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Police Search for Motive in Deadly Shooting Spree; Who was the Shooter?; Family, Friends Remember Victims of Shooting; Las Vegas Woman Comforts Dying Stranger; Aired 10-10:30a ET
Aired October 3, 2017 - 10:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[10:00:02] JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning, everyone. I'm John Berman.
POPPY HARLOW, CNN ANCHOR: And I'm Poppy Harlow in New York. Major questions this morning, the big one, why? Why did a 64-year-old real estate investor, professional gambler, buy 23 weapons and bring them into the corner suite of the Mandalay Bay Hotel? Why did he have 19 more at home? And why late Sunday night did he turn those weapons on an open air music festival, 32 floors below?
Investigators, again, finding additional weapons at his home here in Mesquite, Nevada, about 80 miles northeast of Las Vegas. Also finding ammonium nitrate, which can be used to make bombs, in his car.
BERMAN: Any moment now we are waiting to hear from Republican leaders in Washington. This is the first time that they will speak since this massacre. There are new calls for changing the gun laws. New questions being asked, how will these Republican leaders respond? And of note here.
BERMAN: The majority whip Steve Scalise who was gravely wounded in a baseball practice shooting in June, he is expected to be there. His first news conference back with the Republican leadership.
Let's go to Nevada -- there is Steve Scalise.
HARLOW: There he is.
BERMAN: Walking in there. Let me just wait for one second and watch him take his place here. And there is the House Speaker Paul Ryan. I think what we're going to do -- we're going to keep an eye on this right now. When we hear from Paul Ryan directly and the majority whip Steve Scalise we'll come back to this. In the meantime, let's go to Las Vegas for the latest on the investigation.
Dan Simon is there -- Dan.
DAN SIMON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, hey, John, the guns won't necessarily reveal much about motive but they will tell you that this is somebody who was certainly intent on killing as many people as possible. Experts will tell you that they were modified effectively into
military-grade style machine guns. Again 23 guns were found in the Mandalay Bay suite. Another 19 found in Mesquite. As best as we can tell these guns were purchased legally. He bought them in multiple states. This what is one gun owner or gun owner in Utah had to say about selling them.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CHRIS MICHEL, GUN STORE OWNER: He didn't set off any of my alarms, anything that I felt like there's a problem in any way, shape, or form with him. He was a normal everyday guy that walks into my door 50 times a day.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SIMON: Yes. That was a store owner in Utah, said he didn't see anything weird or strange about the shooter. Obviously they're going to be looking closely at motive.
Another thing they're going to be looking at is his financial history. This is somebody who clearly had a penchant for playing high stakes poker, played a lot of poker here in Vegas. They're going to be looking at his financial history to see if anything can be gleaned about what may have led him to do this -- John and Poppy.
BERMAN: Just one avenue they're going down right now.
Dan Simon, thanks so much, in Las Vegas.
New details, as Dan was saying, about the gunman. Jessica Schneider with us for more on that -- Jessica.
JESSICA SCHNEIDER, CNN JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: Well, you know, John and Poppy, it's really the same picture that's emerging from neighbors and the gunman's brother. They're all expressing bewilderment that this 64-year-old man who seemed to keep to himself and spent much of his time at casinos set up that arsenal in his Mandalay Bay hotel room and of course massacred more than 50 people.
Now here's what we know about the shooter, Stephen Paddock. He was 64 years old. He was a retired accountant, a multimillionaire according to his brother. He's twice divorced with no children. He did gamble frequently. And get this, his father was a bank robber who spent eight years on the FBI's most wanted list back in the '60s and '70s after escaping from a federal prison in Texas.
Now Eric Paddock, the gunman's brother, though, said that they barely knew their father. But here's how the gunman's former neighbor described him.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DON JUDY, FORMER NEIGHBOR OF LAS VEGAS SHOOTER: He was a gambler and a speculator. And he told us that right up front, says he was from Vegas. And he did a little online gambling and he also did it in Vegas. And that was one reason he was going back and forth to Vegas is to keep the gambling going.
If there was any impression I would say the guy had no idea what a gun was.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Really?
JUDY: He was just very simplistic -- couple words, gentle giant. He was a big guy and he was just very, very friendly.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCHNEIDER: Well, the investigation, of course, revealing a much darker side. Stephen Paddock checked into his hotel room last Thursday and set up at least 23 weapons. But he managed to somehow hide all of that from the staff who came to and from his room.
Now some of the rifles, they were altered to function as automatic weapons and the probe has also revealed that Paddock had 19 weapons inside his Mesquite, Nevada, home, about 80 or so miles from Vegas. He also had explosives, several thousand rounds of ammunition, and electronic devices. Police found ammonium nitrate inside the gunman's car in Vegas, a chemical compound that can be used to make explosives.
So investigators now tracing Paddock's movements over the past few days and months. And Poppy and John, they also say they want to get information from his girlfriend who was last in Tokyo to find out what she knew. They do not believe, though, at this time that she was involved in that shooting -- John and Poppy.
[10:05:04] HARLOW: Jessica, thank you very much for the reporting from Washington.
Meantime President Trump right now in the air on his way to Puerto Rico this morning. Before he left the White House, he did speak briefly about the massacre in Las Vegas. Here's what he said.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: What happened in Las Vegas is in many ways a miracle. The police department has done such an incredible job and we'll be talking about gun laws as time goes by. But I do have to say, how quickly the police department was able to get in. It was really very much of a miracle. They've done an amazing job.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BERMAN: The president also talked about the gunman. Listen to this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: He was a sick man, a demented man, a lot of problems, I guess, and we're looking into him very, very seriously. But we're dealing with a very, very sick individual.
(END VIDEO CLIP) BERMAN: A sick individual who caused so much pain. The focus should be on the victims this morning. We are learning more about the 59 people who lost their lives. These are just some of their names and faces including an attorney who had earned a black belt in taekwondo.
HARLOW: Also among the victims a Massachusetts mother described as the glue who kept her family together. A young woman who was just 20 years old when she died.
Jason Carroll has much more on the victims, the lives they led, those they leave behind for us this morning -- Jason.
JASON CARROLL, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: It really hits home when you see their faces up there, doesn't it?
HARLOW: Of course.
CARROLL: It's just really incredible. You know, with each new name that is released there is another story of a life lost and loved ones who are now in mourning.
I'd like to begin with Susan Smith. She was 53 years old. She had worked for the Simi Valley school district in southern California for 16 years. Her friends say she was a huge country music fan. She was also known for being an advocate for children. She is survived by her husband and two children of her own.
Next there is Jenny Parks, she had gone to Vegas to visit her two brothers and go to the concert. Parks was a kindergarten teacher for the Lancaster school district in California. Her family says she was truly one of the most loving people you could ever hope to meet. Someone who always went out of her way to help everyone.
Bailey Schweitzer was from Bakersfield, California. There she is -- there she was. With her mother watching some of their favorite bands at the concert when the 20-year-old was killed. Schweitzer graduated from Centennial High School where she was a cheerleader and played volleyball. She was also known for being active in her church. A family friend said she had a heart for people.
And then there was Jennifer Irvine, an attorney from San Diego, she had a reputation for being a tenacious litigator who was passionate about helping her clients during difficult times. Students from Lisa Romero Muniz's school are also trying to cope with her loss. Muniz was a secretary for Gallup McKinley County schools in New Mexico.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: She gave me advice like keep pushing through, like, the hard things. And so when I heard she passed that kind of like hit me in my heart.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Whenever I was in middle school with her she helped me through a lot with my family. Everything. And you can trust her with anything.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CARROLL: We should also mention Carrie Barnett. Barnett was an employee at Disney. The company's chairman and CEO Bob Iger said this was a senseless, horrific act. A terrible loss for so many. And we mourn a wonderful member of the Disney family. Also, another Disney employee, a cast member named Jessica Milam was seriously injured and the company says they are at this time praying for her recovery.
A lot of prayers out there from a lot of families, a lot of loved ones after this tragedy.
BERMAN: You see those faces and you think these people had so much life. These are the kind of people who go to a concert on a Sunday night. Right? These are the kind of people who --
HARLOW: Cooler than you and I. Yes.
BERMAN: Right. These are the kind of people you want to hang out with.
HARLOW: With their kids.
BERMAN: Such a loss.
CARROLL: Yes. Absolutely. And, you know, 59, that's just a number. It's when you see the names.
CARROLL: It's when you see their faces, you hear their back stories, mothers, daughters, family members.
HARLOW: And more still fighting for their life as Stephanie reported.
HARLOW: Thank you, Jason.
CARROLL: You bet.
BERMAN: All right. For Heather Gooze, Sunday night as this festival began with a stint as a bartender before it was over she was comforting strangers, some of whom were critically wounded like Jordan McIldoon of British Columbia. Despite the chaos, Heather says she stayed to help victims like Jordan because, quote, "something inside me just wouldn't let me leave."
HARLOW: Heather Gooze joins us now from Las Vegas.
Heather, thank you for being with us. Thank you for what you did. I think in situations like this, we all think what would we do? I can't say that I would do what you did. You didn't run. You stayed. And you held these two men as they were dying in your arms. How did you do that?
HEATHER GOOSE, HELD SHOOTING VICTIM'S HAND AS HE DIED: I don't know. I'm not the most courageous, I'm not the strongest person. Something wouldn't let me run. Like, everybody was running out the door and something wouldn't let me go.
[10:10:10] I was seeing everybody around me, you know, one of two things, either they were running for their lives and they had -- there's no reason why you wouldn't. And then there was just random people stopping and helping people and picking people up off the ground and dragging them through the bar because they couldn't walk.
And, you know, there was a whole series of events that kind of led up to -- I ended up back on the street that was right behind where the bar was, and that turned into a triage because the medical tent was overflowing. So this whole street became a triage of critical, not critical, and deceased.
The first one, to be honest, I don't even know if he passed away. We're actually trying to find him. I had just connected on Facebook with actually the person who brought me over. There was a gentleman named Chris who was being led -- being brought out on a gate by a bunch of men and I was called over and asked if I could hold a jacket underneath his head because he had a bullet hole in the back of his head.
And we brought him over and we were staying with him and they were walking around and asking like who was hurt and what was wrong and when we said it was a head injury, they got a car, just some random person's car, and we put him in the back seat. I don't think that he was breathing but I haven't seen him on any of the lists.
The gentleman that I met on Facebook who actually is the one that called me over is also looking for him. So we're not sure.
Right after we got him in the car, three guys came basically running out of the back gate. They were holding a utility, like a maintenance ladder, and there was a guy laying on it and they said come over, we need hands, get over here, and I came over and I grabbed the corner of the ladder and I put my hand on the guy's arm that was on the ladder.
We brought him over to the sidewalk. We -- they put him down. At this point because of being with Chris, I had blood all over my hands and on my shirt and the guys looked at me and they said, are you OK, are you hurt? And I said no. And they said we have to go back in, we have to go get more people. Are you OK? And I'm like, I'm OK. And so I was kind of kneeling on the ground and I had my hand on the guy's arm, and I moved it down and I -- his hand was down and I had my hand over his hand, and I could kind of feel his fingers like wrapped around my hand. Wrapped around my fingers.
And then as the guys were basically -- I could still see their backs, were running back in, I felt like a squeeze on my fingers and then I just felt the fingers go loose. Another guy and a girl came over and we were trying to feel for a pulse. We were, you know, yelling wake up, do what you could do -- you know, and there -- in the movies you see them, their lips turn blue and they turn pale hours. Within 10 minutes, like we knew that he was gone. And there was
nothing that we could do. I don't know why, I don't know -- I think at one point I was just kind of a little more in shock. I didn't want to walk away from this guy. I sat there with him for an hour and then we heard his cell phone ringing. And so the gentleman that was sitting with me pulled it out of his pocket. I answered the call.
It was a friend who had heard about what was going on and was checking on his friend to see if he was OK. I asked him who he was. I asked him where he was calling from. And then I said, who are you calling? And he said, I'm calling my friend Jordan. I said, well, who? Like I need his name. He said why. Because I'm with him right now and we were in the shooting.
And his friend said, is he OK? And I said no, he's not. And he said, is he hurt? And I said yes, he's hurt, and he's like, is he -- and he just kind of stopped and I said he didn't make it. He's not breathing. We need to know like who he is, who he's here with, so he told us that he was there with his girlfriend. Gave us her name.
[10:15:03] We needed to get off the phone with him so that we could start kind of figuring out now that we had the information, now we knew that this was Jordan, we knew he's from British Columbia. You know, we knew all this information now. And we asked him, please, like contact the parents. Find a way to contact the parents, do what you can do.
I went on my phone. I went into Facebook and I looked up his name and he came up. I sent a message on Facebook to the girl that I thought was his girlfriend and to the only person in his Facebook that had the same last name as him. Sent a picture of -- we pulled out his wallet and I took a picture of his driver's license. And I sent it to them and I said, do you know this man?
His phone rang again. The guy that I was with answered it. It was Jordan's mom. He confirmed that this was her son. We said, who is he here with? You know, she confirmed that it was Amber, which was his long-term girlfriend. We said we need to know her phone number. So as the guy was getting the phone number from the mom I was typing it into my phone.
We said, OK, we got to go. We needed -- we've got to do this. Like I don't know how that call ended because at this point I was already calling Amber. Got a hold of her, found out that she was in lockdown in the basement of the Tropicana. They evacuated a lot of people to the different hotels but then there were some other scares going on so they basically put everybody into lockdown.
GOOZE: And she said, I said, I'm with Jordan. She said, is he OK, and I said no. She said, is he hurt? And I said yes. She said, be honest with me, how bad is it? What's going on? I said, I said he didn't make it. He died. And she said, no, no, check his breathing. There's no way. Check again. Feel for his pulse. Talk to him. I said, I've been with him for over an hour. He's -- he's gone. And she broke down and she said, you know, he's the love of my life.
This can't be happening. You know, and I told her, I go, I was here, I've been with him this whole time, I go, I promise you I will not leave him. I will not let them go anywhere with him or do anything or say anything that I'm not going to tell you about. She said, I need to get to him. I need to see him. I said I don't think they're going to let you go. They're not letting us go.
She was a block away and she couldn't get to him. So I promised her that we would make sure that no matter what happens, that I would make sure that she knew where he was, what was going on, anything that they told me or I could find out I promised her, I told her that I would stay with him and that I would tell her everything that they told me.
We hung up the phone with her. We actually realized that even though Jordan's phone was locked, if you ask Siri to call mom that it will call his mom. So we called his mom. She answered. I said, you know, my name is Heather and I'm with your son. I just got off the phone with Amber. I said, we told her that Jordan had passed away. And she said, wait, stop.
At this point I didn't realize that the -- when we were getting the information from her about Amber, that the other guy had never told her that her son had passed away. So by telling her that I had told Amber that her son had passed away, I told her. You know, at first she was very calm, you know, where are you, what's going on. Where did this happen. When did this happen.
And then she just -- she started telling me about him, you know, that he's covered in tattoos and that when he was younger they called him Blimpy or Blobby because he was limping when he was young. And that he was just a good, nice, fun, you know, country who just -- he loved his girlfriend and he was -- had great family and great friends.
And she said, you know, you're still with him. And I said yes. She said, and Amber can't get to him. And I said no. And I said I told her that I will not leave him until she is able to get to him or I can find a way to get them back together. And I said I promise you, I swear to you, that I will not leave him. I will stay with him until this is over.
[10:20:06] And I did. I stayed in contact with her. I stayed in contact with Amber. I was there until about 3:30 in the morning. So for about four hours I was sitting with him. I just -- I didn't want him to be there alone.
There was another guy that was by us. His wife had been shot and killed. The mother of his three kids. And he never left her side. And I didn't want Jordan to not have somebody with him, so I stayed all the way until the detective came over, you know, started saying that they were ready to move and to process. I made sure he got all of my information, Jordan's mom's information, Amber's.
We called Amber from a phone. You know, they talked. And I didn't leave until they told me that there were officers that were there at the Tropicana with Amber. BERMAN: Heather --
GOOZE: They even called me from the Tropicana and said we are with her right now, we have her. You know, I just didn't want him to just be a no-named body.
BERMAN: Heather --
GOOZE: I knew who he was and now I had an obligation to make sure that everybody knew who he was.
BERMAN: Heather, he was never alone. And heroism comes in many forms and I am sure that for that family, knowing that he was surrounded by love and generosity at his last moments and beyond meant everything.
GOOZE: But that's the thing, like I don't feel like -- the heroes are the paramedics and the police and these guys that were running back in when we didn't know if the shooter was still there or not, and grabbing people from the ground and dragging them out. I just sat with him. But I would like to think that if it was me that somebody wouldn't let me sit there alone.
BERMAN: I think Jordan will be with you always.
GOOZE: I didn't want him to be a John Doe.
HARLOW: He's not. He's not. He is not. You are a hero. His name and who he was, and what his mother called him when he was a little boy, will be remembered forever.
Heather, thank you for what you did from all of us. Thank you.
GOOZE: I just -- yes.
BERMAN: Heather Gooze, everyone. And his name is Jordan McIldoon. And it will be remembered forever.
We'll be right back.
[10:27:27] BERMAN: New details about the gunman this morning but still no answer as to why he carried out the deadliest shooting in modern U.S. history other than just pure evil.
Here is what we do know. He had an arsenal with him, 23 guns in his hotel room alone.
HARLOW: And 19 more, at least, in his home. Let's talk about this and where the investigation goes from here.
Chris Swecker is the former FBI assistant director for the Criminal Investigative Division, and Mike Bouchard, former assistant director for the Federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms.
So let me begin with you, Chris. This is day two of the investigation. But we still don't know many of the names of the victims. Many of those who are wounded still fighting for their lives. Authorities are trying to get answers. What are they going through and doing right now?
CHRIS SWECKER, FORMER FBI ASSISTANT DIRECTOR, CRIMINAL INVESTIGATIVE DIVISION: Well, there's a massive crime scene to go through. That will all be done probably by several FBI evidence response teams in conjunction with the ATF and the local sheriff. That will all be done over the next couple of days. They'll take their time. There's digital forensics to do, mobile phone, computer, from several different sites. The hotel room and the cars, the houses.
One of the more important things here is going to be an interview of the girlfriend, which I am sure has already taken place overseas. The FBI has legal attaches all over the world. I'm sure they've located her by now. She by all accounts is probably the person that was closest to him. She's going to have some answers and maybe she was part of a triggering event, maybe a breakup or some other event in his life, maybe a terminal illness, or something like that. Because this doesn't just spontaneously happen. I mean, there's a triggering event that happens.
BERMAN: No. Authorities have said they see no evidence she was involved in the shooting itself but given the number of weapons that this man collected, given the ammunition, given perhaps the explosives and given the planning that went into this, the key question is, what did she see? Did she anything leading up to that?
Mike, if I can ask about the weapons to you, and I'm glad to have your expertise here. There's a question about automatic weapons.
BERMAN: He either had a weapon that was automatic or altered one to become automatic. Bump fire stocks. What does that mean? How hard is that to do and is that in and of itself illegal?
MIKE BOUCHARD, FORMER ASSISTANT DIRECTOR, ATF: A bump fire stock is not illegal. It's an accessory that you put on a gun. It mirrors -- it almost seems as though the gun was firing in a fully automatic mode. And it's just based off the recoil of the gun, it just makes the trigger pull that much faster with the recoil of the gun. So it uses the action of the gun to help pull the trigger more quickly and to a layman it would sound like a fully automatic firearm.
BERMAN: Can anyone do that? Is this something that's difficult to do?
BOUCHARD: Anybody can do it. You can buy it online.