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Multiple People Stabbed at Texas College

Aired April 9, 2013 - 14:00   ET


ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.

BROOKE BALDWIN, CNN ANCHOR: Suzanne, thank you.

Hi, everyone. I'm Brooke Baldwin. And thanks for being with me on this Tuesday afternoon, as we begin with breaking news out of Texas.

Take a look at these pictures as we explain exactly what is going on here on the ground. This is one of the campuses. There's this multi campus system here in Texas. This is Harris County. This is in the Houston area. This is Lone Star College. Reports of multiple stabbings. You see all those white cars. Clearly the police presence is there.

In terms of numbers, and keep in mind this is still happening, the campus from what we know, according to this alert on this website, is still on lockdown. We are told as many as 14 -- 14 people are hurt. You see the big red letters, "alert." If you Google Lone Star College CyFair campus, this is what you see front and center on this college website. This is the school alert. They are telling folks to stay away -- stay away from campus -- because one suspect is still at large. We know another suspect is in custody at this moment.

We're seeing this video. And we're just all seeing it together and we'll walk you through it as clearly they're checking cars, coming, going. As we mentioned, this particular campus on lockdown. One witness tells our affiliate the suspect appeared to be, and let me italicize and underline that, appeared to be a student.

Working on getting Mike Brooks miced up here in studio. Former law enforcement. Knows all kinds of -- knows all kinds of situations involving campus lockdowns, worked in law enforcement for many years. I have Chad Myers also standing by and he's going to walk us through exactly where we're talking about in Texas.

But a couple of things -- Chad, you ready to roll?


BALDWIN: OK. Chad, you and I were just talking before the show started.


BALDWIN: This campus, this is the CyFair campus. This is northwest of Houston. MYERS: We've talked about this Lone Star College before. This is not the first incident for Lone Star College. This is not the same campus. There are multiple campuses of this --


MYERS: We'll call it a commuter facility. This truly is where you don't live on campus. You live at home. You drive to the campus and you go to school and then you go to your job or you go home. Almost like a community college type atmosphere out there.

It is northwest of Houston, where the last incident was up toward the Woodlands. It was north of Houston. But still Harris County. And Harris County Proper is where the city of Houston is. So if you take a line from Houston, draw it to the northwest, 10 or 15 miles, you'll see the town of Cypress. And this is just south of the downtown of Cypress. CyFair campus of the Lone Star College.

BALDWIN: Let me interject, because I'm getting some new information. So this is what we're getting from the Harris County Sheriff -- actually, if this is happening live, let's just dip in and take a listen. The sheriff's office.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: In custody. As far as we know, he is the only suspect at this point. If anything changes, I will bring you up to date on that. But as of right now, we have one suspect.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I can't tell you anything to confirm that right now. But this is what we have. We have the suspect. The situation has been detained. The school is on lockdown. Once that has been done and we have gone through and the investigation continues, I will be able to give you more information.

The chancellor of the college and Sheriff Garcia (ph) will be giving an official statement here within the hour or so. Bear with us. It's a fluid scene. As soon as I can get everything I can, I will bring it out to you and we'll get it all covered.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Do you know what type of weapon? Do we know any --


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I can't confirm the weapon as of right now. Some reports said a pencil. Some reports, a knife. Until we actually find the weapon, then I'll be able to confirm what it was.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Do we have a motive?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No motive as of right now. Students were leaving from class and going to class. And it was -- attack was at random. And as we far right now, he went from building to building. The initial reports said maybe we had two suspects. But what I believe now is, it was the same person running from building to building.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: So you guys are not looking for a second suspect?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No second suspect at this time.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: How long is the lockdown event going to go on?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Until -- the college will be on lockdown until our investigation is concluded.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: So do we know who this person is?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Apparently some students wrestled --

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Was he a student at the college?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I can't confirm any of that right now. Our first initial report was that this individual was wrestled to the ground by a student. Lone Star College Police came and detained him and arrested him at that point.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: So all of the victims are students, right? No teachers?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I can't confirm on both, you know, as far as teachers --


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: People said the --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The extent of the injuries, I don't have. I don't know where the whereabouts are. Maybe EMS could give you more of that. The four that were Lifeflighted, obviously their injuries were severe enough to be transported by Lifeflight.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Fourteen. And from what we can confirm through CyFair, yes.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And one suspect only right now --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Only one suspect in custody right now.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Any others you're looking for?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: As of right now, no.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, nothing -- you know, we'll continue to investigate. But as our initial reports are one suspect right now. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (INAUDIBLE).

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Deputy Thomas Gilliland. G-i-l-l-i-l-a-n-d. Harris County Sheriff's Office. Media Relations. MPIO (ph).


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Are you going to bring the sheriff here?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We will have the sheriff and the chancellor.

Thank you.

BALDWIN: OK. So you have been listening to the public information officer with the Harris County Sheriff Department. And he said it, this is a very fluid situation. We just want to be very precise on what exactly we are reporting here at CNN as far as what is going on there on the ground at the CyFair campus. This is northwest of Houston. This is part of the Lone Star College campus community. Multiple campuses. This is in an area near Cypress.

What you just heard, a couple of points I want to roll through, and, Mike Brooks, I'll bring you in, in just a second here. But it sounds to me, according to this PIO, that they may have the one and only suspect detained. Their initial reports that one person was in custody, that they were looking for someone else here in this multiple stabbing situation that they're dealing with. It sounds like, according to this public information officer, it was the same individual running from building to building.

In terms of numbers, again, we're hearing stabbing. We're hearing 11 -- at least 11 stabbed at this Texas college. As far as injuries, we know four of those 11 have been taken to hospitals by air. And, again, that one person is in custody.

And the question is, what was the weapon? And he couldn't say for sure. People had been saying pencil. People had been saying knife. They don't know.

But, Mike Brooks, let me just bring you in and let me know if we need to grab the paper under the table.


BALDWIN: So, again, because this harkens back to -- we had this -- a similar conversation not too many months ago, end of January. It was a different campus, but this same Lone Star College, when there was the shooting situation. And what I remember about this, it was a sprawling situation. It was a lockdown situation. And it's tough to stop people from coming and going.

BROOKS: It is, because it's an open campus. You know, and they put out an alert campus wide that originally it was two suspects. Now we hear from the deputy, from the Harris County Sheriff's Office, it was one.

BALDWIN: Yes. BROOKS: And, again, the weapon, pencil, knife, they're not sure. But enough that there's four people probably in critical condition. They're not going to Lifeflight you unless you're critical.


BROOKS: But, yes, it's really tough to control a campus like that, Brooke, when you have such an open campus. You know, and you heard Chad talk about the Woodland Hills campus of this particular school system again. And it's really tough because it's not a gate. You know, there's not a big wall around it.

BALDWIN: It's not contained.

BROOKS: So people can come or go.


BROOKS: And in this particular case, we don't know if this is a student or if it's an outsider who just came on a campus.

BALDWIN: On the student point, let me just -- I'm glancing down at my e-mails. And just roll with me, Mike Brooks --


BALDWIN: Because this is what we have from Harris County, Texas, sheriff's office. This is -- this is actually according to a CNN affiliate out of Houston. This is KTRK. They're reporting a student at the school said he helped authorities take one person into custody. He says the suspect, who appeared to be a student, may be hearing impaired and was armed with a knife similar to an Exacto knife that may be used in animal dissections.

Let me just pause there. Exacto knife. That's how big?

BROOKS: Exacto knife. Kind of like a razor. You know box cutter kind of knife. You know, so not big, but there again, you know, it doesn't take a big knife to do a lot of damage, especially if it's a, you know, any kind of edged weapon like that, Brooke, you can inflict some serious injuries on people.

BALDWIN: And something you could easily just pop in your pocket.

BROOKS: Absolutely. Absolutely.


BROOKS: It's almost, you know, an Exacto knife, it could be one of those -- something you cut -- you cut -- do dissections with, you cut paper, you cut anything else, carpeting, these kind of things. This -- it's basically a razor.

BALDWIN: OK. So this is according to this affiliate out of Houston.

Let me pause because we do have some sound from our Houston affiliates, who we know are busy there trying to talk to people. What are they seeing? What are they hearing? Take a listen.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The other side of campus where it first started at.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: In the health and science building. So I was right in that area. And we heard things and beginning of movement and what not of people, I don't know, arresting -- the officers detaining the man.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Right. So what do you know happened? What did you see and what have you heard?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I didn't see -- I didn't really see anything. The actual -- it happened. I just saw people bodies -- or people being carried to the ambulance.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Multiple stab wounds. I mean people with multiple stab wounds, multiple victims?


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Was anybody having an explanation for what was going on?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No, sir. One of the -- two of the girls that were -- they were brought into our classroom. So they were actually late to their class. And one of the guys -- or the guy that started it all was the one -- he was in their classroom with them and he said they had a box -- that he had a box opener or something and he ended up hurting two of the girls in that class.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Where were they cut?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I have no idea. I think one of them said right around here in this area.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Anybody suggest a motive for any of this?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No, sir. I have no idea.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And do you know the -- he was apparently tackled out here. Do you know who that person is? Is he a student?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No, sir, I do not know who. I heard students tacked him and I don't even know the student that started all this.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Jonathan, thank you very much.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Thank you, sir.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Thank you, sir. God bless. (END VIDEO CLIP)

BALDWIN: Let me pick up where Mike and I were talking about this Exacto knife. Again, this is according to KTRK. And I want to show this in just a moment. But let me just read what else we have from the Harris County Sheriff's Department.

This student, according to this Houston affiliate KTRK, said he saw the suspect, dressed in black, emerge from the building at a run. He gave chase. When tackled, the suspect reportedly said, I give up, I give up. The student adds that he saw several people bleeding, including victims with neck wounds. They were tended by those medical crews, as we reported, four airlifted.

One more thing. KTRK reports the violence broke out at the rear of the health sciences building. So when we talk health sciences, and if this is, according to this student, Mike Brooks, talking about an Exacto knife, something you would use in a dissection, it would make sense. And so here we have it. Let's get a -- can we get a tight shot of Mike, guys?

BROOKS: It makes a lot of sense. It makes a lot of sense. This is --

BALDWIN: This is an Exacto knife.

BROOKS: This is an Exacto knife. One of our camera men here. And very, very sharp. And basically it is a razor. And this is the kind of things that you would use in a health science building if you're doing any kind of dissection, you know.


BROOKS: So, no, this is -- it's basically like a small scalpel. You could use it to cut a lot of different things. But, again, very, very small, but could be very, very lethal.

BALDWIN: Can inflict --

BROOKS: Absolutely.

BALDWIN: Certainly can inflict pain.

BROOKS: It can.

BALDWIN: Again, the latest numbers we have at this particular college, we're looking at these pictures, 11 people stabbed. Four people have been Lifeflighted to area hospitals, which, again, tells us, you know, the degree of those injuries could be severe. I say could. We don't know definitively whether -- what the status of their condition is. And this one -- this one suspect is in custody.

That public information officer, he did say the chancellor of the school and also the sheriff of Harris County, they will be speaking within the hour. We will certainly dip into that.

But, again, this reminds me of a couple of months ago, similar campus. And I'm trying to remember back then, because that was the issue with a gun, whether or not walking into these -- walking into these buildings, there would be metal detectors or --



BROOKS: No, a lot of these buildings there weren't. I remember that particular case, because I was sitting here with you on set.


BROOKS: We were talking about this.


BROOKS: There was one student who had -- apparently had a beef with another student.


BROOKS: And opened fire and then was basically under control fairly quickly. I was watching, Brooke, some of the live video that we're bringing in from our affiliates there, right before I came up with you. It looks like there was no immediacy there. It looks like everything basically is under control. And it sounds also like it is from what the PIO said for the Harris County Sheriff's Office.

BALDWIN: OK, Mike Brooks, thank you very much.

BROOKS: Thank you.

BALDWIN: We will watch for the chancellor. We will watch for the sheriff to come out because, as far as I'm concerned, let me just refresh this website here, as I'm talking to you live, yes, it still says "alert" in big red letters on the Lone Star College website. So it still says that this campus, CyFair, is locked down.

Let's stay on this story, again, looking at more pictures. We're working on talking to more people there on the ground. You can see a lot of students standing around. Not quite sure exactly what is going on. But the situation is that, according to the sheriff's department, eleven people have been wounded in this stabbing on this campus. This is a satellite campus, multiple campuses compromise this Lone Star College in Harris County. This is the Houston area.

OK. I'm just talking to my executive producer. Let's listen to our affiliate producer there on the ground in Cypress, Texas.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The deputies are allowing students to leave campus right now. And we've been watching them for the last five minutes or so. It would appear that they are searching cars.

Now, a little while ago we were told there might be another suspect they're looking for. Those of you that were with us might have seen Deputy Gilliland come out saying that at this point all they know of is one possible suspect. But, again, it certainly appears that they are checking -- are looking now, checking for someone else. We still don't have any details on that and we're hoping for some more information very shortly.

What we just heard a minute ago was that what happened here, a lone man, maybe a student, maybe not, we don't know yet, described by one student to us as a white male, blonde curly hair, about 6 feet tall, apparently walked in -- just outside the medical science building, or health science building, began attacking students with a box cutter. And by the time he was through, he had moved through that building, into another building, and wounded a total of 15 people. That's how many people CyFair -- the CyFair Fire Department treated out here. Twelve of those -- 12 of those students taken to hospitals. Four of them in -- the four most critical taken by Lifeflight to Herman Memorial Hospital -- Memorial Herman Hospital. Two more taken there by ground ambulance. Others taken to local hospitals near here in northwest Harris County.

At this point, they don't have a --

BALDWIN: Been listening to an affiliate reporter there as he's talking about how a lot of the police, the law enforcement on the ground, because this particular college campus is still on lockdown, they're searching some of the cars. They want to talk to people, see what they saw and heard there on campus.

I want to bring in Alan Bernstein. He is the public information officer with Harris County Sheriff's Department.

Sir, are you with me?


BALDWIN: OK. Let me just begin with what you know. And I believe we just actually took you live. You were giving a briefing to reporters. So do you believe that the one and only suspect is now detained?

BERNSTEIN: I'm not at the scene right now. I'm in touch with our people at the scene.


BERNSTEIN: We have no confirmation on a second suspect, if there is one. However, this is a sprawling campus with hundreds of people who have regular business there. And we have learned, unfortunately, from very recent, fresh experience at a different Lone Star College campus in this community where there was a shooting a few months ago, that it will take a long time to get through all these buildings, to interview everybody, to make sure that there is not, a, another suspect or suspects, and, b, people who are injured who are not immediately attended to.

BALDWIN: You mentioned the sprawling nature of the campus. I remember the shooting from, you know, the end of January. And so, tell me, right now, is this campus still on lockdown, and tell me what your deputies are doing as we're watching them checking some of these cars, the students are allowed to leave.

BERNSTEIN: There is -- it is on a lockdown. There is restricted movement on the campus. However, I think you can see that -- that it is not a run, hide moment still. That has been eased. But one of the reasons for the lockdown is, the investigation still continues and our people are making sure that there is no active development still going on. It does appear, however, that students and everybody else there are no -- in no immediate danger.

What they're doing, among other things, is not only gathering information from anybody around who maybe they've seen anything happen or know of anything else that's going on, or people who have left have information. But they're also, I'm sure, making sure that those buildings don't contain any other evidence or people, either victims or not, who need to be dealt with at the very -- at this very moment.

BALDWIN: What about, Alan, the numbers. I mean I know this story is fluid and we are -- we don't want to misreport any numbers as far as stab victims. But can you tell me, we're hearing 14 wounded. Does that number hold?

BERNSTEIN: Yes. We are confirming at least 14. At least four were transported by a Lifeflight helicopter. Others are being treated at hospitals that are closer to this suburban campus on the northwest side of the Houston area. And two refused treatment.

BALDWIN: Of all these 14, were they all stabbed?


BALDWIN: They were all stabbed. And the four that were Lifeflighted, what condition are those four in?

BERNSTEIN: I should say they were all injured in the stabbing. It's possible that other people were running away and that may have caused injuries. They were all injured related to the stabbing.

We do not know the conditions.


BERNSTEIN: We do know that four were in a dire enough situation that they were taken out on helicopters.

BROOKS: Alan, this is Mike Brooks.

We heard from Deputy Gilliland, who spoke just a few moments ago, that this person was going from building to building. How many active crime scenes right now do you have there on that campus?

BERNSTEIN: I'm unsure. But let's -- we have to put it this way. That campus is a crime scene. And again, as we've learned, unfortunately, from recent fresh experience, we are never in a position to make any assumptions about what's not happening until we're sure that everything has been fully checked out. It's going to take a massive number of people and a decent amount of time for the final all clear to be passed down because nobody wants a mistake of -- wants to make the mistake of walking away when, indeed, there's something lingering going on.

We're just glad, right now, that it appears that it is not a situation where students, faculty, staff and visitors are in any immediate danger or harm. But nobody's going to take it for granted about whether or not there's, you know, something left that needs to be confronted right away.

BALDWIN: Alan, two more questions for you and then I do want to let you go. One, do we know if this person, this suspect in custody, do we know if he or she is a student, a. And, b, do we know if the weapon is, as being reported, this Exacto knife, that this person had on their person?

BERNSTEIN: There are conflicting reports coming out as students and others are being interviewed. So we cannot confirm exactly what type of weapon or whether it was random going from one classroom to another. I do believe, however, that it was limited -- the confrontation itself was limited to, you know, either a few or just one classroom, not somebody roaming around, you know, and getting into, you know, a large number of areas.

BALDWIN: And was it a student? Or we don't know?

BERNSTEIN: Cannot confirm.

BALDWIN: OK. OK. Alan Bernstein, Harris County, Texas, sheriff's public information officer. Thank you very much. I know you got a job to do. I'm going to let you off the phone.

And now on the phone we have Robert Rasa, a CyFair volunteer fire department public information officer.

Robert, can you hear he?

Robert, this is Brooke Baldwin at CNN.

OK, we're going to work on getting him.

Mike Brooks, what was -- your biggest takeaway was the point we were making earlier, just talking to Alan, the fact that this campus is sprawling, the fact that he's saying this is still a crime scene, even though this one suspect may be it.

BROOKS: Right.

BALDWIN: One person. It's still -- they're still combing through everything.

BROOKS: Absolutely. This is early on in the investigation. So they're going to be talking to everyone to find out, OK, where did this suspect come from? What happened? What did he or she -- we're thinking -- we hear it's a male most likely. What did he or she say before leading up to this? You know, and we're hearing maybe a quote after someone grabbed the suspect and wrestled him to the ground. But, still, four -- at least 14 people, Brooke, that's a lot of people. You put 14 people right here in front of us, that's a lot of people for one person to do a lot of damage to, you know, whether it be a pencil, an Exacto knife, other kind of edged weapon, that's still a lot of people.

BALDWIN: Agreed. Fourteen people.


BALDWIN: And that number could be changing as well.

BROOKS: It could.

Robert Rasa, we do have you on the phone. CyFair volunteer fire public information officer.

Robert, can you hear me?

ROBERT RASA, CYFAIR VOLUNTEER FIRE DEPT. (via telephone): Yes, ma'am.

BALDWIN: Robert, tell me where you are right now.

RASA: We're on the campus of Lone Star College, the CyFair campus, which is at West Road (ph) and Barker Cypress (ph).


RASA: That side (ph) of Texas.

BALDWIN: Tell me what you're seeing right now.

RASA: I can tell you about our response as far as the fire and EMS.


RASA: We -- 15 patients that we treated. Twelve of those patients were transported. Three were refusals. We basically treated them on scene and they refused transport. Of the 12 patients that we transported, four of them were taken by helicopter with serious injuries. Two were taken by ground to a level one trauma center, Herman Hospital, downtown, with intermediate injuries, minor to intermediate. And then the rest of the injuries, six patients, were taken to North Cypress Hospital with minor injuries.

BALDWIN: When you say serious injuries, of those four that went in a helicopter to this hospital, how were they injured?

RASA: The injuries were consistent with lacerations.

BALDWIN: So they were knifed? Slashed?


RASA: Yes.

BALDWIN: Cut. Cut. What were they telling you? Were they able to speak? Tell me what they shared with you.

RASA: It was -- it was a pretty chaotic scene. We had -- fortunately we had a fire station which is located on the campus. So when we received the initial call at the dispatch center at 11:17, we were able to go ahead and stage at minimum a fire engine and an ambulance and an EMS supervisor. Once we started getting more multiple calls and more information from law enforcement, we were able to get more resources to the scene and stayed (ph). Once they secured the area, we were able to get in our personnel. We had at least eight ambulances from our department, as well as engines. And then we had two Lifeflight helicopters.

BALDWIN: Of those who were not, Robert, seriously injured, who you had to treat ASAP and get on that helicopter, were any of them talking to you? Were any of them explaining what happened inside this classroom?

RASA: They were -- they were being interviewed by law enforcement on scene. Our main concern, from a fire department and EMS standpoint was treating the injuries and making sure the patients were OK.

BALDWIN: And just to -- we were just talking to the public information officer with Harris County sheriffs, and he was making the point that this is an active crime scene. That these campuses, and you're there and you can tell me better than we can sort of looking at the pictures, these are huge campuses, sprawling campuses, correct?

RASA: Yes. Our (INAUDIBLE) fire department training facility is here located on this campus as well. As well as the EMS training facility.

BALDWIN: So the response, I imagine, was very quick.

RASA: Yes, ma'am. We had multiple resources staged before law enforcement secured the scene and allowed us in.



BALDWIN: Robert Rasa, thank you so much for your work there at Lone Star College. Again, he was saying 15 and I don't want to say students, just we don't know yet. Fifteen people were treated, 12 to the hospital, four seriously injured, it sounds like, had to get to those helicopter and head to the hospital very, very quickly.

We're going to come back. We're getting more information here as, of course, the big question is why. Why did this happen? Who did this? And was it a knife? We're learning much more about the weapon. We have that for you after the break. Breaking news.


ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.

BALDWIN: Got some breaking news on this Tuesday afternoon here. Reports of multiple stabbings on campus in the greater Houston area. This is Harris County. This is the Lone Star College. And if that name sounds familiar, it should. It was just the end of January when there were the students involved in shootings on campus. This was a different campus. This is a multi campus sort of community college here in Harris County. This is a different campus. This time we're talking stabbings this afternoon. We've been talking to multiple people here on the ground just to get more information for you as it is very much so a fluid situation. This campus is on lockdown with limited mobility, according to one of the public information officers we were talking to.

I have Mike Brooks here in the studio, former law enforcement for many, many years, so he can help sort of walk through.

But again, what we're hearing, as far as numbers, from this public information officer, we're going to go with at least 14. At least 14 people wounded from this stabbing.

Talking, Mike Brooks, to one of the public information officers from the Harris County Sheriff's Department, it was interesting because early reports were that there was possibly two people involved.

BROOKS: Right.