Return to Transcripts main page

EARLY START

Twenty-Nine Killed In 13 Hours; President Trump To Address Nation; Gunman Kills 20 People In El Paso Walmart; Nine Killed By Gunman In Dayton, Ohio; Ex-Classmates, Shooter Had A Hit-List In High School; Dems Tie Shooting To Trump's Rhetoric. Aired 4-4:30a ET

Aired August 5, 2019 - 04:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


[04:00:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We're blessed. We're blessed because we're alive and I pray for all those people that died.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN HOST: America reeling again from gun violence. Two attacks that claimed 29 lives.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: But we've done actually a lot, but perhaps more has to be done.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN HOST: President Trump will address the nation just hours from now. Will he take action -- any action on gun safety and gun violence? Welcome to our viewers in the United States and around the world, this is "Early Start" on Monday morning. I'm Christine Romans in New York where it is 4 a.m.

BLACKWELL: I'm Victor Blackwell where it's 2 a.m. here in El Paso, Texas. It's Monday, August 5th. Twin horrors this weekend, 1500 miles apart, 29 people in 13 hours. Mass shootings in El Paso, Texas, and in Dayton, Ohio.

Now let's begin in El Paso, police say, 21 year-old, Patrick Crusius shot and killed 20 people, injured 29 others at a Walmart on Saturday morning. Now after the mass killing, the suspected gunman just walked over to police and surrendered. Officials say the gunman posted a 2,300 word manifesto on the message board 8chan. It's filled with racist hatred, white supremacist language aimed at immigrants and Latinos.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CHIEF GREG ALLEN, EL PASO POLICE CHIEF: Right now we have a manifesto from this individual that indicates to some degree. It has a nexus to potential hate crime. The FBI will be looking into that with the other federal authorities. Right now we're looking at potential capital murder charges for this individual.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BLACKWELL: The suspect is being held without bond charged with capital murder. Now the Justice Department said the case appears to meet the definition of domestic terrorism. It says, it is seriously considering federal hate crime and firearm charges which could bring the death penalty.

Rosa Flores is here in El Paso. Rosa, you have been across these communities, speaking with the people who are still reeling from this attack and figuring out how to heal. You were at the reunification center, I understand.

ROSA FLORES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: You know, there is so much pain in this community that you can feel it just by going to some of these centers. Now the reunification center is an elementary school that they turned into a center where people can go and try to find their loved ones if they can't find them. They can go ask questions. There were a lot of people who are asking about the cars that you see behind us, because they were wondering when they were going to be able to get their cars back.

Well, I met a woman named Erika Contreras, 29 years of age. She was inside this Walmart on Saturday at about 10:30 with her 7-year-old daughter and 70-year-old mother. And they were buying school supplies like so many people that we've talked to. And she said that all of a sudden she heard what she thought was clapping and then a large crowd rushing towards them.

Well, in between that crowd she said that she saw the gunman with the gun and also with ear protection and all she did, she said she grabbed her daughter and her mother and ran out the door. And she says that right now she is counting her blessings. Take a listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ERIKA CONTRERAS, SURVIVOR: We all panicked. We all started running and all I remember is that I had my shopping cart, I had my mom, I had my daughter. I grabbed them both and I carried them out. And we were trying just to get out through like the frozen section where everything was at, because we saw that everybody was running in that direction and you could just see that there was this guy with a gun. Everything that happened was just terrible, but we're blessed. We're blessed because we're alive.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

FLORES: Now, Victor, what she was saying about her daughter, her 7- year-old daughter that she couldn't stop crying. She was hyperventilating. She was of course, trying to calm her down.

[04:05:05] And that reunification center, where she was there to ask questions, that is also her daughter's elementary school. She is supposed to start second grade on August 12th.

BLACKWELL: Yes. There are so many stories like that. You'll be bringing those to us throughout the morning. But we spoke with the Mayor DeMarco yesterday, he said this will not define El Paso, a city that is proud to be one of the safest cities in the country. The question is, how will it change this community now that this terror has come to their front door? Rosa Flores, thank you so much.

Now we're learning more about some of the 20 victims here in El Paso. Jordan and Andre Enchando, p arents of three young children. Now listen to this, they were shopping for school supplies when the gunman started shooting. Jordan died at the hospital after using her body to protect her 2-month-old son. Her husband is also dead. Their baby survived.

Leo Campos, you see him here and Mirabel Hernandez, they dropped off a dog at the groomer and then went shopping at Walmart. Some of the other victims have now been identified including Angie Englesbee, who is 86 years old. Arturo Vanvedez, who was 60 years old.

Mexico's secretary of foreign affairs says, has now identified at least seven victims who are Mexican citizens. They are Sarah Esther Regalado, Adolfo Cerros Hernandez, Jorge Calvillo Garcia, Elsa Mendoza De la Mora, Gloria Irma Marquez, Maria Eugenia Legarreta Rothe, and Ivan Filiberto Manzano.

ROMANS: Victor, just awful. Just awful and then, 13 hours after that shooting at the Walmart in El Paso another mass shooting in Dayton, Ohio. We have new video of the moment early Sunday morning when a gunman wearing a mask and a bullet proof vest started shooting.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Oh, (BEEP). Dude, what the (BEEP). What the (BEEP).

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ROMANS: As always, the question on everyone's mind is why? But Dayton's police chief is refusing to speculate on motive.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CHIEF RICHARD BIEHL, DAYTON POLICE CHIEF: There is far too much information we have to review before we can even begin a conversation about possible motive. And I will not talk about any potential slice of evidence as value or not at this time. It's just way too early.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ROMANS: CNN's Ryan Young is in Dayton, he filed this report for us.

(BEGIN VIDEO)

RYAN YOUNG, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Victor and Christine, a lot of heartache and pain in this community of Dayton, Ohio. In fact there's a growing candlelight vigil that is just behind me. But what we do know from officers as around 1:05 Sunday morning they had to respond to a call of shots being fired. When they arrived here, within 30 seconds they were able to take down the shooter, Connor Betts.

Now through this video that you will be able to see. You can see officers responding. They responded very quickly. In that short period of time Connor Betts, according to police was able to shoot and kill nine people, wounding 27 others. But the police chief said, they were able to make it inside the club, this could had been so much worse, but officers were able to make that stop very quickly. But for one family member who we talked to, he is so heart broken and full of pain, because he lost two family members in one fatal shootings.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: My cousins did not deserve to lose their life. They had children. Hard working people. All they was doing was enjoying the night on town and they are dead. Never to come home again. Never to see their family again. They're gone. And I want the president to hear this. Donald Trump, I want you to hear this. You need to be here right now. You need to.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

YOUNG: And the city of Dayton really responded. On Sunday we saw the heart ache and pain here in the middle of the street as thousands really showed up to really show their pain for this community as they had a candlelight vigil.

Since then police have not been talking about a motive just yet, because they are still investigating this crime trying to figure out exactly what happened. One of the strange parts about this shooting is apparently the shooter even shot his own sister when he opened fire on the nightclub behind me. Victor and Christine.

(END VIDEO)

ROMANS: All right. Ryan, thank you for that. We've also learned that the 24-year-old shooter in that Dayton massacre threatened classmates, putting them on the hit list when he was in high school. According to four former students, there was a kill list for boys and a rape list for girls. All four say they were told by school officials they were on those lists. CNN's Drew Griffin has more from Dayton.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DREW GRIFFIN, CNN SENIOR INVESTIGATIVE CORRESPONDENT: Dayton, Ohio police say this shooter was not on their radar, but we have learned from former high school classmates that the suspected shooter in this case actually did have a record in high school where he had threatened on a kill list to kill or harm his fellow students.

[04:10:17] Four of those students who say they were on that list, according to school officials, say the list was divided in two. For men or boys it was a kill list. For girls it was a rape list. One of those students says during the sophomore year of the shooter's high school career he was on a school bus when police boarded the bus, supposedly right after finding this list, and took the suspect and arrested him. Take a listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I saw him get pulled off the bus after school one day. And apparently he had made a kill list and I happened to be on it. I don't know why. We just got off of school, we were all getting off the bus to go home. And I mean, I just sat down. We were just sitting down and he sat down. I think he was behind us. And I look up and there's two police officers standing on the bus asking him to get off the bus and go with them. I was confused.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: School resource officers?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No, actual police officers. Why did he make the list? What was happening in his life that made him do it?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

GRIFFIN: The students tell us that the shooter did come back to high school about a year later, appeared to be changed, got involved with band and acting in the school and actually graduated from high school in 2013, but apparently he had a long history of threatening women, especially those who denied his advances. Police looking into all of this background as they try to search for a motive in this person who killed nine and injured dozens here in Dayton, Ohio. Drew Griffin, CNN, Dayton.

(END VIDEO)

ROMANS: Drew, thank you for that. The names of the nine victims who died in the Dayton massacre have now been released, 27-year-old Lois Oglesby was a nursing school and a mother of two, including a newborn. Also killed Sunday, 38-year-old Saeed Saleh, 57 year-old Derrick Fudge and Logan Turner, who was celebrating his 30th birthday with friends.

Thomas McNichols was a 25-year-old father of four. Beatrice Warren Curtis and Monica Brickhouse were best friends and like sisters, according to those who knew them, 25-year-old Nicholas Cumer was a grad student at St. Francis University in Pennsylvania. And finally Megan Betts, the shooter's 22-year-old sister also killed in that massacre, Victor.

BLACKWELL: We'll have more here from El Paso. New action from the FBI in response to the recent mass shootings. Director Chris Wray is ordering FBI offices across the country to perform a new threat assessment for future mass attacks.

Law enforcement sources tells CNN, Wray has formed a command group at bureau headquarters in Washington to oversee the effort, field offices now working to identify any threat similar to the mass attacks in their areas. Now the FBI had already set up a so-called fusion cell this past spring to focus on white supremacists and hate crimes. President Trump is set to address the nation in just a few hours. New

reporting on what's happening behind the scenes at the White House. That is next.

[04:15:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BLACKWELL: Welcome back. President Trump is set to address the nation about the shootings in Dayton and El Paso. He'll speak from the White House at 10:00 o'clock Eastern this morning. Now we may have had a preview of his remarks in his words to reporters on Sunday.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: Hate has no place in our country and we're going to take care of it. We have done much more than most administrations, and it's really not talked about very much, but we've done actually a lot, but perhaps more has to be done.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BLACKWELL: CNN has learned administration officials, they worked through the weekend developing proposals to respond to the shootings. Sources tell us the president wants something to announce this morning, but it does not appear the options will include proposals on gun safety or white nationalism. More now from the White House. Our correspondent Kaitlan Collins there.

KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Christine and Victor, the president addressed these shootings for the first time on camera as he was leaving his golf club in New Jersey on Sunday where he told reporters that he was praising law enforcement, that he felt that hate had no place in this country, but one phrase people noticed the president didn't use was white nationalism or white supremacy.

Even though we know that the federal authority since Sunday are investigating the shooting in El Paso as domestic terrorism. Instead, the president said that he had spoken with the Attorney General Bill Barr and the FBI Director Christopher Wray, he said he believes that in part, this is a mental health issue.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: This is also a mental illness problem. When you look at both pf these cases, these is mental illness, these are really people that are very, very seriously mentally ill.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COLLINS: Now the president said he believes this is an issue tied to mental health, but that is as Democratic presidential candidates, including Beto O'Rourke are tying shootings like the one in El Paso directly to the president's rhetoric. But Beto O'Rourke telling Jake Tapper he believes the president is a white nationalist and that some of the things he said do contributed to the shootings like the one you saw at that Walmart in Texas. Now the president is expected to address the nation today at 10 a.m.

And we have heard from sources that here inside the White House and at the Justice Department they do feel some kind of pressure to put new proposals forward.

But the question is what those proposals are going to look like. Because we now that shootings in the past, the president has favored things like universal background checks, raising ages to buy certain kinds of guns only to later back off those stances after he spoke with members of the NRA leadership. So, right now it's still an open question of what it is that the president is going to say. Christine and Victor?

{04:20:10] ROMANS: All right. Kaitlan Collins, not coming in just a -- about six hours.

Democrats are demanding Mitch McConnell take action in the Senate. A long stalled gun violence bills. Among those calling for the Senate should be reconvened. Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, along with 2020 presidential candidate Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, Cory Booker and Kamala Harris. There's even one Republican Senator joining them, Tim Scott of South Carolina. Now, Senator McConnell is facing growing calls to pass a background check law immediately. Democrats say it could prevent the next mass shooting.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. CHUCK SCHUMER (D-NY), SENATE MINORITY LEADER: I hope and pray he would. And I hope the people of Kentucky and the people of America will put pressure on him to do so. You know, we just passed the 9/11 bill. Leader McConnell had resisted that for years and pressure, outside pressure and inside, Jon Stewart, John Field and the first responders finally, I think, I would put it forced him to put that bill on the floor. Let's hope the same thing can happen with guns.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ROMANS: McConnell's office is not commenting on calls to pass legislation this weekend. The majority leader did send prayers to the victims and their families.

All right. Walmart under increased pressure to stop selling guns. CNN business is next.

[04:25:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ROMANS: All right. So the recent gun violence in or near Walmart stores has called attention to the company's history with the gun sales. As the country's largest retailer, it is a major seller of firearms. In the past week it has been the scene of two shootings. After Saturday's shooting in El Paso Walmart tweeted that the company is in shock and praying for the victims, the community and our associates as well as the first responders.

Now, many responded to that message and urged Walmart to change its policies. Walmart has shifted its gun policies in response to high profile shootings in the past. It stops selling assault rifles in 2015, and raised the minimum gun purchasing age to 21, last year after the Parkland shooting.

The major retailers have become more involved in the fight against gun violence. You recall Dick's Sporting Goods pulled gun sales entirely for more than 100 of its stores after the shooting in Parkland, Florida. It also raised the age for purchasing weapons from 18 to 21. For now, Walmart's policy remains the same. A spokesman said, we continue to be devastated by the loss of lives and right now our focus is on supporting our associates, our customers and the El Paso community.

President Trump addresses the nation later this morning after 29 people killed in two separate mass shootings. The latest from El Paso, Texas and Dayton Ohio next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

END