tv CNN Newsroom CNN January 25, 2014 12:00pm-1:31pm PST
right above the food court. there's a big escalator that goes right up from the food court to where this store is. so the sounds probably appeared to people to be taken place in the food court. if you can imagine, you've been there. it's a large mall that would have been packed at 11:15 on a saturday morning, and it caused a lot of, a very scary incident. >> and at this point, what do you see in terms of trying to, you know, piece together these events and -- doing what you can as a county executive, you know, to ensure people in that area, and other places, you know, how do you make a public place like a shopping mall a safe place? it's presumably one of the places that people of all walks converge and naturally presume that they're going to be safe, and the okay, but when something like this happens, it certainly rocks the core of every potential patron or employee.
>> it's -- it's very difficult. look, i'm a father of two young daughters, and you know, we're at the mall, you know, all the time, and lots of public places, you know. unfortunately since columbine we've had to create a -- a tactical team a s.w.a.t. team. we train with our school system, our community college, at the columbia mall, large shopping places, gathering places. and we have to drill on these things and we have to make people aware that they need to be vigilant. unfortunately, there are people with weapons that clearly, whether it's criminal intent or mental illness, you know, are out there to do damp, bage, but the same time we are an incredibly safe community. people sheltered in place, they left the scene in an orderly fashion. we did have a few injuries, so it's a very difficult issue and not one that we in columbia, maryland are immune to, unfortunately. >> all right.
ken ulman, thanks so much. howard county executive, appreciate it. we know this continues to be an active crime scene there at the mall in columbia, maryland. thank you so much. again if you're just now joining us, a deadly shooting taking place at the ma until columbia, maryland, just outside washington, d.c. and baltimore, maryland. we're in the "cnn newsroom." that tops our story. i'm fredricka whitfield. thanks again for being with us. we're following this story, which continues to be an active crime scene at that mall. three people are dead, four others injured after a shooting took place earlier today. police say the suspected shooter just might be among the dead. erin mcpike is outside the mall. see what is the latest, erin? >> reporter: well, fredricka, from early information that we're getting, some early reporting, we understand that there are three victims. one may be the shooter himself. a man and a woman, he apparently shot dead. those are, of course, some of the early investigative reports
we're getting, but there is supposed to be another news conference right here behind me in about an hour, and we should get some more information then, but authorities have stressed that this is still an ongoing investigation, and they don't have all the answers yet, but, fred, you can probably see behind me that it's calmed down a lot. it looks like most of the evacuating has been done. there are some school buses over at the movie theater to my right, and that's where a lot of people were removed to earlier today. but it appears that it's calmed down quite a bit, but the investigation obviously is still going on. >> all right. >> -- i ran into -- we all hid in the back room, locked the door and waited for police to come and they came twice. once to tell us to stay put. to be completely silent, and the second time when they came back was to tell us they wanted us out of the mall. >> how many people were hiding with you? >> four others. we were nam very small
stockroom. >> what was running through your mind and what's running your your mind now? >> this country needs a lot of help. for somebody to be that angry to go to a mall on a saturday morning in the freezing cold and shoot people -- we're in a lot of trouble, in this country. that that happened. i heard three people have died. why? what -- what motivates somebody to do that? i just don't understand. i mean i know that everyone in this -- in this world is struggling right now, but -- to push people to those limits where things like that happen just, makes no sense. >> reporter: now, fred, from some of the people we have spoken to, some witnesses said that they heard three shots. others said six to eight. eight to ten. we haven't heard from investigators how many shots were fired. what they did tell us, though, is that law enforcement didn't fire at all. but, again we should get some more information here in just about an hour. >> uh-huh. so what you're saying is it is
believed that the shots that were fired were strictly from the shooter, if it is indeed just one or shooters, and because the police didn't respond until much -- much further after the shootings took place. right? the shootings were heard? >> reporter: that's right, but from what we do understand, police did respond very quickly, and as you heard, there, people who were lehere in the mall, as soon as they heard the shots they sheltered, went into stores, closets that kind of thing, but people were in there several hours sheltering until police led them out. >> erin mcpike, outside the mall in columbia, maryland. that mall, the middle of the morning, eastern, middle of the day, busy with shoppers. last hour i talked with colin ready, a maul employee inside at the time. >> i was at work. i work at -- it was a regular
day. you know? we was chilling at work and then i heard, like, a boom sound. so i went to see what was happening and then i heard it again. first too many i heard the sound i thought it was construction, because there's a lot of construction going on at the mall right now. then i heard it again. like, boom, boom, boom. then i saw everybody running. so we started running to the back, me and my co-workers, and i ran -- i ran -- i was almost out the door, like, outside, before my assistant manager called me back and told me i had to stay there, because, i don't know by i had to stay. i wanted to leave, but she said i had to stay. then she closed the gates and we were just waiting in the back room. i heard about eight or nine shots go off completely, i think, and we were just waiting in the stockroom for about 45 minutes before the howard county police officer came. he knocked on the door.
we had people on the back door. he knocked on the door, he wasn't in this uniform. so didn't know whether to believe him or not. my assistant manager, can we see badge or something? no think he had a badge or anything. we were really scared before she decided to open the door. but she did. it was him. he let us out and we safe. >> boy, that's a pretty frightening sequence of events. so were other stores -- had you as an employee of the store, or were other stores kind of given the same kinds of instructions? when something like this happens, it's time to close the gate, protecting, i guess, your store, to what may be going on outside in the mall? >> i don't know. i just know, like, that was our first instinct. first we ran to the back of the store. like, we didn't close the gate or anything, just ran to the back of the store trying to be safer and we kept hearing the shots. then we were like, wait. we need to close the gate in case he tries to come in here or
anything. so then my assistant manager crawlaled out there to close the gate and locked it up. she came back then. i don't know about the other stores though. >> you mentioned you heard the boom, knew it was gunshot, even though you thought it was construction at first, was there ever any yelling? >> yeah. everybody was screaming. there were kids running around. i saw, like, a couple, they were just -- i guess they couldn't run or anything so they were crouched under, like, under the subway trying to -- not like the subway. the store, trying to take cover or anything. >> all right. and colin, so you're no longer on the property. right? you were outside of the mall, because you did get out of the mall? correct? >> yes. i'm home now. they let us go. >> all right. colin ready, thank you so much, and glad you're safe, and thanks so much for sharing your account of events with us. appreciate that. frightening moment at the
shopping mall earlier today in columbia, maryland. there will be another police briefing coming up in about 50 minutes or so from now. we'll take that or at least get the information to update all of us. we understand that during that presser we just might hear identities of the three people killed during this shooting earlier today. we'll have much more right after this. and other news, as well.
all right. we've been following a shooting in maryland, but there's also a lot of other news we want to keep you abreast of. this one is a legal battle in texas. where there are no winners. but it appears the family of marlies munoz might get what they want and be able to lay their loved one to rest. the brain dead pregnant mother has been 0 a ventilator the last 8.5 weeks. the john spepeters hospital refd to remove it saying life support
should not be withdrawn from pregnant patients. jew jud now a judge ordered the tubes removed. nick, this comes after the hospital conceded at two main points. tell us about that. >> that's right. an aeging agonizing 8.5 weeks. all those parties involved. during a court hearing, two crucial facts agreed upon by the hospital and the munoz family. since november 28th, kept alive by the ventilator here at the hospital has been legally brain dead since november 28th. the other is that the fetus is not viable, but court records don't indicate worth that lack of viability is because of the age of the fetus or abnormalities. you indicated fred, the hospital all along maintained they're following state law and there's no legal precedent or case law to go off of and felt they were doing the right thing. yesterday when the attorney for the munoz family left the
courthouse she addressed the media. >> the decision we sought, there's nothing happy about today. this was a sad situation all the way around. we are relieved that eric munoz can now move forward with the process of burying his wife. >> reporter: interestingly enough, one of the co-writers of this law now an smu law professor said it's a law passed with unintended consequences as he believes jps hospital has been misininterpreting the law all along. for this family this is about closing a chapter and moving forward and going on with their grieving process. eric munoz, the father early on was speaking to early media. he declined to comment leaving the courthouse yesterday but for him, in his words initially when he did speak to local media, he was very upset and upset at the hospital saying in his words, conducting a science experiment on his wife. i want to share with you
quickly, fred, graphic dames that emerged from the courtroom yesterday. the munoz attorney arguing that marlies munoz has been dead 8.5 weeks. the husband saying every time he touches his wife, he bones crack. he smells death coming off her and when he looks in her eyes, she is solace, no longer there. the family can't understand wipe the hospital wouldn't abide by the wishes, i should say, but again i reiterate, the hospital saying they feel they've done the right thing abide big the state law. they have until 5:00 p.m. nond appeal or that ventilator will be shut off. >> nick valencia, thanks so much in fort worth. >> you bet. eight people dead and more than 20 missing after a massive fire at a nursing home in canada. authority say it's unlikely any of the missing escaped alive. search efforts are complicated by ice that coated the collapsed building when firefighters tried to battle that blaze. police officials spoke to reporters earlier.
>> the total number is 32 neem are currently missing. eight of which are confirmed dead. when you conduct an investigation of something of this magnitude you have to determine all the facts and not simply one or two in order to achieve a conclusion. we have dozens of investigators, which are conducting interviews. we are working on the scene as you know. for us we'll wait until we have collected all the facts before we come forward with a final conclusion and the cause. for us there are many hypotheses on the table. not simply the one mentioned in the media yesterday. >> investigators are looking into a cigarette as to a potential cause of that blaze. u.s. athletes headed to the sochi olympic games are getting a new warning about security at the games. the u.s. state department says wearing red, white and blue could put team usa in danger. its urging the u.s. athletes to avoid wearing their outfits
outside the ven use. also security officials will accompany athletes to the games. overall, about 10,000 americans are expected in sochi. on wall street. the days of the raging bull may be coming to an end. the dow took a nosedive this week dropping 3.5% including a triple digit point loss on friday. alison kosik looks at what's killing the bull market. >> hi, fredricka. stocks ended with a huge thud on friday. there was a sea of red air rrron the board. the dow plunged almost 2 percent. a culmination of a brute many week in which stocks fell every day. in the end, the major averages lost 1% to 3% each. selling circled the globe hitting major markets in asia and europe. friday the big issue was a sell-off in surnlt currencies in emerging markets like argentina and turkey saw their currency plunge against the dollar amid
new thoughts about the u.s. ending a stimulus program. giving economists around the world a boost. that's not all. wall street got slammed about concerns are china's economy slowing down. an economy growing at a really solid pace. here at home, worries about corporate america added instault to injury. big names mei like verizon, ibm and johnson and johnson reported earnings that disappointed the street. the thinking, if companies aren't doing well they won't grow, high and invest. roll it all together, a perfect storm. investors went running for exits and the pace of friday's session as it wore on. s&p 500 surged by 29% last year. still have wiggle room. >> very good. encouragement there, alison kosik. this political programming note. tuesday night president obama delivers his state of the union address. coverage begins live from washington starting at 7:00, tuesday night. for heartburn?
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police there was a single shooter, and he is among the dead. but unclear about the gender or even the ages of all three involved. cnn justice correspondent evan perez has new details joining us on the phone. what do you know, evan? >> reporter: fredricka, again, preliminary information. we are told by sources that it appears to be a domestic dispute situation that led to the shooting. the shooter entered and apparently shot a woman and a man, and then turned the gun on himself and killed himself, is what we're told from the early reports at the scene. again, the authority are still working the investigation to try and verify all of this stuff, but the early indications, again, that it appears to be a domestic dispute that led to this. as you said just now, the howard county police have also indicated that the shooting
other k occurred in, i guess, a clothing store called zoomies, which is, caters to skaters and so on and that the gun used or found at the scene was a shotgun. again, that's early information from authorities at the scene, fred. >> all right. evan perez, thank you so much. again, about 40 minutes from now, another press briefing from howard county police, and perhaps they will be identifying those involved. thanks so much, evan. much more in the "newsroom," after this. [ male announcer ] this is the story of the little room over the pizza place on chestnut street the modest first floor bedroom in tallinn, estonia and the southbound bus barreling down i-95. ♪ this magic moment it is the story of where every great idea begins. and of those who believed they had the power to do more. dell is honored to be part of some of the world's great stories. that began much the same way ours did. in a little dorm room -- 2713.
folks, in columbia, maryland, still shaken up after a shooting taking place at a popular mall in the middle of the day, biz saturday shopping day, at the mall at columbia, maryland, outside baltimore and not far away from washington, d.c. as well. three people killed, including, according to police what they believe to be the single shooter. four other people injured, and sources are telling our justice correspondent evan perez that the belief is it was a domestic dispute. earlier i spoke to john matthews about the shooting. he's the executive director of the commune safety institute and i asked him about, how people in general need to be treating
public spaces, if there really is a safe place any more. >> well, the majority of folks, it seemed, did take the right tactics. unfortunately because of all of these events, there's been a lot of press coverage and we've had a lot of media out there telling people you can't hesitate. as soon as you hear gunfire you've got to exit the area, get out of that shooter's line of sight and you can't sit and think, oh, i wonder what that w was? you've got to be prepared. i heard many of the witnesses say we went into a locked storeroom or secured ourselves in a bathroom or a hallway. that's exactly what you need to do. a lot of people went outside, exited the building were safer and then returned back inside. >> that was remarkable to me. in the case of employee whose said they left and turned around and came back because of certain
responsibilities, that's expected of them as an employee. still what is your recommendation? i mean if you're already in a safe place, you're now out of the mall, doesn't seem you would recommend to noanybody to go ba in where there's potential danger? >> no. you'd never go back into the line of fire, and in many of these mass shootings, the sheerts stop shooting per periodically. sometimes to reload. to go to the parking tlot reload, get more ammo and will come in and start shooting again. the number one thing we recommend, exit the area do it quickly and safely and you stay away. stay as far away as you can. this is one case where curiosity may get you killed. so you want to stay away from the building, and not go back inside, and there's no store, no employee, that's going to tell you, hey, you've got to do this and put yourself in harm's way. the number one thing we want people to know is, they've got to be safer and they've got to react quickly in these situations.
now, i did hear several people say, we locked ourselves in a storeroom, or we locked ourselves in the bathroom. that's exactly what we want to you do. we want you to seek cover away from potential bullets, away from potential gunfire and we want you to stay there until the police come and get you. don't -- don't open the door. don't get out to see if everything's okay. you stay there, because an officer with an i.d., with a badge, with a uniform, will come get you and say, hey, it's over. >> right, but john, here's the other crossroad. and we heard that, you know, from one of the employees. sometimes you just don't know. you know, if that officer comes and if they're not in uniform, and they open the door, in the case of, you know, this employee and some other people, they weren't even sure if this was an officer. they weren't sure whether to trust the one manager apparently had the instinct to say i want to see a badge, but sometimes you just don't have that opportunity ask those kinds of questions.
so you're fearful. you're afraid to trust anyone. >> oh, and you shouldn't. you should stay locked, stay secured. that officer is going to have either his badge or his i.d. card, and if he doesn't have it for some reason, say he was off-duty and came in to help, he's going to grab another officer to let you know, look, it's us. we're the police. you're okay. and we're going to get you out. i think people need to know in these situations, like this huge shopping mall, we still have people being evacuated two hours later. >> right. >> it takes the police a very long time. we have to secure every room, every passageway, every storeroom, and people need to know that when they go to get locked down it may not be for six or seven minutes. it may be for two, three or four hour, but you've got to wait. >> right. >> you can't take that chance and get hurt. >> all right, john matthews with advice there. much more on the shooting taking
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shooting, and the according to police, three people are dead. four injured, and among the dead, police say the single shooter, and sources are telling our justice correspondent evan perez this just might be a domestic situation gone very bad, but, again, no confirmation coming from police as yet. that's from the sources that evan perez has, however. so when that press conference takes place in about 30 minutes, perhaps we'll learn the identities of the three people whose lives ended today at that shopping mall in columbia, maryland. also -- these are live images actually outside the mall. you can see that the police presence is still very big there. there are still shoppers and even many employees that are inside the mall, according to the police chief a couple hours ago saying it's a painstaking process because so many people took shelter inside, going into closets, going into storage rooms and even dressing rooms
and so police continue to scour the mall, interviewing people who are there, uncovering people hiding a long time not knowing whether the shooting had ended, whether it is safe now. so in small groups we've seen that police have been escorting some of the shoppers and employees out of the mall, and then escorting them to a location where they then get shuttle buses where people can pick them up. their personal cars have to stay at that shopping mall, that is just a matter of procedure according to county executive earlier who said they've got to keep the flow of people in and out around the mall to a minimum. let's bring in tom fuentes. formerly with the fbi. joining us in and out throughout the afternoon. helping us understand this cooperative effort involving local, state and in some cases federal authorities, because we are talking about columbia, maryland, just outside the washington, d.c. area, a federal city, it is not unusual that
federal law enforcement also respond to crime scenes in the washington, d.c. even baltimore area, just as precaution, but in this case, tom, it appears as though this is a local matter, and so park police which arrived there even fbi, they haven't been involved in this investigation, but give us an idea what local authorities are doing right now as they try to secure this mall? they still have not lifted foish officially the lockdown? >> yes, fredricka. the federal agencies working here would be involved in the investigation. just not in charge of it. so chief mcmahon of howard county police is running this investigation. he's in charge. howard county has the lead on it, but the other agencies, maryland state police, the other nearby counties, federal, state agencies, are providing assistance, you know, for a variety of ways. one would be just sheer man power and secondly, if he needs evidence response capability,
forensic crime scene investigation capability. that type of things, to augment his own capability, the other agencies would be available to provide it, as assistance, again. >> and, tom, we heard from the police chief mcmahon earlier who said they still don't have a clear motive, even though some sources are telling our correspondents other information, but without a motive, without a clear identity of these victims, people naturally are going to be very worried about going to public places like shopping malls. whether it be this incident or even others. what do you say to people to either reassure them or best prepare them for when they are in a public place? how do you respond when terrible things happen? what do you do? >> well, if you're going to be honest, you're not going to tell them it's perfectly safe to go anywhere outside your house. it's a fact of life. in this case if it turns out the individual went to the mall looking for a specific person to
shoot, you could say, well, you know, as long as nobody goes there to shoot me, it's okay. the only problem with that is, that if you have other near by people who are innocent, not necessarily innocent but weren't the target but ended up getting killed anyway, that's not very reassuring. so i guess there is, you know, the public wants to know whether a person that's mentally disturbed, mentally deranged went and just was looking for anybody at random to shoot, which means anybody could be in danger, or whether there was a specific reason to go to a given store and look for a single person to shoot. again, you have other people killed besides maybe the one that may have been targeted, if that turns out to be true. >> yeah. >> now, the chief's press conference a couple hours ago, you know, they didn't want to speculate on the motive, and he may still not speculate during the 4:00 press briefing. to really fully understand that, that may still take some time,
and as i said earlier, you know, the rumors can come out as to motive and at the end of the day, it may be impossible to determine exactly the motive that somebody had for opening fire. >> tom, in this day and age, most shopping malls have their own mall security. almost every mall, public space for that matter, has surveillance cameras in the parking lot, in the mall, et cetera. what else, if anything, do you see on the horizon for shopping malls, for public places like this so people can feel safer? >> well, the limitations of the security is, first of all, it's wintertime in the washington area. so people can wear long coats and it looks perfectly normal to be wearing a lot of winter clothing, and that makes it easy to conceal either a shotgun or an assault rifle, or any long-barreled rifle. that number one. secondly, the mall police, even if the mall has hundreds of security officers, and even if they're armed, they're going to
be carrying pistols. they're not going to be walking around with assault rifles or shotguns or m-16s. at least not typically. most malls you don't see that. so an individual that arrives at a mall, walks in undetected because he's got a gun hidden in his clothing and then pulling the gun out and opened fire, even if you have mall security and even if they engage in a gun battle, the mall security is probably going to be out-gunned basically by the individual. now, again, in this case, if this person went and had a specific individual or a couple of individuals in mind to shoot, did that and then shot himself, the mall security becomes irshe vent. the mall cameras in a sense become irrelevant scope help the investigation after the fact. >> tom fuentes, thank you very much. formerly with the fbi. appreciate your insight. in about 20 minutes or so from now howard county police
will have another update about all that transpired involving three people killed, and according to police, among the three, just might be the single shooter. four others injured. our erin mcpike is outside the shopping mall, as tom as saying, it's wintry, it's cold. the wind is blowing, and agents bit of snow flurries, too, but what's going on outside of that shopping mall as few people still are released? >> reporter: well, fred, you can see that they've been setting up for this press conference that's going to happen just at the top of the 4:00 hour. so we hope to hear from officials some more details about the shooting. obviously, they couldn't give us many at the earlier press conference today, other than we know that three people were killed. most likely the shooter, the shooter, in fact, was confirmed dead, but they believe, investigators, we've been told from some early reporting thshgs e think it was a domestic dispute but wouldn't speculate much on that. in the earlier briefing.
we may hear more about that coming up in the next hour or so. fred, i can tell you right now what is going on behind, you is seeing a little security, but the evacuation have been complete, at least on this side. obviously, you can see some state troopers, and a lot of cars leaving here. so the activity is going down a little bit, but obviously we're looking forward to hear be more details in the 4:00 hour, fred. >> all right. just over 15 minutes away. thanks so much. erin mcpike there in columbia, maryland. much more from the "newsroom," right after this. t. you stopped by the house? uh-huh. yea. alright, whenever you get your stuff, run upstairs, get cleaned up for dinner. you leave the house in good shape? yea. yea, of course. ♪ [ sportscaster talking on tv ] last-second field go-- yea, sure ya did. [ male announcer ] introducing at&t digital life. personalized home security and automation. get professionally monitored security
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all right. a lot of people are counting blessing if they happened to be at the mall in columbia, maryland today. earlier there was a shooting taking place. three people are dead in the end, and howard county police there say that among the dead, just might be the single shooter. meantime, in about 15 minutes or so from now, howard county police say they'll have another press conference, updating reporters about the situation there. updating us as to whether the shopping mall, the lockdown has been lifted. they'll update us on whether there remain people, shoppers, many employees, still in that mall, because earlier today the police chief said it's a painstaking process that could take hours before they're able to get through completely comb the interior of that mall of 200 stores and four big department stores, and check and see whether there are anymore employees or even shoppers who
were holed up in closets and storage spaces, dressing rooms. those are some of the areas that people took to shelter when they heard the gunshots fired at 11:15 a.m. eastern time. among those who heard the gun shots, shannon washington. she's an employee at a store called the art of shaving, in that mall. i understand now, shansen, you're at home. but earlier when you were in your store, describe for me what you experienced, how you knew there was a shooting taking place and what you did. >> well, in the store we're located on the nordstrom wing. so it is a ways away from where the initial shooting took place. initially we did not know what was going on. we saw people running by. the mall opens at 10:00. it wasn't that busy at that time, but then we saw more people just, like, running, and then actually another worker in
the mall, in the store next to me, i think he has a stand closer to the food court and he was the one that, kwhen he was running pacht he says there's a shooter way shot gunn in tgun i. so immediately, me and the lady that works next door, we went in our stores, locked the doors, and then i started calling the police. there were no alerts or nothing going on, but later closer to the 12 hour, they did call all the stores with a pre-recorded message to let us know what was going on. it just was very chaotic. >> i'm sure it was nerve-racking and frightening. once you realized what was taking place, you know, a shooting, and you had locked your doors, then what did you do, and tell me what you were thinking and feeling? >> well, at the time, we knew that they did not know where the shooter was. so rather than run out into the mall to try to get out, you know, if you're running out there, there could be a shooter
right behind you. so our protocol is to go and hide where no one can see us, and that's -- >> where did you hide? >> that's what we pretty much did. behind our counter. behind our counter. >> okay. and what did you -- >> then a couple -- >> go ahead. what did you hear and experience while you were hiding? >> well, initially, i heard something, but you don't correlate it to a gunshot. it just sounded like scaffolding fell or something hit the floor, but that was earlier and i only heard that once. i didn't hear as other people heard more bungunshots, one after the other and after the other. then a couple hours later we saw the s.w.a.t. and everybody walks around the mall, and then they came and unlocked the door. put my hand up to make sure and so a couple of hour use stay crouched behind that counter not knowing, you know, what was going to happen next. and why did you feel confident
enough that the folks who were saying they were law enforcement, they really were and that you came out your hands up? >> because you would see them periodically. like i never stood up. but when i would like peak across you saw them. and since they're on the top floor, we saw the shoppers and, like i said, the mall did start making that phone call to let us know that there were police in the building with canine units in the building. so that phone call was made to let us know what was going on. >> wow. pretty scary moments. a couple hours later you understood it was safe. and then what happened? >> we got escorted out. we actually, the route that we took, i'm on the other side of the mall. we actually -- they walked us all of the way around the mall to the food court where i guess part of it actually happened. >> what was that like for you as you were being escorted? what was that like for you as you were being escorted passed the food court, passed areas where you thought shots may have
been coming from? how nervous were you? >> to me it was still scary because as we were walking through the police that were still in the building, it look like they still were actively looking for something. so when i'm looking around and i'm seeing that that kind of scared me because at that point i didn't know for sure if they caught the guy or what was going on because the people in the mall, we didn't know anything. we were learning from social media, like the people outside of the mall knew more than we knew at the time. >> and now you're being escorted out. then what happens once you're exiting? >> well, of course, there were a lot of reporters and police officers outside and they did have a lot of public transportation available to drive the workers in the mall to their cars so that they wouldn't have to walk all of the way around the mall because it was still an active crime scene. >> now a few hours now after the fact, you're at home. you're safe.
how do you reflect now on your day at work at the mall in columbia, maryland? >> i mean, one was prayer. you know, that's first and foremost on a day like today. but i kind of reflect on the fact that this is the world. like, it's just not in columbia, maryland. it seems like every time i turn on the news something like this is happening. and it's just -- it's the world we live in. that's really sad to say. >> what do you think it's going to be like going back to work now, whenever that is? >> i can't -- i can't even think of that right now. i don't know. i don't know. this isn't my first time being through something like this. there were shoutings in townsend toun center mall a few years ago. you know, they expect you to go back to work as normal, but it's hard. you know, luckily my company does have things set up, you know, that we can call a hot line and be able to vent and talk if we need to, so that is a
good thing. but it's just hard. it's hard for everybody. >> shannon washington, thanks so much for your perspective, your point of view on this. it is sad to think that this is the world that we now live in. all right. thank you. we're going to have much more from the "newsroom" right after this. i need proof of insurance. that's my geico digital insurance id card - gots all my pertinents on it and such. works for me. turn to the camera. ah, actually i think my eyes might ha... next! digital insurance id cards. just a tap away on the geico app. could save you fifteen percent or more on car insurance. everybody knows that. well, did you know that when a tree falls in the forest and no one's around, it does make a sound? ohhh...ugh. geico. little help here. [ male announcer ] you've never watched her like this before. never taken the time to just...watch. but something about spending this time together -- sailing past ancient glaciers in alaska,
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comcast nbcuniversal for atrust bufferin, the only non-steroidal anti-inflammatory pain reliever formulated with special buffers so it's gentler to your stomach. all right. we're just minutes away from another scheduled police briefing out of howard county, maryland, just hours after a shooting taking place at the mall at columbia, maryland. three people left dead. and police say among the dead is the single shooter. four other people were hurt. tom fuentes has been with us, formerly of the fbi, throughout the afternoon analyzing what has been taking place. tom, as we're just a few minutes away from the press briefing, what is it that you want to hear that will paint a more complete
picture of what happened today and what the response has been like and what's next? >> i'd like to hear the chief verify exactly why they're sure that this is a lone shooter and no one else was involved although he said it earlier, again, to reiterate it would be a good thing, as well. but i don't know that we're going to hear about the motive. you know, i think that even though there might be great speculation or that the shooter knew one of the victims or when the shooter walked into the location, other people recognized that he was related to someone or a friend of someone that was working there, i don't know that he's going to release that kind of information just yet. but i think it's, again, going to reassure the public that the mall is going to be safe, possibly say at what point the mall will reopen. if it's going to be available to be open tomorrow. and reassurance to all of the people that have relatives or loved ones that work there or
shopped there that they've all been released, they've all been found, located, and allowed to leave. >> and, tom, earlier we heard from the police chief big mcmay han w on who said it's a lengthy process to get through the shopping mall to try to help all those that are still in there to exit. so now it's been many hours after that shooting at 11:15. do you think now they have found everyone who would be hiding by now? >> yes, i would expect that by now they should be able to, given the large number of personnel that they would have doing it. and b the fact that most people have cellphones. so if you're hiding in a closet in that place, you know, you either could make a call or get a call from someone telling you they're watching this on cnn and it's safe, that the chief has said that the single shooter is dead, at least to their belief, and it would be at least safe not to be as hidden away. now, maybe you might not come
completely out at the store but if you have a number of people crowded together in a very small closet, i would think that one of those people would be able to learn from the outside what the situation is. and i mean, that would be the first thing that i would do if i was trapped in a closet and ask someone to turn on cnn and see what's going on. >> tom fuentes, formerly of the fbi, appreciate it. that's going to do it for me. i'm fredericka whitfield. much more of the "newsroom" straight ahead. again, that press conference taking place minutes from now, scheduled to take place minutes from now. miguel marquez joining us now to take it from here. >> thank you very much. you are in the "cnn newsroom." i'm miguel marquez. we are tracking breaking news at the moment. a shooting with people killed and wounded at a shopping mall outside washington, d.c. this is columbia, maryland, this time. three people are dead including the person who started the shooting shortly before noon inside the mall.
police update is due any moment now. while we wait for that news conference let's get to erin mcpike inside the mall in columbia. erin, what's happening there now? erin, can you hear us? it looks -- it appears -- >> yes, i can, yes. >> it appears that we're looking at the investigators heading to the press conference. erin, what's happening outside the mall now? >> well, the press conference is supposed to start any minute, so obviously there are a lot of people gathered here getting ready for that. miguel, what we do know is that federal investigators are saying from their early investigations they believe that this is a domestic dispute and just not a big mass shooting. so that's what we want our viewers to be aware of now, that this is, from what federal investigators are saying, most likely a domestic dispute with those three people dead. what i can also tell you is that it was on this second level of the mall at a skate shop called
zumiez, that's what early investigations say as well. but the police chief wouldn't tell some of those details earlier at a press conference so we're hoping to get more details at the press conference that is about to start any minute now, miguel. >> they did seem they wanted to give as much detail as possible. the one important point that the chief said was that this is over. is that your sense of things that are on the ground now that everyone who may have been involved in this shooting is either at a hospital or dead? >> oh, yes, miguel, that has been the case for a couple of hours now, that the situation has been over and that they have evacuated. we've seen some buses over at a movie theater that's off to my right where they were sending people once they got out of the mall. they were walking in single file lines and getting on to some buses and taking them, shuttle them over to some other establishments where they could meet up with family and friends and talk to investigators there.
>> has the mall been completely cleared at this point or are people still being questioned? >> well, what they told us earlier today was that investigators would be questioning as many people as they could throughout the day. they made clear this is the preliminary stages of the investigation and it will go on for quite a while. now, obviously there were a lot of people in the mall. it was a saturday morning around 11:15 when it happened so there are going to be a lot of people who have eyewitness accountss, who heard things, who they have any kind of information. so that part is going to take a long time. miguel. >> that was my next question. do we know how many people were in there? obviously it is a saturday and it is very cold. we're talking hundreds, thousands of people? it's a very large mall, yes? >> it is a large mall. i'm sure we're talking thousands, more than hundreds, certainly, but we don't have those numbers just yet. what i can tell you is that there are obviously a lot of cars still in the parking lot
because people had to be shuttled away and away from the situation and away from the mall in order to get to safety. >> all right. erin mcpike, thank you very much for being down there for us. thank you. i want to bring in lou polumbo now, a retired police officer. lou, you have seen this stuff before. can you talk us through these situations? when that emergency signal goes out, what kicks in? >> today as opposed to in years passed we have a different type of response. we have a boilerplate response which today includes our federal agencies as well as our local jurisdictions. and having experienced these severity of these incidents the response is quite intense. it's police, first responders, medical, fire, tactical units, local agencies in conjunction with the federal agencies in an attempt to clearly identify the nature of the incident as
quickly as they possibly can. it's changed quite a bit. >> it sounds like this when they are on top of and they have it figured out at the moment. what else will go -- will they keep individuals inside the mall in order to question them? >> yes. they're going to want to take statements to people who may have been in proximity to the shooting. this is an investigation that's going on that's very, very comprehensive. they're not just involved in what took place in the mall. they're trying to put the pieces to the with the individual who they believe was the shooter and the victims. they want to see if there's any tie, any connection. >> this does sound like a domestic dispute is what we are hearing. why publicly? we keep seeing these things happening over and over again. and, you know, in the news media we don't typically go after these. we don't typically report domestic disputes, particularly when a loved ones are killed and the shooter turns the gun on themselves. but when they do them publicly
it's a different thing, yes? >> i agree with you. there could be a multitude of reasons as to why they do these in arenas or venues like this. but it could be convenience, for example, accessibility to a person. the other thing is -- >> they know they're at work. >> absolutely. or they may know a schedule, for example, that they had. it's also a possibility that they're looking to make a statement so that more people understand the anguish that they may have been going through in their own household. in other words, if a police have a shooting in a home they are pretty much fig urge out it's a domestic issue and controlled and concentrated. here when you get into a shooting in a mall or a theater it takes on this life with our media, for example. i moon, there are shootings that occur in homes every day. >> sadly, it absolutely true. we do have -- we hear about these things far too often. and we do have several of the witnesses who were witnessed to
this shooting. let's take a listen to some of the things that they had to say. >> i was in the back of my store working with my other co-worker. two people just run to the back of the back room saying, somebody's in the mall shooting. some people were going toward the one exit. a lot of other people who didn't know where the exits were were just going the other way and hiding out in rooms. >> i was stand ing there talking to a customer. and i started hearing all these banging coming from the food court. i thought maybe they were doing construction or something, you know, because we do that a lot of that here. and people started running and they said somebody is down there and he's got a gun. i heard at least eight to ten gunshots. >> i was down stairs in the food court getting something for my boss and all of a sudden it sound like somebody had dropped a brick off the top ledge. and i heard some guy say, shots fired. so i grabbed a kid and i looked, three people fall to the ground.
grabbed the quid and ran. had the mother follow me. >> i talked to one couple, a young couple that were in the mall at the time of the shooting. they did not see it but they said they heard it. they said they heard about six very loud bangs which was the young man, first name was travis, he said he believed the bangs to be from a shotgun. people started fleeing. he said he was put into -- he hid someplace, hid in the store. >> all of a sudden i was waiting on a customer and i happened to see people running towards nordstrom which is one of the anchor stores that's close to us. and i said, what's going on? why is everybody running? so i stepped out to the door and asked one of the girls running, what's going on. she said, there's been a shooting. i did call 911 to see if it was true. sometimes you just don't know what goes on, if it's yourksz know, true or not because i don't hear -- i didn't hear any shots. that's on the other side of the mall. once i called howard county ms. thanks did say, yes, ma'am, please sheik shelter. we're in the back room waiting.
we turned off our lights and stayed in the back room to wait for further information. i did hear the helicopter land on -- i'm assuming on a roof to come and get the people or investigator or whatever happened over there. i don't know. >> a good number of others, getting out of their vehicles and putting on body armor and carrying assault weapons. i think the s.w.a.t. team was walking store to store telling people to get out because when everybody left, not all of the stores closed their doors. so i think that they were still looking in each -- in every store trying to find the guy, i guess. a lot of kids back there were crying and a lot of mothers who were holding on to them crying and shaking and not knowing what's going on. that was the biggest deal. but for me, myself, personally, it wasn't really worried about me, you know. i'll be all right. in the end i was just making sure everybody else was going to
get out of there. >> everyone was scared. it was -- it was pretty chaotic at the time, you know. people running by the store. people going down on the store in the candy store. but we just kind of took control and said, come on, guys. got everybody in the back room. >> i have never experienced anything like this in my life. >> just crazy. one of these things that you see on tv but you never expect that you'll go through it. >> ordinary people in extraordinary circumstances. we do have this press conference coming up in a few moments but we do want to ask lou palumbo who is with us. you heard the comments people made. chaotic situations. the authorities there in howard county said earlier that they plan for these things with this particular mall. how do you plan for these things? >> training. the police officers today, the type and the extensiveness of the training is much, much different than it was just a few decades ago. you know, prior to the 1980s, for example, which was really
the advent of tactical response s.w.a.t. teams, we had pretty much conventional lifestyle. since then, these police officers go through intensive training on how to enter buildings, room entry, how to sweep, how to clear, how to create perimeters. this is a whole new generation of law enforcement that we're dealing with, tech logically, and in training. so they have a real familiarization on how to address a situation of this sensitivity. >> okay. we are awaiting a press conference from officials in maryland. and we are going to -- we believe it's going to start any moment. lou, and for individuals who find themselves in these situations, i've now done stories on schools. it's amazing how much -- how young people are starting train for this. it's obviously a sign of the times for our country. but if you find yourself in these situations, what are the rules? >> hold for for one minute. >> everybody stay kind of where
you are for the purposes of this briefing and not to pass behind this yellow tape. okay? we want to try to leave the area behind the speakers as clear as possible, so we're asking you not to come around behind the speakers with cellphones and cameras. please try to stay to the sides and to the front of the speakers. another order of business we just want to let you though that we've gotten approval from the mall, anyone who needs to leave trucks here tonight with a plan to do a live shot in the morning is welcome to do that. and you can leave them here at this location. okay? we don't anticipate another live briefing this evening, but you should stay following social media, twitter at hcpd news. we're going to hear from our county executive ken allman and our chief of police bill mcmahon. >> thank you for being here once again. you know, my deepest thank yous go out to our men and women in law enforcement who arrived on
the scene within two minutes of the first call that we got to 911. and did not wait to go in to the mall to do the things that they're trained to do. both our tactical team and patrol officers and, you know, these are the kinds of things that unfortunately in our nation our law enforcement train on and are prepared to do and they did exactly what they were trained to do. both our folkses here in howard county and all of our neighboring partners from many counties throughout maryland, state police, federal partners. as you can tell, the mall, you saw a lot of folks come out of the mall. the mall has been cleared. this took a long time because, if you imagine how many rooms there are in the mall, how many back offices, rest rooms, and dressing rooms and nooks and crannies in the mall. the tactical teams went through
every inch of the mall and it has been cleared. as you know, the mall will not be open the rest of the day and evening. i want to thank the folks of the columbia mall for being so cooperative and working with us. our folks have been here before to train with the mall security folks. they know how to react to incidents like this, unfortunately. and everyone did exactly what they were trained to do. i also want to have -- give a very large thanks to our community at large. there were a lot of people here at the columbia mall saturday morning at 11:15. this was a very scary incident. the chief is going to walk through the details again. this did happen at a store on the second floor that is above the food court. so there was a lot of discussion about the food court. there were a lot of people very close to where this happened. and i just want to thank
everyone for their patience. folks sheltering a place, being vigilant, doing what their instincts told them to do. this is a very, very large crime scene. people are being incredibly patient and working with us. we are an incredibly safe community in howard county and here in columbia. and we're an incredibly strong, caring community. the outpouring of love and compassion that i've seen today through tragedy really warms my heart. and lastly, i just want to extend my deepest condolences to the victims today. the chief will walk through more of the details, but we did have a loss of life here at the columbia mall today and our thoughts and prayers go out to those who lost loved ones and family members. now i'd like to bring up chief of police bill mcmahon and thank him for his leadership through this very, very difficult few
hours. >> so thank you. and again, thank you, members of the media for your patience. as you can imagine this is a very rapidly evolving situation and even as i am providing you updates now, there are more things being done that will allow for further updates. if you bear with me i'm going to go through a little bit of what i may have covered earlier but provide updated information as well. again, i just want to echo the exec's comments, our hearts, the men and women on the police department's hearts goes out to the families of the people who lost their lives today. this shouldn't happen in columbia mall. shouldn't happen anywhere, but unfortunately that's kind of where we are in society and things do happen. certainly as we're dealing with kind of the technical logistical issues of this there are three families grieving. certainly our best wishes and prayers go out to them. as you know, about 11:15 this morning we received a number of
calls for a t shoshooting at th columbia mall. the shooting took place at the upper level above where the food court is in and outside a store called zumiez. it's been described to me as kind of a skateboard shop. multiple calls there as executive mentioned we were able to get officers on scene within two minutes based on our past training experiences, their afsers got into the mall very quickly. they were able to locate three people deceased from gunshot wounds. i want to clear up something because it's been circulating in some of the media that this has been reported by some as a domestic related incident. we have no knowledge of that yet. i'll get back to you in a second where we are in our investigation. it's been attributed to some sources. i'm not sure where that information is coming from. the howard county police department has certainly been supported by a number of agencies responding to this but the howard county police department is investigating the
shooting incident and we do not know yet what caused the shooting incident. so any attribution of this being domestic related or something else is purely speculation. so i would appreciate you helping us get that word out. we, again, will share things as quickly as we can with you. again, three deceased including the shooter. the two deceased, there is an adult male, adult female, in their 20s. they're both employees of the store. we're not yet releasing the names of the victims because we are still trying to notify next of kin and making sure that is done as quickly as sensitively as we can. the identity of the shooter, we don't know who that is yet. when our officers approached, he was obviously deceased but he
was also still -- had a large amount of ammunition still on and about him. and so because of concerns about any other weapons he may have or explosives, we are approaching this with an abundance of caution and we're getting assistance from some of our federal partners and making sure there are no explosives on the body of the deceased. that's being done now. as that process is resolved, then we will be able to work more intently on identifying who that shooter is. then when we know that, perhaps we will be able to have a better idea of what the motive is. again, the speculation about it being domestic related at this point is clearly that, just speculation. we don't know -- we do not have a motive for the shooting. the weapon used right now is a shotgun. i don't have any other information about that, or any of the reasonable questions you may ask about where it came from and who had it, again, we're about five hours into our investigation, which is not a
lot of time, frankly. so i appreciate the questions. i appreciate the concerns. we have that -- those questions as well and as soon as we can get them to you we certainly will. there's five other people that were -- have been treated at howard county general. one was a gunshot wound. the other four were either medical conditions or twisted ankles, things like that as people have were moving away from a very, very chaotic and dangerous situation. in terms of what was going on inside, as i told you earlier, i'm not sure of how many hunts of thousands of people were in the columbia mall on a saturday at 11:15. you can imagine how many people there were. many people left. many people stayed and did what they've been trained to do and that is to shelter in place. our s.w.a.t. team assisted by s.w.a.t. teams throughout the region have spent pretty much from the time we left the last briefing until half an hour ago going through that store making
sure we had no more victims, making sure, just verifying there were no more shooters or suspects which we were competent early on there were not and getting people that were in place getting them out. then going through a process of those identifying those people who may have witnessed the shooting and so those people that have witnessed the shooting we are obviously having further interviews conducted with them by our investigators. so again, a lot of things going on since 11:15 this morning. we are doing our best to answer as many of your questions as quickly as we can. again, still very fluid. still evolving. still dynamic. as sherry said, please stay tuned on our twitter account and we will continue to provide you updates as quickly as we can. i'll take a few questions and i need to get back to to deal with a couple other things. >> i was wondering if the surveillance video showed any type of altercation before the shooting or is the video giving any broader shooting of what happened?
>> that's what our investigators are looking at now. again, we had security safety concerns about the mall. our investigators have not been in the mall since 11:00. they're getting in there and review that footage now. the folks at columbia mall and their security team who we work with on a daily basis have been very helpful in letting us review that footage. >> how are you competent it's not a domestic incident. >> i didn't say it's not a domestic. i said we have not verified what no siv motive is. somebody has reported that from a federal law enforcement source that that is what it is. but i'm telling you, is we cannot confirm that. we can't deny it. we simply do not know. and if you're looking for the motive, the howard county police department are investigating the incident, we would be the ones to ask. we've got a tremendous amount of support from our allied agencies and we appreciate their help but in terms of the dynamics of the shooting itself, that's going to be coming from us. >> there is a witness that says he was in the store at the time and that the shooter came out of
the back of the store, dressing room, fitting room. what do you know about the circumstances just the moments leading up to the first firing? >> we've heard that report, too. that's what we're going through now and trying to drill down on exactly what did happen. >> found on him -- >> i'm sorry? >> can you expand on the ammunition found on him? >> i can't. i don't know what ammunition it is. it's just been reported to me by the folks inside that he had a large amount of ammunition on and moved back to let our partners that deal with explosives deal with that. when we have more information on that we will share it with you. >> being shot out inside the mall? various people inside the store? >> i'm sorry? >> do you know anything about other people around the mall being shot out? >> no, i don't have any information about that. seems to be very contained to that store and the area just outside the mall. >> the shooter was a male? >> yes. >> how many shots? >> don't know. >> shot in the foot, ricochet? >> i don't know that.
>> how many people were in the store at the time? >> i don't know that. >> chief, not a random attack on the mall? >> belief that the shooting happened both inside and outside? >> we know there were victims found inside and just outside the store. again, the dynamics of where they were, we don't know. i appreciate all of these questions and i appreciate your patience with me. the questions you're asking i simply don't know the answers to yet. again, our focus for the last several hours since the shooting has been the treatment of those that were injured, making sure that all of those people who were huddled inside the mall being sheltered got out safely. we're now going through the investigative process, finding out questions -- finding out answers to all those questions you're asking. again, i'm sensitive to it. i appreciate your desire to know it. i have those questions as well. we'll get back to you. >> all right. that was a press conference with
howard county police chief bill mcmahon laying out what they know at the moment about b this shooting in columbia, maryland, at the mall there. we are standing by here with lou palumbo who is a former investigator and former police officer and is going to walk us through some of the information we've just heard. also with us, joining us, will be evan perez. he is our justice correspondent, and he has some details that cnn has learned about this particular shooting. we will have all of that coming up after a short break. i'm beth... and i'm michelle. and we own the paper cottage. it's a stationery and gifts store. anything we purchase for the paper cottage goes on our ink card. so you can manage your business expenses and access them online instantly with the game changing app from ink. we didn't get into business to spend time managing receipts, that's why we have ink. we like being in business because we like being creative, we like interacting with people. so you have time to focus on the things you love.
i never had experienced something like this in my life. i was stand ing there talking to a customer and i started hearing all of this banging coming from the food court. i thought maybe they were doing construction or something, you know, because we do that a lot here. and people started running and they said that somebody's down there and he's got a gun. i heard at least eight to ten gunshots. >> it had happened again, this time in columbia, maryland, at a mall on a saturday morning where hundreds if not thousands of people had gone on a very cold january day. a news conference is just concluded with the howard county executive, ken ulman and the
please chief bill mcmahon. we want to chat with lou palumbo here with us. you heard what the county executive said. two-minute response time and they went directly into that mall. this is standard operating procedure these days, yes? >> that's correct. that's the training group don't have the luxury to sit outside and try to make an assessment of what's going on inside. you've got to literally insert yourself into the prol problem, make a determination as to what the course of action has to be. >> a hard lesson from columbine where they surrounded the school and waited to assess what was going on. >> that's correct. but everyone also has to understand that these entry teams assume an immense amount of risk. for example, in columbine we knew they rigged bombs, explosive devices. that's one of the teams that the response teams are sensitive to. that's one of the things that will possibly influence you going in or not go in in the past. today they disregard that concern and they go in and pretty much roll the device at
the expense of their own lives. >> dangerous, dangerous work. police chief mcmahon saying they saw a lot of ammunition around this person. a shotgun was on him. what does it say that somebody, if this is a domestic dispute and he was gun for particular people, why would they bring so much ammunition? >> that's a good question. that's why i think we have to let the police department continue to do this investigation. shotguns unique to themselves are not easy to secrete. you can alter the configuration of a shotgun as we mentioned briefly by can youing off a butt stock but it's still a large weapon. even if you cut the barrel. the dimension of shotgun shells are rather large and cumbersome. when you say a lot of ammunition, he didn't have 100 shotgun shells on you, i can assure you of that because if they're .12 gaunlg, they're half inch in diameter and two inches long. it may have been what he could have afforded to use in this incident and may have been emotionally driven and more of a
sp spontaneous fashion. >> and shotguns as well, we see them in movies where we think of them as extraordinarily powerful weapons. they can be or they can can be a small caliber shotgun, .20 gaun gauge. >> 410, 20, 16 which is a little obsolete. shotguns to shotguns unto themselves are lethal. >> they said when they saw the body and saw the number of shells around it. they backed off at that point. why? >> i think they may have been concerned for possibly ignition issues. you don't faknow what this kid could have rigged. you saw this assortment of ammunition on the floor you're wondering was he just supplying himself, for example. there are a whole lot of dynamics that lend itself spontaneously. i don't know if they necessarily took a step back but i'm sure