Return to Transcripts main page


Police Response to Las Vegas Shooter Detailed. Aired 5-6p ET

Aired October 2, 2017 - 17:00   ET


TAPPER: All right. Thanks to my panel. That is it for "THE LEAD" now. I'm Jake Tapper. I turn you over to Wolf Blitzer in THE SITUATION ROOM. Thanks for watching.

[17:00:05] WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: Happening now, breaking news. Las Vegas massacre. At least 58 are dead and over 500 injured after a gunman opens fire at a crowd of 22,000 at a country music concert on the Vegas Strip. It's the deadliest mass shooting in modern U.S. history.

The gunman. Police say the gunman was 64-year-old Stephen Paddock who fired on the crowd from his room on the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay Hotel. Police say they recovered many rifles from his room.

The investigation. Investigators are now scrambling to understand why the gunman acted. Officials say he had no known criminal weapon and no known link to overseas terrorism.

And "act of pure evil." President Trump calls the massacre an act of pure evil and is appearing for unity. He plans to visit Las Vegas on Wednesday.

We want to welcome our viewers in the United States and around the world. I'm Wolf Blitzer. You're in THE SITUATION ROOM.

ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.

BLITZER: Breaking news. At least 58 people are dead. More than 500 injured after a gunman opened fire at an outdoor concert from the 32nd floor of a Las Vegas hotel. The worst mass shooting in modern U.S. history began as country music star Jason Aldean was performing for thousands of fans on the Vegas Strip last night.

We have to warn all of our viewers that the video of the massacre is graphic and the sights and sounds may be upsetting.

As the gunman began firing into the crowd, it took some time, some long moments, I should say, for people to realize what was actually happening. And then the chaos and the carriage unfolded. As victims began dropping, there was a frantic rush to find shelter or safety. Some people threw themselves on top of others to protect them.

Police were finally able to storm the gunman's room at the Mandalay Hotel, where they found him dead from an apparent self-inflicted wound. At least ten weapons were also found there, maybe many more. The shooter has been identified as 64-year-old Stephen Paddock, who

lived in a Nevada retirement community. Police believe he acted alone with no apparent connection to any terror group. The president calls the massacre an act of pure evil. He held a moment of silence for the victims today and plans to visit Las Vegas on Wednesday.

I'll speak with Congresswoman Dina Titus, who represents the Las Vegas area. And our correspondents, specialists and guests, they are all standing by with the kind of coverage that only CNN can deliver.

As the horrific scale of the Las Vegas violence becomes clear, investigators are racing to learn how and why it happened. Let's begin with CNN's Stephanie Elam. She's over at the University Medical Center in Las Vegas that received more than 100 victims. Stephanie, bring us up to date.

STEPHANIE ELAM, CNN CORRESPONDENT: That's right, Wolf. Here at this one center alone they said that people were arriving by ambulance, by taxi cab and also by private cars. All this after a horrific night on the Las Vegas Strip.


ELAM (voice-over): The first volley of shots rings out in the middle of the show. On stage, it takes a moment for Jason Aldean and his band to realize the danger unfolding and take cover. Victims run screaming as hundreds of bullets rain down on the Route 91 Harvest Music Festival on the Las Vegas Strip. Some try to take cover. Others run for the exits.

CHRISTINE, SHOOTING WITNESS: Everyone was just, like, laying on top of each other, trying to get out of the way. And the shots just kept coming. And so we were going down, and when we got down, it was a man that was shot right there.

ELAM: Concert goers are out in the open, exposed.

CORINNE LOMAS, SHOOTING WITNESS: Every time people got up, they start shooting, shooting. And it wasn't like "ba-da-da." It just kept going.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Everybody started running like a stampede.

ELAM: Even those who escaped the open concert venue remained in danger, not knowing where the shots were coming from.

DAMON LEACH, SHOOTING WITNESS: We hid behind cars. We hid behind trash cans. We hid behind whatever we could. Every time we heard shots we got behind something.

ELAM: Survivors said the entire scene was confusing.

BRIAN CLAYPOOL, SHOOTING WITNESS: We had no clue what was going on. We didn't know whether it was one shooter, two shooters, three shooters, four shooters. We didn't know if they were on the street, in a building. We didn't know whether they were going to jump over that fence.

ELAM: The shots came from high up, through a 32nd floor window of the Mandalay Bay Hotel across the street.

RICHARD FLICKINDER, SHOOTING WITNESS: There was an alarm going off in one of the windows, like a busted-out window. So the security alarm was going off on one of those floors.

[17:05:05] ELAM: Law enforcement enters the hotel, zeros in on the room and clears the area. Then in hushed tones, the command to blow the door.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Breach, breach, breach.

ELAM: The officers find the gunman dead with a large cache of rifles in the room. Authorities believe 64-year-old Stephen Paddock acted alone, his motive unclear. The retired accountant lived 90 minutes away and was not known to police.

Out of 22,000 people at the concert, over 500 were wounded. Some critically. Hospitals called in their entire staffs to treat a flood of wounded.

DR. JAY COATES, UNIVERSITY MEDICAL CENTER TRAUMA UNIT: They came through the door. They were dying. We took them back. We took care of them. And we worked on the next one.

ELAM: Witnesses say concertgoers tried to help the injured in the field as best they could.

LOMAS: A lot of really good people holding people, holding their wounds shut, trying to help them.

ELAM: The dead still being identified before their next of kin can be notified.

SHERIFF JOSEPH LOMBARDO, LAS VEGAS POLICE: The concert hall, we will be in a long process of body recovery out there.


ELAM: And just an update that we got from the University Medical Center that I just got from the hospital right now, Wolf. They're saying that they do have two teenagers that are among the patients that they are treating here. The vast majority are adults.

They're also saying that as of this afternoon, about 40 people have been treated and released. So a slim amount of good news on this horrific day, Wolf.

BLITZER: Horrific indeed. Stephanie Elam, over at the hospital. We'll get back to you.

Gunman Stephen Paddock lived in a retirement community in Mesquite, Nevada, not too far from Las Vegas. Our senior international correspondent, Kyung Lah, is there for us. So what are you finding out, Kyung?

KYUNG LAH, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, the police have been here throughout the day, before the sun was even up here here. The Mesquite police working with Las Vegas authorities have been painstakingly combing through this house, and what they're trying to do is to answer the question of why. And it has been frustrating, because there's nothing clearly jumping out to them. There is a lack of a clear answer.

We are in a retirement community. The person we're talking about is a 54-year-old [SIC] retired accountant. This is not exactly the profile of somebody who would commit this type of atrocity.

At one point he had a valid pilot's license, which has now since lapsed. He had a last (ph). He had a couple of private planes.

His brother said that all of this is so surprising to him, it might has well be as equal to an asteroid falling out of the sky. Here's what he said.


ERIC PADDOCK, BROTHER OF LAS VEGAS SHOOTER: This is all in the public record. He lives in Mesquite. He had a girlfriend. He gambled at the casinos. He called his mother.

LAH: Was he particularly, you know, hyped up about politics?

PADDOCK: Nothing.

LAH: Or anything like that?

PADDOCK: Nothing. No religious affiliation, no political affiliation. No. He just hung out.

LAH: And no history of mental illness?

PADDOCK: Not a bit.


LAH: You heard the brother mention that he had a live-in girlfriend that lived here for several years. People here say they actually didn't talk to them that often. They were pretty much private people and not remarkable in any way here.

They also -- the gunman, Wolf, did purchase several firearms legally at a local store. But that gun store, Wolf, says that there was nothing that raised an alarm, raised any flags that he might be unfit -- Wolf.

BLITZER: The girlfriend, Marilou Danley, she's now in the Philippines. She's not even in the country, right?

LAH: She's not even in the country. But at this point, what the police has said is early on she was a person of interest, but they don't believe that she was involved in this particular plot.

They have also interviewed the ex-wife of the gunman. She does not live in this area, and she also is not believed to be involved in any way -- Wolf.

BLITZER: Yes, they were divorced many, many years ago. Kim reporting for us. We'll get back to you, as well.

The worst mass shooting in modern American history began as country star Jason Aldean was performing for 22,000 fans on the Las Vegas Strip last night. We want to warn you, once again, the video is graphic. The sights and the sounds of the shooting may be quite upsetting.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Get down! Get down!


BLITZER: That's the sounds of the gunfire you heard in the background. People thought it could be some fireworks, but then they fast realized these were bullets.

Democratic Congresswoman Dina Titus of Nevada is joining us right now. Her district includes Las Vegas.

Congresswoman, thanks very much for joining us. I know you've been well-briefed on what the authorities are finding out. Are they any closer to a motive, first of all?

REP. DINA TITUS (D), NEVADA: No. It's so strange. There are no symptoms of what this person would have been up to. So there's no way they really could have prevented it. He wasn't on any watch list. He hadn't bought guns illegally. They weren't tracking him anywhere. He lived in a community that wasn't someplace you would expect a shooter to come from.

But I'll leave that to the experts, the psychiatric experts. They're going through all his information, all his emails, that sort of thing. So they're tracking it down.

BLITZER: He lived in a retirement community where he had to be 55 or older. He was 64 years old. We know, Congresswoman, that he also liked to gamble in Las Vegas very much. Is there any evidence he was in major gambling debt?

TITUS: No, we don't see that. In fact, I think during the short time he was staying at Mandalay Bay he had won some money there. So that doesn't seem to be a motive either. And not a particularly political person so it wasn't an ideological motivation. We just don't know.

But it's just so horrifying. How many times I have welcomed people to my district for fun and entertainment, never dreaming that I'd be, now, trying to offer solace and assistance.

BLITZER: As you know, he had been in the hotel, been registered in the Mandalay Bay since September 28. Was he waiting for this event? Had he planned this attack for a long time? Do you have any idea about either of those questions?

TITUS: Well, apparently, he had planned it. He had brought in, like, ten long guns and some other handguns. And he had a hammer with which to knock out the window. But the maid service and the housekeepers had been in and out of that room and saw no signs of anything. So it was pretty well hidden. Just hard to ever imagine or anticipate.

BLITZER: We notice that there were two windows that were knocked out. Was that all part of the same suite or did he have two separate rooms? Do you know?

TITUS: It was a suite. And at one time they thought perhaps there were two shooters. But it looks like now he had knocked out both windows. So it's one shooter from two locations.

BLITZER: He had a big suite, obviously, if you take a look at those two windows that were knocked out. And he was apparently -- correct me if I'm wrong -- firing the weapons from both of those windows, right?

TITUS: That's right. And the grounds for the concert are a pretty far distance. They are across the front of the Mandalay Bay and across the strip over at the concert venue. So he had kind of a direct line of fire there. But it was a distance away.

BLITZER: Hospitals in the Las Vegas area, you know, are dealing with several hundred injured people right now. You know your community well. Do they have the resources they need?

TITUS: Well, they've asked people to donate blood. We say that prayers and best wishes are great, but they need blood donations. Two of the major hospitals are in my district, UMC with its trauma center, and Sunrise. They've treated hundreds of people. When it first started, they had people in the hallways, even in the parking loss. So the medical profession from all over the valley stepped up to help those hospitals.

BLITZER: Do you know if all the families still need to be notified that their loved ones were victims of this massacre? In other words, has everyone already been told?

TITUS: No, there have some people who haven't even been identified. That's one of the problems. And the whole crime scene is still locked down for another 12 hours, probably, so that they can complete that.

But there are resources available. The V.A. has set up counseling centers. Our office is trying to help people find out if their loved ones were here. We've had a few immigration issues. Everybody has really pitched in. It's a whole united effort through our Fusion Center, law enforcement, first responders, fire department. It's been amazing. BLITZER: So many Americans out there. Indeed, people all over the

world that are watching right now. They would like to help the people affected by this massacre here in the United States. What can they do?

TITUS: Well, there's a fund that's been set up to help with services. They might want to donate to that. Stay -- stay posted on information. Put out the word that this is not the Las Vegas we know and love. We did a great job here in all coming together. We still want to welcome visitors.

[17:15:07] A lot of people who were harmed here, and not only tourists but are local residents. We saw real acts of heroism. There were some off-duty police officers who helped shelter in place and pointed out the location of the shooter.

A friend of one of my staff members was there. They were getting trampled. Somebody just pulled them into a van they didn't know so they could have shelter. Those are the stories we want to have told. We can worry later about the politics and other aspects of it.

BLITZER: Congresswoman, how are you holding up?

TITUS: Well, it's hard on me, but it's nothing compared to the victims. It's hard for a politician, you know. You don't want to get in the way. You don't want to be too intrusive in people's personal sorrow, but you want them to know that your office is there to help and how deeply you care. And this is my district. These are my folks.

BLITZER: Have you met with some of the families?

TITUS: We've been by the hospitals. We're going by the lines where people are giving blood. Just standing on the corner here, cars will go by and say, "Where can I go and give blood?" So we're reaching out to say thank you to so many people who are involved and feel like they are part of this and want to do what they can to help.

BLITZER: Yes, we're told the people who are there in the area, they can go to the University Medical Center. There's a building outside where it's dedicated right now to people donating blood, which is so desperately needed to save lives right now.

Any other points you want to make before I let you go, Congresswoman?

TITUS: I would just -- I would just say the university opened up Thomas and Mack as a short-term rec use center. Everybody is weighing in. So it's the campuses; it's the hospitals; it's the first responders; it's the medical professionals; and it's the community.

BLITZER: Good luck to you. Good luck to everyone in Las Vegas. What a horrific, horrific development. Congresswoman Dina Titus of Nevada.

More breaking news coming up. We're getting new details, by the way, on the horrific mass shooting in Las Vegas, the deadliest in modern U.S. history. Stand by for that. And President Trump calls it an act of pure evil. How the White House

is responding to the massacre.


BLITZER: Our breaking news. At least 58 people are dead, more than 500 injured after a shooter sprays gunfire at an outdoor concert in Las Vegas. The gunman, who fired from the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Hotel, is dead.

President Trump held a moment of silence for the victims of what he called an act of pure evil.


DONALD TRUMP (R), 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.


BLITZER: The president said he will visit Las Vegas on Wednesday following a trip to storm-devastated Puerto Rico tomorrow.

Let's go to our senior White House correspondent, Jeff Zeleny. Jeff, tell us more about the White House reaction.


The president received a briefing early this morning, alerting him of this news. And he has been briefed, we are told, throughout the day for information about the shooter. But quite frankly, there is scant information about his background.

So the White House has essentially been focusing on remembering these victims here. That moment of silence, of course, on the South Lawn of the White House. And then the president also vowing to visit later this week.

He also talked in the Oval Office with the visiting prime minister of Thailand about Las Vegas.


BLITZER: We'll be going to Las Vegas, on a very, very sad -- it's a sad moment for me, 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.


ZELENY: And, Wolf, we have, of course, seen previous presidents have to step into this role of trying to unify the country, trying to explain, trying to offer comfort and healing. This is the first time in a big way this president has had to do that, making those comments earlier in the diplomatic reception room.

But clearly, he wants to visit Las Vegas early.

And one thing we did not hear from the president is any discussion, of course, about what is invariably going to come after this, as we've seen from so many other mass shootings before, is a discussion about gun legislation. Well, Sarah Sanders, the White House press secretary, was asked about that in the White House briefing today. She said now is not the moment for that. Let's watch.


SARAH HUCKABEE SANDERS, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: I think that's something that we can talk about in the coming days and see what that looks like moving forward. I think one of the things that we don't want to do is try to create laws that won't create or stop these kinds of things from happening. I think if you look to Chicago, where you had over 4,000 victims of gun related crimes last year, they have the strictest gun laws in the country. That certainly hasn't helped there.


ZELENY: But she did leave the door open, as well, to the possibility of some type of discussion in the future of bipartisan legislation. We know there has not been a history of bipartisan gun legislation in this town at all.

[17:25:08] But the president has, in fact, been on both sides of this issue. Some 15 years or so ago, he wrote about being supportive of some types of gun restrictions, waiting periods. Of course, he ran on an entirely different platform last year, Wolf.

But every tragedy like this certainly a conversation about gun legislation. And President Trump is the new person here in this equation. So we will see if he decides to take up that mantel. But for now the president, others here at the White House, say simply he's focusing on the victims, the families. And again, he'll be visiting Las Vegas on Wednesday, Wolf.

BLITZER: Of course, we'll have full coverage of that, as well. Jeff Zeleny at the White House, thanks very much.

Coming up, much more on the breaking news. New details emerging right now. They are coming out about the tactical response to the Las Vegas massacre, how police tracked down the source of the shooting and stormed the gunman's hotel room.

Stay with us. You're in THE SITUATION ROOM.


BLITZER: Breaking news, we're learning dramatic new details about the police response after a gunman opened fire in a crowd attending an outdoor concert in Las Vegas. It now ranks as the worst mass shooting in modern U.S. history, with 58 people dead, more than 500 injured.

[17:31:04] But authorities say many lives were saved because of what police did. Our chief national security correspondent, Jim Sciutto, has been working sources for us. Jim, what are you learning?

JIM SCIUTTO, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: Wolf, certainly a brave response from police involved. But this is not a scenario that they were expecting, or really preparing for. A shooter from a high point some 300, 400 yards away. And that's reflected at the time, from those first 911 calls to breaching the room where the shooter was holed up, an hour and 12 minutes.


SCIUTTO (voice-over): Just after 10 p.m. Las Vegas time, the shooter unloads a barrage of bullets. And at 10:08 p.m., the first 911 calls come into police.

SHERIFF JOSEPH LOMBARDO, LAS VEGAS POLICE: At 10 p.m. last night, we started receiving calls of an active shooter at Route 91 Harvest Festival, located adjacent to the Mandalay Bay resort.

SCIUTTO: The target, a huge outdoor crowd of some 22,000 people at a country music concert. But police don't know right away where the shots are coming from.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We have multiple casualties. GSW to the medical tent. Multiple casualties.

SCIUTTO: On the scene, first responders begin to realize that the shots are raining down on the crowd from an elevated position.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's coming out a window.

SCIUTTO: Soon their attention focuses on the Mandalay Bay Hotel, several hundred feet away and several stories up.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Stay down. Stay down.

SCIUTTO: Police enter the hotel and work their way to the upper floors.

Joe Fryer of NBC News is a guest in the hotel and witnesses police going door to door, searching for the shooter. Tracking the explosive bursts of gunfire, police soon determine that the shots are coming from the 32nd floor.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm inside the Mandalay Bay on the 31st floor I can hear the automatic fire coming from one floor ahead -- one floor above us.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Be advised it is automatic fire, fully automatic fire from an elevated position. Take cover.

SCIUTTO: The shooter firing through two windows that he smashed open with a device similar to a hammer. Police close in on his location.

UNDERSHERIFF KEVIN MCMAHILL, LAS VEGAS POLICE: Once we arrived up there, we had isolated this individual to the two rooms. And then our SWAT Team used the explosive breaching to go in and confront the individual.

SCIUTTO: Once they have the order, they go in. It is one hour and 12 minutes after those first 911 calls.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We have sight on the suspect's door. I need everybody in that hallway to be aware of it and get back. We need to pop this and see if we get any type of response from this guy to see if he's in here or if he's actually moved somewhere else.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Copy. All units on the 32nd floor, SWAT has explosive breach. Everyone in the hall needs to move back. All units move back.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Breach, breach, breach.

SCIUTTO: Inside, police find the shooter dead...

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There's one down, 32nd floor, Mandalay Bay.

SCIUTTO: ... apparently the result of a self-inflicted gunshot wound.

LOMBARDO: We believe the individual killed himself prior to our entry.

SCIUTTO: The music concert had extensive security.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We just need to get people over to the hospital. OK?

SCIUTTO: But this was a threat that police had not prepared for.

MCMAHILL: These folks were attacked by a man from 32 stories up with automatic rifle fire. And so I don't really know how you plan for that. They just didn't see it coming.


SCIUTTO: Didn't see it coming. This was one of the areas of confusion, Wolf, for those first responders, and that is they detected, eventually, gunfire coming from two places up here. As it turned out two windows. It would appear to be the same suite. One shooter, but moving from one window to the other.

Wolf, early on they thought there might be two shooters. This is one of the many questions they answered over time. And I'll tell you this, as well. That high shooter position, something they didn't prepare for, for a potential target area way over here. For future events like this, it's going to be something they have to factor in.

[18:35:11] BLITZER: Yes, they certainly will. So basically, what I hear you saying, Jim, is that this shooter spent more than an hour aiming those rifles at all those innocent people at that concert?

SCIUTTO: It appears that way. This is what we know about the time line. The shots started sometime after 10 p.m. local time. First 911 calls at 10:08 p.m.

They didn't breach, and you heard that just then in that audio there. When they breached that door, that was 11:20 p.m. local time.

Now this is important. We don't know when the shots finished firing. When did he take that shot where he took his own life? But at least from the first moment those first reports and the moment when they were able to go in there and breach that room, that was more than an hour.

BLITZER: Yes. Awful. All right. Jim Sciutto reporting for us. Thank you.

Let's get some insight from our specialists. And Phil Banks, let me start with you. Are police trained to deal with a crisis like this, with a massacre of this nature? You heard how complicated it is.

PHILLIP BANKS, FORMER NYPD CHIEF OF DEPARTMENT: Yes, this was a very complicated situation, and for many reasons, one, when the undersheriff sheriff stated that it was something they'd never planned for, I would concur that that was something they probably should not have planned for, because they never saw it coming.

But police are trained, and I'm not -- can't speak first-hand, of course, of what the training takes place in Las Vegas, but here in New York City, in the New York state area, the police here are trained in many different facets, many different areas. And they think of all types of combinations of how an active shooter would operate.

So I think the training certainly in New York is up to par. And I would certainly say in other parts of the country.

BLITZER: Well, let me just be precise, Phil. You're a former NYPD chief of department. If there's an outdoor concert someplace in Manhattan or Queens or the Bronx or Brooklyn, you review all of the high-rise buildings around that -- that outside concert to make sure no one has a weapon there? Is that what I hear you saying?

BANKS: No. What I'm saying is that that's part of the security plan.

Now, can you actually plan for someone inside their co-op or inside their apartment, inside a place they legally can be? That's very difficult. Do we look at rooftops? Do we look at restricted areas that's high above? Certainly, that is taken into place.

In this situation you had a guest of a hotel who had the right to be there who was firing out of location where he had the legal right to be. That's a difficult task to undertake for that Las Vegas Police Department.

BLITZER: Are police trained to deal with automatic fire like that? BANKS: Absolutely. I'm sure that they have an SWAT team, and that

SWAT team who went in, they seem to have breached the door rather quickly. And I'm sure they were actually trained, in fact, for that situation. So once we're aware that the person has automatic weapon, we quote unquote, send in the experts. We call an emergency service unit. They call the SWAT, but they are trained, in fact, to deal with that situation.

BLITZER: Are you surprised it took more than an hour to find that room and to end this?

BANKS: Well, you know, the hour at first, when you hear it takes an hour, an hour and 12 minutes, it seems like a long period of time. But when you start thinking about the facts the calls are coming in. There's a lot of hysteria that's taken place. Once you show where, in fact, it was coming from, once they identified that it came from the hotel, they had to now find out exactly what floor and exactly what window.

So in the grand scheme of thing, based on the information that's available now, I'm not so sure that that's a long period of time before they -- before they were able to breach the door and secure the scene.

BLITZER: Even Perez, you're doing a lot of work, working with your sources. What are you learning about the shooter?

EVAN PEREZ, CNN JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: Well, Wolf, you often hear with these people who carry out things like this, is that they are extraordinarily ordinary. And this is exactly what we're hearing here.

Nothing stood out with this guy, with this shooter. The family members who have been talking to the media today have described him as quiet, and he's a retired accountant. Apparently, he had some means, so he acquired all this arsenal.

We've talked to sources that have told us that over the course of his life, they've traced as many as 30 firearms that he's bought. Which again is not unusual for people in certain parts of the country.

Today, you know, one of the parts of the story that they try to put together is these firearms, when did he buy them? Did he alter them? Because the way that people have described at the scene, it appears to be automatic fire. So perhaps these were semi-automatic firearms that were altered in order to fire like an automatic weapon. Again, this is something that they're still trying to put together.

The motive, the idea that they did a search of the hotel room. They did a search of his home in Mesquite, Nevada, and nothing has jumped out. He didn't leave behind any kind of manifesto.

What we know about these types of suspects is that they often want to be known. They want people to know why they did this and what they did. They want the infamy from it. And that hasn't emerged yet. That is very strange. BLITZER: And it's legal in Nevada to purchase these automatic kinds

of weapons?

PEREZ: Well it's legal to own these firearms. I mean, the -- if you have an automatic weapon, there are registration requirements in the United States. So, again, this was something that he altered. There is no way anybody would know that he had done this.

[17:40:14] BLITZER: You know, Candice DeLong, you're a former FBI profiler. Is there a typical profile for a mass killer, a mass shooter along these lines? And did this individual fit that profile?

CANDICE DELONG, FORMER FBI PROFILER: No, he does not fit the profile in that he is about twice as old as the average mass shooter that we see tends to be white male, for sure. But in their 30s.

However, this is the second mass shooting we've seen in just a couple of months where the offender was in their 60s. The last one being the D.C. shooting.

BLITZER: So you're saying that this is not necessarily typical of a mass killer -- he was 64 years old, this individual -- but it's not completely out of the realm of possibility, obviously?

DELONG: Well, it seems not to be. We tend to see, whether it's serial killers or mass shooters like this person, that older men are not interested in doing that. Even serial killers slow down as they get older. They lose interest.

But I'm wondering now if this is the new norm. What in the world is happening? This man, in particular, showed a lot of discipline in what he did. He was in that hotel room three days. He could have -- generally, when people decide to do something like this, they just go. But that didn't happen here.

BLITZER: Phil -- Phil Mudd, in addition to working at CIA, you also worked at the FBI. Take us inside this investigation. How are authorities going to determine why this killer went on this rampage?

PHIL MUDD, CNN COUNTERTERRORISM ANALYST: First of all, Wolf, I don't believe anything I'm hearing, including statements from family members today. These aren't facts. These are what people say.

The first is the data piece. I want everything from how he texted, how he emailed, how he telephoned, what he said on Facebook. I want the data from those, not only what he's saying, but even the frequency of messages is important.

For example, let's say over the past seven days we saw bursts of text messaging to a family member. That's a clue. Why did you have a burst of communication with this individual? What was he talking about?

Then, of course, you get into the interview process with one fundamental question. He bought all these weapons. Over the course of time he made a reservation at a hotel room, and he checked in days earlier. As we just spoke about, this does not be on -- this does not appear to be on the spur of the moment. One question, Wolf: how confident can we be that nobody else knew what was going on here? And right now, I'm not confident at all. I don't believe anything I'm hearing.

BLITZER: Well, what about that, Phil Banks? You're a former police detective. What about that?

BANKS: Well, you know, I would have to agree slightly with my colleague here. This certainly seemed to be out of the norm. This is a person that has no ties to any type of organization. It appears that there's nothing in his history which would indicate, in fact, that he would be capable of doing something like that. So it does seem odd; it does seem strange, but it does not meet that it's not accurate.

This investigation has to go slow and it has to go methodical, and they have to make sure that they cross their lines and go over the "T's." Who he spoke to recently? How long has he had those particular weapons there? Has police had any interaction with him whatsoever? Who is the closest person to him? Was it his girlfriend? Is there anything that he said or did that was unusual to her? Is he in any type of conflicts with anyone recently?

So it certainly seems very odd and strange, very unlikely. And I think that we have to go real slow, because this, I think, out of most of the mass shootings, the active shootings, this one seems a little bit peculiar; and it's going to take a little bit of investigation to get the answers from this.

BLITZER: Yes. We may be getting some answer answers momentarily. We're told there's going to be another press conference, a news conference. The police, the authorities in Las Vegas are about to brief reporters. We're going to have live coverage of that. That's coming up.

Stand by. Much more on the breaking news right after this.