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Debate on Banning Bump Stocks; Corker Praises Members of Trump Administration; Tillerson Stays at State; Las Vegas Shooting Investigation. Aired 1-1:30p ET
Aired October 5, 2017 - 13:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: Hello, I'm Wolf Blitzer. It's 10:00 a.m. in Las Vegas, 1:00 here in Washington. Wherever you're watching from around the world, thanks very much for joining us.
We begin with a new and incredibly troubling question being raised by investigators in Las Vegas right now. Did the gunman who murdered 58 people there Sunday night act alone or did he have an accomplice? Listen to what the sheriff had to say.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOSEPH LOMBARDO, SHERIFF, CLARK COUNTY, NEVADA: I mean, you look at the weapon obtaining, different amounts of Tannerite available. Do you think this was all accomplished on his own? At self value -- at face value, you've got to make the assumption there -- he had to have help, at some point.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLITZER: Investigators are also trying to figure out whether something set the gunman off. They are specifically looking at what might have happened in the shooter's life around this time last year. That's when he started stockpiling more than 30 guns in what police were alleging was a, quote, "secret life." He eventually had massed close to 50 firearms but he didn't stop there.
According to investigators, 50 pounds of explosives were found in the gunman's car alone and he may have been planning to use those explosives. Police say there's evidence the shooter also had an escape plan. They also tell us that a note found in his room was not, repeat not, a suicide letter, but they won't reveal exactly what was written.
As for the shooter's girlfriend, police say she is cooperating. And her lawyer maintains she had no idea about her lover's deadly plot.
At this moment, 172 victims are still being treated in the hospital. The death toll remains at 58.
Let's bring in CNN's Dan Simon. He's in Las Vegas for us. Dan, as the investigation continues, we're learning a lot more about the shooter's very meticulous planning to carry out the attack, including that he may have actually planned to escape. DAN SIMON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: That's right, Wolf. That was certainly an interesting revelation that the sheriff brought up yesterday, saying that the shooter apparently had plans to escape. But he did not elaborate what those plans may have been. Did he have airline tickets? Was he planning to go somewhere? That, we don't know.
We do know that he did fire some rounds at aviation fuel tanks. Keep in mind, the airport is essentially next door. So, the question becomes, was he trying to create some kind of explosion? Was there some kind of diversionary tactic that he had planned? We don't know, Wolf.
We can tell you that the sheriff talked about the shooter's so-called secret life. What does that mean? Well, we know that the shooter apparently had no friends, no social media presence. So, that is making trying to determine a motive very difficult.
There are also reports that he scouted out other venues. We do know that he rented a condo in another part of Las Vegas just a week prior. There was another music festival going on. There are also reports that he was looking at locations perhaps in Chicago and Boston. So, you have to wonder, were there other plans, in addition what he had here in Las Vegas.
Meantime, I also want to talk a little bit about the girlfriend. We do know that she spoke to FBI investigators yesterday. According to her lawyer, she is cooperating. But the bottom line, Wolf, she says that she had no knowledge that he was going to carry out this plan -- Wolf.
BLITZER: All right, Dan, thanks very much. Dan Simon on the scene for us in Las Vegas.
And as investigator put together the pieces of what happened Sunday night, the clear timeline is emerging of how the incident unfolded.
Here's what we know right now. At 10:05 p.m. local time, Stephen Paddock fires the first shots into the music festival crowd below. At 10:12 p.m., two Las Vegas police officers make it to the 31st floor. One radios that he can hear automatic fire coming from one floor above them. At 10:15, paddock fires the final shots which are recorded on an officer's body camera.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Watch it. Get down, get down, get down.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Where are you? Where are you?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Go. Go.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLITZER: Then, at 10:17 p.m., the two officers arrive on Paddock's floor.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LOMBARDO: OK. The officers on the first strike team reached the 32nd floor within 12 minutes, which is phenomenal, of the first shot being fired. When the officers arrived and confirmed the location of the suspect's room, the gunfire had stopped.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
[13:05:09] BLITZER: Police say from 10:26 to 10:30 p.m., eight more officers arrive on the 32nd floor and moved down the hall, clearing rooms along the way in case Paddock had barricaded himself. Then, at 11:20 p.m., SWAT officers used explosives to breach Paddock's sweet. Inside, they discover him on the floor dead. All told, it took 75 minutes from the start of the shooting until officers breached that hotel suite and found the killer's body.
Since those fateful 75 minutes, investigators have worked around the clock to identify the shooter and to try to figure out why he did it. In fact, more than 100 investigators alone are dedicated to building what they call a profile of this mass murderer.
I want to bring in Joe Navarro to help us through the profiling process. He's a former senior profiler with the FBI, also wrote a book on how to identify harmful people called "Dangerous Personalities."
So, Joe, police say the shooter led what they -- what they say was a secret life that we never -- we may never fully understand how much of it unfolded. How do you go about putting together a profile on a mass murder, a killer like this?
JOE NAVARRO, FORMER SENIOR PROFILER, FBI: Well, that's a great question, Wolf. And you start with whatever you can gather.
I mean, investigators are going to be going through this individual's clothing. They're going to look at his shoes to see where those shoes have been. They're going to go through everything in his house. They're going to go through hairs and fibers in his car. They're going to identify everybody that interacted with him and hopefully they'll -- you know, they'll go back two or three years.
Because one of the things that we have to account for is all of his time and all of his behavior. And even then, we may not necessarily know the full aspect of this individual's personality or even his motive.
BLITZER: Is it common for suspect, a killer like this, to spend such a long time meticulously planning an attack of this magnitude, only to leave behind no manifesto, no clear motive as to why he did it?
NAVARRO: You know, Wolf, everything speaks to me, of this individual who planned meticulously, who was conniving, who obviously was being deceptive. And as we saw Sunday, who has a complete disregard for human life.
And what this tells me is that we may be looking at an individual that is a psychopath. And if that's the case, you know, history is replete with individuals who, in fact, go through life high functioning and then something happens. Look at the war criminals from Bosnia who spent most of their life just doing their work. And then, when war broke out, these psychopathic traits come out. This is not that unusual.
BLITZER: From what you know about the gunman, and all of us know, based on what the authorities are telling us, do you think this is something he could have pulled off by himself?
NAVARRO: You know, that one's -- we still need to see more of the evidence. But one thing I've learned from interviewing people like this is never underestimate their capacity to do so many things. When we -- when we look at people like Ted Bundy and other serial killers, who obviously weren't shooters, but their facility to escape, to get away, to hide, to conceal, it wouldn't prize me that he worked alone.
BLITZER: Joe Navarro, thanks very much.
We're also getting new aerial footage right now from the scene of the Las Vegas massacre. The images show the aftermath of the horrific attack, vestiges of the chaos that unfolded.
And as we look at these pictures, authorities are questioning whether the gunman carried out a dry run before the attack or whether he considered attacking another concert. Before the attack, on the country music festival, the killer actually rented a room in a condo complex overlooking the "Life is Beautiful" concert venue. Police say, he rented the condo at the Ogden from a private owner.
Let's bring in the mayor of Las Vegas, Carolyn Goodman who's been well briefed on the investigation. Mayor, thanks, as usual, for joining us.
First of all, what's your reaction to the news that the gunman possibly had scoped out another even larger music festival in your beautiful, wonderful city of Las Vegas?
[13:10:04] CAROLYN GOODMAN, MAYOR, LAS VEGAS, NEVADA: I think there has to be information there which I'm sure the investigators and our law enforcement are going to find out. That if, in fact, a reservation, that takes time. You just -- you know, they have to get that and they have to get clearance from your -- whatever you're using, an American Express card.
The same thing for to have that particular location at Mandalay Bay with those two window exposures. They had to have -- he had to have scoped that, in my opinion, and gone ahead and made that reservation. He didn't just do it the day before, especially 22,000 attendees coming in for that concert.
So, there -- I think, I'm very confident, we're going to find out very quickly or, you know, certainly from those two venues, the Ogden and the Mandalay, when were those reservations made. And I'm sure it's all part of the investigation. BLITZER: And as you point out, this massacre in Las Vegas was
meticulously planned. The massive arsenal of weapons and explosives that were discovered. The use of what's called those bump stock devises to make the weapons operate like automatic rifles. The cameras to track police as they closed in. Are you surprised, mayor, by that level of planning?
GOODMAN: You know, I think people who have -- are full of hate and anger and have a plan and are impassioned by the plan -- one thing is that I cannot believe somebody else doesn't know about it, didn't know about it. You can't live anywhere and have close friends, relatives that -- unless they've never seen you and live far away. That they don't know that you have something going on.
BLITZER: And this just coming in, Mayor, as we speak, to CNN. As we speak, CNN is now learning that a person matching the gunman's name actually reserved a room at the Blackstone Hotel in Chicago during the same time as the lollapalooza music festival was going on. I know you're well briefed on this. Have you heard anything about other venues outside of Las Vegas that he may have been casing?
GOODMAN: Other than what is reported, no. And I think, you know, we're all learning. But we have the professionals and that's their job. And we have all been trained in the process of keeping a safe city here. We know our role is and that's a part of mine. I really trust those who are charged with the follow-up and the investigation and the thoroughness. But we're all ready here to step in and help in any way we can and do what they want us to do in the investigative process.
BLITZER: Is there anything more that hotels in Las Vegas, or in other cities for that matter, can do to prevent someone from amassing an arsenal, along the lines that this gunman had in that hotel suite at the Mandalay Bay?
GOODMAN: You know, I think that's going to be left to the private partnerships that are out there to make an assessment. But keep in mind, this is just Las Vegas. When you do something that is going to be so far reaching, it becomes international.
And then, are you talking about having to do the same thing in every office building, every performing arts, every government building? How are you going to see this play out? And so, we have to be very careful of the reaction and the planning and what's realistic. And then, how is it going to be funded?
So, what we're about, really, is any time that people see something, say -- you know, you see something, say something. But, more importantly, for those of us who have families, are involved in the community. You see somebody that has problems or you suspect it, better to report it than just pass by it and say, it can't be, it can't be.
Because I remember Sandy Hook and I do remember Paris and the Boston marathon and the list, unfortunately, keeps going. And you take all the people that are involved in these horrible incidents, you have less than 100 people. And there are 350 million plus that live in the country.
BLITZER: The sheriff in Clark County where Las Vegas is suggests the shooter may actually have had some help. First of all, have you been briefed on that? What is your assessment?
GOODMAN: Well, he said, may. And when I hear the word, may, it's not definitive. I don't go on rumor and I'm sure -- I'm not casting assertions on our wonderful sheriff and what he has done. But that means he's, really, relying on the investigative arm and what they are doing. So, you know, we can all surmise that this may have happened or that may. But I'm not -- that's, again, not my role.
BLITZER: Mayor Carolyn Goodman of Las Vegas. Good luck to everyone in Las Vegas. We will, of course, stay --
BLITZER: -- in very close touch with you. Thanks for joining us.
GOODMAN: Thanks for having me back, Wolf.
BLITZER: Urgent questions about what the gunman's girlfriend knows. She's now speaking out. You're going to hear what she says about their love life and the rampage.
[13:15:00] Plus, a possible turning point in the gun control debate. Why Republicans, many of them, suddenly seem open to banning what are called these bump stocks used to rapidly fire weapons.
And a Republican senator taking a dig at the president, revealing what he thinks is the only thing saving the U.S. from chaos.
This is CNN's special live coverage.
BLITZER: The gun control debate takes a surprising turn in the wake of the massacre in Las Vegas. Only moments ago, Florida Republican Congressman Carlos Curbelo said he plans to introduce legislation as early as later today to ban the sale of the so-called bump stocks used in this horrific attack. It's an idea that's clearly gaining support among many Republican lawmakers.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. PAUL RYAN (R), HOUSE SPEAKER: I think we're quickly coming up to speed with what this is. 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.
[13:20:03] SEN. TOM COTTON (R), ARKANSAS: I'd be willing to entertain any kind of device that turns a semiautomatic weapon, which is defined simply as one pull of the trigger equals one round discharge, and an automatic weapon, which means one pull of the trigger equals an unlimited number of rounds discharged until your ammunition is expired or until your barrel overheats.
SEN. JEFF FLAKE (R), ARIZONA: Anybody who heard the audio or saw video and heard what that sounded like, you know, you thought, that's an automatic weapon. Automatic weapons have been illegal since the 1930s. So, yes, there are going to be some hearings.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLITZER: Democratic Senator Jack Reed of Rhode Island is joining us now from Capitol Hill.
Senator, how surprised are you by the willingness now of several of these Republican lawmakers in the House and Senate to at least even consider a ban on these bump stocks?
SEN. JACK REED (D), RHODE ISLAND: Well, it's an encouraging development because we have seen in the last several years after Orlando, after Sandy Hook, there was no real interest even for hearings into doing something to effectively prevent these weapons that fall in the hands of people who are unstable and, in the case of Las Vegas, homicidal. So I think that's encouraging. And I hope it develops into real legislation. And I'm a co-sponsor on the Senate side. I think it's something that has to be done and has to be done quickly.
BLITZER: A senior Republican member in the House has pointed out -- and there have been a few others who have pointed out -- that these bump stocks used to make a semiautomatic weapon into an automatic weapon, for all practical purposes, were actually approved by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms back in 2010 during the Obama administration. What do you make of that?
REED: Well, I think the approval was based upon the reading of the law. As you recall under the Clinton administration, we banned assault weapons. That ban expired under the Bush administration, a Republican Congress, and I think probably the individuals at the bureau were looking at the letter of the law and said, as my colleagues defined it, an assault weapon as one pull, one round, a semiautomatic. They felt, I guess, no other avenue than approve it. But I -- I think it should be banned, very clearly. That's why the legislation should take place.
BLITZER: Yes, apparently, at least according to former ATF agents, they said they had to take a very close look at the letter of the law, the specific letter of the law, which didn't necessarily ban these bump socks, and, as a result, they went forward. But looks like they may go away, at least for now. A lot of people are going out and buying those bump stocks right now, suspicious that they won't be around much longer.
Another subject, senator. Your colleague, your Republican colleague, Bob Corker of Tennessee, the chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee, he took a not so veiled swipe at President Trump while praising some members of the Trump administration. Listen carefully to this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. BOB CORKER (R), TENNESSEE: I think Secretary Tillerson, Secretary Mattis and Chief of Staff Kelly are those people that helped separate our country from chaos.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLITZER: Do you agree with his assessment?
REED: I do. I think that those individuals are thoughtful. They are experienced. And their participation in the process has made a difference on several occasions, and a very positive difference.
I think what the president does is to create incoherence on a policy. You have Secretary Tillerson in China making statements including opening up communications with North Korea, and then he's under cut. That's not the way to conduct diplomacy. And I think it happens too often. And as a result, we're relying on people like Secretary Tillerson and General Kelly and Secretary Mattis to provide more coherence, more continuity and more capacity.
BLITZER: In the face of what you fear is, what, the president's policy, the president's strategy, the chaos that apparently Senator Corker was referring to? Is that what you're saying?
REED: Well, I think it's -- I don't know if it delivers a policy of chaos. It's -- but it seemed to be very impulsive, very of the moment, not a long-term strategy. The situation in North Korea is very challenging. Everyone says we have to pursue a diplomatic approach and yet we don't have an ambassador in South Korea. That's something I think a president would immediately try to remedy. We don't have an assistant secretary confirmed for the area. So we have capacity issues.
Then we have a secretary of state who's dealing with this issue directly, on one of the most significant regional powers, China, and the president just undercuts his statement entirely. All of that might not be any sort of plan. It's just the impulsive actions of the president. And that's -- that's not helpful in a diplomatic situation.
[13:25:09] BLITZER: You've been around for a while, senator. As you know, the secretary of state, Rex Tillerson, he's denying that he ever threatened to resign. He's downplaying the tension between himself and President Trump. He didn't, though, directly deny that he had called the president a moron. How long do you think Tillerson will last as secretary of state?
REED: Well, I don't know. But I think, regardless of his position, that there is just such an indication of dysfunction between the president, the State Department. As I said, the capacity levels over there are not what they should be just simply in terms of South Korean ambassador and a confirmed assistant secretary. So, you know, this might be a situation where Secretary Tillerson stays, but it's still entirely dysfunctional. And we can't afford that because the alternative to diplomacy is a very, very serious set of options that are on the table in terms of military action. BLITZER: Senator Reed, thanks so much for joining us.
REED: Thank you, Wolf.
BLITZER: As the sheriff in Clark County says, the Las Vegas gunman had to have had some help. The killer's girlfriend is now speaking out about their relationship and how she reacted to the mass murder.
Also, I'll speak live with Nevada's lieutenant governor, who's in touch with the investigators. What he's hearing about the reports that the gunman may have cased other locations. Stand by.