tv Situation Room With Wolf Blitzer CNN February 15, 2018 2:00pm-3:00pm PST
that's key. >> that's a lot of people who sincerely believe in gun rights, not because of nra money or fear, but believe in it. thank you for being here. appreciate it. that's all for "the lead," and turning it over to "the situation room" with wolf blitzer. thanks for watching. happening now, breaking news, ignored warning, a source of the fbi received at least one warning of threats from the suspect in the florida high school massacre, including a boast he wanted to be a professional school shooter. why didn't the bureau share the alarming information with florida authorities? ready to kill. chilling evidence emerging about the attacks meticulous planning and methodical way it unfolded. why defense attorneys say the young man accused of 17 murders feels remorse. national shame, president trump offered the usual thoughts and prayers we hear every time a bloody crime traumatizes the
nation, but he makes no mention of gun violence. how long can the issue be ignored? honoring heros, amid the grief of students and families, students emerge of heroic coaches and teachers who sacrificed their own lives in order to save others. i'm wolf blitzer, you're in the situation room. ♪ this is cnn breaking news. >> breaking tonight, new and disturbing information about 19-year-old charged with murdering 17 people in a florida high school he once attended. he was ordered held without bond in a brief court appearance earlier this afternoon. we also have alarming new details about at least one warning that was not passed on before the attack. as well as new stories from the bloody, chaotic events from the school. we have multiple correspondents
on the scene, and our analysts and experts are all standing by. authorities in florida are about to update the public on the very latest details. we'll go there in just a few moments for the news conference. let's begin with being outside the courthouse. brian, way are you learning? >> reporter: new details on the shooter's background and new information how this attack unfolded not far from here. moments of terror captured by the intended targets. students crouching behind their desks during bursts of gunfire. t the gun, an ar-15, and plan to maximize car damage. he sets off a fire alarm, sending students into the hallways, chaos ensues as shots ring out. students flee the school as they quickly realize the fire alarm
is no drill, and that an active shooter is on the loose. shooter is quickly identified and apprehended 90 minutes later in a nearby community. >> the guy in the burgundy shirt. >> reporter: today, in court, facing 17 counts of premeditated murder. tonight, questions about warning signs and missed clues. investigators combing through social media posts have uncovered a disturbing digital footprint including threatening and racist remarks. the shooter recently posted on instagram these images of himself with a knife in what appears to be a bb gun. twice the fbi was tipped off about a person with a shooter's name, making threatening social media comments, including this on youtube. saying, quote, i'm going to be a professional school shooter. >> no other information was included with the comment which indicates a time, location, or the true identity of the person who made the comment.
the fbi conducted data base reviews, checks, was unable to further identify the person who actually made the comment. >> reporter: no information related to the posting was shared by the fbi with florida officials. the school superintendent said the shooter was not on their radar. >> we didn't have anyone, no phone calls or threats that we know of were made. >> reporter: the 19-year-old student was expelled for disciplinary reasons issue and today, his public defender said he suffers from mental illness. >> he's a broken human being. he's a broken child. >> right now, the sheriff's office is on the successful prosecution of this killer. >> reporter: meanwhile, students called for fewer words and more action saying if it happens in parkland, voted the safest in florida, it can happen anywhere. >> you can say, we do all these things, thoughts and prayers, but we need action more than
that. please, we're children. you guys are, like, the adults. you need to take some action and play a role. work together. get over politics, and get something done. >> reporter: and to clarify, tonight, the fbi now saying that the shooter made just one threatening remark on a youtube posting, about being a professional school shooter. he did not make more than one threatening remark, according to the fbi. now, according to court documents we saw this afternoon, during the chaos that ensued. the suspect blended in with students running away from the scene and was able to elude police officers who were arriving at the scene, but, of course, he was apprehended later. the public defenders told reporters that the suspect's held in protective custody in jail, and he's under suicide watch. wolf? >> tell us about the police officer, local police officer,c suspect, a dramatic development.
>> reporter: the officer, michael leonard, with the coconut creek florida police department arrive on scene shortly after the shootings, but after the police converged on the scene and basically had taken over the scene. other police officers were there already saying it was heavy with police presence at the school, so he decided on his own to venture into the neighborhood and got into an area kind of a back neighborhood area with residential streets and saw the suspect walking there and apprehended there. >> dramatic story indeed. we'll get back to you. you are working sources there as well. i want to go to the justice correspondent, evan perez, working sources, talking to federal officials among others. as of right now, there's a greater emphasis on mental health problems than on guns. update us on that. >> reporter: that's right, wolf, one of the problems here is that at least from the indications we got in the investigation, early in the investigation, is that there were plenty of signs and something wrong going wrong with this young man, and it somehow
did not get into the system. he was able to buy a gun, just short of a year ago. purchased a gun legally, it did not show up anything did not show up in the mental health b.c. check, nothing about his mental health showed up in the background check, so he was able to buy this ar-15 style firearm without any problems, passed a background check. jeff sessions, the attorney general, addressed this issue this morning when he spoke to reporters, listen to this. >> i think effective enforcement of our gun laws focusing on criminals and dangerous people, mentally ill people that where we have the legal ability to do so can reduce violence in our communities and improve public safety. it's not good if we got gun laws that say criminals can't carry guns and never get enforced, so we intend to enforce our laws,
and if anything, the recent events caused us to know we need to do even more in the future. >> reporter: wolf, one of the things that has emerged is, obviously, the fact there was a report to the fbi about the comment about wanting to be a professional school shooter. the fbi did look at it, and it appeared they were not able to ever identify who this person was, it's not clear that the fbi did everything it could have. the question is now, obviously, being asked of the fbi, but we know that there were other recent incidents incoming a shooting at the ft. lauderdale airport where the fbi had contact with the shooter, returned the gun to him, and he was able to get on a flight, check his gun as luggage, and open fire when he landed. multiple incidents that have come to pass recently, and that's what the attorney general is talking about, about possibly looking at the ways in which law enforcement's handling all the
cases, and being able to prevent these shootings in the future, wolf. >> as you point out, evan, certainly is not the first deadly incident where there were clear warning signals missed by law enforcement. what specifically as they look at the problem, what do they want to do? >> reporter: one of the things they are trying to figure ought is when they have contact with these people, the person who carried out the shooting at that gay nightclub in orlando, for instance, they have the ability to investigate these people, and one of the concerns that they always have is whether or not they're violating their privacy, whether or not they can try to find a way to get him off the streets. again, there's mental health laws on the books, there's also, obviously, gun laws, but the fbi is facing the pressure of not inveighing people's privacy or taking away their second amendment rights without having good enough reason to do that. that's something the fbi has been struggling with for years, wolf. >> all right.
standby. we're awaiting the start of the news conference down in florida. the governor rick scott expected to make a statement after questions, and also the sheriff, scott israel, among others. live coverage of that new information we anticipate will emerge from the news conference as we prepare for that. meanwhile, i want to bring in our panel, phil mudd, you have been watching carefully. even if authorities can identify and locate someone who expressed very violent or deadly tendencies, do they have the tools right now to do anything about it? >> i think that is the key question in the coming days. there's going to be a rush to judgment and say what should the fbi have done? i talked to school administrators today and police chiefs across the country including here in miami. there's one issue that i think we can get out that we might risk missing if we keep focusing on the fbi, and that is when a kid is 15 years old and there's
evidence of violence -- >> sorry, the sheriff is speaking. >> talking about the timeline in the events that happened yesterday, and i'll introduce peter forcelli, staff of atf, talking about the origin of the rifle, and lastly, special agent in charge of the fbi will expound a little bit more on the tip, and then i'll come back to the podium to answer some questions. so i wanted to start out by telling you an uber car dropped off the suspect at 2019 yesterday, 2:19 p.m. in stoneman douglas high school. the suspect entered the east stairwell, building 12, with a rifle inside a black soft case. the suspect entered in the stairwell, pulled the rifle out of the case. at 221 hours and 33 seconds, the
suspect readied the rifle and began shooting into rooms 121 12151216, 1214, went back to 1216, back to 1215, and then to 1213. the suspect then took the west stairwell to the second floor and shot one victim in room 1234 on the second floor. the suspect then took the east stairwell to the third floor. he dropped the rifle and backpack, ran down the stairs. he exited building 12 and ran towards the tennis courts and took a southbound turn on foot. the suspect crossed fields and ran west along with others who
were fleeing and tried to mix in with the group that was running away fearing for their lives. the suspect bought a drink at the subway, and then left walmart on foot. the suspect went to mcdonald's, sat down for a short period of time, this was at 3:01 p.m. he left on foot. at 3:41 p.m., 40 minutes after departing from mcdonald's, the suspect was detained at 4700 windham lakes drive in coral springs officer. he was taken into custody without incident. today, we interviewed between the fbi, the sheriff's office, and a significant amount of investigators from many other
agencies, fdle, a lot of local law enforcement, so over 2,000 people were interviewed, and we continue. this is a fluid investigation. we have so many facts coming in, some true, some unsub stanuated, some rumors. it's going to take a lot of time to sift through what's true, what's accurate, and what's not. i wanted to honor deceased victims of the horrific killing and will do my best to pronounce the names accurately. forgive me if i don't announce the names exactly how they did. i want to pay honor to the families and victims. carm carmen, peter wang, nicholas,
christopher, by very, very special friend who i will miss, aaron, luke hoyer, alana petty, jamie gutenburg, martin, alyssa, helena lambsey, scott beigel, gina, and alexander, may they rest in peace and my god comfort their families. at this time, the atf chief will speak about the firearm. >> good afternoon, on behalf of the men and women from atf, i extend condolences to the families of the victims and the people in the community, and i ask you keep them in your thoughts and prayers, the first responders who responded to the scene at 30 plus years in law
enforcement, i tell you it was a difficult one. the firearm that was utilized in this event was purchased lawfully in the state of florida, just short of a year ago by the individual who is charged with this crime. we are here to help the sheriff's office follow up on leads that pertain to the firearm or anything else they need. again, i ask that you keep the folks who responded to this scene as well as the families and victims in your thoughts and prayers as we get through these difficult days. thank you. >> special agent in charge lastly addressed questions you had today about tips received regarding the suspect. he's going to expound upon that information. >> good afternoon. like to take this opportunity to provide some additional information about the tip we spoke about this morning. september 25th, 2017, the field
officer in jackson, mississippi received a tip about a comment posted to a youtube account by someone with the user name nikola cruz spelled n-i-k-o-l-a-s c-r-u-z. it said i'm going to be a professional school shooter. there were no further identifiers about the person who posted the comment. the complaint filed same information to youtube. youtube removed the comment. after receiving this information, fbi jackson conducted an interview of the person who made the complaint. this person lives in mississippi, has no connection to south florida, and has no knowledge about the person who
posted the comment. the fbi conducted internal data base review and open source checks. no additional information of found positively identifying the person who posted this comment. there was no connection found to south florida. moving forward, we will continue to gather all information about the subject as we try to identify his motives, associates, and actions leading up to yesterday's events. we are looking into his social media posts, his movements, his conversations leading up to the shooting as well as any other indicators that may be out there. again, my heart goes out to the victims, the families, and the friends and everybody else who suffered by this cowardly, horrific act. sheriff? >> i want to take this opportunity to thank the amazing group of people, the elected
officials who came from places as far as washington, d.c., tallahass tallahassee, and just came down here, from calls i received, to the commissioner, and on and on and on, i can't thank them enough. they just want to see safety. to all of you, thank you. we will be going over -- i will be going over at 6:00 tonight to pine trails to a vigil for those that pass away. i know some of you are going to heed my remarks, and i know some of you are not. i'm going to say them anyway. you need to respect the privacy of these families. these families are going through the most horrific time in their lives, and if they say they don't want to talk to you, respect them. don't move forward with your camera. don't move forward with yo
microphone. let the families be. let the families heal. they deserve that. many called me and asked to transfer this message. i hope you consider listening. many of you would have done it anyway, some of you might not. please respect these families. they lost children, they lost loved ones. could you imagine what they are going through? thank you for your time, any questions? >> it's not confirm. we heard that, we are looking into that. you know, and we'll just keep following on. >> anyone at the mcdonalds -- >> might have, i don't know at this time. >> would that make it a hate crime -- and yesterday, two people were shot outside the school? >> well, he could have shot them or been within the school. they could have been outside. you know, this is an ar-15, a powerful rifle, and it could
have easily gone through a door or shot while the door was open, so we're still examining video. it's a great question. it's something we asked ourselves within a day or two, we'll have the exact, you know, answer to that, but at this time, it doesn't change or alter the timeline at all. >> if it turned out he was a member of the group, does that classify -- >> it could. >> the rooms targeted, were they targeted for a reason? >> he bought the weapon in coral springs at a dealership called sunrise tactical. >> sir, you mentioned releasing video -- >> i never mentioned releasing any video. we're examining video, and we might release information we recover or capture from the video, but at this time, we have no plans to release any type of surveillance video. i also want to acknowledge superintendent who has been with
us from the -- >> sheriff? >> yes. >> sheriff -- i'm going to give way the microphone to the superintendent with important things to say, and i'll come back to the microphone. >> let me just first say on behalf of the school board members and myself, our school board members here today, what the sheriff said, please respect the privacy of the families as they go through the horrific situati situation. we can't stress that enough, just honor them and respect them as they go through this time. we had hundreds of people today that have gone through our crisis services we provide in several locations, two here in parkland, two in coral springs. we'll continue to provide those tomorrow and the next day as
necessary. again, the school is closed from now throughout the weekend. we'll spend the next couple days figuring out what the path is to reopen this school, and what type of logistical challenges we have relative to what occurred in building 12 on this site. once information is available, we'll provide it out to the parents and families in the community and the media as well. again, thank you for respecting our families. give them the space and time to grieve and get through this very difficult time. >> is there a reason he targeted certain rooms? going to specific rooms and upstairs? any reason for that? >> that's what our detectives and what the fbi are doing, interviewing him, we'll be speaking to him, and gathering that information, but i can't enlighten you on that right now.
>> he was dropped off by an uber vehicle. i have to say this, at this point, the driver is not complicit in any way, shape, or form. the driver just picked up a fare and dropped the fare off at the high school. he walked into the school, and i don't know that anybody recognized him or knew who he was at that point. >> i don't know anything at this time. any reason to believe a family member -- >> at this point, there are other people we want to certainly talk to, but there are people of interest that might enlighten us as to why he did what he did, but at this point p, , there's no accomplice or anybody else we're looking at from that perspective.
>> talking about the gas mask, no mention of that in the timeline, anything more about that? >> no. i have no reason to believe dr i have not seen the videos yesterday. i'll be briefed tomorrow on that, but i don't know that he had a mask on at any time. >> as a student here, required to carry belongings in a clear bag because of the fear of the teachers that he might carry a weapon into the school? >> never heard that before. >> you said there remains -- have they been taken from the school, and school cleared yet? >> all the victims are at the medical examiner's office and right now, the medical examiner's doing a thorough investigation. as i said before, we want to release the victims to their families. we understand that the sabbath is tomorrow, and we're cognizant
of that, but the main thing we want to do is we want to make sure there's a successful prosecution, and we want to do -- we want to go as fast as we can, but accurate is better than speedy. >> is it school going to be inspected? >> the school is a crime scene and we're examining the crime scene. thank you -- >> all the students, the people here -- >> that i read out? no, no, some are -- there's adults on the list as well. >> the family, he was staying with said anything that they noticed anything, anything like that? >> i mean, not sure at this time. >> any cause related to -- are they -- >> never heard -- the first gentleman you name, never heard that name before. thank you very much. >> the sheriff, scott israel, and representatives from both the a tratf and fbi briefing us.
he arrived at 2:19 p.m. yesterday, readying his rifle two minutes later, started shooting, and escaped. he was on the loose, went to mcdonald's for 40 minutes and a walmart, but eventually was detained at 3:41, on the loose for about an hour after he started shooting. evan perez, we got new information from the sheriff, fbiin fbi, and atf. what stood out to you? >> the fact that the suspect mixed in with the kids running for their lives from the school, he mixed in together to get away, and then ends up essentially behaving like a normal person. you know, goes to the walmart and buys something to drink at the subway inside that store, and then goes to a mcdonald's nearby, and then sits there for a while, apparently, perhaps thinking over what he had just done, and then the police manage
to arrest him thereafter, so he's on the loose, as you saiding for more than an hour, and just imagine having just carried out the shooting. he climbs through all three floors of the school, shoots people on all three floors of that school, and then manages to put down his gone, put down the backpack he carried, and then makes a getaway with all the people who are fleeing for their lives. remarkable thing they just described. >> he also, the atf representative told us that the weapon, the ar-15 style rifle was legally purchased by the individual about a year or so again. he's 19 now, so only 18 years old, and that's legal in florida, right? >> completely legal, wolf, and here's the thing about our gun laws in the country and, again, policymakers have to decide what to do about this, but he was old enough to buy an ar-15 style rifle. i mean, you look at those things, able to buy that as an
18-year-old, but he's not old enough to buy a handgun. this is a deadly, deadly piece of machinery that he was able to use to carry out this massacre. again, completely legal. he passed a background check. nothing at all out of the ordinary for this gun shop that sold him this rifle, but if he -- you know, at his age, he would not have been able to buy a simple handgun, but can buy this much deadlier weapon. >> you know, our crime and justice reporter is with us, and fbi special agent in charge says that there was a warning. the fbi did get a warning from an individual in jackson, mississippi on september 25th of last year about someone by the name nikolas cruz, but they couldn't find a connection to
florida and that went nowhere. >> that's right. this morning, from when he first told about it, they explained a little bit more what they did, and there was an internal data base search. they reached out to youtube who took down the posting, and interviewed the man who made the complaint, to the fbi. he forwarded this link, this tip to the fbi, and that's essentially where it stopped. they did open source searching, but that's it. there was no further investigation. they didn't do any other sort of investigative tactics like search warrants or try to learn more about him. i guess we'll find out later on why that's the case. in many situations like this, the fbi argues we just get too many tips, and so we can't follow all of them. we can't open investigations on all of them, but, however, that may not be enough for families certainly who are dealing with this shooting, having lost, you know, one of their children, a
child, or one of the adults killed here, so, certainly, as this continues, you know, this will be something the fbi needs to look at and see if there's anything they could have done differently because, look, this tip to the fbi came to them in september, so plenty of time, and we know by september, he had purchased this weapon, so now the question is, you know, is there anything the fbi could have done differently? >> well, couldn't they have gone to youtube and couldn't youtube found out who posted the video or statement on youtube without direct threat to the school children? >> that's a good question. that's legally i'm not entirely certain they could without a legal authority to go ahead and request users to turn over that information, and it's not clear that the youtube would know where this posting came. you know, in some situations, these posts are anonymous. there's ways you can mask the ip address, but with the legal
authority, with some of the tactics that the fbi has, i'm sure they would have dug deep, they probably would have been able to discover where this came from, but, again, it's not clear if they would have had the legal authority to go ahead and do that given how little information they had at the time that this posting was made. >> you know, let me bring in the former new jersey attorney general. did the fbi, anne, have the legal authority to go to youtube and question youtube and ask youtube, wo poho posted that? where is that individual? where does the individual reside? could they have done that? >> first answer is it's common in a situation like this to issue a subpoena to youtube and issue an address to let the fbi track back to figure out if they could, who that internet protocol address was attached to, so that is a common law enforcement tactic. i do want to say here, though,
that one of the things that i think we're focused on, this one fbi piece of information, but what's critical in situations like this is the after action work where we look at everything. where we look at all the dots because the fbi and this one piece of information, it is a very important dot, but there's others. there's questions about social media posts. there are questions about e-mails being sent to that school, and so if i look at this. the question i'm left asking is the fbi sees one dot, if the school sees another, but nobody sees the full picture, it's really hard for people to understand what they are dealing with, and so i would like to see in a case like this, a really comprehensive look at everything that happened, what people knew, and really, you know, to me, public safety is the number one job of government, and we're clearly failing our kids and families, how do we do this better? while it's important to focus on the fbi, it's one piece of this bigger conversation, and i don't want to lose the fact that phil
will be a bigger expert on this than i am, but i remember having a conversation, did we connect the dots well enough, that was after 9/11 when we knew we did not do a good job of connecting pieces of information. i feel like i'm getting that vibe here, that there's lot of pieces out there, but no one person or no one agency necessarily had access to all of it. >> let me ask phil about that. all of us are always smarter with hindsight, but go ahead and respond, phil. >> i think there's a simple question i could not agree more, a simple question we miss if we focus on one snipit of information from the fbi. they knew he had access to a powerful rifle. there was disciplinary issues with the school. it was public knowledge, presumably among the associates he had violent postings on social media. i think the question it not a federal question, but a question to go to local police and school officials across the country. when you see someone who
requires intervention and you don't have a program or state money to intervene, what should we be doing in that case? one example here, we do gang interventions among state and local police across the country. is there a program we need to develop for intervention for people with these mental health issues, and does that involve taking away their weapons if they have them? >> peter burgeon is here too. you had an important article on cnn.com about gun violence here in the united states. just based on what we heard from the representative from the atf, that the weapon was legally purchased a year or so ago when this suspect was, what, only 18 years old, legally purchased in coral springs, florida. what jumped out at you? >> well, the thing that i found very interesting is the fbi has a term for what we've been talking about here, which is this posting, and they call it leakage, and leakage is the idea in school shootings and in terrorist incidents the perpetrator will have told a number of people what he's
planning to do. may not say it directly or a time or a place, but there's going to be hints, and so, for instance, the fbi really began first looking at this in the case of school shootings and also started looking at it in terrorism cases and found in terrorism cases, you know, in every incident, there's at least three people who know something, sometimes up to 15 people, and typically the people who know the most are the least likely to come forward because there are fears, and the second group to know anything are family members, reluctant to come forward, and then there's authority figures like teachers, cleri clerics, and bosses, quite likely to come forward, but they don't know much, and finally, strangers are very likely to come forward, but they have little information, so in all these cases, the people that have the most information, the most useful information, peers and family members, true whether that's a school shooting or a
terrorist incident, and that's really the frame to which to look at prevention. >> evan, tell us more about this shooter. it's only been a little bit more than 24 hours since the shooting began, but we've learned a lot about him. >> right. wolf, there's a lot of online postings, extremist postings, clearly lashing out, according to his attorney and people close to him, his family members, people who he lived with, he's obviously had a lot of trauma in his life. his father died some time ago. his mother dying recently, adoptive mother dying recently, and that appears to be the thing that perhaps unravelled a lot of what he's doing. we heard from one of the school officials earlier today that he may have been undergoing some kind of mental health treatment. none of that information appears to have been entered in anywhere where that would have come up in a background check when buying a firearm, and, again, under
federal law, the standard for denying someone to buy their, you know, to use their second amendment right to buy a firearm is, obviously, you have to be a felon or adjudicated by a judge as mentally detective. that's the term they use, and none of those things had happened here, so, look, we have a lot of questions about what could have been done. clearly, there were a lot the signs picked up by people, including by people close to him, but nobody really thought he could be capable of doing anything like this, and, you know, that's one of the things that i think is going to nag at everybody, including the fbi and everybody who is coming in contact with this young man. >> they are looking very, very carefully at all the details, not just to fully understand what happened, but to draw important lessons to make sure it does not happen again. >> no, certainly always, after these situations, the fbi, the atf, local law enforcement, there's usually some kind of
after action report. they always look to see what was missed, were there signs? i think social media is going to play a big part in this, certainly, his mental health. we don't have a full picture of his mental health here because, obviously, there's privacy laws. he's alive. he did not die here. they are dealing with a legal case. there's a lot we don't know about him, and police really, besides saying that he posted disturbing messages on social media and some of the stuff we have found on our own, you know, one can only imagine what we missed, and really, key here is, i think, and police have said this, the sheriff talked about this, the mental health issue, and there were signs of his behavior. his behavior had changed within the last year or so, and the sheriff said there were signs, and people should have notice ted this, should have gone to the police to report this, and that's what is missing, i think, in some of our understanding of exactly what led up to this, and this will be all part of what
probably law enforcement will look at as they go back. you know, they said, they're going to look and try to find people to talk to to basically build out an idea of what was going on in his head, leading up to this. it's a important element here, friends of his, people at the school. yesterday, wolf, we heard from people, from students at the school, some of them after they ran out of the building said, you know, they knew him, he liked guns, not surprised to hear he was behind the shooting, and all of that factors into the investigation and things that law enforcement needs to learn about and learn from. >> p yeayeah, a lot ofless to l learn from this. phil, the authorities are talking to the suspect right now, and he's talking to them. walk us through the process. how -- are they trying to come to grips with his motive of why he went to the school and began killing all these people? >> that's rights. that's not the first part of the process, though.
there's two initial questions. first is imminent threat. that is, were you planning something else? is there, for example, an explosive device somewhere? the second question, is somebody else aware of this or involved in a follow-on event? you have to mitigate threat before you go into past to discuss what the motivation was. my guess 24 hours in, they have gone a long way towards saying there's nobody else, confident he did not plan anything else, so they have to go through a methodical exercise, not only to talk to him through time, but what happened when you were 15, 16, 17, but we heard moments ago in a press conference, 2,000 interviews, you have to collate that with what interviewees say to get to questions, like, if something happened to him at 17, does that correlate to what we heard from his friends, family, students at school? that takes a lot of time and effort, wolf.
>> and, once again, you're the former new jersey attorney general, as the authorities question this individual right now, they are trying to get some answers, can they believe what he is saying? >> so, let me say two things, the first is i suspect he's no longer being questioned. as a rule, the question what happened before he was arraigned is possible he's still talking, but as we saw, there's a lawyer, most lawyers advise climates not to talk further as they have an opportunity to formulate a defense. we understood yesterday they were talking to him for hours, and so i suspect he's given a lengthy statement to the police, and so that's really, i think, the first point, is that piece of the conversation has probably ened. second thing is whether or not they can believe them. you know, phil just explained, and i think exceptionally well, which is that he'll give them a lot of information if he's talking, and they'll methodically check every piece of information begin to them to
ensure it's accurate, and if not, they go back to the lawyer and say, look, we think there's a lie here, and if he wants to talk to us, come talk to them and talk to them in presence of counsel, but, again, the sort of initial questioning, which happens immediately after someone is in custody would be the imminent threat questions, future harm, and they would have gone through, i think, already, what else happened and what he was doing, and, again, they could still question with the lawyer, but i suspect when you are arraigned, that usually stopped, at least temporarily. >> i have to follow up with you and talk about what the broward county sheriff told us. the suspect arrived at the school yesterday at 2:19 p.m. readied his weapon, his rifle at 2:21, two minutes later, began killing people going classroom to classroom, then he left, and at 3:01 after going to walmart, he went to a mcdonalds, sat there for 40 minutes, then he
left, and eventually, he was detained by a local police officer. what's that say to you about the mind set of an individual like this who after killing a lot of young people and others, just goes to a walmart for a drink, a cold drink, and then goes to mcdonalds. >> you know, wolf, i mean, we have seen a number of -- tragically, a number of school shootings, and when police arrive, there's one of two outcomes. one is the police shoot and kill the shooter, secondly, that the shooter shoots and kills themselves, so it's in the minority of cases that we see a suspect surrender. it's not unheard of, but i don't know that our shooter, that cruz planned this far ahead or expected to bawalk out of the school. he leaves, and i don't want to speculate, but he's wandering around, going to get a drink, in mcdonalds, and when he's apprehended, he's walking through a neighborhood. i don't want to say without knowing more that that was the
plan, but he left the backpack as the sheriff told us, and it doesn't seem consistent with someone who had a plan given the actions we just heard he took after. >> and what does that say, phil, to you, that the shooter, you know, after he left, after he left the school, went to the walmart, went to the mcdonalds, he was walking around, a police officer spotted him, he saw the clothes he was wearing, matched the clothes of the suspect, and he gave up without shooting. it was a very orderly arrest. what does that say to you? he stopped shooting after he left the school. >> a lot of clues, i think, about the difference between people who are ideologically motivated, they want to go down in a fight, in a hail of bullets. they want what we call suicide by cop, and, also, the fact he was not thinking through the question of whether he could ultimately get away for more than an hour or two. if you're in his shoes and think for a moment you know everybody's got a camera, there's a camera on every
corner, a cop on every corner, will be students in the school that recognize you, he's going to a fast food restaurant, and you got to be thinking if he's mentally stable he's going to be caught. i think this says he's not really an ideological shooter, but serious mental issues. another critical clue. he leaves the gun there. he doesn't want to die in a hail of bullets in a shootout with the police. that goes to my contrast with people people i saw, if i do this, it's big, and i'm taking down law enforcement with me. he did not seem to want to die or anticipate dying in the event. >> yeah, arrested without incident. the police officer just detained him, and put him into the vehicle, and that was that. there was no -- there was no further violence. evan, talk about that. >> well, wolf, one of the most -- this is excellent police work. just the fact they were able to catch this guy, the fact he mixes in with some of the kids
fleeing the school. what i was told by sources down there, that the first call that came in, the first reports that came in, someone said there was someone dressed in black who had come out of a car or a taxi or something, and had opened fire, and so when the police were trying to figure out who carried this out, they were looking for someone dressed in black, and as you can see from the video that we have there of when he was arrested, he was in a maroon shirt, not black at all, so, you know, if you think about how quickly just the fact that they were able to track him down, a local police officer in the town next door was able to find him away from the school, it's remarkable police work. i think one of the things they did was look at the video immediately and were able to figure out what he was wearing, that it was not accurate in the first reports, so the police work here just in the fact that nobody else was -- obviously, it's horrific the number of people injured and killed, but they could have been a lot
worse. >> certainly could have been. all right, everybody stand by. on the phone now is florida's governor rick scott, governor, thank you so much for joining us. >> caller: well, it's great to join you. this afternoon, i had the opportunity to talk to some of the students that were shot and, as you would expect, they are resilient, optimistic, and looking forward to going home. but i'm furious. this has got to stop. we cannot have violence in the schools. we all love our children, grandchildren, our nieces, and our nephews. next week, i have meetings with state leaders in tallahassee to figure out how to deal with school safety and get guns away from people with mental illness. this has got to stop. >> it does. it's been going on too long not just in your state, but the country. governor, what can you tell us about the shooter's supposedly extremist views and possible motivations? >> caller: yeah. there's, you know, you can see
what's coming out, you know, there's an active investigation going on. there's going to be a lot of information that comes out, and so we will, you know, we're going to get to know a lot about what happened, but we've got to take this and say, what are we going to do to change? we have got to focus on keeping our kids safe, parents should know when their child goes to school, they come home alive. >> the fbi receives at least one warning about this shooter, we just heard from the fbi agent in charge. they failed to identify him, the warning was deliberate from someone in jackson, mississippi. could they have done more to help find this shooter and prevent this massacre? >> caller: well, what my experience, i had worked with the fbi because of other things, the shooting at the airport, and i've had positive working relationship with them. we're going to find out exactly what happened. i know that, you know, there's
an active investigation. we're going to figure out what happened, and we're going to take everything we learn to try to figure out how do we prevent this from happening again. >> here's something that's really hard for a lot of us to believe, but it's true, governor, and i want you to explain it. this shooter, he wasn't old enough to buy a handgun. you got to be 21, but he a year or so ago an ar-15 style assault weapon in florida. why is that? >> we are going to look at all these things to figure out, you know, what -- what works and is not working, but we're going to -- our primary goal, as i everybody together, is to say these kids are going to be safe. so we're going to look at all these issues to figure out how can we make sure these kids are safe and also make sure that people that are struggling with mental illness do not have a gun. >> let me phrase it another way because this is really shocking to so many of us, governor.
he wasn't old enough to buy a beer legally in your stated, you got to be 21 years old. so why is it in florida he could buy an assault weapon at the age of 18? >> wolf, i think it's legitimate question. we have to go back and look at these things and say to ourselves, our primary goal is school safety. and so, you know, that's -- you know, i want to make sure we don't ever trample on anybody's constitutional rights, but we've got to focus on keeping these kids safe. >> because if this shooter had a different gun instead of this ar-15 style weapon and the police say he had multiple rounds, he could, you know -- he could have gone even further than he did. he certainly wouldn't have been able to kill as many young people and others if he had a different kind of weapon. so i just want you to tell our viewers you're going to take action as the governor of florida to change this to prevent this from happening
again for someone only 18, clearly with a history, this individual, just going into a store and buying an assault weapon. >> wolf, we have to. we cannot -- i mean, look, we all -- i have grandchildren. i have daughters. i want them all to be safe. i want your children and grandchildren and nieces and nephews to be safe. we are going to figure out how this -- moving forward, this never happens again. i'm going to do everything i can to make sure this never happens again. >> so -- because this isn't the first mass shooting in florida. we're all familiar with what happened in orlando. we know what happened in the ft. lauderdale airport. we keep hearing this, governor, and i know you love the young kids, you want to prevent this from happening again. so do you have an answer that you can give these grieving parents right now, specifically what you're going to do in terms of new laws to prevent -- to prevent the purchase of these kinds of assault weapons by these kinds of individuals?
>> wolf, you know, the terrorist attack in orlando was a terrorist attack. we added 46 more counterterrorism experts to try to work on that issue. as i talked to families, i told them i'm going to get people from all over the state. i'm going to get, you know, individuals to sit down, to figure out how to get this done. i've already talked to my speaker of the house, my senate president. i said, we have got to get something done, and they are -- they said they're going to be very supportive of working with me to get something done in this state. >> legislative -- it's not that complicated. you just got to pass some new laws to make it more difficult for 18-year-olds to buy assault weapons, right? >> wolf, we are not going -- we're going to figure out exactly what we can do, and i'm going to work through, you know, all the leaders in this state, local and state, and we're going to figure this out. i do not want this to happen again. >> because florida is such an important state right now, and the laws need to be tightened.
you have so many tourists that come there. they want to feel safe when they come to florida. and i go there, as you know, all the time. but i want you to listen, governor, to this mother of one of the victims, because she is so, so strong. listen to this. >> president trump, you say what can you do? you can stop the guns from getting into these children's hands. put metal detectors in every entrance to the schools. what can you do? you can do a lot! this is not fair to our families and our children go to school and have to get killed. i just spent the last two hours putting the burial arrangements for my daughter's funeral, who's 14. president trump, please do something. do something.
action. we need it now. these kids need safety now. >> governor, how do you answer this grieving mother? >> oh, first off, you can't. i mean, there's no way to answer it except you've got to say -- you've got to say, we got to do everything we can to make sure this doesn't happen. you know, one, we are -- i've already talked to my senate president and speaker. i've asked for funding for school safety. they said they're going to be committed to working with me to put more money into school safety in our state. we've got to figure these things out. we cannot -- we cannot let this pass without making something happen that hopefully -- it is my goal that this will never happen again in my state. >> i just want to pin you down on this governor, because i've known you for a long time. the president of the united states spoke for about seven minutes. he didn't mention the word "gun" even once. are you ready to commit your
political team to work to tighten gun control, gun restrictions, in the state of florida? >> i'll be stronger than that, wolf. everything's on the table. i'm going to look at every way that we can make sure our kids are safe. >> even if the national rifle association goes after you? >> wolf, i'm going to do -- look, i love my kids, my grandkids. i know every family in the state is in the same position. we love our children. i'm going to do whatever i can do to keep these kids safe. i'm going to talk about every issue to keep these kids safe. >> including gun control? >> wolf, i'm going to do -- it's a lot of things. it's looking at, you know, who should have guns. should individuals with mental illness have guns. should -- what can we do to create more safety in our schools? what can we do to make it easier for our children and make them feel comfortable to report
things? it's not one thing. it's all these things put together. >> there's a lot that needs to be done right now and i know, governor, you, as everyone else, who has seen these awful, awful images, heard these grieving, heard these grieving parents, spoken with the students, and you're right there in broward county. you see what's going on. and i know that everyone who's watching us right now, they're wishing that we could come to some conclusions right now, learn some critically important lessons and make sure it doesn't happen again. governor, thank you so much for joining us, and we'll have you back soon. >> thank you, wolf. >> there's much more breaking news. we'll be right back. from farm, to pot, to jar, to table. and serve with confidence that it's safe. this is a diamond you can follow from mine to finger, and trust it never fell into the wrong hands. this is a shipment transferred two hundred times,
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-- captions by vitac -- www.vitac.com happening now, breaking news, red flags, new information about missed warning signs ahead of the florida high school massacre, including a disturbing online post linked to the shooter. the fbi was warned about him. how did he slip through the fingers of law enforcement? methodical murder. law enforcement officials have
just revealed chilling new details about the massacre. and the shooter's apparent intent to kill as many people as possible. how did he manage to escape from the scene? empty words, lawmakers and the president, they speak out about the mass killing in florida, but few focus on guns. and the president says it's a mental health issue. with 56 school shootings in the last 14 months alone here in the united states, why is there only rhetoric and not action? and heroes in the horror as families and friends grieve for those killed, stories emerge of personal sacrifice and lives saved. who were the heroes? who gave their own lives in an effort to save others? we want to welcome our viewers here in the united states and around the world. i'm wolf blitzer. you're in the situation room. >> announcer: this is cnn breaking news. >> we're following breaking news, new d