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January 18th, 2010
11:40 PM ET

In the midst of looting chaos

Anderson Cooper | BIO
AC360° Anchor

We were covering another story when we heard shots being fired. We ran toward the sound and found a store being looted. Two Haitian police officers were occasionally firing into the air to try to keep order, but that only worked for a few moments, then the looting would begin again.

They were stealing boxes of candles. An American businessman named Tony who owns two stores nearby barricaded one street to keep looters away. He had armed the two Haitian police with automatic weapons, and they were assisting him, but they were not able to control anything beyond their barricade.

It quickly became a free-for-all. Young men began fighting one another for the stolen items. A number of young men had knives, and planks of wood, screwdrivers and rocks. They were using their improvised weapons to threaten and injure others who had stolen items from the store. The robbers were now being robbed. One group of looters whipped another man with a leather belt. They punched him as well, and they stole the sack of goods he'd just stolen.

I was in the midst of the melee with Charlie Moore, my producer, Neil Hallsworth my cameraman, Vlad Duthiers, my translator, and there was a still photographer from Getty Images with us, photojournalist Jonathan Torgovnik. As things got really out of control, I saw a looter on the roof of the store they'd broken into throw what I think was part of a concrete block into the crowd. It hit a small boy in the head.

I saw him collapse. More chunks of concrete were being thrown at the looters on the roof. The injured boy couldn't get up. He'd try and then collapse again. Blood was pouring from his head. He was conscious but had no control over his body. I was afraid someone on the roof would see him lying there and throw another cinder block piece onto him. I was afraid he'd get killed. No one seemed to be helping him.

I ran to where he was struggling, and picked him up off the ground. I brought him to a spot about a hundred feet away. I could feel his warm blood on my arms. I stood him up, but he was clearly unable to walk. He wiped his bloody face, and I tried to reassure him. He had no idea where he was, and he clearly couldn't walk, so I picked him up again and handed him over to someone behind that makeshift barricade. Tony, the American businessman, gave the boy a wet towel. He was then taken away by someone else. We don't know what happened to him.

I hope he's ok.


Filed under: 360° Radar • Anderson Cooper • Haiti Earthquake
soundoff (131 Responses)
  1. Al

    Anderson, You are a Saint ! You and your crew put a human life before your own and saved that boy ! CNN and all it's reporters are all putting the people of Haiti first and themselves last. I really appreciate what they are doing. Dr Gupta took over that Hospital when the Un walked out. What a Man !!! Great Job CNN and all the volunteers over there amid all the danger.

    January 18, 2010 at 9:56 pm |
  2. Rose from New York

    Anderson - you are a journalist that not only talks the talk, but walks the walk. (unlike most other "journalists") You and Dr. Gupta have my utmost admiration and respect.

    Be safe and thank you for giving us a window into this (heartbreakingly) devastated part of the world.

    January 18, 2010 at 9:56 pm |
  3. Bosnian and Herzegovinian

    During the war in my country, there have been numerous accounts of reporters taking pictures and shots of wounded people without even an attempt to help them...You and Dr.Gupta, on the other hand did not hesitate a second when it mattered. It takes a special kind of person to do that. I hope both of you and your teams stay safe.
    God bless you.

    January 18, 2010 at 9:55 pm |
  4. Ms. Doubtfire

    You've raised the bar Anderson Cooper, CNN, Larry King & staff. Stay-the-course.

    American's rock! Now let's keep it up and promise to look out for each other too; and promise to push Haiti's so-called leaders and the UN to insure Haiti is given it's country back the way it should have been in the first place.

    January 18, 2010 at 9:55 pm |
  5. Ibrahim

    Great job Anderson,you have save a young man, thats the hope now we have for Haiti. Be safe by yourself, you have lot more to report

    January 18, 2010 at 9:54 pm |
  6. Glenda

    I don't understand what's the difference if they loot at this point.

    Anderson, you rock !!!

    January 18, 2010 at 9:36 pm |
  7. dawn wilson (sc)

    I saw the clip of this incident earlier on the news. Stating that blood was pouring from the boys head is no exaggeration. I think it's brave what you did; it was the right thing to do. I know that you will continue to make your viewers and your family proud with your efforts to communicate to the world how desperately the Haitians need our help. Please just be safe in doing so. I wish you and your crew safe travels and a happy homecoming.

    January 18, 2010 at 9:36 pm |
  8. me

    THANK YOU Anderson for saving him. As I was watching, my tears would not stop falling. You selflessly risked your own safety to rescue that child. You were his angel in his time of need. You and the citizens of Haitian are in my prayers. Please, if you can fie d him and make sure that he is okay. GOD BLESS.

    January 18, 2010 at 9:35 pm |
  9. Joe (Guam)

    Way to go AC. If ever we meet, a steak dinner is on me. Take care.

    January 18, 2010 at 9:12 pm |
  10. RHess

    Thanks to you and all of CNN for doing the dual job of reporting and offering so much support when needed to the Haitians. We can see the strain on your faces. Our hearts and minds are with you all. We are so proud of the amazing job that you are doing. Please all stay safe.

    January 18, 2010 at 9:09 pm |
  11. Betty Gaither

    I am inspired by the work you are doing there Anderson. You keep on reporting with accuracy but compassion shows thru every word.. When you jumped into the riot to save that precious little boy you were my arms, my feet, my heart and my caring.Because you are there and I am not.

    January 18, 2010 at 9:09 pm |
  12. Sonya

    It's heart wrenching to see people turn against each other during times like this. Instead of helping one another, they are taking advantage of the chaos and confusion by hurting others. I hope the little boy is okay and that someone is caring for him...

    January 18, 2010 at 8:58 pm |
  13. Denny

    One thing that is especially inspiring, Anderson, is that you and Dr. Gupta and other CNN reporters are providing hands on assistance and not just reporting. We salute you, my friend. You are all a great example of American generosity and can do attitude. Also salute you for your honest coverage – demanding that the aid process be expedited. Bless you, my friend (my friends).

    January 18, 2010 at 8:58 pm |
  14. Tina

    I know you didn't do what you did for accolades, but because you are a loving, caring soul. Thank you for your graciousness. That took real courage to step up when nobody else would. I wish more people were like that. You are a truly wonderful person, Anderson. God Bless.

    January 18, 2010 at 8:57 pm |
  15. Hazel

    Anderson, I am so glad you helped that poor boy. He was wiping the blood off his face as if it were sweat. My heart goes out to that boy. I am so glad you helped him. Thank you and please be careful. I will pray for everyone in Haiti.

    January 18, 2010 at 8:22 pm |
  16. Andrea Rohlehr-McAdam

    Anderson I am at a loss for words. I can hardly stand to watch another story on what is happening in Haiti. Please take good care of yourself and while I know it is difficult to watch things happen and not jump in please be very careful. Thank God that little boy was saved and I truly hope that sooner rather than later things are brought into some kind of order. I expected all of these things to happen because this is a horrible situation which seems to be getting worse in some ways. God be with you and and people of Haiti.

    January 18, 2010 at 8:21 pm |
  17. Maeve

    Amazing stories, Anderson. Your coverage has been nothing less than incredible. Both you and Sanjay will surely be blessed by God for all you are doing to help the poor, injured and desperate Haitians. You are an inspiration to all of us. God be at your side as you continue with your mission.

    January 18, 2010 at 8:21 pm |
  18. Neil

    AC, you never seize to amaze me.

    January 18, 2010 at 8:21 pm |
  19. LV

    Looting? With people so needy, why aren't the store owners and government GIVING the stuff away? When do they think people will have money to buy it? GIVE IT AWAY!

    January 18, 2010 at 8:19 pm |
  20. Lisa

    You are an amazing man, Cooper. I hope the boy is OK. Oh my heart...

    January 18, 2010 at 8:15 pm |
  21. Malia

    I've always thought you were a hero, Anderson. And it's actions like this that prove that you really are. You often step up when others will not. You speak when others wont. And I too would like to thank you for the work that you and CNN are doing in Haiti. You have brought a lot to my attention, to the world's attention... the people of Haiti are lucky to have you there, looking out for them.

    January 18, 2010 at 8:10 pm |
  22. Steve

    Way to go man. This is very visceral story, which brought me profound sadness for that child. It has been a sad state of the human condition in that country for years, one can only pray it improves.

    January 18, 2010 at 8:07 pm |
  23. Leslie F.

    When I saw this I was horrified and saddened for that young boy. Thank God you were there and acted quickly to move him away from danger. I was hoping somehow he could be taken to an area where a medic or doctor was, or perhaps to where Dr. Sanjay Gupta was. The fact that this boy had difficulty walking after his injury means he has neurological damage and needs to be seen by a doctor immediately. I pray to God someone capable was able to treat him.

    January 18, 2010 at 8:06 pm |
  24. charlotte

    You are an amazing man with a team of amazing people around you. It must be hard for you in so many ways, Times Square ringing in a new year 19 days ago, hell today. It must feel like another lifetime. I pray for heaven to help you Anderson, for heaven give you strength.

    January 18, 2010 at 8:06 pm |
  25. JimTx

    After watching S.O'brien and A. Cooper today, it appears that you have a powe4rful tool for reducing chaos in Haiti. Soledad reported from an orphanage which needed supplies and Anderson reported on looting. Both of these stories speak to the lack of communication and distribution in Haiti. However, you (CNN) have the best communication and visibility in Haiti. If OBrien could search out orphanages, report back to the airport, and the Army could provide security for supply distribution, I think you could cover an organizational story. Using orphanages and hospitals as distribution points, with military security for convoys and centers, you could cut through much of the chaos. You have the staff, the reports and the skills to do this.

    Jim

    January 18, 2010 at 8:05 pm |
  26. lilly smith

    I just want to say thank you, for all your hard work and the coverage you are providing in Haiti, It is truly appreciated. CNN is my favorite News station to watch. God Bless you and be safe.

    January 18, 2010 at 7:42 pm |
  27. twebivision

    This is an amazing story, I saw the footage on TV. You are an inspiration for humanitarians and journalists. In an age where both are in jeopardy, you are holding your own. Thanks Anderson. I hope that boy is ok.

    January 18, 2010 at 7:40 pm |
  28. Paula

    I continue to be inspired by your journalistic as well as humanitarian approach to bring us the real story. In this case you stepped up and hopefully saved that boys life. Keep up the good work. The world needs more people like you.

    January 18, 2010 at 7:38 pm |
  29. Robyn

    As a mother of two young boys, thank you for doing something so selfless for that child without hesitation. Thank you.

    January 18, 2010 at 7:36 pm |
  30. Lyn

    I am so glad you are there. I'm horrified that the earthquake happened at all, but I am so glad that you're there, and you're able to put down your 'journalist' hat and remember the basic fact that we're all humans. I wish that was the case for all journalists down there.

    The biggest difference is that somehow, you're able to go on air every evening and be calm. I'm in awe, and so grateful that I have your reporting to turn to when I need to know what's really going on there.

    Please stay safe.

    January 18, 2010 at 7:35 pm |
  31. L. C.

    Anderson, what a great thing you did. Imagine surviving the earthquake to get killed, or pummeled by your own people. Anderson, you and Sanjay deserve some real recognition for your acts of humanity during this crisis. Bless all of you, and thank you for being there!
    I hope you can find out about this boy and keep us informed. STAY SAFE!!! ALL OF YOU!!

    January 18, 2010 at 7:35 pm |
  32. Carol B.

    Hopefully, he'll have the wound treated and be okay. Luckily, you were able to help him before anything worse happened. It's sad & catastrophic all the lives that have been lost and any new ones during the chaos. May you all stay safe.

    January 18, 2010 at 7:34 pm |
  33. Lazycrockett

    I think we have our hero of the year.

    January 18, 2010 at 7:34 pm |
  34. Max NYC

    Anderson, outstanding coverage as always. You are a true inspiration.
    CNN has been doing an outstanding job covering this tragedy.
    Take good care and be safe.

    January 18, 2010 at 7:32 pm |
  35. Yvette Lanausse

    Anderson, you were so brave, I'm sure that you saved that boy's life. How awful and sad that this has happened to the hatian people. Please keep yourself safe-we appreciate the coverage and your strength. Also, admire Dr. Sanjay Gupta's work-please tell him our prayers are with him and his healing hands.

    January 18, 2010 at 7:32 pm |
  36. Alexandra Jameson

    God bless your soul Mr. Cooper. You dont need wings to prove you are an angel.

    January 18, 2010 at 7:31 pm |
  37. Tammy

    More people should take actions like this one.

    January 18, 2010 at 7:29 pm |
  38. LandmineSalesman

    damn what is wrong with human beings. Instead of helping each other in a time of crisis they are killing each other. I mean isn't it 2010? doesn't seem like it

    top coverage by cnn though! And great work by Anderson

    January 18, 2010 at 7:29 pm |
  39. Michael Haase

    Great job, Anderson. Yes, you are a reporter not a rescuer, but we are all human beings first. Thanks for reminding us of that!

    January 18, 2010 at 7:29 pm |
  40. Gayle McCauley Malden,Mass.

    This is just one of the reasons that you are so loved.Be careful......I hope the little boy is o.k.

    January 18, 2010 at 7:28 pm |
  41. Jai.

    May you always be blessed in this life+ Anderson. For you, sir, are a hero indeed.

    January 18, 2010 at 7:16 pm |
  42. Blanca P

    AC clearly your humanity surfaced again. Great job. Watching you at noontime in Manila instead of nightime. Take care.

    January 18, 2010 at 7:15 pm |
  43. L. E.

    Anderson,
    You are a true inspiration and I so appreciate the stories you bring us, but that you care so much is so special and you are not there for your own glory-clearly evident today!! Please stay safe!

    January 18, 2010 at 7:15 pm |
  44. Sherley Lily Edme

    Anderson Cooper as a Haitian – American you are a God Sent, you are Truly an angel on earth... Thank you so much for Being there for my people. That little boy could of died...(crying), but you risked your life to save him... Haiti wil be rebuild and you will always be remembered for your Heroic effort.

    January 18, 2010 at 7:14 pm |
  45. mike wood photography

    While I know it crosses the line between being part of the news and or covering it, you and Sanjay are certainly stepping up. How could you not be involved, really. Be careful.

    January 18, 2010 at 6:58 pm |
  46. Kimberly M., Hiram, OH

    CNN is doing amazing work in Haiti. Watching the video and reading your account makes me proud to be an avid CNN viewer. Please keep bringing us these stories and giving a voice to the millions who have been affected by the earthquake.

    And please, stay safe.

    January 18, 2010 at 6:58 pm |
  47. JoshuaBrown18

    Wow Anderson. Your a Hero again for the like 8th time this week.

    January 18, 2010 at 6:57 pm |
  48. biba from Senegal, philly

    Oh my GOD. This seems so unreal! Hope he will be ok too. Hope you will check on him later! But Anderson and Crew be safe! This is scary

    January 18, 2010 at 6:57 pm |
  49. Linda Strasberg

    how brave of you...sounds scary

    January 18, 2010 at 6:56 pm |
  50. Cindy

    At least you jumped in and helped when it counted Cooper. That little boy looked about half out of it. I guess anyone would be after going through all he's been through. Hopefully that little boy got some help and will be OK!

    Cindy..Ga.

    January 18, 2010 at 6:56 pm |
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