this is al jazeera america. we are awaiting a statement from the president at the white house. he is of course, expected to talk about that shooting in san bernardino. the two suspects we do know. they have been identified. they were killed in that shootout with police. it happened about four hours after the rampage that left 14 people dead. also at least 17 injured. they said they couldn't talk about specific cases because of
privacy laws. mike viqueira live at this hour in washington, d.c. mike this is the 15th time now that president obama has had to make such a speech addressing a mass shooting in the u.s. clearly frustration from the white house. >> reporter: and president obama has said in the past particularly after some of the more high profile shootings this year, and there have been so many, that this is the most frustrating thing of his entire presidency. many thought that the moment was here after the tragedy, the unspeakable horror of the sandy hook slayings of the elementary school children so young dying at the hands of the individual. the president pushing something through congress and yet that effort crashed and burned as have so many other efforts. really since president clinton's first term. the issue is partly political.
many democrats felt that the effort way back in 1993 lead to the defeat of democrats in congress, losing control of congress in the next election. ever since then it has been bad news for any advocates of gun control. even as the shootings pile up. just this year, colorado springs just recently, the community college in oregon, what happened in rowen oak to that young television reporter, the unforgettable tragedy of charleston in the church, and in california just to name some of the more high-profile active shooter incidents that we have seen. each time, you are absolutely right. the president comes out, expresses his frustration, increasing visceral terms about his inability to do this, frequently siting that there are other countries who do not go through this trauma every month or it seems now every couple of weeks.
the president is meeting with his national security team in the oval office. he is right now delivering remarks to the press pool designated to cover him. that is not a live event. those reporters will be coming out shortly, at which point we expect to hear what the president has to say. this was an unscheduled event. last night we did not hear from the president as this drama unfolded in the streets of san bernardino. he spoke briefly in an interview with cbs news. unclear what the president is going to be able to say and do at this point, many of us sitting at the edge of our seats to wait to hear what the president says. he has said in the wake of the last tragedy, the last time he appeared, and that it is up to the american people, the voters, to make this an issue at the top of the agenda, that is the only way that washington is going to reverse course. >> and mike just so our audience
does not think we are rude when the president comes out, if we are in the middle of a statement or question, one of us will interrupt the other and we'll go to the president. >> reporter: absolutely. >> the front page of the "washington post" reporting that there has been 355 mass shootings in a year so far. as far as meaningful change, 93% of americans want there to be change, but are we hearing the same rhetoric on capitol hill, on the issue of doing something, anything? >> reporter: the political lines are drawn on this issue, del, as we were just talking about, that is not expected to change any time soon. ted cruz, of course, the fire brand conservative on the right side of the political spectrum has already come out in the hours after this, del, it has not even been 24 hours, and said he is going to be holding an
second amend rally on the campaign trail. so that gives you an idea of the divide here. those voters are more likely to vote on this issue, and vote in the presidential primary, and for an individual like ted cruz, he is going to come down four square against gun control, even in the wake of the calls we see in the wake of each of these tragedies, del. >> mike, during this recent spout of shootings, there has not been anything in the way of any statement from the nra. >> reporter: that's interesting. you are right, del. of course, after sandy hook, the long time leader and top official of the nra, came out and employed the logic that we often hear from gun rights advocates, and that is if that had not been a gun-free zone
around that school at sandy hook in newtown, connecticut, then perhaps the shooter, the person who murdered those young children would have had second thoughts about going inside. the solution typically of the nra and others is to essential i will arm more people so people will think twice about marching into as we saw yesterday a holiday gathering among publish servants with automatic weapons fire. del. >> mike stand by. we're going to melissa chan. the medical center held a news conference, updating us as much as they could about the condition of the victims. they said much couldn't be said because of hipaa laws, the privacy laws regarding patient's
privacy. but what do we know? >> reporter: we do know two remaining in critical condition, and three in fair condition. that's a total of five patients there at the medical center. there are a total of 17 wounded. and there range from gunshot injuries to people being injured running in fear. in about an hour's time we expect the sheriff's department to give their first press conference today. thursday morning. the last press conference was late wednesday evening, in which they confirmed that there are two suspects. they are no longer looking for a third suspect. i don't know if you recall, but during the chaos, there were reports of two to three suspects, so that is something that officials confirmed late last night, we do expect to hear from them within an hour, although they have not hinted in terms of the context of what
they will be discussing. del. >> one question, and you may not know, but it is the question that has been asked since this shooting began, which is why? >> reporter: well, right now there are two narratives. and here are the facts. the facts are that law enforce officials say that they really do believe that this was planned to a certain extent. they described the two shooters as arriving at the social services center in military fatigues with guns. and there are also reports that they responded as a result of some sort of argument at a holiday party. so was it planned? or was it something that was decided last minute? very unclear, two narratives, del. >> melissa, the other question i'll ask you before we go to the news conference, the mood in california right now, and specifically the mood concerning the mood in washington.
do they want change? do they think they are going to get change? and melissa i'm going to have to interrupt you. i'm going to let you answer that on the back end. because the president is speaking now. >> yesterday a tragedy hit san bernardino, and as i said in the aftermath, our first order of business is to send our thoughts and prayers to the families of those who have been killed, and pray for a speedy recovery for those who were injured during this terrible attack. i had a chance to speak with mayor davis of san bernardino, and i thanked law enforcement in that city for their timely and professional response. i indicated to major davis that the entire country is thinking about that community, and thanked him and his office for the way that they have been able to manage extraordinarily
difficult situation with calm and clarity, and very much appreciated the coordination that has been taking place between local law enforce and the fbi investigators. at this stage, we do not yet know why this terrible event occurred. we do know that the two individuals who were killed were equipped with weapons and appeared to have access to additional weaponry at their homes, but we don't know why they did it. we don't know at this point the extent of their plans. we do not know their motivations. and i just received a briefing from fbi director comey, as well
as attorney general lynch indicating the course of their investigation. at this point, this is now an fbi investigation. that's been done in cooperation and consultation with local law enforcement. it is possible that this was terrorist related, but we don't know. it's also possible that this was [ inaudible ] related. and until the fbi has been able to conduct what are going to be a large number of interviews, until we understand the nature of the workplace relationship between the individual and his superiors because he worked with the organization where this took
place, until all of the social media, and electronic information has been exploited we are not going to be able to answer those questions. but i can assure the american people we're going to get to the bottom of this, and we're going to be vigilant as we always are in getting the facts before we issue any decisive judgments in terms of how this occurred. more broadly, as i said yesterday, you know, we see the prevalence of these kinds of mass shootings in this country, and i think so many americans sometimes feel as if there is nothing we can do about it. we are fortunate to have an extraordinary combination of law enforcement, and intelligence, and military, that work every single day to keep us safe, but
we can't just leave it to -- our professionals so -- to deal with the problem of these kinds of horrible killings. we all have a part to play, and i do think that as the investigation moves forward, it's going to be important for all of us, including our legislatures, to see what we can do to make sure that when individuals decide that they want to do somebody harm, we make it a little harder for them to do it, because right now it's just too easy. and, you know, we're going to have to, i think search ourselves as a society to make sure that we can take the basic steps that would make it harder, not impossible, but harder, for individuals to get access to
weapons. so there will be, i think a press conference later today, lead by the attorney general, director comey will continue to brief, not only the press, but also members of congress about the course of the investigation. our expectation is that this may take sometime before we are able to sort it all through. there may be mixed motives involved in this, which makes the investigation more complicated. but rest assured that we will get to the bottom of this, and in the meantime, once again, i want to offer our deepest condolences to those who have been -- who have been affected by this terrible tragedy, and for those who have been injured, we hope that they get well quickly, and that, you know, they are able to be back together with their families. thank you very much, everybody. >> the president of the
united states speaking to reporters, telling them just moments ago at this stage, we don't know why this terrible event occurred. they were his first comments to the press corps, the wider press corps since the event of yesterday, saying that the fbi is now investigating. mike viqueira you were listening as well, the president saying that he does not know whether or not this is terrorism. also introducing the possibility that the motives in this case may have been mixed. >> mixed motives, and i thought that was very telling, del, you are absolutely right. he said it is possible this was terror, it is also possible it is workplace related violence, and he said the motives could be mixed, and he says that could complicate matters. this is not the usual venue where he has appeared before the press in the briefing room before reporters. this a much more solemn and serious atmosphere. it is always a serious
atmosphere, but this obviously conveying that the president on top of this, trying to get to the bottom of it, tra train -- flanked as he was by other officials. but again saying we all have a part to play that individuals and legislatures are going to have to do some soul searching. he has been frustrated in the pass in his effort to pass gun control, but i think in illusion that progress for advocates of gun control and gun legislation being made on the local level. he said that the attorney general will be having a press conference later today. because as the president noted this investigation now being lead by the fbi. >> you have been watching this president for years, and after the 2007 elections we all
remember a man with a much more youthful face and darker hair. today he appeared to be weary, is that because of the pressure that the office brings? or is there something else? it appears he has been suffering from a cold as well. >> reporter: i think we saw a period after the midterm elections last year in 2014, where many people were talking about the president and the lack of energy. i think it was put to him directly by an interviewer, what is going on? and he denied there was any sort of problem or disspirited air about the white house or himself. i think the president has turned the page in that regard. there is an air about him, and it's not me that is noting this, where he has put aside any considerations about playing the game the washington way, obviously evidenced by the fact that he has taken many executive actions that have infuriated many, virtually the entire republican party, and he sort of
let loose. i think today what you see as far as the setting a conscious effort by the white not to put him before reporters expressing his frustrations, but an effort to put him in a more somber serious atmosphere, more of hands on atmosphere, where the president is coordinating about talking to top security aids, because as he said it is known exactly what has happened. what the motivations are. what the extent of the plans were noting the fact that they had other highly sophisticated or highly lethal weapons at home in addition to the ones they were carrying when they were overtaken by police. perhaps suggesting that there were other plans by these two, so the president on top of it, trying to get to the bottom of it. >> and mic -- mike, i want to
get your thoughts on the mood in washington, d.c. is there a sense, now that even washington is becoming weary of the constant back and forth between republicans and democrats on the issue of gun control, because as this event was unfolding, outon the west coast, the christmas tree was being lit on capitol hill, all of that overshadowed and security concerns in every city in the united states stepped up, because they didn't know whether or not this was something that was planned or coordinated. >> right. and the white house christmas tree as well. absolutely. as far as the weariness, one hates to be cynical, but the battle lines are being drawn, which is another way of saying -- and the positions are well know -- which is another way of saying we are likely to
see more of the same. these are positions that are well-known, they are supported by the base of each respective party and they are unlikely to see a variance. so as the president has said and perhaps he is on to something here, the only way it is going to change, ironically is if more people get involved not simple single or top three issue voters when it comes to gunn legislation of gun rights, but the president has said when people get more involved in this, those who were in favor of gun legislation, that's the only way that any progress is going to made in that regard as far as gun control is concerned, del. >> mike, stand by, when we come back, we're going to discuss that issue of guns on the west coast. stay with us. the only way to get better is to challenge yourself,
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inspiring... entertaining. "talk to al jazeera". monday, 6:00 eastern. only on al jazeera america. >> at this stage, we do not yet know what the motive is. we do know the two individuals who were killed were equipped with weapons and appeared to have access to additional weaponry in their homes, but we don't know why they did it. we don't know at this point the extent of their plans. we do not know their motivations. and that is president obama speaking moments ago about the shootings in san bernardino. just in case you are keeping
tabs, that is the 15th time so far during his administration that he has made a similar speech. authorities are trying to figure out the motive behind those shootings at a social security center. the two suspects have been identified. both dieing in a shootout with police about four halves after the initial shooting rampage. melissa chan is live for us out on the west coast in san bernardino. first my apologies for having to cut you off. the ceo of the medical center talked about the injuries. what do we know about that? >> reporter: we know there are two people in critical season and three in fair condition. but the entire total, 17 injured, everyone from those who
suffered from some type of gunshot wound to those who were just running down the stairs trying to get out of the social services building during the attack. here is what the spokesman had to say. >> we have two that are still in critical condition. three in fair condition. we had a called-in bomb threat to the institution. that always is something we take seriously. you never know whether it is credible or not. so our practice and policy is to always take those matters seriously. we bring in all hands on deck. there is a call that goes out to all trauma surgeons, support staff, nursing staff, so we had a large group of our professionals that were prepared to take multiple casualties if that were the case. fortunately they were able to distribute patients among a number of hospitals, but we
could have handled more if necessary. we were not advised by law enforce to lockdown the facility, so we did not lockdown the facility yesterday. in that was because there was no information of a immediate threat to the institution. there are still automobile accidents and strokes and heart attacks, so we remained open at that time to try to address other patients. >> reporter: in about a half an hour there is going to be a briefing from the sheriff's department. they did say that one law enforcement officer was injured. non-life-threatening injuries. if you consider everything that happened yesterday, the chase and the gunfire, it is really quite incredible that only just one officer was injured in all of this, del. >> melissa thank you very much. michaeled toman is a retired
naib agent joining us from kansas city. mr. toddman thank you for being with us. the president saying the fbi now taking the lead in this investigation. what will they be looking for? >> the fine -- fbi is going to be looking for any type of terrorist attack. given the nature -- the weapons, the fact that there were bombs, the methodology used. the way they dressed in this combat gear, and the very advanced weaponry, gives you an indication of some sort of terrorist connection. so the fbi wants to make sure there are no further plots a foot. if there are any coconspirators. >> before we get ahead ourselves, though, if i could push back and point out according to the "washington post" this morning, there have been 355 mass shootings in the
united states in just 342 days is not now the definition of terrorism in this country anything that involves more than one person dying? >> well, no, again, terrorism, we kind of define it by invoking terror and fear throughout the public. but the actual statutes has to go to the motivation. so why emotionally we often hear that it was terrorism, it may not fit directly under the statutes. however, we should be assured that this type of violent act, we can't address under the rubric of terrorism, law enforcement has more than enough tools to prosecute it and punish it under the various statutes, whether it's murder, or the statutes of domestic terrorism, which would be something like using a deadly weapon, weapons
of mass destruction. >> the president saying that there may have been mixed motives. is this one different? >> this one is very different. when i first heard about the venue, i had my doubts as to whether there really was more than one shooter, because this seemed to more have the profile of a sandy hook or the batman theater shootings, which has one loan gunman, usually a young man, usually with a mental illness and this is his reaction. so to see more than one gunman is unusual. if a terrorist event, we would have seen people spreading out, taking on more casualties, and not even worrying about the escape, maybe even welcoming a confrontation of law enforcement. this had more the trappings of a
work-place shooting, but it also has tappings of terrorism. >> dating back to where you are in kansas city, it used to be with the st. valentine's day massacre, we were talking about 28s, and maybe midnight specials, but know we are talking about people that are armed to the teeth. how difficult is that making the job of fbi agents like yourself? >> it certainly makes it difficult. when i was in the fbi during the drug wars when we found ourselves constantly outguns. now we see they are seeing easier to get in the hands of criminals. and do we really want to strip the police departments of these military-style weapons when in fact they are faced with it daily. i don't think it's a matter of the police departments having them, it's more when and how to deploy them. >>