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CNN NEWSROOM

Cleveland's House of Horrors; Mass Shooting at Fort Hood

Aired November 5, 2009 - 15:00   ET

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


(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

RICK SANCHEZ, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): What in the world is going on in the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office? This officer is seen rifling through a lawyer's file while she's addressing the judge.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: If they took any materials from my podium, I want to know what they are.

SANCHEZ: Caught red-handed. But what does the judge do? You're going to see this from beginning to end.

They are digging up bodies, now up to 11. When it will end, and why didn't anyone catch on sooner?

ZACH REED, CLEVELAND CITY COUNCIL: We received a phone call from a resident that said, Councilman, there's a foul odor that's coming from across the street, and it smells like a dead person, not dead meat, not dead animal, dead person.

SANCHEZ: Women now coming forward to tell their stories of escape.

Reaction from around the world on my interview with Fidel Castro's sister.

(on camera): You were not only cooperating with the CIA, but you were protecting CIA agents who were inside Cuba at the time?

A breakthrough interview that is still making news.

Why would Rihanna, once beaten by Chris Brown, go back to him? And what finally caused her to leave him? Her answers may surprise you -- all this on your national conversation for Thursday, November 5, 2009.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

SANCHEZ: And hello again, everybody. I'm Rick Sanchez with the next generation of news, because, most of all, it involves all of us.

By the way, I told Kyra this just a little while ago, and I want to share it with you again. I have got this video that I'm about to show you from Maricopa County, Arizona. If you watch nothing else today, I'm telling you right now, you have got to watch this video of what this police officer tries to pull off behind a lawyer's back. First, though, a story that we have been following out of Cleveland has changed again. Another body has been found in the backyard. That means it's now up to 11 bodies, 11 decaying bodies. This guy -- put him up -- Anthony Sowell, he got out of prison in 2005 -- there he is -- after pleading guilty to attempted rape. And it appears that he's been quite busy since then.

How could he have lured that many women into his putrid smelling home, though, and with what, with what promise? You're about to hear from a woman who was lured, but somehow was able to get away.

First, though, I want you to listen to another woman, a woman who says that she knew this victim, this Sowell character. It's her mother that apparently he got.

Here's CNN's Susan Candiotti.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

DONNITA CARMICHAEL, DAUGHTER OF VICTIM: We can put the suffering to rest as far as where she's been for the last year. We know where she is. We can bring her home. We can give her a proper burial.

CANDIOTTI (voice-over): Wednesday night an impromptu vigil from friends of others still missing was set up across the street from Sowell's home. The shockwaves are hitting even veteran judges.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Twenty years of being on this bench, this is, without question, the most serious of allegations that I have ever faced.

CANDIOTTI: But how in the world could suspect Anthony Sowell or anyone allegedly murder so many victims, hiding at least 11 bodies in the middle of a busy neighborhood?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Nobody knew it, because everybody seen him around here walking, scrapping, picking up cans, just chilling, like a normal person.

CANDIOTTI: But could a normal person invite women in only to have them vanish without anyone noticing? All but one of the women dug up from a backyard and found inside the house are nameless. And until there's a DNA match, no one yet knows who they are or where they came from. The one identified victim is 52 years old from a town outside Cleveland, reported missing by her family a year ago. Sowell is an ex-Marine, a registered sex offender who spent 15 years in jail and landed in his family's home living alone.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: For him to have -- went to these extremes is just -- just messed up because, you know, people don't deserve to have to die like that.

CANDIOTTI: It's not that neighbors didn't smell something awful. A city councilman says even he got a call about it in 2007.

ZACH REED, CLEVELAND CITY COUNCIL: We received a phone call from a resident that said, Councilman, there's a foul odor that's coming from across the street, and it smells like a dead person, not dead meat, not dead animal, dead person.

CANDIOTTI: But the house is next door to a sausage plant -- a smelly sausage plant. A criminal profiler says that killer got lucky.

BROWN: So they should have gone knocking, and they should have gone into that home to see whether perhaps something was amiss there.

CANDIOTTI: Police say they only investigated two calls to the house, one two years ago and the one that led to the discovery of the first bodies. They deny they dropped the ball.

EDWARD TOMBA, DEPUTY CHIEF, CLEVELAND POLICE DEPARTMENT: We're starting from the point where we got to that house on October 30th and we are working backwards and we're going to keep from the time he was in prison before that. It's going to be a slow process.

CANDIOTTI (on camera): Police say they still intend to go back inside that house and look for more evidence, as people continue to ask, how could so many women go inside that house and not come out without anyone noticing?

Susan Candiotti, CNN, Cleveland.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

SANCHEZ: But the question I'm really asking myself, and you're probably asking yourself this question as well, is, how was this guy pulling this off? How do you have a house that's that putrid and still you're able to lure women into this house one after another after another. Who knows where this is going to end up. They're at 11 as of today.

Well, guess what? Women are starting to come forward now to tell their stories, some of them of how they escaped becoming a part of that rising body count on Cleveland's Imperial Avenue.

One of the most harrowing stories so far comes from a woman whose name -- Gladys -- Gladys Wade is her name. She says that she was punched in the face and then dragged inside Anthony Sowell house. She says it happened last December.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GLADYS WADE, ESCAPED FROM SUSPECTED SERIAL KILLER: He just kept twisting my neck, twisting it, twisting it, twisting it. And I was gouging his face. At the same time, I was trying to take his eyeballs out. It was like the devil, you know, eyes glowing. You can tell he was demonic or something. You can just see the demons in them.

I mean, I actually just saw it, the -- that's what made me fight more, because I knew this man was trying to take my life.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BROWN: Pat Brown's a criminal profiler. She's joining us once again from Washington.

What do you make of this case?

PAT BROWN, CRIMINAL PROFILER: Well, Rick, I wanted to comment no the fact of how does he get these victims. And it's really a lot easier than we think, because all he's looking for is a window of opportunity.

Here you have a guy, he's always seen in the neighborhood. He's probably on his porch a lot, you know, is talking to people on the street going up and down. And even I sometimes will be walking down the street, I see my neighbor, I might stop by and have a little chat on the porch.

And he might then, if nobody is around, just punch me in the face and drag me in. Or he could use some other kind of enticement. For example, he might say, you want to come in and have a drink? And if he's a person who has a drug issue, might -- here are some drugs. You want to come in?

Or a church lady could come up to give him a track to say, hey, you need to find the lord. And he says, well, why don't you step in and pray with me? Oh, boy.

So, it's a lot of ways to get these women.

SANCHEZ: How lucky is this guy that he happened to live -- or maybe this guy chose to live there -- lived next to a sausage factory? And the poor guy who was making the sausages -- man, I'm having all kinds of crazy thoughts here -- don't follow me on this -- but, anyway, the poor guy who was making the sausages was so convinced that it was his problem, that it was somehow his factory that was putting out this putrid smell, that he dug out his grease pits, dug out his sewer lines.

And guess what? After he did that, the stench didn't go away.

BROWN: Right.

Well, you're going after for most logical theory first. And people don't expect the dead bodies to be the logical theory. And when you're reporting these kind of things, you have to understand that, sometimes, whoever you report it to, it depends who picks up that phone, who takes that report, who they send out, if they ever do.

So, I know, in my town, if we have a storm and I have branches down in my yard, a day later, I have got somebody putting a note on my door that says, clean up your yard. I'm like, oh, my gosh, give me a day.

But in a lot of neighborhoods where they get a lot more calls because there's a lot more problems, it's just going to go in that big huge stack and maybe even be ignored, because somebody says, oh, yes, somebody is complaining again.

SANCHEZ: I got to tell you, you and I talked about this the other day, but I'm still convinced. And as a dad, I got a little girl. And I just keep thinking of people like this.

Look, there's a difference, OK, between date rape as we know it today or sexual offenders who in some cases you look at their cases and you go, OK, and a guy like this, who's just a nasty human being. This is a back alley rapist of what appears to be the worst variety.

I know he's innocent until proven guilty and all that jazz.

BROWN: Sure.

SANCHEZ: But do we need to get to a point in this society where we understand that there are certain kinds of people that commit certain kinds of crimes that cannot be rehabilitated?

BROWN: Exactly.

When you have a person who steps over the line to commit a violent sexual assault against a relative stranger -- we're not talking about somebody who got drunk one night and you could argue, was it -- did he rape her or did he not?

SANCHEZ: Right. Right.

BROWN: You're talking about a guy who, no question about it, no argument, is absolutely -- he jumped out of the bushes, grabbed somebody, choked her, raped her.

Violent crime like that, you don't just wake up one day and say, you know, just once in my life, I would like to try that. It's on my bucket list, but I don't want to do it again. You don't -- that does not happen.

SANCHEZ: Yes. And this guy was accused of attempted rape. And they did a deal with him, because it looked like he actually was accused of rape, but they let him cop to attempted rape. So we can't even go on the air today and this guy is a convicted rapist, although most of the police officers who worked on the case would tell you with a wink and a nod he was.

BROWN: Of course. And we also see that happening with rapists who plead down to burglary. They don't even go on the sex offender list because they are now burglars, because they broke into a home, but they couldn't make the rape stick or thought it was going to be too hard to prosecute.

SANCHEZ: Yes.

BROWN: So they pled down to burglary.

So, when I see burglar on somebody's thing, I'm always like, yes, really? Or are you a rapist?

SANCHEZ: I got to tell you, it's a fascinating story, and I'm glad we got you to take us through it.

BROWN: Thanks, Rick. SANCHEZ: Pat Brown, criminal profiler in Washington, we will talk again.

BROWN: OK.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. JOHN BOEHNER (R-OH), HOUSE MINORITY LEADER: This bill is the greatest threat to freedom that I have seen in the 19 years I have been here in Washington.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SANCHEZ: All right, I'm going to show you something in a little bit here, Congressman -- Senator (sic) Boehner, I should say. What's the document -- is it Congressman? Yes. It's Congressman John Boehner's hand, and why doesn't he know what it is? I'm going to take you through this in just a little bit here.

Also, what in the world is going on in Maricopa County? I'm serious. Imagine an officer going through a lawyer's personal files about her client behind your back, taking out documents, all this without permission. See that guy right there? He's kind of looking at it right now, but he's about to make his move.

All right, when you watch this, you're going to -- you may ask yourself this. Just take the Constitution while you're at it, buddy. I'm serious.

We will be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SANCHEZ: Representative John Boehner is House minority leader, the number-one Republican in the House of Representatives. So, you would think that he would know the Constitution, know in fact the thing backward and forward.

Well, I got a bit of a surprise for you. Here's John Boehner just a short time ago, House Minority Leader John Boehner addressing a TEA Party rally against health care reform from the marble steps of the U.S. Capitol.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BOEHNER: This is my copy -- this is my copy of the Constitution. And I'm going to stand here with our founding fathers who wrote in the preamble, "We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness."

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SANCHEZ: And do you believe it? As most fifth-graders would know, the document Boehner was quoting is not the Constitution. It's the Declaration of Independence. I'm assuming he knows the difference, but maybe -- I'm not sure now.

Those other House Republicans, the ones behind him, Roy Blunt, Virginia Foxx, Michele Bachmann, are they cringing in despair or just blissfully unaware? I don't know.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SANCHEZ: Let me tell folks what you just told us. While you were still in Cuba and your brother was beginning a Marxist revolution, you were not only cooperating with the CIA, but you were protecting CIA agents...

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SANCHEZ: So much reaction has been coming in. It's been pouring in over the interview that we did yesterday with Juanita Castro, the sister of Fidel and Raul Castro. Much of is it surrounding her hopes for change in Cuba through her closer brother. She says there's a difference between her relationship with Fidel and her relationship with Raul, her closer brother, Raul.

Also, Rihanna is opening up and answers the question everyone wants to know. Why would a woman who was beaten by her lover go back to him. I'm going to let you hear exactly what she says about this.

Stay with us. We are going to be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SANCHEZ: All right, we have got some breaking news. This story's been going around for the last couple of minutes.

We wanted to make sure we nailed it down before we reported it. So, here we go.

We're getting reports from one of our own affiliates there, KXXV -- this is in Fort Hood, Texas -- that there has just been a shooting, quite a serious shooting, as a matter of fact. We have got seven people dead, 12 people wounded. That's the area where it happened right now.

It's being described as a major incident in this area. We don't know what exactly may have led up to this shooting. We're going to be in contact with some emergency officials there in just a moment. And as soon as we're able to nail that down, obviously we will bring you some of the details. But the latest information is that there's been a shooting at Fort Hood, the Army facility there, with seven people killed and as many as 12 people wounded.

All right, now this story that I want to bring to your attention as well. If you are a lawyer or you know somebody who's a lawyer, if you're an officer or you know somebody who's a police officer, if you have ever been accused of a crime or you think maybe at some point in your life you could possibly be accused of a crime, you need to watch this videotape. You know how we have this thing in our country called our Constitution, which affords us constitutional rights? You know how in Maricopa County, the Justice Department is investigating the sheriff for possibly violating that Constitution?

Well, lo and behold, this comes out of Maricopa County. And what you're about to see may make the federal government's case there as clear as anything that we have seen here collectively.

An officer goes behind a lawyer's back, rifles through her personal files, takes out a document from her personal files, hands it to another deputy and then walks out of the room. You're going to see this for yourself. It's not how I describe it. It's what you're going to see.

I'm not even going to talk over it. You're going to see him get caught red-handed by the suspect, the suspect in handcuffs. Talk about ironic. And then all hell breaks loose, legally.

All right, we're going to talk about this in-depth in just a moment. , But first, let's watch this together. Here it is.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: (OFF-MIKE)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hey, hey, that guy right there, he just took (OFF-MIKE)

JOANNE CUCCIA, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Judge, may we approach?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Adam, could you come up for a second?

Adam, did you just take something off the -- the desk?

CUCCIA: Oh, I apologize. I don't know what is going on, Judge.

(CROSSTALK)

CUCCIA: All I know is the deputy just took something from the podium. I think we need to recall him. I don't know where it was taken from.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: So, go back to the podium.

And, just for the record, I'm going to be also addressing my deputy. (OFF-MIKE)

CUCCIA: Judge, may I just say, any letters I have received from Mr. Lozano, I received through regular jail mail. I got here today to proceed with sentencing. I showed him his pre-sentence report. I took out the staple. I showed it to all of these deputies. And I got the pre-sentence report back.

If they just took any materials from my podium, I want to know what they are. Excuse me. I don't mean to be disrespectful, Your Honor, but this is the first time in 10 years of practicing law that this has ever happened to me.

I want to know what they took, why they took it, and what's going on.

I also obviously (OFF-MIKE) hearing. We need to reset sentencing. And I want to know what was taken from me.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Was something taken right off the podium in front of (OFF-MIKE)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (OFF-MIKE)

CUCCIA: If I'm being accused of any kind of wrongdoing, I want to know exactly what was taken and why it was taken without my permission.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Ms. Cuccia, I think you should just take a deep breath and calm down here, all right?

I would like to hear from...

(CROSSTALK)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (OFF-MIKE)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: So, did you -- you took something off of counsel table, Deputy?

I just want to know what is happening. That's all. I'm trying to figure it out.

(CROSSTALK)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Just a handwritten letter that was taken out of the pile.

CUCCIA: But you don't get to do that.

I also want to make sure that there is no retaliation here against Mr. Lozano. And I want an investigation on what was taken from (OFF-MIKE)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Well, I do just say for the record that the deputies in my courtroom are responsible for courtroom security.

CUCCIA: I agree.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And they have quite a lot of leeway to do what they think is necessary in a situation.

Sitting here, I'm not sure what exactly is going on either. But maybe we can talk about this, as you said, in another location or another time.

CUCCIA: (OFF-MIKE) anything in my file is work product, attorney-client privileged information. And they're not allowed to go into my things. I was searched on my way into this building. And if they had any questions about the contents of my file, I'm certain they could have asked me.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Well, I think we should...

(CROSSTALK)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: ... mitigation hearing.

(CROSSTALK)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And there's -- I don't know what was taken from the papers over there, but if it's something that was going to be presented to me, then I don't really see how we can go forward with a sentencing right now.

All right, so, we will just reset this for a mitigation hearing.

And 30 days, counsel? What are you asking for?

CUCCIA: But, Judge, I want to -- 30 days is fine, but I want to know why the deputy took the materials today.

(CROSSTALK)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: OK. Ms. Cuccia, as you said yourself a few moments ago, this is probably something we should take up separately from this proceeding.

(CROSSTALK)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I want to know as well. But we will find that out after we get this proceeding taken care of.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SANCHEZ: All right, we're going to get to more on that story in just a moment.

But, first, I told you moments ago about what was going on in Fort Hood, seven people dead, 12 people wounded. Obviously, those are preliminary numbers.

Let's get right to Barbara Starr. She's been following this story with her sources at the Pentagon, because this is at a military installation.

Barb, what do you got?

BARBARA STARR, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: Well, Rick, the U.S. military at this point officially only confirming multiple injuries and multiple deaths in this Fort Hood shooting incident.

It did occur on base, and a spokesman at the base saying the official announcement is expected shortly. They are not absolutely confirming the numbers yet, other than to say multiple deaths, multiple injuries in this shooting incident.

By all accounts, the first reports are that it took place at two adjacent locations on Fort Hood, which is a massive military installation in Texas.

SANCHEZ: Right.

STARR: One is at a processing facility, Rick, where soldiers really -- we have been there -- constantly coming and going, soldiers getting ready to deploy to the war zone, soldiers and units coming back from the war zone.

They come through this area to get that initial processing both in and out. And quite close by, there is a large theater complex, if you will, called the House Theater. Apparently, additional parts or portions of this incident occurred there.

Now, Rick, what's really interesting about Fort Hood -- and we do not know the details of this incident yet -- nonetheless, Fort Hood is an area -- an installation, Rick, that has had a lot of problems lately. It over the months has had record suicide rates amongst the troops coming back from the war, combat stress levels very high.

And the commanding general there, Rick Lynch, over recent months has taken a lot of steps to try and alleviate the stress levels and the concerns of the soldiers there. They have a lot of programs there to try and offer mental health services, stress reduction services, efforts to work with military families.

This is an installation where thousands of soldiers have regularly deployed over the years to the war zones. You go there and you meet kids who are on second, third, even fourth tours to Iraq and Afghanistan. So, this is an installation that has had a lot of problems trying to help soldiers and their families cope.

What I want to stress is, we have no idea right now the circumstances of this incident. But that's the backdrop of what's been going on at Fort Hood.

SANCHEZ: We should also mention, you certainly have a lot of experience visiting these installations. I have had a chance to visit many of them as well. And you mentioned at the very beginning at the outset of your report that these places are often huge, and it's not just soldiers who are allowed on to the facilities. Civilians work there as well, correct?

STARR: Let me be very clear. We do not know, absolutely right, we have no idea if any suspects are military personnel, civilian personnel, who at all they may be.

Now, Fort Hood is over many, many miles. It's a huge place. It has multiple entrances with checkpoints, with security, as every military installation now does in the United States. Cars are checked. Visitors are checked very regularly.

You know, certainly, as a military installation, there are weapons on base. And people have clearance to bring them on.

(CROSSTALK)

SANCHEZ: And this did come across as a shooting, as I recall, right? We do know that it was some kind of shooting. We don't know the type of weapon, but it was a shooting, right?

CUCCIA: Well, at this point, that, just a few moments ago, is what a spokesman at Fort Hood told me.

Now, again, the announcement is not official. These are the first reports, but the spokesmen for the base, one of the spokesmen, military spokesman, tells me that there has been a shooting incident, that it does involve multiple injuries and multiple deaths.

But, as you say, we want to be extremely cautious. These are first reports. You know, we have not even a press release. We have not seen a press statement. Their phones are ringing off the hook. They're answering media calls right now as best they can.

The spokesman is the official person speaking for the base. That's what he tells us at this hour. We're unable to confirm numbers, or the number of people involved, or the number of suspects, or what the exact law enforcement situation is at Fort Hood at this hour.

SANCHEZ: Tell us again. You know, you snuck in this information a little while ago when I heard you talking. And it kind of perked my curiosity, because it's a story I think many Americans have been interested in.

And that is the well-being of many of these soldiers after they come back from Afghanistan and Iraq, which are turning out to be some of the most prolonged wars in our history.

And you mentioned that there has been an issue with suicides, and then you said that Fort Hood in particular has had issues with it. Go through that once again for us.

STARR: Well, I will, Rick, but of course being very careful to say we, at this hour, have no idea if any of that is related to this incident.

SANCHEZ: Of course. Granted.

STARR: And so we want to be very clear. But yet, we want to tell people what the atmosphere has been at Fort Hood.

It's been problematic, because their troops have had a very heavy deployment rate to the war. And several months ago, they started noticing that suicides were on the rise, reported combat stress levels were on the rise. And yet, their soldiers were continuing to deploy and come home.

So, a couple of months ago, actually, myself and a producer and crew went down there to talk to some of the troops about what was going on and have a look at some of the programs that they were trying to put in place, because the Army on the whole has had record suicide rates, really very much of a spike and a jump, and they were trying to get a handle on it.

I guess the thing that I remember the most is that we were down there, we talked to a squad of young soldiers that had just come back from Iraq. They had only been home for a couple of days and they stood outside smoking cigarettes, agreeing to talk to us, and, gosh, they really were stressed.

They were talking about how hard it was to reintegrate -- young, married, little kids. One of them said he didn't even want to drive the car. He was too nervous to drive because he still felt like he was back in the war zone and he would be out on the highway in Texas and he might, you know, get a flashback and think he was running into IEDs or something. Another young man talking about, you know, having a fight with his wife and calling one of his buddies, and they just went out driving for hours to try and decompress.

This is very typical when these kids first come back. They're very stressed, they go through a real readjustment period. And Fort Hood, like the Army, has been putting a lot of programs into place.

The final judgment on whether on any of these are really working I think is still to be made. They're trying, and we just want to say one more time, we really don't know the circumstances of whatever is unfolding.

(CROSSTALK)

SANCHEZ: Barbara, I can't tell you how helpful you have been, because not only have you told us some of the details of the story, but you have also been good enough to use what I think is invaluable in this profession, and that is you have given us perspective and analysis and background of what this installation may pose. I think that's really important, and I'm sure the viewers appreciate it as well.

I'm being told now -- by the way, Angie (ph), if you can, shoot me the e-mail with the latest information, and tell me in my ear, if you could, if the numbers have changed. We started off with seven and 12. Is that still what we're talking about?

All right, now it's seven dead, 12 to 15 wounded. This is breaking news coming in to us from Fort Hood, Texas. Obviously not a city, but a military installation.

We have got some -- we're going to obviously hold Barbara with us to take us through what she finds out. She's going to be making some phone calls. We're going to sneak in a break.

When we come back, we hope to be able to talk to some military officials, or some former military officials, who might be able to give us some more perspective on this.

Stay right there. There's breaking news going on as we speak. And we're going to be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SANCHEZ: All right. There's breaking news that we're following for you right now. Let me take you through what we're learning.

Again, there is a breaking story that is taking place right now in Fort Hood, Texas. Some of the information that we're getting is preliminary.

I want to share this not only with our viewers in the United States, but I would like to also welcome viewers around the world watching now on CNN International, dealing with what is an important story, one having to do with a mass shooting at Fort Hood, Texas.

Let me just go over some of these numbers for you. Let me go over some of these numbers for you, because they're no doubt going to be changing throughout the hour.

Seven people dead, as many as 12 to 15 people also injured. We don't know what the conditions are on some of these people who have been injured.

You have been listening to Barbara Starr, our Pentagon correspondent, who just reported moments ago that there has been a tense situation there for quite some time because of the situation with many soldiers who have been investigated because of suicidal tendencies.

Joining us now is a man who is probably as familiar with Fort Hood as any other military official in our country. He is General Russel Honore, known obviously for the good work that he did not only post-Katrina, but he is also one of the commanders in the past, Fort Hood.

General Honore, thanks for being with us, Sir.

GEN. RUSSEL HONORE, FORMER COMMANDER, FORT HOOD: Good afternoon.

It's a sad day, sad to report. I did serve two years at the 1st Calvary Division as company commandant, and it's sad to report that initial reports still being confirmed of seven dead, up to 12 wounded, shot by two gunmen believed to be carrying M-16s. One of the gunman has been neutralized and the other one has been cornered.

That's all the information I have at this time. And we pray for the family of those who have lost their lives and those wounded. And we pray that they quickly get control of the situation and get things back to some degree of normalcy at Fort Hood.

Fort Hood is one of our biggest Army installations. It's the home of the 1st Cavalry Division, as well as the 3rd Calvary Regiment, plus many support troops. Nearly around 40,000 troops live and work at Fort Hood.

SANCHEZ: You mentioned, General, that there were apparently two suspects in this case, and that they were carrying M-16s. Have you gotten that information from sources at the base, sir?

HONORE: Those are unofficial, unconfirmed reports of the type weapons and the number of shooters. As we all know in these stories, the first report normally isn't right, but I got this from two sources, that the number of known dead and wounded. And hopefully we're through the worst of this.

And the fact that we do have the last gunman cornered, that's the last report. And the post is on lockdown.

SANCHEZ: So there's a possibility, then, that the situation there continues, in other words. You said that they had him cornered. That doesn't mean that he's under arrest at this point, correct?

HONORE: That is correct, and that's all the information I have. And as we know, these reports come out very sketchy as to what's going on.

You're in the middle of the day at Fort Hood. A lot of troops going back and forth. Unexpected event and one we're generally not prepared to deal with.

SANCHEZ: I get that, Sir. But let me ask you a question, given your expertise, because a lot of us maybe not having military experience would be able to draw from you in this case. The fact that these two suspects may very well have been using M-16s, what does that tell you?

HONORE: Well, these soldiers, they could be being prepared to deploy. Soldiers when they're not deployed, their primary mission is to get ready to deploy again.

This Army has been deployed a lot. They could be going to training or they could have been themselves in the process of getting on the airplane to leave. We don't know, Rick.

SANCHEZ: Right. No. But, again -- and please, you know how I am. You and I have had a long relationship of having conversations like this. But when I catch certain words, I'm wondering -- before we talked to you, we had no idea whether these were soldiers or some guy at the McDonald's who was having an argument with his wife who he thought may have been cheating on him.

I mean, we had know idea. But now you're telling us that these are two people who were shooting M-16s, and I heard you refer to them as "soldiers." And it starts to make it sound like we may be getting information here that this may not have been a civilian issue, but rather a soldier issue.

Correct?

HONORE: Well, you place a good point there, Rick, and thanks for picking up on that. That until that's confirmed by the commanders at Fort Hood, I think it would be best to not speculate. But one would assume -- and we should not assume in this. We should wait for the next report to come, and I'm sure that's going to be coming quickly. SANCHEZ: And I understand that, sir. And you and I have always had a great, respectful, intelligent relationship. And I appreciate you giving us what information you have.

And as you and I go through it, I think the viewers understand the information right now is moving on this story, so we're not only going to say what we know, but I think it's prudent and responsible to also say what we don't know. And that's the way we're going to be covering this for the next couple of minutes.

Barbara Starr, I understand, might have some new information for us as well.

General Honore, if you could stand by, we're going to try to get a quick break in. We're going to come back with Barbara Starr. We understand there may be more information coming from her sources as well.

For those of you who are joining us now, there's breaking news taking place in Texas. This is in Fort Hood. As many as seven people killed, 12 to 15 injured. Expect those numbers to change.

And we're all over it. I'm Rick Sanchez.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SANCHEZ: All right. Welcome back.

We're following breaking news for you, and the information that we're getting right now is that seven people are dead -- this is at Fort Hood, Texas, at, obviously, the military installation -- 12 to 15 people are injured. Expect the numbers to change.

We've got General Russel Honore who used to command Fort Hood. We also have Barbara Starr from the Pentagon, our own Pentagon correspondent who's bringing us up to date on this.

And we have just now -- let's put the map up, if we possibly can, of the area that we're talking about, Rog (ph), just so people get a sense of where this is in relation to both Austin and San Antonio, right smack dab there in the middle of the state of Texas.

We understand we now have somebody on the phone who is a military spouse. She's at Darnall Army Hospital.

Ma'am, are you there?

Hello?

Yes, I'm reaching out to someone who at Darnall Army Hospital. I think I have been told that we're not comfortable -- you don't want to give your name out at this point. But you do want to share some information of what you're seeing there.

Hello?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes, I'm here.

SANCHEZ: Hi. How are you?

Are you not comfortable with us using your name?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Right.

SANCHEZ: OK. That's fine.

Tell us what you know.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: All I know is what we have seen on the TV. And they do have seven confirmed dead. And some injured. And that they have three suspects -- two to three suspects, it says.

SANCHEZ: Two to three suspects at this time.

Are you -- have you seen anything yourself? Have you been able to eyeball people coming and going from the facility?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I saw some coming in on stretchers, but I don't know their condition or anything. But I did see some coming in on stretchers.

SANCHEZ: And this is at Darnell Army Hospital?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes.

SANCHEZ: And Darnell Army Hospital would be the hospital where people from Fort Hood would go or normally would go in a situation like this?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes.

SANCHEZ: Have you spoken to anybody there at the hospital, any officials or any doctors you have gotten a chance to talk to?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No. No one's saying anything.

SANCHEZ: Is your husband at the base?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No.

SANCHEZ: Is he overseas?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes.

SANCHEZ: Do you know if they have confirmed at this point whether it was seven people killed, 12 people injured, and two to three possible suspects?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: That's all that we see on the TV. That's the only thing that we're seeing. No one is saying anything here.

SANCHEZ: And those are the same numbers that we have had. But, again, you haven't confirmed those from any official...

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No.

SANCHEZ: ... yourself. You've gotten those as a third person?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Right.

SANCHEZ: OK.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We got it off the TV.

SANCHEZ: Just wanted to be clear about that. My thanks to for joining us -- thanks once again.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Thank you.

SANCHEZ: Let's go back to our Pentagon correspondent Barbara Starr. She's been making some phone calls.

Barbara, what you got?

BARBARA STARR, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: Rick, at this hour, U.S. military officials are telling CNN, indeed, they now believe -- I'm going to read this off my notes so I'm very clear to everyone -- they do believe there are seven dead, 12 to 15 people wounded, taken to Darnell for emergency medical care in this attack. They believe it happened about 1:30 Central Time in Texas. The base is in full lockdown at this hour.

We want to be very cautious on the issue of multiple shooters. We have been told by one military official there may, may have been multiple shooters, that is not confirmed. That is something that they are looking into right now.

And let's state the obvious. If there were to be multiple shooters on a U.S. military installation, that would be obviously in a different category than what we all in this country come to call the "lone gunman." But we are not clear on that. This is something that U.S. military officials tell us at this hour, that they are looking into.

It happened at a theater field complex and a soldier processing center where troops going back and forth to the war undergo their processing, coming back to Fort Hood and leaving Fort Hood to go overseas to the war. And having said that, I think that one of the conclusions you can draw from all of this is the military will be having to send combat stress personnel to Fort Hood to talk to these young troops.

Let's face it. They came back from the war. They thought they were safe, and now, this incident has exploded literally in their face back home on the base where they thought they were out of danger, out of the combat zone.

Whatever has transpired at Fort Hood today, this is very stressful -- one can only imagine -- for the young troops just coming back from the war. And in these kinds of trauma incidents, the military has a long history of offering combat stress counseling and other mental health assistance to troops, families, dependents, civilians, everyone at Fort Hood who might need help in getting through this incident.

But right now, Rick, information is still coming and information is still unfolding.

SANCHEZ: Barbara, I've just been told that the president has just been informed about this incident. That, apparently, Robert Gibbs has informed the president about this incident and what is going on at Fort Hood. Maybe we'll be working some of our sources both at the White House as well to see if we can get some information on that.

By the way, a quick note, you may have heard my conversation with General Honore a little while ago, and he seemed to mention that he has been told by sources that M-16s may have somehow been involved. Obviously, when you think of M-16s, you think of something that's given to soldiers and not something that people use, not something that civilians use, although that doesn't mean that some civilians couldn't have taken them and used them.

But -- just give us your sense of when you hear the report that M-16s may have been used in this incident. What does that tell you?

STARR: Well, I'm going to be very clear, and I hate to put it this way, but after years of covering the military, perhaps the M-16 issue doesn't concern me or bother me or catch my attention as much as the issue of the possibility, and it's only a possibility right now of multiple gunmen on a U.S. military installation because that would indicate...

SANCHEZ: Why is that? Why is that?

STARR: Well, I mean, look, Rick, and again, I can't say it often enough. We don't know, but the military is looking into it right now. If you have a lone gunman in any kind of traumatic law enforcement event, you have a lone gunman, you have one person involved. If you have more than one, there has been discussion, there has been planning by any...

SANCHEZ: It's called -- Yes, the legal term for it -- the legal term -- the legal term for it is conspiracy.

STARR: That's what I was about to say. That's exactly right. And if this was going on on Fort Hood -- and let's be clear, it could involve military, it could involve civilians who work on the base, it could involve complete outsiders who somehow got past security with some kind of identification issue that posed no suspicion to security personnel at the various gates around Fort Hood.

There could be any number of scenarios here. We don't want to go too far into speculation. But if the military's looking into any theory of multiple gunmen or any issue of M-16s, this is far different than anything we've seen in recent years.

SANCHEZ: And we'll leave it at that. You know, I think asking the prudent and responsible questions at this point is what we can do. It's what we're attempting to do as we wait for further confirmation of some of the facts in this case, which leaves with us right now that it appears there are seven people dead, 12 to 15 people injured. There may have been more than one assailant. M-16s...

STARR: Well, let me...

SANCHEZ: Go ahead.

STARR: Look, let me -- let me -- let me just say one more thing. When you say seven people dead, 12 to 15 people injured, that suggests, potentially, at least more than one weapon involved. Because look at the amount of ordinance expended and look at the issue of the number of people that are victims of this incident. So, that may be a factor that investigators are rapidly looking at as well.

This is tragically, you know, not just one, two, or three people victims. This is a good number of people victims of this very terrible incident.

And, as you say, Rick, more information coming in and more facts are developing every minute.

SANCHEZ: Barbara Starr has been all over the story since we first heard of it. And, obviously, we're going to be going back to General Honore. We're going to be checking sources there in Fort Hood as well. We're going to be checking with some of our correspondents throughout Washington and throughout Texas.

Stay there. As a story unfolds, we're going to break it down for you. I'm Rick Sanchez. We'll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SANCHEZ: Welcome back. I'm Rick Sanchez. Bringing you up to date on some of the information we know about the situation in Fort Hood, Texas -- really a sad state of affairs there as we get some of the preliminary facts in this case.

And, by the way, sometimes it's prudent to look back as well. Let me read something to you that was just sent to me by one of our researchers. Interestingly enough, on October 16th, 1991, in Killeen, Texas, not far from there, 31-year-old George Hennard crashed his pickup truck through the wall of a Luby's Cafeteria. After exiting the truck, he shoots and kills 23 people and then commits suicide.

A reference point to the area that we're talking about right now -- you always have a tendency to want to go back and see what else has happened there in the past and we found this. This was just back in 1991.

We're joined by Barbara Starr who's been following the story for us. She's our Pentagon correspondent. We were told just moments ago that the president has now been informed of what's going on here.

I'm being joined by Ed Henry as well at the White House.

Ed, we got this report just moments ago that Robert Gibbs informed the president of this. What does that mean? Give us some perspective on this.

ED HENRY, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Here's what I know, Rick, right now. Senior administration officials tell CNN that Robert Gibbs, after all these media reports, gathering information from the Pentagon and other sources, did inform the president directly that at least seven people are dead at Fort Hood, many more injured as well, as we've been reporting. The significance is, this is the first official notification of the president to bring it to that level in the Oval Office about the seriousness, the graveness of this situation.

I've also just learned a moment ago from top administration officials that staff here at the White House has now gathered in the White House Situation Room here in order to try to get a hand on this. They're obviously dealing first with the media reports. But they're trying to dig in and get more information from the Pentagon, other officials to try to figure out exactly what they're dealing with here.

Obviously, we're still very early in this. And they want to make sure they fully understand it, Rick. So, I think that's the key point...

SANCHEZ: Yes.

HENRY: ... to underline that it's now reached...

SANCHEZ: Well...

HENRY: ... the president's desk. He now is aware of it, but they're also digging in for more info.

SANCHEZ: Well, and I think you can't help but wonder at the saliency of that. The fact the president has been pulled aside and brought into the discussions having to do what's going on at Fort Hood doesn't tend to -- and I -- and you don't want to go to a supposition, but that maybe this is not just a lone gunman situation. Hold on.

Angie, what did you say? Who do we have? Sergeant Major Jamie Postman -- Posten on the phone. Sergeant Major Jamie Posten is joining us now by phone from Fort Hood.

Sergeant Major, are you there, sir?

SGT. MAJOR JAMIE POSTEN, BASED AT FORT HOOD (via telephone): Yes, I am.

SANCHEZ: Can you tell us what's going on?

POSTEN: Approximately 1:30 today, we had more than one shooter that fired shots into our Soldier Readiness Processing Center and the house theater on Fort Hood.

SANCHEZ: You said more than one?

POSTEN: More than one.

SANCHEZ: OK.

POSTEN: Emergency personnel responded to the scene, evacuated a number of wounded. At this point, unable to confirm any fatalities and number of wounded. Of the shooters, one has been apprehended. And important for folks out there in Fort Hood to know that Fort Hood right now is closed to traffic in and out.

SANCHEZ: Well, what happened to the second guy?

POSTEN: Not sure right now. At this point, we're looking for the other shooter. Again, though, on the scene is -- on the scene at the soldier readiness center, processing center, everything is under control. Emergency services responding, have evacuated a number of wounded.

SANCHEZ: Is there a be lookout for him (ph) -- is there be on the look out for this second shooter?

POSTEN: We are on the lookout for the second shooter.

SANCHEZ: Can you give us a description?

POSTEN: We're trying to develop that information. It is important for folks to know that emergency responders have responded. They're doing their jobs. And at this time, Fort Hood is under -- is locked down to in and out traffic.

SANCHEZ: Well, let me ask you -- let me throw some numbers at you. And you tell me if they're wrong. The numbers we're getting is seven dead, 12 to 15 injured. Is that wrong to report that?

POSTEN: Right now, I can't say that -- I can't confirm or deny those numbers. Right now, we don't have them from the scene. We're developing those right now.

SANCHEZ: Do you have any indication of where these people were or where they entered the base or what their motive could possibly have been?

POSTEN: Unfortunately, I do not. Right at this point right now, what we know is that shots were fired into the Soldiers Readiness Processing Center. There was more than one shooter. And the situation is still being (INAUDIBLE).

SANCHEZ: Were they soldiers or civilians?

POSTEN: Do not know that, sir. Again, pretty much what we know as the ground truth right now, we're developing it. Please allow us to go ahead and make sure that we get the right information out as soon as possible. We're still developing that.

SANCHEZ: I got that. Jamie -- Sergeant Major Jamie Posten, thank you, sir.

POSTEN: Thank you.

SANCHEZ: Pardon me for pressing you on that, but just trying to get as much information as we possibly can.

Obviously, we at CNN are going to stay on top of this story. It looks to be now an active story with part of it still going on. Wolf Blitzer is going to pick it up from here for us in "THE SITUATION ROOM."

Wolf, I'm handing it over to you.