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Sheriff: 20 plus dead in Texas church shooting; Pastor's 14- year-old daughter killed in church shooting; Trump: I am monitoring the situation from Japan. Aired 5-6p ET
Aired November 05, 2017 - 17:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
(JOINED IN PROGRESS)
[17:00:00] ANA CABRERA, CNN ANCHOR: We don't know if he was a member of the community. We don't know why he might have done this. What we do know for sure is a small Texas town has witnessed an unspeakable tragedy that left countless families without their loved ones tonight.
A short time ago, President Trump offered his support from abroad tweeting, may God be with people of Sutherland Springs, Texas. The FBI and law enforcement are on the scene. I am monitoring the situation from Japan.
We do expect Texas officials to hold a press conference. We will bring that to you as soon as it happens. The president also expected to make some remarks sometime this evening.
Right now I want to bring in our law enforcement voices to help us walk through exactly what investigators may be doing at this moment. FBI agents in Sutherland Springs are on scene. We know ATF is on its way.
Joining us to talk about this, I want to get to James Gagliano, he is a CNN Law Enforcement Analyst and retired FBI supervisory special agent and also with us, CNN Law Enforcement Analyst, Cedric Alexander. So, James, let's start with you. What scenario would bring the FBI and the ATF to a crime scene in a small town like this?
JAMES GAGLIANO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: So first of all, Ana, This is going to be worked initially as a murder case. And that would obviously be the local or state purview for that.
Because this is such a small area -- this small area, 30 miles east or so of San Antonio, there are other resources that can come in from pretty close. But because it is such a small area probably a very small police department and municipality, the FBI would move in to bring some of these resources out of San Antonio.
The two things that we give FBI purview over this, terrorism and if that is a suspected part of this, they would go and start working currently with the locals until it is determined to be, yes, it is a terrorist case, and then they would take over the lead, and the second is a hate crime.
And either one of those things, terrorism or a hate crime, have specific definitions. I'm sure all that is being worked out right now as they track down the motive.
CABRERA: We still don't know, even the identity of this gunman. But, Cedric, what do you think investigators are likely doing right now?
CEDRIC ALEXANDER, CNN LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST (via phone): Well, I think everything that they can do under the circumstances in which they have to work in, we have to remember that is still a very active crime scene and one I'm quite sure, two is going to take some time from them to clear.
But the most important thing for them to do is to be able to identify the shooter. Who is he or she? Where are they from? What was their motive? Was it an act of terrorism or was it more domestic related.
We don't know. So, here again was still somewhat early. But I think the important piece is as every moment goes by, more and more information is going to be ascertained and this may begin to -- hopefully this pose to begin to come together in some type of way.
CABRERA: James, you mentioned that this is such a small town. What do you make of the fact that it happened in this church in this town versus San Antonio which is just 30 miles away?
GAGLIANO: Don't know and I mean, it would be pure speculation, Ana, for me to say well, it possibly the shooter might have known people.
It have been -- he might have been somebody that was known to the community or as you pointed out, somebody that was in San Antonio and wanted to go to a place where there is going to be less law enforcement resistance.
So that would be pure speculation. I think one of the interesting things about this -- I mean, in this tragedy, and it's sobering. This is a town of about 683 people. The numbers right now are at 20 and as we know, because we have done these.
You and I and others far too often talking about these things, that number is surely going to -- going to climb because we know there were a number of other folks that were wounded, that were taken and air lifted out, and taken to hospitals.
GAGLIANO: It's 683, 20, 25 people. Think about that. That is three percent to four percent of that town's population.
CABRERA: And one of the witnesses has told CNN that she knows at least three people who are injured are in critical condition. Again, we are working to find out more information about those victims.
But we can confirm at University Hospital alone at least eight victims were flown there -- taken there. Cedric, this church video taped its services we know and would post them on YouTube afterwards. It happened in the 11:00 a.m. service, right in the middle.
I think we actually have one of the videos, not from this incident. But it is very possible of this shooting was captured on tape. What could investigators learn from that?
ALEXANDER: Well, I mean certainly, hopefully there is some video. There could be something to be gleaned from that information, whether the subject was already sitting in the church service or whether he just came to the front door, randomly shooting people.
I think there is a lot to be gleaned from that video. But here is what is very touching, in terms of what my colleague has just stated. That is a very small community.
Two or three percent of that population has been effected by that community. But imagine the first responders who are providing to that scene among the death.
[17:05:00] And the mayhem who may be related to or they themselves may be friends of some of those victims. That is a traumatic event that has taken place in that very small community.
And I think for us, that's nation, we continue to pray for them all because in a community that size people are very in close contact with each other. They know each other. First responders, this is a very challenging and difficult scene for them, as well.
CABRERA: I want to remind our viewers we are standing by for a press conference, a news conference with investigators where we will learn more information, get an update on their investigation and what may have taken place today.
But what we can confirm according to the sheriff there in the county is that at least 20 people are dead and we know dozens more are injured including perhaps families, children. James, knowing these kinds of numbers of victims, what does that tell you about the weapon or weapons that were used?
GAGLIANO: I had been listening to a number of conflicting reports. And not being unseen and certainly not been privy to the crime scene right now and what is being determined and gleamed from actually harvesting the forensic evidence there.
Because all the ballistics are going to be studied and all the shell casings are going to be -- police stepped the gear back all, to back on fire arms in concert with the FBI and the locals are certainly doing that.
I heard some people say that it sounded like semi-automatic weapons, a magazine being emptied. We know this is Texas. Texas has very forgiving gun purchase rights. People out there own weapons and they are proud to do so.
Semi-automatic weapons have not been able to establish yet whether it was determined to be an automatic weapon. I think we should be very careful. We learned obviously late after two days or so, or a day or so, that it was the bump stock in Las Vegas.
Whether or not this was just a lot of rounds in secession which people on scene could have confused for automatic weapon fire or simply somebody with a semi-automatic rifle.
CABRERA: We don't know if there was more than one weapon as well.
GAGLIANO: We don't. What makes this so tragic and so difficult to conceive of is the fact that inside a church -- we don't know how many exits are all but inside a church, you know people -- it was similar to what happened in Vegas where people in those chorals were watching the country concert.
And a similar thing in here where you have four walls and somebody that comes in to that church armed with weaponry that they are able to, you know, take lots of lives in a very short order and people aren't able to egress. They can't get out and get away from the fire quickly enough.
CABRERA: And we know, the attacker apparently did leave the church because there was some kind of a chase, Cedric. Again, Hoping to learn more details about that chase. We don't know how it ended exactly. But what do you make of the fact the suspect took off? He didn't take his own life inside the church.
ALEXANDER: Well, you know, it's a lot to be -- I guess we could speculate in regard to that. But clearly he was trying to get away and was encountered by local law enforcement there. And hopefully we will learn more as to how his life ended whether it was from police gun fire or whether he took his own life.
Here again we are still kind of early in this and I don't want to go out too far on a limb on this. But here is what I would say about the type of fire power that was used inside that church as my colleague was just speaking, he is absolutely right, cannot get too far ahead of this.
But at the end of the day, for people who are listening to this report or seeing this as we are speaking regardless of whether it was semi- automatic fire, automatic gun fire, something very horribly happened there that took the lives of a large number of people in a very small space.
And that in and of itself is very concerning, and -- but as we learn more and hopefully there will be some footage of what occurred inside that church. And it will probably not, I would imagine, be seen anytime soon because it is going to become very much a part of evidence.
It was all in the investigation but that had to be a very graphic and horrible scene. And here again, for those who are responding to that scene and having to be there in the community that small, where people know each other is just -- is just very, very heart felt. I can't find any other words to describe it.
CABRERA: No doubt about it. Here we are looking at some aerial video of the scene that was taken earlier from one of our affiliates, KABB on scene there. You get a sense of just how rural this part of Texas is where the crime was committed.
And James, we understand to make shift gathering place has been set up for families to wait for answers, to wait for news of their loved ones. I imagine you have been on the other side having to deliver this kind of horrible information to people, family members.
[17:10:00] Help us understand what these families might be going through right now.
GAGLIANO: Well, we refer to this in federal government from the FBI's perspective as victim assistance. And I tell you, I worked cases where there were mass casualties. I worked cases where there were just horrific circumstances and death, and destruction.
I cannot even begin to tell you how difficult this got to be when you are on the front line dealing with a family that first and foremost doesn't have an answer and then secondly, if the answer is tragically they lost somebody in the carnage, that is a very difficult, difficult thing for folks to do.
And the people that do that are as brave as anybody that runs into a fire or anybody that runs to the sound of the guns because dealing with family members at this time, is just you have to have the right temperament for that. You have the right courage. It is just a -- it's tragic and I can't imagine.
I assume that what is going to happen here pretty quickly is the FBI will set up a tip line. No one has come out yet and said whether or not this was a lone wolf or not and I always think that that is premature as to, Cedric's, point for us to speculate on things like until we have allowed the locals and the FBI that are on scene to come out, and say something about that.
But we are going to be looking for some answers. And unfortunately, in this situation, the gunman either took his own life or was interdicted by the police and we're not going to be able to ask those questions of him or her.
CABRERA: All right, James Gagliano and Cedric Alexander, thank you both and stand by, please. We have some new information just in to CNN, the wife of Pastor Frank Pomeroy, tells CNN their 14-year-old daughter was one of those killed in today's church shooting.
Sherri Pomeroy says neither she nor her husband were at the church today when the shooting occurred but telling us, confirming to CNN that the pastor's own daughter, 14-years-old, is one of the victims.
Again, at least 20 people who have lost their lives right now and investigation continues. I want to bring in Representative Vicente Gonzalez, he is joining us on the phone from McAllen, Texas. And congressman, you represent this county -- Wilson County. What are you learning about what happened today?
CONG. VICENTE GONZALEZ (D), TEXAS (via phone): I do. Well, first of all, our thoughts and prayers are with the people of Wilson County. It is certainly a tragedy that no one could have ever have imagined that would occurred in a community such as this.
It's known for being a very peaceful place, good country folks live there. And I'm shocked and we are all shocked. We are waiting to see what develops.
It has been reported to me that we lost 25 members of the community and there are 20 others who are injured. Those numbers could obviously change throughout the day and maybe in the next few days. So I intend to keep a close eye and try to assist the community as much as we can.
CABRERA: And are you learning anymore about how investigators are now piecing information together? Do you know anything about the attacker?
GONZALEZ: We don't. It was reported to me that he is actually not from this community. Apparently, his name was released as Sam Hyde. That was a name I was -- I was given. We don't know any more details.
I assume probably there will be search warrants executed probably later in the day. We will be trying to get to the bottom of this person's life and what could have motivated him to commit such a tragedy in the community like Wilson.
CABRERA: Do you know for sure that there is only one attacker?
GONZALEZ: I don't know for sure. It would be all speculation, but that is what has been reported to me that there was only one attacker.
CABRERA: And do you know how that person ended up dying? We understand that he is dead, that there was some kind of chase but it was unclear to us up until now at least if he took his own life or if there was some kind of altercation with police.
GONZALEZ: It was reported to me that his life was taken by law enforcement. Now, you know, this just developed. I'm getting reports from my staff. And that is what I have as of now. I'm following it closely. Sometimes we get reports that turn out to be different down the road. So -- so I want to be very cautious, as I mentioned on to you.
CABRERA: And I think that is really important to note. Again, we are waiting for the official word from the investigators, from the sheriff who has been in touch with CNN as well, who have confirmed at least 20 people are dead as they continue their investigation.
FBI resources are on scene. ATF is on scene, as well. A lot of people in this community are just trying to wrap their heads around what happened. Have you been in touch with residents there?
GONZALEZ: We have. We have been in touch with a few constituents who live there and we have been in touch with the sheriff's department. And certainly what occurred today is certainly not character of this community.
[17:15:00] Wilson County is a rural community, a lot of really good people. Most of them are in farming and ranching and work in oil and gas fields. It's known as a very safe place. This is certainly way out of character and I think shocking to everyone there and everyone in the community around Wilson County.
CABRERA: Sure. Are you able to share anything about any of the victims?
GONZALEZ: Well, probably what has been reported to me is a lot of -- the same that has been reported to you at this time. We are still gathering information. We have been in touch with FBI and local authorities and I think this evening, the results will probably have more to share with the public.
CABRERA: I know you are working to gather information to confirm information. When you say what has been reported to you when you -- when we were talking about the shooter, for example earlier, who is telling you that information? Are those officials on the scene?
GONZALEZ: Yes, these are officials that my staff is communicating with. And that's the information that I'm -- I've been able to convey. But it is still very limited at this time. You know, I was told that, you know, they released the name of the -- of Sam Hyde who caused this event.
And they-- I have been told that he is not from the local community. It's a community of less than 700 inhabitants. Everybody knows each other. Many are related to each other. It's certainly not something that anyone would ever have expected.
CABRERA: OK. Representative Vicente Gonzalez, Congressman from Texas and from Wilson County specifically, thank you so much for spending some of your evening with us.
CABRERA: I'm so sorry for what you and your constituents and people of Texas are having to grapple with right now. Again, thanks for your time.
We are expecting to hear from President Trump tonight, as well, on this Texas mass shooting, the president keeping close tabs on the situation in Texas from thousands of miles away in Japan right now.
Trump is on the first leg of this historic trip to Asia where he is expected to focus on trade and the North Korea threat. The president earlier announcing he will meet with the Russian counterpart -- his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin this week to discuss North Korea's rogue regime and its growing nuclear weapons program.
Let's go to Tokyo now. Our Jeremy Diamond is live there, he is a White House correspondent. Jeremy, what are you hearing from President Trump's reaction to this tragedy in Texas?
JEREMY DIAMOND, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, so far what we have heard from the president came in the form of a tweet this morning shortly after these reports emerged. Let me read that to you right now. The president tweeting, may God be with the people of Sutherland --
Sutherland Springs, Texas. The FBI and law enforcement are on the scene. I am monitoring the situation from Japan, so the president continuing to be updated on this situation.
This is, of course, just the latest tragedy that this president has had to respond to. Thirty-five days ago, we saw the mass shooting in Las Vegas and then last week, of course, we saw the terrorist attack in New York City.
So this has been the last 35 days have truly been pop marked by tragedy. And the question now is how the president will further respond to this tragedy. We saw after Las Vegas, the president offered thoughts and prayers.
But did not in the coming days after that, go beyond that to try and figure out any legislation perhaps to address mass shootings in the U.S., where it was last week after this terrorist attack in New York City, we saw the president very quickly jumping to policy towards the ways that the country could address threat from terrorists, of course.
So these are questions that will be posed to the president today. He has a busy schedule where he continues to meet with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe of Japan.
And again, these questions will be posed as this debate once again turns to this question of mass shootings in the United States. And what the county, what the president can do to stop them in the future. Ana.
CABRERA: And it is such a sad, sad day here and there. Jeremy, will the president's plans for the rest of the day change as a result of the mass shooting in Texas?
DIAMOND: As of yet there is no update to the president's schedule. But we are expected to hear from him in just a couple of hours. He was expected to go to the Embassy -- to the U.S. Embassy here in Tokyo to address the U.S. and Japanese business leaders.
I would expect that the president would likely address this mass shooting for the first time on camera at that event unless there are changes of course to the president's schedule before then.
But a busy day ahead and now this trip where is addressed in the very beginning of it is going to be against this back drop -- this terrible, terrible back drop of another mass shooting in the United States.
CABRERA: Jeremy Diamond in Tokyo, traveling with the president, thank you. Again, the president tweeting, may God be with the people of Sutherland Springs, Texas. The FBI and law enforcement are on the scene. I am monitoring the situation from Japan.
Meantime, we are awaiting a news conference from officials in Texas on this shooting. We will bring you that live here on CNN when it happened. [17:20:00] And we'll continue to update you on the very latest information we are getting on this mass murder shooting inside a small Texas church when we come back. Stay with us.
CABRERA: I want to bring in Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, now as we continue to follow horrible event that has unfolded in Texas this evening. It happened earlier today at a church in the small town of Sutherland Springs, Texas.
That is about 30 miles southeast of San Antonio where a gunman, we are told by witnesses on the scene walked into the middle of the church service and opened fire.
The sheriff there in Wilson County has confirmed at least 20 people have lost their lives and many others have been taken to the hospital and are fighting to survive at this hour.
We are awaiting for a presser, a news update, a briefing from official on the scene and as soon as they step to the podium here. We will make sure to bring that to you live so you can get the latest information as we do as well.
[17:25:00] Let's go to the attorney general in Texas, Ken Paxton. Thank you so much, sir, for taking a little bit of your time on this horrific day in your community and your state, and to spend time with us. What can you tell us? What are you learning?
KEN PAXTON, ATTORNEY GENERAL, TEXAS: Well, first of all, this is horrific. And I was just recalling that we have been through this before. I think it was actually eight years ago today, we had to verify that but we have the Fort Hood shooting.
So this is something we are unfortunately all too familiar with. As far as the details, I think the focus, local law enforcement has been on taking care of those who have been killed and the deceased and also the injured.
And I think we will large -- we get more information, although I'm not sure immediately why all of this happened or had to happen.
CABRERA: Do you know anything about the attacker?
PAXTON: I don't know anything about the attacker at this point. I don't think the focus has been on the attacker. The focus has been on saving lives.
But I think it was the next couple of hours. Hopefully we will get something but it would not shock me if it takes more than a day or two. It may take weeks to unravel why this person decided to do this horrific thing.
CABRERA: For our viewers who may be just tuning in we can confirm that the attacker is dead. There was a brief chase with law enforcement and that person -- the gunman lost his life. Again, do not have an official identity of that man and we don't know about the victims at this point, only that there are 20 people who have been killed.
And we have learned at least one of the victims was a 14-year-old, the daughter of that church pastor. We are working to gather more information on that.
Attorney General Paxton, where does the investigation go from here? We understand there is the FBI and the ATF who are assisting local law enforcement officials on the scene. Do you know why the federal investigators are part of this investigation?
PAXTON: You know, look, Texas has a history of coordinating with federal, state and local officials. So while we don't as a state like as the attorney general's office don't have an official role, we will step in anytime we are asked to.
And a lot of times in smaller counties you will see this happen where they don't necessarily have the resources to deal with major crimes like this and so you see federal and state officials ask to be a part of the investigation so it can be done appropriately.
CABRERA: You mentioned the Fort Hood shooting eight years ago today. Do you think there could be any connection to that shooting in what happened today?
PAXTON: You know, I don't know. But it did occur to me that it is strange. And I haven't verified that that is the exact date. I just remember it happening about this time of the year. And I think it was about eight years ago. And I'm pretty sure today is the date.
CABRERA: You are correct. We did a quick -- we double check in our archive. And you are right, it was November 5th, 2009 when the Fort Hood shooting happened.
PAXTON: Yeah, I don't think anybody has brought that up. But it does make me suspicious. It may have no connection at all. But it is just strange to me that it happened on the same day in the same state.
CABRERA: What can you tell us about this community and this church?
PAXTON: Well, I don't know anybody at the church. I do know this, it is a small church. My guess is that this would never be expected in a little county like Wilson County which is about 30 miles southeast of San Antonio.
You would think it would probably be one of the safest places in America. But I can also tell you that it is very likely that everybody in the community knows somebody in that building that is either injured or killed or is related to them. So this will be devastating for that community.
CABRERA: All right, we will let you go. Thank you so much for your time. Attorney general Ken Paxton on the phone with us, we know the governor is in route to the scene. Again, we are awaiting this press conference that is going to happen here any moment. And Scott's Dale -- Scott Dale, Texas that is nearby Sutherland Springs, this rural town where this horrific event happened, a mass killing -- a mass shooting that claimed at least 20 lives. I want to bring in CNN Correspondent Kaylee Hartung.
She has been following this story for hours. Now, Kaylee, this church where this happens actually records its services so, is it possible there is video of this shooting?
KAYLEE HARTUNG, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Ana, there is every reason to believe that there is video of this shooting. For the last three years, First Baptist Church has recorded services and posted it on its YouTube channel for its congregation to be able view at its leisure.
Some of the videos have just a couple of views. Others have more than 1,000. This is a community very tight knit. Some have told me that watching these videos online was a way of reconnecting with the community if you left it.
But we have every reason to believe that a video was recorded today just like it has been every other day for the last three years. You can only imagine what a critical piece of evidence that will be in this investigation.
CABRERA: Kaylee, are you learning anything more about the victims?
[17:30:00] HARTUNG: At this point, Ana, we know of the one victim, the pastor's 14-year-old daughter. As Sherri Pomeroy has confirmed to CNN that her 14-year-old daughter, the daughter of the pastor of First Baptist Church was among those killed this morning among the at least 20 we know are dead. Sherri Pomeroy though telling us neither her or her husband were at the church this morning when this tragedy occurred.
CABRERA: And what else are witnesses telling you?
HARTUNG: Witnesses are telling me of the shock and the horror that people are experiencing in the fallout from this. As we have been discussing all day long, this is such a tight knit community that everyone in the community knows someone who could have been in that church.
There are so many questions that people are having in the wake of this and one of the most important keys here for everyone is just getting the information. Is someone they know safe? Is someone they know among those dead?
The community center in Sutherland Springs is the rallying point for folks there now, for information but also for care, people there banding together to support one another in a community that will be forever changed as a result of this day.
CABRERA: Well, Kaylee Hartung, thank you for that update. We are awaiting again this news conference from officials in Texas on this shooting. We will bring that to you when it happens and bring you up to date on the very latest on the shooting right after a quick break. Don't go away.
[17:35:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
CABRERA: For viewers just joining us we have breaking news. More than 20 people are dead, dozens injured after a gunman opened fire inside a small Texas church. He is the latest information. It all started around 11:30 this morning local time when a witness reported hearing about 20 shots fired in quick succession.
It was in the middle of Sunday service at the First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs, Texas. That's southeast of San Antonio about 30 miles or so. We are told the gunman died after a brief chase. We don't know if he was killed by police or if he took his own life.
A lot of unanswered questions right now, we don't know if he was a member of the community. We don't know why he may have done this. All we do know for sure is a small Texas town has witnessed an unspeakable tragedy that has left countless families without their loved ones tonight.
We know at least one of the victims was just 14-years-old. A short time ago, President Trump offered his support from abroad tweeting this, may God be with the people of Sutherland Springs, Texas. The FBI and law enforcement are on the scene.
I am monitoring the situation from Japan. We do expect the president to make remarks later this evening. And we are also anticipating a news conference with Texas officials any moment now. We will bring that to you just as soon as it happens.
Now, earlier my colleague Fredricka Whitfield spoke with a witness in Sutherland Springs who heard that shocking gun shots ringing out inside the tragic church shooting. And Carrie Matula is her name. She works as a clerk at a convenience store near First Baptist Church. Listen to her story.
CARRIE MATULA, SUTHERLAND SPRINGS RESIDENT (via phone): One of the cashiers was sweeping up outside. And she heard the gunshots first and came running in and said somebody is shooting out here. It sounds like a lot.
And they were still shooting by the time I got to the door and outside. And we went -- we heard ricocheting and went back inside. We didn't want to get hurt. It was very close and very loud. And at first we thought maybe somebody was target shooting, because we do that out for some fun. But this was semi-automatic fire. This was rapid fire.
FREDRICKA WHITFIELD, CNN ANCHOR: At what point did you...
MATULA: And it was some very disturbing and then within the next few minutes -- you know, five to six minutes later, mostly we are starting see first responders coming in and there was the fire department and mobile command station, and things of that nature. This is a very small town. Everybody knows everybody. It is just
devastating. It's going to change the whole dynamic of this area.
WHITFIELD: And, Carrie, so once you saw law enforcement that's when you realized all that gun fire was coming from that First Baptist Church just across the street from your store?
MATULA: Right. We were flabbergasted. There is just no reason for something like that to take place especially here where everybody is family. You know, we all help each other out. We know each other. This is just devastating. It's dumfounding.
We are all still kind of in shock and still awaiting news, and they are not able to give us information at this point on some people because they don't want to give misleading information.
WHITFIELD: It is stunning and it is hurtful. How worried are you that people you know were in that church at the time?
MATULA: Well, we are worried. We are definitely worried and we're saddened, and shocked. We do know some of the people that have passed on that were killed.
And we are watching in shock and awe, you know, family members being told that they lost their loved ones. I mean, you know, it's all pretty -- it's indescribable really. It's indescribable, the shock and everything that is going on right now. It is just terrible.
WHITFIELD: It is terrible. And you -- you know, you just expressed how this will just change everything for this town.
[17:40:00] Describe for me this town of Sutherland Springs, what it has meant to you, what it is to live there, what it is to, you know, raise families there, have friends and have a business there.
MATULA: That's just it. We moved out here and realized that we were in probably the best place in Texas because everybody knows everybody. You know, we help each other out. If you need something, all you have to do is call and you will have three or four people at your door ready to help. And you know, to have something like this happen is just, it's unconscionable.
WHITFIELD: Are you hearing anything about who would have done something like this?
MATULA: I'm sorry, could you repeat that?
WHITFIELD: Are you hearing anything about who could have done something like this, whether people recognized the gunman? Saw any portion of the police chase?
MATULA: Well, we didn't see the police chase itself but we have been hearing rumors that I don't want to say anything at this point because I don't want to hinder the investigation and what is taking place, but yes, we have an idea of who did this and we don't know why. It's a small town so we will know pretty quick. WHITFIELD: An of course, you know, rumors and unconfirmed but of that
information was it a familiar name person to you based on the rumors you heard?
MATULA: No. No. I didn't -- I knew family members but not this person personally, just by name and face.
WHITFIELD: As you look out the window, can you describe for me what you're seeing right now?
MATULA: I'm sorry, I couldn't hear you.
WHITFIELD: As you look out the window look out of your shop right now at the church, what are you seeing? Can you describe for me?
MATULA: Well now, what I'm seeing right now is we have 100 or so people here at the community building at Sutherland Springs. We've got family members, congregation members, friends and neighbors, we've got first responders, we've got news media has been pulled back to another location in Stockdale for the moment. And right now we are just trying to get the Red Cross to assist the families of victims.
WHITFIELD: We had Nannette with the local newspaper -- Nannette Kilbey-Smith with us earlier of the Wilson County news and she was describing the community center as one where family members and friends are to await notice on their loved ones, the status of anyone they know in that church. Have you been -- can you describe what you have been seeing in them?
MATULA: Just shock and dismay and mourning, and lots of -- lots of people praying together and praying for their loved ones and their neighbors and family members that have lost loved ones and neighbors. You know, this is what we do.
When something happens to one of us, we come together as a community. And this is just showing how strong we are but at the same time we are just shocked. We are just shocked.
CABRERA: Again, that was the voice of one of Carrie Matula, one of the witnesses, a resident in that community. We are still awaiting a news conference from officials in Texas on the shooting.
We'll bring that to you soon if happens and bring you any new information as we continue to work the phones and try to contact witnesses, and try to work the law enforcement sources that we all have to try to get more information on exactly what unfolded in Sutherland Springs, Texas today. Stay with us.
[17:45:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
CABRERA: We are following the latest developments from Sutherland Springs, Texas, that Southeast Texas where a gunman opened fire during a church service this morning.
The sheriff there says the gunman killed more than 20 people. The gunman was killed after a brief chase with authorities. We don't know if he took his own life or if he was killed by police.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CABRERA: Texas lawmakers have responded quickly to the church shooting, Texas Governor Greg Abbott issuing this statement, while the details of this horrific act are still under investigation, Cecilia and I want to send our sincerest thoughts and prayers to all of those who have been affected by this evil act.
I want to thank law enforcement for their response and ask that all Texans pray for their Sutherland Springs community during this time of mourning and lost.
Also Texas Senator Ted Cruz tweeting this, keeping all harmed in Sutherland Springs in our prayers and grateful for our brave first responders on the scene. This is from Senator John Cornyn of Texas who tweeted, truly heartbreaking news in Sutherland Springs. Please say a prayer for First Baptist Church Congregation, first responders and the community there.
And House Speaker Paul Ryan weighed in with this tweet, reports out of Texas are devastating. The people of Sutherland Springs need our prayers right now. We do know FBI agents are in Sutherland Springs at the scene of the shooting. ATF is also responding.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CABRERA: Joining us now to talk more about what investigators will be doing or they may be looking for in these first few hours after the shooting, CNN law enforcement analyst James Gagliano, who is a retired FBI supervisory special agent and CNN law enforcement analyst Cedric Alexander. So James let's start with you, what would be the investigative priority right now for the investigators?
GAGLIANO: Well, obviously, the first thing in a situation like this is you want to interdict the gunman and the bad guys and put him down. That apparently appears to be what happened, whether it was self- inflicted or whether the police took him out. Your critical incidence response is to neutralize that first.
[17:50:00] Then you go back and piece everything together. First and foremost, Ana, is to make sure that there wasn't a conspiracy. Who could have possibly known about this.
Where did the weapons come from? Did anybody know that he had any type of bad intentions, malice aforethought, and then there's going to be a plethora of evidence harvesting that's going to involve social media, scouring social media to at the digitally exhaust.
What did he Google Search? Did he post anything -- any rants or any screeds on Facebook or on Twitter, that type of things. Then there's going to be the human intelligence. And that's -- most important is going to be interviewing the folks that survived this horrific shooting in the church to find out did they know him before?
Was there any connection with the church? Was there any connection to the community? And then finally, looking to motive. And obviously motive is what we all want to know.
In law enforcement we do because it helps us get out in front of the next one. Was this an act of terror? Was this just a depraved and evil person?
Was this someone with mental health issues. And finally, Ana, could this possibly been somebody who was hell bent on to doing a copy cat. Saw something in the news, saw something on television, movie, TV or whatever.
CABRERA: I remember it was eight years ago today, the Fort Hood shooting happened.
GAGLIANO: Not only that, but I'll give you one more statistic that's chilling. So Austin, Texas, is about 80 miles north of San Antonio. We know that this town where the shooting happened was about 30 miles east of that.
Fifty-one years ago was when the first mass shooting that we really have tracked in a law enforcement that happen and that was Charles Whitman in the Texas Clock Tower shooting on the University of Texas Campus, 51 years ago.
CABRERA: Too many shootings, hard to keep track at this point so sadly. Cedric, we know that this is a church that often recorded its church services. This was the 11:00 church service today. It was about halfway through, 11:30, when witnesses say the gunman came in and opened fire. How important will that video evidence be to investigators?
ALEXANDER (via phone): It's going to be incredibly important information to determine whether this subject was already sitting in the church among other parishioners, whether this individual came in through the front door shooting any innocent victims. It's going to tell us a lot.
The unfortunate part that, this is -- if they were up online doing their services, there could have easily been those who could have been watching this service in progress and also could have been interrupted by this very violent shooting.
So a lot of video footage hopefully will be out there, but unfortunately it's going to be very painful and very graphic to watch. And -- but law enforcement, I'm quite sure, is going to do everything they can in that community to try to see if any further information can prove to be of value of this case.
CABRERA: All right, Cedric Alexander and James Gagliano, we got to take a quick break. Stand by and thank you for you ongoing analysis here. We will have the latest developments as we are just minutes away from a news conference. You see that little box there on the bottom right as we are waiting
for investigators to give us a briefing, to give us what they can share in their investigation so far. We'll bring that to you just as soon as it happens. You're live in the CNN Newsroom.
CABRERA: We are back with breaking news out of Texas. These are live images aerials over the scene of a mass shooting that happened inside a church during Sunday worship today. Here's what we know right now.
The sheriff says more than 20 people have died. This is at the First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs, a small town southeast of San Antonio. We are told dozens more may be injured including children.
The gunman died after a brief chase. Officials on the scene have not released the shooter's name yet. We don't know if he was killed by police or if he took his own life. The FBI is on the scene trying to determine the reason for this attack.
We do know one of the victims is the pastor's 14-year-old daughter among those 20 plus people killed. Neither the pastor nor his wife tell CNN they were at the church during the shootings.
But again, that 14-year-old daughter is among the victims. A heavy law enforcement presentation still on scene as this is early in the investigation. We are now just about 5 1/2 hours since the shooting took place.
We are continuing to monitor that box there on the bottom right side of your screen as we are expecting officials to give us a press briefing any minute. We'll bring that to you here. Stay with us on CNN.