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tv   Erin Burnett Out Front  CNN  September 16, 2013 11:00pm-12:01am PDT

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old. five more families will in the next few hours learn the loss of their loved ones. our thoughts and prayers are with them. thanks for watching. outfront tonight, breaking news. it's 11:00 tonight where aaron alexis opened fire this morning at the washington navy yard massacring 12 innocent people and wounding eight others. here is what we know right now. just minutes ago, washington police chief kathy lanier and mayor vincent gray spoke about those who lost their lives. this is the first time we are hearing the identity of some of
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those who lost their lives. the pentagon and department of defense have been careful to say we have to notify next of kin first. but you are getting information on those who suffered today with that ultimate loss. >> that's absolutely right, erin. we know these are the first names of individuals whose families have been notified after that terrible tragedy today at the washington navy yard. the names are as follows, 59-year-old michael arnold, 53-year-old sylvia frazier, kathy gaarde, john roger johnson, 50-year-old frank kohler, kenneth bernard proctor and vishnu pandit. those are the names of the individuals who died in the shooting today whose families have now been identified. authorities are still working to reach out to the other families and let them know of what has
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happened here before they release the names publicly. not a lot of information about them other than authorities tell us all are civilians or contractors. none were military personnel who were killed. we were told that only one of the individuals that we know of who was killed over at the washington navy yard was a washington resident at least among those names that have been released. >> and joe, obviously, you've said seven names. that means we don't know five of them. and those that you just shared -- >> four -- >> sorry. those that you just shared, do you know where they were killed? i know, obviously our understanding is he went into the atrium and shot down into the cafeteria. is that where they were? >> it's not clear. when you talk to the authorities about what was going on we get
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the impression of what sounds like rolling gun battles into different parts of the building. so there may have been more than one crime scene and probably several according to the authorities. >> thank you very much, joe johns. joe with the names of seven of those who lost their lives so horrifically today. we do not yet know the other names of the 12 who were murdered by the gunman today. but as we get that information we will share with the you of course. all of their next of kin must be notified before we can do that. the police chief and mayor were just speaking and they confirmed something that is important. they said it was only one shooter something that was in question. at one point authorities thought there could be up to three shooters. and jessica yellin joins me with more on that. this is something that created so much confusion and questions
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about how many people were involved and shooters there were. and now laying that to rest there was just the one shooter. >> that's right, erin. city officials say they are confident that aaron alexis is the sole gunman responsible for today's massacre. here's what city mayor gray had to say about that earlier today. >> we always err on the side of caution through conglomeration of witness victim interviews, some camera views there was some potential there could have been other shooters involved and the best action to take was to make sure our community was safe first. >> that was the city police chief kathy lanier explaining why they spent so much time there could be one or two other
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shooters and she said that as you heard there there is an excess -- they could not be too cautious there was surveillance footage and eyewitness accounts and there was an alert for a white male and an african male in their upper 50s -- 40s and 50s and one point one was clears and they have not found that african male but they said neither is under suspicion on this alert and tomorrow the city will be open, the traffic patterns will be open. the city is not on lock down. but it will be some time before the city is back to normal, erin. the police chief saying that even though the fbi has cleared the town and they are confident they have the shooter they could not be sure until they knew both these men certainly were not involved in this rampage. >> thank you very much, jessica. that was a big part that jessica
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was reporting throughout the day trying to understand how many people were involved. but obviously within the past few moments that is being confirmed by the police chief in washington as well as by the mayor. we have new information to report about the shooter, he used a valid i.d. to get into the base. he had three guns on him including an ar-15, a semiautomatic glock handgun and another rifle. the ar-15 was used in aurora, colorado and sandy hook, connecticut and one of the guns was purchased in northern virginia in recent days. and in the past few hours we learned from his friends that aaron alexis was an avid player of violent video games and he attended a buddhist temple and fluent in thai. he was quiet and he was a quote,
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unquote, good person. but we know now something very important. alexis was discharged from the navy for a pattern of misconduct. and during his time in the navy he was arrested for a gun naent in texas and arrested for a gun incident in seattle. and this summer he got security clearance renewed while working for a hewlett packard subcontractor on a military contract. this is something surprising as you listen to this we are learning more about alexis and what might have motivated him to kill. ed, i'm going through some of the headlines that have been coming in as the story has been developing as the evening goes on. you were speaking to people close to alexis finding out about the video games and the temple and how they described him.
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did they give insight to you on what could have been a motive? >> one of the things that stood out to me in talking to friends here today and this place here, the happy bowl thai restaurant on the west side of fort worth, the family that owns this place had taken him under their wing. the owner was roommates with aaron alexis up until five months ago when the owner got married. but one of the things his friends talked about was that he was in a dispute with his bosses at the contracting company that the naval contracting company and there was a dispute over payment or money he felt he was owed by the company. i'm not sure if this is based on salary or expenses that he had been sent to do some work in tokyo, japan in the last year and the dispute had something to do with that. enough interest in this there
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were fbi agents who came here to the restaurant and the friend who told us about this said that the fbi agents asked questions about that episode and that phone call he got from alexis a few months ago. >> his biggest frustration over the payment, could that have led to this? >> from the conversations i had with him i would say that would be a part of it. he really felt they should have paid him when they took him to tokyo. it was -- you know, he loved to be able to travel but he -- when he came back he talked about how they didn't give him the money they said. i would think that that could be. >> like salary money wasn't paid? >> money he should have got paid and slow paid and i don't know if he ever got paid. the last conversation i had with him was that they did not pay him. >> whether or not that turns out to play a factor in this it's
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too early to tell. but that's what these friends are saying. and the fbi investigators are trying to get more details. but all of this picture we are trying to paint about aaron alexis is different from what his friends knew of him here. the owner of this restaurant met him at a buddhist temple a few blocks down the street. they say he spoke thai fluently and he spent a lot of times chanting at the temple a few blocks from here. >> a jekyll and hyde sort of difference. we will talk to someone who met aaron alexis at the restaurant there. but what about this arrest history that i just briefly summarized. he had a history of violence and the discharge from the navy for a pattern of misconduct.
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you know, then of course passing the security clearances and working again for a contractor, which is shocking to pretty much everybody. but what have you learned about his arrest history? >> he was arrested in 2010 here in fort worth for discharging a weapon in his apartment. and we read through the arrest paperwork on that case. and the neighbor that lived above him was in altercations for weeks leading up to that moment where the woman above him said he was accusing her of causing too much noise and there was a gunshot from under her apartment and it went into her floor. she told police that she was terrified of aaron alexis. so it's interesting to go back and read that report from three years ago and see how it plays into all this. >> thank you very much. we'll hear more about this. and drew griffin talking about this issue if it takes a regular civilian a few moments to find
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this on google how did this person pass security clearances and be allowed to rejoin the navy in the capacity of a contractor. he lived in fort worth, texas and worked at the restaurant you just saw. and i spoke to bud kennedy who met alexis at the restaurant and i asked him his impression of this man. >> he was a quiet and unassuming waiter. he was working there as part of his friendship with the owner of the restaurant. this is close to a navy reserve base in fort worth. he was a quiet and bookish kind of fellow. i was surprised when i walked out. i thought he seems more like someone you would see at a library than waiting tables at a thai place. >> it seems that that fits from what we have heard from a
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roommate of his for three years. he said he was a fluent thai speaker and going to a buddhist temple. your image of him fits with that portrait of aaron alexis, not of the one who was arrested in seattle for a gun violation. >> we know him as a serious guy here. i talked to the owner of the thai restaurant early in the afternoon. he said he knew that aaron owned a gun but didn't think he would do anything like this. >> did you ever see him interact with other people, other co-workers or talk to you at all about this part of his life that he was working as contractor or working for the navy? did that ever come up? >> i didn't know at the time he was part of the reserve -- of course it is only recently he is working at the contractor. but he was a navy reservist. we have a lot of reserve community here. i wouldn't surprised he would be attached to the base. we didn't talk about it.
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another reporter who went to the restaurant knew he was affiliated but thought he was mainly interested in studying thai. we didn't know about what he did in the military or how involved he was. >> interesting. bud kennedy matching what ed had heard. still to come, more of our live breaking news coverage of the navy yard shooting. aaron alexis discharged from the navy. so how was he able to be hired back as a contractor? that is a special report next. we'll go to the hospital for an update on three of the victims. we are live covering this breaking story and we'll be right back. this store knows he a saturday crowd. ♪ [ male announcer ] the parking lot helps by letting us know who's coming. the carts keep everyone on the right track.
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welcome back to our live coverage tonight. troubling questions about how aaron alexis ended up as a subcontractor on a navy base. he was discharged from the navy in 2011 for a pattern of misconduct. he was then rehired by a contractor, hewlett packard and given security clearance and passed a background check with the u.s. navy. this seems shocking and is prompting susan collins to say that these developments make her, quote, question the kind of vetting that contractors do. and drew, we're finding out tonight this wasn't the only base that aaron alexis had access to, right?
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>> let me clear up a couple of things right off the bat. he was working with a company called the experts which was subcontracting with hewlett packard and the clearance was done by the department of defense. it wasn't done by the contractor. so i think that the senator needs to check that out as well but it's he started this new job this security clearance from the government in july and since then had worked at naval facilities from north carolina to rhode island. this is coming from the ceo of this company, thomas hoshko. he said that the latest assignment at the navy began either last week or this week. they are checking time cards to determine when he got on this particular part of the job at the navy yard. >> and let me just make sure we understand. when you hear this, this person
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was dismissed for misconduct and cleared again. is this true that no matter where he work head had full security clearance for this kind of work that he did which was in i.t.? >> that is exactly right. and he had two security clearances in the last year, september of last year he was cleared to work at a defense contract in japan. and then again a reclearance, which took place in july. he was given the level of secret. that's a level of secret that is the second of three. confidential is the lowest, top secret is the highest. he had secret which is in the middle. that first security clearance was for the job, september 12th to january of this year. and reclearance given this past july for this new group of navy contracts, including the one at the navy yard. thomas hoshko believes that would have started this week,
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again, because he told me that alexis had just gotten a visitation level or introductory letter which allows him to go on a new base. >> and let me ask you that the job i know he had as you have been reporting, drew -- who would have cleared him, i guess, when you talk about the security clearances in the last year and went through the department of defense who would have done this clearance and gening? >> the department of defense central clearance office in fort meade, maryland. they make you fill out a very, very long form including six paging of any police contact you have whether or not you have been charged or anything has gone you this or conviction.
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this is just you have got to report anything that brings you to the attention of the police. there is also a long list of any kind of mental instability you may have. a lot of talk about your family, what kind of nationality you are, are you a born here in the united states, all those kind of security clearances. it would have been followed up by an in-person interview. you have to come to one conclusion. if anybody did their job, they knew all about his past, all about the past we are talking about and they cleared him anyway, not once, but twice in the last year. >> and that past, seattle, texas, violent incidents with guns, both of which would have been on that form and discussions about those close to him about a possible ptsd issue he had. theoretically they would have had to know about the arrests. >> we knew it just from today. i didn't know who he was this morning. in 2004 is when we have the
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first record of him having any problem. he didn't like the fact that some construction workers were parking near or in his driveway. so according to the seattle police he went out and fired a gun into the tire of the car. he later told police he had some kind of a reaction to the events of 9/11 when he lived in new york and brooklyn three years prior. his father told police the same thing back then. then we have an incident in 2008 in dekalb county, georgia. he was picked up or arrested for a disturbance there. but he served four days in jail. there was a firing in an apartment building in fort worth, texas, as you say. and we know he has a military record that is probably not complimentary. but again all that information should have and was required to be disclosed when he applied for
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the security clearance and certainly if there was any kind of background check of any kind of heft it would have popped up right away. >> so many questions to be answered about this. the job he was doing for hewlett packard and the subcontractor the experts this was part of a huge contract, correct? >> this is basically refreshing computer systems in the u.s. navy all over the place. that's why he was in japan and now he is here up and down the east coast. they just reissued a portion of this contract. or i should say they -- i don't know what the term is they would use at the department of defense but the new contract which he would have grown into and kept working on is a $3.4 billion contract. the experts is a subcontractor on that job. hundreds of people involved in the work just for the subcontracting. it's a major, major contract. >> thank you very much, drew griffin. i want to bring in a former
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navy seal along with a former fbi counterterrorism expert. let me start with you, tim. now, obviously over the past few hours we have breaking developments on what we know. you heard drew saying after this discharge for a history of misconduct in the navy plus an arrest record which would have been clearly known that this man was able to get the mid-level security clearance and allowed access to all these bases for the navy. how in the world could that snap. >> the way it happens is a poor background check. most people when they get into that they are given an interim clearance and that means that the background check hasn't been done but it's in the process of being done. he may have started out with an interim clearance and a background check should have been done. but that form you just saw is filled out and the person, themselves, has to fill in all
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the details on the background. he has to list the arrests and time and place and if he doesn't do them it takes is investigator running his fingerprints and stuff like that. if it had left anything out it would be a automatic unclearance. >> they might not be uncovered right away and he might have the interim clearance and start working. all the interim clearance is nothing immediately strikes us as not being able to get a clearance. >> this seems to be a loophole. you have edward snowden who had security clearances that people question. how concerned should we be about this incident and that a person like this with this background which is obviously a problem and easily available even on a quick internet search could have had this clearance and security?
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>> that's just it. if i was going to rent my home to someone i would have seen the 2010 and 2004 thing pop up. so that is a big question. i understand whether he was supposed to start this job die -- today or last week so being someone who used to be in the military i guarantee you he didn't wake up this morning and say i'm going to this secure naval facility and start shooting people. i guarantee if you look at the footage over the last two weeks you will see him attempt or gain access to the facility walk around and do a reconnaissance and say here's a cafeteria, that's three floors up that's a great place to set up shop and start shooting. >> which is an important point
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and drew griffin i know you wanted to jump in there. >> he was working in arlington, virginia on a similar contract september 3rd. he was in the area and what thomas hoshko told me was he may have gone to the navy yard last week. they were not sure if that was to start work or get additional clearance or a security clearance for that base to begin work this week. so he was definitely in the area working first in arlington, virginia and getting ready to or starting this job at the navy yard. >> if that video comes back and they check the dates and the swipe of the i.d. card if that comes up. what about the interview that drew reported on. you fill out this form and all that information should be on the form and then you do this interview they didn't pick anything up in the interview about this guy. does that surprise you?
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>> well, it does a little bit. even if you are given an interim clearance like he was given, i understand it was recerted or he was given the clearance again months later. that was something that is huge. you could go on the internet and do a background investigation on someone you rent your house to and that's going to pop up. >> tim, is this something that will be part of a broader problem in the military? susan collins is saying we have a serious problem here. do we have a serious problem with the vetting of contractors? >> obviously, we do, erin. not just with contractors. look at hasan at fort hood. we didn't look at his background very well. just the personality itself that wasn't looked at. it's not just on the surface. we need to dig deeper.
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in the fbi our top secret clearances were required before we could start day one employment. everything was uncovered. other agencies like this, there is a lackadaisical attitude there. >> just to add something quick, there is no psychological screening for that type of a clearance. >> that's a shocking thought too. thank you to all of you. we appreciate that. so many questions. we want you to keep giving us your feedback. we are finding out all this information live on the air. still to come more coverage of the navy yard mass shooting. we'll go to the hospital for an update on the conditions of some of the survivors. plus a witness who was there out
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for a store near you go to welcome back to our live coverage of the massacre at the navy yard. the horror unfolding this morning when aaron alexis a sub contractor entered the military installation and opened fire.
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we have just learned as we told you seven of the names of those who lost their lives. we don't know the other five because next of kin must be notified before we the media and you the public can know those who lost their lives so tragically today. chris lawrence has the latest on those fighting for their lives. what are the doctors saying about them tonight? >> they have good news. the police officers, the washington, d.c. police officer who was shot in the leg and had to have major complicated surgery on his legs he is out of surgery now. they will assess him in the morning to see if they were able to save the use of his legs. his name is scott williams. he has been on the force over 20 years and is a canine officer. he had a direct confrontation with the shooter. he had major damage to his legs, bone, blood vessel damage.
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there was a woman shot in the should whoever is in very good spirits, with her family here. and a third woman who was shot in the head. it turns out the bullet grazed her. it didn't penetrate her skull. she did not have to have surgery. she may be one of the first to go home. from the d.c. police officer to the two civilian women who work for the navy it's all good news. >> we heard from the police chief seven of the names who lost their lives today. we don't know the other five. do you have any sense of when we will find out more about who these people are who lost their lives this morning? >> i think we will get more information tomorrow. you heard some of the victims range in age from their 40s all the way to their 70s.
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i think we will get more information tomorrow. some of it is that the navy designated this a mass trauma and waiting a certain amount of time until they got notification to some of the victims families. i think tomorrow you will get more information about the other victims in this case as we learn more not only about what happened but who it happened to. >> chris lawrence tonight at the hospital where there were some small blessings tonight. the violence unfolded this morning at 8:18 eastern time when aaron alexis walked to an overlook of the navy building on the fourth floor and opened fire and looking down on to the cafeteria where people were getting breakfast. kirk was there at the time and joins me on the phone. i can't comprehend what kind of a day it must have been for you with the fear and the suffering
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and knowing people lost their lives. what happened this morning? >> thank you, erin. it was a rough day. but for those of us home safe with our loved ones it is a good day. our thoughts are with our co-workers and their families and friends who suffered a much greater in convenience today. >> of course, you do know people who lost their lives and people you worked with. you were at your desk when the gunshots started. tell me what you heard and when you knew this was some kind of a gunshot and what you did then? >> we initially heard these noises and we all kind of shared we weren't sure if something was being dropped or broken and then as it became a little closer -- i would also like to express in addition to the first responders
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there were many employees who were sounding the alarm. one of the employees close by i heard the word "shooter" and another employee who is an agent, not a first responder who stood up on a desk, in fact, making himself a target but was shouting that there was a shooter on the floor and for everybody to take cover and find a secure location or take cover and i ended up with 18 of my fellow employees in a conference room. i'm right there on the fourth floor of building 197 in a conference room where we barricaded ourselves in until the police came and evacuated us. >> that must have been an eternity. then police knocked on the door of where you were. how did you know it was police?
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i know in some of the case it could have been the shooter. >> it did seem like an eternity by all means. and i guess we were hopeful and it just -- it appeared from what i'll say the numbers and the quantity of voices we heard that it was -- it was quite assuring that it was the police officers who were out there. so we of course opened the door and were happy to see them. >> and you are blessed to be home with your family tonight, your loved ones. but you knew some of those who lost their lives. we won't talk about the names of those individuals because you only know some of the names of those who were killed today by the shooter. but what can you tell us about them? just some kind of an anecdote or something to give people a sense of these people we know so little about right now? >> just that we all are civil servants working for the department of the navy.
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we're there to, you know, first and foremost for our fleet and our war fighters who are out there, typically fighting battles. we are there to support them and dedicated. they were all good people, foremost, and good employees work on behalf of our nation as civil servants for department of defense. >> curt thank you for taking the time to talk to us so late tonight and we are happy that you are okay. outfront next, what we are learning about the weapons that the shooter used. plus another breaking news story we are watching tonight. a thousand people in colorado with no food or water because of the biblical flooding.
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welcome back to our special live edition of outfront. we are continuing to follow the news out of washington tonight. aaron alexis had three guns, an ar-15 assault rifle, brian todd is covering this part of the story.
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this is a weapon which is just -- you hear the name an you think i can't believe we are hearing this name again. we have heard about this horrible weapon before. >> we certainly have, erin. the ar-15 was the weapon used in the newtown, connecticut shootings and used by james holmes in the aurora, colorado theater shootings in july last year. two of the most horrific shooting rampages in american history. and now you can add a third incident in which this assault rifle was used. some characteristics we can tell you, what he tells us is basic characteristics of the weapon it's a popular model in the united states. one of the reasons is you can put a lot of accessories on it, slings and scopes and you can modify the weapon easily. it costs 1,000 to $2,000 to
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purchase. it is a civilian version of the m-16 combat rifle. is it more accurate than an ak-47 but you have to keep it clean. if it gets dirt or sand in it it doesn't work well. but if you keep it clean it is an extremely accurate weapon. a novice with little training could put just about every bullet in the magazine in a 2-inch area from 100 yards. that's how accurate that weapon is, erin. >> that is stunning. i mean -- that's impossible to understand. well, now i know that at this point there are questions about what gun he used if he only used one gun where he got them. but i know that you know -- you're reporting he had a semiautomatic glock.
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do you know where he got that or what he was using it for. >> he legally purchased the ar-15 rival and according to the people we've talked to, the law enforcement sources that was the weapon that he -- the majority of the shooting with on monday. so the ar-15 is the weapon that everybody's talking about right now. as for the glock not sure where he purchased that particular weapon. we can give you a couple of characteristics of the glock. is it an extremely accurate semiautomatic pistol favored by law enforcement in the united states. these two weapons, two of the more popular for purchases in the united states. >> thank you, brian todd for that reporting there. and the headline within 100 yards a novice with almost no training could put all the bullets from the magazine in a
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two-inch space. that is horrific. still to come we have other stories we are watching. the latest from the colorado floods. a thousand people are in need of food and water tonight. and president obama comes out swinging. will republicans shut down the government? ville and wilbur... ...amelia... neil and buzz: for teaching us that you can't create the future... by clinging to the past. and with that: you're history. instead of looking behind... delta is looking beyond. 80 thousand of us investing billions... in everything from the best experiences below... to the finest comforts above. we're not simply saluting history... we're making it. at humana, our medicare agents sit down with you and ask. being active. and being with this guy. [ male announcer ] getting to know you
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show your car a little love with an oil change starting at $19.95. we're continuing to follow the latest on the shooting in washington but we are following other big stories tonight. president obama spoke on the fifth anniversary of the financial collapse. he out toed the 7.5 million jobs created thanks to his policies but says that congress has to pass a budget for the economy to grow and came out swinging in response to threats from the republicans who threaten to shut down the government if obama care is it no repealed. >> i will not negotiate over whether america meets its obligations. this country has worked too hard and too long to dig out of a crisis to see their elected representatives in washington purposely cause another crisis.
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let's stop the threat. let's stop the political posturing. >> without a deal, the government will shut down october 1st and the united states will run out of money to pay its bills, mail out social security checks and pay the deck in your 401 ks within a couple week after that. an eighth person has been confirmed dead as a result of the flooding in colorado. that number could go higher because nearly a thousand people are trap and in desperate need of help of food and water. their communities have been cut off for days. they have swallowed roads and devastated 17 counties. >> two teens in love. two young victims of the colorado floods. family members tell us 19-year-old wesley quinlan and wiyanna nelson were swept away in the water.
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this debris field gives you an idea how high the water was. it was a half mile up the road from here where they were swept away. their car careened off the road and was stuck many a wall of debris. the water was too swift. nelson fell first and quinlan tried to save her. hundreds still unaccounted for. more than a thousand people have lost their homes. >> cops and firefighters said it would be two to three weeks until they build a bridge. >> casey's home is cut off. he got out just in time. these are pictures from his neighborhood, cars buried in mud and the huge hole that was once a road. >> reality hasn't hit yet. >> reporter: casey is determined to get back home by hiking. an up hill climb fuelled by a colorado spirit that doesn't give up.
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>> thanks to anna. thanks to all of you for joining us live on this monday night. piers morgan is next. ♪ hooking up the country helping business run ♪ ♪ build! we're investing big to keep our country in the lead. ♪ load! we keep moving to deliver what you need. and that means growth, lots of cargo going all around the globe. cars and parts, fuel and steel, peas and rice, hey that's nice! ♪ norfolk southern what's your function? ♪ ♪ helping this big country move ahead as one ♪ ♪ norfolk southern how's that function? ♪ [ male announcer ] now, taking care of things at home is just a tap away. ♪ introducing at&t digital life... ♪ ...personalized home security and automation... [ lock clicks ] ...that lets you be closer to home. that's so cool. [ male announcer ] get $100 in instant savings
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>> this is "piers morgan tonight," welcome to our viewers around the world and the united states. breaking news, deadly shooting in the nation's capitol. at the washington navy yard, that toll includes one suspect, aaron alexis, a 34-year-old military contractor, a referist from texas, the navy said he was awarded the national defense service medal and the war on terror service medal, but he was discharged for misconduct. call fbi with information. he was armed with an ar-15, another rival, and a semiautomatic glock. they believe he used the semiautomatic for the shooting, that gun was legally purchased. no word yet on the motive, but it targeted high-level navy personnel. the entire cnn team, of course is working the story. i want to bring in first, my colleague, wolf blitzer. wolf, a devastating attack, you have been in h