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tv   The Situation Room  CNN  September 16, 2013 2:00pm-3:31pm PDT

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that's almost as bad as what happened at fort hood. just a tragic turn of affairs. >> another dozen people injured who were shot, they're okay, most of them in various stages of their condition, but it's a serious situation. >> sad story. have a good show. >> thanks very much. happening now, we're following the breaking news. this is "the situation room" special report, mass shooting at the washington navy yard which is right behind me. chaos and carnage in the nation's capital. 13 people are confirmed dead this hour, one of them a shooter who sprayed gunfire inside a u.s. navy facility. police have now identified the gunman. but they say they don't have a motive, at least not yet, and there is still an urgent hunt under way for another possible, possible suspect. you'll hear this hour incredible stories from survivors as they tell of the horror they faced during the bloody rampage this morning. i'm wolf blitzer here in washington. you're in "the situation room."
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shock, fear and grief today right here in the nation's capital. at least, at least 13 people are dead after a mass shooting at the washington navy yard, including a gunman who opened fire this morning inside building 197. that's the naval sea systems command headquarters. as s.w.a.t. teams rushed in, wounded were evacuated by helicopter. the dead suspect has now been identified as a military contractor from texas, but authorities say another potential shooter may, repeat, may still be at large. that's kept much of the surrounding area, including capitol hill, which is only about a mile or so away, on alert. the u.s. senate went into lockdown. schools were shuttered. it's a horrible, horrible situation unfolding here in washington. we have seen street closures, flight delays, people are obviously very nervous, among
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other things the washington nationals have postponed tonight's baseball game against the atlanta braves. the stadium is only a block or two away from the navy yard, where we are right now. we have full extensive coverage coming up here in a special "situation room" report beginning with cnn's brian todd. you have been here since basically 8:20 this morning when we heard that there were gunshots at the navy yard behind us. >> that's right. the latest information we have right now is 13 fatalities, including the shooter. that shooter identified as aaron alexis, 34-year-old man from ft. worth, texas. he is responsible for what police now say is one of the worst shooting scenes they have ever come across. the first frantic calls to police came in just after 8:15 a.m. shots fired, several people injured at the u.s. navy yard. >> i heard three shots, pow, pow, pow. 30 seconds later, i heard four
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more shots and a couple of us were in the cafeteria knew they were shots and started panicking. >> i know that i lost a friend today. i lost someone who i had served with in the pentagon years ago with -- i believed to be one of the fatalities. >> as he came around the corner he aimed his gun at us and fired at least two or three shots. >> reporter: 3,000 people work at the facility just miles from the white house and the capitol. >> he was far enough down the hall that we couldn't see his face, but we could see him with a rifle and he raised and aimed at us and fired and hit high on the wall. >> reporter: security was tightened around the capital city. schools locked down. reagan national airport grounded all air traffic. 9:56 a.m., president obama is briefed by his homeland security and counterterrorism team. eyewitnesses like commander tim juris told horrific tales. he was talking to a man who was shot right in front of him. >> he walked up and told me that he heard that there was a shooter in our building, and we were just standing here maybe three feet away having a conversation, and then we heard two more gunshots and he went down. that's when i ran.
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>> reports of the victims, it was -- it had to be a semiautomatic because they're talking about gunshots that they heard in rapid succession. >> reporter: president obama called the shooting a cowardly act. >> we are confronting yet another mass shooting, and today, it happened on a military installation in our nation's capital. we will do everything in our power to make sure whoever carried out this cowardly act is held responsible. >> reporter: d.c.'s mayor doesn't think the shootings are tied to terrorism, but the police still don't have a motive. >> we now have a total of 13 fatalities, including the shooter. we had one additional since we last convened that one of the victims who died at a hospital. >> authorities say they still don't have a motive, at least now you just heard brian report
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that the fbi has identified the dead shooting suspect as we know. cnn justice reporter evan perez is here, he's getting more information on this suspect, among other things. what are you learning? >> we know he's a former navy man, so we know that the fbi is now trying to figure out exactly what connection he has in this building. right now, the going theory is this appears to be a workplace shooting of some kind, perhaps some beef he had with people inside the navy yard. right now -- >> we're looking for your microphone. they're not hearing you. here it is. >> here we go. sorry about that. >> i don't know if that's the microphone or this is the microphone. go ahead. talk to me. tell us what you know. >> well, right now, the fbi is still trying to figure out exactly what connection he has with this building, whether or not he was able to -- whether or not he had some beef with someone inside or whether
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there's some other reason why he came here today, but as of now, we know that he's a former navy man. we know that he worked previously with a former contractor. that's what the fbi believes. they're still trying to figure out exactly what brought him here today. >> we don't know but will be learning more. he's 34 years old. evan, thanks very much. once again, 13 people are confirmed dead in today's horrific mass shooting. it's an ongoing situation that we're following right now. 13 people dead, including the suspected shooter. 12 people or so, we are told, have been injured as well. you will hear a number, a number of stories of what happened during the course of this ordeal earlier in the day. hundreds of workers actually wound up taking cover or fled the scene of the massacre when it was ongoing. they were watching the situation unfold and they heard sirens going off, they heard gunshots, obviously, in the process. if in fact 12 people were shot and killed, another dozen or so
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were injured, you can only imagine how that situation was unfolding here. we're going to be speaking with eyewitnesses during the course of what was going on, including navy captain mark vandross. thanks for coming in. we're only a block or so away from the washington navy yard. you got there early this morning. pick up the story. where were you? you were in building 197 where the shooting occurred. we believe on the fourth floor, right? >> i don't know where exactly the shooting occurred but i was -- my office is on the third floor of that building. at 8:00, i had a regularly scheduled meeting with members of my staff. we were in the conference room that's next to my office, and a few minutes after 8:00, we heard a loud noise that sounded unusual. didn't think anything of it. a few minutes after that, we heard what was definitely gunfire and we heard people shouting something, i don't know the exact words, but something to the effect there was a shooter and lock the doors, lock the doors.
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then someone in my office who i have not found out yet who, but who i'm very grateful for, they closed and locked the exterior doors to our office space, then all the people in my office area went either into the interior conference room or interior offices and barricaded themselves in. at that point, we started blackberrying and texting each other trying to see what was going on. 10 or 15 minutes later, we heard another gunshot that sounded very close. we were all on the floor. when we looked up, we saw two bullet holes in the wall of the conference room we were in. >> they basically told you stay in that room. >> they said shelter in place. there were e-mails put out. >> you were on the ground. >> we were on the ground. >> lying down for how long? >> we were there until a little after 10:00. we were there for about an hour and a half. until police came and confirmed their identity and escorted us out of the building. >> what was going through your mind, the hour and a half, you were in the building, 197, here
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at the washington navy yard, and you had heard gunshots. >> we heard gunshots several times throughout the course of that, i think the last gunshots we heard were a little after 9:00. >> in other words they started at 8:20 and went until 9:00? a half hour or 40 minutes or so? >> intermittent gunfire. what we were thinking is i was very proud of my people. we were all afraid, but no one panicked. we spent our time trying to get ahold of each other by phone or by text, trying to see who was accounted for. there were about 60 people in that building who report to me, so my deputy and i, my deputy, she had sheltered in a different office close by where we were, so she and i were texting each other trying to check off who did we know was safe, who were we still missing, and i was reporting up to my boss to let her know who we knew was safe, who we didn't have any word on until the police came and got us. then even after that, the police had evacuated some of my folks to a different part of the navy yard, so the rest of the time other than giving statements to
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the police, we were trying to find those last few people to make sure all of the folks that are in my organization had gotten out and gotten out safely. >> we know the shooter shot and killed 12 people at the navy yard, injured another dozen or so, and i understand you knew one of those -- >> i don't want to say the name. when the police evacuated us, one of my colleagues from another part of the organization came up to me and he had seen one of our colleagues who had been shot and was on the floor dead in the office building. i did not see that myself. he came up to me because he knew that the two of us were friends, and he told me that he had lost his life. i don't want to put out any names until the navy officially puts out names. that's been hard to process, because -- and i don't know, it's very possible that additional friends and colleagues are among the 12. i've just gotten out here when they let us go so i don't know who among the rest of the
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organization, the headquarters organization's large. there's a few thousand people there. but at the navy yard, but 60 or so that worked for me of those, they all got out alive and that was my main focus during the day was just trying to track them down and see where they were. >> have you confirmed that all those under your command -- >> i have either talked to them personally or have gotten voice mail or e-mail or text messages from them saying that they were okay. >> so captain, tell us about the naval sea systems command building 197 here at the navy yard. what is it all about? what do you guys do there? >> the naval sea systems command is the navy's organization for the acquisition and maintaining of its ships, submarines and the systems that go on those ships and submarines. it's housed in three buildings on the navy yard. building 197 is the largest of those three. in building 97, you've got the organizations, like my organization that's primarily in charge of the non-nuclear surface ships. you also have its contract
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directorates, a lot of the technical directorate is there, the legal staff is there, the cost estimating staff is there. >> a lot of situacivilians and e duty military? >> a mix of active duty military and civilians. maybe 90% civilian, 10% military. >> when i heard president obama earlier today over at the white house, he made the point that this kind of stuff happens if you're in afghanistan in a war zone, but you don't really expect to see something like this here in the united states, especially in washington, d.c. at a military facility. >> i had a very routine day planned for myself. i worked out at the gym this morning at the yard, i had a very -- when the shooting started, i was in the middle of a very routine meeting with my staff. i was supposed to drive over and talk to some of my colleagues in the pentagon later this afternoon. about my program. i was not -- it was not supposed to be an unusual day. it turned out to be maybe one of the most unusual days of my life. but didn't start out that way. >> so when you come on the navy
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yard, you have to go through certain security procedures? what is the nature to getting on that base? >> to drive or walk on the base, you present credentials, your d.o.d. common access card, to an armed security guard who then clears you on to the base. then to get into building 197, there's armed security at the door of the building. >> this specific building where the shooting took place. >> where the shooting took place. >> this is a secure facility because classified information, is that it? >> for a variety of reasons, but you go past armed security guards and then your credentials are computer-read and there's a kiosk you go through and it gives you a green light or red light but the green light shows your credentials are recognized as someone who is supposed to be in that building. so you have to go through a couple of layers of security to get into building 197. first to get access to the yard, then through the doors to get in. >> tough situation. can you stay with us? >> i shall. >> captain will stay with us. we will continue our special report here in "the situation room." we are taking you also to a
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hospital that's giving emergency care to some of those wounded in today's mass shooting here at the navy yard in washington. much more of our coverage right after this. nascar is about excitement. but tracking all the action and hearing everything from our marketing partners, the media and millions of fans on social media can be a challenge. that's why we partnered with hp to build the new nascar fan and media engagement center. hp's technology helps us turn millions of tweets, posts and stories into real-time business insights that help nascar win with our fans.
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even as s.w.a.t. teams worked to clear the scene of the shooting and flush out possible, possible suspects, wounded people were being airlifted to a nearby hospital here in washington. our pentagon correspondent chris lawrence is there with an update on their conditions. chris, first of all, tell us where you are and what you're learning. >> reporter: yeah, wolf, we're at the med-star washington national hospital and basically, there are three patients here. two of them were women who
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worked for the navy as civilians at the navy yard. the third was that washington, d.c. police officer. right now, wolf, he is in the middle of what's being called a very complex surgery to try to save the use of his legs. he came into direct confrontation with the shooter, took multiple gunshots to the legs that basically ripped right through both bone and blood tissue. he is in surgery now. it's going to be another few hours until he gets out. when he gets out, in about 24 hours, that's when they will have to assess the damage to see if he will be able to retain the use of those legs. another young woman is also in surgery. she was shot in the shoulder. but a third woman who you may have thought suffered the most traumatic injuries after being shot in the head, she may be the first to go home. >> she actually has injury to her hand and to her head, but the bullet actually did not penetrate the skull, means it did not penetrate the bone, so
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she is obviously -- has suffered a significant wound, but she will recover without surgery and we've done a couple of procedures to take care of her hand and her head. >> reporter: so she is resting right now and again, the other two still in surgery and within the last couple hours, senior u.s. navy officials were here at the hospital visiting these victims, and the secretary of the navy and the chief of naval operations, both here at the hospital talking to some of the victims. they talked about the impact this has had on the navy as a whole. >> the navy family today suffered a horrific attack, and we are a family. the civilians that work in navy and do the critical work that has to be done, suffered just a
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stunning and horrific blow today. >> reporter: investigators talked briefly to some of the victims before they went into surgery. what normally happens at this point is before that, some of the investigators will try to take pictures of some of their clothing, look at some of where the bullet holes went. there's chain of custody with some of the bullet fragments in surgery going from the surgeon directly to some of the investigators, because ultimately, as they recover, the investigation obviously still continuing at a very high pitch, wolf. >> so chris, just to recap, 12 people or so confirmed injured in the shooting, 12 killed by this shooter, and various stages of the nature of the injury, some very serious, some critical, some obviously a lot less so. do we have specifics on all 12 of those who were wounded in the shootings?
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>> reporter: not specifics on all of them, wolf. i mean, there was one elderly man who died in the ambulance as he was leaving the scene. he was one of the first to be rushed out of that scene after suffering injuries. various people have what's being termed minor injuries. you heard some of the patients here, two of them are in surgery, a third who was shot in the head, the bullet did not enter her skull so she actually is still here recovering. we expect to get some more updates on some of these conditions, perhaps as the surgeries conclude later here in the evening. >> i know they will be briefing all of us at the hospital where you are. chris lawrence, our pentagon correspondent, thanks very much. coming up here in our special "situation room" panicked witnesses come face-to-face with the gunman and live to tell us about it. you're watching a "situation room" special report. dad. how did you get here?
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vo:remember to changew that oil is the it on schedule toy car. keep your car healthy. show your car a little love with an oil change starting at $19.95. i'm wolf blitzer here in washington. we're following the breaking news, the shooting rampage here at the washington navy yard. here are some of the latest developments right now. just about an hour or so ago, the mayor of washington, d.c., vincent gray, announced the death of another victim, bringing the total to 13 people, including the gunman. 12 victims, plus the gunman. he's now been identified as 34-year-old aaron alexis, a u.s. military contractor from texas. the fbi is asking anyone with information about him to contact
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them right away. the search meanwhile is continuing right now for a possible, a possible second suspect in the rampage. not 100% clear there is a second suspect, but authorities say they're looking possibly for a second suspect. you can imagine the panic as people ran for their lives. some people trying to escape ran right into a gunman. listen to this. >> we were just working at our desks, and the fire alarm went off, which occasionally, there's a practice or there's a fire in the building, and immediately there was an announcement that there was a fire emergency in the building, but our fire wardens came running very quickly yelling for everyone to get out of the building now. that's when we started moving. he was far enough down the hall that we couldn't see his face, but we could see him with the rifle and he raised and aimed at us and fired. he hit high on the wall just as we were trying to leave. >> the bloody incident is still clouded by lots and lots of
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chaos. tom foreman is joining us now. he's been trying to piece together a timeline of today's events. go ahead, tom, tell us what we know right now and obviously, everything is subject to change. initial reports often prove to be inaccurate. >> yeah, i'll tell you this. we know a lot more than we knew 30 minutes ago. the information is coming in really fast now about what happened here. let's place the scene again. the navy yard, about a mile and a half, two miles from the u.s. capitol. it's been around since 1799. about 3,000 people work here, including the naval sea systems command which is basically in charge of purchasing ships and submarines and keeping them running. they all work in this perimeter here with security all around. but now i want to talk about this timeline that we mentioned earlier, wolf. right in this building right here, the first problem showed up at about 8:18 in the morning. we knew that's when the first shooter came up, but now what we're hearing from authorities is really quite telling. they're now saying that within two minutes, there were officers
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who were there already engaging this shooter. so if you look at this, you're talking about 8:18, you're talking about by 8:20 actually having officers actively engaging the shooter as he was moving through the building and shooting at people. in some cases, shooting over an atrium as we understand it down on people below. by 8:25, local police say extra teams had shown up and they had officers inside engaging in running battles with this gunman. look at this incredibly short period of time, wolf. from 8:18 to 8:25, this may very well turn out to be the bulk of the heaviest shooting, but after this time, the shooting continued to go on. we do know that we've had a witness who said that they believe the last time they heard shots was sometime around 9:00. so this gives us a better picture than we've had all day in terms of the short period of time that this may have been going on, and this engagement by
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officers here based on my past experience may very well be the reason that ultimately we didn't wind up with more fatalities when people are trapped in a building like that or get cornered by a gunman in a situation. we'll have to find out as time goes on. what we do know is in the end, despite the short period of time, it was all the way up until almost 11:30 before we heard that they had successfully taken this gunman down and as you know, wolf, they're still looking to see if maybe there might be somebody else involved. >> they certainly are. no confirmation, but they are looking. tom foreman, thanks very much. let's bring back navy captain mark vangroff. you survived today's massacre. you were inside that building, you heard the gunshots, you saw the timeline tom was just showing, 8:20, 8:18, it starts. but you say that you actually heard gunshots going until almost 9:00 in the morning. >> i wasn't looking at my watch, but i was in a conference room in a meeting that started at
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8:00, and the conference had been going a short time when we heard the first sound that sounded unusual and we kind of looked at each other, what's that. a very few minutes after that, we heard the sound of what was definitely gunfire. people were yelling to close the doors, lock the doors. the conference room that i was in was behind some other doors so someone in my office, i don't know who, locked those outer doors and then we all barricaded ourselves either in the interior conference room or an interior offices and we were on the ground sheltering in place for several minutes. a short time after that, again, i wasn't looking at my watch, we heard a very loud gunshot, very close by. we looked up and we saw bullet holes in the wall to the conference room that we were in about a foot down from the ceiling. we heard sporadic gunfire a little bit after that. the 9:00 in the timeline sounds about right. didn't hear much gunfire -- i don't know when the last gunfire i heard but it was for several
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minutes after the shot that had the holes in the wall. then at a little after 10:00, uniformed police officers came to our location, identified us, escorted us out of the building. >> could you tell if it was automatic gunfire, was it like individual -- >> some of the shots were individual shots. i'm not a ballistics expert. some of the shots were not -- were rapid fire, were several shots one after another. i don't know if that was a semiautomatic or fully automatic weapon because i was only going by what i heard. but it was some shots were rapid fire. other shots were single shots. >> did they seem to be coming from the same area? >> some shots seemed very close to where we were, and others were distant to where we couldn't really tell where in the building they were coming from. >> you couldn't tell if there was one gunman or two gunmen? >> absolutely no way to tell from where i was. we were just listening because we didn't see anything after we barricaded ourselves. we were on the ground most of the time. what we spent doing was we had our blackberries out and spent
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our time texting each other, other people, my colleagues in the building, trying to find out who was safe and who was still unaccounted for. >> we know one of those dead, somebody you knew -- >> i do have confirmation that one of the victims is someone that i know and served with in the past. yes. >> i'm glad you're okay. thanks very much for joining us. mark vangroff. coming up in our special report here in "the situation room" incredible images from the shooting rampage. stay with us. play close. good and close. discover the new way to help keep teeth clean and breath fresh. new beneful healthy smile food and snacks. he'll love the crunch of the healthy smile kibbles. you'll love how they help clean. with soft, meaty centers, and teeth cleaning texture healthy smile snacks help keep a shine on his smile. it's dental that tastes so good. new beneful healthy smile food and snacks.
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flags at the u.s. capitol about a mile or so away from here at the washington navy yard have been lowered to half staff in honor of the victims of this navy yard shooting that happened today. here's a quick look at some of the other dramatic images from this awful, awful day. a helicopter lifts a person from a rooftop near the scene of the shooting. an armored vehicle speeds -- racing down the street just outside the navy yard. people exit a building with hands above their heads. armed federal agents stage on a bridge adjacent to the shooting. incredible images coming in from here at the washington navy yard. let's bring in our special guest right now. matt mazdem, a retired u.s. navy s.e.a.l., a reservist right now. he's a high threat security expert who was recently stationed right here at the washington navy yard. he also served as a military aide to president obama.
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thanks very much for joining us. >> thank you, wolf. >> i know you're also co-founder of move to safety which trains people in dealing with active security shooting situations. >> that's right. >> when you heard about what happened, about six months, a year ago, you worked here -- >> i worked right down here. >> so you're familiar with this facility. you heard what was going on. what went through your mind? >> when i heard that there was a shooting down here, i was surprised and i'm a father as well, so i got my kids safe -- >> because you live right near here. >> just up the street. i heard they were going into lockdown. it was a little concerning to me because depending on where you are in the building, it can lock you in with the shooter. >> building 197. >> right. so my concern was for the people that could get away, that they got locked together with the shooter, and didn't get away. >> we just heard the captain say that they told him, he was in that building, get down on the floor. >> that's right. >> he wound up spending an hour and a half lying on the floor. >> that's a really long time. bullets were coming through his room. i mean, that's a long time to
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spend in an area where bullets are coming through your room. so that's a bit concerning to me. he lived through it so it was a call that worked, but -- >> you see the white house flag, by the way. it has now been lowered to half staff as well. flags on capitol hill, flags at the white house. a dozen people killed by this shooter. the shooter is dead, too. but there may be a second shooter that's still at large. we don't have confirmation of that. authorities say they are looking for someone, but it's unclear if, in fact, there is a second shooter. >> that's right. but if anybody sees somebody like that, they need to contact the fbi and they need to get away from that person, as far away as they can. they need to get blocks away, buildings away. do not stay around. >> if they suspect somebody like that. >> if they see something funny. >> you're a navy s.e.a.l. so you're highly trained in these kind of situations. >> that's right. >> had you northboubeen in that building, what would you have done? >> get away. you're not prepared, you're not armed, you're not wearing the right body armor. i would get away and call 911,
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then -- and i would help as many people out of that scenario as i possibly could. >> run away as quickly as possible and ducking while -- >> staying low, staying behind cover. if there's anything between you and the shooter so he can't see you, your chances of survival go way up. >> stay with me. i will need your expertise. we will continue the breaking news coverage. just ahead, president obama speaking out earlier about the shooting rampage here in washington. we'll hear what he had to say. plus we'll hear from more eyewitnesses, some who saw victims killed before their eyes. others narrowly escaped the gunman's bullets.
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president obama's calling for a thorough and seamless investigation of this deadly shooting at the washington navy yard just behind me. he spoke about the rampage earlier in the day. >> i've been briefed by my team on the situation. we still don't know all the facts, but we do know that several people have been shot and some have been killed, so we are confronting yet another mass shooting, and today, it happened on a military installation in our nation's capital.
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it's a shooting that targeted our military and civilian personnel. these are men and women who were going to work, doing their job protecting all of us. they're patriots and they know the dangers of serving abroad, but today, they faced the unimaginable violence that they wouldn't have expected here at home. >> the president speaking earlier today. the white house has just released another statement saying the president placed a phone call to the navy secretary ray mabus. here's what the statement says. let me read it to you. today, the president called secretary of the navy ray mabus to express his condolences to the families and colleagues of the victims of today's mass shooting at the washington navy yard. the president also commended the brave navy personnel and local law enforcement who worked in concert with federal authorities to respond to this tragedy. the president has been briefed throughout the day by assistant
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to the president for homeland security and counterterrorism lisa monaco and the deputy chief of staff on the -- about the ongoing situation, and he continues to remain in contact with his team. that statement just coming in from the white house. i know the president is deeply, deeply concerned, as are all officials here in washington. everyone in the country is deeply concerned about what happened. witnesses, meanwhile, describe a really terrifying scene earlier in the day, when it all unfolded here at the washington navy yard. some of them saw victims shot right before their eyes. >> we were the only two people in the alleyway at that point. there was another person, security, who was at the far end of the building. he fell down to the ground and i ran out of there. >> reporter: do you know what happened to him? >> i do not know. >> reporter: was this man in the process of evacuating? >> he was not. he actually worked in the
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maintenance building behind me. he simply walked up to try to say hey, there's a shooter in your building, do you know what's going on. i'm like i don't know what's going on, fire alarm went off, we were trying to evacuate everybody. that's when he got shot. >> reporter: you don't know what happened to the man who was shot? >> i'm fairly certain he's dead because he was shot in the head. i understand gunshots at that point because before inside the building they were muffled, you didn't know exactly what it was, with the alleyway, the sound reverberating, you know exactly what it was. not to mention he's on the ground in front of you bleeding. so i turned, ran, the back side of that building. i went to get something between me and where the shooter was, make sure he couldn't shoot me as well. i ended up running around the maintenance building, jumping a 20-foot fence and ended up over here. >> i was in the cafeteria getting breakfast and i had just paid for my breakfast, and i heard three shots, and then the young lady that was with me, we were like what's that. i said somebody's shooting because it didn't sound like something falling on the floor. three seconds later, there were more shots.
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a few of us more that were in the cafeteria, we started panicking which way to run out, do we go out the side we came in, or do we go out the back way. so we took the back exit where they have a security guard on the loading dock back there. she had her gun drawn. somebody had pushed a fire alarm. she told us to run, get away as fast as you can. they were quick shots, like bam, bam, bam. a few seconds later, bam, bam, bam. i just started running, running. >> was there a lot of screaming? what was the scene like at the moments the shots broke out? >> there wasn't any screaming from the ones in the cafeteria but everybody's eyes got like panicked, you know. everybody just -- we froze up for a minute because we didn't know which direction to go into, then i'm like i'm getting out of here, i'm running, i'm running. they were trying to keep us in the cafeteria. i said no, i'm running, i'm running, you know. all i could think about was my family. i just started running. >> eyewitnesses telling us what they saw, what they heard.
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we're standing by, by the way, local d.c. police are about to have a news conference right at the top of the hour. new information coming in. we'll have live coverage, of course, here in "the situation room." we'll also have much more on the mass shooting here at the washington navy yard, the race to learn more about the dead gunman and possibly a second suspect who may, repeat, may still be at large. [ male announcer ] campbell's angus beef & dumplings. hearty cheeseburger. creamy thai style chicken with rice. mexican-style chicken tortilla. if you think campbell's 26 new soups sound good, imagine how they taste. m'm! m'm! good! does your dog food have? 18 percent? 20? new purina one true instinct has 30. active dogs crave nutrient-dense food. so we made purina one true instinct. learn more at [ male announcer ] some things are designed to draw crowds.
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we are following the shooting here at the washington
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navy yard. joining us now, secretary of the navy ray mavis, mr. secretary, thank you for coming in. you probably never expected in your life, as secretary of the navy you would be here in washington, d.c. talking about a mass shooting right here at the washington navy yard. >> didn't expect it. i am heartbroken that it happened. >> where were you when you got word there was a shooting going on? >> at the pentagon in my office. just a normal monday morning. and we immediately put the emergency plans that we have in motion. but that was already happening at the navy yard. >> we have confirmed a dozen people were shot and killed by the shooter. the shooter its dead as well. another dozen or so injured. they're being treat the at local hospitals. are those basically the numbers that you have as well? >> the numbers have been a little bit fluid, wolf. and we have done ape muster at the navy --
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>> a what? >> a muster. we have taken roll of people there. it takes a little while. some people are gone just on business, or leave, or something like that. it is going to take a little while to, to go through, to go through all of the things. >> to make sure everyone is account ford y accounted for? >> yes. >> i went to the hospital. got to meet with one of the young shooting victims. a woman. under the circumstances doing remarkably well. she will be fine physically. met with her parents. her first question was about her co-workers. about, her friends, did they make it? i also met with the husband of another navy employee in surgery at the time. the three taken to navy employees one, metropolitan police officer, taken to medstar hospital, i understand none of the injuries is life threatening. >> and, according to, you saw
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this, the fbi seeking information on aaron alexis, deceas deceased. aaron alexis believed to be responsible for the shootings at the washington navy yard. what do you know about this individual? he was active duty? navy? was he in the reserves? a contractor? what can you share with us about aaron alexis? >> the two things i know that i have been told, about mr. alexis, one is that he was in the ready reserve which is a -- he doesn't drill. there is no contact day-to-day with the navy. just if there is a general mobilization, he would be one of the ones mobilized. secondly that, in some capacity or another he was a navy contractor. >> navy contractor. do you know who he was working for, what company or anything lake that? >> i don't. i believe i do believe he was a -- navy contractor. he is from fort worth, texas was
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what i was told. >> we got the biographical data. aviation electrician mate third-cla third-class, meaning what? >> meaning he was a petty officer working on airplanes, electrical systems. >> like electrician, fixed electrical equipment on ships, presumably? that would be his -- >> yeah. >> originally, home of record, new york city. 34 years old. do we have any idea of possible motive that he may have had in, in doing this mass shooting? >> you know this is under investigation. whatever motive, whatever, why here, why now? we just have off to wait. >> all part of the investigation. the navy is investigating together with the fbi, local law enforcement, a whole group of people. now the contracting job he had, do you know what his contracting
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job was? >> he was contracting in the, i.t. area, we believe. information technology. but past that don't know. >> what about the notion of a second suspect at large. what have they told you? >> well, again it's an ongoing investigation, current investigation. they told me, they're interviewing everybody before they leave the navy yard. and that -- at least right now -- seems to be this one, one shooter. >> there may not be a second person. they haven't definitively. any link at all. the mayor repeatly has been asked. police chief to terrorism. any foreign terrorist organization. anything along those lines? >> again, whatever motive, whatever reason why. just have to wait for this investigation. we simply don't have any of that information. what, what we -- what we are doing. i do want to say this.
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its to -- to support our navy family. this was -- a naval assistance man. they build our ships. design our ships. civilians, military working side by side. reaching out to the victims. reaching out to their families. reaching out to the entire navy family. giving them whatever -- whatever assistance they need. we have grief counselors right now for people coming out of the navy yard. for longer term care. we have set up a center at the joint base. and just encourage people to -- you know, we are dealing with this as a family. as a navy family. >> out of the 12 people who were shot and killed, i know you haven't released names yet, pending notification of next of kin. do we know how many are military? how many are civilian? >> i cannot comment on that until the next of kin is notified. >> heartwrenching situation. secretary of the navy, you have to deal with the families. the white house just release aid
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little readout on the president's phone call with you saying that, you know you updated him on what was going on. he obviously as all of us are, deeply disturbed. shaken by what happened. can you give us a nature of how the phone call with the president went? >> clearly he is deeply concerned. what he wanted beside an update was to let the families know, the larger navy family know of his concern of his thoughts of his prayers. and those of mrs. obama. and of the american people. that go out to our navy family. we lost friend. family, co-workers today. and -- we're going to -- we're going to deal with this as a family. we are going to marshal all of the resources the united states navy and united states government has to deal with this. >> so you met with some of the family members of those injured. you went to the washington
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hospital center, met with some of the families. how are they coping? >> they're doing very well. under the circumstances. they got word very quickly. the young woman i got to meet. her parents got there quickly. they were thankful their daughter is going to be okay. >> thank god for that. >> the husband of the person in surgery said that when she got there she began giving orders to doctors. telling them what she wanted to eat when she woke up. and, not to give her too much anesthesia. >> have you spoken with any of the deceased family? >> i have not. we are waiting until the, casual team assistance team speaks to them first. >> how does that work, walk us through the process. somebody goes to their homes? calls them? how does it work notifying them a a brother, sister, son, brother,
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father may have died behind us at the washington navy yard? >> a chaplain or other -- usually a chaplain is a signed along with a -- an entire crisis casualty team. how they contact, how they contact the families is -- is done on an individual basis. they try to do it in person. if at all possible. and then -- they, this is what they're trained to do. and they -- they take the family through. what's going to happen next. and, then -- later down the road, when the initial grief and shock has worn off, what assistance is available for them. >> you as secretary of the navy, at some point. you've will want to speak to the families. you don't just write a letter to them. you will call them. talk to them. reassure them. how does that work out? that is such a, i know that if someone is killed in action in afghanistan or iraq or some
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place else. you do that as well. but you don't expect to do it here in the united states? >> no, you don't. but it's -- it's always -- in terms of being heartbreaking, heartwrenching. i've went and met with the family of the seals killed. and the day that -- their remains were brought back in. i meet with families of -- with sailors, marines, that we, that we lose. i write a hand written letter to every family member. it is never easy. but these people we lost to day now we see were serving their country no less than people in afghanistan or iraq. these people we lost today were patriots. were -- were devoted, hearts of this navy. marine corps team. and no less than those who wear the uniform and go into combat. >> the whole notion of, of a gunman going in there.
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and with a -- with an automatic weapon, handgun, whatever, and randomly shooting individuals, at this stage, do we know that he was looking for something, wanted something, is there any indication of any, any possible motive? >> again, we'll have to wait for the investigation. you know? i don't know anything about motive or why here, why now. >> now this aaron alexis, was he allowed to ben in the navy yard? did he have authorization to get on the base? do we know that? >> again that is part of the investigation. all the things that lead up to this. the only thing we know was that -- at one point -- he was a navy contractor. whether he was today, i don't know. >> do you know anything about his record? criminal record? anything along the lines that they have briefed you on that? >> no. the only i told you everything that i know about mr. alexis.
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>> where do you go from here? what is your next stop on this awful, awful day. >> well i have been over at the washington national stadium. they have canceled the game tonight. they're bringing people from the washington navy yard and going back there and meeting the people coming in. >> they go back. i assume when you speoke to the president. he will want to participate in some sort of memorial service. >> knowing the president, knowing the country. we well mourn our dead in an appropriate way because they died patriots, they died serving their country. >> mr. secretary, thank you very much. the former governor of mississippi as well. a difficult assignment you have. please, please express convey our deepest, deepest condolences to all those families. >> thank you, wolf. >> thank you very much.
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>> break news this hour -- a mass shooting here in the nation's capital. an urgent manhunt. we're here at the washington navy yard. it is just behind me. right in the heart of the nation's capital. police say at least 12 people were killed. and the gunman also is dead. another potential suspect may, may, be on the loose right now. although there is, by no means 100% confirmation that there was a second shooter. the dead shooter has been identified as aaron alexis, a 34-year-old military contractor, from texas. he was able to penetrate this well-secured u.s. military installation not far from capitol hill, only about a mile from capitol hill, only about three miles, or so, from the white house. there were several injuries including two law enforcement officers. at last word, an fbi team was still working to clear buildings at the naval facility. nearly 10 hours after the shooting.
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police say they have no information, at laeast not yet n a motive. standing by for a news conference by local authorities. authorities describe the potential suspect, they're searching for the second suspect as a black man between the ages of 40 and 50. carrying what's described as a longgun or a rifle. wearing an olive military-style uniform. we are told he is 5'10", 180 pound or so, with gray, or graying side burns. another man who was kiddconsidea so-called person of interest has been identified and ruled out as a suspect. let's bring in cnn's jake tapper who is here watching what is going on. jake, like everybody here in washington, we woke up this morning, thinking there were going to be a lot of other stories we would be covering not this one. >> indeed. what's interesting about secretary mavis, secretary of the navy, you were just interviewing. he has actually gone through
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this before. with survivors. because he was the ambassador to saudi arabia in 1995 when there was the terrorist attack that killed five americans and wounded about 60 others. he has gone through this before. we don't happen to look to think of the united states as being a place where that type of horrific violence, whatever you want to call it takes place. but increasingly we're seeing incidents like this. the second attack on a u.s. military base in just the last five years. thinking about fort hood, the deadliest one. >> this one with 12 people ki . killed, 12 others injured. a deadly, awful attack as well. what are you hearing? we are getting conflicting information, we heard the secretary of the navy, say "maybe there wasn't a second suspect." the police chief keeps staying "maybe there is." clearly they don't know. >> law enforcement sources say
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they're not sure. you can't rule anything out at this point. for that reason, kathy lanier is bringing the information out off to the public in case there is some lead they can get. at the same time, the situation was so fluid. and they have already ruled out one individual who they said they were suspected, they suspected at one point. >> at one point they thought there were three sherooters. now maybe two. >> two including the one that has been killed. there is a lot of skepticism internally. whether or not there its another shooter. at this point they can't room it out. they ask the public for information about it. >> we know among the casualties. those injured. some are serious. others not so much. all in local hospitals right now being treated. >> that's right. one of the injured. metropolitan police department officer. injuries were fairly horrific.
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he will according to the prognosis survive. what a city councilman told me earlier today. he was shot in the legs by the shooter, the shooter who is now dead. and it went through one of his ls so horrifically, it almost severed one of his legs. that's how bad the wound was. apparently he will survive. he is still in surgery. reconnecting the leg is very, very difficult, the doctors say they're continuing this val ynt effoynt -- valiant effort. >> jake tapper. i know you are doing serious reporting. we'll check back. thank you. >> we are joined from ft. worth texas. you spoke with a friend of the gunman. aaron alexis. what are you learning? >> a couple friends we have spoken with this afternoon. wolf. everything centers around the happy bowl thai restaurant on the northwest side of fort worth, texas. from what we can tell, air run alexis spent a great deal of
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time here in the last three to four years. he was the roommate of the owner of this restaurant. they moved various places. they met at a buddhist temple down the road here. a little more than three years ago. struck up a friendship. the owner of the restaurant is a new immigrant here to the united states. he says that aaron alexis helped him get acclimated here in the united states, helped him solve a lot of problems and get used through the immigrant experience here in opening this business. in fact, aaron alexis helped out here time to time waiting tables. many people we have spoken with, say they saw him here waiting tables. another friend, say that, spoke of, talked about the experience. working as a contractor in the navy. this friend told us several months ago, aaron alexis called him and was complaining that he had been sent on a trip to tokyo, japan. was having problems getting paid for the trip. some sort of dispute about
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payment for the trip. not sure salary or if it is expenses. that sort of thing. it had gotten him quite a bit frustrated. in fact, air run alexis called him asking for any kind of work. sounded like he was having some sort of financial trouble. here, the mood with friend and people who have known aaron alexis over three, four years, they tell us they're stunned. and saddened by what has unfolded today. they never saw any signs that aaron alexis could be violent in any way. >> if he did that. i don't know. i have no idea. for me, he was living with me. even my customers. that, that, when i first started business, it was him that helped me out all the time. the customer that know him. he is very nice. talking to our people. he is very, very, well-spoken. he speak good. good english. >> he came here as a customer? >> no, no, no. i met him at the temple.
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we became best friend. stayed at the same house. >> aaron alexis was a fixture at the buddhist temple. loved asian culture, spoke the thai language fluently. interestingly enough, wolf, a few moments again we saw four fbi agents walk into the restaurant. >> ed, any indication of relatives. we know he was born in new york. any indication of relatives who may be out there, may be indication of what caused him to do this? >> you know, it's interesting. some of the questions we have for the various people we have talked to today, here, who have known aaron alexis in many ways and saw him frequently. i asked hip, whem, where does h home to be. this area, north west fort worth. asked about family members. none of the people were able to tell me specifics about family
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members that he was class to or spoke about often. so a little in the dark on that issue right there. >> i suspect within the next few hours. we well know a whole lot more about this individual. the mayor of washington, d.c. vincent gray. speaking out at this news conference. >> rpt frepresentative from the park police, and homeland security. >> good afternoon. i should say good evening at this point. it has been a very long day. very tragic day. in the district of columbia. we all are deeply saddened by the events of the day. we wanted to take this opportunity to -- brief you've as much as we can. we really don't have a lot of new information as the this investigation continues to -- to unfold. we are still seeking the identity of the person identified as having been in --
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i guess a drab, olive-colored uniform. the man of 50. you heard the description earlier of that person. again, i want to extend on behalf of the entire city, those who are with us, our heartfelt condolences to the families of those who -- were killed. e in this horrific tragedy. 13 fatalities. 12 on site and the shooter and then one at the hospital. we don't have any known motive at this juncture. there are those who asked us whether terrorism was involved. we have no information that would suggest that that is the case at this point. we will continue through the night with this investigation. obviously in the days and weeks ahead. i want to call upon, first of all, do this in the same order
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before. first of all, our chief of metro police department. chief kathy lanier. then we will have our fbi representative. we'll have our -- chief of the park police. and then our congresswoman eleanor holmes norton. chief lanier. >> the only thing additional we can add right now is that we are still continuing to ask our community to remain out of the area and shelter in place. we still are working diligent lely to verify or clear whether we have the last additional person of interest out. whether they're involved or not. that process is not complete. this is still an active investigation. we have a lot of law enforcement activity in the area. please bear with us. ask that people stay out of the area until we give the all-clear. i will also add that -- our officer from mpd is recovering. he does have serious injuries. but we know he is going to be
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okay. i wanted to thank all our community members who have shown an outpouring of support for our mpd family. we have the officer out of surgery. stable. and will be okay. traffic closures remain the same as before. probably will remain. cantaloupe sure closures through the night. once we clear the last suspect. whether that will be a person we are looking for or not. we will have additional closures listed. but for right closed earlier. we are asking the shelt ser in place. do remain. once we have information. we'll push it out to the community and make the press is updated. >> all right. good afternoon. though we do not have any further detal il to share about the deceased shooter.
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we ask the public to look at photos of alex alexis and contact the fbi with any and all information. the photos are available on f and all reported to 1-800-call-fbi this investigation is still very active. and we and we will continue to work with our partners to track done every bit of information that we learn. assistance of the public is vital. and investigations of this type. as the we try to piece together the recent movements and contacts of the subject. no piece of information is too small. call to report any and all information to 1-800-call-fbi thank you. >> i want to add one thing. for all of our local folks that follow, are following the news coverage here. there is misinformation getting out through a variety of different sources. i will say, through our -- to our friends in the media if you have sources inside law
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enforcement agencies that are reporting they're not official reports unless they come through this body or from the fbi so, what unfortunately happens is, law enforcement sources will hear something, and that gets passed around, it changes. often times is not completely accurate and is getting reported in the press. please if it is not coming from this official body or from the fbi, it is not confirmed. a lot of misinformation getting out. we are trying to make sure that factual information is pushed out through mpd sources, city sources, twitter, d.c. alert and all of our contacts. we make sure the press gets any updates as they go out. please if you have sources reporting something. if you can try and verify through us before you've put it out. it would be helpful with some of the misinformation. that results in additional calls coming in. thament that divert our resources. please ask for everybody's patience there. thank you. >> a personal note at this point. we are now in a support role.
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the united states park police, among the first responders this morning. i wanted to thank the community who puts up with some disruption in the day when a tragedy like this happens. we have rto reap routroute traf. as the the day has gone on. officers have been stopped and said "thank you" over and over. thank you for recognizing the heroing of officers who run toward danger. and the aviators who plucked people off the roof. it makes it meaningful to them when they had a day look todike. so, thank you. >> thank you, chief. let me thank the mayor and all who gathered here several times. because the by coming forward to give residents of the region of information. you have done something. you have kept the fear level rit have information feel safe. this happens to be a thriving
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community of residents. this is not a place just for, the, the large federal facilities. you, you see here. when i go on the floor tomorrow evening i will remind the congress that this shooting occurred in their neighborhood. this is the neighborhood of the capital capitol of the united states. very close to congress. i want to say to residents who are coming home to day that the response of the police, the taking down of the shooter so quickly, convinces me yet again this is the safest city in the united states. not safe from attack. but safe. today, the police -- and the responders saved many lives. perhaps when this investigation is over we will have some sense of just how many -- much of that
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has the to do with the close working relationship between mpd and federal police of which there are several and showed today. i think it showed up. very well. when i say this is the safest city in the united states. i want also to reinforce the safety that -- that the secure, that the security of the systems command has always generated and we know that because of the difficulty, and it happened also because it was open to the community in the evenings. even built a facility so it could accommodate community events. we want to maintain that balance. and tonight we want to say to residents that we don't think there is anything to fear. in the city. i think you saw by the way in which multiple police forces who work so closely together achieved a cantaloulosure, this
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safe city. we should go about our business in the usual way. thank you very much. >> questions, yes? >> what was the shooter armed with? what was his dress? demeanor as best you know? >> we are not going to comment on any of that. all of that is under investigation. all per tatains to evidence. none will be commented on. >> was your officer part of the active shooter team or on patrol? >> we had both respond. initial responding officers who entered the base and again as i reported earlier. official active shooter teams assembled. >> the one who was wounded? active shooter or patrol? >> i will not comment on that at this point. [ indiscernible question ] >> the mayor mentioned video you had seen, description of the person that you are looking for, is there reason video has not
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been -- >> there is no place you can go in any setty a ycity and not ha multiple videosvailable. right now the video we are reviewing is part of the investigative process. if at some point we have something to release to the public we will. >> the individually to which i was referring was the one that identified the person in the other uniform. we were able to confirm he was not a suspect. he was on the scene when someone else was shot. moved out of the way for obvious reasons when the shooting occurred. he was, being interviewed and absolved of any responsibility in the crime. >> can you talk about your helicopter unit, you said something that, sounded look you were saying -- you were taking people out. besides the wounded. can you expand on that? >> no i was talking about people wounded or being evacuate who'd fled to the roof of some of the
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buildings. i think some of your cameras caught that footage. they served as eyes on the sky. it was a well-coordinated effort. >> do you know how many people were medevaced? >> patrick. you will get the last question, sir. [ indiscernible question ] >> no, they have not. we're still in the process of i dent foog who the vii -- identifying who the victims are. no information confirmed at this stage. the process continues. so we will identify the families of course first once we know fully who is involved. >> yes, sir. yes, sir. there are people still coming out of the navy yard. how many remand there, i do not know at this stage. as we were coming over, there were still some of them, uniformed. officers. coming out getting on a bus. so there are people still there.
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thank you all very much. >> there he is mayor of washington, d.c. vincent grape with the police chief, kathy lanier. they're not completely, not completely ruling out the possibility of a second shooter. they're continuing to investigate. but you heard the member of congress, delegate eleanor holmes norton, saying people of d.c. have nothing to fear. that would suggest she is not worried about a second suspect on the loose. clearly they're looking for some one that fits the description that was i didn'tified laid out earlier by the police chief. kathy lanier. we have a lot more to cover on what is going on. we'll continue, what's happening here, at the washington navy yard. the moments when the bullets flew. the workers andn't navy yard -- workers in the navy yard panicked. you will hear from the eyewitnesses. coming up in our special report.
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how could this happen in a military facility. former homeland security secretary, michael chertoff and other experts as well. #
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. >> workers inside the washington navy yard, heard the sound of gunfire. then came the confusion, the race for cover. and we will hear more dramatic first person accounts. eyewitnesses are standing by. when our "special report" continues. what's your function? ♪ ♪ hooking up the country helping business run ♪ ♪ trains! they haul everything, safely and on time. ♪ tracks! they connect the factories built along the lines. and that means jobs, lots of people, making lots and lots of things. let's get your business rolling now, everybody sing. ♪ norfolk southern what's your function? ♪ ♪ helping this big country move ahead as one ♪ ♪ norfolk southern how's that function? ♪
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>> welcome back. i am wolf blitzer here in washington. cross f fi crossfire will not be seen. we can continue the breaking news coverage of the cnn coverage of the mass shooting. 12 shooting victims and a gunman. they're dead as a bloody rampage brings fear and horror right into the nation's capital. to hunt for a possible second shooter kept thousand locked down in their nearby offices, their schools and homes. federal authorities and local police are swarming the crime scene as we speak right now. we'll talk about the
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investigation with a former top official, of the fbi also, the former secretary of homeland security, all standing by. you'll also hear survivors of the floodyfloody -- bloody shoo tell us of the panic and cape ys as the shooter aimed his weapon at them. we want to welcome our viewers in the united states and around the world. i'm wolf blitzer in washington. you are watching a special "situation room." >> announcer: this is cnn breaking news. >> let's get to the breaking news, mayor vincent gray says officials still, still are looking for a potential second suspect in the mass shooting here at the washington navy yard. it is not clear if that person was actually involved. all very murky right now. police are asking people in this area to stay indoors. while the search continues. authorities say 12eo