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The Last Word with Lawrence O'Donnell, Transcript 07/23/15

Guests: Seth Dickerson, Jim Cavanaugh, Kristin Askelson, Jim Cavanaugh,Kiefer Sanders, Seth Dickerson, Clint Van Zandt

RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC HOST: Tonight, in another American movie theater -- whether or not James Holmes, the Aurora movie theater massacre shooter is going to get the death penalty for his crimes. That jury is deliberating right now on that case, but there`s apparently been another mass shooting tonight in another American movie theater. That does it for us tonight, we will see you again tomorrow, now it`s time for more on this story with Lawrence O`Donnell on THE LAST WORD, good evening Lawrence. LAWRENCE O`DONNELL, MSNBC HOST: Good evening Rachel, thank you. MADDOW: Yes. O`DONNELL: We continue with our breaking news right now that Rachel has been telling you about. Authorities in Lafayette, Louisiana, tell "Nbc News" that there has been a shooting at a movie theater there. What we know so far is that police responded to a shooting at the Grand 16 theater in Lafayette, Louisiana, earlier tonight. An ambulance service tells "Nbc News" that eight people are injured and two are dead on arrival. State police confirmed that the shooter is dead. Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal tweeted a few minutes ago, "I`m on my way to Lafayette right now, please say a prayer for the victims at the Grand theater and their families." Joining us now is Seth Dickerson, a reporter with "The Advertiser" in Lafayette, Louisiana who`s at the scene. Seth, what can you tell us about what`s happened there tonight? SETH DICKERSON, JOURNALIST, THE ADVERTISER: Lawrence, hey, it seemed that the suspect open fire in a movie theater that`s going -- that`s crazy over here. But two -- it seems like two are dead, but we`re working to confirm that for sure. O`DONNELL: And Seth, where -- how did you hear about this? DICKERSON: We just heard of people that -- we heard people were coming out of the theater, were clutching their purses and running, and the alarms were going off and then we got a tip. O`DONNELL: How long ago did this happen? DICKERSON: Must have been around 7:30, no, it`s around -- maybe, it`s somewhere around there. O`DONNELL: And the theater, it`s called the Grand 16. Does that mean that it`s a 16-screen theater, one of these big multiplex theaters? DICKERSON: I believe so. The -- it seems like the man opened fire in theater 14, but -- so, yes, that would make sense. O`DONNELL: And then theater 14, yes. And is the -- I assume the police response is still going on there, has everyone evacuated the theater? Do you know? DICKERSON: Probably, yes, everyone is outside of the movie theater, and we`re all out around the perimeter, and the cops have it surrounded. O`DONNELL: And what are you learning about how many people have been injured? DICKERSON: Sounds like six or seven so far. O`DONNELL: And apparently we do have two confirmed dead at this point. DICKERSON: Oh, yes -- O`DONNELL: The -- how -- can you gauge how quickly the response was between the time of the shooting and police officers arriving there? DICKERSON: Very quickly. We heard the tip, we raced over here and as soon as we got here, the cops were out, armed with assault rifles, they were -- they had the whole place surrounded, they were very quick. O`DONNELL: And where are you now, Seth? DICKERSON: We are outside of the -- we`re outside of the theater across the street, just watching everything. O`DONNELL: And is there a large crowd gathered there now? DICKERSON: Sort of, yes, there`s a lot of people who were in the theater around the neighborhood, are out here right now. O`DONNELL: And what did -- police sealed off the area of the movie theater? DICKERSON: Yes, sir. They`ve completely sealed it off, no one goes in, no one comes out at this point. O`DONNELL: We`re joined now by Jim Cavanaugh, "Nbc" law enforcement expert. Jim, what is the standard procedure now on that scene? JIM CAVANAUGH, NBC LAW ENFORCEMENT EXPERT: Well, they do an active shooter response which sounds like they might have already done, Lawrence. You know, to get to the person or persons who are shooting and try to engage and stop their activity of course. And that means the officers may have engaged with the shooter and you know, shot him, like we saw in Chattanooga just last week. Or it could be a suicide, you know, a murder-suicide type case -- we don`t know. We know -- we -- the officers -- once they get the shooter down, if they can determine there is no other shooters there, then the protocol is, you know, does he have any explosives on him in his vehicle, in his home. I mean, if you remember James Holmes in Aurora, which we -- you know, looking at that trial this week. He booby-trapped his home, he had all kinds of explosive devices, he gets smoked grenades. So, if the shooter is dead, and there`s no other shooters, the next protocol is explosives on him and his car and his -- and his residence. Of course, they lock it down, you know, try to determine if there`s any conspirators or you know, people should always be alert, one shooter in town could be a confederate somewhere else who is going to do something we don`t know the motive. So, everybody should always be on the alert when they see these things happening. Just like in Chattanooga when they -- when he attacked the reserve center -- oh, sorry, when he attacked the recruiting center, you know, six miles later, he went to the reserve center. So -- and if you have two actors, you`ve got to have two places. There`s no indication of that, but everybody should always be alert when these things happen. O`DONNELL: And Seth Dickerson, if you`re still with us, did you hear any gun fire there as you approached the scene? DICKERSON: Oh, no, as soon as we got in there -- the theater is pretty big, so from outside, it`s pretty thick walled, so we didn`t hear anything. O`DONNELL: And was it your sense of it, Seth, that all the action was over by the time you got there? DICKERSON: It sounded like it. When we got here, the shooter was -- people were saying the shooter was still inside, but at the time, like he`s been subdued. O`DONNELL: Oh, so when you got there, you had information that indicated the shooter had been subdued by that time. DICKERSON: That`s -- yes, well, that he was still inside the theater, that`s all we knew for sure. O`DONNELL: Still inside the theater. Jim Cavanaugh, how long does it take for a response team like this, to be confident that in a 16-screen multiplex theater they have the situation under control? CAVANAUGH: Yes, exactly, a great question, Lawrence. And that`s the question facing the commanders. Once they subdued the shooter, like the reporters on the scene said, they`re going to have to sweep the other theaters to make sure there`s not somebody else in another movie theater holding some people hostage or you know, shot some people before or hiding out. Because they don`t know how many players could be involved. So, they`re going to have to sweep that whole theater, of course, still do that with their patrol units that engage active shooters and also SWAT team officers will come in and they will sweep that. It`ll take them a little while to do that. But if there`s nobody else, I mean, they`ll get them out safely and get everybody static if there is just one shooter there. O`DONNELL: And Jim, we`re seeing, obviously some cellphone video that`s been fed to us. Where we will obviously -- on a situation like this, ultimately be able to harvest a great deal of that. And some of that, if it`s inside the theater itself could obviously be crucially important evidence. CAVANAUGH: Well, it`s exactly right. And you know, these modern movie theaters, Lawrence, I mean, we all go to them, they are a great review in the films, but once you get up in the seating, sometimes there is no exit on the top. The exits are on the sides and the bottom for the fire, and if you can`t, if the shooter comes in the bottom, in some places, there is no exit on the tops. So, you have to file down the seats on the side and then of course, that might be toward the shooter. So, every place is set up different, but those places can be tough if somebody has got you trapped in there. And you`re trying to escape and you know, Holmes did that to a horror when he did that attack in Aurora, Colorado. But for the bravery of some of the patrons there, the quick response of the Aurora police actually would have been even worse and it was horrible enough. So, this is another attack on a theater, but we don`t know the motive, it could be domestic or somebody could have been after a spouse, it could be revenge on somebody, it could be a lot of things that`s going on there. O`DONNELL: Seth Dickerson, are you familiar with the inside of those movie theaters, the screen, this -- DICKERSON: Oh, yes -- O`DONNELL: Yes -- DICKERSON: Very well -- O`DONNELL: Are they -- a lot of these theaters when there`re -- one of the 16 screens, the screening rooms themselves tend to be smaller. The -- how would you describe the size of these -- the theaters inside the multiplex? DICKERSON: It`s a pretty big theater, this is a stadium-seating, so, it`s kind of stacked, staggered down, but it`s a pretty big theater. O`DONNELL: Any indication whether this was a big attendance night there? It`s a Thursday night, luckily it`s not a Friday or Saturday night where attendance would be considerably higher. DICKERSON: Yes, and it looks like there are a lot of people on -- Thursday is not a very slow night here at the theater especially when it`s -- O`DONNELL: And -- DICKERSON: Like the hit movies that are coming out. O`DONNELL: And have you heard anything about the suspect in this case? DICKERSON: It sounds like he was an older male, and that`s about all we got for now I assume, crazy. O`DONNELL: Yes, I`m sure it is. And was that -- Seth, was that a police source saying that it was an older male or was that a witness that -- DICKERSON: There are -- O`DONNELL: Found who was -- DICKERSON: These are all witnesses. O`DONNELL: Oh, OK, what are -- what are the -- and witnesses who -- eyewitnesses who saw this shooter? You`ve been able to speak to some? DICKERSON: Yes, but we got cut off from them and now, but earlier I spoke to some people. O`DONNELL: And what -- can you tell -- share with us anything more that you learned from any eyewitnesses who actually saw the shooter? Where did they see the shooter? DICKERSON: Yes, just as he opened -- he opened fire, he stood up and opened fire on them, I guess, but -- O`DONNELL: So, they -- DICKERSON: What it sounds like -- O`DONNELL: They actually -- O`DONNELL: The -- you spoke to eyewitnesses who witnessed the actual shooting? DICKERSON: Yes -- O`DONNELL: And what did they describe to you? DICKERSON: There was blood, there was a lot of blood. O`DONNELL: And the eyewitnesses you spoke to, what did they do when the shooting broke out? DICKERSON: Yes, they tried to get out of there. From what I was able to surmise, they ran and -- O`DONNELL: Did -- Seth, did they say anything about the weapon itself, how rapidly the weapon was firing, how many shots they thought they heard. DICKERSON: I don`t know, I haven`t heard anything about the amount of shots heard or dispersed or the weapon. O`DONNELL: Jim Cavanaugh, it sounds like there are eyewitnesses available to the police right now who surely are being questioned by the police right now. DICKERSON: Yes. CAVANAUGH: No, exactly right, Lawrence. And the questions you were asking the reporter, exactly, the ones, you know, was it a long gun? Was it a handgun? What kind of arms did he have? Of course, if he is deceased, they should be lying right there and the police have a good handle on those. They want to grab his wallet, see who he is. You know, find out all about him, if they`re going to take those guns, they`re going to trace them back. You know, they`re going to find out, what is the motive here? Because that`s the thing to stop another one. Hopefully, it`s just an isolated one, regardless of what the motive is, it`s horrible enough like it is. But they -- it`s the -- that`s the eminent thing for commanders on the ground, is he acting alone? Is there anybody else helping him? Could it be something else afoot? That`s the eminent thing. Are there any explosives -- and then, you know, and then you get into a crime scene process, again, of course caring for the wounded and the families that have lost someone or injured. O`DONNELL: I just want to update on the latest information we have, comes from Lafayette police spokesman, Kyle Suarez, who says, "at least two victims dead at the scene including the shooter between six and eight victims transported to three local hospitals." Shooting took place inside the theater with only -- they had only described the shooter as a male, but they gave us no age or other identifiers. Seth Dickerson just told us that witnesses have told him that it was an older male. The FBI, Louisiana State Police, the University police are assisting the Lafayette police in the investigation. And Kyle Suarez of the Lafayette police has said we believe the scene is safe at this time. Seth Dickerson, I want to go back to the description you obtained of the shooter. Eyewitnesses to the shooting told you it was an older male, did they give you any sense of how old this man was? DICKERSON: No, they told me like 50s-plus -- O`DONNELL: Fifties? DICKERSON: I mean, I mean, that`s all from, you know, a dark movie theater, so -- O`DONNELL: Sure, yes -- DICKERSON: Yes, I wouldn`t be sure about that. O`DONNELL: Yes -- no, we`re -- but we all understand that this is -- you know, that this is a first flash of information and that people are doing their best and they could see somebody there who they think is in their 50s who turns out to be much younger or conceivably older. And -- but Jim Cavanaugh, that alone is an interesting observation that this is a male of that age. Is it -- is it just my impression from things like Aurora that these kinds of shootings tend to be done by younger people? CAVANAUGH: Right, I think mass shootings really, when you look at this numbers, they go really across almost all age groups. But you know, you do see incidental and anecdotal cases like in the case in Pasco County, Florida where a retired police captain in a movie theater pulled out a pistol and killed a man. And you know, you could have a dispute arise in a theater, a pistol can be pulled out or shots going off and now, of course, in this day and age, we have citizens who, you know, don`t want to be slaughtered and they`re going to fight and you know, that could wind up people getting shot. So, we don`t know the scenario, we don`t know if this guy came in to the theater shooting like James Holmes. We don`t know if he was a patron who got in a dispute, we don`t know if he came into the theater to kill someone over a domestic, a revenge or a robbery. We just don`t have enough detail, but it is an interesting fact that he, you know, he might be an older male. So, it`s just something to put in the -- in the pocket now to see how it develops. So, I think, you know, the officers certainly, Lawrence, have a lot more answers already than we do. They know who he is, they have his identity. They probably have inklings of the motive and, you know, they`re starting to put it together. It comes together pretty quick. They start sizing it up and then start getting some directions to send their major lead teams out. And this will be a city, county, state and federal investigators going out trying to put all this back together. O`DONNELL: Seth Dickerson, in your conversations with eyewitnesses, did any of them remember the shooter saying anything? DICKERSON: No, they didn`t say anything like that. I heard about in the - - any words that he may have said. O`DONNELL: And Seth, what about when this happened, did this happen at the very beginning of the movie? Did this happen at the end of the movie? You know, I`m wondering, do we have the sense that this shooter might have been sitting there for two hours through a movie? DICKERSON: I wouldn`t be able to have a guess in that. It sounded -- it sounded like -- I mean, it was 7:30, so it could have just been in the very beginning, but I wouldn`t be able to tell you for sure. O`DONNELL: Yes, 7:30 that I think it`s possible that you could expect that to be sort -- around the beginning with an audience. Jim Cavanaugh, probably an audience just collected in that theater at that hour and with the lights dimmed, maybe watching trailers of movies to come. But at that hour, given, you know, movie exhibition schedules, that is probably toward the beginning of that audience experience that everyone was going there to hope to enjoy that tonight. CAVANAUGH: Right, Lawrence, and you know, the reason these kinds of activities, just as you describe, you`re describing something that all Americans do, we all go to the movies, it`s a pretty common practice. And so, you know, that`s why these kind of shootings are, you know, kind of strike at the heart of the nation. We say, well, what`s going on? I go to the -- I go to the movies. You know, when we see gangsters shooting each other, we say well, I`m not a gangster, so I`m not at risk, you know. Or we see police officers that get hurt, we say, well, I`m not a police officer, I don`t have that high-risk occupation. But when you talk about things like going to the movies or going to a shopping mall or going to work, and then people come in and start shooting you or are there and start shooting you, as we`ve discussed, you know, it just puts a different flavor on everything. You know, that`s why, you know, we look at it and say, you know, what`s going on here? You know, is it a local incident? There`re shootings every night in America that are local incidents, that are domestic cases, that are fights between patrons that escalate, that robbery attempts and you know, sometimes even in those cases, multiple people are shot. And sometimes the case winds up being a murder-suicide or a guy trying to kill his spouse and then others intervene, if he pulls out a gun and he kills himself. So, there`s a lot of things that this could be, we just don`t exactly know. And you know, it would be interesting to find out from the reporter on the ground if he knows -- you know, was it a long gun or was it a handgun or did a witness say that? You know, did they tell was it a long gun or was it a handgun? I`d be interested to hear. It`s quite a different scenario if someone walks in to the front of a theater like James Holmes and you know, pulls out a long gun and starts shooting into the crowd, that`s quite -- DICKERSON: Yes -- CAVANAUGH: A different scenario. O`DONNELL: Yes, and we`re now getting confirmation that the call to the police came at 7:29 p.m. Central Time. And -- Seth Dickerson, one of the comments made by the Lafayette police is that the FBI, the Louisiana State Police and the university police are assisting. What university would that be where their police are assisting? DICKERSON: That would be the University of Louisiana at Lafayette -- all right, it`s about -- I would say two miles away from here. O`DONNELL: And so this movie theater is no doubt a magnet for the university students in that area? DICKERSON: Absolutely. O`DONNELL: Yes, and Jim Cavanaugh, the -- one of the reports we`re getting, "Newsweek" at this point is reporting that the shooter committed suicide. That`s from "Newsweek", that`s not confirmed by "Nbc News", but they`re -- they`re calling this now a murder-suicide. CAVANAUGH: Right, I wouldn`t be surprised at that kind of scenario, Lawrence, and when there is one other person dead, you know, you question, you know, were they targeting the other person who was killed? You know, is it -- is some kind of -- like I say revenge or domestic situation where they`re going after that person and there is some, you know, intervention from patrons. Or you know, he may kill -- well, the person he`s after and then shoot his gun wildly and then kill himself. DICKERSON: Yes -- CAVANAUGH: We don`t know, but if it`s a suicide, you know, that wouldn`t be out of character in some of these cases. O`DONNELL: And Seth Dickerson, the -- did you -- when you were speaking to witnesses who saw the shooting, was it there -- had they already spoken to police or was it their intention to seek out the police to report to the police what they had seen? DICKERSON: No -- yes, we got here early to (INAUDIBLE) they may not have spoken to police yet. But police start talking to them, so I`m guessing they were talked to afterwards. O`DONNELL: And certainly in a movie theater like that, the police are going to have a very large number of witnesses to talk to. Have the police -- have you observed any area that the police have set aside to kind of collect witnesses? DICKERSON: Not specifically. It`s kind of hard, that is -- most of the cars are just blocking a lot of the view. So, if there would be one, it`d be hard to see. O`DONNELL: Seth, how far away are you from the -- from the actual theater at this point in the parking lot there? DICKERSON: From the parking lot, we`re just across the street, which is we`re about maybe 50 feet away from the theater itself. O`DONNELL: Yes, Jim Cavanaugh, the police will obviously be working overnight here and picking up -- what are -- what are the kind of forensic evidence searches that will be going on within that theater tonight? CAVANAUGH: Right, well, the whole theater of course will be a crime scene, totally roped off and you`ll have the two bodies there. You`re going to have the medical examiner who is going to have to come in and look at that. Look -- the first thing, I mean, you do in a crime scene is complete photography. Everything is photographed before anything is moved. So, there is a forensic team that comes in, crime scene processing team, they will photograph everything. And then once the photographs are taken, the medical examiners are going to look at those bodies and approve them to be examined, and first, at the scene and then to be moved. And then in a case like this, the shell casings are going to be recovered, which will be on the floor, if we got semi-automatic or fully automatic weapons. There will be -- if it`s a revolver for example, it`d be showcasing -- DICKERSON: Yes -- CAVANAUGH: Still in the gun. Big firearms will be recovered, one or more, any other weapons that might be present, certainly his identification is -- and the identification of the other deceased person quickly. Then we all will send detectives immediately to the hospital to interview those who are wounded, who are able to speak because they have a lot of information and then you try to round up the eyewitnesses. You know, if someone was in that theater and they were an eyewitness, they should contact the Lafayette Police Detective Bureau and let them know who they are and that they were there and just give them their name and address so they can get to them this evening or quickly in the morning. So when you get -- put their picture of everything back together, then we go back and get tapes you`d want, all the tapes, the movie theater`s videotapes to see when a person come in. And of course, you go back to the shooter`s house, you talk to all those relatives -- his car in the parking lot, that all has to be swept for explosives. Other guns, the booby traps, you talk to his significant others and then you start putting the pieces together. And the question that we all have is why? Why is this being done? Why is this murder rampage happening? And you try to get some answers. O`DONNELL: We`ve been speaking with Jim Cavanaugh, "Nbc" law enforcement expert and also Seth Dickerson, a reporter for the local newspaper there, "The Advertiser" in Lafayette, has been reporting to us from the scene. Seth Dickerson responded immediately after the call came out at 7:30 tonight. We`re now joined by the news director for the Lafayette "Advertiser", Kristin Askelson. Kristin, what more do we know about the case at this point? KRISTIN ASKELSON, NEWS DIRECTOR, THE ADVERTISER: They`re still not releasing a lot of details, as you reported, they have confirmed two people dead, including the shooter. Their ambulances have taken numerous victims to the hospital. We have at least confirmed six, but there may be more than that. The latest news that we have is that Governor Jindal is en route to the scene with the head of the state police Michael Edmonson. O`DONNELL: And Kristin, the Lafayette Police Department, how big a police department is that? ASKELSON: I mean, it`s a decent size police department, 300, 350 officers. O`DONNELL: So, on a -- on a typical night like tonight with 300 officer force, you may have 75 maybe out there normally in service -- ASKELSON: Right. O`DONNELL: Is there any indication that the police department has been put on a full alert and everyone who`s available has been called in? ASKELSON: I am not sure if everyone available has been called in. I do know that they have been calling in multiple agencies. So, we know that the state police, the FBI, the sheriff`s office, and the University of Louisiana Police Department are all assisting. O`DONNELL: And when do you -- do you expect -- has there been any indication from any of the officials there that there will be an opportunity for some kind of press briefing, where someone can clarify what the facts are as we know them now? ASKELSON: We were told by Jim Craft, the Chief of the Lafayette Police Department that there would be an update. And that was -- he said in an hour and that was maybe 30 minutes ago. So, we`re expecting in about 30 minutes, he is going to give some sort of press briefing. I don`t know whether there is going to be an opportunity to ask questions at that point. O`DONNELL: And we certainly wouldn`t want them to be distracted from their important work right now. But was it your sense, Kristin, that the situation was under control enough and the facts were well known enough that it would not be too burdensome on the Lafayette police to have a press briefing within the hour? ASKELSON: Yes, I think that it`s certainly not an active shooting situation anymore. They very quickly got the theater evacuated. I am -- you know, we`re getting images from our photographer of the entire area being sealed off. And now, I`m sure they`re bringing in forensic teams. So, I think that it`s probably appropriate for them to have a press briefing. O`DONNELL: Your reporter Seth Dickerson has supplied us with invaluable insights about what`s happened there including his own conversations with eyewitnesses who saw the shooting. Have any of your other reporters or resources been able to obtain any more statements from any eyewitnesses? DICKERSON: Not anything at the moment -- ASKELSON: Yes, we talked to a witness, a girl who was in the movie with her fianc‚, who was sitting, you know, a few rows back from the shooter and said what she heard -- about 20 minutes into the movie, she heard a loud pop. She saw a man stand up and start shooting down beneath him, away from her because she was behind him. And she heard several shots, at that point, she and her fianc‚ ran toward the exit, leaving her purse and shoes behind. So, that was all that she saw. O`DONNELL: Did she indicate -- ASKELSON: She described him as a middle-aged white man. O`DONNELL: A middle-aged white man. The -- one of the witnesses suggested to Seth, that the man might be in his 50s, so that seems consistent. ASKELSON: Correct. O`DONNELL: Did she have any sense that the shooter had a specific target in mind? ASKELSON: It didn`t sound like it. It`s -- from what she could see, he just stood up and started shooting toward the rows of seats beneath them. O`DONNELL: And did she hear him say anything? ASKELSON: No, she didn`t. O`DONNELL: Did she say anything about how long the shooting went on? ASKELSON: She said she only heard a few shots because, of course, they ran toward the exit as soon as they realized that there was a gun and there was a shooting taking place. O`DONNELL: Yes, and did she -- did she suggest that others around her were running out in the same way that she was? ASKELSON: Yes, that`s what it sounded like. O`DONNELL: Yes, just a -- just a rush for that exit. And just in terms of the -- ASKELSON: Right -- O`DONNELL: The ability to exit that theater, did she report any struggles with that? Is that a theater that is well designed for easy exit in an emergency? ASKELSON: Yes, multiple exits and it sounded like she was sitting toward the back of the theater, so it would have been -- put them through easy for the people to get out. O`DONNELL: And what was her -- did her fianc‚ have anything to add to what her observations were? ASKELSON: No, we did not get a chance to speak to him. O`DONNELL: OK, you just spoke to her, yes. And this is near a university, this movie theater, so is it fair to assume that on an evening like this, there`d be an awful lot of university-aged people in that audience? ASKELSON: Yes. School is not in session right now. There are probably some students here taking summer classes. There are a lot of local students that attend the university. So -- you know, on any given week night there would be some college-aged students there. O`DONNELL: And, what -- in terms of Lafayette and Lafayette`s history and what life is like in Lafayette, this is obviously shocking anywhere. It is devastating if it happens anywhere. But talk to us about what something like this feels like in Lafayette and feels like to this community. ASKELSON: It feels a little surreal, because of the things they are used to seeing on the news. We do not have a lot of shootings of this magnitude. O`DONNELL: No. And, luckily no community has a lot of shootings in this magnitude. And, there is no way for a community to be prepared for it. Your police department there is dealing with something they have never dealt with before. What is your sense of their response to it? Do they -- do they sound like they got the situation under control? ASKELSON: You know, as far as I can tell, they do. You know, they are not talking a lot right now, but hopefully we will know more as soon as they have a briefing. O`DONNELL: I want to go back to Jim Cavanaugh, NBC Law Enforcement Expert, who has been with us from the beginning of our coverage of this, our breaking news coverage starting this hour. Jim picked up some information there about this shooter, middle-aged white man. One witness saying she heard a few shots -- and she immediately ran out of the theater, so she is not sure how many more shots. And, Kristin, let me just go back to you for one thing. Kristin, did the witness say anything about the weapon itself and about -- was it a long barrel? Was it a handgun? Any observations about the weapon? ASKELSON: No. I do not think that she had a clear view of it as he was standing in front of her and was holding the gun in front of him. O`DONNELL: Yes, so his back was to her. She may not have seen the weapon at all. ASKELSON: Right. O`DONNELL: Jim Cavanaugh, what do you make about what Kristin has added to our understanding of this? JIM CAVANAUGH, NBC LAW ENFORCEMENT EXPERT: Well, first I think it is great reporting that Kristin and her team have done. O`DONNELL: Yes, I just want to stress that, that "The Advertiser" there in Lafayette with Seth Dickerson and now Kristin Askelson, without them we would know virtually nothing about what has happened there. CAVANAUGH: Yes. They are right on in getting the facts directly right there. And, you are sharing it here with the MSNBC audience. Yes, very significant fact, I think, that the person is in the theater, in the seats and then raises up and begin shooting. That is quite a different tactic than we saw, say for example, from James Holmes. So, what is afoot here? You know, is he tar getting anyone? Does he want to just shoot at anyone? Is he shooting at a specific individual, or some specific people that he might hate? You know, we just do not know why yet he did it. But, the behavior is interesting. The detectives will want to know, you know, did he filter in to that theater, buy a ticket, you know, have a firearm secreted -- they clearly did have a firearm secreted on this person, but then find a seat and sit in a certain place where he was going to shoot people in the front row, for some reason that is right now only known to him. So, the interesting facts that I think the Lafayette LAPD will put it together. Yes, and I agree with Kristin, you know, few hundred -- they got good forensics on those kind of sized departments. They got plenty of personnel for that. Good detective bureau. You know, they are going to be able to put this together. And, they are going to have all the help they need to be able to find out exactly what happened. And, hopefully, they will give us some good information in the press briefing. That is key to them, too, Lawrence, because they want to calm the fears of the community and further afoot in Louisiana and the country that, you know, whatever this thing is. So, the more information they can give out, if it is really one guy and there is no prosecution going to happen on this one guy, the more information they can give out, the better is for the police and all the citizens to know that early on. O`DONNELL: We just gotten a report from WVLA T.V. about what one witness has said. Let us listen to that. (BEGIN AUDIO CLIP) PHILIP BOUDREAUX, WVLA REPORTER: They did hear some the witnesses say that the shooter was chasing after a barefoot woman, but not really -- I cannot really confirm that at this point. But, The Lafayette Police Chief Jim Craft did say that he plans to release more information within the next hour or so. I have not heard anything about a motive. I have no idea why the shooting may have occurred at this point in time. (END AUDIO CLIP) O`DONNELL: Kristin, did you hear anything like that from any of the witness statements you have heard, that the shooter was chasing a barefoot woman? Seth Dickerson, let me ask you, you have spoken to some witnesses directly. Did you hear anything from any witness about the shooter chasing after a barefoot woman? SETH DICKERSON, WVLA REPORTER: No. It sounded like he just opened fire. He got up and turned around, opened fire. No one said anything about a chase but it definitely would not rule that out. O`DONNELL: All right. We are joined now by Kiefer Sanders. He was actually in the theater across the hall from where the shooting took place. Kiefer, what did you hear? What did you see? KIEFER SANDERS, 23-YEAR-OLD MALE WHO WAS INSIDE THE LAFAYETTE THEATER COMPLEX: I was, like you said, across the hall from it. And, the movie had just began that we were in. And, the screen went black and the emergency system went off saying please evacuate the building to the nearest exit. And, once we evacuated to the back of the theater. When I walked throughout to the front, I witnessed a lady who was lying just kind of on the cement and the grass who had been shot in the leg. And, throughout the shooting, I ran out -- she was shot and then the cops arrived. The very soon -- As soon as we evacuated, cops were pulling up. The cop went in and they had another guy who came out who was actually in the movie theater and told me that it was quiet whenever the movie was starting that the guy pulled up opened fire. They did not have any concerns about getting out of the movie theater. Just casually started firing. O`DONNELL: And, Kiefer, when you ran out, was it -- did it seem as though the shooter was still in the theater? SANDERS: Yes, sir. Yes. When we came out the back door, we were not sure what the evacuation was for. And once we got to the front, all the cops had the building surrounded and they said the shooter was inside. They pushed everybody back behind the barricades and all, and went inside to get the shooter and found out that he had committed suicide. O`DONNELL: How did you -- where did you hear that he committed suicide? How did you hear that? SANDERS: I heard that -- overheard the police talking. O`DONNELL: OK. SANDERS: And there were six or seven people shot in the theater, and I saw the lady lying on the ground with an apparent leg injury, with a wound to the leg. O`DONNELL: And, did that look like a bad wound to the leg? Did it look like a surface wound, possibly a grazing by the bullet? Was she in obvious severe pain? Was she screaming? Any pain reaction from her? SANDERS: She was not yelling or anything but she was just lying there with her head down in the grass. She is kind of heavily breathing and had a couple of men surrounding her kind of coaching her through, waiting for the ambulance to arrive. And, once the ambulance got there, they carried her to the ambulance. It was not a severe wound, I would say but it definitely was an apparent leg injury. She had blood down her leg. O`DONNELL: Yes. And, could you estimate her age, that woman victim that you saw? SANDERS: Probably mid-40s. O`DONNELL: Mid-40s. Yes. And, how soon after you got out of the theater did you overhear the police saying that the shooter committed suicide? SANDERS: It was probably 15 to 20 minutes, I would say. I mean I am not exactly sure, but we got evacuated probably at about 7:30. The movie was set to start at 7:15. The previews had just got done. The movie was just starting and that is when the alarm went off. O`DONNELL: And, were you able to hear shots -- you were in the theater across the hall from the theater from where the shots were fired, were you able to hear shots in the theater you were in? SANDERS: No, sir. I never heard the shots. The movie had just started. It was in the louder part of the movie. And, like I said, the alarm just went off and we were not really sure what it was. And, as they had us coming out in, in fact we are not in a panic either, just kind slowly walked out. There are couple people that came out later, kind of running and we knew it was something more serious. O`DONNELL: And, as you were evacuating the theater, I am going to assume you did not hear any shots then either. You never heard shots inside the theater or when you are outside of the theater? SANDERS: No, sir, I never heard any shots. I was standing outside of the front of the theater whenever the police went in, probably a hundred yards off. And, again, never heard any shots fired. O`DONNELL: Yes. And, was the -- the woman you saw injured, was she the only person you saw, who was obviously from inside the theater where the shooting took place, did you get a chance to talk to anyone, who was inside the theater, where the shooting took place? SANDERS: Yes. She was the only lady I saw injured, only person they had. The ambulance pulled off to the side and they were bringing out stretchers. At that time, I did speak to one guy who was actually inside of the theater, and he said whenever the guy stood up and started shooting, he just grabbed his fiance and they hurried up and ran outside of the theater. O`DONNELL: So, the witness that you spoke to, did he see the gun that the shooter was using? SANDERS: No, sir. He never said anything about the gun. He said it was quiet, thought the movies was about to begin and the guy just stoop up and started firing, and there was no arguments going on. No, nothing. O`DONNELL: And, did he hear the shooter say anything? SANDERS: No, sir. He did not say. O`DONNELL: And, do you know if he was behind the shooter? How did he escape being shot at himself? SANDERS: He did not go in to full detail. He was kind of shook it up, but all he said is, once the guy stood up and started shooting he heard multiple shot going off. And, he said he grabbed his fiance and took off out of the movie. O`DONNELL: Yes. I think that is -- we have already heard that exact kind of story, Kiefer from other people who were in there. And, that is apparent exactly what the people who could do did. They went for those exits. SANDERS: Yes. O`DONNELL: And, Kiefer, tell us about the inside of the theater. I am going to assume that the theater you are in is very similar, usually a twin to the theater that is across the hall from you. Your ability to exit that theater, how well constructed is that theater for emergency exits? SANDERS: It was good. They had the emergency door down by the actual movie screen. There are two entrances on each side to get out. We got out fairly quickly. It is a very nice theater. It was a big place. A lot of people come here. O`DONNELL: Yes. And, were you in a group of people at the theater, or just with one other person or --? SANDERS: I was with my brother and a friend. O`DONNELL: And, I assume you are all making sure you were getting out together? SANDERS: Yes, sir. We all went out together. O`DONNELL: Yes. Thank you very much, Kiefer. It is really helpful to have an account of what occurred inside that building and getting out. I assume you saw all the other -- there are 16 screens at that theater, right? I mean, all the other theaters, they must have been emptying out at the same time. SANDERS: Yes, sir. Yes. We exited in the back was probably at least 100 people coming out of the theater in multiple spots just coming out of the doors. O`DONNELL: And, it is a Thursday night there. I am just wondering, how full the theater was that you were in? Was it half full? Was is less than half? SANDERS: It was kind of a little over half full. It was not completely full but, there are a lot of people at the movies right now. And, the theater is located right by a pretty popular bar, a pizza place. It is a very populated area. O`DONNELL: Yes. And, so, we just want to try to get a feeling for how many were in the theater where the shooting occurred that, that was maybe similar to yours, maybe a little more than half or maybe more. SANDERS: Yes. And, it is probably around -- ours was probably about 50 people, 50 to 75 people. So, I am assuming it was around the same. It was in the movie "Trainwreck," is where the shooting was. O`DONNELL: The shooting occurred in the theater that was showing "Trainwreck." SANDERS: Yes , sir. O`DONNELL: Yes. And, that is one of the new releases. And, so those are the movies that tend to have the larger audiences in there. SANDERS: Right. We were in the movie, "Southpaw." O`DONNELL: Yes. Jim Cavanaugh, it sounds like everything that could go right in this situation did go right in the sense that the theater as we were being told is well designed for emergency exit, and they needed that emergency exiting to work tonight in all 16 theaters. CAVANAUGH: Yes, it sounds like it did work. You know, ten people wounded. So, you know, somewhere around ten shots coming out of the barrel of that gun at a minimum. And, you know, Sometimes you can have one bullet wound more than one person, but generally speaking, you know, probably somewhere close to ten shots that we know of were fired. Then people are all scrambling to get out from every witness, the reporters are talking to. So, that probably would have been even worse carnage here. And, then we do not know, the information that you have uncovered here, Lawrence, is possibly a suicide, not confirmed by NBC but possibly a suicide. So, you know, he might have shot and everybody scrambles out, some are wounded. At least one is dead. And, then he might have possibly commit suicide, not confirmed. And, then of course the officers are there within minutes and can get in there and secure while other theaters are all being evacuated. So, yes, it is a horrible, horrible scene and a horrible case and they will be there all night, but it sounds like a lot of people were able to scramble out, as you say. And, you know, we might have saved their own lives getting out there quickly. O`DONNELL: We are joined now by former FBI profiler Clint Van Zandt. Clint, the only profile element that we know so far, is the clearest description we have is middle-aged white man. CLINT VAN ZANDT, FMR. FBI PROFILE: Well, there is going to be a lot done. I mean we do these psychological autopsies every time we have these shooting. We are just in the folds of the most recent shooting every time we the shootings as you know Lawrence. We are just in the folds of the most recent shooting from the marines and the sailor who were killed. And, we are starting to go back over that individual`s background. We have always got two situations here. Number one, of course, is we are concerned about those wounded or even worse killed and their families. Number two, we try to understand why someone does something like this, so perhaps we can intervene. We could stop. We could do something about it. You know, whether it is a violence in a work place scenario or in here, a violence in a movie theater -- just like, you know, we saw James Holmes Do in 2012. When we see somebody act out like this, it can be defiance. It can be anger. It can be revenge. There could be a number of motives. And, we will try to understand that in the days and weeks ahead, hopefully to find ways to intervene in the lives of people who might act out like this, that we could stop another terrible act in America. O`DONNELL: Clint Van Zandt, what is your reaction to the information we have now from more than one eyewitness saying that the movie was getting started. And, the shooter just stood up, seemingly in the middle of the theater, and just started firing without saying anything and apparently without seeming to direct the fire to any individual. ZANDT: We have a lot yet still to learn on this, Lawrence. I mean we saw a situation in Florida in January 2014, where a 72-year-old former police captain pulled a gun in a movie theater, because he was upset over an individual who was texting on his phone during the movie. That former police officer shot and killed a man and wounded the guy`s -- wounded the victim`s wife. And, we contrast that to something like James Holmes, obviously much younger and who came with a lot of fire power, planning to kill too. What we may and realize I am way ahead of our information right now. But taking the age of this individual into consideration, the act that he is alleged to have committed and with some of your guests suggesting that they either know or they heard police officers say the shooter did, in fact, commit suicide. If this, in fact, is true, this is the type of individual many times we see -- we may call someone like this, Lawrence, it may turn out that this is kind of a wound collector. This may be someone, for example, over a period of life he was offended for a number of reasons. And, this is the way that he acts out. This is the final punishment against others. Now, do I know this is the case with this individual? Of course I do not. I know this has been the case with dozens and dozens of people that Jim Cavanaugh and I have looked at, who have been mass shooters, who have participated. So, when you ask for a profile, that is the start -- that is the kind of profile we start to put together, because we know some of these facts have been so constant over the years that if it is different than what we are talking about right now. You know, it is going to be another lesson for law enforcement and the psychological community to learn. Because the question is always, "How do we identify the person at risk who has the potential for acting out like this, and how do we intervene before he takes a gun, not only in to a movie theater, but acts out in this terrible manner? And, again, this could be somebody modeling the behavior that we have seen in the last few weeks. A church shooting. We have seen mall shootings. We have seen the shootings in the recruiting stations. There are many people, Lawrence, who psychologically sit on the edge of the psychological abyss, waiting to jump over that edge. And, they need an example, many times a terrible example that they can model their behavior from. That is another thing that law enforcement, the FBI, the police, as they try to understand they will be looking at what was the final catalyst? You know? Why not yesterday, why not tomorrow? Why did this individual a choose today to act out? That is part of the investigation. Part of the psychological autopsy as one more time, we, as Americans, struggle to understand why someone commits a terrible act of violence like this. O`DONNELL: We just learned that federal ATF agents have arrived on the scene. Jim Cavanaugh, you used to be with ATF. What is their role in an investigation like this? CAVANAUGH: Well, you know, certainly ATF`s specialties are the guns, bombs, arson, tracing guns, but really what happens in these big cases is they seamlessly mesh in with detectives and the FBI, state police. And, you know, when we give assignments in these things and current members and I know they were doing that this week in Tennessee. You know, they will send out a team. It might be an FBI, an ATF or FBI or city detective or ATF agent and state trooper. They are out there doing the interviews, who are doing the investigation on a broad scale. So, they are all acting as investigators to bring the information back to the command post. Of course, ATF does specialize in guns and tracing guns and ballistic information and everything to do with weapons, bombs and arson. And, of course, you have the -- the FBI has their explosive unit as well and state police bomb squad, so everybody has forensic maps. They put it all together to try to get, you know, to the place where Clint is describing. You know, Clint worked at the behavioral analysis section in the FBI. And, just one of the great units of America. And, by the way, the ATF is part of that. It has been in that unit since 1984. We have had profilers in there, behavior analysis, great bunch of investigators, FBI, ATF. They put together those packages on who and why people do this. And, they tell the commanders, "You know, it could be this. It could be that." They often get criticized they were wrong, but in all of my years that I was involved with them and I supervised some of our ATF profilers that were in that unit, and the FBI agents that I worked with, they never steered you wrong on that stuff. They always gave you possibilities. Let you know what the caveats were, just like Clint did in his description. They were very insightful, because they analyze past criminal behavior. And, so that is what we want to look at. And, that is what they are going to do here, like Clint described, the psychological autopsies. They are going to go back and you know put this together. But, they are way ahead of us now. They know right now, probably something about this guy. You know, did he hate society? Did he hate someone? Did he hate a particular person? Is it hate? Is it revenge? Is it anger? And, it is going to come up. You know, if we look at Chattanooga, this guy is targeting the military. There is some reason for him to target the military. And, of course, that is starting to bubble up in that investigation. Roof in Charleston was pretty clear. That was just evil hate and a targeted assassination, in my view of Pastor Pinckney and those leaders, a targeted assassination. And, so, he hated people and he was going to show it. And, you know, sometimes we see a person like Holmes whose anger, as Clint can describe. You know, his anger is sort of at society as a whole. And, you know, a lot of mental issues come up in the trial. But, the jury did not seem to want to hear that and they saw through that. They saw him as a cold-blooded killer. And, even if he is mad at society, you know, it does not mean you can just be a cold-blooded killer and slaughter everyone. So, the motive is always of interest. It is of interest to the commanders to stop the next one, to see what is afoot, to put it back together. And, hopefully, they can give some information tonight that can, you know, maybe see why this occurred and what happened here. And then we can go back, as a country, and as law enforcement, to see is there anything we could have done to stop it. And, so many times there is, just little things. I mean if there was a better secure gate at the Naval Reserve Center in Chattanooga. Just a secure gate that you could not crash your car through, we probably would not have four dead marines and a dead sailor. Because the Chattanooga PD was on the heels of that killer there. They were on his heels. And, if he could have been delayed just at a secure gate, and if we could have had faster notification from the recruit center to the reserve center. He had to drive 6-1/2 miles. That might have taken him five to eight minutes. If we could have had faster notification. You know, we do it in tornados and so forth. We ought to be able to have faster notification for at risk locations, where they can lock down and secure gates. This guy could have been dead at the gate at Chattanooga. So, there is a lot of things we need to learn from each shooting and then need to say, "Could it have been stopped? Could we have done better? Let us not make the same mistake again and maybe we can do better." And, sometimes it is a gun check. Sometimes it is a security issue. Sometimes, it is mental health. O`DONNELL: Clint Van Zandt, to the question of what can we do about shootings like this. Movie Theaters present a unique challenge as we saw in Aurora Colorado in terms of security and safety without metal detectors that would be preventing guns from entering the theaters. It is hard to imagine how you could enhance security in movie theaters. Especially when one reports from an eyewitness that we have tonight, is that this shooter stood up and basically in the middle of the theater, in the middle of the rows of audience seats and shot forward at people whose backs were to the shooter. This would be assassination from behind without them having any idea that someone had just stood up with a gun. And, the people, who we know to have escaped were sitting behind the shooter. But you -- when you think about someone who wants to do this kind of mass murder, the movie theater is obviously a very difficult target to defend. VANDT: What we find so much, Lawrence, that we look at are the soft targets, where we find these mass shooters, these mass murders, they will go in to a soft or target-rich environment where they know there is going to be a lot of potential victims and the chance that someone in there is going to be able to defend the victims or defend themselves is going to be limited also. Now, you know, am I saying this -- this guy goes in knowing that there is not going to be an off-duty police officer or ATF agent, who is wearing a gun in a movie theater, where the chances are probably slim. But he knows, just like you presented, Lawrence, there is going to be a lot of backs and a lot of heads exposed. And, when we are bunched in that close in a movie theater or another environment like that you do not have to be a good shot with a handgun or with Holmes with a long gun, all you have to do is throw enough rounds out that you are going to hit people. And, again, if you are angry -- we all remember the shooting that took place at Virginia Tech. I was there for a week covering it for NBC and MSNBC. And, we know, Cho, the shooter there moved from the dormitory to a classroom building. And, again, this was an angry individual. This was a younger man, but this was someone who was angry at society. And, he was someone who, instead of looking in the mirror and saying there is my problem in the mirror, he looked out across that college campus and saw potential victims, and he blamed everybody for his problems in life. That may be the same type of case we have here. You know, you and I talked earlier, Lawrence about a case last year, where there was a targeted shooting in a movie theater. And, now we have seen just random shootings in movie theaters. But what we know is whether an individual is simply experiencing significant mental health issues or whether it is someone who has been radicalized with some type of view such as ISIS might present on the internet. We see these people, once they take up arms, looking for a target area where there is going to be a lot of victims that they can take down, and it does not take us 727 to crash. All it takes is a handgun. Lawrence, we are 315 million Americans, about plus or minus 300 million guns. So, guns are not the issue in and of themselves. Part of it is we have to work with human behavior and get people to understand violence is not a problem- solving method. And, we have to start with kids in first and second grade and take that up to like this shooter, who is said to be about 50. And, of course, you recall the shooter at the Holocaust Museum in Washington, D.C. a few years ago. He was in his 70s. So, even though we look for these mass shooters to be in their late teens, their early to mid-20s, we see the extremes many times too, of someone who has harbored this anger, frustration, this desire for revenge. Sometimes, they harbor it for weeks and sometimes for decades. O`DONNELL: We are going to continue MSNBC`s live coverage of the shooting in Lafayette, Louisiana now with Milissa Rehberger. END