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Police: Barricaded Suspect Inside L.A. Trader Joe's; Witness: Suspect Exchanged Gunfire With Police. Aired 8-9p ET
Aired July 21, 2018 - 20:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[20:00:00] CHARLES RAMSEY, CNN LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST (on the phone): -- can cause more congestion and confusion at that scene. The key is to get the right people there as quickly as possible to be able to contain the scene so that the individual cannot get out. If they need go in and get any additional people out, they have to be able to do it.
It's hard to tell the initial response. You are going to get a lot of police officers that are going to try to move towards the scene. But supervisors have gun point have to take control of it and start making sure that they don't have too many people. And still have others part of the scene that has to be covered and protected.
ALEX MARQUARDT, CNN HOST: All Right. Charles, thank you.
I'm getting a little bit of information from my colleague Jordan Guzzardo who is on the scene. He says that that he sees an LAPD special weapons and tactic vehicle that has just arrived in addition to seven ambulances, 30 LAPD vehicles. And then the officers that he is seeing have their guns drawn and pointed at the Trader Joe's, not small handguns but a larger type of weapon.
I want to turn now to former CIA operative Bo Baer who is joining us. He trained foreign police forces in hostage rescue.
Bob, in a situation like this, what do you do? Do you storm into the store. Do you sit back and wait? Do you try to negotiate? What's the approach?
BOB BAER, FORMER CIA OPERATIVE: Right now they are going to do, there's two choice as you can try negotiate, talk this guy out and if you can't, you have to prepare what's called the dynamic entry.
In order to that, you have to have good intelligence. You have to know where the shooter is, how many hostages. Is he barricaded? Is he in a safe? Where is he? You have to collect that essential intelligence, either audio or visual and then you get the SWAT team in place with a lot of explosives, shields and the rest of it. And the right weaponry to out shoot this guy.
It doesn't sound like it's particularly going to be difficult. These things usually turn out well unless he is intent upon killing people, killing the hostages. But once you come in with the SWAT team with a lot of grenades and a lot weapons, it's over very quickly. But they need to set up and as I said collect intelligence. That's really key. You know, this guy probably doesn't have explosives. He doesn't
automatic weapons. But you still need that intelligence to make sure there are no casualties. Because in a dynamic entry, it's not to kill the shooter but to save the hostages.
MARQUARDT: Right. We do know that he is armed. "The L.A. Times" again reporting that gunman opened fire on officers and then ran into the store.
We do have CNN's Jordan Guzzardo on the line. He is at that Trader Joe's in Silver Lake where we continue to follow this possible hostage situation.
Jordan, what are you seeing? What are you hearing?
JORDAN GUZZARDO, CNN PHOTOJOURNALIST (on the phone): I'm at the intersection of Griffith Park Boulevard and Hyperion which is just south of the Trader Joe's. And I saw multiple Los Angeles fire department ambulances. At least seven from where I could see. They just brought in a LAPD special weapons and tactics command vehicle. And also there were LAPD that were crouched behind their vehicle and pointed towards the Trader Joe's with the larger firearms, not their typical issue, handguns or whatever. But that is from what I could see from my vantage point.
I have been told that PIOs will be giving an update. And I'm trying to now I have just gone in my vehicle to try to get to the location where they are going to be speaking. So as far as just eyes on the ground there, that's exactly what I'm seeing or what I had seen was just very heavy, heavy police presence. And also aerial support from LAPD.
MARQUARDT: All right. Well, if you're just joining us here in the U.S. and around the world, we are following a situation in Silver Lake, an area of Los Angeles, just north of downtown L.A. at Trader Joe's grocery store where we believe there is a possible hostage situation underway.
We have seen several people coming out of that store. We have seen people running away with police officers. All we know now from law enforcement is there's an active police incident. They are asking people to please stay clear of this area. "The L.A. Times" is reporting that this began as a pursuit from Hollywood, which ended with a car crashing next to the store. Law enforcement telling the times that a gunman opened fire on officers and then ran inside the store. So it does sound like what James Gagliano has been calling a target of opportunity.
We also know that a 20 year old female has been taken to a hospital in fair condition.
I want to go back to our Miguel Marquez who is on the phone who lives in this area and had shock -- excuse me. We are going to Bob Bear, who as I mentioned just moments ago, he has trained foreign police forces in hostage rescue. Bob, if you are looking at these images with me, what are the police
forces trying to do at this point? Are they trying to get in touch with the hostage taker there? Are they looking to move in? What is going through their mind?
[20:05:30] BAER: Right now they are calling him and they want to get him on the phone as quickly as they can. Let him know this is not going to end well. LAPD is very good at this. This occurs over and over again and they want to talk him out of there. They want to convince him, calm him down. There's no point in shooting anybody. That any shootout with the LAPD is going to end quickly and very badly.
In the meantime, they are giving their guys time to set up. Backdoors are probably locked. They are going to have to breach those. If he is in a room and hold up, they are going to have to breach a wall there. And if the shooting starts for any reason, they are going to all have to move in very quickly.
But right now they have got it contained. They have got the guy holed up. And I would imagine he has at least a couple of hostages. But that is what the LAPD is trying to find out now. They are debriefing everybody who is coming out of there to figure out what's going on. Again, it's intelligence right now and calming down the situation as fast as they can.
MARQUARDT: Yes. And what we are looking at now from new aerial pictures is police putting up police tape even farther away from this Trader Joe's grocery store establishing a perimeter even farther away.
Charles Ramsey, used to run the Pennsylvania police department. Is there anything such as a classic hostage situation? If this is a situation where the hostage taker was fleeing and went into the Trader Joe's because he couldn't go any furtherer. Is there any classic situation? Is this guy looking to take people down with him? Would he likely release people and have a shootout? What are the various situations that we are looking at here?
CHARLES RAMSEY, CNN LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST (on the phone): Well, I mean, it's very difficult to tell. Obviously, it looks like this was a target of opportunity. He had a crash. He saw Trader Joe's. He ran inside. A lot of people ran out. The more people he is trying to hold hostage, the more difficult it is for him. I would imagine he has a handful of people, two or three, if that many right now.
But there is no classic situation. I mean, everyone is different. All I have heard so far is very accurate. They are trying to make contact with this individual. Get negotiators there. Get the it right equipment and officers there. So if they have to breach, if they have to go in, they have the right people there to be able to do it. Shutting down traffic, getting as many people away from the scene as humanly possible and trying to contain it.
This is a guy who is probably in a panicked state of mind right now. He didn't plan on being there necessarily. So, he don't really know what he is going to do. The fact that he did take a couple shots at police officers tell you that he is very capable of violence. Hopefully this isn't something where he's looking to harm anyone else but you have to be guarded. You have to be prepared for that sort of thing.
So right now, the key is to try to make contact and talk this guy out. And if he does have additional people, hopefully get them out of there unharmed. I don't like the fact there's so many ambulances there. I don't know if they have got any information that you got people that were injured or if they are just there on standby just in case. But let's hope it gets resolved with no one getting injured. But you have to be prepared for anything.
MARQUARDT: Yes. From our Jordan Guzzardo, we understand that there are at least seven ambulances on the scene.
I want to read you an update is from the LAPD. This is officer Mike Lopez. He says -- he tells us that at 1:30 p.m. local, so that was around three-and-a-half hours ago, there was a shooting that occurred at 1600 block of 32nd street. A victim was an elderly woman and a young lady. The suspect fled in a 4-door 2015 Camry. Hollywood division of LAPD saw the vehicle and suspect and went in pursuit.
During pursuit the suspect fired multiple rounds at officers. None of the officers were injured. The pursuit ended near the 2700 block of Hyperion close to Silver Lake Trader Joe's. The suspect crashed in a pole and fled am to the Trader Joe's.
So this was a suspect fleeing, a shooting that he had carried out. One of the victims was an elderly woman and the other a young lady. So that is just now from the LAPD.
Jordan, you are still on the scene. What are you seeing now?
[20:10:06] GUZZARDO: OK. All right. Great.
MARQUARDT: Jordan, can you hear me?
GUZZARDO: Yes. Hi, there. Sorry.
MARQUARDT: I understand it is a very fluid situation. I appreciate you trying to get as close to as possible. But also obviously, we want you to stay as safe as possible.
What are you seeing outside of this Trader Joe's?
GUZZARDO: I have moved up just a bit. I'm just again trying to get towards where they are going to be giving an update.
Again, just I'm actually standing right by Los Angeles fire department ambulance, also the number I can count at least right now is five just from where I stand. Again heavy police presence. There is -- the LAPD tactical man van that is set up and multiple fire engines as well.
I have to step back behind the line. But yes from my vantage point right now -- oh, thank you. That's what I can give you. Earlier ,when I was just south of the Trader Joe's there were LAPD that were crouched behind their vehicles with -- they had their guns drawn towards the Trader Joe's. But I have since moved and again I'm trying to get closer to where they are going to be giving an update. So that is what I can see. Just staying behind the police line. And yes, that's what I can give you right now.
MARQUARDT: Well, that's very helpful. And please do stay safe. And let us know when you have something more.
Bob Baer, back to you. Now that we have a bit more information from the LAPD confirming this was the it end of a pursuit, which we knew but that the suspect had already carried out a shooting in Hollywood. Again there were two victims, an elderly and a younger lady.
Bob, does this make him more desperate? Does this make him more dangerous?
BAER: This makes him more dangerous, if he's going to shoot it out with police. That's not a good sign. If he says he is going to execute hostages, they are going to take him seriously. And I would imagine right now the SWAT team is moving as fast as hay can.
And you know, you would say well, maybe we should send the police and the patrols in right now. But these tactical teams spent a lot of time in kill hostages. They know what they are doing. And they come in with flash bang grenades and they just overwhelming force. And that's what is the safest thing for the hostages and that's what they are planning right now. No question about it.
MARQUARDT: All right. We are learning a little bit more from the LAPD. They just tweeted moments ago that we can confirm that there is an active barricaded suspect within a Trader Joe's in Silver Lake. An active tactical alert has been declared to insure all resources necessary will be available. Please continue to stay clear of the area.
Charles Ramsey, what kind of resources does this scene require? What do they need? Who is heading there now?
RAMSEY: Well, obviously, the SWAT team hostage negotiators. And depending on the situation, if they evaluated on the ground, they will bring in additional people. You have got to have obviously traffic control and containment. But right now I think SWAT is probably taking charge and they are the ones that will determine what assets are going to be needed to be brought in so that they can resolve the situation as quickly as they can.
MARQUARDT: Bob, you were involved in training foreign police forces. I imagine a grocery stores are fairly classic situation when you are talking about a hostage crisis. So if you are thinking about a small Trader Joe's with I would say ten or dozen aisles, little ability for the people inside to get out except for the front the door. And we have seen people coming out the side window. What are you hoping that the people inside are doing?
BAER: I hope they are crawling out. Certainly, when the SWAT team comes in, they are going to be looking for anybody that's hiding. They are going to coming in night vision goggles if the lights are off and they will turn the lights off. They will turn the electricity off. It will be dark in there when they go in. That will give the police an advantage.
You know, they are, you know, but it's mainly right now locating the shooter and getting plans for that Trader Joe's. So they know how to get in very quickly. And especially if you start shooting or executing hostages, they are going to have to move right away. There is no question about.
This guy sounds pretty desperate to me. But then again, you know, if he just run in there, he hasn't planned to resist. He is at a definite disadvantage. I train people in terror situations where the terrorists set up to fight back against hostage rescue squad. So this should be quite a bit easier. But nonetheless, you know, it's not going to be easy on this short of moment to get in there.
[20:15:05] MARQUARDT: Charles Ramsey, back to you. What Bob was just saying, I mean, he is desperate that, you know, he is dangerous. This is someone who is fleeing another scene. So if you are shouting through a bullhorn into the store or if you are able to get him on the phone, what do you say to someone like that to not only make sure that he doesn't hurt anyone else but that he comes out alive?
RAMSEY: Well, it's not just what you say, it's also listening to him and letting him kind of talk to you a little bit, try to calm him down the best you can, find out what he needs. What he needs. Has he been injured? Is anybody else in there injured?
I mean, you need to just try to establish lines of communication and some level of trust, if you will between the negotiator and this individual so you can begin to talk him down. I mean, he didn't plan on being at Trader Joe's at this particular moment. Now, he committed a double shooting. You don't know whether this is a robbery gone bad. It could have been a domestic related. I mean, you don't know at this point in time exactly what it is you have.
But you do know you have got guy that's armed. He has already shot two people. He's shot at police. Very capable of being violent. So you try to resolve it the best you can. So there's a lot going on right now in terms of the conversation. They are going to try get as good a picture of what's going on inside as they possibly can. How many people are there? Are you holding people? I mean, all those kinds of things, they got to try find out.
In the meantime, as Bob says, you know, people are looking at the layout of the place. They are looking at blueprints to try and figure out what is the best point of entree. They have to go in. But if they don't have to get this, if they needed this guy to come out and nobody is harmed, that's really -- that's really the best outcome.
MARQUARDT: Best case scenario.
Again the LAPD is saying that they can confirming that there's an active barricaded suspect inside that Trader Joe's that you are looking at.
We will have much more. We are going to take a quick break. We will be right back.
[20:21:14] ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.
MARQUARDT: Welcome back. I'm Alex Marquardt.
We are continuing to follow breaking news out of Los Angeles, California, specifically, the Silver Lake area of Los Angeles, just north of downtown where is -- there appears to be a hostage situation underway at a Trader Joe's grocery store.
What we do know from the Los Angeles police department is that there is a barricaded man inside. How this all started was in Hollywood where a shooter carried out a shooting against an elderly woman and a young lady at around 1:30 p.m. local time. So that was just about four hours ago. He then drove and was pursued by the police around 12 miles -- 12 minutes, rather, so that is just under about five miles to this Trader Joe's. He had an accident and went running into this store. Firing his weapon at the police officers who are in pursuit.
We have been following the story from ground and from the air. What you're looking at right now are aerial pictures from our affiliates. We have seen people coming out, civilians, shoppers coming out with their hands up out of that front door and also from side windows, coming down ladders into the arms of police officers where presumably debriefing them now about the suspect who is barricaded inside. We do not know how many more people are inside.
We know that one person, a young woman who is 20 years old was taken to the hospital in fair condition. We have seen a growing law enforcement presence. We have seen a growing number of ambulances. We have seen police setting a perimeter farther and farther away as they presumably figure out how to get in touch with the shooter, how to figure out how many people are inside and how to get those people out safely.
So that is the latest. We have just heard from President Trump who has tweeted, watching Los Angeles possible hostage situation very closely. Active barricaded suspect. LAPD working with federal law enforcement.
So that is the first mention we have of local law enforcement working now with federal law enforcement.
I want to go to CNN's national correspondent Miguel Marquez who lives in Los Angeles. He is on his way to the scene.
Miguel, you live around here. You have shopped at this store. What can you tell us about the area? What can you tell us about the store?
MIGUEL MARQUEZ, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (on the phone): Yes, this is my local Traders Joe's. It is not a huge store by American Standard. This is, you know, 5,000, maybe 6,000 square feet. There are smaller aisles but there are lots of places. The aisles has lot of places where ones could take cover.
It is very good to hear that people are exiting the store. But clearly this is a great concern. There is every Angelino's fear. They have seen the helicopters over the neighborhood to know that there is a police chase on, to know that there is somebody who is possibly dangerous and then they wind up on your doorstep.
This sounds a lot like the area, the 1600 block of 32nd street is near USC. It's not that far from this Trader Joe's, maybe without traffic, a 15/20 minute drive. Police came up very quickly. He crashed into a poll apparently disabling his car. And that is when he kept shelter in the trader Joe's. Many people came out. Fortunately, that one person who has been transported from Trader Joe's, she was injured in her car or in the parking lot. It is not there -- perhaps, that was part of her trying to get out of that area. But very good to hear that people are actually getting out of there.
This is a very, very busy Trader Joe's. There is another grocery store. There's a somewhat bigger one right across the street. I mean, it's a heavily trafficked areas between Hollywood and down town Los Angeles.
Just shocking that this would be happening on a Saturday afternoon in this area. I mean, this is it the world that we live in.
[20:25:21] MARQUARDT: Now, again, this is the world that we live on. Of course, this comes on the heels of other shootings in Parkland and Santa Fe and Las Vegas. There are no reports. We have to underline right now. There is no indication that anyone has been killed. We only that one person has been wounded, a woman who has taken to the hospital in fair condition.
And Miguel, just because you have shopped here and we are looking at these pictures of people coming out of windows in very dramatic fashion, coming down on these flimsy ladders with police waiting for them at the bottom, is there a second floor? Do you have any sense of what -- they are small windows. They look like office windows. Do you have any sense of where these people would be coming from or is all on one floor?
MARQUEZ: It is very likely that is a second floor. There is no second floor for shopping, I will tell you that. But most Trader Joe's do have an area above the main shopping floor for offices and possibly more stock. So it's possible they have a second floor there that would be for employees only. It's also surrounded by a parking lot. So it hasn't pack up to anything. It is probably a parking lot and the trucks that serve this is store would be coming in from that backside as well. So there are probably many places for them to escape from -- on that backside as well. So one only hopes that there are no other people in there. But it is -- there are -- nearly about Trader Joe's is that they always have some of staff there. So it is very likely that they were able to have staff to direct people to exit and to those windows and other places that they find either shelter or escape. MARQUARDT: All right. Miguel, we have got some in from eyewitnesses
at the scene. Let's take a listen to them.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: So once we, you know, you just run every direction?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No. And you know, you don't run in every direction. You guide the people to where you need to have them go. It's important to control the crowd. That way you can eliminate some of the fear factor and crazy emotions.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: But you know there's still people, still workers in.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I don't know. I'm assuming. It's an assumption. I can't speak for -- you would have to speak to LAPD.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MARQUARDT: Well, as the man highlighted right there, a very few details both on the ground and here.
James. Gagliano, we are just listening to Miguel Marquez talk about the layout of the store, what it looks like. What those windows might be. Obviously, by this point, and this has being going for some time now. The local authorities there on the scene, have very much figure out what the layout of that store is. Where people would be able to get out, where law enforcement would be able to go in.
James, you have been talking about how this was a target of opportunity, essentially because this man was fleeing. He saw the Trader Joe's and went inside. Now, because this is not clearly premeditated, this is not a premeditated hostage situation. Can you say that one is worse than the other? If you are a hostage negotiator, you are trying to get these people out? Is this better because this was not planned?
JAMES GAGLIANO, CNN LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST (on the phone): Well, Alex, let's look at what we have learned just in the course of the last hour since we have been talking and since we have been watching this.
So intelligence is a very valuable currency for tactical commanders. And right now we know that we have a barricaded subject who had committed two attempted murders. Now that person right now, unless he is watching the news, does not know that the two people shot at or shot did not expire. So now he believes he just committed two murders. Police are in hot pursuit, desperation level has to be charts. So that's a major consideration.
The second thing. I wanted to just drill this down for the viewers. You have to understand there's a huge difference between a hostage situation and a barricaded subject. Hostage situation changes everything for me. It means if the person is not in good faith negotiating, they don't want us to release political prisoners, they don't want to jet to (INAUDIBLE) or at, you know, unmarked bills, you know, in millions of dollars in a brief case. If they don't want that and they take hostages, it's with the intent to hurt or kill or maim or kill people, then as a tactical commander, once we get the go and I have heard a couple of your other law enforcement analysts that say the same thing. We are using speed, surprise, violence of action and a breach, a fail state breach to get inside to make sure we get on this person as quickly as possible.
[20:30:04] But what I heard from the police statement -- what you read earlier, Alex, they're calling it a barricaded situation. That does not indicate hostages. As soon as that happens, police take a deep breath. The calculus changes. OK? We keep our perimeter, we keep the pressure up. I want to bring in as much the law enforcement, as many armored vehicles and as many heavy hardware as we have and we want to now be patient. There's no accident circumstances to go in there and put people in harm's way if it's just a barricaded subject.
So as we get more information, that is going to be a critical piece in this because barricaded subject, I now have time to plan for a deliberate assault and I can take my time. Let the negotiators reach out and take my time. Hostage situation, I now have to be ready to go in at a moment's notice. So the intelligence we're getting, that is critical, valuable currency and I think the police obviously have a lot more right now than we do. But with what we have, take a deep breath, step back. If it's not a hostage situation and people aren't being murdered, then let's take a deep breath and let's this play out. Contain and negotiate will be the strategy, Alex.
ALEX MARQUARDT, CNN SENIOR NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: And, James, that is why we are so reliant on your expertise to parse these words. With limited information we have from law enforcement. We're going to take a quick break. We'll have more on this developing story when we come back.
[20:35:04] UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is CNN Breaking News.
MARQUARDT: Welcome back. We're continuing to follow a breaking news out of Los Angeles where there is a barricaded suspect, the LAPD says at a Trader Joe's in the Silver Lake area of this city. This follows a shooting in nearby Hollywood, less than five miles away where the suspect, who is now barricaded inside this Trader Joe's shot an elderly woman and a young lady and then fled. The police followed in pursuit. The suspect then ended up here in Trader Joe's, crashing his car, shooting at officers. We know that at least one woman, not an officer was wounded. Lightly and has been taken to a nearby hospital in what the authorities are calling fair condition.
We are just learning that a manager at Gelson's Market which is just across street from the Trader Joe's said that people inside the market heard shots fired from the outside. Many people yelled and dropped to the floor. She told us the manager did not want to give us her name. No one was inside that Gelson's Market -- I'm sorry. NO one inside there was hurt, according to this manager. The store is currently on lock down. We know that the law enforcement has set up a wide perimeter around there. Customers are allowed to exit through the back of the building.
We have been speaking to a number of eyewitnesses. I want to go to one of them now. Miguel Trujillo. If you're on the line, you saw what you believed was this coming, was the suspect firing on the police?
MIGUEL TRUJILLO, EYEWITNESS OF THE SHOOTING IN TRADER JOE'S: Well, it's not what I believed. It was in plain sight. It was yards in front of me. And he ran out. He got out of his car quickly and the cops fired at him and he then fired at them. And all that in that instant moment, he went running into Trader Joe's. It was very -- it wasn't surreal to me. I really did intake it. But it was a pulsating feeling of I need to survive, like I'm in actual threat and I went in behind a car. There was a man who got towed.
There was a man that was about to get off to go shopping into Trader Joe's. His family was beginning to come out and he told them just go inside, stay inside and then he happened to escape this whole scene. But I was walking home. So I had to walk into the dry cleaners, which is part of the same building of Trader Joe's. It's right next to Trader Joe's and I was just grateful that that building has very, very thick cement. Because I was dreading bullets were going to come through. That was my biggest fear. That bullets were going to come through because it was something very violent and was something very violent and very dangerous. It was very threatening.
MARQUARDT: I'm sure it was and we're very glad that you're safe. Miguel, you're the first person we've spoken with who's got the eyes on the suspect. Can you describe them for us?
TRUJILLO: He is a black, sexy black guy with dreads and he's maybe like six, if not five-eleven. He's around six feet. He's really buff and that's it. He ran fast. He got out of there.
MARQUARDT: Was he shouting anything? Was he screaming at people?
TRUJILLO: He wasn't. He wasn't. I mean, from everything that I saw from the moment he came out of his car to the moment he went into Trader Joe's, it was just a second. And no, he wasn't shouting. He was very focused in getting out of the area, out of like the cop's vision, their view. He just got out. He wasn't screaming or anything. It was all -- the exchange of bullets was all in an instant. It was all in a moment. I should have reacted a lot quicker and gone behind that car a lot sooner. But he didn't shout. He didn't do anything.
He didn't even turn his back much. It seemed he was a pro already. Like he picked up -- when he got out of his car, he got out of his car backwards. Or no. His back was faced -- was facing a cab and I think he may be turned once when he shot, but it didn't seem like all the way and he ran to Trader Joe's and then that was it. That is what I saw.
[20:40:21] MARQUARDT: Miguel, I want you to stay on the line. We have some updates from the Los Angeles Police Department. Excuse me. This is not from the LAPD. This is from the L.A. Times. The gunman is believed to be inside that Trader Joe's, they write in this tweet and might be wounded. Law enforcement sources are telling the paper that they do not believe that he was holding hostages but said there still might be some people who are hiding in the store.
But we understand the police are briefing right now. Let's listen in.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: -- take over the fire right now and they have --
DAVID ORTIZ, PUBLIC INFORMATION OFFICER, LOS ANGELES FIRE DEPARTMENT: The Los Angeles fire department. First of all, David Ortiz, D-A-V-I-D O-R-T-I-Z public information officer, Los Angeles Fire Department. Los Angeles Fire Department was dispatched to assist LAPD at 3:30 this afternoon to the 2700 block of Hyperion Avenue in the Silver Lake community. So far, L.A. Fire Department has transported one female patient in stable condition. At this moment, we have 18 ambulances assigned to this incident with over 100 firefighters. That is all the information I have to release at this time. Thank you.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Right now, we know we have people inside. We simply don't know how many. Again, very early. This is preliminary information and we're trying to bring this to an end. At this time we simply don't know. OK? Again, we have our resources here to provide assistance. Once we can get in there and clear this place. But right now, we have a barricaded suspect and he is armed. And we can't get in there right now. Again, trying to get the suspect to surrender and bring this to a peaceful conclusion.
Yes. An unknown number of people have been --
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We got to let you know the fire department is going to need this entire area for their rescue ambulances. So when asked --
MARQUARDT: We've been listening to both the L.A. Fire Department and the LAPD briefing. Very briefly. There are reporters. They were saying they don't know how many people are still inside, but that the suspect is armed. He is still inside. We just spoke with an eyewitness who said that he was a young African-American male.
I want to bring Bob Baer back in. Bob, now that we've gathered a little bit more information. And James Gagliano was making this very important point right before the last break. The LAPD is calling this -- saying that the suspect is barricaded. They have not use the word hostage. So that sounds like it's good news that we're talking about one individual who may not be holding hostages.
BOB BAER, CNN INTELLIGENCE AND SECURITY ANALYST: Yes. I hope he's just barricaded and people are making their way out and they're not visible to him. But the police don't know that at this point. They just don't know when he's going to move into a room where there's potential hostages and the rest of it. They're back to collecting information. I think that if they decide that he's barricaded, they'll move on and fairly quickly, and especially if he's wounded. They'll want to get him out of there. But again, it's a fluid situation and it's hard to describe how chaotic a big store is when you got an armed gunman in there ready to shoot at you and you still have people in there who may be safe or they may not.
MARQUARDT: Right. So that is what we are hearing. There are people inside the store still. As you mentioned, it's very fluid. We don't know if they're being held or they're simply hiding in there. We do know that the gunman is still in that store. He's armed. He had fled from nearby Hollywood after carrying out a shooting that wounded, as far as we know two women, one elderly and one younger and then drove this just under five miles to this Trader Joe's where he is barricaded inside.
I want to go to another eyewitness who had since gone a little bit farther away from the scene. His name is Devin field. Devin, are you there?
DEVIN FIELD, EYEWITNESS IN THE SHOOTING AT TRADER JOE'S IN LOS ANGELES: Yes, I'm here.
MARQUARDT: Devin, what did you see?
FIELD: I was arriving at the Trader Joe's walking into the parking lot from up the street when a bunch of -- five cop cars drove past me up the street in pursuit of someone that I didn't see and I heard some pops of some gun fire. And then the gunman's care came from behind me. And it looked like it damaged to the front bumper. It was hanging about halfway off. And he was trying to turn but the traffic kind of kept him from going anywhere. Didn't really have anywhere to go so he crashed his car into that pole and jumped out of his car and he had a pistol in his hand and just started opening fire on the police behind him.
[20:45:16] At which point, I dove behind a small retaining wall at the it edge of the parking lot. It was maybe 10, 15 yards from me. I laid down there with my back against the wall when three LAPD officers came, ran up and melt behind the wall right next to me and opened fire on the gunman. Then he returned fire on them. So they got down on the grounds to protect themselves.
MARQUARDT: And as far as you saw -- sorry, keep going.
FIELD: At that point, I think he had gone inside the store and after he was inside the store for a little while, they had me crawl away from the scene and then run away around the corner.
MARQUARDT: And from what you saw all of the gunfire was directed towards the police officers?
FIELD: It appeared that way. Because he was shooting at about a 45- degree angle away from me. I was kind of closer behind him, but he was aiming out into the street. So it seemed as if he was returning fire at the police officers. But I didn't get the best look at that.
MARQUARDT: And from your vantage point, I understand that you were trying to take cover and keep yourself safe. He fled into the store. It's not like he was pointing the gun at people who were shopping and trying to round them up and get them into the store. He was just fleeing away from the police.
FIELD: That's what it seemed like. I didn't see him grab anyone or take anyone inside. At that point, I didn't have line of sight on him. So I don't know. But it seemed like he was just running into the store after crashing in front of it.
MARQUARDT: Can you describe the gunman? We heard from another eyewitness moments ago that he was a young African-American male, that he moved quickly, he looked like he know what he was doing. Was there anything else that stood out to you?
FIELD: No, that sounds accurate. Yes. African-American male --
MARQUARDT: And where are you right now? All right. We've lost Devin Fields.
Bob Baer, are you still with us? All right. Well, we're just going to take a quick break.
We have Bob Baer. OK. Bob, we just heard from an eyewitness who said that he saw a young man running into the store. Describe for us now -- what we're trying to parse what limited information we do have, that this young man we understand is barricaded inside. We also know that there are other people inside. But we don't know whether they're being held hostage or whether they just haven't gotten out yet and are hiding. So if you are the person leading this effort on the ground right now, what are you directing your forces to do?
BAER: You're interrogating a questioning, I'm sorry, all the witnesses. Because they're all going to have a different story. They're all panicking. They're inherently unreliable. Yes, the first first witness saw him running in, but it's the witnesses closer to the center of the store or even the second floor who are going to have a different version. So you're going to have to go through them and figure out who's the most reliable and figure out where this guy is. The police may know where he is now and may know whether he has a hostage, but I think it's really too early to find out.
And again going back, they really like to know that there's nobody around that it's safe to go and take him down, because the whole intent to this is to lose anybody. Not a single person, either killed or wounded and they'll do everything they can to make sure when they do the entry that no one gets hurt.
MARQUARDT: That's a very important differentiation. We have heard from the president who tweeted about this possible hostage situation and that he's watching it very closely. He said that federal law enforcement and is working with local law enforcements. So we can assume -- although we don't know this right now, but we can assume from past instances -- right, Bob? Correct me if I'm wrong that it would be ATF and FBI. Who else would be on the scene?
BAER: FBI in particular. They have a SWAT squad in L.A. It's not the main one in Washington D.C. So they have people on the ground and they will have deployed by now and they will be assisting the LAPD. LAPD, I would imagine is going to take point right now. But anything they need, they're going to step in and they also have teams that could do an entry as well if they needed them.
MARQUARDT: And because we know that the suspect -- and this is the LAPD. The LAPD did not correct the president when they retweeted him when he called it a hostage situation. So they are still allowing for the fact that this is indeed a hostage situation. What LAPD has said is that when officers when in pursuit of a suspect, wanted in connection to a shooting -- excuse me, the suspect barricaded himself inside the Trader Joe's. So knowing that the suspect has already shot at police and shot at these two women earlier, how does that change the calculus of the police officers either trying to reach out and speak with this suspect, or the SWAT team that may be going in to try to confront him?
[20:50:46] BAER: Well, if he's going to pick up the phone, you want to hear if there's any people around him, of course, I mean, that's very obvious. But right now, again, I go back, they absolutely cannot be sure he doesn't have anybody. And if this guy is willing to shoot at the police over an extended gun battle, somebody like that is going to grab a hostage at some point. And that's the assumption. You know. And so that when he does talk to the police, I've got people, he takes those hostages and puts them around him to fend off an assault. That's the assumption the police are working on right now. And it's the absolute correct one. That's the way you want to do it. No casualties. It's going to take down like this.
MARQUARDT: Right. So barricaded doesn't necessarily mean that the gunman is alone. We do know from the LAPD people that are inside there barricaded with the gunman.
I want to go to CNN's Miguel Marquez who has just arrived on the scene. Miguel, you and I have covered lots of stories like this, but for you this one hits particularly close to home. This is where you live. What are you seeing?
MIGUEL MARQUEZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: This is personal. Look, I can ride my bike to this Trader Joe's. So this is very personal. I want to show you a little bit here. The Trader Joe's is off on a distance there. You can see it. There is a bank of police, ambulances, and lots and lots of police presence all up and down the street. The front door for this Trader Joe's is on the other side of that white building that you can see. There's a big parking lot but then wraps all the way around.
And if you come back this way, there is a strip mall here. And in that strip small, there are heavy police presence but also lots of people who have been coming out of that Trader Joe's and telling us their stories, as well as a lot of local press in that area as well. That is very, very close to the Trader Joe's and the parking lot for this Trader Joe's wraps around that back side. Some of the windows that you may have seen people coming out of appears, at least from this side, to be off this half roof that they have there or off the backside of the building altogether. It does look like there is a second floor there. And it probably is used for employees. So there are lots of places for people to move to.
Just an extraordinarily heavy police presence. Both the ATF, Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, and FBI have offered their assistance and services to LAPD. LAPD does seem to have this in hand at the moment. Starting at about 1:30 Pacific Time with a double shooting near USC, if the address is correct, there's a couple of different 32nd streets, but this one was probably downtown, 15, 20-minute drive from here. And then officers from the Hollywood division picked him up. That individual then crashed into a pole in front of this Trader Joe's that I'm actually looking crossing the street here to see if I can actually see where that is. Hard to see where that may have happened.
But there is another large grocery store across the street from this Trader Joe's and it is just an area that would have been extraordinarily busy. Fantastic news that many people are getting out, very concerning that there is a barricade with possible hostages in there.
MARQUARDT: Miguel, just judging from where you're standing, we've been watching the scene for about an hour and a half now, it does look like the police have pushed people back and pushed the press back. What Miguel is referencing there, if the viewers are just tuning in, is that we have seen a number of people, shoppers, coming out of that Trader Joe's, not just from that front entrance with their hands up, at least one person. We've seen several people coming out from a side which you can't see from this angle right here but side windows, about 15 or so feet or off the ground. Miguel, who has shopped there in the past, explained that there might be a second floor. Miguel, do you have someone there?
MARQUEZ: Yes, we have Jason Kravarik, who is a producer with CNN, you've been over in this area speaking to people coming out of this Trader Joe's. What are they saying?
JASON KRAVARIK, CNN PRODUCER: Well, what's happening over there right now, Miguel, is people are -- employees are reuniting. There's about a dozen standing over there and they are hugging, embracing, they're teary-eyed. I managed to speak with one of them who just got out by -- he actually lowered the emergency ladder from the Trader Joe's. He said he heard gunshots in the store, people started to panic, and then he immediately knew, he was in an area off the main floor, the customers were. He knew about an emergency ladder that could be deployed. And he immediately rushed for that. He deployed it, gathered up as many people as he could, and he's one of the people that we now see in the video that was lowered down. But that emergency ladder was inside the store, he says, and he actually deployed it and got some people out.
[20:55:42] MARQUEZ: There is a second floor that was used for business purposes only where they were able to usher people up to or what happened?
KRAVARIK: Yes. He didn't want to be specific on the exact location of this. It was an area that was off the main floor, stock area, if you will. But he was very adamant that shots were fired in the store. I did tell them -- we had spoken to other witnesses who have said there were shots fired outside, because he had saying that. But he was very convinced that shots were fired in the store. MARQUEZ: Do we have any information that anybody may have been hit or was this somebody firing shots at police either inside or close to the front doors of the stores he was fleeing?
KRAVARIK: He didn't because he was not -- he only heard it. He did not have an eyewitness on what happened. He just said it was loud enough and he heard the screams, that he knew, if it wasn't inside the store, it was very close in front.
MARQUEZ: Do you know how many people were on -- I shop at this particular Trader Joe's, there's always a lot of people there. Saturday afternoons is a busy shopping time. Did he have any sense of how many people were either in the store and how big the staff was?
KRAVARIK: He did not. Although he said he was able to get a couple of people out on his own. He did try to round up other people and for whatever reason they said they weren't willing to go. Why, what they were doing, if they were still in action within the store, unclear. But he did say he tried to get other people. They stayed behind. And so he got two or three people out.
MARQUEZ: All right. Jason, thank you very much. Jason Kravarik, he's a producer here with CNN who was over this way talking to folks who was checking out the store. So it sounds like some pretty heroic actions on the part of Trader Joe's employees at the moment. And hopefully this ends well for everybody. Very concerning, though, that shots were fired either very close to the store or inside of it, Alex.
MARQUARDT: Yes, absolutely. Miguel, stay right there, we're going to come back to you very shortly. We've just gotten a bit more information about this male suspect. The LAPD is saying that he, the suspect, that we've learned from eyewitnesses that he's a young African-American male. We are now being told by LAPD that he is in his late teens. We know that he had been involved in a shooting right before this incident at the Trader Joe's.
We're now learning that it was what they are calling a family dispute where he shot his grandmother and a female. The suspect, in his late teens, then fled that location in Hollywood in his grandmother's vehicle, taking the other female victim with him. That is according to an LAPD spokesperson. We also know that a woman, and we don't know if it's the same one, but it might be fair to assume that the woman, that second victim was taken to the hospital. We understand in fair condition.
I want to bring Wallace Zeins who's a former New York police hostage negotiator. Mr. Zeins, good to have you with us. We've been getting a steady stream of information from the LAPD. They are not disputing the president's characterization that this is a hostage situation. But the language that they are using is that this young suspect, in his teens, we now know, has barricaded himself inside this Trader Joe's. So knowing that language, what do you glean from that?
WALLACE ZEINS, FORMER NYPD HOSTAGE NEGOTIATOR: Knowing that language, first of all, is a hostage situation. As long as there are people inside Trader Joe's and cannot get out and the hostage taker has control of the interior of it, it is a hostage incident. Also, keep in mind, there may have been people who have gotten out of the location, but there are employees. That's a very large store. IN my past experience, I once had a supermarket hostage incident. Employees were hiding in the large refrigerator areas down in the basement. They could be in the bathroom. There could be a lot of people, even shoppers could be in the location that we don't know about.
So right now, until we can prove differently, that is, the LAPD hostage team, we're going to consider this a hostage incident. Now, it's very different than a barricade situation. You're not going to go in there and make a dynamic entry. But there are some things that are very important that hostages should always know. When you're in a situation like that, the first 10 to 30 minutes of any hostage incident, we call that fight or flight. That is when the hostage- taker is looking for a place where he or she can be safe. The police are looking for cover and container when they get there and the hostages are all looking for a place to be safe. That's when --