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Police Recover 42 Guns in Shooter's Hotel Room and Home; At Least 59 Dead, 527 Injured in Las Vegas Massacre; President Trump to Visit Puerto Rico Today. Aired 6:30-7a ET
Aired October 3, 2017 - 06:30 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[06:34:19] ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN HOST: Authorities in Las Vegas have recovered a shocking number of weapons from the home and hotel room of the killer, 23 guns in his hotel room, another 19 found at his home. Several thousands rounds of ammunition and explosives. How did he get them and how was he able to make them even more deadly?
Joining us now is retired ATF special agent Sam Rabadi. Sam, thanks so much for being here.
I want to play just a few seconds of the sound of the gunfire that people caught on their cell phones because I want you then to share your theory on what you're hearing. So, listen to this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
(END VIDEO CLIP)
[06:35:05] CAMEROTA: OK. When experts have analyzed that, Sam, they hear 90 shots in 10 seconds. Clearly, that's an automatic weapon. Correct?
SAM RABADI, RETIRED ATF SPECIAL AGENT: Yes. From the sound on the video clip, I think most folks who are involved in this kind of line of work will be able to tell you that is absolutely fully automatic fire.
CAMEROTA: OK. But authorities have not found an automatic weapon. I mean, the latest working theory is that he turned his regular rifle into an automatic weapon. And, look, I'm very skittish about having this conversation on TV because, obviously, we don't want to give people a how-to, but it sounds like it's pretty easy to do that. Can you explain if it's easy to convert a rifle into -- a semi-automatic into a fully automatic?
RABADI: Sure. Well, there are a number of ways to do it. In terms of fully automatic fire, there are some accessories that are available on the market, such as a bump fire stock or a slide fire. That is an accessory that can be used to modify a weapon like an AR-15 to allow it to fire in rapid succession or automatic fire.
CAMEROTA: OK, Sam, hold on a second. I just want to stop you right there.
CAMEROTA: So, automatic weapons are not legal, but the accessory to turn a semi automatic into an automatic is legal?
RABADI: The accessory itself is legal and can be purchased online or from a manufacturer directly. It is perfectly legal by definition.
CAMEROTA: Sam, Sam, how is that possible? How -- why would it ever be legal for regular civilians to be able to turn their rifle into an automatic weapon, when automatic weapons are banned?
RABADI: Well, the automatic weapons themselves are banned. In this particular case, the accessory is nothing -- nothing about it makes it illegal in terms of what it does to the actual firearm, to modify, whether it's the trigger mechanism or some other feature like a drop- in that makes it fully automatic. What this particular accessory does, it uses the gun's own inertia to go or slide, if you will, back and forth to allow the firing of the weapon at a rapid succession.
CAMEROTA: But, Sam, my question is, how is that logical? How is it logical? Clearly, we've accepted that automatic weapons are much more deadly. They cause the kind of carnage they saw in Las Vegas. So, why is this accessory legal?
RABADI: Well, by federal law, this particular accessory is perfectly legal. The National Firearms Act clearly specifies what constitutes a fully automatic weapon or machine gun is more of the common term that is used. Probably back -- way back when, in 1934 when the original act was enacted.
RABADI: And in the '80s when it was modified again, these types of accessories did not exist. And, you know, as technology has come through in the last number of years, I believe the original authors of the act probably did not envision this kind of accessory being used for modifications of this sort.
CAMEROTA: Well, there you go. Listen, you've done this for a living. You devoted your life to making sure that weapons were safe and keeping them out of the hands of the wrong people. If Congress does nothing else, do you think that they should ban these accessories from being available online?
RABADI: You know, that's a tough question, Alisyn, because there are a number of sportsmen who like to use these types of accessories to use their weapons so they can target practice. Throughout my career, I've been doing this 29 years. And our intent, whether it's federal law enforcement or state local partners, is always going after the illegal possessors of the guns. And what they can do.
And it's not just your criminal out there, who can cause all sorts of problems on the street with this type of weapon. Unfortunately, and as perhaps as is the case in this situation, is somebody with some form of mental illness. You know --
CAMEROTA: Right. Look, of course, whatever was behind this guy, the idea that he could do this so easily, why would you be reluctant to say that these accessories shouldn't be in the hands of regular people?
RABADI: No, there's no reluctance on my part. It's more as to the way the law is written. This is something that Congress would have to go back and take a look at.
[06:40:01] The law itself, the technical language of the law, and whether something like this type of accessory should be made available to the public.
RABADI: You know, that's more for our folks up on the Hill, to be able to take a look at something like this. But, clearly, clearly, something like this is sort of a workaround the federal law as it relates to automatic weapons and something is probably should be taken a look at as we go forward.
CAMEROTA: Sam Rabadi, thank you very much for coming on with your expertise in this.
Fifty-nine people --
RABADI: Thank you, Alisyn.
CAMEROTA: -- were killed, at least 527 injured. These are staggering numbers. We have a live report from the hospital with a majority of the wounded were taken. We will get an update next as we remember these victims of the attack.
[06:45:06] CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: Here is the latest on what we now know as the deadliest mass shooting in modern U.S. history. Fifty- nine people lost their lives at that concert, 527 more injured. And there's a range of those injuries, so many are still fighting for their lives.
This monster that was behind this rapid gunfire you hear, the likes of which we never heard in a situation like this -- cops found 42 guns. The hotel room stocked with weapons and ammo. He had ammonium nitrate, which you use as a type of fertilizer that people use to create explosives. He had more weapons back at his house.
Sixty-four-year-old on your screen, no criminal past. He cleared gun background checks. The killer's brother says the family is completely dumbstruck. But you know what? The hunt for investigators is going to be who knew something about where this man's head was? And we will stay on that part of the story.
But just as important, and even more important are the faces on your screen. We're seeing the vigils across this country. People killed. Special education teacher, nurses, police officers, people who made a decision with their lives to help others, taken out by someone who wanted to help no one. Trauma surgeons right now in the city are caring for gravely wounded. They're comparing the injuries to a war zone.
CNN's Stephanie Elam is live at Las Vegas University Medical Center.
And, boy, were they overwhelmed. We keep talking about the people who had to step up. Not only were they way beyond capacity, but these types of rounds, these types of numbers, it is amazing what they've had to deal with.
STEPHANIE ELAM, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It's amazing the response that happened as well, Chris. When you talk to surgeons like I have here, talking about how they got all hands on deck as quickly as possible, they were here before the patients started arriving. This hospital alone, University Medical Center of Southern Nevada, the only level one trauma center in the state, they received 104 patients. We can tell you they did say they've now treated and released some 40 patients.
But we do know that there are two teenagers that are still here. There are 12 people in critical condition here at this hospital. But the response here, they did say that they've never seen anything like this here at this hospital. But at the same time, they felt that the response, that they were able to handle all of it, even triaging some of the patients outside. But at one point, they even had more surgeons on hand ready to go than patients that were ready in the eight operating rooms that they have here.
The other response that was great was citizens, people in Las Vegas that turned out even before the sun came up yesterday to donate blood, lines wrapping around the buildings. They've even said so far they have enough blood right now to treat these patients. What they are asking people to do, though, is to remember that in the coming weeks, there may be still more demand. And so, they're asking people, Chris, to remember that and to still be donation worthy in the next couple of weeks here, but a great response from the people in Las Vegas, Chris.
CUOMO: Strong point, Stephanie. Just because they're saying they have enough now doesn't mean they're going to have enough going forward. Incredible volume of humanity, dealing with 500 people plus, who knows how many they'll need and what they'll need. Stephanie, thank you very much.
All right. So, the president of the United States, he said that when it comes to what happened here in Las Vegas, we are united by grief and pain. Those words are going to apply in a different context when he lands in Puerto Rico today. He is going to find a mass of humanity there that is living in crisis.
We're going to take you through where he's going, what he's going to see and what the expectations are. Live report from Puerto Rico, next.
(COMMERCIAL BREAK) [06:51:59] CAMEROTA: In just hours, President Trump heads to hurricane battered Puerto Rico. This comes just days after he attacked the mayor of San Juan and criticized Puerto Ricans for not helping themselves.
CNN's Boris Sanchez is live in Puerto Rico with more.
How is it looking this morning, Boris?
BORIS SANCHEZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hey, good morning, Alisyn. The recovery effort here in Puerto Rico is still slowly moving forward. The president set to arrive here shortly before noon. He is going to be visiting a chapel. He is going to be visiting with survivors of Hurricane Maria, meeting with the governor here, Ricardo Rossello.
And he's going to be taking part in a briefing where we expect the mayor of San Juan to attend. It's unclear what kind of contact the two might have, but as you saw over the weekend, Alisyn, the president was aggressive, going after Carmen Yulin Cruz on Twitter. She was less direct in her criticism of the president, essentially begging for help.
And you get the sense that Puerto Ricans here are said to be receptive of the president if he comes with a helping hand. Keep in mind, we are getting good news in the sense that some patches of Puerto Rico are getting electricity. Grocery stores are opening back up. Those lines we've seen are much shorter.
But there's still a tremendous demand for fuel and potable water. It will be a long time before Puerto Rico gets back on its feet. And this is really the first step in that process -- Alisyn.
CAMEROTA: OK, Boris, thank you very much for the update from there. Slow and steady.
Joining us now by phone, is Lieutenant General Jeffrey Buchanan, who has taken on the lead role of these military operations in getting the relief to the places that need it most.
General, thank you very much for taking time to talk to us this morning.
LT. GEN. JEFFREY BUCHANAN, COMMANDER, U.S. ARMY NORTH (via telephone): Thanks, Alisyn. Good morning.
CAMEROTA: How much of the island do you think you have been able to get food and supplies to?
BUCHANAN: Most of it. Actually, yesterday, I was up in a town called Utuado, which is in the center of the island. And that's where our greatest concern has been because not all roads are open. We're delivering supplies to places that are cut off by air. But we're getting supplies out.
CAMEROTA: And -- yet, I mean, would you say it's just, you know, so we have some sense, 20 percent of the island still hasn't gotten, you know, federal food and supplies?
BUCHANAN: No. I think, actually, it's less than that. The National Guard has done phenomenal work in helping the citizens clear routes, in doing things. And I think -- like I said, I think it's less than that.
You know, we're doing fairly well in distributing food and water and fuel. But, you know, honestly, my greatest concern is really about fuel at this point in time.
CAMEROTA: And what is the hold-up with being able to get enough fuel?
BUCHANAN: Well, you know, because Puerto Rico is so isolated, we can't bring it in on the ground. So, everything -- and we're bringing in a little bit by air.
[06:55:01] But the big supplies need to come by ship. They have been arriving. They're continuing to arrive. And, you know, as a reporter just mentioned minutes ago, gas lines are getting shorter. But we can't get back to normalcy without people having gas in their car.
CAMEROTA: Well, for sure. By the way, General, while I have you, I keep seeing these memes pop up on some sort of right-wing Websites that say the truck drivers in Puerto Rico, they're not showing up. If only the truck drivers would show up to work, everything would be fine there.
You're on the ground. Is -- would it help if you had lines and lines of truck drivers? Are they the problem or is fuel to put in the trucks the problem?
BUCHANAN: I think it's all related back to the problem. You know, we have military members delivering fuel right now. We do have truck drivers delivering fuel. I can't -- I can't say how many. But the more Puerto Ricans we can actually get back to work -- this is all about helping Puerto Rico get back on their feet.
But the long term answer can't be the military. It's got to be getting the people back to work, getting the economy back to normal.
CAMEROTA: Well, sure, but I mean, are you saying that you're putting out the call right now to every truck driver on the island and if they showed up, that there would be trucks with fuel ready for them to go?
BUCHANAN: Yes. What I'm -- we're here, supporting the governor. And the governor has asked for truck drivers to get back to work. And, you know, I think that makes a lot of sense.
CAMEROTA: And is there fuel for their trucks?
BUCHANAN: The fuel -- there is at least, in some cases. You know, I don't think we have fuel waiting on trucks because we're using military means right now to deliver it.
CAMEROTA: Yes, this is my point. Is the problem the truck drivers or is the problem the fuel? BUCHANAN: It's all related. So, they're together.
CAMEROTA: So you think that they're both equal problems. Why do you think that the truck drivers aren't showing up?
BUCHANAN: Alisyn, I have to refer you back to the truck drivers. I have no idea. I'm just a soldier here.
CAMEROTA: I understand but do you think it's possibly because there's no cell service and they don't know and they can't -- the roads are impassable and they don't know that there's fuel and that they can go back to work yet?
BUCHANAN: Well, the roads -- cell service is certainly a problem throughout the island. Some places have better coverage than others. Roads initially were a problem. We've gotten all the major routes around the island cleared. Some of the routes across the island are clear now. But secondary roads are still blocked. So, that could be a problem.
CAMEROTA: OK. General Jeffrey Buchanan, thank you very much for the status report. Obviously, we'll be watching very closely when the president shows up there and we'll talk to you again. Thanks for being here.
We have much more on the Las Vegas massacre. What we now know about the gunman and his life and how it was seemingly escalating over the weeks before this. We'll bring you all the latest.
ANNNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.
CUOMO: All right. You are watching NEW DAY. Alisyn is in New York. And we are in Las Vegas.