tv CNN Newsroom With Fredricka Whitfield CNN June 1, 2019 11:00am-12:01pm PDT
special coverage of a deadly workplace shooting in virginia beach, virginia. we start with an update from the hospitals. they're working to care for the injured patients still in the hospital. right now three people are in intensive care at virginia beach general hospital. there's another person being treated at a hospital nearby. we know that patient is in critical condition. one emergency department physician described the chaos as victims started to arrive at the hospital. >> controlled chaos. staff everywhere. a number of folks in different roles attending to their roles and a few people in the middle kind of directing traffic. this is withhat we train for. this is why we chose to go into these professions.
when it's actually happening and the scale that it's happening, it becomes surreal. you have to just focus, compartme compartmentalize. >> the community is mourning the loss of 12 people today. 11 of these people were murdered at their workplace. they have years and years of service to their community. one was a contractor coming in for a permit. this is a devastating loss for this community. we heard from so many people, whether they knew someone who worked in this building or whether they are simply a resident of this community. they feel touched very perman t personally by what happened today. miguel? >> the doctors we spoke today at
virginia beach general hospital, you can feel the emotion in their voices. they talk about this is a type of mass casualty event they prepare for. think nev they never expect to have to deal with it. there were five individuals brought to virginia beach general hospital, two died on the way or shortly thereafter. three are still here. one is in fair condition. one has got out of the emergency room. another one into the operating room last night. they're expected to go back in to operate today and possibly next week as well. the third person fortunately didn't have to go into the operating room. the fourth victim at norfolk general hospital is in critical condition now. doctors talking about how difficult it is to deal with these victims. the two that ended up dying here, one dead on arrival, the
other shortly after, they had multiple gunshot wounds. this is something doctors prepare for. they never expect to see it here. after seeing it across the country, whether at a high school, grade school, church or synagogue, the head of trauma expressed his shock. >> you never expect it to happen here and of course it does. these are never good things. you wonder what's happening to society. it's now weekly almost. why is this happening? i don't have an answer for that. it's disheartening to see it. >> janelle thomas the doctor you played at the top, she was one of two attending physicians in the emergency room as that call came in yesterday. she said there was this mass
sort of controlled chaos. at certain points there were so many people trying to help and deal with the emergency that they had to tell everybody to shh and bring everything down and focus on the work at hand. amazing work they did. the governor has been by to talk to medical professionals and patients to see how they're doing. this is something that affects the entire -- the entire community. virginia beach, virginia is just the latest is a string of towns and cities across this country dealing with this horror. frederica? >> dr. ogrady under scoring it takes a lot of coordination to attend to the injured. investigations are still working to find a motive behind the deadly attack. let's check in now with cnn's
justice reporter. what are they looking for? this gunman is dead. the answers won't come from him directly. they're looking for evidence that will be the puzzle piece to put it altogether. >> that's right. they're at his home. they'll go through his computers. very important to them is events leading up to this. what was going on? when did he purchase these weapons? we have information that some of the weapons were recently purchased? we're not clear if the ones used in the shooting were recently purchased. also important is the extended magazines. what is the purpose for someone to buy those? that would give them some indication of planning. when did he buy those? were they recent purchases? when did he start planning this? obviously what was going on here? >> we established many of the purchases were legal. we have not heard from authorities saying anything was
illegally obtained. >> everything he owned was legally purchased. there were firearms found at his home. there was more than one weapon found here. all legally purchased. the extended magazines, that's going to be interesting. he had a lot of ammunition with him. we heard about this long-running gun battle. that's very unusual for police. the police chief was come mending his officers. the first responders -- >> were just feet away. >> they were just feet away. they're not s.w.a.t. officers. we don't know if they went in with heavy weaponry. the first four officers on the scene intercept this guy and there's a gun battle. they are able to stop him and move him into place to try to get him to not kill anymore people. it's really a miraculous --
that's what the chief said. i don't know if the motive right now, after talking to folks, if it's clear cut. we're hearing the investigators say don't speculate. there may be more than one thing. >> do officials feel they're trying to delicately balance -- providing as much information as they can about the gunman without providing so much information that in his death he's infamous as a result? >> that's right. >> we've seen a transition over shootings -- wanting to provide this is who this person was and this is what may be behind what happened. >> we've heard the chief say i'm going to name him once.
at today's press conference they went through all the victims' names first, providing photos of the people and then they mentioned the gunman. we've seen that from law enforcement a lot. it's something the fbi had started in this no-naming campaign. for this reason they don't want him to get any kind of glory out of it. they don't want people to copy cat attacks. we're still seeing these types of incidents, but it's an interesting question. i think the police are trying to balance that. they know that people want to know how and why this happened. this is something they're working on. the fbi is here, atf, state police. there's a lot of law enforcement here. they'll put this altogether. >> thank you so much. keep us posted. this building, when the shooting started the minutes
felt like hours. today so many are thankful to be alive. many have left flags and flowers here paying respects to those who were killed and injured. here's a taste of what some are reflecting on what happened yesterday. >> we were all just terrified. we almost kind of felt like it wasn't real, that we were in a dream. you hear this all the time on the news. you don't think it's ever going to happen to you. then when it actually happens, it's just -- it was like an out of body experience. you're just terrified because all you can hear are the gunshots. >> we heard gunshots down the stairs. we go to the corridor and there was a lady unconscious. we didn't know what happened. when another worker went upstairs to find out what was going on, she said get out of
the building and we all left. >> we heard shooting. we didn't think it was that close in proximity to the building. i just thank god they were able to alert us in time. if it had been ten minutes more, we all would have been outside. that's what i'm grateful for today. >> these are haunting moments. no one's going to forget what they experienced yesterday. so many are still reflecting on why. why in the world did this happen? sabrina wooten is a virginia beach council member. you have been riddled with questions like how did this happen? why did this happen? what now? what do you say to people? >> it's one thing to share that with them because it's shocking. i'm relating with them and just letting them know i'm here with you. i'm understanding what you're going through. let's figure this out together.
we're going to get through this together. >> what are your biggest worries right now the day after? i mean, it's co loss sal that it happened yesterday. it strikes fear and distress. now you've had a few hours since it happened. what are your feelings now about what you're feeling? how do you move forward? >> the biggest thing is things will never be normal again. it's moving forward. i think that's the biggest thing that we're looking at. how do we move forward? how do we assess what's happened and make changes so it never happens again? >> what do you want to know now? this is still an active crime sce scene. we've seen fbi looking for shell casings or other evidence that might better explain the actions of this one individual who is no
longer here, who died in a long-fought battle with authorities. investigators are still looking for answers. what are the answers that you need? >> absolutely. i really think about why. i think that's a biggest question and what happened to set someone off to do such a thing? that's on my mind. why so many people? why the significant danger that he put people in? just the horror of taking someone's life. >> what, if any, warning signs there might have been? >> absolutely. there's always a warning. before danger happens there are warning signs. did someone know? did he talk to someone? did he write something down? was there social media put out there? there was something. >> investigators revealed that there was quite the arsenal, not
just on his person, but at his place of residence. is it your feeling that that potentially is a flag as well? i mean, if anyone knew or -- >> right. >> or if that is nebulous or is it a concern? >> it is a concern when you have someone with so many pieces of -- weapons in their possession. what were they thinking? was it planned? sounds like it may have been. how long were you planning it? a lot of his neighbors said he was a nice person. they never suspected. i think that's the key. quiet person, not violent. how did this happen? how did he turnover to a person of violence in such a short period of time? >> sometimes discussions might lead to a goal that are long-term setting. in the immediate any discussions
you might have with your colleagues on council, with your constituents, what are the more immediate goals you want rectified as a result of what happened? >> just an overall wellness of staff members, that concerns me. people are going through things. i want to know, not just the safety aspect, making sure we make sure that we put safety measures in place and do we have counselors available for people to talk to? sometimes you can catch someone at the tipping point if we have the resources. just an overall wellness of our staff members. >> thank you so much. all the best to everyone as they heel as they try to make sense and comfort one another. >> thank you. >> for the people who live and work right here in virginia
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on thursday the city of virginia beach will hold a remembrance of the victims of this horrific shooting. investigators have been tight-lipped about a motive other than to say a disgruntled employee opened fire on his former co-workers. cnn law enforcement analyst charles ramsay is with us and former washington, d.c. police chief. this was an employee with 15 years under his belt. he had a badge. this was a place where he was supposed to be. this is a place he knew, probably like the back of his hand. what are city officials grappling with now when you talk about security, access, protecting your fellow employees at a municipal building and
campus such as this? >> i'm sure they're going to review their security procedures. the reality is this is a public building. he was an employee. even if they had doors that are locked that you need a swipe card, he would have had it. you know, you're limited in terms of what you're able to do. people come in there to pay water bills. one victim was there trying to get a permit. there's only so much you can do when it comes to trying to secure a public building. >> chief, police describe -- officials describe he had an arsenal. he used a 45 semi-automatic. they went to his home and there were magazines and other weapons. officials say these guns were purchased legally. how will leaders here have that discussion? every official i've been talking
to talks about the discussions they're going to have. what will be the embodiment of these discussions if we're talking about legally obtained weapons? >> you know, there will be a lot of discussions that will take place at the local, state, federal levels. the reality is nothing is going to really change in my opinion. granted i'm a bit on the cynical side. i remember the way people were talking after sandy hook. if the death of 20 babies doesn't move the needing, i don't know what will. there are steps that could be taken in order to try to see to it that guns stay out of the hands of people that should not have them. we don't know if this guy had the red flags that would have led to any kind of denial of him purchasing a gun. one thing that bothered me was the fact he had a silencer in addition to the extended
magazines. that coupled with his knowledge of the building, he was able to move very, very quickly and killed a lot of people. it would have been a lot worse had police not been so close by. >> of course that coupled with the fact that the knowledge that he had about the campus -- i mean, the police department was really just a few yards away from this building. the silencer, obviously, so that perhaps law enforcement nearby and people in the building wouldn't know and hear what he's up to. >> one of the things i saw in an interview earlier with a person who was in the building, what she said was she heard what she thought was gunshots, but she didn't think it was that nearby b because it sounded more in the distance. i believe that's because of the suppresser. that adds another layer of complexity dealing with these types of situations if this becomes more of a one-time event
where people use this kind of weapon. it makes it more difficult for everybody involved, including the people that need to be able to find a place of safety during an event like this. >> all right. heart breaking and so unsettling. chief charles ramsay, thank you so much. >> thank you. >> more from virginia beach right after this. hold on to. ♪ etsy knows that moments, big and small, deserve things that really matter. ♪ sold by real people and filled with things that last beyond the latest trends. ♪ belongings don't just show what we care about. they show who we are. shop etsy.com
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we'll get you back out to virginia beach in a moment. we're following several developing stories we want to update you on. u.s. and mexican officials are preparing to discuss president trump's recent tariff threat. cnn has learned the president ignored several warnings against them. trump ignored his own son-in-law, jared kushner's advice about implementing them. sarah westwood joins me now. we're hearing that several advisers with split about these tariffs. what do we know? >> advisers were sharply divided on the president's decision. against the deal as you mentioned jared kushner, senior advise to the president, also
robert light houser and steven mnuchin. on the other side of the aisle advocating for the move, peter navarro, mick mulvaney and his top aid stephen miller pushing the president to make this move. those who opposed the move they had concerns it would negatively affect the stock market. those fears were realized this week. we saw a stock market slide. they had concerns about how the new tariffs would affect the president's renegotiated nafta deal with canada and mexico known as the usmca. those who oppose this move were afraid the path for approval for the trade deal could get more difficult. the proponents of the new tariffs they argued that the migrant situation on the southern border is absolutely
out of control. something dramatic had to be done to secure more cooperation from mexico to stem the flow of undocumented immigrants into the u.s. the administration and trump himself have expressed frustration with the fact that mexico isn't doing more to stop the migrants. this also received a chilly reception on capitol hill where even republicans were expressing skepticism. the usmca move needs approval from the democrat controlled house. >> sarah westwood reporting. thanks so much. coming up the heart ache of the virginia beach shooting is being felt across the country. now some of the democratic presidential candidates are weighing in. you'll hear from them next.
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condolences to that great community. the federal government is there and will be for whatever they need. god bless the families and all. 2020 democrats are reacting to the shooting using words like heart sick and furious. many of the candidates are in california this weekend and that's where we find a cnn reporter. what are you hearing from the dems about the shootings here in virginia beach? >> this is a large gathering in california. the state party delegates get together to talk about who the party leadership should be and the issues in their state platform. we're hearing a more somber tone away from the stage. on the stage is a democratic party atmosphere. all these candidates, the one who have spoken to reporters have noted what's happening in virginia beach and the need for action. here's a sampling of some of it.
>> what can you say? it's a terrible tragedy. it speaks to the need for this country to do what the american people want and that is common sense gun safety legislation and making sure people who should not own guns do not own guns and doing everything we can to make this country and schools safer. >> this is a pain felt all across america, not just virginia. for those folks who said we should not talk about gun safety in the wake of this tragedy, that's just wrong. >> the uniformity of everything that these 2020 candidates have been saying has been remarkable. there's very little daylight between a lot of them on gun violence and the need to take action in congress. what is also remarkable is how it's a key talking point for all of them. this is very much about selling
themselves in california. we'll take a live picture of who is on the stage. it's beto o'rourke. he's flipped back and forth between spanish and english. he's a crowd pleaser. some very short speeches, frederica, but you'll hear the repeated them about what's happening in washington and the president of the united states and they're also weaving in their thoughts about gun violence. frederica? >> thank you so much. we'll have much more have virginia beach coming up. new tae from maybelline new york. ♪ for up to 24-hour sculpted brows. new, from the tattoo studio brow family. only from maybelline new york.
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no one is above the law, not even the president. that's what house speaker nancy pelosi told the california democratic convention a short time again. speaker pelosi insisting on the truth when it comes to the president's interactions with russia. listen. >> as counsel mueller said if
we had confidence the president clearly did not commit a crime
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push back. >> you may have heard it there. pelosi's comments coming as some in the crowd are shouting impeach. pelosi indicated it might be necessary depending on what house members found in their obstruction of justice investigation. joining us now is cnn political analyst. thank you so much for joining us. juli julian, to you first. you heard the crowd chanting for impeachment. when the speaker came out -- we've seen a number of democrats calling for impeachment proceedings. the energy is there. do you think she can hold off the supporters of impeachment? >> it's becoming harder and
harder. there's a lot of daylight between what she's saying about the president and what needs done and what she's supporting. there are a number of democrats -- i believe about 50 -- who are now supporting impeachment proceedings. she has a little room. if she doesn't lead the way, a lot of other democrats will sit back. what makes this hardest is president trump himself. he keeps pushing the issue. he keeps pushing the question within the democratic caucus. she's in the position of holding back her own party against a very unpopular president. >> tim, it appears the president wants her to try to impeach him. pelosi appears to be making a political calculation that it isn't worth it. justi justin amash the only republican calling for impeachment.
>> first of all, we have to recognize the amount of discipline the democratic caucus has shown. that's evident of speaker pelosi's leadership. they don't have the numbers. they don't have the votes. you would not end up removing president trump in the senate and it's not clear, by the way, that every single democrat would feel comfortable voting for impeachment. if you only have justin amash voting on the republican side for impeachment, it's a party line vote. do you want to further divide the country? there isn't a ground swell of support for impeachment in the country for the moment. we're not in 1973. this is in the at all like this. for speaker pelosi the american people are not pushing hard for
impeachment and the democratic caucus is not pushing hard. why do it? why do this if it's not going to give you a removal of a president? >> julian, do you think president trump recognizes that an attempted impeachment would galvanize his supporters and that's why he's goating pelosi? >> he thinks it might. it's hard to predict how this might play out. the other way to think about it is the house vote impeaching him wouldn't get him more support outside his base. his base is already energized. he can claim he has been exonerated and rally him that way. it's hard to know what the president is thinking. there's part of him that doesn't want to be impeached. in many ways the democrats need to think of this on its own terms, whether political or whether it's a presidential
accountability issue rather than what the president is planning to do. >> tim, what's your perspective on how the 2020 candidates are discussing impeachment? we've heard elizabeth warren who is very vocal about it. >> i wish all leaders would stop saying how they would vote on impeachment. pushing for investigations great. the whole point is waiting for the evidence to be in before you vote for impeachment or you vote to convict the president in the senate. it's not helpful at this time for people to foreshadow how they'll vote. as long as presidential candidates are saying there should be investigations, great, but i will wait until i hear all the evidence on how i'll vote. that's great for the country.
saying i would vote for impeachment now really just h p helps the president. >> julian, playing devil's advocate if you're a candidate for president in 2020 wouldn't coming out in favor of impeachment energize your supporters or give you attention and headlines? >> it can give you attention and headlines and define you in terms of principle. you can take everything speaker pelosi has said and say the natural argument would be impeachment proceedings, not a vote. proceedings are necessary at this point and that would highlight who you are as a politician and shape the character people see when they go to the ballot box. it is an argument where you could imagine that a lot of democrats like senator warren say i don't have another choice other than to support this at
this point. >> tim, you mentioned 1973. we have to bring up 1998 and bill clinton. how do you see the differences, the markers of difference between impeachment in the past, conversations about impeachment in the past with richard nixon, bill clinton and now? >> two really important points. the first is speaker pelosi is thinking about the 1990s, late 1990s. in that case it hurt the republicans to push for impeachment. they actually lost seats in the midterm elections of 1998. the american people for the most part saw this as partisan attack on president clinton. in the case of richard nixon, the big difference was the evidence available to the special prosecutor and to the grand jury that was looking into watergate was overwhelming in terms of nixon's guilt.
you had an impeachment process ongoing because of the saturday night massacre and the fact the president tried to shut down the investigation of watergate. you had a toxic brew for richard nixon. if you hadn't had nixon overreach in '73 and you hadn't had the tapes available, i see nixon finishing his term. it's very hard to remove a president. the evidence and the experience of the 1990s if the american people aren't behind the process and don't believe it's necessary, impeachment further divides the kcountry. those are the lessons for the current period. >> a great conversation. there's still more ahead in the "newsroom." first here's this week's "turning point." >> what i love about body building is the fact that i'm able to work on myself every
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welcome back to virginia beach. i'm fredricka whitfield. this community shaken by that tragic shooting friday in that municipal building that's behind me. 12 people were killed. throughout the morning, i've talked to a number of people city and state officials. ordinary citizens who have come by, left flowers behind me. american flags just to mark the places and pay respects to the 12 lives who were taken. their thoughts are palpable. this is what many had to say. >> it's a horrific tragedy. and these tragedies are becoming all too familiar. these are individuals that came to work yesterday morning for the city of virginia beach intending to go home to their families, and that didn't happen. so, now, there's a tremendous void. we need to all work together to make sure we take care of these families to give them the motor
they sneaneed. >> i think it's damaged us. it's hurt us. it's something that always occurs some place else, and never here. that's what you see when you see this on a national basis. we're going to continue to work on action things to figure out what we have to do. >> we have great first responders, our police officers, they didn't give a second thought to put themselves in harm's way and making sure that this massacre, this shooting ended abruptly. i grew up here. i wouldn't be here today if it wasn't for our community. they say it takes a village to raise a child. virginia beach helped raise me to whom i am. i'm in a position being here at virginia, i can stand here and say to our communities and say, listen, we're going to come together like we did at virginia tech. we're going to do so, stronger, smarter, more humility, more tolerance, to our differences,
virginia beach will define the moment to this hour. >> you heard it. virginia beach strong. virginia beach very much hurting right now, but virginia beach strong. thank you so much for being with me, i'm fredricka whitfield. cnn's special cover continues with erica hill right after this. because when others take rain checks... we take the wheel. run with us. search "john deere gator" for more.
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you are live in "cnn newsroom." i'm jessica dean in for ana cabrera. and i'm erica hill. live in virginia. police at this hour, still trying to determine just what drew a man to bring a man to an office building and open fire. 12 people killed, 11 of them city employees just like the gunman. and he was also killed in what the police chief described as a long-term gun battle with responding officers.