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ANDERSON COOPER 360 DEGREES
Hotel Bombings in Jakarta, Indonesia; President Obama Speaks at the NAACP; Double Murder Mystery in Florida
Aired July 16, 2009 - 23:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: Good evening, again.
We're remaining live on the air tonight following the breaking news. The rising death toll in Jakarta, Indonesia; explosions, likely bombings just minutes apart at a pair of Western branded luxury hotels where Americans frequently stay: the Ritz Carlton Hotel and J.W. Marriott -- the Marriott, site of a deadly bombing in 2003.
Those images you're seeing right now are from the Ritz-Carlton.
Our Kathy Quiano reporting earlier, the blast took place in the exact same location inside the hotel as the last time. Indonesian state-run media reporting six fatalities; the Associated Press earlier reporting that four of them are foreigners.
The terror network Jemaah Islamiyah blamed for the 2003 Marriott blasts and implicated this time by our national security analyst, Peter Bergen. Peter joins us again. With us by phone from Jakarta, CNN producer Andy Saputra and Kathy Quiano. They are on the scene at the Ritz-Carlton and the Marriott. Also with us on the phone are John Aglionby, who is a Jakarta correspondent for the "Financial Times."
John, I want to start with you. Where are you right now?
JOHN AGLIONBY, JAKARTA CORRESPONDENT, "FINANCIAL TIMES": I'm standing right outside the Ritz-Carlton Hotel, the location of the second explosion which occurred about five minutes after the Marriott bombing. There's no massive structural damage to the hole, but windows have been blown out, and there's twisted metal.
Certainly people believe there are victims inside, but there's medical staff and ambulances that are still in there and also a lot of help. But people believe that casualties could well rise.
What one person told me who's hereabouts, when he was running past the Marriott Hotel about 7:40 when there was a massive explosion. He was afraid so ran away, about 100 meters outside the Ritz. And then there was an explosion there. And so he ran away again back to the Marriott and found four foreigners outside, one of them not was moving. Three of them had broken bones and their guts were spilling out. He could see inside that there were at least four more foreigners inside, barely moving, also badly injured. He helps them into taxis and off to the nearest hospital. COOPER: State-run media has -- is saying that six people are known to have been killed. As many as 29 injured at another hospital. John, from what you can tell -- I don't know how close you can get to the Ritz or what you can see -- do you have a sense of where the blast actually occurred?
Our earlier -- Andy Saputra said that he thought it seemed to come from inside the hotel.
AGLIONBY: Yes, I believe it came inside, direct on the -- what I call the first floor, the one above the ground floor. It blew, I believe, one, two, three, four windows and other damage. So certainly, it doesn't look like it was as big as some of the other bombs we've had here in Jakarta. And certainly it wasn't a small explosion or device.
Speaking to terrorism analysts here, they say the big question mark is whether it was suicide bombers or not. If it was suicide bombers, then it's likely to be the usual suspects, Jemaah Islamiyah and their affiliates.
If it was not suicide bombers, then they say it could be absolutely anyone and we'll have to start from there. No one exactly knows...
COOPER: John, stand by.
On the phone joining us right now is Greg Woolstencroft, an eyewitness. Greg, you live across the street from the Ritz-Carlton, is that correct?
GREG WOOLSTENCROFT, EYEWITNESS (via telephone): That's correct. I live across the street. I just came back from a walk. And I saw the first bomb went off. And then I -- because I work for a local television station as a chief technical officer, I ran downstairs with my iPhone.
As I was going downstairs, the second bomb went off at the Ritz- Carlton. I was able to get quite a number of shots. I was able to get inside the Airlangga restaurant where the actual first -- where the second bomb went off.
I noticed what appears to be a suicide bomber. By the looks of the body, it was badly mutilated body. And the inside of the Airlangga restaurant has been totally devastated. The bomb has actually blown out on two sides of the building. It's actually gone both directions and totally devastated the Airlangga restaurant.
COOPER: Sorry, go ahead.
WOOLSTENCROFT: There's been a second bombing at an apartment complex close by which was where the first bomb was which I saw. And it's totally devastated an area in there and you can see where there are massive amounts of windows been blown out there as well.
I think in terms of the bombing at the Ritz, it was very extensive bombing. When you got inside and the level of damage was done on both sides of the building.
COOPER: You say you saw a badly mangled body you believe to be the actual suicide bomber. Could you tell the nationality of the person?
WOOLSTENCROFT: I cannot, because I saw the body just before it was covered. It was so badly mutilated, you couldn't tell, in all honesty. And then the body was covered up. I did see some other people getting carted out -- basically carried out for treatment at that point in time.
COOPER: How large a restaurant is that?
COOPER: How large a restaurant? How many people would have been in there or could have been in there?
WOOLSTENCROFT: Well, the Airlangga restaurant literally would -- the size of that restaurant would probably hold in excess of probably 100, 150 people it could have had at the time. It's a very large restaurant; it's one of the main restaurants in the hotel. Given the bomb went off at 7:30, it would be at a time when a lot of people would be down there having breakfast at that point in time of day. I suggest to you it was timed to cause the most impact to people in the restaurant.
COOPER: This is the restaurant at the Ritz-Carlton, yes?
WOOLSTENCROFT: That's at the Ritz-Carlton itself.
The second building -- I don't know exactly the -- probably it looks like it was on the first or second floor of the other building when the bomb went off. I haven't been able to get inside that building.
COOPER: I can tell you, Greg, our producer on the scene, Kathy Quiano, who is on the scene at the Marriott believes that bomb was in the cafe, on the ground floor of the Marriott.
WOOLSTENCROFT: That could have been correct, the back of the building, yes.
COOPER: How could a person -- I don't know how -- you live across from the Ritz. I assume you've eaten in this restaurant. You've entered the hotel.
WOOLSTENCROFT: I've actually lived at the Ritz-Carlton for 12 months. And it (INAUDIBLE) how -- that hotel probably has the highest security of any hotel in Indonesia. I just don't know how someone could get in there and -- with a bomb, given the level of security, the level of screening people have to go through. I don't know how that person got that bomb in.
COOPER: To get into the hotel, what sort of levels of screening do you have to go through? WOOLSTENCROFT: Given the bombing that happened at the Marriott previously, you can't actually drive into the lobby. You have to come through what effectively is the back of the building to get into the front of the building.
There, there's major metal barriers; the vehicles are searched. There's armed guards at that checkpoint. Once you go up to the lobby, there are metal detectors. Your bags are searched before you go through those metal detectors.
Now, there is another area where you go into the basement and the vehicles are checked, once again, before you go into the basement.
So I -- that's the sort of level of security there is, you know. So, I just don't know how a person would be able to get that bomb in, unless there was some level of cooperation. I don't know.
COOPER: We're talking to Greg Woolstencroft, who lives across the street from the Ritz-Carlton; went in there moments after the blast. Actually, into the restaurant where he believes and others on the scene -- our producer believes -- the blast actually occurred.
He believes he may have seen what -- a badly mangled person who the condition of the body would indicate that that person was in fact the suicide bomber.
Greg, hold on, we have to take a short break.
We're now getting also a report, the AP is saying 36 wounded, including 11 foreigners. State-run media had said six people had died. Earlier had said four of them were foreigners. We don't know nationalities at this point.
We're going to take a short break and our coverage continues.
COOPER: We're talking to -- we're following the breaking news out of Jakarta, Indonesia: six now dead in the bombings at two hotels, the Ritz and the J.W. Marriott. Two bombings about five minutes apart at breakfast time; timing perhaps designed to cause mass casualties; locations, hotel restaurants.
With us on the phone, Greg Woolstencroft, lives across from the Ritz; heard the first blast in the Marriott and actually saw the blast in the Ritz. Greg, when you saw the blast, what did it look like?
WOOLSTENCROFT: Well, actually from where I was, I was partly obscured. It was just a massive noise and then a cloud of smoke, a brownish smoke coming out. There was -- the first one was probably -- the first bombing which was -- I think was in the Marriott. It actually produced a huge brown smoke cloud coming out at that point in time.
And there was a similar sort of a cloud coming out from the Ritz. I couldn't see much more from that from my location until I got down closer to the scene.
COOPER: At great risk to yourself, you actually went into the Ritz, to the second floor, the site of the bombing. There could have been a second bombing there. You're in the news business. Obviously, you knew you were taking a risk. What was the scene like?
WOOLSTENCROFT: The scene was total devastation. There was total devastation. As I walked in further I saw the body, very mangled body, which could have been that of a suicide bomber. It was then covered up. Within inside the restaurant, the feeling -- everything was just total devastation.
COOPER: The -- how many other people did you see there?
WOOLSTENCROFT: Actually by the time I got in there, I didn't go right in there to see if people were laying on the ground. There were some people being escorted out at the time who were partly injured that time out. But -- and then I was very quickly shuffled off and told to get out of there.
COOPER: Greg, I know you have a good deal with your images. I hope you're able to file that iReport. We're going to let you go to do that now.
Peter Bergen is also joining us who's been monitoring this situation from Washington. Peter, an interesting report to hear from Greg; both of these bombings apparently at least, and again these are early, very sketchy reports just based on his eyewitness account and also the account of our producer, judging from where she believes the blast occurred inside the Marriott. She says that it seemed to be in the cafe, on the ground floor. He was saying it was in a restaurant in the Ritz -- in the other hotel, on the second floor. It would seem to be both restaurants were the site of these attacks if that is in fact -- if those reports are true.
PETER BERGEN, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: Yes. I don't think we've seen that kind of attack before. I'm sort of racking my brain. Usually the attacks on hotels that we've seen have been suicide bombings, either driving a car or somebody coming in with a bomb. This seems to be sort of a new modus operandi.
We have seen these kinds of attacks in Indonesia, not on hotels but on the nightclubs that were attacked in Bali in 2002, where suicide bombers went into a crowded area and blew themselves up. In the Bali 2002 attacks, two separate attacks on nightclubs frequented by Westerners, so that's somewhat reminiscent of this...
COOPER: Yes, 202 people killed in those Bali bombings.
BERGEN: Right. And mostly Western tourists. So, that is somewhat reminiscent.
We haven't seen, as I said, these kinds after attacks on hotels before but we have seen them on nightclubs and restaurants.
COOPER: Peter, I have to jump in. Peter Puomey is joining us now on the phone. He was staying at the Marriott at the time the blast occurred.
Peter, what did you see, what did you hear?
PETER PUOMEY, EYEWITNESS, STAYING AT J.W. MARRIOTT: I was in my room on the 17th floor, it was about sometime between 7:30 and 7:45. And I heard a huge explosion, a huge blast. And the building shook.
So, I went to the window, looked out and on the left-hand side as I was looking out in the corner of the building, down at the ground floor there was a big plume of black smoke rising.
COOPER: At that point what did you do?
PUOMEY: It was clear in my mind, my instinct was explosion. There was no doubt in my mind about that. So I just took what I had and went downstairs, waited for the lift. The lift came, the lift was full. So I then walked down the stairwell and on to the street.
COOPER: Where are you now?
PUOMEY: I'm now actually just standing outside the Ritz-Carlton.
COOPER: One eyewitness report, our producer, said she thought that the blast in the Marriott occurred on the ground floor in the cafe. Does that seem accurate to you?
PUOMEY: That's what staff was saying as well. I spoke to some people, some people who were on the street with me at the time. And you know they were caught by (INAUDIBLE) like shrapnel injuries and so on.
And they said it was in the lobby, one man said that he was having breakfast at the time. In fact, there were about 20 people around, that all of those were injured in some shape or form.
COOPER: The -- do you have any sense of how many people you saw who were injured? Or how many people you may have seen injured?
PUOMEY: Well, from the Marriott, I guess I saw maybe four or five; four or five at the immediate stage.
COOPER: Tell me about the security of the Marriott. What was it like going in and out?
PUOMEY: I'm sorry?
COOPER: How tough -- how tight was the security at the Marriott prior to this incident? You've been staying at the Marriott. What security checks did you have to go through to get into the hotel?
PUOMEY: The standard security checks. The last six or seven months I've been going through Jakarta maybe once or twice a month. I typically stay in the J.W. Marriott. And the security is the same as every other hotel here in Jakarta where the taxis are checked...
COOPER: Can a car drive up right to the entrance of these hotels?
PUOMEY: No. All the hotels have security barriers in front of them. So, you can't actually drive right up to the lobby in any of them. Well, certainly in the case of the Marriott or the Ritz- Carlton.
COOPER: In terms of physically entering, are all bags searched?
PUOMEY: Yes, yes. So -- I mean, arrived yesterday and I had a laptop bag and a suitcase and both of those were opened. You go through an airport-style metal detector or security screen, if you know what I mean.
COOPER: Were you nervous about traveling to Jakarta?
PUOMEY: No. Not in the slightest. And ironically, staying in the Marriott and knowing the history there, it never crossed my mind that it would be (INAUDIBLE). It certainly wasn't a good time for me.
COOPER: The J.W. Marriott was hit in August of 2003 with a car bomb, killed 12 people back then. Obviously, if this -- if these early reports are correct, the modus operandi of these terrorists seems to be different this time around.
What we're looking at, it seems at this point again, these are earlier reports of twin bombings in the restaurants of these -- of the Marriott and the Ritz-Carlton.
Peter, I appreciate your time. Thank you very much. I'm glad you are ok. And stay safe. I appreciate you talking to us.
Peter Puomey who has been -- was staying at the Marriott, actually heard the blast.
Just a few minutes ago we talked to a man named Greg who lives right across from the Ritz-Carlton, actually witnessed, heard the Marriott blast, ran to his window. He works in the news business and then actually saw the Ritz-Carlton blast and went into the hotel with his camera, took some pictures of what he believes -- and again, this is one person's report -- could be a suicide bomber based on the condition of the body.
Peter, there's a book, which I'm sure you have seen as well which basically documents every suicide attack and with photographs of the suicide bombers afterward. I'm familiar with it and I particularly have looked at the condition of bodies of suicide bombers in Sri Lanka, Tamil suicide bombers. It's often distinctive the way the bodies end up looking.
BERGEN: Yes. No doubt. And judging from what Greg said, it appears that one of the attackers at least was a suicide bomber.
One question I have, Anderson, I don't know perhaps we can ask or you can ask somebody that we interview next, this is Friday. It's the Muslim day off, the Muslim holiday. If indeed it was Jemaah Islamiyah, part of that calculation might have been that observant Muslims were going to take the day off and be at the mosque.
I don't know to what extent that it would be the case in Indonesia. It's a sort of moderate quote, unquote, "Muslim country," with an observant population but not a fundamentalist population like you might see in Saudi Arabia.
The fact that it happened on a Friday morning might be a factor here to consider as we look at the kinds of people who might have done this.
COOPER: That's an excellent point. Next time I'm talking to someone, I want to bring you in, Peter, so you can also just directly ask questions of this stuff I haven't thought of.
Peter I want to inform you Suzanne Malveaux has talked to someone from the NSC, the National Security Council, who says -- and I quote, "The president has been notified. The administration has reached out to the U.S. Embassy in Jakarta. U.S. Officials are now in the fact- finding phase of this." I'm reading this off my BlackBerry because I just got it.
They are trying to get information about whether there are any American casualties. At this time, White House officials are not aware of anyone claiming responsibility. The White House is monitoring the situation, won't put out a statement until they get more information.
Peter, as you point out, Indonesia is a relatively moderate secular country, hugely populous, largest Muslim population in the country. Yet, there's this dichotomy between the vast majority of the people there and this hard line terror group which has been operating -- at least was operating -- with devastating results through much of early 2000s.
BERGEN: Yes, this group really came to the fore in Christmas of 2000 in a series of attacks on Christian churches around Indonesia. It didn't get a huge amount of attention. But these were multiple attacks directed at Christians.
And then, of course, the first Bali attack of 2002, an attack on the Australian Embassy in 2003, an attack on the same J.W. Marriott Hotel in 2003, and a second wave of Bali attacks in 2005. So, a group that has had a fairly bloody history in Indonesia, a group that as we've said earlier, had taken significant hits but may have been trying to send a message here.
It's not perhaps completely coincidental, attacking American brand names at a time when you have an American president who actually spent part of his childhood in Indonesia, might be part of the calculation here was to sort of show the flag, attack American targets, something this group has done before.
COOPER: We're going to continue with our coverage. Peter Bergen standing by. We're talking to a number of eyewitnesses.
We're getting these reports coming in. Again, now 36 wounded, 6 fatalities according to the Associated Press who quoted a doctor in one of the hospitals, also now, state media reporting that as well in Indonesia.
We're going to check back with our sources in Jakarta for the latest on the bombings at the Marriott and the Ritz hotel.
Also, key evidence and a new suspect in the Florida double murder case. We're going to talk to the sheriff in charge of the investigation. We'll be right back.
COOPER: We're going to continue to bring you the latest on the deadly bombings in Indonesia. Two American branded hotels targeted. State run media reporting at least six have been killed. Earlier reports that four of those are foreigners. 36 people at this point believed to have been wounded.
Let's quickly check some of the other stories though that we're following. Randi Kaye has the "360 Bulletin" -- Randi.
RANDI KAYE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Plenty of other news tonight, Anderson.
Fighting words from Defense Secretary Robert Gates -- in a speech tonight in Chicago, he scolded Congress for trying to force more F-22 fighter jets into the defense budget. Lawmakers from both parties have defied the White House in recent days by putting money back into a defense spending bill designed to scale back or eliminate big-ticket programs like the F-22. Gates wants to instead increase spending on counterinsurgency programs and irregular warfare in Iraq and Afghanistan.
So, here's a question. How many F-22s do we really need? Tomorrow, we're "Keeping Them Honest" with an in-depth look at the defense budget battle and a reality check on the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.
On Capitol Hill, a fourth and final day of tough questioning for Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor; Republican senators grilled her about controversial speeches she has given, but also promised Judge Sotomayor a quick confirmation vote, possibly as soon as next week.
Monday is the 40th anniversary of man's first steps on the moon. And, today, NASA released newly restored videos of that historic moment. The images of Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin walking on the lunar surface are much clearer than those fuzzy pictures people saw on their television sets the first time around.
And, finally, a change of heart -- after six years of sharing a burrow at the San Francisco Zoo, Pepper and Harry, two male penguins, who also hatched and raised a chick together, well, they've split up. It was Harry's idea apparently.
A couple of months he hooked up with Linda, a female penguin in a nearby burrow. She was newly widowed. And, according to the zoo, at first, Pepper was pretty upset, but now he seems to be just fine with this new arrangement -- Anderson.
COOPER: Randi thanks very much.
Coming up, race and politics: President Obama speaking at the NAACP convention. He talks of new challenges for African Americans that the country has to overcome. We'll bring you extended clips of his speech.
And the update from Jakarta: we just now got another report from the Associated Press quoting an Indonesian Security Minister, the death toll now stands at nine. Fifty people wounded in the twin hotel blasts. Our breaking coverage continues.
COOPER: Updating the breaking news: the Associated Press now reporting nine dead, at least 50 wounded in bombings at the Ritz- Carlton and the J.W. Marriott hotels. The two bombings appeared to be minutes apart, about five minutes apart at breakfast time, perhaps designed to cause mass casualties. The locations the hotel restaurants, reportedly cafes.
The Associated Press reporting at least 36 wounded in the attacks. But the report on the 50 wounded is from the Indonesian security minister, according to the AP. No claims yet of responsibility. Though Peter Bergen, our terrorism analyst tells us he considers the terror group Jemaah Islamiyah the leading suspect. That's the group that bombed the Marriott back in 2003 and the Bali bombings as well.
President Obama was informed of the attacks according to our own Suzanne Malveaux. His national security team now coordinating with the American embassy in Jakarta; trying to find out if any Americans have lost their lives or have been injured.
We're going to have new details for you as they come in and they are coming in every few minutes.
Meantime, President Obama spoke tonight in Manhattan to the NAACP -- the president pulling no punches. His message to African- Americans: Aim high, work hard, accept that life maybe tough where you live but that you can be tougher.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We have to say to our children, yes, if you're African-American, the odds of growing up amid crime and gangs are high. Yes, if you live in a poor neighborhood, you will face challenges that somebody in a wealthy suburb does not have to face.
But that's not a reason to get bad grades. That's not a reason to cut class. That's not a reason to give up on your education and drop out of school.
No one has written your destiny for you. Your destiny is in your hands. You cannot forget that. That's what we have to teach all of our children. No excuses.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Joining us now, CNN political analyst Roland Martin; Lenny McAllister, columnist for TheRoot.com and member of the North Carolina Republican Party Executive Committee; and back with us, CNN's Suzanne Malveaux.
Suzanne, there's been criticism that President Obama has essentially put the issue of race on the back burner. Do you think he addressed that tonight?
SUZANNE MALVEAUX, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: It's interesting because the one thing that it seems like a long time ago but in the black community people are asking whether or not Barack Obama was black enough that they really had to -- he had to win over their support.
COOPER: In the early days in the campaign.
MALVEAUX: Very early days in the campaign. He always thought that was kind of a ridiculous notion. That of course, he gets it, he understands it. His background is different. What you heard today, there are different avenues, different opportunities that he has where he can actually show, "Of course I get it, I understand this."
He paid homage to the civil rights movement, to the leaders. But he also talked about the very reality that African Americans face when it comes to discrimination, when it comes to barriers, institutional barriers. But at the same time turning the corner and using that and saying, look, I have the familiarity. I have the credibility within the black community to say, it's time to be accountable. It's time to be responsible as well to kind of have that message of tough love as well.
COOEPR: It's interesting, Roland, you were in the room when the president was making the speech. The president's cadences -- it was a different president we saw tonight speaking to that crowd than we saw -- see the last several months.
ROLAND MARTIN, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: That's how it is when you talk with black folks. I mean, at one point during the speech, he made a comment, and someone repeated what he said. He got thrown off and he said, "Oh, that's the amen corner."
Look, the reality is, when you are speaking in front of African Americans, in many ways it resembles sort of this church setting, this sort of call and response. When he says something, the audience responds and all of a sudden he begins to feed off of the audience, the audience feeds off of him.
COOPER: And we heard enthusiastic response. Was that unanimous?
MARTIN: Yes. Look, here's the reality. What he said today is a continuum of the African-American experience. Before Brown v. the Board of Education, you had black parents said, "I may not be able to read, trust me, while we are fighting for you to have books in the schools, you are going to get an education."
So, he said tonight, yes. While we're sitting here enacting policies to improve schools to additional funding, we'd also make sure that our kids are learning. It really wasn't tough love.
He was saying, everybody has a role, government has a role, you have a role in terms of the NAACP and you as parents.
COOPER: Lenny, from a Republican perspective, what did you think of the speech?
LENNY MCALLISTER, EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE, N.C. GOP: I thought it was an OK speech. I think it was full of a little bit of dichotomy to think, number one, we talk an awful lot about education. The president addressed this but, you look at his record, he let down the ATCU from an African-American perspective. He let down school vouchers from an African-American perspective.
And even with some of the issues he's been focusing on as far as early education, looking at kids being ready to get into school, in kindergarten and be prepared to learn, it misses the point. We lose African-American boys in particular between the ages of 8 and 13. So, we can focus on them being ready to learn in kindergarten all we want, but we're still not going after the problems of where we're losing these boys.
One of the things I would have liked to have heard from the speech was the president speaks a lot about personal accountability during Father's Day and other -- such as the NAACP speech, but we did not hear from him as relevantly or as loudly during Black History Month as the first African-American president throughout pretty much, the month of February.
MARTIN: Ok, Lenny. First of all, I don't know what in the world you were talking about -- and what speech you were actually watching. But the reality is when you talk about the whole issue of education, what he said was we have to recognize when it comes to economics in terms of the job numbers that it's directly tied to education.
Sure, it wasn't specifically what happens when they are 8 and 10- year-olds, but what he's saying if we do not improve primary and secondary education they're not going to be able to get a job, they're not going to be able to care for their family, they're not going to be able to afford health care. And so what he was saying is, it is all ties together.
MALVEAUX: There's a balance that he struck, though, here too because he has actually gone ahead and extended the "No Child Left Behind" from President Bush, the Bush administration.
But he also, too -- and I say that part of the message is tough love -- because he also said that children should have higher expectations. That parents should expect more of themselves in their involvement with their kids and that you should expect more from teachers.
I think you had a balance of both here. The Bush administration when President Bush had said before about the soft bigotry of low expectations, we heard a different version from President Obama this evening. Essentially a talking about the same thing in a different way but it was the same message.
MCALLISTER: I would agree with that. I do think that there were definitely some semblances of what conservatives have talked about when it comes to education. But if you do look at some of what he mentioned, in particular the grant in Pennsylvania, it does focus more back on getting kids ready. He said it specifically in this transcript, getting kids ready for -- being ready to learn going into kindergarten.
And that's why I feel like some of the message was missed. I do agree with what you're saying, Roland. We have to look at education all the way through because if they don't have the proper education, they are not prepared for these 21st century jobs where a college education more often than not is going to be what they need, they're now going to be able to do everything, provide for their families, to have health care. And we're not going to be able to keep these fathers in these homes and reunify and raise up black America moving forward.
COOPER: We're going to have to leave it there.
Lenny McAllister, appreciate having you on. Roland Martin as well and Suzanne Malveaux. Thank you very much.
MCALLISTER: Thank you.
MARTIN: Thank you.
COOPER: Still ahead tonight, the latest in the breaking story, the bombings in Jakarta; both targeting luxury hotels, the Marriot and the Ritz-Carlton. The death toll rising; the wounded count rising as well -- we'll have the latest numbers in a moment.
New evidence also and a new suspect in the Florida double murder case; another day of fast-moving developments. My interview with the sheriff in charge of the investigation, when we continue.
COOPER: Before we bring you the new developments in the shocking Florida robbery and double murder, we just want to quickly update you on the breaking news out of Jakarta, Indonesia.
The tragic news: the AP now reporting nine dead, at least 50 wounded in the bombings to the Ritz-Carlton and the J.W. Marriott Hotels. New video here of the destruction just coming in. This is the first time that I'm taking a look at it. The AP -- this is video reportedly from the Ritz-Carlton. Two bombings minutes apart at breakfast time; no claims yet of responsibility.
President Obama, we're told, was informed of the attacks earlier tonight. His national security team now coordinating with the American Embassy in Jakarta trying to find out if any Americans have been wounded, who they are and obviously notify their families; we will not report their identifies, obviously, until families are notified.
Back home, new details out of Florida: Melanie and Byrd Billings, the couple who adopted 13 kids, the couple who were murdered in their house with nine of the kids still inside when it happened. Authorities call it a well-executed, well-planned operation.
Tonight, the investigation picking up pace -- new details out. New developments on the latest suspect taken into custody: this woman who police apparently found on her yacht.
David Mattingly brings us up to speed.
DAVID MATTINGLY, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Leonard Patrick Gonzales Jr., the alleged organizer of the home invasion that left Bud (sic) and Melanie Billings ruthlessly murdered, used to practice commando-style raids in his backyard.
DAMON O'DONNELL, FORMER NEIGHBOR OF MURDER SUSPECT LEONARD PATRICK GONZALEZ JR.: They would run from the back porch. They would run down there. And they would roll. And then they would go up against a tree. And they -- they would aim their guns. And...
MATTINGLY: Damon O'Donnell tells me he watched Gonzalez in 2004 run his wife and kids through drills with toy guns and fatigues.
(on camera): Were they back here laughing, having fun? Did they act like they were playing?
MATTINGLY: Or was it serious?
O'DONNELL: It was serious. And the reason why I say it was serious is because, they did it, and then they all went back in the house, and did it again and again and again and again.
MATTINGLY (voice-over): O'Donnell says, Gonzalez also once grabbed a real gun to complain about the placement of a pile of hurricane debris.
O'DONNELL: He told me, don't ever do it again.
MATTINGLY (on camera): And he was holding the gun when he said it?
O'DONNELL: He was holding the gun when he said this. Now, actually, he had it right -- he was doing one of these numbers.
MATTINGLY (voice-over): It's not the first time he tried to intimidate.
Picked up intoxicated in 1996, Gonzalez threatened the officer who arrested him.
The deputy wrote: "He stated that he knew my mother, my family and where I lived. He said that, when he got out, they were through."
Later that same night, Gonzalez put a jail guard in an arm lock. He spent almost a year behind bars.
(on camera): Gonzalez says he's innocent of the double-murder charges against him, but authorities say they have just about wrapped this case up.
They have recovered the safe that was taken from the Billings home. They have also recovered guns. One of them, they believe, is the murder weapon. But they won't say who pulled the trigger.
(voice-over): The latest arrest, the eighth in this case, is free on bond. Pamela Long Wiggins owns a van allegedly used in the getaway. The safe was allegedly hidden behind a house she owns.
And, as the many Billings children prepare to bury their mom and dad, authorities are promising, future details will make this case seem even more shocking.
David Mattingly, CNN, Pensacola.
COOPER: Those poor kids.
A lot of developments, a lot of questions.
For answers, I spoke to Escambia County Sheriff David Morgan.
COOPER: You said that there was a humdinger part of this case that we simply won't believe. Can you tell us any more on that point?
SHERIFF DAVID MORGAN, ESCAMBIA COUNTY, FLORIDA: We believe, Anderson, that what that's going to be is all the associated crime that comes out of the current suspects that we have.
And we have had several meetings with our fellow law enforcement officers on the federal side and passed this information on to them. We believe that there will be numerous -- or -- excuse me -- a lot of cases that are going to come out as a result of them being arrested, sadly, for this homicide.
We actually, during the conduct of this investigation, had to remain focused on the homicide at hand and to not get distracted by the ancillary crimes that we had come across.
COOPER: Can you tell me what federal agencies would be involved in those crimes?
MORGAN: Oh, absolutely, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the ATF and the DEA, just to name three.
COOPER: So, the ATF, the FBI and the DEA.
COOPER: That sounds like pretty serious stuff these guys were involved with. I mean, DEA, obviously, drugs, ATF, something to do with weapons. FBI, could be anything.
MORGAN: Yes, sir. Crossed a lot of state lines. It's far- reaching.
COOPER: Today, you said that you're nearing the end of the investigation as far as Escambia County is concerned. Are you confident at this point that you know exactly what happened?
MORGAN: Yes, we are. We're confident also that we have the individuals incarcerated that actually committed this terrible crime.
And, so, we want to assure the public here in Escambia County that we can return as -- as much, I guess, as can be expected to normal after suffering through this thing. But those who participated in that are where they should be.
The individual that's out on bond, again, is one of those ancillary suspects. And, in consultation with the state attorney, we felt that it was appropriate to take the action that they did. We agreed with the state attorney's decision.
But the case will continue. We still have some folks that are persons of interest.
COOPER: Those are people involved...
MORGAN: And we will be looking to get those folks...
COOPER: Those -- those are people who may have had knowledge of the security system, is that correct?
MORGAN: That is correct, sir.
We -- we have about three of those.
COOPER: I'm sorry. Someone was speaking to me.
You said you have about three of those people? MORGAN: Yes, sir. There are three individuals.
COOPER: And -- and those people you have identified, you know where they are, but you haven't talked to them yet -- or have you?
MORGAN: No, sir. We have spoken to these three individuals.
COOPER: OK. And, so, they remain persons of interest?
MORGAN: Yes, sir, they do.
COOPER: Are they being cooperative?
MORGAN: To this point, yes, sir.
COOPER: The -- you said you recovered valuable evidence, the stolen safe, several weapons, including the murder weapon. At -- at this point do you feel you have enough evidence to send the Billings murderers to jail?
MORGAN: We do, sir. And, again, that's the state attorney's call.
But we believe the combination of the physical evidence that has been recovered at the scenes and statements taken by other suspects and other witnesses, I feel very assured that the state attorney is going to have a successful prosecution of these individuals.
COOPER: You released the security camera, some of the security camera video, the images where -- where these folks actually -- you see them raiding the house.
I believe, earlier on, a couple days ago, I read somewhere you had said there was also video inside the house. Were the murders caught on tape?
MORGAN: We have been asked not to release that, Anderson.
But let me make this statement. There are interior cameras in that home.
COOPER: That -- that give you an idea of what happened?
MORGAN: That is correct, sir.
COOPER: All right.
We are going to have to leave it there. Sheriff, I -- again, I appreciate your time. I know it's been a busy -- busy several days for you. Thank you.
MORGAN: Thank you, sir.
Still ahead, new information: Americans hurt -- new information out of Jakarta, two bombings. The AP reporting nine deaths, 50 people wounded. We'll have the latest in this breaking story.
COOPER: New information, reports of Americans injured in the bombings at two luxury hotels in Jakarta, Indonesia. This is a picture we have just gotten in which shows a hotel employee injured at the Ritz Carlton, a hotel employee receiving medical treatment on the site at Ritz-Carlton. This photo just coming in to us.
With us on the phone right now from Fairfax, Virginia is Tom Fuentes, he's a CNN contributor. He's former FBI assistant director who was just off the phone with sources in Jakarta. In Washington, we are also joined by CNN national security analyst, Peter Bergen.
Tom, what can you tell us? What are you hearing?
TOM FUENTES, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: We are hearing that we have a large number of casualties there; that the death toll may actually be higher than what's been reported so far. They have confirmed two U.S. businessmen were being treated for minor injuries at a local hospital. The expectation is the high likelihood of additional U.S. casualties just by the nature of the clientele for the two hotels there.
Do you have any knowledge or have you heard of reports of any U.S. fatalities?
FUENTES: Not yet; there's been no direct reports of that. Again, it's going to be a little bit early. There's a lot of effort to find out that right now.
COOPER: You've actually, when you were with the FBI, you not only coordinated FBI efforts regarding the Mumbai attacks. You also have spent time in Jakarta. Is that correct?
FUENTES: That's correct. I've been there on several occasions. And in fact, last summer the Indonesian National Police hosted an FBI conference for graduates of the FBI's Executive National Academy Program. I've met with the head of police on several occasions. We have a very busy office.
The FBI has a very busy office in Jakarta working on a number of matters with the Indonesians, not just counterterrorism, but a close- working relationship actually going back to the last Marriott bombings, and also assistance in the Bali bombings and criminal investigations, cyber investigations, other matters.
So, it's a very extensive working relationship with the Indonesian National Police and also the Australian Federal Police have a large number of police officers that also work jointly with the Indonesians and with the FBI in Indonesia.
COOPER: Obviously, any time there's a coordinated attack in Indonesia, Jemaah Islamiyah would be the prime suspect. I assume that's your opinion as well.
If they are, in fact, involved in this and nobody has claimed responsibility at this point, would it surprise you given the fact that they have been relatively quiet for the last three or four years?
FUENTES: Actually last summer I mentioned they hosted a conference with the FBI. The week before the conference they made an arrest of I think it was about 20 people on one of the outlying islands of JI that were planning an attack. They recovered a great cache of explosives and weapons in addition to making the arrests.
So, there's been several occasions that the Indonesian police have thwarted plans that were in progress to do attacks. It's been a while since they've had a successful attack but the attempts have gone on.
The challenge with Indonesia is also, it's a country that has 17,500 islands and it's almost impossible to provide law enforcements on all of those islands so it's very fertile ground for recruiting and training of terrorists.
COOPER: Tom, I want to bring in Peter Bergen, terrorism analyst, who I'm not sure if you know.
FUENTES: Yes, Peter and I have met before.
COOPER: Peter, do you have any questions for Tom?
BERGEN: I guess one thing, you know, we've talked about a claim of responsibility. Mr. Fuentes, it's my recollection that the Jemaah Islamiyah has really never made a claim of responsibility. So we may not get one of those in this instance.
BERGEN: Also on the issue of the thousands of islands -- Indonesia I think has three time zones or five time zones? It's an enormous place. Even though there was this very aggressive campaign against Jemaah Islamiyah, it is pretty easy for them to go to one of these remote islands and hide out for a period of years and then come back and do something in the capital. Would that be correct?
FUENTES: Yes. About 2,500 of the islands are not even supposed to be inhabited. So you have limited law enforcement, limited media coverage as well and Internet on the outlying islands. So it's very fertile ground for them to recruit people who can commit these bombings and would not be recognized.
COOPER: I just want to point we've now gotten our own live signal from the Marriott Hotel; we've been watching local Indonesian images from local media. This is the scene right now outside the Marriott. We'll continue to show this and other -- actually this is pictures outside the hospital.
Right now we are just getting in -- we are watching these as you are watching them. Obviously people trying to get information, Tom and Peter, trying to find out who are among the wounded, who may be among the dead. At this point six fatalities confirmed by -- according to the Associated Press, quoting a local doctor, as well as Indonesian state authorities, 50 wounded according to the AP, quoting an Indonesian minister.
But Tom, you say as we look at these pictures of Indonesians and again, now, this is on tape. These are images of people being removed from -- that looks like a wounded westerner with some sort of -- certainly a facial wound on the left side of this face.
Again, we are getting these images are you are seeing them. We'll continue to show them to you.
Tom, any sense of when we may have our hands around how many people may be wounded in this or injured in some capacity?
FUENTES: That could still take several hours as they go through the crime scene and try to rescue people that may be injured. I don't know the extent of the damage inside that building, whether you have any parts that maybe collapsed on somebody. It will take a while to dig people out.
COOPER: That's still under way. Tom Fuentes, appreciate you talking with us on the phone, Peter Bergen as well.
Our breaking news continues -- our coverage continues of the bombings throughout the hour and into the night on CNN International.
We'll be right back.
COOPER: These pictures of people coming to the hospital waiting for word on their relatives. A lot of emotion right now in the city of Jakarta and around the world as people await for word on their loved ones. We continue to cover -- our coverage continues on CNN International.
The breaking news out of Jakarta, Indonesia: bombings at the Ritz Carlton and the J.W. Marriott; two explosions about five minutes apart at breakfast time. Our coverage continues on CNN International.