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CNN BREAKING NEWS
Shooting at Sikh Temple in Oak Creek, Wisconsin
Aired August 5, 2012 - 12:58 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.
CANDY CROWLEY, CNN ANCHOR: We want to go back to a story we've been talking to you about. We are following a shooting at a Sikh temple in Oak Creek, Wisconsin. That is just outside of Milwaukee. Basically suburban Milwaukee. We are told there are multiple victims. CNN's Deborah Feyerick and Rob Marciano will be in Atlanta picking up our coverage.
Here's what we can tell you right now, and that is the site that you are seeing. We have spoken to a nursing supervisor at a nearby hospital who has said that they were told to expect 8 to 20 victims. But at the time we spoke with that nursing supervisor, which was several minutes ago, they had yet to see anyone come into the hospital.
Now, we also know from one of our affiliates that they believe multiple people may have been shot outside the Sikh temple. Again, you are looking at tape taken previously, but today just after word of this possible shooting took place. Again, outside a Sikh temple in suburban Milwaukee, Wisconsin. We want to go now down to Atlanta to pick up our coverage and our Rob Marciano.
ROB MARCIANO, CNN ANCHOR: We'll continue this coverage of the breaking news just south of Milwaukee. As Candy just mentioned, there has been a shooting at a temple in the community called Oak Creek. Up to four people have been shot. Police on the scene there. And our affiliate WTMJ has been filling us in as to what's going on. The actual shooting itself took place at 10:40 a.m. Central Time inside the temple. The gunman at this time is still believed to be on the loose and potentially inside, potentially having hostages as well, that's according to our affiliate WTMJ.
You are looking at some aerials. Most of this is taped. We don't want to give away any sort of police positions here as this is still a fluid situation that we're covering just south of Milwaukee.
I want to bring in Deb Feyerick who is out of our New York bureau right now, who's been following this developing story. Deb, what can you add?
DEBORAH FEYERICK, CNN CORRESPONDENT: What we do know is that we know that nursing supervisors at a local hospital, Columbia St. Mary's Hospital, they are on standby. They're waiting for what they believe are victims to arrive. We're hearing as many as 8 to 20 victims, but there's no word on the severity of the injuries. The police department right now not commenting until they see how this all plays out.
We do know that there are a number of cruisers in the area. The SWAt team there as well. They're redirecting traffic away from that Sikh temple, which is what appears to be a very main highway in Oak Creek.
The Sikh temple is on Howell Avenue. It's a large facility. It's a relatively new facility, built about five years ago. An affiliate of ours, WTMJ, who's bringing us those aerials, said that at least they had seen one person in the parking lot. Others crouched behind police cars. But then as we were listening to the feed coming in, the helicopter did pull back. But you can see there are some armed SWAT team members there on the ground as this all unfolds. Traffic stopped in and around the area. They don't know how many injuries there are, if there are any injuries. But right now we're hearing anywhere to between 4 to perhaps as high as 20. Again, Rob, this happening at about 10:40 this morning. Rob?
MARCIANO: So at this point, do we know for sure if it was one person or more than one person actually in the temple performing this dastardly deed, or are we just relying on police reports at this point?
FEYERICK: Yes, no, it's really not clear. What they're trying to do is they are trying to piece everything together. We've got the Oak Creek Police Department that's on scene. You've got the Milwaukee Sheriff's Department that is also on scene. You've got hospitals that are on standby to remove the wounded if there are any wounded. And again, we want to let everyone know that this is happening now. We don't know what the situation is inside that Sikh temple. It is a large facility, as you can see there. It was built about five years ago. Wisconsin has a healthy Sikh community there. And so right now the authorities on the ground, they are simply responding to see exactly what is going on, who's there. But you can see even, Rob, by the manpower that you've got on the ground, that this is a serious situation that's unfolding right now. Rob?
MARCIANO: All right, Deb Feyerick adding to our coverage there from New York as we continue to watch this story unfold. Unfortunately, there has been a shooting south of Milwaukee in the community of Oak Creek, Wisconsin, at a Sikh temple. And numerous injuries, reports from a local hospital there saying they do believe anywhere from 8 to 20 victims have been injured and potentially en route to that hospital.
We haven't seen that. You are looking at a mixture of live aerials from our affiliate WTMJ and also some taped footage whenever we show something that might have police forces in them or SWAT teams that are certainly on the ground right now, and so that's what you are watching unfold right now.
As far as what's happening right now, this happened at 10:40 Central Time. So just a couple of hours ago. And police just responding. So this is a story that's in its infancy. And what's most alarming, Deb, is obviously is that we don't have the shooter in police custody. FEYERICK: Right. That's exactly right. And usually what happens -- and again, as you so rightly pointed out -- is that the pictures that we show are delayed because it's imperative that the SWAT team, that the authorities that are on the ground, that they have an ability to mobilize around the building, an ability to cordon off the roads that need to be cordoned off. You can see there's a woods back there. What they don't want clearly is they want to minimize the number of injuries inside that building, assuming there are injuries.
And again, we don't know. We don't know how many people have been injured. We're hearing reports between 4, between 8, between 20. So right now all that information dribbling in. But they need to make sure that the gunman stays in place, because it gets very difficult, very complicated once he leaves that building.
Of course, if he does leave that building, then they've got to wonder, is there somebody else in there? We don't know how many people were inside, what sort of services were going on, what sort of educational programs they had in place at that time. But again, a very strong community. So we don't know also where the call, the original call, came from. We believe that it would have been from somebody inside that building, inside that facility. This is one of the major roads that runs just alongside it. And police there are just trying to make sure that they keep things going. But clearly, securing that area that's around the building, Rob.
MARCIANO: Deb, you know, I'm just trying to get a grasp of Sikhism. It's a religion that our viewers -- many of our viewers probably don't know much about. Just to share this as we watch these pictures -- and again, a mixture of taped footage and live aerial footage mostly from our affiliate WTMJ as we continue to follow this developing story where several people, anywhere from 8 to 20 at this point, believed to be injured by a gunman that opened fire within this Sikh temple earlier this morning. Just a couple of hours ago, 10:40 Eastern Time. Police and SWAT teams responding to the scene. There you see a fire engine as well, paramedics, of course, and medical personnel trying to get to these victims and get -- I'm being told that our international viewers now from CNN International are joining us now.
So I'd like to update them on our situation. Just outside of Milwaukee, Wisconsin, across the northern tier of the U.S., we are watching a story develop right now where a shooter opened fire in a Sikh temple at 10:40 Central Time this morning. It's believed to be a lone gunman injuring at this point preliminary numbers anywhere from 8 to 20 people. And that the gunman itself believed to still be on the loose, maybe still inside that temple. And this happening all just a couple of hours ago.
Again, Sikhism, according to their website, Sikhs.org, it was developed about 500 years ago, and their main belief is to seek the truth. Other than that, we'll have to get an expert on board to share with you.
But at this point, we don't know why this happened. We don't know who did it. We don't know what sort of motive there was or what the trigger mechanism was for this shooting inside this temple. So as we get that information, then, it will probably come slowly this afternoon, we will share it with you. And as we do that, we'll share with you the pictures that we have. There you see some police personnel, some fire department and paramedic personnel. That's taped pictures. We will not show you live footage of any sort of SWAT or police positions for obvious reasons, with the gunman still on the loose and potentially inside. We don't want him flipping on the TV and watching CNN and knowing what sort of attack or strategies may be ongoing as far as trying to take that shooter in custody, which has not happened just yet. So the gunman of this temple shooting is on the loose.
Deb, can you add any more at this time? Have you gotten any more information?
FEYERICK: Just to give you the size of the community and the temple there. It started back about 20 years ago with 20, 25 families. Now there are as many as 400 families and people who belong to that temple, the Sikh temple. Again, this is a religion founded 500 years ago. 20 million people worldwide follow the faith of service, humility, equality. This building, it's a new building. It's about 17,000 square feet. So it's a large building. And that's really the building that all those police and the sheriffs and the SWAT team, they're going to have to enter to see who is still inside, whether it be folks who were there or the gunman or gunwoman that, again, all of this unclear, so piecing it together as it happens.
We are told by an affiliate that one person was seen on the ground, but again, it's unclear how many casualties, how many injuries, how many victims, if any, this whole thing right now, authorities trying to get a grip in terms of just what is going on inside that building, Rob.
MARCIANO: And we are trying to get a grip as well, Deb. We want to be very, very careful with our reporting of this. A fluid situation. We're trying not to speculate as to what has happened or what will happen or why it happened. And we'll, as we get some more of that information, we'll be passing it along with you. We're going to take a quick break. Rob Marciano alongside Deb Feyerick and the rest of the CNN team here following breaking news out of south of Milwaukee, Wisconsin, where there's been a shooting at a temple, multiple injuries and the gunman still on the loose. We'll be right back.
MARCIANO: Welcome back to our breaking news coverage of a temple shooting just south of Milwaukee. "Fareed Zakaria GPS" is being preempted by this live coverage as this story unfolds.
Just to give you the headlines here, a gunman opened fire in this Sikh temple in a community called Oak Creek just to the south of Milwaukee at 10:40 Central Time. Multiple injuries reported at this point. We're not getting any reports of fatalities. A local hospital there aware of the injuries, but have not seen any get through their doors. You are looking at a mixture of taped footage and live aerials from our affiliate WTMJ. What we'd like to do right now is tap into one of our affiliates, WISN, who's also covering this in a breaking news fashion. And they have their reporters on the ground there, so we're going to simulcast what they're broadcasting right now.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Violence or problem with individuals or a certain group, has this kind of thing or threats of this kind of thing happened before?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, post-9/11, we've seen it. We wear turbans and long beards. Post-9/11, in Phoenix, several men were shot and killed by American extremists. And right now the last I heard, at 10:00 something a.m., multiple people of Caucasian descent inside.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: At this particular facility, are you aware of any threats made against this specific facility?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No, this is a brand-new facility. My father and his people started this facility only eight years ago.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Wow, OK. We appreciate so much of your time, and we want to keep you on the line for just one more moment so folks in our newsroom can continue to follow up with you. But just to recap, while we still have you here on the air, what you've been told by your father, who is inside, is that it sounds like around 10:30 or so, there was shooting that began. There are, to your knowledge, from what you're hearing from your mother, still people inside hiding, a hostage situation, a gunman inside, reports unconfirmed by police as far as numbers are concerned, but you have been told that it sounds like more than a dozen shot. As many, you're saying, unconfirmed, as 20 to 25 and perhaps some fatalities as well. Our thoughts and prayers certainly with your family. Please, even though we're going to toss it back up to Matt Zeleny (ph), please stay with us on the phone so our newsroom can continue to speak with you, all right, sir?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: OK, I'll keep you guys on hold.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Thank you, sir. And Matt Zeleny, we're going to toss it back to you.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We can see a little bit of activity here now from the far south side. The air traffic control tower was asked to put a temporary flight restriction up over it, so we're shooting from about 4.5, 5 miles south of the scene, which is along Howell Avenue, just south of Rossen Avenue. And they're staging with multiple law enforcement agencies. They're staging with multiple command units. We've got a couple of armed vehicles that have arrived at the scene.
We've actually seen a couple of ambulances move in closer to the scene, as well as a couple of police squads move in a little bit little closer to the scene, so I don't know if that means there's any activity involved with removing some of the victims or not.
But at this point, we do see some movement. It looks like an ambulance now going back, they've been going down the side road between the temple and the building, the neighboring building to the south. And we've seen now this will be the second trip in for that ambulance, and a couple of squad cars just went back there a few moments ago. And right now the active scene continues. We've actually had a couple of flight for life helicopters come. And Howell Avenue, both north and southbound lanes of Howell have been blocked south of Rossen Avenue. No access being allowed in as we see the ambulances continuing to move around, trying to get the victims out of that temple.
So far, we are still waiting for official confirmation from law enforcement, but you can see the armored vehicle appears to be getting ready to move again, so we'll just continue to keep an eye on it. Abe?
MARCIANO: You are watching live coverage from our affiliate WISN out of Milwaukee, Wisconsin. The coverage of this shooting at a Sikh temple in Oak Creek, which is just south of Milwaukee. We're continuing to reach out to our sources and our affiliates to get more information. The police have been giving us some information, but we'll continue to give us more as we go throughout the afternoon. Of course, we're working the phones here at CNN, and we hope to get some other people on the phone on the other side of this break. Stay tuned. CNN's breaking news coverage of a Sikh temple shooting just south of Milwaukee.
MARCIANO: Welcome back to our breaking news coverage of a shooting just outside of Milwaukee, Wisconsin, just south of Milwaukee specifically in a community called Oak Creek. A Sikh temple at 10:40 Central Time. At least one gunman opened fire, injuring several people. We're getting reports from our affiliates anywhere from 8 to 20, potentially more than that being injured. No word on fatalities at this point, but that's certainly unfortunately not out of the question.
We do have a representative from one of the local area hospitals, Froedtert Hospital on the line. Carolyn Bellin joins me now on the phone. Carolyn, I hear you have two victims there. What can you tell me about them?
CAROLYN BELLIN, FROEDTERT HOSPITAL SPOKESWOMAN: Yes, at Froedtert Hospital, we're the level one trauma center in the area, and we have received two patients. One is a male in surgical intensive care unit. And the second one is also a male. And at this point, he's in the operating room.
MARCIANO: Both with gunshot wounds, I presume.
BELLIN: I don't know that. Yes. I do know that we are mobilized for additional patients should that be needed.
MARCIANO: What are the paramedics on the scene told you? So they have told you they have more victims en route to you, or you're at this point just preparing for the worst?
BELLIN: We're just very prepared. We don't know at this point what the state of the scene is. But we are prepared for anyone else who might need to come.
MARCIANO: This is a very populated community just outside of Milwaukee. Obviously there's more than one hospital. What can you tell me about the other hospitals in that area? Do you know of any other victims going to other hospitals?
BELLIN: I do not. We're the level one trauma center, so if they're seriously injured, they would likely be taken here.
MARCIANO: Can you tell me how these two male victims were brought into the hospital? Were they brought in by people that they were with at the temple? Was there any information you can add other than what their current medical status?
BELLIN: I'm assuming they were brought in by the EMS community, but actually I don't know that for a fact.
MARCIANO: So what happens at that hospital as a trauma center, how are you going into action to prepare for the potential of more victims rolling in?
BELLIN: So a level one trauma center means that we're prepared for any kind of emergency 365 days of the year, 24/7. We just are -- we have dedicated emergency department areas, trauma room. We have dedicated operating rooms and intensive care unit capacity to really help the community in this difficult time.
MARCIANO: Give me a sense for the scene there in the emergency room and obviously the men that's in surgery now. What's the vibe of the staff? How are they doing emotionally? I suspect they're acting as professionally as they would any other time, but it's not every day that a shooting happens at a temple in your community.
BELLIN: You know, the staff are pros at this. That is one of the things about being a level one trauma center, is that they really are prepared to deal with this kind of situation, and they're doing very well.
MARCIANO: Carolyn, I want to bring in my colleague, Deb Feyerick, who is based out of New York right now. She's been working the phones and our affiliates and our sources. She has a question or two to ask you -- Deb.
FEYERICK: I'm wondering, thank you so much. Was there any indication just how close these two men were to the shooter? Was it point blank? Were they in the back of the room? Do you know any --
BELLIN: I don't.
FEYERICK: -- details of where they--
BELLIN: I don't know the specifics. I do not.
FEYERICK: OK. And do you know the time that elapsed from the moment the first call came in to when they were picked up and brought to the hospital, how much time elapsed during then? BELLIN: I also don't know the answer to that. I'm sorry.
FEYERICK: OK. No, no, no. We understand. OK. Rob, I'm going to toss back to you.
MARCIANO: All right, Deb, thank you very much. Carolyn, we appreciate your update there. We'll be checking back with you throughout the morning. Good luck to you and your staff as you respond to this shooting right now. Right now two victims at Froedtert trauma center there just outside of Milwaukee.
We want to go back to our affiliate coverage now, WISN. I believe their helicopter pilot was reporting on what he was seeing at the moment.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Now about a half dozen in this parking lot, and there are a couple lined up and down Howell as well. We saw two move in closer to the temple a short while ago, and hopefully they are taking care of some of the victims at this point. Again, we are unconfirmed on that, just the exact number of people that have been shot. We are told that one of them was a police officer. We're still waiting for confirmation from the law enforcement agencies on that.
But, again, multiple people shot reportedly, and there are still people inside in an intense standoff with police. Right now a hostage situation under way in the temple along Howell Avenue in Oak Creek. And north and southbound Howell remain closed and will remain closed until they get this area cordoned off and they get this situation resolved.
We do see people standing in the street waiting to hear from their loved ones as they have described. And we also saw a couple of armored vehicles move out of the parking lot here, out of the command parking lot and move out across the way. We're not showing those positions, though, because we don't want to give away any of the police positions at the active scene. We're only focusing here on the staging area just to be clear, because we do not want to put any law enforcement officers in harm's way, just in case there is a television on inside of the temple. We have no way of knowing if anybody's watching. So we only focus here on the staging area.
And again, Howell Avenue's going to stay closed. It is closed in both directions just south of Rossen Avenue. So you'll have to avoid that area. And sometimes Howell gets busy here on the far south side. So definitely want to stick away from this area. You can use 13th Street or the freeway as alternates to get north and southbound. And we'll continue to keep an eye on it from above and let you know if there's any new information. Abe?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Matt, thank you very much for providing that perspective from above. Down on the ground, it sounds like from the pictures you were showing, you can see that there is a growing crowd of people here trying to get information from loved ones who are inside and trying to establish what people know.
There's a lot of information sharing going on. To kind of give you a sense for the process that we've seen repeated over and over on the ground here, someone will receive a phone call or look at a text message. Another cluster of people will gather around that person to try to either hear real-time what's taking place, or immediately after the call or text received, try to get some information about what's happened.
A lot of these calls, it sounds like from people here are very brief in nature. You're talking about people who might be hiding in a bathroom who can quickly make a phone call but only very briefly, who can't answer questions. You're talking about people who might just be able to fire off one text and not be able to relay other text messages after that.
One thing that we are being told by folks who are inside is that they're encouraging anyone who might know someone inside not to call them, because they are people who are hiding. If a cell phone is on and that cell phone rings, it could jeopardize the position of someone who is inside hiding from a gunman. So that is the word from people inside. Please, they say, if you know someone in there, unless you're sure that their phone is on silent, don't give them a call. They're trying to, as best they can, hide.
As for numbers on this, that remains the question right now. Trying to get some perspective on how many people might have been shot and how many may have lost their lives. We're still waiting for some information from law enforcement with regard to that.
The scene out here is growing, and I would say also growing increasingly frantic. People are controlled. They understand that from their position here, there is not a whole lot they can do other than process information. That, as you might imagine, is frustrating for people who have loved ones inside. When they have information that they feel is pertinent, they're relaying it to law enforcement.
But for the most part, in spite of their desperation, you have people who are remaining as calm as they can and calming each other down under these circumstances.
There are people hugging. There are some people who have been crying. There's a range of age down here. You have a lot of families who are gathered. People who may have otherwise been coming to the Sikh temple this morning or early afternoon for either school or some kind of prayer service, who have appeared and found this. Others who have come at this point especially because they're aware of what is going on here and what has transpired.
The active shooter situation remains, as far as we know. We do know that someone here was able to speak with at least one person who was inside when there was a shooter there who made it out. The chronology, though, of when that person (inaudible) remains to be seen at this point.
So law enforcement on the scene, a growing crowd here in the staging area. Everyone either on the phone or talking to someone on the phone, trying to get some sense of what's happening inside and trying to assess the status of people here. You know, another point that we'll mention certainly is that's adding to the uncertainty of folks on the ground is that in some cases an hour ago they spoke with a person who said that he or she was shot and was waiting for police to be able to come in and therefore for medical attention to be able to come in.
Well, as time has passed and as 30 minutes have passed, 40 minutes have passed, 50 minutes have passed, in between when the people here last spoke to the victim inside, and now certainly they're becoming increasingly frantic. They're becoming increasingly concerned. So the worry level quite understandably is increasing here as more and more relatives and members of this community come to the scene here, waiting for any kind of new information.
As Matt mentioned but to recap and as you see in live pictures from news chopper 12, there are law enforcement members and rescue crews from any number of municipalities and agencies, sheriff's deputies along with we've seen ambulances in front of me from Wauwatosa, we've seen (inaudible) fire rescue. Those are the ones who are just immediately (inaudible) crews from the airport. There is a mobile command post in the area immediately surrounding the temple and then lining the streets even several blocks away. There are ambulances. We also know the sheriff's deputies shut down a fairly large perimeter around here, and have continued to patrol to try to make sure that they can A, keep tabs on what's happening and B, keep the scene secure and keep the scene clear from anyone who shouldn't be there right now.
But the sense here and the pervasive emotion here is one certainly of tremendous concern and uncertainty as relatives and friends gather to try to get some sense for what is going on here and some sense for when the situation might end, or what the plan is for ending this situation out here. So if Matt Zeleny is still there, we will check back in with him.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Abe, that's right. We're still over the scene. We're actually about five miles south of the air traffic control tower at Mitchell International, has put a temporary flight restriction up. So we're staying back a safe distance to allow the law enforcement officers to do their job.
What I'm looking at right now is the crowd that's gathering outside, waiting to hear from their loved ones who are inside the building. Again, we just have witness word that there has been a shooting inside the temple. Multiple people shot and multiple gunmen still inside the building. So we don't like to give away any police positions. At this point we're just focusing in on the area where the loved ones are gathering far away from the scene at this point.
What you can see in this shot as well is that Howell Avenue is shut down. They've got it blocked northbound and southbound, south of Rossen Avenue. And you can see that the law enforcement is turning cars around and sending them away from the scene. A lot of the loved ones have parked along Howell Avenue and are waiting patiently far away from the scene.
We're not going to give away any of the police position, so we're keeping our camera away from the active area at this point. All we've been looking at over the last short while is the staging area with multiple mobile command units from multiple law enforcement agencies, continuing to gather and put all their personnel in place to try and get this situation resolved. We've also seen a couple of ambulances move in closer to the temple itself. Hopefully they were able to get some of the injured parties away from the scene.
At this point, though, it looks like there's back in a holding pattern. Law enforcement agencies still continuing to send more personnel to the scene, so they have dozens of officers here on the scene at this point. And what we're watching is more and more squads arrive at the scene. We did see a couple of armored vehicles pulling away from the parking lot here. Again, we won't show where they are at this point because we don't want to give away any of the sensitive police positions, because that would put law enforcement in harm's way if there was a television on inside the temple.
Right now, though, I can tell you that Howell Avenue's going to stay closed until they're able to get this situation resolved. So you should avoid this area. You can see they're forcing folks to turn around, making u-turns to go away from the scene. A similar situation up at Rossen, on the other side of the scene, north of the scene which is where the closure point starts. And turning cars away from that area as well.
And the mobile command units are here on the scene. Multiple agencies. We have been told from witnesses with loved ones inside the temple that there have been multiple people shot, and that there are still shooters inside the building, and people are staying undercover and hiding for their safety. At this point, we're still waiting to hear more and get some official confirmation from the police department. But at this point, we're not going to be showing any more of the police positions because we don't want to give any of them away if somebody is inside the building watching. So we'll continue to keep an eye on things from above and send it back to Abe Eudetkin (ph) on the ground.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Matt, thank you very much. We have some more information. We've been speaking throughout our coverage with a man whose father was inside at the time and who heard from a priest who was inside from the time. His mother was, she told him by telephone, hiding in a bathroom from gunmen. He joins me here now. I'm going to hand him the phone so that he can provide the latest update that he has received. Can you tell us what you know at this point?
AMARDEEP KALEKA, FAMILY OF A VICTIM: Right now mom is hiding in the closet. She hasn't called back yet. We're worried about that first and foremost. My cell phone has come out. The cell phone that was with my dad has come out. It came out with a priest. They got the priest out. They secured that side of the building. The gunmen or the people that are doing this ran into the kitchen, tried to blow it up. WE Energy (ph) came out here, shut down the gas line.
Dad is still inside. We don't know what's going on with his condition yet. We see the ambulances lined up ready to go, but nobody is moving. And (inaudible) -- and then FBI -- my cousin is an FBI agent. He's inside, they sent out the negotiators. That's all we know so far.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Thank you very much. So right now it looks like (inaudible) he is continuing to get some information from folks here as to what his familial situation is right now. We, as I say, at this point are looking at the scene play out down here with a crowd of people trying just as he is, he is one of the many here trying to get whatever information he can from anyone who might be inside. If he can't speak directly to one of his relatives inside, he'd like to speak with someone who is with one of his relatives inside, who might have access to a cell phone. Although he did not want to call them because he does not want to alert anyone, give up the position of anyone who might be hiding inside.
Again, with regard to activity that police are undergoing at this point, we're being very hesitant to talk at all about what law enforcement are doing, because while this is an active scene, we do not want to jeopardize their efforts here at all. We know that they're here and we know that there are, at last report, people hiding inside this building and gunmen inside the building. What they've done and what they've done in response to that is something that we will certainly be telling you and learning as this coverage progresses and as this situation progresses. But --
MARCIANO: You are watching and listening to coverage from our affiliate WISN out of Milwaukee, Wisconsin. This Oak Creek Sikh temple is the scene of a shooting just a couple of hours ago. CNN has not yet confirmed more than one gunman, but our affiliate WISN has heard that there is multiple gunmen. We do know that at least one is still inside that temple. There are hostages still inside that temple. Some of them -- some of the victims are hiding inside that temple, allowed to get off sporadic text messages to their loved ones, and that's where some of this information is coming from. So a very fluid, a very tense and scary situation unfolding today just south of Milwaukee, Wisconsin.
We're going to take a quick break, gather some more information for you. CNN's breaking news coverage of the Sikh temple shooting will continue in a moment.
MARCIANO: Welcome back as we cover this developing story outside of Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Oak Creek, Wisconsin, specifically. A Sikh temple where at least one gunman opened fire this morning at 10:40 Central Time. We've got multiple injuries, hostages still inside. At least one gunman, maybe more, believed to be still inside. Hostages hiding. At some points texting their loved ones outside, asking them not to call or text back to give away their positions. So a harrowing experience right now with -- inside this Sikh temple in Oak Creek, Wisconsin.
We are told from our affiliates that an FBI hostage negotiator has arrived on the scene. With that, I want to bring in Deb Feyerick in New York, who is about to speak with an FBI hostage negotiator, give some insight on that. Deb? FEYERICK: Thanks, Rob. And what we do know is one shooter, maybe more, inside the building. Witnesses describe the man as white male, heavy build, bald, sleeveless t-shirt, a second shooter possibly also inside the building. Joining me right now is Chris Voss, a former FBI hostage negotiator. Chris, can you hear me?
CHRIS VOSS, FORMER FBI HOSTAGE NEGOTIATOR: I can hear you, Deb.
FEYERICK: So Chris, let's talk about this. Right now everything is unfolding. We are hearing that there are four, but maybe as many as 30 people shot inside that building. When you've got two people who are inside, children, others as hostages, how do you -- how do you analyze the situation taking place?
VOSS: Well, there has been enough time that's gone by that that it possibly evolved in a way from the shooter that the shooter didn't actually expect, and he's trying to decide what to do next.
What the police are trying to do on the outside is try to bring some stabilization to the situation by showing that they've got it contained, and then to try to make contact as early as possible.
It's an old saying in the hostage negotiation business, that while someone's talking, they're not going to be shooting. So they're going to try to make contact as early as possible to try to at least find out what might be driving the individual inside, just to stop him from shooting people.
FEYERICK: When you think about the situation that is inside, Chris, with so many children, others who are there, there's a daily prayer service, it was getting busy, it was supposed to take place at about 11:30 in the morning -- that kind of shooting, is the intention to just do as much damage and then try to escape, or how do you -- how do you role play the situation about what the shooter's motives may be, and what is their end game?
VOSS: Well, the intention was to inflict harm. The location could be the object of the shooter's rage from the very beginning. But what often happens in these situations if the shooter hasn't thought it all the way through, hasn't really thought about what's going to happen while it's going on or gets confronted with some sort of a visual inside that they didn't expect, it sort of confounds them. And it might put them in a position to either be negotiated out or to stop shooting, but not cause any more harm. And if the shooter is still moving around inside, and it sounds like this has been going on for a short period of time, it's possible that the shooter has encountered something that he didn't anticipate, and that's the opportunity for negotiators to talk him out.
FEYERICK: When you think about it, Chris, this has been going on now for about two hours. The number of people that are inside, the number of wounded, how do they begin to negotiate? Because there are people in that building who may be wounded. How do they get them out? And at what point does the SWAT team decide that they're either going to talk to this guy or they're just going to make their move? VOSS: Well, if they can get the shooter on the phone and get his brain working in another direction, you know, ask him the type of questions that causes him to actually stop and think, it's sort of the difference between slow thinking and fast thinking. And they've got to get him into the slow-thinking mode, where it sort of stops him in his tracks.
At that point in time, the wounded hostages are potentially a liability for the shooter, and it's easier for the shooter to manage the scene on the inside to just get the wounded people out of there so they're no longer in the way. And that's probably the tactic a negotiator will take. If they engage him in dialogue, it will be, well, let's get these problems away from you so you don't have to be bothered with them.
FEYERICK: And Chris, final question, when you think of what is going on inside of there, if the shooter has not thought this through in terms of how he or they are going to get out, what is -- what do they do? Are they stuck in there? Do they either give up, or do they try to make a break for it?
VOSS: Well, you know, the great thing would be that the shooter would make a break for it, because that would indicate that the shooter has a will to live, if they want to escape. And that's the key issue that the negotiator is going to be looking for. Any sort of will to live or any sort of indication of the shooter's thought processes extending beyond this scene. If there's anything like that at all, and the desire to escape is a great indicator, then it gives the negotiators something to work with, and hopefully the will to live is still there with the shooter, and it means they've got a chance at getting him to give up.
FEYERICK: Right. And getting those people out of that building. OK, former FBI hostage negotiator Christopher Voss of Black Swan, thanks so much. We appreciate you calling in.
We're going to take a short break, and we'll be back to you straight away.
MARCIANO: Our breaking news coverage continues of a shooting inside a temple south of Milwaukee in Oak Creek. A Sikh temple. CNN now confirming that there are people still trapped inside, services and classes being done this Sunday. At least one gunman opening fire at 10:40 Central Time, potentially more gunmen. We have not confirmed that, but we do know that at least one gunman is still inside with a hostage situation under way right now.
You are currently looking at new footage from WITI, some ground footage there of family members of some of these victims. This congregation, rather large, 350 to 400 people in this congregation. The facility itself quite large as well, 17,000 square feet. We are told that there victims and hostages that are inside, some of them are hiding and sporadically texting out to their loved ones asking not to call or text back as not to give away their position to the at least one shooter that's inside, potentially hunting them down. A frightening situation unfolding right now in Oak Creek, Wisconsin. Our breaking news coverage will continue in a moment.
MARCIANO: Welcome back to our coverage of the shooting inside a temple south of Milwaukee. At lest one gunman opening fire at 10:40 Central Time, and that gunman confirmed to still be inside. There are victims and hostages still inside as well. At least two of those victims that managed to get out of the temple are being treated at area hospitals. More are expected. A large facility, 17,000 square feet. As a matter of fact, actually we have someone from the congregation, Charanjeev Singh, who is a trustee at the Sikh temple of Wisconsin.
Mr. Singh, first of all, my condolences to this horrifying event that happened in your congregation. What can you tell us about what was going on at that time this morning?
CHARANJEEV SINGH, TRUSTEE, SIKH TEMPLE OF WISCONSIN: There were people -- we have a service which started around 11:00 a.m., but people gather much earlier than that every Sunday. So there were several people inside the building. I wasn't there. I was on my way to there, and I understood the situation and I wouldn't able -- couldn't able to make it, because there was a blockage on the road by police.
MARCIANO: What was your reaction when you heard what was happening inside your temple?
SINGH: I called a couple of our other committee members to find out what is going on, and I understand that there is one person who started this massacre and there's a shooting going on.
MARCIANO: Mr. Singh, so this is a large congregation, I'm reading anywhere from 300 to 400 people, well established. You say there is usually a service?
SINGH: Yes. There is a service --
MARCIANO: Mr. Singh, I need to cut you off, I am very sorry, we're getting a police briefing right now. WTMJ, we want to listen in. Thank you.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: -- foreseeable next couple of hours, probably. I have limited information to give you. I hope you understand this is an ongoing and very fluid situation. There's information I cannot give you.
I will tell you this -- that we would plead with the media on scene to not broadcast any photos, video of tactical units, officer movement, in particularly no aerial footage of the event as it is ongoing. That could be very dangerous to our personnel as they go about executing their duties.
What I can tell you is approximately 10:25 a.m., Oak Creek dispatch received an unintelligible 911 call from someone who was reporting an incident. They received further information that there may be a shooting going on at the Sikh temple here in Oak Creek. An officer arrived on scene. He engaged an active shooter. That officer was shot multiple times. He has been transported to a local hospital. He is expected to survive. That officer returned fire and that shooter was put down. That shooter is currently outside of the temple, he is down on the scene.
At this time we don't know if there are additional shooters inside the temple. Our tactical officers from multiple jurisdictions are on the scene. They are going about a methodical process of identifying the individuals both inside and outside of the temple and ensuring that the scene is safe and secure, and attending to victims as we go forward.
Please understand that, as I said, the situation is very fluid. Tactical operations are ongoing at this moment, so I cannot share any other information for you.
I do not have a victim count. I do not have a suspect count. I can tell you that one officer was shot multiple times, he's at a local hospital and expected to survive.
I can tell you that one suspect was shot and he is down on the scene.
We do not know if there are other suspects present. Therefore, again, we would ask the media to not broadcast any images of officer or vehicle movements on the scene, particularly aerial shots.
I will meet with you again at 1:30. 1:30 at this location to give you an update on the situation.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Chief, what do you want people to know in Oak Creek who hear that there may be other suspects out there, who are worried as this is an area that's near some neighborhoods? Should they be worried?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I want the people of Oak Creek and southeastern Wisconsin to know that there are numerous law enforcement agencies here. Local police departments, Oak Creek is doing fantastic work. Milwaukee County Sheriff's Department is here. The FBI is here. We have tactical units from multiple agencies. We believe we have the situation contained here. However, as usual, if anyone sees anyone sees suspicious or anything suspicious in the area, please call your local law enforcement agency.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What agency is in charge?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Oak Creek is in charge. This is Oak Creek's jurisdiction.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: (inaudible).
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: 1:30.