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Mass Shooting In A Walmart Mall In El Paso, Texas. Aired 9-10p ET
Aired August 3, 2019 - 21:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[21:00:00] ALEX MARQUARDT, CNN HOST: The newest information we have, 20 people are dead after a man with a gun open fire on people outside and then inside a crowded store in El Paso.
I'm about to show you video taken in just a moments have followed this massacre, but a warning, it does show people shot and wounded and you may find it disturbing to watch.
MARQUARDT: In is in El Paso, Texas earlier today. It happened at about 10:00 in the among local time. Police say the man used a rifle to killed 20 people and wounded at least 26 others. This is what ten of those gunshot sounded like inside of that Walmart.
MARQUARDT: Law enforcement official arrived on the scene within just minutes and they arrested the gunman they say without incident, without firing shots. He is now in custody, a 21-year-old white male.
A short time ago, the FBI law enforcement officials arrived from all over the state of Texas and they spoke to reporters, among them the governor, Greg Abbott. Listen.
GOV. GREG ABBOTT, TEXAS: Twenty innocent people from El Paso have lost their lives, and more than two dozen more are injured. 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 have been harmed in any way and bind up their wounds.
We want to express incredible gratitude for all the law enforcement and the swift response that they took to minimize the loss of life by directly confronting the shooter, getting him to disarm himself and be able to arrest him.
I want the city of El Paso to know and El Paso police department and everybody in this entire community know that the state of Texas provides its full support for this community and their efforts to rebuild. For the country that I know has been paying a lot of attention to this, asking what they can do, I ask that you keep El Pasoans in your prayer. We know the power of prayer and the power can you have by using that prayer. For every mom and dad and son and daughter, we ask you put your arms around your family members tonight and give them a hug and let them know how much you love them.
MARQUARDT: Words of comfort there from Texas governor Greg Abbott.
CNN's Ed Lavandera has arrived in El Paso and is there on the scene.
Ed, you heard the governor taking this very personally, very somber, calling this one of the deadliest days in the history of Texas. You are there at the scene of this mass shooting. The first calls about this shooting started coming in just over nine hours ago we understand. Describe the scene for us now.
ED LAVANDERA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, here on the outside, much quieter than it was nine hours ago. But Alex, you can see the scene behind us essentially outside of the Walmart frozen in time. You can see just how busy this Walmart was on a Saturday morning, all of those cars, shoppers and customers here were able to get their cars out of the parking lot and basically all of this shut down as well as investigators do their work inside.
So just to kind of give you a sense of where are, we are on the back side of the Walmart building. And you can see the orange paint there on the corner. And if you come around the corner, that is the front entrance to the Walmart. We can see the crime scene tape, investigators going in and out of the building there where they have been doing their work throughout most of the day. And that is the scene right now.
So nobody has access. The public does not have access to this parking lot right now as those investigators are in there. And a short while ago, the mayor of El Paso talked about what a horrific day this has been for a community that has long billed itself as one of the safest cities in America.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
[21:05:09] MAYOR DEE MARGO, EL PASO, TEXAS: El Paso is too strong to be broken by a cowardly act like this one. I want to assure the El Paso community that we are safe.
This person did not come from El Paso. It is not what we are about. We are a special community and this would not have happened from an El Pasoan, I can assure you.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LAVANDERA: And Alex, you know, one of the things that's really striking about this situation is that this Walmart very popular not just among locals here in the El Paso area but it was a place were many people in Mexico would cross the border and come to a weekend shopping at the store. So inside of that store were a number of Mexican nationals who were killed as well as injured and are being treated in local hospitals. And we know that there are a number of serious injuries, life-threatening injuries that people are fighting for their lives right now here in area hospitals tonight in El Paso -- Alex.
MARQUARDT: Yes, 26 wounded, 20 dead. We know that there were somewhere between 1,000 and 3,000 people inside that Walmart, men, women and children, many of them shopping before school picks up again later this month.
Ed Lavandera there in the scene in El Paso, thanks very much.
Now right now, an online manifesto is being carefully scrutinized and (INAUDIBLE) by law enforcement officials. This manifesto was found on an online message board that has historically been filled with racist and anti-Semitic conspiracy theories among other hatred. Law enforcement officials believe that 21-year-old suspect wrote the manifesto.
Here's what El Paso's police chief, Greg Allen, had to say about this document just a short time ago.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GREG ALLEN, CHIEF POLICE, EL PASO, TEXAS POLICE DEPARTMENT: Right now we have a manifesto from this individual that indicates to some degree it has a nexus to a potential hate crime. Didn't mean to step on FBI's toes on this but we are taking this down the road of simply a murder investigation with numerous casualties. And as I said, the state of Texas will be the lead prosecuting agency in this.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MARQUARDT: I want to bring in three of our very best CNN law enforcement analysts, Charles Ramsey, former Washington D.C. police chief, James Gagliano, retired FBI supervisory special agent, as well as Josh Campbell, a former supervisory special agent as well.
James, you just heard the chief talking about a hate crime. What are the indications right now that this was a hate crime?
JAMES GAGLIANO, CNN LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: So for it to be find as a hate crime, we are looking at a crime of violence that is predicated on prejudice or bigotry and targets a particular ethnicity or race or religious or sexual orientation. By all standards, in cruising part of this manifesto, that's what this appears to be.
Now if you watched the press conference we did, Alex, you will notice the FBI was very of cautious, especially (INAUDIBLE) did not want to immediately get out in front and say that's what it was. The FBI is usually reticent in these cases as they want to make sure they get all the facts before they make that determination. Does it appear to be that way right now as we define the judicial tea leaves? Yes, that's what it appears to be.
MARQUARDT: Josh, to you. We are talking about the facts and Charles made this point earlier that this suspect was taken into custody without firing a shot. Even though he titled this manifesto that he expected to die. How much should we -- what should we take out of that?
JOSH CAMPBELL, CNN LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: It is a lot of it is going to come down to that interview between the subject and law enforcement officials. We have seen so many different instances where this will end a different way. We have seen instances where a subject comes here wanting to die, suicide by cop, will engage officers and watching die indication. We will see instances we just saw last week, I was on the scene of a mass shooting in California, where once the subject was engaged by law enforcement, he turned the gun on himself and killed himself.
Here, as we have been reporting, it appears that he was taken to custody without incident. We just don't know what was going through his mind, whether he realized the gig was up here with that massive police presence, that there is no way that he was going to be able to escape. And again in that mindset, it is really just hard to say in that moment, even if someone's coming in here with in a depraved intent to kill himself or go down fighting, it appears in this case it was a change of heart on his part. But again a lot of that will come from that interview when authorities are trying to glean from him what was going through his mind as they get to that motive and then try to recreate what happened here behind us.
MARQUARDT: And Charles, you believe that the shooter survived and didn't kill himself and didn't fire on law enforcement because he wants to be heard, is that right?
CHARLES RAMSEY, CNN LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: Well, actually, that was Mr. Matthews that made that comment, which I found was interesting. And if that's the case, then certainly he'll be talking to those investigators that are interviewing him right now.
No one will really know until we get a real interview completed as to why. I mean, once he didn't have the upper hand any longer, when he was confronted with law enforcement, that he might have changed his mind in terms of trying to kill himself or having police officers kill him. We just don't know the answer to that question. But the fact that he wrote that manifesto, he posted it online, you know, it tells you right there that the hatred ran very deep. He drove 600 some-odd- miles to get to the border, you know. All of those things would really indicate that there is a tremendous amount of hatred built up into that young man.
[21:10:36] MARQUARDT: And James, that's an excellent point that, you know, this guy drove more than nine hours to get to this border town. If he did, and we know he did post his manifesto on this very public site but we also know it's so hard for law enforcement to pore over, to spend so much time online tracking this kind of thing down, is that where law enforcement should be focusing their attention now? Juliette Kayyem earlier was making the point that it's not ISIS necessarily that we need to worry about as much, it's this growth of domestic extremism.
GAGLIANO: And certainly we sometimes use the term radicalization to think only about radical Islam. And there is a radicalization here, right. This is a perversion of either, you know, Christianity in a certain sense, this hatred, this bigotry that this individual, you know, adopted.
The problem is and Alex, you and I have talked about this before is policing the internet. We talk all the I'm about the dark nether regions, places of people can retreat to in these chat rooms and they can share this hateful communication.
Now here's the problem, with the first amendment is a lot of times law enforcement looks at something, you go out and you talk to somebody because they said something on the internet, was it hyperbole, was it satire, was it said in the heat of the moment? We just don't have enough law enforcement officers to knock on every day or run down every time somebody says something. Just look at my timeline on twitter the things that people say. You just cant police it. Impossible to do. We have got to find a better mechanism to do this, to make sure when people are going to take it from that, just talk to turn it into what happened today to try to interdict it.
Josh, back to you. There were, we understand between 1,000 and 3,000 people in that Walmart and that was just one part of a much bigger shopping complex of other stores and a mall nearby. How hard is it from a security standpoint to secure what is really a very soft target like that one?
CAMPBELL: Yes, Alex, this is the quintessential target. You see the Walmart here behind me. We are in this area where there are stores, there are restaurants around us. This is the typical location here in a suburban/urban area where family members would be going on the weekends, where you have people going shopping, going out to eat at restaurants.
These areas are not defensible from the sense of a law enforcement standpoint where you are going to have hardened targets. This is the United States of America. You don't have magnetometers outside Walmart. And so, again, the shooter took advantage where a mass number of people would be gathered and again, we don't know what chose him to choose this specific target, but as we look at these element and characteristics, this is an area where there were a thousand plus people that were gathered, where again, you wouldn't have that robust law enforcement presence. And because this is spread out, this isn't an area where you would have police officers nearby on a daily basis. Yes, they would patrol the area but again, this isn't someplace they would be on their own.
So this is a massive scene, not only from a protection standpoint but also from an investigative stand point. Now that they are in that phase of trying to get to the bottom of this homicide investigation, this massive complex behind us is now filled with law enforcement officers.
And you have to think about, Alex, it's not just the people that were impacted on that day, obviously the victims, those who were deceased, those who were injured but that then multiplied by their family members, those who are now wondering about the status of their those loved ones. I was just here before we came on the air and there was a woman who
was standing here crying in the arms of a state trooper because she was actually here witnessing this. And her car is one of the vehicles behind us right now so she is trying to account for people that she knows and also trying to figure out how does she get her vehicle out of here? So this people came and impacted so many people, we can't lose track of that.
MARQUARDT: Yes. We have new videos in aerials over a home in Allen, Texas, where that suspect it from. Affiliate KTVT reports that police are outside a home that is believed to be associated with the El Paso shooter. A KTVT reporter knocked on the door earlier today and was told to leave the property.
Give us a sense of what investigators, James, would be doing there at that house believed to be the shooter's?
GAGLIANO: Again, an active shooter situation. And the number one thing, Alex, is you want to get to the shooter and stop them. Number two, anybody that's a co-conspirator, somebody that is either involved in it or directed or inspired, provided material support. I guess what the investigators right now will be looking at, the most important thing is were anybody else involved in this type of plot? Did anybody else give this person any type of aid or inspiration? They are obviously going to be looking at what type of weapons this individual had, how long he planned it, to what extent that he used the internet, as you talked about before, who else he communicated, all those type of things, thumb drives, laptops, cell phones, any type of digital exhaust that this individual would have put out, those are going to be the things that the individual will want to be looking at from an investigative perspective, as well as talking to people that had intimate knowledge of this individual -- family, friends, neighbors, coworkers, colleagues.
[21:15:42] MARQUARDT: All right. James, thank you. Josh, Charles, thank you very much. We will be right back with you.
We are going to take a quick break. We will be back right after this.
[21:19:22] MARQUARDT: When shots began ringing out this morning in El Paso, Texas at around 10:00 a.m. local time, first responders raced to the scene. As police and SWAT teams worked to secure the area, EMTs focused on saving the victims. Some had been shot in the Walmart parking lot, many others waited inside the building.
We know now is that 24 people have been taken to two hospitals, the University Medical Center, the county's level one trauma center. They received 13 total patients, including two children who then went to the El Paso children's hospital, which is attached to UMC. Eleven others patients went to Del Sol hospital. Many are in critical conditions. Some are reportedly facing life-threatening injuries.
In the meantime, El Paso police putout an urgent appeal for blood donors. The response as you can see there was overwhelming. Lines of donors stretching out the doors, others showing up to pass out food and drinks.
The Texas governor Greg Abbott says that the community can take heart from this kind of reaction.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
[21:20:25] ABBOTT: As I was talking with members of the Texas House of Representatives behind me right now earlier today, moments ago they pointed out to me as they showed to me a video taking place in this community about how people in this community were standing in lines around buildings to give blood, to provide water, to provide support. And as they pointed out, El Paso is defined not by the catastrophe that struck this down but the way El Paso is really defined is the way this community comes together and supports each other to bridge the divide of this catastrophe. This happened today toward the pathway of where El Paso to be tomorrow.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MARQUARDT: Local officials are asking people to sign up to donate blood tomorrow and in the days ahead. One head of an organization said he hasn't seen this kind of response since 9/11.
Now, I want to bring in the mayor of El Paso, Dee Margo.
Mr. Mayor, first of all, our hearts go out to you and the families that are hurt and killed. Can you give us of a update on the victims and the wounded?
MAYOR DEE MARGO, EL PASO, TEXAS: I don't really know anything more on the statistics of the numbers. But 20 dead and those that are in the hospital, that are still going through the process. The governor and I just visited with the families waiting on information over at one of the schools here in El Paso. It's tough. It's really, really tough.
MARQUARDT: It's extremely tough and extremely heart breaking. What about the investigation? What are federal authorities telling you? We understand the suspect is a 21-year-old man who drove from Allen, Texas. What more do we know about the investigation into him and his motive?
MARGO: Well, there isn't much update since we had the press conference. We talked about a gentleman -- I shouldn't say gentleman, this murderer who came from outside El Paso. And as I said before, nobody in El Paso would have done something like this. This is not what we are about as a community. The investigations going through and identifying the bodies and going through their normal forensic work and families will be notified. But nothing new is happening yet. Nothing new is happening yet. We're here at the scene as it stands now.
MARQUARDT: Was the shooter, do you know? Was he known at all to authorities?
MARGO: I don't know that. I do not know that. He came out of Allen, Texas is I think where he came from. But my point is just a real tragedy.
MARQUARDT: Can you describe the scene before the shooting? What would have been happening a the a Walmart in El Paso, Texas on a Saturday morning in early August?
MARGO: A lot of shoppers, everybody getting ready for back to school. Normal routines. Just a normal Saturday for people and yet this tragedy struck.
MARQUARDT: And you and others have talked about how tight knit this community is. What has been the reaction since this horrific massacre happened now just over nine hours ago?
MARGO: Well, it's been reported we have had significant blood donors. This is a very generous community. It is a community that goes back 350 years and people just don't understand. We have -- we are a close-knit -- we are the largest community of our type on the U.S./Mexico border. There is nothing in north America that can equate to what we have here with El Paso products. So this is just totally unexpected and, as I say, probably never would have occurred with an El Pasoan.
MARQUARDT: You must be heartened to see those long lines of donors, of blood donors to come out to donate blood. There have been calls for people to sign up online. What can people do to help the community right now?
MARGO: Well, we have set up the Paso help foundation has set up a web site for donations for victims and their families. And the other -- what we are telling other people is just continue to donate blood. That's what we need right now.
[21:25:04] MARQUARDT: All right. Mayor Dee Margo, El Paso, Texas, our thoughts and prayers are with you in the coming hours and days which will obviously be extremely difficult. But we know given how tight knit and strong that community is that you will mourn together and then recover and be stronger than ever.
Mayor Dee Margo, thanks very much.
MARGO: Thank you.
MARQUARDT: All right. And we'll be right back.
[21:29:11] MARQUARDT: Terrified shoppers running for the door, seeking safety with a gunman on the loose. I want to show you video of how a witness described this horrific events.
(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) EDIE HALLBERG, ANDY INGLEESBY'S DAUGHTER : My mom, no persons came and I can't find her. And then these -- my mom's name is Andy Ingleesby. She lives in 1304 Likens drive.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: How old is she? HALLBERG: Eighty-six.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Tell us a little bit about your mom.
HALLBERG: She has a brand new beige car. My niece knows the name of the car. These guys are making me nervous.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We're so sorry. Tell me your name.
HALLBERG: My name is Edie Hallberg. I'm my mom's fourth daughter. She has seven kids.
[21:30:03] UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: OK. Edie, can you spell your name for me?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And your last name:
HALLBERG: I want to just find my mom. Somebody needs to tell me where she is. I want to know if she's dead or alive or if she still in Walmart? I need to find her and this is the only way we're going to do it.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Let me get you down to the police.
MARQUARDT: Heartbreaking moment with a woman trying to find her mother in the wake of this horrific and chaotic shooting. We are going to come back -- we are going to go right now to a press conference with the governor of Texas.
ABBOTT: We are here to make clear we stand united in the support of the community. We are stand united in an effort to make sure that we do everything we can to help these victims respond to this challenge. We also want to thank the first responders for the way that they dealt with this. They were able to make sure the shooter did not harm any more people.
As large as the tragedy was, 20 precious lives lost, 26 more injured. This is not going to be forgotten. The state of Texas is going to work side by side with the city of -- to help all of these victims, to help repair their lives and put them back on a path and then we will be working with the legislature going forward like we have in the past to make that we address this problems with our collective resolve (INAUDIBLE). And that is we want to be sure Texas is going to be as safe as possible for everybody in the state so that everyone knows they can go shopping or they can go anywhere, they and their families will be safe. I'm proud to have with us here tonight the mayor of this great city, Dee Margo, mayor of El Paso.
MARGO: Thank you, governor. I appreciate you being here.
No one is prepared for something like this. I keep getting asked how do you prepare for this? You don't. Our hearts are going out to those that have been victimized by a murderer. And we are going to do all we can in this community to come together.
This is not about El Paso. This individual was from outside of El Paso, which is someone -- no one in El Paso would have ever done something like this. Our community is going to be close and drawing closer together. And right now we are going to have to get ready mentally for 20 funerals. That's what we are going to do as a community and city will do whatever they can.
I cannot stop and think about it. The call went out at 10:39. The police were there at 10:45, six minutes. At 11:06 he was apprehended. You can't do that without a properly trained, professional police force and that is why we have been one of the safest cities in the nation for so many years. We are going to do the best we can to come together. Our hearts are torn and we were going to pray and work together for this community.
CESAR BLANCO, STATE REPRESENTATIVE: Thank you, governor. Thank you, mayor. I'm Cesar Blanco, state representative for district 76 where this tragedy occurred. Weep just we just got back from visiting we just got back from visiting some of the families at McArthur elementary school who are waiting to hear news. The governor and mayor give them words of encouragement.
Let me be clear that we stand united as a community. Weep are going to do everything that we can to make sure that things like this don't happen again. We are going to make sure that the families have the support that they need. This will only bind us to be stronger and unified and this will not get our city down. We will rise from this at some point. (SPEAKING FOREIGN LANGUAGE) The mayor, the governor, speaker Joe Moody. (SPEAKING FOREIGN LANGUAGE).
[21:35:04] MARQUARDT: All right. There's an ongoing press conference in El Paso, Texas in the wake of this massacre at the Walmart there. We just heard from the governor Greg Abbott. El Paso mayor Dee Margo. We are going to go back.
JOE MOODY, TEXAS STATE REPRESENTATIVE: -- 20 families who woke up whole this morning with their loved ones and when the sun sets tonight here in El Paso, they will go to bed without them. Those families are broken, but it is with our strength and resolve that we can help piece them back together. And that's what we have to commit ourselves to doing. And so I know the eyes of not just this community, the state, this nation are fixed on El Paso, and I want people to know that this horrific act does not define our community. What defines our community is the lines around the blood bank, the people ready to donate, people wanting to offer counseling services to families, volunteering left and right. That's who El Paso is. That's what's going to define us tonight and going forward. And I ask those folks that are watching from around wherever they're from to say a prayer for those families that are broken. Pray for them to have peace and help rebuild their lives going forward. Thank you.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (INAUDIBLE )
ABBOTT: The toughest conversation anybody can even imagine having, visiting with family members who are clutched with uncertainty about whether or not they lost a loved one. All we can do is to try to instill hope, comfort and support and also working toward as quick of information as possible for those who have not yet been informed the status of their family member.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Governor Abbott, I'm seen you've seen reports of the alleged shooter's manifesto, which is full of hatreds expressed towards specifically immigrants. Can you think, sir, of anything in the political life of our country at this moment that contributes to that type of hatred?
ABBOTT: Listen, this is disgusting, intolerable, it not's not Texan we are going to aggressively prosecute it both as capital murder but also as a hate crime, which is exactly what it appears to be, without having seen all the evidence yet, I don't w get ahead of the evidence. But we have to be very, very clear that conduct like this, thoughts like this, actions like this, crimes like this are not who or what Texas is and will not be accepted here.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mr. mayor (INAUDIBLE) about the second suspect. We have also seen a number of reports suggesting there was a second gunman initially inside the Walmart. What more can you tell us about that?
MARGO: It was dispelled. That was the initial -- they were uncertain. And we were -- that was of the initial preliminary information that was dispelled with further investigation. We believe now it was, at this point in time, a lone single shooter.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mayor, how do you get our city ready for 20 funerals.
MARGO: I don't know. We have never done this before. I would hope and pray we would never have to do it again. But we will do it and we are going to survive because that is who were are and that is we are about.
ABBOTT: I have not been able to track my phone, I have not been able to talk to him yet. Unfortunately, I haven't had my phone.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is going to end the day once more. We want people to know your stand is.
ABBOTT: Listen, there are bodies that still haven't been recovered. I this ink we need to focus more memorials before start the politics.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: One more question.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: To the representatives, is there any legislative direction that you guys or your (INAUDIBLE)
BLANCO: Well, we had conversation about what we can do next. We have moved the ball forward in our state regarding mental health and how we secure our schools. This did not happen at a school today, but we are going to work very closely with the governor. We are Democrats, he's a Republican, but we stand together in this tragedy. We are going to work together to make sure that Texas families are safe and can work in a positive way forward to make sure these type of tragedies don't happen again.
[21:40:06] MOODY: This is, as these scenes unfold, not just (INAUDIBLE) or Sta. Fe, not here in El Paso but across the country. We are not sent to the capital to ignore things like this. I know that we haven't -- we will continue to look for ways to make sure that weapons don't get in the hands of the wrong folks, to make sure our schools remain safe and build on the laws and we passed the session, to ensure no matter where you go, whether it's the public school or it's the neighborhood Walmart you are safe and secure with your family. That is something that should be at the core of what we do. And I know I can speak for the El Paso legislators, when we go back in 2021, this is in the front of our mind and in our heart and we will not be going there to do nothing about it. We will be going there to get something done.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Thank you all very much.
MARQUARDT: All right. A press conference there in El Paso wrapping up with governor Greg Abbott, as well as the mayor of El Paso and two Texas state representatives.
You could very clearly hear the anger and the sadness in their voices. The governor of Texas starting by thanking first responders, saying that he was praying for the families of the victims and then repeated messages from all of those officials saying this is not who we are as Texans, this is not who we are as residents of El Paso.
We are also getting more reaction from President Trump. He just tweeted saying today's shooting in El Paso, Texas was not only tragic, it was an act of cowardice. I know that I stand with everyone in this country to condemn today's hateful act. There are no reasons or excuses that will ever justify killing innocent people. Melania and I send our heartfelt thoughts and prayers to the great people of Texas. .
I want to bring in again James Gagliano, a retired FBI supervisory special agent and Charles Ramsey, former Washington, D.C. police chief.
James, first to you. We have gotten a lot of new details in the past few hours about the suspect. There was not a lot of new detail in terms of the investigation in that press conference. That was a lot more about the emotion that they are feeling and their plans going forward. What are your impressions of how these officials and the authorities have handled things in these nine hours since this massacre took place?
GAGLIANO: Well, Alex, to your point, and you know, politicians are speaking and obviously the governor spoke, the mayor spoke. We also have, you know, members of the state representatives down in Texas speak.
The police are being very careful right now. The initial presser, the point was let the public know that there's no more imminent threat out there. Here's what we know, we have the person in custody, these people are being transported to the hospital, this is our casualty count.
I anticipate tomorrow morning there will be a more thorough, more robust discussion. They will probably will have a press conference tomorrow morning and give out more details to let us know what more was behind us.
Look, this is a homeland security issue. The homeland security -- the department of homeland security was created after 9/11 to keep the homeland safe, secure and resilient. And that was after 9/11, we were attacked from the outside.
We are now being attacked from the inside. And make no mistake about it. This is a critical infrastructure here. This is the commercial facility session, lodging, entertainment, businesses, commercial areas. Look, we have hardened our schools in some sense. We've hardened churches and synagogues and mosques. Now we have to worry about people going to a Walmart, to department stores.
This is going to be the next frontier, the soft targets. The bad guys know they can't get on a plane anymore. The bad guys know they can't do something at a Yankee game or do something in places that have robust security. In these soft targets, these places where people go, it couldn't happen here. Well, today it did.
MARQUARDT: And not just a soft target, a soft target where anybody knows that on a Saturday morning in early August, a Walmart will be chock full of families and young people right before they go back to school.
Charles Ramsey, to you. We have been talking about the shooter, his online manifesto in which he goes into detail about his hatred really for immigrants, the prospect of Texas becoming democratic. The authorities have said that they are looking into that this indicates there's a nexus of a hate crime. We heard from the governor of Texas saying we are going to aggressively prosecute as cap tam -- capital murder but also as a -- capital murder but also as a hate crime. Because that sounds a lot more serious than a regular murder charge.
[21:45:09] RAMSEY: Well, I mean, what you take away from it is Texas is going to be very aggressive in dealing with this individual. He has a right to a trial. fair trial but if he's found guilty, you know, they are not going to mess around with him at all or nor should they, in my opinion. So that is the message that he is sending right there.
You know, what is interesting in that press conference was, you know, a reference by the one congressman that, you know, he is A democrat, the governor is a Republican and they're going to work together. This is not a partisan issue at all. He is absolutely right. It's an American issue. We got to be able to deal with this.
This is a national emergency in my opinion. I mean, a gun violence here is absolutely getting worse. I mean, we have got into a point where we are looking at this as almost like a new normal where we have these mass shootings. And one of the dangers is now it really does overshadow the fact that there are hundreds, thousands of Americans that die on the streets of our cities across the country and nobody pays attention at all because the body count is not high enough. They are dying one, two, three at a time.
And so we have got to sit down and do something. It doesn't take repealing the second amendment to do it. We have got to find a middle ground to keep guns out of the hands of people who do not need to have them.
MARQUARDT: Yes. But even if the Texas representative was saying it's not a partisan issue, at the same time you saw the governor there refusing to talk about gun control legislation. That is clearly going to be a topic of conversation going forward.
RAMSEY: Yes. But you know, every time we have one of these things, always it's not time, it's not time. When is the time? Because we don't talk about it again until the next one comes.
RAMSEY: So at some point in times, we have to set aside all the stuff that is going on right now and just deal with this issue. People need to think this through. We have got to find common ground somewhere to be able to deal with this is a national emergency.
RAMSEY: I mean, we are losing more people to gun violence in the United States than we lose in a war in Afghanistan and Iraq. That's a clue right there that something is certainly not right. I mean, today it's a mall, tomorrow it's a church or a school. I mean, we just go on and on and on. And it's tiring.
MARQUARDT: It's a conversation that the country needs to have, a conversation that we will be having on the show tonight.
Gentlemen, for right now we have to take a quick break. Charles Ramsey, James Gagliano, stay with me.
We will be right back after this.
[21:51:07] MARQUARDT: Just in, we have learned that the federal bureau of investigation has opened a domestic terror investigation into the El Paso shooting this morning that left 20 people dead and another 26 wounded. Police so far have identified the alleged shooter as a 21-year-old white male from Allen, Texas, which is just north of Dallas. He was arrested at the scene. The police chief also saying that the shooting has a nexus to a potential hate crime citing a manifesto that they have obtained that may be connected to the alleged gunman. They say that they are still working to confirm that it does belong to the shooter.
I want to dive into this a little bit more with our chief media correspondent Brian Stelter.
Brian, we are getting a lot more information about this document. It's four pages long. It's entitled "I'm probably going to die today." He did not die. He was arrested peacefully without shots fired. What else was in this document that as we were saying we have not confirmed yet is actually connected to the shooter?
BRIAN STELTER, CNN CHIEF MEDIA CORRESPONDENT: Right, that is correct. But it has all the markings of a white supremacist terrorist document. This is a manifesto full of anti-immigrant language, describing hatred of Hispanics, a fear of so-called white replacement. This is the crazy theory that whites are being replaced in America as the country becomes more of a multicultural melting pot.
These are the kinds ideas that have appeared in previous manifestos from previous killers, both in the United States and around the world. He with all remember Christchurch, New Zealand and the killings there at the mosques earlier this year. This shooter apparently referenced Christ Church. Again, the authorities are still trying to confirm that this is absolutely 100 percent sure the document from the shooter. But look, it was posted online minutes before this attack. That's not a coincidence.
And this is not the first time. This Web site 8chan, which is a message board, which is known for hateful and anti-Semitic and nasty rhetoric, has been used in this way. These kind of manifestos have appeared on that site before. It is logical that law enforcement may have been monitoring this site, keeping tabs on this. But the shooter in this case, the suspect, did not identify the Walmart, did not name his target. So perhaps there was little authorities could do.
MARQUARDT: But this is the third time this year that a shooter has posted a so-called manifesto on this Web site. Do we know, is there any regulation of it? Is it just an open sewer where anybody can post whatever they want and feed off each other and it creates this breeding ground of white extremist potential shooters and attackers?
STELTER: I think you said it perfectly. I think this is -- we are reckoning with the down side of this world wide web that we all benefit from every day. The same technologies that allow us to all come together after a tragedy, that allow us to learn about the victims and donate and support the families also allow for this kind of radicalization. And what we are seeing time and time again is online radicalization.
We don't know a lot yet about this suspect's online footprint. And I don't want to get ahead of the authorities on that front. But from the details of the manifesto this seems to be another case of a person who was radicalized online, fed these crazy conspiracy theories and other ideas. And one of the dangers of the internet these days is that when you go down those rabbit holes it gets darker and darker and darker. And these websites encourage you to spend more and more time at the bottom of those holes. That's something that even You Tube has been grappling with. And regulators are getting more and more interested in that. But I would argue politicians and regulators are far behind the curve on these issues.
And it is notable now that the FBI's looking at this as domestic terror because our language about these issues has to change. We both know that if this had been a brown or a black-skinned gunman people would have been talking about terrorism within five or ten minutes. Well, unfortunately, there is a plague of terrorists in this country who are not black or brown-skinned, they are oftentimes lonely white men who are radicalized online. And that is a danger right now.
[21:55:05] MARQUARDT: Is this a game of whack-a-mole essentially? Because if this happened on Twitter or Facebook or Instagram or You Tube chances there is a decent chance that he might have been caught. But are there more sites springing up to fill that void?
STELTER: Whack-a-mole is right. Because if 4chan or 8chan were shut down others would pop up in the dark corners of the internet. And that is one of the amazing things about the internet. It is this broad network but it also allows for this kind of connection between radicals.
MARQUARDT: All right. Brian Stelter, painting a very dark picture of a very dangerous part of the internet and a plague that is affecting this country. Thanks very much.
MARQUARDT: All right. We are going to take a quick break. We will be right back.
[21:59:31] ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.
MARQUARDT: You are in the CNN NEWSROOM. I am Alex Marquardt in New York. It is breaking news right now on CNN. El Paso, Texas, that's where a man with a rifle earlier today gunned down 20 people at a Walmart store which was packed full of Saturday morning shoppers. More than two dozen others were wounded. The governor of Texas called today one of the deadliest days in the history of his state. El Paso native Beto O'Rourke has returned home. He is a Presidential candidate and spoke just moments ago.
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BETO O'ROURKE (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Wish I was seeing everybody under different circumstances and conditions.
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