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Twenty-Nine Dead In Two Mass Shootings In Just 13 Hours; Nine People Killed In Dayton, Ohio; Donald Trump Makes A Statement Over The Killings In Ohio. Aired 4-5p ET
Aired August 4, 2019 - 16:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[16:00:00] ANNOUNCER: This is CNN Breaking News.
FREDRICKA WHITFIELD, CNN HOST: Hello, again, everyone, and thank you so much for joining me this Sunday. I'm Fredricka Whitfield live at the CNN World headquarters in Atlanta, along with my colleague, Jim Sciutto, who is in El Paso, Texas. And we are standing by for a live update to a mass shooting in Dayton, Ohio.
At any moment now, authorities are expected to give up new details about the suspect, the fast action by police there that stopped the suspect's deadly rampage. However, in all, nine people were killed in Dayton, Ohio. Dozens others were injured. And that shooting coming just 13 hours after a mass shooting in El Paso, Texas, at a Walmart on Saturday. Twenty people were killed and 26 injured.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GREG ALLEN, CHIEF, EL PASO POLICE DEPARTMENT: There's not words you can place to say something like that. You know, you have to see it for yourself. When I first got into this job, I never knew there was an odor to blood, but there is.
And until you firsthand see that, my description of it, as far as horrific will be unserving as far as what that scene looks like. So I can't tell you what that means other than for the normal individual that doesn't have to deal with that on a day-to-day basis, it will leave an impression that you will never forget. I'll just leave it at that.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WHITFIELD: This has been hard for everyone to comprehend here. My colleague Jim Sciutto is there in El Paso, Texas -- Jim.
JIM SCIUTTO, CNN ANCHOR: Well, Fred, I'm outside what's become a particularly American crime scene. That is 20 victims dead. Still on the ground inside and outside this Walmart behind me here as you heard the police chief saying there. So overwhelmed simply by the smell of the blood when he entered there.
What is new or becoming increasingly common about this crime here is that it was inspired by white supremacy. The 21-year-old white suspect, now in police company had -- custody, rather, had posted a manifesto describing his anger towards -- his hostility towards Mexicans. That was his target here. They were his targets here. And we are calling this as -- local law enforcement and federal law enforcement, we are calling this an act of domestic terrorism.
Both those things becoming more common in this country. Violence driven by white supremacy, domestic acts of terrorism, ones leaving many more Americans dead.
I'm joined now by Ed Lavandera. He's been on the ground since just hours after this shooting here.
One of the most troubling things I've heard. I spoke to a state senator, I spoke to people locally, is that many people still don't know the fate of their loved ones. They don't know if they're inside on the ground there now. What are you learning as you speak to victims, but also -- victims' families, but also to law enforcement about when that will happen, when they'll have clarity about who lost their lives here?
ED LAVANDERA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, hopefully that is something that here in the coming hours we'll begin to have clarity on. But the last we've heard is that a scene inside the Walmart is essentially left intact from what all of this unfolded. And that includes the victims' bodies.
And that's being done because there's forensic work, crime scene work that is being done and law enforcement officials say that that is part of it. They are pleading with people to understand that this is a painstaking process but that is part of the delay as we've spoken to a number of family members who have loved ones who are missing and they're waiting to hear the news.
SCIUTTO: Tell us what we know about the shooter at this point as well.
LAVANDERA: Well, the shooter remains in custody. We understand from El Paso Police that he is speaking with investigators. He has been charged with capital murder. That means he could -- he will face the death penalty more than likely here in the state of Texas. But just the extent of how much he is sharing and what his reasoning behind, other than what we've read in that manifesto isn't exactly clear but he is talking with investigators.
SCIUTTO: And that is something -- somewhat unusual because oftentimes in shootings like this, for instance in Cleveland and also in Gilroy, California, just last week, the shooter ends up dead.
SCIUTTO: Whether because of police response or self-inflicted gunshot wound as it was in California. We'll see what police learn from them as they continue to question him.
Ed Lavandera, thanks very much.
And Fred, before I come back to you, I just wanted to share a moment here that we witnessed just in the last few minutes. And that was a mother and her three children going up to this makeshift memorial as we've seen in so many places, so many times in this country now. The flowers, the notes, the candles. But we've seen a tremendous local outpouring of sorrow here.
We've seen people walk away from this memorial with tears in their eyes. Support. Hospitality. People supporting us here as best they can, and saying throughout, Fred, that this is a community where we felt safe before this and that feeling of safety certainly disturbed hopefully not broken by what we witnessed here in the last 24 hours.
Fred, back to you.
WHITFIELD: It's heartbreaking. And of course, you know, El Paso has been hailed as one of America's safest cities, made so particularly in recent years.
[16:05:01] All right. Thank you so much, Jim Sciutto. Appreciate it.
WHITFIELD: Now let's talk about that other tragic mass shooting in America, Dayton, Ohio, where we are seeing disturbing surveillance video now showing the moment when people on the street, they were going about their business, having a good time on a Saturday night and then shots fired out. People started running as you see there, some falling to the ground running for cover. Some falling to the ground because they got hit. In the end nine people were killed and at least 27 others hurt.
Officials are commending the police officers who were able to shoot and kill the suspect in less than a minute after the suspect opened fire.
CNN's Polo Sandoval is in Dayton and where we're learning new details about the suspect's possible motive. And we also understand that at any moment now, there will be a briefing there on perhaps even revealing more details about the crime -- Polo.
POLO SANDOVAL, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: And we're told that that briefing, Fred, could potentially lead to a more comprehensive look. And as you say, potentially a better look at the possible motive involved here.
There are many components here, Fred, that really do give you a jarring perspective of what happened on this very street early this morning here. There's a surveillance video that you just showed a little while ago. The witness statements.
And then the images that you see behind me. These men in hazmat suits essentially scrubbing down the historic district here in downtown Dayton. The historic Oregon District. Right outside of the bar where that shooting took place where nine lives were cut short.
The last couple of hours, investigators releasing the identities of those nine victims. Their ages ranging from 22 to 57 years old. The youngest was the suspect's own sister. A 22-year-old woman that was identified among the dead. Also on the list of casualties, people who died here, is that woman's boyfriend as well. So the big question right now, was she potentially targeted? Investigators have not said.
However, they have told us that they expect a significant release of information in the 4:00 hour which could potentially happen at any moment. So as we wait for that, we leave you with some of these images that really do give you a better idea of what is happening here in downtown Dayton.
It's a city trying to really get back up and not just move forward, but at the same time begin to heal and to provide that healing to those nine families of those nine people who lost their lives on this street in the nation's latest mass shooting -- Fred.
WHITFIELD: Polo Sandoval, thank you so much. Appreciate that.
This nation grappling with two mass shootings taking place within a 13-hour span leading to the deaths of 29 people combined and dozens more injured.
Now, of course, you see on the bottom of your screen, you see a very small picture. That is the Dayton mayor who is about to speak. There's a press conference about to get under way. Do we want to go to that right now? All right. Let's listen in.
MAYOR NAN WHALEY (D), DAYTON, OHIO: We've had a briefing at 7:00, 10:00, 1:00, 3:00 and 4:00. And certainly appreciate the work of Dayton Police Department and Chief Biehl's team and Chief Biehl himself. The community police council, many of whom I see standing here behind the cameras, have received this briefing as per our regular process. And if you can stand on this side, Commissioner Shaw, we are really appreciative of them taking the time as they always do, regardless of the incident.
They come to our community to sit with the police department, to discuss the response. So I'm very grateful for them because even when there are incidents that don't get any press at all, they are there. And I want to make sure that they know how much the city commission and the city of Dayton and the police department appreciate their leadership.
I also want to mention that tonight at 8:00 p.m. we will be having a vigil at the Oregon District on 5th Street. This is a way that -- you know, this is our district. This is our community. And so we will be having a vigil. Everyone is invited to attend and encouraged.
I want to recognize everyone who is here of the elected sort. Obviously, Senator Sherrod Brown. Appreciate him coming down from Cleveland. Senator Peggy Lehner is here with us today. Appreciate her coming. Commissioner Shaw and Mims who have been here all day just doing whatever needs to be done as well as Commissioner Fairchild.
Just having that support of our community leaders and our state leaders has meant a lot to me personally and certainly, I speak on behalf of the citizens of Dayton, that it means that a lot to them as well. OK. So I'm going to turn it over to Chief Biehl. This is a pretty
typical piece that we do regularly on officer -- any kind of incident and certainly, I just want to say that the amazing, amazing work of the police department and the fire department this past, you know, 12 to 15 hours is demonstrated.
[16:10:03] But I'm really amazed at what they do every single day. This is what they do every single day. And I am so grateful to get to be the mayor of a city with such an outstanding police and fire department. Chief Richard Biehl.
RICHARD BIEHL, CHIEF, DAYTON POLICE DEPARTMENT: Thank you, Mayor. So I'm here to provide an update for what you are well aware is an active shooter that occurred in the Oregon District in the early morning hours of today. A little bit of a timeline, today at 1:05 a.m., officers were patrolling the Oregon District during bar closing time and heard gunfire.
They observed a large crowd running away from this gunfire. The officers immediately advanced toward the gunfire and within approximately 20 seconds they engaged the suspect who was actively firing and attempting to enter a crowded liquor establishment. Threat was neutralized in approximately 30 seconds of the suspect firing his first shots. You will now hear a -- one of the 911 calls we received.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We have an active shooter on 5th Street.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: OK. 5th Street and what intersection?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I don't really know. It's right outside Hole in the Wall.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: OK. Right outside --
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: White man. Multiple shots. Right at that (INAUDIBLE).
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Someone got shot there?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I don't know if they were shot. He was shooting in the air. People were running and screaming. Active shooter --
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Is he shooting right now?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Adult male. Yes. Outside. Outside. Stay inside. Get the fuck inside.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Black male, white male?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Say what? UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Black male, white male?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I could not tell. He had a hat. We went inside. We barricaded the door.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You're inside (INAUDIBLE)?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (INAUDIBLE). What do I do? (INAUDIBLE).
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: OK. I've got the call. OK. Just stay on the phone with me.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Thank you so much. Thank you so much.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Are you at (INAUDIBLE)?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We're at (INAUDIBLE) Tavern, downtown Dayton. Active shooter. Adult male. About 5'8" -- I don't know. 6'5". Hat.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BIEHL: Now you will see a video that was taken inside of one of the shops on 5th Street in the Oregon District.
The suspect has been identified as a Connor Stephen Betts. He's a minimal criminal history as an adult. He has traffic violations, speed, failure to control and failure to yield. He was wearing a mask. A bulletproof vest and hearing protection. He was armed with a 0.223 caliber-like rifle with 100-round drum magazines. He is a 24 years of age and he is deceased.
Fatalities from this assault include Lois Oglesby, a black female, 27 years of age. Megan Betts, white female, 22 years of age. She is the suspect's sister. Saeed Salah, who is a black male, 38 years of age. Derrick Fudge, black male, 57 years of age. Logan Turner, white male, 30 years of age. Nicholas Cumer, white male, 27 years of age. Thomas McNichols, black male, 25 years of age. Beatrice Curtis, black female, 36 years of age. Monica Brickhouse, black female, 39 years of age.
In addition, there are 27 confirmed victims who were injured and were transported to local hospitals for treatment. Basic overview of this scene, of this entire incident, is now on your screen. In the lower left-hand corner you see a square. That is the approximate location of the suspect's vehicle that was parked and then the suspect left and then went on to commit this assault.
[16:15:10] The rectangular area toward the right side and more center of the diagram is where the suspect fires his first shots and killed his first victim. He then enters on to 5th Street and then there were eight other victims killed by the suspect before he is fatally struck at the entrance to Ned Peppers which is where the circle designates.
This is just the suspect's initial route. So you saw all that square block -- box that was on the screen where he fired his initial shots. This is that area, illuminated in the daytime here, and that red arrow is the pathway he took to get to 5th Street.
We're now going to show a couple of videos of this event that will show graphic content. They will show police officers engage this individual. They will show multiple shots being fired. We have done -- tried to eliminate any video at this time that shows any victims who are shot. So we'll start with the first video. These are outside of Ned Peppers.
So a Dayton police officer running along the top of the screen to engage the suspect. See the suspect enter the bottom right-hand corner of the screen. That's him there entering, or attempting to enter Ned Peppers when he is struck multiple times. And he stops there.
And there's another video here, a little different angle. You see a lot of officers who were entering in from the upper left-hand corner of this screen and begin heading down the roadway there to engage the suspect. Here's one officer there. Another officer coming with a patrol rifle. Additional officers responding. Officer with -- a sergeant with a shotgun.
Next is a photograph of the suspect's vehicle which is a 2007 gray Toyota Corolla. Next is a photo of the firearm used by the suspect. You see in the lower left-hand corner those double drum magazines which have a capacity of up to 100 rounds. And then the lower right- hand corner, that firearm is identified.
The officers involved in this -- in the active shooting in this event include Sergeant William Knight, Chad Knight, who came on in 1997. More than 20-year veteran. Remaining officers have been on roughly about three years. They include Officer Brian Lorfus, Officer Jeremy Campbell, Officer Vincent Carter, Officer Ryan Naval and Officer David Dellinger.
We've had extraordinary assistance from many, many different agencies. The Montgomery County Sheriff's Office, Ohio State Patrol, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, representative with us here on stage, Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearm, also other federal partners joining us here on stage.
Sinclair Police Department, University of Dayton Police Department, Five Rivers Metropark. Kettering Police Department, Riverside Police Department, Montgomery County's Coroner's Office, Huber Heights Police Department, Montgomery County Prosecutor's Office, Box 21, Red Cross, Bellbrook Police Department, and also the U.S. attorney of southwest Ohio who has joined us on stage who had been very supportive and helpful in this investigation, which is ongoing.
I've just got to remind you that we're a little bit more than 12-plus hours into this event, so much is unknown.
[16:20:00] The Dayton Police Department Homicide Unit will be handling the criminal investigation and administrative investigation. We conduct it by professional standards bureau and that occurs any time an officer discharges a firearm. Per police department policy, the five officers and one won sergeant are going to be placed on administrative leave. That is per protocol.
We are still asking for assistance in this investigation, notwithstanding the substantial local and federal and even state resources dedicated to this investigation. If there's any information regarding this incident, we request that it be relayed to the Dayton Police Department by calling the tip line 937-225-6217. There's a family assistance center that has been established at the Dayton Convention Center where you are at and can be contacted directly at 937-333-8430. And for additional information please follow our Twitter page at @daytonpolice.
That is the entirety of the presentation. At this time, the status of this investigation, once again I reiterate, we are very, very early into this investigation. Any suggestion at this time of motive would be irresponsible.
We do not have sufficient information to answer the question that everyone wants to know. Why? We do not have that answer at this time. We will clearly pursue this investigation to try to understand the motivation in this crime, assuming that there is a motivation that's understandable.
So that's still before us. We have a lot of evidence to process through. From digital evidence to physical evidence to phone evidence, so much, much investigation is before us. So we're very early on. This is very basic preliminary information I'm able to provide at this time. With that, I'll open up to any questions you may have.
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: I'm sorry to interrupt you. You may have mentioned this earlier today but there was a report that while the shooter had his rifle out, someone grabbed the end of the rifle and so he dropped it and grabbed a handgun and started shooting? Is that true?
BIEHL: We have no information to substantiate that at all.
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: So as far as you know it was just the rifle and no other gun?
BIEHL: There was -- there was a security officer after the suspect was down who removed the rifle from underneath him or the weapon from underneath him. That happened. But I have no information to corroborate what you were -- what you just mentioned at all.
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: OK.
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: -- sister?
BIEHL: We're going to have to do this in an orderly fashion.
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: -- the first victim, chief? BIEHL: No, she was not the first victim but she was one of the
initial victims right as he came out of the alleyway. She and another male who was a companion of the suspect was shot and wounded. So they were victims initially after the first person was shot. So very close proximity.
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Your department this afternoon I believe with other agencies served a search warrant at a home (INAUDIBLE). Can you tell us, did you find more weapons and other evidence there and what type of evidence you may have found?
BIEHL: Yes. I can't speak to the evidence recovered. We clearly did recover evidence. Much of this we're going to have to examine so I can't like comment further on that at this time. OK?
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: What can you tell us about the gun and where he got it?
BIEHL: Well, there was more than one gun. But I can tell you that particular weapon that you saw was ordered online from Texas. But transferred to the suspect at a local firearms dealer here in this area. There's also a shotgun that was acquired from a local firearms dealer here. Two different dealers. But the -- that weapon originated in Texas.
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Can you speak to the legality of those weapons or the magazines?
BIEHL: Let me say there's nothing in this individual's history or record that would have precluded him from purchasing that firearm.
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Is that magazine illegal? The 100-round magazine?
BIEHL: There is no indication of that that is illegal at this time.
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Is there anything significant to mentioning the shooter's race?
BIEHL: To mentioning it?
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Yes. Is there any significance --
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Is there a possibility this can be investigated as a hate crime?
BIEHL: I don't think I understand your question. He's a white male.
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Yes, right. But was there any significant in mentioning that --
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: A hate crime and -- BIEHL: We have no evidence to suggest that this -- there is a bias
motive in this crime at this time.
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: How many shots were left in the magazine?
BIEHL: It is certainly dozens were fired. I don't think we have an absolute count at this point so I don't want to put a number out there and have it not be accurate, but dozens of rounds were fired.
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: -- officers and how responded just in terms of the firepower and -- can you describe by watching what you were able to see there, describe what you were watching, your officers and how they responded.
[16:25:06] BIEHL: Well, I would tell you that what was crucial in their response was the availability of both shotgun and patrol rifle. That was crucial that it was a commitment we made, really well over a decade ago, and even added to that inventory since my tenure as chief. I'm in my 12th year now.
So recognizing the potential threats that we could face, particularly people wearing ballistic armor, we know we have to have the kind of equipment and weaponry to be able to thwart that. That was pretty crucial in this case. And I'm sorry, I think you had a question.
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Was the shooter with his sister prior to the shooting?
BIEHL: Yes. Yes, the information we have is they all came in the same vehicle, but they separated at some point.
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Was there an altercation in the vehicle before?
BIEHL: No information in that regard. Yes?
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: How is the family doing? They've lost both their children today.
BIEHL: Well, I think you can imagine this is a nightmare for them and I think they are struggling, as you can understand.
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Have they spoken at all? Have they said --
BIEHL: We've had a chance to have contact with them. Yes, we've had.
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Have you had a chance to talk to the (INAUDIBLE)?
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Any indication that he was influenced by the incident in El Paso?
BIEHL: We have no information to suggest that. None at this time.
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Have you had a chance to talk to her boyfriend? If he came in the car with them, he knew that this gun and the ballistic vest and all this stuff was in the car.
BIEHL: We had an opportunity to talk to the individual who rode in the vehicle with them. So that's part of our investigation that's ongoing.
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Any information on when the vest was purchased, or where that came from?
BIEHL: Yes, we do have that information but we're not going to release it at this time.
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Chief, we're hearing from classmates of his from Bellbrook saying when he was in school there he was suspended because he had a hit list? Can you confirm any of that? I know no criminal charges were filed.
BIEHL: I can't confirm and -- because this is going to speak to potential motive. Right? I mean, that's what people are trying to get to here. There is far too much information that we have to review before we can even begin a conversation about possible motive. And I will not talk about any potential slice of evidence, its value or not, at this time. It's just way too early.
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Chief, you said there were two weapons?
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: So he had two -- he had a shotgun and an assault rifle on him?
BIEHL: And I'll just reconfirm. We have -- the shotgun wasn't --
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The shotgun was in the vehicle. The assault rifle --
BIEHL: Yes. So there are two weapons but one of which was used in the assault.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: One he left in the vehicle. Yes. That he took to the place with his sister and her friend.
BIEHL: Well, let me just say that those weapons eventually wound up at that location. They separated at some point later in that evening. So what he did during that time that they were no longer together is a question mark in our investigation and something we're going to have to determine.
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Was anything found at the house? BIEHL: That question was already asked. And I said we're not going
to talk about any evidence at this time.
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: How many rounds were fired between your officers and --
BIEHL: Yes, I don't have a number for you right now. We were trying to confirm that. We basically do ballistic checks. And we look for shell casings at the scene and then we have to match that against magazine capacity and rounds missing. And that's not always a precise comparison. So I don't have a precise number for you at this time.
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: And all the deceased victims were killed by him and not by any other --
BIEHL: We don't have any reason to believe that any of the persons deceased were shot by other than the assailant at this time.
BIEHL: Hang on. What's that?
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Any time when they may have split up? You said that they -- the suspect and --
BIEHL: They did at some point in time. I don't think we have a precise time for that but clearly it was some point in the evening that they did part ways.
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Do you know what time they all arrived together?
BIEHL: I don't have that available to me right now. We don't have that specific information.
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Did he shoot at your officers?
BIEHL: Hang on.
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Did he shoot at your officers or was he, you know, killed --
BIEHL: I don't think we have that known with absolute certainty. There was a vehicle shot early on in that exchange right as our officers were either engaging or about to engage. So I can't really speak to that precisely.
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Was his sister and the companion targeted by the shooter or were they part of just this indiscriminate shooting?
BIEHL: That's really something we can't tell at this point. It's a question -- it's a nagging question. And I just don't have the answer. We're trying to sort through that ourselves.
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Did any of the victims (INAUDIBLE) -- did any other victims know the shooter?
BIEHL: Not that I'm aware of.
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Can you speak on the significance of that bar? Was there a reason why --
BIEHL: Not that we're aware of. So we really don't know if that was somehow of importance.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: (Inaudible) -- are they in critical condition? How are they doing? Are any of them?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We don't have, I think, anything precise on the other 27, do we? One critical, one is critical?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Chief, how will (Inaudible).
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, it's interesting because we already have a concentration presence. It's an entertainment venue. We realize a lot of people come to Oregon district. I've been there very recently. So certainly, we know a lot of folks will be there. And we have police officers present because of that reason. So will this cause us to evaluate?
We'll evaluate everything that touches on this incident just to determine whether or not we need to do anything differently. But there were certainly plenty of officers present that acted virtually instantaneously and effectively ended this in 30 seconds.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Can you talk about your officers (Inaudible) just the fact that they were able to be there and respond in seconds.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It was crucial. Had this individual made it through the doorway of Ned Peppers with that level of weaponry, there would have been a catastrophic injury and loss of life. So stopping him before he could get inside there, where you saw all the people they were running in there for protection was essential and minimizing to the degree we could casualties and deaths from this incident.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Did the shooter have a chance to reload?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I am not aware of that being the case.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Do you have any information about legality?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They were obtained legally, yes.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Do you have any information on the shooter and the suspect, talked to anyone, spoke to anyone, as this was going on?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: None, Mike, none.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Megan Betts, she was there with his friend, right? And she was fatally shot. He wasn't hit at all?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No, he was -- he is one of those that was injured, transported to the hospital.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He's one of the 27 injured?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That is correct.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What was the suspect wearing? There's reports of a mask and then body armor, like vest or...
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yeah, ballistic vest.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And a mask of some sort.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Some sort of a mask, correct.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What kind of a mask?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I don't have that information available.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Can you clarify the companion that was the shooter's companion or the sister's companion?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, I would say it's one in the same. They all came together. I do want to pause for a minute, because the FBI has a site that we want to get out publicly. Todd, if you can come join us and introduce yourself.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I am Todd Wickerham. I'm the FBI special agent in charge for this part of the state, and www.FBI.gov/Daytonshooting, right? And what we can -- people can submit there, if they have videos, if they have other social media associated with this shooting that they think...
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WHITFIELD: All right. You've been listening to authorities there in Dayton, Ohio, hours now after a devastating mass shooting taking place in the Oregon district, which is a night time location where folks were there enjoying restaurant and each other. Nine people killed, and now it's the first opportunity to hear from the president of the United States on his thoughts after returning from his New Jersey golf course.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I want to extend our condolences to the people of El Paso, Texas and Dayton, Ohio. They are incredible people, and they've been through a lot. I just want to also thank the law enforcement in both places. The job they've done is incredible. I also want to congratulate them. I mean nobody could have done what they've done.
This could have been -- as bad as it was, it could have been so much worse. I just have to thank them. The job they've done is incredible. They were right on the ball in El Paso. They were there so quickly, and in Dayton, in less than a minute. Think of the damage he did in such a short period of time. In less than a minute, the law enforcement acted and killed him.
And it would have been unbelievable. It was -- would have been -- it was horrible, but it would have been so much worse. It could have been so much worse. I just want to say that these are two incredible places. We love the people. Hate has no place in our country. And we're going to take care of it. I spoke with Attorney General, Bill Barr at length.
[16:34:55] I spoke to Christopher Wray, Director of the FBI. Spoke to the governors, both governors. And we're doing a lot of work. A lot of people are working right now, a lot of law enforcement people and others. Spoke to members of Congress about whatever we can do, and a lot of things are being done right now as we speak. I'll be making a statement tomorrow some time.
But just on behalf of our first lady and myself, condolences to all. We have to get it stopped. This has been going on for years, for years and years in our country. We have to get it stopped. So thank you very much. And I will be making a statement tomorrow at about 10:00. And I'll see you there. Thank you all very much.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: (Inaudible)
TRUMP: You have to talk up.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What are you going to do about it?
TRUMP: We're talking to a lot of people, and a lot of things are in the works, and a lot of good things. And we've done much more than most administrations. And it is just not really talked about very much. But we've done actually a lot. But perhaps more has to be done. But this is also a mental illness problem, if you look at both of these cases.
This is mental illness. These are really people that are very, very seriously mentally ill. So a lot of things are happening. A lot of things are happening right now. And I will see you tomorrow at 10:00. Thank you.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WHITFIELD: All right. The president of the United States along with the first lady, Melania Trump returning from a weekend in New Jersey, saying he will have a statement tomorrow at 10:00, saying that there is a mental illness problem here. And he says in that statement that he'll be making -- he didn't allude to how much further he'd be extrapolating on the conversations he says he's had with lawmakers, with both governors of Texas and Ohio and, of course, his conversation with the Attorney General William Barr and the FBI Director Chris Wray.
And that's all we've got from the president. He says, however, that hate has no place in our country. And, of course, he in concert with the rest of America that this was very horrible what has transpired in these two states in the last 24 hours. All right, Kaitlan Collins joining us now from the White House. So, Kaitlan, the statement coming from the president tomorrow, he alludes to that. In what form might we expect that?
KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, the president is on his way back to the White House. So we would expect it from here. We knew that aides were not tracking any kind of Oval Office address from the president tonight.
But, of course, the question is going to be what is it that the president is planning on saying tomorrow? You heard him say there that hate has no place in the country, but he said he believes this is an issue that revolves around mental health.
That's something he brought up multiple times there at the end with reporters. One phrase he did not say was anything about white nationalism or white supremacy. Of course, that's been the focus of that shooting that happened in El Paso at that Walmart, as there have been questions, not only from Democratic presidential candidates tying the president's rhetoric directly to an attack like that, especially Beto O'Rourke who did as much in an interview with Jake Tapper this morning, where he said he does believe President Trump is a white nationalist.
That's something you've seen aides and allies of the president push back on today, including from his own acting chief of staff, Mick Mulvaney, who said the president's rhetoric about immigrants and rhetoric overall should not be blamed for this shooting. He also talked about mental health during those interviews. And that's something it seems like the White House is going to be focusing on.
Now, of course, the president said he did speak with the Attorney General Bill Barr at length and the FBI Director Christopher Wray, Christopher Wray who we know has testified in front of Congress that he does believe white nationalism is on the rise and it is a growing threat in this country, which is something the president has downplayed in the Oval Office at several points.
One occasion in particular when he said he did not see it as a growing threat to this country. Now, the president was asked questions by several reporters there, but he did not go into detail beyond just saying that he's going to make that statement tomorrow, and that he has been talking to members of Congress about what to do in wake of these two shootings that happened just hours apart.
And that's what's going to be interesting, what route is the president going to take there, and is it going to be one that he sticks by, because you'll remember after past shootings, the president has raised things like banning assault weapons, raising the minimum age to purchase some of those assault weapons from 18 to 21. Statements the president later backed off of after he met with several top NRA officials here at the White House, even though he said he wasn't scared of the NRA.
He implied that several lawmakers on Capitol Hill were. So that's the question going forward if the president is going to propose any kind of legislation about that, whether he's going to call on Congress to come back to town because, as you noted, Fred, they are, of course, out of town on recess right now. So that is going to be something that people are looking for tomorrow when the president does make an address, which he said is going to be around 10:00 over here in the eastern time zone.
[16:39:55] WHITFIELD: All right. And, of course, we'll all be looking, watching, and awaiting any more detail on that. Kaitlan Collins from the White House, thank you so much. So again, this is the first time we've heard from the president. He has been tweeting within the last 24 hours since the first incident hand in El Paso, Texas. But now, we get a chance to hear from him. Hate has no place in our country, and a statement coming tomorrow at 10:00 a.m. We'll have much more right after this.
SCIUTTO: Welcome back. We're live in El Paso, Texas, outside the Walmart that remains an active crime scene, the victims still inside. Police still gathering evidence. The shooter, a white supremacist in custody, accused now of domestic terrorism. At home, you can be forgiven for shaking your head today, such a familiar scene. Three mass shootings in the last few days. It's become a particularly American tragedy.
But I can tell you when you come to the communities that experience this. It is particular to each one. It is heartbreaking for each one. Communities like El Paso pride themselves on being a warm community and a safe one, and that feeling shattered here today. I am joined now by State Representative, Cesar Blanco. He's a son of this town.
You were telling me earlier. You worked in this shopping mall as a young man. Now, you represent the people of this district. The elementary school that is now serving as a place for families to come and find out about their loved ones is where you went to elementary school. This is personal for you.
STATE REP. CESAR BLANCO (D), TEXAS: Very personal.
SCIUTTO: Tell me how the community is handling this.
[16:45:00] BLANCO: It's tragic. The community is in shock. There's also a lot of sadness, especially when you go visit the families who are awaiting news, whether it's good news or bad news. It's unfortunate that in our country, this health epidemic continues to occur when it can really be fixed. All it takes is a little bit of courage from elected officials from both sides of the spectrum -- political spectrum to come together and be bold.
This is our moment in history as elected officials to make positive change, and we have failed. We need to do better. And, you know, I think it requires gun reform. I think it requires mental health. I think it requires everything. Everything should be on the table when it comes to protecting our community.
SCIUTTO: You heard the president speak just moments ago. He said hate has no place in this country. He said we're going to take care of it. Words he did not mention in the wake of this shooting. He did not mention white supremacy, although the shooter here has identified himself as a white supremacist based on his own manifesto. He also didn't mention guns.
He mentioned mental health. He did not mention guns, and that, a familiar response from Republican lawmakers. When you listen to the president's words, sufficient?
BLANCO: Insufficient. We need to hear more from him. This is a Latino community, majority Latino community. This individual intentionally came to terrorize our community. He is a white supremacist.
And unfortunately, our president has failed to say anything about that and to condemn those types of remarks. He needs to send a strong message across this country that there is no place for this kind of horror in our country. We need stronger leadership from our president. And I hope he finds a way to do that.
SCIUTTO: In these three shootings in eight days, in each case, it was a high-powered rifle that was used. In Gilroy, California, it was an AK-47, the gun used in Dayton, Ohio, 223 high-powered, high magazine. We haven't been told the specifics of this weapon here, but it's believed to be a long weapon. And just based on the carnage that he was able to carry out in a short span of time, Texas is a gun rights state.
People value their right to bear arms here. In a place like this, do you see political drive to make changes, whether it be background checks or even discussions of banning certain kinds of weapons?
BLANCO: Look, you look behind us and there's a memorial there, and residents are coming and dropping off flowers and candles. We need to do something. There's got to be the political will in our state to do that. I am someone who has authored legislation that bans bump stocks, authored legislation to eliminate gun sale loopholes to the internet.
We've got to stop being afraid of third party groups that are active politically and be bold. And do what's right. Too many people are dying, and it's unfortunate that there's not enough courage to do what's right.
SCIUTTO: Will that change? Will that change after this particularly bloody spate of shootings in America?
BLANCO: It needs to change. And I am going to continue to push those pieces of legislation, whether they make it or not. Eventually, something has to change in this country. We cannot stand by and allow innocent people to die in such horrible circumstances in our country. It's un-American.
SCIUTTO: You have an opportunity here just to speak to the American people. Perhaps the president is watching. Perhaps lawmakers in Washington are watching. For someone who was a child, a son of this community that has now suffered so much, what would you ask of our leaders, of the American government, of the American people today? BLANCO: Well, as a veteran, an elected official, when we serve, we
pledge to protect the life, liberty of Americans. I call on elected officials, including the president of the United States, to make sure that we protect that oath and live by that oath and take action so that more people don't die in our country as a result of this type of violence.
SCIUTTO: Tell us now as, we look at the local population here that's been affected by this. I've already been half a dozen times. People have come up and said welcome to El Paso. We appreciate what you do. They brought us food. You see -- we see people every few minutes bringing flowers there. This is a warm community. You get that sense the moment you set foot here.
What does the community need today and in the coming days? There are folks at home who I know want to reach out and help. Is there a place they can donate? Is there a way that they can raise their voice?
[16:49:54] BLANCO: Yes. There are places where you can donate. You go to my Facebook page. There's a link that you can click on that will go to a foundation that helps families and first responders. Prayers and condolences are needed from across the country. But we really need action. We need people to help push a political movement to keep our children and families safe in our communities.
It's back-to-school season here in El Paso. And folks are here shopping. Nowhere in America should people be afraid to go and shop with their kids for school supplies. It's time for action.
SCIUTTO: State Representative Cesar Blanco, appreciate your time. We're sorry for what your community has gone through. And we'll certainly do our part to get the word out in every way that we can. Appreciate you. You hear it there again. It's a community where we've seen this so many times. Suffering through the initial hours and days after an attack like this and then, of course, the pain that's going to follow.
There are still families who don't know the fate of their loved ones and there are still victims on the ground in the Walmart behind me. We're going to stay on top of this story. Please stay with us.
WHITFIELD: Welcome back. I am Fredricka Whitfield. All right, now to Dayton, Ohio, where we're seeing disturbing surveillance video showing the moment when people on the street there, in what's called the Oregon district, they heard gunshots. And they started running for their lives. In the end, nine people were killed and at least 27 others were hurt. I want to bring in Cheryl Dorsey. She is a retired Los Angeles Police Department sergeant.
Cheryl, you were able to hear the officials, just as I was, as we had it live on the air. So what do you make of the fact that, you know, Dayton police were able to, you know, neutralize the shooter in less than a minute. And in so doing, they also discovered that he was wearing a mask, bulletproof vest, had two firearms, and 100-round, you know, drum magazines, you know, that another person may have driven there with him and they were separated.
So what do these details tell you about this 24-year-old suspect, Connor Betts, who they killed?
CHERYL DORSEY, RETIRED LAPD POLICE SERGEANT: It lets me know is that this person had a plan and that this person was not mentally ill as this president would like us to believe. And so, you know, what I am hearing from the authorities there in Ohio, in El Paso, and then from this president, is that nothing is going to change. When you minimize and mitigate this behavior and explain it away as some kind of a mental illness.
Listen, if you're mentally ill you don't get in a car and drive for 10 hours. You don't shoot people in 30 seconds. You don't put a double barrel magazine on if you are mentally ill. And so for the president to do what he accused the El Paso shooter of doing, which is committing an act of cowardice, failing to admit that we have a domestic terrorist, this is a white nationalist in the White House who is speaking to his people.
And words matter. And he's giving them -- encouraging them, facilitating this kind of foolishness. And it doesn't sound like, from what he said today, that he has any appetite to do anything any different.
WHITFIELD: And how concerned are you about the language when you hear whether it be from the president, which we did moments ago about the mental illness. There have been other lawmakers throughout the day, too, who use the words mental illness to describe mass shooting acts, even though there's a manifest. And now, we have potential charges coming that the case in El Paso being treated as a domestic terrorism hate crime.
[16:55:00] How much of a potential setback is, it in your view, that mental illness would be jargon used even when we're talking about, you know, potential hate crime?
DORSEY: Well, listen. It's double talk. It's what they say when a white male picks up a gun and sprays down people with impunity. It's what they say, you know, to us when they find a reason and a way to take a white male into custody without incident after these kinds of incidences. Converse that with black unarmed men and women who scare the bejesus out of police and they are killed in a nanosecond of being confronted.
And they always find a way to try to dirty up a black victim, minimize and mitigate the officer's behavior, and now they're doing the same thing with these white nationalists. You can't be crazy and do this kind of stuff. You can't don a mask, a bulletproof vest, 100 round magazine. Get out of your car, traverse through traffic, and be mentally ill. It's intellectually dishonest and it's insulting.
WHITFIELD: All right. Again, two incidents, Texas, Ohio, two mass shootings gripping a nation, Cheryl Dorsey, thank you so much. I appreciate it. Of course, thanks everyone for joining me and my colleague Jim Sciutto throughout the day. Our special coverage continues, again, the president speaking for the first time moments ago, and now promising another statement tomorrow 10:00 a.m. We'll have much more.
WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: I am Wolf Blitzer in Washington with breaking news, this very sad, very horrific weekend here in the United States, two American cities, two deadly shooting