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ERIN BURNETT OUTFRONT
Police in Apparent Shootout with Suspects; News Conference on Mass Shooting; Police: One Suspect Possibly Still on the Loose; At Least 14 Dead in California Mass Shooting. Aired 7-8:00p ET
Aired December 2, 2015 - 19:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[19:00:10] ERIN BURNETT, CNN ANCHOR: And thank you very much, Wolf. And good evening to our viewers in the United States and around the world.
I'm Erin Burnett and we are following the major breaking news tonight, a dramatic shootout between police and the gunmen on the streets of San Bernardino, California. Right now, this is very much an ongoing breaking situation as they are searching for other possible shooters. They zeroed in on a black SUV that was believed to be carrying up to three gunmen suspected of a deadly mass shooting in San Bernardino earlier in the day.
Now, here's what we know. Police have killed one suspect. We saw that suspect lying on the ground outside that black SUV. Right now they are actively searching the area for other possible suspects. They are desperately trying to find them before darkness falls and they are in a highly residential neighborhood, obviously these shooters would be heavily armed, also possibly wearing bulletproof vests. This all just started hours ago and witnesses say, up to three heavily gunmen opened fire at an office complex about 60 miles east of Los Angeles. You're looking at that right here.
The gunmen attacked people in a conference center at this complex firing with what they believe are AK-47 style rifles. That's according to a law enforcement official and then it's reported that they fled the scene in a black SUV. At least 14 people are dead tonight. Seventeen wounded. This is the deadliest mass shooting in the United States since the sandy hook school shooting in Connecticut. Hundreds of terrified office workers evacuated the building amid a massive police response and manhunt. And we're standing by. Any moment we anticipate a police press conference, which is obviously going to be crucial in terms of the status here. As we said, we know one gunman now dead. We don't know if there are two or one more and where they are. That is starting at any moment.
Our producer, Alberto Moya is on the scene of the shootout though where the one gunmen was killed right now. And Alberto, they are desperately trying to find, maybe one, maybe two other shooters. What are you seeing?
ALBERTO MOYA, CNN PRODUCER (on the phone): That's right, Erin. The police continue to be on the heightened state of alert. They've been like that pretty much since we've been here probably about -- we're talking about, you know, 45 minutes to an hour now. We had been listening to scanner traffic all day long when we heard that -- when we arrived here in San Bernardino. And we followed numerously, numerously --
BURNETT: Alberto, I'm sorry to interrupt you. We're going to come back to you. The press conference is starting though now. I want to listen in.
SGT. VICKI CERVANTES, SAN BERNARDINO POLICE: Transported to a local hospital and it does not appear to be a life-threatening injury. I believe he's a San Bernardino police officer. Additionally, some suspects -- a suspect have been hit. I believe there is still possibly a suspect outstanding. So it's still, again, a very active, fluid situation. We don't have a lot of answers yet. They are still trying to sort through what they've encountered on the other end at the other scene.
Chief Burguan is going to be coming here at 4:45 with Sheriff McMahon and again do a press conference so he can update you with any information.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What about the possibility of a third suspect?
CERVANTES: I'm sorry?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: How many suspects are there?
CERVANTES: I don't know. I believe that there are two at this time being dealt with.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And is one on the run?
CERVANTES: If there were originally three suspects, there's still possibly one outstanding but, again, I don't know.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Was the suspect who was hit dead?
CERVANTES: I don't have that information.
CERVANTES: I don't have that information either.
CERVANTES: I don't know. Their investigation just took them in that path.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (INAUDIBLE) Here at this location (INAUDIBLE) --
CERVANTES: I don't know.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Did one of the suspects leave the meeting this morning and then return with two others?
CERVANTES: I don't know. That information I've not been given.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Can you please go over, once again, how many suspects were in custody and how many do you believe --
CERVANTES: I don't have any of those details but Chief will provide those at 4:45. He's being briefed on that as we speak. We're just speaking here because we committed to talking to you on the hour and I apologize, we don't have all of the information.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Is the building cleared yet?
CERVANTES: That we don't -- I don't know.
CERVANTES: I don't have that information either. I just know it's not life threatening.
CERVANTES: I don't know if the suspect has died. We have not been given that.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: How many have been hit? How many suspects have been hit?
[19:05:02] CERVANTES: I couldn't tell you that. But if you're back here at 4:45, Chief Burguan and Sheriff McMahon will be here and they'll probably have many more answers for you. Again, it's very active. It's not far from here. Stay here and let's be vigilant because there very well may be a suspect still out here and we all need to be careful.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: But again, the officers came in contact with the SUV because they were doing a follow-up investigation?
CERVANTES: That's correct. It led them that way. Correct.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Do you know who opened fire (INAUDIBLE)?
CERVANTES: I don't know who opened fire. I don't know. All right. Again, at 4:45. Thank you.
BURNETT: All right. That was Sergeant Vicki Cervantes of the San Bernardino Police Department saying that the latest that they have that one suspect is down, another one is being dealt with, in her words, and that if there is a third suspect, that suspect is on the run. That's the latest that she has right now.
Let's get back to our producer, Alberto, who is on the ground right now, near that SUV. So, Alberto, now you've heard what the sergeant said, that two suspects are being dealt with. One presumably the one on the ground outside of the SUV and if there is a third, the third would be on the run. What are you able to fill in for us here?
MOYA: Well, that's right, Erin. I think I completely agree because the police we've spoken here continue to say that this is still an active scene. We've also asked a couple of them if they have got their man, was the word I used. I heard one of them say it looked like they did but we've had two others that have said, you know, we just don't know. So, that's going to pinpoint to the uncertainty of the situation that we're still dealing with here. We're looking at heavy equipment the bearcat, it looks like it's moving away from the scene. As I was mentioning earlier, there are -- the police here, the presence is massive. We have two police officers and several hundred police officers that are present in this area and they have blocked off at least six blocks.
So this is still very much an active area. You can still see policemen moving from down the block from house to house. A little while ago we saw them with guns drawn and then a police cruiser moving in and out and then after that I saw a couple of more police officers who were jumping (INAUDIBLE) located behind the church that is immediately to our right here on Richardson Avenue and in San Bernardino. So there's no question that this continues to be a very active scene. There are helicopters who were scouring the sky here. They are keeping their eyes open. They are not letting anybody in and out except police officers who are doing everything they can to make sure that they do not leave any site unchecked.
BURNETT: So, Alberto, in terms of, obviously trying to understand where they are looking right now. They could be looking for someone on foot, it sounds like, from what you are saying, from your reporting, that SUV that's there in the middle of the street, those bearcats, those heavily armed police vehicles were around that. That's where the body was found. Are you starting to see those bearcats go? I mean, I'm trying to understand whether they still think there could be someone inside that vehicle or whether that suspect who may have been inside the vehicle may have fled.
MOYA: I think that because this is still an active search, they are looking everywhere that they can think of. When we first arrived here, there were dozens of police officers running on foot, guns drawn. They completely covered this area. And I did not see, this is the first time I actually got the chance to see the bearcats in motion. But our cameraman Tom Larson who immediately jumped and followed some of the policemen, he said that he had seen the bearcat that was already in position. So, what I assume what they have been doing, I haven't been able to see it, you know myself but now that the bearcat is moving and we also saw some heavy police equipment moved in early on a northern perimeter, I would think that they'll probably going to go house by house, streets by streets and make sure that everybody that they need to check out gets checked out.
There is no question that this continues to be an active scene. There will be times when the police will walk calmly and there are times when you'll see three or four of them with their guns drawn running back into the scene. So we're talking at least an area of six blocks and according to some of the police officers participating in the search, there are hundreds of them who are checking out every single corner of this area.
BURNETT: All right. Alberto, we are going to be coming back to you, obviously, as you learn more on the scene on this six-block area where they are hunting right now for additional suspects. Again, the phrasing at the press release was two are being dealt with and if there's a third, the third is on the run.
I want to go to Kyung Lah who was outside where the shooting happened. She was at that press conference. So, Kyung, it sounds like they themselves are not sure at this point still whether there were two, whether there were three and we don't know what it means when they say two of them are being, quote-unquote, "dealt with," do we?
(19:10:24] KYUNG LAH, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (on the phone): Well, what we know -- at least what they believe up to this point is that one suspect is down. That's the word that they used. One suspect is down and one suspect may be on the loose. So how did this scene unfold? That scene that Alberto Moya is at? What the sergeant here says is that an officer was doing follow-up work, follow-up work from this mass shooting that is behind us. It's about a block away from where I'm standing. That follow-up work led to exchange of gunfire between the suspects, plural, the suspects and the officer.
The officer was wounded. He or she does not have life- threatening injuries but was taken to the hospital. Around that time, around that these reports started coming in, we saw a number of police vehicles, including the armored vehicles fly out of here, that they were immediately rushing to that area and then they descended and you can see that the active scene there is still going. Meanwhile, you have people here, a number of officers here still working through this scene because this is quite a scene here, according to people who are -- who have communicated with their loved ones inside.
They say that there is a lot of work to be done, a lot of interviews to be done. They are still trying to clear this building, Erin. But that very active scene is still going on. One suspect down. One suspect still being dealt with. But you may remember, originally there were three suspects, three suspects that police thought that they were searching for so if you're doing the count, they can account for two. One is still on the loose. What happened to that third one? They just don't know.
BURNETT: We just don't know. There are so many questions. All right. We're going to be continuing to talk through this.
Jim Sciutto, though, working his sources right now. And Jim, what do you know so far? I mean, you heard what Kyung says. We're talking about still up to three shooters. One of them, if there is a third not accounted for, the other they are searching for. Ammunition, body armor, long guns and, again, let's just emphasize this, multiple shooters. What does this tell you?
JIM SCIUTTO, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (on the phone): From the beginning, a number of details, a number of facts of this case have caught the attention of both law enforcement and counterterrorism officials that I've been speaking to. One, multiple shooters. That's unusual. Two, the long guns, the ammunition they had. Three, the military-style clothing, possible masks, maybe body armor. And, four, the fact that they escaped. They had a plan to get away. That all speaks to, and you heard police say it on our air, that they were prepared, as police say. This required planning to make this happen that's one point.
The second point is this. The circumstance of this are extremely unusual. One, I mean, just that massive police response that we're still seeing under way. But the fact that there appear to be multiple shooters here. The FBI came out with a study just a short time ago and it said that of 160 active shooter situations in the U.S. since the year 2000, only two of them have involved more than one gunman. So that's extremely unusual. The other unusual part, too, Erin, is the fact that they got away. Because, as we know, shooting situations like this in the U.S. have become sort of a form of public suicide, those shooters go in knowing that they are going to die on the scene or possibly wanting to die on the scene, these shooters had a getaway plan. They didn't get far. Cops believe, seemed to have gotten them pretty quickly and in the neighborhood but they did get away. And that's extremely unusual as well. There are a lot of parts of this that are unprecedented, very unusual.
BURNETT: A lot of parts. All right. Art Roderick is a former assistant director for investigations at the U.S. Marshals. Harry Houck is a retired NYPD detective. Retired Colonel Randy Watt, trains SWAT police, military units. And Bobby Chacon is a retired FBI special agent in Los Angeles.
All right. You all are going to be with us through this hour as this scene develops. Because Harry, this is very much ongoing.
HARRY HOUCK, FORMER NYPD DETECTIVE (on the phone): Right.
BURNETT: They are now hunting for one, possibly two additional shooters.
BURNETT: The car though, the SUV that the one shooter whose down within is completely shot up.
BURNETT: So Art, do you believe these other people were in the car and were able to run? Is that even conceivable?
HOUCK: Well, the officer who also first encountered them and had a shootout with them that was injured, he knows how many people he saw. It doesn't look like he has got a life-threatening injury. So, he knows that he's probably already relayed to the police already, how many people were in that vehicle. And that's probably why they are probably out there searching that whole area because I don't know how long it took for police to get there at the time if there was a direct scene or how close the officer encountered them to where the vehicle has finally stopped and one man is dead.
BURNETT: Yes. HOUCK: The fact is, they know that there were probably three in
the vehicle as a result of that encounter with that officer. And they're checking that whole area out. The other two might be on foot.
[19:15:10] BURNETT: All right. Bobby, we can see from our aerial footage that you're looking at right now, viewers, that they are doing door-to-door searches. We can actually see that happening. So Bobby, do you believe that you've got one, if not two people in this community, in this residential community barricaded in some house?
ROBERT CHACON, FORMER FBI SPECIAL AGENT (on the phone): Absolutely. I think you definitely have some people on the loose there and I think that Harry is right, that probably comes from the first responding officer on the scene. I also think you probably have a massive effort back at the original scene interviewing witnesses to find out from the witnesses how many people they saw take part in it. Oftentimes witness statements on these things can be cloudy and they'll probably trying to de-conflict a lot of the witness statements. Did they hear these guys talk to each other in the facility? Did they say anything? Did they speak with an accent? Did they speak of slang? They probably are trying to determine from the many witnesses. And I heard there were hundreds of people leaving that building but who saw what and they are trying to come up with a picture of what happened and that could also give them an idea of how many people were involved in the initial assault.
BURNETT: Now, Art, even if that officer that encountered the SUV saw, let's say two people, that doesn't mean there wasn't a third, right? I mean, is it conceivable if they had planned to get away, right? This was not a suicide mission, that they would have already split up?
ART RODERICK, FORMER ASSISTANT DIRECTOR FOR INVESTIGATIONS, U.S. MARSHALS (on the phone): Yes. This was pretty well planned hit. They didn't spend a lot of time at the conference facility and then they got away, they could have dropped somebody off and because everybody is looking for three people in an SUV. So they could have dropped somebody off before they encountered the law enforcement officer but obviously this is still a very fluid situation. You heard the press conference. The spokesperson did not have a heck of a lot to say. I think there's still some activity going on in another section of town, is what I'm hearing. Away from the residential area that we have on camera. But it's hard to say right now. There's a lot of moving parts involved in this particular area.
BURNETT: Colonel Watt, this door-to-door search, what do you think -- did they have any information that would be causing them to go door-to-door, that they are actually hearing that one if not more of the suspects would be in a house nearby or would this just be protocol to look?
RANDY WATT, FORMER U.S. ARMY (on the phone): Well, it's both. I'm sure they are operating off a certain amount of information. The officer who initially engaged them would have seen some things indicative of the number of people. Would have identified more than one person. They only have one there at the scene. And the second is, anytime you're involved in one of these situations, you are going to do some standard area search type activity. You're not only looking for a suspect but you're also looking for additional information of people who might have that.
BURNETT: Harry, is there a chance that one or two shooters gets away, evades this massive manhunt that we're seeing?
HOUCK: I mean, it's always a possibility. But it doesn't look like that to me. There are so many police officers there. They have that area cordoned off so quickly. You know, it's really surprising to me that, you know, we look at this attack and analyzing it earlier and how well planned this attack was but these guys weren't smart enough to get out of San Bernardino. They had all of that time to get out and they didn't. And the fact is, it just goes to show you, no matter how well they think they've got a plan and they did get away from the area but these guys still made a mistake and stick in the area and thank God for that.
BURNETT: Bobby, what do you make of what Jim Sciutto was reporting, Harry just referred to. The clear planning that went on here, the military-style precision, the armored vests that they reportedly were wearing, the long rifles and the fact, let's just emphasized this, the nearly unprecedented nature, if not fair to say at this point, unprecedented of having possibly three people involved in something like this?
CHACON: Yes. When I first heard about it, I thought this was going to be and we've had them in Los Angeles before in -- post- facility and I thought this might be another workplace violence incident, or possibly a disgruntled client of the association that was meeting but I think all of that is being dismissed now because of the very facts that you just mentioned, the fact that it was so highly planned and so highly equipped and, you know, that's one of the things that the investigators are looking at right now when they're talking to the witnesses. They'll going to see, if they move in a tactical manner, if they tactically reloaded while they were shooting. I mean, these guys, you know, it's often a possibility that they could have been on their way to another attack. It's just unknown. But the level of planning, this is something that we haven't seen in a domestic shooting of this nature in a very long time, if ever.
BURNETT: And Bobby, to that front, do you -- what is your view here on domestic versus international terrorism? They said earlier at a press conference when they first spoke that they could not rule out terrorism. They then later said it didn't have the hallmarks of international terrorism, which obviously is very front and center on every American's mind right now. Clearly this is terrorism of some sort. But when you're talking about a motive, what does it look like?
[19:20:20] CHACON: Well, I'm sure, you know, it looks certainly like a very planned and calculate attack. So I think that the investigators right now are talking to the witnesses seeing if they said anything to the witnesses, if they targeted a particular individual before they shot the others. I'm sure they are looking at if there's any threats against any of the people in that meeting -- BURNETT: Right.
CHACON: -- or the organization, or the, you know, the department that they were all part of. That's all part of the investigation that's going on right now.
BURNETT: I want to go back to you Alberto. Alberto Moya on the ground. Just to get Alberto what you are seeing right now. Are you still seeing what we are seeing from the air, the aerial shots that we have up here for viewers, they're still going door-to-door search and have you seen anybody in the neighborhood? I mean, are there people possibly still in these houses, someone that could eventually end up in some kind of a horrible hostage situation? What are you seeing?
MOYA: Erin, we have not seen anybody come in and out of any of the houses or businesses or the church directly (INAUDIBLE) from where we are. From the moment we got here, the police stormed the area but in terms of civilians, the only people that we can see here are immediately to the north of our position, the northern perimeter, there's a lot of people, a lot of onlookers that are keeping an eye on what is happening here. What we have noticed, though, is that the energy in the area seems to have calmed down substantially from one we've first got here. The moment that we arrived, policemen told us to get back, some of them took shelter behind our car, they were kneeling with their guns drawn.
Now what we are looking at is, the police cars are moving more slowly in and out of the area. And don't get me wrong, there still continues to be tremendous police presence in the area and the search continues for anybody here who the police might want to talk to. But there's no question that the energy and the heightened state of alert, although the police remain vigilant, you can still see them going from place to place, they still have the area completely closed off. The energy has substantially calmed down from when we first got here. There's also, you could see from our vantage point, we saw that there were numerous police units from neighboring towns that were participating in the search. We saw U.S. marshals. We've seen the S.W.A.T. teams moving in and out of the area. But you can tell that things have calmed down here, although by no means are they being any less vigilant in their ongoing search and their state of alert here.
BURNETT: All right. Alberto, stay with me. But Art Roderick, let me go to you because you have been hearing that there could be other areas that they are looking at. That obviously can now become a very crucial question as Alberto says, the energy changes here, if they don't think another suspect is here, does that open the possibility to the fact that they did split up and that the one was down by the car and that you now you have one, maybe two suspects on the loose somewhere else?
MOYA: It very well could be. I mean, what is happening now, as you've got all of these different crime scenes and you need more officers coming in under a mutual aid to secure all of these different areas and I think we're going to be hearing -- I mean, it's obviously getting ready to get dark out there, which is going to be an issue for law enforcement. But hopefully they can wrap this up fairly quickly. But I think you're starting to hear now some other leads pop up around the San Bernardino county area.
BURNETT: All right. On that note, I want to go to Scott Glover, another producer for us here at CNN. He's at another area where he's being pushed back by police. Possible focus as they hunt for the suspects, what are you seeing Scott?
SCOTT GLOVER, CNN JUSTICE PRODUCER (on the phone): I'm seeing a neighborhood in Redlands, the police have blocked off an area outside an apartment building. There are several, maybe half a dozen police officers out there, guns drawn, there's a large, looks like a S.W.A.T. vehicle, kind of an armored large truck, you know, one officer or two officers describing it a tactical situation and, you know, asking me and there was another reporter to leave the area. That's what I'm looking at right now.
BURNETT: All right. That's what you're saying. And Harry, as you're hearing Scott report, you're jotting down notes?
HOUCK: Yes. More than likely, the one, the suspect there, they got either identification on him to be able to go and check out or they ran the plate of that vehicle. If that was not a stolen vehicle or a rented vehicle, even if it was a renewed vehicle, you know, they will be able to find out who rented that vehicle and that might be leading us in the other location.
BURNETT: So you're saying that this is -- they are now following these leads now?
BURNETT: So, this is back to the possibility that these guys may have had a plan that did involve splitting up in some way?
HOUCK: That's definitely a possibility. Yes. I mean, right now we're just speculating based on our experience and what we're seeing here. But, you know, that plate was ran instantly and to be able to track where the vehicle came back to and investigators shot out there to follow that lead. And that's a good lead.
[19:25:10] BURNETT: And Scott, how many people would you say are where you are now?
GLOVER: One, two, three, maybe ten where I am right now. Some most in fact, dressed, you know, in tactical gear wearing helmets, you know, carrying assault-type weapons or things that you would use, you know, to enter a building. Again, there's the heavy, you know, S.W.A.T.-type vehicles that's parked in the street and, you know, seems to be kind of on edge.
BURNETT: All right. Scott, of course stay with us as you're reporting. I want to go to Mahir now who lives on East San Bernardino Avenue actually saw the shootout go down with the first -- the shooter that is now down. Mahir, obviously, we're only going to use your first name. Thank you very much for calling in and being willing to talk to us and for so many who want to understand what happened here, what did you see? MAHIR, WITNESS TO POLICE SHOOTOUT (on the phone): Well, yes. We
just saw a bunch of -- we didn't see much, actually, you know. We just heard so many gunshots, it's crazy. Like we -- right now, everything seems to be like cooled down and all of that and we just see so many S.W.A.T. and like cops and cop cars, you know? There's like at least a dozen or so and maybe more. Probably more, actually.
BURNETT: Probably more than that. And as you said, so many gunshots. We now have been seeing, from the air, Mahir, watching your neighborhood, the police are going door to door looking for other suspects. I mean, you must be terrified.
MAHIR: Well, that's one word, yes. There's dozens of words to say what I'm feeling right now.
BURNETT: Have they come to your house?
MAHIR: Well, like the cops just like -- I saw them outside. I motioned to them to come here because I didn't know what was going on. So I talked to them. They just said to stay inside and lock the doors and just wait until we tell you what is going on and if everything is fine.
BURNETT: And so, how long ago was that?
MAHIR: I say like 20 minutes ago.
BURNETT: Twenty minutes ago. So, since then, you're in the house, are you alone? Who are you with? What are you doing?
MAHIR: I'm with my mom.
BURNETT: With your mom. And you're just locking the doors and lying low?
MAHIR: Basically, yes.
BURNETT: Do you know if any of your neighbors are home? Have you been able to talk to anybody else?
MAHIR: I haven't, no. I'm sure they are all at home safe and sound. I don't see any ambulances -- assuming that no one is hurt.
BURNETT: And Mahir, when the shooting happened, how long did it last? You talk about hearing so many gunshots and we now know that one of the shooters from that the attack this morning was dead as a result of that, is down. How long did it go on?
MAHIR: Well, the shooting felt like an eternity, you know, but like I think it went on ten minutes. Gunshots after gunshots, it was crazy.
BURNETT: And did you at the time think that it was related to this? Related, obviously you had no warning from police or anything, right? MAHIR: Yes. I mean, of course I knew it was related to this. I
mean, I was actually keeping up with the news. I was watching the news, actually. I was watching the news covering this story when it all went down in front of my house. Crazy.
BURNETT: Well, Mahir, I know that you are terrified. And we are thinking of you and your mother. Hope that you stay inside, you stay safe as they keep going door to door. Thank you very much for calling us.
MAHIR: All right. See you.
BURNETT: I want to go to Stephanie Elam who is also on the ground. Stephanie, what are you able to tell us right now as we now have obviously a multiple areas where they are searching for additional suspects?
STEPHANIE ELAM, CNN CORRESPONDENT: I'm on the other side of the story, Erin. I am where families are reuniting with the survivors of the shooting. What I am right now is the Rudy Hernandez Community Center and what we've just seen are busloads of people who made it out safely from the shooting and they were reunited here with their family going into the community center here, finding their families and coming out. And we've seen some tearful reunions. We've seen some people crying and hugging. As you watch these people coming off of the buses, you can as you might imagine, their faces are drawn.
A lot of them, you could tell that they have been crying, looking to find their family members and then just some of the family members who were here waiting, once they are actually able to hug their family members just starting to cry, releasing that tension, that pressure of not knowing or even though that they were safe because of text messaging but still a different thing once you have them in your immediate vicinity and being able to clutch and hold on to them. A lot of the people coming out look very traumatized, as you would expect. Many of them not wanting to start to talk to the media. They just trying to get out, get home and make it back to some sort of normalcy here. But we've seen about, I would say, probably about three or four busloads of people being reunited with their families here, Erin. So this is the more positive side but still these are people who are still very much traumatized by what they saw this afternoon.
[19:30:18] BURNETT: Well, thank you very much, Stephanie. And of course, so many now being reunited with their families and we understand the latest numbers that we have, 17 injured. Some of them obviously critically so. At least 14 dead. The deadliest mass shooting in the United States since the Sandy Hook shooting. Horrific event, horrific day, unprecedented in many other ways with multiple shooters and a military-style planning precision and assault in terms of what we saw today.
At this point, shooter still unaccounted for. One, if not two, and motives still completely unknown. I am here, we've got former members of the CIA, SWAT team leaders, U.S. marshals, detectives, Harry Houck, former NYPD, sitting next to me. Obviously, one shooter is down. One shooter is down. And we are
awaiting. I want our viewers to know, within the next 15 minutes, we're going to be hearing live from a senior police official from San Bernardino. So, we're going to be breaking that to you live and we may get a very, very important update as to the whereabouts as to these other suspects.
But you think fingerprints could have played a big role?
HARRY HOUCK, CNN LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: I'm sure the police have already fingerprinted the body and put those into the system to see if they did find ID on him, to see if it matches the ID that's on him. If not, if he's been fingerprinted before, we're going to get a good idea on this guy within virtually minutes. So, that will be a great lead for the police and I'm sure they did that quickly.
BURNETT: And led them on.
Bob Baer, former CIA officer also with me, Bob, the question first and foremost in many people's minds today was, could this be some sort of international terrorism incident, something linked to ISIS? Nothing since then has indicated that is what it is, but obviously, we just don't know at this point whether it's a domestic terror, whether it's something else. When you look at it, with everything that we know at this point, the precision, the planning, the vests, the way that this manhunt search has gone down, what do you see?
BOB BAER, FORMER CIA OFFICER: Well, Erin, I'd like to say, indeed we're going to have a different conversation tomorrow when we have all of the facts.
BAER: But what I don't like about this shooting is multiple shooters, automatic weapons, early reports of IEDs, which would mean to slow the police down, the getaway, it looks like these people studied the response -- the police response time to get out of the area. No one stayed in the building and holed themselves up, which would have been a sign of a pure psychotic.
And I say this very reluctantly, but this has the hallmark of attacks in the Middle East, where you get out before the police show up. This whole thing disturbs me, because like no shooting I've never seen, and I'd be fascinated to hear what the police dig up.
BURNETT: As I said, we're going to hear from them in the next few minutes.
As our panel stands by it, I just want to go to Norman Rodgers, who also lives on the street where the shootout went down with the black SUV. One shooter now dead or down, is the word that they are using at this time.
Norman, what did you hear or see? NORMAN RODGERS, WITNESS TO POLICE SHOOTOUT (via telephone):
Well, I was in the backyard just checking my plants to see if they needed water because it's cooling down and I don't have to water that often and all of a sudden I hear a barrage of bullets. You know, once in a while we hear firecrackers and I thought oh that's what it is but this was different. I would say probably 100 to 200 rounds and that got me in the house real quick on the floor in the den until that stopped, and then I kind of peaked through my front window and there were policemen everywhere, in our front yard and behind the van. It was quite scary, actually.
BURNETT: It must have been terrifying. Did they come to your house and tell you to lock the doors? Did they look through your house?
RODGERS: Yes, they did. They finally knocked on my door and I could see through my window that it was them so I answered the door and they asked me if I was OK and made sure I was and I said, you know, it's just a little scary. They asked if they could come in. I'm sure they wanted to see if there was anybody in here besides me.
I said, come on in. Whatever makes you feel better because I'm kind of scared right now. But they did come in and look real briefly and they said there potentially might be explosions a little later because they are looking for a bomb. I said just be very careful, guys, and that was it. And now they are still looking, I guess for something.
[19:35:02] I'm not even sure what.
BURNETT: All right. Thank you very much. We're glad that you are safe, glad that they came in and checked. We know that they are going door to door.
You all heard Norman say he heard 100 to 200 rounds and another neighbor said a ten-minute shootout with the attackers.
We're just about ten minutes away from a press conference from a senior San Bernardino police official where we're hoping to get a lot more information. Right now, so many questions outstanding. We do not know still whether there are two more shooters or just one more shooter. We know that one was being dealt with.
One -- if there's another one on the run, still so many questions. Colonel Watt, do you think that they are going to be giving us some answers to these questions? We know that they are looking at other areas but we haven't heard at this point about another active shooter, shootout situation.
COL. RANDY WATT, U.S. ARMY (RET.): The amount of information they are dealing with right now is quite large and trying to decide what's a priority and what isn't is extremely difficult. So they are focusing on the highest level threats as quickly as they can to identify and follow up on. They are going to try to give as much information as they can but they also don't want to give us erroneous information. BURNETT: And how important is it, Colonel Watt, for them to be
dusk? I mean, obviously, it's about 4:36 in San Bernardino. You know, it is going to be getting dusk, it's going to be getting dark in the next half hour or hour. That's obviously got to be a very big hurdle for them.
WATT: It is. They would prefer to work in the hours of daylight, particularly when it comes to identify and locating the threat. Those are high-quality police officers and I've trained to work with San Bernardino SWAT team. That's a high-quality team and the resources that they have in that area are quite large, unlike some areas of the country. They will do a great job with this.
BURNETT: Bob Baer, Harry Houck talked about the one dead shooter which at this point they would have a lot of information about him -- his fingerprints, possibly his name, others that will know him. Would that lead them to a much more definitive assessment of whether there was domestic or internationally driven terrorism?
BAER: Oh, absolutely, Erin. They will get it from the fingerprints, get it from a car, cell phone, whatever they find. There will be some digital connection to the rest of the world, I would imagine. And it will tell us very quickly, probably later tonight, whether this is terrorism or something else.
But, again, I've never seen multiple shooters with automatic weapons who have fled the scene and with this sort of skill. And it was a certain amount of skill that you just don't ever see this unless people have had some sort of true preparation or training.
BURNETT: Harry, everyone, you can see on part of your screen, that is where the press conference is going to happen at any moment and we do anticipate getting very significant answers there. So, we're going to keep that up as we're awaiting on the police officers to speak.
Harry, when you hear Bob talking about the unprecedented nature and concern of three shooters, we've only had two multiple shooter incidents since the year 2000 and none of them have been like this. If it's not an international incident, what could it be?
HOUCK: It could be some right-wing group, for all I know. You know, what's really strange about this attack to me, I'm thinking, if this attack was somehow terrorist-related, ISIS, you know, al Qaeda, something like that, why wouldn't they just stay there and kill as many people as possible, and just, you know, kill themselves? Because usually you see that a lot in these types of attacks.
BURNETT: Right. It was not a suicide mission, Bob, to Harry's point.
HOUCK: Right. I'm not discounting everything Harry is saying, because I'm speculating like the rest of us here. But that's something else I'm looking at here. And they are playing, like I said before, was great until they got out of the news meeting and then these guys stuck around. That show as level of stupidity on their part.
BURNETT: I want to show you on the bottom of the screen, Bob, before you speak, I want to make sure everyone hears this, the police chief has just tweeted, "Suspects are down. One officer wounded."
We knew that there was an officer wounded. That officer does not have life-threatening injuries but in terms of suspects down, a few minutes ago at the top of the hour when police officers spoke on the show, they said one suspect was down. They were dealing with another. They are now saying suspects are down, plural.
As I said, in the next few minutes, we're going to be hearing more from the police and understand what that means. Bob Baer, when you put this together, you hear what Harry is saying, the one thing that does stand out here, at least they thought they were going to get away. Very different than what we saw in Paris and does it lead you to think that it is more likely to be domestic terrorism?
BAER: Well, I always cite it's domestic terrorism. It's the best explanation.
[19:40:01] But the fact is, a couple of pair shooters did shoot into cafes. Abaaoud, the leader of this, was planning on carrying out attacks the next day.
So, I mean, they don't have a precise manual. Some of these people blow themselves up. Some of them do multiple attacks. Some of them get away. In fact, one of the Paris shooters is in Syria. He certainly got away.
So, I mean, they don't have a fixed manual on this. Again, we're going to have to wait until the facts come out.
BURNETT: Bobby Chacon, when you hear suspects are down from the police chief, again, we're going to hear from him in a few moments, but does that change the situation to you? Because there still had been a question as to whether there were two or three possible attackers.
ROBERT CHACON, FORMER FBI SPECIAL AGENT: Well, and they still may be dealing with that issue. The fact that suspects are down doesn't negate the fact that there could be additional suspects being looked for. They might have a good indication that that is all there are but there still could be other suspects out there.
BURNETT: Art, do you think they are still looking for a third, if suspects are down and that means two, it could mean three, if it does mean the two they are referring to, do you think that they still believe there is a third?
ART RODERICK, CNN LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: They are going to keep looking. Obviously we've got a scenario here where the initial reports were three, up to three.
BURNETT: Uh-huh. RODERICK: I'm hearing that there's possibly a third one out
there. So, again, we're still in a fluid situation here. Obviously this press conference is going to be key.
One of the important things to note is that the SWAT teams in the armored vehicles are key to this surge, because if we're talking about these assailants using either ARs, AR-15s, which is a 223 round or an AK-47 which is a much larger round, a 5.6 round, I would hate to be a regular patrol officer with my bulletproof vest and handgun to go up against that kind of fire power because it will go through the vehicle and through my vest.
HOUCK: Oh, yes, without a doubt, he's right. That 5.6 round, military-type rounds, it goes right through your vehicle and through your vest, right through the back of your vest and probably into the back of the vehicle that you're driving. It's a very fast round. You know, they have capabilities of 30 rounds, 60 rounds for this, also. It's a very bad round.
Deb Feyerick is joining us with breaking details. Deb, what do you know about the SUV and what they found?
DEBORAH FEYERICK, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (via telephone): Yes. And this is in talking to a source. There were two men inside that vehicle. At least one of them is dead following the chase. One of the men that was outside the vehicle, both of them had AR-15 type weapons.
As police were chasing the vehicle, items were being thrown from the vehicle, including what appears to be these pipe bombs and those are being dealt with very closely right now. We know that one of the officers engaged the suspect, one of the suspects from the back window. The officer engaged them.
That officer is now being questioned because what they are really trying to determine, Erin, is just how many people there were altogether in that car. And that's why you can see some of what is taking place, going door-to-door, making sure no one got out.
The search in Redlands, I'm being told, is the home of one of the possible suspects. So this is over a certain range and that's one of the reasons, because they were throwing things from the vehicle, because they were firing back and clearly police are trying to make sure that no one else is out there and on the loose and that's really what they are engaged in right now -- Erin.
BURNETT: All right. So, Deb, you're answering a crucial question. We had a reporter on the ground in Redlands. You're saying that there were two in the vehicle which would indicate that unless they split, there may not be a third?
FEYERICK: That is not clear. There is a lot of confusion and chaos. Things that I was told an hour ago have changed a little bit.
So, what we are learning is the home that's being looked at in Redlands is the home of a possible suspect. They are looking at that right now. But, again, nobody has said there are other suspects out there.
In terms of who else they are looking for, that's why they are questioning the police officer because he was the one who really had eyes on the vehicle and he's the one who was injured in a ricochet effect and so, they are now questioning him because what he knows could be very, very valuable in terms of how many were in that car and how many might be at large, if, in fact, there were more.
BURNETT: And, Deb, do you know names, profile, anything about these individuals that could lead down the path to who they knew and who else was involved and the motive?
FEYERICK: They -- all of that is being looked at right now very aggressively.
[19:45:02] As Harry mentioned earlier, they are likely taking fingerprints from the individual who is known dead. They will be able to link him to certain addresses.
There was a name floating out there earlier today. Right now, we are being very, very careful in terms of not reporting a name. There doesn't appear to be a motive.
And interestingly, I heard one of the experts speaking on your show, Erin, who said they seem to have a plan to execute this which for all intents and purposes, could be like any active shooter drill, but they didn't have a plan to get out very much like the Kouachi brothers. So, we don't know what their motive was. We don't know what their end goal was. But whether they thought they would be caught so quickly, it appears that right now, law enforcement really does have this, to a large extent, under control.
BURNETT: All right. Deb, thank you very much. Obviously significant reporting there from Deb.
The press conference will start at any moment. So, again, we're going to leave that picture up because the minute the police chief approaches that podium, we're going to be taking that, see if we can get even more details.
Deb obviously, though, breaking some significant, new information saying that there were two men in the vehicle with AR-15-type weapons and that they were throwing things out of that SUV before the shootout happened, including pipe bombs.
Harry, two men in the vehicle, still as Deb said, unclear whether there is a third. They don't have an answer on that. When you hear what Deb just reported, how does this change the story for you?
HOUCK: Well, you've got two dead perps or, you know, I assume they are both dead. You've got them fingerprinted already. You probably already got them partially --
BURNETT: It says suspects are down so the presumption is that the suspects, plural, is now the two that were in the vehicle. Yes.
HOUCK: So, they have both been fingerprinted already. That information went in. DNA was also taken, put in to some type of database to try to identify this guy.
Whether or not there's a third guy or not, the police should already know that by now. They know that the officer engaged these guys, all right? And there might have been other witnesses that saw the engagement with the officers and some of the officers that were chasing the vehicle.
So, the police should know by now and if there were any videos at the scene where the attack occurred, how many shooters there were. They've got plenty of witnesses that they have spoke to. So they should be pretty clear.
But it seems like they are very hesitant to actually say whether or not they can confirm a third shooter or not and that's kind of crazy to me.
BURNETT: Colonel Watt, does that concern you that they are not able to identify if there's a third shooter?
WATT: No, the assumption that's out there is a valid assumption, they're going to keep working on that. Let's not lose sight of the fact that there are people who supported these people and their activities. So, there are going to be more sites and searches, there are going to be more efforts to obtain information and determine the extent of the planning, the organization. There would be people assisting in surveillance, potentially pre-target surveillance, all of those types of things. So, this is going to continue to grow. It's not going to stop soon.
BURNETT: Art, from Deb's reporting, they're talking about pipe bombs being thrown out of the car as they're driving down the street before the shootout, the AR-15 rifles. Do you think that they were planning more attacks, that this was perhaps a getaway to something else or what?
RODERICK: To know that they are throwing pipe bombs out of the window, they were very possibly going to a different location and it makes sense now that they had that EOD vehicle come up to the SUV that was abandoned by the one shooter, and it was blocked in by the other two bearcats. Now we know why. They threw pipe bombs out the window.
This gets really scary once you start talking about pipe bombs. You know, we haven't heard yet what was in that suspicious package at the facility that was left behind.
BURNETT: That's right.
RODERICK: Was it also a pipe bomb? BURNETT: Harry, you're talking about when you hear about all of
these weapons, though, if there was another location planned, it wasn't nearby?
HOUCK: Right. I mean, why would they wait so long to attack -- when you have every single police in that area from the first attack, they were basically free to go to another location and attack and they didn't, all right? Were they waiting for tomorrow?
I mean, this is what doesn't make sense to me. Why are they still in the area? The only reason you can think of is the reason they are still in the area is they wanted to attack another location. For some reason, either they didn't or they weren't smart enough to do the attack right away and they were going to wait later on to tonight or maybe tomorrow. Hopefully, that they didn't get caught.
Why were they out there driving around on the street with the weapons when they knew that we were looking for that type of vehicle? Something does not make sense to me.
BURNETT: Bobby, does it make any more sense to you?
CHACON: I agree, Harry. The thing that bothers me about the domestic terrorism scenario, is that normally, either the target, the individual target or location target is symbolic and we don't seem to have that in this scenario.
[19:50:12] When McVeigh blew up the Murrah Federal Building, both the date of the attack and obviously the location of the attack was symbolic. We don't seem to have if this was a domestic terrorism type event. We don't seem to have that same symbolism, either by the individuals that were attacked or at the location.
Unless we can develop a little more and I'm sure the people at the Joint Regional Intelligence Center manned by all the state, local and federal authorities is as intelligence fusion, so working on these scenarios. But to me, domestic terrorism is not the symbolism that's normally associated with the targets of the attack.
BURNETT: Bob Baer, when you hear about the pipe bombs being thrown out of the car, what do you think? I will note that our Pamela Brown is being told the current belief is this is either domestic terrorism or criminal, whatever just to make that distinction. When you hear the pipe bombs, what does it lead you to believe?
BAER: Erin, I think about Boston that Tsarnaev brothers threw pipe bombs or improvised devices out of the car in order to break contact with the police. This is a fairly common tactic in the Middle East when you're being chased, you throw a couple bombs out. They go off. The police stop. They back off. You get away.
Now, I can only speculate why they threw them. But, clearly, that car by throwing them out the window, they weren't going to save themselves from arrest or anything, so I would imagine they hoped to get the police to back off to either escape or move to the next target. You know, again, and I agree on the symbolism, it's
incomprehensible why they would attack this target, unless there was a group of people we don't know about because I don't know of any political connotations that that health center had. I mean, it's just crazy.
BURNETT: Right. It was a broader health center as we've talked about and conference center there, which we understand was an end of the year thing for county officials. So, there were government officials of some sort there. I mean, Harry, we do know that.
HOUCK: If this was a militia group, which is, of course, another guess, all right, why would they attack the Department of Health? Why wouldn't they attack a federal building or something like Timothy McVeigh did? Maybe they knew there would be a large amount of people there and that's why they chose to attack that location.
I mean, there is a lot of questions that need to be answered here and we're going to learn a lot from this attack and we always learn a lot to be able to help prevent the next one.
BURNETT: Colonel Watt, the big question, though, if there is another shooter on the loose that they have been vague, maybe we're going to get answers on the press conference that's a couple minutes late, maybe we're going to get answers on this because you got darkness descending and at this point, no one publicly knowing what the motive is here, the people that they did find, the two shooters who are down had all these extra pipe bombs, what does that say about this possible third shooter and what this person could be capable of doing?
WATT: Well, they need to make the assumption there was a third shooter. The target disturbs me because it speaks to me of a high body count, high body count reasonable helpless people on a location. That has a signature to it, and like Bob Baer says, the tactics I'm seeing speak to me more of the Middle East than they do of the kinds of things that are criminal in nature.
BURNETT: Why, then, just I'm asking you to speculate, why wouldn't they have killed more people than they did? They had a lot of weapons that they didn't use. Why would they have fled instead of killing more people and ending this in a suicide mission?
WATT: Well, the amount of time in which they left speaks to some knowledge of police response capability and I think there may very well be the likelihood of a second target. What stopped them? What interdicted that effort to move to the second target is going to be interesting to hear about.
BURNETT: When you talk about police response time, I believe Bob Baer was pointing out seven to 12 minutes. Whatever they could do within that time frame and then leave the first scene?
HOUCK: And I definitely -- WATT: The amount of time they used to create as much damage as
possible and then move on speaks to me of planning and coordination.
HOUCK: Right, and apparently they had pipe bombs in the vehicle and they figure the police would chase them and use them by throwing them out the window. That's a big question here.
And, you know, I'm going on a thought there was probably going to be a second attack but somehow for some reason, they didn't do it and we're going to have to find that out. That's the only reason why they would still be in the area.
If they really wanted to get away, they could be on that one highway and gone within five minutes. So they stuck around the area, so there had to be another attack planned.
[19:55:03] BURNETT: And, Art, in terms of Deb was reporting, that they were throwing pipe bombs, what indicates to you, what, they were trying to have those explode and send police away or they were just -- what would be the reason for that?
RODERICK: I mean, very possibly, I would agree that would have been the tactic. There is a lot of strange circumstances going on here. They picked that one building that was the softest target because in the other two buildings, you needed a key pass to get in and key passes to get in the different doors.
So, obviously, they had some intel to say that they were letting the public walk in and out of the conference center because of the event that was going on. I also -- it's also interesting that the -- you know, them throwing the pipe bombs out of the car, you would assume that was to break contact with police but, you know, again, was this going to be used at another event or location?
HOUCK: You know, also, the fact that they attacked this location because, you know, if they had attacked a building, they would have to go into different rooms.
BURNETT: This was a compound, offices that dealt with people with disabilities and there was a conference. So it was a very big conference.
HOUCK: So, you got a conference center where they can go and targets just standing there in front of them. This was a target-rich environment for them. Everybody behind doors and out in the open and they are having a good time and partying.
BURNETT: I'm sorry? Who was that?
RODERICK: It was similar to Paris what happened at the concert theater. You have a large group of people you can shoot and get a high body count.
BURNETT: Art, again though, the question so we can understand this, and we are going to find our more when this press conference begins, right, on motive who these people were that might answer some of these questions, but there is the question as to why did they not kill more people if they have AR-15s, they had pipe bombs, they did not choose to do that.
RODERICK: They might have had a specific time to be on the ground to compete whatever mission that they were going to do and that could have been -- I mean, there was also talk there was a fire alarm pull in a building and initially we thought, hey, that's a good tactic to get everybody out of the building, because of the active shooter protocols where everybody shelters in place behind a locked door. So, if they stayed on the scene, they could have actually shot a lot more people.
But I think, you know, just from the information we know now they probably had a specific time they were going to be in there before they made the escape.
BURNETT: Bob, we don't know anything. The press conferences so far, police officials have been asked, did they yell anything, right? People of course are trying to figure out whether this was, let's just be honest, whether there was any sort of Islamic terrorism to this. They haven't answered this question and there hasn't been any indication that is the case at this point.
Do you think that that is still possible?
CHACON: I don't think international terrorism is indicated here, and I also don't -- I'm not really sure about the domestic terrorism angle. I would be surprised if they didn't have some connection to the group that was meeting there. If they were only interested in a high body count, there are other opportunities in and around this area, sporting events, movie theaters, other public gatherings that would give them the opportunity for that.
This is kind -- it's not a remote location but a specialized location. It would be -- I would tend to think they had some connection either to the location or the group meeting there.
BURNETT: To the location or the event.
And I guess the question is then how could they have worked together? That is what is also impressive. This is a single shooter. If this were a single shooter, this conversation would be different.
This is two, if not three people that worked together, who coordinated, who pulled something off.
CHACON: It's not -- we have an incident reminds me of an incident in L.A. many years back. It was a bank robbery up at Bank of America. The guys were very heavily armed, military style and body armor and helmets and shields and of course now everybody remembers it was carried out live on television.
That was a bank robbery. We knew the motivation but the tactics those use when you watch them shoot with the police, the weapons they had, the body armor they had was military grade. Their tactics they used for cover and concealment and movement were military style cover, both suspects ended up being killed in the attack.
But that's always in the minds of the law enforcement in and around L.A. We had in 1996 before I joined the FBI in '87, Miami shootout and couple bank robbers killed two agents and they were taken out after a long shootout with police.
So, you know, the tactics may not be unprecedented. We had the Bank of America shooting where they were very heavily armed and very well planned, of course, they were caught in the incident. But there still could be two guys who had some kind of beef with somebody in that room and who knows, maybe they had prior military training and maybe they were in the military and took a long time planning this and going out and training. This could still be that type of event.
BURNETT: All right. Bobby, thank you so much, thanks to all of you. This is the press conference going to begin any second.
Let's hand it off to "AC360" and Anderson.