tv Jansing and Co. MSNBC August 4, 2011 7:00am-8:00am PDT
nbc's luke russert covers capitol hill for us. luke, is there any chance they're coming back? even the president says they don't need to come back to do something. >> reporter: as of right now, peter, there is no inclination that congress will be gaveled back to session to figure out this issue. however, what could occur, because they're in a pro forma session, if either side adopted the other side's bill under this pro forma session, using parliamentary procedure, they could pass it with something called unanimous consent. that would take you to speaker boehner to sign off on the democratic plan or speaker reid on the republican plan. what's this holding up here? a lot of things. number one, 4,000 faa employees are furloughed as we speak. we're looking at possibly 70,000 construction jobs. those folks are out of work. those 200 projects are on hold. also, the government by the end of this could lose $1.1 billion. so far, leaders are holding firm to their side. listen to the back-and-forth between eric cantor and steny hoyer.
>> and again, i think it speaks to the fact that the senate hasn't done its job, and it is costing the federal government and the taxpayers money. the senate ought to return to washington, take up the bill and pass the house bill. we have done our work. >> republicans have refused to work with us to find common ground. >> reporter: and why is there a problem right now? peter, republicans in the temporary extension of this bill put in provisions that specifically affected rural airports, those in the states of harry reid, the majority leader from nevada, jay rockefeller, whose committee from west virginia sits on this issue. so, they believe that that's not necessarily fair, that it was partisan politics by the house. the chairman of the house transportation committee in the house says look, the government is subsidizing small airports at a huge tax and expense to taxpayers. we can't keep doing that my ho is by putting this in a temporary extension bill, it will make the congress fix the issue when we come back, but no
plans right now for congress to come back and do this. we confirm that president obama spoke to speaker boehner about this issue yesterday. the best chance for something to occur, i'm told from the house side, because they're not going to budge, it would be for the senate to allow the cuts for rural airports to go through this week. no inclination that will happen from the senate. stay with this conversation. point blank, are there any plans for democrats to return to the capitol? >> well, i'm here. i'm ready to go to work. i think this is just crazy at a time of high unemployment, we have tens of thousands of construction workers who had to leave their jobs, we have had thousands of faa employees furloughed. this is just nuts. and you know, i have to say, i think this is part of a pattern. we had a near government shutdown, then we had a near government default, and now we have an actual shutdown of the faa. this is governance by cat chrism and not the way to run a country and not a way to try to improve the economy.
so, whatever needs to happen, whatever needs to get done, we need to do and we need to put these people back to work. >> representative schiff, the republican argument, simply put, the senate could act here, they say. speaker john boehner said clearly in a statement, the only reason so many jobs are at stake, to use his language, "is senate democratic leaders chose to play politics rather than pass the house bill." so, what is, do you believe, the biggest obstacle right now for democrats? >> well, i don't buy that. basically, the house majority took the position that my way or the highway and sent the bill to the senate without reaching any agreement and then left town. what we ought to do is, frankly, in this near-term emergency, is we should pass a short-term clean extension. we've done that 20 mes in the last four years. there's no reason we can' do it a 21st and avoid these layoffs. then we can come back and hash out this rural airport issue or this labor issue that seems to be the sticking point between the house and senate, but it's
completely irresponsible if you can't work out those policy issues to hold up the faa and hold up the public and hold up these jobs. so -- >> an -- >> we don't even need to come back in to town, but i'm here, i'm happy to go to work, whatever's necessary. but let's at least get a clean extension done so we can reopen this agency and then we can figure out these policy questions that never should have held it up to begin with. >> representative, a short time before i came on set, i read this letter that you wrote to the airlines asking that they stop charging consumers the faa taxes and pocketing that money. now us airways, and i think it was delta, have said that they will refund ticket taxes. what else should we know about that? what is the status of that right now? >> well, this is what's so crazy, the government is losing hundreds of millions in revenue as long as thisshutdown goes on. we're going to lose $1 billion, so, what are we going to cut that out of pela grants to pay for this? that's just crazy. but what we're seeing is most of the airlines are pocketing this
additional fees they're charging customers that are supposed to be these fees and taxes. and you know, i have to say, it puts the light of the argument that the industry has often made, which is, if you lower taxes, we'll pass on those savings to the consumers. they haven't been doing it, and they're only starting to do it because we've been raising so much heck about it. >> finally, congressman, i guess the last thought would be, is having the president of the united states on your side a liability right now or an asset, given his now new sagging poll numbers? >> well,ou know, i think it's an asset. i'm sure it depends on what part of the country you're in, but you know, i think he was dealt a tough hand coming into office, and he's dealing now with a leadership in the house that's not ready or willing or able to govern, and i think that's tough. but i think the public, when they'll look at the disputes we've had between the white house and the house majority and the tea party-led caucus has pretty much sided with the president. >> congressman adam schiff of california in the nation's capital today. we appreciate your time.
thanyou. >> thank you. another topic today, will casey anthony be able to continue her undercover life or have to return to orlando, florida, to serve out her probation? our legal analysts are going to weigh in on this. that, by the way, is coming up in just ten minutes. also today, a frantic rescue caught on tape in newport beach, california. did you see this video? a teenage boy was buried alive beneath tons of sand. his name is matt minna. he's 17 years old. he was digging tunnelsn the beach alongside some buddies when the sand simply collapsed right on top of him, trapping him five feet below the surface. that's the moment when they finally got to him. it took 30 minutes for dozens of rescuers to get there. matt told the "today" show that he is just fortunate that he's alive. >> i was kind of fading in and out, because i was kind of unconscious underneath the sand, and then i was just surprised i was actually being pulled out. like, i thought i was going to die. >> the guy at the left of matt, he was joined by that surfing journalist. that's the guy who caught this
whole thing on camera as it took place. you've seen this for yourself. it is certainly not letting up. excessive heat warnings now in effect across the south in more than a dozen states. records that have been held for more than a century, literally scorched, just shatred. little rock, arkansas, beat its all-time record wednesday, reaching a suffocating 114 degrees. the sweltering heat is taking a huge toll on firefighters who are trying to battle wildfires inklahoma as well as other places. texas saw a third straight day of record electricity usage. officials the say they may have to start rolling blackouts that california is familiar with. and phoenix endured another triple-digit day with the threat of yet another dust storm. we want to go live to phoenix now, where the overnight low, and i just checked on this, was 89 degrees last night! nbc's lee cowan is there right now, fortunately in the same shirt he's been in today. i'm trusting you're hiding in the shade between live shots, because it's a hot one again.
>> it's going to be another hot one, although, you know, a bit of a cooling trend, if you can call this a cooling trend. the high yesterday was predicted to be 115. today it's only 111, so -- >> it's a cool-off. >> reporter: to put this all in some sort of perspective. but you know what it's like out here. people are used to the heat out here in the desert, but even here it's getting excessive, so much so that arizona is under excessive heat warnings, as well as at least a dozen other states today as the nation's heat wave enters a second deadly month. it's been on the football field, where the heat is taking its most obvious toll of late. they're practicing now before sunup in georgia after a teen collapsed on the field this week and later died. >> this is serious stuff, and i'm glad the coaches are taking the necessary steps of taking care of the safety of the kids. >> reporter: across the country, dozens of lives have been claimed by temperatures that have been hovering in the triple digits for weeks now, putting record-breaking strains on the nation's electric power grids. in texas, wichita falls has had 43 days in a row of temps over
the century mark. in dallas, it's been 33 straight days, and there's no end in sight. >> it feels like the worst one so far. i've been here 15 years. >> reporter: in little rock, arkansas, the high hit 114 degrees. it hasn't been that hot ever, at least not in the last 132 years of recorded history. and at this atlanta train station, a man was so exhausted from the heat, he fainted right on to the tracks, only to be saved by a good samaritan. >> felt like a little dizzy spell, and my legs got a little jiggly. >> reporter: livestock are suffering, too. the worst drought since the 1950s has left them little to eat. ranchers are selling herds off early to soften the blow. >> it's already a $9 billion disaster. crops are just dying in the fields, on the vines. there's nothing growing. >> reporter: no rain, no cool fronts, not an inch of relief. at the phoenix zoo, it's expected to be so hot today, the ostriches, who normally thrive on desert temperatures, are going to be hosed off again. >> just like humans.
you can definitely tell when an animal is dehydrated or starting to suffer the effects of heat exhaustion. >> reporter: whether you're a wart hog, an orangutan, or just a work-a-day joe, this summer is something to sweat. >> reporter: yesterday, peter, almost 150 different cities broke their high temperature records. it looks like we're going to see those kind of numbers again today. as for the future, it looks like there might be a bit of a cooling trend starting at the beginning of next week, but some of those hardest hit areas like oklahoma and texas, they're still going to be in the triple digits, it looks like, so not a lot of relief there. >> yeah, lee that was not a comment about personal hygiene. i know well, i bring like three shirts out at live shots. it's not about you, it's about me. i just want to make that clear. you look good. thanks, bud. stay dry. appreciate it. tropical storm emily is taking aim at haiti and the dominican republic right now. it is expected to reach the u.s. this weekend. we want to get right to the weather channel's eric fisher. he's been following this, watching the storm's track right now. what's the latest? what do we have a sense of what it might do?
well, good morning, peter. the bottom line with this storm is it doesn't really know what it wants to do. it's not very organized. tropical storm emily has been drifting westward and we've seen flare-ups of thunderstorms and they dissipate and flare back up again. right now, 50-mile-per-hour winds. the stationary movement. that's kind of at the time of the advisory, a stationary movement just slowly drifting westward. the pressure is at 1,005 millibars. here are the first visible shots of the day. you can see the cluster of thunderstorms with the center right about in here as it slowly works its way west, and it doesn't look impressive, but sometimes you don't need that perfect-looking hurricane or tropical storm to create a high-impact event. some of that rain starting to come ashore across hispaniola, and we could see some big-time rain totals as this slowly works west and then begins to take a turn north over time. some of the reasons it's not really intensifying -- see that slice of orange? that's dry air in the atmosphere. storms don't like to see that. also notice some of the clouds moving up from the south here. they're moving off to the east.
steering currents aren't right. so the bottom line, it's really not going to strengthen into a major storm, but it will create up to 20 inches of rainfall across the higher terrain of his panela. that's where we have tropical storm warnings. also the southeastern bahamas, tropical storm watches here for the northwestern bahamas and eastern cuba is in that warning, too. so, if you're on vacation in the bahamas, this is certainly going to be a rain maker. and here is the forecast trek. slowly should start to churn off toward the north and west, weakening a little bit. might see some minor strengthening. it does appear they'll get picked up and moved out into the ocean as we get into the weekend, but folks on the eastern side of florida still need to watch this storm as we head through the next few days. >> we certainly hope that stays out to sea. eric fisher from the weather channel, thank you very much. we want to update you now on breaking news we're learning. we want to be cautious about what we tell you, so we'll stick to what we're learning from virginia tech police. this is happening on the campus of virginia tech, where police are now investigating reports of a man with a gun. this alert was sent out to the campus's students and staff shortly after 9:00 this morning,
informing them of the situation happening in that area. it was put on the website, also sent to students, telling them to stay inside their buildings. what we can say, most importantly right now, is that nobody is detained, there are no injuries. this investigation continues. again, a haunting scene that we're hearing about happening at virginia tech right now with reports of a man on campus with a gun. we will keep you up to date right here live on msnbc. shoppg and i saw another store's ad for these crayons at a lower price. no problem -- i can match that right here. oops -- i don't have the ad. you don't need it. oh, what about a coupon for these pens? yeah. easy. what if i saw an ad for a special loyalty card price? done. can you spell "hobo" on this calculator? i can. o-eight-o-four. but upside down. nice. [ male announcer ] get low prices every day, on everything you need for back to school, like this graphing calculator, just $95. backed by our ad match guarantee. save money. live better. walmart. yes! ha ha! [ clicking ] ♪ what happened?
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we're back now live on msnbc. obviously, a tough economy is putting a lot of pressure on treasury secretary tim geithner to stay. "the new york times" reports he is expected to stay on until 2012, after intense pressure coming from, where else, the white house. geithner has not yet given notice either way. and at midnight, congressman
david wu's resignation officially became official. he left office amid allegations of sexual assault. in a statement, wu called serving in the congress the greatest honor of his life. sarah palin is free and clear. ethics charges against her have been dismissed. in june, a dallas woman filed a complaint alleging that the palin reality series took advantage of state incentives that palin signed in to law when she was still governor there. and jon huntsman making a musical campaign stop in new hampshire. who likes peanuts? he tickled the ivories in an effort to get people to remember his name. ♪ >> for president. >> who? >> jon huntsman. >> i heard about you this morning, as a matter of fact. >> i hope it was good. >> well, it was just a small tweet, if you will. >> okay, well, then -- >> i do know there's competition between you and romney. >> well, we're all candidates, right? >> i know that. >> we're all candidates.
>> i heard about you this morning. problematic when he got into the race two months ago. casey anthony can continue her undercover life, at least for now, after a judge ruled she does not have to immediately return to florida to start serving her probation. that would have been for check fraud. a hearing on her probation has been set for tomorrow. anthony has been out of the public eye since she was acquitted. that, of course, was last month. for the killing of her 2-year-old daughter, caylee. joining us now is defense attorney and former prosecutor karen desoto, also john cue kelly, former prosecutor and civil attorney. thank you for being here. john, let's start with you. >> sure. >> this is a little odd, so i want to understand it clearly. stan psychiatrstricklin is the issued her to return to florida to face this. he then recuses and judge belvin perry has taken over. he's now supposed to agree with strickland? is that a foregone conclusion? >> no, it's on for emergency
hearing and presentencing tomorrow. judge strickland dropped the ball. there was an opportunity between the misdemeanor convictions of casey anthony and her sentencing, in between the sentencing and release, say hey, once she's released, she's got to serve out the year's probation i sentenced her to originally, but now he's recused himself, dumped it in judge perry's lap, and i think perry has to decide whether the public interest is the greater interest right now. they don't want casey anthony back there. they don't want the nuisance, the aggravation, the expense, the burden. and it's quite likely just on the erring on the side of the public interest. he'll recess and discharge her for probation. >> so, if this was not casey anthony, not the woman on the front of every glossy magazine you've seen over the last several months, not to mention tabloid tv shows and other places, as well, with every small detail, would we still be talking about this in the same way? and perhaps more significantly, would she still be forced to come back for this probation and not have had time served for the three years she spent behind bars? >> well, peter, john and i could probably tell you tons of stories about very strange cases
where some clients you have that are very lenient and other ones the judges don't seem to like them and throw the book at them. here, casey anthony was sentenced to 112 days for the check fraud. so, that was not consecutive with the sentencing she got for after the murder trial, those misdemeanors that she had. so, it's very strange the way that it happened. probably what should have happened, that one-year probation period was served while she was in prison on trial. so, now the question is, is whether she served that one year of probation while in prison, which is very strange. i don't know why a probation department would put somebody on probation while they're in prison. >> simply to you, john, is she being treated the same way others would be treated in this, given the controversy that surrounds her or is this different because it's casey anthony? >> it's different because it's casey anthony. as i said, the burden, the expense, the aggravation that goes with it, and i think judge perry will say let's stick a fork in her, let's get rid of her, it's not worth it to
orlando. >> you talk about worth it. the cost of this could be prohibitive, not just for her, for her own security, but for them in that area, the state that can ill afford something like this. who picks up the cost when casey anthony, if she has to, returns back to orlando? >> well, the taxpayers. you know, even -- she was found guilty on misdemeanors, which are only $10,000 to $100,000, even if you did want to give her a fine, but that begs the question, peter, that in the beginning, if the prosecutor had an opportunity to at least make her an offer for manslaughter, obviously, in this case, the grandparents and parents of casey anthony are also the victims, so there probably could have been a deal worked out from the beginning. probably could have saved millions of dollars. >> john and karen, appreciate it. this is probably not the last we've heard of what's her name, that's right, casey anthony. we want to update you on breaking news we're following right now, a report of a man with a gun on the blacksburg university campus, the virginia tech university campus in blacksburg, virginia. chris kitchen is with wuvt radio, and he's now joining us
by phone at the campus there. if you could give us a sense, chris, of what more information you know, the reports initially coming in shortly after 9:00, this being a white man, about 6 feet tall, carrying a gun outside of a residence hall? what more do we know? >> yes, sir, that's just about all we know right now. i'm getting information from the university. i'm in the radio station right now, so all i have is e-mail and text messages from people, but that's all i'm getting. that's basically what we have. >> are you on campus right now? >> yes, sir. i'm in the radio station on campus right now. >> we're looking at the screen that shows what was e-mailed around campus right now. we'll read it along with you. "person with a gun reported near dietrick." i think that is one of the residence halls there. it says clearly, "stay inside. secure doors. emergency personnel responding. call 911 for help." based on your being there on campus, given what happened so tragically in 2007 with the deaths of 33 people, what has
changed since that time in terms of precautions that exist in case a gun was on campus? >> well, everyone is definitely more alert in situations like this. we have very, very good alert systems. our police department is outstanding. and we put a lot of faith in them knowing that they're out there doing whatever they need to do to keep us safe. >> i want to go through some more of the information that we're getting directly from virginia tech and their alerts, for the people and family members of those on campus. again, this is still being investigated, but the reports to police are of a man with a weapon. the details specifically say he was walking in the direction of the volleyball courts wearing a blue and white striped shirt at the time, gray shorts and brown sandals. this man, apparently, has no facial hair or glasses. can i get a sense from you of how students are doing right now? if you've had a chance to speak to them either by e-mail or phone, how they're handling the situation, if there's a sense of
panic or concern or if they're mostly okay? >> i think that everyone's kind of -- it's stressful. a lot of people don't really know what's going on. people that i'm talking to right now are just regular students, and they don't -- they have just as much information as i do, so we don't really know what's going on. people are just a little bit nervous, and you do have to consider what happened in 2007. >> of course. >> but it is just kind of tension right now. >> chris, i remember i was actually sitting on this set when that took place four years ago, and i remember the police presence was gigantic as they quickly raced to the blacksburg campus to try to help in any way possible to try to find this gunman. can you give me a sense of the police presence on campus right now, what you've either seen with your own eyes or heard from the people you're speaking to? >> well, i can't personally see anything right now. i'm just in a radio station. >> wisely. >> but we, i'm assuming -- i mean, i'm positive that they're out there, i'm positive they're out there in full force right
now. >> all right, chris kitchen is with wuvt radio. he is in virginia at the virginia tech campus right now with the latest. again, the investigation of a report of a man carrying a weapon on campus who was last seen near a residence hall. we want to be cautious as we report this, but we'll keep you up to date. as we get more information, we'll bring it on to you. breathg intelligence that's helping people rethink how they live. ♪ in here, video games are not confined to screens. ♪ excuse me, hi. my grandfather lived in this village. [ woman speaking italian ] [ male announcer ] in here, everyone speaks the same language. ♪ in here, cars call mechanics before you do. ♪ [ radio chatter, siren wails ]
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again, the latest right now on some breaking news, just shy of 10:30 on the east coast. this is a look, as you can see, from a map of the blacksburg campus for virginia tech university, where police are presently investigating the report of a man with a gun at that site. the report came in shortly after 9:00 at the university of a white male about 6 feet tall with brown hair near one of the residence halls. it's known as new residence hall east there, holding what three young man thought was a handgun.
at this point, we don't know any more information except to say -- okay. you know what, we're getting new information in my ear as i speak. the alert on the virginia tech home page has now been removed. we're making calls behind the scenes now to ask what that means. our hope, of course, is this is over and there is nothing to worry about. we will keep you up to date with the latest, right now, this lockdown on the campus of virginia tech. here is a look at your headlines this half hour. meat giant cargill is recalling more than 36 million pounds of ground turkey. the usda linked it to one death in california, at least 76 other salmonella illnesses. but officials say even contaminated turkey is safe to eat if it's cooked and handled properly. two boys are recovering after a black bear attacked them at a northern new jersey ca campground. police say the bear actually grabbed one of the boys out of a tent. officials shot the bear, but it went back in to the woods. the boys, fortunately, not seriously hurt. the georgia mother convicted
in that jaywalking death of her 4-year-old son will opt to have a new trial. a jury found raquel nelson guilty of vehicular homicide. this was a bizarre story. after her son was killed by a hit-and-run driver. nelson made the decision for a new trialto clear her name, despite being offered probation. new york city mayor michael bloomberg is giving $30 million of his own money to a new citywide initiative. the three-year plan will provide educational as well as economic programs to young black and latino men. hedge fund manager george soros is matching mayor bloomberg's contribution with the rest of the $130 million coming from the city. and some sad news we learned late yesterday. former nfl star turned actor bubba smith has died. smith was 66 years old. smith won the 1971 super bowl with the baltimore colts, but you may know him better from his role as hightower. there he was, as the famed
hightower in all six "police academy" movies, steve guttenberg and the gang. no word yet how bubba smith died. again, we update you on the breaking news coming from the campus of virginia tech. we are learning more information even as we speak right now. i'm going to read my notes as we talk to you. at this point, federal officials are telling us they're waiting to hear if they are needed at virginia tech. they tell nbc news justice correspondent pete williams that there is no verification that there was actually a gun on campus. that is the good news at this point, that it hasn't been verified. one official says the three campers -- these were student campers on the university property who reported seeing this man with what they thought was a gun, thought it was a long-barreled gun with a shorthandle. but as the university has said, the man who supposedly carried it has not been found. for obvious reasons, this is a haunting story to report to you right now because it was just april of 2007 where so
tragically, 33 individuals were killed in what was and remains the deadliest shooting rampage in american history. as you look at this matchee map campus, the reports came outside of new residence hall east, where they seemed to have seen is man. he's described as a man who is white, roughly 6 feet tall. he had light brown hair. again, if you're just tuning in, this is information we're learning about an investigation on the campus of virginia tech in blacksburg, virginia, where police are investigating the report, a report that hasn't been verified, but the report of a man with a gun on campus right now. we're making calls across the board. obviously, one of the challenges in reporting this story is that a lot of the students that may have some sense of what's happening there, for good reason, are in lockdown and are staying inside, where we hope they are nowhere near harm, if there is any harm taking place on that campus right now. there is also some other reporting going on directly from
virginia tech, from one of their communications officials who is on the campus near the dining hall where those reports came. there are, she reports, this communications officer, lynn davis, reports many camps that take place on campus there, as they do in universities and colleges over the summer, camps for sports, for academics, up to 100 different camps, she says, in the summer. so, at this point, it's unclear. there is apparently a phone number that has been repord now for parents and those concerned to call the camp office that helps coordinate these camps. i trust that they are doing everything they can right now in an orderly way to keep those students safe, but if parents of children at virginia tech itself want to make a phone call, the number to use i'll give you right now. i'm told it's 540-231-3925.
again, that's 540-231-3925. we want to be cautious as we report this, again, because as my colleague pete williams has reported to us, right now there is still no verification that there was actually a gun on campus. and pete is now joining us right now with the latest on what he has learned. pete, can you give us any better understanding of what information you're learning from federal officials right now as they try to go about securing this campus and making sure that there is no real threat? >> well, so far, there is no federal involvement, peter. the federal agencies are standing by in case they're asked to come in by the local authorities. this is a local matter at this point, primarily in the hands of the campus police and the surrounding state and local agencies. but all there is is the report of these three campers, supposedly from the washington, d.c., area, who said they thought they say this man carrying a long-barreled gun with a short handle that has
been described in the university in its bulletin as a handgun. this would be a little different than that. but in any event, something that can be held in the hand, and that it was partially covered which adds to the mystery a bit. but there have been no reports of shots fired. the person who was described by these campers, none of the campus police or other authorities have been able to find yet. and that will be important just to find out, of course, whether the person really had a gun, and if not, what he was actually carrying that looked like a gun, if it wasn't. and there's -- >> pete, i want to ask you very simply, if i can, since you have covered so much in the aftermath of what happened in virginia tech in 2007, if you would explain for our audience what has changed, perhaps not specifically at virginia tech, but in how universities and college campuses deal with potential crises like these, as it relates to the university police and to federal officials as well. >> well, sure. and specifically at virginia tech, a lot has chand, because the virginia tech authorities were criticized for not getting
a warning out earlier in that incident after there were reports of shots fired or somebody with a gun on campus. the university has defended itself strongly, saying it did the right thing, but there was a report done by an independent commission that criticized the university for its slow response. association as soon as this report was received, the university immediately put out a campuswide alert and put buildings in lockdown to keep peek off campus. of course, to say the obvious, it is summertime, so there aren't as many people there as normally you would have during the regular academic year. there's still summer classes, but not as many people as you'd normally have. but the university is responding very quickly this time, taking no chances, not waiting for any verification, but as soon as they got this report, they immediately put it out. so, that's the biggest change, peter. >> having been there at that time, i do remember, i was anchoring, actually, on msnbc at that time, and there was so much confusion in the initial hours as this was taking place. confusion because people, a,
didn't know if this was actually happening, then they did realize something terrible was happening but didn't kw exactly what to do. the advice to anybody who is watching us right now at virginia tech, unless you hear otherwise from the university, of course, right now, is to stay in place, stay put in a secured environment as best you can. we will try to update you with the best information we can as we learn about it right now. and pete, as we speak about the situation there right now, a lot has been done when it comes to the potential of campus tragedies, when it comes to studts and others carrying weapons on campus. how has that debate changed in the years that have passed since 2007? >> well, that's right, there is an ironic change here that some campuses, some states have considered legislation that would permit students to carry weapons on campus as a way with potential future chosen ways -- >> this was highly controversial. >> absolutely, and some universities, some states have
believed it's the answer, but that's one of the strange fallouts, i guess you could say, of virginia tech, and that debate is still going on. but you know, coming back to virginia tech today, we're waiting for confirmation, we're waiting for the authorities to find this person. you know, fortunately, these campers that reported seeing a man with a gun were able to give a good description of what the man looked like, and it's rather distinctive, the kind of shirt he was wearing, the clothes he was wearing. so, once they see this person, they ought to be able to figure this out quickly, if they can find him. that's the problem. they don't even know if he's still on campus. >> so again, we want to update viewers that are just tuning in to our live breaking news coverage here on msnbc of what we're learning about an investigation taking place on the campus of virginia tech after reports of a man seen carrying a handgun. the reports initially came from three students on campus. they are campers there for some of the programs taking place during the summer, saying that they saw what they reported was
a long-barreled gun with a shorthand short handle. pete williams, my colleague, was talking a short while ago about the description of this man, who at this point may not be carrying a weapon. that's not verified right now, but the reports suggest this man was a white male, roughly 6 feet tall with light brown hair. and when the call came in at roughly 9:09 this morning on the blacksburg campus, this man was apparently seen near the new residence hall east. if you're not familiar with that campus, that probably doesn't help you a whole lot, but if you do know that campus, you'll be specifically familiar with that residence hall that's on campus. he was apparently seen walking in the direction, for those who are watching us from campus right now, of the volleyball courts. he was said to be wearing a blue and white striped shirt. the stripes, as described to us by virginia tech, were vertical. he had gray shorts and brown sandals. the subject, as it is described, had no facial hair or glasses. again, pete williams is joining me right now, and pete's
reporting that federal officials are still waiting to hear if they're needed at virginia tech. and pete, obviously, it's this time that is so critical, if this turns out to be a real situation where a man has a weapon, especially given the lessons of four years ago. >> right, and we should say that all of this is based simply on the eyewitness account of these three campers. now, it's interesting that all three reported seeing this. it's not just a single person. on the other hand, they were together, so who knows what reinforcement there was before they talked to the police. in any event, there have been any reports of shots being fired, and police say they haven't found anyone else in the area who reported seeing this man. so, that's part of what they're all trying to clear up here. >> if parents are tuning in right now, loved ones of some of those students and campers, even the staff on the campus of virginia tech right now, we want to give you a phone number that is being shared right now. a lot of parents who have kids there were likely calling in to get information ourselves, are
trying to reach out and learn what more they can learn. you may have the number, but here it is to make it easy for you. it's 540-231-3925. again, that's 540-231-3925. we're going to leave it up on that screen as well. this is the number at virginia tech for camp parents. if you've had a chance to speak to your child and you know they're safe, we encourage you not to flood that number with phone calls. but if you're concerned, of course, that's a way to reach out to them as well. again, reports right now of a man carrying a handgun, a gun on the campus of virginia tech. this is breaking news live on msnbc. again, it has not been verified yet, so we're cautious in our reporting it and we'll be back with the latest. i love that my daughter's part fish.
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welcome back to msnbc. i'm peter alexander. this is more of our live, breaking news coverage following the report of a man with a gun on the campus of virginia tech in blacksburg, virginia. we're going to keep you up to date on the latest details right now. and if you're just tuning in, what we know is this report came in shortly after 9:00 this morning of a 6-foot, white man. apparently, according to three students on campus for one of the summer programs, carrying what they believed was a gun, a
long-barreled gun, it was reported to have been, with a short handle, according to the first reports. there is an alert on the university's website. that was put out just over an hour ago at 9:37 a.m. it is telling students, and for the moment, this remains the message to students and employees on campus, to stay inside and to secure their doors. of course, this all happens against the backdrop of what happened four years ago at virginia tech, where a student killed 32 others and then himself. this alert said that the gunman today, or the suspected gunman -- again, it has not been verified by federal officials or by campus police -- that this was reported taking place near dietrick hall. if you're familiar with virginia tech, this is a three-story dining hall on site, just steps away from the dorm where the first shootings took place back in 2007, when those awful attacks took place. we've been in contact with authorities in that area and we
understand that police from the campus of virginia tech, from blacksburg itself, as well as christiansburg, which is right nearby, are presently searching for this man, as well as, we are now learning, the sheriff's deputies from montgomery county, virginia, who are involved in this search right now as well. i talked with pete williams, who covers the justice department, joining me right now. and pete, i know you're trying to work the phones while you stay on live with us, which poses a challenge during breaking news like this. but the most important thing to note, perhaps, is nothing has been verified, there is no confirmation of a man with a gun, but most significantly -- oh, he's on the phone right now getting information. good, we'll let pete do that. the most important thing i want to say, then, right now, is there is no confirmation yet that there has been an identification of a man with a gun, just what three students identified. they believe to have seen a man with a gun. the fact that three people share the same story does, obviously, make this a very credible threat
right now. we can give you some more details, especially given the fact that a lot of people are tuning in live to msnbc right now and they want more details about what to look out for on that campus. they say that this weapon was apparently covered by cloth or some sort of covering that this man, again, a white male, 6 feet tall with light brown hair, was seen walking quickly, as it was described by the virginia tech alert system, in the direction of the volleyball courts on campus, that he was wearing -- and the description is very clear -- that he was wearing a blue and white striped shirt, that these stripes were vertical, as it was described. he had gray shorts on, sandals, they were brown sandals, and appeared, at least according to what we're hear from virginia tech, that the subject, the man in this situation, had no facial hair or glasses. again, all of this taking place at virginia tech right now, as the reports continue to come to us with new details. we are happy to report right now that there are no reports of
injuries, again. also, we should make acknowledgement, that there are no reports that anyone has been detained at this point. police will only say to us right now that they are continuing their investigation. the nbc affiliate in nearby roanoke is wsls, and they have crews on their way to this scene right now. obviously, given the fact that we are in the early months of august, campus has not returned for the fall, the beginning of the school year this fall. the students on campus are largely campers who are part of what exists at universities across the country during the summer months. they are part of academic programs, they are a part of sports programs. and there is also a phone number that parents have been given who are a part of this, who have loved ones there or kids there. that phone number the parents have, but again, we're going to give it to you. it's 540-231-3925. now for the first time, we are getting i think what you can
call live pictures from the campus of virginia tech, directly from their website. clearly, what you see is no activity on the campus, which is an obvious reminder to us that this is a campus in lockdown right now, wisely. the students and staff have been alerted to stay inside, to find a secure location. but again, this is looking at the campus, the blacksburg, virginia, campus of virginia tech right now. again, my colleague pete williams just off the phone with some of his contacts, is joining us. and pete, feel free to fill in any holes we're missing, if the conversations you've had with federal officials. i think the most important one we want to remind our audience is at this point, there is no verification, in fact, of any man carrying a gun, just the report of three campers who say they saw this man with a weapon. >> right, and no reports of shots fired. so, what's happening here is that you're seeing the police move around the campus, but as the head of the communications department or the communications
official at the university said everything has come to a halt while they try to find out, if they can find this person. so, we're all waiting for that, peter. that's really what's happening here. the campus police and the surrounding areas, jurisdictions, have all come to the campus to see if they can find the person that these three campers described. and until they do, i don't think anything's going to happen. now, if the search goes on for hours and they never find this person, then the university's going to have to decide whether to live this lockdown. and of course, their own procedures -- you see a police car going across there now. that seems to be about the only traffic that's moving on campus right now. the police will ultimately have to decide, or the campus authorities will have to decide if nothing comes of this or they never see this person, at what point do they lift the lockdown notice? and i'm sure they have procedures for that. i just don't know specifically how they make that decision, but
they have a committee that comes together to decide these things. they'll be guided by the campus police. they'll be guided by the local authorities on what to do. >> adding to that, pete, right now, as we see another car come by in one of the lockdown security cameras that we're accessing from the web right now, and this may give some indication of the status. we are hearing from our affiliate in roanoke is there is now a news conference scheduled at 11:00, which is just nine minutes from now, in front of burruss hall, which i believe is right there on campus. for the first time in that shot, you can see a couple people walking across. there is one person walking, another person on a bicycle. it's unclear if that means that the lockdown is over or if that means these students and staff have not been warned that there is a lockdown in place right now. but there is, again, we should tell you, within the next ten minutes, a news conference that will take place at burruss hall. campus police will be speaking to authorities.
we have crews on the scene and we'll bring you more information live as that happens. officials, we're told, will provide what they've described as a simple press briefing in front of burruss hall when that takes place. as we noted just a short time ago, this is significant for a variety of reasons, not the least of which is that this campus was hauntingly the site of those awful attacks, or that attack four years ago, but perhaps if there is any benefit, it is that because it is summer, there are not nearly as many people on campus right now. we'll try to get those shots back up to you, as it goes to black. we, again, are going to take a short break. we will be back after that break, give us a moment to regroup, make phone calls to folks on campus to make sure we have all the information we can deliver to you. we'll keep an eye on the markets today as well. another breaking news we're following, that shot on screen. you can see the dow jones already down more than 230 points today. it has been down for nearly two weeks straight. all of that breaking news, again, live here on msnbc after we take a short break. [ male announcer ] this is coach parker...
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good morning, everybody. i'm thomas roberts. breaking news right now on msnbc. police are investigating a man with a gun on the virginia tech campus. that's the site, as you'll all remember, of the 2007 deadly mass shooting. now, the campus alert is telling students and employees to stay inside and to lock their doors. my colleague, peter alexander, has been covering this from the very beginning over the last hour. he's going to stay in studio and join me as we continue to watch what's taking place here. peter, as you were reporting early this morning, you got the first breaking news that there was a facebook update from virginia tech. bring us up to speed about how this all went down. >> we want to give you an update on that. let me start with breaking news we're just now learning, and we're in contact with the local medical center and hospital center in blacksburg, virginia, only a short distance away from the campus. we are told, although again, it is important to note, there is no verification of any actual gunman on campus, just a report that was provided by three young campers on the campus right now, as again, we put up on the
screen the live web cam provided by virginia tech right now. those off-campus medical centers are presently on alert. they tell us they are in communication with blacksburg, virginia, police. they are not giving us any more information at this point. but this all began shortly after 9:00 this morning, when three of these young campers, as we were describing, were on campus right now for one of the summer camp programs that exists at the university, reported seeing a white man, roughly 6 feet tall. they say he had light brown hair. outside what's called new residence hall east. this is also near dietrick hall, which is one of the dining halls on campus. that's a name that's likely unfamiliar to you, but it's significant because that's just steps away from the dorm where the shootings took place in 2007, where that gunman killed 32 people and then killed himself. federal officials, as our colleague pete williams is reporting, have not been able to confirm or to verify anybody
actually has a gun on campus presently, but the description, again, is coming from three separate individuals. it lends some credibility to this report right now. he was said to be walking in the direction of the campus volleyball courts, that he was -- and this is a very clear description -- that he was wearing a blue and white striped shirt, that the stripes were vertical, as well as gray shorts and brown sandals, that the subject had no facial hair or glasses. but right now, obviously, tom, as with past experience as our guide, and as you see on that campus shot right there, even beneath the bar, there is every so often you see someone walking through the shot. >> right. >> so, either they're unaware that there is a lockdown on campus, which is very possible right now. this was sent through the e-mail alert system as well as through facebook, or this lockdown may be winding down right now. only minutes from now, we hope to hear from police and university officials at campus for the first time. >> and just to remind our viewers, that is a shot of the
virginia tech website, as peter was referencing, watching. we have some people biking by, people walking by. this is a shot of dietrick hall. this is where the gunman was first reported as walking by. it's this almost 100,000-square-foot mega building there on the campus of virginia tech. let's bring in pete williams, nbc's justice correspondent in washington, d.c. pete, what are your sources telling you? >> reporter: what they're telling me, and i just heard from yet another federal official, that there's still no kormsion that there was, in fact, somebody with a gun on campus. that's what everybody is waiting to find out. that's the simple question -- was there or was there not someone carrying a gun? undoubtedly, these three juveniles, these three campers that were on campus for the summer thought they saw something being carried by this man. so, the first question is to try to find the person that they described. they gave a very detailed description of him wearing a