically surrounded at this point. What do
you thing the mindset is in this situation?
VAN ZANDT: Well, you know, part of it is how close was he. Now,
we`ve heard suggestions that police have reason to believe that both
fugitives were together. Now, that reason could be either a physical
sighting, or it could be something such as footprints, two different sized
sets of footprints in the same area, which would suggest the two fugitives
were traveling together.
Right now -- you know, they were probably somewhat comfortable over
the last three weeks in their ability to evade, perhaps even harboring some
delusion that if they stayed there long enough, they`d eventually be able
to make their way up into Canada, which again, the state police suggested
might be the case this week.
But right now, this man is running almost like a hunted animal. And I
don`t mean to diminish the human quality, but I`m saying right now, that`s
how he may feel. I mean, at any moment, he can step out of the woods, put
his hands up and say, I quit, take me back to my private cell in Dannemora,
and of course, they would accommodate that.
But he`s not doing that. So that means he`s still on the run. He
still thinks he can get away, perhaps. And he still may still think that
he can go over top of law enforcement to make that escape. And I think as
far as those men and women are out there, they`re there to make sure that
KORNACKI: You know, so just thinking about how the authorities have
been able to narrow this down and get to this point, I`m remembering about
a week ago, we were talking about reports from, you know, 250, 300 miles
southwest of there. Supposedly these two guys had been found coming out of
the woods. The town got -- down by the Pennsylvania border, the town was
basically shut up for the day.
But then it was, I think, five or six days ago, DNA evidence found in
the woods confirmed to be these two guys, and yet still for the last five
or six days, even with that evidence, even with that relatively narrow
area, still not found until tonight. I think that probably tells us
something about how thick these woods are.
VAN ZANDT: Yes, I think it really does, but it also tells us about
law enforcement and their tenacity. I mean, even though they had these
leads coming from hundreds of miles away, I think the safe money bet on
everybody involved was that there`s no evidence they left this area, so
we`re going to pursue the hunt as if they`re here until we find out
otherwise. And I think that has proven to be the right strategy.
Look, these guys have traveled no more than about 35 miles, it
appears, in the 21 days that they`ve been fugitives. But again, we were
told this hunt has cost a million dollars a day. So that means the
federal, state, local government -- there`s $21 million that have been
invested to apprehend these two individuals. I think law enforcement wants
to make sure that money has been spent well, and they want to get this last
guy into custody one way or the other.
KORNACKI: Yes. Well, Jonathan Gilliam, let me ask you about that,
the idea of -- if you have -- what is the advice if you`re in a situation
like this? What`s the advice you`re giving, what are the instructions
you`re giving to the officers who are out there? If you spot this guy, if
you see this guy, how do you approach him, how do you handle him? What do
you say to him?
GILLIAM: Well, all these officers are trained the same way. The main
thing that you look at in a situation like this are hands. So when they
walk up on this individual, where are his hands, and what are in his hands?
Like Clint was saying there a minute ago, you know, these officers
aren`t dead set on going out there and killing this individual, but if they
walk up on him, they know that he`s a murderer. They know that he is
trying his hardest to stay away from the cops and to get away. He knows
that he`s going to go back to jail forever, for the rest of his life, if he
If they approach him and he shows them that he has a weapon, they
don`t have to wait for him to pull that weapon up and aim it. He at that
point is an imminent threat, based on his past track record and based on
what`s in his hands.
So I`d say the main thing that these officers are looking at, they`re
looking for him and they`re looking at hands. That`s exactly what they`re
And I`ll tell you one of the most interesting things about this. this
just shows you the day and age that we live, cameras in the woods are one
of the things that helped catch these two individuals. I mean, that`s
fascinating when you think about it.
KORNACKI: And these are -- if I understand this right, these are
cameras that are generally set up by hunters.
KORNACKI: They`re motion -- they`re not always on.
KORNACKI: If there`s movement, they turn on?
GILLIAM: Yes. And they`re just like, you know, about the size of
your cell phone. You strap them to a tree.
KORNACKI: So there`s no -- they`re really inconspicuous. If
GILLIAM: They`re camouflaged and they`re game cameras. They`re -- I
mean, they`re so common now that hunters go out where these trails are,
where deer pass on their land, or whatever. They`re trying to see how many
deer may come through or what animals may come through. And they`ll put
these trail cameras up.
And I`d say that`s one of the most fascinating things about this. I
mean, even in the middle of nowhere, you`re still not immune to the camera
taking your picture, so...
KORNACKI: Yes, that old line about the tree falls...
GILLIAM: That`s right!
KORNACKI: ... no one`s there, you know? Jonathan Gilliam, Clint Van
Zandt, please stay about us.
NBC`s Stephanie Gosk joins us now from Malone, New York. Stephanie,
what`s the latest you can tell us?
STEPHANIE GOSK, NBC CORRESPONDENT: Well, I think this is an active
scene. We continue to see law enforcement screaming down this road here,
Route 30 in Malone. We just actually saw a school bus filled with law
enforcement. They`re obviously moving in.
We`re hearing now our affiliate WNBC in New York is reporting that
there`s been a second battle, gun battle, apparently between David Sweat
and authorities. This comes after the first gun battle that we know left
Richard Matt shot and killed.
This has been a nearly three-week-long manhunt after that jaw-dropping
prison escape, and people here are beginning to think that maybe now it`s
coming to an end.
KORNACKI: And I think we actually here in New York, we have Jonathan
Dienst with us from WNBC. So if you pick up on, Jonathan, on that, what
Stephanie was just saying. You guys are reporting about this second gun
battle we`ve been hearing about.
JONATHAN DIENST, WNBC CORRESPONDENT: The information I had on this
was that the first suspect was shot and killed, Richard Matt, and then law
enforcement, who were at command posts and out in the field, heard second
rounds of gunfire. Unclear. And we do also have an unconfirmed sighting
from a law enforcement official in the woods in and around this area of the
second suspect, David Sweat.
So what is happening in and around where Stephanie is standing -- all
those police cars, all those buses -- is reinforcements are coming in.
They have set up a perimeter in and around this heavily wooded area.
They have a good sense of where they think he might be. They want to
try to secure this perimeter with as many law enforcement as possible
before the sun goes down, and then eventually move in. I believe, as
explained to me, there`s also a body of water nearby that may also cut off
an escape, one way out. So it helps limit the area that they have to cover
So there are literally hundreds of police being brought into this
area. It`s a secure perimeter. They may try to go in before nightfall and
close in this perimeter, move in bit by bit to try to see if Sweat is in
that perimeter area, where they think they`ve got it cordoned off, because
a lot of the time, the belief is these guys have been moving at night, and
it`s been tougher to track them, obviously, in night in these heavily
So that that is what is happening at this hour, at this time. And
you`ve got U.S. Marshals, special operations group, you`ve got state
police, you`ve got FBI, you`ve got Customs and Border Protection, you`ve
got Department of Correction from the state, all of these agencies sending
in resources at this hour to secure this perimeter, this wooded area where
Richard Matt was shot and killed and where they believe they may -- they
may -- have David Sweat.
KORNACKI: And again, talking about sundown there -- so 8:47 PM.
That`s exactly 90 minutes from now. 8:47 is sundown local time up there
near the Canadian border in New York.
Stephanie Gosk, go back to you on the scene up there. So I understand
you actually have seen the cabin where this DNA evidence was found a few
days ago. You know, where in relation to where you are now and where this
is playing out now -- how far away is the cabin? Set the scene a little
bit for us, if you would.
GOSK: Cabin`s about 10 miles or so from where we are right now. And
it was the focus of the manhunt just a few days ago. We weren`t able to go
back there, but we found a couple of local hunters that took us up there
now because law enforcement had moved down in this direction towards
Malone, and we were able to get back there.
And what was really incredible about the journey there is that on our
way, on this road that they most likely traveled from the prison, you pass
probably six, seven, eight similar hunting cabins. None of those cabins
were broken into.
What they chose instead was the one that we visited, which is off of
the road. It is up a mile-and-a-half path that you can`t go up in a
regular car. You`d have to have some sort of, you know, RTV (ph) or
something -- or ATV, rather, to get up there.
We walked for a while. And we wondered to ourselves, Well, how could
they have known that this was here? How could they have known to continue
to do this walk?
We get there, and you know, the cabin itself had everything they could
have possibly needed. There was food there. They had beds. If they
hadn`t been caught, they probably could have stayed there for quite a
And one of the real questions, too, Steve, is how they got their guns.
How did they get their guns that they`re battling with police with? And
one theory is that in these hunting cabins, the hunters in the off-season
might store their weapons in the cabins themselves, and that may be where
they found their guns.
KORNACKI: Yes, and Stephanie, so it`s the off-season. How heavily or
lightly trafficked are these -- are the woods up there this time of year?
Is it basically -- did they have it to themselves until now?
GOSK: Well, to some degree, they did.
I mean, there are people that pass through here. These woods are
really difficult this time of year, in part because of the bugs. I mean,
it`s just an incredibly inhospitable place to walk around.
So, there isn`t a lot of activity. The hunting season is the fall.
It starts really September and goes all the way until December. So it`s
not heavily trafficked. And there were some people that would go in and
check their cabins, like this one cabin owner who stumbled across them.
Now, another interesting thing to point out about this cabin, it is
owned and partially leased by a group of corrections officers, a number of
them. Now, the cabin -- the owner that stumbled upon them doesn`t work at
Clinton Correctional, where these two fugitives escaped from, but three of
the prison officers who are part of their camp do work there.
Now, I will add on top of that that there are 800 prison officers that
work in that prison, and a lot of those guys hunt, and a lot of those guys
have cabins in these woods. So, I wouldn`t want to read too much into
that, but it is interesting to note -- Steve.
KORNACKI: All right, Stephanie Gosk on the scene, please stick
And let me see if Clint Van Zandt is still with us, bring him back in
And, Clint, we talked about this a little bit earlier, just the idea
that it looks like the original plan here was, they had a car ready to go,
they were going to come up from under the -- under the ground there in the
prison, get in the car...
CLINT VAN ZANDT, MSNBC ANALYST: Yes.
KORNACKI: ... take off to who knows where, probably nowhere near
where they are right now.
But, in situation -- in situations like this, when you`re on the run,
when the plan you have blows up, when you`re forced to improvise, it seems
like it`s probably a desperate situation and these guys were kind of left
to make it up as they go along here. Doubt there was much -- much planning
VAN ZANDT: Yes, I think you`re absolutely right.
I mean, we`re told by some sources that it could have taken up to a
year to put this entire escape plan to get out of the prison. And yet when
they pop out of that manhole like a Whac-A-Mole, when they pop out of the
manhole at midnight, they have to call an audible because the woman who is
supposed to pick them up, which is obviously the weak link in their plan,
she`s gone, and they don`t have a secondary plan to fall back on.
Hence, they`re left to scramble around in the woods within a 20-, 30-
mile radius of that prison for these entire 21 days. Now, realize those
are thick woods. They`re hopping from cabin to cabin. They probably did
some dumpster diving and cabin diving and everything else for food and
But it was just a matter of time when law enforcement or somebody was
going to see them, either to run up on them or else they would finally make
a break, try to break out of the area, hop a train, get a bus, hijack a
car. Something like that would have taken place that would have alerted
And whatever we find out today actually took place, somehow, they
surfaced enough for law enforcement to find out they were in the area,
convince themselves there were at least not one, but two of them. And when
the confrontation took place, obviously, there was one individual killed.
And I guess one more point. What`s so important for law enforcement,
hopefully, that they would have the chance to take David Sweat alive,
unless he forces them to shoot him, is, there`s a whole other part of this
investigation. Who helped them make the plan, who provided tools, who
provided access to the prison?
There`s an entirely stand-alone investigation. It doesn`t have the
level of dangerousness that an escaped killer does, but it still suggests
what was going on in that prison and how bad might the corruption be, for
lack of a better term, that allowed at least two prison employees to assist
Was there anymore helping them? That is still going to come out in
KORNACKI: Jonathan Gilliam on set with us here in New York.
So, we know, apparently, they were staying together for all of this
time. Do you think -- did they help their chances of sort of eluding
capture by staying together, or if they had just said at some point there,
let`s split up, hey, you go this way, I go that way, let`s try to fend for
ourselves here, would that have helped them more?
JONATHAN GILLIAM, FORMER U.S. NAVY SEAL: I think it probably helped
them to stay together. And I will tell you why, because if they had split
up and started to move, the chances of them -- of one of them getting
caught before they really got that far away from the other one would have -
- that would have alluded the law enforcement to the point to where they
are right now, that they`re in this vicinity.
The best thing that happened to them was that leads, which is typical
-- this always happens. Leads come in from far away because they think
they see something. The one that was almost 300 miles away, rightfully so,
the woman that called it in, she saw two people walking down a railroad
track. How many people do you see walking down a railroad track in the
middle of nowhere? It`s usually common that they`re up to no good or
they`re just trying to get from point A to point B really fast.
Well, she called that in. The law enforcement down there. And it
gave them more time. I think what hurt these guys in the long run is that
they made a bad relationship and it didn`t pay off. And they weren`t able
to move quickly. Had they continued to move, though, and not gone to this
cabin, I think we`d be having a completely different conversation right
now, because my one critique I do have for law enforcement is that I don`t
think they had the rapid quick reaction force set up the proper way.
Our hostage rescue team from the FBI has the ability to fast-rope in
on site, on target. I don`t think -- they didn`t use that. I don`t know
why they didn`t use these things. I know Department of Homeland Security
has that type of asset as well. These are things that could have been
used, also the National Guard.
They could have set up a real perimeter with the National Guard. I
think this was a big enough threat to do that. And I think that would have
made a bigger difference and it would have gotten this to this point
KORNACKI: OK, Jonathan Gilliam, please stay with us.
We`re going to continue to follow the developments in the manhunt for
David Sweat. His partner, Richard Matt, has been shot and killed.
Our coverage continues right after this.
KORNACKI: All right, we continue to follow the manhunt for David
Sweat. He is the second of the two convicted killers who broke out of
prison three weeks ago.
His partner, Richard Matt, has been shot and killed by a Border Patrol
unit late today.
Just a short time ago, our NBC station WPTZ interviewed a witness who
described some of the police activity that he saw.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I was sitting on my dock, and I heard -- well, I
first saw a number of armed police on the opposite side of the lake.
Shortly thereafter, I heard a gunshot.
QUESTION: What went through your mind?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That they maybe got the escaped prisoner or that
maybe he was shooting at them. I really didn`t know. I assumed it had
something to do with the search for the escaped prisoner.
QUESTION: And you got out of there.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I did get out of there, although I didn`t feel
imperiled at the time. I received a call telling me what was going on, and
I was encouraged to leave.
QUESTION: Now, leading up to hearing that gunshot, was the police
presence any different than it had been days prior?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes.
There certainly has been a significant, significant police presence
over the last week. But, today, there were more troopers than normal. The
helicopter was flying overhead all day. And that was unusual. So, I
definitely felt more of a presence today.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KORNACKI: All right, joining me now by phone is Brian Monet (ph), who
is a business owner in the Malone, New York, area.
Thanks for joining us, Brian.
So, just set the scene right there. You`re right there, where this is
going down. What`s the mood in the community like right now? What does it
feel like to be there as this is happening?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, I`m not really in the community. I`m up at
Titus at the command center, and we`re just -- we`re kind of staying away
and letting them do their thing.
KORNACKI: Well, what`s it been like there these past few weeks
knowing there`s a chance that these guys are in the woods or are in the
area somewhere near you? You`re not too far from that prison. You had to
know there was a possibility these guys could be around. What`s it been
like living up there through this?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think a lot of people have been scared.
But our country is a pretty resilient place, and there`s a lot of
wonderful people that live and work here. And, you know, couple that with
the great people, the men and women who work for us, the state police and
the law enforcement keeping us safe, it`s been fun to watch the -- I guess
the word fun is -- to watch the community come together and rally and the
donations they have been bringing and the water they bring through the
different road checks and that.
It`s been a scared feeling up there. That`s for sure.
KORNACKI: All right, Brian Monet, a business owner up there in
Malone, New York, thanks for joining us.
And John Cuff was the head of the Northeast Fugitive Investigation
Division at the U.S. Marshals Service. He joins us now.
So, John, I will just get your thoughts watching this all play out
right now. Again, we say it`s a little over an hour from now is sundown up
there. What are your thoughts just as you watch this play out?
JOHN CUFF, RETIRED U.S. MARSHAL: This is one of the scenarios that we
figured might play out.
The first significant break last week on the DNA in that cabin, that
was a game changer. Immediately, you spread that net out into this area.
Today, the finding in the other cabin, the second cabin with DNA, along
with articles and items that were found in the woods, you kind of narrowed
down the pathway that they were taking presumably towards Canada.
That net now shifted over to that area. OK? Again, time is on the
side of law enforcement in this one. OK? Presumed armed and dangerous all
the way, and it washed out that the reports that I heard earlier today was
that there was a citizen in a camper riding up the highway hears gunshots,
calls 911 about 1:30, 1:35 in the afternoon, continues on his way, at some
point pulls over, realizes it was him that was shot at.
There was bullet holes in his car, calls 911 a second time from the
camper, 911 a second time, at which time law enforcement converge on the
area, which resulted in the shooting and now subsequent manhunt for Mr.
Sweat, which I`m sure will come.
When you darkness, like you just mentioned, darkness is against law
enforcement on this. But you still got a little light left now, and they
will contain that area. And I`m sure they`re going to have...
KORNACKI: Yes. Are these -- we think about like the inevitability
here of getting this guy, whether it`s dead or alive. It certainly looks
and sounds to me sitting here like he`s cornered, like there`s no way out.
But have you seen situations like this in the past where they do still
somehow, even when cornered like this, get away?
CUFF: A person like this now is going to act out of desperation, so
there`s no telling what they will do.
But law enforcement is well aware of that. They are going to treat
them armed and dangerous, safety first. Thank God no citizens or law
enforcement was injured up to this point. And, tactically, law enforcement
knows what they`re going to do up there and take care of business.
KORNACKI: All right, Mary Ellen O`Toole joins us now by phone. She
was a special agent with the FBI.
So, Mary Ellen, again, one of them shot and killed, the other one
still at large, apparently, but just talking about what the mind-set of
these guys is right now, or as the one guy left would be at this point,
being surrounded by law enforcement, what can he do at this point? What do
you think he is doing right now?
MARY ELLEN O`TOOLE, FORMER FBI SPECIAL AGENT: Well, I think at this
point, Sweat is aware -- I mean, clearly, he`s aware that he`s getting
boxed into a corner.
And of the two, it was my assessment that Matt would have been the one
who was far more psychopathic and that, without him, now Sweat`s in a much
different situation, and he`s physically compromised. They have been out
for a long time. So, he`s got all the problems of having been on the run
for all these, you know, number of days.
So, my sense at this point is that he`s not going to walk out and put
his hands up either. It`s going to be suicide or suicide by cop, similar
to what happened to Matt. And the -- but I do think that he -- that Matt
was really the strength of the two.
And, at this point, I wouldn`t be surprised if Sweat has already
suicided. But it`s going to be one of those two outcomes. He -- he`s
clearly aware that he cannot go face-to-face with 1,100 law enforcement
officers and walk away. So, now it`s just a matter of how he intends to
He -- it`s my opinion he does not intend to go back to prison because
he knows what his life will be like.
KORNACKI: Jonathan Gilliam, when you look at this, from the moment
they didn`t get that getaway car, was there a way for them to somehow evade
capture and just get away with this, or, when they didn`t have that car,
were they stuck and it became just an inevitable question?
GILLIAM: Well, whenever you don`t have outside help, that means that
you are going to have to turn to crime. That`s what these individuals did.
They had to turn to crime, whether it be breaking into a cabin or now,
as we see, eluding the police officers with weapons. They always -- that`s
the thing that always gets them. If you don`t have food, you either have
to buy it or steal it. If you don`t have water, buy it or steal it.
Shelter, break in or somebody provides it for you.
So, the whole time they have been gone, because that ride wasn`t
there, they have had to turn to crime some way to support themselves. I`m
kind of puzzled as to why Matt decided to shoot at something, because that
was going to be a sheer giveaway.
In fact, it was that when he -- as soon as he pulled the trigger on
that weapon. But, listen, good for us and bad for him. I just really hope
that they can get Sweat alive, because I`m really eager to see what the
background of this investigation is.
I mean, if they -- if he ends up wanting to go out in a blaze of
glory, listen, I hope the law enforcement does a good job and takes him
out. But it will be a benefit to the surrounding community.
But I would really like to see what happened in that prison that
allowed this to happen.
KORNACKI: Well, I -- and I guess that`s one of the other questions
KORNACKI: This woman who now has been charged and who is -- with
helping them, with helping them out, she also didn`t take that additional
step of following through with giving them the car to get out of there.
GILLIAM: She would be dead now if she did, I`ll tell you that right
KORNACKI: They would have -- you think they would have killed her?
GILLIAM: I think they would have killed her.
KORNACKI: And, apparently, her husband might have been targeted as
But do you think there`s any consideration for her -- taking a step
forward here, any consideration for her from authorities as they prosecute
her, the fact that she didn`t go through with it and didn`t take that extra
GILLIAM: Well, everybody that`s on the phone or in person with us
tonight that`s in law enforcement will tell you people who do bad things
want to minimize and make themselves look better.
You can believe 50 percent or more of what she has to say, but there`s
a good chance she`s not going to say enough to where she overincriminates
herself. Even if she`s singing like a canary, the fact is, she is going to
hold back enough to make herself sound like a victim.
And, in fact, when you hear the reports of what she said, she sounds
like a victim. And the fact is, she was -- victims don`t go into closets
and have sex. So, you know, that`s the way that cookie crumbles.
KORNACKI: All right.
Let`s go back to NBC`s John Yang. He`s at the state police barracks
in Malone, New York. He`s got more information about the investigation at
the prison we were just talking about -- John.
JOHN YANG, NBC CORRESPONDENT: That`s exactly right, Steve.
Actually, you can see that they have set up the lectern from Governor
Cuomo`s office, preparing for that news conference. But that`s the other
part of this. There`s this -- as this search narrowed here in this area
looking for Richard Matt and David Sweat, the search for how they got out,
what kind of help they got was -- is really broadening.
And we now know, NBC News has learned that several corrections
officers are now being investigated. We have Joyce Mitchell, a civilian
employee in the tailor shop, who acknowledges that she gave them some
tools, some hacksaw blades, a drill bit, Phillips-head drill bit,
screwdriver drill bit, that she was -- had put it in a hunk of ground beef
that she froze, put in the refrigerator, in the freezer, in the tailor
A guard she asked to take and deliver it to the two prisoners, that
guard is now -- has now also been arrested. There are all sorts of tales.
You listen to what -- the guard`s statement to Gene Palmer, his statement
to investigators, he acknowledges that he gave contraband to these
prisoners. He gave them paint, acrylic -- acrylic paint, in exchange for
paintings that Richard Matt did -- he did portraits, very, very complex and
-- portraits of people like Hillary Clinton and Bill Clinton -- and that he
helped them access the -- the catwalks in the prison as early as November
2014 so they could fix the electrical box because they were using a hot
plate in there, Richard Matt was using a hot plate in his cell to cook
food. All sorts of things are going to be looked at.
The fact that prison employees could take packages into the prison
without having them searched, without having go through metal detectors, I
think that part of the investigation is growing. That`s going to be a big
focus I think in the coming days, the coming weeks as to how this happened,
how all this happened inside, how all this happened with help from outside.
So, as they narrow in on the search for David Sweat now, I think in the
coming day, the search for how this all happened is going to broaden --
KORNACKI: All right. NBC`s John Yang in Malone, New York.
And, again, up there in Malone, we`re just over an hour away from
sunset -- from sundown, from darkness, complicating that search in the
woods. We`ll bring you the very latest on the manhunt for David Sweat.
Sweat is still on the run. His partner Richard Matt has been shot and
Our coverage returns after this.
KORNACKI: All right. We are again continuing to follow that search
under way now way up in Upstate New York near the Canadian border, for that
second still at-large escaped prisoner. A lot going on.
Let`s get back to the table here.
Jonathan Dienst, WNBC reporter here in New York. You`ve been
following this closely, made a lot of calls.
What is -- reset for us exactly what it is you know at this hour about
the status of the search?
JONATHAN DIENST, WNBC: What we know at about 3:45 this afternoon,
Richard Matt was shot and killed by a customs border patrol unit that was
out searching for him. There were unconfirmed reports that it was an RV
driver who either heard some sort of gun shots or attempted to be
carjacked, something along those lines that called 911, called police and
they may have put them on the trail, in addition to the fact that break-ins
into cabins nearby resulted in the search being in that area to begin with.
So, out in the woods, 3:45, Richard Matt gets shot and killed and the
search continues for David Sweat. There`s reports of additional gunfire.
Those reports coming from law enforcement officials up at the scene, as
well as those who have been briefed on the search. The question now is,
where is David Sweat?
They believe they have suspect number two cordoned off in a wooded
area in the vicinity of where his colleague, Richard Matt, was shot and
killed, and they have called in a ton of resources, law enforcement, and
they have that perimeter secured and they`re moving in inch by inch, bit by
bit to where they think in this area he may be hiding out.
They want to get in and get a good look before sundown because these
guys have been moving at night. So what happened, what was that second
round of gunshots? Unclear. We have no word that anyone else has been hit
and that the search for the second suspect is continuing at this hour and
that we`re expecting to hear a full update from the governor within the
hour to provide us with what the very latest is.
But as of now, David Sweat appears to still be on the loose. They`re
hoping that he`s trapped somewhere within this perimeter and they`re moving
in. Reports of a second round of gunfire unclear exactly what that was
about and who was doing the shooting in that matter.
KORNACKI: All right. Again, sundown 8:47 p.m. It is exactly one
hour from right now, will be sundown up there, where this is all playing
So, John, Jonathan was just talking about and you mentioned this
earlier, these unconfirmed reports about that RV gunfire earlier this
afternoon maybe instigating this whole episode today. Shots maybe at the
RV, maybe near the RV. One connection people thing of there is that these
guys were trying to get out of this jam, they were trying to carjack
something, they were trying to get a vehicle that could get them out of
there. That was probably, whether that happened or not, we don`t know yet,
but that would have been the only potential way out for them.
JOHN CUFF, RET. CHIEF INSPECTOR U.S. MARSHALS: This was the logical
choice. I mean, once that getaway car was not there, we knew they would
have to do what they knew best, criminal activity. Whether or not that was
break in a house, hold someone hostage, that was one theory you`re going to
look at, and that house could have been outside the search area, but the
way this played out, along with citizen tips, these tips were huge to put
them in the area where the sightings were.
And the DNA evidence corroborating it, it`s just a win/win here for
law enforcement. You know, thank God no one got hurt.
KORNACKI: You mentioned the citizen tips, and I`m curious about,
because so much of the reporting I saw in the last few weeks, talk about
just the flood of tips that were coming into all these hot lines. And last
week, I remember we were on the air talking about reports down the
Pennsylvania border. We`re talking about 300 miles away from where all
this was happening. Supposedly, these two guys emerging from the woods, it
was called a credible sighting. It would appear now, that had nothing to
do with any this.
How much when you`re in an investigation like this, how many red
herrings are you getting from the public, too?
CUFF: That`s common place. That happens any time potential a show
like "America`s Most Wanted," tips will come in from all around the
country. Law enforcement will vet them, you have to vet them, because
anything is possible until you know. Until you had that confirmed sighting
last week with the DNA found in the cabin. Now you knew.
Up to that point, you have to check out everything. So that was 350
miles away. But this past week, the noose was closing in. So, now, it`s
all in Sweat`s hands now how he wants this thing to end.
KORNACKI: All right. For more now on the possible mindset of David
Sweat tonight, we`re joined by FBI profiler Pat Brown.
So, Pat, you know, as we say, he`s looking at less than an hour of
daylight now. His partner is not with him any more, his partner is gone.
He`s got all the law enforcement surrounding him as best they can. He`s in
those woods that are thick with bugs apparently.
What is going through this guy`s mind? Is there an escape scenario
he`s playing with or is this about how he`s going to end it?
PAT BROWN, FORMER FBI PROFILER (via telephone): I think they`ve been
going downhill ever since they did the escape. In other words, they lost
plot early on. It was really surprising when they ended up in this wooded
area. It`s like, it`s been three weeks. This is as far as you`ve gotten,
just been running in circles around the woods?
I mean, obviously, something went wrong with their escape plan. And
perhaps they only did have a plan with Joyce Mitchell, and that was it.
She was supposed to show up and she didn`t. They`re like, whoa, we didn`t
think of anything else. It`s amazing. Because I thought this was going to
be a very dangerous situation, because if she was telling the truth and she
didn`t show up, the next thing you do is, in my opinion, is go for the
nearest house you can that has a car or a motorcycle, human beings,
anything, to grab what you can get and get out of town.
So, I am not quite sure when they made the decision to go wander off
into the woods and hide, because that`s, you know, that`s a way to get
trapped. I mean, that absolutely is a way. As we see, that`s exactly what
happened. So, at this point, Sweat has -- I mean, he`s had three weeks of
failing to do anything useful. And now, his buddy`s dead and he`s, you
know, probably surrounded. And you know, yes, it`s going to end with
either Sweat giving up or getting killed. I don`t see it any other way. I
don`t think he`s going to be escaping at this point, so he just probably
knows it`s all over.
KORNACKI: Yes, and Pat, I mean, these two guys -- we`ll learn more
probably about their relationship and how they sort of got together in the
first place, but the decision they made here at some point to stick
together in all of this, given what you know about them, their mindsets,
the minds of criminals. Is it surprising they stuck together and didn`t
turn on each other, didn`t separate?
BROWN: You know, the whole thing -- one of the problems we have when
we`re on the outside of any investigation is we just don`t know enough
about them, nor do we know enough about the layout of the land there. So,
we can`t look through their eyes because we`re not standing there going,
you know, gosh, I guess they couldn`t have grabbed a car right here because
there isn`t anything for ten miles, or whatever, because we just don`t
Usually when you do is you go back and look at history. I`m sure that
the police and investigators did look at this, their history, what kind of
people were they, how did they think, you know, what was their
relationship? We`re talking about two psychopaths. So, you know, they can
turn on each other in three seconds flat if they`re not useful to each
other any longer.
I guess at that point, they decided they`re useful to each other.
Again, the most likely things one would expect is they were split up early
on, because we were looking for two, go separate directions, do what you`ve
got to do and go where you want to go. I would assume, Matt with his
history of going to Mexico, that might have been the direction.
I don`t know if it`s just that, they got completely blown away when
Joyce Mitchell didn`t show up and that was just, like, they lost sight of
any future plans, you know? I guess that`s what happened and a good thing,
too. I`m shocked that citizens weren`t hurt, you know. It`s just amazing.
I mean, this is about the best ending as you could ever want.
KORNACKI: Yes, you can only imagine what went through their minds
when they came up through that manhole after going through so many layers
to get out of prison and that car`s not there and then they`re forced to --
BROWN: I can`t believe what that -- did to us you know what I mean?
They must have been going through that.
And it`s kind of funny, because she was dealing with psychopaths and
God knows what they were dealing with in return. So, if they put their
trust in her or they just thought they were so good at what they did, that
certainly, she would never change her mind. I mean, it`s just kind of
funny, because it`s like, obviously, she`s got her issues, they`ve got
theirs, and if they put all their faith in here, they just made a big
mistake, didn`t they?
KORNACKI: Yes, thank you to Pat Brown. Appreciate you taking a few
We continue to follow the developments as police close in on escaped
prisoner David Sweat. Sweat is still on the loose after three weeks, but
his partner, Richard Matt, has been shot and killed. Our coverage returns
KORNACKI: All right, the sun will be setting within the hour in
upstate New York. We continue to follow the breaking news in the manhunt.
One escapee has been shot and killed, the other still on the run, but
police are getting closer.
Back with more after this.
KORNACKI: All right. We`re back, closely monitoring that situation
in upstate New York.
Again, the news that Richard Matt, one of those two escaped convicts
from that prison in upstate New York, he has been shot and killed. David
Sweat, his partner in crime for these last few weeks, he is still on the
loose. Authorities, though, are apparently closing in on them.
Back here at the table with Jonathan Gilliam.
So, we`ve been talking so much about daylight, 8:47 is going to be
sundown up there. Now we`re 50 minutes away from that. If we do get into
a situation here where they have not caught this guy, they have not found
this guy and it`s dark in those woods, what are they doing overnight? What
are they doing in the dark woods? What`s the situation there?
JONATHAN GILLIAM, FORMER NAVY SEAL: Well, I think he`s going to have
a tougher time than they do, because now all the resources that they have,
1,100 officers, more or less, are now converged on that one area. They
also have helicopters. I`m presuming that they have some type of night
vision out there.
You know, this is one guy that`s trying to evade 1,100 officers and
helicopters and technology. It just got incredibly harder for him, because
we`re not looking at hundreds of square miles now. We`re looking at 10, 20
square miles. And they pretty much know where he`s at now.
So, I think it`s going to get much more difficult, and I would go as
far as to predict, unless some miracle on his part happens, tonight and at
the latest tomorrow, he`ll be caught or dead.
KORNACKI: And, John, if you were up there right now and you were
looking to give advice to the officers who are up there, to the authorities
who are up there right now, what is the advice you`re giving them for how
to pursue the situation right now?
CUFF: Just maintain your cool, like has been going on all along in
this case. Close in the perimeter as much as you can. Safety first. You
don`t want any good guys or good women, guys to get hurt on this, OK?
Maintain that perimeter. You`ve got him corralled in there.
It`s on him, what he wants -- the decision is his. He`s probably
hunkered down, burrowed in somewhere, presumably. Does he want to
surrender? Does he want to do suicide by police? Does he want to do
suicide himself in these are all options.
KORNACKI: Do you have a sense in these situations how often they
decide, I don`t want to kill myself, I don`t want to kill anybody else, I
just want to give up? Does that happen a lot?
CUFF: We`ve seen suicides. We`ve seen suicide by police, all
scenarios. But here you`re dealing with a desperate guy that`s apparently
a psychopath. So, if anybody can figure his mindset out.
KORNACKI: All right. Again, we are closing in on 8:00, 8:47 p.m.,
less than an hour from now, will be sundown there in upstate New York where
that search, where that hunt for the last escaped convict continues.
Thank you for now to Jonathan Gilliam, John Cuff, Jonathan Dienst for
That is HARDBALL for now. Thanks for being with us. Chris Matthews
returns Monday night at 7:00.
"ALL IN WITH CHRIS HAYES" starts right now.
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