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Nashville Shooting Suspect Arrested; Van Plows Into Pedestrians in Toronto. Aired 4:30-5p ET

Aired April 23, 2018 - 16:30   ET



JIM SCIUTTO, CNN ANCHOR: We're following two major breaking news stories.

We expect to hear any minute now from authorities in Toronto on the van attack that CNN is now told was a deliberate act.

First, though, to Tennessee now, where police say they got him. The alleged shooter who opened fire in a Waffle House is now in custody, ending a 34-hour manhunt.

Travis Reinking is now in police custody. He was found hiding in the woods about a mile from that Waffle House where he killed four people.

I want to bring in CNN's Dianne Gallagher.

Dianne, how did police end up hunting him down? They got a tip from the public?

DIANNE GALLAGHER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: They had a tip from the public, Jim.

This came down to basically people being hammered with his picture, telling them to be on the lookout for it. And it was some construction workers with sharp eyes not too far from here, just down that way, who saw him running through a wooded area near their construction site.

They weren't entirely sure if this was him, so they called, say, hey, we think you should check this out. They brought the narcotics team down there. They said they noticed a path. They went through that area, Jim.

They sort of split up. And we're told by the lieutenant of that team that, when they saw him, one of their agents spotted him, the guy just stopped, he went on ground, laid down, they handcuffed him. He wasn't wearing the same thing. He looked nothing like the description that they have been putting out there from the last time he was spotted nearly 36 hours ago at this point.

But they took him into custody, arrested him. Asked for his lawyer immediately. No comment whatsoever.

SCIUTTO: Just a mile away from that Waffle House there. GALLAGHER: Yes.

SCIUTTO: Was he armed when the police came across him?

GALLAGHER: He was, Jim.

So we talked about before, you remember, when he when he allegedly committed this shooting here at the Waffle House, he was nude, just wearing a jacket.

When he left, somebody saw him about half-an-hour later wearing black pants. Upon arrest, some of the photos that were tweeted out by the Metro National Police Department show him in dark jeans, a ripped maroon shirt, and he had on a backpack.

Inside that backpack, there was a flashlight, there was a holster, and there was a handgun that was loaded, as well as additional ammunition. It just kind of just puts forth what a danger he still presented to this entire community, where it appears that he may have stayed so close, Jim, they don't know what he has been doing for the past 36 hours here.

They do know that they had aerial and canine agents out there searching for him in that exact area the day before, though.

SCIUTTO: Now, he had a history. He was arrested at the White House a number of weeks ago, his guns taken away. But he got them back. How did that happen?

GALLAGHER: He did get them back, Jim.

And that handgun was one of those guns that was taken away from him in Illinois by authorities there after the incident at the White House. He has a long history with sort of these run-ins with police. Most of them seem to deal with mental health, kind of bizarre in some cases.


He thought Taylor Swift was harassing him. He boasted himself to lifeguards. He showed up wearing house coats. He was armed sometimes. So he was no stranger to authorities in Illinois.

They had four weapons. They took them all away. His father told police, according to authorities here, that he gave them back to him. The AR-15 that was taken away from him police say was used in the crime here behind me. They found the other two long guns in his apartment, and, again, that handgun, that was loaded in his backpack when police arrested him.

SCIUTTO: He got his weapons back after threatening the White House. Just incredible.


SCIUTTO: Dianne Gallagher, thanks very much.

You can tune into "ANDERSON COOPER 360" tonight. The hero who stopped the Waffle House shooting joins Anderson live.

And in our other big breaking news story, any moment, Toronto police will give an update of the van plowing into a crowd of people that CNN is now told was a deliberate act.

We are going to bring that to you live as soon as it begins.



SCIUTTO: Welcome back.

We're going to join now a live press conference with an update on that Toronto vehicle attack.


JOHN TORY, MAYOR OF TORONTO, CANADA: ... briefing that have just completed in the last while that we are very well served and were from the first moment that this became known to the authorities, and that I want to assure people that the city is in safe hands at the moment, and that they're continuing with their investigation.

And the deputy chief will have more to say about that in just a moment.

I also want to say that this is a time when this community should come together. These are not the kinds of things that we expect to happen in the city. We hope they don't happen anywhere in the world, but we especially don't expect them to happen Toronto.

But things are as they are. And beyond supporting our first- responders, as they continue to do their work -- and you will hear more about the task that lies in front of them investigating this terrible tragedy -- I hope that we will as a city remind ourselves of the fact that we are admired around the world for being inclusive and for being accepting and understanding and considerate, and that we are united in standing in solidarity, especially with those who have fallen victim to this terrible tragedy today.

Now, I have some very practical matters. I just want to look at my notes to make sure that I don't forget any of these, but I want to convey a number of things to the people of the city of Toronto, especially people in this area.

First of all, we're asking people who live here or who work here, please don't come to the area if you are not already here. The police and the other first-responders have a lot of work to do on a very complicated investigation, and it just helps with the task they have in front of them if people are not in this area.

Secondly, we have asked and we are asking that all of the businesses and buildings that are office buildings where people work during the day, those people would in an orderly fashion close those businesses for the remainder of the day and ask people to go home. It is close to the end of the business day for many people in any

event, but we're asking if people will close businesses, and we're asking for those businesses that are on the east side of Yonge Street, that they use Doris Avenue for those who are trying to leave by car or on foot, and on the west side, that they use Beecroft.

In other words, we're trying to keep people off Yonge Street near the scene of this tragedy, so that the police can continue with their investigation and so that there's little chance of any kind of disturbance of the scene of this incident as possible.

So we're asking that to be the case. I have already asked that the city government building at Mel Lastman Square be closed for the day. And I think again it was close to the closing time. And so again I'm hoping those people are leaving that building in an orderly fashion.

We're asking that people who are coming home to this area, please do the same thing. If they could use Beecroft to the west of Yonge Street to get to where they are going, and if they can use Doris to the east, that would be very helpful.

We have Toronto Police Service officers, and we have as well people from our Transportation Services Department here to help with the traffic flow, so that people can get to where they are going.

But, obviously, people do have to come home. But, again, if they don't have to come home for any reason, then again it is going to be easier if they don't come tonight or if they come at a later hour, so that not everybody is coming here at one time.

With respect to public transportation, as people will know, we have had the subway closed at the North York Centre Station today, but the trains have been passing through. Passengers are asked to get off at Sheppard, and the trains then go through on to Finch and the people are not able to get on or off at North York Centre, and, in fact, the trains are empty between those two stops going northbound.

And we're asking people to take that into account in their travel plans, if possible, to use the York University, Spadina University subway line, or to use other means, because obviously it will be more complicated than normal because we can't offer shuttle buses on the section of Yonge Street that is closed and would expected to remain closed for some period of time.

I would say to people that I have been advised in the briefings that I have been privy to this afternoon that it is likely there will be several days of disruption going on because there is a major investigation, obviously, that is going to be taking place here.

And I hope people will be considerate of that and understand there likely be will be disruptions to traffic and to business and to other things in this area of the city.

But as part of, I'm sure pulling together, we will understand that the sacrifices people have to make in that regard would be reasonable in the context of something terrible as this that has happened, and that we have to get to the bottom of as quickly and efficiently as possible.

Finally, I would say that we have -- are in the process of establishing two hot lines, two response lines for people. The first and most important is for the families of those who are worried about loved ones and trying to inquire about the well-being of their loved ones.

And I don't have the number at this very moment. But they're in the process of being established as we speak, and we will have that information for people very shortly.

And the second one is one that will be established separately, which is for people who can help the police in any way. If people have any information whatsoever about this terrible incident, we're asking that they should contact the police through this number that we will make available to you at the same time as we make the one available for the families and loved ones of those who may have been affected or those who are concerned about that.

And so in introducing Deputy Peter Yuen, may I just say once again and it is a time to be as calm as we can be in the city to understand that our first responders are doing their job, especially our police. I can tell you how incredibly impressed I was with the professionalism and the thoroughness of the people that I saw in action in the room that we just come from and I hope people won't forget that spirit of unity and the spirit of solidarity and that sense of calm that we should have as people go about dealing with an awful tragedy. But nonetheless, they will be dealing with it I'm sure very effectively.

And on that note, I would ask the deputy to brief you from his end and we'll not take any questions today because it is just at a stage where it is too early start into the kinds of things I'm sure you want to know about. Deputy?

PETER YUEN, DEPUTY CHIEF, TORONTO POLICE: Good afternoon. My name is Acting Chief Peter Yuen. I'm here to relate some information to you as to what happened today on Yonge Street. Approximately 1:30 this afternoon, Toronto Police received a number of calls from citizens indicating a vehicle is driving -- was driving on Yonge Street and striking a number of pedestrians between Finch Avenue and Shepherd Avenue. This is -- what's known to us is this. We have located that vehicle and the driver is in custody right now and he's been investigated to the events that took place this afternoon. I also want to offer my condolences to the families and the victims of this tragic event that took place. We can confirm for you tonight right now, we have nine people that are dead, 16 that are injured. Toronto Police Services has mobilized all available resources and I could assure the public, all of our available resources have been brought in to address this tragic situation and to investigate this situation.

And I also want to assure the public, the rest of the city are adequately policed by all other resources. As the Mayor said earlier, we will be establishing two hotlines. One is for victims and families to call for the loved ones, the other one is for more importantly for witnesses to call in because this is going to be a complex investigation. Toronto Police Service will be here for a number of days to shut down a busy stretch of Toronto but this what is required because this is going to be a long investigation, with multiple witnesses. We have a lot of surveillance cameras and namely at 1:30 this afternoon there were a lot of pedestrians out enjoying -- a lot of witnesses enjoying the sunny afternoon. So we're urging anyone that saw anything, please call Crimestoppers or call Toronto Police Service and let us know. Those two hotlines numbers will be published very shortly on our Web site through our social media and Twitter so please stay tuned.

The Chief is on his way back to Toronto. He will be addressing the media later on tonight. So there will be more information to follow later on tonight. At this stage, I ask the city of Toronto, pray for all victims and also to assist the Toronto Police Service in bringing this matter to a successful conclusion. As I stated earlier, we have one person in custody and investigation is on-going. That is all I'm prepared to say right now. Thank you.

JIM SCIUTTO, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: We've just been listening there to an update from Toronto and we learned that this attack worse than we imagined. Police confirming nine people killed, some is 16 people injured. They also confirm that the suspect has been arrested and the vehicle that he used in this attack has been confiscated. But again the headline there, nine dead, 16 injured in this incident in Toronto. We're going to continue to follow that. Please stay with us.


[16:50:00] SCIUTTO: We're back now with breaking news, sad news. Authorities confirming that nine people have been killed, 16 more injured in a van attack in Toronto. Our experts back with me now. Phil Mudd, this looking like much worse of an attack and again shows the power of vehicles potentially as weapons.

PHILIP MUDD, CNN COUNTERTERRORISM ANALYST: It does. But, boy, the single question I would have now is even when we've seen this rash of vehicles used as weapons over the past years, is there anything you could have done about this? By tomorrow morning, we ought to have some initial answers to that question. For example, all the data explosion here, the identification of the vehicle, presumably the driver's license, we saw cell phone, do we have cell phone information on the individual, interviews with his family. The initial question in addition to what I spoke with you about, Jim, earlier that is imminent threat is, were there any signals from the person's past from conversations with family for example that suggested that this was going to happen or was this just one of those tragedies we keep seeing where somebody decided they want to do something evil and there's not much you can do about it if he didn't speak to anybody.

SCIUTTO: All right, remember Juliette Kayyem, after the attack on Halloween last year in New York, there was talk of putting up more of those concrete bollards that you saw around the city to block attacks like this but you really can't bulletproof as it were an entire city can you, from vehicles?

JULIETTE KAYYEM, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: No. Look at the distance that we're talking about. In fact, the Mayor who I thought was really good in this press conference sort of laid out you know, some of the challenges that people living in Toronto are going to have just because of you know, three different potential sites over a mile in a city that has to come back to life tomorrow, right? You just simply can't close down these cities. And so you know, there are ways to try to minimize the risk, especially in sort of high population pedestrian areas and of course looking at who is renting cars. I will just quickly add that the press -- this press conference was interesting. You know, they sort of tried to calm people in Toronto. They said there is no further threat but no discussion of an assailant that they have in custody. So more -- stay tuned I guess. More later.

[16:55:36] SCIUTTO: Again nine people dead, 16 injured in that attack. We're told that five of the injured in critical condition. We expect hospital officials to speak soon and give us an update. Our breaking news coverage continues ahead.