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At This Hour

Gunman Kills Four at Tulsa Medical Building. Uvalde Negotiator Tried to Call Killer during Attack; January 6 Committee Invites Witnesses ahead of Hearings Next Week; Tulsa Shooting Presser. Aired 11-11:30a ET

Aired June 02, 2022 - 11:00   ET




KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR: Hello, everyone. I'm Kate Bolduan. Here's what we're watching at this hour: another mass shooting, this time in Tulsa. Four people dead and another community in shock. Officials are holding a press conference in minutes.

Unprepared for a crisis: President Biden says that he didn't see the baby formula shortage as serious until April. Now the White House is facing new questions.

A high-profile verdict: actors Amber Heard and Johnny Depp both awarded damages for defaming each other. But it is a big victory for Johnny Depp. Amber Heard's attorney joins us for her first CNN interview since the verdict.


BOLDUAN: Thank you all so much for being here. We are standing by right now for what could be a critical update from Tulsa police after a deadly mass shooting there at a medical complex last night.

Police say a gunman carrying a rifle and a handgun killed four people and injured nearly a dozen others at an orthopedic clinic. Officials are saying the attack was not random and the shooter died from an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound.

Once the news conference begins we will, of course, be bringing that to you live. The Gun Violence Archive says this is 20th mass shooting in America since the horrific murders at Robb Elementary in Uvalde, Texas, yes, just since then.

This morning we are learning more new details about the investigation into Uvalde as well. Let's get to all of it, starting in Tulsa, Oklahoma, Lucy Kafanov is standing by.

What are we expecting to hear from officials when they start this news conference?

LUCY KAFANOV, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Kate, we're expecting to hear from the police chief, the mayor and officials from St. Francis Hospital in a few minutes. Here's what we know.

We know an AR-style rifle was used in the Buffalo supermarket shooting. It was used last week at the Uvalde elementary school shooting. We now know an AR-style rifle was one of the two weapons used in yesterday's shooting in Tulsa, Oklahoma, according to three federal sources that spoke to CNN.

They've been briefed on the investigation and they have confirmed that the gunman actually purchased this AR-style weapon yesterday, same day as the shooting. He had another weapon on him. It was a pistol he purchased, according to one source, on May 29th.

We understand he used that pistol to take his own life. Police say both weapons were fired at one point or another during yesterday's rampage. Now it's unclear whether the four people killed, five in total, including the gunman, who took his own life, but it's unclear whether those four were medical staff.

We might find out in just a couple of minutes when the hospital officials speak. No officers were injured. Multiple people were injured, however. None of those injuries life threatening. But this is a multistory building, medical facility, with hundreds or dozens of rooms, dozens of patients and people inside. Witnesses describing chaos. Take a listen.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's sad. It's so sad. I was coming to the doctor and I got my grandkids with me. And this terrible scene. It's awful. It's sad. My daughter-in-law is from Buffalo, so now it's so close to home. It's not even safe if you come outside anymore, you know.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This really does happen. You see it on TV. But you don't think it's going to happen right in front of your eyes. So now this is a wake-up call for my kids, like, this can really happen anywhere and it's very scary. You can't even go to a store, can't even go to school. Now you can't even go to the doctor?


KAFANOV: You see it on TV and in real life. My team and I left Uvalde, Texas, on Tuesday; we arrived here yesterday to cover yet another mass shooting, number 233 this year alone in America. Kate.

BOLDUAN: Lucy, thank you very much.

As we mentioned, we're going to bring you that press conference live when it begins.

Also as we mentioned, there are new details emerging from the investigation into the elementary school massacre in Texas. The mayor of Uvalde is now saying a negotiator tried to call the killer while he was inside the school but that he didn't pick up his phone.

And "The New York Times" has some heartwrenching details about the final moments of one of the teachers killed in the attack. Nick Valencia is live in Uvalde with more on this.

What are you learning about these developments?

NICK VALENCIA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Kate. Ebony Dallas (ph) was one of two teachers shot and killed at the Robb Elementary School. According to "The New York Times," she was on the phone with her husband as the shooting was happening.

She was inside while her husband was outside of the school and, according to "The Times," in that phone call, she said that she was dying.


VALENCIA: It's unimaginable as a husband to think about getting that phone call from your wife and not being able to go inside. He had to be restrained, according to reporting by at least four officers from trying to storm inside the school, because officers just weren't going in.

We know that her husband is also a school resource officer. But what's unclear is whether or not he was relaying that information to the school district police chief, Pete Arredondo, the controversial figure, who made the decision to not allow police to go in, changing the incident command from an active shooting to a barricaded subject.

We are, though, getting more details about what happened on that horrific day. In the first at-length interview, the mayor of Uvalde here, Dan McLaughlin, sat down to say that when at the scene, he was present with a negotiator, who was at a nearby church, who was trying desperately to get that gunman on the phone. But he was unsuccessful.


MAYOR DON MCLAUGHLIN, UVALDE, TEXAS: The only person I had communication, when the negotiator was trying to get the shooter on the phone and so forth, I was in the room. The moment he went in that classroom, they started calling for him.


MCLAUGHLIN: I wasn't there at the initial but, at the moment he went in that classroom, they were trying to get numbers and call.


VALENCIA: We're heading into the second weekend here since the shooting and this community still doesn't know what fully happened. And part of that is because they're not getting answers from the police. There are still major questions that are left to be answered.

And what's further frustrating, not just to us but to the community here, the Texas Department of Public Safety now saying they're not answering any more questions about this investigation, referring these questions that we have to the district attorney, who is also not responding. Kate. BOLDUAN: Nick, thank you very much.

Let's go to Buffalo, New York, right now, because the teenage gunman accused of killing 10 people and injuring three others in the racially motivated attack at a supermarket there, he will be arraigned in court this afternoon.

He's 18 years old and he is now facing nearly 2 dozen charges, including first-degree murder, domestic terrorism and hate crimes. Police say that he targeted the supermarket there because it was in the heart of a predominantly Black community in Buffalo.

The victims ranged in age, you see them there, from 20 to 86 years old. Joining me now, senior law enforcement analyst Andrew McCabe, a former deputy director of the FBI, and CNN law enforcement analyst Jonathan Wackrow, a former Secret Service agent.

Andy, let's start with Tulsa because we are standing by for this press conference from officials right now.

What is your initial take on what happened here?

ANDREW MCCABE, CNN SENIOR LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: Well, Kate, it seems that what we're seeing in Tulsa is the very, unfortunately, common response to a mass shooting. This is what we kind of expected to see in Uvalde but didn't see, a very rapid response by police officers, who entered the building.

Quickly, I think the numbers I've heard, it's been reported they were there within three minutes, they heard where the gunfire was coming from and they ran to that location. By the time they got there, the shooter had killed himself and we have, unfortunately, more deaths.

But that's the kind of -- that's what you expect from a response to an active shooter event. It stands out, quite frankly, because it's so different than what we saw in Uvalde.

BOLDUAN: Sadly, that is definitely the case. Andy, you're right.

Jonathan, the fact that the law enforcement, that law enforcement is saying that the shooter went in to that building, went to this floor even in that building, with a purpose, what does that mean for this investigation and what we're likely to hear then?

JONATHAN WACKROW, CNN LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: Hopefully, law enforcement will give us a little bit of greater insight into the motive here. They obviously have a piece of information to make those statements that they believe that this was a targeted act of violence.

So hopefully that comes out during this investigation. Again, that rapid response by the officers in Tulsa was almost tactical. Today, we give active assailant training by law enforcement is a basic tenet. It's something is almost second nature to every officer across the country.

And again, that's why we -- when we look at Uvalde and look at the failures that we saw from incident command and the incident command structure, that's why that incident stands out so much because we know what best practices are. And we did not see best practices in Uvalde.

BOLDUAN: It is so sad that we have such a comparison and contrast here, you know, a display of contrast in just talking about, which is sadly so common, the police response to an active shooter all happening within one week.

It feels -- it's just kind of gross but that is the reality, right.

Andy, let's go to Uvalde now, because these newest details, as Nick was laying them out, from the mayor, first and foremost, that they -- he says there was a negotiator of some sort of that was across the street from the school, who unsuccessfully was trying to get in touch with the shooter.

Does that make sense to you?

MCCABE: No, Kate. It makes no sense whatsoever.


MCCABE: So it's a continuation of the long line of public statements that don't make any sense from Uvalde. But let's just break this down a little bit.

If -- and there was no reason to have a negotiation here; this was an active shooter event. They should have sent those tactical units in immediately. But let's say they wanted to establish some sort of negotiations. You have your negotiator work at the incident command location.

A negotiator has to be able to talk to leadership. They have to be close to the tactical teams. They need to be where the intelligence from what's happening in that room is coming in, the 9-1-1 calls, the victims' calls to police.

So why you would have some unnamed negotiator, operating out of the funeral parlor across the street with the mayor, no indication that that was actually the incident command location -- we don't know what law enforcement organization this supposed negotiator was even affiliated with.

So it just clouds an already muddled issue even further. And I have to say, it is suspicious that, all of a sudden, we're finding out about this negotiator in the aftermath of the revelation that the police chief was trying to work this as a barricaded subject situation.

So whether or not this was -- this is yet another piece of misinformation that's deliberately intended to support that narrative, I guess we'll have to see. But it's misleading and, quite frankly, suspicious.

BOLDUAN: Jonathan, "The New York Times," this new reporting that a top county official says one of the teachers who was killed was on the phone with her husband from the classroom, speaking to him in her final moments.

And from this county official, he says her husband, we know that her husband is a school district police officer. Nick Valencia was laying out some of these details about what may have happened, how he may have tried to -- he had to be maybe restrained by other officers, as Nick was saying.

This new detail also, though, means I don't know what for this, as Andy is laying out, this shifting picture of what law enforcement at the school knew in real time.

WACKROW: Well, Kate, what we're witnessing -- and, you know, all of these shifting narratives just reinforce that there was a complete breakdown of incident response protocols from the very beginning.

Every decision that we see in terms of responding to a critical incident just didn't come to fruition the way it should be. And because of that apparent vacuum of leadership, of the incident commander in Uvalde, the response was really predicated on individual heroic acts.

We're seeing and hearing different stories of a Border Patrol agent, who, you know, off-duty, went in to go aid the evacuation of students. We're seeing that the Border Patrol tactical team, which eventually took the threat out, acted in really -- on their own basically because they understood that those children were at risk.

All of this just shows, again, the complete breakdown of leadership and incident command to a critical incident. And you know, we know that these decisions that were made by the incident commander have consequences. And those consequences is the loss of life.

BOLDUAN: Jonathan, thank you.

It's good to see you, Andy.

Thank you both very much.

We have this just in to CNN: the January 6th committee is beginning to reach out to witnesses ahead of the first public hearings that are going to be scheduled into their investigation, into the insurrection.

CNN has learned three people close to former vice president Mike Pence will be among the first witnesses when hearings begin one week from today. CNN's Evan Perez has more live in Washington.

What more are you learning?

EVAN PEREZ, CNN SR. JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: Kate, this is an important step for the committee. They have now formally at least reached out to some of the witnesses that we expect. They are going to present to the public when these hearings begin next week and this is key.

These are key witnesses who are very close to former vice president Mike Pence. And they played a very big role in helping him push back and, frankly, stand up to the former president in his efforts to overturn the election results.

Greg Jacob is his -- was his general counsel. Marc Short, of course, was a very close aide to the former vice president. And Judge Michael Luttig is a giant in conservative legal -- in the legal world.

He played a big role as an outside adviser, essentially, helping the former vice president come up with legal arguments essentially to push back on these sort of insane memos that we now know about, existed behind the scenes from John Eastman and some of the other people who were advising the former president Trump on various ways that he could try to remain in office.

We also know, Kate, that the -- that, at least informally, the committee has outlined that they want to do a panel with former Justice Department officials.


PEREZ: They similarly stood in the way of the former president. That includes Jeffrey Rosen, who was the acting attorney general at the time; Rich Donoghue, who was his deputy and Richard (sic) Engel, another top Justice Department official.

These are all people who essentially threatened to quit, to resign en masse when the president was trying to outline his efforts to use the Justice Department to try to support his lie that there was great fraud in this election.

That panel, it appears, is going to be a Justice Department panel that is going to be sometime perhaps in the middle of June. Again, these hearings, what the committee wants to do is to tell the public, show the public some of its findings, from the words, from the mouth of some of these top Trump officials, who stood up to the former president. Kate.

BOLDUAN: Much more to come for sure. It's good to see you, Evan. Thank you for bringing us that.

PEREZ: You, too. Thanks.

BOLDUAN: Coming up for us, officials in Tulsa, here are live pictures from Tulsa, they will be holding a press conference shortly on that deadly mass shooting there overnight. We're going to bring it to you live as soon as it begins. They're moments away.

Also ahead for us, the White House is facing new questions after President Biden said he did not know how serious the baby formula shortage was until April.

Why is that?

We're going to the White House next.



BOLDUAN: We're going to get to Tulsa now. Tulsa officials are giving an update on the deadly mass shooting in a medical facility there. Let's listen in.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: -- when we start with media questions, we will start on this end and move this way. We will have the opportunity to ask plenty of questions. But we want to have some sort of fluid questions, starting from here and then we'll spin this way.

When we have all the speakers, we'll give their remarks. When you ask your question, please address it to a speaker behind me. They will come to the podium. They will repeat the question and they will reply. So with that, we'll get started. And Chief Franklin is here.

CHIEF WENDELL FRANKLIN, TULSA POLICE DEPARTMENT: Good morning. I'm Chief Wendell Franklin with the Tulsa Police Department. I want to start out by saying that, first off, the most accurate information, the most proper information, is going to come from one source and that's the Tulsa Police Department.

We, at the Tulsa Police Department, we grieve with the families after this senseless tragedy. We grieve with the coworkers. And we pray. We pray because we all need prayer.

I cannot begin to thank the men and women of the Tulsa Police Department for the immediate response that they had to the incident yesterday. Our training led us to take immediate action without hesitation.

That's exactly what officers do and that's what they did in this instance. They had the right mindset framed and went into action and did a tremendous job.

The other first responders that came to the scene -- the Tulsa Fire Department; Oklahoma Highway Patrol; Tulsa County Sheriff's Office; the St. Francis security team; the Federal Bureau of Investigation; Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms; United States Marshals Service; tribal police and other federal and local agencies -- all responded and descended upon 61st and Yale yesterday.

This was not done -- this was a coordinated effort. It was not done haphazardly. I also have to thank the dispatchers and call takers at our 9-1-1 center that reacted as they were trained.

Law enforcement across the nation is dealing with increased violence among people. This is yet another act of violence upon an American city.


FRANKLIN: I will say that, as a Tulsa police officer, we train, we train and we train. And we train for instances such as this. And I'm overwhelmed and proud of the men and women, all those that responded yesterday.

Now I want to take some time and go over the timeline with you as we know it today. This information is fluid and can still change but it is the most accurate information that we have at this point.

Before I do that, let me go ahead and provide the names of the victims. And I will allow St. Francis to elaborate more on those victims.

We have Dr. Preston Phillips, Dr. Stephanie Husen, Amanda Green (sic), William Love and our suspect, Michael Lewis.

On May 19th, Michael Lewis went into the hospital for a back surgery. The performing physician was Dr. Preston Phillips. Mr. Lewis was released on 5/24, May the 24th. After release, Lewis called several times over several days, complaining of pain and wanted additional treatment.

On May 31st, Dr. Phillips saw Mr. Lewis again for additional treatment. Yesterday, June the 1st, Lewis called Dr. Phillips' office again, complaining of back pain and wanting additional assistance.

Now we know, through the help of our ATF and their gun tracing, that, at 2:00 pm, on June the 1st, Mr. Lewis purchased a semiautomatic rifle from a local gun store. That semiautomatic rifle was an AR-15 style rifle.

We know that Mr. Lewis purchased a semiautomatic handgun, a .40 caliber Smith & Wesson pistol on May the 29th from a local pawn shop.

I now want to go into the shooting timeline. At 4:52 pm on June the 1st, a third party, who was on a video chat, off location, with an on -location doctor, called 9-1-1, saying the doctor told her to call 9- 1-1, saying there has been a shooting.

At 4:53 pm we received a 9-1-1 call about a shooter in a building. We then continued to receive multiple calls that were more specific on a shooter being on the second floor of the Natalie Building on the campus of St. Francis Hospital.

At 4:55 pm, a person called and clarified the Natalie Building as the scene of the shooting. The first Tulsa police officers arrived one minute later at 4:56 pm.

I want to give some context on the Natalie Building. The Natalie Building is a five-story medical office building with numerous offices, rooms, hallways and so forth. It is an exceedingly complex environment. A tactical situation for an officer to deal with is pretty complex.

Officers entered the building on the first floor and made their way to the second floor, based on the information they received. While on the second floor of the vast building, officers began yelling, "Tulsa police." This is something that we train to do.

[11:25:00] FRANKLIN: As officers were calling out "Tulsa police" and advancing toward a suspect location, they heard a gunshot. We believe that was the final gunshot with the suspect taking his own life. The gunshot was at 4:58 pm, approximately 39 seconds after the first officers entered the building.

As officers started clearing the building, they came across a victim that was down in the exam room. Officers requested EMSA to the floor and continued searching the suspect -- for the suspect. This victim later died at the hospital.

We found the suspect and we rescued a female, who was hiding under a desk at the suspect's foot. She was there when the suspect took his life. She did not appear to be injured. Officers rescued that victim who was hiding under a desk.

But officers also located another deceased victim next to the shooting suspect. Officers continued to search the building for victims or additional suspects and came across another victim, that was down in an open area near a nurse's station.

At this point officers began directing first responders, EMSA and fire to those victims to render first aid. Again, this is something we work cooperatively with. And we can go into what we call a hot environment with medical personnel and fire personnel and start rendering aid.

In that same room, there was -- the victim was at, officers also rescued an elderly female that was in the room. As officers continued to clear the building, they located Dr. Phillips, deceased, in an exam room.

As officers continued to clear the building, they removed multiple witnesses and victims and escorted them from the building. As more officers arrived on scene, we began a methodical search of each floor of the five-story structure, looking for witnesses and/or victims.

Thus far, we have recovered 30 .223 casings from the crime scene. We have also recovered seven .40 caliber casings from the crime scene.

We have also found a letter on the suspect, which made it clear that he came in with the intent to kill Dr. Phillips and anyone who got in his way. He blamed Dr. Phillips for the ongoing pain following the surgery.

At 5:24 pm, we received a call from the Cherokee County Sheriff's Office and that dispatcher told us a woman on the line, whose name they did not have, called saying that her husband had killed several people at Dr. Phillips' office. This would have been a half hour after the event occurred.

We received two follow-up phone calls from the Cherokee County Sheriff's Office providing clarifying information. All of this information was after the fact.

Once the scene was secure, the Tulsa Police homicide and crime scene detectives began working the scene. They continued work until 3:00 am this morning. We have now turned that scene back over to the hospital staff at St. Francis.

I cannot emphasize enough that we train rigorously, over and over and over again, for not if but when, because we have seen the violence that is taking place throughout the United States. And we would be naive not to think that that would not happen in our jurisdiction.

So again, to the men and women of the Tulsa Police Department, Oklahoma Highway Patrol, all of the surrounding jurisdictions that descended upon the scene yesterday, I offer a heartfelt thanks. And I hope that each and every citizen that sees an officer today thanks an officer today because this job is hard. It is difficult.