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ERIN BURNETT OUTFRONT
Sources: Escaped Killer Shot Dead, Second Killer On The Loose; Manhunt On For Second Escaped Killer; Police Find Set of Footprints Believed To Be Sweat's. Aired 7-8:00p ET
Aired June 26, 2015 - 19:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[19:00:14] ERIN BURNETT, CNN ANCHOR: Good evening. I'm Erin Burnett. OUTFRONT tonight. The breaking news, one of the escaped killers is dead. Shot down after firing at a civilian. The other convict in a desperate chase at this moment. Law enforcement officials telling CNN Richard Matt was killed in a shootout with authorities early this evening after he shot a driver in an attempted carjacking. That driver called 911.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED OFFICER: I got one guy down.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: A local resident capturing this video of police heading to the scene. Now, at this moment as I'm speaking the other killer, David Sweat is still on the loose. They are right now on a desperate search to find him. Any minute, possibly news, swarming the area, hunting for him. The law enforcement officials tells CNN, they don't yet, quote, "have eyes on him." Officials think the escaped killers may have been on their way to Canada. Yesterday they found evidence in a cabin 11 miles from the Canadian border, in the town of Malone as you see on your screen.
It was near there that Matt was killed tonight. The two men escaped from a maximum security prison in Dannemora, New York, that's 21 days ago. And as you can see, the distance is on the map, about 40 miles away.
Alexandra Field and Polo Sandoval are both on the ground tonight where this is going down. Polo is following the desperate hunt for David Sweat. Alexandra has the latest on the shootout with Richard Matt.
So, Polo, I want to start with you, literally, minute by minute we are awaiting whether they possibly find him. What happens to David Sweat? What do you know about the hunt for him at this moment?
POLO SANDOVAL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Erin, that very critical moment right now unfolding not far from where I'm standing here along route 30 in Upstate New York. You see the road block. The police barricade that's been set up here. Really, you need a police badge to get past that. Because really much of this is unfolding only about three miles or so from where we're standing right now. And even hours after those shots were fired, I could tell you that so many people here are really on edge. Many people here, while there is a sense of relief that at least half of that threat is gone, there's still a lot of uncertainty right now being that authorities don't have eyes on the remaining fugitive here that is likely still on the run, David Sweat.
As for resources, Erin, I can tell you that from our vantage point, we have seen seemingly endless parade of patrol cars pretty much speeding right past us heading to the heart of the action. At this moment, we have seen that really subside quite a bit but it doesn't mean that there aren't any more resources on the way. Last thing I should mention though, Erin. I did notice there are also dozens of flood lights that are being brought here through the scene. That's clearly an indication that this is far from over. Authorities here for the long run as they expect this potential manhunt to extend into tonight as well -- Erin.
BURNETT: All right. Polo, thank you. That's a crucial detail. Because everyone, as we know, this search has gotten a lot harder at night. They're now bringing in those flood lights would indicate they are ready to try to get David Sweat if they can find him as it gets dark.
Alexandra Field is in the town where Richard Matt was cornered and shot dead. Now, Alex, you know, they had reason to believe from your reporting that the two men were together. What do you know about how this went down?
ALEXANDRA FIELD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: We know that Richard Matt is dead now just today after his 49th birthday three weeks after he tunneled his way to freedom and Erin, it was no mistake that authorities were able to close in on him right here in Franklin County, the same area where they had moved 1100 law enforcement officers into place to pursue both of these men following a few credible leads that developed over the last several days. Here's the time line of what went down this afternoon. We know that around 1:30, there were reports of shots fired in the town of Malone.
A half an hour later, some distance away, another report of shots fired. That initial round of shots was called in by a man driving an RV. He later called police a second time when he discovered that his camper had actually been struck by a bullet hole. At that point police did a sweep of the area. That's when they closed in on Richard Matt. Sources tell CNN that he approached with a rifle. It was a tactical team that took him down, Erin. Now, this comes at a time when the police have been focusing very closely on this area. They had a big break in this case just yesterday.
They discovered a cabin somewhere in the town of Malone where there had been signs of a burglary. They then went in there, they collected certain pieces of evidence and they deemed that evidence to be conclusive of the fact that Richard Matt and David Sweat had been there. This morning, another development in the case. They found more items which they believed belonged to the two fugitives. So, Erin, they were here. They were ready to respond whenever that next break would surface. Today they got it with that first round of shots fired. BURNETT: All right. Alexandra Field, thank you very much.
We're going to be going back to Alex and Polo as the situation quickly develops tonight.
I want to bring in now, Clinton County Sheriff David Favro. Sheriff Favro, it's good to talk to you. The bottom-line question, you know, I know you heard our reporter talking about how they're bringing in those flood lights right now to try in this desperate search for David Sweat. How confident are you he will be found tonight?
[19:05:20] SHERIFF DAVID FAVRO, CLINTON COUNTY, NEW YORK: Well, we're hoping for the best but we're certainly going to prepare for whatever it's going to take to bring this individual in. We're bringing in additional resources, everything that we have available through our department and through surrounding departments including additional infrared trucks, flood lights. Anything that we can do to help. Plus, we're ready to go through the night and bring this thing to a close.
BURNETT: And Sheriff, we're reporting that after Richard Matt was shot searchers found a second set of footprints that they thought belong to David Sweat which would imply that the two men were together at the time. They may have even heard David Sweat running away, I mean, as in he was that close. Now, this obviously Richard Matt was shot and killed earlier this evening. We've had, what? Ninety minutes, two hours. How far could David Sweat be right now or are you confident that area is cordoned off?
FAVRO: There's over 1100 law enforcement personnel that are up in that immediate vicinity and they responded very quickly to be able to close that off. This is definitely the hardest perimeter that I've seen around any area since this manhunt started 21 days ago.
BURNETT: All right. The hardest perimeter you've seen. Now, do you think David Sweat is armed? I want to remind our viewers. The reason he was in Clinton Correctional Facility was because he shot a sheriff's deputy 22 times.
FAVRO: That's correct.
BURNETT: Do you think he's armed, sir?
FAVRO: We have good reason to believe that there's a possibility that he's armed. We've obviously seen that his partner was armed so we're approaching him as if he is armed. Obviously, we know he's extremely dangerous and we're going to take whatever steps necessary to bring him in.
BURNETT: And we are reporting Richard Matt was armed. He shot at an RV driver in an attempted carjacking before he was cornered and killed by law enforcement. What do you know Sheriff about the weapons that he had?
FAVRO: I didn't get to see the weapon that he had with him. I'm sure they've taken that weapon in as evidence, but I couldn't tell you exactly right now what it is. It's been mentioned several times with all the sportsmen camps and everything up there. There's probably weapons, ammunitions, hunting knives, compasses, many items that you would need to be able to survive in the wilderness and to be able to put up a little battle if needed.
BURNETT: All right. Now, Matt was caught because that RV driver called 911. He noticed that there were bullet holes in the RV. I heard a shot, went called 911. He's lucky he is alive. Obviously, law enforcement responded quickly. They cornered and killed Richard Matt. Would you have found Richard Matt without that call from that RV driver?
FAVRO: Erin, I've said since day one that this case is going to be closed with the eyes and the ears of the people in the community. And this is exactly proof of that. Without the heroic approach and the quick reproach to get that information to 911 immediately, the timeliness was critical, we may not have been able to get this type of a break that's gotten us to this point right now.
BURNETT: And Sheriff, before you go. I do want to ask you, there are some reports completely unconfirmed, that David Sweat, there may have been some sort of a shootout incident that's gone down. Are you aware of that at this time or to your knowledge, is he still on the run?
FAVRO: I just spoke with some of my guys that are on the perimeter and they have not heard of any shots. They're not aware of any shots. They're probably referring it's late news getting out from the shots that were fired, you know, some hour and a half, to two hours ago by now.
BURNETT: All right. Well, I appreciate you're taking the time being with us, Sheriff. I know, obviously, this is an incredibly important night for you. We wish you the best, of course, in these next few moments and few hours as the search continues for David Sweat.
Thank you, Sheriff Favro.
FAVRO: Thank you.
BURNETT: Arthur Roderick is a retired U.S. marshal. I want to bring him right in now. You are the one who told us, the first to say Richard Matt was shot. That was before anyone else found out. You were the one who broke this news. What are your sources telling you right now?
ARTHUR RODERICK, RETIRED DEPUTY U.S. MARSHAL: Well, I mean, there's a couple of things. Obviously, that Matt was armed, which I think we knew based on what had happened probably a week ago when they had broken into that original cabin. And I think that is a key part. I mean, we gave these guys way too much credit in the beginning when we started saying oh, they must have plan B, they must have plan C. Obviously, they had plan A and they've been on foot the whole time. So, I think what you've got now is they're getting very desperate. They've been three weeks on the run. They probably obviously have been sleeping due to exhaustion, and they're not eating correctly. They're probably sick and the key to this thing was finding that cabin yesterday.
BURNETT: And are you hearing any details when you talk about them being sick, about Richard Matt's physical condition when they found him? Anything that might give some clues as to, well, how they've been hiding but also what condition David Sweat who's on the run at this moment might be in right now?
[19:10:11] RODERICK: I haven't heard anything specific but when you've been on the run, I mean, obviously there's intense pressure on you.
RODERICK: Number one. You're not eating correctly. I'm sure they're suffering from dysentery. Maybe some dehydration. And I think that's the condition there in now. Now, as we move through this, you know, it could very well be that Matt said, hey, I'm not going to be taken alive. I'm going to go down in a gunfight and that's what happened. Now, if they're surrounding Sweat at this point, this could also be the same scenario in dealing with him is that he might not know that Matt is down. And now being by himself, he doesn't have that other individual with him to provide the physical and psychological support that he's going to need to stay out there.
BURNETT: All right. Art, you're going to be with us through the hour, a lot more to talk to you about. Including this perimeter as you just heard Sheriff Favro everyone say this is the hardest perimeter he's ever seen. The perimeter that they've now set up around this area where they believe David Sweat is desperately trying to break out. Right around that area where they shot and killed Richard Matt earlier this evening. Our breaking news coverage continues after this. Authorities in hot pursuit of David Sweat at this moment. We're back live on the scene.
Plus, how is David Sweat evading more than 1,000 searchers? A survivalist who knows this area, the area of the hunt is OUTFRONT, next.
[19:14:45] BURNETT: Breaking news, one of the convicted killers who's been on the run for three weeks, dead tonight. Earlier tonight Richard Matt killed in a shootout. This after an attempted carjacking that all went down about 11 miles from the Canadian border. The other killer, David Sweat is still on the loose. Authorities think the two were on the run together and were together. They have, as we were just told by the sheriff on the ground, the hardest perimeter around this area that he's ever seen. They admit though they do not know where Sweat is at this moment.
Jean Casarez is OUTFRONT. She's at the command center in Cadyville, New York. And Jean, do police think Sweat is in that perimeter that they're really going to be able to get them in the next few minutes here? JEAN CASAREZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: I think they definitely do. I
want to tell you that during the break, we just had two more helicopters, New York State police helicopters lead this area and go up in the skies towards this area where they are pursuing this convicted murderer. We just got some information too from the Clinton County Sheriff's Department that tonight as they continue to search, by air, they're going to be using the infrared light. And of course those are the lights that allow them to look on the ground and see things that you would not be able to see through normal eyesight. We also understand that law enforcement will have a truffle (ph) vehicle, a four-drive vehicle with those infrared lights that will go into the brush, that will go into the ATV trails to be able to see things that once again at night the naked eye could not see.
And the New York State police told us earlier today that they've had experts on this to try to figure out if they believe these inmates are traveling during the daytime or at night and what they decided was that it is the nighttime that Matt and Sweat have been moving from area to area. And it was today that the search seemingly changed to a north, northwest area. This morning there was a check point. There had never been and then we heard later on that they fully believed or believe at this point since there's still a manhunt that one or two of them were bound for the Canadian border.
But it all began on Thursday, and that is when a cabin in that village of Malone area was burglarized. We now know the homeowner of that area came forward saying, there was a liquor bottle that was found in his kitchen and that's when they did then field tests and we learned today that they found some items in the field believed to have been dropped by the inmates. And so, this afternoon those items have been tested at the New York State crime lab. And, of course, that is an additional aspect of all this, important in any prosecution but that is what led them to the area. That is what lead them to where now. It is confirmed Richard Matt dead and on the pursuit of David Sweat.
I want to tell you one more thing. Law enforcement sources telling CNN that Richard Matt had a shotgun in his hand, and I spoke with the woman today very close friends with the owner of that cabin. Last Saturday, that they believed a shotgun was missing. She said it was a family relic. It was an antique. He knew immediately his shotgun was missing from that cabin and now law enforcement saying it was a shotgun that one of those inmates had today that they were using to shoot -- Erin.
BURNETT: All right. Jean, thank you very much. Jean is going to stay with us.
I want to go to our justice correspondent Pamela Brown. She's been talking to law enforcement officials about the hunt.
Pamela, you just heard Jean saying that perhaps Richard Matt was armed with a sort of antique shotgun. David Sweat is the one on the run at this hour. He's the one who shot a sheriff's deputy 22 times. That's how he ended up in jail in the first place. He's desperate. What do you know about how armed he may be right now? PAMELA BROWN, CNN JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: Well, I know that law
enforcement officials are operating as though he is armed. That is what they're assuming right now. The belief among law enforcement is that the weapons were stolen from that cabin that Jean Casarez were just talking about. We know that they raided a cabin in the area, stole a lot of items from there. Richard Matt was armed with a shotgun when he got into that shootout with authorities earlier today and was shot and killed. And so, the belief is that David Sweat is also armed at this moment, as we speak, hiding out. We know that there's a hard perimeter around him according to the sheriff there but it is a big concern, because this is a man who was not only a convicted killer but shot and killed a sheriff's deputy. He is not afraid to do that. And so, they are proceeding as though he also has weapon stolen from the cabin that they were in -- Erin.
[19:19:16] BURNETT: All right. Pamela, thank you very much. A lot of reporting there.
I want to bring in a now Erik Jensen. He knew both Richard Matt and David Sweat serving time with them at the Clinton Correctional Facility. Also, OUTFRONT the retired NYPD Detective Harry Houck.
Okay, good to have both of you with me. Literally, we're just trying to wait for updates here on the search for David Sweat with this perimeter. Erik, you know him.
ERIK JENSEN, SERVED TIME WITH BOTH PRISON ESCAPEES: I do know him.
BURNETT: All right. So, where do you think he could be right now? What would he be doing?
JENSEN: I think his immediate thoughts are, he's trying to get as far away or plan an attack, an ambush because he knows they're surrounding him right now. And he knows that he doesn't want to go back to prison.
BURNETT: So, this -- when Pamela was talking about the fact that he was in prison because he shot a sheriff's deputy 22 times.
JENSEN: Yes. Yes.
BURNETT: Your view would be, he's going to go down in a gunfight.
JENSEN: He's not going back. This was his one shot out. He took it and now he's not going back.
BURNETT: And he's willing to kill. Harry, investigators admit they don't have eyes on him. They thought they saw a second set of footprints. When they killed Richard Matt, they thought it might be his, they thought they heard him running away. They didn't actually see him.
HARRY HOUCK, RETIRED NYPD DETECTIVE FIRST GRADE: Right.
BURNETT: Do you think he's there?
HOUCK: Well, I'm hoping he's there. You know, the fact that these guys are desperate now. It's been 21 days. And for Matt to go and fire at that vehicle, had to know if he was in his right mind that police would be swarming that area soon. All right. So, apparently, I think what's happening is like --
BURNETT: Like a last shot.
HOUCK: Right. Like a last shot. They're sick, they're tired. All right? If Sweat was anywhere within a close range of Matt when he was shot, I'm sure they've got him cordoned in now. But if he was able to make it out of there, we might still have another couple of days going here. But I'm hoping that he was close by.
BURNETT: So, tell me Harry how it would work. Right? They have a shootout with Richard Matt.
BURNETT: They killed him.
BURNETT: And they then had a few seconds, right? So, few minutes go by. They see the footprints. They hear someone that presume to be David Sweat running away.
BURNETT: That would mean they were this close.
HOUCK: Right. Exactly.
BURNETT: But it's been two hours.
BURNETT: Darkness is coming.
HOUCK: Yes, exactly. You know, the whole thing is that once something like that happens, all right? Your blood starts running. I've been in situations like this. We got to get this guy. We're close. Let's go. So, I'm sure a bunch of them ran through the woods for a long period of time hoping that maybe they would run into him.
HOUCK: And at the same time calling for a back-up, getting that whole area cordoned off. Probably within, like a fire square miles, maybe even less.
BURNETT: How long would it take them to do that? With this, they've say, the toughest perimeter they've ever had, it would take a little while. HOUCK: Listen. I go to the Adirondacks all the time. If you
lose going off the track there, all right, on a trail and you go into the woods, it's crazy. It is so thick. It's like a jungle when I was in the marine corp. That's how tight it is over there. So, they could virtually be five, seven, ten feet away from him and not see him, and I'm sure if they had saw him, they would be firing shots at him at time same time they were shooting at Matt, but apparently they did not see him there.
BURNETT: He could be sitting still and hiding?
HOUCK: He could be sitting still. Correct.
BURNETT: Now, Erik, in terms of, you know, we've been hearing possibly their sick, dysentery. You heard Arthur Roderick who is talking to people closed to this two. He says, look, these rumors about the shootout with Sweat, his knowledge, not true at this time. But, you know, that they could have been sick. What's the condition that they would have been in?
JENSEN: The condition they're going to be in is if they haven't had any fresh water for these last couple of days, you see that they went to a cabin, they were drinking liquor. They said, they found a liquor battle out. So, maybe they're drunk. Maybe they're running through the woods crazy. That's why they were shooting at the camper to try to carjack it.
JENSEN: Maybe they don't know the extent of the search perimeter because they haven't been able to watch the TV. So, maybe they didn't know that the law enforcement was so close in on them.
HOUCK: And I don't think they're thinking straight right now. I think it's been too long.
HOUCK: You know, I go two or three days when I work a homicide, right? And I didn't get home for two or three days when I was working. Your brain doesn't work right.
HOUCK: And I think they're getting to that point now where their minds are not working right, they're going to start making a lot of mistakes, and I think that Sweat will probably be captured soon because he's down to his last --
BURNETT: Do you think it happens before night fall? I mean, they're getting ready with infrared. They're getting with --
HOUCK: I hope so. Once it gets dark, it's very hard. They're going to have the helicopters, they're going to have the infrared up there. And I'm really surprised, you know, I don't know if the dogs picked up a scent. JENSEN: Right.
HOUCK: You know, where Matt was. All right. So, if the dogs do, they should be able to follow that scent, to follow where, you know, where Sweat is. So, I'm hoping that's working out for them and hopefully, you know, we'll be able to track them down.
BURNETT: Right. And as I've said, you know, this situation is so fluid. We keep hearing things, trying to wait, to confirm them, to report them. Thanks very much to both of you.
And next, our breaking news coverage continues the desperate search for the last fugitive. We'll going to take a close-up look at the area where he could be hiding. You hear Harry saying, seven feet away. You wouldn't be able to see someone. We're going to show you exactly what that means as we are counting the minutes until the sunsets tonight.
Plus, Richard Matt dead in that shootout with police. A friend of Matt and a former inmate OUTFRONT tonight, and we're standing by for a press conference from the New York Governor Andrew Cuomo.
[19:28:20] BURNETT: We're back with our major breaking story tonight. One escaped killer shot dead. The other on the loose. Richard Matt killed early this evening in a shootout with officers 11 miles from the Canadian border. Matt may have been attempting to carjack an RV. That driver called 911. That's when Matt was cornered by law enforcement. He was killed in a shootout. David Sweat is now the sole subject of a massive manhunt. At this moment, here's what we know. The sheriff just telling me moments ago that they have the tightest perimeter he has ever seen around this area. They don't think David Sweat could have gotten out but they don't know where he is. They found a set of footprints next to Richard Matt. They believe those belonged to David Sweat.
Alexandra Field is right there on the ground. And Alex, they're in a desperate race to found Sweat at this moment. They're ready to hunt at night. They don't want to hack too. How close are they?
FIELD: Yes, they're throwing every resource they have available into this hunt right now. And that's why we have been seeing so many units that's pushing through this area. And heading really south of where I'm standing right now. South of here is Lake Titus and then there's elephant head in the area where a local sheriff has said, that the search for David Sweat was focused. So, over the last hour, we've seen literally dozens of police units heading for what appears to be somewhere in that direction. But this is a wide ranging search right now. Of course, investigators feel that they may have been closer to David Sweat this afternoon, than ever before while they pursued and finally took down Richard Matt.
The question now is where he is. Earlier today, investigators said that they had information that both of the men together were trying to head north, northwest toward Canada. So, that remains an important part of this investigation. Right now, we know that there are extra units along the Canadian border at two of the checkpoints where you can cross from New York into Canada. There are actually extra U.S. customs and border protection officers who are there, in advance of the Canadian border. Typically, you would just pass through the Canadian security at that point. But those units have been moved in so that every car heading in that direction can be searched. Authorities again feeling they have never been closer to David Sweat committed to not letting him out of this perimeter tonight.
BURNETT: All right. Alexandra Field, thank you very much. We're going to be going back live to Alex.
Of course, the situation is very fluid with this perimeter as they're hoping any minute for word of David Sweat.
I want to right to our Tom Foreman. He has lot more detail about this area where they found Richard Matt, where he was killed, where they're now in this tight perimeter hunting for David Sweat.
And, Tom, you know, we were just talking, you know, Harry, retired NYPD detective, he's been on a situation before. He's saying, look, this area is so heavily wooded that someone could be seven feet away and you might not be able to see them. That is pretty incredible.
What can you tell us about this area?
TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: That is exactly right. Well, first of all, I can tell you where they thought it would be. If you take a look at the original place, this is the prison they broke free from. What we're talking about is a distance right over here, which isn't really that far, 20 miles here and another 14 or so up until the cinder of Malone. This is where they found evidence that these guys might have been.
But let's look at this specific area and talk about this. We know right now from what we're hearing, that basically, they have sealed off this part of Route 30, they've sealed off this road coming off this way, so if in fact, they have a cordon out here, a perimeter around this, then you're talking about a very tight that they can search in.
But, Erin, you're absolutely right. What does that amount to? If you're talking about the case of Matt, that was a case where they were along a road, there was an attempted hijacking. They say they encountered him coming out of the woods with his shotgun. That's where he was killed.
Very different question, though, with Sweat, Erin. If we take a look at that, there you're talking about woods that can be just like this.
Here's an amazing thing. Look at this picture and think about this. You're actually seeing two people in the woods right now. Here's one right over here, behind that tree. These are searchers and then here's another one right over here. That's not a far picture and that's all you can see.
So you can see why they're racing sun down, Erin, because once the sun goes down there, they will have about 8 1/2 hours before it comes back up. That's a long time for someone to try to slip back out through that cordon we described just a short while ago, Erin.
BURNETT: All right. Tom Foreman, thank you very much.
And we do have a breaking development here right now. I want to share with you. Our Deborah Feyerick is reporting that law enforcement officials say they are right on top of David Sweat. This is the literal words that I have are -- right on top of David Sweat. So that's what we know.
Obviously, the belief is then this could go down at any second or minute. They believe he is armed. You just heard from the sheriff, the sheriff also just telling me that this perimeter that they set up is the hardest perimeter he has ever seen in his career. Right around the area where Richard Matt was killed in a shootout with police, that they believe David Sweat is there. They believe he is armed and now, Deborah Feyerick reporting they are right on top of David Sweat.
So, at this moment, we are literally just awaiting to see if there are shots heard, what we can tell you, but we believe that this literally could be going down any second from now. We'll be getting back to our reporter just as soon as we can get them with us, as soon as they get a little bit more information.
I've got Shane Hobel with me now, and also with me, Arthur Roderick, the U.S. Marshal.
Art, let me start with you. What are you hearing? You hear with our Deborah Feyerick reporting. They're, quote, "right on top of David Sweat." I know this is the U.S. Marshal group you used to work with.
ARTHUR RODERICK, FORMER U.S. MARSHAL: Yes, exactly, Erin. I think probably what you've got is an outer perimeter of regular police officers and then you've got the U.S. Marshals Special Operations Group. You've got Border Patrol BORTAC, you've got the FBI HRT, and you've got New York state police SWAT teams that are more than likely handling from the -- handling the inner perimeter and literally just walking through the woods trying to locate him.
Now, if they're right on top of him, I'm sure that's exactly what they're doing right now.
BURNETT: Yes, and those words, when they say right on top of, what would that mean? That means -- does that mean they've definitely had eyes on him, they've heard him or, you know, when you hear phrasing like that, what do you hear as an expert?
RODERICK: That sounds like to me that somebody has actually put eyes on him.
BURNETT: That someone has put eyes on him. So, you would think this could be going down in second or minutes. Obviously, the biggest fear, though, is that he's armed.
RODERICK: Exactly. I mean, we have to obviously assume he's armed. There's already been one shoot out. Now, the question is, whether he's going to give up, whether he's going to get into a firefight or the possibility of suicide. So, any one of those options could occur here. I'm hoping we can take him down and arrest him alive so that we can find out exactly what occurred prior to the escape from the facility and what he did afterwards.
[19:35:07] BURNETT: And if he is heavily armed -- I mean, Art, what would your assumption be as to why they would be at this moment, obviously, very careful, because we do know, I want to remind our viewers, the reason he was in Clinton correctional was he shot a deputy sheriff 22 times. So, they believe he is willing and able to try to do that again.
But do you think that that is what he's planning to do, to go out in a blaze of glory as a friend of Richard Matt says, Richard Matt wanted to do?
RODERICK: It would seem that way. I mean, he's doing 25 years to life. More than likely he'll die in jail in he goes back. So, it's really going to be his decision.
If there's any show of a force or weapon at all, these highly trained teams, special operations group from the marshals and the FBI HRT, they'll go ahead and take him immediately. They're not going to chance anything or any opportunity for him to get away at this point.
BURNETT: And, Shane, I want to ask you. When they say right on top of him, you just heard Art say that would mean they have had eyes on him. We've also heard this area is so dense that someone could be a new feet away from you and you wouldn't be able to see them, right?
So, if you're talking about a shootout, if you're talking about trees and objects that are between law enforcement and between David Sweat, do you anticipate that this will be something that they'll be resolving in the next few minutes here, that we'll see some kind of a development?
SHANE HOBEL, SURVIVAL EXPERT: I believe so. And, you know, the only other option that I can see is him lying in wait. There's a lot of nooks and crannies and we're only about an hour away from sunset at this point, and that's what's going to make it difficult. So, being on top and having eyes on, this is where they need to increase pressure. He really doesn't have too many choices at this point.
BURNETT: They're under a lot of pressure, too, do, Shane, as you say, because it's getting dark. I know they have the flood lights. We've reported that. They've got infrared on the helicopters. They're prepared for darkness, but darkness is not in their favors.
HOBEL: No. Having some additional lights actually increase the stark contrast the light and dark. It makes it difficult for officers to move through because having search lights also takes away their night vision ability just by natural adjustment. So, there's a lot of factors for them and against them at this point including Sweat.
So, it's either going to have a shootout, he's going to go out in a blaze of glory here, or he's going to try and hunker down and lay passive at this point and his shadow, and try to outwit them, but I don't see that happening.
BURNETT: All right. Shane, Art, thank you both very much. I know you're going to both be staying with us.
Look, this is developing second by second. We're going to try to squeeze in a commercial. Obviously, we might be coming from it. We're going to be going right back on the ground to our Alex Field to cover this. That they are now saying they are right on top of David Sweat.
We will be back in just a moment.
[19:41:50] BURNETT: The breaking news at this second, a major development in the desperate search for David Sweat, the convicted killer on the run. Our Deborah Feyerick reporting that officials are, quote/unquote, "right on top of David Sweat". Former U.S. marshal telling me that means they have had eyes on him. That is a major development.
Obviously, this is something that is going down in the seconds and minutes as I'm speaking. Richard Matt, who was on the run with him was shot and killed by border patrol officers earlier this evening in a shootout.
Alexander Field is on the ground.
And, Alex, right now, what are you learning? We're hearing, quote, "right on top of David Sweat".
FIELD: Right. Deborah Feyerick getting that information from law enforcement sources. What we're seeing on the ground is just really an onslaught of police units that have moved in the directions south of here, toward Lake Titus. It started about an hour ago. There's been a pretty consistent movement since then, and I'm actually just hearing a helicopter hovering overhead.
This is something we've seen intermittently throughout the afternoon, but obviously the helicopters have been key to this search. As night falls, they become essential to the search as some of these helicopters are of course are equipment with thermal imaging, which is really the only way you could see someone under the cover of darkness.
Take a look, you can see it hovering above right now. I have to say this, though, Erin, we know that even the thermal imaging technology isn't foolproof in an event like this because we're talking about deeply wooded, deeply forested areas, where you got a lot of tree canopy. You can't always tell if there's someone hiding out and you can't distinguish if it's a fugitive of an animal. Just some of the challenges law enforcement will be up against as they continue to descend on this area tonight.
They've got that tight perimeter. We've got this encouraging news, of course, from what Deborah Feyerick is hearing from law enforcement sources, but everyone is waiting to hear the words "capture".
The shooting of Richard Matt happened at 3:40 this afternoon. We can infer that that's the closest that police have been to David Sweat. They saw a second set of tracks that they think belonged to David Sweat. They're hoping he hasn't been able to slip far beyond the place where they took Richard Matt down. The course they have pursued to this point appears to have gone from cabin to cabin.
We know there was a break in at a cabin a week ago. We know there was another cabin that was burglarized and reported sometime yesterday that police connected to the fugitives and today a man calling police after he said he saw an alcohol bottle out on the table.
So, the question now, where is David Sweat in he probably can't get to another cabin at this point. Police are hoping to close in on him well before that.
BURNETT: All right. Alex Field is going to stay with us. Obviously, she's on the phone too, talking to sources but she's staying with us. We have her ready as news may break any instant.
I want to go back to U.S. Marshal Arthur Roderick, his team is actually up there on the ground right now. And with me also, retired NYPD detective, Sergeant Joe Giacalone.
All right. Sergeant, one of the things you've been talking about here, you and I in this commercial, we're saying, yes, they may have eyes on him as Art was saying, they may be right there, but they need to take him alive.
JOSEPH GIACALONE, RETIRED NYPD DETECTIVE SERGEANT: Yes, I'd want him alive. I mean, he is a treasure-trove of information.
[19:45:01] He's going to be able to tell us how it was done, who enabled him.
BURNETT: Which is crucial.
GIACALONE: Which is crucial because the inspector general is going to want to know that, too, because they're doing the investigation at the prison. You know, there's probably a lot of nervous people there tonight.
BURNETT: And, Art, would you agree that their goal right now is to try to get him alive. Of course, they're also nervous because this is a man who had no problem shooting a sheriff's deputy 22 times.
RODERICK: Yes, I absolutely agree. I mean, it would be great to take him alive. I -- several years ago, I was involved in a shooting situation in terrain similar to this. I think when we're saying seven feet is actually less than that and it is very, very chaotic. So, I think the last thing we want to do is be involved in a shooting situation in this type of terrain. If they're talking to him now, which I hope they're doing, maybe they can talk him out of this, but I'm not too optimistic about this.
BURNETT: Right, Joe, but you're not -- you got the U.S. Marshals, Art's team up there, you have Border Patrol and a lot of different groups in this perimeter and they're not necessarily able to talk directly to each other. It might be going back through command and control.
GIACALONE: Communication is a problem with a big large situation like this. So, you know, listen, these guys are well-trained law enforcement agents. You know, their job is to take him alive. Nobody wants to have to take anybody's life. I mean, the possibility of him taking his own life is probably greater than the police shooting him.
BURNETT: All right. Well, as we await this, we're going to take a brief break and break out of it if there is a development here. We'll be right back at the moment.
Our breaking news coverage continues. One escaped killer dead. The other one police authorities say they are, quote-unquote, "right on top of" at this moment.
We'll be right back.
[19:50:35] BURNETT: The breaking news -- law enforcement officials say they are, quote, "on top of David sweat." Closing in. He is on the run. But literally, we understand that likely means they have already had eyes on him.
Obviously, a couple of hours ago, Richard Matt who he was on the run with was killed in a shootout with authorities. This following their brazen prison escape from the Clinton correctional facility in upstate New York.
I want to get straight to Jean Casarez. She's on the ground in Cadyville, at the command center.
Jean, as we are hearing that they are right on top of David Sweat, that that might mean eyes on him. You're at the command center. They're dealing with U.S. marshals, border patrol and police and all these different people in this cordoned off area, what are you hearing?
JEAN CASAREZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, they're also dealing with the daylight hours. We have got about one hour left of daylight. And what we're learning from law enforcement, Clinton County sheriff's department, they are prepared tonight to conduct this search through the night. They have infrared on helicopters that will be going up to be able to look and see at things on the ground they cannot normally see. So, a couple of minutes ago, two more helicopters went up. And I
would say, in the last few hours, 10 to 20 helicopters have left from right here. They have not come back. We do know David Sweat was a convicted murderer because he killed law enforcement.
Now, as you are saying law enforcement is focusing in, centering in. They say it will take as long as it takes. But tonight that search continues -- Erin.
BURNETT: All right, Jean. From what you are hearing, do they believe this could really go down at any moment? I mean, if they say on top of him, possibly eyes on being the meaning. This, that's what that means?
CASAREZ: I think they are prepared for any moment for anything to break and to happen. They're prepared with infrared lights for this to take us after the sun sets tonight.
BURNETT: All right, Jean, thank you very much.
I want to go right now to John Mulligan. He served time at Clinton correctional. He knows Richard Matt.
John, of course, Richard Matt in a shootout just a couple of hours ago was killed by police. David Sweat is now still on the run. But they believe that they are, quote/unquote, "on top of him."
Do you think that those two men would have been this close together?
JOHN MULLIGAN, SERVED TIME AT CLINTON CORRECTIONAL: Yes, I do. I think they would have teamed up and stayed together considering the circumstances.
BURNETT: Does it surprise you Richard Matt went out in this kind of a shootout?
MULLIGAN: No, no, not considering this last appeal was denied. He always expressed to me that he couldn't live like that. You know, he said that if he lost his last appeal, he would commit suicide and I guess this was another option for him.
BURNETT: So, you are not surprised. And David Sweat, of course, I know, obviously was with Richard Matt. You know, we understand he was in Clinton correctional because he shot a law enforcement sheriff's deputy 22 times. I would imagine you think this could go down the same way?
MULLIGAN: Well, I don't know David Sweat. I could only speculate on that. But I do know Richard Matt. I have seen David Sweat. But I don't know him. I have never had a conversation with him.
BURNETT: All right. I appreciate your time, very much, sir. Thank you.
MULLIGAN: Thank you.
BURNETT: And next our breaking news coverage continues.
[19:58:31] BURNETT: Breaking news, law enforcement closing in on the escaped killer David Sweat on the run, after Richard Matt was shot and shootout with police just hours, just a couple hours ago. I want to go back to Arthur Roderick, former U.S. Marshal. His team among those on the ground.
You have been talking to the team, when they say to our Deborah Feyerick, you've been on top of him, that means likely that you have physically seen him eyes on.
RODERICK: Yes, generally, eyes on, or at least talking to him. This is a very heavily wooded area. And the one thing you have got to realize is that when marshal special operations or FBI HRT, BORTAC, when they're trained, they're trained to shoot when they have target acquisition. Sweat is not trained like that. So, he could just spray the woods with bullets. But those highly professional teams will only shoot when they have target acquisition.
BURNETT: How much pressure do they feel with darkness coming? I mean, they have got flood lights, we know they've got infrared on the helicopters. How much pressure do they fool to fiend him in the next 50 minutes or so before it's dark?
RODERICK: Yes, it's a good question. I mean, obviously, it is better to find him when you searching in light. But I know the teams also have night vision goggles, night vision scopes that they have on the ground. And also the flare which is the forward looking infrared on the aircraft.
So, yes it is an advantage to catch him in daylight. But, you know, they will continue searching with that type of technology.
BURNETT: All right, Art, thank you very much, sir.
And thanks to all of you for joining us.
Our continuing coverage of the breaking news continues with "AC360".