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Shooting Massacre In Las Vegas. Trump Calls Shooting "An Act Of Pure Evil." Eric Paddock, Brother Of Suspect Speaks Out. Eyewitness Shares Her Account from the Hotel. Aired 1-1:30p ET
Aired October 2, 2017 - 13:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: Wherever you are watching from around the world, thanks very much for joining us.
We begin with breaking news, the carnage in Las Vegas. Authorities say at least 58 people are confirmed dead, more than 500 wounded in the massacre on the Las Vegas strip.
Police say the gunman opened fire from the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay Hotel on a crowd of some 22,000 people attending a concert. Just a short time ago, President Trump responded to the worst mass shooting in modern U.S. history.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: It was an act of pure evil. The FBI and the Department of Homeland Security are working closely with local authorities to assist with the investigation and they will provide updates as to the investigation and how it develops.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLITZER: The president ordered flags lowered to half-staff in honor of the victims. He and the first lady will lead a moment of silence later today, 2:45 p.m. Eastern. And the president plans to travel to Las Vegas on Wednesday.
Now, to the latest on the shooting. Police have identified the shooter as 64-year-old Stephen Paddock. Authorities believe Paddock billed himself before police burst into his hotel room.
The sheriff says they found an arsenal of weapons in the room, including 10 rifles. So far, there's no known link to overseas terrorism or to terror and Paddock appears to have acted alone.
The borage of gunfire sent people literally running for their lives. The singer, Jason Aldean, had taken to the stage when the first shots rang out.
To get some more on the investigation that's underway right now, our Correspondent Dan Simon is joining us live from the scene in Las Vegas. Dan, update us on what you're hearing from authorities there.
DAN SIMON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, hi, Wolf. We are on the south end of the Las Vegas strip. You can see the Mandalay Bay Hotel right behind me.
What we know from authorities is that they are now finished going through the hotel room and finished going through the 32nd floor. And, right now, the focus is on the venue itself, where those 22,000 people were attending the conference.
We know that from the sheriff, Joe Lombardo, he says that just prior to the shooting, that the suspect used a hammer-like device to break out the windows and then began his rampage.
He also says that prior to the shooting, that hotel staff had been through that room, presumably he's talking about housekeeping staff, and that they saw nothing amiss.
In terms of a motive, the sheriff says he couldn't comment. He says that he couldn't go through the mind of a psychopath, that he couldn't understand what had led to all of this.
Again, right now, police are processing the scene and they, of course, have the grim task of removing all of bodies -- Wolf.
BLITZER: The police think the gunman acted alone. They keep saying that. What about the woman they were looking for earlier. What do we know about her?
SIMON: Right, Wolf, she's been described as a person of interest. 62-year-old Maryanne Marilou Danley (ph). She, apparently, is the girlfriend of the shooter. They lived together in their house in Mesquite, Nevada. We're told that she was actually out of the country when this shooting occurred.
Presumably, she's headed back to the United States. Of course, authorities want to interrogate her. We know they have made some preliminary contact with her.
But, of course, they'll want to have a conversation with her to see if they can glean any clues as to what may have motivated the shooter to kill those 58 people -- Wolf.
BLITZER: When you say she was out of the country, are they saying where she was outside of the United States?
SIMON: We've heard Australia. That's unconfirmed. But that's what we know at this point, Wolf. And, of course, she's going to be headed back and police will sit down with her and have a very lengthy conversation with her.
BLITZER: I'm sure they will. All right, Dan Simon in Las Vegas. We'll get back to you.
[13:05:01] Police say the shooter, 64-year-old Stephen Paddock, lived in Mesquite, Nevada. That's about 80 miles from Las Vegas. Authorities aren't saying anything about a possible motive but we are learning more about the gunman's background from his brother, who described his shock at hearing the news of this massacre.
ERIC PADDOCK: This is like an asteroid fell. There's no -- I mean, he had no machine guns, when I moved him from Melbourne to Mesquite. I mean, find out who gave -- you know, who he bought the machine guns from.
And, once again, it's -- there's no blame -- you know, it's just -- he bought the machine guns and he did this. I mean, I -- it was him who did this. There is no doubt about it because he was him.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is completely out of character?
PADDOCK: He's never -- I mean, he's never even drawn his gun. You know, I mean, it makes no sense. He's never hit anybody.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Was he a gun enthusiast or just a few --
PADDOCK: No. No, he had a couple of handguns, 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 -- that I knew of at any time.
I -- there's no -- it just -- it just makes no sense. 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.) I'm with the FBI.
PADDOCK: Oh, OK. I guess -- yes. We'll see you later. We've got to talk to the real police now.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Thank you, sir.
BLITZER: An FBI agent arrives and they went into the house.
CNN's Kyung Lah is in Mesquite, Nevada for us. She's outside the suspect's home. So, Kyung, have police found, as far as we know, anything of substance over at that home?
KYUNG LAH, CNN SENIOR NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: As far as we know, what they have found is just an average home. They are trying to put the pieces together, Wolf, to figure out exactly what may have motivated the senior citizen to unleash this, sort of, terror in Las Vegas.
But they have been able -- what we've been able to piece together, from relatives and people here in the community, is that he did have a pilot's license. A license that was no longer valid because a medical certification had lapsed.
He had a hunting license in Alaska. He was an accountant. He didn't have any children. He is divorced but he had a live-in girlfriend.
If there is anything that sticks out in the profile so far, his brother says that their father, at one point, was a bank robber. At one point, being on the FBI's 10 most wanted list.
But beyond that, the police here say -- and you can see the barricade here. They're trying to block off traffic into the community. They are still going through that house.
They haven't found anything that stands out where they say, this is why. At least anything they have been able to tell us, the community here, saying they simply do not understand why a 64-year-old man would do this.
The police, Wolf, here saying that they had had no contact with this man that is negative, that is notable.
And one other thing, Wolf. We haven't run into too many people who had an active relationship with him. He appeared to pretty much stick to himself -- Wolf.
BLITZER: As far as the shooter's pilot's license. What else do we know about that, other than it lapsed for medical reasons.
LAH: That he appeared to have two planes, at one point. But he had this license. It's several years old. But because of that medical certification, because he didn't maintain that, that pilot's license is no longer valid.
BLITZER: And his father, you say, was once on the FBI's most wanted list? What else do we know about that?
LAH: That's, perhaps, the most striking thing out of all of this. Because we're starting to paint this profile of a very normal guy who came to this very quiet community, a retirement community of 55 plus people. You have to be 55 or older in order to be able to live here.
But his father. His brother says that his father, at one point, was a bank robber. He died several years ago, according to the brother. But he had made the FBI's 10 most wanted list.
Beyond these details, we don't have too much more, Wolf. But out of everything we've been able to learn, that is the one thing that does stick out in this man's profile.
BLITZER: Yes. "The Washington Post" reporting he was an avid gambler, the suspect, as well as an avid concert goer in Las Vegas. I'm sure we're going to be learning a lot more about Stephen Paddock in the hours to come.
Thanks very much, Kyung. We'll get back to you. She's in Mesquite, Nevada for us.
[13:10:01] The Las Vegas area hospitals are inundated with people injured in the shooting. More than 100 victims are over at the University Medical Center in southern Nevada. It's the only level one trauma center in Nevada.
Danita Cohen is the spokeswoman for the hospital. Danita's joining us now. What can you tell us, Danita, about the conditions of the patients at your facility?
DANITA COHEN, SPOKESWOMAN, UNIVERSITY MEDICAL CENTER, NEVADA: Good afternoon, Wolf. We received 104 patients since last night when the shooting happened. Twelve of those patients are still in critical condition this morning. Eight of those patients had to go straight back to our operating rooms.
Thankfully, we have a stand-alone trauma center here at UMC, meaning that everything that we need to care for critically injured patients is contained within our four walls. So, we're not moving patients around the rest of the hospital. Those patients were all contained within our trauma center to be able to be cared for.
Other patients, also, actually drove themselves to the emergency department and were cared for within the emergency department while other more critically injured patients were being cared for inside the trauma center.
BLITZER: If someone thinks a family member may be hospitalized at UMC, University Medical Center, what should they do?
COHEN: They should simply call our main line for now. That's 702- 383-2000. And our operators will make sure that they get to the right team who is trying to reunite our patients with our families and our loved ones so that they no longer wait and worry and they know just how everybody's doing today.
BLITZER: I know you need people to donate blood. If people are in the Las Vegas area, want to donate blood, they're watching us right now, what should they do?
COHEN: Absolutely. We have blood donation banks set up right across the street from UMC, so that we can collect the donations. Right now, our shelves are still fully stocked so there isn't an issue right now.
But trauma continues here in Las Vegas. Our trauma center is still open today. You will receive the normal, as we call them, traumas coming in. So, we want to make sure that we are ready for the rest of the patients, the normal amount of patients that we'll see later today. So, absolutely, people can donate blood.
BLITZER: Have you ever had a crisis like this unfolded at UMC, 100 patients receiving emergency medical treatment at the same time?
COHEN: Wolf, the last time we had anything close to this was when a woman ran onto the Las Vegas strip a few years ago. You might remember that. That evening, we received 17 patients.
So, 104 quite overwhelming at first, but this is exactly what our team here at UMC is trained to do. They are trained to treat and stabilize mass casualty, mass amounts of patients. And that's exactly what they did in no short order in the early morning hours today.
BLITZER: How's your staff holding up under these awful circumstances?
COHEN: You know, Wolf, they are a great punch of people. The hearts and souls of our trauma team are definitely in the work that they do. It runs in their blood to take care of injured folks and those who need critical attention when those really life-saving seconds count.
BLITZER: What are the major concerns going forward?
COHEN: I think, right now, just making sure that our families are taken care of. We know that our patients are very well taken care of in our ICU units which we have across the -- across the campus. But we want to make sure that the families and loved ones, those worried about the patients that we're taking care of, that they're also receiving care and information as timely as possible.
BLITZER: Good luck. Danita, good luck to everyone at the University Medical Center. Danita Cohen is the spokeswoman for the Universal Medical Center in Las Vegas. We will certainly want to get updates from you throughout the day. Thank you very much and, once again, good luck.
Our CNN Law Enforcement Analyst Cedrick Alexander is joining us right now. You know, Cedric, walk us through this investigation. Where does it stand right now? Obviously, very, very early in the process.
CEDRIC ALEXANDER, CNN LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: Yes, it still is very early, Wolf. And what is going to be significantly important in this investigation, of course, is you have a huge crime scene there in Las Vegas.
But in addition to that as well, there is going to be a lot of collecting of as much video evidence as possible which is going to be really important in this entire investigation. Even though the subject has been identified and has expired at the scene, there is still a lot of questions that need to be answered.
And one of the -- some of the more basic questions, of course, is we want to be certain that he was acting alone. Because anybody who knew about this, took part in the planning of it in any type of way, the police there, both at the state, federal and local level, want to make sure that they pursue anyone that was involved.
If there were others that were involved, what is the critical question here, of course, Wolf, is going to be, what was the motive? What was the reasoning behind such a tragic and horrific act?
BLITZER: He had -- according to police in Las Vegas, 10 rifles in that room on the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay Hotel and broke a window with something akin to a hammer, in order to start just shooting.
[13:15:05] And so many people are saying it was automatic fire -- the guns, at least some of them, the weapons were automatic. Where does that say to you? Where does he get that kind of stuff?
ALEXANDER: Well, what it says to me, certainly this is not something he probably did off a whim. This was something that was probably very well planned and had been planning it for some time. He certainly came with a type of armory he had in his possession to be there for some lengthy period of time and to create a lot of havoc, which he did. So clearly this is something that just did not happen in the spur of the moment for him.
And what's going to be interesting is to determine how he got that much weaponry inside of that hotel without it being noticed. It wouldn't be impossible to do. But certainly I think there's something that we all probably can learn from this event because something like this, Wolf, is very, very hard to train and prepare for when you have a subject that takes himself to such a high elevation and target people who are totally innocent. Twenty-two thousand people approximately that were there inside that event who were just totally, totally helpless. It is just horrific to even think about.
BLITZER: What do you need in order to legally purchase automatic rifles here in the United States? A lot of our viewers around the world who are watching right now are anxious to get an answer to that.
ALEXANDER: Well, I think that's really a question -- that's a great question for ATF in our country because there are certain states that will allow for automatic weaponry. Of course, you have to have a special permit from ATF. That's allowable in some states. And that may be the case in Nevada. But I don't want to speak with a sense of being exact about that but it very well could be.
But I think what's important here to note is that he was firing automatic gunfire. That was repetitive. What commonly lay people will refer to as machine gunfire. And you can tell by the video sound that we all have heard, there's no way anyone can pull a trigger that fast and with such a high volume of bullets that are being expended from those assault weapons.
And it's very scary that this is what we have to live with today. But it certainly is going to create a great deal of question for us in the public safety community as to how we get in -- possibly get in front of events such as this. But in addition, what is going to be really important is developing as much intelligence information as we can because that's the only thing that really could have helped us to prevented this.
BLITZER: Yes, you hear that gunfire -- that automatic gunfire. It sounds like you're on a battlefield in Iraq or someplace else, or Afghanistan --
ALEXANDER: That's right. That's right.
BLITZER: As opposed to being on the Las Vegas Strip.
We're going to get back to you, Cedric Alexander, our law enforcement analyst.
We're also getting new details just in to CNN about the scene, including the timeline, the gunman's location on the 32nd floor of that hotel. We're piecing it all together. And I'll speak live with a husband and wife who were separated during the chaos. You're going to hear their very emotional story of how they were reunited. And another eyewitness in the crowd joins us on when he realized the
horror was real after initially thinking it was just some fireworks. This is CNN's special live coverage of the massacre in Las Vegas.
[13:23:13] (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: The deadliest mass shooting in U.S. history has just happened.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There was a shooting at the Jason Aldean concert in Las Vegas.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It just never stopped. Another round of -- another round of bullets, another round of bullets.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The shots just kept coming. And everybody's hiding everywhere. I mean they're hiding under the bleachers and the stanchions and anywhere they could and everyone's telling us to run, run as fast as we can.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: About five free from me you can see a guy with a bullet wound right in his neck, motionless. And from there on in, it was just, you know, people just started dropping like flies.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We teach people to run and hide. You're out in the middle of a field. There's no place to run. There's no place to hide.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This was a committed shooter. I fear that the body count is going to rise.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This isn't what America was built to be. We're stronger than this.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLITZER: You're watching CNN's breaking news coverage of the massacre in Las Vegas.
Right now we know at least 58 people are dead, more than 500 are injured. Police say the gunman, 64-year-old Stephen Paddock opened fire from the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay Hotel on a crowd of some 22,000 people at a country music concert last night in Las Vegas.
Joining us now, CNN's Tom Foreman.
Tom, walk us through how this unimaginable tragedy unfolded.
TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Wolf, I think the map tells us a lot. If you're familiar at all with Las Vegas, this is the trip that everybody knows, with all the attractions along it, running right through here.
The area where this concert was occurring is actually right in here. And I want you to note a couple of things. The stage is down here. The shooter was over here on Mandalay Bay, somewhere up in this area,
and that means he was shooting across the strip to hit the people in the concert. And to give you a better view of this, let's look at the range of what we're talking about here. From where he was shooting, some of these shots would have been in the neighborhood of 300 to 400 yards. What we know about the type of ammunition he is using, it is not necessarily exceptionally well suited to that range of shooting if you're looking for extreme accuracy. But as you pointed out before, that's not necessarily what people were looking for.
[13:25:31] Here's another way of looking at it. If you look at this areal shot, this would kind of approximate the view that he would have had of the area. Look at this. This is where all of the concert goers would be. They're in an open area with the stage right over here. You can see how people would be typically at a concert sort of packed into the forward area of it. It doesn't have to be a terrible accurate shooter if they're simply laying a great volume of shots, as we heard in that gunfire there, into this area.
I listened to a lot of the bursts there, somewhere between seven and 10 seconds at a pop and then there was a pause and then they come back in. Again, that would be consistent with some automatic weapons.
But another part of the geography, really important to note here, Wolf. If this is approximately his viewpoint as he was shooting into this densely packed crowd, this is the main exit, the main entrance where people came in and where many people tried to go out. So they were actually coming towards the gunfire as they exited.
And why would that happen? Well, in part because people typically, in almost all situations, want to go towards the way they came in. That's what they do. And also look at the crowd down here. This is in the middle of it all. People are looking all around because they're not thinking overhead, as they would not. And yet, when the shot comes back around to the right here, you can easily see, right there, this is where the shots are coming from and people are looking all around because they simply don't know, Wolf. And as they stay in that spot, oddly enough, they were staying exposed to the fire as much as all of them wanted to be out of it.
BLITZER: Yes, truly, truly heart breaking.
Tom Foreman, good explanation. Thanks very much.
Joining us now, Meghan Kavalus (ph). She was an eyewitness to the shooting.
Meghan, tell us where you were and what you saw.
MEGHAN KAVALUS, EYEWITNESS TO SHOOTING: Yes, it was about 10:00. I had just gotten out of a private event at the Fountain Room in the Mandalay Bay Hotel on the 64th floor. And this lounge (INAUDIBLE) many different rooms and one big bar that overlooks with a balcony out to the strip. So around 10:00 one of my girlfriends and I went out on the balcony to
take some pictures. And there was already about 10 to 15 people out there. Right when I stepped out, I heard this nonstop fire, machine gun, and I knew instantly in my gut, I was like, that does not sound normal. I think I was in delayed reaction because I was in such shock. And I'm taking pictures. It stops. Then I hear it again. And then it was -- it was just happening too quickly, too many rounds, and that was when everyone started screaming. And I looked down and that's when I grabbed my phone out and I got that video. That horrific video that I shot. And you could see the angle that we were at on this balcony, the first (INAUDIBLE) amount of fire rounds, you felt where it was coming from.
And then the second rounds toward the end of the video felt like the shots were coming more left, across the street. Then we couldn't tell if it was more than one shooter out there. but these poor people down there (INAUDIBLE), I mean way open field for the shooter. And you could see in my video that these people were trying to run for cover and couldn't move quick enough. And running and then just seeing bodies not moving in my video. It was just horrific. There are no words.
And then security had us, you know, get inside right away. And for us, 100 people, that were up at the 64th floor, what was pretty scary for us is within 10 minutes of us coming inside, SWAT teams showed up pretty quickly, but none of us knew that it was the SWAT team. So you can imagine --
BLITZER: And, Meghan, you were on the -- you were on this balcony on the 64th floor of the Mandalay Bay Hotel? Is that what you're saying?
KAVALUS: Yes. Yes.
BLITZER: And you were facing the concert. So he was on the 32nd floor. He broke a window and started firing his rifles, his weapons towards those concertgoers.
BLITZER: So you were right above him. How long did the fire -- did the gunfire last based on your estimate?
KAVALUS: Oh, gosh. That fire would last a good five, seven seconds. It stopped. Then it would last another 10 seconds. Then it stopped for 30 seconds. Then it picks back up again another 10, 15 seconds. It was so sporadic.
[13:30:06] But he could -- I could tell, he -- I mean this was a machine gun. This was non-stop firing.