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ANDERSON COOPER 360 DEGREES
At Least 11 Dead In Mass Shooting In Virginia Beach; Source: Shooter Was Disgruntled Employee; At Least 11 Dead In Mass Shooting In Virginia Beach; Two Weapons Recovered: Rifle And Semi-Automatic Pistol. Aired 8-9p ET
Aired May 31, 2019 - 20:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[20:00:09] JOHN BERMAN, CNN HOST: Tonight, it is Virginia Beach. We're coming to you with the worst kind of breaking news imaginable.
John Berman here, in for Anderson.
Tonight, our hearts go out to Virginia Beach, Virginia, where police say a city employee opened fire in a municipal building and took at least 11 lives before police took his. Six more people are in the hospital. The city, needless to say, is in shock. This is all unfolding moment by moment in the words and images we all think we are so familiar with until it happens where we live, and it is happening where we live.
Tonight, it is Virginia Beach.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MAYOR BOBBY DYER, VIRGINIA BEACH, VA: This is the most devastating day in the history of Virginia Beach. The people involved are our friends, co-workers, neighbors, colleagues. You know, at this point, I would like to turn things over to Chief Cervera to give you the information that we have so far.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BERMAN: The mayor, as you saw, could hardly continue.
The police chief, understandably, struggled as well.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CHIEF JIM CERVARA, VIRGINIA BEACH POLICE: Right now, we have a lot of questions. The whys, they will come later. Right now, we have more questions really than we have answers. We're a little more than two hours into this event, and we use the word "event," that's a cop term. This devastating incident that happened that none of us want to be here to talk about, this devastating incident that is going to change the lives of a number of families from our city.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BERMAN: Local station WVEC managed to speak with a witness. Her name is Megan Banton. She works inside the building.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MEGAN BANTON, WITNESS: Just -- we just heard there was an active shooter and we just barricaded ourselves in offices to make sure that we were all safe, and I called 911 just to get them to come there as fast as possible.
REPORTER: Take me to what was going on right at the point when you realized something was terribly wrong.
BANTON: When my boss -- basically it was like, this is not a drill, get down, call 911. That's when we just -- I called 911 and we just all ran in our office and closed the door.
REPORTER: Did you see anybody actually get injured?
BANTON: I -- I didn't physically see anybody get injured, so --
REPORTER: And which department were you in?
BANTON: Public utilities.
REPORTER: Public utilities. Did you hear anything from anyone about who the suspect might be?
BANTON: No, no.
REPORTER: Tell us about the reaction. I mean everyone getting down, running around, not knowing what was happening. I mean this is something that you could -- I mean, no matter how much training you go through, it is something that can't prepare up. Just tell us about that.
BANTON: Basically, just -- we just wanted to try to keep everybody safe as much as we could and just trying to stay on the phone with 911, just because we wanted to make sure they were coming. They couldn't come fast enough, and just making sure that they were.
REPORTER: How long did that 911 wait feel like?
BANTON: Hours. Hours. Yes.
REPORTER: And you said those shots were very clear from where you were on the second floor?
BANTON: Yes, yes, yes.
REPORTER: How many people were in the office with you?
BANTON: The office that we were in probably had about 20 people, just barricaded.
REPORTER: Were you literally just -- I am assuming hugging one another, holding one another?
BANTON: Yes, and we had the desk barricaded against the door.
REPORTER: And what were you hearing? So the desk is barricaded against the door --
REPORTER: What were you hearing outside?
BANTON: We heard gunshots. We kept hearing gunshots and we kept hearing the cops saying, get down. It was very muffled but the stairwell was right next to the office, so we kept hearing like people talking and -- and we heard the K9 come up the steps.
REPORTER: Did you hear the suspect say anything?
BANTON: We couldn't. We couldn't hear him say anything, or her saying anything.
REPORTER: With the gunshots, tell me about the rapid-fire gunshots. What are we dealing with?
BANTON: I don't know honestly.
REPORTER: Lots and lots?
BANTON: I don't know honestly.
REPORTER: You mentioned it was muffled. You know, you did say that you tried to do -- you guys tried to do everything you can. I asked you, you know, what do you want people at home to know, people who are praying for you, people making sure you guys are okay. What do you really want them to know about today and what happened in there?
BANTON: Just do all that you can to try to make sure everybody is safe. That's all that we were trying to do, was make sure everybody was safe.
REPORTER: Can you talk about how close knit public works is? I mean it is like a family in there, right?
REPORTER: Talk to us about how this is more than the co-workers to you, right? This is like a home to you. You are here everyday here with these people. That has to hit home.
[20:05:00] BANTON: Yes, we were trying to text everybody because, like you said, we knew everybody but we didn't know where everybody was at that time. We were just trying to find out like, you know, if our friends were safe, if the people that we knew were in the office were safe.
REPORTER: Describe to me how you would describe this type of evil?
BANTON: I just don't know why anyone would do something like that. There's -- I don't know what would possess somebody to just come in and just start shooting at people.
REPORTER: You said you hear this all the time on the news --
REPORTER: You have seen it around the country.
REPORTER: Right. So how does it feel to know it is happening in your hometown?
REPORTER: Now it has come here.
BANTON: It is just surreal. Like I said before, you see someone all the time and you just -- you know, you pray for the people and hope they're OK but you never think it is going to happen to you. When it happens to you, it is a totally different experience. You just think about your family, you think about, like, everybody that you know, just pray that they're safe.
REPORTER: To know that you --
REPORTER: What was your name again?
BANTON: Megan Banton.
REPORTER: Megan, what do you do next after a day like this? Do you go home and hug your family? How talk about do you go about the rest of your day knowing what occurred?
BANTON: I will probably have a lot of trouble sleeping at night. But, yes, just going home and hugging my family. I have an 11-month- old baby at home and all I could think about was him and trying to make it home to him.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BERMAN: She will get home tonight but 11 others will not.
As we said, the story is evolving, the crime scene is active and the number sadly could change.
Right now, let's get more on what we do and don't know from CNN's Shimon Prokupecz.
Shimon, what more are you learning at this hour?
SHIMON PROKUPECZ, CNN CRIME AND JUSTICE REPORTER: Right. So, we have learned is that this was a disgruntled employee there who's according to police and local authorities, that he was still employed there inside that building and essentially that's all we know about this shooter at this point. We don't have any information on the victims. Obviously, that is something police are still working, they're working to identify the victims.
But the thing here is the way the police described the way this shooting unfolded. They say that it happened on multiple floors. Police were called, they responded fairly quickly, and they were able to intercept. They interceded.
They were able to stop the suspect. They say there was a shootout and they injured him. They killed him. A police officer was shot. He was saved by his bullet-proof vest. The police say that officer is recovering.
I think we're going to hear a lot of stories as we've heard from the witnesses and from the police, as we go forward, some of the heroic efforts to try to prevent more people from being injured, more people from being killed, because when you listen to the police describe this, the police chief there and how he said that the shooter went from floor to floor, he knew where he was going, he was shooting people indiscriminately, just firing, opening fire on people inside that building.
So, the police response here is going to be a key part of this in that it prevented more people from ultimately getting injured. Now we have just a major crime scene here, bodies still on the scene, victims being identified and the FBI, the ATF, the Virginia state police, all there on scene working through the building, processing the crime scene.
Now, you know, we will learn more stories, more heroic stories and the victims and we will start to learn more about them and who they are and just deeply how affected deeply this community is going to be by this shooting. John.
BERMAN: And, Shimon, we are expecting another news conference from officials tonight. We will bring it to you live as soon as it happens because these details are just coming in. We do know what happened next door to city hall in the operations area of the municipal center.
What more do we know about that, Shimon?
PROKUPECZ: Yes, that's what the police said. The police described it as the operations building of the city, the public works area. So it is probably some of the utility workers, some of the road workers, some of the other folks who really keep the city running perhaps.
And these were the victims. These were the people inside this building. There was a school administration building next door as well. They were placed on lockdown. There was a courthouse nearby as well attached to this building.
So, it is really the nerve center it sounds like of the city, of Virginia Beach where this shooting took place. You know, when you look at what time this happened, this happened just after 4:00. It was towards the end of the day, so people perhaps were getting ready to leave, but it is sounding like there were a lot of people in the building at the time of the shooting, and you really have to see and wait -- we'll learn, I guess, from the police about their response and what they had to deal with when they found the shooter, finally after he went floor to floor shooting.
But right now, you know, essentially all we know is that this was on multiple floors, lots of victims, and now we wait to learn more. [20:10:00] BERMAN: All right. Shimon Prokupecz, thank you very much.
Stand by because CNN's Ryan Nobles is now with us with what I understand new information on the killer.
Ryan is joining us now by phone.
What have you learned?
RYAN NOBLES, CNN CORRESPONDENT (via telephone): Well, John, I have been with Virginia government officials across the board for the last hour or so since the shooting first came down, and much of what we have seen from the press conference that took place, there's really a state of shock. It appears as though Virginia Beach law enforcement agency kind of spearheading this effort.
As Shimon reported, the most extensive information we've learned on the shooter right now is that he is a disgruntled employee. We don't know exactly what led to him becoming disgruntled, but he is someone that worked in the municipal building in some way, shape or form.
John, you know, I think it is important to point out that while it seems as though every state has come in contact with some form of mass shooting in one way or another, the state of Virginia is really a state that is still rattled by what happened at Virginia Tech back in 2007 and many of the same leaders I have been reaching out to tonight, a lot of these are still connected to various levels of government were there during that shooting back in 2007 and it feels in many way as if they're reliving that tragedy all over again.
When you see something that happens on government ground, the shooting at Virginia tech took place on government grounds, when you see the level of violence and the number of people that have lost their lives, it is like a nightmare they're living once again.
So, I think at this point, John, there's just a level of them trying to exactly understand what the process was here and, of course, there is still a number of victims being treated at area hospitals. They don't know the full extent of how far this tragedy will go, but, you know, just from my conversations today with a lot of people on different levels, they are very rattled and they're still trying to figure out exactly what happened here tonight.
BERMAN: At least six people injured, we understand, Ryan. We are waiting to get an update on how they're doing.
Ryan Nobles, thank you so much for that.
At Virginia Tech, Ryan brought up Roanoke, Virginia. There was a televised shooting, of course, the shooting at the D.C. Navy yard close by -- so, yes, this area has seen more than its share of tragedy.
Joining us now, forensic psychologist, Kris Mohandie, retired state police lieutenant, Darrin Porcher, CNN national security analyst Juliette Kayyem, she's former assistant secretary at the Department of Homeland Security. And on the phone with us is James Gagliano, retired FBI supervisory special agent and a CNN law enforcement analyst.
If I can, Juliette, I just want to start with you on the biggest of big pictures because we hear people, we're numb to this. We can't be numb to this. You hear people say there's a lot we don't know, but there's a lot we do know, namely that 11 people will not go home to their families tonight.
JULIETTE KAYYEM, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: That's exactly right. Our uniquely American phenomenon has occurred again. So, just to put some sort of overlay of what we're looking at right now, there's two aspects to this. One is motive and one is means. And motive, of course, is about the fact that this person had been an employee, what happened, was there a triggering event, was he about to get fired? That's important.
But the other is, of course, means. And to not discuss means, how do people die, how do that many people die that quickly and in such a short period of time. To not discuss means is actually the political choice. I'm not politicizing this.
How did the person have access to the building? Well, they were an employee so they got into the building probably with a card or a swipe. So we can't talk about making buildings more secure. Then, how did that many people die in such a short period of time? That gets to the weaponry.
We are trying to -- we don't know yet what kind of gun was utilized, was it a handgun, was it something more powerful, but it is important that we have a discussion at the beginning about both because, once again, we are sitting here trying to figure out a motive. What could have happened?
I don't mean to minimize it, but we also have to discuss means, because if we don't discuss means we're going to be here next Friday.
BERMAN: And I just wanted to get that out there, Juliette. Thank you so much.
Darrin, you are here with me. As you were looking at this, give me a sense of what is happening now. They have the identity of the shooter, who is deceased. He was killed in a shootout with police. So, are they searching through his house, his belongings, his contacts? Give me a sense of what is going on.
DARRIN PORCHER, RETIRED NYPD LIEUTENANT: One of the first things that is going to happen is there will be a pure assessment that was done. What were the interpersonal conflicts this individual had with other people in the workplace? We have to take consideration it is a place of workplace violence.
One of the first things if we look at all municipalities, they practice these active shooter protocols. This individual was very astute to what the active shooter protocol was. Therefore, he knew how to make the exits, the entrances and exits accordingly. So when we look at 11 people that were shot, and we look at the time
of day, 4:00, this appears to be a target-rich environment that the shooter would have known by being an employee at this particular location.
So when we take into consideration how the police respond in these particular instances, years ago we had officers that awaited the special operations troops to come in.
[20:15:10] But the seismic shift has now come into place where the first officers on the scene has been trained to directly interdict the threat on hand and, too, we're able to switch them out with additional officers with the resources accordingly.
So, when we take into consideration the investigation moving forward, of course, we're going to do the traditional things. We're going to get up on his phone, we're going to look at his digital footprint, we're going to go back to his home, but primarily , that peer assessment is going to be the telltale sign of what happened.
BERMAN: All right. Stand by for one moment, I want to go back to Shimon Prokupecz.
Shimon, I understand we have information about the weapon. This is one of the big outstanding questions. What have you learned?
PROKUPECZ: Right. And we're hearing from law enforcement officials that the suspect, the shooter at the scene, police found a semiautomatic pistol and a rifle at the scene that they believe was used in this shooting. So there's two weapons that were found by the suspect, on the scene by police after they shot him.
They believe, we're told, that these firearms, at least preliminarily on their checks that law enforcement would do in this case, that they were purchased legally, that the weapons were purchased legally. Obviously, a little fact here that the police are working on, so they know the weapons. They have identified him. They know who the shooter was.
So, you can assume that they're working through that, probably at his home at this hour doing search warrants or waiting on search warrants. But two key pieces of information here obviously is that they have the weapons. They know what the weapons were, the semi automatic pistol and a rifle which they have recovered at the scene, John.
BERMAN: Any details about the rifle, Shimon?
PROKUPECZ: Law enforcement is sort of being vague with us, as you could imagine at this point as they work through this investigation. So they're describing it to us as a rifle and as a semiautomatic pistol.
BERMAN: All right, Shimon. Get back on the phone. We will come back to you as soon as you get more information.
James Gagliano, this new piece of information, two weapons including a semiautomatic pistol and a rifle, we don't know the details on the rifle. Take that in combination we know it was a public utilities employee, someone who worked there. So, he could get in and out of the building presumably with just a pass.
What does that all tell you?
JAMES GAGLIANO, CNN LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST (via telephone): Right. And, John, as we know to build out what Ryan was saying earlier, this is Virginia Beach. It is a big military community area. It's got a very low violent crime rate down there.
For this to happen in a lightly-protected building, a municipal building where it is not expected to be something that you would need to harden a defense around, yes, it is a difficult situation. I think Darrin mentioned there were a lot of people there. The shooter obviously knew the floor plan there which makes it so lethal in this instance because he's just not walking in off the street and unfamiliar with where the exits are or where the majority of the folks were.
I think the police handled it in an excellent fashion with what we know so far. First off and to build on what Darrin said, law enforcement has to go to the sound of the guns these days. You cannot do a contain and negotiate and expect to barricade a subject as we did for decades and decades and decades, reminiscent of 1975 in dog day afternoon.
Police officers now days have to be Olympic athletes. They have to be able to get there as quickly as possible because active shooters usually, usually within five to seven minutes, the situation is resolved in one means, by one method or another. And they've also got to be mental health professionals to understand the people that they're dealing with.
When you show up on a scene, and being a former FBI SWAT team leader I did it numerous times, you are trying to process all of this, John, in an information vacuum because you don't know what the motive is at the time. You don't know what weapons are being used, and you do not know if there were other accomplices.
John, I think that's an important thing. Police are certainly going to try to ferret that out to find out if he acted alone or had anybody aiding and abetting him.
BERMAN: We do know that there's a police officer who was wounded. We were told his life most likely saved by the vest that he was wearing. All indications are at this early moments that the police absolutely saved lives, but even then 11 people have been killed.
James, everyone, stick around. We are getting more information as this continues.
Also, we're going to speak with the vice mayor of Virginia Beach. That's next.
(COMMERCIAL BREAK) [20:23:39] BERMAN: Breaking news: 11 people killed in Virginia Beach, Virginia. Building two of the municipal center in that city is now a crime scene.
Just hours ago, it was hell on earth. One gunman opened fire on several floors. We now learn that two weapons found on the scene, a rifle and a handgun. We learned that from our Shimon Prokupecz. They were lawfully purchased.
Joining us is James Wood. He is the vice mayor of Virginia Beach.
Sir, thank you so much for being with us. Again, our heart goes out to you and your city. How are you all doing tonight?
JAMES L. WOOD, VICE MAYOR, VIRGINIA BEACH (via telephone): Well, thank you. I have to tell you, it is -- it is without a doubt the most horrific thing that our city has experienced.
BERMAN: It is truly horrific. I heard the mayor say it is the worst night that Virginia Beach has ever seen. Sadly, it is the type of night many other cities have seen as well.
We're getting some information from the scene, the guns, the shooter, a disgruntled employee. I would love to learn more about the victims. They are the ones in our hearts tonight. I know we don't have the identities released yet.
But who worked in municipal building number two? What offices were held there?
WOOD: So this is where the public would go on a routine basis, this is where you go get a building permit. This is where you go pay your water bill or sign up for a new water bill -- water meter.
[20:25:05] This is where planning is. This is where public works is. You know, all of the administrative staff obviously.
Virginia Beach is a very large city. It is 450,000 people in the city, and it is -- so the municipal center is where the administrative staff is, and in this case this is called the operations building.
And, you know, the people that were there are there are -- the victims are people we have worked with, people we know. They're our friends and it is just truly, truly horrible.
BERMAN: They're the people who make the city run and they are your friends.
BERMAN: For that, sir, again, I am so deeply sorry.
How many floors is this building? One of the things we have learned is that the shooter carried out the killings on multiple floors.
WOOD: It is a three-story building and it is -- it is a three-story building.
BERMAN: It is a three-story building. So this man walked throughout the entire building firing these weapons that he had. It is just horrific to think about that.
Do you have a sense of how long this played out?
WOOD: Well, we know that it started right around 4:00, but we also know that it did not last that long. I mean obviously it is long enough to cause this devastation, but I couldn't tell you the exact time. That will come when all of the -- when all of the investigations are completed.
BERMAN: That's right. And they are underway as we speak. Again, we are looking at some video right now, filmed of some people who are being taken, helicoptered, medevaced out, six people at least injured. We're waiting to get a sense of how they're doing at this hour.
I do understand -- go ahead.
WOOD: I would tell you that, you know, the -- with incidents like this, you know, the 11 -- the number 11 could change, and I think that's important. I mean, when people are taken in a helicopter, that's a serious thing.
You know, right now it is all part of the investigation. We're determining the various hospitals that victims were taken to so we can identify victims and check on their conditions, and that sort of thing. So it is still ongoing.
You know, it will be another hour or so before we have another briefing update, but it is -- you know, it is a really horrible thing.
BERMAN: It is. As you said, we are hoping for the best but we often do know that these numbers do change.
As of the first news conference, which was about an hour or so ago, there didn't appear to be any other indication that this killer had any help or acted with anyone else. Is that your understanding?
WOOD: Right now, I believe that -- that's the consensus, but, you know, they're still working through that. I don't know if you know a police officer was shot during the exchange with the gunman. Fortunately, he was -- his ballistic vest saved his life, which is very good, and he was able to -- to engage the gunman.
BERMAN: He almost definitely saved lives here. Police have learned so much about how to respond to this over the last few years. Again, it is sad that they've had that kind of experience, but, indeed, they have had it.
Do you have a sense of how quick the police response was?
WOOD: The police response was very quick. The -- one of the police precincts is right near there and as is police headquarters, so there are officers there. The sheriff's office maintains the jail and court security and that sort of thing, they were right down the street.
So, the law enforcement community immediately entered the building and took the standard active shooter protocols as they went through and cleared the building and rendered aid where they could and ultimately engaged and shot the suspect.
BERMAN: What is the security at that building? You know, I understand he was an employee there so he almost definitely had a pass to get through, but are there metal detectors? Is it the type of thing where people are screened going in?
WOOD: No. In Virginia you can bring weapons into public buildings.
BERMAN: Well, OK. We understand --
WOOD: Other than courts and -- other than courts and schools. Any public building, you can bring a weapon into. As a matter of fact, you can go up to one of the -- go up to the front door of a police station. There will be a sign on the door saying, you know, please leave your weapon in the car. However, if you don't, please notify us.
So, I mean it is -- it is permissible here to do that in public buildings.
BERMAN: And we have learned that the shooter had two weapons, a semiautomatic pistol and a rifle. James Wood, vice mayor of Virginia Beach, again, we do know that these were your friends. These were people you worked with every day. We are so sorry for your loss. We wish you the best. Your city is going to need you over the next few days. Please, let us know if there's anything we can do to help.
WOOD: Well, thank you very much.
BERMAN: James Wood. All right, we're getting new information from the scene developing. We'll get more when we come back.
BERMAN: So we continue our breaking news coverage of the mass shooting in Virginia Beach, Virginia. A moment ago, you heard the vice mayor there talked about the rapid response to the shooting. We just received the emergency radio traffic as it all happened. Listen.
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There have been a shot fired in a while. Where is the shooter isolated at?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Second floor, outside was the last known location where he was he was shooting through the door to the hallway.
[20:35:04] UNIDENTIFIED MALE: 300 (INAUDIBLE) on the scene.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Do you have any idea?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: All right, copy.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Is that at room or at the end of stairwell?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Do we have anybody who can start bringing casualties out through a side door?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We have citizens bringing one casualty out through a side door now, two citizens from the third floor evacuating a non- ambulance or a casualty.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Which side door?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Which side of the building is the casualty coming out?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It will be coming out towards the -- where the fire unit is facing south.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Clear the air. We have the suspect behind a barricaded door. Stay off the radio. We need a key card access right now to the second story, north end of the building.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: 22 bravo, I have one of the co-workers who has a key.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: 35, I'm coming from the south side to get the key card.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Coming down the stairwell with multiple alive.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We have him on the other side, 504. He is on the ground. Hold the air.
(END AUDIO CLIP)
BERMAN: Chilling. Virginia Beach is just the latest city in the state to make national headlines because of gun violence. 32 people, of course, were killed at the Virginia Tech campus in Blacksburg, one of the worst mass shootings in U.S. history. There was the shooting that claimed the live of two journalists in Roanoke who are killed on live T.V. by a disgruntled former employee.
Joining me now is Andy Parker. His daughter, Alison, was one of those journalists. Parker has spent his life since then pushing for gun control. He's also the author of a new book, "For Alison" about a father's fight for gun safety. Andy, thank you so much for joining us.
It's never a good sign when we speak to you because it means something awful has happened. So, thank you for joining us. There's still a lot we're learning about this shooting. But when you first hear about another mass shooting in Virginia, what goes through your mind?
ANDY PARKER, ALISON PARKER'S FATHER: Well, John, it's -- you know, it's a kick in the gut. I mean, it's just -- it's gut wrenching. It is -- it's awful and it's too familiar. You know, a disgruntled employee, it's just sort of brings it all back for me and it's terrible.
BERMAN: Well, we're sorry for the families and we're equally sorry for you, that you have to relive this. You said on the day that Alison was killed that this can't just turn into an issue where people shrug their shoulders because it's become too common. How do you fight that?
PARKER: Well, I think the simplest way to do it, and I said it in my book, you know, we're not going to solve all of the gun violence issue in this country and, you know, we're not going to prevent it all. It's like wearing a seatbelt, you know. If you change the laws and you enact common sense gun legislation and you -- you know, you enact red flag laws that, you know, could have saved Alison's life.
I don't know what the circumstances are here. But, you know, if you have someone that is clearly a danger to themselves or others, then you should be able to remove their guns. And, you know, there are a lot of people -- unfortunately, there are a lot of politicians on the other side, as in the Republican Party, that are the party of the NRA unfortunately.
And, you know, again, the simplest solution is if you can't change their minds then you change their seats. And that's what we're going to have to do in this country.
BERMAN: We did -- again, as you pointed out, we don't know the circumstances here. We were told a disgruntled employee. One of the open questions is, were there warning signs? Did people know that something was going on with this person beforehand or were signs missed?
I do want to ask you, again, you've been through this before and you will go through this for the rest of your life. I mean, I know this is something you will never stop having to deal with. What advice can you give for the families of the victims tonight?
PARKER: You know, everybody grieves in their own way and I would just hope that the families -- unfortunately, these are people that have joined the club that no one wants to join and my heart goes out to them. And, I mean it's devastating for them, you know. And every time I see this, I relive it.
But I would hope that they would fight like I am, join the fight to create some kind of sensible meaning and legislation that we all need to have in this country. You know, we need to have -- we need to be safe in this country and we're not anymore.
[20:40:01] So, I hope that after they grieve and after they get through this that they get mad and they get pissed off like I am and they join this fight.
BERMAN: Andy Parker, as I said, thank you for joining us. Thank you for the outreach that you do to the victims, the families' victims. It is -- as you said, it's a club that no one wants to be in but you offer much-needed assistance, so thank you Andy.
PARKER: Thank you, John.
BERMAN: All right, we do want to warn you, we have a photo here that we're going to show you that is very tough to see but it's important to see. When we come back, we're going to speak with a person who bore witness and took this photo. Stay with us.
BERMAN: The moments of what happened in Virginia Beach today have already been seared into the memories of those who lived through them and will relive them for the rest of their lives. And now, some of what they saw, we are now seeing.
Joining us by phone is Alyssa Andrews. She took this photo. Alyssa, thank you so much for being with us. Can you describe the scene around you when you took this photo? Do you know anything about the man in it?
ALYSSA ANDREWS, WITNESSED SHOOTING (on the phone): I don't. I don't. The police were just running back and forth with machine guns in their hands and I was actually in the car with my grandson.
[20:45:01] But when I first noticed, you know, they had blocked the road off so I couldn't go anywhere. I was parked on the side of the road. And then I just saw a police officer run in front of my car with this gentleman that had just gotten shot.
And I told them I was an RN. I said, "Can I help you?" And they, I guess, brought him over and he said, "No, stay in your car." And so they took him away and I pray that he's OK.
BERMAN: I think we all share that with you. I can't tell from the photo, you just said he had been shot. So this is his blood presumably we're seeing on him? Did you see?
ANDREWS: I believe so. That's what I heard anyhow. When the SWAT -- I don't know. The police came by my car after he had left and said, "Get out. Get out now." And I was in with my 1-year-old grandson and we got out of the car and they took us in another building where they locked us down and they had said he had gotten shot, so.
BERMAN: Just to be clear, your daughter, who you're waiting for, she's OK?
ANDREWS: She is OK, yes.
BERMAN: And your 1-year-old grandson was with you? It must have been terrifying.
ANDREWS: In the car, yes.
BERMAN: It must have been terrifying for him. Is he OK?
ANDREWS: He is OK. He is. BERMAN: As this was happening, what was going through your head?
ANDREWS: I just -- I couldn't believe it was happening. I was so afraid because they were circling the building. I was -- my car, you can probably see in some of the photos, it's the GMC that was right on the corner there. So we were there and they were -- the SWAT was parked by building one and running, you know, by our car and circling building two where everything happened.
And I just -- I didn't know what to do. I didn't want to leave the car in case somebody was shooting out, you know, on the street, and I had my grandson in the car. So, it was just terrifying, unbelievable.
BERMAN: Alyssa Andrews, again, we are glad you're OK, your daughter and your grandson. Thank you for being with us. Thank you for sharing these images. Again, tough to see but important to see.
Joining me now is the mayor of Virginia Beach, Bobby Dyer. Mr. Mayor, thank you so much for being with us. We saw you deliver the awful news. You called this the worst day Virginia Beach has ever seen. What is it like for you tonight, sir?
MAYOR BOBBY DYER, VIRGINIA BEACH, VA (on the phone): Well, I tell you what, it is a -- you know, it is a -- it is not a good feeling. And, you know, these -- the folks that were involved in this incident were, like I said, our friends, co-workers, neighbors. They worked and played with us and they were very vital components of the people that live in our great city of Virginia Beach.
BERMAN: We last heard from you, as we said a short time ago, there were 11 people dead, six people injured. Is there any update on that, Mayor?
DYER: As of right now, you know, we're -- that's the thing. We're still, you know, trying to figure out. There's obviously a lot of chaos and confusion now. You know, right now we're focusing on the families and the friends of this tragic -- this tragedy. And you know, we got -- we're getting counselors and chaplains and it's an overwhelming outpouring from the community to want to help somehow. And, you know, this is what makes Virginia Beach such a great city, is the people, and --
BERMAN: What do you want people to know? What do you want people to know about how they can help tonight?
DYER: Well, you know, right now, you know, it's -- you know, we're still in a very early shock stage. But, you know, going forward, you know, when we come -- we're going to have to, you know, reach out to the families and, you know, reach out to each other.
And, you know, these tragedies, you know, should not happen but they do and, you know, I think Virginia Beach is going to prove that we are resilient and caring community. And, you know, we're going to be there for those who were tragically affected.
BERMAN: All right, Mayor Bobby Dyer, we know there'll be another update in just a few minutes. We'll let you get back to work. Again, our hearts go out to you and your community. Let us know if there's anything we can do.
DYER: And thank you so much. You know, thank you so much.
BERMAN: You just heard the mayor say as of now the death count is still 11, still 6 people injured, but we're expecting an update very shortly. Much more from Virginia Beach coming up.
[20:53:59] BERMAN: We're expecting an update very shortly from Virginia Beach where the shooting took place several hours ago that took at least 11 lives.
Joining me now is James Baker, former FBI General Counsel. Jim, thank you very much for being with us. It's 9:00 at night, just about. Give me a sense of what the investigative priorities are right now.
JAMES BAKER, FORMBER FBI GENERAL COUNSEL: So the main investigative priority is to make sure that people are safe. In other words, that there are no other people who were connected to or involved in the violent events that took place sadly today. And so investigators are trying to run down every single possible lead with respect to whether anybody else might have been involved.
One of the things they're going to do is to go to any locations that were owned, rented by the shooter. So for example, house and apartment, storage shed, car, things like that. One of the most dangerous things is that people like this sometimes will booby trap locations like that. So the investigators have to proceed very cautiously.
But what their main priority is, is to protect people and make sure that there's no remaining immediate threat to anyone in the community or anywhere else. And to bring whatever people who might be involved to justice.
[20:55:09] I'm not saying there are, it's probably a low probability. But that's safety of the community is what they're worried about most.
BERMAN: And I know very quickly, you also look at this and have concerns about the waves of people who are affected.
BAKER: Absolutely. I mean, starting with, you know, the victims who are killed, obviously, and then the victims who are wounded, the other victims who were not physically wounded but who were there whose lives who at risk and who are therefore victims. And then you have all of their families, they're all going to be traumatized by this.
I think people sometimes don't focus also on the impact of this has on, especially the first responders, law enforcement, emergency services, that type of thing, and then their families as well. This has a rippling effect throughout the community.
The good news is that there are an amazing amount of highly trained, highly professional law enforcement and emergency services, professionals who are trained, unfortunately, to deal with these kind of situations who are kind of come to the assistance of the community. It's quite impressive to watch and it's very awe inspiring, but -- and unfortunately they know how to do this very well.
BERMAN: James Baker, again, thank you very much for adding your expertise to this. We really appreciate it. We'll be right back.
BERMAN: We are waiting for a police news conference on the Virginia Beach shooting. 11 people dead that we know off. I'm going to hand it over to Chris with "Cuomo Prime Time.
CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: All right, J.B., thank you very much. Hello everyone, I am Chris Cuomo.