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ERIN BURNETT OUTFRONT
Alexis Bought Shotgun Three Days Ago; Navy Yard Gunman Told Police He Heard Voices; Remembering Navy Yard Shooting Victims; Interview with Rep. Michael McCaul
Aired September 17, 2013 - 19:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ERIN BURNETT, CNN HOST: Good evening, everyone. I am Erin Burnett, and OUTFRONT tonight, we begin with major new developments in the Navy Yard shootings. Signs missed, outrage justified tonight. Today mourning in Washington for the victims, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel and the Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman, Martin Dempsey placing a wreath at the Washington's U.S. Navy Memorial Plaza. They were honoring the victims. The investigation is moving quickly and here's what we can report at this hour.
We have new video tonight and this is a big development, gunman, Aaron Alexis' car, towed away from the Washington hotel where he was staying just before the massacre. They're obviously looking to see if they can find any evidence there. In August, Alexis told police he was hearing voices in his head.
And just three days ago, Alexis visited a gun shop in Northern Virginia. There he purchased a Remington 870 shotgun, and approximately two boxes of ammunition. We also now know tonight that Alexis had a long record of disciplinary issues including those eight instances of misconduct while on duty in the Navy.
And the spokesman for the Navy just moments ago, telling CNN that that misconduct, included not showing up for work and insubordination. Spokesman also saying Alexis clearly was not a sailor who had a stellar record. Still, the Navy chose to discharge Alexis honorably. And the Navy wasn't alone.
The company that employed Alexis as a contractor after that discharge says he went through a Defense Department background check last September. His security clearance was re-cleared just this past July. How did this happen?
We have all the breaking news on this still developing story tonight as our reporters hit every detail and we will be joined by the chairman of the Homeland Security Committee. I want to begin, though, with Joe Johns, with the latest developments -- Joe.
JOE JOHNS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): As the city of Washington starts on the long road back to normalcy, dramatic new details are emerging of the attack that left 12 victims dead, including a fuller description of the running gun battles between the gunman and active shooter teams. CHIEF CATHY LANIER, WASHINGTON METRO POLICE: Literally 2 minutes after the call was dispatched, we had officers at the gates arriving on the scene. Within 7 minutes, had officers at the building, entering the building to engage active shooter as shots were actively being fired.
JOHNS: A picture is also emerging of the troubled last weeks of the shooter, Aaron Alexis, a man who friends say cycled between outgoing, friendly and present on one day to dark and troubled. August 7th, police in Rhode Island reported speaking with Alexis about a harassment complaint. On August 25th, authorities say he arrived in the Washington area, and on September 7th, he checked in to a Residence Inn Hotel in Southwest D.C., where he was apparently staying up until the shooting on the 16th.
VALERIE PARLAVE, FBI WASHINGTON FIELD OFFICE: At this time we believe that Mr. Alexis entered Building 197 at the Navy Yard with a shotgun. We do not have any information at this time that he had an AR-15 in his possession. We also believe Mr. Alexis may have gained access to a handgun once inside the facility and after he began shooting.
JOHNS: Just two days before the shooting, Alexis went to a firearm practice range in Northern Virginia and legally purchased a .12-gauge shotgun and two boxes of shells, according to a lawyer who represents the store.
JOHNS: A lot of questions tonight, also, about the motive, I asked the authorities in charge of the investigation today whether the shooter had any specific business contacts with the offices he visited during the rampage. They declined to answer -- Erin.
BURNETT: Joe Johns, thank you very much and big developments on that gun.
And our second story, OUTFRONT, is hearing voices in his head. This may amaze you, but there are new details tonight about the shooter and mental illness. You just heard Joe Johns talk about Alexis fearing he was being followed or harassed.
And Deb Feyerick is OUTFRONT with more on this part of the story and what you've been reporting talking to people today you've been able to ascertain, he was hearing voices, and he was afraid.
DEBORAH FEYERICK, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes. He really was and it was about six weeks ago that Alexis told police that he was hearing these voices. These are people he did not see but he was convinced that they were out to hurt him. It happened on August 7th, about 6:30 in the morning. Police were called to his hotel room. He told them that, in fact, he'd gotten into an argument with a man on his way, on the flight from Virginia to Rhode Island.
And that he believed that the man had sent other people to harass him, to quote, "follow him, and keep him awake by both talking to him, but also by sending vibrations through his body." Alexis actually moved hotels three times, but the voices still didn't go away. At the second hotel, on the Navy base, he said that the voices, the same voices were talking to him through the walls, the floor, the ceiling.
He told police he didn't see anyone, but he believed it was two men, one woman, and that they were, in his words, quote, "using some sort of microwave machine to send the vibrations through the ceiling to penetrate his body so he couldn't fall asleep."
When police questioned him he told them that there was no history of mental illness in his family and that there was never any sort of mental episode, but he did say that this was the first time he was hearing these voices. But he was convinced it was unlike anything he'd heard and that they were, in fact, out to hurt him.
BURNETT: And then, now according to your reporting, police took this information, and they actually went to the naval base, and told the Navy. So the Navy knew.
FEYERICK: Well, somebody at the Navy absolutely knew. The police thought it was so significant, because of the implications of having a Navy contractor on the base, thinking that he was being followed, hearing voices, that they called up the Navy station police officer, who said that he would look into the report.
They actually faxed him or sent him the report, and that officer said he would check in to it, and see whether, in fact, he was a contractor, we spoke to -- we tried to reach both the navy, as well as the FBI, but neither of them commented on what, if anything, was ever done with this piece of information -- Erin.
BURNETT: This is going to be one of the biggest questions out there. All right, Deb Feyerick with that breaking news tonight. I want to bring in Tim Clemente now, former FBI counterterrorism expert.
Tim, you just heard Deb reporting that he heard these voices, that the police in Rhode Island felt that this was significant enough, given that this man was a Navy contractor that they wanted to tell the Navy base and they did tell the Navy base. Is there any way that you can get around this without saying, some horrible mistake happened somewhere at the Navy?
TIM CLEMENTE, FORMER COUNTERTERRORISM AGENT, FBI: Erin, there's no doubt about it, that there were lots of things that fell through the cracks in this case. And unfortunately, this is becoming more and more typical. I mean, look at Adam Lanza. Even though he didn't work at a military facility, the symptoms are still there.
And there are people that should have noticed these symptoms, like those police officers did. I'm sure they're not the only people that were told, I'm hearing voices or whatever. I mean, he talked to his father about the PTSD episodes after 9/11, working on the scene there.
So there is a problem of communication around these people who are themselves victims, and then create far worse victims in society. I mean, it wouldn't have mattered if this guy was working in a McDonald's, Erin, his attitude and his death wish was such that he was going to go out and kill people.
And whether he walked in to that McDonald's he worked in or walked into this Navy base, the problem is this guy was a loaded weapon himself, and nobody around him took notice of it enough to bother to do anything about it.
BURNETT: And you know what's shocking here, because obviously there's different ways you can get discharged from the Navy, right? There's dishonorable, general and honorable. General would raise some flags for somebody at some point if that were to happen, but he got honorable.
And to be very fair here to the Navy, in 2010 they began proceedings to try to discharge him under a general discharge, which would put a little bit of a taint against you. They didn't have a legal evidence to do it. Now, explain to me, Tim, how that is legally that we've ended up in a situation like that?
This is a guy who had had prior arrests for gun violence. This is a guy who didn't show up for work. And had insubordination at the U.S. Navy and all of that put together was not enough for them to even give him a general discharge. Never mind dishonorable.
CLEMENTE: Well, I think if we go back to the Seattle case that fell through not the crack, but the chasm there. Because he was arrested for shooting at the contractor's car, and then that arrest never led to a prosecution, because the prosecutors never got the file. They literally never got the paperwork on the arrest and the charges.
And so, if that had gone through to prosecution, if there had been some, some process that had continued, even if he was acquitted in the end, there would have been much more of a paper trail that the Navy could have used to, you know, either give him a dishonorable discharge or give him that general discharge instead of an honorable discharge.
And I'm sure somebody was doing him favors or thinking they were doing him favors by giving him an honorable discharge. And, in fact, what favor was done?
BURNETT: Obviously, very well put. Tim Clemente, thank you very much. I will say after that arrest in Seattle, for gun violence, Alexis actually received security clearance from the U.S. Navy, after that, security clearance good for 10 years. How is this possible? The shooter had a history of arrests and gun violence and we're going to find out how he got the security clearances he need. We have a special investigative report on that later this hour.
Plus the chair of the Homeland Security Committee, plus 12 people lost their lives in yesterday's attacks. We're going to pay tribute to the victims tonight as we found out more information.
And then, Cathy Lanier at the center of this investigation, you now know her face, but you don't know her story and wow is it one worth listening to.
In 19 hours and almost a billion dollars later the "Costa Concordia" finally emerges. We're going to show you exactly how it happened and tell you how much this hunk of junk is worth.
BURNETT: Our third story, OUTFRONT, remembering the victims. Twelve families are grieving tonight for those who were killed in yesterday's senseless mass shooting. The dead were devoted parents, spouses, and siblings. Here is what we know tonight.
BURNETT (voice-over): Kenneth Bernard Proctor, father of two, was a civilian utilities foreman at the Navy Yard. Neighbors of 73- year-old john Roger Johnson say he always had a smile on his face. Mary Frances Knight was 51. She was an information technology contractor who taught at a local community college. Arthur Daniels worked as a handyman at the Navy Yard for 17 years.
Gerald L. Reed, 58, worked in managing data security risks at the Navy Yard. He served during the Korean, Iraq, and Afghanistan wars. Frank Kohler was a senior systems engineer according to "The New York Times." He served his community of Lexington Park, Maryland, as a former president of the rotary club.
The paper also reports 61-year-old Vishnu Pandit was a marine engineer, and a naval architect who dedicated 30 years of his life to the Navy. Kathy Gaarde, 62, had been working in Washington for 38 years. Richard Michael Ridgele spent 17 years with the Maryland State Police before resigning in the year 2000 as a corporal.
Michael Arnold designed ships at the Navy Yard. He was an avid pilot who was working on building his own plane. Sylvia Frasier who was 53 was the second youngest of seven children according to "The Washington Post." She worked at the Naval Sea Systems Command on network security. Martin Bodrog was a naval academy graduate. After more than two decades in the military, he managed the design of ships for the Navy.
BURNETT: Our fourth story, OUTFRONT, is the victims. The 54- year-old Martin Bodrog being remembered as a devoted husband, father of three daughters and active community volunteer. He taught Sunday school and graduated from the Naval Academy in 1981. Obviously, he lost his life so senselessly yesterday.
Selma Nunes worked closely with Martin as a member of the eastern Fairfax young life community.
And Selma, I'm so sorry for your loss. And, you know, it's so hard for anyone not in this situation to imagine what his friends and family are enduring right now. I know you were at the Bodrog home this morning. SELMA NUNES, FRIEND OF SHOOTING VICTIM MARTIN BODROG: Yes.
BURNETT: How were his wife and daughters?
NUNES: They are in good spirits. They are lucky enough to have an amazing community, both church community, they've lived in northern Virginia for a long time, neighbors, people are flying in. They are lucky enough to have a group of -- a lot of people that are surrounding them and just taking care of them. So, they're in good spirits, and they know that he's in a better place, and because of that, they're doing a lot better than most people would in this situation.
BURNETT: Selma, do you remember the first time you met Martin? I mean, what can you tell us about him? I mean, we hear he was designing the ships; some people get this image, I mean that takes such a great dedication and talent. But what do you remember?
NUNES: Well, I remember the first time he saw me. I was in high school and I spoke at a young life fund-raiser benefit. Him and his wife were guests. I shared my story and how much that organization changed my life. And because of my story, him and his wife decided that they wanted to be a part of this organization. I met him three or four years after I graduated college when I joined young life in eastern Fairfax, and he told me that that story changed him, and he has been part of that organization ever since.
And that's the one thing that when I think about Marty, I think about is dedication. And everything he did was purposeful, meaningful, and was intentional. And because of that he did everything with excellence. Whether it was his family, his job, helping with young life, his church, he was just someone that was very intentional in everything that he did.
BURNETT: Which of course is something so many of us wish we had so much more of. What an incredible person.
And Selma, what did you think when you heard that he had been killed yesterday? Obviously you heard the news.
BURNETT: And you knew he worked there and there was a part of you that thought there's no way that he would be one of those people.
NUNES: I'm still hoping that I receive an e-mail from him and this is not true. I was in shock, and I think most of the people in his community are in shock, as well, because he was such a great man. Truly an excellent man, you know, a faithful man, and to think that he is gone, leaving back three children, and a wife, and it's sad and shocking. But we know that he is in a better place. And so, I think many of us are definitely in shock but we're also happy that his life was so fulfilled.
You know, so many people have regrets, and I can say with confidence that he lived the American dream, the fulfilled life, he has an amazing family. He had a great job. He was part of the community in so many ways. You know, most people that are involved in young life do it because their kids are in the school. And his kids were not in the school. He believed in the mission and he believed in being part of the community, whether or not his kids were involved. And I think that says a lot about his character that --
NUNES: That it's not, you know, he cared so much about who he was with, and who he was intentional with, and he was a truly a great man. And I think most of us are just upset that we can't be around him anymore. We can't learn from him.
BURNETT: All right. Well thank you so much for taking the time to share just a little bit about him so that the rest of us get a sense of the horror of what happened and these lives lost.
Thank you, Selma.
NUNES: Thank you for having me.
BURNETT: Well, still to come we are learning more about the shooter tonight. And we are learning more about this background, the multiple gun arrests, and how he got his security clearance. We have a special OUTFRONT investigation. You will see first here tonight.
Plus, Cathy Lanier, at the center of this investigation, you see her there. Tough, smart, pretty, the police chief of Washington, D.C., her story, unbelievable.
And a police officer shoots an unarmed man ten times. That happened in North Carolina. This is a major story. We have a Special Report on whether it was racially motivated.
BURNETT: Our fifth story OUTFRONT, from teen mom and high school dropout to the D.C. chief of police. It's an astounding story. And in the hours after the Navy yard massacre, Cathy Lanier became the face of Washington's response and the investigation. But the path to becoming the top cop hasn't been easy. It hasn't been straight forward, anything but.
Her story, incredible, and Jessica Yellin is OUTFRONT with it.
JESSICA YELLIN, CNN CHIEF WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): D.C. police Chief Cathy Lanier, the no nonsense commander running local response to the Navy yard shooting.
CHIEF CATHY LANIER, WASHINGTON D.C. POLICE DEPARTMENT: Within literally two to three minutes, police officers were on the scene.
YELLIN: In Washington, Lanier is already well-known for her remarkable story. LANIER: I don't know that I would have made the tough choices, and driven myself so hard had I not been in the situation I was in.
YELLIN: This is Lanier at her swearing-in with her mother and son. There she shared her story in moving, personal terms.
LANIER: To my son, Anthony, you were a brilliant child and I was a know it all teenage mom.
YELLIN: Lanier had a baby, dropped out of high school, married, separated, moved in with her single mom, and lived on food stamps all by the age of 17. She says she learned determination from her mother.
LANIER: You had a vision, and your inability to see the negative side kept us all going. So as you watched me over the years I wonder if ever you realized why I was so passionate about my work as a police officer. I wonder if you ever see a bit of yourself in me.
MAYOR VINCENT GRAY (D), WASHINGTON D.C.: Was she as experienced as a human being has been brought to her work?
YELLIN: Washington Mayor Vincent Gray was with Lanier when she visited D.C. police officer Scott Williams, who was injured in the Navy yard shooting.
GRAY: It was not the formality of chief and, you know, and officer Williams. It was almost Scott and Cathy.
YELLIN: Lanier has managed to balance her personal life and professional life from an early age. She got a GED, two masters degrees, and in her early 20s followed her older brother into the police force.
LANIER: Once I came out of the academy and hit the street I knew there was nothing else I would ever want to do.
YELLIN: When Lanier joined the police force in 1990, the city was known as the nation's murder capital. No longer. She's credited with driving down crime without driving a wedge between police and the neighborhoods they work in.
The head of D.C.'s FBI office, Joe Persichini worked with Lanier every day and considers her a close friend.
JOE PERSICHINI, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, D.C. POLICE FOUNDATION: Taking the time to show that compassion, to everyone, is vitally important. And she has that ability. It's just natural.
YELLIN: She has a soft side.
LANIER: They have a little problem here. Ramsey said if I made chief I could never cry in front of my people, and if I felt like I was going to cry I better find the damn bathroom and I don't know where the bathroom is. So I got a problem.
YELLIN: That's clearly no problem when she's on the job. For OUTFRONT, Jessica Yellin, Washington.
BURNETT: Pretty great story.
And still to come, we're just learning about the Navy yard shooter -- misconduct, arrests, mental illness, all of this breaking late today.
And OUTFRONT Special Report, you will see first here on how Aaron Alexis got security clearance from the U.S. Navy.
Plus, there has been confusion over which guns Aaron Alexis had in his possession. We know tonight. We'll tell you. And we will tell you how he got them in that fortified facility.
And the latest from the deadly floods in Colorado, the largest air operations going on since hurricane Katrina. We're going to go live to the scene tonight.
BURNETT: Our sixth story OUTFRONT: a Remington 870 shotgun and approximately two boxes of ammunition. That is what the Navy Yard shooter purchased two days before he killed 12 people, according to the attorney for Sharpshooters Small Arms Range. He also went to a firearm practice range on the same day that he did that purchase.
Chris Lawrence is OUTFRONT. He's outside the gun store. He's the one who broke this news.
And, Chris, tell us else you've learned because, obviously, what he tried to buy or was not able to buy, the test practices that he did at the range in the days before this are crucial.
CHRIS LAWRENCE, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: Exactly right, Erin.
Basically on Saturday afternoon, about a day and a half before he went to the Navy Yard, Aaron Alexis spent a couple hours, I'm told, here. He walked in. He went to the gun range here on site. He used a rifle, and ammunition from the actual shop.
When he was done he came out, and he bought a shotgun. It was that Remington, the Remington model that you just mentioned, the express tactical model, a .12 gauge. He also bought two boxes of ammunition, about 24 shells total. And law enforcement sources say this is the same shotgun and same two boxes of ammunition that he found on him while -- when he was found dead after that shoot-out.
BURNETT: So, now, as people try to figure out where things went wrong and obviously, Chris, as you know we're focusing in on the Navy security clearance in terms of classified data and on the background checks for the contractors and the Navy, but what about at the gun shop? Did they run all the checks that they needed to do? Was everything done by the book perfectly or not? LAWRENCE: They did. They ran the background check through that federal database. You know, the criminal background system, it's a federal database. It's instant. It's done on site. So, he was waiting inside while they ran this, like I said he was here for a couple of hours. The problem was there were no convictions, nothing that was a red flag that would tell the gun shop owners you can't sell this gun to this man.
Here in Virginia, you can't legally buy a handgun with an out-of- state license. But you can buy a rifle or a shotgun. In this case, Aaron Alexis had a valid driver's license from Texas. And it's legal in Texas to take those -- take a shotgun back. So legal in Texas, legal in Virginia, nothing popped up on the background check, and so he was allowed to walk out of the store, after spending about $420 for the shotgun, and with those two boxes of ammunition.
BURNETT: Thank you very much, Chris Lawrence.
And you know, look, you may or may not like those processes but everything here that checks out that it was done the way it should is one thing that then leaves other avenues open.
And that leads us to our seventh story OUTFRONT, which is those security clearance red flags, because as investigators are piecing together bit by bit Aaron Alexis' history the big question is how this man, with a history of mental health issues which were reported to a naval base as recently as August, arrests and gun violations, not only get, but keep a security clearance -- a security clearance which allowed him a certain level of classified information, and, of course, the ability to work as a contractor for the Navy.
Drew Griffin has the latest in this OUTFRONT investigation.
And, Drew, I know you've been breaking all of this news. You're getting some new information tonight.
DREW GRIFFIN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Erin, in fact, in just the last 90 minces or so, we did get new information that's going to change the entire equation of how we look at how this guy got his security clearance. The U.S. Navy is now confirming that Aaron Alexis' initial security clearance came from the Navy, and the military itself, back in 2007.
And that level, secret, which is the middle of the three levels, would have been good for 10 years. So his security status was secure, according to the U.S. military, for 10 years regardless of what happened during those 10 years, and would still be good until the year of 2017. That only partially explains, though, how he was able to keep and attain that security standards when he became a contractor after being kicked, basically, kicked out of the military.
GRIFFIN (voice-over): Here is the fact. Aaron Alexis was getting on to bases all summer long with a military approved pass called a CAC card, with all the approvals and access that came with it.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Mr. Alexis had legitimate access to the Navy Yard. As a result of his work as a contractor, and he utilized a valid pass to gain entry to the building.
GRIFFIN: From July until yesterday morning, Alexis had worked at six military facilities, up and down the Eastern Seaboard, refreshing computers as part of a massive contract. The U.S. Navy Yard would be his seventh job site.
The question, how did he get approved?
Take a look at what we found easily in just one day of searching. A 2004 arrest in Seattle. He would tell police as a New Yorker he was still suffering from the effects of the 9/11 terrorist attack.
In 2007, he joins the Navy, where in nearly four years he has eight disciplinary issues, ranging from insubordination to disorderly conduct. He received non-judicial punishment, a red flag in itself.
And in 2008, Alexis is briefly jailed, in DeKalb County, Georgia, for an outburst that included damaging furnishings and swearing at officers outside a night club. Another red flag.
Then, in Fort Worth, Texas, in 2010, he is arrested again, for firing a bullet through the ceiling of his apartment.
He told police he was cleaning a gun and his hand slipped and pulled the trigger.
Three arrests, possible mental health issues, and a less than exemplary military record.
Former Navy captain and legal security expert Sterling Demarus just can't believe it.
STERLING DEMARUS, SECURITY CLEARANCE LAWYER: I don't think he should have had a clearance. From everything I've seen so far, he slipped through the cracks somehow, some way.
GRIFFIN: The problem may lie just in how many contract employees are needed to run the government, and how many security clearances are needed to get them on the job.
The Project on Government Oversight says there are nearly 5 million Americans with security clearance from the government, and contractors are scrambling to fill positions.
But it still doesn't explain how no one was able to catch the red flags in Aaron Alexis' past. His employer, the experts this afternoon, released a statement again backing up claims Alexis was properly screened, saying, "We enlisted a service to perform two background checks, and we confirmed twice through the Department of Defense his secret government clearance."
The company writes, "The latest background check and security clearance confirmation were in late June of 2013, and revealed no issues other than one minor traffic violation."
BURNETT: Now, Drew, I mean, that's incredible, obviously, because as you said with your search, you were able to find about multiple arrests for violence and guns. And they found one traffic issue. Now, explain what you found out about this, though, because the Navy knew at least that he had a terrible record as a sailor, right? As they said less than stellar.
How did the Navy allow him to leave that institution with a security clearance, which although not the top, was a middle one, a very significant security clearance, security intact?
Yes, officially the answer to that is it's under investigation. Rear Admiral John Kirby with the Navy, the Navy spokesperson, basically explained to me, while this guy was a pretty darn bad sailor with a lot of mistakes along the way, nothing raised the security alarms in terms of the national security alerts that would have been lit leaving the military.
But they are looking into that. Why would he have been allowed to get basically kicked out the Navy, and still retain a security clearance that would last for years, and, quite frankly, make him golden to defense contractors who are eager to hire anybody with a security clearance to fulfill these huge military contracts?
BURNETT: Right. As we keep hearing about all these issues with contractors -- Drew Griffin, thank you very much. Drew Griffin, as we said, with that investigative report here.
I want to bring in now OUTFRONT, Republican Congressman Michael McCaul, chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee.
Chairman McCaul, you just heard that report from Drew Griffin, and I am trying to figure out exactly where to start with you on this. But let's I guess start with this issue, how is it that the Navy, to begin with, could give this person secret clearance, security clearance, when he had been arrested for gun violence in the three years prior to that time? How could that happen? Is that acceptable in any situation?
REP. MICHAEL MCCAUL (R-TX), HOMELAND SECURITY COMMITTEE: I don't think it is. I think your prior piece illustrate all the problems that we're finding with these clearances and who we're issuing them to.
Remember, Alexis had three arrests, one prior to his clearance where he had anger fueled blackouts, according to the police reporting. Yet that was never picked up on. Then, we know that he had the V.A. mental health issues.
There was also a phone call to the Newport Police Department where he said he was hearing voices -- this is really not that long ago -- hearing voices and thought that people were following him around. My understanding that that was reported to the Newport military base, I don't know what was done with that information,
But as you point out, so many flags in the process, and yet those -- it just all slipped through the cracks, unfortunately.
BURNETT: And I can confirm for you, yes, our reporting is that the police in Rhode Island did call that Navy base. But we don't know at this point, either, what that Navy base did. How high up in the Navy that report went about Aaron Alexis hearing voices.
I guess the question to you, though, Chairman McCaul, so what is wrong at the Navy? I mean, is this something you can blame on, oh, they're using outside contractors to do a lot of this screening? Whether it'd be for basic background checks or security clearance? Or is it something more significant than that?
MCCAUL: Well, there's a high demand for clearances on the outside, with the contractors. But clearly, in this case -- you know, here's the big issue, Erin, that concerns me, is we know that al Qaeda and terrorist groups would love to infiltrate or radicalize or find someone that has this access of these clearances to get on a military installation, and cause the type of tragedy that he caused.
So, I think we need a more heightened state of alert when it comes to who we're giving these clearances out to. This is a secret level. This is the U.S. federal government trust of an individual with classified information, but also access to a very sensitive military installation, and yet it looks like there's not enough precautions here in place.
BURNETT: And what about the issue here -- I mean, I'm wondering if you think it's become, you know, too dominated by lawyers and legalese, or how this could have happened?
Because you know, he has all these problems. He doesn't show up for work. He has misconduct. He has gun violence. Not only does he have security clearance, that's one issue, but then when he leaves the Navy, he gets to keep that security clearance and gets an honorable discharge.
When most people look at the list of things this guy did there is no way he deserved an honorable discharge. He deserved a dishonorable discharge most people would say. And the Navy started the proceedings to at least try to get him one level below honorable and they gave up because the laws got in the way.
Now, that doesn't excuse them allowing him to keep the security clearance, I get all that. But what about this issue of the fact that common sense says this guy should have had a dishonorable discharge and the laws got in the way?
MCCAUL: Eight disciplinary actions that were swept under the rug, sounds a little familiar to me. I mean, the political correctness. We saw the same thing with Major Hasan in the Fort Hood shooting. He was promoted. He was passed along. There were signs along the way and no action was taken, and that's precisely the kind of case we want to stop here.
Bledsoe is the other military infiltration case, and yet nothing was done when these flags come up and they're just sweeping it under the rug.
BURNETT: So, when you say political correctness, what do you mean? The fact that there was a mental illness and they didn't want to discriminate based on that specifically as Colonel Kirby has said from the Navy?
MCCAUL: Well, I think there's just a tendency to want to not deal with the problem. It's real easy to just pass it along. Pass the buck along to another military base, or in this instance to a defense contractor. And just to get that problem out of my office and move it on without looking at the bigger picture here.
You report pointed out -- there are so many flags that have popped up in this case. If we just paid attention to one of them we probably could have stopped that shooting from happening.
BURNETT: Which is the sobering bottom line.
Chairman McCaul, thank you.
Still to come: the latest from the deadly floods in Colorado. A massive air rescue operation. Chinooks as you see currently under way. We're going to go live to the scene in Colorado.
And then, the Costa Concordia is upright. The question is how exactly did they do it, one of the -- the biggest naval up-righting rescue in history? And how much money is this ship now worth?
BURNETT: All right. I want to check with Anderson Cooper with a look at what's coming up on "AC360." Anderson, of course, in Washington tonight -- Anderson.
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Erin, yes. We have, of course, breaking news ahead on the program. New details now emerging on the shooting, including the weapons used in the attack and how they were obtained. That's ahead.
But tonight, we also really want to focus on those who lost their lives. We're going to talk to Douglas Gaarde, the husband of Kathy Gaarde and the mother of Jessica Gaarde. Here's a portion of that interview.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JESSICA GAARDE, VICTIM'S DAUGHTER: I just feel nothing and then something, whether it be a bill on the counter, or I was in the bathroom and she recently bought me new towels and I just see the towels, and just all hits.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Twelve people lost their lives yesterday. Twelve victims.
Kathy Gaarde was 62 years old, months away from retiring. She and her husband had been together for 43 years. We honor her and all of the other fallen, ahead on the program tonight.
Also, you're going to hear the voices of some of the heroes from Monday. The EMS workers who risked their lives to save the lives of others. It's all at the top of the hour, Erin.
BURNETT: All right, Anderson, thank you. We'll see you in just a few minutes.
Our eighth story OUTFRONT: hundreds waiting to be rescued tonight. One of the largest air rescue operations in America since Hurricane Katrina. It's going on at this moment in Colorado. There are eight -- I'm sorry -- 600 people still stranded by the water there. Food and water dangerously hard to come by. For those who have already been rescued the grim reality is setting in that the task of cleaning up is beyond mammoth.
And our Ana Cabrera is OUTFRONT tonight in Boulder.
ANA CABRERA, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Just outside of Boulder, evacuations not over yet. More rising water keeps a community on edge.
It's day six of the disaster. Residents still digging out.
In places where flooding has stopped, reality now sinking in.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We're going to get it so pretty again. OK.
CABRERA: The overwhelming task to clean up begins.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes, this is our house. It was a perfect place.
CABRERA: That was before a wall of water 6-feet high gushed through this bedroom window.
GENEVIEVE MARQUEZ, FLOOD SURVIVOR: Thirty, 45 seconds. That's all the time we had to get out of here. We had no warning.
CABRERA: It raced right through the kitchen's wood cabinet, built up a bathtub, even seeped into the clothes dryer. The whole lower level is a gut job. Carpets ripped out, chairs, televisions, dressers now on the front yard.
Genevieve Marquez fears nothing is salvageable. CABRERA (on camera): So you are worried this water is contaminated, too?
MARQUEZ: Well, yes. There is sewage front water and not only that, it's farm field and cattle field and horse pastures.
CABRERA (voice-over): At one time, that location was the attraction of this century old farm house.
(on camera): Where did all this water come from?
MATT SCHENDEL, FLOOD SURVIVOR: There is a river an eighth of a mile up the road. And what happened was that there was a dam that broke the river that went through Lyons and came down through here and it broke the riverbed. So it created its own river.
CABRERA: Like a tsunami, almost?
SCHENDEL: It was just like a tsunami.
CABRERA (voice-over): A wave of water so strong, it pulled the garage right out of the ground, foundation and all, putting all the pieces back together may not even be possible, but this family plans to try.
MARQUEZ: We're just going to get back into our house as quickly and safely as possible and just rebuild our lives and rebuild our slice of heaven again.
CABRERA: Now, the air support here, the National Guard continuing with their search and rescue operations and evacuations. Some 12,000 people remain evacuated tonight.
We do know FEMA is on the ground providing assistance. They have already received request for aid, from families and they approved some $30,000 for those families who have requested it so far, Erin.
BURNETT: All right. Thank you very much, Ana Cabrera, covering those floods in Colorado.
Our nine story OUTFRONT: a police officer charged for killing an unarmed man. The story that we have tonight, we have newly released 911 tapes, which are shedding light on what happened on Saturday.
Saturday morning is when Jonathan Ferrell, a former Florida A&M football player, was shot and killed by a Charlotte, North Carolina, police officer. The officer was charged with voluntary manslaughter and a police investigation found that Ferrell was unarmed and might actually have been approaching the officer to try to get help after crashing his car.
Alina Machado investigates OUTFRONT.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) CALLER: 911, hello.
I need help!
DISPATCHER: Where are you at?
CALLER: There's a guy breaking in my front door.
DISPATCHER: There is a guy breaking in your front door?
CALLER: Yes, he's trying to kick it down.
ALINA MACHADO, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It was that frantic call for help that Randall Kerrick, and two other Charlotte police officers were responding to when they encountered Jonathan Ferrell. The 24-year-old had just survived a bad crash and apparently was looking for help, himself, when he pounded on the front door of this house around 2:30 Saturday morning. The woman opened the door and panicked when she realized it was a stranger.
CALLER: Oh my good, please. Oh my God, I can't believe I opened the door. What the (EXPLICIT DELETED) is wrong with me?
DISPATCHER: You thought it was your husband?
CALLER: Yes, he (INAUDIBLE). Oh my God, he has a gun, I can't find the --
MACHADO: When officers arrived, they say Ferrell run toward, one tried to subdue him unsuccessfully with the taser. Police say Kerrick fired 12 shots. Ten of them hit Ferrell, killing him.
The Charlotte man was unarmed. Authorities have not yet released dash-cam video of the shooting.
But family attorney Chris Chestnut says he and the family have met with police and watched the video.
CHRIS CHESTNUT, FERRELL FAMILY ATTORNEY: You can see. You can tell he's unarmed.
He begins to approach the officers and immediately (INAUDIBLE) in the center of his chest. And I think, then he gets excited, wait, wait, stop. He's coming forward saying, "stop." And he goes off camera and you just hear shots. One, two, three, four, pause, one, two, three, four, five, six, pause. One, two.
MACHADO: But police say Officer Kerrick told investigators right after the shooting, quote, "the suspect assaulted him by unknown means" and he had, quote, "apparent minor injuries" but refused treatment.
Still, police called the shooting excessive and charged with 27- year-old officer with voluntary manslaughter, a felony less than 20 hours later. MICHAEL GREENE, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: We are confident in the resolution of this case, it will be found that the Officer Kerrick's actions were justified on the night in question.
MACHADO: Ferrell's mother, meanwhile, says a part of her heart is gone, but she till forgives Kerrick.
GEORGIA FERRELL, MOTHER: I definitely want justice, I pray for him each and every day. But I do want justice because I don't want this to happen to anyone.
MACHADO: Kerrick is free on bond. No trial date has been set.
For OUTFRONT, Alina Machado, Charlotte, North Carolina.
BURNETT: We will keep covering that story for you.
Next, the largest salvage operation and also the most expensive in history. So, who is footing the bill? The breakdown of the Costa, next.
BURNETT: The Costa Concordia has risen in what was the largest salvage operation of a passenger ship ever. Five hundred people spent 19 hours raising the ship. The process required massive metal platforms, ropes, pulleys of 1,000 bags of cement, 20,000 tons of grout.
All told, the Concordia will cost the insurance industry who is paying for this, you are in your prices and ticket for cruise ships because of the premiums, a billion dollars. It's the biggest ever shipping loss for insurers -- which brings me to tonight's number, $43 million, the estimated value of the Costa Concordia as scrap.
Here's the thing: today, we reached out to an expert who talked to us about this, Upstate Shredding. They used current market prices for that figure for 114,000 ton vessel. They say it's enough steel to build another Eiffel Tower. The fact that you get $42 million is good, it's well shy of the $600 million to build the ship and the $800 million spent on the salvage. Wow.
"AC360" starts now.