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CNN International: Mass Shooting in El Paso Shopping Center. Aired 3-4a ET
Aired August 4, 2019 - 03:00 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.
GEORGE HOWELL, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): We continue to follow the breaking news, the mass shooting in El Paso, Texas. I'm George Howell at the CNN Center in Atlanta. Welcome to our viewers here in the United States and around the world. Here's what we know at this hour.
At least 20 people were killed, another 26 were hurt, some with life- threatening injuries and a 21-year-old suspect surrendered at the scene. The alleged gunman now in police custody. The FBI is treating this attack as possible domestic terrorism.
The shooting started just about 10:30 local time, when the Walmart Supercenter was packed with people, people shopping on Saturday. And people inside that store, they either hid, they tried to find cover as the gunman opened fire and you can hear round after round after round. Listen.
HOWELL: Can you imagine that?
Hiding under a chair, you know, to protect yourself. And bystanders, they stepped in quickly. They tried to assist as many people as possible. We do warn you, the video you'll see here, it is incredibly 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.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Help, help! UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We need CPR. We need CPR.
Do you know CPR?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We need CPR. Turn him over.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HOWELL: We're just talking about people going through their daily routine. Nobody expected a terrible attack like this to happen. Many people were still shaking after 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)
HOWELL: Now just a bit about the suspected gunman; apparently, from Allen, Texas, more than 600 miles away. That's about 1,000 kilometers away. Authorities say that a document was posted online shortly before the shooting. It appears to be an anti-immigrant manifesto. The governor of Texas had this to say.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
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.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HOWELL: CNN's Ed Lavandera has been on the scene in El Paso since the shooting and filed this report just 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 --
LAVANDERA: -- 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 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.
(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: 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.
HOWELL: Let's get some analysis now with Cheryl Dorsey, a retired Los Angeles police sergeant, also the author of the book, "Black and Blue."
Thank you for your time.
CHERYL DORSEY, RETIRED LAPD SERGEANT AND AUTHOR: Thank you for having me.
HOWELL: Given what we know at this point, 20 people dead, at least 26 others injured and the suspected gunman in custody.
What happens at this point as police carry out this investigation?
DORSEY: Well, they're going to be backtracking to see what led up to the suspect's shooting, posting on social media. They're going to be trying to identify victims, locate families and notify them. There's going to be a lot of behind the scenes work going on.
What I'm concerned about is why there's been no mention with regard to gun control and gun reform. I mean, there's an elephant in the room and nobody wants to address, why is someone 19, 21 years old allowed to have a weapon that will hold a banana clip magazine with multiple rounds that can do this kind of carnage?
It makes no sense.
HOWELL: This appears to be a hate crime. Investigators are trying to determine as well whether the suspect, that they have in custody, whether he posted a manifesto to an online chat board. If this turns out to be true, it appears the gunman wanted people to
know the reasons, the motivation for carrying out such an attack, which would be exactly what police are looking for, I would surmise, in motivation.
DORSEY: Well, he was very deliberate and determined. It's been reported that he drove 600 miles, six or seven hours, from Allen, Texas to El Paso, Texas. He picked this particular location with some specificity, based on the types of customers that would be in that Walmart.
You know, there's, there's an atmosphere of anti-Hispanic rhetoric and racial animus that's emboldened, empowering and encouraging white nationalists to act out. If there's no consequence, if there's no willingness to abate guns --
DORSEY: -- and ammunition that could hurt hundreds of people in a few seconds, how do we stop this?
HOWELL: You do point out this touches on several things, touches on gun control. It touches on immigration as well as it's definitely, it is a tragedy to say the very least. To your point, we believe the suspect came from outside of El Paso to carry out this attack then surrendered to police without a shot.
What does that tell you about the suspect's mindset?
DORSEY: Well, you know, I can't speak to his mindset, because I don't know. But you know, what it tells me is that police officers act very differently when a suspect is a male white than they do when they deal with people who look like me.
Armed or unarmed, this suspect was taken into custody without incident after he shot over 20 people fatally and wounded 26 others and he's taken into custody without incident. More often we see officers engaging people of color, unarmed, killing them because they think he has a gun. And we have someone known to have a gun and he's taken into custody without incident.
How does that happen?
HOWELL: There is a lot of talk about that on social media right now. And I think that certainly is a conversation about people that look like us that are having that conversation. Thank you, again, for your time.
DORSEY: Thank you.
HOWELL: U.S. politicians on both sides of the aisle are condemning this deadly shooting, including the U.S. president. On Twitter, he said that the attack was not only tragic, it was an act of cowardice, adding, "There are no reasons or excuses that will ever justify killing innocent people...."
Presidential candidate and El Paso native Beto O'Rourke called out the president and suggested President Trump's rhetoric against minorities may have played a role in this attack. Here he is.
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: Some politicians are now demanding changes to America's gun laws. On Twitter, Pete Buttigieg said these attacks are a form of, quote, "white nationalist terrorism being abetted by weak gun laws."
Republican senator Lindsey Graham called for new legislation to quote, "deal with those who present a danger to themselves and others."
He also said the massacre was, quote, "sick and senseless," a sentiment shared by the former Vice President Joe Biden as well.
(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)
HOWELL: And we're also hearing from some of the people who were at the scene there in El Paso. One woman who described the chaos that she saw as all of this unfolded right in front of her. (BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)
ADRIA GONZALEZ, EYEWITNESS: There were a lot of people that couldn't get out of there.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Did you see people on the ground?
GONZALEZ: Yes. And then there was this man who was, like, with all blood on him. He told us that he actually carried a child with him who got shot. And he was all covered with blood. So but, yes, I, I did see a child got shot and I saw bodies outside.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Do you know how many bodies that you saw?
GONZALEZ: I only saw two.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What were people saying that were there inside?
GONZALEZ: People were just shocked. They were, they were frozen. They were just running away --
GONZALEZ: -- from the scene. People were saying what's going on?
What's going on?
Other people were saying my family member is there. Please call them. Or people sending messages to everybody on Facebook, on Instagram, you know, saying be careful, do not go outside. We were all helping each other.
I also want to thank a lady, who actually picked us up, me and my mother, and also some Walmart employees got into their cars. And also I want to thank them, because they also helped us to get away from there in their car.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Did the killer say anything?
Did the shooter say anything at all?
Was he making any type of movement?
Anything out of the ordinary?
Did he look like a regular person walking in the store?
GONZALEZ: Yes, he looked just a regular person but as, as an Army wife, I do take care of myself and my surroundings, where everything is, just in case, you know, you never know what could happen. And I -- he didn't say anything.
He just start, he walked in and starts shooting at everybody. And we just, we hide, we were hiding there for maybe like 10 minutes, until everything was calm. And we, I started pushing people out of Walmart and just telling them to get out, get out. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Did you see what kind of weapon he was carrying?
What he was using?
GONZALEZ: Yes, we did see it was maybe like an AK but I didn't see what type of AK. The only thing I saw was it looked like an AK.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Like a rifle?
GONZALEZ: Yes, sir.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Like a banana clip?
GONZALEZ: Yes, yes. That's, that's the only thing that I saw and I saw him, that he had khaki pants with a black shirt. That's all, that's all that I saw.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Did you see him walk in by any chance?
I'm sure you weren't thinking about this is a guy who has to do all these things.
GONZALEZ: No, I didn't see him walking in. The first thing I heard was the gunshots. And then 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, let's go. And I started to help the senior citizens, help her get out and just getting people out of there, just letting them know, we need to exit out.
HOWELL: You hear stories like this and it's just chilling to hear.
There's an outpouring of support, as well, for people in El Paso. Hundreds of people turned out, lining up to save lives, giving blood.
HOWELL: The tears and prayers there to help heal a city. Keeping in mind, 20 lives were lost Saturday. More than 2 dozen others injured.
People came together at an El Paso church to honor those affected by the shootings and to help their loved ones to try to heal. The vigil concluded with a song for the wounded community.
HOWELL: That's the scene in El Paso. And now to the state capital, Austin, Texas. This the scene of a candlelight vigil for the victims there. Local politicians are also remembering the victims and they were quick to point out, this attack is not representative of El Paso. Listen.
(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)
HOWELL: You just heard State Representative Moody mention the lines around that building. There were long lines. That happened soon after the call went out for donations. Dozens of people lined up.
Some of the people brought food, others brought drink to share with the people in line who were waiting. At least one blood donation center was at maximum capacity. So people were standing in line, just to make appointments for Sunday and Monday. One organization says it hasn't seen this kind of response since the 9/11 attacks.
We heard from the senior director for donor recruitment for one blood bank in El Paso and he spoke with my colleague, Alex Marquardt, about the turnout on Saturday.
DAVID VELOZ, SENIOR DIRECTOR, VITALANT BLOOD BANK: This tragedy is something that our community just didn't know and it just all the emotions from people that came in today to donate blood, I mean it's apparent that everybody has been shocked and we're just not used to things like this out here.
ALEX MARQUARDT, CNN ANCHOR: And officials and residents talking about how tight-knit this community was and how many people have been touched by it, affected by, I should say, by this attack. Do you personally know anyone who was involved?
VELOZ: Well, the ironic thing is that today we had a big effort planned at Cielo Vista mall. We had one of our larger blood drives scheduled. And so we were actually out there at Cielo Vista mall collecting blood and I got a call from one of my employees and asked if I had seen the news. But some of our employees did see the shooter --
VELOZ: -- run through the mall and it was just something that everybody was shaken up about.
MARQUARDT: And one of the best pieces of news that we've seen today and we just showed some of the pictures a moment ago, are these stories of two-hour long lines of residents and people turning out to donate their blood, someone from your company actually said that they hadn't seen anything like this since 9/11. How have you found the response?
VELOZ: Oh, absolutely it was overwhelming. I've been with this organization for more than 20 years and I was here on 9/11 and it was the same thing today. People showing up, wanting to do something to make sense out of this tragedy, wanting to help and so today, we did have long lines of people and the line just wound around the building. People didn't mind waiting for 2-3 hours.
Today we stopped taking donors at 5:00 pm and we were rescheduling people to come back tomorrow to come back on Monday, because the response was just overwhelming. But nonetheless we didn't close our operation till about 30 minutes ago. And so we were still processing those donors that had been waiting all this time.
HOWELL: So just as we're telling you about what happened in El Paso, Texas, I regret to tell you there is another possible shooting you must know about in the state of Ohio. This shooting in Dayton, Ohio.
Police say they are tracking what they call an active shooting incident in a district of Dayton called Oregon. That should not be confused with the U.S. state of Oregon, the same name, of course.
Stay with CNN as we continue to track down information developments and we will confirm the information and report it to you live. Stay with us.
HOWELL: Welcome back to CNN's continuing coverage of the mass shooting in Texas. I'm George Howell at the CNN Center in Atlanta. And recapping our top story this hour. Here's what we know.
The FBI has opened a domestic terror investigation, this after a shooting at a shopping center that left 20 people dead, 26 others injured in El Paso, Texas. The 21-year-old suspect surrendered at the scene and is in custody. He could face charges of capital murder and a hate crime.
One witness described exactly what he saw as the shooter opened fire.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) 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.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HOWELL: We get insight from Josh Campbell and he spoke earlier with my colleague, Alex Marquardt, about what happened. 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: Let's get more now from sociologist Randy Blazak, the chairman of the Oregon Coalition against Hate Crime, joining us this hour.
Thank you for your time today.
RANDY BLAZAK, OREGON COALITION AGAINST HATE CRIME: Yes, of course.
HOWELL: We've heard from the Democratic presidential candidate, Beto O'Rourke, coming out against the president.
What are your thoughts about how rhetoric might play into hate and how it might play into extremism?
BLAZAK: Well, this is an issue that's been rising steadily. I mean, I think it really starts in 2011 with the mass shooting that happens in Oslo, Norway, this nationalist reaction to globalization; 77 people were killed in that.
And that guy has become kind of a role model for these shooters that we've seen in the States. So the rhetoric happening in this country, the xenophobia and anti-immigrant sentiment, has motivated a lot of these folks.
I have to say this is frustrating to those of us who've been studying this issue for years. We've been banging the drum year after year, saying that there are these nationalists out there that want to start a civil war, they want to start a race war, a second American revolution.
And they're willing to take the body count that gets them in the front of the news cycle. And we've been sort of hammering on this issue for so long and it's just so frustrating that we're yet here again with these people who idolize people like the shooter in Norway and the Oklahoma city bomber, to have this body count, to kind of make their point and motivate their movement.
And it's just really sad that we're still at this and there's no national will from the top to confront this issue of domestic right- wing extremism. So I don't know when this will end.
HOWELL: All right, getting into, if it's even possible, the mindset, the twisted mindset of a person who would carry out an attack like this. The alleged gunman --
HOWELL: -- in this case gave up without a shot fired.
Given your understanding of who would do something like this, why they would do something like this, what do you think could be behind that?
BLAZAK: Well, these shootings are different than things like school shootings. Those are often suicidal orgies of violence, where they think they're going to go out.
These are all males, by the way, so they're going to go out on their feet rather than limp on their knees. They want to be spokespersons for their movement. So as long as they can breathe and express themselves and write manifestos -- and whether it's in prison or in the courtroom -- that they will have a voice to further their movement.
They want to stay alive. They're different than the other types of mass shooters, who are essentially committing acts of mass suicide while they're taking out people with them. And so these are really a different type of animal.
HOWELL: Let's also talk about these online chat boards. The gunman allegedly posted his reasoning on this board and it is a place rife with racist and anti-Semitic conspiracy theories.
Is there anything more that can be done to monitor and watch sites like these?
BLAZAK: It's tough. I spent a lot of time on 8chan where this guy posted his writings and it is protected. It's free speech. There is a little bit of a tipping point, where some serious red flags come up. So you can post kind of anything you want.
But when you talk about committing acts of violence, there's an opportunity for law enforcement to get involved. But it is, under our First Amendment, kind of a gray area of what is protected free speech and what is a credible threat.
And certainly, law enforcement has their hands full, trying to figure out what is what, because there is so much of this on the dark web and the websites, where these people post, to figure out what is just a young person ranting about how much they hate what's going on in the world and what is actually a plan of action which needs some type of intervention.
HOWELL: We're hearing from major platforms -- Facebook, Twitter -- they're monitoring, looking to take down any continuation, any talk about this possible manifesto. But you know, big platforms like that, how big is the burden on them to stay ahead of this sort of thing?
BLAZAK: Yes, it's kind of like a game of whack-a-mole to try to figure out what's a real threat and what's not. So there is, there's a lot of work, there's a lot of bodies that need to be put in front of screens to monitor these postings.
And it's just sort of like trying to, you know, stop a dam with a tiny little rag. I mean, there is just this incredible wash of this stuff floating on the Internet. And most of it just kind of goes off and it's people venting and participating in their online subculture.
But there's enough of it that it's a real threat, that means we really have to pay attention to these things that are being posted. And there's a real conversation about what is protected First Amendment expression and what is real criminal intent.
And it's a hard thing to wade through. And so there's a lot of work to be done there from both the private sector and organizations like Facebook but also law enforcement and using this open source data to try to find who might be the next actor in one of these scenarios. And I don't envy those folks, because it's kind of an impossible task.
HOWELL: Randy Blazak, we appreciate your time today and perspective. We'll stay in touch with you as we follow this terrible story. Thank you.
Authorities in El Paso have set up reunification centers, trying to help families find their loved ones. In the middle of the chaos, we heard from one woman, tearful, desperate, searching for her mom. Listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
EDIE HALLBERG, MOTHER OF WALMART CUSTOMER: I got tired of waiting and waiting and waiting and I just want to know where my mom is.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Tell me what you've done to find her so far.
HALLBERG: So far we stayed at MacArthur School -- and we went to school there and then my niece took me to Pebble Hills. She wasn't there. The bus was empty. All the people were gone.
We said -- I asked the cops, I want to know where my mom is.
Where are the people that have been in the Walmart?
Where did you put them all?
Where have they all gone?
I saw the buses. And my mom -- no buses came. And I didn't find her. I just want to find my mom. Somebody at least tell me where she is. I want to know if she's dead or alive or if she's still in Walmart. I need to find her. This is the only way we're going to do it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HOWELL: This is a hell of a day, a lot of breaking news to tell you about. What happened in Texas and now to tell you about a possible situation in Ohio, another shooting. Police confirm they are investigating an active shooter incident there. This happened in a district of Dayton called Oregon.
HOWELL: That shouldn't be confused with the U.S. state of Oregon by the same name.
Police are telling people in that area to avoid that area. CNN affiliate WKEF is on the scene and reports a large police presence there. Of course, we are looking to confirm as much information as possible before putting it forward.
But again, police investigating an active shooter incident in the state of Ohio. Stand by. We'll have more for you as NEWSROOM continues.
HOWELL: All right, recapping the top story, the mass shooting at a shopping center in El Paso, Texas. It is among the worst shootings in modern U.S. history. Here's what we know so far.
Vigils and prayer services are being held for the victims there and, as we see this story in the days to come, that will be the story, about the lives lost, the families that are waking up in a few hours, missing their loved ones.
At least 20 people are confirmed dead. More than 2 dozen others are hurt. The suspect, a 21-year old, a 21-year-old white male, surrendered and is in police custody. Police say it may have been a hate crime and the FBI has opened a domestic terrorism investigation.
Authorities say an anti-immigrant manifesto was posted online just minutes before the shooting started.
HOWELL: Keeping in mind, many people are still unaccounted for after this shooting. Earlier, my colleague, Alex Marquardt, spoke with the mayor of El Paso, Dee Margo. Listen.
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.
MARQUARDT: 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 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: In the face of tragic stories like this, there are always those inspiring, heartwarming stories. In fact, an off-duty U.S. soldier is being called a hero after the attack. How his actions may have actually saved lives there. Stand by for that.
HOWELL: We're following the breaking story out of the state of Ohio. Police there confirm they are investigating a quote, "active shooter incident." This, of course, is separate from the massacre in Texas that we're also following.
This incident happened in a district of Dayton, Ohio, called Oregon, keeping in mind that is not to be confused with the state of Oregon.
Police are telling people to avoid that area and they say it is a large scene and investigation. CNN affiliate WKEF is also there and that affiliate reports a large police presence. We will, of course, continue to bring you updates as we learn more about what's happening there as we confirm information.
The unfolding story in Ohio taking place a day after a gunman opened fire at an El Paso, Texas, Walmart. That gunman killing 20 people and injuring 26 others. And video from the scene, it shows pure chaos. People running out of that shopping center, one man hiding under a table as gunshots rang out.
And you hear it here.
HOWELL: And police arrived at the scene, we understand, in about six minutes' time. And they arrested the suspect without a shot fired. They tell CNN the 21-year old surrendered to police. The FBI has opened a domestic terrorism investigation. An El Paso police sergeant spoke about the suspect's capture. Here it is.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
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.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HOWELL: You can imagine when this happened it triggered panic at a mall. An off-duty soldier was shopping when he heard it happen and he heard gunshots and went into action.
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
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 (INAUDIBLE). So we just didn't pay him no mind.
So I walked to Foot Locker --
OAKLEY: -- 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.
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)
HOWELL: He was just focused on the kids and he was not thinking about himself. He went into action.
Stay with CNN for the latest on this breaking news. Our coverage continues on the mass shooting in Texas right after the break. Stand by.