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THE LEAD WITH JAKE TAPPER

Trump Visits Puerto Rico; Las Vegas Massacre Investigation; News Conference at Las Vegas Police HQ. Aired 4-4:30p ET

Aired October 3, 2017 - 16:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


[16:00:12]

JAKE TAPPER, CNN ANCHOR: They have found even more weapons, but still no motive.

THE LEAD starts right now.

Breaking news: We are just now getting our first look at the Las Vegas killer's hotel room, as investigators try to find out what possibly could have driven a high-rolling retiree to become a mass murderer.

He's a man who apparently thought using a semiautomatic weapon would not kill enough people.

And rapid fire. Just how was the Las Vegas killer able to turn a rifle into essentially an automatic weapon? It turns out all he needed was online access and 40 bucks.

Plus, President Trump goes to Puerto Rico and gives his administration an A-plus for its relief efforts. Is the president seeing the real story of the misery there?

Good afternoon , everyone. Welcome to THE LEAD. I'm Jake Tapper.

We are going to start with the national lead.

As you can see there, any minute ow, we're expecting to hear from Las Vegas police, who will brief the nation with the latest information about Sunday night's horrific massacre that left 59 dead and more than 500 others injured.

As soon as we get that press conference starting, we will bring it to you live.

We are just now getting our first look, however, into the assailant's hotel suite at Mandalay Bay, the front door sealed off with crime tape, and what experts believe is a Bushmaster hunting rifle on the ground. It's one of 23 guns found in the room.

This as there remains so much we still don't know about the horrific tragedy, primarily a motive. What made the shooter want to kill? How did he get 23 guns into his suite without anyone apparently noticing? And why? Why target the innocent people at this country music festival? Detectives are trying to piece together actions of the retired

accountant, divorced twice, with no criminal history. President Trump will visit Las Vegas tomorrow.

Today, he's focused on another tragedy. He's on the ground in Puerto Rico surveying relief efforts after Hurricane Maria. We will go there live to Puerto Rico later in the show.

But first let's go Las Vegas with CNN's Martin Savidge. He's near the shooting scene.

And, Martin, the images we're getting, they give us some insight into what happened Sunday night.

MARTIN SAVIDGE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Absolutely, they do.

And it depends on how you are looking at it, whether you are using trained eye of a police professional or whether you're just using the average human eye.

You look at it and say this is the sniper's view, this is the sniper's position. And you see every bit of violence of those of law enforcement, security members trying to break in. That's obviously the door that shattered there and the hallway that has remnants of the violence, and then you see the weaponry.

And you look at that image, even if it's just one rifle, and you realized the high-powered nature what he was using. The number of shell casings you can see that are laying on the ground there gives you insight as the kind of weapon that was used and also how many rounds were fired.

And then on top of that, you look at the weapons themselves, and it's pretty clear some of them are highly powerful with the capability of wounding people in excess of several with just one bullet.

All of that paints a horrific image, but it also tells law enforcement a lot. This was clearly a man bent on mass murder -- Jake.

TAPPER: Another mystery, Martin, is this girlfriend of his. Is she still overseas?

SAVIDGE: Marilou Danley is the longtime girlfriend, she's described.

She was traveling offer overseas, according to the authorities here. They say that they did reach out and talk to her. Her whereabouts, some have said she was in the Philippines. She is Filipino. Others have said, no, she actually was passing through Japan. So, maybe she was in transit.

Authorities have said though she is not considered a suspect. She has been cooperating with them. And they now say she is on her way back to Nevada.

TAPPER: And, Martin, what do we know about the money transfer? The killer apparently sent $100,000 to the Philippines. SAVIDGE: Right.

And that's about as much as we know; $100,000 was sent. Of course, you wonder why was that money sent? And more important, when was that money sent? We don't know an exact time frame here.

We also don't know to whom that money was sent. In other words, was he sending it to his girlfriend overseas? Or was he sending it to someone else? Was it to pay for something or was it to be waiting at some point? We just don't know. But certainly it's significant, $100,000 sent overseas and then you have this horrific act. Police are going to be investigating and working with the authorities in the Philippines to find out.

TAPPER: All right, Martin Savidge in Las Vegas for us, thank you so much for us.

Let's turn now to the victims.

They were sons and daughters, mothers and fathers, husbands and wives, sisters and brothers, friends. We are learning the names and stories of the 59 innocent people killed in Sunday's attack, as well as the survivors and some heroes who risked their own lives to save others.

CNN's Stephanie Elam joins me now.

Stephanie, Nevada Senator Catherine Cortez Masto told CNN earlier today that many families in Las Vegas still have no idea of the whereabouts of their missing loved ones.

STEPHANIE ELAM, CNN CORRESPONDENT: We have seen some of that play out here, Jake.

People come into the hospital hoping to find out. They are directing everyone to the convention center now. But people trying to help people that don't live here in Vegas find out what's happened to their loved ones.

[16:05:00]

We're also learning more about some of the people that did lose their lives and some of the heroism that took place to help some of these people stay alive.

We know that there was an off-duty police officer from San Francisco here, Vinnie Etcheber. He was here at the concert with his wife, Stacee. When the shooting started, he told her to run, because he was helping some of the wounded people there. She lost her life in the attack.

Then there is also Angela Gomez of Riverside, California. She was only 20 years old. She was a 2015 graduate from Riverside Poly class. She was cheerleader there as well.

And some people remembering her. Her coach remembering her, saying that she had her whole life ahead of her. So these are some of the stories of heroism and sadness mixed together

here from what was happening there during that concert, Jake.

TAPPER: And, Stephanie, you are at the University Medical Center in Las Vegas, UMC. It's only hospital with a level one trauma center in entire state of Nevada.

What do we know about some of the injuries the doctors are still treating there, obviously, with more than 500 injured and wounded?

ELAM: Right.

This hospital took in 104 people, and they have 12 patients that remain in critical condition. They did say the vast majority, over 80 percent were gunshot wounds. But there are also people who have graze wounds or they were hit maybe with shrapnel, they're dealing with that.

There's someone who was hit by a car. So there's a wide range of injuries that they have seen here. But they are saying that the key part was how they were able to respond. And just to give you an idea of how quickly they were able to respond at this particular hospital, Jake, many of them were actually here at the hospital.

The doctors were notified and here at the hospital before the bullets stopped even flying there at the concert venue site. So that's how quickly they were here and able to respond, even triaging outside of the hospital a bit until they could get all the gurneys in.

And they had doctors assigned to those patients and they continued to work with these patients. But I can tell you 40 patients so far have been treated and released from this hospital.

TAPPER: And, Stephanie, I spoke with a survivor yesterday who said that, in light of seeing the worst of America, this horrific shooter, this madman, he also saw the best of America, people coming together, people helping each other, people banning together, people selflessly throwing themselves in front of bullets and being heroes.

What more do you know about stories like that?

ELAM: There is so much of it.

And you hear people who are saying they may have lost their hope for humanity after seeing something like this up close, and then just the very next day, having it restored because of the response that they have seen from the lines around the blood banks, from the people who didn't even know -- the man that would stand in front of a woman he didn't even know and shielded her with a body.

One woman said she doesn't even know his name. She doesn't even know if he's OK, if he lived or not. These are the kind of stories. And think about this. These are people who came out to have a good time at a concert, 22,000 people, third night of a concert, late at night, and in a split moment, they showed the character of who they were, and they stepped up to save people in that very moment. And so you see that from people who were at the venue, to the people

who were just like, hey, we have a car, we can drive you to the hospital. People arrived here at the hospital in two ways. Some people came by ambulance. And then the next wave is people who showed up by taxi or by private vehicle.

They are saying that some of the people just felt the need to just get out and do something. I was standing out here while a guy came up from a sandwich shop, said a woman just came in and said, hey, I have made -- ordered sandwiches, please deliver them to the nurses stations here at UMC.

People have been out delivering water, trying to help out as much as they can while people are standing in line for eight hours to donate blood. You look at all of that. You look at all of that and you see humanity is very much vibrant and alive in the city in light of such a heinous, heinous tragedy.

TAPPER: Stephanie Elam in Las Vegas for us, thank you so much.

He was near the stage when the shooter started firing at the unsuspecting concert crowd. Instead of running, he helped other people get to safety. I'm going to talk to that hero next.

But, first, as we go to break, we remember some of the people who lost their lives in the Las Vegas massacre.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[16:13:10]

TAPPER: Welcome back to THE LEAD.

In our national lead, we are of course waiting for that press conference from the Las Vegas Police Department. We're told it will start any minute now. We will bring that you when it happens.

Of course, it will be about the 59 people who were killed, more than 500 injured and wounded Sunday night in Las Vegas. We still do not know what drove the shooter to kill and wound so many innocent people.

In the shadow of this national tragedy, of course, we are also hearing stories about the heroism of everyday folks, from a man who used his own body to protect strangers, to an off-duty nurse who ran right into danger to try to save the wounded.

Joining me is one of the heroes. His name is Shawn Rawl. He was near the stage when the shooting started. He helped people escape. He joins me now.

Shawn, thanks so much for joining us.

First of all, how are you doing?

SHAWN RAWL, SHOOTING SURVIVOR: I'm doing better today. It's been a long couple of days. TAPPER: I will bet.

And it's traumatic to go through something like this. Were you wounded at all during the incident?

RAWL: No.

All I have is cuts on my hands from helping people over fences, but no.

(CROSSTALK)

TAPPER: But, yes, of course there is a huge emotional trauma after surviving something, the worst shooting in modern American history.

Tell us, Shawn. Tell what happened when the first gunshots were fired and what you did.

RAWL: First time I heard the gunfire, I thought it was fireworks. Then the second time, I heard a sound, thought it was a speaker because I was right next to stage, to the left of the stage.

I was there to see my friend D.J., D.J. Silver (ph), for Jason Aldean. And I knew something was wrong when I saw two Metro police officers, the horror on their faces, and they draw their guns.

And at that time, I knew there had to be a shooter. So I ducked down, like everybody else, at that time. And I decided I was trapped. We had nowhere to run. So, I started to push -- bringing people over the barricades, the five-foot barricade that they put in front of the stage.

[16:15:06] And I was helping people get over that. And then, from there, I was pushing people towards a back gate, towards the left of the stage because I realized that everybody was going out to the west, but only exit out of that was open at the time. But people were still getting shot at.

So, I was trying to get the group away from there. And I decided to get them in that back left-hand corner and had the shield of the stage at that particular time. And I was bringing people over the seven, eight-foot chain link fence to escape. And after that I was trying to get them to an area in a commercial area away from the main crowd. Because I felt like we were a target with the main crowd.

JAKE TAPPER, CNN HOST: Shawn, how old are you?

RAWL: I'm 45.

TAPPER: And what in your background, if anything, led you to be one of the people taking command in such a situation and trying to help people, trying to help them get to safety, trying to help them clear a barricade, as opposed to running for your own life?

RAWL: Well, once your adrenaline starts going, I wasn't thinking about myself at the time, I was thinking about, you know, how can I help, you know? Even though I was hearing gunshots go off left and right, any time it could have been me, that wasn't going through my head. I mean, I don't have any training, but my instincts took over, you know, how I was raised and where I'm from, it's just something I've done in the past before and I was fortunate to get through that.

TAPPER: It is something you've done in the past before or it's not something you've done in the past before?

RAWL: No, I have done several things in the past, saved two cops lives from guys wrestling with guns, you know? So, it's not the first time I've got involved in something. I'm not the type of person that stands back and let's things happen. I'm a person that, you know, jumps into things.

TAPPER: What do you do for a living, Shawn?

RAWL: I own a hosting company, a VIP promotional company in Las Vegas, Nevada. It's like you service people and make sure they are taken care of. So, if you want to say some sort of background, that's where I got a little bit from it.

TAPPER: Well, I don't know people doing hosting companies are naturally heroic, necessarily, but certainly in your case. And when did you figure you could stop? When did you think, OK, I've done enough here?

RAWL: There wasn't a time where I felt like I did enough, because at the time, we thought there were secondary shooters every where. So, every where we ran for 20 minutes -- I mean, we all felt like we were going to die at any second. So the only time where I felt relieved, once I got the people through a third fence, because there was an opening in a fence and everybody was trying to crowd through the fence, I calmed the people down and said, hey, you know, let's be calm, let's get all through this together.

And then we finally got through this other fence, got away from there, across the apartment complex near the Tropicana and ran to the airport. At that time I crossed the road, hailed a cab. When I got in the cab, the tax driver told me what happened, that there was a shooter at Mandalay Bay shooting at us at the festival.

So, by the time we got in that taxi cab and away from like the view, that's the first time in 20 minutes where I didn't think I was going to die. So that was the time where I felt like I was relieved.

TAPPER: Have you spoken -- since you helped escort and carry and save these people, have you spoken with any of them since? Have you talked to any of them?

RAWL: I mean, no. Because it wasn't like we had time to, you know, exchange names or anything. It was -- it was a rush so save our lives and help other people get out of there safely. So it was a mad panic.

TAPPER: All right, Shawn.

RAWL: I've never seen anything like that in my whole life. I hope I don't.

TAPPER: It's honor to talk to you. Thank you so much and thank you for what you did that day.

RAWL: You're welcome.

TAPPER: We're going to go take to the -- go straight to the Las Vegas Police Department press conference right now. We're going to get a briefing from them. Let's listen in.

SHERIFF JOSEPH LOMBARDO, LAS VEGAS METROPOLITAN POLICE DEPARTMENT: Good afternoon, everybody. You are all aware of who I am, Sheriff Joe Lombardo of Clark County.

There's going to be a little bit different orchestration in this press conference as compared to the rest. What I'm going to do right now, I think it's important that we address the victim issues we are experiencing and the resource issues that we are experiencing. So, I'm going to key on that, on the original portion of this. And then subsequently, Commissioner Sisolak is going to provide some donation information and acknowledgment and then I after that, I will come back to the podium and address the overall investigation, where we stand and where we are going.

[16:20:04] Now, referencing the investigation piece, I don't want to repeat of what I experienced yesterday. It's an ongoing investigation. So I'll be limited in the details that I provide you. But hopefully we can get through this with some modicum of decorum.

So, please don't rush me all at once when we get to the question phase. I'll identify you if you just raise your hand. Sound fair?

All right. We'll get through this. OK. So as matters of formality, our department has worked through the night to identify all the victims of Sunday evening's mass shooting at the Route 91 Harvest Festival. We have identified all about three victims. We still have an active scene at the grounds near Mandalay Bay, so we ask anyone to stay away from that area until further notice. The FBI is working diligently to clear that scene.

So, the question is, the FBI versus us. We have partnered with the FBI, as I said, from the very beginning of this, in the investigative phase. The FBI has brought a large amount of resources out of Washington, D.C. to assist us with that.

So, we -- the reason why the Harvest Festival was still in continuation of investigation is not only solely related to the removal of the victims, but is also documentation of the scene. So, we are using the best practice technology to ensure that we have complete documentation. That's why it has taken a longer period of time associated with this.

So, we ask for everybody's patience. As far as Las Vegas Boulevard, north and south, we anticipate to be open shortly, in the next few hours, to benefit with commerce and what we do as a community. All right. The key component here is resources and victim

identification. So, bear with me. I'm going to try to get through this the best I can. But the important piece is if you missed a number, we are putting up on lbmpd.com the next hour the listing of all numbers I shall provide you today and for people out in the public to contact us if they are lacking this or they don't see this broadcast.

OK, we are asking for anyone who might have information about the shooting in a criminal capacity or as a victim of the shooting to contact us via 311. If you are out of state, if you have left since the shooting and you have discovered you feel that you have become a victim or if you realize you have an injury associated to it, we are still asking you to contact us, but the out of state number will be 702-828-3111. Additionally, if you are local, and you got the ability to respond to a local substation, working police substation, locals are familiar with, you have the ability to file a report at that location.

Now, the family reunification, all that is occurring at the family resource center at the convention center located at 3150 Paradise Road. You can go there to file missing person report. You can go there to have contact with the coroner's office and you go there to get answers to your questions as far as family reunification. The phone number if you have left the area is 1-866-535-5654.

Now, we went through a little short process here recently where that number was down. We provided a separate number. But we will go back to that original number because we had the technical aspects of that fixed.

So, I want to be very clear on the difference. If you are reporting a crime or you feel you are a victim of a crime, 311 is your outlet or local police substation. If you are looking for victim information or family reunification, the family resource center on Paradise Road is your point of contact.

Now, personal property, we are getting several questions throughout yesterday and continuing today on people attempting to recover their personal property from the Route 91 scene. We are working out the details of that. We are in the planning phase of that. And we will have an answer for that in the next couple hours.

So, lvmpd.com will provide an answer to that probably before we have another press conference.

[16:25:04] So -- but we are working diligently to get individuals who left personal property at the scene back to them as soon as possible. I anticipate it will not take place at the Route 91 location, but I do not want to give you furtherance of clarification at this point. So you will be provided that.

The other issue is donations. As you can imagine, in any critical incident, the outpouring of support from private citizens, corporations, and everybody else associated with concern for the victims is overwhelming, and we appreciate that. But there comes a point where we can't manage it.

Now, the Red Cross is unable to manage it. We are unable to manage it at the substations. So, if it's hard goods such as water or canned goods or stuff that is -- will not become perishable, Three Square, and Catholic Charities is accepting those donations.

So, we're asking you to provide that information to your listening public and to accept donations at that point.

So, the areas of -- and let me give you the addresses for those. So, Catholic Charities is obviously 1501 Las Vegas Boulevard North. And Three Square is located 4190 North Pecos Road.

At this point, I will acquiesce to Commissioner Sisolak and he he'll give you an update on the donation phase of this as far as victim satisfaction. And I'll return and we will conduct a Q&A associated with the investigation.

Commissioner?

STEVE SISOLAK, CLARK COUNTY COMMISSIONER: Thank you, Sheriff. And we appreciate you being here today to give you an update and where we stand.

The fund that the sheriff and I set up yesterday has now surpassed 53,000 individual donations. It's in excess of $3.7 million as we speak. I want to bring, especially, and we need a lot more resources, we're going to need a lot more money. We've got individuals that need future surgeries and help them and so forth moving forward.

I want to acknowledge a few special individuals, not included in that $3.7 million. Last night, a private citizen called both the sheriff and I and contributed $500,000 to the fund. That is not included in that total this morning. Wayne and Kathleen Newton (ph) called me and they have donated $100,000, that is not included in that total.

For those who want to contribute and don't want to do it on GoFundMe, you can make a check to Las Vegas Victims Fund and mail it either to the county office, to my office, or the sheriff's office.

But I just got off the phone with Jim Murren from MGM International and the sheriff and I both spoke to Jim, and obviously they have stepped up enormous manner with this community and everything that they continue to do. And on behalf of MGM and their over 50,000 employees, they have contributed $3 million to this fund.

So, we appreciate everyone's support, the donations from $5 to now $3 million. And there is a lot of need. And we are going to do everything we can to raise money for each of these individuals. So, we appreciate you continuing to encourage folks, your viewers and readers to support the campaign. It's Las Vegas Victims, either on GoFundMe, or you can make a check to Las Vegas Victims Fund.

Thank you all very much. Thank you, sheriff.

LOMBARDO: Can you provide a timeline of possible distribution? SISOLAK: We are working through the idea of possible distribution

that comes up. We already got some inquires. I think it's going to be a few days before we can coordinate how we're going to distribute money.

Right now, we're not looking at the minor property losses that some people have called on, regarding, you know, backpacks and shoes and phones. We're looking at more major expenses as it relates to, you know, surgeries, medical expenses, funeral expenses, transportation and so forth.

But we should have more details with you. We are working through the county office and sheriff's office to have something in the immediate future in terms of where people can go, who they can call to start distributing the money that people are the most desperate. So, thank you all very much.

LOMBARDO: OK. Just a quick synopsis of our current status of the investigation. I won't reiterate what we discussed yesterday and previous press conferences. But we have completed the investigation at the Reno property, and I'm sure the question will be presented what was recovered there. So, there was numerous electronic items, additionally, five handguns and two shotguns, and a plethora of ammunition.

So, we have served search warrants at three separate locations, that would be the room at the Mandalay Bay, the Mesquite location, and the Reno location. Additionally, we served a search warrant on the suspect's vehicle located at the Mandalay Bay.