Return to Transcripts main page


At Least Eight Killed in Mass Shooting at Indianapolis FedEx Facility; Biden to be Briefed This Morning on Mass Shooting at FedEx Facility; Chicago Police Release Video of a Police Officer Shooting a 13-Year-Old Boy; Police: Video Shows Less Than One Second Passes from When 13-Year-Old was Seen Holding a Gun and When He was Shot By a Police Officer. Aired 9-9:30a ET

Aired April 16, 2021 - 09:00   ET



JIM SCIUTTO, CNN ANCHOR: It is Friday morning. I'm Jim Sciutto.

I'd like to say good Friday morning to you but we are following familiar breaking news this morning. In a week where the U.S. has been grappling with gun violence of many types across the country, stand by. Take a breath and take notice. It has happened again in America.

As you wake up this morning, we're learning more about another mass shooting. This is the scene. It shows all of the cities where there's been a mass shooting. In just the last 30 days. By CNN's count there have been at least 45 mass shootings since those spa shootings in Atlanta on March 16th. It has been just eight days since the last one.

It is happening across the country. The latest tragedy took place at a FedEx warehouse in Indianapolis. Here's what we know. At least eight people have been killed. Officials say at least five others were shot and taken to the hospital while two others were treated at the scene. The suspect is dead. Police say he may have died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound. Here's what the police are saying this morning.


DEP. CHIEF CRAIG MCCARTT, INDIANAPOLIS METROPOLITAN POLICE: The suspect came into the parking lot and I believe he exited his vehicle and quickly began shooting. It wasn't precipitated by any kind of a disturbance or an argument. So the first shooting occurred in the parking lot, and then he went inside.


SCIUTTO: A witness is saying that a so-called good guy with a gun did try to stop this attacker, but that person was killed as well. There will be a press conference in the next hour. We're going to bring you all the new details as that happens. We are told that President Biden will be briefed on the shooting this morning.

Let's begin with CNN's Jason Carroll. He's following the latest from Indianapolis. Jason, what do we know about the suspect here and what led to this.

JASON CARROLL, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, first, let me get to those who survived what happened here, Jim, if I may because what we're starting to hear are more and more stories of survival. Those who were here at the FedEx facility and managed to make it out alive. We can tell you that the FBI is contributing with this investigation. They are going to be lending their efforts.

Already heard from a source within the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department who described a horrific scene inside the FedEx facility. The suspect, as you heard partially there, once he got to the parking lot, started shooting almost immediately. Once he got inside, didn't get far inside. He continued to shoot and shortly at about 11:00 last night, once authorities got here at the scene, the shooter apparently taking his own life.

One of the FedEx employees that was here, he survived the shooting. He was not injured. He talked about what he saw, what had happened. He talked about how he was able to get away. But he also talked about someone else who was here. Someone who tried to stop the shooter and ended up dying.


LEVI MILLER, FEDEX SHOOTING WITNESS: I see a man, a hooded figure. I was unable to see his face in detail. However, the man did have an AR in his hand. And he started shouting and then he started firing at random directions. But at first, it was at his right. And I thought he saw me, and so I immediately ducked for cover.

My friend at the time witnessed a man who was not a part of the incident, but he also pulled out a gun from his truck to try and engage the shooter. And he died because of it.


CARROLL: Just want to -- a quick note here, Jim. Police at this point have not confirmed what type of weapon the suspect was carrying. Police now say eight people dead. Five, that number has been updated, five transported to hospital. One of them in critical condition. But it's also clear that there were a number of walking wounded. People who were shot or otherwise hurt who took themselves to local hospitals and so as a result of that, authorities are still trying to get an exact number of those who were injured.

We can also tell you that a family reunification site has been set up at a hotel nearby from where we're standing right now. And what's been happening there is a number of family members of FedEx employees have been trying to reach their loved ones. But as it turns out, a number of FedEx employees aren't allowed to have cell phones on the floor of the facility, and so when shots rang out and they ran out of the building, they ran out without cell phones. And so it's been this effort to get some of these FedEx employees reunited with their family members. That effort now is under way.


We do have a quick statement from FedEx officials. Want to read some of it to you. It says, "We are deeply shocked and saddened by the loss of our team members following the tragic shooting at our FedEx ground facility in Indianapolis. Our most heartfelt sympathies with those affected by the senseless act of violence. The safety of our team members is our top priority and we are fully cooperating with the investigating authorities.

Again, the FBI is now investigating this, joining the investigation. We're expecting a press conference at about 10:30 -- Jim.

SCIUTTO: How often have we seen and read and quoted statements like that? 45 mass shootings in the last 30 days. This is an American story.

Jason Carroll, thanks very much.

I want to bring in CNN law enforcement analyst Jonathan Wackrow to speak about this.

Jonathan, you served in the Secret Service. Listen, I shake my head because I can't count the number of times I've uttered these words, a mass shooting in America on this broadcast as a reporter, as an anchor. Let's start with this particular scene as we know it. Someone with a gun goes to a facility. Someone even confronted them outside, that good guy with a gun kind of thing, you know, but that person still died as well.

Based on the details of this shooting, what can you tell us now about what happened here?

JONATHAN WACKROW, CNN LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: Well, listen, Jim, you know, it was only one week ago I was on your show when we're talking about another mass shooting incident. This is becoming too commonplace. And time and time again, we are witnessing these tragic incidents which represent now a persistent threat to our communities where no one is immune to this violence.

And what we've seen is while the causes of each of these incidents may vary, the outcomes are always consistent. There are death and injury to the public or in this instance employees within a workplace, there's destruction of assets. So from a risk perspective we actually need to recognize these consequences and then start managing against it. And the common denominator in a majority of these incidents is a gun in the hands with someone who should absolutely not have it.

Why do I say it? Because it's not normal to go and kill somebody. You don't wake up or get up from your couch and decide to go to the FedEx facility to go and kill individuals. I mean, targeted violence typically is in response to some type of grievance. In this case, you know, there's a high likelihood that we are going to find out that there was some sort of workplace grievance between this individual and either somebody else or someone management of the facility. I mean, that's the common model.


WACKROW: But, listen, there's a psychological issue here that, you know, there's a continuum of behavior that we actually need to look at to understand, were there red flags before this incident? And that's what investigators are going to look at now. The challenge is the suspect is dead so we don't get to hear their statements. But we're going to look back at everything about this individual. You know, their friends, their family, online statements, everything about them to see what was missed before we get to this incident.

SCIUTTO: Fine. But in every country, there's crazy people -- are crazy people can get guns. Police say this took place within one to two minutes. Eight people dead at least in one to two minutes. We don't know what the weapon is. But what does that you about the weapon or what indication might that give you about the weapon?

WACKROW: Well, listen, it's a weapon in the hands of somebody that's motivated to kill, right? So this is --


SCIUTTO: What kind of weapon, though, Jonathan? It's a kind -- if you can kill eight people and injure others in one to two minutes, what does that tell you? This is not a six-shooter, right? I mean, we have a reasonable expectation this is something that makes it easy to fire.

WACKROW: Yes. Jim, super fair point and very relevant to this conversation. Again, these weapon platforms that have a high rate of fire, that are high capacity are, you know, always part of this conversation. And that has to be something that we look at from the risk management perspective. How do we reduce the level of that type of violence? We have to look at it. It is part of the conversation. A lot of people don't want to have that conversation.

There's politicians that don't have the political will to go up and stand up against these type of weapon platforms that time and time again are part of these violent acts. But it's a two-part process. It's that platform in the hands of somebody that has the intent, the means, opportunity and intent to cause this harm.

SCIUTTO: Let me ask you this. We often hear, and I've had lawmakers say this to me on this broadcast after one of the countless school shootings we've covered on this network that, well, put guns in the hands of teachers. Now we've had in the last month shootings at a spa facility. We had a doctor killed in his home. I was driving to work yesterday. My path was blocked near the National Cathedral because of a road rage incident, someone took out a gun and shot someone else.

Now a FedEx facility. And we did have someone here with a gun confront the shooter and die. Is the good guy with the gun stopping the bad guy with the gun a sufficient response to this kind of gun violence in your view?


WACKROW: Listen, you know, when I hear that statement, you know, people are looking for that one singular answer to solve for this problem. A good guy with a gun isn't present all the time. So that's not part of the mitigation strategy. You can't build a national strategy around having a good guy with a gun that's present at all times when these incidents happen.

Remember what I said when we just started this conversation. This is a persistent threat that is present in every part of our community. So what are we going to do? Arm our entire nation with guns? We're going to have shootouts everywhere? That's just not feasible. It's not a rational conversation. We need to start having rational conversations about smart gun control, but also thinking about how do we take a whole of community approach to address these behavioral issues by individuals prior to them getting to the point where they transcend into these violent acts.

SCIUTTO: Sure. Yes. I mean, some places don't even have waiting periods. You're angry. You go get a gun, you go use it.

Jonathan Wackrow, good to have you on. Thanks very much. And sadly, we're going to be talking about this again, I'm sure.

WACKROW: Thanks, Jim.

SCIUTTO: White House officials say that President Biden will be briefed this morning on this latest mass shooting in America. Won't be the first time a president has been briefed on something like this.

CNN's Jeremy Diamond is live at the White House.

Jeremy, this comes in the midst of a continuing effort by the White House and Democrats to push forward background checks legislation, which is one piece of legislation that has some bipartisan support. Does this change the dynamic there at all? Does it increase the urgency in the White House?

JEREMY DIAMOND, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: I think it's hard to see how this changes the dynamics on Capitol Hill. What we may see is more executive action from the White House on gun reform actions. It was just a week ago yesterday that the president took a half dozen executive actions on guns, including going after those ghost guns which can self-assembled, don't have any serial numbers and aren't treated as firearms, as well as those pistol stabilizing braces like the one that the shooter in Boulder, Colorado, used.

Now this is a White House that knows that more mass shootings are going to happen in this country, especially as we return to that pre- pandemic normal. Sadly mass shootings are a part of that pre-pandemic normal as well. And so we know that they have been looking at other executive actions that President Biden might be able to take in the wake of additional mass shootings.

What we know right now is that President Biden is expected to be briefed this morning in detail on this situation that happened in Indianapolis on this mass shooting. Already his White House chief of staff Ron Klain, a Hoosier and an Indianapolis native himself, he has already been in touch with the mayor of Indianapolis and the Homeland Security adviser has also been in touch with law enforcement officials.

I would expect that we will hear from President Biden at some point today on this shooting. Either when he meets with the Japanese prime minister later today at the White House or perhaps before then. But as of now, we do know that the president is waking up this morning to another mass shooting in America and he is expected to be briefed in detail later this morning -- Jim.

SCIUTTO: The president is and we all are. Jeremy Diamond, thanks very much.

Still to come this hour, yet another tragedy involving guns. This time a 13-year-old boy, pictured there, shot and killed while running away from police. Was the shooting justified as the police are claiming here? We'll look at the circumstances here with experts and former officers as well.

And researchers are testing the Pfizer vaccine now in children as young as 2. As the company's CEO says that it may be necessary to have an annual booster shot following initial vaccinations. We'll dig into what that means for you and me.



SCIUTTO: Well, Chicago police say that body-cam footage shows that less than one second passed between the time 13-year-old Adam Toledo was seen by police holding a gun and the time that he was then shot and killed by a police officer. That officer has now been named by police overnight. A lawyer representing him calls the situation tragic, but says that his client was placed in a situation where he was left with no choice. CNN's Ryan Young joins me now from Chicago. We do want to warn our viewers that the video you're about to see is disturbing. The reason we're showing it is it shows the details, what led up to this shooting and what happened in that moment. Ryan, help walk us through this here. It's shocking to see. I watched it, made my stomach turn, but the circumstances around it are important to watch.

RYAN YOUNG, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, and it absolutely is. And look, any time you talk about a 13-year-old being shot, your heart drops. And you think about this, if you watch the video all the way through, without any freeze frames, it's hard to kind of figure out exactly what's going on. This all happens in under 20 seconds to put this in some sort of perspective. It's when you slow it down, you can see some of the things that police are saying. In fact, there was a lot of folks who watched this the first time and said, they didn't even see the gun, but now when you highlight certain facts of it, you can see the story that police are trying to put out.


YOUNG (voice-over): The tragic final moments of a 13-year-old boy's life unfolding in just 19 seconds. Chicago police releasing this body- camera footage, and we warn you that it's disturbing, showing officer Eric Stillman responding to a shots fired call before chasing one of the two suspects down in an alley.


ERIC STILLMAN, POLICE OFFICER: Police, stop! Stop right there now! Hey, show me your -- hands. Stop!


Shots fired. Shots fired. Get an ambulance over here now.

YOUNG: The officer firing a single fatal shot into the chest of Adam Toledo, despite efforts to save him, the teen was pronounced dead at the scene.

MAYOR LORI LIGHTFOOT, CHICAGO, ILLINOIS: No parents should ever have a video broadcast widely of their child's last moments. Much less be placed in a terrible situation of losing their child in the first place.

YOUNG: Chicago police saying Toledo had a gun in his hand before the shooting, and that they recovered one from just behind the fence highlighting it in this video edited and released by the department. But the body camera footage appears to show Toledo had his hands up and was not holding anything at the time he was shot. A crucial detail his family's attorney says is important in the investigation.

ADEENA WEISS ORTIZ, LAWYER FOR ADAM TOLEDO'S FAMILY: If he had a gun, he tossed it. The officer said show me your hands. He complied. He turned around.

YOUNG: Toledo's family agreed to the release of the video after viewing them with the Chicago mayor's office earlier this week. Now, the officer who killed Toledo is on administrative leave. His attorney telling CNN he was left with no other option, adding Stillman was well within his justification of using deadly force. But for protesters and Toledo's family, there are questions about his death that need to be answered.

ORTIZ: All I know is that the officer is trained to not shoot an unarmed individual, not shoot an unarmed child.


YOUNG: Yes, Jim, this is obviously a tough story when you think about how this is all connected especially the mistrust in the community towards the police department. You may remember a few years ago, there was a name that was out there, Laquan McDonald, and of course, they believe there was a cover-up there. Well, this is sort of what the community has been talking about in terms of that relationship between the police department. So, you do have some people who mistrust what the police department is putting out right now. But when you think about all the violence in this city, over 760 people killed last year, there is an epidemic when it comes to gun violence. But the big conversation right now is about exactly what's happening in those seconds of the video, in that split-second decision. It's something that's going to be debated for quite some time. Jim. SCIUTTO: Ryan Young, thanks very much. With us now to discuss is CNN

law enforcement analyst Charles Ramsey who led police departments both in Philadelphia and here in Washington D.C. Chief, it's great to have you on this morning. You watched this, and I know you don't celebrate or welcome any incidents that end in this way. But you watched this and you said that based on the circumstances, it makes for reasonable shooting by the officer involved. Tell us why you believe that.

CHARLES RAMSEY, CNN LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: Yes, and that hasn't changed, and I've seen it several times. I've seen several different videos. If you go to Chicago COPA, the Civilian Office of Police Accountability, they have several videos that are posted. Full disclosure, I'm from Chicago, I spent 30 years in a Chicago Police Department, I actually broke in, in the district where this occurred, but I do not know any of the officers there involved in this. So, I just want to get that out there. When I reviewed all the footage, including what led up to it, and that is the shooting -- the shots fired that took place that the 13-year-old and the adult were involved in, along with the chase. The young man had a gun, this is at 2:50 in the morning, by the way, a 13-year-old with a 21-year-old at 2:50 a.m., and I think that's important to note.

He's running down the alley, the officer is in pursuit, he does have a gun in his right hand, he gets to a location of a fence, it's a wooden fence, but it's got an opening and you can see when you look at the video from the school behind the fence, he gets there and he starts to turn, and at the same time there's a motion where he tosses something and then immediately puts his hands up, almost in a single motion. The officer doesn't see that because he can't see what's going on behind the fence. He fires. It's less than a second like 832 --


RAMSEY: Milliseconds that this took place. And the officer, I think his actions were reasonable. It's tragic.


RAMSEY: There's no question about that. But at the time the shooting took place, I thought the actions of the officer were reasonable under the circumstances. Tragic circumstances, but this is not criminal.

SCIUTTO: As you were speaking, Chief Ramsey, we were showing that video there, perhaps again for clarity we could show it again. This is -- this is just to the right of the fence that the teen was standing by before -- or rather after, but the allegation here is that he dropped this weapon before he raised his hand. There is the weapon that police say was in his hand prior.


I want to ask you this because it comes down to literally one second here, right --

RAMSEY: We do -- SCIUTTO: In that he appears to have the weapon, turns around, drops

it or tosses it based on the video we have behind the fence. So, by the time he raises his hand, he is no longer holding a weapon. And that's of course what his lawyer is emphasizing here. From a police officer's perspective, does he or she have to look in that moment and say, well, the hands are empty now or out of an abundance of caution say, this person just had a weapon within the last second, right, I have to take steps to protect myself? I'm just curious what the training is, in that moment, and I suppose also a practical question is how quickly do we expect police to respond to a change in circumstances there in that split second?

RAMSEY: Well, first of all, if the officer knew his hands were empty, he wouldn't have fired. But the last time he saw that right hand, it had a gun in it, he spun around and again, it's less than a second. And police officers, despite training, are human beings and your reflexes and your reactions are very similar to what they'd be with anyone. I don't know how many people have actually chased an armed person down an alley at night. I have. And I understand the stress. I understand all that. And now you know he's 13. You don't know any of that at the time you're chasing, and you don't have the benefit of watching video and replaying it over and over again, slowing it down, blowing it up or whatever.

You know, you just don't. I mean, you're in the moment. And it's unfortunate and it's tragic. There's absolutely no question about it. And I'm sure that officer wishes it never happened. The other part of this that I think is important at some point in time for someone to show, he immediately calls for an ambulance --


RAMSEY: And he personally begins CPR. In fact, several officers take turns administering CPR to this young man. And -- everything they can to save his life. And I think that that's an important piece of this, to take -- and you've got to look at all the facts and circumstances around this case, but when I look at it, I think it's reasonable. I think it's tragic. But it is what it is. And 2:50 a.m., a 13-year-old hanging out with a 21-year-old who just moments before fired several rounds at a car that was going down the street which is also on video, I mean, it's tragic.

SCIUTTO: I hear you. And I did watch the video, you're exactly right, in the moment immediately following, the officer is asking him to sort of look him in the eye, applies a CPR and prior, as you noted, police heard and documented gun shots prior to this incident. Charles Ramsey, always good to draw on your experience.

RAMSEY: Thank you.

SCIUTTO: Well, researchers are taking a big step when it comes to getting children vaccinated. This as we learn you may need a coronavirus booster shot, sort of like a flu booster shot following vaccination in the years to come. We're going to have the details on those possible recommendations, next.