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Las Vegas Police Briefing; Las Vegas Shooting; Las Vegas Shooting Suspect; Injuries at University Medical Center; Fifty Dead, 400 Plus Injured In Las Vegas Massacre. Aired 9-9:30a ET

Aired October 2, 2017 - 09:00   ET


[09:00:00] SHERIFF JOSEPH LOMBARDO, LAS VEGAS POLICE: Clark County commission chairman, Steve Sisalack (ph). He has been instrumental in getting us resources to the first responders as far as refreshments and food and support of the entire county commission.

I have been on the phone the entire night with the mayor, Carolyn Goodman. And she responded to UMC to check on the patients. And she is in the process of visiting the other hospitals and showing the support of the city.

And then, obviously, we have our congressman, Ruben Kihuen. He is in town to also show us our support.

So any questions for the members standing before you?

Yes, ma'am.

QUESTION: I know (INAUDIBLE) this is not terror related (INAUDIBLE).

LOMBARDO: Well, we have to establish what his motivation is first. And there's motivating factors associated with terrorism other than a distraught person just intending to cause mass casualty. Before we label with that, it will be a matter of process.

QUESTION: (INAUDIBLE) what that motive was?

LOMBARDO: No, we have not. No, we have not. We have not located any items within the room or his house at this point.


LOMBARDO: Yes, ma'am. It was a matter of normal practice and whenever we use a dynamic entry.

QUESTION: Sheriff Lombardo, (INAUDIBLE) that made you think (INAUDIBLE) the number of weapons that makes you think they'd been there for a while or --

LOMBARDO: No, we have information he's been there since the 28th of September. So I have no idea whether he prevented the housekeepers from entering the room or not. That's just a matter of continuing the investigation.

All right, thank you very much. We'll provide you an update probably in the next two hours. Thank you.

ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: You have been listening to Sheriff Joe Lombardo of the Las Vegas Police Department. He gave us some important updates here and they numbers are staggering. They have spiked during just the course of our show. Here are the headlines.

The death toll of the worst mass shooting in U.S. history is now over 50 he said, but he was unclear on exactly how many people have been killed because he doesn't have those numbers yet. He also said the injured have gone up to 400. He believes there are 400 people with injuries that are hospitalized. We don't know the scope of those injuries.

He also said he believes that the gunman killed himself. He was not the target -- he was not the victim of the police killing him or of them entering through an explosive device. They believe he killed himself and they found ten rifles, he says, in the hotel room. They believe the gunman was holed up in that hotel room since September 28th.

So, again, the worst mass shooting in U.S. history continues to unfold in terms of the developments.

And our breaking coverage of this massacre in Las Vegas will continue on CNN "NEWSROOM" with Poppy Harlow and John Berman.

ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: All right, we want to welcome our viewers in the United States and around the world. This is CNN's continuing live coverage of the deadliest mass shooting in U.S. history. More than 50 people dead, more than 400 injured. This in the rampage that targeted a country music festival on the Las Vegas Strip.

Police say a 64-year-old white man, a Nevada resident, Stephen Paddock opened fire from a room on the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay Hotel. He had ten guns at least. And he kept shooting and shooting and shooting before police blew their way into his room.

We just learned from police moments ago that the killer may have died from a self-conflicted gunshot wound. And we have audio of the raid.


OFFICER: We have sight on the suspects door. I need for everybody in that hallway to be aware of it and get back. We need to pop this and see if we can get any type of response from this guy. See if he's in here of if he's actually moved somewhere else.

DISPATCH: Copy. Al units on the 32nd floor, SWAT has explosive breach. Everyone in the hallway needs to move back. All units move back.

OFFICER: Breach, breach, breach.


POPPY HARLOW, CNN ANCHOR: The response of all of those police officers and SWAT teams just remarkable.

Now we want to show you this video that was filmed from the fourth row of the concert. It was just wrapping up a Jason Aldean concert. This as the shots broke out. The clip begins right after the initial burst of gunfire. After Aldean fled the stage, people realized what they were hearing was not fireworks. A warning to everyone, this is very difficult to watch.






UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Stay down! Stay down!



UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Can we get out of here?



[09:06:06] TAYLOR BENGE, SHOOTING WITNESS: Initially thought it was fireworks. But then right after the fireworks, they turned the lights on and about five feet from me you could see a guy with a bullet wound right in his neck, motionless. And from there on in it was just, you know, people started dropping like flies.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I heard a pop. It sounded like a firework or something. And then we heard a couple more pops different places in the stadium. And then it seemed like automatic gunfire. We heard, bam, bam, bam, bam.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And everyone's telling us to run, run as fast as you can. My husband and I ran out toward our car. And there were people hiding underneath my car for cover. And there was a gentleman that was shot and he said, can you help me? And so I put him in my car and I had like six people in my car. People without shoes running just to get away and --

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: People's blood. This is all blood splatter from people being dead and us having to be on top of them, basically to get out. We had to -- everyone had to fall on top of each other, whether they were alive or not, basically, just to stay down, because every time people got up, they would start shooting. Shooting. And it wasn't like, blaaa (ph), it was like just kept going.

(END VIDEO CLIP) HARLOW: It kept going for eyewitness say 10 to 15 minutes, constant. Police say the gunman's hotel room contained an arsenal of long rifles and other guns. At least 10 we're now hearing. They are searching his home in Nevada, the town of Mesquite. It's about 80 miles away from the Las Vegas Strip.

We are expecting to hear from the president. The president will speak this morning. Of course, you will see it live here. We'll bring you the time on that as soon as we have it.

Let's go straight to our Jean Casarez, who has been on the strip all night covering this from moments after it happened.

Jean, what else can you tell us?

JEAN CASAREZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, I can tell you, the sun is just about to rise here in Las Vegas. And what we heard from the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department was a little surprising just minutes ago. The chief said, quote, we are still accessing individuals, individuals that were hiding. And I have been here for hours. And when I first got to the scene, there was ambulance after ambulance going into the scene. I'm right at the south end of Las Vegas Boulevard, about a mile away from the crime scene. And then those ambulances would exit and you could see they were working on victims as one after the other would leave the scene.

But then it became to a point about three hours after that, that there were no more ambulances going in. But I have, in the last 20 minutes, seen two ambulances with lights on going into the crime area. And so I think that correlates with what the police chief is saying.

Also, we do understand 406 people -- 406 have been taken to emergency rooms around Las Vegas.

And the statement by the Las Vegas Police department in regard to the perpetrator, quote, he opened fire on a crowd of more than 22,000 concert goers. So if you ever had a question of what the intent was, where the shots were aimed for, that sentence, that quote from the Las Vegas Police Department virtually shows that there was a pointed attack on this country music crowd.

Now, I am on the side of the Las Vegas Boulevard. You can see Mandalay Bay is right behind me. The concert was across Las Vegas Boulevard, exactly across the street. So those shots had to come out of that 32nd floor window, cross the street of Las Vegas Boulevard, into that crowd of 22,000 people.

And as I've spoken to people all night, I've seen people in shock. I've seen people emotional. I've seen people trying to process what they just went through. But they -- they were trying to save their lives by going and under cars and under barricades, anywhere they could find to not be shot.

[09:10:06] Now, we do understand that the Red Cross is meeting with families because there are many people that do not know where their loved ones are right now. They are seeking to find what hospital they may be. The coroner has set up a hotline for people who have missing family members and cannot find them. And there is an all-out call today from United Blood for blood supply. They do need blood in this area.

BERMAN: And we have seen lines already, Jean, of people waiting to give blood, to do what they can to help the, you know, hundreds of people in need. More than 400 people now taken to area hospitals. An astounding number.

Jean Casarez for us on the Las Vegas Strip. Jean was there in the minutes after the shooting took place and has been there all night and all morning.

HARLOW: Of course, right away.

BERMAN: I want to bring in CNN justice correspondent Evan Perez with more on the suspect. I see Stephanie Elam up right now. I believe we have Evan.

Evan, if you are with us, we have more information on the suspect. What are you learning?

EVAN PEREZ, CNN JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: That's right. He is 64 years old. And according to the local police there, there is not much of a record on him. This is Stephen Paddock. We've done a search as well and we couldn't find any significant events in his background.

Police say that he was relatively unknown to both the local police department there in Mesquite, as well as in Las Vegas. But at this hour we know the FBI and the ATF are now on the scene helping the locals -- the local police to try to figure out what motive might be behind this, where he got the firearms.

As you heard from the video there and from the sheriff and the local police there in Las Vegas, they believe that this -- he was firing with an automatic weapon. And that's very rare. It's very hard to obtain those. You have to have registration to be able to have that. So one of the things that the investigators are looking for right now is where he obtained this firearm.

According to the police there, there were ten firearms that were recovered from the hotel room. They're doing traces to see where those firearms came from. But based on the fact that he didn't have any kind of prior criminal record, it appears that he would have been able to obtain these firearms legally. Again, we are still checking into the automatic firearm if that is indeed what it was that we heard there in those videos.

We know that the attorney general, Jeff Sessions, is working with the FBI right now trying to extend as much help as they can. They're still looking to see whether or not there's anything that they can figure out about the motivation.

One thing so far, John and Poppy, that they've -- at least at this point have crossed off the list is any ties to foreign terrorist groups, which is obviously one of the first things that comes to mind. At least right now they don't believe that there's any tie to foreign terrorist groups, which is obviously one of the first things that the FBI tries to check in cases like this.

HARLOW: OK, Evan Perez, we appreciate the reporting very, very much. Bring us more as you have it.

Let's go straight to the University Medical Center, the hospital where a number of these 400 plus injured people were transported. Stephanie Elam is there.

Stephanie, what can you tell us?


Well, what we understand is that this hospital where I am standing, University Medical Center of Southern Nevada, is the only level one trauma center in the state. And from what we understand, there are more than 100 patients that are here in this hospital.

We reached out to the hospital to find out how many people they have here. And they're saying they have more than 30 patients that were treated in the trauma center. Eight of the patient there taken to the operating room. And we also know that they have 12 patients that are in critical condition. So over 104 total patients admitted to this hospital of the more than 400 people that were transferred to hospitals.

They say that they are also working to make sure that they are getting blood donations. They say they are going to need blood. So they're saying that this is one of the places where they're going to do it. As we get later into the morning here, that they are going to ask people who are in the area if they could come and donate blood. They are going to need that here.

But it is also really crucial to understand that this is the only trauma center of this magnitude able to handle some of the most -- really difficult situations medically that they're only able to handle it here at this hospital here.


BERMAN: Stephanie Elam for us in Las Vegas. And we know from these mass shootings, the work of these doctors, it goes on and on and on at these trauma centers when these bodies keep on coming in and the people need so much help.

HARLOW: Four hundred.

BERMAN: Four hundred people taken to local hospitals.

Our thanks to Stephanie for that.

Joining us now by phone, Shelly Mallory (ph) and Becca Laws (ph). They were at this concert, at this country music festival when the shots rang out. Ladies, if you can hear me, thank you so much for being with us. We

are so sorry for the night that you have had, though we are glad for you that you're doing OK right now.

Becca, first to you. Tell me what you saw. How did this go down?

[09:15:01] BECCA LAWS, SHOOTING EYEWITNESS (via telephone): Well, we were sitting in a VIP section, which our backs were facing Mandalay Bay. And we were listening to the concert and we heard just a couple pops and we thought it was fireworks, maybe fireworks or fire crackers. Then the shots just rang out and they were constant. We hit the ground.

And we couldn't get under the bleachers where we were. So, we just hunkered down as best we could. I called my mother and told her there was a massive shooter and I had to go. I had to run and I called my husband as well. He's home with my daughters. We're from Florida and we got up and ran. We went down the bleachers.

The only way we could have exited would have been towards Mandalay Bay. I could tell the shots were coming that direction and so, we had to cross the field where people were getting shot. Every time we heard shots, we would hit the ground and just stay there until they would stop for about 30 or 40 seconds and we'd run as fast as we could.

We just thought we were going to die. There's no other thing. I thought the shooting would never end. We ran out of the field area and got to an area where there was a parking lot and I asked somebody if I could get in their vehicle and they said no.

So, we kept on running. We got to the hotel next door. People were trying to go into the back-door of the hotel next door. I don't remember the name, sorry. But we were trying to go in the back-door and people started screaming to run. People were getting trampled.

So, we started running again. We saw a couple standing by their truck and I said, please, are you leaving, please can we get in the car with you so we can get out of here and it was an off-duty police officer and his girlfriend, which is a corrections officer, and they let us get in the vehicle with them.

They took us to the Metro Police Department to stay there in their briefing room and the briefing room was chaotic. Every single police officer that was on or off duty was called in. And they were just coming in and grabbing tactical gear, long rifles, vests, and it was the worst night of my life.

POPPY HARLOW, CNN ANCHOR: Worst night of your life. It is hard for us to imagine what you went through. Of course, your children at home with your husband saying you thought the shooting would never stop.

Also, (inaudible) you guys are together with us on the phone. Talk to us about the officers that helped you because I understand you had asked some people to get in the car to flee. At first people didn't help you and then these off-duty officers helped. UNIDENTIFIED CALLER: Yes, this is Shelley. As we finally got out of the festival because there were actually only two exit gates. So, we ended up moving a barrier for us to get out of our seats and down on to the field where we ran across and kept ducking and running.

We got out of an entry gate and into the Tropicana parking lot. At that point, a gentleman was in a very large truck. We asked him if e we could get in his truck and he told us no, get away.

So, we kept running again and then we saw people going into the back- doors of the Tropicana, so we headed that way. Just as we were getting up there, we heard people screaming again, run, get out and they were shoving everybody back out into the parking lot.

At that point, I grabbed ahold of Becca again and said, come on, we have to keep going and we came across the officer and his girlfriend. They were getting into their truck and she just begged him to please let us in.

He said, yes, I'm an off-duty officer. He went to show her his badge, which at that point we didn't care if he had a badge or not. We just had to get out of there. He got us in the truck, we started driving away. He said we have to get off the strip.

Went straight -- we were staying at the plaza, but he said, no, you're coming with us to the police station. They got us in there. Still chaotic. Lots of things going on, like Becca said. Officers coming in and out. Some had been at the concert like the ones that brought us there.

[09:20:07] Some were covered in blood getting their gears and leaving to go. We stayed there for hours until we found out it was safe to come back and the sergeant's wife and the girlfriend that was the corrections officer actually helped us, brought us back to our hotel room to make sure that we were OK. Still want to know and make sure that we're OK and we get home safely when we get home to our family.

HARLOW: Pretty incredible people. Shelley, Becca, we're so glad you're OK. So sorry you had to experience such horror. Thank you, thank you for calling in. We have also just learned that the president will address the nation this morning. He will do so from the White House diplomatic reception room. As soon as we have a time, we will let you know.

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: All right. Joining us now also is Taylor Benge, she was at the concert on the right-hand side of the stage watching this concert with his sister when the shooting started.

Taylor, nice to see you again this morning. Again, I know this night you had is like nothing you could have ever imagined. You said you went in agnostic and now you believe in God because you survived. Tell us what you saw. Did you see the shots coming from the Mandalay Bay?

TAYLOR BENGE, WITNESSED LAS VEGAS SHOOTING: I'm sorry, I had trouble hearing you. HARLOW: It's OK. It's John Berman with Poppy Harlow. If you can hear us, we are in New York. I was explaining you were on the right side of the stage watching the show with your sister when you heard the firing. What did you see? What did you hear?

BENGE: First, we were all just enjoying the concert and then I heard shots on my right side. At first, I thought it was fireworks because it was four quick pops that sounded like one of those string things.

And immediately after that, I heard shots again except it was more frequent and more of it. Then the lights turned on and about five feet next to me I saw a man who had a gunshot wound right under his neck right here. That's when I knew that something wasn't right and that it was time to just fight or flight and get out of there.

HARLOW: Your sister, you were with your sister. As I understand, your sister jumped on top of you trying -- her initial instinct was to protect you. Is that right?

BENGE: Yes, every time it was raining down bullets because it would go in increments for 10 seconds straight. I don't know if he was unloading a full magazine or what, but each time that happened, everyone in the crowd including myself would duck down. My sister kept throwing herself on top of me each time that happened and tell how much she loves me and doing something very noble to make sure I was OK.

BERMAN: You have a great sister. That's for sure. We're learning that more than 50 people have been killed, more than 400 transported to local hospitals and injured. Based on what you saw as you were fleeing and trying to get yourself to safety, does that number seem like what you saw?

BENGE: Close to -- I personally feel like there was more. I didn't know where the bullets were coming from. I didn't know they were coming from Mandalay Bay at all. With how many bodies I saw lying in different places no matter what you place went for cover, there was two or three bodies to accompany that.

I just didn't know. I was uncertain for my livelihood just because I didn't know he had that vantage point and seeing all these corpses around me in every spot of cover, I just can't imagine what the actual number is.

HARLOW: John mentioned as we brought you on that you said before this I was agnostic and now I believe in God. This is an experience no one can fathom until they go through it, live through it as you luckily did. How are you holding up?

BENGE: Yes. I'm holding up fine. I mean, the fact that 400 people were injured and I think more than 50 were killed, I feel very blessed that I was able to get out unscathed and as well as my sister. I wish I could say the same for the families and people that I saw last night and make sure they are safe too, but my prayers go out to everyone that was affected by it.

BERMAN: Taylor, again thank you so much for speaking with us. We are glad that you are OK. You should feel blessed this morning.

[09:25:11] If nothing else, to have the sister that you have who helped you get through this. Please give our best to her as well.

BENGE: Will do. Thank you.

HARLOW: All right. Joining us now on the phone is Brandon O'Neill, a photographer who was on the main stage of this concert festival while Jason Aldean was performing. Brandon, can you hear us?

BRANDON O'NEILL, PHOTOGRAPHER (via telephone): I can hear you.

HARLOW: Thank you so much for being with us. This is Poppy. I'm here with John Berman. You and I spoke on the phone a little earlier this morning and you sent us some video that is just surreal. We'll play it for our viewers as we speak to you. Talk to us about what this was like because when the shooting broke out, what were your initial thoughts?

O'NEILL: So, we were backstage stage right, and I first remember hearing, pop, pop, pop, pop, pop and it sounded like it almost came from the speaker system. I was like, man, that doesn't sound really good. Then it happened again.

And I look and saw that the tech guys and they are scrambling around trying to figure out what's going on, and then it happened again. It was pop, pop, pop, pop, pop. Pop, so loud like super loud.

And then the next thing you know, the sound is completely off for the musicians and all you hear is this heavy machine gun just going off. You just hear people screaming. So, we were just so confused. We thought this was some technical difficulty.

Now it's something more. There's so many other screaming and we're exiting off stage and we're going around the stage. People are climbing all over the fences trying to get out and people are screaming. You just hear pop, pop, pop, pop, pop. It sounded like 50 plus rounds were just going off.

People to the left and right of us are down on the pavement. We made it so like we went towards the parking lot and we were able to hide behind this cop car. And I remember just getting around this cop car and hearing bullets just whizzing and bouncing on the ground nearby.

These girls were just screaming and crying. They were covered in blood and then again, we see these rounds off. It felt like minutes that these heavy machine guns were just like going on and just wouldn't stop.

We then ran from the cop car and the girl was laying down on the ground. Her friend was hysterical and crying, she got shot, she got shot. Turned out she got shot in the head. I remember my buddy trying to help her. Got her to the police car and got her inside. She wasn't moving. She was completely unconscious.

And from that point out, we hear more, more, more. Just the machine gun and we bolted towards the parking lot and then we saw security people too running away. Like the police had no idea where it was coming from. You got to run to safety. You got to get to safety.

And so, we just like bolted to the parking lot. Thank God, this guy came in and asked if we need a ride. They were able to jump in the car and leave. I'm in shock right now of what just happened.

BERMAN: It is completely -- you have done an amazing job explaining to us what you saw, what you went think is something that no one should ever have to go through. Extremely traumatic and it takes incredible strength not just to get through it, but to be able talk about it like you are this morning and look back at this event just --