Return to Transcripts main page
CNN Exclusive: Vegas Killer In His Own Words; Police Analyzing Note Found In Shooter's Room; Gun Control Debate Heats Up After Vegas Massacre. Aired 6:30-7a ET
Aired October 9, 2017 - 06:30 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
CHAD MYERS, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Seventeen tornados yesterday, actually did more damage than the storm surge did down here in Biloxi. It was a rough and tumble day there in the Carolinas.
The highest wind speed we have 89 miles per hour. Today, we have wind-driven wildfires happening right now in Napa, California, and also, we have a wind weather advisory for Denver, Colorado. Lots of snow there.
BILL WEIR, CNN ANCHOR: All right. Thank you, sir. Appreciate it. Let's move on to other news now. Harvey Weinstein has been fired from the film company he co-founded. The action comes days after a "New York Times" investigation revealed incidence of alleged sexual harassment spanning 30 years.
The board of directors at the Weinstein Company released a statement saying the decision was made in light of new information about misconduct by the star maker.
ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: All right. Up next, we have a CNN exclusive for everyone. The Las Vegas killer in his own words. His hours-long deposition providing insight into his mindset.
WEIR: As hard as it is to believe, investigators still do not know what led a killer to open fire on thousands of people at an outdoor concert in Las Vegas last week. Parts of the Vegas strip dimmed their marquises last night to honor the 58 people killed on the one-week mark.
It comes as CNN obtains exclusive copy of a deposition involving the killer's lawsuit against a popular Vegas hotel four years ago. Does it offer any clues, any glimpse into the mind of this man?
CNN's Kyung Lah is live in Las Vegas with this brand new exclusive. Good morning.
KYUNG LAH, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Bill. As they are still trying to build this profile, we are told from two different sources that this deposition that CNN has obtained exclusively has now been handed over to the FBI as investigators struggle to understand the mind of this mass murderer.
LAH (voice-over): Before Stephen Paddack unleashed his murderous assault on an innocent concert crowd, he called himself the biggest video poker player in the world, gambling up to a million dollars in a single night, overnight sleeping during the day. Prescribed valium for anxiousness.
These are Stephen Paddock's own words as he testified in 2013 in his lawsuit against the Cosmopolitan Hotel in Las Vegas. The suit stems from this moment. Security cameras catching Paddocks slipping and falling in a casino walkway.
In the 97-page deposition obtained exclusively by CNN, Paddocks testifies about that fall and gives us fresh insight into his mind four years before the shooting. Paddock moved from Las Vegas casino to casino at one point staying maybe upwards of three weeks out of a month he said.
A high roller, his hotel stays were comped 95 percent of the time. Bets ranged from $100 to $1,350 each time I pushed the button. Speaking on of a peak year, asked an attorney, how many dollars are we talking?
"I average 14 hours a day, 365 days a year, over 200-million coin threw. Paddock says on a given night he will bet a million dollars. An attorney replies, that's a lot of money. No, it's not.
Paddock called video poker a game of discipline, at times appearing condescending and sarcastic as he explains to his attorney why he stays sober while gambling. At the stakes I play, you want to have all your wits about you.
Paddock's home in Mesquite, Nevada suggests an upper middle class retired life. For easy access to a doctor, Paddock testified he paid a yearly retainer fee to Nevada internist, Dr. Steven Winkler (ph).
Paddock says Winkler prescribed Valium. Why? It's for anxiousness. Rage, aggressiveness and irritability are among the possible side effects of taking Valium, according to the manufacturer of the drug.
The "Las Vegas Review Journal" reported that Dr. Winkler prescribed him Valium in June of this year. CNN could not independently confirm that information.
Despite all the claims about his high rolling ways, Paddock testified on the day he fell in the Cosmopolitan, he wore his typical clothing, "I always wear black Nike sweat pants that are nylon or polyester."
On his feet, black flip-flops that he wore 98 percent of the time. Life was better before the economic meltdown, he testified, saying Vegas casinos comped less and less, meaning he visited sin city less.
"What happened to the economy to 2007?" he said, "It tanked. Las Vegas went into the gutter with a lot of other things. They quit giving away freebies. It just wasn't worth coming out here as often."
LAH: An arbitrator ultimately ruled in the Cosmopolitan Hotel's favor. That's according to two sources. We did try to reach this Nevada internist, Dr. Winkler. He did not respond to e-mails or calls.
And Alisyn, we noticed he was asked repeatedly several times if he had a history of mental health issues, family history, or if there were any addiction issues. He said no -- Alisyn.
CAMEROTA: Kyung Lah, great reporting. This is fascinating stuff to try to delve into and figure out. Thank you very much for all of that.
Meanwhile, investigators continue gathering evidence from the killer's hotel room at the Mandalay Bay. Among the items, a handwritten note on the bedside table filled with numbers that appear to calculate how to inflict the most harm on his victims.
So, let's discuss with CNN law enforcement analyst, James Gagliano, and CNN counterterrorism analyst, Phil Mudd. So, Phil, you were a former FBI intel agent for a while. So, what do you hear in this deposition of this man in his own words?
[06:40:01] PHILIP MUDD, CNN COUNTERTERRORISM ANALYST: That he is blaming somebody else. That is, you fall on a quarter, it's not my fault. It is somebody else's fault. One of the avenues of investigation is why did he shoot so many people? And I'm coming to the conclusion that this isn't about what I call an external demon.
It's not about Republicans, it's not about Democrats, shooting white people, black people or Muslims. This guy had inner demons in his mind that we have to understand now and those inner demons relate to how he blames somebody else and how he wanted to kill somebody else for an internal mental problem he had here.
When I saw that deposition, I'm looking at this saying, we have a classic guy who says whatever my inner demons are, they're not my fault. They're somebody else's fault. I think that is a significant segment we just had here -- Alyson.
CAMEROTA: James, what did you hear?
JAMES GAGLIANO, CNN LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: Well, to Phil's point, Alisyn, it seems like the more we learn about the gunman, the further we get away from determining what his motives were. And I'll just say the information that CNN is gathering in regards to the trajectory calculations, I mean, it appears that this guy, as much as we know that he was not ever in the military, has just gone to great lengths in the study of military tactics and strategies --
CAMEROTA: Let me put up what you are talking about because you're talking about this calculation. The note, OK, that was found in his hotel room that first responders stumbled upon with numbers written on it. Let me play for you what they said about this calculation. Listen to this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
OFFICER DAVE NEWTON, LAS VEGAS: I did notice a note on the night stand near his shooting platform. I could see on it he had written the distance, the elevation he was on, the drop of what his bullet would be for the crowd. So, he had that written down and figured out so he would know where to shoot to hit his targets from there.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What were the numbers? I'm just trying to -- he had done calculations?
NEWTON: Yes. He had written -- he must have done the calculations or gone online or something to figure it out of what his altitude was going to be, how high up he was, how far out the crowd would be, and what the drop of his bullet would be.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CAMEROTA: So finish your point, Jim. What does that mean to you?
GAGLIANO: I mean, to hear that, it sounds like I'm at a briefing with a fire support officer. I was an infantry officer in the 10th Mountain Division. What he was doing was applying physics, you know, the properties of matter and energy from that hotel room.
That is what is so cofounding is that, you know, if he had been able to get the tracer rounds if make his fire even more lethal, if that's even fathomable. Think about this, Alisyn, 58 people killed and 500 wounded in the span of about 9 or 10 minutes.
That is roughly the equivalent of a U.S. military battalion in the bloodiest conflict in the Iraq war in 2004, the bloodiest two months, it was November and December 2004, 82 soldiers killed, 600 casualties.
So, in the span of 10 minutes, this shooter by employing military tactics and having the heavy armaments and obviously, the workaround gimmick that he had on some of the weapons, was able to take out the equivalent of the battle of Fallujah.
CAMEROTA: Oh, my gosh. Yes, it was a war zone. I mean, that's what everybody who was there testifies to and said it sounded like. So, Phil, in this deposition he said that he played poker 365 days a year, sometimes gambling a million dollars a day. That's compulsive. Is there anything there that you hear?
MUDD: I think there is. Let's combine that level of focus on one activity, that is how do I play a 10th percent of an odd over 14 hours a day every day of the year. A man who thinks systematically through his gambling lifestyle.
You put that side by side to the note. A man who is thinking systematically how do I look at distance and how much that bullet will fall over distance. What this tells me, Alisyn, looking at all this detail, attention to detail, there's two trails where he can find out that information about the targets to that level of detail. That is, he talked to somebody about how to think about bullets and how bullets travel of time and space or he researched something on the internet. Either of those is going to leave a trail, a trail of a human being, for example, a lot a location where he is buying a weapon.
Where they are talking about this kind of stuff, or a trail on Google sevens where he is learning how to do this. Somebody saw something. Somebody knows something. It will help to fill in the gaps for how he built that scale of detail over those 10 minutes.
CAMEROTA: And Jim, last, he was taking Valium for anxiousness. A lot of people take Valium. Is there anything there as an analyst for you?
GAGLIANO: You know, it is so perplexing to look at all these different pieces. I'm confident that the police and the FBI probably know significantly more than they are letting out, and I think that's appropriate.
Alisyn, I think there are so many leads right now that they are trying to run down to put together a picture of this man. The fact that he had that prescription absolutely plays into it.
We understand that there was a mental imbalance here. We just got to figure out what the motive was to combine with that and figure out a better picture of what made him do this.
[06:45:09] CAMEROTA: Yes. Gentlemen, thank you very much for trying to help us put the puzzle pieces together. James Gagliano, Phil Mudd, great to see you -- Bill.
WEIR: Our next guest nearly lost his wife to a mass shooter. He happens to be a Navy combat vet and an astronaut as well. It was the shooting of Gabby Giffords that steal the resolve of our next guest call for some action after so many mass shootings. We will speak to Mark Kelly live next.
WEIR: Per our national tradition, there is a renewed push for stricter gun control laws following the deadliest mass shooting in modern U.S. history one week ago today. One of the loudest voices pushing lawmakers to take action is Retired NASA Astronaut Captain Mark Kelly.
Of course, his wife, Congresswoman Gabby Giffords survived a mass shooting in Arizona in 2011. Captain Mark Kelly joins us now live. Good to see you, sir. I wonder, given your perspective on these shooting incidents, what was your reaction as you saw the body count, the casualty count in Vegas, and did you think that this one would be different in any way than the conversation afterwards?
[06:50:12] MARK KELLY, RETIRED NASA ASTRONAUT: Well, I didn't think the conversation would be that much different. I mean, whether it's 20 first graders and kindergartners killed in their classroom at Sandyhook Elementary School or what happened in Orlando just last year. You know, we have these absurd mass shootings time and time again and often Congress wants to do nothing about it.
WEIR: I saw one guy who was at the concert, this guitar player named Caleb Keeter, who said, "I was a long time 2nd Amendment defender. I was so wrong. Our guys had concealed carry permits, but their revolvers were useless. We need gun control now."
That was noteworthy because he seemed to be a lone voice of all the thousands who were there who might have had strong feelings on this issue. But his opinions don't matter nearly as much as a lawmaker like Steve Scalise, who was shot practicing for that congressional baseball game.
But he's now back to work. Commander, he was on "Meet The Press" yesterday. He had this interesting response to questions about calls for gun control. Take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REPRESENTATIVE STEVE SCALISE (R), MAJORITY WHIP: If you talk to anybody about a week ago, most people, including myself, didn't know what a bump stock was.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Me too.
SCALISE: People want to rush to judgment. They have a bill written already. Look, Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi already said she wants it to be a slippery slope. She doesn't want to stop at bump stocks. She wants to limit the rights of gun owners.
I do think it is a little bit early for people to say they know what to do to fix this problem. They are asking the ATF to go back and review their 2010 decision to authorize it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WEIR: Commander, if you can't convince a guy who has fresh gunshot wounds to change is stance on these sorts of things, how hard is it to convince the rest of Congress?
KELLY: Well, you know, it is difficult with certain members of Congress, but I think it is ridiculous to think, you know, that it is inevitable that we have this level of gun violence that there's absolutely nothing we can do about it.
The 33,000 Americans dying every single year from gun violence is completely unacceptable and we're a country of laws and the laws matter. We do know that in states that have stronger gun laws, we have less people that die from gun violence.
So, I don't buy into the notion that this is just the way it has to be. You know, that's not true, but that is what the gun lobby and some members of Congress would like people to think. That this is a normal situation.
WEIR: Wayne La Pierre from the NRA, head of the NRA came out and said we should take a look at bump stocks. These devices to make a semi auto to fully auto. Some took hope in that that there was some new fresh daylight. Others think it is the same old rhetoric. What are your thoughts on the NRA's position right now?
KELLY: I'm the eternal optimist on this otherwise. You know, you couldn't do this year after year. I think when the National Rifle Association and Republican members of Congress acknowledge that our laws do matter, it is a step in the right direction.
So, I was happy to hear that Wayne La Pierre said that this is something that should be looked at. You know, I personally think this is the time for Congress to legislate here, whether it's the bump stock provision, background checks to keep guns out of the husband of people who are criminals and domestic abusers and suspected terrorists.
I mean, there's so much they can do to reduce gun violence, but not affect the Second Amendment rights of responsible gun owners. I am a gun owner. I imagine Steve Scalise is a gun owner. We can do this and just focus on the criminals and the folks that really should not be accumulating firearms out there.
WEIR: Nancy Pelosi said that -- actually Dianne Feinstein says no laws could have stopped this particular Vegas shooting. That seems a bit (inaudible). Do you agree with that?
KELLY: I don't agree with that, actually. Imagine if the bump stock was illegal, if he wasn't able to acquire these things en masse, it would have been much more difficult to kill in excess of 50 people and shoot hundreds more in that short period of time.
In addition to that, you know, currently under federal law, if somebody buys more than one handgun in five days, the ATF gets notified. That is not true for an AR-15, a semiautomatic assault rifle. What if it was.
You know, what if, you know, inside of a month he was buying, you know, in excess of 10 guns, dozens of guns. They would have been notified and they would have visited him at his home. Maybe that would have deterred him. So, you know, these laws do matter. There are things we could have done to make this situation much more difficult.
[06:55:10] WEIR: Mark Kelly, always good to hear your wisdom. Thanks for checking in with us this morning. Best to your wife.
KELLY: Thanks for having me on.
CAMEROTA: Senator Bob Corker voicing his concerns in a strong language as possible about President Trump, suggesting the president could lead the U.S. on the path to World War III. It was an extraordinary statement from a top Republican. We look at it next.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A worse time to have a strained relationship with the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.
CAMEROTA: Corker saying Trump's threats could put the U.S. on the path to World War III.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The president is not respected by many members of Congress.
WEIR: White House releasing its wish list for a deal to protect DREAMers.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is essentially a nonstarter for Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The focus of our energy today has to be on the Dream Act.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Vice President Mike Pence reigniting the feud between the White House and the NFL.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: When things are going bad in the White House, he kind of turns to this cultural war.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is like (inaudible).