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President Trump to Deliver Speech in South Korea; Authorities Investigate Texas Church Massacre. Aired 3-3:30p ET

Aired November 7, 2017 - 15:00   ET



BROOKE BALDWIN, CNN ANCHOR: Here we go, hour two. I'm Brooke Baldwin. You're watching CNN.

A stunning development today in the Texas church massacre investigation. The gunman who murdered 26 people on Sunday morning escaped a New Mexico mental health facility in 2012. That is according to documents from the El Paso Police Department obtained by CNN affiliate KVIA.

A police report was written after he went missing. Officers were told he was a danger to himself and others. And quoting this report here that -- quote -- "He had already been caught sneaking firearms onto Holloman Air Force Base." This report also says the gunman made death threats on his military chain of command.

And that wasn't the only red flag that somehow got overlooked. The shooter was in the facility months after he was accused of assault. And, once, he was found guilty of attacking his first wife and cracking the skull of his stepson. The system failed to send an alert again.

The Air Force admits it did not notify civilian law enforcement about his domestic violence conviction, which could have prevented him from buying a gun legally.

What is more, we are also learning that the pastor of the church knew the shooter and shared this about him with the sheriff.


JOE TACKITT, WILSON COUNTY, TEXAS, SHERIFF: The pastor did know the man.

QUESTION: He did know him?

TACKITT: He did know him. He did he not want him at his church.

QUESTION: Why not?

TACKITT: He said because he just thought that he was not a good person to be around.

QUESTION: Is there anything specific you can say about what he said regarding that?

TACKITT: No, he just said he didn't think he was a good person and he just didn't want him around his church. But he said, how do I run him away from his church?


BALDWIN: We will go through all those new developments in a second.

But, first, let's focus on the survivors here.

CNN's Sara Sidner joins me now live from Sutherland Springs, Texas.

And, Sara, you talked to a woman who survived more than 400 rounds that the shooter fired into the sanctuary. What did she share with you?

SARA SIDNER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It's an incredible story. It's an emotional story, as you might imagine.

She still has a gaping wound to the back of her arm from where the bullet went in and out of her arm. She talked about the fact that she first heard the shooting outside and she was actually hit by bullets coming from the outside of the church.

And then the shooter came in. And she talked about how scared she was. She was certain that she was about to breathe her last breath, telling her boyfriend to get out as soon as he could to survive because she was just not going to make it in her mind.


ROSANNE SOLIS, SURVIVOR: Yes, he said -- he heard him. I didn't, because I had my ears covered. What did he say? Joaquin! Everybody die (EXPLETIVE DELETED). That's what he said. Everybody is going to die (EXPLETIVE DELETED). That's what he said.

SIDNER: When he came in, can you describe what you thought the minute you saw him? Was he shooting as he was walking in the door?

SOLIS: Yes, he was going through the aisles all around with his -- with his -- it wasn't a handgun. It was a pistol or a -- he was looking all around and shooting at everybody, just going through the rows shooting at everybody.

First, he went in straight to the guys that sing, they were up there. He shot them first. And the lady, I guess their mom or I don't know if -- they are related, I know. But, yes, all that family got shot, yes.

He's the one that saw his face. I didn't, because I just saw his feet, because I didn't even want to move. I knew that was going to be my last day to live. I didn't even want to look at his -- you know, I was hiding under the bench. I did not want to breathe, look, nothing.

SIDNER: What happens next? SOLIS: So, what happened next, he was shooting -- as he was shooting

down, we could see -- me and him were -- he was trying to put his head on top of me, so he could try to prevent the bullets from coming down on us.

And all of us were together. It was me, him and some other -- a little boy, and that we were all laying around each other and screaming.

And what happened next, I told him to get out of there because this was going to be our last day to live. I told him, try to go somewhere where they are not shooting and save yourself, I told him, because I know I'm going to die here. I knew I was going to die.

So he kind of like went towards the back of the church. I just went -- I don't even -- at that time, I don't even know what happened after that, because he disappeared, and I was still there with the rest of the people there. And the guy was still shooting. He was shooting.

I mean, I think he shot more than 300 shots. So then he -- it stopped for about, I would say, like five minutes. And then I guess he must have reloaded and started again.


Yes, he reloaded. He had a second time to reload his gun and started shooting again. All these people screaming and bleeding and nobody -- nobody could get there to save us from the shooter. So he's inside.

After that, after the second round, he was out there for a while. I guess seconds must have gone by, minutes, maybe at least five more minutes, and he was shooting. And everybody -- I could just see the people. The bullets were coming right down. I could see on the carpet the bullets hitting, passing me like that.

And I could see it on the carpet. I said, if I don't move from here, I'm going to die.

SIDNER: Can you tell me where you were?

SOLIS: I was on the left -- on the bench, on the left bench. When you come inside, there's benches to the left and to the right. I was under the bench.

SIDNER: How did you know you were hit? Like, how did you...

SOLIS: I didn't feel, because I had taken my pain pill. I didn't feel it that much, but I saw blood coming out because I had taken my hydrocodone that I take for pain because I have a bone disease.

And I saw -- I went like that and I saw the blood, but I knew I had been hit. I could feel it then.

QUESTION: Your husband saw his face. You did not, but...

SOLIS: No, he did. He saw him when he ran inside. (CROSSTALK)

SOLIS: And when he came inside, he saw him.

QUESTION: Was he wearing a mask?

SOLIS: No, he wasn't wearing a mask.


He was not wearing a mask. No type of mask, right? He wasn't wearing a mask. I just saw his shoes. I didn't want to look up or nothing to see.

He saw where he was going, so he could run out of the church. He was paying attention to him when he went up and shot the people that were up in the front, the guys, the family that passed away. And he was watching them, so he could go through the front door, because he was, like, going through the aisles shooting, looking, you know, walking around with his rifle.

QUESTION: Had you seen the shooter before?

SOLIS: Not me. He had. He saw him outside. But this was a couple of months back, about six months back that he saw him outside of the church.

QUESTION: And did you pretend that you were dead as he walked by you?

SOLIS: Yes. He did not walk by me. He did not walk by me. He was like in the middle. Right when you go inside the door, he was in the aisle and he was pointing his rifle like that. He's looking, look over here, look over there, and he was just shooting, ta, ta, ta, ta, ta, ta, ta, ta, ta, at everybody, everything that would move or he could see.

QUESTION: So when you got up, you saw what he did?

SOLIS: After he left, I got up. When he left -- 15, at least -- I waited 15 minutes or 20 minutes before I went outside. I wasn't about to go out there, knowing that it was still dangerous.

QUESTION: What did you see when you got up?

SOLIS: Blood, dead people, dead bodies, dead children all over the place outside. People screaming, looking for each other. Just terrible, terrible. All dead little bodies, dead with a whole bunch of blood, a terrible scene. It's just something that I don't -- I don't want to think about anymore, because it's always going to be there.

But it was just horrible.


BALDWIN: My God. SIDNER: You know, listening to that, you can just hear the terror in her voice.

And she also talked about hearing a little girl asking for help and that her boyfriend, Joaquin, was there, and he didn't know what to do. He knew he needed to leave. He had no way to save himself or anyone else in the church.

And just hearing that little girl's voice and that little girl, she said, did end up being killed by the shooter. She also said that she doesn't think she's going to be able to go back to the church. She wants to be able to, but the thought of what happened and having it replay in her mind over and over and hearing those horrible sounds of the people that just came there to pray, just came there to worship like she did, she doesn't know if she can bring herself to do it.

She says she will be praying in her house and reading the Bible in her own home from now forward, at least for quite some time, Brooke.

BALDWIN: I don't even think I have the words, just listening to her.

How is she doing? How is she even able to speak about it now?

SIDNER: It seems that she needs almost the relief of being able to get it out of her head a little bit by talking about it.

It was also -- we saw a couple of beautiful moments with her boyfriend, Joaquin. He did come over during the interview, saw her sort of struggling as she's thinking about it, and he kind of patted her head and rubbed her hair. She has a support system at least in him.

She also mentioned that he had seen the shooter before outside the church, Brooke, about a month ago, that he had come to the outside of the church and hugged his children, is the way that he put it, before leaving. He had never come in at that time, but he had come and he had seen his face outside the church a month before.

No one had any inkling that he was going to do something like this. And everyone just devastated after going through this terrible time in this small town that thought it was safe -- Brooke.


BALDWIN: We are keeping this community close to our hearts.

Sara Sidner, thank you for sharing just -- that is just one story from inside that room from Sunday morning. Thank you.

We will talk live also coming up with a former homeland security director about all of these major developments in this investigation, including the gunman's escape from a mental health facility. We just learned about that just this afternoon.

Stand by. You are watching CNN.


BALDWIN: We're back. You're watching CNN. I'm Brooke Baldwin.

Standing just a miles from a nuclear-armed North Korea, President Trump has dropped his taunts of Rocket Man and threats of fire and fury, in favor of a more measured tone.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We have a nuclear submarine also positioned. We have many things happening that we hope, we hope -- in fact, I will go a step further -- we hope to God we never have to use.


With that being said, I really believe that it makes sense for North Korea to come to the table and to make a deal that's good for the people of North Korea and the people of the world.

I do see certain movement, yes, but let's see what happens.


BALDWIN: CNN is the only network with reporters on both sides of the border.

Our correspondent Will Ripley is only the journalist in Pyongyang. And in Seoul, CNN's Ivan Watson is covering the president's tour there.

So, Ivan joins me live.

And in just a couple of hours, President Trump will deliver this major speech there in South Korea.

From what CNN knows, what's the message? What's he expected to say?

IVAN WATSON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, he's going to be speaking at the National Assembly here.

And aides say that part of the speech is going to be focused on explaining the U.S. plan to secure its allies here in the region, and also part of it to focus on trying to get better trade in relation to the U.S..

That's another theme that President Trump has been talking about, as he brings up the fact that there are trade deficits with all of the countries that he will be visiting here, including currently South Korea, with which U.S. has trade agreement.

And he's indicated publicly that he doesn't think the terms are fair and he wants that renegotiated. But, of course, North Korea the biggest issue on the agenda, and it's an area where South Korea, Brooke, says that it will be buying new weapons from the U.S. Reconnaissance assets is how the South Korean president put it, and also increasing the rotation of U.S. strategic assets here through the area. And also another announcement that the South Korea president made was that the payloads on South Korea missiles, which are limited, according to a U.S.-South Korean agreement, that those would be increased.

Currently, as to the current agreement, those payloads are limited to about 1,100 pounds. So that would go up. So those are some of the concrete things that the U.S. and South Korean presidents agreed to and announced here -- Brooke.

BALDWIN: So the world will be watching the speech there to the Assembly tonight, your morning. Ivan, thank you so much in Seoul.

Before we see the president there, we know that President Trump did take some time away, make sure he met with and ate with U.S. and South Korean troops at a military base for what was taco Tuesday.


TRUMP: I had a choice of having a beautiful, very fancy lunch. And I said, no, I want to eat with the troops. And we ate with the troops. And it was good eating. It was good eating. And I will tell you, they have been a terrific job. Very impressed.


BALDWIN: So, I was just in Korea, and have been sharing of U.S. soldiers stationed there and their sacrifice.

But, right now, you will hear voices of civilians, American expats who live Korea because they choose to. They are English teachers or business men and women.

And as you are about to see, they do not live in fear day-to-day, despite their proximity to North Korea.

Here was our conversation on a recent Saturday night in Seoul.


BALDWIN: Why do you all loving living in Korea?

KATHRYN BOTTO, GRADUATE STUDENT: People are friendly. There is so much to do. Everything you need is in Seoul.

We have -- you have got the mountains, a beautiful river going through the middle of the city. So it's just kind of a perfect place.

BALDWIN: What do you think that Americans back in the States have wrong about this place?

BRIAN RIDGEWAY, ENGLISH INSTRUCTOR: How similar it is to life in America, how the people are really, really similar. They do the same things. They go to work. They go to church on the weekends. They are very, very family-oriented.

I have always said that Korea is the epitome of American values, if you will.

MIN YOO, BUSINESS STRATEGY CONSULTANT: It's changing. It's a bit different. I think people understand little bits about Korea, specifically related to kind of entertainment, Korean drama, K-pop, these types of things.

I would say nowadays anywhere in the States, you meet anybody and you say, I'm Korean, and they say, oh, I love kimchi or "Gangnam Style."



YOO: Exactly.

BALDWIN: The threat is very real, the nuclear threat from North Korea.

And I have to imagine that your friends and family back home that don't know...

TERRI BERGER, ENGLISH TEACHER: My mom calls me all the time, yes.

BALDWIN: Worry about you.


Yes. She always says -- like she will send me...

BALDWIN: This is your mom?

BERGER: ... a screen shot of something Trump said on the news or what the news is saying about North Korea. And when I look around at the people, the locals, they are just chilling, living their lives.

BOTTO: Honestly, I feel safer here than -- with everything going on in the States right now with gun violence and all of that, I think I feel a lot safer here than I do in the U.S.


And I think that's something -- the thing I think Americans don't really understand about Korea is, they have been living with this threat since the end of the Korean War.

BALDWIN: But isn't the difference a new president of the United States and this war of words that has been escalating over the last couple of months? Do you feel the difference?

RIDGEWAY: I don't think so.

BALDWIN: You don't think so?

RIDGEWAY: I don't think there is a difference. Yes. I don't think there has been any fundamental change to the situation here.

TODD SAMPLE, INTERNATIONAL BUSINESS CONSULTANT: Yes, seriously. I think it's been since 1953 when the war ended, OK, that's over 50 years now.


SAMPLE: Why -- if something had happened, it would have happened already. I think we have seen this rhetoric again and again and again and again.

RIDGEWAY: If there was a preemptive attack, obviously, North Korea would probably respond by attacking Seoul. I just can't imagine that the American, I don't know, defense establishment would sign off on that, not in my wildest dreams.

BALDWIN: Who do you worry about more, Kim Jong-un or President Trump?

BERGER: Forty-fifth.

BALDWIN: Trump, Trump, Trump?

RIDGEWAY: Kim Jong-un is in his 30s, right? I think he wants to continue like he is for the next 30 years, so I don't think he is going to do anything. I think he built his weapons to deter.

And unless we...

BALDWIN: He's been shooting off a lot of missiles, my friend.

RIDGEWAY: He's been shooting them off, but I think, unless U.S. has plans to invade North Korea, there's no reason for him to attack the U.S.

SAMPLE: And we have to remember too that Kim Jong-un was educated in Switzerland. He likes basketball.

BALDWIN: Dennis Rodman.


SAMPLE: Dennis Rodman and Michael Jordan.

BERGER: I'm pretty sure he has hopes and dreams and things he would like to accomplish.

BALDWIN: So, why the threats, the sea of fire and...

RIDGEWAY: As a deterrent, I think. I think it's a deterrent.

BOTTO: Kim Jong-un and his father both knew how to just push the envelope enough, but not go over the line, to where they would provoke some sort of response from the United States.

BALDWIN: But are you worried at all because of this back and forth between Washington and Pyongyang that he might want to test that? BOTTO: I think you have to always worry that there could be some

miscalculation or miscommunication.

BALDWIN: What do you think -- so, President Trump is making this Asia swing. How do you think Koreans will feel about his presence on the peninsula?

SAMPLE: Korea and the United States have a very, very close relationship. And this is a historically long relationship.

And so there are a lot of people here, especially the older generation, who they really love America, because America is what saved them from communism.

The younger people, they see how Trump is portrayed in the news, and, wow, what an odd -- like, what -- not just an odd president, what an odd leader, what an odd leader. And people don't really know what to feel about the guy.


SAMPLE: But, again, they don't feel threatened by North Korea.

BERGER: I hope his Twitter fingers stay silent during his trip here, yes, yes, that when he goes home, that nasty rhetoric will just go away.

BALDWIN: Do you legit have any plans if something crazy call came in of any sort of war? Or is that just not even something you spend an iota of time contemplating?

BOTTO: One of my favorite quotes, everybody has a plan until you get punched in the mouth. So I think it would be sort of like that.

RIDGEWAY: There's nothing you can do, honestly.

SAMPLE: There is really no threat. And so I have no plan. I don't have boxes of ramen and bottled water in my closet.

I seriously don't, and never would even consider it, seriously. For a typhoon maybe, but not nuclear war.

BALDWIN: Wow, for a typhoon maybe, but not for nuclear war.

SAMPLE: Not for nuclear war.


BALDWIN: For a typhoon maybe, but not for nuclear war.

That was just an absolutely fascinating conversation we had a couple of Saturday nights ago in Seoul.

My thanks to my new American friends in South Korea.

By the way, if you want to follow my reporter notebook, I will tweet it out for you, so you can see everything we did in Korea. Just go to my Twitter page, @BrookeBCNN.

Back to our breaking news, CNN learning the Texas church shooter had escaped from a mental facility after he was accused of abusing his ex- wife and her child, this as police say they have the gunman's cell phone, but they are having a tough time actually getting in it, getting past the encryption.

So we will talk to a tech expert about the battle between privacy and public safety. Stay with me.



BALDWIN: All right, more on the breaking news in the investigation of the church massacre in Texas.

So, before the shooter died, authorities say he called his father from his cell phone. That device is now in the hands of the FBI. But investigators have hit a major snag in the search for evidence, because they can't actually access his phone.


CHRIS COMBS, FBI SPECIAL AGENT IN CHARGE: It actually highlights an issue that you have all heard about before.

With the advance of the technology and the phones and the encryptions, law enforcement, whether it's at the state, local or the federal level, is increasingly not able to get into these phones.

So I'm not going to describe what phone it is, because I don't want to tell every bad guy out there what phone to buy to harass our efforts on trying to find justice here.

I can assure you that we are working very hard to get into the phone. And that will continue until we find an answer.

I don't know how long that's going to be, to be quite honest with you. It could be tomorrow. It could be a week. Could be a month. We just don't know yet.


BALDWIN: Just last month, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein publicly criticized technology companies over their encryption software.

He said, to quote him, they enable criminals and terrorists.

So, I have with me now Michael Balboni. He served as the homeland security director for the state of New York.