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Police: Las Vegas Killer Meticulously Planned Attack; Remembering the Victims of Las Vegas Spree. Aired 7-7:30a ET
Aired October 4, 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.
[07:00:10] CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning. Welcome to your NEW DAY. It's Wednesday, October 4, 4 a.m. in the morning here in Las Vegas. Alisyn is in New York. And we do begin with new details about this killer's meticulous planning.
We have never seen anything like this. The 58 lives that were stolen, more than 500 others who were injured. And all of this planning and all of these weapons, we've never seen anything like this before.
Police releasing dramatic body camera video of first responders. It gives us a sense of what they were doing to make people safe, dealing with hails of gunfire, trying to figure out where the fire was coming from, dealing with thousands of people fleeing to safety. Again, all as just bullets rained down.
Also for the first time, we are seeing just how many weapons, what kind of arsenal this gunman brought with him to carry out this massacre from that 32nd floor hotel room at the Mandalay Bay Resort. Officials have now recovered 47 firearms from three different locations.
Very important to mention. A dozen of those guns in that hotel room were rigged with a legal device that allows them to fire like automatic weapons. Police say the killer also set up cameras in his room and in the hallway to monitor incoming threats. This guy was trying to buy himself as much time as possible to do as much killing as he could.
The motive, still a mystery. The killer's girlfriend is now back in the United States being interviewed by the FBI. She is a person of interest.
So this morning the president is going to come to Las Vegas. He's going to meet the victims. He's going to meet law enforcement. What message will he have for the country? We'll have to wait and see.
We have it all covered. Let's begin with CNN's Jean Casarez -- Jean.
JEAN CASAREZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Chris, more and more information is coming out. The details, the planning, the extreme premeditation of this killer.
(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Get down! Hey, you guys, get down! Go that way! Get out of here! There are gunshots coming from over here. Go that way! Go that way!
CASAREZ (voice-over): Police releasing body camera video of the chaos that unfolded as shots rang out at an outdoor country music festival on Sunday night.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Go that way, go that way, go that way.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They're shooting right at us, guys. Everybody, stay down. Stay down.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Where's it at?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's coming out of a window.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It looks like it's coming out of a window.
CASAREZ: These officers desperately attempting to locate the shooter, while taking cover under a hail of bullets.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Go back! Go back!
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Get back. Get back.
CASAREZ: This new video captures the concertgoers running in every direction as they were being fired upon. Police say the killer opened fire for 9 to 11 minutes, firing dozens of rounds in rapid succession.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm inside the Mandalay Bay on the 31st floor. I can hear the automatic fire coming from one floor ahead, one floor above us.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Be advised, it is automatic fire. Fully automatic fire from an elevated position. Take cover.
CASAREZ: These pictures, published by "The Daily Mail," provide a chilling look inside the killer's 32nd-floor hotel suite and the arsenal used to carry out the massacre. Military-style weapons and bullet casings littering the room.
The ATF says 47 firearms have now been recovered from the hotel suite, and two homes connected to the killer. Officials say 12 of the guns in his hotel room were rigged to fire like automatic weapons.
Police say the killer took his own life after exchanging gunfire with police, his lifeless body surrounded by some of the weapons he used to shoot out the smashed-out window behind this curtain. Police say this was a meticulously planned attack.
Authorities say the killer installed several hidden cameras, one inside the hotel suite's peephole, and two others in the hallway, including one camera on a hotel service cart to monitor approaching threats.
The killer's motive remains a mystery. His girlfriend, Marilou Danley, named a person of interest, is back in the U.S. being questioned by the FBI. Returning to Los Angeles from the Philippines Tuesday night, police say she has been cooperating with law enforcement. Her two sisters speaking exclusively to 7 Network in Australia, insist that she did not know what the killer was planning.
[07:05:00] UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He sent her away so that he can plan what he was planning without interruptions. In that sense, I thank him for sparing my sister's life, but that wasn't to compensate, though, for 59 people's lives.
CASAREZ: CNN has also confirmed that Stephen Paddock before the killing, not exactly known when, wired $100,000 to the Philippines. The FBI has now issued financial subpoenas to find more information -- Chris.
CUOMO: Jean, thank you so much.
Let's discuss now. We have CNN law enforcement analyst James Gagliano, and we have CNN terrorism analyst Phil Mudd.
Now, James, we're talking about this bump stock for several different reasons. One is just the absurdity of the existence of something that's legal to buy but illegal to use. Why would you buy it if you weren't going to use it? This man is a perfect example. Let's be clear. Look at these images. That's the bump stock. OK? Stock is the back of the weapon. What this does is allow you to hold the trigger down and have more bullets come out faster than just with each pull of the trigger.
It's a pretty simple concept, but it is as ridiculous as it is simple. He wanted as many bullets as possible to kill as many people as he could. That's exactly what this allowed him to do. Is that the truth of the situation?
JAMES GAGLIANO, CNN LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: Chris, clearly it is. And I've spoken to a number of FBI fire instructors, and I've spoken to a number of armers about this device. It's easy to procure; it's easy to install; and it is easy to use.
Now, here's where the insanity comes in on this. This device, as you pointed out, is legal to own. But you can also look at this in the perspective of why do we make it illegal to modifying the weapon by filing a sear down and making it automatic? Why do we make it illegal to buy a silencer? Why do we make it illegal to file down a serial number?
CUOMO: We do for now. We don't know what's going to happen with silencers. There was a bill that was making its way through. We'll see what happens with that.
GAGLIANO: But we have those things illegal. But this device is not illegal. And as we pointed out in the earlier segment, this device is designed to put down suppressive fire. That's what it is. And what the killer did was he employed it to use plunging fire. He could pull the trigger one time. He was in a position, an elevated position. And the rounds basically go out in an indirect pattern and go down, basically raining rounds down.
The military went away from this in a lot of their weapons. They went to the three-shot burst, because they understood that you can't -- it's not a direct fire weapon in the sense of when it's on fully automatic, you cannot control it. You are firing at an area. And what would a civilian need a device like that to do?
CUOMO: It's about want these days when it can pomes to weapons, not need.
Phil, let's bring you in on this. One, we've never seen this amount of planning set up against so little indication of why this man was doing it. What pieces are you seeing come together here?
PHIL MUDD, CNN COUNTERTERRORISM ANALYST: A lot of pieces here. There's what we're seeing, for example, the number of weapons, and the fact that we're learning recently that the weapons were acquired over so long a period of time. That piece of information is going to fit into...
CUOMO: Although now, Phil, just so you know, the ATF is saying right now that 33 of the 47 they believe were purchased in the last year and most of them were long guns, rifles.
MUDD: That's what I'm saying, Chris. We have a pattern of life that goes back over the past year. We're going to overlay that with information we've learned recently, for example, what happened after he checked in on the 29th. But I'm more interesting in terms of understanding how the planning operated and understanding the motivation with taking things like the time line of acquisition of weapons, overlaying them with what his girlfriend says about his mindset and what he did over the past year.
And then adding bits and pieces that we don't see. That is, when did he travel to the strip last? What was he Googling on the Internet? Was he Googling stuff as long as six months ago? For example, how to build an explosive device? We know there was explosive material in his car.
All this data is coming together, if you will, in kind of a three- dimensional picture of somebody's life that you could get in the digital age. And I wager that by Friday -- Thursday, Friday, Saturday, we're going to have a picture that is pretty complete about what he was over the last six months.
One more quick final point. We're going into interviews, including the interview with his girlfriend. You're going to take that picture and compare to what people say and look for anomalies. Look for whether you know something based on, for example, what he said in an e-mail and whether that matches what people are telling investigators. CUOMO: And also, Phil, we now know just the amount of time that this
man spent on it. You know, the ATF sources saying that he may have bought a weapon as recently as this past week. He may have been at the range this past week.
There's other reporting that maybe he was sizing up an event a week earlier. So much time was spent. It stands to reason that if the authorities have his laptop and if they're able to get into his accounts, isn't -- is it reasonable to believe that there must be something in there that he was talking about, that he was thinking about if he was spending so much time planning so much death?
[07:10:05] MUDD: There's -- you're right, Chris. I would wager that we're going to find out motivation over time, even if he operated alone for a couple of reasons.
No. 1, the reason you mentioned. This person has a digital trail. We know the person was communicating, for example, by text. His brother talked about receiving a text message from him. That digital trail has got to have information about some stuff that's basic, for example, whether he Googled this event. Some stuff that's more subtle, Chris. Did his pattern of communication with people change in the past week, in the past month?
We know something else, though. People keep talking about this fellow like he was some deranged lunatic. That's not what this looks like to me. This is somebody who participated in life, was successful in a business life, had a relationship with a woman, communicated with his family.
If we have a timeline that goes back over months or years, I've got to believe that somebody, even if they didn't participate, even if they weren't a conspirator, somebody in that life saw him change over time. There was something that triggered this. We're going to find out what it was.
CUOMO: You know, as frightening as it is when we analyze these situations, and let's be honest, we've seen way too many of them, is wow, well, they were deranged. They were ill. It was unmanaged. It's even more frightening when someone doesn't check any of those boxes and they were living what seems like a normal life and functioning like the rest of us. And yet all the time, calculating something like this.
Let's go back to the photos. James, earlier I said, this looks like a bathtub. It's not a bathtub. It's two armchairs that he put together, but he fashioned himself a bin to hold weapons.
If we can get back to that photo, Holly (ph), and show that -- what looks like a bathtub. I said it's not a bathtub. He fashioned himself a bin to hold weapons. He was obviously putting a ton of time with the cameras and, you know, giving himself days in there to build platforms. The meticulous nature, I'm not saying this as a compliment -- but his deadly intentions were so profound.
GAGLIANO: Absolutely. He set this up. The killer's layer as if it was a military operation. It literally was, we can't describe it as anything but an ambush. And I think there's an important point to make that your viewers should know, Chris, that it appears a number of these weapons were bought recently.
Here's the thing that you need to know on that. There's no tracking of that if a civilian sells a weapon to another civilian and doesn't register. So he could have bought those at different times from different people, and there would have been -- there would have been no tracking of that. So we would not have known that there was a sale done.
CUOMO: But why? And I know some of the people are doing some of the scrubbing of him, and they are having trouble matching the weapons with the permits. But a little bit of that could be paperwork. It's a vast system.
But would it necessarily be illegal to have amassed 30 games any year? That they're mostly rifles, shotguns, that kind of stuff, even if they are semiautomatics. What's illegal about it?
GAGLIANO: There's nothing illegal about it. There are thousands of good and decent gun owners out there that are gun enthusiasts and they are collectors. But my guess is going to be when this all comes out each of those guns has a serial number. It's like a fingerprint; it's an indelible fingerprint. They will track all those. And if he purchased them and he purchased them from another civilian, those are going to be leads, as well. Because people are going to be interviewed.
As Phil said, this is going to be a protracted investigation. And I think in the next few days my guess, my professional judgment on this is we're going to find out a motivation.
CUOMO: Well, it just stands to reason there has to be some reason that this guy who spent so much time, so much energy on so much evil. And the reason we're talking about this is, we keep pointing out that it doesn't have to be illegal what he was doing right now. Because the state of the law. So this bump stock wasn't illegal to buy it. It was illegal to use it, which is ridiculous.
Amassing the weapons, not illegal. That's why so many are calling for a debate.
And another reason we're doing it is because of what these weapons, in the hands of this man, did. The most important part of this story here in Las Vegas is the lives that were stolen by this man, 58 people with loved ones, with lives, with dreams. A beloved special ed teacher. A nurse who used his own body to shield his wife. A single mother of three boys.
CNN's Sara Sidner is live at University Medical Center in Las Vegas. There are people in there, Sara, who are still fighting from their wounds. There are still families out there. They're trying to connect with victims. And the stories that we already know are so terrible and so important to tell. SARA SIDNER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It's true. It is about the victims.
Those who are dealing with something they had no indication they'd be dealing with now in the second day. And yes, there are still hundreds of people who are injured. But 58 people dead. And for each and every one of those numbers stands a family and friends who have lost a loved one.
It is a very trying time for those who are still trying to find their loved ones, still trying to figure out exactly what happened and piece together all of this information. But we tried to give you a glimpse at some of the families who are going through the worst time in their lives.
[07:15:07] SIDNER (voice-over): Sonny and Heather Melton were newlyweds who loved going to concerts.
HEATHER MELTON, LOST HUSBAND IN SHOOTING SPREE: His name was Sonny, but he literally was sunshine. When he walked in the room and he smiled, he was the most selfless person that I've ever met. And even until his last breath, he proved that.
SIDNER: When the first shots rang out, Sonny grabbed Heather. He was pulling her to safety when he was shot in the back. He died saving her life.
MELTON: He saved me before even this incident. He taught me what real love was.
SIDNER: Denise and Tony Burditus had been married for 32 years. They were high school sweethearts. She died in his arms. The couple was on vacation from West Virginia. They took this video in front of the festival stage just a day before the massacre.
TONY BURDITUS, LOST WIFE IN SHOOTING SPREE: I'm still thinking also of the times we've had, and I'm going to miss her greatly. And her family is going to miss her greatly.
SIDNER: Lisa Patterson was a mother of three and spent much of her time coaching the local girls' softball league and helping out in the church. She's remembered for her infectious energy and fierce love for her family.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: She was such an amazing person. She cared for so many people. She was so enthusiastic. She -- she was literally the best mom and she was my best friend.
SIDNER: Christopher Roybal was a Navy veteran who served in Afghanistan. His co-workers at Crunch Fitness say, "We lost a son, a mentor, friend and hero."
Adrian Murfitt, a commercial fisherman from Alaska, had been looking forward to this trip with his friends.
BRIAN MACKINNON, SURVIVED SHOOTING SPREE: I even told him, no, I couldn't go. I went to the bathroom and came back, and he showed me his phone. And he was like, "I bought you your tickets and everything. You're going."
SIDNER: Brian MacKinnon tried desperately to save his friend's life, holding Adrian in his arms until he took his last breath.
MACKINNON: I went back, sat next to him, put his hat on. Just kind of waited. I was yelling at him not to go. And he's just kind of blankly staring at me.
SIDNER: Even though she didn't know him, Heather Gooze stayed with 25-year-old Jordan McIlldoon, holding his hand until he passed away.
HEATHER GOOZE, SURVIVED SHOOTING SPREE: I didn't want him to be there alone.
SIDNER: She delivered news of his death to his girlfriend, who was separated from Jordan in the melee.
GOOZE: She broke down and she said, you know, "He's the love of my life. This can't be happening."
I go, "I promise you I will not leave him."
SIDNER: Neysa Tonks was a happy, fun-loving single mother of three boys, enjoying the concert with co-workers, her family in disbelief.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We know that she had passed. We know that there wasn't any hope. And that was the -- that was the worst, knowing that she had passed.
SIDNER: Her older sons didn't know how to process the pain. They literally hit a wall, their fists bearing the scars.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: My mind's racing, and in many different ways, there's not -- there's so much I could say.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There's just moments where you're so sad, you're so angry that it happened. And you're so happy for the life that she had.
SIDNER: Now Neysa Tonks's mother, Debbie Davis, talked to us about her daughter, saying that she was filled with light and fun and that the family had come together and discussed the fact that they are never going to let that light dim, that they are going to keep that light in the world. And how will they do that?
All three of her boys, her 14-year-old, her 17-year-old and her 24- year-old held hands around the kitchen table and sat in front of us and said, "The way we are going to honor her is we are going to prove to her that we are going to be the best and most productive citizens that we can be" -- Chris.
CUOMO: Sara, thank you for telling their stories. We're going to tell more as we learn about them. People have to understand that that number, 58, even that number 500, the reach goes so far beyond that, Alisyn.
All of these people had loved ones. They had co-workers. They had friends. They had dreams. And all of it was taken by one man who set himself up with an arsenal, and he had no intention except to destroy as many lives as possible.
CAMEROTA: Look, Chris, I think that we're all going through all these five stages of grief. I hear it in the loved ones. I feel it. I hear it in people who didn't know anyone who was lost there. From numb, when you first hear the shocking and staggering numbers. To the searing sadness that you hear reflected in there of all the lives lost. To now, today, you know, this seething anger that we don't have to live like this. There has to be an answer to this.
And, you know, I mean, I know that that's what our sort is of job is to try to press people and powerful people to find that. So that's what we'll be working on, Chris, and we will get back to you very soon there on the ground for us in Las Vegas.
[07:20:07] But up next, remembering a victim of the massacre. We have 20-year-old Bailey Schweitzer. Two friends are going to share their memories of her and tell us about the final message that Bailey sent just hours before the shots rang out.
CUOMO: So many are grieving this morning over the lives cut short, stolen in this Las Vegas massacre. One of those killed, Bailey Schweitzer, she was just 20 years old. She'd been watching the concert with her mother. Shots rang out, as we now know, and she was gone.
I'm joined now by Amy Campbell and Katelynn Cleveland. They are close friends of Bailey and work with her in Bakersfield, California.
I am so sorry to have to meet the two of you under these conditions. But I do want to make sure that your friend is remembered for how she lived and not just how somebody stole her life.
Amy, tell me about your friend.
AMY CAMPBELL, FRIEND OF BAILEY SCHWEITZER: She's our ray of sunshine. She's the light that makes everything better. And just -- there's no bad day with Bailey around.
CUOMO: Twenty years old, Katelynn. What did she want for her life? What were her dreams?
KATELYNN CLEVELAND, FRIEND OF BAILEY SCHWEITZER: Her dreams, she really wanted to be a kindergarten teacher or even to be a delivery nurse. She had a passion for kids. And she showed that with her niece and nephew and the love for them and the help she did for them. And that was what her dreams were, were to help other people with their children and bring them up in a world that was safe and that they were knowledgeable in.
CUOMO: We know you spoke to her on Friday. And then you talked to her Sunday when she was here. She must have been having a great time with her mom. Tell us about what this event meant going there with her mom to experience the festival.
CLEVELAND: She was so excited. And we talked for weeks about it, about the different artists, about which ones she really wanted to see.
Like you said, I did talk with her Friday. An artist was playing. And she knew that myself and my boyfriend loved the song. And so she called me and held her phone up so I could hear it.
And then on Sunday, we spoke via Instagram, and you know, we were speaking in regards to my new puppy. And we were deciding what to name it. And it was between Remy or Bailey, actually. And we went with Remy because I didn't want to have a Bailey at work and a Bailey at home. And so when she saw my announcement on Instagram, she said, "Well, I'm still going to call her Bailey." And, you know, she couldn't wait to come home and meet her.
You know, I had asked how's the concert. And, you know, in all caps, "GREAT. It's amazing. I can't wait to tell you about it." You know, and she kept telling me, "You have to come next year. You're going to love it. You know, you would have so much fun here."
CUOMO: Hey, look, you know, I know it's just the very, very small -- the smallest measure of solace, but at least she was having, you know, a good time, doing what she wanted to do, living her life the way she wanted to live. And it's a good window into her personality that she was OK with you naming the dog after her. That's a special kind of person right there.
CLEVELAND: Yes. She loved it.
CUOMO: That -- that is -- that was very cool of her.
Amy, she was there with her mom. Tell us about what that relationship means. We know that you guys are heartbroken. We can only imagine what a parent is dealing with in this kind of time. How close were they? What did it mean for them to go together and enjoy this together?
CAMPBELL: Her mom was her best friend. They were inseparable. She would come pick her up from work, and they would go to lunch together. They would just go do anything together. They -- that relationship was like no other.
I have a daughter myself. And I just hope that my -- our relationship could be the same.
I know that her mother loved spending time with her and cherishing her. And she was the baby. And, you know, whatever Bailey wanted to do, that's what they did. And they bent over backwards for Bailey. And still continue right now. I mean, they're doing whatever they possibly can to be with their daughter.
It's unimaginable on -- what her mom must be going through at this point. I can't even fathom what she would be feeling right now.
CUOMO: And I know that you guys will be there for the family. I mean, this is just an impossible situation to deal with. It's so hard to lose anybody, let alone when they're young. And then on top of it, when they're stolen this way by such violence, such evil.
You guys are young, as well. How are you dealing with all of this? How are you doing, Katelynn?
CLEVELAND: My best way to describe it is that I'm numb. You know, I have my moments of extreme sadness where all I can do is cry. And then I have my moments where, you know, I -- I know that she's in a better place. You know, she's -- she is flying high, and she's watching us from above. And that brings me peace. But in a selfish way, I'm angry. You know, I wish she was here, and I miss my friend.
CUOMO: Amy, part of the reason we tell these stories is so that we all remember who was lost and what they meant. What do you want people to know about your friend? What will you carry forward with you about her life and make it even more a part of your own now that you don't have her?