Return to Transcripts main page
ANDERSON COOPER 360 DEGREES
Five Dead, Eight Wounded After Gunman Opens Fire in Florida Airport; Sources: Shooting Suspect Heard Voices Telling Him to Join ISIS; Witnesses Say Suspect was in Altercation on Flight; Trump Downplays Russian Meddling in Election Despite Intel Report; News Conference on Florida Airport Shooting. Aired 9-10p ET
Aired January 6, 2017 - 21:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[21:00:37] ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: Thanks very much for joining us for another hour of "360". Tonight's breaking news, a stark reminder that there's only so much the airport security can actually secure.
Five people are dead, eight injured after a gunman open fire in the baggage claim area at Fort Lauderdale airport. The suspect is in custody.
We've got a lot to get to in the next hour. We're waiting, as you see there on the side of your screen, for a news conference. It should be starting any moment now with the latest on the investigation and what we now know about the gunman. I will bring that news conference to you as soon as it starts. But let's begin right now with our justice correspondent, Pamela Brown.
Pamela, what do we know at this hour about how this happened?
PAMELA BROWN, CNN JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: What we know, Anderson, that the suspect flew from Anchorage to Fort Lauderdale today. There were some initial witness accounts to law enforcement that there might have been some sort of an altercation on the plane. So far, law enforcement has not been able to corroborate that that actually happened.
And then we know that after the passengers deplaned, the suspect apparently got his checked bag from baggage claim, and according to witnesses came back out of the restroom and started firing in the baggage claim area, killing five people. He then surrendered to authorities, we're told, and was not injured.
And apparently, he filled out all the proper paperwork to be able to put his gun in that checked baggage, Anderson.
COOPER: And the shooter himself, what do we know now about his past?
BROWN: He was apparently in the Alaska National Guard. He received a general discharge in August 2016 which means there had been some issues. And we're told by officials that he had stopped showing up, apparently. And then we learned, he went to the FBI's office in Anchorage back in November and reported that his mind was being controlled by a U.S. intelligence agency and that voices in his head were pushing him to join ISIS but that he didn't wish to do any harm.
This is what he said during that law enforcement interview. An official says he appeared agitated. His statements were incoherent and disjointed. The FBI looked into his background, saw that he had been in the military, that he had served in Iraq.
There was no apparent radicalization and so the FBI determined it was something that should be handled by local authorities. Local police then took him to a local hospital where he voluntarily checked himself in and underwent a mental health evaluation.
And then, Anderson, next thing we know he boarded that plane to Florida and opened fire in baggage claims.
COOPER: Do we know how long ago that mental health evaluation was?
BROWN: All we know is it must have happened after November because --
BROWN: -- he went to the FBI in November. Sometime after that, he checked himself into a hospital, presumably not long after because he was with local authorities from the FBI taking him there.
COOPER: And just in terms of, you know, defining this as an act of terrorism with an agenda, you know, political agenda, or religious or social agenda, is that how authorities are viewing this or do they not know at this point?
BROWN: Well, it hasn't been ruled out yet. It's just simply too early. But at this point, there's nothing in the investigation indicating terrorism. He wasn't on any law enforcement radar for radicalization.
Official say he didn't have any overseas travel in the past and had been flagged for further review. So mental health appears to be the main focus of this investigation right now, Anderson.
COOPER: All right, Pamela Brown, appreciate it. Again, we're waiting for this press conference. We're going to bring it you any moment.
Joining me now again from outside of the Fort Lauderdale airport, Boris Sanchez. He's been out there all day speaking with people about what they saw.
Boris, at the top of the last hour, people have just started to be able to leave the airport, is that still -- is that process still going on?
BORIS SANCHEZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes. It's going to be a long process, Anderson. I'm going to get out of the way so you could see how many more passengers are still lined up waiting for these buses to pick them up and get them out of Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport.
This is a process that's been going for more than an hour now and it is expected to continue, because at about 1:20 to 1:30 today, the entire airport was put on lock down. You could not get in or out of here, only in the last hour. So we've seen it opened to all traffic. Everyone's been able to come in and pick up their loved ones.
One important note, Anderson, we just heard over a loudspeaker, there will be no more outbound flights out of Fort Lauderdale International Airport tonight. Of course, with the mess that we saw earlier, it's a lot of headaches for travelers. People that have been stranded here for several hours, unable to go anywhere.
As a matter of fact, a short while ago, we spoke to someone that had apparently been on a flight that was about to leave shortly after the shooting, they were unable to leave. They ended up waiting in the plane, in the tarmac for hours and hours up until they were allowed to get off just a few moments ago. So they spent almost seven to eight hours, sitting inside a plane, unable to leave.
[21:05:11] As you mentioned before, we've learned more about the gunman. It was confirmed that in the past he had bought two Glock pistols, one of them a Glock 9, one of them a Glock 40. It's unclear if those were the weapons that were used here today, have used either one of those here today.
From what we understand, he was interviewed by federal and local investigators. No clear motive yet. We do know, however, that this is going to take a long time to process this scene. As you can imagine, there's a lot of people that investigators will want to talk to. As far as Fort Lauderdale International Airport goes, though, things are slowly starting to get back to normal, Anderson.
COOPER: Boris Sanchez, I appreciate that, you've got a long day. Thank you for your great coverage.
And you've seen in the side of your screen there, we are awaiting this press conference. You know, pieces of information has been -- have been coming in on the record, off the record all day long. We're going to bring you the latest live from authorities as soon as that press conference begins.
Earlier tonight, though, I spoke with an eyewitness, someone who was there for the entire shooting is still trying to process what exactly he saw. Mark Lea. Lea had gave me extraordinary details about what happened. We want to play that interview for you right now.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Can you just walk us through what you saw and what you heard?
MARK LEA, AIRPORT SHOOTING WITNESS: Yeah. We are -- my wife and I were at the kind of far in the baggage claim terminal when basically we are -- just in ready kind of leave and we kind of heard of like a three-round burst. At first that was firecrackers, and then that very quick little pauses, you know, there's kind of basically the shooting started again with the (inaudible). We all realized along with everyone else in the terminal, realized that it was not firecrackers but it was someone shooting.
COOPER: How far away were you?
LEA: At that point in time I was probably about 100 yards.
LEA: So basically that at point people started screaming, yelling, running for those halls to the exit doors running frantically to those exits, trying to get out of there. The people they were by the baggage carousel area there were a little bit more, obviously, lock down in there. There were basically people, you know, hiding under the chairs, hiding, you know, close to the baggage claim area, they're trying to block themselves to get much protection as they can.
He just continued to walk up in the isle, around the baggage claim -- or barrage carousel kind of walking up and down. He just -- he went up point and shoots and just randomly shooting people, no rhyme or reason, was not yelling anything. He was quiet as a mouse, did not say anything, no emotion.
COOPER: So, you can actually see the shooter while he was --
LEA: Oh, yeah. I watched him. I watched every bit of it. And basically I watched up down there. I mean, I would start, you know, basically, I forgot my wife after the first three rounds, and I got my wife followed, we got, you know, (inaudible) trying to get out of there. I ran back in and was helping up, see other people trying to get out there, and you know, continued watching where he's shooting and where's he's going that I was trying to stay out of the line of fire to try and keep people safe.
Once he's finished shooting, you know, you hear him reloading a couple times, you know, shoot in the 9 millimeter at about eight-round mag in it.
COOPER: So, he was actually taking time to reload?
LEA: Well, he had two extra mags with him. So, he did not have to time to reload, the magazines were already loaded.
COOPER: OK. And just to reiterate. You're saying he didn't say anything --
LEA: No, not.
COOPER: -- he seemed calm?
LEA: Calm, he was calm as can be like he was just walking like nothing (inaudible).
LEA: So no emotion, didn't say a word, was not yelling, no screaming, no nothing. And like I said, it didn't matter whether you're male, female, white, black, child. It didn't matter, he just point and shot.
COOPER: How close was he -- was he shooting at people from, I mean, was it pointblank?
LEA: Pointblank. Some were pointblank to 5, 10 feet away or maybe 20 feet away.
COOPER: So, he was looking directly at the people that he was trying to kill?
LEA: Yeah, point and shoot. Point and shoot. He didn't care. He was not discriminate in any way, shape or form. So, then I thought, you know, one black guy was, you know, that African-American guy with his two little boys, he got shot in the wrist. And the one lady get rid (inaudible) by the window. She got the shot in the left shoulder. The one lady I was consoling, she was one of the (inaudible) kill by unseen. She had took a shot right to the right shoulder through and through.
Basically three feet away from her husband and he lays dead. You know, the next, next two of guy there, it was another guy that got shot and was bleeding profusely.
You know, as soon I kind of stay, you know, once the shooting was done, you know, from there, so then he retreated back out, kind of in that same direction where he was. And, you know, basically at that point, you know, the gun was out of admonition. So he dropped the gun, took another couple more steps, laid face down, spread eagle, waited for the deputy who was running up behind me. From my expect coming up behind and another gun drawn and came up to the, you know, to the get a shooter (inaudible) like him face (inaudible) 10 feet behind the deputy. So once he got up to the shooter, you know, he secured the, you know, shooter at that point, the gun was empty.
[21:09:59] I stepped on it just to make sure nothing was, you know, no one is going to grab it or anything else of that nature, even though it was empty. And then probably shortly after that, about 10 seconds later, there's another half dozen deputies from Broward Country came rushing. Two, three minutes after that, you know, all hell broke loose as far as the law enforcement.
COOPER: And while the shooting was taking place, I mean, I imagine there was pandemonium where people --
LEA: Oh, yeah --
COOPER: -- people were yelling and screaming.
LEA: Down screaming and just -- I mean, they're -- they didn't know, you know, like I said, they were like shooting fish in a barrel. But what is was, and he had nowhere and anything else to that nature, he just likes walked up and down, and just randomly shot people, no -- like I say, no rhyme or reason.
COOPER: How long -- it's hard to estimate time in a situation --
LEA: Forty five seconds.
COOPER: You think about 45 seconds?
LEA: Forty five seconds.
COOPER: The whole thing.
LEA: Yup. For the -- the next deputy -- the deputy run deputy that was -- there's no deputies that were downstairs in the baggage claim area, so I have -- you know, but 10 seconds later, once he was down and done, and that first deputy showed up and probably another -- I think, 20 seconds after that, the another half-dozen deputies showed up.
COOPER: Are you saying the entire shooting incident, though, from the time the first shots were fired to the time he laid down, you think that was about 45 seconds?
LEA: Forty Five seconds, yup.
COOPER: Wow. And --
LEA: Only two dozen rounds.
COOPER: -- and did he resist it all, or did or after --
LEA: No, he was waiting for the deputy to come get him. He was already face down, spread eagle on the ground probably for 10 seconds at least before the deputy got up to him.
COOPER: And did he say anything then?
LEA: Didn't say anything, nothing. No emotion, no nothing, but as straight-faced as you can get.
COOPER: I'm so glad for your quick thinking to do what you could to help other people but also to put your foot on the gun and just try secure that. I'm so sorry for what you've gone through, and obviously for everybody else there. Mark Lea, appreciate you taking the time to talk to us.
LEA: Yeah, thank you, sir.
COOPER: You take care.
LEA: Yup, and bye-bye.
COOPER: That was Mark Lea, witnessed to all of that.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Much more ahead, again, we're waiting this press conference from the FBI with all the latest details in the investigation, what they now know about the gunman. We'll also take a look at where the shooting happened inside the airport. Tom Foreman is at the virtual wall mapping it all out for us.
Also, President-elect Trump downplaying the intelligence report on Russia and the election release today. He got a briefing on the classified version of the report. Also the latest on Trump's effort to get Congress not Mexico, at least initially to fund the wall at the border and what Donald Trump is saying about it now.
[21:15:41] COOPER: More on our breaking news out of Florida, the shooting at Fort Lauderdale's airport, as you see in the side of your screen there. We are waiting for the latest news conference from the FBI, with the latest on the shooter, and the investigation. We'll bring that to you live.
Five people are dead, eight wounded right now, tonight after a gunman opened fire at the baggage claim area shortly before 1:00 this afternoon.
Law enforcement sources telling us the suspect is a man, named Esteban Santiago, who flew to Florida from Alaska, declared a firearm in his check luggage, normally, we don't name the shooters in this kind of mass shooting situation, but police are still looking for information about him, so we're using his name, sparingly.
According to one source after his flight arrived at the airport, he got the gun out of his luggage in the bathroom, then came out firing at people.
Tom Foreman has more details on the airport and how it all unfolded. Tom?
TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Anderson. Let's look at the layout of the Fort Lauderdale airport, because if all of this is correct, he took off from Anchorage, had a layover in Minneapolis and arrived here at about a quarter past noon and would have been right here and this is Terminal 2, and if we move a little bit closer, we can talk about the fact that he seems have came in right back here, there is gate number five.
Now, if you follow the normal flow of people leaving that plane to head toward baggage, that would have taken him along a path that would have been anywhere from 50 to 75 yards long, flowing out here, over to here to these escalators, down to the baggage section which was down below.
This is the baggage area we've been talking about all day, down in here. We hear about the side he went to a restroom, now, there's one over there. And it's a fairly substantial area in here. And then there's one over here as well.
If this were the case, based on the timeline as we know it, from the time his plane officially touched down to the time he would have emerged from here, would have been pushing almost 45 minutes, before all the shooting broke out and we do know Anderson, that many of the victims we've seen, many of the people that your eye witness was talking about minutes ago were actually right in this part of the baggage area. Anderson?
COOPER: And the idea of him having a gun in his luggage, when and how is that allowed? So, I think a lot of people maybe surprised to know that that's even a possibility.
FOREMAN: Yeah, a lot of gun owners won't be surprised but many others may be. You can never take them in a carryon bag as a normal regular civilian, but you can put them in your checked luggage. Here's how you go about doing that bar and certain stage and local regulations maybe different.
According to the TSA, first of all, you have to tell the airline that you are carrying a firearm with you. Secondly, it must be unloaded. You can have no shells in the chamber, none in the clip that are attached to the gun at that time. It must be in a hard-shell, locked case. And only you can have a key or combination. You can't have a whole bunch of people having that around you, only you.
And lastly, if you are taking ammunition with you, that must also be in a locked case, although, quite frequently, gun owners will put it in the case with the gun. All of that is to promote security but obviously doesn't foresee a circumstance like we've describe today. Anderson?
COOPER: Yeah. All right, Tom, thank to that update.
Back with the panel, Juliette Kayyem, Tom Fuentes, David Sosin, Phil Mudd, and might have to jump in when -- if this press conference begins, because we want to bring you all the latest information from the FBI.
Tom, how concern is law enforcement, that something like this could happen? I mean, the guy checked the gun, apparently, it was, you know, done all by, according to the rules, then apparently went to the bathroom, loaded the gun and had two other magazines and then came out shooting.
TOM FUENTES, FORMER FBI ASSISTANT DIRECTOR: Well, Anderson, they're concerned that it could happen, but there's no real easy solution to keep it from happening. Thousands of people every day who are hunters, sportsman, firearms instructors, get on airplanes, check their guns just as Tom Foreman described legally, and when they arrive at the other end, they take the gun in their baggage and leave the airport typically. But there's nothing to stop someone who takes that gun up to the ticket counter before checking it in and opening fire there, and we've had that in the past.
And there's nothing to stop anyone, like we've seen here, where once they recovered their checked bag, they can go on a bathroom, go on stall, unzip it, put the magazines in the gun, load it up, get ready to go, taking all of about five minutes, and they walk out back into the airport area by baggage claim and they're ready to start shooting. COOPER: Yeah.
FUENTES: And there's really nothing you can do to stop it.
[21:20:01] COOPER: And Juliette, I mean in a lot of airports, the baggage claim area is accessible to anybody even just walking into the terminal, so it's not as if someone would need -- even need to fly with the weapon, someone could just come in to the weapon and, as Tom said, it's the baggage claim area or the ticket counter area that are the most accessible.
JULIETTE KAYYEM, FORMER U.S. ASST. SECY. FOR HOMELAND SECURITY: That's exactly right and that's what makes this case. At least what we know about it so far we're of course waiting for this press conference. Sort of interesting, and I think there are legitimate questions, because, you know, this is sort of the hardest way to do it, right? You get on a plane, you have to check the guns, you then get off the plane, you then load it and then you start shooting when we know that all of these airports are relatively accessible.
I should say there is layered security, even in the public spots, TSA is in charge of the security going into the secure area. So a lot has been done after Istanbul and other airport attacks, they're never going to be fully protected. But I think that's why a lot of us are sort of just curious, was there some triggering aspect on the plane ride or in baggage claim of that led to this attack, because he picked a hard way, not a hard way, but he just pick the sort of the most difficult way to pull off something that would be relatively easy if he just walked in to baggage claim.
COOPER: Right, and not clear, Phil, you know, why -- at this point, we don't really know why he would have been heading to Fort Lauderdale, whether this was something that was, you know, he had actually thought out or whether it was something that occurred on the flight. The motive here, is that as significant, you think, at this stage of the investigation for law enforcement?
PHIL MUDD, FORMER SENIOR OFFICIAL, FBI AND CIA: I don't. There's a disconnect in these situations between what's discussed in the public forum and what's discussed behind closed doors and the investigative agencies including the police and the FBI. At this stage, the questions I would be having would be to confirm that nobody else was involved in the event, but there's this secondary question, not only involved, did anybody know, family, friends, did he talk to people in the military unit he left? What were the indicators when he went in for mental health treatment?
So before we get to motivation, there are lot more immediate questions about whether someone was involved in a criminal enterprise as part of a conspiracy, would be too strong a word, but whether they should have picked up the phone and called and then you get into tomorrow, Sunday, Monday, can we dig deeper into motivation, Anderson?
COOPER: And David, just in terms of airport security, you know, preventing something like this again, you know, we have seen incidents like this in the sort of soft target areas in the airport. And within years past, we've seen people shot at ticket counters in the check-in area, even TSA line before they go through security people have open fire.
DAVID SOUCIE, FORMER FAA ACCIDENT INVESTIGATOR & INSPECTOR: That's true. In 1972, there was one where actually terrorist come in and shot several people, many people inside of Israel. But that's the last time that this happened in that realm and in baggage area.
Now, what's concerning to me and what's interesting to think about is, yeah, it maybe not be preventable in this area. However, the mitigation, once it begins, that's something that needs to be focused on and is focused on at the airports.
So when this does break out, who is there in that area to mitigate the threat and that's what I'm afraid about, how long it took and how many people moved and how many people were put at risk. So I'm going to be interested to find out how many shots were taken, if those were effective and how the assailant was brought down and taken care of and how quickly. So that's something that we can learn about with airport security.
SOUCIE: Is there a way to improve that kind of vulnerable area within the airport?
COOPER: And from what we know so far from eyewitnesses, basically, when he finished shooting he was able to reload, we believed, at least two magazines, then when he was done he just laid down and waited for law enforcement.
We're going to take a quick break. We continue to monitor, waiting for that press conference, waiting for the latest information from the FBI. We obviously want to bring that to you live. We'll be right back.
[21:27:22] COOPER: Well, again, the breaking news tonight, five dead, eight hurt after a gunman opened fire at the Fort Lauderdale airport. There's still lot of pieces of the puzzle though that need to be put together. We're just hours into these investigations. Half run at 1:00 this afternoon
We're told that the FBI has been interviewing the aunt of the alleged gunman. And as you see on this side of your screen, we are waiting a press conference from the FBI, waiting for latest information, we thought it was going to be at the top of the hour about 27 minutes ago. We now believe it's going to happen just in the next couple of minutes.
I hate to sound like a broken record, but we will bring that to you live as soon as it happens because we want to get the freshest information. The aunt of the alleged gunman is home in -- her home is in Union City in New Jersey, just across the Hudson River from where we are in New York. CNN's Deborah Feyerick is there as she joins me. Deb, what are you hearing tonight?
DEBORAH FEYERICK, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, what we're hearing is that there are about eight FBI and law enforcement officials here at the home earlier this afternoon. It's just behind me, there you may be able to see some of the blue lights there. She was interviewed by those agents that's part of the investigation. She told reporters afterwards that her nephew did have a baby, that he was acting strangely after he returned from a tour in Iraq and that he's the youngest of five brothers and sisters who live both in Puerto Rico but also in Florida.
Now, we are learning a little bit more about his military record as well. He joined the National Guard back in 2007 when he was 17 years old. That was the National Guard in Puerto Rico. He was deployed to Iraq in 2010, he was a private first class, a combat engineer and he did win several awards, including an Army Good Conduct Medal as well as an Army Commendation Medal and Combat Action Badge.
Now, when he was captured this afternoon he did have his army identification with him. We are also told that in August 2016, he was discharged from the army. A couple of months later is when he walked into the FBI and they in turn, turned him over to the custody of local authorities for a mental evaluation to check into a medical facility.
So, we're learning a little bit about his background, with the family very, very surprised. The aunt telling reporters, I'm so sorry, I'm so sad, God be merciful. Anderson?
COOPER: So he did have some family in -- some brothers and sisters in Florida, so that might explain why he was heading there? Is that correct?
FEYERICK: Yeah, that's exactly right. And that part of the investigation has not been told to us but he left Anchorage this morning, he transited through Minneapolis and then he ended up in Fort Lauderdale airport.
So again, you know, I spoke to a couple of folks and law enforcement because of the fact that he tried -- that gun inside his luggage and a number of people told me that, well, it will be a big point of discussion as to whether that should be allowed.
[21:30:05] There are a lot of people in the military, there are lot of people in law enforcement who always check their firearms inside their luggage, and that, you know, it was just as easy for somebody to walk in from the outside. So that probably will not change in their opinion, but again, it is something that obviously will be discussed and evaluated as well.
COOPER: Yeah, and a lot of people going on hunting trips. It would be difficult for them not to be able to check their guns in the check luggage. Deb Feyerick, appreciate that.
While waiting for this news conference to start, just before we went on air tonight, I spoke with an eyewitness of the shooting, someone who's really frankly to be -- lucky to be alive. Tonight, when you hear his story you're going to understand why.
He told us about a backpack he was wearing that has his laptop in it. He soon learned after the shooting that he'd actually been shot in the back, the laptop deflected the bullet. It was actually found by law enforcement inside his bag. His name is Steve Frappier. Listen to this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Steve, when did you realize something was going on and what did you hear, what did you see?
STEVE FRAPPIER, AIRPORT SHOOTING WITNESS: When I was at the baggage claim area, there was the sound of kind of some popping like firecrackers, which -- and the noises, you know, (inaudible) sounds like that. But then, a man yelled out very near us saying, "That guy has got a gun, everybody down." And we knew something was going to happen.
COOPER: So I suppose at that point, you dropped down?
FRAPPIER: Yeah, correct. And so just all of us that were waiting for our baggage, we hit the floor.
COOPER: How far away was the man who yelled at, and did you see the shooter at all?
FRAPPIER: I saw the shooter. I didn't see the man that was yelling. I was further away from the conveyor belt, and the end of it. Most of the people and the victims, too, were about at the beginning of the conveyor belt where the luggage was but I -- just moments before decided to move away from the crowds toward the end of the conveyer belt. So I heard the man nearby and I didn't see the shooter until a couple moments after, but he was within 16 feet of me.
COOPER: So what happened, you dropped to the ground, then what?
FRAPPIER: I dropped to the ground. I heard more of the popping sounds, and then while I'm on the floor, I'm seeing people in front of me get hit.
COOPER: You actually saw that.
Caller: I saw that there was a man, probably 10 feet away from me that was shot in the head. And his wife, you know, collapsed on top of him. And with those --
COOPER: Was he shot when he was standing up or was he on the floor as well?
FRAPPIER: We were all on the floor and so --
COOPER: So the shooter just went over and shot somebody who was laying down on the floor?
FRAPPIER: It was some of certain distance. So the shooter was not necessarily walking around the whole baggage claim area, he was still several feet away from many of us, but he kind of shot into the crowd and toward the floor and hit that man.
COOPER: Was he saying anything at all before or during the shooting?
FRAPPIER: He said absolutely nothing. He said absolutely nothing. And so there was a point where the entire terminal was -- the baggage claim area's completely silent and all we could hear was just the popping of the gun.
COOPER: Then that's how you remember it. Not -- people not screaming, you remember silence.
FRAPPIER: The people screaming were the people that might have been hurt or people that were next to someone, you know, or a loved one that was hit.
COOPER: I understand you had a backpack with you.
FRAPPIER: I did.
COOPER: And that actually saved you or may have saved you. What happened?
FRAPPIER: The backpack saved my life. I was wearing a backpack on both shoulders and then when we went to the floor I just, you know, I dropped and the backpack was still on my back. And I was turned in such a way where at one point, when the shooter shot towards my direction, there were several other people around me, there was a bullet that ricocheted, and I did not notice until after the -- and so much later. I felt something hit my back and I turned (ph) around and I thought it was -- because the luggage was still coming.
So there was a luggage that was falling on top of me too. And I thought it was just luggage at that time. And notice only later when I go to the bathroom to check myself out, that the bullet had entered my backpack, hit my laptop, and then when I gave my bag over to the FBI for investigation, they saw the bullet in the pocket of my backpack.
COOPER: That's incredible. So your laptop saved your life. And your laptop stopped the bullet.
FRAPPIER: The laptop and I believe too, the fabric of the backpack. And so the laptop (inaudible) follow that combination because it was on the ground, like a, you know, like a tortoise, you know, with the backpack on me, the way that it ricocheted into my back, that would have been my back --
[21:35:09] COOPER: And we're showing a picture of the laptop. It looked like it was hit in the corner or the side.
FRAPPIER: Yup, and the strange thing too, is that my -- in the rush to get off the plane, I just kind of shoved my laptop into my backpack, and it was open very slightly. So later when they were searching the backpack, they were looking for the entry point, and it turns out it hit just so through the open backpack, exited, you know, ran through the laptop and the casing, and then through an interior pocket of the backpack.
COOPER: That's incredible. And they actually recovered the bullet from the inside of the --
FRAPPIER: They recovered the bullet from the side pocket of my backpack.
COOPER: Gosh, you were lucky.
COOPER: And what -- so you were shot at, almost hit, then what happened?
FRAPPIER: And then the same man, I mean, and this man is the guy that I can say so many of us, who, whichever by stander was near the conveyor belt, he called out later saying, "Stay down, he's still here." There was a point where people are getting up to walk away and he yelled out again, "He's coming back." And so there was some guy, off in the near distance that I couldn't see, you know, that was coaching us as to what we needed to do, the several dozen of us that were on the floor there.
And then there was a certain point where a law enforcement came and kind of anticipated the scene and -- so I was walking around the airport for several minutes with that bullet in my backpack not even knowing that it was there --
COOPER: Do you --
FRAPPIER: -- then later I have to go search in there and --
COOPER: Do you have a sense of how long this shooting went on? Because I understand that at some point he had several magazines that he was able to, you know, inject one, put, I think two more --
FRAPPIER: (Inaudible) a gun and it was a handgun. So -- and so I was thinking, how are there several dozen bullets in this handgun but he had a couple, obviously, a couple magazines with him. But I think all of this was over and done with maybe in 90 seconds?
FRAPPIER: I thought it was -- it was not any extended period of time.
COOPER: Well, Steve, I'm so sorry for what you have gone through and what you've witnessed today and obviously for all those who were injured and who lost their lives and their families. I appreciate you taking the time to talk to us. You know, just -- I don't know, take care of yourself the next couple days, Steve.
FRAPPIER: Thank you very much.
(END VIDEO CLIP) COOPER: All right. Just incredibly lucky there. Again, that's the scene where the press conference we are waiting for. We're told it's going to happen any minute. We'll obviously bring that to you live. We'll take a short break. We'll be right back.
[21:41:38] COOPER: As we await the FBI news conference in Florida at the airport, the latest on the investigation and the killer who killed five people and wounded eight others at the Fort Lauderdale airport today. We'll bring that -- we'll bring you that press conference as soon as it begins.
Other breaking news tonight, though, American intelligence officials have concluded that Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered and then influenced campaign in the 2016 presidential election in order to hurt Hillary Clinton and ultimately help Donald Trump.
The classified version of the report was released today. President- elect Trump was briefed on the classified version of the report for more than an hour by top intelligence officials. Afterward, he downplayed the findings.
Senior White House correspondent Jim Acosta joins me now with the latest.
So, was the Trump team surprised by what they were told in the briefing? How did they react?
JIM ACOSTA, SENIOR CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Yeah, Anderson. I'm told by a senior transition official that they did receive some new information at this briefing by the intelligence community officials who were here at Trump Tower earlier today.
As you stated, the intelligence community is being very clear about this. They say that Russia was behind this hacking attack on the DNC and other Democratic officials during the 2016 election. What you are hearing from the Trump transition team and from the senior transition official is that yes, they do acknowledge that Russia is one of the actors involved in cyber hacking on the United States on the American political system.
They're not going as far as to accept, you know, hook, line and sinker, everything that the intelligence community is saying about Vladimir Putin being behind this hacking attempt to throw the election to Donald Trump. What I did hear from a senior transition officials that they do believe, based on the information, the presentation they received earlier today, that this hacking was aimed at discrediting Hillary Clinton.
They're not denying that at this point. But they don't want to make that lead to say, that yes, that all of this was going on to throw the election to Donald Trump.
Keep in mind, Anderson, inside the transition, even with the President-elect himself, there is a very deep frustration, and it's going to be carrying on for some time that all of this is being used to discredit and delegitimize his upcoming presidency. But they are starting to inch towards the intelligence community's findings at this point. They're just not buying them all together, Anderson.
COOPER: When you say they are starting to inch toward that, people on the Trump transition team are, but the candidate, the president -- I mean, not the candidate, the president-elect, Donald Trump, do we know if he actually believes that as well?
ACOSTA: You know, I think, that is an unresolved question, Anderson.
Honestly, when you look at that statement earlier today, there is some resistance in that statement to accepting what the intelligence community is saying, that Vladimir Putin was directing a hacking operation to throw the election to Donald Trump. They're just not going to go that far.
And when I was talking to this senior transition official earlier this evening, this person was saying, "Listen, there was no attempt made, that the intelligence community found to change the election machines, the tallies, the vote totals and so forth." And so, you know, they feel like that is the type of hacking that, yes, would have thrown the election one way or the other. But absent that kind of evidence, they just don't want to draw that kind of conclusion.
They are pushing back also, on this whole matter of the FBI going to the DNC. They're raising questions about that.
[21:45:01] Remember the FBI went to the DNC, asked for access to their servers, they were bought by the DNC. And according to this transition official that I talked to, this came up during the meeting today. They asked the intelligence community officials, "Listen, had the FBI been able to get access to those servers, is it possible all of this could have been prevented a lot sooner, perhaps during the course of the campaign?" And these intelligence community leaders, Anderson, were saying, "Yes, that would have helped along with a lot of other things."
And so, there are questions inside this transition. I think, Anderson, that raises the stakes for this upcoming press conference on the 11th, next week, next Wednesday.
ACOSTA: Donald Trump is going to be asked this question for sure. Anderson?
COOPER: Yeah, all right, Jim Acosta, I appreciate that.
Again, we're waiting for this press conference of the shooting in Florida.
A short time ago before we went on air, I spoke to a former CIA director, the former Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta about this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) COOPER: Secretary Panetta, first of all, I just want to get your reaction to the findings of this intelligence report, that the hacking was directed by Vladimir Putin, that they believe it was in order to influence the campaign, that Russia "developed" a clear preference for President-elect Trump. What do you make at that? How troubling is this?
LEON PANETTA, FORMER CIA DIRECTOR: I think it's very troubling when a country like Russia, an adversary in the world to the United States, you know, we're engaged with Russia in what I would call probably a new chapter of the Cold War. And this indicates how bad the situation has gotten. That they would conduct this kind of very aggressive effort to interfere and undermine our election process in this country.
And look, this is ironclad case. So, there's no room for questioning the evidence that has been presented that makes very clear that they deliberately conducted this effort.
COOPER: Do you believe the president-elect is taking it seriously enough? I mean, you put a statement after the briefing today rather than focusing solely on the fact that Russia has waged cyber battle against the United State. You know he continued to assure that there was absolutely no effect on the outcome of the election. He's clearly concerned about, you know, his perception that this is an attempt to delegitimize his victory.
PANETTA: Well, you know, Anderson, after watching some of the tweeting that's gone on these last few weeks that statement was at least to step in the better direction. He talked about having a constructive meeting. He did indicate his respect for the men and women in the intelligence community. And he also said he was going to appoint a team to develop our cyber capabilities in the future.
I wish he had made clear that whether you're a Republican or a Democrat, we cannot stand for a country like Russia to conduct these kinds of operations to interfere in our election system. This president has to acknowledge the role that they've played and he's got to make very clear to them that that kind of behavior will not be tolerated.
COOPER: Earlier today, before President-elect Trump's briefing, he called the focus on Russian hacking a political witch hunt. You led the CIA, you know, the officers, the men and women in Langley, who are also serving overseas in a lot of locations. When you hear them being accused of playing politics, when you see Donald Trump tweeting about, you know, saying the intelligence community with the word intelligence in quotes, what do you feel in your gut?
PANETTA: Well, I'm very saddened by that kind of approach, and I really hope that the president understands that if he's going to fulfill his first duty to the country, which is to defend this country, he's going to have to rely on the intelligence community.
You cannot, as president, make decisions in dealing with a complex world we're dealing with, not only with Russia, but China and ISIS, and cyber attacks, and North Korea. We're dealing with a very dangerous world. You've got to support the men and women in the intelligence community who are doing this work. These people put their lives on the line in order to gather the intelligence that is essential to give to the president.
And when you criticize the intelligence community, it -- not only undermines their morale, it makes it very difficult to be able to get the sources we need in order to gather the vital intelligence that a president needs for the future.
So I think it would be a lot smarter if the president, as he did today, indicates his respect for the intelligence community, builds his team to develop a good intelligence source for the work that he does, and that instead of playing this out in the public or in tweeting, deals with this within the confines of the Oval Office. That's the way you develop ultimately a trusting relationship.
[21:50:01] COOPER: You know, it's interesting because Donald Trump projects an aura of strength. You know, he trumpets himself as, no point intended, as a strong leader, somebody's going to have a tough hand overseas with their adversaries. How don't you think our adversaries when they read Donald Trump tweeting about the ratings of Arnold Schwarzenegger on "The Apprentice" or tweeting in emotional ways?
I don't know that I've ever heard any president or president-elect discussing or sort of reacting on their emotions quite as much as Donald Trump. Do you think that's for you it's a sign of strength?
PANETTA: Well, you know, I've been in public life for about 50 years and in one way or another have served about nine presidents. None of those presidents ever engaged in this kind of behavior.
And I think when somebody, you know, like Donald Trump tweets as he does, and reflects his kind of instant emotions and puts it out to the world, that in many ways the world looks at that and are -- you know, they're asking themselves, what the hell is this all about? What is he doing?
I think he's got to understand that when you're president of the United States, words count. And what he's been doing these last few weeks, I think in many ways, weakens this country rather than strengthens it. Because it sends a message to our adversaries, that somehow they can engage in this kind of cyber attack on the United States and not have to pay a price.
COOPER: Secretary Panetta, I appreciate your time tonight. Thank you so much.
PANETTA: Good to be with you.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Just ahead, Donald Trump made at the centerpiece of his campaign, promised he would build a wall along the border and make Mexico pay for. He now says it was taxpayers will put the bill upfront and Mexico will reimburse. Is that a flip-flop? Details ahead?
[21:55:02] And welcome back. We are told we are just now minutes away. We've been assured from this press conference from the FBI with the latest on the investigation into the shooting today at Fort Lauderdale Airport. We're joined now by our security panel, Juliette Kayyem.
Juliette, in terms of what can be learned from the shooting, I mean is there really anything more that can be gleaned in terms of protecting airports in the future?
KAYYEM: Yes, there's always something to learn, even in cases like this where it appears the response was relatively well-orchestrated. It takes a long time to clear something out in airport out, but, you know, there's a part of emergency management that is focused on lessons learned.
And so here are the good things that I would want to take away at this stage. One, clearly is just the timing of how much time did he have access to people and targets within the terminal. Second is, were there clues when he was leaving the airport or in baggage claim that might have been looked at by people of authority that could have been de-escalated? And then third, you're going to want to do review of the sort of response, you know, who was communicating with whom? Could they -- Did they get people out quick enough? Were they communicating to the public about what to do? You certainly had people on over the last couple of hours and they were left in bathrooms, they didn't know what to do.
So look, these are horrible cases, but the only silver lining in them is, you know, at least for the public, is to learn something to try to minimize the risks that the public might face in the future, because unfortunately these cases are almost impossible to stop all of them.
COOPER: And Tom Fuentes, you know, we've seen -- again, we hope to hear more details about what may have been the motive tonight. But everything at this point seems to be focused on mental health issues and it looks like authorities now are heading towards the news conference area. So let's just listen in as they begin this news conference that we've been waiting for.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I thought it's important to recap the events of the day and then I'll turn the conference over to the airport director, Mark Gale and I will conclude with the FBI SAC George Piro and then the three of us will take any questions.
The day began around 12:55, when an American subject by the name of Esteban Santiago landed in Fort Lauderdale Airport Terminal 2 on a flight from Minnesota, Delta flight from Minnesota to Fort Lauderdale, eventually retrieved a firearm and began indiscriminately shooting. His cowardly heinous act resulted in the deaths of five people. There were eight more people injured by way of gunshot that was transported to local hospitals. There were at least 30 to 40 more people went to the hospitals for various injuries, falling, contusions, broken bones, strains, sprints and things of that nature.
The subject was immediately taken into custody by Broward Sheriff's deputies without incident. The subject was interviewed extensively by a team of FBI agents and Broward Sheriff's deputies. The subject is now in federal custody and SAC Piro will be speaking about that in a few moments. The subject at this point, as I said, is an American citizen and the investigation continues.
We've bussed maybe thousands of people from off airplanes, from baggage, waiting in lines to the port. They're at Terminal 4 at the port. The Red Cross and many, many other agencies are coming together to assist these people.
As tragic as this incident is, and continues to be, I've never been so proud of local, state and federal law enforcement. The FBI, the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, the Broward Sheriff's Office and many local public safety agencies came together and worked with complete cohesion. The entire law enforcement and public safety community worked tirelessly today and continues to work tirelessly as we continue to this investigation. At this time, I'll bring you up Mark Gale.
MARK GALE, DIRECTOR, FORT LAUDERDALE-HOLLYWOOD AIRPORT: Thank you, sheriff. I'm Mark Gale, the airport director.
First, I'd like to say again on behalf of Broward County Administration, our mayor, county commissioners, express our condolences and our sympathies, keep thoughts and prayers with those who lost their lives here today, as well as their family and friends. It's truly a horrific incident.
[22:00:09] As sheriff has said, we had a number of individuals that were not only stuck on airplanes, airplanes that had landed, but --