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17 Dead, At Least 14 Hurt in Florida School Shooting; Shooter was Arrested Walking Along Side of Road; Shooter; Sheriff: Shooter Initially Escaped by Blending into a Group of Student Fleeing the Massacre; Shooter was Arrested Along Side of Road. Aired 9-10p ET

Aired February 15, 2018 - 21:00   ET


ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: -- what they could to reaffirm life, to come together and to honor these 17 lives. Many of them young lives taken by a gunman at the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.

More on all of it in the hour ahead. But first what we're learning about how this all unfolded moment by moment, step by step. CNN's Tom Foreman joins us now with that. Tom?

TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hey, Anderson. This is the campus from the school here. And this is -- it's a relatively new building up on the north end called the freshmen building. And this is where authorities say at 2:19 in the afternoon, about 20 minutes before the final bell, the gunman arrived by Uber and entered the east end of the building carrying an AR-15 assault style auto -- semi-automatic rifle in a soft shell bag and went into the stairwell there.

Now, there's a story building here with 10 rooms per floor. They say he didn't emerge with the gun possibly pulling that fire alarm, we've heard so much about, and began firing into four rooms there principally and going back and forth, according to eyewitness stepping down the hall firing repeatedly into these rooms. Sometimes the shots going straight through hitting the outside walls and outside windows.

Now, how much shooting was going on here? We don't have a final count but we know we had multiple magazines. And when you look at some of the video shot from inside, there's one section where you can actually hear 22 shots in 10 seconds, so a lot of shooting going on in this area.

Then, he moved on. He went to the west end of the building and up a different flight of stairs to the second floor where police say he shot somebody else in another room. And then from there to the third floor of the building, where his tactics seem to have changed, there police say he dropped his backpack, the extra ammunition, the gun and he fled down the west stairs and he went out of the building with all the other people trying to flee the violence racing across the campus, just blending in with everyone and he wound up at a Walmart not far from the campus where they say he bought a drink. Then he left there, kept moving further down, went to a McDonald's where police say he sat for a while around 3:01 p.m. So this is now about 40 minutes into the whole thing. And from there, he took off walking once again and again about 40 minutes later or and hour and 20 minutes after it all started, police finally saw him just walking down the sidewalk in neighborhood. An officer went over, confronted him, and arrested him without incident. Anderson?

COOPER: That's great. Tom Foreman, thanks very much for that. Students today being -- students today, most had phones, many texted parents to let them know they were OK. Some tweeted actually what was happening while it was half going. Emily Sucher was trapped with others inside the school, took video as they evacuated the building. I just want to show you some of that.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Just keep your hands high.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: All right. Now you're fine.


Stay close to me. You're OK. You're OK. Stay close to me. You're OK. You got your bag and everything.


COOPER: And then Emily joins us now along with her sister Alicia who also goes to the school. She's a senior. We should quickly say her father is OK with them talking to us. We just want to make sure about that. Emily, first of all, how are you holding up?

EMILY SUCHER, SCHOOL SHOOTING SURVIVOR: I'm not sure actually. It's just very shocking and it doesn't seem real.

COOPER: It doesn't seem real.

E. SUCHER: And it feels like a movie.

COOPER: Yes. Do you -- when did you realize something terrible was happening?

E. SUCHER: Well, there were -- everyone was talking about how we were on the news. And so we were in my TV production room so there were computers everywhere. So everyone looked it up.

And no one believed it until we actually saw videos of people on the floor like in a pile of blood. And then like -- and when I saw it, I didn't believe it. Like I thought it was fake.

COOPER: So you hadn't heard any shots? You hadn't heard anything of what was going on?

E. SUCHER: I wasn't in the building. I was in -- actually, I was pretty far. And I'm so thankful for that. But it still like affects me because it could have been anywhere in the school.

COOPER: And when -- as you are leaving, you had the cameras and you mind to record it. What was that like? I mean everyone was so quite.

E. SUCHER: It was unreal because I basically like within the TV room because I'm there all the time. And walking out and seeing SWAT members in the military gear and send this like having their gun ready to shoot, it didn't feel real. It was like why are they here? Like why our school?

[21:05:09] COOPER: Yes. And, Emily, you had been in the school earlier that day. You're -- I'm sorry, Alicia. You had been in the school earlier --


COOPER: -- that day, you had left. Were you in communication with Emily?

A. SUCHER: I mean we text here and there throughout the day. But I mean just in school, you know, teachers and you're focusing mainly on your work and they have this no phone policy in the majority of the classes. So I mean just here and there.

COOPER: Right.

E. SUCHER: But I didn't have good connection.


COOPER: When you heard what was happening and it doesn't -- I mean it must not seem real to you either.

A. SUCHER: No. It's just -- it's like how can it happen to, you know -- how can it happen to anyone? It's like how can it hit so close to home? You know, being this Parkland and, you know, we're very privileged and so thankful that we live in this community and we feel safe. And, you know, other people don't have and its just like -- you really prove to show that this can happen anywhere. Tragedy can strike anywhere.

COOPER: You actually knew this -- the person who did this? We're not using their name. But what did you know about them? I mean did you know them well? Do you know them when they were young?

E. SUCHER: In middle school I did have a class with the student. And, you know, just communicated with him through the halls as everyone did. I mean they weren't, you know, very direct with people. Very secluded and kept to themselves but just knowing that they, you know, you're a peer with them. You attend school with them for years and grow up through, you know, teenage years with them and you know that they might t be a little off, you know, but you just -- maybe they're finding themselves. You really don't know what goes on behind closed doors.

COOPER: How difficult is it you're going to be going back to school? A. SUCHER: I can't imagine and for me not being there, I mean just seeing my friends and peers and community go through this, it's a heart wrenching. And it's just -- it makes your heart physically hurt to a pain like to me and others, you just don't feel in those families that have lost people and friends. It's just unbelievable. But going back to school, it's just not what people are thinking about. And if you are, it's just unimaginable as to how you can mentally do that.

COOPER: Were you at the vigil tonight?

A. SUCHER: Yes. I went to both of them at 2:30 in school.

COOPER: Did it help?

E. SUCHER: It helped. It was more of like a community grouping together and just to let those emotions out. I mean you hear people sobbing and on the floor weeping for lost lives and just the fact that this happened and tragedy struck so hardly at our school, you know, through a mass school shooting. And it's just so surreal to say those words. Like you hear those on the news in different states, well, like for you to say that you physically in your school and community went through mass school shooting with casualties, it's just -- it doesn't roll off the tongue.

COOPER: Yes. Well, Alicia and Emily, I'm so glad that you're OK and with your family --

E. SUCHER: Thank you.

COOPER: -- and friends. Thank you very much for talking with us.

E. SUCHER: Thank you so much.

COOPER: Stay strong.

There's so much ahead to talk about. Another student Alyssa Alhadeff was one of the 17 who lost her life yesterday. Today her mother, Lori made an impassioned plea for action.


LORI ALHADEFF, DAUGHTER ALYSSA ALHADEFF KILLED IN MASSACRE: My daughter Alyssa Alhadeff was a beautiful young lady. Yesterday, a Valentine's Day I dropped her off at school and I said I love you. And then a few hours later I get a call that there's a shooter at Stoneman Douglas High School. And I ran as fast as I could to get there. And I knew at that point she was gone.

I felt it in my heart. How? How do we allow a gunman to come into our children's school? How do they get through security? What security is there? There's no metal detectors. The gunman, a crazy person, just walks right into the school, knocks down the window of my child's door and starts shooting. Shooting her and killing her

President Trump, you say what can you do? You can stop the guns from getting into these children's hands. Put metal detectors at every entrance to the schools. What can you do? You can do a lot. This is not fair to our family that our children go to school and have to get killed.

I just spent the last two hours putting the burial arrangements for my daughter funeral who is 14. President Trump, please do something. Do something. Action. We need it now. These kids need safety now.


COOPER: Gary Tuchman joins us now. Gary, I know you were able to speak with her a little bit as well.

GARY TUCHMAN, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: That's right Anderson. You know, Alyssa was a freshman. She was 14 years old. She was the big sister to two little brothers. But to her loving parents, she will forever remain their little girl.

[21:10:00] Her mother, devastated as you saw. But when you watch the interviewee that I did with her too, you'll see how eloquent she is.


ALHADEFF: She was meant for so much more in this world. She would have given this world so much more. She was so passionate and just had the zest for life.

TUCHMAN: How does a mother cope in this situation?

ALHADEFF: Well, right now, I'm fighting. I'm not fighting my daughter's dead. But I'm fighting for all these kids here, all of them because these are the ones that have to go back to that school and they have to feel safe. And I have two other children and they have to feel safe in their heart. OK. But we can't let shooters just walk in. Just walk in that school without any security. Nothing.

TUCHMAN: Do you feel our government leaders should have done more over the years to protect your child and others?

ALHADEFF: Well, exactly. OK. If you have people with illnesses and people already know that this kid was a problem, how do we just let him go? Let him loose. The kids weren't joking saying we knew -- they knew about this kid. He deserves the death penalty. He doesn't deserve to live.

TUCHMAN: What would you like for the President and Congress to do right now?

ALHADEFF: They need to get these crazy guns out of these kids' hands. Get them off the streets. They need to put metal detectors at every entrance to get into the schools. They need more security.

TUCHMAN: What would you say to your beautiful daughter right now if you could talk to her?

ALHADEFF: Alyssa, I'm so sorry this happened to you. I would have taken the bullets for you. I would have protected you. And I'm sorry I wasn't there. I love you with all my heart and so does your dad.


TUCHMAN: Alyssa Alhadeff loving daughter, loyal friend will be laid to rest tomorrow morning. Anderson?

COOPER: It's just -- it's so unimaginable. Gary, you're at the hospital. I know a number of victims are still being treated there. I understand you have an update on them.

TUCHMAN: Right. The remaining injured victims are in two hospitals. These hospitals in Deerfield Beach, Florida in the northern part of Broward County, another nearby hospital. There're still three people from this hospital, four in the other, a total of seven. Of those seven, four people remain in critical condition. The other three are in stable and good condition. So that is encouraging news.

We will tell you that as you may have heard yesterday, two people died when they were in this hospital when they went surgery. One of them was Aaron Feis. Aaron Fies was the assistant football coach, a security guard in the high school and he died a hero because he protected children, got in front of them when the bullets were flying. And that's what led to his injuries which led to his death in this hospital. Anderson?

COOPER: Yes. Gary, I appreciate that. Thanks for that.

Coming up next, a story of survival. Also, a reunion, the teacher who made it possible and the terrible price that he paid.


[21:16:53] COOPER: Well, the 17 people who lost their lives yesterday who are murdered, some died saving others. One was a football coach Alex Fies. Other was teacher Scott Beigel, who made it possible for a father to do what father's ordinarily take for granted that no one could take for granted yesterday. Scott Beigel made it possible for a father to hug his daughter. The story from our Randi Kaye.


SANJANA RAMNANAN, TEXTED DAD DURING SHOOTING: My teacher is closing the door and then I, just me and six other kids were just kind of hiding at the desk.

RANDI KAYE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It was Sanjana Ramnanan's last class of the day, Geography, when the gunfire began. Her teacher, Scott Beigel, hustled her and some others into the classroom for safety. Seconds later, he was dead.

S. RAMNANAN: He opened the door for me and the second I looked back to see if he was in, he was on the floor. I heard the gunshot and everything. I turned around and he was on the floor and he was shaking at first and then he just had no movement at all after that.

KAYE: Immediately, she started texting her dad who had already heard about the shooting and was trying frantically to get to the school.

S. RAMNANAN: I was huddling down in the class trying to be quiet but I texted a lot of people just to let them know what's going on and that I love them.

KAYE: The shooter, she said, was right outside her classroom door. She sent this text to her dad. The man is so close to my class.

My teacher is lying on the floor. Her dad responded, OK, be really quiet.

What was that like for you?

POORAN RAMNANAN, TEXTED WITH DAUGHTER DURING SHOOTING: It wasn't easy. I was about five miles away. And all of a sudden, I got a text from her and I sort of lost it on the road.

KAYE: Sanjanas's text to her father read, dad, there is a shooting at school. I'm scared. He left his car and started running toward the school.

P. RAMNANAN: All of a sudden, she said daddy, I'm hearing shooting. He's coming. He's coming. And I stopped hearing from her.

KAYE: What did you think at that moment?

P. RAMNANAN: Well, I more or less, you know, I felt like I lost her. I really broke down.

RAMNANAN: I kind of stopped texting for a little bit because I was praying. I was like I can't text. And then I went back to them and then I was pretty much saying like what's going on?

I was saying I'm -- oh my god, it was time. And then I was saying like I don't think I'll make it and stuff. And then that's when they got super duper worried.

KAYE: You did think you weren't going to survive this?

S. RAMNANAN: I didn't think I was because of how close the shooter was to us and how I heard him so clearly. And that just got me really scared because every time he yelled I just heard my heart was beating. And it was really scary.

KAYE: An hour passed before her Sanjana's father knew his daughter was safe, it wasn't until he saw her walking out of the school.

P. RAMNANAN: I was expecting the worse really, but I saw her coming out and couldn't stop hugging her.


COOPER: And, Randi, joins us now. I mean for just the nightmare of a father getting this text from his daughter.

KAYE: It was so scary. At one point, he actually got in touch with some of the police officers that were already on the scene. And he gave his phone to the police officer and they started texting with his daughter but the WiFi had gone out of the school. It was spotty. So they kept asking her what room, what room, what room. And he wasn't getting a message back. But it was so frightening for her and these other girls because they didn't know what to do. Their teacher had gone down, Scott Beigel. He was in the doorway.

[21:20:06] So they're always taught to barricade themselves in, barricade the door, lock the classroom and they didn't know if they should risk their own lives run to the door trying to pull their teacher inside. He hadn't moved and, possibly, the shooter would see them.

So it's just -- it was putting themselves at risk if they did that. So the door was wide open. The shooter was right outside the door and never came in that classroom.


KAYE: Oh, it's just terrific.

COOPER: Randi, thanks for that.

With me now is Broward County Mayor Beam Furr, he joins us.

You know, I spoke to you last night. I appreciate speaking to you again. You said something last night that really struck in my mind. You're a former teacher yourself. And you talk about kids who kind of lack connection.


COOPER: And that teachers try to help kids make connections.

FURR: You do. It's kind of your job as a teacher is when you see a kid, let's say you go out to the cafeteria and see a kid eating by himself or the playground, the kid is over by themselves. Part of being a good teacher is to try to bring them into the fold. Try to bring them into find a buddy for them. Find out something that they can have some interest where you can kind of bring them, you know, bringing people together. And that's what teachers do. That's what good teachers do.

COOPER: So when you hear about this person and -- how do you reconcile it? This is just somebody who fell through the cracks?

FURR: Yes, because there were some, and you know, we've seen or we've heard some signs. We knew he had gone to mental health clinic. We knew he had said things to people. We knew that his, you know, we found out now in that respect. We know his mom had passed away. Knowing those things, you want the communities resources the come to that kid. You know, where there's lots of things that communities have to offer.

And we should be trying to, you know, if we know a kid is in pain or is hurting, we have to find a way and we do. We do that a lot of times with foster care kid, with all kinds of kids.

COOPER: There is such ignorance, still in this country, about mental health issues.

FURR: There is.

COOPER: And it's one of the dangers in a situation like this. You don't want to stigmatize people who have some sort of mental health issue because vast majority of them are not violent or not going to end up hurting other people.

FURR: Right. Instead of -- and you're exactly right, because instead of saying I'm going to tell on this kid, we should be saying, you know, at our hearts we should be saying, I want to care for this kid. And we want to make sure that you get the best whatever help you need. We're not saying that. We're, you know, there are people saying, I'm going to tell on him. They're not saying, let's help him.

COOPER: Are there resources, I mean --

FURR: Yes.

COOPER: -- for somebody who has mental health issues?

FURR: Absolutely.


FURR: Yes. I mean, this community has lots of those resources. I'm chair of the children services council. We tax ourselves in this county to make sure we have plenty of resources for kids for all kind of, you know, for all kinds of things. Family strengthening, for kids who are, you know, taking away from their parents. Yes, we have resources.

COOPER: You know, one of the things that really struck me just being here today talking to young people who go to this school is the feeling so many of them have that they don't want this to just be yet another shooting and then the world keeps moving forward and everyone goes back and then this happens again. And now, what they want something to change. People are talking about gun control. Whatever it is, they want to affect change. And that, to me, I haven't heard that so quickly after a shooting in other places I've been.

FURR: These kids give me some hope. I'm -- you know, when I hear them talking, this is a special group of kids, I will say that. This Broward County kids. But they do want -- they do want to bring about change. And my hope is nobody else is listening to anybody.

You know, if we can get -- these kids can get through that wall and that would be great. Because, you know, I actually think the kids would be progressive if their stance. I think we would say if a kid has mental health problems, he probably shouldn't be buying a gun. Shouldn't be able to do a lot of these things or actually, that, you know, they know people should have background checks. They know there should be waiting period. They know all those things. COOPER: There was also, Isabel, who on a short time ago, who was saying, you know, that while she wants to affect change, she also doesn't want people speaking past each other and vilifying the other side. Nothing will get done if, you know, people who want, you know, gun control measures say that people who don't, you know, killers or don't want to protect kids. I mean, it's easy to kind of vilify your opponent.

FURR: Isn't that a novel idea.

COOPER: Right.

FURR: You know, it's actually to listen to each other.


FURR: Yes. And they're right. What she's saying is, listen. And she's exactly right because we're so polarized. No one is actually listening to some really common sense basic ideas that most Americans, actually, agree with.


FURR: They agree with background checks. They agree with waiting, you know, waiting periods. They agree with people have some mental situations. They agree. Let's hold off on letting somebody buy a gun.

[21:25:05] Forget the -- you know, I don't think anybody thinks we should have AR-15s anywhere.

COOPER: You've been at the vigil. I'm wondering what you were hearing from people tonight.

FURR: Well, t was hard to hear -- I was listening to, you know, a lot of people that were up there, I mean, I was way in the back. So it was kind of hard to hear. But you're, you know, you're hearing kids say -- you're hearing people say so close to home. And then they're saying, oh, it's our home. This isn't close to home. It is home. And it changes the way that, you know, you look at some of these things because it brings it quickly into perspective.

COOPER: You know, one of the things I remember I talked about this in the top of the broadcast, in Aurora, Colorado there was a big vigil and a person read the name of each person who have killed and the whole ground chanted we will remember.

FURR: Yes.

COOPER: And that's always stuck in my mind. And just -- in talking to people here, the kids, particularly, I think, they all are saying we will never forget this. This is changed the trajectory in one way or another of our lives, of our interests, of what we think we can achieve.

FURR: Right. And the sad part is, this becomes your memory of high school which is, unfortunately, incredibly sad because that's not the memory you want of high school.

COOPER: Yes, yes.

FURR: But, hopefully they can bring another memory. Hopefully, they can bring a memory of change. And if they can bring that, that's a good memory.

COOPER: Mayor Furr, appreciate it. Thank you very much.

FURR: Thank you.

COOPER: Coming up next, the latest on the investigation, updates on the timeline that we now know of exactly what happened here a little more than 24 hours ago.


[21:30:30] COOPER: Well, we began the hour with the timeline of what happened here yesterday, we want to show you more now on the investigation itself. Joining us is CNN justice correspondent Evan Perez.

So we're finding out more about the shooter at this point. Evan, what have you learned?

EVAN PEREZ. CNN JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: Well, Anderson, you know, we often say this after these types of shootings and this one is no different. There's a picture emerging of a man -- of a young man whose life was unraveling. And there was so many signs that so many people could have seen and, of course, all of that is only now, sort of, coming together from the mental issues to what we are told now by police that there were 39 calls that they answered at this home after 2010. There's a picture of some of the calls that they made. They range from mentally ill person to a call for a child elderly abuse, domestic disturbance.

Repeatedly, Anderson, police were called to this home and we're getting a picture of, obviously, very troubled home. His mother dies in November of 2017. And according to investigators, it appear that that's when everything simply goes south for this young man.

And we still don't know exactly why he decided to go carry out this shooting at this school yesterday. We do know that he had previously attended it and at some point perhaps was kicked out of it. So, perhaps that night explain it, of course. Right now, investigators are still trying to put together the picture of what happened.

COOPER: This afternoon, the sheriff gave an update of timeline of what they now believe happened yesterday. Can you explain what he said?

PEREZ: Well, yes, I mean, we now know that he arrived in an Uber at 2:19. And, Anderson, one of the first calls that came in was that there was somebody dressed in black and started shooting. It turns out he was actually wearing a maroon shirt. So, the remarkable thing that happens over the course of an hour and 20 minutes or so, is that the police are actually able to arrest him. He enters the school. He goes on all three floors of the building and shoots people.

Seventeen people, of course, are killed. At 3:01, somehow, he has manage to escape along with the students who were fleeing for their lives. He goes to Walmart, buy the drink, and goes to a McDonald's near by and sits there for a while. It wasn't until about 3:41 that he's walking commonly down a residential street that a police officer from a nearby town pulls over and arrests him.

COOPER: Evan Perez, appreciate those details.

With us again tonight is James Gagliano, also Charles Ramsey and Philip Mudd.

Just in terms of what we learn so far, I'm wondering -- I mean, I guess, you can talk of them and try to figure out what the motive was. But no motive is ever going to make sense of why this person did this. It's not going to change anything. It's not going maybe even help the next time.

How does one prevent something like this from happening again? I mean, and it's obviously a multi-pronged effort. There's maybe a gun component, school security component, a mental health component. I mean, when you look at this and a parent says to you, "How do we stop this from happening at a school down the road?" What do you say?

CHARLES RAMSEY, FORMER PHILADELPHIA POLICE OFFICER: I don't know if you can really stop it 100 percent in terms of seeing to it that it never happens again. But there are lessons that you learn along the way. There's information that you gain.

Every time you go through one of these, there will be a debriefing that will take place among law enforcement and others. Where are the gaps? What are things that can happen in order to close those gaps so it's less like to have someone in a similar situation, commit the same kind of crime? But you can't guarantee with 100 percent accuracy that it will never happen again.

COOPER: I mean, we talked about this a lot. James, a law enforcement has learned an awful lot since columbine. They change their tactics completely, we saw the result of that here where it's the first units on the scene, they go in immediately, they try to get the shooter and they deal with wounded, and they try to get everybody out. What more though can change? And what more can get better?

JAMES GAGLIANO, RETIRED FBI SUPERVISORY SPECIAL AGENT: Chief Ramsey and I were just walking around location and talks to some parents, and they were, they were so infused in their praise for the quick response and the heroism of the police officers had showed up.

And, Anderson, to your point, at the tactical level we have figured out ways to, as the chief said, you can't prevent all of them. But to diminish the amount of damages done is not the tactical level anymore. It's the strategic level that you pointed out that involves the political component when we put the word guns in control in the same sentence, we have people dashing off to their corners. [21:35:01] And then, looking at this from our new normal, this school did, from what I've looked at and seen, everything right. They had a school resource officer on duty. They had a single point security entry to come in. They practiced these active shooter drills.

COOPER: The football coach, I talked too, he said in his 28 years and he's worked at other schools, he's never seen a school which was so -- had practiced so much for exactly this.

GAGLIANO: So in keen. And that probably saved countless lives. We're lucky it could have been much, much worst.

COOPER: Well, Phil, I mean, that, you know, the flip side of that is some people say, well, look, they did all these drills and yet 17 people are still dead. You is -- are the protocols enough here?

PHILIP MUDD, FORMER CIA COUNTERTERRORISM OFFICIAL: Obviously they're not enough. But I believe in these situations the same thing that I would have believed in government. If you can walk in my office with a problem, I don't want to hear things are tough. I don't want hear -- I want a specific solution.

One -- let me give you one example among several I would offer. We talk about school resource officers, my guess, I'm not an expert on this, is they do not have the expertise especially if there's one or two in a school size of 3,000 people to deal with someone with this level of mental instability, in this proclivity toward violence. So, you look at major cities, Los Angeles would be one that have gang intervention programs.

Should there be intervention programs of kids who are out risk for violence or somebody at the school can refer. And that person to whom they referred has a relationship with law enforcement so there can be a parallel conversation on that referral about whether that person should be registered in to gun registry. I think that's a specific solution I've suggest. What are intervention programs that the federal government can support states on to refer kids like this so we are not talking about this at the age of 19. You're talking about it at 15 and 16 when the cops are getting called to his house and when he gets expelled.

COOPER: Why just in terms of guns laws, is it OK -- can an 18 or 19- year-old not get a hand gun until they are 21 by law, but they can get an AR-15 or an AR-15 like weapon?

GAGLIANO: The difference of that is the concealability. So, it's much more difficult to conceal an AR-15 because it's much longer, it's got a stock fluid, it's got a longer barrel where a pistol can be secreted much easier.

Now, from what are understanding, when this -- when the shooter took the Uber to the school, he carried it in a soft case which a professional would have looked at, now, it would have triggered us and said, woo, a guy just walked into a bank and it's the middle of summer and he's wearing raincoat and a hat. Something is up. And somebody gets out of the school with what looks like a riffle case, the belt was loss where the gun off, but in this instance there wasn't enough time or someone didn't recognize it.

COOPER: And, you know, I mean, if single point of enter, that is the thing that for so long people are talking about schools are just too open, there's too many -- if this had a single point of entry, I mean, I guess the question is how was he able to get through if it's -- I guess, there wasn't guarded or someone let him in.

RAMSEY: Well, those are the kinds of things that they'll take a look at and try to figure out exactly how it happened. But, my understanding is it happened right at the end of school day. COOPER: Right.

RAMSEY: And maybe, you know, --

COOPER: People are already living.

RAMSEY: -- people kind of take that deep breath, people starting to leave, saying, you know, the school day is pretty much over. I don't know the answer to that. But those are the kinds of questions that have to be answered because it will be a benefit to other schools and other locations when it comes to security.

COOPER: Phil, how much coordination is there between federal, state and local officials before something like this happened. I mean, if someone flags a person to the local police, do they bring it to the attention of the FBI or vice versa?

MUDD: This is got to be a local problem. Look, James, knows this better than I. You got FBI agents, I don't remember how many of it. My recollection were, now, there's 12, 13,000 agents, they're dealing with white color crime, terrorism, organized crime, you can not deal with millions of school kids across the country. The FBI is not a mental health institution. Who had mental problems and may have access to a weapon.

This is a question for states and those states have a simple problem to solve. Talk to teachers and talk to police officers and ask them if you got to intervene with a kid like this and you don't have the tools, what tools do you think you could use? I have one other simple question. Forget about armed guards and forget about single point of entry.

This country is incredibly unanalytic. Go to countries like Canada and say, "What do you do to stop this?" Do you think they're going to say, we have more armed guards in schools, why can't we just ask people who do this better? I don't understand it, Anderson.

COOPER: Well, I mean, isn't the answer that, frankly, access to guns? I mean, if that's the question you're raising, isn't that the difference really between us and other countries? I mean, Israel controls --

MUDD: That's exactly right.\

COOPER: -- there weaponry a lot. MUDD: No, that's exactly right. What I'm saying is, we take an emotional approaches. I'm afraid somebody is going to take my guns and therefore I can't resolve it. I'm an analyst by training. If you look at numbers, numbers on mental health from other countries are comparable to the United States. We don't necessarily have a worst mental health problem.

That one variable if you're looking strictly at numbers and take it out of politics is a weapon. That's a black and white number. I can't give you another answer because if you look at the numbers there's only one that pops out.

[21:40:08] COOPER: Yes. Taken out of politics. So that's the difficulty.

Thanks everybody, appreciate it.

Just ahead, the emotional text messages that were being sent, student sent while they were trapped in the school, unsure if they would make it out. We'll be right back.


COOPER: Well, during the mayhem here yesterday, students were able to text their loved ones while trying to stay safe. Just a word of caution, this report includes a short video from inside a classroom during the shooting. It is disturbing to watch obviously. CNN's Jason Carroll has the story.



JASON CARROLL, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Students and faculty had little time to react. Those who escaped the initial on slot of gun fire ran for cover and reached out to loved ones.

CARROLL: Kaitlin Carbocci was at work yesterday when her younger sister Hannah texted in a panic. Kaitlin, there is a shooter on campus. I am not joking. Call 911, please. Hannah, what? Are you serious? Run. Kaitlin, I am not joking, they just shot through the walls. Someone in my class is injured. I am not joking. Call mom and dad. The next message was to her parents in case she did not make it. I'm so scared, Kaitlin, tell them I love them so much. I know, Hannah. You're going to be fine.

[21:45:05] Moments later, she texted about a wounded classmate. They got shot like eight minutes ago when the shooting started. How many shots did you hear? A lot. It happened in a first floor classroom. Hannah survived and so did Samantha Grady, a junior who was grazed by a bullet while hiding in the same classroom. This morning they received the terrible news about their injured classmate.

SAMANTHA GRADY, JUNIOR, MARJORY STONEMAN DOUGLAS HIGH SCHOOL: Unfortunately, she didn't make it. CARROLL: Some who survived hid behind chairs in the auditorium or in closets. Many tried to keep as quiet as possible all while texting emergency messages.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm with one of the parents right now outside here. He's saying he's getting messages from his child. He says, help me they're fighting with him right now.

CARROLL: There's a shooting at school. I'm fine, but I'm terrified. Please call police. That's the frightening message Lissette Rozenblat received from her daughter, Alexandra (ph), a sophomore. Tell them someone is hurt on the third floor. We can hear him crying and praying. I love you. Everything is going to be OK. Where are you now? I'm hiding. What floor, baby? Third floor.

LISSETTE ROZENBLAT, PARENT OF MARJORY STONEMAN DOUGLAS HIGH SCHOOL STUDENT: It was 20, 30 minutes that I had lost contact with her. And those 20, 30 minutes, I lost it. I was hysterical.

CARROLL: Rozenblat's daughter survived. She, like so many from the school, will carry the pain of what has happened. Kyra Farrow (ph), a student tweeted, wishing yesterday was some type of sick dream. I'm sick to my stomach. I pray for guidance. Then she wrote, I want my friends back.

Jason Carroll, CNN, New York.


COOPER: One of the most difficult things in all of this is of course what to say to children. Most parents these days know their kids do drills in schools to teach them what to do and how to move in the event of a shooter.

Joining me now is Julia Kayyem who's been an assistant secretary for Homeland Security and now is at Harvard.

And, Juliette, I know you spent a lot of time thinking about this. Also, you're a parent yourself. How do you explain the inexplicable to kids? How to answer the question of why? Why did this happen?

JULIETTE KAYYEM, FORMER U.S. ASSISTANT SECRETARY FOR HOMELAND SECURITY: So don't do the impossible. Some things are inexplicable. And so basically, when these tragedies happen whatever kind of crisis we sort learned over the years sort of three major things. One is, don't infantalize your kids, they know what's going on, they have seen it on the tweets. And instead of talking to them, listen ask -- not directed questions like are your friends talking about this? Did the teachers talk about that? And listen to their response rather than you giving them yours.

I think the second thing that's key is we learned in crisis that resilient kids come from resilient parents. So you want to show, you know, sort of moving forward that you're prepared for what's happening, that you have grip over the situation. So yelling at the TV is not a good idea. And the third is the most important, which I think you're seeing the students even in Florida doing which is this fear can lead to action. Get your kids to write their congressmen or congresswoman or senator or intern if they are galvanized by gun issues or, you know, anti-gun issues. Get them engaged. And I think for kids of a certain age, this is a way to turn this inexplicable, they know it's inexplicable into action.

COOPER: And it's so interesting, I mean we've been seeing that a lot here on the ground. Certainly from all the situations like this I've been at, I've never seen so many kids who at the stage are already talking about, you know, change that they want to try to enact and essentially empowering themselves.

KAYYEM: Yes, I think that's right. I can't explain it. I don't know enough about this jurisdiction, the politics or anything else but it is remarkable. I do think it has something to do with social media, the images that you were showing before. We were in the classroom with them. We weren't, you know, obviously they seen it. And then I think it's just that that sort of connectivity that we're seeing with this tragedy actually can be use to effectuate change. Kids aren't -- as I said, kids aren't stupid. They get it.

They get the inexplicable aspects of this that one of their peers who couldn't even buy a beer was able to buy a weapon that kill them quickly. And so then, they are now galvanized and to the extent that I have been saying, I feel like, you know, we failed them as parents in terms of the society that we -- that exists right now. And maybe they are looking for themselves for the solution.

COOPER: And just from a, you know, a security standpoint, trying to stop the next shooting like this or another shooting like this, it's obviously something that's being, you know, talked about a lot today whether it's gun control, mental health, you know, plugging warning signs school safety. I mean, it's -- for you, I assume it's not just one of those things. It's some sort of combination of all.

[21:49:59] KAYYEM: It's all of the above. And I think the White House sort of tries to and sort of on the political side we view it as it binary right, that it's either mental health or gun control. The whole point of a secure or more safe society look, we won't get our vulnerabilities down to zero, is you try to minimize the risks across all of those things.

So yes, mental health, right, is an issue. Yes, we want emergency management plans and yes, let's not just talk about gun control, let's ask ourselves why a society that has assault weapons like this is having the kind of violence in schools that no other country has. These are solutions that we can get to easily if we would just look at all of them in their totality.

COOPER: Now, Juliette Kayyem, appreciate your time tonight.

Coming up next, a look at what some lawmakers are saying today and a conversation with the author of the book "Columbine", the book about another horrible high school shooting. We'll be right back. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[21:55:03] COOPER: Having had a day to absorb what happened here, some of the nation's most prominent politicians talked not about what to do about guns, but about mental health. Here's some of what they had to say.


REP. PAUL RYAN, (R) HOUSE SPEAKER: As you know, mental health is often a big problem underlying these tragedies. That may be the case here today based on earlier reporting.

REP. RICK SCOTT, (R) FLORIDA: How do we make sure when a parent is ready to send their child to school that in Florida that parent knows that child is going to be safe? How do we make sure these individuals with mental illness do not touch a gun?

SEN. CHUCK GRASSLEY, (R) IOWA: It seems to be common for a lot of these shootings, in fact, almost all of the shootings, and that is the mental state of the people that are doing it.

JEFF SESSIONS, ATTORNEY GENERAL: I think effective enforcement of our gun laws focusing on criminals and dangerous people, mentally ill people --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: People are going to learn a lot.


COOPER: Joining us now Dave Cullen, the author of "Columbine," a terrific book about the Colorado high school massacre and its impact, how it change things and what actually happened at Columbine.

Dave, mental health is certainly a component of a lot of these mass shootings and reportedly with this shooting as well. It's certainly only part of the prevention. And I keep also coming back to the fact that one doesn't want to stigmatize all people with any kind of mental health issue.

DAVE CULLEN, AUTHOR, "COLUMBINE": Right. And I'm a huge proponent of doing something on mental health, but particularly really narrowing that to teen depression and then -- what's the word for it, losing it -- scouting for teen depression or surveying for it. But that's such a deflection here.

My first reaction is, if you're going to do something about mental health, great. It's been 19 years. Where is the plan? Where are the bills? How come you haven't done anything yet? It sounds like a big deflection to me. What they really want to avoid and they realize is a window of outrage opportunity, where anything about guns is going to happen in the first week or two. It's going to get a head of steam rolling by then. And if they can just keep deflecting and changing the subject and wait that out, they're going to win by the outrage dropping. But I don't know this time because I don't know that these deflected -- deflection politicians, they may have met their match with these kids, because I have just been amazed for the last 24 hours that these kids are having none of that. They're calling the politicians on it and reacting and saying, you know after this, you know, this ridiculous consoler in speech -- consoler in chief speech that Trump gave this afternoon, this kind of patronizing thing where he said things like, you know, we're here for you, whatever you need, whatever we can do, except for anything.

You know, kids have amazing bullshit detectors. They know immediately when you're just, you know, patting them, oh, it's going to be OK, Johnny (ph), you're going to be fine. What the hell? You know, that is not what they need. They want their leaders to step up --

COOPER: I remember there's something.

CULLEN: Go ahead, Sir.

COOPER: I remember in Columbine, I think it was, you were talking about a rally that took place after Columbine where kind of a lot of politicians came and talked to kids and were sort of saying, you know, everything is going to be OK. And it was really the principal, DeAngelis who got up and said kind of a much more fact-based thing and the kids really responded to that.

CULLEN: Exactly. That was the morning after at 10:00 a.m. at Light of the World Church, it was the only place they could (INAUDIBLE) that they got all the kids together the first time. Yes, and, you know, by 20 different officials and one after the other. And I was sitting in the back and thinking god, I hope somebody knows what to say. And I was sitting there in the back and honestly thinking I have no idea what to say -- tell these kids. And I'm glad I'm not up there because I don't know what to say, but I knew these people were not saying it. And the kids were kind of politely applauding and very stoic, but sot of like OK.

And then Frank DeAngelis got up and told them the truth. And instead of saying everything was going to be fine, he said the opposite, he said this is going to be really rough. We're going to have a really hard time. I'm not going to sugarcoat it. This isn't going to be easy. I don't even have all the answers yet, but I'm going to figure out with you, we're going to get this together, and then he sort of brought them up.

But, you know, no bullshit, telling them the truth. And they loved that. They went wild because here was an adult leveling with them and telling them the truth. And at that point it was the first huge one, so we didn't know what to do.


CULLEN: Now we got 19 years, we know what to do and they're not ready to just hear like, oh, it's going to be OK. They're more like, what is the plan? It's been two decades. Where is the plan? COOPER: Right. It is amazing I mean, and I said this now multiple times tonight. I haven't not been on a shooting like this where so many of the kids that I talked to who lived through it are saying, you know, enough is enough, we want to do something, we want -- we don't want to just be another statistic. We don't want to just be, you know, our town known for this. We want to actually be the agents of some sort of change. So if there is hope, it may be in that.

Dave Cullen, appreciate you being on. Thanks very much.

And thanks everybody for watching "360". We'll be here tomorrow as well. I'll be on from 9:00 to 11:00 tomorrow morning and then of course 8:00 to 10:00 tomorrow night.

[22:00:04] Don Lemon picks up our coverage. "CNN TONIGHT" starts right now.

DON LEMON, CNN ANCHOR: This is "CNN TONIGHT". I'm Don Lemon. Thanks for joining us.