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11 City Workers, 1 Contractor Killed in Workplace Shooting; Virginia Beach Vice Mayor James Wood Discusses Mass Shooting; Hospital Officials Give Update on Victims of Deadly Shooting; Hospital Officials Give Update on Victims of Deadly Shooting; Rep. Elaine Luria (D-VA) Discusses Virginia Beach Mass Shooting; Community Members Lay Flags, Flowers at Building 2 to Honor Shooting Victims. Aired 1-2p ET
Aired June 1, 2019 - 13:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[13:00:11] FREDRICKA WHITFIELD, CNN ANCHOR: Welcome back. Hello, again. I'm Fredricka Whitfield, live in Virginia Beach, for CNN's special coverage of a deadly workplace shooting.
It's an all too familiar scene. This time in Virginia Beach. Twelve people murdered in the deadliest mass shooting in the United States this year, four other people are injured after police say a disgruntled employee started indiscriminately shooting at a city government building, the one right behind me, called Building 2. It's on the campus of more than 20 municipal city buildings.
Now, once again, a city is in mourning.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DAVE HANSEN, VIRGINIA BEACH CITY MANAGER: The lives of 12 people were cut short by a senseless incomprehensible act of violence. I have worked with many of them for many years.
We want you to know who they were so in the weeks and days to come you will learn what they meant to all of us and to their families and to their friends and to their coworkers. They leave a void that we will never be able to fulfill.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WHITFIELD: These are the faces that we want you to see. Eleven of these 12 were dedicated employees murdered at their workplace. They have years and years of service to their community. Some, 11 months, some, 40 years. One was a contractor coming in for a permit.
We want you to see their faces and we want you to hear their names.
Laquita C. Brown, she was a right-of-way agent and worked in Public Works for 4.5 years.
Tara Welch Gallagher, she was an engineer and worked in Public Works for six years.
Mary Louis Gayle, she was a right-of-way agent and worked in Public Works for 24 years.
Alexander Mikhail Gusev was a right-of-way agent and worked in the Public Works for nine years.
Katherine A. Nixon was an engineer and worked in Public Utilities for 10 years.
Richard H. Nettleton was an engineer and worked in Public Utilities for 29 years.
And Christopher Kelly Rapp was as engineer and worked in Public Works for 11 months.
Ryan Keith Cox was an account clerk and worked in Public Utilities for 12.5 years.
Joshua A. Hardy was an engineering technician and worked in Public Utilities for 4.5 years.
Michelle "Missy" Langer was an administrative assistant and worked in Public Utilities for 12 years.
Robert "Bobby" Williams was a special projects coordinator and worked in Public Utilities 41 years.
And Herbert "Bert" Snelling was a contractor trying to file a permit.
President Trump is offering his condolences to the victims of the shooting. He tweeted that he spoke to the Governor Ralph Northam about the shooting and offering federal resources to aid in the investigation.
CNN's Brian Todd is with me now.
Police still have a lot of work to do. This is an active crime scene.
BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Right.
WHITFIELD: The yellow tape is still up. We have seen FBI officials walking and casing the grounds, perhaps looking for casings.
WHITFIELD: We also see them at the steps of the building where the shooting took place on Friday.
TODD: A massive presence. Fredricka, you and I were just talking about it. These FBI agents are sweeping the area, looking under vehicles here looking for casing and other clues. This is a huge crime scene. It's a huge complex.
It's not just this building that they have to look at.
TODD: This guy knew the layout of this entire place. He was a 15- year employee here. They have to be asking themselves, how did he get on the campus? They know that he worked here so they knew how he got on but did he go anywhere else before he went in that building? They've got to look at all of that and try to retrace his steps.
WHITFIELD: There will be cameras to help them?
TODD: Yes, there will. We are trying to get some of that footage ourselves to see if we can pick up on any clues from that.
Also, we did hear the city manager, Dave Hansen, and the police chief, Jim Cervera, a short time ago regarding toll, emotional and physical, that this investigation is taking on the police and on the community.
And here is a listen to what they had to say earlier.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HANSEN: This is a large-scale crime scene. It's a horrific crime scene. And police understand it takes not only a physical, emotional and psychological toll on everyone who spent the entire night in that specific building.
JAMES CERVERA, CHIEF, VIRGINIA BEACH POLICE DEPARTMENT: We will turn our attention for the remainder of today to assign family liaison officers and to support those families that have been stricken by this horrible event. We are going to wrap our arms around those that served with us in Virginia Beach.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
[13:05:03] TODD: Of course, they want to focus on the victims, their families, and on other people here who were affected by this, and there are hundreds of them because hundreds of people worked in that building, Fredricka.
We do have to say a little bit about what we know now about the investigation. Still no motive established, no specific motive, other than to say -- police are saying, sources telling CNN that he was a disgruntled employee. We don't have much more information than that at this point.
They are not saying whether something might have prompted him or some specific event, some conflict with another employee might prompted him to go in there and do that. We'll, hopefully, find that information out.
WHITFIELD: The officials might know but it might be they're not ready to reveal it.
WHITFIELD: Looking at the city manager's face, you can see the anguish of just how personally touched everything is here. Because this is not just a workplace. So many of spend so much time at work, right?
TODD: That's right.
WHITFIELD: It really is like an extension of your family.
TODD: Absolutely, it is.
WHITFIELD: Brian Todd, thank you so much.
TODD: Thank you.
WHITFIELD: For the people employed in that city building behind me, when that shooting started, the minutes felt like hours. So many today are just thankful to be alive. They are sharing about those terrifying moments when they first realized there was a shooting under way.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MEGAN BARTAN (ph), SHOOTING WITNESS: We tried to do everything to keep everybody safe. And barricaded in as much as possible.
You wonder if he is coming where you're at or in your office or where your friends or where you're at. We all know each other. That was the biggest thing was just trying to make sure everybody was OK.
EDWARD WOODSON (ph), SHOOTING WITNESS: She came running back downstairs and she said, get out of the building, yelling, a guy has a gun. Shocking. You want to stay but you don't want to stay.
SHEILA COOK, SHOOTING WITNESS: We heard shooting. We heard shooting. But we didn't think it was that close, like in proximity of the building. I thank god they were to alert us in time because if it had been ten minutes more, we all would have been outside. So that is what I'm grateful for today.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WHITFIELD: While she is grateful and many are still counting their blessings, the hearts are broken here. There's a lot of anguish. And there's also there's anger that has been expressed.
Virginia Beach's Vice Mayor James Wood is with me now.
Good to see you, Vice Mayor.
When we stand here, we are seeing that investigators are still canvassing this area and looking for clues, looking for any more shreds of evidence to figure out and piece together how this happened.
We are also seeing folks who live here, you know, who work here, who are coming by, they are leaving flags and they are leaving flowers. How is this touching you? What do you say to people who feel, you know, such a complication of emotions, they are hurt, they are angry, and they are confused?
JAMES WOOD, VIRGINIA BEACH VICE MAYOR: It's a horrific time for the city of Virginia Beach, but our citizens, I think, are unique. We have an extraordinarily involved citizenry. We have extraordinarily volunteer system. Just today, through the United Way fund, we had a local bank that donated 500,000. We had a local car dealer that donated $25,000. This just occurred. And that because they are trying to help. And that's what people do in Virginia Beach.
WHITFIELD: A real sense of security, familiarity, comfort is shattered when something like this happens.
WHITFIELD: City officials, your colleagues, mentioned earlier, these are public buildings. These are places that all citizens and all residents here have access to. And then employees have their badges. People come to the courthouse here. They're coming to the school superintendent's office. They are coming to this Public Works facility.
But now there's going to be great reticence, great fear, a feeling of insecurity. How do you restore that, if at all?
WOOD: You know, I think that it certainly has damaged us. It's hurt us. It's been something that has always occurred someplace else and never here and what you see when you see this on a national basis.
I would say that, you know, we are going to continue to work through it and work on after-action things to figure out what we can do.
It is, in fact, a public building. This is where people get building permits, they get their water meters, they look at plans. Flooding is one of our major issues we are dealing with and this is where all of the flooding planning goes on.
So it's going to continue to be a public building. We have to be open to the building. Certainly, vigilance will continue to be high but it's something that is going to take time.
WHITFIELD: Earlier, the city manager had mentioned in a press conference. He wanted to spend less time on the gunman and more time on the victims, all of those impacted. However, there have to be a lot of questions answered about the gunman --
[13:10:06] WHITFIELD: -- the motivation, the planning and everything. What do you want to know about the gunman, the actions, what preceded? And what should happen in the midst of this investigation?
WOOD: I think what we need to do is to make sure the investigation goes along expeditiously and it's efficient, we do figure out what the motivations were and that sort of thing. I don't know how you get in the mind of someone who has committed an evil act such as this. But we need to figure it out.
WHITFIELD: And who died in the shoot-out with police officers so those questions cannot be asked of that individual. WOOD: Right. Right. But we have to be able to figure out, to the
greatest extent possible, why this occurred and, to that extent, if there was anything -- because you are always going to second-guess yourselves, is there something, is there something we could do better in the future. And we don't know these answers yet.
WHITFIELD: Twelve killed. There are four still being hospitalized. We are expecting a press conference to take place momentarily to update us on the condition of those four --
WHITFIELD: -- who remain hospitalized.
Vice Mayor James Wood --
WOOD: Thank you.
WHITFIELD: -- thank you for your time. Appreciate it. Of course, we are all giving you a big hug --
WHITFIELD: -- for this city of Virginia Beach. Appreciate it.
WOOD: Thank you.
WHITFIELD: Stay with CNN special coverage. We are expecting an update from the hospital. We will bring that to you as it happens.
We will be right back.
[13:15:02] WHITFIELD: Welcome back. I'm Fredricka Whitfield, live in Virginia Beach, Virginia, a city now reeling from a mass shooting inside the government building behind me. And it cut short 12 lives.
We are expecting an update from the hospital treating at least four survivors that we know of. At any moment, we will be able to take you to the hospital and you'll be hearing from the trauma doctor there, as well as the attending physician.
So far, investigators have been tight-lipped, however, about the possible motives for this deadly rampage carried out by a singular gunman, other than to say it was a disgruntled employee who opened fire on his coworkers inside Building 2 behind me before being killed in a shoot-out with responding officers.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CERVERA: Once they identified him, he identified them, he immediately opened fire. We immediately returned the fire. Again, I want everyone to know this was a long-term -- lack of any other term -- running gun battle with this individual. This was not what is traditionally a police-involved shooting. This was a long-term large gun fight.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WHITFIELD: The gunman is dead but the investigation is ongoing.
With me now is Shawn Turner, who is a former director of communications for U.S. National Intelligence and a CNN national security analyst.
Shawn, good to see you.
SHAWN TURNER, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: Thank you.
WHITFIELD: We were able to witness moments ago, as we saw a number of FBI officers or FBI personnel who were canvassing the parking lot behind me just in front of Building 2, this municipal building, Building 2 here on this campus of more than 20 buildings. My guess is they were probably looking for shell casings.
But what else would they be looking for hours after the shooting, hours after the gunman has been taken down, and it continues to be an active crime scene?
TURNER: Sure, Fred. It's not unusual for the FBI to join forces with local law enforcement when we have a tragedy like this. As you pointed out, you see FBI agents there and they are looking to gather evidence.
The FBI has an immense amount of resources and people and expertise to be able to come onto the scene when one of these tragedies happens and to be able to apply their forensics, a capability to be able to apply not only their ability to conceal the scene, but also to provide guidance to local law enforcement as they try to preserve what happened and help them understand exactly what the circumstance is. The FBI will certainly come in to assist.
Until we know more about what the motivation here, the FBI will be in that role of just providing expertise and assistance to local law enforcement.
WHITFIELD: Officials were able to reveal, in that press conference they had earlier today, that police were able to respond so quickly because it's really just a matter of meters, yards, that their building is from this Building 2.
The engagement in this shoot-out that they describe was a long one. It was very comprehensive and very involved. Tell me you what envision when you hear details like that, that aren't particularly full but it does give kind of a thumbnail skeleton idea about what transpired here.
TURNER: When I look at those details, a couple of things come to mind. First of all, we kind of think about preparation. You know, when we deal with these workplace shootings, you know, often time, there's a case that a trigger causes an individual to decide that now is the time they are going to take action. And it's often not well planned out and may have been building over time. But it's often something that causes them to take action.
In this case, there's some details about this case, about what we already know, that are somewhat unusual. We know this individual went in armed to the teeth with weapons that would allow him to maintain the rampage for quite some time. We know this individual sought to avoid law enforcement.
This isn't someone who essentially went in and killed co-workers in this horrific manner and then recognized that they were not getting out and gave up. This is someone who continued to try to fight --
WHITFIELD: He used a silencer.
TURNER: And using a silencer. You know, that's a really important point, Fred. Because not only did this individual use a silencer but there's something unusual about this case, that is most often the case with workplace violence that they happen earlier in the day. The individual has a bad day at work and something escalates and they come in the following morning and attack their colleagues.
I think it's really interesting this shooting happened toward the end of the day where this individual may have gone and worked an entire day, had been in the office with his colleagues, potentially, and then decided to exact his rampage.
[13:20:02] WHITFIELD: But officials did say it was indiscriminate shooting. While this gunman may still have been wanting to target someone, that police would say it was indiscriminate, meaning it just seemed to be a net cast wide to shoot a lot of people.
TURNER: Right. That tells us -- that is another interesting detail. Because it's often the case with these shootings that there are particularly targets or there may be a particular division within the workplace where a gunman will go in and, unfortunately, you know, they have a sense of the individuals that they are going to go after.
When we look at this case, we already know, based on that list of victims, that this individual certainly killed people that had he worked with in the past but he also killed people who were simply at this municipal building for business, who this individual certainly would not have had a previous relationship with.
So a level of outrage and indiscriminate killing that is a little unusual when we look at the typical situation surrounding these workplace shootings.
WHITFIELD: Let's talk briefly about readiness. The police chief earlier said in that press conference that it was just in March when they had a mass shooting drill. And drills happen all the time involving law enforcement. And certainly there's a hope they never have to exercise it, but it speaks to the readiness.
TURNER: Yes. It's important for organizations to have these kinds of drills. I think it's -- unfortunately, it is the case when individuals have access to weapons that will allow them to fire off rounds in succession and this individual had a silencer, and so what that would have done is it would have delayed the response of individuals who have been trained to react when they hear gunfire.
And so this individual having been part of the organization, having, potentially, been through some of those active-shooter drills, may have made a deliberate decision to go out and purchase a silencer so as to have a situation where this rampage would be prolonged.
But nonetheless, I do think, ultimately, we will probably find that the fact that there was some level of preparedness helped this not be more tragic than it already is.
WHITFIELD: Shawn Turner, thank you for your expertise. We appreciate it.
TURNER: Thanks, Fred.
WHITFIELD: We will be right back from Virginia Beach. Again, we are waiting a press conference coming from the head of trauma, as well as the attending the physician from a nearby hospital. Live pictures right now. We will go there live as it happens.
All right. Actually, it looks like it's about to get under way right now. Let's listen in to what is being said.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: In lieu of that, we have two physicians who are active in this process. Dr Martin O'Grady is chief of trauma for Sentara Virginia Beach General Hospital. And Dr. Janelle Thomas was the attending E.D. physician yesterday when this whole thing started to go down. And she was intimately involved in the process of accepting these patients and getting them stabilized and getting them where they needed to be.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: How do you want to work this? You just want to have them -- introduce them --
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, introduce them -- (INAUDIBLE)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: OK.
DR. MARTIN O'GRADY, DIRECTOR OF TRAUMA, SENTARA VIRGINIA BEACH GENERAL HOSPITAL: My name is Martin O'Grady. As Dale said, I'm the director of trauma here, clinical director of trauma.
We had five people show up at our door. Two died -- one was declared dead on arrival and the second one died very, very shortly thereafter. So we had three people who are injured in the hospital right now.
As I'm sure you know, there HIPAA laws and very strict thing that I can and cannot say about the conditions of these people.
I can say, in general, two had minor injuries. No, I take that back. Two with significant injuries and, hopefully, be OK and survive. One was a devastating injury so that patient will be dealing with. So they are all stable at the present time. One is just coming out of
the O.R. Another victim was taken to O.R. last night and is probably going to back in the O.R. again today and may have to go back to the O.R. early next week.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Can you speak about going back to O.R.?
O'GRADY: Well, without being too specific, one patient went directly to the O.R. last night. That same patient is probably going to go to go back today and may have to go back again next week, early next week.
Another patient just got out of the O.R. just a few seconds ago, is back in intensive care. All of the patients intent to intensive care after they were seen here.
[13:24:55] DR. JANELLE THOMAS, EMERGENCY MEDICINE PHYSICIAN, SENTARA VIRGINIA BEACH GENERAL HOSPITAL: And I'm Dr. Janelle Thomas. I was on duty in the Emergency Department last night, along with another attending physician.
My role in the situation was to prepare for the emergent response and to receive the patients as they arrived. So we mobilized the trauma services.
We called for on-call backup. We prepared to receive an unknown number of victims because we were made aware of this when it was an active shooter situation.
I would like to acknowledge the teamwork of the staff, the medical staff, the nursing personnel. We had excellent preparation from first responders on scene, letting us know what was coming in and keeping us up-to-date on the situation.
And for a horrible tragic event, it went as smoothly as it could possibly have gone.
O'GRADY: I want to re-emphasize that point, too. These things can be difficult -- they are difficult. But this event here was very well managed. It takes a lot of preparation for that to happen from the hospital standpoint, from the administration who supports the trauma program here, down to all different layers of physicians and some nursing staff and O.R. staff and x-ray staff. The whole hospital.
I mean, the whole hospital is completely involved to take people, to clean the rooms up afterwards, and that all went extremely well.
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: There's a fourth victim in a sister hospital, is that correct?
O'GRADY: I have no special knowledge. All I can tell you is limited. I can only tell you about these patients. I do understand one was taken down to North General as well.
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Have you ever dealt with this situation before? O'GRADY: Not mass casualty in the sense of, you know, four or five
gunshot victims at one time. Individually, yes, we have had two or three but not this kind of thing, mass shootings.
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: I'm curious. Were you on duty yesterday when this happened?
O'GRADY: I wasn't, actually. No.
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: If you weren't on duty, how does that all come into account?
O'GRADY: Well, I was notified of the event that was going on, and since I'm the director, I felt I should be here.
The way it generally works is we have a physician in charge of the whole scene. This wasn't -- in a very big situation we have the O.R. staff outside triaging the patients coming into hospital, getting them into the hospital. These were more limited number.
So everyone came in. My co-surgeons from my group and also another surgical group that participate in trauma were there and lots of doctors there. So each doctor got a patient and we assessed each patient and found out the severity of illness, the injuries, if they needed to go to the intensive care or the operating room immediately.
Fortunately, they were all stable enough that we got all the x-rays we need and one had to be rushed to the operating room and we opted to fully assess them.
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Of those who died, how many gunshots?
O'GRADY: The one -- OK. I'm sorry.
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: (INAUDIBLE QUESTION)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (INAUDIBLE) -- We can't say how many wounds they had.
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Can you describe generally -- how substantial the injuries were?
So one was multiple. The people who died, they suffered multiple injuries in multiple parts. Can I say that? Am I allowed to say that? All right.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Stop there.
O'GRADY: Stop there, yes.
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Talk about the preparation. I know hospitals practice situations just like this. Does that help? O'GRADY: Oh, absolutely. I think -- I'm not military background but
military phrase is failing to plan is planning to fail. There are monthly meetings to handle emergency disaster situations to prepare for this. Multiple, multiple levels. We coordinate with the local and regional trauma services and state trauma services, so we have plans to activate people as much as possible.
We had four operating rooms ready to go 5:00 on Friday night, which is remarkable. Staff stayed around. Blood bank is notified. X-ray teams are notified.
Administration played a key role to make sure everything is done all right. It was done very well. But that all takes planning and it takes practice. You have to have the right people and contact them and so on.
THOMAS: No drill can ever prepare you, though, for that real-life situation. I mean, the --
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: This recent incident, how did it affect you as a physician? (INAUDIBLE)
O'GRADY: You have to sort of be -- separate from it in the sense you can't be too emotionally or personally involved. You have to deal with it as a sort of professional kind of thing.
We have had another serious incident a few years ago. You probably remember the five children in (INAUDIBLE), I think it was. That was a lot more emotional because children were involved.
You have to deal with it as a sort of professional kind of thing.
We have had another serious incident a few years ago. You probably remember the five children in (INAUDIBLE), I think it was. That was a lot more emotional because children were involved.
So we are going to meet after this, probably next week sometime, and sort of debrief everything and go over it again, what can we learn from it and what we did and improvements to be made, those kinds of things.
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: You talked about it being -- talked about it being -- prepared to seeing the worst?
DR. JANELLE THOMAS, EMERGENCY MEDICINE PHYSICIAN, SENTARA VIRGINIA BEACH GENERAL HOSPITAL: I mean, this is what we train for. This is what we train for. I mean, this is why we chose to go into these professions.
But when it's actually happening and the scale that it's happening, it becomes surreal. You have to just focus, compartmentalize, and tend to what is going on at that moment. And it's why I do what I do. UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Doctor, can you describe the scene? You said
you were prepared -- (INAUDIBLE)
THOMAS: Controlled chaos. Staff everywhere. A number of folks and a few in the middle directing traffic. You go here, you go there. I need this. I need that.
You know, we mobilize resources from different areas of the hospital. We gathered equipment from other areas of the hospital to make sure we had several rooms set up in a row in order to receive the patients that we received. It worked well.
One of the things that happened in advance of our receipt of patients was EMS contacted us and asked our capabilities. There were two trauma centers in the area and they wanted -- when we had some sense of how many victims were arriving and how many could we handle and how many did we want to direct to the other facility. So we were well prepared for what arrived.
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Can you be clear on the three you still in your care? Two had significant injuries. One had less significant injuries. And one person injuries were devastating you said, Doctor?
O'GRADY: They are all serious injuries in the sense that they are gunshot wounds, which are never minor, OK?
So as I said, two have been taken to the operating room to get injuries repaired. One is more fortunate. And we hope that person will have a full recovery but that is not clear at this very second. But did not require urgent or operations to repair injuries. He has, in a sense, gotten very lucky with this but he got lucky and the injury -- I mean, without exaggerating, a little bit further over, he probably wouldn't be here today.
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: (INAUDIBLE) -- one died. Did they receive any care or did they pass before any care was able to be rendered to them?
O'GRADY: I have to check with the chief here. OK.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (INAUDIBLE)
O'GRADY: All right.
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: I'm curious, did any of the patients who arrived here and speak to you share any about the experience or anything you could share with us?
O'GRADY: No. It is not a time for us to ask that. We want to know the medical history and what is wrong with them. Some of these patients -- two of the patients really had significant potential injuries that could, if aren't treated right away, could lose the patient very seriously.
Particularly the airway. The airway is critical. We do things to protect their airway and put a breathing tube down. So if there's swelling of the neck, they don't choke off and suffer that. So there really wasn't a chance to sort of ask those particular type of questions.
For us, it's not really the place to do that. They were, you know, significantly at risk for losing airway, which is -- that would be a fatal thing.
THOMAS: I would also -- I'm sorry. I would also say that would probably distract from our ability to focus on the issue at hand. I think that, you know, in the initial receipt of the patient, that is not a good time for us to be asking questions about the situation.
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Where were the gunshot wounds?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Can't talk about that.
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Are any of the patients in a state to be released -- (INAUDIBLE)
O'GRADY: No. Not going to talk about that. That is prognosis and we can't get into that.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The HIPAA laws are very, very tight.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We just can't say those kinds of things. It's federal law. It mandates that.
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Doctor, can you describe the first 30 minutes of the situation?
[13:35:03] THOMAS: The first 30 minutes. So the first awareness we had that there was an incident occurring came from the police that were in the Emergency Department. We have an on-duty policeman so kind of a heads-up there was an active shooter.
And so the first 30 minutes was almost all preparation. It took a while to stabilize the scene to get the patients transported, and so we had at least 30 minutes of lead time before we received that first patient.
Once we started receiving patients, it was sort of a divide-and- conquer scenario, that we had physicians in each trauma room and staff in each trauma room and we focused on our particular patient and making sure that they had the resources they needed and were stabilized.
And the trauma physicians sort of were aware of every patient and making decisions about who needed to go where, next, who needed to go to the O.R., who needed to go to the ICU and how to transition them through the Emergency Department.
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: I'd like to ask you to expound on something. Those who aren't local probably don't know that Virginia Beach maintains one of the largest volunteer emergency medical systems in the country. And expound on the relationship with local EMA and how that plays out in a scenario like this when they are prepping patients and the level of the communication there.
THOMAS: So EMS --
THOMAS: EMS had established a local on-site command system and they were in contact with the Emergency Department and our charge nurse and the physicians in the Emergency Department. As we had updates on a number of victims that were to be transported, they were in --
FREDRICKA WHITFIELD, CNN ANCHOR: You've been listening to the attending physician at the Sentara Virginia Beach General Hospital. That is Dr. Janelle Thomas and head of trauma is Dr. Martin O'Grady.
They really are describing the circumstances and atmosphere at the trauma unit when they heard that 12 people were dead and that there were four injured that were being brought to the hospital there after a gunman opened fire in the workplace at Building 2, this municipal building right behind me, Building 2 on a campus of over 20 municipal buildings.
The doctors are describing there, it was controlled chaos, and it was like everyone had different jobs to do and everyone was being directed how to address the needs of these patients. It takes a lot of coordination, according to Dr. O'Grady there.
And Dr. Thomas saying it was a horrible tragic event but this is what we are trained to do. It was controlled chaos. Staff everywhere. Staff attending to different needs.
They continue to address the needs of three patients who continue to be there at Sentara Virginia Beach General Hospital. One has been moved back to intensive care. The fourth injured is at a nearby hospital and continues to receive treatment there.
We will continue to bring you more on the update of this ongoing investigation of this tragic, horrible workplace shooting here in Virginia Beach after this.
[13:42:07] WHITFIELD: Welcome back. I'm Fredricka Whitfield, in Virginia Beach, where people are mourning the deaths of 12 people shot and killed while just doing their jobs on a Friday afternoon.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MEGAN BARTAN (ph), SHOOTING WITNESS: We just heard that there was an active shooter and we just barricaded ourselves in offices to make sure that we were all safe. And I called 911 just to get them to come there as fast as possible.
(END VIDEO CLIP) WHITFIELD: Police say four people were hurt. We just heard from doctors at one of the hospitals where three patients are being treated. One in intensive care.
Here are the photos of the people who died, all of them city workers, except for one, a contractor.
Joining me is Congresswoman Elaine Luria, of Virginia. She represents this district where the shooting took place.
I know it is surreal. This is Building 2, a municipal building, where that shooting took place. FBI have been canvassing the parking lot and still looking for evidence. People are coming by and leaving flowers and flags.
What are your thoughts today after 12 have been killed and four remain hospitalized?
REP. ELAINE LURIA (D-VA): Well, you know, my thoughts are that a tragedy of this cuts to the core of our community. And so many people here, personally, are one-degree removed from those who lost family members and lost friends. It's just a tragic moment.
And I think that this will, you know, change the face of Virginia Beach and that this will be a thing that will always be remembered in the psyche of our community.
But it also shows, you know, for our first responders, for the medical professionals, who, you know, treated the wounded, who we just heard from at the hospital that, you know, they were there when called.
And one of the first people to respond -- you know, the police chief gave details in a previous interview that four officers responded and one of them, you know, took a bullet but was saved by his bullet-proof vest.
There will be and there have been and there will be many more of these heroic stories of moments of people who responded and did things small and large to save the lives of people to get them out of the building and keep their colleagues safe.
But the losses we have are just, you know, they cut very deep at the core of the community. And we just need to make sure that those families have time to grieve and the community has time to heal and recover from this.
WHITFIELD: One mass shooting is too much. Sadly, there have been voluminous mass shootings, Parkland, synagogue outside of Pittsburgh, Las Vegas hotel, and now a municipal building here in Virginia Beach.
When all of those preceding shootings happened, in the back of your mind, were you thinking, that couldn't happen here. But if it were to happen here, what would we do? And now the reality is it has happened here.
[13:45:05] LURIA: Well, I think, over the course of these tragedies that have happened, what struck me is that they happen in these places where people should feel the most safe with children in their schools and people in the places of worship, whether at a church in Charleston or the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh, and people in their workplace at the end of a day on a Friday afternoon going through their normal routine, this comes out of nowhere, and that tragedy can strike anywhere.
And it's very difficult for a community to grieve and recover from this, but, you know, we need to come together and ask the difficult questions of all the things that lead to these. Is it mental health? Is it troubling circumstances that people are facing in their community? How can we recognize those? And how can we do better to stop these types of things from happening in the future?
WHITFIELD: There are a host of emotions. I've heard from various people I've been speaking to, from fear, to anger, to confusion, a sense of insecurity now.
But then, what is the what now? Because after all of these shootings that we just described, it's people need to talk. There needs to be a great discussion. There need to be more proactive action, you know, to prevent.
But then, realistically, what is your feeling now about the what is next that brings you real hope about either restoring some security, removing fear, better unifying people, understanding and exploring to prevent, what? A lot of questions there.
LURIA: You listed a lot of emotions, and I think that those, you know, strike different people differently and at different times and different times through the processes, individuals and communities grieve and overcome situations like this.
So, you know, I think the what now right now is that, you know, our community, you know, brings those people, you know, into their arms. We have vigils planned. And I think that the first thing to do is to come together and comfort those families and make sure they have the resources that they need moving forward and that we cherish the lives of their loved ones and mourn with them.
And the what's next is, you're right, there needs to be a serious conversation where we come together and we determine all of the elements that go into tragedies like this one and how we can stop them and how we can better prevent them in the future. And it's a multifaceted discussion and we need to have everyone at the table.
It's very encouraging words at all levels, from the mayor, from the chief of police. And I know what their focus is now is comforting the community. But I know that as we move forward I think we will all be able to come together and discuss these issues and what should be a protective way for this community and, hopefully, this country.
WHITFIELD: So your district, your community, this Virginia Beach is now among those forever changed as a result of a mass shooting like this. What, if anything, in your view, can be restored of the Virginia Beach you knew, you loved, you reside in, before this mass shooting?
LURIA: Well, I mean, I think that core of what Virginia Beach is, what this community is, and what greater Hampton Roads is.
As I came into the emergency operation center this morning, I saw police and fire and chaplains from all over the community. So, I mean, we join together with all of our neighbors here in Hampton Roads for the whole community.
And it's not just Virginia Beach. And some of the people who are lost in this, you know, work here in Virginia Beach and live in Norfolk and Chesapeake and our neighboring areas as well, so we are all one large community.
And I think the core of what we are and what we represent as a community hasn't changed, but that there's just a blemish. Something where there's a stain on our heart for the losses that we have. But, you know, I think that that should give us the will to try to be a catalyst in changing this for the future.
WHITFIELD: Congresswoman Elaine Luria, thank you so much.
LURIA: Thank you.
WHITFIELD: And our hearts are with everyone here.
LURIA: Thank you.
[13:49:12] WHITFIELD: CNN's special coverage of the deadly mass shooting here at Virginia Beach in the city building behind me continues in just moments.
WHITFIELD: Welcome back. I'm Frederica Whitfield, in Virginia Beach.
This area is hurting. A gunman walked into Building 2, a municipal building right behind me, at the end of the workday yesterday and unleashed gunfire and, in its wake, 12 people died. Four remain hospitalized.
We were just updated by a nearby hospital where are being treated. One remains in intensive care, two in critical condition. And another is being treated at another nearby hospital.
In the meantime, while investigators continue to comb the parking lot looking for any more evidence, any more pieces of why this gunman opened fire, killing so many, who eventually would die in a long battle, gun battle, with police authorities.
Many people who just live in the area, many whom don't even work at the municipal city buildings here, have decided to come by. They're leaving flags in front of the building. They're leaving flowers.
Among them is George Ware, who just laid a bouquet of white flowers.
You don't work at the building here, but you work at the U.S. Navy Exchange.
GEORGE WARE, VIRGINIA BEACH RESIDENT: Yes.
WHITFIELD: This is a military town, Virginia Beach, for many who don't know.
What compelled you to come here to lay the flowers. What are you feeling personally with all of this happening?
WARE: I feel very sorry because, you know, it's a sad incident. It could be anybody. Those that lost their lives yesterday, they told the family, I'm going to work, I'm coming back, and most of them won't. My wife is in the Navy. She tells me the same thing when we part. By the grace of God, we come home and see our kids. Unfortunately, for them, they're not coming home. They're not coming home --
WHITFIELD: So many are impacted.
WHITFIELD: What are your thoughts and feelings now about Virginia Beach and whether this shooting has now rattled your sense of security, whether it has made you angry, whether it's made you sad, worried? What are your emotions that you're grappling with?
[13:55:04] WARE: Yes. Virginia Beach is a good place. It's always been a peaceful place, like any place. Like any other areas, there are ups and downs. But it's sad about yesterday.
You know, Virginia Beach -- people of Virginia Beach, they are strong people. They're resilient. This won't describe Virginia Beach.
Because it's just somebody -- I don't know, why was the reason -- but somebody would decide to come and take people's lives, people who left the family a hole. That made me very sad.
I was telling my wife last night, I said, honey, I'm very sad. Because, since yesterday, I was in my house and hearing the bullet sound. Yes. I live three minutes from here. I was hearing the bullet sounds.
WHITFIELD: You could hear them?
WARE: And I could hear the bullet sounds.
I then almost came here yesterday because I have a ticket to pay for. I decided when I was driving here to make a U-turn. I said let me go home. I can do that Monday. So --
WHITFIELD: This is a campus of so many services.
WARE: Yes, so many services, yes.
WHITFIELD: You can get a permit. You can pay a ticket.
WARE: You can get a permit. You have the court here. You have the police precinct here. You have a lot of stuff here.
So a lot of people were caught in between those things yesterday.
WARE: So it's a sad thing. When I saw it -- even today, my wife came by and said, the best I can do is just remember them and say a prayer for them. That's why I brought flower and just laid it there.
George Ware --
WHITFIELD: -- thank you so much for your compassion.
WARE: Thank you.
WARE: Thank you so much for your time.
WHITFIELD: A beautiful gesture leaving those flowers.
WARE: Thank you.
WHITFIELD: It has impacted so many people here in so many ways. Of course, the main questions remain, why did this happen and what was at the root of this gunman's motivation. All of that coming up.