tv The Lead With Jake Tapper CNN December 13, 2013 1:00pm-2:01pm PST
cabrera, cnn reporter in colorado. the police making several announcements in that press conference. sum it up for us, if you would. >> reporter: to the most important information right now, the suspect in this case is deceased. sheriff robinson is saying that they believe that he is dead from a self-inflicted wound of some sort. there were two other students who have been transported to the hospital, one with a gunshot wound and as he describes, transported in serious condition to the hospital. and a second student who they found as they were trying to get the school all cleared, who had a minor wound, as he described it. he could not specify that was a gunshot wound. here's what we know led up to this situation. it sounds like there was a teacher inside the school, again, according to sheriff grayson robinson, that entered the school, had identified a specific teacher that he was looking for who he was
targeting, and that teacher was able to exit the school safely. there was another student, the sheriff says, who confronted the student who had entered with a gun, again, targeting a teacher, and that student who confronted the armed suspect was shot. again, we do not know any details on his condition other than his or her condition, i should say, other than that student was transported to the hospital and believed to be in serious condition at this time. immediately, the police responded to what they call an active shooter situation. so they have trained particularly for this type of situation following the columbine shooting, of course, in littleton back in 1999. there was the flat canyon high school shooting also in colorado, bailey, colorado, in 2006. so the local law enforcement and state law enforcement have trained very, very diligently since those two incidents to make sure that they are able to respond to a situation like this, and so they immediately put all the students on sort of a lockdown procedure, made sure
they were safe inside the classrooms, and they quickly went in and worked to clear the school. that's when they found the suspect believed to be the shooter in this case, and believed to be the only suspect at this time, and he was already deceased. we do not have the identities yet of either the suspect or the students who were injured in this case. at this point they're working it sounds like to notify family members first so we'll work to get that information here shortly, hopefully. we have confirmed all the students involved, including the suspect and the two who were injured, are students at arapahoe high school. arapahoe high school is in littleton. it is part of the littleton public school district as opposed to the school district in which columbine high school was involved in but of course, the community of littleton has been through this before. very scary situation and still an active situation, as the investigation is just now really getting under way. jake? >> anna cabrera, tell us what you would in addition to
arapahoe high school being roughly eight miles away from columbine, the site of the tragic shooting 14 years ago, tell us what you can about arapahoe high school, about littleton county. >> reporter: well, arapahoe high school is one of three high schools within the littleton public school district. littleton's a fairly large community, large area. couple thousand students at arapahoe high school. and again, columbine high school, while it's in littleton, is actually part of the jefferson county school district so there is separation by geography as well as separation by school district. again, this is a suburb of denver. littleton, everybody knows because of the columbine shooting, but it's typically a very peaceful kind of typical suburban community. it's not a place known to have a lot of crime. certainly columbine has risen everybody's awareness to these
types of situations, being able to have them happen absolutely anywhere. so certainly unexpected in this type of an area, to say the very least. >> anna cabrera on her way to the site of the shooting in arapahoe high school. we will check back with you in a bit. let's dip in right now to local coverage with cnn affiliate kcnc. >> -- just wanting to reunite with their child and you can understand exactly why, being a parent yourself. >> it's karen in the newsroom with you right now. looking at all the families out there and seeing how difficult this is, it's great to see these families now getting together with their students and they get to see them and hold them and touch them and know that their students are okay, and we are definitely going to stay on top of the one student that we know was taken to the hospital with critical injuries. we are going to hear more on that coming up. >> let's bring in our guests right now. cnn's own tom foreman and also,
chris voss, former lead international kidnapping negotiator with the fbi and ceo of the black swan group. i want to start with you, chris. one of the interesting things that we heard the sheriff say, sheriff grayson robinson i that they are not going to rule out that there are other suspects until there is no chance left, and we saw what can only be described as haunting and sad images of all of these kids, lines of teenagers, walking out of the school with their hands in the air, hands in the air, being instructed by law enforcement, put your hands in the air, then being patted down so they could be eliminated as potential suspects. this is the new normal. >> right, unfortunately, that's exactly it. it's a new normal. we have gotten to the point where they understand how to deal with this kind of threat both quickly and then methodically following right on. they have the active shooter protocols to go in and neutralize the threat as quickly as they possibly can. then in the event there was somebody with the shooter that maybe got cold feet at the last moment, somehow supported him in
some way and mingled in with the rest of the student population, they will check everyone until they make sure everyone is safe. >> what kind of neighborhood is this, tom? you lived in colorado for several years. tell us about the area of arapahoe high school, of littleton county. >> this is the kind of place where people move when they want to have a peaceful lovely life. it is a beautiful, beautiful place. you can see the rocky mountains nearby. it's full of soccer games on saturday mornings and swim meets and it's a lovely, lovely place for people to live. we lived i would guess probably ten miles from arapahoe high school, four miles from columbine high school. i will say, speaking to what you said a minute ago, when we talk about active shooter situations these days, because of what happened at columbine, we had friends in columbine high school when it happened, because of the overall difficulty of dealing with that and the realization, what you have now is a whole suite of steps that go into place. it's not just a matter of dealing with the shooter. you watch the parents reuniting with kids. there are protocols for making that happen, to end the chaos.
there are protocols for going through the school which will take a long time because think about how big a high school is. at columbine high school, one of the things the officers told me afterward which was riveting to hear, naturally people hear gunshots they panic and hide. officers would think they had cleared a hallway, they would go down the hallway and suddenly behind them, out of lockers, out of closets, out of ceilings, students started emerging who had hidden. that was terrifying for officers because they trying to spot a gunman and suddenly saying they're in a very fluid environment. they practiced these protocols a great deal. >> one of the other things i saw a denver post reporter who was on the ground at the time snapping photographs of teachers writing down the names of students who were outside, taking attendance, making sure that they knew who was outside the school. one of the other interesting lessons, i'm not sure if it's post-columbine or more recent
than that, is the idea that law enforcement no longer hangs outside and waits when it comes to these shooting situations. the protocol now for law enforcement, go in. explain. >> right. the surrounding call-in method changed as soon as they found they needed to get inside to neutralize an ongoing threat. there is an old saying in law enforcement you don't negotiate a gun fight. if it's still a gun fight and they need lethal response, deadly force, they know now that they need to get inside. >> when did that change? was that post-columbine that they decided they couldn't just wait outside and talk to the suspects and negotiate with them, because more people would likely be killed? >> well, columbine was part of it. there have been a number of international terrorist incidents in some places, a school, and terrorism as well where they found out they needed to get inside and eliminate the threat as early as they possibly could. so it's been a changing tactical dynamic in a lot of different parts of the world. >> when you heard the
description from anna cabrera about what happened, about a student walking into the school, seeking a teacher, he or she had a gun, actually, i'm going to interrupt myself because we will go back to kcnc. they are talking to witnesses right now. >> -- and she said that there was a shooting at arapahoe high school and that i needed to find out if he was okay, and so i basically hung up on her and began texting my son to see if i could get any communication. shortly thereafter, he did text back and say that he was okay. >> what did he tell you about what he knows of what happened inside there? >> he just said -- he said there was a gunman and that they were shooting and that they were on lockdown right at that time, and -- but he said he was okay at that moment. >> reporter: as a parent, they don't give you a manual, handbook, on how to handle something like this, right? what do you say to your child? what do you say to your son?
what will it be like when you reunite with him? >> i will hug him like crazy. >> reporter: makes you think about probably all the things you still want to do with your son and how blessed you are right now. >> it very much brings it to the forefront. >> reporter: i'm standing also with another parent who says thankfully her son got suspended yesterday and was not inside the school. sometimes it's not a good thing but in this case you're probably thankful he wasn't inside. >> i'm not mad anymore that he was suspended. so yes. my other son doesn't go to this school but he came to check on his friends and first thing i did was hug him, because no matter how much you fight and argue with your teenaged son, you love them more than anything and all i want to do right now is hug these boys and hug the girls that i know that are in that school and give the parents support until they find their kids. >> reporter: we hear so much about, obviously this is -- this opens up a wound for us here in colorado because of columbine, because of chuck e. cheese.
this is really personal for you now. this is your child's high school. >> absolutely. my husband was a freshman at columbine so he's freaking out right now. it's bringing back horrible memories of that. yeah. it's just way too close to home. this is not fun at all. >> reporter: what does the conversation look like tonight with your child? >> i'm just going to tell them how much i love them and how much i treasure them and nothing in this world could be this bad for something this horrible to happen. ever. >> reporter: thank you for your time. i know this is a tough day. you are going to hopefully see your kids soon. well, you heard it right there. this is just again, one of those things you never know how to prepare as a parent for a situation like this. you never know how to prepare as a student for a situation like this. but unfortunately, here in colorado, it seems like our police force, our officers know how to deal with this incredibly well because of the amount of times wea've had to deal with i going all the way back to the active shooter method. that was actually born out of
columbine and the different circumstances that happened with officers waiting to go into the school but really, it's something that now is employed across the country in every single police department when situations like this happen. we have some of the best out here, some of the best s.w.a.t. officers, some of the best in the business who know how to handle these situations and clearly they did today by going in there and securing the school the way they did. >> they didn't waste any time. you heard the sheriff talking earlier that within 15 minutes of the call of the shooting coming out, they were inside that school making sure that all their students were on their way out and they had already, within 15 minutes, the sheriffs said, they had come in contact with the shooter who had shot himself with a self-inflicted gunshot wound. so they quickly were able to get the situation on hand. taking a live picture now, you can see all the students that have been evacuated from arapahoe high school walking along on the track. they are going to load them up, move them off of that area and take them over to the shepherd of the hills church on university, where they can be reunited with their parents. you just heard jennifer talk
with a couple parents. we know many of you out there rushed to the scene, of course, to be with your students, to be with your children, to make sure they are okay. you want to get there as soon as you can to make sure that no harm is being done to your loved one or to your friends as well. taking a look at those kids as they walk through, earlier each of those students were patted down making sure that none of them had any weapons on them. the sheriff believes they have the shooter. the shooter took his own life. they believe that is the only person but they are not taking any chances. they are going to continue to scour the perimeter of the school, inside the school, around the school, everything they can in that area, and to talk with the victims, the shooting person, the shooting suspect, they are going to talk with that shooter's parents, find out who that person's friends are, talk to them as well, continue this communication, make sure they have a better idea of how this unfolded, possibly maybe why this unfolded. we do know the shooter --
>> we were just following procedure. >> tell me, firstly, how did you know it was a gunshot? i know that's kind of a strange question. what was the procedure that you all did? >> we just -- we didn't really know it was a gunshot but we heard the repetition so we just thought we might as well take a procedure and we turned off the lights and locked the door so they can't get in, and we make sure that if we hear anything or do anything, we won't go out until the s.w.a.t. team comes and opens the door. >> how many students were you with when you locked the door and turned the lights off? >> about like 26, 27. >> reporter: can you tell me about that moment with all those students, you're trying to be quiet. are people talking? what's the sense? >> our teacher was trying to calm us down and a couple people were crying. they were just all in the moment. we couldn't really think at all. >> reporter: what goes through your mind as you're living this?
>> just am i going to get out. if i do, what will happen afterwards. >> reporter: mrs. powers, talk about where you heard, what you saw when you first heard from your son. >> i was on a conference call. i actually got texted by one of my co-workers that said there was a shooting. they immediately said two people had been shot but i literally dropped all my devices, grabbed my keys and got in the car and drove here. i live in cherry creek. i was bawling the whole way here. i didn't actually get any communication from the school on my phone, which made me more nervous. then i kept texting my son but he didn't respond. so you keep thinking the worst. then he finally was able to ping me in instant message and let me know he was okay. i frantically drove here, parked the car, ran to the yellow tape to get him. >> reporter: deb has a question for you. >> i just wanted you to ask him what the security measures are like there at arapahoe high school when they go in every morning. >> reporter: okay.
can you talk about what you see on a daily basis in terms of the security here at arapahoe high school? >> there's cameras around the school but -- and there's usually some security guards that walk around the lunch room and that's usually it. there's probably other people. >> reporter: once you all locked down, what happened next? because i know you guys said you turned the lights off, you were all sitting there, your teacher was trying to calm you. when did you get the green light that it was okay to leave? >> the s.w.a.t. team knocked on our door and they had a key. they opened it and told us just to run down the hall or walk down the hallway and get out the door as quick as possible. >> reporter: did you see anything as you were running down the hallway? >> no. i didn't have a chance to see anything. >> reporter: supposedly the shooting happened near the library. where was that in vicinity to where you were? >> it was about two hallways down. it was pretty close. >> reporter: at this point we're hearing this may -- the motive may have been he was trying to
go after a teacher. are you hearing anything like that among your circle? >> yeah. mr. murphy, the librarian, i heard, was the person he was going after. >> reporter: again, at this point, that's unconfirmed. we don't want to give too much information out until we get that from the sheriff. how are you doing, having lived through this today? >> i'm just glad to be here still with my mom. >> reporter: mom, how are you doing? >> i'm okay. thank you. hard to see this happening again. it's like you don't want us on the national news again for this kind of activity. >> reporter: what's it like as a mom? >> frantic. it's horrible. you're super nervounervous, you trying to get down here as fast as you can. he's okay so -- >> reporter: what was it like to see him? >> i was super happy. yeah. i saw all his classmates so i knew they were okay. it's a terrifying experience as a parent. it's the last thing you ever want to go through, especially here. the one thing all of his class mates said to me was they had just talked about it being
friday the 13th, then this happened like, what, two minutes after. it's just terrible to think this could happen in our city. >> reporter: one other question. i see you're visibly shaking. as you walk up the sidewalk you see parent after parent that are visibly shaken on the phone. they have not communicated with their son. what is that like? >> well, fortunately for communication, we can text and call each other. i called most of colton's friends' parents and asked if i could pick them up at different locations. there are some kids at good shepherd and others at another local school. for whatever reason his class was stuck at burger king so they were the closest to the school which makes you even more nervous because they are still right here. but i think all the parents are doing the best they can obviously to get to their kids. >> reporter: we appreciate both of your time. take care. nice to meet you. obviously a very, very difficult day for students like colton and his parents. again, a number of parents that are just ten feet -- >> i want to cut away from local coverage and bring in a witness, ninth grader whitney riley, we should note that whitney's
parents have given us permission to talk to her. whitney, tell us what you saw and heard. >> so i was getting ready to grab my computer from my locker and then i had walked back, all the way back to a room called the study center where i do my homework and we were having fun and laughing, and then all of a sudden we heard a really loud bang, and my teacher asked what it was. then we heard two more and we all just got up and screamed and ran in a sprinkler system room. >> so you heard three shots. where were they coming from? >> it sounded like it was coming from the hall that was near us. kind of like a b hall and s hall. >> did you stay in that sprinkler system area with your teacher and other students? >> yeah, we had like five students in one room with two other teachers and we were shaking, crying, we were freaking out.
i had a girl biting my arm. >> that must have been terrifying. what happened next? >> we stayed quiet and we heard a whole bunch of sounds. we heard people yelling. we heard walkie-talkies and we were hearing like police asked the shooter to drop the gun and put the gun down and hold his arms up. >> did you hear another gunshot after that? because we're told by the sheriff that they found the shooter -- they found him dead with what they described as a self-inflicted gunshot wound. did you hear another gunshot? >> we did not hear another gunshot. they could have moved because the sound kept getting further away and sometimes they would come closer. but after all that happened, we ended up evacuating as soon as we heard police yelling that. it was like we needed to get out. >> how old are you? what grade are you in?
>> i am in ninth grade. i just turned 15. >> god. i'm so sorry you had to deal with this. have you practiced for a situation like this before? does the school have drills for situations like this? >> yeah. the school has drills for situations like this. i have never been in a situation like this but i have always like put myself in that situation, like when we were learning about the vietnam war, i kind of put myself in a situation where i would see how it would feel to be shot and i didn't want to know how it felt because it scared me. >> it scares everybody. what happened next? when did you leave the sprinkler room? >> it was about like 15, 20 minutes after. we kind of sat in there for a really long time and we were hesitant about our teacher opening the door, because we didn't know if they were yelling for us to get like out of the school or if it was the shooter who was like in the room.
because there was no window so we had no idea. but as soon as we started hearing screaming from other kids and we heard teachers say go that way, then we knew we needed to get out. >> so the teacher that was with you, it sounds like she did a good job keeping you guys safe and trying to keep you guys calm. >> yeah. they both did. one of them, you could tell he was scared, but he definitely smiled and told us that everything was okay. >> we have seen images of your fellow students in line with your hands above your heads. tell us about that. i assume that you're in some of those images. >> i have no idea what that's about, actually. i haven't seen any hands above heads or anything. >> okay. well, then how did you get out of the school? what happened next? >> so we opened the door to the study center again and we saw a whole bunch of kids running out
of the door from the study center to outside. we started running down the stairs and i saw a kid being held up by a few other adults, and i figured that maybe he was injured. there was an ambulance right next to us and we were just running like crazy. they told us to run and don't stop. so we ran all the way. >> we're told two of your fellow students, not including the shooter, were injured. have you heard anything about these kids? >> not really. i saw one of them that was injured, like i said, as i walked out, but i didn't see the other one. i didn't know two of them had gotten injured until i saw one of them, and then i heard that two kids were shot and i just started crying. i couldn't -- i couldn't deal with it. >> no, it's nothing you should ever have to deal with. your parents gave us permission to talk to you.
tell us about when you saw them again. tell us about being reunited with them. did that happen in the school parking lot? did it happen at the local church, the shepherd of the hills church? where did you see them again? >> i was at the church. i was like running around like trying to keep calm, and then i had seen my dad and i was like having a panic attack, almost. like i couldn't speak, i couldn't cry, and i was breathing really funny. when i saw my dad, he dropped everything and screamed my name and hugged me. he just held me really tight and just like i was secure, i felt secure again. >> it must have been quite a hug. >> um-hum. >> are your friends okay? >> currently, yes. i've seen a lot of my friends and they seem okay. i'm still trying to find more of
them. but they all seem okay. >> so you're 15. so you were 1 when columbine happened. >> yes. >> but that's something that i know in many ways haunts your -- the area, that people talk about, the police train for it, schools are ready to make sure it doesn't happen again. >> yeah. i've been through that many times, because i also went to middle school at deer creek, so they used to train us for shootings like columbine. >> whitney, thank you so much for talking to us. we are so grateful and glad that you're okay and you are a very, very brave young woman. thank you so much. >> thank you. >> i would like to go to a school security expert, ken trunk, president of the national school safety and security services. ken, what do you make of today's news? >> jake, i have been following along with you there at this
breaking news. what we see are very familiar things. the sheriff pointed out that the school, students locked down as directed. they didn't self-evacuate. we know from looking at the sandy hook report that was released just a week or so ago that when the police from newtown arrived on scene there were some questions as to why it took six minutes for them to get in. one of those issues was people self-evacuating throughout the area, putting themselves between the police and the school. so the schools follow the best practices in colorado with lockdowns. lockdowns work. they have been marginalized after sandy hook by some who have been advocating, giving real question advice about self-evacuating, teaching children and students to throw things at and attack heavily armed gunmen but it looks like as this unfolds, we will obviously find more in the coming hours, that they followed the procedures that were
practiced and encouraged from columbine just miles away from where they're at. the challenges that you get are that you discovered in some of the recent interviews, with texting, social media, you get an onslaught of parents, understandably, as a parent myself, very emotional so schools need to have crisis communication plans. one parent mentioned that she did not get any information from the school. we do have schools with mass notification systems. there could be many reasons the school may have put it out and they just didn't get it but the parent concerns, how do you have staging areas. you saw that when they did evacuate, they evacuated very controlled manner as you're showing the video of, with patting down, checking, verifying that each person coming out is not potentially another participant, another suspect, in this. >> i wanted to ask you about that. that's protocol now, to make sure that exiting children -- i understand it, i'm not being critical of it, but it is a rather stunning image to see all
these kids who are terrified walking out with their hands up and then being patted down. that is now just protocol? >> i'm with you, jake. i'm a father of two young kids and as i watch that myself, i get the vision in my eyes of my kid possibly being in that position. it's dramatic but it is a safety issue for the children, for the officers, for the majority of kids that are going out. the police coming in do not know who's involved. they don't know if they have one person or three or four. they are assessing, trying to make sure they don't unintentionally let out someone who is part of a broader plan that they know nothing about and could cause more harm. we know from columbine that there were plans with explosives in the car outside of columbine high school that fortunately, some of which did not detonate but it was part of the killers' plan at that time to cause additional harm. so officers have a whole lot of dynamics to consider. where are we evacuating kids to,
are we checking each person, are we putting them anywhere close to vehicles that could contain explosives, who else is involved, are we being viewed from afar by other participants. the reality is without being overly dramatic about this, is that the shooters in these incidents cannot be underestimated in terms of their sophistication, their advanced planning, and we have to be very cautious from a law enforcement end going in. the good news is that it sounds like the school had plans. the other thing is the sheriff mentioned, we talk a lot about the school resource officer on duty apparently was there, moved immediately in to neutralize the situation and having an officer on campus today, day-to-day basis, those police officers provide a preventive proactive wall and building relationships with kids. the majority will never deal with an active shooter but when one happens, you're sure glad you had that police officer on
campus. >> kenneth trump, thank you so much for your expertise. an expert on school safety. we appreciate it. we will take a very quick break. we'll have more on this breaking story out of arapahoe county, colorado. thank you for being with us. [ female announcer ] thanks for financing my first car. thanks for giving me your smile. thanks for inspiring me. thanks for showing me my potential. for teaching me not to take life so seriously. thanks for loving me and being my best friend. don't forget to thank those who helped you take charge of your future and got you where you are today. the boss of your life.
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or other types of cancer have happened. blood, liver and nervous system problems, serious allergic reactions, and new or worsening heart failure have occurred. before starting humira, your doctor should test you for tb. ask your doctor if you live in or have been to a region where certain fungal infections are common. tell your doctor if you have had tb, hepatitis b, are prone to infections, or have symptoms such as fever, fatigue, cough, or sores. you should not start humira if you have any kind of infection. make the most of every moment. ask your dermatologist about humira, today. clearer skin is possible. welcome back to "the lead." we're following the breaking news out of centennial, colorado this hour. police say a suspected shooter was found dead of an apparent self-inflicted wound at arapahoe high school. two other people, students at the school, were injured at the
school. one seriously, according to the sheriff. let's get to senior white house correspondent brianna keilar. the president, i would assume by now, has been made aware of the situation in centennial. >> reporter: he has been briefed, wolf, and we understand that he first learned of the shooting in colorado during a meeting that he was having with a number of mayors in the west wing. in fact, new york city mayor bill de blasio said that he was in this meeting and described the scene. here's what he said. >> well, the president said very somberly that the shooting had occurred. obviously none of us had the details yet but he informed the room the note was passed to him and he informed the room immediately, and we all cringed. we have all seen this many, many, too many times in this country. we didn't get into a lengthy conversation, but you know, the immediate comment in the room from some of the mayors was how can we use our abilities, how can we use our local capacity
and our bully pulpits to try and move forward sensible gun control legislation, because until we do that, there's too many dangers out there. that's where people are focused. >> reporter: new york city mayor-elect, i should say, bill de blasio there describing the scene as president obama received a note telling him that this had happened, but we are told, jake, that the president at this point has been briefed and this is from a white house official saying the white house will remain in touch with our federal, state and local partners. we are told they continue to encourage the public to follow directions from the local officials and the president has directed his team to keep him apprised of the developing situation. so he's monitoring this and will continue to do so. >> of course, this comes on the eve of a horrific anniversary, the one year anniversary of the school shooting in sandy hook, connecticut. 26 people killed. how is the president planning on
commemorating that sad anniversary tomorrow? >> reporter: very sad, and something president obama, as you know, described as really the saddest day of his presidency. he and the first lady will be marking that with a moment of silence in the white house tomorrow. so that is what we are told from white house press secretary jay carney, that they will be doing a moment of silence in honor of what president obama describes as a horrific day personally and as you know, he went to sandy hook there two days after with some very personal words. so this is certainly i think, when you see what's happening today in colorado, especially with the timing here, this upon us, this terrible anniversary, this is something that definitely affects president obama. you heard bill de blasio describe it there, that it was very somber as he delivered this news to the mayors in the room. >> it is news that we report too often in this country. brianna keilar, thanks so much. parents of the sandy hook victims have asked, when asked how should we, the american
people, commemorate tomorrow, have said that we should have acts of kindness towards other people. that has been the request of parents of the victims of sandy hook, one year ago tomorrow. it was just a short time ago today that the arapahoe county sheriff revealed that the suspected shooter was dead from an apparent self-inflicted wound. i want to take a moment and replay some portions of the news conference. let's roll that tape now. >> we located the individual we believe to be the suspect and the active shooter. that individual is currently deceased and he apparently killed himself. that will still be part of the investigation. we know the identity of the suspect. i am not going to release it at this time. i want to again repeat to you the suspect has been found inside the school and he has deceased as a result of what appears to be a self-inflicted gunshot wound. the injured student was found while we were clearing the school that had been locked down
and again, that individual is suffering a minor wound and we very frankly are not sure that it's a gunshot wound. [ inaudible question ] >> can't talk about it right now. we will in more detail at 3:00. >> how long did it take to find the suspect inside? >> it happened very quickly. the time of call on this was 12:33 p.m. today. we had information on the radio that my deputies believe they had the shooter down inside the school within about 14 minutes of the initial call -- of the call. >> you have a student that was hurt. how seriously? >> again, we have one student that was transported in serious condition with a gunshot wound. i can't go into any further detail on that. we have a second student that had a wound but again, we don't know if that was a gunshot wound or exactly what the cause of that was. i'll have that information for you at my 3:00 news briefing. [ inaudible question ] >> at this point in time we have not been able to locate a second suspect but that's part of our
ongoing investigation. that's why we are dealing with family and colleagues of the suspect, to identify any other potential suspects. we will assume other suspects until we know differently. that was certainly the focus of the deputies and police officers that entered the school to alleviate the threat. [ inaudible question ] >> no weapons found other than the one weapon that was used in the shooting. >> how many shots, sir? >> i won't go into that at this point. [ inaudible question ] >> that's something that will be part of our investigation. the student identified a specific teacher at arapahoe high school that he was interested in confronting, and that teacher was informed of this situation and exited the school quickly. >> how did he name that teacher? >> i won't go into that right now. >> any threats to the school earlier this week? >> we have had no threats or issues we had concern with at this school this week or in the immediate past future. >> that's the arapahoe county sheriff, grayson robinson. to recap, he said there was a
shooting approximately 12:30. they got the call, 12:30 mountain time in colorado. that's 2:30 eastern. one student transported to the hospital by littleton fire and rescue in serious condition from gunshot wounds. another student with injuries, they're not sure whether it's from the gun or from some other way. then the shooter, dead from an apparent gunshot wound, self-inflicted. i want to bring back in cnn's tom foreman along with chris voss, former lead international kidnapping negotiator for the fbi. chris, i want to start with you. obviously the information we're getting is very preliminary right now. but you and i were talking during the break and it sounds to you again, on this basic information we've gotten, more like an impulsive act than something planned. >> right. it looks very much like whatever rage triggered this, that it -- he hadn't thought it through in a lot of detail.
it doesn't look like there's a lot of complexity to this plan. doesn't look like he was trying to make a huge significant statement against the world. obviously something happened that caused him to feel like probably his life was over, and he couldn't deal with it anymore and there was a focal point of his rage that he was after. it doesn't look a lot more complicated than that right now. >> we heard from a local reporter earlier that police now talking to the parents of the shooter, trying to find out who the shooter's friends were so that they could then go interview the friends, find out more. that's basic protocol for law enforcement? >> right. exactly. they will look for what sort of indicators there might have been in advance, if there were any notes, if he left a note, sent any text message or e-mail, anything specifically talking about what he was intending to do or possibly even just alluding to it or alluding to his rage. >> even with an act that you think is probably based on the
little information we have, even based on that, even an act that's impulsive, you think there might be a note or e-mail? >> there's a pretty good chance that he left some sort of written communication some place to somebody about this. how complicated it is and how long ago he wrote it remains to be seen. but there's a pretty good chance there's something somewhere. >> tom, it was 1999, you were on your way to kosovo when you got the call and you were told about a school shooting in columbine at the jefferson school district in colorado. eight miles from arapahoe high school. what was it like covering that? how difficult is it to cover a school shooting versus -- and what is the community going through that they might -- that might be different from what a community goes through with a shooting somewhere else? >> covering columbine was unique. i had covered school shootings before. i had experience dealing with the families, the police, having some idea how they manage these things. columbine was unique because the nation had never seen anything
like it. it was just so big and so complicated. you were correct, we were at the airport gate about to leave to koso kosovo, we got this call, really couldn't believe it because it was part of our community. my daughters were little girls but had programs at the high school so we rushed back. it was the first time i really understood how much a community is affected by this, not just the people in the school. i had read about it before, heard about it, but being around people actually living through this, i can assure you there are thousands of people in this area right now who are flashing back not only to what they felt at columbine, but the feeling they have right now. they may have nothing to do with this school but it gives them that very, very unsettled feeling about what if. how did this happen, how did it happen again, and just as importantly, one of the things this community went through after columbine, how do you move forward without acting like you're in a police state, without having schools that look like fortresses.
if you act like that, that's frightening in its own right. this community grappled with that more than any oh, really, and they will do it again now. >> we heard from 15-year-old whitney riley. even though she was only 1 when columbine happened, she had heard about columbine, knew about columbine, had done drills at the school in case of a school shooting. we will take a very quick break. we are continuing to hear more about just what happened today inside arapahoe high school from witnesses. stay with us. across america people are taking charge
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which may be fatal. stop taking victoza® and call your doctor right away if you have signs of pancreatitis, such as severe pain that will not go away in your abdomen or from your abdomen to your back, with or without vomiting. tell your doctor about all the medicines you take and if you have any medical conditions. taking victoza® with a sulfonylurea or insulin may cause low blood sugar. the most common side effects are nausea, diarrhea, and headache. some side effects can lead to dehydration, which may cause kidney problems. if your pill isn't giving you the control you need ask your doctor about non-insulin victoza®. it's covered by most health plans. welcome back to cnn's continuing coverage of a school shooting in arapahoe county, colorado. one student apparently the shooter, dead from apparently a self-inflicted gunshot wound. two other students injured, one of them in serious condition from a gunshot wound. that's according to the sheriff
of arapahoe county, grayson robinson. the shooting took place shortly after noon colorado time, roughly 2:00 on the east coast. and from descriptions, one student came in with a gun looking to confront a teacher who was not there. i want to bring in dave cullen, author of "columbine." he joins us by phone. dave, thanks for being with us. what was your reaction when you heard about this shooting, unfortunately not all that rare an occurrence anymore in this country but not all that common in particular areas like right near columbine. >> yeah, my heart sank. you know, it's kind of sad because i think because of the newtown anniversary, some of the people in that area already sort of had it on their minds. i had just gotten an e-mail from a friend who said she had just gotten back from the columbine memorial when she got the news.
i kind of was, too, this morning i had to turn off the tv because i have rules on i'm not allowed to watch a certain thing or i have problems and i think a lot of people there do. so it's sort of -- i think one of the moms from columbine told me that she will never heal in the sense that as she feels like she's just always more susceptible to these things. like an injury, like you know, like a sprained ankle that never completely heals. that's how she feels that she has a lower tolerance and i think that's pretty common of people in that area, whoever went through it. >> columbine high school of course just a little bit over eight miles away from arapahoe high school. thankfully it appears as though what happened at arapahoe today, while tragic, not as horrific as what happened at columbine in 1999. dave, when you're talking about
avoiding coverage of the newtown, sandy hook anniversary, that sad anniversary tomorrow, of course, you're talking about specifically from having covered what happened in colorado, from knowing people, from having developed strong relationships with people who were traumatized forever because of what happened at columbine in 1999, you're talking about post-traumatic stress. >> right. yeah. >> are the people in columbine 14 years ago, are they still dealing with what happened? >> yeah. they definitely are. to different degrees. i was really surprised that it changed over time. in the first week, the parents were dealing with it a lot better and the kids were just distraught. they were almost universally a mess. in fact, those i worked with were really surprised they had
almost universal numbness the morning after. i was really shocked to see the kids the morning after. nobody was crying. there was no emotion at all. they had shut down emotionally, almost all of them, which is extremely rare. that's really common for 5% to 10% of people in a horrific situation. to be near universal was really off the map. the parents were dealing okay. over time, that gradually reversed. i think of it as the kids getting better and a lot of the parents sort of staying in a similar place. the bulk of the kids, i mean, nobody is tracking all of them, but the bulk of them seem to have by years five to six, seven, eight, seem to have sort of put it behind them for the most part. obviously not all of them. and just sort of feel like it's something that happened to them and it didn't seem to have scarred them that badly although we don't know what's in there but a lot of the adults who
were -- had really a different experience of fear for your child and continuing that fear for your child. really sort of stuck with them and i think it's a more lasting problem for the adults in general. >> dave cullen, author of "columbine," obviously you spent a great deal of time in this area. what can you tell us about this area? >> it's a suburban area that's fairly similar, i have friends who went to that high school and you know, many years ago, and they described it very similarly. one of the things that i think people don't understand is that it's sort of this big sort of suburban sprawl area and it was unincorporated jefferson county that created this area called centennial out of it. the reason that's important is there's no downtown, there's no town to most of these towns. i don't think there is any real centennial downtown so the
identity of the people in these areas is surrounding the high school. whereas i might say i'm from suburban chicago, people say whatever town they're from, people in jefferson or arapahoe county will refer to their high school as their community. of course, the friday night lights big and all that. but they think of that, that is the center of town and the center of their sort of community world. so when you attack the high school, you are attacking the central symbol and idea of who they all are. i think it has more of an impact in communities like that than in a lot of other places in the country who may not be aware of just how much it hits to the heart. in the same way like 9/11 obviously, most terrorist acts take on a symbol of the world trade center or whatever, a symbol of government or whatever it is. these are really attacks on the symbol of their community. >> dave cullen, author of
"columbine" thank you so much. we have to take a quick break. we are waiting for a live press conference from police. stay with us. i can't get this place it's such a peaceful place. it's so full of life. a place where the artisic beat of the big city, but the flavor of a traditional mexican town. ♪ imagine being on the green in the middle of the sea. some things can't be explained, you have to experience them. vallarta-nayarit, live it to believe it.
obviously they're preparing right now for this press conference with the arapahoe county sheriff, grayson robinson. when that begins, when they have their microphones in order, let me go to anna cabrera who is on location. anna, what have you learned since we last checked in with you at the top of the show? >> reporter: jake, what an afternoon. we have been talking to parents and students who are now reuniting. you can see this parking lot full behind me where they have cordoned off. this is a church a couple blocks from arapahoe high school, where parents and students are seeing each other, hugging each other, holding each other and being thankful for that special reunion. it has been a very traumatic day clearly for the community and particularly for the students who were inside the high school. i had a chance to speak with whitney riley, a 15-year-old.
her and her dad were able to reunite fairly quickly but she heard gunshots inside the school when all of this took place earlier this afternoon. it was shortly after 12:30 local time, of course, 2:30 eastern time, when all this happened. a lot of students just wrapping up lunch. whitney said she went to her locker to get her computer and went to sort of a study hall to do some homework and she and some students were just talking when they heard at least one what sounded like a gunshot. they looked at each other and heard two more, as she described it. >> anna, i'm sorry. anna, i'm going to interrupt you right now. we are going to go live to the press conference. >> -- regarding this particular situation. today at 12:33 p.m., a lone gunman entered the school on the west side. the gunman came into the school and immediately asked for the location of a very specific teacher and he named that teacher by name. when the teacher heard that this individual was asking for him,
the teacher exited the school immediately. in my opinion, was the most important tactical decision that could have been made, that he knew he was the target and he left that school in an effort to try to encourage the shooter to also leave the school with the focus of safety and security and wellbeing of our students in his mind. when that happened, one student was shot by the shooter. that student was transported immediately by littleton fire rescue and that student is currently in serious condition at a local hospital undergoing surgery. a second victim was shot. that individual suffered a very minor gunshot wound and is being treated at a local hospital. we believe that that individual will be released before the end of the evening. our active shooter protocol was immediately initiated by our school resource officer. the officer went immediately to the threat a