This is a rush transcript from "MediaBuzz," July 17, 2016. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.
HOWARD KURTZ, HOST: This is a Fox News alert. Some deeply troubling breaking news out of Baton Rouge, Louisiana. The Associated news reporting authorities say more than one police officer has been shot there. Police have closed streets near the Baton Rouge headquarters. We are closely monitoring the situation and we'll bring you the latest as soon as we can find out more about it.
And we're live in Cleveland this morning as Donald Trump and mike Pence are ready to launch their convention with 15,000 journalists streaming into this crucial swing state. The media excitement has been palpable, not so much about the coming convention but about the veepstakes with the press corps trying to define (ph) Trump's choice -- Newt, Christie, Pence and sometimes, well, just plain guessing.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Just getting word now that Donald Trump is meeting with another of the men on his short list of potential running mates.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The folks around Trump are saying to us, "No, don't count Christie out." So, it could be that guy.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: So far though, all my sources say that ultimately Donald Trump is going to pick somebody who gels with his personality. Somebody that he feels he can get along with. That is not to say that Governor Pence is out of the running in any way.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KURTZ: Word began to leak to journalist on Thursday, especially when Pence flew to New York and news outlets such as CNN, NBC and (inaudible) said they had confirmed or sort of confirmed the choice.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Newt Gingrich and Chris Christie haven't been publicly ruled out but multiple sources say the indications are that Trump has apparently decided on Indiana governor Mike Pence as running mate.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KURTZ: But then came the heartbreaking terror attack in France, a truck driver killing at least 84 people in Nice, prompting Trump to postpone his scheduled news conference and insist to Fox News that he hadn't made a final, final decision before tweeting the news on Friday morning. Pence sat down with Sean Hannity before a New York rollout that was panned by the pundits because Trump didn't talk much about his running mate.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEAN HANNITY, FOX NEWS HOST: Are you ready for the predictable onslaught? The Clinton campaign has said you are incredibly divisive. As a matter of fact, you are the most extreme pick in a generation. Doesn't surprise you, right?
GOV. MIKE PENCE (R-IN), VICE PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: You know, I'm a conservative, but I'm not in a bad mood about it.
DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESUMPTIVE PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: Governor Mike Pence was my first choice. I've admired the work he's done.
PENCE: I'm a Christian, a conservative, and a Republican, in that order.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KURTZ: We have an all star lineup here this hour with many of your Fox favorites.
And joining us now here in Cleveland, Heidie Przybyla, senior political correspondent for "USA Today;" Steve Hayes, senior editor at the "Weekly Standard" and a Fox News contributor and Kirsten Powers, a Fox News analyst.
So Heidi, the media coverage of Trump's V.P. deliberation, it's Pence, it's not definite, he hasn't called Christie yet. It seemed rather chaotic. Not the media's finest hour?
HEIDI PRZYBYLA, "USA TODAY": Gone are the days of just waiting for the announcement. But this is what reporters do, they all want to break the story. But Howie, there was something very unusual that happened here that I think made it especially kind of neurotic-seeming, and that is that Trump's plane broke down, so you have...
KURTZ: All right, I got to stop you right there because of news in Baton Rouge, I'm sorry. We are trying to find out about the police shooting in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. We have reports of more than one officer killed, a Fox News alert. We are going to talk by phone with Rod Wheeler, he was Fox News contributor and a former homicide detective in the District of Columbia.
Rod, it's amazing to me, we're sitting here in Cleveland, we're about to begin our convention coverage, and yet these reports of another shooting of one or more police officers in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. It is sort of getting hard to escape the conclusion that there is something of a pattern here. Your thoughts?
ROD WHEELER, FORMER HOMICIDE DETECTIVE: That's right, Howard. Just to kind of give you an update, I've been monitoring this for the past 15 minutes, the shooting happened, according to multiple sources, not far from the Baton Rouge police headquarters, which is off of Airline Highway there in Baton Rouge.
Now, so far the police in Baton Rouge are calling this an active shooter situation, which means they do not have an individual under arrest and charged with this situation yet. It's still a very fluid situation, and there are multiple reports of multiple officers obviously shot. We don't know the status of those officers in terms of their condition.
But I can tell you that there is a massive manhunt under way right now with the Baton Rouge police, and the FBI has been notified to try to search down and track down this individual, Howard.
KURTZ: You're looking at live pictures right now, with WAFB in Baton Rouge as we're talking to Rod Wheeler about this breaking news and certainly heartbreaking news, and we've had to do this again and again, it seems. Rod, no accident, it seems to me, without jumping to conclusions, that Baton Rouge is the place where this is happening.
That of course is the city in Louisiana where Alton Sterling was killed by police in a confrontation that was captured on video that sparked a lot of anger, perhaps helped inspire along with the situation on the fatal police shooting in Minnesota, the awful, horrifying ambush killing of five police officers in Dallas just over a week ago, now that I think about it. So, you're a police officer. Are you more on edge, more worried now that it does seem to be that there are a lot of people out there with anger against police officers or white police officers, as was the case in Dallas, and that this has changed the situation for every police force in America?
WHEELER: Oh, absolutely. I can tell you, Howard that police departments all across the nation are under high alert right now, because of threats such as this. Now, just to add insult to injury, the Baton Rouge police department, ever since the shooting of Alton Sterling, they have been under an extremely high alert, and they received many, many threats by way of social media.
So, they have been kind of preparing for the worst. They've had individuals actually sending e-mails to them, making threats. So, for this shooting to occur this morning, to many, it's not that much of a surprise. However, the police, because of their massive response, hopefully they'll be able to identify this individual, if it was just one individual -- they haven't said yet.
But again, they continue to tweet out, and I'm just reading one right now, where they are asking the community to stay away from the area near the police headquarters, and they are looking for at least one, maybe two subjects, they just don't know yet, very fluid situation. But again, Howard, police departments all across the country, including there in Cleveland where you are, are on high alert because of this potential threat.
KURTZ: All right, let me bring in some of our guests here in Cleveland where we're obviously planning to cover the convention. Steve Hayes, I don't have anything more eloquent to say than here we go again.
STEVE HAYES, FOX NEWS CONTRIBUTOR: Yeah. I mean there is this sense that this is happening time and time again. And as a country, we're so divided. And I think that the coverage, I mean, this makes it very difficult for journalists to cover because on the one hand you need to provide the minute by minute coverage that we're doing now. You need to provide as much context as you can, but you want to do it in a way that doesn't inflame the passions on both sides.
And there are very passionate views on both sides. You have on the one hand the videos that we've seen in many cases have been horrific, of these police shootings, these police actions. On the other hand, you know that it doesn't represent all police officers. So, I think, you know, it's an important to find that balance.
KURTZ: Right, and Kirstin Powers, I thought in the wake of Dallas because the country was so shocked by the senseless killings there, that the media were taking a more restrained approach, not being more inflammatory.
KIRSTEN POWERS, FOX NEWS ANALYST: Yeah.
KURTZ: All right, hang on. We'll get you on the other side. We're going to go now to local affiliate in Baton Rouge, talking -- listening to a police spokesman, I don't have his name right now, we'll put it up on the screen as soon as we get it.
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The scene at this point in time we feel is contained but we're asking everyone to stay out of the area, as we learn more we'll be updating.
GREG MERIWETHER, WAFB NEWS CORRESPONDENT: Give us an idea of that area, because we have several people watching now that live like in the Broadmoor community. There are few neighborhoods around there. Who and where are we talking about? We obviously know I-12 and Airline. How far does it go on the other side?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's going to extend through the (inaudible) area. Again, there are several, multiple agencies out here. Again, we feel the scene has been contained. And again, we ask individuals to give it some thought and remain from the area.
MERIWETHER: When you say that the situation has been contained, does that mean that the suspects are in custody?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We're -- I'm trying to learn more on that. I'm trying to get some info on the suspects, not sure if it's more than one. But at this point in time, again, we feel the scene has been contained, and I'll update you as I learn more.
MERIWETHER: The big quick area there that's, I don't know if you're a part of this, but you know, from time to time, I mean that area, I have noticed officers hang out in that direction. Do you know if they were on duty? Were they actively working? Does these have anything to do with what we've been dealing with the last week and a half in Baton Rouge?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Again, the information, as far as what brought this on, we're still trying to get the details on. It is believed that these officers were on duty at the time this occurred. I'm not exactly sure if they were just doing a police thing or responding to something. Again, you know, we're trying to get the details lined out to learn more about this and what brought this on.
MERIWETHER: What happens when the call goes out, shots fired? Just kind of walk our viewers through what happens, especially when you hear that officers have been shot.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, at any point in time that a shots fired call goes out, it is frightening for any citizen because you don't want anyone to experience that, much more when you hear that an officer is involved because of the fact that this is family, or just a regular citizen of Baton Rouge, there's a family tie there too. So, it's very scary and you just hope for the best.
MERIWETHER: And right now, you've not heard any more on the conditions of these officers and or deputies?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: At this point in time, I have not. (Inaudible)
MERIWETHER: And I just have a couple of quick things for you, I know that you need to go. Are we sure that this was just Baton Rouge police or do we believe that the sheriff's office is involved in the officers, that we got?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We're hearing it may also include some deputies. But again, that's preliminary information as far as I'm waiting on confirmation for. We can definitely say that the word has been made as possibly.
MERIWETHER: (Inaudible). Thank you very much. I know you have just north of 500 or so police officers and very possible that you may know who was involved in this. I appreciate you taking time to get us the information. I know that's part of your job, but I know you also have a heart, and it hits home. So, thank you for taking the time for us and we will try to get more information from you when you feel it is necessary.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: All right.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KURTZ: You've been watching a live feed from WAFB, Baton Rouge. The fact is, this is live television, folks. We don't have a lot of information. We don't even know how many police officers reportedly were shot. We will bring that to you. We will stay on and come back to our panel in Cleveland.
Kirstin Powers, we were just talking about the Dallas shock to all of us journalists, citizens, Americans, and how that affects the media climate and really the political climate, as Donald Trump gets ready to begin his convention here.
POWERS: Yeah. I mean, I think we do have to be careful because we don't know who shot the police officer. You know, we need more information about it and I think what we'll tend to see is everybody goes to their corners, and some people will be blaming, you know, police for the brutality, and some people will be blaming Black Lives Matter people, and it's actually a more complicated situation than that, I think.
Steve said, most police officers are not gunning down innocent people. But at the same time, most Black Lives Matter people are not gunning down cops. And so we need to remember that. But even if this person says, like the shooter in Dallas said that they're angry about police brutality, it doesn't mean that this is part of the Black Lives Matter movement.
I mean, somebody who goes out and shoots an innocent person is a different kind of person than your sort of average protester, in the same way that the police officer who brutalizes somebody is different than your average police officers.
KURTZ: And Heidi Przybyla, to the extent to which the media tried to be restrained particularly in a fluid situation where we don't know the facts and we don't know whether there is one or more shooting, we don't know the motivation, we don't know much of anything right now. But, what happens is as time goes, is it becomes an issue or further a fodder for a political campaign. The fact that this is happening just at the start of the first of the two party conventions, that could happen again, could it not?
PRZYBYLA: It may because we're just in such an on-edge period right now in American politics. I mean, it just seems like we are constantly living in the aftermath of some kind of civil unrest or some kind of terrorist attack. And those fears absolutely will play into people's emotions and maybe even their preferences for a presidential candidate. Now, I don't think either Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump is going to overtly politicize any of this.
As a matter of fact, as we saw in the aftermath of the recent terrorist attack in Paris, they were very restrained, at least initially, and hesitant to kind of politicize this. And I think the media for their part as well, in the aftermath of some of these shootings, has also been very restrained, like you said before.
I didn't get to mention this on the show last week, but both the "Post" and "New York times" were putting the same -- kind of some of the same images on their front pages of a young African-American girl signing condolences on a police card down in Dallas, and you juxtapose with some of the focus earlier in the campaign on a single individual at a Trump rally sucker punching someone or a single protestor outside of that rally getting violent, which is like Kirsten said, it's not representative of the broader groups involved there.
KURTZ: If you are just joining us, we have incomplete reports but reports nonetheless of one or more police officers being shot in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. And I'm just thinking about the last few days, Steve Hayes faced. You have the awful truck attack in Nice, at least maybe 84 people killed and many more wounded, you're finding out there were a coup in Turkey, I mean, in our time -- and I was going to ask you all about what impact that has.
When the attack happened in France on Thursday night, Donald Trump called in to "the O'Reilly Factor" as well as Greta. Hillary Clinton called into "The O'Reilly factor," she doesn't usually do that with Fox News. So, there's no way that the candidates can avoid having to deal with the bloodshed being carried into Americans' living room.
HAYES: No, they can't, and I think part of what this campaign is likely to be about between now and November is making sense of all of this chaos. I mean in some ways, you know, it's easy for media types to lump it all together, because it's a series of sort of blows on the American polity. But in many ways, they're not related.
I mean, there is this chaos, but you know, what's happening in Nice isn't necessarily related to what's happening in Turkey, which has nothing to do with what's happening here. And I think what you're going to see is probably an argument about how we explain these things, I mean, between the candidates and the reporters covering it.
KURTZ: Let me go back by phone to former D.C. homicide detective Rod Wheeler. Do you believe, as somebody with long experience in this field, that there is a copy cat nature to this or if not copy cat -- when talking about connections, leaving aside the terror attacks overseas, that when there is a fatal police shooting in Baton Rouge, when there is a fatal police shooting within 24 hours in suburban St. Paul, Minnesota, and then the killing of the five officers and the wounding as well of others in Dallas, for people out there who have access to weapons and maybe already have hatred, who maybe already are radicalized, maybe radicalized by ISIS or another terrorist group, does this make it more likely that they will act?
WHEELER: Oh, absolutely, Howard. Not only is this the copy cat type situation, we're going to start seeing more of these, and we in law enforcement had realized that, and that's why we're on high alert. But you also have individuals, Howard, that are inspired and they receive this propaganda from groups like ISIS by way of social media. And what happens is that inspires these people to go out and commit these atrocious acts like the one we saw down in Dallas.
Right now, from what I'm being told, and down there where this situation is in Baton Rouge, the police may have contained the situation, and what does that mean? That means some reports right now are stating that the suspect may be down. We don't know that and I want to caution the listeners to be careful when you hear a lot of information like that. But right now, some reports are saying that the shooter may be down. Now, the mayor of Baton Rouge is saying that there are multiple police officers shot. He isn't saying anything about their condition. But again, this is a very fluid investigation right now.
KURTZ: Well, that's critical information, Rod, and thank you for updating our viewers on that because the first thing you want to know is whether or not there's an active shooter. All right mayor of Baton Rouge, we're going to listen in right now on what he has to say about this unfolding situation.
KIP HOLDEN, BATON ROUGE MAYOR: As this is Sunday, we're asking people to pray for the families, pray for those officers in general who put their lives in danger every day, and pray that there is a city that comes together. And I guess, Greg, the other thing that really pains me greatly, after you're watching all this rhetoric back and forth and venomous stuff spilling out of people's mouth about officers and everything else, just think about it, you have somebody breaking into a pawn shop with the sole intent of getting weapons to kill officers. And then you have this horrific thing that happens this morning.
Common sense needs to prevail. The city needs to be the great city that it is. And I know I'm not and a lot of people are not going to let folks take this city back behind their personal agendas.
MERIWETHER: And there are plenty of those going on, mayor Holden. What can you say and you kind of mentioned it, there are a lot of 11:00 services that unfortunately this is going to make the sermon. What do you say to the folks out there who are still mad at the situation? They might still be mad at police. They might still be mad at the suspect involved earlier last week. What do you say to people who are just flat out angry right now?
HOLDEN: Well, I would tell them to go back today, and especially in the Baptist or Christian church, when this is communion Sunday, for example, at my church. But that's done in remembrance of Jesus Christ who died on the cross. But yet on the cross, God still forgave a sinner. I'm not saying all officers are sinners, but we got to learn the spirit of forgiving -- but not -- and forgiving and not forgetting but forgiving and use it s building blocks to move on because we have children out here who are watching the adults -- on the adults and misbehaving.
How can we go out and advocate to our children when we see a city of adults who seem like they can't control their own emotions in terms of being violent? This is an all call to say to people throughout Baton Rouge and other areas in general, sit down, relax, take a deep breath, get on your knees, analyze what's going on, and use it as a building block instead of a stumbling block.
MERIWETHER: Mayor Kip Holden, we had some video earlier of your former chief, Jeff LeDuff, showing up at the hospital. He looked very emotional and upset. He obviously lost an officer, as you did under your watch, several of them. What kind of those -- are we at that point now? Have we lost officers in this?
HOLDEN: Well, I tell you what. You know, right now, hopefully, because we are now trying to make sure that we're getting more and more officers. But I mean, the thing is right here, this is a very dangerous job. I mean, I cannot even tell you the magnitude except I've worked public information for city police, and also I've been mayor for 12 years -- you see it from a totally different perspective.
When they kiss their daughters and sons and wives goodbye, you know, the bottom line is that those families aren't sure whether that person is going to come back to the door. So, we can alleviate some of the fears by showing a spirit of brotherhood and sisterhood instead of drawing a line in the sand and saying, you stay on that side of the line, I'll stay on that side of the line, and we're never shake hands.
So right now, there is a call to everybody, regardless of how you may feel, there is still a poor city and a great place that we live in. Don't let it be defined by what happened today or what happened last week or anything of that magnitude. It is an urgent call for us to come together.
MERIWETHER: Mayor Holden on this situation here, and we appreciate your time. What can you tell us on the officers' conditions? Have we -- do we have anything more on maybe any officers who may have passed away?
HOLDEN: No, sir, they have not confirmed yet. They are three -- they're describing as very seriously ill, and then, so that's what I'm waiting on now for a confirmation from the city police. But I can tell you, it's a very, very fluid situation as we speak.
MERIWETHER: Sure. Three feared dead from Mayor Kip Holden. Thank you very much for that sir. I know much of this could change and I thank you for your comments. Anything else you wanted to add? I know you're very busy.
MERIWETHER: Well, Greg, let me thank you all, but there has to be a community dialogue here, not with bitterness, but saying, look, yeah, there have been some things that have happened in our community, but my God, look how far we've come over the last decade plus. And we're going to have to find those granules of success. They're not lost.
Take the things that we have done to build this into the city that it is, and move forward. Talk, have conversations, have dialogues. But don't go into a shell and not express yourself about things that you think need to happen in order for this city to continue to move forward.
MERIWETHER: Mayor Kip Holden, thank you. Again, you're telling us that you have heard that three officers are in very, very bad shape at this point.
HOLEDN: Yes, sir. Yes, sir.
MERIWETHER: Okay. Thank you very much for that. We appreciate it. If you hear anything else, please pass it on to us and thank you for talking to the citizens of Baton Rouge and your message...
HOLDEN: Yes, sir, thank you.
KURTZ: We have been listening to Baton Rouge mayor Kip Holden, providing the first hard information that three officers at the very least seriously wounded. He did not say that they were dead, and so we're happy (ph) to have that. The mayor also obviously trying to keep spirits and morale up as every community leader does in the wake of what is unfortunately becoming an increasingly frequent occurrence with either police being shot or other kinds of violence.
We're going now to Washington and my Fox News colleague Leland Vittert. Leland, you covered the riots in Baltimore and the aftermath and it seems like we in the press now just bounced from one tragedy to another, whether it's fatal shootings of police, whether it's protesters getting out of control, whether it's radicalized people getting access to guns and going after police officers.
LELAND VITTERT, FOX NEWS WASHINGTIN D.C. CORRESPONDENT: We've certainly seen how over the past year or so, from the time in Baltimore, this progression of violence against police officers and the calls by some activists to target police officers. Be it we heard in Baltimore the anger towards police officers, then the chants of some of the folks at various Black Lives Matter protests about "pigs in a blanket, fry them" and those kinds of things. And then we saw the shootings in Dallas. And now what appears to be another situation of police officers being targeted in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.
We know there were police officers targeted in Baltimore a couple of days ago. These are live pictures right now from Louisiana, WAFB, the local affiliate down there. This area that this is happening is called the Old Hammond neighborhood. And you can see it's a relatively suburban neighborhood there. A number of police cars set up with a perimeter. Here is what we know right now. Allegedly there were three officers shot and in grave condition. Whether or not they have passed away or they are still being worked on by medical professionals trying to save their lives, we don't know.
There was an interview earlier with a spokesperson for the Baton Rouge police department who says that they believe the situation has been contained. And as you see, the police officers walking around in this scene, in this picture that we're getting from Baton Rouge, you do get the feeling that there is less of a sense of urgency than there was a little while ago when there was potentially a gunman still on the loose. Obviously still at this point they are keeping folks a long way away from these scenes.
According to the television station whose picture you are looking at right now, WAGB, they are saying that senior law enforcement officials are confirming to them that two law enforcement officers have died. Obviously here at Fox News, we cannot confirm the number or if indeed there have been fatalities. Bringing back in Rod Wheeler now, and Rod, this really seems to be a seismic change in the world, that police officers now aren't necessarily caught in the crossfire or perhaps in a shootout with one deranged criminal, but are now really targets as they simply walk around and do their job.
WHEELER: Absolutely. You're right. Every police officer in this country realizes now that we are targets. And we do have a target on our back. And it's unfortunate, Leland, because when you look at all of these police shootings and situations involving various communities across the country, the police have not really done anything wrong. They're just trying to enforce the law.
There may be one-off incidents were the police actions were questioned, but at the same time the police get up each and every day, puts that uniform, put that badge on, and they go out to protect our nation. And as a matter of fact, let me just add to that...
VITTERT: You know, Rod, I want to interrupt you real quickly here.
VITTERT: We have some bad news. According to the local CBS affiliate there in Baton Rouge, at least two Baton Rouge police officers have been killed and are confirmed dead in this shooting. It started about 9 o'clock there, Baton Rouge time. That would be 10 o'clock eastern, roughly an hour and a half ago the shooting began there in Baton Rouge.
There have been some reports of perhaps a masked gunman, perhaps unmasked gunmen, we don't know. As we're looking here at this scene, it appears as though we're looking down a divided highway, a two-lane divided highway there in Baton Rouge that may be near the Baton Rouge police department in this area of Baton Rouge called Old Hammond.
And we heard from the mayor earlier, Rod, who would think that-- he as talking about this is Sunday morning, and folks are heading to church there in Baton Rouge, and asking for his community's prayers. At the time, it was prayers that the officers might come through. Sadly we know that two officers will not be pulling through this.
WHEELER: That's right.
VITTERT: And have passed away. What I'm interested from your perspective here is, as officers now are going about their days -- we're now going to listen in, WAFB now has a witness there on scene to the shooting.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MERIWETHER: Kobe Burrell (ph) -- sorry, you have something else?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No, that's it.
MERIWETHER: OK< thank you very much for joining us. I appreciate that. That gives us the perspective of someone who lives in that area and some of you are probably watching or thinking, "Can I get out, do I need to get in? I have an older mother or father that lives in that area, can I get to them? It appears that that area is blocked off. He lives there in (inaudible), the neighborhood there, behind it there, off of Old Hammond, close to the Walmart neighborhood market.
Let's switch now to the hospital in this. Graham Ulkins is there where we're learning that the officers were taken there and Graham, we're getting reports, early reports that two officers have died in this. What can you tell us from OU Lady of the Lake Hospital?
GRAHAM ULKINS, WAFB CORRESPONDENT: Greg, the very latest here outside Our Lady of the Lake is that a coroner's vehicle just went inside. Also, there is an armed officer with a pretty big rifle stopping all vehicles coming into the emergency department here at the main entrance of Our Lady of the Lake. The flag here has been lowered to half-staff as well as outside Our Lady of the Lake.
Now earlier, right as this situation was developing about an hour ago, all of the entrances were blocked completely to the hospital as those officers and possible deputies were arriving here by ambulance. There have been all sorts of police vehicles speeding in and out of the hospital right now. We know former Police Chief Jeff LeDuff was seen coming in and out as well.
So, we've been in touch with hospital staff and we're working to get some numbers. We requested those numbers, as to how many patients they're treating, and those patients' conditions, but still waiting to hear back on that as of course this is all developing very rapidly. But still all cars being stopped going into the emergency room entrance, the main entrance here on Essen Lane. So, certainly a big police presence around the hospital as well as we wait for updates on the officers who are gravely injured. Greg.
MERIWETHER: Graham, you got think that police officer standing behind you, the African-American guy, he's holding a bigger rifle and standing and guarding the hospital, you got to figure what's probably going through his mind. He probably has the information that we have now, that two officers have been killed. You can only imagine what he's thinking about, with his city, and having to be a police officer being black in this...
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VITTERT: As we continue to watch the pictures coming in from Louisiana, the hospital there where conceivably the two police officers who passed away were taken. We're hearing that a coroner's van is pulling there, into that hospital that is now being guarded by what is being described as heavily armed Baton Rouge police officers.
I want to bring in our own Will Carr, who has been in Baton Rouge, covering the unrest there. Will, as we look at the hospital now, my understanding is you're a little bit closer to the scene there, the Baton Rouge police department, and then this Walmart neighborhood market that's not too far away on that main highway that had seen so many protests, is that correct?
WILL CARR, FOX NEWS CORRESPONDENT: That's right, Leland. We're about five miles east of downtown Baton Rouge right now. And to give you a perspective, this is about seven miles away from the Triple S convenience store where Alton Sterling was killed on July 4th. And the best way I can describe this right now is that it's a chaotic, fluid situation.
Police officers are racing around us, just flying by, going to the scene. We're being told the scene is contained, but officers are still everywhere at this point. We've confirmed, as you've been reporting, multiple officers have been shot, but as I mentioned, a very chaotic scene at this point.
VITTERT: As of now, the latest we're hearing is at least four officers shot, two are confirmed dead. And that's coming to us from the CBS affiliate there in Baton Rouge, WAFB. Two things for you, Will, number one, give us a sense of the feeling in Baton Rouge. Had things sort of calmed down after the violence we saw last weekend, or was there still really a lot of tension between the police and a lot of the protesters and agitators down there?
CARR: Yeah, things have absolutely calmed down over the past week, so much so that we were talking to people who live and work in and around this area yesterday, and they thought this had really passed. But last weekend, you may remember that officers came out and said that there had been a burglary at a pawn shop, where four people broke into a nearby pawn shop very close to where we are right now. They stole eight handguns and then according to what authorities said that they were going to use those guns to shoot members law enforcement all across this area.
So, with that in mind, law enforcement here in southern Louisiana have really been on guard all throughout the week while the community was calmed, that they had been keeping a close eye out for potential threats. And obviously, this happened early on a Sunday morning, 9:00 a.m. here. So, these officers have been trying to keep an eye out for any type of threat that's been going on and obviously, the worst has just happened here today, Leland.
VITTERT: Very clearly the worst has happened. Just to give you a sense, Will, of what we're looking at, we're looking down a two-lane divided highway, that should be Airline Highway there in Louisiana near the Baton Rouge police department and also near where the shooting took place. And as we look at the scene, Will, it doesn't appear as though police are moving in what you might say sort of their tactical response.
It seems as though things have calmed down at least in the past 15 minutes. We don't see officers with AR-15's out and those kinds of things. Obviously, these police officers have the knowledge that four of their own had been shot. And you'd think that if the person who did that was still on the run, as we look at what appears to be some type of either surveillance video or perhaps there is other video from WAFB, we don't exactly know where, but as police converge on the scene, but Will, give a sense.
Does it seem as though police have at least contained the situation to the point where they don't feel like there is a, now, cop killer on the loose?
CARR: Yeah, we're being told it is contained, although as I mentioned, it's a fluid situation. You can see officers running all throughout the area. But where we are, which is right on the side of Interstate 12 here, I see five, six police cars, and the officers are calmly standing, probably about half a mile from where this shooting took place.
And something to note too, Leland, is you'll probably recall that Alton Sterling's son, Cameron, who is 15 years old, came out this past week, and he pleaded for the public to stay peaceful and to not respond to his father's death with violence. In fact, he traveled up to Washington, D.C. and support in a town hall where President Obama was there.
CARR: And he was adamant and his family has been adamant not to respond to any of this with violence. So, you can only imagine what they're thinking at this point now that you have multiple officers who have been shot here in Baton Rouge.
VITTERT: And to that point, Will, as we bring in Elizabeth Prann here, also on the set in Washington, D.C., you have to think that four officers shot on a Sunday morning, these officers were targeted. This was not a traffic stop gone wrong or something like that.
ELIZABETH PRANN, FOX NEWS WASHINGTON D.C. CORRESPONDENT: And as we listen to Will, he talked about how we had heard from the surviving members of Alton Sterling's family who had repeatedly called for peaceful protests and to avoid any more violence. So, that does certainly signal that this was a targeted event.
Will, I want to ask you just one more question, and I know you touched on the buzz on perhaps any warnings on social media, people gathering together, perhaps a call for violence. Did that escalate perhaps even last night into this morning? Was there any indication that this was an orchestrated event that you could have seen the footprints of online?
CARR: No, not at all. And in the wake of Cameron Sterling, Alton Sterling's son, asking for people to keep peaceful, it has been very, very calm here for the past couple of days, so much that we were actually in downtown Baton Rouge last night having dinner, talking to a couple of people who work down there, and they said last weekend was night and day compared to this past weekend, where they said they weren't even allowed to go into work last weekend because all the protests -- you had nearly 200 people who were arrested here last weekend.
There has not been a single protest here in the past couple of days. Alton Sterling was buried on Friday. Jesse Jackson, Al Sharpton came into town. Everybody really had a strong message of staying peaceful, and we have not seen any protests at all. So, this is really something that came out of the blue here this morning in Baton Rouge.
PRANN: All right, Will Carr, reporting live. Will, please keep us updated if you learn any new details, of course, to pass that along to our viewers, and thank you so much for joining us.
VITTERT: It appears the scene here near the Baton Rouge police department where those four officers were shot, Airline Highway and one of the major interstates, Interstate 12, that goes through Baton Rouge there. As we continue our coverage here, we want to bring in Howard Kurtz, Martha MacCallum who are in Cleveland.
And then you have to think, guys, that really that now, the issue of police violence and police targeting that appears to have happened here is now going to be center stage. And we saw that from Donald Trump yesterday, and perhaps center stage in the coming weeks there where you are at the RNC.
KURTZ: I was even questioning whether the awful ambush of five police officers in Dallas was going to change the tone of this convention. I think that it is impossible to believe that anybody with a blue uniform and a badge now is not in some sense a target, without being alarmist about it, in every community in America. And of course it's going to affect the political dialogue here in Cleveland.
And Martha MacCallum, you and I have been through too many of these things, and for this to happen in this targeted way on a Sunday morning. But it is important to remind our viewers that we have no information on who the shooter is, what the motivation may be other than obviously did not like police officers, or whether it is somebody who was radicalized by ISIS or another terrorist group.
MARTHA MACCALLUM, FOX NEWS CORRESPONDENT: That's just the issue here because we have so many multiple forms of threats happening at home and around the world. And I remember in past conventions, you know, since 9/11, there were concerns that extremists would try to cause trouble here at home. But now you have a situation where the people who are supposed to be protecting the convention center are themselves watching their brothers in blue be shot in various locations around the country.
So, you know, where the threat is coming from becomes this sort of mysterious question that has to be dealt with by law enforcement on the ground. I mean, this scene that is unfolding in Baton Rouge this morning, and we know that two police officers who left their families to go to work this morning or perhaps overnight last night are not going to make it home today, and this is the reality that we see ourselves living in here.
And on my way here from our hotel, there are literally thousands of police officers who are around this city, who are preparing for this convention, riding motorcycles, riding bicycles, riding horses, and doing their best to protect this city. And they have to be nervous as they head to work, Howie.
KURTZ: That's a great point. And as I was coming in today, I was thinking, are we going to get through a four-day political convention without another one of this eruptions of violence. Of course, the focus here in Cleveland has been on the -- where the protesters -- thousands of protesters expected here, will that get out of control? Not necessarily on what might happen elsewhere in America.
So, if you're Donald Trump and even if you're Hillary Clinton, who is going to sort of the out of the news this week as she prepares for her convention in Philadelphia next week, you have to deal with this. This is what everyone in America is going to be talking about. And once again, the heartbreaking nature of police officers whose job is to protect our communities, to protect us, being slain in the line of duty, I could see that just rising to the top of the political and national and media debate right now.
MACCALLUM: You know, Howard, one of the people who's going to speak at this convention is Officer Clark of Milwaukee. He has been incredibly outspoken about how strongly he feels. He is a black police chief, as everybody who watches us knows. He's been so outspoken against the Black Lives Matter movement, and he will be speaking at the convention.
And we know that Donald Trump has called himself the law and order candidate. Expect a very big presence of men in blue and people sticking up for law enforcement at this convention. It's going to be I think one of the major themes that we're going to see here.
KURTZ: But as we are all sort of reeling, here it is, it has happened again. More police officers killed in the line of duty. Is there a danger because this is a Republican convention? It would be the same thing if it happened next week at the Democratic convention. It's a partisan environment to promote Donald Trump and will get him -- launch him on the way to the White House that it will be or be perceived to be politicized.
MACCALLUM: I don't think so, because the groundwork has already been well- laid for that as a major tenet of the Trump campaign, that they want to stick up for law enforcement. You've seen Donald Trump over the past several months, really, traveling across the country, making appearances with law enforcement officers.
We know it all stems really back to the borders issue. He has stuck up for the border patrol. So, people who are in the position of law enforcement, whether they be border officials or men in blue, and we see this tragic situation unfolding in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, continues to just build the narrative that I think he's already laid out for quite some time.
KURTZ: Right. Well, one thing is clear, not to reduce this to politics, but we now have a very different environment for this convention. A very super charged political story line, as we all are reacting, as Americans, and we don't have all the information, we only have confirmed. Sadly, the two police officers have died from their wounds. We believe the situation is contained.
And this is going to change both conventions, I believe, as we try to get more information about the shooter, about the motivations, about any potential radicalization by Islamic terror groups, and also whether or not -- how this will play out for all of us as the country once again grieving over this terrible news on a Sunday morning. Let's go back to Washington and our colleagues there.
VITTERT: And Howie, we've been just doing a little bit of research here as you all were talking, that police officers really now go to work every day not only knowing that they could get in a violent confrontation with a suspect or get into a car crash as they're to rush to a scene, but they kiss their families goodbye and now realize they are truly targets themselves.
And if you look at the numbers in 2016, the number of officers shot and killed, we're now at 29 officers, just here in the middle of July. To put that number in context, shot and killed in the line of duty in 2015, in the entire year of 2015, 33 officers. The middle of summer, and we're at 29. And we realize now for the first time we are hearing the amount of vitriol and rhetoric about police officers.
And it's sort of -- it's morphed from what we saw even a year ago about, we don't like police officers or police officers are doing this or that, that folks find unseemly or unsightly, to now advocating violence against police officers.
PRANN: Advocating murder.
VITTERT: And advocating -- and advocating the way -- and we're also seeing folks who are not even on the fringe of the social spectrum, not necessarily advocating murder, but also being willing to say, well, it's understandable why it might happen. It's a whole new world we're living in.
PRANN: Yeah. And I want to bring one of our guests. We've had him on the show before. His name is John Matthews, executive director of Community Safety Institute. He's a former Dallas Police Department employee. John, thank you so much for joining us. We have talked really -- it's unfortunate, the last time we talked, we were discussing the fallout and what happened in Dallas.
And I want to get your reaction, because we heard from our Will Carr, there really was no warning on social media. These police officers are left completely defenseless. And I want to get initially, just get your reaction to the news that we're hearing this morning out of Baton Rouge.
JOHN MATTHEWS, COMMUNITY SAFETY INSTITURE EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR: Well, it certainly seems like an ambush-style attack like we saw in Dallas just over a week ago. The police community is really reeling at this point, us in law enforcement. We just buried the last of five officers yesterday here in Dallas, and now this morning we have another horrific event like this. I can tell you that firearms-related deaths are up 56 percent and ambush attacks are up dramatically. And both of those concern us nationwide.
PRANN: I want to tell -- let our viewers know, we're going to be showing some new video. It's not live. It's video outside of one of the hospitals in Baton Rouge where you can see the cops, they're hugging each other, they're there for each other, holding each other. John, I want to ask you, you know, how the community came together after Dallas to really -- to get stronger after an incident like this.
MATTHEWS: Well, I tell you, I thought it was absolutely fantastic. I was in the middle of downtown the entire week. I was with holsters out on barricade, and citizens were coming up in the 100 degree temperatures, offering a brother (ph). Citizens were coming up and hugging them and taking pictures. At the makeshift memorial in front of police headquarters, you saw the community of all races, all colors, all creeds, sitting and embracing and talking with officers from all races, colors and creeds.
MATTHEWS: And so I think the community is great.
VITTERT: I want to -- John, I want to interrupt you for one second here as we're watching these pictures that Elizabeth pointed out from the hospital. The same television station that we are getting news pictures in from WAFB, which is the CBS affiliate there in Baton Rouge, and we can see sort of the overwhelming emotion that folks are feeling as they're getting this news, conceivably about their friends and their loved ones who may be in that hospital.
From WAFB, they now say two police officers, Baton Rouge police officers are dead. They're now saying seven have been shot. We don't know if it's seven plus the two or seven in total. That would be five wounded police officers. But when you hear that, you have to think that this is something very different than a traffic stop gone bad.
MATTHEWS: Yeah, usually you're not going to have that many officers in one spot. It would be two circumstances, usually. A call where multiple officers are dispatched to a scene, where you're going to have three or four responding officers or an attack on officers where other officers were coming to assist, just like happened last week in Dallas. You can certainly see, I'm watching the images in front of us, and the officers at the hospital are visibly shaken. I mean, this is horrific. Now we have targets on our backs.
VITTERT: That seems to be very clear, targets on your back not only in terms of individuals carrying out horrific acts of violence, but also, John, in terms of the communities here, and even some community activists talking about violence against police officers.
Bringing in Will Carr now -- he's been in Baton Rouge for about the past week or so with the violence there has continued and the anger towards police officers has continued. He just arrived on the scene, Will, do you get that feeling -- we were talking about earlier that things are contained or are police officers still moving around in the way that they would if a cop killer was on the loose?
CARR: Yeah, things have calmed down a lot, just in the past couple of minutes, Leland. You can see, we're actually on Airline Highway here and I'd say we're about half a mile from where the shooting took place. And to set this up for you, this is about seven miles away from the Triple S convenient store where Alton Sterling was shot and killed back on July 5th. And in the wake of that shooting, there were protests across this city.
Last weekend, nearly 200 people arrested in those protests, but since then, it's really been quite calm all across this area. Alton Sterling's son, Cameron, 15 years old, came out and made a plea to the public to stay away from violence, stay away from drugs and alcohol. He did say if anybody wanted to peacefully protest, that would be all right, but he pleaded for no violence. So, that led up to this weekend. It has been quite calm all throughout Baton Rouge.
I mentioned a couple of minutes ago, Leland that we were talking to some people who worked downtown last night. They tell us that last weekend they weren't even allowed to go to their jobs. Pretty much all of downtown Baton Rouge shut down because there was a concern over the protest and potential violence. This weekend there were a lot of people going to dinner, pretty much a typical weekend here on Baton Rouge, only to wake up here Sunday morning around 9:00 a.m. where you had this shooting, Leland, where now you have multiple officers shot.
VITTERT: A number of reports coming that at least seven officers shot had been shot, two officers killed. Will, you talked about what Alton Sterling's family was saying about asking for a peaceful protest and those kinds of things, but there have been a lot of agitators. The New Black Panther Movement that is being there in Baton Rouge.
They have been anything but peaceful, talking about protest and calling police things that we can't say on television. I'm wondering, what's the balance between these calls for violence and anger towards police versus these very reasonable calls you might say for a calm and respectful protest?
CARR: And you're definitely right about that. When we've been talking to numbers of law enforcement over the past couple of days, they say that the real agitators are actually not from Baton Rouge. They have come in from elsewhere to try to stir up some chaotic potential situations here. And it goes to note too that last weekend, on Saturday night, there's a pawnshop, probably a couple of miles from where we are right now.
Authorities came out during the middle of the week and said that four men actually tried to break-in to that pawnshop. They did. They stole eight handguns and then one was arrested when he was trying to run away and evidently, allegedly told authorities that it was his intent to shoot officers throughout the area.
So, as I mentioned, it's been quite calm here but at the same time, officers have really been on guard for a potential threat especially after Dallas and the officers shot and killed there. Members of law enforcement here are really taking no chances. And now you see the scene that is playing out here this morning in Baton Rouge, Leland.
VITTERT: Certainly playing out. Will, as you have been in Baton Rouge now for about a week, give a sense of those agitators that have come in, do you have any ideas -- have the police been taking extra precautions? Have they talked to you at all about what's happening in light of that pawnshop robbery and these guns that they know? Did (ph) they had a plan to be used against them?
CARR: Yeah. And I'll point out, so you see we've been seeing this for a while now. You'll have officers racing up the scene -- if you saw that car coming up behind me. For the most part though, it's fairly calm out here. Officers have definitely been on guard all week with the potential threat with Dallas, with the protests. I mean, this is a volatile situation, but when we talked to members of the public here, who live here, they say that they want to make sure that this did not turn into a Ferguson or a Baltimore-type situation.
At the same time, officers have been telling us they've been quite diligent. We asked them if they were teaming up, pairing when they're patrolling. They didn't really want to elaborate as exactly what they were doing, but they've been quite aware that there was a threat against police officers here in Louisiana and obviously, we saw that play out this morning. Leland
PRANN: I know that we have another guest that we want to get to, but before we leave you, I want to bring some of our viewers up to speed who perhaps haven't seen the news this morning. And is there any indication although the details are still coming in and it's not necessarily very clear as to a time line of this morning? Any incidents that we know of leading up to this ambush?
CARR: Yeah, I'm right here.
PRANN: Will, can you hear me?
PRANN: I'm just going to ask you one more time if you can hear me.
CARR: Can you repeat that question?
PRANN: Absolutely. So, a lot of our viewers perhaps are just tuning in this morning, they're getting the news, unconfirmed reports that as many as seven officers may have been shot. Now, I want to ask you, is there any indication or do you have any information of events leading up to this particular incident?
CARR: No. There absolutely was not. It has been quite calm throughout the course of the weekend and even before that. On Friday you'll recall Alton Sterling was buried here. There have been calls for protests after that but a mix of Sterling's family members including his 15-year-old son, Cameron, coming out and pleading for the public to stay peaceful. Plus, there's been very bad weather in the area, probably the past four or five days, severe thunderstorms every afternoon, really quite literally dampened any potential protests.
So, there were no signs leading up to this that this could potentially happen outside of the threat that we've have been talking about, but officers have been quite aware of. But in terms of protest, in terms of violence leading up to this, we haven't seen anything in the past couple of days Elizabeth.
PRANN: All right. Will Carr, reporting live. Thank you so much. We'll, we really appreciate it. We'll keep our viewers posted.
I want to bring on Dan Bongino, former Secret Service who's been in our show many times. Dan, thank you so much for joining us. You're getting the news as we're getting the news this morning.
First and foremost I want to get your reaction and I also want to ask you from a law enforcement standpoint, in the past couple of months, in the heat of the summer, what are police officers and all law enforcement doing to try to be aware of any indications or any signals that events like this could happen?
DAN BONGINO, FORMER NYPD OFFICER: Well, there are a couple of things they're doing. They're beefing up their intelligence apparatus. A lot of these NYPD -- bigger cop departments -- the LAPD, they have a really vibrant intelligence presence (ph). They're sitting on a number of different task forces with federal agencies and getting information in live time. You know, that's critical.
These kinds of attacks, these small weapons, these tactical assaults on police officers are very hard to stop if you don't have good intelligence in advance. Secondly, one of the other things, the boots on the ground level they are doing is a lot of them are abandoning the idea of solo patrol which is frankly is a good idea for community policing type activity, but tactically, it's a terrible idea so you're seeing, really, a two front approach on the preemptive end, but on the reactive end as well.
PRANN: And we heard the mayor confirmed telling reporters that three officers are confirmed dead. Of course, that's the mayor's office. I want to ask you, what does that tell you? Does that tell you more of an ambush style attack? Is that any indication that there could be maybe more than one person involved?
BONGINO: Yeah, multiple officers are dead, down and injured. It's one thing that jumped out at me right away. Most of these police officers will likely have had bullet resistant vests on. These vests, not that you couldn't just take, God forbid, a head shot as well, but the likelihood of taking out three police officers with small arms or handguns is probably unlikely.
Obviously, I've see some reports that if it's a rifle used any way, but this seems to me just based in the available evidence, with the straight up assault and an attempt in massacre. There doesn't seem like to be any other way to analyze this looking at the evidence. So then it just really is disturbing and I think it speaks to all the, obviously the evidences that is in yet about what the motive was.
I don't think we can argue reasonable people that there's been a brewing anti-police climate and reasonable people can all agree at a minimum that that climate is certainly not helping right now especially in the heat of summer with emotions on edge and a presidential election.
I mean, it's really just disturbing how many people out there stirring the pot when they could be helping.
VITTERT: Dan, few things to note here, as we've heard from the mayor that three of these officers have now been confirmed dead by the mayor's office, a possibility of up to seven officers shot. We don't know if that is three officers dead plus sevens shot or making a total of ten or whether it's three officers shot and killed, four shot and wounded as we're looking live at the scene there near to Baton Rouge police department.
But, you bring a pretty interesting point. In light of Dallas, where a number of officers were wearing vest but had been killed because it was a high-powered rifle round. How much is policing going to have to change? How is the calculus going to change from the community policing aspect of officers on foot, out in the communities, trying not to be as "militarized" as they were, but if all of a sudden they're being attacked with long guns with jacketed slugs that can pierce bullet proof vests, suddenly the idea of being militarized is one of self-protection.
BONGINO: Yes. This requires a complete re-evaluation of that and I'm one of the people who had to re-evaluate my position on this. We can't put people out there from this type of environment with equipment that is just not going to protect them, but keep them alive. It doesn't mean we have to militarize entire police departments but as always, we have strong rules of engagement about the use of equipment. We definitely re-evaluate this sadly than to this climate.
PRANN: Right. Dan Bongino, thank you so much for joining us. We really appreciate it. Of course we're going to keep our viewers updated as the breaking news develops. We're going to be passing it on now to our colleague Harris Faulkner, who is in Cleveland. She will be joining us at the top of the hour.
VITTERT: You know you think about this as we sit here and you're sort of going through the amount of news and information that's coming in and you look at that scene, there were three police officers who left their family this morning, gave him a kiss. It was a Sunday morning as (inaudible) things have calmed down a little bit in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, the site of protest and violence earlier. They left their families and now they are not coming home.
PRANN: Not only are they not coming home but we had heard from the surviving members of Alton Sterling's family who have repeatedly called for peace and then we spoke with Will Carr and he said, "simply put, like you said, things have calmed down and for the most part, it seemed as if there wasn't any predictable violence.
VITTERT: Well, it may not be predictable, but law enforcement around the country now realizing they have targets on their back as this Sunday coverage...
HARRIS FAULKNER, FOX NEWS CORESPONDENT: Breaking news now as our coverage continues of the police shootings in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. We're live from Cleveland.
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