tv CNN Newsroom CNN September 17, 2013 11:00am-1:01pm PDT
washington. i'm brooke baldwin standing alongside jake tapper. at this hour here in the nation's capital, flags are at half staff and a new wreath stands at the navy memorial today. >> those are just some of the signs of a capital in mourning after the massacre at the washington navy yard. the fbi is about to hold a news conference. in the meantime, police have released the names of all 12 people who were killed yesterday. the mother of one victim, 59-year-old michael arnold, spoke to reporters. >> it's just not possible. it's not possible that they shot him. just for no reason. he loved his country. he loved the navy. he loved flying. he was just a happy person. >> heartbreaking.
we're learning more about the eight who were hurt but survived. >> investigators have yet to really learn why this military contractor, this veteran by the name of aaron alexis, walked into building ining 197 on the with his shotgun and just kept pulling the trigger. sources say alexis may have picked up two more handguns from guards before he was ultimately shot and killed by security. but we can tell you today that alexis had a history with guns. you'll hear those details in just a moment. and he had a record. both civilian and military of behavior problems. problems that a source says stems from his time in new york on september 11th, 2001. we have learned also his family says it led to ptsd, a life wandering the country. california, texas, overseas, and ultimately to the violence at his latest job here at the navy yard. the source says recently ai l l
began hearing voices and had sleeping problems. the source said he basically snapped. >> the dead gunman's criminal record includes arrests that stem from apparent bouts of anger and the illegal discharge of guns, but those who knew him well say they're shocked that he would commit mass murder. we'll hear now from a friend and coworker at a thai restaurant in ft. worth, texas. >> aaron was a very polite, very friendly man. i got to know him two years ago when he first started helping out at the restaurant. he just had an excitement for life. one of the things he talked about was 9/11 and how he was there and he saw the towers come down from where he was working. i don't know at the time where he was, but he just cannot believe -- he and his co-workers at the time were just in shock and disbelief like all americans that the twin towers were no longer there. he had an anger towards the
terrorists who did that and took innocent people. >> that friend did say she had some minor disputes with the shooter and he seemed increasingly anxious about money matters, his career, and his unreliable car. he developed a vent towards buddhism but also had a preoccupation with violent video games. in the aftermath of the shooting, there's been a lot of soul searching at the pentagon, what could have been done better. we heard earlier today the secretary of the navy -- actually, we're going to take a break. we're going to go to the fbi press conference right now in progress. let's listen in. >> -- progress of this investigation. as briefed last night, we believe at this time that the deceased shooter, aaron alexis, acted alone. as such, with no other suspects at large, the investigation has moved into a phase of evidence recovery and information
gathering. we have confirmed 13 fatalities to include the shooter, all of whom have been positively identified. our evidence response teams remain at the navy yard and continue to process the scenes. as i mentioned last night, this is a methodical and time-intensive process that includes bullet trajectory and crime scene mapping and with the assistance of our evidence response personnel from our baltimore and richmond field offices, we will remain there for as long as necessary to carefully process each shooting site. in regards to the weapons used by mr. alexis, there has been a lot of information circulating in the media over the past day. once again, we caution against obtaining information from unofficial sources, and we ask that all inquiries be directed to the fbi. at this time, we believe that
mr. alexis entered building 197 at the navy yard with a shotgun. we do not have any information at this time that he had an ar-15 in his possession. we also believe mr. alexis may have gained access to a handgun once inside the facility and after he began shooting. as previously mentioned, mr. alexis had legitimate access to the navy yard as a result of his work as a contractor, and he utilized a valid pass to gain entry to the building. we also continue to conduct all other necessary investigation to learn about the activities and contacts of mr. alexis. we continue to conduct interviews, exploit digital media, and run down every lead we can to piece together his recent movements and determine the motive behind his attack. we can say that we have
determined mr. alexis arrived in the washington, d.c. area on or about august 25th. he has stayed at local hotels in the area since that time. most recently he is known to have stayed at a residence inn in southwest washington, d.c., starting on september 7th. we ask anyone who may have had contact with him during this time or previously to contact the fbi with that information. as a result of the public's cooperation thus far, we have received hundreds of tips which we will continue to follow up. this investigative activity is not only taking place here in washington, d.c., but in various cities across the country where mr. alexis has spent time. we are greatly appreciative of the public's cooperation and we again ask anyone who may have knowledge of mr. alexis to report that information to the
fbi. no piece of information is too small. we also continue to put forth other fbi assets towards this investigation. our office of victim assistance is working together with mpd and the department of defense to provide resources and support to victims and next of kin. we also have personnel from our behavioral analysis unit assisting in the investigation as we try to determine the motivation behind the shootings. we continue to look into mr. alexis' past, including his medical and criminal histories. but because that part of the investigation is still ongoing, we will not comment further on that at this time. once again, i'd like to thank our partner agencies and all those who have participated in yesterday's response. i'd also like to thank all of the individuals who work at the navy yard for their cooperation and patience during a long and
trying day. and i want to again extend my thanks to the public for their continued support. please continue to report any and all information regarding mr. alexis by calling 1-800-call-fbi. that is 1-800-225-5324. thank you, and i'd like to now invite the chief to say a few words. >> i have very little to add from what our last briefing was last night. i will try and answer the questions i've been getting from most of the press. first and foremost, our officer is doing well. i visited with him last night. he is in good spirits. he is pretty uncomfortable. he has some pretty serious injuries, but we do expect he will make a full recovery. he extended multiple times his thanks for the support from the public and also his gratitude
for the other law enforcement officers who responded who helped to get him out of the building and get him to safety after he was injured. again, that would not have happened in every case, but the working relationship with mpd and all our partners here in the region and the training we do was critical yesterday. also, i'll say that we have gone and looked further in some of the response and spent several hours this morning, and as proud as i was yesterday of the working relationship, the teamwork, and the heroism of the police officers and first responders, i'm even more so today. i have seen things that we have trained for and planned for for years come into place nearly flawlessly. literally two minutes after the call was dispatched, we had officers at the gates, arriving on the scene. within seven minutes, had officers at the building,
entering the building to engage in active shooter as shots were actively being fired. we had officers who heroically went into a building, witnessing multiple casualties and continued to pursue and engage a gunman who was determined to kill as many people as possible and law enforcement officers were not discriminated against as far as the shooter was concerned. so the officers, the more we look into this, the officers that responded from all of the agencies did an incredible job, and there's no doubt in my mind that they saved numerous lives by engaging the way they did. so for all the officers, met pollal police, united states park police, all of our federal partners that responded and worked as multiagency teams -- none of our teams went in as a single unit agency. they all went in multiple agencies and a single team. they did a fantastic job. i couldn't be any more proud of the work our law enforcement and first responders did.
also, the coordination with the military and with our fire ems to get victims to safety and to medical treatment. just a fantastic job. thank you. >> good afternoon. my name is mike monroe. i'm the special agent in charge of the washington field office of the naval investigative criminal service. i'd like to send my condolences to the family members of the fallen. we are the department of the navy's law enforcement agency. those that have fallen are colleagues, shipmates, and we send our prayers to the families of those. ncis has been engaged with this investigation from the immediate response, and we had three special agents, one of which is embedded on a daily basis at the systems command building, respond in a multiagency effort to the building. after three of our special agents were joined by police officers, they entered the building, engaged the threat, during which time the metro
police officer was wounded. those agents subsequently removed him from it the building and got him to medical care. following the engagement with the threat, our special agents have been engaged in every aspect of the investigation as part of this effort. we're following up on leads arm in arm and collectively with other law enforcement partners it and we'll be engaged in this investigation through its conclusion. we found this is a model response for a multiagency effort. we appreciate the support of all the agencies involved in supporting the department of navy community and those affected at washington navy yard during this incident. thank you. >> good afternoon. i'm the u.s. attorney for the district of columbia. first and foremost, i want to send out thoughts and prayers to the victims of this terrible tragedy. this, as you have heard, remains an ongoing and active
investigation. prosecutors from the u.s. attorneys office are working hand in hand from yesterday morning with law enforcement officials to try to give them all the tools they need so they can understand the events that led to yesterday's tragedy. as we have moved from a crisis stage into the investigative stage of this case, our focus and efforts are going to be on answering the questions that we all have. what caused this individual to kill so many innocent men and women? how did he carry out and plan this attack? how did he get access to the weapons? what could have done to prevent this tragedy? most importantly, whether anyone else aided or assisted him wittingly or unwittingly in this tragedy. we're not going to stop until we get answers to those questions. that's important not only for
this city and this community but most of all for the loved ones who were lost yesterday. i fully expect this investigation will take weeks and months. we're going to run down every lead, explore every detail and try to get to the bottom of this terrible event. finally, i just want to say that yesterday, which was such a dark moment in our city and country's histo history, was also a time of tremendous dedication, courage, and heroism. i'm very proud to stand here today with our law enforcement partners who put aside any thoughts of their own safety as they rushed to the scene to try to save the lives of others. it was truly a tremendous effort. i fully expect that coordination, that dedication and that commitment to continue in the coming days, weeks, and months ahead as we work hard to answer those tough questions that remain. thank you.
>> good afternoon, everybody. i'm kenneth ellerby, chief of the fire and ems department of washington, d.c. i've heard a lot of words like tragedy, darkness. also heard some very important words. collaboration, cooperation. i'm going to try to answer one or two questions why. first, why do we work multijurisdictionally training for events like this? yesterday is an example of why we do the training. also, why do we adhere to such strict rules for our members throughout our organizations? that's another answer or a reason why. we don't want to have to think about the responses. we just want to respond. i want top commend everybody here, all of our partners for the work they did, the seamless integration of the different police forces and our fire and ems department along with prince george's county to do as much as we could to resolve this issue. they're going to continue their investigation. our part, for the most part, is
completed. we hope that we never have to repeat anything like this again. >> we'll go ahead and take a few questions. >> was the suspect's shotgun purchase lawful? >> it was a lawful purchase of a shotgun made in virginia. >> assistant director, is it possible he was just mentally ill and there was no motive here? >> so the motivation, whatever that motivation is, is currently under investigation, and we're not going to comment on it at this time. >> [ inaudible question ]. >> i can't comment on that. >> can you give us any guidance on whether this young man was seeking any kind of psychological treatment? >> i can't comment on that at this time. >> can you explain the decision not to lock down the city at the point where you thought there were three gunmen?
>> the decision to ask the residents and other businesses in the area to shelter in place was a decision we thought through very carefully. we had information that we could not dismiss, so we thought that was the most prudent decision at the time. we aired on the side of caution rather than being careless. i think it was the right decision to keep our residents and everyone else informed, but we had to run down some additional information, one of which we clear kd very quickly. the other one took a little longer. i think the decision to ask people to shelter in place was the best decision. locking down a city is not as easy as it seems watching television, and it's not a decision we would take lightly. if we felt we had that kind of threat, we may have taken decisional measures. >> can you explain from the time your officers made the entry -- you said seven minutes after the call. these were your active shooter
officers. how long was it before they actually killed him inside the building? >> the question was how long did it take the officers to make entry and how long did it take to neutralize the suspect from the time they entered. i can tell you that two minutes after the call was dispatched, we had two units with ar-15s on the scene. we had some additional ar-15 units that have been deployed out in the area for high visibility over the past two weeks. they were very close by. they responded immediately. within about four or five minutes, we had five to seven units going through the gates into the facility. there was different buildings, calls coming in giving different buildings. we were getting different building numbers. but within seven minutes, we had at least two units and possibly four units outside of the building where will the shooter was that could hear actually another round of gunfire, and they entered immediately upon hearing that gunfire.
we know at this time two of them went in immediately when they arrived at the building and heard the gunshots. immediately went in the building and started giving lookouts and passing information on. once they got inside the building, the thought they put into ensuring other teams could get in, that other teams could get in quickly, that other teams could move around safely was unbelievable. i don't have the exact time it took before the final engagement. that will come much later after all the forensics is done. i can tell you there was multiple engagements with the suspect with multiple different agencies before the final shots were fired. i would say there was a pretty good period of time with multiple engagements before that. i can't give you an exact time. i'll take one more. >> was it more than a half an hour from start to finish? >> yes, i would say more than a half an hour. >> more than an hour? >> i don't believe it was more than an hour. more than a half an hour. again, we won't know that until
the forensics are done. >> did he or his company have specific business contacts with the offices he visited? >> i can't answer that question. >> can anybody on the fbi? >> not going to comment on that. >> did he report to work that morning before this happened? or did he go right in there and open fire? >> i'm not going to comment on that. i don't think we're going to comment on that at this point. >> you said the officer would fully recover. there was a lot of talk he may never walk again. can you speak to that? >> the question is wantabout th recovery of the officer that was shot. we have a very good prognosis from the doctors. he does have serious injuries to his legs. again, i know the officer and i know his personality. i'm real confident that he not only will walk again but probably will outrun most of us again. >> chief, the ar-15 found nearby s that belonged to have believed to an officer? >> i'm not going to comment on any evidence. >> is this just the nature of people in general? can we ever truly prevent this? >> the question is, is there any way to prevent this in the future?
we train every day to try and make sure we prevent it. we train every day to make sure if it does happen that no additional harm happens. i think we accomplished that goal yesterday. it's a horrible tragedy. we hope it never happens again anywhere, much less in washington, d.c. but i think the goal that we have is if it does happen, to stop that harm as quickly as we possibly can. we met that goal. >> are there any questions about funding levels, whether that has anything to do with the security at the washington navy yard? perhaps you can comment on whether there's anything to that -- whether it's sequestration or anything in regard to funding and the level of security. >> the level of security and our security is something we don't normally comment on. >> people on the hill are talking about circulating this general report. is there any truth to the notion that there's a direct correlation between funding levels and security? >> i can't comment on that or anything that has to do with
security levels. >> okay. we're going to pull out of this. you've been listening for the last 10, 15 minutes to different officials here in washington, be it fbi out of washington, d.c., i heard from the chief here of police, metropolitan police, ncis. they're trying to answer some questions from the media. a couple headlines that jumped out at me, hearing them say the shooter acted alone, number one. number two, he, according to police and fbi, walked into the navy yard just behind us here armed with a shotgun. at some point inside, he perhaps got his hands on a handgun, but they seem to say that he did not -- it doesn't appear he had an ar-15 and that he was able to enter the navy yard with a valid card. >> that's a big step, the idea that they're saying now that he acted alone. all day yesterday there were questions from the metropolitan police department about whether there were other individuals involved. there was a lot of skepticism on the federal level about that. ultimately, we had the police
chief say last night and again reiterating today he acted alone, this gunman. they still don't know, they said, what his motive may have been. they're still curious about that. also, they said he got into the navy yard, which is a secure facility, with a valid pass. he did not forge a pass. he did not have somebody else's. those are some of the questions that have been batted around since this happened. but a lot of law enforcement officials telling the latest on the investigation. >> now that we have that, there is another nugget that has just come out. i want to go straight to the pentagon to barbara starr, who's learned even more, as we're learning new information about the shooter. this is news from the defense secretary chuck hagel, specifically on this bold move involving military installations not just in the u.s. but globally. >> that's absolutely right, brooke and jake. we have just learned that defense secretary chuck hagel as soon as tomorrow is going to announce a worldwide security review of all u.s. military
installations. we are told by senior officials what hagel wants is that quick look. is everything working properly? are people doing their jobs? in the wake of what happened at the navy yard, he wants answers about is everything working as it's supposed to be. part two of this, does there need to be a change in physical security measures at u.s. military installations? it is a trade-off. these are working facilities, large numbers of people need to get in and out of them every day, get to their jobs, leave and go home. so there's some practical limitations. given what happened at the navy yard, he wants to know, we are told t are there changes that need to be made? he will order the military department to take a look at all of this and report back to him. but here's part two of it. and this is where it gets more complicated. what about security access and classified access for contractors and other personnel? the clearances they get, those cards that they get to swipe in that say they are legitimately
allowed to be there as the shooter apparently was. hagel's trying to work out right now what's part two of this, how does he look at all of that. that's a part of the bureaucracy that's spread across multiple agencies, but they want to get to this problem. they know they have a lot of issues here about security clearances. they know there's an inspector general report that is far from complimentary, at least about how the navy is doing its job in this area. in the next 48 hours, even less 24 hour, expect to see a lot of movement from the pentagon on all of this. brooke, jake? >> and barbara, as long as i have you here, one of the things that seems to leap out at me is the idea that aaron alexis claimed, after shooting out the tires of a neighbor's car, that he'd had a blackout in 2004, i believe, in washington state. of everything we've heard about him, from his family's claims he had ptsd, to the idea that he was a contractor, that seems to
be the one thing that jumps out. well, maybe this guy shouldn't have been given clearance and been able to get into this naval yard if he's somebody who has blackouts and shoots things. that seems to be -- i don't fully understand why the review, if he had a valid pass and got into this facility -- i mean, it's always good to take security measures and make sure you're doing things, i suppose. but it seems to me that the contractor angle of this, the security, that seems to be the weakest part of this. >> i think it's very clear that the department also wants to look at the procedures contractors use. not different, really, than you would find perhaps for the civilians, the military people that work at these installations. the issue of his legal background, his record, his brushes with the law still to be resolved. by all account, navy officials are telling us he was never convicted of any charges. so that is something certainly
one mark on the wall here. but that gets to the question you're asking. fine, he wasn't convicted of any charges. but did the contractor, did the company he worked for know his full background? did the people doing the security clearance know his full background? would it have made a difference? these are the questions for the investigation right now. and look, i mean, we saw this in the edward snowden case. very different. he apparently stole information. again, he had a security clearance. hasan at ft. hood, he had a clearance to get on base. so they're having several cases, very high profile, very concerning. jake, brooke? >> all right. an incredibly valid question. one we'll explore with brian todd coming up in terms of the system of awarding clearance and how one could perhaps slip through the cracks. coming up, inside the mind of a navy yard shooter. are there any clues that friends, family, even doctors might have missed? we will tell you about some of his arrests and his apparent
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just in to cnn, we are now learning what caused last week's huge fire at the new jersey boardwalk. investigators today revealing an electric wiring problem likely caused all these massive flames you see here in the areas that had just been rebuilt right after superstorm sandy hit. an investigation has now officially ruled out human involvement. >> but let's turn back to the investigation into the naval yard shooting here in washington. i want to bring in brian todd. one of the things we heard law enforcement officials talk about was how the shooter, aaron alexis, had the proper security clearance and pass to get into the naval yard. what would somebody have to do to get that type of clearance? is it a difficult process? would they look to see about
whether or not he had a criminal record? >> it is a difficult process, jake. from everything that we've been able to find out. we've talked to two attorneys who help people get these security clearances. the initial step is for a private contractor to do some background checking on behalf of the office of personnel management, that massive government agency that deals with all the government employees. >> that's part of the white house executive branch. >> exactly. they hire out a private contractor to look into the background of the person in question, find out anything in this person's background that might raise a red flag or deny them a clearance. they would report to the office of personnel management, which would turn it over to the department of defense, one of three possible offices in the department of defense that we're told about which would have been the entity to give him his final clearance. but you have what appeared to be three stages where they would have hopefully flagged some of this stuff in his background. somebody should have caught it. the attorneys we talked to who help people with these things say somebody should have caught it. the three arrests, two on gun-related charges, especially the one in 2004 where he shot at
the construction workers 's carn a blacked-out rage. that should have been flagged if nothing else. but his arrest for disorderly conduct, other gun-related arrests in 2010 all should have been flagged, even if he wasn't convicted. also, the eight instances of misconduct in the navy that barbara starr has been reporting. the two instances of him going to the va for mental health issues. all of it should have been flagged. there were three entities in the government that, you know, these are the layers that would have gone through. we have called and e-mailed all these people, including the private contractor. we haven't confirmed the name yet to confirm they were the ones who did look into his background. we believe it's them. we're not going to say the name right now. we've tried to make contact with all these agencies to get answers on this as to how he got through. we've not heard back on that yet. >> brian todd, thank you. i want to stay on this whole issue, asking questions about
the system that awards security clearances. we'll talk to someone next who has a clearance. he's a commander in the u.s. navy. he's standing by with us here. he was at the washington navy yard when the shots began early yesterday morning. he can talk about coming up colleagues huddled in his office. not sure what was happening. that's next. with special crunchy kibbles and great taste... ...it's a happy way to a healthy smile. new beneful healthy smile food and snacks diarrhea, gas, bloating? yes! one phillips' colon health probiotic cap each day helps defend against these digestive issues with three strains of good bacteria. live the regular life. phillips'.
you are watching cnn's special coverage of the investigation into the shooting here at the washington navy yard. today the senate was silent for 35 seconds to pay tribute to those murdered right here in washington. [ sirens ] the quiet on the senate floor is a stark contrast to what you're looking at here, the chaos on the washington navy yard after those early morning gunshots. family and friends headed straight to the scene searching for their loved ones. >> all i know is i'm supposed to be patient, which i am trying to hold on, you all, being patient and understanding and ask god
what created this problem. >> most people got the reunions they were desperately seeking, including the woman you just saw. photo after photo today. employees and their families are now beginning to allow what has happened, this tragedy to sink in. the site here in washington is closed to most staff as investigators are processing the scene, but there are a couple staffers who they're calling essential personnel who are back to work here at the washington navy yard, including my next guest, who is at work but has taken a moment to join us. lieutenant commander, thank you so much for being with us today and for your service, first and foremost. let me ask you this, 8:15 the shots began just a couple blocks that way. where were you? >> i was in my office. my first indication that something had gone wrong was a little after 8:30 when i got a
phone call from one of my co-workers who wasn't able to access the base. he said the base was locked down and there was an active shooter. shortly after that, we got the shelter in place order. my co-workers, we all got into my office. it was the biggest base we could lock. we locked ourselves in and spent most of the day there. >> what were you doing in your office? just huddled? >> well, we stayed in the office. we were checking the news. we were getting reports on the emergency alert system, which fortunately was working as it should. we got alerts on our government cell phones, on computer. yeah, we were checking the news to find out what was going on. eventually, we were able to get dialed into the regional operations center and find out what was going on there. you know, there were some moments where we just didn't know whether there were multiple shooters, whether there was one shooter. at one point we heard a loud commotion outside. we heard some yelling. it was around the time when we had heard that there were multiple shooters. we didn't know if there was
going to be another shootout right outside of the office. you know, when i joined the armed forces, i understood that there could be a day where my life would be put in danger. you know, i experienced that when i was in iraq. i was concerned about it when i was afloat. but when i looked at my co-workers who were all civilians, it was very sobering to realize that this is not part of their job assignment. >> none of you have arms? >> no, that's correct. we're essentially an office workplace. it was a little uncomfortable for me as someone who had been trained to use arms to not be able to do anything really useful to help. not having access to arms. that's just what our office is like. >> what about something we keep bringing up, which is this clearance? my dear friend, your colleague, was just e-mailing with me as he was watching this unfolding on cnn and saying, my gosh, he had just recently gone through a new clearance and how incredibly
difficult it was for him. yet, when you hear about what happened with this contractor, it certainly makes you wonder. is the system broken? >> well, there are different levels of clearances based on, you know, what you need access to. i can't comment about whether the system is working or not. i know having gone through the process that -- and having a slightly higher clearance that i have had more extensive background investigations. you know, they're professionals. they do their best to make sure that people are not a threat to, you know, our personnel. again, this is not a warship. this is not an area that has access to arms. it's an office building. so the security clearance they go through normally is appropriately leveled to that threat. >> lieutenant commander, we appreciate you taking a couple minutes with us. >> thank you. >> thanks for your service. we're glad you're okay. coming up next, he's a self-proclaimed pastor for the gun people.
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back here in washington, d.c., aaron alexis opened fire here at the washington navy yard just after 8:00 in the morning yesterday. at around 10:30 today, senator dick durbin, democrat of illinois, said this on the senate floor. >> if we value the right of every american to enjoy their liberties with reasonable limitations, then we need to return to issues that are of importance. there was an issue before the senate several months ago, a bipartisan amendment, that would have taken an extra step to keep guns out of the hands of those who have a history of felonies or people who are mentally unstable. the vast majority of americans think this is just common sense. >> so there you have it. just about 24 hours after this senseless killing of 12 people, the president's failed gun
control amendment getting mentioned on the senate floor. i want to bring in reverend kenneth blanchard to talk about this. he's a former u.s. marine, a pastor and gun rights activist. he's also the author of "black man with a gun." welcome. >> thank you. >> first, what's your reaction to what happened here yesterday? >> i was crushed. america doesn't need anymore tragedy like this. we don't need anymore stuff to happen to us. when you work you want to be safe when you work. this place is as safe as you can get. trouble can happen anywhere. i was grieving for the families. i was worried about my daughter who worked down the street from this place. i was in it. so it's part of my life too. >> is there anything you think that can be done? i think there are a lot of individuals who would look at this situation -- and obviously there are a lot of details we don't know -- but say it's pretty obvious that people who have severe mental and emotional problems and a history of violence should not be able to get guns. here you have somebody who have
had some incidents with guns, had been complaining and others had talked about psychological problems he had. why not try to do everything we can to keep guns out of the hands of those people, which wouldn't affect individuals like you? >> we also have the problem of not reaching back to our communities. there are people that we know are hurting, and we don't say anything. we want to make a microwave solution for everything. sometimes it's just as close as somebody in your family isn't right. grab them, hold them. that's kind of where i'm going now. for me, it's to make sure that we don't do the automatic reaction, that we actually take time and look at our families. somebody knows this guy. after the fact is too late. they should have been talking to this guy a long time ago. >> in reading about you, you do a weekly podcast. your church is a couple blocks down the road from where we are. what is the message? you have a lot of hunters and outdoorsmen as members of your
congregation that you say brace for the blowback. >> it's hurt people. all soldiers, marines, sailors, airmen, everybody knows don't leave your brother behind. we forget that when we get back into the world. right now our community is hurting. i'm asking my people to listen to me, not to forget the people who you know are by themselves, who are lonely, who are not coping with stuff. go back and get your brother. >> when you hear the story of how aaron alexis in 2004 shot the tires out of the vehicle of a construction worker and then when asked about it claimed he had a blackout, do you have an issue with that person having guns? >> something happened. we failed somewhere. everybody around him failed. nobody wants to put the finger on ourselves, but it's us. we're our own worst enemy sometimes. we want to ignore. we're stuck. we want to put this thing down and grab somebody.
we know what happened. somebody saw that. that's a warning shot. he shot the tires, but it was a warning to be that his clock, something was broke. he was starting to spiral out. we had to pull him back in. >> all right, reverend. god bless. thank you so much. >> thank you. >> thank you. coming up next, we'll hear from another pastor, pastor rick warren, reacting to the shooting here in washington, d.c. he also opens up about something very, very personal to him, the death of his son. >> it's a day no parent wants. it's your worst nightmare. >> he talked exclusively to piers morgan about his son's suicide. piers joins us live next. [ jackie ] it's just so frustrating...
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talking about his death. >> this book -- they spoke exclusively with cnn's piers mohr gargan and talked about th shooting at the navy yard. >> when i heard about those deaths at the naval yard, the first thing i did is get down on my knees and pray for those families of the victims, those who died and those who were wounded. my heart went out to them. >> the warrens' son matthew shot and killed himself back in april on the 5th inside his family eafamily's orange county home. he had suffered years of depression and mental illness, and now they want to increase awareness about mental health. piers morgan joins us with more on that sit-down interview. our heart goes out to them to have to deal with something so horrendous but then to take that moment and say, you know what, i
want to help others. let's talk about this. let's get it out there. >> you know, it was one of the most heartbreaking interviews i think i've ever conducted because i've interviewed rick warren numerous times. he's a great guy. he's always very positive. he and his family and his wife -- i interviewed him and his wife together. they were hit by this awful tragedy, which they had been waiting for with a terrible sense of forboding for years. this boy was in his late 20s. he'd been mentally sick and depressed for a long time. about a month before he killed himself he told his mother that he had acquired a gun on the internet illegally. he paid big money for this gun. he'd been trying to get one for a long time. he tried to kill himself before. a few weeks after he got the gun, about two weeks later he tried to kill himself with pills. his mother was in this constant text dialogue with him on his phone trying to talk him down all the time. he said to her, if you tell the police i have a gun and they turn up, i will kill myself. can you imagine the agonizing
dilemma of this poor mother and rick warren knowing that this boy, their son, was going to kill himself if the police turned up but was almost certainly going to kill himself if they didn't turn up. that's what he did. he took his life and they went around his house and realized what he'd done. take a look at them talking about this. >> matthew was not afraid to die. he was afraid of pain. i remember ten years ago when he was 17 he came to me sobbing and he said, daddy, he said, it's really clear i'm not going to get any better. we've gone to the best doctors, best hospitals, treatments, therapists, prayer, everything you could imagine. good support. he says it's real clear i'm not going to get any better, so why can't i just die? i know i'm going to heaven. i know i'm going to heaven, so why can't i -- he was not afraid to die. >> what did you say to him, rick? >> in that situation, i said, matthew, the reason why is there's a purpose, even in our
pain, and i am not willing to just give up and say that the solution isn't there. you might give up, but as your father, as your mother, we're not ever giving up. we won't find the solution because i really believe matthew could have been a great advocate for children in the world. he was an amazingly compassionate kid. he had an ability to walk into a room and he instantly knew who was in the most pain in that room. it was like his antenna was up. he could feel it. he would make a b-line for that person. he'd spend the entire time talking to that person trying to cheer them up, trying to encourage them. many times he'd say, dad, i could help a lot of other people, i just can't get it to work for me. >> heartbreaking interview, piers. tell me, did the warrens, did either one of them talk at all about any crisis of faith that they might have experienced after their son's suicide.
>> very much so. they both actually felt that in the end it has strengthened their faith. of course, they questioned their faith. they questioned their god that they believe so strongly in. they asked, why us? why would this happen to us? it's very, very moving, almost the entire time this interview. they're talking about a family who have always been there for everybody else. you know, he runs one of the biggest churches in america and constantly deals with other people's tragedies. suddenly they had to face this with one of their own. it comes back to this great issue in america right now of guns. we saw it yesterday with what happened at the naval yard. we saw it at sandy hook, aurora, and so on. you know my position on this. i've been very strong about the need in america for more gun control. when you listen to the warrens, you know, they had no way of stopping their son getting his hands on a gun because it's so easy to get your hands on a gun. it was so easy for the shooter at the naval yard to get his hands on a gun. we don't know exactly what type
of gun yet. yesterday's reports suggested an ar-15. that may not be the case now. it may have been a shotgun. somewhere this mentally disturbed man has gotten ahold of a gun and taken it into the naval yard and killed 12 people. that's what happened with adam lanza. that's what happened with holmes in aurora. there's got to be a moment, a tipping point when america looks at itself and says, enough. i urge people to watch this interview with the warrens. they've been decimated by guns now. all the families at the naval yesterday are devastated by guns. i still have contact with some of the families at sandy hook. they'll never recover from what happened to them. and yet, the only answer, it seems to me, and i'm an outsider here. i'm british. we don't have this gun culture in my country. but the only answer in america to all these tragedies seems to be that the nra come out and say
if only everybody else had a gun, they would have killed the shooter and more guns get sold. there's more guns in circulation. yet, yesterday the naval yard is one of the most secure bases imaginable. it's crawling in armed security. still, somebody could get in because he got access to a gun and was mentally deranged. it's the lethal cocktail. look at this guy's background. he was mentally ill. he was hearing voices. he was having treatment. he'd had several gun-related incidents in the past. he was somebody obsessed with violent video games to a dangerous degree, said his friends. yet, he could still get his hands on a gun and go and do what he did. at some stage, america has to wake up. >> all right, piers morgan. thanks. his interview with the warrens will air tonight at 9:00. we'll be right back.
for a store near you go to benjaminmoore.com/bayarea. i'm wolf blitzer in washington. thanks very much for joining cnn's special live coverage of the shooting at the washington navy yard. we now know the names of all 12 people shot to death. the mother of one navy veteran killed spoke to our detroit affiliate wvid. >> it's not real. it just -- it's not possible.
it's not possible that they shot him for just no reason. he loved his country. he loved the navy. he loved flying. he was just a happy person. >> within the last hour, the fbi held a news conference here in washington confirming that the shooter, aaron alexis, entered the compound with just one weapon and fired at offices who ultimately shot him to death. >> at this time, we believe that mr. alexis entered building 197 at the navy yard with a shotgun. we do not have any information at this time that he had an ar-15 in his possession. we also believe mr. alexis may have gained access to a handgun once inside the facility and after he began shooting. >> we had officers who heroically went into a building witnessing multiple casualties and continued to pursue and
engage a gunman who was determined to kill as many people as possible. >> he was 34 years old, once served in the u.s. navy reserves. his past contains multiple incidents of bad behavior, both on duty and out of uniform. let's bring in cnn's brian todd. brian, his family says he actually -- alexis actually heard voices. what do we know about his mental condition? >> well, that is what family members have told us, wolf, that he heard voices, that some of this was connected to his experience in new york city after 9/11. we also know from our correspondent pamela brown that he visited va hospitals on at least a couple of occasions. those could have been connected to mental health issues. we know, of course, of his arrest record. he had two arrests for gun violations. he was never convicted. one arrest for disorderly conduct. according to our barbara starr, he had eight incidents in the navy of misconduct. you put all this together, and
we've been looking into the process of him getting a security clearance. he would have had, according to experts we've interviewed -- and these experts are two attorneys who have helped hundreds of people get government security clearances. they've told us that a private company a private contractor does background checks for the office of personnel management. that's the massive government office that handles all personnel. the private contractor does that background check for the office of personnel management. they then take it, fact check it, and they turn it over to the department of defense. and there are offices that would make the final adjudication whether that person gets a final security clearance. you have three entities that would have had to have picked up, flagged these incidents in the shooter's past. according to at least one of our experts, they should have made the decision not to give him that secret security clearance.
we're digging into all of this. we're checking into who should have done what, maybe try to find specific divisions within these offices. we have the name of a security contractor who does a lot of work for the office of personnel management. we're not going to say that name right now because we're trying to find out from them whether they checked into his background. we're looking into all of this. we're told these of these government entities -- again, the private contractor who works for the office of personnel management, that office, and the department of defense should have flagged all of these incidents. you're talking about three arrests, eight incidents of misconduct in the navy and the mental health incidents. they should have flagged these. according to one attorney we spoke with, someone dropped the ball. they should not, not have given him a secret security clearance. >> yeah, let's hope some people learn lessons from this. brian, thanks very much. the shootings at the navy yard have left so many people wondering about security. now we're learning that the defense secretary chuck hagel is ordering a worldwide review of security measures at all u.s. military installations.
let's bring in our pentagon correspondent barbara starr. barbara, what will they be looking for at these bases? >> well, wolf, i think it's exactly what everyone would expect and hope the defense department would do. they are going to look at physical access, physical security measures. first up, they want to look and make sure everyone's doing their job appropriately at the check points, at the gates, at various places on installations where there are security personnel. is everything being done correctly? second, are the requirements right? is everything being done that should be done? are there new requirements, new technologies, new procedures that should be put into place? tough question, wolf. these installations often house thousands of people that come and go every day to work that is not practical, well understood for them to stop and search every vehicle. so there is by every measure a huge amount of trust put into
the people that have access to these bases that they are not criminals. that gets us to the second part that brian was talking about. what hagel needs to figure out now, top officials say, is how to look at this very issue of security clearances. what are the standards, procedures, and practices by which people get security clearances in the first place? do changes need to be made in that? wolf? >> what do we know about these eight accidenincidences of misc? have they told us what they have involved? >> sure, wolf. pentagon officials are saying it involves things, as you say, relatively minor. but still taken quite seriously by the military. insubordination, being absent without leave, that sort of thing. one incident of drunkenness,
we're told. so all of these things taken seriously, but not rising to the level inside the military that they would have taken him to court-marti court-martial. he was, shall we say, admonished. they call it nonjudicial punishment. he was reprimanded. we don't know exactly what he god, but reprimanded. not enough to outright dismiss him from it the military. he was never convicted of those gun charges in the civilian sector. they couldn't use that as evidence against him. he wound up getting an honorable discharge from the u.s. navy. an ideal situation? certainly not. it appears to be they decided they didn't want him in the military anymore and this was a way to get him out. there was no basis for giving him anything less. that's what we're told. >> when i spoke to senator richard blooumen that will of connecticut, he said that he wanted to take a much closer
look why he did get an honorable discharge despite those eight incidences of misconduct. it certainly helped him get into this navy yard, this naval base here in washington. he wants to take a much closer look at the procedures in the navy. we'll have more on this part of the story coming up later in "the situation room." we'll speak with a navy commander as well. barbara, thank you. the investigation into the navy yard shooter extends to new york city, where he lived as recently as 2004, to seattle, washington, to ft. worth, texas. here in washington, the fbi removed items from a hotel where aaron alexis spent at least two days prior to the shooting, sharing a accommodations with other navy yard contractors. our law enforcement analyst mike brooks is joining us now. mike, does the fact that the
shooter is dead clearly change the nature of the crime investigation because you can't question him about what his motive might have been. >> that's absolutely right, wolf. that's why the fbi yesterday was asking anyone, go to our website, take a look at his picture. if you have seen him, if you had any contact with him, give us a call because they want to find out exactly what his movements were leading up to this shooting. we know that he was here in washington since august 25th. the hotel, the residence inn on e street southwest just a short distance from here, he was there for just a number of days. >> we heard the u.s. attorney say that investigators are still looking into the possibility of whether or not alexis had any assistance either deliberate or unwitting. is that merely going according to the book, or have you heard any suggestion that there might have been some sort of collaborator witting or
unwitting? >> no, not as of right now. you know, one of the things as an investigator, what i would want to do if i was assigned to this case, wolf, would be to go to these different hotels. we know he stayed at numerous hotels. try to get the video surveillance. they would probably keep it for about a month. who was he with? was he inside the hotel, outside the hotel? did he meet with anyone? i think that's why the fbi was asking for the assistance of the public. if you saw this guy, call us. from there, they can ask questions. did you ever see him with anyone? where would he frequent? all these are part of the investigation on finding out what made this guy tick, wolf. >> mike brooks, thanks very much. lots to investigate right now. multiple agencies doing it. today we also know the names of all of the victims killed in the shooting. we're going to tell you about their lives. also, we're learning some truly remarkable stories of survival. this is cnn's special live coverage. we'll continue right after this.
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we're learning more about the 12 people who lost their lives monday in the mass shooting at the washington navy yard. they were civilians, they were contractors simply doing their jobs but for reasons we may never really know, their lives were cut short by a former navy reservist with a gun. each victim now has been identified. 59-year-old michael arnold. 53-year-old silvia frasier. 62-year-old kathy gaarde. 46-year-old ken knit proctor. 73-year-old john roger johnson.
50-year-old frank kohler. 61-year-old vishnu pandit. 51-year-old arthur daniels. 51-year-old mary francis knight. 58-year-old gerald l. read. 54-year-old martin bodrog. 52-year-old richard michael ridgell. president obama has ordered flags to remain at half stuff until sunset on friday. this morning defense secretary chuck hagel and other military officials laid a wreath at the navy memorial in honor of those killed. [ trumpet playing ] ♪
>> amazing stories of survival are also coming out of washington right now as those who lived through monday's shooting rampage relive the terror. >> we heard some more rapid fire. then it got quiet again. then we heard some activity, like i said, outside the door. again, we didn't know who was running up and down the hallway. so we just hunkered down and just waited. we saw blood spots on the ground. don't know who it was. >> i'm terrified. i'm stressed. i'm tired, you know. just listening to the ringing of gunshots and ambulances and fire trucks and helicopters.
i've never experienced this before. >> one of our employees close by heard the word "shooter." there was another employee who is some sort of an agent, not a first responder, but who literally stood up on a desk, in fact making himself a target, but was shouting there was a shooter on the floor and for everybody to take cover and find a secure location or take cover and i ended up with 18 of my fellow employees in a conference room. >> coming up, as we learn more about the shooter, don almolemo standing by to speak to us about mental illness in the african-american community. also, developing right now, police frantically looking for this 14-year-old girl. two men kidnapped her when their demands weren't met during a home invasion. and remarkable video of a capsized cruise liner now sitting upright.
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first, let's check some of the other stories developing now. in georgia, the fbi has joined the search for a 14-year-old girl kidnapped during a home invasion. she's described as 4'9", 93 pounds. it happened just south of atlanta in the town of ellenwood. police released these sketches of the two suspects. they say the men forced their way into the home in the middle of the night demanding money and jewelry. when they couldn't get either, they grabbed the girl and fled in a gray dodge sedan. the costa concordia cruise ship is finally sitting upright after 20 months ago running aground off the italian coast. this time lapse shows the massive salvage operation underway. righting the ship took 19 hours in an unprecedented and painstaking process that involved cables and steel tanks. the vessel was rolled off the rocks. the sides of the ship will now be repaired allowing the ship to
be towed away and dismantled. 32 people died in that disaster. and the dow continues its stellar september. take a look at this. the big board up right now 37 points or so. that despite a meeting today by the federal reserve policymaking committee. it's discussing whether to scale back buying bonds and securities, which could have an impact on the stock market. up next, more on the coverage of the mass shooting at the washington navy yard. we're taking a closer look at president obama's response and if this latest tragedy could impact his push for tighter gun control. and we're also getting new details right now about where and how the shooter bought the gun. you're watching cnn's special live coverage. >> the next thing i heard was five more shots. the captain that was in the office said come on, ma'am, let's go. he just grabbed me by the arm
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i'm wolf blitzer in washington. this is cnn's special live coverage of the investigation into the navy yard shooting here in the nation's capital. we have some new information on the deadly situation, the deadly chaos that unfolded. within the past hour or so, the chief of police here in washington said the mass killer, aaron alexis, shot it out with law enforcement officials for more than half an hour. listen to what she said. >> there was multiple engagements with the suspect with multiple different agencies before the final shots were
fired. i would say that there was a pretty good period of time with multiple engagements before that. i can't give you the exact time. >> was it more than a half an hour from start to finish? >> yes, i would say more than a half an hour from start to finish. >> as is often the case, those who knew the shooter say they're shocked he could commit mass murder. the warning signs included, though, at least two arrests for gun-related
there was a vote in congress which already republicans and i think there's a lot of sense now on capitol hill that if newtown -- there may not be any reason to bring it back up because it wouldn't pass. >> i think in the senate they needed 60 to break a filibuster. they wound up with 55 or 54. it would have been an even bigger struggle in the house. >> and our chief congressional correspondent dana bash spoke with joe mansion of west virginia, who is one of the real proponents of gun control, and his point was, look, why bring it back up if we're not going to succeed? >> he's certainly not the first president who found his agenda sort of upended by events beyond
his control. >> this isn't exactly the way his president and advisers would have envisioned his second term. they didn't expect benghazi, the nsa surveillance issue, the drone controversy, chemical weapons being used in syria. now they're going to face this potential government shutdown. they wanted to talk about immigration and tax reform and so far they really haven't been able to do that, wolf. >> not yet. we'll see what happens. gloria will be back later. thanks very much. up next, mental health and race, how this gunman has some in the african-american community saying it's time to take a more serious look at the issue. one of those people, cnn's don lemon. he's standing by to join us live. you're going to want to hear what don has to say. he has some pretty provocative thoughts. vo: at meineke we know that oil is the lifeblood of every car.
just briefly describe what you heard. >> just gunshots, multiple gunshots and someone yelled "gun" and we ran. >> everybody ran? >> everybody ran. >> we're still running. >> friends of aaron alexis say monday's deadly shooting rampage was out of character. they consistently describe him as warm and friendly, someone who practiced meditation and traveled to thailand. that doesn't square with other information we're now learned. alexis had at least three run-ins with police over the past ten years, including a 2004 incident in which he shot out somebody's tires. according to his father, alexis suffering from ptsd related to his involvement in rescue efforts at ground zero on 9/11. there are some reports he recently sought help on mental health issues at two va hospitals. forensic psychologist is joining us from new york. also joining us cnn anchor don lemon, who's a contributor to
the tom joyner morning show as well. you write a provocative article entitled "face of a killer," why the black community must take a serious look at mental health. you say it's a taboo topic among a lot of african-americans. explain your experience and why you've come this conclusion. >> i think it's a taboo topic among everyone in america. my work i do at the tom joyner more than show for black america is specifically focused on african-americans. i say that because as a person of color, i have had to deal with the same thing. just as a personal example, a few years ago when i was having some issues around depression, i told my own mother that i was seeing a therapist and she said, you don't need to see a therapist. what you need to do is see a preacher. my experience is no different than many other african-americans in the country. they feel that there is a stigma when it comes to that, and it is something that you can pray away. i'm not just saying that. it's the american psych yatic association, the research says is that as well.
it is the health and human services office of minority health that will tell you as well that the incidences of suicide, because of depression and mental illness among african-americans, especially african-american men, are higher than the general population and they are climbing. >> how do we fix this, don? >> diagnosis, proper diagnosis, access to health care, getting rid of the stigma. one interesting thing i read which i thought was very provocative and informing was from the american psychiatric association. it says while african-americans have overcome many things, slavery and what have you, we underestimate the impact of mental disorders in our communities. this is a quote. many believe symptoms of mental health such as depression are just the blues, issues of distrust in the health care system and mental health stigma frequently lead african-americans to initially seek mental health support from
really, their perception is skewed. they lack the resources or the support to form a therapeutic alliance with a therapist or to admit fully that they had significant mental health issues. >> doctor, thanks very much. don lemon, you've done a real service by writing this article. thanks to you as well. sports certainly could be a way to bring people together, especially after a national tragedy. today a baseball game right here in washington, d.c., only a few blocks away from the shooting site, has a very special meaning to the players and the fans. we're going there. you'll see what happened. that's next. dad. how did you get here?
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welcome back to our special coverage of the navy yard shooting. i'm wolf blitzer in washington. the washington nationals and atlanta braves are playing baseball right now. yesterday's game was postponed due to the shootings at the navy yard, which is literally just a few blocks away from the ballpark, washington nationals park. today's game began with a moment of silence. [ moment of silence ] our renee marsh is joining us from nationals park. what's it like? what's the feeling over there at
the ballpark? >> reporter: well, you know, wolf, i had a chance to speak to some people who were showing up for the game. they're not just thinking about baseball, but they're thinking about those victims as well. you mentioned just how close we are to the shooting there. really, we are close. you can walk it from where that all happened. this is where the buses were dropping off all of those navy employees yesterday so they could reunite with family and friends. take a look. you see some fans walking in and out of the gates now. the game is underway, a game that had to be postponed yesterday. in addition to that moment of silence, we know that the players, they are wearing special uniforms, patriotic uniforms, and also the flags here are at half staff simply to honor the victims, those 12 lives that were lost. we spoke to some people who were here showing up for the game. again, it was so clear that their minds were not just on baseball but on those victims. take a listen. >> i'm definitely thinking about
them. i feel bad for them, sorry for them and everything. it's just a tragedy for it to even happen at all. >> i also feel sorry for the shooter. you know, he had terrorist acts that continue going on in our own country. it's just going to be sad. >> reporter: all right. well, with that moment of silence, definitely an emotionally heavy start to the game here. however, most of the people i spoke to here today say that is exactly the way this game needed to start today. wolf? >> yes, literally only a few blocks away from the navy yard. thanks, renee. renee marsh reporting. coming up, cnn's ashley batfield has just spoke within a man who not only worked at the navy yard for decades, but the shooter actually fired shots into her office. you're going to hear her emotional story of survival. that's next. ale announcer ] this store knows how to handle a saturday crowd. ♪
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welcome back to cnn's special coverage of the investigation into the shooting at the navy yard here in washington. just moments ago cnn's ashleigh banfield spoke with a survivor who has an emotional story. ashleigh, tell us about this woman, what she went through. >> reporter: so wolf, i just came back from denise robinson's house. she lives about a half an hour
from here, but she works right here in building 197. she recounted what it was like inside the moment all of this began. she started to hear shots being fired, her supervisor stood up, and then she takes it from there. have a listen. >> the gunman was coming forward to the corridor just next to her office, and she closed the door. so my coworker, she said, oh, he has a gun and she ran. so i ran behind her. then he shot at the glass at the cubicle. we just hid under the table, under the desk for about an hour before we got any respondents to come and check on us. >> did you ever get a look at him? >> i saw the top part of his face, his eyes. it was like a cold look, just dazed. >> reporter: so wolf, i asked her what she saw other than the top part of his head. she said she did not see a weapon. she saw a very cold, blank
stare. he was very she also said he was wearing what looked like a tight black teeshirt. i asked her about where most of the victims were, and this was something, forgive me if you've heard this but i had not heard this before. she said that most of the victims were across from where she was in the i.t. area. we all know this is where he was contracted to be working, within i.t. she also said there was a woman who was shot, a woman that she knows, just within feet of her. she thinks that she might have been warming up her breakfast or getting her coffee in the kitchen area not far from her desk. that hour that she spent under her desk, she could hear that shooter within feet shooting over into the atrium. she had no idea how many people were being shot. this is another thing she recounted for me. the police swept through, calling for people to come out. she didn't believe it was the police. she stayed hidden. she stayed quiet. 20 minutes later, a second sweep of police came and that's when
she said she peeked her head out. the police yelled a civilian, a civilian, put your hands up, put your hands up. she said they then told her in a yelling voice to run, follow that officer out of the building into one of three different holding places, and she said she never felt safe until she ended up in the parkade later that day where they were reuniting families. just a harrowing ordeal of a woman who was a management analyst, a work force development, civilian worker inside that building. >> and had worked there for so many years. thanks so much for sharing that story. we'll have more news from washington in just a moment. but we want to update you on a massive rescue and recovery effort under way across colorado right now, where flooding has killed at least eight people. hundreds are still unaccounted for. up to 1,000 people are still waiting to be evacuated. as the weather finally improves, many who made it away from the devastating flood waters are now returning to nothing.
kyung lah has more. >> the water was this high that day. and here's what's left of our apartment. >> reporter: oh, my god. oh, my god. what else can you say? two feet of thick mud and sewage covering this entire home in lyons, colorado, a town pummeled with pounding rain and flood waters for days. >> that's the other one. >> reporter: this is where abe's 78-year-old mother barely escaped from. we stepped, or tried to step, through the living room. our feet slowly sinking as we spoke. do you understand standing here how people could have lost their lives? >> oh, yeah. easily. thank god it didn't happen, but it could have. >> reporter: is it hard looking at your mom's house? >> yeah. it is. very hard.
>> reporter: the water just beginning to recede reveals the extent of damage to vasquez's property. cars stuck in debris. what was pavement leading to his business, gone. how many years did it take to build this place? >> since '79. >> reporter: 24 hours -- >> it's gone. it's hard. >> reporter: by atv, the only way to travel now, vasquez wanted to show us the rest of his town, where many residents have yet to be able to return. dotted with snapped power poles, roadblocks and heavy machinery, people walking where cars failed them. rescuers of the national guard more visible than the evacuees who left here. as the two branches of the st. vrain river bisecting this town nearly swallowed it whole. if you want to understand the force of the water, this used to be a roadway, a bridge went right over. take a look at where the bridge
is now. right over there, there's the black bridge covered with trees. those houses in between, all flooded. take a look at that. that's a car completely flipped over. in this neighborhood, explains vasquez, the flood pushed entire houses around like furniture. as we talk, kelly hunt walks up. she can see the roof of her home, but can't get to the other side of the river. are you saying your house was picked up and moved? >> yes. oh, absolutely. absolutely. our house has been picked up and moved several feet. today is our first day up here since we've been evacuated, and i feel like it's worse than i thought it would be. we lost absolutely everything we own. >> kyung lah reporting for us from colorado. up next, the pastor rick warren reacts to the shooting here in washington. also, he opens up about the death of his son.
>> it's a day no parent wants. >> he spoke exclusively to piers morgan about his son's suicide. i am today by luck. i put in the hours and built a strong reputation in the industry. i set goals and worked hard to meet them. i've made my success happen. so when it comes to my investments, i'm supposed to just hand it over to a broker and back away? that's not gonna happen. avo: when you work with a schwab financial consultant, you'll get the guidance you need with the control you want. talk to us today. a writer and a performer. ther, i'm also a survivor of ovarian and uterine cancers. i even wrote a play about that. my symptoms were a pain in my abdomen and periods that were heavier and longer than usual for me. if you have symptoms that last two weeks or longer, be brave, go to the doctor. ovarian and uterine cancers are gynecologic cancers.
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so we can all produce energy more safely. our commitment has never been stronger. he was a matted messiley in a small cage. ng day. so that was our first task, was getting him to wellness. without angie's list, i don't know if we could have found all the services we needed for our riley. from contractors and doctors to dog sitters and landscapers, you can find it all on angie's list. we found riley at the shelter, and found everything he needed at angie's list. join today at angieslist.com our special coverage of the navy yard shooting here in washington continues later tonight. here's a look at cnn's prime time. >> cnn tonight. at 8:00 on "anderson cooper 360" the shooting rampage at the navy yard in washington, d.c. anderson cooper is there live with the latest on the
investigation. and at 9:00 on "piers morgan live" a test of faith for the man known as america's pastor. piers talks exclusively with rick warren and his wife, their first interview since their son's suicide. and about what he did when he heard about the navy yard shootings in washington. >> the first thing i did is get down on my knees and pray for those families. >> it's all on cnn tonight starting with "outfront" at 7:00, "ac 360" at 8:00 and "piers morgan live" at 9:00. tonight on cnn. >> we have more on that exclusive interview with pastor rick warren. you'll hear more about his reaction to the deadly shootings here in washington, d.c., plus he opens up about the death of his son, matthew committed suicide last april inside the family's southern california home. the 27-year-old told his parents he wasn't going to get better, so he would rather die. he had suffered from years of depression and mental illness. when talking about his son's death, pastor warren expressed how hard it is to endure such a loss in the public eye.
>> without a doubt, the most difficult kind of funeral is the death of a child, because parents aren't supposed to outlast their children. and then on top of that, is a suicide. now, i'm doing the death of a child funeral. the death of my child's funeral. the death of my child's funeral as a suicide, and then as you said, as a well-known person, everybody knows. it's on the cnn ticker and it's on everywhere else, and that's difficult. >> this is a really heartbreaking interview, but also inspirational. i recommend you watch the full exclusive interview later tonight on "piers morgan live." that begins 9:00 p.m. eastern only, only here on cnn. the full interview with pastor rick warren. i'll be back 5:00 p.m. eastern, an hour from now, in "the situation room." we'll have much more on the continuing investigation into the navy yard shooting.
the mayor of washington, d.c., the mayor vincent gray, will be among my guests. also, i'll speak with a top u.s. navy commander, a spokesman, on what the lessons are that need to be learned. thanks very much for watching. i'm wolf blitzer in washington. "the lead" with jake tapper begins right now. what were the voices in aaron alexis' head telling him before he murdered 12 people in cold blood? i'm jake tapper. this is "the lead." the national lead. hearing voices, sleepless nights, a history of gun arrests, pieces of the navy yard killer's back story are snapping into place, but does any of it account for his actions? the dead. we now know the names of all 12 of them and as we search for answers, we will not forget them or the three who were wounded, including a d.c. police officer who will have to fight to walk