Return to Transcripts main page
ANDERSON COOPER 360 DEGREES
Ten Killed, Ten Wounded in Texas High School Shooting; U.S. Officials: Informant Was Not Planted In the Trump Campaign to Collect Information; Shooting Suspect Being Held in Solitary Confinement. Aired 8-9p ET
Aired May 18, 2018 - 20:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[20:00:00] BURNETT: It's nice to have a wedding for people to joining and caring about.
Thanks so much, Nick.
And don't miss our coverage of the royal wedding. It begins tomorrow morning at 4:00 a.m. Eastern. Thanks for joining us. Anderson is next.
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Well, welcome. There is nothing good about this evening, but there is much to report. Ten people have been killed at a Texas high school and 10 others wounded -- Chris.
CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: All right, Anderson, thank you very much. We're just about a mile from the school. It's down this road behind us. The reason we're so far away is it's still a pretty active scene. As you probably have heard at this point, the authorities found explosive devices.
It's one of the real distinguishing characteristics about this particular tragedy and school shooting. They found pipe bombs and perhaps pressure cooker explosive devices at the scene and in the surrounding area. So the perimeter here is a little bit pushed farther back than we're used to.
We do know that the suspected killer has already been charged with capital murder, and he will face arraignment. He did not put in a plea. We're told he's being held in solitary confinement. And there is consideration of bond, but highly unlikely in a situation like this. We do not know as much as we usually do at this point because of the injected uncertainty here, these explosive devices.
The police are still really busy. The wounded are being cared for. Ten people's lives were stolen here, just as many were injured. They were sent out to different hospitals, different types of injuries, as we're learning more about what happened. And there you have a pistol that was used, a shotgun that was used, and there may have been an explosive device at play as well in terms of injuring people.
Now tonight, we're going to see here what we've gotten all too familiar with. There will be a vigil tonight that is held to get this community together, to tap into their interconnectedness and their strength, and to try to deal with this, Anderson. They just started the vigil. It's going to go into the night.
We know how this plays out, unfortunately with painful frequency. More than one a week we're averaging this year, Anderson.
CUOMO: Another community here surrounding Santa Fe High School. We are going to talk to somebody who survived the shooting. They have a lot to tell us that we haven't heard yet.
COOPER: Yes. Chris, I know you're going to be talking to people throughout the next two hours. We appreciate that. Including some of the students who survived. As you said, as always on this program, it will be their stories to tell. Theirs and the lives of those who did not make it. The name of their alleged killer will not be said nor his face be shown. The only thing he deserves is justice. His victims deserve far better.
Today, the president spoke out. Here's some of what he said.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: This has been going on too long in our country. Too many years. Too many decades now. We grieve for the terrible loss of life and send our support and love to everyone affected by this absolutely horrific attack.
To the students' families, teachers, and personnel at Santa Fe High, we're with you in this tragic hour and we will be with you forever.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Well, the president earlier today. Now this is the country's 22nd school shooting of the year. More now from CNN's Rosa Flores.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We have several more shots.
ROSA FLORES, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Police say a majority of the dead and wounded at Santa Fe High School in Texas are students. The alleged shooter, a 17-year-old classmate now booked on capital murder charges and talking to police.
GOV. GREG ABBOTT (R), TEXAS: The shooter has information contained in journals on his computer and his cell phone that he said that not only did he want to commit the shooting, but he wanted to commit suicide after the shooting. As you probably know, he gave himself up.
FLORES: Texas Governor Greg Abbott says at least one student has been detained as a person of interest.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He's actively shooting. He's in the art room. We've got shots fired right now, guys. We need all of you.
FLORES: Gunshots rang out just after 7:30 this morning. ABBOTT: The weapons used in this attack, there are two weapons. One
was a shotgun and the other is a .38 revolver. Neither of these weapons were owned or legally possessed by the shooter. It's my information that both of these weapons were obtained by the shooter from his father.
FLORES: Explosive devices, including pipe bombs, were also discovered on and around campus.
ABBOTT: One was a CO2 device. Another was a Molotov cocktail. And there are various other types of explosive devices that have been identified, both in a home as well as in a vehicle.
FLORES: Officials say they now have search warrants for a vehicle and two residences connected to the suspect. Students who escaped the shooting described the scene.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We went to go drop the backdoor and they rerouted us out the front door. And when they re-routed us out the front door I went to press the handle and I went to press the handle I did see blood on the handle.
[20:05:09] FLORES: Parents raced to the scene as their children called from inside.
SHANNON, MOTHER OF STUDENT: I just kept telling her to listen to her teacher, be quiet, stay down, stay on the phone with me. Just really scary. Really, really scary.
FLORES: Lori Williams' son, a junior, safe now after telling her just how close he was to the killer.
LORI WILLIAMS, MOTHER OF STUDENT: He was in the classroom where the shooter was, according to him. There were three students down in the classroom. And when they were coming out, there were two more students down right outside the back door of the school.
COOPER: And Rosa Flores joins us now.
Now I know, Rosa, you've been on the ground. You were at the high school all day today. What have been you been hearing? What did you learn?
FLORES: You know, Anderson, they've kept us about half a mile away from the school. We haven't even really been able to get close to the school, to get our eyes on it, to figure out if we see any shell casings or what the actual school looks like. What we have seen is just about every imaginable local, state, and federal agency in marked and unmarked vehicles going in and out. The road is completely closed.
Now the other thing that we can learn here is from what we haven't heard. And what I mean by that is, Anderson, in that piece, and you've been talking about this, how authorities say that they have found explosive devices. We are close to the school. We have not heard any detonations, any controlled detonations, and so it's unclear exactly where they are in the process of processing the scene and also removing those explosives.
COOPER: All right, Rosa Flores. Thanks very much.
We're going to of course continue to monitor any late developments in the investigation as they come to light.
In the meantime, sadly, and as always, we're primarily hearing from young people, talking about what ought to be unspeakable things for anyone to experience.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DUSTIN SEVERIN, STUDENT: I heard three gunshots and then after that, the teachers didn't say nothing. And then we heard more gunshots and I seen someone running like from across the field where we were at behind the school. And then we -- the teacher just screamed at us to run and told us to take off. So we all took off through the back. I ran through someone's yard and jumped someone's fence and I took two people with me. And after that, we all grouped up at the Chevron.
PAIGE CURRY, STUDENT: It's been happening everywhere. I felt -- I've always kind of felt like eventually it was going to happen here too, so -- I don't know. I wasn't surprised. I was just scared.
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Now what was going through your head in those moments?
CURRY: Well, I really just wanted to leave, but I thought it better to stay and just hide for -- and hide with everybody else.
DAKOTA SHRADER, STUDENT: I was scared for my life. Nobody should go through this. Nobody should be able to feel that in school. This is a place where we're supposed to feel safe. This is somewhere we come most of the week. Nobody should have to go through this. And nobody should feel that pain. It hurts my heart to see this.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: "Nobody should have to go through this."
I want to go back now to Chris Cuomo in Santa Fe -- Chris.
CUOMO: All right. It is hard to hear these voices, but we have to, Anderson. I mean, one of the biggest mistakes we can make in these situations is to become numb. I know there are so many people who are saying, oh, no, not another one. Every one counts. And it's because of people like the young man you're about to meet right now, survivor Damon Rabon.
Damon, thank you.
DAMON RABON, SHOOTING SURVIVOR: Yes, sir. CUOMO: I know that this is not a day where you wanted to just keep
going and keep talking about this, I understand. 18 years old. A senior, you've got your whole life in front of you. It almost ended this morning.
You say school started about 7:00 in the morning. What happened not long after that?
RABON: Well, at 7:00, routine day. Everyone, when we heard the tardy bell, so we knew -- just a routine day. We were doing our review, and about --
CUOMO: It's all right. Let it go.
RABON: Probably, I would say around 7:20-ish to 7:30-ish.
CUOMO: Train going by normal life. It's nice to hear it, right.
RABON: Life in Santa Fe.
CUOMO: That's exactly right. All right. So the train's going by. At least this is something familiar again, right?
RABON: Yes, sir.
CUOMO: Life as you know it here. Obviously everything this morning totally different. Keep your voice up and tell us, you're sitting in class, you're going through a review.
RABON: Yes, sir.
CUOMO: What do you hear?
RABON: We hear just a loud, banging, rattling noise, at first it was just one. It was just one. So we thought maybe someone was banging on the, like, shop door or maybe something fell. So we were like, you know, it's just something happened. And my teacher, Mr. West, actually walked outside the room and I followed him and you know, I'm a curious student, I was just trying to see what was going on.
And he turned the corner and we heard about three more like banging, rattling noises, like I said, gunshots, rattling off all throughout the school and you really just can't tell exactly what it is at the time. So we heard that and he was walking down the hall and the shooter came out of the art hallway, like, there's a backpack to his left, that's the art hall.
[20:10:06] We're on the right and he walked out of the art room, dragged his backpack on the left and turned around and went back into the classroom. At this point, we knew like, this is the real -- like, it's really happening to us. I mean, we honestly were in complete shock. So the teacher came back and he got everyone in the classroom. He told everyone like, this is the real deal. It was -- I'm not going to lie.
It was complete chaos for a good minute and a half or so until we finally got the wits about everyone. And we started barricading the doors and telling everyone just to calm down, calm down, be quiet, be quiet.
CUOMO: So you were just one classroom away?
RABON: Yes, we were one classroom away. Yes, sir.
CUOMO: And you're hearing the gunshots going off?
RABON: Yes, sir.
CUOMO: You have to be thinking the obvious, he's coming this way.
RABON: Well, actually as he was shooting the gun, the more shots, it was probably -- I'd say probably shot around 16, 17 times, and as he started progressing shooting, you can hear him progressively getting closer. And it's completely no feeling at all that any student especially here in this great country should ever have to go through. The feeling that we're next. Like our life is about to end right now in this high school, like, we are about to die.
And everyone was just crying, in complete tears, just in utter belief. Like I'm still at a loss for words and my heart truly goes out for the families and their loved ones that honestly lost someone today, and to every teacher, not just the teachers, the school cops that responded in the manner that they should have responded in, and took the situation under control.
CUOMO: You started to hear the police response, also. You started to hear what sounded to you like competing gunshots.
RABON: Yes, sir. It sounded like -- at first, you could hear the obvious shotgun, boom, boom, boom, probably about five times. And then you hear just, pop, pop, pop, pop. Pop, pop, pop, pop, all types of shots, definitely hearing gunshots going from the shooter, I guess, to the cops and the cops back to the shooter at the time. And we -- at least at that point, in our point of view, we're like, whoa, someone is shooting back. Like we may be all right. But at the whole time, it's right outside of our door. And we were -- it was complete, utter disbelief.
CUOMO: So you say you heard something else.
CUOMO: You know, as we were saying earlier, authorities are really busy here. They've been finding explosives. There were pipe bombs, pressure cooker on the scene. They found some in the surrounding area. There's a nearby trailer where they think it may have been assembled. So they've been trying to deal with what's still kind of an active situation. You think you heard something that wasn't a gunshot.
RABON: Yes, sir, it was definitely not like not -- like the rattling gun-type noise. It was more like a deeper boom. It almost sounded like a door getting kicked in, but like the door was like right next to us, but we didn't have any doors, so we were like, hopefully that's the cops kicking in doors, you know, trying to get situations under control. But now we've come to find out that we definitely believe that it was an improvised explosive device.
CUOMO: You think it was one of the IEDs. One of the improvised explosive devices. What did you hear afterwards? Your mother was telling me earlier that she thinks there was someone who was hurt by what looked to be shrapnel, not a gunshot wound. Is that true?
RABON: Yes, sir. I talked to I think two students afterwards, we're really the very last class cleared, like, we probably sat in the classroom for a good hour to hour and a half, and we're the very last class cleared. And when we were cleared, the other students that were hurt, but not like badly injured, that was actually in the art class were telling us what happened. And I just remember the look on this one guy's face, I just complete -- just he was blown away. Like, he was trying to tell us what happened. And he was like, looking around, and I just saw one of my friends drop and then another one of my friends drop.
And he flew -- he described it as a cylindrical canister device and he put his hand up and he has cuts and stuff all over his hand and his jeans are ripped and stuff, so I would definitely leave me to believe that.
CUOMO: You made it through.
RABON: Yes, sir.
CUOMO: 1400 kids in that school.
RABON: Yes, sir.
CUOMO: He stole 10 lives.
RABON: Yes, sir.
CUOMO: A dozen more were hurt. You'll take some solace in hearing it could have been much worse. You guys could have been next. But where's your head and your heart coming out of something like this?
RABON: My heart right now is honestly just thanking the Lord above that we're here, and that -- I mean, there could have been so many more kids. Just so many more. I mean, you have a school of 1400 students. And it's just unspeakable, the fact that someone can even get inside of a school with that type of guns and explosives and all types -- my heart truly is out for the victims and the ones that truly lost something today. I just cannot believe -- no mother, no parent should ever have to go through that type of pain of burying their own daughters and sons. It's just, it's unspeakable.
CUOMO: The nightmare that too many people are living. Is it true, Damon, that you have a school resource officer?
RABON: Yes, sir.
CUOMO: That has a weapon on him?
RABON: Yes, sir. We have two of them. And they responded very quickly. You could hear, it was probably, I mean, for us, it felt like an eternity, but it was almost, I mean --
CUOMO: They were there.
[20:15:03] RABON: Yes, sir. I'm thanking my life right now that they were there. Because you could definitely tell with the gunshots that it wasn't just one shooter shooting, it was -- they were shooting at each other. And -- yes, sir.
CUOMO: Well, there's no question that people were putting up a fight to get rid of this guy as soon as possible. He's now in custody. As Anderson said, we'll leave him to justice. The stories to tell are yours and those who aren't as lucky as you.
Young man, thank you for talking to me about this. I know this is the hardest day you've had so far, hopefully it is the hardest day you ever have.
RABON: Yes, sir.
CUOMO: And I thank you and your mother for bringing you over here. You be well.
RABON: Yes, sir. You too, man.
CUOMO: All right. Damon Rabon, one of the people who made it through.
As he said, Anderson, 1400 kids. Graduation is just next week. They were going to have a preparation for it tomorrow. And then this happens and now no one's life in this community or in that school will ever be the same.
COOPER: Yes, that's for sure. Still a lot to learn.
Chris, I appreciate it.
Coming up, we don't yet know the whys of what happened here in Texas, but we do know at least a little about who.
CNN's senior investigative correspondent Drew Griffin is next with what we know about the alleged shooter.
And later, the latest talking point from the president and his allies who claim an informant was planted inside the Trump campaign to collect information. U.S. officials are telling CNN tonight about that claim.
COOPER: Well, of course, there's a lot we don't yet know about the suspect in today's attack at the Santa Fe High School. And as regular viewers of the broadcast know, it's been our practice for a long time now not to say the shooter's name or any other shooter for that matter when these kinds of horrible events occur. Given that, we can shed some light on his background.
For that, here's CNN senior investigative correspondent, Drew Griffin.
So, Drew, what are you learning so far?
DREW GRIFFIN, CNN SENIOR INVESTIGATIVE CORRESPONDENT: Surprisingly, very little about the warning signs we usually get in these kind of cases, Anderson. We can tell you tonight, just a little while ago, he was brought into court, charged with capital murder and aggravated assault on a public servant.
[20:20:05] He was not asked to enter a plea and the bail has been denied. I can tell you he's 17 years old. He is a junior. He obviously planned this, according to the governor. He kept a journal. And in that journal, we are told, he said he was going to kill himself after this attack and later told police he didn't have the courage to do it. Those were his words. He didn't have the courage to kill himself.
Authorities from the governor on down say at this moment, they can find no flags, no warning signs. Somewhat frustrating for them, as they do this. And I know we're not showing his picture, but I can tell you, on his Facebook, his picture looks like an average teenager. He was on the freshman football team a few years back. He was an honor student in middle school.
The students that we talked to that knew him, not friends, but knew him say he was very quiet, often wore a trench coat to school, was wearing a trench coat today to school on a 90-degree day and that is what allowed him to hide that shotgun underneath his trench coat. That's according to the lieutenant governor of Texas -- Anderson.
COOPER: I know you've also been combing through his social media postings.
GRIFFIN: Yes, and there is not much to that but for two interesting posts he made on April 30th. This was just less than a few weeks ago. We can show you those, I think. One is a T-shirt. A black T-shirt with the words "Born to Kill" on it. The other is another piece of wardrobe. It is this duster type jacket, which has Nazi symbolism on it. Also some fascist-type symbols and some religious symbols. Not much else.
We've tried to reach many of his Facebook friends and family. We haven't gotten anybody to talk. Certainly nobody who could come on and explain what was going on in this kid's life or what could possibly explain what took place today -- Anderson.
COOPER: Yes. Drew Griffin, appreciate it.
Let's go back to Chris Cuomo in Texas.
So many questions, obviously, Chris. And a lot of times, I mean, it's impossible to get in somebody's head. CUOMO: It's true. Look, motive is only relevant to help us
understand how to stop this the next time, what can be identified. As you've laid out perfectly with the audience, it's not about some morbid fascination with what makes someone kill. It's understanding if there were warning signs.
Now we're get more information about what makes this case different, Anderson. So let's get to some experts right now. We have two law enforcement veterans who are with us right now. We have -- and unfortunately, this team has been together too much. We've got retired FBI supervisory special agent Jim Gagliano and we have Charles Ramsey. You'll remember him, the police chief in Washington, D.C. We also have him as the police commissioner in Philadelphia, OK? So you remember Charles Ramsey from these situations.
Charles Ramsey, it's good to have you. Jim, once again, we're standing side by side, trying to make sense of a situation that makes no sense. There are some different features this time, most notably, what we see with weapons, access to weapons, and then the explosives. Is that how you size it up?
JAMES GAGLIANO, CNN LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: Sure. The case has some parallels, obviously to Columbine, which happened 19 years ago last month. We understand that there might have been a pressure cooker device as well as pipe bomb, which Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold used in 1999. The second part of this is the weaponry. And you and I were talking about this in the weigh in, like what could be done. We could look at things like universal background checks, we could look at raising the age.
CUOMO: It doesn't matter here.
GAGLIANO: He was a 17-year-old kid that got access to his father's weapons. They were two-home defense weapons. It was a shotgun and a .38 revolver. Now listening to the witness that was here earlier, the student witness who you're talking to, and understanding the boom, boom, boom, with the shotgun, Senator John Cornyn has said that the barrel was shortened. OK. So a standard shotgun barrel is anywhere between 18, 20, 22 inches long.
You're not allowed to have one with less than an 18-inch barrel or 26 inches in total length. Now the maximum rounds, even with an extended tube, may be four, five, or six rounds. He would have had to reload. We don't know yet if this was buckshot or bird shot or whether or not it was a deadly shrug round. And then the five or six rounds he would have had with the .38. Enough damage in that time before the police were able to interdict him to kill 10 people unfortunately.
CUOMO: School of 1400. Imagine if he had something that allowed him to be more productive. Now there's this other aspect.
Charles Ramsey, let me bring you in on this. So this kid, Damon Rabon, who was in the classroom next, he says, look, I know what shotguns sound like. I know what pistols sound like. I heard something else and I was then told by kids in the art classroom where this kid went in there, this 17-year-old murderer went in, they say he threw a cylindrical device that exploded and hurt some people.
[20:25:01] Now we haven't gotten official word about this, Chief, in terms of whether any of these IEDs went off. But it sounds like, you know, unless somebody is telling a story, although this kid, Damon, says he saw injuries on the kid that looked like shrapnel. That changes the analysis.
CHARLES RAMSEY, FORMER PHILADELPHIA POLICE COMMISSIONER: Well, I mean, it does. And we do know that he did have IEDs of some kind. So it's very possible that he could have set one off as he was firing his weapon or shortly after he fired his weapon. So it certainly is within the realm of possibility. More information will come out as time goes on because right now there's still information that perhaps the police are not putting out. But as time goes on, we'll learn more and more about what actually took place inside the school.
CUOMO: So, look, usually in the analysis here, we're talking about what kind of weapon, how he got the weapon, and what that tells us about access. I don't see those as particularly relevant right now as the facts lay out. But there is something that continues to be relevant. How do you make the schools safer? That seems to have been a factor here. This kid was able walk in. He knew the school, obviously, because he was a student. And he was able to do what he wanted to do.
It does seem to once again raise this issue, and we heard it echoed by the governor, one of the U.S. senators here, Ted Cruz, Governor Abbott, Ted Cruz, the local representative, they all said, we have to do better to make our schools safer. What would make a difference?
GAGLIANO: They had two resource officers with weapons that engaged. They cannot allow schools to be considered soft targets. Now you can put school resource officers there. Single-point entry, but they had that in Parkland, meaning that you've got to come in one ingress and egress point. The problem with that, Chris, we talked about that before, students are always going to take the path of least resistance, hold the door open. And that makes that easy.
CUOMO: But you also got code concerns about how.
CUOMO: What if God forbid there's fire, or what if there's a natural catastrophe, well, you've got to get you. You have to have more than one way in and out. With 1400 kids.
GAGLIANO: And it goes to the same thing about locking students into classrooms. If you're able to lock yourself or barricade yourself into a classroom, what if the bad guys in that classroom can lock it and prevent the good guys from getting in?
CUOMO: That's a god forbid.
Chief, last thought here. Access to the weapon. These were the father's weapons, we understand. Let's assume obtained legally by him. How you keep your weapons safe is an issue that often doesn't get much of attention. And Jimmy and I were researching it on the way down. There's a reason for that. One, there are really low-grade laws. Here in Texas, it's an E misdemeanor. It's the lowest grade misdemeanor you can have. It's a fine up to maybe a year in jail. But that's not going to change anybody's behavior.
But do you think this case, because ordinarily, they don't prosecute, because the people who own the weapons already suffered so much, usually their kid is gone, or their kid killed one of their own children statistically, so they've already suffered. Do you think we may see investigation on whether or not these guns were properly secured?
RAMSEY: Well, I mean, it's a possibility, but, I mean, it goes to the issue of just responsible gun ownership. Not necessarily whether or not it's a violation of a law or not. But if you've got weapons, you need to be able to secure them, so they don't fall into the hands of your children or anyone else who should not have possession of that firearm. And so we all have a collective responsibility to see to it that if we do own weapons, that we properly secure the weapons.
You know, I've heard a lot about, you know, there are no red flags or whatever. Who knows what the family may know? Obviously, there's been a change in the behavior, otherwise we wouldn't be having this conversation now. So obviously we have to dig a little deeper to find out more about this kid and exactly what was going on and what led him to this particular incident.
CUOMO: Chief, thank you very much. James, you're going to stay with me. I appreciate it.
Anderson, one of the reasons we're raising this is that James recognized in the research that there are approximately 1.4 million households in this country with over 2 million weapons, where they are not kept in safe storage and they are often kept near or fully armed. So it is an issue. And there's a debate there as well.
COOPER: Yes, there certainly is. Chris, appreciate it.
Just ahead, we're going to hear from an emergency room nurse who was among the first to treat the wounded. We'll be right back.
[20:31:57] ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Amid the death and mayhem at Santa Fe High School our remarkable story of a teenager whom are actually survived what could have been a fatal bullet wound. Santa Fe student Rome Shubert was graced by one of the bullets fired, not only survived, but was back home on his parent's porch to talk about it.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ROME SHUBERT, SHOOTING SURVIVOR: It went into the back of my head, just right like kind of in the middle of the back of my head and came out right here.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What did doctors tell you about that injury? SHUBERT: They told me that, this is the perfect scenario for getting hit in the head and that if it would have done anything else than what it did, that I could be paralyzed. Feel lucky to be here and just wish this didn't happen. It shouldn't happen to anybody in that school. Nobody deserves that.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: It's incredible. Right now I'm joined by Lonna Hall, who is an emergency room nurse who was one of the first to treat the wounded today as well as Dr. Safi Madain.
Lonna, can you just walk us through what happened, tell you experiences. I understand eight people came through your medical center doors after the shooting?
LONNA HALL, ASSISTANT NURSE MANAGER, CLEAR LAKE REGIONAL MEDICAL CENTER: Yes, sir. So shortly after we started our day like we were going through our normal routine of routing our patients, kind of stocking the rooms, getting them prepped for the normal day to day E.R. And we got a call that there were people responding to the scene of an active shooter. Didn't actually get what was coming in at that point, but knew we needed to be prepared.
I spoke with our leaders and the doctor that was on, Dr. Noya (ph). At that time, he was there and kind of prompted the trauma team. He got all the trauma and people involved. We started contacting blood banks. We called a nursing home for all the E.R. staff that was there. Kind of went into a plan "B" mass casualty mode and assigned people to trauma teams, trauma rooms. Had everybody's role lined up prior to people arriving.
We got the first wave of patients that was at three incoming, open gunshot wounds, one potentially really serious. And the other ones were still had the potential, but we didn't know exactly what time of gun or anything at this point.
And when they arrived, the trauma surgeon, Dr. Welsh and I kind of assessed the people as they were coming through the ambulance bay and delegated where they needed to go, which team needed to see them, which one was most appropriate and let the teams take it from there. First wave went through, our people stabilized them, downgraded them to other rooms, to the back of the nurse's station to kind of declutter and were ready to roll with the next wave that came in.
COOPER: And Lonna, how are the patients doing tonight?
HALL: Well, I'm pleased to say that everybody that came through here is doing well at this time. And we have one that's still a little critical, but she was able to come out of surgery, so we're happy for that.
[20:35:05] COOPER: That's great.
HALL: We were able to discharge six of the eight that came in within about an hour or two, from their arrival. COOPER: And Dr. Madain, your hospital is a level two trauma center. I mean, did you ever imagine that you would have to handle something like this, with this amount of people?
DR. SAFI MADAIN, CLEAR LAKE REGIONAL MEDICAL CENTER: Absolutely. I mean, we never want to have another school shooting, but a level two trauma centers are well equipped, just as equipped as level ones to handle mass casualties and pretty much any trauma that comes through. So we were prepared. We've been preparing for something like this for quite a while. We had a drill last week. And the incredible staff at clear lake regional of nurses, the techs, lab, radiology were all part of those drills every time. The incredible providers with vision health care were part of those drills. And unfortunately today, we had to do it, but everything ran as planned.
COOPER: And Lonna, I mean how are you? How are your colleagues holding up after everything today? I mean, it's one thing to do this drill and thankfully you did do these drills, but to actually see those folks and to see these kids?
HALL: My colleagues today were impressive. They were the most professional calm in the state of chaos that was brought in. It could have been potentially a lot worse, thankfully it wasn't, that came to us, but they were amazing and held their exposure, treated everybody with empathy, got everyone in and out, stabilized quickly. They're just amazing. The team that I work with is incredible.
COOPER: Well, we appreciate all the work you've done. Lonna Hall, thank you, Dr. Safi Madain as well, when we see images like this played out over and over and over again, hard not to remember that horrible day in 1999 when the Columbine High School shooting became a national tragedy played out on television.
Up next, I'll speak with "Columbine" Author David Cullen about what we've learned since then about these scenes repeated far too often.
[21:40:23] COOPER: Just gotten the first two names of the 10 fallen. Cynthia Tisdale was a substitute teacher at Santa Fe High School. Also, Sabika Sheikh, an exchange student from Pakistan.
Today at the school joins tragic company growing list of schools in American where mass shooting have cut life short. It's been 19 years since the massacre at Columbine High School and that shooting taught many lessons to many groups, to schools, to law enforcement, and to the media.
A lot of what was reported in the early aftermath of Columbine was frankly wrong. With that in mind, we want to be careful in drawing too many parallels to today's shooting. But it seems there are some. Journalist and author Dave Cullen wrote what was really the definitive book on Columbine. It's called "Columbine." He joins me now.
Dave, since I talk to you in the wake of each of these shootings and I talked to you often, too often, I've got to say. Do you see parallels to Columbine? Or what do you think has been learned since Columbine? Certainly from a law enforcement standpoint, a lot has been learned?
DAVE CULLEN, AUTHOR, "COLUMBINE": A ton has been learned. In fact, I was kind of shocked today to see the governor announce a journal. And I thought, we don't normally find that out the first day. And then the more I thought about it, the lead FBI agent who ran the whole investigation for the FBI doing this like, didn't find out about Eric Harris' journal until Friday, three days later, and Dylan's much later. And he found out about it when an ATF agent kept being like, you know, oh, my god this is -- it's like, what have you got there?
So they didn't even know to look for things like that. They just brought everything from the killer's room and didn't go through it. Today, 19 years later, obviously, by 3:00 in the afternoon, they had searched the room, knew what they were looking for, had identified this journal, had read it, then they summarized it, gave that summary to the governor and he went on national television and announced the summary. So that whole process has changed and knowing what's out there and realizing killers usually explain themselves in this stuff. He's going to tell us why he did it. Go find it immediately.
COOPER: That is the case. That there usually is some sort of journal or some sort of explanation where the killer tries to explain themselves or at least kind of vents what's going on in their head?
CULLEN: Almost always. The Las Vegas shooter is the huge anomaly, although I keep cautioning people that at this point, this far out from Las Vegas, we still don't know after Columbine about the basement, the tapes that the two killers left. That's still hadn't been announce yet. So they may have something from Las Vegas that we haven't heard yet. But if that turns out to be true, that's an incredible anomaly where the person did not explain themselves. It's almost 100%.
COOPER: You know, I remember, obviously, in the wake of Columbine, too, there was a lot of talk about sort of the trench coat, obviously, there's images from this person's social media postings of a trench coat, he reports that he wore a trench coat today. Some of that stuff about, you know, that the profile of the two killers in Columbine and I always try to never to use their names, but a lot of that kind of early reporting, it was kind of an echo chamber. It was not accurate. It was some kids said, described the killers in one way, and through really, it was in your reporting over the years that a truer picture of them emerged?
CULLEN: Yes, you totally named it right there, that's exactly what happened. And some of the echoes start also from preconceived notions. So most people in the country still think there is a profile, which is incorrect, that most of these shooters are loners, outcast and bullied and so forth. Often they are bullied, but most of the rest isn't true, and that's not always true either.
So it started with that preconception. So a lot of the kids who don't necessarily actually know the kids, say that to a reporter. We're starting out from a problematic case. I always caution people that consider if you were a really close friend of a mass murderer, where would you be today? You would be hiding away in your house, not talking to anybody. In almost all cases, the people we want to hear from most, we're not going to hear from for a couple of days.
They may be talking to the cops today. But we don't know. So we're getting mostly acquaintances, people who knew him in third grade, maybe a couple of people who actually knew him. But we're getting a mixture of, you know, it's a mixture. Some probably is good information we're getting and a lot of bad mixed in. Take everything today and for the next couple of days with a huge boulder of salt.
COOPER: And just finally, just in terms of law enforcement tactics, those have changed completely since Columbine?
CULLEN: Completely, yes. Columbine, they surrounded the school, perimeter, not letting anybody out. And everything has changed.
[20:45:00] The active shooter protocol now where they go in the first police officers are supposed to go in immediately. In fact, that is so ingrained that there's a huge controversy at Parkland that didn't happen. So complete change.
You know, I made the point like the school system changed dramatically, the cops changed dramatically. The cop change dramatically. The only thing that hasn't changed is the legislature of trying to do anything. Our representatives who are supposed to be for us, they have done nothing after this. And that's what's kind of astonishing 19 years later. They're the one part of the world that's still stuck in 1999.
COOPER: Dave Cullen, the book is "Columbine." Thank you very much. Sorry it's always under these circumstances that we talk. I just want to quickly go back to Chris Cuomo in Santa Fe. Chris?
CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: You guys are making all the right points. I mean, look, this current tragedy is a little bit different, right? Because this murder's access to weapons isn't as questionable. The types of weapons aren't the ones that raise concerns necessarily. But when you deal with mental health warning signs and resources, when you deal with how schools are made harder targets. When you deal with what is sensible in terms of who gets guns how and why, they're all the right questions, they're just never getting asked, Anderson. And that's why you hustle the team to come down here, even with you being across the pond, because we can't let any of these events go.
I know it's another one, I think there is fatigue. I know it seems meaningless but if we forget that we're interconnected, and these could be my kids, we'll never get anywhere. We've got to keep pushing for people to do something.
COOPER: Chris, thanks very much. Glad you're there.
Coming up next, other news, a campaign conspiracy theory the President is pushing and saying would be worse than Watergate if true. The question is, is that true? We have new reporting that goes straight to the heart of the matter, details ahead.
(COMMERCIAL BREAK) [20:50:27] COOPER: U.S. officials tonight are telling CNN that a confidential intelligence source was not planted inside the Trump campaign, not planted despite what the President and his surrogates notably his lawyer Rudy Giuliani have been claiming for several days now.
This morning the President tweeted, "Reports are there was an indeed at least one FBI representative implanted for political purposes into my campaign for president. It took place very early on, and long before the phony Russia Hoax became a "hot" Fake News story. If true - all time biggest political scandal!"
That's on top of yesterday's tweet which was, Wow word seems to be that the Obama FBI spied on the Trump campaign with embedded informant. If so this is bigger than Watergate." Yesterday Rudy Giuliani was shocked.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RUDY GIULIANI, PRESIDENT TRUMP'S PERSONAL ATTORNEY: I'm shocked to hear that they put a spy in the campaign of a major party candidate or maybe two spies. And now I'm going through my brains -- you know I was a big part of that campaign. Trying to figure out who was the spy.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Right.
GIULIANI: Now I wonder is this person or that person or this person?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Well, today when asked for evidence Giuliani had none to offer Chris Cuomo.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GIULIANI: Here is the issue that I really feel strongly about this with this informant if there is one. First of all I don't know for sure nor if the President is there was one? We're told that --
CUOMO: Told that by whom?
GIULIANI: We're told that by people who -- for a long time we've been told there there's something -- there was some kind of infiltration. At one time the President thought it was a wiretap. There were some FISA applications. We've never been notified that he was on a tap or an intercept.
CUOMO: There's never been any proof that he was on a wiretap either.
GIULIANI: No. But --
CUOMO: But he did say it as fact many times.
GIULIANI: I think he thought that. I mean I think --
CUOMO: I know, but that doesn't make it true.
CUOMO: That's part of the problem with understanding this situation.
GIULIANI: It doesn't --
CUOMO: The President feels something, states it as fact, there winds up being no proof. But now you have a lot of people believe it.
GIULIANI: But he makes -- he makes it turn out to be closer to the truth than people thought because if they're -- we're told there were two infiltrations, two imbedded people in the campaign. And --
CUOMO: Now, when you say you were told, just let's clear the record.
CUOMO: You mean you're gleaning this from the reporting that's out there?
GIULIANI: No, the reporting corroborates what people have told us off the record. You don't know if they're right or not. They're people who knew a little about the investigation.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Now, a number of Republicans on the House Intelligence Committee want information about this informant and it's not an abstract argument because the informant in question is obviously a real person with much at stake. Something FBI Director Chris Wray underscored this week in testimony on the Hill.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CHRISTOPHER WRAY, FBI DIRECTOR: Human sources in particular who put themselves at great risk to work with us and with our foreign partners have to be able to trust that we're going to protect their identities and in many cases their lives and the lives of their families. And the day that we can't protect human sources is the day the American people start becoming less safe.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Well perspective now from a Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, Congressman Jim Himes of Connecticut. So Congressman, have you seen any evidence to suggest there was something improper in the FBI investigation or that there is reason to reveal FBI and CIA informant identity to the President's allies?
REP. JIM HIMES (D), CONNECTICUT, HOUSE INTELLIGENCE COMMITTEE: None, Anderson. And there is none. And look you heard Rudy Giuliani in legal terms what he was doing what he was trafficking in hearsay. We knew some people who might have known a little something about the investigation. And you know they tell with Rudy Giuliani, Anderson, is the language he uses. A spy, and oh, yes, there were FISA warrant. Rudy Giuliani is a former prosecutor. He is a lawyer. He conducted dozens of investigations himself. He knows that there is no such thing as a spy in an investigation. There might be informants. Now there is no evidence of that in this case that he can offer. There were in fact FISA warrants. The Republicans on the Intelligence Committee made sure that America knew about that.
And now to the back half of the question, director Wray is right. The FBI to keep us safe relies on informants. The intelligence community relies on people in places like Pakistan and Yemen and Russia all over the world who are willing to risk lives to work with the CIA, to work with the FBI, because they think that the FBI and the CIA will protect them from being killed, in many cases in horrible ways.
So what Devin Nunes and what the President and what his people are doing right now is they are telling the world that when we feel like it we will expose sources, we will expose informants, we will expose assets and in dangerous places around the world. That will make this country much less safe than it is today all in the effort of throwing mud in the wheels of this investigation.
[20:55:07] COOPER: The Senate Intelligence Vice Chair Mark Warner just issued a statement saying in part that it could be "potentially illegal for members of Congress to use their positions to learn the identity of an FBI source. Do you believe that's true?
HIMES: Well, it may be. You know, it would certainly be illegal to do what Devin Nunes and Mark Meadows and the gang of defenders of the President have been doing which is been leaking this stuff, you know, talking about FISA applications some of the most classified things that we have talking about it would certainly be illegal.
But what's much, much more concerning is the fact that they demanding of the FBI that Congress for political purposes -- let's face it -- you know you listen to Rudy Giuliani for 30 seconds and you know that he is there for political not legal purposes. For political purposes they are demanding that the Department of Justice and FBI let them look into an ongoing investigation.
Five years ago, 10 years ago, a hundred years ago that would have been absolutely unthinkable, completely unthinkable. And it's damaging law enforcement in this country and it's damaging our ability to get people to cooperate with us abroad at risk to their own lives.
COOPER: So the "Washington Post" reports that the House Intelligence Chair Devin Nunes who you talk about is no longer speaking directly to President Trump because of the optics the past interference he ran on the President's behalf. Instead Nunes is going through the White House Counsel Don McGhan. The President is reportedly talking to GOP Congressman Mark Meadows regularly about this. And Congressman Meadows isn't even on the intelligence committee. Does that concern you?
HIMES: It does. You know, Mark Meadows and Jim Jordan don't have three facts to rub together on this investigation. They're not a member of any of the investigatory committees. They don't know the background. They are just willing -- and it's kind of interesting because of course they are the leaders of the right wing faction, the conservative faction of the Republican Party which today brought down the all important farm bill for the Republicans, thank you very much.
But what they have done is they -- as leaders as of a conservative right wing movement they have said we're set all that aside traditionally we would have stood for law and order. And we are damage the law and order institutions of this country in favor of very simply defending the President.
And you know these guys are skating very close I think to the letter of the law and to ethical behavior by demanding information from an ongoing investigation from the FBI. And they are certainly doing profound, profound damage to the ability of the FBI in the future to do its job and the ability of the CIA to recruit human agents around the world, because it turns out that a couple of politically motivated congressman might be able to out you and it's game over and you're six feet under.
COOPER: Congressman Jim Himes, I appreciate your time Jim. Thanks very much, Congressman.
Up next, the latest from Santa Fe Texas, today's high school shooting that left 10 dead and 10 wounded. What we are learning about the victims and the investigations, next.