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911 Calls Released in Omaha Mall Shooting; New Info Revealed on Omaha Mall Shooter; Mitt Romney Speaks Out on Faith

Aired December 6, 2007 - 23:47   ET


ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Good evening again.
If you're just joining us, we're coming to you from the stage, where we just ended CNN's first ever tribute to heroes.

But now we begin a very abbreviated edition of 360, starting with Erica Hill, who catches up on tonight's top headlines with a 360 bulletin -- Erica.

ERICA HILL, HEADLINE NEWS CORRESPONDENT: Anderson, today, the White House unveiled a relief plan it says could help more than a million troubled homeowners.

That measure includes a five-year freeze on interest rates for borrowers who are current with their monthly payments. The freeze, though, only covers homeowners with adjustable-rate mortgages due to reset beginning in 2008.

According to analysis by one investment bank, only 240,000 subprime mortgage holders would actually qualify for the help. Despite its limitations, though, that subprime plan, along with expectations that the Fed will cut rates next week, fueled another rally in the major markets, the Dow surging nearly 175 points to 13619. The Nasdaq climbed 42. The S&P 500 jumped 22 points.

And new revelations and a lot of new questions tonight about the CIA -- we are learning the agency videotaped harsh interrogations of top al Qaeda suspects. Today, in a letter to employees obtained by CNN, CIA Director Michael Hayden said, those tapes were destroyed two years ago, which means they existed when the September 11 Commission asked for any interrogation-related materials, and they existed when CIA lawyers told a federal court hearing, the Zacarias Moussaoui case, that the agency did not possess any such tape.

That, Anderson, could, understandably, mean trouble.

COOPER: Yes, it's a stunning admission. We will have a lot more about that on 360 tomorrow.

Erica, thanks.

New details, as well, tonight and terrifying 911 calls from the deadly rampage in Omaha, Nebraska. Six minutes, now, that is how long it took for a disturbed young man to kill eight people and himself at a shopping mall. It is the worst shooting in Nebraska's history. And, just hours ago, the 911 calls were released. We cannot see what is unfolding, but we don't have to. The voices and the sounds say it all.

We want to warn you, what you're about to hear is graphic.

Here is some of the calls for help.


911 DISPATCHER: Nine-one-one. What's your emergency?


911 DISPATCHER: Hello? Nine-one-one.


911 DISPATCHER: Nine-one-one. What's your emergency?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: There is someone with a gun shooting people in Von Maur at Westroads.

911 DISPATCHER: OK. We are on our way out there. Have you seen anybody that was shot?


911 DISPATCHER: OK. They're on their way out there. Did anybody see the person shooting?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: There's a bunch of people shot.


911 DISPATCHER: Ma'am, ma'am, get away from that woman, so I can hear what you are saying, will you?


911 DISPATCHER: Now...


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: She said there are a bunch of people shot inside of Von Maur.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes, my name is Jody. And I am with Von Maur.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And I -- I have people who are down and injured who have been shot.

911 DISPATCHER: Where are you at, what -- what part of the store?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I am on the third floor. That's where most of the people who have been shot are at.

911 DISPATCHER: OK. How many people do you have that are shot in there?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: As far as I can tell, I have two to roughly four that I -- that I have seen.


COOPER: That woman locked herself in an office, where she could see the security cameras. What she told the dispatcher next is chilling.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Oh, my gosh. It looks like -- it looks like the gun is laying over by customer service. There's an officer there now. I wonder if he...

911 DISPATCHER: Customer service on the third level?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Correct. It looks like he might have killed himself.

911 DISPATCHER: OK. Do you see him laying by a gun?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I see him laying by that gun with blood (INAUDIBLE)


COOPER: Up close tonight, new details on the young gunman, Robert Hawkins. He battled depression and a family history. His landlady told me yesterday that Hawkins was like a lost puppy that nobody wanted.

Tonight, you will hear from the people who knew Hawkins, including a friend and even an Army recruiter. We have for you perhaps the most detailed portrait yet of a very troubled man, who said he wanted to go out in style.

CNN's Gary Tuchman up close.


GARY TUCHMAN, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The first call to 911 had no voice at the other end.



911 DISPATCHER: Nine-one-one. what's your emergency? (GUNSHOTS)


TUCHMAN: Just the chilling sound of gunshots.




TUCHMAN: The operator couldn't be sure what was going on. But then he heard the voices.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: There is someone with a gun shooting people in Von Maur at Westroads.

911 DISPATCHER: OK. We are on our way out there. Have you seen anybody that was shot?


911 DISPATCHER: OK. They're on their way out there. Did anybody see the person shooting?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: There's a bunch of people shot.


911 DISPATCHER: Ma'am, ma'am, get away from that woman, so I can hear what you are saying, will you?


911 DISPATCHER: Now...


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: She said there are a bunch of people shot inside of Von Maur.

911 DISPATCHER: OK. Then (INAUDIBLE) The police are on their way.


TUCHMAN: One of those gunshots was a self-inflicted one that killed 19-year-old Robert Hawkins after he murdered eight other people. The question is why?

Flags were at half-staff all over Omaha, including the McDonald's where Hawkins worked before apparently being fired this week. People who knew him, including friend Shawn Sanders, said he long suffered from depression.

SHAWN SANDERS, FRIEND OF ROBERT HAWKINS: I'm not sure to the level of his depression. I just know he was on antidepressants for the last couple of months. And I guest -- I guess it was just getting worse over time, with the loss of his job. And I guess he had issues going on with a girlfriend at the time.

TUCHMAN: Hawkins was placed in a mental health treatment center in 2002, after making homicidal threats against his stepmother. He spent much of his teenage years in treatment centers.

And, in a police report filed last year, he alleged he was molested by a roommate at a group home. The state defends its treatment of him.

TODD LANDRY, DIRECTOR, DIVISION OF CHILDREN AND FAMILY SERVICES: Based on our review, we believe that this tragedy was not a failure of the system to provide appropriate quality services for a youth that needed it.

TUCHMAN: He wanted to join the Army, saying he wanted to leave Omaha, but was turned down by recruiters.

SERGEANT EDWARD DUST, ARMY RECRUITER: I wouldn't say that I even had the perception that he was troubled. I would say that I had the perception that, you know, he had some difficult -- a difficult past, to say the least.

TUCHMAN: In the Omaha suburb of Papillion, Nebraska, Hawkins went to Papillion-La Vista High School, but dropped out. The principal says he did not appear to be bullied, but was uninvolved in school, and added, he met with Hawkins many times, but just couldn't inspire him.

JIM GLOVER, PRINCIPAL, PAPILLION-LA VISTA HIGH SCHOOL: While he was here at Papillion-La Vista High School, he had a number of infractions that were minor. Robert never, ever showed any hostility toward our staff or to our students.

TUCHMAN: Hawkins no longer lived with his family, moving into this home with a friend and the friend's mother.

DEBORA MARUCA KOVAC, LANDLORD OF ROBERT HAWKINS: He was a depressed person. He had been very depressed. But it looked like he was getting better. He had gotten a job. He got a car, got his driver's license. So, things looked -- were looking better for him.

TUCHMAN (on camera): Neighbors we talked with say they would see Hawkins going in and outside the house. They say he seemed like a nice kid, no problems whatsoever. They assumed he was part of the family.

(voice-over): Now they know differently.

GLOVER: You know, it is tough, because, somewhere along the line, somebody failed, and -- and probably all of us. (END VIDEOTAPE)

TUCHMAN: It's not clear what Hawkins' relationship was with his parents. And his parents have not spoken publicly yet.

However, the principal of the high school, Anderson, has told us he talked to the father today. The father was stricken and horrified. The mall behind me remains closed. It's not clear when it will reopen -- Anderson.

COOPER: It is just such a tragedy for all involved.

Gary, appreciate that.

Up next: politics and religion. Grandma warned you about discussing them in polite company, but Mitt Romney did just that today. See why it could make or break his run for the White House. It is "Raw Politics" -- when 360 continues.


COOPER: Mitt Romney today trying to assure voters that his Mormon faith will not govern now he -- how he governs. He echoed a speech John F. Kennedy made about his faith some 37 years (sic) ago.

But, unlike JFK, Governor Romney went so far as to say that freedom requires faith.

"Raw Politics" now.

GOP strategist Ralph Reed joins us, along with CNN's Jeffrey Toobin.

Ralph, I want to play an excerpt from Romney's speech.

Let's listen.


MITT ROMNEY (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I believe in my Mormon faith, and I endeavor to live by it. My faith is the faith of my fathers. I will be true to them and to my beliefs.

Some believe that such a confession of my faith will sink my candidacy. If they're right, so be it. But I think they underestimate the American people.

Americans do not respect respecters -- excuse me -- believers of convenience.


COOPER: Ralph, Romney mentioned Mormon just once in his speech. Do you think he addressed the faith enough?

RALPH REED, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: Yes, I think he did, Anderson.

I -- I think what Governor Romney did today was very important. He reasserted one of the geniuses of America, which is, we're a nation of faith that welcomes people of all faiths, and, indeed, those with no faith at all.

But our founders had a -- a then revolutionary idea, which is that you would not require somebody to pass a doctrinal or religious or theological test to serve in the highest office in the land.

I think it has served us very well. And I have to be really honest with you. There's been a lot about the dialogue in the intersection of faith and politics during this election that I have found disturbing. I mean, Mike Huckabee being asked whether he thought Mitt Romney is a Christian -- Rudy Giuliani has been asked whether he was in full communion with his church. I think Romney, frankly, has been treated very shabbily about his own faith.

And I think what we need to do is, we need to stop doing doctrinal frisks of presidential candidates and theological G.I. tract exams, and let's do something that's more mainstream and -- and, frankly, more in line with our traditions, which is, let's ask them what their values are, what their public policy stands are, and what their ability to lead is.

And I think what -- the's what the American people want. And I hope today's speech will help get us to that point.

COOPER: But, if they are the ones who are bringing up faith on the trail, which they have often, isn't it fair, then, to ask them to explain their faith?

REED: Not if it involves -- in my opinion, not if it involves points of theology or doctrine.

And I certainly don't think another candidate running for president should be asked, do you think another candidate is a good Christian, Catholic, Jew, or Muslim? I think that's way over the line.

I think -- look, I think John F. Kennedy had it exactly right 47 years ago, when he said, the issue in this campaign should not be what kind of church I believe in, for that should matter only to me. It should be what kind of America I believe in.

And that involves, what are their public policies? And that means, what's your strategy on the war on terrorism? Where do you stand on some of the issues such as abortion or gay rights, or, where do you stand on taxes, the economy, or health care? I think those are legitimate questions.

But I think asking somebody, you know, what -- what about this point of theology of your church, I think that is over the line.

COOPER: It was interesting, though. Mitt Romney today actually did not mention people who do not have faith. He talked about just those -- the right of those who have faith.

Jeffrey, Romney didn't really give so many specifics in his speech. And Bill Bennett actually said -- a conservative commentator, Bill Bennett, said, he actually thought this would not end the questions from people. It might just make people ask more questions.

Your take, Jeffrey.

JEFFREY TOOBIN, CNN SENIOR LEGAL ANALYST: I think Bill Bennett is exactly right.

I mean, the message that Romney had today was so different from John Kennedy's message 47 years ago, because John Kennedy said, the reason you should trust me is that, in our country, we have a separation of church and state, which should be absolute.

That was the opposite of what Mitt Romney said. Mitt Romney said: Faith is indispensable to government. Faith is critical to what kind of leader I am.

But he didn't define what that faith was. That is a very different message. And -- and I think, by raising the issue of faith, but not saying anything about what his faith is, he simply invites a lot of questions.

You know, here, Anderson, in -- in Des Moines, Mike Huckabee is running radio ads. And the first words in those ads are "Mike Huckabee, Christian leader." That's how the Republican Party is very different from how it used to be. And I think that's the Republican Party that's going to have a lot of questions about what Romney said.

COOPER: I don't like to paraphrase people, so I just want to read Bill Bennett's direct quote.

He said: "I'm not sure he was responding to the concern, what about the Mormon thing? I think he will probably get more questions on it, not fewer."

We're going to have to leave it there.

Ralph Reed, Jeffrey Toobin, I appreciate you guys staying up late for this very abbreviated edition. I wish we had more time, but we simply don't. Thank you very much.

That does it for us tonight on 360.

Up next: an encore of "CNN Heroes: An All-Star Tribute." It really was a remarkable evening -- I hope you watch it -- here at the American Museum of Natural History in New York.

I will see you tomorrow night. Thanks for watching. Good night.