The Last Word With Lawrence O’Donnell, Transcript 12/2/2015
Show: THE LAST WORD WITH LAWRENCE O`DONNELL
Date: December 2, 2015
Guest: Norma Torres, Eugene O`Donnell, Candice DeLong, Jim Cavanaugh,
Eileen Richey, Kevin Knierim
RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC HOST: There is another suspect that police believe –
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 is 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.
LAWRENCE O`DONNELL, MSNBC HOST: Right now, police are still on the scene
of that mass shooting in San Bernardino where one explosive device has been
The shooting happened at 11:20 a.m. Pacific Time at the Inland Regional
Center; social services facility for people with disabilities, based on
The shooting took place in a conference room possibly during a Christmas
party, 14 people were murdered, 17 people were injured.
Police searching for one of three shooters who fled in a black SUV. Four
hours later, police cars were seen at standoff with suspects in a black
Two of the suspects were killed in that shootout. Here is the San
Bernardino sheriff at a news conference a short time ago.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: But the suspects that were – that are dead at the
scene, one is a male, one is a female. They were dressed in kind of
I think that it`s probably the best way to term it. They are – they are
both armed with assault rifles, they are both armed with handguns, and
there`s also kind of some sensitive stuff around the vehicle.
They`re not real sure, we`re taking a very cautious approach to dealing
with the vehicle in case there is more explosives there.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: Authorities did not release the names or descriptions of the
suspects, but they said they did not yet know any motive.
Nbc News reports that one of the three suspects of the attackers was Syed
Farooq and a second is believed to be Farooq`s brother. The identity of
the woman is unknown.
At tonight`s news conference, the FBI assistant director in charge for Los
Angeles did not rule out terrorism.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I know one of the big questions that will come up
repeatedly is, is this terrorism? And I am still not willing to say that we
know that for sure.
We are definitely making some movements that it is a possibility – we are
making some adjustments, start an investigation, it is a possibility but we
don`t know that yet.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: The FBI is currently searching Syed Farooq`s residence in
Redlands, California, which borders San Bernardino. Joining us now from
San Bernardino is MSNBC`s Jacob Soboroff. Jacob, what`s the situation
JACOB SOBOROFF, MSNBC CORRESPONDENT: Hey, Lawrence, right now we are at
yet another roadblock in the San Bernardino area.
This is the second neighborhood – residential neighborhood I should say,
that has been completely evacuated of residents that we have seen tonight.
Earlier this evening, we were at a different neighborhood that had heavily
armed tactical military-style vehicles from the San Bernardino county
And the common threat seems to be a search perhaps for explosive devices.
We`re hearing that about the Redland search.
And earlier tonight in San Bernardino, they were telling us, in fact, to
take shelter for potential explosive devices that they may or may not find
when a manhunt or it seemed was undergoing.
Just down this street now is Cooley Street. We don`t know exactly what is
going on here, but law enforcement officials continue to move residents
from this area, away from Cooley Street, just a block down that way.
And we`re just waiting to see what if and when they will be letting people,
Lawrence, back down that street.
O`DONNELL: And what about the search, the continuing search for the third
shooter. What do we know about that?
SOBOROFF: We would assume, Lawrence, if that`s what`s going on here in San
Bernardino. We`re only amazingly 1.4 miles away from where this incident
took place this morning at the Inland Regional Center.
And that`s where the bulk of this manhunt seemed to have been taking place
earlier this evening. It`s literally a walking distance from where this
incredible tragedy took place at 11:14, I believe was the first police call
And still ongoing, again, just under two miles away from that location, it
seems that one would assume, but we cannot say for sure whether it`s a
manhunt or a search of just these residents for that suspect is still under
O`DONNELL: Thank you, MSNBC`s Jacob Soboroff in San Bernardino, thanks
very much for joining us. We are joined now by retired ATF agent and MSNBC
analyst Jim Cavanaugh.
Jim, we now have a name, you`ve been watching these developments since we
started our live coverage of this situation.
What about discovering the name Syed Farooq and that his brother is the
other suspect in this, the other male suspect, the female suspect we`d have
no identification on? What does that do to help put the pieces together
JIM CAVANAUGH, RETIRED ATF AGENT: Well, it helps a little bit and the fact
that, you know, to get people to commit a mass violent act like that, it
would take somebody very close to you.
And that could be somebody who is in a criminal organization, a criminal
gang organization or somebody related to you.
So, you know, someone that would buy into your reason for whatever the
motivation is behind the shooting, Lawrence.
So, I`m not surprised that we`re finding out brothers, we don`t know the
females connection, would not be surprised to find out it`s a wife,
girlfriend, sister and also a relation or also a relation.
So that may give us a little bit of insight into, you know, how you could
get three people to commit mass murder, but it doesn`t really tell us the
actual motive for the mass murder.
O`DONNELL: Jim, we saw how slowly and carefully the police moved today.
Once they closed in on something, they were moving very quickly to catch up
with these people.
Once they closed in on that SUV, even after the shooting when it was –
when it appeared that they were dead, they were still taking these extreme
precautions with the vehicles they were using to approach that situation.
And we`ve just – the “L.A. Times” is reporting now – actually reporting
ten minutes ago that the coroner has still not removed the bodies from the
locations of the murders.
How unusual is that in a situation where you have those 14 bodies and the
coroner conducting this investigation for it to take that amount of time?
CAVANAUGH: Yes, it`s probably not that unusual, given the massive crime
scene that you`re dealing with.
They`re going to be under some pressure though to get in there and get the
pictures taken quickly and be able to get remains removed by the coroner.
You know, I`m sure, they`re working all night. But remember, they don`t
even have the situation settled as – is there a third shooter loose in the
So, that command post is really ramped up. But I think the activity we`re
seeing Lawrence is the commander is trying to decide, trying to uncover,
finally decide is, you know, who is loose?
Is this a brother loose? We have to find him and that kind of takes
precedence. But they`re going to have to work through the night and they
do need to get those people who have been killed out of there once they at
least do a photographic record of the crime scene, so they can move them.
O`DONNELL: And Jim, as we saw the day unfold, it seemed that the first
theory that the police were operating under was that this was a work place,
rage crime of some kind.
Possibly someone involved in that work place. Then that theory seems to
have drifted a bit tonight into the possibility of terrorism.
But we now know that Syed Farooq is listed – there is a Syed Farooq who is
listed as an environmental health specialist working in the Inland Regional
Syed Farooq is also listed as the resident at 53 north center street in
Redlands, which is the house that`s being searched tonight.
And so we may have an employee of the center involved in this killing and
the motivations might come from outside the center. I mean, all things
seem possible now.
CAVANAUGH: No, that`s right. There`s a lot of questions like that, you
laid it out just right. I mean, it could be an employee issue or revenge
How would you get other people involved? Well, they`re so close to you, a
brother, a spouse, a girlfriend, and also we do have proximity.
You know, we think that all this time, attackers are coming from a far
distance. This house in Redlands is maybe 15 minutes away, pretty an
estimation not far off of that.
So the report earlier that could – they have been kicked out of a meeting,
could there be some feelings, really bad personal feelings against the
group because they were mistreated.
That could be shared by a brother or a spouse as well and then they would
go back, you know, and launch this attack. That`s certainly possible.
That would be more like a revenge motive. Could there be other things
floating around? You know, motives, Lawrence, don`t have to be just one
Sometimes they`re mixed, and there could be a lot of things going around in
people`s lives in their heads that we don`t quite have that yet.
O`DONNELL: We`re joined now by Congresswoman Norma Torres, she represented
San Bernardino as a state senator, now represents California`s 35th
congressional district, that`s just west of San Bernardino.
Congresswoman Torres, I`m very sorry for what you and your community is
going through tonight dealing with this. But tell us about the Inland
Regional Center and how it serves that community.
REP. NORMA TORRES (D), CALIFORNIA: The Inland Regional Center is a key
partner in providing services for people with disabilities in the
They serve about 35,000 people and have 600 employees that come through
that facility every day, whether they`re working there directly or
providing services within the community.
So, this is a very tragic event for us in San Bernardino.
O`DONNELL: And does it have – does that facility have the air of a
government office to it? I mean, if someone was interested in attacking a
government facility, state, local government or federal government facility
in San Bernardino, would that building have some attraction?
TORRES: Absolutely not. Like I said, the people that come to this
facility have severe disabilities, they`re coming there for services. If
one wants to attack the government, certainly we would not look to a place
like this to do that.
O`DONNELL: And Congresswoman Torres, how do you expect the community to be
able to deal with the aftermath of this – given that this is going to take
a while, it`s going to take a lot of patience.
Even just getting the names of victims, finding out who`s actually been
injured here as the “L.A. Times” has been reporting. The bodies have not
yet even been removed from the site of the murders.
It seems like this is going to be – this is going to be a long haul for
TORRES: Absolutely. And I have talked to local representatives, a
councilwoman and a council member of San Bernardino, and as they explain to
me, the situation, it`s extremely somber.
The family members of the victims are, you know, very upset and they want
answers. It`s very difficult to try to put them off and say we are still
developing, and we`re still investigating.
The situation is very fluid right now, very difficult for us to give those
types of answers when people want to see their loved ones.
O`DONNELL: There`s some really heartbreaking stories coming out in local
media in Los Angeles, especially – and some stories of great strength.
One young man was in there, hit with three bullets and he managed to call
his wife. He`s only been his wife of two weeks, called his father, said
He was able to get that cellphone message out and say that he was already
being taken care of by police.
Have you heard more stories like that of people who were in there, in
trouble, who were able to make cellphone calls and get the word out to
their loved ones that they were OK?
TORRES: Yes, I have heard several instances where people were leaving
messages, phone messages and family members are trying to get back to them
because of the situation of, you know, whether they`re at a hospital or
being transported to a safe location.
There`s been a lot of missed calls. So, you know, what I would say, be
patient, go to the center where, you know, it has been – it has been
organized to be able to provide that type of information as to the status
of their family members.
O`DONNELL: Congresswoman Norma Torres of California, thank you very much
for joining us tonight, really appreciate it. We`re joined now here in the
studio by Eugene O`Donnell, former NYPD officer.
Eugene, describe the scope of the investigative apparatus that`s at work
here now and the various – we have the coroner, for example, I just
That`s one investigation of its own with its own jurisdiction. We have
local police there, we have FBI, we have ATF. How is all that coordinated?
EUGENE O`DONNELL, FORMER POLICE OFFICER, NEW YORK CITY POLICE DEPARTMENT:
Not all is well, that has to be said. If you got moving pieces and moving
parts and you wonder how well information is imparted in the field.
Obviously, there`s an urgency here because the FBI has sort of left hanging
out there that this could be terrorism, which is a very significant
announcement, so hopefully, they could clarify that as soon as possible.
Law enforcement also nationwide is going to have to now – they have to get
back in touch with the Muslim community to make sure there`s not copy cat
incidents against Muslims.
Because putting out terrorism so quickly can lead some – lead to some bad
things happening in the short run.
O`DONNELL: Now, the big departments around the country, NYPD, LAPD, they
are trained for moments like this, situations like this.
San Bernardino, 60 miles east of Los Angeles, it`s kind of out there in the
middle of California, not the place where people would expect it.
If you ask me to guess where something like this was going to happen in
California, certainly wouldn`t have picked there.
A lot of us, they knew – a lot of very easy escape roots out of there,
root 10 is right there which can take you out to Phoenix and all the way to
This root 15 is right there to take you up to Las Vegas, you can go off in
the other direction up toward Malibu and up the coast, south to Mexico
through San Diego.
All instantaneous access to a different freeway that would take you in one
of those directions. So they had a lot of pressure on them, obviously,
when that manhunt started.
Have these people already made it a 100 miles from here, because it was
hours after the shooting before they were able to make contact with them
and ended up finding them within, you know, walking distance of where it
O`DONNELL: Right, and I mean, it`s the street cops actually did the
frontline here about –
O`DONNELL: Yes –
O`DONNELL: You know, bringing all these resources, but ultimately it`s
street cops that happen upon these people and have to engage them – these
guys apparently, they were dead-ending, they were not intending to get out
They stayed in the vicinity, it looked like they were going to go to war
with the police once the police encountered them.
O`DONNELL: Yes, I mean, it`s fascinating that they had masks and they had
a vehicle. They had what looked like intent and plan to escape.
And yet they came back into San Bernardino. I mean, that`s the remarkable
part of the story.
O`DONNELL: It really is. I mean, and this breaks kind of records in a
way. Usually, you don`t have two people or more than two people involved
in these mass killings.
You usually don`t have women involved. It`s a very rare event, I think the
FBI study said like 3 out of 160. So, you have three people, one, a woman
engaged in a mass – in a mass killing.
So – but it really is important, hopefully the FBI will clarify this.
Obviously, if this is an act of terrorism, it opens up questions as to
whether this – you know, is it a cell? Is it other cell or is it just an
act of workplace violence?
O`DONNELL: And when you look at the equipment, you look at the way they
were ready to go here, it`s the kind of case where you immediately start to
think of who else was involved, what other help did they have?
O`DONNELL: Right, and I mean we think as a third, it sounds like there`s a
third, maybe there`s a fourth. You know, there`s pandemonium, it`s not a
great time to get accurate with the statements.
When people go –
O`DONNELL: Right –
O`DONNELL: And engage in a mass murder in these, you know, situations, so
there`s likely some stories that don`t necessarily, you know, they`re not
You probably have a lot of –
O`DONNELL: Right –
O`DONNELL: Different story lines you have to pursue.
O`DONNELL: All right, let`s listen to a husband whose wife was inside the
building at the time of the shooting and what his wife said about one of
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: She had already barricaded herself and the co-workers
inside the building, but stands on the door, and that`s when she called me
a little bit before 11:00.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Did she see the gunmen description at all?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: She just saw them from outside the window. Heavier set
guy, big gun. She told me he had a mask on and like with a bunch of things
on his chest.
So, I`m assuming he had like a bullet proof vest or something like that –
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Was he alone? –
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What are you going to do when you see your wife?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I`m just going to hug her.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: We`re joined now by Nbc News Justice correspondent Pete
Williams. Pete, we have you having a lead on the name, Syed Farooq on
this, that`s now being followed up and confirmed by the “L.A. Times” and
What more do we know about the suspects?
PETE WILLIAMS, NBC NEWS: Well, it`s a convoluted investigative trail,
Lawrence, as we understand it.
The witnesses that were in the room, in the Inland Regional Center said
that they thought they saw him come in, be nervous, leave and then after
that, the shooters came in.
O`DONNELL: Pete, can I just stop you there? When you –
WILLIAMS: Yes –
O`DONNELL: Say him come in, do you mean Syed Farooq?
WILLIAMS: I do –
O`DONNELL: Yes. Now, whether he was one of the shooters or not at that
point, they didn`t know. But there was a name, it was a lead.
It was the – it was the lead that the police chief was talking about in
the very first news conference where he said we have some things to go on
but we`re not going to talk about them.
Partly because they had no idea where that would go. So that led them to a
car, and it also led them to this address in Redlands, California, with
which he is connected.
Authorities have now – several authorities have now told us that as they
get further into this, they believe he is involved in this shooting,
connected with it in precisely what form they have yet to conclude.
For example, we don`t – we cannot say ourselves that he is one of the two
people who were found in that SUV that was riddled with bullets earlier
today in which authorities later said a man and a woman were found.
We don`t know if he was one of those two. We don`t know if he is the third
person. We don`t know what the deal is with him other than authorities say
they believe he is involved in the shooting in some way.
That he may be the leader, he may have been one of the gunmen, they`re
still trying to nail that down. But so many officials have told us that
they believe he`s involved.
You`ve seen the search of the house connected to him in Redlands, so that`s
part of it. The fact is, that eight hours after the shooting, authorities
still haven`t identified everyone involved to their satisfaction.
They don`t know if others were involved, and they have no idea what the
motive is. You saw the FBI, special agent in charge in L.A. say that they
haven`t ruled out terrorism.
The only reason he said that we`re told is because they simply don`t know
what it is. So, they can`t say what it is if they don`t know what it is.
I`m told that there isn`t some additional evidence that points toward
terrorism like literature left by or things on social message, none of
They still don`t know what the motive was, it doesn`t certainly seem like
someone just walking in, getting mad, coming back with two friends who were
willing to kill a bunch of people.
It seemed much more planned than that, but why, they still don`t know.
O`DONNELL: And Pete, do we have it confirmed that Syed Farooq was employed
at the Inland Regional Center as an environmental health services
WILLIAMS: Let`s be very careful with this Lawrence, it`s a good question
that you ask. We know, we believe that a person named Syed Farooq was in
fact in essence a restaurant health inspector.
Whether that`s the same Syed Farooq who authorities say was involved in the
shooting, we don`t know.
O`DONNELL: And there`s a report indicating that Syed Farooq`s brother was
also involved in this. What – how do we substantiate that at this point?
WILLIAMS: We`ve been told that by some authorities, but we haven`t
confirmed it, Lester, we`ve certainly heard that, but I don`t know.
And that`s – it leads us to another – it leads us to some incompleteness
in what the authorities have told us.
They`ve said that there were two people in that SUV and that a third person
got away and that third person was detained, but they don`t know what the
role the third person played in the shooting, whether he played any role or
Well, if that`s the case, then where is the fourth person if there were
three shooters, where is that other shooter? Were there four people
I mean these are still – you know, you think we`d know all the answer to
all these questions, but we don`t because the authorities don`t. It`s a
very rapidly unfolding investigation and these things take time.
O`DONNELL: Pete Williams, thank you very much for joining us and
clarifying all that for us, really appreciate it, Pete, thank you. We`re
joined now again by Jacob Soboroff who is in San Bernardino live.
Jacob, what`s going on at your location now?
SOBOROFF: Hey, Lawrence, so as you can see in our live shot right now,
you`re going to have a truck pass through in just a second.
But we are watching right in front of us probably about 300 feet a bomb
disposal robot pick up some type of material off the street.
And it looks like put it into a box, whether or not they`re going to
detonate that box, we`re not sure.
But obviously, there is a big concern here at the Inland Regional Center as
well and out in Redlands where they`re searching the suspect`s home about
the potential for explosive devices.
It`s something that they had also told me just a couple of hours ago when
we were in another nearby residential neighborhood in this area to be
concerned about explosives.
And I think you guys have this live picture right now of this bomb disposal
robot. Again, that`s about 300 feet away from us, putting some sort of
material into a box directly next to it.
O`DONNELL: Jacob, we do have the shot and we`re watching it. And is it
true that what we`re seeing as traffic is passing by, this situation as
this is going on.
They haven`t – they haven`t blocked traffic from passing that area?
SOBOROFF: A little bit, Lawrence, there. The traffic is blocked to that
street, but amazingly, yes, there is some cross-traffic coming
perpendicular to the street that this bomb disposal robot is actually on
They`re waving cars through it, I see two black and white police cars,
there is not the aggressive police presence that we had seen earlier this
evening, at least at this intersection.
As I told you earlier in the hour, just another block away from here.
Whether it`s the manhunt or again, another search for a suspect or perhaps
explosive devices like the one we`re looking at right now.
There`s something else going on just a block up the road, but here directly
in front of us, all of a sudden, the black and whites put up, this yellow
police tape both on this side of the robot and on the other side, you can
see it right now, the arms extending.
And it looks like they`re going put some sort of material, whatever it
picked up from nearby to the (INAUDIBLE) in that box, hopefully just out of
an abundance of caution.
O`DONNELL: Jacob –
SOBOROFF: And it looks like it`s a backpack, Lawrence, I`m being told.
O`DONNELL: OK, what is the location – I mean, we`ve seen a variety of
locations today, including the location where the SUV was stopped. What
location is this?
SOBOROFF: This location is a mile and a half away from the Inland Regional
Center, and I would say, you know, perhaps, equal or plus or minus, just
about the same distance from the location the suspects were engage in the
shootout with law enforcement earlier today.
You know, incredibly, all of this is taking place within a relatively small
geographic area over the course of the day, starting at around 11:14 this
morning Pacific Time when that first call came in.
O`DONNELL: So, this location where the bomb disposal robot is right now is
not the same spot where they closed in on that SUV, but it is – it is near
SOBOROFF: That`s correct, Lawrence. And it`s also – I would say, pretty
close to equal distance from the location of the shooting this morning
where we`ve heard reports of potential, you know, explosive devices being -
- Blake McCoy(ph), our colleague from Nbc News reported that in the last
hour with Rachel.
We`re now looking at this bomb disposal robot move slightly away from the
box here that`s on the ground, and that arms is extended in the air.
I`m trying to get a closer look at it, Lawrence, through our camera right
now. But it looks like a relatively small package that it`s got.
And they`re going to – I think what`s going to happen is, they`re going to
see that arm extend downward and place whatever is on that robot into the
box that we`re looking at.
O`DONNELL: Jacob Soboroff, thank you very much for joining us live from
San Bernardino. Eugene O`Donnell, as you take a look at that bomb disposal
robot there, this is obviously an abundance of caution.
That`s exactly the way they should be treating anything that they see
mysteriously on anywhere near any of these locations.
O`DONNELL: Yes, no question about it, and actually people in the area, if
they see anything at all suspicious should call, they should continue to
call until they stand this down.
But it would be interesting to see how much the police know about the
movements of these people after these events and whether they`ve actually,
physically assessed any place they could be to make sure that they did not
leave any explosive devices or evidence or anything that would connect them
to the crime.
Obviously, ultimately, there could be – there can be – is going to be a
criminal case here, and so that`s another concern. You`re going to have to
perhaps bring one or more people to justice.
And so, you know, if they were all dead, you wouldn`t have to be so
careful, but in this case, you (AUDIO GAP 00:01:46-50), they left behind or
whether there`s something they could engage with the public.
So, where were these guys in the period after this event, this kind of
O`DONNELL: Joining us now is Andrew Blankstein, an Nbc News investigative
reporter and former “Los Angeles Times” reporter.
Also joining us is Candice DeLong, former FBI profiler. Candice DeLong, as
you see this bomb disposal robot going to work here, this is the kind of
thing that they have no choice about, I assume at this point.
If somebody says, hey, there`s a backpack by the side of the road there,
there is no police officer who should go anywhere near it.
CANDICE DELONG, FORMER FBI PROFILER: Yes, absolutely true. And I have
seen these bomb disposal robots in action up in Montana on a unabomber
case. It`s too dangerous for a human to do.
And the robot does the job very well.
O`DONNELL: And talk about what has to be developed here as Eugene
O`Donnell was just mentioning in terms of a (AUDIO GAP 00:02:54-58) be
doing in terms of anticipation (AUDIO GAP 00:03:02-08) –
DELONG: Evidence, one of the things that concerns me, there`s a report out
of San Francisco on news agency that says that the SUV used by the suspects
was rented from a car rental place on Monday by a man with a Middle Eastern
name and an employment verification returned information that he was a
Earlier in your broadcast, now a name is being mentioned, it looks to me
like a very good probability, obviously, reports earlier that somebody was
at – one of the suspects was at the party and was asked to leave or got
into a dispute and left.
Maybe came back angry, obviously this was in planning for a long time. One
of the things in terms of what are agents on the ground actually doing now,
they`re following leads, they`re connecting the dots.
Did these people work? Was it just the three or four of them? Did they have
any kind of outside support? Things like that.
O`DONNELL: Andrew Blankstein, as we`re watching this bomb disposal robot,
you know, go to work here on what appears to have been a backpack.
Have you been – have you been following the investigation all day, your
customers dealing with these authorities, did you sense a change in focus
at some point about what it was they were dealing with from a work place
rage incident to something else?
ANDREW BLANKSTEIN, INVESTIGATIVE REPORTER, NBC NEWS: I think it`s still
open to interpretations.
I mean, one of the things was that you did get some of those reports early
on that this could be a workplace violence.
But one of the things in covering these stories is that certain things slip
out at certain times. And I think the assistant director in charge of the
FBI, L.A. office gave (INAUDIBLE) one and to leave open the possibility.
You know, there was a lot of criticism, Lawrence, back in 2002. There was
a shooting at L.A.X. involving a suspect by the name of Mohammed Hadayet.
At that time, authorities came out, including the FBI within several hours
of that incident and said, we are ruling out terrorism. And, there was a
lot of criticism in that decision. I think this time around, given what we
know about what happened, and that is limited, because in the next number
of hours they are going to be trying to get a timeline together, geographic
They are also going to try to get a sense of the background of anybody that
was involved or anybody that was connected to any of these suspects. So, I
think as we go on, what you saw today is that you are building out
concentric circles, but you are not trying to commit to any one theory at
O`DONNELL: And, Andrew, you know Los Angeles well, covered it extensively.
Talk about San Bernardino, 60 miles east of Los Angeles. Talk about that
police department`s capacity for handling an event like this today.
BLANKSTEIN: One of the good things about law enforcement in southern
California is that generally speaking, there is a lot of cooperation not
only between those departments and their county sheriffs.
In this case, you saw San Bernardino city and San Bernardino County
Sheriffs, but you also saw cooperation immediate with federal authorities,
the FBI, ATF, Homeland Security. And, there is very good relationships out
And, whether it is the LAPD or the LA County Sheriffs, which obviously
there is a lot of crimes that have been in the news for those departments
over time. Or if you go down to San Diego, Ventura, there is just a lot of
those relationships. They drill together.
And, so, I think that was one of the things that you saw. There is always
going to be sometimes, where people kind of step on each other`s toes, but
in this instance it appears that they worked well together.
O`DONNELL: And, that stepping on the toes, that has traditionally been an
issue for some departments when it comes to federal authorities coming in.
But, in the age of terror, now that we are dealing with the possibility of
terrorism incidents, has that changed a lot? Are the local departments
happy to see the FBI, the ATF come in, Homeland Security whenever something
like this is suspected as possibly being terrorists?
BLANKSTEIN: I think it depends on the department, but largely speaking,
people now that you cannot – given the geographic layout of Southern
California and the limits in terms of personnel, that you really do need to
work together, whether it is with federal partners or departments near you.
And, especially when you look at L.A. County, which has 88 cities, there
has been in a last decade and a half, a real move to try to integrate those
departments more when it comes to cooperation. And, you see it on various
kind of large scale crimes, but it is definitely improved, certainly in the
time I have been covering law enforcement out here.
O`DONNELL: NBC`s Blake McCoy joins us now live near the scene of today`s
shooting in San Bernardino. Blake, what is the situation there now?
BLAKE MCCOY, NBC NEWS CORRESPONDENT, SAN BERNDINO: Lawrence, this is where
it all began around 11:00 A.M. local time this morning. And, remarkably,
eight hours later, we are still being kept two blocks away. And, that is
because they have yet to secure, to fully secure that Inland Regional
About an hour and a half ago, we had a local police officer come up to us
and say, “If you hear an explosion, it is because we found a device that we
deemed suspicious enough, a possible explosive device to detonate it, to
We have not actually heard an explosion, so we do not know if that
happened, but they were preparing to neutralize some sort of device. This
is just one of three active crime scenes right now.
And, I believe we have some video to show you of the evacuation around the
time it happened. Someone inside that Inland Regional Center taking video
with their cell phone as people were being rushed out. This is a large
Three story building. Three wings to the building. Based on the
organization`s Facebook page, there is at least 670 people, who work in the
building, not to mention any patients that were there as well. So, a
frantic scene as they were moving everyone out.
They moved them across the street to the golf course and we saw them
checking people is I.D.s to make sure that these were, in fact, people
evacuating the building and not one of the shooters. So, right now, three
active crime scenes Lawrence, and they are still working to neutralize
suspicious devices, we are told, at all three of them.
O`DONNELL: Blake, what do we know about the timing of that evacuation?
And, what I mean is the timing of the shooting begins around 11:20 A.M.
How soon do police arrive? What makes the shooters flee the scene? Why do
they flee the scene? Is it because the police have arrived? And, then how
long does it take after they have fled the scene for the evacuation to
MCCOY: That is a good question, because if you remember at the Colorado
Springs shooting last Friday, the police arrived and the suspect was still
there. And, there was this long drawn-out shootout for five hours. That
was not the case at all here.
From what witnesses are saying, these gunmen burst into this conference
center. They open fired and it was very quick, and they took off. They
had the intention of trying to get away. So, it is not like a lot of these
cases where we see, and the gunman is hold up inside, taking hostages, you
know, potentially wearing a suicide vest. That was not this at all.
Instead, the way we understand it is the shooting happened very quickly.
And, then those gunmen took off. Police responded almost immediately and
local hospitals began preparing to take the victims, which we now know were
substantial amount of victims, 14 dead, 17 injuries; 18 if you include the
police officer, who was injured at another location in the shootout.
O`DONNELL: So, Blake, the best we can make out of the way it played out is
that the murderers left before the police arrived?
MCCOY: That is exactly right. And, witnesses reported seeing a black SUV
drive away. So, that is why authorities were on the lookout for that black
SUV. A tip led them to that other location, that home that they are
currently searching right now, about six miles from here.
They say when they were going to that home, they spotted that black SUV and
that is when the chase ensued, which ended about two miles from my location
here. So, the suspects were able to get away from here before the police
But, it is that black SUV that witnesses spotted driving away that
eventually led to the suspects. It was four hours later and they did not
switch vehicles. They were still in the same vehicle, we believe, that
they escaped the scene from.
O`DONNELL: And, Eugene O`Donnell, what is so fascinating about all of that
is by the time, they are getting back in that black SUV. It is being
reported throughout Southern California that this has happened. This was
saturation news coverage there.
So, they could conceivably have been at home even seeing some of this news
coverage on television, possibly before they get back in the suspect
vehicle the witnesses have already identified.
O`DONNELL: No doubt. I think we recognized the buzz they must get out of
this. The bizarre and inexplicable buzz they must get. No doubt they saw
police cars coming, heard sirens. They knew this was the number one event
in the country that they had precipitated. And, they waited in the
vicinity, whether to see the damage they caused or for whatever the reason,
but it did not seem like they were intent on really making a clean getaway.
O`DONNELL: The bomb disposal robot that we have been watching seems to
have done its job at that location with whatever that was. We now have
that video that Blake was talking about from inside the building earlier
today when people were evacuating. Let us listen. .
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE SPEAKER: Go. Go. Go. Keep walking and keep your hands
right where I could see them. Thank you. Thank you. All right. Relax,
everyone. Try to relax. I will take a bullet before you do, that is for
damn sure. Just stay cool. OK?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: Jim Cavanaugh, it seems like the bomb disposal unit has done
its job at that location. And, watching that video, that cell phone video
that someone took of people being evacuated from that building, sadly it
seems like it is the kind of video we will probably be seeing more of in
these events in the future.
CAVANAUGH: Yes, I agree with you, Lawrence. It just happens too much, but
you are exactly right. The robot, the bomb squad robot would use a
disruptor charge to hit the package, the backpack or box or whatever they
are looking at. It sliced it to open it up. And, then they can get a look
at the contents and make sure it is an explosive device.
And, of course, the uniform patrol here is in here quick. And, they are
trying to get people out through a corridor. They know that they will be
safe egress. And, we saw then all day taking them to across golf course
across the street. So, you know, it is just going to be not a simple
motive when we see it.
I think that people – If it is only two or maybe it is three arriving
there with mask on, pitching something that was a bomb, mowing down
everybody in the conference center. This is going to be an interesting
motive to see, just exactly what is driving this kind of violence and
carnage at this particular group of people today.
O`DONNELL: And, Jim, it is such a strange package of motivations here.
When you see that they go in there at 11:20 A.M., they are masked, they are
prepared to do this murdering and they are prepared to flee. And, they
seemed to follow that plan. They go in there. They do the shooting. They
killed 14 people. They wound 17 others. They get themselves out of there
into the black SUV.
And, then very, very strangely, hours later, they come back. They come
back to this area in that same black SUV. And, so, what looked like a team
of murderers that was trying to escape becomes a team that returns close to
the scene of the crime, where they know most police in Southern California
CAVANAUGH: Well, that is right. I mean they went back to the house in
Redlands. It is not clear from the chief`s description whether they were
inside the house, and the surveillance saw them leave or they came up and
You know, they could have went back and got some more ammunition. They
could have went back, as you described, and watch the news. You know, like
Gene was saying that this is really something. They captured America`s
attention. They are watching the chaos that they have unleashed on the
And, then they get back in the vehicle. And, from what the chief said, it
was a surveillance in the beginning. So, they might have went right back
toward the scene of the mass murder to see the chaos they have unleashed.
This is not unusual. We have seen it with bombers and arsons.
You saw it in Paris. They have a suit. They went back to the cafes and
the Bataclan theatre and to see what carnage he had wreaked. And, of
course, he might have had additional motive to film some of that for
propaganda. But, nevertheless, it is not unusual for these kind of killers
to want the see the chaos they have created.
O`DONNELL: Five of the adults who were wounded were taken about three
miles away to the Loma Linda Hospital. NBC`s Morgan Radford joins us live
from that hospital. Morgan, what do we know about how those patients are
being treated tonight?
MORGAN RADFORD, NBC NEWS, LOMA LINDA HOSPITAL: Lawrence, we do know that
of those five victims, who were wounded and brought here to Loma Linda, two
of them are in critical condition. Two of them are in fair condition, and
one`s condition is still being determined.
But, that said, Lawrence, just earlier today, at 2:30 P.M., right when we
were standing here. There was a bomb threat called into this hospital.
Then just an hour later, it was lifted after a unit of canines came in.
And, they later determined that, that threat was not, in fact, credible.
Meanwhile, families continue to trickle in, trying to find out anything
they can about their loved ones.
Earlier today, I spoke to one of the security guards, who was actually
guarding the entrance where the family members are coming in. And, she
spoke to three or four different family members, one of whom was just a
young man who was waiting to see how his uncle was doing. So, you are
hearing personal tails emerge right here out of this hospital. As families
right now, Lawrence, are playing the waiting game.
O`DONNELL: And, Morgan, how many people are being treated at that hospital
at this point?
RADFORD: There is 17 people, who are wounded today, but five of those 17
are being treated here at Loma Linda.
O`DONNELL: And, others have been taken to other facilities?
RADFORD: To other trauma facilities right here in San Bernardino and a
nearby area. But, we are also seeing choppers that were leaving here as
emergency vehicles continue to come in.
But, here at Loma Linda, hospital authorities are saying they are not
expecting any more victims from today`s shooting to come here tonight.
And, they say that tomorrow they will be treating victims as business as
O`DONNELL: Morgan Radford, thank you very much for joining us with that
report. I really appreciate it. We are joined now from Sacramento by
Eileen Richey. She is the Executive Director of the Association of
Regional Center Agencies, which represents the Inland Regional Center,
where today`s mass shooting took place. Tell us about the work that takes
place at this center and who would be there today in the course of the
EILEEN RICHEY, EXEC. DIR. ASSOC. OF REG. CENTER AGENCIES: Yes. Well,
thank you for having me here today. It is certainly a very tragic event.
Inland Regional Center is one of 21 regional centers that serve 290,000
individuals with developmental disabilities here in the state of
At each regional center, there is a variety of services that regional
centers provide, intake, evaluation, case management. And, they provide
those services to individuals who have epilepsy, autism, cerebral palsy,
intellectual disabilities and similar disabilities.
So, there would be clients, people with developmental disabilities and
family members, who would be going to the regional center to either meet
with their case manager or go to the local regional center to partake in a
seminar or a clinic.
And, so at any one time, there are a fair amount of individuals with
developmental disabilities in their families at the regional center.
Inland Regional center is actually the largest regional center in the state
of California. They serve 30,600 individuals. And, they have a staff of
O`DONNELL: And, what was it like for all of you working in this system,
the regional center system to learn today, as the news reports developed
early in the afternoon about the location of this mass murder today. What
was it like for you all?
RICHEY: Well, you know, I guess I was very surprised at how quickly the
information was relay out. There was very quick communication. We were
alerted by a neighboring regional center, who had an employee had a son,
who worked at Inland.
And, so, we then proceeded to contact all of the other regional centers in
the state as well as coordinating – they were coordinating with the
department of developmental services. So, there was very good
All of the regional centers then reached out to their local police agencies
to confer with those agencies on whether or not they should locally take
steps. And, as a result of that, about eight regional centers ended up
closing early today on the advice of local police.
O`DONNELL: And, what is the plan for tomorrow? Do the regional centers at
this point feel safe to open tomorrow?
RICHEY: Well, I think we are going to wait and see. We have done, I
think, a good job of getting information out and keeping people informed.
I do know that Inland Regional Center will be closed until Monday. They
have informed us that all of their employees are, in fact, safe. And, that
consumers that they served were not harmed.
There were not any family members or individuals with developmental
disabilities, who were harmed during this attack. So, it is great sadness
that individuals lost their lives and were injured during this attack and
our hearts and prayers go out to those families.
O`DONNELL: And, Eugene O`Donnell, one of the great pains for the regional
centers will – may turn out to be that one of the murderers involved was
an employee of this regional center.
And, as that is working its way through the system to get confirmed, there
was someone working at the regional center with the name of the one of
suspects. And, we will see if that is that person. But, one of the first
questions people are going to want to know is how long did he work there?
EUGENE O`DONNELL: Yes. You know, it does sound like humiliation. And, I
guess terrorism and humiliation, some of those things are interconnected.
So, perhaps, it is perception that he was being bullied in the workplace;
or if these facts turned out to be the case that perceived national origin
or religion was the basis of some sort of bullying that he encountered and
he became enraged about that. So, that is what it sounds like it might be.
And, in that sense it might cover both work place violence and sort of some
O`DONNELL: We are back with Candice DeLong, a retired FBI Profiler.
Candice, what would you be looking for in the profiles of Syed Farook and
anyone else involved?
DELONG: Well, I think it is going to be very interesting. You asked the
question, how long had he worked there? I think that is very important. I
agree. I believe that was Mr. Cavanaugh who just said, this could be –
that because of his ethnicity, he was being subjected to some problems at
work, because he is Middle Eastern.
And, the whole thing looks kind of – it looks to me like if – he is an
employee there. On the face of it, the first thing I thought this morning,
I thought this is an odd place for terrorism. And, it is an odd place for
workplace revenge, although that can happen anywhere. We have no
information that any of the clients, some would call them patients, people
that receive services, were injured.
Just the people, possibly employees of this one particular agency, and
perhaps an agency that one of the suspects – the suspect that is the
employee worked with. But, this was not a kind of revenge thing where
somebody made him mad, he went home and got a gun. This has been in the
planning for a long time.
DELONG: I think we may probably find – well, it looks more like revenge
to me, but there may have some political overtones.
O`DONNELL: Yes, and –
DELONG: But it does not mean it states sponsored terrorism.
O`DONNELL: And, that part of California, San Bernardino, there is a
settlement of people whose heritage is from the Middle East. And, in fact,
there was a front page article on Sunday “Los Angeles Times” this weekend
about a Syrian refugee family that had been resettled actually quite close
to there, because they had friends and people who they knew in that area.
And, so, I have to say that the notion that someone named, Syed Farook,
working at the Inland Regional Center would not surprise me. And, Eugene,
I do not think people working there would be struck by that. I think that
would not – that would strike me as very unlikely to be an element of
Whatever friction he would have had as a worker there, I think would have
been of some personal nature that was not a matter of discrimination in
that community, I do not think.
EUGENE O`DONNELL: Yes. I mean I think that there is a lot of work place
EUGENE O`DONNELL: And, there is a lot of workplace violence. And, we do
not always see it, but the police certainly see it and it comes to their
attention. And, you know, I would not certainly say it look like it is
heading in the direction, perhaps that this guy has some connection, some
real – his religious.
He is connected to events in the Middle East, but also this is more of a
personal issue. But, we have the intersection of the personal and his
political or religious beliefs. They may come together in this event.
O`DONNELL: Stay with us, we will be right back with more of our live
O`DONNELL: We are joined now by Andy Blankstein in our studio in Los
Angeles. He is an NBC Investigative Reporter. Andrew, there have been
reports now about Syed Farook. More reports developing, some quotes from
his father about him, saying that, “He was married and has a kid and he
does not understand this.” Are we developing any more information about
Syed Farook or any of the other suspects?
BLANKSTEIN: Right now, sources are saying it is still trying to background
the suspect. They are getting some of that same reports, obviously. There
is interviews going on. Search warrants being served in connection with
I think what we will see in fairly rapid succession is trying to, again,
reference concentric circles; getting started with people that were close
to him or others involved in this, and then working out from that. And,
then, also, try to build in a timeline that would lead up to this. So,
trying and get some kind of a motive here, was it work place related? Was
it something else?
And, so, we will see some of these reports. But I think the important
thing to remember here and we have seen it time and again with mass
shootings is that people tend to take slivers of this and then try to
extrapolate out from it as though they can ascertain motive. And, I think
one of the things that they need to do is really keep moving forward to
really get what is the clear picture.
O`DONNELL: Jacob Soboroff, at your location there, we have on video right
now the bomb squad is now going straight into that backpack as we can see,
it looks like there is no danger there.
SOBOROFF: That is right, Lawrence. So, you know, as you are saying
earlier this evening. These searches are happening out of abundance of
caution all over the San Bernadino County area, also in Redlands.
It looks like a cocky or a camou backpack, that these, I would presume bomb
squad officers are going through after this – the robot was moving this
backpack around. You know see the officers kicking it through. Obviously,
lookie loos now are pulling up. You can see this truck this car right in
front. But, it looks for now, Lawrence, that this potential threat is not
O`DONNELL: Yes, I just wanted to follow up on this with our audience that
saw this one earlier tonight, when the bomb disposal robot was out there
approaching that backpack and picking it up. And, that is the backpack
that they retrieved at that point.
And, so, by the time you have officers actually handling the backpack
themselves, they have already established that there is no danger to them
when they are getting in that close to it.
SOBOROFF: And, I should say, Lawrence, you know, as things become clear
around here and sort of the fog is always in its craziness list. We are
just a short ways away from where the shootout with the suspects earlier
And, so, obviously everybody in this area is on edge. Everything that is
going on in this neighborhood is being looked up very closely by law
enforcement officials in the area. So, again, just up that street, we are
now starting to get some clarity. The shootout with the suspects ended
just right up there and around the corner there in San Bernadino.
O`DONNELL: We are joined now by Kevin Knierim. He is a former FBI Agent
and a co-founder and Managing Director of Cyopsis. Kevin, what do you make
of these developments tonight on the suspects?
KEVIN KNIERIM, FMR. FBI SPECIAL AGENT: Well, I think it will be really
interesting as the dust clears overnight and as they start to develop all
the leads that are going to just pour in that, you know, obviously, the
questions are, is it something other than domestic violence or, you know,
anger at the workplace.
O`DONNELL: And, the information we are developing now indicates that there
were at least three shooters. And, as we talked to Pete Williams at the
beginning of this hour, the way he tracked the number of references that
investigators made today about who was apprehended and who seemed to have
gotten away, there is the possibility that there was a fourth person
involved in this.
But, that would also raise the question, the investigative question beyond
the shooters, who went into the regional center and murdered 14 people.
Was anyone else involved who did not actually participate in the event?
KNIERIM: Right. And, as we have seen in the events in Paris, you know,
whether this was terrorism or not, they do not do this in a vacuum, and
they need help. They are purchasing guns somewhere. You do not just buy a
bullet proof vest off the street either. So, all of that will need to be
sorted out to find any accomplices, obviously.
O`DONNELL: Eugene O`Donnell, what would you suggest to people they should
expect as a pace in this investigation? You know, we are going to be
having these press conferences and press briefings frequently throughout
tonight. And, then tomorrow, there will be some. But, you know, people
want answers, they want them fast. How much patience do people going to
EUGENE O`DONNELL: Well, I mean, law enforcement is trying to give as much
information as they can, but they often regret doing it, because storyline
does change. So, they are trying to brief people, but sometimes they
become victimized by putting out too much information. You know, there is
conspiracy theory of terrorist is already at work. I am sure – In some
ways, the less said the better as far as a matter of investigation, but
there is also a need to restore public confidence –
O`DONNELL: Yes. I mean, that is a big part of it. Here you have San
Bernardino, a community that, you know, certainly, has no experience with
something like this. It is true of, you know, virtually all of our
communities in the United States. And, people have to go to work tomorrow.
And, they know who the police chief is in San Bernardino.
EUGENE O`DONNELL: Right.
O`DONNELL: And, so, within the department, there is understood to be a
value for that chief to be out there on the 11:00 news tonight and on the
news tomorrow, explaining to people everything he can, she can about what
the situation is there.
EUGENE O`DONNELL: Absolutely. And, the sad part is kind of pointy is that
the police are getting good for this.
EUGENE O`DONNELL: And, we wish they were not, but they were in training
for this, I think today, actually when this was happening. So, S.W.A.T.
teams all over the country trained every day, virtually, for these kinds of
And, the great tragedy is to become skilled at it and getting better at
responding. It would be good to get the guns out of the country. Law
enforcement has to be the patchwork for the regulation. They have access
to assault rifles, which is extraordinary.
O`DONNELL: Our coverage continues now.
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