The Rachel Maddow Show, Transcript 12/2/2015
Show: THE RACHEL MADDOW SHOW
Date: December 2, 2015
Guest: Alex Vasquez, Daniel Danelski, Jason Leopold
RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC HOST: Chris, thanks to you at home for being
with us tonight. It is now 9:00 p.m. on the East Coast. It is 6:00 p.m.
in San Bernardino, California.
Where law enforcement officials are still dealing with what looks like
a still very active police situation tonight. This is obviously still an
unfolding situation, but the key questions that are outstanding are, number
one, the number of suspects.
We know that two people are dead, who are suspects in this mass
killing today in San Bernardino. We do not know if there were more than
two people involved in this incident. We also do not know if anybody still
may be at large.
We were told that a third person has been detained. We do not have
any information as to whether or not that person was involved in this
That`s key question number one. The number of suspects, and that
leads, obviously, to the question of whether or not this is over. Whether
or not there`s anybody else who`s going to be taken into custody.
Key question number two, explosives. We`ve had vague information from
law enforcement officials that there may have been explosives found at the
initial sight of the mass killing this morning, and that there may have
been – they intimated that there may at least suspicious, possibly
explosive material at the SUV, at the vehicle, where the two known suspects
The third key question, the third key question is motive, of course.
We have no information whatsoever about whether or not – whether there is
any known motive here. The only intimation we have had about motive at all
is from a representative from the FBI, who had said earlier, flatly, we do
not know if there`s any reason to believe this is terrorism.
He amended that statement, sort of shaded that statement, in a press
statement moments ago, still without being definitive, by saying that they
are re-advising their earlier thoughts on the question of whether or not it
is terrorism. He said, it may be, it may not be. They do not know.
But clearly, the blanket statement that they had no information as to
whether or not it was terrorism has been shaded a little bit this evening,
thus raising that prospect, which has additional implications in terms of
believe it or not this matter is over.
So, again, a lot of stuff that`s very important to know here, is stuff
that we do not know. In terms of what we do know, it`s a pretty short
list. Shortly after 11:00 a.m. local time in San Bernardino, some number
of shooters, possibly two, possibly as many as three shooters opened fire
at what`s called the Inland Regional Center. It`s a large facility. It`s
a social services facility that serves people with developmental
disabilities and their families.
We do not know if that facility was targeted for any specific reason.
We have no information on that one way or the other. It is hard to imagine
a specific motive anybody might have, terroristic or otherwise, for
targeting a social service facility that serves people with developmental
disabilities and their families.
That said, the president and CEO of that facility said the shooting
happened in a conference area, basically, a large conference room, within
that larger facility. It`s believed that a shooter or more likely,
shooters, entered that facility, entered that large conference room, armed
with what police describe as long guns. We don`t have further confirmed
description about the weapons used beyond that.
The police chief of San Bernardino said tonight that when they did
find two dead suspects in an SUV, about two miles from the site of the
shooting tonight, several hours after the shooting had been concluded, they
did find what he described as assault-style weapons on them, which would
imply semi-automatic rifles as opposed to bolt-action rifles or shotguns.
We had been thinking over the course of the day that when we did finally
get weapons information, it would be something like that, because of
witness reports about the number of bullets that were fired and the pace of
It sounded like we were going to hear, it was semi-automatic weapons.
We had heard from police that it was long guns and indeed the police in San
Bernardino confirming tonight that when those two suspects were found dead
in the SUV, either shot by police or shot at their own hand, we don`t know,
they were armed with assault-style rifles, which would be semi-automatic
Some witnesses from the shooting this morning say the suspects or
suspects were wearing masks and possibly body armor or at least some type
of upper body gear that looked tactical. Just on an anecdotal level, it`s
very hard to tell, especially if you`re just a lay observer and you don`t
have technical expertise in the matter, it`s very hard to tell whether or
not somebody is wearing a bulletproof vest. A lot of tactical gear or even
load-bearing vests can look like bulletproof – or body armor, excuse me.
But witnesses describe at least something that looked like tactical
gear if not body armor. The quote from the police chief at the press
conference they gave today was that the shooters looked like they came
We believe from the victims that most of the people who were killed
and wounded were killed and wounded in one pretty confined area, in that
one conference center area of the Inland Regional Center. We don`t know
exactly what happened there, but whatever unfolded there left at least 14
people dead and at least another 17 people wounded.
Now, in terms of explosives, there had been intimations today that the
police had had bomb squad type responders obscene and that there had been
some sort of device or devices found at the site of the mass shooting. A
short time ago, the police chief confirmed that a potential explosive
device was also found at the scene of the mass shooting, at Inland Regional
Center. Again, the police are not being specific about that, but they said
they believed it to be an explosive device.
At some point today, again, the police chief has been a little bit
elliptical in the way he has described this. The impression that he has
given in his press statements is that police received some sort of tip or
followed some sort of lead to end up at a house in Redlands, in nearby
Redlands, California. These are all nearby cities, all part of what`s
called the Inland Empire, which is basically due east of Los Angeles.
And at this house in Redlands, police were investigating something and
something happened that led to a pursuit of police following, at least two
people, in a dark-colored SUV. This was about five hours after the
shooting at this point. It was around 3:15 p.m. local time, and police
located what they believed to be the suspect`s vehicle on the suburban
street in Redlands, about two miles from where the initial mass shooting
We still don`t have official word on who those people were. We`ve
received no information about their identity. But, we do know, according
to police, that there was a gun battle with those suspects, on the street,
in that gun battle.
Police say that one officer was injured, but it was not a life-
threatening injury, and the two people, there were two people in that SUV
who were either killed by police or who killed themselves. But they were
dead, apparently, of gunshot wounds inside the SUV. Police said that one
of those people is a male and one of those people is a female.
They said nothing else about them in terms of identifying them, other
than to say they were dressed in assault-style clothing and that both of
them were armed with assault rifles and with handguns. They made it seem
like at least those people were each armed with at least two guns. Expect
that we may get more specificity from police and law enforcement on that
matter as the night goes on, particularly because that scene around the SUV
does appear to be a settled scene, so presumably they`ll be able to give us
more information about anything they recovered there.
Now, it appears that in terms of those two suspects killed at that
SUV, it appeared that one was killed on the street right next to the SUV,
possibly a person either ejected from the vehicle or who tried to leave the
vehicle. The other person appears to have been killed in the backseat of
the vehicle. Shortly after that gun battle, SWAT team members could be
seen trying to extract that individual who was inside the car, out of the
back of the car.
Now, as we understand it right now, I think we`ll get more detail on
this, hopefully later on when we get another press briefing from the San
Bernardino police department, but another person, a third person, was
detained after that gun battle. Again, two dead people in the SUV. A
third person detained.
Now, it`s unclear at this time if that person is related to the mass
shooting. There was a lot of implication tonight, particularly just from
the news reporting of what was going on, and from people watching law
enforcement activity in and around this neighborhood in San Bernardino. It
seemed that they were searching for another suspect who was on the loose.
It seemed at one point that they were doing a house-to-house search.
But we now have definitive word from the San Bernardino police
department, that the two people in the SUV were dead. The third person who
they were looking for near the sight of the SUV shooting has been detained.
Police are not saying whether or not that person was involved in either the
gun battle at the SUV or the massacre, the gun massacre at the Inland
Regional Center this morning.
But importantly, police are also not saying the total number of
suspects they believed committed that crime. So, with or without this
third person in custody, this third person detained, we don`t know if that
means everybody who is a suspect in this matter is in police custody.
Joining us now from near the site of this morning`s shooting, the
inland regional center in San Bernardino, is NBC News correspondent, Blake
Blake, thanks very much for being with us. What can you tell us from
where you are tonight and this latest information?
BLAKE MCCOY, NBC NEWS CORRESPONDENT: I can tell you over the last few
hours, especially after that gunfight with those two suspects, the scene
has calmed down quite a bit. It feels like we`re moving into a second
phase here, a more investigative phase right now.
All of the lockdowns in this area have been lifted, although the
attention is still focused on that building where the initial shooting took
place, because as we did hear from police, there were some suspicious
objects inside. At least one of them suspected to be an explosive device.
So, they are moving very slowly around that building, trying to clear it.
It`s now been seven hours since the initial shooting here.
And, Rachel, at the beginning of the show, you said, we still do not
know a motive, which, of course, is true. Police in this latest press
conference did address one rumor, one thing that`s been reported widely
today, which is there was a holiday party of health workers that was taking
place. They rent out that conference facility. There was a holiday party
of health workers taking place.
And they heard also reports that there was a person who was in an
altercation with people at that party and asked to leave, and the reports
are that that was the person who came back and opened fire on the
conference center. That is what police cannot confirm. But they did
confirm that there was an altercation with someone in that conference
center who left right before the shooting took place.
MADDOW: And, Blake, two questions for you, just following up on that.
Number one, is it clear that all of the fatalities or at least most of the
fatalities were confined to a very specific location within that large
social services center where you`re outside right now.
Do we know anything about sort of the spread of the fatalities or if
they were confined to one spot?
MCCOY: It sounds to us that it was confined to that conference
center. They opened fire and then they left on their own, because they
were gone by the time police arrived. NBC News has spoken with the husband
of one of the victims, one of the survivors, who`s in the hospital, and he
is relaying the information that they came in, did not say a word, and
started firing and then left.
So, it was all in that conference area. We saw those horrific images,
though, after the shooting, where triage centers had been set up in the
middle of the street to help the victims who survived.
MADDOW: Obviously, so many victims. We`ve got 14 dead and 17
wounded, so many people who are in the place, in the space where the actual
shooting occurred, and hundreds more people inside that large facility.
One last question for you, Blake – you mentioned about the device
which the police chief said tonight is believed to be an explosive device
and obviously you said law enforcement is treating that matter with extreme
caution. Do we know if they have detonated that device, if they have
rendered it safe? Do we know anything about how, basically, bomb squad
response has taken place around that potential device?
MCCOY: We do not. All we know they`re moving very slowly around that
building and they said the building is not secure, it has not been cleared.
And we also know that some suspicious objects were found around that SUV,
where the shoot-out happened, which you can, you know, it doesn`t take a
brain surgeon to figure out that`s why they`re moving so slowly around that
house where the search warrant was issued and where that police chase
started, because if they were in that house before the chase started,
they`re operating under the assumption that there could be more devices
inside that home.
MADDOW: Blake McCoy, NBC News correspondent – Blake, thank you. I
know we`ll be checking back in with you later.
Joining us now, NBC justice correspondent, Pete Williams.
Pete, I understand you have some breaking news you`ve just learned
about potentially a name for one of the suspects?
PETE WILLIAMS, NBC JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Rachel. Just so – I
may have to stop here for a moment and take a call here, Rachel, but let me
just say that several law enforcement officials have told us that one of
the attackers is an American citizen named Sayeed Farook. And there is
some connection between that name and the house that they`re searching in
Redlands, California, which is about 70 miles from L.A., about 10 miles
from San Bernardino. So, that`s one piece of information.
The second thing is, Rachel, you heard the FBI special agent in charge
out there in L.A. say they couldn`t rule out terrorism, but he said it in
such a way that seemed like maybe they were thinking more about it than
they were earlier.
Here`s the way I understand that. That the early direction that the
police were going in is the possibility that this was some kind of
workplace dispute, and this was based on witnesses saying that one person -
- you heard the police chief talk about this. One person came in, got mad,
and then came back, and the theory was that perhaps that touched off
something and that is what led to the shooting.
For several hours, law enforcement people have been saying to me, does
that really make sense? Doesn`t that seem a bit fishy? That you would get
mad at your coworkers and come back with two other people and you all
dressed in assault gear, with assault rifles and a getaway car and you
would be willing to kill people right in front of your eyes? Does that
seem like an escalating argument?
So, they`ve always thought – or they now think there must have been
something more to this. What the “more” was, they still don`t know. And
they`re hoping that maybe they`ll find some answers in this house in
Redlands that they`re searching, searching very carefully, not because they
believe there are explosives there, but because they can`t be sure that
there aren`t. And that`s why they`re treating it that way.
MADDOW: Pete, in terms of this potential name for a suspect, Sayeed
Farook, do we know if that`s the person dead in the SUV or if that`s the
person detained. Do we know which person in that scenario that name
WILLIAMS: No, we don`t, Rachel, and back to you.
MADDOW: Pete Williams actively reporting this out right now. Pete
Williams, obviously, NBC`s chief justice correspondent, reporting
information, again – it`s law enforcement sources telling NBC News that a
person who may be involved in this scenario is an American citizen, the
name that we are hearing is Sayeed Farook, and the way that Pete just
described it there in that short report, that he may be linked to the house
that they are searching in Redlands.
Now, we`ve heard this from Blake on the scene at the site of the
shooting, we heard this from Pete in terms of talking about that house in
Redlands, which may have led to the name, the first name we`ve had
associated with any suspects in the this case. In both instances, one of
the reasons that these are being treated – both as live scenes, but also
as places where law enforcement are moving very slowly and very cautiously
and we don`t expect any definitive information soon, is because of the
potential involvement of explosives here.
Now, I don`t want to speak more definitively than we know from the
reporting, and what we have heard from law enforcement has been a little
woolly on this subject. There`s a lot of may be, could possibly be, could
be investigated as rather than declarative statements. But from what we
are told by law enforcement, it seems that there may have been an explosive
device, at least one, left at the site of the initial shooting this
That is what Blake McCoy was just describing as why that initial
shooting scene is still being described as a live scene and why law
enforcement is describing those buildings as not cleared and they`re moving
so carefully there, there may be an explosive device or more than one at
We`ve also heard a description that there may have been something that
was described as a pipe bomb or something like a pipe bomb that was thrown
possibly during the course of the confrontation of the suspects in the SUV,
which resulted in a man and a woman dead in an SUV, after a gun battle with
police, which lots of shots were fired and one officer was injured.
There`s two reports of explosive devices or potential explosive devices.
We`ve also had the San Bernardino police chief describe suspicious
items around the SUV. Again, not stating definitively, but intimating that
those may have been explosive devices, or that they are worried that they
might be. Asked directly if the suspects had suicide vests, the police
chief said he had not heard that.
The other instance which they are considering at least the possibility
of either booby traps or other explosive devices of some kind, the
potential of explosives, is at this house in Redlands, which apparently led
to the SUV chase and led to the SUV shoot-out, and to the dead suspects,
and that also may have led to the first name, according to Pete Williams,
that can be associated with those suspects in this case. Again, an
American citizen, Sayeed Farook.
Joining us now is NBC News law enforcement analyst and former ATF
agent in charge, Jim Cavanaugh.
Jim, let me just ask you, in terms of what I just summarized about
potential explosive devices and what we know about weapons and continuing
threats – does that comport with what you understand tonight?
JIM CAVANAUGH, NBC NEWS LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: Right, Rachel,
exactly. You see, what would happen is, you treat the scene of the mass
murder with any package found there, as if it could be an IED or a homemade
And so, you just methodically, you know, if everybody`s wounded, day
come in with the bomb squad, they have robots and x-ray machines and they
can check that out.
Now, the house at Redlands that we described and you showed earlier,
they forced a door with a ram on the front of the bearcat SWAT vehicle and
they`re going to go in there as well with robots. This is maybe, looks
like the house where the shooters went to, the man and a woman who are
deceased in the SUV, were picked up on police surveillance leaving. So,
that`s only – I looked on the map – that`s only a 15-minute drive. From
San Bernardino to Redlands, a 15-minute drive away.
So, if they went home, they could have had a third actor with them,
who could have got of that location. So, SWAT has to be careful about
that. And the left again, at leas the man and women left, we know, maybe
more, but at least they left, because they`re now deceased. They could
have went in there, Rachel, and gathered up more ammunition and load it up
MADDOW: Jim, let me interject just for a second and it`s specifically
on that point. We`re now being told that police having previously said
that some sort of pipe bomb-type device was thrown at them, police are now
saying that did not happen.
So, in terms of what you`re just describing there, what might have
happened at that house, what they might have had stored at that house, what
they might have accessed at that house after the shooting and taken with
them on the way to this gun battle with police, police are now saying at
this point that they`re no longer claiming there was any sort of pipe bomb-
type device thrown at police after they left that house in Redlands.
CAVANAUGH: Right, exactly. So, they could have went there and got
nothing. They could have went there and got some food, you know, it`s
four-hour break in here. So, they could have went out and got some food,
they could have went out and got some ammo. They have got a camera, they
got a lot of things to go back.
They were followed back to the scene and, of course, when they got
closer, San Bernardino PD engaged them and they had the shoot-out. So,
they have to treat the house also like, you know, there could be explosive
devices in there and that`s the methodical process. And once it`s free of
any explosives, Rachel, and what will happen is it`s going to be a
forensics scene. And agents and detectives want to get the computers,
laptops, cell phones, anything in order to get the cell phones off the
bodies, who are these people and what motivated them to do this.
And I think you were very on point, and as Pete was, this third person
that ran and jumped over the fence, is he an actor, a shooter, or is he
just somebody trying to get away from the gun battle between these two
known killers and the police and he ran through the yard. So, we just
don`t know that, yet.
It`s still unclear, really, is it just these two people that were
killers or was there three or four. We really don`t know that, yet.
MADDOW: Jim, in terms of what we heard from Pete, he raised this
interesting issue, which actually is sort of – it`s not – I don`t want to
say a theoretical issue, but it`s about practice and the receive wisdom of
Pete was saying the previous sort of working theory had been that
there may have been some sort of argument that happened at this gathering,
at this sort of holiday party or banquet at that event. It led to an
argument, the person went away, went and got help and weapons and gear and
came back and shot the police up. That had been sort of one scenario that
had been floated today, described as possibly what happened.
That led to some sort of theory that this could have been an extension
of some sort of workplace disgruntlement or something, and it just didn`t -
- Pete was saying, it didn`t seem to make sense to a lot of law enforcement
minds, that there was a disgruntled workplace environment situation here,
that that you wouldn`t necessarily be able to rope other people into it to
help you commit mass murder. That it seemed like something else that was
coming from a different mind-set.
When Pete described both that theory and law enforcement skepticism
about it, I wondered what your view was of that thinking.
CAVANAUGH: Well, I mean, that is the right view, in my estimation, at
the time, given the facts you know, as facts develop, you can see what may
Look, if these people were only 15 minutes away, a man and a woman,
who may be husband and wife or boyfriend and girlfriend or brother and
sister, if they`re only 15 minutes away, certainly the scenario of being
thrown out and being bent on revenge, if they`re close family members, and
being able to drive 15 minutes away, change, load up, get your rifles and
your gear and go back and kill everybody, as a revenge motive of workplace
violence is not out of the realm of possibility. Doesn`t mean it`s
The preparations, I think, is what sets you off from somebody being
thrown out of a meeting. But if somebody lives close by, you know, they
could go back and come back within an hour and do that. Of course,
workplace violence, of course, just massacring everybody, we`ve seen that
happen before. Usually, we`ve seen lone actors, but a family member, a
close other, sometimes can be involved.
MADDOW: NBC News law enforcement analyst, former ATF agent in charge,
Jim Cavanaugh – Jim, I know we`ll be back with you. Thank you very much.
I want to go back now to near the site of this morning`s shooting, to
NBC News correspondent Blake McCoy.
Blake, we were talking earlier about the possible presence of
potentially explosive devices on scene. Police say they`re now about to
approach those in some way?
MCCOY: Yes, a local police officer just came up to us and said,
prepare for an explosion. They didn`t want us caught off guard. They
said, this will be a planned explosion, and that`s because they`re
preparing to blow up one of those suspicious devices inside this Inland
So, clearly, after getting a closer look at it, it was suspicious
enough that they have determined that they need to detonate this device,
neutralize it, so to speak.
MADDOW: Blake, to be clear, have they – they`ve told you that this
explosion is something that you are going to – it`s going to be big enough
that you are going to know that it`s going on, even though, obviously,
you`re outside the facility? Or are they blowing it up outside the
MCCOY: We are about two blocks away, but they said it could be loud
enough that we could hear it here. They didn`t want us caught off guard,
and, of course, the neighborhood around us has been on high alert all day,
so any sound of explosion would certainly have people rattled.
MADDOW: NBC News correspondent Blake McCoy, we will keep an eye on
what`s going on there, if that is, in fact – if they are, in fact, going
to have a controlled detonation.
I want to go now to Alex Vasquez, he is a cameraman for KNBC who has
been on the scene all day and who has captured some of the most harrowing
footage we have seen.
Alex, thank you very much for being with us.
ALEX VASQUEZ, KNBC (via telephone): Good evening, Rachel.
MADDOW: What`s your location now and what`s your understanding of how
this story is continuing to evolve right now in terms of this being a live
VASQUEZ: Rachel, I`m on the south end of the actual crime scene, on
the south end of the building. The way this played out, I happened to be
out – I cover the Inland Empire, for Riverside County and San Bernardino
County. I was about two miles away when I heard the initial call on the
police scanner. The calls started coming of an active shooter inside a
building, people have been shot.
So, I immediately drove my news van to the scene. And as I got here
and got my camera is when I started hearing gunshots. I heard a couple
shots go off and I started running towards the building.
By the time I got there, there was already people running from the
building who had been shot. They were basically collapsing in front of me.
I saw one pickup truck actually pull up and people jumped into the back of
the bed of the pickup truck, just trying to get out of the building, out of
that area, and he drove them, and all were wounded, drove them to the end
of the street where firefighters were waiting, they unloaded the pickup
truck and several victims got out of them.
Unfortunately, one of them actually that they put down in the triage
location where I was, ended up passing away.
VASQUEZ: But it was a very chaotic situation when I got here. It was
something that – you always say as a journalist, you want to be
professional and do your job, but you can`t help but try to want to help
these people. I lent my cell phone to a couple of the workers who wanted
to call their family and loved one to tell them they were OK.
MADDOW: Alex, so when you arrived, the gunfire you were hearing were
from the perpetrators? That was a law enforcement response that you were
in the middle of? That was the crime, that was the initial shooting by the
VASQUEZ: I believe so, Rachel. I was still about a half block away
when I parked the van. I didn`t want to pull up on to the crime scene,
because I could see a line of law enforcement coming behind me. I didn`t
want to block the roadway.
By the time I parked and was reaching for my camera, I heard three to
four gunshots one after another after another, and I don`t know if it was
law enforcement or it was the actual shooters, but I ducked down and
grabbed my camera and started running towards the building.
MADDOW: Alex, because you have been there from the very, very, very
beginning, one of the things we`re watching, part of the reason we`re all
still live on this tonight is because it does still feel like it`s an
active scene. We`ve got the police on site at – at the site of the
initial shooting, saying they`re about to do a controlled detonation of a
device they believe may be an explosive device that was left on scene.
We`ve also got a very active police scene at a house in Redlands, which
they believe is linked to people who end up deceased in that SUV a few
miles from the shooting scene.
As you`ve seen this unfold over the course of the day, is it your
sense right now that things are wrapping, that things are under control, or
does this feel like this is still an unfolding, still spreading situation?
VASQUEZ: I think it`s still unfolding, to be honest with you, Rachel,
I`m still seeing a lot of law enforcement driving up and down the streets,
very quickly, I`m looking at the sky and seeing at least a few helicopters,
not just media, I can tell they`re law enforcement, they`re flying a little
So I don`t think this is controlled quite yet. Listening to the
police scanners, I`m hearing a lot of people calling in, saying that they
found something suspicious in the backyard, that was close to the building.
So, there`s a lot of speculation still going on.
I just talked to a couple of law enforcement friends who were here at
the scene. They told me, it`s not quite over, it`s not clear yet. There
may be someone else out there that we`re looking into. I think this is
going to be a long investigation, an ongoing investigation all through the
MADDOW: KNBC cameraman, Alex Vasquez, I appreciate you still being
with us so many hours into this. Thank you.
VASQUEZ: Thank you.
MADDOW: Joining us now from Loma Linda Medical Center in San
Bernardino is NBC News correspondent Morgan Radford.
Morgan, thank you for being with us.
I understand the medical facility where you`re at both is a site where
a lot of the wounded have been brought today, but also, it`s a site where
there was a bomb threat at the hospital, after some of the shooting victims
had already been brought there. Is that the case?
MORGAN RADFORD, NBC NEWS CORRESPONDENT: Rachel, I was standing right
here when that bomb threat was called in, because as the sirens are
continuing and all these details are emerging, one thing that all sides
seem to state is their support for the victims here. Five adult victims
were brought here, two in critical condition, two in fair condition, and
one whose condition is still being assessed.
At 2:30 p.m., while again as I mentioned, we were standing here, a
bomb threat was called in right behind me, but than an hour later after a
K-9 crew came in to assess the situation, they lifted the ban to realize
that this really was not a credible threat. The office right here at the
hospital did say that they are not expecting anymore victims from today`s
shooting to appear tonight, and they said tomorrow, they will continue
treating them, business as usual.
MADDOW: NBC News correspondent, Morgan Radford – Morgan, thank you
That`s such a strange side bar story to this today, to have a bomb
threat at the hospital in the middle of all of this, even though it was
cleared, just a very rattling development.
And, of course, today`s shooting in broader context, comes just five
days after last mass shooting in the United States, which was last Friday,
November 29th, that was the lone gunman in Colorado Springs, Colorado, who
killed three people and wounded nine others at a Planned Parenthood
Before that one, the last huge stop all other news mass shooting story
was a month before the Planned Parenthood one. It was the Umpqua Community
College shooting at Roseburg, Oregon. That was a single shooter, nine
people killed, nine injured.
Before that, nine people killed in South Carolina, at an African-
American church. Those nine people targeted and killed because of their
Before that, Isla Vista, California, May of last year, remember that
one? Yes, right, six people dead in that one, seven wounded. The young
man who mounted that assault there killed himself as well.
September 2013, it was 12 people killed, 3 injured at the Washington
Navy yard. Before that, it was not just our country that stopped, but a
big portion of the world stopped when 20 first graders and 6 staff members
and teachers were killed at Sandy Hook Elementary School. That was
And those are just kind of the front of mind ones, right? Those are
just some of the recent American mass killings, gun massacres that at least
temporarily brought all other news to a halt. Those are just the ones you
can remember without thinking too hard. There are tons more mass
Today`s incident is the 335th or possibly the 336th this year – the
336th time this year in which at least four people were shot and killed or
shot and wounded in a single incident this country. More than 300 this
year so far and the year still has a few weeks to go, because what`s called
a mass shooting is almost literally an everyday occurrence in the United
States now, even massacres in which there are large number of fatalities,
they happen frequently enough, we don`t even remember them all, without a
reference list to look at, just in the couple of years.
But even with that pattern, there is one way in which today`s mass
shooting high-fatality gun massacre absolutely does not fit any recent or
historical pattern in the United States. And that is the very unusual fact
that today`s shooting is thought to have been committed by multiple
shooters. I mean, of all the high fatality mass shootings in modern U.S.
history, and there have been a lot, there are only a couple for which there
was more than one shooter.
The Columbine High School shooting in April of `99, that was two high
school student shooters, they killed 13 people. There was a middle school
shooting in Jonesboro, Arkansas, in 1998, where an 11-year-old and a 13-
year-old worked together to shoot and kill five students and teachers.
Other than those two instances, though, of school kids shooting up
their own schools, the only other one I know of, with multiple shooters,
was an attack back in 1983 in Seattle, where a gambling club got robbed.
And in the course of that robbery, the three robbers killed 13 people at
that club. But other than those very unique instances, out of all of the
mass shooting, high-fatality number of massacres we have had in this
country in modern times, there just aren`t high-fatality count mass
shootings where more than one person commits the massacre. It is almost
always one person.
But police reports tonight suggest it`s multiple shooters here. That
appears to be what happened in San Bernardino today. And, obviously, that
has led to fears today that this might have been a terrorist attack, that
there might have been a terrorist motive for this attack. The FBI is
certainly getting – dismissing that prospect less this evening than they
had been earlier today. They had previously been totally agnostic on the
subject of whether or not this might be terrorism.
Tonight, the special agent in charge in southern California intimating
that police and law enforcement are looking more seriously at that prospect
than they might have been earlier in the day, although we don`t know why.
Honestly, in terms of firm information, we have no information one way or
the other about whether or not it might be terrorism.
And, of course, if it`s terrorism linked to a larger organization,
that is important in terms of whether or not this is an ongoing subject,
whether this is an ongoing incident, whether or not this is linked to
something that is still operational. Whether or not it`s terrorism, the
motive is always important at one level in terms of us understanding what
But at a human level, regardless of a motive, the human toll here is
just enormous. With 14 people killed and 17 wounded, this is the deadliest
mass shooting in America since Sandy Hook. It`s one of the top ten
deadliest gun massacres we`ve ever had.
Joining us now from San Bernardino is MSNBC correspondent, Jacob
Jacob, what`s happening where you are now?
JACOB SOBOROFF, MSNBC CORRESPONDENT: I`m a little less than a mile
and a half away from the Inland Regional Center where the shooting happened
this morning. The street there called Cooley (ph). They blocked off this
neighborhood, these officers just told me they`ve evacuated the
neighborhood right up the street.
This is the second neighborhood I`ve been to over the course of an
hour that has been completely shut down. No in, no out. You`re not seeing
the kind of tactical officers we saw on this corner a little while ago, but
in full military regalia, assault weapons drawn, gunners out on top of
these tactical vehicles.
And they are searching basically block by block. We don`t know what
they`re searching for, but to echo Blake McCoy who you`ve heard a little
while ago, they`ve given us a heads up about potential explosives in the
area. And our previous location actually told us to take shelter. We are
further away now from the search that was going on than we were just a
little while ago.
MADDOW: And, Jacob, when they moved you and told you that they were
concerned enough that they wanted you in a different place than they
already were, did they tell you, we`ve identified explosive devices, did
they say, we`re investigating that possibility. It`s possible there are
explosives and that`s why we feed you to move.
How definitive were they?
SOBOROFF: It was actually sort of a very quick, aggressive posture by
the officer, sort of saying, explosives, take shelter. It wasn`t, we may
or may not. You know, from my perspective, I can`t answer that for you,
Rachel. But what I can tell you, they continue to push people back from
these searches that are ongoing. So much so that they`re telling all of
the residents in the neighborhood behind me they`ve got to leave that area.
MADDOW: Jacob Soboroff, MSNBC correspondent, thank you very much.
In 1969, California passed a will called the Lanterman Act.
California State Assemblyman Frank Lanterman was an institution. He never
married, famous for wearing the same brown suit every single day. He was
such a workhorse. He was so devoted to his job as a legislator and he
passed so much consequential legislation that they called him “Mr.
When Assemblyman Lanterman was horrified by terrible living conditions
at one California state hospital, he put forward legislation to give rights
to people with developmental disabilities and to set up a statewide
infrastructure throughout California to respect those rights, to help
people with developmental disabilities, to support them and their families,
and the Lanterman that he wrote was signed into law by then-California
Governor Ronald Reagan, in 1969.
That law was way ahead of its time. It established in law that people
with disabilities and conditions like autism and epilepsy and cerebral
palsy, they and their families have the right to receive support and
services so they can live full lives with all the dignity they deserve. So
that`s how California got this statewide mandated by law network of
regional centers to provide social services and help to people with
developmental disabilities and their families.
This is a map that shows where they`re all located throughout the
state. There`s 21 facilities, because they`ve divided up the state into 21
regions and each region has one of these centers. And this one in the
Inland Empire, this is the one that was the site of this mass shooting
today, and it`s believed to be the largest one of these 21 facilities in
the state of California, the Inland Regional Center. It was created by
that act, by the Lanterman Act, this was passed in 1969 and signed by
This facility in San Bernardino serves more than 30,000 people in the
Inland Empire, in this area around San Bernardino and Riverside counties,
due east of L.A. Again, more than 30,000 clients and they`ve got more than
700 staff at that facility. So, you`ve sign these aerial views all day and
got an idea, but this is both a very big facility and a very busy facility.
Part of the mission of these facilities is that they provide lifelong
care. If you have a developmental disability or somebody in your family
does, they will provide social services to you and they`re mandated that
they must, by law, from the time that you are born, until the time that you
die. And so, it is multi-generational services, where they bring in
people`s families in a way to support them through all different challenges
of life with disability.
And so, these are busy, busy facilities, big, with a lot of comings
and goings. And the sheer size of that facility and the complexity, and
the well-used-ness of that facility is part of the reason why it has taken
hours and hours and hours to even partially clear that location tonight.
To get through there to make sure there weren`t anymore suspects still
in the facility, to make sure all the dead and the wounded were recovered.
To make sure all the survivors were brought to safety. And tonight, even
parts of that facility are still not cleared, as they say, they are
preparing to carry out controlled detonations of what they believe are
improvised explosive devices of some kind. One or more, that they have
found on site.
Joining us now is David Danelski. He`s a report for the “Press
Enterprise” newspaper in Riverside, California, and he was caught up in the
middle of this afternoon`s shoot-out between police and at least two people
suspected of carrying out today`s shooting.
Mr. Danelski, thank you very much for being with us. I appreciate
DAVID DANELSKI, PRESS ENTERPRISE (via telephone): Rachel, how you
MADDOW: I`m good. I`m sure I mispronounced your last name. Can you
say it for me?
MADDOW: I`m very sorry.
DANELSKI: That`s OK.
MADDOW: Can you tell us what you ended up in the middle of when you
found yourself at the site of this shoot-out today?
DANELSKI: Yes, we sent a lot of reporters out to San Bernardino to
cover the story and I was going to different parts of town. I was actually
at a community center where families were waiting for loved ones to be
bused back from the facility where the shooting occurred. And a lady there
talking to people on the street said she had heard that there was a
sighting of the SUV that the suspects were in in a different part of the
city and she got this through a text of a friend who was there, said that
they`re in a lockdown in this other part of town.
So I went to check that out. So I was driving to this other part of
San Bernardino and on my way, I noticed I saw two or three police officers
with lights blazing, heading in a different direction, and I thought, I
wondered what was going on. Police were crawling all over town, hundreds
of police cars were all over the place, but this seemed like something –
my reporter`s instinct kicked in.
They turned on San Bernardino Avenue, a big wide street, and the next
town east of Redlands. And then I heard what sounded like thunder or
something ahead of me, driving 30 miles an hour, and I heard kind of a
whipping sound in the air. And it was really strange, I didn`t recognize
it as anything, but I figured later it must have been bullets flying.
I pulled over the car and I grabbed my camera and I started walking to
where I saw some police kind of looking towards a house on the other side
of the road and then I heard gunshots again, a little bit confusing as to
what`s going on. I walked up the block, about half a block to get closer,
and then I looked behind me and there were waves of police officers with
Police of all different stripes, all different agencies, different
cities, county people, state police, you know, California highway patrol,
all with guns drawn. And then shooting erupts again, and everybody gets
down, I crouch behind the police car and one officer yells at me to get
And we – and I managed to, you know, take a few pictures, and I kind
of worked my – when there`s a lull, I kind of worked my way across the
street, trying to get away from where the shooting is, between different
police cars, and I finally found in the front yard where there was a block
wall and I laid down on that, and waited for that, and there was a long
silence. And then, what was actually an even scarier police officer
encounter, two police officers came up at me with guns drawn, I yelled
back, I`m a reporter, they yelled, what are you doing here? I said, I got
caught up in it, I wasn`t trying to do anything, I was just here. And they
let me go.
And I went to one house down, and there was a couple people on a porch
and they let me into their backyard and I waited it out there. After about
a half hour there, a police officer came to the house and asked everyone to
stay inside. They said that they had found a bomb and they were going to
detonate the bomb and they didn`t want anyone to get hurt, so everyone
should go inside and they were also looking for more bombs, and you could
see police officers looking under cars and whatnot.
And this officer, what are you doing with a notebook and a camera? I
said, well, I`m a reporter. And he said, well, I could get you out of
So, he escorted me out of the crime scene and about a block away,
there was yellow tape, and the very first reporters were arriving, TV
people and whatnot, and then once I got behind the yellow tape, you started
seeing heavy artillery, tank-like SWAT units coming in and things like
MADDOW: David, in terms – when you – throughout this entire
process, particularly when you first arrived on the scene and as you say,
pretty sure what you were hearing was bullets whipping by, how much of a
view did you have of not just the police response, but the suspects, in
terms of who was shooting at police, who was on the other side –
DANELSKI: I never saw – in this whole ordeal, I never saw the
suspect s or their car. Just shooting going on in the area I was. And I
think I was just behind it enough not to see the action. And they – and I
could see the police officer were pointing their guns and directing it
towards a house or yards on the north side of the road, and I think that
the suspects were taking cover somewhere off the road.
But I didn`t see, you know, their vehicle or any other vehicle I could
tell, anything. There was a lot of shooting going on, and it was very
scary, because you didn`t know if you were – which side of a car to duck
behind. You know where it was coming from.
MADDOW: You know you`re in the middle of something, but you`re not
sure what the polls of the two things you`re in the middle of.
DANELSKI: Yes. And police were running by, but more than anything,
it was just the waves – just waves of law enforcement, guns drawn,
agitated people, you know, professional, but everybody`s, you know,
scampering about. And it was a very high-stress, difficult situation. And
a situation that wasn`t comfortable to be in, by any means. It was very
scary because I didn`t know what was going to happen.
MADDOW: David Danelski is a reporter for “The Press Enterprise”,
caught up in today`s shootout between police and suspects in San
David, what you went through was, indeed, very stressful with, and
you`re going to continue to feel that stress for a long time. Take care of
yourself. And I`m sorry you ended up in the middle of it, but thank you
for telling us about it.
DANELSKI: OK, thanks for talking to me. You have a good day.
MADDOW: Thank you.
MADDOW: Let`s listen in right now to KNBC`s coverage. They`ve got a
reporter at that house in Redlands, California, that we`re looking at here.
I`m sorry, can we –
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: – also interesting, she said, they had pipes
that looked like pipe bombs in the black SUV. They had things that looked
like fuses, and she compared that to the Tsarnaev brothers during the
Boston marathon bombing, where they appeared to have pipe bombs that they
threw at officers there. They were not the real deal.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: In this case, yes, not the real deal.
Let`s check back with Robert Kovacik (ph).
MADDOW: I was dropping in on our L.A. station, KNBC. In terms of the
– in terms of the fact – the ways in which this is still a live situation
tonight, it seems like what you need to know is that there are two separate
locations where there`s continuing police activity and in which police are
saying the scene is not clear.
And in both of those instances, as far as we can tell, the reason
police are saying the scene is not clear does not have anything to do with
potentially suspects on the loose or additional gunmen who they are trying
to subdue or find or capture, as far as we can tell, and again, I will
stand corrected on this if this turns out not to be the case, but what we
understand from law enforcement is both of these scenes, this house in
Redlands, California, and the site of the initial shooting, the mass
shooting this morning in San Bernardino.
The reason neither of those sites is being called clear is because of
the fear of explosive devices or the possibility of explosive devices at
either or both of those scenes, including the possibility, at least, at the
San Bernardino site, that there may be controlled detonations, some time
soon. At least that`s what they`ve told reporters on the scene, that they
Joining us now is Jason Leopold. He`s an investigative reporter for
Vice News. He`s been reporting from outside the Inland Regional Center in
San Bernardino tonight.
Jason, we`ve just been trying to get – come to grips and get specific
about in what ways that scene where you are in San Bernardino is still a
live scene. What`s going on there tonight and how does it compare to what
you`ve seen there over the course of the day?
JASON LEOPOLD, VICE NEWS (via telephone): Hi, Rachel. It`s still
very much a massive federal law enforcement, local law enforcement, and,
you know, we`re seeing Department of Homeland Security, police vehicles
here. There is FBI. A SWAT vehicle just left the facility.
And we`re getting some unconfirmed reports about the fact that there
may be some explosive devices, as we mentioned, improvised explosive
devices still there. What`s really interesting, Rachel, is that a number
of residents in the area here have gathered on the corner of orange about a
block away from the Inland Regional Center.
Many of these residents are a bit upset. They say that – they told
us that gun violence in this neighborhood in this community is a regular
occurrence. And there are incidents that happen on a daily basis. They`re
concerned that doesn`t get obviously much attention. And this is getting
There`s a woman out here right now who was killed in a drive-by
shooting. Several other people were shot that day. So, there`s a number
of people coming out sort of discuss the fact that this is not unusual for
this community. You get a sense they`re somewhat immune to this. There is
certainly no fear that this happened. And also they`re very used to these
types of incidents.
MADDOW: Yes, it`s not normal for any community to have 14 dead in a
LEOPOLD: No, not at all, but I was really struck by the comments by
some of the residents here who literally live, you know, half a block away
from where the shooting occurred.
MADDOW: Yes, absolutely. “Vice News” reporter Jason Leopold, it`s
great to get that on-site perspective. Thanks, Jason.
Chris Hayes was talking about this earlier this hour in a way that I
thought was really effective and important, which is to think about, as an
American culture, the way we focus on these mass shootings and we marvel at
the frequency of these mass shootings while basically studiously ignoring
and posing no – and proposing no policy solutions to the everyday gun
violence that in total claims many more lives than these individual
incidents like these do, that is an American pathology right now, which we
have not even started to come to terms with.
But there are different do I understand of violence in our country.
We have an incredible number of high fatality mass shootings, like the one
that we`ve got today. We also have an incredible number of low fatality,
meaning one or two people killed, one or two people shot. Gun incidents,
gun violence shootings that happen all over this country every day in a way
that barely constitutes news in most communities and in communities where
it`s very prevalent almost never does.
Just a short time ago, our L.A. station KNBC interviewed a social
worker who was in the same building where this mass shooting took place
today. She heard gunshots and she was told to take cover and this is what
she said happened.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Two gunmen came in and open fired on everybody.
They just started shooting everybody and just taking lives of innocent
people in that building and nobody knows why.
REPORTER: They didn`t say anything?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: They didn`t say anything.
REPORTER: And he ran for cover under a table?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And the young man ran under the food table and
stood there until they could get out a side door or something he said and
then they ran out.
REPORTER: Did you see victims when they were escorting you out. Did
you get of a sense of what was going on around you?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: When we were escorted around the building, I did
see clothing to some of the people, the gurneys with some of the paramedics
and firefighters. Just impeachment and a panic, frantic all over the
place, screaming and yelling, like a bloody warpath. It was just crazy.
REPORTER: Have you thought at all about how you try to get past this?
I mean, you`re a social worker, you deal with a lot of probably things that
most people don`t have to deal with. I know it`s still brand in new, but
just wondering what your thought process is.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: My thought process is I`m going to go to the gym
and just let the gym workout take me wherever it takes me. And I`m a
prayful person, and I just pray for all those families that lost their
loved ones and never knew that was going to happen today.
REPORTER: Do you know anyone today who did lose a loved one? Did you
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No, I did not. No, I did not.
REPORTER: And you believe also of those people were in that
conference room from what you understand?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes, yes. Yes.
REPORTER: We thank you so much.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Thank you.
REPORTER: Who`s waiting inside for you?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: My twins are. My kids are, yes, they are. A
boy and a girl.
REPORTER: Were they texting information about what they knew of this
mass shooting. You said you didn`t have access to a television or radio.
You logged on to your phone. Were they communicating to you like mom, this
is what`s happening.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes, mom, this is what`s happening. They had a
black SUV. The news saying there was three men. They got away, did you
eat all day, are you safe? My phone died so I couldn`t talk to them
REPORTER: Going back to work?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We are closed until Monday from what I
REPORTER: How do you explain this to your kids?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Never take anything for granted.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: That was a woman named Linda Revis (ph) in the building
during the shooting today. It`s hard to know whether to call somebody like
that an eyewitness or a survivor when you have 14 killed and 17 people
wounded in such a huge, huge massacre today in San Bernardino.
I want to go back live now to near the site of the shooting to NBC
News correspondent Blake McCoy. We spoke with Blake a few moments ago
because he had been warned that police had warned that there might be a
Blake, I take it that has not happened yet.
MCCOY: We had not heard it at least, Rachel. I can`t say it didn`t
happen. If it was small, we didn`t hear it. But we have certainly not
heard anything yet.
I can tell you, the scene out here right now that law enforcement is
working with is they have three very active scenes. You have where this
initial shooting happened around 11:00 a.m. local time, 14 people killed,
17 injured at this Inland Regional Center. Then two miles away from here,
you have the shootout with the suspects in the SUV. They were killed in
the SUV. A police officer injured. He will be OK.
And then you have that third site right now that law enforcement is at
in Redlands, California, which is only about six miles from here. The home
that these suspects were traced to, that led to that initial chase. So,
three very active scenes at this point, possibly suspicious devices from
all of them.
So, they`re moving very slowly at this hour. Rachel, we should tell
you that the amount of law enforcement out here in San Bernardino is
absolutely massive. They came from the entire region from Los Angeles,
which is an hour away. The ATF, the FBI, it`s truly incredible the
response because of this shooting.
MADDOW: And, Blake, just to be clear, you`re right to point out there
are, in fact, three sites being treated as live sites by police tonight,
all of them, as far as we can tell, being treated as live because of the
possibility of explosive devices.
From your understanding, Blake, do we have direct confirmation from
law enforcement sources on the record that it`s not just that they fear
explosive devices, but that they have they confirmed there are bombs that
they think are working explosives? Is it caution at this point? Or is it
MCCOY: It is caution, but it sounds like informed caution. They say
the devices looked like explosives. So, it`s not just a suspicious package
that we hear about all the time. They said the device actually did look
like explosives in at least within of these locations.
MADDOW: NBC News correspondent Blake McCoy talking to us tonight from
San Bernardino Blake, thank you.
And again, that site where Blake is right now, which is near the site
of the shooting, the Inland Regional Center this morning, that is where
police say they are about to carry out a controlled detonation of
something. Obviously, they are treating it as if it`s a bomb.
I think Blake is being adequately and sort of perfectly specific there
in repeating what police have said, which is not that it is a bomb, but
that it looked like a bomb. They`re calling it a device. So we`ll see
when that detonation happens if it hasn`t happened already. We don`t know
that it`s happened. They said we should expect it at the Inland Regional
We` also been told by police that the reason the site of the SUV where
the shootout with police happened and where two suspects are deceased, the
reason that`s being treated still as a live and uncleared scene is also
again because of devices they described as suspicious, which were around
the vehicle. With the implication being that those were also explosive
And then, again, that third site, the house in Redlands, which we
don`t know exactly how police ended up at that house in Redlands, what led
them there, what the lead was or the tip was that they were following
there. But there was a connection between that house in Redlands, the two
suspects that ended up in that SUV, and the ultimate shootout that led to
that two suspects being dead in that SUV.
Again, they`re being described as a man and a woman, armed with
handguns and long guns. Those two suspects deceased. We don`t know if
there`s another suspect that police believe are at large. They do say they
have one other person in custody, but they will not say whether or not they
think that person was involved in today`s shooting.
Our continuing live coverage of the situation in San Bernardino
continues now on MSNBC. Stay with us throughout the night.
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