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Connecticut State Police Conference

Aired December 16, 2012 - 11:40   ET


SOLEDAD O'BRIEN, CNN ANCHOR: All right, thanks, I appreciate that. Let's listen in as they're getting ready to start this press conference. I'm about 10 yards away and looks like Lieutenant Vance is about to speak. Here he goes.

LT. PAUL VANCE, CONNECTICUT STATE POLICE: -- crime detectives are still at the scenes of the school and at the secondary scene. We're still actively working those areas. There's nothing new to report relative to the investigation. Suffice to say that it is moving forward.

As I said yesterday and I will not and cannot detail pieces of the investigation, but I can tell you that we have recovered evidence, contrary to some of the news reports that have been out there. We have recovered some evidence. It is being analyzed and it is being processed.

The weaponry involved, we are tracing them historically all the way back to when they were on the work bench being assembled and being examined and looked at with our federal partners. In addition, the postmortem examination by the chief medical examiner is ongoing.

Hopefully earlier this afternoon we'll be able to release factual information on the last two deceased in this case. As you know, there is presidential business scheduled this afternoon. I don't have details on that.

I know that's being put out via Washington, so, we'll leave that as is. We are in the process, I'm sure you've seen, as I explained to you, we have multiple crime scenes but sticking specifically with the school, the school crime scene, the building itself is still being worked on.

Remember I told you we had a secondary crime scene and that was all the vehicles on the exterior of the school. Our detectives have examined each and every one of them, searched each and every one of them and we're beginning to release those back to their owners.

So, slowly but surely we're beginning to complete the exterior part of the crime scene. The governor and lieutenant governor are on site and have been actively involved today. One thing that's becoming somewhat of a concern and that is misinformation is being posted on social media sites.

There has been misinformation coming from people posing as the shooter in this case, posing using other I.D.s, mimicking this crime and crime scene and criminal activity that took place in this community. There's been some things and somewhat of a threatening manner.

It is important to note that we have discussed with federal authorities that these, these issues are crimes, they will be investigated statewide and federally, and prosecution will take place when people perpetrating this information are identified.

Again, all information relative to this case is coming from these microphones and any information coming from other sources cannot be confirmed and, in many cases, it has been found as inaccurate.

So, I simply, that's the newest twist today that we want to make sure that's perfectly clear that social media web sites that contain information relative to this case are not being posted by the Connecticut State Police, are not being posted by the Newtown police, are not being posted by any authorities in this case.

So, any of that information and people that are that are putting that information up there in any manner all right, can be construed as a violation of state or federal law will be prosecuted, will be investigated and prosecuted. Questions, I can take a few, understanding that we still are active in this case, OK.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Has a very specific timeline of how this event happened. I'm wondering if you can, in fact, confirm that timeline that is being reported in great detail by the "Hartford Courant."

VANCE: Very good question. I'm the only one speaking about this case to every member of the media. I cannot state heavily enough I have not and will not put out a timeline in this criminal investigation as it is under way. It is inappropriate. We will not do that.

Any sources that are putting out any kind of information like that does not come from the official investigating agency, the Connecticut State Police assisted by the Newtown Police Department. We will not put that out as the investigation is ongoing. I have not read it. I can tell you that. We have not put out any timeline information.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You have said there were two places inside the school. Can you confirm that the principal and the psychologist were shot near the front door and the children and the teachers and other workers were in classrooms?

VANCE: Again, what I stated relative to the interior crime scene was that the shooting took place in a singular section of the school that involved two classrooms and a hallway. That's as much as we said about that. We cannot and will not describe the location of the deceased in this investigation. We won't do that. Yes, sir.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Said your investigation of firearms.

VANCE: Yes, sir. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The shooter was taken by his family member to a shooting range (inaudible) gone shooting with his mother?

VANCE: I don't know that, quite frankly. And that's what I'm trying to get people to understand is that we can't take segments of an investigation and discuss that publicly because something taken out of context could be misinterpreted, it could be misinterpreted and not factual once it's misinterpreted.

Therefore, I don't, number one, I don't know anything about that particular statement you just made and number two, even if I did, I would say let us put it into the contents of the investigation so that we can manage it and you can get a whole complete picture of exactly what's going on.

Do I know anything more? The four firearms working with our federal partners and as I said in my statement we are analyzing, examining, we'll trace them back to their origin.

We'll trace every step of the way, and every time that we can, where they were used, how they were used will be examined forensically. A great deal of work must be done on those weapons.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Any evidence that any of the other weapons --

VANCE: I can't answer that question. I do not know. Our detectives will be able to answer that question at the conclusion of the investigation. Yes, sir.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I know you can't go into detail about what you're finding, but how confident do you feel you will eventually get a good picture?

VANCE: I am confident that we will put every single resource that we have into this investigation and that we will answer every single question that is humanly possible at the conclusion of this case. We'll examine every piece of evidence, we'll speak to every single witness that can have any impact on this case and our goal, our goal is to answer every single question.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Do you think no note, no alive shooter, how confident do you feel that you'll eventually be able it to put together something people would consider --

VANCE: Just to say, we have not stated what evidence we have and have not collected. I want to make that perfectly clear. How confident am I? We have the best of the best working on this case. We have our major crime detectives.

We have federal authorities, Newtown investigators, we have everything and everybody focusing on this case as everyone knows it's a huge case, it's a huge case. We're using every single resource and our goal is to paint a complete picture so that we all know and the public knows exactly what happened here. Couple more folks.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: -- magazines ever used on the gun? VANCE: I'm sorry. I cannot. I cannot.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: -- social media what do you make of that?

VANCE: Well, best I can explain, I'm not a social media expert, I'm not going to claim to be, but there have been indications that there have been quotes by people who are posing as the shooter. You can go on different Facebook pages and find this information out.

I know members of the press have. And suffice it to say that the information can, in fact, be -- has, in fact, been deemed as threatening. It's been inaccurate, people posing as other people, and discussing with federal authorities.

They believe it's a violation of state or federal law and warrants an investigation. Anyone perpetrating that information, could, in fact, be subject to arrest and be prosecuted federally.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Has anyone been identified, questioned?

VANCE: They're working on that right now. This is brand new information. We got it as we were coming to this press conference. Couple more quick questions. Yes, ma'am.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: (Inaudible) any more information on the other two bodies?

VANCE: The minute I have that we'll reduce it to writing and bring it up to you, bring more copies of the names from yesterday if anyone needs it. Certainly the minute we have that we'll bring that up to you. Yes, ma'am.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: do you know when the bodies will be released to the families?

VANCE: They have already started that process. Yes, ma'am.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Is there any idea of when the students can return to class and what can you say to parents about safety in schools?

VANCE: What's important to note about safety in school is from the educational commissioner in the state of Connecticut working with the governor's office it's being examined on a local and statewide basis.

There are many plans in place for emergency purposes in all the schools in Connecticut. All of them are being re-examined and certainly parents should, in fact, be confident that law enforcement in every community, state police, local police, the educators, the leaders of the school systems are doing everything they can to make sure that the schools in Connecticut are safe. I would like the lieutenant to talk about the schools in Newtown. One second.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes. We've been working closely with the superintendent of schools here. Obviously we're still very sensitive to the family in this situation. We want to move forward very slowly and respectfully. They have some tentative plans as far as moving forward with the school and the school system will be putting those out in the near future.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Do you imagine that children will ever return to class in that building?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You know, at this time it's too early to say. But I would find it very difficult for them to do that. But certainly that's one of the things that they're going to have to look into, yes.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They are going to transport kids to Monroe starting later this week, right?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That's one of the plans that we're looking into. It's tentative plans right now. But as we said, we're trying to be as respectful as we can. We want to keep these kids together. They need support of each other.

VANCE: Couple more quick questions. Yes, sir.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Without revealing a timeline can you say more about (inaudible) breaks a window, turns left, right? Give us a general sense of his movements and how --

VANCE: The most general I could be is it has to be very general was that the school was -- forcibly entered the school facility itself. OK, encountered just encountered staff, students and the tragedy occurred. That's as much as I want to go.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Can you tell us --

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: -- survivors, been able to talk to them?

VANCE: Our people are talking with everybody, slowly but surely but methodically too. This is not something that -- this is something where people's hearts are broken and as we all well know and we have to be sensitive and we are moving as quickly and efficiently as we can. The people we can talk to, yes, we have. We have spoken to many, many witnesses. There are many more witnesses to speak to, including and not limited to maybe even speaking with youngsters.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What about the wounded?

VANCE: We have spoken, yes, with the wounded.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Lieutenant, can you tell us what --

VANCE: We won't discuss what witnesses have put forth. Taking out of context, we'll include that in the report and final summary of what took place. All right, one more, yes, sir.


VANCE: Everyone keeps asking that question and I have to say to you, that for us to be able to give you a summary of the motive we have to complete the investigation and have the whole picture before we can say hopefully how and why this occurred. That's not going to come quickly.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: -- left any writings or notes behind?

VANCE: Again, I cannot detail evidence. We don't do that. It's simply stated we have a great deal of evidence that we're analyzing and that's as much as I can say about what we seized.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Without elaborating can you say are there pieces of the puzzle missing that will make this more difficult to tell?

VANCE: Are there pieces, yes, there are pieces missing that we haven't had a chance to finish yet. The forensic part is an important part. That's not done yet. That's being worked on, but not done yet.

The witnesses that need to be interviewed, there's an immense number of witnesses that need to be interviewed. That's not completed there. There are week's worth of work we have left in order to complete this.

What I would like to do is say that we will come back in a couple hours. I apologize for having you out here in the inclement weather. We are also. But I want to get the information from the medical examiner's office and confirm that.

I want to get -- see if I get more detail relative to the presidential visit and what the logistics of that are going to be this afternoon, and if there's any updates that I get from the major crime commanders of the department, I will bring that back to you, OK.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Can you say what federal crime is being broken by those posting on social media (inaudible)

VANCE: Federal authorities, sir, I'd have to consult with the U.S. attorney on that. I simply don't know, OK?

We'll be back in a couple of hours, folks. Please stay dry.

WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: All right, so there you have it. The Connecticut State Police Spokesman Lieutenant Paul Vance updating us.

Soledad, very interesting development. Apparently all these false social media reports allegedly supposedly from this killer out there and the warning from this police chief, the warning is specific, warning being if you get engaged and circulate these false reports with threats out there, you are violating the law and they will go after you?

O'BRIEN: Yeah. He was tough on that. One of the things he said, while not specifically referencing any specific social media reports, he said that there is erroneous information coming out, all their information is on their official website and not to trust anything that was just being repeated or created on social media. Highlighting, of course, that there had been contradictory information, just wrong information. Very, very very tough on that as you heard in that press conference -- Wolf.

BLITZER: Yeah. Because some of these social media sites I've seen one or two of them over the past day or so, and they're making these accusations and these threats out there and they are scaring some folks and these are totally obviously erroneous. And the authorities are going to go after them.

Soledad, the other thing we heard is that they're really concerned about kids going back to school tomorrow and they are trying to figure out how best to do that?

O'BRIEN: Yeah.

I think that's been a question that actually a lot of the parents here have had even right after this horrible tragedy happened on Friday.

I mean what do you do? The school is a crime scene and even when it's no longer a crime scene, you're going to have children who have experienced and seen the very worst things, how could they possibly go back to their school for those who survived. I mean, how could parents bring their children back to this school? So I think that there are some big questions that they're going to have to answer in terms of logistics and what will they do.

It's a similar question, as you know, Wolf, that they had at Columbine that they've had in the past. So I'm sure they'll be trying to figure out how others have done it as they move forward in dealing with yet another sort of angle on this tragedy that they have to confront here.

BLITZER: Yeah. I suspect, you know, just I suspect a lot of parents are going to say, you know, what, I'm going to keep my kid or kids home tomorrow, the next day, just out of an abundance of precaution if you will. You can't blame people for being nervous given the enormity of this tragedy.

Soledad, thanks very much. I know you're going to be back, I'm going to be back later but our coverage right now continues with State of the Union with Candy Crowley."