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Authorities Investigate Texas Mass Shooting. Sen. Ted Cruz Speaks To Community. Aired 3-3:30p ET
Aired November 6, 2017 - 3:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: John Berman here in Sutherland Springs, Texas, for CNN's special coverage of the church massacre that is now the deadliest mass shooting in Texas history, but only the deadliest in U.S. history since last month; 26 people are dead, including a 17- month-old baby.
BROOKE BALDWIN, CNN ANCHOR: John, I am so glad you're with me for this hour here live in Texas. I'm Brooke Baldwin in New York.
Breaking at this hour, we are also learning another murder victim was Lula White, the grandmother of the shooter's wife.
Investigators just revealed that the gunman had sent threats to other members of his wife's family.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
FREEMAN MARTIN, REGIONAL DIRECTOR, TEXAS DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC SAFETY: 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 -- she had received 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 want to get that out there that this was not racially motivated. It wasn't over religious beliefs. There was a domestic situation going on within the family and the in-laws.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BERMAN: The investigators here said they have viewed video from inside the First Baptist Church as the violence erupted during the service on Sunday morning.
The gunman opened fire even before he entered the building, and before it was all over, he either killed or wounded nearly half, nearly half of the people inside.
We do have video of a previous service. You can see just how little space there was for anyone to hide. Investigators also just disclosed more details on the attempted getaway of the gunman, who was in the Air Force and court-martialed in 2012 for assaulting his wife and a child.
CNN's Brian Todd is in New Braunfels, Texas, where the shooter lived.
Brian, give us the details about what the gunman did as he was trying to get away.
BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: A very dramatic scene, John, just in the moments after the gunman, Devin Kelley, shot up that church and inflicted the carnage that he did.
Officials say he then emerged from the church, and a samaritan, along with another one, but this one samaritan who approached the church had an AR-style assault rifle himself, and the two exchanged gunfire. The samaritan trying to stop Kelley from inflicting more carnage there.
But they exchanged gunfire. Then Kelley jumped in his vehicle and sped away. Then, according to officials, he made a dramatic phone call to his own father. Take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MARTIN: We know during that pursuit, the suspect used his cell phone to notify his father that he had been shot and didn't think he was going to make it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
TODD: Now, at that point, according to one of the witnesses who chased him, the gunman drove his car into a ditch. The samaritans who had confronted approached him and yelled for him to get out of the car. He did not get out of the car.
At some point there, officials believe he very likely took his own life with a self-inflicted gunshot wound. And also, John, new details we are learning this afternoon about the gunman's past. According to the sheriff's office in El Paso County, Colorado, the gunman, Devin Kelley, was arrested there in August 2014 on an animal cruelty charge.
According to records, the witness who called to report the case saw Devin Kelley jump on a brown and white husky, a dog, and punched the dog several times in the head and neck area, punched him several other times and then dragged the dog away. Officials were called to confront Kelley on that. He denied it, according to the sheriff's office there.
He did get a summons to appear in court, but he never spent any jail time for those charges, John. So he does have an animal cruelty charge in his past as well three years ago in El Paso County, Colorado, where he was living in an R.V. park in Colorado Springs at that time, John.
BERMAN: A very violent past, as it turns out, we are learning today. All right, Brian Todd in New Braunfels, thanks so much -- Brooke, back to you. [15:05:01]
BALDWIN: We also just learned Vice President Mike Pence has announced he will be headed to Sutherland Springs, Texas, Wednesday.
We also want to get an update from a hospital treating several of the church shooting victims.
So, with me by the phone, Leni Kirkman. She is a spokeswoman for University Hospital there in San Antonio.
And so, Leni, thank you so much for hopping on with me.
And just tell me, how many people are you all treating and what's the range in conditions?
LENI KIRKMAN, UNIVERSITY HOSPITAL: Yes.
Right now here at University Hospital, we have six patients, we have three children and three adults. And their conditions range from critical down to serious.
BALDWIN: I know you can't speak in specifics, but when you say three children, how are they doing?
KIRKMAN: It's very serious. So, two of the children are in critical condition. The other is in serious condition. So, they're certainly being well cared for by our pediatric trauma specialists.
And when it's children, it's very different, from certainly a physical perspective -- children's bodies are very different than adults -- but also from a psychological pushback. We are providing them and their families as much support as we possibly can.
BALDWIN: What kind of help can you give these families who are beyond hurting?
So, I started meeting families yesterday here at the hospital, and shock was, of course, the initial -- a lot of grief. It's a very -- as you have been reporting, a very small community. And so everybody knows everybody and there's a lot of families that are related and there are still a lot of families that have been just absolutely devastated.
So the outpouring of support we have seen here at the hospital for this family is just really overwhelming. We had a blood drive and we are still in the midst of a blood drive here at the hospital and just hundreds of people from the community have come to donate blood. And it's from far away, and it's been really wonderful to see that level of support.
BALDWIN: I bet they have. You know, it's in times of tragedy, people in this country show up.
Leni Kirkman, thank you so much there at University Hospital in San Antonio.
And,John Berman, in a town like this, where everyone knew everyone, I wouldn't be even surprised to learn that people at the hospital treating some of these victims knows someone who knows someone in the family. It's just that kind of community.
BERMAN: And it's what makes it harder in so many ways, here, too, because it's a community right now dealing with loss.
Brooke Baldwin, thank you so much.
Joining me now is Lauren McGaughy. She's a reporter with "The Dallas Morning News." Lauren arrived on the scene here yesterday at 2:00 p.m., a couple hours after the shooting.
And, Lauren, you have been spending time with a family the Wards, dealing with unspeakable loss.
LAUREN MCGAUGHY, "THE DALLAS MORNING NEWS": That's right.
The Wards welcomed me into their home yesterday only a few hours after this gunman entered the church. And they were waiting on news from four family members that were at the services. And I stayed with them until about 11:00 or 11:30 at night.
And by that point, they had learned that they'd lost three of those four, two little girls, 5 and 7, and their mother. So they're waiting on one more who is a 5-year-old boy who is in surgery and they're hoping for the best.
BERMAN: So, they have loss. Plus, they have survivors who will deal with that loss forever and ever.
MCGAUGHY: They do.
BERMAN: How are they doing this morning?
MCGAUGHY: It's still pretty unreal for them, they said.
They have been going back and forth to the hospital.
BERMAN: (OFF-MIKE) speaking live right now.
SEN. TED CRUZ (R), TEXAS: I have spent the morning visiting with local leaders, visiting with law enforcement, visiting with the community.
This community, Sutherland Springs, is hurting. It's hurting with a pain that defies explanation. One family lost nine family members yesterday. I just had the opportunity to visit with Pastor Pomeroy, whose church faced such destruction, who lost his own teenage daughter in the murder spree.
The grief that has struck this community staggers the mind. But I have to tell you, at the same time, even in the hours after this tragedy, there's also inspiration and hope. We are seeing the community come together.
I just visited with pastors from throughout South Texas who have come here to help the victims, to help the families, to help all of those who are grieving.
We have people contributing food and water, supplies, just spontaneously saying, how can we help? We have people who have given to cover the cost of the funerals. We have the Baptist men's group that has given to cover the costs of repairing and rebuilding the church
And in the face of unspeakable evil, we're seeing Texas coming together. We are seeing Texans helping Texans, leaning on each other, and I will tell you the men and women of this community, you're not alone. You are being lifted up by the prayers of literally millions of Texans, millions of Americans, millions of people across the planet.
The kind of evil that would look at a small child and callously murder that child, that's an evil none of us hope ever to see. And yet I want to come with a word of hope for this community that we will come through it and we will come through it leaning on each other.
I will tell you, much like in the wake of Hurricane Harvey, where Texas saw death and devastation and loss, we also saw inspirational unity, and we saw and are seeing the church stepping forward and caring for our brothers and sisters.
That's what we have done before. It's what we are doing now, and it's what we will do going forward.
With that, I'm happy to answer a couple questions.
CRUZ: You know, there aren't words that can make this pain go away.
The pain of a parent losing a child is unspeakable. My understanding is, is that this depraved madman had worshipped at this church before. We have seen this before. Evil -- there is a peculiar evil that can worship God, can pray with people, and then come back and murder those very same people.
I can tell you, as I visited with the pastor, I shared something my father has pointed out before, which is that, in Psalms 23, it tells us, yea, though I go through the valley of death, I will fear no evil.
And the word of encouragement I tried to share is, I think the most powerful word in that entire verse is the word through, through the valley of death. This is a moment of horror, of grief, of agony, and yet with God's grace and with our coming together, we will make it through the valley and to the other side. But this is a community that is going to need prayer. It's going to need help. It's going to need support, and we are seeing Texans come together. We're seeing Americans come together to provide that support.
QUESTION: And do they need gun control now, sir?
CRUZ: You know, it is an unfortunate thing that the immediate place the media goes after any tragedy, after any murder is politicizing it.
We don't need politics right now. You know, I would note, in New York, we saw a terror attack just this week with a truck. Evil is evil is evil and will use the weaponry that is available.
And I'll tell you, one of the most inspirational aspects in the face of this horror was that an ordinary citizen stepped forward to engage the gunman, heard about what was happening and just in the moments that it transpired, went, got his own rifle, and engaged the gunman in an active gunfire.
I have toured the crime scene just a few minutes ago, saw where that private citizen hid behind a car and took incoming shots from the gunman behind him and, because of that individual's bravery, shot the gunman, and as a result, stopped this murder spree.
I asked multiple law enforcement agents what would have happened had this private citizen not stepped forward to engage. And to a person, every law enforcement person I talked to said the death toll could have been much, much higher, that the reason this depraved gunman finally gave up, got in the car and fled and didn't murder more is precisely because one individual demonstrated bravery and courage.
We need to be celebrating that bravery and courage. We need to be celebrating the compassion and love and unity. Evil tragically will always be with us, but so will good.
BERMAN: Listening to Senator Ted Cruz right there.
He was giving his condolences to the victims of the 26 people, the 26 people who died in the First Baptist Church behind me.
He talked about the unspeakable evil that was perpetrated inside that building. And he also discussed the gun control debate and the legitimate questions BALDWIN: how this man with such a violent past obtained a gun.
Ted Cruz, the senator, would not like to see that discussion right now. Nevertheless, I think the discussion is very much on.
Back with me is Lauren McGaughy of "The Dallas Morning News."
Lauren, we were talking about the families of the people inside that building, the Wards. They lost two children.
BERMAN: The mother died.
BERMAN: Yet there are two children who survived, along with the father, who works night and wasn't at that service. Talk to me about their plans going forward.
MCGAUGHY: Well, the father is at the hospital.
He is waiting on news about his youngest son, Ryland, who is 5. Ryland was shot four times, twice in the stomach, and once in the arm and once in the groin. And they have started a GoFundMe campaign, because, as you can imagine, not only are they going to be dealing with medical bills for young Ryland for potentially months, if not years, but a lot of what people have told me in this town is that people are going to struggle with burial costs.
And finding a place to bury these people, paying for it is going to be a real struggle for a lot of people. And so that's, you know, a side of the initial getting used to this idea, which still seems unreal to a lot of people, is, what do we do next? How do we handle this?
BERMAN: Can you imagine being him this morning, having to deal with the burial place for your wife and your two kids?
MCGAUGHY: I don't -- I think he's probably -- the family has started those GoFundMe campaigns, because he's -- right now, he's just at the bedside of his son.
BERMAN: And the surviving daughter, you were telling me, had her glasses shot off?
MCGAUGHY: Yes, a bullet hit her glasses, which fell off her face, but she's fine. She's not injured.
BERMAN: And one of the more remarkable things, we heard Senator Cruz talking about the love in this community and how people have come together.
And one of the things that struck me about what you have written over the last several hours is this family that has been dealing with so much loss, can't do enough for you. They're welcoming you into their house. They want to give you food and make sure you have everything you need.
MCGAUGHY: Yes. This is Texas, and we saw it with the hurricane, and we're seeing it now. It is a very welcoming people. I have seen the Wards turn away a lot of other reporters, but they have kind of taken me under their wing and grandma Lupe is making me breakfast and coffee, and they're just -- they're such a sweet family and I thank them for that.
BERMAN: Well, please give grandma Lupe our love.
MCGAUGHY: We will.
BERMAN: Thank you for what you're doing in telling their story. It's their story that I should we should be hearing today. And we've got to be rallying behind that family, because they have a long road ahead of them.
MCGAUGHY: They do.
BERMAN: Lauren McGaughy, thanks so much -- Brooke.
BALDWIN: Needing help with burial costs. Just think about that.
And thank Lauren for all of her reporting. I just retweeted her helping with the Wards of GoFundMe page. Just want to help in any way we possibly can. John Berman, thank you in Texas there.
We do have more on that story out of out of Sutherland Springs, including an interview with the relative of one of the heroes who jumped into action before police arrived on the scene, engaging the gunman in a shoot-out while he was barefoot and had just run out from his home, following him in a high-speed chase for 11 miles, the remarkable story coming up.
Also ahead, a new development in the attack against U.S. Senator Rand Paul, broken ribs, bruised lung after he was apparently attacked by his neighbor. Why did this happen? What was the motive? Moments ago, the attorney for the accused attacker released a statement. His side of the story -- coming up here on CNN.
BALDWIN: In a span of just over a month, we have had two of the deadliest shootings in modern U.S. history.
This latest in Sutherland Springs, Texas, where this gunman killed 26 people during a church service on Sunday morning.
Sadly, it's just becoming far too common across this country.
Tom Foreman is with me now, just to put it all in perspective for us -- Tom.
TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Brooke.
Let's take a look at the numbers and what you just mentioned there, the way things have changed here. This was Las Vegas, which we had October 1, 58 people killed. The Pulse nightclub back in 2016, 49 killed. Virginia Tech, 32 killed. Sandy Hook, 27 killed.
And now the First Baptist Church there in Texas, 26 killed. You will notice Columbine High School, which was a shocking, terrible event at the time, is now not in the top five.
What does this tell us? Well, we can look at that period of time you're talking about, a little bit more than a month here, 58 killed, 26 killed, and then you try to reconcile it with this other number you have seen thrown around a lot out there, which is the number of mass shootings, 310 days -- in the past 310 days, 307 mass shootings.
How can that be with the numbers being the way they are? Many people ask that, because they look out there and say I did not hear about all of these other ones. Well, it has to do with the methodology of Gun Violence Archive, which is the group behind these numbers.
They're saying any time four people, not counting the shooter, wind up being shot, not necessarily killed either, in any kind of event, it could be gang violence and it could be domestic violence and it could be a robbery gone wrong. It doesn't matter.
Any of those, they count a mass shooting, as long as it's four people or more. So, that may be at odds with what a lot of people out there consider a mass shooting like Columbine or Pulse nightclub, where it's very clearly the case.
But if you accept their definition, then this is what you see in terms of the change over recent years. You see it moving up from 273 here to 233 in 2015 and 383.
But I will tell you, Brooke, the number that probably matters more for people who consider gun violence an important issue in this country is not this, but a number out of the CDC last Friday. The CDC had one of its latest reports where they said, in 2015 and 2016, after 15 years of gun violence and gun fatalities overall being about level in this country, for those two years, both years, it ticked up slightly.
As much as these kinds of shootings, especially the ones like we saw in Texas, get attention and get headlines, the fact that the Brady Campaign will say slightly more than 30 people every day are being murdered in gun violence around this country. A lot of people would argue that that is something that matters a great deal, too, beyond these horrific headlines that shock us all so much, the continual march of this.
So for people who consider that an issue, those CDC numbers really matter here.
BALDWIN: Yes, they do.
Tom Foreman, thank you.
I want to talk now to someone who knows this kind of tragedy all too well. He's the police chief in Orlando. Tom was just talking about that Pulse nightclub shooting, right? So, this chief helped with the investigation after 49 people were murdered at that nightclub last year.
Chief John Mina is with me now.
So, Chief, I would say nice to see you, but I actually wish we didn't have to have this conversation, you know?
Let me begin with this. We just heard Ted Cruz, Texas senator, you know, thoughts and prayers, of course, for the families in the community, but when the question comes instantly from a member of the media gun violence, doesn't want to go there.
The president traveling, and he was in Japan -- and talk about a place that doesn't have this problem at all -- saying that this is a mental health issue.
You have stood there. You have seen things you can't unsee. How do we stop this?
JOHN MINA, ORLANDO, FLORIDA, POLICE CHIEF: Well, first, my heart goes out to the people and the victims and families that are affected in Sutherland Springs that are dealing with this tragedy.
And it's a very complex issue. How do we stop this? Yes, it is a gun control issue. It's also a mental health issue and it's also a domestic violence issue. I think there are more guns than people in this country right now.
So, this problem is not going away. We need to have those hard conversations. What can we do right now? Nothing is going to get settled in the next few days, so I think people need to put measures in place in their own lives that are going to help them feel more safe.
BALDWIN: Chief, on the situation and specifically in Texas, we have learned a little bit more about the shooter. We know that he did a year in jail for assaulting his wife and child.
You know, we know that he's apparently had animal cruelty charges for beating up a dog. No one -- perhaps no one could have seen this church shooting coming, but, you know, his in-laws received some sort of texts from him that morning. Did not call police.
How do you -- how do you connect -- are there dots to be connected? How do you respond to all of that?
MINA: These incidents are very hard to predict for law enforcement and that's why we always need the community's help.
In many of these cases, if someone knew something or saw something that concerned them, and yet they didn't reach out to law enforcement, and there are many, many cases throughout the country, positive cases where a member of society, a family member, a parent sees something in their family or their friends and reaches out to law enforcement, and many tragedies are prevented because of that old saying see something say something.
I think that does work in most instances.
BALDWIN: Right. And those are the cases we're not always talking about, right? Because nothing happens, thank goodness.
BALDWIN: But something horrible did happen in Orlando, and we were all there covering it.
And you wrote this 78-page report of how Orlando P.D. responded to the Pulse nightclub shooting. What are the lessons that you have learned that you think law enforcement could apply to this situation?
MINA: Well, any time you have some kind of mass shooting incident, the officers that are going to respond are going to respond based on their training.
And that's what we did during Pulse. And the courageous actions of those officers at Pulse saved dozens and dozens of lives. In the incident in Sutherland Springs, I think it was a citizen, a hero who jumped into action--
BALDWIN: It was.
MINA: -- and also prevented numerous lives from being taken.
BALDWIN: That's exactly right.