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Active Shooter at Florida High School. Aired 3-3:30p ET

Aired February 14, 2018 - 15:00   ET


[15:00:03] BROOKE BALDWIN, CNN HOST: Let me read a tweet for you.

Guys, if you will help me out, and just throw it up on the screen. This is from the Broward Sheriff -- Broward Sheriff's Office: "Working a developing incident regarding a report of active shooter located at 5901 Pine Island Road, Parkland. Here is what we know."

Can you guys go back and share it again?

"Here is what we know so far." And then it went black. We're all working off the same page.

Guys, if we can get the tweet back up.

Art, you're sitting in front of a TV watching. I'm seeing several, several victims being wheeled into these ambulances for treatment. Look at this.

ART RODERICK, CNN LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: Well, I tell you, it's a very good sign that they're releasing children out of the school and they're taking them to a secure location.

I assume that location is where parents can respond to. That's another thing that law enforcement sets up, is a particular area where parents can respond and pick up their children. It looks like they're already evacuating it.

But as we can see from the screen right here, they're actually taking care of injured individuals on the scene. They have got a triage set up. It looks like multiple injuries here. This is a horrible sight for these poor kids in school, and for the parents that are responding to the scene to pick up their children.

BALDWIN: Let me just make it clear for people who are watching. These are not live pictures, because this is an active -- OK. I'm being told these are live. This is fine. We're just showing all these -- the ambulance presence.

We're obviously having to be very careful with live television in an active shooter situation not to get ahead of and show exactly what SWAT is doing.

Concern -- is there a concern, Art, for potential booby traps here, as SWAT enters this high school?

RODERICK: There's always that type of concern. And we did see that during the Columbine shooting and we have seen it in other shootings.

They have got to figure out who the individual is right away. And there's several things going on at the same time. Not only are they responding and trying to stop the threat, but they're also looking at this particular individual. And we don't even know if they have him in custody yet or if he's down or if he's been neutralized by law enforcement.

But this whole investigation will start because they have got to figure out as quickly as possible what is behind this individual going on this particular rampage. Is it just a scenario similar to Columbine, or is it more of a scenario where he was targeting specific individuals based on some type of negative relationship he had with them?

But there seems to be quite a few injuries here.

BALDWIN: OK. Art, stay with me.

Dianne Gallagher is one of our CNN reporters. She's been making calls on exactly what's happening.

Dianne, what do you know?

DIANNE GALLAGHER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: So, Brooke, we're still waiting for a sheriff's office representative to get there on scene to kind of assess the situation more.

But I can tell that you Coral Springs police just tweeted out telling teachers and students to stay barricaded inside Douglas High School, not to leave the building until police can reach them inside. Like you guys have been talking about, there are a lot of questions right now as to whether or not this is still something ongoing inside that high school there in Parkland, Florida.

This is not far from Miami area, as you have been showing them in Broward County. But this is -- the hospitals, we have called them, Brooke. They haven't said if they're expecting patients right now or not, but they are on alert. They are aware of the situation. At this point, again, we're kind of waiting for the Broward County Sheriff's Office to arrive there on scene with somebody who can give us a little bit more information about what's happening.

And I apologize. I apologize here. I'm trying to check my e-mail on things that are coming through here. But we're seeing a lot of tweets, we're seeing a lot things from kids and worried parents right now watching these images on television at this moment, seeing these officers there on the streets around the school.

Started coming in. We started hearing some scanner traffic not too long ago, actually, within the past 10 minutes, 15 minutes or so, and have been listening to it kind of escalate from there. But again, officers, Brooke, trying to get a handle on what's happening and get those kids out when they can, but asking them to remain there until they can reach them, instead of running places and until they know exactly what's going on. BALDWIN: Dianne, thank you so much, with a little bit more here as

we're reporting on this active shooting scenario.

This is Parkland, Florida. This is Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. And, again, hearing from the Broward County Sheriff's Department, as we stay on these pictures, we don't know a lot. Again, they're saying deputies are responding to reports of a shooting at this high school.

There are reports of victims and then the public information officer should be there momentarily to help us out.


I mean, you see these children. These are children, young people in high school, some of them able to get out. Others, as you just heard some of the guidance, to just stay barricaded in place in the high school. We saw some of the members of the SWAT team enter the building.

I have got Art Roderick still on the phone with me here.

And, Art, tell me what they're doing with the students, because you see a number of the students streaming out of the school, but then the guidance is to stay put. Art, are you with me?

RODERICK: Yes. I'm sorry, Brooke.

Yes. Yes, that is a good sign to me where they're evacuating children out of the school, because usually if the threat is still active, it's still major, they will go ahead and have these kids shelter in place. And, you know, they have practiced this, they have trained for this. They know where all the shelter in place locations are. The teachers know where they are.

So, to see kids being evacuated already is a good sign. Now, I'm assuming the school is a fairly large high school down in Broward. So, they could be evacuating just one portion of it and concentrating their SWAT tactics and law enforcement tactics to a particular area of the building.

And, of course, as usual, in these particular locations, we're not getting a ton of information out here, other than we know there's injuries and there's an active law enforcement response, obviously, when you get the SWAT team coming in.

And you see the SWAT team in a stage of readiness that tells me that there's a very good possibility that the shooter is -- it's still an active shooter information.

BALDWIN: Right. Stay with me, Art.

I have got James Gagliano on the phone.

James, we have seen sort of almost multiple layers of police. They have obviously have put up this perimeter, as they do in situations like these. We have seen some SWAT members head in. Obviously, there's a lot they don't know, right, if it's one shooter, multiple shooters. Walk us through what they're doing.


And to kind of piggyback on what Art said, he kind of nailed it in the chronology, but the first thing we want to do is interdict the threat. We want to make sure we get in. If there's an active shooter, if there's somebody that, in this instance, potentially harming children, is immediately move to that.

And I think Art also referenced Columbine. And Columbine, which happened back in, I think, April of 1999, was essentially a wakeup call to law enforcement. And it basically taught us, we cannot sit back in these situations and deal with them as we had in the past, which was the slow, steady, methodical law enforcement clear.

In these types of situations now, whether it's determined to be terrorism, which it's way too early to tell, or whether it's just determined to be a disgruntled employee or somebody that has a particular beef with a particular student or faculty member, we, in law enforcement, have to move to the sound of the guns.

And I'm confident in watching the scenes unfold on CNN right now, and seeing the way this has developed, this is what we train for. And from the FBI perspective, we absolutely want to put this out as far as the mantra that folks need to follow in these active shooter situations.

The first thing you need to do is run. And if you can't do that, it's to hide in some type of secure place where you have cover and concealment. The next thing you need to do, absent those two options, is to fight. That's what you have to do.

And lastly is to tell. And I'm certain that as I watch these students coming out of the high school right now and the faculty members, they're being herded over into holding areas that are cordoned off, that are a safe distance away from where the shootings took place, and they're being debriefed. What type of intel do you have? How many shooters was it?

You mentioned, are there booby traps or any potentials for improvised explosive devices? Those are the kinds of things that investigators right now are going through with the survivors and the witnesses that are coming out of the school.

BALDWIN: I just want to point out these are live pictures of these young people running, running out of the school, running out after there have been reports of shots fired.

If you are just joining us, let me just welcome you. We are following just an absolutely horrible scene out of Parkland, Florida. We have got some aerial pictures here from this high school. There's a SWAT vehicle right there. Police there all surrounding -- this is Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. This is in Broward County, again, a high school where it is an active shooter situation. We don't know a whole heck of a lot. But we know shots have been

fired. We know that, according to the sheriff's department, there are victims.

And Dianne Gallagher has been trying to get a bit more information for us on just the safety of students, if we know how many victims, how many shooters.

Dianne, tell me what you know.

GALLAGHER: No, and, Brooke, you know, in these situations, unfortunately, we have covered so many of them, there are a lot of varying accounts that come out in these moments of panic right away.


Sometimes, they're students. Sometimes, they're parents. Sometimes, they're people just trying to start things in the moments afterward.

I can tell you there's just under 3,000 students who attend Stoneman Douglas Stoneman Douglas High School there in Parkland. And the sheriff's office has not given any sort of numbers.

There's varying accounts from local media and people on Twitter and online trying to talk about this. But all the sheriff's office is saying right now is that there are victims they know in this situation. They're not giving any sort of hard number right now.

But it's a school of a little less than -- a little fewer than 3,000 students. We have seen a large number of people sort of streaming out there, students and teachers coming out of that building. But, of course, as we were saying earlier, police in Coral Springs are telling them if you're barricaded already in a room, if you're barricaded already somewhere within that school, stay there until somebody with law enforcement reaches you.

And you were listening to those legal analysts before, law enforcement analysts, kind of explaining why they may tell them to do this. But even with the number of kids we're seeing walk out of this building right here, almost 3,000 students there at that school...

BALDWIN: So many still inside.

GALLAGHER: Yes, so many that are still inside that building. You know, typically around the end of a school day at a high school, there are activities that take place in the afternoons in high schools. It's of course a holiday. There are things that go on during these times.

You have a lot of parents who show up. Of course, you know, we have talked about this, Brooke. Unfortunately, what, January 23 in Kentucky, there was the shooting that injured 18 kids, killed two of them there. And so this isn't something that, unfortunately, that we're not unfamiliar with.

(CROSSTALK) BALDWIN: Let me jump in, Dianne. We were just looking at pictures.

It looked to me like it was one of those makeshift triage units on the intersection there to treat those more seriously injured, perhaps, before taking them off to the hospital. There you have that.

And we have seen a number of ambulances and a number of people being rolled out on stretchers.

Let me just weave in a bit more information as we're getting it from our Miami affiliate, WSVN, that they are reporting fire and rescue was telling them that at least 20 people have been injured so far, so 20. And we can tell you that FBI is on the scene.

Josh Campbell, former FBI, joins me now.

Josh, let's talk a little bit about what the FBI, the presence on scene, what they're able to do, how they're able to help.


And just keep in mind with the FBI responding, they are one agency and many that are going to work on this incident. Any type of active shooter situation, you're going to see that surge of law enforcement officers from various departments. You're going to see mutual aid officers coming in from neighboring departments to provide that kind of assistance.

This is something you would typically see, especially in an emergent situation, where you have potentially multiple casualties, that you're going to have a large number of resources on scene.

And so, obviously, these numbers look terrible that we have been seeing from early reports. But you can expect to see more law enforcement arrive. You are going to also see a unified command, because in these types of incidents, whether you remember back to San Bernardino or a number of unfortunate active shooter scenes that we have seen, as our colleagues have mentioned before, the first focus is on stopping the threat.

They will get to the motive and the investigation later. You are really going to see that unified command.

BALDWIN: But how challenging is it? To the point that this is a pretty massive school, just less than 3,000 students. You have a huge space. If you're SWAT, ATF, FBI, sheriff's deputies on scene, trying to find the threat, right, locate the threat, how do you do that when the place is just so huge?

CAMPBELL: Well, a lot of it is going to depend on what the officers are seeing actually inside the school.

If they hear any type of gunshots, or any type of screams, any type of activity indicating that there is an emergency right in front of them, they're going to search at that location. Absent that, this is going to take some time. They're going to have to clear the school. As you mentioned, it's a large area. They're going to have to go room by room to ensure they can safely account for all the students who are there, the teachers, the staff and faculty, and ensure that there are no threats inside.

So, I think we should all be prepared for this to last a while as they go through and clear the location.

BALDWIN: Walk me through. We have seen a number of kids either streaming out or just running. Can you just walk me through the process of getting these kids out to safety, those who can leave, the evacuations?


I mean, just remember, as you're watching these pictures, that you're really seeing two types of response collide in one. You have law enforcement. Their job is to get everyone out safely and identify any threats. And as can be expected, you have people who have been involved in a very scary situation.

So law enforcement, they're going to treat each and every person as though they're a possible threat. A lot of pictures that you see, you may see students coming out with their hands up and being instructed to do so. Again, law enforcement wants to ensure that everyone remains safe. But, you know, again, in any type of...



BALDWIN: Josh, let me jump in. Let me jump in.

We're just flashing a tweet up on the screen. This is from the Broward Sheriff Department saying that the shooter is still at large. Shooter still at large.

How do you handle that?

CAMPBELL: Yes. That's going to complicate the situation even further.

A lot of these incidents we have seen either the shooter taken down or, you know, shooter has fled and then is ultimately interdicted. But with the shooter still at large, again, law enforcement is going to treat this as an active scene. It's going to be very complicated. They're going to be working their way through.

And one last thing we're going to look for in this unified command is ensuring that law enforcement officers are communicating with each other, which we can assure that they do. They train for these types of situations. And so again they're trying to bring control to chaos.

And it's very difficult, especially in an active scene.

BALDWIN: Josh, thank you. Stay with me.

Let me bring in another voice in, Juliette Kayyem, former Homeland Security.

Juliette, we have walked through some of these before. And it never -- each and every time, it gives us just that pit in our stomach, knowing what could be happening within the walls of this school, 3,000 or so people. You heard it from the Broward County Sheriff's Department saying that the shooter is still out there, has not been located.


The good news, I guess, is that a high school of this size would be viewed as critical infrastructure. They have done training. They probably have done lockdown training. And you are going to have chaos, but in some ways also you're going to have at least adults as well as law enforcement personnel who know what to do to protect as many children as possible.

And this becomes sort of part of what Homeland Security tries to do with state, local and of course with FBI and federal law enforcement.

Because the shooter has not been detained, and we're assuming it's one, that also is going to add a level of essentially identification needs in this process. In other words, who are you? Are you a student and are you unarmed? That's going to slow up any evacuation process at this stage.

It's just necessary to do. And then finally, Brooke, you said it. Yet again, you just -- you cannot have these conversations with at least saying every time we are the only nation that has this kind of violence and presumably gun violence, obviously, in particular focused on our children.

It is just ridiculous. My daughter is coming home from an urban high school in the next 20 minutes. It's like no other country lives or allows themselves to live. And here we are, another time, having a discussion about guns as being a security issue for our children.

BALDWIN: I know. I was just talking to a 7-year-old on my show this week who lost her 6-year-old friend at a school shooting in South Carolina. She wrote a letter to the president, and I couldn't have put it better. The 7-year-old said, Mr. President, how are you going to keep children safe in this country?

But I want to stay on what we know. Again, if you are just joining us, these are the pictures of children -- of young people. I shouldn't say children. These are high school students, in some cases running, some in more single-filed lines out of this high school.

This is in Broward County. This is the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, and really the biggest piece of information we just got from Broward Sheriff is despite the fact that we heard of shots fired, this shooter is still at large.

And it's a pretty big high school. As of 2014, the total student enrollment was right around 3,000 students. Juliette made the great point that at least it looks like a large school. It's hopefully a school that has run through these active shooter drills.

And if we still have him, can I go back over to James Gagliano? Guys, we still have James?

OK, Josh Campbell, let me just go back over to you.

Juliette made some good points. But back on the issue of the fact that we have, according to our affiliate down there, 20 wounded, at least 20 wounded, and that's what we at least can go with at the moment, what happens? What's the order of priority?

I have seen a couple young people put on stretchers and obviously headed out to hospitals. But I have seen what looked like a makeshift tent for triage on scene.

CAMPBELL: Yes, so what we have seen based on past incidents is that in a situation like this, the word is going to go out to trauma centers in the area hospitals, giving them a warning, a flash that we have an incident that's ongoing. Be prepared for a number of casualties to come in.

So, as we watch the incident unfold right now, simultaneous to that, hospitals will be preparing for victims. As you mentioned, we have learned lessons in the past on whether you wait to transport someone or you treat them on scene, the latter being the preferred action, especially in a situation where you can literally save a life, depending on how far the scene of the shooting is from a hospital.


So, first-responders will be triaging even as law enforcement is attempting to identify, locate the shooter. You will see first- responders on the outskirts there, on the perimeter setting up these triage locations to look at the wounded, to determine what state they're in and then, if needed, treat them on the scene, or quickly move them to a trauma center.

BALDWIN: Josh, thank you.

I have just gotten -- let me read this. This is from the governor of Florida, Rick Scott, tweeting a couple minutes ago: "I have spoken with Broward sheriff and Broward school superintendent and FDLE commissioner regarding Stoneman Douglas High School. We will continue to receive updates from law enforcement."

That's what we have there.

We also know that President Trump has been briefed on this Florida school shooting. That is coming out of the White House.

So, Juliette, to you on your point -- and I'm sure you are right on, on that these young people have gone through active shooter training drills. What are they told to do? Again, there are many classrooms. The fact that the shooter is still at large, those who are still in this school, what are they taught to do? KAYYEM: So it's going to depend on the school and where you are. The

general order is run if you can, hide if you must, and only engage the shooter if that's sort of a last resort.

What we have learned from Israel, what we actually learned from Columbine, which becomes -- which is sort of an historical moment in terms of school shootings, obviously, but also what we train people, is staying put can often be very dangerous, especially since we don't know who has a gun and where they are.

And so it's just going to depend on what the school determined where kids should go to protect them. It's generally going to be either run if you can or hide, lockdown if you must. Teachers obviously are also trained in this.

And I will say, at this stage, I would be shocked if the sheriff didn't already have a lay of the architecture and the geography of the high school and where everyone could go.

The reason for that is, remember, Columbine becomes this moment for all of us who have learned from it, that law enforcement people did not have a map. So they probably have a pretty good sense of what rooms are where, where kids might be and to evacuate them, get them out.

And then, as we were saying, then the triage of the wounded happens, and it happens quickly, so that you're surging resources and at the same time you're trying to get the kids out of the way.

BALDWIN: Juliette, what is security like in high schools right now? I know it's changed so much over the years. We all keep mentioning Columbine.

KAYYEM: Right.

So, it's going to depend, obviously, on the school and where it is and its threat level. It's going to depend on neighborhoods and how many people are coming in and out. Most high schools at this stage are under state regulations that they would have locked doors so that once the kids are in and out in the morning or the afternoon that actually it's hard to enter schools.

A lot of them will have their own -- not their own, but a public law enforcement official on site or close to site, depending on the size of the high school. And so we just don't know at this stage what was the security apparatus beforehand.

But, as we also know, it's not that -- we don't know what kind of gun it is. It's not that hard to get a gun in, if it's a handgun or any other type of gun. Right now, it's just get these kids out of there.

I just -- I know this is ongoing, but that's the goal of law enforcement right there, that if they can safely exit the school and get into the evacuation zones, that is what matters.

And then, remember, Brooke, parents are rushing to that high school right now. You are going to have the parents rushing in, the kids rushing out. So, a key focus now is also family unification. We learned that in the Boston Marathon.

If parents find their kids, they will then leave and protect the area so that the ongoing investigation can occur.

BALDWIN: Right. Presumably, a blast has been sent out to parents of these young people and they will know precisely where to go to pick them up.


BALDWIN: Juliette, do me a favor and just stand by.

Shimon Prokupecz is with me. He's one of our justice correspondents.

And, Shimon, you have great sources, law enforcement. What are they telling you? What do you know?

SHIMON PROKUPECZ, CNN CRIME AND JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: I will tell you, Brooke, there's a little confusion, which we would normally see in situations like this, as to if there are any fatalities, the number of injured.

The shooter, early on, there was confusion over whether the shooter was in custody. We now see that the Broward County Sheriff is tweeting that the shooter is not in custody. So, normally, what you would see in this situation is happening, that phone calls are being made. People are wanting -- on the law enforcement side are trying to get briefed to see exactly what's going on.

So, we are really just waiting to hear more from law enforcement, because this is still what's being described as a very active scene, very active situation, because it does now appear that the shooter is not in custody.


Also, we know that people here in Washington, D.C., are being briefed. The president has been briefed. Everyone is sort of working to try and get a handle on exactly what is happening here. And we're certainly working the phones as well, because what you would expect in these situations is happening.

Sources that I'm calling all are saying, we're just waiting to get exactly the right details to make sure that none -- no bad information is really put out there. So that's the concern. But everyone certainly is telling us that right now this appears to be a very active situation.

BALDWIN: Active situation. Shooter yet to be located, according to Broward Sheriff.

Shimon, stay with me.

Juliette, back over to you, because I cannot even begin to imagine what a parent is going through right now looking up at the TV or getting an alert on his or her phone that my child is at this school. What do I do? What are officials allowed to tell the parents right now?

KAYYEM: Not much, one, because it's an active scene right now. Here what presumably happened, as Shimon said.

If this school is sophisticated in its alert systems, then it's not just for shootings, it's for weather, delays, whatever else, they have pushed out what we call reverse 911. You're pushing out to the community what's going on, and, most importantly, as I said earlier, family unification, so that if they do have kids that are able to evacuate, which they do -- we're seeing the pictures of the high school -- they don't want the parents very close.

The parents are -- come on. We're all...


BALDWIN: Of course. You want to rush in. Of course.

KAYYEM: So they need to make sure that they have a controlled situation. You don't want parents getting in the way or in harm's way.

They have set up probably by now a family unification area where they are going to take the kids and get the family members there. Of course, as we know, some family members, if the injured are, as we said, are also then going to have to be taken elsewhere for -- to find their child or brief or get to a hospital.

And the hospitals are taking an inventory of who is coming in so that notification can go to the parents. A school this size, I'm pretty confident they know how to reach people pretty quickly, because you're going to want to get the parents to the hospitals if they need to.

And it's just -- it's sad and unfortunate, but this is what these emergency protocols are like. Brooke, a lot of times, as someone who wrote the book called "Security Mom," I will hear from mothers saying, isn't it horrible that our kids have to do these trainings, these active shooter trainings?

But the truth is when these things happen, you're very grateful that people have tested the system to try and protect lives. That's just, unfortunately, the world we live in.

BALDWIN: I know. I think back to when I was in school. It was all about doing the tornado drills. But it's a different reality in which we live and what we are grateful for, these school districts for, running through it in the case of situations like this playing out.

Let me bring in another voice, former FBI, Bobby Chacon, is with me.

And, Bobby, again, this is a school. This is the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. It's pretty big, 3,000 students. We're told, according to one of our local affiliates, at least 20 people have been injured.

And as we have covered these before, we know that number, in a blink, can change. We have seen SWAT. We know FBI is there, sheriff's department, multiple law enforcement jurisdictions on scene.

The shooter, though, according to Broward Sheriff, is still at large. Tell me what police are doing right now.

BOBBY CHACON, RETIRED FBI SPECIAL AGENT: Well, they're trying to establish a perimeter, which is very difficult when the shooter apparently was outside a school building, or the school facility, shooting into it.

Normally, in some of these situations, the shooter is inside the school, which makes it easier to clamp down that physical perimeter. So, right now, I'm sure they were trying to figure out how far they have to lay out a perimeter to kind of enclose the area and keep the shooter inside that area if they can.

That's the very, very first priority, is to get that perimeter set up. If he has now left that perimeter or if they have a hard time establishing that perimeter, that's probably what they're working hard to do right now.

In this situation also -- and I'm not sure anyone has brought it up because it's a developing situation. It seems like this is a different situation, where the shooter, having been outside the school, the fire alarm being pulled inside the school means that he may have had assistance from somebody inside that school.

And so, to me, now you have possible other people involved. So, he might have had somebody inside the school helping him pull that fire alarm, so he could funnel people out and into a killing zone outside the school.

BALDWIN: Those are two pieces of information we have yet to confirm here at CNN, the bit about being outside and shooting at the school and then the fire alarm being pulled. Who are your sources?

CHACON: I just -- I read some of that online about the fire alarm being pulled.


CHACON: I also heard on another show that -- that there was a fire alarm going on, the students were actually going out into the parking lot as part of the fire drill, and that's when they heard shots.