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Multiple People Shot at a Texas College; Listening to More Local Coverage
Aired January 22, 2013 - 14:30 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Describe what the police did after this happened, and describe the chaos. You mentioned a lot of people running.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: After that happened, grabbed my cell phone and tried to call 911, but the lines were saturated or whatever. There was a lot of people calling 911. And after that, just went and grabbed my truck and left the building. That's all.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And you got to be a little shaken up by all of this. Did you get any alerts from the school? Have they sent a text message to let you know --
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They're sending e-mails, you know, but haven't had time to just check them yet. But, you know, the media is going crazy. Everybody is talking about it.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: OK, thank you for your time. I know you have to go. I appreciate it.
BROOKE BALDWIN, CNN ANCHOR: All right, bottom of the hour here on CNN, I'm Brooke Baldwin. You are watching as we are covering another school shooting. These are aerial pictures here in Harris County, Texas, as we have been watching the better part of this last hour, an active situation.
This North Harris campus, there are six campuses on this university, Lone Star College, the Harris -- North Harris campus is on lockdown. This is an active situation. We're not showing you live pictures because -- because of what we may possibly see.
As a result, we're showing you delayed tape pictures as police, SWAT, FBI now, we have confirmed, FBI there, ATF is there, responding to what could be a multiple shooter situation.
Let me just -- looking down, as far as what we know, so much of this is still very fluid, we're not getting hard numbers from school or from the hospitals in the area, because they are literally in the thick of things right now, responding and reacting as we are and covering this.
Based upon the pictures that we have seen, we have seen multiple ambulances, looks to be treating two, possibly three individuals. I don't know if they're students, faculty, staff. We don't know the degree to their injuries. We don't know if they're men, women, their ages. We're hearing, though, bits and pieces now, some of this is starting to come together as we're dipping into some of the affiliate, one witness, one young woman it sounds to be, a student, and this is just hauntingly -- in a different sense, I was in Newtown and those were little children.
Here you have college students and this witness talking about hiding under her desk and, you know, there are neighborhoods here where possibly people are trying to reach neighborhoods to get out of harm's way. But this school is saying, look, you have to shelter in place if you are on campus. And they're not letting anyone on to campus.
This eyewitness was telling this reporter in Houston, again this is the Houston area, that she heard five to six shots fired in this one particular building on campus and there were been 35 people with her. She said she got a look at a shooter. We cannot confirm whether or not the shooter was taken into custody.
That's what some of the affiliates are reporting. We have not confirmed that. Could there be another shooter? Yes. That is something else that is being floated. Those why you're seeing this police presence right now as they're trying to basically set up this perimeter, to keep people safe, to make sure there is no one else that could be armed and to track down these shooter or shooters.
Ed Lavandera, I have you with me now as you're a reporter out of Texas, tell me what you know.
ED LAVANDERA, CNN CORRESPONDENT (via telephone): Brooke, we're scrambling to make our way down to that Houston area, just to kind of give people a sense. This is in the northern part of Houston, which is a highly densely populated suburban, you know, kind of area.
There is a great deal of traffic and many, many people who live in that area. This is a big part of this -- this sprawling suburbia of Houston. We have learned from ATF contacts that they have agents on the way over there, to try to assist and they'll be trying to figure out what kind of weaponry was used and what started all of this.
I was told that they were still in the initial stages of trying to gather as much information. In fact, I think when we called, their agents were dispatched through the about ten minutes ago. They're trying to assess that situation. And the federal agency is being brought in, coming to assist.
I know there is the campus that has its own police force, which will be a big part of the investigation, but they'll be looking at -- they'll be able to assist with identifying the weaponry, where it came from and that sort of thing, which will be an important part of this investigation.
One of the other things they'll be looking at is Texas does have a concealed handgun license state, you carry, but there are many places where you are barred from carrying weapons and school campuses is one of those. That's been something that has begun to be hotly debated in Texas here, if that should be changed. That's one thing they're looking at as well.
BALDWIN: Before we even talk weapons, though, Ed, I know they'll be looking at this, especially since this is something that is really become a national conversation in the wake of what we saw a month ago in Newtown, do we even know if there are multiple shooters or not? Do we know that yet?
LAVANDERA: Well, I think they're trying to assess that. That's why you see the situation you've been describing. How they're handling all the students being moved out of the -- out of the building there. They're trying to figure that out as well and maybe they already have done so.
But that's the part they need to figure out and obviously what led to all of it. What was the factor here that caused all of this? They're trying to weed through that. I was told from the federal contacts we talked to that they were -- at this point, just going by media reports at this point, some local reporters that are there on the scene. So they'll be able to assess here more quickly in the next hour or so.
BALDWIN: Ed, do you know anything more just about this college, the Lone Star College? What kind of college? Is it a two-year community college? How old are these students potentially?
LAVANDERA: I would, you know, suspect there is a community college. So you might have -- I would bet mostly young students, perhaps 19, 20, might have older students there that were going back to school or a situation like that. I'm going to -- I'm going to have to venture a guess, probably younger college age students.
BALDWIN: Ed Lavandera, stand by for me. You said you and your crew are scrambling to get to this North Harris campus location. Let me just play some sound for you as we're getting bits and pieces of this coming in from our Houston affiliates and to them we are incredibly grateful for this footage.
We have an interview I want to play for you. This is one of the eyewitnesses on the ground, on this campus. Take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Basically I seen the dude that shot him and as soon as I heard the bullets flying or whatever, the gun being fired off, everyone started running. That was hint for me to start running.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So you ran?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I ran because basically you hear sounds out of the ordinary, you're going to run. That's just the cue for me to run and get out the way. I don't want to be a victim or anything.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BALDWIN: A lot of running, a lot of running on this campus in Texas. Again, this is Harris County. As Chad was explaining this is the county in which Houston sits. This is a major metropolitan area. Ed Lavandera, are you still with me? I'm going to guess the silence means no. Ed is en route to the campus. But, again, as we're getting bits and pieces of information from our affiliates there, it is tough, really.
I know you're watching and I'm right there with you, in terms of wanting to get more information, wanting to know how many people were perhaps in any given building, when the shooting happened. Hearing from some of these vignettes from some of the eyewitnesses, it sounds like five to six shots were fired.
Multiple people, maybe several dozen were in one particular building. We don't know if this -- if this shooter or shooters ran from building to building if there could be another shooter involved. We did see a number of ambulances.
I saw a couple of people. I shouldn't say students, taken away, taken away to the hospital. Forgive me while I listen to -- I believe we have -- is it Ed Young from the college? Jed. Forgive me. Jed Young with the Lone Star College. Jed, can you hear me? This is Brooke Baldwin in Washington.
JED YOUNG, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, LONE STAR COLLEGE (via telephone): I can hear you. Can you hear me?
BALDWIN: Yes, sir. Jed, please, tell me what do you know? Is this still an active scene?
YOUNG: Here is the latest information. There was a -- the call began with a call to our dispatcher at 12:31. We do know a shooting has taken place. First glance it appears to be between two individuals. That's something I can't exactly confirm. But that's what I understand.
There were two students we believe were shot in cross fire. I'm not certain of their status at this moment. The danger -- the police believe the danger has been mitigated. The school is under control, but still being evacuated.
One shooter was also shot and that shooter is in custody. And I understand one fled the campus. Other than that, I have not -- that's all I've got at this juncture.
BALDWIN: OK, Mr. Young, that's a lot more information than we had a little bit ago. So let me run back through what you said. The shooting you're saying, appears to be between two individuals, were the two individuals students?
YOUNG: I can't confirm that, Brooke. I'm sorry. At this point I just don't -- understand it was between two individuals.
BALDWIN: Where did the shooting happened, was it in the building, a library, open air?
YOUNG: I don't know the location either. I'm sorry.
BALDWIN: The two students who were shot in the cross fire, Jed, do you know the extent of their injuries?
YOUNG: No, but they have been -- all of those wounded have been taken by our EMS folks.
BALDWIN: As we talk injuries, has anyone been killed?
YOUNG: No. I can't confirm that. I don't think so.
BALDWIN: You don't think so. So the one --
YOUNG: No, I don't. But I do not have the update on the condition of the folks that were --
BALDWIN: I understand. I'm running down my list of mental questions here. When we talk about the -- really the massive variable is this second shooter, who you're saying fled campus, so we have no idea. Law enforcement has no idea where this individual is, correct?
YOUNG: I, again, the statement I gave you is what I have. Once we get more information, I'll be glad to update it best we can.
BALDWIN: Can you tell me just a little bit more about the college? Did they have an emergency protocol, you know, if and when instances like this happen?
YOUNG: I'm sorry, I didn't hear you.
BALDWIN: My question is, just this particular college, the Lone Star College, do you know if they had a go to emergency protocol in situations like a school shooting.
YOUNG: I'm still having a hard time. The situation -- I don't know what you're asking me about this college individually?
BALDWIN: Sir, are you with the college or --
YOUNG: How I can hear you.
BALDWIN: Here we go. We're just going to do this on the fly, sir. I'll try to speak as loudly and clearly as I can.
YOUNG: I can hear you now.
BALDWIN: Are you with the college or are you with the Harris County Police?
YOUNG: I'm with the college, but I'm not at the college. I'm at the main office in the Woodlands.
BALDWIN: OK, that's what I thought. So being someone calling in from the college, I'm curious if there was a go-to plan, a protocol for an emergency situation like this? Yes?
YOUNG: We do have a plan. There are -- the -- we have an on campus alert system. We have other protocols we follow. We do have a chief emergency management officer. The problem we have had in the last 20, 30 minutes getting information was due to the fact that the scene was still active, makes it a little tougher to get updated information.
BALDWIN: Are you still considering this an active scene given the fact that one of the shooters is still missing?
YOUNG: No. That's not what I understand. The scene -- the situation is under control is what I'm being told at this point.
BALDWIN: So I'm just -- I guess, I'm a little confused. How do you have a situation under control when you still have one of two shooters missing?
YOUNG: From what I understand, that shooter is not on campus.
BALDWIN: So this is not an issue now with, I get it, with the campus, with the North Harris campus. This is now an issue beyond campus bounds?
BALDWIN: I understand. I understand.
YOUNG: OK, when we get an update, you're welcome to call me.
BALDWIN: You got it. You got it, Jed Young. I'm just a journalist asking a lot of questions because I have a lot of questions for a lot of people. Jed Young, thank you very much for calling in from the Lone Star College there in Texas.
That was -- you heard it with me as we were going through some of that. It sounds like the biggest variable here is the fact that one of these shooters is still missing. But because he is saying on behalf of this school that the danger is mitigated, I believe is his phraseology, which means this is now an issue with police in Harris County.
So if we could get a Harris County police person on the phone, I sure do have a couple of questions for them and how they're trying to track down this individual. We don't know if the shooter -- he told me, he didn't know if the shooters are students.
They could be someone coming off of campus, someone unaffiliated with the campus. We don't know. In terms of the injuries, we don't know. He told me, two students were shot in the cross fire.
Again, we don't know if the shooting happened in a building, it happened on this North Harris campus, which seems to be still under lockdown. Although he told me that they are trying to evacuate some, that the school he says is now under control and just running back through, some of my notes here, the extent of the injuries, again, we don't know.
This is live television. You and I are going through this together. Let's just -- do we have any sound. Eyewitness sounds from the affiliates we can dip into? I believe that was a yes. So let's roll it. OK, we're working on getting that for you. Guys, get in my ear when you believe we have it. OK, so let me just reset for you, as we're coming up here at the top of the 3:00 hour, Eastern, these are pictures that we have been watching out of the greater Houston area, Houston, Texas. This is a campus, one of six, part of the Lone Star College system. This is a community college.
This is the North Harris campus in Harris County, Texas. We're going to talk to Chad Myers in just a moment. But, first, if you're joining us, there has been a shooting. Possibly according to this school official, I just spoke with, Jed Young, involving two people.
The shooting, as he explained, happened between these two individuals and that two students were shot in the crossfire. Don't know the degree of the injuries. He told me the danger has been mitigated and that the school is now under control. One of the shooters who was apparently shot, again this is according to the school, is in custody.
The other shooter is missing and now the police have a huge job on their hands of trying to track down this individual. We had initially seen reports from the school web site that the school has been on lockdown.
They wanted to keep the people sheltering in place on campus, anyone who tried come on campus to make sure they did not do so. We now know that KHOU, one of our affiliates there working the story, is talking to another eyewitness. Let's dip in.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: -- one of the Houston Fire Department told me.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Hang on, before you go. Just to show you guys, there is a line of cars here, trying their hardest to get out. You walked this far. How far did you walk?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Probably a good 5 miles.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Five miles? You describe people getting in their cars, what are they saying to you?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They're just -- they're asking me what was going on, what did I see? Did anybody get hurt? From what my friend told me, he told me that there were three casualties and two deaths and shots fired. A lot of people were just asking me what happened, what was going on, where was I at?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: All right, thank you very much. I appreciate it. So I'll toss things back to you guys.
BALDWIN: All right, listening just to bits and pieces of eyewitnesses who had heard the shots, one woman said because she had seen one of the shooters, heard the shots, she said she was staying away from windows because she heard there was a shooter missing, that was roaming the campus, clearly a lot of fear.
This is -- let's just look at this also, big picture, as you're seeing, all the cars on campus, 10,000 students that the one North Harris campus. Chad Myers, are you with me? CHAD MYERS, AMS METEOROLOGIST: I am, Brooke.
BALDWIN: Let me bring you back in just to reset exactly how big this campus is. You heard that school official with me talking to me about how this one of two shooters has left the campus. So tell me what is in the -- what's in the surrounding area, the perimeter of this campus.
MYERS: We took a big polygon and surrounded the campus on our Google earth and were able to show about 155 acres for this campus proper, maybe only 55 acres where the buildings are. And then you go away from the campus and you do get to some almost hinterlands, some urban suburbs there, and then further to the north.
You get up to the woodlands, well on north where there is more trees than there are buildings, of course. We're talking about north of Sam Houston, north of the tollway there on the north side of Houston, Texas, proper.
You have Houston in the middle, a number of perimeters or beltways around Houston, and then farther to the north of there, you get to Bush Intercontinental Airport. The college is right here, right along one of the runways here for this campus.
I did this big square through there and that campus including all the parking, and all the runways and the walkways that we're seeing on those helicopter shots, about 160 acres, about a quarter of a square mile right here in campus itself.
You circle only where the buildings are, you get about 55 acres. That's only 55 acres. That's a fairly small campus. Talking about 18,000 students that come in and out of this campus on a daily basis and it is a two-year college as you were saying. People come and go, the campuses are open, no guards here.
This is the little walkway this is the circle where all of those police cars were lined up and then the campus here all the way through. I think you said you knew where the library was. Is that right? Can you take us to the library?
Because that's what we're seeing -- people were running to and from the library. We too did get the same e-mail that you saw about campus on lookdown. I've not seen that reversed yet.
But Mr. Young there with the university, with the college system, said that is now cleared. People can leave. You see 5 miles of cars as that one eyewitness was talking about there from KHOU.
BALDWIN: That's what he said. He said the problem -- the danger has been mitigated, was what he told me though it still sounds like there is one shooter who is MIA. I want to play a little sound as we're getting bits and pieces from some eyewitnesses on campus. Let me play you something from KHOU, this woman who said she heard the shots, she was hunkered down.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What happened was that the -- we all just cut off the lights, we shut down all the computers, and the teacher told us there is a closet just in case, but to be quiet. We was there for a while, a long time, and we started hearing the helicopters, but we finally got the internet on Channel 11 and that's when we found out what had actually happened. I didn't hear the shooting, but somebody else did.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So because someone came into your classroom, you hunkered down there in the classroom.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Right. That was the only way and it was very frightening. You're in class and somebody tells you there is shooting in the library, the next building over. And when we heard it on 11, the person was still on campus. So we stayed in there a good 30 minutes before they told us to finally come out of the building.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BALDWIN: So there you have just another eyewitness describing the chaos and the fear on campus today as the shooting has taken place around 12:30 there was the time in Houston, Texas.
Let me give you more as far as lockdowns because as we have been reporting, this campus has been on lockdown, but you have to think beyond this campus now, especially if you have the shooter who is still MIA.
So let me just read you some guidance we have for schools, for schools near Lone Star College. You have Don Elementary. You have Parker Intermediate, Nimitz Ninth Grade campus, Nimitz High. They have all been placed on lockdown, simply as a precautionary measure because of what happened, basically, next door here to them on this North Harris campus.
We're now hearing ATF, FBI agents are currently on scene. So they are helping the local law enforcement who have already been on campus for the better part of two, two hours here.
Additionally the school district here in Harris County, if you're in Harris County, Texas, this is important to you, this is Jermaine to you, the school district is in the process of sending a call out to parents to tell parents that the dismissal today would be delayed.
So this public information officer for this Aldean Independent School District saying there is no reason to believe a shooter is on any of those campuses, but, again, the lockdown at these schools in the area has been issued for precautionary measures.
We're working on turning around some sound here as I had just talked to Jed Young who called us from another campus, but it was affiliated with the lone star college. Here is what he told me, as we keep looking at pictures together, and this is still unfolding for us, said the call came in to police dispatch around 12:31.
Shooting happened. He told me between two individuals. I had a lot of questions as far as who the individuals were, what would the catalyst be behind the shooting, he didn't know. Told me it was between two individuals.
As a result of this shooting, two students, according to this college, two students were shot in the crossfire. The extent of those injuries we do not know. We did se in some of the pictures we'll see in a moment a number of stretchers and ambulances taking those individuals off to nearby hospitals.
Jed Young with the school told me the danger has been mitigated, the school is under control, that it is being evacuated, that one of these two shooters had been shot, and is in custody and one fled campus.
So now that's where we are right now, working to get some more information from the Harris County law enforcement, who you know are combing through neighborhoods, combing through the woods, headed to try to find, to locate, to find this individual who is clearly involved in some degree to the shooting that happened on this campus, this North Harris campus.
Let me go ahead and try to refresh my browser as I'm talking to all of you to see, yes, so they're still saying the school, according to this website, the Lone Star education website, saying this campus is on lockdown.
I can tell you we have Ed Lavandera, our correspondent based out of Dallas. He's scrambling with a crew to try to get us a little bit of reporting from the ground here on this campus. Chad Myers had a little perspective as far as what is around this area.
We have been talking to Mike Brooks, law enforcement analyst, about what the priorities are for the law enforcement as, of course, the safety of the students and the faculty and staff is number one. You see here EMS personnel, ready, willing and able to respond.
If there are any potential injuries, you know that those local hospitals are getting used, they have ambulances out according to one of our local affiliates, hearing different bits and pieces from the eyewitnesses.
Let me know if we have any more sound from the eyewitnesses to try to help us put some of the pieces of this puzzle together, to try to determine what happened and the biggest question of all is why.
OK, I'm just listening to my control room as they're telling me. Let's listen to this interview that one of our affiliates there in the Houston area got with someone on the phone. KPRC is the affiliate. Let's listen together.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (via telephone): I was -- I was waiting for my English class to start, in the academic building, Room 163. And it was 5 minutes and all of a sudden I heard shots firing. And people started rushing in the hallway and a few students came into our room, seeking shelter. And we closed the door and we put a table against the door and we were hiding in the -- I was trying to call my mom, to let her know I was OK and I was too -- minutes later the police came in and they said put your hands on your head and run out because -- I guess, there was still another person on the -- so it was very scary. You just don't think it can happen to you.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Amanda, we really appreciate you talking to us. I can't imagine the stress, obviously, and fear whenever you're in a situation like that. Your account helps explain to us the students we saw running out with their hands above their heads.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Amanda, how many other students were with you?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: In my class?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: About 25 or 30.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And did you ever see anything? You said some other students came into your classroom to get out of the hall. Did you ever see anything or anyone or to know about how far off the shots were from your classroom?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No, I just know it was in the hallway. Not too far away. It sounded very close, the shots.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: How close is your room there to the library? Is the library close?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The library is pretty close, the building next to us.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: OK.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I know everything was happening so fast, Amanda. Do you remember how many shots you heard?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Five -- five or six.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Five or six gunshots.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes, sir.
BALDWIN: Just about the top of the hour, I'm Brooke Baldwin here. As we have been reporting for the last hour, a lockdown on campus at a college in Harris County, Texas, we're looking at pictures, massive police presence.
We now know the ATF and the FBI are assisting local law enforcement in tracking down what could be a multiple school shooter situation. According to this college official I spoke with moments ago, Jed Young, from Lone Star College here. The call came into police dispatch at 12:31 this afternoon. He told me the shooting happened between two individuals, didn't know if they were students, faculty or staff. We don't even know specifically where on this campus this happened.
We have more information from him that two students were shot in the crossfire. He told me the danger has been mitigated, the school is under control. These are pictures of students racing. This was earlier today. These are not live pictures.
Let me be crystal clear. The big variable is that if we're talking about a shooting happening between two people and this official from this Lone Star College told me one of the shooters was shot and is now in custody.
That other shooter is still missing, fled campus, so now it is up to law enforcement to track this person down.