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Shooting in Santa Clarita, Saugus High School, California; at Least Two in Critical Condition After Saugus High School in Santa Clarita; CNN: Suspect is 15-Year-Old Male, Police Searching His Home; Sheriff's Department: Suspect Believed to be a Student at Saugus High School; At Least 6 Victims in Southern California High School Shooting. Aired 12-12:30p ET

Aired November 14, 2019 - 12:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


[12:00:00]

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STEPHANIE ELAM, CNN CORRESPONDENT: --were been transported to the hospital have been shot. We believe that all of them should have made it to the hospital at this point.

We also know that like you've said there is believe that this person who perpetrated this shooting is a student that is still outstanding they're still looking for this person that did this. What the other information do we have is that the L.A. County sheriff has also tweeted that this is still a very much active scene.

And they're asking people who live in this area to shelter in place, lock everything down in their close their garages, close their cars, lock everything up so there is no place for anyone to hide and to keep their students with them. From what we understand, the shooting happened about 20 minute or so before school was about to begin, so there was a lot of people on campus as this day was getting going here.

They're trying to make sure that they account for everyone, they're going through the students, making sure they're sake reuniting them with their parents at a park nearby to get those people back where they need to, but we do know that resources are coming in from across the state.

According to the sheriff, they're saying the ATF is also responding to the shooting as well as they're canvassing this are which is a very sort of sprawling campus and it's suburban Los Angeles, so there is a lot of space to cover out there. So they're busy trying to find this person but at the same time making sure that the students and the parents, staff everyone are safe who was still there on campus and getting them out and reunited with their loved ones, Anderson.

ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: Stephanie, we should point out you see the labels as moments ago. We're showing you a video from the scene, but we're not showing you live video. We're doing that intentionally because with the shooter is still on the loose. If in some way this shooter is in front of a camera or in front of the television or has access to images, we don't want the shooter to be able to figure out where police are, and we're doing that obviously just out of abundance of caution.

Stephanie, we're also getting some details - there is a report from a woman whose daughter attends the school, and she says that her friends, her daughter's friends, heard five shots. This occurred early in the morning about 20 minutes before school was supposed to start. According to this person, saying her daughter's friends heard five shots. They were in the gym when they heard the shots. It was in the main quad on campus. Her friends called her right away and said don't go to school.

So that's sort of the newest detail we had of at least five shots, and we now, as you said, five people, we know, being treated at hospitals. We also just talked to the sergeant from the Los Angeles County who emphasized that the suspect is an Asian male wearing all black. Also another police officer told our local affiliate that he believed that the suspect is a student at the high school, so that's some new information.

But as you can see, paramedics, police, law enforcement are all on the scene. Stephanie, we're going to continue to check back in with you as you monitor--

ELAM: Well actually, Anderson, I have just a little bit of information here is that they are looking for this person they do believe is a teenager that goes to the school. Just narrowing the numbers down here a little bit it sounds like it might not have been a senior, it might be a younger student we're looking for but still not sure on whether or not they have this person in custody but they're still looking for them.

Just that little bit of information that it sounds like it may have been a younger student at the school that we're looking at but I'll just still following up on that. I'll keep you posted, Anderson.

COOPER: All right, we have new sound in. A producer at our CBS Affiliate, there is also a parent of a student at the school. She's talking about her child being on lockdown. Let's listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You know I'm not doing very well. I've been abused my whole life and I just can't stop crying. He's on lockdown. I texted him right away and I haven't heard anything back, and I just think it really is hard for the parents because the person is still at large. And this is your worst nightmare when you're a parent, and so I've just been crying.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No, - because you've been in the industry, because we've been in the industry that we see it so many times over and over again.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Absolutely.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You are used to it, but you can't every time you see a picture like this, so it's just tough.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: When you see them running with the stretchers, it's just heartbreaking. Because I haven't been able to reach him, I just wanted to reassure him that it's okay, even though how can you tell your son it's okay because there's been a shooting in a high school in the same city. That whole area is just so friendly. We actually almost purchased a house in Saugus you know--

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COOPER: One mother waiting to hear from a child at the school. I want to bring in Josh Campbell who has been monitoring this as well. What we're seeing obviously is a classic reaction, police and officers on the scene going in trying to neutralize the shooter. What's different this time though is, from the reports it seems as if the shooter hasn't been apprehended, may not even be on the campus at all.

JOSH CAMPBELL, FORMER FBI SUPERVISORY SPECIAL AGENT: That's right and as you mentioned earlier I mean this is unusual in the sense that these are usually over within minutes.

COOPER: Right, six minutes it's usually it's all done.

CAMPBELL: That's right, correct yes, according to FBI statistics and what is it usual is that you either have a shooter that is either taken into custody. Sometimes they're killed by law enforcement in an exchange of gunfire sometimes they turn the weapon on themselves.

[12:05:00]

CAMPBELL: This is unusual in the sense that this person is still at large. And what's unfortunate we just heard the anguish in the voice of the parent there wondering what's happened to your child. This is reality here in 2019. Parent's children they prepare for this day. Also our affiliate footage that you see there, every agency represented is preparing for an incident just like this from the fire department to the police.

What is unusual now that you have a suspect at large is that you have multiple areas where police will be looking at. You have the immediate crime scene. They're going to want to go through and clear that school. This is a suburban area. This isn't one building, this is multiple buildings.

But also police will be setting up a cordon probably miles around at this stage because the last thing that you want is to set up a perimeter looking in and the suspect has already fled. This is also I can tell you telling, I live in Los Angeles. This is a suburban area, a city of about 200,000 people, so a relatively small police department. You'll have all the agencies that are represented in the area surging to provide that mutual layer to track to find the suspect.

COOPER: I should also point out the sergeant, Bob Basey, when I talked to him in L.A. County Sherriff's Department they actually have recovered a weapon already. We don't know, and obviously law enforcement has to assume that the suspect is still armed and obviously dangerous.

CAMPBELL: That's right. We've seen shootings where suspect will have one or more than one weapon. So police will not let their guard down even though they've recovered a weapon. It sounds there is no good news in these situations but the one question that I had initially was have they positively identified this person? And although they haven't explicatively stated that, we are hearing reports that they believe that it's a student, so I think it's just a matter of time before they tell us who this person is.

They're going to want to crowd source with the public, too, if this person is out there, to get as much information as they can to the public. We already have a description. A young Asian male wearing all black that's the information that they want to get out, but again the question is how far did this person get from the scene? This is going to take some time. This is a suburban area, lots of buildings, lots of houses.

COOPER: 3,000 kids at the school.

CAMPBELL: 3,000 kids every one of those kids is a witness. They're going to want to talk to so a massive work ahead of law enforcement there in outside of L.A.

COOPER: Yes. I would check back in with Stephanie?

ELAM: Well, that goes exactly to what Josh is just talking about right there. What we understand is that as law enforcement is going through and talking to each one of the students - well, anyone who was on campus, staff, teachers, everyone, they're talking to them and they're not letting the students go back to the parents until they made sure that they a not a witness to anything that may have transpired on campus.

For parents out there looking to reunify with their children, and may be taking a little bit long, simply because they want to make sure that no stone goes unturned and they get all the information that they have out there. And Anderson I was also talking about the age of this shooter that they believe perpetrated this, we now know that they believe that this young man is a 15-year-old.

A 15-year-old person who also attended Saugus high school that's who they're looking for at this point right now but just a little bit more detail on what they're looking to do to Josh's point about going through and methodically talking each one of the students to make sure that they didn't see something that could help with this investigation as they try to find this person.

COOPER: Yes, Stephanie I appreciate that. It's interesting to see, we've seen this obviously far too many times, kids being escorted out in a line. They don't have their hands up, so they've already been searched, I assume. They're allowed to take backpacks and things out with them, but it looks like it's being done in a really orderly fashion. Again, this is a school of some 3,000 students. It's going to take a long time to get them all out. CAMPBELL: It is, and again this is symbolic of the era that we're in now where students and faculty and obviously the police, they know how to methodically exit from a shooting scene. That's something that they practice. And obviously it's a sad state of affairs, but we've seen footage in the past, where different incidents where you'll have students that marched out with their hands up.

Again police just add an abundance of caution and making sure that the shooter hasn't been - he fall into a line of student for example. But that's something that they'll clear in short order. To your point the fact that it looks methodical, that at least the emergent part of this appears to be over based on what we're seeing from our affiliate coverage here of law enforcement's response assures that they don't believe there is a threat at the school--

COOPER: At the school anymore.

CAMPBELL: --but again there is a lot of work for them to be done in the area.

COOPER: Right, I mean the headline is "Five people in hospitals right now". We don't know their condition. Two were said to be in critical condition after the attack. They have been brought to area hospitals. And the other headline was importantly for law enforcement is, the suspect still on the loose, whereabouts unknown, possibly still armed though they have already recovered one weapon. We'll more details ahead.

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[12:10:00]

COOPER: I'm Anderson Cooper. We're following breaking news out of Southern California. Police responding to a shooting at Saugus high school in Santa Clarita, California, which is just north of Los Angeles. At least five victims two critical, the search for the suspect underway right now, he is believed to be a teenaged student. I want to listen to some sound we just got from the students at the high school describing what happened.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: My friends who are still stuck in school, they're hiding in closets, they're just trying to find anything that--

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: They're testing us at this, scared to die and they're hiding in closets.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: They're still hiding in closets right now?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes because they're not sure if the suspect.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We don't know if they're safe or not and they're just desperate to know any situation, so we're trying to help them out as best we can.

[12:15:00]

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We were texting all our friends making sure they were safe and they were like telling us like the conditions they were in, desperate to know the situation, so we're desperate to know the situation, so we're trying to help them out as best we can.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Who we got saved here, we were texting all our friends and making sure they were safe. And like they were like telling us like the conditions that they were in like they were hiding and they were scared. It was like scaring us because those are our friends and we didn't want anything bad to happen to them.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You guys have had these type kinds of drills. What have you been thought to do? How did it help you?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Well, it helped us because like when like they said if you're not in a classroom, to find a classroom. But we weren't by a classroom, and that we knew we can run that way because we thought he was over there. So they told us just to get off campus so that's just what we did, we prepared to jump of the fence - but luckily it was open, and we just ran through the fence and just got off campus as far as we could. Even when we were in the neighborhood, we just kept running because we didn't know where he was. We learned just to run.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You heard five shots, you said?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It was one and then it was like four quick ones, it was like bang, and then bang, bang, bang, bang.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It was one just pre-fire and then it was just four shots directly after.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And then were kids panicking were you guys?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Everybody kind of did people help each other? What is that moment like?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We met some young boys because we were crawling for and they were helping us like get through like the hill and like walking through the neighborhood. I never looked back, and we all just kept running. We were all helping each other like, do you have a ride, do you have a ride? It was a big group of us just running through this neighborhood trying to get away.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Everyone helped each other. I was actually really surprised because I thought people would just panic and push people out of the way. But everybody was helping each other. They were helping each other stay calm. They were hugging each other and they're calling their loved ones it was just like everybody worked as a community to help each other like these kids. It was very surprising.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And now you're going to wait here until you know everybody is safe? UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes, we're meeting up with her sister who was in

school when it was happening.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I was like panicking the whole time because I was like, oh, my gosh, my sister is still in her classroom, I hope she's safe. At first my parents weren't answering, so I was like, oh, my gosh and then I started worrying about my sister. Everyone around me was helping me calm down and get through it.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You've been talking to her through text so you know she's okay. Is she one of the people still hiding?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: She's out now. She was hiding and she was texting all of us that she was so scared. It was just crazy.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Mom, you're Emily's mom?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And did you just come from work? What did you hear?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I was getting ready to go to work and daughter, my oldest, who is a senior, she kept texting me saying, mom, there's a shooter, there's a shooter, and I'm like, what? I couldn't believe it. It kind of hits home because we just did that whole big thing last week about the every 15 minutes that my daughter was involved in, so it's been really hard.

I just immediately got in my car and I drove right to the school. I parked at my daughter's friend's house and I just ran to the school. I waited and waited and finally my daughter came running out to me, which was the best thing ever. She got out. She was one of the first to get out of one of the classes that was you know, let out. She was one of the first so she was able to get out.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And you still didn't know where Emily was, if she was okay?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No, and I finally found out that she was with her girlfriend and her mom, which was like a relief.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Did you get a text? Was there one word that she said? I just wonder what that moment is like.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: My daughter Sara told me, mom, I'm so scared, I love you guys so much. She said, please come, please come. And that just killed me. Yes. You just don't know. You don't know where they are? You don't know if they're safe? I'm so glad that they're okay.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Thank you so much for talking to us. I'm glad you guys are okay, too. I'm glad you guys are holding onto each other.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COOPER: Some of the students talking about what they saw and what they heard. Five shots, they heard one and then rapid-fire four more. Lockdown has been lifted on all but two schools. We're going to take a short break. We'll have more information ahead.

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[12:20:00]

COOPER: I'm Anderson Cooper. We're following the breaking news out of Southern California. Police responding to a shooting at Saugus high school at Santa Clarita California just north of L.A. at least seven people now that we know were transported to the hospital. A search for the suspect is still underway.

You're not looking at live pictures there. We're not showing you live pictures because the suspect is still on the loose. We don't want to give any kind of a tip off to what police are actually doing. We can tell you that police are at a location in a residential neighborhood. The suspect is believed to be a teenage student described as Asian male wearing black clothing at the time, not believed - or it's unclear whether the suspect is still on the campus or elsewhere. Stephanie Elam joins us now with some new information. Stephanie?

ELAM: Well, Anderson what we can tell you is that the school district where this high school is, Saugus high school, that school district the William S. Hart Unified School District has now taken the lockdown of all of the schools in the district except for Saugus and Arroyo Seco Junior High.

That would lead to believe that they have narrowed down this area here on where this shooter could be. We also know like they're searching the suspect's home at this point for this 15-year-old to get more information on him potentially there.

[12:25:00]

ELAM: And then we now know that five people were shot and were transported to one hospital in Valencia, the Henry Mayo Hospital. Two of those patients in critical condition, we understand. But we also now understand that there is another hospital in Mission Hills, California where two students have been transferred. They are now at that hospital but they are speaking, as what we know now, at this time just to give you an idea of what their health condition could be.

Not clear at this point Anderson of whether or not they have been shot but just getting some more information. That would bring us up to now seven people who are at least at hospitals in relation to this shooting at Saugus high school this morning that started about 7:20 this morning.

Aldo some interesting information here is that, coming from the Santa Clarita PIO the police station up there saying that around 7:25 this morning local time, an off-duty deputy was dropping off his child at the high school when he thought he heard gunshots, so he began to investigate to see what was happening. At the same time the school Resource Deputy also on campus heard the same thing and was starting to investigate. And the school was put on lockdown as a precaution. So just knowing that there were police officers who also were parents who happened to be there, this deputy responding as one of the first people there from what we understand, to respond to the shooting on the campus.

COOPER: Stephanie, I've also just gotten an update that number 7, they now say it's actually now say 6, so it's at least six known people being treated at hospitals. They had said 7 and then they just corrected themselves down to 6.

But the shooter believed to be a teenaged student at Saugus high school. Again whereabouts unknown they did recover one weapon, according to an L.A. County Sheriff that I spoke to earlier, but they are assuming, obviously, that this teenage suspect is still armed and obviously still very dangerous.

That is a live picture you're looking at from outside the high school. We've been watching over the last hour or so as in a very orderly way, groups of students, about 50 or so at a time, being escorted out with their backpacks. They don't have their hands up. It looks like they've already been searched and they're being escorted, and Josh Campbell is joining us now.

Josh, they will all be interviewed they will all be obviously searched before they are in that line moving out.

CAMPBELL: That's right. Police officers want to ensure that the shooter is not among this group of students. That's the first priority. But secondly, as we mentioned, these are all witnesses. They want to know what did they see, what was the person doing? The one question we don't have yet answered was obviously the motivation. Why was this person there? Was he targeting someone?

There are a lot of questions we have that we don't have answered, but they may help fill in those gaps if the suspect uttered something before he opened fire. That's something that they would want to know. I'll tell you this new information that you were just reporting on this lockdown lifted for all but two of the schools.

Again, we're not in the all clear here yet, because police officers have not given the all clear, but that at least shows us that they're narrowing the field about where they're looking. It's a massive effort. This is a suburban area.

And then lastly, as we were hearing earlier Stephanie was saying that one of the parents was a deputy. I can tell you having been a law enforcement officer in the Los Angeles area, Santa Clarita is actually home to a ton of law enforcement officers and in that neighborhood that they call home, so it was a spate of good luck that someone would be there could respond. But again a lot work ahead of them. We haven't gotten that all clear, that they've actually located this.

COOPER: I mean, at this point, given the fact that they have an idea on the suspect, it's very likely they know who the suspect is, and therefore, they would know where the suspect lives. They would already be gathering all that information?

CAMPBELL: That's right. They would want to know where the person lives. They want to talk to relatives, family members alike. We talk about the social media all the time. You want to get into the mindset of that person. That may tip you off in terms of where this person is. For example you have someone posting something, for example, that's all going to be important information that officers want to know.

The fact that they've announced that he is believed to have been a student that shows at least as we read the tea leaves if likely positively identify this person.

COOPER: We're going to have more ahead another quick break as we continue to monitor the situation in Santa Clarita the suspect is still on the loose.

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