TODAY   |  April 19, 2013

Kerry Sanders: Officers ‘taking defensive positions’

NBC’s Kerry Sanders is reporting from Watertown, Mass., where he says officers “are taking defensive positions” and directing him and others to move away.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>> kerry sanders on the ground in a situation in watertown . what can you tell us.

>> officers started to yell get down, get down. some people are getting back up. we were down 45 seconds. i'm not sure what is going on. it appeared there was a threat and that we needed to be down and now we are getting up off the ground and looks like we will be moving a considerable distance away from what has developed there. we are going back even more.

>> okay. please do.

>> wish i could give you a better explanation as to why. at this point incredibly tense when an officer is telling you to get on the ground.

>> we want you to do what the officers tell you and our crew and everyone there. this is an intense situation in watertown , massachusetts . we don't know what we are dealing with.

>> can you see our picture right now?

>> i see a picture. i see police vehicles . we did see you. here you are, kerry. we see you.

>> great. so let me take you through. let me sort of show you what you got. down here, a police officer 's car. if you look over here that's the u.s. army -- if you go all the way down a block and a half.

>> sir, can you move aside. thank you.

>> down on the sidewalk here, well past many police officers , the officers were crouching behind cars and have been taking their positions where what appeared to be, to me, somebody laying on the ground in a turquoise shirt. a person laying on the ground did not appear to be moving at all.

>> all right. kerry standby and keep us posted. i want to bring in don berelli he is the former fbi agent and somebody with great expertise in a situation like this but nobody has expertise when things are unfolding as they are.

>> this is one of those things where we have to go with the flow. as i said before, anyone that happens out in front of law enforcement , they are going to treat them as a subject until proven otherwise. they will prone them out on the ground and try to get in to a position to see if there is a bomb or device strapped on to that person. they may use a robot or something like that to help do that but safety first.

>> let me pause for a moment and let stations across the country know we are going to stay with this coverage and not go to the local news break as we continue to watch an unfolding situation in watertown , massachusetts . this is a suburban community. it is right outside of central boston. it is where there was a gun fight this morning between the suspect, two suspects in this boston marathon attack and police. one of the suspects was killed. his younger brother, dzhokhar tsarnaev survived, remains at large and maybe the subject of all of the activity that you see there. we have gotten some reporting from our justice correspondent pete williams that authorities did believe they knew where he was. that he maybe holed up in a house. there are significant questions here and we will be transparent with viewers that we do not have this 100% confirmed but the area in watertown , massachusetts where in the last five to ten minutes or so we have seen an uptick in activity with police clearing the area. as you saw our own kerry sanders with his crew being cleared out. obviously something is afoot where they feel there is a danger, a danger that is encompasses a much wider berth than it did before. we want you to know we put a premium on our crew's safety and we are watching carefully and tape delaying these pictures, a slight delay on these live pictures you are seeing so we can be careful as we bring you the story as it unfolds live on the air, 11:00 on the east coast and almost 8:00 on the west coast . richard engel is with me now. you have been talking to counterterrorism officials and i think there's so much not known because here we have two men who were born overseas. one in kyrgyzstan, one in russia. but both have been legal, permanent residents of the united states for sometime. perhaps up to a decade -- hold on, richard. hold that thought. back to kerry sanders .

>> i'm not sure how long i'm going to be able to stay here so i wanted to stop for a moment. we don't want to give out too much information but i can tell you four stories up we have snipers that have taken up positions and down this street as i step out of the way, see what kind of zoom you can do there. i know it is a long way from where we were. but you can see many police officers cars. there is one black car to the left. it is beyond that on the left hand side, another half or so block down that i saw the person on the ground. what we are trying to do is see if we can move the camera to our rye here and see if any kind of picture comes in that explains the situation to you. okay. so here's what we are looking at. you see the white car and there's the police officer 's car who is just turning in to the shot of the other one. okay. about -- i'd say four or five cars yen veeven dwloond is where officers were taking up their defensive position. they were behind the left back bump per, pistol drawn, on his knee. so the officer will ask me to move and i figured that would be the case. then some other officers had out shotguns, as well as other officers had out ar-15s and they had them up and didn't have a necessary defensive position because they were moving forward trying to assess the situation. we were jogging with them. at which point, when they kind of started to take in what was going on, i'd say about seven, eight, officers then spun around and saw that this running of cameras and reporters was coming. they started to turn around and push us back because it appeared to be a threatening position. of course officers had their weapons pulled. there must be something threatening. they asked us to back off. we stopped. i took a defensive position behind the car like the officer following his model. eventually another officer said look, you have to go back and we moved back, we moved back and then they asked us to take a position on the sidewalk where we had to lay down and i'm not sure why that was. i'm looking up here at two snipers that have taken position. what they are not doing is aiming their rifles at this point. oh, you know what he just told us if i knew what was going on we wouldn't be standing here right now. i will move positions and take his advice.

>> please do. don, you wanted to say?

>> we don't know what was happening before the situation got more volatile and your teams had to move but one possibility is there is a lull. there could have been some type of negotiation going on between the subject and negotiators and officers. what we are seeing now has the look of negotiated surrender type of thing where they are moving people in to position. i'm not saying that is what it is. is. this could be many different scenarios, but on the surface, this is the type of tactics you would see when you have a deliberated negotiated surrender.