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Shooter on Campus of a Texas College; Listening to Local Coverage

Aired January 22, 2013 - 14:00   ET


BROOKE BALDWIN, CNN ANCHOR: And you're watching CNN here, live from Washington. I'm Brooke Baldwin.

We're beginning here with some breaking news. Breaking news out of Texas as we have learned of a shooting on a campus at LSC, Lone Star College. This is the North Harris College, the North Harris Campus, specifically. You're looking at pictures here of several people, it looks to be, on the ground, on the ground, emergency personnel responding.

This is from our Houston affiliate KPRC. Let me just be totally transparent with you, we are just getting the information right now, as you're watching people being wheeled away on stretchers. This is just now happening.

As you look at the web site here, for specifically this campus, this North Harris campus, Lone Star College, they are telling people if you are there, take immediate shelter, if you are thinking you're heading that way, do not, do not come on campus.

I want to bring in Mike Brooks who certainly has worked in law enforcement for years and years. And, Mike, let's just you and I walk through what we know right now as we're looking at these pictures, coming into CNN for first time, what more do you know?

MIKE BROOKS, HLN LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: Well, Brooke, we're hearing also from our affiliate KPRC, they're being told by deputy constables they have one person detained there on campus. Where on campus? We don't know. They don't -- they're not sure if this is the person who was the active shooter there, on the campus of the Lone Star College, Harris North campus, they don't know.

But I've been watching this for a number of minutes before I came on with you, Brooke. And I've seen at least two, possibly three people that they had been working on. The EMS has been working on, there on the scene. We don't know the conditions of anyone injured there. We don't know whether or not this person they have detained again is the active shooter that was there on campus.

BALDWIN: All right, Mike, what is happening as we see this tremendous law enforcement presence? How do they -- as we know that this college is telling people, if you're on campus, shelter in place? Look at the masses of cars.

What -- how do they go about securing the buildings, making sure people lake perhaps students we're looking at here are safe, containing the situation to, let's say if it is in a building, one given building?

BROOKS: Well, you know, Brooke, one thing I see encouraging from what I've seen of the pictures recently coming in from our affiliate KPRC is that the EMS people who were there on the scene are working on the victims. You don't see any SWAT Team members or any of the deputy constables protecting them.

So that says to me either they have the situation contained, it is in another part of the campus, because when first responders -- when officers first get there, they will try to get two or three together to go deal with the active shooter. Then you have EMS, they'll stage.

They will not usually come on to a scene unless they know it is secure and has been secured by law enforcement so they can work on the patients and the people wounded. So right now we do see EMS tending to those patients, but we don't know the exact status of that active shooter, Brooke.

BALDWIN: OK, Mike, let's just, as we're looking at pictures again this is from this university, information just now coming into us that there are reports of one shooter, one shooter, clearly as we're watching this, multiple injuries.

We do not know if there are any fatalities, a number of law enforcement, you have ambulances on scene, presumably fire, what next? Do they establish sort of a command and control unit, a headquarters?

We don't know, Mike, if there are multiple shooters, we don't know if any of the shooters are in custody. There are a lot of unknowns right now.

BROOKS: There are and that happens early on in a situation like this. But, again, they are saying that one person is detained, again. We don't know if that person is the active shooter who was there on campus. But I have seen, as I said, a number of people being tended to, by EMS, put into medic units.

We do not know where they're being transported to at this time. One thing that law enforcement does, they work with the campus police, with campus security, once they arrive on scene to try to say, OK what is our game plan going to be?

They'll try to get a message out to students, via text, cell phone, e- mail, to tell them as you're stating moments ago, to shelter in place if they think there is still an active gunman on campus before they -- before they're able to say whether or not everything is secure.

BALDWIN: And as we're talking, I'm on the web site here, so I'm listening to you, Mike Brooks, but also trying to learn a little bit more about this particular campus. It looks like this Lone Star College, there are six different campuses.

So, again, this is the North Harris campus, the web site here says there are 90,000 students, possibly, that is what spans six different campuses. I'm not sure how many students are on any particular campus. But on the web site here, on this lone star college website, there is a huge alert and it says LSC North Harris lockdown.

And I want to read this, for anyone who may be hearing me. LSC, North Harris lockdown, students, faculty, and staff are advised to take immediate shelter where you are, do not enter the campus until further -- notified further.

Let me just talk here, as I'm looking at these pictures, all looking at them for first time, and clearly they're looping, trying to get more information. Sonya Houston, do we have any information as far as numbers, injuries, shooters, anything?

Sonya? I'm not quite sure I'm hearing the -- OK. OK, thank you. Thank you. Forgive me for being transparent, but I'm trying to get information so I can pass it along to the viewers. She's telling me that they're looking for the shooter. They're looking for the shooter right now on campus.

You can see the traffic building up. Again, if you're thinking of heading to this North Harris campus that the college, do not do so. Mike, again, let's just reset the scene. Folks, if you're joining us, there has been a shooting, another shooting here, this one on this campus in Texas.

We're getting this video from our affiliate out of Houston, KPRC. Students, what do you make -- the students obviously leaving, I presume they're cordoning off wherever the location of the shooting has happened, keeping those out of harm's way, and trying to find this person or persons.

BROOKS: Yes, Brooke. And one of the things I'm noticing, as a former cop myself, I'm not seeing any of the officers, any of the deputy constables there with the students as the students are being escorted from one part of the campus to another with the guns drawn.

Now, we see there are a number of buildings that involve this Lone Star College campus here, at Harris North, so we don't know exactly where this happened. Is it outside? Is it inside? We have seen some of the victims who were outside being tended to by EMS. But where this person that they say that we have heard from our affiliate KPRC they have detained, we don't know.

BALDWIN: Take a look. These are new pictures. You can see these officers running. They just ran under the police tape. They're running toward -- let's be careful, we're careful about what we're showing. They're running toward a location. It looks like something is moving on the bottom. I don't know if that is some form of transportation. What is that? Is that SWAT, Mike?

BROOKS: Yes, looks like some SWAT Team members and they're having people with their hands up on their head moving out of an area. So that says --

BALDWIN: Why do that? Why do that, Mike? BROOKS: You don't know, in a situation like this, Brooke, you do not know who the bad actors are, and who the innocent people, the students are there. So what you want to do, you want to make sure you see their hands, because they can't hurt you, with anything, but their hands if they have any kind of weapon.

So you want to move them, take them to an area, get them interviewed, what did they see? What did they hear? Did they see anything? Did they hear anything? That says to me, as I see them running out, I see some of the tactical units running in.

That says to me, most likely, there is possibly a threat in that particular area, or they're trying to set up a perimeter within that building to try to contain whoever this person is.

BALDWIN: So Mike, let's assume they are setting up a perimeter as they do in cases like this. As they do so, they have to try and locate this particular gunman, possibly multiple shooters. In doing so, how do you even begin to establish communication?

How do you try to figure out where the shooting originated, the genesis of the shooting? You know, there could be multiple shooters. How do you establish that connection, that communication connection with that individual?

BROOKS: One of the things you want to do is go to the college, the campus officials and say, OK, do you have any video cameras that -- in this particular area, you take a look at that, you try to see if there was a vehicle, where possibly the shooter came in, got out, what did that person have on?

And then you take that video evidence that you possibly may have, compare that with some of the statements you're getting from people who may have been there on the scene, and may have witnessed some of what happened. So, again, we see some of the people -- some of the students here, being herded to a student area.

They'll take them, try to interview them, find out the who, what, where, when, why and hopefully the how all of this happened. It looks like they were concentrated right there on one part of a particular building where I saw one of the tactical members in SWAT gear go into.

BALDWIN: Again, Mike, stay with me, Mike Brooks, law enforcement analyst with our sister network HLN. Stay with me, Mike. If you're just joining us, this is happening in the last few minutes.

You're looking at early pictures from this campus in Texas. This is the Lone Star College, OK. This is the Lone Star College. I'm Brooke Baldwin here, covering what is literally unfolding before your eyes and mine as we see the police, the EMS, and also we see what looks to be SWAT, SWAT teams responding to this North Harris campus at the Lone Star College in Texas.

Students walking away. We saw police running toward the building. We saw a number of students with their hands up. Again, that was Mike Brooks, basically saying, look, that's their way of knowing these students are safe, that they are unarmed and they want to get them out.

If you're on this web site, there is a huge alert from this web site at this particular college in Texas, basically saying that people, if you are on this campus, again, there are one of six campuses on this university, about 10,000 people, I'm being told, in this one campus, stay there, stay there, shelter in place.

We have seen in terms of injuries and, again this is free flowing right now, we're trying to get information, but just based upon what our eyes have seen in the video, two different people have been tended to, suffering potential injuries, the degree to which we don't know yet.

Big question is why is this happening? Where exactly on campus is this happening? How many shooters are there? From what we understood -- OK. Forgive me for the silence. I'm listening to my executive producer in the control room, she's telling me that a number of students were seen leaving the library, correct, Sonya?

The library, KHOU is telling us a lot of students coming out of the library. Does that mean this originated in the library? I can't tell you that for sure. But that's when our affiliate is reporting, they're leaving the library on this campus at the Lone Star College, the North Harris campus.

Mike Brooks, so we're learning bits and pieces more or seeing two people being tended to, we saw -- I saw a student on a stretcher. You see all these. What do you make of the presence, this is not surprising. I mean, this looks like a rapid response to this shooting on campus.

BROOKS: It does, Brooke. And from what I've seen, when we were before -- before came on with you, watching some of the feed coming in to us from our affiliate KPRC, it looked like -- I saw two, maybe three victims that were being tended to by Emergency Medical Service outside of the building.

Now, we don't know if they were shot outside where they lay or if they were inside of a building. We're hearing possibly the library where some of students were coming from. We see SWAT members running into a building. We want to tell our viewers, we're very careful of trying not to show live and also trying to give away any location --

BALDWIN: This is taped. This is taped.

BROOKS: Exactly so some people, if they might ask that all the time, but we're very sensitive. Me as a former SWAT team operator, I'm sensitive to this also. But again early stages of this, Brooke, we don't know exactly where the shooting took place and how many active shooters there are on this campus, or whether that person detained by deputy constables is involved in this shooting.

BALDWIN: We're not there. We don't know exactly what is happening on the ground. Having gone through situations like this, in your law enforcement past, walk me through the steps. You saw what looked to be fully fatigued SWAT Team members, entering a building, in addition to the officers, the constables that you're pointing out. What is priority number one right now?

BROOKS: Number one priority is life safety of the students that are there and also to tend to the students that have been wounded. We see fire and EMS all in the same. We see what we're looking at now, some of these students leaving there with their backpacks. We don't know exactly where these were.

It looks like we may have another victim that they're bringing out now in a wheelchair. So what I'm seeing here, Brooke, this says to me that the area where they're tending to these victims, they think that that is secure.

So the other thing I'm thinking, I've seen, we're looking at the tactical operators going into one of the buildings, so do they believe that they might have this person in a building? Once you get there, once you develop a plan, you go ahead and stage.

And you find a safe staging area, you come up with a plan, you start your search, if you do have someone that could be barricaded, you set up an emergency assault plan and go from there. We don't know what is going on inside the buildings there on the campus.

BALDWIN: Let me just pause and, again, read this alert from this college. Here's the alert. LSC, North Harris, lockdown, right now, lockdown. LSC North Harris is locked down. Students, faculty, and staff are advised to take immediate shelter where you are. Do not enter the campus until notified further.

Mike, to that point, in terms of sheltering on place, on campus, why stay where you are? Because I would imagine one's instinct would be to get out of there.

BROOKS: Absolutely. But if you have a door, if you have something in between you and where you heard shots coming from, that's why they're going to tell you to shelter in place. And then try to -- they want most likely would like them to call 911, let them know where they are, so law enforcement can come get them.

Because you don't want to come out into a hallway, like we have seen in some other situations, where the shots are being fired, and then you too could possibly be a victim. If you think you're in a position to go ahead and shelter in place, you do so. You do so in a room. You do so in a bathroom, but only if you can lock the door.

Because you don't know what's going on. You hear shots. You don't know exactly where this gunman, where those shots are coming from. So I -- it is so important that emergency notification system is in place, in college campuses, into elementary schools, middle schools, high schools, to let people know what's going on.

BALDWIN: Look at this, Mike. Let me cut you off. You see the -- two more officers walking out of what seems to be a wooded area. So that tells me, makes sense, they're canvassing the entire area, not just on campus, but the surrounding area as well.

BROOKS: That's right. That's part of setting up a perimeter of a campus. Again, it is very hard, when you have a campus like this, an open campus, Brooke, you look -- I go back and look at Virginia Tech, I covered that for CNN, when that was happening.

And that was an open campus. People can drive in, drive out. You had -- it is not a campus a lot of people think of with a big wall or a fence around it, it is a closed campus. A lot of campuses are open, such as this. So it is kind of hard to say, to lock down a campus.

That's why you have to get additional resources, additional officers, constables, sheriffs, even federal agencies, the FBI will a lot of times will respond as part of task forces. Get them there to try to set up a perimeter, and then deal with what you know and try to contain that shooter where he or she is.

BALDWIN: Mike, stand by for me. Chad Myers, let me bring you in here. Just to give you a little bit of perspective as far as where we're talking about. Sounds like a massive sort of college system, six campuses. This is the North Harris campus in Harris County, Texas. Where exactly is that?

CHAD MYERS, AMS METEOROLOGIST: And Harris County is the county that Houston is centered on. If you just go north of Houston proper, just a little bit, you're up here to the Lone Star campus, up here, there is Houston proper, drive on up, and the campus is right there.

You expect Texas to be an area that is devoid of all trees, but, in fact, this area up here, the woodlands is actually really fully forested. That also could be another little wrinkle in the investigation, the trees and the forest and the land, and, Mike, you know how it is, compared to trying to find somebody on the plains compared to finding somebody in a forest.

BALDWIN: OK, Mike, again, we're working to get more information, and, again, to reiterate mike's point here, as we're looking and covering this story again, another school shooting. We have to be transparent in telling you that we're not showing you live pictures for obvious reasons.

The school is on lockdown. There is an active situation here on this North Harris campus in Texas. So we want to be very, very careful as far as what we show you, and what we don't. But, again, what we have been seeing, we do not have hard numbers.

I tell you, I know there are a lot of people at CNN working the phones now to try to reach out to law enforcement, to try to reach out to the school, the school has a priority right now and that's keeping their students and their faculty and staff safe.

We are seeing pictures of students able to leave, KHOU, our affiliate out of Houston saying a number of students were specifically leaving the library. We have seen ambulances on the scene treating a number of students.

At last count, Mike Brooks, at two or three, don't know students, faculty or staff. These are new pictures. These are ground shots, Mike. Let's look at these together. What strikes me as I'm looking at these, all the cars, which tells me there are a lot of people on this campus right now.

BROOKS: And we look at the number of people that we see in this -- in this video from our affiliate, maybe looked like somebody there on the ground, shot some of this, but people outside.

And that's, again, says to me, Brooke, that I don't see an immediate reaction by these people, they're standing there, which says to me there is most likely not a threat to them, outside of that building.

Outside where they are, otherwise they would be going to an area, being sent to an area by law enforcement, where they could -- where they would be safe. But they're outside, so where exactly is this -- is this shooter is the main crime scene? We do not know.

BALDWIN: Mike, hang with me. We are going to dip into the local coverage. This is our affiliate out of Houston KHOU talking to a witness. If they start going to live pictures, we're pulling away. Let's eavesdrop.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Did they ask you to leave, did they tell you a certain way to go?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes. They told us a certain way to go. We went to the cafeteria and they brought us out into this parking lot and we can't get to our cars and leave, so that's why we came this way and maybe we can leave this way.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Over there in front of the building wall, the police are in the front where the guy was -- I guess he ran toward the library. We don't know which way he went.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: How long have you been working here? What's your name?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: About eight months. I'm Terry Robins.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Terry, did you ever think --

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Never. See it all the time, but you wouldn't believe how scary it is to actually be here. And he's right outside your door and we don't know if he came inside the building or not, our building. This is very scary.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And the fact that it is chaos right now, we don't -- they aren't telling us whether there is someone on the loose or not.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No, someone said they have one guy and we don't know how many it was. And it is very scary. It is very chaotic. And you think if they made us go to the cafeteria, if you can't find the guy, how do you know he's not in the crawl with us? All I can do is pray.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That's the answer. UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes. That's it.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So how are you going to get home?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I have no idea, but I want to get off this campus.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I won't take any more of your --

BALDWIN: OK, that was a little bit from an eyewitness who, what she said, she said she's going to stay away from the windows and pray. It sounds like -- sounds like we still don't know where the shooter is. You heard her say she doesn't know how many.

There could be one. There could be more than one. I heard the word library. We cut into that halfway through. I don't have the full context. What that conversation was. It sounds like this individual was in multiple buildings, around parts of this campus.

A lot of people are fearful. She said she wanted to get off campus. Can you blame her with this going on? But, again, to Mike Brooks' point, they wanted to establish, police, law enforcement, you see them going in one of these buildings here.

They want to establish the perimeter and make sure that they have a full count of who is there, who is not, and, again, these students, staff, faculty, running with their hands up.

Make sure they're not armed as they probably begin cordoning off building by building, room by room, to get those people out, to try to find this individual shooter or possibly shooters.

Chad Myers, I still have you standing by. Again, give me a better perspective. We're talking about this one campus, six campuses with this Lone Star College in Texas, in the Harris County, which you pointed out, the county in which Houston sits. How big is this campus in terms of just simply area?

MYERS: You know, mainly the two year system, the two-year college system, 18,000 students in and out of this campus here. We're talking about up near the Intercontinental Airport. As I zoom in, I'll take you to the Google earth, in just a second.

You'll see this is very close to the Intercontinental Airport. There is the Lone Star College here. Zoom out one more time, the runway is literally only just a mile or two away, right through here. Hobby Airport, well down to the south, but this is the main airport in the area.

So Houston proper, Galveston way south of here and then get up into a couple of these roads here and the Lone Star College, you get into a much more wooded area as you wouldn't expect it to be in an urban campus where there aren't that many trees. This is an area surrounded by trees, surrounded really by beautiful suburbs.

BALDWIN: Chad, stand by for me. I want to dip into another affiliate's coverage, KPRC, talking to a student on the phone. Let's listen.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: -- experience there and thank you for keeping us posted.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Amanda, thank you so much.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (via telephone): Thank you.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You just heard firsthand, terrifying account of how the events there on the Lone Star College campus unfolded this afternoon. One shooter, according to Amanda, the witness we just talked to, a student there, is in custody.

We do know that authorities are now looking for a second person who was seen running from the academic building as well. We do have Local 2's Ryan Corpsgard with us now. What is going on there at the scene?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We noticed right here behind me. This is Ben Todd Hospital, the trauma center for our area and we have seen several ambulances come in, specifically these back here from North Harris County. Over here you can see the volunteer fire department and their ambulance.

No confirmation yet from the Harris County Hospital system as to who was in those ambulances. But I can tell you there was at least -- they came from the area in which the college is located.

I've been on the phone trying to get a hold of the hospital system, which, of course, operates Ben Todd Hospital, trying to get information and try to find out what kind of injuries they're seeing and how many patients have been transported here -- Andy.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: All right, Ryan, we'll check back with you later on.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes, that matches emergency services district one is the district of that -- where North Harris is right there, Lone Star College. That is the type ambulance we saw the person loaded into this is footage from earlier. This is the scene we saw from Sky 2.

We know that two people were transported by ground. We're hearing multiple people shot. A lot of accounts on Facebook are talking about three people, but we're still waiting for authorities to tell us exactly how many people shot and if that life flight, we never saw it land, Sky 2 would have received that word that we needed to clear the air space to make life flight get through.

We cooperate with law enforcement in any emergency instance like this and we never heard that they needed to get out of the way. So life flight could land. So that may be a good thing that they didn't need to transport someone, maybe the condition wasn't as bad that they need to go by air.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We also heard a firsthand account of what took place on the campus. We spoke with Amanda Marquez a few minutes ago on the phone. She's a student there at the Lone Star College. She said she was waiting for her English class to start in room 163 when she heard at least five or six shots fired.

There were about 25 to 30 other students with her. Certainly gave us a very detailed description of how those events unfolded, very terrifying for not just her, but all the other students and faculty who witnessed this as well.

And she did mention, Amanda did mention that she got a look at who we believe is the shooter, who she thought was the shooter and that he was taken into police custody.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Absolutely. I mean, she said she hid under a desk or got under a desk. You think, what would I do in this situation? She got under her desk. She said she waited in the room and it was 30 minutes later that police came in and escorted them all out.

She said they were all running with their hands in the air, so we saw some of that video. We're now hearing a producer telling me that life flight was canceled. And initial reports said they sent life flight to the scene, but they called them off.

So they didn't need them. We know at least two ground ambulances left there. We have Damon Sales now on the scene. We have him on the phone. Damon, where are you and what are you seeing?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (via telephone): I'm right here at the corner of Balding and Wood Creek. This is as far as they would let me get in. I'm probably a good 300, 400 yards from the entrance to the college. This area is one of the areas they're concentrating on. Every intersection in there -- I'm sorry, I'm having trouble because I'm hearing myself.

Every intersection in here is -- has got a police officer, either blocking that intersection, or circling the area. You do have the Houston Police Department -- the helicopter circling this area as well as a wooded area that is behind this neighborhood.

I see very many students walking away from the campus. Some kind of standing around wondering what is going on. If you're coming this way, please don't. You're going to be in a traffic nightmare.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We know that's very close, that area where all the schools that were on lockdown are from -- while we have you on the phone, you said it looks like that area, that neighborhood, are you seeing -- is there a subdivision with a sign or not really an organized subdivision there?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It is a subdivision called Wood Creek.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: All right, Damon, thank you very much for that. Damon says stay away from Balding West Field, looks like it is blocked in both directions.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: All right, we want to go to Mark Boyle now who is at the scene for us. Mark, what can you tell us?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I want to bring you live interview now with Jesus. Jesus was inside during the shooting. Describe what you saw and the sounds.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I saw three people just, you know, arguing, and then not paying attention, I thought just playing around, and I made it out there, past by the library, I started listening to all the shooting and when I look back, I saw just people running towards me.

And I grabbed my teach -- all the teachers, grabbed her and we took her out of the building and that's all. I didn't see the shooting, actually. I just heard somebody screaming and after that I heard the shots.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Did you say that you saw one of the suspects or the shooters running away or what did you see?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I didn't see anybody running. I saw a bunch of people running. I didn't see anybody with a gun, anything like that.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: How about injuries? What have you heard or did you see anything like that?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, I heard like a guy got shot in the leg. But I don't know any fact if somebody got killed. I don't know anything.