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Laura Coates Live
At Least 22 Killed In Maine Shootings; Israel Believes Hostages Held In Underground Tunnels By Hamas; Lebanese Citizens Fear Spread Of Hostilities; ; Interview With Former Baltimore Police Commissioner Michael Harrison; Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu Makes His First Explicit Reference To A Ground Invasion Of Gaza; Netanyahu Promising A Crushing Victory Over Hamas; Fuel Shortages Will Force Aid Operations To Shut Down; Gaza Hospital Services May Soon Halt Without Fuel; Interview With Israel Defense Forces International Spokesperson Lt. Col. Jonathan Conricus; Israel Not Allowing Fuel Into Gaza; Israeli Officials Calls For The Resignation Of U.N. General-Secretary Antonio Guterres. Aired 12-1a ET
Aired October 26, 2023 - 00:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
LAURA COATES, CNN HOST: Police identifying him tonight is 40-year-old Robert Card, and they say he should be considered armed and dangerous.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MIKE SAUSCHUCK, COMMISSIONER, DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC SAFETY: Approximately 6:56 this evening, a couple of shooting incidents occurred here with multiple casualties in the City of Lewiston.
And police are currently searching for a Robert R. Card, 4, 4 of 1983 of Bowdoin. Card is considered armed and dangerous. He is a person of interest, however, and that's what we'll label him at moving forward, until that changes. If people see him, they should not approach Card or make contact with him in any way.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COATES: Let's talk now with CNN Security Correspondent Josh Campbell, Josh, I'm going to lean in really to your FBI chops as well, because your experience is so vital right now. This is an ongoing manhunt. We do not know where this suspect is. We have not been told where he is. This is a fluid situation. Everyone's trying to assess the casualties. The number of people injured. Identify what has happened here. Talk to me about this identification of a person of interest. How significant is this now?
JOSH CAMPBELL, CNN SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: Well, this is interesting because for a period of time that went by, authorities weren't releasing the name of the suspect or any of the identifiers. They did release that still frame from CCTV footage inside one of those locations where he allegedly opened fire, that was inside that bowling alley, this photo, you could see him there with a assault style rifle. You see what's called a -- the magazine, which is a contraption in the weapon that holds the ammunition, that's a large capacity magazine, meaning that this individual potentially had a lot of ammunition with him.
We've also seen time and again in these instances, Laura, where suspects will bring additional rounds of ammunition. We know with that number of victims, at least 22 people who were killed, numerous others were injured. This is someone who appeared to had been intent on causing mass loss of life.
At this hour, we certainly don't know the motive. Why he allegedly targeted these two particular areas. But as you mentioned, this manhunt now underway. CNN is learning there are multiple agencies that are now involved. The local police as well as the Maine police, state police and the federal government now involved as well.
The FBI and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. The ATF brings incredible resources to bear in order to try to identify a suspect based on the weapon itself. And so, as that investigation continued, we now have that identification.
Finally, I'll point out that, again, at this hour, we don't yet know the motive, but sources are telling our colleague John Miller that this suspect who was a firearms instructor in the U.S. military, in the U. S. Army Reserve, had at some point reported mental health issues, allegedly indicating that he was hearing voices. He was apparently committed to some type of institution for assessment. And so, a lot of questions at this hour about what happened after that period of assessment. Were there people in his orbit who may have, you know, seeing additional lingering issues? He had allegedly made threats against a National Guard facility.
And so, still a lot of questions about the motive. But that brings us to where we are at this point in time, this massive manhunt with authorities fanning out across the New England area looking for the suspect. Of course, we've seen, Laura, you and I have covered so many of these incidents. They typically will end in three possible ways, and that is the suspect decides to take his own life, the suspect is engaged by law enforcement and is taken into custody or killed or the suspect, you know, is eventually -- you know, this manhunt continues.
And so, we're still waiting to obviously hear -- you know, see what happens here. Obviously, this is an area that has been in a state of lockdown and a state of fear. Authorities have asked residents around the area to shelter in place as this manhunt continues, Laura.
COATES: And the state of complete and total shock. No one thinks this is going to happen where they are. You're hearing about -- we had one person earlier on who was an eyewitness to being outside of the bowling alley. So, that she saw children coming out of the bowling alley. It was some kind of a family night was happening as well. Her own daughter, a Girl Scout in the car with her trying to make sense of what she's seeing.
I'm really interested, in particular, on the comment you made about the ATF's involvement. We're looking at those still frames, different points in time. You identified the clothing, those cargo pants, as one way that people will store additional ammunition. People have been focusing on the gun itself that's being used.
When the ATF is involved, how are they going to be trying to identify and locate and track who that person is based on seeing the weapon?
CAMPBELL: So, the ATF specifically has incredible capabilities and resources in order to gather intelligence from that weapon. Whenever you fire a rifle like this or any gun, the bullet comes out the end. But then the shell casing is ejected. And sadly, we've seen because of the level of gun violence in this country, the ATF has gotten really good at being able to look at those shell casings and try to identify the individual mark. It's somewhat like a fingerprint that a firing pin of a weapon leaves on that ammunition in order to try to track back. Was this a weapon that authorities were aware of, in order to try to track back the sale that then helps oftentimes lead to the identity of the suspect.
Now, that has all occurred. All the background trying to gather information about this suspect. We know they've also identified a vehicle. All that would help and try to get through the identification. So, they felt comfortable coming out, providing the name of this suspect. And now, at this point, it's really about trying to locate where he may be.
There's the physical search effort that is happening where you have assets both on the ground. We know that helicopters have also been brought in in order to try to scour the area. That made much more difficult by the time of day at night. But also, Laura, we've seen time and again in these cases that authorities will literally go door to door along a particular route of travel, looking for surveillance footage at residences, at businesses and again, trying to identify where this suspect was traveling to. We know along the freeways are also license plate readers. And again, just trying to get a sense of where this individual might be.
The last thing I'll point out, now that they have, indeed, provided the identification of the suspect, that tells us that they're then able to try to identify relatives to try, to identify friends. We know because of as we, you know, were reporting earlier, the potential mental health issues that the suspect had allegedly had in the past, I'll pause real quickly to say, because this is so important, that we know the vast majority of people in this country who have mental health issues do not go on to commit violence. So, we don't want to stigmatize that.
But this is important because authorities would want to talk to this individual's loved ones to try to determine, well, what is his state of mind? Has he gone through individual episodes and then, you know, moves into a different state of mind? Because again, if they actually encountered this suspect, they want a peaceful resolution. But obviously, with him now accused of killing at least 22 people and having still presumably that high powered assault style rifle, authorities would certainly be on edge. But they're hoping to, you know, get this peaceful resolution. They first have to find them. But they're going to try to gather as much as they can about this individual and his state of mind as they work to try to locate him and apprehend him.
COATES: Every morsel of information that could get insight to the law enforcement could be invaluable here. Josh, please stick around. Keep giving us the information that we are really eager to have.
I have now former Baltimore Police Commissioner Michael Harrison, who is with us tonight. And one of the things that Josh was mentioning was about all the different areas you're going to be looking for and trying to dig into this person's past. We should obviously mention social media might be a place as well, or any notion of a manifesto or anything like that. Let me ask you about how wide of a net would be cast to try to find this particular person of interest.
MICHAEL HARRISON, FORMER BALTIMORE POLICE COMMISSIONER: Well, thank you for having me. Let me first offer my condolences to all of the victims of this horrific incident.
I think the net is pretty wide. It could be nationally or internationally considering how close to Canada this location is. It's going to be local, state, federal resources, all working together in coordinating, communicating, and collaborating to figure out, number one, we -- you know, we kind of know who this person is, but where has he been? What has he done? What has he learned?
I am very concerned. I've heard the previous commentators over the last couple of hours, talk about his offensive ability to create harm and damage and death now, but that training would also lead him to anticipate the police approach, the tactics that police would use to try to track him and apprehend him, which would lend him to probably have some measure of ability in defensive maneuvers. And how to evade police and his evasive maneuvers. And now, that it is dark that further exacerbate this problem.
And so, I think everything is on the table, especially a digital profile over on social media, looking at what he may have logged into who he may have communicated with. How far back does that communication go? And who would have inspired him to do this, if anybody else may be included in his planning of this? Because it took some planning.
COATES: Yes, so true. And just thinking about the distance, these are not places that are kitty corner to one another. It required him to tend to travel from point A to point B to point C, perhaps point D, a very important point. And that notion of not only being able to evade, but could be still proactive in trying to commit additional crimes.
This is a person of interest. The commissioner was very clear. They're not calling this person a suspect at this time. But we have seen pictures now of the shooter. We have seen pictures of the person of interest. Excuse me. We've seen pictures of the car as well. When you have that combination, and this is being provided by law enforcement, what can you glean from what you're seeing right now?
HARRISON: Well, I have to join the previous commentators in believing that this has the three possible outcomes. Surrender, a confrontation, violent confrontation with law enforcement, and/or a self-inflicted wound that could possibly end his own life.
But I'm afraid that in looking at the photo, I heard John Miller talking earlier about the type of clothing he was wearing, the likelihood that he had more ammunition. He had enough ammunition to commit the high number of fatalities and the high number of injuries that some may even lead to more fatalities. I would think he has enough ammunition to do that again, and we should anticipate that.
So, the police approach is very important. This should be very systematic. It should be very, and it will be very carefully planned and coordinated by local, state and federal agencies going far beyond this one city, and maybe even the State of Maine, but this could last for days on end. We hope it doesn't, but we should be prepared for this to last on days on end because we know that this person likely has the skill set to survive and to sustain himself through a protracted event that could last beyond one new cycle or one police tour of duty.
COATES: You know, this is something that we will be watching closely. I will mention one additional point that was raised by the commissioner of public safety, Mike Sauschuck, at that press conference we heard just a few moments ago, and that was he would not rule out or did not say whether they believe this was one person of interest or others were involved.
It seemed that they were having a single focus on this person of interest, which perhaps might give comfort to people. But this investigation about continues and the manhunt is underway.
Everyone standby because it's a very urgent manhunt that's underway right now for all the reasons we've described tonight after a very tragic night in Lewiston, Maine. This is CNN special live coverage.
COATES: We have more on the breaking news tonight out of Maine. City officials telling us that at least 22 people have been killed in two separate mass shootings. One at a restaurant and another at a bowling alley. There's a massive manhunt underway right now for a person of interest, who is named Robert Card.
Andrew McCabe is back with me now. Andy, you know when you look at what's happening right now, and this is in Maine. So, one of the first questions people will ask is whether a person was known to authorities. We have learned from John Miller this person was a military reservist.
But the gun laws and the type of weapon that is being used here. That's the second question. What are the gun laws in Maine? Was the weapon that you're seeing in any of these still photos able to be lawfully used in that state? Obviously, not for criminal purposes, though. ANDREW MCCABE, CNN SENIOR LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: That's right. But it's entirely likely that the weapon that you see in these photos is -- can be lawfully owned in the state of Maine. The weapon is likely an AR-15 or a similar variant, a high-powered assault-style weapon.
Maine does not have a -- any additional background check requirements beyond those federal requirements that are imposed upon federally licensed firearms dealers. Maine also does not have a -- what we refer to, as a Red Flag Law or where some states call it an extreme risk law. Those laws enable family members or sometimes law enforcement to take firearms away from people who seem to be at extreme risk of hurting themselves or others.
For instance, if this person of interest was actually recently in a psychiatric facility undergoing evaluation, that's the sort of situation that could give rise to someone working under a Red Flag Law to remove that person's guns for some period of time. Maine does not have those laws, so that couldn't happen here. And we also know that Maine does not have a concealed carry permit requirement, which basically means if you have lawfully purchased a firearm, a handgun or a long gun -- it's harder to conceal a long gun, but if you have a handgun, you can carry that handgun without a special permit to do so.
So, it's a -- it's a pretty easy state that seems to purchase and use firearms. Now, we know Maine also has a long history of shooting sports and hunting and outdoor -- there's a very strong outdoor culture in Maine. So, guns are fairly prevalent.
I think some of the witnesses -- a few of the witnesses that we've identified on this air this evening, some of them mentioned that as soon as they heard the shelter-in-place rule, they grabbed their handguns --
MCCABE: -- or rifles and loaded those weapons. So, it's a -- it's a part of the culture in Maine.
COATES: Juliette, I know you wanted to weigh in. You have -- I think you add also on these laws, as Andrew McCabe has outlined was not there. Perhaps one of the most striking that people may look at is the Red Flag Laws that are not available in Maine, particularly given the reporting that this person has had some sort of mental health evaluation, perhaps earlier this year over a multi-week period. What's your thought on all this?
COATES: We weren't hearing you at first. Go ahead. Repeat that again.
JULIETTE KAYYEM, CNN SENIOR NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: Yes. So, Maine has the most -- some of the most permissive laws when it comes to gun ownership acquisition, no background checks, no red flag laws. It is -- it is essentially sort of akin to Texas. And part of that is exactly as Andy was saying sort of that a culture of guns which is often related to hunting. And so, you're -- we are unlikely to find that he unlawfully had these weapons. These are lawfully purchased weapons or allowed to be purchased in Maine. Remember also his background is, he is a -- we likely -- we know some of his backgrounds that he is a firearms instructor type, he's going to be familiar with these guns, he's going to be familiar with how to kill as many people as possible without getting shot himself.
And the -- and it just goes to sort of you know the narrative that we often think well, a more armed -- that is often told that a more armed culture will be safer. I think Maine is unfortunately sort of an example now where even people who have guns, you're just not able to anticipate or protect yourself when you're up against the -- this kind of weaponry that just kills so quickly. That is why so many people in law enforcement are against these kinds of rifles.
It is -- it is -- it isn't guns, generally. Although, some -- you know some people would like more restrictions. It is -- it is a gun that two things cannot happen.
One is you cannot protect the public. They are simply, if you're there, you are -- and if you're shot, you're likely to be killed. There are, you know, very few injuries in these cases. And that is even if you are armed, it is very hard to react because the gun works so quickly.
The other is, and we saw this today is that the capacity for law enforcement to stop it is almost minimal because all the killer needs is two, three, or four minutes. He's back in his car. He's already killed, however many people. And now, on to the next place, which law enforcement is now all rushing in the first place.
So, there's going to be a discussion about the gun laws in Maine about his access to the gun laws. They -- there ought to be a discussion. This isn't political. It's just sort of here's a horrible, horrible day. What can we do to minimize the number of people who are dead today?
I mean, this is just like, you know -- I mean, this is not -- and whatever the number is, it's one too many. But we think, you know, the numbers that we are hearing are close to 20 right now. This is not -- this -- we shouldn't be having this discussion simply because most nations don't -- all nations -- no nations have killings like this.
COATES: Well, Juliette, it strikes me at least on two fronts. One, about what the law enforcement who are trying to hone in and identify and find this person's location and bring him into custody, what they're up against if that's the kind of weapon that he as a person of interest may likely have. The second part is the trauma you talk about. And I'm going to go there next. I want to turn to the hospitals and the trauma. But let's listen live. The mayor is speaking.
JASON LEVESQUE, MAYOR OF AUBURN MAINE: You know, something like this doesn't just get solved overnight. But we got a really strong community. We've overcome a lot and will overcome this.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Just seemed like America.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes.
LEVESQUE: Really? It's really a relief, you know if you think about -- I mean, this is -- this is a happier place right now. And the entire area. This is a reunification center, where people -- you know, witnesses saw traumatic events are coming together their family and loved ones who were worried to death about them, and they're coming together. So, it is happy.
But on the flip side of the happiness, what you're seeing is you're seeing the turmoil and the trauma that they're going through, especially the witnesses. And then unless you've been there, you can't really understand, you can't really describe frankly, other than you can feel empathy for them. And that's what we're going to try to do here.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Where we're the witnesses between the events, and now -- (INAUDIBLE)
LEVESQUE: They're in an undisclosed location. Centralized safe location. We brought them there. And, obviously, the police did too, as we were cleaning the scene. It's going to be a long process here at the scenes, but then, you know, we brought them -- once everything was settled, we can bring it back here safely.
And obviously, all the statements were taken, and so forth. That needs to be it -- that needs to happen. So, I mean, the investigation is an investigation. And that's of paramount importance at this time.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mayor, forgive me for asking. You know in other mass shooting incidents in other parts of the country, the reunification point has sometimes been a moment where a loved one comes to the tragic realization that their relative didn't make it.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Has -- have any of those interactions taking place here tonight?
LEVESQUE: Yes. I'll just leave it at that.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What's sort of the process have been -- have the hospital workers who have been working to connect more and more people who have they met?
LEVESQUE: I haven't talked with the hospital directors -- (INAUDIBLE) They're extremely busy and we all need to respect that. They are working with known victims right now, whether it be casualties or fatalities. And they're going to work through that process with the appropriate guidance from mental health support networks that we have. We actually have trained professionals here from the state police as well as local churches that are trained in crisis response, who are actually helping people through this.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: How long can we expect the center to be open?
LEVESQUE: Until it's done. Anything else?
COATES: We're just hearing from the mayor of Auburn, Maine, Jason Levesque. And remember, we learned earlier today from the Commissioner of Public Safety in Lewiston, Maine, that Auburn Middle School was going to be the location of a reunification center for families who were looking to find their loved ones who had lost contact.
We've learned tonight from the mayor of Auburn that the location is open, it will remain open, and there have already been families who have -- who have learned the fate of their loved ones, including that they had died and were killed in this incident. They're talking about churches and other entities as crisis responders and trained to try to help those families. And that empathy is what they're trying to provide for those families as well as get witness statements from people who are involved.
CNN Law Enforcement Contributor and Retired FBI Supervisory Special Agent Steve Moore is with us right now. Steve, we've learned sadly for some people who are hoping to reunify have now learned a -- the fate of their loved ones and that they did not make it through this horrible circumstance. Tell me about what this family reunification process would be like at a center like this.
STEVE MOORE, CNN LAW ENFORCEMENT CONTRIBUTOR: This can be extremely traumatizing for everybody involved because a bunch of people are getting tremendous news. And they're seeing -- they're having reunions -- tearful reunions and thanking God out loud. And some people are showing up and getting the worst possible news that they could ever imagine.
In the cases that I've been involved with, it's almost been traumatizing to be at the unification center. It's best to try and separate. And I hope they've done this. Separate it from a reunification center and then identify those people who are showing up still looking for people that maybe authorities know are not going to be found there.
COATES: It's just unbelievable to think about the waiting, the concern, the wandering only to have, what you said, that moment of confusion and despair. You know, the process that he's speaking about though, this is -- again, that was the mayor of Auburn. This happened -- the mass shootings happened in Lewiston, Maine. They had that Auburn Middle School as one of those centers. The mayor spoke about shelter-in-place conditions, even for his community. What does that tell you?
MOORE: What -- it tells me that they've set the perimeter out -- the fugitive perimeter or the search perimeter out quite a ways which to me means they don't really have a clue or a strong clue as to where he was, or last -- or where he is now. They're probably trying to determine whether he had any assistance, a second vehicle, if -- they're looking to see if any vehicles were stolen in the area.
You have to plan on the worst-case that this person that got out in a vehicle and could be in those areas. But you also have to be pragmatic and say what are the odds that he actually did have another vehicle? And then you've got the problem of Lewiston, and Lisbon and all these areas being just surrounded by forest.
And this is a nightmare. Because if this person is, as we've been hearing, a trained military operative, somebody who taught firearms, then they are going to make clever decisions about what would be in their best interest. And if this person has decided to -- we never know as we've heard so many times, this person's going to turn themselves in or is this person going to take their own lives -- life or are going to go into the woods, hunker down, and wait for the police to get to him?
I think right now, you're in a very dangerous position. I think you -- I wouldn't send people into those woods tonight. I would set up a large perimeter, block off roads, and try it in the daylight.
COATES: Which means that there is time and perhaps opportunity for yet another community to be vulnerable. This is a community of Lewiston, that's not too far away from the most I think populous part of Maine. Portland as well. And you wonder just how far out that perimeter really is going to go in the search for this suspect or this person of interest, as they have been very clear to identify tonight.
Steve, thank you so much. We'll continue to lean on your insight. I want to go next, though, to the hospitals to talk about the emergency trauma that is happening inside of there. This is the person of interest they have identified on your screen. Stay with us.
COATES: Our special coverage continues tonight out of Lewiston, Maine where officials are telling CNN that at least 22 people have been killed at a restaurant and also a bowling alley. And a person of interest is on the loose. He's identified as the person on your screen right now.
Joining me now is Active Shooter Expert Chris Grollnek. Chris, thank you for being here. We've been seeing these still images all night long of the person that they believe is a person of interest. They're not yet calling him a suspect.
I'm watching the clothing. I'm looking at the holding of the gun. Tell me what you are gleaning from this footage you're actually seeing.
CHRIS GROLLNEK, ACTIVE SHOOTER EXPERT: Thank you for having me. And I'm sorry, it's under these circumstances. I believe I look at this from two different vantage points. One is from the prevention standpoint of what could have been done to prevent this. And obviously, from the second, from the response standpoint.
And I believe a lot of your audience, which I've spoken to before on several times on several occasions, understands that you know, these incidents when the police are coming in, they're on their way, they're responding to the incident already in progress. And just like what your other guest has said, there's very little you can do once the shooting starts. And you have to take the path that will get you to the place you want to go.
What does that mean? For you understand, but with technology that's available now, there's warning signs for gun detection that can say there's a gun on the premises. So, I'm looking at what type of cameras are in the three different locations. And while they look a little distorted if you will from the map point of view, they may be very relevant to where he targeted.
And I would also look at the amount of training that he has. For someone to have that type of adrenaline dump into their body, say a viewer that's been in the -- a near car crash, you can barely move, you grab your steering wheel, this person had the wherewithal in the mind to actually get back in their vehicle, and then drive to another location, and then another location, and then for a fourth time, evade. And now they're on the run.
So, whether that's a mental health issue or beyond, or a lot of experience, we don't know because we don't know the background of the person of interest, is how it stated. I would look to see how this is going to unfold and, you know, just hope -- pray for the best for the police because they have a monumental task ahead of them.
COATES: Chris, I want you to just go back. There was a picture that we were showing of him. It was highlighting his face and his body as he was actually holding the weapon, and if you're able to see it.
But he is poised to shoot. He is looking straight ahead. His hands are in position. One is underneath the barrel of the weapon, the other on the trigger.
He's looking over what appears to be some kind of maybe a scope if I'm looking at this correctly. He's looking ahead at potential targets. What does that tell you?
GROLLNEK: It tells me he knows how to handle a firearm. I believe Director McCabe said the -- that the type of weapon, we believe it, to be an AR-15. And that has -- that is some kind of optic. I don't think it's a scope. I think it's a red dot -- red dot optic.
COATES: Optic. OK.
GROLLNEK: And --
COATES: What does that mean, by the way, for people who don't know about guns -- I mean about that? What does that mean, an optic versus a scope?
GROLLNEK: Sure. Well, we're -- sure. So, we're used to a scope magnifying the picture that we're looking at before we shoot. And a lot of people would consider that on hunting rifles where you have a scope of red dot or some type of optic. It's called a faster pickup for your eye.
So, where you pick the weapon up and you see the dot, the dot is going to be on the place where the muzzle is going to be aimed, and -- for targets and competition shooting. They use it quite a bit. So, that type of optic, it will -- it might -- it may not magnify the picture. In other words, the viewer won't be able to see him with a magnification.
But the dot could magnify the background to actually help you find another target. It's called target discrimination. So, you know, terrible situation to talk about target discrimination when there's --
GROLLNEK: -- so many victims and so many people shot. And I will just go back to the -- his handling of the weapon shows some type of occupational proficiency. Most people, especially people without training, stand still. Their posture is not correct. They don't know how to hold the weapon.
When it fires, they lean back. The pictures that I've seen show him leaning into it moving as if he's walking on a tightrope and being very deliberate in his steps in his actions to include his hand movement, which is functional for the weapon.
COATES: And we're -- I'm looking, of course, and we -- in the photo that we're seeing. He's at a bowling alley. We've heard from eyewitnesses. They saw children running out of this bowling alley. It could have potentially had many children inside.
This is not going to a gun range. This is not going to a place where perhaps he would believe he could encounter people who could respond. These are essentially soft targets. What do you make of that?
GROLLNEK: Well, tragically -- I've studied these things since 2007. I was in an active shooter in 2010. And I wrote my master's thesis on the phenomenon of active shooters.
And tragically, a lot of these people, they don't wake up one day and become an active shooter. You know, I heard the background, and I won't elaborate on what his mental health state is. But I will tell you, the FBI tells us that less than 25 percent of active shooters have a mental health diagnosis.
The key word there is diagnosis because most don't get help. So, the people that call for gun control, I think, you know, I can agree and I can understand where they're coming from. The people that call for mental health work, I can agree I understand where they're coming from. But I think there has to be a third tier of realism.
There's over 400 million firearms in the United States. Less than 550 had been involved in active shooters. That is by -- that is 550 too many and I would not disagree at all. But with the condition and the problem that we have right now, we continue to come back to the same debates. Whether it's the training, the firearms, the laws, the mental health, and the behavior, this person had a vision of what they wanted to do whether it was a copycat, whether they -- this is why we don't say their names traditionally because we're not trying to glorify them. I mean, we don't want to put them on a plateau where somebody wants to outdo them, or they want out to someone else.
And I am sure when this manifesto comes out, we're going to know, this has been planned, orchestrated, and in their mind, it made sense. So, I'm of the opinion that all active shooters have some type of mental health diagnosis. Because what we would agree on, I believe, is no sane person would go to a bowling alley, where there's children and fire.
So, he was somehow either connected to the location or knew the location. And if the reporting is accurate that he was possibly laid off from a location near there, maybe he was targeting people from the work -- you know where it's a workplace spillover.
And I want to be very careful because I don't want to mistake semantics for a victim that -- they don't care what you call it. Their loved one is dead. And I think we have to be very careful. And I would applaud the last guest that was speaking about the reunification programs.
GROLLNEK: Those are the hardest things. They're the hardest things to look at, to do, to plan. And from what all the guests have said on the scene, it's going very well. I applaud that.
And I think everybody's doing an outstanding job. The reporting has been spot-on. And I just want to say also, I wish it wasn't -- I wish it was poor reporting. I wish we didn't know the questions to ask. I wish there weren't guests that knew what they were talking about. Because my whole mission in life now -- you know, retired and I've come back.
GROLLNEK: I started the active shooter prevention project. And that's not a plug. Please, don't call me. I don't capitalize on these things. What I'm saying is, we can prevent them, OK? We know what happens after these things happen from zero to eight minutes, and then they're over.
GROLLNEK: The police will not get there until eight minutes. So, what shouldn't we show up the first eight minutes, and I believe technology is the way to do that. I'm not selling any. I'm just telling you, there's a way to prevent them. We just have to get creative and do it.
COATES: Chris, thank you so much. I'm going to keep thinking about that optic that you're talking about and the red dots and the posture of the person who is of interest. His feet seeming to be walking, as if he's continuing along on what he is doing with that gun. Really important to hear your perspective. Thank you so much.
GROLLNEK: Thank you --
COATES: And everyone out there -- I mean there are more than 50 people -- more than 50 people who are also hurt tonight. And hospitals are taking them in. We're going to go there next. Stay with us.
COATES: Our special coverage continues tonight out of Maine, where 22 people are reported dead after two mass shootings. More than 50 others are hurt. I want to bring in Dr. James Phillips, Associate Professor and Chief of Disaster Medicine at George Washington University Hospital.
Doctor, it is an unbelievable scene that we are learning about and hearing about. The number of people who are injured, the weapon that was likely used, a person of interest. Take me behind the scenes of what happens at a hospital when you've got this number of people, potentially 50, who have been injured.
DR. JAMES PHILLIPS, ASSOCIATE PROFESSOR & CHIEF OF DISASTER MEDICINE, GEORGE WASHINGTON UNIVERSITY HOSPITAL: Thanks for having me on, Laura. And again, I'm echoing what your last guest said. I'm sorry, that has to be under these circumstances. But I do appreciate you asking these important questions about how we approach this from a hospital standpoint, and from a healthcare system standpoint.
You know, I don't want to speculate on the number of victims that the hospitals are caring for because we don't know. And in -- the in the fog of war as it is, these numbers will change. But what we can be certain about it is that there are a number of patients that can -- that are overwhelming the medical system as it -- as it exists.
You know, this area of Maine has a major medical center there. That is an American College of Surgeons Trauma Center. But no matter how good or how busy they are, receiving that number of victims, even half of that number of victims with high caliber weapon wounds is a true disaster where the amount of patient needs far exceeds what your resources are available. They're going to be reaching out for help, not only to transfer patients to other trauma centers that can accept patients to non- trauma centers that can help. They're going to be calling in their staff from home. And most people are going to probably self-respond to the -- to the hospital as it is.
When we see a disaster like this or a mass casualty incident, no matter the cause, we think of it in terms of three major things. We think about space, staff, and supplies. And those medical centers that are caring for these victims right now are overwhelmed, and they're having the worst day that they've ever had.
And they need -- they need components of each of those things. They need trauma surgeons, they need emergency physicians, and they need nurses. They need the supplies that are there to help alleviate the bleeding and they need operating rooms where they can provide damage control surgery for those that are -- that have survived to try to get to the next shooting victim and potentially go back to the OR the next day to try to complete that surgery.
And they need -- they need support more than anything. They're -- these physicians and nurses are experiencing the single worst day of their lives. And it's something we all think about.
I just finished my shift in the emergency department an hour ago. And there's not a single day when we are in the emergency department where we'll be -- where we don't know that that's a possibility that the -- that a major shooting can take place for us. It's the primary disaster that we are preparing for in the United States now.
COATES: It's unbelievable to think about what is at stake here. And as you say, the old -- the overwhelming nature of what might be happening. You describe the space, the staffing, the supplies. Obviously, with a high-caliber weapon that may have been used, there would be significant blood loss. I would assume you would need blood as well in terms of people being able to what they can use and supply.
How do you prioritize then? That's going to be a consideration when you're talking about the victims that might be coming in. What is the process of identifying the order in which you treat and address? Because I can only imagine what the wounds would be like.
PHILLIPS: Yes, that's a -- that's a fantastic question. And it -- and it deals with the concept of triage, which is French for meaning to sort. The first bit of sorting will take place on the scenes of these, what I believe are just two focal areas where the shootings took place. And the first concept is that EMS will set up an ability to triage patients based on their severity of injuries at the scene.
But what we know from reality is those systems are minimally effective. If you look at what happened in Las Vegas, people don't wait for an ambulance to go to the hospital. They get in a vehicle; they call Uber and Lyft.
That happened in Vegas. They get in the back of police cars and pickup trucks and they self-transport themselves to these hospitals that may or may not be capable of taking care of them.
So, when they arrive there at the hospital, either by ambulance or by private vehicle, that's when we repeat that triage with usually an advanced medical provider who's out there. And we try to sort them into categories based on the severity of their injuries, based on our career experience. And we tried to put them into categories of green, yellow, and red. And that's self-obvious.
The red patients are the patients who are expected to deteriorate and have a bad outcome if they don't get to the operating room, get those blood transfusions, get that stabilization as necessary right now. Patients in that yellow category are patients that can probably wait a few hours, maybe not quite critical, but at risk of deteriorating. And we want to keep a constant eye on them to make sure they don't become a red patient while they're waiting for care.
And then those in the green category are typically what we would call walking wounded. Patients that aren't having massive blood loss, their vital signs are reasonable, their injuries don't require immediate category, and we try to sort them as well, being mindful that anybody can switch between those categories anytime.
And now, it's the job of the emergency physicians and the trauma surgeons to determine who needs to go to the operating room right now, and for what procedure. And the worst thing possible is that there's going to be victims that show up that may not be salvageable. They may have wounds that are not compatible with life.
And the hardest decision that any surgeon or physician is going to have to make is to have that patient there alive but know that they're not salvageable, and we need to save those resources, those operating rooms for patients that have a better chance of living. And that's got to be the most difficult decision that a physician would happen they can make. I hope that they're not having to make those decisions tonight.
COATES: It is just my heart is in my stomach as I'm hearing you describe that triage, the sorting process, the judgment calls that need to be made. And I keep going back to what you said earlier that the number one disaster preparedness that you're trying to do is in preparation for mass shootings in this country.
COATES: That's just unbelievable to think about, Doctor.
PHILLIPS: It is. You know, I was in college when I was watching Columbine happen on TV. I'm from Oklahoma City where my dad was one of the first firefighters in the Murrah building after the bombing. And I was in Boston doing my training during the marathon bombing.
We think of all the different hazards that can lead to mass casualty incidents, earthquakes, tornadoes, let alone the manmade things. But without question, the thing that weighs on our minds the most right now, the thing that can happen in any community, that's a hazard for every place in America right now is a mass shooting.
COATES: Dr. James Phillips, thank you so much for what you do. I'm so appreciative of how you've broken it down. And we are thinking about what everyone has to go through now at those hospitals, the space, the staffing, the supplies, the victims. Thank you so much.
PHILLIPS: Thank you.
COATES: Next, I'm going to speak with a man who was near the scene. And we'll talk with the mayor who is leading that family reunification center out of Auburn. Standby.
COATES: We have more on our breaking news out of Maine in the two mass shootings there. Just moments ago, I talked with a man who lives near the scene. Listen.
DON DOSTIE, LEWISTON RESIDENT: A lot of anger that was happening in the community because Mainers were much better than this. And you know, it's this -- you've had these interviews with people all over the country before in a mass shooting. You just can't believe it's going to happen in your hometown, and here we are. I got helicopters flying over my house with shirts -- searchlights. And it's unreal.
COATES: What are you hearing and seeing tonight? You said you have the helicopters. Did you hear -- you're only a very short one block away from the bowling alley. Did you hear gunshots tonight or anything?
DOSTIE: When I got home, we locked down and I loaded my rifle and our handgun. So, I was busy doing that. I walked out on the deck for a short time, thought I heard, we are attack of -- in the distance. But I think mostly what I've been hearing, honestly is sirens. Like I said, the helicopters flying above. We have a view of Maine Street, so I just saw police car after police car after police car flying by and then ambulances go into the hospital.
COATES: Do you have a sense of how many ambulances you saw leaving that bowling alley?
DOSTIE: I only saw -- I didn't see them leave the bowling alley, but they were -- they were coming from that direction. And I would -- there were two. As far as police cars, they had to be a dozen or more. I mean there was -- there was quite a -- quite a bunch of law enforcement officers heading that way.
COATES: Next I'm going to speak with the mayor of the nearby town, the town that is leading the center of where families are trying to reunite and possibly learning about the fate of their loved ones. Standby (COMMERCIAL BREAK)