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CNN NEWSROOM

Shots Fired at Georgia Elementary School.

Aired August 20, 2013 - 13:30   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SUZANNE MALVEAUX, CNN ANCHOR: We got some breaking news we're following. This just developed over a past couple of minutes. This is according to our affiliate, WSB, that there's a report of a shooting at a local school in Georgia here. We're talking about this information coming to DeKalb County School Board chairman, saying there's an active shooter at McNair Elementary School. WSB reporting they had seen -- that dozens of teachers and students who evacuated the building raced out of the building. And that according to WSB, that there were people, officers who were swept into the school to figure out what's going on and they had one suspect in custody. At least according to the local affiliates, that they do have one person who is in custody. Now, the chairman says that there are been reports of shots fired. The gun man has not been located.

We have a number of vantage points here. One from news chopper two showing the children were running from the building earlier today as well as some of the adults. The teachers that were there. This is the Ronald E. McNair Discovery Learning Academy. It's a charter school. It's located in Decatur, Georgia. There was one person that has already been taken into custody.

What we're watching is a scene out of Decatur, Georgia. This is an elementary school, McNair Elementary School. Several reports of shots fired at that school. This is a place where, we heard, the affiliate, they are telling us, they have done drills. They have done drills to practice getting out of building and take cover and shelter. They are gathered outside.

So far, all we know is that there's reports of shots that were fired inside of that elementary school. Police officials are on site, some who have entered the building. You see behind the school, the school buses and some of the kids who have gathered outside. You can only imagine. You can only imagine how the scared parents are. These are live pictures of this incident that is still taking place.

We'll take a quick break and try to get as much information as possible. Come out of that break and give you more details on what's unfolding right now. Breaking news.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MALVEAUX: I want to follow this breaking news situation. This is out of Decatur, Georgia. A shooting at a local school in the area. I want to go to our affiliate coverage, WGCL, to dip in. Let's just listen in and find out a bit more of what's going on. Let's just listen in and find out a little big more of what's going on.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE ANCHOR, WGCL: Sitting around on standby because it's 1:38 in the afternoon. The school hasn't let out yet so they're probably organizing that as we speak.

These live pictures of McNair Discovery Learning Center in DeKalb County. Our CBS Atlanta Sky Eye over the scene and has been for you this afternoon since we got word of these shots fired at the school. We are hearing no students are hurt. That's the good news. We're hearing a gunman or shooter is in custody.

Jeff, did Bernard confirm to you or not that there were shots, that anyone heard shots fired?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE ANCHOR: That's what we're still unsure. We haven't heard if there were shots fired. Did the gunman get off a shot? We don't know. I don't know if producers know. If you do, please, of course, let us know. Right now we're being told it was an incident and there was a gunman but whether he fired we don't know.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE ANCHOR: You can see investigators and police officers on the scene. Probably school administrators as well. Maybe some police detectives as they try to figure it out. They've got somebody in custody. It's figuring out if it's somebody off campus or on campus. They will go from there. It looks as if there's homes around this area too. They may be questioning people. I see crime scene tape strung across the street from the school.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE ANCHOR: These images we saw earlier, Stephanie, of these students being raced out of the school, police carrying them, it's enough to make you want to cry. When you hear this sort of thing, it's just heartbreaking. Your heart stops. You just think, oh, my gosh, not again. Folk, fortunately, today, we're being told at least no students were injured.

Do we know of anyone injured, producers? We know no students were injured, but do we know if any faculty or staff or any other administrators or anything?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE ANCHOR: No word on that. I suspect we might see an ambulance or emergency technicians on scene if that was the case. The absence of that may be pointing us to a good indication, that no one has raced to the scene, needing medical attention. We don't know if anyone was hurt, as far as anyone on the faculty.

Looks like the kids are gathering in a larger group as they prepare to get on to the buses.

Do we know the ages of these kids? I'm hearing no injuries, no faculty, staff. Children, everybody on campus is safe and the gunman, who we are working to identify, is in custody. You can see some school administrators directing students and letting them know what we'll do next. The idea, if you've worked with children or you have children, you want to keep them informed but you don't want to scare them. It looks as if McNair has a broad range of students. These are the little kids coming out and the children over by the bus. Unless our perspective is off, they look like they are older students. This may encompass several grades.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE ANCHOR: From what I can tell right now, it does appear that McNair Learning Discovery has pre-K through fifth grade.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE ANCHOR: We're probably seeing kindergarteners and first graders coming out and the older children over by the buses. These kids being led over to the field so they can get on the bus, get over the Wal-Mart in this community. We're working to find out the exact location of that Wal-Mart, too, so that parents can get informed and know exactly where they need to go pick up their children.

Bernard Watson has been following this for us since it broke this afternoon.

What do you have on your end?

Bernard, can you hear me?

Bernard Watson has been on scene gathering information as close as he can get to the scene. They're keeping media back away. Understandably, keeping everybody back. They don't want to put the children in anymore danger and they want to do a complete and thorough investigation. First and foremost, the safety of these children, and it looks as if they will be getting on these buses shortly. Taking to Wal-Mart so their parents can pick them up.

Bernard Watson, can you hear me?

We're working to get Bernard back. As soon as we do, I'll let you know. He's there gathering more information.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE ANCHOR: Producers maybe can figure out what Wal- Mart that is. I'm sure there are a lot of parents watching today who are obviously frantic and concerned, and want to meet their students. We would love to be able to tell parents where to go to meet up with their students.

You're looking live right now. CBS has Atlanta Sky Eye over McNair Learning Academy. That's on Second Avenue in DeKalb County. We understand a gunman was inside the school. No one with as hurt and a gunman was taken into custody.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE ANCHOR: Right now, we're waiting to see them move the children over to the Wal-Mart.

I know in Fulton County, the county in which my child goes to school, they will send out not only a text, an e-mail blast, also phone message blast to all parents and staff if there's any sort of incident. It could be weather related of something more serious like this. I wonder if DeKalb County parents have been getting this information. They may have. Getting that information while at work to find out exactly where they need to go to pick up their children and let them know their children are safe. That's the most important thing in all of this as we watch live.

As the kids gather outside on what is surely their first or second week of school, and a quite scary one at that. But no one is hurt and the gunman is in custody. The investigation continues into what happened, why there may have been a breach of security. I don't know if this school has metal detectors or anything like that. It may not. It appears it's more of a private academy and that may not be something that they do or that they feel the need to do.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE ANCHOR: Yes, Aaron, our producer, is continuing to feed new details into our ears now. And we'll bring them to you as we learn them, as he passes along to us. He just told us that students are not leaving the school just yet.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE ANCHOR: OK.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE ANCHOR: It appears there may be some staying at school. Perhaps the gunman as been taken away or -- we know he's been apprehended. From what we can gather, students right now not leaving the school.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE ANCHOR: OK. We're going to stick with that. See that teacher, standing up, waiving his hand? I think that's a gentleman there, waiving his hands, talking to the children. Maybe having them sit down. We'll stay put for now.

School administrators and teachers go through a lot of training as well in what to do in these situations.

Bernard Watson is close to the scene.

Bernard, can you hear me?

BERNARD WATSON, REPORTER, WGCL: I can.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE ANCHOR: What's the latest there?

WATSON: As I mentioned earlier, when parents were getting the word of going to the Wal-Mart, I'm hearing from you that the kids aren't leaving yet. There's a bit of confusion. At one point, there was a whole lot of parents out here and they just ran straight to their cars to rush over to that Wal-Mart. There's still some communication issues here in terms of getting the correct information to parents. You can expect something like that when you have a situation where a shooter is on a school campus. A lot of people still out here wondering what's going on and when they will be able to walk down further to the school, wondering what happened.

We're seeing a lot of SWAT officers driving by now. Just a lot of activity. People wondering what's going on. Less people here now than earlier. That's what we have here for now.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE ANCHOR: Bernard, your kids are in Forsythe County schools? Is that right?

WATSON: Yes, there are. UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE ANCHOR: Do you get a blast or an e-mail if somebody's going on that you need to know about or a message on your phone?

WATSON: Yes, we usually get an e-mail or a text message. I heard you mention earlier, when you get something from the school, your heart rate jumps a bit because you want to know what it is and if your kid involved. Certainly when parents are hearing situations like this, they have to be concerned and wondering what's going on.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE ANCHOR: Hopefully, something went out to let the parents know the children are safe.

We're taking a look on the left hand side of the screen, the area where Bernard Watson is right now, sort of a media staging area. Bernard, that's a lot of police cars there. Is that what you're seeing, your vantage point?

WATSON: No question. As I mentioned earlier, when we were arriving here to the scene, we were overtaken by like a dozen, 15 or more police cars coming at a high rate of speed. Their sirens wailing. Everybody just pulling over and getting out of the way. As soon as they passed u they stopped. Some of them stopped and blocked off the street. Clearly, they knew what they were doing and what they were supposed to do. They shut this area down, and I mean quickly. We had no way of getting in. We had to wind our way around. It was quite clear from the beginning that police had the situation under control in terms of sealing it off and keeping people away until they got a handle on the situation at the school.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE ANCHOR: Bernard, have you seen any ambulances coming in or out of the area?

WATSON: We saw several come in. Where I'm standing is DeKalb County Fire and Rescue. They are just standing here. I have not seen anybody, any paramedics or first responders attending to anybody. It also appears some of these police officers are leaving the scene. As I mentioned, we just saw four or five SWAT members leaving in their vehicles. We're getting some movement in terms of resources leaving the scene. Still quite an active scene.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE ANCHOR: Sure. We haven't seen -- Jeff and I were just saying we haven't seen any medical technicians or ambulances come up to the school either. There seems to be a spot across from the school where they have put up some crime scene tape. I'm wondering if they caught or arrested the shooter off campus and maybe that's an area where whoever had this gun. I say shooter, we don't know if any shots were fired. But the person who had the gun was arrested off campus. We're working to find out more information.

Bernard have you seen other areas off campus that are taped off with crime scene tape?

WATSON: Let me tell you this right now. As we speak, they have pulled down one of barricades. They are allowing people to go closer to the school, which is they are starting to wrap up to a certain degree. Before we were kept back a couple hundred yards from the school. We're now being allowed to walk further, closer to that school. There might be some more information available now.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE ANCHOR: All right.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE ANCHOR: Bernard, what are parents doing there now? Can you tell?

WATSON: I think most of the parents left because they were told to go to that Wal-Mart. Most of them ran down there. Really, right now, where I am, most of the people who live around this area and maybe some media members.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE ANCHOR: People wondering what's going on.

Bernard, from our CBS Atlanta Sky Eye, we can see police and school buses leaving the scene. I don't know if any children are on that bus. Last word we got from you is they're going to stay put for now. Not going to head over to the Wal-Mart as we've been talking about. As you would completely understand, these situations where fluid and maybe administrators thought if the scene is clear maybe it's easier for the children to stay here at school and let's go ahead and dismiss them with their usual dismissal, buses, parents, not create a panic or a bottleneck to try to get these kids to a another location.

We'll continue to get that information for parents and let you know if that plan changes. For now, they're going to stay at McNair Discovery Learning Academy.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE ANCHOR: Folks, you're taking a live look over what is DeKalb County, but specifically, McNair Discovery Learning Academy. Earlier, an hour ago, there was an incident, and we do know there was a gunman inside the school. The gunman has been taken into custody. Fortunately, no one was hurt, thankfully. We did see live here on CBS Atlanta Sky Eye, hundreds of students running for their safety, running across the parking lot, across the field, and then sitting in groups up against the fence far away from the school as police escorted and, in fact, in one case, carried the students out of the school.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE ANCHOR: Those are images that all of us, they're zeroed into our mind after places like Columbine where you saw the kids running out, jumping out of windows. Newtown, you hope never to see it again. The good take away in all of this is that no one was hurt and that's the most important thing.

These live pictures on the left are of the media center not too far away from the school where our Bernard Watson has been gathering new information.

As Bernard told us, police are leaving. They're scaling back some of the patrols. And the SWAT team, I believe, was there. That's a good thing. That's a good sign that maybe the investigation will continue, I'm certain of that, but maybe they've done --

(CROSSTALK) MALVEAUX: You've been listening to our affiliate coverage there, the breaking news we've been following over the last 15 to 20 minutes or so. An incident that happened at Decatur, Georgia, at McNair Discovery Learning Academy where there was a gunman was on the campus. He's now in custody. None of the students, these elementary school students have been injured or hurt. They're still working out logistics in terms of how parents will reach their children and pick them up from the school. That is still being sorted out.

We'll take a quick break and we'll have more details on the other side.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MALVEAUX: Looking at live pictures of affiliate, WSB, from the Chopper 2 vantage point here. This is McNair Discovery Learning Academy. This is where just about an hour ago, reports of a gunman on that campus at that elementary school. The good news is we're hearing from several officials now who are saying that the students are safe, that no one is injured, and that that gunman is in custody. But still a lot to be worked out, sorted out. You can only imagine what the parents might be feeling, what they are going through as they try to get a hold of their kids after such an incident.

I want to listen in.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE ANCHOR: -- on the phone so that we can get the very latest information from him about not only what happened inside the school about an hour ago, but also what is going to be happening coming in the very near future with parents reuniting with their children.

Again, this is McNair Elementary School. You can see parents can pick up their children on the Wal-Mart at I-20 and Gresham Road. They'll be bussing them. It's a mile south of the school. They'll get them in buses, drive them down there so parents can pick them up. Still quite a few students back in the back area there that will have to load a bus and get down that way.

Again, trying to find out what happened in there and also learn what's going to happen going forward with the DeKalb County School PIO, public information officer.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE ANCHOR: Just to recap, if you are just joining us, this is at Ronald E. McNair Discovery Learning Center, on Second Avenue in DeKalb County. What you're looking at is a live picture from News Chopper 2. Students, teachers in the back of a school after a gunman was reported in the school. The call came in to police here to Channel 2 from an office worker who was in the front office. The great news is, no students hurt. No teachers hurt. They all got out safely. They were evacuated very safely out of the building.

But that worker in the front office was talking to one of our assignment editors on the desk. She called here and our assignment editor said she heard several gunshots. It was a very emotional moment for her as she waited minutes for that office worker to come back on the phone. She didn't know whether the office worker was safe or not, but she did come back and she was OK.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE ANCHOR: And that, again, she said to our person, police got him. Police got him. Police got him.

Want to go now to Aaron Diamond. He is sending us some video through -- face time, actually, from the ground.

We can't talk to Aaron, but you see a lot of police activity as he shows us what is happening there. Those look like SWAT officers in full gear. I'm trying to think what street this was. This was near McNair Avenue.

Go ahead, Carol.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE ANCHOR: We have a report from -- we don't have it right now. We'll have Ryan Young in a few moments.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE ANCHOR: That's fine.

We are looking there as all of the police officers, I presume, are walking away from McNair Elementary School as this thing seems to be more and more under control, if not already under control. As we swing around, let's see what he's looking at. Walking back to their cars. A couple of people there on the corner of the street watching to see what was happening.

Aaron Diamond told us, 15 minutes ago, there were a lot of parents congregating in this area. He spoke to some of them who were still very much on edge, even after learning nobody was hurt and that one suspect was in custody. They said to Aaron, "Boy, we won't feel good about all of this until we have hugged our children." The good news is, as you can see on the bottom of your screen, parents can go to the I-20 in Gresham, about a mile from here where you're looking now, and pick up their children. They're going to be put in buses and bussed down there to the Wal-Mart parking area.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE ANCHOR: We want to go to Channel 2's Ryan Young who just filed this information from right near the scene.

RYAN YOUNG, REPORTER, WSB: We're walking out of the command post at this point. What we've been told is DeKalb Police still have a perimeter. The SWAT is clearing the building. One suspect is in custody. They're not saying the building is clear yet. They want to make sure with their SWAT team. I'll have more later on.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE ANCHOR: We've been showing you video from Aaron Diamond, Channel 2 Action News. Aaron Diamond, he's on the scene.

Aaron, I can't ask you questions, but I can tell you to tell us what you're seeing.

We'll work on getting that audio squared away.

(CROSSTALK)

AARON DIAMOND, REPORTER, WSB: Where we are. We're on the corner of Second Avenue and East Drive about a block and a half south of the school. Let me show you what we're looking at. Straight ahead here is the school. You can see a number of police cars there straight ahead of me. As we turn around here, you can see some of -- (AUDIO PROBLEM) -- loved ones. Those children who were in the school. There's quite a big crowd here. Over the last 30 minutes or so, that crowd has now started. If you look back this way --

BROOKE BALDWIN, CNN ANCHOR: I'm Brooke Baldwin. You hear my voice. We're going to stay on these pictures here. As we're flipping over, we're watching all of this breaking coverage unfolding with several of our Atlanta TV affiliates who are watching. WSBT TV now. This is an eye witness. WGCL. Bottom line, there were reports of some sort of school shooting. They're calling this incident in the Atlanta-area school.

Quickly, let's listen in.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE REPORTER: Obviously, has anything like this ever happened in terms of lock downs at the school?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Not that I know of, no.

(CROSSTALK)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE ANCHOR: Bernard -- Bernard, could you tell us where that shooter was in the school?