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ABC "Face the Nation" - Transcript - Colorado Shooting

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SCHIEFFER: Just as the nation was preparing to mark the one-year anniversary of the Sandy Hook elementary school shootings, the news broke Friday of another school shooting, this time in Colorado.

Governor John Hickenlooper joins us now from Arapahoe High School in Centennial, Colorado. Governor, thank you for joining us on this very tough day for the people of Colorado.

Bring us up to speed. Are there any developments on -- we know the name of this young man who walked into that high school with a shotgun. We hear reports that he had some sort of a grudge with his debate team coach. What -- what's the latest news here?

HICKENLOOPER: Well, we haven't found, or at least I'm unaware of any connection with -- you know, that would suggest previous behavior indicating something like this would happen. He didn't seem to have a mental illness. He had a lot of friends. He was outspoken. There have been a couple stories that he was bullied, and that's a recurring theme we see sometimes with these shootings. But, again, there's no rhyme or reason. We can't -- there's nothing that says, ah, now I understand.

SCHIEFFER: Well, is it -- is it true that he had some falling out with the teacher who was the debate team coach who had kicked him off the team?

Is that basically what you're finding out?

HICKENLOOPER: Yeah, that's what we understand. But, you know, high school kids all over this city, all over the country, have fallings-out with teachers or coaches all the time. And they didn't go out and buy a gun and come back and decide they're going to kill a lot of people.

SCHIEFFER: Well, where did -- he got the gun legally, I understand?

HICKENLOOPER: Yeah, that's the information we have. He bought the gun legally; then he bought a large amount of ammunition. I mean, he came into the school, you know, prepared to do damage to a lot of people. And I think the one thing, having had these episodes in the past, we do have, you know, strategies and protocols in place, where we had a deputy sheriff in the building who immediately ran towards the trouble, right, towards the problems.

And he was there basically within a minute of the first shots. I mean, that's -- that's a remarkable response. And I think everybody, from the sheriff, out here, Grayson Robinson, and his entire team -- they deserve a lot of credit for what could have been much, much worse.

SCHIEFFER: Now, there was one young woman, I understand it, who was shot. How is she?

HICKENLOOPER: Well, Claire Davis is -- I mean, she was shot point blank with a shotgun in the face. I visited her and her family. She's obviously in a coma, in critical condition. Her parents are two of the most wonderful people you could ever hope to meet. You know, they adopted her. I mean, they are besides themselves, and, really, we all have to keep Claire in our thoughts and our prayers. Her parents -- again, I can't -- just -- I can't imagine what they're going through. It's unspeakable.


SCHIEFFER: Let me ask you this. This happened eight miles from Columbine, where we had another of these awful shootings, 15 minutes from that movie theater where the "Batman" movie killings took place. Is there any connection here? I mean, not that any of these people knew each other, but is there something going on here that hasn't come to the surface yet?

HICKENLOOPER: Well, we don't think so. And -- you know, we look at -- we look for a connection. Some people have suggested perhaps there's a copycat element to this. You know, I don't -- I don't see it, right? Each one is different, and it's hard to figure out, if there is a connection, what it could possibly be. You know, it defies rational thought.

SCHIEFFER: Governor, what has to be done here? I mean, you actually passed some pretty tough gun laws out there in Colorado after those other incidents happened, and yet they continue to happen.

You had two state legislators who were recalled from office because they led the effort to tighten gun laws out there. Where do you see this going?

HICKENLOOPER: Well, I think if you were going to say, make one comment about Coloradoans, two things that they deeply care about is the protection of their Second Amendment rights. They care strongly about that Second Amendment right. But they also care deeply about making their community safer, so things like universal background checks, I think they are going to make us safer. But in this specific case, it's not going to make a difference at all, right?

And that's the -- the challenge. We've invested over $20 million the last legislative session in mental illness. So we've got, you know, 24-7 hot lines. We've got mobile crisis centers. We've got 24- 7 drop-in centers, really trying to -- to intercept people with mental illness before they can cause damage to themselves or to others. And -- and yet somehow this kid didn't exhibit any of those symptoms.

SCHIEFFER: Well, what -- talk a little bit about the things that did happen after this happen, because I agree with you. I think the response, getting somewhere -- someone to where this was going on so quickly, that is certainly to be commended.

What kind of procedures have you put in place there?

HICKENLOOPER: Well, not only was the sheriff who -- and there was a security officer also in the school. And they are now the modern protocols. You -- they are trained to go right toward wherever the shooter is. They go there immediately.

But in addition to that, we had police officers from other jurisdictions surrounding the area, all coming into the school and being paired, in many cases, with people from different jurisdictions to go into different parts of the school in case there were multiple shooters, in case it was much worse.

And they had been so well-trained that they could go and be deployed again, with someone from a different district. And yet they all knew how to communicate. They all were on the same wave length in terms of what their task was.

That kind of training is very, very powerful.

SCHIEFFER: Well, Governor, I want to thank you so much nor being with us this morning. And, obviously, our hearts go out to everybody there. And we thank you for being with us.

We'll be back in a moment with some personal thoughts.

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