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White House Flag Lowered To Half Staff; Trump: Las Vegas Massacre "An Act of Pure Evil"; At Least 58 Dead, 500 Plus Injured In Las Vegas Massacre; Trump Comments On Puerto Rico And Las Vegas. Aired 12:30-1p ET

Aired October 2, 2017 - 12:30   ET



[12:31:12] JOHN KING, INSIDE POLITICS HOST: Live pictures here at the White House. You see the flag on the White House roof there at half- staff. That one of the steps the president took today. It was a little more than an hour ago when he's walked in to the diplomatic reception room at White House and spoke to a grief-stricken nation.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Last night a gunman opened fire on a large crowd at a country music concert in Las Vegas, Nevada. He brutally murdered more than 50 people and wounded hundreds more. It was an act of pure evil.

To the families of the victims, we are praying for you and we are here for you. And we ask God to help see you through this very dark period.


KING: Again, that was the president a little more than an hour ago saying the country was gripped with sadness, shock, and grief. Of course the president, like all of us, awaking to this horrible headline. At least 50 killed, it's now approaching 60. The largest mass shooting in American history.

The president says he will visit Las Vegas on Wednesday. For now, he offered these words to families grappling with horror, and a nation trying to comprehend what happened overnight in Vegas.


TRUMP: In moments of tragedy and horror, America comes together as one. And it always has. Our unity cannot be shattered by evil, our bonds cannot be broken by violence, and that 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.


KING: CNN'S Jeff Zeleny is at the White House as he was earlier when the president spoke. It was a very somber statement from the president, Jeff, including quoting from the scriptures as he tried to lead a very nervous nation at the moment.

JEFF ZELENY, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: John, no question this has become as we've seen the predecessors here in the White House. This is part of the job to unify, try to and console, to try and bring some sense or at least, you know, some explaining to this unfadable act of tragedy in Las Vegas.

But the president also has been brief throughout the morning. And as you said earlier, John they simply do not know any more specific details. They do not have any reason to believe at this point that it is an act of domestic terrorism.

In fact, the president just a few moments ago, he was welcoming the Prime Minister of Thailand here to the White House. Reporters asked him if there was any reason to believe it was domestic terrorism, he didn't answer that question.

Also, inevitably, a gun control question was always asked to the president, he did not answer that as well. But that is of course something where this goes. We've seen sadly unfortunately too many of these incidents play out here.

So in the coming days, there will be that debate, but that is not happening here or happening now. The president wanting to visit Las Vegas on Wednesday. Still scheduled were told to go to Puerto Rico tomorrow. A different kind of devastation there of course and then flying back to Washington and then likely to Nevada on Wednesday, John.

But this is something that the president, you know, was dealing with a lot with North Korea. Other matters, a whole lot of controversy over the weekend set aside for the moment to deal with this. He also spoke by phone to Sheriff Joseph Lombardo from a Clark County, Nevada who is leading this investigation here. So we will hear more from the president later today in The Oval Office in the next hour, John.

KING: Jeff Zeleny, we'll wait of course to bring that to people live as soon as the president's speak or as soon as we can bring to them. Jeff, appreciate the reporting from the White House.

President Trump said in his remarks, Sheriff Lombardo did earlier amid this tragedy there are some heroes saving lives and helping through the chaos.

I want to talk now with the paramedic who was called to the scene from last night's massacre in Las Vegas. Damon Schilling joins us now. Sir, number one, thank you for everything you did last night and this morning and everything you do every day, not just in something horrible like this. We don't say thank you enough.

[12:35:06] As I thank you, I want to you take me back. You got to the scene about 10:45 last night. What did you see?

DAMON SCHILLING, LAS VEGAS PARAMEDIC: Yes, John. Thanks for having us on this somber morning in Las Vegas. When I arrived on the scene, I arrived with one of my cohorts from MedicWest Ambulance and we arrived to hundreds of emergency apparatus spread throughout the Las Vegas Boulevard. Multiple ambulances is lining up in what we call a staging area ready to go in and help anybody who is in need.

KING: And take -- in your experience, how many trips did you make back and forth? What were the kind of entries you were seeing when you got in there to help with the first response?

SCHILLING: So, we saw lots. We saw anywhere from critical patients being carried from walking wounded, those who had bump scrapes and bruises. We had those who were walking that were shot in their lower extremities. We have people that were bleeding from being trampled on.

We had every type of injury that you could imagine. We had people that were coming to us and people that we were going in to grab.

KING: How long have you been doing this?

SCHILLING: Sorry, what was that?

KING: I mean, how long have you been on this job?

SCHILLING: I've been working here since 2003. I've been fifteen years here in Las Vegas. And this is one of the events -- this is one of the most tragic events I've ever seen in my career and hopefully it will be the last.

KING: And what were -- the people who were able to talk, the people who were running, the people may have been banged up from getting knocked over in running up, not people who were critically injured in any way, what were they saying?

SCHILLING: Most of them were saying please help. Most of them were pointing in the direction of more critical patients telling us to skip them and go on to somebody else who is a little more injured. We had everybody helping, we had bypassers that were allowing us to load people into their vehicles. They were loading people just on their own in the back of trucks, in their cars, anything and everything that we could.

We had ambulances there. We had well over 120 ambulances that responded to this incident last night. We had off duty crews. We sent out a mass page. We had crews showing up in the handfuls that are stage in getting in the ambulances and heading down to the staging area where they were ready to transport.

So we had a multitude of different types of patients approaching us.

KING: One of the things all those people benefitted from last night was your training and you were trained when you go into this situations. I assume you have a tunnel vision to execute the task at hand, to help somebody out, get them the treatment they need, if necessarily get them in the vehicle and get them to the hospital. When you hear numbers like 59 killed, perhaps it will rise. Five- hundred plus injured. Some of them with gunshot wounds, some of them with other injuries. What goes through your mind I guess when you get to step back now and understand the context of this?

SCHILLING: You know, for us it's one of those things our first initial reaction is to help, help, help. One of the first things we teach everybody in EMS is seen safety. So we were able to sit back. We were able to analyze the situation. We were also able to be very effective in this situation.

Like I said, we have a staging area, we have hot zone, a warm zone, and a cold zone. In the hot zone, we have paramedics and EMTs that were treating everybody. We had in the warm zone, we have people that were coming to us. We were leapfrogging people to get to more critical patients.

And now that we've been able to kind of take a deep breathe and analyze the situation. We know that our training is paid off. We know that Las Vegas when it comes to EMS and first responders with law enforcement, that we are topnotch.

We did a really great job last night. It was a symphony if you will in a chaotic moment. So very proud of the first responders here in Las Vegas.

KING: And when you first responded, what was your understanding? Or did you have any understanding of what was happening, the scope of what was happening or was it just an all points bulletin of get there and get there now?

SCHILLING: So when we first got the call, we have a -- me and my leadership team we have a page group that comes to our dispatch center. We were told that it was actually nine patients that we were seeing. And so when we were first told it was nine patients it caught our attention because if that a wild, you know, popular event around the harvest festival.

So we wanted to make sure that we came down, and as we are coming down, we started to get more and more information. They started to tell us this was actually going to be a very large event.

So we rounded everybody up. We -- like I said, every manager, every supervisor and every personnel that was available came in and everybody participated and helped.

KING: Damon Schilling, I wanted to say again, thank you for your work, thank all of your colleagues for your work in the last 12-plus hours but also every single day. As I said at the beginning we don't say thank you enough to people who, at a time like this, save many, many lives last night. Really appreciate it.

SCHILLING: Thank you, John. We appreciate it. Thank you.

KING: Thank you, sir. Take care.

Up next, we'll get an update from the hospital on the hundreds of people wounded in this horrible mass shooting.




[12:44:00] UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: There were people hiding underneath my car for cover.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I had like six people in my car, people without shoes running just to get away.

MORGAN MARCHAND: Right now, we need your truck. We just need to get people over to the hospital, OK?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: OK. Go ahead put them all in the back.



KING: You can see the confusion there. The eyewitness accounts are just so compelling and dramatic. Thousands of country music fans became witness to or victims of the deadliest mass shooting in American history last night when a gunman opened fire on a musical festival right in the center of the Las Vegas strip.

Let's get straight now to CNN's Stephanie Elam, she's outside the University Medical Center of Southern Nevada in Las Vegas. Stephanie, what's the latest on those who are still being treated for injuries as we sadly see the numbers rise?

STEPHANIE ELAM, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Exactly. John, what we do know is that now we have 58 fatalities. We've also learned from the University of Medical Center here where I'm standing which is the only level one trauma center in the state of Nevada.

[12:45:03] So this is where the most horrific injuries would come. This is where they would treat those patients. They are saying here they have 30 patients treated in that trauma center. Eight patients taken to the operating room and 12 patients are in critical condition.

There is another hospital that has three campuses here. The St. Rose Dominican, Dignity Health, they have 55 patients, four remaining critical with gunshot wounds, some have already been discharged. But the other wounds included are trampling injuries and also cuts from climbing over fences as people were trying to escape that venue where these 22,000 concertgoers were.

And then we've also heard from Sunrise Hospital which is at least the closest to the strip to where this happen, and they said that they received 180 patients. Of those patients, 14 have passed away. And they have performed some 30 surgeries. And the one thing that is been really heartening since we've been here, John, is the response to the blood banks. Overnight while still in the dark, people were lining up and they just opened up another one here about 45 minutes ago right here at the University Medical Center. I talked to one woman who was there with the University Medical Center. She says when people in the area think of trauma, they're going to think of University Medical Center so we wanted to open up a blood bank here. They are working with United Blood Service to do so.

Right down the street, people were already lining up to get in there and said that they will just be there to try to take as much blood as they can. Because at this point, they're saying that is as important as donations for the people who are trying to recover as far as money. So they're really trying to encourage people to come out here and make blood donations.

And just to give you a little bit more color, John, on what's going on behind me here. What you see here were the police have this road blocked off that's because they're allowing people who actually work at the hospital to drive down here to checking IDs to make sure that they belong there, they don't want anyone going there who doesn't belong there. For the people who are still trying to figure out where their loved ones might be, they're still suggesting that they go to the Las Vegas Police Department headquarters and there they will work with them to help them find out where their loved ones are.

For people who can't make that trek, they have a number -- that the Coroner's office has set up where they work with those folks. But they really do want people to show up in person.

And since I've been standing out here, I just saw a guy from a fast food shop with sandwiches coming by. He said he had a woman just calling an order that she just wanted to donate to the nurse's station here at the hospital. So there's a bunch of sandwiches that were just coming in. People really rallying around the first responders here who are taking care of the people who are tragically impacted by what happened in Las Vegas over night, John.

KING: And just wonderful to hear the accounts of kindness after this tragedy. Stephanie Elam on the ground for us. And just to repeat what Stephanie said, if you're in the Las Vegas area and there's any way you can give blood today, it is the most urgent need. Please do so if you can.

So in listening and watching throughout the day, the firsthand accounts of what happened last night are terrifying. A gunman opening fire on a concert, more than 22,000 people on the ground, 58 people are killed. The sheriff says that may go up. More than 500 people taken at the hospitals as Stephanie just noted, in the hours after the shooting.

Congressman Ruben Kihuen is there in Las Vegas. You spent some time Congressman visiting some of the victims. Thank you for spending some time with us on this terrible day. Let me ask you first, we saw you at the top of the hour and you were at the briefing with the law enforcement officials, with the political leadership from the community. Anything come up since then? Anything new related to the search warrants to the investigation, to the biggest question, the people of your community and the country has right now, the question of why.

REP. RUBEN KIHUEN (D), NEVADA: Yes John. We're here at the Central Command Center, Las Vegas Metro Police Department where federal and local agencies are collaborating. And the latest that we have is that 59 people have been confirmed dead and over 500 people have been confirmed wounded.

You know, I spent this morning starting at 3:00 in the morning visiting Sunrise Hospital where at that time they already had 190 victims and over 15 had already passed. Again, that was several hours ago. But I just want to say that I'm so proud of all the doctors and the nurses and the nurses' assistants and everybody at the hospital including the police officers and first responders who are working tirelessly to save every life possible.

I mean, I was there and right in front of my eyes, you can see people that are about to pass away and I just want to say that there's a lot of heroes today. And I'm very proud of my community and my state.

KING: Amen to that, sir. You cannot say that enough. The first responders, strangers helping strangers, neighbors helping neighbors, part of a remarkable heroism after this strategy.

I just want to know for our viewers as we continue the conversation with the congressman. The president and the first lady planned a moment of silence at 2:45 p.m. today, 2:45 p.m. The president and first lady of the United States want to have a moment of silence.

Congressman, what's your biggest question as you're there in the scene, you're meeting with other officials including the law enforcement, what is your biggest question about this investigation? And is anything in your private conversations helped you answer the question of why this gunman did this?

[12:50:10] KIHUEN: You know, all the conversations that we've had this morning, we don't have a motive yet. The FBI, the Department of Homeland Security, local law enforcement, you have others working tirelessly. They have visited the home of the shooter, they haven't found much as far as a motive.

But I know that this is something we're going to be working towards here in the next days and weeks to come. But, you know, if anybody from Las Vegas is watching us, what we do need is people to go donate blood. They can go to United Blood Services, that is probably the biggest need that we have here in the community.

KING: Ruben Kihuen, the congressman, appreciate your time today. And again, I (INAUDIBLE) your message. If you're in the Las Vegas area and you're healthy and you can give blood, please do so. Congressman, appreciate your time today.

I'm told we're just seconds away form the president of the United States is in the Oval Office visiting with the prime minister of Thailand is at the White House. And the president delivered some remarks about Puerto Rico and also about the shooting in Vegas. We'll bring those to you in just a minute.

In the meantime, still with us Juliette Kayyem, our CNN senior national security analyst, Chief Charles Ramsey, CNN senior law enforcement analyst, Dr. James Alan Fox is still with us, Evan Perez as well. As we've been on television last hour, you have a little bit of new information on the investigation, Evan. What can you tell us?

EVAN PEREZ, CNN JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: Well, one of the oddest things, John is that the brother of the shooter said that their father was formerly on the FBI most wanted list. As we mention, there's very precious little that has turned up as far as criminal records on the shooter. But it appears his father, whose name is Benjamin Paddock who's now deceased, was at one point back in 1969 added to the FBI as most wanted list. He was a bank robber, it appears.

The father -- the brother in his interview earlier that we should have looked clip off, mentioned these facts. So we've been checking it out. We got -- now we've heard from the FBI that that is accurate. That the father whose name is Benjamin Paddock was on the FBI most wanted list. We don't know whether this has anything to do with any of these, probably not.

But it is an interesting thing that we've got more information on the father deceased so many years ago than we do on the suspect.

KING: Just one of the many building blocks to try to put on the scale. The president of United States a short time ago.


TRUMP: I'll go with the first lady, we are going to be seeing all of the first responders, the military, FEMA, and frankly the most important we're going to be seeing the people of Puerto Rico. And we have been very -- I mean, I think we've been, been amazing what has been done in a very short period of time on Puerto Rico.

There's never been a piece of land that we've known, that was so devastated. The bridges are down, the telecommunications was nonexistent and it's in very, very bad shape. The electrical grid, as you know, was totally destroyed.

I believe we've gotten tremendous amounts of food, and water, and lots of other things, supplies generally speaking on the island. So, we're going to be going tomorrow morning first thing the early. We're also going to be meeting with Governor Mapp of the U.S Virgin Islands. He is going to probably -- because of the difficulty in getting into the Virgin Islands, he's probably going to meet us in Puerto Rico.

And then very importantly also, on Wednesday morning, very early we're going to be leaving for Las Vegas where we're going to be seeing the governor who I just spoke to, the mayor, governor of the state, the mayor of Las Vegas who I just spoke to. The sheriff who has done such a great job, the police department has done such a fantastic job in terms of the speed. And we all very much appreciate it. So, we'll be going to Puerto Rico tomorrow. And on Wednesday we will be going to -- as you know, as I just said we'll be going to Las Vegas on a very, very sad moment for me and for everybody. For everybody no matter where you are, no matter what your thought process, this is a very, very sad day.

So, we're going to be doing that on Wednesday. And we'll be spending the full day there and maybe longer than that. So, thank you very much everybody. Appreciate it.


KING: That's the president of United States in the Oval Office with the prime minister of Thailand just a short time ago updating us on his two big urgent tasks. Number one, trying to comfort the people of Puerto Rico, number two, now trying to comfort the people of Las Vegas.

A few (INAUDIBLE) Chief Ramsey, let me start with you, just in the sense that this was a lone shooter by all accounts. So while I have a lot to investigate, still looking at the motive, I assume if you were the police chief in Las Vegas, Nevada, no issue with the president coming to see you so soon after something like this? Is there?

CHARLES RAMSEY, CNN LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: No, I don't believe so. I mean, obviously this draw some resources in terms of security, but this is a time when the president should make that trip. So, whatever Sheriff Lombardo has to do as well as other people that he (INAUDIBLE), it will be just fine.

KING: Juliette Kayyem, in the terms of the investigation going forward throughout these hours we've learned little pieces, nothing that jumps out at you. From your expertise, is there anything that you have heard in the last hour or so because as we got little bits of information. Will -- can you connect any dots here?

[12:55:08] JULIETTE KAYYEM, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: Not yet, and I'm very careful and we all should be. I was actually surprised that they came out this quickly in saying no foreign ties simply because it appears and they said that the woman, the girlfriend has left the country.

So, I'm very careful at moments like this. I don't want to just lead to any conclusions. Obviously what I am looking at is that time period beforehand.

That's a lot of weaponry, it's a lot of days in a hotel. And as we were saying before there's no on and off switch. It's not like all those time he got triggered to do this.

So there might be a lot of people who knew something that will give us more evidence. So, I keep all avenues open at the stage. We are just a few hours from this tragedy, (INAUDIBLE) the stage either.

KING: And (INAUDIBLE) these things and thankfully it's the wrong word. I guess there are too many of them. This is the most deadly U.S issue.

And when you hear three days in a hotel, 10 rifles. The housekeeping or other people who are interacting with this gentleman at the hotel not seeing anything that they found to be suspicious. What goes through your mind?

JAMES ALAN FOX, PROFESSOR OF CRIMINOLOGY, NORTHEASTERN UNIVERSITY: You know most mass killers are extraordinarily ordinary. They don't stand out, we can't anticipate them, even those closest such as his brother, can't anticipate it. So, nothing about this yet does stand out. But what I do want to say something as you pointed out that these are rare events twitchily, and they are.

I caution against using this term as the largest, it's the record, it's the worst. You know, first of all, it doesn't really matter to those who were killed and injured and their families whether it was a record or not. It's just as tragic.

More importantly, records are there to be broken. I know our colleague Anderson Cooper like to say this not mention the name of the perpetuator, it should remain unspeakable horror.

That's -- I understand that logic, but focusing and obsessing about the biggest, the vast, the worst, the bloodiest, that is very compelling to others who might like to break the record.

KING: That's an interesting point, a sad point, but a very interesting point. Appreciate it. Professor Fox, Chief Ramsey, Juliette Kayyem, Evan Perez, appreciate you hanging with me throughout the hours as we deal with this breaking news coverage.

That's it for us in the INSIDE POLITICS. See you back here tomorrow I hope. Wolf Blitzer picks up our special coverage after a quick break.