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CNN BREAKING NEWS
Shooting at Wisconsin Sikh Temple
Aired August 5, 2012 - 14:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ROB MARCIANO, CNN ANCHOR: Well, there you go. The police briefing there outside of the temple where at least one gunman opened fire at, according to that police report, 10:25 a.m. police then responded, one officer engaged fire with that suspect shooter, taking shots.
That officer now at an area hospital, expected to survive but he did return fire on that shooter, putting him down, in the words of the police officer. We don't know if he's still alive or whether or not he's dead.
No word on the number of victims, although we know at least two are in an area hospitals. Some of our affiliates are reporting from family members that they believe eight to as many as 20 injuries as well.
Also people inside according to our affiliates have been texting out that they are in a hostage situation, although that police officer did not confirm, Deb Feyerick, that there was another gunman inside, which is rather odd.
He also did not confirm whether or not there's another gunman on the loose outside that temple so still a lot of unknowns here.
DEBORAH FEYERICK, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, and you know, Rob, listening very closely to what he had say. When he said there were numerous law enforcement and tactical teams on the premises, the spokesperson, the police spokesperson, also said that the tactical officers who appear to be inside building are attending to victims as they go.
Maybe that is why there is the belief that there could be a second shooter inside that building, especially because there have been multiple reports, texts that are coming from inside, that in fact there is a hostage situation ongoing right now.
So the fact that -- if there is somebody inside that building, and if that second person who was a shooter was outside confronted by a police officer, clearly the plan that they may have hatched is not going as it was expected to.
Tactical teams appear to be inside. The police officers saying that it is very, very important not to give away the locations, not to be shooting aerials from outside so what you're seeing there, that is pre-recorded.
Because obviously these tactical units, the SWAT teams, they train and they train and what you don't want is you don't want a shooter or somebody inside that building looking at a television, knowing the direction that the tactical teams are coming from.
So these are pre-shot. This was shot earlier. The helicopters that were in the area were told that they had to get out, leave the area and a second warning just moments ago that in fact anybody who's on the ground, any journalist, any media, any cameras, they've got to basically delay the broadcast of what is happening just to avoid an increase in casualties.
An attempt to get people out who in fact are injured, the fact the tactical teams are treating folk and attending to victims as they go -- that's a quote from the spokesperson. The situation, Rob, as you know, very, very fluid.
The Sikh community at a complete loss as to why anyone would target them. They are a peaceful community. There are about 400 members of the congregation when it was packed to capacity.
There was an 11:30 prayer service, meditation service, and so people were beginning to arrive, beginning to be at that building. A number of children were there and that's a big question, are the children safe or are the children part of the hostage situation that may be ongoing inside that building -- Rob.
MARCIANO: And you know, Deb, you just spoke with a few minutes back with a former FBI hostage negotiator. One of our affiliates was reporting that an FBI hostage negotiator was on the scene.
But as we heard from that press conference from the Oak Creek Police Department, they have jurisdiction and there was no word from them whether or not an FBI hostage negotiator had engaged with any gunman inside. Have you heard anything otherwise?
FEYERICK: No. And I haven't -- but it was interesting that the police officer did say that as far as they believe, that the situation is contained. So what that would suggest is that whoever's in that building, that it is contained, that there is not somebody else who's running around.
Police have said if anyone sees anything suspicious, that they should call. But when I was speaking to the hostage negotiator, one of the things he said is that what the tactical unit, what the tactical team will try to do is they will try to slow the situation down.
Whether the person if there is a person inside that building, they will try to make contact so that when they're talking, that means they're not shooting. So that is a big thing that they're focused on right now.
Again, everybody's sort of waiting outside, families, as you mentioned, Rob, earlier have arrived. They're frantic to know what's going on.
But clearly, those inside are trying to keep their hiding places secret, those who have been lucky enough to hide. But again, just don't know how many people are in there. That's all in play right now -- Rob. MARCIANO: Deb, this is just a frightening and in some cases frantic scene. We want to go back down to our affiliate reporters, WTMJ, who's describing the scene on the ground there.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And in the parking lot where it is now a staging area command post, there was two to three dozen worshippers from the Sikh temple of Wisconsin gathering there, trying to get inside, being kept in the parking lot.
Within a few minutes of us being on scene, those people were asked to get in their vehicles and clear out. They are now standing here in this daycare center parking lot with us. We got really very urgently pressed by law enforcement. If you're not law enforcement, we need you to get out of here.
That included the media. That included people from the Sikh temple who were gathering there outside. Everyone has been pushed back and this large parking lot, this huge parking lot for the classic lanes bowling alley has been turned into a command post.
We've turned around now to show you the parking lot of the daycare center, which has become a waiting area for family members, for other people who attend the Sikh temple. It has become a staging area for the media.
And whenever we come on the air with you, we do see people gathering around us, hoping to hear some type of information but really, they are -- we know just about as much as they know, and as you can imagine, if you attended this Sikh temple of Wisconsin, 400 to 500 people.
A large congregation, but also small enough where seemingly everyone would know most everyone else, just imagine how frustrating, how emotionally wrenching this would be as you're waiting to hear word about who's been wounded, who, if anyone, has been killed, who has survived.
As we passed along earlier, there was one woman here who was in tears hoping to hear information about her children who were inside. We heard from multiple people who attended temple that children were among those who were inside at the time.
No confirmed numbers yet. We don't even think law enforcement have made a tally of how many people were inside but the estimates that we're getting, about 20 to 30 people who would have been inside the Sikh temple of Wisconsin waiting for the service -- getting ready for the primary part of the services of the day to get under way at about 11:30, and this occurring just before that time.
And I do see some men in yellow vests here with helmets on and they look to be utility workers. I'm trying to get an idea of where these folks might be from. They are from We Energies. We heard there may be some movement to try and shut off gas and utilities to the temple.
The reasons not given to us. But that call from law enforcement officers, and some type of movement in that direction to cut off some utilities or all utilities to the building may be in process right now. As we saw those officials from the utility company from We Energies making their move toward the police --
MARCIANO: You're listening and watching coverage from our affiliate WTMJ just south of Milwaukee, Wisconsin, where at least one shooter opened fire inside a temple, engaging fire with an officer.
That officer taken to area hospital, expected to survive. That shooter was put down outside the temple. Police forces are performing tactical maneuvers inside that temple as well as outside.
An ongoing situation with victims and hostages still believed to be trapped inside that Sikh temple in Oak Creek, Wisconsin. Our continuing coverage will continue in a moment.
MARCIANO: Welcome back to our coverage of a shooting in a temple just outside of Milwaukee early this morning. I'm Rob Marciano. Deb Feyerick up in New York. Don Lemon just joining me now alongside here in Atlanta.
Don, a frightening scene unfolding there with the hostage situation potentially with some victims still inside.
DON LEMON, CNN ANCHOR: You're right. We're hearing about victims who had been taken to the hospital. We want to get an update on that right now.
Lee Biblo is the chief medical officer at Froedtert Hospital. What can you tell us?
LEE BIBLO, CHIEF MEDICAL OFFICER, FROEDTERT HOSPITAL (via telephone): Hi. We have currently providing care to three victims. One is in the OR with multiple gunshot wounds to the extremities and face. One is in a surgical intensive care unit after surgical procedure to take care of gunshot wounds to the abdomen. And the third is currently in our emergency department receiving care.
LEMON: OK, you said one is in the OR and you said for extremities and gunshot wounds to the face.
BIBLO: Right. That's' gunshot wounds to the face and extremities.
LEMON: OK, and the second one again?
BIBLO: The second one had gunshot wound to the abdomen, has already been taken care of in the OR and is now receiving care in our surgical intensive care unit.
LEMON: OK, and the third victim?
BIBLO: The third is being assessed in our emergency department and apparently has gunshot wounds to the face.
LEMON: Any of those a police officer? BIBLO: Not that we know of. We're just focused on taking care of them. We don't know exactly who is who in terms of their occupation.
LEMON: You're telling us about their injuries, but what about -- does that mean they're in critical, serious --
BIBLO: All in critical condition.
LEMON: All in critical. What time were they brought in?
BIBLO: They all came in at different times. They started within -- first received about an hour ago. And then about 15 minutes later, then about 15 minutes later. So they were -- didn't all come in at the same time.
LEMON: Men? Men? Women? Children? What are their --
BIBLO: They're all adults and I think -- and all male.
LEMON: All male, unbelievable here. So -- you said they're all in critical condition. These wounds to the face, can you tell what type of weapon the gunman was using? What type of bullets possibly?
BIBLO: Yes. No. Not yet.
LEMON: No. OK, thank you very much. Lee Biblo joining us on the phone from Froedtert Hospital. Rob, did you have questions for him?
MARCIANO: Do you expect more victims to be brought to your trauma center?
BIBLO: Yes -- well, we've heard the scene is still unfolding so we are prepared for more. We have ten ORs and 15 SICU rooms ready to go.
MARCIANO: Describe that scene for us, doctors and nurses standing there at the ready. You obviously have other patients coming in from other emergencies in the area. But in a situation like this, are there special preparations that are being done --
BIBLO: There are. We have regular training exercises as this as a level one trauma center. We were well prepared. Our trauma surgeons are here waiting. Our operating and nursing staff are also here and waiting to take care of anymore victims.
MARCIANO: I ask this question to your colleague last hour regarding other hospitals in this area. Do you know -- your colleagues in other hospitals, have they taken in any victims or what are they doing to prepare for that instance?
BIBLO: Right. This is a well choreographed collaboration with all the local hospitals. Some of the other local hospitals have received some victims. We don't exactly know numbers.
LEMON: Mr. Biblo, we're going to ask you to stand by. We want to get to our affiliate coverage who is speaking live to someone. Let's listen in. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: My dad is out and at the hospital and we're just relaying information back and forth and trying to get as much info as possible.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What, if any, have you learned from him about what transpired inside or from your mother?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So the most I can learn -- or the most I know as of now, there are multiple shooters, there are multiple people. It was a very well coordinated thing. It wasn't haphazard. I think that's why police and everybody are taking the proper protocol to get the situation under control.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Not trying to jeopardize anything and describe what's happening currently, but as far as your mother, she was at the time we spoke at one point hiding. Did she give you a sense for how many people? At that time at least, were hiding?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The sense over there was when she started hiding in the closet, she didn't know how many people were out there so she just kept saying "they" are out there. "They" are out there.
And she kept hanging up the phone every time she would hear something. Then at one point we heard that the movement went towards the kitchen and releasing of gas and stuff like that.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You have been throughout the morning in conversations with people who are gathered here who are obviously anxiously awaiting word.
In fact as you and I talk, perhaps we can look and pan just to give people a sense for what it looks like in this parking lot, in this staging area out here as people gather anxiously await word.
We can see people looking at their phones, getting information, talking to each other, but have you a unique perspective because you were then talking -- what they're hearing. What is the kind of news that people are getting here?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So the kind of news everybody's getting is I mean phone calls from India, phone calls from New Jersey, California, everywhere where people inside who have been shot or who have been hurt have been able to call out and so we're trying to piece together all of that new-age information to get a clear, concise story.
As soon as we get to the eyewitness -- the eyewitnesses are right now with the FBI, which they should be so that the proper protocols can happen. As soon as we get information we relay it to the FBI.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: As you guys get information, you relay to the FBI. They right now are talking to the FBI it sounds like here on scene. There are other victims that you've been made aware of who have been taken to hospitals. We've been told at least two taken to Froedtert Hospital. Any word on how your father is doing?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Not yet. Not yet. We're trying to track him down. I think if certain people are being triaged for information before they are released. So we're trying to figure out if he's one of those people.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We were talking about this earlier, but I think it is worth reviewing just a bit of perspective for folks who may just be joining. This is an area that sounds like has not been the target of attacks, not even perhaps been the target of threats prior to this.
I mean, this is not something -- certainly, no one would ever expect an attack, but it sounds like this is exceptionally out of the blue because there wasn't any sort of warning, sounds like that you're aware of, was that any of this was going to happen.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The hardest part about this -- it's a lot of information so it's really hard to say. Post-9/11, a lot of Sikhs were attacked because we wear turbans and we have lock beards and Afghanis look like us, and we look at Afghanis.
Post 9/11, multiple people were murdered. They were murdered in New York, murdered in Phoenix and the threat is always there. We know that threat but we're a very peaceful community, here in Milwaukee especially. We bring in a lot of people to give meditations and normal sessions and today was very, very much out of the blue like you said.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What would have been happening around, say, 10:00 on a typical Sunday morning? That's when it sounds like this shooting took place.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So typically at about 10:00 a.m. people are coming in. Everybody's allowed in before. Everybody's allowed in. There's no discrimination so people come in. It is an open session and you relax, sit cross-legged and meditate and listen to teachings or prayers or sermons.
That's exactly what would have happened. A lot of things happen that. The children's school would start, the ladies would come out and a lot of other things would happen.
At about that time -- I'm going to approximate -- about 90 to 100 people would be there. Later in the day would be a lot more. It would be three to four times that. Around then you would expect.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: As far as age, would a school have been any sort of -- I know there is a language school that meets here. Would that have been in session during that time?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No. They start at about 11:30. My cousin's a teacher. The thing about this temple specifically is our family, like all the close-knit families that came together in the '80s to Milwaukee started this as a form of having a south side presence and being able to gather all the blue collar Indian workers together under one temple.
So it's -- my dad is the president of this and he's been the president ever since it's opened and he's the political arm and the priest -- I mean, it was scary because the priest pick up his phone and called me and the priest started speaking in like full Punjabi and saying your dad's on the ground and being shot and nobody can get to him. He was really worried.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Did he describe anything else that was going on at that moment?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: At that time, he did say there are multiple shooters and that they are Caucasian decent. But again, like there's so much information and so much like did shall I don't want to confirm anything anybody something else says it because it is also tactical.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Absolutely. And we don't want to jeopardize any of that. Thank you so much for continuing throughout the morning and now afternoon, too, to relay information to us. We look forward to continuing to hear from you and again, our thoughts with your family and wishing them especially your father there, a full recovery. So thank you. We'll check back with you soon.
You hear the latest here. I want to show you if we can -- without zooming in to anything in particular, but just to give you a sense for some of the law enforcement presence, it may be hard to get a view through the cluster of people here, but this appears to be two fire personnel or rescuers walking back and forth.
We've seen that taking place for the last several hours, a huge response here from all over the area. One of the things that law enforcement mentioned when they were briefing us not --
LEMON: I'm Don Lemon at the CNN World Headquarters in Atlanta. You're looking at continuing coverage from our affiliate WISN. Of course, it's continuing coverage on CNN, 2:22 in the afternoon here.
And what we have found out, my colleagues Rob Marciano and Deborah Feyerick have been covering this, three people at least we know have been shot and are hurt in the hospital now just south of Wisconsin -- Oak Creek, Wisconsin at a Sikh temple there.
There were shots this morning earlier at 10:25 local time, they're on central hospital. Speaking with the local hospital, which is Froedtert Hospital, a level one trauma center, we spoke to a surgical personnel.
They said three people were there, all of them are in critical condition. Some of them had been shot in the face and also gunshots to extremities. You were listening to a young man there, Rob, whose father was inside the church.
He said his mom, he believes, is still inside of the church. He said he believes his dad is a victim of this. The priest in the church picked up a phone and called him and started relaying information to the people who were outside.
But of course, they're being as careful as possible about the information that is released because it is an ongoing hostage situation, they believe. A police officer did confront gunman, shot the gunman.
All police are saying is that he took the gunman down or he or she, that police officer took the gunman down. They're not saying the gunman is dead at this point, but when you say took the gunman down, that would lead you to believe that he is -- or she, the gunman, is probably dead.
But we don't know that again at this point. We know three people in the hospital, many more could be wounded. We are following this developing situation. Don Lemon, Rob Marciano, Deb Feyerick back on the other side of the break with our continuing rolling coverage.
LEMON: Welcome back to our continuing coverage of this shooting at the Sikh temple in Wisconsin. I'm here with Rob Marciano. Our Deb Feyerick is in New York. She is following developments as well, and she has been speaking to law enforcement.
Deb, Rob is going to speak to someone now who has been talking to victims. I just want to tell our viewers that what we know, at least three people who have been shot inside of this temple in critical condition, in the hospital.
Two weeks after we had another big shooting and now we have this. We're following it for you. We're going to continue to cover this until we get some resolution here and find out exactly what's going on. Rob and Deb Feyerick here. Go ahead, Rob.
MARCIANO: It's just a frightening scene that's happening right now. We are told until ambulances are allowed to go towards the temple, this scene is not clear. It is not secure. That is what we're waiting for.
Police tactical units are inside and outside the building trying to get a hold of the situation. As Don mentioned earlier, one gunman was shot and is down outside the temple, but there could be one, possibly more gunman still inside.
That is 17,000 square foot facility with a congregation of at least 300 people. I want to talk to Rajwant Singh who is the chairman of the National Sikh Organization, which is the religion of which they worship in that temple.
Mr. Singh, if you can hear me, my condolences, horrifying day for your community there. What can you tell us about that church and I understand you've been speaking with some family members who belong to that church or temple. Mr. Singh, can you hear me?
RAJWANT SINGH, CHAIRMAN, SIKH COUNCIL ON RELIGION AND EDUCATION (via telephone): Yes, I can hear you now.
MARCIANO: Once again, my condolences to your family and community as to what you're enduring, a horrifying day for sure. As member and chairman of the National Sikh Organization you know this temple. You know the congregation. I'm told you've been speaking with some family members of the congregation. What kind of information can you share with us now?
SINGH: Well, the information that I'm gathering from people who are in touch with some of the relatives there or friends there and I just talk to one of the board members who was on their way to the Sikh house of worship, Guawara.
Basically they were -- mostly they were women and children because they have it -- what you call it -- a language school and also they were preparing for the community meal, which is served at the conclusion of Sikh service in every Sikh Guawara.
MARCIANO: So the kids and women begin to gather there, this occurred at roughly 15 minutes after 10:00 a.m. We've heard that there are services, if not classes, that begin at 11:00, 11:30. Does that sound accurate? When does this large meal with seemingly a lot more people involved, when would that typically take place on a Sunday?
SINGH: Usually the service starts at around 11:00 and then it continues. Some Guawaras have until 1:30 or 2:30. What I understand from the board members, that usually there are 300 to 400 people gathered every Sunday. So I'm sure that number will have come later this afternoon.
MARCIANO: These board members, Mr. Singh, that you're speaking to, my goodness, have they -- have they even begun to consider or think about who might want to do this and for what reason? Has that even been discussed yet or are they all still in shock?
SINGH: You know, to be very honest, this is kind of feeling in the Sikh community throughout U.S. since 9/11, that this kind of tragedy might occur anytime, anywhere, any state, and it's just very unfortunate that this had to be today in Wisconsin.
Because since 9/11, there's so much misunderstanding and people confuse us with either belonging to Bin Laden or we are a part of Taliban or any tragedy occurs, then Iraq or Afghanistan has repercussions for the Sikh community.
We are always fearful of this kind of reaction and any lunatic will confuse us and make us a target. So I'm sure this organization has the same feelings as any other organization.
LEMON: Can we get back to the situation? So just to clarify for our viewers here, where are you now?
SINGH: I'm in Washington, D.C. I'm in Maryland. I'm actually in the Sikh community here in Rockville, Maryland.
LEMON: You're the chairman of this council --
SINGH: The first person who was shot after 9/11, two days after 9/11 tragedy, in Mesa, Arizona, his brother is here with me and we were just talking about issues and this happened.
It just -- Sikh -- the Sikh killing was the first killing after 9/11 as a reaction in the aftermath of 9/11 tragedy. And this was after so many years we have the same point. So that means that there is so much ignorance. I just talked to the White House --
LEMON: Mr. Singh, I understand that and I think what you're saying is very important.
SINGH: We are asking the president to make a statement and come out and create awareness that --
LEMON: So Mr. Singh, I imagine he can't hear me. I think what he's saying is very important, but I want to stick to this particular incident because we don't know if it has anything to do with that.
MARCIANO: The bottom line is we don't know who did it, why it happened.
LEMON: If he's still there, I would like to speak to him about where he is because he is the chairman of the Council of Religion and Education. They contacted him to get in touch with the people who are inside, the family members.
So that's why we're speaking to him and he is contacting those family members trying to get them information and trying to help out. What he is saying -- I just want to break this down for our viewers because there's so much information going on.
This Guawara is this large lunch, 300 to 400 members he said shows up at this temple usually on a Sunday morning for this event. That number had not shown up yet. They were in the process, Rob, of showing up. It could have been more people at this --
MARCIANO: The women and children were already there.
LEMON: Women and children were already there. So these people were getting ready and apparently there was this gunman, this hostage situation as they are getting ready to prepare for this large lunch.
In this event, at least three people we know were shot and we heard from the hospital. Three are in critical condition at this point. And they're saying that an officer approached a gunman inside and took the gunman down.
That's all they will say about it. Our affiliate WTMJ is on the scene here and they're in continuing coverage. We'll listen in for a bit with them and then we will get back to our coverage here.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Is this a situation where it's just so overwhelming right now that it's difficult to fathom just how terrible this is? Are you still in shock right now?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes. Yes. Terrible shock. This -- you can even imagine anything like -- just little bit can happen like that -- OK. And we just heard that there was a Sikh priest visiting from New Delhi, India and he was shot.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We want to be careful because it is not confirmed by law enforcement, perhaps the religious leader among the victims inside. Let's be careful about what we say. Representatives, any last thoughts from you?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Like everybody else here, these are my brothers and sisters. I've known so many of them for so many years. Regardless of my personal connection, this is completely senseless, tragic violence.
It's just -- it's mind boggling. We just had this thing in Colorado. There have been other incidents around the country. Obviously, we don't know what the motive was, if this was a target of some signed of religious or racial hatred.
But the last thing you expect on a Sunday afternoon that a place of peace, love and spiritual worship would be torn to shreds by gun violence.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We had heard that possibly some people were being brought to the classic lanes bowling alley across street. Is that what you heard?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No. We got news on the phone from India immediately and I'm from New Jersey. I just came last night to 1:00. And my friend who foreign policy of Punjab, he supposed to come late Sunday. We got call. We shocked. First time occurred in America. I've been in this country for the last 21 years. He is injured and in the hospital.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Your friend is injured. I see you grabbing your leg there.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes. He was for Guawara here. He shot and my other friend, we just came there and we are waiting hear how many, we have relative inside, how many people inside or something because security people, we are waiting for some kind of answer.
We had Hindu Sikh community. All over the world we are very peace loving, business class people. Even I am federal job. Means we have given people lot to give and take love and affection to everybody all over the world.
We are only Hindu Sikh. Any Christianity, any Muslim, we would give all human beings. So mixed up like other example communities, we all family members. We all share American views. We are all --
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You're emphasizing that you're a peaceful people --
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Very peaceful people.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You have a friend among the wounded.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, wounded. And we believe in non-violence. Even the -- I was talking to my friend, he assembly speaker from New York City. They come here also but we are totally shock and very shocked. We cannot speak too much. This is just like listening from other people, all friends are here. We are very, very shocked.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Sir, thank you so much for sharing that information.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Going back to the bowling alley across the street --
MARCIANO: You're watching continuing coverage of CNN's breaking news here out of Milwaukee, Wisconsin just south in Oak Creek. That's our affiliate WTMJ.
One of a couple that we've been tapping in for information and footage. This is an aerial footage taped earlier. Because of tactical strategies that are ongoing with the police right now, we're not showing you live footage for obvious reasons there.
LEMON: And this situation, Rob, we don't know exactly what's going on especially when it just happens and we had the gentleman on talking about what happened after 9/11 and Muslim and all that. We're not sure at this point.
There will come a time when we can figure that out, but right now we're trying to figure out what went on inside of that temple and what caused three people, at least for now, to be put in a hospital in critical condition.
The what, when, why the shooter did it will happen later, but we're just trying to get a grasp on the situation and we'll be able to analyze it in full as details roll out on this very horrid situation.
MARCIANO: We're waiting on another police briefing from the Oak Creek Police Department. He said that would take place at 30 minutes after the hour. That's not a fluid situation with a fluid schedule.
Incoming information that we want to confirm before we bring it to you as fact so we're being careful with our reporting, we're being careful with the footage that we show you, a tense, frightening situation unfolding and happening for the past three hours in Oak Creek, Wisconsin. Our breaking news coverage will continue app after this.
LEMON: Back now with our breaking news coverage of a temple shooting in Oak Creek, Wisconsin. You can see the police officers getting ready to hold a press conference there shortly to update us on the shooting.
MARCIANO: The information has been changing as we get it in here. We want to be careful how we report things. One thing we do know that at 9:25 Central Time, a 911 call came in to the local police department there, a suburb of Milwaukee, called Oak Creek.
The caller said that at least one gunman had entered the Sikh temple there and just started shooting. Multiple people were reported shot at that point. People trapped inside. Some may have been children.
Now we want to go to the police chief giving a live briefing right now. CHIEF BRADLEY WENTLANDT, GREENFIELD, WISCONSIN POLICE: My name is Brad Wentlandt. I'm a police chief for the city of Greenfield. I'm currently functioning as a public information officer on behalf of the city of Oak Creek.
Obviously, they're very involved right now and very busy. As I said earlier, about 10:25 a.m. the Oak Creek Dispatch Center received multiple 911 calls of a shooting at the Sikh Temple here in Oak Creek.
The first officer on the scene is a 20-year law enforcement veteran, an experienced tactical officer. When he arrived on the scene, he engaged an active shooter outside of the temple. Multiple rounds were exchanged.
The officer was shot multiple times. He is currently at Froedtert Hospital and being treated for multiple gunshot wounds. He is in surgery. His condition is not known at this time.
The suspect, the shooter, was also shot. He is down on the scene and presumed deceased. Tactical officers have made multiple search runs through the facility, through the temple at this time.
The best information we have now -- and this information may change -- is that two individuals were transported from the scene by various local fire departments for gunshot wounds, one being the officer, the other a civilian.
The emergency medical personnel, the tactical personnel who have gone through the scene have initially identify what had they believe to be four deceased inside of the temple and three deceased outside of the temple, one of whom is the shooter.
That is the best information we have available at this time. I do not have any additional information to share with you. As you see behind me, there are multiple agencies involved here, both local, state and federal.
We're all trying to coordinate the response here. Make sure that everybody's safe, anybody who may be wounded is taken care of and that the investigation gets under way forward.
There is a concern about multiple gunmen based on information heard over the scanners. I will tell you that at this time we have not identified any additional gunmen. It's possible in these types of incidents, as I said before, they're extremely fluid and we get multiple calls and multiple reports.
It's possible that those multiple reports were of the same person. We have not identified additional shooters in the temple or on the scene. At this point, we're not sure if there were additional shooters.
That will be part of this ongoing process of tactical follow-up, ensuring that everyone is accounted for, ensuring that the scene is secure and accounting for all the victims and witnesses.
I cannot take any questions at this time because that's all the information I have right now. We will schedule a briefing at 3:30 p.m. at this same spot where representatives from the various agencies will be present.
And we hope that we'll be able to answer some more of your questions at that time. Thank you for your patience and just please sit tight until 3:30. Thanks.
LEMON: OK. That is the Police Chief Fred Wentlandt. He is from the Greenfield Police Department. So Rob, here's what we know. According to him, at least seven people are dead. He says four people are dead inside this temple. Three people are dead outside the temple, one of them believed to be the shooter.
At 10:25 a.m., he says that they got the first calls, 911 calls in to the police department. First officer was on the scene. A 20-year vet of the police department engaged that shooter. The officer was hit multiple times.
They said multiple shots were exchanged. The officer eventually when help arrived taken to the hospital, is in surgery. The shooter was shot, they said the shooter is down, and they believe the shooter is dead.
The shooter is outside the building. One of the three people they said they found outside the building, four people inside the building. That would make a total of seven people.
They say a tactical team has done a sweep of the building several times and they believe that is it. As far as reports about another shooter, they don't believe that there is another shooter.
They say but when you have the situation, a number of people are calling 911 and it could be because of multiple reports, the same report from a number of different people.
MARCIANO: Well, he certainly didn't say that the situation, the scene, was cleared or safe. So that search of that large facility, 17,000-foot temple there, certainly has to be done inch by inch while also attending to victims. The scene that's happening inside there, we can only tell you what police are telling us and what we are hearing from some of the victims that are allegedly held up inside there or at least inside there right now.
We'll reset things after this short commercial break. Our breaking news coverage continues in a moment.
LEMON: Back with our continuing coverage of this shooting inside of a temple in Oak Creek, Wisconsin. Just heard from the police chief there, the person who's handling it. That seven people dead, four people died inside the temple, three died outside of the temple. A police officer, we know, has been shot, in the hospital as well.
According to one hospital we know that's getting victims, they are saying they have three people there who are in critical condition, multiple gunshot wounds to the face, gunshot wound to the abdomen, and also to the extremities of their bodies.
It's important to point out that this officer engaged with the gunman when he arrived on scene. Officer was shot. The gunman was shot. And in this press conference that just happened, the police chief said he believes that this officer's dead.
He said "he's down," down, but presumed dead. So as we get this new information, we don't want to rush, we don't know the motive, what happened or why this gunman did this, and so we had one person on the air who was talking about is it possibility of terrorism, what happened after 9/11 and minorities in the country how they're treated, we don't know that yet.
It is too early in the investigation and once police start to talk about who this shooter is, who this suspect is then we can get that, but right now we're concerned about the people that were shot and family members of those inside the temple. We're awaiting word.
Deb Feyerick has been getting information about what's going on. Has a bit of a timeline, too, and to talk about the people who were there and what are you hearing from the people, witnesses and people, family members who are at this temple.
FEYERICK: Well, Don and Rob, this is what I can tell you right now. What appears to have happened is about 10:25, the first 911 calls started coming in to the police department.
A police officer, heroic police officer, responded as people inside that temple taking cover, hiding, texting, calling, trying to get people to that building to help them.
Well, it appears that when an officer arrived on the scene, a 20-year law enforcement veteran, the shooter was outside the building and he engaged fire. The 20-year veteran of the police department started shooting at the gunman. The gunman fired back. It appears the gunman hit the officer multiple times, but the officer struck and killed, it appears, the gunman.
That gunman, we are told, is presumed to be dead. According to authorities, four people were shot and killed inside that building. You can imagine the mayhem that was going on as children began running, women, men just trying to get away from this gunman.
Three people were then killed outside. One of those who's dead is that gunman. He is presumed dead. Tactical units right now going through that building. This is a very large facility. It is about 17,000 square feet.
They've got to search every single inch of it. The police chief earlier saying that the tactical teams are attending to victims as they go forward, as they sweep this building. They've got to search closets. They've got to search bathrooms.
They've got to search over and under things because they don't know whether in fact it was that lone gunman, the one who was shot outside the building, or whether there was a second gunman inside. One of the things that the police chief clarified, he said, look, there was so much chaos, there were so many 911 calls coming in, witnesses sort of exchanging different stories. That it is not clear whether it was just that one person who opened fire and then ran from the building or whether it was one person, plus others, who were inside.
So all of that right now very fluid. The police chief does say the situation is contained, but they won't say yet that it is over or whether it is under control because they need to make sure that there's nobody else inside that building who has a gun.
Don, just from the conversation you were having with the member of the Sikh community earlier, one thing is very clear -- that is, there was a sense of fear. There was a sense that perhaps something like this could happen so precautions were taken.
You can see just how many responding vehicles are there. You've got police cars, you've got ambulances. You've got fire department. All of them there because they don't know exactly how many wounded will have to go to the hospital.
Initially, hospitals were told to ready themselves for as many as 30 people. So once the tactical team gives the all-clear -- we're not sure the situation then in fact those people will have to be brought to the hospital so all of that right now very active.
Units continuing to pull up to the temple and think about it, also, this happened first calls came in at about 10:25. An hour later that temple would have been packed, packed, because there was an 11:30 service, a big festival that they have at 11:30 and so they wanted to make -- clearly the time difference here and that police officer right now who is in the emergency room who is being treated.
He is in critical condition, as are the other two who were shot and brought to the hospital. But this police officer really taking heroic efforts and taking down this gunman, Don, Rob.
LEMON: It's called a Guawara, the gathering for this large meal. As Rob pointed out, women and children arrived first, then the men arrive later. As many as 300 to 400 people can show up on a Sunday he says for this.
Not that many people had arrived for this event, but it was also interesting. We were able to get live pictures there now before when we weren't sure before the tactical teams had gone in, they weren't -- they said, please, be careful about what you show. They wouldn't let people call.
People inside the temple were not calling. And also very careful about what information was being released to their relatives and to the outside because they did not want to interfere with the investigation and with the negotiation that was going on inside of this temple.
At that point, they probably did not know whether the gunman was among those who had been taken down.
MARCIANO: And one of the shots that we keep showing is that staging area where all the emergency vehicles are lined up and wait. What we do know is that once those begin to mobilize, and head towards the temple and medical personnel begin to head towards the temple, that is when the scene will be cleared or at least considered to be safe.
But with a 17,000-foot facility, square feet facility, that that temple is, there are a lot of nooks and crannies that those police tactical teams have to search through and scour out before they give the all clear.
And those victims inside can be tended to. So it is hard to describe what's happening in there. Earlier we -- our affiliates were hearing from some family members that were getting texts from people that were inside asking not to return those calls or texts for fear that what they believe to be at least a gunman inside might find them down.
But certainly you can imagine if you are a victim in there, Don, and you're hiding after this situation took place, there may not be a gunman searching for you, but you're not going to go outside to check it out. You're going to wait it out and wait for this scene to be cleared.
LEMON: And what happens in this situation, of course, tactical teams will do their sweeps. They want to make sure that there is not another gunman. They don't believe that there is one at this point.
The police chief pointed that out. They said sometimes it is the same report from multiple people so you may think that there is another gunman, but according to this chief, no.