tv NBC Nightly News With Lester Holt NBC December 2, 2015 6:30pm-7:01pm EST
least fitting the description of whatever witnesses had reported. we'll pause and continue our live coverage of the breaking story next on nbc "nightly h colombiain "nbc nightly news." and a good evening to you. we have just witnessed a dramatic conclusion of a gun battle and standoff with police after a massive manhunt in southern california. the scene of this country's latest horrific mass shooting. it happened in san bernardino, east of los angeles. authorities say at least 14 people are dead. at least 14 more are wounded. in this massacre inside of a building that houses a center for the developmentally disabled. police say up to three heavily armed gunmen opened fire and escaped in a dark-colored suv. the suspects were on the run for hours and moments ago one or
more of them engaged in a shootout with police who hunted them down near the shooting scene in san bernardino. we have extended coverage. let's get right to miguel almaguer in california. what is the latest? >> reporter: well, lester, good evening. i'm at the crime scene. but a few miles away is where you are looking at the live picture from our local affiliate knbc here in los angeles. we heard from a press conference a short time ago that police did engage in a gun battle with a suspect in the dark-colored suv. the gun battle lasted a couple of seconds, possibly longer as offered responded. officers tell us it appears the suspect has been hit with gunfire. the police officer has not been injured. meantime, we heard police were looking for three suspects. they may have found one suspect as the search for two more suspects continues. meantime, lester, back here at our location, this is where it all began. just a few blocks behind us. police tell us three gunman entered a
building and simply started open firing. [ sirens ] . . >> reporter: a massive emergency response just after 11:00 a.m. chaos and carnage. >> we have at least 20 victims. >> reporter: the first early call, an active shooter or shooters moving through the inland regional center, a government building. >> we do have some preliminary numbers of upwards of 14 people that are dead. and upwards of 14 people that are injured. >> male in black clothing. he's still firing rounds. >> reporter: as police moved in to clear the building, room by room, victims poured out. school buses used to evacuate hundreds. one intersection turned into a triage center. s.w.a.t. teams swarm the our yeah as the walking wounded stagger to safety. >> be cautious who is coming to you. make sure their hands are up. >> stretcher after stretcher, wheeling out the most critical. some victims loaded
off the back of pickup trucks and to the hospital. anxious members arrived on scene waiting to hear about loved ones. >> i'm really scared for my sister. she said she is scared. she's hiding in a closet with two other people. >> they locked the door. that is all i know. that is all she told me. and then we stopped talking because i didn't want her to talk any more. >> reporter: police heard there were guam heavy masked with body armor. >> she saw a guy with a big gun. >> reporter: they may have fled in an suv and a device may have been left behind. the inland regional center, 60 miles north of los angeles, provides social services to individuals with development disabilities. it is a sprawling three-story building with a staff of more than 670 servicing thousands. just yesterday the scene of a holiday party. tonight the manhunt
for t for the gunman is well under way. >> we don't know if this is a terrorist incident. >> reporter: as all of southern california is on high alert. tonight, again, those numbers, 14 are dead. and we're now told 17 are injured. some injuries are very serious. and lester, again if we could see the live pictures a few miles away, police were looking for three suspects who entered the building. officers are telling us late tonight, they just engaged in a gun battle with a suspect in a dark-colored suv. that was the suv folks were on the lookout here for. police are telling us the suspect is down. but again, they were looking for three suspects wearing milt-style gear, body armor and armed with long rifles. they are told they were very dangerous. lester, this area is still on lockdown tonight. schools, public buildings, government buildings all shut down. this area on high alert as the search continues for more gunman. >> miguel almaguer, police saying the gunmen came prepared as if they were on a
mission. and pete, no matter how this plays out, this was not the typical domestic mass shooting we've come to know. what alarm bells have been sounding in washington tonight. >> well, first of all, they don't know who the gunmen are. and that is a mystery. it is an odd situation because in most of the mass shooting situations of 160 or so that the fbi has studied over the past dozen years, all but two involved a single gunman. it is unusual for three people to be involved. secondly, they got in and out very quickly. so they must have planned this and must have been familiar with that building. we are told tonight that one person rolled out of that suv when the police began to engage. that person was arrested. we're told that two other people remained in the suv and opened fire on the police and that one of those was killed. the other was wounded. and is presumably in custody as well. that is the initial reporting from the scene. and we'll get more information about -- now we're beginning to
learn about who these people were. but the assessment here in washington was, although they couldn't be sure what this was, it didn't seem to have the hallmarks of an act of terrorism. the witnesses said none of the gunmen said anything. none the phrases that we heard in france or other shootings inspired by isis or carried out by radical groups. and the key information was the description of the dark suv and an all pointed bulletin went out to law enforcement in the area to be on the lookout for that vehicle. and the police were pursuing them all over the area. we heard of vehicles like this being pursued and stopped. and clearly, when the police found this one, they found people who were shooting back. but the assumption tonight is that the people in that vehicle were the people who carried out the shooting. now the long investigation begins. look at those weapons, do they match the ballistics from the shooting scene and what else could they learn about why in the
world these people did it. >> a remarkable scene playing out there in southern california. with armored vehicles, have that vehicle surrounded. pete wiems, thank you. back to southern california now. with so much still developing in this mass shooting, it could be sometime before we learn the identity of the victims. all of that uncertainty is excruciating for those who don't know whether their loved ones are among the dead or the wounded. nbc's morgan radford is outside of one of the hospitals. what are you hearing there. >> reporter: good evening, lester. right now i'm outside of loma linda hospital where some of the victims are being treated. but just a few moments ago, a code yellow bomb threat was called in the hospital right behind me. and all of this is happening during a chaosic scene where family members are trickling in right now trying to figure out anything they can about their loved o ones. the emergency situation has shut the community down. 70 schools on lockdown and security surrounding public
hospitals and courts and public offices closed. for families, the not knowing is agonizing. >> i can't think. i just want my sister. >> reporter: fear over the fate of loved ones at or near the inland regional center. >> i've been trying to call her and she won't respond. >> reporter: alex johnson hasn't heard from his daughter who was supposed to be at the center and might still be inside. >> she helps out with the red cross and disabled with cerebral palsy. it is terrible. >> reporter: for most, they didn't even know if loved ones were among the victims. >> we know this is a human incident and this is a tragedy and we have a lot of folks out there very concerned and worried about loved ones that may have been at the that facility today. >> reporter: but there was some relief. >> my daughter is out of the building and she's safe. she immediately went and hid in a back office somewhere with some other people and they locked themselves in and they hid. relieved. but sad for the others. >> reporter: luis
guiterrez was one of the lucky ones. his wife made it out unharmed. >> i'm just going to hug her. >> reporter: lester, we just spoke to one of the security guards who is guarding the entrance where the families are coming in. she said she spoke to three or four family members, one was a young man waiting to check on his uncle. right now it is all a waiting game. >> thank you. we continue to focus on the scene playing out there in san bernardino as they continue to position the vehicles, officers still using extreme caution, even though they believe the suspects have been shot. earlier, i had a chance to speak with a man you just heard from in morgan's report, patrick simpson. his daughter is an inturn who was inside of the building when the shots began. here is what patrick told me. >> can you characterize what you are hearing from your daughter and is she okay? >> she seems to be okay. i called her, of course, when i got her text and heard what was going on. i called her and she
grabbed the phone and she was whispering and said she was in a room with nine other people and she was at the building where this all happened and they moved them into a safe room. >> can you tell us what she heard? can she characterize what she saw or heard during all of this. >> she had just gotten there as this just happened so thankfully she was not right smack in the middle of it. but the minute she walked in, they grabbed everybody and moved them to another room where everything was happening. and i guess she told me three men in masks and they were in the building and they couldn't find them and so that is when is i talked to her and she was whispering and couldn't speak because they hadn't put her in a safe room yet. >> now this is important. three men in masks. did she see them or that was the word that was being filtered to those in the building? >> that was the word that she was being filtered i guess from the people in the room that she was in the
room with. she interns at that facility but i didn't know it was the actual building. so i was freaked out. and she texted me. and when i did talk to her for a minute. i'm like send me a picture. take a picture of you so i could see you are okay and send it to me. she goes -- and she did. i'm like, thank god. >> you could imagine the anguish, patrick simpson in a conversation in the height of this all this as s.w.a.t. teams are going door-to-door in the building looking for further threats. back to miguel almaguer right now. we keep focusing on this picture of the armored vehicles surrounding the suspect suv. explain what we think is happening here. >> well, lester, it looks like police are moving into that area. they are certainly going to use caution. there was concern when the suspects came into the building at the crime scene, that they may have had explosives. so police are in the area with armored vehicles, taking their time and being cautious as they approach the vehicle. now, lester, we could tell you that police told us they were
engaged in a gun battle with sun suspect -- one suspect at the scene you are looking at. one suspect. but they told us when they got the call, the witnesses told us there were three suspects. so the investigation is still ongoing and police are fanning out all across the area. but this looks to be the biggest lead. now a short time ago the public information officer told us they could not confirm this was one of of their suspects. but they certainly indicated it was. they said they were looking for a dark-colored suv and multiple suspects inside. well, as you could see, officers did find a dark-colored suv. they were engaged in a gun battle and now it appears they are trying to look inside that vehicle. but again, they are using caution, taking their time as there is concern there could be skboesive devices, not only in the vehicle but also at the crime scene. >> that was one of the cautions earlier, they were worried about secondary devices and if they take position behind shields and armored vehicles, they are going slow and cautious. miguel almaguer, thank you very much. i'll bring in clint van zandt, a
former fbi profiler. you may have heard pete williams note this does not have the earmarks as of what we think of as international terrorism. during our coverage earlier, we discussed the possibility of some other relationship between individuals, perhaps a familiar relationship. any insight based on what we've seen so far? >> that is something we're going to find out, obviously within the next few hours. but i think both your observation and those of pete williams are correct, that should this have been international terrorism, we would have heard some of the phrases, we would have had organizations claiming credit for this. and we probably would have seen a different type of targeting. and again, as pete suggested in the 150 or so mass shootings the fbi has looked at, only two of them had multiple shooters, lester. in sessence, more than -- in essence, more than one person involved. so this is a true an
omology, and it is notwithstanding the terrible situation that took place, the dead and wounded. but it is also going to be a case study for those behavioralists and those in law enforcement that what has taken play in today that allows some time of emotional glue to bond, it appears now three people together, to somehow come together and make a pact that we're going to commit an attack, we're going to commit an act of mass domestic terror at least, and we're going to murder as many people as we can. that is a hard thing to understand, is how three people short of international terrorists could bond so tightly and so closely to do something like that. >> let me go back to pete williams. you have new information, i understand. >> it is a possible explanation for why you see the officers approaching this vehicle so gingerly. still keeping cover behind armored vehicles.
what they want to make sure of is that there are no explosive devices in that suv. they think there may be, so they are going to wait until they can get someone in to -- bomb technicians to look at that. and secondly, we believe that the one person who was wounded may still be in that vehicle, may still be alive and may still present a threat. so that is why they are approaching this with such caution and you don't see any of them out in the open exposing themselves to potential fire or explosions. they are all keeping cover. and i'm not sure exactly what the next step is here but they are worried about two possible threats, explosives a possibility, they don't know that for certain but in this situation you have to assume that could be. and secondly, the possibility that one of the gunman is still alive inside of the vehicle, wounded. but they don't know whether or not he presents a threat. >> and pete, as we watch this, this is about two miles from
where the shooting took place earlier in the day. i've never really seen a vehicle like this. it is hard to tell if it is robotically operated but there are officers positioned behind shields. apparently poised to further approach that vehicle. and as we watch this, pete, i want to clarify here. is it your understanding that all three suspects are inside of that vehicle? >> no. it is our understanding that one of them rolled out when the police initially engaged the vehicle. this is our preliminary information, we should caution. and we don't have a definitive word on this yet. but the breaking information that we have is that when the police came upon this vehicle, one of the three rolled out and was arrested. two of them remained and began firing at police. we know that one of them has been wounded. we think one of them has been killed. and apparently the one that was wounded is still in the vehicle and may present a threat and that is why they are being so cautious here. that is our understanding. the armored vehicles, by the way, lots of police have these similar vehicles.
and the one on the left is like the one that was used just last week in the colorado springs planned parenthood shooting where the police were able to actually push their way into the building with these to get some of the people out of that facility in colorado springs. so a lot of police departments have armored vehicles. >> and right, and this one with the shield, they brought almost to the door of the vehicle. and you clarified certainly the status of the three. but the bottom line is all three are essentially out of action. they are either dead, wounded or cornered? >> that is our best understanding from talking to several sources. but, you know, the question is if that was the case, why are they being so careful about this vehicle and we believe that is the answer. >> and we believe the s.w.a.t., colton, one of the communities in san bernardino. this is an all hands on deck call for law enforcement mutual aid in this area. this is two miles from the developmental disability center where the -- today's
deadly attacks took place. and we could see the s.w.a.t. team members continue to work their way, keeping behind shields, behind their ballistic armored vehicles here, making ready to make their approach on that suspect vehicle. you perhaps from this distance could see the windshield pocked with bullet holes from the gun fight with police. miguel almaguer, you are near the scene of the shooting today. there was some concern that maybe a police officer had been hit in all of this. any word on that? >> lester, there certainly was. we heard reports that a police officer may have been injured during the shooting. but we just spoke to a public information officer here, a lieutenant who tells us at this hour it does not appear -- it appears a police officer was not injured. so nobody was injured, at least according to law enforcement. no officers were injured during the shootout. but this happened about two miles away. i can confirm what pete williams is reporting, what we are
hearing here on the ground from officials. after this gun battle, police were engaged with one suspect and one suspect may have been hit and may have been injured in the shootout. police are now trying to move in, trying to locate or pin down that suspect. as the search continues for two more suspects in this area. lester, this area is about 65 miles outside of los angeles. it is a sprawling community. so police have much of the area on lockdown. we're told schools, courthouses, many public buildings have been told to lockdown and shelter in place. so certainly a very active scene here as police push in on one suspect. that search for two more certainly continues. >> as you are speaking, miguel, we are watching this vehicle that keep as approaching the suspect car and then backing off. they appear to either be getting an angle on it or perhaps moving back and forward getting as good of a view as they can inside of the car to understand if there is any more threat from the people inside before they expose themselves and try to take those individuals into custody. we continue to watch this. pete williams, what do
you have? >> well, the other possibility here, lester, if the suspect in the car is still alive, they may be trying to talk to him and get him to -- if he is able, to get up and surrender. so that is a possibility as well. he may not be able to. what miguel just said is as odds with the information that i have. but that is not unusual in these situations. i've been told from a couple of sources that all three had been accounted for but we've also heard conflicting reports about whether one of them got away and whether they are not all accounted for. so this is par for the course in these situations where information is being relayed very quickly and sometimes it turns out to be at odds and that is precisely what we have right now. >> yeah, we're watching this operation here as they continue to close in on this vehicle. and clint van zandt, you've done hostage negotiation work. at this point, assuming there is no hostage, no real negotiation, but what kind of communication would there be to try and get someone to
surrender who is in a hopeless predicament. >> there is a number of things going on. number one, they would try to talk someone out of the vehicle. but we've seen enough terrorist -- domestic or international -- that have explosive vests. we know for example, when you were in paris, covering that situation, one of the reasons why there was such an amount of gunfire coming in is that police were afraid a terrorist with a vest could come out and charge the police. so i guarantee you these officers don't want anyone running out of that vehicle. and as you see right now, you have the two tactical vehicles on the left and on the right. not only does this afford armored protection, but it gives the officers the high ground, they could be up looking through a gun port on top of that, looking down. and lester, one, two, or all three police vehicles to include what i believe to be the bomb tech vehicle that is on the side, all will have a camera capability so they'll
be able to monitor if there is any movement inside without actually getting up close where you have to put eyes on. there may be a wounded man inside, but these officers will not jeopardize their lives at this point. >> so two potential threats here. one is a suspect is alive and has his hand on a weapon. the other is there might be explosives. >> yes. and eerm one. there might be explosives or explosives on them. they could have the door wired on that vehicle so if it was opened. these are kind of games bonnie and type of scenarios. but the officers have to consider every potential scenario. and again, that is why we see what looks like this bomb disposal unit, that has been brought out to the scene. you want to get that forward and let them take a look inside and make sure that the vehicle is bomb-free before the officers pull the doors out and pull the suspects out. >> but ideally you would like to talk
them out. >> absolutely. if there is anybody left inside, you want them to be out but take one step and be on the ground. we haven't seen them try that so far. it may mean an individual is shot or dead and not able to do it. but again, they are going to take their time. time is on their hands right now, lester. they've got -- they've got this situation surrounded. nobody is going anywhere inside of the vehicle. the only challenge right now is what pete williams suggests, is the possibility that there is one person out. hopefully in custody. if not, on the run. and lester, remember, even if we have these three people, who else knew about this? who else might have been involved in the planning that might be on the run right now. so that is why law enforcement wants to get this vehicle and these three people in custody, but they also want to find out, is there anyone else out there in this group who either contributed to this financially or physically, or who may be planning some type of second attack.
far-fetched, we've seen it happen again. so they have to make sure on this one. >> obviously, real-life drama here. very perilous situation and we want to assure our viewers, we have got a slight delay here. obviously, we don't know the outcome of what we are watching here and we will guard against broadcasting any too difficult images from there. just a word of note. but if you are just tuning into our broadcast, "nightly news," we have watching what could be the final act of this horrible day in san bernardino, california. where 14 people were killed in a work-setting shooting, 17 others have been injured and it appears the suspects cornered in a bloody shootout here in san bernardino. we take a very short break. we'll continue our coverage in just a ♪ i built my business with passion. but i keep it growing by making every dollar count. that's why i have the spark cash card from capital one. i earn unlimited 2% cash back on everything i buy for my studio.
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welcome back. we take you back to san bernardino, california. today, scene of a deadly shooting. 14 people dead, at least 17 injured. all leading to this late-afternoon standoff between police s.w.a.t. and the suspects. as many as three suspects in an suv cornered in a deadly shootout. and right now police waiting to make their move and try to get inside of that vehicle as they assess the threat. miguel almaguer is in san bernardino to bring us up to speed. miguel. >> reporter: lester, i could tell you the scene you are looking at, the live affiliate from knbc is coming from two miles away from where the shooting began this afternoon. police are officially telling us that an officer was involved in a gun battle with one person inside of that suv. while they will not cop firm that is the suspect -- confirm that is the suspect or suspects wanted in this shooting here, it seems to be the indication. they were looking for a black suv.
this is a dark-colored suv. they were engaged in a gun battle with that suspect. now we are also told from officials on scene that only one person was involved in this shooting. is we don't know where the other two suspects are. police told us they were looking for three suspects. they appeared to have found one, two miles away. this entire area and region is on lockdown as police scour the area for the other two suspects. certainly a developing situation, as you could see. police moving in very slowly here. there was concern that the suspect or suspects may have had pipe bombs or explosive material. so police are using extreme caution as they approach this scene. they certainly don't want any officers injured. we are told at this hour no officers have been injured in the attack. they will focus on the suspects an the manhunt. >> and there are conflicting reports in the status of the suspects. they may, in fact, we are told, two may be in the vehicle. but this will sort out as long as it takes with law enforcement here.
obviously, their first concern is the safety of officers and bringing this to an end and hopefully rounding up all three suspects. pete williams, what do you have before we go off? >> i think we are getting more clarity now on the situation here. because this information has been conflicting. the best information we have now of the three, one person is in that suv you are looking at that has been shot dead. the second person in the car has been wounded. appears to be moving around a little bit. certainly still alive. breathing. holding a weapon. and that is why they are approaching it in such a guarded manner. and the third -- the third thing that we're worried about is explosive devices in that car and they are looking at that as well. that leaves us the third person that was originally in the car that we had told -- had been told rolled out of the car when the police confronted him. our initial information was that that person was taken into custody. now what we're being
told is that not the case and this person is being chased, lester. >> so as we said, a volatile situation there in san bernardino. to many, many of our stations, our "nightly news" coverage with continue with a special second half hour of coverage. for others, this is all for this edition of "nbc nightly news." we'll be back on with updates at nbcnightlynews.com. for all of us at nbc news, good night.
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