All-Star Panel: Will Navy Yard shooting spark gun debate?

'Special Report' All-Star panel weighs in


This is a rush transcript from "Special Report," September 16, 2013. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

BRET BAIER, ANCHOR: This is a Fox News alert. You're looking live at the White House. We are just getting a report of some kind of commotion. We are getting a report from our own Ed Henry who's now running to the camera position that someone pulled a weapon of some type and gunmen have engaged this person.

Now, we don't know exactly what this is. There is some kind of incident occurring at the White House right now. We wanted to bring it to you as this day has been very tense here in Washington, D.C. as security is stepped up not only at the White House but at the U.S. Capitol and all around. We can't get a good vantage point from this camera, which is on top of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce building, actually, looking at the White House. But, again, some incident at the White House. We don't have any other word, do we? Not yet. We will monitor this and see if we can bring you any information as we get in touch with Ed Henry, who just called this in. It's been a tense day here in Washington, as you know, the shooting earlier. Take a listen.


MAYOR VINCENT GRAY, WASHINGTON D.C.: We know that there are 13 fatalities at this stage.

CATHY LANIER, WASHINGTON D.C. METRO POLICE, CHIEF OF POLICE: We still are working diligently to either verify or clear whether we have that last additional person of interest out, whether they're going to be involved or not.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I heard three gunshots, pow-pow-pow, straight in a row. About three seconds later, there were four more gunshots and all the people there in the cafeteria -- we all panicked.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Everybody was going down the stairs, people were pushing, shoving. People were falling down. After we came outside, people were climbing the wall, trying to get over the wall to get out of the spaces.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We were looking but he was down the hall far enough that we couldn't see a face, but we saw him hold the rifle and then we saw him raise it and aim it in our direction.


BAIER: Some of the sights and sounds today as police say that the suspect, the shooter was killed in a firefight with police, Aaron Alexis, 34-years-old, believed to be from Ft. Worth, Texas. We don't have a motive for this as of yet. Let's bring in an expanded panel tonight, Fox News senior political analyst Brit Hume, Steve Hayes, senior writer for The Weekly Standard, Mara Liasson, National Political Correspondent of National Public Radio, and syndicated columnist Charles Krauthammer.

I just want to warn you. I want to interrupt if Ed Henry gets us more information from the White House. Brit, your thoughts on this day as we've dealt with a day of tense situations here?

BRIT HUME, FOX NEWS SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Well 13 people are dead, counting the shooter. We think we know who was responsible. We don't know why. We think we know what, in terms of the nature of the crime, basically a mass shooting of a kind we've become all too familiar with. But we don't know how, exactly. How did he get in? How did he manage to come into position inside this secure military base supposedly with these weapons or weapon? We don't know. We have got a lot to learn. And I think it's too early to draw conclusions. I think all of the usual suspects have gone to battle stations, as they always do, over gun control or the lack of it, or whatever, and that's going to happen. But it doesn't mean very much at this stage. It's hard to believe that after what happened in Newtown – nothing came of it in Congress – not much on that issue is not going to come of this.

BAIER: Steve?

STEVE HAYES, SENIOR WRITER, THE WEEKLY STANDARD: Yes, an incredibly difficult day, I think, particularly for people who are working down at the Navy Yard. It will be very interesting to see where this goes moving forward. The president gave a speech today that I think for some struck people as somewhat tone deaf, the fact that he gave a speech that was certainly a bitter partisan attack on Republicans, particularly on these budget issues, as this situation was unfolding, the fact that Cathy Lanier, head of the Washington, D.C. Metro Police Department, had come out and said we don't know a lot of this, had alerted people to the fact that there could be two additional gunmen. The White House decided to go against it, and then Ed Henry reports that there wasn't even discussion about whether or not to postpone the speech or not proceed.

I think, to Brit's point, if the president were inclined or if the White House were inclined, and his colleagues, political supporters, were inclined to resurrect the campaign on gun control, I think the fact that the president spoke today the way that he did would make that a more difficult challenge.

BAIER: Mara, take a listen to "The Ft. Worth Telegram." They had some people describing this guy, Aaron Alexis. He worked at a Thai restaurant called the Happy Bowl in Ft. Worth. Listen to them talk about this guy.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Very sweet, not a guy that talked about guns or talked about anything violent. As a matter of fact, my best memories of him were him sitting at one of the tables at Happy Bowl trying to teach himself Thai. He was a student of the language and he had traveled to Thailand about six months ago, I know not a year ago, spent more than a month there. We kept saying, when's Aaron coming back? When's Aaron coming back? And he had just stayed in Thailand for a long time.


BAIER: Mara?

MARA LIASSON, NATIONAL PUBLIC RADIO: Well, you know, it's almost a cliche now -- that he was a very quiet man; he kept to himself. But we don't know much about him. We certainly have absolutely no clue about a motive.

But picking up on what Steve was talking about, my prediction is this will not spark a new round of high-level debate about gun control. Sure, some people are going to talk about it, but I don't think you're going to see the president pick this up. I really don't. I think, as you saw today, he's really eager to get back to the big epic battle with Congress over the debt ceiling and the budget. I think he would have better saving the remarks maybe for another time, because nobody listened to them. And if they did, they probably heard a tone that was not appropriate for today. But I don't think we're going to be back where we were after Newtown.

BAIER: I just want to interrupt. This is Ed Henry in our urgent system here, saying he heard at least two gunshots outside the northwest gate, saw Secret Service officers engage, others running around. They just locked down the lawn. And I think we have new video of Secret Service agents taking down someone who had a gun. Those are uniformed officers, the Capitol police and Secret Service. And there you see the officers taking someone down.

Now, this has happened before, people firing weapons at the White House. On this day, obviously everything is heightened. But on most days, security is very tight around the White House. It seems like they have it locked down at this point. Again, two shots fired and this person in custody. All right, Charles?

CHARLES KRAUTHAMMER, SYNDICATED COLUMNIST: This new incident could either be copycat, random, or associated. It seems unlikely that it's associated because it's at the White House presumably and the naval yard is rather far away, and this town has been guarded for the last 12, 15 hours unlike any other city in the world. So that's unlikely.

But if it is an associate, then we have a large issue here. Generally when you have a shooting, it's either someone with a grievance or someone with an ideology or somebody who doesn't have anything because he's deranged, like a Jared Loughner in Tucson. From the evidence, which is quite scant now, it doesn't look as if he has an ideology. He may have had a grievance. Apparently he had some trouble with the Navy. So he strikes in a Navy yard, which would fit that pattern. There isn't any evidence of an ideology. So it could be one of these terrible tragic events where someone has a motive which is a personal one, has no larger political meaning, and a lot of people end up dying tragically for nothing.

BAIER: Brit, as D.C. police is still looking with the FBI for someone else -- and we spent most of the day wondering if there were other shooters. It really changes the dynamic if there really were two shooters or three shooters.

HUME: Of course it does, because they eliminated the possibility of a third. So we're down to the possibility that there was a second shooter, and they haven't eliminated that. My sense about it from this from listening to all the comments today is that they doubt it but that they haven't been able to completely establish that there was no second shooter. People see things, as a number of experts that have been here today say, people see things all the time at the scene of these incidents and they interpret them in a certain way. And by the time it reaches the authorities, people end up not really having seen what they thought they saw, and the police have to run all that down and check it out and make sure that it's not incorrect.

But if there was a -- they believe there was a gunman on the loose in the city and they couldn't place him, there would have been a bigger lockdown around this town than there was. I mean, one house of Congress shut down, it wasn't even the one nearest the Navy yard, the Senate, not the House, although the House was not in session. So my sense is that this looks, at least for the time being, and it's early yet, as if there were probably only one.

KRAUTHAMMER: It would have been like Boston.


BAIER: And lock down the whole city?


BAIER: Let me quickly wrap up this incident at the White House. It looks like the uniformed officers took down that man. Ed Henry is standing by on the lawn. Ed?

ED HENRY, FOX NEWS WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, Bret, I've now moved into the White House briefing room because I was standing outside and I heard what sounded like at least two gunshots. And at first I thought it were fireworks or something because it's very extraordinary to hear that obviously on the North Lawn of the White House. But I knew there was something more than just that when I saw at least one Secret Service officer take out a rather large weapon and start engaging.

Then we saw at least one suspect thrown down to the ground. It appeared officers were on top of him. I think you saw some of that video. And then we heard all kinds of shouting from Secret Service officers telling tourists to get back, get out of here And then they told any White House staff, any reporters on the North Lawn out there, to get inside here to the White House briefing room so that they could clear the lawn and make it safe.

We've seen more officers engaging out there, circling around the lawn, obviously making sure that the residents, the West Wing, et cetera, is safe right now, Bret.

BAIER: When you say engaging, Ed, what do you mean?

HENRY: Well, I saw one officer with a large weapon. And I didn't see him actually fire it. I saw him put it up. But then I heard another shot closer to where the suspect was. So I didn't actually see the officer shoot. But he was moving closer with a large weapon like he was about to fire. And then I heard a pop, and it sounded like someone else closer had more directly engaged with the suspect. I heard at least two or three pops, not more than that. And then the yelling, the screaming, the clearing-out. And I could not tell because I was close here to the briefing room, to these various officers. I was not close enough to the gate to see whether or not the suspect had actually been hit. But he was certainly on the ground and then had officers around him, Bret.

BAIER: Ed Henry with the breaking news there. And you can see all the people there in the park, obviously clearing out. We'll head back for any details, Ed, from the briefing room, thank you very much.

On the other side of the break, the president weighs in on a host of issues, as Steve mentioned. Keep it here.

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