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EARLY START

Las Vegas Massacre: Converted Guns; Gunman's Girlfriend Back in U.S.; President Trump's Visit to Puerto Rico. Aired 4-4:30a ET

Aired October 4, 2017 - 04:00   ET

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


CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN ANCHOR: [04:00:04] Consumers are replacing their flood-damaged cars. That's how you see those big news stories at play in the economy.

All right. Top of the hour, EARLY START continues right now.

(MUSIC)

ROMANS: New information about the Las Vegas gunman, how he planted cameras to watch police, how he altered his guns to fire so many shots. And just hours ago, the killer's girlfriend landed at LAX, now back in the country and talking to investigators.

Good morning and welcome to EARLY START. I'm Christine Romans in New York, where it's 4:00 a.m. here in the East.

DAVE BRIGGS, CNN ANCHOR: I'm Dave Briggs, live in Las Vegas where it is 1:00 a.m. local time. It's Wednesday, October 4th. We're just over 48 hours after this deadly shooting.

And new this morning, details about the Las Vegas shooter, Stephen Paddock, his large cache of weapons, his extensive planning. His girlfriend now back in the United States.

We're also getting our first look at newly released police body cam video capturing the chaos as the attack unfolded.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

(GUNFIRE)

POLICE OFFICER: Go that way, go that way. Go that way.

Hey, they're shooting right at us, guys. Everybody, stay down. Stay down.

Where is it at?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: North of the Mandalay Bay. It's come out of the window.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BRIGGS: Police officials say the gunman appears to have fired on and off for between nine and eleven minutes after the first 911 call. Clark County sheriff Joe Lombardo says the shooter had cameras set up

both inside and outside his hotel room here at the Mandalay Bay, cameras he may have been using to spot police and security approaching his room. Officials say they do not think the shooter was broadcasting this video over the Internet.

Even with the new details, the shooter's motive remains a mystery.

The death toll from the attack has been revised downward by one. Officials now say 58 victims were killed. The official number of injured at least 517 injured remains the same.

Today, President Trump flies here today to see how the city is responding to the deadliest mass shooting in modern American history, expected to arrive at 9:30 a.m. local time, 12:30 p.m. Eastern, expected to visit a hospital, survivors, medical professionals. Also a second stop where he's expected to meet with law enforcement officials and the sheriff.

And there's a new twist in the Las Vegas investigation. The gunman's girlfriend, initially a person of interest before being cleared, once again a person of interest by authorities. Marilou Danley who was located in the Philippines after the massacre unfolded back on American soil at this hour. Her plane arriving late last night at LAX.

And CNN's Jean Casarez has been following that story for us, as we hope that is where some of these answers lie as to why -- why this shooter Stephen Paddock may have committed this heinous crime.

JEAN CASAREZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: That's right, and we're getting a little more information. Our own Nic Robertson has confirmed that the plane landed Los Angeles time a little after 7:00 p.m. last night. A Philippine Airlines jetliner went from Manila to Los Angeles, accompanied with FBI agents.

Now, the whole point is, they want to talk with Marilou Danley. And so, Las Vegas Metropolitan Police may actually be going to Los Angeles to interview her, her not coming to Las Vegas right away.

So, we'll just have to see the developments there. We also understand homeland security apprised of all of this.

Nic Robertson spoke with an immigration official there at the airport and he asked did she come voluntarily. He may not know but he said, I cannot answer that one way or the other.

So, but we do know she was accompanied by FBI and it was interesting. We don't know when she left the mainland, but she didn't just go to the Philippines. We know she was in Japan, Tokyo, and on the 15th of September flew to the Philippines but then flew out of the Philippines to Hong Kong. After that, flying back to Manila after that, and then obviously now, from Manila to Los Angeles.

You know, as that situation unfolds, there is also the primary investigation. And we are now seeing pictures of that room published by "The Daily Mail". Authorities have authenticated those pictures that they are the inside of the hotel room. They're not happy that those were leaked out in some form or fashion because these are crime scene photos. These are photos that are usually very confidential.

But we do see a massive amount of guns in the room. And you can see, there just at every angle thrown around. And this is the aftermath. This is shortly after it all ended on Sunday night.

[04:05:03] And that body that you saw in the picture, that was in fact, authorities say the gunman who died from a self-inflicted wound.

Learning just a little bit more about the chaos inside. They do say the crime scene processing of that room is going to take much longer. They're about finished with the concert venue which would be collecting spent bullets and shrapnel and anything else that would be evidentiary in nature. But the hotel room, the primary crime scene, that processing will take much longer, they say.

BRIGGS: And a photo even of the shooter's face we will not publish here on CNN, but those are out there on the Internet.

CASAREZ: Yes.

BRIGGS: Jean, thank you.

And now, we turn our attention to all the weapons that were part of this massacre. Among the dozens of guns found that belong to the shooter, the federal ATF says 12 of the guns in the shooter's hotel room had what are called bump-fire stocks or bump stocks.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SHERIFF JOE LOMBARDO, LAS VEGAS METRO POLICE DEPARTMENT: What are the modifications associated with the weaponry? I can't give you an answer on whether any of them are automatic or not, but we are aware of a device called a bump stock, and that enables an individual to speed up the discharge of ammunition.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BRIGGS: Now, a total of 47 guns have been found, purchased in four different states. On semiautomatic weapons, the trigger has to be pulled each time a round is fired. On automatic weapons, the trigger can be pulled and held once to fire multiple rounds. Automatic weapon sales are banned in the U.S. There is a slight loophole to that, if they're federally registered and made prior to 1986.

But it is possible to buy perfectly legal tools like these bump stocks to convert semiautomatic weapons to fire like automatic weapons, up to hundreds of rounds per minute. Gun reform advocates seizing on this latest revelation about the Las Vegas attack.

California Senator Dianne Feinstein tweeting, I'm looking at ways to proceed with registration to ban bump fire stocks and close this ridiculous loophole for good. Doing nothing in the wake of this tragedy is not an option. Feinstein tried that legislation the first time back in 2013 after the deadly Sandy Hook shooting.

The third-ranking Republican in the Senate, South Dakota Senator John Thune telling NBC News as related to those devices that automate weapons as something I think we'll take a look.

The president said we will be talking about gun laws as time goes by. We should see what happens.

I tried to purchase one of these bump fire stocks here in the Las Vegas area. There are gun shops all around the area. I visited two that confirmed to me they sold multiple weapons to the shooter, Stephen Paddock.

They along with the more than dozen that I called all said before I got the sentence out of my mouth, no, we do not sell bump fire stocks. The gun shop owners saying they're gimmicky, they're silly, they're something that their customers have no need for and do not request.

Sadly, these things are far too easily to obtain on the Internet. Just $99, Christine, and you can have one of these at your door. You would imagine this legislation, this loophole easy for legislators to step up and close.

ROMANS: And the allure of firing so many bullets. I mean, you lose your accuracy, right? Is it just because it's fun?

BRIGG: It does. Yes, they do decrease your accuracy and one of the gun shop owners said, look, really, this is a strange word that he admitted he had used it was almost for entertainment for people to shoot out there at target practice, things like they would air on YouTube. No real need, no real reason for people to use them.

ROMANS: All right. Certainly, turned out to be incredibly deadly when this guy used them. Thanks, Dave.

So, that shooting in Las Vegas likely to make hotels and other properties on the strip rethink security procedures. Now, experts who spoke to CNN say there's little that can be done to prevent the kind of massacre we saw this week.

CNN's Scott McLean spoke with security experts in Las Vegas. He's live at McCarran Airport. He's monitoring the travel of the gunman's roommate, girlfriend Marilou Danley.

What do security experts tell you? Because this guy got heavy weaponry right into that room, underneath the nose of all those cameras and all those people who are looking for suspicious behavior.

SCOTT MCLEAN, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, he had a massive arsenal of guns inside his room. As we know now, more than 20 of them, 12 of them had those bump stocks that Dave was talking about. But the sheriff here in Las Vegas says he can't see a way that this crime could have been prevented.

The expert that we spoke to, he agrees. And this is a guy who spent more than 20 years at the FBI, spent seven years as the head of the security of the Venetian Resort here in Las Vegas, a very large resort complex. But how does a guy get more than 20 guns up to his room without anybody batting an eyelash?

[04:10:01] Well, it turns out it's not that hard. There are security cameras, but they're looking for things out of the ordinary. And if Stephen Paddock wasn't doing anything odd, then they might not have flagged him.

Also maids, they're not going to go through your bags. They're not going to unzip something that's zipped up or in the closet.

But what about the number of bags that he had? There were a lot of them. We asked our expert about that. Listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MCLEAN: We know that the suspect brought in a lot of bags. Would that raise any red flags with hotel staff or hotel security?

DAVID SHEPHERD, SECURITY EXPERT: The number of bags being brought in doesn't bring up a lot more suspicions.

MCLEAN: Because?

SHEPHERD: We have people coming in from foreign countries that travel a lot, and they have a lot of bags. We have conventioneers that bring tons of bags for their equipment, for their shows, and people just bring a lot of bags sometimes.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MCLEAN: Now, we know that many Las Vegas casinos, they are stepping up their plainclothes security in response to this, as a temporary measure. There may be hotels that are taking similar temporary measures.

But what about long-term changes? Well, the expert we spoke to said, look, there have been shootings in this country at malls. You don't see large scale changes to security in light of those. You don't see metal detectors, X-ray machines for bags as very commonplace.

And he says it's pretty unlikely that even after something like this, something so horrific happening, he can't see metal detectors, he can't see X-ray machines as you're going into hotel lobbies, of course -- unless, of course, Dave, the public demands that hotels make changes like that.

BRIGGS: Yes, you know, Scott, I visited a couple of hotels in the Strip, and just in the last couple of days, you can see people walking in with enormous amounts of big pieces of luggage because there is conventions every day of the week here in Las Vegas. That's how this city operates. It would not raise alarm bells to see people bringing in large amounts of luggage repeatedly.

There was a "do not disturb" sign apparently on the door, according to "The New York Times", but again, they do not often go in a room unless it's under very unusual circumstances with security.

Scott, thanks.

As we continue here live in Las Vegas with all the new details emerging about the shooter, what do authorities want to ask his girlfriend now that she is back in the country?

And the victims of this shooting will not be forgotten. Loved ones mourning people from across the country, all lost in this horrific attack in Las Vegas. We continue to focus on them.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[04:16:46] ROMANS: The Las Vegas shooter's girlfriend Marilou Danley arriving in Los Angeles overnight on a flight from the Philippines. She is once again a person of interest and expected to be questioned soon by Las Vegas Police.

What are they looking for that can help in this investigation?

Joining us live via Skype this morning, CNN law enforcement contributor, Steve Moore. He is a retired FBI supervisory special agent.

Good morning. So glad to have you here with your expertise this morning.

STEVE MOORE, CNN LAW ENFORCEMENT CONTRIBUTOR: Thanks.

ROMANS: Now, we're told there were expertise -- there were federal officials on that flight with her. Tell me presumably how this is going to go. She is back here at the behest of law enforcement.

What are they going to ask her? What's going to happen here with this debriefing, do you think?

MOORE: Well, first of all they're going to want to know why she left the country just before this killing happened. That seems like an awful big coincidence, as does the fact that before he killed 59 people or 58 people, her boyfriend or husband, whatever it is, actually wired $100,000 to the Philippines.

They are also going to want to know, what did you know about this? Were you even curious about him picking up 40 guns, including bump stocks that will make the guns go fully automatic?

ROMANS: What does that tell you about him as a -- as a murderer that he had so many guns and was using those bump stocks? Where does that fit into I guess the profile of the kinds of characters you guys follow?

MOORE: You know, one of the things that I've seen just about every time we've had a mass shooting is that when we get to the people or when we get to their vehicles, we find an inordinate amount of weaponry, weapons that, many more than they would ever need. I can remember interviewing the guy who machine gunned a school in Los

Angeles back in the late '90s and it was the day after he did it and I said, you walked into the school with this gun. What made you choose this gun over all the ones you had in the truck? He said, I didn't choose until I went in. There's just something strange about these people where they want to have a choice. They want to feel empowered they can do anything they want.

ROMANS: Yes, empowered is something that's so interesting here. You know, what is it about these emasculated men who have to gun up and then, you know, kill other people with just zero empathy.

Talk to me a little bit about the rigging the cameras and the people of the door, you know, and in the cart outside so he could watch police. What does that tell you about the premeditation here?

MOORE: Well, it tells me obviously that he was fairly sophisticated and he argues against the presumption of some that he just snapped, that he was a normal guy who just snapped. Snapped is a one-time thing. This guy would have had to have snapped over a several month period.

This took so much premeditation, so much planning, and they're going to find this. He wrote stuff down.

[04:20:00] He put stuff on his computer. It will show up.

ROMANS: The body camera footage that we have is so fascinating from the law enforcement perspective. You can see these officers down there when this is happening essentially in the killing field there and you can hear them saying look, it's in Mandalay Bay, it's in this window where the shooter is.

Talk to us a little bit about what we've learned from this footage.

MOORE: Well, you know, we're going to be dissecting this footage the way people have been dissecting the footage from the grassy knolls for different reasons. We're going to have -- we're going to want to learn how in the future we can address something like this, because like on 9/12 of 2001, we woke up realizing that our old tactics and our old protections won't work anymore, and these type of films will help us learn how to address something like this in the future because I'm -- I'm sorry to tell you that once somebody does it once, somebody else is going to try it.

ROMANS: Yes, I wanted to ask you about that. What about the copycat factor here? Law enforcement officials yesterday were saying every time they hear us in the media say the largest mass shooting in modern American history, they cringe, because there are sick minds with access to very dangerous weapons.

MOORE: Well, we can't stop telling the truth on TV because some crazy person might be inspired by it.

The truth is this. That the people who are the sociopaths, these homicidal maniacs out there who want to kill -- they want to go out at the top. They want to be the biggest killer and that's sad, but it can't be changed.

ROMANS: All right. Steve Moore, CNN law enforcement contributor, retired supervisory special agent from the FBI, thank you so much for your expertise.

And, Dave, you know, fascinating the number of people who have told us, you know, the profile of this guy, the number of guns, you know, what was it that he need to build himself up for and what was he, you know, what was he so against to have zero empathy for those people?

BRIGGS: Yes, and hopefully there is a lot to Steve's point that law enforcement officials, FBI, profilers can learn from this. The first time I was ever around a shooting was Columbine, 1999. I spent a couple of weeks there as a student journalist, and they learned a lot from Columbine that has been used in shootings, that has been used even in this investigation. So, hopefully, there is something to come out of this one.

Thank you, Christine.

When we continue here from Las Vegas, the president wheels up for Vegas in less than four hours, certainly hoping for a smoother trip than his stop in Puerto Rico where he suggested there was not a, quote, real catastrophe.

And they were just enjoying the music when their lives were cut short, taken from their families far too soon. We continue to remember the victims of the Las Vegas massacre.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[04:27:20] BRIGGS: I'm Dave Briggs back live in Las Vegas where the president is expected to arrive in about five hours.

He paid a visit to Puerto Rico on Tuesday where the death toll has more than doubled from 16 to 34. President Trump's visit to the island Tuesday not entirely smooth, the president getting briefed by federal and local officials and talking to locals in a damaged San Juan neighborhood. He also handed out emergency supplies in a church, shooting rolls of paper towels into the crowd.

But the president raised a few eyebrows with comments on Puerto Rico's debt crisis and a bizarre comparison to another natural disaster.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I hate to tell you, Puerto Rico, but you've thrown our budget a little out of whack because we've spent a lot of money on Puerto Rico and that's fine, we've saved a lot of lives. If you look at a real catastrophe like Katrina and you look at the tremendous hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of people that died, and you look at what happened here, what is your death count as of this moment, 17?

GOV. RICARDO ROSELLO (D), PUERTO RICO: Sixteen, certified.

TRUMP: Sixteen people, certified. Sixteen people versus in the thousands, you can be very proud.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BRIGGS: President Trump's remarks not sitting well with San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulin Cruz who called Trump, quote, miscommunicator in chief. The two have been at odds since the president tweeted about her poor leadership after Cruz criticized the federal response there in Puerto Rico.

The president also raising the idea of wiping out Puerto Rico's debt. He tells Gerardo Rivera, quote, we are going to work something out, we have to look at their whole debt structure. The White House releasing no further details.

But as, Christine, we've talked about many times, the president very familiar with debt and how to recover from these bankruptcies.

ROMANS: And that's the most precise he's been about it. He talked about the debt. He said something's got to be done. We've got to make some big decisions.

But, you know, that debt is owned by bankers, by hedge funds, by American citizens who have it in their pension funds, right? So what is he going to do? He has been under crippling debt himself and has had a bailout. Maybe he'll be a very good advisor on all of this.

All right. It's a CNN exclusive. Russian-linked Facebook ads targeted Michigan and Wisconsin during the 2016 election, two states crucial to President Trump's victory. That's according to four sources with direct knowledge of the matter.

Here's what we can tell you. We know Facebook admits selling 3,000 ads to Russian troll farms. It was not clear which U.S. regions they targeted. Now we know some ads were aimed at the battleground states of Wisconsin and Michigan. Trump won both of those by less than 1 percent.