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ANDERSON COOPER 360 DEGREES

Shooting at Oregon Mall

Aired December 11, 2012 - 20:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Ashleigh, thanks.

Good evening, everyone. We begin with the breaking news. The continuing breaking news. All the ingredients of another nightmare. Gunmen, according to some reports, wearing camouflage and body armor, a military-style rifle, shopping mall and casualties, at least one fatality.

We have had this nightmare before. You're looking at the latest tragic edition there. It's all unfolding in a mall outside of Portland, Oregon, right now. The Clackamas Town Center. These are live pictures you're looking at.

According to the "Portland Oregonian" the gunman appeared at around 3:30 local time, 6:30 Eastern Time. Let's listen to affiliate KOIN.

JEFF GIANOLA, ANCHOR, KOIN LOCAL 6: A man with an automatic rifle opened fire near the food court. They're only confirming one dead. They say there are some wounded. And they say that the shooter has been neutralized and the situation is calm now. And you heard Mario there, the worker, saying the SWAT team came in and they were clearing stores. The people that were hiding saying it's safe to come out. They escorted them out of the mall.

KELLEY DAY, ANCHOR, KOIN LOCAL 6: And Jeff, we've got someone else on the phone right now, who is inside the mall for this whole thing.

Meena, can you hear us?

MEENA, SHOOTING WITNESS: Yes, I can.

DAY: Meena, first of all, are you safe?

MEENA: I'm safe, thank you.

DAY: You're out of the mall now?

MEENA: Yes, definitely.

DAY: OK. Tell us what happened to you today in there.

MEENA: So I actually witnessed firsthand the gunman entering the scene. I was in the Macy's store shopping. And a slender, white man in black, wearing a hockey mask like a "Friday the 13th" kind of version of it, sort of white just plain faced hockey mask, came jogging through the Macy's, running toward the public area, and he was holding in full view an assault rifle.

And so he most likely entered through one of the back entrances of the Macy's and just in plain view ran through holding the weapon and once he entered the public area outside of Macy's, we heard gunshots and as everyone has said, there was just a flood of people, everyone ran towards the exits at that point to get out.

DAY: It just sounds like you are describing a horror film, to be perfectly honest with you.

MEENA: Yes. Yes. More than anything, it was very surreal. A lot of people saw him running through, and your first thought is, it must be something, a flash mob or something, that someone's going to get together and dance or do something lighthearted. And the --

DAY: Yes. This can't be real.

MEENA: Yes. Yes. And the last thing you think that it is, but he was carrying a real gun.

GIANOLA: Meena, the Clackamas County Sheriff's Office, they said they do want to hear from people like you. So it's important that you let them know what you saw as they try to piece this whole thing together.

Did you see anyone in that public area fall, fall to the ground after those shots were fired?

MEENA: No, I didn't see the shots fired. I saw him running by on his way to shoot the gun. And so it was -- it was obvious he wasn't intending to rob the store or anything. He just looked like he was heading toward a public area so that he could shoot.

DAY: And if he was jogging, it almost seems like maybe he was on a mission. He maybe knew who he was going to find. We don't know that. But we don't know if it's a random shooting or if he had intended victims in there. But I just cannot imagine what people in the store must have been doing.

I think if I was shopping and saw something like that, I would just look around and say -- I think I would just be confused more than anything.

MEENA: Yes. Yes, a lot of people looked at each other when he -- when he ran by. And it actually took a moment even after hearing the gunshots relatively nearby for someone to say, those are gunshots. And everyone to flood out of there. You just have a moment of trying to piece together what strange thing is happening.

DAY: Oh my gosh.

GIANOLA: As we're talking to Meena -- Meena, on our television screen we're showing all the police officers outside. We just saw a state police truck. And once again, I want to remind our viewers the governor issued a statement from Salem saying the state police are on the scene. Rich Evans, the head of the state police, is there. They have the full cooperation of local agencies. So the state police are on the scene. And look at the row of ambulances lined up.

DAY: Again, Jeff, I think the good news we have to report right now, even though two people have been shot, a gunman has been neutralized and one person is confirmed killed. We have rows and rows of ambulances parked outside of Clackamas Town Center. And right now it looks like they are not being used. So we're thankful for that, that we don't have stretchers of people being loaded out of that mall right now.

We don't know if there are any more victims. We do know that people are still being escorted out of the mall right now as we speak because after these shots were fired they went into nooks and crannies, wherever they could find, and they just basically hid and locked themselves in, locked themselves down.

Now the SWAT teams are going through the mall and clearing each little pocket of people out of the mall making sure the scene is safe and telling people to keep your head down and women and children first.

Can you imagine hearing that as you're walking out of a mall?

GIANOLA: Yes. If you do know the mall, we showed a picture from inside the mall, someone took of shattered glass on the banister near the Excalibur Gifts right there on the upper level. So that was some of the damage. And there it is right there. As you can see, the damage caused by some gunfire.

Our reporter Joel Iwanaga is standing by right now live.

Joel, information is starting to trickle in. What have you learned -- from on the scene?

JOEL IWANAGA, KOIN REPORTER: Well, the shoppers are now being escorted out. And the same thing, Jeff, over and over again, they describe it as sheer panic and terror, again being described by the shoppers who witnessed this horrific ordeal firsthand.

I want to give you a live look from our vantage point. We are at the north side of the mall. This is just outside that Macy's store where witnesses tell local KOIN Local 6 that is where the gunman entered the mall, through a rear entrance.

We do see a number of officers still arriving on scene. Literally dozen of ambulances here on scene. We do not know the number of victims. Detectives are confirming once again at least one death. The shooting happened at a time really during the holiday shopping season. It was crowded, as you can imagine.

The line for the Santa was extremely long. Life Flight, as you mentioned, en route right now with at least one patient in critical condition. We've spoken to a number of witnesses. Here is what one woman describes.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The shots were really loud and really scary. That's what it was. I mean, it was -- it was echoing all through the mall, so nobody knew where it was coming from at first. But it was echoing all through the mall.

IWANAGA: How many shots?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I heard three, and then when I saw people ran, I knew it wasn't just a joke. So I started running. That's all I heard was three and then that's when everybody started running.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

IWANAGA: Back to a live picture here outside the Clackamas Town Center. Dozen of ambulances, fire personnel, as well as SWAT tactical operation still here . But again, folks breathing a sigh of relief, knowing that the gunman has been, quote, "neutralized," according to the Clackamas County Sheriff's Office.

One witness tells KOIN Local 6 the gunman was wearing a hockey mask and walked in to the Macy's store with an assault rifle. You heard that woman. She thought it was some sort of a joke, but clearly this was no prank.

At this point, once again, a number of shoppers are being escorted out. We see a lot of traffic, vehicle traffic leaving the mall at this point. So again the situation seems to be calmed down right now, but again as you can imagine, Jeff and Kelley, a real tense situation. Again, sheer panic and terror here inside the Clackamas Town Center within the last several hours.

That's the very latest. We'll send it back to you guys in the studio.

DAY: Joel, thanks a lot, and again, we just want to reiterate that the woman we spoke to said that the man ran through Macy's dressed in black with that white "Friday the 13th" style Halloween looking hockey mask on. A very frightening scene. Holding an assault rifle, jogging through the Macy's to get to the public part of the mall. And that's when people started hearing that gunfire.

GIANOLA: Almost like he had a mission.

Nicole, are you standing by on the phone? Can you hear us, Nicole?

NICOLE, SHOOTING WITNESS: Yes, I can hear you.

GIANOLA: Nicole, what did you see? I know you were inside the mall.

NICOLE: I was inside the Justice store. And I was ringing up a transaction. And I just heard a whole bunch of gunshots. And I started seeing some of our lights pop out. And they were shutting off. And then we all just started running. And we had customers coming and running in from the mall into our store.

DAY: Oh my goodness.

GIANOLA: Did -- how close are you to the food court area where we hear the shooting occurred?

NICOLE: We're about five stores down.

GIANOLA: OK.

DAY: Nicole, did you see any of the victims? Did you see anyone who had been shot?

NICOLE: I did not see.

DAY: OK. We talked to a lot of people in your situation who were working there who did run to the back and kind of lock themselves in a safe area. Is that what some of the folks were doing in your store?

NICOLE: We did. We had about 20 people in there.

COOPER: There you hear what we know at this point. Some conflicting early reports and obviously at this point oftentimes there are conflicting early reports.

One witness there talking to KOIN saying that she saw the alleged gunman wearing what appeared to be a white hockey mask running through the Macy's store prior to his opening fire once he got outside the Macy's store in this mall, describing him as wearing black clothing.

Another published report in the "Oregonian" witness had said the gunman may have had some sort of body armor on and may have had camouflage clothing.

Just moments ago we heard from local authorities. Here's what Lt. James Rhodes had to say.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Do you have any idea what went on here, who this guy was?

LT. JAMES RHODES, CLACKAMAS COUNTY SHERIFF'S OFFICER: I don't have any details about identification, motive or anything of that nature.

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: You heard reports that he had an AR-15 rifle. Is that correct?

RHODES: There are reports he had a firearm and there's been a lot of reports, a lot of conflicting information, that's normal for this type of situation. So until I see it personally or get that verified, I can't confirm what the weapon was. (CROSSTALK)

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Is the shooter still alive?

RHODES: The shooter has been neutralized and I will -- I don't have the exact information on that. And I will give it to you as soon as I have it.

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Do you know how many officers are here right now inside and out?

RHODES: I don't have an estimate. I don't have an exact count. But there's probably -- there's county, multiple cities, state, federal law enforcement, so dozens and dozens and dozens of officers.

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Can you confirm what the shooter was wearing?

RHODES: I cannot. I will not -- I have no details to release about the shooter at this time.

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Are we talking about more than one person dead?

RHODES: There -- we believe there's at least one deceased and maybe more.

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Any idea how many shots were fired?

RHODES: No.

(CROSSTALK)

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: People have not heard from their family members maybe worried that they could be here or they could be hurt. What do you want them to know? What's your advice?

RHODES: Be patient. The event is calmed down at this point. There are people that you won't be able to reach until we get them out of the mall and get them to a phone. There will be people who are giving interviews and talking to police that you won't be able to reach. So be patient with us. We're trying to get everybody in contact with their loved ones as soon as possible. If they have questions or concerns they can come to the Clackamas County Sheriff's Office and we'll answer those questions as soon as we can.

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Can you walk us through at least the basics of how this began, what people saw and where he went?

RHODES: So -- of course, when these things happen, the initial call, lots of calls, lots of witnesses through 911. So we respond immediately to the scene, several officers close by. Lots of conflicting information about location, number of people and that type of stuff. We do our best to work through that, respond to what the witness reports say, what we hear and what we see and move as fast as we can to address and stop the situation. UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: So the first officers ran in to try to find him?

RHODES: Yes.

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Do you know whether he was methodical about this? Was he firing wildly?

RHODES: I don't have any of those details yet. I imagine as the investigation continues and we can view video surveillance, and that kind of stuff, we will get those answers, but as it stands now that's too soon to tell.

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Appreciate the sensitivity of using the word neutralize, but I think folks at home want to know, is this guy dead?

RHODES: Again, I will -- I will release that information as soon as I can verify it. But he has been neutralized.

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: There's only been one shooter?

RHODES: Again, we got lots of reports so there was conflicting reports that there were maybe more than one shooter. We know -- I can tell you that one of them has been neutralized. We are trying to confirm if there's any others or not. We don't have that information. We don't believe there are any other shooters, but we're going to be careful and we're going to search the whole mall and make sure the mall will be closed for the duration of this and that's it.

I will give another briefing at 5:30 with some more details to answer some of those questions for you.

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: There's a number of people lined up against the wall back there. Are those customers? Are they able to leave?

RHODES: I don't know. I don't know who they are. They may be witnesses that we need to talk to. Thank you again.

COOPER: He was saying there's going to be another press conference using 5:30 local time, that's of course 8:30 East Coast Time, just a little bit more than 15 minutes from now. And we of course will bring that to you live.

Again, at this point, two people confirmed were shot. They say one person confirmed killed. Unclear if that is the shooter himself. They said the shooter has been neutralized, that's as far as they'll go, that's the word they used, "neutralized."

One witness reported seeing the shooter running through Macy's store with what appeared to be a semiautomatic rifle. Another witness said it was an AR-15.

What began -- she described him as jogging through the store. When he got out of the store -- still inside the mall but in a sort of more open area, apparently according to this one eyewitness, that's when he began to open fire. Unclear how many shots were fired. One witness told the "Oregonian" paper as many as 60 shots were fired. Other witnesses said that they heard a dozen or more shots.

So, again there's always a lot of conflicting information on something this early right now. But again, the bottom line, the shooter, according to police, in their words has been neutralized.

Joining us right now is security consultant, a retired police officer, Lou Palumbo. He's director of the Elite Intelligence and Protection Group.

Clearly, the police want to make sure that there was not a second shooter involved and so we're taking this very carefully and going store by store in this mall.

LOU PALUMBO, FORMER POLICE OFFICER AND SECURITY EXPERT: Absolutely. What they do first is they create an area of containment perimeter and then literally start store by store to determine whether or not there was more than one active shooter.

COOPER: One of eyewitnesses who talked to a local affiliate said that they actually closed the doors and locked people in to the store, into the mall, not letting people out because they did not know where the shooter was, if there were multiple shooters, and they didn't want that person to escape.

PALUMBO: That's standard operating procedure. That's all part of -- it's a crime scene right now, Anderson, and it's a rather large one. That's kind of standard as what we would do. We'd lock it down and search store by store and try to identify each and every individual there and their legitimacy and basically proceed from there.

COOPER: It's got to be a complex thing because already we're hearing from different eyewitnesses, different accounts of what the person was wearing, one person says camouflage, one persons says body armor, one persons says black or white hockey mask. You have to sort through all of that.

PALUMBO: Yes. And the interesting is that if there were multiple shooters, for example, and one of the shooters suddenly decided to dispose of his disguise, so to speak, he could blend in with the crowd. It's an interesting case and it's certainly problematic. You have to realize they're going to go right to videotape so they'll be able to determine and capturing the tape in the mall perimeter, how they entered, and within the mall itself, how many shooters there were.

COOPER: Yes.

PALUMBO: So that's all part of this investigation going on right now.

COOPER: The -- according to a local affiliate, there had been as many as 10 ambulances on the scene and that they'd actually set up multiple triage areas, or what appeared to be triage areas. But again we don't have an account of how many people may have been injured.

Another deputy told -- unnamed deputy told "The Oregonian" that they had found a full magazine on the ground and that his belief was the gun may have jammed. But again we can't confirm that.

PALUMBO: Yes. And, you know, the most important component of this, is that as many as 60 shots were fired which would lend this -- lend us to the thought that this was a high capacity semiautomatic weapon of some type. Whether it was an AK-47 or it was an AR-15, which is a form of an M-16 that they use in the military, I don't want to say it's academic, but in a sense that it is.

The most important thing is that they try to pin down the number of shooters, the weapons involved, the victims, and if in fact, it was more than one shooter, whether they fled or they're attempting to flee by blending in with the background or the rest of the --

(CROSSTALK)

COOPER: The other question, of course, we figure out is motive for this, whether it was, you know, the kind of shootings of a disturbed person as we've seen before, if it was targeting -- a disgruntled worker targeting a store, or a former place of employment or something else.

PALUMBO: You know, taking into account the report where there were approximately 60 shots fired, I don't think that would lend itself to the fact that this was some type of retaliatory reaction towards an individual or a worker. You know, if you track what's going on the past five shootings that we've decided were noteworthy, for example, Virginia Tech, Gabrielle Gifford, Aurora, Wisconsin, and Texas A&M, probably what we're going to find here once again is someone who's mentally defective. And that addresses the question of how are they getting their hands on these weapons?

COOPER: Yes.

PALUMBO: And basically that's simply answered by there's a flaw in the system.

COOPER: We'll continue to follow it. Lou Palumbo, appreciate it.

Again, we're anticipating another press conference with more information about 12 minutes from now. So stay tuned for that.

And as we follow that, there is more breaking news tonight. Halfway around the world involving North Korea's missile programming. An alarming new missile test to tell you about. We have details on that. We'll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COOPER: Welcome back. We're waiting for a press conference on tonight's shooting outside of Portland, Oregon. We anticipate that about nine minutes from now. Eyewitness accounts are emerging. Some of them contradictory including this one from Holli Bautista. She is joining us now.

Holli, what did you hear? When did you realize something was going wrong?

HOLLI BAUTISTA, EYEWITNESS: You know, originally I had, you know, heard a couple of things that I thought sounded like firecrackers. And as soon as I realized what was going on there with people running and screaming, somebody's shooting, I was in the Macy's which opened into the food court area. You know, first instinct was obviously to head to an exit. But, you know, you could still hear gunshots, multiple, and you know, people and a pretty chaotic scene.

COOPER: How close were you to the food court? Because my understanding, according to the -- to one other eyewitness who was in the Macy's, she actually saw or says she saw the alleged shooter running through or jogging through the Macy's with his weapon visible, and it was only after he left the Macy's into, I guess, the food court area that he actually opened fire.

So how far away from the food court were you?

BAUTISTA: I was within feet. You know, I could visually see it. I really wasn't paying attention, I guess, to see somebody running through with a weapon. I was shopping for a dress for my daughter. So, you know, I didn't witness that. I did, although when I did turn around to hear gunshots, I didn't notice the shooter, I just see people ducking, though.

You know, that was the first thing that I had noticed. It was just something pretty terrifying. You know? And then the response -- there were children in the area, you know, running towards the exits.

The Macy's and multiple stores open directly into the food court area. So it's a very common, almost centralized place of the mall.

COOPER: Obviously it's incredibly distressing thing. And do you have any idea how many shots you may have heard being fired?

BAUTISTA: You know, at the beginning it was just a few. I -- honestly I don't recall.

COOPER: I understand.

BAUTISTA: Like I said, multiple. If I had to estimate, I would say I heard around -- I'd say around 10 total. When we were closer towards the exits there were so many people trying to get out on the side but just smaller doors. You know, you could hear that, but amongst that were, you know, people crying out in fear trying to get out.

COOPER: And were you able to leave? Or -- I know at one point the police actually closed the doors because they didn't want people leaving because they didn't know if there were maybe more than one shooter involved. Were you just able to leave? BAUTISTA: Originally no, I wasn't. And then as soon as we did get out the doors, it was within minutes they had all of the exits into the mall parking lot locked down, you know, they had a perimeter set up. So we were not able to leave in our vehicles. There was multiple agencies responding from multiple cities around the Portland metro area.

You know, at the point, the EMS, the ambulances, fire trucks came through, you know, our county incident response team is there. Now they have triage tents set up in different areas and they're finally allowing vehicles to evacuate. But at first, no. And there are still people that are locked down in the mall, but they're going through and sweeping now and, you know, getting -- step by step to get them out safely.

They're working very well together. To give credit to law enforcement, there is multiple people, you know, trying to help and respond to this incident at the same time.

COOPER: Do you have a sense of -- I mean, did you see any injuries? Did you -- you said there were multiple triage areas set up. I understand as many as three. Are they active? Are you aware?

BAUTISTA: They are active. Life Flight has responded and, you know, the Life Flight helicopters here only take patients to the two hospitals in our local area. They have left with patients. There are also ambulances backed up to one of the triage tents up front, outside of an REI store which is in the bottom of Macy's.

It is active. Everything around here is still active. I do know that there is, I believe, an incident tent set up on the other side of the mall. I am across the street now evacuated. So I'm unable to see up front, but I do know that, yes, there is a lot going on here.

COOPER: In a situation like this, obviously adrenaline starts pumping through you. Just one thing to see this on TV, Holli, it's another thing for you to have experienced this. What was it like? What was going through your mind?

BAUTISTA: You know, I'm terrified. It's scary. I think the first thing is you want to help people around you. When you get outside, you start thinking of, you know, family. I have a nephew that works inside of the mall. You know, that's where my mind goes to. But it was also, how do I get out of here and get out of here quickly, which is difficult when they're trying to maintain, you know, a scene so that they can handle what's going on.

Very scary. And you know, my thoughts and prayers are with anybody that's injured. I am thankful that I am safe, but, you know, my heart goes out to them and their family.

COOPER: Yes, and I certainly echo that and all of us here do.

Holli, I'm going to let you go. I appreciate you talking in such a controlled way. And I know this has been an extraordinarily difficult night for you. Thank you so much. BAUTISTA: Thank you.

COOPER: We're going to have more on the breaking story out of Oregon. What we know right now, two people believed to have been shot. One person killed. We do not know if that is the shooter. The police say that the shooter has been neutralized, that is their word, "neutralized." Many ambulances were on the scene and as you heard from Holli, multiple triage scenes set up that she said were active.

We're anticipating a press conference about four minutes from now. We're going to take a short break. We'll have the latest on the Clackamas Town Center mall shootings as soon as we get back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COOPER: Hey, welcome back. We are waiting momentarily to hear from local authorities on the deadly shooting at the Clackamas Town Center mall just outside Portland, Oregon. Now we've already heard from a number of witnesses, describing what they saw and also what they heard. What we do have confirmed right now is at least one person is dead. Police say the shooter is, quote, "neutralized." So we don't know if the one person dead is in fact the shooter.

Joining me is Lou Palumbo, the former police officer, currently director of the Elite Intelligence and Protection Group.

You've been noticing just the coordination among the various agencies involved here. It seems like there was a pretty big response pretty quickly.

LOU PALUMBO, FORMER POLICE OFFICER AND SECURITY EXPERT: Yes, there seemed to be a very well coordinated response based on the timeline that we're able to track. What we're finding today is that more and more of these agencies because of the type of incidents we're involved in collaborate in response.

What this young lady Holli Bautista alluded to multiple agencies, that's what part of what we call mutual aid. It's becoming more and more common in law enforcement today. I'm pretty sure that by the time this thing really got rolling, we probably had the FBI on the property also because there's always that concern of potential terrorism, other agencies, bomb squads, possibly ATF.

COOPER: At 3:29 local time this afternoon is when the calls started to come in or when the shooting, we believe began, 6:29 East Coast time. We heard from an eye witness earlier talking to a local affiliate who said she actually witnessed the alleged shooter what she described as jogging through the Macy's.

She believed he may have entered through a back way through Macy's and jogged past her with what seemed to be a semiautomatic rifle, AR-15, then opened fire. Once he left the Macy's in the food court area, which many stores apparently open into.

Again, a lot of people were, sadly, in a position to see and hear this nightmare unfold. We're starting to get more and more eyewitnesses here. I want to bring in Christina Fisher. She spoke with local affiliate, KOIN. Let's listen.

CHRISTINA FISHER, EYEWITNESS (via telephone): I was walking on the lower level heading from the west end toward the east end of the mall under the food court. All of a sudden I heard something similar to a .22 popping probably eight times. And people dropping everywhere, people screaming.

Then people just turned and started running in terror. People were dropping their kids. It was chaos for a few minutes. But people were really cooperative after the initial shock. Everyone was helping handicapped and people with small children, everyone cooperated, really well as everybody just ran towards Sears.

And they came through and they were going to let us out, then by the time we got to the outside doors, they locked us in. So they just said we don't know where the shooter is and we're on lockdown.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Christina, you said you were locked inside the mall?

FISHER: Yes, they locked us inside Sears.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: So is that where you are right now?

FISHER: No, no. We've been let out.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: OK.

FISHER: The Clackamas County sheriffs that was -- they lined the hall with sheriffs and the several that spoke to us said that the situation is well under control and that the shooter has been disabled. So there was no reason to have fear as far as they know is what they told us. Try to stay alert.

Of course, your adrenaline is pumping. There were some people who were crying and there were children who were crying, scared and confused. And there was a -- you know, a few elderly people that weren't very mobile that were very upset.

So you know everybody was trying to help each other. We were told to stay in a group at the top of the escalators and stay away from windows in the middle of the building. We stood there for probably I would say a good 20 minutes to a half hour.

Then all of a sudden somebody came running through with a radio yelling get down. So a lot of people just stood there, some got down. The ones that I considered survivalists ran. I personally ducked inside a tool chest.

We ran and the rumor was that he had been running between stores and then the next thing we know a sheriff came into the building and said everything was OK.

COOPER: Obviously a lot of rumors, a lot of speculation early on. We're still trying to figure out what exactly occurred here. It looks like we're about to hear from Clackamas County Sheriff's Department. We heard from them about 20 minutes ago. Let's listen in.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Sergeant James Rhodes.

LT. JAMES RHODES, CLACKAMAS COUNTY SHERIFF'S OFFICE: Thank you. At this time, the mall remains closed and we continue to search the mall methodically and carefully looking for anybody else who might be injured.

There are several employees and patrons of the mall who have secured themselves or hidden in various rooms and carefully one at a time we're approaching those people gathering and escorting them out of the mall.

I can confirm that we believe at this point that there was one and only one shooter involved and that shooter is deceased. In addition to that, we have at least one patient who was taken from the mall with a traumatic injury and at least two that were deceased in addition to the shooter.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: At least two what?

RHODES: Two dead in addition to the shooter.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Two dead --

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Did the officer take his own life or did officers --

RHODES: I'm not ready -- I'm not prepared to answer that question yet. I'm trying to protect some of the investigation at this point because we want to be certain that we do everything we can to confirm that there's just the one and that we haven't missed anything and so forth. Protecting that information is important.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Can you tell us what he was wearing? We're hearing about a mask.

RHODES: Some of the information that I will not release is specifics as to age of the shooter or what they were wearing, the nature of the firearm and those types of things we need to protect at this point until we're certain we've gathered all the evidence and make sure that this is --

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Can you tell us a man or woman?

RHODES: It's male.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Besides the one traumatic injury, are there any other serious injuries?

RHODES: At this time, we have just the one injury.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: That's the life flight --

RHODES: They went by ground initially to a trauma institute.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So just one injured in total and not --

RHODES: As it stands right now, one injured that was transported, two dead and the shooter dead.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: How are you continuing the investigation inside?

RHODES: So right now our focus is we have nearly a hundred officers here from city, state, federal, local law enforcement and teams carefully searching the mall for anybody else who might be injured, anybody else who has hidden in there and we will search this entire mall until wee certain that it's secure and everybody has been removed.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: How many people are still inside?

RHODES: It's hard to tell at this point. We've already evacuated hundreds of people. There are probably less than that remaining in there. But until we search it all, I can't give you a number.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: At what time was this shooter neutralized, as you said? Either shot himself or you killed him.

RHODES: I don't have a specific time, but obviously after our arrival. We started receiving calls at 3:30, multiple 911 calls. We responded quickly. We developed small teams of officers who immediately enter the mall and try to find and locate the shooting suspect and those types of things.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Where in the mall, what stores or --

RHODES: I'm not going to reveal that detail at this time. Where it began specifically in the mall is unclear. There was multiple people, multiple witness accounts coming from inside the mall and various stores inside the mall.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What can you tell us about the people who died, store employees?

RHODES: I don't know.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Can you tell us their ages?

RHODES: I'm not going to release any of those details. I'm sorry, say again?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Do you know what entrance he used?

RHODES: I don't. Details about motive, method, that type of thing, I don't have that information at this time.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Do you know how many shots fired?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Transition right now to some other information we need to get out about witnesses and family members. RHODES: If you are a witness to this event, we're interested in your information. So please contact the Clackamas County Sheriff's Office. You can either come directly to the sheriff's office or you can call our non-emergency dispatch number at 503-655-8211.

I understand there are probably many people concerned about family, friends and loved ones. Be patient because the number of people that are here have overwhelmed the cell phone system so it's difficult to call even if they have a signal.

Additionally, there are many people inside the mall that don't have access to a signal so be patient. As we carefully get to these folks, we will escort them out and make sure they're in touch with you.

If they're not released directly from the mall, we'll transport them to the Clackamas County Sheriff's Office and you can contact us and we'll put you in touch with your loved ones there.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Can you tell us anything about the gun?

RHODES: I can't talk specifics about the gun. But if you want to follow this incident, you can also follow us on our Twitter feed, which is @clackcosheriff. You can follow this information on www.flashalert.net.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: How many officers are still here?

RHODES: There's nearly a hundred officers still here.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Have you recovered the weapon?

RHODES: We've recovered a weapon, but again until we search the entire mall --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Where did you find the shooter's body?

RHODES: More details later. My next briefing will be at 6:30 here.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Where did you find the shooter's body?

RHODES: That's all for now. Thank you.

COOPER: Clearly not wanting -- understandable not wanting to give out too many details. The bottom line the shooter is dead, will not say whether the shooter took his own life or was killed by officers or somebody else.

There had been an unconfirmed report that the shooter had taken his own life. That was in the "Oregonian." But again, we cannot confirm that nor would the sheriff at this point.

One person was taken away in an ambulance with a traumatic injury and two victims are dead. So three people dead total, one of whom is the shooter, two victims dead and one person with a traumatic injury. As many as a hundred officer still on the scene and they're still searching the mall. We're back with Lou Palumbo and also on the phone is an eyewitness, Kyra Rowland. Kyra, where were you when the shooting began?

KYRA ROWLAND, EYEWITNESS (via telephone): I was in Macy's and I was right by the perfume department. You don't know the setup of Macy's, but the perfume department is about 20 to 25 feet away from the opening of Macy's inside the mall.

COOPER: So when did you realize something wrong was going on?

ROWLAND: When there was -- after two shots were fired and after everybody started to hit the ground is when I knew something was very wrong.

COOPER: Did you see the shooter at any point?

ROWLAND: No, I did not see the shooter. After the shots were fired, I have a baby -- I have a 6-month-old baby and he was in my arms while I was looking at the -- and two shots were fire and everybody just kind of looked around, was confused.

And then more shots were fired, about five to seven. And everybody started to hit the ground. And I started to get on the ground, but then everybody -- there were more shots then.

And so I threw my baby into the stroller and just started running because everybody was screaming and everybody just started to run, and then I finally got out of the mall, and I had forgotten where I parked.

So I was just standing out there kind of just oblivious. And somebody said I needed to run because the guy's still, you know, out at large and he could be any one of us. So some lady picked me up and drove me across the street.

I come home and I turn on the news and I find out that the gunman was right outside of Macy's and headed towards me and my baby basically. After his rifle had jammed, he came right into Macy's.

And I just -- I think if I hadn't stopped to sit and -- if I hadn't stopped to smell that perfume that maybe me and my baby wouldn't be here today.

COOPER: Kyra, I understand, you are obviously incredibly upset. You said that his gun jammed. Where did you get that information?

ROWLAND: That was on the news. That his rounds --

COOPER: Right.

ROWLAND: -- he had pointed it at a woman and then his gun had jammed.

COOPER: We'll just point out that that's an unconfirmed report at this point. There had been some reports about that. How are you holding up, Kyra?

ROWLAND: I'm OK. Every time I talk about it I just kind of relive it again. And it's very terrifying. And I just -- I'm just thinking, you know, in hindsight how lucky I am. And I know we have an angel with us today because I was so close, we were so close.

COOPER: Do you have any idea how many shots you heard, Kyra, total? You talk about two shots, then five to seven.

ROWLAND: About 20 to 25.

COOPER: About 20 to 25. Listen, Kyra, I can't imagine what this has been like for you. I wish you the best. I'm so glad you got out safe with your baby. Thank you so much.

COOPER: Thank you so much.

COOPER: Kyra Rowland, one of the people in the Macy's at the time as the shooting began. Again one person injured with a traumatic injury according to the sheriffs, two victims dead, and the third person who died is the shooter.

Unclear whether the shooter took his own life or whether he was shot by law enforcement or by somebody else. That's the sad and bottom line at Clackamas County in Oregon, tonight.

At this point, Lou, 100 law enforcement still on the scene. They are still searching very carefully through this mall to find any other weapon that may have been involved, any other shooter that may have been there.

PALUMBO: They're performing a number of tasks as well as a search. They've got to go out, believe it or not, and pick up every empty casing, identify where every round ended up or landed, in a mall, attempt to retrieve them.

They're at the same time running the serial number on this weapon. They're creating a profile of the shooter. The interesting thing is the sergeant during the press conference used the word "they're" referring to more than one.

I don't know if that was just a slip. They may have been thinking there is more than one shooter. I find that a little difficult. Normally shootings like this type. It's usually one deranged individual.

The exception to that is Columbine, the trench coat mafia, there were two young men. But as a rule, that's an individual who has left the world of reality and has decided this is something they need to do.

COOPER: Still information gathering at this point, Lou. I appreciate your expertise. There's breaking news halfway around the world involving North Korea's missile program, an alarming new launch to tell you about. We have details on that next. We'll be right back. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COOPER: Breaking news now with global implications. Nuclear capable North Korea has just tested another missile. Details now -- we're going talk to Paula Hancocks shortly who is going to join us from Seoul, South Korea.

On the phone is Pentagon correspondent Barbara Starr. Barbara, what are you hearing out of the Pentagon?

BARBARA STARR, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT (via telephone): Anderson, at this hour, U.S. officials in the intelligence community and the military are looking at all the incoming intelligence trying to figure out exactly what North Korea has launched.

As you say the news agencies across Asia, say it was a three- stage long-range rocket. That's the kind of rocket that has the U.S. most worried because it can have intercontinental range potentially someday hitting Alaska.

But right now the question is exactly what did they launch, how far did it fly, what kind of capability it had because you know they had that failed test back in April.

If they were actually able to do more successful tests this time, so quickly after the failed one, how did they get better, who helped them? That's the question tonight -- Anderson.

COOPER: Let's check in with Paula Hancocks who is joining us from Seoul, South Korea. Do we know if this launch was successful, Paula?

PAULA HANCOCKS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Anderson, that's what everyone is trying to figure out at this point. The military is watching this very closely and they are tracking the orbit at this point to try to figure out whether or not this was a success.

We don't have word yet whether or not this was a success. We know there's a national security meeting going on, the president, the vice president, the defense minister are in a room trying to figure out that question whether or not it was a success.

But I think this would have taken the president and many of the officials by surprise considering just two days ago North Korea said it was having technical issues. So I don't think anybody within South Korea really expected this launch to happen so soon.

Especially when you consider they actually extended their launch window. They said their launch window would go until the 29th of December just to give themselves a about it more time, then suddenly they launched it this morning. So I think this would have taken many officials by surprise -- Anderson.

COOPER: When it's launched, where is it -- I mean -- pointed toward? Is it supposed to just go out to sea? HANCOCKS: Well, it's basically launched from the west coast of the country, the, Sohei launch station. The trajectory, if it's a success and stays on that flight path it's supposed to, would be over open water. It wouldn't be actually traveling over any territory at all.

And North Korea was quite specific about this back on December the 1st when they announced they'd carry out this rocket launch. They insisted they had a flight path that was safe. They insisted it wasn't going to affect any neighboring countries.

Of course, you have the likes of Japan setting up patriot missiles to shoot down any remnant or debris if they thought it was going to hit part of their territory. So they wanted to make sure the international community knew that was the case.

That's not just what the international community is focusing on. Another interesting point to make -- I spoke with a senior government official just a couple days ago, he said that this is obviously a slap in the face for China as well if they go ahead with this launch because China just, a day before they've announced this possible rocket launch, had been to see them.

There had been a politburo member going to Pyongyang trying to convince them not to carry out this rocket launch, and yet they've gone ahead with it anyway. Certainly, we can see relations souring a little there.

COOPER: Paula, when they've had launches that have failed in the past, do they admit the failure?

HANCOCKS: Well, you know, that's interesting, Anderson, they actually did admit back in April the launch was a failure. That was the first time ever that we'd heard those words from Pyongyang, the fact that something had failed.

In the past, back in 2006, 2009, they had claimed domestically that it was a grand success and that they managed to put a satellite up into orbit. Internationally, we knew that wasn't the case and they were failures, but internally they always wanted to say things were a success.

That changed in April probably because they had the international media camped out in Pyongyang as well. So they couldn't necessarily lie about it. But another interesting point is just two days ago we saw some rare honesty from Pyongyang admitting that they had technical difficulties with this rocket launch as well and there were issues that they had to work through.

So we are seeing a little bit more transparency, if you like, from this incredibly isolated regime, but obviously the bottom line is the international community didn't want them to go ahead with this rocket launch and they disregarded that and went ahead with it anyway.

COOPER: Barbara Starr at the Pentagon. Barbara, how quickly does the Pentagon figure out whether or not this launch has been successful? Do they already know?

STARR: Yes, they will know very quickly. There are a number of classified systems, satellites, aircraft that can gather signals intelligence out of the air literally. Several days ago, the U.S. Navy put a number of ships in the region that have very powerful radars and surveillance systems so all of that is gathering up all the data.

They will look at it and they are very experienced. They'll be able to determine pretty closely what kind of missile, where it flew, where it fell, how long it flew, and again it goes back to what Paula was saying.

If this launch really was a three-stage rocket and it really was successful, more successful than the failed one back in April, the big question for the intelligence community right now is how did the North Koreans do it and, like we said, is someone out there helping them, perhaps the Iranians?

That becomes a much more important complex foreign policy issue for the administration -- Anderson.

COOPER: Yes, later on this week on this program, I'll rebroadcast a report I did for "60 Minutes" about a concentration camp inside North Korea. We often focus on these rocket launches not so much the humanitarian rights issues that are going on inside North Korea.

The extraordinary story of a young man who spent the first 23 years of his life in a concentration camp in North Korea, actually born into this concentration camp, the only person known to have been born there and to have escaped. He tells his remarkable story. We'll have his report later on this week on 360.

Paula Hancocks, thank you. Barbara Starr as well. More breaking news ahead. We'll have the latest on the Clackamas Town Center Mall shooting in Oregon, three people including the shooter now confirmed dead.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COOPER: Updating quickly our breaking news out of the Pacific Northwest, at least three people killed at a shopping mall, a gunman opening fire with an assault rifle at the Clackamas Town Center just outside Portland, Oregon. The gunman is dead and so are two of his victims. Another was seriously wounded, is being treated. Local authorities spoke with reporters just a short time ago.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

RHODES: At this time, the mall remains closed and we continue to search methodically looking for anybody else who might be injured. There are several employees and patrons of the mall who may have secured themselves or hidden in various rooms and one at a time we're approaching them, gathering them and escorting them out of the mall. I can confirm we believe at this point there was one shooter involved and that shooter is deceased. In addition to that we have at least one patient who was taken from the mall with a traumatic injury and at least two that were deceased in addition to the shooter.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COOPER: Joining me now by phone is Rick Bella, a staff writer for Portland's "Oregonian" newspaper. Rick, what is the latest you've heard beyond what that sheriff said, if anything?

RICK BELLA, STAFF WRITER, "OREGONIAN" (via telephone): Well, at this point they're de-escalating from what was complete chaos. The mall was gripped by shock and horror because it was filled with holiday shoppers and all of a sudden this scene unfolded.

Two dead is what we heard also, the last thing we heard, including and the shooter, and that one with critical injuries, but maybe as many as six others with some lesser injuries. The one with critical injuries was taken by helicopter or ambulance to a local hospital.

COOPER: I understand there had been some reports, unconfirmed early on, that the shooter's gun may have jammed. I think I may have seen that in the "Oregonian." Do you have any information on that?

BELLA: I haven't been able to confirm that. We heard that it was jammed and that a deputy found a loaded magazine lying on the floor at one point, but I don't know. I have yet to be able to confirm that.

COOPER: Also we heard from one eyewitness on KOIN saying that the shooter appeared to be wearing what appeared to be sort of a white hockey mask and was seen jogging through the Macy's before the shots began. Is that what you have heard as well?

BELLA: Yes, in fact a couple witnesses told me it was more like a Jason mask as well. And he was wearing a sweatshirt, possibly body armor and possibly cameo pants and came jogging in with an assault rifle described variously as an AR-15 or something along that nature, which is the civilian version of the M-16.

COOPER: Yes. Rick Bella, I appreciate it. I know it's been a crazy busy night for you. Thank you for talking with us.

We, of course, going to be following the story throughout the evening. We'll have the late edition of 360 live at 10:00 Eastern, one hour from now.

Thanks for watching. "PIERS MORGAN TONIGHT" starts now with an update from Ashleigh Banfield.