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ANDERSON COOPER 360 DEGREES
Supreme Court Declares Marriage Fundamental Right; Richard Matt Shot And Killed; Press Conference of New York Governor and Police; Supreme Court's Historic Decision on Same-Sex Marriage. Aired 8-9p ET
Aired June 26, 2015 - 20:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[20:00:09] ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: Good evening. Thanks for joining us.
Today, history was made. And for generations to come what happened on this day will change the lives of millions of men and women. There are a number of stories we are following tonight and we'll bring you over two hours. Huge developments for the manhunt for the two fugitive murderers in New York. One of them, Richard Matt is already dead shot to death by authorities, hours ago. The other one, cop killer, David Sweat on the run. Authorities now saying they're quote "right on top of him." We're expecting a press conference from Governor Cuomo any minute. That will be the first time we hear exactly what's happened as well as an update on what is really now a breathless manhunt. We'll bring you that in a moment.
Also tonight, we'll show you President Obama's powerful eulogy for Pastor Clementa Pinckney and eight other murdered at the mother Emanuel AME church in Charleston, South Carolina.
But we begin tonight with the decision by the Supreme Court declaring marriage a fundamental right and right that gays and lesbians cannot be deprived of, not in any state of the union, not in America anymore.
(VIDEO CLIP PLAYING)
COOPER: For supporters of marriage equality, there was joy outside the court today as the ruling came down. And impromptu celebrations are taking place right in New York's Greenwich Village in the spot, where 46 years ago, it is one of the stonewall uprising began essentially a street fight for equality that brought us to this day.
In some of the 13 states where same-sex marriages were prohibited until today, couples, some of them very longtime, couples did what they wanted to do for years. They got married today. The case that paved the way though stemmed from an already existing marriage and a man named James Obergefell who nearly wanted to be named on his husband's death certificate as surviving spouse. The case made the way to the Supreme Court, today, 5-4 majority ruled in his favor. Writing for the court and joined by liberal justices, Ginsberg, Bryar (ph) and Sotomayor, Justice Anthony Kennedy, Republican appointee summed it up this way.
He wrote, no union is more profound than marriage, for it embodies the highest ideals of love, fidelity, devotion, sacrifice and family. It would miss understand these men and women to say they disrespect the idea of marriage, their plea is that they do respect it. Respect it so deeply that they seek to find a fulfillment for themselves. Their hope is not to be condemned to live in loneliness, excluded from one of civilization's oldest institutions. They ask for equal dignity in the eyes of the law, he wrote. The constitution grants them that right.
President Obama who ordered the end of don't ask don't tell and oversaw the Supreme Court defeat of the defense of marriage act said that today's ruling in his words made our union a little more perfect.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: This morning the Supreme Court recognized that the constitution guarantees marriage equality. In doing so they have reaffirmed that all Americans are entitled to the equal protection of the law. That all people should be treated equally regardless of who they are or who they love.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: All four of Justice Kennedy's conservative colleagues dissented. Antonin Scalia did sell in stinging language directed not just at majority, not just in justice Kennedy, but seemingly at his writing as well. The opinion he wrote is couched in a style that is as pretentious as the content is egotistic. He continued, of course, the opinion's showy profundities are often profoundly incoherent.
Chief justice Roberts called the majority's opinion quote "an act of will, not legal judgment." Writing, just who do we think we are? Well, that's one question.
Another is just who are we and where are we at this moment as a country now that the Supreme Court has spoken? In a moment we'll talk to the plaintiff and winner in today's case. But first our senior legal analyst and Supreme Court historian Jeffrey Toobin and on the phone, Andrew Sullivan who made marriage the centerpiece of his writing, his blogging and being, long before many gay people thought it possible.
Jeff, let me start with you. What do you make of the ruling today?
JEFFREY TOOBIN, CNN SENIOR LEGAL ANALYST: You know, decades from now, law students will be struggling as we have struggled today, to pronounce (INAUDIBLE) because this is going to be a case that ranks with (INAUDIBLE) board of education which sets (INAUDIBLE) education was unacceptable. This is such an enormous decision that is in part, about you know, the right to marriage, but it is really a statement about where we are as a country now which is incredibly different from where we were just a decade ago.
2003 was the first time that any state had same-sex marriage. That was Massachusetts. And here, 12 years later the whole country has it.
[20:04:55] COOPER: Andrew Sullivan, I remember an article you wrote for the "New Republic," and you were graduate in college in 1989 when you made the case for same-sex marriage, from marriage equality, when no one really -- few people said maybe I (INAUDIBLE) and few others were talking about it. What did you think when you heard the ruling this morning?
ANDREW SULLIVAN, WRITER/COMMENTATOR (via phone): I felt overwhelmed I guess. I mean, I think Jeffrey is absolutely right. It is a momentous moment, not just constitutionally, but morally. The key word in that beautiful by narration (ph) of Kennedy was dignity. And I think that the case being about someone's spouse who was by his husband to have the right to have his name with that husband echoes so many tragedies that occurred during the aid epidemic, how people were treated.
And I just thank God that this happened. I also thank America. Because I really do believe that people were prepared to listen, people were prepared to talk, and eventually mind were changed. And that's what our democracy is really about. And so it's an amazing day. I am here in Provincetown with the first marriage has took place in America as Jeffrey reminded us. And suddenly the air is full of this excitement and energy and empowerment. And it is just a great day. I never thought I would live to see it. I doubt you did too.
TOOBIN: You know, one of the things that, one of the many things that struck me today is when the decision was announced and there was a celebration at the Supreme Court. What are they saying? They didn't sing we shall overcome which is sort of the anthem of the civil rights movement. They sang the star spangled banner which struck me as very symbolic of how this has been a conservative movement in many ways.
I mean, Andrew has written about this a lot that, you know, if you look what gay people have fought for in America over the past decade, what have they fought for? The right to be in the army and the right to get married. Not exactly radical ideas. And I think that is one reason why it has just taken over. You know, you are talking about over 60 percent in opinion polls now support marriage equality and that's just huge.
COOPER: Andrew is this morning one of the thoughts was, not only about all the couples who are waiting in states to get married. And this is obviously a great day for them. But I thought about all those people who have come before you or I or anybody else who is alive today all those generations of gay and lesbian Americans who lived lives in many ways in the shadows. And who found a way to love but who had to love in the shadows who couldn't hold hands with their loved ones in the street, who were fired from their jobs.
I remember interviewing a gay couple who have been together since 1949, I interviewed them in 1996 when I was at ABC News and they ultimately ended up dying together just a few months apart. But they could never kind of publicly announce their love for each other because they were afraid of losing their jobs. I just thought of all of the generation whose lived kind of half-lives in a way not by choosing but because they were forced to.
SULLIVAN: Yes, and the very human pain they lived through every day. And the immense shame that they felt for so long for no reason. And the extraordinary prejudice and mobility (ph) are so many endure and have to (INAUDIBLE) of marriage relationship. They had to pretend they were straight. All the families that were poisoned with that potential deception.
And I think also of all the kids who are going to grow up today who will probably not remember or understand the last 30 years, but will take it for granted when they are, you could say figure out that they have as much right to be a human being in America as anybody else and as much dignity and worth as anybody else. Nothing more, but absolutely now, nothing less. And to hear it and read it, in the opinion of the United States Supreme Court. It just has a finality and the grandeur in de-franchising a whole group of people.
COOPER: And Andrew, I almost don't want to play this because I hate to bring you back to this moment on this, you know, that is an amazing day, obviously for you. But, you started advocating for marriage equality and there were a lot of people who didn't take you seriously. And we found a clip of some people that didn't take you seriously. You were on CNN's "CROSSFIRE" back in 1993 with Gary Bauer and Pat Buchan. And I just want to show some of that exchange.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GARY BAUER, CONSERVATIVE ACTIVIST: The bottom line here that both of you continue to miss or ignore is that healthy societies do not, never have, and should not treat homosexuality as being on a moral or social par with the heterosexual family. A society that does that is in fact, as your introduction suggests on the way to decay and decadence.
[20:10:00] SULLIVAN: Let me tell you what homosexual behavior is for a minute in this case, it is loving another person for the rest of your life. That is homosexual behavior. It is heterosexual behavior. I respect your right -- you won't respect mine.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: I mean, they just dismissed you out of hand.
SULLIVAN: Yes. I know. It reminder of both, they laugh at you. And were they just regarded it as absolute absurdity that I would give them the (INAUDIBLE). And also, be honest (INAUDIBLE). Also, many in the gay community looked at us as if we were out of our mind. This is the one thing you will never get.
It was precisely that the critic was the one thing we thought we would never get, but you knew it was the one thing that meant everything. Everything. And, a full inclusion in the family, a full citizenship, no shame, and no, no disguise. And wow, yes. It brings me back. And those were amazing days. But I knew we were right. You have got to remember. So I just felt like as long as we kept at it. I mean, you got to remember that, history doesn't (INAUDIBLE). We lost in so many battles along the way. We lost so many state constitutional amendments. We nearly had a federal marriage amendment. We had the Clintons and
Bushes against us. Now, this is a long story. So, anyway. Thank you for having me. Thank you for sharing this day with me. It has been wonderful.
COOPER: Well, Andrew, thank you for being with us tonight. Jeff Toobin as well.
We talked about James Obergefell. He stepped outside the court today vindicated. He also departed as a hero to many, including President Obama who told him so right then and there on the steps of the court with our cameras rolling. Watch.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JAMES OBERGEFELL, LEAD PLAINTIFF IN THE SAME-SEX MARRIAGE CASE: Yes, it is, Mr. President.
OBAMA: I figured when I saw you that we were going to be hoping for some good news and we did. And I want to say congratulations.
OBERGEFELL: Thank you, so much, sir.
OBAMA: You know -- your leadership on this, you know, changed the country.
OBERGEFELL: I really appreciate that, Mr. President. It has really been an honor for me to be involved in this fight and to have been able to, you know, fight for my marriage and live up to my commitments to my husband. So I appreciate, I appreciate everything you have done for the LGBT community and it is really an honor to have become part of that fight.
OBAMA: Well, I'm really proud of you and -- you know, just, just know that, you know, not only have you been a great example for people, but you're also going to, you know, and bring about a lasting change in this country. And it's pretty rare when that happens. So, I couldn't be prouder of you and your husband and god bless you.
OBERGEFELL: Thank you, sir. That means an incredible lot to me. And, yes, thank you.
OBAMA: All right. Take care.
OBERGEFELL: Thank you for the call, Mr. President.
OBAMA: You bet, bye-bye.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: At the end of an extraordinary day for him, and the country, Mr. Obergefell joins us tonight.
Jim, first of all, when you heard the court's decision today, what was that moment like?
OBERGEFELL: It made me feel more like an American, made me feel more equal. And I missed my husband. It was an incredible moment, just filled with joy.
COOPER: For people who may not know this, this start ford you when you tried to get your name listed on your husband's death certificate, which you did in which the court upheld. But then the state of Ohio fought that decision which took you all the way to the Supreme Court. Did you have any idea, whatsoever, at the start of this fight that it would end up here today?
OBERGEFELL: Never. You know, I think in the back of our minds that might have run through our thoughts. But for us we were living so much in the moment.
COOPER: And because of today's ruling your name will remain on your husband any death certificate. And as of off to day you have the same rights as every other married couple across, across the United States.
I'm wondering, one of the things I was thinking about this morning is all the people who have come before you. And all the people who have had to live half lives in a sense, who haven't been able to be, by their partners' bedside. Who haven't been able to call their partner their husband or wife, who haven't been able to keep their job because they were gay, who haven't been able to serve in the military because they were gay. And I'm wondering how much of what you were fighting for was also for them? OBERGEFELL: A great deal. It was a way for me to in essence thank
them. And to acknowledge the fact that I'm where I am. And in great part to their sacrifices. And in their ability not to live their life that way. So this really is a thank you to them. As well as the hopeful thing for the next generation. And everyone out there to make this a better country.
[20:15:17] COOPER: Does it, you know you say you feel more like an American today. Does it change the way you view your relationship? Does it change the way you think other people will in the future, other gay and lesbian people will view their relationships? Does it -- does it give it a foundation that, that -- that you always knew existed but perhaps in other people's eyes did not?
OBERGEFELL: Absolutely. For us, that's how we always felt about each other. We felt married. Our family and friends -- treated us as we were married. That's how they thought of us. So for me it's that final legal governmental stamp of approval that says "yes, you are married, and your relationship matters." It is something that we respect. And I can only imagine how many other couples across the country right now have that feeling. And I just think what a wonderful legacy for my husband in the fact that he loved me. I loved him. And we were willing to fight for that. And we were able to do this for so many people across the country.
COOPER: Can you just tell us a little bit about your husband. What kind of guy he was? What was it about him that first drew you to him?
OBERGEFELL: Probably what first drew me was his nose. I liked his nose.
COOPER: His nose?
OBERGEFELL: Yes. And he hated his nose. But I liked it. But, no, he was an incredibly charming, witty person. He had just this wonderful way of speaking and he could describe things like no one I have ever known. And he was so generous. He would give people anything. He would do anything for people. And that's a family trait. His brother is the same way. His mom was the same way. And those were the things that I think about when I think about John, just his generosity and his charm, his wit.
COOPER: I also read that you keep in touch with John every day before you fall asleep, you tell him about your day. I wonder if it is not too personal. What are you going to tell him about today?
OBERGEFELL: I think it will be something short and simple. Baby, we won. And you can rest easy. You can truly rest in peace knowing that, our 20-year relationship, our marriage, can never be erased from your death certificate. And probably just that I miss him and I love him. And it's thanks to him that I had the strength to do this.
COOPER: Well, Jim, thank you very much. And thank John for us as well. Thank you.
OBERGEFELL: I will. Thank you, Anderson.
COOPER: Quite a guy. 20-year relationship and fighting for the right to say that it was his husband. I was also looking at the banner there, same same-sex marriage, after today, there is no heterosexual marriage or same-sex marriage or gay marriage, there is just marriage in every state of the union.
A lot more on this ahead tonight in the two hours that we are on the air including a remembrance to the millions of gay and lesbian Americans who never lived to see this day who were never allowed to live as fully equal fully open citizens.
Next though, the breaking news out of upstate New York. One fugitive killed. Police in hot pursuit of the other. Two weeks after the prison break. This all could be coming to a head. Tonight, we are expecting to hear from New York's governor shortly. So we could learn a lot more momentarily about what is going out there.
But first, a quick break.
[20:20:34] COOPER: Well, there is breaking news tonight in the search for two escaped murders, a search that has been going on for three weeks now in upstate New York. As you know just hours ago, Richard Matt, one of the escaped killers was shot and skilled by officers according to law enforcement sources. They found him after apparently shot at a driver in a camper and that driver called 911. The search for the other fugitive, David Sweat goes on. Now this is all happening less than 15 miles south of the Canadian
border around Malone, New York. And that's where Gary Tuchman is and working her sources in Washington, justice correspondent Pamela Brown.
Let's start in Malone. Gary, what's the latest?
GARY TUCHMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Richard Matt, Anderson, turned 49 years old yesterday. He will not be turning 50. He is dead. Shot by police a few hours ago. But his colleague, accomplice, David Sweat, got away. And this is where they're searching for him right now.
This is called Titus Mountain, behind Titus Mountain is elephant's head park. And that is where hundreds of police officers are as we speak looking for him. They tell our CNN reporter Deborah Feyerick, they are right on top of him, but as of now they haven't captured him. They have moved lights into the area and are trying to get Sweat, trying to nab him. They do believe they're together.
What we are being told today, is that they found items of both of these men in another cabin that they burglarized a second cabin yesterday. That cabin was about ten miles to the northwest of the cabin they burglarized on Saturday. That led them to believe they're heading toward the Canadian border. There are couple of shots fired today. Police then went to the area where the shots were fired. They encountered Matt holding a shotgun. And then was shot and killed.
So the search goes on as we speak. But they're very optimistic they will find Sweat and this will all be over. Both of these men were smart enough off to get out of prison. But it's very clear to this point that at least for Matt, he wasn't smart enough off to stay alive after. Back to you.
COOPER: And Gary, do we know is David Sweat armed?
TUCHMAN: They don't have. They weren't sure that either of them, they thought both of them were armed. But they didn't know until they shot and killed Matt that he had a weapon. They do not know for sure if Sweat has a weapon. But they are operating under the assumption he is armed and of course is dangerous.
COOPER: I want to bring in Pamela.
Pamela, you are learning more about what led up to the confrontation between Matt and authorities. What have you learned?
PAMELA BROWN, CNN JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: That's absolutely right. We are learning as Gary pointed out that Richard Matt was armed with a shotgun. That there were actually more, there was more than one shotgun taken out of the cabin that the men were hiding in, where their DNA was found. We know they took several items. So presumably, David Sweat is also armed. And that's what authorities are assuming right now since more than one shotgun was taken out.
But apparently earlier this afternoon, shots broke out. A driver of a camper heard the shots. And called 911, not realizing that the camper was the target that Richard Matt apparently fired shots at the camper and officials believe that he was trying to carjack it. So the 911 call was placed. And then 20 minutes later the driver of that camper called 911 back after the driver realized that his, the camper was struck. And so he realized something was up. Authorities flooded that area in New York. And we know a shootout ensued from there between the border patrol tactical units and Richard Matt along with other authorities. There was a shootout. And then Richard Matt was ultimately killed by border patrol. But the big concern now, of course, is that David Sweat is armed, as we know that more than one weapon taken out of the cabin -- Anderson.
COOPER: And Pamela, do we know, are authorities prepared? I mean, Gary talked about them bringing in lights, are they prepared to search through the night?
BROWN: They are. We know that the FBI for one has aerial surveillance that has the infrared technology on it. So, this technology allows them to see humans, bodies, at night. It compares the body temperature of a human to the background to the environment. So of course actually, it's used at night because it is easier to differentiate between the temperatures of the environment and the body heat.
So, in some ways they are very, very equipped to deal with this. And as we have heard they're closing in. It appears, they have a hard perimeter around David Sweat right now -- Anderson.
COOPER: I mean, night is starting to fall. Pamela Brown, appreciate the reporting. Gary Tuchman as well. We'll check with you throughout these next two hours. New York governor Andrew Cuomo expected to speak any moment now. We'll obviously bring that to you as it happens. And we'll speak with the pair of experts on tracking fugitives and tracking them down.
And later, the long road to today's Supreme Court ruling. We are joined by one of the pioneers in the marriage movement.
[20:28:11] COOPER: Some very new information now in the manhunt for escaped cop killer David Sweat. A few moments ago Gary Tuchman reported that officers were right on top of him. Now, we know how close.
Gary is back with details on that. What are you hearing?
TUCHMAN: Anderson, we are just being told as we speak. There is a perimeter up just behind that mountain. And authorities believe that David Sweat is contained. There have been no shots fired so far. But they believe he is contained. They have him surrounded.
As we speak, you see that bus coming down the street right now. That bus was full of police officers just came up there. Dropped them off on the other side of the mountain. They also have an ambulance that has drop on that side of the mountain. And we counted between 60 and 70 police officers in the last 45 minutes have come up the street and have headed behind the mountain. But right now, they believe Sweat is contained. And once again, Richard Matt is dead -- Anderson.
COOPER: So, you say he is contained. Do we have any sense of how big the perimeter is, I assume you don't?
TUCHMAN: Contained means the perimeter is very small. We don't know how small it has gotten. They appear to be very confident that his capture or perhaps his death is imminent. We can tell you, though, we still have authorities 25 miles north on the Canadian border keeping an eye on the border. What they're doing when you drive to Canada, usually you just talk to Canadian authorities when you go through. But now, you have to talk up U.S. authorities. They open up everybody's trunk because they want to make sure that no one is carrying Sweat in their vehicle.
They are doing that at the border. They do believe both these men were headed towards Canada. Matt was shot and killed. He is going nowhere. And they do believe the capture of Sweat could be imminent.
COOPER: All right. We'll obviously bring any information to you live.
We expect New York Governor Andrew Cuomo is going to speak to reporters about four minutes. We have the five minute warning from officials a moment ago. We will bring it back to you live.
Joining me right now, former U.S. Marshal Lennie DePaul, former FBI assistant director Chris Swecker who have resolved the investigation and capture fugitive Eric Robert Rudolph and former U.S. Marshal John Cuff.
Lennie, David Sweat is still on the run. The idea that that he is contained, what is that tell you?
LENNIE DEPAUL, FORMER U.S. MARSHAL: Well, Anderson that is a home run, if in fact that's true. And I am hearing it is. That perimeter is tightened up pretty good. You know, these law enforcement folks have to be tactically sound. Which I'm sure they are. Radio communications are important. They want to get any crossfires and whatnot, but the noose is tightening, Anderson.
COOPER: So, Chris Swecker in a case like that, what do you do? Do you just, you know, try to get a message to him? Try to get him to come out? How does that evolve?
CHRIS SWECKER: Anderson, it is no longer a search. This is a tactical operation now. And the cool heads in the command post are going to have to make some good decisions. They obviously want to make sure that nobody gets hurt. That's paramount right now. Darkness is coming on. And they're going to have to make some very tough decisions as to whether to move in. And I think that is going to be Sweat's decision whether he comes out alive or dead.
COOPER: John, does that tell you that they have eyes on him? And if they've have eyes on him. I assume they would have sniper rifles on him as well.
JOHN CUFF, FORMER U.S. MARSHAL: Not necessarily eyes on him. I wouldn't say that. Again, you have got difficult conditions. You've got thick underbrush and so on. But it's a win-win. Time is on the side of law enforcement. And, right now, everything is in Sweat's hands, how he wants this to come out.
COOPER: And the key at this point, Lenny, is just keep the perimeter tight?
LENNY DEPAUL, FORMER U.S. MARSHAL: Absolutely. Keep it tight. They have enough assets on the ground out there with aviation Support. Infrared. Thermal imaging. Hostage rescue. Teams are there, negotiators, SWAT teams. They have everything there. And as John said hopefully this goes down without incident.
COOPER: As I said we're probably just about now two minutes or so away from Governor Andrew Cuomo giving a press conference. You see the location of the podium down on the right-hand side of your screen. We are obviously going to bring that to you live as soon as, as it happens. Chris, in a case like this, I mean, we don't know if authorities are clear on whether or not David Sweat is armed. They apparently didn't, weren't sure that Richard Matt had a weapon until he was shot and killed. And they actually found the weapon on him. May be they spotted the weapon before they shot him. But we don't know whether or not Sweat has one.
SWECKER: They have to assume that he is armed, Anderson. They can make no other assumption at this point. And if he does make a movement they're not going to give him the benefit of the doubt. He's killed a cop. And he is a violent criminal, a violent escapee. So, he's going to have - if he wants to come out alive he's going to move very slowly and show that he is ready to give up.
COOPER: In a case like this, John, do they then, I mean get on a bull horn and, you know, tell them to come on out? I mean is it that simple?
CUFF: It could be. It's a tactical decision that the folks on the ground are going to have to make that call. You know, they know the terrain the best up there, these tactical units. And you are going to play off their experience dealing with those mountains. But the advantage is with law enforcement on this.
COOPER: And in terms of time. I mean John was just - Lenny, John was just talking about time being on the side of law enforcement, with night falling, I guess given that they allegedly have him contained. Given that they have thermal imaging equipment and also even they are bringing in lights, I assume, I guess, night is not that big an issue if he is not necessarily on the move?
DEPAUL: It is a big issue. I mean it is not huge. But it is big. I mean they'll wait it out until morning if they have to. I was out on a few of these things where we had to do that. But, you know, his mindset at this point, Anderson if he is captured alive he is going to die in segregation. He doesn't care. So, law enforcement certainly has their hands full at this point. And they're definitely well equipped to respond accordingly.
COOPER: In a preliminary like this, I mean how close are law enforcement to each other? Obviously, you don't want to have big gaps, the idea that somebody might be able to sneak through. I mean is it literally a circle around an individual, however large that circle may be?
DEPAUL: Well, it's consistently moving, Anderson. They're in radio communications with aviation support. The command post is fired up. And everybody's talking to each other. Like I said earlier, you certainly don't want to cross fire and what not with law enforcement. So, you know, they have to be - they're tactically sound. And the SWAT teams, these are professionals. And they will do whatever it takes. But to answer your question they have to be very careful out there.
COOPER: Chris, given that there are still a lot of unanswered questions about how these two were able to escape. What help they may have had. What Gene Palmer's role was, the exact role of Mitchell? Would the preference be to bring him in alive?
SWECKER: I think they very much would like to bring him in alive and learn as much as they can about the whole scope and extent of this escape. And who else may have helped them. Definitely want to take him in alive.
COOPER: I also want to, to bring in Pam Brown, who has been reporting on this as well.
COOPER: Pam, just, just bring us up to date on the latest you have been hearing from your sources?
PAM BROWN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: I have been hearing from my sources, Anderson, that, of course, they're in hot pursuit of David Sweat and now closing in on him there in upstate New York. And the big concern all along is that he is armed. We know that his accomplice, Richard Matt was armed. In fact, there was a shootout earlier today between Richard Matt and law enforcement officials including the border patrol tactical units, which ultimately shot and killed Matt. But they clearly were very desperate, Anderson, we know that the two men were hiding out in a cabin and we know they took belongings from there including those shot guns. And apparently they shot at a camper today trying to carjack it. So, clearly these were desperate guys. They - we are being told they believe that they were dehydrated. Probably very hungry and going to desperate means by, you know, shooting at this camper, and that is ultimately what led to a 911 call, alerted authorities that something was going on. And we know that they flooded that area in upstate New York and that's where the shootout began. Apparently the driver of that camper heard gunshots, called 911, but having no idea that it was these fugitives, these two men who have been on the loose for 21 days now we know. That was, responsible for that shootout. For the gunfire. Then 20 minutes later, Anderson, the driver apparently noticed that there was a bullet hole in the camper and realized that his camper was struck. He had no idea. At first. Called 911 back. And I think that really elevated the concern there. So one down. But one to go here, Anderson, this is not over yet.
COOPER: And again. Awaiting that press conference from Governor Andrew Cuomo. We anticipate any moment now. Jean Casarez is standing by state police headquarters. Jean, there has obviously been a lot of activity over the last 24 hours that you have been watching. People coming and going. The fact that after so long this thing could be in the final minutes. It has got to be a great relief. But obviously, tensions must remain high.
JEAN CASAREZ: You know, it is a great relief. Because we are miles away from the prison. And we understand that this community is absolutely ecstatic when they heard that Richard Matt had actually been killed. But now David Sweat - and there is only about, I would say, 30 more minutes of daylight here. But I want to tell you, there is activity going on here, because we are at the state headquarters for the New York State police. And I would say, 10 to 20 helicopters. When news started breaking they took off from here. When it was heard that David Sweat was on the run. They're starting to come back now. We have just had in the last few minutes two helicopters land. Now, saying that it is near darkness right now. But they are starting to come back. But at the same time, we are learning that law enforcement does have helicopters, as Pam Brown was saying, equipped with the sonar, the radar at night, that can be used to diffuse the brush, to see actually human beings and their body temperature that are there, and the New York state police told us earlier today that their experts were telling them that they believed that these two, walked and roamed during the night time. I don't know if you can hear the helicopter or not. But there is another one. It's coming in right now. The helipad is right behind me where they come and go. But they are returning as dusk definitely settles here in upstate, New York. Anderson.
COOPER: And we are obviously seeing movement now around the podium. It looks like a number of law enforcement personnel are gathering in order to be there for Governor Cuomo's statement. And which we anticipate probably now, just in a matter of seconds or a minute or two. We are obviously going to bring that to you live.
John, in a time like this. Once it is done. Whether Sweat is taken alive or dead. How much of a kind of an after action review is there of the entire manhunt in terms of lessons that can be learned for the next time?
CUFF: It's a good point, Anderson. There is always an after action review, especially in a case of this magnitude. This is sort of unprecedented type - the magnitude of this. And certainly ...
COOPER: In terms of what the number of personnel involved?
CUFF: And the magnitude of the escape itself. I mean how much was involved. Was there any other staff members involved? Things of that nature. That would be the value of him being taken alive. Maybe he could close some of those gaps, OK? But obviously it is in his hand. The after action would be a benefit to all corrections departments around the United States, obviously.
COOPER: It's got to be a very tricky situation, Lenny, because obviously, you have somebody who really does, I mean as we said has nothing to lose. I mean he is not going to see the outside of a prison ever again unless he's able to somehow escape again. He's obviously going to have more time added to his sentence already. He is already a cop killer. This guy knows this is it for him.
DEPAUL: Oh, yeah, no, absolutely.
DEPAUL: And that's I'm sure his mindset at this point. He was there with Matt. Apparently. So he is probably well aware of what happened with him. And, you know he's hunkered down, or running or whatever he is doing. But, I'm happy to hear that hopefully he is contained. They have got a very tight perimeter set up. And you know, it is, it is getting dark there. They do have thermal imaging capabilities in these choppers, and infrared and what not. He could duck under a log, though.. The thermal imaging won't pick up on him. But as it gets dark, the area cools down a little bit. So, and bodies heat up.
COOPER: Let's listen to Governor Andrew Cuomo.
ANDREW CUOMO, NEW YORK GOVERNOR: Thank you, good evening to all of you. I want to thank the New York state police for being here, the Department of Correction services, DEC, our partners from the FBI, the U.S. marshals, U.S. customs and border patrol, we have the Vermont state police here, Clinton County district attorney. The Franklin County district attorney, the sheriffs from Franklin and Clinton, Plattsburgh City Police. Malone village police department, and the Saint Regis Mohawk tribal police. This afternoon as has been reported there was a civil complaint. Civilian complaint in the town of Dwayne, there was a gunshot that was fired at a camping trailer. The state police responded to investigate the complaint. They came upon a cabin. They went inside the cabin. They detected the smell of gunpowder. The law enforcement partners were then notified and the customs and border patrol tactical team helicoptered in and approached the site. The team came upon Matt who was an escaped prisoner from Dannemora. Engaged Mr. Matt who was armed. And Mr. Matt was shot and killed. We have no reason to believe that Mr. Sweat was not with Mr. Matt at the time. But we don't have any confirming evidence that he was either. There were several lead that are being tracked down as we speak about Mr. Sweat and his possible whereabouts. But we don't have anything to confirm where Mr. Sweat is at this time. I want to thank New Yorkers, I want to thank the people of Clinton County, Franklin County who have put up with a lot over these past 20 days. We've had over 2,300 leads. So, New Yorkers have been very helpful in responding to put an end to this crisis. I want to thank our partners in law enforcement who have done an extraordinary job. Our local partners, our federal partners. Who have been away from their homes and their families to come here and help us. Over these past three weeks or so.
You never want to see anyone lose their life. But I would remind people that Mr. Matt was an escaped murderer from a state prison. Mr. Matt killed two people who we know about. Mr. Matt killed his boss in a dispute and dismembered him. He fled to Mexico and then he killed another person in Mexico and was imprisoned in Mexico. Mr. Sweat is also dangerous. Mr. Sweat was involved in the killing of a sheriff's deputy in Broom County where the sheriff's deputy had come upon a crime. Mr. Sweat and his accomplices hit the sheriff's deputy with the car. Got out, and shot him 22 times and then ran over him. So these are dangerous, dangerous men. And that's why you see law enforcement from across this country arrayed before you today cooperating with one mission to bring these gentlemen to justice.
I am now going to turn it over to Superintendent Joseph Damico, who is head of the state police, which has been heading up the investigation in cooperation with our partners. I would remind everyone that this is an ongoing investigation. So the amount of information that can be provided to the public is something that we have to watch carefully. Obviously we don't want to give the people we are pursuing any more information than we need to. With that. Superintendent Joseph Damico.
JOSEPH DAMICO: Thank you, governor. So I just wanted to take a second and bring you back to how we got into this area searching where we discovered Matt today. So, as you recall, we had a report of a burglary last Saturday where we were able to identify property left at the scene by Matt and we deployed heavily in that area. That burglary was off within in a camp of about three miles off of any paved roadway. Wednesday night, late Wednesday night we received a report of a break-in of a cabin off route 41 in the town of Malone. A screen had been cut. And a window was broken into. We responded up. We recovered evidence from that break in. Which also indicated that Matt was present at that scene. So, we - late yesterday we deployed a number of uniform officers. And tactical teams, up to that area, and started to establish a fairly wide grid for searching.
Into today, we, we were able to confirm that property recovered at the scene was in fact Matt this morning. Late morning we discovered through search teams, what we believed to be a camp where maybe somebody had laid down. We found candy wrappers and some other things that we left behind. That was all seized. And so we had a fairly aggressive search in the area today. And about 1:51 today. We received the report that a -- a camper, a person towing the camper believed that their camper had been shot. Originally, they heard a sound. They thought maybe they had a flat. They got out. They realized they didn't have a flat. They drove on about eight miles. And when they pulled into a camp site, they examined the trailer that they were towing and realized that there was a bullet hole through the back of the camper. So, based on that they notified state police. We responded and realized that the location of the shooting was probably about eight miles back. And as the governor indicated we deployed teams from multiple agencies to that area. We were able to get into the cabin. Where we discovered the smell of gunpowder and realize that a weapon had been fired. Also, there was indication that someone recently had been there and fled out the back door.
As we were doing the ground search in the area. There was movement detected by officers on the ground. What they believed to be coughs. So, they knew they were dealing with humans as opposed to wildlife. And a team, a tactical team from Customs and Border Protection met up with, with Matt in the woods, challenged him. And he was shot dead by border patrol at that time. We recovered a 20 gauge shot gun from Matt's body at the location. Based on that we continue to search. We have a lot of people in the area. We have canines. And we have a decent perimeter set up. And we are searching for Sweat at this time. We have no actual sighting of Sweat by law enforcement. But we have no indication that Sweat wasn't accompanying Matt at the time they were shot and killed. So, we are going to maintain the perimeter that we have, continue to do a big ground search, just as we have in the last couple of days. A tactic that's been successful for us in law enforcement, and until such time as we receive other information, you know we will be doing a very thorough search. We have followed up on in excess of 2,400 leads at this time. We take every one of them serious. We thank the public for the tips that they've called in. And like - just as the governor said.
I would like to thank all my law enforcement partners who stand here with me today. A tremendous effort on the ground over the last three weeks. 24 hours a day, you know, in the state police. We couldn't have done it without the people who are standing here. We truly appreciate it. I'd also like to extend my personal thanks to the people of communities where we've been searching. You know, we know that it is very intrusive to have ...
DAMICO: We do understand it is very intrusive to have at the level of law enforcement that we have maintained over the last three weeks. Thank you for your patience, for your support, and for looking out for our officers. We truly do appreciate it. I would ask though that we remain vigilant. Because Sweat is still out there. He is considered dangerous. We are going to continue to look for him and search just as hard until we find him. But please, any kind of sightings, don't approach. Please dial 911 or our tip line. And please let us know about it. So, thank you. Take some questions.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (INAUDIBLE) What exactly do they (INAUDIBLE) and what exactly do they tell you?
DAMICO: The shooting investigation is ongoing. This is pretty fresh for us. We are out at the scene. We're doing forensic work.
DAMICO: And obviously, you know, we'll be taking statements from the team that was involved in the shooting. I can tell you they verbally challenged him. Told him to put up his hands. And at that time he was shot when he didn't comply. That's all I can say about that. Until we continue our investigation.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Did he open fire?
DAMICO: No, there was no shots fired by Matt at the scene. COOPER: There you have a review of what the authorities now and the
information that they have given out about the killing of Richard Matt. The bottom line right now, a perimeter has been established. The search is on for David Sweat. They believe they have the location of him. We are going to continue to follow that story. I want to thank our guests, Lenny DePaul and Chris Swecker and John Cuff. We are going to have more on the operation to capture David Sweat throughout the evening. We are live to the 10:00 hour. Coming up next, we are going to take a short break. Today's other major news, the Supreme Court's landmark decision bringing marriage equality throughout the United States. We will have more reaction. Plus, a closer look at the history of the struggle for equality, the lives of so many people forced to live partly in the shadows for generations, people who nevertheless found a way to love.
COOPER: Looking there right now at the White House lit of in rainbow colors tonight. Supporters of marriage equality celebrating tonight at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. New York, of course, and across the country in the wake of the Supreme Court's decision making marriage a right, a gay and lesbian Americans cannot be excluded from. The decision was far from unanimous. The national debate certainly has not been either. Tonight it is worth remembering that so much of what life has been like for generations of gay Americans and lesbian Americans is not fully known because so much of that life and that love has happened in the shadows, all but ignored by history.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: The history of gays and lesbians in America has been largely hidden, love expressed in secret, lives too often lived in the shadows. For generations to be gay meant being forsaken by family, fired by employers, even risking arrest or forced hospitalization. Gay life and gay love however found a way. In cities across the country gay people created their own families of friends and lovers, their own society and culture which thrived.
COOPER: The notion of equal rights for gays and lesbians however seemed like a dream. In 1965, a man named Frank Kameny who'd been fired from his government job because he was gay along with fellow activist Jack Nichols picketed the White House. And the nation's first major public gay protest. But the obstacles ahead were clear.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We discovered that Americans consider homosexuality more harmful to society, than adultery, abortion or prostitution.
COOPER: In 1969, another historic turning point. After decades of being targeted by police, some arrested for simply gathering together. Patrons in the dingy bar called the Stonewall in New York's Greenwich Village fought back. And a new era of activism was born. With increased visibility came bitter pushback.
ANITA BRYANT, SAVE OUR CHILDREN: A lifestyle that is both perverse and dangerous.
COOPER: Social conservatives who sought to ban gays and lesbians from working in schools found themselves doing battle with grassroots activists like Harvey Milk.
HARVEY MILK: There are 15 million lesbians and gay men! (INAUDIBLE) voice.
COOPER: And while some stigma slowly waned, in 1973, the American Psychiatric Association announced being gay was not a mental disorder. Another battle was just beginning. In 1981, a mysterious disease began killing otherwise healthy gay men.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This lethal epidemic sweeping out of control through the homosexual enclaves of America has been turned into a propaganda ploy in our opinion by homosexual sympathizers.
COOPER: Early on in the AIDS crisis, some religious leaders cast blame. In an action by public officials led gays and lesbians to try and care for each other. Groups like gay men's health crisis and Act Up were formed to help the sick and push for better treatments.
PETER STALEY, AIDS ACTIVIST: I started to look around in desperation for ways that I could find treatments to help save our life. And there was nothing coming out of our government's efforts. I quickly realized.
COOPER: More than 650,000 Americans have died of AIDS so far. The new medicines which became available in the mid-90s have turned HIV into a manageable condition. In 1994, hopes that a Democratic president might usher in a new wave of equal rights for gay and lesbian Americans were dashed when President Clinton signed Don't Ask Don't Tell into law preventing gays and lesbians from serving openly in the military.
It wasn't until 2003 in the landmark Supreme Court case, Lawrence v. Texas that laws criminalizing sex between gay people were ruled unconstitutional. And what was once considered an unthinkable goal, legalized same-sex marriage began to seem at least possible. It happened first in Massachusetts in 2004.
UNIDENTIFIED PEOPLE (singing): Here comes the bride so gay with pride
COOPER: Over the next ten years, 36 states and the District of Columbia would eventually follow. Despite years of political and legal challenges by equal rights opponents. In 2010, don't ask don't tell was finally repealed by Congress and in 2013, the Supreme Court and the United States v. Windsor threw out the so-called Defense of Marriage Act granting federal recognition to married same-sex couples, but only if they lived in a state where it is legal. And that ruling set the stage for today's historic decision by the Supreme Court.
(cheers and applause)
(END VIDEO CLIP) COOPER: And extraordinary day it has been. Joining us now two people who have helped us all get to this day, and had a lot of stake today, Evan Wolfson, is the founder and president of freedom to marry, Frank Bruni is an op-ed columnist for "The New York Times."
Evan, it's good to have you back on this program. You wrote a Harvard law school thesis 32 years ago on making the argument for the right to same-sex marriage. Now, we shouldn't even call it same-sex marriage any more. It is now just marriage.
EVAN WOLFSON: Marriage.
COOPER: Marriage - the right to marriage for all. A, your thoughts on today? And did you really believe 32 years ago this day would come?
WOLFSON: I always believed this day would come. I really, call me crazy or whatever. And people did. I really always believed that if we did the work and made the case, the American people would move and the law would move. I, it's what kept me going. I always believed we would. But I am so glad you began with that history. Because people experience this as the president said as a thunderbolt that came from the blue. But in fact this has been four-plus decades in the making. And so many people, so much work, so many conversations, but it's a triumph not just of all those people and all that work, but of America. That Americans were willing to open their hearts and change their mind, and we all won today.
COOPER: I keep coming back to this, too. It's not just four decades. It's generations of gay and lesbian people in this country who never were able to live the full life that they deserve, that their other fellow citizens were able to.