City in Fear: The Versace Murder   View more episodes

Aired at 02:00 AM on Saturday, Jan 29, 2011 (1/29/2011)      View all transcripts from this day


00:00:07>>> 911 Emergency?
00:00:08>> Yes, a man's been shot.
00:00:12It's gianni ver sach she.
00:00:17>> He was killed in a very, very public and bloody way.
00:00:21>> You can see the blood on his steps.
00:00:24>> Who did this?
00:00:24How could this happen?
00:00:26>> We knew there were previous killings.
00:00:29>> Who was cunanan and why would he kill versace?
00:00:34>> Everybody was scared.
00:00:37>> They said he was a master of disguise.
00:00:40He could have a wig on now.
00:00:43>> >> we would look at the pictures of andrew cunanan on the news and it seemed like he was 14 different people.
00:00:47>> Everybody's at risk, we have new details on the story that broke.
00:00:50>> People are being warned to stay away from this area.
00:00:53>> Everybody converged on that scene.
00:00:56Who's in there?
00:00:57If it's cunanan, do we capture him alive?
00:01:30>> city in fear, here's john siegenthaler.
00:01:33>> Miami is known for its beautiful beaches and exotic nightlife, but on the morning of july 15, 1997, a cold-blooded murder in broad daylight led police on one of the biggest man hunts the country had seen since the search founabomber.
00:02:00>> Miami beach is like a perennial vacation.
00:02:01It always seems like you're going home to your hotel, even if you're not.
00:02:07And after a 12-hour workday, it's still fun to go home.
00:02:14>> I've lived here over 50 years and I came from brooklyn, and it was like coming to heaven.
00:02:20>> It's a playground for the rich and beautiful.
00:02:24It's romper room and the big, bad, ugly world is not supposed to intrude.
00:02:32>> In is the 1997, among the rich and famous in miami's south beach lived italian designer gianni versace.
00:02:42>> I think it represented freedom and ultimate liberation, and when he got to miami beach, I think he knew this was his new home.
00:02:50But the great thing about gianni is that he didn't just live here, he was an active participant, he really transformed the way we see miami beach.
00:03:03>> He loved laughter, he was always surrounded by beautiful people.
00:03:07He created excitements.
00:03:09Yet he was such a quiet, docile kind of a man that the excitement was all around him.
00:03:18>> He was very friendly, very approachable.
00:03:20Easy to speak to.
00:03:24Very uncelebrity like.
00:03:26He really enjoyed hanging out with people and you would not even know he was famous.
00:03:30He was just a regular guy at the bar drinking a soda.
00:03:37>> But no one living in miami is unaware that 2,000 miles away a young man's murderous rage will soon have a shocking impact on their lives.
00:03:46San diego, california, living in the city's gay community and enjoying the company of older, wealthy men is 27-year-old andrew cunanan.
00:03:56>> I knew him as andrew desilva.
00:03:59For six years he had me and most people in san diego fooled.
00:04:04>> That spring, mike whitmore is living in the same san diego neighborhood as cunanan.
00:04:12>> Very intelligent.
00:04:14Traveled in circles that were very influential.
00:04:17>> I met him at parties in la jolla.
00:04:19Andrew led the perfect life of an american gigolo, his benefactors were basically very conservative businessmen and many republicans.
00:04:28>> The people that he always had around him were people of position, or had a great deal of money.
00:04:35I mean if you had position or money, then andrew wanted to be your friend.
00:04:39>> All of a sudden, his last benefactor ends the relationship.
00:04:45You're andrew, you're looking in the mirror, and saying, my god, my american gigolo life has come to the end of the road.
00:04:52My ex-lover has rejected me.
00:04:54>> No one is aware the rejection and loss of income has on cunanan.
00:04:59But he is about to act on a terrifying impulse.
00:05:06After flying to minneapolis, cunanan tries to contact jeffrey trail, a 28-year-old navy officer formerly stationed in san diego.
00:05:16When trail refuses to see him, cunanan then tracks down ex-boyfriend david madsen and the two are spotted together at a minneapolis fight club.
00:05:28>> They were sitting up at the bar and it was david madsen and andrew cunanan is sitting on his lap, he is loud, he makes a focal point of himself.
00:05:35>> April 27, 1997.
00:05:37After several attempts, cunanan successfully lures jeffrey trail to madsen's lost apartment in the city's warehouse district.
00:05:48>> I believe he then went into a rage and I think that's when the murder spree began.
00:05:56>> Neighbors will later recall hearing shouts followed by a series of loud thuds.
00:06:05He has plungened jeffrey trail to death with a claw hammer, striking him at least 25 times.
00:06:11>> It started with jeff.
00:06:13There's something that happened with jeff and him.
00:06:15That's why this whole situation happened.
00:06:20Very sad.
00:06:20I mean, jeff was a wonderful individual.
00:06:23>> May 2, leaving trail's bloody corpse rolled up in a carpet, cunanan takes david madsen to a lake in nearby rush city and shoots him three times with a .40 caliber pistol.
00:06:37Two fishermen will discover madsen's body the following day.
00:06:42But even as minneapolis investigators begin their search for the killer, cunanan has already left the state, heading east to chicago.
00:06:50On the morning of may 4, police there make a grisly discovery in the city's luxurious gold district.
00:07:03>> A prominent developer is found murdered in his garage.
00:07:08Police are trying to figure out who would brutally stab the man and steal his luxury car.
00:07:14>> According to police, this was a torture murder.
00:07:1872-Year-old lee miglin was torturered and killed in his gold coast home.
00:07:23>> Authorities determined that miglin suffered puncture wounds to the chest before his throat was cut with a garden saw.
00:07:32>> I just arrived myself from los angeles and we're all just grieving the loss of my father.
00:07:41And we don't know any details of what's happening.
00:07:43The police are still trying to put that together.
00:07:48>> Chicago police later find david madsen's suv parked near the miglin home, after tracing the vehicle back to minnesota and learning of the murders, investigators begin to suspect he may have randomly targeted lee miglin for his car and money.
00:08:07Chicago police conduct a city wide search for miglin's 1994 lexus but come up short.
00:08:15MAY 11th, ONE WEEK AFTER THE Miglin murder, cunanan strikes yet another innocent victim.
00:08:22This time in new jersey where he shoots and kills cemetery caretaker william reese.
00:08:28>> Bill was a nice family man, christian guy.
00:08:30>> My entire world and my son's world began to crumble.
00:08:35He was my best friend as well as my husband.
00:08:37And I lost both in the same day.
00:08:41>> Inside the cemetery, police find lee miglin's 199 lexus and have determined the killer has stolen a red pickup truck belonging to william reese.
00:08:54With both murders linked to andrew cunanan, the fbi puts kun nannen on their most wanted list.
00:09:02>>> Up next, after four murders in three states, police begin a nationwide manhunt for a serial killer.
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00:12:25A string of murders in three states, andrew cunanan, now on the fbi's ten most wanted list remains a fugitive.
00:12:34>> All the agencies, whether they be federal or local, there was a significant pressure upon them to find cunanan as soon as possible.
00:12:45>> With cunanan's picture now appearing on local tv news, citizens in the new jersey area report seeing him in various locations.
00:12:54>> Reporter: Where is alleged serial killer andrew cunanan?
00:12:59Waitresses say they believe they saw cunanan sunday night around 8:00.
00:13:0300 I saw a man come running down the aisle.
00:13:07He went into the bathroom and then about maybe ten minutes later the police were here.
00:13:12>> Reporter: So far police leads are not panning out.
00:13:14The search for the man whose yearbook caption read, most likely to be remembered, continues.
00:13:21>> What investigators have no way of knowing is that cunanan is headed to miami, florida.
00:13:30>> From new jersey to miami.
00:13:32That's a lot of time to think.
00:13:34What am I going to do to leave my mark in life, to make these people who rejected me remember who I am?
00:13:43>> May 12th, 24 hours after killing william reese cunanan arrives in miami.
00:13:49>> We had received information about andrew cunanan and the possibility that, you know, he could be in south florida.
00:13:56And we began to look for this individual.
00:14:00>> Just started to hear some reports of him being in north miami beach.
00:14:04They certainly posted pictures up and wanted posters and tried to make everyone aware that there was a possibility he could be here, but still no one was really certain.
00:14:13>> What made him dangerous at the time was there was enough on paper and in newspapers as far as him coming in this direction.
00:14:19It wasn't something that was put together all after the fact.
00:14:22We knew that there were previous killings.
00:14:27>> Cunanan checks into the normandy plaza hotel registering under an alias and using a french passport .d.
00:14:38Despite the ongoing search to find him, cunanan blends in with the locals of south beach and remains unnoticed.
00:14:45>> He could have been sunning himself on the beach and he would have looked, acted like everyone else in that circle on south beach.
00:14:53He could be anywhere.
00:14:54He could be right next to you.
00:14:58>> July 7, running low on money, cunanan enters the cash on the beach pawn shop and gets $200 in change for several 18 karat gold coins stolen from his chicago victim, lee miglin.
00:15:14Florida state law requires pawn shop owners to obtain a name, address and fingerprint of anyone selling items.
00:15:21Once the form is completed, it xed to police.
00:15:30He uses his real name, thumb print and actual address of the normandy hotel.
00:15:34>> I guess you don't ask a lot of questions as to why somebody's pawning something but what did he say?
00:15:39>> No, he just came here and said to me, how much will you give me for this?
00:15:43>> Reporter: And that's his signature right there in.
00:15:46>> Right.
00:15:47>> Reporter: Okay.
00:15:48>> The fingerprint is in the copy that I sent to the police.
00:15:52>> But police won't review the form for another eight days.
00:15:56Meanwhile, the fbi search for cunanan is featured on several nationally televised news programs.
00:16:04>> Police are searching coast to coast for a man they suspect is a serial killer.
00:16:07They say andrew cunanan is responsible for the deaths of at least four people.
00:16:12>> It was the chicago murder.
00:16:16>> A dramatic 911 call from a man in a miami sandwich shop.
00:16:22>> 911 Police.
00:16:25>> Yes, this is kenny from miami subs, I think I seen this guy that I saw on "america's most wanted" man, this is no joke.
00:16:34>> What is he wearing?
00:16:34>> A white tee shirt, all i could see was a white t-shirt.
00:16:39>> Which way did he go?
00:16:40>> He's inside the store now.
00:16:42>> By the time police arrive at the shop, cunanan has vanished.
00:16:47>> This is one person that has been able to elude both local and national authorities for a significant amount of time, somewhat of a chameleon within the general population, so he's hard to detect.
00:17:00He was quite smart and he'd probably been able to manipulate people for his entire life, so now he's feeling not only can i be able to beat other people, but I'm now going to challenge law enforcement to see if in fact they are as smart as I am.
00:17:20>> Among those to have later claimed to have spotted cunanan is frank scottilini, then manager of a popular club, twist.
00:17:30>> It was saturday night, sunday 00, 12:30.
00:17:36I remember him leaving twist, walking out the door of twist.
00:17:37And I happened to be standing outside the door and in one second the guy and I looked face to face and I felt my heart jump into my throat.
00:17:45And I turned to the person next to me and I said, that's a serial killer.
00:17:50And the person next to me was my assistant gm who had no idea what I was talking about and thought I was crazy.
00:17:56I just wish I had instead of turned to the person to my left I would have said to the policeman standing less than five feet away from me, I think that's a serial killer.
00:18:08Do something about it.
00:18:10>> July 15, 1997, although the cunanan sightings have residents on alert, no one is prepared for the events of that morning.
00:18:20, gianni versace walks to a newsstand a few blocks from his oceanside drive mansion.
00:18:29>> He would get up in the morning, buy all of these italian, european newspapers, maybe have a coffee or something, then walk back to his house.
00:18:38>> I remember him leaving the newsstand right out here, a couple of feet behind me, and that was it.
00:18:45He went towards his home, and i didn't give it a second thought.
00:18:49>> Less than a half hour later, versace returns home.
00:18:53As he unlocks the gate outside his mansion, he is approached by a young man with dark hair carrying a backpack.
00:19:01>> I was on south beach getting ready to take some sun and i heard two shots.
00:19:07Definitely sounded like a gun.
00:19:08A big gun.
00:19:10>>> Coming up, a murder in broad daylight sends shockwaves around the world.
00:19:16>> I get goose bumps just thinking of that morning.
00:19:20Who did this?
00:19:21How could this happen?
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00:22:23>>> JULY 15th, 1997, JUST BEFORE as famed fashion designer gianni versace unlocks the gate to his mansion on ocean drive, two gunshots ring out.
00:22:37>> 911 Emergency.
00:22:38>> Yes, a man's been shot.
00:22:42It's gianni versace.
00:22:43He was entering his house.
00:22:45He's on the steps of the house.
00:22:47Please, immediately, please.
00:22:49>> When I got to the front of versace lying on the stairs on the outside of the gates, and i immediately just turned around and called 911 because there was nothing I could do and I foe emergency had to be called.
00:23:04>> It's a shooting.
00:23:05I'm going to get additional.
00:23:08>> When paramedics arrive at the scene, versace is barely alive.
00:23:13He will die minutes later on the way to jackson memorial hospital.
00:23:18>> I turned right and I saw gianni on the stairs, laid down, so we run to him and he was shot twice in the head.
00:23:27>> He was laying right on the steps.
00:23:29It looked like an execution style.
00:23:33>> I was assigned right away to go to the crime scene which was a massive crime scene.
00:23:38They had several blocks cordoned off in south beach.
00:23:42I remember very clearly the blood on the steps of the versace mansion and thinking, who would kill gianni versace?
00:23:49What could possibly be the motive here?
00:23:51>> As a stunned community tries to make sense of the brutal crime, eyewitnesses give police a description of the killer.
00:23:59>> A man described as a young white male, dressed in a light gray or white shirt, dark shorts, white cap and wearing a backpack shot the victim and walked away.
00:24:13>> The actual murder happened during a shift change at miami beach police department.
00:24:19So they had officers coming and going.
00:24:22So twice as many.
00:24:23They instantly devoted them, sent them on the street looking for this guy.
00:24:29>> You going to be here for a while?
00:24:33>> I get goose bumps just thinking of the -- that morning, that day.
00:24:37It was chaos everywhere.
00:24:38Especially not knowing where this person was.
00:24:42Who did this?
00:24:43How could this happen?
00:24:46>> A lot of people were freaking out.
00:24:50Everybody didn't really know what was going on, it was kind of like a big shock.
00:24:54The news started broadcasting that there was a killer running around south beach and it was total fear.
00:25:03>> Absolute, unbelievable shock, that this was a public figure in our neighborhood that was murdered in a very brutal and public way.
00:25:13That was the news coming to life in a way that I had never experienced before.
00:25:17And so you're kind of dazed and confused.
00:25:20You have the wind kind of knocked out of you.
00:25:23>> Only hours after versace's murder, police make a crucial discovery.
00:25:29In a south beach parking garage, not far from versace's mansion, they find some clothes stuffed under a red chevy pickup truck.
00:25:38The vehicle is traced back to william reese, the new jersey man believed to have been murdered by andrew cunanan.
00:25:45>> That was just found in the last 24 hours.
00:25:48That links cunanan to the murder scenes in so many places and has further evidence linking him to it.
00:25:56It was, we felt, a key piece of evidence.
00:26:00>> Inside the vehicle, investigators find a receipt indicating the truck had been parked in the garage since june 10th.
00:26:06They also find cunanan's passport and several items belonging to chicago murder victim lee miglin.
00:26:14After receiving a tip from an eyewitness, police descend on the normandy hotel and search the room where cunanan is believed to be staying.
00:26:23He appears to already be gone.
00:26:26>> We were all surprised at how many places he seemed to turn up.
00:26:29So it was only a matter of time before they would track him down.
00:26:32The question was, were they going to catch him before he killed somebody?
00:26:36>> We were all just trying to piece together this puzzle of, who was cunanan?
00:26:42Why would he kill versace?
00:26:44Where was he?
00:26:46>> At nightfall, cunanan is still on the loose.
00:26:50Police hold a press conference asking for the public's help.
00:26:52>> Cunanan is known to be a male prostitute who services affluent clientele.
00:27:00Cunanan is well educated, well dressed, is very articulate.
00:27:04Cunanan should be considered extremely dangerous and armed at this time.
00:27:09>> Nobody's safe in this.
00:27:10And that's a point we have to get across.
00:27:13Don't think that because you're not gay that you're not a possible victim in this thing.
00:27:17Everybody's at risk.
00:27:18Everybody's got to help us put this guy in jail.
00:27:22>> But while police urge the citizens of miami to keep a lookout for cunanan, many residents doubt if they'll be able to recognize him.
00:27:32>> They said he's a master of disguise.
00:27:35He could have a wig on or anything now.
00:27:37>> You would look at the pictures of andrew cunanan on the news and it seemed you were looking at four pictures of four totally different people.
00:27:45And the fact that nobody really had that strong of a sense of what he looked like, it made everybody more paranoid.
00:27:51>> Andrew is a man that's unpredictable, very intelligent, can change his appearance.
00:27:58This is the worst nightmare for the fbi, unfortunately.
00:28:03>> As soon as they identified who this guy was, we found out more about him, we thought, oh, great.
00:28:09There's a crazed serial killer in our midst.
00:28:13Like we don't have enough problems in south florida.
00:28:14Now we have to deal with a serial killer running around who's killing people for god knows what reason.
00:28:21>>> Coming up, with a serial killer at large, miami becomes the scene of a media frenzy.
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00:31:37>>> Hello, we've been following breaking news.
00:31:40President obama is pressing egypt's president hosni mubarak, he must take concrete steps of reform or face possible cuts in u.s. aid.
00:31:52>>> Meanwhile this morning, egypt is relatively quiet, but according to al jazeera, mass protests will resume.
00:32:01Cell service has been partlily restored.
00:32:10More than 5killed in friday's demonstrations.
00:32:12And now back to our program.
00:32:39>>> once again, john seigenthaler.
00:32:42>> In the days after fashion designer gianni versace was shot to death, the hunt for his killer intensified.
00:32:51Investigators were certain andrew cunanan was still in miami.
00:32:54The question was, would he strike again?
00:33:01>> After gianni versace was murdered and andrew cunanan was at large in the community, the level of fear was palpable.
00:33:11It was like electricity in the air.
00:33:13>> I definitely looked behind my shoulder when I went out and made sure he wasn't alone.
00:33:18So who knew when he was going to attack next and whether it would be a woman.
00:33:21>> I just couldn't understand why they couldn't find him.
00:33:24And someone had to see him, i imagined.
00:33:27>> Oh, I was terrified.
00:33:29Nobody wanted to come out anymore, we lost tourists, it kind of terrified miami.
00:33:36>> People were concerned, because if he had gone to south beach and killed gianni versace, you know, clearly he was capable of murder, and, you know, and here he was in our midst.
00:33:49>> People actually thought that he was next to them on the beach or in a bar and that their life was at risk.
00:33:55He could kill at random.
00:33:57>> Crimestoppers.
00:34:00>> Cunanan was sighted everywhere at that time.
00:34:03You didn't know if it was a true call or false call, because we were getting them everywhere.
00:34:07>> Okay.
00:34:07What we're going to do is try to get a police unit to go by there.
00:34:12>> The police department must have gotten 100 calls an hour of cunanan sightings and I'd be driving around and seeing somebody looking kind of strange and I would think that was him.
00:34:21So we were all a little bit in fear about it.
00:34:24>> Police wanted to get the word out.
00:34:26They distributed 2,000 flyers.
00:34:36blanket the area.
00:34:37They wanted to warn the people and get somebody to help them if they spotted cunanan.
00:34:42>> After the versace murder, all of miami was in kind of a panic and kind of scared state but it was absolutely more elevated in the gay community because that's where he'd always been found.
00:34:55In the nightclubs people were always thinking he was going to be walking around the corner.
00:34:58I know some of the bartenders i worked with there later did realize he'd been a customer of theirs.
00:35:04>> He had been at all of these clubs that you thought were completely safe and harmless and yet, you know, it's really freaky to think there was a killer probably on the bar stool next to you at some point.
00:35:16In miami beach, it really had a profound affect.
00:35:19The beach was all about pleasure and relaxation and happiness and the restaurants, the clubs, andrew cunanan didn't just kill versace, he killed the party.
00:35:31>> All the clubs toned down.
00:35:33The city was in fear.
00:35:34And it wasn't time to celebrate.
00:35:36We didn't want to celebrate.
00:35:38>> You know, how can you go out and really have a good time when somebody like this could happen on your very doorstep?
00:35:45>> With such a high profile citizen like versace being murdered, media from all over the world descend on miami and begin 24-hour coverage on the story, going after any angle they can find.
00:36:00>> Police are on heightened alert.
00:36:02The average joe on the street is on heightened alert because cunanan is still on the loose.
00:36:06>> So far, no sighting of the man suspected of killing gianni versace.
00:36:14>> Police say there have been cunanan sightings and they suspect he may have shaved off all his body hair and may be posing as a woman.
00:36:23>> It was an absolute circus.
00:36:26I remember one reporter from another station doing a story about dressing up in drag to show the difference, how different cunanan might look because there was this theory he might be going around dressed as a woman.
00:36:37We thought of every angle you could think of.
00:36:39>> Never-ending helicopters and vans and interviews and phone calls and just people coming up to you constantly.
00:36:47>> There were points in time where there was more media in the club than there were patrons.
00:36:52And it was just so many of them in here.
00:36:54And wanting to talk with anybody they could.
00:36:55Just anybody.
00:36:59>> It was a city under siege because the media put us under siege.
00:37:03It wasn't cunanan.
00:37:04They asked the logical question, what do we do?
00:37:08Are we safe?
00:37:09And I'd say, just lead your normal life and don't become a detective trying to solve the crime.
00:37:15The police will take care of it.
00:37:18>> But police have few leads in the case and no knowledge of cunanan's motive for targeting versace.
00:37:25>> Police say this was not a random shooting, so what was it?
00:37:30A celebrity stalking or something personal?
00:37:33Detectives say there's nothing to suggest they'd two men had ever even met each other.
00:37:37>> Just to kill versace to kill him, we never understood if there was a connection with andrew cunanan and versace.
00:37:47Did versace have some type of encounter with this man?
00:37:52That went bad or something?
00:37:53I don't know.
00:37:55But we just couldn't understand why he would target versace.
00:38:00>> For several days after versace's murder, miami beach police, along with teams from the fbi, searched businesses, restaurants and other shops along south beach.
00:38:10They also hoped that a reward will encourage citizens to help lead them to cunanan.
00:38:19>> Today, in partnership with miami beach, the federal bureau of investigation announced the creation of a $45,000 reward for the capture and arrest of andrew phillip cunanan.
00:38:33>> It's what the media scrutiny, with the high profile situation, it just would build and build and build in anxiety.
00:38:44Coming up with reward money, coming up with ways to get people involved.
00:38:50Everybody wanted this man taken into custody.
00:38:54Everybody wanted this investigation to be solved.
00:39:01>>> Up next, a seemingly random burglary ends in a dramatic televised standoff.
00:39:08>> Is andrew cunanan aboard that houseboat?
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00:42:07O0 c1 >>> july 18, 1997, three days after the brutal murder of designer gianni versace, his friends and admirers gather for a memorial serving is at st.
00:42:38Patrick's catholic church in people.
00:42:40>> Everyone was just numb.
00:42:41I remember attending the funeral and there was so much sadness.
00:42:46Rejoicing in versace as the person, having been with us, but so much severe sadness.
00:42:54>> I'd met versace at a couple parties and I didn't know him that well, but it was a big shock.
00:43:01When a figure that you've come to like love or to really admire gets killed, like a princess di or someone like that, you're floored.
00:43:11You're just stunned.
00:43:11>> I felt like I lost somebody.
00:43:13I admired everything that he did.
00:43:15I thought he was a brilliant artist, not just a designer.
00:43:20And I thought it was a great loss.
00:43:23>> Four days later on july milan, italy's emotional service attended by versace's family and many of his celebrity friends.
00:43:41meanwhile, despite an ongoing manhunt throughout south florida, fbi investigators and miami police are no closer to finding versace's suspected killer, andrew cunanan.
00:43:53>> We had information that he didn't have friends, he didn't have a support system if place that would help him.
00:43:59We were pretty sure that he was still here in south florida.
00:44:02So every cunanan sighting had to be followed up and you've got to take it seriously, because you just don't know which one is going to be the one that's going to turn out to be real.
00:44:11>> Apparently there have been sightings in the last few days of people or something resembling andrew cunanan.
00:44:18>> THEN ON WEDNESDAY, JULY 23rd, Word spreads throughout the media that there may be a break in the case.
00:44:29>> There was a whisper, or a hubbub about the police converging and targeting a houseboat right off collins avenue.
00:44:41We sent our photographer, our special project photographer over there, and he actually hid in the bushes and tried to observe what was going on.
00:44:49And actually gave us some good early lead that there might be heightened police activity there.
00:44:56>> Early reports indicate that the caretaker of the two-story houseboat at 5250 collins avenue had noticed the front door unlocked.
00:45:05When he walked inside an intruder hiding upstairs fired a gun at him.
00:45:09>> We have new details on this story that broke just about the 5:00 hour.
00:45:13It started out as a reported burglary and has escalated into a massive standoff right now.
00:45:19Nbc 6 reporter diana gonzales is live at the scene.
00:45:22The big question everybody is asking right now, is it andrew cunanan inside?
00:45:26>> Reporter: I asked that very question to an officer on scene and the answer was, we don't know.
00:45:31Right now they're operating under the assumption that the man is still inside the houseboat and that he is armed.
00:45:36People are being warned to stay away from this area for their own safety.
00:45:40And as soon as we get more information we'll bring it live to you.
00:45:44>> I remember we were among the first crews to get there and we didn't know exactly what was going on.
00:45:51We thought it was cunanan in the houseboat, but there just wasn't a whole lot of definite information coming out.
00:46:00>> Everybody converged on that scene.
00:46:03As the day wore into night, it became a spectacular scene with news and police helicopters flying overhead, and then of course everybody waited to see what was in there.
00:46:17>> Is andrew kun nan an board that houseboat?
00:46:20They didn't know.
00:46:21So suddenly the whole community is watching.
00:46:24We're in nonstop coverage, everybody.
00:46:25And by and by, the national media outlets, all the networks are picking up this coverage.
00:46:30It's a story the whole country is watching.
00:46:32So now the stakes are high.
00:46:34Not only for police, if it's cunanan can we capture him alive and answer some of the questions about why he did it.
00:46:41>> What's the latest from the ground level snl.
00:46:43>> Reporter: More activity from the special response teams.
00:46:47Police are asking people driving around, people leaving their residents, to get out of the way if they want to stay safe.
00:46:55 scott allen, senior staff psychologist with the police department, provides negotiators with a psychological profile of the alleged killer.
00:47:06>> So we're thinking that he's either going to try to really embellish his stature to try to have this really grandiose surrender, or he's going to kill himself right on the spot, or he will set up a situation where he'll come out with his firearm and compel our tactical people to shoot and kill him.
00:47:28>> You've got a scene here where they have closed off the entire roadway, they have moved in position in front of the house, all around the house, so you don't want to give anything away.
00:47:38>> The police department asked our helicopter to please back off that picture.
00:47:41There may be a television inside that houseboat if the suspect is still in there as a result.
00:47:47If he is watching this coverage, they certainly don't want to tip off what they're going to do.
00:47:53>> Hoping cunanan may be watching the television coverage, his friend, elizabeth, makes an on-air appeal urging him to surrender.
00:48:02>> Andrew, wherever you are, please stop what you are doing.
00:48:07You still have a chance to show the entire world the side of you that I and your godchildren know.
00:48:16The time has come for this to end peacefully.
00:48:20>> After nearly four hours with no movement or progress in the team members begin launching gas canisters into the houseboat.
00:48:28When there is still no response, commanders order the tactical unit to storm the houseboat.
00:48:34>> So I was actually the first guy going to the door without a shield.
00:48:38And at that time I figured, okay, this is going to be the confrontation.
00:48:41So I prepared myself for anything that could have possibly happened.
00:48:44And I wanted to completely focus on whatever I had to deal with, threats, hostage situation.
00:48:50We weren't sure if there was a victim inside or anything.
00:48:55>> Officer fletcher is the first to reach the second floor of the houseboat.
00:48:59>> I saw the gun in his hand.
00:49:02He was actually in the bed at the time.
00:49:06I instinctively knew that cunanan was no longer alive.
00:49:12I immediately notified my team that cunanan 45.
00:49:1945 Means he's deceased.
00:49:21>> But with the world's attention focused on miami, investigators are careful not to make any mistakes.
00:49:27>> When they found him dead there, he had shot himself in the mouth and his face was all splattered, they couldn't properly identify him.
00:49:40And there's no forensics man around to do the fingerprinting.
00:49:45>> At this time we're awaiting for the arrival of forensic units from the police department to an effort to preliminarily identify the deceased.
00:49:55When we have that information we'll release it to you.
00:50:00>> Does it match a description of andrew cunanan?
00:50:02>> There's a similarity in the description of the victim that was found.
00:50:08Beyond that, I would -- I will tell you there is nothing else to indicate at this time that it is him.
00:50:14>> Thank you very much.
00:50:17>> I had a source say, all I can tell you is it's the same exact weapon that was used to kill gianni versace and it's certainly in every respect looks like andrew cunanan.
00:50:35>> Coming up -- >> skied the two most experienced fingerprint technicians that we had that they come.
00:50:41>> Life in miami nearly grinds to a halt as citizens wait to learn the gunman's identity.
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00:53:56>>> Nine days after the shooting death of gianni versace, a dramatic televised standoff between police and a man barricaded inside a houseboat on miami beach has come to an end.
00:54:07Inside, police have discovered the body of a young man, dead from a self-inflicted gunshot wound.
00:54:14Throughout miami, residents eagerly await confirmation that the dead man is versace's suspected killer, andrew cunanan.
00:54:23>> The buzz here is exactly what robin reported, that indeed the search for the fugitive, andrew cunanan, may have ended in dramatic violent fashion here.
00:54:33In that houseboat you see across the way right over there.
00:54:37>> The city manager was talking to me about it and said to me, it's cunanan.
00:54:42They know it's cunanan.
00:54:43But they have to wait until the morning in order to get the forensics man to take the fingerprint.
00:54:49I said, are you crazy?
00:54:53You've got 1,000 guys from all over the world sitting here, they know it's cunanan, too.
00:54:58But they can't say it until you say it.
00:55:02>> I asked the two most experienced fingerprint technicians that we had that they could come to see if we the body by printing the hands and then comparing it with that one thumb print that we had from that pawn shop card.
00:55:22The i.d. was made.
00:55:23I was in contact with the mayor at that time.
00:55:25You had the mayor, the director of the police department, and you had the chief of miami beach.
00:55:31You had the special agent in charge of the fbi, paul phillip, 00 in the morning that they were able to identify andrew cunanan.
00:55:45>> Tonight all across the nation our citizens can stand down and breathe a sigh of relief, the reign of terror brought upon us by andrew cunanan is over.
00:55:58Thank you very much.
00:56:01>> Well, this was like a crescendo to a great symphony or something.
00:56:06Remember, you'd worked 15, 20 hours a day on this, basically on the story nonstop.
00:56:11So essentially this was the end.
00:56:13And it was a dramatic end.
00:56:16>> We felt satisfied because we accomplished our job.
00:56:20We brought peace back to miami at that time.
00:56:25>> Thank god this is over.
00:56:27That was my overall emotion.
00:56:30Because this had a been something that had been consuming the media for weeks.
00:56:35>> When they cornered him, we knew in our hearts he was there in that houseboat.
00:56:42And then when we found out that he had killed himself, we knew he was gone.
00:56:47Then there was celebration.
00:56:51>> When I announced that this guy was dead, the crowd went nuts.
00:56:55And, you know, drinks are on the house.
00:56:59Time to move on.
00:57:00>> It's time to see the colors.
00:57:02It's time to hear the salsa band on ocean drive and stop and dance.
00:57:06>> I felt a lot of relief.
00:57:08And I mean, the guy was definitely out of his mind.
00:57:14>> Given the fear on the street, when they heard that he was dead, it was a great release.
00:57:21There were cheers.
00:57:22They announced it in bars around south florida, and people cheered and toasted the fact he was dead.
00:57:30Signs went up on the street, debt settled, it said.
00:57:34I saw a woman just walking down ocean drive screaming, justice has been served.
00:57:39Andrew cunanan is evil.
00:57:41They rejoiced in this man's death.
00:57:43It's a little bizarre, but that gives an indication of how it affected them.
00:57:48You never saw such release.
00:57:51>> In the days and weeks following cunanan's suicide, investigators try to unravel the mystery behind his deadly rampage.
00:57:59>> Police released about 700 pages of investigation several months after the case and despite the volume of that material, it answered very little questions about cunanan.
00:58:11They autopsied his body but could never dissect his motives.
00:58:15It's anybody's guess why he was brazen about that.
00:58:17Maybe he wanted to make a statement, maybe he wanted to get caught.
00:58:23>> I can't fathom doing what he did.
00:58:26It just doesn't make any sense.
00:58:27And obviously he wanted to go out with a bang.
00:58:31>> Why did he ultimately pull the trigger on gianni versace?
00:58:35That died with him on miami beach.
00:58:37It was one of those things you never really got the fullest answer as to why this man ultimately decided to make that cross country trek after a killing spree before and targeted gianni versace.
00:58:51>> Whenever I think of gianni, i think of the void that this man created in a lot of people's lives.
00:59:01>> This was a very famous, famous man, and he was killed in a very, very public and bloody way.
00:59:09>> When versace was killed, miami beach lost a part of its soul.
00:59:15It lost versace.
00:59:17And it has never recovered and I'm sure never will.
00:59:22>> Cunanan didn't leave evidence of his motive but one theory is that unlike other serial killers, he may have had several reasons to kill.
00:59:33Jeffrey trail and david madsen may have been targeted for revenge, lee miglin and johnny reese, and then versace to secure his own fame.
00:59:47That's all for our report.