Return to Transcripts main page
Report: 9 Students, 1 Teacher Killed In Texas High School Shooting. Aired 2-2:30p ET
Aired May 18, 2018 - 14:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[14:00:00] (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Following the same procedure as we did. Nobody thought it would be this. The next thing we hear three gunshot and explosions and teachers were saying run, run, run. And me and my friend Ryan Calvert ran into the forest, so we could get shelter, and that's when I called my mom.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And then everybody was panicking, everybody was crying. I started seeing two or three students jumping over the fence to get further away from all the fire.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If you would have heard what I heard this morning, the fear in my loved one's voice because of my son being in that classroom.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's really scary, really, really scary.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Nobody should have to go through this. Nobody should feel that pain. It hurts my heart to see this.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ERICA HILL, CNN HOST: President Trump addressed the shooting a short time ago as well.
(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 at Santa Fe High. My administration is determined to do everything we can to secure our schools and keep weapons out of the hands to those who pose a threat to themselves and to others.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HILL: CNN crime and justice reporter Shimon Prokupecz is standing by with the latest on the investigation, CNN's Rosa Flores is live on the scene in Texas, and Rosa first to you, what more do we know at this hour?
ROSA FLORES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Erica, some traumatic moments here for students and teachers as shots rang out about eight a.m. this morning. And at this hour this is still a very active scene. Take a look behind me. There is a lot of law enforcement present here. Both local, state and federal officials on scene. The latest that we've learned is that explosive devices have been recovered from the school and from areas around the school, adjacent to the school.
It is active. Investigators right now gathering evidence and also trying to make sure that every individual that is in and around this community is safe, asking people that if they see suspicious packages for them to call the police because, again, they have found pipe bombs and also pressure cooker bombs in some of these areas. They're not giving all of the specifics for strategic and safety reasons, but they are asking people to be on alert.
As you mentioned, ten people have died, nine of them students. We also learned that two law enforcement officials were injured. There are at least 12 individuals injured total with multiple gunshot wounds. Of course, this is a time that's supposed to be of celebration. It's the end of the school year. Students and teachers and parents are usually preparing for graduation and instead some of these families are now preparing for funerals, Erica.
HILL: Sobering to say the least. Rosa, thank you. Shimon, I understand you have some new reporting for us as well.
SHIMON PROKUPECZ, CNN CRIME AND JUSTICE REPORTER: That's right. This just coming into us here. The second person as we've been reporting who has been detained and now in police custody, law enforcement sources are telling CNN is believed to be an accomplice of the shooter. Our sources are saying they don't believe this individual was involved in the shooting, but he is somehow associated with what happened here and police have taken him into custody and as we've been reporting, since this happened, the second person who we're told is 18 years old was detained. We're now told he is believed to be an accomplice and may have been involved in what happened here and police are treating him as such and now he is in police custody, Erica.
HILL: Shimon with the latest for us there. Thank you both. We also have a number of folks with us obviously to help us work through what's happening, both on the ground there, how the investigation is unrolling, including former FBI Agent Josh Campbell. Josh, bringing you back in here, as we look at what we're learning, the fact is we're just learning the second person in custody, 18 years old, believed to be a possible accomplice to the suspect but not the shooter. What will provide a lot of information obviously are these two people who are in custody.
JOSH CAMPBELL, FORMER FBI AGENT: That's right. And if you back up about an hour ago when we were hearing from the sheriff's department that there was one person in custody and another person who they described was detained, there were questions of what was the association? Now it appears as though they have taken this person into custody so there will be a lot of questions that investigators will have for this person as far as what knowledge he had of the events of today, you know, any of the prior planning. [14:05:00] Again, just so many questions there. This is also somewhat
unusual in that we now have two people who are alive who can presumably tell investigators exactly what happened, what was going through their mind. As we compare this incident where you've had deadly incidents involving firearms, this is a different story. You talk about an individual who has gone through the motions of actually creating devices, it shows to me as a former investigator it's not someone who woke up one day with a grievance and said I'm going to act on this but went through meticulous planning. Whether or not he was a sophisticated device maker has not yet to be seen. We haven't seen any of those devices actually detonate. Reporters have been telling us this trailer, there are some other possible components there they'll be looking at shows that level of sophistication. A lot of questions for these individuals.
HILL: A lot of questions. Also joining us retired LAPD, Jonathan Wackrow, as well as CNN law enforcement analyst along with Charles Ramsey. Charles, as we look at this, we know how much -- I'm sorry, we may not have Charles with us. Jonathan, I'm going to throw this one to you. As we look at -- we're hearing from Josh the talk about the planning. So, you have these devices versus just deciding one day to pick up a firearm. The fact that those devices didn't detonate may not mean that there was some sort of malfunction, it may mean simply that perhaps this person was not at that point in their planning.
CAMPBELL: Listen, the fact that we have explosives to begin with introduced into this incident is disconcerting. We don't know the condition of the explosive devices at the time that law enforcement got to them. So, they could have been rendered safe by explosives teams, the EOD teams that went to look for these. And police may have taken those devices for evidentiary value. Again, we don't know and we've yet to ascertain the conditions of those explosives.
HILL: When we talk about the training and we talk so much about the training that multiple branches are responding at this point, but that law enforcement and other agencies undergo, and it changes, right, with every shooting, it changes with every terror incident that we have to deal with.
CAMPBELL: Absolutely. This is the challenge for law enforcement. Every incident, regardless of where it happens in the suns dynamic. A few hours ago, we were thinking this could have been a lone wolf attack against a school, another school shooting. Someone goes in and has a problem. Then we find out there's two people. Then we find out there are explosives. Now not only explosives at the school, the crime scene has expanded. Think about just the evolution today in just the last few hours, the challenge of law enforcement is being able to shift and adjust to that changing dynamic of their investigation.
HILL: There is so much there. We're getting some of the audio just coming into us. This is all happening in real time. Here's some of the police scanner audio we're just receiving. Take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We're making entry.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: More shots fired. Additional shots fired.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Still have several more shots fired.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Actively shooting. He's in the arts room. We have shots fired right now, guys.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HILL: As soon as we began listening to this audio, Jonathan, one of the things you said to me is they are so calm. And they are.
JONATHAN WACKROW, CNN LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: I commend the law enforcement officers again. Dynamic situation. They're responding. They don't know if it's one shooter, multiple shooters. They know the terrain, they know the school. They don't know where they are inside. The team leader when they said they're making the entry into the school, his calm demeanor, that's what you want law enforcement to do. They need to be focused on addressing, hunting and finding and putting that threat down, not getting caught up into, you know, other areas.
[14:10:00] They need to remain focused and calm. Again, the first responders in an active shooter situation, their sole responsibility is to stop that threat. You know, that's very difficult for law enforcement because as that entry team went in, they probably saw multiple victims, probably saw people bleeding out, very, very hard to control your emotions. The calmness of that police department being able to ascertain where the attacker was, in the art room. They called out the shootings. Very systematic, very methodical. I commend the police department.
HILL: As we are getting to pieces altogether obviously witnesses are really providing a picture for us. Here's more about what they described about the chaos in those moments in the school.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Dave was in a 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.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Did he say anything like what type of injuries?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No. Just a few minutes ago I was helping a lady that was right here on the corner and she was shot in the back of the leg, the calf. It's tragic. It's tragic. I'm done. Thank y'all.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We heard the alarms, everybody just, you know, started leaving, following the same procedure as we did because nobody thought it would be this. Nobody thought it was a shooting. Everybody just thought it was a normal procedure, practice fire drill. And next thing you know we just hear three gunshot, a lot of explosions and all the teachers are telling us to run, run, go! Run! And me and my friend Ryan Calvert ran where we could get shelter and that's when I called my mom.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We were told to go to one of the buildings for cover. And then afterwards cop cars started pulling in and everything and so I thought something else was off. So, I heard there was actual gunfire and there was three people injured at the time being. And that everybody was panicking, everybody was crying and then I started seeing two or three students jumping over the fence, trying to get further away from all the fire. Then my mom and dad started blowing up my phone like, hey, don't go following into the crowd because who knows -- we're instant targets because we're in a crowd. They told me to just kind of get away from there.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HILL: That's what these conversations have become, trying to tell your kids to stay safe as they call you. Josh, as I bring you back in here. We think about and we have seen the aerial footage of course not just from Santa Fe High School but from so many of these incidents. This is now the 22nd school shooting this year, three in the past week. As people are exiting the building and they are trying to -- we have officers going in so calmly trying to deal with this active shooter situation, there is also the concern of what could be happening outside of the school and making sure that situation, Josh, is controlled as well.
CAMPBELL: That's right. It's a multi-facetted effort here and law enforcement officers are not only going to ensure they're able to go to the sound of gun fire and mitigate threat but also looking for other threats. The students here who were filed out, very orderly, every single person there is an intelligence source, a potential piece of information that could then help investigators determine what it is that was happening, what they saw, did they know the shooter, the accomplice. What is it that they can provide investigators. And what's also important is if you put yourself in the mindset of those actually responding, we listened to the officer audio there as they're relaying information back to each other, the communication is key because the first thing they're trying to determine is where is the threat.
As they're going into a location, they're going to hear it real time from witnesses that they're passing, the person is over here, he's over there. That's information that they need and they're going to communicate that to each other, so others know exactly what it is that they're dealing with and where to go. Just as important as that, once the person is taken into custody, the moment that the threat is mitigated, that piece of information is critical because every officer that's in the vicinity can ultimately and quickly flip from a response to mitigate a threat to a response to save lives. They may be stepping over potential victims as they try to stop that threat, once the word goes out they have the shooter, they can tend to the victims.
HILL: There is also the issue of the fact that there are not only has the crime scene expanded, there are now multiple scenes that officers and their agents are looking into. We have a trailer being searched, the school, the off-campus explosives. How does all of this get coordinated at this point, Josh? CAMPBELL: If you look again on the screen. We're seeing the pointy
end of the spear. We see the assets that show up and try to mitigate that threat. What we're not seeing but will see in short order the officers fanning out at multiple locations who may give additional information, to determine what the motive was, were there associates. And that's going to be very much in all hands-on deck approach.
Law enforcement will work under a unified demand, whether it's a domestic terrorist or someone who a mental issue or whatever it may be, the investigative tools and investigative techniques are going to be the same
[14:15:00] These officers are going to work under the unified command. We already have reports that you have not only the Harris County Sheriff's office obviously playing quarterback there but assets from FBI and ATF, and other government agencies, the Texas Department of Public Safety, their version of the Highway Patrol or state troopers that are there. They'll be key. Because again this isn't just one specific location had a school but there will be other places, possibly other jurisdictions that will require a law enforcement response in order to, again, gather information and gather these clues in order to help tell the story of what happened.
HILL: Jonathan, as we're looking at all that, not just in terms of the coordination, but there's also managing the community here. We have a community understandably on edge. This is town of about 13,000 people, some 1,400 students at that school. That's also a lot to imagine, making people feel safe.
WACKROW: Getting information out to the public in a clear, concise manner is key to communication. We now have devices in the community. We don't know where potentially they might be. Would you want to do is get messaging out, shelter in place if necessary? Identify vulnerable areas. Again, keeping the flow of information through public information officers, the unified command that Josh was talking about before will come up with a cohesive message from all of the entities that are involved to ensure that everyone is receiving timely and accurate information as to the situation.
HILL: Accurate is so important there as well. Shimon, you have some new information coming into you.
PROKUPECZ: As we've been saying, this is moving pretty quickly. We're now being told that the shooter here was injured and that authorities are talking to him, they're talking to him and that he's been injured essentially. That's all we know. We also know that the gunman, the shooter here did not come up in a background check for people who may have purchased guns. It looks like authorities there have searched his name in the system and his name did not come up, indicating that he had purchased any weapons. So really when you think about this, Erica, this investigation is moving rather quickly.
We now know that authorities, the ATF, have found what they believe is the bomb factory where these IEDs and pressure cookers were made. We have a suspect who is talking and cooperating with investigators. They now have a second person who they believe is an accomplice in custody. We don't know if he is talking with investigators. But as you can see, based on all this, what we now see is that authorities are moving pretty quickly in this case, finding key pieces of evidence, like that trailer. They have a shooter who by all intents and purposes is cooperating, is talking to them. So, they're learning a lot. It seems just in the last few hours they have made a lot of progress in this investigation.
HILL: It is remarkable how much quickly the information is coming in. We're getting some of that information from Shimon's reporting. The main question is going to be motive. Why did this person do this? I would imagine they're also going to be talking to the suspect about where the information came from, not only where did you get firearms but where did you get this information?
Campbell: They're able to interview the person. He is alive, they can interview him and if he cooperates, that puts them that much ahead of the game. In a situation where a shooter takes his own life and you don't have that information. It's key to go back and figure out where did the person get the weapons. That not only helps this particular investigation, but it will help officers as they try to create this profile that will help prevent other attacks in the future. What was the mechanism to get the weaponry used today to kill people? Unfortunately, on the IED. side as we look at terrorist attacks and other incidents around the world, a lot of this information isn't sophisticated that you have to be a skilled bombmaker to put something together. Unfortunately, a lot of this garbage is on the internet and they can put together ingredients and maim and take lives.
[14:20:00] What was the level of sophistication and was there anyone that assisted? We talked earlier about someone who wakes up and decide to act on a grievance. That's very difficult to stop. But when you have someone who has gone through this meticulous planning and plotting, that's all part of building out this picture. Was there someone who maybe saw something or should have seen something that can provide that information? All law enforcement wants to know right now is what was the motive. Why did this person do what he did in order to not only help solve this particular case but ensure there are no additional threats?
HILL: Obviously the questions we have and information that may be coming out. We're expecting more was in from a news conference from Governor Abbott at any moment, before that happens we are going to take a quick break. Stay with us here on CNN as our coverage of this breaking news of the shooting at Santa Fe High School in Texas continues.
[14:25:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
HILL: Let's get you caught up on the breaking news that we are following out of Santa Fe, Texas. This a town of some 13,000 people, at the high school there, 1,400 students, we do know that a shooter opened fire early this morning just after classes had begun. Ten people are dead. Nine of them are students. One is a teacher. 13 people are being treated for injuries at three area hospitals, eight students with gunshot wounds and two law enforcement officials may be among the injured.
The shooting suspect was injured, according to a law enforcement official. This person also, by the way, has not been found in the system for purchasing handguns. Also, being held, a second person who is 18 years old and believed to be according to a law enforcement official a possible accomplice but not the shooter. We are hearing from people who were in the school, we are hearing from the parents of these children who took those phone calls, who picked up their children. Here is more about what they describe about what unfolded this morning. Take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: A teacher was telling us to go, go, go. It's like instinct. You're scared, traumatized so you're running as fast as you can.
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Once you got over to Indy Automotive, when did it become clear something happened like a school shooting?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It was kind of clear when all the cops showed up because we were realized this was not a fire drill. It clicked, it was like oh, my gosh, something traumatic just happened. I never thought this would happen in our school. School is a place you feel safe in. You always think that's never going to happen to me. So, it's kind of scary now that it has happened and to think about it.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He said that he heard shots next door and they all got up and then the door opened up and there was more shots and they ran. That's pretty much it. There's broken glass.
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: And so, a group of students came to your house?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, ma'am, there was five of them.
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: How are they doing right now?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They're doing all right. Their parents are there. Their parents came and got up. They were stirred up, teared up, they were out of breath by the time they got to my house.
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: As a parent, you see them come into your house like that, what goes through your mind?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I just woke up. I couldn't believe it. I'm just glad they were here, and they were OK.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I couldn't understand her. There was just noise coming out of her body. I know she was in distress and she said she was in a field behind the school hiding. I don't know what's going on. So, I'm in panic. I'm in sheer panic. I called my supervisor, I'm like its out of here, I got to go. I got here, and it was kind of a struggle to get in here because of the cops trying to block everything off and it wouldn't have mattered. I would have got to her somehow. I would have ran. And, you know, her friend got shot. It's disturbing. And she's fearful because she said she has to go to school tomorrow. I'm like you're not going to school tomorrow. You're not going back.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HILL: CNN law enforcement analyst Charles Ramsey also with us now. Charles, as we look at this, we heard that mother saying you're not going back to school. That other student saying school is a place you're supposed to feel safe. This is the 22nd shooting that we've seen this year. As we look at all of this play out, what's the first thing that you want to know at this point?
CHARLES RAMSEY, CNN LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: Well, I mean, first of all, this case is just unfolding so there's a lot of unanswered questions right now. You certainly want to make sure you're gathering whatever evidence you need to gather both at the crime scene itself, residence, this trailer where they apparently have found some improvised explosive devices and so forth, but you want to get at the motive. You may find it in social media, you may find it on the smartphone, you may find it in a variety of places. He's alive so I'm sure right now they're interviewing him trying to find out from him and this second person exactly what the motive is.
[14:30:00] HILL: And as they're trying to figure out that motive, we know they're searching this trailer, but they'll also be looking through social media of course, whatever they can find in that trailer. And of course, speaking to folks at the school and in the community to paint a better picture of who this person is.
RAMSEY: Right. Yes, I mean, they've got to do all that. Again, this is in the very early stages. There are search warrants they're going to have to obtain. Don't assume this person lived in the trailer. Maybe there is a residence that has to be searched, a so-called person of interest or second person in custody, same thing with them. They're going to have to search the residence, look at their social media. There are a lot of moving parts when it comes to this. But they've got to render that trailer safe and make sure there are no other IED anywhere else. The devices could be very unstable. This is going to take some time before they're able to totally clear that particular location.
HILL: There's also the issue of the firearms and the fact that the suspect isn't turning up in any databases. From what we understand, there's a good chance that the alleged shooter isn't 18 years old and so wouldn't legally be allowed to purchase a gun on their own.