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CNN LIVE EVENT/SPECIAL

One Person Killed in California High School Shooting; School Shooting Suspect In Custody at Hospital; Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA) Is Interviewed About the High School Shooting. Aired 12:30-1p ET

Aired November 14, 2019 - 12:30   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[12:34:19] ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: And welcome back. We continue to cover the breaking news. The -- as you see there, a high school gunman is dead. In want to go Stephanie Elam. Stephanie, what have we learned?

STEPHANIE ELAM, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Anderson, from what we learned from two different law enforcement officers is that the gunman is in fact dead. The person that they do believe committed this crime of killing or not necessarily. I don't know if they're killing but shooting people at Saugus High School in Santa Clarita, that that person is dead.

We also know now, too, that we had this revised number that you were talking about of the number of people that have been injured. We now know that the original hospital that took the majority of the patients, Henry Mayo Hospital updating their numbers now to say that they have four patients.

[12:35:01] They have three males and one female, and they're saying that the female and two of the males are in critical condition, one male being in good condition there.

Then, of course, we also have the other hospital we were just talking about, Holy Cross which says that they have two patients that they are students, but that they are talking right now, to give us an idea of where they stand. But the big news here is that the threat of the shooter here in Santa Clarita Valley has been ended because they do say now that this gunman is dead. So this can give a bit of relief for parents of students, teachers, staff as they can sort of come together and start working on making sure that everyone is OK knowing that the threat is not out there. But that is the big news here.

As we hear that they were searching the suspect's home, they took the lockdown off of several schools in the district except for the shooting location which is Saugus High School and the Arroyo Seco Junior High in that school district up there in Santa Clarita. But this is the big news here that they now believe that the high school gunman is dead.

COOPER: And Stephanie, just to be clear, I assume we do not know or cannot confirm at this point whether the shooter or what circumstances the shooter died?

ELAM: Right. That's what we're working on, trying to confirm on whether or not this was self-inflicted or if this was -- a law enforcement who did this but we're working to confirm that. But do know at least at this point it's been neutralized at this point.

COOPER: Yes, for obviously a lot of people in this community very worried. That is certainly news that will at least allow people to resume what -- the rest of their day and also will help accelerate the evacuation of the school and the reunification of some 3,000 students in this school. Stephanie, we'll continue to come back to you.

I'm here with Josh Campbell. You know, 3,000 students in this school. We're seeing more of them now coming out. It's been kind of very controlled. It looks like it's kind of opening up and loosening up a little bit. I'm not sure if that's because of the word that this suspect is now accounted for and is dead. But there's still a lot for investigators, I mean, this is a crime scene now. There's a lot for them to do.

JOSH CAMPBELL, CNN LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: Absolutely. And we heard from a young lady, a witness, earlier from one of our affiliates saying that, you know, they were scattering, going into closets, trying to hide. Again, police officers will have to clear that entire school. This is multiple buildings.

It does give them a greater sense now of relief that there's not an emergent situation now that they have the person believed to be deceased, but, again, they have to do that due diligence to be sure that there aren't innocent people that are still hiding in place. Now that we move to the second phase of this investigation, the authorities will want to dig into this person, his past, lots of questions here. What type of weaponry was used? Where did the person get the weapon? Were there other people that may have know what was about to take place? All the typical questions that we tend to ask.

Again, your main focus is stopping the threat if you're a law enforcement officer. That's finished, now you move into this longer term investigation.

COOPER: Stephanie, I think you have some new information?

ELAM: Yes. So, what we're getting now from three different sources is that, to answer your question, Anderson, is that the alleged shooter in this is dead from a self-inflicted gunshot wound. So that is answering that question that this was not law enforcement engaging with this person, that this person did, in fact, take his own life.

COOPER: All right, Stephanie, I appreciate that information. Obviously still a lot to know about the shooter. Nick Watt is on the scene where there's -- well, Nick, explain where you are in relation to the school and what you've been seeing.

NICK WATT, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Anderson, the high school, Saugus High School is right behind me just about half a block that way. You can see there parents, students who have been brought out of that school. Now, obviously, real relief with that news that this shooter is no longer a threat, but the shock here still exists. And, of course, the concern also for those injured who are now in the hospital. A number of them, we hear, in critical condition.

We've also been told that on the investigation front that the police are currently -- authorities are currently searching that suspect's home. Now it's interesting, pretty early on in this, they put out a description of this individual as being a 15-year-old student who was wearing a black hat, black shirt, blue jeans and was of Asian descent. That went out pretty quickly. This whole incident started at 7:25 in the morning. We heard that one of the first people to raise the alarm was an off-duty sheriff's deputy who was dropping a child at the school.

So the concern, though, was that the shooter was at large. He fled from the high school and there are two other elementary schools in this area. So there was huge concern. Those schools were put on lockdown pretty quickly.

But, excuse me, parents couldn't get into the evacuation center because of traffic, because of cordons, to reach their children.

[12:40:00] So as I say, Anderson, a huge relief that this shooter is no longer a threat, but the shock remains. And also still many, many unanswered questions and still the question of the condition of those people who were injured.

Anderson?

COOPER: Yes. And the latest information we have on that, at least six hospitalized, Nick, three in critical condition so obviously our thoughts are with them and their families, and we'll try to get updates as soon as the hospital feels it's good to release that information. Nick, I appreciate it.

We are still seeing students coming out of the school. Again, this is going to be a long process, some 3,000 students at this school. We're going to take a short break. More ahead.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[12:45:22] COOPER: Welcome back. Covering the shooting. Six -- at least six people hospitalized after the high school shooting in Santa Clarita, California. Stephanie Elam has new information about the shooter. Stephanie?

ELAM: Yes, it's a fluid situation here as we're getting this information. And we just got information from the LA County Sheriff's Department. Alex Villanueva, the sheriff coming out with a tweet and saying that, Update regarding the shooting at Saugus High, suspect is in custody and being treated at a local hospital."

Obviously, this goes against what we were saying before, but this is just the latest information that we have here, that the suspect is in custody and is being treated and is not dead. So we are just going to keep following up on this information here. But the other part of the story that the threat is over and that they have identified the person who has done this and that this person is no longer a threat, that part remains true. Just trying to figure out whether or not this suspect is actually dead or alive. It would seem now that he is in custody and is now being treated at a local hospital.

COOPER: Yes. As we said earlier, there were so many -- in a fast- moving situation like this, there are so many conflicting reports, oftentimes you hear reports of two shooters according to eyewitnesses, and then as it's -- as sort of the fog of the moment clears and people start to kind of compare their stories, you start to realize the actual numbers. We've even seen the numbers of people hospitalized change from seven now to six. So that is a clarification from the sheriff's department.

Bottom line, the suspect is alive, is in custody and the threat itself no longer exists. And Josh, I mean, that's -- it is good for law enforcement certainly that the suspect is in custody to at least -- it helps them in the investigation squarely.

CAMPBELL: Yes, definitely. And the question is -- I mean, the sheriff says he's being treated, the question is treated for what. Was there some type of exchange of gunfire with law enforcement? Did he try to, you know, do something to harm himself?

And then the question about his current state, can they interview him. Can they talk to him? Those questions we don't have and I think to the police, there's always a balance in what you release, you know, to help the public gather information to help you in your investigation and you hold close. And so, you know, I think its incumbent upon them to at least provide some type of information about where this investigation is.

Now, the question also is to get the motivation, they're going to want to ask this person, you know, this question why were you here on this day. And if he's in a state that he can talk to them, then, you know, that may help them out. We have seen incidents where shooters either clam up, they don't want to talk to the police, sometimes their lawyer up, or sometimes they're proud of what they do and they actually want to tell police. So let's watch and stay tune and see what this motivation was.

COOPER: We're hearing more from students about what they saw, what they heard. Let's listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: -- that is going to happen and Grace (ph) grabbed me and Lauren (ph) and we just ran to the nearest house that was open.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And thankfully --

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes, thankfully he was sitting outside of his house, yes, opening the door and we ran in. Everyone was terrified and shaken up. We're trying to contact everybody.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We knew it wasn't a drill because a drill wouldn't happen when --

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Early in the morning.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Early in the morning when not everyone is at school yet. That's when we knew like this isn't normal, this isn't just a drill.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It was terrifying.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And I know a few of the girls, they saw it happened and they turned over and they saw him pull it out and they were crying and they said that they saw two people go down.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes, we all went silent and just -- it took us a minute to process like -- that we need to run.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes. And it was just -- you never -- like they say, you never think it's going to happen to you, and then it does and then you get this gut feeling and you're absolutely terrified because you don't know what's going to happen.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Because just the sound of the gun is just so like --

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It was too real.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It was too real, it was too terrifying, and it was horrible. It was horrible.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I know.

(OFF-MIC)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We saw people run. We saw people run.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: As soon we start running down -- there was a huge wave of kids coming down to the bus.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes. I saw a huge wave of kids coming. We are by the library. Yes, we saw a huge wave of kids coming from the quad running straight for the gate, and that's when we started running down the stairs.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: That's when we ran to the house. And then that's when we heard everybody else's story.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It was just a flood of kids just fearing for their lives. It was surreal.

(OFF-MIC) UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: About five.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I heard one -- I heard like, six. I heard one, a pause, two, a pause, and then three more.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes, three more when we were running out.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And what they sound like?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Just like loud bangs.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It sounded like fireworks.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: How did you know it was gunfire?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Because it didn't sound like anything normal. It sounded --

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: (INAUDIBLE) we've heard balloons pop before, we've heard binders fall before.

[12:50:06] UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It was just very distinct.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It was just that thing like your body -- it was just a thing that your body knows that there is something wrong.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You have that gut feeling, too.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And it happened over and over again and it's not something --

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You know, the first one, we're like, OK, maybe it was a happy birthday balloon popping. And then two in a row like that, that just doesn't happen.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And then three more.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And then three more when we were running out and you see the kids running and just their expressions on their faces (INAUDIBLE).

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: They were terrified. They're looking behind them, they were screaming.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'll never going to forget how their faces look.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: They were absolutely terrified. And that's probably how we looked but we couldn't tell because people are just -- all of us were just trying to stay together and we were running --

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You just have (INAUDIBLE) to get down the stairs and leave.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I didn't know where I was going, I just need to run.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes.

(OFF-MIC)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We don't have our phones but we have contacted them, yes, and we have a plan on how to get home and we're good.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes, we're all working together on that.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It was just really scary because you're kind of wondering like what would have happen if you were that kid or those kids and your parents couldn't reach you.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I can't imagine that having a sibling, and I know some kids were --

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It was also scary because a lot of our friends wouldn't pick up their --

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes. And I know some other kids (INAUDIBLE) around that area really freaked us out.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I know some kids in the house they had siblings that they couldn't contact with because (INAUDIBLE) and just seeing their reaction I thank God that my brother, you know, does not go to Saugus.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes. My brother was out sick, and I actually forgot for a quick second that he was, and I was having like a panic attack.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I know.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And not knowing all your friends' numbers, you know, not knowing if they're at Saugus or if they're on their way or if they're at home. Not knowing where people are is terrifying.

(OFF-MIC)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We've had drills, but they're always during class.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And it's not -- and we never actually like sit down and hide. It's going to like -- we just -- like lock --

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Lock the doors, turn off the lights and be quiet.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Well, sometimes but we actually last year --

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COOPER: Some of the people who were in the school this morning, 7:25 a.m. Local Time is when this began, when the shots were first heard. Police officers quickly on the scene. One police officer actually dropping off a child at the school heard the shots and went to investigate.

Also just some of that video were sort of pixilated. It happens when you are doing a signal by satellite.

We also have a press conference as you see being set up by law enforcement. LA County sheriffs are going to be giving us the latest information. We'll obviously bring that to you very shortly. We're going to get a quick break in before the press conference. We'll be back with more from Santa Clarita, California.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[12:57:12] COOPER: I'm Anderson Cooper, we are following breaking news out of Southern California. There has been shooting at Saugus High School in Santa Clarita which is just north of Los Angeles. At least six people transported to the hospital. A suspect said to be in custody no longer a threat. A news conference is expected any moment. You see the podium right there

I want to go to CNN's Stephanie Elam for the latest. Stephanie?

ELAM: Unfortunately, at this point, Anderson, we are hearing from the hospital, Henry Mayo Hospital that the one female patient that they had there has died. That is what we are learning from the hospital at this point, that we have now seen that one life has been lost in this shooting. We know the hospital had taken in four patients and that the others were male, but we do know now that according to the hospital that this one female patient has passed away. No information on if that's an adult, if that was a student. We don't have that information at this time.

But still knowing that they have -- they had two other patients -- they had two patients that came into the hospital in critical condition originally. That we do know. Not clear whether or not this one female is one of the ones who was in critical who has now passed away.

COOPER: That is incredibly sad news. Two still in critical condition, that's correct, Stephanie?

ELAM: Not clear. Not clear if two are still in critical condition or if she was one of the patients that was in critical and has now passed away. But we'll keep trying to get that information out as we get ready for this press conference where hopefully we will learn more information about the situation and about the shooter. But just sad news to pass on to the people in Santa Clarita who are already devastated by this happening but now knowing one life has been lost as well. COOPER: Yes. Well, obviously, there are still others in the

hospital. We are -- our thoughts and our prayers are with them and we're hoping for the best. We'll try to get you any information as warranted.

California Senator Kamala Harris is joining me right now on the phone. Senator Harris, obviously you know this place, you know California well. Your thoughts right now.

SEN. KAMALA HARRIS (D-CA), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE (via telephone): It's just tragic, Anderson. I mean, it's just tragic.

And, you know, this is the fear of our children, and I say that because I was raised to believe that the children of the community are the children of the community, and our kids are living in fear.

Wherever they live, they are living in fear, and this is yet again another reason why they are so afraid that literally they will die.

I mean, it's just -- it's tragic in the most fundamental way, it is tragic. It is senseless. It is unnecessary. It's devastating. And that poor child and her family and the classmates and all of the kids. And -- I mean, Anderson, it's the new normal.

Do you know that literally --

[13:00:00]