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McHugh Says Ft. Hood Shooter Showed No Outward Signs of Violence; Hospital News Conference on Ft. Hood Shooting; MH370 Search Continues; Why So Many Shootings at Military Installations?

Aired April 3, 2014 - 11:30   ET



MICHAELA PEREIRA, CNN ANCHOR: So AT THIS HOUR, we're awaiting a hospital news conference regarding the victims and their conditions in the Ft. Hood shooting spree. The nation's largest military insulation grieving once again. A shooter killing three wounding 16 others before killing himself.

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: Three of the wounded are in critical condition now. We'll take you live to Scott & White Hospital in Temple, Texas, as soon as that news conference begins.

Of course, this shooting at Ft. Hood is the second soldier-on-soldier incident at that military insulation in less than five years.

PEREIRA: In 2009, Major Hasan killed 13 wounded 32 others. Earlier this morning, I spoke to survivor of that, Staff Sergeant Patrick Zeigler. He said simply beefing up security is not enough.


STAFF SGT. PATRICK ZEIGLER, 2010 FT. HOOD SHOOTING SURVIVOR: The thing is the chain of commands and security procedures and all of that are never going to be enough to stop someone like this because if someone is determined to commit a crime like this, they're probably going to find a way to do it. It's more of the responsibility of the people around him or her, day in and day out, to monitor their fellow soldier's mental condition. There are telltale signs.


PEREIRA: It's interesting to hear him say that. Those telltale sign, looking out for one another, important aspects of this.

Army Secretary John McHugh says the Ft. Hood shooter showed no signs of violence to himself or others as he was being treated for mental health issues.

I want to go back to George Howell outside Ft. Hood.

George, obviously, everyone is searching for motive. Is there any indication of motive at all yet?

GEORGE HOWELL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: The other thing we're hearing from Army Secretary John McHugh is that the possibility of extremist involvement will be looked into as well. It goes into what will be a wide-spanning investigation, looking into his deployment history, looking into Lopez's history of treatment for mental illness.

We heard from McHugh the drug, Ambien, was used as well. They'll look into how long he was treated. We know he was in Iraq in 2011 for four months, that he self reported a traumatic brain injury and was getting treatment, getting medicine here. They'll look into that to see if there are red flags that could have led up to this.

BERMAN: George, over the course of this incident, we learned it ended perhaps -- the shooter took his own life. But there was a confrontation with a female military police officer. Tell us what we know at this point about what happened there.

HOWELL: We're hearing from officials here --


PEREIRA: Actually, we want to --


BERMAN: George, hang on one second. We're going to come back in a moment.

We understand the press conference at the Scott & White Hospital nearby in Temple, Texas, is getting ready to begin. Let's listen to what they're saying.

UNIDENTIFIED DOCTOR, BAYLOR SCOTT & WHITE HOSPITAL: I want to thank you for joining with us today. Please also join me in extending our thoughts and prayers to our victims, to the families, to all our men and women in the armed services and our community at large. Ft. Hood is very much part of our family here. Our thoughts, hearts and prayers go out to them.

What we're focusing on is on going continued patient care. We're going to hear from Dr. Davis, our medical director of our trauma services, about specifics. We're focusing on help for our families. And to help us understand what we're doing for our families, Reverend Smith will speak to you today. We understand there may be specific questions related to post-traumatic stress disorder, our chairman of the Department of Psychiatry, Dr. Alex Thompson, is to my right, who can answer questions.

Final thing I'd like to say is I want to extend to the exceptional team care for what they did last night and what they're doing today.

Dr. Davis?

DR. MATTHEW DAVIS, MEDICAL DIRECTOR, TRAUMA SERVICES, BAYLOR SCOTT & WHITE HOSPITAL: Thanks, Steve. I want to echo those comments before I address the patient's status. The attention needs to be given to the hospital on Ft. Hood. They did a great job stabilizing patients getting them here. My hat's off to them. Their crew did an exceptional job.

I like also to think my colleagues in trauma that worked tirelessly throughout the night, along with my colleagues in the emergency department, nursing, ICU, et cetera. It was a well played team effort.

In terms of the patients, this morning, we do have nine patients here at Scott & White. Three of them remain in critical condition. We have five others. Two of those are what I consider fair condition. The remainder are in good condition. There's a possibility that several may be discharged from the hospital today.

Some were fortunate to have minor injuries and will not require further hospitalization or procedures at this time. The ones who are awake and talking are in good spirits. I've visited with each this morning and their families that made it to the bedside. We have haven't -- haven't been able to contact all family members for each of the patients here. That's been a good thing to accomplish this morning.

Again, they're in good spirits. We had good discussions this morning. At this point, that's what I had prepared. I'm happy to answer questions you may have.

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Can you describe the injuries you're looking at for the critical patients?

DAVIS: Sure. So our critical patients have specifically injuries to the neck. We have a potential spine injury and also an abdominal injury. Those are still in critical condition.

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: You mentioned they were going to undergo further surgery.

DAVIS: There are two patients who will require further surgery. The third is going to go under further diagnostic testing. It's not clear yet if he'll need surgery. One will undergo surgery today and the other possibly tomorrow.


DAVIS: The one patient with abdominal injury we'll go in and make sure bleeding is controlled, re-establish the intestines, resection there, make sure everything is logic and ready to put back together. The neck injury will need a specialist to look at injuries of the neck there.

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: (INAUDIBLE), are the injured veterans or civilians? (INAUDIBLE).

UNIDENTIFIED DOCTOR: My understanding is they're all current military, eight males and one female. DAVIS: I think their degree of military service varies. They're as young as 21 to up to their 40s in age. There's varying degrees of military service, low 20s to mid-40s.


DAVIS: I believe low 20s to mid-40s. I don't want to get held to a specific number, but that's what I understand.

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: The neck injury, what's the chance of that -- (INAUDIBLE).

DAVIS: That's not clear right now. I don't want to put a percentage on that. We've still been working through just kind of evaluation of that injury with techniques, having our surgeons and spine team at the bedside to evaluate that. Hopefully, we'll have more information in the coming days. Right now, it's too early to prognosticate on that.


BERMAN: All right, you're listening to a news conference at the Scott & White Hospital in Temple, Texas. There are nine patients, eight men and one woman. They range in age from 21 to mid-40s. Three patients in critical condition. Two will require more surgeries with injuries to the abdomen, spine and neck. Five other patients doing fair or good. Some of those patients could be released today.

PEREIRA: Let's bring in Elizabeth Cohen to walk through injuries and talk about this more.

It was interesting to hear them. Some hope, which is great. They are hoping, Elizabeth, some of these patients, they say five are fair or good. They're even anticipating they could get discharged today.

ELIZABETH COHEN, CNN SENIOR MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: That's right. Michaela, it sounds like a wide variety of injuries. On one end, people that thank goodness might be discharged today. The doctor said the patient as were in good spirits, doing well. He visited them. On the other end, you have three critical patients, injury to the spine, neck, abdominal injury. The doctor at Baylor Scott & White noted that two out of three needs more surgeries. There's one they're trying to figure out if that patient needs more surgeries.

BERMAN: Elizabeth, can you help us understand the other medical issue, the mental health of the shooter. We understand he was being treated for depression and other issues, on medications. He was evaluated for PTSD. What's the difference?

COHEN: That means the injuries from the stress you had in wartime or whatever situation you were in have lingered beyond what would be expected to be a reasonable period of time. It's lingered beyond a certain period of time I should say. It's interrupting your ability to live your live. That's different from just having depression.

You can have just depression or just anxiety and not have full blown post-traumatic stress. Even not in the military, you can relate to this. All of us have been through difficult types. You might feel depression and anxiety but don't have a disorder that interrupts your ability to think rationally and live your life.

The question on everyone's mind is why wasn't he diagnosed and getting more help? One of the things I hear from psychiatrists over and over again is that it's not always clear when someone is going to become violent.

PEREIRA: That's an interesting point. We spoke to the woman who had her leg amputated in the Boston Marathon bombing. She suffered from PTSD. It doesn't have to be military.

We want to say thanks to Elizabeth Cohen. We'll have more coming up on that.

Also, we'll also continue the hunt for the search of the flight 370. It's been called the most difficult search ever. We'll show you on the giant map what crews are facing.


PEREIRA: The ongoing search for flight 370 has turned into a race against time. The batteries in the plane's black box pinger are about to run out of juice if they haven't already. The Australian ship "Ocean Shield" and submarine have the advanced technology to track it but only to a point.

BERMAN: Retired British Lieutenant Colonel Michael Kay showed "New Day's" Chris Cuomo some of challenges they're facing.


MICHAEL KAY, RETIRED BRITISH LIEUTENANT COLONEL: Five miles per hour in a search area thousands of square miles. That will take you 3,000 years from top to tail to square away. Good but not great. Positives are search area shifted to 900 miles off the coast which means it's closer. We really need to get the aircraft out there, the P-8's, P- 3's, getting them out there. Transit times now are halved. They'll have more time. The ocean shield is wonderful. The chances of it actually finding the black boxes and pings coming off the black boxes, the odds are stacked against us.

CHRIS CUOMO, ANCHOR, "NEW DAY": Right. And you need -- not only as it moves slowly but it needs proximity to the pinger locator. It doesn't hear it no matter where it is. It has to be within a few nautical miles to hear it.

KAY: One nautical mile. This "Ocean Shield" has wonderful technology. There's radar that basically tracks objects and works out speed and whether it's going to collide. That's great if looking for ships and land masses.

CUOMO: Is that where the submarine comes in? You have "Ocean Shield" up top, the pinger dragged below it. You have the submarine. How does the submarine work to help? KAY: "HMS Tireless." This is a hunter submarines. It carries the T- labs. It can go about 35 knots, so a little bit quicker than the "Ocean Shield." But what this thing has, which is specific to capability, is passive and active SONAR, which is really sensitive. This submarine is used to track other submarines, hunt and kill Russian subs. Its SONAR systems are super, super sensitive.

CUOMO: It gives more range because it's faster and better capability to find things because it's more sensitive with its detection technology.

KAY: Absolutely. If you're using the passive bits, the listening bit. It's listening for those pings. As we pointed out, we're down to the last few days of this now. We know from experts, the battery life could last up to 40 days. We're nudging on that final 10 days.

CUOMO: Could be 20 days based on how they're stored.


BERMAN: The pinger running out of juice, if it has any left.

PEREIRA: And if it was functioning, right?

BERMAN: Coming up next, the shooting at Ft. Hood raises so many questions about mental health. What the military is doing, what the military should be doing, is it enough? We'll discuss.


BERMAN: Sadly, shootings at military installations have happened before. Just take a look at this list. Last year, a shooting at the Washington Navy Yard left 12 people dead. At the Quantico Marine Corps Base in Virginia, two people were killed.

PEREIRA: If you look at the list it's very sobering. In 2009, there was the Ft. Hood shooting that killed 14 people. And in the 1990s, shootings at Ft. Bragg, in North Carolina, Fairchild Air Force Base in Spokane, Washington.

Psychologist and combat stress coach, Terry Lyles, joins us.

I think so many people, Terry, are wondering why there are so many. That list is sobering. What is causing these people to snap?

TERRY LYLES, PSYCHOLOGIST & COMBAT STRESS COACH: Well, I think there's such a huge challenge in coming back from war and having to reassimilate back into society. It's not as easy as it sounds, obviously. But I think the biggest thing is these individuals try to normalize after coming back and living in that kind of chaos with chemicals running every day, threat for their life. It's not easy to transition quickly and get back to society as we know it here in the safe community.

BERMAN: Terry, they say the shooting suspect here, Ivan Lopez, served in Iraq for four months though it's not clear whether he saw any combat. Military officials say he suffered from depression and mental health issues and he was being examined for the possibility of post- traumatic stress. What are they looking for to determine it's more than depression or other than depression and in fact post-traumatic stress?

LYLES: I think some figures normalizing and depression can happen anywhere if things don't go the way they should or the way we think they should, but the combat stress means there could be nightmares, daymares, sleep pattern changes, loud noises and sudden jolts and things can change things.

They're looking deeper I'm sure where there any of those contributing factors there? Even though there could be a period of time lapses before those things show up and not having seen combat firsthand like maybe he didn't as we could see quote, unquote, but he could have the same effects because he was in the theater of war.

PEREIRA: The pictures you were seeing was of the suspected shooter, Ivan Lopez. That's his picture right there.

All right. Want to say thank you to Terry --


BERMAN: Wait, we have some more time here.


BERMAN: Terry, let me ask you this. Four people coming back from war zones like Iraq and Afghanistan, what kind of treatment do they need? I've spoken to so many military officers who simply say we need to devote more resources even though they're putting in so much, there needs to be more to council these people coming home.

LYLES: Well, I work directly with the V.A. I'm actually on a plane, shortly, you know, heading that direction. Let me tell you, the V.A. is doing, I think, a great job with what they have to work with. And they realize there's a gap between coming back and treating for potential PTSD and then actually putting a protocol together to help them. And that delay process is part of a challenge.

I know people that go months at a time without getting, I think, the proper care they need just because of the sheer number of drawdown of troops coming back. There are several challenges but the community at large all of us have the responsibility to support our soldiers and watch for signs and try to help them in any way possible to reassimilate back into society like most of us never have to do because we don't go to that theater of war.

PEREIRA: That's absolutely true.

Terry Lyles, a big thank you to you. Sorry for the jumping in on you there. We appreciate your expertise. You make a very good point. We're going to need to support this community.

This is the second time the community of Ft. Hood is now having to deal with this kind of soldier-on-soldier violence.

BERMAN: And this is not how the people of Ft. Hood should be known. It should not be known where the place for tragedy happen. It's where the brave families all live.

PEREIRA: All right. That wraps it up for us AT THIS HOUR. I'm Michaela Pereira.

BERMAN: I'm John Berman. "Legal View" with Ashleigh Banfield starts after the break.