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Hurricane Dorian Swells To Maximum Intensity, Category 5, Slams Bahamas; Seven Victims Dead, Gunman Also Killed In Texas Shooting Rampage; Trump: Background Checks Wouldn't Have Prevented Shooting; Texas Governor Downplays Use Of Assault Rifles In Mass Shootings; Odessa Man Witnessed West Texas Shootings; Florida Governor Gives Update On Hurricane Dorian Preparations. Aired 6-7p ET

Aired September 1, 2019 - 18:00   ET

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


(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[18:00:00]

ANA CABRERA, CNN HOST: You're live in the CNN NEWSROOM. I'm Ana Cabrera in New York, where we are covering the latest developments with Hurricane Dorian.

BROOKE BALDWIN, CNN HOST: Ana, Brooke Baldwin, live here in Odessa, Texas, the site of just the latest mass shooting in America that has left seven people dead.

CABRERA: First, Dorian, it is now a Category 5. And there is no such thing as a more powerful or more deadly storm. This monstrous hurricane is now pounding an island chain just off Florida's coast.

And these are the islands of the Bahamas where the leading edge of Hurricane Dorian is hitting first, straight line winds, clocked at a devastating 185 miles per hour, the National Hurricane Center now confirming that this is the strongest hurricane ever to hit the Bahamas, ever. The storm has already blown off the roofs from many homes and power is starting to go out across the islands.

On the barrier islands being hammered by the hurricane now, not every building provides shelter. These people are now seeking safety somewhere else after the storm tore this roof away.

Before we go live to the Bahamas, I want to take a moment to to show you just how serious the difference is between a Category 4 and a Category 5 hurricane. There are only five categories and the Cat 5 means the sustained winds have reached 157 miles per hour. And, again, Hurricane Dorian has sustained winds right now of 185 miles per hour, with gusts above 200.

And according to the government's own website, this is what a Category 5 hurricane means. It means many framed homes will be totally destroyed, it means total roof failure and collapsing walls, it means trees and utility poles will go down and isolate people in more remote areas, it means power outages for weeks, maybe months and it means areas affected could be uninhabitable for a long, long time. Now to the CNN Severe Weather Center and Meteorologist, Jennifer Gray. Jennifer, this is frightening. The new National Hurricane Center calling this a high-end Category 5. And we haven't even mentioned where and when this hurricane will move next.

I'm seeing hurricane warnings now issued for Florida.

JENNIFER GRAY, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Right, yes, Florida, that's new with the 5:00 advisory. This is a very scary storm. This is one of the most powerful storms ever in the Atlantic basin, and this is the strongest storm to ever impact the Bahamas.

And to think about how slow this is moving, it's slowed down even more so throughout the day today, now going only at five miles per hour, still 75 miles east of Freeport. And to think calling that slow is going to be another 15 hours before it gets there.

So it's basically sitting right over the Bahamas for an incredible extended period of time. It took six hours to go across Abaco Island. It's incredible. And now where it's going to go next is the million dollar question, because when it takes that turn to the north, it's going to mean the difference between how many impacts we'll see in Florida and to what extent.

Look at all that lightning right inside that eye right there, already picking up on the Miami radar. There are the hurricane warnings in red that were issued for the east coast of Florida at 5:00. And if this turn happens a little sooner rather than later, it's going to mean fewer impacts for Florida. If it happens later and this storm rides closer to the state Of Florida, that's going to be huge impacts as far as winds, storm surge, rain.

Of course, this could be skirting the coast as a Category 4 storm with 145 miles per hour winds. Unfortunately, with it just of a few days away, it's still too early to tell how close it's going to get to the state, with Florida still in that cone of Uncertainty. And then even more uncertainty as we get farther out into -- further out into time. Thursday into Friday could be impacting the outer banks.

And so it's going to depend on how soon it makes that turn. And if it ends up following that coast line ever so closely or not, Ana, time will tell. But we'll know in the next few days how close that's going to get to Florida. That's why we should continue to watch it.

CABRERA: Absolutely. And people should continue to prepare. Thank you, Jennifer Gray.

Now, let's go live to the Bahamas, where this powerful Category 5 hurricane has now officially made landfall. CNN's Patrick Oppmann is in Freeport, that's on Grand Bahama Island. Patrick, show us more of the conditions there now. It looks like we have a little bit of a lull, if we can call it that that.

[18:05:02]

But how long do you expect you and your crew be able to stay outside safely because we know this storm is planning to hover?

PATRICK OPPMANN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Absolutely. And like at other times we can cover a hurricane and be outside for a while. Very clearly, this is a storm, the likes of which none of us have ever covered. Just -- you can't get your mind around how dangerous this storm is, one, because it's incredibly powerful, two, because it is moving very, very slowly, but also because it is over a low-lying area of the Bahamas. The Bahamas, unlike other islands, doesn't have mountains, does not have high ground.

The island I am which has higher ground than many others, it's only about 30 feet above sea level in the highest points. So when you talk about a 20-foot storm surge, it just leads to a level of destruction that few people have ever had to suffer.

That storm is coming this way from the island of Abaco. We've seen a lot of it now on social media, coming from Abaco of just horrific destruction, of people who have lost their houses, their roofs, cars flipped over. It is a very clear indication of how deadly this storm is.

And it's not done. It will continue to lash Abaco and we will continue to feel the effects throughout the night into tomorrow, and then all day, Monday. It is just about the worst scenario.

So, you know, we are in a solid building. We're in a building -- we have brought a generator with us. We're going to do the best we can for as long as we can. But your heart goes out to regular Bahamians who don't have such a solid structure, maybe didn't have the time and resources to prepare properly and are now in the thick of this.

CABRERA: Wow. We see those winds just lashing the island with those waves growing. Thank you, Patrick Oppmann. Please do stay safe. Be careful, my friend. That island where Patrick is standing is just 50 miles off the coast of Florida. Tropical storm force winds are expected to start lashing southeastern parts of that state tomorrow morning and hurricane force gusts could hit as early as tomorrow evening.

Mandatory evacuations are already in place for several South Florida communities. Governor Ron DeSantis has also suspended tolls on all major highways and he is asking residents to heed evacuation orders from local officials.

With us now is James Joseph, he is a senior administrator for the Federal Emergency Management Agency. James, thanks for taking the time. What are you preparing for and what do you anticipate the greatest needs will be?

JAMES JOSEPH, FEMA SENIOR ADMINISTRATOR: Good evening, Ana, and thank you so much for having us.

Right now, we're preparing for hurricane force winds and high storm surge that could be impacting Florida. We don't know exactly which way the hurricane is going to shift. And as a result of that, it leaves a little bit of gray area on where the direct impacts will be. But we do know, even if this storm moves further out into the east, there is still going to be significant storm surge, rain and tropical force winds that impact the communities up and down the Coast of Florida.

CABRERA: We talked about just how powerful this particular Cat 5 hurricane is. From your perspective, how does this storm compare to past hurricanes?

JOSEPH: This is a big storm. It's very powerful. We talk about 185- mile-per-hour winds. We talk about the rain that is going to be bringing with it. And we're already seeing potentially 10 to 20-foot storm surges in parts of the Bahamas that are impacted.

So tracking the path, following it very closely is our number one priority to get a better sense of where the greatest impact will be as it comes towards Florida.

CABRERA: Right. And it's anybody's guess at this point, because we've seen this storm shift a couple of times. And unlike a lot of storms, we know Dorian is just crawling. And because of that, the rain, the storm surge, those strong winds we've been talking about could last longer. What are you most concerned about?

JOSEPH: The biggest thing for me right now that I want all of your viewers to pay attention to is because the storm track has shifted so much in the last couple of days, we do not want anyone to be complacent. We do not want anyone to think that the storm is going to move further east and that they're totally out of the clear.

Even if it does track east, like I said before, we're going to see rain, we're going to see tropical force winds, we could see storm surge that immediately impacts infrastructure and causes damage to buildings and structures. And, of course, it is dangerous. We don't want anyone in the areas -- if local officials have asked for evacuations, I really don't want anyone to look at the forecast and say, you know, it's not going to happen here and I don't need to evacuate. Please follow the direction of your local officials, your emergency management officials there in your community.

CABRERA: What do people at home need to know about how you're prepared to deal with the recovery and the aftermath?

JOSEPH: Well, the first thing to do after the recovery is obviously ensure the immediate safety of you and your family.

[18:10:04]

I can replace property. I cannot replace lives. So we want everyone to make sure that they and their families are safe, number one.

If local officials have not allowed anyone to go back to their neighborhoods after the storm has occurred, don't try to sneak in. Don't try to find a way around it. Those evacuation zones or those closed off areas are in place for your safety. We want to make sure that there's no live utilities, power, uncapped gas lines that are in that area.

And once you are able to, if the storm hits and it damages your home, once you are able to get back into that area, take an immediate inventory. Contact your insurance company. They are the first line of defense in this situation. Contact your insurance company, and then we will be working with states and communities as well on recovery.

CABRERA: And I know you guys have positioned 2 million meals and nearly a million gallons of water. We do know though some $155 million FEMA funds were reallocated to immigration enforcement just in the past week. I want you to listen to acting DHS Secretary Kevin McAleenan this morning.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

KEVIN MCALEENAN, ACTING SECRETARY, HOMELAND SECURITY: There will be no impact of the potential reprogramming on our ability to respond to the storm. The disaster recovery fund from major disasters has over $25 billion in it. We're talking about 155 million in a base-level fund. We believe we have fully adequate funding and no money has actually been moved at this point.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CABRERA: He says no money has been moved at this point. But if that money is moved later and, of course, we're talking about a storm that has historic power and proportions, who knows what the devastation will be, could it mean local or state officials could be ultimately shorted in the recovery phase of this?

JOSEPH: Ana, we are 100 percent committed to the response of this event. As you can see in the room behind me, I have well over 100 of my colleagues from FEMA, and they are working hard to ensure that state and local officials have the exact resources that they need.

Like the secretary mentioned in the clip you played, there's over $25 billion available right now for us for a major disaster recovery perspective. But also in the response, we have enough funds. We have what we need to support the states of Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina, and we're going to continue to do so working with the governors and their teams to help address any gaps that they may have.

CABRERA: Okay. James Joseph, I really appreciate the time. Thank you. Good luck.

JOSEPH: Thank you.

CABRERA: We have more breaking coverage ahead. We'll continue to follow the track of Hurricane Dorian as it continues to pummel the Bahamas. And just last hour, new hurricane warnings issued for parts of Florida.

Plus seven people killed in the latest mass shooting, and still few answers as to why. We'll take you live back to Odessa, Texas, next. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[18:15:00]

BALDWIN: Welcome back. I'm Brooke Baldwin live here in Odessa, Texas. Special live coverage continues here, the scene of the latest mass shooting in America. Seven people killed, 22 others injured, including several law enforcement officers and a 17-month-old-toddler, all victims of a man who went on this murderous rampage after being pulled over in a traffic stop.

We still don't know the why, what sparked his random -- seemingly random assaults, but we do know that yet, again, Americans have been traumatized and are fearful and are anxious.

CNN's Ryan Young is with me now with more on the aftermath. And tell me about those women at the gas station you saw who were just --

RYAN YOUNG, CNN CORRESPONDENT: The idea that people are anxious is almost an understatement, because, for a while, they thought there was more than one shooter.

BALDWIN: Right, and a lot of confusion.

YOUNG: A lot of confusion. And especially when there was the first -- there was a gold car they were looking for, then they were looking for a mail truck. People in the community saw all the social media and people were running around. They wanted to know what to do next. And people -- I heard one woman say she felt like she was going to have a break down. They were like being re-victimized over and over again, because they didn't know when the shooting was going to end.

But we have learned some new information about the shooter. We figured out that he is 36 years old. On his LinkedIn page, it said he was a truck driver. He's been arrested before for minor violations, nothing that really stands out to you. So, of course, this is all sort of happening right now.

The search warrant has been executed at his home. It's a rural home outside the city. So you can see police are starting to do that, big part of this investigation. Probably combing through his social media trying to figure out exactly what's next.

But you've got to think about the other part where he's pulled over. And from pulling over, he's able to fire back toward those officers and then hit them.

BALDWIN: So can I just interrupt you?

YOUNG: Yes, absolutely.

BALDWIN: So this whole thing starts because he's trying -- he's failing to signal. That's how this started. He then has this rifle, this assault rifle in his car, turns it on police and that's where it begins. YOUNG: And then when you think about all of the things that happened, you think about the mail carrier who got shot and has that truck taken from her. Then you think about the people at the mall, at the movie theater who are running for their lives. And then the little girl you've been talking about.

So many people in this community, obviously, and around the country have been pouring their money to the GoFundMe account, but the shocking nature of someone having to run with their child while these large bullets are riding through this car is just unbelievable.

The scary part though, and like the reporter said earlier when he was here, people leaving their shoes behind, just terrified, just trying to get out of here. Let's not forget in about an hour. there will be a candle light vigil. We're only 24 hours away from this. We may see more emotion as this community starts to deal with what really has happened here, because right now, it's unexplainable. And, hopefully, the FBI will have more information.

But I think the one thing that stood out from that news conference was when the FBI agent says, we're at about every two weeks where we're having a mass shooting and they stand ready to go to the next one.

BALDWIN: Conversations continue to be had. We were just talking about El Paso a couple weeks ago. That's just several hundred miles away. 22 people were killed there. And here now, seven.

Briefly, just on Texas, I know just in reading that because of the state legislature loosened somewhat gun laws, can you tell me about that?

YOUNG: So it was an interesting moment in that news conference because there were people asking, hey, aren't more people going to be able to have guns? And they were asking the governor about that. And remember, they didn't even mention the fact that it was an AR-15 that was used in this attack. It took a question -- follow-up question.

I still have several follow-up questions. Like we don't know -- did he purchase the gun legally? So there are more questions about this, how much armament he had. Did he have body armor in that car? So these are more questions.

But the question was asked, because the governor says something is going to change.

[18:20:00]

And so I think people are waiting to see is the governor and the state lawmakers here going to make some sort of switch to the laws, because, obviously, there is a bad cycle going on in the state.

BALDWIN: Right. What would that change even look like and how much power is behind it? Ryan Young, you have been excellent all day today. Thank you very much.

And I just want to show you this precious, precious face. We've been talking about the 17-month-old-toddler. This is Anderson Davis. She was in her mom's car yesterday afternoon here in Odessa, and she was hit by bullet shrapnel. Her teeth are now gone. She has shrapnel in her chest. There is a hole now in her mouth and her tongue and her lip.

She is undergoing surgery tomorrow. Her mother says she will heal, that things can be fixed, but she writes, Anderson is alive and that is a prayer answered bigger than I ever had to pray. So we think about Anderson today and so many others injured and lost here in Odessa, Texas.

We'll be right back.

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CABRERA: We are back with breaking news. At this moment, monster Category 5 Hurricane Dorian is battering the Bahamas with sustained winds of 185 miles per hour and wind gusts reaching 200 miles per hour.

Now, to put that in perspective, Cat 5 starts at 157. So Dorian's power is almost on a different level.

[18:25:00]

And it's moving so slowly, just inching its way through the Atlantic at a walking pace, leaving destruction already in its wake.

The hurricane made landfall earlier today on the Abaco Islands in Northern Bahamas. Now, Hurricane Dorian is the strongest storm on the planet this year. The acting FEMA administrator sidestepped the question when asked whether the climate crisis is contributing to storms like Dorian.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DANA BASH, CNN HOST: Researchers say that we're going to see even more very intense hurricanes due to the climate crisis. Do you agree with that?

PETER GAYNOR, ACTING FEMA ADMINISTRATOR: You know, you can look through the history of the past 25 years or so. There's been more hurricanes, more intensity. Again, I think we can look to that at another date. But I think the message today is for residents, especially with the newly -- new Cat, 5 is don't take your eye off this storm.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CABRERA: Here are the facts we know that the climate crisis is making hurricanes more dangerous and here are the top ways listed in order of scientific confidence. The sea level rise is making storm surge more dangerous and making storms wetter, increasing the rainfall rate, as well as the amount of precipitation a storm can produce. Strong storms are getting even stronger because of warmer oceans. And storms are rapidly intensifying more frequently. So we are seeing this play out in real-time with Hurricane Dorian, the strongest hurricane to ever hit the Bahamas on record. It is expected to bring a storm surge of 18 to 23 feet as it crawls over the region.

And we are getting reports of major damage already happening on the Abaco Islands. You can see in this video residents looking for shelter as the hurricane's winds and rain cause the roof of their building to collapse.

According to the National Hurricane Center, the storm is, quote, heading with all its fury toward Grand Bahama Island. Dorian is expected to be a Cat 5 the entire time, it is over that island, and Freeport is the main city on Grand Bahama. That's where CNN's Patrick Oppmann is joining us now.

So, Patrick, so as we just reported, the worst is yet to come where you are. What can you tell us about what's happening now?

OPPMANN: Well, we are seeing weather conditions continuing to deteriorate, but we are a long way off Dorian actually coming over us, making landfall here. And it's just because it's moving so slow. And the next island over Abaco is continuing just to get pummeled.

We are seeing videos of people who have lost their roofs, whose cars have flipped over. People are saying that they saw people carried off by that storm surge, which is really the most frightening thing possible because we're talking about a storm surge of over 20 feet. That was the prediction, at least.

And when you're on an island that's just above sea level, here, the highest point is about 30 feet. So much of this island starting tonight and tomorrow will likely be under water.

And, you know, you mentioned this being the second strongest hurricane to ever hit the Bahamas. The first was Andrew, and I happened to be on a family vacation a long time ago, 1992. When Andrew, we buckled down, myself, my parents, my brother and sister.

And when we came out in the morning of the island we were on, it was absolutely stripped clean, all the trees have been broken in half, many roofs were gone, people had died in a neighboring island from the storm. And I thought that was the worst devastation I would ever see from a hurricane.

And the idea that something worse is coming is really unfathomable to me and it must be unfathomable to the people of the Bahamas, people who do not have the housing that we have right now. We're in a pretty sturdy building. There are people who live basically in shacks here, people who live in houses that are not up to code, people live on the coast. And right now, they are in grave, grave danger and there is nothing that the government can do to help them, at least for the moment.

CABRERA: So, Patrick, how are they preparing?

OPPMANN: You know, many people just didn't have time. We talked to some people and they said, well, I've ridden out previous storms. It's not going to be that bad, that maybe it will downgrade to a 3. And, of course, that's not what happened. It became not only a Category 5, it became an incredibly dangerous Category 5, the most dangerous -- powerful Category 5 the Bahamas has ever seen.

So, unfortunately, you have a lot of people who were kind of wishing for the best, not preparing for the worst. Other people did go to shelters, over 3,000 people here in Grand Bahama are in shelters right now. But so many other people, for whatever reasons, chose not to evacuate, stayed where they are, and are right now paying the price.

CABRERA: Oh, my goodness. That does not sound good, praying for them. Patrick Oppmann, thank you. We'll check back in just minute -- in just a bit.

In the wake of another mass shooting in America this year, we once again face a familiar question.

[18:30:00]

Is there any hope for meaningful change? We'll take you back live to Odessa next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BALDWIN: Welcome back. CNN special coverage here on this Sunday evening. I'm Brooke Baldwin, back with you live in Odessa, Texas. And normally, I wouldn't be with you on a Sunday, but I am in west Texas covering America's latest mass shooting.

This is the second mass shooting in Texas in a month. As you know, 22 people were shot and killed in El Paso, just a couple hundred miles away from me, just four weeks ago. Now, I wasn't here for that shooting because I was in Dayton, Ohio, where a separate mass shooting happened that same weekend. Nine people were killed there.

And so, for those of you keeping track, that is three mass shootings in one month, 38 people gone. And what I cannot emphasize enough is how what's become normal should be nowhere near. We are the only country that experiences shootings of this scale. We are an anomaly and we do not have to live like this, yet we do.

Shooting after shooting after shooting, a familiar pattern has emerged. Lawmakers offer thoughts and prayers. The President voices support for some form of gun control. And then he talks to the NRA, and then he ends up backing down.

And this time, it appears we're skipping ahead and getting straight to the part where we do nothing because, apparently, there's nothing we can do. This is what the President said just today.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

[18:35:05] 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: So at the federal level, background checks seem to be off the table. But what about at a state level, especially considering four of the nation's deadliest mass shootings have happened right here in Texas? And today, the Texas Governor, Greg Abbott, seemed to address that.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GOV. GREG ABBOTT (R), TEXAS: Now, in the aftermath of this shooting and the unique aspects of this shooting, we must broaden our efforts to address the tragedy that has befallen Odessa. And we must do so quickly.

We need solutions that will keep guns out of the hands of criminals like the killer here in Odessa while also ensuring that we safeguard Second Amendment rights. And we must do it fast.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BALDWIN: So would that include banning assault weapons like the one used here in Odessa, and Midland, Texas, as well as in El Paso earlier this month and Sutherland Springs here in Texas two years ago? Listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The shooting that you just mentioned -- Garland, Sutherland Springs, El Paso, Odessa -- was an A.R. style rifle. Is it time to ban these kinds of weapons, yes or no, sir?

ABBOTT: This is the kind of thing that, like, senators are already talking about. It's one of the topics that was raised during the round table discussions that we had in El Paso. I do want to point out, however --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (INAUDIBLE).

ABBOTT: I was going to say I do want to point out, however, that some of the shootings have not involved A.R.s.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BALDWIN: So let me show us what you, the American people, support. Basically, everyone supports universal background checks. Eight in 10 support requiring a license to purchase a gun, eight in 10 support a red flag law, and more than half support a ban on assault weapons.

With us now, former Deputy Director of the FBI, Andrew McCabe.

Andy McCabe, a pleasure, sir. Welcome.

ANDREW MCCABE, FORMER DEPUTY DIRECTOR, FEDERAL BUREAU OF INVESTIGATION: Thanks for having me, Brooke.

BALDWIN: So the President this morning said, you know, background checks would not have prevented this shooting. He said it wouldn't have prevented multiple shootings in recent years.

We know this gunman in Odessa had misdemeanor charges for trespassing, evading arrest. Would those factors have prevented him from buying a weapon here in Texas?

MCCABE: Well, not necessarily. And I don't want to get out ahead of the FBI background check folks who will, at some point, issue a conclusive finding on that, but, basically, the Brady Law, which lays out the prohibitors that prevent people from owning or purchasing or -- you know, possessing firearms, one of those prohibitors is a conviction for a felony offense. Or if you're under indictment for a felony offense, you cannot transfer the purchase of a -- of a firearm.

So if this person's convictions were only for misdemeanors, it would likely not have excluded him from getting a handgun. However, there is an exception to that. If you have a conviction for a misdemeanor related to a domestic violence incident, that could be a prohibiting factor in a gun purchase.

BALDWIN: Got it. You were, of course, part of the FBI for more than two decades, working your way all the way up to Deputy Director. You know, we are the only nation in the world that seems to have this problem over and over and over again. What -- just what -- what do you think we can do, we should do, to stop this?

MCCABE: Well, Brooke, there are probably many things that we need to do as a society to address this unremitting tragedy that we seem to be experiencing on such a regular basis. One of the things that we could do is to strengthen the background check process.

As you indicated at the front end of your report, a majority of Americans support what they describe as universal background checks. And that is a great idea.

What we have right now is far from universal. The FBI spends an enormous amount of time and resources and effort to conduct the background checks that they do.

But right now, the FBI processes those background checks only for about 30 of the states. The remainder of the states have different levels of participation, and some do it entirely on their own. The Bureau is under enormous pressure to keep up with an extraordinary volume.

[18:39:53] In 2018, the FBI processed 20 -- over 28 million background checks, 13-1/2 million or so were for firearms purchases. So that is just an outrageously high volume of material to stay in front of.

BALDWIN: Yes.

MCCABE: And it's a number that's been growing year after year.

BALDWIN: All right, so background checks. What about -- how about just here in Odessa and Midland?

We know the FBI was executing several search warrants. We understand one of them may be connected to this gunman's home. Certainly, searching a digital footprint, I imagine, but you tell me. I mean, take us behind the scenes. What are -- what are these guys and gals looking for?

MCCABE: Yes, sure. So the first thing that the FBI is doing to assist local law enforcement right now is helping to process these crime scenes.

And, of course, in Midland and Odessa, you have multiple places where shots were fired, people were injured and killed, so each one of those locations has to be thoroughly processed to collect all the relevant evidence. That is something that our evidence response teams, I'm sure, are helping with.

On the kind of quieter side of the investigation, investigators are piecing together every aspect of this person's life. First, to find out if there is anyone else that he was working with, anyone else who might be planning to stage a follow-on attack or a copycat attack. We want to protect people first.

But second, to understand why this person did what he did. So they will be --

BALDWIN: Yes.

MCCABE: They are executing those search warrants. They'll be looking through all of his property, talking to all of his family, all of his associates.

And most importantly, looking for every communications facility, as we talk about them in the bureau. So that's telephone numbers, e-mail addresses, social media accounts. And then serving legal paper on each one of those accounts to pull in as much of his communications as you possibly can to really develop an understanding of what he was thinking, what he was saying, and who he was communicating with.

BALDWIN: Got it. Andy McCabe, thank you so much for your expertise, your insight in this pattern of tragedy that continues here in America. I appreciate you very much.

MCCABE: Thanks, Brooke.

BALDWIN: Still ahead here on CNN, we are going to continue this story, this senseless carnage. A man who is just standing off-camera is going to talk to me about how he was just sitting in his truck outside a Starbucks yesterday afternoon with his three-week-old baby daughter as the shooter opened fire. What he did, what he saw, you don't want to miss this.

Plus, more on our other breaking story. This hour, Hurricane Dorian is an incredibly dangerous Category 5 heading in the direction of Florida. Any moment now, the Florida Governor, Ron DeSantis, will give an update at the state's emergency operations center, so we'll bring that to you live.

You're watching a CNN special coverage. I'm Brooke Baldwin here in west Texas.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[18:46:41] BALDWIN: Twenty-four hours later, west Texas is struggling to come to terms with what exactly happened this time yesterday. A routine afternoon traffic stop with some state troopers exploded into rampage as an armed gunman fired at random from his car while racing from Midland to Odessa, Texas.

And when it was over, seven people had died and more than 20 people were injured, including several members of law enforcement and this 17-month-old little girl who was shot in the face as she was in her mom's car during that attack.

And we know the shooter was a 36-year-old man. We don't know yet the why, what caused him to do this, and if he had actually planned what happened. But we're hearing all of these stories of folks in this community running towards, you know, these victims to try to help them out, and Dustin Fawcett was part of that.

And it's so nice to meet you. Thank you so much for being on here with me.

DUSTIN FAWCETT, EYEWITNESS TO THE ODESSA, TEXAS MASS SHOOTING: Well, thanks for coming out here. Thank you.

BALDWIN: I mean, you have a 3-week-old little girl.

FAWCETT: Yes.

BALDWIN: I'm sure you are exhausted, made a run to Starbucks with her.

FAWCETT: Yes.

BALDWIN: Maybe to release mom for a second yesterday.

FAWCETT: Yes.

BALDWIN: And start there. You're in your truck in the parking lot, and what did you see?

FAWCETT: Right. So first thing, we were in the parking lot and then out of nowhere, began hearing loud noises, which isn't all too, you know, uncommon out here in oil the industry. You hear loud trucks backfiring and stuff like that. And so that was somewhat first instinct, but it was repetitive and

very loud. And I -- you know, I'm a hunter and I know a gunshot noise.

BALDWIN: Yes.

FAWCETT: But still, loud noises, you're kind of immune to it out here. Then you hear -- heard, you know, six, seven, eight, and then it continued. And no one -- you never know how many actually happened. You know, you're not counting bullets.

BALDWIN: But you knew.

FAWCETT: But I knew, and the alerts and the senses kind of were all heightened. And first thing, you know, I ducked first, and then I go back there to check on my daughter who was in my -- who was in my back seat in her car seat. We were OK.

And then, I looked out to make sure everybody around us at Starbucks was OK. There's a fellow who had hit the ground. Later to find out, he was a bronze medal recipient veteran, and he recognized, too. And he was of the ones that also went over there to check on the folks.

And after kind of realizing what had happened, I go out --

BALDWIN: So, hang on, can I pause?

FAWCETT: Sure.

BALDWIN: So Starbucks is on this main drag?

FAWCETT: Yes, yes.

BALDWIN: And this guy, the shooter, was in his car -- I don't know if, at this point, he was in the mail truck which he high jacked.

FAWCETT: Right.

BALDWIN: Bottom line, he is shooting, you hear the shots. And so, there's all this traffic --

FAWCETT: Correct, so --

BALDWIN: -- adjacent to where you were.

FAWCETT: Yes, yes. So immediately behind us, less than 40, 50 yards is where 42nd Street is and JBS, our most busy intersection in Odessa actually. And the light was red, and so there's all these cars backed up. And it's, you know, multiple lanes, four lanes. And so, I guess --

BALDWIN: Sitting ducks.

FAWCETT: So sitting ducks, exactly, precisely. So he came in and was shooting, and that's what all the noise is. And then I get out and I see, as soon as the gunshots are going -- well, maybe not the safest thing, but I see and I see multiple cars, you know, all splitting, you know, getting out of dodge and, you know, going all to different directions.

And that's when I see the three vehicles that, you know --

BALDWIN: Weren't moving.

FAWCETT: -- weren't moving. Everybody else had gone either with the green light or to get out of there.

BALDWIN: Yes.

FAWCETT: And those three were sitting there. And that's when I saw the first one with the spider-webbed passenger -- passenger --

BALDWIN: Windshield?

FAWCETT: -- windshield or window was shattered. And that's when -- that was the first confirmation that this was a shooting. And then there's another truck in the middle then the -- behind that was the red SUV. And that's where I saw the mother getting out with --

[18:50:00] BALDWIN: You saw --

FAWCETT: -- baby Anderson. Yes and --

BALDWIN: Baby Anderson?

FAWCETT: And that's -- talk about hitting home, you know? This is -- it was pretty surreal to see -- seeing the blood coming from her face and mouth and kind of on her hands.

I had hoped maybe it was just the, you know, shatter from the glass that had gotten her, or maybe just in a traffic accident, something had gotten her, why she was bleeding. You always hope that she's not shot, but the --

BALDWIN: Yes.

FAWCETT: The way the -- her mother was consoling her and the way she was reacting, you could tell it wasn't quite critical that a bullet had hit her, but --

BALDWIN: I cannot imagine that.

FAWCETT: Yes.

BALDWIN: Hang with me, Dustin. We've got the Mayor -- excuse me, the Governor of Florida speaking right now.

FAWCETT: OK.

BALDWIN: Hang with me.

FAWCETT: Absolutely.

BALDWIN: Let's listen to him on this hurricane, and we'll come back.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

GOV. RON DESANTIS (R), FLORIDA: -- 75 miles east of Palm Beach and moving to the west at five miles per hour. We are continuing to make all necessary precautions and urging people out in the state of Florida to make their preparations, heed evacuation orders.

Now, this storm has tracked further west, slightly but still further west than we had hoped. I mean, we were -- hoped that it would err on the eastern side of that track. It's erred a little bit closer to the Florida coast.

The storm has slowed down, but we do need it to slow down just a little bit more to ensure, when it turns north, that it's not impacting directly the Florida coast. And we cannot say that that is not a possibility, and so I think it's important that we prepare for this to potentially make landfall here.

I held a conference call with members of the Florida legislature, with all the county emergency management directors. The good news is we work great with the counties. We're all working together.

My wife, the first lady, put out a public service announcement this afternoon with important message for people to listen to their local authorities and have an evacuation plan ready. If you are ordered to evacuate, you know, safety comes first, and you don't want to mess with the storm that is going at 185 miles per hour. And her PSA is posted on social media.

So we now have -- we've seen a significant increase in watches and warnings. A hurricane warning is in effect for Palm Beach, Martin, Saint Lucie, Indian River, and Brevard counties. And a storm surge warning is in effect for those counties. A hurricane watch is in effect for Volusia County and so is a storm surge watch.

Now, there will absolutely be additional hurricane warnings and watches all the way up to the Georgia border on the east coast of Florida, so you can -- you could pretty much set your clock to that. And you could see tropical-storm-force winds arriving on Florida's Treasure Coast as early as late tonight.

And, of course, you have storm surge in places like Jupiter Inlet forecast to be between four and seven feet. There's a number of evacuation orders that have been issued. Volusia County, Indian River County, Duval County, Nassau County, and St. Johns County -- they've all issued new orders today. And of course, mountain -- Martin, Palm Beach, Brevard, Saint Lucie had issued orders already.

We also have a number of counties that have issued voluntary evacuation orders -- Osceola Glades, Hendry, Okeechobee, Highland.

If you are in an area that has flooded in prior hurricanes and you're given a voluntary evacuation order, you really need to seriously consider heeding that and evacuating. You know, when the water gets high, there's not a whole lot you can do about that. And given the uncertainty of the storm, it's better to err on the side of safety.

The Coast Guard is beginning to lock down some movable bridges to marine traffic. But to be clear, these bridges are still open to motorists. And, of course, if there's any changes to that, you know, we're going to -- we'll announce that.

Palm Beach International will cease all commercial air service beginning tomorrow. And Orlando Melbourne International plans to close on Monday evening.

We're monitoring every road in the state, FDOT, and the traffic has not been abnormal. In fact, I think the nonhurricane-related traffic has probably been less than we would typically have on a Labor Day weekend. And we obviously will make accommodations to make sure that those subject to evacuation orders are able to evacuate as efficiently as possible.

By tonight, the Florida National Guard will have 4,500 soldiers and airmen activated and ready to respond. They have 15 rotor-wing helicopters available. An additional 24 had been offered from regional National Guard locations, and the active Army component has pre-positioned 40 additional helicopters near our state border to respond if needed.

[18:54:53] And so, you know, we are taking this storm and the potential impacts on Florida very seriously. You know, I hope that we watch it track over the next 24 hours and see that the threat to Florida has diminished. But we are not banking on that at all, and we are preparing for a significant event.

And with that, I can take a couple questions.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Governor, can you answer, with all the counties that have done mandatory evacuations in -- on the barrier islands and coastal areas, why are we seeing so little traffic on our major highways?

DESANTIS: Well, I think part of it is the traffic overall. This is not the typical Labor Day weekend, given that you had hurricane -- hurricane news going on really for several days now. Probably even at the beginning of the week, I think we were starting to look at this. And so, I think that probably impacted the natural traffic.

And I also think that if you look at, say, Palm Beach County, those evacuation zones A and B, that's a high percentage of seasonal residents. A lot of those folks on that coast are not necessarily staying in Florida in August and September.

And so -- but I think that folks have been willing to take steps to prepare. I mean, you saw people lining up for gas. You saw water flying off the shelves. And, you know, people have been through this drill before, so sometimes there can be --

(END VIDEOTAPE)

CABRERA: OK. We are going to continue to monitor this press conference for you with the Governor of Florida preparing for Hurricane Dorian. A number of hurricane warnings, storm surge warnings currently impacting about a half dozen coastal counties in that state.

And already, we know Hurricane Dorian is just pounding large parts of the Bahamas, setting its sights on the eastern coast of Florida and beyond. We'll take you live to the Bahamas next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)