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CNN BREAKING NEWS
Seven Dead, Including Gunman, in Shooting at Wisconsin Sikh Temple
Aired August 5, 2012 - 17:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
DON LEMON, CNN ANCHOR: You see the scene in front of them, what has become the command center for this particular thing. It is the top of the hour, 5:00 p.m. Eastern here in the United States.
Don Lemon here with Rob Marciano. Deb Feyerick is in New York. We have team coverage of this Wisconsin temple shooting.
We would like to welcome our viewers from around the world who are watching this on CNN International.
As this gunman ran into the building, can you imagine you are supposed to be there to worship in a peaceful place when all of the sudden, the worst thing that can happen, a senseless act of violence breaks out. Someone comes in with the gun and starts randomly opening fire on women and children in a place of worship.
We don't know the motivation behind this. We are seeking to get that from police and investigators. And of course, that will come out, the details about why this gunman did this. And in many times in these situations there is -- we never find out the exact motivation. It could be just a disturbed individual. And obviously to do this one would have to be disturbed in some way to do it again.
Waiting on a press conference, the last briefing from the hospital real quickly, Rob, here from Froedtert hospital saying three people were in the hospital. All of them are in critical condition. That's the hospital you are looking at. They are preparing for a press conference as well.
Three people in the hospital, gunshot wounds range from multiple gunshot wounds to the face, injuries I should say, multiple gunshot wounds to the face, multiple gunshot wounds in the abdomen. Some of the victims have wounds to the extremities, as well.
As we wait for all of this to play out, our Deb Feyerick, our Rob Marciano, we will cover it for you and bring you both of the press conferences live.
ROB MARCIANO, CNN HOST: So, what has transpired in the past couple of hours, we went from a hostage situation or at least not so much hostage but or an area where people were trapped in this temple or Guawara (ph), 17,000 square foot facility. Police went in there and did a tactical sweep of the area which took quite a bit of time at the point where they were sure that there wasn't a second gunman there. They allowed those people to leave and seek medical treatment in some cases. That search then went to the parking lot where police and SWAT teams were trying to narrow down and figure out if this shooter took a car to this temple, which car was it and could they get more information impartially where he lives and then maybe go to his home.
The situation was described to us as being contained within that facility but now, and as Don alluded to this, may be reason why the press conference has been delayed. Now there are sweeps happening in a wooded area about a mile away where our Ted Rowlands is, on the ground right now and on the phone as we speak.
Ted, what are you seeing at the moment?
TED ROWLANDS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Well, Clearly Rob, this is an ongoing situation where they are sweeping a wooded area behind a home about a mile away from the temple. And this could be part of a grid search that they are doing around the temple. There is no sense of urgency that I can see in terms of the SWAT team members that are preparing for the search. They have dogs out. They do have guns but there isn't a sense of urgency. It looks as though they are getting organized, getting ready to go in there. We do know that some of the witnesses and witnesses have been taken to a bowling alley adjacent to the temple, there being debriefed there. I assumed, when this press conference comes up, we will get more detailed information on what they have reported to investigators. And we'll get a final determination on whether or not the shooter had help or at least if authorities believe the shooter had any help.
Of course, we have had the conflicting reports from witnesses saying they saw up to three shooters. But according to our last official press conference, they believe due the officials, only one shooter took part in this. But clearly, this is an ongoing situation with the sweep, I'm watching in front of me about a mile away from the temple.
MARCIANO: So, to clarify what you are seeing, Ted, is that its men with guns basically and dogs. This is a police force not necessarily an investigative force that is going through to potentially collect evidence. Although, if they were to stumble upon that, I would think they would. This is a tactical force that is armed that is readying to sweep this wooded area?
ROWLANDS: Exactly. And it is a number of different agencies. It looks like taking part in this with k-9 units and officers that are in full gear, full SWAT team gear, others are not. But, they are staged in a matter where they are all in a straight line around a corner.
And it looks to me as though they are preparing to run a search rather than just stand on guard. They seem to be getting ready for a coordinated search of this wooded area and/or this home. And that's the other issue here. There is a home adjacent to this wooded lot which may have nothing to do with this at all. However, they are staged near this home in the drive way, as well. The home could be part of this.
They are not answering any questions I'm rubbing at them right now. So, I can't get any detailed information. But, something has their interest here whether it is a coordinated grid search that they are just doing out of precaution or whether or not this home or wooded area plays a part in this I don't know.
MARCIANO: To clarify for our viewers you are at a wooded area about a mile away from the temple itself. These pictures are live from our affiliate helicopter, WTMJ at a parking lot and the temple itself. And we don't have control over the live pictures, but nonetheless, we are giving you the information and the pictures as they come.
LEMON: And absolutely, I want to just say Rob, I want to bring Deb in. Deb has some information for us in just a second. But first thing you read this because every single sentiment we have been getting obviously people are horrified by this.
The latest coming in from the Indian ambassador to the United States has issued a statement about the shooting in Oak Creek, Wisconsin. And it says the Sikhs are among the best Indian Americans, patriotic, law abiding, industrious, generous and giving. I grieve with them today.
Roll that back in the prompter. I want to read that again for - if there any hate field people out there, people who are trying to make assumptions about this particular shooting.
Again, this is what the Indian ambassador saying. The Sikhs are among the best Indian American, patriotic, law abiding, industrious, generous and giving. I grieve with them today.
The president released a statement moments ago saying America is enriched by Sikhs.
The press conference, as you see, about to start in just moments here on CNN. And we are going to carry it for you live. Of course, the police chief gave us a couple of updates just a short time ago telling us about for the first time what went on with the shooting.
But as they prepare, I just want to say this. We should not - no one should speculate. No one should be jumping the gun about why this happened. No one should be talking about terrorism. We should be focusing on the victims of this. We should be focusing on what happened inside and what police are finding out in their investigation instead of jumping to conclusions about terrorism and about someone having an issue with the temple and the people there. That may very well be the case but at this point not the time, not the time. It is not the time at least.
There will be a time to talk about gun violence and gun laws and all of those things. Hold your horses, people. Let's let this play out. We should not assume anything. We have done that before and of course, that has gotten us into trouble.
This is a sad, horrific event that all of us need to wrap our heads around especially the people who are directly involved in this situation and that is our focus now. We will talk about other things and about the nuances of Sikhism. We will talk about the nuances of how people of different religions had been targeted and discriminated against 9/11 that will come in gun laws. In the meantime, live to the press conference. Let's listen in. CHIEF BRAD WENTLANDT, GREENFIELD, WISCONSIN POLICE: Before we begin, after that, each of the members will identify themselves and spell their names for you. I do want to give you a phone number before we start so everyone has it. It's 888-298-1964. Again, that's 888-298- 1964. Chief Edwards will speak to this phone number in detail. But I want you all have the number ahead of things. It is 888-298-1964.
Again, I'm Brad Wentlandt. I'm the police chief from Greenfield which is a neighboring community. I have been helping chief Edwards with some of the public information regarding this incident. I will introduce chief Edwards. Chief Edwards will make a statement. Some other individuals behind us may wish to make a statement. We will take a few questions.
I know that many of you have a lots and lots of questions. But please understand, we do not have a lot of answers right now. We will give you the information we can give you. Anything regarding the criminal investigation moving from this point forward, we will not be able to give you information about that. So at this time I will have each of the individuals identify themselves and spell their names for you.
STEVE SCAFFIDI, OAK CREEK MAYOR: Mayor Steve Scaffidi. First name is Steve. Last name is S-C-A-F-F-I-D-I.
TOM RASANDICH, OAK CREEK FIRE CHIEF: City of Oak Creek fire chief, Tom Rosandich. R-O-S-A-N-D-I-C-H.
RICHARD SCHMIDT, INSPECTOR: Inspector Richard Schmidt. S-C-H-M-I-D- T. Sheriff's office.
JOHN CHISHOLM, MILWAUKEE COUNTY DISTRICT ATTORNEY: I'm with the Milwaukee county D.A. Last name is C-H-I-S-H-O-L-M.
THOMAS AGFAHTRN, SPECIAL AGENT. Special agent Thomas Agfahtrn. A-G- F-A-H-T-R-N.
TERESA CARLSON, FBI SPECIAL AGENT: Good afternoon. Teresa Carlson. I'm the special agent in charge of the FBI. T-E-R-E-S-A. Last name Carlson, C-A-R-L-S-O-N.
CHIEF JOHN EDWARDS, OAK CREEK POLICE DEPARTMENT: Chief John Edwards from the Oak Creek police department. J-O-H-N E-D-W-A-R-D-S.
First of all, I want to send out our condolences to the Sikh community for this tragic event that happened today and talk to you a little bit about what happened and give you what I can and what we had happen today where as an individual, our officers responded to a 911 call. And because of the heroic actions of our officers, they this from being worse than it could have been.
Our officers responded to the scene and did find a victim and we are dealing with that individual when our officer, a 20 year veteran was ambushed, shot multiple times. He is currently at the hospital undergoing surgery. We expect him to recover. And another officer who was on scene was engaged by the suspect. Our officer did engage that individual and that individual is deceased from the actions that our officer took.
It stopped a tragic event that could have been a lot worse. There was a service going on with many people at that location. What we have done now is it has taken most of the day to clear that area that the church itself and the surrounding area because of conflicting reports that we got about how many people were involved.
We just were able to clear. What we are going to be doing, we have numerous individuals that we have that are deceased at this point. I don't have total numbers right now. We are working on that. We are going in there shortly.
The FBI will be handling the criminal investigation on this incident. We looked at it, the scope of it and what the implications might be. We are treating it as a domestic terrorist type incident and therefore the FBI has the resources needed to help investigate that. The ATF is also involved with this, along with the Milwaukee police department is assisting us with the DA's office and the officers involved shooting portion of this investigation.
The number that you were given out earlier is for family, family or friends who want information. We ask that only family or friends call that number and then we can forward it through the liaison we have with the Sikh community as far as the status of those individuals. We do not want the media or anyone else calling that number. That is just for family and friends trying to find out the status of those individuals.
At this point we are pretty much doing an investigation that is going to be starting shortly. We are going to be doing another press conference probably 10:00 a.m. tomorrow morning at the Oak Creek police department to give more information.
Right now we are just in the very beginning stages of this investigation and wrapping up the inner perimeter and the initial call that we took and just clearing that. So the investigation starts now.
At this point I'm not going to give out demographics of who the individuals might be as far as ages and genders. We don't have all that information. I'm not releasing it until people are notified. As far as the officer, we know he has family that still needs to be notified. So we are not giving his information out here.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE REPORTER: How many injured?
EDWARDS: As far as we know there are multiple injured. I believe there were two additional.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE REPORTER: What is the total?
EDWARDS: Total from what we have I believe we have seven deceased and three injured including our officer.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE REPORTER: Seven deceased, three injured including our office.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE REPORTER: What do you know about the suspect?
EDWARDS: Right now, I don't have information on the suspect. That is being checked into and is part of the criminal investigation. So right now, I won't be giving anything on that right now.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE REPORTER: What about the weapon?
EDWARDS: Domestic terrorism is somebody who is doing some active terrorism within the compounds of the United States. It is not from another country or anything like that. It is within the United States.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE REPORTER: Have you recovered a weapon?
EDWARDS: As far as a weapon there are weapons on scene. That hasn't covered yet. The evidence team hasn't gone in. There are weapons involved and will be recovered.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE REPORTER: More than one?
EDWARDS: I don't know that.
As far as the timeline the initial call came in somewhere right around 10:30, quarter after ten. I don't have the exact time. Our officers were on the radio getting the information that they were treating someone. We had another officer call out that he had an active shooter. And that point, that is when other officers responded and other agencies were called in. So, it happened within a very short period of time like most of the instances when they happen that is how they happen. It takes place very quickly.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE REPORTER: Any acts of heroism from people who were inside the temple?
EDWARDS: That I don't have. I'm sure there were. There were a lot of people that were interviewed. I don't know the results of the interviews. But I'm sure they were.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE REPORTER: How many people are still in the temple? And will they be able to leave?
EDWARDS: There is nobody left in that temple. The building has been cleared and everybody is removed from that.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE REPORTER: When will the temple be available for devotees?
EDWARDS: I'm sorry, ma'am.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE REPORTER: When will the temple be available for devotees to go for the prayer?
EDWARDS: That, I don't have that information. That is a crime scene and we will be holding it until we have it processed. I don't have that information.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE REPORTER: What else can you say about the suspect being engaged?
EDWARDS: When he engaged our officer and he ended up shooting him, another officer who was on scene, he then engaged that officer by shooting at him. Our officer returned fire killing the suspect.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE REPORTER: What was the suspect wearing?
EDWARDS: I have no idea.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE REPORTER: Any indication more than one shooter?
EDWARDS: Right now, we had multiple reports of different things. And that's it is still inaccurate scene. I can't give you the total information on that. We believe there was one but I can't be sure on that. It is still an active scene with SWAT tactical team in there right now.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE REPORTER: Can you confirm there were children in the building?
EDWARDS: I can't confirm any. It was a church service. I'm sure there were people from all different age groups in that building at the time.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE REPORTER: Why did it take a while for your officers to be able to move in with careful process, it sounded like it was a while before you could clear the SWAT team protection to move in there?
EDWARDS: Because we had an individual that we knew was down. But we also have reports there may be others or we don't know if there are others. So, we can't just go into the building. We have to clear it and do it the way that is tactically safe to make sure that others can come in here. Because we don't want other officers down. We just make it worse. We have to make sure we clear it methodically and make sure we take care of the area secure.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE REPORTER: Any suspect in custody?
EDWARDS: There is no suspect in custody right now.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE REPORTER: How about (INAUDIBLE)?
EDWARDS: I do not have information. I do not know that.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE REPORTER: About how many were in the building at the time of the shooting?
EDWARDS: I don't have the information. I don't have demographics. I don't have numbers for you.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE REPORTER: Anybody at the suspect's home right now? Have you -- ?
EDWARDS: I'm not going to get into any part of the criminal investigation, anything that is going on with that right now. WENTLANDT: Thank you all for your time today as chief Edwards said, there will be another briefing tomorrow morning at 10:00 a.m. At this time Mayor Scaffidi would like to say a few words, if you accord on that courtesy, please.
SCAFFIDI: City of Oak Creek is outraged by the senseless act of violence that happened in our city today. And our thought and prayers go out to those victims. We are grateful for the heroic actions of one of our officers -- two of our officers who made a very dangerous situation a little bit better and probably saved lives. So, we are thankful for that and hope they have a speedy recovery. The city will cooperate in any way as with all the federal state county officials. As the investigation continues, we will have more to say on this tomorrow morning.
WENTLANDT: As I said tomorrow morning 10:00 a.m. at the Oak Creek police department. No other information will be released from any official source until 10:00 a.m. tomorrow morning. As you can imagine, there is a number of things that have to get done before we release any additional information including notifying family members. We have to get crime scene technicians inside. It is a very large scene. It is going to take a long time to process.
So, please bear with us as we gather the best information to release to you. We don't want to give bad information and have to change that, either. Please see us 10:00 a.m. tomorrow morning at the Oak Creek police department.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE REPORTER: What will happen here over the next few hours? What you will be doing before we let you go?
WENTLANDT: Well, I can tell you right now the tactical officers that have been on the scene are standing down. They're hydrating quite frankly. They have been out here a long time in very, very warm temperatures and under a lot of stress.
What will happen is we will keep the scene secure. Oak Creek officers will have a perimeter keeping the scene secure. Crime scene technicians will come in. They will identify the individuals involved. They will then turn those individuals over to the medical examiner. And evidence will be collected and processed. This will take many, many hours. These individuals will be here likely all night long.
The federal bureau of investigation, as Chief Edwards said, will be taking over and overseeing the criminal investigation. They will be assisted by the Oak Creek police department. And obviously, many other agencies that are here on scene will assist.
But understand that the process of interviewing all of the individuals that were here, interviewing the family members of the victims, notifications of family members and getting all of the stories and collecting and gathering all the information is a lengthy process. So this situation will be on going.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE REPORTER: (INAUDIBLE) WENTLANDT: There will be an extensive investigation moving forward.
At this point as I said earlier it's believed that the reports of multiple shooters were likely reports of the same shooter from different perspectives which is very common in an active shooter incident. Almost every active shooter situation including the recent one in Colorado, there were immediate reports of multiple shooters. But you have to realize that for many individuals that are on the scene that are all viewing what is happening from different angles and they are all calling the police, they are all calling 911, it usually comes in as a multiple shooter situation.
But the best information that the investigators and the tactical teams have right now is that there was only one gunman. However, the Oak Creek police department and tactical teams from Milwaukee and Milwaukee county sheriff's department are still methodically searching the area just to be sure that they are on the safe side.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE REPORTER: Is there more than the seven dead? Is that what I understood?
WENTLANDT: No. We don't have any information for you at this time. I know you have a lot of questions. The best time to ask those is tomorrow morning. I think we will have a lot more information for you. So, 10:00 a.m. tomorrow morning at the Oak Creek police department. Thank you.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE REPORTER: Tell us your name once again, Chief.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE REPORTER: Get lauder.
WENTLANDT: I'm sorry. It's Wendlandt.
MARCIANO: We just heard from the police chief of Oak Creek and the mayor, other agencies on site. There, they did not speak. They will resume tomorrow morning, but not a whole lot of additional information given there, Don. Although, he did describe the scene of the two officers that originally were on site, one treating the victim outside and being ambushed by the shooter, and then the second officer engaging that shooter in putting him down.
LEMON: Absolutely. And he is saying again,, seven people are dead. This is the latest from the press conference that just wrapped up just moments ago here. Three injured including the officer. Three injured including the officer. We have heard from the hospital that that officer was taken to the Froedtert hospital and is being treated now. Multiple gunshot wounds to the three victims who were there in face, abdomen and extremities.
They have no information, they say, on the suspect. No information yet. They said the officers and the evidence team have not gone in yet. And they are going to get more information from the scene as soon as they get the evidence people in there to work that scene. They believe at this point, they say it is one shooter. But still it is an active scene and they are not exactly sure. There could be another but they believe it is only one. They had no other person in custody. Everyone they say is out of the temple. They said that they do believe that once they go in, they will recover guns on the scene but they have not gone in to recover them yet. That's according to them. But our Deb Feyerick has information on that, on what they are finding on the scene.
Deb, what can you tell us?
DEBORAH FEYERICK, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well Don and Rob, what we do know is that first of all there were two handguns that were found on the scene, both of them semiautomatics. That's all the information we have. Now, this is according to somebody with information of what is going on there on the ground, two semiautomatic handguns. It is not clear who purchased them, how they were purchased, whether legal or illegal.
One thing that is a little bit unusual in this kind of shooting is that the gunman is presumed dead. So therefore the suggestion is that they know who it is. They know who this man is. The FBI is taking the lead on this investigation. It is being investigated as an act of domestic terrorism. And they usually what they will do is once they obtain a search warrant they will go to the suspect's home, look through computers, look through papers, find any sort of evidence that they can find in order to identify what his motivation was and whether he did have accomplices.
You know, also interesting is when you see the vehicles that were in the parking lot at the staging area, the ambulances, the fire engines, they are going to have to bring in a medical examiner. This whole temple is now a crime scene. They have to piece together how the gunman entered, where he went first, how he moved in that building. And then also how he got out.
And as you mentioned, and this is really important because initially we thought the police officer who was shot critically was the officer who had returned fire. But in fact, they clarified that saying that an officer was ambushed and then a second officer opened fire on that gunman. So clearly this police department, the Oak Creek police department which is not a large police department certainly, but compared to Milwaukee for example, they also have suffered a certain trauma because one of their own was effectively gunned down.
So the investigation, criminal investigation is going to be handed over to the FBI. They have the resources to look into this and also to see, you know, whether there was any other nexus. What that means is they look to see whether anybody else may have been involved.
LEMON: Deb, stand by Deb. We want to get to the hospital. Let's listen in.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: At approximately 11:18 we received a call from emergency responders aft the scene. We localized the appropriate physicians and nurses to care for the patients, consistent with the many drills for these situations as a level one trauma center. These drills are done in the collaboration with our emergency response.
LEMON: All right. So we are working on trying to get that sound better for you because we need to get that information. And we will go back into that.
But we have been talking here with Deb Feyerick and also Rob Marciano talking about what police officers just said and so what we say -- when we say we shouldn't jump the gun or assume anything. Now that police, as we have said, they asked a question about, in the press conference, as terrorism. And what the officer said is any type of situation they have like this they investigate as an act of domestic terrorism.
Now, we can talk -- it is appropriate to talk about this because we didn't know. They are saying they have the FBI assisting in this investigation. Police, of course, sheriff's department, the ATF, the district attorney's office and as you heard the police chief there say, any type of incident like this they investigate as an act of domestic terrorism.
But again, saying, cautioning us they don't know anything about the shooter. They are not releasing any information about the shooter. They are holding off on the reports of guns. But you have found information. But I think it is important now that we can begin to talk about it. And so, now that it has come out of the mouth of an official person here.
FEYERICK: Yes. And you know, one thing, Don, and that is, you know when we think about domestic terrorism, obviously, the last or one of the last that everybody remembers certainly was the bombing of the Moro building. That was done by Timothy McVeigh. That was considered an act of domestic terrorism. The fact that a gunman walked into a temple, a Sikh temple, and Indian temple, that too would be considered an act of domestic terrorism.
Also, the FBI does have the resources to investigate this type of crime. Again, they want to make sure that this is not one individual who was acting on behalf of more individuals. And that is really what they are searching for. This has been playing out over the last 6 1/2 hours.
When you think about it, normally, we would be getting at least some idea of who the gunman is especially since presumably he was shot dead. But they are not even releasing that much information. They are going to want to go. They are going to want to check into his background. They did recover two semiautomatic handguns that were found at the scene.
LEMON: That is according to your sources, right Deb?
FEYERICK: That is according to our sources, yes. According to a source, who has a knowledge, who is familiar with the investigation taking place there, that they did find the two semiautomatic hand guns. It makes sense. He, the gunman, presumably shot dead, his guns would have been found next to him. Also, they have got those victims who are in the hospital. Also, they got the gunshots, the bullet wounds, all of that shrapnel will be used as evidence. But Don, you know, when we started reporting this so many hours ago, the hospitals were bracing themselves for as many as 20 to 30 casualties.
What we got now is clearly still really an unbearable number, seven shot and killed, three critically wounded. Of the many people were on their way to that temple to pray. The community was in celebration mode. It could have been much, much worse. The temple would have been much more packed, much more filled with folks.
So again, the seven that were shot and killed, the community a small tiny community, they know now who those victims are and they know that this has changed things radically because they were targeted at a place that for them was considered a safe place, a place of family, a place of devotion, of worship, so really, a place where you are most vulnerable.
Right now, all of it is under investigation. You have FBI. You have the Milwaukee police department. You have the ATF that is also going to be looking into this. So, a lot of different players, a lot of different factors, and the district attorney also who would likely take it to the next step in terms of seeing whether there is anybody else -- Don.
LEMON: Yes. And just a little more details about what was coming out. And I think that was well put there. Deb, thank you.
But Deb is getting information on the guns from a CNN source. Police would not talk about that. Again, I think it is important now as we said, because we have initially this is terrorism. This is domestic terrorism. Why aren't you saying, well, until the cops say it and the investigators say it we can't call it that because we don't know the investigation and how it is going to play out.
But, now that the police chief has said they are investigating this anytime they have a situation like this as an act of domestic terrorism it is fine for us to say it now. That is how it is being investigated. But with a word of caution, we don't know anything about the shooter.
MARCIANO: They did not give us much information about the shooter. Now, earlier descriptions that scanned in our affiliates were that it was a male that was bald and cleanly shaven.
Let's bring in Eric Marrapodi right now, co-editor of our belief blog.
And Eric, you made a point via e-mail to Don and I earlier that if in fact that is the description of the shooter he is definitely not part of that congregation. Why?
ERIC MARRAPODI, CO-EDITOR, CNN BELIEF BLOG: Yes, absolutely. One of the key tenants for male Sikhs is to let their hair grow long and wrap it in a turbine and to let the beard go long. That is not just a fashion statement, guys. That's attentive their belief. It is a deeply held devotion. It is a sign of submission to God. And it is one of the key things that identifies men here in particular in the United States as Sikhs. And we see typically from an Indian background, it typically wearing the turbine and beard. And that is one of the clearest identifiers.
And like we talked about earlier, one of the reasons why they are often misinterpreted is being followers of Islam as being Muslims. And so, when we heard those scanner reports and from our affiliates one thing to me there is a good chance this is not a fellow who went to this Gudwara, who is not a member of their community necessarily or at least not a practicing will be considered a person in good standing with that particular faith.
So, as we are waiting and watching for these developments to come clear -- this is one of the things I think a lot of people in the Sikh community are going be looking at is why they were targeted and it could even speak to the fact as to why the police are calling this is domestic terrorism incident.
One of the things, you know, I have covered a lot of church shootings in the past. And often times what we see is someone coming in with a gripe against a pastor or against the spouse and is targeting a specific individual or a specific faith. It is not very often that we see a shooter come in and target an entire congregation or an ethnic or religious minority like this. And that is probably why I think we are seeing them treating this as a terrorism incident. And again, we will keep watching and waiting as we see what is happening.
You can see this is footage from the belief blog from earlier last year of what a temple service looks like in the Gudwara (ph). What goes on, you see the music and the prayers and the devotion. And then after the service where they are focusing on the scripture underneath that canopy you will see them go and practice this act of a communal meal, the linger, which we heard the women were preparing in this incident going and working in the kitchen.
And you can see the colorful saris that the women are wearing. This is part of Indian fashion. And you will see the heads covered both the man and the women as they focus on the scripture and prayers, sitting on the floor, feet off. No shoes on and of course bowing in prayer and meditation as they go through hymns and scripture there as part of their worship services.
MARCIANO: The pictures that we are showing it is a beautiful spectacle there of ceremony and worship, of a time of peace, obviously, and celebration. I would think this morning, Eric.
When you talk about the faith of these people and the basis of some religions will, you know, eye for an eye and others will turn the other cheek and forgive. What do you know about how they think going forward in a situation like this?
MARRAPODI: Incredibly peaceful folks. The tenants of the faith are meditation on God, hard work and community service. This not a faith where we see I think a retaliation in the other way who were looking for revenge. I think we are going to see an incredibly peaceful response from the Sikh community. Something we have been seeing a little bit in some of the responses that we have been getting in, statements from Sikh groups around the country, again, incredibly peaceful folks.
And another thing, we talk about the fabric of American life with half a million or more Sikhs here in the United States, one of the things we notice is they are often on the forefront of religious liberty debates because of things like the long hair and the beard and the turban. We saw this year in the United States military, one of the first members of the armed services in the army who was allowed to join and continue to wear his turbine in the practice of his service, of his faith and in the military as this country. So, it is something that gets really to the heart of the devotion.
MARCIANO: Eric Marrapodi from our belief blog, good insight there, Eric. And stay with us, obviously, as the situation develops. We were trying to hear from that presser that the microphones were not quite working for the last minutes.
LEMON: And the doctor who was giving that press conference, giving that briefing is going to join us in just a moment to clarify exactly what is going on at the hospital. The victims he received and what conditions they are in and getting more information from police officers.
Our Deb Feyerick, working in New York to get information from her sources, law enforcement sources as well. But I think this press conference that just wrapped up gave us some very interesting perspective about what happened at that temple and how law enforcements are investigating this particular incident.
We have heard from the police chief. They are saying this is being investigated as an act, as you see it there, of domestic terrorism. You will hear from the doctor at the hospital on the other side of the break.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.
LEMON: An update from the hospital receiving patients from this temple shooting just happened live on CNN there just moments ago. But to get clarification of this hard to hear, we want to go now to the chief medical officer there, Lee Biblo from Froedtert hospital.
How many people do you have in the hospital, sir?
DOCTOR LEE BIBLO, CHIEF MEDICAL OFFICER, FROEDTERT HOSPITAL (via phone): We have received and are treating three adult males.
LEMON: Can you give us conditions?
BIBLO: They are, clearly, they are all in critical condition.
LEMON: All in critical condition. Earlier, you told me they are all adults, all male, critical condition. Describe the injuries and do you know the age range of these individuals?
BIBLO: We don't know the specific ages, sort of older than 40. I can give you the injuries. One victim suffered injuries to the abdomen and chest, one to the extremities and face, and one suffered injuries to the neck. Two of the three individuals have under gone surgery. The third is currently undergoing a complex procedure.
LEMON: OK. Do we know which one is the police officer?
BIBLO: I do but in deference to the family, we are not releasing that specific information yet.
LEMON: All in critical conditions. You said abdomen and chest one. One you said extremities and the other to the face.
BIBLO: The other to the neck.
LEMON: To the neck. And you are level one trauma center so you are prepared to this and I'm sure that helped in this particular situation. Are you expecting -- what is the expectation from all of these victims? Are they all expected to be OK?
BIBLO: We are very hopeful but they have suffered significant injuries. So, we are doing absolutely the best we can. Unfortunately, as a level on trauma center, receiving three gunshot victims in a single day is not unusual. And so, we were well prepared to care for these patients.
LEMON: OK. And again, you said you could not confirm which of the victims was an officer, but you are treating the police officer, correct?
BIBLO: Yes, we are.
LEMON: OK. But, you won't confirm which injuries he has.
BIBLO: Yes. Again, in deference to the family, we would like to hold that information.
LEMON: Earlier Mr. Biblo, you described the injuries. When you said to the abdomen you said multiple gunshot wounds to the face. Is it multiple to the abdomen and multiple to the extremities? Can you clarify that for us?
BIBLO: The abdomen appears to be a single bullet wound. The extremities and face are multiple.
LEMON: OK. And at this point, not expecting to get anymore victims into the hospital, correct?
BIBLO: Right. We have been notified that there are some wounded but being cared for elsewhere.
LEMON: And do you expect to update soon after this?
BIBLO: We plan on releasing an update again at 8:30? LEMON: When are you expecting to update again the media and --?
BIBLO: About 8:30 this evening.
LEMON: 8:30 central time this evening. Thank you very much. Lee Biblo is the chief medical officer at Froedtert hospital in Wisconsin where the three victims were taken. Again, you are hearing it is very serious. They are in critical condition, we are being told. One single bullet to the abdomen, one of them multiple gunshot wounds to the chest, also multiple gunshot wounds to the face and extremities, as well. One of those was a police officer. He wouldn't clarify which one he said in deference to the family, very sad event unfolding in Wisconsin just two weeks after we had a major shooting in Aurora, Colorado.
We are back in a moment. Live coverage here on CNN.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.
LEMON: It is breaking news. There has been a shooting at a temple in Wisconsin. Seven people are dead including the gunman. Three people in the hospital in critical condition, one of those people a police officer who was according to police on the scene who just updated us, ambushed by the shooter but the police officer did take the gunman down.
We are getting statements from all sorts of representatives at different communities as well as the president of the United States releasing a statement just moments ago. And it says in part at this difficult time the people at Oak Creek must know the American people have them in our thoughts and prayers. And our hearts go out to the families and friends of those who were killed and wounded. My administration will provide whatever support is necessary to the officials who are responding to this tragic shooting and moving forward with an investigation.
MARCIANO: Also, as you would imagine a statement from Mitt Romney on the shooting, as well, at the Sikh temple there in Wisconsin. And he says, Ann and I extend our thoughts and prayers to the victims of today's shooting in Wisconsin. This was a senseless act of violence and a tragedy that should never befall any house of worship. Our hearts are with the victims, their families and the entire Oak Creek Sikh community. We join Americans everywhere in mourning those who lost their lives and in prayer for healing and the difficult days ahead.
LEMON: I mean, I think it is with these very powerful sentiments that are coming in, peace, kindness, about what has happened there and to the Sikh community especially those directly involved. The Indian ambassador to the United States has issued a statement about the shooting in Oak Creek and it says, the Sikhs are among the best Indian Americans, patriotic, law abiding, industrious, generous and giving. I grieve with them today. MARRAPODI: And also, the largest Sikh American civil rights organization in the United States in motion now. It has an emergency response to the shooting at temple in Wisconsin. But on personal level according to a spokesman, the Sikh's coalition's thoughts and prayers are with the victims of the shooting, the Sikh community of Milwaukee, and the larger community of Wisconsin which we know will stand with their Sikh neighbors with their support and prayers during this very trying time.
LEMON: Absolutely. Our national correspondent, Susan Candiotti, is standing by. She has been talking to her law enforcement sources and gathering information.
Susan, what are you hearing?
SUSAN CANDIOTTI, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): So far we understand that police have recovered two handguns, both of them semiautomatics from the scene. Both of these hand guns believed to have been used by the shooting. This is from a law enforcement source with direct knowledge of the investigation.
But Don, so far, it is so early in the investigation. We don't yet have information on how many bullets may have been fired and the make or models of the semiautomatic hand guns, where they were bought. All of that is what federal law enforcement agents working hand in hand with local law enforcement agents and officers will be doing to trace the origin of these guns who kept some of this very critical information.
LEMON: Absolutely. And at the press conference, Susan, police would not talk about the recovery of guns. They are saying the evidence team had not gone in and apparently, obviously did not want to give away much information about this and what we are hearing - CNN is hearing this from the source about the guns that are being recovered.
Also, Susan, Ted Rowlands watching a scene un-fold, not far from the temple, as well, where he is seeing law enforcement. They are doing another sweep. We heard about this tactical sweeps. He is also watching this play out, as well. The officers at the press conference say this is still an active crime scene.
And also important, Susan, you are based in New York and we talk about this a lot. Police now saying anytime they have a situation like this especially in a house of worship, they are investigating now as a domestic act of terrorism.
CANDIOTTI: That's right. All throughout of that's seen this happen from time to time in the United States. And that is why all resources will be brought to bear to try to get down to the bottom of this to find out who was involved.
You heard the police chief say that at this time they believe there is only one shooter. The fact of the matter is they are just beginning their investigation. So they have to look at all possible angles here to see what else may be at play, motive for this. And you heard him saying that they believe it at this time to be an act of domestic terrorism. And that's why they have to treat this very carefully and look to all possible angles to see if the shooter was working by himself, where the weapon or weapons in this case apparently came from. They have a lot of work ahead of them.
LEMON: All right. And very well put, thank you. And then, we have to be, of course, very careful about how this is reported because, again, unless and until law enforcement says anything or we find out information from sources, it is merely speculation.
So Susan, very well put. Again, police were being cautious about it, investigators, as well. And of course, it's the right thing to do to be cautious in the reporting of this until you get official confirmation. But now, we are hearing it being investigated as domestic terrorism, Rob.
MARCIANO: Strong words there. And our Deb Feyerick is with us from New York.
Deb, what is the patriot act say specifically about how this is defined?
FEYERICK: And you know, and it is interesting because in this kind of situation, they're making calls as they look and analyze the evidence and get details of who the shooter is and why he may have done this.
But under the patriotic act, domestic terrorism is involved -- is defined, excuse me, as any act designed to intimidate or coerce a civilian population or to influence a policy or a government. Those are some of the definitions of the patriot act and domestic terrorism as defined there under.
But also, these are activities that can compass activists. For example, different groups targeting interests that applies to the United States. So, you know, when we look at it as domestic terrorism, clearly they are looking at who the shooter was, where he comes from, what ties he may have had. But right now, they are calling it domestic terrorism as opposed to something like international terrorism. And there is a definition, but again, it's designed to intimidate or coerce a civilian population. Again, this targeted to the Sikh community. Yes, Don?
LEMON: I want to jump in here because we are calling it -- when you said they are calling it domestic terrorism, they don't know if this is domestic. They are investigating it as an act of domestic terrorism. And as we have been saying, clearly, it could clearly be that once they found out. But that's how they are investing and I hate to --
LEMON: I hate to belabor the point, but we want to be clear about it.
FEYERICK: Correct. But the second they bring in the FBI, OK, then the dynamic changes. It could be that they are doing it because the FBI has resources that the Oak Creek police department does not have. They are able to investigate it within a larger context.
Again, but there are certain definitions, so, when they say they are investigating it as an act of domestic terrorism, it's because it may raise to the threshold of designed to intimidate or coerce a population or activities that go against a particular group. So, that's why they are looking at it.
The real test will be to see whether it's going to be handled, for example, by a district attorney, or by a local investigator or whether there will have by a U.S. attorney. We have calls on that to see exactly where the threshold lies.
LEMON: Very good clarification. Thank you, Deb.
And as we said, once Deb and Rob this place out may very well be it. And of course, when look at someone goes onto a house of worship if they are not a member of that house of worship, if they are not wearing the head -- the turban and the head dress, that's the word I was looking for, that people of this faith normally wear. It would be an indication this person is not of this faith.
And so again, we want to be cautious again. I hate to keep belaboring the point. Chances are that this is indeed true, then that may be what happens here in the final analysis.
MARCIANO: And we still have --
LEMON: That's how it's being investigated. It is investigated as an act of domestic terrorism. That's not the final conclusion.
MARCIANO: Initial reports of the scanner affiliate said that the gunman had no hair be it facial or on his head, which has Don pointed out would indicate he is not a member of that congregation. But at the press conference just a few minutes ago from the police department, they did not confirm the description that we were describing earlier. So, we can't necessarily set that in stone either. So, that is still yet to be determined.
LEMON: Yes, and listen. As we are talking about this, I also think it's important to think about the people who are involved in this. Can you imagine having to go, going to a place of peace, that you go to every -- so many people go to their places of worship some every day, most people at least once a week, and a peaceful place where your guard is down. You're not necessarily concerned about violence to happen in that place. Just as people don't think a violent incident would play out in a movie theater that happened two weeks ago in Aurora, Colorado. All of a sudden this morning, the people here were confronted by someone either who is bent on revenge of some type, but wants to make a point or a deranged person, then this happens.
I want to focus on the people who were involved in this, directly related, the victims, of course. We know that there are six victims, one shooter who is dead, according to police. And they confirmed. At first they said it was assumed. Now they are confirming that this shooter is dead. Focus on those people. Can you imagine what they are dealing with right now? Our thoughts and prayers go out to the people still in the hospital, the officer who is fighting for his life. All three of us people fighting for their lives with multiple gunshot wounds. And as we go back and forth about, what is it terrorism, was is gun violence, or what have you, let's focus on that and keep those people in our thoughts.
MARCIANO: That conversation can be had when the details of this come forward. And we are giving them to you as we get them as well. And we are as frustrated as anybody else as far as how readily they become available. But, these still needs to be flashed out and there are still tactical teams on the ground still doing their jobs. And make me very --
LEMON: I think they are doing - I should think they are doing a very good job. We've been updated a number of times as this happens this morning, getting more details coming in as we speak. We'll take a quick break. We are back in a moment here on CNN. Don't go anywhere.