Return to Transcripts main page
Las Vegas Shooting Investigation; President Trump in Las Vegas. Aired 3-3:30p ET
Aired October 4, 2017 - 3:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
JIM ACOSTA, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: He's going to be meeting with first-responders just down the street from us with the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department.
We do expect him to make some more remarks there. So, we will wait to see what the president has to say there before he heads back to Washington.
But no question about it, just watching what we have seen unfold so far today here in Las Vegas, Anderson, this is a very different trip for the president and first lady than what we saw yesterday down in Puerto Rico, where he was much more freewheeling and much more looser in terms of what he was saying with respect to what was happening down there in Puerto Rico.
He made those sort of offhand remarks about blowing a hole in the budget and comparing what happened in Puerto Rico to Hurricane Katrina. We have not heard those sort of flippant remarks from the president so far today.
They appear to be, the White House, the president and his staff appear to be very cognizant of the fact that this city is still very much in the grips of a terrible, terrible event that took place just a few days ago, Anderson.
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Jim, just for clarity's sake, I didn't hear Rex Tillerson's press conference earlier or statement earlier today. I know he -- from what I read, he called the president smart. But did he deny having called the president a moron?
ACOSTA: At that particular press conference, Anderson, he did not deny that he called the president a moron.
We do know in the last several minutes that the State Department spokesperson, Heather Nauert -- Nauert, excuse me -- was talking to reporters in Washington, and she did deny that -- she said that she talked to the secretary of state, and the secretary of state told her that he did not call the president a moron.
Now, that did not come from the secretary of state himself. But if you listen to what the president had to say just a few moments ago, at the moment, it appears, even though privately we're told he's not happy about any of this, it does appear for the moment that he is satisfied from what he heard from the secretary of state earlier this morning.
But, Anderson, another thing has to be weighing on this president, on this White House, he can't just be throwing Cabinet members overboard once a week. He just unloaded his health and human services secretary on Friday over those private plane trips that Tom Price was taking. You can't necessarily have a situation where the HHS secretary steps down on Friday and then the secretary of state is gone a week later.
That does not bode well when it comes to how the world views this administration and whether it's just in a state of constant turmoil. And so that may be weighing in on all of this. That is obviously something that I would imagine officials inside the West Wing are thinking about, that perhaps they have to weather this storm, and then deal at a later date with these obviously very tense, not very warm feelings between the president and his own secretary of state -- Anderson.
COOPER: Yes. Jim Acosta, I appreciate that.
As Jim said, the president heading now to talk to law enforcement, to first-responders, obviously to praise their efforts and meet with them.
Sara Sidner's also joining us right now.
And, Sara, you have been talking to so many family members who've lost loved ones. You talked to three young people who lost their mother. Is that right?
SARA SIDNER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: That's right.
COOPER: To see the president obviously consoling people, it's one of the duties of the president, one of the roles of the president. But there is so much grief here. And I think for many of the people that I have spoken to, there's adrenaline that sort of gets you through the first couple of days.
COOPER: There's the horror of it, the shock of it. Plans to be made. Funeral arrangements to be made. Waiting for your loved one to be able to even reclaim them and then bring them home.
But it's often in the weeks, in the months ahead when family members then move apart and friends go on with their lives. The reality of what happened here sets in.
SIDNER: That's right.
And I think when you start thinking about that, we had a really interesting conversation, because I know a lot of people don't want to bring in politics to this. They really, really don't. They want to be able to grieve. The family I spoke with, the Tonks family, they had not gotten the body of their mother back yet. They're still waiting for that. And they were hoping that today would be the day. But I did ask them,
and they did talk to me a little bit about guns and what they thought about guns. And it was a really interesting conversation, because it shows you the complexities of it.
This 14-year-old son, Grayson (ph), who was the most eloquent young man, sweet as pie and very close to his mother, he said, you know what, if there were no more guns, there would be no more war, and that he liked that idea.
But then his grandfather said, but the issue that we have here is that if there are no more guns, if they're banned, only the bad guys will have the guns. He's like, it's complicated. There's a lot of complexities in this.
And so it was interesting to see a generational difference between the two of them, and they were able to talk through it in such a way. But ultimately all they wanted to do was grieve their mother.
SIDNER: And they are still in that shock stage. They really are. It has not set in yet.
COOPER: Yes. Yes, I think for many families. And it's still -- I think for everything, it's just still so unbelievable.
COOPER: You see, standing here just over the shoulder, there's a memorial of people that are still gathering.
And over to the right, you can still see at the Mandalay Hotel, you can still see the broken windows, the two broken windows where the gunman set up his position.
So, Brooke, there's obviously a lot of healing still to take place, not only for people who were directly affected, but really for so many people in this city who are just shaken by what went on.
BROOKE BALDWIN, CNN ANCHOR: For some time to come. Anderson, thank you. We will get back to you momentarily.
Meantime, let's get back to the other piece of this, the breaking news in the investigation into this mass murder. Right now, this woman is sitting down with the FBI. Her name is Marilou Danley. She is the gunman's girlfriend.
And at this stage in the investigation, she may be the only person who can shed any sort of light on how a 60-something gambler and real estate investor with absolutely zero criminal history came to commit the deadliest mass shooting in modern U.S. history.
Danley is now back from a trip to her native Philippines, where her sister -- her sisters believe she was sent by this shooter so that she wouldn't interfere in her boyfriend's plans of mass murder in Las Vegas.
So we will bring you any news that comes out of that interview as soon as we get it.
Meantime, President Trump, as you well saw him, at the medical center there, now having met with some of the survivors and the victims and staff, you heard him say he would be heading on to talk to police and those heroes from such a tragic evening.
Police have now released body camera video that captures the panic and the chaos, as officers worked frantically to get people to safety and find that gunman. We're going to play you just a portion of it. But just to warn you, it is tough to watch.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Go that way. Go that way. Go that way.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hey, they're shooting right at us, guys. Everybody, stay down. Stay down.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Where is it at?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: North of the Mandalay Bay. It's coming out a window.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BALDWIN: And in case you missed this, this was the moment these officers on the ground realized that the gunshots were in fact coming up from high above at the 32nd floor at the Mandalay Bay Hotel.
We are also getting new video showing the widespread confusion in front of that stage, people running in all kinds of directions, not having any idea where they should be running or from whom they should be running.
So, with me now is Brian Todd, who is live in Las Vegas.
And let's just go back to this girlfriend piece, Brian, because she is sitting down. She's being interviewed, interrogated, what have you, by police, by FBI. But it's my understanding you're getting a little bit more information on the shooter's stockpile of weapons. What have you learned?
BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: That's right, Brooke.
CNN was told a short time ago by a spokesperson for the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, ATF, that Stephen Paddock bought 33 weapons, most of them rifles, between October 2016 and September 2017. That is according to an ATF spokesperson who spoke to my colleague Kyung Lah a short time ago. So you're getting kind of more of a picture of his accumulation of
weapons. We already had been told by a law enforcement official familiar with the investigation that Stephen Paddock had been accumulating weapons over the course of at least 20 years.
And, again, more information about the weapons that were confiscated right after the shooting in three separate locations, the Mandalay Bay hotel room, his property in Mesquite, Nevada, and also a property that he owned near Reno, Nevada. Law enforcement officials told us last night they confiscated 47 -- excuse me -- 47 guns at those three locations.
So you're getting this picture, his accumulation of the weapons. Also today, Brooke, we're told that his girlfriend, Marilou Danley, now has an attorney named Matt Lombard, and that Mr. Lombard is going to be issuing a statement later today.
So, we will be waiting to hear what he has to say about the questioning of Ms. Danley. But, as you mentioned, she's going to be absolutely crucial. Her sisters spoke to our CNN affiliate in Australia and talked about whether she knew anything about -- anything in advance about this attack.
Here's what they had to say.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: She didn't even know that she's going to the Philippines until Steve said, oh, Marilou, I found you a cheap ticket to the Philippines.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Marilou Danley is my sister. She's a good person, a gentle soul, a mother, a grandmother, a sister, a friend.
And I know that she don't know anything as well, like us. She was sent away. She was sent away, so that she will be not there to interfere of what he's planning.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
TODD: The sisters saying that she was sent away by Stephen Paddock, so she would not interfere with whatever he was planning, the sisters implying very strongly that she did not have any foreknowledge of what was planned.
In another interview, a brother of Marilou Danley spoke to another news outlet, saying that she told him--
BALDWIN: Forgive me, Brian. Here is President Trump speaking with police and some first-responders.
(JOINED IN PROGRESS)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: There's really a lot of stories that are great heroism.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Absolutely.
TRUMP: Tremendous number of stories.
But what the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police did is -- but I have always known you were good, right? You know that, Sheriff. I have always known you guys were good, but you really proved it.
And he's a sick, demented man.
Have they been able to find out anything else? It's a little bit soon.
JOSEPH LOMBARDO, CLARK COUNTY, NEVADA, SHERIFF: Still a little bit soon. We have a couple good leads. And we're working our way through that. We're going to get the answers.
TRUMP: Yes, there might be something there. But the wires are screwed up. But there might be something there.
Well, again, I'm going to say a few words to your group, but I just wanted to come in and say hello and congratulate you. I was a fan before this. You know that. Everyone in this room knows that. A big fan before this.
And I guess if you can be more of a fan, I guess I'm even more of a fan now. But you showed the world, and the world is watching. And you showed what professionalism is all about, because that was about as fast -- something like that could take place for hours and hours and hours, and you can't figure it out. And you should be very proud, Sheriff.
LOMBARDO: Just a matter of identification, officer Hancock (ph) there at the end to your right there, he was the first SWAT officer to engage the individual.
And officer Bitsfield (ph) there, the canine officer that assisted with that initial engagement. Officer Morris (ph) and officer Burke (ph) there were the two officers I described that were there and partnered with the security guards, so--
TRUMP: They did a good job, didn't they? They did a good job.
Now, his option would have been try to do it himself, but if it doesn't work, you wouldn't have had the information maybe, right?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Right.
TRUMP: He did the right thing?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He did. We relied on him for the information.
TRUMP: That's great. That's really great.
LOMBARDO: So, everyone else (OFF-MIKE) behind the press there were integral in saving numerous lives.
The gentleman right to your left, that firefighter right there, was off-duty watching the concert and he remained. He saved several lives. So, I think it's important for -- it's important for you to know that every single person in here was instrumental in lifesaving measures.
And these two young ladies here were our dispatchers. So, they're probably the most important people in the room.
TRUMP: Calm and strong and sharp.
LOMBARDO: If you ever have the opportunity to listen to the radio traffic, these two young ladies are amazing.
There was a third young lady, but she decided to go to college.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: (OFF-MIKE)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And a margarita.
BALDWIN: Every single person in that room helped save lives Sunday night. You just heard the sheriff.
That was police, fire, first-responders sitting around that semicircle with the president and the first lady as he was thanking them, congratulating them, saying he was obviously a fan, to use his word, of the heroism on display.
Keep in mind several police officers were killed in that mass murder Sunday night there at the Mandalay Bay Hotel in Las Vegas, and even included some of the young women, the dispatchers. Talking about having to be cool and calm under pressure when all hell is breaking loose on the ground.
Art Roderick is with me. He's our CNN law enforcement analyst.
And just to see a scene like that, Art, trying to put myself in the shoes of the police officers and the firefighters, the heroes sitting there with the president of the United States, what do they want to hear in those sorts of situations?
ART RODERICK, CNN LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: In this type of situation, you want to hear support from the president. And that's exactly what the president did.
I mean, you had anywhere from dispatchers and the initial law enforcement officers that responded. It was good to hear the kind words from the president. And that always bolsters exactly what's happened. And this is what he needs.
He's gone and visited the victims. He's visited the first-responders. And I think that's a very good thing to do to help bolster, because these people are all running on adrenaline right now and still haven't been able to sit down and take a look at this situation yet.
BALDWIN: Let alone sleep or, when they try to sleep, it's impossible.
BALDWIN: I want to ask you about this girlfriend who's being interrogated, or questioned, I should say, right now.
But quickly on the reporting from Kyung Lah, and the fact that we know the shooter accrued 33 firearms, mostly rifles, between September of '16 and October of '17--
BALDWIN: -- for people who just don't know guns, I mean, when you're accruing -- again, he had no criminal history, apparently passed the background checks. Is there not some alarm that goes off?
Do the separate gun shops not talk? When someone starts accruing weapons in that number, is that OK?
RODERICK: I mean, you would think there would be alarms going off, but, no, because he spread his purchases around to several different gun shops.
And it's not only the weapons that he accrued, but also the modifications he made to those weapons, which means he had to go somewhere to practice or had to have knowledge about how to modify those weapons. That's -- some of those weapons that I saw are set up for an expert or a sniper.
They were set up based on those types of modifications. And he had to have some knowledge or training in order to do that.
BALDWIN: Do you think gun shop owners in this country are trained to hear what a virtually fully automatic weapon would sound like, and that would send off alarm bells at a range?
RODERICK: It would.
Sometimes, you can go to some ranges, and they have automatic weapons set up there for you to try and use.
BALDWIN: Got it.
RODERICK: So it's not unusual to find automatic weapons at the gun range. They usually have an experienced individual with you while you're firing that weapon.
But, no, that's not unusual.
RODERICK: And the 12, you know, bump-stocks that he bought, that's a lot. That is a lot.
BALDWIN: One more quick question on the girlfriend. She's being questioned by the FBI.
BALDWIN: What are -- she's lawyered up. What are the key questions?
RODERICK: I mean, from a law enforcement perspective, we want to find out what the motive is. The motive is the key here.
We know he meticulously planned this over what sounds like a full year. I mean, that's a lot of planning to go into this, not only to take care of the girlfriend, make sure she's away, transfer $100,000, but the purchase the weapons, the purchase of the modification on the weapons, but also to pick that particular location, which is far enough away to cause panic within that crowd.
And we know there's a lot of injuries of people just trying to get away.
BALDWIN: Art Roderick, thank you so much on the investigation piece.
RODERICK: Thank you.
BALDWIN: We continue to hear these voices and share these stories of not only the victims, but the survivors.
And coming up next, we will talk to a man who bonded with a total stranger at the concert Sunday night and then saw her hit by gunfire. He stayed with her and stayed in constant contact with her family. Their story is coming up next.
COOPER: We're expecting to see President Trump meeting with police officers very shortly.
But the survivors continue to share their stories, what happened here in Las Vegas. It's our hope that this tragedy will be defined by the incredible acts of heroism and friendship that we continue to hear.
This next story is a remarkable example.
Michelle Vo was attending the Harvest Festival alone when she met Kody Robertson at one of the venue's bars. They became friends and watched the performances together that night about 20 yards from the stage. When the gunshots rang out, a bullet struck Michelle in the chest.
Her sister, Cathy, described her infectious kindness.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CATHY VO, SISTER OF SHOOTING VICTIM: She was really, truly beautiful, inside and out. And she had this bubbly, infectious personality.
And it's so magnetic. If you -- anyone who has been lucky enough to meet her would know that she made it so easy and fun to be around her. She had that natural ability to make that -- you in her presence, you just felt like the best thing. You just wanted to spend so much time with her.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Kody, who met Michelle that night, was in contact with her family after she was shot and spent hours searching for her at area hospitals, where doctors eventually delivered the news that, of course, no family wants to hear.
Kody joins us now from Columbus, Ohio.
Kody, thank you for being with us. I know it's a hard thing to talk about. But I just think what you did, I mean, it's so emblematic of what we're hearing from other people, who in many cases risked their own lives. Tell us what happened after Michelle was shot.
KODY ROBERTSON, SHOOTING SURVIVOR: Well, first of all, thank you for having me on. Obviously, it's been a rough couple of days.
But right after she got shot, it was about the second round of shots. We'd heard the first ones. We thought they were fireworks. We turned to the right, just thought it was part of the show, like many other people around us. And then, when the second rounds came out, she got hit, and then immediately fell.
Right after that, I dropped down as well. That's when the music stopped. Everyone either started dropping down or hiding, running, everything like that.
I turned to try to cover her up. And when the shots stopped, me and a person next to her on the other side, we turned her over, saw that she'd been hit. And at that point, it was basically just survivor mode.
Tried to evacuate. Where we were standing was right near the metal barriers in the middle of the stage that the artists could walk down from the stage on, interact with the fans. And from that point, we scaled those and, you know, basically took her out the back entrance of one of the -- the House of Blues Bar.
From there, after I had helped some other people also scale that same metal barrier, I came to find they were doing CPR on her.
And at one point, we just picked her up and tried to rush her outside. And I know that story's been circulating about the white pickup trucks that people were driving. And we ended up putting her on one of those. You know, they said they were taking people to the hospital.
And that was the last that I saw of her. Me and the other individual that I was with, who, unfortunately, I wish I knew his name, but we turned to each other and said, let's go help some more people. So we went back in--
COOPER: You went back in?
ROBERTSON: -- to try to help anyone that we could, just -- yes, and get out. Yes.
We went back through the House of Blues, which was -- it seemed like a metal structure. You could hear some of the bullets hitting it. And we just tried to pull anybody we could to safety.
And then once -- it was a little bit after that the shots stopped, and then we just tried to get to as many people as we could. Went to other people, tried to help them out, see where they were hit, if they were just hiding, to try to get them up and to help out.
We started taking metal fences and pulling them over, using them as stretchers to put people on and evacuate. We just tried to help out as many people as we could as fast as we could. And we weren't the only ones. There was 30, 40, 50 other people that came running back in, the first-responders too.
COOPER: And I understand you were also looking for -- I also -- I understand you were also looking for Michelle's phone, and you actually were able to find it and -- eventually, and call her family. Is that right? I mean, that's -- I can't imagine--
ROBERTSON: Yes. Yes.
What had happened, her purse was by where they were doing CPR on her. And so I grabbed that, and then I left, and we had exchanged phone numbers about an hour before the incident happened.
And I just tried calling it to see if somebody would answer. And, thankfully, somebody did. They were up at Planet Hollywood. And so I immediately started walking up there. And, as I was walking, that's when I texted my group of friends. That had been -- called -- called me multiple times to check in, see where I was.
I let them know I was OK. And then I sent a text to my mom, my brother, and my sister-in-law, just said, I'm OK.
And then I went up to Planet Hollywood, tried to -- got the phone. Thankfully, the person who had grabbed it just gave it -- turned it over right away. And then I took off for the nearest hospital, went over to, I think it was Desert Springs.
And, unfortunately, they were on lockdown. They were only accepting victims or anybody that had anybody wounds or anything. And I sat there in the parking lot for a good two, three hours. And that's when there were several messages on her phone that came up and a couple calls, and her brother-in-law Jeremiah had called. And I answered and unfortunately had to, you know, tell him the news
that she was hit, and I was -- I had put her on a truck, and I didn't know where she was. You know, and we exchanged information. And I gave--
COOPER: And I know you went from hospital to hospital. You went from hospital to hospital to find her.
I kept calling all the other hospitals around the area to see if they had anybody matching her description, because I had her identification, her purse and her phone. There was no way to really identify her.
Tried calling the 800 numbers. We couldn't get through to anything there. So, it was -- I had no way to contact her, to figure out where she was. Eventually, I talked to an employee there at the hospital. They were very gracious in everything that they're doing. And they brought me in, talked to one of the police officers, explained the situation.
They looked and tried to find all the patients they had there at their location. And she wasn't there. So, they wanted the purse and the phone. So, I handed everything over, exchanged my contact information, gave them a point of contact with the family members.
And then I left. I walked out. And I called Jeremiah back, and gave them the -- the point by-point breakdown of what had happened, you know, let them know that I still didn't know where she was.
But, at that point, I walked all the way back to my hotel, the Luxor. And by the time I got back there, Jeremiah actually reached back out to me again, said that he was pretty sure that she was at the Sunrise.
So, I took my cowboy boots off, put on my tennis shoes, and jumped in a cab and went up there, and just waited, went up to the front desk, gave them a description of who I was looking for.