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Probe for Gunman Accomplice; Las Vegas Massacre Motive; First Responders Press Conference. Aired 12-12:30p ET

Aired October 5, 2017 - 12:00   ET


[12:00:22] JOHN KING, CNN ANCHOR: Welcome to INSIDE POLITICS. I'm John King. Thanks for sharing your day with us.

Las Vegas mass murderer Stephen Paddock went on a rifle buying spree in the past year, averaging three firearm purchases a month. But authorities still at a loss to explain why.


SHERIFF JOSEPH LOMBARDO, LAS VEGAS METROPOLITAN POLICE: Usually there's a telltale (ph) sign associated with these types of actions. You know, reclusive, a plethora of things associated with the mindset. And we have not found that yet.


KING: The horror in Vegas brings a big shift here in Washington. Key Republicans say they are open to outlawing a device Paddock used to convert semiautomatic rifles into rapid fire killing machines.


REP. PAUL RYAN (R), HOUSE SPEAKER: Fully automatic weapons have been banned for a long time. Apparently this allows you to take a semiautomatic, turn it into a fully automatic. So clearly that's something we need to look into.


KING: And team Trump says, oh, no, it's fake news. There's no new cabinet chaos. So why then did the president's chief of staff need to mediate tensions between the president and his secretary of state?


SEN. BOB CORKER (R), TENNESSEE: I think Secretary Tillerson, Secretary Mattis and Chief of Staff Kelly are those people that help separate our country from chaos. I support them very much.


KING: More on that in a moment.

But we're standing by for an update from first responders in Las Vegas. We'll take you there live when it happens. That's the room right there. Fire equipment, other EMS and response equipment there by first responders in Vegas. Again, they tell us, an important update just moments away. We will take you there live.

We also have chilling new details about the month leading up to the deadliest massacre in modern American history. And this newly obtained video, taken by a city worker, showing terrified concert goers trying to escape.






UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Run! Go! Go! Go! Everybody go!


KING: Police now saying the gunman, Stephen Paddock, methodically stockpiled weapons and more. Fifty pounds of explosives and 1,600 rounds of ammunition found in his car in the hotel parking lot. That in addition to dozens of firearms discovered at the gunman's various homes and properties. Investigators now exploring a sudden surge in Paddock's gun purchases. Thirty-three firearms total, mostly rifles, since October of last year. That averages three guns a month.

Which leads to the question, did something happen last October? Another question, did he really do all this solo?


SHERIFF JOSEPH LOMBARDO, LAS VEGAS METROPOLITAN POLICE: I mean you look at the weapon obtaining, the different amounts of Tanarite available, do you think this was all accomplished on his own? Self- value (ph) -- face-value, you've got to make the assumption their -- he had to have some help at some point.


KING: An assumption, but still waiting on the facts. CNN's Dan Simon, part of our team tracking the investigation in Las Vegas.

Dan, what's the latest?


You just wonder, was there something going on in Stephen Paddock's life a year ago that would make him go on this shopping spree and buy all of these weapons, 33 weapons bought in a single year. So they're going to be zeroing in on what happened last October when this shopping spree began. But at this point I think it's clear, John, that a motive remains elusive.

The sheriff talked about Paddock's so-called secret life. What does that mean? Well, we know that he did not have a social media presence. Apparently had few friends. So that's making the investigation difficult in terms of trying to ascertain a motive.

There's also the question, were other venues targeted? The sheriff mentioned that Paddock rented a condo in another part of Las Vegas just the week prior that overlooked another music festival. There are also other published reports that he may have been scouting locations in Chicago and Boston. And we just heard the sheriff talk about whether or not Paddock had help, saying that he must have had help in some fashion given the meticulous planning involved.

There's also the question of whether or not Paddock planned to escape. The sheriff says there were some plans involved, but he did not elaborate.

Meantime, let's talk a little bit about the girlfriend. We know that she did speak to investigators yesterday. Her attorney put out a statement saying that she is fully cooperating. But the bottom line is, she says that she had no plans that he intended to commit this mass atrocity.

I do want to talk a little bit about this wire that we had heard about. We know that it was in the amount of $100,000. A wire that Stephen Paddock sent to the Philippians where she was visiting family. She said that she viewed that wire as something of a break-up gift. That she thought that Paddock may have wanted to end the relationship and that she should use that money to buy herself a house or for her family in the Philippines.


KING: Dan Simon on the ground for us in Vegas, tracking the investigation. Appreciate it, Dan.

Let's get some perspective now from David Shepherd. He's also joining us from Las Vegas, former FBI special agent who ran security for the Venetian Hotel and Resort. He's also the co-author of "Active Shooter."

Sir, let me just start with this.

When you here now 33 guns purchased in the last year, perhaps a trigger event last October or perhaps just a decision to start then, what does that tell you if you were trying to put together the pieces of exactly what happened and the big question why?

DAVID SHEPHERD, FORMER FBI SPECIAL AGENT: That's the biggest question is to figure out why somebody starts at that particular time and moved forward with a plan to cause destruction and death or what he did. And that's one of the biggest answers. We want to have closure as a society, as a community, and as the victim's families. They want to know exactly why he did what he did and what's the cause. KING: And when you hear the chief of police last night -- the sheriff, I should call him, excuse me, saying, you know, we keep looking for some sort of event. Normally you find a note. You find a conversation with a friend, a conversation with a neighbor, something in the early electronic forensics that gives you the key to that question. What does it tell you that several days later the chief says there's still nowhere?

SHEPHERD: Well, that's unusual for us to take a look at. There's generally been like 56 different reasons why somebody was an active shooter. Whether that be from revenge, they lost a bunch of money, a love triangle went bad, either got bad with a boss, each of those type things come back into something to look at. Some of them are straight loners. He didn't even turn around -- like 81 percent of the active shooters turned around and tell people ahead of time they're going to do something. We haven't seen that at all from what I've heard. He didn't put it on social media.

KING: And, David --

SHEPHERD: We've had -- go ahead, sir.

KING: I was just going to say, from your experience, your post FBI experience with the Venetian, your experience there in Las Vegas, what is this event going to do to security in that city?

SHEPHERD: Well, it's not in this city, it's a lot of cities, because the actual event took place in an open air festival. And almost every city in the United States has an open air festival. Now you have to start looking at what high-rise, whether it be a hotel, casino, a business building, insurance, a condo now as being a potential shooting zone back (INAUDIBLE). That is going to open up a whole new area.

For our industry, we're having a meeting in a little bit talking about how we need to take and change, what we need to do on the entire strip throughout -- by law enforcement, by each of the responders. And that's why we have a monthly meeting. And we're going to meet in about an hour.

KING: David Shepherd, appreciate your insights on the ground in Las Vegas. Keep in touch with us after that meeting to see what changes might be coming, not only in Vegas, but recommendations for other areas. Important questions. Again, appreciate your time, sir.

Police say the Las Vegas shooter had retrofitted a dozen guns with what's called bump fire stocks, also known as bump stocks. This has led to a new push on Capitol Hill to ban this type of device all together.

So what exactly is a bump stock? You can see it there. It's highlighted in a photo from the gunman's hotel room. A bump stock enables a semiautomatic rifle to fire rapidly, just like a fully automatic weapon. The bump stock is attached to the receiver of the rifle, replacing the standard stock that fits against the shooter's shoulder. The stock then uses that recoil effect to bounce the rifle off the shoulder and essentially bump -- that's where the term comes from -- the trigger back into the trigger finger, thereby allowing the shooter to fire the weapon repeatedly without having to release the trigger.

Democrats have gone (ph) in recent days to ban this device all together, and now senior Republicans telling CNN, it looks like there are enough Republicans on board in the House of Representatives that something might actually pass.

With us today to share their reporting and their insight's, "Politico's" Rachael Bade, "Bloomberg's" Sahil Kapur, Michael Shear of "The New York Times," and "The Wall Street Journal's" Laura Meckler.

That is a shift. I remember going down to Virginia Tech after the horrible shooting there when you had a Republican president, George W. Bush, and the NRA then said it was open to some changes. It never happened. But the -- there did seem to be at least a brief climate where something might happen after a mass shooting. I haven't heard anything from the NRA yet. But when you hear the number two Republican in the Senate, John Cornyn, the speaker of the House, Paul Ryan, saying, let's take a look at this, do you believe it will happen?

RACHAEL BADE, "POLITICO": I think that this is 100 percent a different attitude than anything we've seen from Republicans before. So, potentially, yes, something could happen. My sources -- Republican sources and gun advocates here in Washington are telling me to watch for two things. The first one being legislation. In the Senate they're talking about a bill to either ban these bump stocks or make them harder to get.

But there's a lot of talk right now, and I think you're going to see more in the coming days, about going to the executive branch and talking to ATF about what they could do about this. There is some -- I've talked to very pro-rights -- pro-gun rights Republicans in the House who are saying, maybe these weren't allowed under current law. We should reexamine when they were approved in 2010 under the Obama administration and see if it even, you know -- does it adhere to the current law, because technically you're not supposed to be able to buy this semiautomatic weapon and purchase something to make it an automatic weapon without going through more hurdles. So we could see that discussed in the coming days.

MICHAEL SHEAR, "THE NEW YORK TIMES": I've got to say, I -- I mean I'm skeptical. And maybe that's just because of having gone through so many of these things before and seeing what happened after Newtown and the question -- and the sort of very, very temporary, you know, sort of feeling of, we've got to do something. And then that vanished, you know, pretty quickly. And, you know, I guess I'd watch one, you know, do the -- does the NRA finally come out and do some of the other gun groups, some of them who have already said like this -- that, you know, this is -- they don't want to even, you know, entertain this.

And, two, you know, at the end of the day, even if this did happen, it's such a small kind of move forward, you do wonder whether some of the other folks, the gun group -- the groups that are pro-gun control efforts might not use this as a vehicle to try to do more, which could then (INAUDIBLE). It's just -- maybe it will happen. You know, there's clearly a lot of talk that's different this time. But we're only days away and I just hear -- feel like --

KING: I think part of that question is, what does the president of the United States say? When you have the speaker of the House and the number two Senate Republicans who's from Texas, Paul Ryan's from Wisconsin, two states where you have a sportsman's culture and a pro- gun rights culture saying, let's take a look at this, that's a big shift.

I just want to play -- the president of the United States was asked about this yesterday, is it time to talk about gun control? He wasn't ready to answer.


QUESTION: Mr. President, does America have a gun -- gun violence problem?

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Well, we're not going to talk about that.


KING: That's a gun violence problem. Before -- I know you want to -- just one more tape. This is Kellyanne Conway, the president's senior adviser. This is why some Republicans says this might actually get done because not only can they do something in the wake of this horrible shooting, but they can blame somebody else. Listen.


KELLYANNE CONWAY, COUNSELOR TO THE PRESIDENT: We are hearing from so many legislators and so many individuals in this country, and you read it publicly too, Chris, they never even heard of a bump stock before. And so I did note -- I did note, and it's in "The New York Times" as well, that it was President Obama's ATF, the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms, in 2010 that decided not to regulate this device. That should be part of the conversation and part of the facts that you put before your viewers.


KING: That's true. This is the ATF letter from 2010 where they -- they said the interpretation at the time was, this was not a device that was outside the law because you actually had to go through other steps.

Does that make it quote/unquote easier for Republicans to say we're fixing what we believe was a misinterpretation or a mistake by the Obama administration?

LAURA MECKLER, "THE WALL STREET JOURNAL": Well, possibly. It would be -- if they want to act, they have a reason to make it easier to act.

But, keep in mind, this isn't a matter of just what is their answer to the question when you ask them, are you in favor of this? I think it's pretty hard to say, as we've seen on The Hill, people to say that, no, I support this device. I mean there's -- there's -- especially just days after this tragedy.

The question is, is there the motivation to actually bring a bill to the floor of the House and the Senate and actually move it forward? And especially as we get further away from this issue, as reporters stop asking the question day in and day out and they -- and they -- and we move on to something else, are they going to feel strongly enough?

When we didn't hear from Republicans, yes, this is something we need to do and I'm going to make it happen. We heard a lot of Republicans say is, I'm open to this, which is -- which is perhaps the politically smart answer now. I mean I just -- I guess, like Mike, I've also seen this debate play itself out so many times. I'm very skeptical.

KING: Well, we should -- we should -- number one, we shouldn't stop asking the questions. I --

MECKLER: I agree, but history shows that people do. I mean I -- I recall during the Obama administration, you know, asking this question at the White House several times and being scolded for it. Like, why are you so obsessed with this issue? It's not -- people move on.

KING: But to Michael's point on Capitol Hill, if you brought legislation to the floor, if they don't do it administratively, if you brought it -- legislation to the floor that said we're going to ban these bump stocks, probably pass overwhelmingly. The question is, would Democrats then say, what about magazines, or what about this kind of rifle, or what about this or what about that. That's the issue.

SAHIL KAPUR, BLOOMBERG NEWS: That's part of it. I would say, you know, I agree with Republicans on gun control. I always stick to the proposition of, believe it when you see it. It's very easy after a shooting like this to say, we'll consider it. We'll look at it. This is horrific.

But I was covering the gun control debate after Newtown. A classroom full of dead children prompted Congress to do nothing. On a 90/10 issue like background checks.

MECKLER: Exactly.

KAPUR: Overwhelmingly in support. It's not about the particular policy issue, even if they do support it. What they are afraid of is this primal instinct among single issue gun owners in their base who think that if you regulate background checks today, if you do bump stocks today, tomorrow you're going to repeal the Second Amendment and take my guns.

SHEAR: Right, and keep in mind --

KAPUR: And that the gun lobby has done a lot to rigorously enforce that mentality and they're miles ahead financially in an activism aspect (ph).

SHEAR: In time --

KING: Right.

SHEAR: And time is the --

KING: The mentality is key. You see it -- you see it. It's not just the NRA. It's groups that are even more out there than the NRA saying, you know, Hillary and Obama are going to knock on your door and take your guns if you allow this.

[12:15:02] SHEAR: And time is never on the side of the people who want to regulate guns in any greater ways. When the Obama folks delayed after Newtown and said they would take three months to sort of look into the issue and sort of compile --

KING: Right.

SHEAR: It was -- it was lost at that point because -- and, you know, the closer we get to elections, right, that's what's coming up in 2018. And it's not the November elections that are the concern, right? It's the primary elections. And those are even -- those are even --

BADE: Sooner.

KAPUR: I would keep your eye on Senator McConnell. He has -- he has not said anything about this and he's not the type of person that -- you know, to dilly dally and say, I'm going to consider this, consider that. If he is not saying this, then I don't think it's going to happen.

KING: That's a key point. I think Leader McConnell and then the president of the United States was -- as he gets more briefed on this, is he -- is he willing to step up, who took such a partnership with the NRA during the presidential campaign and since, is he willing to step up and say this is one thing we can all agree on. We'll see.

Of course the reason we're talking about this today is in the faces of the people who died in that senseless attack in Las Vegas. Here's most of them right there, 58 people killed that horrible night. A short time ago, one of the victims' sons was here on CNN.


MARCUS GUILEN, MOTHER KILLED IN MUSIC FESTIVAL ATTACK: She was such a hard worker, a fighter. Everything she did inspired us just to be a better person, you know. Just spending time with her. Even if it was five minutes to three days or the whole month, just, yes, every moment with her was a great moment.


KING: The stories that you hear are heartbreaking.

We want to remind you, we're waiting for this press conference to begin in Clark County, that's out in Las Vegas, from first responders who were there that night. They want to tell us about how they responded, what equipment they used. We'll bring you that event when it happens. We'll be right back.


KING: Want to get you straight out to Clark County, Las Vegas. The fire chief briefing us on efforts by fire department and other first responders. Let's listen.

CHIEF GREG CASSELL, CLARK COUNTY FIRE DEPARTMENT: Behind me are people that I truly love and respect. Members of my staff, members of other fire departments are here because we have -- and I'll talk about the training we've done later and the preparation as a community to handle events of any magnitude. And it's very important to me -- I asked them to be here because I want to show that unity in the fire service across the board.

[12:20:07] And also our friends and partners from Metro. We love to make fun of each other. We have some incredibly good laughs. But these four gentlemen specially right here are wonderful friends to us and we'll talk a little bit more about that in a minute.

Now, I want to go over some recap. I'm going to go over some information and I'll take some questions at the end. I will at some point in time throw an end to questions because I know that we have to get this over with and I've seen how these things go and people ask a lot of questions that really don't need to be asked.

So with that said, I do want to introduce two people here to my right. This is Fire Captain Steve Thompson (ph). He's the president of Fire International Association of Firefighters Local 1908. They are the representative group for Clark County Fire Department firefighters.

And to my left here is Deputy Chief Roy Sessions (ph). He's our operations chief. He's the gentlemen for me that takes care of everything that's got a siren in this organization that rolls down the road to handle the business of our organization and our community. They all fall under him. It's his responsibility.

So with that said, we all know that on Sunday night, something that we did not foresee at the magnitude of which it was took place in our valley at one of our outdoor venue. We had more than 520 people injured, 58 deceased, citizens, as a result of that incident, and more than 200 patients transported to area hospitals by fire -- by EMS crews. Some by fire crews, some by EMS crews. Our hospitals saw over 500 patients. It's amazing the amount of work that took place at those hospitals. The dedication of those doctors, those nurses and the staffs at those facilities that did such a great job.

We had a lot of challenges with this event, with this incident. And the challenges we had -- because of how complicated things are on where this venue was and how the people immediately, and rightfully so, began to extract themselves from the danger area. We had more than 32 reports of gunshot victims coming into our fire alarm office which created 32 separate incidents instead of a main one, and that's common in an event like this because they're just getting calls and this person is shot here, this person is shot here. It took them a while to tie into (ph), hey, this is all under one incident number. So we have 32 incident numbers tied to this and we're still trying to crush the data into one usable format.

We also had reports of, you know, people would show up at hotels, say, Caesar's Palace or other places where they were shot. Well, by the time that information got relayed out to responders, well, police and fire, it was, there's a shooter at this location, where there wasn't a shooter at that location, it was just somebody that was shot that showed up at that location, via Uber or running or whatever. So that complicated our response. And so for a certain amount of time that evening we knew we had what was going on at the concert venue and we're starting to think, uh-oh, are we having attacks at other locations? Again, our police officers, both Metro, I saw strike teams out there that night from Henderson PD, from North Vegas PD. They all came together, as we have trained, and they addressed every one of those other sites that turned out not to be shootings but just where victims ended up.

We also had people jump the fence, break through the fences, and get into the airport property. They were laying in between the runways, trying to take cover, because those -- those areas are carved out between the runways and the taxi ways. And then we had reports of gunshots fired at the airport. So there was another example of, we had a lot on our hands. A lot we thought was escalating when it was really contained but we just didn't know because of so many calls coming in. We had to vet every one of those things out with a police response and a fire response.

This is also the first time that we've deployed a rescue task force on a significant event. And we'll talk about what the rescue task force competent is in a little bit. But it's something that's been worked on that's valid for many, many years.

At the event, there was a stand by crew of approximately 16 EMS/paramedic personnel from community ambulance. They performed wonderfully under fire, literally under fire, taking care of patients that were right there in front of them in a very bad situation. So my hats off to that standby EMS crew that was taking care of people there.

There were also numerous, numerous, numerous civilians and off duty fire and EMS personnel, not only from the local area but from around the country, that immediately enacted what they're trained on. They started treating patients. They started helping people extract. They started doing the things that they were trained on, even though they were off duty. Some of the gentlemen sitting in the front row today are members of my organization and our organization -- I'll just take it personal, it's mine, but our organization that were there either as responders or concert goers that went into action that night.

I have purposely Monday morning issued somewhat of a gag order to my organization. I did it again, right? To my organization to not speak to the media because this was a very, very traumatic event. We have people that are hurt from this event psychologically. And I did not want them to be addressed by the media. I did not want them to have to relive that immediately. We wanted them to go home. We wanted them to see their wives, their girlfriends, their parents, their kids. We wanted them to hug those people. We wanted them to decompress. And we wanted to control the opportunity for the media to interact with our people. And that's why we're here today. We're going to allow that after this event. You will be able to speak to members of our organization.

[12:25:35] As far as our organization goes, the Clark County Fire Department, we've been somewhat planning on a major event in our valley for an awful, awful long time along these lines. About 2010, we were the first -- one of the first organization in the country to place one of the fire captains into the Fusion Center, the multiagency counter terrorism Fusion Center hosted by Las Vegas Metro. Through that we built relationships, we've developed response plans, we've met the community on many different fronts and we were able to build out a program to handle the situation such as this.

We also were the first to have a deputy chief foreseeing what was coming down the road. In 2015, I promoted deputy chief position from the battalion chief ranks, which is Deputy Chief Scott Webster (ph) right here, and all he does -- he does nothing with the fire anymore. He has absolutely no responsibilities. His responsibilities are law enforcement integration, dealing with strip security executives and teams, how do we integrate with them, how do we get in and out of your properties, how do we help you stay safe, and doing counterterrorism work with the Fusion Center and the MAC TECH (ph) group, which I'll talk a little bit more about.

Through that step, we began training our personnel. We were building a policy that had never been built before. We've built this policy and we've shared it nationwide. And it took an awful long time it took years. We'd developed plans. We'd run drills and find out what was wrong. We'd come back to the table. We'd redesign it. Go back out and do it again. It took us repetitive cycles over years to get it to where we thought this is -- this is the format we want. It works in drills.

This value wide policy is shared among all police and law enforcement agencies. Las Vegas Metro's MAC TECH Unit, these gentlemen right here, trained all the other police agencies in town, including -- they train with FBI, tribal police, all the police agencies in town are all trained to the same level of what they call MAC TECH integration.

I want to introduce Sergeant Clarkson (ph) from Metro. He's the head of the MAC TECH division right now. Officer Burt Hughes (ph), Denny -- Dean Hennessey (ph) and Bobby Chamberlin (ph). They have been by our side through and through. And there's another gentlemen that I would be remiss if I did not mention, because he was driving this really hard at the front end, and he's retired now. His name is Joel Martin (ph). He was a lieutenant at Metro. And he was sort of a big driving force at getting this going back in the early 2010/2011 area.

So once the plan was built, we started running multijurisdictional drills. We've run drills at hotels. We've run drills at hotels. We've run drills in schools, malls, in all kinds of things, because that's where historically these things are taking place. We never planned on what happened the other night. However, our training, our equipment and the professionalism of our people took all that and responded to that event the other night because it was not anything we had planned on, an open venue, and patients, critically and mortally wounded patients from Tropicana to Russell and some as far as Blue Diamond. It was not in one building, it was not in one spot, it was not in one address. It was spread over a massive area.

We utilized our incident command system. It's a system that -- it's utilized across the country to manage events. It gives us the ability to have one person in charge or two people tied together, a police officer and a fire chief in this instance, to run the incident, to work together, to bring the right resources together and to not -- to limit the confusion of what one entity's requesting and what one entity is providing. This unified incident command saved lives. There's absolutely no doubt in my mind, the fact that we were standing toe to toe, shoulder to shoulder with police officers at the battalion chief level and the lieutenant and captain level at the police department to integrate our response was critical.

We've also performed reality-based training, where we've been in the situations with the police officers when they're engaging people and setting targets and training targets with their weapons. So some of our people have been around actual simulated gunfire with blanks during these events. We've gone up and beyond as far as I can tell, especially speaking with fellow fire chiefs across the country. They're very impressed. The one we even talked to, the cops. We love our cops and they love us. And so that paid off for us the other night in a way that we -- we hoped if we ever needed it, but we never really wanted to have to use it.

[12:29:55] So as far as the response that night, our response time to that incident, I can honestly say, for our first arriving unit, it was less than five seconds. And the reason I say that is Fire Engine 11, who's stationed about a mile south on Las Vegas Boulevard, was coming back from a traffic accident call. They had hooked left on Reno, headed east, turned onto Giles (ph)