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THE SITUATION ROOM
Active Shooter at Fort Hood; Search for Flight 370; Fort Hood Asks Personnel to Shelter in Place; "Active Shooter" Reported at Fort Hood
Aired April 2, 2014 - 18:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
WOLF BLITZER, CNN HOST: We're live in Australia as the search is about to resume.
And what did passengers' families learn today during a closed-door briefing? CNN is in Malaysia. We're pressing for answers.
We want to welcome our viewers in the United States and around the world. I'm Wolf Blitzer. You're in THE SITUATION ROOM.
We expect planes to take off at any moment for a new search zone in the Southern Indian Ocean. The latest shift in the hunt for Flight 370 is adding to concerns that time and resources are being wasted. Nearly four weeks after the plane vanished, Malaysian authorities openly acknowledge that a crime was likely committed and are providing new details about their investigation.
Our correspondents and our analysts are following every lead and every misstep. They're here in the field, they're here in THE SITUATION ROOM, while the search continues.
Let's bring in our aviation correspondent, Rene Marsh, for the very latest -- Rene.
RENE MARSH, CNN AVIATION CORRESPONDENT: Well, Wolf, as crews gear up for another day of searching, a new search zone is in focus after the old one turned up nothing.
As for the criminal investigation and who may be responsible for the missing plane, officials now say some people have been ruled out, while others remain under the microscope.
MARSH (voice-over): Twenty-five days in, and Malaysian police say they remain focused on the pilots and anyone who had contact with Flight 370 before takeoff, ranging from those who prepared onboard food to ones who packed the cargo.
KHALID ABU BAKAR, INSPECTOR GENERAL, ROYAL MALAYSIAN POLICE: This is a criminal investigation. It is ongoing. We have not concluded the whole thing.
MARSH: Malaysian investigators have been treating the disappearance of Flight 370 as criminal since March 16, four areas of interest, hijacking, sabotage, and personal or psychological issues.
So far, police say all passengers have been cleared in those four categories. As for mechanical failure, it's still on the table. Aviation authorities are investigating that. Wednesday families of Chinese passengers were briefed privately on the latest. Malaysian officials called it a good meeting. Family members had a different take.
STEVE WANG, SON OF PASSENGER: I don't think it just give us any useful information, because they just led us to ask questions for -- we just asked four or five questions, and after that, they said the investigation team is very busy.
MARSH: Meantime, the search zone shifted yet again; 10 planes and nine ships are now zeroing in on an area in the Indian Ocean slightly eastward of the April 1 zone, where they found nothing. Despite the dead ends, there's no talk of quitting.
KIM BEAZLEY, AUSTRALIAN AMBASSADOR TO THE UNITED STATES: I think if you ask the Australian prime minister what our long-term intentions would be, he would say we will be searching for this aircraft until hell freezes over.
MARSH: More ships have been dispatched, including a British submarine with advance sonar. The Australian ship Ocean Shield reaches the zone in another day. On board is a pinger locator, designed to find beacons on the black boxes, which will stop pinging in days, if they haven't already.
MARSH: And what about those satellite images? We haven't seen any new ones in a while, and it is unclear why.
If you remember, we saw many day after day just last month. It could be officials wanted to put the brakes on false hope. Many of the objects spotted turned out to be garbage, but one expert suggests it could also be the best eyes. People on ships and in planes are already in the zone. He says, you use satellite images when you don't have anything else.
BLITZER: Rene, let's hope they find something out there. Stand by.
Let's check in on the search area right now for Flight 370 and the move to a new area that's even closer to the Australian coast.
CNN's Kyung Lah is in Perth, Australia, the western part of the country.
What's happening in Perth right now, as daylight is about to begin?
KYUNG LAH, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Wolf, you can see that it is starting to become daybreak here. And this is about the time that the first search planes take off. We're anticipating them to be taking off from this military base shortly. And also we are expecting this morning within the next couple of hours or so the arrival of the prime minister of Malaysia. He will be coming here. He will be meeting the very teams that have been taking to the sky, have been taking to the sea, shaking their hands. He's doing all of this in front of cameras.
Also later today, he's scheduled to meet with the prime minister of Australia. Part of this is to try to bring the Malaysian authorities, as well as the Australian authorities together to show that there are people in charge here. But what's happened here as far as the search, as you point out, they have cleared one area. They're now picking up and searching a new section of the Indian Ocean, having to comb through that area, and still, Wolf, no debris -- Wolf.
BLITZER: I assume, if they don't find anything in this new area, they will keep searching other adjacent areas? Is that the game plan, at least for now?
LAH: That is the game plan. When I was up on the P-8, you could see it very clearly. The way they spread it out every single day is they create a rectangle. And then each country has its own little section of that rectangle. They basically mow across it at a very low altitude, back and forth across that rectangle.
Once that's cleared, they draw a new square and then they mow across that. They will just keep doing that until there's a decision about the long-term plan of this entire search or they actually find something.
BLITZER: Kyung Lah, we will stay in very close touch with you.
Flight 370 relatives are desperate for any scrap of new information about the fate of their loved ones. Some Chinese families got a private briefing from some high-level Malaysian officials.
Our senior international correspondent, Sara Sidner, is in Kuala Lumpur. She has more on that.
How did it go, Sara?
SARA SIDNER, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Look, the families' frustrations, Wolf, as you know, are off the charts. It's basically because they don't have yet the answers to two questions. They asked more than a dozen questions, very detailed questions, asking for different things, bits of data that they want to see with their own eyes.
But, ultimately, they did not get the answers to the questions they really want to know, which is, where is the plane with their loved ones and what exactly caused the plane to disappear? Let me let you listen to the officials who were in this meeting. The meeting lasted about three hours, and what transpired when the media got their attention.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) AZHARUDDIN ABDUL RAHMAN, DEPARTMENT OF CIVIL AVIATION: We had a meeting with the next of kin just now, the next of kin from China. There are -- numbers, there are 29 of them from 18 families.
It is a closed-door meeting. We had a very good meeting with them. We answered all their questions. And I cannot give you the specifics.
SIDNER: Is there anything new in the investigation that you were able to share with the families?
RAHMAN: That's a technical question. I'm not going to answer that question.
SIDNER: So he would not answer anything about what happened in that closed-door meeting, other than to say there were 29 family members from 18 of the passengers that were on that flight.
I can tell you there was still some frustration even after three hours of meeting with some high-ranking military brass and ambassadors, were in that meeting as well, frustration because they felt like they didn't get their questions answered properly and didn't have enough time to ask even more questions to follow up.
But, ultimately, like I said, Wolf, really, what they want to know are the answers -- the answers to the questions that the government doesn't have. They don't know where the plane is exactly, and they don't know yet and haven't ruled out anything as to why it disappeared -- Wolf.
BLITZER: And as far as you know, as far as we're hearing, Sara, no new information emerged from that closed-door briefing as far as the investigation is concerned?
SIDNER: That's absolutely right.
I mean, usually what happens in these briefings -- and we do know that folks in Beijing, the families there, could also listen in to what was going on in the meeting. Some of these families, by the way, came back from Beijing to be closer to the authorities here to make their voices heard, to try to get some answers.
But there's nothing new, because usually if there is something new, we hear about it fairly quickly. The families -- some in the families say, look, we're tired of all these details. We just want the answers to our two simple questions. The authorities are saying, we can't give those answers to you because we simply don't have them -- Wolf.
BLITZER: Sara Sidner in Kuala Lumpur. A heartbreaking story with those families continuing. Thank you.
Let's get back to our correspondent Rene March, along with our aviation analyst Mark Weiss. Peter Goelz is also here, law enforcement analyst Tom Fuentes. And joining us from New York today is our aviation analyst Miles O'Brien. Peter, you know, you have worked with families in these kinds of heartbreaking investigations. What can Malaysian authorities do right now to ease their minds a little bit?
PETER GOELZ, CNN AVIATION ANALYST: At this point, there's not much because this process of briefing family members should have started the first or second night.
This shouldn't have been the first one. It should have started early on so that the family members had been brought along with the frustrating nature of the investigation. Now the family members simply don't trust a word the Malaysians say.
BLITZER: I think that's a fair point, Miles, because credibility is so important right now. What else can the Malaysians do to instill some credibility, some reassurance with those families?
MILES O'BRIEN, CNN AVIATION ANALYST: Well, you know, it's hard when the well has been poisoned as much as it has, Wolf.
And it occurs to me, when you think about the NTSB template of informing on a consistent daily basis, what the NTSB is sharing is just process stuff. They're not sharing details of the investigation or specifics because they may not have them. But it's just the idea that they're updating people and treating them with a level of respect that they deserve.
And, unfortunately, so much time has passed and so many briefings have been missed, if you will, that it's -- I think it's all but impossible to regain their trust.
BLITZER: Tom Fuentes, you're a former assistant director of the FBI.
Now the Malaysian authorities say this is a criminal investigation. Malaysia Airlines now says they're changing security in their cockpits. No longer can a pilot or a co-pilot be alone in a cockpit. Someone is going to be inside with that person at all times. This is what the U.S. security situation has been like for years now. Does that suggest to you that the focus is on the pilot or the co-pilot?
TOM FUENTES, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Or the crew, you know, that on the one hand, they have this new security policy of somebody being in there.
On the other hand, if a crew member -- it's kind of contradictory policy. But what Miles just said is exactly right. Whether it's the criminal investigation, where you're not allowed to disclose the details, or whether it's the aviation aspect of searching for the plane, you can discuss the process, even if you don't discuss the results. And that can go on beginning day one, multiple times a day, briefings for the families, briefings for the media.
And you can completely discuss, here's how we're going about this investigation, even if you don't give up every single detail.
BLITZER: What does it say to you, Mark, because you're a 777 pilot, about the focus of this investigation? MARK WEISS, CNN AVIATION ANALYST: Well, it still -- to me, it says that they're finally recognizing the fact that they believe it's now coming from the cockpit.
Maybe they have some more information that they haven't divulged, as we have been told. If it's a criminal investigation, that information wouldn't be let out. But again we don't know who was in the cockpit, whether it was a crew member or invited or uninvited guest.
BLITZER: If it's a criminal investigation, Rene, it seems a little confusing right now. Why aren't they ruling -- they're also not ruling out mechanical failure.
MARSH: Right. That's still on the table.
But I will say this. When we heard from Malaysian police, they made it very clear that their area is the criminal side of things. They're police. They look at the criminal possibilities. However, it doesn't mean that mechanical issues did not play into this at all.
It's just not their area of expertise. It's not their focus. However, I can tell you both Malaysia Airlines, as well as the civil aviation department there, they are looking into the mechanical possibilities of something going wrong with this plane. So that's why it remains on the table, but we're hearing so much about the criminal aspect because that is their focus.
BLITZER: Miles, you know, the International Air Transport Association, IATA, as it's called, is now putting together a task force, a panel of experts to come up with recommendations to make sure we don't have to go through this kind of investigation down the road, to learn lessons from what has happened right now.
They want to report by the end of the year, by December. There are a lot of lessons we all need to learn from what's happened.
O'BRIEN: Well, there's got to be a way of coming up with a way of tracking aircraft in a way that can't be tampered with, and yet preserves the safety issue.
Pilots don't like to have any box in the airplane that they can't turn off in case it's burning. But maybe there's a way of having some sort of satellite uplink for aircraft so you know where they are that has some sort of fire protection, augmented fire protection mode in it that makes it impossible for somebody to defeat it who has a malicious intent in mind.
And that's key in all this, because if you think about all we have been discussing here, if we knew where the plane was, that -- well, we wouldn't be here on day 26, would we?
BLITZER: Hold on for a moment. We're going to get back to this mystery of Flight 370 in a moment, but there's some breaking news that we're following right now out of Fort Hood, Texas.
Let's go to our Pentagon correspondent, Barbara Starr. Barbara, what are you learning?
BARBARA STARR, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: Wolf, at this hour, officials at Fort Hood are telling CNN they have an active shooter on base.
I have just gotten off the phone with a source who works there, this official telling me there is an active shooter right now at Fort Hood. In fact, Fort Hood's Twitter account is advising all personnel at this time to shelter in place.
Wolf, the reports are very sketchy, very preliminary, breaking just now as we are talking about it, this official also telling me sirens are going off everywhere on base right now, security personnel obviously responding to this situation.
We do not know, Wolf, the full scope of it and exactly what is going on. But at Fort Hood, Texas, this really makes people quite concerned, because, of course, this was the base in 2009 where an Army major, Major Nidal Hasan, went on a shooting rampage, killed 13, wounded more than 30, and was convicted on all murder and attempted murder charges.
So Fort Hood obviously very sensitive to the situation of an active shooter on base. There will be plenty of questions when we find out more details, what exactly is happening and how anyone potentially got on base with weapons and could have done something like this. Right now, Wolf, very sketchy information, but Fort Hood officials are saying they do have an active shooter on the installation.
BLITZER: And we have no information that this is one shooter, multiple shooters, do we, Barbara?
STARR: We do not, Wolf. We just simply do not.
Fort Hood, we have all been there in covering the military, is one of the largest bases in the country, spreads out over many, many acres, many buildings. Thousands of people come and go off that base every day. I will say that I think we all know most of these active shooter incidents really genuinely only involve one person. Anything beyond that, you're talking about some sort of major conspiracy.
They generally don't turn out to be that, but, look, we are just in the initial moments of this. So the answer is, we don't know. What we have been told, active shooter. But when they go -- when the security personnel go into these types of situations, they will sweep through and look for any indication of any potential perpetrator -- Wolf.
BLITZER: All right, stand by for a moment, Barbara, because Tom Fuentes, former assistant director of the FBI, is here.
You're familiar with these kinds of incidents, the Fort Hood -- as Barbara points out, at Fort Hood, they just tweeted all personnel on post are asked to shelter in place. We all remember what happened back in 2009 with Major Nidal Hasan, when he went on a rampage, shot and killed 13 people, attempted murder, convicted, 32 others, targeting soldiers that were set to deploy to Afghanistan. We have no information that what's going on right now is at all connected to that. But you hear the words an active shooter at Fort Hood, that brings back awful memories.
FUENTES: It does. But, Wolf, as we learned in that case, the U.S. Army and the FBI have a memorandum of understanding that if the shooter is a member of the military and if the victims are military, then the U.S. Army Criminal Investigative Division will take the lead.
Normally, a shooting incident like this on a U.S. military base, the FBI would have primary jurisdiction, but, in this case, unfortunately because of the frequency of these type of issues over the years, they have worked out an agreement with the Army to let Army CID investigate this.
BLITZER: What if civilians have been killed?
FUENTES: Well, that's still going to be -- it's the Army base, so it's a U.S. government reservation. Authorities from the state of Texas will have no jurisdiction on that base.
BLITZER: All right, Barbara, just to recap what you're hearing from your sources, obviously, one of the largest U.S. Army bases in the country, Fort Hood, Texas, there's a shooting incident under way, an active shooter somewhere on that base?
STARR: That is our understanding at this hour, Wolf. The source I just spoke to a few moments ago said sirens are still going off. People are being told to shelter in place.
Fort Hood, the troops who serve there, Wolf, have seen some of the roughest combat over the years in Iraq and Afghanistan, many of them returning from a tour in the combat zone in Afghanistan just several weeks ago, people that we here at CNN know very well and that we have dealt with over the years so many times.
And, of course, it also brings back memories right here in Washington, just a few months ago, the shooting at the Washington Navy Yard, how to protect U.S. military bases in this country when they are part of all our communities, a real challenge for the Pentagon, Wolf.
BLITZER: It certainly is. Barbara, stand by. Everyone, stand by.
We will continue to follow the breaking news out of Fort Hood, Texas, an active shooter apparently -- shooting incident under way there right now. We will get some more details. We will follow that and we will get back to the mystery of Flight 370.
Lots of news happening right here in THE SITUATION ROOM.
(COMMERCIAL BREAK) ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.
BLITZER: There's an active shooting incident under way right now at Fort Hood, Texas, a very disturbing development, Fort Hood telling everyone to shelter in place.
Let's bring in our Pentagon correspondent, Barbara Starr.
You're working your sources. We know this is an ongoing event right now, Barbara. Update viewers who are just tuning in right now what we know.
STARR: Wolf, the details are very sketchy at this hour. But Fort Hood, Texas, now has an active shooter incident under way.
We do not know if the shooter has been dealt with yet by security forces. We don't have any status on any wounded or fatalities in this incident, but a short time ago I got off the phone with a source at Fort Hood who told me it is an active shooter, it is serious and that sirens are going off everywhere.
People at Fort Hood on base are being told to shelter in place, First Cavalry Division, which is a major unit at Fort Hood, told to go into their offices, shut the doors, stay away from windows. These are very typical security precautions, obviously, when a major facility, when any facility is dealing with an active shooter incident.
We also have just gotten word that a nearby college, Central Texas College, has now closed and has ordered all personnel and students to evacuate their central campus, obviously near Fort Hood.
The military, Wolf, since the -- especially since that incident in 2009 at Fort Hood when Major Nidal Hasan opened fire on fellow soldiers, killing 13, wounding more than three dozen, the U.S. military has instituted very significant security procedures when these incidents happen. People do not get in or out.
Nobody goes through the gate without the correct paperwork, without the correct identification. People are told to shelter in place. There are substantial security forces on Fort Hood. But I think one of the things that keeps everyone up at night so much is military bases in this country, we saw it here in Washington at the Navy Yard, they're part, as we talked about, part of everyone's community.
The military wants to be part of the community. They don't want to be in lockdown. They want to interact with their neighbors in the towns and cities where they're located, so this becomes a security challenge at times. To be clear, we don't know who the shooter is in this incident. We have no idea of the person's identification.
We can only surmise that security forces on scene are trying to get this resolved as quickly as possible, Wolf.
BLITZER: One of our reporters on scene from our affiliate KCEN just recorded this a few moments ago. Let me play it.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SOPHIA STAMAS, KCEN REPORTER: Reports, no confirmed reports, but there are reports of multiple people shot. The active shooter allegedly showed up in multiple buildings, firing shots at people. There are also reports of at least one injured, but yet all of those are unconfirmed. As of right now, the only thing that we know for certain is Fort Hood is on lockdown and everybody is being advised to shelter in place.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLITZER: That information coming from KCEN. And Fort Hood officially tweeting just a few minutes ago, "All personnel on post are asked to shelter in place."
You see the tweet right there. We're also hearing, Barbara, that the shooting incident occurred at the medical center, at least -- I think it's called the Darnall Medical Center on the base. Fort Hood is a huge, huge facility, isn't it?
STARR: It is, Wolf.
They have multiple medical facilities there to deal with both the general health of the troops and their families that live on base and in the area. They, of course, because so many troops have served in the war zone over the years, they deal a lot with the wounded warriors that come back. They offer counseling for those who are suffering from post-traumatic stress.
In fact, Major Nidal Hasan in 2009 was an Army mental health psychiatrist, psychologist who offered that kind of care. Fort Hood has taken a lot of effort in its medical facility. So if this is happening there, it just really adds to the terrible feelings that everyone is going to have about another one of these situations, Wolf.
The troops at Fort Hood have served time and time and time again in the war zone over the last 13 years. I can tell you that a number who we here at CNN know very well recently came home from a tour in Afghanistan just several weeks ago, so they would be getting -- possibly, they're in processing, medical care. When you come back from a war zone, you go through all your medical checks.
They'd be getting reacquainted with their families, of course, after being away for so many months. Fort Hood has paid its dues big time over the years, Wolf.
BLITZER: And Waco, Texas, which is not that far away, as you know, Barbara, Waco police are advising folks in the area -- there you see the tweet from Waco police: "Authorities are advising those on post to stay away from windows, keep doors closed and locked. Injuries are being reported."
That officially coming in from Waco police. Waco, Texas, not far from Fort Hood. Fort Hood, Texas, is the scene of that Major Nidal Hasan massacre. It occurred on November 5, 2009. He's been convicted. He was convicted in 2013. Thirteen counts of murder, 32 accounts of attempted murder.
He admitted to targeting soldiers he wanted -- he said were set to deploy to Afghanistan, because -- and there's the picture of Major Nidal Hasan -- he said he wanted to protect the Taliban in Afghanistan and its leaders from the U.S. military. During his trial he declined to make a statement; 12 days of testimony.
Tom Fuentes, former assistant director of the FBI, our law enforcement analyst, is here.
This is escalating. It sounds more ominous as we get more trickle -- trickle of information comes in, Tom.
TOM FUENTES, CNN LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: Right. The last information makes it sound like it's not a contained situation, and they think the person may have left the base and is endangering, you know, local residents outside the base.
So in the case of Hasan, we had the Army's police department were on site in about two minutes and engaged in a shoot-out with him and stopped him from any further shooting.
So in this situation, we don't know how soon the police responded, when they were notified to respond and whether or not it has been contained. So all of that has yet to be determined.
BLITZER: Because -- and I'll put it back up on the screen, that Waco Police tweet that just went out. And I'll read it once again because if, in fact, they're telling folks in nearby Waco, Texas -- here it is: "Authorities are advising those on post to stay away from windows, keep doors closed and locked. Injuries are being reported."
And you can -- you can hear the sirens still wailing right now all across that base. It sounds like this incident is by no means over.
FUENTES: Right. Well, the question is the injuries being reported, are they on the base and is this confined to the base? Or are injuries reported in the city or in local towns or colleges nearby? That's a much worse situation.
As I said, if it's contained on the base, you know, the Texas Department of Public Safety will surround the base, provide all kinds of assistance, the local sheriff's office, to contain it, but it's really an army matter on the base.
But if this spills over and is out in the community, then it's going to involve state and local law enforcements -- enforcement from Texas.
BLITZER: Barbara Starr is over at the Pentagon, and you've been to Fort Hood on many occasions. Do we know what steps -- security steps have been implemented at Fort Hood and presumably at other U.S. military bases around the country in the aftermath of the Major Nidal Hasan massacre there back in 2009?
STARR: Well, Wolf, one of the big questions there that everyone was asking is how does someone get these kind of weapons onto a U.S. military installation? So let's walk through that for just one second here.
Fort Hood, tens of thousands of people come and go from that every day. They have stickers in their cars; they have permits to get on base. They are waived through a gate, because traffic has to keep flowing.
If they are permitted onto the base because they have the right paperwork on any given day, it is not likely that their cars will be searched every time they go in and out. It is assumed that they are acting appropriately and acting legally. That's just the way the reality is.
There are other troops who have personal weapons that may keep them in the base armory. They may keep them locked up there, and they would have to go and retrieve them and get permission and take them out of the armory.
So this comes down to the question, perhaps, of in some fashion weapons getting onto the base in an illegal manner or from someone who had permission to be on the base but, you know, obviously evil intent here. We don't know that yet.
But -- but it is because these bases are so large people move in and out of them all day long. Those who have permission to be aboard the base, typically their vehicles are not searched every day, Wolf.
BLITZER: Our justice reporter, Evan Perez, is telling us, Barbara, at least one casualty now has been confirmed. I'm not sure if that means someone has died or someone has been injured, but one casualty, according to Evan Perez, has been confirmed now.
And we are also told that federal agents are en route right now to Fort Hood.
Tom Fuentes, you're a former federal agent, a former assistant director of the FBI. You point out the U.S. military will be in charge of this investigation. But they'll get backup from the FBI.
FUENTES: Yes, yes. The FBI office in Waco will send as many agents as they need. And more agents then can be flown in from every other place in the country. So the FBI will provide direct assistance, and they'll provide forensic assistance in the crime scene investigations to follow. They're just saying later on the jurisdiction will probably fall to the U.S. Army by a prior agreement with the Army and the FBI.
BLITZER: And so right now as we look at this situation, you assume they're really beefing up. They're really sending forces there -- local, state, federal -- to Fort Hood to make sure that they can quell, stop this, whatever still is ongoing.
FUENTES: Right. You don't know if you still have -- if you have a fugitive situation now with an individual on the loose on the base or out of the base or, you know, anywhere in Texas, and you'd have a crime scene. If you have people that have been wounded or worse, then that's going to require a lot of forensic work, as well. So there will be a lot of response on the part of the FBI and the military itself.
BLITZER: I think we have one of the soldiers on Fort Hood on our phone line who has been asked to shelter in place. Is this Dehlan? Can you hear me?
PRIVATE DEHLAN KAY, U.S. ARMY (via phone): Yes, sir, I can hear you.
BLITZER: Tell us where you are, if you can.
KEY: I'm in my barracks room. It's the building 18,015 next to the Coburn (ph) Center, right -- right off of main -- right off of the main gate.
BLITZER: And tell us what you've seen and what you've heard.
KEY: Well, I haven't seen anything. But I've heard sirens coming from across post. Nowhere near me, but it sounds like it's coming from around Clear Creek.
BLITZER: And are those sirens still going off, Dehlan?
KEY: Yes, sir, they are. You can barely hear them.
BLITZER: Because you've tweeted -- you tweeted a little while ago -- and I think -- I think I'm reading it right now. "Attention, there is an active shooter in Fort Hood. If everyone could please pray for everyone's safety and especially law enforcement."
So you're -- you're sheltering in place. Are you inside a building, you're inside a room someplace, right?
KEY: Yes, sir.
BLITZER: Are there other folks with you?
KEY: My roommate is.
BLITZER: That's it. And you also tweeted that you can clearly hear sirens going off. And you say these sirens are still going off, Dehlan?
KEY: Yes, I can barely hear them, but I can still hear them.
BLITZER: And so there's no indication this incident is over by any means, is there?
KEY: No, sir.
BLITZER: Dehlan, you're a private, U.S. Army. Is there any indication of some problems in the days leading up to this on the base?
KEY: No, sir. I haven't even heard anything even on the local news.
BLITZER: How are you doing, Dehlan?
KEY: What was that?
BLITZER: How are you doing?
KEY: I'm doing good. I'm just a little nervous on what's happening.
BLITZER: All right, Dehlan, good luck. We'll stay in touch with you.
We're going to continue to follow the breaking news. An active shooting incident underway right now, Fort Hood, Texas, not far from Waco, Texas. We'll have much more on the breaking news right after this.
ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.
ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.
BLITZER: There's an ongoing shooting incident underway right now at Fort Hood in Texas. A major U.S. Army base right in the heart of Texas. I want to go to the White House. Our correspondent, Michelle Kosinski is getting more.
I take it, Michelle, the president has been informed about what's going on?
MICHELLE KOSINSKI, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Yes, he's been traveling today in the Midwest. But senior administration officials just confirmed that he has been informed of reports of a shooting, as they put it. I mean, they're getting information as it comes.
In fact, just about 20 minutes ago, when I asked the White House what they were hearing, they were saying that they were just hearing press reports. So they were getting information, really, as we were.
So now the president has been -- has been informed of reports of a shooting. He's getting that same information. They say that they're going to keep him updated throughout the evening and that that they would in turn inform the press throughout of what exactly was going on.
But it's obvious that the information -- even though this may have happened more than an hour ago now, information is slow to come out. And it's even slower to reach sometimes the top levels of our government, especially when they're in a travel situation; and the president was on a plane for some time today, Wolf.
BLITZER: And I've just received a press release, a formal press release from Fort Hood, Texas, from the Fort Hood press office. Among other things, public affairs office at Fort Hood saying that, quote, "There has been a shooting at Fort Hood. And injuries" -- plural injuries -- "are reported. Emergency crews are on the scene. No further details are known at this time. As further details are available, they'll be released through the Fort Hood press center."
Evan Perez is our justice reporter. You've been watching what's going on. What else are you hearing?
PEREZ: Well, Wolf, we know that federal agencies have now activated. They're now en route to try to assist local authorities and the military officials who are obviously going to be responsible for securing this situation and try to figure out how many casualties there are, how many shooters or if there was more than one shooter.
And we are told that there is at least one casualty. That federal authorities know of at least one casualty, but we don't know of the status of that person. We also don't know whether or not the shooter is still on the loose, whether that person has been put down. Obviously, this is a very fluid situation and it takes some time for the -- especially for federal authorities to sort of determine what is happening.
BLITZER: We just spoke to a private on base who says the sirens are still going off. Everyone has been told to shelter in place.
PEREZ: The base is on lockdown. We know that much. And we know that it's going to take a while for them to go through all the buildings to determine that there's no other, further danger.
BLITZER: And we're all concerned, obviously, as a result especially of what happened back in 2009 with the Ford Hood shooting from Major Nidal Hasan.
Tom Foreman is here. Tom, give us some perspective on what's going on.
TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Sure. We'll see where Fort Hood is, to begin with. Fort Hood is in between, basically, Waco and Austin. It is about 214,000 acres. It's a big facility. It spreads out this way. This is Fort Hood right through here.
That community college we've been talking about is right over in this area over here. This is the Clear Creek gate, one of the main entrances to Fort Hood. And over here is the burning back gate. This is where we've been hearing that reporter locally down there talking about. The gate that was just closed is this gate in here.
Now, if we moved in a little bit closer here, we can move into the northwest corner over here, Wolf. This is where Major Nidal Hasan's shootings occurred, over in this part of the base. It was off to the sort of western side.
Now what we're talking about more -- you mentioned the hospital earlier. The hospital is right over here. It's a big complex built in the 1960s. Many, many troops who come out of Afghanistan or Iraq or anywhere around the world who come to this base may very well go through this hospital at some point. It also serves tens of thousands of military families all the time. People coming there for regular medical treatment, to have babies, all sorts of things. So that's where that is.
It's also worth noting in all this the corps headquarters down here are not terribly far away, right over here on Fort Hood.
So huge community down here, Wolf. And it is really right in the middle of it that they're talking about all these reports right now of where this alleged shooter may be, right in the heart of Fort Hood -- Wolf.
BLITZER: We're told from Bell County Sheriff's Office that deputies are now securing the perimeter around Fort Hood. An incident still underway. This is an ongoing shooting incident right now.
A formal statement from Fort Hood saying there has been a shooting at Fort Hood. Injuries are reported. Emergency crews are on the scene.
We'll continue the breaking news coverage right after this.
ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.
ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.
BLITZER: There's an ongoing shooting incident underway right now at Fort Hood, Texas. The statement from Fort Hood, the public affairs office, saying there has been a shooting at Fort Hood, and injuries, plural, injuries are reported. Emergency crews are on the scene. The Bell County sheriff's office says they have state troopers, deputies securing the perimeter around Fort Hood.
Barbara Starr is over the Pentagon. She's working the story for our viewers.
Barbara, I take it, sirens are wailing on the base at Fort Hood. What's the latest?
BARBARA STARR, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: Wolf, we have no indication that this situation at this hour has been resolved by security personnel, very highly trained, they know how to deal with all of this. It is not just clear yet whether they have been able to resolve the situation, in fact, to get to shooter or shooters, to get to any suspect in this situation.
The fact that Fort Hood is saying there are injuries, multiple injuries, an indication of how serious this may be, the local community there in Texas, obviously, Bell County sheriff, Colleen, Texas, the city just outside of the gate of Fort Hood also saying it's medical and emergency personnel are on stand by with ambulances to help in any way that they can.
Fort Hood has a medical center. They have very highly trained medical personnel. Many of them have done tours in the combat zone. They know how to deal with these situations. But it is the scope of this incident that we do not know at this hour how many people may be suffering from injuries, just how serious this may be.
At this hour, the base remains on lock down in terms of people are being told to shelter in place, to stay in their offices, their rooms, close their doors, stay away from their windows. A local college nearby has been evacuated. All of its personnel and students have been told to leave and go home.
As you reported earlier, nearby Waco, Texas, also taking security precautions.
So, as we see in these incident, Wolf, even when we don't know the full scope people have learned to react and try to lock things down as much as they can as quickly as they can to keep everyone as safe as they can, Wolf.
BLITZER: Stand by, because Brian Todd is working his sources.
Brian, you're getting new information. What are you learning?
BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Some new information, Wolf. I just spoke to the Fort Hood Police Department. They told me that as of just a few minutes ago, the shooting situation was still active. That security personnel were pursuing a shooter, but this person at the Fort Hood Police Department did not know if the shooting incident was contained in one area or not, and as we know, that's a massive base. If they have not contained it in one building or one specific area the possibilities are very vast where this person or people could be going.
So -- that's what I got. Still an active situation. Security personnel pursuing a shooter. Not sure if it's contained, Wolf.
BLITZER: Brian, I want you to repeat the headline out of your report was just for a second.
TODD: Sure. Just as of a few minutes ago, according to the Fort Hood police, the shooting situation or the situation overall was still active. That security personnel were pursuing a shooter. They were not sure the Fort Hood police as of a few minutes ago whether this situation was contained or not. Contained in one area possibly one building, I asked this person could not tell me that, Wolf.
BLITZER: Stand by because our justice correspondent Pamela Brown is getting more information.
What are you learning, Pamela?
PAMELA BROWN, CNN JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: Yes, sorry, Wolf, I'm just looking at my phone here, getting more information. We're hearing from a source, a law enforcement source, Wolf, that as Brian just said, that the shooter is said to still be at-large at this hour. So, this has been ongoing for little over an hour now. We do know that FBI agents are believed to be on the scene right now there at Fort Hood and they are joining local law enforcement, ATF agents are en route to the scene. So, there's already a massive effort under way to find this shooter an also to assess the situation.
Typically, shootings like this happen within minutes. Speaking to former law enforcement agents and investigators on the phone today, they are saying that typically in a situation like this, you have a shooting that happens in minutes, normally a single male but at this point, we don't have any confirmation as far as whether there's only one suspect or more.
We have learned, Wolf, that people have been asked to shelter down, stay inside the buildings, stay away from the windows, which is common practice when you're dealing with a situation like this where it's fluid and where it's believed to be a suspect at large. So, still ongoing -- Wolf.
BLITZER: All right. Stand by, because Lieutenant Donnie Adams is on the phone with us from the Bell County sheriff's office.
What's the latest information you're getting, Lieutenant?
LT. DONNIE ADAMS, BELL COUNTYM, TEXAS, SHERIFF'S DEPARTMENT (via telephone): We still have an active shooter on post. We responded with our deputies to help secure the perimeter, the gates, also the state troopers are responding with us. Right now our function is to help secure the perimeter, fort hood military police is actively engaged in an ongoing incident on post.
BLITZER: How long has this incident, Lieutenant, been going on? Do you know?
ADAMS: It's been going on close to an hour now.
BLITZER: And do you have any good sense where -- is it one shooter or multiple shooters?
ADAMS: I cannot confirm either. I've been hearing reports --
BLITZER: Of both. Do you know where the shooter or shooters may be on the base at Fort Hood?
ADAMS: I do not have that information at this time.
BLITZER: So, everyone should shelter in place. That order is still in existence, right? This incident is by no means over.
ADAMS: It is not over. Still shelter in place. The post is locked down.
BLITZER: And we're hearing multiple injuries. Do you have any more specific information as far as the injuries, casualties, any confirmed deaths or people just injured?
ADAMS: I cannot confirm any of that.
BLITZER: Where do we stand right now? You basically got your own forces, you're helping out to try to secure the perimeter around this base, is that right?
ADAMS: That is correct.
BLITZER: All right. Thanks very much, Lieutenant Donnie Adams, Bell County sheriff's office. Let's take a quick break. We'll be right back.
ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.
BLITZER: There's an active shooting incident underway right now, at Fort Hood, Texas. Multiple injuries reported by Fort Hood itself.
We're told President Obama has been informed on what's going on. Now, we're told Secretary Hagel, the defense secretary, he's also been informed of the shooting at Fort Hood. He will be briefed as events unfold.
Tom Fuentes, our law enforcement analyst, former assistant director of the FBI.
Local police, federal agents, they are coming in to bolster security on this base and a lot of us are worried especially because of what happened in 2009 with Major Nidal Hasan when he went on a rampage.
TOM FUENTES, CNN LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: Right.
BLITZER: Killed a dozen soldiers.
FUENTES: Right. The state and local police will provide perimeter security. But this is an enormous base, so even that task is huge for them to do that. The federal agencies will be responding normally. The FBI would have primary jurisdiction for serious crimes on a base. But, by agreement the army will take this in the end. But the FBI, ATF, other federal agencies, along with the U.S. Army Police that are there, and their criminal investigative division who are also there will be controlling the investigation inside.
Right now, it's too soon to tell what the situation is -- whether they have the subject contained, barricaded with a hostage, or still running loose, somewhere on the base or off the base.
BLITZER: We're told the shooting incident is continuing. The shooter or shooters, we're not clear if it's one or multiple shooters still at large. We are told there are injuries right now.
We'll stay on top of this story. Much more coming up. Thanks for watching.
"ERIN BURNETT OUTFRONT" starts right now.