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CNN NEWSROOM

At Least 58 Dead in Las Vegas Massacre. Aired 3-3:30p ET

Aired October 2, 2017 - 3:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


[15:00:04]

TAYLOR BRUNNER, ESCAPED LAS VEGAS SHOOTING: She had my phone.

TAYLOR That video was taken on my phone. And when we got separated, he lost his phone in the run, and I didn't have a phone.

So, we had to ask random people, can we borrow your phones? Can we borrow your phones? Like, I need to call my mom. I need to call my best friend. I don't know where my friends are.

Like, I was ahead of her. For all I had known, she was down. That was the only thing that was going through my mind. And I kept trying to stop.

And you just -- you don't know what to do but run when all you hear is a gunshot like that. You just run.

BALDWIN: Ladies, I am so sorry we're having this conversation, but I love -- I can feel the bond between you two. Girlfriends are everything. Squeeze each other tightly. We just -- I know this is terrifying, but we can't be afraid. Reighlynn and Taylor, thank you very much.

BRUNNER: We are just not going to stop loving our country music, not living my country, family. Like...

(CROSSTALK)

BRUNNER: ... all of our family. How dare you?

BALDWIN: Thank you, ladies. Let's move on.

Oh, my goodness.

Top of the hour. You're watching CNN. I'm Brooke Baldwin.

This is our special live coverage of this sickening tragedy, the deadliest mass shooting in modern U.S. history. We now know that 58 people have been killed and 515 others have been injured. At 10:00 last night local time in Las Vegas, the sound of the country music that united all these people, these young girls we just talked to, was silenced and replaced with gun fire.

Again, 10:00 in the evening local time. The headliner, Jason Aldean, he was on stage in front of a crowd of about 22,000 people. A lot of young people, a lot of children. This is the Route 91 Harvest Festival where the shooter, 64-year-old Stephen Paddock of Mesquite, Nevada, smashed through a window and started firing from the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay right there, killing himself before officers stormed his hotel room.

It was there in that hotel room where police found evidence of premeditated mass murder, a stockpile of weapons, at least 10 rifles to begin to explain this barrage of unrelenting gun fire.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I remember just getting around this cop car and just hearing bullets just whizzing and just like bouncing, like -- like, off the ground nearby and these girls...

SEN. ORRIN HATCH (R), UTAH: The Senate will now observe a moment of silence for the victims of the attack in Las Vegas.

The majority leader.

SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R-KY), MAJORITY LEADER: Mr. President.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Majority Leader.

MCCONNELL: The news we awoke to this morning was heartbreaking.

What happened in Las Vegas is shocking. It's tragic. And for those affected and their families, it's devastating.

It's hard to even imagine their pain. I hope they will know that we are praying for them now. I hope they will find strength in the love and kindness of those around them in these hours of such darkness and pain.

[15:05:05]

I hope they will see that our country is standing by their side today. Many Americans are still in shock. Others have begun to wonder why someone would do something this terrible.

Investigators will continue their dedicated work in search of answers, but what is clear now is that this is a moment for national mourning and for prayer. Just a moment ago, President Trump led the country in observing a moment of silence.

As he noted this morning, we're all grateful for the courageous efforts of the first-responders. They always put their lives on the line to save others. They do so with selflessness and reminds us of the inherent courage and mercy that remains possible within each of us.

Life amidst the dark, hope in times of terrible grief. The same is true of the national spirit of compassion that shines through our country in the moments when it is needed most. Whether it's lining up to donate blood or signing up to volunteer their time, our fellow Americans are always there to offer what they can when others are in need. We thank these Americans and law enforcement and the first-responders

for everything they have done. We thank them for their efforts that continue.

We again send our condolences to everyone affected by this terrible tragedy.

BALDWIN: All right.

Keeping an eye there on Capitol Hill.

Again, 58 dead from this country music festival-turned-war zone. That is how one eyewitness described it to me just this afternoon, and now it's become this staging ground for body recovery and identification.

The president today calling the shooting an act of pure evil and says he will travel to Las Vegas Wednesday.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Our unity cannot be shattered by evil. Our bonds cannot be broken by violence.

And though we feel such great anger at the senseless murder of our fellow citizens, it is our love that defines us today, and always will forever.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BALDWIN: The shooter's brother is talking, insisting that this killer never showed any signs of violence, says their father was some bank robber on the FBI most wanted list for a time.

This is what the brother told reporters just a short time ago.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ERIC PADDOCK, BROTHER OF SHOOTER: We're trying to understand what's wrong, what happened. We have no more idea what happened now than we had an hour ago.

I'm -- we're still just completely befuddled, dumbstruck.

As I told them, the last time I communicated with my brother was about -- when did we get power back? Five days after the storm, OK? He texted me and said, how is mom? I texted him back. Look..

My mom knows what happened. Yes. We all found out when our phones started ringing with the cops at 1:00 this morning or so.

Had nothing to do with any political organization, religious organization, no white supremacists, nothing, as far as I know, and I have only known him for 57 years.

QUESTION: Your father was a bank robber?

PADDOCK: That's correct. I mean, here -- we're all proud. My father was on the top 10 list for a while.

His name is Benjamin Hoskins Paddock, I believe is his name. I didn't know him. We didn't know him. There's no -- he was in jail and broken out of jail.

QUESTION: Does he have a series -like a history at all of...

PADDOCK: He doesn't even have parking tickets. He has no criminal record. He has no record of any affiliations. He has nothing that I know of.

QUESTION: What about mental illness?

PADDOCK: Absolutely not, as far as I know.

Once again, nothing like that. He was a wealthy guy, and he liked to play video poker. He went on cruises. He -- he sent his mother cookies from -- I mean, big, huge, crazy boxes of cookies and stuff.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BALDWIN: Shimon Prokupecz is working this angle. He's our crime and justice reporter.

[15:10:05]

All right, so, the dad was on some FBI most wanted list as a bank robber. What else do we know about this man?

SHIMON PROKUPECZ, CNN CRIME AND JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: Right.

So, right now, we do -- we know a lot, right? Law enforcement, the sheriff there in Nevada has put out a lot of different information about the suspect and about the shooter and his homes.

He owned several homes and was associated with several homes, up to about five different locations that law enforcement, police, and the FBI have either been to or are searching and several of them in the Nevada area.

They have been to the brother's home in Orlando. They have also been to a home out in Los Angeles. So they're really, law enforcement, and the FBI and the local authorities there in Nevada are really trying to piece together what led to this, because from all of the sources that we have talked to so far, none of them have indicated that they even know of what the motive is here.

As much as it's baffling to the shooter's family and really to the country right now as to what led to this, law enforcement is really baffled as well. Now, the shooter is associated -- has had some association with a woman, perhaps maybe his girlfriend, who was not in the country at the time of the shooting. She's believed to be in the Philippines, and police have talked to her.

We don't know what she said, but I think our understanding from her what law enforcement is trying to figure out is perhaps his mind. What was he thinking? What was going on in his head leading up to this shooting? Because that's still a key part of this investigation.

Seemingly, pretty well-to-do man, the shooter. He had some property. He had some money. He was known to gamble. So it's not like we are learning that there was anything that sort of troubled him. We certainly have not heard of any mental illness that is associated with him, any political views.

All very still puzzling, Brooke, here for law enforcement as they continue to really put all of this together as to why this happened.

BALDWIN: Shimon, thank you. Just keep digging, keep us updated on that piece of it.

But a lot of these concert-goers who escaped this madness described the unrelenting, unending sound of the gunfire and initially having no idea what it was and no idea where it was coming from.

And that includes my next guest, Alexandra Jones. She and her friends were standing right next to the stage when they realized they were in danger.

Alexandra, thank you so much for being here.

And so crazy, traumatic to go through.

You were, I'm sure, very shaken up by this.

ALEXANDRA JONES, SURVIVED LAS VEGAS SHOOTING: Definitely.

BALDWIN: How are you feeling? How are your friends?

JONES: We're all a little shaken, obviously. It's been a crazy few hours, 12, actually, and right now we're all at home, obviously.

My friends are with their families. It's sort of surreal right now to think what happened. It doesn't -- it hasn't hit me yet. I think in the next few days, it will, absolutely.

BALDWIN: You were just to the left of the stage enjoying Jason Aldean, and then when did you realize what actually was happening?

JONES: It was probably when the music cut off.

What I heard at first -- to me sounded it could have been fireworks. I was thinking, oh, maybe a helicopter is coming overhead, which it had been the entire weekend. And as soon as I saw the music stop and heard the music stop and then people started running was when the lightbulb clicked on and we realized we need to get out of here.

And one of my other friends, she told us to run. I grabbed the other one by her hand and we just -- we bolted to the side of the venue and ran out of the gates, jumped over fences. Everyone was just in a panic.

And it's not lost on me that we were one of the lucky ones, because we were on the edge of the large group of people that were there, the 20,000 people that were there last night.

BALDWIN: I keep hearing from people like you saying they ran with crowds. You know, when the crowd got up, everyone got up or when the crowd raced out, everyone raced out. They were afraid to be alone and in view of the shooter.

JONES: Yes, and it was even more terrifying not knowing exactly where the shooter was.

My first impression was, he was in the crowd or she. At the time, I really thought he was in the crowd. It wasn't until after we were safe in a hotel watching the news realizing that he was in Mandalay Bay.

BALDWIN: How did you get out, then? Who helped you?

JONES: We -- me and one of my friends were running, and we kind of got separated from our other two friends, and just good samaritans along the way.

[15:15:05]

We had one gentleman who said, hey, come here, let me help you over this fence, because everything was locked. We couldn't get to the hotel property straight away, so this guy helped us over a fence, and we just kept running.

Two amazing people, this wonderful couple, Alexis and Michael, I don't know where you are, but thank you so much. They ran with us into Hooters Hotel, and we just tried to calm ourselves down, make our phone calls. And we all huddled in our hotel room for hours until we could figure out what was going on.

But it was just the kindness of everyone who was there that helped us get away from the madness and helped us find our other friends.

BALDWIN: I'm sure, was the first phone call to your family? Can you just tell me about that phone call and what you said?

JONES: It was -- my first phone call was to my dad. I was definitely crying, and it was a phone call I never imagined I would ever make.

But because the service was in and out, he didn't really understand what I was saying. He is saying, what happened? Because probably 20 minutes before I called him freaking out that I lost my I.D., and he's thinking, oh, maybe she's, you know, still freaking out about this, but when he realized what was going on, he was, like, OK, do you want us to come get you?

And him and my mom drove up last night about 12:00, 11:00 and picked us up about 4:00 a.m., and we got home a couple of hours ago.

BALDWIN: What a difference 20 minutes can make, and I'm so glad you're OK.

Alexandra Jones, thank you so much for the time. JONES: Thank you.

BALDWIN: I know your family is happy to have you back. Thank you. I'm so sorry.

JONES: Thank you.

BALDWIN: We -- as we're talking about those who were injured and those who were killed, we now can confirm the identity of at least one of the 58 killed in this massacre in Las Vegas.

Sonny Melton was from Tennessee. He was a registered nurse. His wife, Heather, is an orthopedic surgeon and she was with him at the time. And she survived the shooting. And with an estimated 515 people injured, a lot of people in the crowd, as you heard just Alexandra talk about, total strangers helping one another, becoming sudden first-responders, using T-shirts as tourniquets.

And I want to show you this one picture. Look at this. It is a luggage cart from a hotel used -- do you see this girl on it dangling off -- now as a makeshift stretcher.

CNN's Stephanie Elam is outside the University Medical Center, the only level one trauma center in the entire state of Nevada.

What are you hearing about the victims? Because gunshot wounds, that is challenging for doctors and nurses.

STEPHANIE ELAM, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, the good thing, Brooke, if you can find a silver lining here is that this center, they say they train for this all the time, and at no point were they overwhelmed by the number of patients that arrived here.

And we are talking about 104 patients that came here, some by ambulance, some by taxis, some by private vehicles, were coming here for the ascension and care that they needed. And they said their first goal was to go ahead and to stop the death process, to save those people that they could.

And they said at one point they had more surgeons lined up, ready to perform surgeries than they needed at one time. So they were prepared for the response that was here. They still have 12 patients in critical condition.

What they are seeing, though, because this is the only level one hospital in the region, is that they're seeing some other hospitals that took in patients that perhaps they had someone that needed special care, some of those patients are being transferred over here.

But, all in all, we do know that there's another hospital that was close to the Strip, Sunrise Hospital. They took in 180 patients; 14 of those patients did pass away. They said they probably had some 30 surgeries that they conducted.

Another hospital system, the St. Rose Dominican Dignity Health system, they have three hospitals in the region and they had 55 patients that they took in and they said they had four that remain in critical condition.

And in talking to the two surgeons that I had a chance to speak with here, they say that the injuries just really run the gamut, from the gun wounds, from trampling wounds, from scrapes and major lacerations from people trying to get over fences.

Because of the situation of having some 22,000 people in the dark at the end of a night of a big concert like this, people didn't know where they were going, so their wounds are all over the place. And people were running trying to get out. Some people got hit by cars, they said, and they have seen that here at this hospital as well.

So they're working around the clock to make sure these patients are getting the care that they need. They say that even the patients that are in critical condition now that seem to have stabilized, they're always concerned about them and they're always monitoring them.

[15:20:00]

But they said it was definitely a very tense, involved situation inside of the emergency room. But once they got in the operating room, they said it was all calm, and that's when their training took over, Brooke.

BALDWIN: Amazing.

And you hate to think that this now has to be a drill for hospitals, but so grateful that it was and that this medical center was prepared.

Stephanie Elam, please keep us updated.

Coming up here, we're going to piece together how exactly the shooting unfolded. And we will look at the timeline and what eventually led police to the gunman on the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay Hotel. Would you believe it was a smoke alarm playing a key role here?

And you will hear the moment just before police break down his door to get in.

Stay with me. I'm Brooke Baldwin. And you're watching CNN's special live coverage.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BALDWIN: And we are back.

You're watching CNN's special live coverage here of the deadliest mass shooting in modern U.S. history.

We are now hearing from the shooter's brother who lives in Orlando, Florida. It turns out their father, who died a couple of years ago, was this well-known bank robber, once on the FBI's most wanted list.

[15:25:04]

Here was the shooter's brother on how their whole family is struggling to make sense of why he would do this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

PADDOCK: Our condolences go out to all of the people involved here. An asteroid just landed on us and on Las Vegas, as far as we're concerned. We have no idea.

QUESTION: Does your brother live there or here?

PADDOCK: This is all in the public record. He lives in Mesquite.

QUESTION: OK.

PADDOCK: He had a girlfriend.

QUESTION: OK.

PADDOCK: He gambled at the casinos. He called his mother just...

QUESTION: Was there ever any indication at all that this...

PADDOCK: Nothing. We're -- we're lost. I don't understand. It makes -- there's no anything.

QUESTION: Describe the brother you know. Describe the man you know.

PADDOCK: He's a guy. He's just a guy who lived in Las Vegas and played at the casinos, went on cruises, did stuff. There's no -- there's nothing. That's what's bizarre.

QUESTION: How did you hear that he was...

PADDOCK: We got phone calls. The Las Vegas P.D. -- we're cooperating with the cops.

We have talked to the P.D. We -- this is like you called me up and said your next-door neighbor did this, and I would go, wow, my next- door neighbor did that. Hmm. All I have ever seen him do is mow his yard.

The fact that my brother did this is -- there's no -- there's nothing.

QUESTION: Your message to these people, these families?

PADDOCK: I -- there's not even anything I can say.

I mean, I'm -- how do you -- I mean, my brother did this. I -- this is like it was done -- you know, like he shot us. I mean, if he'd have killed my kids, I couldn't be more dumbfounded. I mean, it doesn't -- there's nothing.

QUESTION: The last communication...

PADDOCK: There's nothing. I can show you the text. He said, how's mom? Did you get power? I mean, that was it. There's absolutely -- we have nothing. Like I

said, we have nothing for you. I mean, I hope someone finds out and figures out, because we'd like to know.

QUESTION: Were you a close family, you guys? He seemed like a good son if he was checking on your mom.

PADDOCK: I live here. He lives in Mesquite, once again, public record stuff you will find out.

I live here. He lives in -- we're not that close. We talk on the phone occasionally. He calls my mom and talks to her. There's no there -- there's no there there.

QUESTION: Mental health issues?

PADDOCK: Not that we know of. I mean -- I mean, he was...

QUESTION: Did you know him to have guns? He was an avid shooter.

(CROSSTALK)

PADDOCK: No, not an avid gun guy at all.

The fact that he had those kinds of weapons is -- just where the hell did he get automatic weapons? He's not -- he has no military background or anything like that.

I mean, when you find out about him, like I said, he's just a guy who lived in a house in Mesquite and drove down and gambled in Las Vegas.

We're shocked! I mean, we're just -- it like, you think it's a -- except that it came all five of my phones and the house and the cells all lit up at the same time, I would have thought it was one of my friends joking, I mean, when you get a phone call that says your brother, you know, just killed a bunch of people.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BALDWIN: All right. Let's start there.

I have got CNN counterterrorism analyst Phil Mudd, who served both in the CIA and FBI, and CNN law enforcement analyst Jonathan Wackrow, former Secret Service agent for President Obama.

And so let's just go off of what the brother just said.

And, Phil, let me start with you on that. The brother is saying, I live far from him. My brother just recently texted about checking in on my mom weathering Hurricane Irma, and he sends her a bunch of cookies. There's nothing on him.

What are you thinking if you're investigating the shooting?

PHILIP MUDD, CNN COUNTERTERRORISM ANALYST: That that doesn't mean much to me. You're looking at two dimensions here. You're looking at a public dimension, where we have what you just saw, a brother saying, I didn't know anything.

From an investigative perspective, an intelligence perspective, A, I'm not watching this, and, B, I'm discounting it.

I want to know e-mails. I want to know phones. I want to know interviews, friends, family, not only to determine what everybody is talking about, motivation, but to determine whether somebody knew, whether someone participated. And, one-in-a-million chance, is there some other threat out there that we need to worry about in the coming days?

Public dimension says, nobody knew anything. Investigative dimension says, we got a lot of T's to cross here before we can confirm that.

BALDWIN: OK.