Return to Transcripts main page
ERIN BURNETT OUTFRONT
Mass Shooting in Oak Creek, Wisconsin
Aired August 6, 2012 - 19:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ERIN BURNETT, HOST: Good evening. I'm Erin Burnett live in Oak Creek, Wisconsin, the site of a mass shooting that has left six people dead at a Sikh temple, tonight, the victims, the heroes and the gunman, let's go OUTFRONT.
I'm Erin Burnett live in Oak Creek, Wisconsin. OUTFRONT tonight, terror at the temple. This tight-knit community of about 34,000 still reeling and asking why one day after six people were shot dead and three others wounded at a popular Sikh temple. But tonight we are learning much more about the alleged gunman and the victims. Police have identified the suspect as 40-year-old Army veteran Wade Michael Page who had connections to white supremacist groups.
And here are now some pictures that we've just gotten in to CNN. These are from Page's old MySpace page. And as you can see this obviously shows him in front of a flag with a swastika, the images from February of last year. The death toll from yesterday's shooting now stands at seven including the suspected shooter. Three people are in critical condition tonight after a chaotic scene captured in this call to 911.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I thought I heard shots. Can you confirm that?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Man with a gun in the parking lot.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Man with a gun.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Ambulance up! Subject is down. "Shouting" I need an ambulance.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (INAUDIBLE)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Go ahead.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We have one officer shot.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Subject with a gun, balding, white t-shirt, officer down.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
JOHN AVLON, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: That officer is Lieutenant Brian Murphy who was ambushed while trying to help one of the first shooting victims. Oak Creek Police Chief John Edwards praised Murphy who's in critical condition tonight for his heroic response.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He was shot between eight and nine times. During the shooting, a lot of extremity shots, a shot in the neck and the cheek area. None of those appear to be at this point life- threatening. They have him resting comfortably and we hope for him to make a full recovery.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AVLON: Oak Creek now joins the community of Aurora, Colorado, still healing after 12 people were murdered in a movie theater shooting just last month. Senseless gun violence continues to pervade this country. More than 11,000 people die each year by firearm and there is no shortage of headlines.
Jared Loughner is set to appear in court tomorrow to plead guilty to murdering six people and wounding 13 others including former Representative Gabby Giffords in Tucson, Arizona in 2011. Major Nidal Hasan still awaiting trial for murdering 13 people at Fort Hood in 2009. These are faces Americans now recognize as alleged killers. Wade Michael Page now joins that group. Ted Rowlands has been working the story to get a better understanding of who Page is and what may have motivated it.
TED ROWLANDS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): According to investigators and witness accounts, 40-year-old Wade Page first opened fire in the temple parking lot where he killed two of his victims before going inside where he killed four more.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He went into the Holy Room and opened fire on some individuals there, injuring multiple, mainly turbaned individuals.
ROWLANDS: Oak Creek Police Lieutenant Brian Murphy was the first officer to arrive at the scene, encountering Page in the parking lot.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Man with a gun.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It was at that point that he was met by the suspect who basically ambushed him.
ROWLANDS: Lieutenant Murphy was shot eight or nine times, but survived. Page was shot and killed a few moments later by another officer. While investigators say it's too early to know an exactly motive, we're learning more about Wade Page. Police are investigating his apparent ties to white supremacists and the Southern Law Poverty Center tells CNN it's been tracking Page for years because he was part of a band in North Carolina called "End Apathy", which worked for the music distributor Label 56, whose roster included a number of white supremacist bands.
Two years ago, Page was interviewed by a website about how he started the band, saying in part, "it requires discipline, strict discipline to stay the course in our sick society." Label 56 issued a statement saying in part, "please do not take what Wade did as honorable or respectable and please do not think we are all like that."
Federal agents went to the North Carolina home of one of Page's band mates where Page apparently lived for several months last year. According to CNN affiliate WNCN, the home was adorned with confederate flags.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We are looking at ties to white supremacist groups, of course.
ROWLANDS: Agents took several boxes of potential evidence from the Wisconsin home where Page was living for four months leading up to the shooting. His landlord says Page had a clean background check, lived alone and kept to himself. Neighbors at Page's old apartment said he not only kept to himself but seemed to go out of his way to avoid people.
DAVID BROWN, NEIGHBOR: Like a recluse almost, he didn't talk to us at all. I'd say hi and he'd just go (INAUDIBLE).
ROWLANDS: Neighbors say Page showed up about a year moving in with his girlfriend who had been renting her apartment in South Milwaukee for several years.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: She was nice and then when he moved in, she just changed. You could tell he was running the show. He -- she wasn't as friendly anymore. She wasn't -- it was kind of like she wasn't allowed to like talk to anybody anymore.
BURNETT: All right, Ted Rowlands is OUTFRONT tonight. And Ted, I know the FBI has also spoken to his ex-girlfriend. And what have you found out about that?
ROWLANDS: Well according to a source familiar with the investigation, the FBI has reached out to the girlfriend and she's been very cooperative. But she has no idea how this could have happened. She says there was nothing in his behavior that would have led her to believe that this could have happened so really more questions than answers --
BURNETT: Out of the blue, sort of? I mean she -- none of the -- sort of character --
ROWLANDS: Now keep in mind this is an ex-girlfriend, a recent ex-girlfriend.
ROWLANDS: How that tied into what he did, we don't know. But from what we learned from the FBI, she had no clue as to how this could happen. BURNETT: And has there been a response from his family, his immediate family?
ROWLANDS: Yes, there has been and I can read some of it to you. They released a statement to the "Milwaukee Journal Sentinel" saying in part, "while there can be no words of comfort that will make sense of what happened that day, please be aware that our thoughts and prayers go out to all the victims and their families. We share in their grief for all who lost their lives that day and for those survivors we hope for a speedy recovery." They also said that they are cooperating with the investigation.
BURNETT: All right, well Ted, thank you very much. (INAUDIBLE) understand who this person was and how this could have happened. Thank you very much for your reporting.
Well President Obama has weighed in on the shooting from the Oval Office said that regardless of what motivated the murder at the Sikh temple, Americans need to stop the senseless violence.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA (D-IL), PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I think it would be very important for us to reaffirm once again that in this country, regardless of what we look like, where we come from, who we worship, we are all one people. And we look after one another and we respect one another.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: Harbans Singh Farwah was in the temple at the time of the shooting and he is OUTFRONT tonight and Harbans thank you for coming and talking so soon after this.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (INAUDIBLE)
BURNETT: So what did you see?
HARBANS SINGH FARWAH, SIKH TEMPLE SHOOTING SURVIVOR: At the time of the incident, I was in the dining hall. I saw somebody came and entered into the dining hall to the kitchen side. He had a gun in his hand and his gun was aimed at the guys in the kitchen. I was behind him. I could not see his face but I could see that he was a tall guy (INAUDIBLE) and from his (INAUDIBLE) I could see that he was a white guy. I was with some kids and some ladies and one old man. I shouted, go, go to the basement. Go to the basement (INAUDIBLE) in my language, so that he would not understand. I pushed everybody to the basement. My wife has a leg problem, broken leg --
BURNETT: She broke her leg while she was fleeing?
FARWAH: Yes. She cannot walk easily. I gave her support to go down. Then I called 911. My call did not go through due to some technical problem. Again, I gave a call that did not work. (INAUDIBLE) and the operator told me that a police car had already reached there. BURNETT: But it took you three calls to get through to 911?
FARWAH: Yes. On the third call, she told me that police car (INAUDIBLE) over there or somebody might have called for me. The I gave (INAUDIBLE) to the crying kids and ladies, that took me five, six minutes, then I (INAUDIBLE) to come out so that I must see what is happening, that my countrymen (INAUDIBLE)my, how do you say, community people --
FARWAH: When I came to -- I came upstairs I saw that many police cars are flashing lights on the top. (INAUDIBLE) injured. I came out through the Prayer Hall. I (INAUDIBLE) she was not dead. I ran to -- outside and then I saw another guy lying on the floor. He was not even dead yet at that time.
BURNETT: Wasn't dead --
FARWAH: I went out to the place so that I may ask (INAUDIBLE). They say hands up, that is maybe their procedure. I put my hands up. And (INAUDIBLE) they say -- they hold me from here, both sides (INAUDIBLE) and they told me (INAUDIBLE) I am thankful this did not scare me. They told me, we are here for your protection. We are taking you to a safe place. Don't worry. Then they gave me -- they took me to (INAUDIBLE) --
BURNETT: Right there.
FARWAH: And they put me behind that car so that their men (INAUDIBLE) shooting and yet -- then told me, here, you are safe. Keep on sitting here. Don't go anywhere.
BURNETT: You did see, though, the shooter killed? Right, I mean you saw him die?
FARWAH: I did not see his face. I see his back. From his back, I can see that he was a quite heavy-built man, heavy-built man, very well-built. Not skinny, like me. He was more than me. And when they brought me to the police car, I saw (INAUDIBLE) there was laying a white guy, handcuffed, and (INAUDIBLE) head bleeding from mouth. After 20, 30 minutes, there was one lady with me too. She was feeling very bad, very bad. I asked the police officer, she's not feeling well, if you please, open your car. (INAUDIBLE) he opened the door and I put -- when I was helping the lady to sit in the car, I saw just like the dumpster, two bodies like that --
BURNETT: About 20 feet away from you.
FARWAH: Yes. There were two bodies lying over there. I could not see their face because they were covered.
FARWAH: (INAUDIBLE) came out and then they understand (INAUDIBLE) the temple. BURNETT: What -- tell me about the children. I know this is hard. But you saw the children --
BURNETT: -- of Parkash (ph) when he -- and he died --
BURNETT: You were with the children when they saw their father --
FARWAH: His daughter and son might have seen their father shooting on head. They were not (INAUDIBLE) crying, they were bitterly crying. I am still scared of their cries. And I cannot (INAUDIBLE) how they were crying because they seen their father shot here. And they may be scared very well. And after the lady -- 911- operator, she told me that (INAUDIBLE) dead, I tried to console those kids and their mamma and one more lady with (INAUDIBLE). She was also crying. I don't know what happened to her. When I could stop them crying, I (INAUDIBLE) go out to see what happened to my people over there.
FARWAH: And when I came out from the Prayer Hall window -- door, I could see police cars were flashing -- many police cars were there. (INAUDIBLE) to go out, when I was going out, I saw a lady collapsed on the floor. She was not dead at that time.
FARWAH: I rushed to the police and I saw another old man lying on the floor. He was also not yet dead. I then went outside of the (INAUDIBLE) so that I met the police (INAUDIBLE) some people are injured there, their life can be saved. But they said hands up, hands up. They took me over there. I kept on saying, please (INAUDIBLE) please help them, they can be saved. But they said -- the police officers keep on saying we are working on that.
BURNETT: Well it sounds like you were --
FARWAH: Maybe they're not, otherwise I don't think that they did any negligence but (INAUDIBLE) maybe (INAUDIBLE) --
BURNETT: Well I understand that you -- I mean you certainly were a hero and I'm sure that those children will remember you forever. So thank you very much. We appreciate --
FARWAH: And one thing -- one thing I would like to say.
BURNETT: One final thing, OK.
FARWAH: I am very much thankful to the media (INAUDIBLE) since the incident they are giving coverage.
FARWAH: They are giving every kind of support. I am very grateful to both (INAUDIBLE).
FARWAH: But whatever happened that is unforgettable.
BURNETT: Well thank you for sharing --
FARWAH: Thank you. Thank you. (INAUDIBLE)
BURNETT: -- for sharing with us. Thank you.
FARWAH: Thank you.
BURNETT: Thank you very much. It's a horrible story when you hear it relived and certainly imagine those children seeing their father killed. We're going to remember the victims and the heroes after this. There's an incredible story coming out of the temple behind me. The temple's president who died trying to stop the gunman, one of his family members is OUTFRONT next.
BURNETT: Our second story OUTFRONT you saw my next guest just a few moments ago in Ted Rowlands' piece. He has been acting as an interpreter for many of the people who were in the temple on Sunday morning. And his uncle, the temple president, was among those who were killed in the rampage. Kanwardeep Kaleka joins me now. And Kanwardeep thank you very much. It has been a really hard day for you, having to take on all of these roles. First tell me about your uncle.
KANWARDEEP KALEKA, NEPHEW OF TEMPLE PRESIDENT: He was just an amazing individual. We loved him because of his quirkiness and sort of goofy nature. But he never made (ph) such a dependable, reliable person. I mean everyone in the family, whenever we wanted anything, whenever we needed anything, he was the one we called and he was always there for us. And our congregation itself, and the temple stands because of him and his dedication and his heart and the fact that he went down fighting for his people and his temple is a testament to the kind of person he was and the love that he had for everyone.
BURNETT: And it really was his heart and his soul, it sounds like, this temple.
KALEKA: Yes, yes. It's really tragic. But somewhat appropriate that he was there and he was able to have his final moments in the House of God that he helped to create.
BURNETT: You were obviously very close with him. It's a special thing to have, memories to have.
KALEKA: Absolutely. I mean from when was a little kid, he's my dad's -- he's my dad's closest brother.
KALEKA: And in our culture, our cousins are basically like our brothers, so he was equivalent to my other dad and I mean you couldn't ask for a much better person, you know just full of life and one of the most resilient people. And he brought something that you know everyone revered but you can, you know you can never really fully appreciate. And he was just an amazing individual and I -- you know the only thing that brings me some peace is through our faith, we believe that he's with God now. And you know through his great acts and his wonderful courage that he now shines down on us and helps us carry forward.
BURNETT: It's an amazingly beautiful way to say it, so close to such a horrible event. Do you -- I know that you weren't there yesterday. But is this something that you can't believe happened or given so much of what we've heard, violence against people of your faith in this country, is this something that was always a deep fear that you had?
KALEKA: I mean, to be honest, I never thought it would be anything like this. This isn't real. I still have the memories of going there every Sunday and you know being there with my uncle, with the other religious priests, Parkash (ph) saying -- what they were talking about earlier, these amazing individuals.
KALEKA: And praying together and eating together and it's never going to be the same. I mean you never really think, oh, you know maybe people may attack based on hate. You hope it doesn't happen, but you never think it's going to be at your own place of worship, you know of all places. And, yes, so it's just -- it's not real at this point, especially -- I mean you don't sleep, you don't eat. And you're just trying to take everything in. I think more than anything, I just want to make sure that the people of America know that you know when people -- I actually usually don't wear a turban, but after what happened yesterday --
BURNETT: Now you want --
KALEKA: -- I feel I need to --
BURNETT: -- solidarity.
KALEKA: Absolutely, yes, and to show people that you know having this look of a beard and a turban does not mean you're a terrorist. You know we're Sikhs and whether there are Muslims with the same look, we're all people, we have families, we have friends, we have people that we love. We provide to the community. And we're just like everyone else. And I hope that people do not continue this ignorance and hate and continue to act on these things with these senseless acts of violence that terrorize entire communities. It's -- you hope these are isolated incidents. But then you hear about other ones and you just want to know, what can we do to make it stop? BURNETT: Well I hope that you are taking the time to share this will do a little bit. I know that it will.
KALEKA: I hope so.
BURNETT: Thank you.
KALEKA: Thank you.
BURNETT: Thank you for braving through this. Well now our third story OUTFRONT, after the tragedy here in Oak Creek yesterday, the Sikh faith has been thrown into the national spotlight and as you can see, obviously very misunderstood. We wanted to tell you a little bit about it because despite the fact that there are well over half a million Sikhs in this country, the average American seems to know very little about this monotheistic faith that preaches peace and charity above all else. Towards the end of the 19th Century, Sikhs started to make their way to the United States for a better life and to escape British oppression in India.
Many of them actually went to Europe and Australia. But a lot came to North America actually via Hong Kong. It's a very fascinating Diaspora. Many of them in this country began work as farmers. The first gurdwara, which is their name for a temple was actually set up in California in the year 1906. The United States saw further waves of Sikh immigration in the 1960's when the government raised its immigration quotas and encouraged trained professionals to move to this country, many Sikh engineers and doctors answered that call.
One of the more well-known American Sikhs is Fatah Singh Fenn (ph). He served in the U.S. Army in World War I and later went on to earn a PhD lecturing in both metaphysics (ph) and religious philosophy. All of this after being turned down by the United States government in his quest for citizenship. He paved the way though for thousands in both citizenship and military service, which brings me to tonight's number, seven. That is the total number of major wars the United States has fought since and including World War I.
Sikhs have served in every single one of them, this despite the United States military taking away religious uniform exemptions in the 1980's because prior to that, Sikhs were actually allowed to wear the turbans that are so essential to their faith and to maintain their beards while serving. Currently only three Sikhs have been granted an exemption, including Captain (INAUDIBLE) not only a U.S. Army soldier but also a biomedical engineer and a practicing military dentist. It's a horrible shame that it has taken a tragedy like the one in Oak Creek for this country to acknowledge the contributions of this deeply peaceful and generous community.
Well OUTFRONT next, who is Wade Page? The gunman responsible for such a horrific attack, the alleged gunman took six lives here in Oak Creek, Wisconsin. We're learning more tonight about his past and his connections to an extremist band. We have an investigation on that next.
(COMMERCIAL BREAK) BURNETT: All right. We have some new information in right now about the gun the shooter purchased and used in yesterday's temple shooting. OUTFRONT now, Oak Creek police chief John Edwards.
Chief Edwards, thank you very much.
JOHN EDWARDS, OAK CREEK, WISCONSIN, POLICE CHIEF: You're welcome.
BURNETT: I know this is a tough, trying time for you with your colleague in critical care. What have you just found out about where this gun came from?
EDWARDS: The ATF ascertained that the weapon was bought at The Shooters Shop, it's a gun store in the Milwaukee area. The gun was purchased legally. There were no restrictions on the gun when it was purchased. It's a Springfield XP (sic) 9mm.
BURNETT: So Mr. Page passed presumably then any kind of background checks, everything? It was all --
EDWARDS: Yes, he had no restrictions whatsoever.
BURNETT: All the boxes were checked?
BURNETT: How does that make you feel?
EDWARDS: I'm not here to debate or talk about some of the gun control laws or anything like that. I think individuals make choices and they make decisions, and it was a decision he made. It had nothing to do -- hundreds and hundreds of people purchase guns every day, thousands, and we don't have this result.
An individual has to make a choice what they're going to do and how they're going to do it. So he followed the rules and he was able to purchase a gun.
BURNETT: Let me ask you about your colleague, Brian Murphy. He has multiple gunshot wounds. He's in critical care. You just came from visiting him.
EDWARDS: Yes, I was just at the hospital with some other officers who visited him. He's awake, he's alert. Can't speak. Obviously he's got some trauma. He's able to mouth some things, hold up a thumbs-up, nod to you in acknowledgment with his eyes, smile --
BURNETT: So his mind, he's there.
EDWARDS: He's there. He's there. He's the same guy. He's there, everything's looking good. Obviously he's got a long road ahead of him. But we're very hopeful right now and it looks very promising.
BURNETT: Well, he saved a lot of lives. Thank you so much, Chief Edwards.
EDWARDS: You're welcome.
BURNETT: All right. In our fourth story OUTFRONT, who was Wade Michael Page? As we find out more about him, we just, obviously, as you could see, now know that he bought the gun at The Shooters Shop in the Milwaukee area.
But police obviously say that he shot and killed six people at the Sikh temple in Oak Creek, Wisconsin, which is just behind me. For several years, Page fronted a white supremacist punk band called End Apathy.
I want to show you some pictures of Page, performing with this group. These were all posted on his MySpace page. Special investigations unit correspondent Drew Griffin has been working the story for us and is OUTFRONT tonight.
Drew, I know you've been doing a lot of work into the suspect, Wade Michael Page. And I guess, is it fair to say, in a sense, he was a -- almost a celebrity in the neo-Nazi music world?
DREW GRIFFIN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes. And many people would be surprised that there is such a thing. But there is and he was sort of a mini-celebrity known within the -- they call it white power music, Erin.
He began playing with these bands about 2000. And that's when various groups that track these hate groups began noticing this suspect. Both the ADL, the Anti-Defamation League, and the Southern Poverty Law Center had been tracking him ever since.
It was 2005 that he started his own band. It's called End Apathy. That was a big moment for this guy in his scene. He began playing on some of the bigger stages at some of these hate fests.
And what's interesting, I talked to an author of a book called "Soundtracks to the White Revolution," Devin Burghardt, who's studied this industry. And what's most important about it is this is one of their main outreaches to attract young people.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DEVIN BURGHARDT, AUTHOR, "SOUNDTRACKS TO THE WHITE REVOLUTION": Today, there are literally hundreds of bands with dozens of different record labels here in the United States. White power music has become a multimillion-dollar-a-year enterprise, drawing young people in and fueling them with these ideas of hatred and bigotry.
GRIFFIN: And again, the various groups that track these kind of individuals say they have had him on their radar for a dozen years or so. We've seen the pictures of him in full Nazi regalia in some of the pictures.
Why wasn't anything done? Quite frankly because this guy didn't do anything. There was no violence or acts that anybody can find behind his message of hate, just a musical message of hatred. Erin?
BURNETT: So, Drew, I guess I'm sort of speechless because I know it's so difficult, someone can say hateful things and say they want to do hateful things, but then not actually do them.
And I know we're going to be talking to the Southern Poverty Law Center in a moment. And they said we've been looking at this guy for 12 years. Has anyone talked to you about how they're feeling, about this never crossed the threshold in time to prevent this horrific act?
GRIFFIN: Well, he didn't act out. As far as we can tell, his criminal record is fairly minor. It appears he had a drunk driving issue back in Colorado years and years ago. He had a criminal mischief charge back in Texas, as far as we can tell. But that was a very, very minor misdemeanor.
Look, he's part of this white power band movement. They say a lot of nasty things in their songs, they hate Jews, they hate blacks. He even gave an -- and what is really surprising about this guy is he was not shy about it. A lot of these people try to hide behind the scenes.
This guy gave an interview to his record label, talking about his lyrics. And I want to tell you what he wrote about his lyrics, to show you what kind of an artist he thought he was. He said, "The topics vary from sociological issues, religion, and how the value of human life has been degraded by being submissive to tyranny and hypocrisy that we are subjugated to."
You know, Erin, I've talked to a lot of these white supremacists. They fall into two categories. They're either stupid and uneducated or the uneducated ones -- or the educated ones live in this kind of delusional world. And they all spout this hatred, this love of Hitler, this neo-Nazi worship that they do.
And they meet at these festivals around the country. And this guy was very much a musical part of those festivals.
BURNETT: Wow. All right, well, Drew Griffin, thank you very much for that. Very hard-to-listen-to report, because obviously a lot of this is protected by some of the values we hold most dear in this country, and I'm referring to free speech. It's a difficult, difficult question for a lot of people tonight.
The Southern Poverty Law Center is a nonprofit group that has -- it makes a business of studying hate crimes in extremist groups. And as Drew alluded to, since the year 2000, they have been tracking Wade Michael Page.
Heidi Beirich is the director of the Center's Intelligence Project, and she's OUTFRONT tonight.
So, Heidi, first of all, you've been tracking this guy for 12 years. Why? What was the first thing that made you say, this person is doing or could do something wrong? HEIDI BEIRICH, INTELLIGENCE PROJECT, SOUTHERN POVERTY LAW CENTER: Well, the first thing that we found on him or ran across him was him trying to purchase some materials from a neo-Nazi group called the National Alliance.
That group was a very, very serious concern for us all through the '90s and early 2000s, because its leader one time penned the book that Timothy McVeigh used as the basis for the Oklahoma City bombings. So the National Alliance is steeped in violence. So anybody that comes across them is a concern for us.
BURNETT: So did you try to have enforcement, law enforcement look into this guy? And you were sort of shut down by what Drew's reporting, He was just talking and that's protected by the 1st Amendment? Or did you not try to get to law enforcement?
BEIRICH: Yes, you know, what your reporter said is absolutely true, although this guy had an ugly hate music band, he was active in the hate scene, he performed at these -- you know, what are equivalent basically of Lollapaloozas of hate, although all that was happening, this is free speech, and you have the right to say the horrible things that these people do, praising Hitler, calling for the murder of minority populations, Jews and so forth.
That doesn't necessarily mean that someone's going to step over the line into violence. And he had a minor criminal record. So there was no way to say to someone, really, we predict that this person is going to do something heinous like what happened there outside of Milwaukee.
BURNETT: All right. Heidi, thank you very much. We appreciate your taking the time.
Well, next, as you just heard, the police officer who put his life on the line and almost died to save others' lives is, as you heard from his colleague, doing all right tonight. Well, the surgeon that saved his life and is trying to save two other Sikhs who are in critical care tonight is our guest after this.
BURNETT: Our fifth story OUTFRONT, gun violence. I visited the hospital today where the wounded victims are recovering, a level one trauma center. All three of them are in critical care tonight. This trauma center is one of only about 200 level one trauma centers around the nation. These victims were lucky that there was one here in Milwaukee.
And while there, I spoke to Dr. Travis Webb, he's the surgeon who was there yesterday when this horrible shooting happened. I asked him whether the trauma center was overwhelmed by this or not.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DR. TRAVIS WEBB, TRAUMA SURGEON: No, not at all. And I think that's the sad part of all of this, is the fact that we do see a lot of trauma on a routine basis.
Every day we're seeing multiple patients coming in, frequently multiple casualties at the same time, due to assaults, penetrating trauma. And those types of injuries, I think, a lot of people just don't really recognize are going on around them.
BURNETT: And I mean, is this gang-related violence or domestic violence? All of the above?
WEBB: It's all of the above. And we see a lot of domestic violence that does occur. But there's also a lot of gang violence and other types of violence. I can't really put a finger on exactly -- but the numbers are pretty remarkable.
BURNETT: And is part of it because of the guns that are available? I mean, the whole country's having this conversation now. I know here's you're looking at the state that has the 47th most lenient gun control laws in the country.
BURNETT: Is that part of the reason why your job is as hard, as horrible as it can be sometimes?
WEBB: You know, it's hard to say. And I'm not a politician and I'm not going to get into a debate about gun control.
But clearly people have guns. They use guns. They have knives. They use knives. And there seems to be just so much anger out there. And a lot of people who act with just no good reason whatsoever. And it's those type of incidents that really tear at your heart and you really wish you could do something to prevent that stuff.
BURNETT: And you've been doing this now for nearly 15 years. So when you talk about people being angry, is it worse now than it used to be? Some people like to say, oh, because of the economic crisis, people are angry or people are going to be more likely to hurt or kill other people. Is that true?
WEBB: I think that's a difficult question to answer. What I can tell you is that our numbers of assault victims, of penetrating trauma, have remained steady for years.
BURNETT: Really? So not -- it's not worse than it used to be?
WEBB: No. And from a day-to-day basis, we see somewhere between 20 percent and 25 percent of all of our trauma is penetrating trauma, 15 percent to 25 percent is assault. And so there are a lot of these types of traumas and injuries that occur.
So I think what I see on a day-to-day basis is not necessarily that much different. I think we're seeing these big news events that brought you here today, seems like that's happening more frequently. But I think that the day-to-day violence that's occurring is about the same.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: Pretty interesting, and perhaps not exactly what you would have expected him to say.
Up next, reaction, someone who says that more guns in America equals less crime.
BURNETT: Joining me now is Bernard Zapor, he is a special agent with the ATF; John Lott Jr., the author of "More Guns, Less Crime;" and Roland Martin, who as many of our regular viewers know, has been very impassioned about the gang violence in places like Chicago going on this summer.
John, let me start with you. Make the case in a nutshell. More guns, less crime, counterintuitive to a lot of people watching tonight.
JOHN LOTT, JR., AUTHOR: Well, guns make it easier for bad things to happen but they also make it easier for people to protect themselves and prevent bad things from happening.
My research shows that the police are the single most important factor for reducing crime. But if you talk to the police, you'll find that they understand themselves that they virtually always arrive on the scene after the crime's been committed.
Look, virtually all of these multiple victim public shootings have occurred in places where guns are banned. And the question that you deal with, you know, we all want to keep guns away from criminals. But when you ban guns, the question is, who obeys the laws?
And it turns out it's the law-abiding good citizens, not the criminals. And when the criminal -- when you have a gun-free zone, it actually serves as a magnet for these attacks.
Let me ask you this. Let's suppose a violent criminal, God forbid, was stalking you. Would you feel safer putting a sign up in front of your home that said "This home is a gun-free zone"? My guess is you wouldn't do that. My guess is even the strongest gun control proponents wouldn't do that.
And the answer for why they wouldn't do it is pretty obvious, because a sign like that isn't going to cause the criminal to say, look, I'm not going to attack the person there. The sign actually draws him in --
BURNETT: So you're --
LOTT: -- because he knows you won't have to worry about somebody stopping. But, yes, we put those signs up all over the place.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Erin, I have another side.
LOTT: Not in front of your home. You'd never do it in front of your home.
BURNETT: Yes, hold on one second. Hold on -- hold on one second for both of you, because I just want to -- Bernard, let me ask you to respond to that.
If you -- if the laws change and all of a sudden guns weren't available, do you agree with the principle that people would find another way to get them or would demand drop?
BERNARD ZAPOR, ATF SPECIAL AGENT: Well, in the United States, these gun control laws are the first federal firearms laws, and were the result of the Valentine's Day Massacre in 1933. There are two sets of firearms laws in the country, one that requires absolute registration such as machine guns.
In one in the normal commerce, part one firearms do not. Otherwise, there's a legitimate firearms industry. In the United States today you also have a gray market that is created by the transaction of guns that take place after the legitimate industry. Regardless, this is a major social issue for this country.
ZAPOR: And there's a lot of self-responsibility issues when it comes to firearms ownership and use.
BURNETT: Roland, you know, a lot people would like to say, all right, well, if these sales were happening where Bernard said, in the gray area, then we could do something about it. But the recent incidents, including this one, did not happen in the gray area. These were people who were buying guns legitimately and in the open and legally.
ROLAND MARTIN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: And this is why I don't focus simply on this type of incident. Just this weekend, let's go back to Chicago, 29 wounded, 5 people killed. In our country, more than 100,000 people every single year are shot and killed.
Now it's interesting we talk about putting signs up. Here's one of the facts from the Brady Campaign that they lay out. Every year, only about 200 legally justified self-defense shootings in this country.
The problem we have in this country, (inaudible) flooding guns in the marketplace, we also have, frankly, a culture that is in love with guns. And so we have what is called in Biblical terms a generational curse. And it's time for this generation to break that curse.
And the last thing we need are more Americans running out, buying up more guns, because all that is going to do is to cause people to pop off a lot faster. They will not think twice. That's one of the problems that we have. That's the last thing we need.
BURNETT: John, I'm curious as to your response to that. And also I've always wanted to ask this question of someone with your point of view. Why should a regular citizen have an automatic or a semiautomatic weapon?
LOTT: Well, there's a big difference between an automatic and a semiautomatic weapon. I know the president last week was going out and saying we should only have AK-47s for soldiers. But the thing is these attacks aren't occurring with automatic machine guns. These are occurring with semiautomatics.
These are military-style civilian versions of these guns. They just look like this on the outside but they function exactly the same as any rifle. If you're going to ban all rifles, fine, go and talk about banning them. But going and picking guns just because they look a particular way doesn't make that much sense.
You know, it's -- responding to the comment that was just made, look, people use guns defensively about four to five times more frequently than guns are used in the commission of a crime.
The FBI National Crime Victimization Survey shows that about 400,000 to 450,000 times each year people use guns to commit crime. But similar surveys show that people use guns about 2 million times --
BURNETT: Well, would they use them if --
LOTT: -- rarely do they ever --
MARTIN: Erin, Erin, the Brady Campaign lays out --
BURNETT: (Inaudible), final word.
MARTIN: Guns are used to intimidate and threaten four to six times more often they're used to thwart crime. Also, a 2009 study found that people in possession of a gun are almost five times more likely to be shot in an assault. The point here is not --
LOTT: You don't know what you're talking about.
MARTIN: No, excuse me, I'm citing from the Brady Campaign, you take it up with them. Here's my point, Erin --
LOTT: -- understand where these types of numbers come from --
MARTIN: Allow me to finish. Allow me to finish. Allow me to finish.
Erin, we can argue back and forth over a study. This is what we know. We lose billions of dollars every year due to gun violence in this country, and that doctor told you the toll it is taking. So more guns is not the answer.
LOTT: Look, we've seen what happens when D.C. --
BURNETT: All right. We're going to leave it there. Obviously --
LOTT: -- and Chicago ban guns.
BURNETT: I'm sorry -- I'm sorry, I have to leave it there, but thanks to all three of you. We appreciate it. Obviously a conversation we're going to be having much more.
OUTFRONT next, more of our coverage of the mass shooting, right here in Oak Creek, Wisconsin, at the Sikh temple just behind me.
BURNETT: All right. I'm here with Anderson Cooper. Anderson and I came out here together and I know I was at the trauma center today, seeing some families. And I know you spent a lot of time with the family.