Return to Transcripts main page
ANDERSON COOPER 360 DEGREES
Robin Williams Dead at 63 of Suspected Suicide; New U.S. Air Strikes in Iraq; St. Louis Police Shoot & Killed Unarmed 18-Year-Old; Family of Teen Speaks Out
Aired August 11, 2014 - 21:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: Hi, I'm Wolf Blitzer sitting in for Anderson.
Tonight, we're making the best of a sad situation taking the opportunity to mark the passing of Robin Williams at 63, an apparent suicide by celebrating his remarkable career. We'll be talking to some of the millions of people who laughed or cried or both thanks to him, thanks to his incredible talent.
His wife, Susan Schneider released a statement. "This morning, I lost my husband and my best friend, while the world lost one if its most beloved artists and beautiful human beings. I am utterly heartbroken." She goes on, "On behalf of Robin's family, we are asking for privacy during our time of profound grief. As he is remembered, it is our hope that the focus will not be on Robin's death but on the countless moments of joy and laughter he gave to millions."
Again, that will be our focus as well as starting with our Entertainment Correspondent Nischelle Turner. Nischelle, truly, truly shocking news that all of us had discovered just a few hours ago.
NISCHELLE TURNER, CNN ENTERTAINMENT CORRESPONDENT: Absolutely, Wolf. And the Marin County Sheriff's Department says it was around noon today when they got to Robin Williams home and they found him dead there. They believe that it was an apparent suicide. The Coroner's office says they believe that it was a suicide due to asphyxia. But the cause of death is still under investigation.
Robin Williams we do know had been battling depression and battling addiction for some 20 years. Back in July of 2014, he had reentered rehab. At the time, his representatives said that he was reentering rehab to maintain his sobriety. But now, we realized that it could have been some other issues there.
Again, the cause of death is still under investigation. But he was found in his Northern California home around noon today, dead. We did read a little bit from the -- from his wife who said that she would like us not to remember how he died but the joy that he brought to so many people's lives throughout his career.
So, right now, what we will do is take a look back at Robin's Williams life and his career.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TURNER: His high octane brand of comedy was his trademark public persona. But Robin Williams proved himself an Oscar winner with a strong philanthropic side.
Born in 1951, it was in his 20's when Williams was unleashed first as an American T.V. star.
ROBIN WILLIAMS, HOLLYWOOD ACTOR: Quickly, run for your life, the emotions are coming.
TURNER: Add Mork from the planet Ork in Mork and Mindy, Williams became a household name. When the series ended after a four-year run in 1982 he showed he could do more than make people laugh.
WILLIAMS: My name is T.S. Garp.
MARY BETH HURT, HOLLYWOOD ACTRESS: What's T.S. stand for?
WILLIAMS: Totally sexy.
TURNER: The Juilliard schooled actor unveiled his dramatic side for the first time in 1982's The World According to Garp.
WILLIAMS: See, I was trained as an actor so it's not like they have to medicate me.
TURNER: That serious side earned him Oscar nominations for the Fisher King.
WILLIAMS: Good morning, Vietnam.
TURNER: Good morning, Vietnam and Dead Poets Society.
WILLIAMS: It's the golden dude.
TURNER: He finally won his only Oscar statue in 1998 for Good Will Hunting.
WILLIAMS: This one, yes. The other ones were just foreplay. It's extraordinary.
TURNER: But Williams never stopped being funny even when the topic seemed serious. He helped launch and co-hosted eight telethons over 20 years to help the homeless.
WILLIAMS: Men who sleep with chickens and the women who love them.
TURNER: Comic Relief earned more than $50 million. And even when he talked about his battles with drugs and alcohol, he talked about it with humor.
LARRY KING, AMERICAN TELEVISION AND RADIO HOST: You were drunk?
WILLIAMS: Well, that's nice of you to say that.
TURNER: He took two trips to rehab. The most recent one in 2006, a process he talked about on Larry King Live in 2007.
WILLIAMS: What happens to people basically who start the process of, you know, just saying no and being among others, you know, and learning that you are not alone and working on giving up.
KING: Do you lose your sense of humor in it?
WILLIAMS: No, you find it. You know, you're with people who have a great sense of humor.
KING: So, you're funny there, too?
WILLIAMS: Oh yeah, you got to be.
TURNER: In 2009, Williams was rushed to the hospital with heart problems, forced to temporarily cancel his one-man show to undergo surgery. He talked about his recovery on the Ellen Show.
WILLIAMS: You have a heart surgery and literally they open you up, they crack the box and you get really vulnerable or you'll be like a kitten, "Oh, God". "Oh, it's not even -- I'm not a kitten, aren't I." And you get very, very emotional about everything. But I think that's in a way a wonderful thing. It really opens you up to everything.
TURNER: And with a new lease on life, Williams quickly spring back into action. In 2011, he made his Broadway acting debut starring in Rajiv Joseph's Bengal Tiger at the Baghdad Zoo. That same year, he would marry his third wife graphic designer Susan Schneider. In 2013, Williams would return to the small screen starring in the CBS sitcom The Crazy Ones, where he would reunite with his old friend Pam Dawber, better known as Mindy.
PAM DAWBER, HOLLYWOOD ACTRESS: Never had I met anybody as cruel as you. You're like an alien
TURNER: From standup to sitcoms and beyond, Williams would delight audiences for decades with his wacky humor and joyful energy. He was the definition of full of life and even now his comic legend is destined to endure.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
TURNER: And Wolf, his co-star from Mork and Mindy, Pam Dawber is reacting tonight. She released a statement to us at CNN saying, "I am completely and totally devastated. What more can be said?" I think Bob Saget summed it up well when he tweeted tonight, "Robin Williams' heart was as big as his genius."
Back to you.
BLITZER: And just an update Nischelle, he recently, very recently went back to rehab, right?
TURNER: Yes. Yes, he did in July of 2014. He went back to rehab. And at the time when we were reporting it, the information we were getting from his representatives and from his team was that Robin was reentering rehab to kind of maintain and find tune his ongoing sobriety. At this point, we don't know if that was the case but that's what the information we were getting at the time.
BLITZER: Yeah, as recently as a month or so ago ...
BLITZER: ... he was back at rehab in Minnesota. All right, standby, Nischelle, we're going to come back to you.
But let's get to an actor now who I had the privilege of being present literally at the creation and the honor of watching Robin Williams star ignite some perspective. Henry Wrinkler, the Fonz was not -- well, not just the star of Happy Days at the time, he was America's best known, best loved, most watched, most quoted T.V. star period. And when Robin Williams showed up to play a bit character named Mork, he blew Henry Wrinkler away. And I spoke with Henry Wrinkler just a little while ago.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BLITZER: Henry, I know this must be a huge shock to you. You knew Robin Williams. You've worked with him. You had cross over roles of Happy Days, Mork and Mindy. So, give us your thoughts right now. What's going through your mind?
HENRY WRINKLER, ACTOR/ DIRECTOR: You know, it is -- first of all, good evening. It is unimaginable that this is the reality today, that this incredible human being, incredible, delicate, funny, dramatic human being is gone.
When he came to do Happy Days, which I believe it was his first role, we usually rehearsed Monday to Friday and he came in on Wednesday because they couldn't find anybody to play this alien from space that Gary Marshall had thought up. And we started rehearsing and I realized that I was in the presence of greatness. Hands down, this is not a hyperbole, its -- I just realized my only job is to keep a straight face. And it was impossible because no matter what you said to him, no matter what line you gave to him, he took it in, processed it and then it flew out of his mouth never the same way twice. And it was incredibly funny every time.
That -- and it was just -- It was an amazing -- You knew that, "Oh boy, we're -- you're witnessing the beginning of something unbelievably special."
BLITZER: So, you knew Henry even then this was not only a genius comic but a genius actor.
WRINKLER: That is so true and it's not a matter of being perceptive. It's a matter of, "It was right there", you couldn't miss it, you know, you couldn't miss it if, you know, for anything in the world. He was electric. He was electrifying and he was like that no matter what he did all the time. No matter what he did, he was that. It was just an amazing thing ...
BLITZER: Yeah, and he ...
WRINKLER: ... to witness it.
BLITZER: ... he inspired so many of us just by watching him and enjoying what he was doing. It was simply amazing. That's why we are all right now in a state of shock as we try to absorb this news. As you know, he was well known, he had been in rehab, he had discussed it openly including recently he'd battle addiction problems often in his career. I spoke about it very, very publicly. Was there any sense among the people who knew him that things were clearly getting so bad?
WINKLER: You know what? I never saw that. All I saw when I was with him, when I watched him, when we crossed paths, when he was doing his show up the street on Paramount on live, all I saw was boundless energy.
He would work all day. He would go to the clubs at night and do standup and work on his act. He always, always, you meet him, you meet him and there was a wave of warmth that swept out of him that covered you like a blanket.
You know, when he would break for lunch and he was working with Jonathan Winters on his show Mork and Mindy, they would walk down the street together. And all of a sudden just stopped and then they would start to pivot and then they would start to improvise and then they would this routine. It was in minutes almost the entire lot was standing there like an open air theater, watching these two great minds go at it. Sometimes it worked, sometimes it did. But no matter what was happening, it was still better than anything that you were doing.
BLITZER: Yeah. Yeah. He was definitely a genius all around. It's impossible, Henry, I think to overstate how big of an icon Robin Williams was whether it was television, standup, comedy, movies. He did everything. And I remember Johnny Carson himself hand-picked Robin Williams as one of his last two guests before signing off from the Tonight Show with that talent, the speed of his comedy it was incomparable, you remember that, don't you?
WINKLER: I do. And I want to tell you, irreplaceable. There is no one to now feel his shoes. Those shoes will remain right there empty forever. He just -- And no matter what he did funny, dramatic, it was always with a depth that left you breathless.
BLITZER: You know, and he brought so much joy, laughter to people, millions of people in the United States indeed all over the world, yet inside he was tormented, he was going through hell clearly, he has a lot of lot of depression in him that I guess he could conceal when he went on stage.
WINKLER: Yes. But, you know what? I was not a preview to that. I never saw that side of him. The only -- What I saw was this delight that would twinkle in those eyes. And it was -- I have no words, it's just an amazing moment in time that this light is gone.
BLITZER: It's hard to believe. We're not going to have Robin Williams around live anymore, that he's gone. I mean, it's just shocking to a lot of us who have enjoyed all of his career.
WINKLER: Yeah. You know, somehow when you think of Robin you just think and said, "He will go on and on and on. And thank God we have all of this, you know, all of his repertoire recorded." We have the comedy, the drama, the one man show, everything is there for us now to enjoy over and over again. Unfortunately, we will not see the newest creation.
BLITZER: Yeah. And 63, you know, 63 he had many -- he should've had many, many years ahead of him, 63 ...
BLITZER: ... way, way too young to leave all of us.
WINKLER: Yeah. It's true. It's true. I know I've said a lot but I'm speechless that this great, great artist is no longer on the earth.
BLITZER: Remember the last time you spoke with him?
WINKLER: The last time I spoke with him was a while ago. But whenever I spoke to him, it always started with a hug. And his famous phrase was, "Papa. Hi, Papa." And he called me -- I'm sure he called everybody that he knew, that was just his affectionate phrase but it just warms you as if you were in, you know, a warm bath.
BLITZER: So, Henry Winkler, thank you so much for sharing some thoughts about Robin Williams on this very, very ...
Just ahead as we look at the gathering right now around Robin Williams star in Hollywood walk of fame, we're going to have much more on what's going on, the suspected suicide of Robin Williams, his battle with depression and much more of our special coverage right after this.
BLITZER: Our breaking news tonight, the death of the actor, the comedian Robin Williams at the age of 63, a true creative genius. William was legendary. He started dozens of movies including the 1997 hit "Good Will Hunting". Watch this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
WILLIAMS: Well, the little idiosyncrasies that only I know about, that's what made her my wife. Only she had a good time with me too. She knew all of my little my peccadilloes. People call these thing imperfections but they're not, oh, that's the good stuff. And then we get to choose who we let in to our weird little worlds. You're not perfect, sport, and let me save you the suspense, this girl you met? She isn't perfect either. But the question is of whether or not you're perfect for each other.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLITZER: One of Robin Williams' most memorable movie scenes.
Tonight, authorities suspect Williams took his own life. He had been fighting depression. Here to give us some insight is Howard Samuels, a Clinical Psychologist, he's the founder of the Hills Treatment Center in Los Angeles, also joining us Brian Stelter, our Senior Media Correspondent, the host of CNN's Reliable Sources.
Brian, as we've been saying all night, Robin Williams' family wants him to be remembered for his life's work. That's so important because he was such an icon, such a comic genius, his fellow comics revered him, they were in awe of him and when the president of the United States released a statement that obviously says a lot about this loss. This is such -- It's being felt all over the place, isn't it Brian?
BRIAN STELTER, CNN SENIOR MEDIA CORRESPONDENT: It is and to see the statement from the president speaks volumes. And I'll personalize this for a minute, I just got a text from my mom who was watching at home. She said, "Your grandma used to call your father and I Mork and Mindy."
I was looking at the ratings for Mork and Mindy when it was at its peak in the late 1970s and early 80s when people like my mom and dad were watching. We were seeing 60 million viewers every week for that show, 60 million viewers. That is of course a no show on television who gets that many viewers nowadays. But it speaks to how significant it was for his career. After all, Robin Williams was an unknown when he was cast of -- for his first, for the "Happy Days" role and then it became Mork and Mindy.
Now, the show has moved around on the schedule and then eventually lost audience, but it was the springboard for his career. And even in 2013, he came to television. He was back on Network TV at CBS in a sitcom called "The Crazy Ones". Now, it was cancelled by the CBS after just one season and they had mixed reviews and, you know, somewhat poor ratings but even for that sitcom, the seven to eight million viewers returning in every week. So, people were able to have Robin Williams back in their home every week just as he was in 1979.
BLITZER: A unique genius talent I must say. Dr. Samuels, Robin Williams himself have discussed his addiction problems. His wife in her statement mentioned he was battling depression. We simply don't know details beyond that. We don't want to speculate. There is though some value in highlighting whatever issues he was struggling with, because to do so might help other people experiencing some similar struggle.
So, what should people know particularly about why they should be hopeful and not give up?
HOWARD SAMUELS, FOUNDER, THE HILLS TREATMENT CENTER: Well, I think that's an excellent point. I mean, we have to learn from this tragedy otherwise we can save people if we can learn from it.
Now, understand something. It seems like he had two life-threatening illnesses. He had alcoholism but he also had a very serious chemical imbalance of the brain which could have been depression or bipolar condition.
Now, in order to treat that like what we do at the Hills, at my treatment center is that we have to stabilize the alcoholism first. We have to get them sober, we have to get them emotionally and physically stable and then after we are able to do that, we then treat the chemical imbalance which we have to find the right medication, we have to identify, diagnose and then stabilize the secondary issue. Now, that process can take that individual being in residential treatment for three or four months if you want to do the job correctly.
Now, in this situation, obviously he was struggling with his alcoholism and as a result, he was still struggling with his serious chemical imbalance.
BLITZER: The depression -- and that could be exacerbated, Dr. Samuels. He had a heart surgery five years ago. Explain why the post-heart surgery period could lead to some serious depression.
SAMUELS: Well, you know, at his age, as we get older, we become much more vulnerable and emotionally unstable because of the serious illness like that. Having open heart surgery I mean, is a huge very depressing thing to come through and if your pour alcohol unto that which is -- you have to know, alcohol is a depressant and you throw the chemical imbalance into that that he was obviously struggling with, you have a threesome which is an extremely dangerous combination.
BLITZER: I said it was his wife who had mentioned he have been suffering from depression, it was actually his spokesperson, Dr. Samuels. But the stigma of mental health problems, there are many people who are embarrassed to even acknowledge they're struggling with this kind of depression. They are reluctant to seek treatment. Why does that stigma persist so much in our culture?
SAMUELS: Well, I got to, you know, it's confusing. I mean, it's in the same way that people don't want to tell that they're an alcoholic or drug addict. I mean, Wolf, I'm 29 years clean and sober. I'm out of the closet. I want to talk about it. I want to help people. But also I have a chemical imbalance where I take Lexapro in order to help stabilize my sobriety.
Now, I'm not ashamed to talk about that. And no one should be ashamed to talk about that. That's what we have to educate people about. We need to come out of the closet and we really need to educate and help all these people who are struggling in shame and secrets.
STELTER: And, Wolf, we are hearing a lot of that tonight from fellow celebrities. I noticed Harvey Fierstein wrote on Twitter and I'm allowed to paraphrase because he used a foul word, "Please, please do not mess with depression. It's merciless. All it wants is to get you in a room alone and kill you. Take care of yourself." is how he finished. And we've seen a lot of comments like that tonight.
BLITZER: All right. We certainly have that and it's excellent, excellent advice. Brian Stelter, thanks very much. Howard Samuels, thanks to you as well.
Up next, some other breaking news we're following tonight. We're going to take you to Northern Iraq. We're going to take you inside the aid drop that became a daring rescue of Iraqis stranded on that mountain.
BLITZER: There's no shortage of breaking news tonight.
The new U.S. carrier-based air strikes of ISIS targets in Northern Iraq as the Kurdish official now warning an ISIS secured vent (ph) on genocide.
In the meantime, political turmoil in Baghdad. Iraq's President today named a Prime Minister, Iraq's outgoing Prime Minister says, "He's not going anywhere. At least not yet."
And up North on a helicopter, aid dropped to Yazidis trapped by ISIS on a mountain top. Our Ivan Watson witnessed some incredible bravery in the face of incredible need.
Here's his report.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
IVAN WATSON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: The team gunners unleashed bursts of hot metal.
This is the crew aboard an Iraqi air force helicopter that burned in cartridges and belts of ammunition while rushing an aircraft full of food, diapers, water, and baby's milk over ISIS frontlines, the civilians trapped on Sinjar Mountain.
That's what their is problem. They're opening fire at targets down below.
And they're clearly trying to defend the aircraft.
You could see the people below trapped on Sinjar Mountain. They're clustered. They're clustered under all the trees right now waving to us. They seemed to have gathered in these shelters down here, a lot of women and children waving.
The crew hurls packages out the door. People swarm the chopper.
This has been one chaotic aid distribution. I mean, I've really hope we didn't hurt anybody with bottles of water we were throwing down from the height of 20, 30 feet. It's chaotic when people are waving. They were giving thumbs up as there are a couple of people very relieved to be off the mountain and clearly very, very frightened.
Then the helicopter lands one last time to pick up more passengers.
Here they come.
More desperate people throw themselves at the aircraft, keeping their children on board. It's first come, first serve.
There were some who couldn't make it.
Aboard the aircraft, shock, exhaustion, fear and eventually gives way to relief.
I can't describe to you how relieved people are right now. But just shocked in the chaos of that moment, but we've got little Aziza (ph) here. She's not happy, because she says her father got left behind.
We've got an opening fire on targets below. They're protecting the helicopter but it's terrifying these little kids who are traumatized after their week trapped on that mountain. The problem is we're firing over ISIS frontlines. This is the only protection we have right now, to protect the aircraft, and its precious cargo.
Tensions eased when we cross in to Kurdish controlled territory. And for a moment, there are even smiles as these children realized their ordeal on the mountain is finally over.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLITZER: And Ivan is joining us now from Northern Iraq. Amazing report, Ivan. I understand, what, 20 people were saved on that Iraqi military helicopter that you are on today. But here is the question, how many people are still waiting for help on top of that mountain?
WATSON: We definitely saw hundreds on the mountain but I don't I know, maybe two miles, three miles long and we're told that there are maybe more kind of hiding in caves there and in some of the deep ravines and valleys as well.
A Senior Kurdish official here says the number maybe as high as 70,000 which is a little hard for me to imagine but certainly it does look like there could be thousands of people still trapped there a week after they fled the ISIS offensive that overcame their villages and towns. And everybody we talked to had a nightmare, horror story about how the militants were basically kidnapping people, rounding them up, locking them away and how families were divided by this nightmare. And people are still looking for their missing loved ones.
BLITZER: In your piece, Ivan, we saw that young girl Aziza who couldn't reach her father. Do we know what happened to him?
WATSON: Yes. Her older brother told me that they're an example of one of these families that's been separated. A week ago, when ISIS moved in to their town, they fled and they were separated. The brother described how behind them, other people were fleeing in vehicles and he actually saw militants stopping a tractor, pulling a wagon full of family and basically detaining them and they were putting them into buildings under guard. And the family survived by hiding in a sewer and somewhere along the way, they were separated from their father. The kids and the mother got up the mountain. The father was calling from his hideout for two days on his cellphone until the line went died and they haven't heard from him ever since.
So, 15 year old is Aziza when she was crying on that helicopter, she was just repeating one thing over and over again. "Where is my father?" and that's a question that nobody can answer to her today.
BLITZER: What a sad story. Ivan Watson doing some amazing reporting. I want to thank our photo journalist Mark Phillips as well for heroically going on that chopper and filming that unbelievable report. Thanks guys very, very much.
Coming up, the FBI is investigating the shooting death of a teenager by a police in a superb of St. Louis Missouri, a killing that led to a protest of peaceful others. And also, we'll take a closer look at the case. We're going hear from the police chief and the victim's parents. That's ahead.
BLITZER: Tonight in Ferguson, Missouri, that's just North of Saint Louis, the sun has just set, local officials are seeing more street violence, reports of shots fired, riot police have been called. We're going to talk to the sheriff shortly.
But the fatal shooting of an 18 year old Michael Brown has sparked outrage and violence in the town of some 21,000 people. The 18-year- old teenager was shot multiple times by a police officer in broad daylight. Those facts are not in dispute. What is very much a dispute is what happened in the moments before Brown was gunned down?
In a moment, you're going to hear from Michael Brown's mother and father. First though, here is CNN's Jason Carroll.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JASON CARROLL, CNN REPORTER: Saturday afternoon, 2:15 p.m., Ferguson, Missouri, 18-year-old Michael Brown is walking home from a convenient store with his friend Dorian Johnson. Johnson says, they are told by a police officer to get out of the street.
JOHNSON: We wasn't causing any harm to nobody. We had no weapons on us at all.
CARROLL: Johnson says they keep walking, then the officer confronts the boys. Moments later, shots ring out. The Ferguson police officer fires his gun killing Brown.
We're prompted that the Ferguson police officer to open fire. Right now, the answer isn't clear. Authorities say, Brown assaulted the officer before he opened fire. But witnesses here tell a different story. They say it appeared as if Brown was surrendering when the officer fired multiple times. UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I witnessed the police chase after the guy, who of course he was unarmed. He ran for his life. They shot him and he failed, he put his arms up to let them know he was compliant and then he was unarmed and they shot him twice more and he fell to the ground and died.
CARROLL: A crowd starts gathering as Brown's body lies in the street. Anger builds while officers scrambled to control the scene.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And there's a lot of controversy about what happened and temper started flaring, it did get a little tense when twice several shots were fired. We don't know who was being shot at or where are the rounds, but ...
CARROLL: On Sunday, what starts as a peaceful march and candle light medial for the Brown family quickly turns to this. Tempers erupt into widespread rioting and looting. Windows broken, merchandise stolen, listen as an officers caught on camera calling the protesters, animals.
Through all the chaos, Brown's family members can be seen standing by, holding his photograph, pleading for calm.
UNIDEDNTIFIED FEMALE: We already lost one young life and I just want everybody just take a positive outlook at this and don't start just getting negative and blaming anybody.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is your warning. Leave the area.
MAYOR JAMES KNOWLES, FERGUSON, MISSOURI: This is not doing any good for our community. This is only bringing the community down and unfortunately this is not going to do anything for the process we want right now in investigating the untimely death of this young man.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What do we want?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Justice.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: When do we want it?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Now.
CARROLL: Today, more protest and more pleas for calm.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No justice, no peace.
Jason Carroll, CNN, Ferguson, Missouri.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLITZER: As we said, there appears to be a violent flare up once again tonight in Ferguson.
Thomas Jackson is the police chief there. He's joining us now. Chief Jackson, what's the latest on the ground there tonight? We understand the riot police have actually been called back in?
CHIEF THOMAS JACKSON, FERGUSON POLICE: Yes, they have, Wolf. And thanks for having me on.
We had a crowd that was gathering throughout the day at the location near the scene of the shooting and near the epicenter of the riots from last night. The crowd was gathering at the convenient store that they -- that was burned to the ground during the riot last night.
As the crowd gather, they started growing larger and larger and more agitated and then they started spilling out into the street and into the neighborhoods. And at one point, the officers that were on the scene monitoring, declared there was a riot, shots were fired in the various locations in the area and officers were brought into quelled hostilities, teargas was deployed. And as of right now, I don't have any further information on that. I will get that when I'm done here.
BLITZER: As you know, there are two very different stories emerging about what actually happened. Just walk us through your police department's understanding of the facts on what happen on the Saturday afternoon?
JACKSON: OK. Thank you, Wolf. And let me first state that as soon as I got the information, the notification that one of my officers was involved in a fatal shooting, I immediately called the St. Louis County Police Chief Jon Belmar to come in and handle the entire scene and the investigation of the death. My officer was instructed to create a perimeter and the homicide detectives and crime scene investigators from St. Louis County conducted the investigation.
Now, that has to be separated from that investigation to allow them to act independently and to avoid the appearance of any impropriety. So, what I know about the investigation is what's been released to the public by the St. Louis County Police Department and as that information comes out I'll know it as you know it.
BLITZER: Well, we do know that the young man Michael Brown, the man who was shot and killed, he was unarmed, correct?
JACKSON: That is correct. There was only one weapon used during the altercation. That was the officer's weapon and he's the only one that fired shots and yeah, the diseased was unarmed.
BLITZER: And you've said that this was originally a routine patrol encounter, it was quote to just to clear the road type of incident, explain what you meant by that?
JACKSON: That's, you know, that's the way I understand it is that the two teenagers just walking in the traffic lane and the officer pulled up and asked them to move to the sidewalk and then it got heated and rapidly deteriorated to violence from there.
BLITZER: And we know the end result and I'm sure there will be a full scale investigation. Chief Thomas Jackson, thanks very much for joining us.
JACKSON: Thanks for having me.
BLITZER: Coming up, Michael Brown's parents speak out. What they want for their son's memory. That's next.
BLITZER: The breaking news we're following in this video just in a vine (ph) taken only moments ago. Ferguson, Missouri, we're seeing more street violence tonight, the police out in force, reports of shots fired, riot police called in. And at his conference today, Michael Brown's family and their attorney called for calm even as they vowed to seek justice for the teenager who was gunned down on Saturday afternoon by a police officer.
Michael Brown was only 18 years old and just graduated from high school. He would have started his first college classes today. Instead, his family is now planning his funeral. Earlier, I spoke with Michael Brown's parents Lesley McSpadden and Michael Brown Sr. along with their attorney Benjamin Crump who also represented Trayvon Martin's family.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BLITZER: Lesley, first of all, I'm so, so sorry for your loss. How are you and your family holding up?
LESLEY MCSPADDEN, MOTHER OF MICHAEL BROWN: The best we can. The best we can. I think Michael are holding a lot of us up.
BLITZER: It's not easy, I'm sure, and our hearts go out to you and your family and your friends. I just can't imagine how hard these last few days have been. I understand that today would have actually been Michael's first day in college, is that right?
MCSPADDEN: That's correct.
BLITZER: How excited was he about this new adventure he was about to begin?
MCSPADDEN: Very, he looked forward to it. He looked forward to it so much, you know, I'm going to have to tell him to make sure you get to school. He was ready.
BLITZER: Tell us the kind of person he was.
MCSPADDEN: Smart, intelligent, funny, lovable. He got (inaudible). So, I know there's nobody like my son. I'll probably never meet nobody just like my son.
MICHAEL BROWN SR., FATHER OF MICHAEL BROWN: He was my son, you know. He's a good guy. He didn't cause no problems. He was a leader. He knew what he wanted out of life. He was a good kid.
BLITZER: I know Michael works hard to get through high school and now was about to start college. How excited was he?
BROWN SR.: Over the roof.
MCSPADDEN: He was so excited to be setting an example for his younger siblings.
BROWN SR.: Yeah, his siblings.
MCSPADDEN: He was the oldest. That our first born and we have a daughter there we share together but he was the leader of the pack. And he let it be known that he was. And for him, being a leader he made sure he did everything, you know, in a manable fashion so that they will follow. And my younger son just adores his brother, adores his brother.
BLITZER: And Benjamin, I know earlier today you said that Michael's parents deserved a fair, transparent and efficient investigation. Are you satisfied with the way this case is being handled at least so far?
BENJAMIN CRUMP, LAWYER OF MICAHEL BROWN'S PARENTS: Well, we think there's a lot more to be desired. I have talked to many of my colleagues in the National Bar Association and even the President Pamela Maze who lives here in St. Louis Missouri and what they believe over and over again is that we need a complete independent investigation by the Justice Department because there's such distrust by the community to the local law enforcement. And this situation has just exacerbated that.
BLITZER: Lesley, earlier today you said you want justice for your son. Tell us what that means to you.
MCSPADDEN: Justice has to be seeked for my son because he didn't deserve this. He didn't ask for it and like I said at first, whatever profile they had set out, my son don't fit the profile at all. He didn't deserve none of this.
BROWN SR.: None of it.
MCSPADDEN: Bless his soul.
BLITZER: So, Lesley what would you like to see happen, Lesley? And I'll let Michael weigh in as well, please.
MCSPADDEN: Well, first of all I would like for him to lose his job. I don't ever think that he should be around another gun or even deal with the public because it's obvious that you -- you don't even have people skills to deal with the public.
And second of all, he has to go to jail. You committed murder. You committed a crime in broad daylight and you didn't care. You didn't care who was out there to see you. You just did it. You assassinated my son.
BLITZER: Michael, what do you want to see happen?
BROWN SR.: I just want justice for my son in any type of positive way and to get this resolved in a right manner and have this guy pay for what he did.
MCSPADDEN: And that's the only way we're going to have peace.
BROWN SR.: Well, I will be a little calmer but I don't think I'll have ever have peace by dying.
BLITZER: Michael, Lesley, Benjamin, thank you so much for joining us. Once again, our deepest, deepest condolences Michael and Lesley on the loss of your son and we will certainly want to stay in touch with all of you down the road. Thanks very much for joining us.
MCSPADDEN: No problem.
BLITZER: Up next, remembering Robin Williams, a larger than life talent gone way too soon.
BLITZER: It's a sudden loss of a truly remarkable talent. Robin Williams dead of a suspected suicide at age 63.
Many of us first came to know Williams on the small screen in Mork and Mindy. He went on to make a huge remark on movies as effective and dramatic roles as comedic ones, a riveting performer on both blockbusters and independent films. Anyone who was lucky enough to see Robin Williams perform standup or improv knows his wit was lightning quick and he was a huge influence on countless comedic writers and performers to come. Friends and former co-stars remember him as a genius as well as a warm and generous spirit.
Tonight, we wish peace for his family and all who knew him. We leave you this hour with Robin Williams' answer to an iconic question on inside the actor studio.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the pearly gates?
WILLIAMS: They are seating near the front. No, the concert begins at five, it'll be Mozart, Elvis and one of your choosing. Oh, it's just nice if heaven exists, to know that there's laughter. That'll be a great thing to throw at you. Just to hear God goes, "Two Jews walk into a bar."
(END VIDEO CLIP)