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AT THIS HOUR WITH BERMAN AND MICHAELA
No Motive Yet in California Mass Shooting; Neither Shooting Suspect Known to Law Enforcement or Known Radicals; Obama Comments on California Mass Shooting. Aired 11-11:30a ET
Aired December 3, 2015 - 11:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[11:00:00] KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR: Hello, everyone. I'm Kate Bolduan.
JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: And I'm John Berman.
Our breaking news, the president about to deliver a statement from the Oval Office. We'll bring that to you the second it begins.
We also have breaking news from California. Authorities there getting set to hold a news conference, as well, on the massacre in San Bernardino. We'll bring you that live when that takes place.
This is what we know right now. Police say at around 11:00 a.m. local time yesterday the shooter Syed Farook and his wife, Tashfeen Malik, burst into a holiday part at the Inland Regional Center and opened fire. When it was over, they had killed 14 people and wounded 17 others. The couple then escaped in a dark SUV. A few hours later, law enforcement spotted them in a car at their house, they gave chase and killed them both in a gun fight. Authorities say the shooters were dressed in dark combat gear. They carried rifles and semi- automatic handguns.
BOLDUAN: It is still very much an active crime scene this morning, according to the sheriff's office. Investigators only early this morning were able to start processing this scene of the shooting after the bomb squad was able to clear the building. And because of that, none of the victims have been taken out of that conference center yet. No I.D.s have yet been made.
A very big question hanging over all of this is why. Authorities say that the 28-year-old Farook was at the holiday celebration with his colleagues. He left angry for some reason that has not yet been explained. He returned with his wife and started shooting.
Victor Blackwell, he's outside the townhouse where the attackers live.
Victor, that was a very active scene all night. What's happening there now?
VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Very active scene all night and very active investigation going on inside the home. The FBI has been here for several hours now. We've seen several agents. Although we've not seen anyone bring anything out of the home. This investigation under similar circumstances would have been very
thorough regardless. But there are so many variables in this case that do not correspond with one another. Jim Sciutto and Evan Perez are reporting that the FBI did not know of these two. They were on no lists of potentially radicalized persons. But if you look at the narrative that we're hearing from the local police chief, is that this starts with an argument at a holiday party. And Farook returns with his wife, shoots 31 people and kills 14 of them, and then goes on this, this chase, after getting a lead that leads them to this home, this shootout with police, 20 officers, we're told.
Listen to a bit of that to understand just how much ammunition these two had and how prepared they were for this attack.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Oh, (EXPLETIVE DELETED).
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Oh, my gosh. Shots rang out!
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Holy, (EXPLETIVE DELETED)!
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Oh, my gosh!
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLACKWELL: There was an item thrown out of the window, we're told. Law enforcement said that was a pipe bomb. It turned out to be a fake. Three explosives, we're told, that were found inside a bag at the center. Turned out to be some rudimentary explosives with black powder and a remote control car inside that bag. The remote to that car was inside the SUV where those two were killed. Of course, leading to the questions of were there any others who helped them plan this, if there is some broader network here. Those questions, investigators are hoping to get answers to as they continue to process this scene here in Redlands -- John, Kate?
BERMAN: That is a big question. Where did they learn to make that explosive device?
BERMAN: Did someone teach them?
Victor Blackwell for us. Thank you so much.
More information on the shooters, as well. Law enforcement officials tell CNN that neither of them was known to the FBI, neither on any kind of lists of potentially radicalized people, but we do know at this point that officials, federal, state, local, they are not ruling out terrorism.
Let's bring in our chief national security correspondent, Jim Sciutto.
Jim, what are we learning?
[11:04:42] JIM SCIUTTO, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: They are not ruling out terrorism and also not ruling out the possibility this was workplace violence. Even, John and Kate, the possibility it was some combination of the two. Truth is they don't know at this point.
Here's what we know about the suspects, though. Let's start with the shooter, Syed Rezwan Farook, who is 28 years old. He worked at the center where the shooting took place. These were his colleagues. He was at the holiday party himself, witnesses say. He left there after a period of time at the party and came back, apparently, with his wife, and carried out the bloodshed that we saw. You saw there now, he had a dating profile up on social media and described himself as religious but modern. He identifies as Muslim, but he had an Eastern and Western mix of family values. This other detail here, in social media profiles, people often talk about their hobbies, he mentions that he enjoys target practice in his backyard. We don't know the significance of that yet. In light of what took place yesterday, certainly possibly significant.
Let's talk about his wife here for a moment. Her name is Tashfeen Malik, 27 years old, married to the shooter. They had a 6-month-old child together. And we're told by family members that they dropped off that child yesterday morning. Said that they had a doctor's appointment to go to, and then, of course, we saw what followed that.
This is, of course, one more sign that law enforcement and counter- terror officials have been looking at the details of this to indicate that there was some advance planning of this. Oftentimes in workplace shootings, a crime of passion, there could be preparation. But in this case, certainly preparation, in light of dropping the child off, but also the weapons they brought.
Let's talk a little bit about the weapons that they have here. Two long rifles, as they're called, A.R.-15-style rifles, .223 caliber. A lot of police officers carry them. They had two semi automatic handguns total. This is key, pipe bomb type explosive devices left at the scene. Attached in some way to a remote controlled car, which could be a detonation device. They don't know if they attempted to detonate. It didn't work or they didn't try to detonate. But, clearly, they brought explosives to the scene. Part of the plan appeared to be to set those off to increase the bloodshed.
All those signs come together, John and Kate, to indicate advance planning, preparation, right down to the military-style clothing they brought. That is a big indicator to investigators now. That could still mean both workplace violence or terrorism or -- and this is an interesting thought, but I've talked to a lot of folks, some combination of the two. That's what they're looking at now. BOLDUAN: Jim, when you say a combination of the two, it seems both
kind of logical and illogical to think that those two things can exist. What does that mean with the sources you're talking to that it could be a combination of workplace violence and terrorism at the same time.
SCIUTTO: Well, you don't know for sure but you could imagine a scenario where he had a grievance at work. It's possible that that grievance could be the spark for something or that he already had the grievance and then he also had sympathies with extremist ideology and one led to the other and one sparked the other or they could be connected in some way. If the grievance was tied to his faith. If he had a grudge because of the way he was treated because of his faith. These are all just theories at this point. It's interesting that a number of officials have mentioned that combination. But the truth is they're still trying to figure it out. They don't know at that point.
BERMAN: That's the point we make the president to make. He's due to speak from the Oval Office any second. We are just waiting for that tape to turn around. He actually spoke moments ago. That tape being turned around right now. We understand inside the room with him, the Attorney General Loretta Lynch, the Vice President Joe Biden, and also the Director of the FBI James Comey.
BOLDUAN: We're going to wait to hear from him. He did make remarks. Remember, a prescheduled interview with CBS as this was all playing out and he commented about it. But now with all the information that has come to light overnight, the possibility of terrorism and the fact that they're not ruling it out, all of that coming together.
I think we now have the tape of the president speaking from the Oval Office, let's listen.
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Yesterday, a tragedy occurred in San Bernardino and, as I said in the immediate aftermath, our first order of business is to send our thoughts and prayers to the families of those who have been killed and to pray for a speedy recovery for those who were injured during this terrible attack.
I had a chance to speak with Mayor Davis of San Bernardino and I thanked law enforcement in that city for their timely and professional response. I indicated to Mayor Davis that the entire country is thinking about that community and thanked him and his office for the way that they've been able to manage an extraordinarily difficult situation with calm and clarity. And very much appreciated the coordination that has been taking place between local law enforcement and the FBI investigators.
[11:10:11] At this stage, we do not yet know why this terrible event occurred. We do know that the two individuals who were killed were equipped with weapons and appeared to have access to additional weaponry at their homes. But we don't know why they did it. We don't know at this point the extent of their plans. We do not know their motivations.
And I just received a briefing from FBI Director Comey, as well as Attorney General Lynch indicating the course of their investigation. At this point, this is now an FBI investigation. That's been done in cooperation and consultation with local law enforcement.
It is possible that this was terrorist related, but we don't know. It's also possible that this was workplace related. And until the FBI has been able to conduct what are going to be a large number of interviews until we understand the nature of the workplace relationship between the individual and his superiors because he worked with the organization where this terrible shooting took place. Until all the social media and electronic information has been exploited, we're just not going to be able to answer those questions.
But, what I can assure the American people is we're going to get to the bottom of this and that we are going to be vigilant as we always are, and getting the facts before we issue any decisive judgments in terms of how this occurred.
More broadly, as I said yesterday, you know, we see the prevalence of these acts of mass shootings in this country. I think so many Americans sometimes feel as if there is nothing we can do about it. We are fortunate to have an extraordinary combination of law enforcement and intelligence and military that work every single day to keep us safe. But we can't just leave it to our professionals to deal with the problem of these kinds of horrible killings. We all have a part to play. And I do think that as the investigation moves forward, it's going to be important for all of us, including our legislatures, to see what we can do to make sure that when individuals decide that they want to do somebody harm, we're making it a little harder for them to do it because, right now, it's just too easy. And we're going to have to search ourselves as a society to make sure that we can take basic steps that would make it harder, not impossible, but harder for individuals to get access to weapons.
So there will be a press conference later today, led by the attorney general. Director Comey will continue to brief not only the press but also members of Congress about the course of the investigation. Our expectation is that this may take some time before we're able to sort it all through. There may be mixed motives involved in this, which makes the investigation more complicated. But rest assured that we will get to the bottom of this.
And in the meantime, once again, I want to offer our deepest condolences to those who have been affected by this terrible tragedy. And for those who have been injured, we hope that they get well quickly and that, you know, they're able to be back together with their families. OK?
Thank you very much, everybody.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Thank you.
[11:14:55] BERMAN: President Obama wrapping up comments from the Oval Office on the shootings in San Bernardino. When what you see here is the remarkable uncertainty that exists, I think, from the street level in San Bernardino all the way to the Oval Office. The president says flat-out, we do not know why these terrible events occurred. It is possible this is terrorist related, but we don't know. It's also possible this was workplace related.
Let's talk about this statement. Let's talk about this uncertainty.
CNN's Joe Johns was in the Oval Office for that statement. And we're also joined by chief political analyst, Gloria Borger; and chief national security correspondent, Jim Sciutto.
Joe, first to you.
You were in the room there. A somber president who said it could be terrorism. It's remarkable to hear a president say, possibly, but we don't know.
JOE JOHNS, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Right. I think there were duel track dual tracks and what they did not know saying there might be mixed motives as to workplace and terrorism. So, that's something that we're going to be looking into, as well. And he said this is now an FBI investigation. Not being controlled by the locals and then it turned to the policy issues. You didn't hear there at the very end I did ask the president whether this, this issue of guns in America is the most frustrating thing that he's had to deal with in his tenure as president. And he chose not to answer that question, but while he was talking there, he said we can't just leave this up to the professionals. We need to search ourselves and make it harder for people to get guns. So, the president of the United States during his years in office has given statements like this again and again and again. And you see the frustration when he starts talking about it and some have suggested it's even resignation because there is a lot of belief that this late in his term, nothing can be resolved on Capitol Hill with substantive legislation to address some of the larger gun issues.
But, a very interesting brief statement, attended by among others, the president, the vice president in the room, as well as Mr. FBI Director Comey, a variety of others. I saw Susan Rice in there. And we'll hear more from the attorney general, the president said, who was also in the room.
Back to you.
BOLDUAN: Gloria, I want to bring you in on this. The president talked both policy, which we heard him talk a lot about during his time in office, but also talking about the really unique nature of the statement, I think, as John notes, the uncertainty even within the president of what exactly is the motive here and why. But you heard the president take the opportunity there to talk about two things. He has had to talk about a lot, gun control, gun violence, as well as terror.
GLORIA BORGER, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL ANALYST: You know, and this notion of the political side of gun control, you know, one does not preclude the other. And so the president was sort of trying to say, look, we don't know the motive. About some form of terror and she was acknowledging that perhaps it could be, although they don't know. That doesn't mean we have to make it more difficult in this country for those people to get their hands on weapons, right? He said, you know, he said at one point, he said we have to make it harder for these people. So, in a sense, it doesn't, it almost doesn't matter who they are. He was saying, look, we don't know the motive yet. We don't know if this was terrorism. But whatever the case, in this country we have to make it more difficult for those people to get their hands on these kinds of weapons. At the same time the president is speaking, what we see playing out at a conference of the Republican Jewish community in Washington is Republican presidential candidates talking about this shooting. Some of them being quite measured. Marco Rubio quite measured and Ted Cruz talking about radical terrorism here at home. The issue of gun control really not being major at that gathering.
BERMAN: Jim Sciutto, I want to bring you in here.
We are all talking about what the president calls the mixed motives of this attack, it could be terrorism or workplace related. But, Jim, as far as the investigators and law enforcement is concerned, can you be a little bit terrorist related. If you are a little bit terrorist related, it's terrorism to a certain extent, correct?
[11:19:45] SCIUTTO: Listen, I'd agree with you on that personally. First thing I would say is the president of the United States doesn't say that it is possible it is terror related without some substance to that. I mean, it's clearly a line of investigation that they're taking very seriously. But at the same time, they're not eliminating the workplace element because there are signs of that, the altercation at the holiday party before. So, you know, you got competing theories there, right? That brings up that sort of odd potential of a combination of reasons. But, as you say, if there was an extremist motivation there, then the fact is that is part of the motivation and explanation for this.
The other thing I would note in his comments there, the suspects had additional weapons at their home. That's a pretty big arsenal and they took a pretty decent arsenal with them. They appeared, they had the explosives they left at the scene and it's possible they had more in that SUV just based on as we're watching it from the helicopter. If they had more at home, that speaks to a pair of attackers who took real preparations for this and possibly had bigger plans.
BERMAN: They killed a lot of people and they perhaps wanted to kill even more.
Jim Sciutto, Gloria Borger, Joe Johns, thank you so much.
We should note the FBI is taking charge of this investigation, the president said that. The FBI now in charge.
We're moments away from another news conference, as well, a news conference from the San Bernardino police. The first time we're hearing from them in about 12 hours. So we're expecting new details on the shooters, new details on the victims, and perhaps new details about what they know about a possible terrorist link.
BOLDUAN: And also ahead for us, a hail of bullets, chaos and confusion. We have more new video capturing in real time the gun battle that erupted between the attackers and the police yesterday.
And an update on those injured in the attack. A live report coming from the hospital where some of those victims were taken, and how they are doing today.
We'll be right back.
[11:25:53] BERMAN: Just moments ago, President Obama says we still do not know why a man and his wife unleashed that bloody massacre in San Bernardino but the president said he does not rule out terrorism.
BOLDUAN: Let's bring in CNN law enforcements analyst, Harry Houck, a retired New York police detective; as well as CNN intelligence and security analyst, Bob Bear, a former CIA operator.
It's great to see you both.
Harry, I want you to take us to the scene. You were on air all day yesterday as all of this was playing out. Today in the light of day, fresh pictures of the scene of that car. This is where the shootout happened between police and the attackers, where they were both killed. Take us to this scene. I see for the untrained eye, there is too much here to even focus on. Take me to this scene. What is happening here? What are we looking at?
HARRY HOUCK, CNN LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: You see these yellow and orange markers there. Those are evidence markers. What happens is when the crime scene unit comes to this vehicle, what they have to do, they mark up, mark off whatever evidence, which is going to be very critical in the investigation of this case? So, let's say they find shell casings. They'll put a mark next to the shell casings. They'll usually be numbered. Let's say number one shell case and number one marker shell casings and put that in the report. Number two, weapon found inside the vehicle. Number three, bomb found inside the vehicle. It shows the locations. So, now once you have all these locations marked off of evidence, all right, what they do is take photographs or now they take video. They go to court and say, OK, where was such and such piece of evidence? That is marker number three and mark number three clearly shown on the report and clearly shown for the police.
BERMAN: Harry, this is just one of three crime scenes right now, right? We have the car, we have home and we have the place where the body was.
HOUCK: This was probably the easiest crime scene right there.
HOUCK: Yes, because it is small. It's small.
HOUCK: You see where the shooting occurred. Forget about it. I mean --
BERMAN: They still haven't even removed the bodies.
HOUCK: They're not going to either until all the photographs and markers are put down for all the evidence there. They probably don't have enough markers. Probably thousands of markers in that location.
It's -- the crime scene is one of the biggest jobs that's got to be conducted after a major case like this.
BOLDUAN: It's happening right now as we speak. And it happened all throughout the night.
Bob, let's bring you in on this.
You heard from the president, the president saying he's not ruling out terrorism, but also saying very candidly -- and obviously, the president knows more than he will tell us on any given day to the public -- but talking about the possibility of a mixed motive here. And John said it perfectly. If it's partially terrorism, maybe workplace related, isn't it definitely terrorism then?
BOB BAER, CNN INTELLIGENCE & SECURITY ANALYST: Well, let's wait until the facts come out. If he had been fired, for instance, the man, Farook, the employee of the health department, it could be work relate related. But I have seen nothing to that effect. What disturbs me is this was a military assault. The fake pipe bomb that was thrown out of the car to break contact with the police, the remote controlled detonating device left inside the building, two shooters, lot of ammunition, you know, everything, you go right through it. These people had some sort of training. Some sort of commitment to this. And, also, it's clear to me that when they decided to take on the police and fire back at them, they were ready to die. They looked like they were martyrs to me. And I'll go out on a limb and pretty well I'm convinced right now, until proven otherwise, that this was international terrorism. I mean, you know, once they get into the data and look at the Internet searches that these people were doing, but right now this was too well planned and too well coordinated. As I said, classic military assault, speed, surprise, extreme violence at the objective and fits those characteristics, and not a workplace shooting.
BERMAN: Let me ask you to elaborate on that. You say international terrorism. Do you mean inspired by or directed by, because there is a difference?
BAER: Well -- that's exactly what we don't know. But it's the tactics that they adopted in this -- in taking down this place were exactly ISIS tactics. Now, I'm not saying --