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Hurricane Dorian Claims Five People In Bahamas; Texas Faces Another Mass Shooting; Mandatory Evacuations Implemented In Florida; Catastrophic Hurricane Dorian Lingers Over Bahamas; President Trump Plays Golf After Canceling Trip To Poland; Texas Gunman Was On A Long Spiral Down. Aired 10-11p ET
Aired September 2, 2019 - 22:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: The news continues on this very busy Labor Day. Let's turn things over to Don Lemon and "CNN TONIGHT."
And I know, Don, you're going to be covering what it looks like a slow rolling disaster in the Bahamas. That's incredible how long it's been just sitting there.
DON LEMON, CNN HOST: And you know slow rolling is that worse than something that comes through very quickly. Because it just sits there and there's more water and more wind and the longer it stays there's more damage --
LEMON: -- and the likelihood of lives being lost.
COOPER: Yes. It's, yes, it's unbelievable. And President Trump didn't know it there's a --
LEMON: Category five.
COOPER: -- category five.
LEMON: Maybe he should watch some of the footage from Katrina.
COOPER: Or read the briefing.
LEMON: Read a briefing. I can't put my finger on it, there's something different about you but I don't know. You look different.
COOPER: I haven't shaved. It will be gone by tomorrow. Trust me. Late flight.
LEMON: I didn't want to say anything.
COOPER: Yes, I know.
LEMON: It looks -- (CROSSTALK)
COOPER: Brian (Ph) said I looked like I dipped my chin in sugar or something.
LEMON: Yes. I just thought listen, you were the razor broke. Maybe you had a power outage, you know, as you just came through the storm.
COOPER: I do. You know, have you ever been on vacation? It's nice not to shave on vacation.
LEMON: Yes, I know.
COOPER: There's nothing better. And you think maybe I can rock this. And then you realize, no. You can't do it.
LEMON: I looked up when I got in the building. I said, what is -- OK, I'll ask him when I see him.
Thanks, Anderson. I'll see you soon.
COOPER: All right.
LEMON: It is busy, as you said. It looks good. Keep it. Rock it.
This is CNN TONIGHT. I'm Don Lemon.
And here's our breaking news right now. There are at least five people who are confirmed dead as Hurricane Dorian, a massive category five storm, now it was a five. It slammed the Bahamas and threatens the U.S. with its deadly fury.
Prime minister of the Bahamas speaking tonight calling the storm a historic tragedy. And saying this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HUBERT MINNIS, BAHAMIAN PRIME MINISTER: The initial reports from Abaco is devastation, is unprecedented and extensive. They are deeply worrying. The images and videos we are seeing are heartbreaking.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: They are heartbreaking as Dorian pounds the Bahamas. People are stranded across the islands. That as millions of people across three states in our southeast they are under mandatory evacuation orders right now with watches and warnings from Florida all the way to South Carolina.
The hurricane center warning of what could be life threatening storm surges, dangerous hurricane force winds. It's still not clear if, you know, where Dorian might make landfall in the United States. But even if the center of that storm does not hit land, it still threatens to be extremely destructive.
As we have been saying all along here, this is a dangerously unpredictable storm. And if you're anywhere in the storm zone or anywhere near it, you got to take this hurricane very, very seriously. No one is out of the woods yet. So, pay close attention to the forecast. Your life could depend on it.
We're going to have the very latest throughout the next two hours and all night long here on CNN for you with our correspondents. They're all across the storm zone and they are covering this. And we have every single second for you. You're not going to miss anything.
And with Hurricane Dorian threatening, the president who said, you know, he cancelled his trip to Poland to concentrate on the storm. Well, he went golfing on Saturday and then again today at his own Trump national golf course in Virginia, of course.
Today's visit the 227th day that he spent at one of his golf clubs since taking the oath of office. Now to be fair, though, he also attended a FEMA briefing on the hurricane yesterday while the storm was still a category five. Saying this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: I'm not sure I have ever heard of a category five. I knew it existed and I've seen some category four. As you know you don't see them that much. But a category five is something that I don't know that I have even heard the term. Other than I know it's there.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: Never heard of the category five, huh? Well, that is not exactly true. There have been four such storms since this president took office. And he sure heard about those.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: It actually hit the Keys with a, it was a category five. I never even knew a category five existed.
So, we've never seen it actually touch down as a category five. People have never seen anything like that.
But then they got hit dead center. If you look at those maps by a category five, nobody has ever heard of a five hitting land.
I've just come from a stop at Tyndall Air Force Base where I saw the devastating effects of that category five hurricane, category five.
TRUMP: I've never heard about category five before. Category five is big stuff.
(END VIDEO CLIP) LEMON: Come on, people. Never heard of a category five? The president
as you might expect also spent a lot of time tweeting this weekend, a lot. Today was an especially busy Twitter day. The president re- tweeting the National Hurricane Center which is fair enough.
But also touting the economy, and attacking his political enemies including former FBI director James Comey and the four congresswomen of color known as the squad.
That, as Texas and the nation mourn the latest victims of gun violence in this country. Seven people dead. Shot by a stranger with what police describe as an assault weapon.
The gunman, Seth Ator, shooting at Texas troopers who pulled him over at a traffic stop Saturday afternoon then randomly gunning down residents and drivers from Midland, Texas to Odessa about 20 miles away.
There's no indication that he knew anything at all about any of the people he killed, his targets. But we're learning more about them tonight, the dead, a 15-year-old girl whose identity has not been released; also 40-year-old Joe Griffith; 29-year-old Mary Granados, a postal worker who was on the phone with her sister when she was shot; 25-year-old Edwin Peregrino; 57-year-old Rodolfo Rudy Arco, a grandfather; Kameron Brown, a 30-year-old army veteran; and 35-year- old Raul Garcia.
Twenty-three people wounded including a 17-month-old girl, Anderson Davis whose parents say she's expected to make a full recovery.
Police say the shooter was fired Saturday morning and made multiple calls to law enforcement. They describe as, quote, "rambling statements" about some of the atrocities that he felt he had gone through, the FBI special agent in charge saying this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CHRISTOPHER COMBS, SPECIAL AGENT IN CHARGE, FBI: I want to clear. He showed up to work in a very distressed mental state. So, it's not because he got fired. Right? This did not happen because he was fired which other active shooters have occurred. When he showed up to work, he was already enraged.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: Police confronting the gunman in a movie theater parking lot and killing him in a shootout. So, here we are again, where we have been far, far too many times before in this country, an enraged shooter mowing down strangers, mowing them down at random, at will. And able to do it just because he's got a gun. A gun he was somehow able to get even though he failed a background check.
Yet the president said this just yesterday on the White House lawn.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: Always you say as bad as it was it could have been worse.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: And this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: This really hasn't changed anything. We're doing a package. And we'll see what it all how it comes about. It's coming about right now. And a lot of people are talking about it. And that's irrespective of what happened yesterday in Texas.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: Well, this president seems to be more interested in telling us what won't work rather than doing something to protect innocent people from the next shooter.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: 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 the background checks, they wouldn't have stopped any of it. So, it's a big problem. It's a mental problem.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: There was a brief ray of hope in the days after the shootings in El Paso and Dayton. Shootings that killed 31 people just last month. At first, the president said he was for background checks.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: Well, I'm looking to do background checks. I think background checks are important.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: But it didn't take long to resort to spouting NRA talking points.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: We have very, very strong background checks right now. And I have to tell you that it is a mental problem. And I have said it 100 times, it's not the gun that pulls the trigger. It's the person that pulls the trigger.
A lot of the people that put me where I am, are strong believers in the Second Amendment. And I am also. And we have to be very careful about that. You know, they call it the slippery slope. And all of a sudden everything gets taken away. We're not going to let that happen.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
[22:09:58] LEMON: So, what is the White House looking to do? The administration
putting together a package that would include legislation to expedite the death penalty for people found guilty of mass killings. Which wouldn't have changed a thing in this case since the gunman was killed by police.
And that legislation is unlikely to include expanding background checks, where we've been far, far too many times before in this country. The question is do we have the will to do something about it? When will we?
A lot to get to tonight including Hurricane Dorian expected to move dangerously close to Florida. Our meteorologist Tom Sater is tracking the storm in a CNN weather center for us.
Tom, good evening to you. What is the latest forecast?
TOM SATER, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Well, it looks like it's going to stall for maybe another 12 hours. Don, this thing has moved 1,700 miles getting to a category five, of course, and now, in the last 24 hours, it's only moved half way across Grand Bahama Island. That's 105 miles just to the east of West Palm. I think at its closest destination should be near Cape Canaveral, maybe 40 miles off the coast. But the hurricane-force winds extend outward 45.
So that will put it on the coastline. Tropical storm-force winds extend 140. So, we'll definitely going to see that into the peninsula. And then there could still be a landfall in the U.S. That could be into the Carolinas but that's several days away.
four to seven-foot surge. Rainfall. We're getting the bands; we may even see a tornado watch by morning for half of Florida. But this little orange line is starting to kind of thin now. Instead of being inland with hurricane winds maybe 20 miles, maybe only 10. But still that's enough that we could see some scattered power outages in the day ahead.
We're still waiting for this thing to move northward. But this is what we have been waiting for, Don, as we broaden out. High pressure to the north has been sending this toward Florida. That area of high pressure is now weakening. So, it's not moving at all.
But take a look at this little light color here, this little kind of a yellow green. That is a trough that's coming across the Southeastern U.S. And when it gets closer to the storm, that should help lift the storm system --
LEMON: And push it up.
SATER: -- up to the north.
SATER: I mean, we're waiting on that.
LEMON: Well, that was my question to you that I've been all weekend I've been watching this. I've been glued to the coverage here. And I've been watching saying, what happens if it doesn't turn north?
LEMON: So, is there a possibility that it doesn't turn north? Because if it doesn't, man, man, Florida is in for it.
SATER: Yes. Don, think about this. I mean, 15, 20 years ago if you said we had a category five or four, just 100 miles off the coast of Florida. Everyone would evacuate. But we're relying everything now on numbers and mathematical equations and algorithms.
I mean, the National Hurricane Center is busy. They're monitoring five other systems right now. I do believe though these models are correct because it's all about the steering currents right now.
LEMON: Got it.
SATER: But again, it's been wobbling. It's bad enough to have a category five. But like you said at the beginning of the show with Anderson when they sit like this, utter destruction. I can't believe what we're probably going to see in the days ahead with this just pounding on this curve, the coastline, probably changing the entire coast, mass casualties.
LEMON: Yes. My goodness.
SATER: Unfortunately. But we're not out of this just yet.
LEMON: Tom, I need you to standby. Thank you for that. We'll be getting back to you and the rest of our experts who are out there tracking this hurricane.
Millions of people under mandatory evacuation orders from Florida to South Carolina as this deadly monster storm continues to pound the Bahamas. We're going to go there live. That's next.
LEMON: Hurricane Dorian unleashing howling winds and a destructive storm surge in the Bahamas. At least five people are confirmed dead amid fears that number will rise. The storm has been pummeling the islands for two days now, crawling across at a devastating pace, a very slow pace.
Structures are completely obliterated. Dorian has punch now, starting to lash the Florida coast.
CNN is covering the storm across Florida and in the Bahamas. I want to start with our Patrick Oppmann. Patrick is in Freeport on Grand Bahama Island.
Patrick, hello to you. I've been seeing you getting really battered around from the rain and the wind. Tell us what's going on in the Bahamas. Dorian has already claimed five lives. PATRICK OPPMANN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, it has. Hour after hour we
just keep getting hit again and again. It really is the worst-case scenario, a powerful category five now four, hurricane parking itself now almost 24 hours over an island that's very low lying, heavy rains, winds that are just lashing us.
Don, if I was not sandwiched between two concrete walls I would go flying. Because they keep getting gusts so hurricane strength gusts that come right by. So, I'm lucky where I am. We have found a good spot where I'm well protected.
Many, if not most people on this island do not have the same good fortune. They are in houses that is are coming apart. They are in places much lower than we are where the water has been rising.
We have talked to people throughout the day who have lost their homes. They said that by the time they realize the water was rising that they couldn't get out the door. The water was already half way up the door.
There are people had to cut their way with axes out of the roof to get outside. And then they are greeted by the scene behind me which is a completely dark island, absolutely no electricity for those without generators. And this wind, this wind, that just keeping lashing us and hitting us again and again.
So, many of us are here wondering after nearly a day of these extreme weather conditions how much longer can it go on. Don?
LEMON: All right. Patrick Oppmann reporting to us from Freeport in the Bahamas. Patrick, thank you very much.
I want to bring in Shani Bowd now who is riding out Hurricane Dorian in the Bahamas. And she joins us on the phone. Shani, thank you so much for joining us. I understand that your house is filled with water almost up to the ceiling. Tell us what's going on. Where are you now?
SHANI BOWD, RESIDENT, BAHAMAS: Every room in the house was filled with water up to, maybe about four or five feet on the furniture floating. You know, the bathroom floating. Everything is just about ruined.
We put everything up as high as we could, now the water is probably about down to my knees. It's still going down. But everything is, you know, floating from room to room unsanitary, which is the number one reason why we need to get out.
BOWD: And again, I don't know if there's going to be anymore storm surge (Ph) because we don't have -- we can't get an update. Our family is texting us and know what's going on. Again, I know the hurricane has stopped, like (Inaudible) it still stops -- but I don't know how much longer. I don't know what else to expect before this is over. So, I wouldn't want to ride it out here and have another storm surge fill this house up again. That one was really close.
LEMON: Can you make it through the night, Shani?
BOWD: We hope that we don't have to but we can. So, I think we have to do what we have to do. We have (Inaudible), so we do what we have to do. And the good thing like I said, the water has gone down but we still need to get out. I understand I expect that we're going to have high tide tonight at 11, I'd like to be out before then.
LEMON: So, you think the water may come back up for high tide?
BOWD: I don't know what to expect. I hope not. I really hope not.
LEMON: How high did the water get in your in your house, Shani?
BOWD: I'm about 5'3". Up to my shoulders.
BOWD: And I'm about 5'3".
LEMON: And so, I hope -- I hear people talking about in the background.
BOWD: But we put stuff as high as I could. Go ahead.
LEMON: I hear people talking in the background. Who are you with? How many people?
BOWD: I'm with about seven people members of my family, my parents and children, my sister and her son. You know, we have people all the way from (Inaudible) island trying to call to make for help. So, my family and my friends are calling and trying to rescue people. I know that they have -- and we also understand there are lot of people that need to be rescued.
LEMON: You got children with you?
BOWD: Yes, sir. My three children and my sister have her son here.
LEMON: What does it look like? I know you said night is falling. Is it pitchblack? What does it look like outside right now? Flooding? What's going on? Explain to us.
BOWD: Well, before night fell, we couldn't really see anything because the rain had picked up and the windows are frosted over. So, we couldn't see outside. But the wind was howling and you know, all hell had broken loose outside. Now it's too dark. I can't see anything.
BOWD: I can hear the wind outside, though, but I can't see anything.
LEMON: Have you ever experienced anything like this before? Because I know you probably, you've ridden out hurricanes before. You have experienced hurricanes before. Anything like this?
BOWD: No. Not like this. Hurricane Matthew was bad. I thought Hurricane Matthew was the worst. But this is 10 times worse.
LEMON: So, Shani --
BOWD: Ten times --
LEMON: Go on.
BOWD: You know, with Hurricane Matthew there was a lot of powerful wind and a lot of rain. But we didn't experience the storm surge in my house. And I'm at my parents' house now. We didn't expect the water to come up in this neighborhood. Because we're not near to the beaches, we're not near to the coast. But you know, you just hope and pray. And do the best you can. Keep the children safe.
LEMON: Shani, good luck to you and everyone who's with you. OK. Please take care of yourself.
BOWD: All right, Don. Thank you.
LEMON: Boy, boy. Let's go to Florida now. Joining me now from Port St. Lucie is my colleague CNN's Leyla Santiago.
Leyla, good evening to you. Man, you heard her there the conditions are terrible in the Bahamas. What are the conditions like in Florida where you are?
LEYLA SANTIAGO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: So, we're actually in Hutchinson --on Hutchinson Island in Fort Pierce. And we have certainly seen in the last hour that the wind has picked up. I'm sure you can see it and maybe even hear it the same way I am right now.
This is an area that is under a mandatory evacuation at this point because it is a barrier island. And I got to tell you, I really haven't seen many people around here only police officers who are now working 12, 13-hour shifts to make sure that they can do everything possible to keep people safe.
I just checked in with the county they're telling me they have about 700 people in shelters at this hour. And really, the county, the law enforcement officials in general, and I suspect many of the residents here are just monitoring Dorian, trying to see when it will pick up and where it will move.
In the meantime, they are just waiting to see what will happen overnight and how they will respond tomorrow. They did have one power line go down here. But that was according to the county taken care of pretty quickly. No major power outages. No major emergencies.
They are just all kind of hunkering down waiting to see what will happen. Now that the wind are picking up, I haven't seen much rain yet. But we're waiting to see when that will change.
LEMON: Hey, Leyla, there's a lot going on. Again, are people heeding the warnings? Are you seeing many people out at all?
SANTIAGO: Earlier today we saw people coming out, taking pictures trying to check out what was happening and actually one of the families I talked to, the Hicks family, they were out here and they told me she was not feeling very nervous. He was and he said the reason he was so nervous was because if the storm shifted just a little bit, that could be a major impact for them.
So, I haven't really seen too many people out here making round in Fort Pierce. It sounds like most people are hunkering down and taking note of the warnings. This is an area that not only has a storm surge warning but also a hurricane and tropical storm warning in effect.
So, while there is no curfew that was put in place in all honesty it really doesn't seem like it was needed simply because I haven't seen folks out and about.
LEMON: Well, that is good news. I said you're in Port St. Lucie, you're actually in Hutchinson Island in Fort Pierce. Leyla, thank you very much. We can hear the wind picking up as you're speaking. It gets louder --
LEMON: Right. And then it gets quieter. So we'll get back with Leyla and the rest of our colleagues that are out there. Thank you, Leyla. I appreciate it.
Millions of people under a mandatory evacuation orders but not everyone is heeding the warnings like where Leyla is right now. I'm going to speak to some officials and residents in these evacuation zones. That's next.
LEMON: Continuing breaking news coverage. Now, you know, Dorian is pounding the Bahamas, right now. But the first wind and rain from the outer bands already being felt in Florida. Joining me now on the phone is Samir Aarass. Samir is a resident of port St. Lucie Florida. Samir, thank you so much. I understand you've decided to ride out the storm in your home. Tell us why you decided to stay?
SAMIR AARASS, RESIDENT OF PORT ST. LUCIE FLORIDA (through the phone): It's not too bad, Don, right now. I mean, I put all the shutters up and I just have nowhere else to really go. So, I just wanted to stay home, you know, it's my only home I have. So, you know, that is why I'm staying. LEMON: How about your neighbors? Are they staying or are they
AARASS: Pretty much everyone in my neighborhood is staying. Everyone seems to be hunkered down. I don't know so many people leaving. Earlier people thought it was going to move away a lot fast -- move north a lot faster, but it doesn't seem to be going as fast as they want. So, everyone is hunkering down, really. Eating a lot of snacks and -- you know.
LEMON: That's not good. That it's not moving fast. I mean, its gaining strength. More than likely and you know, it's just sitting there pounding those folks with wind and rain. And once it gets -- that's why I asked you, you know, why you stayed and if your neighbors stayed, because -- I know that you have lived through other hurricanes. You were a kid when Andrew hit. But when you see Dorian's devastation in the Bahamas right now, does that concern you at all Samir?
AARASS: It does concern me. You know, my heart goes out to the people in Bahamas, especially Grand Bahama. You know, it's our closest neighbor as a foreign country. You know, where I live in Florida. And I can't imagine what it's like for them right now. Having the hurricane pretty much sit on them, you know. Bahamas is such a beautiful island. You know, I want to kayak out there one day, but you know, it's crazy.
LEMON: Well, now would not be a good time. Listen, I've got to ask you since you stayed, I hope you did some prep work to your home. Did you? And are you set with supplies and food and everything you need, because you said, you're eating and pull out a snack, but what kind of prep worked did you do?
AARASS: Well, I pretty much -- my house when I bought it, it came with shutters. Pretty much every house here in Florida comes with hurricane shutters. So we have the shutters up. Everything that can be thrown around by wind and stuff is taken inside. And we got tons of packs and packs of water and snacks and beer. And we're just -- you know, non-perishables, beans and rice and stuff.
LEMON: Anything at this point making you change your mind?
AARASS: No. It's actually not too bad out here right now. It's I guess there was a couple bands that went passed, but it's not too bad right now.
LEMON: Well, we wish you the best. OK? Maybe checking back in with you as it gets closer. Because again it's just sitting there, but good luck to you Samir Aarass, coming through Port St. Lucie.
AARASS: Thank you very much.
LEMON: Absolutely, be safe. The president said he was skipping his trip to Poland to monitor Hurricane Dorian, but how is he actually spending his time?
LEMON: After announcing that he was cancelling a planned World War II ceremony in Poland to focus on Hurricane Dorian. President Trump spent today at one of his properties playing golf. That after a morning spent retweeting Fox News and attacking political enemies like the squad and the former FBI Director, James Comey.
Today was 289th day that he has spent at a Trump property and 227th day he has spent at one of his golf clubs since he took the oath of office. Let's discuss now. Alice Stewart is here. Rick Wilson as well. Rick, is the author of "Everything Trump touches dies."
Good evening to both of you. Alice, --
ALICE STEWART, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Hi, Don.
LEMON: -- Trump himself explained why he wasn't going to overseas, but no matter what he may be doing behind the scenes, it is a problem to be seen playing golf -- don't you think -- at a Trump golf course when a huge hurricane is approaching. I mean, he criticized the former president a lot for playing golf.
STEWART: Absolutely, I agree with that. The optics of him playing golf in the middle of a storm is not good. But I can tell you this, Don. I'm less concerned about the optics over the last two days than and more concerned about the actions over the last two years. And what I have seen and what I have heard is he has done a lot to make sure that we're prepared for storms.
Don, this is an important for all of Americans, but me personally my sister is hunkered down in her home tonight on Palm Coast. So, I have a personal interest in this. I reached out to her tonight and I talked to her county commissioner. He says, they are getting 100 percent of support from FEMA. He says they learned a lot of lessons after hurricane Matthew in two years ago.
And since the president has been in office, he has done a lot to coordinate with the county and state officials in these hurricanes prone areas. He has every asset that he needs and he is confident that whatever he needs from the president he is going to get. And this is all in large part due to lessons learned from storm's past.
LEMON: Do you want to respond to that, Rick?
RICK WILSON, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: Look, I have seen as a fifth generation Floridian. This guy has been through more hurricanes than I would care to recount on the state. When the rubber hits the road the talking points get thrown out the window, we will see how it works out. I'm very hopeful this thing will still make a turn. Although it's looking like it's just going to grind out to the west.
And I am concerned that we have had FEMA funds drained off the top this year, $270 million at least, drained off to pay for the imaginary border wall. And I do think that one of the responsibilities of the president is to not just to delegate, but to also be ready. Unless Donald Trump is, you know, unless his form of preparedness is out hitting golf balls all day, I'm not clear that he is fully grasping this. He hasn't been able to clearly understand like the significance of cat five hurricanes.
He earlier today predicted that Alabama was going to have problems when Alabama is not in the target cone of any current description. So I'm just worried that Donald Trump is going to bring his usual ADD nature to the problem and not focus on it. And at the last minute it will be blame stormy and chaos, which is the hallmark of this administration.
And I'll say this, if they learn lessons on the hurricanes from the last two years, the Panhandle in Florida is still in deep in recovery from those things. And FEMA has been awful slow of the mark for cities like Panama City and counties like Franklin County in North Florida. They have not fulfilled their obligations and FEMA is not, you know, be able to close the loop on a lot of those things. So, I'm concerned that this is going to hit one of the most populous parts of Florida. We are going to have more trouble than we can imagine.
LEMON: You know Alice, Rick just mentioned some of it. Hold on, I'll let you respond. You know, yesterday morning the president tweeted out a warning to those in the southeast who will in his words most likely be hit by Hurricane Dorian. Like Rick, just said, mistakenly including Alabama in the tweet and to reporters. Let's play it.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The original course was dead end to Florida. Now it seems to be going up towards South Carolina towards North Carolina. Georgia is going to be hit. Alabama is going to get a piece of it, it looks like.
Alabama just needs to be careful.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: So, listen, a big part of what the president has to do is inform people. OK? And to be accurate about it, the National Weather Service contradicted him saying that Alabama will not see any impacts from Dorian. We repeat, no impacts from hurricane. Just a short time ago the president doubled down on the false information, but claimed that he suggested Alabama could come into play.
For the National Weather Service to have to correct the president, isn't a situation like this, you know, exactly when we need to know information coming from the White House is reliable. I think that is fair, Alice.
STEWART: Yes. I'd like to think the information out of the White House is reliable all the time, certainly not just when we're having a hurricane. But I think it's really important to say, look, Rick is right about many things that he says. However, you cannot fix an airplane midflight. You have to do it before you take off the ground. And so much of the preparation, this is what I'm hearing from Greg Hanson, who is on the coast of Florida right now.
He has said, over the last two years what they have done is work really hard with preparation, planning, the personnel. And now they're in the execution stage of moving people, opening up shelters, working on the evacuations and then large part that is due to the coordination, he has had at the local level with Governor DeSantis and with FEMA officials.
And it's easy to criticize certain things that are being said right now. I am more personally concerned for the safety of everyone in the eye of the storm or in the storm's path that a lot of the leg work and the prep that needed to be done has been done. And we're just all hoping and praying that it certainly the storm moves in the other direction. If not, then the leg work has been done.
WILLIAMS: Well, Alice, I have just -- like I said, as a fifth generation Floridian, this guy has been around the block here through storms in my whole life. Having growing up in the Tampa Bay area, and having been around for Andrew.
LEMON: You're in Tallahassee, right now.
WILLIAMS: I had been in this rodeo. I'm in Tallahassee right now, we got a little bit of whack last year, but I will say this. You know, I would caution everybody on not taking a victory lap. I hope the president would be focused on helping people prepare for evacuation and things like that. And to be prepared mentally to focus on this. And obviously today showed, you know, aside when he was taking a break from golfing to hate tweet.
This is not a guy who's focused on the safety of people in Florida, Georgia, North Carolina and South Carolina who are in the direct path. This is a guy who's running his normal like coo-coo agenda. And he's not focused on the main thrust of what national leadership should be in a time of crisis. Also. Alice, before we cut off, do I want to say I hope your sister comes out safely out of this thing. I hope she's hunkered down or gets to a shelter, if it does move to shore.
LEMON: I agree. I second that. Alice, I hope that everyone is OK.
STEWART: Thank you.
LEMON: You have my number. So, let me know how they are doing, OK. Thank you both. I appreciate it.
STEWART: I will. Thanks, Don.
LEMON: Seven people dead, 25 more injured in the mass shooting in Texas. And today the FBI saying the shooter was in quote distress -- in a distress mental state. The latest on that, next. [22:50:00]
LEMON: The gunman who killed seven people in a West Texas shooting rampage Saturday was already in what's being called a distressed mental state, a distressed mental state when he showed up to work and was fired just hours before the massacre began. That is according to the FBI.
So, joining me now, retired FBI supervisory special agent James Gagliano. Thank you so much. This one is just weird, don't you think? It's just odd.
JAMES GAGLIANO, CNN LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: I think there were a lot of people that were unhappy with the lack of information that came out of the press conference, and I thought it might be more attributable, Don, to police are working this one carefully. They have a 20-mile crime scene. They have to deal with internal ballistics, external ballistics, internal ballistics, so many--
LEMON: Well, -- that's sort of -- I'm not talking about the press conference. I'm just talking about, usually you're stopped for a routine traffic stop, and then all of a sudden -- you know what I mean? Usually we talk about -- what you know, the shooter's background and he had the manifesto, and whatever. This was -- just appeared to be (inaudible).
GAGLIANO: And the FBI looks at this always from the pre-incident or pre-attack.
LEMON: Can we talk about that?
LEMON: Because according to police, the shooter called the FBI national tip line shortly before the shooting began. He also made multiple calls to law enforcement the day of the shooting. What do we know about these calls?
GAGLIANO: So, let me explain to you how the national tip line works. Now, you'll remember in February 2018, after the horrific Parkland massacre.
GAGLIANO: The FBI had to revamp its call system. Now, I once ran the New York City operations center for the FBI. We had call operators on duty 24/7. That is the first level of triage. What they do is they typically put something in two baskets, a nuances call, meaning somebody that calls every single day and says the neighbor's cat is meowing and he needs a FBI agent to come over, that goes into the nuances bin.
And then the actionable lead bin. The actionable lead bin means somebody says something that needs to be triage by an agent. A FBI agent takes a look at it. If there's certain key words in the call, meaning if somebody talks about killing people, murdering people, hurting people, or talks about particular hateful ideologies, it then goes to the next step.
And that's how the level of triage goes. Parkland, we made a mistake. We fixed that, put more supervisors there, better level of triage, more call operators as well. What happened here was 911 calls, and then one call to the FBI call center. The problem with 911, Don, the technology is still land line-based.
GAGLIANO: So people think 80 percent of the 240 million calls a year that get called in to 911 are cell phones. Apple is now working on trying to figure out a way to make it so that 911 operators can immediately see where the call's coming from. Not all the systems pick that up.
LEMON: Some of them do.
GAGLIANO: So when the shooter calls, some of them do, but not all. The shooter calls. The operator does not automatically know he's on a truck traveling on I-20 going east.
LEMON: Got it. According to the FBI's Saturday's shooting spree was -- it wasn't due to the shooter being fired from his job. This is -- his name is Christopher Combs. He is the FBI special agent. We'll listen to him, special agent in charge. Here he is.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CHRISTOPHER COMBS, FBI SPECIAL AGENT IN CHARGE: I want to be clear. He showed up to work in a very distressed mental state, so it's not because he got fired, right? This did not happen because he was fired, which other active shooters have occurred. When he showed up to work, he was already enraged.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: So what do we know about his motive?
GAGLIANO: So you look at it like this, and psychologists say this all the time that people think that when somebody goes on a mass shooting spree, that they snap, and that is not typically the case. What typically happens, the FBI has looked at this, 77 percent of all mass shooters, all mass shooters, have done some level of preparation that takes a week or longer.
Forty six percent of them actually go out and purchase a weapon or purchase items or case the joint, meaning going and looking and doing a drive-by first. So there's a level of preparation. What typically happens in these things is we're dealing with people that are grievance collectors.
Their grievance could be you didn't talk to me in the elevator on the way up here to the studio. The grievance could be, I don't like black people, I don't like white people, I don't like this, I don't like that and then something triggers them. Did something happen that morning before he got to work? We don't know because he's dead. Did something happen at work? Yes, we know that there was a firing that happened there, a 911 call from the boss, a 911 call from this individual. Then he gets in his vehicle.
Again, we don't know where he is. He starts traveling between Odessa and Midland, begins his shooting spree, calls the FBI in midway, difficult to respond in that situation when you're dealing with facts in a vacuum.
LEMON: James, thank you for your time and your expertise. I appreciate it.
GAGLIANO: Thanks, Don.
LEMON: We'll be right back.
LEMON: This is CNN TONIGHT. I'm Don Lemon, and we do have --