tv Situation Room With Wolf Blitzer CNN August 26, 2015 2:00pm-4:01pm PDT
himself. >> at approximately 1:30 p.m. today, the suspect from this incident, the shooting, died at fairfax innova hospital in northern virginia, as a result of a self-inflicted gunshot wound. >> authorities right now are not saying how flanagan knew where to find the reporter or photographer, but they did do a live shot an hour earlier, so it's possible, wolf, he saw that and tracked them down at that location. >> what a horrific situation, pamela. thanks very much. it's been an extraordinarily different day for the staff of our affiliate wdbj, two of their beloved co-workers gunned down as viewers watched. i want to take a closer look at this evening newscast, which has just started. >> it all started early this morning, alison and adam were at smith mountain lake talking with vicki gardner for the lake's
upcoming 50th anniversary. that's where vester flanagan, also known as bryce williams here, started shooting at them. police say a 911 call cam in around 6:31. they started searching for the suspect in the smith mountain lake area. then at 11:00 this morning, roanoke police found his ford mustang at the roanoke-blacksburg regional airport. that car has been taken in as evidence. we're told flanagan rented a car earlier this among, a chevrolet sonic, and started traveling up interstate 81. investigators notified all agencies to be on the lookout for that car. a license plate reader called flanagan's plates on i-66. a virginia state police officer followed him. when backup arrived, the officer tried to pull him over, but he
ran off the road. flanagan was found inside the car and had shot himself. he died around 1:30 at the hospital. police are trying to figure out why this happened. >> right now there's not been a motive per se. many of you have gotten a lot of the corresponds, e-mails that had been sent out. it's obvious that there was -- this gentleman was disturbed in some way, the way things had transpired at some point in his life. it would appear things were spiraling out of control. >> flanagan did send a lengthy multipay fax to a national organization in new york about the incident. they are using that in their investigation as well. now, the other person shot, vicki gardner is if stable with non-life-threatening injuries. >> amanda thank you. joining us is our news director kelly zubber. we want you to talk about what alison and adam meant to all of
us here as well as our viewers. >> i would say alison and adam were the a-team. they came in in the a.m., in the mornings, which is a tough shift. they were out all over our viewing area. i alwaysside to the morning crew, be more awake than your viewers, no doubt about it, they were more awake. they came in, and talked to leo and high-fived with him asking the weather. they were out in the field doing just terrific work. they were the bright shining young faces that we got to see in the morning. while you didn't see adam, because he was behind the camera, he was one photographer that was very, very involved. alison just stepped up to do all kinds of things with us. she just finished the child abuse special. adam was looking forward to beginning friday football extra. he was big on high school football. even he dad was involved. he dad came in and worked with us on friday nights for "friday
football extra." two beautiful, incredible people just cut down at the beginning of their lives. >> our hearts go out to their families, adam from salem, and alison from martinsville. so our hearts go out to their family and friends. kelly, getting back to flanagan, apparently this document that was sent to a national news organization, you had new information on that? >> we're just getting bits and pieces, that's obviously part of the investigation, but he sent a 23-page document to abc several hours before the shooting this morning. what we are understanding is he referenced the charleston shootings as a trigger. he also mentioned the virginia tech shootings and the columbine shootings. the quote i saw from it was -- the church shooting was the tipping point, but my anger has
been building. i've been a human powderkeg, waiting to go boom. >> thank you for being here, saying the kind words. we appreciate that. >> thank you. they were not beginners, but they were at the beginning of their careers. both of them had big plans personally and professional. we have a closer look at their lives, joe. >> alison and adam were special people. while it's been a supremely sad day, but we've also been thinking about their talents. alison was smart, dedicated to her work. adam was a capable photographer, going the extra mile to get the job done. extremely plight. he always said yes, ma'am and sir, even after he considered you a friend, and the two of them had a lot in common. >> think worked together, both alison parker and adam ward were natives.
>> alison grew up in martinsville, adam in salem. she loved the outdoors. adam attended salem high school, a virginia tech graduate and a huge hokies fan. both of them worked here as interns at wdbj 7 before they signed on aemployees. >> alison worked at a station? jacksonville, north carolina before she returned in 2014. adam had been here for four years, first as an employees of our production department, and more recently as a photographer in news. he and alison had been working together on wdbj 7 morning a little more than a year, covering everything from community events to breaking news, and they did it well. >> i have to bring him out, adam come out from in front of the camera. he is the just looking
absolutely gorgeous. how do you field right now? >> when i first put the heels on, i rolled an ankle. it's respect, very form-fitting, i'll say. >> both of them found love here at wdbj. adam was engaged to melissa ott. they were planning their wedding. alison and our 6:00 anchor chris hirsch were dating. they had moved in together to save money for. i sat down with chris a short time ago, and he spoke from the heart. we'll hear from him at 6:00. so there's a little flavor of what's going on, wdbj, our local affiliate reporting on the horrific news that unfolded there earlier this morning. the general manager at wdbj, jeff marks is joining us. first, thanks for joining us. our hearts go out to you, to
everyone else, all of the friends and family of alison and adam. first of all, how are you doing? >> well, i'm doing okay, because we're all running on adrenaline. more importantly it's hour our team is doing. they're holding up remarkably well, a lot of emotion and grief, but they have a job to do. >> how should alison and adam be remembered? >> they're terrific people, exuberant, energetic, they are pros. you know, we -- you expect to hear me say that. in this case it has the added value of being true. they were just wonderfully forward people who could do anything asked of them and more, and i can't imagine if you hand-picked out of a million people to have two folks in your newsroom, you wouldn't have pick alison and adam. you knew they were special even while working as interns for your station, right?
>> yes. they grew the moment they walked in the door. alison went to a smaller market, and then came back. adam moved from the production department into shooting, which he really loved doing, and they were just open to coaching. they were open to any new adventure, and we just loved having them around. >> why do you think this vester flanagan actually went out there and shot these two beautiful young people? i tell reporters, they know two things. they know what people say and they know what they do. they we don't know what they think. i'm not focused on him today.
we know he had anger. i'm not trying to avoid it. it's just we have bigger fish to fry right now, and that's the well-being of our people and the families of our loved ones. >> jeff marks, our hearts go out to you, to the entire community, all the friends and family of these two wonderful people. alison parker, only 25 years old, adam ward only 27 years old. much more on the breaking news coverage when we come back. rheumatoid arthritis like me... and you're talking to a rheumatologist about a biologic, this is humira. this is humira helping to relieve my pain and protect my joints from further damage. this is humira helping me reach for more. doctors have been prescribing humira for more than 10 years. humira works for many adults. it targets and helps to block a specific source of inflammation that contrubutes to ra symptoms. humira can lower your ability to fight infections, including tuberculosis. serious, sometimes fatal
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our breaking news, two journalists are shot. we're now learning house police tracked down the gunman. brian todd is at the scene of these murders, he's joining us from southern virginia. what is the latest, brian? what are you learning? >> reporter: wolf, i'll set the scene here in moneta, this is the bridgewater plaza. you can still see a very heavy police presence, police investigators on the scene, investigators looking at how the shooter vester flanagan knew those two, they're still following that threat. what we are told tonight is that they used cell phone, they used his cell phone to track his whereabouts after he left this location to find out where he was heading.
we're told he headed to an airport, he ditched his car there, picked up another car he took up interstate 81 to route 66 towards washington, but he didn't get that far. he still drove, wolf, almost 200 miles before please caught up to him. according to authorities, he refused to stop hi vehicle, his vehicle then rein off the road. he died of that wouldn't less than four hours ago. also tonight, some investigative threads that we are picking up, i spode with two people who worked with him at two tv stations. one with his wtoc, where re worked in the late '90s, and one here in roanoke. the former employees of wdbj told me he was a hard person to work with, and the day he was fired, he apparently would not
leave on his own. police had to be called in, news staff had to evacuate the newsroom. wheer told he was fired for performance-related issues, and he had had run-ins with other employees, the former employees at wtoc, in savannah, georgia, where he worked as he was startingous his tv career, told me he was kind of odd in his behavior, that he was a struggling reporter for the first for about the year that this person worked with him, and he on which made people feel uncomfortable. we also know any filed a lawsuit with wtwc in tallahassee, florida, where he worked. there were racist-related allegations in that lawsuit. he accused a producer, and upper 1/2 4re6 management of calling him a monkey, said there were other racist incidents. that lawsuit, wolf, was settled out of court. brian, we'll get back to
you. i want to bring in drew griffin, who is also learning additional information about in gunman. what are you finding out? >> he had a short career at this station, wolf, but a long history at that station, documented of problems he was having in which he made his other colleagues feel threatened or uncomfortable. the station and memos that we have uncovered at one point made him, forced him to go into some kind of counseling to deal with his anger issues. all of this from a lawsuit alleges workplace discrimination and harassment everybody but that lawsuit was dismissed. in the discovery we just uncovered. there's a lot of information about how hard this guy was to work with, photographers talking about-to-ling with him on almost a daily basis. he was called in several times
and represented for poor journalism the day he was fired, february 1st, 2013, he told the person who fired him, i'm not leaving, you have to call the blanking police. another person says when he slammed the door, this caused members of the sales team to take shelter in a locked office. it was after that episode that has been described to us as a tantrum, that the police were in fact called and had to escort this suspect out of the being so there was a long, long history at wdbj in just the year he worked there. >> i'm going to get back to you, and get back to brian. stand by. we're also getting new information on when he decided to go ahead and purchase the
guns, apparently two days after ma that is akerr in charleston, south carolina. much more right after this. isn't it beautiful when things just come together? build a beautiful website with squarespace. no sixth grader's ever sat with but your jansport backpack is permission to park it wherever you please. hey. that's that new gear feeling. this week, these folders just one cent. office depot officemax. gear up for school. gear up for great.
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we're continuing to follow the breaking news, this young reporter, young cameraman, murdered as they interviewed an individual who also was shot, and in stable condition. police say the gunman, shot himself during a police chase, died at a hospital a few hours later. before that he mosted grim imaging of the shooting, send out a rambling manifesto. evan perez, what do we know specifically about this so-called manifesto? >> wolf, he sent this 23 pages in all to abc news he describes himself as a human powderkeg and being harassed over the years.
is it arrived by fax at 8:26 this morning. there's a couple pieces, one part sell yes, sir, it will sound like i am angry. i am. i have every right to you, but when i leave this earth, the only emotion i want to feel is peace. it goes on to describe admiration of other shooters. he says the charleston shooting, a racist that killed nine people in a charleston church was part of that. he says, quote, the church shooting was a tipping point, but my anger has building steadily. i've been a human powder keg for a while, just waiting to go boom. in recent weeks somebody hug calling the abc newsroom asking for the fax number. they got the fax this morning,
they got a call, someone identified themselves as bryce, and that he shot two people. >> and he felt sexually harassed? >> that's right. he felt he was being harassed, because he was gay. he felt he was being harassed because he was african-american. none of those things are co-workers said they ever noticed. he bought the gun just two days after the charleston shooting. stand by, evan. the community clearly in shock. i want to go to our own chris cuomo, what are you learns? >> they the memorial. ms.ing in else going on. these people were very young. they toughed a lot of lives. this community has been telling stories about these two people and how they met them in the community and how much they thought of them.
hopefully that gives solace to their families, that while they had so much lives taken from them, they did so much with the time they did have. as for the man who took those lives, literally executed those people, there is an emerging picture of him being disturbed. there is a picture of him being sdurd, and not really in control of his anger. to that point, someone posted on youtube, they felt it could be helpful, there's a video of a road rage incident, you may want to start rolling it, there is some profanity. we suggest you pop down the sound for that, but the person who posted the video says, wolf, they called him out, called out the eventual murderer for his behave the person then followed
this other driver, where there was basically just a lot of language being used, but this new video is being more fuel to the fire, the rage that was in this person, and the inable to control themselves. obviously that all wound up motivating the worst of their behavior as for the expression in his manifesto that he wanted to leave with peace, he certainly couldn't have had that, wolf. >> we did confirm this is the same person, also know as bryce williams, by confirming the license played number, showing this road rage. the folks over there, chris, in roanoke and the community, they must really be in shock based on what's going on. give us a little flavor of what you felt since you got there. >> well, roanoke, like so many places in america is a tight
knit small community. they referred to wdbj as their news family. so many have come here wanting to just give what they can. they're asking why, of course there's no good answer. they are familiar questions about why this man's upset, why his battle with himself turned into violence towards other, but one thing that's also balancing that out here in a very big way is the love that people have for these families. they weren't just young. they were just starting their lives alison found the man she loved, they were living together, adam was going to get married. his fiancee had to watch this live shot from the control room. they were just starting their lives in so many ways. everything about it is so wrong,
but the people are trying to do what they can to show love, first for the families, but also what they're calling the news family, the folks in the building behind us doing the job the right way every day. >> chris, we'll get back to you. let's not forget vicki gardner, a local chamber of commerce director, shot in the bake, she's listed as stable condition. we hope she makes a full recovery. coming up, the allegations of racism and the lawsuit he filed against a previous employer. we're learning new details. and the slain reporter alison parker talking about herself and her ambitions.
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let's bring in our law enforcement analyst tom fuentes. also joining us the former atf, also joining us, jeff garr deer, a psychologist, professor of behavior medicine. let's talk about this guy, flanag flanagan. he filmed the shooting, tutly tweeted about it, basically broadcasting everything he was doing. how does this fit into the profile of a killer? >> i think tom will tell you, he we go yet again. wants to make a strong message, and wants to, upmanship the individuals from perhaps the
virginia tech, columbine high school shootings, and he wants to do it in a different way. it's all about rage, anger, delusional, paranoid, making that statement. tom, according to abc, he actual he put down a deposit to buy a gun two days after the charleston church massacre. does that speaks to hi mind? that he's going to film it, put it out. make maximum use, even sending a fax. a pick on these two people in
particular to do it. i think that's the part of this that's difficult to understand, he didn't just take it out in general like the north charleston type of shootings or the other shootings? charleston, but he's taking it out, pointed at those two, the reporter and the cameraman in particular. i think that's what's different than some of these other shootings. >> what do you think, mast thew? what would have motivated him to actually rite a detailed manifesto and fax it to abc news. >> no one knows what's goes into the mind of a madman. time will tell, but there were clean signs that he was on the way to this kind of explosion, but this weren't enough people in one place to be able to tell at the same time, in the manifesto, williams said, and i'm quoting now, my hollow point
bullets have the victims' initials on them. take us inside his mind. what does that say, the message he's trying to send? >> my understanding is those initials may be the victims of the actual church shooting, but he also says, wolf, hey, this isn't just about these people dying in the church, being massacred. it was just the tipping point. this is an individual who was a power keg. he admits it. he feels he had been discriminated and been a victim in the past couple years. i think what we really need to find out here is what has been going on for the past two years since he's been at this particular television as an employee? who are the family? who are the friends? i think that kind of information, the triangulation of that information will tell us more about this mentally disturbed rageful, narcissistic
individual. >> in this released manifesto faxed to them, he says he suffered racial discrimination, sexual harass hadn't, he was attacked by black men and while females how he was attacked for being a gay black man. we also want to show you something else, something very, very different. a propromotional video that alison parker made for her station. watch this. >> something viewers may not know about me is i come from a family that absolutely loves the arts. my woman works for the arts in martinsville. my dad was on broadway, and i played trumpet and french horn in high school, and continue to go and support community theater events throughout our region. i think it's something that's very, very important, and i will always support it. when i was younger, i was really
interested in the math and science fields. those were always my bust subjects in school, but i went the journalism route, which is okay, but i either wanted to being a doctor or pharmacist. at a journalist, i get to cover those types of fields, so it's close enough. all of us here send or deeper condolences to the families, the friends and colleagues of adam ward and alison parker. we're also learning new information about the gunman who killed the tv news crew during that live report. we also have new information about joe biden's emotional phone call with top democratic party leaders. what he revealed about whether he will run for president of the united states. i have type 2 diabetes.
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we're continuing to following the breaks news. these are live pictures from just outside that tv station in roanoke, virginia, where people are placing flowers, balloon, others, trying to remember these two young wonderful journalists. we're also following political news, including an emotional phone call today, fueling new speculation about whether joe biden will challenge hillary clinton. or senior white house correspondent jim acosta is joining us now, what are you picking up today? >> joe biden was on a conference call with key members of the democratic party. he spoke emotionally about how
he's talking with family members, and this call is yet another sign biden wants to stay in the conversation for 2016. behid closed doors, joe biden held a conference call with democratic party leaders, gathered for a summer meeting aimed at attracting presidential contenders. during the call biden revealed he's trying to determine if he has what he called the emotional fuel to run. >> i have to be able to all of you that i would give it my whole heart and my whole soul. right now both of pretty well banged up. we're trying to figure that out. >> we have access to anyplace in the entire country of iran, regardless of whether it is. where we suspect it to be. rurp bus it was all seen by top
democrats as another sign that biden wants to stay on their radar screen. the vice president has every reason to hurry you want. >> vice president biden is a friend of mine. he and i were colleagues in the senate. >> reporter: his on potential competition, hillary clinton is busy building operation in iowa, grabbing a key endorse friend that that state's popular former governor tom vilsack, but sounding more contrite that is ever on her addition to use a personal e-mail. >> i know questions have raised question about my e-mail use, and i understand why. i get it. so here's what i wanted american people to know. my use of personal e-mail was allowed by the state department. it clearly wasn't the best choice. >> a source close to the clinton campaign tells cnn they are not worried about biden, they are way more focused on sanders, but the vice president's allies like the draft biden super-pac say
donor are surprised for an alternative. >> i'm surprised by the donors who say they want to get involved. >> reporter: still biden may not be prepared for a run. as one friend said, he's not himself. he's sort of all over the place, something the vice president hinted at. >> but believe me, i've been giving this a lot of thought and dealing with this internally. >> reporter: the white house is staying out of the the prospect of a messy situation, but former and former aides are skeptical that biden can one, as one told me, they don't seed a path to the nomination. i think the bottom line from the phone call with the dnc earlier, he just has not made up his mind yet. >> clearly that was the
indication. let's see what he does. the vice president's comments come as donald trump also making new headlines with twitter attacks. let's get more on the political news. joining us is s.e. cupp. strati kevin madden and senior adviser or political kmen at a time or dan pfeiffer. you heard jim acosta's report on the vice president speaking to leaders of the dnc. sounding rather emotional. >> i think it is important to understand when people normally talk about politicians, they talk about how they calculate and focus group every word. that's not joe biden. he is the most authentic politician i've seen around. he is going to tell you what he's doing. he's an incredibly emotional human being, emotional point in his life and is being honest about the process he is going through. it is hard to know the position he and his family are in. he didn't hide that, he was
honest about it. >> ashley, let me get your reaction. >> there are a couple interesting pieces of news around biden. the idea that jim acosta referred to that some of hillary's donors may be looking to jump to biden is another. an important to know that hillary clinton is quote, unquote agitated by the hype of joe biden bid. joe biden is a nice guy. i don't think he is looking to make a moment of this. he is deeply soul searching on this moment and while everyone sort of worries about it, he's i think looking deep inside. >> you agree? >> yeah. i think dan's point is most important, especially as an irish man, i know how other irish guys feel, they wear raw emotions on his sleeve. he is not doing it privately, he is doing it personally with those that are closest with him. it will be interesting to see. i expect that the clinton
campaign, they're very agitated about this. they hate this palace intrigue. it rallies the nerves of supporters. we went through this with romney, there was always talk about a new person getting in the race. they'd rather have that person in the race so they can do something about it than have the palace intrigue from the outside. >> speaking of palace intrigue, let's talk about donald trump for a moment. what's going through his mind, he has a war going with jorge ramos, anchor from univision, still a war with megyn kelly from fox news. i understand if you're a conservative republican going to war against univision, but going against fox news, maybe not. >> i think one of the refreshing things about donald trump, one of them, is there are no sacred cows for donald trump. i actually like that about him. i think there are some cows like pows that should remain sacred. but for donald trump he doesn't see imaginary lines that a lot
of conservatives and liberals have drawn around institutions like fox news or individuals like megyn kelly. he just sees an opportunity. you would think it would have consequences but it doesn't seem to have consequences for the people who like him. >> how should the other republican candidates respond to donald trump. >> look, i think se is right. donald trump figured out the media covers polls, money, scandals and they cover attacks. donald trump right now is driving the tone and tempo of the whole race because he's the one on attack, he's on offense. other campaigns have to hit back. i think many of their strongest supporters are wondering when is my guy going to take this guy on, start to speak to the anxieties or the needs or wants that i have as a voter. i think that's what they have to do. they have to get control of the campaign, being able to drive their message, get back on offense. >> the democrats just watch this from the outside, let the republicans fight amongst themselves or should they get
involved and go after trump? >> i don't want to do anything to upset donald trump's chances. i think what democrats should do is make sure whoever the republican nominee, donald trump or someone else, pay the price for him moving the talk to immigration. jeb bush in order to get donald trump is using anchor baby, donald trump is throwing jorge ramos, it is a perfect metaphor for the impact he had entering the election. let's not get in the way of it, but find ways to use it to our advantage to prepare for whoever the nominee will be. >> it gives conservatives a chance that they may not have had to move to the center tonally, you have carly fee or even oh saying i don't like birth right citizenship, those are conversations we wouldn't have if not for trump putting them out there. >> thanks very much. don't go too far away. coming up, more breaking news we're following. a young reporter and photographer murdered on air
during a live tv interview, as horrified viewers watch. the gunman, a former reporter himself, shoots himself, kills himself after posting videos of the shootings and publishing a manifesto. what made him snap. n a business? a subconscious. a knack for predicting the future. reflexes faster than the speed of thought. can a business have a spirit? can a business have a soul? can a business be...alive?
happening now, breaking news, killed during an interview and in front of viewers. shocking tweets and gruesome video posted online. we are learning more about his history as an on air reporter and frightening response from the station he targeted in this attack. a former colleague will join us. rock stars remembered. they were young and hard working and never could have anticipated that a routine day on the job would be deadly. tonight, friends and family are paying tribute to the victims. plus, trump's new feud, the republican presidential frontrunner gives a popular spanish language tv anchor the boot from his news conference. now trump is pouring more fuel on the fire. we want to welcome our viewers in the united states and around the world. i am wolf blitzer. you're in "the situation room."
breaking news tonight, the gunman that killed two young journalists on live television is dead after police closed in on his car in west virginia. vester flanagan leaves behind video recorded of the shooting and posted online, while he was on the run. we just got in video of flanagan during a july road rage incident. we are learning more about his mental state and the 23 page manifesto he wrote as well as grudges against the local tv where they worked. wbdj alison parker and adam wood were in the midst of a live interview when shots rang out with viewers and their colleagues watching. we have our correspondents, analysts and news makers standing by to cover this breaking story. first, let's go to cnn's brian todd, joining us live from the
scene of the shooting near roanoke. brian, what's the latest? >> reporter: wolf, this is an active crime scene behind me, the bridgespot where they were killed. he died of a self inflicted gunshot wound four and a half years ago. we're told divorinvestigators a looking into how he knew the journalists would be at the parking lot this morning. that's still subject of the investigation. we know that investigators used his cell phone to track his whereabouts. he drove nearly 200 miles after ambushing the two journalists. the entire incident unfolded live on the air. reporter alison parker and her cameraman, adam wood, shot dead. >> it is my very, very sad duty to report that we have determined through the help of the police and our employees that alison and adam died this
morning. >> reporter: the shooter is vester flanagan. former name bryce williams. fired by wbdj two years ago. he apparently shot himself upon confrontation with police on a highway. >> we had an unhappy employee, but this happens, and usually they move on. >> reporter: shortly after the shooting, a series of tweets linked to an account under his name said alison made racist comments, eeoc filed a report, they fired him after that. adam went to hr on me after working with me one time. then this. i filmed the shooting, see facebook. wbdj station manager jeff marx found a claim was made to eeoc, but the claim dismissed. he told cnn he doesn't know why flanagan attacked victims parker and ward. >> i can't figure out any connection with those people who are among them, the kindest
nicest people who worked here. i'm not exaggerating when i say that. >> we've got all of the information. >> reporter: alison parker was a reporter for about a year, recent graduate of james madison university. adam wood, 27, was a cameraman and graduate of virginia tech. the two worked as a team. >> hey, everyone, i am alison parker. photojournalist adam wood and i are putting final touches on a special report. >> reporter: both were in relationship wes other colleagues at the station. parker was dating chris hers t, and ward seeing melissa ott. she was in the control room when this happened. the two were preparing to move. today reportedly was to be ott's last day at wbdj. >> i cannot tell you how much they were loved, alison and adam, by the wbdj 7 team. our hearts are broken. >> reporter: tonight, an update on the third victim shot, identified as vicki gardner,
she's in stable condition at a local hospital after undergoing surgery. a short time ago got a statement from alison parker's family. today we received news no family should ever hear. our vivacious, ambitious, smart, engaging hilarious, beautiful and immensely talented alison taken from the world. this is senseless and our family is crushed. wolf, a very grieving family tonight as are many people in this community and members of that tv station. >> brian, i understand you picked up more information on the shooter's background from former colleagues. what have you learned? >> reporter: that's right, wolf. a short time ago i talked to two of his former colleagues at wbdj and one from wtoc in savannah, georgia. they described him as a difficult person to work with. the person at wbdj said when he was fired in 2013 the police had to come because he would not leave on his own, that he got very agitated and was
threateni threatening. members of the news staff had to evacuate the newsroom in that incident when he was fired. >> thank you. we are getting information about the lengthy, rambling manifesto he faxed to abc news about two hours after the shooting. let's bring in our justice correspondent pamela brown, she's getting information on this part of the story. what are you learning? >> reporter: wolf, investigators say the murders were premeditated. now we are learning the man appearing to be the gunman sent a 23 page rambling letter to abc news a couple hours after the shooting saying he was the subject of racial discrimination and bullying for being a gay black man. said he endured this for years. one part of the letter says yes, it will sound like i am angry, i am and i have every right to be, but when i leave this earth, the only emotion i want to feel is peace. he goes on to express admiration for other shooters, including virginia tech and columbine high school shooters. he says it was the recent
killings of nine african americans in a church in charleston that put him over the edge. the church shooting was the tipping point, he says. but my anger has been building steadily. i have been a human powder keg for awhile just waiting to go boom. a man who identified himself as bryce williams apparently called abc news in recent weeks to ask for the fax number, an hour and a half after the fax arrived at the abc newsroom today, a man claiming to be bryce williams called abc to say he had shot two people and that police were after him. wolf? >> amazing. an awful, awful situation. thanks very much, pamela. let's get more on the apparent road rage incident we are learning about involving this gunman. we have video of that as well. chris cuomo is on the scene. update viewers on what you're learning. >> reporter: i will do exactly that, wolf. often in these types of situations and they do happen too often as you well know, there's a search for
information, a lot of holes. this is the opposite. there's almost too much information that points us in the same direction. it was a disturbed individual who may have many motivations, none of them justifying what he did. very few can be explained by anything that happened in his life. to that point, there's an emerging picture of an unstable person who could not control their emotions. someone went on youtube and posted video of an alleged road rage incident from july 6th, 2015. it is described by the poster as he called out the eventual murderer for driving like a maniac. the man followed him in a parking lot, we will keep the sound, there's a lot of expletives exchanged between the two men. it shows him angry enough about something that happened while driving to follow this man into a parking lot. the man concerned enough that he videotaped it and then today put it online because he thought it could be instructive in helping fill out the picture of who this man was.
what you see here is a man in the same mustang that the marshals and troopers pursued. the man pictured in the blue 21 football jersey is said to be the murderer. we verify as much. it is being shot by another motorist who says this man followed him and was in such a rage over what was a typical traffic incident of somebody calling out somebody else's driving at a stoplight. what does that tell us. wolf, it tells us the obvious. from lawsuits to dismissals at work and manifesto, you're dealing with a man out of control. were there signs, did people know. they're open questions and common ones we have in situations like this. the weapon is said to have been purchased legally. he said he did it after the charleston massacre and tried to funnel what he saw as righteous anger into ideas about race and maybe even a race war. none of that means anything said against what was done. not only is there proof of it as
legitimacy, certainly it pales in comparison to what was taken, a 24-year-old, 27-year-old gone, just beginning their lives, young journalists, wolf, as we now know. one looking forward to getting married and engaged, the other having found the man she loved, another anchor here. the scene behind me tells the story. for all of the madness and evil that took place this morning, and remember, there was nothing accidental about this, the location where it happened was a remote area. you would have to want to go there, a 50 minute drive from central roanoke. this is somebody that went there with his intention, videotaped his intentions and behind us the answers, the antidote for the community. you see the makeshift memorial, two ribbons for alison and adam. so many people are locals, it is not just a coverage situation, it is consolation. people are trying to put arms around who they refer to as their news family. those would be the people working day-in and day-out at
wbdj here which is a cnn affiliate. and they have been coming up to us, wolf, saying something i hope is some small measure of solace for the loved ones of alison parker and adam wood, which is yes, they were young, but they touched a lot of lives in their time on this earth with their work and with how they did their job as well. there are a lot of beautiful things being said about these young people. i hope it means something to their families. >> our deepest condolences go out to the families. two wonderful journalists taken away much too early. i want to get back to you, chris. stand by. vester flanagan had a checkered career as a tv reporter under the name bryce williams. he was fired more than once and there was legal action along the way. our senior investigative correspondent drew griffin is digging into this part of the story. drew, what are you learning? >> reporter: at his last station, wdbj, he was fired and did file a lawsuit claiming racial discrimination.
that lawsuit was dismissed. but in discovery of that lawsuit is where we get all kinds of memos and internal documents from the station which outlines a really troubled guy who was hard to work with. several memos in his file talking about how he was making his fellow workers feel uncomfortable. they felt threatened. mostly photographers who worked with him. he was reprimanded several times by his station management, reprimanded both for his actions and behavior which was threatening, and also for his journalistic abilities that appear lacking, and then to seek some mental treatment or counseling. it was determined that he needed to be fired. upon his firing, which was february 1st, 2013, he told his boss i'm not leaving, you're going to have to call the fing police. called the police, i am not
leaving, i am going to make a stink and it will be the headlines. he stormed into a bathroom, slammed the door, created such a tantrum, wolf, according to another report it caused the entire sales department to lock themselves in a secure office until police indeed were called. police were called, 911 called. they escorted him out of the building. and according to other colleagues, we're told they were very worried for several days that this shooter would eventually come back. things died down until finally we have this eruption of violence today. >> since he was fired, a little more than two years ago, drew, do we know what he has been doing? >> reporter: we know he worked at a call center for a worker's comp kind of business. he worked there for one year. we don't have any record of employment that we can link to in the last year, so he may have been just stewing in his own anger as far as we know. we don't know how he was getting money. the lawsuit was dismissed last
july, july, 2014, and that appears to be when his employment was ending as well at that worker's comp center. >> drew griffin reporting for us. thank you. joining us, larell williams. tell me about flanagan. describe to us what you call about him. >> he was not the best worker we had. he was just not the best reporter that we had on our staff. he got in lots of fights with our co-workers. he had issues being professional. i worked with him a lot on the weekends. he would come to the studio, just his professionalism, his attitude, how he dressed, it didn't scream journalist. and he had little instances with
co-workers that have kind of boiled up a little bit, then kind of get dismissed. and we've seen patterns of aggression coming from him. no one kind of acted on it. >> were you there when he was fired, he had this tantrum and they had to call the police to evict him from the station? >> luckily i was not there at that moment. i came in in the aftermath. probably an hour, hour and a half after. i received so many accounts of what happened during that, when he was fired. >> what did they tell you about it? >> people were shaken and concerned for the safety of their lives. we had police, we had guards kind of have our secure staff. just kind of make us feel safe in our station. >> all right. hold on a moment. i want to talk to you about two
people who were shot and killed, young journalists. we will talk about that. we're getting other information as well in the breaking news. we'll take a quick break and be right back. devhighest quality,the clinically proven nutrition isn't easy, so at gnc, why do we do it? why do we include key ingredients found in fruits and vegetables to create the world's best multivitamin programs? why do we do over 150 quality checks before putting them on the shelf? well, here's why... ♪ celebrating 80 years of quality life and quality products. for a limited time buy one vitapak and get one half off. the worlds best multivitamin program, only at gnc. i'm supposed to tell you how it feels when you book the perfect family vacation on hotels.com. but i think he's kinda nailing it. (music) hotels.com. they don't need me right now.
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live pictures coming in from outside the studio, wbdj in roanoke, virginia. people laying flowers, balloons, others in memory of 24-year-old alison parker, the tv journalist, 27-year-old adam wood, the tv photographer. both slain today, killed while reporting a live interview in southern virginia. we are following the breaking news. the gunman had been fired from that same tv station. that gunman is now dead after shooting himself. we are back with former employee of the station, wbdj, larell reynolds who works for cnn. he is joining us again. tell us about the two young journalists, alison and adam. you knew them, right? >> right. i worked with adam a lot. he was a photographer there. he has an energy that's undescribable. he makes you want to come to work, such a goof ball.
he brought so much joy into your life and your day to day work duties. alison, when i was there, she was an intern, and i kind of referred to her as a superstar intern because she had so much initiative, so much drive, and she outshined so many of the other interns, and right now i try to figure out why vester, why would bryce target her. she would never do something or make those comments or be negative. she's such a positive person. i have been in reflection mode ever since this whole day, and i can only just imagine that maybe it came from like a place of jealousy because you have someone like bryce who received so much criticism and how he
reports, his journalistic integrity and this intern in college basically outshining his abilities. >> bryce williams was the name he used on the air, vester flanagan. very quickly, did you get a sense there was racial attitude there? in his manifesto, he was making allegations against these two young journalists. you worked at that station. did you get a sense there was a racial problem there? >> you know, i never felt any racial tension going towards me and i feel like that's his own self defense mechanism, when he received negativity or received criticism in his work that he just puts it on oh, i'm gay and i'm black, and that's not the truth. he just wasn't a good worker. i was asked during my exit interview at hr, i personally
received -- everyone has been great and there has been no racial tension at all at the station. >> all right, larell reynolds, thanks for helping us better appreciate what was going on. let's bring in cnn anchor done lemon, legal analyst, former federal prosecutor sunny hostin, and professor of behavioral medicine, jeff gardeer. the shooter was fired from wbdj, they had to call 911, police had to escort him out more than two years ago. today he committed this horrible murder. what does this tell us about his mental state, what can we glean from this? >> well, it appears to me this is an individual perhaps was decompensating quite some time. i don't think the anger he was expressing or that he felt might have been created from situations at the tv station just came from that particular area. we saw in that tape that chris
cuomo talked about that someone sent in with the road rage that this was a person who just viewed the world in a very skewed manner, saw himself as a victim, saw himself as being picked on, had idiosyncratic interpretations of many things. was very much a very paranoid, dysfunctional personality and therefore that acting out, choosing two young people, these became symbols of things or people he felt were absolutely keeping him down. you ask the question as to why he chose them. i think he chose them because they were young, they were bright, they had a future, and in himself he saw no future. he knew his career was over and that he was headed towards death. >> because you know, don, in the 23 page document that he faxed to abc news he writes that he was suffering from racial discrimination, sexual harassment, he said he was attacked for being a gay black man.
when you hear that kind of talk in this so-called manifesto, what's your reaction? >> it is kind of -- i can just say ditto to what he said. he said he had been attacked by black men and white females. i think many people, many of us worked with people like that where you just had the young man worked in the same station with him and did not see any sort of racism and he saw it. i think many times people are looking for things, looking to be victims, looking for racism in places that it is not there and they spend the bulk of their time trying to prove that it is happening even when it is not. i think he became obsessed with it, like target practice, like target focus, people become target obsessed, can only see the target in front of them, nothing around them, and they have blinders and tunnel vision on. that may have been what he was dealing with. as a gay black man, do you have obstacles to overcome, but sunny as a woman has obstacles, as a jewish man, you have obstacles
to overcome. everybody has an obstacle to overcome. he focused on it too much and it took him down. >> the shooter tweeted that this young journalist, alison parker, had made, he alleges, racist comments. he questioned why she was hired. sued a former employer for racial discrimination, that laws was dismissed. what do you think about all of this? is this an issue of race here? >> i don't think it is an issue of race. i certainly think it is an issue of mental illness and we hear these stories over and over and over again. we also learned from this manifesto that he sent to abc news that the trigger, the alleged trigger for him was the charleston shootings and he mentions starting and continuing this alleged race war. i think this is not about race, i think it is more about mental illness and it is an issue people don't want to talk about at cocktail parties, don't want to talk about it amongst their families. people must have seen this was a
man devolving, a man that was very troubled, and a man clearly in need of a lot of help that he did not get. i think we need to start the conversation, continue the conversation about mental illness and why people that are mentally ill are able, wolf, to get guns so easily. >> that's a good point. dr. gardier, as you know, jeff, even after he killed, murdered these two young colleagues that were reporting live on tv, he started tweeting about it afterwards and he actually posted horrific video of the actual murder. what does that say about his need to make a public spectacle of the killings? >> certainly by showing admiration to some of the other mass shooters, he wanted to do something different. he wanted to do something better. and certainly he wanted to tell the world about the rage that he felt, about feeling that he was
a victim. look, don is right, we face discrimination for various reasons but we deal with it appropriately, legally. this individual was so inappropriate, so mentally unbalanced that he did it in the most horrific way and he wanted to make his parting statement in a way that we would be discussing it this evening and for the next few weeks. >> what's also so horrific, don, he praises as you point out some other mass shooters saying that basically he is supporting what they did. >> yeah. and if that's not a sign of mental illness, i don't know what is. i know the red flags were there, the signs were there, and the gentleman said who was on, his former co-worker said well, they didn't take it seriously enough, didn't do anything about it. not to blame them, but we need to know those signs. if someone is exhibiting behavior like that, there needs to be certain protocol, not just hr, maybe authorities need to be involved in it as well. for someone to get that far
along where he starts to praise other mass shooters, he's really, really got a big, big problem. >> and quickly, sunny, what's the most important lesson to learn from this tragic event? >> again, i think the lesson that comes out of this is that we really do as a nation, wolf, have to start talking about gun control. we have to start talking about getting people that have mental illness the help that they need. we need to take the stigma away from mental health. and at the end of the day, we need to hug our loved ones. these were two shining stars in their professions, doing what they loved, doing what we all do, day in, day out, and they're no longer with us. i think when you listen to alison's father saying he's numb, his world, his family is crushed, the fact that he will never hear his daughter's voice again is crushing to him. i think it is crushing to everyone. i think we really need to hug our loved ones and try to make this world a better place when
it comes to guns and mental illness. a wake up call. >> don't think that doesn't go through our heads every time we go to the scene of a story, every time you go to where there's been unrest, whether in the united states or anywhere else. i often think about when i'm out there that it could be any person who is not in their mind could come out and do something, shoot me, harm me. luckily we have security, but no system is fail-safe, so you know, we do think about it, and it is a hazard of the job. >> you think of it when you're reporting live from iraq or syria or afghanistan, a place like that. you're always worried about live shots that you're doing as a journalist. you don't necessarily worry about it when you do a piece promoting tourism in southern virginia. that's obviously a very different kind of environment. guys, thanks very, very much. don will be back with much more on all of this, all the day's important news later, cnn tonight, special time, starting
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at a shooting at a mini mart in louisiana. we will update you when we get more information. the other breaking story, getting new information about the gunman that killed a tv news reporter and cameraman during a live report. senior investigative correspondent drew griffin has more information. >> reporter: disturbance information that shows somewhat of a link between one of the victims, wolf, and the shooter. this again comes from court documents we obtained in a lawsuit that was dismissed, but it details the shooter's last day at this tv station, which was two years ago now. we've been reporting he threw a tantrum, told them he wasn't leaving, police were called. the police were not only called, they had to physically lift this shooter out of his chair to escort him out of the building. then in this memo that was obtained by cnn we are learning that, quote, this was being recorded by adam wood.
he is the photographer that lost his life today. in it, it says the suspect turned his attention to him, meaning ward, and said something about paparazzi and told adam he needed to lose your big gut and then flipped off the camera. then as he was walking out of the actual newsroom he handed a small wooden cross on his desk to a manager and said you'll need this. so this is the first indication we have that there was any kind of contact between one of the victims here and this shooter. this happened on the day that the shooter was fired two years ago now. >> that was february, what -- >> february 1st, 2013. >> pretty shocking. drew, thank you. we're also getting new information now about the gun used by the shooter, this individual, vester flanagan. our justice correspondent pamela brown is back with us on that part of the story. what have you learned, pamela?
>> reporter: wolf, two law enforcement officials tell me and my colleague evan perez that a gun recovered from the shooter, vester flanagan, was a glock 9 millimeter pistol. according to officials, he bought the gun in virginia sometime in july and we're told he bought this gun legally. he also purchased a second glock pistol. ballistics tests will be conducted to figure out which gun he used. in this suicide note, this rambling suicide note that the person believed to be the gunman sent to abc news, it says in there that the gun was purchased two days after the charleston massacre. that was on june 17th. again, we're told he bought two glock pistols, one identified in the car with him was bought in july in virginia and was bought legally. wolf? >> pamela, thanks very much. i want to dig deeper now with our law enforcement analyst tom
fuentes, and joining us matthew who arest, senior vice president at fjc security services. let me get reaction to what we heard from pamela brown, a nine millimeter glock 19. correct me if i'm wrong, it sounds like the weapon used a decade ago at virginia tech. that individual at virginia tech killed 32 people. >> i thought the virginia tech shooter bought two glocks in a row at a gun shop drew griffin went to and reported at. it comes in several calibers, several sizes, and sounded hearing that video this morning that about eight shots were fired, which any of the models would have that much capacity. >> matthew, what's so chilling, the killer in the 23 page manifesto was praising some of the other mass murderers that went out and started shooting
and killing people. now looks like apparently the same kind of gun. tell us more about the nine millimeter glock 19? >> wolf, the frame is made of plastic, it is easy to carry, conceal. a light firearm. i have to go back with what sunny said, firearm possession and mental illness don't match. as three incidents in the united states involved firearms and people declared mentally ill or were having mental problems. >> what are you saying, matthew, what needs to be done to fix that? >> we need to readdress legislation. clearly laws are in the books now, 4473 that asked the question if you're under treatment, been declared mentally defective, that's where the problem comes in. a lot of the people having issues will not normally fill that form out truthfully and candidly. >> apparently bought the gun legally. >> sounds like it, no indication of previous felony conviction or
known to be committed for mental illness, then he bought it legally. you know, there's none of the discussion in gun restrictions have addressed handguns. so all they've addressed is assault rifles, armor piercing shells, body armor, extended magazines. even if some of the laws were passed that were recommended after sandy hook elementary shooting of 20 some students, none of that would have addressed this. only the mental health issue is the one that has to be really addressed. >> tough issue, obviously. matthew, he also wrote in the 23 page document that he faxed to abc news that his so-called hollow point bullets have the victims' initials on them. what does that tell us, why he specifically targeted alison and adam? >> it doesn't tell us why he may have specifically targeted them, but it tells us that he had targets in mind. and those targets might have been one, two, or three people. wolf, like we said last month and the month before last,
everyone who can have a gun shouldn't have a gun. just because you're not adjudicated mentally defective and not prohibited still doesn't mean you should be carrying firearms. >> stand by. we are going to continue coverage. more of the breaking news after this. a new sea chance to tryew look. something different. this summer, challenge your preconceptions and experience a cadillac for yourself. ♪ the 2015 cadillac srx. lease this from around $339 per month, or purchase with 0% apr financing. no sixth grader's ever sat with but your jansport backpack is permission to park it wherever you please. hey. that's that new gear feeling. this week, these folders just one cent.
we are following two breaking news stories right now. reports a police officer has been injured in a shooting incident in sunset, louisiana. multiple ambulances are on the scene with possibly more victims. the other breaking news, the shootings of two journalists on live tv and new information about the gunman who killed himself. much more on those stories coming up. right now, though, donald trump is defending his newest brawl on the campaign trail, refusing to give an inch or apology. this time, the republican presidential front runner is facing off with a spanish language tv anchor who is called the walter cronkite of latino america. jorge ramos was booted from a trump news conference. our national correspondent is here with more on what's going on. what are you learning? >> we know these fights with donald trump have been epic and entertaining at times, most notably with high profile anchors, now increasingly with everyone else. trump opponents bank on the
billionaire to make so many enemies he will lose in the long run, at least that's their hope. donald trump front and center taking on anyone who stands in his way. >> excuse me, sit down. you weren't called. sit down. sit down. sit down. >> today, trump standing by his decision to have security forcibly escort jorge ramos out of his iowa press conference tuesday night. >> i would have gotten to him quickly, he stood up, started ranting and raving like a madman. he was totally, absolutely out of line. >> ramos pressed trump on his immigration proposals while trump tried to move on. >> i have the right to ask the question. >> you haven't been called. >> i have the right to ask the question. >> go back. go. >> ramos was quickly removed from the room. >> i have the right to ask a question. >> ramos was later allowed back in where he once again confronted trump. >> good to have you back. >> you cannot deport 11 million. >> when he asked about trump's
plan for mass deportation, trump responded with another response. both left unsatisfied. >> i can't deal with this. >> reporter: this morning are a months telling cnn it was his duty to stand up. >> you have to take a stand. i think the most important social responsibility as reporter is to prevent and denounce the abuse of those who are in power. >> her questioning and attitude -- >> reporter: he said he did not care about megyn kelly. >> she should apologize to me. i don't care. >> reporter: on top of sparring with news anchors, trump offered up this impercimpersonating of >> they say, we want deal.
>> reporter: of course, trump did not spare his republican rivals, hitting jeb bush and marco rubio with this. >> i watch these two guys. they're hugging and kissing and holding each other. very much like actually chris christie did with the president. i'm only kidding. >> reporter: jeb bush called on trump to get serious about putting forward immigration solutions. >> this guy is now the frontrunner. he should be held to account like me. he should be asked as he was yesterday, how are you going to pay for it. >> reporter: in an interview, trump answered bush's question saying voters spent a fortune fighting crime and all that's related around crime. he estimated $130 billion. we don't know what the source is for the figure. he said because some of the money would be freed up as crime decrea decreased, it's one way to pay for the immigration plan. >> thanks very much. we will stay on top of this.
the republican presidential candidates now just weeks away from their second debate. it will air here on september 16th. cnn will also host the first democratic presidential debate, that's on october 13th in nevada. coming up, back to the breaking story, two journ lifrllifrlt journalists become the the story while they are shot dead on the air. that's coming up.
no sixth grader's ever sat with the eighth grade girls. but your jansport backpack is permission to park it wherever you please. hey. that's that new gear feeling. this week, these folders just one cent. office depot officemax. gear up for school. gear up for great. what did iran's supreme leader get in the nuclear deal? to start with, $100 billion. they keep their nuclear facilities and ballistic missiles. there won't be surprise anytime-anywhere inspections. and after ten years, restrictions are lifted and iran could build a nuclear weapon in two months. congress should reject a bad deal. we need a better deal.
president obama just spoke out about all of this at a new interview saying it breaks his heart any time he hears about this kind of incident. friends and colleagues are remembering the victims for their spirit, their dedication to their work. john berman reports. >> i'm alison parker. adam and i are putting the final touches on our special report. >> reporter: their love, their passion for their work, it leapt through the screen. they informed and drielighted a community, a community now in a state of pure disbelief. >> this place is in shock, as you might expect. there's a lot of crying and hugging going on. >> reporter: 27-year-old adam word and 24-year-old alison parker were unfailingly
positive, relentlessly hard working and never shied away from a story. >> i wanted to go through a sleep study to see if my job impacts how i snooze. >> reporter: or a challenge. >> my hobby is whitewater kayaking. >> reporter: in this profile, parker spoke about her love of the outdoors and the arts. >> my dad was on broadway back in the day. >> reporter: her father released a statement today saying, i find my grief unbearable. not hearing her voice again, crushes my soul. both parker and ward began as interns at the station, eventually becoming a morning show team as staff reporter and photographer. >> adam was the kind of guy who if he were on the way home and knew of something that needed to be done, he would turn around and go do it. >> reporter: ward was engaged to a morning show producer. celebrating what was reportedly supposed to be her last day at the station. instead, she was in the control
room when her future husband was gunned down. the anchor chris hurst is numb after the news. parker was his girlfriend. she was the most radiant woman i ever met and for some reason she loved me back he posted. the last interview was with vicki gardner, she was live on air when gunfire rang out. gardner was shot in the back and is recovering in a hospital today. as this unfolds, wdbj stays on the story with a broken heart but not broken. because there is no greater tribute to great reporters than to keep reporting. >> this doesn't happen in our part of the country. but yet it has. we will be forever scarred by it. >> reporter: cnn, new york. >> our deepest, deepest condolences on behalf of all of
our viewers and everyone here at cnn to the family and friends of these young people. thanks very much for watching. i i'm wolf blitzer in "the situation room." erin burnett "outfront" starts right now. we are learning shocking new details tonight about how a gunman shot and killed a tv reporter and cameraman on live television. the shooter left a long suicide note claiming that it was racial discrimination, sexual harassment and bullying that pushed him over the edge. donald trump defending his treatment of a reporter who he silenced during his press conference. going after jeb bush and marco rubio. could all the anger backfire on trump? let's go "outfront." good evening. i'm jim sciutto in for erin burnett. brea