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Witnesses Describe Las Vegas Shooting; Trump Leads Moment of Silence; Smoke Alarm Leads Police to Gunman on 32nd floor. Aired 2:30- 3p ET
Aired October 2, 2017 - 14:30 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[14:30:00] STEPHANIE ELAM, CNN CORRESPONDENT: -- the way the city has it operating like many cities, they were able to alert the hospitals that these -- that this large number of casualties was going to come to the hospital and because of that they were prepared and they were able to save as many lives as they could -- Brooke?
BROOKE BALDWIN, CNN ANCHOR: Amazing.
Stephanie, thank you so much.
I'm glad you reiterated the point. They need blood. Please donate blood if you're in the area, specifically, if you have O-negative blood. That is really the prized possession at the moment in Las Vegas.
Let's go back to Joseph Ostunio, who is standing by live.
We were cut off by the White House briefing. Thank you so much for your patience.
JOSEPH OSTUNIO, WITNESS: Glad to be here.
BALDWIN: So you were telling me about your friend. She'd been shot in the shoulder. The doctor couldn't get the bullet out so presumably for the rest of her life she will have this piece of evidence in her body of this horrific, horrific moment. When did she -- where were you and when did she realize she had been hit?
OSTUNIO: We were near the stage when the shooting broke out. We thought it was fireworks and then shortly after Jason Aldean went on stage we fled, and as we were fleeing she kept complaining about a pain that she had and she was heavy breathing. I thought she was hyperventilating, but I checked her body regardless and I could not find a wound on her and we kept moving and we're lucky we got out.
BALDWIN: How did you get out? I understand at some points there were ten-foot high walls. It was hard for a lot of people.
OSTUNIO: We hopped the ten-foot wall to get out.
BALDWIN: You hopped a ten-foot wall to get out with your friend with a gunshot wound.
OSTUNIO: I don't -- I -- she must have been going off pure adrenaline. I'm amazed that she got over the wall, but there were people helping us and we couldn't have made it out without the help that we got.
BALDWIN: Can you just talk to me about -- it was law enforcement, you know, and ultimately first responders and it was concert goers, grabbing people and throwing them in pickup trucks and grabbing garbage trucks and tell me about the actions of heroism that you saw.
OSTUNIO: There were acts of heroism everywhere, and somebody actually was driving us to the emergency room, but we couldn't get out of the strip because it was barricaded. Luckily there was an ambulance that pulled over to the side any I got out of the car and they took my friend.
BALDWIN: Help me understand, we were talking about 22,000 people. This is the end of this huge country music festival. I mean, was it all kind of different ages and were there a fair amount of children? It was a family-friendly event, and yes, there were children there.
Your friend went to the hospital and at what point did this sink in and you realized it wasn't fireworks and it was a mad man hanging out of a hotel window?
OSTUNIO: I mean, I don't think we knew where the shots were coming -- we knew they weren't inside the venue, and it was pretty obvious because it sounded like fireworks in the distance. It took us a while to realize they were actually gunshots. It wasn't until Jason Aldean went on stage that panic ensued and it was like a war zone. People were just dropping to the ground and running.
BALDWIN: And then -- just lastly, if you can hear me. I know that you're near the airport. Was there a security perimeter for concert goers? Did you have to have bags checked?
OSTUNIO: There were bag checks, there were pat-downs and metal detectors on them if they needed them, but I was patted down when I walked into the venue that day.
BALDWIN: It's, like, all of you all did the right things and it was this man,
Joseph Ostunio, I'm so sorry. And I hope your friend is going to be OK. Thank you so much for the time. I appreciate it.
OSTUNIO: You're very welcome.
[14:34:02] BALDWIN: We just heard from the White House moments ago there. We will be hearing or seeing the president and the first lady leading a moment of silence from the South Lawn in the wake of the murders in Las Vegas. We will take that live 10 minutes from now.
Also ahead, my next guest is a mother who was at that country music festival with her 14-year-old daughter. They had won tickets through their local radio station. Where were they? What did they see? How did they feel? That's coming up. And we will start to piece together how this shooting unfolded and
what eventually led police to this suspect, to the shooter on the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Hotel. A smoke alarm playing a key role here.
I'm Brooke Baldwin. You are watching CNN's special live coverage.
BALDWIN: Welcome back to the breaking news. Live pictures there of the South Lawn of the White House. People are waiting. We are minutes away from that moment of silence in the wake of the deadliest mass shooting in modern U.S. history. We will see the president and the first lady momentarily.
Meantime, let me bring you up to speed if you're sort of dialing in. Investigators have been scouring the Nevada home of the 64-year-old white man who is responsible. He murdered at least 58 people and wounded some 515 in Las Vegas before killing himself. Police say he was firing from up above from the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Hotel, apparently targeting the crowd below of 22,000 gathered for this Route 91 country music concert. This is the tail end of the entire festival.
Witnesses say the shooting just kept going and going and going. They estimate for something, like, 15 minutes.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Get down! Get down!
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Oh, my god.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Shots fired. (EXPLETED DELETED).
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Oh, my god.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BALDWIN: And here we go. The president and the first lady. Let's just listen.
BALDWIN: I just wanted to sit on these pictures and let the silence speak for itself. The flag at half-staff, honoring the 58 victims of the attack in Las Vegas and the 515 who have been injured. Seeing the first lady, the president, the vice president and his wife, staff, military honoring them on this tragic, tragic day.
Tom Foreman is standing by now, as we are, everyone around this country and around the world grappling with the question of why.
You're looking at a timeline, piecing together how this, you know, shooting unfolded and the confusion that followed. What have you found?
TOM FOREMAN, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: And how did it wind up being so deadly? Why were so many people struck down? Let's take a look at the lay of the land because that helps in a good bit. This is the Las Vegas strip that many people would be familiar with. The place where this concert was occurring was right over in this area right here and the place where the gunman fired from was here in Mandalay.
And another way was a range of this weapon and if you look at that, you can see that he had a full view of virtually everything going on down here.
What we know about the weapons that he had and the caliber bullets he had, some of them may not have been the optimum choice from someone trying to shoot into that range and the fact that he was shooting in the rapid-fire bursts was not really a focus accuracy and shooting into the fact that there were so many people there that could be easily targeted even though these are 400 yards and four football fields away where he shot people there.
The other question is why were so many people in such a precarious position for so long? If this were roughly the viewpoint from the hotel and this is, this is an aerial shot of the area and it should be more over here, but this gives you an idea of it. This is the concert area right in here. This over here is the stage itself. So you are looking at the back of the stage, so Jason Aldean would be somewhere over here. The bulk of people had pressed forward into this area. You have a condensed number of people in this area.
Complicating further once the shots rang out, there were seven different places where they could possibly left. There were seven possible exits from this area. This is the ballpark of where they were. The problem is the entrances were all over here. Psychologically, people always try to leave circumstances like this by the way they came in. Even as people started funneling out, if they went out on this side, they were moving closer to the gunman, not further away from the gunman.
And as we know from the video we've been watching, Brooke, many people were stuck and frozen out there in the middle because they had no idea where this gun fire was coming from. You look at all of this video and you hear the eyewitnesses over and over again, we were looking everywhere, and people were saying all sorts of things and they didn't know. And the whole time people were looking around, the gunman is right up in here shooting.
You put all of those together, Brooke, and that's how you wind up with a shooting who, according to many witnesses out there, quite a long period of time, with people unable to figure out how to get out of the way. And if they thought they knew which way they were going, still having a difficult time with someone having that kind of elevation ever finding their way to safety -- Brooke? [14:45:49] BALDWIN: He'd been in the hotel since Thursday. Had all
these guns. Apparently, hotel staff had been in his room before the shooting incident and didn't see anything out of the ordinary. I'm just left just saddened.
BALDWIN: Tom Foreman, thank you so much.
FOREMAN: You're welcome.
BALDWIN: This country music festival in Las Vegas was full of families. Many of whom have young children.
My next guest was at the festival with her daughter. Jenn Salazar and her daughter won tickets to the festival specifically to see Jason Aldean perform.
Jenn, thank you so much for calling in.
I cannot begin to imagine what you and your daughter have gone through. How are you doing and how is your daughter?
JENN SALAZAR, WITNESS (via telephone): We're doing better. We are both really shooken up, and still really scared and my parents were actually across the street at the Tropicana when all of this broke out.
BALDWIN: And does your daughter even -- does she understand what happened?
SALAZAR: I believe she does. I just don't think she understands why people do this.
BALDWIN: I don't think any of us understand why people do this.
SALAZAR: Yes. I don't think anybody of us can even grasp the concept of why people would want to hurt innocent people.
BALDWIN: So where were you when you started hearing these loud popping noises?
SALAZAR: We -- I want to say we were kind of we were more toward the back and it was the main stage and a lot of people were, of course, up front. We were kind of towards the back and there was and I don't know what they call it. It has the spotlights and the music equipment for everything for the concert, you know? So that was -- that was on the side of us and I think when the shots started firing, I think that's where the bullets were ricocheting off of. I could hear them clearly.
BALDWIN: And as a mother, what are your first thoughts when you start realizing these are bullets?
SALAZAR: All I did was I thought to myself I need to get her out, I need to get both of us out of here. You know, I kind of followed the crowd. If they dropped, we dropped. If they got up and ran, that's what we did, and I just -- I kept talking to her saying, you know, we're going to be OK. We're going to get out of this, you know? And thank god that we both did. So how did you get out? How did you get to a truck? We -- when the gun fire -- there was a pause in the gun fire and we took off and ran toward the parking lot and there were these -- I call them my angels and these two ladies that were running to their truck, as well. I asked them, can you please get us out of here? Please, and they did. They got us out of there and they actually took us to their home and my parents, as soon as the lockdown was lifted from the Tropicana went and picked us up there.
BALDWIN: Thank goodness for those angels, but I keep thinking of you and your daughter running, and I have to imagine you were -- were there bodies in the way?
SALAZAR: No. We didn't -- when we were running, I was looking toward the ground and I saw belongings and cell phones, shoes -- just belongings. It wasn't until we drove out of the parking lot that we saw the injured on the side of the road seeking help.
[14:50:03] BALDWIN: And so you and your daughter are OK. How do you begin to comfort your daughter? Because, you know, you were being patted down, your bags were searched. You all did all of the right security things to see Jason Aldean.
SALAZAR: I'm just trying to think -- I really don't have words for her rid now, and we are going to start counseling and we'll see a counselor to help us through this and my parents are, as well, and we -- our family is very strong, very close. We have a wonderful support system with our family.
BALDWIN: Jenn Salazar, thank you for the time. And I don't have any words other than I'm sorry. Thank you.
SALAZAR: Thank you. Thank you.
BALDWIN: Coming up next, the shooter's brother is now speaking out about what he knows what happened, what he's revealing about his brother's personal life, as well as their father's history, part of the FBI most-wanted list as a well-known bank robber. We have more on that next.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Shots fired. Shots fired.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BALDWIN: Just terrifying moments at this country music concert in Las Vegas last night. Hundreds ran, really, thousands ran as this gunman fired from a hotel during a Jason Aldean performance. 58 people have died and more than 500 are hurt. Reighlynn Parsley and Taylor Bruner survived last night's shooting.
They are back home in California. They are joining me now, arms linked, hand in hand.
Girls, I am so sorry that you all had to go through this, but at least you have each other.
TAYLOR BRUNER, WITNESS: Yes. And everything we knew there, we're so lucky no one got hurt.
We had about 25 people with us, that we were with over the weekend, and every single one of us walked away unharmed and we are so incredibly lucky to be alive right now.
BALDWIN: All 25 of you are accounted for?
BRUNER: Yes. Every single one of us.
REIGHLYNN PARLSEY, WITNESS: We had someone standing right next to someone that was shot in the head and in the back and somehow he survived and he was helping the two that got hurt right next to him, like --
BALDWIN: I know. It's, like, what do you say? What do you say?
BRUNER: It's hard to talk about.
BALDWIN: Reighlynn, let me start with you.
I've heard about the moments when Jason was on stage and what happens?
PARSLEY: That was my favorite song. I was jumping up and down, and I was so excited -- I was so excited, and I started recording and all of a sudden, like -- you just see him, even look around and he's still singing and we're all just, like, what is that? And then, you know, you kind of look over and where the, like, fence is for the stage and where the fans are it looks like people are jumping in there and it's, like, oh, the security is moving around and there are fireworks going off? What kind of jerk does that? Like, really? And you watch Jason Aldean's mass of, like, eight people walk up and grab him and move and it's, like, OK. Something's wrong.
BALDWIN: That's when you knew. That's when you knew?
PARSLEY: So we got down and, you know, we start there, and all of us waited for a while. And once it was clear, we got up and we ran and the surreal moment was seeing some man carry a girl in a white romper and it was stained red, and he was stained red running with that girl. I don't know if he knew her. We, like, we saw so many people who didn't even know each other grab each other and go, I mean -- you don't even know what it is. You don't even know what's going on. Jason didn't even know what was going on. No one knew where it was coming from. The more like you felt like you walked away from it the louder it was getting and the more -- it felt like there was more than one person doing that, and --
BALDWIN: Taylor, you talk to me, too. What were you thinking? What were you feeling?
BRUNER: I actually got separated from her when it happened. We ran and there was a Malibu bar and we both ran that way because we got up and we got trampled and helped a few people out and there were fences and we hopped the fences and that's where me and her got split up. I ended up behind the hooters hotel and that's where my friend was staying and when we were standing there we finally stopped running and we have a second and then we hear the gun fire go off again. I was with one of my friend, Nick, at the time and we ran straight into the hooters bathroom and we were, like, get in a corner and get safe and as we get into this bathroom there was a girl that was just shot in the head and, luckily, he's going to school to be certified -- he walked over. And I took care of her and I was calling both of our moms and --
BALDWIN: I was about to ask, what did you say to your moms? Last quick question. What did you say to your moms?
PARSLEY: She had my phone. That video was taken on my phone. And when we got separated, he lost his phone on the run and I didn't have a phone.
PARSLEY: I had to ask random people, can we borrow you phone.