Return to Transcripts main page

NEW DAY SUNDAY

Five Dead, 21 Injured in Texas Mass Shooting; Dorian is Starting to Make Landfall in the Northern Bahamas; Texas Shooter Targeted Shoppers and Vehicles at Shopping Centers; Dorian is Starting to Make Landfall in the Northern Bahamas. Aired 7-8a ET

Aired September 1, 2019 - 07:00   ET

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


[07:00:04] It's now too dangerous to leave. There's simply no escaping Dorian.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

(MUSIC)

ANNOUNCER: This is NEW DAY WEEKEND with Victor Blackwell and Christi Paul.

VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN ANCHOR: Hurricane Dorian is making landfall in the northern Bahamas right now. Heavy rain, severe winds are being felt in the Abaco islands and it may get worse as the storm is expected to linger over the Bahamas for at least 24 hours.

Dorian's path to the U.S. has shifted slightly to the west. And that brings parts of Florida back into that cone uncertainty. Tropical storm warnings are currently in effect for parts of south Florida, including West Palm Beach, and tropical force winds will be felt along Florida's coast within 24 hours.

CHRISTI PAUL, CNN ANCHOR: And we're watching the breaking news out of Texas. The FBI now involved in the investigation of at least five people who were killed and 21 others injured in a mass shooting, after a traffic stop. This was yesterday afternoon in Midland, Texas. It was a rampage that ended when police shot and killed the gunman in a movie theater parking lot, which is what you're watching right there. Police say the shooter was a male, a white male in his 30s.

And we want to start there in Texas. The shooting rampage that we say started with a traffic stop between the cities of Midland and Odessa. We're talking about a 20 mile stretch now of investigation that the FBI and authorities have to cover.

BLACKWELL: So, here's what we know. So after shooting a state trooper during a traffic stop, investigators say the suspect drove down the highway, randomly shooting other victims, according to authorities he then stole the mail truck, killed it's driver before being cornered by police and then killed in that shoot-out in the mall parking lot.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Oh my god. He's fixing to shoot.

(EXPLETIVE DELETED)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Oh my god. Cody (ph), are you down?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Are they shooting that man right there?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I don't know, I can't see.

Oh, my god. That looks like a mail thing. Oh my.

(EXPLETIVE DELETE)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They definitely neutralized the target.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This is crazy. Somebody is on the ground.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BLACKWELL: CNN's Ed Lavandera is joining us now from outside of the police station there in Odessa, Texas.

Investigators say they have identified that shooter. Have not released the name and have not released a motive. Have they indicated at least when they may release at least the name of the shooter and why they're holding it for now?

ED LAVANDERA, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: We don't have any indication on that, only that it is a white male in his 30s. This is a crime scene that is spread out over many parts of the cities here of Odessa and Midland, and it's very evident as you drive around town. You can see pockets of small individual crime scenes where presumably bullet fragments and bullets were fired off into these areas as authorities described this gunman was simply driving around the area randomly shooting at people from his car.

Obviously, it was a wild and surreal scene here that it lead investigators and law enforcement here West Texas to urge people to get off the roads to protect themselves and those warnings went out for several hours on Saturday afternoon.

One woman came face to face with the gunman and in an emotional way, she described what that was like for her.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SHAUNA SAXTON, WITNESS: We had a pop, pop, pop. But it was loud and you could feel the percussion, is that what it's called? And I said to Dan, I'm like, is that -- did that car just backfire?

And he was confused because it didn't really sound like a car backfiring and right -- oh, god.

[07:05:06] OK, I looked over my shoulder to the left, and the gold car pulled up and the man was there and he had a very large gun and it was pointing at me, and in that moment, the only thing that I could think about was driving away really fast but there were two cars in front of me. I started honking my horn. I started swerving just trying to -- we got a little ahead of him and then for whatever reason the cars in front of us parted a little bit and I made my way away from the gold car, and right when I did that I heard three more pops, three more shots right there.

The thing is if I had not looked over my shoulder, I wouldn't have seen it and I wouldn't have reacted. And --

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LAVANDERA: The panic and emotion evident as you listen to her speaking about what it was like.

Victor and Christi, in the end, five dead, nearly two dozen injured. One of the dead includes a public school student here in Odessa and one of the injured, a 17-month-old child who we are told was airlifted to a hospital in Lubbock, Texas, north of here, and is in satisfactory condition -- Victor and Christi.

PAUL: Good to hear that much, at least. Ed Lavandera, thank you.

And just from listening to her, you can see that when you think about it, it's just been four weeks since the El Paso shooting.

BLACKWELL: Yes.

PAUL: This community in Texas as a whole is carrying a lot on their shoulders.

BLACKWELL: And we're hearing from eyewitnesses who were just shocked about what they saw.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The shooter was pulled over on the interstate by a DPS officer. That's when he shot the officer and took off and started shooting randomly and everything happened after that.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Just driving around normal day. And then I get to hear gun shots, at least 10 shots. I got one on my door and one went through, ricochet right here to my wrists. Can't get it out here. It's a piece of metal.

That's where my legs normally are when I'm driving. I'm just thankful that both shots have missed me. That's all I'm thankful for. That's all I got to say, man. That's all I'm thankful for that all I got is a scratch with a metal piece me, and that's it, instead of a bullet hole.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Anybody that hears the sound of my voice, you need to grasp on to your loved ones and hold on to them and you need to pray for this town and all the towns and the families and the victims involved. You need to hold on to them because this is a scary incident and nobody is guaranteed tomorrow, and if you are here and you can hear my voice, please take a minute to stop and give your thoughts and your prayers to all the families and victims of this tragic incident.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We just kept our microphones on so we can get you up to date because this is not something that we thought would ever happen here.

There are more officers with guns here. I just saw them. I saw three deputies coming by with guns drawn so we don't know if perhaps someone is in here. This is very active here in the mall, so I'm going to keep here.

Let's see. I'm being told there is more information on the Midland Facebook. Let me go back to the Midland Police Department Facebook. Bear with me because we're trying to get all the details we can.

Uh-oh. OK, we're going to disappear. Hang on. We're going to keep our mikes on so we can keep you up to date. We're told to get out of here.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Noticed a lady on the ground in front of a car, a gold car. The window was broken out. I thought maybe she had been run over, so I put my car in park and I jumped out thinking maybe she needed CPR or something when I had walked up to her she was already gone.

So that's when I got -- I started walking to my car and the people that were huddled crying told me to get in my car and go home because there was an active shooter still on the street.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BLACKWELL: With us, Josh Campbell, former FBI supervisory special agent and law enforcement analyst here with CNN.

Josh, god morning to you.

Let me start here. Of course, the question, why? People wanted an answer to that. But when the suspect has been killed and there will be no prosecution, is there any less urgency for investigators to get that answer?

JOSH CAMPBELL, CNN LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: There isn't and I would argue that with the subject deceased that makes law enforcement's job that much harder. We were working our sources, I talked to someone yesterday, last night, that they're in Texas, familiar with the investigation has said that they were working last night to try to get a search warrant associated with the residence of the shooter.

[07:10:09] They have positively identified him. Authorities know who this is. That was one thing we were working to determine yesterday, whether there was someone who had identification on him, or whether that was still unknown.

We are told that he is identified. They are working to search a residence, and that's important because they want to get to not only the motivation but they want to rule out whether anyone else may have been involved in this. And to your question, that gets to the question of timing. Again, time is of the essence.

I think the fact that they have not yet released a name tells us that authorities are confident and they know who the person is, otherwise, we'd see them appealing to the public trying to gather information to get to who this person was, the motivation and the like. That said, we can't expect and we're just seeing from some of our colleagues were reporting here that probably about three hours, there's going to be a press conference from local officials where we can expect more information. But until that point, we'll have authorities continuing to dig into this person not only physically, digitally, but also relationally. They want to talk to anyone who knew this person again to try to create what happened here.

PAUL: My first question was going to be about the possibility of a second shooter that's still out there but the other thing is when you think about the fact that this guy was shooting he was firing and he was hitting people while he was driving. What does that tell you about the kind of experience this guy had? And I'm assuming that would also lead to possibly gun ranges and other places they might be able to garner more information about him.

CAMPBELL: Yes, there's a lot we don't know about him. But what we can tell, and just looking at what transpires, that this appears to be someone who certainly knew how to manipulate a firearm. And one interesting part about the motivation, again, we don't know yet know what transpired.

I've heard people talking across the spectrum that maybe this was yet another domestic terrorist. We've seen this -- you know, other people saying that maybe someone who went out that day trying to target law enforcement. I don't think any of that is helpful because right now, we simply do not know.

It appears that this happened in response to a traffic stop, with someone who simply didn't want to be taken into custody. Did he have a criminal history? Was he wanted? You know, an arrest warrant? That will all be part of that investigation.

But to your point, that he's fleeing, he's now causing violence here in this community and whether he started shooting people in order to, again, district law enforcement, who would then, you know, presumably wanted to render aid, we simply do not know. That last moment, a very chilling video that you showed where you had vehicle careening into a police officer, that appears to be the last moments of that shooting.

But until that happened, again, so much chaos and yet another tragedy brought to an American community by someone with a gun.

BLACKWELL: Well, Josh let's go to that question there because there were 65 people killed in mass shootings in America in August. That's according to the gun violence archive that keeps those numbers. There were five killed in a mass shooting. A single one in Texas yesterday but there were five people killed in other mass shootings in Chicago and Philadelphia and Charlotte yesterday.

We ask this question in a political context and rightfully so. But I want to ask from a law enforcement perspective, what at least reduces this, ends this? Politics aside, is there something that makes this less likely?

CAMPBELL: Yes, absolutely. The common denominator is a firearm. There are different motivations. You have people that range across the spectrum, from those who are filled with hate, to mental illness. But again, the common denominator is that weapon.

And we see this like clock work, Victor. You and I were just there in El Paso on the scene, covering that shooting.

BLACKWELL: Yes.

CAMPBELL: And in the immediate aftermath, you have folks that come out and say, well, it's too soon to talk about this. You're being political. Well, when is it OK to talk about it? You tell us that, because the common denominator is access to the firearm.

And I would submit that I think what these people bank on, those who want to say we can't talk about the weapon that was used to kill people, they bank on the fact that people will get distracted and then move on. But yet, we come back to the next one.

And the next thing, you know, I heard a local official there in Texas saying, well, you know, Texans have come together before and we will come together again.

BLACKWELL: Yes.

CAMPBELL: I don't know how they do it with a straight face because, again, yes, they're coming together at funeral homes. They're coming together to bury their own without actually addressing their problem.

BLACKWELL: Yes, you have to consider, people say now it's not the time. If you have four mass shootings, high profile in a single month, you don't have enough time between them for whatever specific time they're talking about.

Josh Campbell, thank you so much.

CAMPBELL: Thanks.

PAUL: We now have some evidence that Hurricane Dorian is making landfall in the northern Bahamas.

BLACKWELL: Just moments ago, we got this video from Abaco Island, Bahamas. You can see the rough surf and winds picking up here. That water doing more than lapping up on to the shore. Outer bands of hurricane Dorian are coming on to the shore.

Let's go to meteorologist Allison Chinchar in the CNN weather center -- Allison.

ALLISON CHINCHAR, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Yes, those conditions are just going to deteriorate all throughout the day as well as into Monday because the system is going to slow down, which means all of these heavy rain bands, the strong winds, lightning, all of this stuff is going to continue to impact the islands in the Bahamas over the next 24 to 48 hours.

[07:15:04] Now, Freeport remains right now, but it won't be for long as the system continues to make its way off to the west. That was looking at the Bahamas Meteorology Department's live radar. Here you can see, look at that incredible eyewall as it continues to move west at eight miles per hour. It is still a very strong category storm right now.

The track still wants to continue to the west. The track has now since pushed a little bit farther west. We now include a little bit more of Florida than we have in past runs.

But we do know that it will shift north. It will. The question has always been when, because when we find out the when, then we can determine whether or not there will be a true landfall in Florida or will it just skirt up the East Coast? Maybe head to North Carolina, South Carolina or potentially making even a landfall across Georgia?

The one to note though is any of these areas along the East Coast are going to have impacts. You will still have storm surge. You will still have very strong tropical storm force winds. You're still going to have incredibly heavy rain up and down these areas.

We have tropical storm warnings, Victor and Christi, for portions of the East Coast of Florida, and it's very likely, you could see these expand up to the coast. We just need to get a little bit closer to the landfall point to try to determine when the storm starts to veer to the north.

But for now, places like West Palm Beach, Vero Beach, some of the northern suburbs of Miami are in those tropical storm warnings.

BLACKWELL: Allison Chinchar, thanks for watching it for us.

CHINCHAR: Thanks.

PAUL: And Allison she was telling us some of these wind gusts are 185 miles per hour, the gusts are. We're going to take you to Freeport on the other side of the break.

Stay close.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

PAUL: We have been talking about it for days and it is happening now. Hurricane Dorian making landfall in the Bahamas. Again, this is a massive category four storm, sustained winds are up to 150 miles per hour but there are gusts up to 185.

[07:20:07] BLACKWELL: So preparing for those strong winds they spent Saturday filling sandbags to protect their homes, boarding up windows.

Officials say if residents in evacuation areas are staying in their homes, they're now on their own. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DEIRDRE FOX, EXECUTIVE SECRETARY, LONG ISLAND BAHAMAS: Some refuse to leave but we made it clear to them if this come in as a category 4. There's only a window of opportunity of assistance. The police will not be coming for you in the middle of a hurricane. You will have to hunker down. If your head is hard and stubborn and you will not move, you'll have to hunker down after a stubborn time because nobody will be rendering assistance to you.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BLACKWELL: Now, CNN international correspondent Patrick Oppmann is in Freeport.

Patrick, that wind has picked up just a bit since our last conversation about 45 minutes ago.

PATRICK OPPMANN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, there was absolutely no wind then. It was that, you know, eerie, still calm before the storm. And you can feel things getting going now.

We have been told to expect tropical storm force winds to begin in maybe an hour or so and then full on hurricane force winds by this evening. It's hitting about 80 miles. About 80 miles to the east of us right now in Abaco island, and it is expected to progress to Freeport, to the island of Grand Bahama, where we are.

But very, very slowly, and that doesn't maybe ring a bell with people when we're talking about slow hurricane. That sounds like a good thing. It's actually a very bad thing because we have a hurricane this powerful moving this slow, it means it's going to hang out over us for 24 hours or perhaps longer, and that gives it more time to inflict absolute crippling devastation to smashing windows, to great storm surge, and to just wreak more havoc on a place which is a very low lying island, and the highest point on this island is only 30 feet.

So when you hear about a storm surge that could top 15 feet, we're talking about an event that's going to submerge great part of this island under water for perhaps hours. That is incredibly dangerous. That's why Bahamian authorities have actually begged people to get out of the low lying areas to find refuge. But at this point, the shelters, we're told, are going to close last night.

So, as you said, if people have not evacuated, not followed the warnings, they are on their own right now.

PAUL: Good heavens. Patrick Oppmann in Freeport, Bahamas -- you and the crew take good care of each other and yourselves there. We want you to be all right as well. Thank you.

Coming up in about 15 minutes, we're going to go live to Abaco Islands, Bahamas, and that's where Hurricane Dorian is really beginning to be felt right now. We're also, of course, staying on top of the developments in West

Texas. The scene of a mass shooting where five people were killed and at least 20 others injured.

BLACKWELL: We're going to hear from some of the drivers who went scrambling to dodge the bullets.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[07:26:57] BLACKWELL: All right. More on the breaking news out of West Texas. Investigators are, I mean, they're combing through a 20- mile stretch of highway for evidence in this deadly mass shooting.

PAUL: Yes, five people were killed and at least 21 others were injured including a child under the age of 2.

Journalist Melisa Raney has for us.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There's a shooting going on in Odessa, Texas.

(GUNFIRE)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There's shooting right there.

MELISA RANEY, CNN REPORTER (voice-over): Panic in West Texas as a gunman terrorized two cities on Saturday.

(GUNFIRE)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Down, down, down.

RANEY: Cars with bullet holes show the path of destruction left in Midland and Odessa.

Officials in Midland say a gunman was driving around shopping centers shooting from his car.

MAYOR JERRY MORALES, MIDLAND, TEXAS: This has all been happening very fast. It was very -- it was all in movement, and between Midland and Odessa, there's about 20 miles difference.

RANEY: People scramble to hide from the shooter, unsure of where he might be headed.

Anchors from KOSA in Midland, abandoned their post on live TV in the chaos.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Running through the mall right now.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We're not sure what is going on right now.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We probably need to go.

RANEY: Authorities say the shooters changed cars at one point, stealing a U.S. Postal Service truck, adding to the confusion in the manhunt.

After nearly two tense hours, police killed the shooter outside of a movie theater between Midland and Odessa. Among the nearly two dozen injured, three law enforcement officers.

Officials haven't released the gunman's name, only saying he's a white male in his 30s.

Vice President Pence says the White House is offering full support for Texas.

MIKE PENCE, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The president spoke to the attorney. FBI is already assisting local law enforcement in the investigation going forward. But we'll continue to monitor those events, but the president is fully engaged.

I'm Melisa Raney, reporting.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

PAUL: Former assistant secretary at the Department of Homeland Security and CNN national security analyst Juliette Kayyem with us.

Juliette, it's so good to have you with us.

You know, Josh Campbell and James Gagliano, two law enforcement analysts as well, earlier this morning both mentioned that there is still some determination that needs to be made as to whether there was a second shooter.

How do they start to try to figure that out from this point on and decipher if this is a man who's working alone or if he was in concert with someone else?

JULIETTE KAYYEM, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: Well, there's two issues here. One is, at the moment it was happening, was there a second shooter? I think just from eyewitness reports, it's becoming clear that because he was in two different cars, that a lot of people probably thought there were two different shooters. They'll be able to parse through those eyewitness accounts and determine essentially it was one shooter.

You also have to imagine that the first responders and the officials in Texas are unlikely to say the all clear if they thought there was a second shooter. That is different than the issue of, was he acting alone? Where there people who knew that he was going to do this?

This is a very interesting, unique case, I guess they all are, in the sense that he appears to have been pulled over for a traffic violation making the left turn or right turn incorrectly and then it launches into a mass shooting event.

[07:30:06] That's pretty rare. I mean, you know, police officers get shot when they pull over sometimes, but the rampage that we saw after shows someone that had not only strong desire to get away from law enforcement, but also a desire to make a point. BLACKWELL: We should prepare people for the possibility that we won't get the answer to the questions. We never got an answer to the question of the motive in the Las Vegas shooting, with more than 50 people killed but --

KAYYEM: Or even -- yes, or even Ohio.

BLACKWELL: Yes, that's true.

CHRISTI PAUL, CNN ANCHOR: Dayton.

KAYYEM: Yes.

BLACKWELL: But to this point, the question of was this premeditated, I mean, this suspect has been killed to have that much ammunition and to be -- I'm trying to understand still driving and if it's a semiautomatic, you know, assault rifle, controlling that while controlling the car was there something rigged in the car to be able to do this? What do you make of the amount of ammunition and being able to drive and shoot that type of weapon at the same time?

KAYYEM: Exactly. And to have the weapon available at the moment that you're pulled over, right? It's not in the backseat. It's not in the trunk.

So, premeditation is interesting because it's not just based on my experience, it's not just necessarily just a moment, right? In other words, you're on or off.

What clearly happened is he gets pulled over and is making a determination of how he gets away from the police officers. What we don't know at this stage is to what extent was the violence after? A statement based on some ideology, which we will determine a statement based on, and I just have to say this, you know, drug use, alcoholism, you know, these kind of incidences are often generated by high intensity drugs or something else like that.

Or was it a person that thought I'm going to go out this way, right? And sometimes it's hard to believe that people can act that way, but we have seen it so many times and that's why, you know, not simply looking at motivation but looking at the means is important because his capacity to shoot that many people with a rifle while driving is because of the capacity of the gun that he was using.

BLACKWELL: All right. Juliette Kayyem, always good to have you help understand all of this.

KAYYEM: Thank you.

PAUL: Thank you.

So, do stay with us because we're going to take you live to the Abaco Island in the Bahamas, now talking to a reporter on an island that starting to feel the first winds, rain, of this monster storm.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) [07:35:48] BLACKWELL: Hurricane Dorian is over the Bahamas right now, pounding the region with heavy winds and rain.

Let's start with meteorologist Allison Chinchar in the CNN Weather Center.

We're about 25 minutes out from the next advisory, but what do we know? What are we seeing with this storm?

ALLISON CHINCHAR, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Right. So the big focus is how conditions are quickly deteriorating over portions of the Bahamas. Winds are sustained at 150 miles per hour, but when you zoom in here, look at how close the outer bands are getting into places like Marsh Harbor, even Nassau, and eventually, they'll be pushing into Freeport.

One of the biggest concerns for the Bahamas is going to be the storm surge. About 15 to 20 feet for this area you see here located in pink. Keep in mind the elevation in many of the Bahamian islands is not very high.

Rainfall is going to be a major factor. Where you see the purple color, you're talking 10 to 20 inches of rain. The white color is anything above 20 inches. That could be 20, 22, 25.

The models have a really hard time going much higher than that. Just know that on that area just to the north and east of Freeport, it could see 20 to 25 inches of rain, guys, before the storm finally makes its way out.

PAUL: Good heavens. All right, Allison. Thank you so much.

BLACKWELL: Let's go to Theo Sealy. He's a reporter with Eyewitness News in the Bahamas there.

Theo, you're out of vehicle showing us what's happening there. What are you seeing? What are you feeling?

THEO SEALY, EYEWITNESS NEWS BAHAMAS REPORTER: Good morning again, Victor and Christi.

Right now, the weather continues to deteriorate in Central Abaco. As you can see behind me here at the Abaco beach report, you can see the coconut trees just bending in the background behind me.

On our way from there earlier, we would have expected to see persons on the road, but everyone is hunkered down. It is typical Bahamian style that when a hurricane is approaching persons want to go out and see the storm just before it makes a massive impact, but I can tell you that everyone is hunkered down and they're in their homes with wooden and metal shutters.

The only person we saw on the street were the police officers doing their final rounds to make sure that everyone was staying safe as Hurricane Dorian approaches this island.

PAUL: So, Theo, how many of these storms have you lived through and I'm wondering how you might feel differently about this one being that it's not only a category four but it's supposed to stall over the island as well.

SEALY: Well, definitely, I am no stranger to hurricane being an islander by birth. I've been through Hurricane Andrew, Hurricane Floyd, both hurricanes Francis and James, but this is actually my first time experiencing on one of our family islands. If you have familiar with Bahamas, you know that we have 700 islands and cays. I'm originally from the capital which is Nassau on New Providence, but today, I'm stationed on Abaco.

And this is going to be a ferocious storm. Abaco gets flooded even when it rains sometimes on the island. So, when we're talking about the rain from the north to the south, we're talking about 10 to 20 inches of rain in addition to storm surge. As you can see behind me, I'm positioned right on the waterfront and when this tide begins to come in, coupled with the 20 inches of rain, it's going to be quite the sight to see.

BLACKWELL: So, you said that you didn't see many people on the road, only police. You saw the shutters, how has the national emergency management prepared for this season for this storm? How has the government gotten ready for this?

SEALY: Well, definitely, hurricane season begins June 1st and goes all the way to November. We started to get the alert from the National Emergency Management Agency as well as the Meteorological Department in New Providence as soon as the hurricane season started on July 1st. Now, as this storm was nearing the country, media advisories were sent out on an hourly basis and the most recent one at 6:00 a.m. this morning.

Government kicked into high gear with the prime minister issuing national addresses for the past three days urging persons that live both in Abaco where I'm stationed and the city of Grand Bahamas to seek shelter. So, government as well as the national emergency management, as well as others, including the Bahamas Red Cross, the Royal Bahamas Defense Force, the police force.

[07:40:04] All of these stakeholders have come together for a massive effort to ensure that there's no loss of life during this unfortunate time as this category 4 storm continues to strengthen in the Atlantic and barrels through the Bahamas.

PAUL: Some people might be looking at the Bahamas and think if you do want to go to higher ground, where do you go? Have officials created a shelter that is in an area that is possibly buffeted more?

SEALY: Oh, that's a good question. Throughout it, it's sectioned in three sections, North Abaco, Central Abaco, and South Abaco. And there are at least four shelters located on high ground, within those, our constituencies on the island, of course, can seek help. So, a lot of shelters are really churches in these communities or local schools.

We visited a local school around 9:00 last night and we spoke with a representative from the Bahamas Red Cross and (INAUDIBLE) town all-age school, and they told us that at least 180 persons had already signed up to stay at the shelter as of last night. That shelter has the capacity of 1,500.

So these shelters which are located between North and South Abaco can accommodate between 30 persons to 1,500 persons all located on higher ground which means that persons will be able to have a safe haven during this category 4 storm.

PAUL: All right. We're glad to at least hear that.

Theo Sealy, thank you so much for your great reporting today and helping us understand what is going on there. You just make sure that you are safe. We certainly hope that for you and everybody there.

SEALY: Thank you very much. Thank you.

BLACKWELL: So, let's talk about the latest forecast. Dorian has the hurricane scraping the East Coast. We'll check in with our crews in Florida and South Carolina about how the states, those communities are wrapping up those last minute preps.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[07:46:06] PAUL: Well, this morning, authorities are spread out over a massive crime scene. Five people were killed. At least 21 others injured in this shooting rampage that went on for a 20-mile stretch between Odessa and Midland.

Authorities say the shooting spree began when the traffic stopped -- a man was stopped for a traffic violation and ended with the gunman dead outside of the studio, the movie theater.

BLACKWELL: So authorities have not revealed a motive for yesterday's shooting. Maybe they don't know it. They have not said but we're seeing renewed calls for lawmakers across the country and in Texas to do something about the spread of gun violence across the country.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

KEL SELIGER, TEXAS STATE SENATE: The problems we had today weren't simply caused by the presence of guns in our community. It's why the governor has empanelled a commission on public safety to look at situations like this and answer questions. What are the root causes and how can we address them long before violent incidences like the one that happened today.

As a gun owner, I find it easy enough to buy and own guns of every prescription. I don't know that that's necessarily the answer but we need to understand all the options and all the things that we need to do to address situations like this.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

PAUL: The other big story that we're watching is what you see on your screen. Hurricane Dorian putting more of Florida's east coast in the hurricane's forecast cone now. It's moved west according to the latest statistics and that storm is going to end where, that's still a question mark.

Time, though is running out to prepare. We have tropical storm force winds that are set to start making impacts within the next 24 hours.

BLACKWELL: Now, CNN's Nick Valencia is in Indialantic, Florida, where businesses and homes have been boarded up.

The beach there in the Atlantic is deserted. I'm sure authorities are happy about that. Tell us, the people that live there. Not just the tourists but the locals have gotten out of town too.

NICK VALENCIA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: You know, not just yet. I just spoke to a local resident a little while ago, and, you know, she was walking along the beach here with her husband, Victor. And she says, even if there is a mandatory evacuation they're going to stick this out. They stick out every storm.

And I think when you look at just this gorgeous scene behind me, the inclination is to let your guard down and that's exactly what the Brevard County sheriff's office and other local and state emergency management officials don't want you to do.

We were showing you earlier, you know, just last hour, that this motel here off the beach was boarded up, you have condos and residences. They've got storm shutters. But it was a little while ago we saw a light on in there. It's clear that some people are still staying out, still sticking this out.

There's a chance, a scenario, according to the National Hurricane Center, that this could still possibly land in the Florida area although the storm is tracking east of Florida, it's come closer to the coast. There's a scenario that it could come even closer but as it stands, driving around the community, there's some businesses, some residents that have taken precautions.

Other residents here, long time Floridians especially, they're just kind of shrugging their shoulders. They know this storm track could change but as of right now they're not that concerned, certainly not the concern that we saw earlier in the week when we thought that this storm had the possibility of making landfall Sunday night and into early Monday morning. Officials, though, saying, you've got to keep your guard up, guys -- Victor and Christi.

BLACKWELL: Yes, very little clarity about where this storm is headed. Nick Valencia for us there along the beach in Indialantic, thank you so much.

PAUL: You know where else it could hit, South Carolina. That's one of the big concerns now, as it could get some flooding there.

[07:50:01] CNN's Leyla Santiago, she's in Charleston, South Carolina. Yesterday, she was in Miami. She's been all over the place, just like the track of this storm has been as well.

LEYLA SANTIAGO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Right.

PAUL: The Carolinas just came into play really seriously yesterday.

So, what are people there saying? Are they prepared for this?

SANTIAGO: Well, we're actually just 10 minutes away from when Charleston will activate its emergency operations center. That was announced yesterday after the city council had a conference call. The mayor said that's the plan for now.

They have several pumps in areas that are low lying, flooding always an issue here in Charleston. So, that is the big concern. The hotel where we are, they already have flood panels up. I want you to listen to, though, to one woman was talking about the preparations of it all.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We have noticed some people are starting to buy water. The traffic in the grocery store has picked up a good bit. I believe my husband bought some water this morning and said it looked like they were already raiding the shelves. So I think we bought 10 gallons. But we will need it for the rest of the season.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SANTIAGO: So it's kind of an attitude right now of enough time for things to change in terms of the track of Dorian, but also enough to get ready. So, you are seeing folks get out to the stores, just like the woman talking about water. For the most part, the stores I've seen seem to be well-stocked.

But even the mayor is saying -- make sure you pay attention here. I want to read the quote from him. He says, the mayor saying: While the exact path of Hurricane Dorian is still subject to change, this is a large, powerful storm, and we need to prepare for the worst, even as we hope for the best.

Something I have heard echoed by mayors throughout the East Coast.

BLACKWELL: Certainly. Leyla Santiago for us there -- thank you, Leyla.

Now, firefighters in Italy, they had to rush to the rescue when an elevator got stuck and the person trapped inside, the pope.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[07:55:30] BLACKWELL: The 8:00 update on Hurricane Dorian has just come on. Let's go to Allison Chinchar with the latest.

What did you learn?

CHINCHAR: Yes, unfortunately, not good news. It is now a category five storm, winds have increased up to 160 miles per hour, horrible timing given that we are starting to see the impacts of landfall already across portions of the Bahamas, those outer bands having impacted these islands for the last six to 12 hours. The eye has also gotten bigger as it has pushed further to the west. Here's a look at what we know. The hurricane hunters were able to fly in and take some measurements. Look at some of these wind measurements we have. We are getting sustained winds and gusts up around that 160 to 185-mile-per-hour range, which is why we have started to see the increase in the strength of category.

The track, however, guys, is planning to continue west for the next 24 hours.

PAUL: Allison, thank you so much. Everybody, take good care of yourselves.

You can follow the latest developments on Hurricane Dorian, as well as one of other top story, the Texas mass shooting in our website, CNN.com.

BLACKWELL: "INSIDE POLITICS" with Manu Raju is up after a quick break.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[08:00:00]