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THE SITUATION ROOM
Santa Monica College Shooting
Aired June 7, 2013 - 17:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: Happening now, breaking news, at least one person dead after a shooting on a Santa Monica College campus. We'll go there live in just a moment for the very latest.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BLITZER (voice-over): Also, President Obama doesn't hold back, attempting to assure millions and millions of Americans that two controversial sweeping surveillance programs are a must to keep them safe from another terror attack.
And a Texas actress arrested in connection with allegedly ricin- tainted letters mailed to President Obama and the New York City mayor, Michael Bloomberg.
I'm Wolf Blitzer. You're in the SITUATION ROOM.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ANNOUNCER: This is CNN Breaking News.
BLITZER (on-camera): Let's begin with the breaking news right now. A shooting on the campus of Santa Monica College not far from where the president is attending a fundraiser right now. We've just learned from the Santa Monica Police Department that at least one person is confirmed dead. A local hospital says it has another four patients, two of them listed in critical condition.
Police say the alleged gunman is in custody. At the same time, though, a fire is burning several blocks away from the scene. You can see bullet holes in a car window. We don't yet know if there's a connection. Here's how one witness says it all went down.
(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, ten rounds. He jumped back in the car and went on the left. Took off.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLITZER: CNN's Miguel Marquez is joining us on the phone right now. He's on the scene right now with the very latest. Miguel, what else are you hearing?
VOICE OF MIGUEL MARQUEZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, we do understand that the shooter is in custody. It's not clear whether one of the -- the person who was killed was, in fact, the shooter. I have several witnesses who say that they were in the library when they heard one shot. It was a person who was dressed all in black. They may have been wearing a protective vest as well.
They were carrying what appeared to be an assault-type weapon. One said it was an AR-15, which is the civilian version of the M-16 weapon. They heard one shot. People started running. There was a lot of fear across campus. It was the last day of school. People there studying up, taking their finals, and then, they heard several more shots.
Some witnesses describe hearing an argument or yelling or screaming just as the shots broke out, but then people ran. The other thing that we're not entirely clear on is that house fire that is nearby here, whether that has anything to do with this incident here or they are two separate incidents. Police are expected to give us a briefing here shortly on what they have.
They do say that while one suspect is either down or in custody, they're not clear whether or not there are any other suspects. They locked down the entire sprawling area in the center of Santa Monica here, and they are going through trying to find out if there are any other shooters or any other people that they need to be worried about, Wolf.
BLITZER: We're told as we've been pointing out, according to the UCLA Medical Center, four patients were brought in. Two listed in critical condition. One in serious condition. One in good condition. So, it looks like this is -- like those patients are going to be OK. Although, two are listed in critical condition.
The president of the United States, Miguel, is in the area, we're just told by a White House spokesman. The president is no motorcading to Los Angeles Airport to avoid any impact on the ongoing local response to the shooting in the area. I take it he was originally supposed to chopper from this fundraiser back to the airport. Is that what you're hearing?
MARQUEZ: Yes, well, that makes sense because marine one typically takes him because traffic is so terrible In L.A. Marine one takes him to L.A.X. so he can to where he is going, but in this case, because there are so many helicopters over this thing (ph) right now and there's so much air traffic around this area and keep in mind, L.A.X. is not very far from Santa Monica that the president made a decision to, you know, take the streets Of Los Angeles rather than the air because they didn't want to apparently impact what was happening here at the school.
BLITZER: Everybody is saying that there's no indication whatsoever that the shooting incident on the college campus has anything at all to do with the fact that the president is in Santa Monica right now. There are more eyewitness accounts of what folks saw. Let's listen to -- let's listen in to what some of them told our local affiliates.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: When I was walking on campus just after noon, I heard a couple of gunshots. I didn't think they were gunshots and I saw people running from the campus. And I kept on walking towards the library where I was going to finish my paper for my final in English. And I -- was near the bookstore when I heard 15 or 20 more shots.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I was in the computer lab. I was on Facebook, and I saw everyone running back towards the end -- the back of the library. So, I went out and saw and an alarm went off, and then, immediately, I heard a shotgun blast and like at least eight, probably handgun blasts, what seems to be -- it was definitely handgun, you know, because I hunt. So, it was a shotgun, and at least eight handgun blasts.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Did you see any of the people who were injured?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I did not. I was in the back of the library. I was too busy rushing to get out of there.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLITZER: And this is a huge campus, 34 -- 38-acre campus, the main campus, about 34,000 students on this campus, Santa Monica College, it's a two-year community college accredited with the Western Association of Schools and Colleges, but this is a very, very densely populated part of town, Miguel, isn't it?
MARQUEZ: It is very densely populated part of town, and there are a lot of students here because it was the last day of finals. Perhaps, there weren't as many students on campus because a lot that were in the library. The first sound bite you played of the man who said that he saw the guy dressed in black shooting rounds out of a car and jumping back in. That's the one bit of not consistent with what I've heard.
So, it could be that there is more than one shooter in this situation. What I understand is that the shooter who was dressed all in black sort of like an official uniform of some sort and they only saw one gun, as well. Another one of those sound bites you played, they said it was a handgun involved. From every witness I've talked to, the only thing they saw was a long gun, something that looked like an assault-type weapon.
One person identified it as an AR-15. So, as always in these cases, there's a lot of confusion, but clearly, whoever was there, whether it was one or two people, they were dressed in black. One witness I spoke to did say they saw somebody down, somebody who was dress all in black, and they weren't moving at all. They said they were in very bad shape, whoever they were. So, if that -- it is possible that that was the shooter himself -- Wolf.
BLITZER: And as far as the second shooter or second suspect, there's been conflicting information that we've been getting. What is the latest official word from police?
MARQUEZ: We are expecting the latest official word from police right now. They've had us all stage (ph) right near the school and all the media has come here and police with Santa Monica city say that they're going to come here to -- to chat with us and let us know the latest information. I can tell you, the helicopters as is typical here are up and over the university or the college and this area looking for any other suspicious activity, monitoring the place.
We keep seeing very, very heavily armed police personnel coming into this scene, still that they can go and go through this sprawling campus. There's a lot of rooms, there's a lot of places to hide, there's a lot of places that they would have to check out. So, they're bringing in tons of resources and personnel in order to go through Santa Monica College and make sure that it is safe.
BLITZER: Hold on for a minute, Miguel, because joining us on the phone right now Sergeant Denise Joslyn with the California Highway Patrol. Sergeant, what can you tell us about the possibility of a second suspect? What do we know?
VOICE OF SGT. DENISE JOSLIN, CALIFORNIA HIGHWAY PATROL: What I can tell you is that we did have several witness reports that came in via our 911 caller system identifying a possible second shooter. There's reports that some callers had heard shots fired in the area. Those calls came in after we had taken a first suspect into custody. So, of course, numerous law enforcement officers from the highway patrol, Santa Monica, PD.
We have Beverly Hills PD, Los Angeles Police Department, and several other agencies all out there on scene. We, as you imagine, have quite a large area that we need to check. Obviously, we have Santa Monica campus on full lockdown still at this moment. We have several blocks and intersections and streets for which the initial calls came in for this active shooter.
All of these areas are still on lockdown and still being searched, as we speak. And again, until we eliminate the possibility of a second or possible other shooters, we would ask that all residents and anyone else in the area, please, shelter in place. Try to stay out of the area and stay out of harm's way.
BLITZER: The Santa Monica Police Department is telling us, sergeant, that one fatality, confirmed fatality in this shooting, but it's unclear whether the fatality is victim or a suspect. Do you know?
JOSLIN: Unfortunately, I do not at this time given Santa Monica Police Department is the primary handling agency in this incident. I do not have word from them yet with regards to the confirmation on that fatality. What I can tell you, though, is we know there was at least one victim that was injured as the result of the initial shots that were fired into a bus.
We did have shots that were reported fired into several other vehicles, as well. So again, the possibility of having numerous injuries and/or, you know, the unfortunate tragedy of a fatality is certainly a possibility. What I can also tell you, though, is that we cannot secure and take care of an incident like this without the joint efforts of many allied agencies.
You know, we, of course, our officers are on scene helping Santa Monica PD to secure the area and ensure the public safety as quickly and efficiently as we possibly can.
BLITZER: As you probably know, the president and his delegation, President Obama, they were in Santa Monica today and we're told that the president is driving with a motorcade back to Los Angeles International Airport. I assume he's out of the area by now. Do you know?
JOSLIN: I don't have that information, but, you know, I would certainly imagine that, you know, the president has apprised immediately, I imagine, of the situation, and I'm sure that, you know, the appropriate security and precautionary measures were taken to make sure that he was not only aware of this, but also, you know, out of harm's way, as well.
Again, I would like to reiterate, and I'm sure as the president's detail has done the same, for people that were not within this area of the shooting, if you are simply curious or you want to go by to take a look, I would highly advise and recommend against going anywhere near the Santa Monica College or the vicinity of this -- this current shooting or closure, because again, we don't have the complete area searched.
We're not assured that there is not still a second active shooter out there. And anyone that is entering in that area certainly, you know, runs the potential of placing themselves in harm's way and we'd like to prevent that if, you know, at all possible.
So, please let us do our job and until you get noticed from the news or from a law enforcement officer directly that your building or your region or area is safe and secure, we would highly recommend you stay in your building and call 911, obviously, if you see anything that is a true emergency, a suspicious bag and/or anyone obviously that looks like an armed suspect or individual.
BLITZER: Do you have any information at all, preliminary information, sergeant about what may have sparked, what may have led to this shooting incident on this college campus?
JOSLIN: You know, I certainly don't, and I'm sure that that will come out as a result of the investigation, but, you know, as we're all familiar with active shooter incidents across our country, I don't believe there's ever a concrete explanation or sound reason. This is just a tragic incident and, you know, some cruel and, you know, disheartened individual out there that unfortunately, you know, placed others in harm's way, in jeopardy, and you know, injure or possibly fatally wounded someone else.
It's just senseless, and you know, our hearts, the highway patrol, you know, extends out to those families and, you know, individuals that, you know, maybe even haven't heard from their loved ones yet. We understand this has been a very stressful incident and it upsets us, and you know, certainly gives us great cause to believe in what we do and ensure that, you know, the public is safe as best and as quickly as we can.
BLITZER: But at least one suspect has either been killed or is in custody, is that right?
JOSLIN: We do have confirmation that one suspect is in custody. I do not have the information with regard to his condition, but I do have confirmation that it was, in fact, a male adult shooter and again, yes, he is in custody.
BLITZER: Do you know what kind of weapon the suspect used?
JOSLIN: I do not. I can go back to at least our initial calls that came in, again, from multiple witnesses. They started as early as 11:55 this morning. One of the first callers described one of the several different weapons that the shooter had as a possible shotgun. But beyond that, I don't have a confirmation with regard to what that particular weapon or weapons were and whether or not those have, in fact, been, you know, secured and/or identified.
BLITZER: Sergeant Denise Joslin is the public information officer for the California Highway Patrol. Sergeant, thanks very much for helping us. We'll stay in close touch with you.
JOSLIN: Absolutely. Be safe out there. I appreciate the time.
BLITZER: Thank you.
Miguel Marquez is on the scene for us. He's joining us once again. What's it like? Are folks mulling around? Are they trying to get indoors? You heard what the sergeant said. This is not a good time to be outside.
MARQUEZ: Well, I think there's a lot of concern about what exactly is going on because the one person that you spoke, that you played a sound bite from earlier, I'm looking at e-mail right now. It sounds like there were two separate incidents. A big, blue bus or a commuter bus here, or you know, city (ph) bus in Santa Monica was shot up by a man wearing black fatigues according to the police now, and then, the shooting here not far away from where that shooting occurred here on campus.
I want to show you exactly what's happening down here, the blue busses, you can see would be like the blue bus that was shot up. I don't think that one of those is it, although, it could be and then you have tons of police ahead of where we are. We expect very shortly to hear from Santa Monica, the city of Santa Monica police about what they know, the best information they have on what's going on out here.
What I can tell you just recapping what we have from earlier is that, you know, four people have been transported to UCLA, two of them in critical condition. The other two sound, thankfully, like they're in better condition. It sounds, so far, that there was one shooter on the campus, that every witness I spoke to describe a man dressed all in black possibly with a protective vest on or a bulletproof vest on carrying an assault-type weapon.
One person described it as an AR-15, which is the civilian version of the M-16 weapon that the military uses. So, it is -- it is not clear that all suspects are in custody at the moment, though. That is the big concern that police have. So, we have helicopters circling overhead from several different law enforcement agencies and they are going through and we still have many heavily armed and heavily outfitted and geared up police officers coming in full SWAT gear, in full protective gear to go into the school to make sure that there are not any other dangers in that school -- Wolf.
BLITZER: Santa Monica obviously being very right next door to Los Angeles. This is a really huge -- hugely populated part of California right now. Miguel, stand by for a moment. We're getting more information. We're going to be back to Santa Monica on this college campus in just a moment. We'll take a quick break and update you on what's going on.
Also, other news we're following, including this, believe it or not, authorities now say an actress, yes, an actress, mailed those poisoned ricin letters to President Obama and other top officials.
BLITZER: Breaking news from Santa Monica, Santa Monica College, a two-year community college, where there's been a shooting incident. There has been one confirmed fatality. We don't know if it's the suspect, the shooter in this case, or a victim. Several people have been reported injured, including four people over at the UCLA Medical Center, four patients, two in critical condition, one in serious condition, one in good condition right now.
There's been a shooting incident also around the same place involving what's called a big blue bus. We're going to get more on that in a moment from Miguel Marquez. And, this may or may not be related to any of this, but also in Santa Monica, and Miguel is joining us right now, we have now been told by the fire department that two men were found dead inside a house in Santa Monica on Yorkshire Avenue.
One woman was injured, not very far away from the Santa Monica Community College. We don't know if this is connected or unconnected to the shooting incident on the college campus, but there's a lot going on in Santa Monica. On top of all of that, the president was in Santa Monica just a little while ago giving a fundraising -- at a fundraising event, a political fundraising event.
He's now motorcading to the airport, L.A.X., to get out of that area. There's no indication whatsoever that any of the shooting incidents, fires, had anything to do with the president's being in Santa Monica on this day. Miguel Marquez is joining us once again. And Miguel, that big blue bus that's behind you, we're told by a spokeswoman for the bus company that one of our buses was shot. We had two passengers that, thankfully, were only mildly injured. One was due to a grazed bullet. The other had glass that struck the rider. What else do we know?
MARQUEZ: Well, we know that police are trying to move us out of here at the moment, Wolf. If I can show with Dave Lake (ph) here, down here just to the right of the big blue buses, the big blue buses that you see down here are part of the Santa Monica City bus system. Those are the sort of buses that would have been shot up here. The people that you see milling off to the right, those are all witnesses to this crime that police are trying to keep in one place so that they can question them and get more information from them.
And the problem that they have is that they've created a cordon now with us here and it's very difficult now for us to get out. What we know at the moment, Wolf, is that one person has been killed. It may be that that was the shooter. Several different witnesses I spoke to say that there was a person in black who was down. It appears that the person in black may have been the shooter.
Several witnesses I spoke to say that the shooter was in black and had an AR-15 or an assault-type weapon on him at the time. Police now, out of an abundance of caution, are still trying to -- if you look over to my right here, you can see that they are still trying to get more police authorities in here because this is a canine unit, obviously. There's several other police officers coming in through here with lots of gear on, lots of weapons.
The SWAT-type uniforms on so that they can go through the many, many rooms of this campus. You know, keep in mind over 30,000 students at this campus. It is a big sprawling area right in the middle of Santa Monica, the city, and it is difficult for them to clean up. Do you happen to know when the sergeant will be updating us?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We don't. He's going to let us know soon.
MARQUEZ: Do you know if that will be soon?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He said soon.
MARQUEZ: How soon?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He didn't say.
MARQUEZ: And will that be Sgt. Lewis?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We don't know.
MARQUEZ: You don't know.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: But they want you to be outside of the yellow cones.
MARQUEZ: I understand. And how soon before we see Sgt. Lewis then?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We don't know. At this point, --
MARQUEZ: Can you tell Sgt. Lewis that we are eagerly anticipating him? I spoke to him a short time ago and we would really like to hear from him as soon as possible.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I know you guys are waiting.
MARQUEZ: He said it would be soon an hour ago.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes. I know. These things take time.
MARQUEZ: I understand, but there's a lot of people who have great concern out there.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Of course.
MARQUEZ: OK. Thank you very much. Wolf, I'm going to hand it back to you for now.
BLITZER: All right. I know you're going to come to the other side of that line over there and we'll stay in very close touch with you. This is obviously a developing story. Lots of sensitivities on the line.
You know, I want to listen in briefly KCAL, our affiliate out in Los Angeles, let's listen in to hear what they're reporting.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: -- a car and he was like more -- a little bit bigger, not so tall, but bigger and he had, like, that overall on and long hair. And he didn't say anything. And it didn't appear like he was shooting at, like, that he was aiming at somebody. He was just from left to the right, spraying bullets. And when he was done and everybody was yelling and screaming, he walked back in his car and took off to the left side.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Didn't say anything that you heard?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I had my car -- my windows rolled up, so I didn't really hear anything. But, it was just crazy.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And I know you said you ducked under your dashboard, that you were frightened for your life.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, because he actually looked and pointed at my car and I heard two bullets just like two shots have been on my car, but the third one actually it sounded like it hit my car. So, I was just -- I was scared to death and I was hiding under my dashboard. This is why I didn't see any more, you know?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You're here from Germany. We can hear your accent. You live in the area right now and you were saying it's just -- has you in shock that it's so senseless. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's crazy here. I can't comprehend what happened.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We thank you so much for joining and giving us a little insight as police try to piece all of this together. So, we'll give you a look. Thank you so much.
BLITZER: All right. So, you just heard that interview with that visitor from Germany who was pretty shocked by what's going on. A lot of us are looking at the situation in Santa Monica right now. We're pretty shocked as well. We'll go back there to the scene. We're standing by. We're awaiting this news conference from local police authorities to update us on what's going on.
Still a very confusing situation. We'll go back to Santa Monica for the latest on today's rampage on this college campus.
Also, a nearby house fire, two confirmed dead there. We have no idea if there's a connection or not.
Plus, another story we're following, an actress who had a small role on TV now has a major role in the mystery surrounding those poisoned letters sent to President Obama, Mayor Michael Bloomberg of New York, and others.
BLITZER: We're continuing to follow the breaking news from Santa Monica Community College right near Los Angeles. One person confirmed dead. We don't know if the shooter is that person or a victim is that person. We're following what's going on. We know that four people have been admitted to local hospitals.
Two are listed in critical condition, one in serious condition, one in good condition. Miguel Marquez is on the scene for us. Miguel, I understand you have an eyewitness.
MARQUEZ: Yes. This is Jason Garrett. I want to chat with him -- I chatted with you a little while ago. You actually saw the shooter, is that correct?
JASON GARRETT, WITNESS: I saw the shooter. There were shots in the library and I saw him coming around and walking towards the other end of campus. He was dressed all in black.
MARQUEZ: You said he had a vest on.
GARRETT: Yes. It looked like it was a tactical vest.
MARQUEZ: Something that would protect him from gunfire?
GARRETT: Right. And he was dressed all in black.
MARQUEZ: Were they BDU or fatigue-like black? GARRETT: They were definitely like that, you know -- yes, where he can carry multiple things in pockets, you know, all the way down.
MARQUEZ: And then you saw -- did you see him fire the gun?
GARRETT: I heard actually when he went the other way. I heard -- I heard shots in the library and then I heard rapid shots after that.
MARQUEZ: And you're a gun enthusiast, you fired an AR-15 before. You know -- you know the gun.
GARRETT: Yes, and it definitely --
MARQUEZ: And you believe that's what he --
MARQUEZ: And an AR-15 is the M-16 -- the civilian version of the M-16.
MARQUEZ: So it looks very much like a military weapon, yes?
GARRETT: Right. That's exactly what it looks like.
MARQUEZ: How do you -- how can you be so sure it was that gun?
GARRETT: I was close enough to see it from behind and he lowered it and he was just started walking slowly to the other end of campus. So you could see it. You know, I'm not 100 percent, but I'm pretty sure it was the AR-15.
MARQUEZ: How many gunshots did you hear total?
GARRETT: Over three. I heard at least three. I don't, you know, remember exactly. I was trying to, you know, get people out and, you know, try to get people to calm down. And then I went to try to get one of my friends out of class.
MARQUEZ: You've just spoken to one of your friends who's still locked down on campus.
MARQUEZ: What did -- what did they say?
GARRETT: She's in the gym, right now, area and they have it completely locked down. The teacher is trying to get people to meditate and relax. She just told me now a few seconds ago that the officers have been knocking on the door and they slid their badges underneath and then they told them, you know, you're about to come out, everybody's hands on their -- you know, raise your hands and everything like that so --
MARQUEZ: Do you know how many people are in the gym right now?
GARRETT: She said about 15.
MARQUEZ: Fifteen. Must be very frightening. The suspect, did you get a good enough look to be able to identify him or --
GARRETT: From behind I saw him turn and he looked like he was Asian but I'm not 100 percent. Another friend of mine is still in lockdown as well in a different building. And one of the students in that class said that they saw him and that he was Asian. And I saw them bring out somebody and put them in the back of the car and he was Asian and dressed all in black.
MARQUEZ: That person was injured or that person was alive and well?
GARRETT: He didn't look -- he didn't look injured when they brought him out but it was, you know?
MARQUEZ: Did anybody say that they saw more than one shooter or did you see more than one?
GARRETT: They did, actually, another friend of mine who's in another class told me that one of her friends saw or, you know, heard that it was two shooters on campus.
MARQUEZ: Yes. But not very clear. You're hearing -- there's a lot of -- these situations happen and there's a lot of confusing information.
GARRETT: Right, right, sure. And everybody is, you know, obviously very, you know, stressed and tense.
MARQUEZ: This happens so many places it seems. Did you ever think it would happen to you?
GARRETT: No. And the thing about Santa Monica College it's such a great campus, but in the last month we've had a suicide, a bomb threat, and a gunman, and now this in the span of about a month and a half. So it is something unfortunately that I know for me that now I have a -- you know, better -- I keep a much closer eye out as best I can and it really affects, you know, me and other students that we have to go through this.
MARQUEZ: Do you know how tall the suspect was?
GARRETT: I would about 5'8", 5'9"?
MARQUEZ: So not huge.
MARQUEZ: Dark hair.
GARRETT: Dark hair.
MARQUEZ: And he seemed Asian. But you saw -- why weren't you running? Why were you looking at him?
GARRETT: You know what, I'm stupid that way. I go towards helping people. It's just -- you know, how I might -- in my DNA and that's why, you know, like I showed you earlier, I was jumping over, you know, one of the brick walls to try to get to one of my friends. And then two SWAT officers kindly escorted me off campus.
MARQUEZ: Do you have any idea how many people are still on campus and locked down in different rooms?
GARRETT: I've talked to two of my friends so I only know of two classes that are completely still locked down.
MARQUEZ: So 15 people in the gym. How many in the other class?
GARRETT: Twenty in the other class she said.
MARQUEZ: It must be terrifying in there.
GARRETT: It is.
MARQUEZ: How are they doing?
GARRETT: They are holding up. They're holding up. I think, you know, when I talk to them I was trying to calm them down and let them know what was going on out here. And ,you know, it seemed to be the flow of officers, you know. They were walking around, you know, checking in with one another, not running around, so just trying to calm, you know, calm both of them down as best I could.
MARQUEZ: OK. Jason Garrett, thank you very much.
GARRETT: Thank you.
MARQUEZ: Very good luck to you.
GARRETT: Thank you. Appreciate it.
MARQUEZ: Wolf, I also want to show you this -- what we see now, what we see folks down here now is these are witnesses that police are clearly allowing to go to take care of some personal needs it seems. They have a lot of witnesses down here that they want to keep track of. And then there are still police coming into this area, so that they can go into the area around the school and check it all out and make sure that it is still safe.
The helicopters are still up overhead. There doesn't seem to be a letdown in the concern here. We've just heard Jason say that he -- that there may be a second shooter in there. We are hearing that from a lot of people. But it's not very clear. The bus that was shot up, the big blue bus that was shot up, seems to have been at a different location than the school.
Very close to the school and then the shooting at the school occurred and I have from several witnesses that whoever was doing the shooting was dressed in black and had an assault-like weapon as Jason says, who is familiar with the weapon, an AR-15, so the civilian version of the M-16.
That is the best information we have at the moment. We are expecting and hoping for an update from Santa Monica City any moment now -- Wolf.
WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: We see microphones right next to you over there, I assume that's where the local authorities will come and give us some more information, is that right?
MARQUEZ: That is -- that is the hope. They are trying to move us, you know -- we were up closer to where those buses were earlier and then they moved us back here and now they're trying to move us out again because the problem that authorities have now is that there aren't many ways out of this neighborhood, so they've gotten those buses sort of stuck in there and they want to get them out.
It's going to be very difficult to get out of here now because not only are we here but there's police cars and others who are behind us as well so it's going to be very difficult to move all those out. I think that's why they've allowed so many of the witnesses now to sort of move on out on their own, make phone calls, go to the restroom if necessary. They've been down here for a long time at the moment.
And then we are hoping to hear from Sergeant Richard Lewis with Santa Monica City Police very soon. Clearly they want to have their facts straight and as much information as possible but there's a lot of concern throughout the area that there might be another shooter.
We have also, strangely enough, have this second incident of a house fire and two people dead in that house fire near the school. There are reports that there were people, somebody who shot up the house. There are bullet holes in the -- on the house. And then the house was set on fire. And then this incidence occurs. In this day and age, you would think, well, it's just, you know, possibly just happenstance. But in this day and age, you realize that there may be two things going on at the same time.
So, you know, the bus shooting, the house fire, and then the shooting here at Santa Monica campus. All cause for concern. It seems that there are more questions than answers at the moment -- Wolf.
BLITZER: Yes. We'll see what the connections are between the shooting on the campus, the shooting at that bus, the two people dead in a house fire. Fortunately the president of the United States who was in Santa Monica earlier in the day, he's now aboard Air Force One leaving LAX for his next stop Palm Springs to meet with the new Chinese president.
So he's out of the area. We have no idea. There's no reason to believe whatsoever that any of these incidents in Santa Monica had any connection with the president's being there earlier in the day for a political fundraiser and some other events.
We'll take a quick break. Much more of the breaking news right after this. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
BLITZER: We're continuing to follow the breaking news at Santa Monica Community College right near Los Angeles, two-year college with about 38,000 students. There was a shooting incident on the campus today. One individual confirmed dead. We don't know if it's the suspect or a victim. Four people are in a local UCLA Medical Center including two in critical condition right now.
At the same time two other people were shot, not seriously, though, aboard one of the big blue buses in this area. One of the local transit authority buses. So we're watching that. At the same time totally unrelated, perhaps, a fire in a nearby home, two people are dead there. So we're watching all of these various incidents.
Miguel Marquez is on the campus over there at Santa Monica College for us with another guest.
I take it this is another eyewitness, Miguel?
RUSS HOLZHAUER, WITNESS: My mom texted me and she's been all over this, she's freaking out.
MARQUEZ: Hey, Wolf, we are speaking -- yes, Wolf, we're speaking to another witness here who was -- you were studying for exams. Last day of school here, is that correct?
HOLZHAUER: It was my last day of school but it does -- school continues until Tuesday.
MARQUEZ: I see. What did you see today?
HOLZHAUER: What I saw was -- well, what I heard was most catching to my ear or to eye, whatever, what I heard was unbelievable. I heard one bang. Stop, 15 bangs, bang, bang, bang, bang, bang. I ran, grabbed my stuff as fast as I could and hid in a study room and I just waited there, because I'm an L.A. County lifeguard, I know how to keep calm in times of stress. I just stayed there for about 30 or 35 minutes, cops came and got us out.
MARQUEZ: You -- and you were -- I'm sorry, you're in the library?
HOLZHAUER: In the library. I was about 100 feet away from the scene.
MARQUEZ: So then one bang and then multiple bangs.
MARQUEZ: How far apart were those separated?
HOLZHAUER: So the first bang, about a second or two, and then bang, bang, bang, bang, bang.
MARQUEZ: Did you hear anything? Was there arguments? Was there yelling?
HOLZHAUER: There was yelling before, during and after. I'm not sure if it was the suspect yelling at a bystander or a cop, yes, I don't know what it was. One thing I did catch my ear was that there were canines in there.
MARQUEZ: There were dogs.
HOLZHAUER: Yes. There were dogs in there.
MARQUEZ: When you left you saw somebody injured or down.
HOLZHAUER: Yes. I saw them right -- as I was exiting on Pearl Street, like as they were coming out, that was the last thing I saw was one person down.
MARQUEZ: And what did that person -- were they dressed in black?
HOLZHAUER: They were dressed all in black. I don't know if it was male or female but they were definitely -- they're deceased.
MARQUEZ: And were they moving? Do they seem to be --
HOLZHAUER: No. Not at all.
MARQUEZ: Not at all.
HOLZHAUER: They were -- they were done.
MARQUEZ: What is it like to go through an experience like?
HOLZHAUER: It's -- I mean, it's tragic. I'm a huge pro-gun advocate, I've been around guns all my life and just to see it used for such evil and crime and just hatred and just making a great college campus just a -- not a torture house but just a place of just, like, just being scared.
MARQUEZ: You never saw the gunman.
HOLZHAUER: I never saw gunman.
MARQUEZ: Do you have friends who are still on lockdown in there?
HOLZHAUER: No, not that I know of.
MARQUEZ: You've just gotten word from somebody outside the school saying that all bags are now being treated as potential explosive devices.
HOLZHAUER: Yes. And my backpack is still in the library right now.
MARQUEZ: So your -- your backpack is in the library, you're not -- you're not sure what's going to happen.
HOLZHAUER: I have no idea when I'm going to get it back. MARQUEZ: It's obviously out of an abundance of caution that they're doing this. You've been going to school here how long?
HOLZHAUER: I've been going here for two years and today is actually my last day.
MARQUEZ: What is -- to go through that, to see the chaos and the panic and to survive it, what are you feeling?
HOLZHAUER: Well, I'm just in shock. I had -- when I woke up this morning this is the last thing I thought that was going to happen. I thought I would go in the library, study for my finals and take my test and just -- and be able to be on my summer break and I had no idea this was going to happen.
MARQUEZ: All right, Russ. Thank you very much.
HOLZHAUER: All right, awesome.
MARQUEZ: Hope you have a better summer.
HOLZHAUER: Awesome, thank you.
MARQUEZ: Thank you.
So, Wolf, to recap just a bit more, I'm just looking back to see if the sergeant from Santa Monica Police will be coming any time soon.
Excuse me, do you happen to have any idea when Sergeant Lewis will be briefing us?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No.
MARQUEZ: You do not. OK. Thank you very much.
Still trying to get Sergeant Lewis to come brief us. I know they are trying to gather as much good information as they can, Wolf. What we know there are three separate incidents that we are interested in or watching here. There was a house fire with two shots fired there. Two people dead inside that house near the campus.
A blue bus, like the blue buses that you can see right down there, which is the Santa Monica City bus system, was shot up by a man wearing all black ,a BDU-type uniform. And then here at Santa Monica College not far from where those two incidents occurred, one, perhaps, two people were on campus wearing all black. One of them may have had a protective vest on of some sort and carrying an AR-15 rifle. It's the civilian version of the military M-16 rifle.
And, you know, fortunately, it doesn't sound like there were as many casualties as there could have been given how many people were actually on this campus. Over 30,000 students here. It is a huge campus. And so many people that I know living here and that people around the place know who go to school here.
So it is fortunate that there are at this point four injuries, two of them, though, critical, so we hope to get more word and hopefully good word on them later -- Wolf.
BLITZER: We hope they'll be OK. Obviously in good medical hands over at the UCLA Medical Center.
We are told, by the way, Miguel, local authorities say they've now scheduled a news conference for 3:15 p.m. Pacific Time, 6:15 p.m. Eastern Time, that's about a half an hour or so from now. We'll, of course, have live coverage. We'll get the latest on what's going on on the Santa Monica College campus.
But as you say, there was that one incident there, another incident nearby at a residence. Two men were found dead inside a house near the campus on Yorkshire Avenue.
Traci Tamura, one of our producers, is on the scene over there.
What do we know about this, Tracy?
TRACI TAMURA, CNN PRODUCER: What we know is about a little bit before noon at 11:55, some of the neighbors here heard shots being fired. They called 911. Concurrently the commander that -- the fire commander that's out here said they also responded but they had to hold back a little bit until the fires were subsided. I mean, the fires from the gunshots.
They came up. It was the house engulfed. The witnesses or the neighbor across the street has said that she had seen a male coming out. He was waving a gun. He got into a -- what appeared to be a blue Mazda with a woman, kind of carjacking that, and drove off with her. As they were driving off, there was another Infiniti car, a woman, and he was waving her to go through.
He -- evidently she wasn't moving quick enough or who knows, he end up shooting her and she was sustained some injuries and they believe, like, in the shoulder. The two deceased males were inside and they were found in the back of the room of the house. They don't know beyond that. That was pretty much.
So, two dead males, deceased, and then one injured here. Right now it's -- the fire's been out for a while. They have forensics people here on the scene. A lot of police and fire are still here. Just doing their investigation and stuff from taking pictures and so forth.
BLITZER: Several incidents happening in Santa Monica today. Maybe related, maybe not. We'll continue to follow it. Traci Tamura on the scene for us at that incident. We'll take a quick break.
We've got some other breaking news we're following, coming in from the Cleveland area. Castro, the suspect in the kidnapping and taking of these women in Cleveland. There are new information coming in on this. Stand by. We'll update you on that when we come back. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.
BLITZER: We'll get back to the other breaking news in Santa Monica Community College. The shooting incident there in a moment. But there's news coming in right now from Cleveland involving Ariel Castro. He's the suspect accused of kidnapping and holding three women for some 10 years. And now a Cuyahoga County grand jury has returned a 329-count indictment against him.
Brian Todd's got all the details.
Brian, I understand one count for aggravated murder.
BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: That's right, Wolf. This is the indictment. Several hundred pages here. It is a sweeping indictment. And when we say sweeping, Wolf just mentioned 329 counts leveled against Ariel Castro by the county prosecutor, Timothy McGinty. He's the one who announced that actually the charges are brought by the Cuyahoga County grand jury.
Now broken down, this is what they look like. Castro was indicted for one act of aggravated murder, for purposely and with prior calculation and design causing the unlawful termination of another's pregnancy. One count of aggravated murder against Ariel Castro. In addition, he is indicted on 139 counts of rape, 177 counts of kidnapping, seven counts of gross sexual imposition, three counts of felonious assault, and one count of possession of criminal tools.
So, Wolf, 329 counts leveled in the indictment against Ariel Castro this afternoon. This announced by the Cuyahoga County grand jury and by county prosecutor Timothy McGinty. Again broken down one count of aggravated murder, 139 counts of rape, 177 counts of kidnapping, seven counts of what they call gross sexual imposition, three counts of felonious assault, one count of possession of criminal tools.
Now the question of the death penalty is also addressed in the release by the Cuyahoga County grand jury and the prosecutor. It says that when the indictment process is complete, the county prosecutor's Capital Review Committee will consider whether this case is appropriate to attach a death penalty specification. So that will be under review.
There are strong indications that they are going to go after the death penalty for Ariel Castro. And of course, that indictment for one act of aggravated murder might precipitate that particular penalty -- Wolf.
BLITZER: Brian Todd, stand by.
Jeffrey Toobin is our senior legal analyst. He's joining us on the phone.
Jeffrey, you've had a chance to go through this. These 329 counts that only relates to the period according to this document from 2002 until 2007, so they're leaving open the possibility of a whole -- a bunch more counts as far as charges are concerned.
JEFFREY TOOBIN, CNN SENIOR LEGAL ANALYST: They are. But by far, the most interesting count, the most important count is this aggravated murder count. Because it's only aggravated murder that makes Castro potentially eligible for the death penalty. The Supreme Court has said rape alone is not something that you can get a death sentence for.
What makes this case legally complicated is that -- this would be an aggravated murder of a fetus. And the Supreme Court has never really addressed whether you can get the death penalty for murdering a fetus. So I don't think the facts of this case are all that complicated. I don't think there's much doubt that Castro held these poor women for all these years. But the legal issue of whether he's eligible for the death penalty could actually be quite complicated.
BLITZER: The allegation that was leveled against this Ariel Castro, and this was the allegation that he beat one of the women who was pregnant several times to cause the termination of that pregnancy. In this particular count, one count of aggravated murder. But there could be more. Would that make any difference?
TOOBIN: It might make a difference to the jury. Legally, it would not -- it would probably not make any difference if he -- you mean, if he beat -- if he ended several pregnancies? Is that what you were asking?
BLITZER: I've been asking, because it goes up to 2007. So the question is, what if an additional charge, additional counts come through, more counts of aggravated murder for terminating the -- for beating up this woman and forcing her to have a miscarriage?
TOOBIN: Right. Yes, those -- if those were added, those would potentially make him eligible for the death penalty, in addition to the aggravated murder that's already charged. The legal question that's unsettled is whether the Supreme Court would uphold the death sentence for killing a fetus, which hasn't been born yet. And that's a legal question which the court has not yet addressed.
And I don't think it's a simple one. But certainly, he -- under virtually any circumstance, he's going to be in prison for the rest of his life. The legal issue that's outstanding, really is the death penalty.
BLITZER: All right. Stand by for a moment. Martin Savidge is joining us right now. He spent a lot of time in Cleveland covering this horrendous, horrendous story. Including interviewing Ariel Castro's two brothers.
What do you make of this, Martin?
MARTIN SAVIDGE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, I -- you know, everyone has been waiting for this other shoe to drop and it's quite clear, I sat and listened with Tim McGinty when he made the original press conference. That's the Cuyahoga County prosecutor. And he said look, he was going to come down essentially like a ton of bricks. And it is interesting as you point out, Wolf, that it doesn't cover the full period, which all these women were held.
Getting back to the issue of, you know, the death penalty whether it applies. They're -- you know, talking with legal experts in other the Cleveland area, when we were anticipating that this might be the case, this charge, there was an amendment to the Ohio murder statute that includes the loss of a pregnancy, which is clearly what McGinty is sort of focusing on here.
But the problem with that amendment is that it didn't define person. And as you know, that definition has been one that many states have grappled with legally. And so then the question afterwards would be, well, how could you be convicted of murder without murdering a person. And so that's going to be an issue that's going to come up.
But as Jeffrey points out, it is quite clear, it was known by the family that their brother was going to be spending the rest of his life behind bars. If you heard in my interview with them, they were just fine with that.
BLITZER: And in Cleveland, Martin, most people tend to believe the two brothers, that they were just as shocked and stunned by word of what Ariel Castro was allegedly doing as the rest of us were?
SAVIDGE: Yes, they were. They were -- they say that they were absolutely flabbergasted to hear and to witness their brother being arrested. After all, they were caught up in the dragnet, when their brother was taken into custody. One of the brothers literally in the car with him, another one who was rousting from his bed. They said, you know, when they saw their brother, what is going on? What's happening?
And their brother essentially said to them, I know you had nothing to do with this. I am sorry. So the family has been going through this double tragedy. One, the realization, as they say, their brother is a monster, and the horrible broad brush that was sort of applied to the two other brothers, they now feel that they're coming out from under that cloud.
But they say that they're still suspected by many people. This family has a lot to grapple with. But the one thing they said was they were sorry to the women who were held and were glad they were out and they definitely wanted to see their brother get the full punishment that was coming to him.
BLITZER: Should we be surprised, Jeffrey, that this is just a partial indictment right now? That more counts are on the way?
Jeffrey Toobin -- we may have lost Jeffrey Toobin. We'll continue to watch this --
TOOBIN: -- these women were held.
BLITZER: All right, so that's what we have right now.
Stand by, everyone. 329 count indictment against Ariel Castro in Cleveland, including one charge, one count of aggravated murder for purposely and with prior calculation and design causing the unlawful termination of another's pregnancy.
We'll continue to watch this story for our viewers.
Also happening now, breaking news. Deadly shootings at multiple locations in Southern California. We're standing by for police to reveal new information.