Return to Transcripts main page

CNN NEWSROOM

Category 5 Hurricane Makes Landfall In The Bahamas; Florida Sheriff: "We Are Within 20 Miles Of An Apocalyptic Hurricane"; South Carolina, Florida, Georgia, North Carolina Brace As Hurricane Dorian Lurks Off Coast; Seven Victims Dead, Gunman Also Killed In Texas Shooting Rampage; Actor And Comedian Kevin Hart Has Been Hospitalized With Major Back Injuries Following A Car Crash This Morning. Aired 7- 8p ET

Aired September 1, 2019 - 19:00   ET

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


[19:00:14] ANA CABRERA, CNN HOST: You're live in the CNN NEWSROOM. I'm Ana Cabrera in New York, and we are covering the very latest developments of Hurricane Dorian.

BROOKE BALDWIN, CNN HOST: And I'm Brooke Baldwin live here in Odessa, Texas, the scene of the latest mass shooting here in America that has left 22 injured, including members of law enforcement, a little toddler, and seven people have died.

CABRERA: We'll talk to you soon, Brooke. In the meantime, this monster hurricane, bigger and more intense every hour, has now made landfall and is doing major damage as a destructive Category 5 storm.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: -- why the person out there (ph).

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: (INAUDIBLE) out there.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes. They're coming here now.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CABRERA: Look closely there. That is a flipped over vehicle just outside those -- that house, that person's window.

This is Hurricane Dorian. This is what it's already doing there in the Bahamas -- flipping cars, tearing off roofs -- the first landmass it's hitting on its way to the East Coast of the United States.

Hurricane warnings are now in effect up and down the Atlantic Coast of Florida. Mandatory evacuation orders already issued for several communities, or will go into effect in the coming hours.

Dorian is now a Category 5 hurricane, the most intense storm measurable, with wind gusts over 220 miles per hour. The National Hurricane Center confirms this is now the most powerful storm to ever make landfall in the Bahamas, and officials there are desperately urging people to stay indoors.

CNN's Patrick Oppmann is in the Bahamas for us. Rosa Flores is in Daytona Beach, Florida, where they are anxiously watching which direction this massive and powerful storm decides to go next. And meteorologist Tom Sater is in the CNN severe weather center. That's where we want to start.

Tom, sustained winds of 185 miles per hour, this is a monster. Gusts over 200 making matters even worse.

TOM SATER, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Yes.

CABRERA: We know this hurricane is moving very slowly.

SATER: You could -- you could outwalk it, really. In fact, it's even going to slow down to maybe two and a half miles per hour.

The sun is setting now. And I fear when the sun rises, parts of the Abaco Islands in the Bahamas will look like Puerto Rico. It will look like the U.S. and British Virgin Islands after Irma and Maria moved through those regions. Some of those islands, they had to take everybody off. It was uninhabited.

This has been a buzz saw through the entire area. We've had a couple of landfalls now. Well-defined eye. When the eye passed over its first initial landfall area, the winds died down, Ana, and they were able to get some heavy machinery in there to try to grab as many people that were meandering the streets in shock to get them out of the way before the back edge of the eye came through with more destructions.

Seventy miles now to the east of Freeport. Seventy thousand live in the Bahamas, 26,000 in Freeport, and they're already -- they're about 30 feet above sea level. Where it made landfall, it was only, like, 11, so they're inundated.

The trend in the last 24 hours -- if you haven't noticed this now, everything was trending away from the coastline. But in the last 24, it kind of moved back toward the coast.

I mean, we're talking the difference between 20, maybe 30 miles, the difference of some power outages and some light destruction, or death and billions and billions of dollars in damage. So, again, this stall down here means everything. It's going to happen in the next several hours.

It will probably stay near Freeport for 30 hours straight at Cat 5 status. Then, maybe just then, Ana, we'll be able to see high pressure, which has been steering this storm toward Florida, loosen its grip, slide away. And that could be just what we need to keep it away from Florida, but then what happens up in South and North Carolina?

So, again, it's a lot like Matthew but that caused some tremendous flooding for the Carolinas. A lot can still happen. It could still make landfall in Florida. We're not out of the woods on that just yet.

CABRERA: Yes, and that's what we heard from the Governor as well. He was saying, prepare for that to happen and heed those evacuation orders.

SATER: Right.

CABRERA: Tom Sater, thank you. We know you're going to continue to let us know if anything changes in that forecast.

Let's get to the Bahamas now where Hurricane Dorian has already made landfall. CNN's Patrick Oppmann is there in Freeport. That is where the hurricane is headed next.

Patrick, forecasters really have no good news for the people there. They say this storm could just park itself over the islands where you are for maybe 24 hours, possibly more. Are people ready to endure that?

PATRICK OPPMANN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: I don't -- I don't know how anybody could be ready. I'm practically not ready for that. I mean, we're talking about the most powerful storm that any of us have really ever seen, and that would just sit dumping rain, causing incredible damage. It is a nightmare storm.

[19:04:51] And another huge factor here is that so much of the Bahamas, much of the Bahamas, is incredibly low-lying. You have islands in this area that are just a few feet above sea level. We are on a slightly higher island, and yet the maximum piece of land is only 30 feet high, and yet we're talking about a storm surge of over 20 feet. The math just doesn't add up.

And we've already seen, in towns like Marsh Harbor on the island of Abaco, whole neighborhoods underwater. We've heard about whole communities being swept away, houses, and you just hope nobody was in those houses.

I just received an e-mail from a Bahamian government spokesman who said that there are no reported fatalities at this time. But, of course, there are so many areas where emergency responders have just not been able to respond, it will not be able to respond.

And here in Freeport, on the island of Great Abaco, we probably won't get help until the airport opens, and that could be days after the storm leaves us. So, you know, I talk about people being prepared, but how do you prepare for something like this?

And so many people who live in this region don't have the resources. We only found out that the storm was going to intensify in the last several days. Many people here over the years have ridden out storms and been OK. I don't see how anyone could ride this storm out and be OK. It is one for the history books.

CABRERA: Yes.

OPPMANN: And I think it's one that no one will ever forget here. The damage will be something people are dealing with for years after this storm leaves the shores of the Bahamas.

CABRERA: And as we get more images of what's happening there, we'll be sure to bring those to our viewers to give you a firsthand look of what is going on. Patrick, please stay safe.

As Hurricane Dorian lashes the Bahamas, Florida is bracing as this mammoth storm is set to start impacting that state as soon as tomorrow morning. That's when those of you in Florida could get those storm- force winds.

The hurricane stretches far and it's wide. And it's moving at a snail's pace, just about five miles per hour, meaning the dangerous rain, the winds, the storm surge, could continue in Florida for days. The Martin County Sheriff gave this dire warning.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SHERIFF WILLIAM SNYDER, MARTIN COUNTY, FLORIDA: We are within 20 miles of an apocalyptic hurricane coming ashore on the Treasure Coast. If it does what the models are predicting, we will be OK.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CABRERA: Within 20 miles of an apocalyptic hurricane, he says. CNN's Rosa Flores joins us now from Daytona Beach.

Rosa, the National Hurricane Center just issued a hurricane watch and a storm surge watch for parts of Daytona Beach. How are residents there bracing for this storm?

ROSA FLORES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, officials are letting people know that a mandatory evacuation will be issued tomorrow at 10:00 a.m. But I want to set the scene for you, Ana, because I'm live at the Daytona International Speedway, which is doubling as a processing center for the 18,000 men and women from 34 states and Canada who will eventually be restoring power to Floridians once this storm hits.

If you take a look closely, you'll see the different logos, you'll see the license plates. These people are from all over the place.

Now, here's how it works. They are processed, they are signed in here, they get a safety check, and then they're dispatched to 20 strategic areas around the state. Wherever there are power outages that -- then, they will be deployed from those 20 strategic areas to the impacted area.

Now, back here to Volusia County where I'm live, it's about the size of Rhode Island. And tomorrow at 10:00 a.m., officials tell us that they will issue a mandatory evacuation order for the barrier islands, anyone living in R.V. parks or mobile home parks, Ana. And officials say they don't have to wait for this evacuation order. If they want to leave, they can do so now -- Ana.

CABRERA: OK. Rosa Flores, thank you. We'll check back.

Now, the southeastern U.S. all along the coastline is bracing for what's to come. Let's talk about South Carolina where people are stacking sandbags and securing property. And with us now is the Mayor of Charleston, South Carolina, John Tecklenburg.

Mayor Tecklenburg, you pointed out earlier the power of this storm, already, is one for the history books. It's also grown larger or wider today. What are you anticipating there?

MAYOR JOHN TECKLENBURG, CHARLESTON, SOUTH CAROLINA: Thank you, Ana. As powerful as this storm is, we hope it diminishes as it heads north.

We are serious about this storm. We will have impacts to South Carolina, and so the city of Charleston has put in place our emergency operation personnel. And we're out there securing our property, asking our citizens to do -- to do the same and to take this seriously.

We have our storm-order crews out, clearing the lines and checking pumps and adding additional pumps. We'll be serving our citizens tomorrow with sandbags, and we'll be facilitating the Governor's just recent evacuation order which takes effect --

[19:10:02] CABRERA: Yes.

TECKLENBURG: -- tomorrow at noon in Charleston County.

CABRERA: OK, so people will start evacuating tomorrow. We know the Governor, McMaster, was part of President Trump's briefing today. What resources have you received at this point from the federal government?

TECKLENBURG: We've requested resources through our state emergency management division, including extra high-water rescue vehicles and teams in the event that they're needed. But over the next few days, we'll be facilitating as many people to leave as possible so we keep everyone safe.

CABRERA: We know the storm has been incredibly unpredictable. We've already seen the track shift a number of times this weekend. Is there any fear that, you know, people might wait a little too long to evacuate?

TECKLENBURG: Well, that's always the case, and we continue to urge people to take this storm seriously. We've all seen the tracks. This is a dangerous, powerful storm. And but for a little turn that they're predicting to the right, it could come straight to Charleston.

So, again, we're getting prepared. We're urging everyone, the old scout motto, to be prepared, get their property secured, and think about leaving town.

CABRERA: Mayor John Tecklenburg, thank you for taking the time, helping us, and you get the word out as well.

As Dorian inches toward the Florida coast, officials are urging people to take these warnings seriously. Remember, it was just last year that Hurricane Michael pummeled the Florida panhandle as a Category 5, wiping out parts of Panama City Beach and Mexico Beach.

Right now, parts of Florida are under mandatory evacuation orders as well. And because of that, Florida's Governor, Ron DeSantis, has suspended all the tolls on major highways to make it easier for people to get out. We're also seeing more school closings across the state, and people are making their way to shelters.

Joining us now is Vice Admiral Scott Buschman. He is the Atlantic Area Commander for the United States Coast Guard. Admiral, thanks for taking the time. As Dorian does get closer to Florida and the whole coastline there, what is your mindset as you anticipate the impact of this monster storm?

VICE ADMIRAL SCOTT BUSCHMAN, ATLANTIC AREA COMMANDER, UNITED STATES COAST GUARD: Our mindset -- thank you very much for having me. Our mindset is we want to be ready. We have been preparing for this storm for over a week now, and we want to make sure we're ready for any possibility.

For our local captain of ports, I've been working with the maritime industry to ensure our ports are open as long as possible to let commodities to flow in.

From a search and rescue standpoint, we're looking at our assets, our aircraft, our boats. We're getting that out of the immediate storm's path so they're protected but just close enough as possible to come in as quickly as possible to render assistance to anyone that may need it.

CABRERA: Now, do you have --

BUSCHMAN: In doing so --

CABRERA: Please continue.

BUSCHMAN: In these preparations, we are working very closely with the impacted states with FEMA, in direct support of the states and FEMA. Emergency preparedness and response, I call this a team sport and working -- we're working as a team here.

CABRERA: Absolutely important. But it is an unpredictable storm. We don't know when, exactly where, for how long it could hit. I think the only thing that has been predictable is its strength, 185 miles per hour wind -- sustained winds right now.

How do you manage all of that, given, you know, the trajectory may change, in terms of allocating resources?

BUSCHMAN: Ana, we're constantly looking at the storm and putting our resources where we need them. I'm the operational for the entire -- commander for the entire east coast of the United States, so I have all the assets at my disposal. I'm bringing in assets from other parts of the Coast Guard.

I got to tell you, this is an extremely powerful storm. There will be catastrophic winds, there will be a storm surge, there will be rain. And the local citizens, if they haven't finalized their preparations, they need to do so now. And they need to listen to their state and local emergency managers.

CABRERA: It was less than a year ago Hurricane Michael hit the Florida panhandle. What were some of the most important lessons you learned about preparing for a storm like this, and what should people do differently this time?

BUSCHMAN: I think the most important lesson is they need to understand what their preparations are. They need to complete those preparations, and they need to listen to their state and local emergency managers. They know what they're doing, and they have the citizens' best interests at heart.

CABRERA: Vice Admiral Scott Buschman, thank you, sir, and sending you all the best in the days ahead.

We have more breaking coverage just ahead here in the NEWSROOM. We'll continue to follow the track of Hurricane Dorian as we give you a live look there at Jacksonville Beach, Florida right now.

Again, the storm currently pummeling the Bahamas. The new hurricane warnings for parts of Florida's eastern coast, we'll give you more details on that.

[19:14:59] Plus, seven people killed in the latest mass shooting and still few answers as to why. We'll head back to Brooke Baldwin in Odessa, Texas, next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BALDWIN: Welcome back, special live coverage here in Odessa, Texas. I'm Brooke Baldwin. Thank you for being here. Still so many questions after this shooting 24 hours ago that has left seven dead, plus this gunman, plus 22 injured, including several members of law enforcement here in Texas and a 17-month-old toddler.

The chaos -- the bloody chaos played out, actually, in these two sister cities, Midland and Odessa, Texas. And it all started with a traffic stop when this gunman didn't even quite fully stop after he failed to signal, grabbed his rifle in the car, shot out his rear window, and shot toward these state troopers.

He then escaped in his car, continued shooting people for miles and miles and miles -- 15 total crime scenes here -- until he somehow managed to hijack a postal truck and killed the woman behind the wheel, who was apparently -- it was the end of her shift. And I want to name her, Mary Granados, 29 years of age.

Ryan Young is with me here in Odessa. And let's start with her.

RYAN YOUNG, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Please.

BALDWIN: She was on the phone with her twin sister when she was killed. [19:19:57] YOUNG: You know, we talked about this before, and I think

the way you sort of try to cover these as a journalist sometimes is put yourself in people's shoes. But when you see this story on CNN.com about these sisters being on the phone and having a conversation and then, all of a sudden, she hears her sister scream --

BALDWIN: My God.

YOUNG: -- she's thinking maybe she was attacked by a dog. But she was actually being carjacked. And so, her twin sister -- her name is Rosie and she talked to our dot com CNN, and they were just describing the fact that it was her sister that was carjacked.

And I -- and I think one of the things we haven't learned yet, we haven't learned all the names of the victims yet.

BALDWIN: Yes.

YOUNG: And a lot of -- a lot of information is being put out about the shooter, but when you think about this, this is about a community that's been terrorized. And, in fact, people have already started lining up to go to this vigil that's going to happen in a little while over there.

BALDWIN: Cars are storming the parking lot.

YOUNG: And so, you're going to have this community swelling of emotion that's going to come out. And we've been talking about it all day, people thinking like they've been victimized, so they thought there were two shooters. But to have that direct contact with your family member and not be able to help them, and then she got in the car and drove to where her sister was found, it's just -- it's heartbreaking.

BALDWIN: It is.

YOUNG: And when you hear all this, when you think about the fact the FBI is still investigating this case -- yes, we have learned more about the shooter, the fact that he was 36 years old. He was a registered truck driver apparently. He's been arrested before.

We still haven't found out all the bases about the gun and whether or not he purchased it legally, but listen to the FBI Special Agent talk about this investigation.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CHRISTOPHER COMBS, SPECIAL AGENT IN CHARGE OF THE SAN ANTONIO DIVISION, FEDERAL BUREAU OF INVESTIGATION: In the midst of a man driving down the highway shooting at people, local law enforcement and state troopers pursued him and stopped him from possibly going into a crowded movie theater and having another event of mass violence.

I think that's the story of law enforcement that should be conveyed, of how heroic the chief's men and women are. So I want to commend them on that. The FBI is here, as we are now, almost every other week, supporting

our state and local partners on an active shooter. We are now at every two weeks, almost every two weeks, an active shooter in this country.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BALDWIN: Wow.

YOUNG: That's tough to hear.

BALDWIN: Every two weeks.

YOUNG: And you think about it, we have some of the best in the business analyzing these shootings. And, of course, there are several things that sort of match up. It's almost always the same gun. It's almost always the same description. But this is different because you had someone driving around sort of inflicting terror over two communities.

And even today, to see the shockwaves from this, it will be interesting to see what the outpouring of support is here. But, obviously, the details are still being gathered at this point.

BALDWIN: Yes. Ryan, thank you so much for that.

YOUNG: Thank you.

BALDWIN: I'm glad we got the details --

YOUNG: Sure.

BALDWIN: -- thanks to CNN.com -- on this Postal worker, Mary Granados, and her twin sister hearing her screams. Horrendous.

Juliette Kayyem is joining me now. Thank you so much. Juliette's a former Assistant Secretary for the Homeland Security department.

And, Juliette, as I was just talking to Ryan, we actually just got some new information, that a neighbor tells CNN last -- that last month, the gunman threatened her with a rifle because she put trash in a dumpster.

She says that he would often shoot into his backyard from a structure on top of his house and go retrieve dead animals. She said that she called the police, and they didn't show up because his house was not on GPS. Again, this is all according to this neighbor, but your reaction to those new details.

JULIETTE KAYYEM, FORMER ASSISTANT SECRETARY OF HOMELAND SECURITY FOR INTERGOVERNMENTAL AFFAIRS: So I think that this is going to be inevitable at this stage. I was on earlier pretty critical of the local press conference with the Governor just because I think it's an opportunity to present facts for the public about who he is and what they know so far. So what we're going to probably start to hear is a story much more

complicated than this guy woke up one day and decided to shoot a bunch of people. They're always much more complicated than that story.

BALDWIN: Sure.

KAYYEM: How much interactions did he have with local law enforcement? How many times had he been approached? How many times had neighbors called about him? What are -- the questions surrounding his access to the gun, if he had a criminal record. And, of course, the use of the A.R. weapon.

I don't think we have a number yet, but the -- which is -- which is just now basically the mass murder weapon. There's just no other way to describe it, it's used in almost all of these cases. So that's where this investigation is going to go in terms of a determination of motivation and then also, what can we learn about missed clues.

BALDWIN: And, you know, you mentioned the A.R. rifle -- and, by the way, that didn't even come out in the press conference.

KAYYEM: Yes.

BALDWIN: They had to be asked about it for them to divulge the type of weapon that was used. And it's my understanding that here in Texas, you know -- and, again, we don't know if he obtained this, you know, weapon legally or not, but, you know, it is perfectly legal, it's my understanding, in Texas --

KAYYEM: Yes.

BALDWIN: -- to be, you know, driving around with a loaded weapon like this.

KAYYEM: Yes. In most cases -- I mean, it might depend on specific areas or where it is, but let's just say since today -- today's the 1st -- Texas is essentially the most permissive gun ownership gun -- gun state, right? I mean, in other words, everything from where guns can be in schools to having them in your cars, to carry -- open carry, all of those exist --

BALDWIN: Taking them to church.

[19:25:10] KAYYEM: Exactly, all of those exist in Texas. Which just raises the question that if it is true, as we often hear from critics of gun control, that more -- you know, people with guns stop bad people with guns, you would think Texas would be like nirvana, right? It would be like heaven.

And we're -- we don't have that. We have the -- I think four of the worst mass murders ever in the United States occurred in this single state.

BALDWIN: Yes. You know, I was talking to a Texas gun owner just for a while, actually, earlier, and he was saying to me -- he was actually an eyewitness, and he saw other people open carrying as he saw this whole thing go down.

KAYYEM: Yes.

BALDWIN: But you know -- and, obviously, there's good guys with guns, there's bad guys with guns. But, you know, he didn't -- folks with the guns didn't necessarily know where to shoot because it was a moving target.

KAYYEM: Right.

BALDWIN: And you just wouldn't want to -- it's just -- it's complicated. And then there's the issue --

KAYYEM: It is.

BALDWIN: There's the issue of background checks, right? This is -- this has been something that's come up a ton. President Trump was actually asked specifically about these universal background checks when he was speaking to members of the media at the White House earlier. This is what he said.

(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: Hmm. So he says background checks wouldn't have stopped it. You know, the shooters in El Paso and Dayton, Juliette, they bought their weapons legally.

KAYYEM: Right.

BALDWIN: Does the President have a point?

KAYYEM: The data's actually the opposite of what President Trump said. States with stronger background check laws have less gun violence and less criminal gun violence and fewer mass shootings. The data's just absolutely clear in that regard.

The data actually comes from the Department of Justice, so it's not made up by a proponent -- by gun control advocates. But the President does throw out this sort of mental health issue. It's often just a way for him --

BALDWIN: Yes. KAYYEM: -- I think to deflect from the question of two things related

to gun control, I guess I should say. There's the question of access, which is background checks. It is the, you know, red flag rules, whatever. And then there's the question of type, right? Do we just want a certain type of weapon taken off the street?

The President has a tendency to conflate the two, I think, to sort of confuse the issue. But there's -- you know, we can have a debate about access to those guns, but we also need to have a debate about the types of guns that are available, even lawfully. Do we need guns like this permissible in the states?

And I -- I'm just looking at the mass murder numbers, and I'm telling you, I find it hard to believe that the -- that the A.R. rifle is not contributing to the numbers that we're seeing in these mass shootings. It's the weapon of choice of these guys.

BALDWIN: This is the final week of the congressional recess. They are back to work next week.

KAYYEM: Yes.

BALDWIN: And let's keep these conversations front and center. Juliet Kayyem, you are the best. Thank you so much.

We are continuing -- in addition to covering this story here and the vigil that's going to happen a little later this evening, we're going to watch the dangerous Category 5 Hurricane Dorian. It is now pounding large parts of the Bahamas and setting its sight on -- sights on the eastern coast of Florida and beyond. We'll have the latest forecast for you just ahead.

[19:28:43]

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[19:32:23]

CABRERA: Think of worst-case scenario, this is a storm of storms. That's the dire warning from a Florida official as hurricane Dorian heads that way. It may look calm right now, you see those live images from Florida. Hollywood beach, Florida, right there, but just offshore is a high-end category five monster.

Right now we are talking sustained winds of 185 miles per hour and wind gusts of more than 200. Hurricane Dorian is the strongest storm on the planet this year. It's already pummeling the Bahamas. Watch this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is now my house. The water is up to my half. The kitchen. Stove.

(END VIDEO CLIP) CABRERA: Already the flooding as Dorian tears through buildings and dumps torrential rain on the islands. And now it is inching toward Florida.

With us is Dianne Gallagher in Jacksonville.

Dianne, the mayor there issued a state of emergency. What are officials telling residents?

DIANNE GALLAGHER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Ana, that state of emergency goes into effect at midnight. Eight hours later at 8:00 a.m. tomorrow, mandatory evacuations for zones "a" and "b" in Jacksonville take place. Naval station Mayport also issuing a mandatory evacuation tomorrow morning at 8:00. Tonight the beaches, Neptune beach, Atlantic beach, Jacksonville beach, all closed down.

The mayor at Jacksonville Beach says that in a couple of hours, they are likely going to in act a curfew and suspension of alcohol sales. They are trying to get the people in Jacksonville to take the storm seriously.

And I can tell you just in the past few moments we have had some bands of rain come by not related to the storm at all, not related to Dorian but people have been walking around. It is the first time since we have arrived in Jacksonville that I have actually heard people starting to take the storm a little bit seriously.

Starting to say, you know what, maybe we should get our act together, make sure we are prepared. Up until then the slow nature of this storm seemed to kind of have them jaded. That it wasn't going to happen here. And so local officials have tried very hard to implore them to be ready and then to get out of town.

The shelters open at 10: 00 tomorrow morning. The St. Joh river right here behind me has flooded downtown Jacksonville in the past hurricanes. I have been here covering a hurricane, for CNN, when that happened. The sand dunes as well were busted by yet another hurricane two years ago.

And so this is a community that, you know, they know how to deal with it but they have also experienced significant damage from these hurricanes. They're trying to make the human damage minimal here and make sure people don't get trapped because this storm was so slow and they did not expect it to affect them.

Now, again, as everybody has been saying we don't really know what the storm is going to do and how significant it's going to be. But here in northeastern Florida, Ana, they don't want to take any chances. They want people to be safe and they don't want to go out rescuing people because they say they didn't have enough time to get out. So there's plenty of time. That mandatory evacuation kicking in tomorrow morning for "a" and "b."

[19:35:28] CABRERA: And we know the latest track shows the storm moving closer to that coast. And we just heard from the governor at the top of the hour they cannot rule out this hurricane making landfall.

Dianne Gallagher, thank you for keeping us posted on all things there.

As Florida prepares for what's to come, the Bahamas is already bearing the brunt of this powerful hurricane seeing sustained winds of 185 miles an hour. It's like off the Richter for a cat five. The gusts are over 220 miles per hour. We will take you live to the Bahamas next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[19:39:35] CABRERA: It is still a category five hurricane. And before it moves closer to the eastern U.S., Dorian is lashing the Bahamas. These are the winds of 185 miles per hour with gusts measuring much stronger than that. It is the most powerful hurricane ever to hit the Bahamas.

And CNN's Patrick Oppmann is there for us in Freeport right now which is yet to see the brunt of the storm. It's making its way closer to Patrick.

We just heard that officials there are about to cut off water service on some islands, Patrick? What are people being told to do?

[19:40:10] OPPMANN: On this island, we actually just spent the last several hours filling all the sinks. And luckily where we're staying there's a very big bathtub. So that's where our water reservoir will be. But other people have a much harder time because they may not have gotten word.

Ana, it's harder to imagine a worse storm in a worse place. This is a nightmare storm. It's a very powerful slow-moving storm over incredibly low-lying islands. So the storm lose any power as it goes over the Bahamas. It will stay over the Bahamas where we are starting tomorrow for perhaps as long as 24 hours.

And just think about this, Ana, there's a storm surge, expected, predicted of about 20 feet. Well, the highest point on this island is 30 feet. Come this time tomorrow, most of the island where I'm standing will be under water, Ana.

CABRERA: Unbelievable. And we are just hearing from the Bahamian prime minister saying we are facing a hurricane that we have never seen in the Bahamas, please pray for us.

Patrick Oppmann, we will be thinking of you. We'll be checking back here in the next hour.

There will be a vigil for the seven victims gunned down in yet another senseless mass shooting here in America. Brooke Baldwin is live in west Texas and will speak to the mayor of midland, next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[19:45:24] BALDWIN: Welcome back. I'm Brooke Baldwin live in Odessa, Texas. And, you know, I have been standing here for the last four hours and

this parking lot is really filling up here as people are showing up for those lives lost and those injured and those who just want to help. There's a vigil that's beginning in about 15 minutes from now.

What's happened in the last 24 hours is 22 people were wounded including members of law enforcement and a little toddler and seven people have been killed in this mass shooting rampage.

Little girl's name who happened to be driving with her mom who was driving along in the car, little girl was shot in her face. She has got shrapnel in her chest. She is undergoing surgery tomorrow. And according to the governor who spoke about her earlier today, he said via text the funny thing about toddlers is they just want to continue to play despite all of this that's happened to this little girl, Anderson.

As for the gunman, he was killed in the shootout. Ultimately with police outside of a movie theater just around the corner from where I'm standing. Police say you can only imagine what he planned to do there. We won't mention the shooter's name but I will tell you he is a 36-year-old white male with a criminal history.

And with me now, the mayor of midland, Texas, sister city to Odessa here, this is mayor Jerry Morales.

Mr. Mayor, thank you so much. This must be so hard for you.

MAYOR JERRY MORALES, MIDLAND, TEXAS: Yes, no, it's horrible. It's a horrible feeling. And, you know, it's going to take a little while to shake this feeling off. Never imagined it would hit in our communities. And we kind of, you know, are out here in the middle of nowhere.

BALDWIN: You just were talking about oil --

MORALES: Yes. It's oil and gas. We are the largest producer of the oil in America and the world and we have been talking about that for six years.

BALDWIN: And now this.

MORALES: And then you have this idiot that came in here and put a lot of pain in our cities.

BALDWIN: This vigil begins in 15 minutes and I know you're opening the whole thing. What's your message to these communities?

MORALES: Yes, of course, it's the mayor of Odessa and I will be talking to our citizens and saying, hey, we are resilient, we will come together. We are being lifted up in prayers by the whole world. These ones that we lost, our friends, our family members, that we lost, they won't be forgotten. And we will continue to raise them up in prayer and so to let them know we're going to stand strong and that we are strong people, that we're being loved and we're being touched. BALDWIN: You know, I do need to ask, people here, you know, they are

owed some answers. They want -- they may never know but they would like to understand why. Right? And so with the news conference, you were there earlier today where law enforcement only gave out so much information.

MORALES: That's right.

BALDWIN: And I talked to a number of former FBI, former police commissioner, today, many people very critical of the lack of information. They didn't divulge what kind of weapon was used until asked, you know. We don't know if the shooter purchased this gun legally, illegally. Out of respect for the law enforcement, I understand they're doing their jobs and can't divulge everything.

MORALES: That's right.

BALDWIN: But --

MORALES: You're right, it's frustrating. It is frustrating because you are so angry. You are so hurt and your heart's broken and when you lost a loved one, you want answers immediately. But when somebody like this person came out of nowhere, gets in a vehicle, just starts shooting at will, it's hard to understand why and what was the reasoning and what kind of weapon it was.

BALDWIN: Just the information --

MORALES: But you just want the facts asap and we just couldn't get it because it happened so fast.

BALDWIN: Mr. Mayor, I'm going to let you go.

MORALES: Thank you.

BALDWIN: You got a vigil to open. I appreciate you very much.

MORALES: Thank you.

BALDWIN: For everything. For being with me. And, of course, we're going to continue following this.

MORALES: Yes.

BALDWIN: We will be at the vigil.

The other breaking story this hour, hurricane Dorian lashing the Bahamas as a strong category five hurricane. Sustained winds of 185 miles per hour and gusts over 200 miles per hour.

Ana Cabrera has the very latest next on CNN.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[19:52:51] CABRERA: Officials are telling residents to get out. Mandatory evacuations have been issued for parts of Florida and South Carolina as hurricane Dorian takes aim at the U.S. mainland. Now already, the Bahamas are 50 miles offshore are being tortured by this gigantic slow moving storm.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We need help. Please, someone please come help us.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CABRERA: The storm that caused this is set to bring dangerous rain, wind and storm surge to the southeastern U.S. Meaning, officials have no choice but to tell residents to leave now while they still can. But for some, leaving is not an option.

I want to bring in Anthony Zorbaugh, the executive director of the Source Homeless Ministry.

And Anthony, I know you are are dealing with a vulnerable population. How are you preparing for Dorian?

ANTHONY ZORBAUGH, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, THE SOURCE HOMELESS MINISTRY: Well, we are buttoned up. We got the hurricane shutters buttoned up. We got homeless individuals, the information to get to the nearest shelters. This is going to be a storm of catastrophic proportions.

CABRERA: Talk to me about the challenges in making sure people who are homeless stay safe.

ZORBAUGH: Sure. It's not only just homeless individuals, there's over 55,000 households in our county and over 51 percent of every resident in our community is one emergency away from being on the street. And come the next 24 hours, this is that emergency. I'm sorry.

CABRERA: So when you tell me about, you know, it's not just the homeless you help serve but others less fortunate and they need assistance, what kind of need are you anticipating, especially after this storm arrives?

ZORBAUGH: Sure. So the Source, we provide life saving services every single day to individuals in our community. We provide three meals a day. We provide showers. We provide laundry services. We provide all of the essential services in our community so individuals can stay afloat in our community. But one of the biggest challenges that we are going to have after this storm is when individuals are focusing on rebuilding the community, we solely rely on the community for support. So we are going to need help on a national level to help sustain our community.

[19:55:19] CABRERA: And are you confident that all the people who are homeless in your community have a safe place to get out of the storm way?

ZORBAUGH: Yes, ma'am. Yes. We have an amazing team of individuals that work at the Source. We have an amazing team of volunteers. We truly couldn't do that without them. We have been, over the last week, just preparing individuals to get to the nearest Red Cross centers. They open up schools in our local community for people to get to. We have been diligent with making sure that individuals have the necessary stuff to get there.

CABRERA: OK, Anthony, really appreciate you taking the time. Thanks for the work you do.

ZORBAUGH: Thank you so much. And again, we are going to need support all over the country. They can help us at iamthesource.org.

CABRERA: OK. Thanks again.

We also have some developing news on the west coast. Actor and comedian Kevin Hart has been hospitalized with major back injuries following a car crash this morning. The incident report says Hart's friend was driving his 1970 Plymouth barracuda when he lost control of the car, went off the road and then rolled down an embankment.

Apparently, the damage was about enough the two of the three passengers were trapped inside the vehicle. The reporter says Hart left the scene to go get medical attention. So it does not appear he was one of those trapped. We will update you on his condition just as soon as we learn more.

And we will be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)