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Dayton, Ohio Mass Shooting: Nine Dead And 27 Injured; Shooting At A Walmart In El Paso, Texas: 20 Dead And 26 Injured; Trump: Shooting Is A Mental Illness Problem, Hate Has No Place In Our Country; Sen. Amy Klobuchar Is Interviewed About The Dayton and El Paso Shooting; Democratic Presidential Candidates Weigh In On The Shootings. Aired 5-6p ET
Aired August 4, 2019 - 17:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[17:00:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
WOLF BLITZER, CNN HOST: I'm Wolf Blitzer in Washington with breaking news. This very sad, very horrific weekend here in the United States -- two American cities, two deadly shooting rampages and the heartbreaking human toll -- 29 people who lost their lives to this purely senseless violence.
In both of these attacks, solo gunmen suddenly open fire on crowds of people. In one, a Walmart store packed with shoppers, the other, a busy bar and nightclub area. Today, the people of El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio, they are still processing the brutality of these horrific shootings in their cities. Just 13 hours apart. Twenty people killed in El Paso, 26 others wounded. Nine people killed in Dayton, 27 others wounded.
This is how people in the Oregon district of Dayton reacted when shots rang out a little after 1:00 in the morning today. Witnesses say the gunman, who has been identified, fired into groups of people for less than a minute before police officers shot him dead. The alleged gunman's own sister is among the nine people he killed.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translated text): One injured, we have an injured person here guys. There's a man laying down at the stand that a school set up. A man injured.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLITZER: There was that horrific scene that played out only hours earlier halfway across the country in El Paso. People outside that Walmart calling for help for victims shot in the parking lot. Police confirming this is the man they say acted alone, spraying the store with bullets after posting a racist anti-immigrant essay on the internet.
Police were able to arrest him they say without incident. Federal officials plan to treat his shooting spree as an act of domestic terrorism and possibly a hate crime with firearm charges, which carries a possible death penalty. As for the rampage in Dayton, Ohio, police just outlined what happened
there just hours after the tragedy in El Paso. They say the gunman was actively shooting for only 30 seconds before he was taken down by police. Moments ago, police unveiled surveillance footage of the attack.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RICHARD BIEHL, POLICE CHIEF, DAYTON POLICE DEPARTMENT: Now you will see a video that was taken inside of one of the shops on Fifth Street in the Oregon district.
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 were shot. So we'll start with the first video. These are outside of Ned Peppers.
So, 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.
[17:05:03] An officer with -- a sergeant with a shotgun. Next is a -- photographs 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.
(END VIDE CLIP)
BLITZER: Thirty seconds of shooting in Dayton and still, nine people died and 27 were wounded. We're going to have more out of Dayton in just a few minutes, but let's go to El Paso, Texas right now where officials say they will pursue the death penalty against the 21-year- old suspect.
El Paso's police chief becoming emotional today when he described the aftermath of Saturday shooting that took the lives of 20 people and injured 26 others.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GREG ALLEN, POLICE CHIEF, EL PASO, TEXAS 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)
BLITZER: Federal authorities are treating the mass shooting as a case of domestic terrorism and they promise swift and certain justice. CNN's Jim Sciutto is in El Paso for us. Jim, update us first of all on the latest on the investigation and how the El Paso community is morning their loss.
JIM SCIUTTO, CNN ANCHOR: Well, I'll tell you, Wolf, one of the toughest things is that many residents here whose loved ones are still missing simply don't know if they're alive. This is still a crime scene behind me.
The bodies are still on the ground inside and outside the Walmart. And as police investigate, they gather evidence, forensics, to build a case here, they're not yet able to tell people who have missing loved ones if those loved ones are alive and dead.
And that is causing genuine pain and heartache. There's an elementary school just down the street here where families are gathering and waiting for news that as time passes. They can only imagine is going to be bad news. We are learning more about the shooter -- 21-year-old white male. He is being described as a white supremacist because he posted online a manifesto that stated specifically he intended to target Mexicans.
Just to give a sense of the geography, Wolf. We are of course in El Paso, Texas. But just beyond the city you see behind me is Juarez, Mexico, the Mexican border just a couple miles away. And this is a place, this a city, this is a store that people would come across the border and shop. So, some of the victims could very well be Mexican nationals as well as Americans who live here in El Paso.
I spoke a short time ago to a State Representative, Cesar Blanco. He described the pain that they're feeling here because this is a peaceful town, a warm town, a town that they felt safe in and today, that sense of safety has certainly been broken, Wolf.
BLITZER: Very sad indeed. Our Jim Sciutto, stand by. We're going to get back to you. Just moments ago, President Trump spoke on the tarmac before returning to the White House from New Jersey calling the tragedies -- I'm quoting the president now, "a mental illness problem." He never mentioned the word gun.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESDIENT OF THE UNITED STATES: 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 have 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.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLITZER: He said he'll make a statement at the White House tomorrow morning. I want to bring in senator and 2020 Democratic Presidential Candidate, Amy Klobuchar. Senator, thanks for joining us.
SEN. AMY KLOBUCHAR (D-MN), Thanks, Wolf.
BLITZER: Awful circumstances under which we're meeting, but the president says he's reached out to many people including members of Congress. Do you know of any attempts to reach, first of all, across the aisle?
KLOBUCHAR: I don't know personally. I know I agree with Senator Schumer, our leader in the Senate that we need to bring everyone back and that Senator McConnell should call the Senate back to pass the House Gun Safety Bill that has passed the House of Representatives. That would be a good first move.
[17:10:05] But I literally sat there and listened to the president and thought to myself, you know, this is the same kind of stuff that he said right after Parkland. I went to the White House and sat directly across with him, pushing, pushing for background checks, directly across from him and said, this is what we need to do.
I come from a hunting state, but there's no reason we can't put these in place including, by the way, assault weapon ban and including doing something on magazines. He has done nothing. The next day, he met with the NRA and he folded. So we have heard this before. And he didn't even mention the word guns.
And I will say mental illness rates of the United States are similar to mental illness rates across the world but we are the country that has these mass shootings at such tragic, extraordinary numbers because of these assault weapons. And when you think of the fact that this guy shot all those people in Dayton, killed nine people in one minute, yes, it's a tribute to our law enforcement that they prevented more bloodshed.
But it is also a complete call to action because the fact that someone like this could get a gun like that with those kinds of high capacity magazines that would kill that many people in a minute, that gun and those magazines should not be in that guy's hand.
And that's what I want to say to the president. And that's why I have a plan and I would get it done when I got into the White House, but I don't even want to wait until then, Wolf. We should pass this now.
BLITZER: You say, of course, like many of your Democratic colleagues, you're ready to return to Washington immediately tomorrow, the next day to start taking action in the aftermath of these two mass shootings. What action realistically, though, can you take if the Senate majority leader is not on board?
KLOBUCHAR: All you can do is keep pushing and the public should keep calling and asking for this change. The majority of the people are with us on this. A great number of hunters are with us on this. After those Parkland kids spoke out and marched and kids across the country did the same and talked to their dads and their grandpas who were proud gun owners, things changed.
We put new legislators in place out there in that House of Representatives and they passed a gun safety bill. So the first thing would be to pass that bill that is sitting at Mitch McConnell's doorstep. The second thing would be to push for the assault weapon ban and magazine limits and the closing of the boyfriend loophole, which is also sitting on his doorstep.
That would help with domestic violence offenders who buy guns, who have a much better rate of killing their girlfriends or killing people that they lived with than we have in the normal population. That's actually the bill I've been leading.
So we have been waiting and waiting for action. The time for action is now. We are done with the words. We are done with the platitudes. It is time to take action. And I want to be president and I know I can get this done, but I'd rather get it done right now.
BLITZER: But how do you explain, senator, the complete inability of Congress, especially the Senate, to pass any legislation on these gun- related issues?
KLOBUCHAR: Well, as I said on the debate stage, just last week in Detroit, a lot of this has to do with the power of the NRA. People don't have the courage to stand up to them. Well, they better get some courage soon because their constituents have the courage.
That mom in that Walmart who had a little baby and she literally saved that child and died herself in that Walmart, that happened -- ordinary people doing extraordinary things every day. Well, the people in the Senate, we have extraordinary power and we should do just more than that mom to protect people out there. We shouldn't just put it on her. And she died saving her baby.
BLITZER: Well, you tweeted this today and I want to read it. You mentioned it earlier, but I think it's very specific because I remember covering that meeting. "After Parkland, I went to the White House and sat across the table from President Trump to make the case for strong gun laws. I kept track. Nine times he said he wanted universal background checks, nine times. Then the next day he met with the NRA and folded. No more folding."
Universal background checks, that doesn't seem all that controversial. Somebody wants to drive a car, they get a background check. Somebody wants to buy a gun, shouldn't they get some sort of background check to make sure that person is not going to be a danger to society with a weapon?
KLOBUCHAR: Of course it isn't controversial. And the vast majority of Americans want to have those background checks in place. And it closes the gun show loophole and other places people go to buy assault weapons. But we need to do more than that. We should put the limits on the magazines. That would be extraordinarily helpful.
[17:14:55] The president at the meeting, that same meeting, raised the possibility of putting an age limit on assault weapons. So if he's not going to ban it, which I think is the best thing to do, at least put the age limit on it. But these things he has not done.
He literally talks such a good game. We're going to put that tape out there of that meeting, and I hope when there's more time tomorrow as we get through the tragedies, that you show some of the things he said. He literally said include Senator Feinstein's provision in there. Well, that's the assault weapon ban.
So he can talk a good game for the camera and make all these promises like he has on prescription drugs and other things, and then the next day, have a behind closed door meeting with an interest group, in this case, the powerful NRA and then just change his mind and not do anything.
He thinks people aren't going to remember. Well, I do and those families of those victims, they're going to remember. And that's what we are asking the rest of the country to do. Watch what he said and hold him to it and make him get this done.
BLITZER: We'll see what the president says tomorrow morning when he speaks. He says he's going to speak at 10:00 a.m. Eastern. Senator Klobuchar, thanks so much for joining us.
KLOBUCHAR: Thank you, Wolf.
BLITZER: Still ahead, new chilling video shows the moments a gunman opened fire in Dayton, Ohio. What police are learning from the video, that's next as we continue our special coverage.
[17:19:57] 00BLITZER: The community of Dayton, Ohio is reeling after the early morning mass shooting that left nine people dead and another 27 people injured. As the city tries to heal, police are investigating the shooting and the shooter's motive.
We're also getting new video showing the moments when the gunshots rang out. This is from a surveillance camera in downtown Dayton where people had been enjoying a night out. You can see the chaos, people diving for cover and running to try to escape the gunfire. At least one person seen in the video was hurt.
Police have identified the suspect as a 24-year-old white male. He was shot and killed by police. Joining us now, CNN Law Enforcement Analyst, the former Washington, D.C. Police Chief, Charles Ramsey. Also, CNN National Security Analyst, Juliette Kayyem. She's a former assistant secretary at the Department of Homeland
Security. And CNN's Crime and Justice Reporter, Shimon Prokupecz.
Shimon, you've been doing a lot of reporting on this. What does this new video tell us about how this shooting unfolded?
SHIMON PROKUPECZ, CNN CRIME AND JUSTICE REPORTER: First of all, Wolf, I think it's important to recognize what the police here did in releasing all of this so quickly. It's extraordinary and it's so rare. I've never seen a police department certainly do it like this. And they have put everything that they can at this point out there.
And what we saw was a pretty controlled, though chaotic scene, because you have a person firing weapons, firing a gun. And you hear this enormous amount of large, rapid gunfire, and then just the police doing what they do. You could tell that these officers have had some good training. They went in and they were able to engage the shooter and they shot him.
But then also in the video like in the one we just saw, the video that the police put out, you could see people running. How many people were on the street? The other thing that's interesting here is that this happened at around 1:00 a.m. when the bar was closing.
So the shooter probably knew that was the time the bar closed. He wanted to get people perhaps as they were leaving or trying to get in as the bar was closing. And the police said had he gone inside that bar with the amount of firepower that he had.
He had this -- the magazines, they're called drum magazines. It could hold up to 100 rounds. So he could have killed so many more people. And the police really stopped him in less than a minute, Wolf. It's incredible work here by the police.
BLITZER: Very important work by the police saving so many potential lives. Chief Ramsey, police say there's nothing in the alleged shooter's past that would have precluded him from buying a gun. How can officials be prepared if the gun was, in fact, purchased legally?
CHARLES RAMSEY, CNN LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: Well, first of all, let me say that I agree with Shimon. I mean, I was very impressed with how quickly Dayton got information out. It really does reduce a lot of speculation. You know, it's not uncommon for something like this to have an individual who doesn't have a criminal background with felonies that would have prevented them from being able to legally purchase a gun.
Universal background checks are something that are needed, but it doesn't mean its fool-proof, that it's going to absolutely stop everything because it's not. But the fact he could have a weapon like that, the fact that he could have these high capacity magazines, I mean, we don't know what his motive was.
I mean, he killed his sister. Whether or not it has a domestic component to it or not, we just don't know the answer to any of that. But he was armed in a way where he wasn't there to kill one person. He was there to do as much damage as he possibly could.
Thank God, because that's an entertainment district. They had an extra detail of police officers down there as a lot of cities do especially at the time bars close and officers were able to react and respond very, very quickly and eliminate the threat. Otherwise, we'd be having something perhaps even far more serious than what we saw in El Paso.
BLITZER: That's an important point. Juliette, we know as the chief just pointed out, that one of the people the suspect is accused of killing was his own sister. What does that tell you?
JULIETTE KAYYEM, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: So, just taking from the press conference and what we know so far, that the sister was there with a friend or a boyfriend as they related, and what we do know is that she's -- she was white and then of the six of the remaining people who were killed were African-American. That's just the statistical numbers that we know right now.
So, if you are a police officer right now investigating this, you are determining who was she with and why would a brother, let's say it's just a family fight, why would he do something so publicly that would have been as Chief Ramsey said, much, much worse if he hadn't been stopped.
I mean, if it's a family domestic dispute, generally, those take place in the home. He followed her, presumably. Went to a very public place and then killed her. There's the little likelihood this is a coincidence. I'm sort of putting that to the side but I'll leave it out there.
So, this is some combination of which the family event is a triggering event but there's a whole other thing going on and we'll find out like everyone else on the panel. I mean, they've been very transparent. We will discover what that bigger statement was.
[17:25:02] But I just lay out what we know from the police so far about the -- about who it was and the dynamics of all the victims.
BLITZER: Yes. The alleged shooter was 22 -- 24 years-old, the sister, 22 years-old.
BLITZER: We don't know the age of her companion, but we do know he was shot and wounded. He is still alive. Everybody, stay with me, there's a lot more we need to cover. As we go to break, I want to pay tribute to the nine people who lost their lives in Dayton, Ohio as they were simply enjoying a summer weekend night.
The victims ranged in age from 22 to 57 years old. Their lives cut short by this truly senseless act of violence. These are the names we should all remember. We'll be right back.
BLITZER: Welcome back. We have brand-new details about the mass shooting at a Walmart in El Paso, Texas. A Walmart official now telling CNN there were no security officers present, armed or otherwise, at the location where a gunman killed 20 people. The case is being treated as domestic terrorism.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOHN BASH, U.S. ATTORNEY, WESTERN DISTRICT OF TEXAS: We are also treating this as a domestic terrorist case. There's a statutory definition of domestic terrorism, 18 U.S.C. 2331.
[17:30:00] This meets it. It appears to be designed to intimidate a civilian population to say the least. We are treating it as a domestic terrorism case. And we're going to do what we do to terrorists in this country which is deliver swift and certain justice.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLITZER: Back with me, Charles Ramsey, Juliette Kayyem and Shimon Prokupecz.
Shimon, now that it's being called a domestic terrorism case how does that change the investigation?
PROKUPECZ: It widens it. The penalty could possibly be different here. Look, Texas has the death penalty. They've already said he's going to get a capital punishment. But the resources that you can now get into this investigation from the FBI because it is a domestic terrorism investigation, they take over. They can work it.
I mean, they're going to work with the Texas authorities, but you know, they just have a lot more resources. They can go to other parts of the country if they need to just more readily and it's more accessible to them. We already know that the FBI has gone to Dallas. They have done search warrants in the Dallas, Texas, area trying to get more information about him.
And the other thing is trying to gather all the electronic information, his movement. The FBI can do that probably a little easier than, let's say, Texas officials, though there are very good investigators there. But when you start going in different directions and trying to find out, did he leave the state? Did he go somewhere else?
The FBI has a lot more resources to do that. And then obviously the evidence collection -- the FBI heavily involved in securing and going through the crime scene. That is a big part of what they're doing in all of this, Wolf.
BLITZER: You know, Chief Ramsey, we have some new images of the suspect entering that Walmart in El Paso. You can see he's wearing some sort of ear protection, gloves. It also appears he was clearly prepared for this. Chief Ramsey, what does all that tell you?
RAMSEY: Well, I mean, he was there to do what he did. I mean, and he knew he was going to kill a lot of people. I mean, there was intent. There was planning that went into this. It was not a spur of the moment type of situation.
He probably even knew that because it's a back-to-school period of time that it would be crowded with a lot of people. Most Walmarts are laid out very similar so you don't have to have gone to that particular Walmart to get a sense for what the layout is of the particular store.
And when you have the checkout lanes and people are jammed up in those checkout lanes, they're very, very vulnerable. So, walking in a place like that, you'd have an awful lot of targets that you could fire at since that was his intent.
BLITZER: That's what they call a soft target, a very soft target.
BLITZER: Juliette, a law enforcement source tells CNN that the suspect is in fact talking to officers conducting the interviews with him. What sort of things first of all do you think they're asking him right now and why do you think he's being forthcoming in answering all their questions?
KAYYEM: Well, the second part he may very well want his ideology to come out. We've seen that with other domestic terrorists and international terrorists. They would view the legal process as sort of a platform to get their ideas and ideology out. So he may be more than willing for all we know.
I think the number one issue right now for investigators is, obviously, the accomplice issue as Shimon was saying. The just sort of what is this network that he surrounded himself with, either online or physically that got him to this moment. You would want to know who those people are. Could they be considered accomplices in a federal crime? And would you want to prosecute them.
And then just picking up on what Shimon said about domestic terrorism. There's a legal reason to charge him with that. There's also a symbolic reason which I'm really pleased about. We need to call this white supremacy a form of terrorism.
And so to prosecute as under statutes that would sort of give it that symbolism, and I mean that as just sort of a way of distinguishing between these men and say a mere criminal, I think is important because we can't lose the narrative that this was an attack on the Hispanic and Mexican community, period, for their national origin, for their race.
And the terrorism language gives it that meaning. It reminds us what this really was about. This was clearly targeted against that community which is reeling today as is all of the nation.
BLITZER: We're showing our viewers live pictures of the president and the First Lady arriving back at Joint Base Andrews in Maryland right outside of Washington, D.C. Spent the weekend at his country club in New Jersey. He's coming back. He's going to be boarding Marine One heading back to the south lawn of the White House. You know, Shimon, the president told us just a few moments ago as he
was getting ready to leave, he'll be making what he described as a statement tomorrow morning at 10:00 a.m. What do you think people want to hear from him right now?
PROKUPECZ: Well, certainly, I would think that people want the country to get together. They want people to be one. They want some sort of message from him of unity, of peace. He says that hate has no place in our country, but yet when you look at what he tweets and what he says, you sort of get a different impression, that he's a divider and not so much a uniter.
[17:35:4] And that's kind of -- and I also think people want to hear what about -- what is -- is there going to be some kind of legislation proposed. Is there something going to be -- outside of politics, legally, is he going to tell the Department of Justice to do something? Is he going to tell the FBI we need to do something?
Finally recognize, as Christopher Wray has, the FBI director, has recognized that there is a problem in this country. Will he support that? Will he support the FBI? Will he support the Department of Justice in whatever it is that they want to do and they need to do to try and get this under control because there is real concern for law enforcement.
Not just on the federal level, but people have to think about on the local level. The local police departments are going to have to face this problem now more than anyone. And what kind of support is he willing to offer them?
BLITZER: Shimon, stand by. Juliette and Chief Ramsey, I want you to stand by as well. We have a lot more news that we're covering. We'll be back with reaction to the senseless murder -- get reaction from one congressman who knows firsthand the impact of gun violence.
BLITZER: Thirteen hours in America, two mass shootings, 29 people killed. In the wake of the tragedies in both El Paso and Dayton, the 2020 Democratic presidential candidates are slamming the president for rhetoric they say is inciting violence.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
[17:39:58] SEN. CORY BOOKER (D-NJ), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I want to say with more moral clarity that Donald Trump is responsible for this. He's responsible because he is stoking fears and hatred and bigotry. He is responsible because he's failing to condemn white supremacy and see it as it is, which is responsible for such a significant amount of the terrorist attacks.
JULIAN CASTRO (D-TX), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: There's a toxic brew right now in the United States and this is just one more example of that, of white nationalism. The manifesto that apparently this shooter wrote that says that Hispanics are taking over the state of Texas and changing the country. This echoes the kind of language that our president encourages, talking about invaders.
BETO O'ROURKE (D-TX), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We've got to acknowledge the hatred, the open racism we're seeing. There's an environment of it in the United States. We see it on Fox News. We see it on the internet. But we also see it from our commander-in-chief.
And he is encouraging this. He doesn't just tolerate it. He encourages it, calling Mexican immigrants, rapists, and criminals, warning of an invasion at our border, seeking to ban all people of one religion. Folks are responding to this. It doesn't just offend us. It encourages the violence we're seeing, including in my hometown of El Paso yesterday.
JAKE TAPPER, CNN HOST: Do you think President Trump is a white nationalist?
O'ROURKE: Yes. I do.
SEN. KAMALA HARRIS (D-CA), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We also have to acknowledge that we have a president of the United States who uses the microphone, which is probably one of the most powerful tools in the hand of the president of the United States, and uses that microphone in a way that is about sowing hate and division in our country.
In a way that is about not acknowledging domestic terrorism when it occurs, and in a way that is highly irresponsible and not a reflection of the values and morals of who we are as the American people.
PETE BUTTIGIEG, (D-IN), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: You don't have to use a lot of imagination to connect the dots here. It is very clear that this kind of hate is being legitimized from on high. And if that were not true, the president would be acting and speaking very, very differently than what he's doing right now.
SEN. BERNIE SANDERS (D-VT), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: When you have language that is racist, that is virulently anti-immigrant, there are mentally unstable people in this country who see that as a sign to do terrible, terrible things. So I think the president has got to stop that racism and that xenophobia immediately.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLITZER: We're also getting reaction from Congressman Steve Scalise, the Republican congressman from Louisiana, the House Minority Whip. As you'll remember, Congressman Scalise was shot in June of 2017 during a congressional baseball practice in Virginia, right outside of Washington, D.C. He was shot and spent many months recovering from that shooting.
Congressman Scalise tweeted a statement this saying this, "There is a sickness in our nation. Our religious and community institutions, the glue that bonds us are declining as a central force in society while the politicization of every aspect of life rises. These shooters turn to hatred and violence.
As a result, dozens are dead. These events should be classified as domestic terrorism, and I'm glad that in the case of El Paso, the FBI is treating it as such. We must better equip our law enforcement agencies to prevent these massacres before they happen. There is clearly a culture of death in America today.
Violence is glorified and normalized on our screens every day. Instead of seeking professional help for mental health problems, men are being radicalized in online forums. This must stop. In a media culture that encourages viewing people solely through hyper-partisan lenses and not as neighbors and fellow citizens, dangerous division and hatred of those you disagree with is the outcome.
This can often lead to violent consequences as I've personally experienced. These events are tragedies. Reducing them to talking points and name calling in support of narrow political agendas only further divides our country. Jennifer and I pray for the people of El Paso and Dayton. May god help us and heal this great nation." That statement from Steve Scalise.
We're going to have much more on all the breaking news on the shootings in El Paso and Dayton right after this.
[17:45:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
BLITZER: A 21-year-old white supremacist is accused in Saturday's mass shooting in El Paso, Texas, and one piece of evidence reveals quite a bit about how intent he was on carrying it all out. Police say the suspected killer drove all the way from Allen, Texas, just outside Dallas to El Paso, that's about a nine-hour drive if done without stopping.
It's a long time to think about what he's about to do. CNN's Brian Todd is joining us now from the Del Sol Medical Center in El Paso where many of the 3injured were taken. Brian, earlier you were there at the home in Allen, Texas, where the suspected gunman had been staying. What did you learn?
BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Right, Wolf. We were on the ground in Allen, Texas, that's a suburb just north of Dallas where we were told a relative of the shooter lives and we were also told that he was staying with that relative. So, we were there when FBI agents and police were basically swarming the property going in and out, combing through every inch of that property, bringing out evidence in boxes.
Now, the way these investigations unfold, we can assume they were looking for anything like an electronic trail that might have been left behind by the shooter -- computer, cell phones, anything else like that. Possibly they were looking for other possible weapons that might have been there and any indications of whether anyone else might have been in on this with him.
Some of those clues could very well have been in that residence where we're told that was the last known place where shooter had stayed before this event took place, Wolf. And one piece of electronic evidence that we know is attached to the shooter is this four-page manifesto that he wrote, according to police, and posted just moments before the shooting. [17:49:59] This was a racist rant against immigrants and Hispanics,
complaining about them taking jobs from Americans, complaining about their integration into the culture. According to our sources and according to what we were able to ascertain from that manifesto, he also wrote, "I'm probably going to die today and nervous as hell but I can't wait any longer."
He posted that message on that message board only about 20 minutes before police officers got the first call of a shooting at that Walmart here in El Paso. What we don't know, Wolf, what we're trying to get more details on from law enforcement is, what were specific aspects of his planning of this? How long did he plan for this attack? Why did he pick that particular target, this Walmart in El Paso, Texas, which is about a nine-hour drive from where he lives?
Some of those details we hope to learn from law enforcement in the coming hours and days, Wolf. But again, a lot of clues they're going over as we speak trying to put together not only more on his motive but on the specific, meticulous way that he planned this attack and really a key piece of evidence is going to be whether or not anyone might have been in on this with him.
You know, he was corresponding on that message board, which is called 8chan and it's known for being a place where white supremacists and other racists post their rants. And so he felt that that was a place he could go to post this.
A key question, was he corresponding with others on that message board? Were they giving him ideas? Were they directing him in some way? So those are some of the pieces of evidence that police are now looking at, Wolf.
BLITZER: I suspect we're going to get answers fairly soon. Brian Todd reporting for us. Thanks very much. Much more on all the breaking news right after this.
[17:55:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
BLITZER: A heartbreaking new account of the mass shooting in El Paso, Texas. We now know one of the victims was 24-year-old Jordan Anchondo who died while shielding her two-month-old son. A mother of three, she was shopping for back-to-school supplies when she was shot. Her husband, Andre, is still unaccounted for.
The victim's aunt said, and I'm quoting now, "the baby still had her blood on him. You watch these things and see these things and you never think this is going to happen to your family. How do parents go school shopping and then die shielding their baby from bullets?" The El Paso shooting came just 13 hours before another shooting in Dayton, Ohio. Here are some of the emotional victim accounts.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GREG ABBOTT, GOVERNOR OF TEXAS: Twenty innocent people from El Paso have lost their lives and more than two dozen more are injured. 3333
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I came for back-to-school shopping. I needed things for school. And then out of nowhere they started saying that there was a shooting.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Were you afraid for your life?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Twenty-six have been injured and are at area hospitals, ten fatalities in our community, including the shooter.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: People just started running. They started pushing us out the back door into the alley at the back because they didn't want us coming out the front because they didn't know where the shooter was.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: How did you know tonight was different?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The screams. The cruisers. The chaos.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I don't think anything I can say can help the people that have lost loved ones. But I think for us, we have to just be there.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
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