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Hurricane Warning has Been Issued on Florida; Hurricane Dorian Batters Bahamas; Shooting in Odessa, Texas Leaves Many Dead and Injured. Aired 5-6p ET

Aired September 1, 2019 - 17:00   ET

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


[17:00:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

This is CNN breaking news.

FREDRICKA WHITFIELD, CNN HOST: Hello again everyone. Thank you so much for being with me this Sunday. I'm Fredricka Whitfield. We are on top two of breaking stories at this hour. First, in west Texas where we're learning more details on Saturday's shooting rampage in Midland and Odessa, Texas.

Law enforcement officials telling CNN the now dead gunman has been identified at 36-year-old Seth Ator. We're also learning new details about some of the victims, including 17-month-old Anderson Davis, wounded in the gunfire. One of the 22 hurt.

Her family says she is recovering and will have surgery tomorrow to remove shrapnel from her chest and to fix her mouth and tongue and lip. And there are new warnings about the other big story we're following, the threat of Hurricane Dorian.

Hurricane Dorian is becoming more dangerous by the minute, growing to a Category 5 storm. The largest on the planet so far this year. It made landfall earlier today in the Bahamas. This amazing video just in to CNN showing one woman desperately pleading for help in the storm.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Please, pray for us. Please pray for us, everyone. Please pray for us, me and my baby, everyone that's staying in the apartment building. We're stuck right here. Please pray for us. Please, pray for us. Pray for Abaco. Please, I'm begging you. My baby is only 4 months old. Please, pray for us. I'm begging you, pray for us.

The apartment building, as we stand, the whole roof came off. We're standing right here. People trying to make it to the other side with this white house is, but some people, the water just took them, and those are the only people that got to make it over there. Some people didn't get to make it. Everyone, I'm asking you please. My baby is only 4 months old. (INAUDIBLE).

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WHITFIELD: Oh, my gosh, so frightening. You hear her. She said some people didn't make it, you know, who got caught up in that. You see the rising water and you see rooftops that have been peeled off some of the buildings.

And so now this Hurricane Dorian, as damage is still under way and it will later be assessed. We also understand the next target just might be the southeastern portion of the U.S. coast. Evacuation orders are in effect right now for several south Florida communities, including Palm Beach. One Florida sheriff has a dire warning for residents who might be getting complacent about this storm.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DAVID SHOAR, SHERIFF ST. JOHN'S COUNTY, FLORIDA: Think of the worst case scenario. This is a storm of storms. Don't know where it's going to hit. Don't know what the impact is going to be, but it's not going to be good if it gets close to land.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WHITFIELD: Meteorologist Jennifer Gray is monitoring the storm's track. She's joining us from the CNN Weather Center. What more are we learning about it?

JENNIFER GRAY, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Well, A 5:00 advisory just came out still packing winds of 185 miles per hour that's not going down. And the unfortunate part about it is, this storm is slowing down, Fred. We're talking about it slowing. It was 7 miles per hour speed. Now it's down to 5.

And so this is going at a crawl. A snail's pace over the Bahamas. And so this is going to be a long duration storm. A 185 mile per hour winds and something is moving only 5 miles per hour. That's going to be hours and hours of hurricane force conditions especially because a hurricane force conditions extend about 45 miles from the center on either side of the eye.

And so this is going to basically be an all-day event, an all-night event for a lot of folks in this area. It is incredibly scary and it's going to be devastating for the Bahamas, unfortunately.

So, this is going to continue to head to the west, eventually take that northern turn. This is the new track that's out at 5:00. And it looks like we are still seeing maybe a little bit more of a westward shift in the track especially once you get up to say Georgia and the Carolinas.

[17:05:01] A lot of uncertainty in this section. But if this turn happens sooner than later, that's going to mean the difference in major impacts for Florida and less impacts for Florida. It's still unfortunately, Fred, too early to tell exactly what the impacts will be because it's going to be all determining upon that shift to the north.

Either way, though, we're still going to get at least hurricane force winds across the state of Florida. And some of these areas, it could stay in hurricane force conditions for several days. You can see -- that's a tropical storm force, I should say, for several days.

So that's 45-mile-per-hour winds in Ft. Pierce. This is Tuesday afternoon. Still getting the tropical storm force winds across the central portion of the state and up around Daytona Beach, Jacksonville. And then as we get into Charleston, look at that, 67 mile per hour winds.

Of course, this is all dependent on exactly where the storm goes, still a lot of uncertainty. And then the outer banks could get hit with possible hurricane force conditions. So, it's something to watch over the next couple of days. I wish we had better answers for the state of Florida.

Unfortunately, it's one of those things though, Fred. It's going to mean a huge difference in say at jogging 15 or 20 miles farther to the west or not. It's that little bit of space can mean all the difference when you are talking about impacts with these storms.

WHITFIELD: All right, Jennifer, appreciate the update.

All right, as we saw, Dorian has already made landfall in the Abaco islands in northern Bahamas. And the residents of an apartment building ran for their lives as the building came apart around them. Just take a watch and listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: -- at an extension myself (inaudible). Yes. Look at this big Ficus just broken off.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WHITFIELD: All right. Patrick Oppmann is in Freeport, Bahamas. So, those other, you know, portions of the island are really already getting hammered and the damage assessments, it's going to be awhile before that really happens, but describe what's happening around you.

PATRICK OPPMANN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It will probably be days before help gets to those people, unfortunately. But it seems every time we've talked, and we've been talking all afternoon, Fred. Every time you come to me, the winds have picked up just by a couple miles per hour.

So very, very slowly conditions are deteriorating here. Dorian has made landfall about 80 miles away from us, but because, as Jennifer was say, it is moving so slowly and we are getting the impacts little by little here.

But into tonight and tomorrow morning, this storm is expected to be over us just like Marsh Harbor and Abaco where we're seeing those tragic videos where the first video you showed, there's a brief clip where they talk about people being taken away by the water. That's the storm surge. And the storm surge if it takes you away, it's anyone's guess what would happen to those people.

And this is really what scares emergency officials because of people if people are at ground level, if they are in the area that floods, if they are in an area that gets invaded by high tides and this 20-foot storm surge we've been warned about, there's nothing emergency officials can really do for them.

They can't get into the areas. It's too dangerous to send those emergency officials into those areas right now. And so if people are being taken by water, that is the most dangerous situation that you can imagine in a powerful hurricane like this one.

So, people say they are as prepared as they can be. About 3,000 people are in shelters here on the island of Grand Bahama. That's not a very large number for this island all in all. And the fear is that many people here, as well, have remained in those low-lying area which will flood.

WHITFIELD: Oh, my goodness. These are dire situations. I mean, this is a powerful Category 5. And as Jennifer showed us earlier, I mean, thus far it's like number two on the ranking of the top six most powerful recorded hurricanes in history.

OPPMAN: Yes.

WHITFIELD: All right, Patrick Oppmann, we'll check back with you. Thank you so much. We're also following another big story, this out of west Texas where a gunman went on a shooting spree leaving seven people dead, another 22 injured. The chaotic scene, playing out in two towns, Midland and Odessa.

[17:09:55] It all started with a traffic stop, a routine traffic stop when the gunman, the driver of that vehicle, opened fire on the officers who pulled him over.

The gunman then driving off, openly firing again, seemingly at anyone in his path. And then police updated the situation a short time ago saying it appears as though he acted alone. He was later, the gunman, was later killed in a gun battle with police. CNN's Brooke Baldwin is anchoring our live coverage from Odessa, Texas. So, Brooke, tell us more.

BROOKE BALDWIN, CNN HOST: All right, the fact that we're talking about 15 different crime scenes, some of which are still active, we've been talking about this 17-month-old little Anderson who has her surgery tomorrow, who was shot, you know, has a hole in her mouth and a shrapnel in her shoulder.

That crime scene is just half a mile from where I'm standing here in Odessa. You know, listening to the governor and the FBI today, again, the governor -- keep in mind, he was just having to console dozens of other families just a couple weeks ago in El Paso.

That is just a couple hundred miles from where I'm standing today. It has happened again in America and it's happened again here in Texas. So far, they're saying no connection to domestic or international terrorism. The question is why? Was this random? Was this really just because he this man had an assault-style rifle in his car when police tried pulling him over for failing to signal? We don't know yet, but what we do know is 22 people have been injured

including law enforcement officers and that 17-month-old baby and seven people have been killed plus the gunman as investigators are trying to wrap their heads around this. And people in Odessa and Midland are trying to just come to grips with the fact this has actually happened here.

Ryan Young is with me, and I think having tragically covered so many mass shootings, what differentiates this one in one regard is that it just kept going from location to location to location. And people, as they should be, were absolutely terrified.

RYAN YOUNG, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Not only were they absolutely terrified but it's almost like they were being victimized over and over again. And we've talked to several different people who said they really believe there was more than one shooter.

BALDWIN: Yes.

YOUNG: And that was the scary part for them. Yes, there was a chaotic scene and police responded. They did a great job. They were able to contain the shooter. But the idea this started from a traffic stop and then escalated so very quickly.

And then everyone who was being shot was at random. When I watched two people at the gas station kind of have a conversation about this, the two women still were in disbelief there was one shooting. They were hugging. They were upset. They were saying that they were in fear sort of yesterday about what's going on.

And you have to think, the vigil is tonight so we're going to see this community sort of come together --

BALDWIN: Yes.

YOUNG: -- and maybe pour their hearts out. But you have to understand what they've been put under in the last 24 hours. So yes, there's an investigation going on, but you have to think about their hearts first.

And then there are seven families in this area that obviously are dealing with something they never expected. A beautiful weekend in this area, the idea that someone could be out terrorizing them. Look, this investigation continues. We believe search warrants are being put into place right now. In fact, the police chief talked about that a bit earlier.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MICHAEL GERKE, CHIEF OF ODESSA POLICE DEPARTMENT: This is an ongoing investigation. It is active. There are still multiple crime scenes that are being worked. There are no definitive answers as to motive or reasons at this point. But we are fairly certain that the subject did act alone.

You'll notice that I'm not naming this subject and there's a reason for that. I refuse to. I'm not going to give him any notoriety for what he did. We'll provide that information to you, but not in this public statement.

There has been tremendous outpouring. Just to the local audience, please, with your show of support, going to the crime scenes and you're dropping off food and water and that is much appreciated, but it is also hindering the investigation --

(END VIDEO CLIP)

YOUNG: So just think about this and we talked to that reporter who worked here earlier.

BALDWIN: Yes, Matthew Alvarez.

YOUNG: Just the idea that there were people running in the mall, leaving behind their shoes. What would you do if it's your family? You would make a run for it. And you watched people running out of the movie theater. To think there has been mass shootings at movie theaters before, you understand the fear there.

BALDWIN: Of course.

YOUNG: Of course, this investigation continues. There are no real answers right now and I think that's the scary part. I mean, we both covered Dayton. We still don't know why that shooting happened. We're already on another shooting and we still don't know why this one happened.

BALDWIN: I flew in today from Miami. Just a little personal anecdote, I was down in Miami for the Rolling Stone show on Friday night. Got moved up because of Dorian, and I've covered so many of these and we all should, right.

A police officer would say, know your exits. Sitting in that massive crowd of people, I couldn't help but wonder, you know, which way would I go?

YOUNG: Subway (ph) effect.

[17:15:00] BALDWIN: Texas, the four biggest mass shootings in the nation's modern history, of the top 10, happening right here in Texas. Thank you, sir, very much for that. And, you know, Fred, we'll go to commercial break in just a second, but I just want to show you a picture. We've just turned this around. I want you to see the face of gun violence.

This little girl -- I want you to look at her. She's 17 months of age. Look at her eyes. She was shot here in west Texas. The family of Anderson Davis just sent this to us. So, this little girl represents the most precious, the most innocent of us.

A child caught in the crossfire of this senseless mass shooting. Bullet shrapnel ripping her lip, teeth, tongue. She's missing her teeth now. She's got shrapnel in her chest. Miraculously, the family tells CNN little Anderson is expected to make a full recovery. They also confirm they're aware of the GoFundMe page that is raised

now, all these people from all around, helping donate, they have raised more than $140,000 in less than 24 hours. And the mother put out a statement. I want to read part of it for you.

She says, "We praise God for walking beside us during this time, and our prayers go out to all of the families that are walking the same walk. We hurt so badly for the families whose loved ones didn't survive this tragedy. We are thankful for our beautiful baby girl and look forward to reuniting her at home with her twin brother soon."

Look at her. We'll be right back.

[17:20:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BALDWIN: Welcome back. You're watching special CNN coverage here live from Odessa, Texas. I'm Brooke Baldwin. The breaking news here, the tragic news, a deadly shooting in two West Texas cities, seven people have been killed, 22 others are injured including that 17-month-old toddler we keep talking about and several members of the law enforcement community.

And as people here want to know why, there's still, you know, no motive established. And of course, people around the country are wondering what could have been done to prevent this shooting in the first place. President Trump did address this, this morning at the White House. Here he was.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We're looking at a lot of different things. We're looking at a lot of different bills, ideas, concepts. It's been going on for a long while, background checks. I will say that for the most part, sadly, if you look at the last four or five, going back even five or six or seven years, for the most part, as strong as you make your background checks, they would not have stopped any of it. So, it's a big problem. It's a mental problem. It's a big problem.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BALDWIN: Joining me now, CNN Crime and Justice Reporter, Shimon Prokupecz and CNN law enforcement analyst Charles Ramsey who used to serve as police commissioner in the great city of Philadelphia.

So, Shimon, first to you, just what more do we know about the shooter? I know you're working your sources in law enforcement. What do we know? Was this just totally random?

SHIMON PROKUPECZ, CNN CRIME AND JUSTICE REPORTER: That's the big question and I think that something clearly in talking to people and just watching how some of this investigation unfold and hearing what the FBI has said publicly, they don't know.

I think it's very clear that they're still working through this. They have accepted the idea that maybe this wasn't so random, that maybe the shooter planned this. They know who he is. They've identified him. He's from the area so he's very familiar with the area that he was around and driving.

They've done search warrants on his home and, obviously, now they're going through trying to talk to his family, friends, going through all his electronics, everything eles, really to work and find out exactly what happened here.

The one thing is that we know that he worked as a truck driver. It's unclear if he was still employed, but the big question is, did he set law enforcement up here because this was all over a traffic stop -- really, a signal. He didn't signal a lane shift, it appears and that's why police were trying to pull him over.

And the way this shooting unfolded took a little work with turning a rifle through the back window firing at officers as they approach his vehicle.

So, obviously, all those facts when you put everything together, I think some of law enforcement, based on everything they're saying, are thinking that perhaps maybe this wasn't as random as it first appeared but they're still working through it, and they don't know.

BALDWIN: Commissioner, just based on the facts we have, what do you think?

CHARLES RAMSEY, CNN LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: Well, we may never know, to be honest with you. I mean, I don't know how he could anticipate being pulled over on a traffic stop for not signaling a lane change. I mean, I know a lot of cops that wouldn't even bother to pull anybody over for something like that.

So, I don't know how he would know that. I do think he was up to something, there's no question about that. The press conference didn't give you very much information at all. And in fact, they didn't even mention the type of weapon until it was asked.

I don't know if he had extra rounds, how many rounds he had. Did he have any body armor in there? I mean, we don't know any of that that would indicate whether or not he actually had a target in mind and just got interrupted and had to ad lib and just not only shoot the cops but just start doing random drive-by shootings.

We just don't know the answer to that. Maybe the search warrants that are being executed will give us some indication once they hit his house, get his computer, any social media, interview friends, family, things of that nature, but right now, we don't know and we may not know.

BALDWIN: Shimon, behind the scenes, lift the veil. What are law enforcement looking at? We talked briefly a bit ago about search warrants, looking at an electronic trail. How do they pin down a motive, if they ever do?

PROKUPEZ: Looking at -- if they ever do. You know, we're seeing a pattern in this country recently, I mean, when you look at Las Vegas with all the people that were shot there. The FBI spent months studying that shooting and they couldn't come up with a motive.

It is possible that in this case, we don't learn the motive, certainly, in the El Paso shooting. The one thing though that was interesting, I will say, is that the special agent in charge of the FBI said that they did not believe that this was domestic terrorism, right. We've seen the FBI come out recently in other shootings, link them to domestic terrorism.

[17:24:59] At least they have enough information it appears, to say that this, in their mind right now, was not domestic terrorism. So what they're going to have to do is go back to the days leading up to this, that day, see what was going on through this gunman's mind and try and see if that in any way points to some kind of a motive here.

BALDWIN: Quickly, commissioner, what is your key question if police weren't as forthcoming as one would like. What's your key question? What should be out there?

RAMSEY: Well, I mean, in order to establish motive, I mean, there are a lot of pieces of the puzzle that had to be put together. Now, they may be withholding things simply because they've got more information that they don't want to reveal right now because, I mean, bad guys watch T.V., too.

So, if he had accomplices, may be that's why they haven't released very much information. But I do want to know more a little bit more about, you know, what this guy was planning on doing.

I think he -- he just got stopped by police and I don't think that was intentional at all. I think that just happened, but he was up to something, no question about that.

BALDWIN: Yes, Charles Ramsey, thank you sir. Shimon, I appreciate it. And, you know, Fred, we played the sound bite a second ago from President Trump and I think that's a whole other conversation, right, where re-igniting this gun control debate.

He's asked about background checks, you know. We know Congress is still out on August recess so they're not coming back to work for another week, but there are questions and we know several bills that were passed from the House sitting at Mitch McConnell's desk, so TBD perhaps until next Monday.

WHITFIELD: Yes, lots of questions. Lots of continued frustrations. All right, Brooke, thanks so much.

And our breaking news coverage of Hurricane Dorian continues. The first hurricane warning has just been issued in Florida and Jacksonville becomes the latest city to announce its emergency plan.

[17:30:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

WHITFIELD: Right now all eyes are on Hurricane Dorian as the monster storm continues to intensify. A powerful Category 5 hurricane with sustained winds of 185 miles per hour, making landfall earlier today in the Bahamas. Jacksonville, Florida, now officials just gave a briefing, ordering evacuations. Dianne Gallagher is there, so what do they say to people?

DIANNE GALLAGHER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, so here's the thing. Starting at midnight, an emergency order here locally will be put into effect at 8:00 a.m. for Zones A and B in Jacksonville -- mandatory evacuations. Shelters begin opening at 10:00 a.m. tomorrow here in this area.

As far as Jacksonville Beach is concerned, those three beaches -- Atlantic, Neptune and Jacksonville -- those are going to be shut down as of tonight and the mayor of Jacksonville Beach said that in the coming hours they are likely going to be announcing a curfew and the suspension of alcohol sales.

To be very honest, things just got really real here for a community that has been breathing a sigh of relief, honestly, thinking that they were going to miss this. The press conference that was just held by emergency officials and the mayor of Jacksonville called this an uncomfortably close track.

And they pointed to their track record with hurricanes like Irma and like Matthew in recent history that it doesn't have to actually hit this area to cause a significant amount of damage. They're talking about at least a four-foot surge here in the St. John's River, which is behind us.

This has flooded this downtown area in the past. I've covered hurricanes here where this downtown area has flooded. Other people, we were out today, saw a couple people boarding up one business.

Other than that, it seemed to have been business than usual. Officials are hoping that this year is going to get people into action and realize that this is something that they need to take very seriously.

WHITFIELD: This is no joke. Definitely, heed all these warnings. All right, Diane Gallagher, thank you so much.

Still ahead -- updates on both these two major big breaking stories. Hurricane Dorian and also back in Odessa and Midland, Texas. We'll be talking to the district attorney there in that area of Texas. Her message to the people of Texas in mourning after yet another mass shooting.

[17:35:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

WHITFIELD: All right, we continue to cover two major breaking stories. We're closely watching Hurricane Dorian as this monstrous storm continues to intensify. It's now a powerful Category 5 with sustained winds of 185 miles per hour.

Dorian is currently bearing down on the Bahamas and gaining strength as it continues its slow march toward the southeast U.S. coast. And famed Spanish chef, Jose Andres, is right in the middle of the storm in Nassau, Bahamas. He recorded video showing just how strong the rain and the wind are. It's difficult to hear him, but look at the images.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) JOSE ANDRES, SPANISH CHEF: So, I wanted everybody to understand

(inaudible). You're wondering what's going on in (inaudible). I'm in hurricane (inaudible) of death. This is going to be one of the biggest ever. I will not be (inaudible) so let's pray for everybody.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WHITFIELD: This is a dangerous storm and, really, this is just the beginning. I want to get more now on Hurricane Dorian and where it is headed next. Jennifer Gray, meteorologist in the Weather Center. And you have been emphasizing that while it may have hit portions of the Bahamas, it's going to sit there. So what they are experiencing right now is only going to heighten.

GRAY: Right. This is unprecedented. I mean, this is the worst storm that's ever hit the Bahamas already. You add to that, it's basically going to sit here for a day and a half, 185 miles per hour winds. It's really mind-boggling.

It's scary and excruciating to watch how slow this storm is moving, only at 5 miles per hour. That has slowed down in the 5:00 advisory compared to previous ones where it was moving at 7 miles per hour. So, that little slow and forward speed will mean a lot of difference across these areas because it's just longer duration that they're going to have to withstand these incredible winds.

And so as this continues to push to the west, we'll see these watches and warnings continue to fire up all up and down the coast. Right now, we have hurricane warnings in place across Florida. That's new from the 5:00 advisory as well. So that's been upgraded.

And this is expected to take a turn to the north and we've been talking about all day how soon that happens, Fred, is going to determine a lot depending on what we see in Florida because the closer the storm is to Florida, the bigger the impacts are going to be.

Now, hurricane-force winds extend 45 miles from the center. So, even if it sits 40 miles offshore, you're still get hurricane-force winds along the coast. You're going to get beach erosion. You're going to get all of the storm surge as well.

So, it is a big question mark right here. I know it's only a couple of days away, that's why we're monitoring it so closely and they're already issuing evacuations because if this storm gets close to that coast, it could mean some devastating damage across the state of Florida.

WHITFIELD: That is so true. And Jennifer, yes, the first hurricane warning now issued for parts of Florida meaning some evacuations are already being ordered.

People are being given a timeline, in fact, in which to assemble their things and get out of potential harm's way. We're going to continue to watch the developments here, and we'll be right back.

[17:40:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK) WHITFIELD: Let's go now back to Texas for the latest on that mass shooting spree that claimed the lives of seven people. My colleague Brooke Baldwin is there in Odessa. Brooke?

BALDWIN: Fred, thank you so much. We actually now have just gotten a picture of the shooter in to CNN so we will now show you his face. Investigators tell CNN that these are old photos of him. That he looks different now.

Earlier today, the FBI executed a search warrant at a rural property in west Odessa believed to be connected to this man. We are also getting new information about his criminal background. We know that he was arrested back in 2001 for criminal trespass and evading arrest. Both are misdemeanors.

And so with me now, Laura Nodolf, she is the Midland County district attorney. So, thank you so much. How are you doing?

LAURA NODOLF, DISTRICT ATTORNEY, MIDLAND COUNTY, TEXAS: Absolutely. Well, in light of everything, I think that our law enforcement community has come together and we've helped lift each other up, support each other so that we can rally around this tragedy and come out of it better on the other side.

BALDWIN: You did some serious rallying yesterday because I really want to focus on the law enforcement officers who have been injured -- 3 out of the 22 law enforcement officers are recovering from wounds.

[17:45:04] And you started your day yesterday with a call with two words. Trooper down.

NODOLF: That's correct. I have been out running errands with my daughter. I received a call from a deputy and all he said was troopers down. I immediately had to stop, pulled in the parking lot, called my husband to come pick up my daughter because I was so close to where that trooper was.

And by the time that exchange happened, I was able to follow the ambulance with the trooper --

BALDWIN: To the hospital.

NODOLF: -- to the hospital. So, they were backing into the hospital. I was parking and they were getting him into the room. And my first and foremost thought was I need to see him. And I need to lay eyes on him to make sure that he's OK.

BALDWIN: And not only did you do that, and I want you to tell me how he is, you called his wife.

NODOLF: Well, his wife had been notified, but after I laid eyes on him, I knew his wife was out in the lobby, and so I was able to go out and go tell her that I've seen him. He's talking. He's going to be OK. He's hurt, but he's going to be okay.

BALDWIN: Then, as it was an ongoing situation, right, at the time, there was all this confusion. Maybe it was multiple shooters. We know it was just this one. You see everyone sort of running into place because everyone is readying at the hospital for, you know, folks coming in with gunshot injuries and you see the trauma crew. You were telling me earlier, putting on, what?

NODOLF: Well, it was just so amazing because we have this trooper that comes in. And we think, OK, a trooper is down.

BALDWIN: You had no idea --

NODOLF: We had no idea. And then we had an officer who was on scene listening to the radio and she said they're bringing in another one. And then they're bringing in another one. And as each of the EMS personnel came in, they were bringing in another patient and another patient and they were putting on their bulletproof vests because --

BALDWIN: The EMTs were putting on bulletproof vests?

NODOLF: The EMTs were because, well, you had law enforcement that was trying to chase down the shooter, you had EMTs that were going into a situation where they didn't know if the shooter was present or not.

So, the jobs that everybody was kind of assigned to do, they were absolutely doing, and law enforcement was tracking down the bad guy and the EMTs were bringing the victims in to save their lives. And you saw the crew at the hospital start taking the steps to activate the trauma to clear the bays. It was like an orchestra.

BALDWIN: They had no idea how many they would be treating. At the end of the day, just this community -- are you a Texan?

NODOLF: Pretty much.

BALDWIN: Pretty much.

NODOLF: Pretty much.

BALDWIN: Pretty much. What do you want people to know about, you know, this place, and if you can divulge anything investigation-wise or of course search warrants going out, apparently looking at a place perhaps connected to his home, any kind of information. I'm all ears.

NODOLF: So, first off, right now, we're building a profile. We want to know who he is. We want to know about him more than just a criminal history. We want to know circumstances in the days leading up to --

BALDWIN: Yes.

NODOLF: -- this event because that oftentimes allows law enforcement to learn if there are things to look for. It allows for civilians to things to look for. I think also we as Americans need to be aware of our surroundings.

We all need to be prepared because you never know when it could happen. Our little town, our little community here, that is so tight knit and backyard grilling, you know, friendly people, never thought it would happen here.

And so, preparedness and knowing what to do and being educated is very important. And we can take that on, not just locally, but nationally as well.

BALDWIN: Are you -- I hear you say such a lovely town. I've been in towns that have said the same thing, and they are. Are you angry?

NODOLF: I'm not necessarily angry because my anger would be focused at somebody that doesn't deserve my attention. I am hurt for the families. I'm hurt for the law enforcement officers that took the steps that had to end somebody's life.

I'm hurt for the officers laying in hospitals right now. But I'm not angry because that is diverting attention away from the people who truly deserve it and truly deserve our prayers.

BALDWIN: Oh. Let me thank you for that. Thank you for that. I appreciate you. Laura Nodolf, the D.A. here in Midland County, Texas. I appreciate it. Thank you very much. Obviously, we'll stay on top of the investigation.

[17:50:00] Any more information, Fred, that they can get on the why and they may never actually get the answers that they would like. But, you know, to Laura's point, the hurt for the family and obviously, well wishes for the recovery including as we mentioned, that 17-month- old who undergoes surgery tomorrow here in Odessa.

WHITFIELD: Yes, some tough realities. All right.

BALDWIN: Yes.

WHITFIELD: Thanks so much, Brooke and Laura. All right, meantime, the other big story we're following, Florida and the Bahamas. Mandatory evacuations are underway right now in Florida. Shelters are beginning to open.

The situation along the coast is getting very serious. We are live in Port St. Lucie to see how quickly the community there is responding to the threat of Hurricane Dorian.

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WHITFIELD: All right. It is now a Category 5 storm, the largest on Earth so fa this year. Dorian made landfall earlier today in the Bahamas. Meanwhile, the first hurricane warning has been issued for the state of Florida.

Mandatory evacuations are already in place for several south Florida communities including Palm Beach. CNN Meteorologist, Derek Van Dam is in Hutchinson Island, Florida. So, are people mobilizing there?

[17:54:57] DEREK VAN DAM, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Well, Fredericka, clearly there still are people on the beach here trying to soak in the last bit of their Labor Day weekend before it will be cut abruptly short by the approach of the hurricane. But even though the Martin County sheriff made it perfectly clear,

driving in their armored vehicle with speakers on top blaring out this is a mandatory evacuation center or evacuation area, you need to get off these beaches immediately. We saw them roll by just about an hour ago.

Now, in terms of Florida preparations, they have just over 800,000 gallons and 1.8 million pre-prepared meals ready to distribute after the storm passes. The tolls on the turnpikes have been lifted according to the governor. And there have been 2,500 National Guard members called into action to help with the aftermath of this particular storm.

We are on a barrier island, for our viewers who are not familiar with what that is. Think of it as the first line of defense between an approaching hurricane and the mainland of the U.S., right in the southeastern coast line of Florida.

This is an area that bears the brunt of the hurricane. We're going to move on this location soon because we expect the storm surge, the winds and the rains to pickup very soon, Fredricka.

WHITFIELD: That's right because Jennifer warned storm surge could be as high as, you know, 20 feet and we know the winds are fierce because it's already more than 185 miles per hour over the Bahamas. Derek Van Dam --

VAN DAM: All right.

WHITFIELD: -- thank you so much. Appreciate it.

And thank you for joining us all day long here this Sunday. I'm Fredericka Whitfield. Stay with CNN as we track Hurricane Dorian and its impact along the entire Southeast Coast of the U.S. Ana Cabrera continues right after this.

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