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New Details Coming Out About Naval Yard Shooting; Official: Gunman Snuck Gun Onto Navy Yard Grounds; Surveying The Damage In Colorado

Aired September 17, 2013 - 20:00   ET


ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Erin, thanks very much.

Good evening, everyone. We are live in Washington, D.C., near the site of the Navy Yard where yesterday 12 innocent lives were cut short. Whenever a mass murderer strikes, it always seems to come out of the blue. Then the days that follow, we learn about the warning signs.

Today, 36 hours after a gunman drove into that Navy Yard right down the street, walked into Building 197, pulled out a shotgun and killed a dozen people, those warning signs came into view.

So tonight we're going to focus heavily on the indications, dating back nearly a decade that a shooter was slowly being overtaken by serious mental illness. We will also look at what he managed to do what he did. There's breaking news on that and how he managed actually to get a shotgun inside the Navy Yard. We'll also cover what's being done to address what now seems to be serious breaches in security.

But tonight, as we do with many mass shooting, we want to focus as much as possible on the lives that were lost. We believe that too often too much focus is on the killer. Now, in this case, that's understandable. Authorities are still trying to learn as much as they can about this man and are appealing for the public's help with any information.

But we hope history remembers not his name, but the names of those 12 innocent lives lost yesterday, and so tonight we want to introduce you to some of those people as much as we know about them. We are able to interview the family of a woman who was killed yesterday. Her name is Kathy Gaarde. Her daughter had a simple request of us and it's a privilege to honor it tonight for her and for everyone who lost someone they love yesterday.


JESSICA GAARDE, MOTHER KILLED IN D.C. NAVY YARD SHOOTING: Everything is going on at once, I wanted to know she lives. She is not a number. The person who did this --

COOPER: You wanted to know the person that she was and the life that she led. J. GAARDE: Because she was so caring and she would do anything for anyone she loved.


COOPER: That is Jessica Gaarde, with her dad, talking about her mom Kathy Gaarde, who as she said is not a number, is not a statistic. Kathy Gaarde was 62 years old. She was a huge fan of the Washington Capital's hockey team. She loved Hall and Oats, she even loved the Bee Gees and went to their concert. She loved animals, counted bluebirds for the local wildlife refuge.

She and Douglas, her husband, were planning their retirement. Doug had already retired. Kathy was just a few months away from retiring. They are planning the rest of their life together.

Mike Ridgell was 52 years old. A security guard at the Navy Yard. After 17 years at the Maryland State Police, he served three years as a security contractor in Iraq. His daughter, Megan, echoes what Jessica Gaarde said.


MEGAN, FATHER KILLED IN D.C. NAVY YARD SHOOTING: I don't want people to remember him as a victim because he never was in his life and he never will be. He's strong. I want him to be known as a dad, both a victim of a shooting, because he was a great dad for all of us.


COOPER: Michael Arnold was a graduate of the Naval Academy. An avid pilot, he was building his own plane that he hoped to fly to visit his mom. He wanted to do it before he turned 60. Michael Arnold was 59 years old.

John Roger Johnson, who went by J.J., lived in the same suburban Maryland town for the last three decades. A neighbor there always says he had a smile on his face. He was 73 years old.

Fifty-year-old Frank Kohler lives south of here in Tall Timbers, Maryland. He leaves behind a wife and two daughters.

We also learned more today about 46-year-old Kenneth Bernard Proctor who worked as utilities foreman at the Navy Yard. He had two teenage children, one who just joined the Army.

Vishnu Pandit and his wife lived in North Potomac, Maryland, where a neighbor described him as a very nice man. He was 61 years old.

Mary Francis Knight was the daughter of a Green Beret, with two daughters of her own. In addition to her work as an I.T. contractor, she taught at a nearby community college.

Like Michael Arnold, Martin Bodrog was a ship -- midshipman. He served 22 years in the military, taught Sunday school for preschoolers and in wintertime helped shovel driveways for elderly neighbors. He was the kind of person you'd want as a neighbor. He leaves a wife of 23 years and three daughters. Martin Bodrog was 54.

Arthur Daniels lived right here in southeast Washington. He and his wife Priscilla had five children, nine grandchildren. He worked as a handyman in Building 197. Arthur was 51 years old.

We still don't know much about Sylvia Frasier. She was 53. We hope to learn more about her in the days ahead. And Gerald Read spent much of his career in military law enforcement as a systems analyst. He had two masters degrees, worked in risk management at the Navy Yard, loved books about the civil war. Loved animals. He had three rescue Labrador retrievers, as a matter fact, an Irish setter and two cats. Quite a menagerie there.

We honor them all tonight. And today, so did official Washington.


The Bugler playing "Taps." Defense Secretary Hagel laid a wreath today at Navy Memorial Plaza on Pennsylvania Avenue. Secretary Hagel has ordered a review of security measures at bases around the country and around the world.

And even as he did, a picture of the gunman began snapping into focus. New details about his troubled past, his brushes with the law, violent episodes. And despite it all, got and kept his security clearance. Now he managed to arm himself for yesterday's rampage.

Now important new piece to this story, new details today about an encounter the gunman had with police as recently as August where he claimed to be hearing voices.

Our Deb Feyerick has been chasing this angle all day, has new developments -- Deb.

DEBORAH FEYERICK, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, this is what we can tell you, Anderson. Just over six weeks ago, the gunman called Newport, Rhode Island Police. He told them that he was being followed. Three people he did not see but who he was convinced were out to hurt him.

He told police, quote, "He had never felt anything like this," unquote, and that he believed his harassers were using, in his words, some sort of microwave machine to send vibrations through the ceiling penetrating his body so that he couldn't fall asleep.

This was August in Newport. He actually changed hotels three times. But the voices of the people coming through the floor and ceiling simply didn't go away. The shooter believed that his harassers had been sent by someone that he had argued with on his flight from Virginia to Rhode Island. He told police he did not have any history of mental illness in the family, that he'd never had any sort of mental episode. But it's at this time, Anderson, that he goes to a big facility in Rhode Island and also in Washington, D.C. We are now learning that he was treated only for sleep-related disorders. Newport Police were so concerned that they contacted their counterparts at the naval station, because of the implications that specifically one of their contractors was hearing voices. They sent a copy of that incident report.

The officer on duty said that it would be followed up but neither the Navy nor the FBI will comment on what happened to that information -- Anderson.

COOPER: And, Deb, his father claims he was an active participant in the 911 rescue attempts down in Manhattan in 2001, which seems -- excuse me, on 9/11 which seems, I mean, odd because he wasn't in the military at that time. What do we know about that?

FEYERICK: Correct. Well, a source with direct knowledge of the investigation told us earlier today that his -- the father told police in 2004 his son was suffering from some sort of PTSD as a result of 9/11. What we've learned is that he had been working as an assistant computer administrator at a community college right near ground zero. He was there on 9/11 when the towers fell. And after the towers came down that campus was a staging area for first responders.

So whether he was doing what everyone was doing, which was pitching in to try to help people at that moment, it appears this really impacted him. He left New York soon after and really never returned for any length of time. Last time he was there was back in 2010 -- Anderson.

COOPER: All right. Deb Feyerick, appreciate that update.

The gunman's first run-in with the law was 2004. It happened in Seattle. And just moments ago we learned that the Navy was aware of that encounter, but granted him a security clearance anyway. That's according to a senior naval officer.

Seattle is where Gary Tuchman is tonight. He joins us right now.

So, Gary, what are you learning about what happened there?

GARY TUCHMAN, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Anderson, three years before he entered the military the shooter lived in this house in Seattle with his grandmother. His grandmother still lives here. But on a May day in 2004, the shooter was angry. He felt disrespected by construction workers next door.

We know this from the Seattle Police Department police report they've given us. So he walked out the door, walked through this fence, and walked next door. This building wasn't there back then. It was being built by construction workers. The construction workers were here building the building. There was a 1986 Honda Accord sitting right here.

He, the shooter, had a .45 caliber Glock. He took the Glock and fired the right tire then he fired the left tire. Then he took a third shot into the sky. He went back into his house. The construction workers then called the police. The police came, ultimately interviewed the shooter and decided to arrest him and they charged him with malicious mischief. He faced the possibility of up to year in prison.

This is what one of the officers said in the police report, quote, "He said that he didn't remember pulling the trigger of his firearm until about one hour later. Alexis also told me how he was present during the tragic events of September 11th, 2011 and how those events had disturbed him. He said it was a blackout fueled by anger. The shooter said he didn't remember anything."

Well, here's what ultimately happened, Anderson, is that the police reported this to the Seattle Municipal Court. But under the laws of this area, you have to report this type of prosecution to the City's Attorney's Office. Well, the City Attorney's Office tells us today they never got any report whatsoever, so therefore they couldn't pursue a prosecution. And this man, the shooter, who lived in this house, never got any trouble for this episode -- Anderson.

COOPER: And I know you tried to talk to his grandmother today. Did she talk?

TUCHMAN: Right. Well, this is where she lives. And she still lives to this day, also with an aunt, we believe. I actually talked to her on the phone last night. And when I told her where I was from, she hung up on me.

We must mention she's in her 90s. We don't want to upset her. She's obviously going through some great trials and tribulations. We knocked on her door again today, she's still not talking. We know she's inside, though, because we saw a hand come out earlier to take the newspaper and mail.

And also last night police came. Seattle Police came. About an hour later the FBI came. They both went inside the house, we're told. They went inside the house because they got calls from the family in New York to make sure that she was OK and the police say at this point she is OK, but she's not talking.

COOPER: All right. Gary, I appreciate that. I want to turn next to former FBI profiler Mary Ellen O'Toole, who's here with me now.

What do you make of all the information that's come out so far?

MARY ELLEN O'TOOLE, AUTHOR, "DANGEROUS INSTINCTS": Well, he continues to be really a very inconsistent person. He's been described as being very sweet. He's been described as being very aggressive. And when a person is described like that, you look at their aggressive side and for him, going back in 2004, he didn't like the way that these construction workers looked at him. They mocked him.

They dissed him. And so instead of using, you know, an appropriate response, he goes and he pulls out his Glock and he shoots their tires out. It's completely disproportionate to what they did.

That is a very critical piece of information because that really defines an injustice collector. I don't like what you did --

COOPER: An injustice collector.

O'TOOLE: An injustice collector.

COOPER: That means somebody who sort of holds on to grievances?

O'TOOLE: They go through life holding on to grievances and they perceive grievances even when they're not there. And their response to being mocked or to being disrespected is extremely disproportional to the -- to the original behavior, which is to pull out a gun. He does it again in 2010 to his neighbor down in Texas. That's really indicative of very dangerous behavior.

COOPER: Also, there was this report that he -- they claimed to have gotten into an argument with somebody on a flight recently and was hearing voices.

The idea that -- I mean, that seems odd to me that somebody later in life. I mean, you expect somebody in their early 20s to maybe develop schizophrenia and start to hear voices. That's typically when we start to hear of something like that.

O'TOOLE: Well, I -- more will come out on that. But you're right. And in 2004 and in 2010, according to the reports, he did not take responsibility for that behavior. So at this point, you have to wonder, does he hear voices because it's convenient right now? Or is he really suffering from auditory hallucinations?

I find it very unusual that someone who's suffering from auditory hallucinations and seeks out medical treatment is simply treated for some type of sleep disorder and then -- and then is released. That doesn't make any sense to me.

COOPER: In mass shootings, I mean, it seems like there wasn't particular targets here that he basically was firing to an atrium of people who are having breakfast.

O'TOOLE: Well, more will probably come out on there.

COOPER: Right.

O'TOOLE: So there may have been -- for example, there may have been some kind of disagreement with a boss or a co-worker. And if it happened in front of other people, he could very likely have seen that as being terribly humiliating. Then you have that disproportional response. So this is an individual that's very un-predictive in terms of how he'll respond to how he is treated by other people. And that unpredictability is also one of those variables that makes him dangerous.

COOPER: Mary Ellen O'Toole, I appreciate you being here with us. Thank you very much. O'TOOLE: You're welcome.

COOPER: As I said at the top we do have breaking news. We've just learned that the killer got the shotgun into Building 197 by actually breaking it down to pieces, carrying it inside in a bag and re-assembling it inside. We also learned that gun was loaded with 12- gage buck shots.

John King is with me now. He's got more on the killer's deadly journey into and through the office building.

What are we learning?

JOHN KING, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: We're learning, Anderson, as they piece this cream scene together, they have a substantial amount, I'm told, of video information, video surveillance cameras in the building and outside the building. They also have all the eyewitness accounts and they have the carnage, they have the bodies. So the blood --


COOPER: So ballistics people on the scene right now.

KING: So they have been in there and everything they see, everything they find is a data point that they put into a computer program where they're essentially re-assembling a model of what they believed happened. And here's what they think happened right now.

Early in the morning in the 8:00 hour as we've talked about, the shooter drove up, showed his I.D., went in, walked inside, was carrying a bag. Video surveillance does show him going into a bathroom on the fourth floor. He emerges with a shotgun at the ready.

COOPER: So it seems like he assembled that shotgun inside that bag.

KING: They're pretty easy to take apart and put together. You can do it in a matter of seconds. It's a Remington pump action. More than 10 million of them in circulation around the world. Comes out very early on. They believe he had an encounter with the security guard and took his 9 millimeter shotgun. That is you talked of one of the victims earlier, Mike Ridgell.

COOPER: So that's how he got the second one.

KING: Yes. That's what they believed happened. He got the second millimeter there. And most of the carnage they believe, though, was done with the shotgun from an overhang on the fourth floor where you can look down into the atrium. And there's a cafeteria in the atrium below, started just firing down into the crowd down there.

Now the D.C. Police said they were on the scene within seven or eight minutes and very quickly then it became a moving gun battle that it took place on at least three levels. We know from eyewitnesses at one point he was in the lobby. There's also a surveillance video of that. And that is where the witnesses and sources are telling police say he was using the handgun at least briefly in the shootout there.

And then at 8:55 a.m. there's an urgent radio call of a D.C. officer down on the third floor. Then about five minutes later, the shooter was shot in the head, fatally wounded.

And so what they have done now is they have recovered the shotgun, recovered at least one handgun, the 9 millimeter handgun they say was taken from the security guard.

And they're going through this, and using again a highly sophisticated computer program, every shell casing, every piece of bullet damage inside the building, every body, sadly, all the blood trail, every radio call is logged. And essentially, they re-create a model where they can run a re-simulation of the crime scene. And they're preliminarily building that as they go. It takes weeks to finalize the whole thing.

But they do say tonight, Anderson, they are very confident. They have a pretty good picture of the carnage that happened in there. How it played out. And they say they're absolutely certain he was alone.

COOPER: All right. John King, I appreciate that update.

More on how someone with a violent paper trail managed to get and keep a security clearance. How is that possible?

And later, remembering a mom and a wife. My interview with Jessica and Douglas Gaarde about a remarkable woman and the emptiness that they will never lose.


DOUGLAS GAARDE, WIFE KILLED IN NAVAL YARD SHOOTING: I don't know where my life goes now. She was my partner. We had plans to do things and it's gone.



COOPER: Well, tonight once again we're just down the street from the Washington Navy Yard. We got new details about yesterday's massacre, including this. The U.S. Navy confirms to CNN that the shooter was given his initial security clearance in 2007 when he enlisted. That security clearance issued by the Navy itself is good for 10 years.

And we're learning tonight that the Navy issued it despite that violent incident in Seattle three years before. That and a lot more we've learned puts the security clearance in a different light.

Drew Griffin has been digging into all of this and what he's found is disturbing to say the least. Listen.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) DREW GRIFFIN, CNN INVESTIGATIVE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Here is the fact, Aaron Alexis was getting on to bases all summer long with a military approved pass called a CAC card, with all the approvals and access that came with it.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Mr. Alexis had legitimate access to the Navy Yard as a result of his work as a contractor and he utilized a valid pass to gain entry to the building.

GRIFFIN: From July until yesterday morning, Alexis had worked at six military facilities up and down the Eastern Seaboard, refreshing computers as a part of a massive contract. The U.S. Navy Yard would be his seventh job site. The question, how did he get approved?

Take a look at what we found easily in just one day of searching. A 2004 arrest in Seattle. According to investigating officer, Alexis didn't like the way a car was parked, so he shot out the tires. He would tell police as a New Yorker he was still suffering from the effects of the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

In 2007, he joins the Navy where in nearly four years he has eight disciplinary issues, ranging from insubordination to disorderly conduct. He received non-judicial punishment, a red flag in itself. And in 2008, Alexis is briefly jailed in DeKalb County, Georgia, for an outburst that included damaging furnishings and swearing at officers outside a nightclub. Another red flag.

Then in Fort Worth, Texas, in 2010, he is arrested again for firing a bullet through the ceiling of his apartment. He told police he was cleaning a gun and his hands slipped and pulled the trigger.

Three arrests, possible mental health issues, and a less than exemplary military record. What happened? We asked the Navy spokesman, Rear Admiral John Kirby.

(On camera): In 2007, he didn't have nearly the paperwork problems that we -- that we have now. So he passes a security clearance.


GRIFFIN: But while he's in the Navy, this guy has a bunch of problems and yet the Navy allows him to essentially leave the service with his clearance intact.

KIRBY: That's right.

GRIFFIN: Making him gold to these contractors who are scrambling to get workers.

KIRBY: The administrative offenses that he was guilty of in the Navy, these dereliction of duty, absence without leave, habitually late for work, were certainly not commendable offenses for a Navy sailor. Don't rise to the level that would instantly call for a relocation of a security clearance.

GRIFFIN: And do you know if the Navy had access to his criminal arrest behavior?

KIRBY: Those are the forensics that we're doing. That's exactly what we're trying to take a look at is through those brushes with civilian law enforcement, if we missed anything. So we are looking at that right now.


COOPER: So, Drew, he was checked out by this Defense contractor in just the last year and passed.

GRIFFIN: Yes. And this is what is really troubling, because twice, according to that Defense contractor called the Experts, he was cleared for duty for them. In fact the contractor hired a firm to do the background check.

I will just read you what they told us. "The latest background check and security clearance confirmation were in late June of 2013 and revealed no issues other than one minor traffic violation."

That's ridiculous.

COOPER: So they didn't find the other --

GRIFFIN: Didn't find any of this.

COOPER: Which we were able to find very quickly.

GRIFFIN: In a half an hour. So it's really -- it's really troubling.

COOPER: Wow. All right, Drew. We'll continue on that. Thanks very much.

We should point out that CNN's Jake Tapper broke the news that the Navy was aware of the 2004 Seattle shooting.

I want to brig CNN national security analyst and former Bush Homeland adviser, Fran Townsend. She's a member of the DHS and CIA External Advisory Boards. Also here, Shawn Henry, president of Crows Strikes Services and a former executive assistant director of the FBI, where he was responsible for cyber criminal and international divisions.

Fran, so Navy officials knew about that 2004 incident in Seattle, let him in and gave him security clearance. Does that seem OK to you?

FRAN TOWNSEND, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY CONTRIBUTOR: No. I mean -- look, Captain Kirby is the spokesperson and he says they're going to go back and look at what they knew or should have known.

Anderson, this is publicly available information. And so the fact that we were giving him access, I think it explains pretty well why Secretary Hagel has demanded, ordered a review of both physical and personnel security at military facilities. It really is inexcusable. But I will say, I think as we begin to understand how many people have security clearances, how long they keep them. The sort of, this was, he had a secret level security clearance. And so there's much less work and effort put into it. But, still, Anderson, for all of that --


COOPER: A relatively low level. I mean, top secret is more a standard.

TOWNSEND: That's right. Top secret is a higher level. And there's more scrutiny to people and there are even additional levels beyond that. But even for a secret level clearance, these things, the arrests should have been picked up. And it should have been -- I mean, was this man suitable to hold -- have access and to hold a security clearance? I think not. And so the Navy needs to understand why these -- all these flags were missed.

COOPER: Shawn, does it surprise you that this Defense contractor seemed -- didn't seem to have caught these other incidents?

SHAWN HENRY, FORMER FBI EXECUTIVE ASSISTANT DIRECTOR: Well, I think it's unusual. Certainly, when you're hiring contractors, you want to make sure they are providing the most scrutiny. Not just for the physical issues that we saw yesterday where people were killed but also national security.

The concern that somebody might actually be selling secrets to a foreign government or something of that nature, particularly when you're on a military installation. So those are absolutely the types of things that should be given the utmost scrutiny. Highly sensitive area.

COOPER: And, Fran, the entire private industry that conducts these background checks for agencies like the Experts, you say they have serious problems. How?

TOWNSEND: Well, Anderson, let's be clear, right? So if you run a business that does security clearance reviews and investigations, the more investigations you do, and the more quickly you do them, the more money you make. And so the incentives in the -- on the private sector side are entirely geared to doing -- providing the least amount of time and the least amount of effort to get to the minimum standard to get these things out the door and to the government.

They then go to the government at the Office of Personnel Management for another review and then ultimately to the department. In this case because he was a Reservist, the Navy granted that clearance and it would have been valid for 10 years. But one has to question why is it these arrests didn't trigger an interim review to see if he was still suitable for this, which clearly was not.

COOPER: And, Shawn, I mean, the Newport Police say they called the Navy to let them know about the run-in they had, to let them know that this contractor was saying that he was hearing voices. That's the kind of things that should have been run up to the chain of command.

HENRY: So that's one of the things that causes great concern. If it was brought just currently to Naval officials, why wasn't that red flag investigated? Why didn't somebody take a look? That's certainly the type of thing you'd want to look at immediately, if you've got somebody who's --

COOPER: Right.

HENRY: Providing indication that they've got some mental issues and they've got access to a sensitive facility.

COOPER: Right. And at the same time, Fran, you know, you don't -- one doesn't want to stigmatize somebody with a mental illness or mental issue and make it so that they can't work.

TOWNSEND: That's absolutely right, Anderson, but let's remember, access to a military facility or to a security clearance, this isn't a right. It's a privilege. And there's much about this case and this kind of flags that we see that should have been obvious to others, much like the Nidal Hasan case, the Ft. Hood shooter.

These are things, while we want to -- we want to respect people's privacy, we want to encourage people to get mental health counseling if they need it, these are the sort of things when people have access to military installations, weapons and classified sensitive information that has to be brought into the system, integrated so that the government can protect itself and its people.

COOPER: Right.

Fran Townsend, I appreciate it. Shawn Henry, thank you very much.

Ahead, I'm going to speak with the husband and the daughter of Kathy Gaarde. They want you to know about her life. About the life she lived, about the woman she was, the mom, the wife. They want you to know about the woman that's been taken from them.


J. GAARDE: We have these periods of numbness where it's like the water is receding and I just feel nothing and then something, whether it be a bill on the counter or she was in the bathroom, and she recently bought me new towels, and I just see the towels, and just, it all hits.



COOPER: Welcome back to our live coverage from Washington, D.C. Every one of the 12 people killed yesterday was obviously a special person, special to ones that they loved and were loved by in return. Kathy Gaarde was 62-years-old. She lived in Woodbridge, Virginia with her husband of 38 years. They had been together 43 years. Douglas Gaarde told me that Kathy was a devoted daughter and took care of her aging mom until her mom died just last year at the age of 94. She also loved professional ice hockey. For years, they have season tickets to the Washington Capitals. She had a soft spot in her heart for animals.

We feel it's essential to remember those whose lives have been taken, to remember the people they were, the lives that they lived, people who innocently went to work yesterday morning never to return again to their families. In their grief today, Douglass Gaarde and his daughter, Jessica, spoke to us about Kathy.


COOPER: What do you want people to know about Kathy?

DOUGLASS GAARDE, WIFE KILLED IN NAVY YARD SHOOTING SPREE: I guess what I want them to know most about her is what a caring person she was, particularly how she cared about her family. Some mentioned she took care of her mother who was living with us for 10 years. She moved in when she was about 85 and lived here until she was 94. That's a lot to take on when you are a full-time mom and a full-time worker and she did a great job of that in addition to raising our two kids, Jessica.

COOPER: She loved nature. She loved animals?

DOUGLASS GAARDE: She loved animals. We've got them tied up. We got two dogs, two cats and that's actually down from what we used to have.

COOPER: Wow. What do you want people to know, Jessica?

JESSICA GAARDE, MOTHER KILLED IN NAVY YARD SHOOTING SPREE: I guess in addition to what my dad is saying, I just with everything going on I want them to know she lives. She is not a number.

COOPER: You want them to know the person she was and the life she lived.

JESSICA GAARDE: Yes. Because she was so caring and she would do anything for anyone she loved. And she really did have a deep heart for animals, no matter what that caused, if one of her animals was sick. She would do everything that need to be done to make sure they were OK.

COOPER: You were planning retirement.

DOUGLASS GAARDE: I am basically retired. She was -- we were trying to pick the best time for her to retire. She was pretty much planning on probably this January, towards end of the year, unless sometimes they offer buyouts when the budget gets in that kind of situation. So she might have left a little bit earlier.

COOPER: She could have already retired? DOUGLASS GAARDE: Yes, she was 62 with what 33 years of government service, so that's, would have been very comfortable with them, but --

COOPER: Does it seem real at this point?

JESSICA GAARDE: For me, it's very surreal, but it's also, it's like a constant tsunami because I have these pains of numbness like the water is receding and I feel nothing and then something, whether it be a bill on the counter, or heck I was in the bathroom and she recently bought me new towels and I just see the towels and just it all hits.

COOPER: It comes in waves?

JESSICA GAARDE: Yes. And it's --

COOPER: You went down there yesterday?

DOUGLASS GAARDE: Yes, I was sitting at my computer. Actually, she had sent an e-mail to me about 10 to 8:00. That was the last I heard from her. Of course, as the day wore on, you know, at first you don't think, there's 3,000 people in there. What are the chances of her being one of the ten that was injured?

But as it gets later in the day, you know if she was able to get to the phone, she would have called home and then I kind of kept it from Jessica. I didn't bother telling her while she was at work. But when it was time to come home, she found out. When she called me, that's when I told her, OK. You come Ohio take care of the dogs. I'll go down to the parking lot down there and meet Kathy there, hopefully.

And I got down there and it was probably about that time, I guess, it was about 7:00 or so, they were down to the last, there was about maybe four or five series of buses still coming through. But just the later it got the more desperate I got. It wasn't until later that I had got an call if one of my wife's co-workers who said she had talked to some of her co-workers and they had seen Kathy was one of the ones that was hit, and at that point --

COOPER: One of her co-workers actually saw her?

DOUGLASS GAARDE: Yes, saw that she was one of the ones that had been hit and at that point I kind of said, lock, this is crap. You know, you guys, you got to tell me what's going on. It was at that point that they went back to the further end behind the gates of the stadium there and came back out and they said, yes, she was one of the ones that was hit.

COOPER: How do you, I mean, how do you deal with something like this? How do you get through?

DOUGLASS GAARDE: I don't know. I haven't done it yet. I mean -- I've lost my parents. So I know what that's like and I'm not going to say I know what you feel, but I know that your life goes on beyond your parents. I don't know where my life goes now. She was my partner. We had plans to do things and now it's gone. So I want my kids, you know, to have their own lives, and so I don't know.

COOPER: It's incredible you had 43 years together.

DOUGLASS GAARDE: Yes, it is. It's incredible on the one hand and it's a huge loss on the other. Like I said, where I was going before, I don't know where I go after this. I mean, you just go on, I guess.

COOPER: It's hard to imagine life without her?

DOUGLASS GAARDE: I mean, I only had 20 years of life without her and 43 with her. So that's two-thirds of my life. She was always there, always partners.

COOPER: Thank you so much.


COOPER: I wish you peace and strength in the days ahead.



COOPER: Forty three years of life together, all ended just yesterday. We are trying as much as possible to obviously honor the privacy of all those families who have been affected. We don't want to intrude on anybody's grief. I do want to tell you about their loved ones and so we want to provide that opportunity to as much as possible. We just had a witness to the navy massacre. She describes what she saw with her own eyes and how she was able to barely escape the shooter's bullets.


COOPER: An update on our breaking news and how the gunman got a shotgun into Building 197. A federal law enforcement official telling us that he broke it down, put it in a bag, and re-assembled it inside the building. We now have the emergency dispatch recordings that capture moment by moment what happened next.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We got a report on the 4th floor, a male with a shotgun, multiple shots fired, multiple people down.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We have conflicting reports about the scene's security. So we're figuring it now.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Right now police confirm five people shot, there could be others.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Can you tell us to which facility so far?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: All units in the main triage group need to move west. The ambulances are in lean, move west away out of the line of fire.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We have an officer down Building 197 on the 3rd floor. Also a female shot on the roof of Building 1333, a female on the roof.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We are doing a sweep of the building, for security. We still have a second suspect possible in. So the scene is not secure.


COOPER: Well, Terrie Durham was right in the middle of it all. She works at the Navy Yard. She actually saw the shooter, could easily have become a victim herself. Listen to what we told reporters as the scene unfolded yesterday.


TERRIE DURHAM, EYEWITNESS: He was far enough down the hall that we could see his face. But we could see him with the rifle and he raised and aimed at us, and fired and hit high on the wall just as we were trying to leave.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What was going through your mind?

DURHAM: Get everyone out of the building right now. Get everyone out of the building because there is someone shooting.


COOPER: And Terrie Durham joins us now on the phone. Terrie, first of all, I'm so glad you are OK. If you can, walk us through what happened yesterday. You originally thought there was a fire.

DURHAM (via telephone): Yes, Anderson the fire alarm had gone off in the building for a brief time and an announcement came on there was a fire emergency. We were told to evacuate the building though we were going into our standard protocol for that. Getting our identity cards, our notebooks to muster everyone, shutting the door, evacuating the building as quickly as we could.

As we started to leave our office, a number of people came running from the outside into our space just saying, "Got out of the building now! Get out of the building now! I was not aware that there had been a shooting although, some people had heard that because they were in such a hurry, I assumed that there really was a fire emergency in the building.

So we got the front doors shut. We were heading into the back hallway, which would take us into a short passageway to the stairwell to get out. It was at that point in time that four of us were standing there and we saw what was turned out to be the gunman standing down about halfway down our hallway. We saw him moving, he said nothing. He held something up and the next thing we knew, he was shooting at us.

COOPER: So you didn't actually see the weapon in his hand, was it -- why not?

DURHAM: He was far enough away that you knew he was holding something long in his hands. We didn't even -- I just didn't realize he was holding a weapon in his hand until he actually shot. I kept thinking what is he doing? There was a fire in the building with knee need to get out. Then we started hearing the pop-pop sounds. The guys with me started joking. I saw a round hit not too far from us and he had missed us completely and then we realized he was shooting.

COOPER: My gosh, so he was aiming right at you and he never said anything?

DURHAM: He never said a word and when we started talking about it. We realized he had taken dead aim on us directly down the hall. He had a straight shot at us and he somehow missed us. We don't know how that happened.

COOPER: I am so glad he did. I know you lost friends yesterday. I am so sorry for your loss, Terrie. Thank you for taking the time to talk to us.

DURHAM: Thank you, Anderson.

COOPER: Coming up, surveying the damage in Colorado. The search and rescue operations there continue after devastating flooding. We will take you out to the FEMA team to see why more than 6,000 residents have applied for help.

Later, authorities now know they think what caused that New Jersey boardwalk fire that had to be rebuilt after Superstorm Sandy. Details on that ahead.


COOPER: Welcome back. Rescuers in Colorado are still working to help hundreds of people stranded in communities cut off by the devastating flooding there. The National Guard says the air rescues currently happening in Colorado may be the largest evacuations in the country since Hurricane Katrina.

That's one bit of good news. The number of people unaccounted continues to drop and most of the people on that list are probably alive, but just have no way to get in touch with authorities. The death toll was also revised downward to six. However, as Kyung Lah reports now the damage is epic.


KYUNG LAH, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Just days ago, this was a desirable place to live. A small creek lined with homes and walkways, now a raging water waterway.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Just listen for whistle signals I'll tell you and kind of watch the river and make sure nothing comes down at us. Just work this housework around. This is actually not the river, either. This is the street. LAH: Door by door, FEMA task force teams look for those who rode up the storm in this flooded canyon neighborhood and warn them that it's not safe to be here.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This house is complete, vacant. Next building recon.

LAH: It's been days of dramatic rescues through these treacherous mountain canyons, hundreds plucked out of desperate conditions here by the National Guard. These are the people waving and signaling to rescuers who have run out of food, fuel, and water praying for dry land. Officials estimate only a few hundred residents may still remain in flooded areas and not all of them want to go. In this neighborhood, the team comes across this resident who refuses to leave.

LLOYD MUELLER, URBAN SEARCH AND RESCUE, NEBRASKA: When we leave, we really can't -- you know, there's no way to police this whole area. So if they're here, we definitely, if they fall in, it's going to become a rescue scenario for us. We are going to have to be going in after them.

LAH: The terrain has been completely redrawn through much of Boulder and Larimer counties.

(on camera): From where I'm standing, this used to be the road. Right in front of me, this is a new waterway. The stream used to be all the way over there. It used to be a small stream. You can see it's now a raging river.

(voice-over): The road in front of David Mamolen's house was ironically called Stream Crest Road. The new stream now surrounds his home.

DAVID MAMOLEN, RESIDENT: This is our home, 27 years in here. My son grew up here, I mean, it's so beautiful.


COOPER: Kyung Lah joins me now. Kyung, it's extraordinary to see, I mean, those rivers which used to be little streams, what happens to the residents who decide to stay in them and need help later on?

LAH: Well, frankly, Anderson, they actually have to get rescued. That really puts the search and rescue teams in a tough spot. You can see how fast the water is behind me. That's happening all over this region. If you get in trouble, you have to have rescue. That's what these guys are trained to do. The hard part is, though, please listen to them, that is the request from the people plucking you out of these dangerous situations -- Anderson.

COOPER: All right, Kyung, appreciate it. Thanks, very much.

Late word on another disaster, that one in New Jersey. We now know what caused that fire, destroyed a massive expansion of the New Jersey boardwalk last week. It's been ruled accidental. Authorities said the blaze was likely sparked by electrical wiring damaged by Superstorm Sandy. We'll be right back.


COOPER: One quick update. We just learned that one of three people who were seriously wounded yesterday, the woman who had been shot in the head and hand has been released from the hospital. Good news from there.

That does it for this edition of 360. I hope you join us one hour from now at 10 p.m. Eastern for "AC360 LATER." Thanks for watching. "PIERS MORGAN LIVE" starts now.