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CNN: Shooter Fired almost 150 Rifle Shots; Funeral underway for 14-year-old Alyssa Alhadeff; Thousands Mourn: 17 Killed at Florida High School; Teacher: School Warned us in 2016 to Look out for Suspect. Aired 10-10:30a ET
Aired February 16, 2018 - 10:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[10:00:00] ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: We've also learned he bought at least three other guns in just the past year.
CNN's Rosa Flores joins me now with much more. Rosa, what are you learning?
ROSA FLORES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Anderson, as you mentioned, we're learning that 150 rounds were fired inside this school. Disturbing accounts, if you look at the timeline of that, because we've learned from police that the shooter started shooting at 2:21 p.m. He actually, according to police, dropped his gun at 2:27, so in a matter of minutes, 150 rounds were fired. After that, according to the police, he started blending in with the students who were evacuating. And that is how he was able to leave this campus.
After that, he stopped by two stores, he purchased a sandwich and a drink, and then a police officer from the Coconut Creek Police Department saw him. He says that his training kicked in. He said that the suspect fit the description that he heard over the radio, and that is when the suspect was arrested. That was more than an hour after those first shots were fired.
And police, and investigators, very disturbed by the digital footprint that has been left behind for them to scour through, some of those items in this digital footprint very disturbing, and a second Instagram account that shows the shooter with a mask, and with photographs of an arsenal of weapons. There is also a new video that has surfaced.
Now, this is from a neighbor who noticed that the suspect was acting very strange, almost target practicing outside and then from police records we have learned that the police had been called to his home more than 30 times since 2010, and for some of those accounts, they were -- not much description about what police did at this home. All we know is that they were described as mentally disturbed person, a domestic disturbance. Again, we don't know a lot of those details there.
But, Anderson, as you take a live look behind me, you can see that there are still flashing lights, investigators are still here scouring through this scene. It is a very extensive scene. And as we talk about, you know, some of the first victims being laid to rest, the work that is happening behind me, extremely important for justice to be served. Anderson?
COOPER: Yes, Rosa Flores thanks very much. And earlier about an hour or so ago, we saw school buses heading toward the school. We're told it is teachers being allowed back for the first time just to get their cars out of the parking lot.
Here with me now is Congressman Ted Deutch. Thanks so much for being with us. Can change actually occur in the wake of something like this? Because I mean, we have seen Newtown. We have seen Aurora, Colorado, you know, too many to even name, the Pulse Nightclub, and so many of the kids here seem motivated to have this be the spark to create change.
REP. TED DEUTCH (D-FL), JUDICIARY COMMITTEE: Yes, what - Anderson, what choice do we have? There are only two. One is to throw up our hands and say, these just happen from time to time and it is 17 here and 49 in Orlando and it is over 50, almost 60 in Las Vegas. And we just wait for the next one. That's not -- it cannot be an acceptable response.
The other response is to follow the lead that these kids are setting. This is different and you've had these kids on, I've been speaking with them over the past couple of days, America has seen what these kids at Marjory Stoneman Douglas are like. And as they grieve, and as they wail, and as they struggle with the loss of their friends' lives, they also are very clear about one thing, they want action. And they're not going to allow this to simply go by the way side.
COOPER: But how is -- you know, a lot of them can't even vote. They're not old enough to vote. How can they really affect change?
DEUTCH: Well, some of them can vote, but they certainly have a voice. And they're using that voice already. And we need to give them the opportunity, the tools. We need to give them the platform to use their voice. America needs to hear from them. Anderson, yesterday at one of the vigils, a young woman came up to me afterwards to tell me that she desperately needs something to happen, she can't think that having sat there and watched her friends face be blown off, a horrific -- the worst thing to hear that she can't sit back and just allow that to happen without someone taking action. We have to work with them and follow their lead.
And here is the thing, for all of the -- all of my colleagues who are now talking about how this is about video games, this is about movies, and this is about everything but the fact that this shooter fired off 150 shots in minutes, there is going to be an accounting, because these kids are going to make that happen.
[10:05:11] They're going to make their elected officials respond to this. They're going to make their -- elected officials explain why it is that you can buy a -- you can't buy a handgun, unless you're 25, but you can buy an AR-15 -- if you're 18. Why is it that anyone needs an AR-15 to begin with? That's a debate that we have to have. We can't afford to just have all of this -- all these cameras packed up, go back to where they came from, and expect that the things will change. They won't change unless we make them. These kids are leading the way. COOPER: I think 21 is the age for buying a handgun, but I understand -- 21. You said 25. But I understand the point. An 18-year-old can buy an AR-15, but can't buy a handgun. It doesn't seem to make any sense. And can't drink until they're 21.
DEUTCH: Can't drink, can't buy a handgun, but can walk in, as this shooter did, walk into a gun store and walk out with an AR-15 that can fire off 150 rounds in minutes.
COOPER: What about the mental health aspect, which a lost Republican congressmen and legislators have been talking about. I mean, certainly mental health, you know, there is such stigma about it in this country. Obviously more could be done to help people with health issues.
DEUTCH: And we should. But and that needs to be part of the conversation. Look, the reports that people -- the authorities went out to this shooter's house over 30 times, raises all kinds of alarms. The social media should have raised alarms. We need to find out what happened and find out how we can use that kind of data to get people the care they need.
But we can't demonize people with mental illness and that tends to be something that happens in these cases. We have got to get people in mental illness treatment. We need to make sure that they get the care they need. And if they're dangerous to themselves or others, we have to make sure they cannot get their hands on guns.
COOPER: It is a fair point to point out that most people who have some sort of mental health issue are not a danger to other people. They may be a danger at times to themselves, but not really to other people.
DEUTCH: And it doesn't do us any good. We're not going to advance this. We're not going to -- there won't be action if we -- if we simply lay out two alternatives. We can talk about mental health or we can talk about guns. The people who say that why are you focused on gun, they're inanimate objects. We need to focus on people. Of course we need to focus on people. But we also have to focus on what they're using, like they use here, like they used in mass shootings in Orlando and across the country.
COOPER: It is interesting how after each of these oftentimes legislators say, look, now is not the time to talk about political issues like gun control.
DEUTCH: Anderson, the only -- when someone says that now is not the time to be political, the only one being political is that person who refuses to engage in their necessary conversation about how to stop these things from happening other places. And it shouldn't require -- it just shouldn't require you to have one of these horrific experiences in your own district as a member of Congress for you to care about it. It shouldn't.
When should we talk about this? You bet we should talk about it now. And we should have talked about it yesterday and last week and every day since, every day since. Newtown, every day since Columbine, every day is the day we need to focus on stopping this horrific gun violence. That's not political. It is decency. That's what we should expect from the people that we send to Washington.
COOPER: Congressman, I appreciate your time, thank you very much. Congressman Ted Deutch.
Right now, the funeral for one of the victims, 14-year-old Alyssa Alhadeff is getting underway. Our Gary Tuchman is in nearby North Lauderdale with more on her life. Gary, let's talk about Alyssa. We've learned a lot about her just in the last 24 hours.
GARY TUCHMAN, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, that's right, Anderson. Alyssa Alhadeff was a loving daughter. She was a loving sister, big sister of two younger brothers. She was a loyal friend. She was an honor roll student. She was the star soccer player. She was 14 years old and she died in this rampage.
And as we speak, her funeral service is being held in this chapel behind me here in Broward County. And then she will be laid to rest afterwards. We got a chance yesterday to meet her parents. Her patients Lori and Ilan, just wonderful, kind people, grief stricken people, but also very strong. And this morning Lori was on CNN's "New Day" and she had a personal message for the president of the United States.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LORI ALHADEFF, DAUGHTER KILLED IN MASSACRE: President Trump, Barron goes to school. Let's protect Barron and let's also protect all these other kids here in Parkland, in Florida, and everywhere else in the United States of America, because we earned it, just like how you earned the right to protect Barron. You need to help us now. We need security now for all these children that have to go to school.
We need action. Action! Action!
(END VIDEO CLIP)
[10:10:13] TUCHMAN: It is a sad irony that about nine months ago, Lori posted on her Facebook page. She replied to a petition to increase security in schools because of all of the school shootings. This was in May of 2017. And what she wrote on her Facebook page was this. "Metal detectors are a start for administrators and parents to implement something in the schools, to be proactive against this violence. I think it should be in all schools. Not just in middle and high schools." That was in May of 2017. She wrote that on her Facebook page.
14 children, three adults were killed, Anderson, two days ago, and this is the beginning of all of the funerals in this small community. Anderson?
COOPER: Going to be a long, difficult days, weeks and months and years for families ahead. Gary, appreciate that.
I want to bring back in Diane Gallagher for more on what we're learning about the other victims as well. Diane?
DIANE GALLAGHER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: You know, Anderson, we got to know a lot about so many of these victims at a vigil that was held last night by more than a thousand people attended. Candlelight, lanterns, and parents and students who were there spoke. So we heard from kids who lived through the horror of that shooting. And parents, who lost their children, like Fred Guttenberg. He got up. He spoke about his 14-year-old daughter Jaime and what his last words, he was hoping were to her.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
FRED GUTTENBERG, DAUGHTER KILLED IN MASSACRE: She was supposed to be safe. My job is to protect my children. And I sent my kid to school. In the morning, sometimes things get so crazy. She runs out, behind, she's, like, I got to go, Dad, bye. And I don't always get to say, I love you. I don't remember if I said that to Jaime.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GALLAGHER: Another 14-year-old, Alaina Petty, her family said that she was vibrant, determined. She was a member of junior ROTC. And Anderson, they say that she loved to surf. After Hurricane Irma hit Florida, that she went out to volunteer for the cleanup.
COOPER: Diane, it's good to learn about these kids. It is also just excruciating and, again, difficult days ahead. Diane Gallagher.
Still ahead, we talk to one father who worked in the Twin Towers, decided to move to Parkland after 9/11 attacks. Now his kids are working through the same pain and fear that he felt more than a decade ago. We'll talk to them next.
[10:17:36] COOPER: Well, imagine seeing the 9/11 terror attacks from the Empire State Building and then deciding to leave New York City a month later, find a safer place to raise your family, and settle here in Parkland, Florida. Now your kids have to go through their own experience of terror. That's the story of the Feuerman family. Two of them join me now. Sammy Feuerman, a student at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School and his father Stephen Feuerman. Thanks so much for being with us. First of all, how are you holding up?
SAMMY FEUERMAN, STUDENT, MARJORY STONEMAN DOUGLAS HIGH SCHOOL: Well, the last few days have been just devastating for me, but as of right now, I'm starting to feel a little bit better. I lost one of my closest lifelong friends and -
COOPER: You were friends with Joaquin.
SAMMY: Joaquin, right.
My other friend is currently in the hospital right now.
COOPER: How is he doing? SAMMY: He's doing a lot better than he was. He's going to be OK. I just -- I can't wait to see him and one of my other closest friends, brothers, passed away, I just feel so sorry for him.
COOPER: What was Joaquin like?
SAMMY: Joaquin, oh my gosh. He was just energy, just a ball of -- energetic kid, ball of life. He can always make anyone feel better at any time. He had a great heart, cared about everybody. He literally would take the time individually just to make sure everyone was doing OK, put a smile on your face.
COOPER: I'm so sorry for your loss.
SAMMY: Thank you. Thank you.
COOPER: How - I mean, you decided to move here and so many people have come here from all over the country because it is such a safe neighborhood, because the school is such a good school.
STEPHEN FEUERMAN, SON AND DAUGHTER ATTEND MARJORY STONEMAN DOUGLAS HIGH SCHOOL: Yes, I mean, we lived in Rye Brook, which is a similar type feel and community that -- that was small when we got here. It was like half the size it is now. And after 9/11, we just decided that kids were babies and it was safer to be in Florida. And there was really only one choice and I had never even heard of this town. But, you know, based on statistics and schools and everything, this was the place that I thought it was to settle and I thought it would be a great place to -- and it has been a great place and will continue to be a great place.
COOPER: That's what so many kids have said to me and adults that they don't want this school, this community defined by this. This is not -- you don't want this to be your memory of this school.
SAMMY: Not at all. This school, I know this devastating event just occurred, but this school will always be safe. This school will always be my second home, like I literally live right behind the school. I've lived here my whole life. I walk to school. I love this place. We're going to get through this together. And we're going to be strong. Nothing is going to hold us back.
[10:20:08] COOPER: Did you know right away, when the fire alarm went off that something was wrong?
SAMMY: The fire alarm went off, I was in my English class on the other side of the building, and I was walking out with one of my friends and there was a teacher who was screaming, get inside, get inside and said someone has a weapon and that just scared us. We ran to our class rooms, I went in the closet, and I was just in there for such a long time.
COOPER: Then you got a text.
SAMMY: Yes. I got a text and someone told me that my close friend got shot, and I just lost -- I just started crying and praying for him. COOPER: Another student told you that while you were still in the school?
SAMMY: Right. And I knew -- I knew I was going to be OK. I was texting my family. I told everyone I loved them. I'm going to be OK. I had friends reaching out to me. I was trying my best to communicate with everyone. But it was just really scary and I knew -- I'm just glad I got through it, but I'm so sad to say that so many of these amazing -- every single one of these kids are just great people and I can't believe it.
COOPER: It is also a time when so many kids are learning -- seniors, you're a senior, learning where they got into college? What they're going to be doing, so in so many ways the last couple of days for a lot of kids has been incredibly happy time to know about their future.
STEPHEN: Yes. It is unbelievable as a parent because, you know, we have been sharing all the acceptances that he has, and then we have this. And, you know, it is really up to the seniors of the school to go back in there and lead.
COOPER: Do you worry about what it is going to be like to go back?
SAMMY: I know a lot of people do. For me, personally, I'm not worried. I just think everything should get -- we should be as normal as we possibly can be, just reach out for each other, and just go along with our days as we had been going along with our days.
COOPER: Stephen, Sammy, I appreciate talking to you. I wish you the best.
SAMMY: Thank you. We appreciate it.
STEPHEN: Thank you.
COOPER: Thank you very much.
COOPER: There are -- sad to say right now, funeral services underway for 14-year-old Alyssa Alhadeff, family and friends paying their respects. We have more news ahead. We'll be right back.
[10:26:48] COOPER: We have breaking news to bring you. A teacher at the high school where the deadly shooting took place tells our Brian Todd that he got a warning e-mail about the shooter back in 2016. Math teacher Jim Gard says the administrators sent him an e-mail in November or December of 2016. The administrators wanted to be notified if that student, if the shooter showed up on campus with a backpack. Gard says he wasn't given any explanation for the e-mail, but the kids with a student in his class at that time.
Joining me now are CNN senior law enforcement analyst Tom Fuentes and CNN law enforcement contributor Steve Moore. Tom, I'm wondering what you make of that breaking news, the idea that administrators certainly had their -- seems to be -- had their eye on this student and were concerned enough about him coming to school with a backpack to alert one of his teachers.
TOM FUENTES, CNN SENIOR LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: Anderson, the main question I would have about is, once that student was expelled, is that the time then that the administration of that school district decides they have nothing to worry about anymore. He's gone. He won't be back, the heck with it? We just don't know. So, you have that warning going to members of the faculty at the school, did a warning go out to the police, did a warning go out in the community, the police already know him. They have been to the house dozens of times before his first set of parents died.
And, you know, they know how mentally ill this person is, this kid is. And so they know all about him. The school knows all about him. The neighbors know all about him, in fact, the one neighbor tells CNN, well, I knew they moved when the police stopped coming every other day to the neighborhood, to that house. So you have all of those warning signs that are right there in the community, local school officials, local police that have him already, theoretically on the radar.
COOPER: But, Steve, you know, if somebody has not broken the law, and they're a worry to others, neighbors are concerned about them, you know, and their family feels they can't do anything, and the person, you know, we believe this person sought treatment at some point at a clinic. We don't know. We believe he hadn't been there for the past year. What can law enforcement really do?
STEVE MOORE, CNN LAW ENFORCEMENT CONTRIBUTOR: Law enforcement going to have to change the paradigm, Anderson. Up until now nobody wanted to be that guy, the person who would call in a neighbor for acting strangely. In the real world now, we have to be a little bit more proactive.
I worked with a university for several years, where there was an organization called the Students of Concern Committee. And it was a psychiatrist. It was law enforcement. And we maintained an eye on people who were acting in aberrant manner. And even if they left the school, we knew that we had a tale. And that they could come back and blame us for something that might have happened to them before, at least emotionally.
COOPER: Tom, though, I mean, the danger is, you know, people who have some sort of mental health issue, they have rights, you don't want to stigmatize them and certainly you don't want to, you know, make them scared to seek some sort of treatment if they feel they're going to be reported to the state in some way.
FUENTES: Well, I think about the time these kids expelled from school.