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At Least 59 Dead, 527 Injured in Las Vegas Massacre; Tales of Bravery Amidst the Carnage. Aired 7-7:30a ET
Aired October 3, 2017 - 07:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.
CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: You are watching NEW DAY. Alisyn is in New York, and we are in Las Vegas. We have new information and insight into every part of this catastrophe.
We have never seen a mass shooting like this. It is the deadliest in modern American history. The volume, the type of weapons, the positioning, the planning, all carried out by a mystery man with purely evil intentions.
At least 59 people have lost their lives now, 527 injured. And the range of those injuries goes to the very severe. People are still fighting for their lives.
We know that the gunman opened fire from the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay resort that's just behind us. The hail of bullets targeting thousands of concert goers at an outdoor festival 500 yards away. We've never heard of this much gunfire for this long on this many innocent people.
We've seen something else, frankly, that matters more. The evil of one countered by the love of many. Last night, there was a truly poignant memorial for the victims. Among those killed, people who had made a decision to give to others, teachers, a nurse, police employees. So many more stories to be taken. All of them share the reality that their lives were taken by a coward.
Why this man decided to take his life by taking the lives of others, how he got the means to do it -- they are both questions that matter. And the police say that they found an arsenal in this guy's hotel room: 42 guns so far. Who knows what else they'll find?
They also recovered thousands of rounds of ammo. They found explosive material in his car. And at this point, the police are still trying to deal with why? What drove a man to become a monster? A 64-year- old with no criminal past, no record or history to suggest he would have known how to do this, let alone how to get the things to do it. And then, of course, what would have made his heart so filled with evil.
President Trump has been speaking about this situation, saying that we're united in pain and grief. He says he will be here in Las Vegas tomorrow. But that will come after the president visits Puerto Rico today. Millions of Americans are there. And for them, it is not over. They are in the midst of a humanitarian crisis. We were there, and we are going to show you the reality of recovery.
So we have it all covered for you this morning. Let's begin with Jean Casarez. She's been following every step of what matters in this story -- Jean.
JEAN CASAREZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Chris, so important in this investigation is the state of mind of Stephen Packard [SIC], the intent. So much premeditation. His brother, Eric, says he would never kill a bunch of people he didn't know. But the facts show anything but.
CASAREZ (voice-over): Authorities are learning more about the gunman responsible for the Las Vegas massacre, 64-year-old Stephen Paddock. The retired accountant firing dozens of rounds onto thousands of concertgoers about 500 yards away from two hotel windows he smashed on the 32nd floor at the Mandalay Bay. Police searching floor by floor until they found Paddock's room.
This video shot by an NBC journalist staying at the hotel. Paddock exchanged fire with police through his hotel room door, shooting one security guard in the leg.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Everyone in the hall needs to move back. All units move back.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Breach, breach, breach.
CASAREZ: Police say Paddock took his life before a SWAT team stormed the room using explosives. Police recovering an arsenal of 23 weapons from Paddock's hotel room, including multiple rifles, some with scopes. Police say he had been staying at the hotel since last Thursday in a large suite. Investigators also finding another 19 weapons at his home in nearby Mesquite.
SHERIFF JOSEPH LOMBARDO, CLARK COUNTY, NEVADA: Additional firearms, some explosives and several thousand rounds of ammo, along with some electronic devices that we are evaluating at this point.
CASAREZ: Investigators believe the guns were purchased legally. But according to law enforcement, initial reports suggest at least one rifle was altered to function as an automatic weapon. A gun shop owner in Utah is certain he sold a shotgun to Paddock earlier this year.
CHRIS MICHEL, OWNER, UTAH GUN STORE: He didn't set off any of my alarms, anything that I felt like there's a problem in any way, shape or form with him. He was a normal, everyday guy that walks into my door 50,000 times a day.
CASAREZ: Police say Paddock wasn't on their radar, with no criminal past, and believe he acted alone. His brother, Eric Paddock, left stunned by the carnage, telling CNN he never exhibited any violent tendencies and had no affiliations with any terror or hate groups.
[07:05:10] ERIC PADDOCK, BROTHER OF SHOOTER: He bought the machine guns and he did this, and he's never even drawn his gun, you know what I mean? It makes no sense.
He did not own machine guns that I knew of. This is something just incredibly wrong happened to my brother.
CASAREZ: His brother says Paddock was a successful real-estate investor who owned and rented several properties across multiple states. He also had an affinity for gambling, according to this couple who lived next door to Paddock for two years in Florida.
DON JUDY, FORMER NEIGHBOR: He was a gambler and a speculator. And he told us -- told us that right up front, since he was from Vegas. And he did a little online gambling, and he also did it in Vegas.
CASAREZ: But the family has a troubled past. Paddock's father, Benjamin, was a convicted bank robber, who escaped from prison in the late '60s and was on the FBI's Most Wanted List.
Neighbors, shocked by the news, some even describing him as a gentle giant.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You wouldn't recognize him as being anything out of the norm.
CASAREZ: Search warrants have been executed at his hotel room, at his home in Mesquite, Nevada, and at property in Reno, Nevada. We don't know everything they collected, the entire inventory. But Chris, at the very last press conference, which was late last night, we finally learned there was a computer in that hotel room. Forensic investigators will be combing for answers to just understand why he did what he did.
CUOMO: They can learn a lot, and they can learn it quickly. Jean, thank you very much.
Let's discuss the latest on the investigation with CNN law enforcement analyst James Gagliano. James, it's good to have you here. Thank you very much.
All right. So outstanding issues: one, why haven't they called this terror? Let's shorthand that. They haven't because they have to know why he did this and be able to ascribe some kind of political purpose or agenda to it. So we don't know yet. That's why they're not there.
In terms of acquiring the means -- 42 weapons, ammonium nitrate -- how do you do that and go undetected?
JAMES GAGLIANO, CNN LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: Sure, to purchase that many weapons. And remember, Chris, each weapon has what's akin to a fingerprint on it. It's got a serial number on there. So they can be traced and tracked. And I am confident that that's what's going on right now, to find out where and how he accrued these weapons. Were they, as you point out, something accrued over a 40-year period, because he was a 64-year-old gentleman? Could have started buying his weapons when he was 21 years old.
What concerns me is to make sure that law enforcement from this perspective is looking at it like this. The weapons that were modified or were purchased, where did he get those, the automatic weapons?
CUOMO: Those are two big -- those are two big variables, though. If he modified them, that goes to who taught him how to do that? It's not the hardest thing in the world to do...
CUOMO: ... but that's one. But if they were automatic...
CUOMO: ... you've got to have to have a special license or permit. Even in the most lax state, you have to have a federal permit to get a lot of that stuff or you buy it on the black market.
GAGLIANO: And I think some of the reports out now were that there were two tripods found in the room. We know that there were two shooting positions which essentially put together a cone of fire, a killing field, if you will.
Now, tripods are not typically used for a 308. I know the police recovered a 308. They're used for crew-served weapons. You're talking about an M-16 or a belt-fed type weapon.
CUOMO: Military-grade stuff.
GAGLIANO: Typically other weapons, like an M-16 or it could have a bipod on it, even a three-way could have a bipod on it. So he literally set up two shooting positions, moved back and forth through the two shooting positions, sow as much chaos as possible and kill as many people as possible.
CUOMO: How do you learn how to do that, to set up, to know how to make something automatic if it's not automatic already, or to have them firing at the same time and set up the positions and know about high ground and know about a cone of death or a funnel effect? Where did he get that? No military background.
GAGLIANO: From the premeditation standpoint -- and again, part of this is speculative. We're bringing these pieces together.
We know that the concert was announced back in February, which would have given him time, if he had a particular grievance with the crowd there or whatever. We know that that was in February. It gave him some time.
We also know that he probably asked for that room, having that downward view of the concert area. And that doesn't raise suspicions on its face, Chris, because you walk in, you say, "Hey, I want a room so I can watch the concert from upstairs."
Then to secrete -- to bring the weapons upstairs -- I mean, this is not something you throw in a backpack. A couple of theories of thoughts. I'm sure that this is going to be picked up on video. He could have secreted them in a golf bag. He could have broken the weapons down. A lot of weapons would have collapsed into smaller pieces, maybe a foot or foot and a half wide. Put them in a rolling duffle, so it wasn't -- look like he was struggling with it, or brought it up in several waves.
CUOMO: And that's another issue. No place in the world watches people like they do in Las Vegas. But it's what they're looking for. This was not what they were trying to identify as a threat. Will that change? We'll see.
James, thank you very much. We're going to have to unpack a lot more, and as we learn more, we will. And part of that task is now to Alex Marquardt. He joins us right now. Because he's taking us through the police side but also something that you just have to remember in this situation.
[07:10:15] One man was a monster, but there were so many on the ground who did so much just to change the situation for the better. And that's a big part of the story. Alex, you've got that for us.
ALEX MARQUARDT, CNN CORRESPONDENT: I do, Chris. I mean, you were just talking about the vantage position from the Mandalay Bay. He had an incredible view of that entire concert venue. And one of the country music stars who was there that night on the ground, as people were falling, said it was like shooting fish in a barrel.
Now, we are out here, outside the sheriff's office. We are learning a lot more about how this horrible tragedy took place, about the background of the shooter. But we are also learning about how, in those incredible, dark moments, that there were so many great human elements, people helping each other, coming to rescue each other as people fell around them.
MARQUARDT (voice-over): When the fist gunshots first rang out, concertgoers didn't realize what they were.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It just sounded like fireworks. Almost fake, at the beginning.
MARQUARDT: Chaos erupting, as the crowd of 22,000 country music fans tried to find cover from the hail of bullets.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Not sure what's going on out there.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Nothing. Nothing.
MARQUARDT: Musician Bryan Hopkins hid in a backstage freezer after running from the gunfire. BRYAN HOPKINS, SURVIVED SHOOTING SPREE: We see a guy right in front
of us goes down. Then another person goes down. And guys. I turn, bang, bang. Two girls go down behind us. So I grab the two girls that are standing in front of me and grabbed them and took them with me.
MARQUARDT: Anthony Rabone, an off-duty paramedic, sprang into action to save his brother...
ANTHONY RABONE, PARAMEDIC: The real moment I realized that it was gunshots was when I heard my brother say, "I got hit." And I -- I turned around, and I saw him coughing up blood.
MARQUARDT: ... using a piece of plastic and some Band-Aids to cover his chest wound.
Sonny Melton grabbed his wife, Heather, and was ushering her to safety when he was shot in the back. He died trying to save her.
MIKE CRONK, SURVIVED SHOOTING SPREE: Most people started scattering, and they climbed the fence, but I had to stay with my buddy.
MARQUARDT: Mike Cronk rushed to help his friend, who was shot three times in the chest.
CRONK: So we got him over the fence once the fire stopped and slid him under a stage so we were safe.
MARQUARDT: Vanessa, an off-duty nurse, initially ran for cover, as well. But then her training kicked in, and she ran back into harm's way.
VANESSA, FIRST RESPONDER TO ATTACK: We went back, because I'm a nurse and I felt that I had to. So I went to three different scenes. And by the time I'm coming up to the third one, there was just dead bodies.
MARQUARDT: Addison Short was shot in the leg while trying to get away. A stranger came to her aid.
ADDISON SHORT, WOUNDED IN SHOOTING SPREE: And so I, like, dove under this, like, bar to get cover, and this guy helped me wrap my foot, because it was just gushing out blood everywhere.
I just want to -- if the guy that helped me is watching, I really just want to tell him how grateful I am for basically saving my life.
MARQUARDT: Addison says she never got the man's name.
Amid all the bloodshed, countless stories of heroism coming to light.
VANESSA: There were so many people, just normal citizens, doctors, cops, paramedics, nurses, just off-duty. Everyone is just communicating and working together. It was -- it was completely horrible, but it was absolutely amazing to see all the people come together. (END VIDEOTAPE)
MARQUARDT: Chris, you have been asking your guests whether this should be considered an act of terrorism. That is a question that the sheriff here has repeatedly been getting. He has been saying that they have to wait to see what the motivation of the shooter was.
The White House, of course, has also been getting this question. Yesterday they said that because this is an ongoing investigation, it is premature to weigh in on something like that before the facts are established.
So neither local authorities nor the White House calling the biggest massacre in modern U.S. history an act of domestic terrorism -- Chris.
CUOMO: And, look, and we understand why that's frustrating for people. Because they also see terror and that label as giving gravity to how wrong something is. But without a trial and with no clear connection to a larger organization, it becomes less important for the investigators.
Alex, thank you very much. Stay on that reporting. We'll have you back.
Joining us now, are people who represent the most important part of this story, those who survived. Bowdien Derby and Madison Viray, they are brothers-in-law. But they are brothers in a whole new way after what happened.
Gentlemen, it is good to have you both here. Thank God I find you both well. I know that everything is coming at you a million miles an hour, because who expects to live through something like this? But when you think back to what you made it through, how are you feeling about it this morning?
[07:15:00] BOWDIEN DERBY, WITNESS TO LAS VEGAS SHOOTING: You know, it's a little over 24 hours now since the incident. And it's starting to get to that point where it's starting to sink in a little bit more of, you know, what's actually happened. The past 24 hours, I've kind of been in a haze, just a dark haze of trying to figure out and trying to process the information.
You see so much and you go through so much, trying to get out of there. And it's traumatic, in every sense of the way. And just to be able to say that we survived this is pretty incredible in itself.
CUOMO: Now, you guys are OK. Everybody you were with. Everybody you knew, Madison, did they get out of there?
MADISON VIRAY, WITNESS TO LAS VEGAS SHOOTING: Yes, they did. Yes, they did.
CUOMO: Thank God for that.
I was talking to one of the people who were there last night and got out. And he said, you know, "It just hit me. There was somebody who was trying to kill me in that place. Doesn't know me, doesn't know any of us, was trying to kill me." How do you handle that part of this?
DERBY: I mean, when you put it into those kind of words, I'm with that guy. I didn't think of it that way. You know, once the bullets started flying and just kind of soaring over us, the first thing you want to do is just, you know, find who you're with, your loved ones, help anybody immediate right by you and just get out.
Obviously, you want to live to see the next day. So to think about it that way kind of puts it into a new perspective of, you know, somebody was trying to murder me. It hits -- it hits close to home. And like we were talking about before, we're going to question going to concerts from now on. We're going to question being in open spaces this is a life-changing moment for all of us, anyone there, people injured, even the families.
You know, my sister was really shaken up by the incident. I know my parents were. It's amazing that we were able to get out, uninjured and safe.
CUOMO: And you've got to process the good part of it, as well, that you did get out. That you got -- you know, you guys. Young, beautiful guys. You've got your whole lives in front of you. And that's a reality. That's probably a little bit more meaningful than it was before going to the concert.
And an aspect of this that is important is that you were together, right? I mean, the group had gotten a little separated. Some of you were at the concession stand. Madison, take me through that, in terms of not being -- not knowing where the rest of your loved ones were and getting back to together. Take me through that.
VIRAY: We had initially -- my wife and I, his sister, were in the background. We were sitting down in the grass, because we were tired. It was the last day of the concert. So we were sitting down in the back. We were watching from the back, looking at the large projector on the screen.
And he had gone up with some of our other family members. Pretty much 100 yards away from the stage.
DERBY: About 100 yards from the stage.
VIRAY: So when the first couple shots rang out, we didn't think anything of it. That was fireworks. It could have been electrical or a generator, something like that.
And then we saw some people starting to run. So that's when I grabbed my wife, and we started to run. And then we realized we weren't with him. And we started to walk swiftly towards the exit, hoping that we would actually end up seeing him through the crowd.
We didn't end up getting him. We ended up going into the back end of the Tropicana and finding shelter in there. And we were able to actually get ahold of him on the phone and met with him at the front entrance of the Tropicana.
CUOMO: what was that phone call like for you?
DERBY: It was incredible. At that point I was with my aunt, my cousin and his girlfriend. And it was the same thing. We've been seeing all over, all the witness accounts of people saying, "Oh, we just thought it was fireworks." That's how it was. The first three pops just sounded like somebody lighting up some firecrackers, somebody just being stupid. And so nobody thought anything of it. You didn't see anybody react in a scared way at that point.
And for us, it was when Aldean decided to book it offstage. That's when we all knew it was serious, and we hit the floor. And again, you hear, like I said, from a lot of people. We had no idea where the shooting was coming from. It sounded like multiple shooters, just the way that gun was rattling off.
We didn't know if he was trying to, you know, climb over the gate to get by the stage. Because that's where the majority of people were standing. And so, everyone at that point had just fallen to the floor, just get as low as you possibly can. I look over and see my cousin. He was shielding his girlfriend. He laid on top of her.
I was with -- like I said, I was with my aunt, as well. I turned around and found her. And I'll never forget the look in her eyes. It was the look of, you know, are we about to die? Is this it?
And at that moment, it was -- it was just, we need to get out of here. We need to do what we can. And there was -- we were surrounded by a group of young ladies, as well, who I didn't end up knowing their names until hours later. But, you know, when we hit the floor, I was on top of them, sticking out my hand. And everyone started running at the same time. And once I saw that, you know, you don't just pose a threat -- you're not just dealing with the danger of the shooting at this point. Now you're dealing with the danger of getting trampled on.
You know, you have these females with you who are petite. And the last thing you want to see them -- you don't want to see them getting run over, stomped on. Because like I said, at that point, everyone was trying to get out.
[07:20:11] So I kind of said, I was like, "Just wait a second. Wait a second. Wait a second." Because I guess I didn't know we were being sniped.
DERBY: So, you know, we were sitting there. And I waited a few seconds, and then I grabbed them. I said, "OK now. Let's go" when I saw that there was kind of enough space to go. And we were able to start going.
At that point, there was no gunfire yet. Presumably, I think he was reloading. And about a few seconds into us trying to get away, you could hear him start rattling off again. At that point I saw House of Blues tent. It was a bar that was
covered. It wasn't necessarily a tent. They called it a tent, but it was more like solid cover. And I kind of grabbed those girls I was with. They grabbed my hands, and I took them and I kind of shoved them into that tent area just to get cover. Because like I said, we didn't know where the shooting was coming from.
We went in there. I turned around and looked, couldn't see my aunt, my cousin and his girlfriend. They had decided to go in a different direction. And that was -- that was tough in itself, not knowing, you know, where they were going go, where they -- if they were going to be OK.
You know, and in that tent you have people just crumbled with fear. They were laying there; they were crying. They didn't know what to do. They were frozen. And it was just a matter of do we sit here like sitting ducks? We didn't know, like I said, if the shooter was going to try and come in. So we -- me and a couple of other guys were just yelling, get out. Get out. Get to the back. Get to the back. Get to the exit. And that's kind of where everyone started going. And we found the back street back there.
CUOMO: Well, look, you made it out.
DERBY: Made it out.
CUOMO: That's what matters. You're going to have a realization of all kinds of evil things you never had to contemplate before. But as you know now with your wife, having made it out, you have a realization of the blessings in your lives, as well. You've got each other. You made it through this. And for you two, and your family, and your loved ones, life goes on. That matters just as much as what you had to make it through to get to this point.
So hey, I'm so happy to meet you and meet you well. Thank you for getting people out of there and doing your best. All right, fellows? Thank you. Thank you for telling us this story. It matters. It matters for people to know that people made it through. Life goes on. Thank you.
Up next, I'm going to talk to a man who was staying just a few doors down from this mass murderer. What he says happened when police stormed his room. Because, remember, the response, the timing, what it took, what these guys had to take on all matters.
And we're going to keep telling you about the people who lost their lives. They are who matter most. Please, stay with us.
GRAPHIC: Rachael Parker, 33 years old; Jenny Parks, 35 years old; Sandra Casey, 35 years old; Lisa Romero-Muniz, 42 years old; Susan Smith, 53 years old
[07:25:34] CUOMO: Fifty-nine lives stolen by one man, 500 others injured at an outdoor concert that took place just behind us. Joining us now is Brad Baker. He was staying right down the hall from
this mass murderer on the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay resort. We also have Veronica Maldonado. She lost a friend. Her name was Angela Gomez. And we're going to learn more about what was lost when Angela left this earth.
So Brad, let me get from you fist. So you're asleep. It's noisy.
BRAD BAKER, STAYED IN ROOM DOWN HALL FROM SHOOTER: Trying to sleep, yes.
CUOMO: What happens?
BAKER: So I was trying to sleep. I finally got to sleep in the break before the last performer got on. And then I'm just kind of tossing and turning, and I start hearing loud noises. I figured it was just the concert. So I'm just -- just laying there, and then two police officers with their pistols and flashlights come barging in the room and say, "We've got to go right now." So...
CUOMO: They were telling you. Did you -- did it register that they weren't in there for you; they were there to help you get out?
BAKER: I thought, you know, that I had done something wrong. I'm like there's no way I did anything wrong. But so, yes, I thought -- I thought that. And then I hopped up. I had to put some shorts on. I didn't have my phone or wallet or anything on me, obviously. And they said, "You have to go right now. We've got to leave right now."
CUOMO: Did they tell you why?
BAKER: No. Well, in all the confusion, I don't think I really understood what was going on. So I said, "Just wait, let me get a shirt at least. And so I got my shirt and then got in -- right into the hallway and there was one officer with his A.R. going down the hallway and another with a shotgun right next to my door. It looked like providing cover. And they told me to get out and just hug the wall and run as fast as I could to the elevator bay.
CUOMO: By the time you get down there, had you heard anything to that point? You were able to get out before anything happened?
BAKER: Yes. Nothing that happened to me. And there was about, you know, five or six other folks in that elevator bay were kind of huddled in there.
CUOMO: And in that trying to get to sleep phase, were you hearing anything that you now know was gunfire?
BAKER: There was definitely -- I think it was gunfire. I had no idea at the time, but it definitely was, you know, stirring around. Like, I wish this concert wasn't so loud. Really.
CUOMO: And when you realized what it was about, with those people in that elevator, what were you telling each other? BAKER: So there was a lot of silence, and there was a family there
with a little 4-year-old little boy. Poor guy. So I just tried to, you know, calm him and, you know, look at him with -- keep him happy. Tell him everything was OK.
CUOMO: You were telling him everything was OK. What were you telling yourself?
BAKER: Just trying to remain calm and make sure that I was staying safe, basically.
CUOMO: It's impossible to just think about what was happening down the hall from you. What do you tell yourself?
BAKER: You know, I saw the little boy, and I thought about my own daughter who was 4 and just told myself, "Just, you know, don't risk it. Just get out as fast as you can, when you can."
CUOMO: Veronica, we know people didn't get to leave that concert that night. They have to be remembered. We have to know who was lost and what they meant to the people here. Angie Gomez is one of them. I know you knew each other for a long time. Tell us about your friend.
VERONICA MALDONADO, FRIEND DIED IN SHOOTING: Hi. Yes. So I've known Angela since I was 12 years old, for eight years. And she is just a sweetheart, definitely. Never would have expected this to happen to her and particularly the way she goes. She is a natural caregiver. She was studying to be a nurse. Very family-oriented.
CUOMO: I'm looking at you two. I'm looking at you two, Veronica. And boy, you could be sisters. And I know that you believe you shared a heart with her and that she had just gotten into a nursing program. She had her whole life in front of her.
What did she want for her life? What were her dreams?
MALDONADO: She just wanted a regular normal life. She had a boyfriend of four years who loved her so, so much. Their relationship was just something straight out of the movies. You know?