Return to Transcripts main page
Las Vegas Police News Conference; Crime Scene Investigation Continues; Motive Behind Shooting; Shooters Homes Searched. Aired 12- 12:30p ET
Aired October 2, 2017 - 12:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[12:00:00] SHERIFF JOE LOMBARDO, LAS VEGAS METROPOLITAN POLICE: And we plan to engage her upon her return to the country.
QUESTION: Do you have any idea how he was able to break through the windows? Was he able to open the windows or did he smash the windows or (INAUDIBLE)?
LOMBARDO: We believe he had a device similar to a hammer to smash the windows.
QUESTION: Sheriff, so far I've heard a description of the suspect (INAUDIBLE). Did the investigation looking into the potential ties, even loose ties to (INAUDIBLE)?
LOMBARDO: Well, obviously, we'll do that. We will run it down to the very end. But right now, at face value, we haven't been able to identify that.
QUESTION: Sheriff, you said he checked in on Thursday, the 28th, to the hotel.
LOMBARDO: I believe that's accurate.
QUESTION: Did he have tickets to the concert?
LOMBARDO: I have no idea.
QUESTION: Do you know what he has done between checking in and last night?
LOMBARDO: No. We're following up on that. There will be hours and hours and hours of video surveillance that we will have to recall with the cooperation of the MGM.
QUESTION: (INAUDIBLE) their safety with the (INAUDIBLE) --
LOMBARDO: The Fusion Center?
QUESTION: Correct. There are cameras everywhere practically. Every inch of the city is (INAUDIBLE) cameras. (INAUDIBLE). How did this happen?
LOMBARDO: Well, I don't understand what you're alluding to, how could it happen. This is an individual who's described as a lone wolf. I don't know how it could have been prevented if we didn't have any prior knowledge to this individual. It wasn't evident that he had weapons in his room. We have determined that there has been employees going to and fro from his room and nothing nefarious was noticed. At this point, that's what we know now.
QUESTION: Sheriff, first responders were integral with stopping more deaths. Can you describe how a multi-agency effort and strike teams were able to find the suspect?
LOMBARDO: Well, yes, you're absolutely correct. So any special event that takes place in the southern Nevada region, it's required by NRS to supply police officers to ensure security. The Mandalay Bay did a great job of hiring police officers. They had sufficient staffing for the concert.
And when this individual decided to fire upon the crowd, which was approximately 22,000 individuals, it's very difficult to manage that size crowd. And you have to ensure you have the proper staffing.
And as described, our officers responded immediately in conjunction with the fire department as soon as the fire department arrived, but they were able to identify where the weapon was being discharged from in a proximity. It's hard to tell what floor it is from the outside. But once they gain entry into the hotel, in conjunction with security and through phone calls from patrons, they were able to call it down to a possible floor. Once they made entry onto the hallway, they immediately knew what room was in question.
QUESTION: Sheriff, there's some dramatic reports about what exactly happened in the room when the SWAT officers entered, that maybe there was so much smoke from the shells that the smoke alarms were going off. Is there any truth to any of that?
LOMBARDO: I don't know. I haven't been told about any smoke alarms. But I know that his -- he had killed himself. And exactly -- we'll have to go through the -- our body worn camera and existing video whether we engaged him at the same approximate time or not.
QUESTION: Sheriff, you said you didn't believe that this was connected to ISIS. Do you have any idea of what kind of motive you could be looking at, at this point?
LOMBARDO: No, ma'am, I can't get into the mind of a psychopath at this point.
QUESTION: Sheriff, the investigation that's going on right now between -- at the site of the shooting, how extensive is it and what are we talking about as far as Las Vegas Boulevard being shut down while the ballistics and the criminalists do their work out there?
LOMBARDO: Well, I believe we've got most of Las Vegas Boulevard open. Directly adjacent to the Mandalay it still remains closed. We will ensure that we go out to the proper intersections to limit the hindrance of traffic. But we're looking at a minimum of 12 additional hours for documentation of the crime scene and the removal of the bodies.
QUESTION: Do you know about how long he was able to shoot for and do you happen to know if there was ever any return fire from officers on the ground in any way?
LOMBARDO: No, I don't -- I'm not aware of any return fire, nor am I aware of the timeline. But we did have SWAT officers discharge weapons at the room location.
QUESTION: And do you (INAUDIBLE) were legal or illegally converted?
LOMBARDO: Yes. The federal -- or the FBI and the ATF is helping us with that aspect.
QUESTION: Sheriff, you mentioned --
QUESTION: Do you know whether any (ph) injured or deceased come from the hotel? Were they all in the concert or were any of them in the hotel area (ph)?
LOMBARDO: I'm not sure because we had people that were deceased and injured outside the vicinity of the concert area. So it would be hard to determine or make that determination at this point. We are, obviously, going to have to talk to all those injured individuals to make that assessment.
[12:05:09] QUESTION: How many people who were injured were shot and how many were injured running away?
LOMBARDO: I have -- I don't know, ma'am. The people have been displaced in five separate hospitals. So it's going to require an extensive review of that communication with them to determine that.
So, thank you very much. I appreciate everybody's time. And appreciate everybody here to the back of me and their support of our police department.
And we will keep you regularly updated. I can't give you an exact timeline at this point, but we will keep you informed as we receive information.
Have a great day. Thank you.
JOHN KING, CNN ANCHOR: Welcome to INSIDE POLITICS. I'm John King in Washington.
You've been listening there to the Sheriff Joe Lombardo, Las Vegas, Nevada. A host of other Nevada officials, state officials, law enforcement officials, federal officials as well, updating us on the latest on this tragic investigation now underway in Las Vegas.
At least 58 people now dead. More than 500 people wounded in a horrific shooting on the Las Vegas Strip. It's the deadliest mass shooting in modern United States history.
Police say a 64-year-old Nevada man -- you see his picture there -- named Stephen Paddock opened fire last night on a country music festival. He opened fire from the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay Hotel across the street from the concert hall. Police say he was armed with at least 10 rifles from that vantage point. Country music star Jason Aldean was playing for thousands of fans, 22,000 fans, just after 10:00 p.m. last night, Sunday night, when the gunman began unloading hundreds of rounds into the crowd.
A concertgoer captured the video of that moment. We need to warn you, of course, it's extremely upsetting both to watch and to hear.
KING: Some at the concert thought it was firecrackers. Some thought it was something wrong with the audio. They say it took them just a few moments to realize what was happening.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
STORME WARREN, VEGAS SHOOTING WITNESS: Then there was a sound like it was pyro. Like it was pyro misfiring. And I was like, why was it -- why is there pyrotechnics going off now? It was like, ta, ta, ta, ta. And then a few minutes later -- a few seconds later, it was ta, ta, ta, ta, ta, ta. And when it didn't stop, we all realized what was happening. And the sounds -- not only was it the sound, but it was also the shells that were actually coming down -- bullets coming down on the deck of the stage.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: The eyewitnesses say the gunshots continued for 10, perhaps 15 minutes. Fans describe utter chaos in those moments. Panicked people desperately running for their lives, trying to find some place to hide.
But the gunman just kept shooting from the broken window you can see in the picture there. That's floor 32 of the Mandalay Bay. Law enforcement finally able to break into that hotel room using explosives on the door. Police found the shooter dead, presumably of a self-inflicted wound. Police say they believe he was working alone.
The FBI, just moments ago, saying no connection has been found between the gunman and any international terrorist group.
President Trump spoke a short time ago calling this an act, quote, of pure evil, and saying so many families now just shattered.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Hundreds of our fellow citizens are now mourning the sudden loss of a loved one, a parent, a child, a brother or sister. We cannot fathom their pain. We cannot imagine their loss. To the families of the victims, we are praying for you and we are here for you.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: The president also said he will visit Las Vegas on Wednesday. We're covering this story from every angle. Jean Casarez is live in
Las Vegas near the concert venue. Kyung Lah is in the shooter's hometown of Mesquite, Nevada. Evan Perez with me live here in Washington, D.C.
Jean, let's start with you on the strip. What is the very latest there as Las Vegas tries to come to terms with what happened?
JEAN CASAREZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, we're here on the south end of the Las Vegas Strip, the Mandalay Bay is right behind me, You can see it's about a mile up there.
And we have just really learned a change in emphasis of this investigation. We have confirmed, as the police said, that the search of the 32nd floor room of the shooter is now complete. So the emphasis has gone across the street, across Las Vegas Boulevard on the strip, to where that concert venue was where 22,000 country music fans were listening to Jason Aldean. It is now evidence recovery over there, crime scene interpretation, and it will be removal of the bodies we have just learned.
Now, we also learned a little bit more about that 32nd floor room. We do know that the perpetrator checked in on September 28th, which would have been Thursday of this last week. We also know that he had 10 rifles. And we just learned that hotel staff, seemingly housekeeping, went in and out of the room for those several days he was in there and saw nothing at all that they saw out of the ordinary.
[12:10:14] We also heard that it was believed that he brought in all those rifles by himself. Now, how they can confirm that at this point of time so easily, I don't know. Obviously hotels in Las Vegas have immense security cameras going at all times. If there has been time to review all that, to learn that, but they do believe that he was solely responsible for this. We also learned that the female companion that he rooms with, they are still looking at as a person of interest and they do want to talk with her when she returns to this country.
We also learned that this man has property in northern Nevada and they are now in the midst of searching that property. We're in southern Nevada. Northern Nevada is a long ways away. It's about a seven-hour drive from Las Vegas. And northern and southern is very different because they are so far apart. So it's interesting that they found more property.
But the crime scene investigation continues. It will continue for some time. Days, they are saying.
KING: Jean Casarez live on the strip for us. Jean, appreciate all your reports throughout these past several trying hours.
CNN's Evan Perez is with me here in Washington. He's keeping track of the investigation.
ISIS has claimed the shooter was a convert, but the FBI, listen here, says just a short time ago, an FBI official at the thing said there's no evidence to support that. Obviously ISIS is interested in the propaganda here.
EVAN PEREZ, CNN JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: Right.
KING: But from everything you are told by your sources, nothing.
PEREZ: Nothing so far. And, you know, it's curious, as Jean Casarez just mentioned, they did a search of the hotel room. One of the first things that they do is to see whether or not there's anything that the shooter left behind, something to sort of explain what he did. They did a search of the hotel room. They did a search of his home in Mesquite, which is in another part of the state, several hours away. And, again, nothing really jumped out at them.
And so, John, one of the things that they're doing now is they're going through looking -- looking at any computer, any social media perhaps that he may have done, that he may have posted beforehand. They're looking at the gun purchases. They want to know a little bit more about, you know, when he purchased these firearms.
We're told by sources that he's got multiple gun purchases going back years in California. None of those appear to be the ones that were recovered there in the hotel room. The ten or so weapons that were recovered in the hotel room. They found a .223 caliber, a .308 caliber. But, again, they don't know whether or not these are the weapons that he used to fire off all these rounds at that crowd.
And what people describe is automatic gunfire. Things you hear in a war zone. That's not the type of weapon you normally can just buy off the shelves. You -- perhaps he might have altered them. That's something that the investigators are now looking into as well.
Again, the why is the big question at this point because he lives in a retirement community outside of Las Vegas there. Nothing really in his background. No criminal history to speak of explains what happened here.
KING: And I can -- we can show you, we're just -- as this investigation continues -- we're getting in some pictures of the shooter, Mr. Stephen Paddock. I think we can show you some of the pictures there. There's one image there. We had another one up earlier.
How rare is it, in your experience, when you're going -- looking into something horrific like this, that hours into it you're talking to people who still say, we've got nothing in terms of a note, a neighbor, a friend, some social media, just some nugget of a clue as to what motivated him.
PEREZ: Right. In this day and age it's very unusual simply because you -- people leave a lot of electronic footprints. I mean you post things on FaceBook or on other social media sites. It's very common. That's usually where they go right immediately and they haven't found that as well -- as yet. And, again, doing a search of his home, they -- police officers there said that in the search they found nothing unusual. The maids, the housekeeping there at the hotel saw nothing unusual over the last few days as he was staying in that hotel room.
So, again, they're going to have to dig a little deeper here, talk to his friends, see if the behavior changed in the last few -- perhaps in the last few months, last few weeks that could give a clue as to what maybe was wrong in his mind.
But what we found in doing a background search on him, we found that he did have a pilot's license. Again, that's something, that if you have a license, you have to get medically cleared in order to have that. So that's a big question that I'm sure federal authorities are going to be looking at, at this point.
KING: As well as searching that second home now in northern Nevada.
PEREZ: Right. Exactly.
KING: We'll for that search as well. Even Perez, continue the reporting. Come back to us when you have new information.
As Evan's just noting, authorities right now desperately trying to learn everything they can about the gunman in this massacre. They know he did live in the small town of Mesquite, Nevada. That's northeast of Las Vegas.
CNN's Kyung Lah has been there and joins us now.
Kyung, I watched you earlier questioning the police when they came and issued -- exercised -- used their search warrant there. It was remarkable listening to authorizes saying, this is a sleepy community. We found nothing unusual. Any new information that gives them any clue?
[12:15:03] KYUNG LAH, CNN SENIOR NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: We're still waiting to hear if they found anything beyond that initial we haven't found anything unusual statement. What is happening in the area that you see right over my shoulder, there is a barricade here. There are a number of vehicles that are coming in and out. And what we are seeing is a painstakingly slow process. That's the way it's being described to us by authorities here. They want to comb through the house.
There was a lot of concern when they initially approached the house in the overnight hours, given the carnage that they saw in Vegas. What they want -- what they did was evacuated the immediate neighbors and they used a robot to breech the home. But when they finally got in, they did discover that. It was almost perplexing to the authorities. And they sounded almost confused when they said that it looked like a normal home. That this is almost a prefab community where you have homes that are all very similar, 55 plus community. Everything is manicured. It's nestled in the hills. And so there isn't a good reason, at least on the surface, why this occurred.
And then, when you speak to the family, you hear very much of that same sort of confusion.
Here's what the brother told us from Florida.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ERIC PADDOCK, SHOOTER'S BROTHER: He was my brother. It's like an asteroid fell out of the sky. He had no machine guns when I moved him from Melbourne to Mesquite. I mean to find out who gave -- you know, who he bought the machine guns from. And, once again, it's -- there's no blaming -- you know, it's just -- he bought the machine guns and he did this. I mean it was him who did this. There's no doubt about it because he was him. I mean he was --
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Completely out of character?
PADDOCK: He's never shot -- I mean he's never even drawn his gun. You know, I mean, it makes no sense. He's never hit anybody. He's never --
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Was he a gun enthusiast or just he had a few --
PADDOCK: Never. No, he had a couple of hand guns, I think. You know, he had a safe with a couple of hand guns. He might have had one long rifle, but he didn't have any -- I mean he had no automatic weapons when -- that I know -- I knew of at any time. I mean there's no -- it just -- it just makes no sense. I -- like I said, it's an asteroid fell. It doesn't --
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: How is everyone in the family, I mean, other than the obvious?
PADDOCK: (EXPLETIVE DELETED) up. I mean (EXPLETIVE DELETED). I've got a 90-year-old mother whose son just killed 50 plus people and now is dead. I mean --
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Good morning, Mr. Paddock. My name is Special Agent (INAUDIBLE).
PADDOCK: Oh, OK.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm with the FBI.
PADDOCK: I guess -- yes, we'll see you later. We've got --
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LAH: Now, we have not run into too many people in this community who know the gunman or his live in girlfriend. But they are all, John, expressing that same sort of confusion, how a fellow senior citizen, a fellow retiree would commit this sort of crime.
KING: Kyung Lah on the ground in Mesquite, Nevada. Kyung, appreciate the reporting. Keep in touch with us as we're all trying to figure out. Police say there were about 22,000 people on the ground at this music festival when the shots rang out. Many who were there thought they were hearing fireworks before they realized, no, it was gunfire.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I still don't know what's up. And I looked back and the girls that are singing behind us go down. And so then my bandmate grabs me and he goes, run.
CARLY KRYGIER, SHOOTING WITNESS: I put the baby on the ground and got on top of her. And when we heard a little break, we ran to the bleachers that were just behind us and I tried to tuck her in close to the end so she was as protected as possible.
TAYLOR BENGE, SHOOTING WITNESS: Just unrelentless bullets. And I think the only reason he went to take a break is so the muzzle didn't weld itself shut and so he could keep shooting.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: Remarkably, amid that chaos, police quickly located the hotel room where the shots were coming from. Once there, they blasted their way in.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DISPATCH: Copy. All units on the 32nd floor, SWAT has explosive breach. Everyone in the hallway needs to move back. All units move back.
OFFICER: Beach, beach, beach.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: Authorities say the gunman apparently killed himself as they were coming into the room. They say he had at least 10 rifles with him, 10 rifles with him in that hotel room.
Right now I'm joined by CNN national security analyst Juliette Kayyem. Also with us, CNN law enforcement analyst Chief Charles Ramsey and criminologist James Alan Fox. Evan Perez stays with me here in studio.
Chief, I want to go to you first as a police chief who was in Washington, D.C., and Philadelphia. As you've listened to everything from the sheriff, every piece of information that has come so far, what is your -- do you have a biggest question, anything that comes to mind about either how this could have been stopped or what is going to have to be done tomorrow?
[12:20:07] CHARLES RAMSEY, CNN LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: Well, I don't know how you stop something like that. I mean the venue no doubt had adequate security. But who would have thought, almost a block away, someone would either shootout or break out a window at the Mandalay Bay and begin firing down on people. Obviously now we have to all rethink security measures going forward when you have these kinds of outdoor events. But I don't know how you prevent something like that. I mean this is just a highly unusual type of case.
KING: Juliette, this is a conversation we have all too often after big events like this. We've had it more prominently in the years since 9/11. But when the chief says nothing -- I mean there obviously are things. You could require every one of these hotels to have magnetometers. You could have every one of these hotels in the area, especially on days when you know 22,000 people are going to be across the street the next day, screen all the bags. But we simply -- is it that a cost thing, is it a convenience thing, a combination of those things?
JULIETTE KAYYEM, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: It's all of the above. I mean, John, we have, as a society, sort of made a calculation about how much security we want in our daily lives. And so it may be after this there's going to be a demand that there are, you know, reviews of what's in the suitcases, housekeepers are given, you know, the ability to look in if they view something suspicious.
But I do think that we are going to find, over the next couple of days, if not hours, that there might have been some suspicions about what he was bringing into the hotel room or some things that were seen that maybe the housekeepers or whoever else did not feel empowered to express or say. So we have to look at that.
But I will say, we're so focused on defense, right, that a part of security is minimizing the risk. And you will have others on air, but as a counter terrorism expert, I will tell you, whether he is motivated by ISIS or craziness or something in between, the access issue to weaponry in this country is now a national security issue, it just is, because you have to -- you have to minimize the capacity for someone who is either crazy or a terrorist, right, or in between to be able to kill that many people so quickly.
That's the unique thing about this country. Terrorism and violence happens elsewhere. Here it's because of accessibility of a certain weaponry. So I'd be remiss not mentioning it now. I know it's highly political. But as a security person, this is -- I'm looking at the access issue and looking at these numbers and absolutely shocked and outraged that for some reason we're not allowed to talk about that.
KING: That's -- it's no question both the gun control and then, if you flip it, come at it from the other side, the security questions are things that do need to be discussed. Obviously the gun control debate in the hours after this is quite sensitive.
Professor Fox, I want to come from your perspective. When you listen to the brother, this is like an asteroid striking. To the neighbors saying we had no clue. To police saying, maybe a traffic violation once or twice, but nothing in their history of the 64-year-old man. And so you see people on TV saying, oh, well, maybe he snapped or maybe there was this.
From your experience, that's not exactly right, right?
JAMES ALAN FOX, PROFESSOR OF CRIMINOLOGY, NORTHEASTERN UNIVERSITY: No. First of all, they don't snap. When you think about it, this is a well-planned execution. He checked into the hotel days in advance, brought all the weaponry in. If someone were to snap, why would they have all that weaponry with them? Mass killings are well-planned executions. As far as what the brother said, that's very typical. Mass killers
generally do not have criminal records. They generally have not been treated in a psychiatric facility. It's surprising to everyone.
And even if we now find some warning signs that were missed, even in the hotel room or back home in Mesquite, this is hindsight and hindsight's 20-20. There's no way that we can anticipate, there's no way we can predict. It's a very rare event, fortunately.
And as far as -- one thing about the guns. Juliette mentioned the world uniquely American. Well, actually, this is unique in terms of the weapon. Mass killers generally use semi-automatics. Typically semi-automatic handguns, which are easy to conceal. This automatic weapon is quite rate. It's unfortunate because obviously that led to his ability to kill so many people.
KING: And, Evan Perez, as we go through this, and we'll continue the conversation later in the program too, there are more cameras in Las Vegas, Nevada, than probably anywhere in America.
KING: You have now the outdoor concert grounds -- I called it a concert hallway -- it's an outdoor concert grounds where there are hundreds of shells that need to be retrieved from the grounds and, sadly, from the bodies as well. In terms of doing the CSI work of this, this will take weeks, if not months.
PEREZ: Yes, it will take weeks and months in order to put together a picture of this guy. I mean this is one of the things that people do at the FBI especially, they do studies of people like this to try to figure out what they can learn for the next one. And, unfortunately, we know that the next one is studying what this guy did and we'll see that sometime in the future.
[12:25:06] Unfortunately, that is what the reality that we have here in this country. As Juliette pointed out, I mean it's very difficult to secure a place like this. For example, if the president was going to be there, obviously the hotel would have been searched. There would have been a magnetometers. There would have been a search and a search of every single renter of a hotel room there. They would know who those rooms were that faced the venue. There's a lot of preparation that goes in if you have a big event like this, if you have a VIP. But when you have average people going, you don't tend to do these types of things.
KING: And, Professor Fox, I want to come back to you on the idea of trying to put together the sketch of who this man is. From everything you have heard, sort of, you know, what would you be doing if you were sitting there trying to put together -- you're in an office. You've got a bulletin board or (INAUDIBLE) computer, no you're trying to put together the pieces. Where are you in the process and what are your questions?
FOX: Well, there's not much we know now. And I have been through this kind of process. All we really can come up with, why did he do it? But that will put closure on the event for survivors, for the rest of us, but it will not help us identify the next mass killer.
That's the problem here. These -- well, these are rare events, fortunately, but whatever we learn in the days to come will not help us spot the next one. And it's also important that as we try to shed light on this crime, that we not shed a spotlight on the criminal. All too often we humanize him by filling in the gaps and saying what everyone said about him, his favorite hobbies and what he like to do, what TV shows he liked. We have to not cross that line to make this someone into a celebrity for others who might see him as a hero.
KING: That's a great point to make as we close this conversation. We'll pick it up later in the program. But you're right, he's a coward who, for whatever reason, killed 50 people, 58 people, maybe more than that, injured 500, disrupted and caused shattering pain to so many families. He's a coward is what he is.
Professor, appreciate that. Everybody stand by. Up next, President Trump responds to the tragic shooting at the White House with words of unity.