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Investigation Continues into Gunman Who Opened Fire on Las Vegas Concertgoers; Survivors of Concert Shooting Attack Interviewed. Aired 8-8:30a ET
Aired October 3, 2017 - 08:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[08:00:00] CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: To our viewers in the United States and around the world, you are watching NEW DAY. It's Tuesday, October 3rd, 8:00 in the east. I'm in Las Vegas. Alisyn is in New York. And we are looking at the despicable man who carried out one of the most evil things we've seen in this country, the deadliest mass shooting in modern American history.
Right now we know 59 people have lost their lives, 527 have been injured, many of them are serious injuries. A murderer opened fire from a 32nd floor window, two of them, actually, at the Mandalay Bay Resort just behind us, the hail of bullets targeting thousands of concertgoers at an outdoor festival some 500 yards away.
We saw one evil act. We have seen so many beautiful demonstrations of heroism and people choosing the love over hate. We saw it at the memorial last night, the victims being remembered, and so many of them are demonstrations of people that gave back to others -- teachers, nurses, police employees. So many lives lost in an instant and for no reason.
Police say they found an arsenal in the killer's home and in his hotel room, some 42 guns they reported so far, thousands of rounds of ammunition, explosive materials in his car. At this point the police are still investigating why he did this, this 64-year-old gunman with no criminal past or apparent connection to any agenda or any reason that would have led to this madness.
Now, the president is saying we are all united in the pain and the grief that is everywhere here in Las Vegas, and he's going to come to this place tomorrow. But in just minutes he's going to head to Puerto Rico where there is an entirely different type of grief on the ground there. There is a humanitarian crisis ongoing, and we have all of the news covered for you. Let's begin with Jean Casarez who is following the investigation here. Jean?
JEAN CASAREZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Chris, there will be no trial here because the shooter is dead and they believe he acted alone, but the investigation continues on so many levels for so many reasons. But one of his reasons is the intent. Why did he do this? The amazing premeditation that went into this to target 22,000 innocent people.
CASAREZ: Authorities are learning more about the gunman responsible for the Las Vegas massacre, 64-year-old Steven Paddock. The retired accountant firing dozens of rounds onto thousands of concertgoers about 500 yards away from two hotel windows he smashed on the 32nd floor at the Mandalay Bay. Police searching floor by floor until they found Paddock's room. This video shot by an NBC journalist staying at the hotel. Paddock exchanged fire with police through his hotel room door, shooting one security guard in the leg.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Everyone in the hallway needs to move back. All units move back.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Breach, breach, breach.
CASAREZ: Police say Paddock took his life before a SWAT team stormed the room using explosives. Police recovering an arsenal of 23 weapons from Paddock's hotel room, including multiple rifles, some with scopes. Police say he had been staying at the hotel since last Thursday in a large suite. Investigators also finding another 19 weapons at his home in nearby Mesquite.
SHERIFF JOE LOMBARDO, LAS VEGAS METROPOLITAN POLICE: Additional firearms, some explosives, and several thousand rounds of ammo along with some electronic devices that we are evaluating at this point.
CASAREZ: Investigators believe the guns were purchased legally, but according to law enforcement initial reports suggests at least one rifle was altered to function as an automatic weapon. A gun shop owner in Utah is certain he sold a shotgun to Paddock earlier this year.
CHRIS MICHEL, OWNER, UTAH GUN STORE: 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 50,000 times a day.
CASAREZ: Police say Paddock wasn't on their radar with no criminal past and believe he acted alone. His brother Eric Paddock left stunned by the carnage, telling CNN he never exhibited any violent tendencies and had no affiliations with any terror or hate groups.
ERIC PADDOCK, SUSPECT'S BROTHER: He bought the machine guns and he did this, and he's never even drawn his gun. I mean, it makes no sense. He did not own machine guns that I knew of. This is something just incredibly wrong happened to my brother.
[08:05:00] CASAREZ: His brother says Paddock was a successful real estate investor who owned and rented several properties across multiple states. He also had an affinity for gambling according to this couple who lived next door to Paddock for two years in Florida.
DON JUDY, FORMER NEIGHBOR: He was a gambler and a speculator. And he told us that right up front since he was from Vegas, and he did a little online gambling and he also did it in Vegas.
CASAREZ: But the family has a troubled past. Paddock's father Benjamin was a convicted bank robber who escaped from prison in the late '60s and was on the FBI's most wanted list. Neighbors, shocked by the news, some even describing him as a gentle giant.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You wouldn't recognize him as being anything out of the normal.
CASAREZ: We learned at the very last press conference last night that they in fact did find a computer in that hotel room. Forensic investigators will be combing it to look at what he researched, who he corresponded with, what they might know, and, finally, were there any writings that he made on that computer to say why he wanted to target innocent people. Chris?
CUOMO: All right, Jean, thank you very much.
Let's discuss the latest on the investigation. We have CNN law enforcement analyst James Gagliano. James, good to have you. So we don't know why. We don't know why and we're not going to know if it's terrorism because terrorism, while it feels like it just connotes a sense that this was a really bad, it's actually a term of art that shows that something was motivated to a purpose. We don't know the purpose so we can't deal with that. And in terms of what we have to look at here, how he got all these weapons, it could have been done legally and he modified them to be automatic fire. He didn't do it in a close time period. That's what the law allows.
JAMES GAGLIANO, CNN LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: Chris, let's unpack what the responding officers had to deal with after hearing those sounds. We listen to the gun firing, just the volume, the rapidity of shots. The way that tactical resolution has been done in the United States, there were no SWAT teams prior to 1966. 1966 was the University of Texas clock tower, Charles Whitman, and that really was the genesis of SWAT.
Let's fast-forward to 1998, OK. 1998, Columbine happens. We have Dylan Klebold and Eric Harris, they attack a school. And at that point in time law enforcement was still dealing with what we call law enforcement clears, slow and steady. And there was never intermingling of local forces with state forces with federal forces. We learned that we can't do that anymore because responding officers aren't going to come from a homogenous unit. They're going to be a mismatched group.
And that's what happened here. I looked closely at the timeline that you and I were discussing before, and it was 11 minutes from the first shots that took place at 10:08 Vegas time, then 11 minutes until a heterogeneous group of some security guards and police officers, sheriff's deputies arrived and were shot at. I think one of the officers was grievously wounded.
It was then it was an hour and 15 minutes until the tactical team actually arrived with explosive breaching capabilities. This is critical because this is not a skill set. I served on the FBI's hostage rescue team, I lived in New York City FBI SWAT team. These are skill sets that only teams or full-time teams typically have. CUOMO: Let's also give some people some context for what they are
dealing with in terms of atmospherics. Let's play the gunfire because you have to remember that you react to what you encounter. And listen to what they were dealing with.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CUOMO: The last time I heard anything like that was I was in a warzone half a world away. How do you deal with that from a first responder perspective if you know that you are dealing with automatic weapons, gunfire?
GAGLIANO: That type of sustained rate of fire, it's withering fire. And you are right, it's the sounds that we think of, those that have been in combat or those that have watched movies, war movies. For the responding officers, many of them that were armed only with side-arms, armed with pistols that just don't have the penetration power. And the fact that the subject could be on the other side of the door. These are steel frame doors, the hotels have heavy steel doors --
CUOMO: Can't just kick it in.
GAGLIANO: You can't just kick it in, very difficult to mechanically breach. They're just tough to do that. And that's why explosive breaching was used here. But also the subject had weaponry and ammunition that could have pierced those doors while the officers were trying to get in. And in hostage rescue or a barricaded subject situation like this, here are the four components you need -- speed, surprise, which they didn't have, they couldn't have, violence of action, and a fail-sale breach, and obviously getting him was the important thing, and that's essentially I guess when the subject ended up taking his life. He probably planned on committing suicide or committing suicide by cop.
[08:10:08] CUOMO: A lot went into that window that we're of examining in terms of multiple reports of things they had to deal with, having it at such a remote place, some 500 yards away, and then knowing you were dealing with a madman and a cannon essentially on the other side. James, thank you for taking us through.
GAGLIANO: Thanks for having me.
CUOMO: Time means different things based on the circumstances. The more we learn, the more you can help us understand. Thank you very much.
GAGLIANO: You are welcome.
CUOMO: All right, so we're dealing with that part of the investigation. And of course it matters, of course it matters how he got the guns, of course there's a discussion to be had. And you should have it in the moment like this because this is when people are listening.
But who survived, how they did it, how they helped others, who was lost, those stories mattered just as much. How we survive these situations winds up being the legacy going forward. Lisa Fine was one of the people there. She was in the VIP section with her friends. She had to hide under the bleachers when she heard the gunshots. Imagine what she had to live through. She kept shooting the video that you are looking at right now. People running for their lives, helping us understand what was going on. Watch a little bit of it.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It doesn't sound like a real gun.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It is a real gun! That is a real gun!
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CUOMO: We are joined by Lisa Fine, as well as Brian Claypool. He was also in that VIP section of the concert and says he wasn't even supposed to be there, and now this is a moment that obviously is going to define his life for some time to come. But Lisa, while I have you, thank God you're both well. You have an explanation why you were shooting that cell phone video that I haven't heard in a long time, but, boy, does it resonate with me. You were shooting that video because there was someone you wanted to make sure who got to see what was going on. Tell us why you were shooting it.
LISA FINE, SURVIVED LAS VEGAS MASSACRE: Yes, I decided that if I was going to die, I wanted my family, my kids, my son Brandon and my daughter Ashley, I wanted them to know what happened the last moments of my life if I was going to die. It was terrifying.
CUOMO: That is heavy. You were there, you're hiding, you're shooting with that cell phone video. What were you telling yourself -- I get that you wanted people to remember where you were and give them something to help them understand, but what were you telling yourself about how you would get out of it?
FINE: It was -- I don't know how I remained so calm, quite frankly. It was definitely an out of body experience, like this is really happening, this can't be happening. It sounded like a war zone and the screaming, and death was happening around me because the vantage point that I was at I could see people just going down as the bullets were spraying, and they were just running for their lives. And they were falling. And I just couldn't believe what was happening in front of my face, all those precious people.
And we thought we were going to die. My friends and I, my instincts just kicked in, get down. The only chance we really have is to take cover any way we can. We were lucky we were at that particular spot that horrible night, and I just said get down, get down. What was frightening to me was that people were panicking and running, and I thought they are human targets right now. And it just took my breath away. There are really no words to describe that moment because you think you are going to die. You imagine the pain of what that would be like to be shot.
CUOMO: Thank God it just stayed as an idea for you, because for so many it wound up becoming a reality, you and Brian. Brian, you are here. It is good to be able to shake your warm hand this morning. I see.
BRIAN CLAYPOOL, SURVIVED LAW VEGAS MASSACRE: I am having trouble watching that video.
CUOMO: I know.
CLAYPOOL: I haven't really seen that video.
CUOMO: I know. Look, I know it's hard. It's so helpful for people to understand what was survived. When you watch it, you know you made it through. But this stays with you, doesn't it?
CLAYPOOL: I am actually feeling a little guilty now. I have avoided seeing the victims and seeing pictures of the people that were killed, and I was there. And they're a lot younger than me, and they don't get to go home. I get to go home today, back to L.A. to see my daughter. And they don't. I am having trouble understanding that, comprehending that, and feeling a little guilty.
I have heard heroic acts.
[08:15:03] And I'm now processing, did I do enough? I am going through some guilt now. Did I help enough people? Because everybody was screaming and yelling. I didn't know what to do.
We didn't know where the shooter was. We thought he was going to jump over the fence. We thought there could have been one, two, three shooters.
And then at one point, I ended up being put into a little room, I was running, there was a break after the first 30 seconds of shooting, and I ran. And this heroic young Hispanic man was, like, get in this room. I go in this room and I just keep seeing this image of the young -- I go in the room of the bleachers, and there's five or six young women like 20, 26 years old, and they were just on their knees, and they were in a corner and they were crying.
I just -- I just want to hope that I did enough to help them stay calm, but at that moment, I'm feeling like it's not fair. It's like you are thinking, is it fair for them to die? Should I do? These are going through your thoughts.
Like I felt like maybe I stood in front of them and I did that subconsciously. They were done and they were hiding behind this little corridor, with wheels on it. And I just stood out in the front and I'm thinking, maybe I should be -- you know what I'm saying? It's like who determines who gets killed in this? That's what I am having trouble with.
Based on where you are sitting, where you're standing. I saw a woman in the general admission section, 15 feet in front of me get shot, she ended up dying. I happened to be in an area where I didn't get shot. So, I guess I have to go through the rest of my life wondering what -- why did some of these die and why didn't I?
CUOMO: You are dealing with questions that are going to be so hard, and you're not going to get the answers to all of them today. But one of the things we know because we have all been bathed in so many of these events is there's only one person to blame for anything that happened that was wrong, and it ain't you, my brother. It is that monster who decided that somehow ending his life had to be connected to ending other peoples' lives.
CUOMO: Everything you did was more than you should have ever been expected to have to do. You got to tell yourself that. Why you survived, and what that means for you to do with you life, those are beautiful challenges for you to take on now, and to pass on to your daughter, but don't spend a moment thinking about whether or not you were in any way in the wrong in a situation like that.
CLAYPOOL: I want you to know and your audience to know how beautiful those people were at that festival, that's what hurts the most, such a beautiful crowd of people. Everybody there was just celebrating life, taking a break from the everyday grind and struggles and such a beautiful crowd of people.
Now I have to go home and I have been avoiding at looking at who was harmed and who was killed. And eventually, I'm going to see pictures of people that perished and I got to tell you, that is going to be the most painful thing for me to go through because I probably will have seen some of those people and maybe chatted with some of those people.
CUOMO: But at the same time, you don't want the picture of that guy dominate of what people remember, and you don't want those lives to have stolen by that guy, without any kind of recourse, that their loved ones and the people that they touched in their lives remember that they were more than just the end of the guy's muzzle, and that matters, too. And for people like you to come forward and say you made it, you know, and say that that's not where it ends for you, and that your life goes on, that matters, too.
Does that sink in at all?
CLAYPOOL: Yes, it creates a perception. It creates -- you know, I give you an example, I bumped into so many in the lobby a few minutes ago, and I noticed his wrist band, and I still my -- I don't -- I can't take this off for quite a while, and we're looking at each other, he recognized me, and I said, how are you doing?
And he goes -- he hesitates, and he goes, I'm OK. He goes, we get to live. We get to live. And I just got in a van to come over here and I was like in tears coming over here, we get to live.
So, it's a mixed blessing because I feel good about that, I get to go home and see my daughter today. Today is my birthday, that's why I was out there, thank you. That's why I came to this festival. But when he said that, I had mixed emotions again. Yes, we do, but -- you see what I am saying?
CUOMO: I get it, I get it.
CLAYPOOL: What about these innocent people? Do you realize we were just at a country music festival trying to enjoy life? And somebody asked me the morning of the shooting, they had a great question. They said, what will you do differently now that you survived?
[08:20:03] What are you going to do differently?
I struggle, Chris, so much with that question, because I was at that country doing what I thought I was supposed to be doing, take a break from the work -- I am a lawyer. Maybe I work too much. No, stay an extra day.
I was supposed to fly back Sunday night at 7:50, but I was looking out of the 24th floor of the Mandalay Bay and I said, look at that beautiful venue, when am I ever going to be able to do this again? I'm staying an extra day.
So, I stayed that extra day. When I was in that room, I have thoughts in mind. Am I going to die in that room because I made a decision to not fly on that 7:50 flight? I had to go through that as well. But --
CUOMO: Look, we heard it before and it's always trite until it's true, which is everything happens for a reason. I don't have the answers for that. It's hard enough for me to come up with the questions after so many events that we see again and again, and we meet with the same frustrations, for people, for you -- like you, there's a blessing in these kinds of situations but you have to figure out what it is.
And while you have been talking, it's such a relatable experience to Lisa. Lisa has been watching and I am being told that this is hard for you, and of course it is. You know, you were sitting there staring through your cell phone worried that this would be the last thing your kid sees, but he'll see you, and now, you have that going for you.
So, what does that mean for you in terms of balancing it against what you know you live through?
LISA FINE, SURVIVED LAS VEGAS MASSACRE: I feel like to see those heroes that stepped up and went out there while the bullets were just raining down on everybody, I saw two heroes that right in front of my face were risking their lives, and I will never forget that for the rest of my life. I still don't even know if they're alive.
When I saw a truck, when we finally escaped with their lives, I saw a truck that had bodies in it, and they were just piled up. And someone was saving them, try -- I mean, I didn't know who was dead, who was alive.
But my heart just breaks. I am completely numb. I have not slept since the event happened. And there's nothing that I cannot express to you what it was like and all those people, there were thousands and thousands of people there just living life.
And it's just so frightening that you can just be anywhere and you just never know. And the biggest thing I take away from this, just do not let this horrible, horrible excuse for a human being be the person that stops us from enjoying life. But we just need to plan and just be prepared. That's all I can think about. You just never know.
And I could have died and I was with my family last night and we were talking, and they said this could be a very different situation. And my friends and I, we got out alive. I still don't understand it and why.
I mean, it was just the luck of the draw. If you were in the wrong place, you're dead. If you just -- I don't -- there are no words. It was horrific. It was a war zone.
CUOMO: What does it mean to you when you are hearing Lisa? What do you want her to know about what you share now that you are both trying to figure out?
CLAYPOOL: I think it's important -- what I am trying to learn through this is that there are families that are going through so much grief right now. And this could be a great opportunity for us now to really minister to these families, to -- they need their faith restored in life, and this is an opportunity for people like you and I and you and people across this country to really get down and be supportive of these families, and let them know how much we hurt for their hurt, but there is going to be hope at the end of the day.
I think that's what is going to try and help me get through this. I got to get through my own questioning. Did I do enough? Why am I alive? Why are they dead? Why are they harmed?
I need to start transferring that now into what can we do as a group collectively to try and uplift these families? Because I just can't imagine -- look at what we are going through. It's nothing compared to those that have been really harmed and who are dead. So, this is an opportunity. We have so much divide in our country right now, and we have to use this as an opportunity, a platform to try and come together and work together.
President Trump is coming. Fantastic. But let's let these families know how much we care and there is hope and we're going to live in a better time. That's really what I'm trying to take from this. Maybe I can make a difference.
CUOMO: Lisa, what does that mean to you?
FINE: Every single word he's saying is how I feel.
[08:25:01] And if I was with him right now, I would just hug him. And I just feel like the world is stepping up and being there for everybody.
I mean, everybody knows Vegas is a Disneyland for adults, and we went there to just celebrate and have fun. He was so right. That crowd was a beautiful crowd. It was the most fun I ever had.
And just to see the people that I was out there with, I was there for three days, and I probably walked past people that didn't know they were going to die. I just can't -- I can't continue to think about it because it hurts so bad.
Those were families. They were dying. And it -- I feel what he's feeling. I just can't believe I'm alive. And I don't -- I don't get it.
There's that sense of, you know, guilt and what could I have done, what could have -- I can't imagine anybody going through this and watching people die in front of their face. It is the worst thing, and the screaming. My heart goes out to them.
I hope the world just embraces the people that lost their loved ones, and understand. I do want us to unite as, you know, a united people. And just not let this horrible man or people that do things like this win. We have to take a stand for this. Something has got to change.
CUOMO: We've all lived through these before. You have seen this happen in different ways. Yes, this is the deadliest one that we've had to date. We all wish we never have to say that again.
But what do you want people to know? You know, you've watched these. You've watched this as a viewer before. Now, you lived it. You are a survivor now, Lisa.
What do you want people need to know about what these events mean?
FINE: You know, I get asked that question, and it seems like -- I mean, it just happened. Haven't even processed it all. And I think the biggest thing is that I have always been a person that just loves life, and I always said to my loved ones, you know, tomorrow is not promised. That's something I always have said.
And it means something completely different now because that statement is so real. Just love your loved ones, and be the best person you can be. That's all we've got.
CUOMO: And hopefully that's more than enough.
Lisa, thank you so much for sharing what you lived through, and sharing your videos so that people can understand what it was like to be there.
Brian, you know, Lisa said she wanted to hug you. I don't do it for you, I do it for me. I am glad you are here and I hope you figure out what to do with the opportunity.
CLAYPOOL: Yes, thank you. And blessings to Lisa, too.
CUOMO: As well, as well.
FINE: Thank you. CUOMO: And all of you who made it through. That's why we are telling the story so people -- so people can take strength in your survival, and seeing that your lives go on and that there's meaning in that, and not just meaning to the madness, meaning to what takes us forward as well.
I'm sorry you guys had to live through what you did to get this understanding.
CLAYPOOL: Thank you very much.
FINE: Thank you.
CUOMO: I hope you use it in a way that makes your life better. I really do.
CLAYPOOL: Thank you.
CUOMO: All right. Thank you.
CUOMO: Lisa, you be well.
FINE: Thank you.
CUOMO: We'll keep telling these stories and we'll stay in touch. I hope when you get home, it means everything to you and then some.
CLAYPOOL: Thank you very much.
FINE: Thank you.
CUOMO: All right. We are going to take a break here from Las Vegas. There's a big investigation going on. There are stories like these. There are people who aren't going to get to tell their own story, so we're going to have to tell it for them.
Please take a moment and look at some of the faces that were lost.