tv Caught on Camera MSNBC August 19, 2012 1:00pm-2:00pm PDT
believe if they weren't captured by dashboard cameras. i'm contessa brewer. that's all for this edition of "caught on camera." all of our stories have been "caught on camera." they're situations no one wants to find themselves in, situations no one wants to confront. but what would you do if you came upon a man trapped inside a burning car, engulfed in flames? >> i knew eventually the car was probably going to explode. >> or if you watch a woman silently slump to the floor of an emergency room. >> this was so not violent, but so violent. >> what if you witnessed a life or death struggle over a gun? >> i never grabbed a gun before,
but i knew that i better be the one who had it. >> or if you were part of a crowd patiently waiting for a pizza when all hell breaks loose. >> i got the concussion. i got the concussion when he hit me the first time. >> what if you witness a 78-year-old man smashed to the ground. >> i was begging please come forward. >> or suddenly, without warning, new york's central grand station came to a bizarre and screeching halt. >> we're not moving. i can't move my car. >> in each instance of drama, danger and decision, would you get involved or look away? >> would you help or merely watch? "caught on camera: what would you do?" usually news photographers just record a story.
they don't intentionally become part of it. but one afternoon on an l.a. freeway, jack klein knew if he didn't quickly become part of the story, a man might burn to death right in front of his eyes. the madness, the misery, the mayhem. just a typical day on an l.a. freeway. but then an accident, an inferno, and a man trapped inside. his fate left in the hands of bystanders, forced to choose between saving him or saving themselves. what would they do? it's early afternoon on freeway 170. october 16th, 2005, when the drama begins. >> i was traveling on southbound when i start drizzling. and i was rolling the tape.
i was trying to shoot some rain. >> freelance cameraman jack klein is driving with his daughter when he's something alarming up ahead. >> i notice car slip and slide, went sideways towards the left and hit a center divider. i seen some smoke coming out of the car. i parked my car, left the camera, ran towards him. and he was kind of moaning slightly after he came through. he goes my foot, my foot. i thought his foot was stuck. >> officers also see the accident. >> once we got on the freeway, we saw that on the other side, there was a multi-vehicle collision and vehicles were all over the freeway. so we pulled up. and then we saw smoke and people running around. everybody ran up to us and said there is somebody trapped in the vehicle. >> that somebody is 22-year-old alexis reynoso. >> is the belt off? >> i advised my partner jenson to grab the fire extinguisher, and i ran down to see what i could do. he was trapped. the dashboard was pulled down around his legs and waist area. so there was no way he was going to get out on his own. as jenson got there with the
fire extinguisher, i had been working to try and move his legs to a better position to try to extract him from the vehicle. >> it was hot. it was undescribable. in a way, every time we pulled him out, he was trying to get his head out of the window, try to get fresh air because the black smoke was already building inside the car. >> as the fire burns out of control, the officers, jack klein and others, frantically try to pry reynoso out of the vehicle. >> he was hit actually from the side. and his door was all squashed in. there was no way we could open the door to get him out. >> they try to rip open the hood of the car. >> i told them don't open it because more oxygen, nor flame. and at the same time were thinking what if this guy doesn't make it? and everything is just going fast. >> we hold our breath because of the smoke, and we just took turns trying to maneuver his legs into a position where we can get him out. as time progressed, the vehicle
got a lot hotter, and then the flames started igniting in the engine block. that's when the sense of urgency really stepped in. >> alexis reynoso is still pinned inside and cannot move. >> the gentleman that was filming this whole event, he would film part of time, and then he would set the camera down and run, get more fire extinguishers for us, and then he would pick the camera back up and start filming again. so he was a really big help. >> but the fire extinguishers are now empty. >> i noticed the flames were getting stronger. and there was no fire extinguisher left. i was looking for truck. i said a truck or something big might have some bigger extinguishers. >> jack sees a greyhound bus stopped up the road. >> thank god greyhound happens to be there. >> anybody has a fire extinguisher? you guys have a fire extinguisher? there is a guy burning inside the car. give it to me, guys. come on, guys!
>> as they try in vain to douse the flames and extricate alexis, the situation goes from bad to horrific. >> the flames started spreading. i noticed my feet were extremely hot, but i couldn't figure why. when i looked down, i saw that the whole undercarriage of the vehicle was now engulfed in flames, along with the engine compartment. i looked in the vehicle briefly and saw that the flames were starting to come up underneath the dashboard, and were just starting to touch mr. reynoso's feet and legs. >> one thing was going through my mind. get this guy out of there alive quick as possible, as safe way as possible. but at the same time you're thinking what if. >> i looked at my partner. several of the citizens moved away because they saw how bad it was getting. a couple of the citizens hung in there, and i told my partner, we got to get him out or he is going to die. >> time is running out. rescuers are faced with a monumental decision. do you risk your own life to save a stranger's?
>> what was driving me was the flames. it was driving me crazy. i had no feelings of anything just to get this guy out of there alive. >> and that's where it got pretty intense. once i saw the flames i knew that every car has a gas tank, and i knew the flames were covering the gas tank. i knew eventually the car was probably going to explode. i ensured him that we would not leave him. i ensured him we would get him out. i wasn't going to go back on my word. if we stayed there until the car blew up, we stayed there until the car blew up. but we weren't going to give up. >> knowing the car could explode at any moment, and firefighters held up in the snarled traffic, with all their lives on the line, they give it one last potentially bone-breaking heave. >> go, go, go! >> come on, you're coming out! >> they gave one final valiant effort. >> come on, go, go, go, go! >> and were able to extract him, right when the car exploded.
>> i was so happy and thrilled that he made it out. it seemed like i was just like reborn. that's the way i had the feeling when this guy was on the ground, just made it out of there alive. >> you'll be fine, you'll be fine. good job, guys. good job, guys. >> once we got him out of the vehicle and my partner and citizens got him to safety, i looked back at the car, and that's when i really realized, boy, we came really close on this one. and it really doesn't hit you until that point, when you look back at it and you think wow, that was really close. >> alexis reynoso suffers three fractures to his pelvis, but escapes with his life. >> i think it was part luck, and definitely wouldn't have had the same outcome hadn't the citizens helped us. without their help i don't think the outcome would have been the same. and luckily those good citizens were there and helped us. otherwise it would have been a different outcome. they made the difference,
absolutely. >> it made me a better person, to think about life, how important life is. >> you'll be fine, you'll be fine, buddy. good job, guys. coming up next, what would you do if you saw a woman lying face-down on an emergency room floor? >> a security guard wheels himself in on a chair, rounds the corner of the wall, looks at her, and wheels himself right back out. >> and later, a life or death fight in a parking lot over a loaded gun. >> i didn't have time to think about my own safety. i didn't have time. >> when "caught on camera: what would you do" returns. this is the plan for back to school. introducing share everything, only from verizon. a shareable pool of data to power up to 10 different devices. add multiple smartphones to your plan, so everyone in your family can enjoy unlimited talk and text.
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>> a 49-year-old woman collapses on a psychiatric emergency room floor. surveillance video captures the moments when others decide to intervene or not. and their decisions have dire consequences. >> she was a really beautiful person. and an aunt. she loved children. she loved them with a passion. >> esmin green comes to new york city in 1995, hoping to find work that will allow her to send money home to her six children in jamaica. >> she was by all accounts heartbroken to be separated from her family for so many years. >> i think maybe one of the reasons why she clung to other people's children it is because she had left her six children in jamaica.
and being without her children filled that void. >> she found a second home with the jesus is lord ministries and worked at day-care centers in the area. >> she was very good in communication with children, as a teacher, a counselor, whatever. and she would always do a good job. >> but esmin also has to contend with her own demons. she has psychological problems. at times showing dangerous signs of agitation and psychosis. in june 2008, esmin loses her job and is evicted from her apartment. in the early hours of june 18th, she breaks. >> everything just changed. she changed from one personality into next just as she did. >> esmin green is out of control, and pastor marilyn johnson calls 911.
emergency medical technicians arrive. esmin is admitted involuntarily to the psychiatric emergency room of the kings county hospital in brooklyn. >> one thing about the psychiatric emergency room, it's not like an ordinary emergency room. once you're taken in, they won't let you out without permission from a doctor. so if something is going wrong in there, you're a prisoner, and you're totally at the mercy of the hospital staff. >> it's june 19th, 5:32 in the morning. and esmin green, who has been waiting for a bed for nearly 24 hours, slumps to the floor. none of the patients move to help her. >> some people have asked why didn't anybody who was in the waiting room do anything. but chances are they were all
medicated and out of it. >> esmin lies unattended for 20 minutes. and then at 5:52 -- >> what happens to her is nothing, except for that a security guard comes by and sees her on the floor and doesn't do anything. doesn't go near her, doesn't do anything that would indicate any concern about the well-being of this individual who has come to the hospital for treatment. >> the security guard looks in, and then apparently walks away. ten minutes later, esmin is in distress, kicking her legs and moving back and forth. another eight minutes go by, and then -- >> a security guard wheels himself in on a chair, rounds the corner of the wall, looks at her, and wheels himself right back out. he couldn't be bothered to get up.
he didn't go over to her. and once again, nothing was done. nothing was done. >> at 6:33, a doctor ambles by, looks at esmin, and apparently walks away. at 6:35 a nurse enters the room. she kicks esmin to see if she responds. >> you know, i'm no expert on medical practice, but common sense tells me that medical people ought to have some other tools at their disposal besides kicking somebody who is lying on the floor to find out whether they're dead. >> after being admitted the day before, esmin has been unattended by the hospital staff for nearly 24 hours. now the nurse alerts others, who finally come to check on her,
but esmin is dead. according to the medical examiner, esmin green is killed by blood clots that can be caused of long periods of physical inactivity. >> we have to keep asking ourselves why didn't anybody help. and i'm not sure we'll ever know why. we may find out what went on in each individual's mind, you know, each, the security guards, the nurses, the doctor. but, you know, nobody should check their conscience at the door. >> the hospital has also been accused of falsifying green's medical records. they record that at 6:00 a.m., esmin got up and went to the bathroom, and that at 6:20, she was sitting quietly in the waiting room. but the camera doesn't lie.
it bears witness to what was really happening, and how the silent decisions not to act may have led to esmin green's death. since the incident, seven employees have been fired or suspended. in a press release, the new york city health and hospitals corporation, which oversees kings county hospital admits that they, quote, failed esmin green. esmin green's family also sues for negligence and is awarded $2 million in a settlement in 2009. esmin's death has prompted the hospital to institute changes to help prevent tragedies such as esmin's from happening again. staffing has been increased, and waiting times have been significantly reduced. >> esmin green's death was a needless death, but she didn't die in vain because her death has sparked the reform of conditions at kings county hospital.
and hopefully as a result of her death, nobody will ever be treated this way. >> we miss her spirit at the church. something is missing. we really miss her. up next, what is it like to try to wrestle a loaded gun from a bad guy? >> i saw the gun. i never grabbed a gun before, but i knew i better be the one who had it. >> and later, a plastering punchout at a pizza parlor. >> got the concussion when he hit me the first time. >> when "caught on camera" what would you do returns. ttom line, their very first word was... [ to the tune of "lullaby and good night" ] ♪ af-lac ♪ aflac [ male announcer ] find out more at... [ duck ] aflac! [ male announcer ] ...forbusiness.com. [ yawning sound ]
or take aleve, which can relieve pain all day with just two pills. good eye. what makes someone a hero? >> i saw the gun. i never grabbed a gun before, but i knew that i better be the one who had it. >> is it timing, luck, guts? >> the man had already had her fairly bloody. >> for sharon gillespie, patrick
dennis couglan it was all of that, and perhaps a bit more. linden, texas. mother's day, may 11th, 2003. assistant chief of police sharon gillespie makes a routine traffic stop at a convenience store parking lot. it's all caught on the dashboard camera in her police car. >> she is a very good officer, and she is a smart, real smart person. and a real caring type person. >> after being stopped, the driver immediately exits the vehicle, and surprisingly, begins walking away. gillespie calls him back, asking for some identification. >> and when sheri stopped him, she didn't know for sure who he was, and she asked him for his id. and he said, i don't have any id. but he told her his last name. >> he tells her his last name is
gray. gillespie realizes he fits the description of the andrew lee gray, a man wanted by police for assaulting his girlfriend with a knife. she asks gray to put his hands on the trunk of the car. >> he placed his hands on the car, and she took her handcuffs out. he spun around to fight her. she grabbed him by the shirt and told him you don't want to do this. you're just going to get yourself in more trouble. >> gillespie grabs gray by the shirt, but gray decides to make what could be a life or death move. he tears off gillespie's vest microphone and goes for her gun. >> he reached to grab the gun. as soon as he did that, she tried to grab hold of him. and they started tussling. >> the gun is a .40 caliber glock. and gillespie knows if gray gains control of it, he could shoot her. but gray is having trouble. he seems to be trying to find the safety on the gun, hoping to release it. while gillespie desperately holds on for dear life. >> he's got the pistol in his
hand, and he is trying to put it in her face because she's got a vest on. and she's got to hold the barrel. the only reason the gun couldn't go off because while she had a hold of the barrel, she was pushing back, trying to hold it out of her face. when you push back on a glock, it won't fire until it's locked in place. the minute it's locked in place, with him pulling on the trigger, it would have went off. but now gray has the advantage. gillespie is off balance, bloodied. the gun is pointing directly at her face. >> i could feel god moving my hands and feet. i've told people this before, and some of them think i'm crazy. but it was too perfect. i was there at the exact perfect second to do what i did. >> patrick dennis couglan, a musician, a former monk, and the right man in the right place at the right time. >> when i pulled into the parking lot, i could see that the officer had pulled over a
man and was checking his id. i didn't think anything about it. when i got to the front door, just as i was going in, i saw that he was slapping at her and grabbing for her gun. >> that's when couglan makes a decision that could have deadly consequences. >> as soon as i got out there, i saw that they were struggling. and any man who is struggling with a woman, i'm going to go help the woman, especially if he is two feet taller than she is. whatever was going to happen, it was going to happen to her. >> couglan deliberately walks into the line of fire, calmly, and almost serenely, he wrestles the gun out of gray's hands. >> he would have killed her. he would have killed her, for sure. he pulled the trigger in her face twice. the only thing that saved her was the slide on the glock was back just a little bit. >> grab the gun with both hand and twisted it. as soon as he twisted it, he got it loose from gray and he pointed the gun at gray and told him to get down on the ground.
>> but the fight is far from over. gillespie and gray are still struggling. that's when licia rector appears. >> well, i had taken my four kids grocery shopping, and a man came in and said a lady needed help. so i kicked my flip-flops off, it's a texas thing, and went outside. and there was ms. gillespie in bad trouble. >> she isn't in a particularly good mood this morning. >> earlier that day my husband got me a happy birthday card and it was mother's day. and that's not my birthday. so i was already upset, and i had to take the four kids to buy groceries in my little bitty car. so i just was not in a good mood already. >> and her mood is about to get worse. >> and my children said get 'em, mama, get him! >> that's when licia weighs in, turning the free-for-all into a texas hog-tie, and andrew gray
is finally subdued. but what would you do if you came upon a struggle like the one pat couglan and licia rector encountered? what does it take to be a hero? >> i didn't have time to think about my own safety. i didn't have time. it was too important. >> i don't feel like a hero. when you have five kids, and when you get through each day, it's heroic! [ laughter ] >> andrew lee gray was convicted, given two life sentences for attempted murder and aggravated assault. though the encounter has been hard on sharon gillespie, she exhibited astounding courage and resolve throughout the blood chilling fight. >> she is alive. she is doing well. she is doing good for herself. ms. gillespie is an awesome woman herself, and she's got a big heart too. >> the kind of generous heart
shared by licia rector and lee couglan. but for licia it might have all have been in a day's work. >> she somehow got him turned over, and i just got control of the man and helped to handcuff him and then i went about finishing checking out my groceries. next up on "caught on camera," what would you do? a knockout punch in a pizza joint has everyone looking, away. >> if one person would have stood up, things could have turned out a bit differently. >> and later, a horrible hit and run in broad daylight. >> my father is fighting for his life. i just would like the public right now to help us. >> when "caught on camera: what would you do?" continues. who have used androgel 1%, there's big news. presenting androgel 1.62%. both are used to treat men with low testosterone. androgel 1.62% is from the makers of the number one prescribed
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they fooird upon nato troops. nine days earlier a similar assault killed marines. bashar al assad made his first appearance in months. assad had not been seen in public since an attack in july that killed four top security officials. 18,000 have died in the syrian unrest. now back to "caught on camera." welcome back to "caught on camera." i'm contessa brewer. in our next story, people in a pizza parlor are unexpectedly caught in a daunting decision to test them to step up when they saw something bad coming down. >> it is one of the most brutal
knockout punches caught on camera. >> i got the coop kugs when he hit me the first time. >> what's even more shocking is maybe what happens next. july 31st, 2004. da vinci's pizza parlor. it's 2:00 in the morning, and joseph scarpino, the man in the striped shirt, is about to have a really bad day. it begins slowly when ms. pristina enters and cuts in line. >> when she entered the pizzeria, she went to the front. i wasn't paying attention to what she was doing. >> joseph gets a call from his wife, waving in the car outside. >> my wife was asking how much longer is it going to be. it's going to be a little bit longer. somebody just jumped in front of the line. she goes who just jumped in front of the line. i said well, that lady just walked in was wearing camouflage pants. >> ms. simms is in an extremely nasty mood. when she hears joseph's comment, she decides to make a scene, a
very big scene. >> say what you're saying, [ bleep ], say what you're saying. say what you're saying, [ bleep ]. >> she immediately became enraged, got right up into the victim's face, was, you know, using foul language against him, was hitting him, poking at him. just screaming like a lunatic at him. >> joseph tries to ignore her as pristina bellows for her boyfriend outside. >> come here, come here and tell this [ bleep ]. >> then the manager gets involved. >> pristina simms was loud and swearing and out of control when the person working at the pizza shop just started saying get out of here. >> hey. >> no! >> you need to go. >> you need to leave. get out of my restaurant. she then just got real hostile with him. >> and to put an exclamation point on her argument, pristina simms spits in his face.
the manager asks her to leave. but pristina is on a roll. that's when mark jones, pristina's boyfriend enters. mr. jones stands 6'4", weighs in at about 295 pounds. he also happens to be an ex con. meanwhile, joseph scarpino is still on the phone with his wife. >> my wife tells me she is coming in. i say no, stay in the car. >> at that point she pokes me in the face. >> as simms is using all her foul language and acting out of control, you see a number of other men who are also customers. they're just standing there. everyone seems oblivious. not one of the men in the crowd says a word. not one gets involved. almost everyone's eyes are averted as pristina continues to poke and provoke joseph scarpino.
>> i switched the hands on my phone, and i slapped the counter. i said what is wrong with you. what is your problem. just get your pizza, get out of here. and mark jones approaches. >> check you. check you. >> and while mark jones approaches me, my phone rings, but then it hangs up. so i go to redial the phone. and he is like what is the problem. i'm not really paying attention much to what he is doing. >> that's when mr. jones unloads a wicked round house, a blindsiding killer sucker punch that fractures joseph's teeth and immediately gives him a cerebral concussion. but it doesn't stop there. jones continues to pulverize his victim. >> got the concussion right when he hit me the first time. i'm like falling out the door, and i came back in. i had no idea what was going on. it's a little bit disheartening to see people stand around and do nothing.
>> the video clearly shows at least six other men that are all standing around as the victim is just being brutalized. and there is not a lot of reaction. you can see them all looking, i think maybe in shock, not quite knowing what was going on, or what to do. >> still, no one lifts a finger to help joseph scarpino. >> mark jones, after violently punching the victim probably seven or eight times until the victim is down on the ground, just stops. the victim is laying there unconscious, i believe. he then is in search of his cell phone. and he takes the victim, who must be blocking his path to get out of the pizza shop, and he just drags his body out of the way and exits the pizza shop. >> as soon as pristina simms and
mark jones exit the store, police are there to arrest them. >> pristina simms was convicted of an assault, a misdemeanor assault, and then later indicted by the grand jury and convicted of a felony assault. >> pristina simms served six months in jail and was put on probation. mark jones was convicted of felonious assault and sentenced to four years and nine months in prison. >> within a month of his release, he broke into pristina simms' home and attacked her. >> at his trial, a jury found mark jones guilty of aggravated assault and domestic violence. he was sentenced, again, this time to five years in jail. joseph scarpino recovered from the physical scars of the incident, but he remains bewildered and stung by the lack of help he received that night. >> anybody who watches this video probably is thinking the same thing.
i think it's our human reaction is here are a group of men, not women, but a group of men, and they're not doing anything. >> but what would you do? confronted with an out-of-control thug, mercilessly beating someone right in front of your eyes. would you call the cops? tell them to stop? or look at the wall, as if it wasn't happening. >> if one person would have stood up, one person crosses that line, one person would have stood up, i think things could have turned out a bit different. >> coming up, a horrifying hit-and-run leaves a 78-year-old man paralyzed and waiting for someone to help him. >> he was on bleeding on the back of head and he was bleeding through his eyes, his mouth, all over the place. >> and later, what would you do if everyone around you suddenly froze in place.
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friday, may 30th, 2008. 5:49 in the evening. 33 park street. hartford, connecticut. in broad daylight on a busy street, a brazen hit-and-run. the entire horrific incident is caught on tape. but may be after the accident that is the most shocking of all. the man left for dead is 78-year-old angel torres. >> he was bleeding on the back of the head. he was bleeding through his
eyes, through his mouth, all over the place. >> immediately after the accident, angel's son appeals for help. >> my father is fighting for his life. i just would like the public right now to help us. >> information about the gentleman that got hit by the car. >> if there person is listening to police, turn yourself in. known in the community as potsy for his puerto rican home, angel is a retired forklift operator, a huge yankees fan, a fisherman and a wizard at dominoes. >> he was one of my best friends. to me he was a good man. he and i, we get together almost every day. we play dominoes. he helps everybody. he was a person that if you need help, he is there for you. he never say no. he never back out. he were this. >> my father is the man i always want to be and the man i pretend to be. a good father whom.
could ask for a better father, good grandfather, great grandfather. >> angel is an active member of the community, someone who looks out for others. >> in seven years, we used to go down and pick up clothes and stuff for the poorest people and bring it back to the city and help out the people in the city. >> angel's world and that of his family is changed forever. put on a ventilator, and confined to a hospital bed for the rest of his life. he is paralyzed from the neck down. >> we communicate with him. he talks, but we got to read his lips. he doesn't have a voice. he is still paralyzed from the neck down. get very, very confuseat time. now we go into the hospital and we can't even hold conversations with him like we used to. it's tough. >> for the family of this man
who helped others, this tragedy is made worse by the circumstances surrounding it. the two speeding vehicles had run a red light, and then traveling against traffic, crossed the center line. after angel is hit, the drivers didn't stop. they didn't even hesitate. and even more devastating, they are still at large. but the drivers aren't the only indifferent participants in this shocking story. watch what happens immediately after the impact. onlookers gather to watch, but no one tries to help angel torres. >> what is troubling about this, that he is paralyzed now from the neck down, and no one appeared to come to his aid. >> seven seconds after angel is run down, the first of eight cars slows and eventually drives back.
32 seconds after the impact, a man stops to talk to another driver, but neither does anything about the victim lying at their feet. >> what is disturbing this individual was clearly, clearly struck in broad daylight. there was several witnesses. there were cars actually driving by him as he was on the ground. >> 40 seconds after the accident, a moped driver circles angel and drives on as a crowd edges closer, but does nothing. >> got a guy on a scooter that goes around my father, and just kept going. don't even go around the corner to the fire station. >> but some onlookers did do something to help. calls to 911 are recorded. >> it was somebody who was hit in a hit-and-run. he is bleeding severely from his head. >> send an ambulance, quick, quick, quick. >> is he bleeding hard? >> he is bleeding hard. >> what kind of car was it? >> i didn't see it. >> still, more crucial seconds go by until a police cruiser
that just happens to be in the area stops and takes charge. the police release the video of the hit-and-run. they're looking to find a tan older model toyota being chased by a blue or black older model honda. the police and angel's son appeal to the public for help, and for those hit-and-run drivers to turn themselves in. >> i'm just begs, please come forward. it would take a little less suffering from this family. watching my father fighting for his life is not easy. >> angel spends nearly a year on life support, but he dies on monday, may 11th, 2009. in an incredible twist, police make an arrest that friday, may 15th, the same day angel is laid to rest by his family. >> we ask my father to help us out, to help us with justice. we bury him today.
we didn't know he was going to work that fast. >> a woman tips off police that her ex-boyfriend, 33-year-old luis negron, was the driver of the car that hits torres. he is arrested and in a deal with prosecutors pleads guilty to manslaughter and evading responsibility. sentencing is set for may 3rd. but what would you have done as angel torres lay alone. he deserved someone to stop traffic, perhaps to hold his hand, to have responded the way he most certainly would have. >> he always helped everybody in that area. and in his time of need, nobody there, nobody ran to my father to help him out. next, new york's grand central station comes to a shocking stand still. >> how long has this been happening? >> i don't know. >> when "caught on camera: what >> when "caught on camera: what would you do?" continues.
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not everything caught on camera is dramatic, sad, frightening, or heroic. some things are just plain weird. like what if you were walking through new york's grand central station, and in the blink of an eye, nearly everyone around you suddenly froze in place? >> they stopped what they were doing and just stood like frozen. >> they're not moving. i can't move my cart. >> that's exactly what happens here on february 24th, 2007. grand central comes to a very strange and screeching halt. >> this is so weird. >> what is going on? >> i don't either. >> were you here from the beginning? >> no. >> do you know what they're doing? >> no. >> opened in 1871, grand central is the largest train station in the world. every day more than half a million people rush through the main concourse, a cavernous
space filled with the frenetic hustle and bustle that seems to symbolize new york city itself. >> it's always packed with people. there are some tourists who may be taking photos of the clock or ceiling. but mostly it's commuters who are running to catch their train. >> the fun begins when 207 agents of the prank collective known as improv everywhere freeze in place at the exact same moment. >> what the heck is going on here? >> we do pranks, but we do a type of prank that rather than embarrassing or humiliating someone, it gives someone an awesome story to tell. >> are you a part of this? >> i feel like i'm the only person not frozen here. >> improv everywhere is the brainchild of charlie todd, creating outrageous scenes in public places is their specialty. >> what we're very interested in doing is creating situations that are magical and hilarious and awesome, and seem to come from nowhere, and seem to disappear back into nowhere when they're over.
>> since 2001, improv everywhere has executed more than 70 missions, involving thousands of undercover agents. frozen grand central is one of the most bizarre. >> really excited that all you guys are here. we've got a really exciting mission that we're going to be doing today. >> we all met at bryant part and synchronized our watches. and then went over to grand central station that at the plan at exactly 2:33, we would all freeze in place for five minutes. and when the five minutes was up, we would unfreeze and walk away and act like nothing unusual had happened. >> but how did the people walking by react? some seem completely oblivious. others find it humorous. some seem baffled.
yet amazingly, people just keep on walking. most not even fazed by the strange3 folks staged throughout the station. all the while, hidden cameras, some as small as lipstick cases secretly record the action. >> the people who come out to participate in improv everywhere are always very creative people. i'm always amazed the different things people come up with. one girl froze in the middle of eating a banana. another girl froze as she was about to take a bite of yogurt, the yogurt dripping down off her spoon. another guy right before the freeze moment spills 30 papers from his briefcase. so he is froze, bending over for five minutes. towards the end of the freeze, there is a guy who is on some type of motorized vehicle working for grand central who was trying to get across the main concourse and could not move because there were frozen people in front of his cart. >> they're not moving.
i can't move my cart. >> he couldn't figure out what was going on. and he radioed for help from someone. but sort of right when he was trying to get someone to help him out, we all unfroze. so his reaction was well, never mind, and continued to drive on. >> the actors break out of character. and then seem to fade back into the everyday world. an everyday world that improv everywhere makes a bit more whimsical and a lot more fun. hopefully our stories made you consider how you might react if your courage or conscience is put to the test, and you never know when a camera may be watching. if you have a video you would like to send to us, log on to our website, caughtoncamera.msnbc.com. i'm contessa brewer. that's it for this edition of "caught on camera."