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Trump Spoke From White House About Shootings in El Paso & Dayton; Any Moment, Dayton Mayor, Police to Give Update on Shooting; Trump: Nation Must Condemn Fascism, Bigotry, White Supremacy; Trump Calls on Lawmakers to Reform Mental Health Laws, Asks DOJ to Seek Death Penalty for Convicted Hate Crime Murderers; Dayton Officials Give Update on Shooting. Aired 11-11:30a ET

Aired August 5, 2019 - 11:00   ET



[11:00:16] KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR: Hello, everyone. I'm Kate Bolduan, in New York. Thank you so much for joining us.

We are following the breaking news today, the worst of the news. Something that has become a uniquely American tragedy, mass shootings. And 29 people dead, 13 hours apart, more than 50 people wounded. El Paso, Texas, Dayton, Ohio. And President Trump just spoke from the White House about all of it.

Joining me throughout the hour is CNN's Victor Blackwell. He's been on the ground in El Paso, Texas. He's joining us all throughout the day -- Victor?

VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Kate, no doubt, this is a city that is in mourning, trying to figure out what is next for El Paso.

They listened closely to what they heard from the president today. We'll be talking about that.

And the investigation moving forward as they try to reconcile what has traditionally been the safest city in this state and one of the safest throughout the country with what happened here on Saturday morning.

Back to you.

BOLDUAN: Absolutely, Victor. Thank you so much for being there. We're going to be back to you very shortly.

Any moment now, we are actually expecting getting an update from officials in Dayton, Ohio.

At least nine people killed there early Sunday morning. Police have not yet commented on any possible motive behind that attack. They actually were very careful over the weekend to not start piecing things together yet.

We're going to bring you that news conference as soon as it begins because we are following two tragedies on two fronts. A lot of moving parts today.

CNN's Ryan Young is there to Dayton, Ohio, following this.

Ryan, are you getting a sense of what we can possibly here from officials any moment now?

RYAN YOUNG, CNN CORRESPONDENT: That's one thing that we all sort of have a question mark over. We see the fire department is gathering here. They might be able to talk about how they were able to respond and help some of the wounded.

When you think about the crime and the impact on this community, which has been through so much over the last few months. They had a tornado a few months ago that devastated parts of this community. And now you have the shooting.

So many people gathered last night. Almost 2,000 people were on the same street having a remembrance and memorial for all the people whose lives were lost.

You're talking about something that happened very quickly. That shooter, of course, walked down that street and started firing. And then you see the first responders, who responded so quickly, who were able to take him down within 30 seconds.

When you hear that sound from that memorial last night, I can tell you there were so many people who were crying. We watched people who collapsed into the arms of some of the first responders there because they were thanking them so much.

One of the things that stood out to all of us is when the governor took the stage last night and was trying to talk about what he wanted to see happen with the memorial. So many people started screaming, "Do something". They kept screaming, "Do something," until he had to stop talking at the memorial. People are frustrated and want to see change.

Then there's been talk about the alleged shooter having a hit list all the way back to high school. There's been a conversation in this community, how did this go unchecked for so long.

And then this weird fact that he was with his sister and his sister was among one of the dead. There was all the conversation about, what could the motive be. Is there anything online? Have they been able to check his social media? What happened that led to this?

And I can tell you, a lot of the victims, at least six of them, were African-Americans. So there's questions about that.

And when you watch the video that you saw, all the people running back inside, you realize that if he would have made it into the club with that weapon, this could have been far, far worse, even as devastating as it is -- Kate?

BOLDUAN: That's exactly right. The way it's been described is it would have been catastrophic had he been able to make it into that location.

It's just so jarring. You're there at the press conference and we're going to be hearing from officials any moment.

Ryan, it's so jarring to see that video of all these people running back into the building. But also then juxtaposed that with the vigil, those happening within hours of each other, and what is happening in American cities and American streets right now. It's truly horrific.

We're going to bring that to you.

Ryan is at the press conference. We're going to get back to Ryan as soon as the conference begins.

Let's turn to the White House. Because, as I mentioned, President Trump addressed the nation this morning in the wake of these two deadly shootings. Listen.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The shooter in El Paso posted a manifesto online consumed by racist hate. In one voice, our nation must condemn racism, bigotry and white supremacy. These sinister ideologies must be defeated. Hate has no place in America.


BOLDUAN: President Trump also called on lawmakers to reform mental health laws. And he also cast blame on the quote, unquote, "glorification of violence in video games." Adding that he's asked the Department of Justice to seek the death penalty for anyone convicted of murder as a hate crime.

He said a lot but what does it mean?

[11:05:08] CNN senior White House correspondent, Pamela Brown, is joining me live.

Pamela, the president did say a lot of things. But I found it also strange, he did not mention the changes that he had suggested just hours earlier this morning on Twitter, like tougher background checks and perhaps in his suggestion tying it to immigration reform. What are you hearing from there?

PAMELA BROWN, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: That's absolutely right. The president clearly wanted to keep the focus on this being a mental health issue, these back-to-back shootings.

He really seemed to stay away from anything having to do with gun violence, gun reform, anything having to do with background checks. As you said, he tweeted about that this morning, connecting it to immigration. In the past, publicly, he had supported universal background checks and then backed away under pressure from the NRA.

What was also noticeably absent was any discussion about the president's own rhetoric. The White House's response today is to not discuss that publicly and that includes president, who, as you know, condemned white supremacy and racism today but didn't acknowledge his own rhetoric and whether it's fanning the flames.

Behind the scenes, White House officials are defensive about that suggestion that the president's rhetoric played any role in the El Paso, Texas, shooting. The El Paso shooter used some of the same language in his alleged manifesto that the president had used, though the shooter said he had his own views before President Trump.

But as one official said, the back-to-back shootings from a blow to the White House given the magnitude of the tragedies. And the White House knows it has to act.

The president made clear today, as I pointed out, his focus is on mental health and not guns. He focused repeatedly on the hate and evil that drives these acts and stayed away from linking the shootings to gun violence.

Here's what he said.


TRUMP: Mental illness and hatred pulls the trigger, not the gun.


BROWN: So there you have it, Kate.

President Trump said today he supports red flag laws that allows law enforcement and family members to petition a court to prevent access to firearms for someone who is a danger.

He also said he would direct the DOJ to propose legislation so that people who commit hate crimes will have the death penalty.

But again, noticeably absent was any proposals about gun reformed.

He looked backwards, saying that his administration has banned bump stocks. That really hasn't prevented shootings moving forward.

In the past, the president has supported other gun control measures, such as raising the age limit for buying rifles. He even seemed to support assault weapons bans and background checks. But he then backed away under pressure from the NRA.

Clearly today, he is trying to keep the focus on the fact that this was a mental health issue. He talked about video games, the role the Internet plays. And again, did not talk about his own rhetoric at all -- Kate?

BOLDUAN: Pamela, thank you so much. You're really putting it together perfectly, what we just heard from the president.

Let's talk about this more though. Joining me now is immigration attorney and analyst, (INAUDIBLE), who is in El Paso actually this weekend with his family, CNN political analyst and White House correspondent for "The Atlantic," Eliana Plott, and national reporter for "Politico, Laura Barron-Lopez."

Thank you for being here. I really appreciate it.

Eliana, you heard what the president had to say. Pamela Brown kind of laid it out perfectly the things that he had suggested, but also the things that were kind of left out. I mean, do you get a sense that there's really something different this time coming from the White House?

ELIANA PLOTT, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: What's helpful and instructive in this moment, Kate, is to understand that whether it's with this shooting or Las Vegas or Parkland in Florida last year is the president's visceral instinct in the aftermath of these incidents is to go for gun control measures, whether it's universal background checks or even going so far as to ban assault rifles.

That's what he called for immediately after Parkland last year, gathering with Senators, like Dianne Feinstein, to say he wants to act on this.

But as we saw this morning, he tweeted on universal background checks and, a mere hour or two hours later, he is giving the speech, and as Pam was just speaking on, where he didn't mention gun control at all.

So it does elucidate for us the control that the GOP has in moments like this and the NRA. So if past is prologue, no, I don't think anything will change.

BOLDUAN: I'm going to interrupt one second.

We need to go over to Dayton, Ohio. This is the mayor of Dayton speaking right now for an update on that horrific shooting.

NANNETTE WHALEY, (D), MAYOR OF DAYTON, OHIO: I'm glad you're here for this 11:00 briefing. Let me see who I have with me. City manager, Shelley Dickstein, City Commissioner Chris Shaw, from the Dayton Foundation, Michelle Lovely, obviously, Chief Richard Biehl, Fire Chief Payne. I have a way of actually demoting people sometimes. I'm trying to do better. And Commissioner Jeff Mims.

We've had a busy morning this morning. Just, you know, I've been very impressed with the outpouring of the spirit of the community last night, folks coming together in the Oregon District. The Oregon District is open.

[11:10:08] A lot of you who may not be from here, we'll talk about how the Oregon District seems closed. Just a point of reference, it's local-owned businesses. And so a lot of those local-owned businesses close regularly on Sunday and Monday. That is very typical for them. So if you're a regular in Dayton you know which restaurants are open on Monday and which ones aren't.

The majority of them, that's their weekend. So I want you to make sure in your coverage -- I've heard that a couple of times and folks have said, well, they say it's open but it seems to be closed. It's because it's Sunday and Monday. I know some of the places are planning on opening just because of this

on Monday, even though they're normally not open. But we are respecting what they have to do to go through as local businesses.

I'm going to turn it over to Chief Biehl next to give an update. There's not much movement on the investigation this early. But wanted to give him some time for some comments this morning.

Thank you.


I do have just a very brief update. I want to remind you that we are less than 36 hours into this incident and its investigation.

I can confirm that if all the magazines that we recovered from the suspect were completely full, and we have not had a chance to examine that, we just know we have magazines with bullets in them. But if all of those were completely at full capacity, including the loose rounds found on the ground near him, as well as in a backpack that he carried, he would have had a maximum of 250 rounds in his possession at the time.

We can confirm at least 41 spent shell casings from his weapon based on their location and his path of travel. That's at least 41.

As you well understand, in a very dynamic and chaotic scene as this was, with people running through the crime scene, with first responders running through the crime scene, with emergency EMS traveling through the crime scene, evidence can be lost. So we can say at least 41 spent shell casings from the suspect.

As it relates to the officers, we have recovered 48 45-caliber shell casings, 16.233 shell casings and one shotgun shell casing.

In terms of the persons injured, we're getting different information from other sources of persons treated in the hospitals, so we have previously said 27. There's some information there's 32. I can confirm to you that there's at least 14 of those injured, whether that number is 27 or 32, at least that were injured through gunshot wounds. So many people were injured through other means in their flight from this very chaotic event.

There are autopsies currently being completed by the coroner's office, so that is a process that is still undergoing and it will be some time before the outcome of the autopsies.

That's really all I have to share thus far this morning.

WHALEY: Thank you, Chief.

Next I'm going to invite Fire Chief Payne to come forward and speak a little bit about some of the first responders from the fire/EMS response.

JEFF PAYNE, CHIEF, DAYTON FIRE DEPARTMENT; Good morning, everybody. So at 1:07 Dayton Fire Department received their first dispatch to

respond to the Oregon District. We responded with one fire crew and one medic, which is dispatch protocol for a shooting.

Immediately upon arriving on the scene, we realized that we had multiple people down. We upgraded it to a mass casualty incident, which called for additional response personnel and command units. And then it was expanded once again shortly thereafter.

Our crews transported five people to the hospital, B-3 from medic 14, one from medic 10, and actually Riverside medic crew transported another. Many of those people that did make it to the hospital self- transported. And so we initiated our mass casualty protocol. We put command units in place and we did our triage and treatment and then we facilitated the transfers to the hospitals in a balanced manner so we didn't overload any one hospital.

[11:15:11] There are 37 total patients treated at area hospitals. And they resulted from injuries as a result of gunshot wounds, being trampled, and then lacerations from fleeing the scene in broken glass.

As you're aware, we had nine victims, plus the shooter that were pronounced at the scene. And as of 9:00 this morning, we have eleven victims still hospitalized.

That's all I have at this time.

WHALEY: Thank you, Chief.

Next, I would like to invite Michelle Lovely to come forward to talk a little bit about what we're doing with the funds for the victims' families and those that have been affected by this incident -- Michelle?

MICHELLE LOVELY, VICE PRESIDENT OF DEVELOPMENT AND DONOR SERVICES, THE DAYTON FOUNDATION: We've been approached by community members, companies, individuals, just tons of people wanting to know how they can help and what they can do.

And once again, the Dayton community is just such a strong community. Unfortunately, after the tornadoes and now this, just the community shows once again that we're Dayton strong.

So we have developed a fund at the Dayton Foundation and anyone can give to that. That's the Dayton Oregon District tragedy fund. And the fund number is 8365. So you can give right on our Web site at You can also send a check to the Dayton Foundation with that fund listed in the memo line.

But we have had a lot of questions about how we're using the funds and how much we've collected and we are just as anxious as all of you to get our arms around that.

But we're less than 24 hours with our fund being opened, so we are meeting actually today at noon to talk to -- we've been approached by community foundations all across the United States who have been through -- unfortunately, been through situations like this. So they're providing guidance to us. And we're also consulting with our council on foundations so find out how we should appropriately be managing these funds and making sure that they're being put out in the community in the best way possible.

WHALEY: Thank you.

I'll now open it for questions.

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER I want to ask the chief, do you have any greater clarity on the sister and the mutual friend of the gunman and whether you talked to the mutual friend yet about that whole situation on the night?

BIEHL: We've had the opportunity to have some conversation. I will say there's more conversation needed. I will not say at this point we have clarity of the entirety of the relationship.

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER You talked about how the three of them were separated at some point. Do the other two know when -- I mean, did he get the gun out of the car when they all three pulled up originally.

BIEHL: We have no information at this time to suggest that they were aware of the weapons or when they were introduced into this environment. We have no information at this time.

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Were they in the trunk of vehicle or did he leave them in another location and after they aspirated did he go get it?

BIEHL: We don't have that determined with certainty. We do know the shotgun was recovered in the trunk. But exactly how they were transported to the scene has not been clarified.


BIEHL: Pardon?


BIEHL: I believe he's still being treated in the hospital.


BIEHL: He received a gunshot wound to the lower torso.

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: You said it's only been 36 hours.


BIEHL: Less than.

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: How close are you in your mind at this point to establishing a motive?

BIEHL: Not close enough. Not close enough at all. We have a lot of evidence still to go through.

Just based on where we're at now, we are not seeing any indication of race being a motive. But we are not through all the evidence. And so until we're through all the evidence, we cannot rule that out. But I'm saying we're not seeing anything at this time that suggests race is a motive.

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Obviously, this is your community. If you could, I mean going to that vigil last night, seeing all these people, I can't imagine the stress that you're under and the pain you feel for this community. Can you talk a little bit about your heart and what you've seen over the last few hours and what you've been dealing with?

WHALEY: I think I've spoken a lot about the grit and the determination of this community. And surely, the 8:00 vigil was no different. You know grieving is a process and as the chief said, we're probably 35 hours into this process.

[11:20:07] But, you know, I have no doubt that this community and its resilience and its willingness to see through. We've seen through many things in this community and I know that they'll come together, that we're coming together strong again here.

I'm going to let Commissioner Mims and Commissioner Shaw answer this question as well.

JEFF MIMS, DAYTON CITY COMMISSIONER: It's very interesting -- first of all, thank you all for being here.

It's very interesting to see such a sea of so many people who had their hearts showing on their sleeves, those who were concerned about the nine victims, which I think was uppermost in terms of everyone's mind, thinking about them and their families.

Having the ministers say some of the kind of things that they said that help people understand our reason for being here.

Our goal is to provide as much safety as we can for our cities. We escaped two major tragedies in terms of a visit from a hate group back a couple months ago, and we were able to escape even the, what, 14 to 15 tornadoes without any loss of life as well.

And then for this to come and hit us at such a hard time. You know, we're all still emotional about this in terms of how we digest these issues.

And some of you know that when we start talking about assault weapons, being a Vietnam vet, I understand clearly the damage that those type of weapons can inflict upon individuals. And they have no place in the hands of average everyday citizens.

So we do need to have more work done at the federal and state level to make sure that we minimize these types of situations for the future.

Thank you.


Yes, I agree with what the mayor and commissioner said. The mayor is right that grieving is a process.

And we've had great sadness over the last many hours. But now it's really turning to anger. Anger about the lack of movement on gun control. We are not the first community that's been affected by this gun violence and we won't be the last. But we have got to do something. And I think we're about to work now of pushing the legislature and federal government to move on responsible gun control in this community and this country.

So that's what I want to leave you with.

WHALEY: Thank you.

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: I have a question. When he turned the corner and his sister and her friend were there, do you think he targeted them or was it an accident? Was he just spraying indiscriminately?

BIEHL: It's a question I've asked more than once and I don't think we can know that for certainty. It seems to just defy believability that he would shoot his own sister. But it's also hard to believe that he didn't recognize that was his sister. So we just don't know.

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: The companion, do you have any idea what time they got there? Why they -- (INAUDIBLE)

BIEHL: I don't have that information available. We're piecing some of that together. We have a lot of cellular information that we haven't gotten through yet. We do know there was some communication once they separated. But I don't think we have all those timelines established yet.

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Is the companion cooperating?

BIEHL: As best as I know.


UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: When he was headed toward the mad pepper and you talked about him not being able to get inside, do you have any information about an earlier incident in the night where he may have tried to get in earlier and been denied entry?

BIEHL: There was some information early on, but I haven't been able to be a part of any conversations to tease that out and to clarify that. But I do know there was some indication of him being denied entrance. But I can't confirm that with certainty.

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Has the companion spoken to investigators today?

BIEHL: Pardon?

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Has the companion spoken to investigators today?

BIEHL: Not that I'm aware of.

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Is he slated to speak?

BIEHL: Not that I'm aware of. Again, there's a lot of other things that we're working on today, as well as our federal partners, which are expediting the transportation and analysis of the digital evidence. So there's a lot more going on behind-the-scenes here than just following up with various individuals that we need to interview. There's a lot of parts in motion.

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Do you know anything about the gunman making a hit list in high school or a rape list?

BIEHL: I know there's information out in the media. We're clearly exploring every possible piece of information we have. I'm a little bit reluctant, even if there's such evidence, to interpret it 10 years later as somehow this is indicative of what happened yesterday.

[11:25:08] So I think I will tell you the mistake that is made -- and I understand your interest to try to get information out and to help people understand -- but by taking pieces of evidence and coming to conclusion about its significance creates mistakes, large mistakes at times.

I've seen it too often in national incidents. Piecemealing information does more to misinform than inform. So we really don't know until we have all the information and all the evidence available.

WHALEY: We'll take one more question.


UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: We're wondering, do you know how many were hit by bullets and shrapnel versus trampled, and whether the officers will be made available for interviews at some point?

BIEHL: The officers are still on administrative leave so they are not going to be available for interviews.

And your first question was?


BIEHL: You said 14 that we could confirm non-fatal that have been treated, of the 27, 32.

And, Jeff, you had a different number even.

So clearly, a couple of dozen people who were treated for non-life- threatening injuries, 14 of which we can confirm were gunshot wounds.


WHALEY: Yes, I spoke with the president yesterday evening. He called. I think it was around 6:00, 6:30, before the vigil.

OK. We appreciate you all being there. I know you'll be out and about on 5th Street and through the community.

We're really going to take these -- yesterday, we did like an every- three-hour clip. I don't want to keep on calling you in when we don't have anything new.

So the investigation will take longer periods of time. So you'll hear from us the next time we have something new to share.

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Can we have one more question?

WHALEY: Maybe.

BIEHL: Thank you very much. Good-bye now.


UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Can you talk more about the acquisition of that firearm and your thoughts on your citizens owning such large magazines?

BIEHL: It's problematic. It is fundamentally problematic. To have that level of weaponry in a civilian environment, unregulated, is problematic.

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: And his ability to purchase that online and bring it into your community --


BIEHL: And modify it to function as a rifle.

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: And how did he do that, chief?

BIEHL: I'm not the expert in that, but I can tell you that it was modified, in essence, to function like a rifle. That much I can tell you. I'm sure you can talk to experts out there how that gets done. And to avoid any legal prohibitions.

WHALEY: Thank you. We're really done. We're done. Thank you, guys. Have a good one.

BOLDUAN: All right. You heard from the mayor of Dayton, police chief, fire chief as well with an update. Clearly, this investigation is going to be a long one as they always are.

Some of the information that did come out early on in the press conference, just to reiterate, is that the police chief confirms that, if all the magazines that the shooter had on him were full, that was a maximum of 250 rounds in that man's possession. At least 41 spent shell casings on the part of the shooter did they find at the scene.

And in terms of motive, they're nowhere near determining that yet. They're just saying that they're not seeing an indication of race being a motive right now. But the police chief very careful to say that that part of the investigation is not complete yet.

And at the very end saying very clearly the level of fire power and the magazine capacity that that man had on him, he says is fundamentally problematic.

That is the update from Dayton. We have much more to come, including this. Coming up, police say the suspect in the El Paso massacre is showing, quote, "no regrets, and also no remorse" for killing 20 innocent people. And that, he posted a racist manifesto before the attack. We have the very latest on the investigation. That's coming up.

Plus, Democratic presidential candidate, Ohio Congressman Tim Ryan, is standing by. And he's going to be joining us in a moment. I want to get his take on what the president said today, what the latest is from Dayton, and where we go from here.

[11:29:21] We'll be right back.