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Gunman Opens Fire on Concertgoers in Las Vegas; At Least 50 Dead, 200 Plus Injured. Aired 8-8:30a ET
Aired October 2, 2017 - 08:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[08:00:00] ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: Concert is goers captured all of the terror on their cell phones as these hundreds of gunshots rang out from what sounds like an automatic weapon. Here's just a moment.
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CAMEROTA: There's been a lot of developments in just the past hour. Here's what we know from the sheriff. The Law Vegas sheriff confirms that the suspect is dead. The shooter was identified as a 64-year-old man, a Las Vegas resident. Police say he had a female companion or a roommate. Her name was Marilou Danley. They were looking for her for a while because she was deemed a person of interest. She has now been located along with two vehicles that hopefully all of that together can provide police some threads into this investigation into what happened.
JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: This is the Route 91 Harvest Festival, country music festival right across the street from the Mandalay Bay. This was the fourth day, the final act. Jason Aldean, two-time country music performer of the year on stage, finishing up his act. The shooting went on and on and on. You can see the thousands of spectators just running for their lives. This morning, President Trump, he did offer his condolences in a tweet. The vice president also did so, thanking the courageous first responders for their bravery. CNN's Jean Casarez has been on the scene for hours in Las Vegas. Jean, give us a sense of what you're seeing.
JEAN CASAREZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: We do have some updated figures from the University medical center, which is the level one trauma center here in Las Vegas. Anita Cohen, who is the public information officer there reports that 104 people were transported from the Las Vegas strip to their emergency room, eight people immediately taken into an operating room, 12 people currently in critical condition.
And when we were coming here, minutes after this happened from our hotel, I saw ambulances going in different directions from the scene. And once we got here, and we're at the south end of the Las Vegas strip, we would see ambulances going in, and then we would see them leaving. As as they were leaving, I would look just as they are passing through in the window, you saw the ems emergency responders were working on victim after victim as they were taking them out of the scene.
Now the Mandalay Bay Hotel behind me, it is that very large structure, and we do understand at this point they are executing a search warrant on the 23rd floor. That is where the suspect, who is now dead, they believe there are weapons there. They will be making an inventory of that. It all happened at 10:08, and not long after that police were alerted there was a person of interest, they were trying to find a roommate of this man. Her name is Marilou Danley. And just minutes ago, we got an update from police on the status of that person of interest. Take a listen.
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SHERIFF JOSEPH LOMBARDO, LAS VEGAS POLICE: We were confident, but not 100 percent sure we have located the female person of interest. So I want the people to feel confident and calm. The suspect, I am going to provide you his identity at this point. His name is Steven Paddock. We located numerous firearms within the room that he occupied. And like I stated earlier it's going to be a long and tedious investigation.
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CASAREZ: So the Mandalay Bay is on this side of the Las Vegas strip. The concert was across Las Vegas Boulevard immediately, close to the Tropicana Hotel. And it was 10:08 at night and all of a sudden chaos erupted because people started hearing those shots.
CASAREZ: Terrifying moments in Las Vegas after a gunman opens fire at a country music concert.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It was people running out of everywhere.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Everyone sit said hit the floor. So everyone was laying on top of each over other.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: There were people hiding underneath my car for cover.
CASAREZ: It happened on the final night of a three day Route 91 Harvest Festival outside the Mandalay Bay resort. The chaos unfolding as country singer Jason Aldean was performing.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Get down.
CASAREZ: Police say the barrage of bullets were fired from the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay.
[08:05:01] RACHEL DEKERF, WITNESS: They gunshots lasted for 10 or 15 minutes. It didn't stop. (GUNSHOTS)
CASAREZ: Knocking frantic concertgoers to their knees, people running for their lives.
JOE PITZEL, WITNESS: People were climbing the fences, pushing their way through. The barricades were coming down. People were screaming, crying. Everybody was trying to get out.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We had a man come running up to us, blood down his shirt, saying his friends are dead, his friends are dead and please come help.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I have three critical patients in my vehicle. Is there any available vehicles to assist me to get the traffic out of my way?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: One witness capturing the horror from above, swarms of people scattering for their lives.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That was close. We can't go yet. We can't go yet.
CASAREZ: And what we have been seeing all through the night is people that are walking from the strip near the Mandalay Bay Hotel and where the concert was, they've been walking up here, and large buses have been meeting them, taking them to other locations. Remember, this is an extremely large crime scene at the Las Vegas strip. And just minutes ago I saw what appeared to be a hotel van. It was filled with people. They had a police escort. They came and got into another van and they took them away. And some of these people not only were witnesses to the event, but may not know where their family and their friends are. And they need to find out exactly what the status of their love d ones are. John?
BERMAN: Jean Casarez for us on the Las Vegas Strip. Jean, thank you so much. We have one update to Jean's reporting here. We're hearing now from law enforcement that Marilou Danley who was this woman who was being sought as a person of interest is no longer a person of interest. Detectives have made contact with her and do not believe she is involved with the shooting on the strip. That is a statement from the Las Vegas police metro department as of right now. They are looking for a vehicle. But this woman who they have made contact with, no longer a person of interest.
Now, one other new development we want to play for you right now. We did get some audio of the explosive breach when law enforcement broke down the door of the gunman's hotel room on the 32nd floor. We're going to play that for you. The video you'll be seeing, I believe, is from outside of the concert and the shooting as it's taking place on the ground. The sound, though, from inside. Listen to this.
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UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The suspect's door, I need everybody in that hallway to get back. We need to pop this if we can get a response from this guy or if he moved somewhere else.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Copy. All units from the 32nd floor explosive breach, everyone needs to move back. All units move back.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Breach, breach, breach.
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BERMAN: We're hearing law enforcement, there you heard it, Jim, right there, the explosive breach. The guy is whispering outside along with dispatch. They blew up the door to get to the gunman.
JAMES GAGLIANO, CNN LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: Absolutely. It sounded like a professional operation through and through. The fact they got there with such speed and alacrity, it boggles the mind. But then to get into position and explosive the breach, understand the explosive breach is also something that's going to take the door off but it's also going to neutralize whatever is in the room in front of them to allow to get officers into the room and get on the subject as quickly as possible. Without that breach and without that entry as professionally done as it was, I fear there would have been more shooting.
CAMEROTA: It's striking to hear him. He's whispering, but he obviously knows what he's doing. All units get back, breach, breach, breach, and then you hear the explosion and the dispatcher having to say all units get back. It's fascinating to hear what goes on behind the scenes when they are in life and death situation.
GAGLIANO: Definitely the fear, too. The reason why he's whispering is because if he knows he's out there he turns the rifle right through the sheetrock like Swiss cheese. So they are at grave danger at this point. So they had to act quickly and got in there. And Jim said, amazing how this team was able to get whenever they were into place while this was still going on, it's mindboggling.
CAMEROTA: And one police officer was killed. We should say, at least one officer was killed. One is in critical condition. One person was an off duty police officer at the concert, he was killed. There was one person in critical condition. We don't know the situation. But obviously this just highlights the danger for police officers when they try to take down something like this.
BERMAN: And we don't know, we should say, how the gunman was killed. We don't know if when the door was breached. We don't know if he was shot by police. We don't know if he shot himself. That is a detail we're waiting to learn.
[08:10:00] CAMEROTA: Joining us now on the phone is Sirius XM country radio host Storme Warren. He was on stage when this gunfire rang out. Storme, we know that you have had an awful night and we really appreciate you giving us your eyewitness account of what happened. Can you just tell us, you were on stage, and then what happened?
STORME WARREN, SIRIUS XM COUNTRY RADIO HOST: Yes, I'm going to start with ear witness. Ear witness is where it all began. Jason Aldean on stage, and then rat-a-tat, rat-a-tat. And we thought it was pyrotechnics. We thought it was a misfire. I didn't see any pyrotechnics, but we heard it. Then we thought is that an audio glitch, and we're all standing around. Jake Owen was on stage with me and some other friends and industry people on stage.
And then to realize after the rat-a-tat became a long folly of bullets. We knew it was automatic gunfire at this point. It was frightening. So Jason and his crew very professionally removed Jason and his band, everybody off the stage. Everybody cleared the deck. And then we all found whatever shelter we could find. And I was with Jake Owen's road manager Greg Fowler behind the cinderblock wall. And we sat there on stage right looking up and going, where is this coming from? Where is this gunfire coming from?
And there was no doubt it was coming from the Mandalay Bay hotel. And it was coming from the rooftop. I assumed it was the rooftop. But it was way up high and it was coming down. And I would hope it was just sound, just some goofball trying to be a joke. But when the bullets started ricocheting off the deck of the stage and like feet from where we were standing and bouncing off and we had to dive under the stage.
And when you dove under the stage and still hearing the bullets hit the deck of the stage at the same time, you knew something just horrific was happening. And it wouldn't stop. It just kept going. He would reload. There would be a pause, then another volley of shots. I wish I could count the number of shots. I would say hundreds. I have no idea how many were actually shot. But it was too many.
And you hoped that they missed people, but then when the shots finally stopped and we were wondering around looking at where do we go. When I say wandering around, we were behind protective barriers the entire time. Something in between the Mandalay Bay and us is all you had to do is find something protective.
And then you wanted to find people to help. And there were bodies everywhere. I mean, I went out into the audience area from the backstage area. I went out into the audience area, and there were bodies there. And you go up to them and go are you OK, are you OK, and many of them were no longer to be OK. And we had to help the ones who did. And there were people shot in various places of their bodies and they're screaming and yelling. And just to find people to help.
The neatest thing about this thing, and I know "neat" is the wrong word to use, but the greatest part of this entire event was the humanity that came out of it, and everybody diving in to help. Let's get this person out of here. Let's get this person to help. Whatever help we can get.
And it was traumatic. It was exhausting. It was stressful. I don't even know what words to put into it at this time, but it was emotional. And we all experienced something that I don't think anybody ever thought they would get out of a country music festival in the lights of Las Vegas. It was just a great three-day event. And to witness so much devastation and so much catastrophe and heartbreak, and to see dead bodies everywhere you looked, it was not a good scene. I'm sorry if I'm struggling to find words to use to put this into some sort of paragraph you guys want, but I don't have it yet.
CAMEROTA: Storme, you're doing an admiral job of bringing us through the horrors you experienced and heard and witnessed last night. It's unthinkable, and of course there are no words to describe all of this. We talked to Jake Owen, one of the country music singers. He said that he felt like it lasted 10 minutes, the shooting, the shooting part.
Was that your recollection? Look, I know time slows down during these horrific events and who knows because you're suspended animation in disbelief, but can you clock it?
STORME WARREN, COUNTRY RADIO HOST (via telephone): I would say it lasted longer than that. It sure seemed like it. We hid for a long time and every time we thought it was over, another magazine clocked into whatever the guy was shooting and he fired another volley off. And you never knew it was going to stop.
So, if it was 10 minutes, 20 minutes, 30 minutes, it didn't matter. It was too long and it kept coming, and finally it stopped. That's when the point was you just had to go out and find people to help.
It was a struggle of being stuck behind a concrete barrier and not knowing when it was going to story and knowing that many shots fired that you knew people were going to be hurt. And that was the hardest part.
CAMEROTA: Could you have any sense of what the target was? Did you think that this gunman, whoever he was, wherever he was shooting from, you thought it was the roof of the Mandalay Bay, it turns out it was 32nd floor, did you think that he was aiming at the stage or just seem haphazard?
WARREN: Totally haphazard. It seemed like he just wanted to hit that roof -- and as many of them as possible, and when you heard -- if you're aiming towards one person, it's going to be one shot, bam. If you missed him, you do it again.
This was just random and he didn't care who he hit, and that was the heartbreaking thing. We didn't know who was going to be next and where he was shooting. Who was he aiming for or was it just random?
And if it was random, all of us were in danger and we all were. It was heartbreaking to watch that absolute just innocence lost from the fantastic event and to see just horror that unfolded.
CAMEROTA: Storme Warren, you were on stage when this nightmare began last night in Las Vegas, at this country music festival, we know it's been a horrible, horrible night for you. Thank you very much for bringing our viewers what you endured and experienced there. Take care of yourself. We'll check back with you. WARREN: Thank you.
JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: Amazing, amazing account. Joining me now is the undersheriff of Las Vegas Police Department, Kevin McMahill. Undersheriff, thank you very much for being with us. And again, our heart goes out to you.
We know you have two on duty officers who were shot as well as one off duty officer believed to have been killed right now. So, do know that we are thinking about you. Do you have any updates on the numbers? The last we heard from the sheriff 50 killed, more than 200 injured, has that changed?
UNDERSHERIFF KEVIN MCMAHILL, LAS VEGAS POLICE: WSell, the numbers have pretty much stayed the same within the last hour. I can tell you that we continue to receive reports from all of our area hospitals where individuals self-transported themselves over there. So, that number of injured individuals, I anticipate to continue to climb over the next couple hours.
BERMAN: You have 200 reported injuries so far, but several hundred more than that going to the hospitals for various types of reasons. Certainly, at a minimum, the injured number will go up. A moment ago, we heard remarkable audio of the explosive breach of the hotel room of this suspect. Do you have any details about how he was apprehended and killed?
MCMAHILL: Yes. It's a -- what happened was is that the officers that were actually at that concert could actually hear where the rounds were coming from. It's very difficult for them to pinpoint it because it was up on the 32nd floor.
They could see that the rounds were coming from that particular location. Heavy fire, automatic fire at times, and so they were corralling all the people that were actually at the concert into behind a block wall.
So, a number of the other officers as the information came out then went immediately to the Mandalay Bay and began to ascend up to that 32nd floor. What we know is that once we arrived up there, we had isolated this individual to the two rooms and then our SWAT team used the explosive breaching to go in and confronted the individual.
BERMAN: When you say confront the individual was he shot. Is that how the suspect was killed?
MCMAHILL: He was shot, but I cannot tell you that it was the police that shot him. He may have self-inflicted that gunshot wound. Those details are still emerging throughout our investigation, but I can tell you that he is deceased.
[08:20:14] BERMAN: The 64-year-old Stephen Paddock. We do know his identity because the sheriff told us that. He also told us that numerous firearms were found in the room. Numerous, what exactly does that mean? Do you have a sense of the numbers?
MCMAHILL: As you can imagine with the chaos of the scene and the numbers of victims that we have, you just froze that room. We were able to debrief a couple of the SWAT officers that went in there and all I can really tell you is that there's a number of long rifles that are in that room. But the actual number I really can't provide that to you just yet.
BERMAN: Our affiliate, KTNV, is reporting eight guns. Does that seem within the realm of possibility, based on what you've heard?
MCMAHILL: Yes, I would say there was at least eight guns up there.
BERMAN: Yes. And we've also heard from the Mesquite Police Department that they had had no prior contact with this individual. No law enforcement reason to focus on him before. Does that extend past Mesquite. Has the Las Vegas Police Department ever had their eyes on this individual for any reason?
MCMAHILL: Right. So, all of the checks that we have been able to do other than a routine traffic violation here in Nevada and nationwide working with our local FBI partners have been able to find no derogatory history on that individual.
It's one of those really sad, tragic things that a man that's 64 years old that really had no other reason that we can find at least in his history here to go out and wound that many people, and brought that unspeakable tragedy here to Las Vegas.
I just want to make sure I get the opportunity to add my condolences to the victims' families and just have them rest assured that we're going to do everything in our power to continue to save lives as well as to figure out exactly what happened and why.
BERMAN: At least 50 people killed, more than 200 injured. We're right with you on the condolences to the victims. Think of how many lives have been lost and how many lives have been changed forever because of the actions of this one man, which we have no known motive.
You are, I imagine at this point, going through his house. I know there's still one vehicle you're trying to locate. What threads are you pulling right now to find out what you can?
MCMAHILL: Well, literally every thread that we can. You know, pretty much all hands-on deck here. We have great partnerships with all the other local agencies as well as all the federal agencies. So, we have a number of days ahead of this as we continue to move that through. We'll leave no stone unturned in that investigation, but it's going to take a number of days to get through this in its entirety.
BERMAN: And I know how hard it is, again, given that two of your own officers were injured on duty. At least one killed in the incident as well. How are you doing after this night?
MCMAHILL: This was a day I wish I had never had to see here in my 27 years of law enforcement. I can tell you that it's not really about me, but I will tell you seeing that scene was probably the most disturbing thing I have had to see in those 27 years. So, we owe it to those victims' families and the victims themselves to get this thing right.
BERMAN: And I know that people who were at that concert and the people of Las Vegas are grateful right now to you and your efforts and the response that the law enforcement has had in the area not just the city response, but also the county and imagine there's a federal response as well.
You know, we talk about security at large events like this. I imagine there was tight security at this concert. Las Vegas is always on high alert. But even security for the concert, wouldn't necessarily take into account the hotel, would it?
MCMAHILL: I mean, you rightfully point out that Las Vegas is used to hosting large events. In fact, I wouldn't even classify this one as a large event. It's multiday. About 23,000 to 25,000 people were there this year each day.
We're used to handling these events. We have handled many events like that multiple times. We had to staff it appropriately with law enforcement and security. These folks were attacked by a man from 32 stories up with automatic rifle fire.
I don't really know how you plan for that. Certainly, going to be putting our heads together with law enforcement all around the country to figure that out, but firing across the Las Vegas Boulevard into large crowds of people, we didn't see it coming.
[08:25:04] But I can tell you that the men and women of metro as well as fire departments and ems and all of our area hospitals really came together and I believe saved a number of lives.
BERMAN: No question about it, and again, they were transported to the hospital via ambulance, taxi, on the backs of trucks, any way they could get there, people were helping out to help those in need and there were so many in need, so many people hurt, so many people shot in this event.
I understand one of the difficulties you are having now is the number of people calling in to offer help, the leads that are coming in really from all over the place. How are you juggling all of that?
MCMAHILL: Yes. So, that has been very difficult. We are actually working with the FBI right now. I believe that hot line is actually up, the number 1-800-call-fbi. So, the FBI is going to be working with us to obtain video evidence. I know that you guys have already shown a number of cellphone videos and those types of things.
Those are all very useful to our investigation so we'll continue to ask people to go that direction and help provide us that information because every little bit helps.
BERMAN: Undersheriff Kevin McMahill, we want to let you go and get back to work. But again, we want to thank you for being with us. We do want to extend our condolences again to your department and to thank you for everything you have done tonight.
As you said, this is one of the worst nights of your life. But in that, we see some of the best in first responders like you. Undersheiff, thanks very much.
CAMEROTA: All right. John, there's so many new developments and breaking news to get you so let's bring back our law enforcement analysts. We have Jim Gagliano and Joe (inaudible) who's been standing by with us all morning.
So, you just heard the undersheriff. He was very candid obviously about the horror of everything that he saw as well as how it is impossible to prepare for something like this. You think that you have done all the emergency drills.
You think you have done the simulation, but how could you ever prepare for some random hotel window being the source of automatic gunfire down on this open-air concert.
JAMES GAGLIANO, CNN LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: Sure. From the federal perspective, there's a thing called the NSSE, which is the National Special Security Event. We have a number of those. Obviously, being in New York City, Joe can attest to this, there's a lot of them.
Everything from the Westminster dog show at Madison Square Garden to Yankee Stadium opening day to Republican or Democratic National Convention. In Las Vegas, what the undersheriff pointed out was, they are used to this.
He looked at 23,000 people, that's business as usual for us. I think what he said when he talked about the after-action review, there's going to be an exhaustive after-action review for law enforcement.
And I think some of the lessons learned are some of the best practices that come out of this are going to focus on the area in those buildings around an area where you have a large group of people.
The United States Secret Service would have cleared all those buildings. We understand that if the president is in town, you're going to have snipers on the roof. You're going to have every building cleared and swept with bomb dogs in all (inaudible).
We don't have the resources for that, personnel wise or material wise, and as Americans we don't want to be inconvenienced. So, if you say you have to wait in line another two hours to get into the concert.
So, we're going to have find that sweet spot, Alisyn. That place where we go we are going to be willing to give up some of our freedoms and civil liberties to keep people safe but still remain uniquely American.
BERMAN: Again, this is the deadliest mass shooting in U.S. history, at least 50 people dead, 200 injured. Several hundred more went to the hospital and I don't know what their degree of injuries were as well. So again, the injured number could go up. The suspect has been killed, 64 years old. This happened at a country music concert near the Mandalay Bay in the Las Vegas strip. Joey, undersheriff gave us a sense of how they apprehended the man or killed him or how it was that he came to be dead.
They saw the flashes coming from the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay. Officers on the ground saw those flashes. They got word to other officers who then went up to the room on the 32nd floor.
They isolated the room or two rooms around where he was and then it was an explosive breach before they went into the room. He would not confirm to us whether or not officers shot him or he took his own life.
JOSEPH GIACALONE, FORMER NYPD DETECTIVE SERGEANT: Well, yes, they are going to -- the medical examiner will tell us exactly what happened. You have to make sure you have your facts straight. I mean, this is something where there's going to be who knows lawsuits and everything else that comes with this.
You have a lot of people. You got to clear all those other rooms first before they do this. I mean, think about all the different, you know, wheels in motion because breaching a door when you have people that are sleeping next door or whatever is not, you know, ideal.
BERMAN: And it seems like it went on forever and that's what all the witnesses are telling us all morning. It seems like it went for longer than 10 or 15 minutes. We don't know for sure, but the response even though it seemed like it went on forever, seems like it was awfully quick.
GIACALONE: It was pretty quick, but I mean, if you're going through this, it's just -- everything time just stops. You know, as to civilians, I mean, they are not used to this kind of thing. Even the police officers aren't used to this kind of thing.
I mean, you heard the undersheriff say nothing can prepare you to see that many bodies in a small area. So, you know, our heart goes out to everybody there and I hope that if they need help down the road, that they get it.
CAMEROTA: I'm just listening to my producer because --