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Shooting at University of Texas; Landslide in Mexico; President Obama's Backyard Talk

Aired September 28, 2010 - 11:00   ET


DREW GRIFFIN, CNN ANCHOR: We are in the middle of breaking news here at CNN. It's actually happening in Austin, Texas, on the campus of the University of Texas in Austin.

About 8:25 this morning, gunfire at the library. We know that there is one gunman who has a self-inflicted wound that has killed him. He's dead. The question is whether or not there is a second gunman out there.

Multiple shots were fired. We have heard from some witnesses who said perhaps as many as seven.

As far as we know, there is just one gunman, and that gunman is dead. But police are looking for -- or checking to see, actually -- if there is a second gunman. That has placed this campus on lockdown.

I want to bring in Professor Juan Garcia at the University of Texas.

Professor Garcia, thank you for joining us.

Let me just start out by asking you if you heard, saw anything this morning when this took place?


Actually, no, I didn't see anything. We first received word across campus via a text message alert system that the university has in place, and that was approximately at 8:30 this morning. Shortly thereafter, we started hearing the campus sirens going off, and that's the moment when we knew the campus was in lockdown.

GRIFFIN: Will you get a text message when the campus is no longer in lockdown?

GARCIA: Yes. The way the system is set up is we get those alerts when it begins and when it ends. Internally, though, we've been receiving multiple e-mail streams from people within the department, people within different safety committees, so the UT committee is fairly well informed internally of what the situation is.

GRIFFIN: And I'm going to ask you about that situation and what those internal notifications say, because, Professor, I'm sure as you know, in a case like this, you could have multiple witnesses seeing the same gunman but describing him in a different way, which may be the case here. It just may be the case that two witnesses have described the same person in a different way and that, indeed, this gunman was the only person involved.

Do you have any information from those internal communications on whether or not this thing looks like it might be over or if there is an active and urgent search for a second gunman?

GARCIA: There is definitely an active and urgent search. In fact, the university has informed us that the campus is officially closed. All classes for the remainder of the day have been cancelled at this point. And so they are urging all members of the UT community who are still on campus to remain indoors, get away from windows, turn off lights, lock all doors, and just to stay as safe as possible, not venture anywhere in towards central campus, where they believe the second suspect may be at large.

GRIFFIN: That shelter in place order I think is what they call that.

Any word on where that search for a possible second gunman is going on? Specifically, is it at the library or is it extended beyond that?

GARCIA: It sound to us that it's extended beyond the library. We have conflicting reports on where the individual may have fled.

We have an area that's just south of our campus tower, which is our main building. But right now there's no way to actually determine where that second shooter may be, which is why now that it seemed to be a very selective lockdown that was just within the PCL library area, and the south part of the campus, has now been extended to the entire campus. And they are, again, urging people to remain indoors that are on campus.

GRIFFIN: 8:25 in the morning at the library. How crowded or uncrowded would that have been based on your experience?

GARCIA: It can actually be fairly crowded. The library, of course, is a good place for the students to go to study. And at the same time, just depending on the season, where we are with exams, there can be quite a few students in there.

Fortunately, you know, from friends who actually work in this library, they weren't around. But it sounds like most people weren't yet in the library. So the good news is, as far as staff and numbers go, we might have been able to keep a few people safe just because of the hour.

GRIFFIN: And also because of that alert. How quickly -- do you have a log of the time or a timestamp on the first alert you got from the university? And if so, could you tell me when that would be?

GARCIA: The first one that I see in my text message stream comes in at 8:43 a.m. this morning.

GRIFFIN: 8:43. So, if the shooting actually took place -- and I'm not sure about the exact time -- at 8:25, you're talking about maybe 10, 15 minutes or so. Not bad, actually, for an alert system to be working. GARCIA: No. And, in fact, you know, we have been on campus -- since the long stream of unfortunate shootings that have been happening on campuses, UT has been very good, in my opinion, about moving forward with a safety system that's keeping folks safe. And I think that everything that I've seen here, the e-mail alerts that we're getting internally, the text messages, have been keeping folks safe. And, of course, a lot of people are moving towards Twitter and Facebook within the community to keep themselves safe as well.

GRIFFIN: Yes. And interesting you mention that, because the University of Texas and the tower that you mention, of course, involved in a horrific shooting back in the '60s.

GARCIA: That's right.

GRIFFIN: And now that search seems to be centered in that same area.

Professor Juan Garcia on the phone with us, live from Austin, Texas.

Thank you so much.

GARCIA: Thank you.

GRIFFIN: Now we want to check in with -- so thank you, Professor Garcia. If you do hear any more, Professor, could you get in touch with us? That would be great, especially if you get the all-clear text that we hope the students and the faculty at the University of Texas get very soon.


GRIFFIN: We're going to continue to follow our breaking news coming to us from Austin, Texas. The University of Texas campus on lockdown. One gunman inside the library has shot and killed himself, but the campus remains on lockdown because there was a search for a second gunman.

We'll be right back.


GRIFFIN: The University of Texas campus at Austin is on lockdown right now because this morning, a gunman entered the library there, fired several shots, and then killed himself. The scene should be over with, but the problem is that police right now are looking for a second suspect.

Thus, the campus, the students, the faculty, the entire community there remains on lockdown. Shelter in place was the order sent out by the school to everybody on its system.

Cindy Posey is communications coordinator for the university.

And Cindy, can you bring us up to date? Is there any new news on the search for the second gunman, or perhaps news that there is no second gunman? CINDY POSEY, COMMUNICATIONS COORDINATOR, UNIVERSITY OF TEXAS AT AUSTIN: No, at this time we have no new news. As you reported, the person entered the library, the Perry Castaneda Library, a little after 8:00 a.m. Shots were fired.

He then shot himself. He is deceased. And there is a possibility of a second suspect. And the campus remains in lockdown at this time.

GRIFFIN: Cindy, do you have any information on what exactly took place inside that library, whether this gunman was shooting at others, shooting up in the air?

POSEY: I do not have any confirmation of what type of shooting he was doing. I do know that he was shooting the gun and shots were fired. And then he turned the gun on himself. That's all the information that we can confirm.

GRIFFIN: That's it. And you don't have any idea who this person was, whether or not there was any communications going on before shooting, correct?

POSEY: Not at this time.

GRIFFIN: OK. So you are the communications coordinator. Are you the person whose responsibility it is to send out these warnings, these text messages?

POSEY: I am part of a team that handles that, yes, sir.

GRIFFIN: And so from what I understand from Professor Juan Garcia, his first text message came at 843 a.m. advising them that they need to shelter in place. Is that correct?

POSEY: I do not have the exact time that it went out, but I do know that that message did go out to the campus, yes.

GRIFFIN: And Cindy, is there constant communications once these messages start continually telling students and faculty what to do, or is it just shelter in place and stand by for the next alert?

POSEY: Shelter in place and stand by for the next alert, yes. And we try to get as much communication out as we possibly can.

GRIFFIN: OK. And I'm being asked to ask you about the gun itself. Do you have any idea whether or not this gun was an AK-47, an automatic, or a semiautomatic weapon?

POSEY: Unfortunately, no, I do not have a confirmation on that at this time.

GRIFFIN: All right. Cindy, will police contact you as soon as they determine this is over with? Will you be making the call? You said you were part of a team that alerts the students.


GRIFFIN: What is that team?

POSEY: That team comprises of several different people, several leaders on campus who will get the message out in a variety of ways. We have text messages, we have e-mails, and then we also have a system on campus that has an alarm and a speaker, a loud speaker that lets anyone outside of the building get the information.

GRIFFIN: And will that also sound the all clear?

POSEY: Yes. When we are ready for that to happen, there will be an all-clear sound to let everyone know.

GRIFFIN: All right.

Cindy Posey, communications coordinator with the University of Texas. A very busy morning for her as she's continuing to advise the students, faculty and the staff there about this incident that happened this morning.

A gunman dead inside the campus library. The search on for a possible second gunman.

We want to play some sound we heard from a student earlier. Let's take a listen to this student's explanation of what was going on.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Cops. The guy just said, "Hey, walk this way. Please don't come in this direction."

So I said, "Wow. OK, what's going on?" And then I turned on my phone and I forgot (INAUDIBLE). Wow, it's kind of scary.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What did your professor say to you when you came in?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Just that there was a gunman in PCL, and that he didn't know if the police had caught him yet or anything, or what was going on, but that we should probably just, like, leave as soon as we can.


GRIFFIN: So right now the University of Texas at Austin campus under lockdown. Students, faculty, staff, everybody being told to shelter in place as police continue to search for a possible second gunman.

We have live pictures now of a mass group of students who are leaving. I don't know where this is from.

This may be from the library. Perhaps they are clearing floors of that library.

We did hear from Professor Juan Garcia earlier, who said the library could be very crowded at 8:25 in the morning with students inside studying. But we're not clear on the pictures here. Obviously, there's no stress involved in this.

We'll be trying to figure out what is going on here with our live pictures and be back after this.


GRIFFIN: We continue to follow two breaking news stories. The first one at the University of Texas, where a shooter entered the library, fired several shots, turned the gun on himself.

That shooter is dead. We do believe that is a man. But police there continue to search for a possible second suspect. While they do, the entire campus and area surrounding it is on lockdown mode.

You're looking at live pictures of the police presence there. We also understand that federal agents, the ATF involved in this, as they continue to search the campus for a possible second suspect.

We will, of course, continue to follow this, as we will continue -- I'm just being told right now that what we're seeing is live pictures of an evacuation of the entire campus.

Let's listen in and see if we can hear something.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: -- near the library. This is definitely a safety issue. The sirens are still going on right now. They are asking students to stay inside -- or stay away from campus -- Melissa.

GRIFFIN: So that's a live reporter from the local station, KVUE, one of our affiliates there in Austin, Texas.

Again, this happened 8:25 in the morning. The library was most likely -- had a crowd inside. But as far as we can tell -- and this comes from the police -- there is just one fatality, and that is the gunman himself, who turned the gun on himself.

At this moment, we can just observe from these live pictures there doesn't seem to be any panic on the campus, but police continue to say they are searching for a possible second suspect.

The other breaking news is happening in Mexico, in the state of Oaxaca, where the governor there, Ulises Ruiz, is telling CNN that as many as 1,000 people may be trapped by a mudslide. The mudslide happened, according to a local reporter who just talked to us here on CNN, about 4:00 in the morning, sending tons of mud over as many as 300 houses.

We are working our sources to get as much information as we can on this. Of course, this is the remnants of a tropical storm that went through there, but, again, searchers are desperately trying to get to this area, where as many as 1,000 people have been trapped.

Other news that is developing this morning, it's not breaking, because we knew it was going to happen, is President Obama. He is going to another one of those backyard socials he's been having to talk about the number one issue, the economy.

White House Correspondent Suzanne Malveaux is on the road with the president in the back yard, and it is in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

SUZANNE MALVEAUX, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Drew, we've seen some of these backyard events before, and it's going to be an amazing day, because the president literally is going to hit three different states in one day.

We are here in Albuquerque, New Mexico. He's going to also head to Madison, Wisconsin, and later Des Moines, Iowa.

I want to show you right over here, this is where the home, where the family is. We've basically been stationed behind, across the street, in kind of a pasture-like setting. But it's the Cavalier family. They were chosen by local officials, with the cooperation of the White House, to highlight the way that the president's own policies are helping this particular family.

Andy Cavalier, he is a disabled veteran. He lives there at the home with his wife, Etta (ph). She's been teaching for about 26 years or so in the public school system. She's a guidance counselor at the local high school. They have got six kids.

Obviously, a lot of people will be gathering. The president will have a chance to talk to that family about their own economic concerns, their problems.

And it's not surprising, Drew, that we're going to hear stories coming from them and some of the neighbors about how they believe the White House and Obama's administration has done well by them when it comes to the economic policies. This, of course, against a backdrop of a lot of people who are not satisfied, who want to see their lives get better, and midterm elections just five weeks away.

It's no surprise that this is happening here in New Mexico, a very important governor's race. They hope that the Democrats can keep that seat.

There's also a big, big event that is happening later, Drew, and that is really campaign style, hoping to get the energy, the excitement back, back in the University of Wisconsin, Madison. That's where I remember just a couple of years ago, 2008, right before the presidential primaries, more than 15,000 people crowded, lots of students, lots of young folks chanting for Obama.

The reason for the trip is to try to get those young people back, get them re-engaged in the midterm elections. A much more difficult task to do, but that is certainly what the White House is hoping for today -- Drew.

GRIFFIN: Suzanne, thanks very much. Step carefully in that pasture they have you in.

And we'll continue to follow the moves of the president.

MALVEAUX: We are walking gingerly. There is some horse manure around, so --


GRIFFIN: Well, you know, politics are involved, Suzanne. We'll see you later. We'll listen in to the president's Q&A, too, when that happens in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

We want to get back to the University of Texas. We've been reaching out to the students there, and on the line is Randall Wilhite, a professor at the University of Texas.

And Professor, from what I'm understanding, you're saying that you actually saw this gunman. Is that correct?

PROF. RANDALL WILHITE, UNIVERSITY OF TEXAS IN AUSTIN: Well, I did. I was leaving the on-campus hotel coming to teach my class this morning, and I thought I heard four or five gunshots to my left, but I couldn't be sure.

I saw students sort of scrambling along 21st Street, right at University Boulevard, on the campus, as if there was a gunman. And then I looked to my left, and, in fact, there was a man who was running with a -- like a dress suit on, a dark suit with a white shirt and a black tie, or something similar to that. It was sort of a fog.

But he also had a ski mask on and had what appeared to be an assault rifle, and had been firing shots. And then when I pulled up in my car, he was sort of right in front of me, and didn't stop running, but turned in my direction, fired, like, three shots into the ground, to the left of my car, and kept running down 21st Street towards the center of the campus.

I immediately made a U-turn and went back and reported it to the University of Texas Police. But he appeared to be able to shoot me and others, but wasn't choosing to do so. Was just shooting sort of randomly.

GRIFFIN: Do you recall, sir, or did you take note of the time?

WILHITE: It was just a little bit after 8:00 a.m., somewhere between 8:00 and 10 minutes after 8:00.

GRIFFIN: The direction he was running, down 21st Street, you said, would that be in the direction towards the library?

WILHITE: Yes, it was. It was in the direction -- the library is pretty close to the corner of Speedway and 21st. And he was heading directly into that location when I saw him.

GRIFFIN: A dark suit on, a tie and a ski mask. Fully over his face?

WILHITE: Fully over his face. I could see his neck. He appeared to be Caucasian, probably about 6'2, maybe in the neighborhood of 200 pounds.

Appeared to be youthful, but it's sort of hard to tell. Youthful, because he was trim and was running at a pretty nice gait. Just sort of randomly firing, not trying to shoot students, but just shooting.

GRIFFIN: And he's holding a rifle and running, which is somewhat hard to do. Just from what you can recall, was he holding it one-handed and firing it? And when he was firing it, did it sound like it was on automatic, or was it boom, boom, boom?

WILHITE: Well, as I sort of replay it in my mind, it was probably both hands on it, and it was an automatic. It was coming out in spurts of at least three.

So, it appeared to be -- you know, I don't know guns that well, but just from sort of a casual understanding of it, it appeared to be an assault rifle that had automatic capacity of some sort. Spurts of three, at least.

GRIFFIN: Professor, did you notice anyone chasing him or him chasing anyone else? Was there anybody else that you believe was involved with this man?

WILHITE: No. My first thought was maybe it was a team, and I looked around for someone else immediately. I couldn't see anyone else involved.

Saw some other students scattering and hiding and running behind trees and trash cans and where they could run behind. They were vulnerable to being shot, and he was not pursuing them. He was not pursuing -- it appeared to me he was not trying to shoot anyone. He was running down the street, firing random shots.

GRIFFIN: Right. Right. So you first heard the shots. Would you call that first set of shots four or five gunshots a burst?

WILHITE: Yes. It was definitely a burst. It could have been burst of three, then a burst of two or three after that.

At first I didn't realize it was a gunshot, and then I saw the students scrambling. I thought, well, they think it's gunshots. And then I saw the gun.


WILHITE: And I wasn't sure it was real until I saw the bullets strike the ground to my left.

GRIFFIN: Right. So let me ask you about that.

They struck the ground to your left, and that was the second -- I would say it was a burst, you said it was three shots. Was he aiming at the ground, or just running and it happened to burst at that time?

WILHITE: I think the latter. He was running in sort of a long gait, but not a fast run, and seemingly just randomly firing. And when I pulled up in front of him in my car, I think I just got his attention, and he sort of turned, without stopping in my direction, just a brief moment, fired three shots to my left and then kept running. GRIFFIN: All right. Professor, based on your description, it's somewhat miraculous that no one on campus was injured. But we did just get news as I was talking to you from the school and from the police that no injuries have been reported other than this gunman, who apparently died of a self-inflicted wound. And I'm just trying to put together the timetable, because from what we understand, the gunman was inside the library at 8:25 a.m. when shots were fired in the library.

Does that timeline match what you saw a little after 8:00? Could he have been shooting outside and then running towards the library and been in the library at 8:25?

WILHITE: I think he very well could have been. I mean, he was probably in front of me around 10 minutes after 8:00, maybe a little more than that. I really wasn't that particular with noting what time it was. But in that neighborhood.

And he was probably two or three blocks away from the library, where I understand he was found having committed suicide, which would have taken him four or five minutes to get there. And then I understand he was found on one of the -- I think the sixth floor, is what I've heard. So, it would have taken him a few minutes to get up to the sixth floor. So I think all that timeline fits about right.

GRIFFIN: Professor, you have been most insightful. Let me ask you one more question. Are you on the alert system?

WILHITE: Well, we're on sort of a lockdown here at the law school. All of our students and professors and staff have been told just to stay in the building. There was some rumor about possibly a second gunman, but I'm not sure that was founded.

I think it may have just been because some eyewitnesses reported different outfits for the individual. And therefore, they thought maybe it was two. So, we're feeling safer, but we're just being cautious and trying to calm the students down, and we're going to stay here until we get the all clear from the university.

GRIFFIN: OK. And you haven't got that all clear? That was my next question, but you just answered that.



GRIFFIN: -- like a good professor.

WILHITE: A few moments ago we were told to stay inside the building.

GRIFFIN: All right. Professor Randall Wilhite, who is giving us a first description of the gunman. Thank you, professor.

6'2, Caucasian, running down the street with an assault rifle. From what it sound like it was an automatic assault rifle but we don't know that for sure, wearing a ski mask, a dark suit, and a black tie. We'll continue to follow this story. We'll be back right after this.


GRIFFIN: Turning into a very busy news day here at CNN. We're following breaking news on the University of Texas campus. A gunman started his day shooting randomly, we're told across campus, by some of the witnesses. Ended up in the library where he shot some more bullets and killed himself.

What's happening now is the school remains on lockdown because there's a possibility of a second shooter, though we do understand from the campus police and the police there in Austin that no one else has been injured in any of this, whether it was one shooter, two shooters, nobody else hurt or injured, just the gunman dead.

We're also following breaking news with Rob Marciano on the weather front talk about mudslides and tornadoes and everything.

ROB MARCIANO, AMS METEOROLOGIST: A lot of stuff going on in North America, basically and Central America. We've got all this rain that's happening across parts of Southwestern Mexico, the state of Oaxaca has seen over a foot of rain in the past several days. A lot of this is caused by the leftovers of Tropical Storm Matthew in this area..

Because of that there's been a landslide that we've been reporting on all morning long where up to 300 homes have been potentially affected, if not completely buried by mud and debris, potentially as high as 900 feet in height.

That has us fearing that maybe as many as 1,000 people may be trapped by this mudslide. It's about three to four hours east of Oaxaca, the capital city of the state of Oaxaca. And this is pretty rugged terrain. Some of these mountains are over 3,000 feet high. Rescue crews are having a hard time just getting to the scene because a lot of roads getting into this area are blocked. A pretty desperate situation. We don't have a ton of new information for you right now. When we do get it, we'll be bringing it to you.

One other thing I want to talk about as far as tropical weather goes, this is tropical depression number 16. This just formed in the last hour. The forecast is for this to become tropical storm Nicole. Here it is. It will go up towards the southern tip of Florida, and potentially into the Carolinas in one way, shape, or form. We do not think it will get to hurricane strength, but it will have some gusty winds and a lot of rain in an area that has already seen a ton of rainfall.

The other item of immediate concern, this tornado watch has been posted by the Storm Prediction Center out of Norman, Oklahoma, for the northeast including New Jersey, pretty much all of New Jersey, New York City and Philadelphia, as well.

I think we might have a live shot of Philadelphia and the City of Brotherly Love. Looks pretty sweet. Have a look. There you go. WPVI, thanks for that shot. Looking pretty dark and ominous there. We do not have no tornado warnings yet within the watch box, but there are several severe thunderstorm warnings. And that don't look too pleasant right there. Take cover if you can there in Philadelphia. It's looking pretty ugly right now. That tornado watch in effect kill 6:00 tonight.

Also Statue of Liberty, can we see here? There's central park. Rain on the lens. A rough day there. And there's the Statue of Liberty. You can barely make out the silhouette there in that rain shaft that must be coming down pretty good in New York City. Again this tornado watch is in effect until 6:00 tonight. So when we get a tornado warning in a populated area and it looks dangerous we'll certainly bring that to you live. Watching that. Tropics. The Mexican mudslide. Probably another day of record breaking and dangerous heat across southern California.

Drew, back to you.

GRIFFIN: Boy, not a good day to be on that Staten Island Ferry crossing there.

MARCIANO: No, no. Rough seas for sure.

GRIFFIN: OK. We are waiting right now -- actually right now I'm looking at a news conference maybe about to begin on the University of Texas campus. I don't know if we can show that shot. There it is there. These are school officials who came up to the microphones and then turned around and went back, obviously trying to get the story straight, make sure they have everything ready to go.

The police chief and the mayor are there. As soon as they come up to the mikes, we will, of course, open them up and listen in as we do. We'll be right back.


GRIFFIN: Ladies and gentlemen, the University of Texas news conference about to get under way. We expect to hear from Austin's Mayor Lee Leffingwell and the police chief there, Art Acevedo.

Let's see if we can listen in. This is a live signal coming from one of our affiliates.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE:: -- shortly after 8:00 -- I'll make a brave statement. The mayor will make a brief statement. Then Chief (INAUDIBLE) from the UT Police Department and the Chief Acevedo from the Austin Police Department will make statements and take questions.

There was an armed person on the campus at Perry-Castaneda Library this morning. The police, both our police and Austin police, responded to it very quickly. We put people in place in the buildings and secured them. The individual who was the armed person has been confirmed to be dead. There had been no other reports of injuries or casualties on the campus. We have cancelled classes for the rest of the day. The police have secured a perimeter and I'll let them talk more about what they are continuing to do. You hear the sirens going off. We still have people in place in the buildings until the situation is fully resolved. We do have a toll free number for those who are looking for more information. The toll free number is 1-866-657-9400.

I will make one further comment. The UT Police Department and the Austin Police Department responded extremely professionally this morning. We can be proud of them. This is a very critical incident. We are fortunate that the UT Police Department and the Austin Police Department and the Sheriff's Office in a coordinated manner, which they are trained to do, and they worked together tremendously. It's a partnership that worked extremely well this morning.


MAYOR LEE LEFFINGWELL, AUSTIN, TEXAS: Let me say I appreciate everyone's patience and we're still continuing to gather information. But for now I want to say that I'm very proud of the way APD has worked together with Travis County DPS, and the UT Police Department to ensure that the incident was handled without any injuries or fatalities, obviously, and we're continuing to secure the situation. I am very confident right now that people in the rest of the City of Austin can go forward and feel safe in their homes and safe on the streets of Austin. Again I'm very proud of what they've done here and I want to turn it over to the UT Police Chief Mr. Dahlstrom.

ROBERT DAHLSTROM, CHIEF OF POLICE, UNIVERSITY OF TEXAS: My name is Robert Dahlstrom. I'm Chief of Police, University of Texas.

This morning around 8:00 we had a report of an armed person with a description of him. We sent out text messages to the students, faculty, and staff. Officers responded as well as Austin police officers, Travis County Department of Public Safety as we've been trained to do and worked together to do. It was a good response. We were very fortunate in the fact that no one else was injured other than the lone gunman that we know of at this point. We don't have any other reports of anybody being hurt.

We are working the possibility of a second suspect. We have -- trying to eliminate those possibilities. We're setting up a perimeter that will probably within the hour or so open up the north end of campus. We're going to try to cut it from the malls to the south to Dean Keaton (ph) from Guadalupe (ph) over to San Genseno (ph) and keep that as our perimeter until we can work this crime scene through. As soon as we can, we'll try to work and make sure there are no second shooters, second suspects. We'll work all those leads through before we can open any of the rest of the campus.

QUESTION: Do we have any background history of the shooter?

DAHLSTROM: We don't have anything at this time.

At this time I'll turn it over to Chief Art Acevedo with Austin Police Department. CHIEF ART ACEVEDO, AUSTIN, TEXAS POLICE: Good morning. Thanks.

Let me just -- first of all I want to compliment, number one, the University of Texas and the University of Texas Police Department. I have never seen a response as I saw this morning when I got here within minutes of this incident unfolding.

The student did their part. They cleared the streets. They cleared the grounds in a very quick manner and I think it speaks volumes as what you do to prepare and your communication system. So, our hat's off to you.

Right now we have APD S.W.A.T., UPTD, Travis County PD or SO S.W.A.T. and DPS S.W.A.T. elements that are conducting secondary searches of the buildings and the inner perimeter. We also have EOD explosives dogs that are going to be searching those buildings in our perimeter to eliminate any possibility of any explosive ordinances that may have been left behind by one or more suspects.

I think it's really important to emphasize what the Chief Dahlstron just said, that although there are reports of a second suspect, what we're doing right now is being methodical to eliminate the second suspect. As you all know, the first suspect did commit suicide in the library building earlier this morning. No shots were fired by any members of law enforcement and we have not identified or have found any injured third parties.

Again, this, as Chief Dahlstron indicated, within the next hour we're hoping to open the North Campus, but this inner perimeter will remain closed for the next several hours as we conduct our secondary searches of the building to make sure we did not miss anything. We have two crime scenes; one where the suspect is decease; and the other where some other rounds were fired that is outdoors, and that will take several hours.

With that I'm willing to open it to any questions for any of us up here.

QUESTION: What munitions have been recovered?

ACEVEDO: I can just tell you that the first weapon was an AK-47 and that's all we're going to release at this time.

QUESTION: How many shots were fired?

ACEVEDO: That's under investigation.

QUESTION: What basis are you --

ACEVEDO: Obviously, when you have these kind of incidents, you have reports coming in. When reports come in, we have to take them seriously and that's what the UTPD and the ATPD and all the law enforcement resources have done this morning is take them seriously.

We owe it to these parents and to these students to make sure that we're safe rather than sorry and that's what we're doing right now.

QUESTION: What about motive, Chief?

DAHLSTROM: We don't have any motives at this time. When have a situation like this, you're going to get multiple descriptions and that's what we have to check out for the second shooter. We did get multiple descriptions and we have to make sure that we didn't have other people with him. We do not feel like they were, but we have to check out every lead that we get or every call we get with other descriptions.

QUESTION: Do we know whether the shooter was a student or not?

DAHLSTROM: We don't know at this time.

QUESTION: Are your describing the second person as a shooter?

QUESTION: There were reports of a man -- a young man in black that went that (OFF-MIKE) fired shots here? The person who is deceased is he wearing -- was he wearing all black and ski mask?

DAHLSTROM: That's what I'm aware of at this point. I've not seen him, but that's what I'm aware of.

QUESTION: Are you describing the second person?

QUESTION: We were told shots were fired in the church and then across the street, is that accurate?

DAHLSTROM: I cannot tell you the accurate part yet. We have crime scene investigations going on. We will have to wait until we get the results of the crime scene investigation and then we'll be able to tell you where it was.

QUESTION: What about the people in the basement? We were -- a man, a father and mother was texting someone who had sprained their ankle in the basement of one of the buildings

DAHLSTROM: And I have heard the same thing. As far as -- that could have happened, somebody may have sprained ankle, but as far as we know, no one has been injured by gunfire other than the deceased gunman.

QUESTION: Are you describing the second person as a gunman or just a suspect?

DAHLSTROM: It's a sspect at this time.

QUESTION: Was he seen with a gun?

QUESTION: Any information that this person that people talk about that went down 21st and into the library and we believe that the person went --

DAHLSTROM: We believe it is at this time. I cannot totally confirm that, but we believe it is from the description. QUESTION: Do you know where he lives?

DAHLSTROM: We don't know the information on the gunman at this time.

QUESTION: Any identification on his body?

ACEVEDO: We're not going to talk about the investigation, guys.

QUESTION: Did you find a second gun?

ACEVEDO: Thank you.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Thank you very much.

GRIFFIN: That's the news conference wrapping up at the University of Texas. You heard that was the UT police chief talking about the single suspect dead. According to the chief, it's his understanding the suspect was wearing all black. That matches a description given to us by an eyewitness who said he saw a man dressed in all black carrying an AK -- well, carrying a rifle which the chief says was an AK-47 running down the street towards the library shooting.

We'll have more of this right after this break.


GRIFFIN: We've been following breaking news this morning.

University of Texas at Austin, it remains under lockdown though we just did hear from a news conference from the University of Texas police chief, the Austin police chief and the mayor of Austin, which in body language, at least, seems to indicate that this may be over.

A single gunman shot and killed himself in the library. There has been an ongoing search for a possible second gunman or a second suspect I should say, and that's why the campus is close today and will remain under lockdown until the police can basically clear off that campus one chunk at a time.

But the descriptions that the police just gave us leave the door open for possibly witnesses describing the same person in two different ways.

Nobody else on that campus was hurt, which is amazing when you listen to the description we got just a little while ago from an eyewitness, Professor Randall Wilhite, who saw a ski-masked wearing gunman running down the street with what we now know is an AK-47 and firing.

Let's take a listen.


GRIFFIN: Right. Right. So you first heard the shots. Would you call that first set of shots four or five gunshots a burst?

WILHITE: Yes. It was definitely a burst. It could have been burst of three, then a burst of two or three after that.

At first I didn't realize it was a gunshot, and then I saw the students scrambling. I thought, well, they think it's gunshots. And then I saw the gun.


WILHITE: And I wasn't sure it was real until I saw the bullets strike the ground to my left.

GRIFFIN: Right. So let me ask you about that.

They struck the ground to your left, and that was the second -- I would say it was a burst, you said it was three shots. Was he aiming at the ground, or just running and it happened to burst at that time?

WILHITE: I think the latter. He was running in sort of a long gait, but not a fast run, and seemingly just randomly firing. And when I pulled up in front of him in my car, I think I just got his attention, and he sort of turned, without stopping in my direction, just a brief moment, fired three shots to my left and then kept running.

GRIFFIN: All right. Professor, based on your description, it's somewhat miraculous that no one on campus was injured. But we did just get news as I was talking to you from the school and from the police that no injuries have been reported other than this gunman, who apparently died of a self-inflicted wound. And I'm just trying to put together the timetable, because from what we understand, the gunman was inside the library at 8:25 a.m. when shots were fired in the library.

Does that timeline match what you saw a little after 8:00? Could he have been shooting outside and then running towards the library and been in the library at 8:25?

WILHITE: I think he very well could have been. I mean, he was probably in front of me around 10 minutes after 8:00, maybe a little more than that. I really wasn't that particular with noting what time it was. But in that neighborhood.

And he was probably two or three blocks away from the library, where I understand he was found having committed suicide, which would have --


GRIFFIN: And police saying that that very scenario is what they believe took place. That that man did run towards that library and shoot himself inside.

We're following another case, too. Testimony resuming this morning in the triple murder trial of Stephen Hayes, one of the two men accused of invading a home of a Connecticut doctor. You may remember these chilling 911 tapes we've been listening to for the last several weeks. The doctor's wife was killed, two daughters killed ,the home set on fire, only he made it out alive.

Legal contributor Sunny Hostin from "In Session" our sister network truTV joining us from New York.

The prosecution is wrapping up the case. Sunny, did they make their case?

SUNNY HOSTIN, CNN LEGAL CONTRIBUTOR: You know, I think that they certainly made their case. Evidence is really overwhelming against this particular defendant, Stephen Hayes.

Today, we heard the final testimony from the fire investigator, and he just got off the witness stand, actually. The lawyers are back in the courtroom, and we believe that the defense may present some evidence, brief evidence, in defense of Mr. Hayes.

But I will say the burden is always on the prosecution, Drew, of course, to prove their case beyond a reasonable doubt. And I think everyone watching the trial, I have been in New Haven, Connecticut, watching the trial, will tell you the evidence against this defendant is overwhelming.

GRIFFIN: You said that there may be some kind of defense presented. Do you have any knowledge of what that defense, what the tactic will be?

HOSTIN: We are unsure at this point, Judge Blue, who is presiding over this case, just indicated, a few moments ago that the defense will be presenting some evidence. It may be brief evidence.

So we're unclear yet as to which witnesses they will be presenting, but we do know that they will be presenting some sort of case in his defense.

GRIFFIN: I've talked to so many people about this, Sunny, that this case has just grabbed their attention. And what they say to a person, if they've been following it, is I hope they get the death penalty.

If Stephen Hayes is convicted, is the death penalty a possibility?

HOSTIN: It really is a possibility. And I will say, you know, Connecticut does have the death penalty, but it is rarely, rarely enforced. The last time it was enforced was about five or six years ago, and that was a serial rapist and serial murderer who almost begged to be given the death penalty. And before that it was 50 years since Connecticut had a death penalty case.

But in Connecticut, the feeling is overwhelming that they want, the citizens of Connecticut, really want the death penalty for this case. I spoke to several people, Drew, in Connecticut, and without exception, they all said, if there is a death penalty on the books what better case for that. What other case would fit the cruel, atrocious than this particular case?

So, yes. I do believe that that is a possibility. The judge has indicated that the death penalty phase, should this defendant be convicted, may last approximately one month. So a lot of, a lot of in evidence in a death penalty case.

GRIFFIN: All right. Sunny Hostin, "In Session" truTV, thanks for keeping us up to speed on this one. And we'll look for what happens today in this case and we'll be back after a break.