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17 Dead, 15 Hurt in Florida High School Massacre in Broward County; Teacher Who Helped Students Hide Speaks Out; Aired 10:30-11a ET
Aired February 15, 2018 - 10:30 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[10:30:00] JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: This from our Evan Perez who covers the Justice Department so well. This from Evan. There were at least two alleged threat reports that the FBI received about the shooter. That's according to a law enforcement official. One was the YouTube post about being a professional shooter.
We do not have details about the second one. In both cases, the FBI did not share, did not share the information with local law enforcement. It is not clear that the FBI ever identified the suspect as the same person who made the YouTube threat.
Forgive me for having to read that. I wanted to get the precise language there because it's important.
Cedric, your reaction to that breaking news. Two threats that the FBI was aware of, local law enforcement never notified.
CEDRIC ALEXANDER, DEPUTY MAYOR OF ROCHESTER, NEW YORK: Well, one thing I want to do here, John, is not speculate too much into what the FBI knew and did not know. One thing we cannot do, we cannot arrest someone because we think that they're going to commit a crime. So not really knowing all the information that they were working with, that makes it hard to do.
But let me back up here for a second in terms of some of the things that we just heard from the attorney general. I have a great deal of respect for the office of the attorney general. But I have some issues with some things that he stated need to be addressed. One is this. Law enforcement cannot do this all by themselves. We know that most school shootings, within the first six minutes, a lot of people die. We got to get ahead of this.
When police get there, they do a fantastic job, based on what's in front of them. They do the very best that they can. This emotionally and psychologically affect them. But once they get to that scene, they put their lives between those students and between the bad guy. And that's what they did yesterday and that's what they do in all of the school shootings we have seen across this country. Particularly since Columbine.
But here's what's important. We got to have legislation that comes from Congress, that comes from the White House, that's going to take some real aggressive steps in order to look at gun control in this country, a lot of people may not like that a bit.
Look, I'm a Second Amendment person. I own guns just like millions of other people. I'm responsible just like millions of other people. But a lot of guns in this country are sold illegally and a lot of them are stolen, a lot are coming across the border and arrive here in different kinds of ways. But we got to do something very different here as opposed to saying what the police should have done and should not have done.
This is going to require some action from Congress and I hope they're listening. And I implore on them, that for every community across this country, we need their help. And they didn't do anything during Sandy Hook. But hopefully we're going to take a turn here and do something very different for the American people and not just talk to them and tell them how sorry we are that they after all this happens. Enough of that already.
BERMAN: Cedric Alexander, Bobby Chacon, we can all be better here except for those kids. Except for the kids at this school, the ones who are heroes and saved each other's lives. They're doing everything they can. The rest of us now need to step into the breach.
Cedric Alexander, Bobby, thanks so much.
Again, we are awaiting a press conference, going to take place right behind me right now from the sheriff's office. Local law enforcement, how will they respond to this breaking news we just received that the FBI had been informed twice about threats from the man, the young man who killed 17 people at this school behind me. Stay with us.
[10:37:35] BERMAN: All right. John Berman here back in Parkland, Florida. There's a whole lot of activity right behind me at this moment. We are expecting a press conference, really, any moment from the local sheriff to get an update on the investigation here. Local law enforcement, I believe federal law enforcement will be here as well, maybe even the governor. That could happen at any moment. We will break away and bring that to you when it begins. In the meantime, there are people in the hospital right now, students, fighting for their lives.
Want to get straight to CNN's Diane Gallagher who has the very latest -- Diane.
DIANE GALLAGHER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, John. At this point we're told there are 15 people who remain in the hospital, five of those in what Broward Health is calling a life threatening conditions. But this press conference that you're referring to, this is likely going to change. And that's because in addition to the sheriff's office giving an update, the medical team who treated these patients when they were brought in yesterday afternoon are also going to be there.
Not just giving updates on the conditions of these patients, but also giving better detail about exactly what happened. I talked to the health team early this morning, and they were sort of just alluding to the fact that they had been through drills like this before. Personally they have not experienced anything like this real life trauma in this fashion. But they have done drills, preparing for mass shootings before.
And so this was something that they believed they were prepared for, and they're going to talk through a little bit later once that press conference begins. What the medical staff did, the types of injuries that they experienced, we're also going to get a better idea on whether they have been able to notify all of the next of kin.
Earlier this morning, when we received the last update, they were working, John, to notify all 17 of those victims' families and make sure they had those positive identifications on the people who were killed in this shooting there.
Of course it was sort of spread out, we talked about this. The way the shooter came in, 12 of the victims were found inside the school, two outside, one at the corner and then of course the two who died here at Broward North.
BERMAN: All right, Dianne Gallagher, sorry, someone was talking in my ear right there. Dianne Gallagher at the hospital right now.
There has been another victim identified. I believe it is the athletic director of the school. His name is Chris Hickson. We don't have a photo here, but that's a second faculty member killed in this horrific attack at the school behind me.
[10:40:07] Aaron Feis who was the assistant football coach, Coach Feis to so many people who called him to me just this morning. And Chris Hickson, the athletic director. We will try to get more information on him. Our hearts go out to his family.
Joining me now, on the phone, is Melissa Fakowski. She's a teacher here at the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.
Marjory, thanks so -- Melissa, I should say, thanks so much for being with us right now. We just did get that news about the athletic director apparently killed. Can you tell me anything about him?
MELISSA FAKOWSKI, TEACHER LIVED THROUGH SCHOOL MASSACRE: He was one of our campus security monitors, in addition to, you know, his role as the athletic director. He was -- he was a great guy. You know, that he was a father. Everybody -- everybody yesterday got up and did their normal thing. You know, went to work. Went to school. And you know, to have it end, you know, so tragically and now you know we all just sit and wait to hear, you know, who made it, who didn't, you know, it is very difficult.
BERMAN: It's beyond difficult. All I can say is I'm sorry that you have to go through this. You were inside the school, you were warned by someone in the hallway that there was a shooting, a code red. What did you then do? How did you protect the students in your classroom?
FAKOWSKI: Well, we were already, you know, out of the classroom, so I called out to the kids in the hallway to go back and opened my classroom -- you know, opened my classroom door and the other teachers that were in my hallway started to return to and opened their doors and for, you know, a minute or so, we've been in the hallways yelling to the kids to just get inside, get in any room, you know.
And then, you know, after about a minute or so, I knew I had to close my door. So I took in, you know, the kids that were mine, some of my kids ended up in another room, and then I took in a couple of kids who weren't mine because they were there and they needed a -- you know, a safe place to be.
BERMAN: You've run drills before, you've have run a lot of drills in this high school. You've had a fire drill just yesterday morning before all of this. Did you feel prepared?
FAKOWSKI: I don't think we could have been any more prepared than we were. You know, we went through -- we went through training for how to deal with this. We talked to the kids, you know, for how to deal with it. But I don't think anything prepares you for someone who is carrying a weapon like what he had and shooting through walls and, you know, there is nothing that we can do to protect the students from that, you know, we just -- we can't protect them from those type of weapons.
We just do our best with all of our training, we kept our doors locked and we brought in as many kid as we could. We duck, you know, we did everything that we were supposed to do and still, you know, 17 people aren't going home.
BERMAN: You did more than you were supposed to do. You couldn't possibly do any more than you did. Yet 17 people died. So who can do more? Who needs to do more?
FAKOWSKI: Congress needs to do more. Congress needs to do more. They need to come together. They need to -- it shouldn't be a partisan issue. It shouldn't be a Republican or a Democrat, independent, it should be everyone, all of us needing to work together to end gun violence, to keep our kids safe.
The Florida state legislature needs to do something to make -- you know, to make gun laws stricter in Florida. Something has to be done. You have to at least have the conversation. Everyone will say this is not the time. It's not the time to have the conversation. There is no better time to have the conversation because we'll move on from this, and then in a few weeks or a month, it will be right back in the same situation with another school and more people and now is the time.
BERMAN: Melissa, just last question, how are you doing today? You know, it's only been not even 24 hours. Has it set in yet?
FAKOWSKI: No, not really. I have moments -- I have moments where I'm fine. I have moments where, you know, I break down crying. I haven't slept. I had to convince my 7-year-old son to go to school today. That it's OK, it's safe. It depends on the moment.
BERMAN: It's a hard conversation. It's a hard conversation to have with your kid after you've been through what you've been through. You know, how do you tell him you can guarantee that he will be safe?
Melissa Fakowski, thank you. Go ahead.
FAKOWSKI: You're welcome. No, go ahead.
BERMAN: I was just going to say thank you. Thank you for everything you did yesterday. You know, your son needs you. You know, your students are going to need you going forward. Thank you for your courage facing all of this.
[10:45:05] FAKOWSKI: Thank you.
BERMAN: All right. That's Melissa Fakowski, a teacher here at the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School behind me.
Again, we are waiting for this press conference. You're looking at live pictures right now, we will hear from the sheriff, we will hear from law enforcement as well to get an update on this investigation.
Stay with CNN's special live coverage.
BERMAN: Florida law enforcement and Governor Rick Scott here to give us the latest on the investigation here into the shootings at the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School behind me yesterday. 17 dead. New questions arising this morning about what law enforcement knew about the shooter, possible warnings, two warnings to federal law enforcement about threats that this alleged killer made within the last year.
What was the follow-up? What more could have been done and what is the status of those who were wounded in this brutal attack. Let's listen in.
SHERIFF SCOTT ISRAEL, BROWARD COUNTY, FLORIDA: Not easier than yesterday was. All the victims' families have been notified. We will be -- those that lost their lives today, it will be released throughout our PIO in a very short period of time. But all the families have been notified. Our detectives worked through the night on this very daunting and challenging task, but it had to be done. It was the right thing to do and they worked tirelessly.
This community is hurting right now. There is going to be a lot of conversations over the next couple of days and weeks and I'm going to be very animated about what I think this country can do to possibly prevent these tragedies in the future.
Today's a day of healing, today is a day of mourning.
The suspect is in custody. He will be appearing before his first magistrate today at 2:00 p.m. at Broward County courthouse. This morning we will -- we've begun working with the FBI and you'll be hearing for the special agent in charge of the FBI, Rob Lasky, in a few minutes. We're also working with the Florida Department of Law Enforcement under the direction of Troy Walker. We will interview every single student or every person in that school
that possibly knew something or might not know they know something. They will be thoroughly debriefed and we will make sure that we're able to prosecute this case. The suspect has been charged with 17 counts of premeditated murder. And law enforcement will do everything we can, the FBI, ourselves, to make sure that this person is convicted of all charges and that justice is served.
Sadly there have been copycat threats made today in other schools. We will respond to every threat. Every threat we receive we will not classify it as a copycat or a prank call. We will respond in full and investigate it.
Any call that is made fictitiously, any fake call, any call that is made to take out resources at a time like this and place them in places where we don't need to be, we will do the full power of the sheriff's office. We'll investigate this and charge anyone accordingly with the maximum charge we possibly could for doing something so horrific, so pathetic.
Governor Scott is going to come up and speak. And then you're going to hear from special agent in charge of the FBI. I'll return to the microphone and answer some questions. I think it is noteworthy that at our next press conference I will be releasing a timeline based on investigation and video that we captured as to what happened yesterday and I'd like to take you through it in chronological order.
We're not ready to do that at this time, but when we are, we will be back here and we will release that. Now I'd like to introduce Florida's governor, Rick Scott.