Return to Transcripts main page

AT THIS HOUR

Officials Hold News Conference on Deadly Attack; Judge Orders Shooting Suspect Held without Bail; States Attorney Gives Press Conference. Aired 11:30-12p ET

Aired June 29, 2018 - 11:30   ET

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


[11:30:00] TIMOTHY ALTOMARE, CHIEF, ANNE ARUNDEL COUNTY POLICE DEPARTMENT: Three hundred law enforcement officers from the Annapolis Police Department, the Anne Arundel County Sheriff's Office, Maryland State Police, Howard County Police Department, Maryland Transportation Authority Police, Department of Maryland, Department of Natural Resources Police, Annapolis Fire and Bomb Squad, Prince George's County Police Department.

Montgomery County, Maryland, started to send us help. BWI, Baltimore- Washington International Airport's Fire and Rescue Services came. The NSA police came. The FBI was, as always, a very present help in times of trouble. The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms gave us a large amount of help. NSA came to help.

The United States Secret Service came to help. And the postal inspectors came to help. Whether they were helping us direct traffic, whether they were bringing water to cops who were dehydrated or whether they helped us go in that building and save people's lives, every cop from all those agencies was a part of how we saved people's lives yesterday. I thank them from the bottom of my heart for the Anne Arundel County Police Department.

Also I would like to thank our community. One of the beautiful things about wearing a badge and a patch in Anne Arundel County is we know how our county feels about us. We heard you the last 24 hours. As always, we thank to you for that support and love and we thank you for the support and love going out to the "Capital Gazette."

The business community is absolutely at front and center of that larger community. We have had so many showings of love from our business community in the area in the last 24 hours. I am, as always, humbled and touched by their support.

I can confirm for you at this time that we identified the suspect with help through other investigative techniques, by using facial recognition technology, from the Maryland Image Repository System. I would like to thank Governor Hogan for allowing us that help. I would like to thank the Maryland Combined Analysis Center, its commanders. And I would like to thank the state police for being so present and helping us identify the suspect.

We were able to use that and a couple of other techniques to make sure we knew who the bad guy was. I will not say his name today. I refuse to do it. I wish you wouldn't do it. But I know better. He doesn't deserve us to talk about him one more second.

Thank you to the Maryland Combined Analysis Center.

There are no other suspects we're looking for right now. We have no reason to believe anybody else but the suspect was involved in this atrocity. We did recover the suspect's car after a pretty lengthy search nearby. We have conducted a search warrant on that. I can't give you much more on that right now because we're still putting puzzle pieces together. We did also do overnight a search warrant in the 400 block of Armstrong Court. Maryland State Police helped us serve that warrant last night. I would like to thank them again.

We did find evidence at the residence, I can't go into a whole bunch of details about it, but I will tell you it is evidence showing the origination of planning things like that in his apartment and it shows what we knew we would find, which is that we have one bad guy and that, for his own reasons, he chose to do what he did yesterday.

We have confirmed, I think, already it was a shotgun used in the incident. I would also confirm it was a pump action shotgun. It was legally purchased a year or so ago.

And I'm going to close and allow questions with this. This was a targeted attack. We can't fathom why this person chose to do this. We don't think we have any more clear and present dangers to the citizens of Anne Arundel County. That person has had a history with the Anne Arundel County Police Department. In May of '13, we had a situation where online threatening comments were made. We had a detective assigned to investigate it. The detective spoke with legal counsel for the "Capital Gazette."

Several members of the Capital Gazette staff. Mr. Marhart (ph) was scheduled to be on that conference call. He did not call in. On that conference call, it was discussed that the "Capital Gazette" did not wish to pursue criminal charges. There was a fear that doing so would exacerbate an already flammable situation. Lieutenant Frashure will, after appropriate redactions, be sending you the police report on that incident. We'll be able to do that in the next couple of hours. Bear with us as we do that. We're trying to do it right. We're only going to get one shot at doing this right.

And with that, I'll take a couple of questions.

[11:35:27] UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Regardless of how the gazette felt about pressing charges --

(CROSSTALK)

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: What might have changed between may of 2013 and now to spark this?

ALTOMARE: I think they are trying to put all the puzzle pieces together. All of you are good investigative reporters. You all looked at the social media platforms. There's clearly a history there. I will tell you that we were not aware of that history until last night. Should we have been in a perfect world? Sure, we should have been. We were not. We get at least a threat call a day. It is tough to keep up with them. I'll say this again, we lost a great tool with GOPD (ph) a couple of years ago. It was the national conscience that decided that we were going to be able to use it. It made our job a lot easier as it relates to following things, phrases, areas, on social media.

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Regardless of how the newspaper felt and the attorney felt about pressing charges, does this department feel this man should have been charged and held accountable for the threats being made and felt those threats were reasonable threat?

ALTOMARE: Given the situation at the time, I think the investigator made the call. The investigator involved is retired. I have not had a chance to talk to him yet. We make calls every day. I think he made a call based on what he was presented. We make that call every day. Every day we talk to somebody who decides they don't want to press charges in Maryland. If it is a felony, we push. If it is a misdemeanor, a lot of misdemeanors go the way of not charging. So I'll have to say, ma'am, I don't feel the department was negligent in any way.

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Can you tell us about -- he didn't give us his name. Tell us about his demeanor when he started the interrogation of what happened.

ALTOMARE: I'll beg your indulgence to say this. We are not -- have not been getting cooperation from the suspect. The suspect was scheduled to go to bail review an hour or so ago. I'm not terribly sure what happened there. So for now, that window has closed for us and we'll have to try to do things a different way.

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: (INAUDIBLE) - by the suspect?

ALTOMARE: Yes, sir. Yes.

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: The evidence, how specific was it. Can you detail what it was going to do and who he was after?

ALTOMARE: We still have to do a forensic reconstruction on digital stuff. We have not had a chance to do that. We did not find a written manifesto or anything. That's the spirit of your question, I think. We did not find that.

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: We're hearing that the suspect was hiding under a desk at the time you came into the newsroom. Was he pretending to be a reporter or a staffer?

ALTOMARE: So this is how I'll answer that question. When the officers went in, they were going in there to neutralize a threat. I think that became very clear very quickly. And I think -- I think fight or flight kicks in, in certain ways, and I don't know why, but flight won for the suspect yesterday.

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: You think he ran away?

ALTOMARE: No, sir, he didn't run away, but he hid. UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: You were able to find him?

ALTOMARE: Yes, ma'am.

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: What is the total time frame here from the moment you got the call to the moment you had the suspect? How long did this whole incident take place?

ALTOMARE: Within two minutes they were pushing in on the suspect and starting to get him cornered and not let him hurt anybody else. So to answer the spirit of that question, do I think that the Annapolis city cops, the county cops and the Anne Arundel County Sheriff's Department saved people's lives yesterday? Without question. Without question.

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: How many shotgun shells, how much ammunition? Was there a bombing device also?

ALTOMARE: OK, so, what we found was more stuff to distract people and confuse people than it was to introduce casualties. If that makes sense. As far as devices --

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Yes.

ALTOMARE: I'm going to beg your indulgence and not answer that. I'll say this, the fellow was there to kill as many people as he could kill.

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Were any shots fired by law enforcement?

ALTOMARE: No, sir.

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Any threats made yesterday?

[11:39:58] ALTOMARE: I cannot answer that question. I have -- I have seen your colleagues post things, I have not gotten that feedback from my investigators yet. I got to be honest with you. They're hitting the point of diminishing returns on their ability to stay awake and keep going. So we will be glad to get more on that to you guys in the future. I can't answer it right now.

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: How many people?

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Facial recognition technology -- (INAUDIBLE)

(CROSSTALK)

ALTOMARE: OK, sure, so Maryland has a system that has come under some fire from civil libertarians, called the -- bear with me -- Maryland Image Repository System. MCAC, the Maryland Combined Analysis Center ran the picture we sent them through that system and that was able to identify the subject. We would have been much longer in identifying him and being able to push forward in the investigation without that system. It was a huge win for us last night and, thus, for the citizens of Anne Arundel County.

(CROSSTALK) UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Can you say why that was necessary if the fingerprints weren't altered?

ALTOMARE: Get right with me.

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: To follow up on that last question, the depository, is that license, driver's license picture?

ALTOMARE: I believe -- bear with me on this, I'm not a pro -- I believe it is driver's license and mug shots.

(CROSSTAKL)

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Can you explain that facial recognition, why it was necessary, if the fingerprints were intact, all of this was intact, why that was the way necessary?

ALTOMARE: We had lag getting answers on fingerprints, is all I can tell you. That's probably why the unnamed senior law enforcement source, who wishes to remain anonymous, said that. Because they read lag as some sort of attempt on his part. So we had lag, and it happens. I don't know why it happens. Last night, I don't know why it took us a little longer through the computer system, computer systems do that. But we immediately -- we didn't have the luxury of waiting, so we turned to the help we used.

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Meaning when you were taking his fingerprints, he was moving them around or what was the problem.

ALTOMARE: I can't answer that, ma'am. I really can't. I'm not dissembling. I have no idea.

(CROSSTALK)

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: What kind of shotgun? Was that 12 gauge or 20 gauge?

ALTOMARE: It was 12 gauge.

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Can you tell us what threats were -- all on Twitter, I take it, and what is the continuum of threats that the Anne Arundel County Police are aware of from the suspect?

ALTOMARE: So it is my understanding that we had the initial incidents with social media platforms and if it is Twitter, I'll take your word for it. If it is Instagram, I would accept that, too. We had the instances in '13 and then it went dark, and then my understanding is that very shortly before the incident, there were some further posts. I could be wrong on that, and to be honest with you, ladies and gentlemen, I haven't dug that much into that.

(CROSSTALK)

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: If you had been charged with stalking and made these threats, why was he able to legally purchase a firearm? ALTOMARE: In Maryland, when you become prohibited, there are certain

crimes -- I'll be honest, I don't know if stalking is one of them. Felonies. And certain misdemeanors. I'm not terribly sure -- he has -- I believe he has a harassment conviction, yes? So I know he was charged with harassment once. That's the best answer I can give you, sir.

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: That wouldn't necessarily prohibit him from buying a weapon?

ALTOMARE: So felonies are automatic. There are some specific misdemeanors. And I got to be honest with you I'm not sure if stalking is one of them. I know domestic assault is.

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Can you say how long -- (INAUDIBLE)

ALTOMARE: So I'm going to beg your indulgence on being circumspect on that. I have to protect the integrity of the prosecution here. I think he had planned it. And I'm going to ask you to let me stay at that.

(CROSSTALK)

ALTOMARE: Say again?

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Are you able to say where -- (INAUDIBLE)

ALTOMARE: Close. Close. Close enough where if you were planning it, you would put your fire there. Does that make sense?

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Did he say anything whatsoever?

ALTOMARE: We're not getting very much communication, sir.

(CROSSTALK)

ALTOMARE: I'll take two more. Two more.

(CROSSTALK)

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Based on the car and what you know about the planning, do you think it was the suspect's intent to be captured, to die in the shootout? Do you have any sense of how he thought this was going to end?

ALTOMARE: I wish I could answer that question with some clarity. I cannot. Using statistics, generally, active shooters are wanting to go out in a blaze of glory. I don't -- I just can't get in his head. I can't do it. I wish I could today. Truly.

One more. Ma'am.

[11:45:16] UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Are you able to talk of the injuries of the other two victims?

ALTOMARE: I would characterize them as minor and everybody is doing OK. If that makes sense.

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: We heard last night there was somebody in -- (INAUDIBLE)

ALTOMARE: That's the last one.

The person who went to shot trauma is one of our fatalities and God bless her.

Thank you, ladies and gentlemen.

LT. RYAN FRASHURE, ANNE ARUNDEL COUNTY POLICE DEPARTMENT: Lastly, some more information we really would like to get out to the public. We're asking if anybody has information, you know, again, we successfully evacuated about 170 people out of that building. So most of those people in some way, shape or form could be a possible witness, whether they saw something, heard something, whether somebody in the area has cell phone footage, anything that you think could be pertinent to investigators, we're asking to call our homicide unit 410-222-4731. And if anybody has any information and they would like to remain anonymous, we have a 24-hour tip line, they can leave a message. 410-222-4700. That's the 24-hour tip line.

This is the final major press release, press conference we're going to have on this incident. Any other updates that we get will be put out as soon as we can make that possible as we have done throughout the beginning of this incident. That will be done via e-mail through the news desk, on our social media, and things of that nature. So as information becomes available, we'll continue to put it out. But this is the last official press conference of this stature.

We thank you, guys, for being patient. We certainly appreciate you guys all the time. Thank you very much.

ALTOMARE: Thank you.

KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR: All right, there's our update coming from Anne Arundel County Police in Maryland following the horrific shooting at the "Capital Gazette" newspaper. The police chief saying it was a targeted attack and he cannot fathom why that man chose to do it. Also saying that the fellow was there to kill as many people as he could when he was asked about ammunition or shots fired.

Here with me still, Jonathan Wackrow, James Gagliano, back with me.

Jon, what stands out to you from the chief?

JONATHAN WACKROW, CNN LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: We know this was his intent, his intent was to kill as many people as possible. It is horrific. Horrific to say at this desk. Motive remains unclear. I think we know that he has had a grievance with the newspaper before. So that's going to lead to motive. What triggered him to grab a shotgun, you know, plan this, go in, and kill five people, still remains unknown. But they'll get there. The investigative process is working through. One key element, though, I want to say for law enforcement, hang in

there. You know, the chief indicated that there's -- his guys, it is fatigue, law enforcement fatigue in the midst of a crisis. So, you know, they're going to gig through, they're going to get there, they have a lot of support and they're doing a great job.

BOLDUAN: One thing he said with regard to the fact that the suspect still has not become Cooperative overnight, wasn't cooperative last night and wasn't like anything changed, he said for now that window has closed for us. We have to try to do our work a different way.

JAMES GAGLIANO, CNN LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: The right to counsel attaches because he's -- so four quick takeaways. No conspiracy. That's important. Because, remember, you stop one person, you want to make sure there was no material support given to him or other cohorts involved. That's off the table. Number two, premeditation determined from speaking to him or collecting evidence, house or the car. Number three, weapon was legally purchased. We don't know if he purchased it. And four, public service announcement, we deal with stalking and cybercrimes, turn off your geo-locaters. Turn off your geo-locaters. Turn off your geotagging. Somebody under the cover of anonymity with an obsession on the Internet, a troll, can track where you are by your phone, your laptop. Turn it off.

BOLDUAN: One thing that they talked about that -- we were kind of -- social media tracking, the chief mentioned something about they had lost an ability to kind of cultivate threats that they see online because they come so fast and furious.

WACKROW: Exactly. Online threats are a new frontier for law enforcement. The tools are very difficult for some law enforcement to even afford. You start looking at technological solutions to investigate means, opportunity, and intent against a threat, you know, small municipalities may not be able to afford that.

BOLDUAN: Yes.

WACKROW: But it's critical. Because we're moving more towards on- line threats than we are paper threats or telephonic. So it's imperative that they, to do their jobs, to keep the public safe, have all the tools necessary at their disposal.

[11:50:09] BOLDUAN: Three hundred officers were on the scene yesterday. And the police chief saying -- and while he was appropriately being circumspect with a lot of things because they're still in the middle of investigating and dealing with this, he said one thing with certainty, asked if the officers and the response time on the scene saved more lives, he said absolutely.

GAGLIANO: Three hundred and 30-something million people in this country, only 1.2 million of them are sworn-in law enforcement officers. That's a rounding error. What they did was nothing less than heroic and absolutely saved lives. God bless them.

WACKROW: You have to think of the result of those first officers responding. The very first officers responding -- 300 didn't show up at once. That's an army.

BOLDUAN: Right.

WACKROW: It was probably one officer, two officers knowing there was an active shooter. They went in and risked their lives for others. Statistics prove that that entry, the immediate entry by law enforcement does save lives. The chief is correct. Going in and stopping a threat. They'll either put the threat down by shooting them or taking them into custody. There are only two options.

BOLDUAN: They are saying right now this is their last major update. People are going to start going back to work in that building. Other offices are there. What questions, though, remain beyond the obvious what motivated this person to do something so horrific? Is there a question that remains on the investigative front, or what should have raised a red flag beforehand?

GAGLIANO: Motivations help us prevent the next one. They're not satisfying. They're not going to bring those five innocent lives back, but at least they help us get out in front of the next one. They may not have done anything different here. But we have to focus on the fact that, as Jonathan pointed out, the first-line responders are small municipalities and police departments. Make sure they have that training and funding they need for that interdiction response, that tactical responsibility that many departments just don't have the time or the funds to do.

WACKROW: Absolutely.

BOLDUAN: What about, they were asked if there were other weapons or explosive devices. There's a lot of reporting about this. And he said more like distraction tactics than anything else?

(CROSSTALK)

GAGLIANO: Go ahead.

WACKROW: The smoke canisters they had are basically like military grade smoke canisters. In the military, as a former Army officer, we used them for two things, signal aircraft or as a distraction or a screening agent. So if you wanted to move troops, you put it out there. It puts out billows of smoke and is used as a distraction. In this instance, it was essentially an IED, something that would cause a distraction, would cause chaos and sow terror.

GAGLIANO: Absolutely. It shows premedication. This wasn't somebody that just showed up in an office, and I'm just going to walk into an office and kill somebody. No. There was thought put in here. Through the course of this investigation, you'll see pre-attack behavior. You'll see pre-attack surveillance. He had probably been there one before, at least the building, the parking lot. He knew how to get from where he kept his car to the building. So there's a lot of different things that investigators have to look to sort of knitting everything together to understand motive.

BOLDUAN: Guy, stick with me. I think we need to go to Brian Todd, CNN correspondent, Brian Todd.

He's outside the courthouse in Annapolis, Maryland, where the delayed bail hearing may have just wrapped up.

Hey, Brian. What do you have?

BRIAN TODD, CNN CHIEF INVESTIGATIVE CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Kate. It did just wrap up. The judge, Thomas Pyle, has ordered Jarrod Ramos to be held without bond pending trial. They have ruled he is a danger to the community, a danger to others and would pose a significant risk.

We are expecting a news conference from Wes Adams, the states attorney, in just a moment. What we did learn was the incredible detail the plan prosecutors say Ramos carried out as he entered the building yesterday. According to the attorney, Wes Adams, Ramos shot through the doors,

but beforehand, he barricaded a back entrance to the building so people could not escape when the shooting started. And he did shoot people trying to escape out that back way. That is one detail that we learned, that basically the prosecutor said he had a plan going into this. It was a carefully thought-out plan.

We did see Ramos via video conference in this hearing. He was not physically at this hearing. He was transmitted via video from the jail where he's held not far from here. He came in, in a dark navy jumpsuit. He looked up and never said a word.

Of course, now we have detail from a hearing that was held about 1:30 a.m. Eastern time this morning. They brought him in for another hearing and he was completely unresponsive to attorneys and to court officials who were trying to ask him some questions. That is consistent from what we're hearing from sources about how he has responded to police questioning. He has not been responsive, really, at all. So we have not really heard anything from him, any version of events from him.

We're just waiting for this news conference now, so I'll throw it back to you -- Kate?

[11:55:05] BOLDUAN: Brian, does he have an attorney, do you know?

TODD: He does have a public defender. The man's last name is Davis.

Here's the states attorney, Wes Adams. Sorry.

BOLDUAN: Yes.

WES ADAMS, ANNE ARUNDEL COUNTY STATES ATTORNEY: Good morning, everybody.

Jarrod Ramos was just held without bail before a hearing before -

(CROSSTALK)

ADAMS: Jarrod Ramos was just held without bail after a hearing with a district court judge trial. Mr. Ramos was arrested last night. I would like to detail just for a minute and thank, first, the members

of the Anne Arundel Police Department, sheriff's department, Annapolis police, all law enforcement involved in this investigation.

My office was brought on scene last night at approximately 3:00, yesterday afternoon at approximately 3:00. Myself, the prosecutors behind me spent the afternoon and day working with our police officers reviewing evidence and understanding the scene as it occurred and unfolded.

As of last night, Mr. Ramos was charged, brought before a commissioner. He was held without bail. The rules require that he be brought before a district court judge immediately thereafter. He was brought before Judge Pyle today. As you heard in the courtroom, Mr. Ramos is alleged to have executed a brutal series of attacks on innocent victims. Most importantly, my responsibility today was to inform the court as to why Mr. Ramos was either a flight risk or a danger to our community. In assessing the evidence in this case, we brought to the judge's attention the evidence that suggested a coordinated attack, the barricading of a back door, and the use of a tactical approach in hunting down and shooting the innocent victims in this case. It was upon those facts that Judge Pyle relied upon to hold Mr. Ramos without bail.

The next step in this process is either a preliminary hearing or bringing the case before a grand jury for an indictment. Either of those things will occur in the next 30 days. From there, the case would then be forwarded to the circuit court. That is the results of today's proceedings.

Thank you.

(CROSSTALK)

BOLDUAN: All right, you're listening right there to Wes Adams. He's the man that will be taking the lead on prosecuting the gunman.

Wackrow and Gagliano back with me.

Does it surprise you he doesn't have bail?

GAGLIANO: No. I would be surprised if he got bail.

BOLDUAN: Yes.

With all that we're learning, that detail that he went there and barricaded the back door, it sent shivers down my spine.

GAGLIANO: High level of premeditation. And obviously the way he planned this out, making sure people were trapped inside, a lot of people are asking why wasn't this charged with a federal terrorism case.

BOLDUAN: Why not?

GAGLIANO: Well, you have to be very specific. The law is very specific. It says that terrorism is narrowly defined as violence or intimidation in pursuit political or social or ideological goals. If they can tie this to something recently aimed the press as an establishment, he should be charged that way. The way it happened right now, five murder charges, I think that's appropriate, and that's the way they'll proceed until more evidence comes out.

BOLDUAN: Go ahead.

WACKROW: I'm glad that he's a coward. If he executed the plan that he had developed beforehand, we wouldn't be talking about five. We would be talking about 10, 15. What he created was essentially a fatal funnel for people to go and run into -- and I'll get criticized for this -- but created a kill zone. This is -- hearing it is chilling. So I am glad that he's a coward. In the moment that law enforcement got there, you know, he cowered under a desk. I'm almost at a loss for words hearing what he planned.

BOLDUAN: And it goes along exactly with we are hearing from some of the reporters that survived. Celine, one of the reporters, she was telling Anderson last night that when she saw, when she heard the chaos ensuing, she got up, she says, I'm outta here. She grabbed her bag, she went to the nearest door that she knows was an exit, and I assume it was that door. It was locked. She didn't understand why. They couldn't get out. They kept trying.

Guys, I got to go back to Annapolis. I have to go back to the district attorney.

ADAMS: The next step in this process is to take this before a grand jury or a preliminary hearing and the case will proceed from that period.

(CROSSTALK)

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: (INAUDIBLE QUESTION)

ADAMS: Thank you very much. I appreciate you guys covering this. And that will be all of the statement.