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58 Killed, 500-Plus Wounded In Sunday Night Shooting; Shooter's Girlfriend Marilou Danley Back In U.S.; Police Working To Determine Gunman's Motive; Massacre Survivors Recount Terrifying Moments; Catalonian Leaders Risking Spain's Stability, Says Spain's King; Trump Praises Response To Puerto Rico Disaster; Sheriff: Las Vegas Shooting Obviously Premeditated; Doctors Among Heroes In Las Vegas Shooting; Mass Shooting Reignites Bitter Gun Debate; Trump: "We'll Be Talking About Gun Laws As Time Goes By"; Hurricane Death Toll In Puerto Rico Rises To 34; Medical Volunteers Bring Hope To Puerto Rico. Aired 2-3a ET
Aired October 4, 2017 - 02:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ISHA SESAY, CNN ANCHOR, NEWSROOM: You're watching CNN NEWSROOM live from Los Angeles.
JOHN VAUSE, CNN ANCHOR, NEWSROOM: Ahead this hour, dozens of assault weapons, wire transfers and hidden cameras. We're learning new details about methodical planning, leading up to Sunday's mass shooting in Las Vegas.
SESAY: And President Donald Trump's trip to Puerto Rico is overshadowed by some questionable comments, including jokes about the cost of recovery and a suggestion to wipe out the island's massive debt.
Hello and thank you for joining us. I'm Isha Sesay.
VAUSE: I'm John Vause. Great to have you with us. You're watching NEWSROOM LA.
As we learn more about Sunday's mass shooting in Las Vegas, it seems every detail about this massacre was meticulously planned.
The gunman Stephen Paddock set up cameras on a room service cart outside his suite to watch for police. There was also a camera in the peephole of the door to his room.
SESAY: "The Daily Mail" published photos from inside the suite showing his dead body surrounded by assault weapons, ammunition, and spent shell casings.
Fifty-eight people were shot dead on Sunday night. The earlier death toll of 59 has been revised down because that included Paddock.
Joining us now from Las Vegas, CNN's Scott McLean. So, Scott, right now, Paddock's girlfriend apparently back in the United States, not necessarily a suspect, but police believe she may have some information crucial to this investigation? SCOTT MCLEAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: That's right. Marilou Danley is
Stephen Paddock's longtime girlfriend - was the longtime girlfriend, I should say. She was in Manila. She was on a flight this evening that left Manila and arrived LAX just shortly after 7 o'clock local time in Los Angeles.
Now, what we don't know is whether or not she'll carry on here to Las Vegas or whether she'll stay in Los Angeles. As you know, it's only a short drive, couple of hours from LA to here, so you could do that. You could also jump on a very short flight.
Now, according to our Evan Perez, and the FBI - some FBI agents are accompanying her. What's not clear is whether they will interview her in Los Angeles or whether they will bring her directly to Las Vegas to question her.
As you said, she is a person of interest. She is not a suspect in this case, but she could hold a lot of clues as to what was going through Stephen Paddock's mind before he carried out this brutal crime and also answer some of the curious questions like why he wired $100,000 to the Philippines.
At this point, investigators don't know when that money was wired or who exactly was the recipient. So, there are plenty of unanswered questions at this point.
A big one among them why did he do it, what was his motivation. It's possible that Danley might have the answers.
VAUSE: That is the biggest question of them all, the motive. They are still working on that. But they've also released a lot of detail about not necessarily the why, but the how, the methodical planning which went into this, including these cameras which he had set up inside and outside the hotel room.
MCLEAN: Yes. And we know, John, at least one of them, according to police here in Las Vegas, was on a cart, a room service cart, just outside of the room. It's possible, police say, that that was used to sort of alert Paddock as to when or if police were coming and whether he should be prepared.
[02:05:09] We also know that, police say, this was planned extensively, that he - all the decisions that Paddock made, he sort of considered the consequences for. He had more than 23 guns - sorry, he had 23 guns, I should say, inside of that hotel room. He was able to shoot for between 9 and 11 minutes unloading round after round on victims below that hotel room.
A challenge for police is the fact is he was 32 floors up. Today, we spoke to a security expert who spent more than 20 years with the FBI. He was also the head of security at the Venetian Hotel, a large hotel here in Las Vegas.
We asked him about the challenges for police of height and also the advantage for the shooter. Listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DAVID SHEPHERD, SECURITY EXPERT: You can see almost everything from up here. You can see where people are moving, you can see where the crowd is, you can see traffic, you can see - you have an advantage up here.
MCLEAN: You also have these windows to break through. How hard would it be to break through these?
SHEPHERD: These windows are here. It used to be windows used to open. And they closed the windows because it's a lot safer to have these type windows. There's one single panel. But they're also hard to break.
You also have to have, when people are up here, they lean against windows, you're moving furniture against windows, they can't break it easy. So, it has to take something hard and heavy.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MCLEAN: We're also learning more, John, about the types of weaponry that Paddock had inside of that room. Twenty-three guns, we know that 12 of them were equipped with something called a bump stock.
A little background here. Automatic weapons, meaning weapons that you can just hold down the trigger and they will continually fire, as a general rule, with some exceptions, are illegal in this country.
So, these bump stocks essentially mimic, allow a semiautomatic, something where you actually have to press the trigger manually every time you want to fire, they allow weapons like that to mimic what an automatic weapon would do. So, they turn a semiautomatic rifle into essentially a machine gun.
We know that these bump stocks are completely legal and essentially do what an automatic weapon would do.
VAUSE: Which raises the question why are they legal if the automatic weapons are illegal in the first place. But there are a lot of gun laws which need to be debated in the coming days.
Scott, thank you for being with us. Appreciate it.
SESAY: Well, joining us now, two retired special agents with the FBI. Steve Moore is in Denver, Colorado and Bobby Chacon joins us from Palm Springs, California. Welcome to you both, gentlemen.
Steve, to you first, the killer's girlfriend Marilou Danley is back in the United States. Authorities have said she's a person of interest. Explain what that means in the context of the questioning she's now going to face, now that she's back here.
STEVE MOORE, CNN LAW ENFORCEMENT CONTRIBUTOR: Well, when you call somebody person of interest, Isha, it is indicating that they may not be culpable, but they certainly have information that would be helpful or instrumental in understanding the crime. And in this case, it's hard to understand how somebody could live with this man for a couple of years or however long she was with him and not understand that there was planning going on.
The FBI is also going to be very interested in the fact that she left to go to the Philippines just before the crime occurred. And at the same time, the killer wired $100,000 to the Philippines. These are things that are going to cause the FBI some concern.
SESAY: Bobby, in the context of that money, that $100,000 that was wired, we don't exactly when it was fired, we don't know who the recipient was, but talk to us about the importance of following the money in this investigation.
BOBBY CHACON, RETIRED FBI SPECIAL AGENT: Right, Isha. You're exactly right. Obviously, we do hear that phrase a lot, follow the money in a lot of criminal investigations. And it will be similar in this one, follow the money.
And the FBI has an office, full-time staffed by agents in Manila. So, I'm sure those agents are working with their Filipino counterparts and tracing that money, where it went, what it was used for, if there are any third parties involved in accessing that money.
The Philippines does have a problem with ISIS-affiliated terror groups there. So, they're running out every lead that they can and where that money went is going to be of vital importance to show any kind of motive that he might have had for sending that money there and what she did with it, who she gave it to.
SESAY: Steve, we've seen these images from the inside the suite, so the suite there at the Mandalay Hotel where Paddock set himself up to unleash this unspeakable terror. So many weapons in the images. So many different levels of weaponry.
I mean, what does the images say to you? These images that we have on our screen now and where there's a - there are guns on the floor and all around. Talk to me about your takeaway.
[02:10:09] MOORE: There's more guns than even - this was well- planned. And he knew how many guns he would need and he brought many more than he would need. That's going to be something that's going to have the profilers scratching their heads.
It almost becomes a recreational thing for him in a certain way, in that he is finding enjoyment out of just the presence of the guns.
There's an operational consideration for somebody, as sad as it seems to be discussing it this way, but the barrels, when you fire full automatic, they are not meant to go that long at 9, 10 minutes. They start to get cherry red hot, they start to degrade and jam.
So, yes, I can understand a person that's homicidal, that's sociopathic would need several weapons, but he didn't need 20.
SESAY: And, Bobby, as Steve makes the point about the weapons getting hot, one of the images, the image we have of Paddock and his dead body on the floor of the suite, you can actually see that he's wearing gloves, you can actually just make out his hands and he actually does have gloves on, which speaks to, I guess, an awareness, maybe a planning. I mean, I don't know. I mean, talk to me about your read of these images.
CHACON: Well, absolutely. I think that he knew that those guns were going to get hot. He probably was out in the desert somewhere practicing with these. These are not guns that you would pick up and just shoot for the first time, particularly as they sound like they were made fully auto.
He was somewhere practicing. And these guns are not easily practiced with. You have to have a very specific place, very isolated, if you don't want anybody else to know.
Now, having all those guns, it harkens back, to me, to the San Bernardino attacks, where that couple had way more guns and ammunition and devices than they needed just to carry out that Christmas party attack.
So, I think that there's a possibility he may have planned on carrying out much more of this attack and trying to defend that room much more, except that this is the first time he's ever done anything like that. And when he got caught up in the moment, he might have himself up and said it's time to end this and end my life prior to what he had originally planned to.
So, he might've planned on just fighting it out a lot more. And then, he was too much of a coward when faced with opposition and he just took the coward's way out.
So, it's quite possible that his initial planning, in his own mind, he was going to fire a lot more of those weapons for a lot longer time.
SESAY: And, Steve, with that in mind, what Bobby just said, does the issue of the camera, the cameras that were set up in the hallway and inside the suite, again, if you put together what Bobby just said with the cameras, what does that say to you about the intentionality here.
MOORE: Exactly what Bobby said. There was probably an intention of going out in a blaze of glory here. And Bobby is right. Things like these, San Bernardino killers, Buford Furrow who shot up the Jewish Community Center in Granada Hills, when he got his van, he had dozens of rifles, thousands of rounds of ammunition. They generally believe that it's the (INAUDIBLE), that they are fighting to the death and it will be glorious.
What they find is it's very terrifying when somebody blows the door in so hard. It ricochets off the wall. And he probably found that he didn't have it in him to continue at that point.
SESAY: Bobby, last question to you, Paddock arrived at that hotel with at least ten suitcases. I mean, he needed a lot of cases to carry, what, 23 guns and all that ammo and everything else. He booked himself into a suite. That gave him an interrupted view of the concert site, some 400 yards away from the hotel.
There are cameras everywhere in Vegas hotel. I'm imagining, I'm guessing that investigators are combing through all those images right now.
CHACON: Oh, absolutely. And I think they've already seen all those images. I think they've been through them in the last 48 hours. They've seen everything that he came and went with. And, you know what, it may be quite possible that all they did was see him coming and going with luggage as they saw thousands of others doing the same thing.
If he carried them in in small bundles, in regular size luggage, which he could've done over three days, then it's likely that he wouldn't have raised any suspicion at all.
Vegas is one of those places where performers come in, musicians come in, camera crews come in and they check in with all kinds of luggage of all sizes. Hotels pride themselves on not prying into their guest privacy. That's one of the things hotels do.
And so, it's not really conceivable in my mind that anybody would have raised up on someone coming in with large amounts of luggage. I mean, Vegas is kind of like that.
[02:15:07] SESAY: So many more questions to be answered. We will talk about them in the days ahead. Steve Moore, Bobby Chacon, my thanks to you both.
MOORE: Good to talk to you, Isha.
SESAY: Thanks for joining us.
CHACON: Thank you.
VAUSE: Well, Shawn Rawl was near the stage when the shooting happened, helped many to escape the gunfire. Shawn joins us now from Las Vegas.
Shawn, what, it's been a couple of days now, has everything that happened on Sunday night, has that sunk in it or is it still a bit of a blur right now?
SHAWN RAWL, HELPED VICTIMS ESCAPE: Good evening, John. Yes, it sunk in more than anything today. The reason why is once you start seeing the victim's faces and hearing their stories of who they are and where they came from or what type of people they were, it's probably hit me more than anything today - tonight.
VAUSE: Yes. How are you coping with that?
RAWL: I'm dealing with it. I broke down earlier in the day. I got a lot of it out by crying and I'm dealing with it as best as I can deal with it.
VAUSE: It's tough, man. So, whatever helps and whatever gets you through it, just do what you've got to do.
When the shooting started, you were in the front row. And you've worked security at the Village where the concert was. So, you know that place pretty well. So, pick up from there. What happened next?
RAWL: Yes, I've got to correct you. I didn't do security for the festival. I was there to see one of my friends, Dee Jay Silver, he's was the dee jay of the festival, and Jason Aldean's dee jay.
So, I got the chance to go and see him. And the reason why I was so close to the stage, his dee jay booth was right next to the stage. And I wanted to get some pictures some pictures and some videos I wanted to send them. And then it started happening.
First thing I heard was firecrackers. I thought it was firecrackers. Then it sounded like the speakers were going. And then, I knew it at the time it was it and what it was, a shooter, is when I saw the facial expressions of two Metro officers that looked like that - they had horror on their faces and they drew out their guns.
And at that time, I saw everybody like drop to the ground. When they dropped to the ground, I dropped to the ground at first. But then I realized that we're trapped here, we can't go anywhere, and (INAUDIBLE) to the stage where there's a 5-foot barrier and we're just sitting targets.
So, I did my best to get people over that particular 5-foot barricade, so they could have an avenue to escape because in front of the stage, they leave that open for the performers.
VAUSE: I think you maybe got, what, dozens, maybe hundreds of people out to safety. I have the question, how are the hands right now? And I ask that, because on Facebook, you posted a photo, you wrote this, just got a few scratches and cuts from helping victims over a security backstage fence. I got lucky and I'm OK.
So, again, how are the hands today?
RAWL: They're healing. I mean, it's nothing compared to what people went through. I just wanted to put that on Facebook to let my friends know that I was OK because I did lose my cell phone at the particular time when I was getting shot at. So, there's no way all my friends, all my family members knew that I was OK. So, that's the reason why I did that.
VAUSE: Well, Shawn, what you did was incredible. Obviously, there are a lot of people out there who are very grateful that you happened to be at that concert on Sunday. So, thanks for being with us. We really appreciate it. And take care of yourself, OK?
RAWL: You're welcome. You too. Thanks, John.
SESAY: Another act of bravery.
VAUSE: Unbelievable. SESAY: Unbelievable. Next on NEWSROOM LA, Donald Trump is patting himself on the back for relief efforts in Puerto Rico. But does it match the reality of the situation on the ground?
[02:21:05] SESAY: Well, Catalonia and Madrid are defiant as Spain is facing its biggest political crisis in decades. Thousands in Barcelona protested the violent government crackdown on Sunday's independence referendum.
VAUSE: Meanwhile, the king of Spain is condemning the vote as unconstitutional and has accused Catalonian leaders of trying to undermine the country's social and economic stability.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
FELIPE VI, KING OF SPAIN (through translator): They have challenged the sovereignty of Spain and the right of everybody to democratically exercise their vote.
So, this is a situation of extreme gravity, which really requires a commitment of everybody for the general interest.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VAUSE: Notably, the king has made no public comment about the hundreds who were hurt at polling stations during clashes with the national police.
SESAY: Well, back in the United States, US President Donald Trump is raising the idea of eliminating Puerto Rico's debt as it tries to recover after Hurricane Maria.
VAUSE: The island filed for forced bankruptcy in May, going $73 billion to private investors. During a visit to the island on Tuesday, the president told "Fox News" that debt would have to be wiped.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD J. TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Well, we're going to work something out. We have to look at their whole debt structure. They owe a lot of money to your friends on Wall Street and we're going to have to wipe that out. That's going to have to be -you can say goodbye to that. I don't know if it is Goldman Sachs, but whoever it is, you can wave goodbye to that. We have to do something about because the debt was massive on the island.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SESAY: Well, the president toured areas near San Juan during his trip and praised his government's relief efforts. Only half of Puerto Rico has drinking water and less than 7 percent has power.
VAUSE: It was as though Mr. Trump seemed to imply that Puerto Rico wasn't really dealing with a real catastrophe.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: Every death is a horror. But if you look at a real catastrophe like Katrina and you look at the tremendous - hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of people that died and you look at what happened here with really a storm that was just totally overbearing, nobody's ever seen anything like this - now, what is your death count as of this moment? Seventeen?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Sixteen certified.
TRUMP: Sixteen people, certified. Sixteen people versus in the thousands.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VAUSE: Well, for more on the president's trip to Puerto Rico, we go to Boston and CNN national security analyst and former assistant secretary at Homeland Security during the Obama administration, Juliette Kayyem. Always good to see, Juliette. OK -
JULIETTE KAYYEM, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: Thank you.
VAUSE: Keep in mind, the president had spent the past week boasting about this incredible, amazing, successful federal response in Puerto Rico, which just didn't match reality, he was also picking fights with anyone who questioned him about that.
So, let's start with that comment we just heard from the president, suggesting that what's happening in Puerto Rico, it's not a real catastrophe like New Orleans and Hurricane Katrina because the death toll 12 years ago was just so many times higher.
KAYYEM: Right. That's not the only way they can judge the success or failure of a federal response, but he is also speaking prematurely. We do not know right now the fatality numbers coming out of Puerto Rico. They doubled just in the last couple of hours. It's now a couple of dozen dead.
And the reason why we don't know is because so much of the country still doesn't have electricity. People still don't know what's happening in certain parts of the territory. People don't know what's happening in certain hospitals.
Coroner's offices are not open. So, you can't even get the accurate number. So, the idea that we even know what the number is, let alone the fact that he's standing there with living victims of a hurricane, saying, well, be grateful that you're alive does not go very far for those who believe, as all of us do, that the federal government's responsibility is to help these communities get back to normal, get their electricity going, get food, get water to people, to Americans who are in dire need.
[02:25:09] VAUSE: And whether it's more than a 1,000 dead or more than a 100 dead, like you said, we don't know the final death toll in Puerto Rico, it's still the same pain and anguish for the relatives of those who died.
KAYYEM: Yes, absolutely. And we're at the stage now where CNN's Sanjay Gupta calls them the stupid deaths, right? These are the ones that we may experience or that we may now see - people who actually completely survived the hurricane, survived a day or two after, but got sick and couldn't get their medicine, drank that water and died because of something that they drank, who are starving to death.
So, these are the deaths that are absolutely preventable if only the response had been more successful.
VAUSE: OK. Here are a few other highlights from the president's day in Puerto Rico. First off, what kind of seemed to be a joke about the enormous cost of Puerto Rico's recovery. Listen to this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: I hate to tell you, Puerto Rico, you've thrown our budget a little out of whack because we spent a lot of money on Puerto Rico, and that's fine. We've saved a lot of lives.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VAUSE: And keeping in mind, just two weeks ago, the island had been leveled by a hurricane and the president decided to talk about how great the weather is. Again, listen to this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: I've always loved it. And your weather is second to none, but every once in a while, you get hit. And you really got hit.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VAUSE: Later, he was meeting with some residents. They are living in damaged homes. They don't have electricity. Most don't have running water. Listen closely to what the president says here at the very end.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: Not a lot of movement? Did you feel vibration, movement?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No, no.
TRUMP: That's great.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No, but only a window was -
TRUMP: Looks solid. The windows, yes.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, yes. So, we have one good house. Thank God.
TRUMP: And in the meantime, here you are, right?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Exactly, exactly. TRUMP: We're going to help you out.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Thank you.
TRUMP: Have a good time.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Thank you, Mr. President.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VAUSE: Have a good time was the remark in case you missed it. There's a couple more to go. Stay with us. While handing out relief supplies, the president began throwing rolls of paper towels into the crowd and CNN's Jeremy Diamond, who was there, he also reports that Donald Trump told the crowd, flashlights, you don't need them anymore. Clearly, they do, and they will for months.
The overall criticism, though, Juliette, here is that, for many, the president failed the empathy test. In a situation like this, why does that matter so much?
KAYYEM: Oh, it matters so much. I say, in a disaster, leaders, in particular, political leaders need to not praise themselves or their response, but, more importantly, they need to deliver two things.
One is numbers, right? The numbers of goods, numbers of trucks, numbers of - the amount of food that you're delivering, just numbers. People want to see movement.
And the second thing is hope, right? That is a president's responsibility for American citizens who are on an island that still - 70 percent of it still does not have electricity.
Neither of those were delivered, right, because if he believes that the recovery is going well, he's not demanding of the people who work for them to do better, which they clearly have to do.
And if he is sort of making jokes about what's going on, he's not - the seriousness or gravity of the situation does not seem to be absorbed by him. So, he is not providing hope to many in Puerto Rico.
Our reporters in CNN have done some stories after he left with people - talking to people in Puerto Rico, who I think were just sort of shocked and dumbfounded by these comments, as if it were all sort of a stage rather than a tragedy.
VAUSE: Yes. And according to the mayor of San Juan, it wasn't a whole lot different when the president was meeting privately with local officials.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CARMEN YULIN CRUZ, MAYOR OF SAN JUAN: I think his staff understands now and they have all the data they need. But I would hope that the president of the United States stops spouting that really hurt the people of Puerto Rico because rather than commander-in-chief, he sort of becomes miscommunicator-in-chief.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VAUSE: Donald Trump received a lot of praise for the government's response to the recent hurricane disasters in Texas and Florida. So, is there anything unique about Puerto Rico which explains why it's been so slow this time? Is it hurricane fatigue? Is it the fact that it's an island? Or could it be something else?
KAYYEM: I think some of it may be all of the above. I think President Trump has a tendency to run away from responsibility and to embrace success. You've got to wonder why is he lacking that empathy gene. I'll let others decide what's motivating his attitude towards Puerto Rico.
But, nonetheless, I think it's a fair accusation given that we are now two weeks past when the storm hit. And I have spent 20 years in disaster management, I've never seen anything like this before, let alone that it's in the United States.
These are American citizens.
[02:30:07] VAUSE: These are American citizens -- 3-and-a-half million of them and they are in need and will be for some time. Julia, good to speak with you, thanks so much.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Thank you.
ISHA SESAY, CNN HOST: Two weeks and only seven percent of the island has power.
VAUSE: I wonder why.
SESAY: Still to come, the politics of gun control. The debate is renewed after the tragedy in Las Vegas. Hear what President Trump has to say about it.
SESAY: You're watching CNN NEWSROOM Live from Los Angeles, I'm Isha Sesay.
VAUSENE: I'm John Vause, we'll take the headlines this hour. The King of Spain condemning the Catalonian independence vote on Sunday, calling it unconstitutional. And he has accused Catalonian leader of trying to undermine the country's social and economic stability.
Thousands took to the streets again in Barcelona protesting the government's violent crackdown after the vote.
SESAY: U.S. President Donald Trump is praising his administration's disaster relief efforts in Puerto Rico, as he visited the island, Tuesday based on the President and local official. But two weeks after Hurricane Maria, most of the island still has no power and many are struggling to get food and fuel.
VAUSE: New evidence from Las Vegas police shows the meticulous planning which led up to Sunday's massacre. The gunman have cameras inside and outside his hotel room to watch the law enforcement. And inside that suite, he had 23 firearms. Police say the shooting lasted between nine and 11 minutes.
SESAY: Well, many doctors are among the heroes from the Las Vegas shooting. Emergency room physician Dr. Kevin Menes is one of them. He with that Sunrise Hospital and Medical Center as the wounded arrived, Sunday night. Doctor Menes joins us now from Las Vegas. Thank you so much for being with us, doctor.
You were essentially the first point of contact for many of the victims arriving at Sunrise, that night. Can you describe the scene for us, and what you had to do as the wounded were being taken out of those trucks and ambulances?
KEVIN MENES, EMERGENCY ROOM PHYSICIAN, SUNRISE HOSPITAL AND MEDICAL CENTER: Well, the most important thing that we could do is try to stratify them and figure out who was the sickest and get those the care first. So, that was my biggest priorities, to figure out where the sickest patients were, out of the 200-plus patients that came in, in an hour.
SESAY: It's kind of hard to even begin to fathom, imagine that -- I'm imagining -- were you standing outside? Were you standing at the double doors? And just this rush of people are coming towards you. Kevin, what was going through your mind?
[02:34:59] MENES: So, I set it up to be -- that we had all of our gurneys and wheelchairs staged down in our ambulance bay. And I was on our driveway waiting for the patients to come in. And we had police officers protecting us and what we did was car by car, we started pulling them one by one as I looked them over for bullet holes.
We make assessment of where these patients should go and, you know, by -- you know, MCI standards which are what we use in order to stratify who's the sickest and who's the not sickest. We needed to find these red tags, these people who were potentially going to die within seconds to minutes. And those were the patients who got put into our resuscitation base first to get taken care by the other doctors in the team.
At that time when the first patients did come in, there were four E.R. doctors and one trauma surgeon. And I was one of the E.R. doctors but I was outside. So, we had essentially four doctors inside doing resuscitations.
SESAY: And I know that you never turned any of the wounded away, and that very quickly, your hospital ran out of space. There were some crazy workarounds that you guys came up with. Talk to us about that.
MENES: We never ran out of space. We could always make room for more. SESAY: Yes.
MENES: You know, that's the thing about our hospital, we are -- we are resilient, we're very flexible. Our team, you know, that night came together and, you know, they -- I threw some crazy ideas at people and everyone decided that they would come along with it. You know, we put gurneys side by side, we had patients who were the walking wounded, the green tags. They sat on the floor or on chairs and we stuffed them into a room with a nurse watching over them to look for the ones who could potentially get worse and sick. Go from just being a green to yellow or potentially a red.
SESAY: Well, Doctor Menes I know that --
MENES: So, we have some of the other --
SESAY: Sorry. Go ahead, I didn't mean to cut you off. Go ahead.
MENES: Yes, some of the -- some of the workarounds also that we did was, we took all of the blood out of our blood bank and we had it ready for us. So, the second that we asked for blood, it was hung within seconds, which, you know, that's saved lives. Being able to do things instantaneously or nearly instantaneously, breaking the rules that we normally don't do. That's what, you know, was allowed us to save, you know, as many lives as we did that night.
SESAY: And Dr. Menes, I know that one of things that you said that he stayed with you, is that there were victims supporting each other, putting others first. Tell us more about that and what you saw.
MENES: These were some of the -- these were the greatest patients I have ever taken care of. You know, when a pickup truck would come in with five or six people on it, I have to look inside that pickup truck, no extra lights. I have to try to find the patient that had the biggest hole in them, in the most critical space.
And when the door would open, I'm looking through five or six people and the other people are looking at me and saying, "No, no, no, no, I'm fine, I'm fine, it's this person, it's this person." So, it cut my time down, trying to find these patients, trying to find the holes. It allowed me to be all to stratify these people faster and quicker than if I actually had to do all the work solely by myself. I mean, that you can't ask for a better set of people to come in wounded.
SESAY: No, absolutely. I mean, Dr. Menes, you're an E.R. physician. I know you've seen a lot over the years, there's no doubt about that. E.R. is a -- is a unique place, but talk to me about the impact, this tragedy, this mass shooting has had on you.
MENES: It is only made me more proud of my community, just think that total strangers are lining up for six hours outside of the blood banks. You know, to donate blood, to see the outpouring of food and support that has been coming to the hospitals. Even to this blood banks, you know, that's the part of this community that people don't see. You know, they see the glitz and glamour of the strip, you know, they don't get to see this side that I know, that I've seen, that is amazing.
It's also helped me appreciate my -- the hospital and our staff. We had officially 219 but I know that there were more than that. The 219 patients come through our ER, starting around 10:30, we did over 25, 28, I'm not being sure the exact number. 28 or roughly 28 emergency damage-control surgeries in the first six hours. They're up to over 60 at this point.
[02:40:11] MENES: We cleared out 200 -- those 219 patients, the majority of them were out of our Emergency Department within surgery or up into the ICU, or discharged home by almost 6:00 in the morning.
MENES: So, that tells you how amazing our hospital is. Sunrise Hospital did an amazing job for only being the only Level 2 trauma center on Maryland Parkway, we did an amazing job.
SESAY: You certainly did, you certainly did an amazing job. And Dr. Menes, thank you, thank you for what you did that night. And do take care of yourself in the days ahead, and we wish you the very, very best. Thank you again. You are indeed --
MENES: Thank you.
SESAY: -- another one of the heroes from this tragedy.
VAUSE: We're learning a little more about the lives lost on Sunday, the innocent people who were victims of an act of evil. Charleston Hartfield was a Las Vegas police officer. A sergeant First Class in the Nevada Army National Guard. He also coached youth football, he was off-duty Sunday night when the shots rang out. He's (INAUDIBLE) epitomize is the best of America. Candice Bowers was a single mother of three, she recently adopted her youngest child, just 2 years old, family called her a superhero.
SESAY: And John Phippen was a father of six who died a hero. He and his sons stopped to help a stranger amid all that chaos and John died after shielding them from a bullet. His friend called him an example of what to strive for in life.
VAUSE: Well, the FBI is taking a close look at the firearms Stephen Paddock used to kill 58 people and wounded hundreds more.
SESAY: Well, the frightening sound of rapid gunfire at the scene suggests fully automatic weapons. Drew Griffin takes a closer look at how Paddock could have made his guns even more deadly.
DREW GRIFFIN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: A fully automatic rifle requires two components, a trigger mechanism that allows multiple rounds fired with one finger squeeze and a magazine able to feed the weapon with a continuous stream of bullets. The result is the kind of weapon one could logically only use in a war, or like Las Vegas, in a massacre.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Be advised, it is automatic fire. Fully automatic fire from an elevated position.
GRIFFIN: You'd think that kind of weapon power would be illegal for average gun owners to possess, think again. This is a slide stock, perfectly legal aftermarket component. According to the manufacturer's video, it's easy to assemble on an assault rifle. And the results, though technically do not make a machine gun, ask yourself if you can tell the difference.
SAM RABADI, FORMER SPECIAL AGENT, ATF: That was just one of several ways that you can make a semi-automatic rifle into essentially a fully automatic rifle.
[02:45:03] GRIFFIN: The slide stock is legal to buy and to use. Former ATF agent Sam Rabati calls it a workaround of the gun laws, not a loophole. That may make no sense to you, this will make even less sense. Kits you can buy online to turn a semi-automatic rifle into a fully automatic weapon, legal to buy, yet, illegal to actually use.
RABADI: Anybody with a -- with a basic machining skill set could go ahead and convert a semi-automatic rifle into a fully automatic rifle. The conversion kit itself is legal but when you use it to convert a rifle into fully automatic, obviously, then makes it an illegal firearm.
GRIFFIN: The body says the Las Vegas shooter may have used both, and firing from the 32nd story into a huge crowd, needed little training if any to kill so many. Any attempt for more regulation on guns is likely to go nowhere with the Republican-led Congress.
But even after the Sandy Hook shooting in 2012, when Democrats had control, a bill calling for tighter background checks failed to pass the Senate. As for the states, in Florida, after last year's massacre at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando, two Democratic State Legislators introduced bills to ban sales of assault weapons and limit high- capacity magazines. Both bills died without even a hearing. Drew Griffin, CNN, Winter Haven, Florida.
VAUSE: Well, joining us now, CNN political commentator Dave Jacobson and John Thomas, if you don't know, Dave is a Democrat, John's a Republican, if I can't tell. OK.
DAVID JACOBSON, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: It's a classic.
VAUSE: Exactly. OK. Once again, the focus in this country, we're doing this dance about gun reform, will anything get done, what will Congress do? The President was asked specifically, when will the administration take a look at the issue? This is his answer.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Look, we have a tragedy, we're going to do -- and 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 -- but I do have to say how quickly the police department was able to get in, was really very much of a miracle. They've done an amazing job --
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VAUSE: John, in case you missed it, the President thinks the police did a great job in Vegas.
JOHN THOMAS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: And they did.
VAUSE: And they did. He has used that line about five times when he's been asked about gun laws. That line is not going to last much longer when it comes to pushing through a debate on this, or is it? I mean, is this enough? Oh, the police did a great job, we're done.
THOMAS: Well, I think you have to hear from the other side, they want more gun laws. You have to hear proposals that actually would have prevented that attack and I don't think we've heard any gun laws that would have stopped this from happening.
SESAY: Dave, what are -- what are Democrats talking about doing in response to -- onto that?
THOMAS: He passed background checks, right? Look, he bought them over time.
JACOBSON: There's no one gun law that necessarily would have prevented that specific case or perhaps any other specific case. But, look, if you look at polling, 90 percent of Americans according to Quinnipiac and PoliFact that came out that average -- a whole bunch of polls, 90 percent of Americans believe in universal background checks, that's not the law of the land. Maybe this guy went through a background check, maybe he didn't.
THOMAS: He went through multiple background checks.
JACOBSON: But it's not -- but it's not the law of the land. The reality is we need comprehensive common sense gun safety measures. I'm not arguing for us to take away your gun but I am saying is, if you're on the terror watch list, you should not be able to buy gun.
THOMAS: I totally -- I totally understand that but what -- I totally understand that, I hear -- I agree with you on the public opinion point. But what we're trying to figure on this -- triggering this debate --
VAUSE: We've always had this debate.
THOMAS: Yes. But what would have stopped this attack, and that's what I want to hear.
VAUSE: So, in 1996 when a gunman went into Dunblane in Scotland, and killed a bunch of primary school kids, the U.K. banned automatic weapons, OK? And they banned handguns. And guess what, there's been no more massacres in Scotland. In 1996, couple of months later, Port Arthur massacre, Martin Bryant went and killed 35 people in Australia, the world's worst mass -- worst mass shooting at that point in time. And guess what, I show you banned automatic weapons had a massive gun buyback. Oh, you know what's happened since then? No more mass shootings. So, when bill says there is no government response to this, that is absolute --
THOMAS: Yes, but the difference is, I mean, there are millions of guns in circulation. So you can outlaw new ones, that's fine. But you --
VAUSE: Then you have gun buyback, you buy them all back in?
THOMAS: Americans aren't going to be -- so, I mean, they do that in L.A. City all the time. And there's so many --
VAUSE: But once (INAUDIBLE) there is a way, there is a way.
SESAY: Yes, I mean, I think that's the point. Are you suggesting that there is no way, it's just like a defeatist, the horses have bolted, so, there's nothing we can do, surely there are things that can be done.
THOMAS: I think there are. I mean, I just don't think that, currently, yet, and I'm open to hearing proposals. I don't think there are any proposals that would stop it. Some things that make sense is putting metal detectors and other detection devices in these hotels, you know, figuring out --
VAUSE: Smart guns.
[02:50:00] THOMAS: Using a facial recognition, I'm not sure that -- again, I'm not even sure that would have stopped today's -- this week's attack.
JACOBSON: Here's my question, John, why do average civilians in a free society need military-grade weapons with high-capacity magazines --
THOMAS: Because it's their --
JACOBSON: -- to go out there and slaughter people?
THOMAS: Well, because it's their -- it's their second amendment right.
VAUSE: OK. So, here's the deal, some believe that you're -- because Trump before he become (INAUDIBLE) supporting Republican, he was actually a pro-abortion.
JACOBSON: Yes. New York Liberal, yes. THOMAS: Yes.
VAUSE: Democrat supporting gun rights. But -- so, when Steve Bannon, the former White House Strategist was asked by Axios if he believes Trump might actually, you know, move to the left on this? Bannon replied, "Impossible", will be the end of everything, Bannon texted the reporter. When asked whether Trump's base would react worse to this and they would if he supported an immigration amnesty bill, Bannon replied, as hard as it is to believe, actually worse. So, Dave, that's it, right (INAUDIBLE) everything.
JACOBSON: It is. I mean, Donald Trump is bottom paid for by the NRA and the gun lobby. I mean, they were spending millions of dollars on television advertising in Key Swing States like on Ohio, other States to help propel him to victory. And that's just the cold-hard reality. I mean, we've got this massive gridlock in Washington because Republicans refused cowardly, not you specifically, you're not in Congress. But Republicans in office will refuse to stand up to the gun lobby.
THOMAS: I don't -- I don't think that he's bought and paid for by the NRA. I think it's a -- this is a third-rail issue with the Republican electorate. Bannon's a hundred percent right if he gives on this issue, the voters will hurt him. It's not -- it's not -- I don't think he's afraid of the NRA per se.
SESAY: So, let me pick up on that, and because it's a thing I don't quite understand. Republicans are killed, too. They're losing their lives in these tragedies as well. I -- either voters are affected by this. So, why this assumption was maskly (ph) that they'd be against it? Well, you guys just -- are you just projecting and using that as a defense --
THOMAS: No. I think there's fundamental differences, Democrats are blaming the weapon use and Republicans are blaming the person. And there's a fundamental difference and we believe that if he hadn't used a fully-automatic rifle, he would have used is a semi-automatic rifle. Or he would have used -- or what he used a fertilizer bomb, or he would have used a U-Haul van and plowed into people that he would've committed this. I think that's the fundamental differences. We're not quick to blame the weapon because we're saying that's not the fundamentals problem here.
JACOBSON: Here's one thing that I think this is going to impact the 2018 election is, number one, the Democrats are going to use gun control as a litmus test. And candidates like Bernie Sanders who were to the right of Hillary Clinton on gun control, and that's going to be a big issue, number one. Number two, Nevada is a targeted red to blue flip for Democrats and this is going to be a microcosm of what we might see across the country with the Senate race.
SESAY: And this is like we've talked about.
VAUSE: Yes. I'm sorry if I got a little (INAUDIBLE) people
JACOBSON: No. VAUSE: But anybody who have seen a child who has been blown away with an automatic weapon, and see what it does to the body of an innocent child will never, ever believe that civilians should have an automatic weapons in their hands, I think, in my opinion. (INAUDIBLE) you guys. Appreciate it.
THOMAS: Thanks --
SESAY: Gentleman, thank you. Next on NEWSROOM L.A., volunteers are stepping up in Puerto Rico to help those in need. The challenges they're facing, just ahead.
SESAY: Hello, everyone, volunteers are going into the hardest-hit areas of Puerto Rico to offer help to those affected by Hurricane Maria.
VAUSE: CNN's Sanjay Gupta followed a small group of medical volunteers to a town outside the capital, San Juan.
[02:54:54] SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: It's been nearly two weeks now, and make no mistake, there's people who still haven't been seen, who have been stranded, who have been forgotten, that need some sort of medical care. Why is it do you think that the private organization can get in here when no one else has? It's interesting.
None of this is easy. The only way in today, by foot, in the rain, loose horses still roaming.
So what's happening here is that the doctors and nurses have shown up, going into people's homes, trying to administer care where the people are because it's been too hard for them to get to any kind of hospital or clinic.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Three, three and four patients.
GUPTA: In here? Is that right?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: When we came in, everybody has (INAUDIBLE)
GUPTA: But it is necessary. And (INAUDIBLE) hopes volunteer nurses and doctors answered the call.
There's a lot of pain. Treatable illnesses slowly becoming deadly. Stephanie is 22 years old, her mother is ill needing treatment, and her father, he died at the hospital right after the storm. His family still doesn't know why. We may never know if Stephanie's father is one of the official deaths of Hurricane Maria, but we do know, he left behind a family that is vulnerable.
What did she tell you?
OSCAR SOTO JR. PROJECT HOPE MEDICAL VOLUNTEER: There's no words. No words to express that. She's 22, and that's her grandma. It's difficult. It's kind of difficult, right?
GUPTA: Volunteer Oscar Soto, a native Puerto Rican, was in the Dominican Republic when the storm hit and told me he couldn't reach his own dad for days.
How is your Dad?
SOTO: They're with life and that's what's important. That's what's important, family is OK. But, yes, this is our family, too.
GUPTA: The thing about Puerto Rico, is that it was already on the edge. Many here are sick, older, and poorer than the mainland with long waits. A severe shortage of specialists in an economic recession. There was no reserve here, nothing to keep them from toppling off the edge.
SOTO: The hurricane just caused a lot of stress. You have people, you know, coming late from work, trying to get cash, and stress builds up, you know?
GUPTA: But today, at least, the mission is clear.
Treat as many people as possible, as fast as possible.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We just learned about another patient right here that was asking for their blood pressure to be taken. She felt like she had a high blood pressure, she was going to do a really quick stop.
GUPTA: The battle to prevent additional deaths here is just beginning. Dr. Sanjay Gupta, CNN Luisa, Puerto Rico.
SESAY: The agony goes on.
SESAY: You're watching CNN NEWSROOM Live from Los Angeles, I'm Isha Sesay.
VAUSE: I'm John Vause. More news after a short break.