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Police: 20 Dead, 26 Wounded In El Paso Shooting. Aired 8-9p ET
Aired August 3, 2019 - 20:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
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REP. WILL HURD, R-TEXAS: -- never been on the screen, or been on the attention of law enforcement, right? We don't know that yet. I'm stating that, if this was another example of how law enforcement has to deal with this lone wolf, the way we do that is improve that information sharing between federal and local law enforcement.
Did this individual case other locations around El Paso? Did he case other cities to determine whether he did this crime? If he cased other locations, did they have a private security? Does that private security know how to do suspicious activity report? If they do look for suspicious activity where are they sharing this?
This is, you know, an opportunity for all places, whether it's, you know, shopping malls, or movie theaters to review their security practices, to make sure they have security there, that they're taking these measures, because unfortunately, this is something that we have to deal with.
We need to make sure that we're focusing on the technology that can help understand these threats that are being used and shared on social media in a way that can help tip and queue for law enforcement to do that prevention piece.
So these are some of the questions that we should be engaging in to prevent this type of thing from happening in the future. And, unfortunately, this is something we've seen too many times.
WOLF BLITZER, CNN LEAD POLITICAL ANCHOR AND THE SITUATION ROOM ANCHOR: It's unfortunately indeed. But unfortunately, it happens every few weeks, sometimes at least every few months, here in the United States. Before I let you go Congressman, I heard this manifesto, you make a very important point. If you see something on social media, if you see something on the Internet, you see someone writing a manifesto, as this is being called, that's full of hate of a very the various group of people, you have to notify authorities right away. You can't just dismiss it as some stupid thing going on. This is potentially a huge threat to a lot of people.
HURD: Wolf, 100 percent. Screenshot it. If you're looking at it on your phone, screenshot it, and then do a search for whatever city you live in police department. There's guaranteed to be an e-mail where you can send these kinds of things, and then attach that screenshot to an email, and send it to local police.
You can actually find the FBI's phone number in the phone book. I don't know how many people still use phone books, but that is something you can go on the Internet and find that as well. This threat is real, and I can give you an analogy from the terrorism world, and doing being involved in counterterrorism.
The number of terrorists that got stopped and prevented and identified, because they share stuff on social media is incredibly high. And so, everybody has to be vigilant. When you see this stuff, you have to notify people, because oftentimes, if a police goes and knocks on someone's door, or talks to someone's parents that could be enough to prevent them from doing something heinous like what just happened in El Paso. That is something that every American has the duty and responsibility to do if they see it if.
BLITZER: If you see something, say something, and certainly if you see something online that is full of hate of various people, you must notify authorities as quickly as possible. Hopefully it's nothing serious, but sometimes it could be very, very serious indeed. Congressman Will Hurd of Texas, thank you so much for joining us.
HURD: Wolf, thank you for always being there when there's these emergencies and letting people know what's really going on.
BLITZER: Thank you. Unfortunately it's happening way too often. To our viewers here in the United States and around the world, we're following the breaking news out of El Paso, Texas where at least 20 people were killed and 26 people were wounded in a mass shooting. A gunman opened fire on a very busy shopping center forcing men, women and children to run for their lives while others hid wherever they could as gunfire rang out. Witnesses describe some truly terrifying moments.
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UNKNOWN FEMALE: We were in the freezer section, and we heard the shots. At first, we didn't think anything of it. It, kind of, sounded like fireworks, and then they started coming closer together, the shots, were going du-du-du, du-du-du. And then, he was like, is that gunshots?I said, Yes. People were running inside saying there was a shooter. We took off towards the back of the store when the stockroom was. We were pushing people out the way and telling them to go.
And when we did, we ran out towards the back, and the employees were telling us to go into the freight containers in the back where they get the stock out, and we sat there for maybe 20 minutes, and then they told us to come out, and we did because there was elderly and children, and they were getting hot. UNKNOWN MALE: There's a whole bunch of kids up in there. I saying, there was a whole bunch of kids up in there. I just hope nothing happen to the kids. They were out with there parents and stuff. I tried to pick up as many as I could, and bring them out with me. But --
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UNKNOWN FEMALE: I heard a lot of yelling. There was cops with guns and they were saying, Get on your knees. And that is when we just went back to the room scared to death.
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BLITZER: Police have arrested at least one suspect, a 21-year-old white male from Allen, Texas. That's about 600 miles from El Paso. El Paso Police Chief, Greg Allen, discussed what's being described as a manifesto suspected of having been posted by the gunman, saying the manifesto has a, quote, Nexus to a hate crime.
There is right now an urgent plea for blood donations to help the wounded and El Paso residents they have been answering the call. They've been queuing up to donate blood.
Our Crime and Justice Reporter, Shimon Prokupecz, is following the investigation for us. Also with us, John Matthews, the former Dallas police officer, author of the book Mass Shootings: Six Steps to Survival.
Shimon, first of all, to you. This manifesto, as it's being called, they're reviewing that very closely. They're trying to make sure 100 percent confirmation it was written by this 21-year-old white suspect.
SHIMON PROKUPECZ, CNN CRIME AND JUSTICE REPORTER: Right. And they seem to be farther along in that process than they were probably a couple of hours ago. The fact that you had the police chief come out there and say that there is a nexus to a hate crime. They're looking at this. They're looking at this as a possible hate crime. That's exactly what he means by that, that this shooter went in there, you know, with hate and wanting to hurt a certain group of people. So that is very significant. They clearly have some information already outside this manifesto, perhaps, that is leading them in that theory.
The other thing we learned is that he's going to be facing the death penalty. This is a capital crime. And so, that is significant as well. And also, the FBI, the FBI is on scene there. They're going to help the local authorities. They, too, could potentially bring some kind of charges here after the state officials charge.
The FBI special agent in charge there in charge. They're saying they're still looking at it. Important here is that they're out there now. The FBI is heading to other parts of the state. Remember, this individual drove some 10 hours to get to this location. He chose this area for a specific reason. He drove there. He got there. And now, they're going to go back and trace his steps.
And obviously, the manifesto, that is going to be one of the key pieces of evidence in all of this. And then the victims, we have yet to learn about them, about so many of the people who were inside this Walmart. Back-to-school shopping with the kids, with their parents, with their family. Some of them hiding, running for their lives, and now some of them dead. So we have still yet to tell that story. And that obviously is going to be one of the most important parts of this story.
BLITZER: Let me bring in John Matthews, the former police officer, who has some serious thoughts on what is going on. You were struck, I take it, by some of the witness accounts, John. What stood out to you?
JOHN MATTHEWS, FORMER POLICE CHIEF: Well, let me tell you. First, our thoughts and prayers go from Dallas out to our friends in El Paso. We know the pain of a mass shooting here in Dallas, and we know it's going to be a long recovery for them.
From the witness, hearing them talk about -- I was encouraged that they had drills in the mall just a month ago that helped them prepare and to plan for this event. I was very encouraged when I heard employees give accounts, your eyewitness accounts you just played, that employees actually grabbed citizens and grabbed members of the public. They sheltered them. They brought them inside. They got them out of the line of fire.
And so, as somebody who's been studying these shootings for a couple of decades, I am encouraged about our citizens being proactive, about them training, about them planning, and about them helping save the lives of other people. I think that is so, so important. I don't want that to get lost in all of the other details of this investigation.
BLITZER: So when you wrote your book, Mass Shootings: Six Steps to Survival, John, and you heard some of the steps that individuals were taking to survive this mass shooting. What's stood out to you on that front?
MATTHEWS: Well, I heard witnesses say they heard the shots, and instead of just dismissing it, like we've heard in the past, they actually drove away from the scene, they grabbed their children, they put him in a car, they found cover behind vehicles, or behind barriers.
And as we said, some of the employees, they sheltered witnesses. They brought them inside. They locked the doors and they tried calming them down. That is important, it's sheltering them to let them know, hey, if you need to use a phone, here's a phone. Call somebody, let them know we're OK. And they didn't panic. They really went about it in a manner that saves lives.
And yes, I want to mention something else. Listening to the press conference and hearing about the manifesto, hearing that the suspect surrendered. You know, I've been studying this a long time. And to me, it says that this suspect has a message that he wants out.
JOHN MATTHEWS, FORMER POLICE CHIEF: And maybe he wants it out in court. That's why he surrendered.
BLITZER: Of course, if there is this manifesto, and they could 100 percent confirm that it was written by this 21-year-old white male who is now in police custody, it presumably, John, is full of hate, hate of various individuals. And, you know, how do you deal with that?
MATTHEWS: Well, I was taking notes during the press conference and I wrote down several times social media. He had many postings on social media that were filled with hate. He apparently had a manifesto that can be tied back to him that is filled with hate. He surrendered. And that is a huge, huge indicator, Wolf. You know, the shooter in Norway several years ago, surrendered after killing many, many people. And when they asked him, why did you just surrender, he said, because I want my day in court. I want everybody to hear what I have to say.
I don't know if this suspect is thinking the same thing, but if he's posting on social media for everyone to see, if he's writing a manifesto, and if he willingly just drops his weapon, and surrenders to police, and lets them take him into custody. Look at Gilroy. Just last week, even after officers shot the suspect, the suspect took his own life. That's more the norm, not simply giving up.
Maybe this suspect, and we'll find out in weeks and months to come, he's trying to get a message across, a hateful, deadly message that started with the carnage today.
BLITZER: And said he obviously left Allen, Texas, and drove all the way to El Paso, about 600 miles, to send some, sort of, very sick and destructive message. We'll learn a lot more about that, I assume, in the coming hours and days. Everybody stick around. We're going to have a lot more special coverage on all the breaking news out of El Paso, Texas. Twenty confirmed dead, 26 wounded. Much more right after this.
BLITZER: We just heard from the police authorities in El Paso, Texas. They have confirmed at least 20 people have been killed at that mass shooting at El Paso, Texas. At least 26 people have been wounded, young, old, children. And that there was apparently some sort of, quote, Nexus to a hate crime, involving the so-called manifesto that apparently has been associated with this 21-year-old white male. The suspect.
Polo Sandoval is joining us right now. He's been working his sources. Polo, you've been following the condition of the victims. What can you tell us? POLO SANDOVAL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Wolf, at least 26 right now that are recovering in hospitals throughout the El Paso area. And now, we are hearing from the Mexican government that at least six of those who were injured were Mexican citizens, or at least are Mexican citizens, based on the latest Tweet that was just posted a little while ago by Mexico's foreign relations secretary.
The secretary there basically laying out the victims here, which include a man and a woman that are in their 40s, and a little girl, just 10 years old, who was shot in the leg. All three of them are said to be in the hospital there in El Paso. And then, the other three, not a whole lot of information being offered. They're only saying that they are also being treated at El Paso area hospitals, Wolf.
But that's important as it really does speak to the international nature now of this latest mass shooting to happen in the United States. This Walmart, a mere five or six miles from Sudduth (inaudible). So it certainly would not be unusual for many Mexican families to make that drive across the border to get a bulk of their shopping done. It happens every day all, along the Southwest Border.
So it's certainly something to consider, particularly as we hear investigators today say that they are looking into the possibility, or at least exploring that this might eventually be investigated as a hate crime. But at this point, again, as we continue to get confirmation from authorities that at least 20 people dead, we now -- and 26 injured.
And among those 26, we know at least six of them are Mexican nationals. We're continuing to dig for more information, Wolf, on just who these victims are. Growing up in a border region, I can tell you that these are very close knit communities. So word travels fast, whether it be good news, or in this case tragic.
BLITZER: This case, very, very tragic indeed. Horrific news. Polo, I know you're working your sources. We'll get back to you. Charles Ramsey is still with us. He's our CNN Law Enforcement Officer. He's the former Washington, D.C. police chief. Chief Ramsey, you listened to the news conference from the governor, from the mayor, the police chief, the FBI, all of the authorities. What did you think?
CHARLES RAMSEY, FORMER POLICE CHIEF, PHILADELPHIA & WASHINGTON D.C.: Well, there's going to be a lot that they can't say, because this individual is alive. So they're also thinking about the evidence, and the fact that they have to present it in court, so you don't want to taint anything. But we've still got a lot from it. I was very interested in Mr. Matthews and what he had to say as to why, perhaps, this individual surrendered as opposed to what they normally do, either shoot themselves, or police officers wind up killing them.
If that's the case, then he's probably cooperating and talking and they can find out why he did this aside from just reading the manifesto. But more importantly, what set him over the edge? I mean, he's filled with hate. But what made him drive from Allen all the way to El Paso? Obviously, he wanted to be at the border. So this had something to do probably with that. But they'll get a little more clarity around that if he's talking.
Is anybody else involved? Did anybody else know about it? Is he part of a group? Was he a lone wolf? There are a lot of questions when it comes to this, and the fact that he's alive, if he's willing to talk. We're going to learn an awful lot as time goes on.
The one thing I found interesting was that, you know, the chief used the word wounded, which indicates for there to be a gunshot wound, and maybe shrapnel, whatever. But you'd have to think you're a lot more people injured just trying to escape the area. So it's not limited to just the 46, or so people that we know about. There's probably others.
And Juliette Kayyem earlier mentioned that some people, because of their immigration status, might even be afraid to go to a hospital. So this is truly a horrific thing that just took place down there in El Paso. And hopefully, you know, we find out more very shortly. It probably is connected to a hate crime, even though the FBI doesn't want to say until they're a hundred percent certain --
RAMSEY: -- because he hasn't been charged with anything yet.
BLITZER: And they want to make sure that so-called manifesto has actually been written --
BLITZER: -- by this 21-year-old suspect. Congressman Will Hurd made a very important point, Chief Ramsey, that if you see something on social media --
BLITZER: -- you see something are posted, whether on Facebook, or Internet, or Twitter, or any place on the Internet, that is really potentially threatening. Don't just write it off as someone making stupid comments, strange comments, weird comments. Notify authorities, right?
RAMSEY: I mean, he's absolutely right. I mean, Congress made a lot of good points, but that certainly is one of the more important ones. I mean, it's incumbent upon all of us as citizens. If we see something like that, bring it to authorities. Don't write it off and say, well, it's probably nothing. Maybe 10 times it turns out to be nothing, its that one time it makes a difference.
And so, the responsibility -- if you hear something, or see somebody saying things like that, let us know. Police can't be everywhere. We can't monitor everything. You know, these people want to be heard. That's why they put it out on social media. And so, you know, we need to really be vigilant when it comes to seeing and saying, well, this is not normal. We need to let somebody know about this and let them check it out. BLITZER: The old adage, you see something, you say something. In this specific case, maybe there were people that saw what this individual allegedly was posting on social media, the so-called manifesto that may have been full of hate for various communities here in the United States, but they just, you know, ignored it, saying, hey, this is some nut.
RAMSEY: I can almost guarantee you somebody else saw it. He wasn't writing that for himself or to himself. Otherwise, he wouldn't have posted it on social media. So somebody knows something. Either he's part of a larger group, or maybe he's got a closed network of people that he posts to. I don't know. And they'll find out pretty soon. But somebody saw something and it's incumbent upon them to notify authorities if they do see that. Don't take anything for granted.
BLITZER: Absolutely. Twenty people are dead, 26 people are wounded, several of them in life threatening, very serious situations right now.
BLITZER: We're hoping that they survive. Chief Ramsey, I want you to stand by. To our viewers, our breaking news coverage of this mass shooting in El Paso, Texas, will continue after a quick break. Alex Marquardt is standing by to take over.
ALEX MARQUARDT, CNN SENIOR NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: You're alive in the CNN Newsroom. I'm Alex Marquardt. We want to bring you the very latest now on the breaking news from the mass shooting in El Paso, Texas. At least 20 people have been confirmed killed, more than two dozen others wounded, and many of them critically. Those new numbers straight from the Texas governor, Greg Abbott, moments ago, who just gave a news conference. Take a listen.
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GREG ABBOTT, GOVERNOR OF THE STATE OF TEXAS: We, as a State, unite in support of these victims and their family members. We want to do all we can to help them, to assist them. We pray that God can be with those who've been harmed in any way. And bind up their wounds.
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MARQUARDT: That's Texas Governor, Greg Abbott, there. Police have a suspect in custody and say that the threat is now over. They have not named the suspect, but three sources have identified him as 21-year- old Patrick Crusius of Allen, Texas.
Federal and state sources tell CNN that investigators are reviewing an online writing posted just days ago that may speak to a motive. The sources say that the online posting is believed to have been written by the suspect, but that not that has not been confirmed.
CNN's Shimon Prokupecz joins me live. Shimon, there are new details about the suspect and about this online posting.
PROKUPECZ: Yes. So significant here, because the police have now said that they are investigating this manifesto. This posting that he made on -- it's a web site -- it's called 8chan. Because of that, we are now going to report some details concerning what was contained in that manifesto. The police saying they are investigating this as a possible hate crime, because of some of these postings.
And so, essentially, it was a four-page document that officials believe and are investigating that he wrote. And what it essentially says is that he feared an influential Hispanic population in Texas would make the state a Democratic stronghold. He wrote that the Republican Party is also terrible, because the Republican Party is pro-corporation, which can lead to more immigration. And then, it goes on to say that his thoughts, his feelings about immigration, about Hispanics predate President Trump, and that he held these beliefs for years.
Now, he's only 21 years old, now facing the death penalty. He also wrote that it took him less than a month to plan this shooting. He describes the type of weapons that he intended to use, the gear that he was going to wear. Explaining that sometimes when you fire this style of a weapon, it gets too hot. So then, you have to use gloves.
He also wrote that he did expect to die. So what's not clear yet is why he ultimately surrendered to the police. He did expect to either get killed here, or perhaps maybe take his own life. But in the end, it is interesting that he decided to surrender. And from what we're told, he has been cooperating with the police. They've been questioning him. They've been interviewing him.
This is all very significant for investigators, obviously, for many, many reasons. One of the biggest things I think that the investigators have said is that if this is, in fact, linked to him, and they are looking at that, that this is potentially a hate crime. He is facing the death penalty and it's going to open, obviously, all sorts of avenues for investigators here to determine what really led up to this. Where did this all start? How did all this start? And this manifesto certainly an important part of this investigation.
MARQUARDT: Shimon, we just heard Charles Ramsey calling on people to -- if they see something, say something. Do we know how long this had been up on this website, 8chan? And for those in our audience who don't know what a toxic cesspool this website really is, can you tell them?
SHIMON PROKUPECZ, CNN CRIME AND JUSTICE REPORTER: Yes. It's an online message for it, right? And essentially, there's a lot of racist and anti-sematic conspiracy theories. That's what this website is really about. And there are all sorts of postings like this. We've heard other people posting stuff like this on these kinds of websites. And it's always a concern for law enforcement. And there's always the concern, as the chief has said and others have said, there's going to be copycats.
And people do review this information. It's people who consume this, they are on these websites. They read this stuff, and it's always a concern that this kind of information could bring someone to the edge, could finally bring someone who may be thinking about doing something like this and then they're consuming all of this information, reading things on these websites. And then finally, because of consuming all of this information, it brings them to the edge and they get to the point where they, you know, cause such harm as we see today.
It's a huge concern for law enforcement, for the FBI. And it's really a problem now that is much bigger probably than any of us have really realized, and it's going to have to take law enforcement. They're trying to get people out there to come forward as they do in terrorism cases, it's that whole campaign, if you see something, say something.
Now, we're talking about things that are happening in this country, from folks who are not linked to any kind of overseas terrorism group. It's people who are unleashing these kinds of attacks, who are from this country and are unleashing this kind of attack in this country. It's a huge concern for law enforcement.
MARQUARDT: Right. And that site in particular really a breeding ground, this is not the first time that we've seen so-called manifestos posted on there before attacks like this.
Shimon, stand by. Thanks for your reporting. We are going to get back to you very quickly. But I want to go to former assistant secretary of Homeland Security, Juliette Kayyem.
Juliette, first, your reaction to what Shimon was just reporting about the shooter's online posting.
JULIETTE KAYYEM, FORMER ASSISTANT SECRETARY OF HOMELAND SECURITY: So this is, clearly, a homeland security problem. It has to do with terrorism or a form of terrorism in which individuals believe in a certain ideology that is targeted against other individuals, the others, whether it's African-Americans or immigrants or whoever else.
And so Christopher Wray, the director of the FBI, testified just about a week ago, this is the number one terrorism problem in the United States right now. It is white supremacy. Why is it happening now? It's a combination of factors. One is a sense of what many of us in terrorism call sort of displacement theory of white supremacy. It isn't simply racism. It is a belief that the existence of the immigrant or the existence of the "other" somehow makes my own existence impossible.
Then it is the social media networks where that belief is given all sorts of authority and everyone is sort of cheering each other on, just as you guys were just discussing about 4chan, but there's other platforms that do that.
And then the third piece is a political dialogue that does not shame the white supremacy. So in other words, I don't believe white supremacy will go away, you just simply have to shame it. You have to make it not acceptable. And what's happening now is those three things are coming together in the United States, with weaponry, with soft targets, leading to this exceptional rise in white supremacy.
It's far passing ISIS now. No one in counterterrorism or Homeland Security stays up late at night that much about ISIS, as compared to this phenomenon that we're seeing that has to be discussed, has to be named. It is an American problem about white supremacy in this day and age.
MARQUARDT: Juliette, we also now know that the shooter drove from Allen, Texas all the way to El Paso, which is over nine and a half hours. And you just heard of what Shimon said, in that manifesto, the shooter referencing immigrants and politics.
Before we got those details, we did hear from the authorities who said that that posting, that document indicates some nexus to a potential hate crime. That seems like a pretty big understatement.
KAYYEM: Yes, it is. And it's this weird sense that if we don't name it, then we don't have to deal with it. I'm just on air now telling you, we need to name it, which because it is the thing that is -- it is the form of ideological radicalization that is killing more Americans today than ISIS. It's of the greatest concern to the FBI because it's being amplified through social media, through the public sphere. And it's not being sufficiently shamed. That's why people like Chief Ramsey say, if you see something, you've got to expose it, because these people have to be shamed in believing that this -- that this attitude is not appropriate.
[20:35:05] So it's not surprising to me. I was sort of hinting at it earlier when I was on air. One does not drive nine to 10 hours to a border community, to a Wal-Mart in a part of the city that is predominantly Hispanic and is well-known, it took me five minutes to figure out what this Wal-Mart was, well-known to be the sort of border Wal-Mart where people from Mexico, or immigrants, and even possibly undocumented immigrants, go to shop.
So this -- I mean -- you know, these are the facts. You can't sort of pretend like it's not happening now, because if we then address it, right, then maybe we will be able to calm or tone things down. But this is a form of terrorism that is -- you know, this is -- unfortunately, this is America today.
MARQUARDT: And you tweeted that very powerfully not long ago, "Weekends in America," this is what we see all too often. To that last point, you were referencing director Chris Wray of the FBI. If this is indeed a hate crime, if I'm not mistaken, that then becomes -- that means it is domestic terrorism, right? And we did hear Congressman Will Hurd, just moments ago, telling our Wolf Blitzer that this is domestic terrorism. So in your mind, that's what this is?
KAYYEM: Yes. Right. Exactly. So we're kind of careful. There's a difference between you and I, talking sort of, you know, people in the terrorism and national security space, and what a prosecutor might be willing to bring.
So a hate crime is evidence of an attack against a group because of their national origin, race, religion, or whatever else. Terrorism is a crime that is based on a belief. It becomes a little bit more complicated for lawyers. Some statutes don't cover it. That's sort of irrelevant today. What we know is that this is a hate crime that was targeted against individuals that were named, a group of individuals that were named by the perpetrator in this information.
This is -- look, you know, he may have held these beliefs for a long time. He's quite young. I mean --
MARQUARDT: Right. Just 21.
KAYYEM: -- I don't know how long he held them for. But there's an amplification going on that the FBI is noting that it's causing this rise in terrorism incidents. As I said, we just can't shy away from it anymore, believing that in some way ISIS is our threat.
I look at the numbers, I'm a homeland security expert. I look at the numbers. I'm not worried about ISIS as much anymore.
MARQUARDT: All right. Juliette Kayyem, thank you for your thoughts and your voice all afternoon and into the evening. Thank you.
All right. We're going to take a quick break. We'll be right back.
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[20:40:33] UNIDENTIFIED MALE: -- everybody in the McDonald's, wondering what happened. I'm looking to see what's going on and more people are coming in and then I hear, boom, boom, boom. We all ran out of McDonald's out of the emergency door.
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MARQUARDT: We are staying on this breaking news out of El Paso, Texas. A mass shooting that we now know has left at least 20 people dead and wounded another 26. Those numbers confirmed coming directly from Texas governor, Greg Abbott, at a press conference just a short time ago.
Our Ed Lavandera now joins me from the scene in El Paso. Ed, can you describe the scene for us now nine hours later?
ED LAVANDERA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hey, Alex. Well, we are here on the back side -- back side of this Wal-Mart store. I'll kind of give you a picture of the scene here. This is the side of the Wal-Mart store. You see that orange paint along that wall there. Right around the corner from there is the entrance to the Wal-Mart. We can see from this vantage point, the crime scene tape, and investigators coming in and out of that entrance area.
You can get a sense of just how packed this place was and the shopping center was at the moment of the shooting. You can see all of the customers' cars still sitting here in the parking lot, hours after the shooting. So this is basically a scene frozen in time from what unfolded here earlier today.
So crime scene investigators inside that area. This entire shopping center, which is usually very congested with people especially on a Saturday full of shoppers, not only here from here in El Paso, but this particular shopping center, Alex, also very popular with Mexicans who live just across the border in Juarez, Mexico.
As you look out there into the distance, you can see that all of that sprawl. The majority of what you see back there, in the distance, is Juarez, Mexico. So this Wal-Mart sitting here very close to the border between El Paso and Juarez, and that is why you see so many people coming from Mexico. It's a very popular destination for shopping, especially people getting ready to go back to school.
And you can get a sense here from the parking lot. See just how many people were inside this Wal-Mart when this shooting unfolded earlier today.
MARQUARDT: And the fact, Ed, that this town, the city, is so close to the border, is a very important part of this story. In addition to what you were saying about the cars there, we do understand that those who have been killed will remain at the scene until it is cleared.
Ed, I want to talk to you about the most important part of this story, the victims. What more are we learning about them? We understand that among the dead and the wounded, there are also some Mexican citizens.
LAVANDERA: Yes, we understand that there are a number of Mexican nationals who were killed here earlier today, as well as some of those that were injured as well.
So, you know, the full scope of just the personal stories of the lives that were cut short here today, we do not have a full grasp on that yet, and that is clearly the most important aspect of this story. And that will continue to unfold here in the coming hours. You can imagine what those families are enduring right now, especially those who are in hospitals fighting for their lives.
And we understand that there are a number of victims that are undergoing surgeries in local hospitals. Those people are in desperate fight for their lives as well.
[20:45:01] MARQUARDT: Ed, I know you've just gotten there. But you also know El Paso really, really well. You and I have been on shows together before and you've been from El Paso a number of times.
Can you tell me how that community is reacting, how they would react in the wake of such a horrific incident?
LAVANDERA: Well, I think that there's a feeling of stunned disbelief throughout the city. If you remember, earlier this year, there was a big rally here between President Trump and Beto O'Rourke, essentially, where there was a lot of talk about the president described El Paso as one of the most dangerous places in the city, that was something that had ruffled the feathers of many citizens here in El Paso and there had been this counter rally here to his visit.
And really, the point of the story is to kind of shed the light on the fact that many people here in this city considered themselves living in one of the safest places in the United States, despite its close proximity to one of the most dangerous cities on the planet. So many people here had always prided themselves on the safety and the sense of security that they felt here in this city.
So obviously that rattled in a horrifying way today, and that is what many people are coming to terms with right now.
MARQUARDT: All right. Ed Lavandera there on the scene in El Paso. We are lucky to have you there and we will be coming back to you very soon.
But in the meantime, I want to get to James Gagliano, a CNN law enforcement analyst and retired FBI agent.
James, so much to discuss, so many new details in the last hour, really, since state, local, and federal authorities gave that press conference. I want to start with this manifesto, this document that the shooter posted which was titled "I'm probably going to die today." He didn't, though. He didn't die. He was taken into custody without shots being fired. What does that tell us?
JAMES GAGLIANO, CNN LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: Well, first of all, when these mass shootings happen, and again, Alex, for the viewer, a mass shooting is defined by the FBI as four or more people killed not including the shooter. When these things happen, it generally breaks down, the law enforcement gets here between five or seven minutes. In this instance, I think the police chief, Greg Allen, advised law enforcement who's on scene in six minutes.
So, usually what happens is, the shooter, before police gets there either leaves, kills himself, or somebody else on scene interdicts himself. This is very rare, because after police get there, the options are the police arrests the person, the person commits suicide, or the person is interdicted or shot by police.
The amount of times that the person that perpetrates something like this, a horrific crime, gets arrested is slim. And let's look at this. We just had a mass shooting in California, what, six days ago.
MARQUARDT: On Sunday.
GAGLIANO: For 2018, 27 mass shootings defined by the FBI as four or more people killed. In 16 states, 85 killed, 128 wounded. And from 2000 to 2017, 799 people killed, 1,418 wounded in 250 different mass shooting events. FBI was very cautious here. They didn't want to call this a hate crime just yet.
But, Alex, as we're looking at this, this is clearly going to be defined as an act of domestic terrorism. I can't see it any other way.
MARQUARDT: Why are they so reluctant to say that now when the indications that we have, which is less than what they have, point -- every arrow points in that direction?
GAGLIANO: As Chief Ramsey pointed out earlier, investigation is still ongoing. You don't want to taint the jury pool and you want to make sure there were no co-conspirators. Did anybody direct this individual do this? Did anyone inspire them to do this?
The FBI breaks down domestic terrorism in four different cases. It's not a one-size-fits-all, but four different ways. Racially motivated violent extremism, which I believe this fits into. Antigovernment, antiauthority, animal rights or environmental extremism and anti- abortion. This looks like racially motivated hate crime.
And a hate crime, as Juliette Kayyem earlier, is a crime of violence that generally predicate and prejudice or bigotry, attacking someone's sexual orientation, their religion, their ethnicity, something like that. That's what this appears to be.
MARQUARDT: OK. James, don't go anywhere. Stay put. I want to bring in Brian Childress, a former police chief in Valdosta, Georgia.
Brian, what are the authorities doing as we speak? And I should note that there are a number of agencies, federal agencies, obviously local authorities, state authorities, we understand, that the state of Texas is going to be taking the lead on this.
Now, we have a 21-year-old white male in custody, presumably being questioned. What is going on right now?
BRIAN CHILDRESS, FORMER POLICE CHIEF IN VALDOSTA, GEORGIA: Well, you're talking about a crime scene that's -- I remember what kind of crime scene down here several years ago, we had 11 people shot and we were out there for several days.
This is a -- as the chief mentioned earlier, over to El Paso, this is a horrific crime scene. But you're talking about that many people that were killed and that many people are injured, they could be out there for days.
[20:50:05] I'm saying that I think folks need to understand that the most important thing is we have somebody in custody and what's going on with that. I think most of our viewers know that now is that local, and state, and federal authorities are -- if not already done it, are interviewing the suspect and trying to get a confession from him.
In the meantime, you've got a major crime scene over at Wal-Mart. And this could take days to process.
MARQUARDT: Right. The authorities have said that there is no longer a threat. But as we know, it is still a very active scene.
Our CNN law enforcement analyst, Josh Campbell, is live there at the scene of the shooting. Josh, what have you been seeing them do in terms of processing that scene?
Josh, what have you been seeing them do in terms of processing that scene?
JOSH CAMPBELL, CNN LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: Yes. Just a mess of crime scene behind us, Alex. And what's happening right now is we kind of panned in this parking lot. You can see a police presence. They pushed us back here to set off this large standoff area behind us. There are a number of police personnel around the corner at the front of the Wal-Mart. You have the tactical vehicles, you have the command center that's working this crime scene.
As your guest was just mentioning earlier, this is going to take time to process. We were just on the scene of yet another mass shooting here in the United States last week in California. Local officials and the FBI telling us it could take days and up to weeks to process that scene.
We're looking at roughly the same size area here, a few acres, this Wal-Mart, as well as the parking lot. Authorities are going to want to account for every single movement of the shooter. They're going to be gathering the CCTV footage in and around this facility, as well as doing those witness interviews. Everyone who was here is a witness to this possible event.
Again, they're going to want to track the shooter's movements as he went throughout the scene and that's just going to take time. Sadly, we've seen a number of these instances where you have the forensic examiners, they'll be search to this location, both from the FBI and from local and state law enforcement, all hands on deck coming in across from the state of Texas to be around the United States to send resource to this area.
Again, inside, they're going to want to account for every single round that the shooter fired. And when you're talking about 20 deceased, multiple injuries, you can only imagine the amount of weaponry that this shooter brought to this Wal-Mart here in El Paso. Again, that will take a lot of time.
That's what is happening now behind the scene. What we can't see right now is that an investigative interview that is likely taking place. Authorities want to talk to the shooter himself, to get into his mindset. We've seen incidents in the past where some of these people are actually proud of what they've done and they'll admit to police officers exactly what their motivation was, exactly what they were doing, we've also seen instances where they simply clam up.
So we'll get details, I believe, from our sources. We're continuing to work -- to gather information about how that interview is going. Again, to try to get in the mindset of this person. Everyone wants to know why did he come here to this location and cause mass chaos here in El Paso and really plunge this community here of El Paso into a state of grief.
It's hard to cover these because everyone you talk to here, we've talked to a number of witnesses and bystanders. Everyone is impacted, whether they were here or not. This was their community, which is now been plunged into grief, Alex.
MARQUARDT: Josh, quickly, what do we know about the weapon that was used today?
CAMPBELL: So we're continuing to gather that information from law enforcement officials. We can only surmise based on the amount of people that were hit here. We're probably talking about some type of high-powered rifle or something with a high capacity magazine.
A number of -- a large number of ammunition, large amount of ammunition that he brought here to this Wal-Mart and opened fire. Again, just looking at the time frame of the shooting and the impact, the number of people that were impacted, we can only imagine that he brought an arsenal here.
But again, we're continuing to ping our resources, we're gathering information to local officials to try to really fill out that story about what was the weaponry, where did it come from, was it bought legally? All of the questions that we have whenever these types of incidence happen.
MARQUARDT: Right. That's one of the major questions that we're still trying to answer.
I want to go back to Brian. Brian, this is obviously a Saturday right before students go back to school. We understand that there were between one and 3,000 shoppers inside that Wal-Mart. This incident started nine hours ago. What's your assessment of how law enforcement responded?
CHILDRESS: You know, I think they did great. I mean, I heard the chief earlier mentioned a six-minute response. Look, I've looked at a lot of law enforcement agencies across the country. And some of those response times could range even during an emergency up to 10, 15 minutes.
So for El Paso police to get there in six minutes, I know that's a lot of time, I know when you're being shot at, you know, that could be a lifetime some people. But six minutes was a pretty impressive response time for them. And I got to tell you, my hat's off to them.
MARQUARDT: Brian, I used to live in the Middle East, as well as Europe. If you go into a shopping mall in Tel Aviv, or in Beirut, even in Paris after the terror incidents there, there was heavy security. You got checked before you went into shops and shopping malls and office buildings. Is that the path that we're on here in the U.S.?
[20:55:00] CHILDRESS: You know, I don't -- I'll tell you this, that when I was a police chief, I had a lot of folks ask me about active shooters. And I heard the chief in El Paso talk about training. And we train down here. That's a national standard across the country for law enforcement. But you can't -- you just can't be everywhere.
Do I see more private security at larger venues like Wal-Mart? Yes. I see it coming. There's a bigger picture here. You got to get to the root of the cause and that's something I'm sure CNN and the Texas state government and local officials will discuss in the upcoming weeks. But it's just important for people to remember, law enforcement can't be everywhere.
MARQUARDT: All right. Brian Childress, Josh Campbell, James Gagliano, thank you very much. We're going to take a quick break. Our special coverage continues on the other side.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is CNN Breaking News.
MARQUARDT: You are live in the CNN NEWSROOM. I'm Alex Marquardt in New York. It is breaking news right now on CNN. Gunfire and bloodshed, death and unimaginable fear at a Wal-Mart earlier today in South Texas.