Return to Transcripts main page
CNN International: Continuing Coverage of Mass Shooting in El Paso Shopping Center. Aired 12-1a ET
Aired August 4, 2019 - 00:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (voice-over): This is CNN breaking news.
NATALIE ALLEN, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): And hello, everyone. I'm Natalie Allen at CNN Center Atlanta. We continue to follow the breaking news from El Paso, Texas. Quite a tragedy there.
The FBI opening now a domestic terrorism investigation into Saturday's mass shooting at a shopping center there. At least 20 people were killed, another 26 hurt, some with life-threatening injuries, we are told. The 21-year-old suspected gunman surrendered at the scene. He is in police custody.
Shoppers inside a Walmart dove for cover as the shooter unloaded a volley of rapid gunfire.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ALLEN (voice-over): What must be going through that person who was hiding there as he heard the gunshots.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ALLEN: Bystanders quickly tried to assist the multiple victims. We want to warn you, this next video is very disturbing.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (from captions): 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.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Help!
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Hey, we need CPR. We need CPR. Help.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Help!
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We need CPR, we need CPR!
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ALLEN: Terrified witnesses were still shaking, as you can imagine, as they described what they saw.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We were in the freezer section and he heard the shots. At first we didn't think anything of it, kind of sounded like fireworks. And then they started coming closer together. Like the shots were going doo, doo, doo-doo-doo. And then he was like that sounded like shots.
I said yes; people were running inside, saying there was a shooter. We took off toward the back of the store, where the stockroom was. We were pushing people out of the way and telling them to go.
And when we did, we ran out toward the back and the employees were telling us to go into the freight containers in the back, where they get the stock out. And we sat there for maybe 20 minutes. And then they told us to come out. And we did because there was elderly and children, they were getting hot.
ARMY SPC. GLEN OAKLEY, WITNESS: A whole bunch of kids was up in there. I'm shaking. There was a whole bunch of kids (INAUDIBLE). And I told them (INAUDIBLE) kids. They were without their parents and stuff. I tried to pick them up but, man, I couldn't bring them out with me.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I heard a lot of yelling. There was cops with guns and they were saying, get on your knees. That's when we just went back to the room, just scared to death.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ALLEN: Sadly, Texas is no stranger to mass killings. One of the 10 deadliest shootings in the U.S., four have taken place in Texas. Governor Greg Abbott spoke earlier about this latest tragedy.
GREG ABBOTT (R), TEXAS GOVERNOR: Twenty innocent people from El Paso have lost their lives and more than 2 dozen more are injured. We, as a state, unite in support of these victims and their family members. We want to do all we can to help them, to assist them.
We pray that God can be with those who've been harmed in any way and bind up their wounds. We want to express incredible gratitude for all the law enforcement and the swift response that they took to minimize the loss of life by directly confronting the shooter, getting him to disarm himself and be able to arrest him.
I want the city of El Paso to know and the El Paso Police Department and everybody in this entire community know that the state of Texas provides its full support --
[00:05:00] ABBOTT: -- for this community and their efforts to rebuild. For the country that I know has been paying a lot of attention to this, asking what they can do, I ask that you keep El Pasoans in your prayers. We know the power of prayer and the power that you can have by using that prayer.
For every mom and dad, for every son and daughter, we ask you put your arms around your family members tonight and give them a hug and let them know how much you love them.
ALLEN: Police say the suspected gunman is from Allen, Texas. That is more than 600 miles away or about 1,000 kilometers from El Paso.
Law enforcement authorities soon converged on this home you see here, believed to be connected to the suspect in Allen, Texas. The El Paso police chief says a document posted online shortly before the shooting appears to be a manifesto with, quote, "a nexus to a potential hate crime."
We have many reporters covering this from different angles. Our Ed Lavandera is in El Paso for us. He's on the line now.
Because Ed, we hear that it's pouring rain there. But we know that the investigation, that the scene is still the focus for many law officers there outside that Walmart.
What is the latest?
ED LAVANDERA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, right now, there's just a brief storm of lightning and heavy rain that is falling on this area around the Walmart location in El Paso, Texas.
And this is, Natalie, where law enforcement investigators are still on the scene. The entire parking lot and the scene around this shopping center is closed off as investigators do their work inside that store, piecing together all of the evidence and combing through that horrific scene. That is the work that continues.
We also know that there is a great deal of anxiety and stress among many community members here as they try to gather information about loved ones.
We met the family earlier today of 86-year-old Angie Englisbee, who was a woman inside of the Walmart, according to two of her children that we have spoken with. These children tell us that they had spoken to their mother; one of their relatives had spoken to their mother just minutes before a gunshot erupted inside that store and that the family has not heard from her since.
So this is now many hours after the shooting and they are still desperately trying to find her somewhere here in El Paso but they are fearing the worst at this point. So that kind of captures the anxiety and the excruciating pain that so many people are feeling tonight here in the city. And also many people, Natalie, coming to terms with what they
witnessed. We spoke to one woman, her name was Davia Romero, who was standing outside the doors of the Walmart this morning, waiting for her nephew to come out of the store when she started hearing the gunshots. She got a glimpse of the gunman as he was leaving the scene. And then what she saw next is something that she will never forget.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DAVIA ROMERO, EYEWITNESS: I was waiting for him to come out but it was taking too long. And then I heard the first one.
So I thought, what's going on?
But it was so loud, very loud. And then I just saw 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 had got shot.
LAVANDERA: Who was in --
ROMERO: 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 know. (INAUDIBLE). It confused me. It was awful.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LAVANDERA: And, Natalie, Ms. Romero there was shaking as she recounted that story of seeing this man walk out of the Walmart, holding a baby covered in blood and handing this child off to a paramedic, who was there at the scene and racing away.
Those are the images and they're ingrained in many of these witnesses' and victims' minds as they grapple with the pain and the horror of what they experienced today -- Natalie.
ALLEN: Yes, and, Ed, how much are police talking about how the shooter carried this out?
If I understand, it seems it started there in the parking lot of the Walmart. He entered the Walmart.
Do you know how far he got into that store, how long he stayed in there?
And where was he ultimately apprehended?
LAVANDERA: He was apprehended not too far from the scene. This is kind of on the eastern edge of El Paso. This is a shopping center that is incredibly packed many days of the week, especially on a Saturday --
LAVANDERA: -- as many people come from across the border in Mexico to come shop here. The exact details of how far into the store this gunman made it, I haven't been able to fully piece together, quite understand exactly. That is something we're still trying to figure out.
But in some of the video clips that we've heard, you can hear the gunfire steady and methodical, one shot right after the other. It didn't sound like a frantic spray of bullets but it sounded, in one of the clips that I'd heard earlier today, that it was a slow and methodical pace of the shooting.
I spoke with one law enforcement analyst, Josh Campbell, who works with us, he thought that might kind of give us an idea that it was very targeted and, as the gunman was making his way through there, identifying a victim and carrying out the attack that way.
That is all still part of the thing that we're trying to get a better hold of. But that's some of the details that we've been able to put together at this point.
ALLEN: Well, Ed, thank you. We know these are agonizing hours for family members that don't know yet if their loved ones are safe that they haven't heard from. Ed Lavandera there at the scene. Ed, thank you.
And we'll be talking more about the shooter and perhaps the motives of the shooter in a moment.
But we want to talk more about what people witnessed, what they went through. A merchant near the Walmart tells CNN she tried to comfort victims who ran into her store. Tabitha Estrada says many of them were from Mexico and understandably frightened.
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
TABITHA ESTRADA, MERCHANT: I was at work, so I had to pull people into the store and I had a couple customers in my store and I had to close and lock the door and I had to pull them into the back. And we just kind of had to sit there and wait to see what happened.
I didn't want to freak out my customers. So I was trying to reassure them they were going to be OK, too, because I knew that I had family that I could turn to. But like my customers were from over the border. So they had it harder because they were going to have to find a way to get their family to figure out what was going on.
(END AUDIO CLIP)
ALLEN: Reactions coming in beyond El Paso. Politicians on both sides of the aisle are condemning this shooting, including U.S. President Trump.
On Twitter he said the attack was, "not only tragic, it was an act of cowardice. There are no reasons or excuses that will ever justify killing innocent people."
The presidential candidate and El Paso native Beto O'Rourke called out Mr. Trump after the shooting. He suggested the president's rhetoric against minorities may have played a role in the attack.
BETO O'ROURKE (D-TX), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Yes. We've had a rise in hate crimes, every single one of the last three years, during an administration where you have a president who's called Mexicans rapists and criminals, though Mexican immigrants commit crimes at a far lower rate than those born here in the country.
He has tried to make us afraid of them, to some real effect and consequence, attempting to ban all Muslims from this country. The day he signed that executive order, the mosque in Victoria, Texas was burned to the ground.
Those chants we heard in Greenville, North Carolina, "send her back," talking about fellow American citizens duly elected to represent their constituents in the Congress who happen to be women of color. He is a racist and he stokes racism in this country.
And it does not just offend our sensibilities, it fundamentally changes the character of this country and it leads to violence. And again, there are still details that we are waiting on.
But I'm just following the lead that I've heard from the El Paso police department, where they say there are strong indications that this shooter wrote that manifesto and that this was inspired by his hatred of people here in this community.
ALLEN: As often happens after these mass shootings, politicians now demanding changes to America's laws.
On Twitter, candidate Pete Buttigieg said, "These attacks are a form of white nationalist terrorism that are being abetted by weak gun laws."
Republican senator Lindsey Graham called for new legislation to deal with those who present a danger to themselves and others. He also said the massacre was "sick and senseless," a sentiment shared by former Vice President Joe Biden.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOE BIDEN, FORMER U.S. VICE PRESIDENT AND PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I can say without fear of contradiction, enough is enough is enough. It's been enough for the past five years. This is a sickness. This is well beyond anything that we should be tolerating.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ALLEN: CNN law enforcement --
ALLEN: -- analyst Josh Campbell is in El Paso for us. Josh, hello to you. Let's talk about the suspect and what we know
about this manifesto and his -- perhaps his motives.
JOSH CAMPBELL, CNN LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: Yes, Natalie, we're learning new details about him. He's a 21-year-old white male from Texas. There are so many questions that we have right now that we don't have answers to, one of which, we know that he's a resident of a city called Allen, Texas, which is some 650 miles from where we are here in El Paso at the scene of the crime.
Behind me is the Walmart where the carnage took place. Now questions for investigators, obviously, there are many but one would be what would cause a person would travel from that far distance here to this location, to a border city in order to conduct this mass attack?
We do know there were 20 people that were killed tragically at the scene behind me and dozens that were injured. The subject was taken into custody by law enforcement officers. He's alive. One other question that still remains we've been seeing our sources trying to determine whether or not he's being cooperative. We have seen --
ALLEN: Josh, I'm going to have to interrupt. I'm so sorry. But we're having difficulty hearing you with the rainstorm. We're going to get back to you and talk more about this as soon as the rain clears up a little bit.
We'll have much more coverage right after this break.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ABBOTT: As large as the tragedy was, 20 precious lives lost, six more injured, this is not going to be forgotten.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ALLEN: Texas governor there, Greg Abbott, expressing his sadness after a mass shooting in the city of El Paso. On Saturday a gunman opened fire at a Walmart store, taking 20 lives. In addition, 26 people are being treated in the hospital.
The store was packed with shoppers when a young man entered and began shooting. Within six minutes, police arrived and arrested the 21- year-old suspect. Greg Abbott, of course, spoke from the scene. He also said the shooter could face capital murder and hate crime charges. The FBI has also opened a domestic terror investigation. Let's talk
about that now with our CNN national security analyst, joining us from Boston, Juliette Kayyem, a former assistant secretary of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.
Juliette, let's talk about what we're learning from this shooter and this supposed manifesto -- I actually loathe that word -- that this person posted, talking about his motives. What can you glean from what you're hearing about it?
JULIETTE KAYYEM, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: From what we're hearing about it and at least what's being stated by our reporters, so I'll stick to what we're reporting, this was a document that was loaded onto 4chan, a very, very -- essentially just a violent cesspool of racial animosity -- right before the killings began.
And it was focused -- and I think it's important we say it -- it was focused on anti-Hispanic -- it was anti-Hispanic. In other words, the hostility was at a particular group of people, Hispanics, Mexicans.
And that makes sense when you think about here's a murderer who traveled eight to nine hours by car to go to a border city, to a Walmart, that is known to be a Walmart that caters to the border community, caters to Mexicans. There's actually some Mexican nationals who are victims.
So we don't have to try too hard, two plus two sometimes equals four, which this is a violent white supremacist who got radicalized -- and we'll figure out how -- to focus on Mexicans and Hispanics and took that out today. So unfortunately it's now all too familiar.
In terms of counterterrorism we heard Chris Wray, the director of FBI, mention that the rise of white supremacy is actually the greatest terrorism threat in the United States today. It's amplified; that hatred is amplified on social media networks.
And we certainly know that the public discourse, the sort of failure from the top to condemn white supremacy at this stage contributes to a sense that these men are somewhat emboldened right now. I think that's why we're seeing these -- obviously, Natalie, we were together last weekend. We're seeing these every weekend.
So that sort of -- that's sort of the big picture but we'll learn more about that specific radicalization process.
ALLEN: Right. And this shooter was just 21. And we're seeing younger white men carry out these mass shootings in the United States. And he indicated he didn't even plan this out for more than a month; yet he carried through with it. He also talked about perhaps being shot by police but, apparently, from what we understand, gave up.
KAYYEM: Right and said something about the heroism of it or maybe he wanted to be captured so that he could tell his story. You know, he did post something online. He does want this to be a public event.
But I think the youth factor is really, really important, that this is a generation that has been raised on social media platforms; they've been very slow to get a lot of this stuff, a lot of this hatred, a lot of this radicalization material offline. They're actually quite good when it comes to ISIS materials.
But Facebook and Twitter and others have been quite slow when it comes to white supremacy and white radicalization. And we see them trying to do something, in the last couple of hours, to get some of this stuff down.
In terms of his age, this is a generation of white men, who are the first generation of white men being raised when the United States birth rate -- and this is important -- is now majority non-white babies, U.S. citizens, are born in the United States now.
This is the last generation of white men who were born as a majority. I say that because that's amplified in their literature, which I, unfortunately, have to read. But that's a key part of their animating thing, the sense of displacement.
KAYYEM: Then they'll find each other online and then it's not condemned by the White House, by President Trump. All of those pieces fit together. No one specifically to blame except for the murderer himself.
But it creates a cesspool of hatred that we're just seeing in the numbers that the FBI is documenting. This is the terrorism problem of our age right now.
ALLEN: Right. And they so easily find a place on the Internet to fuel that hate, these dark areas of the Internet that they propose people do this, they cheer when people do this. Talk with us about how hard it is for intelligence to stay ahead of this.
KAYYEM: It's really difficult. For one, a lot of it is anonymous. Someone just puts something up like, I hate Hispanics, on 4chan, there's not really much you can do. And also if you don't put anything that is going to be sort of specifically violent against a group of people or if you only put it in 20 minutes before, that is going to be very hard to take down.
And you're exactly right, Natalie, in terms of, what are these social media platforms doing?
They're giving these men a sense of community and therefore a sense that their hatred is sort of a majority opinion. Right?
That this is something that almost everyone must absolutely believe. They live in this world of sort of limited media engagement, limited ideological engagement. And they're just feeding off of each other, which amplifies it.
Look, 4chan is -- you can -- people can defend it if they want. It is a cesspool of violence. But it is a platform that exists for that kind of language. I'll probably, when I get off air, get hit by a lot of them on Twitter or something. But this is what they do.
And it's -- and this is something you that can't just bring down. It's a platform where the sharing of ideas is occurring. So that's the challenge right now, is the extent to which these men no longer feel alone. They actually feel like they have a community that wants them to act this way.
ALLEN: A very sick community indeed. Juliette, we always appreciate your insights but this is happening too often, isn't it?
ALLEN: Thank you.
Our breaking news coverage continues right after this.
ALLEN: We're joining a news conference underway right now in El Paso.
SGT. ROBERT GOMEZ, EL PASO POLICE DEPARTMENT: We'll have hopefully more updates in the morning. But I'll take any questions.
QUESTION: (INAUDIBLE) it seems to me unlikely that this suspected gunman would drive all the way from North Texas straight here to El Paso to commit this crime.
Have you been able to find that he has any connection to El Paso prior or how long that he has been here in El Paso trying to committing this crime in Walmart?
GOMEZ: I don't have the details of the investigation; it's ongoing and it would be too early for me to release that type of information.
QUESTION: Sir, how many victims' families have been notified?
GOMEZ: That process, I don't have the exact numbers that have been notified
GOMEZ: They're working diligently to get those numbers or get those people notified. But I don't have exactly who's been notified and what has been done.
QUESTION: As we go into tomorrow morning, what's the next step in the process for the El Paso Police Department?
GOMEZ: The investigation continues. We're working with our federal partners and our state and local trying to recreate or find out either motives or -- and find out why this tragedy occurred is paramount right now. Evidence collection for prosecution, those are the steps we'll be going throughout the night and will continue tomorrow.
QUESTION: Tell me about the process when the suspect encountered law enforcement and was taken into customer.
Did they recognize a vehicle description that may have been put out?
Or just how did that whole encounter go down?
GOMEZ: I don't know how the encounter went down. It was an active situation. They did encounter this suspect and he did surrender to law enforcement. The details of how it happened, I don't have.
QUESTION: Was he at gunpoint?
GOMEZ: I would be assuming. I don't know how it went down.
QUESTION: Are the victims still inside the store, are they -- have they been removed yet?
GOMEZ: Unfortunately, any deceased victims that are inside the store are still there.
QUESTION: Sir, have you named the suspect yet?
GOMEZ: No, we have not.
QUESTION: Are all 20 victims in the store or did some pass away at the hospital?
GOMEZ: I don't have the locations of where they passed away. I do know that the victims that passed away on the scene are still on the scene and we'll be working diligently to collect our evidence and make sure the proper respect for the victims of this tragedy are given.
QUESTION: Do you know when they may be removed?
GOMEZ: The process -- it's a very large scene and that process of the investigation can be time-consuming. So I don't have an estimate of when they'd be removed.
QUESTION: Was there potential for more fatalities from those that are injured?
GOMEZ: I don't have the status of all those who are injured. It's possible. But I don't have the exact number of possibilities. It is possible but I couldn't be certain.
QUESTION: Was all of the gunfire inside the store or did some of this happen in the parking lot?
GOMEZ: That type of investigation will come later. We're going to have to piece together where exactly the gunfire occurred. And that is something that's ongoing and I'm not prepared to make that statement right now.
QUESTION: The investigation requires you to still have the victims inside.
What are you doing as part of the investigation that they're still there?
GOMEZ: Well, there's a crime scene process of diagramming the exact scene for court. Everything that is encountered has to stay in place. There's also identification working with the medical examiner's office. We're doing joint investigations with other agencies that are assisting.
So there's a lot of moving parts on why the investigation -- now you think one murder occurrence can take a whole day. Now we have 20 victims. So it can be exponentially longer. That's the reason for the delay.
QUESTION: Do you know the type of weapon that was used?
GOMEZ: I don't know the type of weapon that was used. Early reports was a rifle. That's what I can confirm is it was a rifle but as far as the caliber or type of weapon I can't confirm that.
QUESTION: Has the suspect been interviewed?
If so has he been cooperative?
GOMEZ: The suspect's in custody. That interview process is ongoing. I don't know if it's a completed process as of right now. But that is something that will happen today and throughout the night.
QUESTION: Has law enforcement confirmed the authenticity of the manifesto the chief mentioned during the briefing?
GOMEZ: That is a process that might be a little bit more lengthy to link those two. That definitely will be looked into. But I'm not prepared to give that definite answer.
QUESTION: While the suspect is talking to the (INAUDIBLE)?
GOMEZ: Excuse me?
QUESTION: What the suspect is talking to?
GOMEZ: I can't speak to that right now. I don't have that information, first and foremost. And if I did, that would be something that would be restricted to the investigation until it's complete.
QUESTION: The information of how and when he --
GOMEZ: Excuse me?
QUESTION: Do you know if he said anything, yelled anything, made any comments that you can tell us about while he was doing what he's alleged to be doing?
GOMEZ: Well, part of this process will be interviewing witnesses. If that is something that did occur, we will go through witnesses or any testimony that's given. But as of right now, I don't have any information they would say that he was saying anything during the process of the crime.
QUESTION: Can you comment on how remarkable it is to catch him alive, arrest him?
GOMEZ: This is something that's never occurred in my 22 years of being a police officer in El Paso. So as far as the remarkableness of him being caught alive, it's hard for me to speculate why this happened.
I am glad to say that we did capture him and that he will be able to face justice. This all comes to a conclusion, being certain that this is the only person responsible. But I couldn't comment on how it is -- whether it is or it is not that we caught him alive.
QUESTION: The investigators and the members of this community as well, can you talk about the difficulties for this police department encountering this carnage in their own --
QUESTION: -- community?
GOMEZ: No, absolutely. This is the most traumatic scene that I've been close to and I can tell you the investigators are doing their best to complete this investigation proper with respect to the dignity that the victims deserve.
But it is tough to see this type of heinous crime occurring in your own community. It's very tough on all parties involved. And we are striving to do our best for the victims and the members of our community that we serve.
QUESTION: What resources do the officers have to -- you know, when they have to deal with that carnage that you talk about, how do you take care of the men and women who are investigating this?
GOMEZ: We do have members of EHN, which is a mental health service that the department uses. They are on scene. And should officers need to talk to somebody or work through that process, they are on scene right now to help with that process.
So there are resources available. The totality of the resources available, I don't have at this moment. But I do know that mental health professionals are here to assist first responders working through this as they work.
QUESTION: Sergeant, will this suspect be held in a different part of the jail or any kind of special precautions for him?
GOMEZ: You know, I'm not qualified to talk about the separation. The jail is run by the sheriff's department and I would be guessing if I gave any kind of answer to that.
QUESTION: Has the suspect been formally charged yet?
GOMEZ: As far as I know, he is not. But that information, when it does become available, we'll put it by you.
QUESTION: Is there any information the suspect was staying in a motel here, how long he was in town before this happened?
GOMEZ: You know, the investigation and what led up to this tragedy will be part of the investigation. I can't really go into details of the moments or the hours before this occurred because we're still investigating the total situation. So I can't comment on that right now.
QUESTION: (INAUDIBLE) at the reunification center?
GOMEZ: The reunification is the place where they need to start. If they haven't received or haven't found their loved ones, we will work with them to find the answers. But you know, that is the first place that we need the public to go.
QUESTION: Who should they call?
QUESTION: When the suspect was apprehended, did he put up a fight?
Did he try to run away?
Did he just --
GOMEZ: No, as we mentioned earlier, he was arrested without incident, meaning he did comply with officers' commands. There was no force used. He was taken into custody without incident.
QUESTION: And just to confirm, he has started speaking with investigators, the suspect?
GOMEZ: I don't know.
QUESTION: Is there any indication he considered any other locations besides this one?
GOMEZ: Like I said earlier, his motives and what transpired is being investigated. I can't comment to that, because, number one, I don't know that.
Two, it's part of the active investigation. There might be a summary when it's complete. But at this time -- in the near future will we comment on the specifics of it until it's complete.
QUESTION: Did the suspect just turn himself in and walk up to authorities or did you identify him prior to... GOMEZ: I couldn't tell you.
QUESTION: Were there any other weapons besides the rifle?
GOMEZ: That I know of at this time, no.
QUESTION: Can you talk about the investigation in Dallas?
Do you know anything about what's going on in his home?
GOMEZ: I have no information about the investigation or if an investigation is occurring in Dallas.
OK, if there's no other questions, my name is Sergeant -- my name is Sergeant Robert Gomez, public information officer of El Paso Police Department. That's R-O-B-E-R-T. Last game of Gomez, G-O-M-E-Z. This will be our last brief here until tomorrow. There will probably -- there will not be another brief throughout the night.
Any information will be tomorrow, possibly in the morning. But I am not specific on any specific time when that will be available.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Thank you.
QUESTION: Can you repeat some of the --
ALLEN: You heard it there from Sergeant Robert Gomez from the El Paso police, trying to take questions. Couldn't provide much information because we know this investigation is ongoing.
The important thing is that this shooter is in custody. According to Mr. Gomez, he has spoken with investigators. But again, the investigation is still ongoing at the scene. As he reiterated, the victims, the bodies of the victims are still there as this crime scene is investigated and he didn't indicate when that will conclude.
You can imagine what so many families are going through to try to find out about their loved ones. But he wasn't able to give much more information into the situation now. But we do know the shooter is in custody.
ALLEN: So we want to talk about that and what we know about him. Let's talk with CNN law enforcement contributor now, Steve Moore. He's a retired supervisory special agent at the FBI.
Steve, good to see you.
Unfortunately, we have yet again another mass shooting. It was just a week ago that we were talking about the one in California. From all accounts, this appears to be a hate crime and there is a manifesto.
What are you hearing about the suspect and his possible motives?
STEVE MOORE, CNN LAW ENFORCEMENT CORRESPONDENT: I haven't heard anything official about this guy. But what strikes me is how similar this is to shootings we've had over and over.
Almost 20 years, almost to the day ago, we had a shooting in Los Angeles, where a white supremacist drove from one city down to Los Angeles, drove about 800 miles and spent the night in a hotel and then shot kids because they were Jewish.
And these people love their manifestos. They love talking about all their -- all the unfairness towards them. And this is not, unfortunately, something new. This has been -- maybe the means that they're using but this is something that we've had for years and years, decades and decades.
ALLEN: But it does seem like we are seeing more young white men carry this out. This suspect was 21 years old. The suspect last week in California at the food festival was in his early 20s.
And it's largely in part, isn't it, because they are connected to these dark channels on the Web that want to encourage these kinds of heinous acts?
MOORE: Oh, absolutely. But these -- before it was the -- before the Web was there they had shortwave radios. What you find in these white supremacist groups, in groups like them, are people who are desperately inadequate in their own minds.
And the only reason that they join these groups is really sometimes even more for self-worth. They get a feeling that they're not alone in things and they find some kind of validation, even in this horrible side of themselves. The self-validation has been their motive for several years.
And, yes, the Internet is the place now. But as I said, before that it was shortwave radio. Before that it was all sorts of mailings and communications that way.
ALLEN: We also have heard that the shooter posted his manifesto just 20 minutes before entering that Walmart parking lot and starting to fire a rifle. That just goes to show you how difficult it is for law enforcement, for intelligence to stay ahead of these acts.
MOORE: I cannot even express how difficult it is. We would sit and look at one white supremacist group and we would have an investigation on that group and we could listen to them. We could investigate them.
But if one person left that group we could no longer follow them because they were no longer part of the organization. So we're handicapped by free speech, which is generally a good thing. But you know, they use the free speech to create and foment this hate.
We're also handicapped by legal situations, where you can only follow people if they're part of the organization you're investigating. I don't know the answer. I just know that living in a free society is a double-edged sword.
ALLEN: And we can see the law enforcement officers, so many them with their fingers on the trigger, walking through the parking lot, walking through that mall, trying to find this person, who apparently just gave himself up. Steve, we appreciate your insights.
There aren't any real answers, are there?
Thank you. We'll be right back.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I never expected it. I always thought, like I heard like that this was (INAUDIBLE) but in the year I've been here, it's just been busy but this is the craziest thing that's ever happened. I never expected it to happen. It's something really shocking to me. I'm pretty shocked. I'm scared.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ALLEN: No one ever expects it to happen to them. But this scenario has become all too common in the United States. Another mass shooting; in this case, the shooter opened fire at a Walmart in El Paso, Texas, on Saturday. At least 20 people are dead, 26 injured.
Police say they have a 21-year-old suspect in custody. The attack triggered panic at a nearby mall. And a member of the U.S. Army was shopping when it all began. He describes how he launched into action.
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
OAKLEY: I was buying a jersey. And a little kid ran in there and was telling us that there was an active shooter in Walmart but we didn't pay him no attention because for one, it was just a little kid and then that for two, you're at the mall and (INAUDIBLE). So we just didn't pay him no mind.
So I walked to Foot Locker and I just heard two gunshots and a whole bunch of people started running around screaming. They shut the cage in Foot Locker.
And I have my license to carry. And I've been in the military. So when I hear gunshots, I'm just -- we're trying to think fast, grab weapons and think fast and take cover, do anything that you can.
So a couple guys, they just ran out of Foot Locker. And I'm thinking I'm the only one with a weapon that is legally carrying. So I go with them because I can guard them or whenever.
But I see a whole bunch of kids running around without their parents. So I put it up and the only thing I think of is just pick up as many kids I can as possible. And there was another guy doing it as well. I don't know where he went to. But it was another Hispanic guy with me, he did as well. And there was just I could say maybe a total of like 13 kids running around.
OAKLEY: But I could only get three. And I think he got about three as well. Because I was just focused on the kids. I wasn't really worried about myself. It was just so many kids running around and I was just thinking about, if I had a child and you know, if I wasn't around, how I would want another man to react if they had seen my child running around.
So I just dropped that and got as many kids as I could as possible and just made it out.
(END AUDIO CLIP)
ALLEN: Children running around during a mass shooting, that had to be absolutely horrifying for them.
Well, every day hundreds of Mexicans cross the border into El Paso to shop. This Walmart was no exception. Three of the 20 people killed were Mexican nationals, according to Mexico's president.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ANDRES MANUEL LOPEZ OBRADOR, PRESIDENT OF MEXICO (through translator): I'm being informed that there are three Mexicans who lost their lives in a shooting in a mall. The ministry of foreign affairs, the consul of Mexico in El Paso, Texas, are already addressing the situation.
My condolences is for those Americans who lost their lives, for those Mexicans who lost their lives. This is a very unfortunate situation. I know El Paso, Texas, and I know it is a very peaceful place, one of the least violent districts in the United States.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ALLEN: We'll have more of our breaking news coverage right after this.
ALLEN: The latest on the breaking news out of El Paso, Texas. The FBI saying it has opened a domestic terror investigation after the shooting at the shopping center that left 20 people dead, 26 others injured and a 21-year old man is in custody and could face charges of capital murder and a hate crime.
The city of El Paso has banded together to help each other heal. One state representative says the city will be defined by its compassion.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOE MOODY, TEXAS STATE REPRESENTATIVE: There are 20 families that woke up whole this morning with their loved ones and, when the sun sets tonight here in El Paso, they'll go to bed without them.
Those families are broken but it is with our strength and resolve that we can help piece them back together. And I want people to know that this horrific act does not define our community.
What defines our community is the lines around the blood bank, of people ready to donate, people wanting to offer counseling services to families, volunteering left and right. That's who El Paso is.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ALLEN: Our thoughts are with all the people of El Paso. We'll be right back.