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Massacre Survivor Tried to Save Friend During Attack; Investigation Continues into Motive of Las Vegas Shooter; Friend and Family Member of Las Vegas Shooting Victim Interviewed. Aired 8-8:30a ET
Aired October 4, 2017 - 08:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[08:00:00] CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: Twelve of the guns, and this is important, 12 of the guns that were found in that hotel room had an accessory called a bump stock. It is legal to buy. It makes the weapon work like an automatic weapon, and the killer wanted this to get as many bullets onto those people as he could. They say he also set up cameras in his room and in the hallway to monitor any threats.
The motive for this senseless attack remains a big mystery. The killer's girlfriend is back in the U.S. being interviewed by the FBI and she is considered a person of interest. Police releasing body camera video. You have to look at this. It gives you such a sense of first responders were up against. Thousands of people were there running in all different kinds of directions, all different kinds of talk about different shooters and where it was coming from, and all along they were having bullets rain down on them by this madman above.
President Trump was in Puerto Rico. He is now about to depart the White House. We'll show you that when it happens, and he is coming here to Las Vegas. We are going to bring it to you live when he's here as well because the country will be listening to him to try and do something with the pain that we are all feeling right now.
We have all the news covered. Let's begin with CNN's Jean Casarez. Jean?
JEAN CASAREZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: As the crime scene investigation continues more and more information is coming out, the details, the planning, the premeditation of these crimes.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Get out of here! There are gunshots coming from over there. Go that way! Go that way!
CASAREZ: Police releasing body camera video of the chaos that unfolded as shots rang out at an outdoor country music festival on Sunday night.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Go that way! Go way that! Everybody stay down. Stay down. Where's it at? CASAREZ: These officers desperately attempting to locate the shooter, while taking cover under a hail of bullets.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Get back! Get back!
CASAREZ: This new video captures the concertgoers running in every direction as they were being fired upon. Police say the killer opened fire for nine to 11 minutes, firing dozens of rounds in rapid succession.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm inside the Mandalay Bay on 31st floor. I can hear the automatic fire coming from one floor ahead, one floor above us.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Be advised, it is automatic fire, fully automatic fire from an elevated position. Take cover.
CASAREZ: These pictures published by "The Daily Mail" provide a chilling look inside the killer's 32nd floor hotel suite and the arsenal used to carry out the massacre. Military style weapons and bullet casings littering the room. The ATF says 47 firearms have now been recovered from the hotel suite and two homes connected to the killer. Officials say 12 of the guns in his hotel room were rigged to fire like automatic weapons.
Police say the killer took his own life after exchanging gunfire with police, his lifeless body surrounded by some of the weapons he used to shoot out the smashed out window behind the curtain. Police say this was a meticulously planned attack. Authorities say the killer installed several hidden cameras, one inside the hotel suite's peep hole two others in the hallway, including one camera on a hotel service cart to monitor approaching threats.
The killer's motive remains a mystery. His girlfriend, Marilou Danley, named a person of interests, is back in the U.S. being questioned by the FBI. Returning to Los Angeles from the Philippines Tuesday night, police say she has been cooperating with law enforcement. Her two sisters speaking exclusively to Seven Network in Australia insist that she did not know what the killer was planning.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He sent her away so he can plan what he is planning without interruptions. In that sense I thank him for sparing my sister's life, but that one bit to compensate 59 peoples' lives.
CASAREZ: And law enforcement is saying the crime screen processing of that hotel room will take days more. ATF special agent Jill Snyder is telling CBS News this morning that 33 of those guns were purchased in the last year. Chris?
[08:05:00] CUOMO: All right, let's break it all down with CNN law enforcement analyst James Gagliano. He's a retired FBI supervisory agent. James, thank you for being here, as always. Thirty-three weapons in the last year, this is a little bit an adjustment of our timeframe because we have been told that he amassed his collection over decades. But what does that mean that he had gotten a big bunch of them in the last year. Certainly nothing illegal about that unless he buys them in a huge volume in one place that raises a red flag for that owner. The current state of the law, you can amass 33 guns in a year.
JAMES GAGLIANO, CNN LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: Nothing illegal about that. And, Chris, as I look at those pictures we were just viewing of the arsenal that was arrayed there, what was most concerning to me is when you use the modifier that he had purchased, the effective rate of fire for an M-4 or any of these type of automatic weapons, because they were turned into automatic weapons essentially for modification, is 750 to 900 rounds per minute. There is no possible need for a civilian to be able to do that. What that does is effectively allow you to put down suppressive fire, which is a military tool. Even police in law enforcement, they don't use suppressive fire. For a civilian to be able to do this, and with this individual being able to do this from the 32nd floor aimed out at a place where, again, you are not looking for aimed fire, it's suppressive fire or area fire, it is inconceivable to me that we have this loophole.
CUOMO: We have new photos, and we should put them up, that show the bump stocks, which you can buy legally, it is not illegal, and I know some people say don't tell people how to do this. Please, that's not the issue. This man knew. This is not a mystery. This is out there, this is information. This is the state of the law. We should know it because it needs to be discussed right now. You see it there highlighted on your screen. He did it to about a dozen, they say. It was said earlier in the show, he had jerry-rigged these guns. No he did not. It's an important distinction. He didn't file anything down. He didn't see something online. He bought something that was legal, and that's part of the issue.
Now, the president was speaking about Las Vegas, he's coming here now. Let's listen to what he said.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, (R) PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: It's a very sad thing. We are going to pay our respect and to see the police who have done a fantastic job in a very short time. And, y, they are learning a lot more, and that will be announced at the appropriate time. It's a very, very sad day for me personally. Thank you.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CUOMO: Let's bring in Chris Cillizza right now. All right, we'll get Cillizza later.
So let's keep talking about what we are doing here. The president, he has a tall task. He has to come here, the moral agency of the president being our heart, helping connect our minds on an issue, it's a big part of his job and we will see what he says when he gets here. The reason I'm drawing this distinction about jerry-rigged versus what he did is that he speaks to the ability to do this. He didn't have know-how, he didn't look on the Internet and figure, well, if I file this off and I do this -- you buy this, it is legal to buy, it is illegal to use. Explain that to me. You are the professor.
GAGLIANO: It goes back to that old argument during the '80s, Chris. Remember fuzz-busters, the radar detectors were the rage during the '80s. It was legal to own them, but in many states it was illegal to use them. Same thing here. I have talked to a number of FBI instructors, a number of armors, and they have said these are devices easy to procure, easy to install, and obviously, as you can see, easy to use and lethal. What is the sense of it? We don't allow silencers. We don't allow folks to file off the seal. We don't allow folks to shorten shotgun barrels. We don't allow people to modify the serial number on a weapon, those things all makes sense. What is the purpose for a civilian to need something that is going to, as you say, circumvent the law. It's a work around. You can own it but technically you are not supposed to use it. What is the sense in that?
CUOMO: Right. And the reason that you want to draw the distinction is that those who are proponents of having as expansive a law as you can, allow me as much, it's my freedom, it's my ability, it's my right to bear arms in their own reckoning of the Second Amendment which was given a lot of recognition by, may he rest in peace, Justice Scalia in the most recent Second Amendment case that gave an individual right, that's why we are where we are legally, they all say he changed the weapon. He did something wrong. That's not what he did. He bought something that's legal, that's out there, that's allowed. And that's all he did, and that made all the different here.
[08:10:02] GAGLIANO: Absolutely. Second Amendment, it's been here since 1791. And there's utility in it. We recognize it. I am a former law enforcement officer. I'm a gun owner, and most of my colleagues, military veterans, law enforcement officers, we are firm proponents of the Second Amendment. But there has to be sanity brought back to this argument, and that sanity has to be something like this that is readily available that's easy to install that you can purchase for less than $100 can cause that kind of carnage right over our shoulder.
CUOMO: What was going on in his head, what was going on in his heart, it matters. How he got the guns, it matters. What he was able to do to create so much death, it all matters. And we're going to talk about why. James, thank you very much, I appreciate it.
Because of what was taken here, that's what the president is going to have to speak to today. Everybody feels the loss in this country. We are all interconnected to the 58 lives that were stolen, 500 plus people were hurt. Their loved ones, their friends, their lives changed. So we want to talk about the victims. Kody Robertson and Michelle Vo met for the first time at the country music festival on Sunday and they became instant friends. They were 20 yards from the stage when the shots rang out. One bullet struck Michelle in the chest. Kody was there. He spent the night trying to find what hospital Michelle was taken to and was in contact with her family.
When he finally found her he learned that Michelle did not make it. Kody Robertson joins us now along with Michelle's sister, Cathy Vo. Thanks to both of you for doing this. Cathy, I am so sorry to have to meet you this way. I know that this is an impossible pain for you and your family. How are your parents, how are you holding up?
CATHY VO, SISTER OF LAS VEGAS MASSACRE VICTIM: We're taking it slowly. We are surrounded by, you know, family and friends, Michelle's loved ones. We are just taking it slowly. You know, there's no map for something like this, and we're just so thankful that we have, you know, the love that surrounds us, to help us get through -- to get to the healing side of this.
CUOMO: Tell me about your sister, Michelle.
VO: In a few words -- there's so much to say. But she was really truly beautiful inside and out. And she had this bubbly, infectious personality, and it is so magnetic. Anybody who was 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, and just be there.
CUOMO: Let me bring in somebody that knew that firsthand and knew how special your sister was even though they just met. Kody, let me bring you in. You met there, you were at the concert. Tell me about it.
KODY ROBERTSON, LAS VEGAS MASSACRE SURVIVOR: We were at the side stage originally when we met. It was about 7:30 on Sunday night. It was for Lou Combs, was a performer. And it was in the back tent. It was fairly crowded, so two people that I was with from my group, we went around the side entrance to -- there was a side entrance by the sidebar, and we were standing there and enjoying the show. I noticed Michelle was there by herself and just started a conversation with her.
I asked her how she was enjoying the concert. Found out she was there by herself, made a couple jokes I had gone to several country concerts by myself, too. We just kind of instantly clicked. She has a great personality. It felt like were friends were 10 years even though I just met her. She immediately started chatting with my two other friends that were there as well with us. And she does have a magnetic personality. And I found that out in the last several days since, you know, the last couple of stories were published about everything.
I have heard at least three or four people that reached out to me via Facebook, her friends who say they had the same reaction when they met her, instantly they connection. A couple coworkers, a couple friends said she was like that with everybody. Obviously, she was a great person and all of the people that -- hundreds of her family and friends that reached out to me, you know, in the past couple of days have just reiterated that fact.
[08:15:09] CUOMO: And look, it's so hard for the family. One of the things that makes this difficult is you don't want your loved one to have been alone. And you were able to tell the family you were there with her until they put her in the ambulance and I'm sure that meant a lot to them and you as well. How did you know Michelle had gotten hit? How were you able to get to
ROBERTSON: Well, she had informed me within the first couple of minutes -- I found out she was there by herself. We've eventually made our way to the bigger stage and watched Jake Owen and then Jason Aldean. We were to the -- to the -- when you're looking at the stage, on the right side of the stage and probably about five to our left was these metal barricades the artists could walk down and kind of share a moment with the fans.
And while we were there, it just -- the first set of shots, it just sounded like fireworks. To our right, we both actually turned and looked to our right and then we just thought it was part of the show. We both said, oh, it must be fireworks, you know, from Jason's show.
And then the second round of shots came, and she got hit about right here, just the left upper side of her chest and she immediately collapsed. The music stopped and everybody started panicking and that's when I immediately turned to try to cover from the shots, and once the shots had stopped, at that point, me and one of the other friends that I had met, one of the couples to our left, one of guys, I believe he was a paramedic or some kind of army -- or some kind of military veteran or something like that, we flipped her over.
And after that, it was survival mode and evacuation, and we got her over the metal barriers, and I handed her off to the other guy on the other side, and then I turned around and started helping people over those metal barrier. Shots kept ringing out and people were climbing over and getting stuck, and just with my right and left arm I was just pulling people over, pulling people over.
Shots came again and I ducked and got back up and was trying to make sure everybody was getting over the barrier.
CUOMO: Well, Kody, that was so brave of you and I know in a moment like that you don't know which way it's going to go. And the fact that you stayed and tried to help, and I know it means so much to many, especially to Michelle's family. And, you know, I don't want to go over all the details here, and they already went through it once.
CUOMO: But, Cynthia, the fact that you knew somebody was there with your sister, that she was cared for in that worst moment, I know that's something you'll carry forward with the family, Cathy. And instead of just knowing what we know now, which is how Michelle left this place, let's talk about what she did when she was here. What do you want people to know about your sister, what she brought out and others, and what she cared about?
VO: We are getting all the messages and people are reaching out and giving us memories and how she touched lives, even if it was just for a brief moment. So, that is just wonderful to hear. But just know that she really lived her life to the fullest. She was
a big go getter, and she was out there trying new things and wanting to meet people and was always down for a new experience. She loved to travel. You know, she traveled as much as she could, whenever she could just to meet people, you know, and talk to them, and learn about them.
And her job, she was amazing at her job. She was a life insurance agent, and talking to the family today and everything, it's just so ironic. You know, she wanted to keep people protected and inform them of the future and for them to understand that, because it's not something everybody wants to talk about.
But she just never had to give a policy, and her first policy she will have to give is probably her -- her own policy. But, you know, the family would just like her to be remembered, the way she is. She was an incredible person. She was my younger sister, and there's just so much love for her, and how much she touched everybody's lives.
[08:20:04]She was kind hearted, very caring, very compassionate. She just wanted to do good and share that with everybody, and she did do it. She still is touching peoples' lives now. Yes.
CUOMO: And that's what I want to tell people about it. We want people to --
CUOMO: Please, Kody? Go ahead.
ROBERTSON: In the past couple of hours and days, the articles that have been published, you know, several people and friends of hers have reached out to me. I got a message from a girl that said, you know, Michelle stood up to a bully of hers in tenth grade, and she never really had a chance to thank her, but that was the type of person she was.
You know, just multiple coworkers and friends that told me amazing things and great stories about her, you know, just multiple nice things. Nobody had a single bad word to say about her, and everybody just said how full of energy, and how independent she was. And, you know, one person messaged me, and when they found out that she was there by herself, they laughed because that was her. He said, you know, that was her and she would make friends and make new friends and meet new people, and that's just the way she was.
CUOMO: And, you know, look, in these situations, there's so many families out there trying to connect with their loved ones and find out where they are. I mean, this is a massive humanity, 500 plus were hurt and thousands were at the concert.
Kody, the reason I pointed that out is, you had Michelle's phone after what had happened, and you took it upon yourself to call her family. Tell us about that because not knowing for the family is so painful in a situation like this. What did you do and why? ROBERTSON: So, once we put her out of there, we actually put here
into the back of a white pickup truck. I know I saw a couple stories about -- I don't know if it's the marines that took white pickup trucks and delivered people to the hospital, but me and the other person that were helping, we actually put her in there and then we both ran back in.
I was able to get her purse, but her phone I couldn't find. And we had actually exchanged phone numbers about an hour before the incident had happened. And so, I called the phone just to see maybe somebody had grabbed it, to see, you know, where it was. I think the second time somebody answered, and they had taken -- they said they picked it up while they were evacuating and they were at Planet Hollywood.
At that point, I started walking towards Planet Hollywood, and I called the person and exchanged information. They were on lockdown, but I made my way in and got to the restaurant and they handed over the phone, no questions asked.
And then I basically went to the next hotel and went down to try and find a taxi to try and get over to the hospital, and I went to -- asked a couple different clerks that were working down there to see what the closest hospital was and I made my way over there.
You know, I knew in the chaos of everything that, you know, with her being there by herself and her not having any information or being ID'd in any type of way, I had to find a way to get to her, to find her and let somebody know that -- to be there.
I made my way to the hospital. When I was there, I got a call from my brother-in-law Jeremiah. I answered the call and that's when I informed them of, you know, what had happened. And, you know, they -- them not having anybody there, I stayed around and did whatever I could to find out any information and relayed it to them as fast as I could.
CUOMO: Kody, that was -- it was a very decent thing for you to do, helping the people there, being there for Michelle's family and for her, it was a really decent thing and it's important to remember in a situation, that's all about something that someone did that was so wrong that you took such time and that you put yourself out there to do what was right and I'm sure it matters to the family.
And I appreciate you both being here. I am sorry to have to make you relive these events, both of you. But we want to make sure that Michelle is remembered for how she lived and that the people who were trying to help her that day are remembered as well.
VO: Kody, I do want to say thank you.
Oh, Kody, I do want to say --
ROBERTSON: Thank you.
VO: I know we met there. I'm so thankful that you stayed behind and waited for us. I know you had a flight and you're flying out and you delayed it.
[08:25:04] That brings us so much comfort, you know, to know that she had you in her last moment. She wasn't alone. You didn't leave her. It gives me a little bit of comfort.
And, you know, you didn't leave the family. You didn't leave us. You picked up the phone, you got our calls, you (INAUDIBLE). You were there to tell us about here last moments.
So, whenever we tell our story, we won't be able to our story without telling your story also and for you to not do only this for Michelle, but for so many other people. You know, we have so much love for you in our hearts. So, internally grateful and thankful that you were there. You were such an incredible person. Thank you.
ROBERTSON: I appreciate that. And I just know from, you know, my experience growing up and the way my family is, you know, if something like that would have happened to even one of my friends, one of my family, I'd want, you know, somebody there to let you guys know.
You know, during the whole process of trying to find her, I tried to call the hotline, couldn't get through to anybody, tried to call the hospitals, (INAUDIBLE) if I was there in person and still wasn't able to get any information that you guys, you know, would even be more in the dark. So, you know, I just let my upbringing and how close my family is, I know I had to relay that information to you.
When I extended, I was supposed to leave Monday morning, but I pushed the flight back to the afternoon. While I was waiting in the second hospital room, really what convinced me to stay, to find out, to let you guys know, I was in the waiting room, and an elderly lady who was trying to check on her daughter was at the front desk and she just started yelling and screaming and wanting to know where she was.
And I know if that -- you know, families in that much anguish, I know you guys would be as well.
ROBERTSON: So, I just wanted to be there for you and just relay any information that I could and obviously in this, you know, terrible situation, I wanted to help you guys out. I mean, every single one of my family members reached out to me right away, during the incident, I had so many friends that reached out to me, you know, as well, to check in on me, to see how I was doing, you know, to know the same thing was happening with her and they were not getting any responses, I felt like I need to help you guys out.
VO: Truly --
ROBERTSON: Just the flood of messages, you know, from friends and family and everything is really -- has almost been overwhelming, but it has made me feel better about the situation that I could help, and I could help you guys through the process, and that's why I wanted to meet and, you know, tell you that everything that had happened. And when I informed my family that I was going to stay an extra night,
because I pushed my flight back to Tuesday morning, you know, as well -- my brother immediately, he went and bought a flight on southwest and he got there at about 11:30 at night, Monday night, just to be with him. I told him not to and he said I'm coming out there right away.
We ended up leaving at 10:00 in the morning. He was there -- he came out for about 10 hours, 10 or 12 hours.
VO: I mean, for Michelle to connect with somebody like you, I am not surprised, to find somebody as kind as you to have done that.
But, you know, this evil tragedy occurred and people like you, you know, good people like you actually were trying to focus on that and all the love and everything that's coming out of this, so thank you so much for that. You know, Michelle would have wanted us to focus on the good, and everything that is coming out of this tragic event that we lost her in. You know.
ROBERTSON: Yes. I'm one of many people -- I'm sure there are hundreds more stories of other people that have done more than me, but I am glad that I helped you guys out.
VO: Thank you so much, of course.
CUOMO: Look, to hear you guys talking about this, I mean, thank God you were there for her and there was something about Michelle that drew you to her and there was a bond. I just wish and I know you all wish even more deeply that this was never necessary, none of it. But it happened and you were there for each other and that's the best you can do in those circumstances.