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Las Vegas Shooter's Guns Converted for Rapid Fire; Gunman's Girlfriend Back in U.S.; President Trump's Visit to Puerto Rico. Aired 5-5:30a ET

Aired October 4, 2017 - 05:00   ET



[05:00:03] CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN ANCHOR: Brand new information about the Las Vegas gunman, how he planted cameras to watch police, how he altered his guns to fire so many shots. Just hours ago, the killer's girlfriend landed at LAX, now back in the country and her sisters with some stunning revelations about why they claimed she was overseas.

Good morning and welcome to EARLY START. I'm Christine Romans in New York, where it's 5:00 a.m. here in the East.

DAVE BRIGGS, CNN ANCHOR: I'm Dave Briggs live in Las Vegas where it is 2:00 a.m. on Wednesday, October 4th. We're just over 48 hours from the deadliest mass shooting in modern American history.

This morning, new details about Las Vegas shooter Stephen Paddock, his enormous cache of weapons, his extensive planning. His girlfriend now back in the United States and in a new interview. Marilou Danley's sisters claimed the gunman sent her out of the country before the attack. More on that in a moment.

We're also getting our first look at newly released police body cam video that captures the chaos as the attack unfolded.



POLICE OFFICER: Go that way, go that way. Go that way.

Hey, they're shooting right at us, guys. Everybody, stay down. Stay down.

Where is it at?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: North of the Mandalay Bay. It's come out of the window.


BRIGGS: Police officials say the gunman appeared to have fired on and off for between nine to 11 minutes after that first 911 call. Clark County Sheriff Joe Lombardo says the shooter had cameras set up both inside and outside his hotel room at the Mandalay Bay. Two in the hall, one on the people. Cameras he may have been using to spot police or security approaching his room. Officials say they don't think the shooter was broadcasting that video over the Internet.

Even with the new details, the shooter's motive really remains the mystery here. The death toll from the attack has been revised downward by one. Officials now say 58 victims were killed.

Today, President Trump flies here to see for himself how the city is responding to the deadliest mass shooting in modern American history. He's expected to arrive 9:30 a.m. local time. That is 12:30 p.m. Eastern. His scheduled 10:00 a.m. visit with medical professionals and survivors. Then around noon a visit with civilian heroes and first responders, law enforcement officials.

The gunman's girlfriend once again considered a person of interest here. Marilou Danley, who was located in the Philippines, before and after this massacre unfolded back on American soil at this hour. Her plane arriving at LAX late last night.

We're also hearing from the sisters of Marilou Danley. Speaking to our affiliate, 7 Network in Australia, one sister claims the gunman arranged for Marilou to be out of the country.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: She didn't even know that she was going to the Philippines, until Steve said, Marilou, I found you a cheap ticket to the Philippines.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He sent her away. So that he can plan what he's planning without interruptions. In that sense, I thank him for sparing my sister's life. But that won't be to compensate the 59 peoples lives.


BRIGGS: Jean Casarez here with us. She's been reporting on Marilou Danley.

That language is chilling. Sent her away. What else are we learning about Marilou and her travels?

JEAN CASAREZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: So interesting. Well, we're not hearing that she went to Australia and it appears as though that's where those sisters were interviewed, although she does travel on an Australian passport.

BRIGGS: And lived there I believe for a couple of years.

CASAREZ: But what we do know is she is currently in Los Angeles. She boarded a flight late last night, Manila time, landed 7:15 at LAX accompanied by FBI agents.

She is being designated as a person of interest, which is an interesting terminology, because it's a terminology that's born because it creates -- it does not create any criminal responsibility or liability on the part of a person, but allows the public to realize that law enforcement wants to speak with them. And so, Las Vegas authorities may be going to Los Angeles to interview her.

The FBI accompanied her. I think we can rest assured that they have been in conversation with her as we did hear in that press conference earlier yesterday.

So, the fact remains, what does she know, how did she know it and the sisters are saying that -- that she played no role in it. And that's I think the message they want to get across, that she would have stopped it, they went on to say, in this interview if she had been here.

[05:05:01] But they're so grateful that her life was spared.

BRIGGS: Certainly some questions about a $100,000 wire transfer to the Philippines where Marilou Danley was from.

But also a rare look, leaked photos inside the crime scene.

CASAREZ: That's right. And law enforcement late last night actually confirmed that they are inside the hotel room.

When you look at it you just sort of get a sense of what happened. You know, we've heard the bullets. Now, this is the room, the guns where those bullets emulated from and they're just around the room in random fashion.

Obviously, it appears as though they were just thrown down. It is believed that he used several weapons. That is confirmed to be his body right there, a self-inflicted wound. And as you said the shooting lasted between nine and 11 minutes. That's a long time, Dave, between 10:08 to 10:19 authorities are saying.

And they're continuing to process that hotel room, that crime scene is extensive. And they are dotting their I's, crossing their T's and also looking at surveillance video now. Yesterday, they said that they have, was it 97 body cameras from law enforcement that they are going through, in addition to public surveillance camera and it's taking a long time because of chain of custody issues. They have to be very certain.

And interesting too, some of the wordage they said about, you know, just in case there would be a prosecution in this case, there are criminal defense lawyers out there and we need to make sure our chain of custody is in intact.

BRIGGS: Massive investigation. Jean, thanks.

Twenty-three weapons found in that room, 47 belonging to Stephen Paddock, purchased in four different states. Now, the federal ATF says 12 of the guns that were found in that hotel room are called -- had what are called bump fire stocks or bump stocks.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) SHERIFF JOE LOMBARDO, LAS VEGAS METRO POLICE DEPARTMENT: What are the modifications associated with the weaponry? I can't give you an answer on whether any of them are automatic or not, but we are aware of a device called a bump stock, and that enables an individual to speed up the discharge of ammunition.


BRIGGS: Now, on semiautomatic weapons the trigger has to be pulled each time a round is fired. On automatic weapons, the trigger can be pulled and held once to fire multiple rounds. Some suggest hundreds of rounds per minute can be fired with these devices. Now, automatic weapons sales are banned in the U.S. with one slight loophole, if they were built prior to 1986 and federally registered.

There are some ways to obtain them. Tools like bump stocks that convert semiautomatic weapons to fire like automatic weapons. Those can be purchased for $99 over the Internet.

Gun reform advocates in Congress seizing on this latest revelation though about the Vegas attack. California Senator Dianne Feinstein tweeting, I'm looking at ways to proceed with legislation to ban bump fire stocks and close this ridiculous loophole for good, doing nothing in the wake of this tragedy is not an option. Feinstein originally tried that legislation back in 2013 after the Sandy Hook shooting.

How hard are these to obtain? Well, again, on the internet, very easy, $100.

There are gun shops all over the Las Vegas area. I visited two that admitted to me that they did sell multiple weapons to Stephen Paddock. Both said they did not sell him bump fire stocks, that they would not sell those devices. They call them silly. They called them gimmicky and they said their customers have no need for them.

I called more than a dozen in the area. Only one said they will sell them but only through their Website, none of them in store.

You wonder if that's where the legislation, where the attention goes as we move forward, Christine.

John Thune, third ranking Republican in the Senate from South Dakota, very much gun country, telling NBC News, those devices are something I think we'll look at, but look, we won't expect much gun legislation with a Republican Senate and with a Republican Congress. President Trump did say we'll be talking about gun laws as time goes by.

ROMANS: I mean, you say John Thune, gun country. You know, I'm from gun country too and there are a lot of people who are gun owners who look at that and roll their eyes and say, you know, that's just pure entertainment value and it's not legit.


ROMANS: So, all right, Dave. Thanks so much. With all the new details emerging about the shooter, what do

authorities want to ask his girlfriend now that she's back in the country?

And the victims of the shooting, they will not be forgotten. Loved ones mourning those across the country, all of those lost in the attack in Las Vegas.



[05:14:04] UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: She didn't even know that she was going to the Philippines, until Steve said, Marilou, I found you a cheap ticket to the Philippines.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He sent her away. So that he can plan what he's planning without interruptions. In that sense, I thank him for sparing my sister's life. But that won't be to compensate the 59 peoples lives.


ROMANS: Those are the sisters of Marilou Danley, the girlfriend of the Las Vegas gunman. Their photos are blurred actually because for their own safety, they didn't want their faces to be shown. You heard their claim, the attacker sent -- the attacker sent his girlfriend Marilou out of the country before the shooting.

She is back in the country. She just arrived in Los Angeles overnight on a flight from the Philippines and she is once again police are saying a person of interest.

Former NYPD sergeant and law enforcement trainer Joseph Giacalone joins us now.

What does it mean to be a person of interest? And why is that such a distinction from the suspect?

[05:15:00] JOSEPH GIACALOE, LAW ENFORCEMENT TRAINER: Well, if you name somebody a suspect, Miranda issues can kick in. If they invoke their Miranda warnings, they have to have a lawyer and you're not getting anything out of them.

So, using a person of interest is quite used all the time because they don't know really what they're dealing with. So, they're going to be careful of any legal obligations here.

The issue that really comes down to is that investigators are going to want to know when she knew this. Now, what the girl friend just said was kind of interesting, you know, planning without interruptions. That might, you know, kind of triggers something, like, did they know something that he was planning on doing something and she was trying to stop him and that's why he's like you know what, you need to get out of here. So, that was an interesting comment she made there. ROMANS: Were there any red flags before he sent her to the

Philippines on a cheap ticket? And was there really a cheap ticket? We know that he wired $100,000 to the Philippines. Follow the money will be important here.

GIACALONE: Yes. When you're out of leads, always follow the money, right? So, I think that's where investigators are headed now, looking for where all the different things. I mean, this guy was an accountant, so he could have been careful about how things were done or, you know, where things were hidden. You could have a forensic accountant coming in here and looking at all of his records and being able to decipher if there's any other underhanded stuff going on.

We know that there's something below the surface. They just haven't figured out just yet.

ROMANS: You're appalled that these pictures of the crime scene were leaked and "The Daily Mail" published them.

GIACALONE: This is really unfortunate because it makes the police department who's done a really good job so far look bad. You cannot afford to have crime scene photos like this especially from an incident like this get leaked, because now all of the conspiracy theorists are using these photos to try to prove other points. That's one angle.

But you have an obligation to the public in order to keep these things secret as law enforcement. And to have these things leaked and it jeopardizes the entire investigation and the quality of that investigation.

So, if there is an arrest down the road, defense attorneys are going to key up on some of these things like about crime scene contamination, about leaked photos, what else was done. Anything else -- you don't -- remember, when you have a jury out there, all you need to do is present that reasonable doubt to somebody.

ROMANS: We know there are 47 weapons. He had 47 weapons. He had purchased them in four different states. We know that he had rigged the room inside and out with cameras so that he could watch the law enforcement response. Remarkable premeditation.

GIACALONE: Yes, if anybody didn't think this was premeditated, I mean, if you see the evidence now that there's something wrong here.

But I'd like to know about the cameras outside. How come none of the staff recognized this? What about the security that's supposed to be doing the rounds?

I mean, this is something somebody should have noticed and said, you know, what's this all about.

ROMANS: Well, if you see that cart, the food cart there, they say there was a camera rigged to that food cart. He had a "do not disturb", according to "The New York Times", a "do not disturb" sign on the front of the door. It might have been so premeditated that he ordered food in, right, and then knew -- and knew that he was going to be embarking on this and had it all set up.

GIACALONE: I mean, it's just the -- it's amazing how it is and I wouldn't be surprised if there's some notes about this somewhere, whether it's on a computer or handwritten somewhere about him planning this, because there's so much planning. it would I think difficult to have all that stuff in the head.

ROMANS: That's what's so confounding for motive, because there's no manifesto that we've seen so far. There's no outward affiliation with a religion or with a political movement.

In terms of his personality, one thing that strikes me is he does seem to have a gene, an appetite for risk. You know, real estate speculator, someone who's a gambler. You know, a high stakes gambler.

I mean, it looks as though he met Marilou Danley originally because she was a high stakes hostess in Reno. It tells you a little bit about his psyche I think.

GIACALONE: Yes, I mean, what we learn from -- I think we're going to learn a lot from the girlfriend, because she seems to be the closest one. I mean, the brother doesn't seem to be that close because he apparently doesn't have any other information for us, which I think they're going to -- they're talking to him now too.

But the issue that really comes down to is that, you know, the risks that you do take, I mean, doesn't define you, so to speak, but in a situation like this, with the amount of fire arms that he's collected and it's just disturbing all around.

ROMANS: Yes, fascinating. Thank you so much. Great to have your perspective.

And, Dave, I think you make such a great point, you know, sometimes people in the aftermath of something like this, you know, the people who know a killer like this, it seems as if -- almost as if they remember what they want to remember, and they -- you know, they -- they don't necessarily -- they're not forthcoming with some of the red flags because, you know, because it's hard and embarrassing.

BRIGGS: Yes, Stephen Paddock, it's so unusual because there are so few people who knew him. I mean, there are no friends that have been spoken to in any of the states where he's lived. We're hearing from Starbucks employees, that's the closest thing we're finding to revelations about his character.

Ahead here from Las Vegas, we'll talk about the president's visit. He's wheels up here in less than three hours.

[05:20:02] He's hoping for a smoother trip than his stop in Puerto Rico where he suggested there wasn't quote, a real catastrophe. We'll explain.

And they were just enjoying the music when their lives were cut short, taken from their families far too soon. We continue to remember the victims of the Las Vegas massacre here on EARLY START. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[05:25:01] BRIGGS: All right. President Trump coming here to Las Vegas this morning to show his concern for the city and the victims of the shooting. He's hoping for a smoother visit than what we saw yesterday in Puerto Rico.

Joining us now to discuss that, Zach Wolf, digital director for CNN Politics.

Good morning to you, Zach.

Let's talk about what happened there in Puerto Rico when he made a comment about the cost that it's taking to rebuild Puerto Rico and compared it to Katrina.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I hate to tell you, Puerto Rico, but you've thrown our budget a little out of whack because we've spent a lot of money on Puerto Rico and that's fine, we've saved a lot of lives. 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, what is your death count as of this moment, 17?

GOV. RICARDO ROSELLO (D), PUERTO RICO: Sixteen, certified.

TRUMP: Sixteen people, certified. Sixteen people versus in the thousands, you can be very proud.


BRIGGS: Of course, it was 1,800 people killed in Katrina, Zach. The death toll in Puerto Rico has more than doubled to 34.

How did he do yesterday? What can he do better?

ZACHARY WOLF, CNN POLITICS DIGITAL DIRECTOR: I don't think he did very well. I mean, making jokes about Puerto Rico and their -- you know, the amount of money it's going to cost to pick up after a natural disaster is probably not what the people down there were expecting when he was going to come tour the damage. There was a moment later on when he was throwing paper towels out into a crowd of admirers.

It was a strange and I think universally recognized as a tone deaf moment for the president. I think today will be a lot different, you know, close to the raw emotion in Las Vegas. He's probably going to try and separate himself from any kind of, you know, rope line politicking, stuff like that.

I think he's going to meet with doctors and nurses and victims. So, it will be a much more somber event I would guess today.

BRIGGS: I want to talk about that in a moment. But one more thing on Puerto Rico -- one thing people may have liked to hear is what he told Geraldo Rivera about the debt crisis there.


TRUMP: 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's Goldman Sachs, but whoever it is, you can wave goodbye to that. We have to do something about it because the debt was massive on the island.


BRIGGS: Zach, we're talking about debt in the tens of billions of dollars. Have we heard anything from the administration on wiping that out?

WOLF: No. It was -- it took everybody I think by surprise and it's not exactly clear what he meant. Puerto Rico has been dealing with this debt for a long time, so wiping it out is something that, you know, would certainly help them, I think, as we move forward with hurricane recovery, but the details of this are certainly not clear and are something that everybody's going to have to figure out in the days to come.

BRIGGS: All right. You mentioned his visit here to Las Vegas, should touchdown about four hours. Expected to visit a hospital, he and the first lady also expected to meet with first responders.

You said something earlier that might be the most important thing. Separate himself from what has happened here. He has property here. He has the Trump Tower, just a couple of miles from here.

What does he need to say and do differently than what we saw in Puerto Rico?

WOLF: He probably shouldn't mention his hotel down the street and how great it is. He has a tendency when he goes to places to talk about his -- where he lives to make it all about himself. He did that a little bit yesterday.

I think he probably needs to make this about the victims, about, you know, the shooting and the healing if possible. We'll see if he can do that. It's not clear.

BRIGGS: When you look at his past, when you look at his administration, the deals he made with Chuck and Nancy, any glimpse to what he might do on gun legislation moving forward?

WOLF: Well, the thing about Donald Trump is he's sort of shown this ideological nimbleness. He's been on both sides of a lot of issues and gun control is one of those issues. He earlier supported things like an assault weapons ban, not so much recently. So I think Democrats are hoping they might be able to make some sort

of deal with him on gun legislation, but it's pretty clear that if he doesn't change his mind, nothing is going to change in this Congress.

BRIGGS: You said in casual remarks leaving the White House, quote, we will be talking about gun laws as time goes by. Steve Bannon called it impossible and said that would be the end of everything worse than DACA if he enforce some gun legislation and work with Democrats there.

Zach Wolf, thanks so much.

EARLY START continues right now with the latest from the investigation.