Return to Transcripts main page


Mass Shooting in El Paso Shopping Center. Aired 2-3a ET

Aired August 4, 2019 - 02:00   ET




NATALIE ALLEN, CNN ANCHOR: -- and all around the world.

Here's what we know: at least 20 people were killed, another 26 were hurt, some with life-threatening injuries. The 21-year-old suspected gunman surrendered at the scene and is in police custody.

The FBI is treating it as possible domestic terrorism.

GEORGE HOWELL, CNN ANCHOR: The shooting started around 10:30 local time, when Walmart Supercenter was packed with Saturday shoppers. People inside the store hid and tried to find cover as the gunman opened fire, round after round, and you hear it here.


N. ALLEN: Terrifying. I would be terrified to be hiding right there, so close.

Bystanders quickly tried assisting multiple victims. We have some more video. We want to warn you. It is very disturbing.


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.

Oh, no!


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Hey, we need CPR, we need CPR.



Do you know CPR?



HOWELL: You know, the thing about this, this is something that plays out every day. People going out their daily lives, going to Walmart, going shopping. No one expected to be interrupted by an attack like this. In fact, listen to one person, as he did his best to hide when it started to happen.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: In McDonald's, what happened?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm looking to see what's going on. And more people are coming in. And then I hear boom, boom, boom, boom, boom and we all run out of the McDonald's, out of an emergency door.


N. ALLEN: Police say the suspected gunman is from Allen, Texas. That is more than 600 miles away, 1,000 kilometers. Authorities say a document posted online shortly before the shooting appears to be an anti-immigrant manifesto. The governor of Texas addressed that earlier.


GREG ABBOTT (R), TEXAS GOVERNOR: This is disgusting, intolerable, it is not Texan. And we're going to aggressively prosecute it both as a capital murder but also as a hate crime, which is what exactly it appears to be, without having seen all the evidence yet.

I don't want to get ahead of the evidence. But we have to be very, very clear that, conduct like this, thoughts like that, actions like this, crimes like this are not who or what Texas is and will not be accepted here.


N. ALLEN: Texas has been the scene of many mass shootings in U.S. history, though. CNN's Ed Lavandera has been covering this story from El Paso since soon after it broke.

HOWELL: Ed filed this story a short time ago.


ED LAVANDERA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Here in El Paso, investigators will continue to work throughout the night, processing the crime scene at the Walmart. This is the back of the building you see behind me. We are still seeing investigators coming in and out and the shopping center remain locked down.

Police here in El Paso tell us that the victims who died inside the store will remain there, as the investigators and forensic experts continue to do their work inside. That's a gruesome, horrifying scene. That's all happening as the investigation continues. We understand

that federal investigators have opened up a domestic terrorism investigation. There's a hate crime component. But local authorities here are taking the lead. Everyone from local police to the governor of Texas, vowing to prosecute the suspect to the fullest extent of the law.

That means in the state of Texas, this could be a case where we see the death penalty inflicted upon the suspect. There is still some very tense and agonizing moments for the families here, especially the family we met earlier today of 86-year-old Angie Englisbee, who is still missing. Two of her children tell us they have --


LAVANDERA: -- desperately and frantically been trying to connect with their mother, who they last spoke to as she was in the checkout line in that Walmart, moments before the shooting erupted. They have not heard from her throughout the day.

And Davia Romero, outside of the Walmart store, waiting for her nephew to come out, when she started to hear the gunshots erupt. What she saw next is something she will never forget.


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.


LAVANDERA: So those are the types of images, excruciating scene, this woman witnessing this man pull a baby covered in blood out of that Walmart store. That is the kind of moments that many survivors and witnesses are experiencing and dealing with at this very moment.

There is still the efforts to get information about victims to relatives here in El Paso. That work continues as well. But here, tonight, and in the overnight hours, crime scene investigators inside that Walmart doing their work. That will continue through the night -- Ed Lavandera, CNN, El Paso, Texas.

(END VIDEOTAPE) HOWELL: Reaction is coming in from politicians, throughout the United States, both Republicans and Democrats, also the U.S. president.

N. ALLEN: Donald Trump took to Twitter Saturday to condemn the attack. He said, the "shooting in El Paso, Texas was not only tragic, it was an act of cowardice. There are no reasons or excuses that will ever justify killing innocent people...."

But presidential candidate and El Paso native Beto O'Rourke called out the president after the shooting.

HOWELL: O'Rourke said the president's rhetoric against minorities may have played a role in this 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.


HOWELL: Police are still investigating whether the suspect wrote the manifesto that O'Rourke mentioned. Let's talk with Brian Levin, the director of the Center for Study of Hate and Extremism.

Brian, thank you for your time today.


HOWELL: Absolutely. We appreciate you being with us to give us some insight on this. Strong words from the Democratic presidential candidate, Beto O'Rourke. El Paso is his hometown.

What are your thoughts how rhetoric might play into hate and extreme we're seeing?

LEVIN: That's a great question. We came out this week with a report, where we said white supremacist extremism, is the most ascendant in a very diverse threat matrix.

But with respect to your specific question, we've done some interesting research with West Virginia University. We found after the Muslim ban proposal came out, five days after San Bernardino terrorist attack, hate crimes against Muslims were --


LEVIN: -- 300 percent above the average daily for the first 11 months of the year. After the Muslim ban proposal, it went up to over 400 percent, a 23 percent increase. November 2016, election month, worst month for hate crime in 14 years. And the day after Election Day, which included a bomb plot against a predominantly Muslim apartment complex, was the worst day since June 2003.

And around last year election time, our specific research we did for at the Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism found a spike in many cities outside of the southern United States.

So when we do day-by-day ticks, we see this has happened. Interestingly enough, just give me one second. When candidate Trump launched his campaign in a very tightly packed news week, hate crimes in Latinos did not go up. But going back to November 2016, that was the group that had the biggest increase during that month.

HOWELL: Want to talk about the alleged gunman, now. He gave up, without a shot fired.

Given your understanding of who would do this type of thing and why someone would do this type of disgusting thing, what do you think was behind that?

LEVIN: I think it's chilling that it matches exactly what we wrote on page 3 of our study, that came out at the end of July. What I talked about in the study was how these kinds of extremism, and it's our believe this is an act of terrorist act of white supremacists, we're waiting until the authorities call it that.

But if one reads the alleged manifesto, which I have, it references prior acts and a book and a doctrine that is popular among white supremacists. We're seeing a vertical integration. These folks are referencing prior killers and prior writings and trying to inscribe their own in another chapter of this racist Bible of evil that is taking place on the Internet.

It's a newer trend that we've been seeing. But it's scary and something we've seen with young males, from about 19 to 21. And what they do is they're angry, they're frustrated, they're cleaving away from their families and have left school.

And what happens is, the fears, grievances and frustrations are amplified, sculpted and directed to who is regarded as legitimate targets of aggression within these subcultures. And this particular subculture is about how whites are being overrun by people of color. With him, he was talking about Latinos. He referenced texts that we're talking about Europe being overrun by Muslims.

In his world, it's going to be Latinos. And one quick thing. You referenced about political rhetoric. The Tree of Life massacre back in October, it was also around a contentious political season. And Jews were targeted. But they were targeted because they wanted to help Latino immigrants, according to that assailant.

HOWELL: I want to delve in on these online chat boards. No reason to name of the chat board. But the gunman allegedly posted his twisting reasoning on this board. It is rife with racist and anti-Semitic conspiracy theories.

Is there anything that can be done to monitor these sites?

It just was a short amount of time when he posted on that site and the attack took place -- allegedly posted the message, I should say.

LEVIN: We are waiting for official confirmation. But if we look at the past instances, these folks have posted on what I'm calling fragmented affinity-based platforms. There's been a migration -- this is in our study, too. Go to Prop 11, you'll see the study on Twitter.

They're radicalized obvious the Web. But they're also trying to make their mark on that Web. And there are three types of these offenders: ideologically motivated, psychologically dangerous or personal benefit or revenge. You can mix and match. But one is usually predominant.

Unfortunately, we have more ticking time bombs in the United States. White supremacists, extremism, has supplanted violent Salafist jihadists over the last year and as we wrote, chillingly, we expect this to continue.

Social media companies I think need to do a better job. But what happened is there's been a migration --


LEVIN: -- to these kinds of platforms that you discuss. These splintered, fragmented, affinity-based platforms. They're not cats playing the piano, we're talking about vicious, vicious bigotry, as expressed allegedly by this assailant.

HOWELL: Given that this is a developing story -- and I want to be clear since I misspoke a moment ago -- investigators are looking into, determining whether this alleged gunman posted this on that site that doesn't deserve mentioning. We will bring you the updates. Brian, we appreciate your time. Thank you.

LEVIN: Thank you, as always.

N. ALLEN: Let's get some insight, now, from the scene, from CNN law enforcement analyst, Josh Campbell, he's a former FBI supervisory special agent. HOWELL: Josh spoke earlier with CNN's Alex Marquardt, about the attack. Let's listen.


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

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

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


HOWELL: It is a tragedy that played out in El Paso, my home state, a good state with many, many people, diverse people and people coming together in times of tragedy. We're seeing that play out right now. We saw long lines in El Paso, people coming together to donate blood given this terrible attack that happened.

We'll have more on that, as NEWSROOM continues.






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.


N. ALLEN: The folks of El Paso, always talk about what a close-knit community, a safe community. You can see it there from the local officials. That was state representative Joe Moody, talking about what happened in El Paso.

HOWELL: We're recapping our top story. Here's what we know about this attack: police say 20 people were killed, 26 others injured. This when a gunman opened fire at a shopping center.

The FBI says it has opened a domestic terror investigation into the shooting.

N. ALLEN: Authorities say a 21-year old has been detained and faces charges of capital murder and a hate crime. One witness described what he saw as the shooter opened fire.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: To me, he's going for blood. He's going for death. That's his favorite thing right now. He wants that blood lust. He wants that fulfilled. So after he sees people start running, you can hear the different firing. He starts pop, pop, pop, he's going fast, his trigger finger. He's going, going, going. Yes, that's what he we heard. I heard people yelling, run, shooter. Heard the gunshots.

After we got close to the back, we didn't really hear much of it because my adrenaline's pumping, I'm going, I'm going, I'm going.


HOWELL: At this point, many people are still unaccounted for after this shooting in El Paso.

N. ALLEN: Earlier, our Alex Marquardt spoke with the mayor of El Paso.


DEE MARGO (R), MAYOR OF EL PASO: The governor and I just visited with the families waiting on information over at one of the schools here in El Paso. It's tough. It's really, really tough.

ALEX MARQUARDT, CNN ANCHOR: It's extremely tough and extremely heartbreaking.

What about the investigation?

What are federal authorities telling you?

We understand the suspect is a 21-year-old man who drove from Allen, Texas.

What more do we know about the investigation into him and his motive?

MARGO: Well, there isn't much update since we had the press conference. We talked about a gentleman -- I shouldn't say gentleman, this murderer who came from outside El Paso.

And as I said before, nobody in El Paso would have done something like this. This is not what we are about as a community. The investigations going through and identifying the bodies and going through their normal forensic work and families will be notified.

But nothing new is happening yet. Nothing new is happening yet. We're here at the scene as it stands now.

MARQUARDT: Was the shooter, do you know? Was he known at all to authorities?

MARGO: I don't know that. I do not know that. He came out of Allen, Texas is I think where he came from. But my point is just a real tragedy.

MARQUARDT: Can you describe the scene before the shooting? What would have been happening a the a Walmart in El Paso, Texas on a Saturday morning in early August?

MARGO: A lot of shoppers, everybody getting ready for back to school. Normal routines. Just a normal Saturday for people and yet this tragedy struck.

MARQUARDT: And you and others have talked about how tight-knit this community is. What has been the reaction since --


MARQUARDT: -- this horrific massacre happened now just over nine hours ago?

MARGO: Well, it's been reported we have had significant blood donors. This is a very generous community. It is a community that goes back 350 years and people just don't understand.

We have -- we are a close-knit -- we are the largest community of our type on the U.S.-Mexico border. There is nothing in North America that can equate to what we have here with El Paso products. So this is just totally unexpected and, as I say, probably never would have occurred with an El Pasoan.

MARQUARDT: You must be heartened to see those long lines of donors, of blood donors to come out to donate blood. There have been calls for people to sign up online. What can people do to help the community right now?

MARGO: Well, we have set up -- The Paso del Norte Health Foundation has set up a web site for donations for victims and their families. And the other -- what we are telling other people is just continue to donate blood. That's what we need right now.


HOWELL: And they are doing that.

N. ALLEN: Just after the shooting, the call went out for donations. The blood supply is usually overwhelmed in situations like this.

HOWELL: And dozens of people are lined up to donate blood. Our Wolf Blitzer spoke with one of them.


FRANCES YEPEZ, BLOOD DONOR: It's somber. You hear some sniffling earlier as the updates were coming across the TV we have here in the waiting room. The line just continues and continues to grow.

At this time, the blood center is no longer taking donations for today. They are at maximum capacity. However, everyone in line, there's easily 75 to 100 people in line and they are all aware that all they're doing is standing in line to make appointments for tomorrow and Monday and they are willing to wait until they get up to the front to make an appointment.

And I believe El Paso, we're 100 and something today or we're supposed to be in the 100s.

WOLF BLITZER, CNN HOST: Well, you're doing a really, really life- saving work.

What motivated you, Frances?

YEPEZ: You know, I'm -- B positive is my blood type and I try to be positive throughout my life and if there's ever something I can help with, it's easy to make a dollar but it's harder to make a difference. So I try to get out there and do whatever I can to help.

BLITZER: When you speak to others waiting in line, what are they saying to you?

YEPEZ: How could it happen here?

You know, it's crazy. It's Walmart. You know, even though El Paso is big, it's still a small city. Everybody knows everybody.

And, you know, immediately when everything happened this morning, my son called me. He was at work. And then from there it just -- the group text just started, with everybody checking in, everybody from my work family to my extended family in Louisiana, extended family in California and, of course, the local family. Everybody just checking in and making sure everybody was safe.


HOWELL: Looking at the video and knowing how it touched so many people in that community, seeing them come out, that is heartwarming.

N. ALLEN: People feel helpless. A possible clue to the shooter's motive. What police are looking for in the manifesto, reportedly left by the suspect.





N. ALLEN: Welcome back to CNN's continuing coverage of the mass shooting in El Paso, Texas. I'm Natalie Allen.

HOWELL: And I'm George Howell.

Our top story, another mass shooting, this time in Texas, at a Walmart, El Paso, Saturday. At least 20 killed, 26 injured. Police say the suspect is in custody.

N. ALLEN: Thousands of people may have been in and around that store when the attack began. Here's how one witness described the gunman and how she survived.


ADRIA GONZALEZ, WITNESS: He didn't say anything. He just walked in and started shooting at everybody. We were hiding for 10 minutes until everything was calm. And I started pushing people out of Walmart and telling them to get out, get out.

The first thing I heard was the gunshots. When I turned around and to see what was going on, that's when I saw him and that's when I ran back with my mom and I told her, let's go, let's go. And I started to help the senior citizens, help her get out, just getting people out of there, just letting them know we need to exit out.


N. ALLEN: El Paso police and the FBI may file hate crime charges against the shooter.

HOWELL: Shortly before it all started, a manifesto was posted online about 20 minutes to the first call to police, that said, I can't wait any longer.


CHIEF GREG ALLEN, EL PASO POLICE DEPARTMENT: Right now, we have a manifesto from this individual, that indicates to some degree it has a nexus to a potential hate crime. I didn't mean to step on FBI's toes on that. But we're taking this down the road of simply a murder investigation with numerous casualties. And as I said, the State of Texas will be the lead prosecuting agency in this.

(END VIDEO CLIP) HOWELL: Let's talk with Casey Jordan, a criminologist and behavioral analyst and attorney from Connecticut.

Great to have you with us.


We believe the suspect came from outside of El Paso. When he surrendered, he surrenders without a shot fired.

What does that tell you about his mindset?

JORDAN: It's very interesting; according to the manifesto, he only planned this in less than a month. His hometown is on the opposite side of Texas, in Allen, Texas. He drove 650 miles to get to El Paso. If we're assuming that the manifesto can be attributed to him, it's filled with this white nationalist and racist hatred towards immigrants.

And it shows that El Paso was --


JORDAN: -- very specifically targeted because it's where people cross the border all the time and both Mexicans and Americans shop.


JORDAN: He believes there's a real danger of Latinos blending cultures with the United States and taking all the jobs.

HOWELL: Police are trying to determine whether this suspect is behind that manifesto, posted to an online chat board. Sites like this, rife with racist and anti-Semitic conspiracy theories, really speak to how important these sites are to people who have these twisted views.

JORDAN: That's correct. They believe he uploaded this to the Internet about 10 hours before the massacre. It was noticed just an hour or so, before the shooting started. And FBI was aware of these postings and were trying to find out who wrote these threatening comments.

He was saying I'm very nervous but I'm going to have to do this anyhow. He also wrote he would not be taking alive. He said that the police, the only way he would be taken alive if they were able to subdue him. He was willing to go out by suicide by cop.

It shows a level of determination but also raises questions. We know this shooting suspect was arrested without incident when the police drew down on him. He surrendered. So the real answers will come when the interview and interrogation to find out if what he wrote is really how he felt.

HOWELL: Our reporting shows there was a post to this website, less than 20 minutes before the first call to police. It's something that investigators will be looking into. Tell us about the things that police will be looking into, to learn

more about what was his motivation?

JORDAN: The manifesto, currently, is our best clue to the investigation about the motive. A lot of people would argue, it glorifies him. But the truth is that we must, must examine these sorts of writings and figure out the algorithm. It's an ocean out there. The police can't stay on top of every threatening comment.

How can we isolate which ones are verifiable and lead to action an isolate an interview before it happens?

There's a lot to do about the manifesto. And the investigation will be asking, how long has he been doing this?

Was there any opportunity for intervention?

It is too late, obviously, for the victims of this horrific attack. We can learn so much about this, to prevent future attacks. The interview and interrogation, if he's willing to speak to officers, I think he will be, because he has a message to send based on his hatred, that's going to lend a lot, too. But he wants to be known for what he's done so it's important never to glorify it. We're afraid this can inspire future shootings.

HOWELL: Is there a danger there, in suggesting that people should read the manifesto?

Isn't that what the person would have wanted?

JORDAN: My position is, there's no way you can stop it. It's out there, it's been cached. They're scrambling to shut it down. That's never going to be possible.

And I would say, it should be left to the investigators, to the police, to the people who study these sorts of crimes and really let the professionals try to figure out exactly what that message was, do some forensic text analysis and see what he wrote and compare it to other writings online, to basically try to check the veracity of other threatening comments.

Your First Amendment right is here to stay. So we really can't stop this but I really would also encourage these sites like 4chan to do a lot more self-monitoring and self-policing.


JORDAN: They are there to proliferate the message this manifesto espoused to, the hatred, the anti-immigration. They're not going to voluntarily shut it down. But there's plenty other social media sites which could act more responsibly that can try to control vitriol and hate rhetoric because we know it is contagious.

HOWELL: Casey Jordan, we appreciate your time. Thank you.

JORDAN: Great to be here. Thank you. N. ALLEN: As more details emerge about the El Paso mass shooting, we can consider the threat of extremism and talk more about what drives people to commit atrocities like this one.




N. ALLEN: The latest now on our breaking news. A gunman opened fire at an El Paso, Texas, Walmart, killing 20 people and injuring 26 others.

HOWELL: And video from the scene shows the chaos there, including people running out of that store. One man hiding under a table as the gunshots rang out. Listen.



N. ALLEN: Terrifying sound. Police arrived at the scene in about six minutes and arrested the suspect. The 21-year-old surrendered. CNN has also learned that FBI has opened up a domestic terrorism investigation. And the El Paso sergeant spoke about the suspect's capture.


SGT. ROBERT GOMEZ, EL PASO POLICE DEPARTMENT: 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 or not.



N. ALLEN: 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.

N. 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.

N. 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.

N. 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 --


N. ALLEN: -- apparently just gave himself up. Steve, we appreciate your insights.

There aren't any real answers, are there? Thank you.


HOWELL: Well, on a day of tragedy, ordinary people do step up. We hear from one man who said he helped several children during the mass shooting that played out. Stay with us for that.




N. ALLEN: Tragedies like the mass shooting in El Paso, Texas, always bring acts of heroism by ordinary people.

HOWELL: And we heard from one man who turned his attention to helping children there at the scene. Listen.


ARMY SPC. GLEN OAKLEY, WITNESS: 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 you're at the Walmart. 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 --


OAKLEY: -- 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. 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.


N. ALLEN: Let's remember. One person, one act of evil and then so many good people doing so many good things to save people's lives. That's what I want to focus on.

HOWELL: It is so important. We've covered the investigation and certainly talked about the alleged gunman. In the days to come, this story will be about the people, the lives lost, the families waking up without loved ones. It is so hard to see these situations like this, time after time.

N. ALLEN: I know. It truly is. We were here just last week for the one in California.

Stay with CNN has we continue to follow this story. I'm Natalie Allen.

HOWELL: And I'm George Howell. We'll be right back after this.