tv ABC World News With Diane Sawyer ABC September 16, 2013 5:30pm-6:01pm PDT
welcome to "world news." tonight breaking news. deadly rampage. a gunman opens fire at a naval command center. >> multiple shots fired. multiple people down. >> more than a dozen killed as the nation's capitol is put on lockdown. office workers run for their lives from a scene of total chaos. >> everyone said, "this is no drill. go, go, go." >> what we're learning about the gunman, his victims and the country's newest shooting massacre. full team coverage right now. good evening. it has happened again. another mass shooting in america. this time just south of the white house and the capitol. at our country's oldest naval facility, the washington navy
yard where today's rampage claimed more than a dozen lives including this man, aaron alexis, the shooter identified by police late today. why he opened fire this morning is still a mystery, the lives lost to tragedy, how so many survived, a blessing. our team is out with those stories tonight. we start with abc's senior national correspondent jim avila on the moment of crises. >> reporter: a shooting free-for-all that began even before the suspect wearing black with a tall military bearing marched his way into the navy yard. >> multiple shots fired. multiple people down. >> at that moment reall realized this is serious. >> everyone said, "this is no drill. go, go, go, emergency exits now." >> reporter: d.c. metro police say they get their first call of multiple victims down at 8:20 in the morning. by then a security guard in the
first floor of building 197 of this massive complex is hit. the gunman is on the upper floors shooting down from a walkway over the open corridor of the five-story building into the food courtyard below. >> active shooting on the fourth floor. >> reporter: the shots were randomly aimed and fortunately not always on target. >> the first three shots were done pow, pow, pow. a few seconds later, about three seconds later, pow, pow, pow, four more shots. >> reporter: by 9:33 the first ambulances rushed victims to hospitals. >> we have an officer down, building 197 on the third floor. >> reporter: this ambulance with a police escort carried a d.c. patrolman who shot it out with a gunman. at 9:45 the faa stops all flights in and out of nearby reagan national airport. back in the building emts struggled to safely remove the injured.
>> at least five people shot. they are attempting to bring them outside. >> reporter: only later would police realize the death toll was much higher, a dozen innocents in all, one of the victims standing shoulder to shoulder with navy commander tim jirus. >> i saw him drop in front of me. he was shot in the head. >> reporter: finally at 12:14 police announce they've fatally shot the gunman, identified by the fbi as aaron alexis, a former navy man who most recently worked for the naif as an it contractor. police cordoned off a wide area around the scene for hours. the capitol building was shut down for a while, and the nationals called off their night major league baseball game as rumors and reports swirled of multiple gunmen. >> the big concern for us now is that we potentially have two other shooters that we have not located at this point. >> reporter: the navy yard staying on lockdown for more than six hours. survivors told to hide in place. some barricading themselves in
top secret, secure closets, others under their desks. >> we put chairs and then tables up against the door. >> reporter: navy captain mark vandroff was evacuated from his office. >> we heard gunfire and looked up and there were two bullet holes in the top of the wall of the conference room. >> reporter: tonight police are beginning to say that they are beginning to understand the how of what happened here but not the why. no clues as to the motive and no evidence that this was terrorism. george? >> thanks, jim. let's get more from two eye witnesses on the scene, terry durham and todd brundige. thank you both for joining us in what i know has been a harrowing day. terry, let me begin with you. you're on the third floor of building 197 trying to help some colleagues get through the exit. what do you see next? >> when we heard the alarm we didn't all know what was happening, so we were just trying to get people to move into the stairwell and get them out of the building.
when we saw one of the gunmen, at least the one that was on the third floor was down the hallway. he appeared to be a tall man, looked like he might have been in a dark blue navy uniform. he had a rifle, some kind of weapon with him. as we were standing there trying to get our colleagues through the passage way, he pointed the gun at us and shot. >> todd, he shot right at you? >> yes, he did. >> yes, he did. it was as we were going out the door we heard the shots being fired and we realized that the gunman was really close, and two or three seconds later he did come around the corner and pointed the gun right at us and fired two or three shots. >> terry, was he aiming directly at individual people or just firing randomly? >> when we saw him he raised the gun and aimed right at us, at a group of us that were standing there trying to wait until we could get through the doorway. >> and was he saying anything?
>> he did not say a word. basically we heard the shots and he came around the corner and immediately turned to us and started shooting. >> how quickly was he firing? >> very quickly. he was firing off rounds at least every three or four seconds. >> let me ask you both, what do you take away from what has got to be one of the most difficult days of your life? >> thankful to be alive. he was far enough away that when he shot at us he did not hit us. and many others were not as lucky. >> you really have to appreciate life and take every day as it comes. you never think it's going to happen to you. you see it all the time on the news and all of a sudden you go to work on a monday morning and it happens. >> we're thankful you're okay today, and thank you for your time. now to the investigation. abc's senior justice
correspondent pierre thomas has been tracking the fast moving developments. we are learning more about the gunman. >> reporter: a sweeping international investigation is under way to determine exactly why this suspect snapped. tonight the fbi is urgently seeking the public's help to find out more about the man they believe is responsible for a massacre, identified as aaron alexis. >> no piece of information is too small. we are looking to learn everything we can about his recent movements, his contacts and his associates. we ask anyone with information about him to contact us at 1-800 call fbi. >> reporter: military records show alexis was in the navy from may 2007 to january of 2011 serving at the naval air station in fort worth, texas. according to a 2004 seattle police report, he shot the tires of a car in an anger fueled
rage. he father said he was an active participant in rescue attempts of september 11, 2011 and suffered from posttraumatic stress disorder. sources tell abc news he recently worked as a washington contractor at the navy yard. photos of alexis fit the description of eye witnesses who described a cold blooded killer randomly gunning down whoever was in front of him until he was shot and killed by police. the suspect's friends were shocked. >> i'm really crushed inside. it wasn't the aaron that i knew that would do this. we just never saw this in him. >> reporter: authorities continue to investigate whether a second suspect may have been involved but sources tell abc news, the hard, tangible evidence points to only one shooter. tonight the fbi was in new york city interviewing the suspect's parents. >> pierre, no evidence of terrorism right now but the fbi is asking the public to help them find out a lot more about this gunman?
>> that's right. until they can dissect every aspect of his life, nothing is being ruled out. it's an international investigation. they're tracking his movements. did he go overseas, exactly who was he in contact with the final days. >> thanks very much. >> abc's martha raddatz covers all things military for us. martha, you've been to this complex many times. it's a fairly secure facility. >> but not as high level as military bases where there are ships and other types of war fighting equipment. at the navy yard employees have badges to gain entrance but the vehicles are not searched. if you are a visitor you would have to have an escort of some kind and your name on a list. >> it's an office complex basically but a lot of senior officials work there. >> even though this is a huge office complex, the exception is that the home of the chief of naval operations is there, admiral jonathan greenert. he's one of the joint chiefs of staff. he and his wife were evacuated right after the shooting. the majority of the other chiefs live at joint base myer in
arlington, virginia and that base does have vehicle checks for visitors. at this point we're not certain how the suspect got into the naval yard. >> thank you. late today president obama ordered the flag to fly at half staff at the white house and all military facilities. it marks the 19th mass shooting since president obama took office in 2009. today he was called on again to condemn the killer and honor the victims. >> these are men and women who were going to work doing their job protecting all of us. they're patriots and they know the dangers of serving abroad, but today they faced the unimaginable violence that they wouldn't have expected here at home. we will do everything in our power to make sure whoever carried out this cowardly act is held responsible. jon karl with breaking news at the white house. jon? >> reporter: george we have had quite a scare here at the white
house with what appeared to be shots fired out front. turned out simply to have been firecrackers but this happened while we were getting set up to come on the show outside. we heard two loud pops, looked over and i saw three secret service officers going over and tackling a man right outside the fence on the north lawn of the white house. the gentleman was wearing shorts, barefoot, no idea what he was up to but he was tackled to the ground by those secret service officers and taken away. the white house was put on lockdown. we were told to come inside but i have been told that this was simply somebody for whatever reason throwing firecrackers over it is fence of the north lawn of the white house, especially on this day as you can imagine it is something that caused quite a square at the white house but now it looks like nothing to worry about. we have an all clear. >> jon karl, thanks very much. two pops and a man tackled by the secret service. ahead in two minutes, more breaking news, cut off, 1,000
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>> we started running out of food and water and all of that sort of stuff. it got to be it's not safe. we figured we would get out because of the kids. >> we're at 160 people rescued since this morning at this airport, boulder municipal and 100 pets. >> reporter: harrowing stories like robin and her 11-year-old daughter. >> it's cold up there. there is a lot of rain. we were trying to keep the house warm. >> reporter: while so much of northern colorado is still isolated, washed out and submerged. we know at least seven are dead, more than 400 still unaccounted for. thousands evacuated from their homes, some twice. like the rogers, covered in mud, cleaning up from that first flood and asked to evacuate their home for a second time in less than a week. >> and now they told you again. >> yep. >> you got to get out? >> yep. it's devastating. >> reporter: rescued yesterday, the 85 students trapped on a field trip when the floods came through. >> they said that we have enough
food, we have enough water and we are okay but what they really meant was we are stranded on a mountain with no way of getting out. >> reporter: in the height of the boulder flooding, this frantic man flashing his lights on and off to get help. officials urging anyone else trapped to wave white sheets or use a mirror to reflect the sun and get rescuers' attention. >> little flashlights and a cell phone makes enough light to be seen 500 feet in the air by a helicopter pilot wearing night vision goggles. >> you can see the bright sunshine, the chopper about to take off and do more rescues. they'll have great weather through the rest of the week. coming up. race against time. an unprecedented attempt to raise a doomed cruise ship before it causes more damage. in djibouti, africa. 2004. vietnam in 1972. [ all ] fort benning, georgia in 1999. [ male announcer ] usaa auto insurance is often handed down from generation to generation. because it offers a superior level of protection
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ship capsized, each tiny dot a passenger. 32 people lost their lives. now that giant cruise ship is coming into focus again. abc's lama hasan has all the latest tonight. >> reporter: 952 feet long and weighing more than 100,000 tons, about the same as ten eiffel towers, they began the epic challenge of lifting the epic costa concordia from its watery grave. we've been watching them slowly raise this hulk of a ship which weighs at least 100,000 tons and we're beginning to see results. you can just make out a line of rust that goes around the ship's hull where it's been under water. more than twice the size of the titanic, recovering this cruise ship is an unprecedented feat. never has a ship this big been raised. from the reef where it crashed it must be tilted upright, using massive chains before it can be tugged back to ports.
workers have one chance to get this right and the stakes are high. leave the ship behind and it could fall apart. the fuels and chemicals on board could pollute the famously pristine waters. if today's effort goes wrong, the vessel could break apart and cause an environmental disaster. almost two years ago the cruise liner was navigating through shallow waters when it slammed into a rock, ripping open a 230-foot gash across the hull. within minutes water began flooding the ship and it started tilting. haunting images showing passengers scrambling down the vessel's side. now they hope to recover the body of a waiter hailed as a hero for giving out his own life jacket and another passenger still missing. also on board besides the fuels are freezers full of food, even ice cream, now badly decomposed. and the bags and the personal belongings of the 4,000 passengers will be returned to
their rightful owners if the colossal costa concordia doesn't break apart. lama hasan. abc news, italy. now to extreme weather overseas. japan hit by a powerful typhoon packing 100 mile per hour winds, torrential rain as much as three inches an hour, at least two people were killed, 250,000 forced to evacuate. tonight some relief. it's been downgraded to a tropical storm. in mexico look at the map, a double hit. two tropical systems in the gulf coast, ingrid and the pacific the remnants of manuel. the kind of extreme weather that has triggered mud slides and flash floods. at least 21 people have died. it's not just about the crown. miss america makes history in more ways than one. n. miss america makes history in more ways than one. caused by a, relief is at hand. for many, nexium provides 24-hour heartburn relief and may be available for just $18 a month. there is risk of bone fracture and low magnesium levels.
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or if you have any allergic reactions such as rash, hives, swelling of the lips, tongue or throat, or difficulty breathing or swallowing, stop taking cialis and get medical help right away. ask your doctor about cialis for daily use and a 30-tablet free trial. finally tonight, miss america making all kinds of history this year. for the first time a woman of
indian heritage is wearing the crown but that's just one of of many break-through moments for a contest steeped in tradition. how we celebrate the girl next door is modernizing its image. >> reporter: there they were, the two finalists, both knowing this night would be like no other in pageant history. >> we're both so proud. we're making history standing here as asian american. >> reporter: but only one could win. >> miss america is -- new york! >> nina davuluri, an aspiring med student and the first miss american to win the crown. >> the girl next year is e involving as diversity. >> reporter: in 1984 vanessa williams became the first african-american miss america. from 1921 to 1970 the pageant was an all white cookie cutter affair. these were the contestants back in 1989. these were the ladies on stage
last night. we met miss kansas, a tattooed army sergeant. >> you can carry a gun? >> i can carry a gun. >> miss iowa born without a left arm and miss florida sporting a bye dazzling leg brace after taking a spill in the early round of the competition. >> oh, my god, that really hurt. >> reporter: some pageant traditions will never change. but some do. miss new york won with a boly wood inspired dance. some ugly comments popped up on twitter. one read, if you are miss america, you should have to be american. davuluri born in new york, she brushed it off, tweeting she's proud to be america's girl next door. >> that's all for us tonight. thanks for watching. get all the latest developments on the d.c. shooting at abc news do you remember all night long. diane will be back tomorrow night. i'll see you in the morning on "gma." we'll leave you with a shot of
the white house, the flag at half mast after the d.c. shooting. the white house, the flag at half mast after the d.c. shooting. tonight a live report on washington navy yard shootings now one of the worst mass killings in recent history. >> bart talks resumed tonight you'll hear a dire prediction on how long a strike might last this time around. >> i'm nannette miranda in
sacramento a controversial open house. the owner of a home where a land lady drugged and killed tenants for social security checks lets strangers tour the place. >> rehab after a week long wildfire. mother nature will be doing her share as well. >> we can see him, he raised, aimed and fired. >> like p.o.w., p.o.w., then, p.o.w., p.o.w.. so we just ran. >> dramatic descriptions from witnesses to the shootings today at navy yard in washington. 13 people were killed including the gunman. good evening, i'm dan ashley. >> we're less than a minute from a live update on the shootings and here is what we know. the gunman has been identified as a 34-year-old from fort fort texas working for the navy.
he'd had brush was the law and discharged for misconduct. the shootings took place where ships are bought, built and maintained. it's near the stadium where washington nationals play. the game is cancelled and about a mile and a half from capitol hill, the senate posts on two votes and recessed for the day. the white house cancelled a latin music program scheduled for tonight. today's crime ranks among worst of mass shootings in five years. here is a live update now from washington. >> right now we're waiting to hear more about what happened on the navy yard today in this mass shooting rampage that will be in about an hour. we're learning more about the alleged shooter and being told by law enforcement