tv The Lead With Jake Tapper CNN September 17, 2013 1:00pm-2:01pm PDT
the mayor of washington, d.c., the mayor vincent gray, will be among my guests. also, i'll speak with a top u.s. navy commander, a spokesman, on what the lessons are that need to be learned. thanks very much for watching. i'm wolf blitzer in washington. "the lead" with jake tapper begins right now. what were the voices in aaron alexis' head telling him before he murdered 12 people in cold blood? i'm jake tapper. this is "the lead." the national lead. hearing voices, sleepless nights, a history of gun arrests, pieces of the navy yard killer's back story are snapping into place, but does any of it account for his actions? the dead. we now know the names of all 12 of them and as we search for answers, we will not forget them or the three who were wounded, including a d.c. police officer who will have to fight to walk again.
and alexis had a valid i.d. to get in but how did he have so much time to stalk his victims in the navy yard? a government audit claims that cost cutting may have relaxed security. our guest, a member of the house armed services committee who is demanding answers. good afternoon, everyone. i'm jake tapper. welcome to "the lead." we'll begin of course with the national lead. we're coming to you live from right outside the navy yard in washington, d.c., where just blocks away, 12 people lost their lives in a horrific mass shooting just 32 hours ago. the man who carried out this rampage, 34-year-old military contractor aaron alexis, a danger from the inside that many working right next to him did not see coming. new information that cnn has learned today is helping to fill in a picture of a man who may have been coming apart at the seams. we're now learning about an incident just last month in which alexis told police that he was hearing voices through walls. much more on that in a moment. first, the fbi is clearing up a
few of the many lingering questions about the assault. >> we believe at this time that the deceased shooter aaron alexis acted alone and we believe that mr. alexis entered building 197 at the navy yard with a shotgun. we do not have any information at this time that he had an ar-15 in his possession. we also believe mr. alexis may have gained access to a hand gun once inside the facility. >> a virginia gun shop says alexis legally bought his shotgun there. no red flags turned up in the background check. defense secretary chuck hagel today ordered a security review at u.s. bases and sites around the world in the aftermath of this massacre, even though investigators say alexis had a valid pass to enter the navy yard and he was granted medium security clearance. as the details continue to come in, the more we've learned about this killer, the more he seems like a man adrift in life.
as the nation mourns the innocent victims of yesterday's navy yard shooting, family and friends of the shooter re-evaluate the man they thought they knew. >> i would never have believed this until it happened. >> aaron was a very polite, very friendly man. >> reporter: but with the image of 34-year-old aaron alexis now staring back at us from screens and newspaper covers worldwide, glimpses of his contradictory character are coming into full view. from the outside, he was a veteran of the navy reserve, honorably discharged in 2011 after serving more than three years. but records show alexis' time in the service was troubled. according to naval officials, he was cited at least eight times for misconduct during his military career, including insubordination and excessive absences. he had been arrested for gun violence once prior to enlistment and was arrested twice more while serving. in 2008 he was charged with
disorderly conduct, then arrested again in 2010 for firing a gun through his apartment ceiling. he left the navy in 2011. the next year, he started working for the experts, a subcontractor on a hewlett-packard contract to refresh equipment used on the navy marine corps intranet network. he entered the navy yard yesterday morning using his official security clearance. >> you have a documented case where this individual misbehaved, the navy knew it, yet still when he got out, he was allowed to get a clearance and people need to be asking the question why. >> reporter: alexis had family in new york but had been estranged from them for many years. >> no one ever mentioned anything about him being aggressive or being this type of way or anything like that. so i can't comment to say that, you know, i knew anything about this. >> reporter: but in texas, where he lived most recently, he was part of a community that revolved around a buddhist temple where he practiced meditation. >> he just had an excitement for
life, just getting involved with the thai community, with the temple down the road. >> reporter: alexis spoke thai and used the skill as a server at this texas restaurant before departing on a recent trip to thailand. despite his smile in this photo, friends say the man they knew was becoming increasingly distressed, telling friends he was struggling with his finances. >> he was sent on the contractors' job to japan for a month and that was from november to december, and he got back and he felt very slighted about his benefits at the time. >> he called me several months ago saying that they didn't pay him, his car was broke down, he didn't know what he was going to do. >> reporter: according to two law enforcement sources, alexis recently made contact with two veterans administration hospitals, perhaps for psychological issues. >> he was very frustrated with the government and how as a veteran he didn't feel like he was getting treated right or fairly. >> reporter: authorities are actively investigating the
circumstances surrounding both v.a. visits. we're still far from nailing down any possible motive for this senseless attack but we do know that aaron alexis was a very troubled man with mental health issues that reportedly began more than a decade ago. we're also learning that he had been previously receiving treatment at a veterans administration hospital. deborah feyerick joins us with breaking news now. deb, you've learned new information in the last few minutes. catch us up. what do you know? >> apparently rhode island police contacted the newport naval station in august to warn them about an encounter it had had with one of their contractors, aaron alexis. lieutenant william fitzgerald tells us about six weeks ago on august 7th, alexis called police to his hotel. he had actually transferred to three hotels while traveling from virginia to rhode island. he said he had gotten into a verbal altercation with a man during his flight. he believed the man had sent three people to talk to him to keep him awake and sent vibrations through his body. according to the police report,
alexis said that the two men and a woman were quote, using a microwave machine to send vibrations through the ceiling, penetrating his body so he could not speak. he also told police that he never felt anything like this and felt these individuals would harm him. he did not tell police exactly what his alleged harassers were saying, but he did say he had no history of mental illness in his family, that he never had a mental episode. newport police were so concerned that they notified the naval station just about an hour and a half after this encounter to tell them what had happened and to alert them about the possible implications given alexis' access to the base. we reached out to the newport naval station. they referred us to the fbi, who has no comment. we also spoke to a source with direct knowledge of this case, jake. he says that apparently alexis did try to get help at the v.a. facility in rhode island back in august as well, the same time as this encounter. jake? >> another red flag completely missed by the military.
thank you so much. as the nation struggles with the aftermath of the massacre carried out by aaron alexis, people closest to him are trying to square his actions with the man they thought they knew. alexis moved from place to place in recent years but we know that he spent a good deal of time in ft. worth, texas. that's where he became friends with michael, who joins us now. thanks for being with us. what's the first thing that went through your mind when you saw alexis' face on tv yesterday afternoon? >> yes, sir. i appreciate you asking me that. first of all, just to let you know, my heart goes out to all the innocent victims and i just never would have seen anything like this coming with aaron. he didn't seem like that kind of a person. so you know, we're hearing more and more things as the days go by, but certainly we would have never guessed that aaron would be capable of pointing a gun and actually shooting a person, let alone many people, so it's just -- it's a really hard thing
to handle because he was like a friend, a family friend, a brother to me, and so i don't understand what set him off. >> police say that alexis had been hearing voices. you may have just heard deb feyerick's report that in rhode island, he was saying that individuals were sending vibrations through his body. did he ever indicate any sort of mental unbalance that he was hearing voices, feeling vibrations, paranoia, anything at all? >> well, sir, that would have had to be something more recent and i haven't seen him recently. i had had a phone call conversation with him several months ago about how he was mad at the company he worked for because they were slow to pay is the way he put it, and aaron seemed to confide in me is the reason why he would call me, but some of that recent stuff, i wouldn't know about. certainly i would have thought
that would be an alarm for him to find out something like that so i didn't know anything about voices or anything about that, what was going on in his job, because i hadn't heard from him in awhile. so all that must have happened while he was on the job with these contractors, so i hadn't heard from him recently, but i certainly would have -- it would have been a red flag to me as well to hear things like that about aaron, because he never would let on to us here at the happy bowl, these people really took him under their wing, they were really more like a family to him, so all of this is news to us. we're just all distraught. we don't understand why it turned into something as violent other than the only thing that comes to mind for me is that he had, you know, he liked to go online and had video games like violent video games that he played. that's the only thing that comes to mind for me. other than that, he was never violent or angry over here with the family. like i said, he was more like a son to them than anything.
>> millions of americans obviously play violent video games without any effect. was there any strain of violence that you ever saw with him relating to the video games or just in day-to-day life? >> no. just that it surprised me that a long time ago, probably a year or so ago, when i was invited to his house to watch a football game, he spent more time in there watching -- playing the game online with some other individual, which was a pretty bloody game of shooting, he spent more time doing that than entertaining his guests and i commented to aaron on that that wow, man, you're in your 30s, dude, you need to let that stuff go. like i said, i would comment, i would say things like you know, you're a brother of another mother and he would say things like yeah, you're my italian buddy, mafia guy from new york. so we had things we joked about. aaron wasn't conservative like i am. he was more of a liberal type. he wasn't happy with the former
administration. he was more happy with this administration, as far as presidential administration. so we joked and we had comments with each other about that, but we always seemed to meet in the middle over those issues. but he had respect for me and he had respect for the people at the restaurant. he better have had respect more or less because he worked there and he showed that kind of respect, but he never showed any anger, you know, or dismay or unhappiness. he was happy over having a job. it was just slow pay for those people that hired him is what he told me several months ago on the phone when he called me. he needed money financially, his car was broke down, and that was the only thing i can think of that, you know, that he was having problems with in his life. i tried to get him on where i work. i worked at the treasury and he messed up his application, so he didn't get hired because he did the paperwork wrong. but i told him that if he kept on trying, he would eventually
get in there, because he had government experience and the treasury people like to hire people that have government experience. so he had opportunities coming up and i thought he had opportunities with his company. so i just don't understand, we don't understand. we're all sorry for the victims. god bless them people. i apologize for him, if i can. we wish we could have done something to influence him in a different way. >> michael, thank you so much for your time. coming up on "the lead" new details about the gun used in this mass shooting. we're at the gun shop where aaron alexis bought his weapon and we're learning more about the background check he went through. plus, they carried him to safety after he was shot in the legs. we'll check in on the police officer who was injured at the navy yard as he thanks his fellow officers. how much protein
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>> reporter: yeah, jake, basically we're learning some very new information about what aaron alexis was doing in the hours before he allegedly came on to the navy yard and started shooting. exactly one day before that, he came right here to the sharpshooters gun shop in lorton, virginia, a suburb of washington, d.c. he was here a few hours and basically what he did was, he paid the store to use one of their rifles. he also bought some ammunition for that rifle and he stayed here at the gun shop, at the target range. he did some target practice with that rifle and then he bought a remington 870 12 gauge shotgun. we're also told he bought about two cases of ammunition, about 24 shells, with that. now, while he was here, they ran his name through the federal background check database. it took a couple hours. he was here a couple hours. but basically, there was no problem in that background check. he had a valid out of state
license from the state of texas and in virginia, you are allowed to buy a rifle, a long gun, shotgun or rifle, with an out of state license. if the state where you live, if that's a valid purchase. so in other words, you can buy a rifle or shotgun here in virginia but say your license is from washington, d.c. and d.c. has certain laws against that, you can't do it. you have to respect the law from which you came. the only restriction is on a hand gun. you can't buy a hand gun with an out of state license, but again, we now know that he came here the day before the navy yard shooting, he bought the remington 12 gauge shotgun and about 24 shells. jake? >> chris lawrence, thank you so much. i want to bring in shawn henry, the former executive assistant director for the fbi. he has given us invaluable insight into where this investigation is going. first of all, you and i have been talking about this off camera. red flag after red flag after red flag.
how did this guy get a security clearance to be a contractor and have access to the navy base? >> you know, there's long-term investigations that are done to get somebody a security clearance. you want to make sure they've got the right mental health, they're not being coopted by foreign adversaries. sometimes these things slip through the cracks. there are lots of red flags, when you hear about some of the things we heard in the media about voices and those sorts of things, that people should have come forward. if you're out talking in the neighborhood to do an investigation, if you're talking to former co-workers and the like, this seemed like the type of things you would hear about as an investigator. so those are the things that the fbi and other investigators over the next few weeks are going to be looking at to find out how this was allowed to happen. >> especially you hear about the 2004 incident where alexis shot the tires of a car and then claimed he had had a blackout and didn't remember doing it. i would think that an incident like that might even be prohibitive in terms of his joining the navy reserves. >> you would think that would be one of the issues that somebody would look at. it would have come up in some of
the investigation that would have gone on. the navy will be asking a lot of questions here and c.i.s. and others going forward. these are some of the issues that will be a challenge. >> there are a lot of questions right now about the navy yard and how he got access to the navy yard. he had a shotgun with him at the very least. not a problem to bring a shotgun on to the navy base? >> well, he had a valid pass, according to law enforcement officials. they're not searching every single car, going through the trunk, going underneath the car. they're probably not looking inside each of the trucks. i imagine that they would be doing that periodically, spot-checking, but if they were to do that and shut down this naval base, they have 3,000 people that work here, that would be somewhat onerous to do that. if he had a valid pass they probably have allow him in. >> a source tells me the fbi has gone back ten years ago to a place alexis was working in new york city. why would they be doing that? certainly nobody there would be involved in something that happened today. >> the fbi is looking for motive
right now. that's one of their primary priorities. they want to know everything about this man that they can find out. they will go back to grade school if they have to, talk to people he grew up with, talk to teachers in high school, those sorts of things. it's like throwing a pebble into a pond. concentric circles will continue to move out. they will run these things to ground to make sure that at the end of the day they know exactly who he was, what he did and what his motive was. >> even if they are confident he acted alone, they want to make sure 100%, and they're not there yet. they can't be. >> i think that's right. i think everything we heard thus far indicates he was the lone shooter here. the ballistics and trajectory they've done and the evidence response team, that will bear that out. but again, they want to make sure that there's nobody else. maybe there was somebody who funded him. maybe there was somebody who provided him weapons, that sort of thing. they'll make sure they run all those things out so that at the end of the day when there's a final report done, it's very clear to everybody what happened. >> shawn henry, stick with us. we will get your closing thoughts at the end of the show. coming up on "the lead" a
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i wish we could do more, but i do ask that we now ask unanimous consent that the senate now observe a moment of silence in honor of the victims of the tragic navy yard, those killed and those suffering from the wounds inflicted in that terrible day that occurred not far from the capitol. >> without objection. >> a moment of silence. welcome back to "the lead." i'm jake tapper. i'm live right outside the washington navy yard. they were mothers and fathers, daughters and sons, sisters, brothers, civilians, contractors. one a die-hard redskins fan.
another, an avid golfer. the 12 men and women whose lives were cut short here yesterday by a gunman hell-bent on taking as many lives as he could. they are being remembered today, not just by the loved ones whom they left behind, but by all of us so deeply touched by the senselessness of this tragedy. i'm joined by erin mcpike, who is here with more on the victims. >> many of these victims were in their 50s, in the prime of their lives. we have been talking to their family members and neighbors and co-workers to get a sense of them, understandably everyone is still in shock but some of them have been willing to share their stories with us. >> it's not possible, not possible that they shot him just for no reason. >> reporter: a dozen families are mourning today after losing their loved ones in monday's shooting rampage at washington's navy yard. michael arnold was a pilot from lorton, virginia. >> he loved his country. he loved the navy. he loved flying.
he was just a happy person. >> reporter: all 12 were civilians working at what should be one of the safest places in washington. the youngest was 46, and the oldest, 73. >> we all are civil servants, working for the department of the navy. >> reporter: most of the victims' family members are still too distraught today to speak out about their loved ones yet, but some of them did pass along old photographs and shared memories. kathy gaarde's husband said she was a caring daughter, fantastic mother, wife and best friend for 43 years. the gaarde family is asking for donations sent in her honor to the virginia branch of the humane society because she was an animal lover. martin bodrog graduated from the naval academy and spent 22 years as an officer in the navy. his family said he was often wearing a boston bruins jersey and shorts even in the snow, walking his dog and helping shovel all the driveways of his
elderly neighbors. mary knight taught classes at a community college in addition to her job at the navy yard. and vishnu pandit's children sent along this photo calling their father a kind and gentle man. kenneth proctor's youngest son, kendall, posted this photo of his father, who also died monday. six others lost their lives on monday, including john roger johnson, gerald read, sylvia fraser, frank kohler, arthur daniels and richard michael ridgell. now, one of the victims we featured there, mary knight, was in her daughter's wedding very recently. it's important to remember that these were all adults leading very full lives and it's teenagers and young adult children they're being survived by. >> thank you so much. three of the people wounded in yesterday's shooting are said to be doing better today. among the injured, a washington, d.c. police officer who was shot
twice in the legs. officer scott williams is a 23-year veteran of the force. earlier today, police chief cathy lanier talked about officer williams and how his character is helping him beat the odds. >> we have a very good prognosis from the doctors. he does have serious injuries to his legs. again, i know the officer and i know his personality. i'm real confident that he not only will walk again but probably will outrun most of us again. >> i'm joined by christopher baughman, chairman of the d.c. police union. first, it's great to hear that officer williams is doing better. tell us about this encounter between the officer and the gunman. >> what happened in there is they sent in what we call active shooter teams. it used to be that we would pull back around an area and wait until we got our s.w.a.t. teams in place but after columbine we adjusted those tactics so we now train a majority of our force to go in as active shooter teams, also with other agencies. so as soon as they get there,
they can begin getting into the building and stop what the threat is. >> specifically when the officer ran up the stairs, the shooter, the killer, was on top of the stairs shooting down from the fourth floor? >> the specifics of the investigation at this point, we're not going to discuss. we're a little hesitant. i know there's a lot of talk out there but this investigation needs to unfold. we need to know exactly what happened, have that documented, let the fbi do its job and then we'll be able to discuss and look at what happened. >> the city councilman for this area told us yesterday that the gun blast i guess from the shot gun almost severed the officer's legs. is there the hope that he will be able to walk again? >> we're going to be there with him the whole way. we have officers with him. i saw him this morning, i was in the ambulance last night before it took off. we will get him back. he's one of us, he's part of the family. we'll get him back to where he needs to be. >> tell us about some of the other individuals with the metropolitan police department and other law enforcement organizations who ran into the danger. >> the bravery that was exhibited was extraordinary. these teams formed up
immediately. they went in even after they knew there had been an officer shot, they continued to go in there, they continued to risk their lives to save civilians and if they had not done this, if they had not gone in, i think the death toll would have been even higher. i think we see a lot of tv, a lot of movies but the idea that you're going into a situation where you believe you may be killed, yet you go in there to save others, that's what they did. i couldn't be prouder to be a metropolitan police officer right now and i'm proud of all the local agencies, because what i heard across the board is everybody was brave, everybody kept going in there and you can have all the training in the world but at the end of the day, it's going to come down to that individual courage of each officer. we saw that time and again, time and again, and that's one of the reasons we were able to contain what was already an awful situation. >> tremendous character, no doubt. i heard one of the law enforcement officials say yesterday no doubt that aaron alexis would have kept shooting had he not been taken down. thanks to you for coming in and please convey to officer williams our thanks and our prayers on his behalf. >> thank you very much. >> thank you, sir.
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welcome back to "the lead." i'm jake tapper. live right outside the washington navy yard. it was a rampage within walking distance of the heart of the nation's capitol so how did someone like aaron alexis get inside the navy yard in the first place? how did he get clearance? the question comes coincident coincidentally at the same time as the release of a new government audit that says budget cuts have hurt security at a variety of military installations, including the navy yard. congressman mike turner of ohio, a member of the house armed services committee, joins me now. congressman, thanks for being here. you spoke earlier today with the special inspector general who did this audit and you asked him if the tragedy that happened yesterday could be tied in any way to the budget cuts and the point of this audit. what was his response? >> well, they're very concerned about the safety at the navy facilities, and their report which is now available online is very condemning of the navy's vetting process, not accessing
criminal records, not even looking for possible terror suspects. what they indicated is they will now take the specific instance of the shooter, compare that against the lack of vetting processes that they've seen within the navy, and to try to make that correlation. the navy cited budget constraints for their new process of permitting access to navy facilities. they also in rejecting the inspector general's recommendations to tighten security, cited budgetary constraints. that's certainly a concern for us. we're going to follow that up. >> i guess what's so confounding to a lot of us is after he was named, so many members of the media were able to do searches and find out about this 2004 arrest, when he fired a gun at the tires of a car and said he had a blackout. other arrests, the fact that he was honorably discharged from the military but there were a number of incidents where he was reprimanded. in fact, he was close to, according to some accounts, close to possibly being
dishonorably discharged although he didn't meet the requirement, ultimately. how come none of this tripped any alarms for the navy? >> that's part of the problem. the inspector general in their report identified 52 felons that had received access to navy facilities that had not been identified, but were later caught in the system when their names were revetted. so clearly, there's a problem with the navy. i've sent a letter to the secretary of the navy today requesting that they immediately implement the recommendations of the inspector general. the inspector general specifically cites that their concern was the safety of individuals at these facilities as a result of this improper vetting. >> now, the mayor of washington, d.c. said that the forced budget cuts of this year called sequestration could be part of this. take a listen. >> as i look at, for example, sequestration which is about saving money in the federal government being spent, that we somehow skimped on what would be
available for projects like this and then we put people at risk. >> is he right, congressman? does this have to do with sequestration or does this predate that? >> this predates sequestration. i think sequestration has become sort of the buzzword for budgetary constraints. again, the i.g. in their report have the navy specifically talking about budgetary constraints for their new processes, and the i.g. raises the issue of how does the navy look at the issue of balancing both security risk and budgetary constraints. but i think this really does go to the heart of what we're trying to do in the department of defense, finding smart ways to do things but at the same time, lower risk. security is not an area that should at all suffer as we look to ways in which cuts might be able to be found. >> all right. congressman mike turner, thanks. keep us updated on this. >> thank you so much. coming up next, voices in his head and in the walls. run-ins with the cops. how did a man like aaron alexis
he heard voices talking to him through his hotel wall, according to police, and when he moved, they moved with him. we know the navy yard shooter sought treatment for mental illness but what was he suffering from? he had violent outbursts. like carpools... polly wants to know if we can pick her up. yeah, we can make room. yeah. [ male announcer ] ...office space. yes, we're loving this communal seating. it's great. [ male announcer ] the best thing to share? a data plan. at&t mobile share for business. one bucket of data for everyone on the plan, unlimited talk and text on smart phones. now, everyone's in the spirit of sharing. hey, can i borrow your boat this weekend? no. [ male announcer ] share more. save more. at&t mobile share for business. ♪
welcome back to this special edition of "the lead." aaron alexis had violent outbursts, run-ins with the police, and police now say he also heard voices. the father of the navy yard shooter also told police that his son's issues began over a decade ago, when he began to suffer from what he says was post-traumatic stress disorder after the september 11th, 2001 attacks. that all paints a troubling picture of the mind of a man responsible for the deaths of 12 people here at the washington navy yard. i want to bring in dr. gale saltz, associate professor of psychiatry at new york presbyterian hospital. doctor, thanks for being here. we certainly don't know for sure
what caused aaron alexis to snap. but when you hear of all these incidents, shooting the tires, saying he had blackouts, hearing voices through the wall, saying that somebody was sending vibrations through a microwave, what sort of mental health concerns leap to mind for you? >> well, you're describing symptoms of psychosis, the hearing things through the wall and hearing voices which are called auditory hallucinations, are symptoms of psychotic thinking. psychotic thinking can be due to, in some instances, post-traumatic stress disorder but often it's due to another psychiatric diagnosis like schizophrenia, like severe bipolar disorder, and early 20s is a typical time for those kinds of disorders to first present. certainly someone who is psychotic should not be able to have a weapon, but i think it's important for people to understand that most people who are even seriously si
psychiatrically ill, even psychotic, will not commit a violent act. they are more likely to be victims themselves. however, the fact that people say he appeared suspicious and paranoid and that he had had some violent behavior in the past, those are red flags because people who feel that others are out to persecute them as a delusion are more likely to potentially be violent, as are, of course, ones who have committed some violent acts in the past. >> so doctor, how does someone like this who had reportedly been seen by medical professionals at a v.a. hospital, at least one, how does that person still fall through the cracks? >> you know, i guess it remains to be seen whether, in fact, that's what happened. there was an actual report and in fact, it did fall through the cracks, or whether it was a case of, you know, entering but not following through, no one heard anything about any of his symptoms, really. in other words, a patient may come in and say i feel down, i
feel depressed, i feel anxious, nothing that would flag and they don't report that in fact, they're hearing voices or any of these things. you know, at the end of the day, psychiatrists are not mind readers. in new york, if a patient came in and said to me i'm hearing voices and i have a gun, i would have to report them. that's part of the safe act now and i would do so. but there are a lot of cases where patients don't return what's going on, they come in once, they don't return for treatment, they are never hospitalized or there's no record to in any way insinuate that they officially have mental illness that should prevent them from getting a weapon. >> doctor, thank you so much for your insights. cnn will have continuing live coverage of the d.c. navy yard massacre in a special night of prime time this evening. here's a preview. >> cnn tonight. at 8:00 on "anderson cooper 360" the shooting rampage at the navy yard in washington, d.c. anderson cooper is there live with the latest on the investigation. at 9:00 on "piers morgan live" a
test of faith for the man known as america's pastor. piers talks exclusively with rick warren and his wife, their first interview since their son's suicide, and about what he did when he heard about the navy yard shootings in washington. >> the first thing i did is get down on my knees and pray for those families. >> it's all on cnn tonight starting with "outfront" at 7:00, "ac 360" at 8:00, and "piers morgan live" at 9:00. tonight on cnn. >> coming up next, we'll check back in with the fbi on the navy yard shooting. what are investigators looking for right now as they try to piece together all the details of the attack. i didn't think it was anything. i had pain in my abdomen... it just wouldn't go away. i was spotting, but i had already gone through menopause. these symptoms may be nothing... but they could be early warning signs of a gynecologic cancer, such as cervical, ovarian, or uterine cancer. feeling bloated for no reason. that's what i remember. seeing my doctor probably saved my life.
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washington, d.c. we have not lost sight of other national news. one of the largest air rescue operations since hurricane katrina is back under way in colorado after a relentless onslaught of rain that left hundreds of families stranded. the numbers associated with this flood crisis are staggering. 1500 homes have been completely washed away. nearly 600 people are still unaccounted for, although officials caution that could just be a result of communications systems in the area being down. the damage is estimated to be in the hundreds of millions of dollars. there are now eight confirmed deaths, including a couple that was swept away after getting out of their car. joining us now by phone is larimer county sheriff justin smith at the incident command post in loveland, colorado. sheriff, thanks so much for joining us. what's the latest on rescue operations in your county? >> well, jake, we have good news this afternoon on rescues, because weather has continued clear. we have significant air resources up. what that means is the
helicopters are getting out, they're getting to the zones that we put people together and they're flying them out of the area. in addition to that, we have the urban search and rescue teams out in the field with our deputies and they are getting to people, checking residences, going through and documenting what we have. so a lot of things going on out there. >> how many individuals are still unaccounted for in your county? >> the last number i had was somewhere in the 200 range. they were unaccounted for and certainly that doesn't mean missing, just simply means nobody's heard from them. it's a little difficult because at the same time we'll take people off who we locate and bring back. names may be added to the list because other family members or friends will call in, somebody we weren't aware of. >> we heard that food and water is running low in some areas. will you and your officers be able to get supplies to families that are awaiting rescue?
>> yes, jake. that's one of the things that's going on at the same time that these air operations are able to go into areas where we cannot extract people yet and are bringing in water, bringing in mres to put in the field to folks so if they're awaiting rescue, we are getting that to them. it's easier in large communities, maybe a dozen houses in an area where you can put a helicopter down, where you may have individual cabins it's a little more difficult. i can tell you, i spent a good portion of yesterday afternoon out at the airfield greeting people as they came off the helicopters and talking with them. i can tell you they were in much better condition than i anticipated they might be, given the number of days. this started last wednesday. but a lot of these folks, you have to understand, they are very hardy folks. they keep a good supply of food and water at their residence so they are actually doing pretty good, but yes, it's getting to the point with some folks that
they're really running out of supplies. >> sheriff smith, our thoughts and prayers are with you and the citizens of colorado. thanks so much for joining us. >> thank you. back now to our national lead. the more investigators learn about the navy yard shooter, aaron alexis, the more questions they have about how he managed to pull off this deadly rampage. i want to welcome back shawn henry, former executive assistant director for the fbi. shawn, one of the things you and i were talking about during the break is the fact that there are so many red flags that we've seen now, obviously everything in retrospect, including the report from deb feyerick about the police telling the naval yard in rhode island this guy's reporting that he was feeling vibrations. do you think that anything will change now, not just in the military, but society-wide? >> i think that an event like this raises the public's awareness. unfortunately it's oftentimes short-sighted. the pendulum moves to the right for a short period of time, then tends to slide back. but i would hope that the public, seeing an issue like this, seeing those red flags, in
the future, identifying people who might have problems, bringing it to the attention of authorities, people who should know and might be able to intervene before a tragedy like this happens. >> what's your message for authorities as well? obviously the authorities knew he shot out the tires of that car, obviously the naval yard in rhode island had been alerted by local police this guy's reporting vibrations are being sent to him. what do those authorities need to do? >> let me put this in perspective. this goes back about nine years. lot of events over a long time. certainly something should have pi picked up. it's easy to look back and say we should have picked it up. it happened in multiple states over many years. investigators are doing their job, trying to do the right thing. sometimes things do slip through the cracks. the resounding message at the end of the day is we have to be alert. there are bad people out there looking to harm innocent people. hopefully the events of yesterday will help raise that awareness so this doesn't happen again any time soon. >> i hope so. shawn henry, thank you so much. that's it for "the lead." i'm jake tapper. i will now turn you over to wolf blitzer. he is in "the situation room,"
back in the washington, d.c. bureau of cnn. wolf? jake, thanks very much. happening now, we have extraordinary new details about the gunman who killed 12 people at the washington navy yard. police, family and friends, they are painting a picture of a deeply troubled individual who heard voices, felt vibrations, before he apparently snapped. we also are getting new information right now about the weapon. authorities say alexis walked into the navy yard with a shotgun. we are going to tell you where and how he managed to buy that weapon. and a city known for its tough gun laws is now in mourning. amid deep anger over apparent security lapses. i'll speak live in the coming minutes with the washington, d.c. mayor, vincent gray. i'm wolf blitzer in washington. you're in "the situation room."