Return to Transcripts main page


Breaking News: Deadly Shooting Spree in California College Town

Aired May 25, 2014 - 09:00   ET



ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.

CHRISTI PAUL, CNN ANCHOR: A premeditated mass murder. That is what the Sheriff Bill Brown in California calls a frightening incident last night where seven people have now died. Seven others are at a hospital right now after a man, a suspect, who is also dead, according to sheriff's deputies, drove through town in Isla Vista near UC Santa Barbara, and just started shooting people. It was chaos, as we understand. People were screaming and this went on for 10 minutes.

VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN ANCHOR: We have someone on the phone who witnessed that chaos. Daniel Slovinsky. He is the outgoing news editor of the "Daily Nexus," a campus news there. Daniel, you were at a restaurant there. What did you hear? What did you see?

DANIEL SLOVINSKY, OUTGOING EDITOR "DAILY NEXUS" (over the phone): I didn't see anything immediately. Two people dead. We all heard some shots, I would say somewhere between nine, 15 shots. But like most people.

BLACKWELL: Obviously, we just lost Daniel Slovinsky there. Guys, I know you will be working to get him back on the phone.

We got Evan Perez, our Justice Department correspondent with us now. Evan, in front of the cameras for us. Good. So Evan, we got some reports from the sheriff's spokesperson there that the Department of Justice is getting involved in some way. How?

EVAN PEREZ, CNN JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: Well, one of the things that the police departments - you know, smaller police departments would tend to do is to call in the FBI, the ATF or federal agencies to help them do the investigation, simply because they have a lot of expertise in doing these kinds of scenes.

So one of the things that will probably be happening this morning when people can get there is that they would go to the suspect's house, they would go to the family members, talk to them about what any indications that there might have been in the last few days that something like this was going to happen. They would probably be looking for computer records, e-mail, telephone records, to indicate who this suspect may have spoken to and if there is anything written down. We know from the Santa Barbara sheriff's office that they are investigating a video, a Youtube video, that perhaps may or may not have been done by the possible suspect. That is something that they're going to be going through. The FBI and federal law enforcement has a lot of experience in doing this kind of thing. It would be key to helping the Santa Barbara sheriff's office.

PAUL: Evan, what do you know about that Youtube video and why is it of interest to them?

PEREZ: Well, we have taken a look at it. We are not showing it right now because we have to make sure that it indeed is matching up with what the authorities are looking at. It appears to be some kind of manifesto. Some kind of threat that this person was thinking of carrying something out.

Again, it fits with what the sheriff's office says that it appears to have been some kind of premeditation. This person was intending to kill. We know that he started shooting at about 9:27 and he, you know, for the next 10 minutes, carries out shootings. There are nine crime scenes that the police are going through.

Luckily, because this is Isla Vista and this is a place where they had some weekend troubles before in Santa Barbara county, it is something they had a lot of police presence on. It appears that local officers were able to get to the scene and to be able to exchange gunfire with the suspect very quickly. Within six minutes, they started exchanging gunfire with him. Another three minutes later, he is dead.

BLACKWELL: All right. Evan Perez, our Justice Department correspondent there. Evan, stand by. We got someone on the phone here who was a witness to the shooting. His name is Robert Johnson. He is the copy chief of the "Daily Nexus," the newspaper there on campus.

Robert, thanks for speaking with us. We are glad you are safe after this. But tell us what you saw.

ROBERT JOHNSON, COPY CHIEF, "DAILY NEXUS": I was standing on a street corner. I had heard, I guess, what sounded what I now know to be gunshots. But at that time, I thought they were fireworks or firecrackers which is not an uncommon occurrence here. And then I was standing on the street corner and this black BMW turns through the intersection and goes down away from me.

About maybe two seconds later, I heard a pop. At first, I remember looking at the car and thinking it had back fired. Which I remember thinking was strange because it was such a new car and it happened again. By this time, it had reached outside of a restaurant and convenience store and the deli mart. There were maybe a group of six or seven people eating out in front of it. It stopped in front of it and opened fire upon the group.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Robert, did it seem to be targeting anybody or did it just seem very random, the shooting?

JOHNSON: It all happened very quickly, but I think that this happened to be just a large group on the street.

BLACKWELL: So you say he was just aiming for the group?

JOHNSON: Yes. I think it was just a target because it was the largest group in the area.

BLACKWELL: What was the response from the crowds there? I mean was there screaming? Did they start running? What did you see and hear from the people who was standing on the corner?

JOHNSON: I saw the people that were fired upon immediately they all jumped up. Many tried to run into the building. Let's see, I don't recall hearing any screaming. Then it was at that point I turned and ran in the opposite direction.

PAUL: So, can you help us understand what it's like there right now as you are and even though people are going to bed, after a situation like that. Again, we're so glad that you're safe but how are you feeling? How are people around you?

JOHNSON: I think there is a just lot of confusion going on. I think even shortly after this whole ordeal had ended, I think a lot of people did not realize the magnitude of the situation. Because it hadn't been as contained, but it had been around a quarter of the Isla Vista area.

BLACKWELL: Robert, you said you saw the suspect shoot into a crowd. Were any of those people shot on that corner or did he miss all of them?

JOHNSON: I can't say. I wasn't close enough to see. Let me correct. I was on the corner. I was looking down the street.


PAUL: Mike, you have a question.

PAUL: Robert, could you see if the gunman was by himself or if he had anyone else with him? Did he get out of the car or did he stay in the car when he fired on the group?

JOHNSON: I could not see into the vehicle. The windows were heavily tinted. But no one exited the vehicle.

BLACKWELL: OK. Robert Johnson, thank you very much. We may come back to you. Again, we are glad you are safe. Copy chief of the "Daily Nexus," the newspaper there, telling us about this deadly shooting just outside of the University of California Santa Barbara.

We also have Daniel Slovinsky, on the phone. He is outgoing editor of the newspaper there. You were starting to tell us the story of what you heard as we lost your call, Daniel. Pick up where you left off. You were at a restaurant and you heard some pops, you heard some screaming. What did you hear?

SLOVINSKY: Yes. So, just like Robert, I was saying I heard some pops, but I just assumed it was fireworks like most other people. So, contrary to what you might expect, there wasn't a whole lot of chaos immediately. I did not hear any screaming. A few people were running. Most other people didn't know why. It wasn't really until police started yelling at people to get inside that we realized something big went down. Even then, people did not know what. I think Robert is right when he said that there was a lot of confusion rather than panic. I didn't even - go ahead.

PAUL: Go ahead.

SLOVINSKY: I didn't even really figure out exactly what happened until I started talking to some of the eyewitnesses myself such as Robert.

PAUL: OK. So you were talking to Robert. What were you saying and what did you see, I guess, once things started to clear up and you were getting a picture of maybe how many people were shot or how expansive this crime scene is?

SLOVINSKY: Well, yes, the first thing that we were trying to figure out was how any people were injured and, you know, what exactly was going with this suspect. It seemed at the time that there were only maybe four at max, possible deaths. It was a huge shock to us when the police announced there were seven. We did also find out that the suspect, who is now of course confirmed to be dead, did get out of the vehicle somewhere around Del Playa Drive.

I believe one eyewitness I talked to mentioned that he crashed while engaging with police and tried to get out of the vehicle. At which point he sustained a head injury. It is not clear right now if it was self sustained or whether the police shot him.

BLACKWELL: Let me say this, we have not at CNN have been able to confirm if the suspect got out of the vehicle and there was any head injury. We will work with the spokesperson and the sheriff there in Santa Barbara county to make sure that we got that right. Daniel Slovinsky, also Robert Johnson, we want you both to stand by. Because we want to get more of what you saw and heard there in Isla Vista.

As promised, in just a moment, we are going to take a quick break here but we are going to play in its entirely that news conference from Santa Barbara county sheriff Bill Brown explaining exactly what happened and how this investigation is moving forward into what the sheriff is calling a mad man who went on this premeditated mass murder spree. Stay with us.


ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.

BLACKWELL: The breaking news this morning from the West Coast. The small town of Isla Vista, next to the University of California Santa Barbara campus. Seven people dead this morning. Seven injured by gunshots. Also some traumatic injuries at hospitals. We know that in that number seven, one person is the alleged shooter who police say or the sheriff's department there in Santa Barbara county, they say he went on this rampage, driving a black BMW through the streets of Isla Vista, shooting people and six this morning are dead.

PAUL: Sheriff Bill Brown characterizing this as a mass murder by a mad man. We want to get you to that press conference from just a short while ago. Here it is.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This incident appears to be a mass murder situation. The timeline, as we have been able to put it together thus far is as follows, at 9:27 p.m., the sheriff's dispatch center received calls of multiple gunshots being fired in the Isla Vista area. We had deputies in the area on foot who also heard a number of shots being fired.

The deputies began responding in the direction of the gunshots and immediately found several victims who were suffering from gunshot wounds. As they were performing first aid on the victims, they were also receiving suspect information and a vehicle description.

As this was occurring, additional shots were fired and calls were received by the sheriff's dispatch from several areas in Isla Vista. During the initial stage, both the suspect and suspect vehicle descriptions were broadcast to those law enforcement personnel who were in the area.

At 9:33 p.m., six minutes after the initial call was received, the suspect engaged a group of responding deputies with gunfire. The deputies returned fire and the suspect fled in his vehicle. Seconds later, the suspect was again spotted by another deputy. Another exchange of gunfire occurred at that time. The suspect fled down Del Playa and eventually crashed into a parked vehicle.

The deputies approached the crashed vehicle and determined that the suspect within that vehicle was dead from an apparent gunshot wound to the head. A handgun was recovered from within that vehicle. Although we have preliminarily identified the suspect, we are not releasing the suspect's name until a positive identification can be made.

Currently, the sheriff's office is not looking for any additional suspects. We believe this suspect acted alone. This is still a very active investigation and as you can imagine, a very chaotic series of crime scenes. It is still in the very early phases of the investigation. We have identified nine separate crime scenes within the area and multiple victims who were either shot or injured as a result of apparently as a result of the suspect's actions.

Seven victims are in area hospitals being treated for gunshot wounds or for traumatic injuries. At least one of those victims has undergone surgery for life-threatening injuries. We currently have seven confirmed dead. That includes the suspect and six victims. We are in the process of identifying those victims and notifying their next of kin.

We have obtained and we are currently analyzing both written and videotaped evidence that suggests that this atrocity was a premeditated mass murder. The sheriff's office is currently interviewing multiple witnesses to these crimes and we are asking for the public's assistance. If there is anyone who has not yet been spoken to by law enforcement authorities, we would ask if you have information about this crime or series of crimes, if you would contact the Santa Barbara County Sheriff's Office tip line at 805-681-4171.

I would like to acknowledge and thank those allied agencies who are currently assisting us in this investigation in addition to patrol and investigative personnel from the Santa Barbara County Sheriff's Office and assisted by the UC Santa Barbara Department, by the California Highway Patrol, by the Santa Barbara police department, by the district attorney investigators, by the California State Parks law enforcement personnel and by criminalists from the Department of Justice Crime Lab.

I know that this information that I'm giving you at this point is somewhat preliminary. We are going to work diligently to get you more information in detail, including the identity of the suspect and victims. The next press conference is going to be scheduled for 4:00 p.m. today at a location to be determined.

We will notify you through our regular processes of where that press conference will be held. Two things that I just want to say in closing, the first is I want to commend the deputy sheriffs who engaged very resolutely this suspect very shortly after we were notified of this incident. There is no question in my mind at this point their resolute actions and valor in doing so very well may have prevented further loss of life and injury.

I also want to let the families of the victims know that our hearts go out to them at this tragic time. We will be doing all that we can in the near future to try to identify the actual circumstances, the complete background information and so forth about this horrific series of events that occurred this evening.


PAUL: So right now, the investigation is in full force into who this suspect is, what his motive may have been, did he act alone. This, of course, as seven people lay in hospital beds this morning hopefully recovering and seven families dealing with the fact that they lost somebody in their family overnight.

BLACKWELL: Yes. We know that there are gunshot wound injuries, also some other traumatic injuries. One person has already undergone surgery of that number seven at hospitals there around the UC Santa Barbara campus. We will continue to cover the breaking news. We are speaking with people who were in the area and saw what happened and heard what happened. We reached out to reporters there from KEYT. Our CNN affiliate there in Santa Barbara. We are getting you the latest this morning. Stay right here.


ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.

PAUL: A mass murder by a mad man. That is how it is being characterized. A shooting overnight in California. A suspect driving through the streets of a little college town, Isla Vista near UC Santa Barbara and just shooting at people. Seven have been killed, including the gunman this morning, following that deadly drive-by shooting. The incident happened at Isla Vista, as I said, this little town at 9:30 last night. The community was out walking and enjoying the restaurants, enjoying the weather in this beach side town.

BLACKWELL: It is a Friday night in a college town. So clearly there were lots of crowds there. The sheriff called this, as we said, a mass murder by a disturbed young man. We got Evan Perez with us, CNN's Justice Department correspondent. How are - as it's been reported the federal authorities and federal resources are becoming part of this investigation, Evan?

PEREZ: Well, the Justice Department is lending the assistance of its crime lab and you have ATF already on the scene. They are trying to see if there is a way to trace the gun. There's a handgun that was recovered, according to the sheriff's office. And what they would be doing right now is try to figure out where the suspect would have gotten the gun. We don't know very much more about that right now.

But it is something that I'm sure that the officers on the scene and the Justice Department officials that are on the scene are trying to figure out. Obviously, according to the sheriff's office, there was some premeditation to this. The suspect appeared to be just going through Isla Vista and shooting at the crowds of people gathered there.

Right now, they are trying to figure out what would have drove him to do this. Going through his telephone records, his computer records and doing any searches at his house. And of course, the key part here is the gun. Try to figure out where he got this.

PAUL: So, Evan, the sheriff said we are analyzing both written and videotaped evidence that suggest this atrocity, as you said, was a premeditated mass murder. Do we know specifically what they are looking at and what has caught their attention?

PEREZ: Well, one of the things that they are looking at is this video that surfaced. It may or may not be the possible suspect that they are looking at. It appears to describe some motivation that this person was setting out to do some kind of retribution of some kind. Now this is obviously one of the many pieces that the authorities are going to be looking at today. Again, they are going to be doing searches at his house to see if there is anything on his computer and also if he talked to anybody. Any of his friends or family members who may or may not have been told that he had some kind of mental issue or something, that motivation that he wanted to do something. This is obviously a terrible situation that developed last night in Isla Vista.

BLACKWELL: All right. Evan Perez, Justice Department correspondent. Evan, thank you so much. We will take a quick break and we'll be back in a moment with more breaking news. Seven dead, seven in hospitals after the shooting in Isla Vista near the University of California Santa Barbara campus there. Stay with us. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.

BLACKWELL: The breaking news this morning, seven dead, seven in hospitals after a drive-by shooting rampage in the town of Isla Vista, right next to the University of California Santa Barbara campus.

We are speaking this morning with people who saw and heard this shooting. We know that one of those seven is the alleged shooter who was in a black BMW.

There are now reportedly nine crime scenes. We know that from the Santa Barbara County Sheriff Bill Brown.

We have on the phone with us Robert Johnson who works for the "Daily Nexus," the UC Santa Barbara newspaper. He witnessed the shooting.

We heard from the sheriff, Robert, again that there were nine crime scenes. From what you saw, did it look as if this was the start or the end of this rampage?

JOHNSON: I would say what I witnessed was about the middle.

BLACKWELL: OK. And tell us what, for people who weren't with us when we spoke with you at last hour, what did you see? What did you hear? Where were you?

JOHNSON: I was standing on -- near the end of the corner of one of the busiest streets in the town. And I saw a car drive down the street and stop in front of a restaurant/convenience store that had a large group of people, or like eight or so people who gathered in front of it, and just stop in front of it and start firing into the crowd and into the store.

CHRISTI PAUL, CNN ANCHOR: OK, so, Robert, just to clarify, he actually stopped the car to shoot at these people?

JOHNSON: I can't recall if he stopped -- came to a complete stop, but he definitely slowed down from where he was going.

BLACKWELL: Now did you -- were you told to go back inside this restaurant? Were you told to stay inside? What did police tell you?

JOHNSON: I was -- I was maybe 200 feet away from the restaurant. I didn't actually hear anything from the police. But as soon as I realized what was going on, I ran into my friend's apartment who just happened to live on the corner there.


PAUL: Robert, we are so glad that you're OK. We want to point out.

JOHNSON: Thank you.

PAUL: Thank you. Stick around with us, if you would, please. We do want to get to John Palminteri. He is a reporter for KEYT.

John, have you been to the scene?

JOHN PALMINTERI, REPORTER, KEYT: I was at the scene but then about 10 minutes of the first shots that went out last night and was able to quickly get to where the officers had engaged gunfire with the suspect. And eventually got to four different locations, where sadly to say there were fatalities.

PAUL: So help us understand what was happening last night when you got there. What did you see? What did you hear?

PALMINTERI: When I got to the scene, the scene I went to was where the BMW crashed over the curb into another vehicle and there was a body bag down in front of it draped, you know, in the yellow body bag and officers had an array of yellow tape out there and several other intersections. There must have been 30 different police, sheriff and university police units there. And there were college students in shock at the scene at what they had seen there.

And also on the other streets, as you say, there were nine different crime scenes. This vehicle was in motion on a number of blocks in this densely populated college town. There are 20,000 students in a half square mile area there. And the vehicle was not speeding through, it wasn't a speeding drive-by. We were told by eyewitnesses it was a slow rolling drive-by. And at times, there's at least one or more witnesses that believe the driver who was trying to engage conversation with who might be the eventual victims.

And one instance, there was a bike down and two deceased people there. And there was a heroic effort in front of a 7-Eleven convenience store in Isla Vista where a girl got a bullet in her leg and the employees came out -- of 7-Eleven and grabbed her and dragged her back in. And others from the street came in and sought shelter.

I mean, that's absolutely heroic with gunshots going on. And they were told right around that same time, there was an engaged gun battle between the driver and the sheriff's deputies there on another block, a rolling gun battle was taking place there. And that was just unbelievable for people to see.

BLACKWELL: Yes. There was a witness who told one of your reporters at KEYT that it resembled an old western shootout.

John, for people who don't live in this town, give us an idea of how far large of an area we're talking, how far apart are these crime scenes spread?

PALMINTERI: They're probably spread over about four blocks. Four small community blocks. This is a college community with a lot of dorms and sorority and fraternity houses. And houses converted into rentals and it's right adjacent to UC Santa Barbara. So they are almost one in the same, but they are not, you know, jointly owned. So they're very close to the campus. Densely populated. On a Friday night, everyone is out walking the streets, going house to house, going to parties. And some of the community college students who were in the area live out there as well. And they had their graduation yesterday. So they were especially celebrating when all this horrific violence took place.

PAUL: John, the "L.A. Times" is reporting that the suspect has been preliminarily ID'd but that they are not releasing that information until they make that exact distinct positive identification. What do you know about the suspect?

PALMINTERI: We believe the suspect is a young male. They're -- they have not released his name but they are familiar with some videos and some writings that have been referenced by Sheriff Bill Brown who was very careful not to jump the gun on this until they get it all together.


PAUL: John, by the way, I just -- John, I'm sorry. Let me interrupt you but I'm being we just want to make sure as I said, we know that there's a preliminary ID. We just want to make sure you do not publicly say his name because he's not been positively ID'd. I'm sorry I interrupted with you that. We just wanted to make sure it didn't -- we didn't get some information out there that is yet to be released. But please, go ahead and tell us what else you know about him.

PALMINTERI: Yes. I'm very familiar with that because we don't want to jump the gun on this. And the sheriff certainly doesn't want to do that. We want to make sure that that is accurate.

PAUL: Sure.

PALMINTERI: But he did reference publicly that there was a video and written evidence that they are looking at and they are familiar with maybe that this was a pre-planned attack by what he described as a mad man. But it is believed to be a young male that was behind all this. And currently, we believe that there is only one gunman involved here. There were some eyewitness accounts that possibly there might have been more than one. But that, of course, sometimes happens in these kinds of confusing and horrific situations.

BLACKWELL: Hey, John, we know that seven people dead, including the suspect, the alleged shooter here. Also seven people in hospitals. Any update on those injured?

PALMINTERI: My understanding is that they've -- are not all gunshot victims. That one was a bicyclist that was hit in this driving gun battle by the vehicle and has a massive head trauma. And they were calling on the scanners which I was carrying one personally and listening and racing to the scene for multiple ambulances and multiple rescue units to get to the victims and try to sort out who had what. But among the victims, I'm very familiar with one that had a what they call a through-and-through gunshot wound to the leg, one to the arm.

Another one got shot in the back. And then the bicycle victim that had the massive head injury as well. So I'm familiar with those four injuries. I am not updated on their conditions or the type of treatment they had at Santa Barbara's Cottage Hospital.

PAUL: OK. And we know that they are withholding their identities as well.


PAUL: As well as the identities of those who had died until next of kin obviously is notified.

BLACKWELL: John Palminteri, a reporter with KEYT there in Santa Barbara, thank you so much for joining us. We want you to stick around.

PAUL: Thank you, John.

BLACKWELL: As we welcome our viewers from around the world as we announced simulcasting on CNN International network. We are covering the breaking news out of California out of the small town of Isla Vista next to the University of California Santa Barbara campus.

Seven people are dead including the gunman and seven people are in hospitals in that part of California, some from gunshot wounds, others from traumatic injuries. As the sheriff there in Santa Barbara County says that -- as he describes him a mad man went on a premeditated mass murder spree. Driving a black BMW through the small beach side town, shooting people. We know that, again, seven dead, seven injured.

We've got on the phone with us, Lou Palumbo, retired law enforcement agent.

Lou, good to have you with us as we try to unpack this. You know, what stood out to me is that this was a drive-by. And we've covered countless school shootings, campus shootings, the Navy Yard, I mean, that's a federal facility, but campus on its own.

Does that lend itself to someone who was targeting individuals or someone who simply wanted to ramp up the body count and be able to move quickly? Not doing it on foot, but being in a car.

LOU PALUMBO, FORMER LAW ENFORCEMENT AGENT: Yes, my impression is that his targets were a bit more random as opposed to individuals that he was specifically targeting. Clearly being in an automobile gives him that mobility and makes it that much more difficult for law enforcement to contain him. And normally as we've learned, containment is the major part of the exercise when we've experienced these mass shootings.

PAUL: Lou, one of the biggest, I think, obstacles or, you know, difficulties that you all are going to encounter is the fact that there are nine crime scenes here. How do you begin to process that?

PALMINTERI: Well, I would tell you immediately what I would do is request some mutual aid from law enforcement agencies. I have happened to -- I've worked with the Santa Barbara Sheriff's Office on a couple of occasions. They are a very, very good police department. The exercise right now is do they have the resources, do they have the detectives, do they have the ability to cumulatively address each crime scene.

And I would say it would be rather difficult for this agency. I would think they should ask the FBI, for example, to assist them and perhaps some of the (INAUDIBLE) municipalities to assist them in these crime scenes. But they still need to have one overseer from Santa Barbara.

BLACKWELL: We know that the California Highway Patrol is there. We also know that from our Justice Department reporter Evan Perez that there are criminalists from DOJ who are there assisting with the scene.

Lou Palumbo, retired law enforcement agent, we want you to stick around. We also have on the phone with us John Palminteri, a reporter who was there within minutes after the first call there from KEYT, a CNN affiliate there in Santa Barbara.

Both of you stick around. We're going to take a quick break. We have new video from the scene there in Isla Vista. We're going to bring that to you right on the other side. Stay here.


ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.

PAUL: I want to welcome you to our coverage here of the situation in California overnight that a sheriff is characterizing as a mass murder by a mad man.

We are talking about a rolling -- a slow rolling drive-by shooting that lasted 10 minutes in Isla Vista. That's a small college town near UC Santa Barbara. Seven people have died, seven others are in a hospital right now. And we know that the shooter is dead as well. He is one of those seven.

BLACKWELL: Nine crime scenes are being investigated.

Let's bring back Lou Palumbo, retired law enforcement agent. He joins us by phone now.

Lou, talk about, if you would, the challenges of dealing with a public place. I mean, some of the people who may have some of the most valuable information might not be available, may not have stayed around.

PALUMBO: Well, the first thing is that they're going to need sufficient resources to cover nine crime scenes. In addition to that, they've got to go to the shooter's home. They've got to get from the shooter anything that represents, any type of correspondence, any (INAUDIBLE) from neighbors. Then you have a substantial amount of manpower and resource to start to officially undertake this task. Now somebody had mentioned earlier California Highway Patrol?

BLACKWELL: Yes. PALUMBO: The California Highway Patrol does not have an investigative branch or arm to it. Interestingly enough. They're primarily functioned to control the roadways, the traffic situations. Whenever they have any type of criminal activity, they have to call on the local jurisdiction to support their investigation. So I think what we'll see here is perhaps mutual aid. I think they should call in the FBI because the FBI has science labs and forensic specialists on the planet. No question. And they're going to need a lot of help in the form of resources.

I mean, if you look up Santa Barbara's police department, it's not particularly large. And that itself lends itself to a problem. Unlike New York City that has the luxury of throwing bodies at problems as we've seen on 9/11 and other incidents.

PAUL: OK. When we hear that the sheriff is saying they're analyzing written and videotaped evidence that suggests this was a premeditated mass murder. How long does it take to get through some of that evidence, that written and video evidence before you can definitively get some answers?

PALUMBO: A matter of minutes. I mean, that's the -- if they had the opportunity to review some type of video that was made, what he specifically outlined his intention in the means in which he was going to carry it out and why, you have literally minutes since you -- the minute you get your hands on those -- these tapes or videos.

You know, it depends on what the shooter left in the aftermath of the incident and if it's immediately accessible to law enforcement and it creates a very definitive outline as to what his intention and why, you've got a lot right there. The problem still remains that, you know, what was the motive in the shooting. And I -- sadly, I think we're back to this common denominator, which is mental illness and the issue that we need to have some different type of process before people were allowed to obtain weapons like this.

You know, this -- for everybody's information, California has some of the most restrictive firearm laws in the country. Dianne Feinstein leads the charge on this. The simple problem exists in this matter. You can walk into a gun store in the state of California, show your driver's license. You got through a waiting period. If you haven't been convicted of a felony, they'll give you a handgun. The same type of handgun law enforcement military (INAUDIBLE). Therein lies part of the problem. We need to address the whole means and process in which you're able to obtain these weapons.

BLACKWELL: All right, Lou Palumbo, a retired law enforcement agent, joining us this morning, as we continue to cover the breaking news out of Isla Vista, seven dead, seven in hospitals.

Lou, thank you very much.

And Lou mentioned searching the video, searching the writings of the alleged suspect. The sheriff there in Santa Barbara County, Bill Brown, answered a question from a reporter during his news conference about just that. We've selected that portion, we're going to play it for you now.


SHERIFF BILL BROWN, SANTA BARBARA COUNTY: We have videotaped evidence and we have written evidence that appears to have been completed by the suspect.

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Would that videotaped evidence include the video titled (bleep).

BROWN: We're investigating to determine that at this time, but it would appear that that is connected with this crime.


BLITZER: All right. So that beep you heard was the name that was mentioned of the suspect. We're not playing the name because the sheriff's office did not initiate that. That was from a reporter. And we want to make sure that they name this person before we name the person.

PAUL: We do.

BLACKWELL: We have with us Mary Ellen O'Toole, a former FBI profiler. And, you know, as we look to what happened, and now possibly this video connection, tell us about the type of person, and what it would take to, first, document the plan, post it online, and then go forward with it? What has your experience taught you?

MARY O'TOOLE, FORMER FBI PROFILER: Well, my experience with these cases is that these are not impulsive acts. These are not crimes that just occur spontaneously. So there is a lot of thinking that goes into it. And in some cases, it can take years to develop that mindset that, "I hate the world, the world has done me wrong, I need to take revenge." And that brews over years. So that's why I think everybody is saying that these crimes are premeditated.

There's a lot of planning that goes into it and the planning -- the planning may take a couple of weeks, but the thinking that is associated with it, in my experience, that can take years to develop.

PAUL: All right, Mary Ellen, please stay with us. We have to take a quick break here.

But again, if you're just joining us, seven people are dead, seven in the hospital after what is being described as a slow-rolling drive-by shooting last night in the college town of Isla Vista near UC Santa Barbara. We're back in just a moment with more.


ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.

BLACKWELL: Welcome to our viewers here in the U.S. and around the world, as we're covering the breaking news out of Isla Vista, California, a shooting rampage. Seven dead, seven injured. As a man went on a -- driving through the community in a black BMW shooting at crowds. Nine different crime scenes.

We know that this ended when the suspect himself was shot. It has not yet been confirmed if this was a self-inflicted gun wound or if he was shot by one of the sheriff's deputies with whom he was exchanging gunfire.

It happened at about 9:30 Pacific Time.

We have with us Mary Ellen O'Toole, an FBI profiler. Mike Brooks, HLN law enforcement analyst, Evan Perez, CNN's Justice Department correspondent. But I want to start with John Palminteri who is with affiliate KEYT and who was there on the scene within minutes of the first call.

What do we know more about the suspect and the search for any information that could lead them to a motive? His home. His social media. His family and friends.

PALMINTERI: I think they are going to try and retrace back, without officially naming the suspect at this time, look at all those documents they claim to have in the video that has been widely distributed, although again he is unnamed, and try to retrace back what started all of this, what caused this mental mindset to go on this rampage, and who he was targeting. It looked like it was -- it was random, but there may be some indication that -- that there's more specific means of why he was out shooting last night.

I can tell you they have a number of investigators from nearby agencies coming in, and they're going over every crime scene, tracking the path of the shooter, the number of bullets fired, and whether he had verbal contact with anyone, of which we have eyewitnesses who have confirmed that. There was some verbal contact before shots were fired in some of the instances. And then, they'll be able to piece this together.

But, as you say, there's 14 families that are going to come here today and they're going to have a very horrible experience to try and resolve this.

PAUL: All right, John Palminteri, with KEYT. Thank you so much. Stick around with us, too, because as we have Mary Ellen O'Toole, and Evan Perez, and Mike Brooks, and John, we need to get more into some specifics of what happened, where the investigation goes from here. But again, seven people are in the hospital. They are not being named in terms of who they are until next of kin is administered. And of course, the seven people who are dead, next of kin is being talked to, as well.

So we're going to bring all of that to you in just a moment. More from California in just a moment. Stay close.