January 21st, 2010
08:40 PM ET

Evening Buzz: Gunfire, Death & Five Bags of Rice

Maureen Miller
AC360° Writer

Shots rang out near the Port-au-Prince airport today. Two men were shot in the back by police, one was killed. The gunfire was linked to five bags of rice, which fell out of a truck.

The survivor said he didn't steal the rice. "The cops jumped on us. It was a gift. It was a gift," he told CNN's Karl Penhaul.

"A truck stopped and we jumped on and the driver gave us the rice as a gift, but the cops shot us," the man added.

The two men weren't the only ones hit by gunfire. A third man, who said he was a Christian minister waiting for the bus, was apparently wounded by a stray police bullet.

Karl Penhaul will join Anderson tonight, reporting live from Haiti, with more on the deadly chaos.

We're also demanding answers on why it is taking so long to get supplies to the survivors. It's frustrating and maddening to watch. So much aid is at the airport, while people are dying.

Last night, Dr. Sanjay Gupta had the story of two doctors, twins, who are outraged at what their patients must go through. Dr. Gupta decided to see why there's a delay in getting the hospitals and clinics much needed supplies. He went to the airport, where he's keeping them honest.

Join us for these stories and much more starting at 10 p.m. ET.

Filed under: Maureen Miller • The Buzz
soundoff (72 Responses)
  1. pastor gail p. rutledge

    that incidents made me so sad i i cryed for them and there families. to watch that man die in the streets that was a senseless killing they should be held accountable. my family there are hungry and trying to provide for there family. dieing to eat . that should touch every one heart.
    much love,
    mcuh prayer

    January 22, 2010 at 11:21 am |
  2. Lisa

    I watched this story in disbelief as young men were shot in the back over bags of rice. I keep hearing that supplies aren't being distributed due to security issues. It seems that the police are one of those issues. If Sanjy Gupta can get from the hospital to the airport and pick up supplies with no issues, why can't the UN or US Military deliver supplies to the hospital. It is hard to hear the excuse that it is due to the "infrastructure" over and over with no solution offered. There has to be a way to improve the process!

    January 22, 2010 at 9:35 am |
  3. stephen sessions

    i wanna say to you and sanya, you guys are heros..anderson,i know you cant do much but a cop killing a man, a human bein over rice,in the back, im furious now,,sure for the kids sake we are gonna donate,, but knowing that we here at home saw that.WE CANNOT BRING HIM BACK, BUT WE CAN MAKE that cop,accountable!!! SEEMS LIKE THEY NEED ARE HELP,its time for marshall law,on that countries cops

    January 22, 2010 at 6:22 am |
  4. Cheryl A. of Kittanning, PA

    I also think they ought to start clearing the rubble and start building some foundations to put the sick and orphans into so they can get the right care. They also need a massive number of nurses aides and person with a psychology degree in childcare or even an associates degree in childcare also to care for the children even if they are not orphaned. As bad as people need jobs in the states maybe there should be an agency that would take donations to pay for teachers, childcare workers, builders and massive amounts of nurses aides and nurses and doctors and whatever else might be needed. Even a police force that you know is not corrupt and just start over if you need too. Anderson and all CNN reporters please don't quit reporting on this issue because it would make people wander (like myself ) wonder what is going even a few weeks from now and months from now and years from now and on and on. You are all to be commended for being there at Haiti and it supposedly being so dangerous. I'm not there but it seems as though its not as bad as some may think. Not that there is no danger but not as much as you would expect. And those people are so used to not having anything is a big step up. Pittsburgh's brother,brother foundation is making Buckets full of Love It is a 5 gallon bucket that you can buy anywhere and fill with wipes , sanitary napkins, wash cloths, towel, shampoo, soap, toothbrushes, and toothpaste and a few other things they could tell you about. That will help them also besides needing food and water It always feels better when you are clean. Especially just to wash your hands and brush your teeth Right?

    January 22, 2010 at 6:06 am |
  5. Gen

    My question is this: what is happening to the millions of dollars of aide – including food & medical supplies – after they leave the airport? Why isn't this aide reaching the people who are hurting, starving, sleeping, and dying in the streets? Could it be that many of the food & medical supplies just happen to be dropping off vehicles before they reach their rightful destination? One shop keeper stated that the 5 bags of rice "fell off" the vehicle, and that people who just happened to be nearby picked up the bags of rice. Hm? In a country ripe with corruption and ramped up for survival of the fittest, one has to wonder why a policeman would shoot someone in the back at "point blank" range in broad day light? Perhaps its time for Anderson & Gupta to follow around some of these vehicles after they leaving the airport.

    January 22, 2010 at 5:41 am |
  6. Jacki McKeighan

    Mr. Cooper,
    I have been watching you since i was in 6th grade and you were on Channel One. I remember the stories you did then, and I love that I'm 29 (thats about a 18 years ago...sorry for aging us both) and I get to see you on CNN. The stories you did when I was in middle school still ring in my head. I was sitting on my couch tonight after work (I bartend) and watching the story about the men who were shot for "maybe"stealing rice. That man lay in the street dying. He was on camera, dying. Can you imagine? If that was a friend or famlly member of yours, lying there bleeding because you got shot for taking food? Maybe he did it, maybe not. But it was food to survive. TO SURVIVE. I just feel so helpless being here in Iowa, not sure how to actually help. I keep hearing stories of charities being greedy, or money people donate not going to where it's suppose to go. I saw the children on CNN tonight. I would love to help them. Some of them are orphans. What happens to them now? What happens to them after all the help/cameras/reporters are gone? I really want to help. But I want to help in a way where I KNOW I will help out someone. Thanks again for all your great reporting. You always make it seem so personal and that is what I like about watching you. You're doing a great job.

    Thank you so much,
    Jacki McKeighan

    January 22, 2010 at 5:28 am |
  7. Michele Sarich

    This was the most shocking story so far!! This story will forever change you...please write a book about your experiences, Anderson and Sanjay after your travels. Thank you for not letting this story fade away.

    Michele Sarich
    vancouver island, Canada

    January 22, 2010 at 3:21 am |
  8. Bob

    Shocking story, the video of which I saw tonight. It's as if the old Tonton Macoute of Duvalier were revived to patrol the streets. Please post the video.

    January 22, 2010 at 3:20 am |
  9. Rita Farley

    I am so disturbed by this. I have thought of nothing else since it aired. What is most disturbing to me is that citizens of the world are sending aide in many different forms to Haiti, from medical supplies to water to food, in order to help save these survivors. They survived a major earthquake, only to be shot down by the police force enlisted to protect them and keep the peace.
    What was so wrong with those young men picking up fallen bags of rice? Isn't that what it was sent there for, to feed the hungry?
    The shot of the 20 year old lying, dying in the street is something that will haunt me for the rest of my life.

    Rita Farley
    Mousie, Kentucky

    January 22, 2010 at 3:05 am |
  10. Katherine P.

    I was horrified watching the "rice & gunfire" story. Seeing such senseless regard for life made my stomach sick. People are donating millions of dollars in aid trying to save lives, not have more added to the tally. When the dust finally settles, this corruption needs to stop once and for all.

    January 22, 2010 at 3:03 am |
  11. Quand


    It is unthinkable to follow this train of thought; the instances of nonexistent local government; lack of local support of the populace; inability to do anything, but yet when confronted offering up instant remedies, solutions and "hop to it"ness. All for show, pride, ignorance, lack of skill set and empathy, pure apathy. So the people learn to be their own community and depend on each other. To a great extent it is like this in Mexico, but at least they have a semi-functioning central governement. Haiti never had one! Never....! and when the proverbial fan gets soiled, the knife edge that the society operates on falls in like a house of cards.

    It would be great if one or a team of the CNN journalists could look into this and see if there is Schadenfreude on a morbid scale within the local government. There seem to be signs of that due to inability or apathy.

    The Col. Dr. Gupta spoke to said it in not so many words....We control the airport and stage the aid....outside these doors it is up to the local Haitian government. How ridiculous! They are doing nothing....because they would never want to be responsible to their citizenry...probably planning their new vacation home in France.

    Cmon CNN someone has to poke through the facade and face saving everyone is tip-toeing around with the gov't of Haiti.

    And if the haitian govt sees this....show your humanity and solidarity with your people..!!!!!!

    Thank you for letting me rant.

    January 22, 2010 at 2:57 am |
  12. Bethanie

    Whether it was 5 bags of rice as a gift or stolen, do u understand what the amount equals in dollars?apparently it is equivaliant to a mans life!!! And to watch one of the men who was shot having his last breath and to see his body twitch and then become still was more than appaling! i understand journalism and getting the news out there but to disrespect a man who was gunned down was more than i or my family needed to see!

    January 22, 2010 at 2:38 am |
  13. Hhawi

    Its hurt breaking seeing a police man keeling his own peopel over a bag of rice.please let the peopel of haiti grap any thing to servive .

    January 22, 2010 at 2:26 am |
  14. Jen

    I've been praying everyday for everyone in Port Au Prince and also for you Anderson Cooper for being so brave on filming over there. God bless you all

    January 22, 2010 at 2:23 am |
  15. Roseland

    That thing over the bags rice was very stupid there was no need to shoot those boys. And the us army need to be in charge cause the Haitian goverment don't know what to do. Anderson you are doing a great job!

    January 22, 2010 at 2:15 am |
  16. Frantz Maurice

    Hope the USA and the new Haitian governement will hold these police assassins accountable for their actions!

    January 22, 2010 at 2:13 am |
  17. Frantz Maurice

    Hope the us will keep all the Haitian policeman out of commission right now...thats really inexplicable at this point for a policeman to shoot in the back desperate kids looking for food...

    January 22, 2010 at 2:09 am |
  18. Sue

    In the "keeping it real" category, the young men jumped on the truck and the driver "gave" them several very large bags of rice.... Really? They extorted goods. Should they be shot? No. But let's not pretend they are poor, sweet innocents. Prior to the earthquake, reporters documented that gangs ruled vast sections of the city and that you could not enter those areas unless accompanied by armed guards.
    More to the point, I watched a clip that showed either police or UN "peacekeeper" repeatedly kicking a young looter - the first to the side of his head as he passed him, then the second officer kicking down on his back and following up with a kick to the side of his head.

    My point? It is a violent city even though many good and decent people live there.

    January 22, 2010 at 1:43 am |
  19. megan

    Anderson and Dr. Sanjay I have been glued to your footage and stories for the past week and I would like to thank you both for what you are doing to keep us up to date on Haiti and for how you are doing it. Your reporting conveys your passion towards this situation and keeps it real. I hope you both there for awhile, I fear that if you leave and the world isn't able to see this through real eyes, more children will be forgotten, more people will not get the medical help they need, more people will be shot at for "stealing" and food and much needed supplies will stay sitting on the tarmac.
    Thank you for being there, thank you for demanding answers that we are all asking and thank you Anderson and Dr. Sanjay for everyone that you have helped!

    January 22, 2010 at 1:42 am |
  20. Chris - West Virginia

    What is going on with Haiti i thought there was at least some order there in a country devasted by people needing medical attention .... food....water....much needed by donations of many countries who already gave .....i see no order in situations of the haitians so displaced yet they shoot without cause....what is wrong with this situation?? I am appaulded by actions especially the shootings ........there already is enough death ....medical attention.... hunger.... going on.....something needs to happen no reason for anymore deaths enough already has happened to these people......concerned

    January 22, 2010 at 1:27 am |
  21. julianne

    What is taking so long for aid to get there? The more time passes the more people get impatient and start lootings and violence. People are dying because of no medical help, what are all these aid funds really going to? why is there no help there? The more we let the people in Haiti wait for food, water, and medical needs the more people will get killed like this. People will become savages if it will keep them surviving one more day.

    January 22, 2010 at 1:10 am |
  22. richard

    Why is it that america has to solve everyone else's problems and pay all their bills? It is a tragic situation in haiti, but there wasn't this much concern and support over Katrina/New orleans disaster. We're gonna plug everyone's financial holes with money we simply don't have! Period!!

    January 22, 2010 at 1:04 am |
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