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Hurricane Dorian Has Now Made Landfall In The Northern Bahamas; Series Of New Gun Measures Going Into Effect In Texas Today; Cocoa Beach, FL, Mayor Discusses Hurricane Preparations; More Than 40 Rounds Of Gunfire Hit The Outskirts Of A Border Individual Near The Israeli Border; Hong Kong Protesters Have Disrupted Public Transportation In The City, Forcing Them To Close Some Stations. Aired 2-3p ET

Aired September 1, 2019 - 14:00   ET

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


[14:00:00] JULIETTE KAYYEM, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: Praise, I get that. That's important. I have worked with, you know, first responders all my career. I get that. It as a lot of praise. A lot of focus on the response. And a lot of weird fatalism. The FBI guy, the governor, the police chief, all of that. We will be here again. We will be here to support each other as if we have no control over what's happening in this country with these guns.

And so my worry is by not saying his name, and I'm just, you know, one, there's going to be conspiracy theories now and they should have shut those down. There's going to be fears that something's being whitewashed. They should have shut those down. My worry is that the Texas officials are trying to minimize the person who did this as a way of making it seem as if, you know. These things happen, right. It's just another person. Yes. And that sort of --

FREDRICKA WHITFIELD, CNN HOST: So explain why you believe it's important for people to know as much as they can about someone who even conducts a heinous crime such as this, leaves seven people dead, many others injured? And why it's important for people to know as much as possible about this individual.

KAYYEM: Because I believe in the capacity of the public and government to learn from the past. And I believe that the responsibility of public officials is to speak truthfully about what information that I have they can disclose to the American public and policy makers about how we can do better next time.

I have lived in the world of disaster management and crisis management my entire career and we often say the devil only wins if you don't do better next time. That is what we have to learn from. So I don't know who he is. I don't know his motivation. I now have got an entire social media -- I was looking at it, thinking it's whitewashed, thinking that he is, you know, a Trump supporter, whatever. They don't know because the public officials didn't disclose it. This is -- I have never -- I'm just telling you. I have done this a long time for you guys. I have never seen a press conference like this before. I don't know.

WHITFIELD: Yes.

KAYYEM: Maybe Josh will -- maybe Josh will --

JOSH CAMPBELL, CNN LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: If I can add --

WHITFIELD: And one thing that, you know, the FBI official did say, there appears at this point to be no connection between this gunman or any domestic or international terrorist group. I mean that was a salient point, you know, to omit, I guess, any association that this gunman might have.

But then, Josh, continue with the thought or answer why you believe there was such a deletion of information when it does appear that these officials do know more than they were willing to give, even as it pertains to like the sequence of events after the traffic stop.

CAMPBELL: Yes. And I agree wholeheartedly with what Juliette said as well. I think having covered enough of these press conferences, it takes on an added flare when you have the politician leading the press conference, right. And our job here is to help the public to sort of politics from facts.

And I think what we saw right there from the governor was a lot of political, you know, talking points. I think he got a little defensive there as well when the question came up about what they were actually going to do about it. Absent the actual information that, you know, we don't win a lot of details from law enforcement on what actually transpired or what the investigation entails. So the focus was really on the governor saying we love each other, thoughts and prayers and the like. But as you listened, he ticked off a number of incidents that have happened under his watch include Dallas, Southern Springs, Santa Fe, El Paso and now Midland. That's been about four years since it happened.

And I recalled after Santa Fe, I was there covering it in Texas, he said he was going to come up with this blue ribbon commission, have these , you know, tabletop gatherings where people could get together and discuss whey they are going to do. That's been years.

And so, again, I don't know what the answer is. It sounds like nothing is going to be done. I don't have a lot of faith. I think just as the FBI in-charge there said, we are going to be there again talking about another fatal shooting in Texas because I don't really see happening after this.

WHITFIELD: But to your point on the governor, I mean, he did say, you know, words alone are inadequate. Words must be met with action. And, of course, the big question then that people have, you know, whether it's after El Paso or Dayton, and now, I mean, what is that action? And this taking place, by the way, this press conference taking place when eight new Texas laws go into effect today that pertain to guns.

And just to name a couple of them, one of them, you know, it allows Texans to carry guns in worship places and synagogues and other places of worship unless otherwise, you know, banned by those places. Also, a new law loosens restrictions on a number of school marshals who can carry guns at public and private schools in Texas. And also another provision allows Texans to carry handguns without a license during a state of disaster.

So, Josh, we also heard from the governor who said, you know, we want to do more, but at the same time preserve, you know, second amendment rights. You heard that during this press conference.

[14:05:08] CAMPBELL: That's right. And that is the debate, right? Maintaining the rights that are enumerated inn the constitution with what new are actually seeing that on our streets right now. And you know, most sane people would submit that you can protect one's right to bear arms while also dealing with the issue of weapons of war that are on the street.

And one thing that is so bizarre that he had mention, again, this isn't you know, political comment. It's just listening to an elected official, someone in-charge trying to explain what happened. One thing that he said is that, you heard him say, well, there have been other incidents that did not involve this AR-15. And then he ticked off, you know, the Santa Fe incident which we were there covering involved a shotgun and IED. But again, that is such a weird way to move attention away from this one weapon of war that has appeared in so many scenes by saying, well, there are other methods. That doesn't really say what you are going to do about it.

So I think, you know, in the aftermath, there are a lot of questions there. And the last thing was inching today too is the President himself backtrack from this idea of background checks saying that he doesn't believe strong background checks would stop the shooting today or I think he mentioned the last seven years of shooting, background checks would have stop it. So I have very little faith that action will take place. It's going to be a lot of words.

WHITFIELD: So Josh and Juliette, hang tight for a second.

I want to bring in Ed Lavandera who was there at that press conference there in Odessa.

So Ed, kind of explain what you believe the highlights to have been, you know, from this press conference. I mean, we have been discussing a few things, but you were there and you could also hear the tenor of the questions and the responses.

ED LAVANDERA, CN CORRESPONDENT: Well, I think a couple of things. You have got the investigative question which is clearly very much on the minds of many people here in Odessa and Midland area and the political aspect. But let me go to that later. We'll get to the investigative stuff here off the top.

I think what's significant is here in the coming -- within the next couple of hours, I feel rather confident to say local police here will officially identify the suspect in this case who has been simply described as a white male in his mid-30s. But the police chief told me after the conference that that name is forthcoming. So the police chief did not want to say his name in a venue -- in a press conference. That is something that is quite gathered a quite deal of momentum, these mass shootings, where people don't want to bring more undue attention that is absolutely necessary to the cowards that bring out -- carry out these types of attacks. So that is understandable. But I think we will get that name shortly.

And also I think what is significant is that this is a suspect that lives here in Ector County. Odessa seats in Ector County. And the FBI agent confirms that FBI agents are carrying out a search warrant in the western part of the city here, in Ector County. So we presume these search warrants are now being carried out where the suspect lived or worked or whatever the case might be. But I think from an investigative standpoint, that is rather significant, especially when you consider the vastness of these crime scenes that they are dealing with.

The FBI agent said there are more than 15 crime scenes scattered across the country. You have victims that were killed at several different locations. So this is very different from any other type of mass shooting situation where usually it's all contained in one area, in one location. And obviously as gruesome and horrible as the others have been, this is a bit of a challenge.

As far as the political question, I think the real significant thing was the exchange where the governor of Texas who stood there talked about of being tired of people dying, that the status quo is unacceptable, that action is needed, that when he was asked point blank if he thought AR assault-style weapons, that one that was used again, on whether or not those firearms should be outlawed, he simply refused and danced around the question multiple times. I think from what he said was that wasn't the standpoint. Although he did at one point in a very poignant of the press conference read a letter from the mother of a 17-month-old girl who was wounded in this attack, suffering injuries to her mouth and face. The governor read a text from the child's mother, and this is what she said.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GOV. MIKE ABBOTT (R), TEXAS: This is all of our worst nightmare. But thank God she is alive and relatively well. She goes on to say that toddlers are funny because they can get shot but still want to run around an play. She says that we are thanking God for that. Her mouth is pretty bad but will heal and can be fixed. Thankfully, it doesn't seem like her jaw was hit, just lip, teeth, and tongue. She is having surgery tomorrow to remove the shrapnel from her chest.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

[14:10:00] LAVANDERA: And, Fredericka, I think one of the things to kind of point out at the end, is I was rather taken aback by special agent Christopher Combs. He is the FBI agent to lead agent in charge. You might heard him at one point talking about we will be ready for the next one. These types of shootings are happening every two weeks in the United States of America right now. I have seen agent Combs from time to time at a lot of these shootings. He definitely sounded much more exasperate and frustrated than I have ever seen him. So I thought that was rather a poignant moment and obviously one of the more subtle moments in the press conference. But I thought that stood out to me rather significant as well.

WHITFIELD: Indeed. All right. Ed Lavandera, thank you so much. I want to bring back Josh and Juliette.

And you know, something else the police chief said, you know. He said, when describing the shooter -- and again, there are a whole lot of questions about the shooter and the sequence of events, et cetera, he said, you know, this was a different type of active shooter because he was mobile.

So Juliette, what more do you want to learn about this investigation? Because it is ongoing even though the gunman is dead. Again, Ed said they are going to be, you know, his resident. Perhaps there is a digital footprint to get more answers. But what is it you want to hear about this investigation?

KAYYEM: So in some ways it's just a really odd time because I do think that that press conference could have really set us on a path to where this is going. I think most people are leaving that press conference more confused than not. The failure to mention which kind of rifle it is or even the suspect's name, your goal as a public official is to calm the waters, to give facts out. So I think that there will be an -- his name will be released, there's no question about it. They just had a global audience with the press conference being live and they failed to mention a name.

And so I think that there's going to be an investigation of who it is and what his potential motivation is, whether it is, even if it's not tied to an organization, was there an ideology animating it? Were there drugs? It is worth mentioning that or other things that sort of got him into an increased state?

I want to say one thing that Ed said. And I think it's important. This is a debate. I obviously have strong feelings about it, about what public official's duty about the disclosure of names. I'm quite confident that if his name was Mohammed Fata (ph), that name would have been disclosed. And I do not think in this time that white male killers get the privileged anonymity. And I think it is important that we get the name out as long as his family is safe, as long as there is no risk of public safety, in a public form. Let the media determine his notoriety or not.

But I just -- it's just a weird turn of events. And I'm obviously -- I think it's wrong for public officials to in some ways infantilize the public. I feel like I left that press conference feeling that way both between the rifle and the name.

WHITFIELD: Josh?

CAMPBELL: Yes. And I think that there is a great investigative value for law enforcement in getting that name out as well. In any investigation you are trying to balance what is sensitive, what do we want to protect, what we actually want to get out there both from a public information stand point, but also these are now potential, you know, assist -- people that are going to assist with this investigation through crowd source. You get the name out. If people know about this person or know about others who may be associated with him, that's something that could be really of great use to investigators as they try to get into the mindset especially with the person now deceased.

WHITFIELD: All right. We'll leave it there for now.

Josh Campbell, Juliette Kayyem, and Ed Lavandera. Thank you so much, all of you. Appreciate it.

CAMPBELL: Thanks, Fred.

KAYYEM: Thank you.

WHITFIELD: All right. We have a big breaking news story we are following today. This monster of hurricane. Hurricane Dorian strengthening to now a category five. Hurricane just making landfall in the Bahamas. Its next target, the U.S. southeastern coast. We heard from the Florida governor DeSantis on how the state is preparing. A live report next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[14:17:50] WHITFIELD: All right. Welcome back. This breaking news. We just received an update on hurricane Dorian. A monster category five storm with winds of over 185 miles per hour now gusting to over 200 miles per hour. Dorian is gaining strength as it continues its slow march toward the U.S. It is the strongest storm on the planet this year. AND right now it's lashing the Bahamas, Abaco islands, after making land fall there the last hour. Its next target, the southeastern U.S. coast. Evacuation orders have already been issued in several South Florida communities including Palm Beach.

Florida governor Ron DeSantis giving an update moments ago.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

GOV. RON DESANTIS (R), FLORIDA: We just had a video conference call with President Trump, key members of the President's cabinet, FEMA, as well as some of the other governors from the southeast. We have a lot of assets ready to deploy here in Florida both from FEMA, from the state of Florida, the National Guard, and obviously the department of defense.

Hurricane Dorian has been upgraded to a category five storm with now 185-mile-per-hour sustained winds. And to put that in perspective, that's significantly stronger than hurricane Andrew which reached landfall at 165 miles an hour. It is significantly stronger than hurricane Michael which reached landfall at 160 mile per hour. Florida has had one hurricane in our history, the labor day hurricane of 1935 that reached at that level, and that was total, total destruction.

So the strength of this storm cannot be underestimated. We will see tropical storm-force winds within the next 48 hours. The national hurricane center reports Dorian could nearly stall over the Bahamas for more than 24 hours starting late tonight. And as many of you have been following this forecast know, pretty much all computer models and all forecasters anticipate this turning north. We just don't know when exactly it's going to turn north. It could turn north. Obviously we want to have that turn as quickly as possible to minimize the impacts on Florida. But if you look at the forecast, it absolutely could impact the coast and turn once it hits the coast. And so we have got to prepare for that eventuality.

A hurricane watch has been issued for the east coast of Florida from north of Deerfield Beach to the Volusia Brevard county line. A storm surge watch has also been issued for those same areas. A tropical storm warning is in effect from north of Deerfield to Sebastien inlet.

The bottom line is you are going to see the watches and warnings increase on the east coast of Florida. I think a lot of the counties are executing their evacuation plans. We think that that is prudent and we support that. Palm Beach has mandatory evacuations today starting at 1:00 p.m., zones a and b. Martin evacuations, 1:00, zones a and b. Saint Lucy is going to be starting them at 2:00 for everything east of U.S. 1. Brevard has evacuations ongoing right now. Indian river, Volusia, St. John's are all implementing evacuation plans, and we expect Flagler, Duvall, Nassau counties will be announcing their plans very shortly.

It's important for people to understand if you are in an evacuation zone and you are given an order to evacuate, please heed that call. This storm at this magnitude could really cause massive destruction. And do not put your life in jeopardy by staying behind when you have a chance to get out. And you still do have time to prepare yourself and to make sure that you and your family are safe.

In terms of the evacuation routes, I have directed our secretary Tebow to suspend tolls on the Florida Turnpike, Alligator Alley, Sawgrass expressway, and the beachline in south central Florida. And then after that I received a request from Orange county mayor Jerry Deming's (ph) to suspend tolls around the beltway, 417 and 429. I have granted that request.

We are monitoring traffic. And the shoulders are ready to be opened if need be. Right now the traffic is relatively stable and so use the normal lanes. If we end up having backup, then the shoulders will be opened. But, of course, you know, the shoulders bring with it some safety concerns as well.

We are continuing to monitor the fuel situation. They are there are not currently fuel shortages. And I think you have seen a decline for demand for fuel in Miami-Dade based on the change of this cone. We don't have any bridge closures plan at this time. The coast guard makes decisions on that based on the wind speed. So the bridges will remain open for marine and vehicle traffic as long as they can safely be open. And obviously that situation is going to continue to be monitored.

Ft. Lauderdale, Hollywood international, Palm beach international, Orlando international, airports are all currently open. They are monitoring the hurricanes and they are going to keep their customers informed. Orlando, Melbourne international will close on Monday evening.

In terms of generators, OCCA secretary May, it was confirmed that every nursing home and assisted living facility in a coastal county along Florida east coast from Palm beach all the way to Nassau either has a generator on site or has plans to evacuate their residents. And so these duties, have a duty to ensure the safety of their residents and they will be held accountable if they do not.

So we are in a situation here where this thing is perilously close to the state. I think we should all hope and pray for the best, but we have to prepare that this could have major impacts on the state of Florida. And so that's what we are doing. And, you know, obviously we want to be ready to respond as soon as the storm does pass.

So you still have time to prepare. You still have time to heed these evacuation orders. And please take this storm seriously. It's been a very somewhat frustrating experience not knowing kind of a lot of uncertainty with this thing. But you know, I think back to some of the major hurricanes in Florida in the beginning part of the 20th century. They didn't have any warning about anything. You saw all of a sudden see the clouds gather and you have a major hurricane. So you know, we have a sense of what parts of Florida are threatened, and we want people to protect themselves and their families.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

[14:24:51] WHITFIELD: All right. Florida governor Ron DeSantis there.

Meteorologist Jennifer Gray is in the CNN weather center.

So, this is a hugely threatening storm, but it's also very ominous because it's so unpredictable and slow.

[14:25:04] JENNIFER GRAY, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Yes, that's the main thing. It's so slow. And this is incredibly powerful. This is not just barely a category five. This tops the category five threshold by leaps and bounds. This is the strongest storm to ever hit the Bahamas. It has made that first landfall, the Abaco islands which is part of the Bahamas. And it's moving at a snail's pace. You can pretty much walk fast or jog faster than this storm is going. And it's going to sit over the Bahamas for a good 36 hours at least before making that northward turn. And so when you think about that, 185- mile-per-hour winds, gusts higher than 200 for a 36-hour duration, that is unprecedent.

So this is moving at seven miles per hour right now. It's going to slow even more before this takes a turn to the north. And how soon that turn happens is crucial when you are talking about the impacts to Florida and, of course, the rest of the southeast U.S.

Here are all the watches and warnings, the hurricane watches, tropical watches and warnings. And then that turn to the north is what everyone is going to be waiting for and watching for over the coming days. It's probably not going to happen until at least Monday into Tuesday.

And something to note as well. With as slow as this storm is crawling, it's only going to move about 60 miles within a 24-hour period from Monday to Tuesday, and then it's finally going to take that turn to the north.

Florida still in that cone, so if it jogs a little bit farther to the west and gets closer to Florida, even if it stays offshore, the hurricane-force winds extend 30 miles to the center. Ad so you can still have hurricane-force winds. You are going to have with it a major storm force coming in. And so it's still too early to tell the impacts Florida will have. That's why a lot of officials are just -- are very nervous. Because you don't want to wait too long to evacuate people. You want everybody to be safe.

Here is the latest hurricane forecast track. We know it's shifted a little farther to the west over the last 12 to 24 hours. And so that's definitely of concern. Here ooh is the storm surge, 18 to 23 feet in the Bahamas. And then you can see along the Florida coast with the data we have now, of course, that subject to change depending how close this storm gets to Florida, Fred.

WHITFIELD: All right. Jennifer Gray, thank you so much. We will check back with you.

All right. CNN's Patrick Oppmann is in Freeport, Bahamas.

So Patrick, we have watched the weather change a little bit in your backdrop over the last 24 hours. Describe what's happening.

PATRICK OPPMANN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, just as Jennifer was saying, we are starting to get bands of rain slowly coming in here. Because this is both incredibly a powerful storm but also one of slow-moving, so it is to east of Abaco.

In the secondhand reports we are receiving is there are large parts of that island, of the town of marsh harbor that are under water right now, the low-lying areas, the exact areas the Bahamian officials said should be evacuated because there would be flooding. There would be a very high storm surge. And not everyone from those areas, we are told, have evacuated. So those people are in a very dangerous situation. And that is what eventually what's going to arrive tonight and in tomorrow in location where I am, in grand Bahama.

You know, I'm lucky that I'm on a third story of a building, but most of the housing I'm seeing on this island is much more low-lying. And when you talk about a storm surge over 20 feet, much if not most of this island will be under water, and that is incredibly dangerous because emergency personnel. The prime minister of the Bahamas said yesterday, will not be able to reach those people. Help will not really be able to come until the airport opens here later in the week. We don't know when exactly that will happen. So for many, many Bahamians, they are on their own. And the only option they have is to try to ride out the most dangerous storm of their lifetimes.

WHITFIELD: Wow. That's quite the warning.

All right. Patrick Oppmann, you stay safe as well. We will check back with you.

Still ahead, we take you to Vero beach, Florida, and talk to a storm chaser following hurricane Dorian's path next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[14:33:03] WHITFIELD: All right. Welcome back.

Much of the east coast of Florida from Deerfield beach to Brevard county line is now under hurricane watch as hurricane Dorian now a monster category five storm takes aim at the southeastern coast. And while Florida may spare a direct hit, it still faces serious threats including hurricane-force winds and storm surges.

Joining me right now storm chaser Aaron Jayjack on the beach there, Vero beach. It looks so beautiful. But you know, what usually comes, you know, on the horizon. So what is it you are going to be looking for as a storm chaser? What are you going to be cataloging?

AARON JAYJACK, EXTREME STORM CHASER: Yes. So like you said, it's actually a beautiful day out here right now. Bright, sunny. The winds have picked up here. And I say I the winds are probably sustained 15, 20 miles per hour right now. You know, that's my main goal out here right now, to document those changes here as they deteriorate on the Florida coast here. And I know these things (INAUDIBLE) north. But these things are like big cruise ships, you know. They take a while to turn. They are not like a speedboat. They just make a turn. So the impact here on the Florida coast should be happening for several days here. That's my goal to follow that impact as it makes its way up to coast north of Carolina.

WHITFIELD: Got you.

So Aaron, you said document. And you know, documenting a hurricane comes with great risk as well for you and for your equipment. So how are you documenting it? I mean, is it a still? In a vehicle to protect yourself? Just tell us how you are documenting? What's the meth method?

JAYJACK: What I have right now I have got the vehicle right now. That's the organization I work for and we have weather application. And so my goal, I'm trying to capture those live image of what is going on out in the world so people can see that have application and they can see. Is it going to come to impact me and what is happening o it there happening with the weather is so much more powerful than just looking at data and seeing if there's going to be strong winds and rain or whatnot.

So my goal is to get that reach, that important footage. I use multiple phones and multiple cameras. I have got like fuji XGT weather-resistant cameras that can survive these harsh conditions and get it up to the team so they can get that into the application.

[14:35:27] WHITFIELD: And then how are you and your team protecting yourself? Where will you be, you know, sleeping and how do you protect yourself?

JAYJACK: Well, usually with these types of situations, you know, sometimes you can have a storm where you can see in advance where it's going go and (INAUDIBLE) you can get a large condominium on the coast that are very well built, made to withstand these strong storms. But in this situation (INAUDIBLE) exactly where it is going to go. So it's hard to determine where I need to go. So my plan is I'm kind of scouting the coast right now, looking for high-elevation areas out of the surge ground and apartments that are a good place to use that are high and they are big concrete buildings that can protect you from flying debris and what not.

WHITFIELD: All right. Aaron Jayjack on Vero beach. Hey, be careful out there.

JAYJACK: All right. Thank you.

WHITFIELD: Thanks for being with us. Appreciate it.

All right. Much more on hurricane Dorian as it barrels toward the southeast coast of the U.S.

Our breaking news continues next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[14:40:05] WHITFIELD: Hurricane Dorian has now made landfall in the northern Bahamas clocking at wind speeds of up to 185 miles an hour with gusts over 200 miles per hour. It hit the Abaco islands. And it is now the strongest storm on the planet this year and the strongest storm on record ever to hit the northern Bahamas. Dangerous storm surge of more than 20 feet is likely. Hurricane Dorian expected to slow down to just a few miles per hour as it aims its fury toward the southeastern U.S. coast.

President Trump spoke about the storm last hour during a briefing with FEMA officials.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I ask everyone in hurricane Dorian's path to heed all warnings and evacuation orders from local authorities. It looks like they are going to have to give it unfortunately. I wish you would watch. It's been lurking. It is just been building. It has been moving very slowly. It's a bad thing, not a good thing. The slower it moves, the bigger it is and the bigger it gets.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WHITFIELD: Evacuation orders have already been issued in several south Florida communities.

I want to bring in Ben Malik. He is the mayor of Cocoa Beach, Florida, the city.

Good to see you, mayor. You know, once, you know, reportedly your city, you really want residents to have their storm preparations done by tonight. Do you feel like most people are going to meet that deadline? MAYOR BEN MALIK, COCOA BEACH: I think so. In driving around town, it

seems most people have put up their shutters and they are home.

WHITFIELD: How worried are you about this storm?

MALIK: Obviously, it is -- it is concerning that, you know, a, it slowed down and b, it's growing in intensity. And as, you know, we have been getting updates, at the end of the day, it's just a guess where it ultimately goes. There are so many variables.

WHITFIELD: Yes.

MALIK: We are certainly hopeful it stays offshore.

WHITFIELD: Right. And so, you know, winds still could be, a big, you know, concern, even if you were to take a direct hit, but perhaps the storm -- you heard Jennifer Gray, you know, describe this storm making its way up the coast. And even if it's 30 miles because, you know, the span of the hurricane-force winds is 30 miles, that could still cause some serious, you know, wind damage in a place like your city. And then you have got the storm surge, which is always of great concern. How do you brace for that kind of potential?

MALIK: Yes, that's really the -- looks like the wind is going to be something we can somewhat deal with if it stays at the present level. The storm surge is really more concerning. We have got really her surf coming in now, well overhead and lots of rip currents. We are, again, a narrow barrier island that's surrounded by water. That's the beauty of our community.

WHITFIELD: Yes. What about evacuation orders?

MALIK: Yes. They are mandatory as of 8:00 a.m. tomorrow and Brevard county is opening up beltways as of 5:00 today.

WHITFIELD: There will always be residents who do not heed evacuation orders. They want to stay for a variety of reasons. And now we hear from the head of Florida, you know, power and light warning that extensive power and light outages is possible. That's really miserable, you know. Miserable condition when people decide to stay and now they are without running water potentially and electricity. What are your concerns? How do you do to prepare for that potential?

MALIK: Yes. Unfortunately, you know, people get complacent about it. And again, hope that they will take (INAUDIBLE). And if we ask them to leave, please leave. You know, you can replace stuff. You can't replace yourself. And like you said, being without power is one thing. During Irene (INAUDIBLE).

WHITFIELD: At a minimum. Very uncomfortable.

All right. Mayor Ben Malik, we are wishing you and all of the residents on cocoa beach the very best.

MALIK: Thank you so much.

WHITFIELD: Thank you so much.

MALIK: Take care.

WHITFIELD: All right. And more breaking news ahead. Police in west Texas working on finding out why a gunman went on a deadly shooting rampage in two cities. And it happened just a day before series of new law loosening gun restriction in Texas tale effect. That would be today. We are live next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[14:48:28] WHITFIELD: All right. We continue to follow breaking news on a mass shooting spree in west Texas that claimed the lives of seven people and injured more than 20 others. The deadly shooting took place just hours before a series of new gun measures going into effect in Texas today. The new laws are aimed at loosening gun restrictions and allowing weapons in more public places such as schools and in some places of worship.

CNN's Polo Sandoval is following all of this for us.

So Polo, what more can you tell us about these new gun laws? I think there are eight of them, right, that go into effect today in Texas.

POLO SANDOVAL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Several of them, Fred. And the timing here obviously is certainly interesting. Just a little while ago, we did hear Texas governor Greg Abbott who said that more -- broader effort need to happen to keep guns ending up in the wrong hands. But again, the timing certainly is interesting as today marks the start of these laws that kick in to effect. But we should point though that majority of those laws to apply to those individuals who can legally carry or possess firearms.

Let's break that down again for you real quick again. That's going into effect today. As of today, Texans who can legally possess handguns can now carry them for a week after state or locally declared. Natural disaster are established (INAUDIBLE) going to be the result of what we saw took place in hurricane Harvey when the state was slammed by that storm two years ago.

Also starting today, landlords can no longer restrict their renters from possessing or storing guns on their property as well as licensed handgun owners. They will now be able to carry them into places of worship. So essentially here, the list of gun-free zones in Texas are getting shorter. That also includes foster homes as well. People will be able to store those weapons as long as they are secured.

And then finally, school district employees can now carry their weapons onto campuses as long as they can stay in their vehicle, locked away, and out of sight.

But it is really what we are hearing from gun control advocates here, Fred, is not what passed but what did not pass. We are seeing multiple attempts by the Democratic minority in the state house in the state of Texas, to present these bills that would potentially include background checks. It would include red flag laws, it would be court issued removal of weapons from those the court determines to be a risk themselves or others.

But speaking to Rafael Achaia, a Democrat in the Texas house here, Fred, you definitely get a sense of frustration from him and many of his fellow Democrats who have attempted to present these pieces of legislation but none of them have even made it to hearings here except for one that had bipartisan support. But governor Greg Abbott actually vetoed that. So I think it's going to be interesting to see the future comments coming from this Republican governor Greg Abbott especially after he took to the mike a little while ago and said more needs to be done especially after the mass shootings that have happened in Texas just in last few years alone.

[14:51:18] WHITFIELD: All right, Polo Sandoval. Thank you so much.

The other big story we are following is is hurricane Dorian churning, already passing by and through the Bahamas, possibly on its way to hover along the U.S. southeastern coast.

We will be right back.

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[14:55:00] WHITFIELD: Vice President Mike Pence is pushing for support for Ukraine's territorial integrity. Pence said the U.S. would stand with the Ukraine in its rightful claim of Crimea after a meeting with Ukraine's President in Warsaw, Poland. Pence is there to mark the 80th anniversary of World War II.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MIKE PENCE, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Their courage and faith shown forth. You have proved again here in Poland and for all the world that though it may take decades, that where the spirit of the Lord is there is freedom.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WHITFIELD: Pence spoke of the strong relationship between Washington and Kiev.

Lebanon's army says more than 40 rounds of gunfire hit the outskirts of a border individual near the Israeli border. Meanwhile the Israeli military is mauling over next steps after across border exchange with Hezbollah forces in Lebanon.

CNN's Sam Kiley has more on the rising tensions in the area.

SAM KILEY, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Fred, at about 4:15 this afternoon local time Hezbollah made good on their threat to strike back against Israel in revenge for the killing of two his bola fighters in Syria and a drone attack that they blamed on the Israelis against their officers in south Beirut. They fired anti-tank missiles across the border.

Just behind me, Fred, the brown area to the right of is that road is Lebanon, to the left, the greener airy where there are grapevines is Israel. Now, they fired just a couple kilometers down the road straight into a military ambulance. They also fired at least two more anti-tank missiles into the battalion headquarters of the local military unit there in a village called Avavim.

Now this presents from an Israeli perspective, perhaps that moment that Hezbollah, honor has been served. There's a strong sense or hope in Israel that the tensions could now be dialed down. And, indeed, restrictions on the Israeli civilians has just been lifted. Although, there is also an order to go -- that has gone out to Israeli civilians four kilometers back from the border to unlock their bomb shelters just in case. But they are not being ordered into them. They are just being told to listen out for the red alert.

So this could be a moment in which growing tensions have ended, in which boil, if you like, of tensions that could lead to outright war has ben launched. But the real issue now is how this Hezbollah reacts to Israel's retaliation. There was retaliation to this racket attack from Israeli helicopter gun ships and from Israeli artillery into areas very close to the border that are now burning. There are no reports of casualties on either side, though, Fred.

WHITFIELD: Thank you so much, Sam Kiley.

All right. Hong Kong authorities say protesters have disrupted public transportation in the city, forcing them to close some stations. The MTR train station near Hong Kong's international airport is still closed after clashes were seen -- or rather demonstrators were seen spraying water on the floor. The airport is also canceled, and flights have been delayed.

CNN's Will Ripley is in Hong Kong with details.

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WILL RIPLEY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Right now riot police have just moved out of this area. And you can hear the crowds shouting at them, cheering as they go. This has been a really extraordinary scene out here because protesters were determined to stay some sort of disruptive event at the Hong Kong airport, but they weren't able to get inside the airport -- let's get over here -- because security around the area is only allowing in passengers and flight crew. What the protesters did instead they caused disruptions around the airport. They set up barricades, set them on fire.

The streets were gridlocked. The bridge to the airport completely impassible for hours. People had to get out of their cars and walk. People with suitcases and luggage had to walk sometimes more than hours to make their flight. And now the riot police who came here to this station had really had nothing do because all the protesters who came into the MTR vandalized, spray painted, set off the sprinkler system, they all left before the police even arrived. So now officers are leaving after -- we didn't see them make any arrests here as far as we could tell, and they move on to the next location where the next group of protesters might pop up.

And police really don't know what the protesters are going to do next. That's been the whole point of this protest movement, move quickly, mess things up, and get out before police arrive. They feel that this is a sustainable model to make their point. Thirteen consecutive weeks in a protests here in Hong Kong. And even though the crowds are smaller, the protesters are more aggressive, and this shows no signs of dying down.

Will Ripley, CNN, Hong Kong.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

[15:00:06] WHITFIELD: Good afternoon. Thank you so much for sticking with me this Sunday. I'm Fredericka Whitfield.