Return to Transcripts main page

Inside Politics

Police: 2 Doctors, 2 Others Killed In Tulsa Mass Shooting; Police: Killer Bought AR-15 Style Rifle On Day Of Shooting; Police: Tulsa Gunman Carried Letter Saying He Intended To Kill Dr.: WH: Biden To Deliver Address At 7:30 PM Tonight On Guns. Aired 12-12:30p ET

Aired June 02, 2022 - 12:00   ET





DR. CLIFF ROBERTSON, PRESIDENT & CEO. SAINT FRANCIS HEALTH SYSTEM: So, the question was, it was Dr. Phillips alerted anyone about his concerns? Or did he have concerns about his safety with patient? And not that we're aware of as of today?


DR. ROBERTSON: So, the question was, is there a policy in place around patients or to react or respond to patients harassing physicians? And I would answer that, the short way to answer that is we have multiple policies and practices in place that are designed to deal with difficult situations, difficult patients, unhappy patients. And, but nothing that we have in place, I don't know that any health system in the country has in place can stop somebody with two weapons that are hell bent on causing harm.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: (Inaudible) had any national drill or training before you get it?

DR. ROBERTSON: So, the question was, have we had mass shooting drills or training? We actually have training, and we have educational modules. I couldn't speak to actual drills. But as I said earlier, there's going to be thousand questions that that we as an organization are going to need the answer and that's going to be one of them about our paths going forward.


DR. ROBERTSON: She is another one of the physicians that works in our orthopedic department. Stephanie just was an incredible person. And Amanda was, I think, had the supervisory role within the clinic. I mean, the three best people in the entire world that are, you know, are the most committed to doing what they do every day and taking care of others, didn't deserve to die this way.


DR. ROBERTSON: The question was about racial motivation? And I can't answer that.

CHIEF WENDELL FRANKLIN, TULSA POLICE: I will answer that. The information that we have thus far is that there was nothing about race that caused this, this incident to take place.


FRANKLIN: The question was, how far did he have to go to get to Dr. Phillips office and was he found in that office or somewhere else? It's a short distance from the doorway of the second-floor entrance into the physician's office there. He was found in the lobby area of the physician's office. So there, this is a vast, vast building, lots of walls, lots of space, lots of doors that open into other doors, and he was found in one of those waiting areas.


FRANKLIN: The question was on the gun purchases and whether or not they were purchased legally. The information that we have at the current time is that they were legally purchased firearms. One purchased an hour and some change before the actual shooting event took place. And the other purchase three days before the shooting took place.


DR. RYAN PARKER, ST. FRANCIS ASSOCIATE CHIEF MEDICAL OFFICER: So, the answer was about triage. So, in conjunction with our emergency medical personnel with EMSA and Tulsa fire and rescue, there are protocols in place to triage at the scene. So, if someone doesn't have signs of life, or they can determine that, you know, they are in fact deceased, then they don't transport those patients. They are trained to extricate and quickly move the patients that have signs of life or who are critical, and that is what happened. Our trauma team was prepared and ready for - however many victims we were going to receive but ultimately, we just received the one critical victim.



DR. PARKER: The one critical patient was received when we were on lockdown, we still received the patient.


FRANKLIN: Repeat that question, please.


FRANKLIN: The question is whether the purchase of the firearm gave clear motive to the intent of the shooter. I don't believe I can state any more that there was clear motive. This was what he planned to do. I mentioned that he had a letter that he had authored left on his person after the shooting. That letter led us and told us the story. So, this was something that was planned. UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: (Inaudible)

FRANKLIN: The question is whether or not Dr. Phillips was responsive to the care and the concerns of the patient. And from the investigation that we have thus far as, yes, that office was responsive. That office made a follow up appointment for the suspect. And that suspect did go to that appointment the day before. The shooting took place yesterday. So, the doctor's office was receptive, responsive, and attempting to administer care to the patient.


FRANKLIN: The question is whether or not when the gunman entered the building, how open is that built into to entry? And it is an entry that is open to the public, just as any other building, just as you walked in here today. There is no one to greet you at that door. So, he was able to walk in without any type of challenge.


FRANKLIN: The question is, if our officers had not gone into the building as quickly as we did, do we think the gunman would have continued to fire indiscriminately? And the answer to that, I think is, is that in our mindset, we believe that we have to stop that threat and we have to do it immediately. And time is of the essence.

And so, we are trained to go in there and stop the threat, regardless of what may happen to us. And that's what our officers did. We have no reason to believe that that he was going to stop. That is the mindset that we have. That's how we operated and that's what the officers, the initial officers that went into the building, that's exactly what they did. They sought him out, attempting to stop the threat.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: That concludes our news conference. If you are going to do any one-on-one interviews or anything like that, live setup that needs to be outside---


JOHN KING, CNN HOST, INSIDE POLITICS: I am John King in Washington. You've been listening to a sober and very informative briefing from police, hospital and city officials in Tulsa, Oklahoma, updating us on another deadly mass shooting in the United States of America at a hospital yesterday.

Four people were killed, including a doctor who treated the gunman, who then took his own life. Two doctors killed; two others killed at the St. Francis Hospital in Tulsa. Police laying out a timeline. The gunman had back surgery on May 19. The gunman complained he was in pain, had a follow up appointment with Dr. Phillips, Dr. Preston Phillips, one of the victims on May 31.


In between, he went to a gun store and bought a semi-automatic handgun. And then yesterday, the day of the shooting, the shooter also bought an AR-15 style rifle, the day of the shooting, at 2pm in a local gun store. Then within a couple of hours, he was at that medical complex. He entered on the second floor, and he opened fire.

CNN's Lucy Kafanov, standing by for us in Tulsa. Lucy, important new details there the police detailing. A, this disgruntled patients' contact with Dr. Phillips and the hospital, and then B, the police chief emphasizing perhaps all the more important in the wake of Uvalde, Texas. How quickly police responded and how quickly they were prepared to confront the shooter who the chief said took his own life?

LUCY KAFANOV, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes. I mean, the police response was quite quick, but we understand from authorities that this gunman was determined to carry out this massacre. He left a letter. According to the police chief, the suspect made it clear, he came into that building to kill Dr. Preston Phillips, and quote "anyone who came in his way," the suspect identified as Michael Louis from Muskogee had blamed the doctor and the office on pain, back pain that he suffered after his surgery on May 19. He was released May 24. Continue to call the office, complaining of this pain.

We understand that he purchased that AR-15 style rifle around 2pm yesterday. Just a few hours later, he was on the scene, on site right there, unleashing this deadly massacre. One of two weapons that was used. There's also a handgun that is the weapon that he used to kill himself, four people now dead. Dr. Preston Phillips, the treating physician. Dr. Stephanie Husen, she was another physician at the orthopedic department. Wrong place, wrong time. Amanda Green receptionists. She served a supervisory role at the clinic.

And then William Love, we understand he was a patient who went to the doctor's offices, as many of us tend to do. He was there. He apparently held a door close to allow another victim to escape with their life. He was shocked. He was moved in critical condition. And one of the doctors at the hospital broke down into tears, apologizing to his family. William Love's family that the trauma team there was unable to save him.

And John, I just want to emphasize this is a hospital. It's where people go to get better. It's where medical professionals work, dedicating their lives to saving the lives of other people. They all went to work as doctors normally do, as nurses normally do. The patients went in there as patients normally do. And they were victims of America's 233rd mass shooting this year alone. That is what happened here in Tulsa, Oklahoma yesterday, John?

KING: That number there, Lucy, and your being on the scene. That's why this is hard and it's emotional. And we see that, and we appreciate it in this tragedy. 233rd mass shooting in the United States this year, the 20th, the 20th, people, whoever you're watching, whatever your views, the 20th since Uvalde, just 10 days ago. Lucy is going to stand by for us.

I want to bring another conversation. The former Boston Police Commissioner Ed Davis. Commissioner, thank you for your time on this difficult day, another difficult day. I want to get to the police training in a moment and the contrast with Uvalde. But I want to start with the details. The president of the hospital association said, you know, this is a second floor, there's a parking garage. There's a door, members of the public could walk through. There's nobody there.

They said there was essentially a walk out, walk in with two semi- automatic weapons, with nobody to check you, nobody to see you. Is that just life in America? And this is unavoidable, or is there something that can be done to - you can't have security everywhere? Is there an answer? Or is this just another sad day in America?

ED DAVIS, FORMER BOSTON POLICE COMMISSIONER: I think, it's certainly another sad day in America, John. You know, urban emergency rooms, I used to work in one for several years, have a higher level of security that is usually armed and uniformed people near the entrances. As you go into smaller towns or our suburban areas, that's not necessarily the case. And these are office buildings, people come there and come and go freely.

So, the level of security is not what you would expect. But you know, hospitals are places where there's a lot of passion. There's a lot of people who feel aggrieved and this is not unheard of in a hospital. I've responded to several incidents similar to this, because people tend to target these locations. So, this certainly should be an increased insecurity at these locations.


KING: This question gets loaded because of the politics involved and loaded is perhaps the wrong word here, and I apologize for anyone to anyone who takes offense. But when they describe this situation, Commissioner, buying a semi-automatic handgun on May 29. And then returning a couple of days later yesterday, to buy a semi-automatic rifle. Is there in your view, anything that should be built into a background check system, that if you purchase two weapons like that, within a certain period of time, that might set off some flag or some alarm or just invoke some pause?

DAVIS: John, social media companies are using algorithms to determine all kinds of nonsense issues. This is something that can be done with the technology that's out there. We can have warning flags go off when things like this happen. People buying excessive amounts of ammunition like you saw in Uvalde. People buying one gun after another after another. People who are having metal medical issues. And the medical community has expressed some concern about them.

Those databases can be put together and computers can spit out leads to police departments, so that there can be some intervention. There's a lot to unpack there. There's a lot of debate that has to happen. But there's no reason why we cannot fix this in 2022.

KING: In the context, as I mentioned at Uvalde, obviously the state department of public safety there has said that the local school police chief in its view, made a grievous error in not immediately invoking active shooter protocols and not immediately storming the room in Uvalde, Texas where there were 19 young children, and two teachers were killed. I want you to listen in that context. This is the Tulsa police chief, Wendell Franklin. There was a 911 call in this case at 4:53. There was a second call at 4:55, clarifying the exact location in the hospital of the shooting. The chief says, the police arrived at 4:56, and at 4:58 as they were starting to enter that room, they heard a gunshot. The suspect they believe taking his own life. Listen to the chief.


FRANKLIN: 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. All she was rescued that victim who was hiding under a desk. 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.


KING: We are still asking questions about the police behavior in Uvalde, Texas, the police conduct the lack of communication, the breakdowns in the like. In this case, when you - as you heard the chief, what went through your mind about how the police response played out in this case?

DAVIS: Textbook? Absolutely textbook, the Chief Franklin described exactly the type of training that I've attended, and the type of response that the American public expects from the police departments. As dangerous as it is, it's our job to do that. It's tragic. But that didn't happen in Uvalde.

But there's a second thing I want to point to here, John. The release of information. This is another thing that Chief Franklin and his staff should be really complimented on. You're less than 24 hours after the incident happened. And you're getting a timeline. You're getting an explanation. You're getting information that, lets the public know what's happening. So, they can process the information.

Let's the victim's families know what happened, so they can process the information. That's the biggest failure in Uvalde, and people can make mistakes and terrible things may flow from that and we can try to fix those things. But it's unconscionable that the information like you're seeing here hasn't been released in Uvalde.

You can't hide behind prosecutors wanting to hide evidence until the trial because there is no trial. The people involved in here in these cases are both dead. So, I don't understand why people don't follow, not only the response that Franklin outlines, but also the way he handled this. It was masterful.

KING: Commissioner Ed Davis, grateful for your insight. Sir again, on this sober painful day and to our correspondent Lucy Kafanov as well on the scene. Thank you both. Up next for us. A CNN exclusive brand- new text messages and reporting shed new light on January 6. Why Donald Trump waited so long to tell his supporters to stand down? And how Trump's chief of staff was trying to the very, very end to help his boss overturn the election results?




KING: The breaking news just into CNN, the President United States preparing to deliver a major speech to the nation on guns, likely today as the United States as we just went through, dealing with the aftermath of yet another mass shooting. The plans according to two people familiar with the White House plans, they tell us it is not yet finalized.

Let's get to CNN's MJ Lee. She is live at the White House. What more do we know, MJ?

MJ LEE, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Yes, John. Actually, literally, as you were saying that this is not final. We did get an updated schedule from the White House. We are expecting now for the president to deliver these remarks on guns at 7:30pm. It is described as remarks on recent tragic mass shootings and the need for Congress to act to pass common sense laws to combat the epidemic of gun violence.


So, we are seeing here just how quickly the White House is moving to move the schedule around because as you noted this isn't something that was originally on the president's schedule. As we are seeing this kind of gun violence happening across the country. Just keep in mind that it was as the president was returning from a major trip to Asia, that he learned the news of the Uvalde, Texas mass shooting that took the lives of so many children and two adults.

And now, another example overnight, of course, the shooting taking place in Tulsa. So, this is a White House that is clearly decided that he needs to be upfront in addressing the nation about this serious problem across the country.

And of course, comes as he knows very well, that members, lawmakers on Capitol Hill, they are trying to figure out, is this going to be sort of a moment of real change for the country where they can come together and put some kind of framework together for laws that would change the way that guns are purchased and maintained by people across the country.

He has said in recent days that he does believe that there are some rational Republicans on Capitol Hill, sort of hinting at there being a little bit of optimism. But it's also important to note that we have been here before, right. The president has expressed optimism before about there being some kind of real meaningful action on gun reform laws.

We don't know how all of that is going to play out. But what we do know again, is that tonight, we will hear from the president who will address the nation on these kinds of violent acts and also call on Congress on the need to act. John?

KING: CNN's MJ Lee, live at the White House. MJ, thank you. Let's continue the conversation with me in the room to share their reporting and their insights. CNN's Kasie Hunt, POLITICO's Laura Barron-Lopez, Asma Khalid of NPR, and our CNN special correspondent, Jamie Gangel. Let me start with you, Laura, you've covered the White House here. Look, Uvalde 10 days ago, Tulsa yesterday. The president traveled to Buffalo, traveled to Texas, now addressed to the American people. To what end, I guess it's the question?

LAURA BARRON-LOPEZ, WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT POLITICO: Yes. And right now, what the White House just said, the speech would be about is about the negotiations in Congress and calling on Congress to act. So again, the White House and Biden to date has basically taken a step back from those negotiations, and has said, he wants to give those lawmakers that are working on it and the Senate, the space to work on it. And he hasn't really been getting in the nitty gritty with them on what these, what are ultimately going to be very modest changes to the gun laws are going to be.

KING: So, that's the question. So, the House Democrats, they have a narrow majority, of that majority. They are moving ahead. They want to raise the age to purchase that some have even said let's try to ban assault weapons again. But on the table now, raising from 18 to 21, the age, more background checks, some other proposals as well.

The Senate has not - the conversations there have been about red flag laws and background checks, nothing that would actually make it harder to buy a gun, or more difficult to get a large capacity magazine. Is the president at a point where maybe he's ready to lean in and say, no, we have to be bold, or we have to be more ambitious?

ASMA KHALID, WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT, NPR: I don't know that he's at a point to do that. But where I do think he's been able to show leadership in this role is by speaking directly to the American public, right. I was on this trip coming back from Asia when we found out about one of these shootings. And immediately upon arriving, you know, he gave remarks about Uvalde.

And I do think there's a sense that the president is at his best, when he's able to show empathy, when he's able to speak to specifically this issue of gun control has often been, I think, a real high priority for him. And look, a lot of his messaging has been really difficult to break through, not just on guns, but on inflation, John, about anything.

He has not been tracking particularly well with the public. I think this is an issue where his staff and the White House broadly thinks that he needs to show leadership, and this is a way to do it to speak directly to the public.

KING: And you make a key point because of the polarized politics we live in, pick your issue, people tend to go into the corner. The question is, do you get to a point where 19 young kids are gunned down in an elementary school? Do you get to a point where somebody can buy two semi-automatic weapons within a few days of each other, walk into a hospital and shoot a doctor and then three others with whom he believes he has some grievance?

Kasie Hunt, 233rd mass shooting this year. Tulsa yesterday was the 20th. Since Uvalde, Texas, which was 10 days ago. The question is, can the president convince all of the country, all of the country, not just blue America, but all of the country? Can we at least talk about this? Beyond the specifics, can we stop pause and realize we need to have an adult conversation regardless of party?

KASIE HUNT, CNN ANCHOR & CHIEF NATIONAL AFFAIRS ANALYST: That's exactly what I was going to say, John. And I think the question for the president is whether he can be the kind of president that he campaigned to be. When he campaigned to say, I want to be president for everyone at a time when, you know, our nation was gripped in the throes of the pandemic, in the wake of January 6. You know, with the Donald Trump presidency on the way out, the chaos of that.

He had said to everyone, I will be the president for all of you. I will bring people together. He's struggled to govern in that way. Sometimes with the progressive wing of his party, pushing on him and many in the House are pushing on this issue of guns. But I think if you listen to Senator Chris Murphy in particular, in the way he is changed the way he talked about this.