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Deadly Fort Hood Shooting; Search for Flight 370

Aired April 3, 2014 - 05:30   ET


CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN ANCHOR: Breaking news this morning. Four dead, more than a dozen others injured after a soldier goes on a shooting rampage at Fort Hood. New information this morning on the gunman's past and why he may have pulled that trigger.

Plus, what the shooter's wife said when she heard the tragic news. We're live.

Welcome back to EARLY START. I'm Christine Romans.

POPPY HARLOW, CNN ANCHOR: I'm Poppy Harlow. It is 30 minutes past 5:00 a.m. here on the East Coast. And now to Fort Hood and the breaking news this morning.

There are so many questions about what drove a soldier to open fire on his own colleagues, taking three of their lives, injuring 16 others, some in critical condition at this hour, and then turning a gun on himself.

Multiple sources have identified that soldier to CNN as specialist Ivan Lopez, an Iraq war veteran who was being treated for mental health issues. Much more on him in just a moment.

Let's get straight to the base, though, and our George Howell, who has been there throughout the morning.

What can you tell us? Walk us through what happened and the latest that you're hearing from officials.

GEORGE HOWELL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Poppy, good morning. The exact timeline is still unclear, but what we do know, the shooting happened in multiple locations on base. First of all, we understand that Lopez went into a building, opened fire with his .45 caliber Smith and Wesson semiautomatic handgun, then got into his vehicle, fired shots from the vehicle, then went into a second building.

These two buildings, the Medical Building and the Transportation Building. Went into the second building, opened fire. When all was said and done, as you mentioned, 16 people, at least 16 people are injured, in hospitals in various states of condition. We know that three people died, were shot and killed. That number does not include Lopez, who we understand used that weapon to shoot and kill himself when he was confronted by a military officer.

I want you to listen to what was happening here on base. Again, the base was put on lockdown. People were told to shelter in place. Listen to what dispatchers were dealing with moment by moment as this was happening.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We have multiple gunshot victims. We also have people that are escaping through windows.


HOWELL: The last time this base was in this type of situation, back in 2009. Major Nidal Hasan. You'll remember that shooting. He killed 13 people. He injured dozens more. Once again, it's happened here on base. And we know that Lopez brought a weapon on to base that was not registered. You can certainly imagine that officials here will be looking into that and how he brought that weapon here on base.

HARLOW: Absolutely. So many questions still to be answered. I know it's really -- you've been there since the middle of the night, but I'm wondering if you're getting any sense from people on the ground there, either on the base or those who live with their families off the base, this is really, as like I heard someone describe it, like a city in and of itself, a very tight-knit community.

What are they saying, especially considering that they went through this five years ago?

HOWELL: It is. It is a city in and of itself. It's a place where many people live. Keep in mind, Fort Hood is one of the largest if not the largest military base here in the United States and in the world. A lot of people went through this situation when the base was put on lockdown, when they were told to shelter in place, that they couldn't go outside.

Remember that people went through this some five years ago. It was a difficult day for them. Some 12 hours ago. And this morning as we get light of day, certainly, we have a lot of questions to officials. First of all, you know, what we can learn more about Lopez. And secondly, how a weapon was -- how he brought this weapon on base.

HARLOW: Absolutely. A tragic situation for them this morning.

George, thank you.

ROMANS: As George mentioned, CNN has learned from multiple sources the shooter is Specialist Ivan Lopez. Here's what we know about him. Lopez had served four months in Iraq back in 2011. He had only recently transferred to Fort Hood, back in January. He was in the process of being evaluated for possible PTSD. He was under treatment for depression and anxiety. And he only recently purchased the Smith and Wesson .45 caliber pistol, the pistol used in the shootings.

Neighbors say they were with Lopez's wife in the moments after the first reports of gunfire at that base.


KANDERIA MORRIS, NEIGHBOR OF FORT HOOD SHOOTING SUSPECT: And we were outside, you know, me and a few of my neighbors, we were all outside talking about it. And I saw her come out of her apartment, and she seemed to be -- she was -- you know, she was worried and she was crying, and she had a little girl with her. So you know, I walked over to her, and you know, I tried to console her and comfort her and let her know everything was OK.

But it didn't seem to, you know, pretty much, you know, sink in. And so we sat outside with her, you know, tried to keep her calm until her other family came. And that was pretty much it.

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: And did you know at this time that it was her husband?

MORRIS: No, we had no clue. No one had a clue. She didn't even have a clue until a few hours had passed and we all heard it over the news.


ROMANS: We're told Lopez's wife is cooperating with investigators.

HARLOW: And you know, any time there is a shooting like this, questions turn to security, especially at a place like Fort Hood, the largest military base in this country, home to more than 70,000 soldiers, their families and civilian employees.

Lynn Adams lives off the base with her husband, who is an army soldier. They were on lockdown after the shooting.


LYNN ADAMS, FORT HOOD RESIDENT: The post doesn't really have any extra security. They check I.D.s at the gate, they do random checks at the gate, and they're trained to look out for things that might signify that someone might be up to something, much like airport security and things like that or police officers. But there isn't really a whole lot of extra protection for us.


ROMANS: The president called what happened simply heartbreaking. He made a statement from Chicago last evening.


BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Any shooting is troubling. Obviously, this reopens the pain of what happened at Fort Hood five years ago. We know these families. We know their incredible service to our country and the sacrifices that they make. Obviously, our thoughts and prayers are with the entire community, and we are going to do everything we can to make sure that the community at Fort Hood has what it needs to deal with the current situation, but also any potential aftermath.

We're heartbroken that something like this might have happened again. And I don't want to comment on the facts until I know exactly what has happened, but for now, I would just hope that everybody across the country is keeping the families and the community of Fort Hood in our thoughts and in our prayers.


HARLOW: And as the president mentioned, Fort Hood has been the site of tragedy like this before. Five years ago, Major Nidal Hasan, an army psychiatrist, opened fire there, killing 13 people and injuring dozens of others. General Russel Honore was once an assistant commander at Fort Hood. He told our Wolf Blitzer shootings like this make it difficult for soldiers to even feel safe in the one place that they are supposed to be protected.


GEN. RUSSEL HONORE, RETIRED ASSISTANT COMMANDER, FORT HOOD: Our Army post, by tradition, that's our sanctuary. That's the place we come back to, to be with our families, to train for the next mission or deployment. To go on that deployment, come back to our families that we leave, to those who remain behind as well as the surrounding communities, to take care of them. And when violence like this happens, it breaks that trust between the soldier and his family and his community.


HARLOW: All right, stay with us. We're going to bring you the latest, all the developments from the breaking news, the shooting at Fort Hood, throughout the morning right here.

ROMANS: At the same time, the search intensifying this morning for missing Malaysia Airlines Flight 370. Right now, aircraft, ships shifting west. They are shifting west. They are looking there for any sign of the vanished jetliner, and the investigation into what happened seems to have stalled. Live team coverage of that, next.


ROMANS: This morning, the search for Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 is focused on an area roughly the size of Utah, with planes and ships hoping to find some debris from a jet that's now been missing for 27 days.

Malaysia's prime minister today is seeing the search operation firsthand, insisting his government will not rest until they figure out what happened.

Matthew Chance is live in Perth. And Matthew, we know that the search area has shifted slightly to the west. They keep refining the search area. How is the search going so far today?

MATTHEW CHANCE, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, it's been, I think, stepping up in its intensity to a certain extent. We've had about eight aircraft from the United States, from Japan, from South Korea, from other countries as well, scouring the waters in the South Indian Ocean in the search area, which as you say, has been refined over the course of the past 24 hours. It's still vast, though, some 85,000 square miles of open sea that they're looking for any trace of this missing airliner in. Najib Razak, he's the Malaysian prime minister, he's here in Perth, on this air base here, out of which the search rescue is for the most part being coordinated, being briefed by the Australian teams. The other teams as well, that are carrying out those search missions.

He then gave a press conference alongside his Australian counterpart and he struck a sort of, you know, optimistic note, saying, essentially, we'll do everything we can to get to the bottom of this. He also said that the new, refined area of search has given us new hope. But there's been no debris that's been found so far from the missing airliner.

Tony Abbott, his Australian counterpart, the Australian prime minister, striking a much more cautious tone, though. Take a listen.


TONY ABBOTT, AUSTRALIAN PRIME MINISTER: This is probably the most difficult search ever undertaken, the most difficult search ever undertaken. Even though we are constantly refining the search area, even though the search area is moving north, it is still an extraordinarily remote and inaccessible spot, at times subject to very difficult sea conditions.


CHANCE: Tony Abbott there saying as well at the end of that that he thought there was a possibility that this search operation would not end in success -- Christine.

ROMANS: All right, thanks so much, Matthew Chance.

You know, Poppy, it's so interesting. There are two facts. Twenty- seven days have passed -- two facts.

HARLOW: And just two facts.

ROMANS: Plane's missing. Inmarsat, you know, satellite imagery shows that it probably turned to the south. That's really all we know.

HARLOW: Can you imagine being a family member, a loved one, sitting with only knowing that for certain.

ROMANS: Anyway, thanks, Matthew. That was great.

Up next here on EARLY START, just how difficult has this search been?

HARLOW: Right.

ROMANS: How difficult is it becoming in the Indian Ocean? We're going to map this out for you with an oceanographer who knows this terrain very, very well.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) ROMANS: The latest now on the deadly shooting at Fort Hood. Four people, including the gunman dead. Sixteen others are injured, some in critical condition this morning.

Multiple sources tell CNN the shooter was Specialist Ivan Lopez, an Iraq war veteran undergoing treatment for depression and anxiety. He shot himself after a military policewoman confronted him just minutes after the shooting began.

Stay with us for the very latest on this breaking story.

Now to Australia, where the search area for Flight 370 has shifted slightly this morning to the west, some 1,000 miles off the coast of Perth. Eight planes, nine ships crisscrossing the area trying to find debris from the missing Boeing 777. So far, so far again this morning, nothing.

HARLOW: All right. So let's bring in Erik Van Sebille, he is an oceanographer at the University of New South Wales in Sydney. We've been talking to him over the past few weeks about the terrain as the search area has shifted.

The way you described this as sort of a mini mountain range under the ocean. That's how tough this is.

ERIK VAN SEBILLE, OCEANOGRAPHER, UNIVERSITY OF NEW SOUTH WALES: Yes, it is. It is quite rugged terrain down there. And the point is, we don't really know what it looks like down there because it's -- we don't have proper maps, we don't have the maps that we have of the surface of the earth or the surface of the ocean deep down there. None of our satellite signals can penetrate, so we really have a hard time mapping it out.

So this is a bit like uncharted territory. We actually know more about the surface of the moon than we know of the bottom of the ocean down there.


ROMANS: I know, isn't that amazing?


ROMANS: More of the surface of the moon than we know of the bottom of the ocean.

HARLOW: Right.

ROMANS: Meantime, you have -- when you're talking about the surface of the ocean, you know, notwithstanding, you know, the caverns and the mountains, the Himalayas below the ocean, you've got this surface area. Tell us about this surface area that these ships are on, that these planes are patrolling. You know, how small in that vast area would, you know, a floating seat cushion or a piece of that plane be? It'd be very minute, wouldn't it? VAN SEBILLE: Absolutely, absolutely. I've been to sea quite a few times, and I've spent hours and hours looking for our instruments as we were recovering them. There were subsurface, and you -- we triggered them and let them loose and tried and waited until they reached the surface. And we knew it was kind of in an area maybe 100, 200 yards around the ship.

And even then, sometimes it took 10 minutes to locate it, just because these things are so small, and it's so hard to find them in this vast ocean, especially where there's little bit of waves or a little bit of sun glare. It's so hard to see these small things.

HARLOW: And the real key here is finding that data recorder, so- called black box, before it stops pinging, if you will, which could happen as early as Saturday.

When I think about the pinger locator that is being towed out there and supposed to arrive, I believe some time tomorrow, does that get -- there we have a look at it -- does that get towed high above anything that it would run into? Because you're thinking, this can't be running along the -- you know, the bottom there of the ocean, or else it's just going to get blocked by how rugged it is down there.

VAN SEBILLE: Absolutely. Absolutely. So they're going to run it high enough in the water column. But the problem is, then, it's quite far, still, to the bottom. So just like with any sound you make, the further away you are from the pinger, the quieter it is and the harder it is to actually hear it.

So on one hand you want to be as close as possible, but on the other hand, you want to be a little bit far away so that you don't run into mountains, but also that you cover a larger area and you can actually see further to the sides, if you want.

ROMANS: Wow, that is simply amazing. When you look at what they're trying to do there. Do you have any hope, Erik, that they're going to be able to find either an intact piece of that fuselage on the bottom of the ocean or pieces of it floating on top of the ocean, just given the challenges?

VAN SEBILLE: Well, I am not a betting man. I don't know. I don't know what the chances are. I do sincerely hope that we will find it because I think that everybody involved in this, everybody from the families of the people who boarded this plane to everybody who just sits in a plane every now and then wants to know what happened to this story and wants to know why this happened, what we are seeing.

HARLOW: And finally, quickly, you know, a lot of -- I guess we don't have time to get to the question. We'll get to you again soon.

ROMANS: Thanks, Erik.

HARLOW: Thank you for being an expert for us. We appreciate it.

ROMANS: He's so great.


ROMANS: He really knows so much about the ocean there.

All right. Breaking news in Chile, powerful aftershocks rocking the country throughout the night. The latest right after the break.


HARLOW: Breaking news overnight. Northern Chile was rocked by another very strong earthquake, this one measuring 7.6, leading to evacuations along that country's northern coast. Residents in some cities spent the night on the street, worried their buildings could collapse.

This happened just a day after an 8.2 magnitude quake rattled that same region. That left six people dead and thousands of homes damaged.

ROMANS: The location of a devastating landslide north of Seattle now a major disaster area. President Obama making that declaration overnight as the death toll rises again. The death toll, 29 people now confirmed dead, 20 more people are still missing this morning. And now the Army Corps of Engineers making plans to build a channel to change the flow of the river there. The river still threatening to flood the site.

HARLOW: Get ready for more money, possibly a lot more money, in our political campaigns. The Supreme Court in a 5-4 decision has thrown out the limit on how much one person can contribute in total to all political campaigns in an election season.

Now here's the caveat, you might still or you will still be limited in how much you can give to a single candidate. Critics say the ruling has opened the door to big money controlling politics in the process even more than before.

ROMANS: All right, American stocks within spitting distance of record highs. I want to give you a quick check of global markets right now after a record day in the U.S. Record high for the S&P 500. The Dow this morning within three points of a record high. Futures this morning suggest record for the Dow is in sight.

OK, record highs, but this chart, this chart has the street buzzing this morning. Take a good look at this one, Poppy. This is a (INAUDIBLE) to a chart of the current bull market, that's in blue.

HARLOW: Right.

ROMANS: The current bull market. Over a chart of the bull market of the '80s in orange. Hey, they look very similar. The S&P 500 soared more than 175 percent from its low in 2009. That's the same jump we saw in the '80s. But look at the far right of that chart.


HARLOW: Right. ROMANS: We all know how the '80s ended, with the biggest one-day crash in history for the S&P. Now markets never exactly repeat. No one's predicting a crash, but that chart I just showed you getting a lot of buzz this morning. It shows, Poppy --


HARLOW: No kidding.

ROMANS: -- just how far this market has come and how so many are wondering what's going to happen next.

HARLOW: And we still so many deep-rooted problems namely unemployment, underemployment in this country, housing not fully back and also a lot of questions still.

ROMANS: But stocks reflect how well companies are doing.

HARLOW: Companies are doing.

ROMANS: Now how well you and I are doing and companies are doing just fine.

HARLOW: All right. "NEW DAY" starts right now.

CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: Breaking news. A shooting at Fort Hood again.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We have an active shooter currently on Fort Hood. We have multiple gunshot victims. We also have people who are escaping through windows.

CUOMO: A soldier's bloody rampage opening fire on America's largest military base killing three soldiering, injuring 16 others before turning the gun on himself.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He was undergoing behavior health and psychiatric treatment for depression and anxiety.

CUOMO: The big unknown, why did he do it. New information on the shooter and his combat history as a military base grapples with tragedy once again.

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: That sense of safety has been broken once again.

MICHAELA PEREIRA, CNN ANCHOR: And the hunt for missing Malaysian Air Flight 370. Australian and Malaysian leaders calling it the most difficult search in human history.

NAJIB RAZAK, MALAYSIAN PRIME MINISTER: The disappearance of MH-370 is without precedent. So too is the search.

PEREIRA: This morning crews shift the search area again as key equipment to find the black box delayed until tomorrow. Is time running out to find the plane and figure out what happened?