Return to Transcripts main page


Active Shooter Situation in Colorado. Aired 4-4:30p ET

Aired November 27, 2015 - 16:00   ET


ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: We are following breaking news right now out of Colorado Springs.

Police tell CNN there is an active shooter situation near a Planned Parenthood center. The situation is fluid, not contained. They do not know where the shooter is. They do not know if there are hostages. Police say at least three officers have been injured.


At this time, investigators cannot say even if anyone was killed. A short time ago, we heard a police spokesperson on the scene. Let's listen to that.


QUESTION: What kind of gun does he have? Do we know?

LT. CATHERINE BUCKLEY, COLORADO SPRINGS POLICE DEPARTMENT: The information that we received initially is that it was a long gun. We don't know what type or what capacity or anything at this point.

QUESTION: Is this connected to Planned Parenthood? Do we not know yet?

BUCKLEY: We're not sure of what the connection is to Planned Parenthood, but that was the original address we received for the call for service.

QUESTION: Is the shooter contained inside the building?

BUCKLEY: We can't confirm where the shooter is at, at this point. Where we had them earlier, but we're still trying to confirm where the shooter is actually at, at this point. That's why this is still very much an active situation.

QUESTION: How many businesses were -- did the shooting occur in?

BUCKLEY: We're still -- we're not even into our investigative phase at this point. The phase that we're into right now is that we are trying to provide emergency medical services to anyone that was injured. And we're trying to make sure that we have contained or that we can find the shooter.


BERMAN: Where the shooter is -- they cannot tell us if there are hostages. At this point, what we do know is that three officers have been injured and this situation is very much ongoing. You can see the enormous law enforcement presence there on the scene right now.

Let's go to CNN's Kyung Lah with the very latest on what we know.

Kyung, what are you learning?

KYUNG LAH, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, John, we learned all of this began to unfold right around the lunch hour. The call came from the address that belongs to the Planned Parenthood center. That address was tweeted out by the police department.

There's been some back and forth as to exactly how close to the Planned Parenthood center it actually was. But from what you heard -- you heard the lieutenant there talking that they still don't have a shooter in custody. They don't know if the shooter is wounded.

This is Black Friday. This is an area that does have a number of shops. There's an eye care center that we have spoken to, a grocery store with at least a dozen employees inside, a Supercuts that had some customers inside. So this is a very, very busy area.

When that call went out, a number of police officers immediately responded. Some of the witnesses in the businesses say that they did hear at least one shot. Again, you heard the police department. They're still trying to piece this together. A long gun, they believe, was used. They do not know at this point the connection between the shooting and Planned Parenthood.

We can tell you, in just trying to figure out if Planned Parenthood -- if this particular center has been on the map recently, the very last large protest that we could find was at the end of August, on August 22. There were 300 people who were staged just nearby the Planned Parenthood center.

This protest, John, happening just after those videos from Planned Parenthood came out. Social media spread those videos. Those videos believed to be heavily edited, but they did spark a number of these protests. That protest outside this particular Planned Parenthood center was peaceful, John.

BERMAN: All right, Kyung Lah for us monitoring the situation.

We had been looking at pictures from our affiliate KKTV right there, live pictures right now. You can see officers gathering around the scene, law enforcement gathering on the scene.

The initial call of shots fired came from an address associated with Planned Parenthood, but, again, we simply do not know if the shots were fired inside or at that Planned Parenthood at all. We do not know if the shooter was ever actually in the Planned Parenthood. That is among the list of unknown now, including if there are any hostages or where the location of the shooter is. Now on the phone to give us some more details right now is Denise

Speller. She has been on the scene right there.

Denise, tell us what you saw.

DENISE SPELLER, WITNESS: I had just arrived at work. And we were just talking and we just had a guest leave the shop.

And we saw officers fly into the parking lot with their lights on and everything. And then we saw them pass our shop and go over behind the Chase Bank, which is next door. And then there were officers everywhere in the whole perimeter. And then we saw one of the officers that was behind the Chase Bank go -- we heard several gunshots. And then we saw one of the officers go down behind his car.

And then the other officer helped him to safety. And then...


BERMAN: Denise, you saw the officer go down? You saw an officer get shot?

SPELLER: Yes. Yes. It was terrifying.

BERMAN: And then you saw that officer taken to safety. Did he look OK?

SPELLER: I saw him kind of getting up a little bit. And then the other officer got him into his car. And then that's when the officers came up and told us we all needed to lock the door, don't let anybody in or out and stay in the back of the salon.

BERMAN: Was it clear to you where the shots were coming from?

SPELLER: From what we observed, we assumed it came from behind the Chase Bank drive-through. That's where we thought it came from.


BERMAN: It came from behind the Chase Bank drive-through. We had been told initially that the first call of a shooter came from the Planned Parenthood. How close is the Chase Bank drive-through to the Planned Parenthood?

SPELLER: Maybe less than a quarter-of-a-mile.

BERMAN: So down the street, a significant distance at this point?

SPELLER: Yes. Yes, just a little ways.

BERMAN: All right. Did you see the shooter?

SPELLER: No, I did not.

BERMAN: Did you hear shots fired?


BERMAN: How many?

SPELLER: Oh, it was over 10. And we just -- we kept hearing them go off. And then that's when we closed the doors and we opened it back up, and that's when we seen the officer get hit.

BERMAN: At least 10 shots fired. Could you tell if the officers were returning fire? Was it an exchange of fire?

SPELLER: That, I don't know. We just -- we heard the shots and then it was actually a guest in the parking lot that said, get inside, there's shots being fired. So I don't know where they were all coming from. We just saw the officer go down. So we don't know exactly where the gunfire came from.

BERMAN: Are you still inside your salon? Have authorities told you to remain in place?

SPELLER: Yes, they told us to stay in the back out of sight.

BERMAN: So you're -- hopefully, you're following those directions. I was going to ask you before you went to the back, when you could still see out the window, how much law enforcement presence was there?

SPELLER: Oh, they were coming from every different direction. And they were blocking off the roads, so nobody could go in or out. I saw at least 20 to 25 cop cars.

BERMAN: And again, Denise, I just want to go back to one point, because this is a very important point. As far as you could tell, the shooter was outside when this exchange of fire with police happened?

SPELLER: That's what I believe, because I did not actually see him. But it was outside.

BERMAN: It was outside. The police -- a spokesperson for the police told us a short time ago they do not know where the shooter is. Or they could not confirm to us where the shooter is.

All they did tell us was that the first call of a shooter came from the address of the Planned Parenthood, which is 3480 Centennial Boulevard. But what you're telling us is this exchange of gunfire was not at that address, but maybe up to a quarter-mile away from that.

SPELLER: That's what we assumed when we saw it because they were behind the police car. But there was a lot of police activity in the Chase Bank parking lot. And we had no idea what was going on. So that was just what we witnessed.

BERMAN: And, Denise, tell me about the law enforcement that you see. I imagine at this point it's not just regular uniformed police officers. We're seeing heavily armed SWAT teams. Is that what you saw running around? Is that -- that officer who you saw injured, was he regular uniform or was he SWAT team?

SPELLER: He was regular uniform.

BERMAN: And now -- and after that, is that when the more heavily armed forces came in?

SPELLER: Yes, yes.

BERMAN: And you would say dozens and dozens at this point?

SPELLER: Yes. Yes. Actually, we're not able to go out there and look outside anymore, but, yes, we saw -- there was dozens.

BERMAN: How many people are with you right now?

SPELLER: I have got one other -- one of my stylists with me.

BERMAN: And how are you doing? Let me ask you that. At this point, how are you doing? This has been going on for a few hours.

SPELLER: Yes, we're pretty terrified, but at least we have got each other here to calm each other down.

BERMAN: All right. Denise, thank you very much for being with us. Please remain safe.

You know, I know it's hard to stay inside there and not be able to look out and see what's going on, but please do so until law enforcement tells you otherwise, because we can see on our monitors right now this is still an ongoing situation, to be sure.

SPELLER: Yes. Thank you so much for your concern.

BERMAN: All right. We will check back in with you in a little bit.

Meanwhile, again, we're looking at these pictures right now, one ambulance there. We know there are at least five or six ambulances on the scene there. We just saw the police command vehicle move a little bit. I don't believe it left the scene. I just think it relocated on the scene right there.

Again, Denise Speller, who I believe is in a hair salon nearby, told us she saw an exchange of fire. She saw an officer get shot and wounded. She believes the shots were coming from maybe one of these outdoor Chase banking centers, not from the Planned Parenthood, maybe up to a quarter-mile away from the Planned Parenthood. We are getting more information on this breaking news. More right after this.



BERMAN: All right, John Berman here in New York.

We do have breaking news out of Colorado Springs in Colorado. You're talking at live pictures right now, huge law enforcement there on Centennial Boulevard. Three officers have been shot. There is one civilian injured as well

in what is an active shooter situation right now. We just heard a short time ago from a public information officer from the Colorado Springs police. And they do not have a lot of information right now. They do not have the shooter contained.

They could not tell us where the shooter is. They could not tell us if there are hostages. And they could not tell us if there have been fatalities, clearly an ongoing situation right now, very dangerous. We just spoke to Denise Speller, who's holed up in a salon nearby.

People in that neighborhood you're looking at right now have been told to shelter in place in their stores, in their homes. Not a good time to go out, not with this situation still very much ongoing.

All we do know, again, three officers injured, one other person injured. The shooter apparently had some kind of long gun. The witness we just spoke to, Denise Speller, told us she saw an exchange of fire, about 10 shots fired back and forth. She saw an officer go down, she saw an officer get injured, and she saw that officer get helped into a patrol car and taken away, and this point again we know that three officers have been injured.

She told us this shooting happened near one of these outdoor Chase Bank teller machine machines, which is a little bit down the street from a planned parenthood. The reason you're seeing Planned Parenthood on the map right there, the initial calls that came in to 911 of some kind of situation came from the address where the Planned Parenthood is.

It's not clear if the shooter was ever in the building. It's not clear if shots were fired in or at that building. We just know that was an address where the shots came in from. On -- where the call came in from.

On the phone with us now is Chris Voss. He's a former FBI lead international kidnapping negotiator.

Chris, it's interesting. You know, you negotiate, you handle these situations. But when you handle these situations, you know where the shooter is. You have contained or located the shooter. In this case, the shooter has not been located or contained.

CHRIS VOSS, FORRMER LEAD INTERNATIONAL KIDNAPPNING NEGOTIATOR, FBI (via telephone): Right, exactly, John. Thank you for having me on. Because first as you're pulling information as to what kind of individual you might be dealing with, if you have contact with them some sort of spontaneous event or was it a planned event, destination target or an individual target.

And until you've located the shooter, and it sounds now it could still be some sort of a strange spontaneous event or a very designed preplanned event. They're still trying to figure that out, the answer to those questions give you the mindset of the shooter if you make contact with them. BERMAN: Well, how does that change how you operate in this situation?

Whether it's just some kind of random event that happened with some angry person that just started shooting somewhere, or for some reason, the police got involved, or whether it was a planned situation? And I should tell you we are hearing that police are still encountering gunfire.

Now, if that's the case to me -- actually, let me just ask about this because this is new information we're getting right now. Police are still encountering gunfire. If they're encountering gunfire one would think they could have a pretty good idea where it's coming from.

VOSS: Yes. Dependent upon the echo of the gunfire and how close the buildings are, good news and bad news. You want to know where the guy is. One of the possibilities if they hadn't located him was possibly he was down as a result of an earlier exchange of gunfire.

So, if he's still shooting, the shooter is not down yet and he hasn't escaped. So he still has a plan. He has something in mind.

BERMAN: If he's shooting, if he's exchanging with police, you think he still has a plan and he still has something in mind.

What does law enforcement then do in this situation?

VOSS: Well, they got to begin to try to figure out a plan. Is he still shooting because say for example he wanted to get to the Planned Parenthood and he couldn't get there, that's his ultimate destination, or is he shooting because he wants to continue to make his point?

As long as he's still shooting, is he shooting in a defensive manner so he can escape, or does he want to take as many people down with him as he can? They have to treat him as if he doesn't want to escape and that he's the most dangerous person they could possibly encounter. And someone who doesn't want to escape has no vision of living beyond this point is very, very dangerous.

BERMAN: All right. Chris Voss, standby because we are getting some more information in right now.

Just been told that the president has been briefed by his Homeland Security Adviser Lisa Monaco that this situation is ongoing. So, the president has been told, which is standard operating procedure in a situation like this.

On the phone with us right now is Quoan Hoang who owns a nail salon nearby this situation.

Quoan, what did you see?

QUOAN HOANG, OWNS NEARBY NAIL SALON (via telephone): Well, around 11:45, I walked out because I saw a whole bunch of police cars covering the bank and I thought it was a bank robbery going on. And as soon as I stepped out, I heard about three gunshots. And officers said, we have to go back in and lock the doors.

BERMAN: So the police cars were surrounding the bank. Go ahead. You went inside.

HOANG: Yes. We went back inside. And we've been in here for the past two hours now, two or three hours. And we see cops, SWAT, bomb squad, a whole bunch of people just trying to cover around the Planned Parenthood area.

BERMAN: You heard three gunshots, you said. Were the shots coming from police? Or were they coming from someone shooting at the police?

HOANG: It sounded like coming from far away. And officer earlier came back in and said is everyone safe? And they said, we asked him questions and he said they haven't barricaded him inside the Planned Parenthood and he was shooting out from the windows.

[16:20:01] BERMAN: All right. The police told you that?

HOANG: The police told me that, yes.

BERMAN: So the police told you that this man --

HOANG: But that was about an hour ago.

BERMAN: OK. So the police told you that about an hour ago, this man was barricaded inside Planned Parenthood shooting out of the windows.


BERMAN: We're looking at a map right now -- go ahead. Keep going.

HOANG: When they came back earlier they said they can't find the shooter right now. Not yet.

BERMAN: All right. So before they told you he was inside Planned Parenthood shooting out the windows then they came back and told you they can't find him. That's got to be unsettling to hear that.

HOANG: We're told to stay inside and keep safe, yes.

BERMAN: So, you're inside keeping safe right now. You said initially the police appeared to be surrounding a bank. There was some kind of Chase Bank outdoor teller machine. Did it look like there was any activity around that?

HOANG: Yes. They were going in and out the chase bank. Well, they first went in we thought it was a bank robbery. And we started seeing the cops go around or outside the bank again. They set it up riot shields on one of the SUVs and they drove towards the Planned Parenthood. So after that we were like, OK, it's not a bank robbery.

But now we found out other news stations that it's happening over at Planned Parenthood.

BERMAN: All right. So, it's interesting. We are getting some mixed information right now. You were saying police told you initially that the shots were coming from inside the Planned Parenthood itself. There was a gunman shooting out of that building. Then you tell us that they did not know where the shooter was.

We heard from a witness a short time ago that it seemed like the shooting was coming from behind that Chase Bank. So we're getting some different ideas.

HOANG: Yes, Chase Bank is right in front of Planned Parenthood.

BERMAN: OK. So it was the same location. Those two things could be --

HOANG: Yes, same plaza.

BERMAN: -- connected. When we see that map right there.

All right. Quoan Hoang, you have been told to stay inside your nail salon. Please stay safe. Continue to listen to law enforcement right now because this does appear to be an ongoing situation.


BERMAN: All right. We have some more information right now. I want to fill you in on at least six people now have been transported to local hospitals from the shooting. The local hospitals tell CNN. We've been calling around there.

Three have been taken in unknown condition to Penrose Hospital in Colorado Springs. Three taken in unknown condition to memorial hospital in Colorado Springs. So that's according to the hospitals that we have heard from.

So, we're getting six people injured right now. The police had told us earlier that three of theirs had been shot. And we spoke to a witness who saw an officer go down in exchange of gunfire.

And again, the police tell us right now they are still encountering gunfire. So still a very active situation.

We'll have more news right after the break.


[16:27:13] BERMAN: All right. John Berman here in New York.

You're looking at live pictures right now from Colorado Springs -- huge law enforcement presence there, an active shooter situation underway. Police telling us they are still encountering gunfire. We do know that six people have been transported to the hospital at this point. Two separate hospitals. The police tell us three officers have been injured right now in gunfire.

We spoke to a witness who told us that she saw an officer get shot. That witness from a nearby salon told us she heard about 10 gunshots. She said the officers were encountering fire. She did not say the officers fired back.

At this point, the officers still tell us they're being shot at right now. At this point, they say they could not tell us where the shooter is. They cannot tell us if there are hostages. They cannot tell us if anyone is dead.

What they did tell us is the initial call of some kind of incident came from a Planned Parenthood, the Planned Parenthood on Centennial Boulevard in Colorado Springs.

We just spoke to a witness who told us that a police officer in the process of telling them to shelter in place said that someone was shooting outside from out of one of the windows at that Planned Parenthood past that Chase Bank you're looking at the map right now.

Now, that comes from a witness who heard it directly from a police officer. Again, police still encountering gunfire there. At least six people transported to hospitals right now.

Joining me on the phone is Ron Hosko, he's assistant director of the FBI's criminal investigations division.

And, Ron, the two key pieces of information right now police telling us they're still encountering gunfire. And before we heard that they told us they could not tell us where the shooter was.

RON HOSKO, FORMER ASST. DIRECTOR, FBI CRIMINAL INVESTIGATIONS DIVISION (via telephone): Well, John, you're defining the difficulty of some of these situations that police arrive on every day. Where the initial information is confusing, it's conflicting. Here is this somebody angry with Planned Parenthood that's come into that establishment? Is it related to some sort of a bank burglary or robbery of a customer at a bank that went bad?

You know, could it be a domestic situation? So, your callers, Denise and Quoan really define this difficulty.

Right now, we don't know if we have a barricaded subject so that the police have to negotiate a safe release of someone, or do we have a true hostage situation. And that determination is going to determine what kind of tactics they need to employ.

BERMAN: Encountering gunfire at this point -- if they're encountering gunfire, what does that tell them? I mean, we spoke right before to Chris Voss who is a hostage negotiator who tells us that that indicates to him that this person, whoever it is, still wants to get out.

HOSKO: Absolutely. We're assuming that we're talking about one actor and not multiple.