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Shooter Dead in Oregon School District; Father Hears Son Is OK; FBI and Local Police Investigating; Hillary's Book Rleased; Five Troops Killed in Afghanistan; Iraq State of Emergency; Swap Violates No Negotiation Policy
Aired June 10, 2014 - 13:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
SCOTT ANDERSON, CHIEF, TROUTDALE POLICE DEPARTMENT: For the parents of the students who have been evacuated from the school, there is a point of contact down at Fred Meyers in Wood Village. We would like all of you to meet your students down at that point. And also staff that are there. We'll have an update at noon. I'll bring more information to you.
As Lieutenant Alexander said, the investigation will continue throughout the day. And I'm very, very sorry for the -- for the family and for all the students and everybody who will be impacted by this tragic incident. We'll -- like I said, we'll have an update at noon. Thank you very much.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Now, I have Linda Florence, Superintendent, Reynolds School District.
LINDA FLORENCE, SUPERINTENDENT, REYNOLDS SCHOOL DISTRICT: This is a very tragic day. One that I had hoped would never, ever be part of my experience. And as we are able to get more information, the district will provide that to the public. We feel very sorry for our parents. Our kids were absolutely wonderful today at exiting the building. But as I said, we will have a press release later as we get more information.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Thank you.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: (INAUDIBLE) --
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We're not taking any more questions at this time, but it's important to stress this is a continuing investigation. If you're -- please stay away from the Reynolds High School area. Parents, please be advised to pick up your students at the Wood Village Fred Meyer, 223rd and Gleason. We'll be pushing out updates through #RHShooting so that you have information as we get it and are able to release it. We'll also be doing further releases as we go throughout the day.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Are there any information besides the student who is -- was shot?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: My understanding, they're still investigating the school, they're still going through the school. They're saying that is it -- the initial indications are that is it, but we're still -- we're still working the investigation.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The situation is over.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: OK -- the situation is contained. The shooter is deceased. We're now working on reunifying the students with the parents over at the Wood Village Fred Meyer, 223rd and Gleason. So, please pass that out. Again, we'll push out information through the RHShooting hash tag as well as through Flash Alert news releases that we develop. As we get more information and more details become available as we figure out what occurred and what went on. OK?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (INAUDIBLE) --
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We are still moving students out the school. My understanding is most of them are out if not all of them. But we are continuing to work towards that and get them out, evacuated, cleared and then reunified with their parents. So, again, please, 223rd and Gleason, the Wood Village Fred Meyer parking lot. We'll -- they'll be able to pick up their students there.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Has anyone been transported by ambulance?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Again, we'll talk more about that as far as when we have those details, OK?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (INAUDIBLE) no teachers with injuries?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Was there a rifle involved?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Again, I can't confirm any details on what was used, the weapon or anything like that, as far as what type. We'll have that information later today once the investigation develops, OK? So, we'll let you know as soon as we know more, OK?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Can you confirm if a teacher was injured?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Again, I don't have those details with me. I will let you know as soon as those details are able to be released as the investigation continues, OK? Thank you.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Do you think that is assuming no one else was injured. Do you think that was in terms of fatalities?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That's my understanding, yes, initial indications. Yes, that's it.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Possibly more injuries and you're not sure.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We're -- they're still looking -- they're still looking through the school and getting the rest of them out. My understanding is that is the initial indications. This is all we have. The situation's contained. The shooter is deceased. And now, we are working on reuniting students with their parents. Again, 223rd and Gleason at the Wood Village Fred Meyer parking lot, OK? I'll be back. WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: All right. So, there's the latest from
this horrible shooting incident. Another school, another shooter. A student, we heard from the sheriff, is dead. The shooter is dead as well. Evan Perez has been watching and reporting on what's going on. Evan, we did -- we did just learned that the shooter went into the school, shot and killed another student. We don't know who the shooter is. We don't know the circumstances. Earlier, we had been told that the shooter is dead. We don't know the circumstances surrounding how that shooter is dead. But we did -- we did just learn from the sheriff in this county in Washington State that one student is dead.
EVAN PEREZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Right. That's right, Wolf. That's sad news right there. We knew that the shooter was dead and what we just learned is that apparently he was able to kill another student before he was killed. We don't know how the --- how the shooter got killed, whether it was officers responding to the scene or whether he did it himself. That's something -- that's something that wasn't told to us.
We also weren't told whether this -- the shooter was believed to be a student. It's probably not surprising because this is a thing that the police have to do which is to first clear the building to make sure there's no further danger. They know that the -- that the scene is contained. So, therefore, that's going to take some time before they can even get to the body, make sure it's not booby trapped, make sure there's nothing else that matter that could cause any harm. And then, they'll go through the process of identifying this -- the shooter.
Again, that's usually the normal procedure that the cops will go through. We know the ATF and the FBI have responded to the scene to help the local authorities work through this situation. We know that they're going to be -- the ATF is going to be doing the trace of the handgun -- I'm sorry, the semi-automatic firearm. We don't know what kind of exactly firearm was used. But we know that they're going to be doing the tracing to try to figure out where it came from.
And then, the FBI is going to, obviously, help the local police try to figure out what could be learned about the shooter, perhaps the motivation, whether there were any warning signs before this incident went down. Again, it started about 8:00 this morning just after school started which is probably just a couple more days before the school year ends at this high school and before the kids were be -- were going to be going off to their summer holidays -- Wolf.
BLITZER: This is an Oregon High School, 8:00 Pacific time, that would be 11:00 Eastern time. You say a semi-automatic weapon. Do we have any more information on the weapon that was used?
PEREZ: No, that's all we know from the police. I think that's one of the things that they're going to be trying to figure out is exactly where it came from, when it was bought, who bought it, if this was a student, we don't know yet who the shooter was. It's going to be, obviously -- it's going to be difficult to -- it's difficult for young people under 18 to get their hands on firearms, so they're going to have to figure out where it came from. And, again, what the motivation is. That's, obviously, the big thing is trying to figure out what prompted this shooting here as the school year wraps Oregon -- Wolf.
BLITZER: Reynolds High School in Troutdale, Oregon, that's where this shooting incident occurred. Evan, stand by, Mike Brooks is joining us right now. He's one of our law enforcement analysts working with our sister network, HLN. So, what do you make of this, Mike?
MIKE BROOKS, LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST, HLN: I tell you, Wolf, that it looks like it was just one student who the sheriff said was killed and was there on the scene, that maybe this student was targeted by this -- by this gunman. We don't know who that the shooter is, in fact, a student or if it was somebody from the outside. But with just that one fatality and no one else injured, that the sheriff was basically alluding to, it sounds like for some reason this shooter went in after this particular student.
But then, again, it's still early on in the investigation, Wolf. We still don't know -- we still don't have a motive. And as they go through the building, you know, could there be someone else who is possibly injured that was sheltered in place inside that school? Absolutely. That's why they're taking their time, going room to room to room with the tactical units looking for anyone who might have sheltered in place and may have also been injured.
BLITZER: And, Mike, we don't know if the shooter was a student, an adult, somebody else that --
BLITZER: -- they have not given us any information about the shooter, right?
BROOKS: No, not at all. But they know who the shooter is. They know who the victim is. So, I would guarantee that, as we speak, they are, most likely, putting together a search warrant to go out to the residence of that shooter and find out any kind of writings, any kind of social media, you know, what brought this shooter -- what happened within the last 24 to 48 hours to bring this shooter to this school to take the life of a student there.
BLITZER: A horrible situation.
BROOKS: It really is.
BLITZER: Hold on a moment, Mike. Evan, I want you to hold on as well. The news of yet another school shooting clearly terrified parents. Listen to this.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hello. Good. That's what we were waiting for. That's OK. I -- yes, I know, that's what they were saying. So, I am glad to hear from you. All right, so are you almost ready to get on the bus to come down here or what's the deal? UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I can breathe.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: OK, that's going to take a while. So, good, thank you for calling. I know, I'm sure people are blowing up your phone, too, just like they're blowing up mine. Well, I'll get a hold of your mom because I let -- we let her know that this is going on. So, she's going to come down here, too. So, OK, so, good. I'm glad you're OK. All right, I love you. Bye.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: How good is that?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, we were sure he was OK. But, you know, to finally confirm it, you know, just like you guys, you got to confirm everything before it's done. So, much better.
BLITZER: Oh, you can only imagine how relieved that father must be and some of the other parents who heard of another shooting at another school, this time in Oregon.
Mike, this is an investigation. You hear about these school shootings. They really do terrify not only the parents, the kids, the teachers, but the whole country watches in horror as it goes down.
BROOKS: It really does, Wolf. And, you know, you think the school year is just about over. There was only one more day left in the school year for this particular high school. And the mayor of Troutdale was telling Ashleigh earlier that this is the second largest high school in the state of Oregon. So, one of the other things law enforcement's doing right now, too, Wolf, they're trying to interview any of the students who saw something, who heard something, going over surveillance videos.
But I tell you, every time you hear about stuff like this -- this morning, when we heard -- when I heard about this, again, I'm saying, another school shooting. And it just -- you think you've heard it all, but, again, another school shooting. And in a beautiful area of Oregon like this. And the school superintendent for the Reynolds school district said it's something that she thought would never happen in her school district.
BLITZER: And you see those pictures, we're showing those pictures of these kids walking out with their hands up in the air. You know, it's a heartbreaking situation whenever you see it. And, once again, just recapping for viewers who might just be tuning in. The sheriff -- local sheriff just telling us that one student was shot and killed. The shooter was then killed as well. We don't know under the -- under what circumstances, whether it was suicide or someone shot the shooter. Those details are yet to be emerging. But, Evan, I assume federal agencies are already involved in a -- in the investigation?
PEREZ: That's right, Wolf. We know the ATF is at the scene. We know the FBI is at the scene. They're both going to help the local authorities piece this through. Now, the ATF is going to be doing the trace on the semi-automatic weapon that was found at the scene there. And there's a lot that we can learn from the scene that you're showing on the screen right now. The kids were brought out of the -- out of the school very quickly, probably within the hour. We were here live when this was happening. And that tells you a lot. It tells you that the police were very sure, that this was over very quickly. And if -- with a semi-automatic weapon, this shooter could have done a lot of damage. And, clearly, only intended perhaps to shoot this -- the one student that they -- that they killed.
And then, we don't know whether he took his life or whether or not, perhaps, police on the scene was able to disarm him or kill him. So, you know, there's a lot more that could have happened here but didn't. And the police were quickly able to remove the students from the scene there and try to start getting the work of doing the investigation to figure out what exactly happened, why this happened -- Wolf.
BLITZER: And we're showing, Evan, viewers live pictures. These are parents. They're waiting to be reunited with their children. And that, hopefully, will happen fairly soon. And, once again, this investigation now under way. One student shot and killed. The shooter is dead as well. Once again, we don't know the circumstances surrounding the death of the shooter. We don't know what connection, if any, there was between the shooter and the student who was killed. We'll stay on top of the story. We'll continue to following -- continue to follow the investigation. Much more on this story coming up.
Also, other news, including terrorists who are now in control of major parts of Iraq's second largest city. We'll have a live report from our Senior International Correspondent Nic Robertson.
And later, Hillary Clinton's new book hits the book shelves. She's out there on the tour circuit. What she's now saying about Benghazi, her health, lots other issues. Full coverage coming up.
BLITZER: Let's go to Afghanistan where it's been one of the deadliest days for U.S. troops in a long time. And it appears to have come from so-called friendly fire. A friendly fire mistake in the southern part of the country. Afghan officials telling CNN, five American troops died, along with an Afghan soldier, when a coalition air strike mistakenly hit allied troops. They were called in to help ward off a Taliban attack. Barbara Starr's over at the Pentagon.
Barbara, what do we know about this tragic incident?
BARBARA STARR, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: Wolf, it was five U.S. special forces troops on a mission with Afghan forces conducting security operations in southern Afghanistan, Zabul (ph) province, when they encountered militants. A firefight ensued. And they called in air strikes to suppress the enemy fire.
It appears, and it's all under investigation, but it appears that a U.S. Air Force B-1 bomber responding to the call for help apparently inadvertently dropped its weapons on the friendly forces. We don't know the circumstances. All under investigation. But this looks like it's the latest friendly fire incident in Afghanistan at this time.
And, of course, it comes as President Obama is talking about withdrawing all the U.S. forces out of Afghanistan in the coming months, winding up the war. But for five American military families, of course, deep sorrow striking very hard.
BLITZER: Has there been an increase recently in Taliban attacks on U.S. troops?
STARR: Well, you know, I think it's pretty hard to judge right now because U.S. troops, of course, are coming down in numbers. About 30,000 left there now. And the concern is, of course, that those Taliban actions will step up as they see perhaps more vulnerability, as they go after perhaps Afghan forces even more. U.S. troops, the Pentagon will tell you, are committed to maintaining their security, but it could be some very tough months ahead.
BLITZER: Barbara Starr, thanks very much.
Another hot spot, northern Iraq right now. It's under siege from militants linked to al Qaeda. Mosul, that's Iraq's second largest city, has now come under a major attack by the terror group Islamist State of Iraq and Syria, also known as ISIS.
The fighters reportedly have taken over the Mosul Airport, the Mosul television stations, the Mosul government building. They've also released about 1,000 prisoners from the central prison in Mosul. The prime minister, Nuri al-Maliki, went on national television to call for a state of emergency.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
NURI AL-MALIKI, IRAQI PRIME MINISTER (through translator): We will not allow for the remainder of Nineveh province and the city of Mosul to fall to the shadow of terrorism and the terrorist criminals.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLITZER: Our senior international correspondent Nic Robertson is joining us now from Doha, Qatar, but he spent a lot of time in Iraq over the years.
This is a huge setback for the Shiite-led government in Baghdad. It looks, Nic, like a major civil war is developing between the Sunni backed ISIS forces and the government, the Shiite-backed government.
NIC ROBERTSON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, this has been building for some time, Wolf. ISIS is getting stronger, there's no doubt about it. They have bases in Syria where they have been attracting a lot of foreign fighters. It gives them a bigger punch in Iraq. Earlier this year, they took control of cities or most -- control of most parts of the major cities in al Anbar province, the west of the country, Ramadi, Fallujah. The government was able to do nothing about it. ISIS has grown stronger. Hundreds of heavily armed fighters went into
the city of Mosul. They appear to have taken control of the west side of the city. This isn't just a psychological coup for them. This is a massive military coup for them as well. The speaker in Iraq's parliament today said that Iraq's forces literally dropped their weapons and ran away. These are U.S.-trained forces who've got heavy weapons at their disposal. They ran away from this fight.
The speaker of the parliament, by the way, is the brother of the governor of the province there, so he's probably got a pretty clued in understanding of what happened. Not only that, criticism from the neighboring prime minister of the Kurdish region. He said the Iraqi government didn't do enough to work with them and their forces to stop all of this happening. So ISIS now controlling part of this major city, the main highway to the north of the country, to Turkey, second largest city, as you say. And now with a massive hall of weapons and ammunition and vehicles and aircraft. I mean I remember using Mosul Airport with U.S. forces. U.S. forces controlled it until just a few years ago. This is strategically big for ISIS. Not clear whether they can hold it. But this is big, Wolf.
BLITZER: This is huge. I remember when I was in Mosul back in 2005, I went there with the U.S. military's central commander, General John Abizaid (ph), and the U.S. had it pretty much under control. Remember, Mosul is the gateway to Kirkuk and all that oil in northern Iraq. Certainly the gateway to Kurdistan and Turkey, as you correctly point out. This is a huge, huge win for these ISIS terrorists who are affiliated with al Qaeda. In fact, central al Qaeda, at least in Syria.
And you know this well, Nic, have -- they've accused ISIS of being too extreme, too radical. In a sense, they don't want to have anything to do with them. And if they're taking over the second largest city in Iraq right now, you know this is going to turn into an all-out civil war. This is going to be a real disaster. Give me your assessment.
ROBERTSON: Wolf, it is. I mean, look, ISIS has been under attack not only from the Syrian government in Syria, but from their own fellow jihadists who consider them, as you say, too radical even from al Qaeda, yet they're coming out punching, yet they're controlling large parts of the west of Iraq right now. Half a million people according to the U.N. fled the west of Iraq this year. According to the U.N. organization, about half a million people have fled Mosul in the past four days. Last year was the bloodiest year in Iraq for five years. Eight thousand and eight hundred people killed. Most of them civilians.
A lot of it is sectarian. ISIS are driving those sectarian tensions. They're feeding off the fact that many of the minority Sunnis in the country feel that (INAUDIBLE) government in Baghdad is a Shia-led government that doesn't care for their interests and ISIS is exploiting that and nothing is turning it back, nothing is turning down the heat on the war in Syria either. And this is an increasing regional destabilization that we're seeing. No one at the moment, Wolf, has the ability to turn down the heat here. BLITZER: Yes. And if you look at it from the U.S. perspective, as you
well know, Nic, the United States spent a decade in Iraq, 4,500 American troops were killed in the course of that war, tens of thousands were severely injured. The U.S. spent hundreds of billions of dollars, probably well more than $1 trillion. You look at the situation in Iraq right now and you say to yourself, given the civil war that has clearly erupted, what was going on? We're going to have much more on this story coming up. Nic Robertson joining us from Doha, Qatar.
Meanwhile, there are more briefings, more outrage up on Capitol Hill over the Bowe Bergdahl prisoner swap. Republicans and Democrats alike are questioning whether the deal puts American lives in danger.
BLITZER: Today in closed session, the Pentagon briefed the Senate Armed Services Committee about the Bowe Bergdahl swap. There's deep anger up on Capitol Hill across party lines, specifically, why were 80 or 90 members of the Obama administration aware of the deal trading Bergdahl for five top Taliban detainees but Congress didn't find out until after the fact. The CBS News poll shows nearly half the country, 45 percent, disagree with the trade, 37 percent agreed. Tomorrow, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel will testify before the House Armed Services Committee in a public session to defend the deal.
Meanwhile, the House speaker, John Boehner, said he was never briefed on the Bergdahl swap. The swap that he says ignored the long-standing policy of never negotiating with terrorists.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. JOHN BOEHNER (R), HOUSE SPEAKER: We have violated that policy and, as a result, we've made Americans less safe here and all around the world. And we're going to pay for this. There is not any doubt in my mind. There are going to be costs, lives associated -- lost lives associated with what came out of this.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLITZER: Our chief congressional correspondent Dana Bash is with me.
Dana, this is - these are very strong words from the speaker of the House. And it gets to the key question, why didn't they trust the speaker of the House, at least give him a heads up a day or a few hours before the whole country learned that this swap was in the works?
DANA BASH, CNN CHIEF CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, first of all, Wolf, I think you're right, we should sort of take a moment and note how strong those words are. We might disregard some of the rhetoric that we hear about everything these day because people just see Washington as so partisan. But to have the speaker of the House say that the president, what he did, will cost lives, it's pretty strong stuff, and it's kind of -- it underscores the frustration that you're talking about.