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Texas Officials: 20 Dead, 26 Injured In El Paso Shooting; Police Chief: Manifesto Found Has "Nexus To A Potential Hate Crime"; New Photo Show El Paso Shooting Suspect Patrick Crusius; Candlelight Vigils Held For Victims Of El Paso Shooting. Aired 11p-12a ET

Aired August 3, 2019 - 23:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


ALEX MARQUARDT, CNN HOST: You are live in the CNN NEWSROOM. I'm Alex Marquardt at our Hudson Yards headquarters in New York. It is BREAKING NEWS right now on CNN. Gunfire and bloodshed, death and unimaginable fear at a Wal-Mart store earlier today in South Texas. Twenty people are now dead according to state officials killed by a man who opened fire with a rifle outside and then inside the crowded store in El Paso. I'm about to show you some video taken in a moment just after the massacre. We have to warn you, it does show people who are badly hurt and you may find it disturbing.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (Inaudible).

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Help.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Hey, (inaudible).

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Help.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We need CPR.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We need CPR.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: (Inaudible) ...

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MARQUARDT: This happening in El Paso at about 10 o'clock in the morning, local time. All indications are that the man used a rifle to kill those 20 people and wound at least 26 others.

You can hear those single deliberate shots there. Police officers were on the scene within just minutes, getting praised for their quick response. They arrested the gunman without incident, without firing a shot. Texas officials are already planning to bring capital murder charges against the shooter who they describe is a white man, 21 years old who reportedly posted a four-page document online that El Paso's Police Chief has been calling a manifesto. Here is the Texas governor Greg Abbott.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) GOVERNOR GREG ABBOTT (R-TX): We are here to make clear that we stand united in support of this community. We are stand united in our efforts to make sure that Texas and the local community that we do everything we can to help these victims respond to this challenge. And we also want to thank the first responders for the way that they dealt with this, they were able to make sure that the shooter did not harm any more people as large as the tragedy was.

Twenty precious lives lost, 26 more injured. This was not going to be forgotten. The State of Texas is going to work side-by-side with the city of El Paso and with all of these victims to do everything we can to help repair their lives and put them back on a path of hope.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MARQUARDT: That's Governor Greg Abbott there. CNN's Ed Lavandera is in El Paso right now. Ed, this is taking on a whole new dimension now as federal officials are saying that they are going to not only treat this mass killing as a possible hate crime, but also an act of domestic terrorism.

ED LAVANDERA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Absolutely and that is a part of the news that is sending shockwaves and a great deal of concern through this border town here that has really been at the center of the immigration debate for much of the last year and a half. But it is also a city, Alex, that has prided itself on being one of the safest cities in America and that is why news like what happened here today has come at such a horrific time and sent horrific shockwaves to the community.

We are standing just behind the Wal-Mart where investigators still have the entire area cordoned off. There are dozens of cars still left in the parking lot of this Wal-Mart which really captures a scene of how packed it was here this morning. A routine Saturday morning where thousands of people come and go through this particular shopping center, not far from the border.

We heard reports of Mexican nationals who often come across the border to shop at Wal-Mart like this that were killed and wounded inside. And there is still a frantic sense from many victims and victims' families. One family in particular that we spoke with, the family of 86 year old Angie Englisbee who according to her son and a daughter, they have not heard from her since moments before the shooting took place. They say that one relative of hers had spoken with the elderly woman for about four minutes just minutes before the shooting that she was in a checkout line inside the Wal-Mart. Her family says this many hours later they still have not heard from her and they fear the worst.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

EDIE HALLBERG, MOTHER OF WALMART CUSTOMER: So far we stayed at MacArthur School and we went to school there, she doesn't - then my niece took me to Pebble Hills. She wasn't there. The bus was empty. All the people were gone. [23:05:00] And we said - well, I asked the cops at MacArthur, I want to know where my mom is. Where are the people that are in Wal-Mart? Where did you put them all?

Where have they all gone? 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's still in Wal-Mart. We need to find her and this is the only way we're going to do it.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Come down to the police, OK, let me get you down there.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LAVANDERA: That desperation and anxiety just difficult to listen to and many witnesses walking away from the scene with the same experience. We spoke with a woman named Debbie Romero (ph) who was standing outside of the Wal-Mart when she started hearing the gunshots and she says, Alex, tonight that the one thing she cannot get out of the mind is an image that she saw as she stood there in front of the doors of the Wal-Mart and described to us what she saw.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DEBBIE ROMERO: I was waiting for them to come but it was taking too long and then I heard the first one, so I was like, "What's going on?" But it was so loud, very loud and then I just saw that everybody dropping. So that's when I just ran in there like trying to, but then I saw him run this way, so I chased him and I thought he got shot.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And who was him that you're talking --

ROMERO: And the baby - my nephew. There's a baby that some man carried that got shot. The guy just gave it to the ambulance, I don't think. (Inaudible) confuse me. It was awful.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LAVANDERA: So Alex that the image of a man holding a baby covered in blood and passing that baby off to a paramedic who was arriving at the scene and many of those people left wondering what happened and what kind of condition the people who were closest around them, what kind of condition they're in tonight and that's what many people are still scrambling to figure out, Alex.

MARQUARDT: Just heartbreaking to listen to, Ed. We can still see that there's a lot of activity behind you. This scene is far from clear. That's going to take several days. And we know that you're going to stay on this story. Ed Lavandera in El Paso. Thanks very much.

I want to bring in our CNN Law Enforcement Analyst Charles Ramsey, a former Washington, D.C. Police Chief. Charles, we've been talking all evening about how this went down, about the suspects and what clues that authorities might be looking into. But when you look at how this happened, when you look at the fact that this was someone from over 600 miles away, who drove uninterrupted to El Paso and walked into what is an incredibly soft target admittedly with thousands of people inside, is there anything that the authorities could have done to stop a shooting like this?

CHARLES RAMSEY, CNN LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: Well, I don't know, Ed. More information will come out over time. I mean you certainly don't have a crystal ball when you start looking back at something, it's kind of easy to predict whether, well, maybe we should have done this or maybe we should have done that. But the bottom line is this guy drove all the way from Allen, Texas, 600 some miles.

I mean, how many soft targets that he pass up just to get to El Paso in that one Wal-Mart. I mean he wanted to be at the border. Whatever he wanted to do, he wanted to do it there and nowhere else. I don't know what was online, what could have been seen, what wasn't seen.

Obviously, somebody saw it and didn't notify authorities, but we'll find all that out later on. But the bottom line is we've got a lot of people on the fringe. We're in a very toxic environment right now. A lot of heated rhetoric especially when it comes to immigration and the border, both from elected officials, very high level elected officials as well as some media personalities and people that go to these rallies and start chanting racist things.

I mean this is just not good for us as a country and our Congress needs to do something. They need to come together and start having hearings and do something, but they're useless. I mean the U.S. Congress is not going to do anything at all. So they can say all they want to say, but when this is over, believe me, it's going to be over. If Sandy Hook didn't move the needle, don't think that this is going to move it, because it's not.

MARQUARDT: Right. Sandy Hook, of course, was all children and one teacher. Let's bring in former FBI Supervisory Special Agent Josh Campbell. Josh is on the scene. And Josh, sources are telling you that the FBI is now opening a domestic terror investigation. What is the significance of that?

JOSH CAMPBELL, CNN LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: Yes. Alex, a law enforcement official familiar with the ongoing investigation tells us that the Bureau has opened what they're calling a domestic terrorism investigation that will run concurrently to the state investigation. Now, the stressing that the state is still in charge here, the state of Texas investigators have the lead but the FBI has opened a concurrent case to look into the possible motivation of the shooter to include ideology, if there is any type of hate crime angle to this, they'll be working that case, especially looking into this alleged manifesto that we've been talking about.

[23:10:06] Again, trying to get into the mindset of the shooter, was this someone who came here causing mass loss of life based on hate and obviously the FBI, the federal government has a host of resources that they can bring to bear. I was just in California last week, we were covering yet another mass shooting. In that instance, the FBI also providing resources. They provided their profilers from the Behavioral Analysis Unit at Quantico that helped them get into the mindset of this person based on these past incidents.

So we can bet that there will be a host of resources that the federal government will be bringing to bear. We're told there are different offices, satellite offices around Texas that are sending resources here and FBI assets at the headquarters in Washington are standing by to deploy to this location should they get any requests from state officials here that are leading investigation, Alex.

MARQUARDT: Charles, back to the fact that this is such a soft target. What can be done in this case?

RAMSEY: Well, I mean everybody is going to be looking at security in ways they can step it up. But a shopping mall is incredibly difficult to secure. I know they already do drills. One of the witnesses there said that about a month ago, I guess, they had an active shooter drill there. The police have them on a regular basis. Hopefully they coordinate with private security and so forth so that they all get on the same page if something like this happens.

But the reality is these malls are absolutely enormous and there are so many ways in and out of the mall that makes it difficult but certainly it'll be reviewed, not just in El Paso but across the country. I mean it won't be long before we'll be looking at the major shopping season around Thanksgiving and Christmas. So yes it's going to be on the minds of a lot of people, but today it's a mall, before we've had churches, we've had schools, I mean you never know what's going to be the next target and it makes it very, very difficult.

MARQUARDT: Josh, right now because the shooter was taken alive, they are diving into the shooter's background. Of course, what he's written in this manifesto. What are they going to be looking for? What are they going to be asking him? What are they going to be asking themselves about how they can stop someone like him in the future?

CAMPBELL: Yes. All good questions, Alex, and right now more questions than answers for us. Now, we've seen incidents in the past where a shooter either decides to engage with law enforcement and shot dead. We've seen instances where the shooter decides to take his or her own life and this is that instance where they actually have the person in custody, which means that they potentially have the ability to glean important information that can help them get to that motivation.

Now, if this person is proud of what he did, he may be willingly telling law enforcement interrogators what exactly he was doing, why he came here, there may be an instance where he decides to clam up and doesn't cooperate with law enforcement. But that's all the part of that investigative interview and that's why it's so important. Again, to get into his mindset, they'll be looking at what he says comparing that to the digital media investigation that is currently underway, going through his social media accounts, Facebook, all of the social media platforms that you can think of.

The FBI and local law enforcement will be digging into those again to get to the picture of what was in his mind and also as importantly who were the people in his orbit, did he have friends, did he have associates, were there others that may have known what he was going to do here, that'll all be part of that investigation.

MARQUARDT: And, of course, there's always the fear that someone will try to replicate this and use this as a copycat. Josh Campbell, Charles Ramsey, thank you as always for your expertise.

We're going to take a quick break. We'll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[23:17:08] MARQUARDT: Just in, we have learned that the FBI is opening a domestic terror investigation into the El Paso shooting that has left 20 people dead and 26 wounded. Police have identified the alleged shooter as a 21-year-old white male from Allen, Texas. That's just north of Dallas.

He was reported, sorry, excuse me, he was arrested at the scene. The police chief also saying that the shooting has what he calls a nexus to a potential hate crime, citing a manifesto that they have obtained that may be connected to the suspect. They say that they're still working to confirm that the suspect himself wrote it.

So joining me now for more on this is CNN Business Reporter Donie O'Sullivan. Donie, we have seen this four-page manifesto. It's entitled 'I'm probably going to die today'. He didn't. He was taken into custody without firing a shot and as being, we presume, questioned. What's your takeaway from this document?

DONIE O'SULLIVAN, CNN BUSINESS REPORTER: That's right, Alex. I mean this is a four-page document which is full of racist, hatred towards immigrants and Hispanics, particularly, and blames immigrants and first-generation Americans for taking away jobs and blending of cultures in the United States.

My colleague, Paul Murphy, estimates that the document was posted about 20 minutes before the incidents took place onto the message board 8chan.

MARQUARDT: Yes. So often as the big tech companies, it's the Instagrams, it's the Facebooks, it's the Twitters that get a lot of plaque from Capitol Hill and others for what they allow on. But the fact is there's a whole spectrum of blogs and message boards where you can post this vitriol, this hate and it's totally unregulated. Tell us first about what 8chan is and then what that landscape looks like.

O'SULLIVAN: Yes, 8chan is part of, I guess, the real underbelly of the internet. It's where there is just constant racist, anti-semitic vile post at every hour of the day and it is now part of a trend. We have seen that right before the New Zealand attack, the attacker there posted a manifesto similarly on 8chan as well as a link to his Facebook page where he later went live. The same thing happened in April in California ahead of the deadly attack on a synagogue there.

And if this manifesto turns out to be truly written by the suspect, again, this was posted right before the incident took place on 8chan. I mean, 8chan, it's quite disgusting when you look at the content there that folks are actually cheering on, encouraging, talking about the death toll as if it's a game. They've really seemed to just gamified these atrocities.

MARQUARDT: Is there no way that this can be regulated? I guess to some extent, it's protected by a free speech and this is the internet.

[23:20:00] But what could be done and, of course, the authorities will be asked why didn't they catch something like this. But the fact is there's so many of them, if there's so many posts, is there anything that can be done to alert this stuff and to regulate it?

O'SULLIVAN: Well, I'm sure that law enforcement now is keeping a close eye on a lot of websites like these. The difficulty is, of course, we put the Congress and the government put a lot of pressure on the major corporations like Facebook and Twitter to get a handle of what is happening there. But on these websites like 4chan and 8chan, some people will say, "Well, why can't they even be just taken off the internet?"

MARQUARDT: Right.

O'SULLIVAN: The issue is that if one hosting internet provider says we want to shut you down, they could just go to another provider who might be based in a different country. So it's difficult to just wipe something off the internet.

MARQUARDT: Yes, the internet is forever as they say. Are we hearing from some of the bigger tech companies?

O'SULLIVAN: Yes. So Facebook and Twitter both removed accounts that are under the name of the suspect. They've also told me that they are blocking sharing of the manifesto. But just very quickly, it doesn't take a lot to actually find the manifesto on both Facebook and Twitter so they clearly need to be doing a better job on that.

MARQUARDT: Right. All right. Well, Donie O'Sullivan, thanks so much for coming in.

O'SULLIVAN: Thank you.

MARQUARDT: I appreciate it. All right. We're going to take a quick break. We'll be right back after this.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[23:25:03] BURNETT: In the wake of the deadly mass shooting in El Paso today, there was an outpouring of support from the community. Many waiting in long lines to donate desperately needed blood. One organization says it hasn't seen this kind of response since the 9/11 attacks. David Veloz joins me now on the phone. He's the senior director of Donor Recruitment for the Vitalant Blood Bank system in El Paso.

David, thanks so much for joining me tonight.

DAVID VELOZ, SENIOR DIRECTOR, VITALANT BLOOD BANK: Thank you for having me.

MARQUARDT: I can't imagine the range of emotions that you must be feeling after a day like today. You must be feeling overwhelmed, I imagine.

VELOZ: Oh, absolutely. This tragedy is something that our community just didn't know and it just all the emotions from people that came in today to donate blood, I mean it's apparent that everybody has been shocked and we're just not used to things like this out here.

MARQUARDT: And officials and residents talking about how tight-knit this community was and how many people have been touched by it, affected by, I should say, by this attack. Do you personally know anyone who was involved?

VELOZ: Well, the ironic thing is that today we had a big effort planned at Cielo Vista mall. We had one of our larger blood drives scheduled. And so we were actually out there at Cielo Vista mall collecting blood and I got a call from one of my employees and asked if I had seen the news. But some of our employees did see the shooter run through the mall and it was just something that everybody was shaken up about.

MARQUARDT: And one of the best pieces of news that we've seen today and we just showed some of the pictures a moment ago, are these stories of two-hour long lines of residents and people turning out to donate their blood, someone from your company actually said that they hadn't seen anything like this since 9/11. How have you found the response?

VELOZ: Oh, absolutely it was overwhelming. I've been with this organization for more than 20 years and I was here on 9/11 and it was the same thing today. People showing up, wanting to do something to make sense out of this tragedy, wanting to help and so today, we did have long lines of people and the line just wound around the building. People didn't mind waiting for 2-3 hours.

Today we stopped taking donors at 5:00 pm and we were rescheduling people to come back tomorrow to come back on Monday, because the response was just overwhelming. But nonetheless we didn't close our operation till about 30 minutes ago. And so we were still processing those donors that had been waiting all this time.

MARQUARDT: That's so great to hear. Tell us how can we help? What you want people to know if people want to donate blood? What should they be doing? Is there a website? Is there a phone number? What can they do?

VELOZ: Yes. They can go on our website, bloodhero.com or they can also call for an appointment at 1877-258-4825. And I think the most important thing is that I hope people understand the importance of having a plentiful blood supply available at all times. This tragedy just brings into perspective the importance of the role of blood and saving lives.

And so when we ask you to donate blood, we need you to donate blood and to come out and support not only situations like this, but situations that we don't hear about, because every day someone is using blood in our communities. Every day blood is saving lives. Donors are saving lives and what's important, it's important that people understand that.

MARQUARDT: Such an important message is not just about today, blood is needed all the time. As David just mentioned, you can go and schedule an appointment to donate blood there in El Paso and elsewhere at bloodhero.com. David Veloz, from Vitalant Blood Bank. Thanks so much for joining us tonight.

VELOZ: Thank you.

MARQUARDT: And we'll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[23:33:18] MARQUARDT: Staying on top of the tragic mass shooting in El Paso, Texas, I want to get right to CNN Analyst Josh Campbell who has new reporting on the alleged gunman who took the lives of 20 people at a shopping center there in El Paso. Josh, what are you learning?

CAMPBELL: Alex, we're getting our first look here of the suspect. Authorities believed was responsible for yet the latest mass shooting here in the United States. This one taking the life of 20 people behind me injuring over two dozen. This is a 21-year-old resident of Allen, Texas who was taken into custody by law enforcement officers after this shooting.

Now, as they dig into this person's past and as we've been looking at available reports and talking to some of our sources, there are a couple things that stand out. First of which being this is a resident of Allen, Texas which is some 650 miles from this border city of El Paso. So there are questions out there about why did this person choose to come to this location and to attack this specific facility behind me, that's part of that investigation.

We're told that he was taken into custody alive, a key aspect of that next step for law enforcement will be trying to glean from him during the course of an interview. Anything that can help them get to the motivation was this someone who was proud of what he did, is this someone who is willingly going to tell law enforcement step-by-step what he did and why he did it, that is yet to be seen.

But again we're getting that first look here, a 21-year-old white male resident of Texas responsible here police believe for just the latest act of carnage here in the United States involving mass violence with a gun.

MARQUARDT: Josh, if this manifesto is connected to him, it would seem very evident what was motivating him and that was hatred. But who else would the authorities be looking to talk to you tonight?

[23:35:00] CAMPBELL: So right now they're orbiting this target right now. They want to talk to anyone who knew him, anyone that was associated with him, his family members. We can expect that as we speak right now, authorities are likely gathering search warrants to conduct searches at any residences or addresses that may have been associated with him, again, to gather evidence.

Again, the FBI and local law enforcement, they have a procedure and process in place whenever there's a situation like this. The first thing they want to do is to cease any type of social media out there. They'll actually lock it down. Some of these accounts that are out there will all of a sudden disappear that's because law enforcement works with these companies to seize this evidence to get it down from public view as it becomes part of that investigation. We can expect that that's happening right now.

Again, authorities want to get into not only his mindset, but try to determine was there anyone else who may have known, what was about to take place here, anyone who may have participated and just as important, are there any possible follow-on attacks. Again, if this was someone who is part of some group, that will be concerning to law enforcement. They really want to dig into this person complete 360 orbiting this target together as much as they can to get into that mindset and figure out what happened here in Texas.

MARQUARDT: And again if this document that's connected to him, the title said that he expected to die. He didn't, so we don't know really why that is, whether he had a change of heart. He wanted to be taken into custody alive. We really don't know. But he is in custody and he is alive and he is going to be questioned for a long time by these authorities.

Josh, you were at the FBI, if you were sitting down across the table from this young man, what would you be asking him?

CAMPBELL: So the key question is the why and again getting back to looking at past incidents, we've studied these. Oftentimes, you will have someone who has no qualms with admitting why they did what they did. They're sometimes proud of it and especially if this manifesto is indeed connected to him. We're told by our sources that authorities are working to determine whether they are associated.

Someone who pushes that information out publicly obviously doesn't hide what they're trying to achieve and the hate that they're trying to spew. So if he admits to that then obviously that will be key to investigators. We're also told, Alex, we've been reported that the FBI has opened a concurrent domestic terrorism investigation. They're working alongside state officials.

The state has the lead right now, but the FBI is pouring through this manifesto, trying to get to any type of ideology that may have motivated this attack. They have their profilers back at Quantico that are professionals at this again digging into the mindset of these people. But, again, should it be determined that he was motivated by either hate or some type of radical ideology that falls in the spectrum of domestic terrorism, we might see a greater role here for the federal government but again as of right now they are working behind the scenes.

The state has a lead. It remains a very much an ongoing investigation.

MARQUARDT: All right. Josh Campbell there on the scene. Let us know what else you learned. Thanks very much. All right. As you can imagine, when the news of this shooting in El Paso hit, the relatives rushed to the scene, searching for their loved ones and family members. Take a listen to this man who was looking for his mother.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

WILL ENGLISBEE, SEARCHING FOR HIS MISSING MOTHER: My brother spoke with her at 10:31. She was in the line at Wal-Mart in the checkout line. They spoke for four minutes till 10:35 and that was the last we've heard of her and that was - that she was at that Wal-Mart right there and she told him, "I'm in line." My brother is on a flight back from Florida. He'll be here in a couple hours, but he was in Atlanta.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And you checked all of the - sorry, apologize for making you repeat this, you checked all of the hospitals, you checked all of them.

ENGLISBEE: Yes. Yes, we just don't know where she is and the buses haven't shown up at MacArthur. I guess there were some witnesses they're supposed to take over to MacArthur, I have two sisters over there, and no one has shown up.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You seem to be holding up all right there.

ENGLISBEE: We're trying. We're trying. We just wanted to walk down here ourselves and take a look to try to find her. I mean, because she won't hold up without water. I mean someone needs to take care of her. She needs water, she needs to be taken care of. She's very ...

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And she's not answering her phone.

ENGLISBEE: No, sir. It's actually turned off. We use the iPhone app to try to find her.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And Will, are you worried that she may have been hit?

ENGLISBEE: Sir, I don't want to speculate. I'm hoping, I'm praying, I mean, please, God, bring her home.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MARQUARDT: Now, I want to bring in the Mayor of El Paso, Dee Margo. Mr. Mayor, first of all, our thoughts go out to you and to your community, to the families of those who are hurt and killed. Can you give us an update on the victims and the wounded?

MAYOR DEE MARGO (R-TX): I don't really know anything more on the statistics of the numbers. The 20 dead and those that are in the hospital. They're 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 heartbreaking. What about the investigation? What our federal authorities telling you? What is the governor telling you about the suspect? We understand he's a 21-year-old man who drove all the way from Allen, Texas. What more do we know about the investigation into him and to his motive?

[23:40:04] MARGO: Well, there isn't much to update since we had the press conference. We talked about this gentleman, I shouldn't say gentleman, this murderer who came from outside of El Paso and as I've said before, no one in El Paso would have ever done something like this. This is not what we're about as a community. The investigations are still going through in identifying the bodies and they're going through their normal forensic work and then they're families will be notified.

But nothing new was 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 from out of, I think, Allen, Texas, is where they think they said he came from.

MARQUARDT: Yes.

MARGO: But my point is that just a real tragedy.

MARQUARDT: Can you describe the scene before the shooting? What would have been happening at a Wal-Mart 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: 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've 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 are a close-knit, we are large and close-knit, we're the largest community of our type on the U.S.-Mexico border. There's nothing in North America that can equate to what we have here with El Paso, Juarez.

So this is just totally unexpected and as I say probably never would have occurred within El Paso.

MARQUARDT: You must be heartened to see those long lines of donors, of blood donors coming 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, the Paso del Norte Health Foundation has set up a website for donations for victims and their families. And what we're telling other people is just continue to donate blood, that's what we need right now.

MARQUARDT: All right. Well 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 that given how tight-knit and strong that community is that you will mourn together and then recover together and be stronger than ever. Mayor Dee Margo, thanks very much.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[23:46:52] MARQUARDT: We are hearing new eyewitness accounts of the horror that unfolded at an El Paso Wal-Mart store earlier today. Take a listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ADRIA GONZALEZ, SHOOTING WITNESS: We were going to Wal-Mart as normal morning. And me and my mom went to get up milk. And once we got the milk, we were going towards the fruit alley and when we got to the fruit alley we heard like shots like three shots, boom, boom, boom, one, two, three and I told my mother, "Mom, they are gunshots. We need to go."

And she just froze and did not move and I told her, "Let's move. Get down. Get down." And from far away maybe like 15 feet away I saw the shooter, he was wearing a black T-shirt, some brown khaki pants and he was wearing some mugs like those to protect your ears from. And he just started to shoot everyone, he just started to shoot and what I did - my first instant was to get people out of there.

I probably shouted, "They're shooting. They're shooting. Get out." I believe I push people out of the exit maybe like probably like 48 people out of there and just told them to get out and then there was this senior citizen lady that I tried to help and I couldn't and I just told her to move faster, she couldn't move faster, so I left her there, and I needed to get out because the shooter was getting closer and closer.

So I was just - I just told her to get down and hide and then I left her and we just ran outside and got everybody and just told everybody to just run out and just go far, far away as we can so we actually started running. We came out to Sam's and then from Sam's we ran more farther away because we still heard some maybe like two gunshots more outside.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MARQUARDT: And then from the Governor of Texas, Greg Abbott, came this message to his State.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Governor Abbott, I'm sure 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's not Texan and 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.

[23:50:05] 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.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MARQUARDT: And as news of this shooting broke, most of the Democrats running for president were in Las Vegas, Nevada for a union event and many spoke about the shooting.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MAYOR PETE BUTTIGIEG (D-IN), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We are the only country in the world with more guns than people. It has not made us safer. We can respect the Second Amendment and not allow it to be a death sentence for thousands of Americans.

And two, white nationalism is evil, and it is inspiring people to commit murder, and it is being condoned at the highest levels of the American government and that has to end. The first time I became aware that our country was under attack like most people in my generation I think was 9/11 and for a hot minute, we all swore up and down that we were going to be different, that it was going to change us and that being attacked was going to bring out the best in this country, that's what we said, so how about this time.

SEN. BERNIE SANDERS (D-VT), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: It's not just today. It has happened several times this week. It has happened here in Las Vegas where some lunatic killed 50 some-odd people and wounded hundreds of people. And I think all over the world people are looking at the United States and wondering what is going on, what is the mental health situation in America where time after time after time we're seeing indescribable horrors.

JOE BIDEN, FORMER UNITED STATES VICE PRESIDENT, PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Enough is enough is enough and it's been enough for the past five years. This is a sickness. This is well beyond anything that we should be tolerating.

REP. BETO O'ROURKE (D-TX), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I'm incredibly saddened and it's very hard to think about this, but I'll tell you El Paso is the strongest place in the world. This community is going to come together.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MARQUARDT: President Trump has also been briefed on the situation and he has tweeted, quote, terrible shootings in El Paso, Texas. Reports are very bad, many killed. Working with State and Local authorities and Law Enforcement. Spoke to Governor to pledge total support of Federal Government. God be with you all.

And just in, protests outside the White House tonight, a group called Moms Demand Action, a gun control advocacy group. They were in Washington for an annual conference and tonight they marched towards the White House chanting the words, "El Paso." Take a listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So again this video is coming to you via Twitter from @MomsDemand.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes, chanting El Paso. El Paso today in the national spotlight for a mass shooting, 20 people dead, 26 people in the hospital and ...

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MARQUARDT: The devastated community of El Paso tonight mourning the lives lost, 20 of them and 26 more injured. Some now fighting for their lives at area hospitals. Texans held a candlelight vigil at a Catholic Church in El Paso this evening, moments of prayer and moments of cheers. The vigil concluding with a song for this wounded community.

(MUSIC)

MARQUARDT: Another candlelight vigil for El Paso shooting victims taking place tonight in Austin, Texas at St. Edward's University. Finally, tonight I imagine that many of you like I have spent the day and evening wondering how is this possible again, why is it that the United States of America is the only country in the world where this kind of thing happens on a regular basis, where time and time again we go through this same horrific routine of news alerts about an active shooter, scenes of people streaming out school or a mall or an office building, then early reports of injuries and deaths confirmations from the authorities.

The identity of the gunman is then revealed and in the vast majority of the cases, it is a man, usually a white man, as it was today. We ask ourselves, is it the racial divisions in our country, is it political divisions, is it the way we deal with mental health or is it numbers like these?

Consider this, the U.S. population is just under 5 percent of the world's population. But according to Gallup, we own almost half of the world's guns, approximately 42 percent. That number is hard to nail down, because in America guns are hard to track.

[23:55:04] But what is clear is that American citizens owned more guns than citizens of any other country in the world. In the coming hours and days we're going to be hearing a lot of politicians offering their thoughts and prayers as they should. But if past precedent neither thoughts nor prayers are a solution. We needed a solution yesterday. The 20 people killed in today's shooting deserve a solution. The victims in Gilroy, California last weekend, they deserve a solution. The list goes on and on. This needs to be fixed. Those of us who vote in this country must demand it. Our hearts go out to El Paso tonight. We will be with you as you mourn and as you recover and we know that you will recover.

Thanks for watching tonight. I'm Alex Marquardt in New York. Natalie Allen takes over our live coverage in a moment.