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ANDERSON COOPER 360 DEGREES
Navy Fighter Jet Crashes into Virginia Beach Apartment Complex; Unemployment Rate Falls to 8.2 Percent
Aired April 6, 2012 - 20:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ASHLEIGH BANFIELD, CNN HOST: Thanks. We begin with breaking news. Even more to tell about a top story today.
A Navy fighter jet crashing into a Virginia Beach apartment complex after takeoff this morning. Rescuers are searching at least five heavily damaged buildings and are looking for survivors, four victims at this point. They saw the planes going down and nose in the air and dumping fuel before it crashed. Sending fire and thick black smoke into the air.
An eyewitness joining us now by telephone. Sir, can you hear me?
MATTHEW EDWARDS, EYEWITNESS (via telephone): Yes, I can.
BANFIELD: Tell me everything that you saw.
EDWARDS: Yes. You know, I just up a word and then I saw a little while before noon. And I was sitting on the couch and heart a big bang and went to the door and my uncle was there. We both came out and looked up and saw the smoke behind the building. He cut back through his house. I come around the building. And saw the pilot in our backyard laying there. He was talking. I asked him if he was OK. He said yes. And my uncle was there with him so, I didn't really worry about him too much because my uncle is an EMT and retired.
And I went throughout the building complex just yelling, telling everybody to get out, you know, we have to get away. And thank God, not a lot of people were home. And it was crazy.
BANFIELD: And I had heard that the pilot may have said to some witnesses on the scene or at least residents on the scene that he was sorry that he crashed into the home. Is that true? Did you see anything like that?
EDWARDS: Yes, ma'am. I did hear him say that as I was walking from the pilot. He said to my uncle as I was walking way. But yes, I did hear that.
BANFIELD: I want you to standby for a moment, Mr. Edwards. Matthew Edwards joining us as an eyewitness to the scene. Because our pentagon correspondent, Barbara Starr, is also standing by.
Barbara, what's the latest from the Pentagon on what happened and how this happened? BARBARA STARR, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: Well, actually, this really incredible scene that we have watched unfold, the good part of the day, happened apparently when this training flight took off from Oceana Naval Air Station, a two-seater F-18.
But all accounts it ran into trouble very quickly because basically, it crashed into this apartment building about two miles from the runway. So, the working assumption right now is it did not achieve significant altitude before the pilots realized they were in trouble, leading them - forcing them into an injection potentially a very low altitude.
Pilots, as we talked about, very well trained to try to steer the plane away from populated areas. But these two may not have had any choice. We had the witness' reporting claims. Under the plane, we have reports that fuel was coming out of the plane and the initial indications from the Navy are that that was not fuel dumping, but rather part of what this catastrophic mall function may have been that led to the fuel basically flowing out of the plane.
So, what the Navy is saying is this was a catastrophic mechanical malfunction of some sort. They are going to be looking for that data recorder. They are going to be looking to pick up the debris from this. So, they can look at it and analyze what happened, Ashleigh.
BANFIELD: I just want to go back to what you mentioned a moment ago, Barbara. That is about the fuel being released from the plane beforehand. This is something there assessing at this point whether the fuel was being dumped so that was not as critical or this could have been the beginning of a brake up of the plane?
STARR: Yes. You know, by all indications right now, they don't seem to think and these are very initial reports. They don't seem to think it was necessarily what you and I would call a pilot dumping fuel for safety reasons, but more or less part of the malfunction.
I think it's very early on and they are going to be investigating all of this, trying to determine what happened. But, you know, the fact is - the fact that it crashed less than two miles from the runway. It's the clearest indication that it ran into trouble very quickly and they were not able to achieve significant altitude.
BANFIELD: Is there, also, any credence to the report that there was water that was as close by if not closer than the runway that they may have been able to try to bring it down in water and just couldn't?
STARR: Well, you know, the ocean is quite close by and pilots would be trained to try and steer away from these civilian areas. And I think if any new pilot would tell you in these circumstances, they are going to do everything they can to not hit civilian areas. They will put the plane in the water and try to check before they run the risk of hitting civilians. This is just absolutely the last thing that any U.S. military pilot would want to do.
So, the fact that they were not able to steer it away and not able to make it to water and eject over water, I think it is another indication possibly of how quickly this unfolded and how very catastrophic it was so quickly, Ashleigh.
BANFIELD: And Barbara, also, there was a report I heard as this was developing today that the seat, the ejector seat was found at a location that seemed to indicate at least preliminarily that that pilot may have stay with that plane just as long as possible. Really, until just about the crash zone. Is there credence to that?
STARR: Well, I think they are going to look at that. Certainly, they are going to talk to both the crew members to get every detail from them about the timeline of all of this. If a pilot and a U.S. Navy pilot thought he could not avoid the civilian area, I think it's very safe to say he would stay with the plane as long as he or she could to try to do whatever they can. But there are going to come to a point where there would be no choice but to eject. And that is what they clearly did here.
And let me just add. There has been discussion and the Navy confirmed that there was one so-called student pilot on board and experienced instructor. What was his plan doing? They were practicing essentially the equivalent of carrier landings, air craft carrier landing on land. But even a student pilot that would be in a Navy f-18 would be a highly qualified, highly trained person working with an instructor pilot on those landings.
BANFIELD: And then of course, Barbara, one of the accounts of also that one of the pilots was actually able to verbalize to a resident nearby, I'm sorry that we hit your house. And you know how early reports comes out. I don't want lend any credibility to that right away. But if that is something they are discussing, that would suggest his or her condition is good at this point.
STARR: Yes. You know, we did have some viewers on our air earlier today as saw you that the pilot apologized for hitting their apartment building. By all accounts at this point, and it may change through the night still. Both of the pilots are OK. One already released, one still being treated. But still, let's be very clear here.
Emergency service are continuing to search the wreckage, search through the buildings. There are mixed reports and mixed numbers about whether or not there may still be people on the ground missing because there residents of these apartment buildings that clearly may be away from the homes. They are walking through it all. They are trying to track down apartment by apartment who lived there, how many people lived there, their identities and trying to make sure they know where they are and they are safe.
Everyone is very hopeful. But I will tell you that until there is the final count, people are just holding their breath to see what the final situation is on the number of people on the ground, Ashleigh.
BANFIELD: Barbara, don't go anywhere. I have another question for you. But I want to jump in with someone who does live there. Matthew Edwards is an eyewitness. Mr. Edwards, can you hear me?
EDWARDS: Yes, Ma'am. I can. BANFIELD: So, I want to ask you about those who may be unaccounted for at this time. Do you know, as Barbara just reported, emergency services continued to comb through the area going through the burning embers and every spot they can in the residents. Do you know anything about who is unaccounted for? Do you have an idea of who is left to be found?
EDWARDS: I actually - I have sort of an idea. We were speaking with the general manager Earl, and we are doing a count of everybody of all of our neighbors. All of my neighbors and the neighbors across from closest to the crash are pretty much accounted for. There is one older lady that I didn't quite hear about. But I'm pretty sure she is OK because she was not home at the time. But, I believe everybody got out. I think the only people that are really and the things that were hurt are animals and buildings.
BANFIELD: And Mr. Edwards, also, we were looking at some pictures just a moment ago of what seemed like civilians and residents running in to help and pull water hoses for firefighters. Can you me about the effort to help in this crisis by bystanders?
EDWARDS: Absolutely. I personally put my hand on the hose and the firefighter asked me to help out and I personally, you know, carry things out to the scene. I mean, it was amazing to see all those people just staying on and the firefighters said one thing. And 30 people must have set out to curve a help. I mean, we were pulling hoses, bringing blocks, whatever.
BANFIELD: What are things looked like right now? Again, Barbara Starr said the emergency services will be going through the night. If it prelatic as seen? Does it seem organize? Have they got it cordoned off?
EDWARDS: It is very organized. I believe I haven't seen this much police presence, rescue squads, fire department AD in my life. And I lived here, you know, 30 something years and I am used to the jets. You know, you him fly and, you know, you hear about them and fallen out of sky and, you know, and when one is in your back yard, it's definitely intense, a lot of heat.
EDWARDS: Well, yes.
BANFIELD: Our thought s are with you and your neighbors as you continue to try to find those -- I believe six now who may be unaccounted for, certainly better than the 30 who are unaccounted for. But, Matthew Edwards, thank you for your time tonight and for your perspective on this.
EDWARDS: Thank you. And thank you to those pilots. They really did their job.
BANFIELD: Yes. It sounds like it. Certainly as the investigation continues, we will find out more about how that happened. And Barbara Starr, thank you as well. You will continue to update us as you find new information as well, I hope tonight, right?
STARR: You bet.
BANFIELD: All right. Barbara Starr joining us live from the Pentagon as well. Thanks to both of you.
Up next, James Carville on today's tepid job numbers and the political fallout that that could cause for President Obama as he heads into full campaign mode for the fall.
BANFIELD: Raw politics tonight and jobs, jobs, jobs, turns out hiring slope dramatically in March have been flourish taken on just 120,000 workers, that's unfortunately half the job's gain compared to the month of four. The unemployment rate fell slightly to 8.2 percent. President Obama doing his very, very best to put a spin on this. A real positive one. But he admits the U.S. economy has a long way to go.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We just learned the economy added 212,000 private sector jobs in December. After losing more than eight million jobs in the recession, we have added more than three million private sector jobs over the past 22 months.
Our businesses just added 233,000 jobs last month. For a total of nearly four million new jobs over the last two years. More company are choosing to bring jobs back and invest in America.
American manufacturers are hiring again.
We have seen signs our economy is creating jobs at a faster rate.
The economy is getting stronger. The economy is growing stronger.
We are heading in the right direction and we won't let up.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BANFIELD: Well, in the meantime, as expected, Republicans are using the disappointing numbers to slam President Obama's record. GOP candidate Mitt Romney said this. And I'm quoting. "It is increasingly clear the Obama economy is not working and that after three years in office the president's excuses have run out."
Let's bring in CNN's political contributor James Carville to answer some tough questions about this. Why, Mr. Carville, is Mitt Romney wrong when he says that?
JAMES CARVILLE, CNN POLITICAL CONTRIBUTOR: Well, look. First of all, we need to be fair to the president when he took office we are losing 3/4 of a million a month. But, look. I'm a big believer that the economy is very good. And I think when the president goes out and says things are improving, it is getting better out there, I don't think people like to hear that.
So, I don't think these numbers are very good. I don't think the numbers last month were very good either. And I think the president needs to talk more about the middle class, talk more about how he is not satisfied with the pace and why he has a job's bill that sitting in their language and do nothing for Congress and things like that.
So, I'm not -- I don't think 120,000 is a very good number. I don't think 220,000 is a very good number when you put it in context. A number of people have lost their jobs.
BANFIELD: And you are the guy who calls himself, on this air with the professional democratic, you are not able to put a positive spin on it, how on earth can the campaign put a positive on it?
CARVILLE: Well, I don't know that the campaign has to put a positive spin.
CARVILLE: I think the better put a spin is, -- no. Look. When the people - when the president or the campaign goes out and said, things are getting better, you had a large number of people in the country that said no, they are not. And if he thinks they are, he doesn't get my life and by the way, he can easily say Romney wants to double down on the nest that got us here. I mean, it is programmed that is totally absurd.
I think the president can come across like he is fighting for middle class his people that he is unsatisfied and he's proposing things and the Republican keeps on blocking him. That's a much better message than things getting better, you know. That is not going to work out there. it didn't work in 220, it is not going to work in 120.
BANFIELD: If he can harness that message, there was a pretty strive op-ed on the 'Wall Street Journal" this week saying that the battle will be about the economy that the Republicans are going to say it has not been this bad of a recovery since the great depression.
Now, are they wrong? And how does President Obama take that message and somehow make it better? It's good, but not good enough.
CARVILLE: It's simple. The worst recession since the great depression than the one their policies cost. So, why would we go back to the very positive that causes this? And the president would be well to argue that he is working day and night to try to do this, but yes, he is unsatisfied with the pace of this recovery and it's going to take a long time before people's incomes get back up. The middle class in this country has been hit by a truck. And, you know, that needs to be acknowledged.
BANFIELD: Hey, James. When you started this interview with me, I'm going to quote you. You said, when he took office, we released 3/4 of a million jobs per month and you firmly just today - I hear you. And that's not good either.
And Gene Sperling said this today, he's the assistant to President Obama's economic policy. He said the economic hold the president inherited is very deep and we are making progress, but we are nowhere close to satisfied.
At what point though, do you say this is 2012 and that was 2009. I mean, you get these questions all the time. When do you have to say come forth and say all right, my job can't continue to blame the administration before me.
CARVILLE: I don't know. First of all, I don't know that he is blaming the administration by pointing that out.
BANFIELD: No. Listen to this. I'm going to repeat it, James. He said the president inherited a very deep. That's the whole that he was talking about from the Bush administration. That's not from day one.
CARVILLE: What Gene had said is very accurate and does things, you know, is that, what can be pointed out, however bad that this economy - however difficult this economy is, this president created more jobs in three years than president Bush created in eight, and that's private sector jobs. And one of the things that caused this job numbers to be horrific and I think the president pointed this out, is we lost at think 600,000 public sector jobs since the recovery started. But my point is that we should agree that this number is not good enough. That's a tepid number. And it's going to be awhile before the middle class can feel this recovery. I think that's the people want to hear.
BANFIELD: Do you think we will dip below eight percent in the jobless rate before the election?
CARVILLE: I don't know. I could say, you know, that, you know, people will look and people had do that. I have no idea. But, you know, hopefully --
BANFIELD: Do you think we have to? And if President Obama would keep his job, do you think we have to dip below eight percent unemployment before --?
CARVILLE: You know, look. In July, look today in July of 2004, the economy create 73,000 jobs President Bush got reelected. You know, and another thing is Romney is the most unpopular challenge in the history. You know, there's that somebody that is got it run against President Obama.
The number that this recession has been very, very difficult on a lot of families, particularly the middle class family in this country and that just has to be acknowledge. If they did not acknowledge that, he should tells people that you are not really in touch with what's going on without here in the country.
BANFIELD: All right. James Carville. Good to talk to you. Thanks so much.
CARVILLE: Always, good. Thank you.
BANFIELD: By the way, I would love to be a fly on the wall in house tonight to hear what your wife has to say. Any night.
CARVILLE: Take a look at. They have a lot of flyers. Thank you very much.
BANFIELD: Enjoy your time in Louisiana. Good to see you.
And we have breaking news that we want to bring you as well in the Trayvon Martin case. It's a "360" exclusive interview with an eyewitness to the tragedy.
We want you well let you know what she has to say about her encounter with the police that night that might surprise you.
And also, coming up next, George Zimmerman's legal team and our own legal experts, Mark Geragos and Sunny Hostin are going to weigh in, all coming up.
BANFIELD: More breaking news only on "360." A key witness to the killing of Trayvon Martin who said police turned down what might have been important information about this case. She also talked about whose voice they heard crying for help. Martin's or his killer, George Zimmerman.
In addition tonight, Zimmerman's attorney have advancing new and something novel, an explanation of their client's head injuries that night, shaken baby syndrome, and more new data in a case that is already seemed packed with too much information and too few hard facts.
Nearly six weeks since George Zimmerman and Trayvon Martin shuffled, we still really don't know what happened in the minute or so before it began.
Did Martin stalk and successor punch Zimmerman or did they confront Martin? Conflicting claims but again, no hard facts. With Zimmerman being beaten to within an inch of permanent brain damage as his brother has said or it was the scuffle minor enough for Zimmerman to get up and walk around then just minutes later, seemingly walk around the police station unharmed.
We have grainy videotape but no medical records and no forensic proof yet as to who was actually crying out for help or who was on top when the deadly shot was fired between those two who were scuffling. No clear answer which leaves the case open to interpretations, speculation, accusations, but again, no resolution which is why "360" and Anderson have been doing a level best to fix the facts while trying to expand what we really do know. And that's how we are going to do it tonight starting off with one of the eyewitnesses, an actual eyewitness. We have already confirmed to our reporters and our producers on the ground that this witness does lives in a complex and that she has spoken with police.
She broke her silence on this program last week and hasn't spoken with anyone else. So, we are bringing her back because tonight she has a lot more to say. We spoke exclusively earlier this evening and we are showing her in shadow to conceal her identity.
BANFIELD: When you heard the voices that night, you can characterize what kind of scream you heart?
UNIDENTIFIED EYEWITNESS: There was two for help and the first one was a very clear, loud for help. But, really, it was the second one that really owns and stays with me. It was almost like a yelp. It was like a devastating desperate type of yell for help and, you know, even to a sense that it couldn't have been a cry.
BANFIELD: Did it sound like you could determine someone in his late 20s or someone who is in his late teens?
UNIDENTIFIED EYEWITNESS: Well, from the very beginning and still do I feel it was the young boy.
BANFIELD: When you say young boy, do you mean a 17-year-old?
UNIDENTIFIED EYEWITNESS: Yes, not knowing either person, I just kind of think there was the boy and there was the man. The boy was - well, the person is 17.
BANFIELD: Knowing now what you know, go back to that night. At the time you didn't know how old anybody was on that struggle.
UNIDENTIFIED EYEWITNESS: Correct.
BANFIELD: When you heard the yell, did you make a determination?
UNIDENTIFIED EYEWITNESS: I definitely could tell it was a younger youthful voice than the deep voice that I heart when they were arguing and I heard them outside my window.
BANFIELD: Tell me more about the argument.
UNIDENTIFIED EYEWITNESS: I didn't hear the words, but when I open my window, I could definitely hear someone arguing and someone yelling. It was not like someone was out there having a conversation.
BANFIELD: Were they both yelling?
UNIDENTIFIED EYEWITNESS: I could still hear the younger person's voice, but really, the other voice was the one that was that was more dominant and loud.
BANFIELD: The deeper voice was louder. UNIDENTIFIED EYEWITNESS: Yes.
BANFIELD: What was the younger voice saying and what kind of context can you give with regard to that part of the argument?
UNIDENTIFIED EYEWITNESS: You can still here the other person's voice, but not as much as the person that was being the louder and aggressive.
BANFIELD: Can you make out anything that was being said between them?
UNIDENTIFIED EYEWITNESS: No, I could not. I just immediately knew that it wasn't something having a conversation. It was something very serious.
BANFIELD: It sounded like a confrontation?
UNIDENTIFIED EYEWITNESS: Yes.
BANFIELD: Did it sound like one was being confronted and another one was defensive or did it sound like both were confrontational?
UNIDENTIFIED EYEWITNESS: I would have to say both. But, you just really heard that one louder dominant voice more than you hear the other one.
BANFIELD: The older person's voice or the deeper voice.
UNIDENTIFIED EYEWITNESS: Yes.
BANFIELD: Did you hear racial slurs in the confrontation?
UNIDENTIFIED EYEWITNESS: No, I did not hear any words. Just arguing.
BANFIELD: Did the argument sound serious enough that someone was going to get hurt here?
UNIDENTIFIED EYEWITNESS: I knew it was something definitely wrong. Of course then when I saw next, it was two men on the ground. With that point, I definitely knew it was something wrong and I needed to call.
BANFIELD: When you called 911, what did you tell them?
UNIDENTIFIED EYEWITNESS: I told them that there were two men on the ground. Something really horrible is happening.
BANFIELD: Did you talk to the dispatcher at the time that the gunshot went off?
UNIDENTIFIED EYEWITNESS: Yes, I did.
BANFIELD: And what did the dispatcher asked you and what did you tell the dispatcher? UNIDENTIFIED EYEWITNESS: Well, I kind of I was watching and talking at the same time and not really ever hearing what a gun sounds like in person. For me, it was more of a popping noise. So, I think in my mind, I'm thinking OK, that probably is a gunshot, but you are in such disbelief that this is happening right outside your window.
BANFIELD: Did you tell the dispatcher I think I heard a gunshot?
UNIDENTIFIED EYEWITNESS: Yes.
BANFIELD: And what did the dispatcher ask?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think I just said I hear popping noises and I think it's a gunshot.
BANFIELD: Did the dispatcher ask for descriptions of what was going on as you were talking?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think it was more that I was describing because it was like I'm watching a movie and I'm telling you on the phone, you know, exactly what I'm hearing.
In fact, I even talked to myself why am I telling him on the phone what's going on. Let me just take the phone and put it right up to the screen and possibly he can even hear it.
BANFIELD: Is that what you did?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, I did.
BANFIELD: You held your phone to the screen so the dispatcher could hear everything?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, I did, but I'm not sure what point I put it up. But I did tell him I'm putting it up to the screen maybe you can hear it.
BANFIELD: Where were you looking at the moment the gun fired?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I was looking at the two men on the ground and heard the gunshot.
BANFIELD: Could you tell who was on the top? Who was on bottom?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I know it was very dark, but I really would have to say that I thought it was the larger person that was on top.
BANFIELD: And when the gunfire went off, what happened to the larger man who you think might be on the top? What happened at that moment?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, I would say a couple seconds later, that larger man was walking closer to where I could see him.
BANFIELD: Before those a couple of seconds, at the moment the gun shot went off, what happened with the larger man? UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Obviously the other man, the boy was dead and the other person got up and was walking away from the body.
BANFIELD: When you first saw him coming towards you, could you see any blood on his face and was it light enough for to be able to see any blood on his face if there was anything?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It was not light enough for me to see if there was any blood on the face.
BANFIELD: So there could have been, but it's just not something you could testify to?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No, I could not testify. I did not see.
BANFIELD: Did he say anything?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There was a man that came out with a flashlight who was a resident and they possibly were saying something to each other, but I could not hear what the words were.
BANFIELD: Your experience with the police that night, did they ask you any questions? Were they interested in hearing your account?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes. The lead investigator came into my house with another police officer and I taped what I witnessed.
BANFIELD: What kind of questions did they ask you?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Just what I saw and what I heard.
BANFIELD: Did they seem interested? Were they in depth in their questioning of you?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm not sure if I would say in depth, but just that I kind of told what I saw and heard. I did offer to show them where I did see the incident and they said we don't need to see it.
BANFIELD: They were not interested in you taking them to that location?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No, they were not.
BANFIELD: Why do you suppose they weren't interested?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You have to ask them that.
BANFIELD: Were you surprised?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I don't know how investigators think.
BANFIELD: You offered to take them to the location where you saw them fighting?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes. BANFIELD: And they declined?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes.
BANFIELD: In retrospect, are you surprised?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I can't answer either way.
BANFIELD: Did you get a feeling one way or another from these investigators things that they may have said to you while they were in your unit as to how this all unfolded?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, after I finished my taping and I still was feeling, you know, quite upset, I expressed that, you know, I'd never really forget those yells for help.
I wish I could have done something, you know, in retrospect and the lead investigator said to me kindly, he just said, well, if it makes you feel any better, the person that was yelling for help is alive.
BANFIELD: Since that time, the lead investigator, Chris Perino, has been reportedly -- an account of his says reportedly been to another resident who had a 10-year-old boy who called 911 that he didn't necessarily believe Mr. Zimmerman's story. Does that surprise you?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, it was kind of up to me at the time to think wow, I really thought it was the boy crying for help, but here's the lead investigator, you know, telling me that no, it was Mr. Zimmerman.
BANFIELD: Where you saw the fight taking place, was there a hard surface anywhere nearby, a sidewalk or a street?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's the back of the complex? The back of the homes were facing where it happened and there is a sidewalk. But when I watched it, they were always on the grass.
BANFIELD: How far away was the sidewalk?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I would say about four feet.
BANFIELD: So they were about four feet away from a hard surface?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes. BANFIELD: If Mr. Zimmerman said that his head was being slammed against the sidewalk and that he was trying to maneuver himself on to the grass, would that make sense according to what you saw?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, I can't speak for him. I just know from the time that I watched it was entirely on the grass.
BANFIELD: Were the police receptive to your attempts to fill them in on further details after this incident? UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, we had the community meeting with everyone and my developments and the police officers came and said it was very critical. If anybody has anything to say and something they witnessed.
Actually they left their business cards on our doors and I just know me for, I called the lead detective twice and I still have not received a phone call back.
BANFIELD: Are you surprised by that?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I just thought that they would call me back.
BANFIELD: Again, a witness in the case of the shooting of Trayvon Martin afraid to show her identity, but at least speaking with us in silhouette to tell her story.
As to the allegation that the Sanford police were not terribly interested in the re-enactment or at least a tour of the crime scene that she witnessed, the scene that she witnessed at altercation, we called the police for their response to this, but we didn't get a call back.
It was late at night in Florida as well, but on another note, in one of the questions I mentioned in there. There was an eyewitness that I had said was 10 years old, in fact 13 years old so misspeaking there.
Moving on, after that interview, I also spoke with eyewitness' attorney, Derek Brett. He said something very interesting about the state attorney who by the way has finally just two days ago interviewed this witness.
So the state attorney watching over this case has finally decided this witness needs to be interviewed. It happened on Wednesday. But Derek Brett, the attorney for this said what was unusual about the interview was the lack of thoroughness that he saw in the state's investigation. Have a listen.
BANFIELD: Did you feel confident that the state attorney was thorough in its questioning of your client?
DEREK BRETT, ATTORNEY FOR EYEWITNESS: If this was a first time questioning session, then I would be very concerned. These gentlemen had affidavits, an affidavit from my client from before.
They -- he had at least whatever notes have been taken by the lead Sanford investigator, which I could be critical of that investigation and that question. I can state that.
But it's difficult to surmise exactly what the state attorney's office and their two investigators that called down from the Jacksonville state attorney's office actually knew at that point.
So do I think that there could have been other questions asked? Yes. Was I in any position to help them fill in the blanks or ask questions to my client? No, that's not my job. It's the job or investigator, even if it is necessary to reiterate questions.
BANFIELD: What was lacking in their questioning?
BRETT: It was very general. It was really just trying to fill I think from their perspective. I don't want to quote them on this, but basically a couple or some holes that they saw.
And that's what it was. It was 15 minutes that was filled also with, you know, general answer and some brief questions to my client, which my client answered thoroughly.
BANFIELD: It's 15 minutes.
BRETT: It's about 15 minutes.
BANFIELD: That's all the time the interview took?
BRETT: The actual question and answer time that's correct.
BANFIELD: How long did you expect the interview?
BRETT: Listen, as an attorney, I think I'm very much in the role of almost the police investigator. Police investigators asked, good police investigators asked very much the same types of questions. An attorney will -- a good attorney will ask in a deposition or in a cross-examination in the courtroom.
BANFIELD: In this case?
BRETT: I would have kept her around and I would have had her do the entire story all over again. Let me tell you something. I just sat through my client's interview with you. You asked more questions knowing probably less about this case than the state attorney's office did a couple of days ago.
BANFIELD: So we've contacted the state attorney's office about Mr. Brett's account and they declined to comment because the investigation is ongoing, which is apparently standard in a situation like this.
George Zimmerman's two lawyers were listening to our interviews with the eyewitness and with her attorney and so were Mark Geragos and Sunny Hostin and you are going to hear from all of them, next.
BANFIELD: Our breaking news tonight, an eyewitness to the Trayvon Martin killing who says police showed only limited interest in what she said she knew. She says they turned down her offer to show them potentially important information in the case.
Joining us now is George Zimmerman's legal team, Hal Uhrig and Craig Sonner. Welcome to both of you. I think off the very start of this interview, we should probably ask you to react to these claims.
This witness says that Sanford police weren't interested in having her take them to the spot where she said she witnessed the scuffle. She wanted to almost show them a re-enactment and they said, no. We're OK. Does that trouble you?
HAL UHRIG, ATTORNEY FOR GEORGE ZIMMERMAN: Not particularly. You know, it's a matter of how you try to evaluate what she perceive and what they actually did. I don't there's much question about where the scuffle took place, one shot rang out and the person apparently died right there.
It's not hard to find the spot. I don't think they need to neighbor to take them out and show them where that happened. That may have been their take on it. Look, we appreciate your help and tell us what you saw and heard. You don't need to take us out there and show it where it happened. We know where it happened.
BANFIELD: And Craig, she also said that she was quite certain this time and she has been interviewed before, but she seems to have fuller or more robust details at least on what she said witnessed that night.
And she says she was certain that the larger Hispanic-looking man was on top of the boy. That's her account. At the time, the shots hang out and that he got up off of that scuffle and started walking towards her.
CRAIG SONNER, ATTORNEY FOR GEORGE ZIMMERMAN: You know, I've actually read through her testimony from the last time and this time. It doesn't appear to me that she was sure what she saw. It was dark and that is going back to her --
BANFIELD: And I know we've sort of (inaudible) it's all been happening as the program has been compiled. There hasn't been a lot of time for you to digest.
SONNER: I think it was dark and I don't think she's sure what she saw.
BANFIELD: She seemed very, very confident though that the person's voice that was screaming for help was -- what she called immature voice and she feels it was the boy. Hal, do you want to comment on that?
UHRIG: Well, sure. You know, I'm not sure when she came to that conclusion. Remember we're talking about a boy that was originally put out to the public with a picture of a 12-year-old and the image was the little boy went out to get the Skittles.
The pictures that you've put up tonight, which are more recent show a 6'3" boy who's 17 years old. And I've heard 17 years olds with high voices like this and I've voices like mine. So I'm not sure you can make that generalization or conclusion.
What would have caused her to think as she looks -- it's too dark to tell who's who. You can't tell exactly what's going on, but you recognize one of them as a boy who's 6'3".
BANFIELD: I think the police report has him above 6 feet tall certainly not the shorter version that came out earlier in the case, but that he's about 6 feet tall? Do you have further information?
UHRIG: He's over 6 feet tall.
BANFIELD: How do you know that?
UHRIG: Let's just say we have reason from information we know that. He would be around 6'2" or 6'3".
BANFIELD: And this is one of the things I think that the public that has been so voracious for every single detail on this case. They want to know everything.
And in this particular case, I've been in the murder courtrooms that forensics are everything. What do we know about the forensics in this case because (inaudible) we have nothing.
SONNER: I'll take that. We don't know anything yet. It hasn't been released. The state attorney is doing an investigation and right now they did not disclose that information.
BANFIELD: Have they shared with you at least. Has there been any discovery. I know we are not in a legal situation at this point, but --
SONNER: I am not going to disclose that. We have been in contact and the disagreement that we're not going -- anything that I do or might know, I'm not going to disclose yet.
If there charges filed, they are going to plead not guilty. We will bond them out and then we'll do a demand for discovery at which point, the state will have 15 days to respond and give us discovery.
And then we'll go through whatever forensic evidence they have, but that's the biggest problem with this case so far is everyone is jumping to conclusions and I understand I am not trying to, you know, putting one down and to be insulting one.
Everybody wants to know what happened, but we need to take a step back and let the evidence come out. So those are all good questions and there are going to be good answers.
BANFIELD: To that point, I was listening and listen, I have a legal mind. I worked for a long time at a network called Court TV and so we were very cautious about details that people witnessed.
There was a congresswoman by the name of Frederica Wilson, a congresswoman from Florida who on the Hill on March 27th last week had this to say about this case. Have a listen. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REPRESENTATIVE FREDERICA WILSON (D), FLORIDA: This investigation is laced with racial profiling, lies and murder. Trayvon was haunted, chased, tackled and shot. They will concede the laws and all contributed to the tragedy. In closing, Mr. Zimmerman should be arrested immediately for his own safety.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BANFIELD: Hal Uhrig, you heard those words. Trayvon Martin was hunted, chased, tackle and shot. And this is from a congresswoman on the record prepared statement.
UHRIG: Among the most irresponsible and uninformed statements I've heard from the floor of Congress where we've heard a lot of uninformed statements made in the past.
She was not there. She is reacting to statements made at rallies from people who weren't there, from conclusions made by people who had agendas.
She doesn't seen the forensic either and to make a suggestion that she know it was racial profiling where she doesn't know George Zimmerman, doesn't know a thing about him --
MALVEAUX: Do you think they should put George Zimmerman out? Do you think he should be telling his story in the press to counter this --
UHRIG: We'd love to be able to do that right now.
BANFIELD: And why not?
UHRIG: Among other things his safety is very much at question as a result of the way these rallies have gone. But besides that -- I can't imagine a situation where prior to the decision to charge or indict, I would have my client go out and make those statements. There's going to be a time hopefully in the fairly near future will have an opportunity to tell the public exactly what happened.
BANFIELD: A question for you on CBS this morning, you made a comment about shaken baby syndrome and I'm very confused about what it means. Whether it's part of a possible defense or whether this is a description on what your client has told you.
But you said we're familiar with the shaken baby syndrome. You shake a baby. The brain shakes around inside the skull. You can die when someone is pounding your head on the ground. Put it into context.
UHRIG: Perhaps the better example that I gave is Liam Nissin's wife, who fell on a ski slope and hit her head just once and did in fact die.
In shaken baby syndrome, you are able to take a baby and shake it so that the brain shakes around inside the head. And for an adult the way that kind injury would happen is, you smack your head on the ground.
Your brain smacks around inside of your skull and it's a way to injury someone. You can disorient someone or kill them.
BANFIELD: Are you talking about a potential legal defense in terms of state of mind or are you talking about a potential legal defense in terms of diminished capacity?
UHRIG: Neither one. What happens with the "Stand Your Ground" law is this if you are in reasonable fear of great bodily injury. You are allowed to use whatever forces necessary including deadly force to stop yourself from getting that injury.
If you had your nose broken, attacked by somebody either on top of you and smacking your head into the ground and whatever disorientation that causes, you have a gun they may use. The question is are you in reasonable fear and apprehension of great bodily injury? That's what it means and doesn't mean anything more than that.
BANFIELD: Mr. Sonner, you think your case is going to get indicted?
SONNER: At this point, we don't know. There's not really -- no, I can tell you the possibilities of things. I mean, they could go to the grand jury and they could indict or they know the bill.
The state attorney could actually file charges or the state attorney could no bill it. Those are the possibilities of things that can happen and without having all the details, it's hard to say what's going to happen.
BANFIELD: And that's where the story ends. It ends because we don't have the details yet. But I do look forward to another chance to speak with both of you. I thank you both, Hal Uhrig and Craig Sonner, thanks for coming in.
SONNER: Thank you.
BANFIELD: In the meantime let's bring in criminal defense attorney Mark Geragos and also CNN legal analyst and former federal prosecutor, Sunny Hostin.
Sunny, I will begin with you. Some of the new developments, you have been able to listen in on the witness as she says what thinks that she saw. She feels she saw the larger man of Hispanic description on top of what she said is the boy after the shot is fired.
He gets up and walks towards her. Yet she does say it's too dark for her to determine if there is any blood or injury on his face. Do you make anything of it?
SUNNY HOSTIN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Well, I think it certainly corroborates with two other witnesses have also described. You spoke to her. I spoke to two other witnesses and they both described the same thing, Ashleigh.
They both described seeing George Zimmerman straddling Trayvon Martin and then walking away. And so, you know, I think what we can learn not only from what all these witnesses are saying, all the facts that we are learning is that there is a lot of conflicting evidence here.
When you have conflicting evidence, you know this, Ashleigh. That's something that is typically tried. That's the case that typically goes to trial --- surprising is that we haven't seen an arrest. We haven't seen any charges and this incident happened February 26.
BANFIELD: And I think that when you say conflicting information, there is no shortage of information, but faxes are at a premium these days. You heard the congresswoman stating his fact as though she witnessed the case and begins to argue.
HOSTIN: There is evidence to support what the congresswoman said. She said that Trayvon was followed, confronted, tackled and shot.
BANFIELD: The girlfriend is on the phone. She is on the phone with Trayvon's girlfriend and thought she was tackled. He said he followed Trayvon Martin and the dispatcher said we don't need you to do that. She said that she thinks that she heard the confrontation.
HOSTIN: I still think hunted and chased is pretty strident language for a case that she called him a little boy as well. I think she seemed ill-skilled in the facts of this case.
Let me jump to Mark Geragos for a second because every time I play the devil's advocate, my Twitter just fires up like crazy. Thank God I'm not a defense attorney. I don't know how you do your job.
MARK GERAGOS, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Exactly.
BANFIELD: But listen, in this particular case, I feel as though that if it ever ends up in a courtroom, which is a possibility, forensics are going to be critical.
Is the witness I spoke tonight is accurate and she says that Mr. Zimmerman or at least someone matching Mr. Zimmerman was on top of Trayvon Martin got up and got off. How do we get a gunshot wound to the chest and a victim face down in the grass who is about 160 pounds?
GERAGOS: Well, that's precisely what one of the problems are here. Ashleigh, I have to tell you, your intro to this piece was a closing argument for the defense.
Frankly, in just terms of all the conflicting evidence and the direct examination of this witness, I think actually this witness helps the defense in some ways.
If you take a look at that law down here, they studied it a little bit and have determined that one of the reasons I think that there was not a filing and they basically arrested him to let go, is that this law reads basically if you are in reasonable fear, there is immunity, actual immunity from being arrested.
HOSTIN: But Mark?
GERAGOS: So I think one of the problems --
HOSTIN: The law also said, Mark, that if you are the first aggressor, you cannot avail yourself --
BANFIELD: My goodness, we just opened another whole can of worms --
GERAGOS: Sunny, before we go down there, that's the problem. That's the problem is they can't determine that yet. They really can't.
BANFIELD: I have 7 minutes until the end of the program, but I can go another hour and 20 with both of you. Mark Geragos, Sunny Hostin, thank you. I look forward our further discussions on this and more. We'll be right back after this.
BANFIELD: Susan Hendricks is here now with the "360 Bulletin." Hi, Susan.
SUSAN HENDRICKS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Ashleigh. We begin in Syria four days before the U.N. ceasefire is set to take effect. So far there was no sign of the troop withdrawal President Al-Assad has agreed to.
Opposition groups say troops fired on rebel areas today killing at least 48 people. Under the peace agreement, Assad says he will pull troops out of towns and cities by Tuesday.
A 360 follow, police in California believed they found the gun used in Monday's campus rampage at Oikos University in Oakland. They say it does match the serial number of a weapon purchased by suspect One Goh. He is charged with seven counts of murder and three counts of attempted murder.
Take a look at his. Just in time for Easter. A zoo in Germany showing off one of the world's smallest bunnies. The zookeeper say he weighs just over 2-1/2 ounces. We couldn't resist. Ashleigh, back to you.
BANFIELD: That is cute. I wish it weren't past my boys' bedtime. They would love to see that. Susan, thank you for that and we'll be right back after this.
BANFIELD: And that does it for us. "PIERS MORGAN TONIGHT" starts right now.