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Tropical Storm Watch Now In Effect For Coastal Florida; Police: Five Dead, 21 Injured In West Texas Shooting, Suspect Killed; Odessa Hospital: Seven of 13 Victims At Facility In Critical Condition. Aired 8-9p ET

Aired August 31, 2019 - 20:00   ET


ANA CABRERA, CNN HOST: And, of course, it's lost on anybody that it is four weeks ago today that we were dealing with two other mass shootings, including in El Paso, Texas. This state has been through a lot in the past month.

Let me reset for everybody, as we continue to follow this breaking news. Even as we keep an eye on Hurricane Dorian, another mass shooting in America. This time in the middle of a holiday weekend. And, once again, the people of Texas are the victims.

These are the newest pictures we have from Odessa. And here's what we know at 8:00 p.m. Eastern tonight. At least five victims are dead. The shooter is also dead. At least 21 people are hurt, including three police officers.

President Trump has been briefed by Attorney General Bill Barr. The gunman was shot and killed outside a movie theater who had been pulled over earlier in a traffic stop and then led police on a chase.

And we have another video. I want you to watch closely here. Look outside the store window. And you can see law enforcement officers gearing up for what may have become a war on the streets of Odessa and Midland, Texas.

And even with really no information to suggest any remaining shooter is out there, police are still urging people in the Odessa-Midland area to stay in their homes for now. We know the hospital where 14 victims are being treated is still on lockdown.

With us on the phone right now is CNN Contributor, and former FBI Deputy Director, Andrew McCabe.

Andrew, the FBI is now involved in this investigation, along with other federal agencies, including the ATF. We've been getting updates from police who were there when this started. How do federal agents help, at this point?

ANDREW MCCABE, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Well, Ana, it's a great question. It is, obviously, a local law enforcement issue, to respond to those witness accounts and to try to get this person in custody or to mitigate the threat, which they certainly did, in a heroic fashion tonight. At the same time, their partners on the federal side, whether that's the FBI or the United States Postal Inspection Service in this case, because of the involvement of the mail truck, they are parsing through every piece of information they have. As soon as this person is identified, they will be looking at every aspect of his life that they can put a finger on.

So, they'll be looking at his residence. Who he might cohabitate with in that residence. Where he works. Who those folks are. Fleshing out an understanding of this person. His possible social media activity. His friend and associates. His work associates.

To understand, first and foremost, is there another threat that's -- that law enforcement needs to worry about tonight? Is there someone else that he may have been working with or planning with that law enforcement needs to step in and interdict before they have another violent encounter on their hands.

And then, of course, that work will also lead them to a better understanding of this person's motive. So, was this just a -- you know, a random act at the end of a routine traffic stop? Or was this a planned attack? And, if so, for what reason?

CABRERA: And what resources, then, would the FBI have that local police don't, in order to learn the shooter's back story and possible motives?

MCCABE: Sure. So, first and foremost, it's manpower, right? Not just people on the street, in the form of agents and potentially tactical agents, like SWAT agents. But sometimes, even more importantly, people in the back office.

So, you have analysts and specialists who are incredibly adept at peeling through the layers of someone's background, whether it's their financial history or their residential history. Where they lived over a period of years, and why they may have moved around. Or it's their activity on social media, which, very frequently, gives us an insight as to folks' motivation.

So, those sorts of analytical and technical resources sometimes are not available to local police entities. And that's something that the FBI, pretty routinely, can bring to the table. And with that also comes the ability to serve federal process, on maybe Internet service providers or telephone companies, to kind of get the return information that they're seeking about the shooter.

CABRERA: And you led the counterterrorism for the FBI. And we know NYPC's Counterterrorism Bureau was alerted to this very quickly as well. We're dealing with very early reports here. What does that look like to you?

[20:04:55] MCCABE: Well, you know, that's something that the C.T. folks, at the state and federal level, are going to be following very closely, to understand why this person embarked on this, kind of, violent, you know, attack tonight. And did they have particular victims in mind? We'll be looking to see, kind of, of the folks that were shot at or actually hit by -- hit by shooting activity, do they fit a particular profile? Does that give us some indication of why this guy went on this shooting spree?

And, of course, ultimately, the C.T. folks, and all law enforcement, their first and biggest concern is to understand, is there another threat that we need to be concerned about? Or is this just a part of an incredibly tragic pattern that we're seeing lately, particularly on the domestic terrorist side. This certainly could be an incident that fits into that pattern. But it's just too early to tell, at this point.

CABRERA: Wait, we know this wasn't somebody who walked into a public place with an assault-style really. This is a traffic stop. It means at least one armed police officer was approaching that vehicle. How do you stop something like this from exploding so big and so fast, other than just hoping police can be quicker on the draw?

MCCABE: Well, you know, Ana, it shows you just how serious and dangerous the work is that our law enforcement folks do every day. And one of the most dangerous things they do is approaching a vehicle, even during a routine traffic stop. Law enforcement officers have no idea what they're going to confront anytime they're walking up to a car that they've pulled over for, you know, something as inconsequential as speeding or running a red light or something like that.

This could be one of those situations that could have been a routine stop, that just, unfortunately, put that law enforcement officer interacting with somebody who was heavily armed and violent and, you know, leaning towards this sort of activity before the stop took place.

We won't know until we find out more about the details about what led the officer to pull that car other. But it is incredibly dangerous work. It's absolutely essential to the -- to the function of law enforcement. And it is -- it's unavoidable.

So, this -- you know, I don't think we'll ever be in a place where police officers approach every vehicle expecting something like we saw today. But it has got to weigh heavily on the minds of those folks, as they're out there on the streets of this country doing this, literally, thousands of times a day.

CABRERA: Right now, with the shooter dead, is it more important for law enforcement to be fast or methodical in their approach to this investigation now?

MCCABE: Yes, I wish I could pick one of those, but I just can't, Ana. They must be both fast and methodical. They have got to act very quickly to understand as much as they possibly can about this person. But you can't overlook anything.

So, they'll be looking across the spectrum of the resources that are available to them to understand, you know, first and foremost, his potential criminal history. Have there been interactions with law enforcement before? And, if there were, were those interactions that should have tipped us off to this -- to this violent tendency? They'll be looking at the firearms that he used during the attack. How -- which type and how many he had. We don't quite know just yet.

But they'll be thoroughly tracing those firearms to understand how they were acquired. How they were purchased. Where they had come from. And to understand, of course, if they were purchased from a federally-licensed firearms dealer. What did the background check reveal at that time? Was this a person who should have been legally possessing a firearm or not?

So, a lot of questions for our folks in law enforcement tonight. And I am quite sure they have many, many good people working on those things right now.

CABRERA: Generally speaking, in your experience, when a criminal is killed, and law enforcement goes, you know, to family and friends to do those interviews, to try to learn more about the attacker, just how cooperative are those people when they get that knock at the door?

MCCABE: You never know what you're going to get, Ana, when you knock on that door. But it is, unfortunately, very frequently the case that we learn things after an event like this that, had we known them before the event, we might have been in a position to prevent it. So, that gets back to that, kind of, time-honored refrain that you hear from folks in law enforcement all the time, see something, say something.

If you are concerned about somebody that you know or that you come across and you think you have any sorts of concerns that they might be inclined to engage in something like this. We're constantly trying to encourage people to bring that information to the attention to the law enforcement for exactly that reason.

So, often, you knock on those doors after somebody has been killed, and you learn a lot that you wish you had known before the event took place.

[20:10:03] CABRERA: And, on that note, I mean, since El Paso and Dayton four weeks ago today, we know there have been dozens of potential attacks thwarted, and people encountered because, you know, when somebody saw something, they said something. What does law enforcement learn, you know, from previous mass shootings that helps improve the response in the next one?

MCCABE: Well, they learn a lot. Each time you have one of these incredibly tragic incidents, you have the opportunity to mine it for all the intelligence you possibly can. And some of that is a focus on understanding what that person's progress or trajectory was leading up to the incident. So, we're constantly trying to figure out, are there signs or signals that people exhibit, as they are moving down this path to radicalization or extremism in their thoughts and beliefs that, ultimately, lead to violence.

So, this will be one more opportunity to build out that entire timeline, that picture, that rich picture of this person's background and what they were saying, what they were thinking, what they were writing, what they were doing in the lead-up to this event. And they will use that knowledge to try to be predictive in the way that we view potential future events.

I think one of the things we've seen since the last two mass shootings is a lot more forward-leaning law enforcement activity. So, you're seeing people around the country being arrested after exhibiting extremist or violent tendencies, people who are collecting firearms or explosive materials, things of that nature. There is no question that law enforcement is taking those sort of threats and that sort of intelligence very seriously right now, which is a very good thing.

CABRERA: And we're seeing a lot of politicians reacting right now. Again, let me read you the tweet from President Trump. "Just briefed by Attorney General Barr about the shootings in Texas. FBI and law enforcement is fully engaged, more to follow."

A couple of tweets from the Texas members of the 2020 race. Beto O'Rourke saying, "Our hearts are with Midland, Odessa, and everyone in Texas, in West Texas, who has to endure this again. More information is forthcoming but here's what we know: We need to end this epidemic."

And also, from Julian Castro, the former HUD Secretary, former Mayor of San Antonio. He writes, "Heartbreaking news out of Odessa and Midland, Texas, as police search for an active shooter at large. Stay indoors, monitor news alerts and safety protocols." That was, obviously, a little bit earlier.

You know, Congress will be back in session here in the coming week. Gun control was front and center, of course, expected to begin debate when they get back. Presidential candidates are offering, you know, their policies to reduce gun violence. I spoke with Castro, just last hour.

If they asked you whether there's anything that can stem from this tragedy and other mass shootings, what would you tell them?

MCCABE: I'd tell them, there's no single thing that we can do to guarantee that we won't see another mass shooting in this country. But there are many things that we can do to the current legal regime that surrounds things, like background checks and accessibility of firearms to folks. We have a system where we're trying to do the best we can, essentially, under the weight of an enormous burden of firearms sales.

So, there is no doubt, in my mind, that the background check system that we currently work in could be strengthened. It could be more effective. It could be more efficient. That's going to take legislation. Whether or not the Congress has the -- has the stomach and the political will to do that, I guess we'll have to see.

CABRERA: Andrew McCabe, thank you so much for joining us this afternoon, this evening, and to offer your insights and expertise on this. We'll continue to follow the developments in this shooting out of West Texas, near the Odessa and Midland area. One shooter dead, five victims killed, 21 others injured. And we're learning more throughout the evening. Stay with us.



CABRERA: I want to show you some new video we just got in from the shooting there in Odessa, Texas. Watch this.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There's a shooting going on in Odessa, Texas. Oh, God, they're shooting right there. Oh, they hit the barrier. The cop just hit the barrier. Get down, get down, get down.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Get down. Get down. Get down. Get down.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Stand still. He's shooting him. He's shooting him. Oh, he's killed them. He killed him.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Man, he's just shooting. We're him shooting how his --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Oh, he's shooting him up. He hit the barrier.


CABRERA: OK, that video was taken by Alex Woods outside the Cinergy Entertainment complex. We understand that is where the gunman was shot and killed. And Alex, that witness, joins us now by phone. Alex, wow, intense to watch that video, to hear you. Walk us through what you saw, starting with what made you begin recording.

ALEX WOODS: Well, we had arrived about five minutes before the shooting had begun. And the police were heading up towards the hospital which is next to the movie theater. The next thing you know, I hear a pop. I put the camera to where the theater is at and I just see a bunch of gunfire going off. And I could see the officer walking up to the mail van and discharging his weapon into it. And I believe that is when the shooter was killed.

CABRERA: Wow. What was going through your mind?

WOODS: A very surreal moments. It was -- I never thought it would happen in my life.

CABRERA: I imagine you're pretty shaken up still, now.

WOODS: A little bit, yes.

CABRERA: Yes. Did you -- did you happen to get a look at this man who was the shooter?

WOODS: No, I did not.

CABRERA: And what was the situation like around you? You talk about the mail van and the person who was shooting, who was eventually killed. Were there a lot of people in the vicinity? Was this man opening fire and shooting all over the place? Help me understand what was happening.

WOODS: So, when we had arrived about five minutes before the shooting had begun, I had to clue the shooter was even there. There was just police everywhere.

[20:20:00] And there was a bunch of people behind the theater, in the field walking. And the next thing you know, this gunfire is going off. So, it just all happened so quickly. It was -- it was a lot to take in.

CABRERA: Is it clear whether the gunman was able to harm people at the theater before police encountered him?

WOODS: When we had arrived, five minutes earlier, it was just police everywhere. So, not that I'm aware of.

CABRERA: And where are you now? What can you see?

WOODS: So, I'm outside of Odessa Mall and there are many police around it. It looks like they're evacuating the building, it looks like. There was many people running out of it earlier. And I see police parked out front of the dealers right now.

CABRERA: Have you had a chance to speak with any law enforcement officials? I imagine that they may be interested in speaking to you as a witness.

WOODS: I have not had a chance to speak with them.

CABRERA: What is your plan now?

WOODS: I don't know. It's kind of a crazy thing right now.

CABRERA: Well, I so appreciate you taking this time to talk with us. Given officials are saying they can't rule out another shooter being out there, possibly, you know, they're telling people to, you know, be extra cautious. They're telling people to still stay indoors, to stay inside, to stay off the streets until they have more additional information.

So, I just wanted to pass that along to you, because I want to make sure you stay safe. And I would encourage you to reach out to law enforcement and share your video with them as well. I'm sure they would be interested.

Alex, thank you for taking the time with us. I'm glad you're safe. And let's all hope this is all over.

WOODS: Thank you. CABRERA: The latest developments on the mass shooting in West Texas. Just ahead, including new details about the timeline of events. That's next. Stay with us.



CABRERA: Welcome back.

Vice President Mike Pence spoke to reporters just a short time ago at Joint Base Andrews in Maryland. He is on his way to Poland to mark a key World War II anniversary. Pence says the White House is being kept fully informed of the situation happening in West Texas.


MIKE PENCE, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I just spoke to the president. And he's at Camp David. And he's closely monitoring the developments in the investigation in the mass shooting in Odessa. Our hearts go out to all the victims, the families who have loved ones lose their lives. We commend the law enforcement in Odessa for their swift and courageous response.

But, at the president's direction, we deployed the full resources of the federal government. They're on site. The president spoke to the attorney general. The FBI is already assisting local law enforcement in the investigation going forward. But we'll continue to monitor those events. But the president's fully engaged.


CABRERA: And this from the president, himself, about an hour ago. Quote, "Just briefed by Attorney General Barr about the shootings in Texas. FBI and law enforcement is fully engaged. More to follow."

According to the police, the suspected gunman was cornered and shot and killed in the parking lot of the Cinergy Theater and the Cinergy Entertainment Group, which operates that movie theater, released this statement a short time ago, saying, our hearts and prayers -- our hearts and prayers, I should say, go out to the victims and the families of this senseless tragedy.

The safety of our team members and guests are our top priority. We are grateful for the swift response from law enforcement authorities and first responders throughout the Midland-Odessa community. Even though we avoided crisis within our facility, we will continue to work with law enforcement to provide any help they may need. Please refer all additional questions to the proper local, state, and-or federal authorities.

Cheryl Dorsey is here now. She is a retired sergeant with the Los Angeles Police Department.

And, Cheryl, I mean, this sounds like a law enforcement nightmare. A traffic stop turned into a mass shooting. One official in Odessa says the suspect was, literally, driving around and just firing from his vehicle.

CHERYL DORSEY, RETIRED POLICE SERGEANT, LAPD: You know, this speaks to how dangerous law enforcement is. Traffic stops are right up there with responding to domestic violence calls, in terms of making the hair on the back of our necks stand up, because we don't know who we're encountering.

And so, I wonder how many more male whites in their 30s are running around with weaponry in their vehicles just waiting to be stopped? It would be nice if this administration showed the same kind of appetite for the border wall that they did for making first responders safe.

CABRERA: If the shooter managed to kill five people and injuring 21 others, I mean, this is someone who, apparently, was driving around with a lot of firepower, no?

DORSEY: Clearly. And why is what I want to know. Listen, I believe, you know, there's -- there are red flag laws that are being talked about, and states are coming on board. What was it about this young man? We'll find out down the road. You know, family, friends, have got to be comfortable with reporting things that they see, they hear, they know, they think, and not worried about offending a family member or a friend. This has got to stop.

CABRERA: What other red flags could have been there about this shooter?

DORSEY: Listen, I mean, I could speculate. I have no idea for sure. But I bet you will find out later, once they go through his social media and they talk to friends. There was probably something that was said, that was written. He probably espoused some kind of anti- something sentiment. We'll find out later on.

It's never someone operating in a vacuum who just wakes up one day and just snaps, if you will. It's always something that led others to say, I'm not surprised. I figured something like this could happen by this person.

CABRERA: And I sense your frustration about here we are in another, you know, mass shooting, after it was one month ago that we had the attacks in El Paso, at a Wal-Mart there, that we saw the mass shooting in Dayton, Ohio. What do you think is the answer?

[20:30:00] DORSEY: Well, listen, the horse is out of the barn, right? I mean, so those weapons that are out there. You know, people are able to figure out how to get them legally. And in some instances, you know, illegally, borrow a friend, a family member's weapon.

So, you know, I don't know how we change this. And listen, I was kind of over this years ago when folks weren't bothered by 20 babies being slaughtered in a school. I don't know what's going to get the administration's attention, the Second Amendment rights folks' attention, because they get very excited and involved when you talk about taking away weapons that are used for, you know, buffalo in an urban environment. It makes no sense to me.

CABRERA: Cheryl Dorsey, I always appreciate having you with us. Thank you for taking the time this evening.

DORSEY: Thank you, Ana.

CABRERA: Continuing to follow the latest developments on the mass shooting in West Texas. Again, this is in the Odessa/Midland, Texas area.

Just ahead, we'll have an update on that, as well as the latest on hurricane Dorian. Live from the CNN Weather Center, we'll take you there when we come back. Stay with us.


[20:35:06] CABRERA: We are closely following the slow march of hurricane Dorian, its enormous size, its destructive power. We're trying to pinpoint where it will most impact people along the east coast of the United States.

We can show you this is how residents of the Bahamas are preparing for the storm's arrival. It's going to hit that area first. They're filling up their cars, they're boarding up their windows, knowing that this category four hurricane could just sit on top of them for an entire day, possibly longer, with winds up to 150 miles per hour.

Let's get right to CNN's Chad Myers in the Severe Weather Center. Chad, the National Hurricane Center just issued a fresh update on this storm, its location and track, bring it to us.

CHAD MEYERS, CNN WEATHER CORRESPONDENT: You know, it is moving to the West now. For most of the day, if you look at the satellite that had a little northern trend to it, we're thinking, hey, maybe this could miss the Bahamas. But just as the models predicted, it has turned slightly to the left back toward the northern Bahamas at 150 miles per hour.

Now, this is an amazing-looking storm. It would be beautiful in any other ocean except for the Atlantic, only 150 miles away from the Bahamas. And this is going to continue to move at this speed for most of the evening.

Hurricane hunter aircraft in it right now. This is not a plane I want to be on. 167-mile-per-hour winds, it just found at the surface. And then right after that, it found 171. So this is on the edge of a category five. It needs to be 157 sustained to be category five. And those were just gusts, so not sustained. But we are right on the border here. This thing is still deepening. Pressure is going down. Hurricane warnings are clearly in effect for the Bahamas.

But then with its big turn to the right, only tropical storm watches for Deerfield Beach to Sebastian Inlet for our parts of Florida down here onto mainland Florida. The big right-hand turn overnight, we've talked about this, the models predicted it yesterday, and they are still predicting it now.

Two runs, 12 hours apart, that predict the same thing. That's a little more consistency compared to where we've been. But making very close run at the Carolinas. Now, the winds are going to be impressive. The winds in the Bahamas are going to be 150. We're even seeing here. There's even computer projections at 114 for an entire hour.

And then here, Nassau, Freeport, somewhere in the 50s to 70s, on up the East Coast, we're in the 30s. And then on up into the Carolinas, 40s, 50s, Wilmington, 67 by Thursday. Wilmington here, a 91 by Thursday night.

Now, this is just one model, and this is far, far away. But to give you an idea that this isn't going to die anytime soon. There's lot of warm water out there. It's called the Gulf Stream. So when it turns to the right, it's not running over itself again. This is going to be an impressive storm for days to come.

And, Florida, you can't put away your stuff yet. You can't stop watching T.V. just yet, because we're only 60 miles from the coast to that turn. Let's hope it turns tonight, and it misses the Bahamas. But if it goes through the Bahamas and doesn't turn on time, because, you know, they have their own mind, that they don't go by what the models say, they go by what they want to do, this could be a whole lot closer to Florida than it says right now. Ana.

CABRERA: OK. It's one of those storms. It's just changing by the hour in some cases and by the day in other cases.

Chad Myers, thank you for working long and keeping us informed.

We're continuing to follow the other breaking news tonight out of West Texas. We'll show you the moment a local news station had to go off the air while police worked to contain the mass shooter. That's next.


[20:40:41] CABRERA: More now on our breaking news on the shooting in West Texas. As the situation first began unfolding. I want to show you an incredible moment from local news station KOSA. Watch.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Running through the mall right now.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There's something going on over here.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We're not sure what's going on here. People running to the mall.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Jay, we probably need to go.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We can see this.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Jay, we probably need to get off the air. Let's go.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We want to take them off the air.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: OK. We're going to have to -- there's some people running through the mall. We're not sure why. We need to see what this is.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Come on, everybody.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Are we going to go back to programming?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No. Leave the setup.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: OK. We're going to leave the setup. We're going -- we're going to slip away just for a minute. We don't know what's going on. People running through the mall so we need to see what this is.


CABRERA: And, again, that's what viewers at home saw as everyone was trying to determine what was happening, who was in danger, and, you know, what they needed to do, including that long pause that came after the newscasters left the scene.

I want to bring in CNN's Law Enforcement Analyst and former FBI Supervisory Special Agent, Josh Campbell, and Cheryl Dorsey is also back with us. She is a retired sergeant with the Los Angeles Police Department.

Josh, we are still waiting on the all clear from local or federal officials who are on scene. What can you tell us about that?

JOSH CAMPBELL, CNN LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: Yes, that's the key thing. We're still waiting for any indication from law enforcement that they have ruled out this notion that there may have been a second shooter.

Now, we know that in these types of incidents we've seen in the past, when you've got eyewitnesses that are reporting what they've seen, oftentimes, you will have someone say they saw more than one person with a weapon, which is a challenge for law enforcement, because if it turns out that it was a single shooter, they're essentially trying to prove a negative.

But nevertheless, they have to run that to ground, they have to ensure that they're only dealing with one person. And the way they do that is by interviewing people, if there's CCTV footage in and around the area that they can consult that want to do that as well. But you have a community out there that will remain at a high state of alert until they hear from officers that they've ruled out a second shooter. That's what we're waiting to hear, Ana.

CABRERA: Josh, are you surprised it's taking so long?

CAMPBELL: You know, there is no timeframe on these. I mean, if you look at the multiple scenes here that are involved, you have the incident on the freeway following this traffic stop. You had the subject fleeing. There could have been people that were engaged along the way, they're seeing the shooter, and then into this populated area.

[20:45:05] So multiple areas where there could have been eyewitnesses saying that they saw something that was peculiar, and law enforcement officers have to go through each of those. One other thing they'll also look for are shell casings. Again, if they can determine this came from one singular type of firearm based on those shell casings, that will, again, help them determine that maybe there wasn't a second firearm or a second person that was involved.

But again, when you have an incident spread out across the freeway and then into a populated area, tough work for law enforcement. But again, with frayed nerves in the community, residents there just want that all clear, they want to know that the person that police believe was responsible has indeed been neutralized.

CABRERA: Cheryl, if you're investigating this, what's happening right now?

DORSEY: Well, by now, the officers, probably, on scene have an idea who the deceased shooter is. And I would imagine that they're working backwards, they're sharing that information with folks who can get to his home, get to family, probably procure a search warrant to look at evidence that they might find within the home, evidence that they find within whatever vehicle they may have used to get to the point that he was first contacted before he took that mail truck, right?

CABRERA: Cheryl, I don't mean to interrupt. But we have an update happening right now at the medical center. Let's listen in.

RUSSELL TIPPIN, CEO, MEDICAL CENTER HEALTH SYSTEM: Thought off with earlier. It's very important to me, you ought to know that, first and foremost, to start this healing process starts within, and that this community needs to love each other and pray for each other and pray for the victims (INAUDIBLE) what we have going and I've got some updated numbers. And I'll try to go through those quickly but accurately.

A minute ago, earlier when I came out, I reported 14 here. That number is 13. One of the people we had was caught in the action, was not related to this incident. So the number is 13, OK? So I want to correct that, that the number is 13.

Out of those 13, we have had two that have been treated and released. We have seven that are critical. When I say critical, most of those have been in surgery and are out of surgery, seven of those, OK? Those are critical.

Two serious. One deceased. And we have one transferred, a pediatric patient under the age of two years old that was transferred out of here, OK? So I'll go through those one more time. Seven critical, two serious, one deceased, one transferred under the age of two years old, OK?

Eight -- we've had eight people total in surgery. Most of those are out and have gone very well. Let me just talk about the blood supply. We're getting a lot of calls about blood supply. Our blood supply currently is good. We're OK right now. We appreciate all the calls and the outpouring, it's been nationwide, we're getting calls all over the nation about what's going on.

And first and foremost, we want to say thank you for that, because that really shows the support that we have for each other. Our supplies are good. The blood is good.

Let me just comment briefly on the families. I know there's a family gathering center that's been setup here in Odessa. And I've got -- I'll get that in just a second. But I'll get that up. But there is a family center that has been set up for people to gather if they have any questions, OK? You may know that already but I just wanted to bring that out.

But we're still on lockdown. I still think for the safety of our patients and victims and the victim's families are going to stay on lockdown just to keep it under control. We hope to have that lifted before too long. But right now, I think it's in the best interest to keep it locked down where it is, OK?

Our staff has been amazing. But that's not the point here. The point right now is that these victims are being taken care of. And so we're just -- we're just trying to do right by them, OK?

Let me introduce just a few people that -- we'll take just a few questions, OK? This is Nat, he's our chief operations officer. Nat's here. This is Dr. Bowles (ph), one of our trauma doctors.

And I'm going to turn it over to Dr. Bowles just for a second, just to talk about gunshot victims and what things like that are. And I'll let him speak too in just a minute. We'll come back to me and then to Nat for any follow up questions, OK? I'll hand it over to Dr. Bowles here for just a second.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Thank you. So first of all, our thoughts are with the families. And when a situation like this happens, its action that come together from preparation years in advance. So over the last several years, we've formed committees where we've coordinated the many elements that will be necessary here, police, sheriffs, school departments, Odessa fire and rescue, and the medical director, the emergency room, and other parties that are involved.

[20:50:11] Here, when everyone arrived, it was well orchestrated. We received 13 patients. And because of this preparation, you know, we were able to call in our backups, anesthesiologists, operating room staff, techs, nurses. This was a great team effort for everybody when the patients arrived.

After they arrived, we were able to do the initial stabilizing maneuvers on everyone. And the emphasis I would give here, and I think a take home point, especially, for the national viewers is I encourage everyone in every community, no matter what size, if you're in the middle of the desert, you're in an urban area, to prepare in advance. Unfortunately, it may not be a matter of "if," it may be a matter of "when," and, for us, this preparation really helped us today. Our thoughts are with the family.

And another thing I'd mention is whenever there is something on the national scale like this, it starts as a local response. It starts right there at the community. It starts with knowing how to stop bleeding. It starts, with how to do BLS and chest compressions. And this is something that we as Americans can do and we're encouraging this in the Midland Odessa community and we really encourage this at Medical Center Hospital.

And you guys out there, wherever you're watching nationwide, you can make a huge difference for people. Because when they arrive here, the response can stay local. Because if you've practiced this, you don't need to call in the state, you don't need to call the governor, you don't need to activate FEMA and national, you know, resources. So we can do this. We can come together, and I think our community here has shown how we can do that and I think our families are going to come together and we're going to become stronger from this. Thank you.


TIPPIN: Let's turn it over to Nat. Nat?

NAT COLLINS, INCIDENT COMMANDER: Hi. My name is Nat Collins. I was incident commander for this incident.

First of all, of course, our hearts and prayers go out to all of the victims and their families and our hospital staff, as well. This has been a very, very difficult situation. We really have three phases of operations inside the hospital when this happens. We have an activation phase and then we have operational periods. We've just completed operational period one and two. And at 7:30, we went into the final phase, which is a recovery phase.

And that's where we start putting everything back together, getting back to normal operations, and taking care of our staff and to continue take care of those patients that have just gone through this horrific situation.

So with that said, I'd be happy to answer any questions that I can. Of course, we're not able to release names or any information regarding the victims.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Sir, for the one that seemed who was transferred, the child that was under 2 years old, were they transferred to Lubbock? Do you know the status of that child?

COLLINS: I am not certain, but they were life-flighted to Lubbock or Children's in Dallas.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Do we know if the person who was deceased here was part of the original five that were reported dead?

COLLINS: My understanding -- all I can tell you is we know that that person was involved in this incident and had a fatal gunshot wound.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What personally was going through, you know, your staff's mind, your mind when patients started coming in -- or calls started coming in? What was going through your guy's mind as a hospital staff?

COLLINS: You know, honestly, it's not a time for us to think a lot. We've done a lot of preparation for this day and we work through these things in simulated situations, several times a year. So everybody has a role that they fall into. And everybody fell into that role. And the hospital and all of the staff performed admirably. But ultimately, we're here to serve those victims and the family, so it's not really about us to date.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I believe earlier, the CEO mentioned that you have an area specifically for families. I know they're under lockdown right now, but is that area still open to families who are trying to get into the hospital?

COLLINS: We do. Of course, you know this happens when all of the media is released and social media reports people come to the hospital, seeking reports on their loved ones. So we have a location inside the hospital where we congregated all of those families. And we had a senior nursing official work to reunify them and get as much information as we could to each and every family member.

[20:55:00] It's my understanding that that room is down to just a couple of families now, and that we've communicated with everybody that we can.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Are there any streets that are going to be blocked off or closed down to funnel traffic through, or have things died down?

COLLINS: We're going to keep the hospital into a lockdown situation until approximately 10:00 p.m., just for staff comfort and safety, but the hospital is back to normal operations at this time.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: So if you guys -- sorry. If you guys had been less prepared, how do you think the situation could have been different? Things like that preparation made the difference?

COLLINS: It did make the difference. I can't tell you because we are prepared, but I think if we were not, we may not have had the same rapid response to the situation and the great outcomes that we had when we saved 12 people today.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Can you confirm that the hospital is in need of more nurses to show up to help with victims or --

COLLINS: We're using our own internal communication systems to make sure that we're adequately staffed for the evening. And yes, we are actually above normal staffing levels for this evening and going into the weekend and the hospital is back to normal operations.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: As of right now, do you guys need more nurses or --

COLLINS: Right now, it's being reported to us that we're fully staffed. We activate what's called call trees, where managers start them then they call one person after another after another. And we had the exact response that we would have ever hoped for in this situation. Not only for nurses, but for doctors and all of the other support staff and police officers, security, everybody that we need to manage an incident like this.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And for people who are watching at home right now, I know that you've mentioned your blood supplies are good, that's very good news, and then your supplies inside the hospital are doing well, as well. But what can they do to help?

COLLINS: You know, as our CEO said a few minutes ago, the community needs your prayers. The victims need your prayers. Families need your prayers. The hospital staff needs your prayers. What we call cache emergency supplies, so when there is a situation like this, where we consume lots of supplies while giving the care, we're able to replenish them quickly enough to maintain operations.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I think that's pretty much everything I have except for you said that you all were moving into the third phase, which is putting things back together and going back to normal, is that because most of the patients are kind of getting in that stable, I guess, condition?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Those patients, there's eight that are -- seven critical and two that are serious. So I can't give you an update on their exact status, but they are receiving the appropriate care at the level of care they're at.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I just have a quick question for the doctor. And we could just keep the mic on you. Have you responded to any of this situation before? And when you did start getting the calls that this was happening, as a doctor, what went through your mind at first?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: First, I would emphasize that this is not about the doctor, it's not about us, it's about the family. But myself, personally, I'm an Iraq war veteran. I served 12 years in the military and served in the second battle of Fallujah and Baghdad and this is something that, unfortunately, I'm very experienced at, mass casualty situations.

And this is what led us to form the preparation process with hundreds and hundreds of people that you are not seeing here that are very intricately involved in a situation like this. So, as far as for the public out there, the message for them, I think, what they can do to help, you know, we always say "thoughts and prayers," that's great.

But go out there, take a BLS class. Go out there and learn about how to stop bleeding. Go out there and practice safety. Don't text and drive. Don't do things where you put yourself and others in danger. And this is something that we can do as a nation, to help here.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Was there anything based on either possibly a weapon that may have been used or the ammunition that was used, that made this worse than maybe a typical gunshot wound or anything else?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So typically, I can reliably comment on what's happening in the walls of the emergency room. So it'd be speculation about what is going on the streets and what streets are closed and what weapons were used. I don't want to say the wrong information, so.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I have one more question for you. Can you confirm any local law enforcement? Are there any police officers in the hospital right now who are either recovering in stable condition or in critical condition that you can say?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I don't want to say the wrong information, but from my understanding of the situation, the vast majority came to Medical Center Hospital. We are the highest level trauma center for over 30,000 square miles in this region. So over 30,000 square miles. So the majority came here. There were a few that went to some outlying trauma centers, as well. So who an officer and who wasn't, and who was where, it would be speculation on my end.

On our end, we were just trying to do the basics.