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Officials Update High School Massacre Investigation; White House: Trump To Call For "A Plan That Works" After School Massacre. Aired 11-11:30a ET
Aired February 15, 2018 - 11:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
PAMELA BRONDI, FLORIDA ATTORNEY GENERAL: -- will be on scene with FBI and with superintendent who has done a great job, our advocates will be there to provide counseling, what we saw in Las Vegas, what we saw at Pulse, people who we don't think were impacted were impacted.
And so, we're going to provide counseling for all of them. I was on the phone until about 2:00 a.m. with "GoFundMe" and again first thing this morning. It is safe to give to GoFundMe. They're pulling bad websites off constantly. They're monitoring everything.
In fact, one of the top people at GoFundMe knew a victim, knew a victim. That's how far reaching this is. So, there will be one unified site. Please don't be afraid to give to GoFundMe and all of these victims and their families will be protected.
And, again, Governor, I cannot thank you for your support. We have been on the phone constantly. He was here the second this happened, and I can't thank you, FDLE, the sheriff's office and the FBI enough. And this is what you don't see around the country, you see teamwork. That's what happens in Florida and that's what makes us very special. Thank you.
SHERIFF SCOTT ISRAEL, BROWARD COUNTY, FLORIDA: Before we take questions, I would like to also thank Congressman Ted Deutch coming down from Washington, D.C., elected officials from Parkland around the county. My message to the community, to Broward county, is simple, your elected officials, your commissioners, your state reps, your state senators, make sure these are people that aren't worrying about millage rates and saving money.
This is a time to save lives. We need more law enforcement, we need more deputies, this isn't the time to worry about how many dollars might be saved if we don't have a deputy here or a police officer here. This is nationwide. We need more, more heroes, more first responders, not less.
And I know many states have different terms to help our mentally ill and we all pray for our mentally ill, we pray for them to recover. We all know someone or a family who is affected by someone suffering from mental illness.
The Baker Act in Florida allows law enforcement or medical professionals to confine a person involuntarily while they get examined and looked at. But you have to have a reason, you have to be able to articulate that they are a threat to themselves or a threat to someone else.
What I am asking our lawmakers to do, go back to places like Tallahassee, places like Washington, D.C., and give police the power if they see something on social media, if they see graphic pictures of rifles and blood, and gore, and guns, and bombs.
If they see something, horrific language, if they see a person talking about I want to grow up to be a serial killer, we need to have the power to take that person and bring them before mental health professionals at that particular time, involuntarily, and have them examined.
People will be rightfully so concerned about their rights, as am I. What about the rights of these students? What about the rights of young kids who go to schools with book bags and pencils? Don't they have the right to be protected by the United States government, to the best of our ability. That's what we'll be doing. Any questions?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What about the condition of the people who have been injured?
ISRAEL: Coach Feis, I don't know about the incident yet or what actually his performance was, I know Aaron personally. I coached with him. My two boys played for him. I don't know when Aaron's funeral is. I don't know how many adults are going to go, but you'll get 2,000 kids there.
The kids in this community loved him. They aboard him. He was one of the greatest people I knew. He was a phenomenal man. I don't know the specifics yet, but I can tell you what, when Aaron Feis -- when Aaron Feis died, when he was killed, tragically, inhumanely, he did it protecting others. You can guarantee that. That's who Aaron Feis was.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Can you tell us about the conditions of those -- what are the extents of the injuries, what kind of injuries?
ISRAEL: We are fortunate today to have our doctors who worked so tirelessly and saved so many lives yesterday, so we're going to bring up one of our doctors to speak about some of those questions and answer those questions.
DR. EVAN BOYER, DIRECTOR AND CHAIRMAN OF THE DEPARTMENT OF EMERGENCY MEDICINE, BROWARD HEALTH NORTH: Good afternoon. Dr. Evan Boyer, director and chairman of the Department of Emergency Medicine at Broward Health North, and I also have our colleagues from Broward Health Main here and the three of us collectively hopefully could answer some of those questions.
[11:05:08] So, for starters, just because we're medical professionals doesn't mean we're numb to the emotions and we send out our sympathy to all the families involved. The worst thing as a parent is if your kid doesn't come home from school that day, it hits home pretty hard. We sympathize for them.
That being said, nowadays unfortunately we do drills for this. About nine months ago we did a drill at our facility specifically for an active shooter. So, when it becomes a live event, we can work seamlessly with fire rescue, VSO, in order to ensure patient safety.
I want to commend the prehospital personnel yesterday for all of their efforts and all of the efforts that Broward Health North, Broward Health Main and also Coral Springs Medical Center got a couple of patients as well.
Specifically to Broward Health North, I'll turn it over to Dr. Menendez and Fuente about Broward Health Main. Broward Health North, we had a total of nine patients, one was the suspect treated and released. We had two patients deceased. Three patients have been discharged.
We currently have three patients in the hospital, one with an extremity wound and working well with physical therapy, another patient still intubated after penetrating trauma to the chest, but is doing well and following commands, and a third patient that remains intubated in critical condition. Dr. Menendez.
DR. BENNY MENENDEZ, CHIEF OF EMERGENCY MEDICINE, BROWARD HEALTH: I'm the director for the Emergency Department at Broward Health Medical Center. Yesterday was a -- we all as a team took care of the patients. We are a facility, we received seven patients. Of the seven patients right now, we have two patients that are critical, stable condition. The other five went home or on their way home and they're in good condition. The other two are in stable condition. So, if you have any questions about those, (inaudible).
DR. IGOR NICHIPORENKO, TRAUMA SURGEON, BROWARD HEALTH: Thank you, Dr. Menendez. I'm Igor Nichiporenko, the trauma medical director of Broward Health Medical Center. Unfortunately, this has becoming routine for us now, this is the second such episode we had in a year, which is very sad.
The first thing I want to say is that the second time around, just like the first time around, the first responders did a terrific job, and for those of you who understand what we do in trauma, time is of the essence.
And really the delivery of those patients by the EMS personnel was fantastic, made a huge difference in the outcomes. As Dr. Menendez said, we had several, received seven patients, one was discharged last night. We had one that was in critical condition that went to surgery.
We had two more stable patients that also required surgery. We have -- there is still six still left in the hospital. We're hoping to be able to send home two of them today, but I'm expecting all of them will fully recover. I'll be happy to take any questions.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Can you please tell us (inaudible) are you prepared to tell us (inaudible) the same person, can you comment (inaudible)?
ROBERT LASKY, FBI SPECIAL AGENT IN CHARGE: We do not know if it is the same person. We did our database check and could not positively identify him. We're going back, scrubbing the information, looking at it again. But I'm not willing to say at this time that it was the same person.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (Inaudible) specifically targeted, is there any indication that someone was specifically targeted that started all of this?
ISRAEL: Not at this time, but that's a possibility. As I said earlier, the FBI, the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, and Broward Sheriff's Office will be working conjunctively to interview as many people as we can so down the road we can uncover this information. But at that time that's just -- right now it is no more than a possibility.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Do you know how he entered the building? How he got in?
ISRAEL: We will speak about that, we know about that. And at our next press conference as I said I will take the media through a timeline and talk about videotapes, we'll match up video with real time information, things we know, and we'll disseminate that.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: (Inaudible question).
ISRAEL: We're not going to release that until later today if we do at all today. That's something that Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, those investigators are trying to track down the history of this weapon. We believe we know where the weapon was purchased, where the weapon came from, but that's being pieced together. So that will be something that we will discuss when -- at the appropriate time.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: (Inaudible) shooting last year, now this tragic shooting, what can you tell the people of Broward County?
[11:10:07] ISRAEL: As I said, I talk about this all the time, it is not a phrase, it is not a term, it is the way we have to live our lives in circa 2018. If we see something, we need to say something. If that neighbor comes home every Friday at 4:00 and he or she is always carrying a grocery bag and has milk and eggs sticking out.
And the last two Fridays they went to a different -- maybe a range and came back with bullets in the bag on Fridays, that's a change in behavior, that's different, that's something we need to know about. You're our eyes and ears.
One community member who sees something could do more in a one-minute phone call than sometimes law enforcement can do in a period of months. If you know anybody, right now, if you know anybody, you're saying, you know what, this raises a red flag, I was thinking of calling, don't think of calling us, call us. Call the FBI.
Call the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, call the Broward Sheriff's Office, but if you have a -- if there is something in your gut that tells you there is something not right with this person, this person has the capabilities in my mind to do this or do that, please don't remain silent, please let us know about it.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (Inaudible question).
ROBERT RUNCIE, BROWARD COUNTY SCHOOL SUPERINTENDENT: You know, as a school district, we have to protect the privacy of our students. So, I can't go into much detail at all about the student's record and personal information. I will tell you that he was a former student, at Stoneman Douglas because of issues that arose here, he was transferred to another school within the county.
Again, I'm not privileged to provide that information at the moment. But it is a student that we have been providing support for and recognize that there certainly were challenges there. The specifics I can't get into.
As far as the student coming on campus, the -- this particular individual came on the campus, at the time of this missile and that is a fairly open time for the campus and he entered the facility at that moment. So that's --
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: ((Inaudible question).
RUNCIE: So, let me just say this, when we have students within our care in the district, we provide the services that we can provide them. This is bigger than just the school system. Our kids are out of our schools two thirds of the time that they're up.
We need a community wide approach to help in our students with challenges and mental health concerns and so, again, we have got to invest resources to make sure that we minimize the occurrence of this ever happening again because if we don't, it is not a matter of if, it is going to be when so --
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Was there a psychological trigger with this student for this event?
ISRAEL: No idea.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: (Inaudible question).
ISRAEL: We have -- there are some bodies that is still in the school. There is a medical -- right now. the focus of the FBI and the Broward Sheriff's Office is on the successful prosecution of this killer and we're not going to leave any stone unturned. We're trying to process this as quickly as we can.
But VME is involved, investigators are involved, there is science DNA, and a whole plethora of things and we want to go fast. But we're in the going to rush it. We're going to get it right before we get it fast and that's what's going on right now.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: (Inaudible questions).
ISRAEL: You have to -- I'm sure there is. I mean, he wasn't enrolled. There is a process. They can get a hold of teachers, guidance counselors, parents, make anonymous calls to crime stoppers, if somebody knows something, there is certainly ample way to say yes.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Governor Scott, is there a way (inaudible).
ISRAEL: We had a school resource deputy, Deputy Peterson, on campus and he was armed. He never encountered -- at this point, the only thing I can tell you definitively is that he never encountered Cruz.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (Inaudible) conversation about how to prevent something like this from happening, does that real conversation include gun control? Can you say that's something that you'll look into?
GOVERNOR RICK SCOTT (R), FLORIDA: Two things I want to focus on, when I have this conversation next week with state leaders is that we're going to focus on school safety, and that's going to focus on dollars, going to focus on mental health, dollars, going to focus on what are the things we can do with regard to school safety.
And on top of that, we have to think about this, if somebody is mentally ill, they should not have access to a gun. So, I want to focus on both of those things, I already have spoken to the speaker of the House, and their receptive to have this conversation about school safety.
All of us have children, grandchildren, nieces and nephews, none of us want anything like this to happen again. Let me also say something, I should say something Spanish earlier, (inaudible).
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: (Inaudible question).
ISRAEL: I think it is a pretty good assumption to start out with.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: (Inaudible question).
SCOTT: Right. Let's remember this, first off, pulse was a terrorist attack and after pulse, we put -- I asked for money and legislature supported adding more counterterrorism experts through the Florida Department of Law Enforcement. We did that. We added 46 additional counterterrorism experts and we did that.
In this case, what we have to think about is all of our schools have to be safe. It is as simple as that. How do we do that? It is going to be funding. It is going to be -- is there both for security, for mental illness, for counselors, things like that.
On top of that, we got to say to ourselves if we have somebody is mentally ill, they can't have access to a gun. So -- look, I'm open to having a conversation about things because I don't want my children, your children, my grandchildren, your grandchildren, ever, anything to have to go through this.
ISRAEL: I also -- I also -- we have out here today, I'm flanked by many of our school board members, our elected officials on the school board, Dr. Rosalynn Osgood, Dr. Cornyn, a host of others, we appreciate them being out here.
We're going to make sure they're part of the conversations too because they deeply care about their students and this community so I'm glad to see them here today. Few more questions.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (Inaudible question).
ISRAEL: We're not going to release anything we said to detectives.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (Inaudible question).
ISRAEL: If it was -- if he legally owned a gun, we can't do anything about arresting him for having a gun because you said legally. We could certainly follow up, we could visit him. Whether he legally owns a gun or not, if we think a red flag goes up and that there is something not right and we think that this person has a propensity to do such a horrific act, I think police all over this nation need to be empowered to take that person and medically deliver him to a medical or a medical facility where they can be examined. Thank you for your time. We'll be back in about an hour.
JAKE TAPPER, CNN ANCHOR: I'm Jake Tapper. You've been watching a news conference from the Broward County Sheriff's Office including other officials from the state of Florida. We learned that all families who lost loved ones in yesterday's horrific shooting have been notified.
The shooter's first court appearance is scheduled to be later today at 2:00 p.m. Eastern. At any moment, we are expecting President trump to address the nation. He'll be speaking publicly for the first time on yesterday's massacre at a Florida high school.
CNN's Jeff Zeleny standing by at the White House. Jeff, what are we expecting President Trump to say.
JEFF ZELENY, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Jake, we are going to hear from the president. The fourth such time he's delivered a speech after a major shooting in America. I am told by a White House official that the president is going to call for a plan that works, not just makes us feel better.
But I'm told he's likely going to leave it there, not give specifics on gun policy. That is no surprise. In the wake of the shootings last fall, in Las Vegas, in the Texas shooting as well, the president said that was not the time to talk about a gun policy
[11:25:10] And, in fact, the White House has not talked about gun policy since then. Republicans on Capitol Hill have not talked about gun policy since then. Today, I am told the president is going to issue a grieving speech saying his heart and thoughts, of course, are with the victims in Florida.
This has become sadly a rite of job of the president. President Trump, told, I'm told will call for a plan that works, not just makes us feel better -- Jake. TAPPER: All right. Jeff Zeleny at the White House, thanks so much. I want to bring in CNN political director, David Chalian, CNN chief political correspondent, Dana Bash, and CNN senior political commentator, David Axelrod, who was an adviser to President Obama.
Dana, no statement from the president last night, the White House said they wanted to wait until they had more facts available. Is the president, do you think, in this speech going to attempt to con -- the consoler-in-chief role that we have seen far too many U.S. presidents have to do after horrific acts of violence like this.
DANA BASH, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Likely that that is what he is going to try to do. It is the unfortunate job of the president, any president, to do that at times like this. He hasn't given a formal statement, but he has been on Twitter, and he talked about the gunman being mentally disturbed. That is his opinion.
It is not something that this gunman as far as we know was formally diagnosed with, because then that would have potentially change the course of events according to our Evan Perez, who's been doing the reporting that this suspect got this assault weapon legally.
TAPPER: Perfectly legally.
BASH: And as much as he doesn't want to potentially, you know, start the ball rolling on questions about gun violence, and good gun rights, which come up every single time understandably, this happens.
When you talk about the mental state and you talk about red flag after red flag after red flag, the question is already being asked and needs to be asked, why could this gunman, this suspect, get this assault weapon legally?
TAPPER: David Chalian, we heard special agent from the FBI talking about that YouTube posting that somebody with the exact same name as the shooter last year posted about wanting to be a professional school shooter.
The FBI special agent saying that the FBI looked into it and could not find the person, but he posted -- here is President Trump walking out. We'll talk more about this after. Let's listen to President Trump.
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: My fellow Americans, today I speak to a nation in grief.
Yesterday, a school filled with innocent children and caring teachers became the scene of terrible violence, hatred and evil.
Around 2:30 yesterday afternoon, police responded to reports of gunfire at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, a great and safe community. There, a shooter, who is now in custody, opened fire on defenseless students and teachers. He murdered 17 people and badly wounded at least 14 others.
Our entire nation, with one heavy heart, is praying for the victims and their families.
To every parent, teacher and child who is hurting so badly, we are here for you, whatever you need, whatever we can do to ease your pain. We are all joined together as one American family, and your suffering is our burden also.
No child, no teacher, should ever be in danger in an American school. No parent should ever have to fear for their sons and daughters when they kiss them good-bye in the morning.
Each person who was stolen from us yesterday had a full life ahead of them, a life filled with wondrous beauty and unlimited potential and promise. Each one had dreams to pursue, love to give and talents to share with the world, and each one had a family to whom they meant everything in the world.
TRUMP: Today we mourn for all of those who lost their lives, we comfort the grieving and the wounded, and we hurt for the entire community of Parkland, Florida, that is now in shock and pain and searching for answers.
To law enforcement, first responders and teachers who responded so bravely in the face of danger, we thank you for your courage.
Soon after the shooting, I spoke with Governor Scott to convey our deepest sympathies to the people of Florida and our determination to assist in any way that we can. I also spoke with Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi and Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel.
I'm making plans to visit Parkland to meet with families and local officials and to continue coordinating the federal response.
In these moments of heartache and darkness, we hold onto God's word in Scripture. "I have heard your prayer and seen your tears. I will heal you." We trust in that promise and we hold fast to our fellow Americans in their time of sorrow.
I want to speak now directly to America's children, especially those who feel lost, alone, confused or even scared.
I want you to know that you are never alone and you never will be. You have people who care about you, who love you and who will do anything at all to protect you. If you need help, turn to a teacher, a family member, a local police officer or a faith leader. Answer hate with love, answer cruelty with kindness.
We must also work together to create a culture in our country that embraces the dignity of life, that creates deep and meaningful human connections, and that turns classmates and colleagues into friends and neighbors.
Our administration is working closely with local authorities to investigate the shooting and learn everything we can. We are committed to working with state and local leaders to help secure our schools and tackle the difficult issue of mental health. Later this month, I will be meeting with the nation's governors and attorney generals, where making our schools and our children safer will be our top priority.
It is not enough to simply take actions that make us feel like we are making a difference. We must actually make that difference.
In times of tragedy, the bonds that sustain us are those of family, faith, community and country. These bonds are stronger than the forces of hatred and evil, and these bonds grow even stronger in the hours of our greatest need.
And so always, but especially today, let us hold our loved ones close, let us pray for healing and for peace, and let us come together as one nation to wipe away the tears and strive for a much better tomorrow.
Thank you and God bless you all. Thank you very much.
TAPPER: Brief remarks from President Trump speaking at the White House offering consolation, talking about the need for prayer, for families speaking directly to the children of the nation saying that there is someone there for you, there are people who love you, he said I speak to a nation in grief.
Let's bring back the panel. David Chalian, President Trump in terms of an attempt to talk about what needs to happen to stop these horrific incidents that we keep saying that we're going on in this country before President Trump and we have seen others since he took office, you talked about the need for secure schools, and he talked about the need to tackle the difficult issue of mental health.
DAVID CHALIAN, CNN POLITICAL DIRECTOR: Which was echoing exactly what we heard from the governor of Florida, Rick Scott, that seems to be perhaps where Republicans will start rallying around here. It was clear that his remarks were much more focused on the consoler in chief role than they were on the action role.
That was a choice he had to make in this leadership moment of which way to go. It didn't seem he wanted to do too much of both.