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Coverage Of The Mass Shooting In Tree Of Life Synagogue, Pittsburg; Suspect 46-year-old Robert Bowers Was Arrested And Injured. Aired 4-5p ET
Aired October 27, 2018 - 16:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[16:00:00] ALEX MARQUARDT, CNN HOST: It happened at a synagogue called the Tree of Life during morning services. They of course is Shabbat. Sources tell CNN that the suspected gunman who is in custody and wounded made anti-Jewish remarks, comments during the shooting.
He has been identified. He is 46-year-old Robert Bowers. And CNN has learned that he frequently targeted Jews on social media particularly on a platform called gab, posting just today can't sit by and watch my people get slaughtered. Screw your optics. I'm going in.
President Trump has reacted to this shooting just moments ago.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: With one unified voice we condemn the historic evil of anti-Semitism, and every other form of evil and, unfortunately, evil comes in many forms. We come together as one American people.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MARQUARDT: All right. Let's get right to the scene. And our Sonia Moghe, who has just arrived there in Squirrel Hill.
Sonia, what are you seeing? What's the latest?
SONIA MOGHE, CNN PRODUCER: You know, Alex, I have reported unfortunately on other mass shootings before and other shootings. This scene is eerily quiet. I'm not seeing a lot of people walking around outside. It is raining, but, you know, when I was in Orlando, you saw people immediately surrounding that nightclub bringing flowers and take photos. But here it is very, very (INAUDIBLE) right now.
So our law enforcement vehicles are -- many, many law enforcement authorities are behind me at the scene processing that scene right now. But as far as bystanders, there's not the usual docking. And I think part of the reason is neighbors here are shocked.
And we are hearing some more details about those moments coming out after the shooting. In fact, we just got audio on a dispatch call of the moment the shooting happened, and those calls to 911. Let's take a listen to those right now.
(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Patrol at the front door. We got to evacuate so many hostages.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Received. Request for patrol at the front door. Evacuating hostages.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (INAUDIBLE) hallway of - one for corner. I have a description.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Go ahead.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Tall white mail, short hair, light blue shirt, jeans. And that's tall white male, short hair, light blue shirt, jeans.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I got one on eye.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Three evacuate - back in one right now? Still alive. We have views on four down in the atrium. DOA at this time.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I had a report of at least one victim in the basement.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I have an additional four victims. Four victims in the second storey atrium off the front hall. (INAUDIBLE)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What's your status in the basement?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We have are at the bottom of the stairwell. Working room to the right. We have (INAUDIBLE) blood.
MAGHE: That audio obviously showing the moment of chaos right after that shooting. And then during that shooting neighbors telling me that many of them here in this neighborhood called the Squirrel Hill neighborhood here in Pittsburgh sheltered in place and didn't know if it would be safe to go out.
It is safe now for them to go out. Authorities say that there's no immediate threat here. But neighbor now are just simply wondering who has been one of the ten people who have been reported dead, wondering if it's anyone they knew themselves -- Alex.
MARQUARDT: Yes. That lockdown has been lifted. Some people getting out into the streets. And we understand there's still a perimeter that has been set up.
Sonia Moghe in squirrel hill, Pittsburgh. Thank you so much.
Now, we are also getting new images from the suspect's social media accounts. It appears that he posted photos of his gun collection, what he called his gloc family, as well as those targets from a firing range.
So joining me now to take a look at all this are, again, CNN's crime and justice reporter Shimon Prokupecz as well as CNN law enforcement analyst, former FBI supervisory special agent Josh Campbell and former assistant director for the U.S. Marshall's office Art Roderick.
Art, let me start with you. I don't know if you are able to hear that dispatch there, the audio. What was your take-away? I mean, it was very calm and collected, but, obviously, a very intense situation.
ART RODERICK, CNN LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: Yes. Alex, you know, I have been part of training regarding first responder training that we held within department of homeland security. And you listen to those radio transmissions, and that's exactly what it sounds like when these first responders go through that type of training. They actually have role players that will actually assume the positions of the victims and you hear that radio traffic and that's exactly how these types of incidences go down.
It sounds like it is chaotic, but it's actually organized chaos. These law enforcement officers know exactly what to do, where to go to neutralize the threat immediately and then treat the victims and evacuate them as quickly as possible. And that's exactly what you heard in those radio transmissions.
[16:05:20] MARQUARDT: Shimon, you have listened to this in real time, you have listen to others like it. What's your reaction?
SHIMON PROKUPECZ, CNN CRIME AND JUSTICE PRODUCER: I mean, it's similar to what I have heard in other situations. It is organized chaos. I mean, Art is absolutely right. You know, when you listen to how these officers - you know, you can tell that they are excited obviously. But they had the job to do. They went in. You know, they train for this stuff, and they knew exactly what to do.
What struck me was just how not only are they looking for an active shooter, their lives are now in danger. In the middle of this, they are rescuing people. They are pulling people out who are in there, who are perhaps hiding.
The other things that we, and we haven't gone to this yet, but there is a part of this audio where they - they are finally confront the shooter. And they described how he is crawling and how he has turned over. You know, we showed images of the weapons that he owned that he posted on his social media.
PROKUPECZ: They talk about in the audio how they see a gun in his waist and a gun on his ankle, a handgun. They also talked about in the audio about seeing a magazine for what looks like a high-powered assault rifle. So there is really so much. And it is really our first window into what the police were doing because we have heard the President and we have heard the vice president, and even people at the scene described the heroic efforts. And we are hearing now about this.
And then, finally, they talked about what the suspect was saying about Jews and so that's what, you know, they knew right away what they were dealing with, but just to think about how they went through that building. There were about four floors that they were searching. They went to the basement to search for people, searching for him. Really making this situation -- well, preventing it from being far worse.
MARQUARDT: And Josh, we are also trying to determine which weapon or weapons were used. This transcript obviously says that was a rifle involved. We got these pictures here. You have confirmed that he did have a license to carry.
JOSH CAMPBELL. CNN LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: That's right. Our law enforcement contacts are telling us that he did have a valid firearms carrying license there in Pennsylvania.
CAMPBELL: And he made a number of purchases, lawful purchases of firearms since 1996. Again, we don't know what particular weapon was used in this incident, and whether that was one that we are seeing on our screen or, you know, one that he had actually purchased legally. That we still don't know.
I will say one thing that's very chilling as we talk about this transcript now that we are getting, we look at this and to the lens of something that has already happened, right. We are looking back on an incident.
CAMPBELL: The officers are going through this facility. They were living in a real time. And it just shows you that, you know, this is textbook. Their main goal is to go and try to stop the threat. At this point, the threat hadn't been mitigated but yet they are identifying victims and calling that out. Communications is so key. They are identifying where they are seeing victims, but it's safe to bet that these officers continue to move through that location in order to identify where the person was to try to take them to custody, just custody. Just very, very chilling listening to this, particularly that one line. We need armor. I think they knew what they were in for.
MARQUARDT: There's no doubt that this is an anti-Semitic attack, and we have obviously figured that out in the first moments after this. The President has officially declared this to be an anti-Semitic attack. He made some remarks earlier today. Let's take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: What happened today is a horrible, horrible thing. We are learning a lot about it. It looks definitely like it's an anti- Semitic crime. And it's something you wouldn't believe that could still be going on.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MARQUARDT: Art Roderick, I want to go back to you. We've seen this time and time again. These mass shootings. Has anything been done to try to stop this?
RODERICK: Well, Alex, I don't think much has been done. You know, some states have passed laws to make bump stops illegal. A few of them have. But really, nothing has been done, and we keep going sort of over the same record over and over again every time we had one of these shootings.
The thing that, you know, that you know, that I thought about here after this horrible week of hate and we had, you know, the mail bomber who espoused white supremacy, which is anti-Semitic and anti- immigrant, and now we have this individual espousing the same exact stuff. Was the mail bomber the trigger for this individual coming out --.
MARQUARDT: All right. We are going to cut you off. There's a press conference underway. . Let's take a listen.
[16:10:] WENDELL HISSRICH, ALLEGHENY PUBLIC SAFETY DIRECTOR: Good afternoon. My name is Wendell Hissrich. I'm the public safety director of the city of Pittsburgh. To my left is Scott Schubert and chief of police.
First off, on behalf of the city, our hearts go out to all the victims that have been involved in today's tragedy. These incidents usually occur in other cities. Today the nightmare has hit home here in the city of Pittsburgh.
As you are well aware, a Tree of Life synagogue at 5898 Wilkins Avenue at 9:54 this morning calls were received at the Alleghany county emergency operations center that an active shooter was inside the building. At 9:55 officers were dispatched. Apparently initial confrontation between the subject and the officers occurred injuring two of the officers. Two additional officers were injured during the altercation. Those were swat officers.
Multiple agencies responded to this incident this morning, and without their courage, this tragedy would have been far worse. Those include numerous state, county, and federal agencies as well as neighboring EMS services along with the city of Pittsburgh.
Additionally, the dispatchers, the physicians, nurses that assisted in this incident should also be commended. There were 11 fatalities as a result of the shooting incident. There were no children. There were additionally six injuries to include four of the police officers. That does not include the suspect.
Chief Schubert has visited several of the injured officers. He will update you as well as the doctor will update and give you a current update on the victims that are currently being treated.
Personally, I would like to thank every agency that responded today as well as the dispatchers, the FBI. As you are aware, this is a federal crime, and both SAC Bob Jones and U.S. attorney Scott Brady will discuss that.
I would like to take a few minutes and allow Scott Shubert to discuss the officers, what they encountered when they arrived at the scene this morning -- Chief.
CHIEF SCOTT SCHUBERT, PITTSBURG POLICE DEPARTMENT: Thank you, director.
As the director said, first and foremost, our hearts and thoughts and prayers go to the victims of this, and to our officers who responded.
I can tell you by the time I got there, they were already starting to extract people from in. And watching those officers run into the danger to remove people and get them to safety was unbelievable. And for the SWAT officers, our SWAT officers and SWAT teams from around the region who were there who went into that active shooting and were able to apprehend that actor, I can't speak more for the courage that they have.
Two of the officers that were hit, as the director said, were the first responders to the scene and were engaged, and they are both in stable condition. And as the director said, two from our SWAT team during an engagement inside the building were struck as well. They are in stable condition.
I was able to talk to two of the four. And as soon as we get out of here, we are going to go back and see them again and see their families and thank them for the jobs they did and for saving lives, but we can't not forget those victims inside that synagogue who lost their life. Thank you.
[16:15:12] BOB JONES, FBI PITTSBURG SPECIAL AGENT IN-CHARGE: Good afternoon. I'm Bob Jones. I'm special agent in charge of the Pittsburgh office of the FBI. Thank you, Wendell. Thanks, chief.
Certainly, the actions this person took today were hateful. We are in the early stages of this investigation. And over the next several days and weeks we will look at everything in the suspect's life -- his home, his vehicle, his social media, and his movements over the last several days.
At this point we have no knowledge that Bowers was known to law enforcement before today. I want the people of Pittsburg you to know that the FBI will work around the clock to get them the answers to why and how this happened. That said, we ask for the public's patience in the coming hours and days as we work through this investigation.
This is the most horrific crime scene I have seen in 22 years with the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Members of the Tree of Life synagogue conducting a peaceful service and their place of worship were brutally murdered by a gunman targeting them simply because of their faith. The suspect's full motive is unknown, but we believe he was acting alone.
At this time the FBI has significant resources in and deploying to Pittsburgh from our laboratory division, our critical incident response group, our office of victim assistance, and our operational technology division.
I can't say enough about the actions of the Pittsburgh police, the Pittsburgh police swat team, and the Alleghany County police. Had it not been for the quick and heroic response this would have been much worse. Thank you very much.
Now I will turn it over to Governor Wolf.
GOV. TOM WOLF (D), PENNSYLVANIA: Thank you. I'm Governor Tom Wolf, Pennsylvania. And today words simply -- I can't express the sadness that all Pennsylvanians feel for what happened today.
I want to give my condolences, first of all, to the victims of this tragedy, their families, and their friends and to this community. The shooting is being investigated by the FBI as a hate crime.
My heart breaks for the members of the Jewish community. Today, all of Pennsylvania mourns with you. Anti-Semitism has absolutely no place in our commonwealth. Any attack on one community of faith in Pennsylvania is an attack against every community of faith in Pennsylvania. And I want the Jewish community across the commonwealth and across the country to know that we stand in support of you as we, together, mourn this senseless account of violence.
The Shabbat is a time of reflection. It is a time for finding peace, not for violence. Pennsylvania's Jewish community is strong, vibrant, and resilient. Now is the time more than ever to come together and to support each other.
I have spent today with first responders, with local leaders, and I am in awe of the bravery displayed by law enforcement, those folks to help keep people safe, to aid victims and to prevent tragedy. Federal, state, and local law enforcement are working in concert to investigate this tragedy and to maintain public safety.
At the state level, the Pennsylvania emergency management agency and the department of health are in contact with local officials to assist any, any, unmet needs. The Pennsylvania state police have been on the scene already and are coordinating with federal and local law enforcement. Pennsylvania state police's SWAT team, the helicopter, canine units, and bomb technicians have all responded and are all assisting.
My thoughts right now are focused on the victims, however. Their families, their friends, and making sure that law enforcement has every resource that they need. In the aftermath of this tragedy, we must all come together, and we must take action to prevent these tragedies in the future.
We simply cannot accept this violence as a normal part of American life. These senseless acts of violence are not who we are as Pennsylvanians. We are not who we are as Americans. Thank you.
SCOTT BRADY, US. ATTORNEY, WESTERN DISTRICT OF PENNSYLVANIA: Good afternoon. I'm Scott Brady. I'm the United States attorney for the western district of Pennsylvania.
Today is a tragic day for Pittsburgh. And it's a tragic day for our brothers and sisters in the Jewish community. On behalf of the attorney general and the entire United States department of justice, we want to express our deepest and most heartfelt condolences to the victims and their loved ones, the Jewish community, and everyone who is affected by this terrible and unspeakable act of hate.
I spoke with General Sessions today, and he wanted me to also express his condolences and know that he stands with Pittsburgh and with Pittsburgh's Jewish community.
The actions of Robert Bowers represent the worst of humanity. We are dedicating the entire resources of my office to this federal hate crime investigation and prosecution. We expect to file criminal charges shortly, perhaps as early as today. Please know that justice in this case will be swift and it will be severe.
I want to echo the comments of Chief Shubert in the bravery that was exhibited by the SWAT teams of Pittsburgh police and the Alleghany county police. They ran towards gunfire to keep people safe. And they exemplify today the best of all of the traditions of law enforcement and to the Pittsburgh police.
Know that we are working together with our federal, state, and local law enforcement partners to gather all the facts. The cooperation of law enforcement has been outstanding. I was at the scene today, which as we stated by special agent Jones was a horrible scene to witness, and, yet, all of the federal, state, and local partners stood together in concert and are working together to solve this.
We deeply appreciate the response of the Pittsburgh police, the FBI, Alleghany county police, and all of our law enforcement partners who are working so hard. Know that we will work day and night for justice for the victims of this crime and please know that we will continue to update you as we are able. Thank you.
[16:21:43] DR. DON YEALY, UNIVERSITY OF PITTSBURG DEPARTMENT OF EMERGENCY MEDICINE: Good afternoon. I'm Dr. Don Yealy. I am a professor of emergency medicine, and I oversee emergency medicine for UPMC and the University of Pittsburgh.
At about 10:00 this morning, we became aware of the incident, and very quickly we were able to put together the resources that we have available every day at the level one trauma centers. That includes UPMC Presbyterian and UPMC mercy and we notified Alleghany general.
We were able to dispatch to the scene three physician who have expertise in EMS working with peace officers and our outstanding EMS providers to help assess the scene and help accomplish triage. We are blessed here to have the finest EMS providers in the country. And we are blessed because people have invested in people and in resources over decades to make sure that we have that type of excellence.
The patients were all transported to one of three facilities. Four patients came to UPMC Presbyterian, one to UPMC mercy and the final patient went to Alleghany General Hospital.
I can give you a listing of what those particular patients were. I obviously cannot give you personal information. First patient was a 61-year-old female who had extremity soft tissue injuries that required cleaning in the operative room. She is doing well now in recovering.
Next was a 70-year-old male who had gunshot wounds in his torso involving major organs inside of his abdomen. Beyond what we call a damage control laparotomy. That is an operation to get the initial injury under control where we expect to have to do a second or third operation later. He is now having that second operation now. He is obviously in critical condition.
A 55-year-old officer was also seen who had multiple extremity wounds. Went to the OR, again, for repair and cleaning of those wounds. And, then, finally, another officer had essentially soft tissue injuries and grazing and was having a complete evaluation. Looks to be doing fine now. Those are the four patients at UPMC Presbyterian.
Another officer went to UPMC mercy. Had an extremity injury that required intervention and evaluation in the operating room. Again, that officer is doing fine.
Happy to answer any questions if you have those.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Did it seem like perhaps any sort of special type of bullets may have been used that would create any extra damage or something to that extent?
YEALY: I don't have any direct knowledge about that, but not from the injury pattern it did not appear that way.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (INAUDIBLE QUESTION)
YEALY: There were some with multiple injuries and some with singular injuries. Again, this is something that we are prepared to take care of every day. I'm very proud of the team. We had extra physicians available, nurses available to take care of whatever could happen. When we first heard of this, we knew that there were a few patients injured, some dead. We did not know the size and the magnitude of this and so we were prepared to take care of as many as were necessary.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: (INAUDIBLE QUESTION).
YEALY: I do not.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Do you have the age of the other two officers?
YEALY: The officer that went to mercy is 27. And the fourth one at Presbyterian, I don't know his age. He is younger than me.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Are he this all male officers.
[16:25:02] YEALY: Yes.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Can you give us the breakdown of the patient conditions? YEALY: I would describe two as in critical condition. They are in
the ICU right now. One of whom returned to the operating room. The others are doing well. We would not -- there is obviously seriously injured, but I would not describe them as critical.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The second patient that is critical, you mentioned a 70-year-old male. Other than the 55-year-old officer --
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We will take a few other questions. One at a time, please.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Question for the special agent. Can you talk, sir, about the caliber of ammunition and perhaps the weapon that was involved?
JONES: I don't know the calibers at this point. We think one was an assault rifle, and we know that the suspect had at least three handguns upon him at the time.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What?
JONES: An assault rifle and three handguns in the facility.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Was it clear how he --
JONES: Don't know at this time.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Do you know whether he had any specific connection to Tree of Life or that location?
JONES: Do not know that at this point.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: How old is the suspect?
JONES: He is a Pittsburgh resident. I don't know his able at this point.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Whatsoever precautions are being taken entering his apartment?
JONES: We would take all precautions as we would with any search warrant. We don't know if other weapons are in there, but we would proceed with caution.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Is the bomb squad part of that process?
JONES: We would put the bomb squad in any scenario like this where we would anticipate the devices, but we have no information at this point that there are any IEDs present.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: How long was he in the synagogue before he was brought into custody?
JONES: Approximately 20 minutes. UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Whatsoever condition is the suspect in? Is he
speaking with law enforcement?
JONES: I'll turn it over to Wendell.
HISSRICH: I will not get into whether or not he is speaking with the authorities. However, my understanding was he was transported to the Alleghany general. He is in fair condition with multiple gunshot wounds.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Was he wearing any body armor?
HISSRICH: I do not have that answer at this point.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Do any of the investigators have that answer? Black jacket, body armor?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Don't know at this point.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Can you tell us about the service that was going on inside the synagogue?
JONES: I know a service was taking place. I'm not quite sure of exactly which kind.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: There have been reports it was a baby naming.
JONES: Yes. We heard that as well.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You can't confirm --
JONES: I cannot confirm that at this time.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Was the gunman shot by police or self-inflicted gunshot wounds?
HISSRICH: We believe it was police, but definitive determination will have to be done with the investigation being conducted by the FBI.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What are the ages of the people that were killed? Is there any information about them at this point?
HISSRICH: We do not. We are hoping to have a follow-up press conference tomorrow. And at that time a representative from the medical examiner's office will be there.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Are there children among the deceased?
HISSRICH: There are no children among the deceased. I'm sorry.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: (INAUDIBLE)
HISSRICH: I don't believe so.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Were they present?
HISSRICH: We are still talking to the many witnesses at this point, so --
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Did the gunman shout anything before he opened fire?
JONES: We don't have that information at this point.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Are local synagogues in Pittsburgh on lockdown at this time?
JONES: I don't know about lockdown, but we will certainly make sure that the information is passed so they can take necessary precautions.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Should people of the Jewish faith in Pittsburgh be worried or be on alert, or do we think that the threat has been --
JONES: We think the threat has been eliminated. Again, we don't think that anybody has been associated with this gunman, but we will continue to look at all angles in the conduct of the investigation.
HISSRICH: If I could just follow-up on that. Pittsburgh bureau of police have been notified of numerous services that are being conducted, including a vigil tonight, and we will have adequate police protection at those sites.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Is there security at the synagogue?
HISSRICH: Not that we're aware of.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Last question.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What can you tell us about the suspect's movements inside the synagogue and what he actually did?
JONES: After he entered the synagogue, it looks like at that point he murdered the 11 parishioners. I believe he was exiting or in the process of exiting the synagogue when a Pittsburgh uniformed officer engaged him. That Pittsburgh officer was subsequently wounded. He withdrew, and as he was withdrew, the defendant or the suspect went back into the synagogue in order to hide from SWAT officers who were moving towards the scene. And that's all we know at this point.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What's his status medically? Is he injured?
JONES: He is.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm sorry. One clarification on the weapon. You mentioned an assault rifle and three handguns. Is there evidence that he used all of those weapons?
JONES: I don't know that at this point. We will look at the crime scene in detail this evening and know more. I will know in the morning.
JONES: I don't know that at this point. [16:30:01] UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Thank you, everyone. (INAUDIBLE)
MARQUARDT: The most horrific crime scene I have ever seen. That's what the Pittsburgh FBI agent in-charge called today's shooting at the Tree of Life synagogue. Local and federal and medical officials there briefing the public on the latest about this morning's shooting.
We now know that the death toll has risen to 11 people when the gunman opened fire. This morning none of those 11 were children they said. Six others were injured, including four police officers, some of whom were critically. We should note that none of those six include the actual shooter.
In terms of a timeline, at 9:54 a.m. a call came in reporting the active shooter at the synagogue. SWAT teams then went into an active shooting mode to apprehend the suspect who we now know is 46-year-old Robert Bowers.
We also know that the suspect, according to law enforcement officials, was not known to them before today and that he was believed to be acting alone. The motive remains officially unclear, though it is plainly evident that it was anti-Semitism and charges are expected to be filed soon, possibly today. The FBI has said that they are investigating this as a hate crime.
So I want to bring in my panel again. Shimon Prokupecz, crime and justice reporter. Josh Campbell and Art Roderick.
Josh, first to you. Among the wounded, so the seventh wounded, is the shooter.
CAMPBELL: That's right. And what we have been asking ourselves up to this point is what happened the moment the person was taken into custody? Was there an exchange of gunfire? How did the wounded, the injuries actually take place. And we are learning there from officials that they are saying that the officers were wounded. There were four officers injured in this incident. And interestingly enough, the subject himself suffered what the official was calling multiple gunshot wounds. The subject is in the hospital now and described as in fair condition, but that describes that there was at least some exchange of gunfire. Both sides injured here.
One thing that's interesting, I can only imagine what that crime scene looks like right now. You mentioned the special agent in-charge. I know Bob Jones. He is one of the most buttoned down, emotionless by the books, just the facts person and for him to make a personal say this is the most horrific thing I have seen in my career. Just stunning.
MARQUARDT: And you could hear the emotion in all of their voices.
Art, back to you. We did listen to the audio, the dispatch earlier. Now we have got a little bit more color, a little bit more information about how this unfolded, what the response was like. How well did local and then federal law enforcement respond? RODERICK: I'll tell you, they did exactly what they're supposed to
do. As a matter of fact, on the very first page of the training sill bus, it says right in the second paragraph, you must assume the position of a warrior. You have to go in as quickly as possible without hesitation, but being tactically sound without any regard to your own safety, and that's exactly what these officers did.
These men are heroes. And you know, going up against an assault rifle, luckily it sounded like there was a couple SWAT team members there that probably also had assault rifles, but assault rifles are made for one thing, and that's to take down a human being and try to create as much tissue damage within the body as they can. And if he is using an AK-47, which is a large caliber assault rifle, that is a very deadly weapon, and that's why we have the fatality count as high as it is right now.
MARQUARDT: All right.
Art, we now know that the mass shooting suspect also posted on social media six minutes before the first police call. I'm going to quote from that.
He wrote I can't sit by and watch my people get slaughtered. Screw your optics. I'm going in. Six minutes after that post, the police received a call alerting them to a mass shooting that we now know has left 11 people dead at the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh.
Shimon, law enforcement also saying that he acted alone, which will always make it more difficult to anticipate these types of things.
PROKUPECZ: Yes. There's no way we could have anticipated this unless someone comes forward and says that he was talking about it. By every indication, certainly from what Josh has been hearing, is that these weapons were purchased legally. So far there's nothing to indicate that he did anything illegal in purchasing these weapons, that there were any issues with that.
So beyond that, and we don't know anything about his family. We don't know who law enforcement he was talking to. Obviously, they will do search warrants at his home. Look for other clues at the home. But really, there is, right now, it just doesn't seem like there's anything that they could have done to prevent this.
We will see. You know, it take time. Sometimes we do hear about things down the line, you know. And again, I think, you know, we have a good understanding now of what went on inside the synagogue. And it really is chilling when you think about the somewhat I think 20 minutes or so that police were inside with the suspect trying to bring him down and successfully they did. I mean, they shot him. Even then, we don't have this audio yet.
[16:35:15] MARQUARDT: Right.
PROKUPECZ: But they talk about him crawling, them trying to get him to surrender, really and then in the middle of all that, trying to rescue people, get people out that have been injured. MARQUARDT: Right. But of course, (INAUDIBLE), they will be going
back to all of these really ugly social media posts and we will see how far back they go in terms of whether those present any red flags.
PROKUPECZ: Yes. I mean, and they usually -- they always do. We always now are finding social media posts.
MARQUARDT: That in retrospect, you know, why didn't - why wasn't anyone alerted.
PROKUPECZ: Right. Yes.
MARQUARDT: Gentlemen, stay with me. We will get back to this.
But for now, I want to go to Rabbi Arron Bisno of Rodef Shalom congregation. He is joining us now.
Rabbi, your congregation. Your synagogue, we understand, is just two blocks away from the Tree of Life Synagogue there in Squirrel Hill. First, you knew -- you know the rabbi of that congregation well, and I imagine you know many of the worshippers. What's your reaction to this horrific attack?
RABBI AARON BISNO, RODEF SHALOM CONGREGATION: That's true. It is just a terrible story today. You know, such a random event. When it hit so close to home, it is simply terrifying. And the idea that would fracture our community and shatter our offensive of safety and security when we gather for Shabbat worship or Sabbath. Prayers of peace. It's just horrific.
MARQUARDT: Rabbi, we have spoken with experts about the significant uptick in anti-Semitic incidents. When you see something like this happen, are you surprised? Can you tell me about the general feeling across American Jewish communities in terms of the threat?
BISNO: Tragically, it is not - it doesn't come as a surprised. It is simply a shock when it hit so close to home. We have become so familiar with these kinds of stories. A gunman coming in with guns blazing innocence in schools and churches. Sadly, it's not the first house of worship where this has taken place. Sikh temples, African- American churches, America's heartland, and now here in Pittsburgh. And so, we are just torn asunder, our community.
MARQUARDT: So who or what do you blame for this new ugliness that as we have now seen today can turn into deadly danger?
BISNO: I think we just have a culture today that is rife with guns and with inflamed rhetoric. I think there is a tremendous sense of loneliness and alienation that's part of our cultural fabric today. And we are seeing the populist fraying at the edges and that is how they can come to any community at any time, and none of us can any longer rely on our sense of security or the notion that our communities are (INAUDIBLE) sealed from the les rest of the world. We are all as vulnerable as anyone else anywhere on the globe today.
MARQUARDT: We have spoken to a number of people there on the ground today. Some members of Pittsburgh's Jewish community. I imagine you have been speaking all day with fellow members of the Jewish community. How are people doing? What are they saying?
BISNO: We are all just in shock. This news began to trickle out for us just as our service was beginning. And we weighed how to share this with the people that are gathered peaceably in our sanctuary. We went on lockdown, let them know that an incident was unfolding. That we were in partnership with the local police and law enforcement and that we were doing the safest thing we could do by staying right where we are and focusing our thoughts on what we can control, which is the opportunity that we have just to be there to support one another.
And now as we begin to learn the full impact and the scale of this tragedy, we are all just beginning to only now to absorb it and to imagine what this will mean for our community going forward.
MARQUARDT: All right. Rabbi Aaron Bisno, our deepest condolences to you and to the other members of the community there in Pittsburgh. Our thoughts are with you.
We are going to take a quick break. Much more of our ongoing coverage right after this.
[16:43:59] MARQUARDT: Our breaking this hour, officials have just given us an update on the mass shooting today at the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh. Eleven people were killed and six were wounded, including four police officers.
So let's bring in CNN's Jessica Dean who joins me now. She has arrived on the scene. She was in that press conference.
Jessica, what can you tell us about what the authorities are focusing on in their investigation?
JESSICA DEAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Alex, right now they are focusing in on the suspect. They say they are going to leave no stone unturned. That means they are going to be looking at his home, his vehicle. They are going through his social media accounts. They are going to be tracking where he has been over the past few days, weeks, probably even months.
Zooming out to the big picture, you mentioned now confirming 11 people dead in this shooting at the synagogue this morning. We are not getting much information on those victims really at all. Only that there are 11 dead. And know no children are involved in that number.
We also found out that six people have been injured. Two of those are older individuals, 60 plus. One of them is critical condition. The other four are the other four are police officers, and we can be learned a little bit more about how that happened.
So again, I want to take you back to this morning. It was just before 10:00 a.m. here in Pittsburgh. That's when those initial calls went out. It was 9:54 a.m. Within one minute law enforcement had been dispatched to the synagogue. And that is when they went in and made their first injury, those first responders. That's when two of the officers were injured.
We are told that the suspect was on his way out at that point. He engaged. Went back inside the synagogue at that point and was hiding from authorities. That's when the SWAT team started making their way to the scene. We know two SWAT officers were injured as well.
Now we also hear inside from the special agent in-charge from the FBI. He said in his over 20 years at the FBI this is the most horrific scene he has ever seen. A lot of people echoing that sentiment. We know that had he had to send three different doctors to that scene to perform triage, to make sure that anyone who was wounded, who could be treated was getting the treatment that they needed at that moment.
So now, they look ahead to that investigation. As I said, agents are going to be combing through all of that information about that suspect who we know was also injured in all of this. They are going to be going through his background trying to understand how this all got put together. Exactly what kind of firearms he was using. They know they said there was one type of firearm and then three handguns. But again, still trying to figure out exactly which of those were used.
So Alex, still a lot of information to piece together. And as I said, we still are waiting to hear more about these victims, the 11 dead here in Pittsburgh. We also know that the community already coming together. Tonight this evening, they are gathering for candlelight vigil to honor those victims and also pray for those currently injured -- Alex.
[16:47:07] MARQUARDT: Yes, Jessica. You did know that one of the injured, the seventh injury, the seventh wounded, was the shooter himself, and the authorities had said that that was a result -- that was in response -- that was because of police gunfire. Do we know anything more about the status of his own injury and more broadly about himself -- him as well? We know that he made these horrific -- these terrible, ugly anti-Semitic comments saying he was going in just six minutes before the shooting started.
DEAN: Right. And so they did say without question this is being prosecuted as a hate crime, Alex. So there is no question about that. Federal authorities are zeroing in on that, and that is how they are proceeding forward. This is a hate crime. They didn't get - they didn't really share a whole lot about his current status. He is injured. He suffered wounds, but that was about as far as they would go in terms of telling us his exact status. They did say, and I think I mentioned this, that they are expecting to file charges as soon as today in this case. So they are certainly moving along quickly in terms of filing these charges in what they are prosecuting as a federal hate crime.
MARQUARDT: All right. Jessica Dean there in Squirrel Hill. Great to have you on the scene for us. Thanks very much.
We are going to take a quick break. We will be right back.
[16:52:54] MARQUARDT: We have just learned that President Trump is going ahead with a campaign reelection rally in Illinois that was planned for today. There had been some discussion over whether or not it will be cancelled in the wake of the shooting in Pittsburg. The rampage by the suspected gunman at Pittsburgh's Tree of Life synagogue left at least 11 people dead and six others wounded. Law enforcement is telling CNN that as he opened fire, he was also spewing anti- Semitic statements.
So let's bring CNN's Boris Sanchez who is in Murphysboro, Illinois where the President's rally will be taking place later today.
Boris, we have heard from the President several times today. What has he been saying about this attack and about the decision to move forward with in a rally?
BORIS SANCHEZ, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Hey, there, Alex.
Yes, President Trump spoke earlier for the second time this week having to respond to domestic terror. He said at one point, it was hard to believe this sort anti-Semitic attack that take place in today's day and age. He called on all Americans to unite, to condemn not only anti-Semitism, but all forms of hatred. He then went on to say more at his rally in Indiana. Listen to this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: Earlier today there was a horrific shooting target and killing Jewish Americans at the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The wicked act of mass murder is pure evil, hard to believe. This was an anti-Semitic act, anti-Semitism and the widespread persecution of Jews represents one of the ugliest and darkest features of human history. The vial hate-filled poison of anti-Semitism must be condemned and confronted everywhere and anywhere it appears.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SANCHEZ: Now, Alex, at one point today, the President was asked about potentially passing gun control of this notion but block this sort of attack that happening. He dismissed that idea suggesting that if the synagogue had armed guards, then perhaps things could have ended differently.
The President also talked about capital punishment, making a similar suggestion there about the death penalty that could have served at some sort of a deterrent. We should point out, as you know, that the President had spoken today about potentially cancelling today's event. He ended up deciding to move forward telling reporters about - aboard air force one quote "we can't let evil change our life and change our schedule. You go with a heavy heart, but you go -- Alex.
MARQUARDT: Yes. Boris, I want to follow-up on that. That the President as he was leaving for Indianapolis today did mention that if there had been an armed guard inside. Quote "they might have been able to stop him." So he didn't allow any room for any discussion about possible gun control. And he is now sticking to this line of, you know, a big guy with a gun. Can stop that guy with a gun?
SANCHEZ: Essentially, Alex, that is not really something new from this White House. We saw a similar line after the shooting Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. The President at that point seemed open to a gun control legislation. Next, we made a number of contradictory statements while speaking to both Republican and Democratic lawmakers at the White House. You will recall that he (INAUDIBLE) at one point being afraid of the NRA. Now the President appears to suggest yet again, that gun control legislation would not be affected but instead having armed guards of schools and at place of worship could be a solution - Alex.
MARQUARDT: All right. Boris Sanchez in Murphysboro, Illinois. Thanks very much.
We are going to take another quick break. We will be right back.