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ANDERSON COOPER 360 DEGREES
17 Dead in Florida High School Shooting; Sheriff: Shooting Suspect in Custody; Sheriff: Shooting Suspect is Ex-Student, Had One AR-15. Aired 9-10p ET
Aired February 14, 2018 - 21:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: -- time and time and time again. Another deadly school shooting in another American town, another high school, another community shaken to its core by a shooter with a semiautomatic weapon. We're going to show you a very short cellphone video taken inside a classroom. We aren't going to play it over and over again, but it does show in very visceral way the reality of this imaginable situation.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Holy.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Oh, my god.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Randi Kaye is in Parkland, Florida for us tonight and she joins us. What have you been able to learn about how things played out? And, Randi, I should just point out, we're anticipating a press conference any moment and we may have to break in and bring that to our viewers live. Go ahead.
RANDI KAYE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Absolutely, Anderson. That's just down the road here where the Governor is expected. It was a very long and painful afternoon outside the school and in this community of Parkland.
Just before 3:00 p.m., the fire alarm was pulled at that school, and later investigators did tell us that they do believe the shooter actually pulled that fire alarm in order to draw the students outside of that school. That's when he started firing on them. The shooting actually started outside the school, and then the shooter followed those students inside the school and continued to fire.
The students, though, Anderson knew what to do. They sheltered in place. They locked their classroom doors. They blockaded the doors in many cases. They turned off their cellphones, which is critical. So --
COOPER: Randi, Governor Rick Scott is speaking. So I want to bring our viewers to that now. Let's listen in.
(BEGIN VIDEO TAPE)
SHERIFF SCOTT ISRAEL, BROWARD COUNTY, FLORIDA: Another horrific day. A detestable day. I'm absolutely sick to my stomach to see children who go to school armed with backpacks and pencils lose their lives.
This nation, we need to see something and say something. If we see different behavior, aberrant behavior, we need to report it to local authorities. Since we've last briefed, we've identified 12 victims within the school.
We will not be releasing the names of any victims until every family and every parent is notified accordingly. As soon as that's been done, of course, we will release a list. I want to thank you for allowing -- getting the information to the folks we need.
I'm going to bring up Mr. Runcie. Mr. Runcie is going to speak a little bit about some of the issues that the school board is incurring as superintendent, some of the decisions he has made. And then you'll hear from Governor Scott.
We'll take any questions and then we'll probably give you your next briefing tomorrow. Thank you. Mr. Runcie?
ROBERT RUNCIE, SUPERINTENDENT, BROWARD COUNTY PUBLIC SCHOOLS: This evening, our district is in a tremendous state of grief, sorrow. We're heartbroken over this unspeakable tragedy that has occurred here in Parkland, Florida. Words cannot express the sorrow that we feel.
The victims and their families, our thoughts and prayers go out to them. No parent should ever have to send their kids to school and have them not return. That should not happen in Parkland. It shouldn't happen anywhere in this country. And this we've got to find a way for this to stop.
As a district, we will continue to work with law enforcement. We are focusing on providing all of the support that our students, our families, and employees need to cope with this devastating tragedy. It's going to take us some time to go through this, to heal, to figure out how to move on.
Some updates on Marjory Stoneman Douglas, as for activities, the school will be closed for the remainder of this week. All activities will be canceled as well. We are going to provide grief counselors. They will be available to Marjory Stoneman Douglas students and families at the Pines Trails Park recreation Center and Amphitheater located at 10555 Trail's End, Parkland, Florida, beginning at 8:00 a.m. tomorrow morning.
Again, that's grief counselors for parents and families at Pines Trails Park Recreation Center in Parkland. We will also have grief counselors available for staff members at the Parkland Library at 6620 North University Drive in Parkland. Again, for the staff members, we will have grief counselors available at the Parkland Library at 6620 North University.
[21:05:03] The grief counselors will also be available at Westways middle school, which is right adjacent to this high school as well. And what I can tell you about today's shooter, today's shooter was a former Marjory Stoneman Douglas student and was currently enrolled in Broward County Public Schools. Because of federal laws around __ and student privacy, I can't provide you any additional information about the student at this time.
Again, we are tremendously heartbroken, saddened. Our prayers, thoughts go out to the Marjory Stoneman Douglas family and the victims. We're going to pull through this together as a community. This has been a day we've seen the worst in humanity. Tomorrow is going to bring out the best in humanity as we come together to move forward from this unspeakable tragedy.
And I would like to thank Sheriff Israel and all the law enforcement agencies. It's been unbelievable the courage and support. Almost every municipality in Broward County has been here. They've been coordinated. They've been working nonstop.
The governor, his office, the state, everyone has just been outstanding in terms of their support and their efforts, and it's been heartwarming to see that. So as a community, as a state, I'm sure we'll be able to recover from this. Governor Scott? Thank you.
GOV. RICK SCOTT, FLORIDA: So as soon as you hear something like this is happening, the first thing you start thinking about the families. You know, you think about your own family. As a grandparent and a parent, the first thing you think about is, you know, God, I hope this never happens to my family.
Then you always -- you think about you're furious. How could this ever happen in this country? How could this happen in this state? This is a state that has focused on keeping all of our children safe. You come to the conclusion this is just absolutely pure evil. This state does not tolerate violence. We have law enforcement that will always show up to defend our safety.
As soon as this happened, I started having updates from Sheriff Israel. I've talked to President Trump, the Secretary of Homeland Security Kirstjen Nielsen, Superintendent Runcie, the Commissioner of law enforcement -- Florida Department Law Enforcement Rick Swearingen, and I know everybody has worked tirelessly to make sure we do everything to keep everybody safe and to have a thorough investigation.
My prayers are with everybody impacted. I can't imagine what the families that are sitting there wondering if they've lost a family member, they don't know yet. Those that do know they've lost a family member, I just -- I mean I just can't imagine how their lives have been changed.
Like all of us, we'll be praying for each of those. Everybody in the hospital, I pray for their full recovery. All the individuals that unfortunately had to go through this experience, I know that there's going to be grief counselors, and I'm sure it's going to be very, very difficult as they think through what happened and replay in their mind what happened. I just can't imagine going through that. After this press conference, I'm going to be going to the hospital to do everything I can with those families. I'm going to continue to let local law enforcement, the school district, everybody involved know whatever state resources are necessary, we will provide whatever resources are need to do everything we can either whether it's an investigation or help any family member that's impacted. Again, I just -- I just -- this is just -- this is just pure evil. But I will be staying here in Broward County to do everything I can to be helpful.
ISRAEL: Basically minutes after this event happened, I got a call from our attorney General, Pam Bondi. Hours later, she's here. She sadly, when I was speaking to her privately, she knows all too well about these tragedies. She was in Orlando in the aftermath of the pulse nightclub, and she's come down here to help the families of those that lost loved ones. So I'm going to bring her up here to talk to you about some of the things that the attorney general is going to do for our families.
PAM BONDI, FLORIDA ATTORNEY GENERAL: Thank you, Sheriff. Sheriff, I cannot thank you, the governor, and the FBI, Rob, how you've handled this, you've been incredible. Superintendent, FDLE, all of the agencies working together.
It's a horrible tragedy, and sadly we've been through this before. I was also out in Nevada for the mass shooting.
[21:10:00] In fact, one of the victims called me on the way here from the Nevada shooting and said, I can't believe this is happening again. She still has PTSD, and she was a survivor.
The office -- my office functions in a way and this is what we're going to be doing. I have five advocates headed in right now. I will have at least 10 more tomorrow, driving in from all over the state. We will pay for the funeral expenses of these poor victims and do everything we can to help their families.
The state of Florida, we will pay for counseling for the surviving victims. We will pay for students who need counseling. We will have the forms with the paperwork that just must have page that must be filled out. We bring it to the victims' families so they can get it done right now, don't have to worry about the expenses. We will take care of it.
GoFundMe reached out to me already tonight. They've been pulling off anyone, if you think you're going to scam people during this tragedy, you're not. GoFundMe, they're monitoring every site that's popping up, and no money will be disbursed under GoFundMe until they know it's legitimate.
So if you are donating to a crowd funding site, GoFundMe is making sure that those funds will go to true victims and their families. We've also reached out to the funeral homes, the directors in Florida who have been great partners through pulse. We will not let funeral homes gouge us. The funeral home industry, they're sending down people tomorrow to help with the cost of the burial expenses for these victims. Sadly, we've all become a club that we never wanted to be a part of, partnering with the FBI and now this is our third time dealing with such a mass tragedy. But we will continue to work together as a team, as a family, and love and take care of all of these victims and their family members. That's why we're all here. Governor, thank you for everything you've done and always do for our state.
SCOTT: Yes. One thing that the attorney general's office does is that they bring in victim advocates. And they -- She her -- and her team they will go through and help each family that has been impacted. So if you want, you know, the best ways to reach out to the attorney general's office you have --
BONDI: We'll find our victims.
ISRAEL: In conclusion, this beautiful town of Parkland where I've lived up until a year ago, I've lived here with my family and raised our kids here for ten years. We lost a football coach from Stoneman Douglas High School tonight.
My triplets graduated from this very school. We had -- I won't be releasing the name, but we had a deputy sheriff whose son was shot tonight, shot in the arm. He's at one of the local area hospitals.
I'm being told he's being treated with non-life-threatening injuries, thank god. If you are on a website and you know something or you've seen something, you see a person with rifles and weaponry and you see something that's not right, you owe it to your family. You owe it to your community, and you owe it to law enforcement to make this a safer nation by calling up someone tonight.
Call up the FBI. Call up the Broward Sheriff's office. Call up someone tonight and let them know that you have information something is not right. You can prevent a major tragedy like this devastation that happened in Parkland tonight. Any questions?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Sheriff, can you provide more insight yet on the 17 fatalities? Ages? How many were students? How many teachers? Whether all of the parents have, in fact, been notified at this point? This in fact they do have a deceased son or daughter and also --
ISRAEL: No. I'll repeat what I said earlier, 12 of the victims have been identified. Their parents are in the process of being notified. We're looking to ID.
You know, some of these children had no ID. They had no -- they left their backpacks. There were no cellphones so we could trace them back. So we're in the process of identifying these children and adults so their families can be notified. So I can't elaborate any more than that.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Have you identified all students? Is there any one still missing?
ISRAEL: We have only identified 12 of the 17 that have lost their lives.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Do you know if anyone missing?
BONDI: They're all located just that.
ISRAEL: No. Everybody is accounted for, but we're identifying the victims. We don't know the names of the victims.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Governor Scott, question for you. Today, it's Parkland, columbine, and everything in between. Are we all in society, politicians like you included, complicit when critics say (INAUDIBLE). What is your response?
[21:15:14] SCOTT: You know, my heart goes out to everybody impacted today. You know, all of us can internalize this if it would happen in their family. You know, all of us want to have to live in. Have everybody live in a safe community, and there's a time to continue to have these conversations about how through law enforcement, how through mental illness funding that we make sure people are safe, and we'll continue to do that.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Governor Scott --
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What business does a 19-year-old have having an AR-15? Just your thoughts.
SCOTT: Yes. The -- you know, we're finding all the facts, you know. Where -- there's a thorough investigation going on. The Sheriff's Department will release exactly what happened. And then use it batter again things up and things like that. We'll learn those things and then we can make it, you know, we can determine the future. You know, how we continue to make this place safe.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What was your conversation with the President have armed guards in the schools to prevent this type of tragedy? Do you agree that we should have armed guards in the school system?
SCOTT: Yes. You want to answer that?
ISRAEL: If a person -- I've said this over and over and over again. If a person is predisposed to commit such a horrific event by going to a school and shoot people, if a person is going to drive a truck into a crowded area, if a person is committed to committing great carnage, there's not anybody or not a lot law enforcement can do about it or any entity can do about it. The only things we can do are train very hard.
We have to train rigorously, and we do. We have to be able to mitigate. We have to be able to respond quickly so we can lessen the loss of lives.
Certainly more money should go to mental health. I've said this time and time again. You know, if we tear a knee up, we go to an orthopedic surgeon. If we have mental health issues, we need to be treated. But while people who are the victim of mental health illnesses in this country are being treated, in the opinion of this sheriff, they should not be able to buy, surround themselves, purchase, or carry a hand handgun. Those two things don't mix.
So thank you for coming out here. I think we've answered all the appropriate questions. And tomorrow we'll, you know, we'll update you again.
And again, the most important thing is we need to pray tonight for these families. We need to pray for the victims. We need to pray for our communities, and we need to report anything we see that is different, that doesn't make sense, that's an aberration that could help us prevent these mass tragedies. Thank you all. Appreciate it.
COOPER: You heard the Broward County Sheriff there, Governor Tim Scott as well.
Back now with our panel, James Gagliano, Philip Mudd, Cedric Alexander, Juliette Kayyem. Excuse me, Governor Rick Scott, I said.
You know, Jim, I mean it's interesting, the Governor was asked pointblank about gun control essentially. Gave the answer -- like he avoided it once, he basically then gave the answer which is, you know, now is not the time to be discussing such the thing, which is the common refrain after for years after these. And then of course time goes by and then these things are never discussed.
JAMES GAGLIANO, RETIRED FBI SUPERVISORY SPECIAL AGENT: With the proliferation, Anderson, I almost feel compelled because I'm probably the poster child for the person that you would say would never, ever put the two worlds, gun and control together in the same sentence. The Second Amendment was created in 1791. It has utility. I believe in it. I own weapons.
I have a concealed carry permit because I'm a retired 1811 law enforcement officer. I was a former SWAT team leader. I graduated from West Point. I understand weapons. I'm a hunter. I appreciate the utility in our society.
But we get to this place where we go, we can't touch this third rail on the subway because if you do that, we retreat to our corners. Here's what we can do. There are 11 states still in, I think, in this country that require you to report a lost or stolen firearm.
If I do the math correctly, that leaves 39 that don't. So if you own a weapon, you lose it, or it's stolen, you don't have to report it, so it disappears. We know straw purchases are illegal, but in most states and it's definitely not against federal regulation you can gift the firearm to a family member, and it doesn't get reported.
We know about the gun show loopholes. We understand the difficulty. You and I were in Vegas standing in front of the Mandalay Bay right after the horrific carnage out there on the 1st of November.
You realize that in 15 minutes a gunman there basically put together a plan to kill and maim as many people died in the battle of Fallujah, the bloodiest battle in the Iraq conflict on November to December of 2004 was able to do the same thing.
[21:20:03] We have to do something. It is utter insanity. And if we treat to our positions, our ideological positions and say, don't bring it up now, and no we can't talk about this now or there's nothing we can do or the fathers, it drives me insane. We've got to come together on this topic.
COOPER: Phil, I mean it's interesting because the Governor is willing to talk about mental health. That seems to be something that, you know, politically is OK to talk about, but guns certainly right now is not.
PHILIP MUDD, FORMER FBI SENIOR INTELLIGENCE ADVISER: Well, there are a couple of things that he should be talking about. He talked about mental health. Let me lay my cards on the table, Anderson.
If you go into a mental health professional and seek treatment because you've got mental health issues, I believe and I know 90% of the audience is going to disagree with me that mental health professional should be required to report that, and that person who has mental health problems should not have a weapon. Let me give you a simpler proposition. I own a farm, Anderson, 260 acres in Rural Virginia.
I've got a ton of venison in my freezer. That venison was shot by a rifle. That was not shut by a semiautomatic, by an ar-15.
You should not in this country be able to have -- you can have a 22. You shouldn't have an ar-15. So those are my two propositions. You can't have a semiautomatic rifle, and you can't, if you have mental health issues, be allowed to have a weapon, and your mental health professional should be required to report it. I don't care if people say that that will limit those who go in and then seek treatment.
That's a problem, I agree. But they should not have a weapon. That's it.
COOPER: Juliette Kayyem. I mean obviously, you know, Phil's point it does bring up a lot of, you know --
JULIETTE KAYYEM, FOMER U.S. ASST. SECY. FOR HOMELAND SECURITY: Yes.
COOPER: -- advocates for mental -- better mental health. There's some stigma as it is, reporting people, you know, that that's probably a non-starter for a lot of people.
KAYYEM: I think it might be. But just taking a step back, I mean, as I said in the last hour, you really can't get a more diverse group of -- in terms of political background than your panel right now, and we are all saying everything consistent. It is not political anymore to say that an AR-15 is a ridiculous gun to have in our society, and to have or let a 19-year-old to purchase somehow. We're going to find out how he got it to kill his former classmates.
So one thing we also can look at, this is where I thought the sheriff was good. The governor sort of punted this issue. He really did urge communities to come forward, that as you start -- as they start to see this downfall, then there's also the gun, which we knew that the assailant was interested in, to really come forward because they're going to know first and they're going to protect more lives.
Just one final thing, there was one big question mark, and I don't quite get it. High school, everyone -- we know who's in the high school. I'm not so sure why six hours later, there are unidentified kids.
The parents and/or foster parents would know, and I said earlier we've just got to get better with family unification and notification. It has to happen much faster. This is unbearable time for those waiting for their kids though that I'm --
COOPER: Yes, Juliette --
KAYYEM: -- sort of curious why it's taking so long.
COOPER: Yes. I remember -- and I mean I'm embarrassed I can't even remember which shooting it was. But --
COOPER: -- where parents were asked to go to the fire house and they stayed for hours and hours, and little by little it sort of became apparent to those who were left in the room that their child had died. I mean it just seems like an agonizing process, and to your point, there's got to be --
COOPER: -- a better way of doing that.
KAYYEM: Yes. I'm not sure what's going on, why we have a couple kids that are unidentified at this stage. If they're in foster care or their wards of the state, we still should know by this time. This is one of the lessons that we're learning unfortunately out of these mass shootings that family unification is actually such a great thing that kids need to be with their family members. The parents need to see their kids.
But it also helps the community sort of rebuild because the tension and the stress that are going on right now are calmed. And I'm just being honest with you. I'm just a little bit confused why we heard that --
KAYYEM: -- from the sheriff. We'll probably find out more.
COOPER: Yes. Senator Bill Nelson is joining us right now on the phone as well. Senator Nelson, I mean you heard the governor being asked about guns and basically avoiding the question and clearly its, you know, time and time again in the wake of a shooting like this, we do hear people say now is not the time to talk about, you know, any form of gun control or access to guns.
SEN. BILL NELSON, (R) FLORIDA: Well, that's avoiding the issue, and at some point we need to say enough is enough. The American people need to rise up and say enough is enough, and you've talked about all the mass slaughters that have occurred. Look what's happened in Florida just in the last couple of years.
Pulse nightclub, 49 slaughtered just a year ago at the Fort Lauderdale Airport, a handful of people slaughtered. And that's the same time we got now this tragedy is occurring.
[21:25:05] So we have to say enough is enough. But then when you do and you try to translate that into political will, look at what you end up getting. We had a simple, common sense approach.
Dianne Feinstein, senator from California, offered a bill that said if you're on the terrorist watch list mind you that the terrorist watch list you can't buy a gun. And we could not get the votes to pass that. So we've got to have a day of reckoning.
I am a hunter. I grew up on a ranch. I've had guns all my life. But an ar-15 is not for hunting. That's for killing.
COOPER: In terms of the notifications, Juliette Kayyem was raising this issue, and I'm wondering if you know why it takes so long. I mean if everybody in the school is accounted for but the identities of a number of the people who have been killed or have still not been made, I'm just -- is there a better way to figure out how to do this because it is just agony for these families.
NELSON: Well, there's 17 sets of parents that their child hadn't been returned to them, and I like the former U.S. attorney that spoke on your program, I don't understand why they haven't been able to identify the children that are still unidentified.
COOPER: What do you want to say to parents, to students at this school and around the country who are scared or frustrated with these shootings that continue to just keep happening? I'm wondering what your message is to them tonight.
NELSON: Keep on keeping on. We are a nation of laws. A school cannot become an armed camp just like so much of our daily activities can't be. But we're going to have to be extra vigilant, and we're going to have to take steps not only to support law enforcement but to give them the laws that they can prevent the mass slaughters from the highly automatic high-powered weapons.
COOPER: Senator Bill Nelson, I appreciate your time in these difficult circumstances. Thank you.
CNN's Kyung Lah joins us now from one of the hospitals where people injured in the shooting are still being treated.
Kyung, what's the latest from there?
KYUNG LAH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: We're just getting an update, Anderson, on the total number of patients and their various conditions from the Broward Health System. There are a number of hospitals who are treating, three hospitals treating a total of 17 patients who were transported from the high school. We are now hearing that a total of 10 of those patients that were transported tonight, they're in a non- life-threatening condition.
Five, though, remain in a life-threatening condition, and we are sad to report that two of the patients did not survive their wounds. They died here at the hospital that is behind me. Of those patients that were transported here, one of those patients was the suspect. The suspect was brought here under heavy guard in an ambulance surrounded by police cars. He left in the same way.
The doctors were put in an unusual position of treating the people that the suspect hurt and then the suspect himself. The doctors, though, Anderson, said that they just tried to do their very best, trying to figure out why they walk in, just simply trying to protect human life. Anderson.
COOPER: Kyung, thank you. I appreciate you being there.
We want to show you another short clip -- a video clip from inside a classroom at the high school. A young woman posted this on Twitter. She says her little brother sent her this video of when the SWAT team came to clear his classroom.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We're good?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Raise your hands.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Put your phones away. Put your phones away.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: You've seen -- you could see the classroom was dark, which is part of the protocol. Most of these classrooms, they're told during active shooter training situations to lock the doors, to turn off the lights, bring any blinds down. Clearly, that classroom had been waiting some time.
The SWAT team came in, asked all the students to put up their hands, and we do know now that the shooter was actually able to get away by blending in for a short time with some students as they were leaving. He was then apprehended, and he's now in custody. I want to get the latest on the investigation from our Shimon Prokupecz.
[21:30:01] What are you learning?
SHIMON PROKUPECZ, CNN CRIME & JUSTICE REPORTER: Yes. That is right, Anderson. That is one of the things we're learning tonight from law enforcement officials, who tell us the suspect is talking with them. He's talking with police, with the FBI. And he's providing some information. And part of what they've learned is that he did try to escape, try to blend in with the crowd.
They've also learned that he pulled the fire alarm to draw people out of the school when he got outside, and he wanted to get a higher death toll. In doing so, he pushed the alarm, he sets off the fire alarm, and therefore, when people ran out, we believe there may have been some gunshots exchanged.
This all indicates to investigators from the folks that we've been talking to that there was some level of planning in this. And as you said, he escaped from the school. This also seemed to have been part of the plan. And what we're also learning is that he left his weapon behind, this AR-15 style rifle. They have been able to process it. It's with police. It's with the FBI and the ATF and they're now going to trace it. They want to learn about where this weapon came from.
And police really have learned a lot about this suspect from his social media. You know, we've heard the Sheriff time and time today, again and again tell us, if you see something, say something, and he's really referring to those social media posts. He called them disturbing, and police are working through those social media postings, and really the question that most law enforcement now has is why didn't anyone alert this guy to police to say, hey, look at what he's posting. The Sheriff brought that up tonight, and this continues to be a focus of the investigation.
COOPER: Right. I mean, some of the social media posts, which I think we put earlier on the screen or in a piece were very direct about the weapon he had, what his intentions for it.
PROKUPECZ: That's exactly right. And the Sheriff talked about that, these disturbing images, photos, things that he talked about, you know, I've talked to some law enforcement officials who said there was some mention of bombs in some of these social media postings.
And, you know, Anderson, as you know having covered this, it's time and time again we see these kinds of situations where people are posting, continually posting, and no one, no one goes to police and to alert them to say, you know what, you may want to go talk to this guy to see what's going on, especially given the fact that he was expelled from school a year ago or so. He's been expelled.
People at the school, the students at the school say they knew him. They knew he had a thing for guns and he talked about having guns. So all of this, when you take all of this into account, it really leaves most of us puzzled, I think, as to why no one, no one went to law enforcement.
COOPER: But this man, when you said the gun -- the weapon used is in custody. To your knowledge, did he just have the one weapon? And we don't -- you're saying we don't know at this point how he actually gained access to that, whether he purchased it himself, whether he got it through somebody else or through family? PROKUPECZ: That's exactly right, Anderson. We don't know. And that's part of what the ATF is doing right. So they have the serial number that's attached to this weapon. It would then be traced. They could go to the gun store, see who -- where he bought it or who bought it for him, sort of they can trace it, they can keep track it to see where the gun has been through, probably throughout since the time it came into the market, and they would go back to the gun shop owners to see if they sold it to him, if someone else sold it to him. And this would all be part of the investigation.
The Sheriff did say, Anderson, that there was only one weapon recovered. They believe he only used this one weapon, but they did say they found multiple magazines. We don't know how many gunshots were fired. There's still a lot of little details that we don't know, but, you know, we do know a lot, a lot at least at this point about the shooter.
COOPER: Yes. Shimon, appreciate all your reporting. Thank you. There are always heroes in these tragic situations from the teachers who help keep their students safe to of course the first responders who risk their own lives. We want to play you some audio from when the scene was still an active crime scene. Audio from the police radios.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Seventeen Julia 5, I have the gunshot victim. I have the gunshot victim. He's by the entrance on the west grade, on the west side of the school.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He's being notified.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Does he know where the shooter is?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We don't know but I'm here building 13 building, building 13.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Seventeen.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Does anybody have bolt cutters? I can get this kid out of the fence? He's stuck in the fence, I need bolt cutters.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The coach is with him. See if he can help him over the gate.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: One of the things you heard in one of those audio recordings was a police officer actually entering the building we were talking about this with James Gagliano formerly with the FBI about this, and how SWAT tactics and police tactics have changed since Columbine in active shooter situations. During Columbine they formed a perimeter around the school, waited for SWAT teams to arrive, was often takes an extent amount of time and then move slowly room to room.
[21:35:04] Some people -- a teacher named David Sanders, who actually was a heroic teacher, saved the lives of many students, actually bled to death before police were able to get to him.
They've now learned that so much of the violence, some of the killing takes place within the first few minutes, within the first six minutes even according to FBI studies that have been done, that they now try to, whatever the first responders get there, whether it's traffic police or bicycle police or whatever the first responding officers are, they form a little team. They move in, and their first priority is to stop the shooter, even if they see wounded people. They mark where they are, but they don't stop for the wounded people because the key is to stop the killing of more people.
More now on the shooting suspect, I'm not going to say his name or show his photo as our policy, even investigators are learning a lot more about him. Our Drew Griffin joins us now with details.
So what do we know at this point?
DREW GRIFFIN, CNN SENIOR INVESTIGATIVE CORRESPONDENT: Andrew, excuse me, Anderson, most of the information coming from the shooter himself, prolific poster on social media, having conversations with people on social media, posting pictures of himself with guns.
But we wanted to just focus on a couple of the posts that we believe this specific person made in connected with the YouTube videos that he had up. It comes from just the last year or so. Nine months ago he posted, "I am going to kill law enforcement one day. They go after the good people." From six months ago, Anderson, "I'm going to watch them sheep fall. I wish to kill as many as I can."
And from just months ago, this was October 19th, Anderson, so just a couple of months ago, attached to an internet video, he wrote, "I want to shoot people with my AR-15." Now we know that indeed apparently has taken place.
Many former fellow students who have been speaking say they projected this. This guy talked a lot about guns. We talked to one who said, I can tell you this is a violent kid. He wasn't in my class, this person told us, but he was one of those kids who if you did him wrong, he would get you back. He would threaten to kill people. He wore dark clothes, would put weird marks on his arms. He was shy.
The student told us the suspect had left this high school last year or the year before. That was now confirmed tonight by the Sheriff, who said the suspect had indeed been expelled for disciplinary reasons. But what we're finding, Anderson, is just tons and tons of postings and messages on this person's social media sites that should have warned somebody.
COOPER: Yes. Drew, appreciate the reporting. A lot to learn in the days ahead.
Now, all the students who survived today's shooting join more than 150,000 other students from at least 170 schools who experienced a shooting at their school property just since the Columbine High School shooting in 1999. That's according to a "Washington Post" analysis, 150,000 kids. It is a staggering number that doesn't even gather the faces and lives and individual stories that it represents.
Jude Lenamon is a freshman at the high school in Parkland, Florida. I spoke with him and his mom Gloria Moschella earlier.
(BEGIN VIDEO TAPE)
COOPER: Jude, I'm so glad you're OK. First of all, can you just tell us, a, how you're doing, how your friends are doing right now?
JUDE LENAMON, SCHOOL SHOOTING SURVIVOR: I'm doing OK. It's very tragic what happened. Unfortunately, I'm hearing things about some people. I don't know who yet. Hopefully it's not any of my close friends or anyone that I know, and I pray for everyone.
COOPER: Jude, if you can, can you just tell me what you heard and what you saw when you knew something was going wrong?
LENAMON: First, this morning we had a fire drill, and then 10 minutes before school ended, we had another fire -- what we thought was a drill at first, so we went outside to the side of the school where the practice football field is and we stood there in a line with my teacher. The fire alarm stopped at that point. Then we heard what seemed to be like shots, and I said to my teacher, don't those sound like shots? And she said, yes, maybe.
COOPER: About how far away were they?
LENAMON: After that -- it sounded in the distance, but we could still hear that they were shots.
COOPER: And then what happened?
LENAMON: About three or four minutes later, some administrators told us to go towards the volleyball fields, which are on the other side of the school closest to the middle school. At that point, an armed deputy pulled up with a rifle drawn, and they told us to keep moving back towards the middle school. We were going -- walking along the gates in the back of the middle school right in front of the canal. At that point people were going slow and everyone told us to keep moving as fast as we could.
[21:40:07] But at the middle school, there's a very small entrance to get into the parking lot at the school, there's a very small gate gap. So it was taking a little while, and then some kids started hopping the fence and falling down on the fence. None of them were hurt.
Then at that point, I got through the gate with my two friends, which were very emotional. We ran towards the outside of the parking lot at the middle school and went and stood there on Homeberg Road and waited further instructions from police officers.
After that, they told us to go towards Walmart. And from there, I called my mom to see what was happening.
COOPER: And Gloria, had you gotten wind that something had happened at the school? GLORIA MOSCHELLA, MOTHER OF SCHOOL SHOOTING SURVIVOR: Not at all. I was at my office, and I checked my phone earlier. He called me about 2:36, and he was yelling into the phone, which i thought was unusual, but maybe not so much. And he was telling me, "Mom, mom, we had to evacuate. What's going on? What's going on at the school?" And I'm in an office setting. We don't have a television on or anything of that nature. So I told him, "Jude, I don't know what's going on. What are they telling you?" He's saying, "There's a shooter. There's a shoot -- We had a fire drill, but then we heard shots fired."
Well, now I'm nervous and my flags are up. I said let me try to find out. I happen to actually work for the Broward County attorney's office. So, I tried to call BSO Parkland District. Unfortunately they had everybody out on scene, and they didn't know anything -- you know, more than what my son knew at the time because they were actively involved in the investigation and trying to find the suspect.
COOPER: Jude and Gloria, I'm so glad you're okay. Jude, and that you had the presence of mind to help your friends. And I wish you the best in the days ahead. Thank you so much and Gloria.
LENAMON: OK. Thank you, sir.
MOSCHELLA: Thank you.
COOPER: Amazing. Joining us now on the phone is Beam Furr, mayor of Broward County. Mayor Furr, first of all, I understand you used to be a teacher. This has got to hit home for you.
MAYOR BEAM FURR, BROWARD COUNTY. FL: Yes, it does. You know, as a teacher, we train and make sure and how to keep our students safe. You do all kind of drills during the daytime. And you hope to God it never happens. And you really don't think it will ever happen.
And seeing the faces of the kids walking out of there today and the parents, it's just -- it's just sickening.
COOPER: What's the latest you can tell us?
FURR: Well we, I mean we do -- you probably already know the numbers. The numbers where we do have 17 that are dead. Fifteen that are -- have been taken to the hospital. It's still an active crime scene. Our medical examiner is still there and will probably be there all night. They said they have identified 12 of the victims. There's still five they have not identified. And so we will not release any names until we have everybody identified.
COOPER: And I keep thinking obviously about those families, particularly of the five who have not been identified. I understand families are gathering at a local hotel waiting for information on their loved ones. We're hearing reports there are quite a few people there.
FURR: That's correct.
COOPER: Do you have any sense of how long it may take? Because I mean that's just -- it's unthinkable both for them to be waiting for the night.
FURR: It is unthinkable. And I know it's just hell for the parents. And I do not know how long it's going to take. Hopefully it won't take too much longer. But, you know, hopefully we can -- they can figure that out very quickly.
COOPER: Yes. Do you have any idea at this point if the shooter was on law enforcement's radar before today? I mean the sheriff talked about the disturbing social media posts, some of which we've seen.
FURR: Well, we do know that he was actually a client at a mental health clinics. So we do know he had been, you know, dealing with mental health issues. And he was still a student in the Broward County School. But, you know, he had been, you know, under going some treatment. And that, you know, we can't go into detail on that. But that's kind of where we're at right now with that.
Obviously, you know, we've been saying like you have, there are things that have been on social media, and we're hearing from various students, you know, testimony that they, you know, they thought, you know, if any student was going to do it, it would be this student.
[21:45:00] So, I don't know if he was exactly on law enforcement's radar, but it wasn't like he wasn't -- like there wasn't concern for him. He had been -- he had not been back to the clinic for over a year. So there's been a time where he was receiving treatment and then stopped.
COOPER: And then, I mean something like this, it obviously has ripple effects not just for the families directly involved but for the entire community of Parkland. And I want you talk about the community itself and what kind of community Parkland is.
FURR: It's a real nice community. It's a very well to do community. It's one of the best schools anywhere in the country. And it's one of the last places you think this would happen, even though I don't know that you can say that anymore. You know, it seems like this happens anywhere and everywhere.
It's a beautiful community. I mean all of Broward County is a good place. So why it happened here, we don't know.
COOPER: I'm just wondering finally, what message do you have for folks in parkland, the students of the school and others?
FURR: You know, as a former teacher, one of the things that we try to keep our eyes out are on those kids that get disconnected. Those kids that are, you know, they haven't found a niche, they haven't found a way to be connected with the larger community, whether it's in band or it's in athletics or it's in, you know, clubs and those kinds of things.
And when you see those kids that aren't connected, you know, most teachers try to find a way to steer them towards some kind of connection. That's what schools are good about. Schools aren't just about, you know, learning your ABCs, it's also about learning to socialize and be a part, you know, being a part of the larger community. In this case, we didn't find a way to connect with this kid.
FURR: And unfortunately, you know, this is what happened.
COOPER: Mayor Furr, I appreciate your time on this difficult night. Thank you very much.
FURR: Thank you.
COOPER: Coming up, how the victims' families can possibly even begin to grapple with the consequences of something like this. We're going to talk to a mother who lost a daughter in the Aurora, Colorado, movie theater shooting who has some advice.
[21:51:21] COOPER: Of course, there's no way for anyone not directly involved to understand the level of grief and heartache of the victims caught up in this kind of horrible event. Earlier today, standing next to his mother, a student spoke eloquently about how he is reflecting on what's happened.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Life is really precious. Anything can happen within seconds. And we all have to treat each other with love and respect and kindness, because whatever caused this, it was caused by hate, pure confusion. And my sympathy goes out for the individual that did this, because obviously he was really wronged in a way, and he was obviously mistreated. And that just shows you that we all have to care for each other.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Well, someone who knows a great deal about all of this is Sandy Phillips, founder of a group called "Survivors Empowered." Sandy's daughter, Jessica Ghawi, died in the Aurora, Colorado movie theater killing.
Sandy, I appreciate you being on. I'm sorry it's under these circumstances, as it is frankly every time I talk to you.
First of all, just -- we know now there are a number of families who are waiting for final word on the fate of their children, of their loved ones. I just cannot imagine eight hours into this, that that wait and the wait that they have ahead of them in the hours ahead.
SANDY PHILLIPS, LOST DAUGHTER IN AURORA, COLORADO SHOOTING: It's terrible. There were some parents in the Aurora shooting that waited 18 hours. At Sandy Hook, of course, we know how they were waiting in a gym and waiting and waiting and waiting until the governor said, if you don't have your children by now, then they're not coming home to you. I got a phone call right before I got miked (ph) up here from another advocate whose friends have just been notified in Florida that their 15-year-old daughter was killed. So their wait is over, but their hell has just begun.
COOPER: And I know part of what you do is to try to be there and particularly as soon as possible, to kind of help people, as much as you can, walk through the gates of that hell and move through it and not just a day or two, but for years and years. You know, the governor of Florida was asked about guns tonight. And he pretty much avoided the question. And often the response is, this is not the time to talk about that. I'm wondering when you hear that explanation, what do you say?
PHILLIPS: Well, I get livid, because what better time is there? We should have been talking about this since Columbine. You had a statistic earlier of 150,000 children who have been affected by gun violence in their schools since Columbine. And when you think about 150,000 children who have been affected over the last 20, 30 years, and what that's doing to our society and what it's teaching our children.
First of all, it's desensitizing them to violence. It's making it acceptable that guns can be carried on the street, can be taken into schools, can be taken into theaters and used against other citizens. We're killing people at a rate, that if it were a war, we would be in the streets, boycotting and picketing and screaming and yelling. Yet our senators and our congressman are doing nothing. And they're not listening to us. I'm all for a ban on these assault-style weapons. They're killing too many people at too high a rate.
COOPER: Tell me about your group and what you try to do for survivors and families.
[21:55:02] PHILLIPS: We build coalitions across the country with other grassroots organizations that are working on the gun violence prevention process. And we work with survivors, primarily, to encourage them to tell their stories at a very grassroots level. And from the neighborhood to the city, the city to the county, the county to the state and then nationally.
And it's our hope, within the next five years to have the survivors that we have met and know and love to be telling their stories loud and clear. And knocking on their congressman's doors every six weeks, faithfully, to say, enough is enough, we're not going away. Our numbers are growing. And we demand that you do something about this.
COOPER: Getting -- what is your advice to somebody listening tonight who is in grief, who is a family member?
PHILLIPS: Try not to cry. They've got a long way to go. And there are, unfortunately, many of us from coast-to-coast and border-to- border that understand their pain and their agony and we're there for them. And we will be there for them. Not just for the days and weeks ahead, but for their lifetimes. Their children -- their surviving children will need help. They will need help. The community will need help. And we can tell them what to expect.
COOPER: And you want to be there for them.
PHILLIPS: Oh, absolutely. I wish I was there right now.
COOPER: Well, Sandy Phillips, I appreciate talking to you and I think about Jessica and (INAUDIBLE) to Jordan, your son, Jessica's brother, and I know he's doing great and you're very proud of him. And my thoughts are with you very often. So I appreciate talking to you again.
PHILLIPS: Thank you, Anderson. We have to quit meeting this way, though.
COOPER: Yes, I agree. Take care. Sandy Phillips. Thanks very much.
PHILLIPS: Thank you.
COOPER: All right, just a few minutes left now with our panel. James, I mean, you know, I don't know what to say.
COOPER: It puts it in perspective. I mean, I remember meeting Jordan Ghawi, who is Jessica's brother outside in Aurora, Colorado, and he was the first one who said to me, don't name these people, because you're giving them publicity. This is what they want. You're -- you know, you're encouraging -- it encourages other people. And whether or not us not saying it matters at all, it's been a policy of ours since then. And one we stick to. But when you talk to Sandy, I mean, you know, their families whose lives have been forever changed tonight.
GAGLIANO: It's difficult to watch you navigate that interview. I can't even imagine. I mean, I got choked up just watching it. And, Anderson, I know we're cautioned to stay away from trite cliches and say, this is the new normal or this is a paradigm that we've got to adjust to. It's just the way things are. And it's not true. There are things that can be done. We went over them in an earlier segment, some of the legislation that is sensible, commonsensical that we could be doing.
But also, we do need to remind the American public that there are things that you need to do. To see something, say something everybody remembers that. But in these active shooters situations, we're teaching people. We're making sure they understand the first thing to do in these situations is to run. The second is, if you can hide. And in hiding, we mean some place that provides you cover and concealment, something that you can lock yourself into. Absent those two options, then you've got to fight like your life is on the line, because it is.
And finally, tell. Make sure that when we talk about those family reunification areas and when law enforcement is working there and victim's assistance is there, make sure you're sharing what you saw to help law enforcement interdict what may still be out there. And then after the fact, be able to put together the pieces so we can continue to work to make this country a safer place.
COOPER: And Juliette, in the time we have remaining, I mean, your mom you talked to parents out there a lot about this kind of thing.
KAYYEM: Right: Yes. I was thinking about that tomorrow, millions and millions of parents will have their kids go to schools just like this school and, you know, just picking up on what James said, empower them. I know parents can balk at some of these trainings. They don't like it, isn't it horrible that the world's this way. It is horrible that the world is this way. But we also have to empower our kids to protect themselves and to be safe, given the situation, and what we owe our children is to not hide from a discussion that this country can do better.
KAYYEM: And it ought to do better. We are exceptional in very bad ways, in the way that our children are dying from gun violence.
[22:00:08] COOPER: All right, Juliette and everybody, thank for your expertise.
Don Lemon takes up our coverage from here. "CNN TONIGHT" starts right now.