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ANDERSON COOPER 360 DEGREES
Terror in Tucson; Critical Hours in Arizona Shooting
Aired January 10, 2011 - 22:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: A reminder: "PIERS MORGAN TONIGHT" debuts in one week, January 17, at 9:00 p.m. Eastern time, 6:00 p.m. Pacific.
And welcome back to A.C. 360. Thanks for watching tonight.
Terror in Tucson: the very latest in the killing of a small child, a federal judge, and four others, and the near deadly shooting of Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords. President Obama going to Tucson this Wednesday.
In the hour ahead tonight: a portrait of the suspect, Jared Loughner, his mug shot released today. We're going to tell you what he said in court and what was allegedly found in his home that seems to indicate this was very premeditated.
We also have details of what he was like, signs of instability, even warnings from those who knew him. One teacher worried he would end up shooting up his school. We will talk with those who knew him and worried about him long before he allegedly started shooting.
Also tonight: the critical hours and days ahead for Congresswoman Giffords, how skilled medical care, quick attention, and the work of heroes on the shooting scene saved her life. We're going to talk to some of those heroes who actually wrestled the shooter to the ground and maybe helped saved the congresswoman's life. We will also talk to 360 M.D. and neurosurgeon Dr. Sanjay Gupta.
And the littlest victim -- Christina's story tonight. Her life began on 9/11, 2001. That's the day she was born. It ended on Saturday. Tonight, you will hear directly from her parents, who want you to know about the bright and brave little girl they lost and we all lost.
We begin, though, with the latest and perhaps most startling thing to happen today. We got our first official look at Jared Loughner. This is the ghoulish photo that was released, his head shaved, his eyes piercing, the mug shot, a smile on his face, a slight cut on his head. Loughner was in federal court today entering no plea, but answering a judge's questions about whether he understood the charges as they were read.
The last report indicated he say nothing -- he's said nothing to authorities about the killings. He faces two counts of murder, two counts of attempted murder, and one count for attempting to kill a member of Congress.
Now, all the charges relate to attacks on federal employees at this point, but the state of Arizona may file additional charges. In all, Loughner is accused of shooting 20 people, killing six of them. Loughner is scheduled back in court in two weeks.
This is his home. Court documents today revealed that inside authorities discovered an envelope with writing on it with the words -- quote -- "I planned ahead, my assassination" and the word "Giffords."
Tonight, we're going to talk to a number of people who knew this young man, were concerned about him, raised red flags about him, about his instability, the possibility he could resort to violence.
But, before we spend even a minute more talking about this suspect, I want to tell you about the victims.
You know, we spend so much after an incident like this focusing on the killer. Everyone remembers his name for years on. But, all too often, we don't remember the names of the victims. And that's a tragedy.
We should remember John M. Roll. He was the chief federal judge in Arizona appointed to the bench by the first President Bush. Friends describe him as a quiet, thoughtful man, an avid churchgoer. He left behind a wife, three sons, five grandchildren. And we think of them tonight. He was 63 years old.
Gabe -- Gabe Zimmerman was a -- was Congresswoman Giffords' director of community outreach. He was engaged to be married. And he was just 30 years old. And he was think of his family tonight.
Dorwin Stoddard, 76 years old. His family called him Dory. He worked construction before he retired. He loved his wife. And he was killed shielding her from the gunman. He died saving his beloved wife's life.
Phyllis Schneck was one of the best cooks you would ever want to find. That's what her daughter told a local affiliate. She loved jigsaw puzzles. She was 79.
Dorothy Morris was 76. According to another affiliate, she was married for more than half-a-century to husband George. Friends say they still live like newlyweds. Imagine that. Both of them got shot. George survived. Dorothy did not.
And we should remember Christina Green, the littlest victim, just 9 years old when she died, fighting all the way. She was an A- student, already deeply interested in the world around her, even in politics. Her parents she the sky was the limit for her. They talked about her one day becoming a political leader.
You're going to hear directly from them tonight. I spoke to them a few hours ago. And their strength is -- it's just hard to imagine. They want you to know about Christina and all the others who died. They don't want you to forget the way they lived their lives and those they left behind.
President Obama telephoned Christina's family. And we will talk to them about what he said. He spoke today with other victims' families, as well as Congresswoman Giffords' rabbi and two of the heroes who saved lives on Saturday.
The White House saying he is -- he will likely attend a memorial service and visit families on Wednesday. Earlier today, the president led the country in a moment of silence.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: They also stood silent on the Capitol steps, a bipartisan meeting scheduled this week to address security issues, all political business in the House on hold.
As for Congresswoman Giffords, she remains in critical condition tonight with a head wound. Doctors say they are growing more optimistic because she's holding her own, has so far avoided potentially deadly complications.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DR. G. MICHAEL LEMOLE JR., CHIEF OF NEUROSURGERY, UNIVERSITY MEDICAL CENTER: At this phase in the game, no change is good. And we have no change. That is to say, she is still following those basic commands. On top of that, the CAT scans are showing that there is no progression of that swelling. We're not out of the woods yet.
That swelling can sometimes take three days or five days to maximize, but every day that goes by and we don't see an increase, we're slightly more optimistic.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Well, they warn, though, she faces critical days, hours ahead, as well as a potential lifetime of rehabilitation. We will talk about that, the heroes who saved her life, what drove the suspect and more.
First, though, how he got here, minute by minute, the attack as we know it, the details that we now know.
RANDI KAYE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It all begins with this simple tweet sent by Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords just minutes before she is gunned down: "My first Congress on your corner starts now. Please stop by."
It is almost 10:00 a.m., Saturday in Tucson, Arizona. Then, at 10:10, chaos and carnage, as someone opens fire. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I heard about 15 to 20 gunshots in the parking lot. I came outside immediately. I didn't see people or anyone people fleeing. I just saw people running, screaming towards where the shooting happened.
MARTIN SAVIDGE, CNN ANCHOR: We have breaking news for you. It's coming out of Tucson, Arizona. Several people have been shot. The "Tucson Citizen" newspaper is reporting that among those shooting victims is Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords. She's a Democrat with the House of Representatives.
KAYE: The congresswoman and others gather outside this Safeway and set up a table to meet with constituents one on one. The gunman, witnesses say, tells a staffer he wants to speak with the congresswoman. He's told to wait in a line of about 20 people, and he complies.
Then, suddenly, he gets out of line and quickly walks toward the congresswoman.
(voice-over): He stops when he's about four feet away, raises his Glock .9-millimeter pistol and fires. Congresswoman Giffords immediately falls. Witnesses say the shooter then starts firing wildly here, here, and here. Twenty people are shot.
Daniel Hernandez, the congresswoman's young intern on the job just a week, hears someone yell, "Gun," then notices his boss is hit.
DANIEL HERNANDEZ, GIFFORDS INTERN: I then started applying pressure to her wound to try and kind of stem some of the blood loss.
KAYE: Hernandez, who is also a trained nursing assistant, uses his bare hands to stop the bleeding, until:
HERNANDEZ: People from Safeway came outside with smocks from the meat department, which were clean and that we were able to then use those to -- to cover her wound. She was alert and conscious, but she wasn't able to speak.
KAYE: At 10:11 a.m., the first of many 911 calls.
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
911 OPERATOR: Somebody shot them, sir?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes. A guy -- it looked like the guy had a semiautomatic pistol and he went in. He just started firing.
911 OPERATOR: Can you describe him?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What?
911 OPERATOR: Can you describe him, sir? What was he wearing?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He was wearing a hoodie.
911 OPERATOR: What color was the hoodie?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Black.
911 OPERATOR: Is anybody injured? Did you say Gabrielle Giffords was hit?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: She's hit.
911 OPERATOR: OK.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I do believe she's breathing. She is breathing. She still has a pulse. And we have got two people. And we got -- we got one dead.
911 OPERATOR: OK.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And they're injured.
911 OPERATOR: Who -- OK. And there's other people that are injured?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Other people. There's multiple people shot.
911 OPERATOR: OK. Oh, my God.
(END AUDIO CLIP)
KAYE: By 10:14 a.m., emergency medical crews are dispatched to the scene.
(on camera): Witnesses say the shooting last just seconds. It only stops because the trigger man runs out of bullets. Standing among the victims, he reloads a new ammunition clip, but the gun jams. There's a pause, an opportunity. The shooter is tackled to the ground.
(voice-over): Someone yells to Patricia Maisch to grab the empty ammunition clip on the ground.
PATRICIA MAISCH, EYEWITNESS: I thought I would be injured if -- at the very least. I was -- I was pretty sure I was going to be hit with a bullet. So, I was very thankful that those two brave men were able to secure him. The two men that secured him were the heroes.
KAYE: By 10:19 a.m., paramedics are on the scene, but are held back until it's safe. Three minutes later, 10:22 a.m., the suspect, Jared Lee Loughner, is in custody. Five victims are dead at the scene, including Federal Judge John Roll. Christina Green, just 9, dies at the hospital.
Congresswoman Giffords is airlifted to the hospital. There are conflicting reports she, too, is dead. At 3:00 p.m., the Pima County sheriff confirms Loughner is in custody, but warns, a second person may be involved. CLARENCE DUPNIK, PIMA COUNTY, ARIZONA, SHERIFF: There's some reason to believe that he came to this location with another individual. And there's reason to believe that the other individual in some way be involved.
KAYE (on camera): That person of interest is later cleared, just a cab driver who may have dropped the suspect off.
Finally, around 4:00 p.m. here at the hospital, the congresswoman's doctors deliver good news.
DR. PETER RHEE, MEDICAL DIRECTOR, UNIVERSITY MEDICAL CENTER TRAUMA CENTER: The congresswoman is not deceased.
QUESTION: Can you tell us her condition currently?
RHEE: She's in critical condition. She is -- the neurosurgeons have finished operating on her. And I can tell you, at the current time period, I'm very optimistic about recovery.
KAYE (voice-over): From the White House, the president speaks at 4:45.
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I know Gabby is as tough as they come. And I'm hopeful that she's going to pull through.
KAYE: Even with a bullet through her head, Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords is alive.
Randi Kaye, CNN, Tucson, Arizona.
COOPER: Well, she's alive. And so are some others who took action that stopped the killing and helped the wounded. You heard in Randi's report Patricia Maisch grabbed a gun clip.
She joins us tonight, along with three other split-second Samaritans, Dr. Steven Rayle, who treated victims on the scene, Joe Zamudio, who pinned the gunman down, and Giffords' intern, Daniel Hernandez, who provided first aid to the congresswoman.
Patricia, Loughner was just feet away from you when he was tackled. When the shooting began, I mean, what was going through your mind?
MAISCH: When I heard the first shot, I knew it was a gunshot. And it was just a momentary pause before he starts shooting again. And I could see him coming down the line of people.
And I decided it was better to drop on the ground than to run and make myself a target. So, I was standing next to a woman and her teenage daughter who was Gabrielle's page for three weeks. And I -- I heard and saw them -- the gunman shooting her.
And I was really just laying there waiting, wondering how bad I was going to be hit, and thinking about the concrete and how the bullets might be ricocheting, and wondering how a bullet felt. And, instead, I got to feel how -- how the gunman coming down right partly on me and on the sidewalk felt, because Colonel Badger and Roger Salzgeber I think is how you say his name, they had tackled him and wrestled him to the ground.
MAISCH: And, as soon as he hit the ground, I -- I was...
COOPER: Sorry. Go ahead.
MAISCH: I was up on my knees. And someone shouted get the gun, but I wasn't able to reach the gun. And I think Colonel Badger was able to push it out of the way with his foot. I'm not sure about that.
But he grabbed a clip out of his left pocket and dropped it on the sidewalk, and was trying to pick it up. But I managed to get it, instead of him, and grasped it.
Now, Roger and Colonel Badger were securing him on his upper body, but he was flailing his legs. So I kneeled on his legs until I noticed that Colonel Badger was bleeding from a wound on his head, and then asked bystander, who happened to be Joe, to come and take my place on his legs while I ran into Safeway and I got...
COOPER: And Joe -- let me give...
MAISCH: ... some towels.
COOPER: Let me bring in Joe.
Joe, when the shooting began, you actually ran toward -- toward the shooter. What did you -- what -- what -- could you -- you could -- did you get a plain look at him?
JOE ZAMUDIO, EYEWITNESS: I -- I actually came running out of the store after hearing the shots. They were already wrestling with him. And, at that point, I actually saw a different gentleman holding the firearm, and I thought he was the shooter.
But when I arrived there, they -- they clarified to me, and we were able to hold him down. And...
COOPER: Was -- was he saying anything?
ZAMUDIO: ... I saw him.
He -- not except for about his arm. "You're -- oh, ow, you're -- you're breaking my arm."
COOPER: So, he was complaining about him being in pain.
Steven, you were crouched behind a concrete pillar. Could you -- could you see Loughner from where you were?
DR. STEVEN RAYLE, EYEWITNESS: I could see him as he went by. I did not see him get tackled. I was -- at that point, I was laying on -- on the ground pretending to be shot, so I wouldn't be a target.
COOPER: What was his demeanor like? I mean, did you get a look at his face?
RAYLE: I got a look at his face. I -- I saw him shoot Congresswoman Giffords. And I got a look at his face.
He just seemed very determined. I -- I -- I got a brief look. I mean, I was more looking at the gun and what was happening in front, but I couldn't say that he had a crazed look in his eyes, because I didn't really see.
COOPER: How close was he to Giffords when he shot her?
RAYLE: Oh, just a few feet. I mean, the gun itself was maybe a foot-and-a-half.
COOPER: And did she see him at all? Or was she facing away from him?
RAYLE: She was facing away from him. I don't believe she saw him. I -- I looked up just as it was happening, so I didn't see the prelude to it, or him approach her. I just looked up as the -- as he fired the shot.
COOPER: Daniel, you rushed to -- to Congresswoman Giffords' aid when you saw she was -- she was shot. Was she conscious still?
HERNANDEZ: She was alert and she was conscious the entire time that I was with her.
COOPER: And you got her up, because you were concerned about -- about her actually suffocating on her blood; is that right?
HERNANDEZ: That's correct. The original position she was in, she was a little bit vulnerable in terms of inhaling the blood that she had been losing from the wound.
COOPER: How did you know to do that?
HERNANDEZ: So, I propped her up against my -- I -- I had taken a certified nursing assistant course, as well as a phlebotomy course, and spent some time working in a hospital. But it was all very limited first aid and triage skills.
COOPER: And you actually apply -- I mean, we all know you're supposed to apply pressure to wounds. That's what you did?
HERNANDEZ: Yes. Once I had propped up the -- the congresswoman kind of up against my chest, I -- and made sure she was breathing properly, I started applying pressure to her -- her wound on her head to try and stem some of the blood loss.
COOPER: What did you use to put pressure on?
HERNANDEZ: Originally, my hand, until we were able to get smocks from inside of the Safeway.
COOPER: And, Steven, you used to be an emergency room doctor. What did you do when you realized that so many people had been shot?
RAYLE: I tried to -- to triage. I tended to those -- obviously, some were -- were immediately dead. I could -- I could see that. People were in very -- there were so many people that were wounded, I wanted to make sure that everybody was being treated appropriately.
COOPER: Daniel, we heard Patricia saying she doesn't feel like a hero. What about you? Do you -- I mean, I think everybody would agree all -- all -- what all of you did, all of you taking action was heroic. Do you feel like that?
HERNANDEZ: No. I think the real heroes are people like Congresswoman Giffords, Ron Barber, her district director, Gabe Zimmerman, who we unfortunately lost, and Pam Simon, because they are people who have dedicated their lives to public service.
They're not people who had a one-off experience. They're people who have made sure that they have dedicated their lives to helping others. And they're the true heroes.
COOPER: Well, Daniel and Patricia and Steven and Joe, I appreciate you -- you being with us. I know you guys have been incredibly busy. And it's been, I'm sure, surreal and -- and hard to describe what the last couple of days have been like. But I appreciate you being with us tonight.
COOPER: Let us know what you think. The live chat is up and running right now at AC360.com.
Up next: the statements, the disturbing actions of -- of the suspect, Jared Loughner, as witnesses by people close to him for months now, including people who feared for their lives. Two classmates of his join us.
COOPER: Well, Jared Loughner is due back in court, federal court, two weeks from now. He's facing capital charges, possibly additional state charges. A veteran public defender named Judy Clarke is going to represent him. Her former clients include the Unabomber, Ted Kaczynski.
As in that case, his motive and mental state of this guy may determine what happens to him if he's convicted. Right now, the picture of Jared Loughner's mental state appears troubling, to say the least. After failing entrance into the Army, those who knew him at a local community college say his behavior turned bizarre.
More from Drew Griffin.
BEN MCGAHEE, FORMER MATH INSTRUCTOR OF JARED LEE LOUGHNER: This -- I'm going to be starting my fourth year.
DREW GRIFFIN, CNN INVESTIGATIVE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): On the very first day of class, math teacher Ben McGahee knew there was something wrong with the student in classroom 209, a student named Jared Loughner, who had first become a disturbance, sudden outbursts, challenging his teaching, then going silent and ignoring everyone while listening to his iPod. The behavior, the professor thought, was threatening.
MCGAHEE: I still felt uncomfortable, as well as the other students, but...
GRIFFIN (on camera): Even after he was...
MCGAHEE: Even after he was gone, because you never know. These guys, they could -- they could come back and try to, you know, cause harm.
GRIFFIN (voice-over): McGahee teaches elementary algebra at Pima County Community College, Jared Loughner one of his students.
MCGAHEE: School officials, teachers on all levels need to take this more seriously as far as security goes.
GRIFFIN: School officials suspended Loughner in late September, after five different incidents involving campus police. Campus police visited him and his parents. But school officials say they couldn't do anything more, hamstrung, they say, by personal privacy rights.
"Keeping Them Honest," we asked the vice president of student development, Dr. Lorraine Morales, if they did enough.
(on camera): The school felt it had done what it needed to do to protect the other students on campus?
DR. LORRAINE MORALES, VICE PRESIDENT OF STUDENT DEVELOPMENT, PIMA COUNTY COMMUNITY COLLEGE: Yes. That -- and that was our primary concern.
GRIFFIN: This is where he went to high school, Mountain View High School. His friends say he was talented, played saxophone in the high school band. But, in junior year, something happened. His friends say he began to use drugs, and he never returned for his senior year.
(voice-over): Friends say Loughner became obsessed with the nuance of language and with U.S. currency. In this text-only posting on YouTube just before Christmas, he said the majority of the residents of his congressional district were illiterate. He added, "Nearly all the people who don't know this accurate information of a new currency aren't away of a mind control and brainwash methods."
Here at the Tucson store where Loughner bought the Glock semiautomatic pistol back in November, he didn't fit any of the -- quote -- "prohibited possessor categories" that would have prevented the purchase. He passed an instant federal background check and was on his way. He first tried to buy ammunition at this Wal-Mart store, abruptly left, and made the purchase somewhere else.
As the memorial candles still burn outside the hospital where Congresswoman Gabby Giffords is being treated, questions persist about how and whether Jared Loughner might have been stopped before the mayhem.
Drew Griffin, CNN, Tucson, Arizona.
COOPER: Well, that is one of the many questions tonight.
Joining us now, two former classmates of Jared Loughner, Don Coorough and Steven Cates.
Steven, when did you first meet Jared?
STEVEN CATES, FORMER CLASSMATE OF JARED LEE LOUGHNER: In January of 2010, at the beginning of the poetry class.
COOPER: And what was your first impression of him?
CATES: He -- he was definitely off. And -- and that was definitely something that was apparent as soon as -- as soon as I met him. He had -- he had a grin about him, and he would clench his fists a lot. And -- and that -- that -- that was something that definitely made him appear off.
COOPER: And, Don, you sat two seats in front of Loughner in the same poetry class. What struck you about him?
DON COOROUGH, FORMER CLASSMATE OF JARED LEE LOUGHNER: The first time I was really struck by him was because he used inappropriate reactions to people's emotional content. He would laugh at things that were sad. He just didn't seem to -- to be aware of what was going on.
COOPER: Steven, you actually -- you made an effort to -- to befriend him, right?
CATES: Not -- I made an effort to talk to him and to reach out to him and -- and show him that he wasn't completely isolated.
COOPER: What was your thinking in there?
CATES: Well, I -- I grew up in a small town, and -- and this doesn't usually work in small towns. And so I knew what it felt like to be isolated and ostracized from -- from my peers. And -- and I didn't want him to have to feel that in a poetry class.
COOPER: Was he able to make a connection with you? I mean, were -- did he talk to you?
CATES: Yes. I mean, I sat directly behind him. He would -- he would turn around and talk to me occasionally in class. When I -- when I would come into class, if he was already in there, I would give him a high-five before I sat down.
COOPER: But in terms of, like, real discussions and stuff, you never really developed that kind of a relationship?
CATES: No. I -- I -- we never really made it to the -- the stage of being friends. Most -- you know, any discussions that we had were usually pretty mundane.
COOPER: Did -- were you afraid of him in any way?
CATES: No, not really. I -- I didn't -- no, I didn't feel afraid when I was around him.
COOPER: And there were lots -- there were complaints about him, right?
COOPER: And did -- did anything happen after the complaint?
CATES: I don't -- I don't remember if he was actually removed from the class or if he just stopped showing up. I -- because I don't remember him being there nearly as much toward the end of the semester.
COOPER: Don, did -- did -- did Loughner do anything or say anything that made you concerned about your safety or about what he may do?
COOROUGH: I was never afraid for my safety, no.
But if I can jump on what Steven just said, I had a conversation with the professor about just the class in general at the -- at the end of the year. And Dr. Samoni (ph) did indicate to me that he did have him removed from the class. And it was because of complaints from a variety of students. They -- some of them apparently felt uncomfortable and didn't -- didn't like his presence in the classroom. So, he was asked to be removed from the class.
COOPER: And, Steven, after he left school, did you ever see him again?
CATES: I did not. I -- I actually didn't see him after the semester was over, before he was removed from Pima.
COOPER: I don't know if you have gotten a look at the mug shot, Steven, from today, but his head is shaved and stuff. If you have seen it, what -- how does it compare to the guy you know?
CATES: His -- he -- when I knew him, he had just a buzzed head, as opposed to a shaved head, but that -- that same -- that same look was the look that made people in class uncomfortable.
COOPER: Don, do you agree with that ? Is that -- is that your reading of this mug shot?
COOROUGH: Yes, it is. I agree with Steven very -- very much on that. It's exactly correct.
COOPER: That same look?
COOPER: Well, Don, it seems...
COOROUGH: He had that look.
COOPER: He had that look?
COOROUGH: Mm-hmm. Yes.
COOPER: Don Coorough, Steven Cates, I appreciate you taking time to talk with us. Thank you.
CATES: Not a problem.
COOROUGH: You're welcome.
COOPER: Still ahead, we're going to hear from the parents of Christina Taylor Green, the youngest victim in the Tucson shootings. She was just 9 years old. She was at the Safeway store on Saturday, not by chance, but because of her deep interest in government at the age of 9. Imagine that.
Plus, in these critical hours for Representative Giffords, 360 M.D. Sanjay Gupta is going to explain how she survived the seemingly impossible. I mean, you heard from one of the witnesses she was shot just from a few feet away, not even seeing the gunman. A bullet went through her head, entering from the rear.
We're going to take your text questions to them at 22360 or AC360.
Standards rates apply.
COOPER: You're looking at a live picture of the makeshift memorial that has spontaneously been put up outside the hospital where Congresswoman Giffords now still lies in critical condition. We'll bring you the latest from Arizona tonight.
It's been almost 60 hours since Congresswoman Giffords was shot in the head at point-blank range. Incredible she even survived. According to her doctors at the University of Tucson Medical Center, these next hours will be critical. In a news conference today, they said that Giffords' condition is unchanged. No change, they point out, is actually good news.
We've also learned more about where and how the bullet struck her, details that could work in her favor. 360 M.D. and practicing neurosurgeon Dr. Sanjay Gupta joins me now.
I was amazed to hear earlier from one of our guests that, you know, the close range at which she was shot, and she was facing away from the gunman so the bullet passed from the rear of her skull out to the front. That's actually better than if it had passed from the side, correct?
DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes. One of the things when you're looking at a patient like this, there's several crucial decisions that surgeons want to make immediately. One of them is to look and see how the patient is doing in terms of blood pressure, heart rate. Another one is in terms of a neurological exam.
But you're exactly right, Anderson. What we know is that bullets that actually pass from across the midline, we call it -- let me show you really quick. If you're looking at a skull here, sort of going all the way from the right to the left, or from the left to the right, that tends to be a big problem, because so much of the structures that control a person's ability to control their own heart rate, their respirations, all that sort of stuff, that's sort of in that midline area. And that's what's so important.
So if it stays on one side of the brain, the left or the right, the chances of surviving that are much, much higher, Anderson.
COOPER: And we're told she's in a medically-induced coma. They've removed an area of her skull. That's to reduce swelling, correct?
GUPTA: That's right. You have to almost anticipate that there's going to be swelling here. You know, any time you have an injury to the brain like this, you anticipate that.
The thing with the brain is, unlike other organs in the body, organs in your abdomen, for example, if you have swelling in those organs, you have room for them to swell. In the brain, you don't. And the only place it can go down and that can be a catastrophic problem. So you want to provide some room this way.
What is also interesting, Anderson, this was a through-and- through injury, or a in and out injury of the skull. The type of bullet, a 9 millimeter bullet, a lot has been made of that. We don't know the specific ballistics of it, but the fact that this bullet went through and through the brain, through the skull and through the brain in the end was probably also a good thing, because so much of the energy, instead of staying in the intercranial cavity, sort of moves out and sort of dissipated into space instead. That -- I think that's an important point, and it was a good sign and an important sign for her. COOPER: We got a "Text 360" question. It comes from someone named Onamber in Michigan. They ask, "How much normal function will Representative Giffords regain in recovery?" Can we know that at this point? Probably not.
GUPTA: I think we can't know, and I think that probably no -- none of the doctors are going to comment on that. Probably should not be commenting, but I will tell you, when you think about the left side of the brain, a couple of things to keep in mind.
One is that the -- the -- in most people, speech is located in this part of the brain. And when we say "speech," that's sort of an umbrella term for all forms of communication. Your ability to express yourself, both in written and spoken words. But also, to receive communication, to be able to understand somebody. So this is a very -- obviously, a very important part of who somebody is.
Also, the strength on the right side of the body is controlled by the left side of the brain. So that's something else I'm sure doctors are going to monitor very carefully. Tough to evaluate that fully now, obviously, when someone's in critical condition.
Also, Anderson, you pointed out, the trajectory of this coming up in the front area. Exit wounds can tend to be larger than the entrance wounds, as well. And you know, could that have affected her vision? Possibly, as well. So a couple of things I'm sure that they're going to be looking for.
COOPER: Yes. Well, certainly, our thoughts are with her family tonight. Sanjay, appreciate that.
The youngest victim. You know, we talked at the beginning of the program about not just focusing on the shooter, as so often happens in a case like this, but really honoring and remembering the victims. Learning their names. Learning their stories.
The youngest victim is this little girl, Christina Taylor Green. You probably heard her name by now. She was just 9 years old, the granddaughter of former Major League manager and pitcher Dallas Green.
Christina was a 9/11 baby. She came into the world the same day the three planes hit the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. The national tragedy reportedly shaped her patriotism as she grew older. Christina was in third grade and was recently elected to her school's student council. She was interested in government, and that's why she went to the Safeway in Tucson on Saturday to meet Representative Giffords.
I spoke earlier with her Christina's parents, John and Roxanna Green.
COOPER: John and Roxanna, I just want to start by saying how sorry I am, obviously for your loss. How are -- how are you guys holding up, John? JOHN GREEN, FATHER OF CHRISTINA: It's been difficult. As my wife said today, we didn't feel like we would be picking out caskets at 9 years old, and we had to do that today.
But you know, my wife's been amazing. My son and my family and the support we've gotten from the community and all our friends has been amazing.
COOPER: Roxanna, tell me about Christina? She seems like an incredibly special little girl.
R. GREEN: Christina Taylor was a wonderful girl. She was the best daughter in the world. She was a straight-A student. She was a good athlete. She was very concerned and with government, with learning ways that she could help the community.
COOPER: So she was interested in politics?
R. GREEN: I could go on and on. She was a wonderful person. Yes, she was.
COOPER: At 9? That's pretty remarkable.
J. GREEN: She got that from her grandmother and her mother. Both of them are politically minded and followed the presidential campaign with President Obama.
COOPER: John, can you take us through the events of Saturday morning? I mean, when did you get word that something had happened.
J. GREEN: Roxanne had already gotten a phone call from Bill Halleman (ph), who is -- is our neighbor, and his wife, Suzy Halleman (ph). They took my daughter to this Gabrielle Giffords meet-and-greet at the Safeway. And so we didn't know anything -- Roxanne realized something was amiss. And as I got up to the emergency room and saw my wife's face, I knew it wasn't good.
And the surgeon sat down and gave me the same explanation that she had gotten and that Christina was -- she fought. She fought -- she fought all the way, and she was still alive when she got to the hospital, but -- but she didn't make it. And they took us back with her. And we all, my son and all of us, got a chance to say good-bye.
COOPER: Roxanna, how old is Dallas, your son?
R. GREEN: Dallas is 11 years old. He's in fifth grade.
COOPER: So, I mean, when -- he was there with you when you got word. Did he -- I mean, what did -- how did you explain to him what was going on?
R. GREEN: I don't think he really understood at first, because he came over to me and he said, "So, are we going to go see Christina now?" I think he was just in shock or overwhelmed. He didn't really understand.
So I had to explain to him that Christina didn't make it, that she was shot in the chest. And that she died and went to heaven.
COOPER: What do you want her legacy to be? I mean, it's a strange question to ask, but what do you want people to know about her?
R. GREEN: I just want people to know that she was a fearless, brave, courageous, intelligent little girl. That she had an amazing nine years on this earth. She did things and wanted to do things that most people never even dream about.
I hope that she'll always be -- people will look for hope or change for peace. And that's what Christina would want. She wouldn't want us to be sad. She was would be just like, let's do something. Let's make this never, ever happen again so no one else has to get hurt.
COOPER: John, you know there's obviously a lot of finger- pointing going on. People are talking about politics, about the heated rhetoric. Does any of that resonate with you, or do you think that's inappropriate?
J. GREEN: I don't think -- I don't think it's about politics. You know? I think it's a random act of violence. I think it's -- it's a way that -- you know, I think some of it is media-driven, to be honest with you. Because people have begun to learn that they can solve some of their problems and make a big splash.
I don't want to politicize this thing. I -- you know, I want to remember, you know, our daughter. I want the country to remember our daughter. I believe she would have been a great patriot and a great American.
My fear is that people forget, and I don't want people to forget her. We know we never will, and people that have come into contact with her, they will never forget her.
I just want to point out the other thing. President Obama called last night, and Roxanna, who is a huge fan of President Obama, and my son, and he talked to me, but my son was thrilled to talk to the president. And that showed a lot about our president.
COOPER: Roxanna, what did he say to you?
R. GREEN: He just wanted to express his deepest sympathies and condolences and said that -- he was positive and said, "You're going to get through this. We'll all be here for you." And it was just -- it was amazing. It was one of the best conversations or phone calls I've ever got.
COOPER: I want to thank you. I hope you both stay strong and -- as you have been and, again, thanks for coming on and telling us about Christina.
J. GREEN: Thank you very much, Anderson.
R. GREEN: Thank you. (END VIDEOTAPE)
COOPER: Incredibly strong.
You heard the greens address the issue, the calls to tone down the political rhetoric once and for all. But even in the days since the shooting, a lot of finger-pointing on both sides. Democrats saying Republicans are to blame for the climate of heated rhetoric, Republicans saying Democrats are polarizing the shooting. The local sheriff, a Democrat, weighed in. Coming up, a look into whether the talk had become downright toxic or if that had nothing to do with this.
COOPER: In the days since the shooting there's been all kinds of finger-pointing about who's to blame for this tragedy, beyond the shooter himself. Even amid calls to tone down the rhetoric, it seems to be ratcheting up. Some Democrats are going to be using the situation to point fingers at Republicans, accusing them of creating a toxic environment of inflammatory political speech, while conservative radio is blowing up with accusations that it's actually Democrats who are politicizing the shooting.
Of course, we should keep in mind that there's been nothing to clearly link the shooter to any of this rhetoric. He has some Internet ramblings about currency and the gold standard , and he was a registered independent, but some who knew him say he was more interested in philosophical discussions than political ones.
In the last day or two, someone pointed to an image put out by Sarah Palin. There's no evidence the alleged shooter knew anything about it. While campaigning back in March, you'll remember Palin posted a map on Facebook, putting crosshairs over several Democratic- controlled districts including Giffords'. At the same time Palin tweeted, quote, "Common-sense conservatives and lovers of America, don't -- don't retreat. Instead, reload."
Representative Giffords actually took issue with Palin's imagery. Here's what she said on MSNBC back in March.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. GABRIELLE GIFFORDS (D), ARIZONA: We're on Sarah Palin's targeted list. But the thing is that the way that she has it depicted has the crosshairs of a gun sight over our district. Will people do that? You've got to realize there's consequences to that action.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Well, just a day after that interview with Representative Giffords, Palin was in the district, campaigning with Senator John McCain. Here's what she had to say about the criticism of her weapons metaphors.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) SARAH PALIN, FORMER VICE-PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We know violence isn't the answer. When we take up our arms, we're talking about our vote. We're talking about being involved in a contested primary like this, and picking the right candidate, too, John McCain. We thank you for that.
But this B.S. coming from the lamestream media lately about us -- about us inciting violence. Don't let -- don't let the conversation be diverted. Don't let a distraction like that get you off track.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Palin's echoing those statements today in an e-mail that Glenn Beck talked about on his radio show. Palin says she hates violence, that, quote, "Our children will not have peace if politicos just capitalize on this."
Back, in Arizona even law enforcement weighed in on the night of the shooting. Democratic Pima County Sheriff Clarence Dupnik talked about tone and how it can have deadly consequences.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CLARENCE DUPNIK, PIMA COUNTY SHERIFF: When the rhetoric about hatred, about mistrust of government, about paranoia of how government operates, and to try to inflame the public on a daily basis, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, has impact on people, especially, who are unbalanced personalities to begin with.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Well, the tone of political rhetoric in general is something that Congresswoman Giffords herself has been concerned with. The night before she was shot, she sent an e-mail to Kentucky Secretary of State Trey Grayson, a Republican, congratulating him for being named director of Harvard University's Institute of Politics. This line was in the e-mail. Quote, "We need to figure out how to tone our rhetoric and partisanship down."
Earlier, I spoke with Dana -- excuse me, Dana Loesch, Republican -- radio host and Tea Party organizer, and senior political analyst David Gergen, as well as political analyst Roland Martin.
COOPER: Roland, the local sheriff in Arizona pointed a finger at political rhetoric. A lot of Democrats have been echoing that since the shooting. A lot of Republicans pushing back.
Given there's no evidence this kid was particularly political but plenty of evidence he was mentally unstable, is it appropriate to be using this shooting to blame politicians?
ROLAND MARTIN, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: I think it is appropriate for us to examine the kind of rhetoric we have in this country right now. Here's what I found to be interesting. Americans always want for something to happen before we react. I think, even though there's nothing directly related to the political rhetoric in this particular case, we should be saying, "Wait a minute. How hot is it right now when people are getting death threats? You get people are going after folks' families? When you see the kind of letters and e-mails?"
So I think the opportunity to examine ourselves is appropriate, even though there's no direct correlation.
COOPER: Dana, is this an opportunity to examine ourselves? Is that what's been happening?
DANA LOESCH, RADIO HOST/TEA PARTY ORGANIZER: Well, I think that the rhetoric -- the rhetoric has been the same as it has always been. Nothing has changed from now from the '60s until now. Everything has always been the same.
What we have to realize is that people can say what they want to on both sides, but we cannot excuse the fact that someone chooses to willfully interpret or perceive things how they want to. And again, there's no evidence at all whatsoever that this guy listened to talk radio or watched news programs on the right or the left.
COOPER: David, what about that? I mean, Dana raises the point that it's always been the same kind of rhetoric. I mean, if you look back to history going back to, you know, Revolutionary War days, politics has always been a rough-and-tumble business in the United States.
DAVID GERGEN, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: It has been rough-and- tumble, Anderson, but I think it's time to call (ph) the finger- pointing and the accusations about this particular incident.
But there might be a silver lining here. And that is I do think it's an opportunity, to go to Roland's point, an opportunity for President Obama and the Republican leadership to come together and jointly try to sort of see if there are ways they can get everybody to calm down, to tone down the rhetoric in our political discourse.
We ought to be doing that, regardless of whether Tucson happened or not. It would be healthy for the -- for the governess of this country and for a sense of pride again, once again, and a sense of unity.
And I do think that John Boehner, just like President Obama, they both handled this well so far. And I do think they could come together from both sides of the aisle. This will be a moment for real bipartisanship, to try to get us pulled together.
COOPER: Dana, a lot of people have raised the issue, again, about gun control in this. Should this guy have been able to get a gun? A guy with a -- you know, people in his school -- he gets kicked out of school, mental instability. He's able to pass an instant background check. LOESCH: I go -- I go to my original point, what I said earlier, Anderson. And that is, again, if his behavior had been reported, there's no way he was going to walk into a firearms store and purchase the firearm. It's not going to happen.
But there -- the ball has been dropped, and it doesn't have to do with the law. Because the laws are incredibly strong enough already. The problem here is the fact that there's no awareness. There's no alertness. People should -- there was ample opportunity for people to say something about this kid's behavior or this young man's behavior, rather. But nothing was done. Nothing...
MARTIN: There was a process. The university had a process, but the question then becomes what do they then do? Who do they call? According to our system, unless a judge declares this individual mentally ill...
COOPER: Yes, seems like...
MARTIN: ... it's easy to say, Well, report it. He can't get a permit.
LOESCH: Then pursue it.
MARTIN: Not true.
LOESCH: If it's important enough to change the law about it, it's definitely important enough to pursue it.
COOPER: David, where do you come down on the gun issue?
GERGEN: I think it's insane that people like this are able to get guns. How many incidents does it take like this for us to realize that people who should not have guns are able to get them too easily?
I'm sorry. The law has been loosened in Arizona, unfortunately. And he could carry a concealed. What are we doing allowing a 22 year old to carry a concealed weapon around like this? He would be able to walk into a bar. I'm sorry. The laws are too loose. They are not too tight.
LOESCH: No. No, no, no, no, no.
GERGEN: We have lowered the standards. The NRA has been behind this.
GERGEN: And I understand the need for hunters, and I'm all for that.
LOESCH: I reject that.
GERGEN: But I'm sorry, Dana, there are people who disagree with you. If it takes licensing to... LOESCH: No, statistics show that when you enact concealed carry, the crime rate plummets. Show me a county, prove to me, show me a county where concealed carry has been implemented where the crime rates haven't dropped. I put the burden of proof on you.
GERGEN: ... Tucson, Arizona.
COOPER: David, I want you to give the final thought. But then we've got to go.
GERGEN: Tucson, Arizona, if that doesn't make the case, I don't know what does.
COOPER: David Gergen, Dana Loesch, Roland Martin, appreciate it. Thank you.
MARTIN: Thank you.
COOPER: Other news tonight, former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay sentenced on money laundering and conspiracy charges. Will he go to the slammer? Details ahead.
COOPER: Let's get caught up on -- get caught up on some of tonight's other stories. Joe Johns has a "360 Bulletin" -- Joe.
JOE JOHNS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Anderson, former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay will serve three years in prison for money laundering and conspiracy charges. DeLay also gets ten years probation with community service.
The southeast is getting walloped by a winter storm. Heavy snow has led to a state of emergency in five southeastern states. Parts of Tennessee and Mississippi got up to 13 inches of snow, and up to 18 inches fell in the mountains of Western North Carolina.
And say hello to Kepler 10-b. That's the name given to the smallest planet ever discovered outside the sun's solar system. A NASA spacecraft detected the planet, which is 1.4 times the Earth's diameter.
COOPER: That's cool, a new planet. Excellent.
Here's -- that's our report for tonight. Thanks for watching. I'll see you tomorrow night.