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Gun Shop: We Warned FBI About Orlando Shooter; Source: Gunman Texted Wife During Nightclub Attack; Gunman Posted ISIS Messages on Facebook During Attack; McCain: Obama is Directly Responsible For Orlando Shooting. Aired 7-8p ET

Aired June 16, 2016 - 19:00   ET


[19:00:14] ERIN BURNETT, CNN ANCHOR: OUTFRONT next, the breaking news. The man behind the Orlando massacre texting his wife during the attack. This as the gun shop owner says he alerted the FBI to Omar Mateen before the shooting.

Plus, a stunning accusation tonight, Senator John McCain says President Obama is, quote, "Directly responsible for the Orlando massacre. And the hunt for the alligator that killed a two-year-old boy at Disney, his parents speaking out tonight. Do they blame Disney? Let's go OUTFRONT.

Good evening, I'm Erin Burnett. OUTFRONT tonight, the breaking news. Missed warning signs. The FBI may have been warned about the Orlando shooter days before the attack. A gun store owner in Southern Florida says, he called the local FBI office when Omar Mateen came in his shop to try to buy body armor and ammunition. The store owner says he got a call back from the FBI. The FBI, though, telling CNN it doesn't have a record of that call.

Also breaking tonight, law enforcement officials telling us Mateen was searching Facebook and texting his wife during the attack. He asked her if she had seen the news, she responded saying, she loved him. She also tried to call him several times during the standoff. Today, President Obama making an emotional visit to Orlando. To provide solace to the families of those who loved their lives.


PRES. BARACK OBAMA (D), UNITED STATES: Today, once again, this has been true too many times before. I held and hugged grieving family members and parents, and they asked, why does this keep happening. And they pleaded that we do more to stop the carnage.


BURNETT: And for the first time, this video. From inside the club. This is survivors huddling in a cramped bathroom, hiding, they hiding, they are hostages, they are waiting to be rescued. You hear the fear, you hear them trying to tell others to be quiet. It is chilling to watch this. The man who did use, take a picture, make this video survived.

This comes as the director of the CIA today warns Americans that ISIS is as dangerous as ever. We begin our coverage tonight with Drew Griffin.

Drew, what are you learning about this FBI possibly having been warned, Mateen was buying body armor and ammunition days before the attack?

DREW GRIFFIN, CNN SENIOR INVESTIGATIVE CORRESPONDENT: If true, Erin, and I'll say if true, it's another sign that we had a red flag that was completely missed. A little correction. This wasn't days before. It was weeks before. Now we know that this shooter went to a gun store, it's called lotus gun works. It's about 15 miles from where I'm standing. This is the home of the shooter behind me.

And he walked into this gun store, asking for three things. First, he asked for soft body armor. Then he asked for hardened armor. Then he asked for a thousand rounds of the type of caliber ammunition you would use for a rifle. He was very specific. And very specific to say that his staff was so suspicious, Erin, they absolutely called authorities. Listen to what he had to say.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Our salesman got very concerned about it, and just informed him, we do not have this body armor. At this time, he pulled away and got on to the cell phone, when he was on the cell phone, he had a conversation in a foreign language that was more concerning. Then he came back and he was requesting ammo. So he wanted bulk ammo only. So at that time, he declined any business, and he left the store. We had no link, no contact, we had -- didn't know who he was. But we did contact authorities, and let them know, we just had a suspicious person that was in here.


GRIFFIN: This is a gun store owner, Erin, who says his staff did the right thing. They thought this guy was suspicious, they reached out to authorities. He says they called the FBI. Now, the FBI says they have no record of that call. The Sheriff's Department locally has no record of that call. Nor does the State Department of law enforcement here in Florida. So the question is, did the call happen? Was the ball dropped? They're still investigating. But, again, this person, this killer, was looking for body armor in the weeks before the attack and perhaps the FBI was warned about it -- Erin.

BURNETT: It would be an incredible mess, of course, if this all ends up being true. They are running that down.

Drew Griffin, thank you.

And also breaking at this hour, sources telling us that Omar Mateen and his wife were communicating during the attack, texting. Jim Sciutto is OUTFRONT with that.


[19:05:10] JIM SCIUTTO, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): CNN has learned that Omar Mateen and his wife, Noor Salman, exchanged text messages during the nightclub attack. This according to a law enforcement official. At one point, he asked if she was watching the news. Salman also tried calling her husband several times during the standoff with police. New video of the attack captured on a cell phone from inside the Pulse nightclub bathroom shows frightened club- goers taking cover in a bathroom stall. We continue to learn more about the harrowing moments inside the club.

CAPTAIN MARK CANTY, ORLANDO SWAT COMMANDER: The other patrol officers running inside, pulling out victims. So while gunfire is still going on, you know, or just as -- other police officers are running in there, you know, with no disregard -- with no regard for their safety and calling some of those victims out.

SCIUTTO: Omar Delgado was one of the first police officers on the scene.

OFFICER OMAR DELGADO, EATONVILLE POLICE DEPARTMENT: It was kind of dark. You know, I had this disco light still going. And I just began yelling, hey, guys, come on out, come on out, come on out. You know, we got you, we got you. And just unfortunately, it took a minute, but realized that they weren't faking. It's just -- they couldn't get out.

SCIUTTO: In an interview with CNN's Anderson Cooper, Orlando Police Chief John Mina explained why officers waited hours before storming the nightclub. Despite victims shot and bleeding inside, desperate to be rescued.

CHIEF JOHN MINA, ORLANDO POLICE DEPARTMENT: Our officers went in there, exchanged gunfire with him, forced him to retreat and basically become a barricaded gunman in the bathroom.

SCIUTTO: Police finally made the call to blow through a wall and enter the club when Mateen made a threat to detonate bombs inside.

MINA: We had information that he was going to put explosive vests on four people, and then blow the place up in 15 minutes. By that time, we were already set with our explosive breach, and that's when we made the decision.

SCIUTTO: Investigators now continue to look at what Mateen's wife, Noor Salman, knew about Mateen's plans. Salman has now given conflicting statements. According to law enforcement officials. But admits that she suspected Mateen was planning an attack, possibly on Pulse. Salman has told investigators that on the day before the shooting, she tried to tell Mateen not to commit an act of violence. But she did not call the police.


SCIUTTO: Of course, there were other people texting from inside the nightclub. Those were the hostages texting their loved ones, telling them they loved them, but also providing that information we have heard from law enforcement that they had heard the gunman saying he had explosive vests, that there were snipers outside trying to add fear to the moment, Erin, and frankly, it sounds like trying to keep law enforcement from entering the club as well, to make them think he had other attackers with him.

BURNETT: Jim Sciutto, thank you very much.

I want to go straight now to Mark O'Mara, legal analyst and Art Roderick, former U.S. Marshal.

Art, we know that she has said that her husband was planning an attack or wanted to commit an attack for months, if not years. We know that she had been with him when he went out and cased locations. She had been with him to this nightclub several times. On the night of the attack, it's on 1:00, 2:00, 3:00 a.m., he's not home with her and their two-year-old child. He texts her to ask her if she had seen the news about the shooting, and she responds she loved him. She then tried to call him. Is there any doubt in your mind that she knew?

ART RODERICK, FORMER ASSISTANT DIRECTOR FOR INVESTIGATIONS, U.S. MARSHAL: No, there's no doubt in my mind. And I'm sure the FBI at this point in time also has come up with a lot of these inconsistencies and it seems to me that she was minimizing during the first couple of interviews, she was minimizing her activities involved in this particular incident. And I think when it's all said and done, she's probably going to be indicted federally. And then also could very well face some state and local charges later on.

BURNETT: And Mark O'Mara, what could happen here? I mean, you know, all of these, right, that she suspected he was planning an attack, she never called police. She was with him when he purchased ammunition. She visited the nightclub and Disney with him to scout out the locations as I mentioned, she texted her husband during the attack, what can they charge her with? What could be the most severe charge here?

MARK O'MARA, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Well, the least severe could be misprision of felony. That's where you know a felony was committed and you conceal it.


O'MARA: Now, the felony that may be committed was the ongoing conspiracy to do what he ended up doing. So, that's the list if they have any evidence. It could be as far along the spectrum as conspiracy commits first degree murder. Because in Florida and federal law, a conspiracy is something where you know what's going on, the illegal nature of it, and you do any one act and furtherance of it, literally taking him to a gun store to get the weaponry, taking him to the Pulse if it turned out he did that, scoping it out, scoping out other areas. Any of those individual acts could be enough in and of themselves to try to charge with conspiracy. But I anticipate the FBI taking their time, being very methodical --


O'MARA: Looking at it all and gathering all of the information that they're going to get from cell phones --

BURNETT: And Mark -- O'MARA: -- and social media and whatever else.

[19:10:10] BURNETT: Yes. And Mark, what would be the ultimate, the penalties that we're talking about here if they go for some of those more severe charges? Could we be talking about a death penalty?

O'MARA: Yes. Misprision of felony has a maximum of three years. But conspiracy to commit first degree murder state level death penalty, federal level death penalty. And there's concurrent jurisdiction that they may let the state go first on the murder charges, because it is easier to get a death penalty under Florida law and even under federal law. She's exposed under both jurisdictions.

BURNETT: So, Art, this is now coming as we are hearing the body shop owner that the ammunition and body armor owner saying that Mateen had come in his shop, you heard Drew Griffin reporting. In recent weeks, trying to buy a thousand rounds of the ammunition, soft body armor, hard body armor, and they were so concerned about what he was trying to do, that they called the FBI. The local field office FBI. They said the FBI called back. The FBI is now saying none of this ever happened. Obviously if it did, it is horrific, because this whole thing could have been prevented. Are they going to be able to figure out if indeed that call happened, and if so, who dropped the ball, Art?

RODERICK: Yes. They -- all they have to do, really, is check the phone records. So the phone bill will be coming out in a couple weeks. And they'll have the direct information. If they can -- they can probably we call the phone company now and figure out if there was a call placed or a call received at that particular phone number. I find it interesting, though, that he went in there and asked for soft body armor and then asked for the tactical armor. Because that's the same type of vest I wore as a U.S. Marshal. I had level three protection which was a soft body armor --


RODERICK: -- which could stop any type of handgun. And then you put the plates over it that can stop the high-powered rifles.

BURNETT: So, Mark O'Mara, let me just tell you, we just have some breaking news here from the FBI on this issue. And it is a change. As we said before, they had originally said federal officials have no record of a call made by lotus gun works or any other gun shop. What they're now saying tonight, Mark, is the FBI has no comment. Do you interpret that as a change in their response from saying they had no record of a call, do they have no comment?

O'MARA: I definitely think it is. I think what they're realizing is, they're doing their own forensic work on their own phones. The FBI is very good about keeping track of calls coming in. Most of them are recorded. They're all certainly maintained. But certainly, it sounds as though they may be looking. And the frustration thing is, we look at the gun owner's face, the shop owner's face. He was obviously concerned enough. And it seems as though they made the phone call. It's really frustrating. FBI is good, but if they're not given enough resources and manpower and money, we have thousands of people who need to be focused on and at least watched. This is an example over that plot for funding, we're not going to catch the ones we want to catch. And it turns out to be a guy like this.

BURNETT: All right. Thank you both very much. Just as unbelievable and heartbreaking if it is true that they have that warning. And this whole thing could have been stopped as recently as just a few weeks ago.

Next, more breaking news. New information tonight coming in about the gunman's Facebook searches, just before the attack. Why San Bernardino may have motivated him to strike now.

And John McCain with a stunning accusation, who he says is to blame for the Orlando attack.


SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R), ARIZONA: Barack Obama is directly responsible for it.


BURNETT: Plus, authorities are trying to track down the alligator that killed that two-year-old boy. Is Disney to blame?


[19:16:54] BURNETT: Breaking news, new details on what the Orlando gunman was doing inside the Pulse nightclub as he carried out his carnage. Senator Ron Johnson, the chairman of the Homeland Security Committee, revealing Omar Mateen was using Facebook before and during the massacre.

Pamela Brown is OUTFRONT in Orlando. Pamela, it's just unbelievable he's texting, he's making calls, he's on Facebook. What was he searching for on the day of the attack?

PAMELA BROWN, CNN JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: Well, in this letter that Senator Ron Johnson sent to Facebook, he apparently was searching for news of the attack during the three-hour rampage. He searched the key terms, Pulse, Orlando and shooting on Facebook to see if it was catching on, and the people were talking about it and if it was becoming a big headline, apparently. It's clear he wanted this to be a big headline. He called the TV producer, he called or texted his wife to ask her if, you know, she saw the news. And so, it's really disturbing.

And at the same time, he was posting on Facebook. According to this information in this letter, Erin, he's talking about, in the next few days you will see a text from the Islamic State in the USA, say the real Muslims will never accept the filthy ways of the west, you kill innocent women and children by doing U.S. airstrikes, now taste the Islamic State vengeance. What's interesting to investigators though is that he wasn't really getting into jihadist propaganda until just recently, in the last couple of weeks, our sources tell us that he started upping his intake. But before that, he didn't look at a lot of it. It's disturbing, nonetheless I think he was on Facebook, posting searching terms during the rampage.

BURNETT: Yes. He is incredibly disturbing. And as you say, that was during the rampage. But before he had been doing a lot of searching. What specifically was he searching for as the attack was approaching, when he started as you've been reporting? Consuming a lot more terror-related content?

BROWN: Right. So in May, we learned through this letter that the Senator sent that he was searching about the San Bernardino killers, trying to find out information about them on Facebook, as we know, the wife that was involved in the San Bernardino killings had posted her allegiance to Abu Bakr al Baghdadi, the ISIS leader just before the attack there. But clearly he was very interested in them and what they were doing. Also he searched the al Baghdadi and he searched a local law enforcement, FBI offices in the area, as well, on Facebook. So clearly, his interest was starting to pick up steam in May, it appears -- Erin.

BURNETT: All right. Pamela, thank you very much.

So, as Pam is reporting, he was searching, researching, the killers in the San Bernardino terror attack. How significant is that? Sara Sidner is OUTFRONT.


SARA SIDNER, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Chaos, mass casualties, terror, ending in a shootout with police. The attacker dead. The details of the massacre in Orlando mirroring in many ways the details of another deadly terror attack in San Bernardino, California.

PETER BERGEN, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: The similarities between the two attacks are very clear.

SIDNER: Starting with the profiles of the terrorist. Omar Mateen responsible for the Orlando massacre was 29-years-old. The same age as Tashfeen Malik, one of the San Bernardino shooters. Her husband, Syed Farook, was 28. In both attacks, the shooters were married with a young child. The two men were born in the United States, but made trips to Saudi Arabia to visit Mecca. Both men were college-educated, had good jobs, living a middle class lifestyle. None had criminal records.

BERGEN: Most people wouldn't think that somebody with a kid whose married, who has a steady job would be the kind of person who would just go out and kill complete strangers. But unfortunately, that is more the profile than not.

SIDNER: In both attacks, the FBI says the terrorists used a rental car to get to their targets and used semi-automatic rifles. And both are considered lone wolf attacks.

BERGEN: When we talk about lone wolves, what we really mean is, it wasn't training direction by a foreign terrorist organization. But they kind of operated by themselves.

SIDNER: What helped them inspire both despicable deeds?

JAMES COMEY, FBI DIRECTOR: We are highly confident that this killer was radicalized and at least in some part through the internet.

[19:21:12] SIDNER: But it was more than just ISIS that inspired both attacks. The San Bernardino shooting stemmed in part from work-place grievances, while the Orlando shooter targeted a gay nightclub he frequented. Both men spent considerable time in the places where they committed mass murder.

BERGEN: In both cases they were kind of shopping around for which is the jihadist terrorist organization they wanted to attack themselves with and they both ended up with ISIS.


SIDNER: Lastly, the attackers listened to American born cleric Anwar al Awlaki killed in 2011 by a drone strike. His words online still inspiring attacks on U.S. soil.

BERGEN: Anwar al Awlaki was somebody who spoke in colloquial American English. I mean, one of things he said is Jihad is becoming as American as Apple pie.


SIDNER: And it is a very scary thought, that statement. I do want to mention this. That Bergen says, he has examined more than 300 jihadist terror cases since 9/11. And on average, their age is 28 years old. A third of them are married, a third of them have children. Most of them have a similar education to other Americans. Indeed, they're living typical American lives, which makes it harder for law enforcement to find them or at least to get evidence to arrest them -- Erin.

BURNETT: Sara, thank you very much.

I want to go straight now to retired FBI profiler, the adviser to the criminal minds and sleepy hallow TV shows, Jim Fitzgerald. Jim, it's incredible the similarities here. And you know, in San Bernardino, I know that all of us were shocked about how this couple could do this when they had that newborn child. In this case, again, a man with a toddler. That to everyone around him, he loved very much. To go ahead and commit an act like this.

In fact, because he had that toddler, recently when the FBI, someone brought him to their attention, part of the reason it didn't get pursued again was because he was living this, quote-unquote "normal life" and because he had that child. The profile of terrorists seems to have changed.

JAMES FITZGERALD, RETIRED FBI PROFILER: Yes, and certainly being married and having a young child doesn't seem to make any difference anymore. If someone is going to take out a group of people, including themselves. And what I find, your former -- the previous report is very much dead on in terms of the similarities. The one extra component is, I would say, it was almost a two-fer in both cases. That is, it wasn't just an ISIS-inspired event and a terrorist event that caused San Bernardino. It was also a workplace issue, as your reporter said.


FITZGERALD: He had some personal grievances, I believe even with a specific Jewish person there. And then we have this person, Mateen, the other night, just five nights ago. He had some issues with conflicts of sexuality, self-loathing, self-doubt and a community that actually accepted him. That wasn't good enough for him. He had to take them out. So that whole sort of double bonus there for him taken two different advantages of a situation certainly played out here.

BURNETT: And you also, though, I think very interesting here, Jim, do not think it's accurate to call this a lone wolf attack in Orlando. Why?

FITZGERALD: Yes, I think that's becoming more of an archaic term. You know, an isolationist attack, something like that. But nobody is truly, you know, the unabomber, Ted Kosinski, I helped put him in jail, he was probably one of the last true lone wolves. And I know people interpret that term in different ways. But nobody is a lone wolf any more with the internet, with access to all sorts of literature and vile material out there. They have all kinds of access they want. And they can -- this can just ferment within their brain which is already distorted to begin with and carry through on actions such as this.

BURNETT: All right. And of course, we still don't know here the involvement of his wife, another suicide bomber who joined ISIS who came out of the same mosque. Whether there were others who were involved in this radicalization or this attack. Thank you so much, Jim Fitzgerald.

And next, breaking news. Outrage over who Senator John McCain says is to blame for the massacre.


MCCAIN: Barack Obama is directly responsible for it.


BURNETT: Plus, the breaking news into what exactly killed that two- year-old toddler at a Disney Resort. The search is on tonight for the alligator that swept him into the water.


[19:29:10] BURNETT: Senator John McCain blaming the Orlando massacre on President Obama. Here's what McCain told reporters today.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) MCCAIN: Barack Obama is directly responsible for it. He has been pulled everybody out of Iraq, al Qaeda went to Syria, became ISIS. And ISIS is what it is today. Thanks to Barack Obama's failures, utter failures.


BURNETT: Manu Raju is OUTFRONT tonight on Capitol Hill. And Manu, you were there when John McCain said this.

MANU RAJU, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Remember, this has been an issue that is fundamentally divided President Obama and John McCain, since the two really ran against each other in 2008. McCain being one of the chief proponents of the Iraq war, and also one who really aggressively pushed the troops surge, George W. Bush's troop surge as well. And President Obama, of course, scaling back that war in Iraq, something that John McCain believes has been a fundamental failure of this administration.

[19:30:07] Now, today, what was striking is how he linked President Obama's actions to what happened in Orlando. And after he made those comments, saying that the president was directly responsible for what happened in Orlando. He later released a statement which slightly walking those words back.

Here's what he had to say, Erin. He said that, "I misspoke. I did not mean to imply that the president was personally responsible. I was referring to President Obama's national security decisions, not the president himself."

Now, those are similar comments to actually what McCain has been saying in recent days, including on the Senate floor, just a couple of days ago.

And I should add, Erin, he's in the middle of a very difficult re- election race. I was out with him in Arizona last month. He said it could be the toughest of his career. He is probably going to be okay in his august primary, but a big challenge for him in November against a Democratic challenger, Ann Kirkpatrick, already Democrats jumping all over these comments today -- Erin.

ERIN BURNETT, CNN ANCHOR: Very strong words. President Barack Obama is directly responsible.

All right. Thank you very much, Manu Raju.

RAJU: Thank you.

BURNETT: And now, Donald Trump supporter, former Arizona Governor Jan Brewer, and Democratic Congressman Brad Sherman, who sits on the House Foreign Affairs Committee.

Thanks to both of you.

Congressman Sherman, you heard John McCain. Barack Obama is directly responsible for it. He may not parse words of the words personally versus directly. But he said what he said. He stands by that part, directly responsible. Fair?

REP. BRAD SHERMAN (D), FOREIGN AFFAIRS COMMITTEE: Outrageous. The fact is, it is the corrupt Maliki government installed by George W. Bush with the advice of John McCain that caused ISIS to be created. Their incredible level of corruption sent a well-equipped army to the north of Iraq and gave all those weapons to ISIS because he didn't bother to pay the soldiers. They stole the money for themselves.

Maliki was installed by George W. Bush and it created anti-Sunni, incredibly corrupt and oppressive regime, which gave us ISIS today.

And then, not only did they run away from their weapons, they ran from the Mosul bank. And in just a few days, ISIS became the most -- the richest and the best armed terrorist organization, all because of a government we installed in Baghdad under the Bush administration.

BURNETT: All those gold bars they got.

OK, so you're saying it's outrageous. But Governor Brewer, President Obama is saying something very different about where the blame lies. Let me tell you a little bit. Here's what he said today about that.


BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Those who were killed and injured here were gunned down by a single killer with a powerful assault weapon. The motives of this killer may have been different than the mass shooters in Aurora or Newtown. But the instruments of death were so similar.


BURNETT: Governor Brewer, does he have a point there, that guns are to blame if there had not been a rifle involved with this shooting, that many, many fewer people would have died?

JAN BREWER (R), FORMER ARIZONA GOVERNOR: I'm a little bit amused by this discussion, given the fact that John McCain clarified his statement. As a politician, sometimes on the spur of the moment we say things. But he did walk back his comment that it wasn't President Obama personally.

BURNETT: Well, personally and directly. I mean, you can call -- hold on. You can call that a walk-back, but he didn't take away what he said. That he's directly responsible. I mean -- directly or personally, I mean, it's equally awful to say.

BREWER: But I think -- you know, it's based on his security advisers, people that are making the direction of the country, of how we're going to fight this battle, this war on ISIS.

And in regards to the shooting in Orlando, I -- you know, I heard part of his speech today when he was down there and you played a piece of it for me. And it's a tough thing to do to go down there and talk about it. But I wish we could at least have one day that the country, America, we could weep for this horrible tragedy together without politicizing it and blaming it all on gun control.

It just seems outrageous to me that that's where these things always want to go, instead of laying the blame at the feet of the people who have done this. Obviously, he pledged his support to ISIS. And we ought to be as Americans and as our federal government and the decision policymakers, we ought to be over there fighting them on their territory.

BURNETT: Isn't, though -- let me ask you --


BREWER: Ensure they don't come into our country.

BURNETT: Congressman, isn't, though, what John McCain did also politicizing this?

[19:35:02] In terms of saying Barack Obama is directly responsible, whether he's talking about his foreign policy? Isn't that politicizing it?

SHERMAN: The president's initial comments, I think were the right comments of grieving. And he did state this was an act of hate and an act of terrorism. I think we agree on that.

But then Trump went absolutely wild in just a few hours after this event took place. And that has, unfortunately, crowded out what should be the sorrow of this nation for 49 people killed, and over 50 injured. But now that we're discussing all of this, the fact is, there's only one thing we can be certain about Barack Obama's policies and in Iraq. And that is, prior to those policies, we were losing hundreds and thousands of our bravest every year -- and now, we're not.

BURNETT: I want to give governor brewer a chance to respond to what you said. Governor Brewer, as a supporter of Donald Trump, do you think he took it too far when he said things like, look, we're led by a man that either isn't tough or not smart or he has something else in mind. When he's talking about this act of terror, where the implication multiple times was that he sympathized with the terrorists in some way. Do you think that he took it too far, Governor?

BREWER: I believe he is not speaking forthright to us as trying to always soften the subject matter of where we're at in America today in regards to this terrorist radical Islamic terrorist situation that we're facing here, that people of America are fearful. They want to see us to be America again.

And the bottom line is, they believe that our federal government is protecting us.

BURNETT: All right. Thank you both very much. I appreciate your time tonight.

SHERMAN: Good to be with you. And next, the breaking news. A 2-year-old killed by an alligator at

Disney World. Another parent reveals his son was almost snatched by an alligator at Disney. You will hear his story OUTFRONT next.

Plus, President Obama's emotional trip to Orlando.


OBAMA: I held and hugged grieving family members and parents, and they asked why does this keep happening?


BURNETT: One of those parents, OUTFRONT, coming up.


[19:41:13] BURNETT: Breaking news: we are learning at this hour that Disney will start posting alligator warning signs around its resorts. This coming on the heels of the heartbreaking tragedy, 2-year-old Lane Graves dragged and killed by an alligator at his Disney hotel.

The Graves' family releasing a statement tonight, saying, quote, "words cannot describe the shock and grief our family is experiencing over the loss of our son. We are devastated and ask for privacy during this extremely difficult time."

Tonight, they are still hunting for the alligator that killed that little boy. Martin Savidge is OUTFRONT.


MARTIN SAVIDGE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: The death of a 2-year-old boy by an alligator at Disney World is horrific. It's also rare. The only other reported incident was 30 years ago, when an 8-year-old was bitten.

That doesn't mean alligators are rare at Disney. A YouTube search reveals plenty of videos capturing tourists-run in with the reptiles. One shows an alligator at the splash mountain ride just a few feet from tourists passing by. At one point, what looks like a Disney employee is seen using pole to keep him away. Another video shows an alligator in a water hazard at a Disney golf course.

Florida officials say Disney routinely has to remove alligators from its properties.

NICK WILEY, FLORIDA FISH AND WILDLIFE CONSERVATION COMMISSION: Disney has been very proactive with regard to dealing with alligators and as the sheriff said, full-time staff observing these waters.

SAVIDGE: But is it enough? An air boat. Alligators are indigenous to Florida with an estimated 1.3 million alligators across the tropical state.

Scott Vuncannon makes his living off alligators and tourists. SCOTT VUNCANNON, MARSH LANDING ADVENTURES: Look right past he's

sticking his head up there you saw that grass line.

SAVIDGE: And he's never had a problem with gators.

VUNCANNON: Alligators are more scared of you than you are of them. That alligator is going to run from you, not to you.

SAVIDGE: He says when problems do occur, it's usually people at fault. The biggest mistake, feeding alligators.

VUNCANNON: If you feed an alligator one time, you're going to condition that alligator whether it's one day old or one day away from death to associate all humans with food.

SAVIDGE: YouTube videos show guests at Disney feeding alligators. In this one, a mother records as her children toss in popcorn.

The danger is so serious that feeding alligators in the wild is against Florida law. Some of those wonder why Disney hasn't put up fencing to keep alligators out of its properties. Vuncannon says he's seen gators climb a chain link fence, something I doubted until I saw this video.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I don't think you're getting over that fence, pal.

SAVIDGE: Of a five-foot alligator scaling a backyard fence with no problem.

Vuncannon believes what happened to 2-year-old Lane Graves was a perfect storm of incredibly rare tragic events. No one could have for seen or stopped.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Disney could hire a fleet of people to do nothing but go through and eradicate alligators. You're never going to get rid of them.


SAVIDGE: So how will Florida fish and wildlife investigators determine if they got the alligator that was responsible for the attack? What they'll be doing is measuring bite marks against the tooth imprints of those gators that they have already euthanized.

The news that Disney is planning to put up new signage is welcome to some. They felt the signs that had been out there by the Grand Floridian saying simply going in -- do not go into the water, don't go swimming, were not enough. They hope new signs could prevent a reoccurrence of the tragedy like the one of a few days ago -- Erin.

BURNETT: Martin Savidge, thank you.

And OUTFRONT now is David Hiden.

[19:45:00] He's an attorney from San Diego. He says his son had a very close call with two alligators last year at another Disney World resort, Coronado Springs. The resort about three-and-a-half miles away from the Grand Floridian where the alligator attacked and killed Lane Graves.

This is a photo of Coronado Springs, where you were. What happened?

DAVID HIDEN, SAVED SON FROM ALLIGATOR AT DISNEY: What happened is my wife, my son and my nephew and I were working around on the concrete path, and as we're walking around this manmade lake, it's about maybe five yards from the path, my son went down to the path's edge, where the water was on the shoreline. And he's kind of maybe in ankle-deep water, looking around, and then all of a sudden, I'm looking over his head, and I see this alligator that I would estimate six feet-plus or minus, bee lining straight for him about 15 yards back.

So, I quickly grabbed my son, grabbed him out of that shoreline, and brought him up to safety. And then I looked over to the left, and another alligator caught my eye, and that alligator was maybe five to eight yards away going for him, as well. So what I did is, after we were out and we were safe, as I was going to go tell the manager , and I was videotaping it and taking a picture of it, so they would know roughly that there really was an alligator there, and then I went up to the manager to talk to them about it.

BURNETT: This is a Disney property, where so many people, everybody feels that they will be completely safe. When you talk to the manager -- what did you hear?

HIDEN: Absolutely. That's the thing about the safety. You're paying a premium for Disney hotels. And I assumed that there's no hazards at all.

I go immediately, ask for a manager. The female manager comes out. And I relayed to her what had just happened, that there actually was other kids even smaller than my son who was 5 at the time, little 1 and 2-year-olds playing right around him at the shoreline and I told her these two alligators were coming at him.

I couldn't believe the response. The manager really couldn't care. She seemed annoyed. I showed her the video, and the pictures.

But it's what happened next that really shocked me. She referred to them as the resident pets, which I will never forget that description. And said oh, yeah, they're the resident pets, we have known about them for years, they're harmless, never he going to hurt anybody.

So, I quickly pointed out these aren't puppies and kittens, this is wild alligator that goes after small animals roughly the size of little kids. And she didn't really care. And I told her, look, can you please promise me you'll go up and tell higher management. She said sure, she would. But she kept emphasizing that they're resident pets and not harmful because they have never attacked anybody.

And unfortunately, I left. I told her, now unfortunately, very cryptically. I told her, I hope that I'm wrong, but I have a feeling in the future somehow, somewhere I'm going read about one of your resident pets killing somebody. BURNETT: And, David, you have reached out to the graves family. What

did you tell them?

HIDEN: I wrote them a letter. Some of the stuff is personal. But I did tell them about my experience. I sent them some stills of the pictures I had that are date, time and location stamped, and told them that I'm not interested in representing them. I'm not interested in doing anything.

My absolute condolences, and if they need me to provide a statement to help them out to the police or whatever, I would be more than happy to do that.

BURNETT: All right. Thank you very much. I appreciate your time, David. I know that you --

HIDEN: You're welcome.

BURNETT: In the past day, of course, about how blessed and lucky you and your son are. Thank you.

HIDEN: Thank you.

BURNETT: OUTFRONT next, President Obama honoring the victims meeting with the mother of a young survivor, she's my guest next.


[19:52:33] BURNETT: Breaking news: President Obama meeting today with survivors and families of those killed in the Orlando massacre. The president and vice president placed 49 white roses, one in honor of each victim at the memorial site.

And OUTFRONT now is Gloria Santiago. She met with the president today. Her son was struck by two bullets, managed to drag himself to safety, is recovering in the hospital tonight.

Gloria, you I know had a chance to meet with the president of the United States, a personal meeting. What did he say to you?

GLORIA SANTIAGO, SON INJURED IN ORLANDO SHOOTING: Actually, he was so gracious and he was so approachable. He came to us and he was saying how sorry he was that we went through that situation and that he was happy that my son was alive. He gave me a blessing. He blessed me. He told my son to take care of his mother.

BURNETT: Your son, Gloria, had a chance to speak briefly about what happened to him from his hospital bed this week and I know it is hard for you to hear, but I know you're blessed he is alive. Let me play a little of what he said for our viewers, Gloria.


ANGEL SANTIAGO, SURVIVED ORLANDO SHOOTING: I was bleeding. My friend Jeff was bleeding a lot. I was on the ground in a pool of blood. I wasn't sure whose it was. My thought process was do we stay here, wait for the shooter to come back or do we try to leave.


BURNETT: How is your son doing tonight?

SANTIAGO: He's very overwhelmed but today I saw him smiling, I saw him eating. His spirits were a little better than yesterday or the day before. He was excited to meet the president and the vice president. That was like a great experience for him.

Well, he is also in pain and he needs to have one more surgery. His legs are very swollen and we were hoping to have that surgery tomorrow but due to the swelling now we don't know when he is going to have that surgery. The doctors think it might take maybe weeks before the swelling goes down. We are praying and hoping that it is not like that, that he will have it soon. He is not able to walk.

BURNETT: He is completely bedridden. But I know you're grateful he was smiling and he did meet the president.

[19:55:02] You know, he talked there a little bit, your son, Gloria, about the decision do we stay here, do we try to run past the shooter. He was bleeding.

What do you think helped your son, made him be able to get out of there alive?

SANTIAGO: Well, I always pray for my sons. I have two sons and I am always praying and I have always said to him when you are in trouble, call to God. He helps, he hears.

When he was testifying the other day at the hospital at the press conference, he said he thought he was going to die. He said, God help me.

And me, as a mother, I tell you I think God heard him and God helped him. Thank God he is alive. I give all the glory to Jesus and our Heavenly Father.

BURNETT: I know your prayers were answered, and you had a beautiful moment of being blessed by the president when he visited today.

Gloria, thank you so much. Your son is in our thoughts. I hope that surgery is very soon.

SANTIAGO: Thank you for having me. Take care.

BURNETT: You too.

And we'll be right back.


BURNETT: And thank you so much for joining us.

Don't forget, you can watch OUTFRONT any time anywhere on CNN Go. Hope you have a safe and pleasant evening.

"AC360" begins right now.