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AT THIS HOUR
New: Killer's In-Laws Attended Targeted Church; Twenty Six Dead, 20 Hurt In Texas Church Massacre; Shooter Received "Bad Conduct" Discharge From Air Force; Law Enforcement: Gunman Shot Himself After Being Shot. Aired 11-11:30a ET
Aired November 6, 2017 - 11:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
POPPY HARLOW, CNN ANCHOR: Twenty six people murdered ages 5 to 72. It is horrifying. Thank you all for being with John and me today. "AT THIS HOUR" with Kate Bolduan picks it up now.
KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR: John and Poppy, thank you so much. Hello, everyone. I am Kate Bolduan. Two, three generations of families just gone, killed in an instant of gunfire. Shattering the peace of a Sunday church service. A congregation, a tiny Texas town, now left facing a massive amount of grief and searching for answers. Why, of course, chief among them after a man carries out another deadly rampage?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GLORIA RODRIGUEZ XIMENE, KNEW VICTIMS OF CHURCH MASSACRE: Why. Why did this happen? It hurts. The pain is there. The hurt is there. There's no words for all these families. What they're going through.
SHERIFF JOE TACKITT, WILSON COUNTY SHERIFF'S DEPARTMENT: A horrific sight. You don't expect to walk into a church and see something like that, especially like when all the bodies were still there, you know, seeing the children, that's what hurts the most.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BOLDUAN: Twenty six people are dead range in age from 5 years old to 72 years old. One family alone lost eight loved ones. Twenty more people are injured. Nearly 50 people killed or wounded in a town which has a population of only several hundred, at a time.
The killer is dead as well. Just this morning, we learned his in-laws were actually members of this church in Sutherland Springs, though, not there at the time of the shooting. The news reaching overseas overnight as President trump was in Tokyo.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: A guns situation, I mean, we could go into it, but it's a little soon to go into it. But fortunately, somebody else had a gun shooting in the opposite direction otherwise it would have been as bad as it was, it would have been much worse. This is a mental health problem at the highest level. It's a very, very sad event. These are great people and a very, very sad event.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BOLDUAN: All right. Let's stay with the breaking news on the investigation into this horrific shooting. All of those lives lost and who will be impacted now.
CNN's Brian Todd is in Sutherland Springs for us right now. Brian, on the investigation, what is the very latest?
BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Kate, we spoke to the sheriff of Wilson County a short time ago, Sheriff Joe Tackitt, who told us, as you mentioned just a short time ago, that the in-laws of the gunman did on occasion attend this church, the First Baptist Church, but he said they were not inside the church at the time of the shooting.
Sheriff Tackitt said the in-laws arrived after the shooting occurred. He also told us that the shooter's wife, who he described as being estranged, but didn't have much information on that, the shooter's wife may also have attended the church.
So, that's important information when trying to piece together a possible motive here. What it has to do with the motive we don't know yet. We're still digging on that. We also learned from Sheriff Tackitt that the shooter when he went into the church had two weapons on him, an AR-556 assault rifle and a handgun.
The sheriff was not sure if the gunman used the handgun inside the church or not. But the sheriff did say that the gunman did suffer two wounds, one self-inflicted and one that he suffered from another man with a gun who confronted him outside the church.
And that was a dramatic part of the story, Kate, because there was a witness who kind of teamed up with that man who confronted the shooter, a witness named Johnnie Langendoff who spoke to John Berman a short time ago and described what happened outside the church as the shooter emerged from the church.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOHNNIE LANGENDORFF, CHASED SHOOTER: I saw the shooter coming out about where the cars were parked and the other gentleman coming from across the street. Both had weapons drawn and a matter of half a second, there was exchange of gunfire. It lasted just a few seconds and the shooter got in his vehicle and took off and the gentleman with the rifle came across the street, opened my door and said he just shot up the church and we got to chase him. I said let's go.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
TODD: Johnnie Langendoff said they chased him for 10 to 12 minutes and they went as fast as maybe 95 miles an hour down this road until the gunman ran his car into a ditch. At that point, Langendoff said the man with him, the gentleman with the rifle who had confronted the shooter and possibly shot him, approached the shooter's vehicle and yelled for him to get out.
The man approached the vehicle with his rifle drawn and yelled for the shooter to get out of his vehicle. The shooter did not get out of the vehicle. They then waited for the police to show up, Kate, and they discovered at some point then that the shooter had died.
But again, not clear whether the gunman died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound or died from a wound that he might have suffered that that was inflicted upon the other man with the rifle who confronted him, maybe a combination of the two.
[11:05:11] We're also told by the sheriff, Kate, that there is a piece of video that exists of the service yesterday, but the sheriff said that video does not show much -- Kate.
BOLDUAN: Brian, thank you so much. Brian Todd is on the ground for us. Some of the -- maybe some of the answers to all of the questions that Brian is posing right here we might be getting very soon with an update that we are expecting from law enforcement on the ground there, and we are hoping to get that, and we will bring all of that to you live when it begins. Brian, thank you so much.
We are also learning new details this morning on the shooter's military career. He was discharged from the Air Force in 2014 after being court-martialed for assaulting his wife and child.
Let's go over to the Pentagon. CNN Pentagon reporter, Ryan Browne, has much more on this. Ryan, bring us up to date on his military career. How does it fit in all of this?
RYAN BROWNE, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: Well, Kate, we know that he joined the Air Force in 2010. He worked as a logistics and readiness airman at Holloman Air Force base in New Mexico, but not long after joining the Air Force, he faced a court-martial in 2012 for assaulting his wife and their child.
Now the court-martial sentenced him to a year of confinement in prison as well as lowering his rank to the lowest level possible and providing him with that bad conduct discharge. That is one of the more severe ways you can be separated from the military.
It's not as severe as what's called a dishonorable discharge, which would be a level higher, but we do know that he received this bad conduct discharge in 2014 after being in prison for 12 months due to this assault, this incident of domestic violence.
BOLDUAN: All right. Ryan Browne, thank you so much, for us at the Pentagon. Much more to learn there.
Let's discuss all of the elements that we know and all the questions that still remain. Joining me right now, a panel of CNN law enforcement analysts, Steve Moore is a former FBI special agent, Art Roderick served as assistant director of the U.S. Marshal Service, and Jonathan Wackrow is a former Secret Service agent. Gentlemen, thank you so much for being here. Let's just start on the ground and the connections to the church, Jonathan. Some of the folks who live in this town say they've never seen him before. They've never heard of this guy before. But we do or are starting to learn that his in-laws attended, maybe his wife attended this church. That tells you what, though?
JONATHAN WACKROW, CNN LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: Well, it starts building the profile of the individual. Look, what we do know is that he was dressed in tactical gear, showed up at the church, created this horrific massacre, with weapons. He targeted that church for specific reason.
You know, we are still in the infancy of the investigation. Law enforcement is trying to build that profile and look at everybody he's been associated with and his past behavior. We have the reporting from the military. That's a key indicator that he had violent tendencies.
So, we want to see what else is out there, what other interaction with law enforcement, neighbors, friends, co-workers, who was this individual, why did he do this horrific act targeting that specific church than anywhere else?
BOLDUAN: And that -- and maybe we're past this question at this point already, Steve, but a place of worship should be the safest place to be. It turns out it is not. In multiple examples in recent past of attacks on churches and temples here in the United States. Do you think, as Jonathan thinks, this was a specific target? Is there any question in your mind that this -- this is some sort of coincidence that he targeted this church?
STEVE MOORE, CNN LAW ENFORCEMENT CONTRIBUTOR: Not at all. I mean, we were talking about this last night. These type of killers, even the Las Vegas killer, we may not understand their targeting, but to them, it was the most logical and reasonable target in the whole world.
This was planned from the beginning and we were even speculating last night that this person had some connection to either this church or this particular religion and we find out exactly why.
You go back and you can see the linear form of his demented logic. He got in trouble because of the wife who he had -- who he had beaten, and she got him in trouble with the military, and now they have to pay for what they've done to him.
BOLDUAN: But Steve, on that point, does the time period that has transpired, does that mean anything? I mean, court-martialed in 2012, discharged in 2014, it's 2017, Steve. I mean, is that time frame make that -- put that into question?
MOORE: You know, I don't think so. We don't think like these people do. What happens a lot of times, the other guests will probably agree with me on this, we look at threat assessment characteristics and you're looking for a person whose life is kind in freefall, but we don't know exactly when you are going to hit the point where they just throw their hands up and say I'm done. That's when they make their decision.
[11:10:08] BOLDUAN: Art, one big question right now, should this guy have been able to get a gun in the first place? You're not just with the -- formerly with the U.S. Marshall Service. You're also formerly with military police. He received this bad conduct discharge. A lot of folks know very well, but it's just short of a dishonorable discharge, after this court-martial, should he have been able to get a gun?
ART RODERICK, CNN LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: He should not have been able to purchase any type of firearm. I mean, it's -- this is another situation where there's been a loophole found here and somebody has been able to exploit it.
And when you get -- whatever happens to you in the military from a discipline side, does not get transferred over to the civilian side and specifically talking about the National Crime Information Center, that does a lot of these background checks and records individual's criminal history.
So, I mean, if you look at the actual legal form the ATF-4473 that you go in to fill out to purchase a firearm legally from the federal firearms dealer, there's about four or five questions on there that I'm sure he answered no to that he should probably have answered yes to.
One of them dealing with mental instability, one dealing with discharge from the military under dishonorable conditions, which this probably fits into. The fact that he, you know, spent time in jail that was never put on this form. If he answered yes to any one of the four questions on that particular form, he would have been denied purchase of any firearm.
BOLDUAN: Well, and Jonathan, there are multiple layers of confusion on this front. The Texas governor spoke in interviews and said the shooter the way that Abbott put it was sought to get a license to carry a gun in the state of Texas, but the state of Texas denied him the ability to get a gun.
BOLDUAN: I'm just confused.
WACKROW: Listen, in all of this will come out. I think the bigger thing here, Kate, is, you know, gun or no gun, this individual had the propensity to cause this violence, why?
BOLDUAN: Great point.
WACKROW: You know, we keep talking about the gun and the type of gun. This is beyond that at this point in time. This is about the individual and we need as a society to come together to look at, you know, leading indicators in clues as a collective whole to prevent this from happening into the future.
If this guy bought the gun legally, or obtained it illegally, it's separate and apart from the fact the he had the propensity to cause this violent action. He didn't do this in a vacuum. He planned this.
So, there are clues that are out there that will lead investigators into a profile that we need to look forward, we need to stop looking in the rears, and need to be proactive and start looking and creating this culture of security awareness, and come to the center as a group to prevent this type of action from happening again.
BOLDUAN: And Steve, the shooting in and of itself it started outside the church, then moved inside the church and then there's a third crime scene the vehicle miles down the road. In a town this small, I said I grew up in a small town in Indiana, this town is just a -- a few hundred people in the town. What's the challenge of managing a crime scene of this size and the town that size?
MOORE: The big problem you're going to have is multiple jurisdictions coming in. The fact that the town is small makes it easier to actually cordon off the scene. You will have to deal with different federal agencies, local agencies, and carefully parse out the work here.
As far as guns by the way in Texas, you don't need a license to purchase one. I think what Texas was saying is that he didn't have a license to carry one in a concealed way. We can't depend on people's -- on people's goodwill to say the truth on these things.
BOLDUAN: Clearly and, obviously, right. Art, final thought.
RODERICK: Yes. My final thought, last night the minute that I had heard and several of our colleagues that are law enforcement analysts that the mother-in-law or the in-laws attended this particular church that to me was an indicator that this is more of a domestic situation. And he was looking to hurt the family and even though a couple years have passed by, sometimes it takes them that long to reach a point where they just snap.
BOLDUAN: Steve, Art, Jonathan, thank you so much for being here. Maybe we will get some answers. Any moment now, albeit, they will be unsatisfactory to everyone watching this play out from the small town to across the nation.
Texas officials holding a news conference to give an update on the investigation. We will bring you that as soon as they walk up to the microphones.
Also, ahead for us, President Trump's big Asia trip kicking into high gear right now amid new tensions with North Korea. He's already raising eyebrows with some of his comments to Japan's prime minister. We've got it all covered for you. This big trip overseas that's coming up.
BOLDUAN: All right. Any minute now we're expecting an update from law enforcement officials in Sutherland Springs, Texas. It looks like they are getting pretty close and making sure everyone can hear and see everything. We will bring you this as soon as officials walk up to the microphone.
This, of course, is the site of that horrific church massacre that left 26 people dead yesterday, 20 others wounded. We're going to bring this to you as soon as it begins. It should begin any minute now.
But as we're waiting for that, joining me right now on the phone is Dr. Ronald Stewart. He is the head trauma surgeon and chair of the Surgery Department at University Hospital in San Antonio where victims were taken, a level one trauma center. Doctor, can you hear me?
DR. RONALD STEWART, HEAD TRAUMA SURGEON, SURGERY DEPARTMENT, UNIVERSITY HOSPITAL (via telephone): Yes, I can hear you.
BOLDUAN: Thank you so much for getting on the phone. Can you give us an update on the patients that you received yesterday?
STEWART: Yes. We received nine patients. We had one patient pass away, a child.
[11:20:04] And we have two patients who were discharged and then we have three children, two -- three children still in the hospital, two are in critical condition, one in serious and we have three adults, one critical and two in serious condition.
BOLDUAN: Can you describe their injuries?
STEWART: No, I don't think it would be appropriate to describe their injuries right now, but I will say that the patients were, you know, really seriously injured and I feel like the -- our trauma system, which starts with first responders in the field, EMS and our hospitals and our trauma centers did a great job, terrific team effort with respect to them.
BOLDUAN: Yes. I mean, the fact that you have three of the -- I think you said three of the five patients remaining still in your care are children. Doctor, what are special considerations you need to take from a child suffering from a gunshot wound?
STEWART: Well, children are -- have special needs. They're not the same as adults. So, they are different physically and have also, obviously, special psychological needs. All those things come into play and we have a terrific team of -- at our level one pediatric trauma center and so those are the things that go into the care of children different from adults.
BOLDUAN: Absolutely. Doctor, thank you so much for joining me. I will to have to go to head to Sutherland Springs where we're getting an update from officials. Dr. Ronald Stewart, thank you so much for your time. Let's listen in.
FREEMAN MARTIN, TEXAS DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC SAFETY: Almost 24 hours ago -- almost 24 hours ago, this community was struck by unthinkable tragedy and first and foremost, we would like to keep our thoughts and prayers for the families who have lost loved ones, the victims injured, and the entire community who has come together to support each other during this difficult time.
Our investigators worked tirelessly around the clock since the shooting and we will continue to do so to gather all the facts and evidence in this investigation. Here's what we confirm at this point.
The deceased, there are 26 deceased, 23 in the church, two outside the church, and one at the hospital. The total wounded include the total number is 20. There are six in stable condition or have been released. There are four in serious condition and ten that remain in critical condition. So, this number could rise.
We ask that everyone keep them in your thoughts and prayers. The names of the victims will be released as soon as all of the next of kin have been notified. We appreciate everyone's understanding in the sense of the nature and process.
The suspect we can confirm is Devin Patrick Kelley. He is 26-year-old white male. He currently -- he was residing in New Braunfels, Texas. The cause and manner of the - death in this with the shooter will be determined by pathologist during the autopsy.
However, investigators found evidence at the scene that indicates the subject may have died from a self-inflicted gun-shot wound. We can tell you as with all active shooter situations the number one goal of law enforcement is to neutralize the shooter.
In this situation, we had two Good Samaritans that did that for law enforcement. This call went out as an active shooter call. Law enforcement was responding, but we know that a local resident that lives across the street from the church heard what was going on, he armed himself with an AR assault rifle and engaged the suspect.
They engaged in gunfire here at the church. We know that suspect was shot. When he dropped his assault rifle, jumped in his Ford Expedition and fled the scene, this Good Samaritan, our Texas hero, flagged down another young man and jumped in his vehicle and they pursued the suspect.
They pursued -- we know during that pursued the cannot used his cell phone to notify his father he had been shot and didn't think he was going to make it. Subsequently, he shot himself and so that the -- as I said, the pathologist will determine the cause and manner of his death.
We can confirm that the suspect did not have a license to carry. The suspect did have a noncommissioned unarmed private security license similar to a security guard at a concert type situation. There were no disqualifiers entered into the National Crime Information Center database that would preclude him from receiving a private security license.
[11:25:10] Private security background checks including fingerprints and criminal history checks for the Texas Crime Information Center and National Crime Information Center data bases, were checked and he was cleared.
I can tell you there is video recording from inside the church that has been secured and we have viewed the video. The crime scene investigation will go on for days. All the bodies have been removed from the church. Our victims will be autopsied at the Bear County Medical Examiner's Office.
Our suspect was autopsied this morning in Travis County and that information will be forthcoming. We know you have a lot of questions. We'll answer what we can, but to start off with, I think we're going to go to the special agent in charge of ATF to answer questions that he can answer his assistants in the investigation, the suspect, and his purchase of the firearms.
FRED MILANOWSKI, SPECIAL AGENT, ATF HOUSTON FIELD DIVISION: Good morning. My name is Fred Milanowski. I'm the special agent in charge of Houston's field division. First and foremost, our hearts go out to the citizens of this community and the victims' families. It is, obviously, a tragedy for all of us.
What I can confirm there were three firearms that have been recovered. One was the Ruger 556 rifle that was recovered at the scene of the church. Two additional hand guns were recovered from the vehicle of the deceased suspect. One was a Glock 9-millimeter and one was a Ruger 22.
I also can confirm that all three of these firearms were purchased by the deceased suspect. And there's been a lot of information in the media and question about the discharge of this video from the military.
What I will tell you right now is that in general, if an individual has a dishonorable discharge from the military, they would be prohibited from possessing or purchasing firearms and this specific investigation we are early in the investigation, we do not have all the documentation yet.
Until we can get all the documentation to determine exactly what his discharge and conviction in the military, we will not have a determination on if this individual was prohibited from possessing or purchasing firearms. Thank you.
MARTIN: Next, we'll have the Wilson County Sheriff Joe Tackitt.
JOE TACKITT, WILSON COUNTY SHERIFF: I think I spoke to most of you this morning. Things have changed since early morning when I spoke to you and we will be getting back with you all later. And if you need, try to contact me, most of you did get my telephone number. Right now, our hearts are going to out all --
MARTIN: Special Agent-in-Charge Chris Combs.
CHRISTOPHER COMBS, FBI SPECIAL AGENT-IN-CHARGE: Good morning. I'm Christopher Combs. I'm the FBI special agent-in-charge. First of all, our condolences to the community on this horrific act. We're here with our partners, the DPS and the Rangers, we work with every day in support of them, assisting them in any way that we can.
Right now, we're providing some of the evidence teams and support, and also some technical support with phones, video that we talked about, going back to our lab in Quantico. We are here in support of Texas DPS and we will be here with them as long as they need it. Thank you.
MARTIN: One thing everybody wants to know is why did this happen. It's a senseless crime, but we can tell you that there was a domestic situation going on within this family. The suspect's mother-in-law attended this church. We know that he had made threatening -- threatening texts from him.
And we can't go into details about that domestic situation that is continuing to be vetted and thoroughly investigated, but we wanted to get that out there, this was not racially motivated. It wasn't over religious beliefs. There was a domestic situation going on with the family and in-laws and that's the Wilson County District Attorney Aubrey Louis.
AUDREY GOSSETT LOUIS, DISTRICT ATTORNEY: Good morning. We've learned this morning just how small-town America truly is. We've had a tremendous outpouring across the country from people wanting to assist our families in need and I want to make sure that everyone knows how they can help because everyone can help.
You can help by praying for these families and their loved ones, first and foremost, and everyone can do that. The other thing is you can help these families financially and so, we are working and in the process of setting up two bank accounts.