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JANE VELEZ-MITCHELL

Did Warning Signs Show Shooter Would Snap?

Aired September 16, 2013 - 19:00:00   ET

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


JANE VELEZ-MITCHELL, HOST: Tonight, breaking news. Chaos and carnage as at least one shooter goes on very a bloody rampage, slaughtering at least a dozen people at the famous D.C. Navy Yard.

We have brand-new information coming in just now about the dead shooter, 34-year-old Aaron Alexis. We have learned Alexis was discharged from the military for a, quote, "pattern of misconduct." And tonight we`re learning there were warning signs, many of them, that this man might snap.

Good evening, I`m Jane Velez-Mitchell coming to you live.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We are confronting yet another mass shooting, and today it happened on a military installation in our nation`s capital.

FRANK PUTZO, WITNESS: Everyone said this is no drill. Go, go, go. Emergency exits, now.

OBAMA: Several people have been shot, and some have been killed.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We have multiple victims inside that are deceased.

PATRICIA WARD, WITNESS: I heard three shots, pow, pow, pow, and 30 seconds later I heard four more shots.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The Senate is about to go into lockdown.

TERRIE DURUM, WITNESS: We could see him with the rifle and he raised and aimed at us and fired.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Today started like any other Monday at the Navy Yard in the nation`s capital. But just after 8 a.m., everything changed when witnesses say at least one gunman suddenly out of nowhere appeared and opened fire.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

WARD: I heard three shots, pow, pow, pow, and 30 seconds later I heard four more shots.

PUTZO: When that happened everyone said this is no drill. Go, go, go. Emergency exits now. Go, go, go.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Now, cops have identified the dead suspect as this man, 34-year-old Aaron Alexis. We`re told Alexis moved from Texas to the nation`s capital to do military information technology work after being discharged from the military for, quote, "a pattern of misconduct." Hmm.

We`re now learning the FBI has swarmed, four agents swarming his old place of employment, a Thai restaurant in Texas, where he worked as a delivery man and a waiter sometimes.

Alexis`s life appeared to be on some kind of downward spiral. He was discharged, as we mentioned, from the military, and friends are telling us Alexis was very upset about losing money and losing friends.

Listen to this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He wanted to get more out of life. He wanted to do more. He got that job with that company, and he felt like that was his way to really -- to really advance. Like I said, he complained to me. He called me several months ago, saying that they didn`t pay him, his car was broke down, he didn`t know what he was going to do.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: We will talk live to Aaron Alexis, the suspect`s, former landlord in just a second. Plus, we`re live at the site where the families are being reunited with their loved ones as we speak. The naval yard in lockdown for hours today.

I want to hear from you about this obscenity, this completely senseless violence. Call me: 1-877-JVM-SAYS, 1-877-586-7297.

Now, in the Lion`s Den today we have a team of experts, including Shawn Henry, former executive assistant director of the FBI. We also have a witness to the shooting.

But I want to go to Michelle Sigona, investigative reporter. You are on the scene in D.C. You have been looking at this chaos and hearing about people who are describing the carnage that occurred earlier today. Take us there and tell us what the mood is like, Michelle.

MICHELLE SIGONA, INVESTIGATIVE REPORTER (via phone): Right now, Jane, I am standing at Third and Penn (ph) Street Southeast. This is the last stopping place before you get into the Navy Yard.

I can tell you right now it`s quieter out here. We know there are just dozens and dozens of media people. There`s reporters; there`s camera men. There`s buses that have been filing. They`re filing in. They`re picking up people; they`re bringing them out. I`ve spoken with dozens of people today that not only worked at the Navy Yard but also have family members who are still stuck in there.

One guy, he works at the Pentagon, I just spoke with him. He told me he`s still waiting for his wife. Some of these people have been held up inside of these buildings since very early this morning, 8:30, 9 a.m. this morning. They`ll still there right now possibly or at least in an area around there.

And what I`ve been told from a lot of them that are coming out is that they`re clearing floor by floor by floor. And as people file out, there is an investigator or investigators that are out there. They`re writing down information; they`re writing down names. They`re doing everything that they can investigative wise to gather as many nuggets as possible before they let these people go. That`s where it stands right now.

None of the people inside are -- that have cars back there are allowed to take the cars. They have no idea when they`re going to be able to get these vehicles. But it`s really, for some folks, a sit and wait kind of game.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: And we just learned that they have recovered one weapon from inside that building, Building 197 where all this carnage erupted in this vast naval facility. They describe it as a long gun. So does that mean that they are still looking for another suspect?

We`re going to update you on that in a moment with a CNN reporter who is right on the scene, as to are they looking for that second guy that they`ve been describing all day?

Now, we are going to talk now to somebody who knew this shooter very well, this mass shooter who gunned down a dozen people and injured about a dozen others, some of whom are in surgery as we speak right now.

As cops struggle to find a motive, a why behind today`s really horrific, obscene shooting rampage, friends of the deceased shooter, Aaron Alexis, are speaking out, and they`re shedding light on who this guy was. Listen to this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MICHAEL RITROVATO, ALEXIS`S FRIEND: If he did that, I just don`t know. I mean, I had no idea. To me, living with me, even my customers when I first started business, it was him who would help me out all the time. And all the customers that know him. He`s very nice, talking to people. And we became, like, best friends. We stayed at the same house for three years.

JOHN ZARRELLA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: You met him at the Buddhist temple down the street?

RITROVATO: Yes.

ZARRELLA: So to you, he`s always been a peaceful guy?

RITROVATO: Always.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Is it possible this suspect, Aaron Alexis, was overly involved in the fantasy world of shooting video games and becoming increasingly isolated? Could that loneliness have caused him to snap?

I want to go to Somsak Srisan, a former landlord of this mass shooter, Aaron Alexis, speaking out of Ft. Worth, Texas.

Thank you for joining us, sir. Can you hear me?

SOMSAK SRISAN, FORMER LANDLORD OF ALEXIS (via phone): Yes.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Tell me what you know about this man, Aaron Alexis. Describe him.

SRISAN: OK. I know him from the temple. He was a good boy. He was a good boy, and he come to the temple. And after I know him from the temple about -- probably about two or three months, that`s when I see him, after that he looking for the house, so I had the house behind the temple. So he come to rent in my house, and he lived in my house about eight months, after that he moved.

But basically, he lived in the house -- my house, and all the time he come to temple. Looked like he was a good boy from any eyes.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Did he have a temper problem? Because we`re hearing...

SRISAN: No.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: ... that he had a very bad temper problem.

SRISAN: No, not any problem. Anybody -- everybody in the temple really like him, really love him because he, like I say, he`s a good boy, you know.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: I understand that he was fluent in the Thai language, but we are also learning...

SRISAN: He tried to learn, yes.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: We`re also learning that he had a history -- a history of violence, and he was arrested twice: once for shooting a gun off in his apartment. And he basically shot through the floor, and it narrowly missed a neighbor. And another time he allegedly fired three shots into some tires in another situation where he had lost his temper.

Sir, did you ever see any evidence of guns?

SRISAN: No, I never seen him carry a gun. I never seen him. I don`t know he had the weapon. Like, I never see -- I never see it. And like I say, he`s a good boy and everybody like him. And he polite with everybody.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, thank you, sir. If you could stand by for a second, we`re going to go to Brian Todd, CNN correspondent, who is live near the scene where all this is going down.

Brian, we have learned moments ago that authorities recovered a weapon described as a long gun. Are they still thinking another possible suspect, and if so, what`s the status of that?

BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Jane, they are at least looking for a possible second suspect but they`re reiterating that it`s only possible. There could be something they -- a situation later where they clear that person, because there was that situation earlier where they thought there were two additional suspects, and they cleared one of them.

So a possible second suspect is being sought now, identified as a man about 50 years old wearing olive drab clothing. And that suspect was described earlier as carrying a long gun. So if there was a weapon, indeed, recovered recently, that would speak to that.

But again, officials not confirming that this is a tangible suspect right now. They are looking for someone who could be a possible second suspect.

The main suspect, the deceased shooter identified as 34-year-old Aaron Alexis of the Ft. Worth, Texas, area.

We do have some details about some of the past incidents that he was involved in. According to police in Seattle, he was involved in an incident there in 2004, where he became apparently angered at some construction workers in a park near his grandmother`s house.

According to a police report then, he fired shots at a car, at the tires of a car belonging to a construction worker, and apparently, according to the police report, he had blacked out. This was an incident fueled by anger, and he blacked out and he did not remember it.

There was another incident in 2010, which I believe you were just talking about, where he allegedly fired a shot -- or at least one shot through the floor of a neighbor above him in an apartment building. I believe what authorities have said, that when he was questioned by police after that, he said that he was cleaning his gun and that that was an accident. But you have at least these two reported incidents in the past. Now, do not be...

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Brian, let me just ask you this question because this is what I really want to clarify and I`m confused about. We are told that Aaron Alexis was discharged following a pattern of misconduct from the military. OK.

But we`re also told by the secretary of the Navy that Aaron Alexis was an information technology contractor with the Navy. So how can he have a history where you`re shooting up tires and get discharged from the Navy for doing something wrong and then end up as an information technology contractor?

TODD: Jane, these are questions that authorities are going to be asking in the coming days and trying to get answers to. Obviously, you know, when -- when people leave the military and then they`re hired as civilian contractors later, that`s a huge amount of people you`re talking about that matriculate into the civilian world and then are hired as contractors, backed by the military.

And a lot of them, I guess, are you know, subject to background checks, but maybe this is one that could have slipped through, or at least it didn`t come through on any background check when he was hired, apparently, as a civilian contractor.

But again, these are questions that have to be asked, and hopefully, we`ll be getting answers to those in the next coming days. How was he hired back? How did he get on this base? That`s another big question that authorities are not able to answer at this hour. How did he get on the base? This is a very secure base behind us, the Navy Yard; 3,000 employees work here, most of them civilians. You do have to have some clearance. You have to have I.D. to get on the base.

The authorities up until just a few minutes ago have not been able to answer the question of how he got on the base. So again, that is something else that -- that investigators are going to be trying to determine.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: We have to go to break. We`ve got so much to talk about, but I have to ask you one quick question. Brian Todd, is it possible that he was an I.T. contractor doing work at the base? In other words, could he have had a pass to get onto the base and just happened to use that opportunity to have this murderous meltdown?

TODD: It is possible that he could have been working at the base as a civilian contractor at the time of these shootings. But again, we don`t know that. We are told by officials here that he was an I.T. contractor for the Navy, that he was 34 years old, and he was a -- was a former enlisted man. But again, whether he was actually working here at the time, I think that has yet to be determined.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Thank you so much for that report, Brian Todd. Appreciate you coming on.

We`ve got a team of experts in the Lion`s Den who are going to try to answer these questions. We`re just getting started telling you about this suspect`s very, very upsetting and unsettling background. He played violent video games. He`s a loner. He had a chip on his shoulder. He`s angry about being owed money.

He had a dustup with his friend because his friend said, "Hey, I`m getting married. You`re going to have to leave." And he got -- This is an angry guy, an angry guy with management -- anger management problems. We`re going to analyze it on the other side. Stay right there.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

PUTZO: We came out of the office and said, "What was that?" About a minute later, we heard a very loud pop, which couldn`t have been more than -- we estimated about 100 feet away. When that happened, everyone said this is no drill. Go, go, go. Emergency exits now.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: She heard the guy?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: She saw the guy, actually, shooting one of her coworkers.

WARD: We froze up, because we didn`t know which direction to go to. And I`m getting out of here, I`m running. I`m running. They were trying to keep us in the cafeteria and I`m like, no, I`m running.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: And we`ve got new information just in. Police are now searching a hotel room where this suspect is believed to have been staying at in Washington, D.C. This man believed to be the mass shooter who killed 12 people and injured a dozen more. This 34-year-old suspect was gunned down right at the scene, but who is this character?

We know this. He was born in New York City. In 2004 he was charged with malicious mischief for allegedly shooting out the tires on another man`s car in a rage incident.

Three years later he joins the Navy, works as an aircraft electrician, and after joining the Navy, he also had trouble with the law. Just three years ago he was charged with discharging a firearm for allegedly shooting through the floor and into the ceiling of a woman`s apartment.

Then about three years ago he`s discharged from the military following a, quote, "a pattern of misconduct." Since then he`s been on ready reserve, but he hasn`t been called and he`s remained in Ft. Worth, Texas, doing odd jobs like doing a -- being a waiter at a French restaurant and delivering food.

But the secretary of the Navy says that he worked as an information technology contractor with the Navy. So straight out to the Lion`s Den.

And I`ve got to start with Shawn Henry, president of Cloud Strikes Services, former executive assistant director of the FBI.

Sir, could the Navy have a problem here in terms of, if he had two prior gun incidents and then he`s discharged from the Navy for a pattern of misconduct, but then he comes back as an information technology contractor? Or could the civilian company that may have hired him have a problem?

SHAWN HENRY, FORMER EXECUTIVE ASSISTANT DIRECTOR, FBI: Certainly, those are the questions that investigators will be asking over the next few days and weeks. It`s really not clear how he was hired, what the results were or the issues surrounding his discharge. But those are the types of questions that will be answered over the -- over the next few days.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Wendy -- Wendy Murphy, there`s a problem here. I mean, this guy is scary. He`s a loner. He fights with everybody and my gosh, his own father basically said that he`s got anger management problems and PTSD, saying Alexis had been an active participant in rescuing people on 9/11, and he`s suffering from posttraumatic stress disorder.

WENDY MURPHY, FORMER PROSECUTOR: Look, the category of people who`ve had trouble in their lives, especially in the aftermath of service to our country, have PTSD and then struggle with mental issues, they don`t go around shooting anybody, much less executing in mass style. So I -- I`m not buying it. I`m not buying that this guy did this because he was angry about something.

I know there are reports out there that he didn`t get paid on some contract. It`s still not the way you resolve those kinds of issues.

Plus, let me be very frank here, the fact that we`re not hearing a lot of details and we`re not seeing the video footage of the so-called other guy with the long gun, that tells me that this was not about anger. If there were two guys involved, this story is way darker than one guy upset about money.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Jon Leiberman.

JON LEIBERMAN, HLN CONTRIBUTOR: Well, there`s a couple of interesting things, Jane. No. 1, this guy was indeed arrested in 2004 and 2010, but he wasn`t charged. And of course, then he wasn`t prosecuted, wasn`t convicted. So that`s one thing.

The second thing is it`s kind of a tale of two different guys.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, we found out about it. We found out about it in no time at all. Continue on.

LEIBERMAN: Right, but I`m basically -- I`m basically saying that, while the warning signs were there, he was never convicted of anything. He was let off easy on both of those charges.

But it`s kind of a tale of two different guys, Jane. If you look back into his record, he actually got the Global War on Terrorism Service Medal and the National Defense Service Medal, as well. So it`s kind of, like I said, a tale of two different guys here.

What`s interesting to me, it goes along with what Wendy was saying, but it`s very rare that the FBI comes out and says, "We`re releasing these pictures because we want tips about this guy. We want to know everywhere he lived. We want to know everything about him." It tells me that he is a mystery to the bureau, as well.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right. We`re going to go to a witness who saw this all go down. But I want to give Areva Martin a chance to weigh in on this loner, videogame-playing loner with a chip on his shoulder.

AREVA MARTIN, ATTORNEY: Yes, I just want to raise the question, Jane, about these employees who have been a part of the military, then go get civilian jobs and contractors. They`re making a big deal about this. But there are hundreds, if not thousands, of ex-service people who`ve worked with these civilian contract companies.

And as the other experts have said, the fact that he doesn`t have a conviction, not likely that he would be denied access to one of these jobs. So I think you`re going to have to look at, what is the background checks that are done?

VELEZ-MITCHELL: When you shoot up somebody`s tires in an anger-fueled blackout and can`t remember firing the gun at the victim`s vehicle until an hour after the incident and then the father says he had anger management problems associated with PTSD, I think that that`s somebody who`s red flag, red flag, red flag, red flag.

Stay right there. On the other side we`re going to talk to Felix Rivera, a witness who was there when it all went down. He`s going to tell us what he saw.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He didn`t come out of his room. Like I said, played a lot of the online games where they were shooting all the time. And we were joking about that sometime, because they were like, his computer screen was like -- like it was big. It was like wow, you know. It`s like "You`re shooting people a lot," you know? We would talk about that.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TODD BRUNDIDGE, WITNESS: The fire alarm went off first, and I was on the phone. And somebody came by my desk and said, "Hey, this is not a fire alarm. Somebody has been shot in the building."

So we went around and tried to get people out of the building. And as we were exiting the back door, people seen him down the hall. As we stepped around the corner, we heard shots. And as he came around the corner, he aimed the gun at us. And then he fired at least two or three shots.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Carnage and chaos because of this guy who shot 12 people dead and injured 12 others in the D.C. Navy Yard. Specifically, Building 197.

At one point we`re told he was on the fourth floor of Building 197. This is in the nation`s capital, in the naval yard. OK? Right -- not far from Capitol Hill and the White House, as you see there. And apparently, in this Building 197, he was firing from the fourth floor down into an atrium at anybody he could hit and then moving around the building and confronting people in the hallways.

We have a witness, Felix Rivera. Now, Felix works near the naval yard. He`s going to work, and tell us what happened, Felix. You get a call, I think from your wife. What did you see? What did you hear?

FELIX RIVERA, WITNESS (via phone): OK. As I was heading towards my job on New Jersey Avenue and N Street, my wife called and tells me there was a shooting and to be careful. And that`s what spouses do; they look out for you.

So as I was walking towards N Street, right on the corner, there was a gentleman on the ground, and I`m thinking he must have been one of the victims. But later on, I heard that that gentleman actually had a heart attack.

So there`s plenty of folks gawking and gauging and looking. And I`m trying to rush into the building, because they were saying that the guys had military uniforms. It was one person, two person. So I`m trying to get into the Department of Transportation, because it`s safe in there.

And so I rushed in there and they -- shortly thereafter, they put us on lockdown. So it was maybe about 8:30 that I got into the building. And they locked us down, and we did not leave the building until at least 3:30.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Unbelievable.

RIVERA: So all I could see was -- yes, all I could see was just the - - the chaos outside and the police presence and helicopters and that kind of stuff.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: And what was the feeling, I mean, to be on lockdown and not know what the heck is going on? It`s a naval facility. You know that these people may look like military, at least that`s what we heard initially. And again, these people turn out, one was -- one potential suspect was cleared. One was ultimately killed, and they`re looking for another possible suspect at this hour right now.

But what was -- describe the mood. You`re on lockdown in there. Oh, my gosh.

RIVERA: Well, in a sense it was terrifying, because I go back to the D.C. snipers, and if these guys were wearing uniforms, everybody wears uniforms down there.

So my first reaction was I`m trying to get into the building because at least I know I`ll be safe in there. Folks were just gauging it like it was some kind of entertainment. I think folks have just become so desensitized about shootings nowadays that for some people it doesn`t faze them.

But I know that I don`t need to be out in the open. I need to get inside, and that was my first reaction, was to get inside. And the reaction and the feeling inside the building after it went on lockdown, folks were really all like -- they were more concerned about they wanted to get out and go get lunch.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Let me say this, Felix. First of all, I`m happy that you`re safe. Thousands of people were on lockdown. There`s 3,000 people in the Navy Yard, and then there`s people in neighboring buildings that were on lockdown for hours, many of them having absolutely no idea what was going on. Those in the inner offices that didn`t have windows. I heard somebody describe they`re on lockdown. They`re texting each other, trying to figure out what`s going on.

All right. Stay right there. We`re just getting started. We`re diving deep into the back story of the suspect and his PTSD and his anger management problems. Why was he in the Navy Yard? How did he get in?

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right. Stay right there. We`re just getting started. We`re diving deep into the back story of the suspect and his PTSD and his anger management problems. Why was he in the Navy Yard? How did he get in?

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I heard three shots -- pow, pow, pow.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Get everyone out of the building right now. Get everyone out of the building because there`s someone shooting.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Just immediately started being confused and scared and shaking.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He was far enough down the hall that we couldn`t see his face but we could see him with the rifle and he raised and aimed fired at us and fired.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: They were quick shots like bam, bam, bam.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I`m fairly certain he is dead because he was shot in the head.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He came around the corner, he aimed his gun at us and then he fired at least two or three shots.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Then two seconds later -- bam, bam, bam -- I just started running.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well we are learning new information just in about this mass shooter Aaron Alexis, 34 years old, born in New York City. Last home address Fort Worth but apparently was staying in a hotel in the Washington, D.C. area, a hotel that is being pored over right now by FBI agents who are looking for information.

And I just got this just in from Hewlett Packard -- ok. This is a statement you can attribute to a Hewlett Packard spokesperson. "We`re deeply saddened by today`s tragic events at the Washington Navy Yard. Our thoughts and sympathies are with all of those who`ve been affected.

Aaron Alexis -- that`s the suspect -- was an employee of a company called The Experts, a subcontractor to Hewlett Packard Enterprise Services Contract to refresh equipment used on the Navy Marine Corps intranet network. HP -- Hewlett Packard -- is cooperating fully with law enforcement as requested."

I want to go to Shawn Henry, again, president of CrowdStrike services, former executive assistant director FBI. Listening to that, what does that tell you sir about this suspect`s possible role at that Navy Yard?

SHAWN HENRY, PRESIDENT, ROWDSTRIKE SERVICES: Well that certainly could have been one of the ways he had access to that facility if he was working as a contractor responsible for deploying equipment and that sort of thing. I could tell you that the FBI now will be talking to his colleagues, to his employers, his coworkers there to do everything that they can to try and flush this out and to get as much information as they can about not only him but any potential co-conspirators that might have been involved with him or any future acts.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, Wendy Murphy, former prosecutor, author of "Justice for Some", you have made a big point about the fact that they`re still searching for another possible suspect. What is your point there because this sounds like a man who`s having a personal private meltdown? I don`t know. But it sounds like somebody in a downward spiral that would tend to indicate a person acting alone and yet they are looking for another possible suspect tonight.

WENDY MURPHY, FORMER PROSECUTOR: Yes. I mean that`s what struck me when I first heard reports about this story. The idea that he was acting alone first of all seemed implausible given the amount of carnage and the number of guns. And by the way, reports also indicate that some of the weapons are still missing. So if there`s a man, a co-conspirator still potentially missing and some of the weapons are missing, I mean at a minimum it means he had help.

Either the guy is angry for some reason perhaps related to his contract job there and this is just classic workplace violence of an exponentially high dimension compared to most or there`s something more to the story.

But why would he have help? Who would help him? Was it another military person? You can`t just get on a military base with big guns. I`ve been there. I know I`ve tried cases for victims in court martial proceedings on navy bases. You can`t just go through the gates, especially after 9/11.

He had to have been employed there in some capacity. He had to have the credential to get through the gate. But the question is what kind of security lets those kinds of guns through?

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, ok. Very quickly we want to go -- we have somebody live at the scene, a correspondent who`s talking about reunion of family. But Jon Leiberman, very quickly.

JON LEIBERMAN, HLN CONTRIBUTOR: I was just going to say another thing they`re going to do is go through all of his electronics, any computer that he touched either at the workplace or a personal computer to look for motive.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: We`ve got to go to Rene Marsh CNN correspondent live in the area of a stadium where families are being reunited with their loved ones. Rene -- 3,000 people work at the Navy Yard. When this horror unfolded this morning, people didn`t know whether their loved ones inside were ok or not. You`re talking about thousands of people who had no idea whether their loved one was one of the either 12 people killed or the 12 injured. What`s happening?

RENE MARSH, CNN CORREPONDENT: Right. Not only did they know that their loved ones worked at the Navy Yard but in some cases I met one woman who knew that her husband worked in the exact building where the shooting happened and on the exact floor where she heard the shooting happened. So just imagine what she was feeling when she arrived here.

Well, I can tell you tell you, there was supposed to be a baseball game happening tonight, but instead this is the staging area for family members. It`s also the area where all of those folks who were on the Navy Yard campus at the time of the shooting, they`re being bussed in all day. We`ve seen buses pull up in front of National Stadium here dropping off the employees. They`re either making their way to the metro to go home or they`re being met by family members.

I`ve been here all morning. And as I was walking here to National Stadium, I bumped into a navy commander who was in that exact building where the shots were fired. He was in charge of evacuating the building.

You`re going to hear from him in just a second. But let me set it up for you. He says that during the evacuation, a maintenance worker came up to him to alert him that a shooting was happening. He was, of course, already aware of this. But while they were talking that worker was shot right in front of him. Take a listen to that sound.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

COMMANDER TIM JURIS, WITNESS: He walked up and told me that he heard that there was a shooter in our building. And we were just standing here maybe three feet away having a conversation and then we heard two more gun shots and he went down and that`s when I ran.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MARSH: All right. So he ran for his life. You can see there he was ok. In speaking to him, not a lot of emotion from him but when you look deep into his eyes, I would venture to guess that this may be something that really starts sinking in maybe tomorrow, maybe days to come. Go ahead, Jane.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Rene, let me ask you this question. First of all, I was hoping maybe you could just step aside or have your photographer point to the right because we`re really curious to see what this looks like where everybody is coming back. And have all the terrible -- this tragic situation, 12 people dead, 12 people injured -- is your understanding that the families of those who died and been injured that they know who they are?

That`s what I`m curious about -- Rene.

MARSH: Right. Well, ok. This is the scene that you`re looking at here. It`s kind of quiet now. And again hour after hour we`re seeing buses come by. But I would venture to guess that most of the people have been bussed to this location already. We have not bumped into anyone who was a family member of possibly one of the deceased. Most of these people who are here who have reported to this scene, they simply are here, they have been in phone contact with their family member, they knew that their family member was ok.

The feeling is that next of kin was contacted for the people who obviously did not survive. And those people were not told to come to this destination. They obviously were told to go some place else -- Jane

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Wow. Well, Rene, thank you so much for that excellent report and thank you for setting the scene for us. We love to see what`s going on behind the scenes there.

When we come back, we`re going the talk about how this person got to this location with a long gun and apparently he was at the fourth floor shooting at an atrium and gunning people down at one point.

Stay right there.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Running and a lot of confusion. People didn`t -- people, you know, they were concerned. They were running away from Building 197. A lot of people were yelling that they go to their muster point. That`s about it. People were confused.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

NAVY CAPT. MARK VANDROFF, WITNESS: Within literally two to three minutes, metropolitan police officers were on the scene. Now internal security had already engaged, identified and engaged the suspect. We already had victims down at that point. Within seven minutes we had active shooter teams inside the building moving through the building. There were multiple engagements with the suspect that was eventually decreased.

Both Metropolitan Police and Park Police, our preliminary information got into a final gun battle with the suspect that is deceased. But there were multiple incidents within that time frame in which there was a gunfight with the suspect that was deceased.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: A dozen innocent people gunned down at the Navy Yard in D.C. You`re looking at Google Earth Street View of where all of this occurred. A Pentagon official tells CNN that the Defense Department is now treating this as a mass casualty incident just as they would in a war zone. I`m getting this in just as we speak.

That means the identities of those killed will be made public by the Pentagon 24 hours after the last family member on the entire list is notified. So it could be days before we find out who these innocent victims of Aaron Alexis, the shooter, are.

The shooter -- the mass shooter is believed to be deceased although they are looking for one other possible, possible suspect. We`ll talk about that in a second.

First I want to go to Michelle Segona, investigative reporter in D.C. near the scene. You`ve been talking to people -- you know something new. Tell us.

MICHELLE SEGONA, INVESTIGATIVE REPORTER: That`s right Jane. I`m near End Street and North Capital which is on the side where the families (inaudible) we`ve seen reunited. I`ve been bouncing back and forth all day long between the last spot racing up to the Navy Yard and up to this spot.

I`ve just talked to a few people that got off some of these buses. They`ve been trapped in that building since early this morning. They`re tired. They`re ready to go home. They can`t get their vehicles. But they`re in good spirits especially as for what they`ve -- the kind of stress that they`ve been under.

Earlier today I spoke with to a captain from the Navy. He was actually inside a conference room. He helped to barricade that conference room with a table. It had two bullet holes right in that same particular room that he was in. Thankfully when he came out, he was obviously full of adrenaline and ready to share what had happened to him. But those are the types of stories that are coming out of here today.

Some of the people did hear shots, may have witnessed some things. Some people were just in surrounding buildings. But as you can imagine, this particular area in Washington, D.C. it`s really kind of affected everything. And the streets from early this morning when I got here until now, now everything is really being roped off; before you had a little bit more access. Right now they`re taping things out.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes, and again, I am just sitting here as you`re speaking listening to you and I want to compliment the heroic and fast work of law enforcement.

SEGONA: Absolutely.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: They responded so, so quickly. And let me tell you, the police chief said it and it`s so true. So many people --

(CROSSTALK)

SEGONA: -- I mean all law enforcement officers -- federal, local, D.C., but the ones, you saw them in that chopper earlier today, lowering those baskets, trucking every single one of those victims or whomever they were getting off of that roof and bringing them up to safety. That -- I`m telling what -- that is skilled profession and a lot of hard work right there. Every single first responder out here today needs to be commended for sure.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Absolutely. They are heroes and we heard it. What they did was they pulled together some sharp shooters very quickly who went in there and got the shooter and knocked him down, gunned him down. And had they not done so, he could have killed a lot more people because he had what the doctors say, according to what the witnesses in the hospital told them, a semi automatic weapon. So it`s pop, pop, pop, pop, he could have killed so many more people had they not taken him out very, very quickly.

We`re going to take a very short break. On the other side we`re going to analyze the security angle. How did this man get into this high security area even though he has this whole history of problems, shooting out tires, shooting guns through walls and yet he was an IT contractor? So we`re going to talk about that.

Stay right there.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If you work there and you have the identification to get in there are no magnetometers, people don`t search your car when you come on the base. So if you have the proper identification you can get in just like any other installation.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ANTHONY LITTLE, BROTHER IN LAW: When I got here they were very distraught, very stressed out, tears; very (inaudible) very hurtful. My hearts are going out more to the victims -- the people that got hurt. More lives lost.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: That just in, the suspect -- the now dead suspect`s brother-in-law speaking out. Now, here`s the thing. Areva Martin, I want to ask about this. He had shot out nine years ago some tires, and he said, he told the cops, well, he had been mocked by the construction workers and they had disrespected him and then he went into an anger-fueled blackout. And he said the tragic events of 9/11 where he had helped rescue people, had created PTSD. Do you buy it?

AREVA MARTIN, ATTORNEY: I don`t buy, Jane, the connection between those incidents you just described and the mass shooting we see today. But I do think the shooting is going to cause us to look at the background checks and what information are we getting about these independent contractors who work for the military. Because they`re being given badges and access to bases like we`re watching today -- this Navy Yard, and they can take guns in.

He had an ID so he was allowed access to the yard, and we don`t know what Hewlett-Packard did. We don`t know what the sub contractor that they hired did to check this guy`s background and to make sure that he wasn`t a danger to the men and women that work on this (inaudible) Navy Yard.

So I think it`s going to cause us to look at the government. What are we doing to secure these yards and make sure that these private companies are not overlooking things that should be and might be red flags for mass shootings like today?

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Every one of these incidents, horrific or an opportunity to learn, and change procedures.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Ok. The shooter was employed by a company subcontracted from HP.

Wendy Murphy, final thoughts.

MURPHY: I think there`s no question more than one guy is involved. The "L.A. Times" is reporting that an ID from yet another disgruntled former employee was found at the scene. If this is a couple of angry --

(CROSSTALK)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: And we`ll have more of this tomorrow.

Nancy next.

END