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ERIN BURNETT OUTFRONT
Gunman Kills Six in Shooting Spree; Ariel Castro Indicted on 329 Counts; Plane Struck by Lightning Lands Safely; President Obama Meets With Chinese President
Aired June 7, 2013 - 23:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: I'm Wolf Blitzer in for Erin Burnett. We're following a breaking news story. We have a special live edition of OUTFRONT happening right now.
A shooting spree in southern California ends in a college library with seven people dead including a -- a suspected shooter. Police say the carnage began in a home in Santa Monica that was set on fire. The bodies of two people were recovered inside that house.
The suspect, then, according to police, carjacked a woman and drove towards Santa Monica College. That's when the gunman who witnesses say was dressed in what's described as SWAT gear including a ballistic vest got out of the car and began firing at passing vehicles including a city bus.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It happened right in front of me. I mean, I was in my car and a guy on the left side of the street jumped out of a car with a big black gun, and started blasting rounds at all of our cars and the buildings and the bus. Maybe like 10 rounds. He jumped back in the car and went on the left and took off.
RUSS HOLZHAUER, WITNESS: I heard one bang, stopped, 15 bangs, bang, bang, bang, bang. I ran, grabbed my stuff as fast as I could, hid in a -- in a study room and I just waited there.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLITZER: Police say the gunman then ran on to the Santa Monica College campus where he exchanged fire with police and was ultimately killed.
As you can see in this CNN iReport, there is one person in custody who police are questioning at this hour.
Our Miguel Marquez is joining us now just after 8:00 p.m. over there on the West Coast. After 11:00 p.m. here on the East Coast.
Miguel, what do we know, first of all, about this suspect?
MIGUEL MARQUEZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, we know he is dead. We're not clear if there's any other suspect. The other person that you mentioned is at all involved with this scene. We also know the suspect is related to the two individuals in the house that was set on fire. We understand through several sources now that it's the brother and father of that suspect who were in that house and then the shooting spree that continued in the streets of Santa Monica before ending up here at the college.
We also, Wolf, at this hour understand that the college itself has been completely cleared. Police have gotten through there and it's 100 percent clear at this point. And police also telling us that they have an identification now on the suspect. So they can begin digging into who this person is and what his motivation may have been -- Wolf.
BLITZER: We're standing by, Miguel, for a news conference, Santa Monica Police and others, they're getting ready to brief us any -- any moment now, is that right?
MARQUEZ: We are. In fact, I expect that they will be up here at any moment. They've promised that they're going to have more information. It is a very difficult scene for them to deal with, obviously, because there are so many different locations where this happened throughout the day. They want to make sure that all of their information is correct.
And there is a lot of information already getting out there about who this was, the different places where it all occurred, and then how everything ended up here. So they are in part trying to contain some of the information and make sure the things that they don't want out there are out there. But also whatever information they do give out, they want to make sure that it's solid and 100 percent.
One thing that they are saying at this point is that the area is now safe. They are -- they've gone through 100 percent of the school and they're -- and they're quite sure that they have that completely secured and that there is no other threat to the public -- Wolf.
BLITZER: Well, what are they saying about -- so many witnesses said they saw a second shooter. What do they say? What did we learn so far about this? The only thing I've heard so far from authorities is that they have a person of interest in custody.
MARQUEZ: Yes. They have said earlier that that person of interest, they detained them because they believed they had enough information to suspect that they may have something to do with this series of shootings today. But they're not entirely sure that they did. But out of an abundance of caution, they held that person. It is still not clear whether they've had anything directly or indirectly to do in assisting in these shootings today.
We do have a picture, I don't know if you guys can pull it up, but there is a rather disturbing picture of the man, the shooter, described to us by witnesses who is laying on a sidewalk at Santa Monica Community College. It's outside the library where it's taken. The shootout occurred inside the library according to students. And then the body was taken outside. There was no aid being given to him at the time. So students who saw him as they exited realized that he was dead.
But you could see him clearly dressed in the black fatigues, black boots. The knee pads. It doesn't appear to be that he's wearing a protective vest. But there may be something under that shirt -- Wolf.
BLITZER: The Santa Monica police chief, Jacqueline Seabrooks, told us earlier and I'll quote her, she said, "We have a subject of interest in custody pending our ability to affirmatively connect that subject to evidence that was found on the scene."
She then said, so what that translate to is we're not convinced 100 percent that the suspect who was killed operated in a solo or alone capacity."
We might get clarification on that now momentarily. We're expecting the police chief and others to show up in the microphones and brief us on what's going on. Obviously, this is a very sensitive subject, whether or not there was, in fact, a second person involved in these shootings. But right now, as you point out, Miguel, it's unclear.
MARQUEZ: It is. That the person of -- of interest is in custody. They may have been released for all we know if they will come up and brief us, as they've promised. But they also searched throughout the school to make sure that there was no other shooter involved. We had a lot of different, we have a lot of confusion among witnesses today. Some saying that they saw one shooter dressed one way, another saying that the shooter had handguns.
We have no indication, official indication, that any shooter had a handgun. The police chief confirming to us, which is what witnesses told us earlier, that the shooter had a single, long rifle, an AR-15, which is the civilian version of the M-16. It's a semi-automatic which means basically every time you pull the trigger, it fires off a round and people here at the school certainly heard many, many rounds going off throughout the afternoon.
They also heard the shooter arguing and engaging verbally with police at one point during the afternoon with police yelling at him to drop the weapon. He refused to do so and then was shot and killed. Amazingly, it may have been campus police who killed him. The campus police chief saying that his officers did, in fact, exchange gunfire with the gunman -- Wolf.
BLITZER: Miguel, standby, because we're going to have a lot more on this -- hopefully we're going to get some clarification from police once they show up with those microphones. Stand by to those viewers, as well, we're going to have live coverage of that news conference on this mass shooting in Santa Monica. First at a house then at the nearby campus. The Santa Monica College.
There's another story that we're following OUTFRONT tonight. That involves Ariel Castro indicted for murder, kidnapping and rape. A grand jury indicted Castro today on 329 counts for allegedly kidnapping Michelle Knight, Gina DeJesus and Amanda Berry, and then holding them captive in this Cleveland home for some 10 years. Among the charges Castro faces 139 counts of rape, 177 counts of kidnapping, and one count of aggravated murder for purposely causing the unlawful termination of a pregnancy.
After learning about the charges, lawyers for the survivors issued this statement. I'll read it to you.
"We have a great legal system plus confidence and faith in the prosecutor's office and its decisions. Now we need to stand back and let the judicial process unfold."
Martin Savidge has been following this story right from the beginning. He's joining us now with the latest information. He's coming OUTFRONT -- Martin.
MARTIN SAVIDGE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Wolf, the indictment is huge, 142 pages. But there is still actually more to come. Right now the charges include 139 counts of rape, 177 counts of kidnapping. But the most serious charge is the one count of aggravated murder. That comes as a result of testimony from Michelle Knight who says that while she was held, that she became pregnant and that Ariel Castro at one point was so angry, he beat her and beat her so severely that she actually miscarried.
The county prosecutor Tim McGinty said that he had wanted to try to seek murder charges on that. He has done that. What remains open now is the question of, will the state try to go after, say, a death penalty stipulation. That hasn't been affirmed by the prosecutor's office. Yet they say they will wait until their investigation and the charging is completely done. And that raises another issue.
The charges that had been filed so far in this latest round only covered the period of 2002 to 2007. These women were released on May 6th, 2013 so that means that there is still another five, six more years of charges that apparently are being investigated. And that means there could be hundreds more charges that could be added to what Ariel Castro now faces as a result of what happened.
So the interesting thing about the murder stipulation here, and I'll point this out, is that there was an amendment that was recently made to the Ohio murder statute. And that includes the loss of a pregnancy. But in the wording of that statute, they did not define a person. And as one lawyer pointed out to me, it's going to be very hard to charge somebody with murder if you say it wasn't a person that who in fact was murdered.
As for the Castro family, they say they knew that these charges were coming. The brother says he deserves everything that Ariel Castro gets when it comes to punishment from the law. Many have wondered why has it taken so long -- Wolf.
BLITZER: Good point, Martin Savidge reporting for us.
Earlier, we also spoke to the Ohio attorney general Mike DeWine in a phone interview. He explained the formula prosecutors use to come up with the 139 counts of rape.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MIKE DEWINE, OHIO ATTORNEY GENERAL: They basically took a period of time from the time that the event occurred until about the birth of the child and then, you know, took it every month. I think if you look at it, it's basically one count per month per victim. And so it's a sensible way of doing it. This is unprecedented case. Very difficult to figure out exactly, you know, do you charge for every day? Do you charge for once a month? I think what the prosecutor has done is a very sensible approach.
And, as you pointed out, they still have the option and will have to make the decision whether or not they will try to, you know, go for the death penalty in this case. And that's a decision that has not yet been really made and will be made at some point in the future.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLITZER: Let's dig a little bit deeper right now with CNN legal analyst, the former New York City prosecutor, Paul Callan.
What's your sense, Paul? Is it more likely they'll seek life in prison without the possibility of parole? Or will they actually seek the death sentence?
PAUL CALLAN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: It's a tough case for the death penalty. Not because it doesn't have all of the things that you usually see, cruelty and particularly horrible death, killing of fetus here. However, it's very unusual to see the death penalty imposed where you have a fetus that has been killed but not the mother. Usually both are killed in these kinds of cases. And the real probable, though, in proving that count is, how do you prove that she actually was pregnant at the time that the prosecutors say.
She wasn't taken to a doctor. There's no pathology report. And so it's really going to be just her subjective opinion about it. And can you do that beyond a reasonable doubt? I think it's a problem.
The second thing is the Supreme Court basically has held the death penalty can only be imposed for the death of a person. And since we don't even know what the age of a fetus would be here, I don't know if it would be defined legally as a person under U.S. law. So there are just lots of problems with the death penalty in position in the case.
BLITZER: Because the allegation had been it wasn't just one-time or two-times, but several times he would beat up this young woman in order to force her to have a miscarriage after she got pregnant.
Does that make any difference? That it wasn't just once or twice, it might have been three or four times?
CALLAN: Well, it does make a difference in that that establishes a sort of a special level of cruelty in the infliction of the death of the fetus or the fetuses as the case may be. But it still doesn't get around this problem of proof. How do you prove she really was pregnant? How do you prove that the fetus was lost because of the beating and not because of the stress of being kidnapped, or because of all the factors.
So it's a real uphill battle. And, you know, I might add, Wolf, I did some quick calculations tonight. On the 329 counts that he's facing right now, I'm coming up with more than 3,000 years in prison he faces on those counts, plus life if he gets convicted under the other -- the aggravated murder counts.
So prosecutors certainly have got plenty to work with as it is without complicating the case with the death penalty issues.
BLITZER: I've gotten a bunch of tweets and questions from folks out there asking if it's possible he could plead not guilty because of insanity? Is that at all within the realm of possibility?
CALLAN: I think it is within the realm of possibility but I think it's an uphill battle for him. And the reason being, that usually when you have a crime that involves lots of planning, careful planning over an extensive period of time, it doesn't qualify for the insanity defense. Insanity tends to be someone who doesn't understand what they're doing is wrong. And they're acting under compulsions.
I've read accounts here that he would set up situations where he would leave the house and try to fool his victims into thinking he wasn't coming back and then he would beat them unmercifully when they tried to escape. So he was carefully planning. He was tying them up. He was beating them over an extensive period of time. It's going to be a real tough insanity defense.
BLITZER: Paul Callan with expert legal analysis as usual. Thanks very much.
CALLAN: Thank you, Wolf.
BLITZER: Up next on this special live edition of OUTFRONT, we're waiting for a press conference to start any minute now in Santa Monica, California, for an update on today's deadly shooting spree on the college campus at a nearby home, stand by for that. We'll have live coverage.
Plus, an arrest in the case of ricin being sent to the president of the United States and the mayor of New York. The suspect and the actress who appeared on one of the most popular TV shows.
And the U.S. government is collecting details on phone calls made in the United States. President Obama says it's absolutely necessary to prevent terrorist attacks. What's going on? We'll have the latest on this. Stay with us. Our live coverage continues.
BLITZER: We're following the breaking news, getting ready for a news conference in Santa Monica, California. Seven people are dead. Six victims, the alleged shooter, as well. A mass shooting spree on the campus of Santa Monica College, also, at a nearby house where we're awaiting more details specifically if a second individual has been arrested in connection with this mass shooting.
We'll have live coverage of the news conference once the Santa Monica Police and others show up. That is expected momentarily. Stand by for that.
Meantime, let's bring in Carolyn Tchopik. She was in her car when she saw the suspect get out of his car and open fire.
Carolyn, pick up the story. What happened? Tell our viewers where you were. because you were pretty close. You looked at this individual up close and you saw his face.
CAROLYN TCHOPIK, WITNESSED SHOOTING: Yes, I was -- he was at a red light at the corner of Pico and Cloverfield. And I was at the opposite red light at the corner of Pico and Cloverfield. And I saw him get out of his car and started spraying an office building to his right.
BLITZER: Spraying the office building with an automatic -- assault rifle, right?
TCHOPIK: Yes. An -- some sort of automatic gun. And then after he --
BLITZER: What did it look like to you?
TCHOPIK: I'm not too familiar with guns, but it was a huge gun.
BLITZER: Yes. Like an AK-47 or something like that.
BLITZER: Or an AR-15. Go ahead.
TCHOPIK: And then after he raised the office buildings and he turned and started shooting in the air. And after he shot in the air he turned again to his left and started shooting at the left. And at that point, I decided maybe I should get down in my car. So I laid down on the front seat -- I don't really know for how long because I thought the -- if I was lying there nobody could see me.
So I just laid there for a while and then I got backed up after a while and looked and he took off in the car. I didn't see anything more after that then I pulled over to the side and got out of my car.
BLITZER: Did you get a good description, a good sense of what this individual looked like?
TCHOPIK: Well, he was dressed completely in black. He was average height, white. I thought it was -- at first, I thought it was a movie shooting or something because it was such a -- it was so odd to be in the middle of an active, busy intersection and have somebody get out of the car and start shooting a gun. I couldn't even place the event at first. It was so bizarre.
BLITZER: You live out -- you live in Santa Monica in the Los Angeles area where you see a lot of films being shot from time to time. So you thought this was some set for a film? For a movie?
TCHOPIK: Well, it just seemed -- there was -- didn't seem to have any other explanation at first. You know, I don't know if you can hear me because there's a lot of crackling on the line.
BLITZER: No, we hear you fine.
BLITZER: Yes, we hear you fine now. We may have just lost you, but we hear you fine. Are you still there, Carolyn? I think we just lost our connection with Carolyn Tchopik. She was an eyewitness when this individual, this suspect started just shooting. She says pointing the weapon and just shooting up in the air and shooting at buildings and then moving on to the campus.
This is a mass shooting that we're following. Once again, we're standing by, standing by for this live news conference. We expect to hear from the Santa Monica Police chief somewhere from the Santa Monica College. Police as well as others.
There's the microphones. You see them right there. Once they show up, hopefully, that will be soon. We'll get some answers to more questions. Six people confirmed dead. Another person, the shooter, also dead. Seven people dead right now.
Key question, was another person involved? A second person? The police earlier said they had tentatively identified what someone -- they called a person of interest. Unclear if that person has any connection with this alleged shooter.
Stand by for the news conference once it begins. And we anticipate that it could begin fairly sooner.
Our own Miguel Marquez has been on the scene for us. Watching what's going on. So we await for the state of this news conference, and maybe these are the individuals walking over right now.
There's Miguel. He's standing by. All right. I think they're coming over. So let's -- Miguel, are you --
Miguel, are you -- can you hear me OK, Miguel?
MARQUEZ: If you just saw the individuals who are. I can indeed. If you just saw the individuals who are coming over, they are coming over to brief us now. This is Sgt. Lewis with the Santa Monica Police Department. OK.
SGT. RICHARD LEWIS, SANTA MONICA POLICE DEPARTMENT: And then we will give you an update.
MARQUEZ: All right. So what they're going to do, Wolf, is talk to the Spanish press over here for just a moment and give them an update and then they're going to come over to the microphones here and talk to us.
Sergeant, who will be speaking today?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's going to be me, Sgt. Richard Lewis. And we will have Sgt. Rudy -- MARQUEZ: What I understand here at Santa Monica College that the college itself has been completely cleared. We don't hear the helicopters overhead. And certainly, a lot of the individuals who were here before have cleared out.
The one thing we have seen that is new now is that the coroners have shown up here on the campus and perhaps we'll learn a little bit more about that, as well, as to why those coroners are here and what they'll be doing. Are you guys ready to go?
Wolf, we'll let them take over.
LEWIS: Are we ready? OK, again, what I want to do is first express our condolences to the victims in this tragedy today and their families, as they're all being notified as to what has happened today.
Also want to thank our local, state and federal partners here in assisting us. This is a rather large crime scene. It's spanning just about a mile in diameter, if that's how you want to place it. And we have approximately nine crime scenes working right now. So we want to thank everybody there for that. It's much needed and appreciated.
What we have right now is -- again, as you know, the incident began at about 11:52 today at a residence in the 2000 block of Yorkshire. In that residence, we have two fatalities. Suspect then went from that residence, carjacked a female after shooting at another vehicle on Yorkshire where we had a victim. Carjacked another young lady and had her start driving at Exposition -- I'm sorry, Cloverfield and Pico, he shot at a big blue bus.
On that bus, we had three injured, all minor and all -- all walked into the hospital themselves. The vehicle then traveled onto 20th and Pearl. In the 1900 block of Pearl and what they call Lot 1 of the Santa Monica College campus, encountered a red Ford Explorer and shot at the two occupants in there.
Unfortunately, the driver of that vehicle expired here at the scene and the passenger in that vehicle is at a hospital in critical condition. The suspect then went on to the campus, fired at another victim in front of the library. She was transferred to the hospital and subsequently expired sometime after.
Went into the library, engaged officers in a firefight. He was fatally wounded or he was shot, taken out of the library and he expired here on the sidewalk.
So what we have are the corrected numbers. We have four deceased. If you include the suspect, that makes five. We have three -- one critical wounded person at a hospital, three minors and one serious but stable condition.
The subject that was detained earlier in the evening that you've inquired about. He has been questioned and released. He had a valid reason for being here at the campus. After that was all checked out, he was released. He is not a suspect in this case. I'm sorry, what's that? OK. We have four deceased victims. The suspect makes five deceased. OK? One critically injured in the hospital. We have three with minor injuries. And then we have one that was in serious condition, serious but stable condition at a local hospital.
Gunshot wounds or injuries related to gunshots or shrapnel or flying glass. There was three from the bus? If you want to talk about the victims and they're injured, I can bring the Captain Willis on or we can just continue there.
No, at this time, we believe it's a single gunman. And that part of it has been resolved.
QUESTION: You have an ID on the suspect?
LEWIS: No. The ID is going to come from the coroner's office. That's where we'll get the official ID. Obviously, in law enforcement, we are working our leads. But until that's confirmed, we won't be able to put that out.
QUESTION: What the motive?
LEWIS: Well, there's no -- well, the motive is under investigation.
QUESTION: Were the people in the house (INAUDIBLE)?
LEWIS: There's a possibility that they are related, yes. Well, until we confirm identifications and those (INAUDIBLE) we're not going to elaborate on that further.
QUESTION: Can you say with a 100 percent certainty that Santa Monica is safe tonight? The school has been searched (INAUDIBLE).
LEWIS: Yes, the school is not on lockdown. It is closed obviously because of numerous scenes along the campus. The city of Santa Monica is very safe, yes.
Well, from the vehicle and/or got out of the vehicle and fired shots. And, understand, it's not a school shooting, too. Unfortunately this is an incident that began within our city limits at a residence and it just works its way on to the school grounds.
QUESTION: Carjacking incident, picked it up (INAUDIBLE). What happened then?
LEWIS: Well, there was a -- when we left the house there was a vehicle driving down the street, the 2000 Block Yorkshire where he did carjacked the lady driving. Had her drive a certain route, the router I dictated and there was subsequent shootings on that route.
(CROSSTALK) QUESTION: Was he shooting randomly out of the cars that he carjacked or why are there nine crime scenes?
LEWIS: Well, we have nine crime scenes. They're not shooting scenes. One shooting scene where two victims were shot. The vehicle traveled after that and then crashed. That becomes a crime scene in and of itself. So that will be two crime scenes. Lot five which is right across the street, 1900 Block or Pearl. So the shooting occurred in Lot 1 and the vehicle -- continued traveling southbound, cross Pearl and then hit a block wall.
QUESTION: What can you tell us about the weapon? About the rifle?
LEWIS: It's an assault-type rifle. I don't want to go as far and say it's an AR-15, but that is the style of rifle it is.
There are other weapons, as well. Yes, as to how many, I don't know. There's handguns.
QUESTION: Other witnesses have been reported there's a handgun.
LEWIS: There's at least one, there may be more. There's other magazines for the rifle.
QUESTION: On the scene?
LEWIS: They are here on one of our crime scenes, yes.
Well, that's all part of an ongoing investigation. We wouldn't know that at this hour.
QUESTION: So was he wearing armor gear? Was that a description of his clothing?
LEWIS: Well, he was wearing dark, black clothing and he had a tactical-type vest on, but it's not a load-bearing vest which is what we would call it which is a whole body armor.
QUESTION: When you talk about seven (INAUDIBLE), now it's five. Where will we be going (INAUDIBLE).
LEWIS: Well, what we have is witness accounts of the shootings and how the shootings occurred in which order. Led us to believe that we may have had a second victim that you walked up and shot on the sidewalk. That, in turn, looks like that is the lady that was shot in front of the library.
QUESTION: You have five dead?
LEWIS: No. Four deceased. One critical. OK, that person could become deceased. And then we have the other injuries I spoke of.
QUESTION: The suspect is the fifth dead?
QUESTION: And was the carjack victim, was she let go once the car (inaudible)
LEWIS: She is fine. She's uninjured.
QUESTION: What's made you believe that (inaudible) related to the two victims?
LEWIS: Well, we're not giving up that information until it's confirmed. We won't say that person is related, but we are working on all leads, so if those -- some of those leads take us that way, we'll start to go down that road.
QUESTION: How many locations were actually fired bullets.
LEWIS: How many locations?
QUESTION: How many locations?
LEWIS: This probably -- that's again, that's under investigation. But we could say the same thing. If I would say, between five and seven, easily.
QUESTION: That we've been able to identify.
LEWIS: Right. Thus far. Again, it's still under investigation.
QUESTION: Is there anything left behind by the suspect on the campus that is (inaudible) the investigation?
LEWIS: Well, there is evidence left on the scene, yes.
QUESTION: Other than the weapon?
LEWIS: Well, that, again, it's under investigation. I don't have that information right now. Anything other than the weapons.
QUESTION: Do you know why he came to the campus? If he had a connection to it at all?
LEWIS: No. We don't know that there is a connection right now, we're just -- it started at one locations and it ended on the campus.
QUESTION: But he directed -- he directed he (inaudible)
LEWIS: That's how we're getting it right now. Yes.
QUESTION: Now, when do you plan to give an idea of the suspect? Is there anymore information?
LEWIS: We plan to have a press conference tomorrow morning, 10:00 A.M., in front of the Santa Monica Police Department. That's located at 333 Olympic drive in the city of Santa Monica. We're hoping to be able to identify the suspect then and be able to put more of a nexus to this crime and what happened today. That is the goal. I can't promise you that that's is what's going to happen.
The campus is closed, well, it's obviously closed tonight. And as far as the campus, we also want to put out, starting tomorrow and Sunday, from 9:00 to 3:00, the Santa Monica College will be hosting counseling services at the Bondi Campus. And then Monday, from 9 to 5, and every day probably for the rest of the month, they'll be having counseling services for the students and anybody else who needs it on the main campus ...
QUESTION: Sergeant, there's dozens if not hundreds of students around the area that need to get in to get their keys, to get their cars, some of them live very far away. Can you tell them when they'll be able to get their materials and get them to their cars?
LEWIS: Unfortunately, because this is an active crime scene and we have everything cornered off, we can't allow anybody in or out to retreat this stuff, because we don't know what is evidence and what is not and what has been affected by this incident. So, it won't be tonight. It will be sometime tomorrow morning. That'll be my earliest estimate.
QUESTION: Could you explain why he was (inaudible) from the library where he was shot outside? Was it to get medical treatment? And he then died (inaudible) to get it. Or what was the purpose of moving his body?
LEWIS: It was an ongoing scene. We had an active shooter. There was -- it was unknown if we had more than one shooter at the time. So both the victim from there and the suspect at the time were moved and taken out to where it would be more of a safe location. The goal is to obviously get medical for everybody involved. And then they were able to move on and try to clear the library and see if there were more victims inside and people that needed help.
LEWIS: Clover field and (inaudible)
LEWIS: Three people with minor injuries. That's what we have right now. You know, we're hoping that number doesn't go up. But there's some people that are unaccounted for.
QUESTION: Sergeant, what do you have to explain
LEWIS: Like I said, he was taken to the station, he was interviewed. He had a lawful business to be here on the campus and after basically (inaudible) he was released. He's not a suspect in this case.
QUESTION: Sergeant, you have a huge number of coroner vehicles that have shown up now. I take it the gunman is still there being processed. Why so many vehicles? Are they going through each shot as well? Or why so many coroner vehicles at the moment? LEWIS: No, we have four fatalities within the city. So, they all came down at once right here, on our command post. There will be a detail to the different locations that they need to go to. And when they're ready for them so that accounts for that. They handle the bodies. So to speak, once step before the investigation starts, and as far as the crime scene shell casings, and things like that, we have our detective units, we have the assistance of the other agencies that are helping with finding (inaudible)
QUESTION: And obviously, we all get ...
QUESTION: None of the bodies have been removed or is ...
LEWIS: None of the bodies that are here have been removed.
QUESTION: Sergeant, really, but you kind of for the poor -- that you critical was the passenger of an Explorer the three (inaudible) from the bus. The one who was in serious, but stable -- where was that person?
LEWIS: That was a vehicle that was driving in the 2000 block of Yorkshire and the suspect opened fire on her, as well.
QUESTION: (inaudible) serious?
LEWIS: Serious but stable.
QUESTION: And we all get so accustomed, sadly, to seeing these sorts of scenes. But this one was different in that it was so many different scenes across a fairly large swath of the city. Just what was it like for you guys trying to respond to this? And how quickly -- how did it -- how long before -- 12:55 or 12:52 it starts at one house? How long before you guys were able to catch up with this person and actually confront him?
LEWIS: Well, this subject was confronted within a matter of minutes. There was an ongoing gun battle, so to speak, with the law enforcement officers from both Santa Monica Police Department and Santa Monica College Police Department with this subject. The whole event was probably over in ten minutes or less. But I can't confirm that, so I go back and look at time lines.
QUESTION: So from the time he left that house, to the time he ended up here at the university? Ten minutes?
LEWIS: For the suspect, for that suspect to encounter, probably. Maybe a little longer or a little shorter, but that's just an estimate!
QUESTION: The suspect, he's the one that started the fire at the house then?
LEWIS: Well, that -- captain will, if he wants talk about that.
QUESTION: But he seems like he was prepared to go out at everything else. So, are you looking at this as being premeditated? Shooting a family member, starting a fire then going on the spree? LEWIS: We'll have Captain Wells address that.
JASON WELLS: As far as the fire scene goes, that's currently under investigation. We can't determine if that was set by the suspect intentionally at this time.
QUESTION: A suspicious fire?
WELLS: So, well, again, it's suspicious in nature, but we're investigating to find out the exact cause of it.
QUESTION: Captain ... Please ...
WELLS: Captain Jason Wells. J-a-s-o-n, w-e-l-l-s.
QUESTION: Sergeant, did he leave a message that he talked to anybody, anything on a Web page saying that this is what he was going to do?
LEWIS: This investigation is way too early do disclosing of that. That's something I have no knowledge of. If that comes to light, you know, you will know it sometime. But as of right now, we don't know that.
QUESTION: But It looks as though this was premeditated in some way. He was all dressed up ready for battle.
LEWIS: Again, early parts of the investigation, we don't know what sparked this incident. If it happened ten minutes before. If it (inaudible) the moment, if something was planned out. So I can't elaborate on that.
QUESTION: Do you know when the first ..
LEWIS: It's a horrible event that everybody wishes never happened. And until we get further, we can't speak to that, I'm sorry.
QUESTION: When did the first call come into Santa Monica police and how quickly were you guys able to start tracking where this guy was and trying to stop him? Was it before he got to the campus?
LEWIS: Our first call, 911 came in around 11:52 this morning. And that came from an address the 2500 block of Kansas where someone was hearing shots fired. He wasn't aware where these was coming from. As our officer were responding towards that location, more information and more calls came in that there was a shooting in 2000 block of Yorkshire. When they got there, what they find instead of a shooting, a suspect or a shooting, they find the house that's engulfed in fire. And that's how it started to roll out.
QUESTION: And then -- are you guys getting rolling 911 calls at that point? With the bus and then the building and then a car and another carjacking?
LEWIS: Well, we get additional calls. We also have officers on scene now that since this is fairly close proximity and you are using the rifle, it's print (ph), when you fire it, is very loud. They're hearing gunshots. We also had another agency that was actually rolling through our city on other business that actually heard gunshots being fired as well. And it was calling and then tried to track down the locations. So, we started to get it from numerous sources.
QUESTION: About what time was this?
QUESTION: ... of the victims, I mean (inaudible), anything like that?
LEWIS: But we're going to wait for that -- the coroner for all of that. But it was both men and women victims.
QUESTION: Any indication that the SWAT incident over -- Santa Ana (ph) (inaudible) wasn't related to this?
LEWIS: Santa (ph) Palms is an area of interest for us. It's -- we went there as a residence check. Or an area check. It did check out OK. There are no victims there. But there could be some linkage to this incident, as far as the suspect is concerned. So ...
LEWIS: I can't say that, I don't know that. But we are there at the location. And I'm sure that that's something - that some search warrants may be served on at some point.
QUESTION: Forgive me: I want to understand that, make sure that I understand it, 11:52, the call comes in. And 12, maybe 15 minutes later, he's here on campus and you guys are confronting him. Both with the college and Santa Monica police.
LEWIS: That may even be a little bit long. But it's really in several minutes, you know, after ten minutes, that this event -- this part of the event is in.
QUESTION: Did the ATF guys did a search warrant at this house? It looked like this to go ...
LEWIS: This is early investigation, I don't have knowledge to that. So I can't speak to it right now. Anything else?
QUESTION: You went into an apartment?
LEWIS: That's right. All right, this would be -- unfortunately, we're going to end now. This will be the last update or conference that we'll have for this evening. Again, 10:00 tomorrow morning, we will have another official press conference, hopefully, with a few others up here to give you some additional information. Thank you.
BLITZER: There you have it from Sergeant Richard Lewis, Santa Monica police department. He now has revised the numbers, four victims confirmed dead. A fifth person, the suspected shooter also dead. That means five people are dead. He said there's one person in critical condition right now. Three minor injuries, one additional person in serious but stable condition. The person earlier who had been picked up, a person of interest as it was described, was detained. He was questioned and released. They do believe that there was a single gunman involved in this particular mass shooting. The suspect has not yet been identified, but that's the latest information coming in from Sergeant Richard Lewis of the Santa Monica Police Department.
There's other breaking news happening on this very, very busy evening. We'll take a quick break. We'll get to the other important news when we come back.
BLITZER: All right, there is this breaking news happening tonight as well, a JetBlue flight has just landed safely, safely at Newark Liberty Airport after reportedly being struck by lightning. Port Authority spokesman Ron Marceka tells CNN that the JetBlue flight, Flight 425 was originally diverted to JFK airport after reportedly being struck by lightning, but eventually made a safe landing at Newark Liberty Airport. That's just coming in, fortunately. Everyone is just fine. There's another important story we're following here on CNN. Tonight, spying consumes President Obama's high stakes summit with China as President Obama kicked off his two-day meeting with a new Chinese president Xi Jinping tonight. He made clear he plans to confront Xi about China's alleged cyber attacks.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: The United States seeks an international economy, an international economic order where nations are playing by the same rules, where trade is free and fair. And where the United States and China work together to address issues like cyber security and the protection of intellectual property.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLITZER: But at the same time, President Obama finds himself defending spying right here at home. In the last 48 hours, we've learned the federal government is collecting details on phone calls made in the United States. The government is also tapping into Internet providers like Apple, Facebook, Google and Microsoft. And according to the Wall Street Journal, U.S spy agencies are even collecting data on you from your credit card companies.
Our chief White House correspondent Jessica Yellin is traveling with the president to Palm Springs right now. And Jessica, how is the president handling the fact that he is now forced to address some of these very, very sensitive issues even as he's meeting with the new leader of China?
JESSICA YELLIN, CNN CHIEF WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Wolf, the president was answering new questions about cyber security just as I was coming out here to speak with you. He said that cyber terrain is new terrain. That there are -- these are new technologies and new standards need to be set up in the relationship between the U.S. and China and around the globe. He said it was not just unique to the relationship with the world's other largest economy, but particularly true there. He said these are in his words, "uncharted waters", and he said we need both new rules and new standards.
And President Xi of China then spoke. And said that the U.S. and China are setting up a working group. Well, that's international diplomatic speak for establishing new guidelines between the two countries, that will play out agreements for how we will both work on respecting one another's Internet property and intellectual property, at least officially.
But you know, the U.S. has accused China of stealing huge amounts of intellectual properties from U.S. companies and we are yet to see whether any of that is going to be acknowledged by China or agreements will be made to stop anything like that.
I should point out, Wolf, the president made a distinction between what they say is China's -- a theft of intellectual property and the debate going on here at home over the NSA eavesdropping. He says that is an internal debate about government and the U.S citizens privacy and those are two very distinct things. Because theft of intellectual property hurts our business interest at home. The other is a matter for debate by American citizens, Wolf.
BLITZER: And the president, earlier, has made a very, very passionate defense of that eavesdropping defending it very, very strongly, even though they face some very, very severe criticism coming in. Not just from elements on the right. But also, from elements on the left as well. Jessica, we'll stay in close touch with you. Other important news we're following here tonight.
Still to come, we have a break in the case of those letters filmed with ricin sent to the president of the United States and the mayor of New York. Now, an actress, an actress from a popular TV show is under arrest.
BLITZER: An actress under arrest tonight for allegedly mailing poisonous letters. Shannon Rogers Richardson of Texas is accused of sending ricin-laced letters to President Obama and New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg. Ed Lavandera is out front with the story.
ED LAVANDERA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Wolf, it is a bizarre, sordid tale with plot lines that take many twists and turns. For the last week, a northeast Texas couple has been at the center of the ricin letter investigation. And now, investigators say it is an angry wife who was trying to frame her husband.
LAVANDERA: Investigators escorted Shannon Richardson into a federal court building in Texarkana, Texas. FBI officials say Richardson has been charged with mailing a threatening communication to the president of the United States. In her hometown of New Boston, Texas, neighbors know this redhead as Shannon Richardson. But in Hollywood, she's known as Shannon Guess. An actress who's appeared in minor roles on television shows like "The Walking Dead" and "Vampire Diaries." It appears Shannon Richardson put on quite an act for federal investigators and tried to frame her husband in this real-life drama. According to court documents, Richardson met with authorities to say her husband had mailed three ricin-laced letters. The president Obama, Mayor Michael Bloomberg and the head of a gun control advocacy group. The arrest warrant affidavit says Shannon Richardson placed caster beans in the trunk of her husband's car and sprinkled ricin powder around his tools at their house to ensure that he would be apprehended.
Richardson also claimed to have found ricin research on the family's computer and suspicious materials in the house. Investigators descended on the couple's home in this quiet neighborhood in New Boston last week, in the far northeast corner of Texas. From the beginning, though, investigators were suspicious of her story and now believe it was Shannon Richardson, not her husband, who mailed the letters, which contained an ominous threat. "You will have to kill me and my family before you get my guns. The right to bear arms is my constitutional God-given right. What's in this letter is nothing compare to what I've got planned for you."
Last week, Mayor Bloomberg shrugged off the threat:
MAYOR MICHAEL BLOOMBERG, NEW YORK: I've got more danger from lightning than from anything else. And I'll go about my business and we're certainly going to keep working on getting guns off the streets, out of the hands of criminals and people with mental problems.
LAVANDERA: Shannon Richardson is now in custody for mailing the ricin letters, and her husband filed for divorce on Thursday. Court documents cite "discord or conflict of personalities as the reason for the break-up."
In these court documents, investigators say that Shannon Richardson did confess to mailing the letters. But she does say that it was her husband who typed them out and then forced her to mail them. And to make the matters even more complicated in all of this, Shannon Richardson is pregnant and the couple is expecting their first child in October. Wolf?
BLITZER: What a story. This one is very, very bizarre. Ed Lavandera, thanks very much. We'll take a quick break. We'll be right back.
BLITZER: Lots of breaking news here on CNN. Stay with us CNN throughout the night for continuing coverage. I'm Wolf Blitzer reporting from Washington. Thanks very much for watching. "AC 360" starts right now.