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New Orleans Braces for Hurricane; Las Vegas Gunman's Planning; Deputy Saves Lives; Trump On Calm Before the Storm. Aired 2-2:30p ET

Aired October 6, 2017 - 14:00   ET



[14:00:24] BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN ANCHOR: I'm Brianna Keilar, in for Brooke Baldwin.

And here we go again. At the peak of hurricane season and all eyes are on Tropical Storm Nate. It could strengthen into a hurricane and hit the U.S. Gulf Coast in the next 48 hours. And that would be the third hurricane after Harvey and Irma to hit the mainland in six weeks.

Three southern states are in Nate's path, Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama. And parts of The Gulf are already under a hurricane warning. But Louisiana, especially New Orleans, is bracing for a possible hurricane. The governor has already declared a state of emergency. New Orleans mayor has already warned residents to shelter in place wherever you plan to be by tomorrow night.

And this storm has already turned deadly in Central America. Honduras, Costa Rica, Nicaragua as well, at least 21 people are confirmed dead there.

CNN meteorologist Allison Chinchar is tracking the storm for us.

And, Allison, this 2:00 advisory just came out. So what does it say?

ALLISON CHINCHAR, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Pretty much what we've been expecting, Brianna, that we expect it to intensify as it goes through the Gulf of Mexico within the next 24 hours.

Right now winds are at 50 miles per hour gusting to 65. The forward movement is pretty fast at about 21 miles per hour.

Now, the concern will be, once it gets back out over the open gulf. This is where we expect it to intensify. The question is how quickly can it intensify before it makes landfall. At this point the National Hurricane Center believes it will likely only be able to intensify up to category one strength, but there are some other models that believe it could get as high as say a category two strength. But the number itself isn't the important part with this particular storm, because it's going to end up impacting at least a dozen states as it continues through the eastern U.S.

We do have the tropical storm watches and warnings, the yellow and blue, and hurricane watches and warnings, the pink and the red color that you see here, all along the Gulf Coast. Storm surge is going to be a big threat, including New Orleans and much of Louisiana and Mississippi. Four to seven feet of storm surge possible. Then when you get over towards Florida, you're talking about two to four feet for places like Panama City and around Pensacola.

We do have storm surge warnings in the dark pink and storm surge watches for areas of Florida because of that threat. Winds are also going to be a big concern as the system edges closer. Around landfall, you could be looking at those wind gusts between 60 to 100 miles per hour. Then, even as it goes inland, cities like Atlanta, Chattanooga, Knoxville, and then from there on, you could also be looking at some pretty dangerous wind gusts that could bring trees down and power lines down.

Then we talk about rainfall. This model plot is somewhere in the middle. You've got some models that put out smaller numbers, some tat put out higher numbers. But, overall, widespread. You're going to be looking at about two to five inches of rain. But there will be some heavier pockets that get put into some of those really strong thunderstorms bands, Brianna, that could produce as much as 10 inches of rain. They're going to be isolated in spots, but that's going to be a big concern.

So, again, this is not only a concern for the areas that may actually take the landfall, but as we talked about, for the dozen of states in the eastern U.S. that will also be impacted by Nate as it continues to move.

BK: That's right, people in a wide swath of that Gulf Coast concerned. And we know you're keeping an eye on things for them.

Allison Chinchar, thank you so much.

You know, we're now learning that the man who murdered 58 people in Las Vegas, he wanted to know precisely where his deadly bullets were going. A law enforcement source tells CNN that the gunman tried but failed to buy what you are looking at on your screen. That is tracer ammunition, Essentially tracers let you know where bullets are going.

Meantime, some puzzling news from "The New York Times" today about the note that was left behind in the hotel room. Reportedly it is not a suicide note. It's not a manifesto. It's a list of numbers. And needless to say, those numbers are now being analyzed very carefully.

CNN went inside of the hotel two floors above the gunman's Mandalay Bay room to get a view similar to the one that he had during that sniper style attack.


JOHN SHEEHAN, FORMER LAS VEGAS SWAT TEAM MEMBER: This is my first time being up here and looking at this. And, to me, it's very eerie.

BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONNDENT (voice over): John Sheehan is a retired Las Vegas police sergeant, spent 13 years on the SWAT team. From this vantage point he says he has a clearer picture of the shooter's tactics and his planning, including choosing a high room at the end of the hallway.

SHEEHAN: He requested an east facing room. He requests an east facing room because if we pan over and we look to the east f where his room is, let's look, his -- the tower is over there. There's the room that he shot from. And now we pan east and we look, and there is no way to get a counter sniper, a SWAT sniper up at a level position to be able to effectively take this man out.

[14:05:01] TODD (on camera): And firing from a room like the one we're in, if you knock out this window and fire toward them, that doesn't work?

SHEEHAN: We still wouldn't be able to see him more than likely because we're not seeing deep enough into the room. And only when he fires will we be able to see him.

TODD (voice over): Sheehan says the choice of room put the SWAT team at a disadvantage, one multiplied by the fact that he blocked the stairwell door and wired the hallway with cameras so he could see a security guard and later police approaching.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Because of his counter measures placed in the peephole and in the hallway, he observed the security guard and he was in fear that he was about to be breached. So he was doing everything possible to figure out how he could escape at that point.

TODD: Sheehan believes if Paddock escaped it wouldn't have been for very long.

SHEEHAN: There's one of three ways it's going to end for an active shooter, and they pretty much all know this. You're either going to commit suicide, you're going to die in a hail of gunfire with the police, you're going to shoot it out with them and you're going to be killed, or you're going to continue on a pre-planned rampage at locations b, c, d, and e until the police finally stop you.

TODD (on camera): So you don't believe an escape meant escape for good, just to --

SHEEHAN: Brian, how could it? How could it? Because he rented the room in his own name. He's already on video coming in and out. We know who he is He's going to be the most wanted man in the world if he does try to leave here.


BALDWIN: All 58 murder victims have now been identified. They are now remembered by these markers that you see there on your screen on the Las Vegas Strip. They were handmade by a man from Illinois.

I want to bring in Mary Ellen O'Toole. He's a former senior profiler for the FBI, and Phillip Banks, he's a former chief of department for New York Police.

And, Phillip, I want to ask you first about this cryptic note because this is unusual. It's not a manifesto. It doesn't seem to be a suicide note. And it seems like normally that is what you would see a shooter put in place, maybe sort of giving some sort of insight into what the motive was. This is numbers?

PHILLIP BANKS, FOMER NYPD CHIEF OF DEPARTMENT: You know, everything about this shooting is very peculiar and it's strange and it doesn't fit the pattern of past shootings. So what this note was about, I'm really not sure. It seems like -- I'm not certain that this individual was not looking to leave that location and go to another location, was that note supposed to take with him? Is he communicating secretary or planning to communicate secretly with someone else who had knowledge of his plan or someone else that's sharing any type of philosophy? I'm not sure. We need to learn a lot more about that note.

KEILAR: What would make you think that maybe he would be going to another location?

BANKS: Well, one, he didn't have the note itself. It's very cryptic. We're not deciphering it. It's not a suicide note. It's not a manifest. So it has to be some form of communication that someone who understands what that language was could decipher. Certainly law enforcement now is not able to decipher it and it's not readily available. And most times we find that they want their reasons for the actions to be known readily.

KEILAR: Mary Ellen, I want you to listen to something that the gunman's hair dresser said. This -- she spoke to CNN. Let's listen.


KALLIE BEIG, STEPHEN PADDOCK'S HAIRDRESSER: The last time I saw him was probably only two months ago. It was just about two months ago. He came in and he got his hair cut and, again, smelled of alcohol. And his girlfriend was with him. And, again, just kind of doing her thing. And he sat down and was telling me about her leaving to go to the Philippines. And he was going to be home alone hanging out for a while by himself. You know, it wasn't -- it wasn't anything weird or -- it wasn't anything that seemed off.


KEILAR: OK, so she's saying there that he was talking about Marilou Danley, his girlfriend, going to the Philippines two months ago. Her lawyer says he surprised her with plane tickets two weeks ago. So do you buy that claim then that she didn't really know anything was going on?

MARY ELLEN O'TOOLE, FORMER SENIOR FBI PROFILER: Well, it's still possible that she doesn't know what she knows. But she was there and quote/unquote doing her thing. So did she overhear that? But what does that mean, she was doing her own thing? And maybe she chose to simply ignore it. But it certainly does suggest, if she was there, and she was close enough to overhear that, she would have been aware of it. And it was clearly two months, not two weeks, if the hair dresser is being accurate. So it certainly, from my perspective, I would sit down and ask her to reconcile that in terms of you were there, this is what supposedly you should have overheard. Now, let's talk more about the trip to the Philippines.

KEILAR: Yes, to get -- to get more information on that.

We do have some news just in. I want to tell our viewers about this. Sources are telling CNN, investigators believe that the shooter rigged his car to explode if fired upon. There were 90 pounds of explosives inside.

Phillip, what do you make of that? Ninety pounds of explosives inside the car.

BANKS: Well, there's two things here. Well, one, I don't believe that when he started this that he had made a conscious decision that he was going to end his life at that particular point. He was going to end his life. He knew it was going to end one way. Was it going to end there? I'm not sure.

[14:10:08] I think evidence would suggest that he possibly was thinking about getting into that car, looking to go an escape route to get to another site, to continue his carnage. And if, in fact, he was going to be intercepted by police at that particular point there, then he could use that car as a weapon to take down more innocent people.

KEILAR: Mary Ellen, we also have this just in. Sources telling CNN the gunman took 20 cruises, many of them to foreign ports in Europe and the Middle East. So investigators are trying to put a profile together. Is that of significance to you?

O'TOOLE: Well, it is because it gives us a lot more insights into what his behavior was like on those cruises. What was he doing? Was he also involved in doing surveillance of other locations internationally? Was he traveling with other people? If so, who are they? So that would give them additional people to interview. What was his behavior like? Was -- were these specific kinds of cruises? In other words, were they all on -- were they all gambling cruises? And what were his losses and what were his winnings? So it just really strengthens that overall view that they so desperately need of this individual.

KEILAR: What do you make, Mary Ellen, of that car, that his car was rigged with 90 pounds of explosives?

O'TOOLE: Well, it goes again to how elaborate this whole plan was for him and how spectacular that this was going to be, that he wanted it to be. It wasn't just now the shooting outside the window. It was now this other part b to the plan.

So he was building an incredibly sensational, extraordinary homicide plan that to do something like this, he doesn't want to crawl away and live in a home in Illinois afterwards. He wanted credit for this. He wanted people to know who exactly that he was. And that really does go to a strong powerful sense of grandiosity, even coming from a man who lives a life that's very secretive. You could still have the same two traits in one individual. He wanted to kill a lot of people, damage that hotel and get credit for all of it.

KEILAR: Yes, I mean that's very clear. Some of the motive, obviously, unclear. But we are learning -- we have learned about something the gunman tried to purchase, Phillip, that being tracer ammunition --


KEILAR: Which, of course, is phosphorus tipped, basically, or it ignites as it is fired so you would see where the bullet is going. He tried to buy it in Arizona.


KEILAR: Couldn't buy it with the other ammo. It wasn't available from the seller.

BANKS: Right.

KEILAR: As I understand, he actually could have purchased that in Nevada, but in the end he chose not to.

BANKS: Right.

KEILAR: So what does that tell you?

BANKS: You know, I don't know what that tells you. I do know that the pyrotechnic would have worked to his advantage, per say, because actually it gives you -- it's a pyrotechnic type of a charge. It actually illuminates. So you can actually see where you're firing, or, more importantly, where you're misfiring at. So if you want to aim in on targets --

KEILAR: At night. And so you see it in military situations.

BANKS: At night. Yes, correct.

Why he didn't use that is very strange. That's part of the investigation. Now, two things could happen. One, he could say, because of the canvas of it, that he was going to just shoot at this large number of people and that his hit target was going to be very successful as it was or he could have wanted -- it also -- the side effect of it is that people know exactly or sooner where the bullets are firing from. And that may have helped law enforcement to trigger exactly where he was at. And he may have wanted the benefit of having more time to continue his massacre (INAUDIBLE) his decision.

KEILAR: More anonymity, more confusion about where he was.


KEILAR: Which we've seen certainly happened.

BANKS: Right.

KEILAR: All right, Phillip Banks, Mary Ellen O'Toole, thank you so much to both of you.

And we cannot say enough about the brave men and women in uniform who responded to the Las Vegas massacre preventing what could have been an even greater loss of life. A deputy chief from a small town in Texas didn't have to go very far to render aid because he was standing just off stage when this attack began.

Our Ed Lavandera has the chief's powerful story in this "Beyond the Call of Duty" story.


ED LAVANDERA, CNN CORRESPONNDENT (voice over): Bruce Ure had the best seat in the house to the country music festival in Las Vegas, right on stage.

DEPUTY CHIEF BRUCE URE, SEGUIN POLICE: We were high-fiving, you know, some of the performers who were walking on stage, walking up to the microphone. It was like a dream come true.

LAVANDERA: But when gunfire killed the music, the best seat in the house turned into a front row seat to the most horrific massacre in modern American history.

URE: I felt like I was going to die, but I knew I wasn't going to die without fighting.

LAVANDERA: Ure is the deputy police chief in the small Texas town of Seguin. Even after 33 years in law enforcement, he'd never experienced an attack like this.

URE: I was right in this corner right here, which is the closest spot inside the venue too.

LAVANDERA: When the gunfire erupted, Chief Ure dropped to the ground, a bullet fragment sliced his finger.

[14:15:03] URE: That's probably what saved my life because when that hit, then I knew I was in the wrong spot.

LAVANDERA: Ure and a group of others raced for cover between two buses, where he recorded this chilling video.

URE: Bullets were flying everywhere. It reminded me of an old west -- the westerns where the outlaw -- tells somebody, OK, dance if you start shooting the ground around them. That's exactly what it was like You could watch the rounds popping anywhere.

LAVANDERA: Ure knew the only way to survive was to run. As they tried to escape, the killer took aim at them again.

URE: I could hear it hitting the pavement behind us. And then as we were running, you could feel some of the asphalt kicking up on the back of your legs. And then I hollered at my friend, we're going to be -- you know, he's almost on us. And then it stopped.

LAVANDERA: But the horror of the moment was just about to sink in.

LAVANDERA (on camera): And where do you find the two people that you helped?

URE: They were right over here. They were right about in here. And this is where we drug them to, this corner over there.

LAVANDERA (voice over): Ure found a man with a severe leg wound in a pool of blood. He turned a belt into a tourniquet and stopped a car driving by to race two victims to a hospital.

URE: And so I told the man, I said, hey, I can't let go of this until I get you to a hospital. So it's you and me, brother. So -- and they're all crying and they're saying, we're going to die, we're going to die. And I told them, I said too many people have died tonight. You guys aren't.

LAVANDERA (on camera): You get emotional thinking about, you know, you're looking into that guy's eyes, you get emotional thinking about that.

URE: Yes, yes, yes, I do. I -- when you have somebody there, and he keep thanking me, you're saving my life, you're saving my life. He said that all the way there. And finally I had to tell him, shut up, man, just shut up. Save your breath. You know, I get it, man, you're welcome, you're welcome, but you're not dying.

LAVANDERA: Bruce Ure says he was told those two victims survived. He doesn't remember their names.

He's back on the job in Seguin and says he witnessed the greatest evil he'd ever seen that night. But what helps him deal with it is knowing he also witnessed heroic goodness all around him.

Ed Lavandera, CNN, Seguin, Texas.


KEILAR: And tonight on CNN, an Anderson Cooper special honoring all of the victims of the massacre, "Las Vegas Lost," a commercial free "AC 360" tonight at 9:00 Eastern.

President Trump making an alarming comment while standing next to military brass. Why did he tease that this is the quote, calm before the storm? No doubt the White House will have the answer for that at their briefing moments away.

Plus, new details just in on the fate of the president's secretary of state. CNN now reports that Rex Tillerson's days are seen as numbered. Hear what's happening behind the scenes.


[14:22:30] KEILAR: The daily briefing at the White House just minutes away right now. The White House may be clarifying a baffling comment from President Trump. It could have been off the cuff, but it definitely put people on guard.

I want to set this up for you. So after meeting with some military leaders and their spouses, the president was taking a picture with them and this was a photo-op that reporters were not even supposed to attend. They weren't supposed to go to this event. But then they were let in by White House officials and then this happened.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: You guys know what this represents? (IANUDIBLE) Maybe it's the calm before the storm.

REPORTER: What's the storm?

TRUMPM: Could be the calm before the storm.

REPORTER: From Iran?


REPORTER: What storm, Mr. President?

TRUMP: We have the world's great military people in this room, I will tell you that. And we're going to have a great evening. Thank you all for coming.

REPORTER: What storm, Mr. President?

TRUMP: You'll find out.


KEILAR: And then, just moments ago at the White House, this when asked about this statement that he made last night.


UNIDENTIIED MALE: That we conduct with all 14,000 members across the country, this is the third quarter where we've seen record optimism by manufacturers. So the three quarter average is the highest of 90 percent in the entire 20-year history of our survey. And, Mr. President, that is because manufacturers are saying that they believe that tax reform, regulatory relief, infrastructure investment are the keys to making sure that the manufacturing sector is growing and strong and ensuring our exceptional America. So thank you ono behalf of all manufacturing for doing exactly that.

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I knew about the survey. I didn't want to bring it up. They would say I'm braggadocios if I --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'll say it again, 90 percent.

TRUMP: Thank you, Jay, that's great. Thank you very much.

OK. So this is our proclamation, and this is in honor of our great national manufacturing day.


TRUMP: And the tremendous success we've been having, especially over the last nine months. It's a big difference.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We have 3,000 events across the country. You mentioned your cabinet secretaries are out --

TRUMP: That's right.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Celebrating manufacturing with manufacturers in some of these facilities as well. About 600,000 students and teachers and community leaders will be participating so they can learn all the great things about modern manufacturing and we're hopeful that many of them will join these fine people in the manufacturing (INAUDIBLBE).

[14:25:07] TRUMP: And they will be. It's happening. Thank you very much, Jay, appreciate it.

So the big question is, who gets the pen? What do you think?

Should we do it -- Jay -- maybe Jay's got a --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He's got a hand outstretched.

TRUMP: Thank you very much, everybody.

QUESTION: Mr. President, what did you mean by calm before the storm yesterday?

TRUMP: Thank you.

QUESITON: What did you mean by that?

TRUMP: Thank you very much.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Thank you, everyone. We'll exit this way.

TRUMPM: You'll find out.

QUESITON: We'll find out?

TRUMP: Thank you. We'll see. Thank you, everybody.


KEILAR: All right, I want to bring in retired Army Special Forces Officer Scott Mann to talk about this and dissect this with us.

OK, Colonel, so, yes, last night it's this cliffhanger from the president about this could be the calm before the storm. What does that mean? You're going to have to wait. Same thing today. So when you hear this comment and we're talking about someone who obviously is in charge of America's arsenal, what's your appraisal of what he's communicating?

LT COL SCOTT MANN (RET.), FORMER U.S ARMY SPECIAL FORCES (GREEN BERET): Hey, Brianna, thanks for having me on.

You know, the first thing I would say, well, we should take it seriously, right, any time the commander in chief utters a threat, even if it's veiled, we should definitely take it very seriously and we should give that pause. I will say too that I don't necessarily think this is, you know,

beyond the pale or out of precedent if you think about, you know, President Obama declaring the red line in Syria for, you know, chemical weapons, or even President Bush right after 9/11 with his arm around a New York City firefighter saying those folks are going to hear from us very soon. Presidents do convey their intentions. And sometimes, you know, it has a lot of meat to it.

So I think we'll have to wait and see. He'll probably clarify that to some degree. But it definitely needs to be taken seriously.

KEILAR: So when President Bush said that, we did hear what he meant very soon, right? And then when President Obama said that, he struggled with how to address the situation in Syria, ultimately walked out -- back from that, suffer a tremendous amount of criticism for not taking some sort of military action. I guess I wonder if the difference here is, do you expect then that there is some sort of plan that he is seriously considering in terms of taking military action?

MANN: Well, I do. I mean, first of all, until I've had reason to think otherwise, I mean, in other words, like with President Obama, the red line actually ended up being not a red line, right? So actions and deeds at policy level all the way down to tactical level speak volumes. And if you walk the walk and you talk the talk, then you're to be taken seriously. And I think Teddy Roosevelt was right, speak softly and carry a big stick. So we will see where this goes. But for now, yes, I do think it should be taken seriously.

The one thing just do hope for all of our political leaders is, we've been in this war, Brianna, 15 years. And, you know, just throwing rhetoric around about conflict and fighting with a small military that's been at it for so long, I think we just need to make sure we honor the severity of war and make sure we don't make the statements lightly, because our men and women deserve better.

KEILAR: What is the potential miscalculation, I guess your -- if you do have concerns about something happening that is not intended because of him saying something like this, do you worry about that?

MANN: You know, I don't right now. I don't see anything that was said, you know, that necessarily leads me to believe that this is going down the wrong road. I mean he does have very solid advisers and General Mattis, General Kelly, folks who really understand the nature of warfare. So, I mean, is there the potential for a miscalculation with this type of rhetoric? Of course. And the stakes are very high right now.

And, again, what I would just remind the president, and any senior political leader, as a former war fighter, is to just take -- you know, when you make comments like that, understand the severity of what you're saying and regard it with the honor that it deserves, that men and women will go fight and die for whatever policy our politicians put forward. And 15 years into this war, let's not make statements like that lightly. If you say that, you need to mean it.

[14:29:45] KEILAR: He's also told military folks here recently that he expects them to -- these are his top brass, he's expecting them to provide him with a broad range of military options when needed at a much faster pace. There is a, albeit somewhat slow process, as you know, as options even sometimes trickle over to the White House. Part of that is to coal (ph) out the perhaps the ad options. Sometimes you could argue it means the president --