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Report: Secret Service Says Shooter Was Not on Their Radar; E- Mail Threat to GPO Lawmaker; FBI Investigating Shooter's Social Media Rants. Aired 3:30-4p ET
Aired June 14, 2017 - 15:30 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[15:30:00] DIANNE GALLAGHER, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: You can only imagine how that family must have felt in Michigan getting the phone call from the paramedics out there, thinking their son was out there helping the Congressmen and women, you know, perfecting their baseball game. Doing something that he loves not expecting a phone call like that. As you said, they are on their way here to Washington, D.C., and we will try to let you know once we are told that they have arrived.
BROOKE BALDWIN, CNN ANCHOR: Not a day any of these family members, let alone a person of Congress, would have expected. Practicing at 7:00 in the morning. Dianne, thank you so much. And we should also mention the game will go on as planned tomorrow night here in Washington, D.C., at Washington National Stadium.
With me now to talk about all of this, Johnathan Wackrow, former Secret Service agent and CNN law enforcement analyst.
Andre Guillerm former U.S. Capitol police officer. And Dan Emmett, retired Secret Service agent, author of "I Am as Secret Service Agent."
Good to see you all. Andre, to you first. The only reason that the two Capitol police officers were actually there at practice this morning was because of Congressman Scalise because he's a member of Republican leadership in the house. Had he had a meeting this morning, they wouldn't have been there and this would have been a total massacre. What are they supposed to do? Is every member of Congress supposed to have security detail from here on out?
ANDRE GUILLERM, FORMER US CAPITOL POLICE OFFICER: This is going to be a challenge for U.S. Capitol police. Right now, security details are assigned to leadership in Congress as well as any members that have a credible threat against them. This is going to be a huge challenge now because this was an obscure event. Luckily, those two agents were in attendance but had it been at the Democrat game, with no leadership in attendance that would have been much worse. I don't know how they're going to be able to really hit the challenge without mutual assistance from state and local agencies as well as getting fusion centers involved to help in their protective intelligence efforts.
BALDWIN: We heard the gunshots. We played out that video. It lasted some 2 1/2 minutes. Grand scheme, it doesn't sound like a lot. If you're there on the field and hear the shots fired from this 66-year- old madman and return fire from these police officers, Jonathan, we don't know yet as far as what sort of weapon he had, definitively, but what are your thoughts?
JONATHAN WACKROW, CNN LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: The video is chilling. This is a chilling situation. I want to say that the Capitol police officers did a fantastic job. If you listen to the audio, you can actually hear them giving verbal commands to the gunman. They are engaging the gunman. They are aggressively trying to stop this threat and to ensure that no one else got injured or killed in this situation. They did a fantastic job. I cannot put more stress upon that. This is, again, another pure example of a crisis, a dynamic crisis situation that can happen at any moment at any time and everyone needs to, you know, practice self-preservation. Have that skill set to survive in a situation just like this.
BALDWIN: We're getting some more news in. Gentlemen, stand by. We're learning that in the wake of this morning's shooting, another Republican lawmaker here in Washington has received a threatening e- mail and the subject line of this e-mail, as we're told, is 1 down, 216 to go. Manu Raju, our correspondent here on Capitol Hill, that is entirely frightening. Tell me more about this e-mail and this threat.
MANU RAJU, CNN SENIOR CONGRESSIONAL REPORTER: Yes, a chilling e-mail that was sent to Republican Congresswoman Claudia Tenney. Her spokesperson telling our colleague that she got this threatening e- mail with the subject line that does read, "1 down, 216 to go." now, that e-mail went on to talk in rather stark terms about Miss Tenney, saying did you not expect this? When you take away ordinary people's lives and good riddance.
[15:35:00] This e-mail has been turned over to the Capitol police that is investigating this further and Tenney also told our colleague Deirdre Walsh that often people walk into her office and say, quote, I hope you die. So, it just goes to show you, Brooke, the level of threats that members receive on a daily basis that are investigated and making sure that constituents don't have access to them but that they are secure in light of the threats that the members are facing on a regular basis. Brooke?
BALDWIN: Let me take that piece of information and that threat to that Republican Congresswoman from New York. Andre, let me ask you about this. Talking to members of Congress here today, you know, threats aren't new. I think what changed this morning is that this individual actually acted on his threat. What are members of Congress to do?
GUILLERM: It's a difficult question, again, you can't anticipate these sorts of things. I know the threat picture has changed. I was with Capitol police from 1998 to 2006. We didn't have to deal with social media. There were no tweets to sift through, no Facebook posts. It's very difficult. They are going to have to take any sort of threat on social media or through e-mail correspondence very seriously.
BALDWIN: But you had letters, Andre. There were letters.
GUILLERM: That's right.
BALDWIN: This is just a different way for people to speak out and threaten members of Congress. But to see this person act on a threat this morning, to me, seems to change the conversation.
GUILLERM: Oh, absolutely. Again, this is something that you couldn't really anticipate. We can't look at everybody. And it's just very difficult. I mean, I'm just shocked and I'm glad that the capitol police officers were there. I'm glad to hear that they are doing well and that they did their job. At the end of the day, though, it's going to be a huge challenge for them and I can't even imagine what the chief and his staff are thinking right now.
BALDWIN: Jonathan, similar question to you. As we've been going through some of these different posts and destroying democracy, destroying him, whether on the left or the right, when it comes to posts like this, what's law enforcement supposed to do when you can't just act on rhetoric?
WACKROW: No. But what you need to do is look at every threat that comes in regardless of the medium. So, you said letters. It can be social media. It can be telephone calls. Every threat needs to be looked at. Listen, social media has made it much harder for law enforcement to accomplish that task but all agencies, you know, whether it's federal or local, need to look at building robust and protective intelligence methodologies if they are engaging in executive protection. Secret Service does it very well but they have a smaller amount of protectees. Today, what you'll see is other threats probably coming in as copycat threats but they have to be taken seriously to ascertain the means and opportunity for the threat to cause harm.
BALDWIN: And I'm also thinking, listening to you, Jonathan, Dan. What about the fact that this was a public park? We talk social media and then location. This was a public park at 7:00 a.m. Congressman Costello was saying he's looking over his shoulder and thinking ahead to recess and more of these town halls and the right to want more security. It seems merited.
DAN EMMETT, RETIRED SECRET SERVICE AGENT: Right. In terms of these public parks, an open and free society in which we live, it's virtually impossible to secure a ballpark like what you had this morning. The best that you can hope for is that the security that does exist is aware, keeping their eyes open and being alert to any possible threats that might occur. Now, in this particular situation, you had an active shooter. There are two things that need to happen. First, the shooter needs to be neutralized while simultaneously, the protectee needs to be covered and evacuated.
[15: 40:00] After the scene is secure, the paramedics can come in and attend to the wounded. So as Jonathan stated, these guys did a great job. The Capitol police, the Alexandria police, super job all around. They are just simply hamstrung by the fact that there's so few of them. You have 100 or so senators, over 200 Congressmen. There is not the manpower to provide protection for all of them. And so, it sort of becomes incumbent upon the representatives themselves to be very alert, very situationally aware, be aware of their surroundings and just basically watch what is going on around them.
BALDWIN: Gentlemen, thank you all. We're looking at live pictures here of the actual crime scene which is this baseball park near the Del Ray area in Alexandria. I spoke a Congressman who said his cell phone is somewhere in there and his wedding ring. There are things that investigators are culling through.
Coming up next on CNN, hear the chilling phone calls as first responders called in from the scene. Also, President Trump calling for unity. We're live at the White House with reaction next.
[15:45:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
BALDWIN: Breaking news here. We're live on Capitol Hill. I'm Brooke Baldwin. Getting some news in. A little bit more into the mindset of the 66-year-old shooter from Illinois who came down and opened fire on this group of Republican baseball players practicing this morning in Virginia. So, we're learning now -- this is according to David Shortell at CNN, that the shooter contacted the office of his own Congressman with complaints ten different times in the last couple of months. Ten times. Here's a quote from the Congressman. "He obviously didn't agree with my position on everything from health care, don't vote for this, don't vote for that."
This is coming from congressman Mike Bost the Republican of Illinois. These complaints apparently came over the phone and also through e- mails. This is from June of 2016 until just about a month ago. So fairly recent from him. A member of Congress never talked to the shooter directly, just leaving messages. "not any of the single things in the communications was a red flag and it was like any other constituent who calls and complains." in one e-mail the shooter wrote, "if you vote this way, we'll remember you." Lastly, Bost said his office never determined that the communications were threatening enough to warrant a call to the authorities on this shooter complaining ten times to his Republican member of Congress in the state of Illinois. Here now is a message from the President of the United States earlier today for wounded Congressman Steve Scalise.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP. U.S. PRESIDENT: Congressman Steve Scalise is a friend and a very good friend. He's a patriot and he's a fighter. He will recover from this assault. And Steve, I want you to know that you have the prayers not only of the entire city behind you but of an entire nation and, frankly, the entire world. America's praying for you and America's praying for all of the victims of this terrible shooting.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BALDWIN: Let's go to our senior White House correspondent Jim Acosta. That was the President's message for Steve Scalise. Has he made other phone calls to these other survivors, their families? What is going on at the White House?
JIM ACOSTA, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: He and the vice President have been making phone calls and our colleague Jeremy Diamond says that a senior official told him that the President is keeping tabs on Congressman Steve Scalise's condition. He and the vice President have canceled their events for today. Obviously, the entire nation is very concerned about the victims of that shooting in Alexandria earlier today. You heard the President talking about Congressman Scalise and how everybody is pulling for him and the other victims of this shooting but he was also sounding a very unifying message, Brooke.
I thought it was pretty remarkable to hear the President talking about how he said in those remarks that people here in Washington are serving their country because they love their country and we know that the President from time to time has used a lot of divisive rhetoric on the campaign trail and so on but certainly wasn't doing that today. We do know -- we should also report that tomorrow there was some talk, perhaps the President might go to the Congressional baseball game but a white house official is telling CNN he's not going to do that because of these security concerns. I've attended the Congressional baseball games many times over the years.
[15:50:00] That would be a very difficult challenge for the secret service to protect that environment for the President to go in one day after a shooting attack like this. It probably just would have been a very bad idea and a difficult situation. People here at the white house, just like everybody across the capitol, is really thinking about the Congressman and those other folks who were injured in that shooting and they are really the rule, not the exception. There are people on the right blaming people on the left for what occurred today but it really is sort of a small minority of voices and not the message coming from the President today. He was very much sounding a unifying message in response to this shooting, Brooke.
BALDWIN: That's what we're hearing all throughout Capitol Hill here as well. Jim Acosta down the road from me, thank you so much.
We are learning more details on how the shooting played out. We'll let you listen to some of the harrowing dispatch calls that began just after 7:00 a.m.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED DISPATCHER: Units arriving, Monroe, receiving reports of shots being fired and there are people running, possibly victims involved.
UNIDENTIFIED POLICE OFFICER: Shots being fired. We need medics, we've got a suspect shot.
UNIDENTIFIED DISPATCHER: 225, give me your exact location.
UNIDENTIFIED POLICE OFFICER: The ballfield by the YMCA. There's also a victim down in the baseball field.
We have another down.
UNIDENTIFIED DISPATCHER: Does anybody need a chopper? UNIDENTIFIED POLICE OFFICER: Yes, that's affirmative.
UNIDENTIFIED POLICE OFFICER: We've got some witnesses that are trying to leave. I'm trying to keep them on the scene.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BALDWIN: All right. Let's go to CNN's Renee Marsh who is standing in front of a wall. You can sort of help us map out, Renee, where this baseball practice was. Explain to people who are watching. Why were these men playing baseball at 7:00 a.m.?
RENEE MARSH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Right. There's this big game that's happening for charity tomorrow, and they have been practicing pretty much every day before they head into their day jobs at work on the capitol, so -- at the Capitol, and so that's what they were doing this morning and that was all happening in Alexandria, Virginia. That's not very far from the U.S. Capitol just about five miles, eight miles if you're driving, but this all started when a gentleman was in the parking lot of the -- of the park, essentially in the parking lot here, so members were leaving, and they -- apparently they were asked by this man who was playing.
They were told by members of Congress that that individual approached this section here at the park. This is right behind the third base dugout, and I want to give you just that overview that is right around here. So, he approached here and started to open fire. I can tell you representative Scalise was right around here. This is the second base area, and you can see that he was right in the line of fire. We know representative Scalise was shot in the hip and remains in the hospital.
There were members here by the home plate, also by third base. They all scattered, and they were running towards this area. This is the dugout right by first base, and, of course, this was probably the safest place for these folks to run because, as you can see, Brooke, this is the dugout area where they all tried to run for cover. It sits a lot lower, and it is also -- it has concrete walls, so they were safe there, and they all hid out there as this man opened fire.
Again, Brooke, this is where everyone pretty much what is standing on this field. I can tell you that the YMCA, they also -- they had their windows shattered as a result of this gunman opening fire, and the last point here, Brooke I want to show you is that when they did finally hear gunfire coming to the right of them, that was actually capitol police firing returned shots at the gunman. So that is the time line of exactly what happened in those -- in the several minutes as that gunman opened fire on those members of Congress.
BALDWIN: That's the time line. Rene Marsh, thank you so much. We've also got these live pictures that's honed in right now on the third base dugout which is apparently where the shooter was. Didn't quite get on to the field, thanks to the Capitol police officers who quickly responded and fired back, but this is right around the area where the shooter was at 7:00 this morning, shooting into the field. Remember, it's Congressman Scalise who is the injured, just undergone surgery. [15:55:00] He was standing there at second base, and then everyone
else, as we've heard from members of Congress, sort of ran to that first base line and ran towards that dugout to seek cover. We're live in Congressman Scalise's home district in Louisiana when CNN continues.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. JOE BARTON, R-TEXAS: We're both here to confirm that we are going to play the annual charity baseball game tomorrow at the normal time at National Stadium, Nats Park. We do have one new charity that we have added, the Fallen Officers Fund. In addition to the Boys and Girls Club of Washington, the Washington Literacy Council and the Nationals Dream Foundation. People that attend the game can make a donation to any of those charities at the game or they can also do it online. This is a game that has been played off and on for approximately 100 years and in its current configuration it's been played since the 1960s.
It's currently tied 39 wins for each side, plus two ties. Congressman Scalise will not play since he was shot this morning, and I did tell Congressman Doyle that it would be only fir that a Democrat shouldn't also play, happens to be their best pitcher, Cedric Richmond, but Mike says he loves us and wants us to show support but that's asking too much so basically, we're playing the game tomorrow. We're united, not as Republicans and Democrats but as United States representatives, and -- and I believe C-Span is going to televise the game so we would ask the American people to pray for those who were shot, both the Congressman and volunteers and our officers, and it will -- it will be play ball tomorrow night at 7:05.
REP. MIKE DOYLE, R-PENNSYLVANIA: Thanks, joe. We on the Democratic side, when we heard this news, we were practicing at our field and we can only imagine what our friends were going through at that moment, and we felt kind of helpless to help them. We went into our dugout and huddled up and just started saying prayers for them that they would be okay and that nobody would be hurt seriously, but joe and I talked, and we've decided that we're not going to let incidents like this change our way of life or our daily routines. We're going to go ahead and play the ball game. Players on both sides want to do that. They think it's the right thing to do.
I did tell Joe that I love him before the game, and I love him after the game, but during the game we're going to play to win, and I know Joe's team is going to do the same thing. Charities are going to benefit. Our thoughts and prayers are with those two officers. Had Steve's personal detail not been there on the field with him, this could have been much, much worse, and even as they were being shot, they continued to fire and bring that gunman down, and the two staff people. These guys get up at like 5:30 in the morning as volunteers to help us with batting practice and whatever we ask them to do, and it's not something that they have to do. They do it because they love the game and they enjoy the camaraderie. And our thoughts are with them, too, obviously, and to our colleague Steve Scalise. Hopefully he'll be able to watch the game on television if c-span is televising it, and we're thinking of him, too. You know, it shouldn't take an --