Return to Transcripts main page
Don Lemon Tonight
Survivors Share the Horrors They Faced in Orlando Attack; Survivor Patience Carter was on First Trip to Florida; Akyra Murray was Youngest Victim at 18 Years Old; Community and the World Grieves with Orlando; Highlighting the LGBT Victims of Attack. Aired 10-11p ET
Aired June 14, 2016 - 22:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[22:00:07] ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: So, I leave you with that tonight. We will remember them.
CNN TONIGHT with Don Lemon starts right now.
DON LEMON, CNN HOST: This is CNN TONIGHT. I'm Don Lemon.
Anderson is here with me. And I want to talk you today. Because I've been -- you've been going around. We've been on so many of these terrible stories that been going around. But I've been noticing the heroism in this community and in spite of such tragedy. What's your take away from this so far?
COOPER: Yes, You talk to -- and we've talked to so many people who survived the attack who hid in a handicap stall in the bathroom with numerous other people who saw the gunman put his hand over with a handgun just shooting randomly people inside the stall.
I talked to a young man who survived that. I tried to get others to leave in a moment when the gunman had left and was able to get out. I think, you know, we've seen that time and time again.
COOPER: And we've seen them in Bataclan and elsewhere and it's one of the things that, I think gives one hope about, you know, our ability, one's ability to overcome and to continue on.
LEMON: I interviewed a young lady today who was in, she lost her cousin. And it was her cousin today, the patient she spoke she lost another one of her cousins. But to me she had such survivor guilt. Because she kept saying to me, I kept saying "get my cousins, get my cousins." She seems she was so. She was happy to be alive.
LEMON: She seems like she was so she felt guilty about it that she survived.
COOPER: One of the thing that -- one of the survivors said to me is like you never know how you're going to respond in a situation. You know, when bullets start flying and the pandemonium about all. You know, you see it on television as if, wow, if I was ever in that situation, I would attack the guy or I would be able to do something. I would have got out or I would have, you know, sacrificed my life to attack the gunman.
And everybody, I talked to someone who said, you know what, you just, you don't think in that same way. It's one thing, you know, when you see it on television. When you're actually in it, and some people rise to the occasion and, you know, reach out and help others. And we've seen that. It's incredibly inspiring.
LEMON: People think because we're together on television. We don't see each other throughout the day.
LEMON: Because we're actually both working. And we come up here and have a few minutes together. But I wanted to talk to you because I saw the incredible interview you did and I want to commend you for Kim Bondy. Because there are lots of people...
COOPER: Pam Bondy.
LEMON: ... Pam Bondy -- for people who -- lots of people who come here and people live here and say, you know, our leads have not been on our side. They don't feel like their leaders are on the side. Now all of a sudden these people are speaking in favor of LGBT people and rights. And they're like where did that come from?
COOPER: Yes. I mean, I think there is certainly a lot of skepticism. You know, I think there are multiple ways to look at it. I talked to a councilwoman who just said, you know what? I'm glad that they're now saying these things and let's hope moving forward. This is a -- this is sign of where things are going to go.
You know, I want to give Pam Bondy. I heard that just as you have, from a lot of lesbian and gays.
LEMON: She's not the only one.
COOPER: Right. And I wanted frankly, to ask her and give her a chance to respond to what so many people have been saying to me and saying to you as well. And so, I thought, you know, I wanted to be polite as I always do.
And I think, you know, she defended herself well and I thought it was a fine interview. I mean, I didn't want to surprise her with anything, I didn't want to treat her in any way inappropriately. You know, just my job to ask questions.
LEMON: To ask questions. Thank you, Anderson.
LEMON: It's good to see you. Wish it was better circumstance that we run into each other.
LEMON: So, I spoke about a young lady who earlier was inside the club when this all happened and lost one of her cousins and another one of her cousins spoke today at the hospital. Let's listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: You have 15 people in the bathroom stall.
TIARA PARKER, ORLANDO SHOOTING SURVIVOR: It felt like you know the one handicap bathroom.
PARKER: That big bathroom.
PARKER: I mean, it's not that big, but big enough.
LEMON: But it's bigger than the other ones, right.
PARKER: Yes. That's where -- it was like 15 people in that particular stall. So, the other two stalls, they were piled on top of each other, a whole bunch of people like on top of each other in the stalls.
LEMON: So, there were three stalls?
LEMON: And everybody -- and it was full?
PARKER: The two smallest stalls and then the smaller stall that we were in.
LEMON: Was there anybody in the regular part of the bathroom or rather its hiding?
PARKER: I think everybody was hiding. Because we ran straight to the bathroom. Nobody was in the way. I didn't have to push nobody nothing. I ran straight to the back bathroom because it is bigger. And then it was like all the other people just piled on top of each other and they're trying to scramble up and get close.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: An incredible story. The full interview with this survivor and the mother of youngest victim of this terrible massacre coming up in just a little bit on CNN.
But I want to bring you CNN's Pam Brown with the very latest on the investigation. And Pamela, as I understand, you have some new information about what was on his computer? PAMELA BROWN, CNN JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: That's right. We know the
FBI has been looking at his computer, Don. And we've learned that there were some materials relating to gay web sites on his -- on his computer that officials took from his home.
And so, investigators are trying to determine right now was he on there doing surveillance trying to figure out where the hot spots where in Orlando to target or was he on there for other reasons?
They haven't quite determined that. But I will tell you so far in this investigation despite, you know, these claims questioning his sexuality with all the information out there, there haven't been any men who have come forward to say that they had sexual contact with him.
[22:05:01] But of course, there could be, you know, other issues at play here. So, there is still a lot in the investigation. But the fact taht he was in this gay chat rooms are have material in his computer from gay web sites is something of interest to investigators.
LEMON: Yes. And also, speaking to his father yesterday, I learned that his current wife and child are still in the area. And now there is new information about her possibly under investigation or at least as a person of interest?
BROWN: She's certainly a person of interest right now. They've been married since 2011. And as we know they lived together. They had a son together. And she's been speaking to investigators and cooperating, and she actually told the investigators that he had become more violent recently and that he had talked about committing act of Jihad.
That he wanted to launch an attack. She claims to investigators that she tried to talk him out of it just wait him. She claimed that she didn't know any specifics of what exactly he wanted to do in terms of targeting Pulse night club.
But what's interesting here is that, according to our sources, she actually went to Pulse night club with him on at least on occasion in early June as well as Disney Springs, which is just about 20 minutes from there.
So, the question is, did she know when she went there with him that he wanted to launch an attack there?
LEMON: Was she kind of an accomplice?
BROWN: Well, they don't believe at this point she was an accomplice. I don't -- I think what they're -- what investigators are looking at is whether she concealed knowledge...
LEMON: She knew about it, yes.
BROWN: ... that he was going to commit a crime which is a felony.
BROWN: That she knew he was going to do something bad and didn't come forward to authorities. They don't necessarily at this point think she was, you know, working in tandem with him.
LEMON: So a felony then, Pamela, what's the charge?
BROWN: Well, it's a very big charge because as you remember, the Charleston shooter, Don, as his friend knew that he was going to do something and didn't come to authorities and he was charged. I can't remember it's off the top of my head how many years in prison.
LEMON: It's prison something.
BROWN: But several years in prison. It's very serious. And authorities are taking this seriously, too. Not only that this woman knew what her husband may have been up to, but also to send a message, a strong message that if you know someone wants to commit a crime, then you should tell the authorities. You should speak up.
LEMON: Right. Pamela Brown with the investigation. Pamela, thank you very much for your new information this evening.
LEMON: I want to bring in now CNN's Drew Griffin. Drew, good evening to you. Drew, there is so much new information tonight about the Orlando killer. You have been following it all very closely, what do you know at this point?
DREW GRIFFIN, CNN SENIOR INVESTIGATIVE REPORTER: Well, at this point they continue as Pamela said, looking into the family and specifically the wife, Noor Salman, how this couple met, how they got together and what they were doing together. As well as what she can tell him about what he or may not have been planning.
And all the time looking at the family in general. You know, Don, this is a very close knit family that he came from. This is the father's house behind me. His sister lived just down the street. He and his wife lived about 20 minutes away.
So, they're looking at all of this. And amongst all of this family is the patriarch who you talked to yesterday. But today, was hit again with questions about whether or not his daughter was in, fact, an accomplice in this crime and whether or not his son was gay. This is what he said early this afternoon.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GRIFFIN: Do you think that your daughter-in-law helped your son commit this crime?
SADDIQUE MATEEN, OMAR MATEEN'S FATHER: I don't think so.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Would it surprise you to hear that he may be gay?
MATEEN: He is -- he is 29-year-old. I doubt and everyday he is living with me and everybody has their own responsibility.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GRIFFIN: The answers, Don, becoming more and more vague as more and more specifics come out. He did say, the father did say that his son was last here at his house 3 p.m. Saturday afternoon. That would be the afternoon before the night of the attacks. He said it was a normal family visit. Father and son saying hello to each other. He claims he had no idea that his son was heading to Orlando. Don?
LEMON: All right. Drew Griffin, thank you. With more on the investigation, I want to bring in now Art Roderick, CNN law enforcement analyst, and also Bob Baer, our intelligence security analyst who is a former CIA operative.
Art, Mateen's wife is now part of the investigation or the target of the investigation. What do you think? Does she know something? They believe she knows something about what happened at the club? Or him planning this?
ART RODERICK, CNN LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: Well, it sounds like she knew something about a plan. Now whether it was the club or not, I mean, I'm sure they're going to work those details out.
But apparently she knew that he was or at least he told her he was going to do some Jihadist attack. OK? And that if she took him somewhere to buy ammunition, to pick the weapons up, to do the, you know, to get to the clubs and scout the clubs out, then that could be easily construed as misprision of a felony or conspiracy for the crime.
LEMON: That's the charge for this person of a felony, right?
RODERICK: Yes, misprision of a felony. That's one of the charges.
LEMON: Do you know what that carries, either of you?
RODERICK: Well, based on -- the conspiracy will go to the actual to the homicide charge. So, that could be pretty serious.
[22:10:05] LEMON: That's pretty serious.
LEMON: Either one -- either are...
RODERICK: Either one are very serious charges.
LEMON: So, Bob, we know about -- we've heard about the sites, you know, the gay web sites that he had been to the club before. What is this? Is this -- I don't know. Is this a homophobic attack? Is it terrorism? Is it hate crime? Is it in between, what's going on here? I said all of the above I should say.
ROBERT BAER, CNN INTELLIGENCE AND SECURITY ANALYST: I don't like the homophobic angle on. This this guy had some perceived political grievances. He was a Jihadist. He was prepared to die. You know, the target, I think, was an opportunity to kill a lot of people in this case. A place he knew.
I bet you anything once all the information comes out this is going to be a politically motivated attack inspired by the Islamic state for some sort of vague political goal for sure.
LEMON: I have to push back because if he -- why didn't go to some other bar that wasn't a gay bar, just any bar down the -- on the corner? He picked a gay bar filled with gay people on a popular night.
BAER: I know. But you've got -- it's like San Bernardino. They killed the co-workers because he knew them. He knew the location. It's very difficult to go into a very strange place with an automatic weapon and actually carry out an attack.
I mean, even in the CIA when we're -- we always case places before you do anything dead drops and the rest. You have to be totally familiar. And if he was a patron of this place, he would have known it. And once he had turned against his sexuality, if this in case is true.
BAER: He has proved something to himself that he can break with his past.
LEMON: OK. But witnesses are talking. And I want you to listen to what they said he was saying as this attack was going on. Here it is.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PATIENCE CARTER, ORLANDO SHOOTING VICTIM: He said, "Are there any black people in here?" I was too afraid to answer. But there was an African-American male in the stall where most of the buddy was, the majority of my buddy was had answered.
And he said, "Yes, there are about six or seven of us." And the gunman responded back to him saying that "You know, I don't have a problem with black people. This is about my country. You guys suffered enough." He said that the reason why he was doing this is because he wanted America to stop bombing his country.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: Does that confirm your terrorism argument there? That this is...
BAER: Well, I mean, you know, it's these people when they convert to Islam, you know, the radical form of Islam, they completely get rid of their past. It doesn't matter what it is, whether it's sexual or criminal like the guys in Paris.
They say all right, look, I complete mess up in life and now found God. And God has told me to massacre all these people. And these breaks are very quick. I mean, they -- overnight. Just get rid of your past and...
LEMON: So, Bob says, Art, that he doesn't believe that it was motivated homophobia, that's what he think. But he did visit Disney Springs a couple of times, right?
LEMON: During a gay pride celebration, does that tell you anything in the fact that it indeed was a gay bar that he attacked?
RODERICK: I mean, you know, when you look at radical Islam and you look at the homophobia that they have, with that they're not mutually exclusive. I mean, one mix into the other.
To Bob's point, you could have, you know, you snapped, he was giving up his previous life. OK. What did we see over in the Middle east not that long ago when they were pushing gays off the roof, homosexuals off the roof of a building?
RODERICK: This could be similar to that.
BAER: It's like drugs.
BAER: If they're doing drugs and one day they stop and said then they turn to violence overnight.
LEMON: The FBI, we know as the investigation continues here, the FBI has his cell phone, they've got his computer.
LEMON: They have and these pictures of the scene. This is a puzzle that they are putting together. Take us behind the scenes. What are they doing now? How are they going to figure all of this out?
RODERICK: Well, I mean, you've the crime scene, number one. And I'm sure they're doing ballistics at the crime scene trying to figure out where the shooter was at a particular time when he unfortunately took out a lot of those people.
What was law enforcement doing at the time? Where were their rounds going? Where were they shooting at? And then, I think the biggest bit of information we got here is his cell phone.
Obviously, he made three or made two 911 calls and received the 911 call. So that phone is going to be key. And I think one of the witnesses actually said they saw him on the phone when he walked in.
BAER: Yes. I know what they're going to find out is if somebody else coordinated.
BAER: I mean, these guys, we call them, you know, lone wolves. But in fact, there is usually a small group of people that are aware something is going to happen and they start communicating. So, I wouldn't be surprised if the FBI in just a couple of days makes a couple arrests.
RODERICK: Yes. I mean, we heard the U.S. attorney, I heard him on a radio interview the other day and he said arrests.
BAER: Yes. Arrests.
RODERICK: Arrests will be forthcoming.
BAER: There are a lot of cells here in Florida, trust me.
LEMON: I appreciate your expertise, gentlemen. Thank you.
BAER: Thank you very much.
LEMON: Much, much more of our breaking news from here in Orlando coming up.
[22:15:00] Up next, survivors talk about the horror they face as they face the killer. Bullets were flying inside and on the dance floor.
LEMON: We're back now live in Orlando where survivors of the attack are speaking out about their ordeal.
Patience Carter was on her first trip to Florida celebrating with friends on Saturday night at Pulse. They took cover in a bathroom stall as the shooting began. Patience was shot in the leg. She composed a poem on how she feels.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CARTER: I never thought in a million years that this could happen. I never thought in a million years that my eyes could witness something so tragic. Looking at the souls leaving the bodies of individuals, looking at the killer's machine gun throughout my right peripheral, looking at the blood and debris covered on everyone's faces, looking at the gunman's feet under the stall as he paces. The guilt of feeling lucky to be alive is heavy.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: One of the friends with Patience was Akyra Murray, a star athlete who had just graduated high school. She was only 18 years old. The youngest of the 49 victims. I sat down with Akyra's mother and her cousin, Tiara Parker who survived the massacre. Here's my conversation with Tiara.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
[22:19:59] LEMON: They're literally in the crossfire with all of that.
TIARA PARKER, COUSIN OF AKYRA MURRAY: Yes, it was like right up in hand, where (Inaudible) bullet and they were shooting.
LEMON: What were you thinking? Were you thinking - I hate to say that - were you thinking I'm going to die?
PARKER: Yes. I already thought that when I got hit the first time. I thought I was going to die. I thought it was over when said he had enough bombs to light up a city block. And then lots of them after that I hear a bomb go off. So, my life, I just kind of gave up.
LEMON: So you were in the club. You're with your cousin.
PARKER: And my best friend Patience.
LEMON: And so, you, guys, are all in the club?
LEMON: And you're Snap chatting, you're having a good time.
LEMON: What happens then?
PARKER: two o'clock I was -- we were partying and all up until the end. Because the club closes at 2.30 I believe. And I was Snap chatting the whole night. And in my best friend asked me, hey, how are we getting home? And I'm like, we ordered Uber. So, I was like it doesn't cost much anything to get home in an Uber.
We get back here and I'm like, OK. You know, it's the moment I was -- I turned around. Because I was getting ready to order us Uber and I heard in then I turn back around and the shots go off. And my cousin and Patience they ran out the door. They were a exit right there, they ran out the door.
But I wasn't with them because I was freaking out. I was really just frozen for a second. And I ran backwards and then I see him come back in. It was just -- it was crazy because I didn't understand as to why all this was going on. So, then I went in the bathroom and this lady said to me, "I've been hit. I've been hit. Please help."
LEMON: How many people were in the bathroom with you?
PARKER: In the particular stall that I was in, like 15 or 20. But in the other two stalls, they were piled up on top of each other like a can of sardines.
LEMON: These are just normal bathroom stalls?
LEMON: And you had 15 people in bathroom stalls?
PARKER: Yes, you felt it like, you know the one handicap bathroom.
PARKER: It's kind of really big bathroom.
PARKER: I mean, it's not that big but it's big enough.
LEMON: But it's bigger than the other ones, right.
PARKER: Yes. That -- it was like 15 or 20 people in that particular stall. The other two stalls, they were like piled on top of each other. A whole bunch of people like piled up on top of each other in that stalls.
LEMON: How long -- could hear him outside?
PARKER: He was shooting, we could hear shots going off. And I just remember -- I remember the guy coming in and he was in the stall for a second. There is this guy holding the door shut. And just great guy holding up against the door like he was holding the door shut and we were laying on top of everybody else.
Me and my cousins as we were the last people to come in. So, Patience is here. I'm here. And this is Akyra behind me and that's the bathroom right there and the guy is holding the door shot. And you just hear the shooter come in and he says the d word. And he said, "My gun is jammed."
Everybody looked at each other like we can bum rush him out of here. Go bum him, what are you thinking, the guy at the door he really wasn't getting that memo. So, when he heard us say that, he tried to open the door. But by the time he did that, the shooter came in with a handgun. Because we even didn't know he had two guns.
He came in with a handgun. He starts like he took him out. He was the first one to go. But me, my cousin and Patience, because we were laying on top of everybody, we were the first people he's seen so we took the first set of bullets that came in the stall.
And then by that time he must have ran out of bullets at that point and we were able to get up and slam the door shut. And he tried to push the door again. But he must have realized he wasn't getting past us because we had the door shut.
At some point he started to just give out. Our body just started giving in because we were hurt, everybody is injured. You know, my cousin was pleasing with him, trying to bargain with him, went on to tell him everything. Like, you know, and he's like, you know, he wasn't responding like that...
LEMON: What was he saying?
PARKER: So, he didn't say anything. Well, my cousin was more so like...
LEMON: Which cousin?
PARKER: Akyra just the one...
LEMON: What was Akyra saying?
PARKER: She was saying like, you know, please, like we've been hit. Please, like being weird, like we're all hurt. We're hurt. Please, don't. Just leave us. She was pretty much begging and pleading with him. He didn't come back though.
My cousin, she was calling -- she was texting her aunt, my aunt and she was calling and we were on the phone with the cops. I took the phone from her at some point. And I was like can you please come. But at this point can you hear that I'm losing myself. Because I'm just about to go.
Like, and I was more so settled with it. Because I was just -- I didn't know what to do. There is nothing I could do. My cousin, she is just like, you know, we had like a system that my aunt was talking about, you know, the Morse code thing when he was doing the phone tag.
That's kind of what we were doing. We were tapping each other's legs. I mean, just kind of tapping each other. And every time I would see a hand go up or my cousin scratch me or something. She would scratch me back, she'll tap me back real fast so something like that. Like I knew what she was -- she was communicating with me.
LEMON: Were you communicating with Akyra all the way to the end?
PARKER: Yes. All the way to the end.
LEMON: Was she's still...
PARKER: She was still conscious.
LEMON: ... you think she was still alive, still conscious.
LEMON: To the end.
PARKER: Yes. When the shooter finally came back in, like he came -- he came back into the bathroom. Because I don't know if he couldn't tell if he got shot or not. But when came back in, the cops, that's when the cops got on the horn after they blew down the two doors. He kind of came into the stall. He didn't shoot nobody just yet.
[22:24:57] But he -- when the cops blew in the bathroom door. You heard him say, "hey you," and whoever looked up at him on that side of the room, he shot three more shots and killed whomever.
And my cousin, I felt her body get heavy on me way before that happened. But I was thinking maybe she was just hard, but I was tapping her and she wasn't responding right back. But when I grabbed her hand, like I just dug on these nails alone. And I just dug down and I just -- and she was able to clinch me back a little bit.
I'm like all right, she is still breathing. And the after that, that's when he went gone anywhere and he took him out. And then that's when they -- after that, they knocked the bathroom -- the other side of the bathroom in. That's when the porcelain came down.
LEMON: I can only imagine that you're still in shock. Because I can't -- I can't relate to any of that. I've just -- this is something that were you are screaming and then you wake up and go, I'm so happy that was a dream.
PARKER: That's what I was thinking that was going to happen last night. The night of the shooting. I'm going to go to sleep. Oh, lord like, you know, but that's not the case. I was in a hospital bed where I was at. And wounded and beat up. And I just couldn't believe it.
I was actually very -- like, you know, I'm in shock. But I don't think I'm in as much shock as I was as if it was the night off. Like I don't know. I think I might -- I'm getting to sort of peace point. Because it's like I know my cousin died as a hero. Had it not been for her, a lot more people would have been dead in that stall than there was.
LEMON: Why is that?
PARKER: Because had it not been for her being on the phone with the cops as long as she did and giving all the details she could and me and her and this guy pinning up against the door, holding the door shut, you know, us communicating back and forth with different people, us getting into like the Morse code type of thing and making sure we were staying alive. I couldn't -- I couldn't imagine. I think we would all be gone.
LEMON: What do you want people to know about your cousin?
PARKER: I couldn't ask for anything better. That was my baby.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: The woman who was sitting there in red is Akyra's mother. Of course, she did not make it. She barely moved the entire interview. But her heart wrenching interview and her tribute to her daughter, coming up next.
[22:30:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK) LEMON: The Orlando killer into the lives of 49 innocent people taking
them away from their loved ones. Akyra Murray at 18, the youngest victim. Here' her mother now.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
NATALIE MURRAY, AKYRA MURRAY'S MOTHER: Everybody went to bed and I set up right here in the chair. And I waited. I waited and waited. And I'm watching. I saw a Snapchat from her at about 1.59 a.m. I'm thinking, (Inaudible) OK, they should be wrapping up to come home.
So, you know, I didn't see anything else after 1.59, So about 2.08, I got a text message from my niece saying "Auntie, can you pick us up?" And I text back, "OK." Then she text me back, "Auntie, can you please" with a lot of e's and s's, "pick us up, they're shooting."
And my heart dropped. And at this point I'm up and I'm grabbing my husband like, baby we need to get our girls, we need to get our girls now. They're shooting at the club. So, he jumped up. I said just keep on what you have, we were in pajamas like halfway dress. And I said listen, I know you're asleep, I'll drive.
At this point, there was no rules. I must have been about 190 down the road. I turned a 35-minute drive into about 17 minutes. I was there. We drove about 10 minutes in and we got the phone call from my daughter. "Mommy, please, hurry. They're shooting. They're shooting. I'm hit. I'm hit in the arm."
And I'm thinking, so my husband is telling her to run and take cover. Run across the street. We're thinking that it's this like somebody in the club, didn't have a good time and they just, you know, started shooting not knowing that it was a terrorist hit.
So, he's like, "baby, calm down." And she's like "I'm bleeding so bad, mommy, please." And I'm just like, "baby, I need to GPS with a phone, I need to call the cops. I need to disconnect with you. And I didn't want to hang up with her but I needed to make these moves happen.
And it was horrific. And that was the last time that I talked to my daughter. And that was the last time she was alive. And we got to the nightclub about 2.32. We parked directly and then told (ph) the police and we started running towards the club.
And the cops stopped us and say, hey, where are you going? I said our daughter has been shot and we need to get her. And he was like just meet her at the hospital. We're bringing her to the hospital. So, we're still thinking no terrorist hit that they the person where the person just shot and then she just ran or whatever the case may have been.
So, we stayed by the hospital. We ran to the hospital. They wouldn't even let us in. They said it's been closed or locked, or whatever, it's on lockdown. So, you guys have to stay in the corner and wait for further instructions.
So, now I'm just like pacing back and forth keep thinking like, hey, my daughter has been hit and I know she's been hit. But in the meantime, I didn't know anything happened to my niece and their best friend. So I'm thinking gosh she's only hit in the arm. God, please protect our baby, please protect her. She's going to be fine.
We stood out there. We waited. We waited. We were told to move from one corner to next. From here to there. Just move out of the zone. So we're just waiting. At this point we're seeing people show up, like people that has escaped from the club.
And then they started to talk like it's a terrorist attack. Somebody hold them hostage. They have girls in the bathroom and they're wounded and they killed them and all kinds of crazy things.
And they were carrying bodies and helping people get to the hospital. We were watching people come out of club that were trampled on that were bruised and beat and battered. It was a horrific scene.
We went back over to the hospital, we just begged, just please, if we can you tell us what's going on? They just instructed that we just move get out of the way. So, we got closer to the club, so then they made us far away from the club.
So, before we knew, we were standing in the center of an intersection with nowhere to go. And then we heard gun shots. But this time it didn't sound like it came from the club. It sound like it came towards the hospital.
[22:35:03] So, then we saw a bunch of cops run from the club to the hospital. So, now we're seeing in the middle of the intersection trying to take cover. Because we don't know where the bullets are coming from. We have our grandbaby out here. My son and his girlfriend, my husband and my sister-in-law.
So, we're trying to duck behind cars and crawls and things like that. Because now we don't know what's going on. We waited. We waited. We waited. We watched ambulances come and go. We watched people still get away.
So, people were still coming out of that club. I don't know how they were getting out. They said they jumped over walls and things like that. But he, apparently, had them mandated in the bathroom. So it had to be somebody else. Because there is no way that these people were alive and uninjured that they couldn't have got out if he was in the bathroom with my girls.
We waited until 6. a.m. before they made a move on this guy and brought these girls out. I don't even know if my daughter came out alive or if she died on the scene. She was just in the bathroom with my niece the entire time. They had a system going on that, you know, to keep -- to ensure that they were alive.
LEMON: How did you -- what were you thinking -- were you thinking at this moment that I must be -- I'm going to wake up from this nightmare?
MURRAY: I'm still thinking the same thing. Like I'm going to wake up from this and this was not going to be real. I just can't even imagine that my baby girl, an honor student who graduated from high school just last week and on her way to college next month will be dead today. I can't -- it's surreal.
LEMON: Everything that I read about her, model student. They said mannerisms perfect. Everything. She was an amazing, just an amazing young lady. She's getting a scholarship.
MURRAY: Full ride. Mercy Hurst University.
LEMON: Scored 1,000 points --
MURRAY: High school career. Did it in two years.
LEMON: Dream child.
MURRAY: Dream child. Couldn't ask for a better daughter. Perfect. She did everything for us except for clean her room. But outside of that, outstanding.
LEMON: I did the same thing. I never cleaned my room. Mom just get mad at me.
MURRAY: Mom, I got it. I got it. And I'm like, even now, the room is a mess. And I'm like you got to call me to clean it out.
LEMON: This is a story about acceptance. I see you have all kinds of people that have been to your home. And that speak about you This is about acceptance. About diversity about -- what do you say to that? Because this guy has been on hate because he didn't like gay people. He didn't like this kind of person. What do you say to the families and the parents that are watching?
MURRAY: It's sad. My daughter was going to school to study criminology and sociology. Her passion was to find out why criminals act the way they act and what caused them to tick to be able to kill and hurt people. That is what she was going to study.
And to think that a person like that would actually take her life at such a young age, it's the saddest thing. I can't even -- I'm at loss for words for what was going through his head. And what made him do what he did and why he wanted to hurt those kids. That club brings from 18-year-olds up. These are kids. I'm just sick.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: A lot of people have been asking me, contacting me on the phone or just wanting to know what is it like here? And I say to them words cannot explain. Natalie's words explain. It's heartwrenching and for no reason at all. Senseless.
[22:40:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
BOLTON: The massacre in Orlando has stirred up so many emotions in the community here and around the world. And that includes the presidential candidates as well as President Barack Obama. I want to discuss this with Frank Bruni, the New York Times columnist.
Hi, Frank. Awful circumstances to see you under. Before we get to this crazy political thing that we're going to talk about, did you get the chance to see the interviews with the mom and the cousin?
FRANK BRUNI, NEW YORK TIMES COLUMNIST: I did. That was just heartbreaking. And as you said and as they said, I mean, such a senseless loss. There's no reason for this.
LEMON: Yes. And Frank, you wrote a column about the LGBT community which we'll discuss in the next block. And I thought it was a great column. We're going to get to that.
But let's talk some politics now. Because I want to start by asking you about the extraordinary political reaction to this massacre.
First, Donald Trump called for making his proposed ban on Muslims wider and accused the Muslim community of knowing about these kinds of attacks and not doing enough to stop them. And now I want you to listen to how the president reacted today.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, UNITED STATES OF AMERICA PRESIDENT: We now have proposals from the presumptive republican nominee for President of the United States to bar all Muslims from immigrating to America.
We hear language that singles out immigrants. And suggests entire religious communities are complicit in violence. Where does this stop? Do republican officials actually agree with this? Because that's not the America we want. It doesn't reflect our democratic ideals.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: You can see the president was really angry. Why do you think that he chose today to deliver such strong remarks, Frank?
BRUNI: I think because it's coming right out of what Donald Trump said in the aftermath of the Orlando massacre. I think there's a part of him that can't believe that Donald Trump is sticking to this idea of a Muslim ban.
I think he's extremely worried about where this could lead the country. He's right to be worried. I think he also -- it's interesting. He said do republican officials agree with him.
And I think part of what he's doing and again, he's right to do it, he is challenging republicans to come out and say we don't see this the way Donald Trump does. And Paul Ryan said something along those lines this morning.
I think he's challenging republicans to say we repudiate some of Donald Trump's remarks and I think he wants it to be clear that those are fringe remarks. We hope they're fringe remarks and not the direction the country is going to go in. [22:45:03] LEMON: Yes. His arguments really, they're -- his arguments
doesn't resonate with some republicans. But Donald Trump responded just a short time ago, Frank, and let's look at that.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, (R) U.S. PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: And I watched President Obama today and he was more angry at me than he was at the shooter. And many people said that.
One of the folks on television said, boy, has Trump gotten under his skin. But he was more angry -- a lot of people have said this the level of anger, that's the kind of anger he should have for the shooter and these killers that shouldn't be here.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: So, is he really addressing the substance of what the president said right there?
BRUNI: No. In a weird way, he seems to continue to be taking a victory lap of sorts. I mean, you know, again in that -- in those remarks he said people have said to me, wow, Trump is really getting under the president's skin.
It seems that Donald Trump cannot go more than a minute in remarks of any kind without complimenting himself on his potency without complimenting himself on his ability to predict the future.
I mean, in the hours right after this, and on your network the morning after the massacre, he kept on drawing attention to the fact that he said that things were going to happen. That he suggested things that might solve this. The amount of self-congratulation in the remarks of Donald Trump since 50 people died, it really kind of astounds me.
LEMON: Yes. You know, he's also attacking the president and Hillary Clinton for refusing to use the label radical Islamist -- radical Islamic terrorist. Listen to this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
OBAMA: What exactly would using this label accomplish? What exactly would it change? Would it make ISIL less committed to trying to kill Americans? Would it bring in more allies? Is there a military strategy that is served by this? The answer is none of the above. Calling a threat by different name does not make it go away.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: So, as I said earlier, some republicans are speaking out against him. But his argument resonates with a lot of republicans. Is he winning that war of words or has he overplayed his hand during this tragedy? BRUNI: You know, I don't know. But I do think -- I don't care much
about the semantics of that sort of that thing. I think the president says came good questions. But I do think it's incumbent upon democrats Hillary Clinton to make clear they understand Americans' fears and they're not walking on eggshells to an extent where they are ignoring fear or doing all that's necessary to make sure we keep the country safe.
LEMON: All right. Frank Bruni, I want you to stay right there. More of our live coverage from Orlando, next.
[22:50:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
BOLTON: Back now live from Orlando where 28 victims from the massacre at the Pulse Club remain in the hospital.
I'm back now with the New York Times columnist, Frank Bruni. Frank, you've just written this article that I talked about politicians. In particular, you talked about Senate Majority Leader, Mitch McConnell who responded to the attack without ever using the words gay or LGBT. Talk about that.
BRUNI: Well, you know, in the aftermath of the attack, if you look at the statements coming from lawmakers if you look at some of their tweets, it was -- it was very noticeable that from many republicans you saw no reference to the kind of nightclub where this had happened.
You saw no reference to the intended victims that this attack being LGBT Americans and it was striking in the case of Mitch McConnell, whom I talked about because he is the Senate majority leader. There were several days when he released statements, other made Senate floor remarks about the attacks.
And again, no gay, no LGBT. Finally this morning, the word gay appeared but he was talking about the kinds of things the Islamic state does abroad to women to gays and to other people. He still didn't connect it to Orlando.
And I just think it's curious and I want to know why, and in the piece I challenge him and other lawmakers in general and republicans, in particular, to maybe in this gay pride month attend a parade, attend a rally. Show that they do stand with us. And do those sorts of...
LEMON: Can I read your words for you?
LEMON: Let me read your words at what you said and then you can respond. So, you said here, calling on McConnell to go to a gay event in Kentucky. Here's what you said, you said "Just show up. And by doing so show that absence of gay or LGBT in your statements immediately following the Orlando massacre and in the statements of so many other prominent republicans isn't because you place us and our concerns behind some thick paint of glass with a "do not touch" sign and stays up even when blood and tears pull beneath it."
Do you think that you can change this tragedy? Will change minds?
BRUNI: Oh, man, I hope so. But for the -- but for right now, I mean, this is gay pride month in many cities. This is when there are rallies, when there are commemorations, when there are parades.
We look for ways after something like this massacre, after terror like this. We look for ways to make statement that's we won't be coward by it, that we won't be put in a posture of fear by it. And that we stand with the victims of it.
And so, there is a way right now for lawmakers of all parties, there's a way in this month, in this coming weekend and the weekend after it to go and do something with their physical presence that says, you know, we all stand together and we stand with the LGBT community which was at the center of this particular attack.
LEMON: So, we are all responsible for ourselves. But we're also responsible in many ways for our neighbors. And especially if you're in a position of power and leadership. You're responsible for the words that come out of your mouth because they have an impact.
And for the stances you make on certain things. It's just like Pam Bondy, the Attorney General here, who Anderson had a very interesting interview with, Kim Bondy, Tim Bondy, Pam Bondy, Pam Bondy, excuse me.
[22:55:01] There was a -- there was a Kim Bondy who worked here explain to the viewers. The producer in my ear is saying Pam Kim, it's Pam Bondy here.
So, people are responsible for their actions and for their words. And so, do you think that this will teach people that maybe their rhetoric sometimes and their stances on certain issues that they need to think about it because it can have an impact beyond just what they think it might, with their particular constituency.
BRUNI: I hope it gives people pause and I hope it is instructive in that exact way. You know, often when we get in debates about same sex marriage or when we get in debates about the so-called religious freedom laws that legitimize discrimination against LGBT people in southern states.
When those debates are going on, often the people who are arguing against same sex marriage or arguing for discrimination. You know, they use language and they vilify LGBT people in a way that I would like them to really think about in the context of the bloodshed in Orlando.
Words do matter. They create or they encourage attitudes. And we want to be living in a country where everybody feels safe and is treated with respect and dignity.
LEMON: Frank Bruni, always a pleasure. Thank you so much.
BRUNI: Thank you. LEMON: We have much more on our breaking news to come here in Orlando including my exclusive interview with the ex-wife of the nightclub gunman.
[23:00:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
LEMON: Breaking news. What exactly did the wife of the Orlando nightclub gunman know?
This is CNN TONIGHT. I'm Don Lemon in Orlando.