Return to Transcripts main page
The Source with Kaitlan Collins
IDF: Ground Operation "Expanding" In Gaza; Intense Strikes In Gaza As Israel Expands Ground Operations; Suspect In Maine Shooting Found Dead From Apparent Self-Inflicted Gunshot. Aired 9-10p ET
Aired October 27, 2023 - 21:00 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. THE SOURCE WITH KAITLAN COLLINS starts now.
KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN HOST: Good evening. And welcome to THE SOURCE. I'm Kaitlan Collins.
All eyes, tonight, are on Gaza, where there has been a significant Israeli Military escalation, tonight, the largest that we have seen, since the start of this war, almost exactly three weeks ago.
Along with a relentless air bombardment, Israel says it's expanding its ground operation, in Gaza, but won't yet precisely say whether or not this is the start, of that highly-anticipated full-scale ground offensive.
Axios journalist, Barak Ravid, notes, tonight, that it is much more intensive than what we have seen, in recent days, with those minor incursions, going into Gaza, with then Israeli forces leaving.
Right now, you are looking at video, from the IDF, of these targeted raids, that are conducted -- being conducted, tonight. Israeli forces say that hundreds of thousands of soldiers have amassed, on the border, in the air, on the ground, and in the sea.
Of course, the hostages are still in Gaza. They are still at the center of this. We are hearing from U.S. officials who say that negotiations are going to continue. But there are major questions, of how the action that we are seeing, on the ground, play out, right now, complicates that. Of course, 229 people still remain in captivity, by Hamas, tonight.
I want to get right to CNN's Anderson Cooper, who is live, in Tel Aviv.
Anderson, obviously, we heard, from Israel Defense Forces, saying that it's expanding its ground operation, tonight. How does that look different, how does it sound different, from where you are, than what we've been seeing, over the last three weeks?
COOPER: It's certainly, I mean, the level of bombardment has increased significantly, for many hours now, already. Even earlier today, this afternoon, first of all, the number of rocket attacks, on Tel Aviv itself, seem to there being an uptick. There were a number of air raid sirens, in Tel Aviv, which has not occurred, over the last several days.
But certainly, from all our folks, Nic Robertson, Jeremy Diamond, on the border, we've been hearing, and seeing, significant artillery, significant munitions, dropped in in Gaza.
Even here, in Tel Aviv, you can hear some large detonations, all the way, in Gaza, from Tel Aviv. It's just a sign of the massive amount of ordnance, that's being put into place, and dropped in, into Gaza, what Israel says it's targeting specific Hamas command and control centers, particular leaders, from Hamas.
We don't know the level of troops on the ground, exactly locations obviously, and whether they intend to stay there, or come back, across the border.
We did see, about two nights ago, the IDF put out a video, of a limited -- very limited incursion, of some bulldozers, and tanks, going across the border, literally leveling out berms, to make it easier, for other tanks, in the future, to cross over, into Gaza, also, according to the IDF, taking out any reconnaissance locations, or IEDs, or explosive devices that may have been around, in that area.
And there have been a number of sort of softening operations, leveling-the-ground operations, like that, in the previous days, according to the IDF.
But this certainly seems to be a new phase, Kaitlan.
COLLINS: Yes. And, of course, we're seeing how it's affecting Gaza, already. I mean, comms there, tonight, have been severely disrupted. CNN has been able to make some limited contact, with people, who are still inside the Gaza Strip. But I mean, all of this just makes it difficult, to know what the other side of this looks like, what it looks like, in Gaza, tonight, Anderson.
COOPER: Yes, it gets extremely difficult.
Obviously, it's not a surprise that Israel will try to knock out communications, in Gaza, given they want to do everything they can, to maximize their advantage, to not have Hamas operatives, being able to communicate easily, with one another.
They want an element of surprise, as much as that is possible, given the fact that Hamas has spent, according to Hamas, two years, preparing for the terror attack, for the slaughter that took place, on October 7th, which also means they've been preparing for two years for the inevitable Israeli response, which they wouldn't know exactly what it would be.
But they could certainly anticipate it would involve a ground operation, given the scale and the scope of the massacre, of the slaughter, that took place, and the brutality of it. [21:05:00]
So, it is a very dangerous situation, obviously, for civilians, on the ground, in Gaza City, all throughout the Gaza Strip, and obviously, for Israeli forces, heading into a battlefield, an urban combat battlefield, that the forces, they are going to be opposing, is not only embedded, within a civilian population, and also has a network, of underground tunnels, and more than 200 hostages.
But it also has had a significant amount of time, to think and prepare, for this inevitable ground operation.
COLLINS: Yes. Anderson Cooper, in Israel, thank you.
For a perspective now, I want to bring in CNN's Military Analyst, and retired U.S. Air Force Colonel, Cedric Leighton.
Colonel, obviously, Gaza is a small, densely populated place. It's just about twice the size of Washington, D.C. Where exactly are we seeing this new activity, tonight? And how close do we think that is to where we believe this underground Hamas tunnel network is?
COL. CEDRIC LEIGHTON, U.S. AIR FORCE U.S. AIR FORCE (RET.), CNN MILITARY ANALYST: Yes, Kaitlan, good evening.
The main area that the Israelis seem to be going for, is the northern part, right here of Gaza.
So, this is all of Israel. This is the West Bank. And this is Gaza. So, we expect the Israelis to have their forces basically, in this area, around the northern and central part of Gaza. There are also reports that there may be some activity, in the southern part of the border area, between Israel and Gaza. So, all of these areas, expect them to be quite active.
Now, as far as the tunnels are concerned, well, first of all, let's take a look at the damage, right here. This is the kind of damage that we have, as of the 22nd of October. All of this area, right here, has been hit by, by the Israelis, all through here.
You see the different impact points that you have here, also in this area, and in this area. These are all the different areas that have all been impacted, by the kinds of airstrikes that you see here.
And then, as far as the tunnels go, they are, at a minimum, described like this, about, you know, could be up to 300 miles of these tunnels. But they're all in this area, right in here, particularly in the north, and in the upper central part. And then, there's some also here in the south.
So, Kaitlan, these are areas, in which we can expect to find command and control nodes, for Hamas, hostages, and also resupply efforts, plus the rockets that Hamas has stored, and fires against Israel, as often as they can.
COLLINS: And, Colonel, given your experience, in the Air Force, when we are trying to figure out what exactly Israel is doing here, when do we know that the air campaign is done, and that the ground operation is in full, in fact, or do those things just overlap now, going forward?
LEIGHTON: Well, they don't necessarily overlap.
So, one of the things that you can do is you can take a look, at areas that are being targeted.
So, this is a before picture, of a place, called Izbat Beit Hanoun, in Gaza. And you see a fairly extensively populated area, right here, intact buildings, some high-rises up here, and over this way. Now, that's the before picture.
The after picture looks like this. This is October 21. All of the areas, right in here, all completely destroyed, obliterated. You have some damage, in this area, as well. So, all of these different areas are impacted in that way. And that is one aspect of this. So, what you do is you do what's known as a battle damage assessment.
Here's another place that had a similar thing. This is Western Atatra, in Gaza, a very agricultural area, right over here, everything intact over here. Again, this was taken on May 10th. After October 21st, all of this completely gone, right in through here. And in those areas that are standing, you can tell that the buildings are basically uninhabitable.
LEIGHTON: And that's the big idea here. Once this is done, then that means that the other campaigns can start moving forward.
COLLINS: Yes, I mean, the before pictures, and the after pictures, are just remarkable.
Colonel Leighton, thank you, for breaking all that down for us.
Also here, tonight, to get perspective, on what's happening, on the ground, a member of Israel's Knesset, and Israel's former Ambassador to the United Nations, Danny Danon.
Ambassador, thank you, for joining us, back here.
Can you give us some insight, into what is going on now? Is this that anticipated ground invasion?
DANNY DANON, FORMER ISRAEL AMBASSADOR TO THE U.N., FORMER ISRAELI DEPUTY DEFENSE MINISTER: Kaitlan, we say that we will find them, and we will hunt them down. That's exactly what we are doing now. And we expanded that ground operation, tonight. But we are still continuing to use the Air Force, the Navy. And we will not sit idly by.
We have to remember, we still have 229 hostages, including 30 babies. We haven't forgotten the massacre. We haven't forgotten the rapes, the brutality, burning kids alive. So yes, we are now coming after Hamas. We will use the force of the IDF. [21:10:00]
We still encourage the civilian population, in northern Gaza, to move to the south. They can still do that. There is an open corridor, for them, to move, to the south. And we will do whatever is necessary, how long it will take us, to find the terrorists and to eliminate them.
COLLINS: So, if you're saying that there's still time, for civilians, to leave northern Gaza? That seems to indicate that this is not the full ground invasion. Can you clarify?
DANON: No. I cannot. I cannot go into specifics. But I'm sending a message to the people, in northern Gaza, today. They can still leave the homes. About 80 percent already did it. And we encourage the rest, to leave, because they should not be human shield, for the Hamas terrorists. And we -- it will be a warzone--
COLLINS: Ambassador Danon?
DANON: --in northern Gaza.
COLLINS: Can I get you to stand by, just for one moment? This is a really important conversation. I do want to get back to this.
But we have some breaking news that has just happened, here in the U.S. Of course, we've been following closely what is happening in Maine.
CNN's Omar Jimenez has been there, covering the story, as this manhunt has been underway, for this suspect, over 48 hours now.
Omar, what have you learned?
OMAR JIMENEZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Kaitlan, over 48 hours, in this manhunt. And multiple sources are now telling CNN, this suspect has been found dead, in the woods, in a town over from where I am, in Lewiston, which is where both of these mass shootings took place, again, over 48 hours ago, at this point.
As we understand from sources, he was found dead, due to a self- inflicted gunshot wound, to the head. He was found in the woods, as I mentioned, near Lisbon, Maine, which is the town, over from here, in Lewiston. They've been searching for him, since the shootings took place.
And while obviously this is the breaking news, that's happening, right now, there are indications, or fears, that he may have been found dead, because of a note that was found, previously, by law enforcement, indicating that he did not plan to be alive, when that note was found. And clearly, this seems to be playing out, now, according to these sources.
To give you an idea, of what the past few days had been like, here, it has created a sense of fear, at the very least unease, for the people, here in this community, not knowing where this person was, as they went to bed at night, as they locked their doors, twice, in some cases. They barricaded their doors, as some posted on social media, again, unsure of what this person could be capable of.
Now, earlier today, we got more details, from Police, on how this attack unfolded, first, at a bowling alley, not too far from where I am right now. And then, minutes later, came here to this location, to the restaurant, behind me, and he continued to open fire.
At least 18 people were killed, 18 members of this community. And so many others are now trying to figure out how to put the pieces of their lives, back together, based on the actions, of what Police say, was this man, 40-year-old Robert Card, who again, has now been found dead, according to multiple law enforcement sources, after a more than 48-hour search.
A press conference, from state Police, and other law enforcement, is scheduled, for just about 50 minutes from now, where they will likely make that announcement, officially, but also likely, take us through, some of the steps that led them, to finding this particular body.
I should also say that they were looking by the water, by air, by ground. And where this body was found, the Lisbon area, while we don't know the exact specific location, in the woods, that has been a lot of the primary focus, of where investigators have been searching.
They were combing through the woods. They were looking along the river. They even told us, earlier today, what they would be doing, even sending divers, into the river, to potentially look for evidence. And we're not sure exactly what part of that strategy made them get to this final hurdle.
But this is a sigh of relief, for so many people, in this community, again, who were living, in some cases, in fear, about where this person was.
COLLINS: Yes. So many areas still locked down.
Omar, breaking news there, that the suspected shooter, in Maine, has been found dead. Thank you for that. Omar, we'll get back to you, in a moment.
For more on this, I want to bring in CNN's Chief Law Enforcement and Intelligence Analyst, John Miller, who has been covering this.
John, I mean, what have you been learning, from your sources, about how they found him, what this note apparently said?
JOHN MILLER, CNN CHIEF LAW ENFORCEMENT & INTELLIGENCE ANALYST: Well, the note was basically a list of account numbers, things to take care of. It was probably meant, for his son, in the event of his death, as to how to handle affairs. Though it wasn't explicitly a suicide note, leaving it in a conspicuous place, was an indicator that he wanted to put affairs in order.
Now, tonight, a search, in an area, discovers Robert Card dead of an apparent, only the medical examiner can make that determination, self- inflicted gunshot wound.
I am told this is a wooded area, near a recycling center. Why is that significant? Because, in the order of events, in his life? There was the mental health crisis he had, in the National Guard that resulted in him being hospitalized, under psychiatric observation. There was the loss of his job, at that recycling center. And then, the breakup with a woman he had been involved with. And those things had happened in fairly rapid succession.
So, the symbolism of going back to places, where he used to go, with his girlfriend, and opening fire, on the people there, the symbolism of going back to the place where he had been fired, to that area, and killing himself, so he would be found nearby there, may speak to a lot of the issues that were driving him.
COLLINS: Do we know anything else about how they actually found him? Because I mean, the amount of resources, behind this search effort, was extensive.
MILLER: We don't know. We'll know at 10 o'clock.
But I think we can project that A, they've been searching wooded areas, around there, almost kind of going through a grid, and--
COLLINS: Which is so difficult, this time of year.
MILLER: --very challenging. But also, looking in areas that would be significant to him. And the recycling center, a place where he had worked, and then had been discharged from, would be significant to him, so, that is.
There's one other thing that's notable, which is, and we learned this today, in our reporting, on this story, which is he bought the gun, not just an AR-15 rifle, but an AR-10, a high-powered rifle that uses a sniper's bullet. It's used for long-distance shots, and hunting big game, on or about January 6th.
January 16th, the Army calls the New York State Police. The National Guard calls the State Police, and says, he's out of control. And they take him to the hospital, and then they refer him for treatment.
And then, those two things, buying the gun, and essentially being put into a psychiatric ward, for observation, for a period of time, are in very close proximity.
What we're trying to ask is did authorities, from the National Guard, ever pass that on to the National Guard, in Maine, where he had access to weapons, received weapons training, to people, in Maine law enforcement authorities, where he was a lawful possessor, of many weapons, but clearly a person in crisis.
And part of the struggle that they have had, in identifying victims, who were found, at the two murder scenes, were that using this kind of weapon, and that 308 round, this particularly large bullet, made it hard to identify people, because a number of them, were victims of what appeared to be targeted headshots. So, taking all that together?
COLLINS: That's so hard to hear.
MILLER: A very difficult, and even speaks more to the type of weapon he bought, the type of round he carried, and then doing close-range shooting, of people from the very community that he has been with, for most of his life.
So, the idea that he has been discovered that he is a different leg of this tragedy, and that people can get back to trying to rebuild their lives, and communities, as Omar said, that starts now.
COLLINS: And just to bring everyone up to speed, if they're just tuning in? We were just on the ground in Israel.
Now, we were talking about what happened in Maine. They have found the suspected shooter, there, dead, in the woods, an apparent self- inflicted gunshot wound.
That gun that you're referencing, the one that he bought, about 10 days before he had that episode, is that the one that they found in the vehicle? Or was it with him, on his person?
MILLER: So, that's an unusual gun. The one they found in the vehicle is the same make. It's by the Ruger company. It's the same caliber. It's that 308. So, they are waiting to process that through first, DNA, then fingerprints, and then the ballistics match, which will tell them for sure.
But clearly, he had another weapon, which he used to kill himself.
The day he bought that gun, Kaitlan, he bought a second gun, a Beretta 92 F, a little bit of symbolism there too. It's been the official gun, of the U.S. Armed Forces. It's the gun he was trained on, as part of the Military. And it may be, we don't know, but it may be the gun that he took as the second part of that set, after he took so many lives, with the first one, to take his own life, with the second.
COLLINS: And if we could just pull up the map again, of this area? I mean, obviously, there was a distance, between the bowling alley, and the restaurant that he went to. How far do we believe -- we don't know the precise location. But how far do we believe he is, from where they found his body?
MILLER: From how -- the shooting scenes, from where they found his body?
COLLINS: From the locations of these shootings?
MILLER: These are all in four- to seven-mile drives, depending on which point you're starting from. But Lewiston is a town of 44,000 people, or something, in that area. And it is surrounded by smaller towns. But they're all connected, and close to each other. COLLINS: And I know we've got a press conference, coming up, with officials, where we expect them to confirm this reporting that you have.
John Miller, I want you to stand by, because, we do have more, on this breaking news, in just a moment.
We had -- the authorities are telling us, sources are telling CNN, they have found the suspected shooter, in Maine, dead, of an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound. We'll get much more on this, at the top of the hour, from authorities, as they are going to hold that press conference.
We'll be back here, in just a moment, with more reporting, on the scene.
COLLINS: Back here with breaking news, tonight, as we have learned, according to multiple sources that the suspect, in the Lewiston, Maine mass shootings, has been found dead, from an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head.
Robert Card was found in an area, we are told, near the recycling center, from which he was recently fired. That's according to a law enforcement source, to CNN's John Miller.
We are waiting for a news conference, from officials, in Maine. That is coming up, in this hour.
Back now with CNN's Omar Jimenez, and John Miller.
Omar, let me start with you, on the ground, in Maine, as we are learning these details, and we don't know the precise location, of where he was found. But how far is it from where -- I mean, these terrified residents have been sheltering inside, with their doors locked, their businesses closed, waiting for this news.
JIMENEZ: Exactly. This is what they've been waiting for, for more than 48 hours, what has become a third night, of this suspect, on the run, the suspect that we now know, from multiple law enforcement sources, is dead.
Now, to give you an idea of the geography that we're looking at here? So, I am outside the Bar & Grille, which is the second location, where the mass shootings were happening, on Wednesday night.
Just about 10 minutes from where I am is where the bowling alley is. That was where the mass shootings began that night. So, he went from there. 6:56 PM was when the first 9-1-1 calls went out. And then, he made his way, down to this location. 7:08 PM was when those calls came out from this location.
And then, where his body was found, as we understand from sources, the town over from here, just about a 10-minute drive, as well. And it was also in that town was where his vehicle was abandoned, as well.
So, all this was happening, actually, in a pretty small areas, geographically, when you consider the entire State, and when you consider the range of where people thought he may have been, especially after the course -- over the course of two and a half days, looking, of course, people along the border, trying to make sure that he's not up there, the Coast Guard involved as well.
So, everybody is, of course, covering their bases. But in the end, it does seem that he didn't get that far. Again, just about 10 minutes from here is where that body was found, as we understand, from sources.
To give people an idea of the manpower that was on the ground, over the course of today? Well, one Police said they'd gotten more than 530 tips, in from the public. So, people were obviously concerned, and maybe even more so on edge than they normally would be, calling in things that they likely wouldn't have thought twice about, beforehand. So, that's one dynamic going on.
Then, you have people, law enforcement, moving methodically, through the woods, on the ground. We heard from Police -- State Police, earlier today, that they were going to not just look on the water, but literally in the water, sending people in, decreasing the flow of the water, working with the dam companies, to make it easier, for them to get in the water, to help in these search actions.
And then, also, from the air as well, that we understood, one, to see what they could see from the air, in some of the water areas, but also to assist in general surveillance, as well.
So, this was a multi-faceted approach that was happening, not just at the local level, but at the state and the federal level as well, trying to find, where this person was, obviously, understanding the urgency, that many, in the community, here, were pushing them toward.
And one of our colleagues, earlier today, said it felt like law enforcement felt the pressure, when they came out, and made their press conference, earlier today. Whether that's true or not, they did what they were supposed to do, here, and found this suspect.
A sigh of relief, for many, here in this community.
COLLINS: Yes, certainly.
And Omar, we'll wait to hear, from those authorities, when they come out, shortly, in just a moment. We'll check back in with you.
Back with me now is John Miller, who broke this news that this suspect was found.
48 hours is a long time. I mean, it was Wednesday night that we were talking, on this program, about the shooting, as they were first looking for this suspect. What's our indication, of where he went, from Wednesday night? What he's been doing until when they found him? Has he been in this place the whole time? Do they have any indication? MILLER: That is a blank page, because since the shooting, there has not been one single confirmed sighting, not by a Police officer, not by a witness, who said, "I know him. That was him. We spoke. I saw him. He came to my house." Nothing like that.
And I say that because, as you know, we recently went through the hunt, for Danelo Cavalcante, in Pennsylvania, escaped from jail, managed to pick up a rifle, was looking to carjack a car. And we had multiple sightings of him. Each day, he was being spotted somewhere.
This was nothing like that. What it suggests and this is all preliminary, because we're literally working with this information in real-time, is that he may have gone from the shooting scenes, to where he abandoned the car, and then gone to where he ultimately took his own life, and could have been there since.
One of the other things we learned from the Pennsylvania manhunt was how hard it is, when you're looking for the woods.
MILLER: To spot a person dead or alive.
COLLINS: Yes. And so, do we have any indication on the timing of when they found him?
MILLER: So, this was this evening, 9 o'clock, or slightly earlier than that.
COLLINS: Oh, so just recently?
MILLER: Yes, no, this was -- this was -- I'm sorry. I'm off a little bit. This was this evening, within the last hour or so. I've been here too long today.
COLLINS: Well you've been doing a lot of reporting, John Miller. I want you to stand with me, because I want you to continue to fill this out.
But I do want to go to someone, who this is incredibly personal for, right now, a survivor of this shooting, Tammy Asselin, and her daughter, Toni (ph), who's 10-years-old. They were at Just-In-Time Recreation, the bowling alley, separated, as this shooting began. And her cousin, Tricia, was killed, in the shooting.
Tammy, I'm so glad that you're here with me, tonight. I wanted to talk to you just about what your experience was.
But what's your reaction to this breaking news, that we have confirmed this suspected shooter has been found dead?
TAMMY ASSELIN, SEPARATED FROM 10-YEAR-OLD DAUGHTER DURING MAINE SHOOTING, COUSIN TRICIA ASSELIN KILLED IN MAINE SHOOTING: It really it's relieving so that the community itself can definitely move on without the fear of him out there. But it's also sad because we have so many answers -- so many questions left unanswered.
But I know it does give my daughter, some peace, to know that he's been caught, because that was a fear of hers, that he's still out there.
COLLINS: I mean, she's just 10-years-old.
COLLINS: I can tell this is really difficult for you.
ASSELIN: Yes, it caught me off guard, just now. I mean, to feel this way.
COLLINS: I'm sorry that we're breaking the news to you.
ASSELIN: It's OK. It's OK. I mean, we have to deal with it at, some point, for sure. But yes, it's sad. I mean, all around, the whole thing is sad. We've lost the -- his family's loss, it's just unnatural, for sure.
COLLINS: It's amazing to me to hear you say that, Tammy--
COLLINS: --to think of his family as well, in a time like this. I know, we--
COLLINS: --we had heard from his, some of his family members, his relatives, who said they'd never suspected this. They didn't expect this.
It just -- it's an amazing moment of humanity--
ASSELIN: Oh, yes.
COLLINS: --that you just thought of them, just now.
ASSELIN: Yes, I mean, I've often thought, in the last few days. Even my daughter has said, "Yes, I'd like to ask him why?" Why did he pick where he picked? And did you know that there would be children there? It's just those "Why" questions that, unfortunately, are left unanswered. And we'll probably never have those answers to.
And, I mean, as much as we're hurting, I'm sure they're hurting too. So, it's a fact of life. I mean, I don't have hate, in my heart, for sure. It's just so much to deal with, right now, that it's definitely -- it caught me off guard for sure.
COLLINS: It's completely understandable.
COLLINS: I'm sure, in this moment, you're thinking -- I mean, your cousin, Tricia, was there, that night.
COLLINS: She didn't survive.
COLLINS: And I'm sure, when you think of that question, "Why," she's at the top of your mind.
ASSELIN: Yes. Yes. She's very much on the top of my mind, as well as the dear ones that we lost.
When there was the press conference, this afternoon, and they confirmed everybody, so it answered all the questions that I had, of people that I get questions about, whether or not, what their status was, and know.
And when I watched that, live, it was unsettling and hard, because I know what, everybody's going through. I know what my family's going through. And it's just not an easy moment for sure.
COLLINS: I can't imagine what it was like, to see that press conference, where they had the photos of all of the victims, behind them, and to see not only your cousin--
COLLINS: --but also your--
ASSELIN: Yes, like my cousin--
COLLINS: --your neighbors.
ASSELIN: The loved ones.
COLLINS: Your friends.
ASSELIN: Yes, the ones that we've grown close to, in the bowling league, the ones that have always loved my daughter, as their own. And Tricia always did the same thing too. Everybody in that community did. They have always. It's just an extended family there. It's, we may not necessarily all be blood-related. But it felt that way.
And we definitely lost a lot, for sure. And it's hitting me, right now, for sure, how much we've lost, and that it's basically, at a point now, where we can start the healing process, and move forward, from this, and try to get some resolutions, and try to get our kids back, in a normal routine, and make sure that they're OK to do so.
COLLINS: Do you think you can ever go back to that normal routine?
ASSELIN: I want to think I can. I think it's important too. It's going to be difficult. But I think, with some help, we can definitely get to a point, where we can.
I think it's important to teach my daughter, that this is a moment in time, and it's hard, but we can overcome, and we can move forward.
And I think it's important, for our community, to be able to do that, as well, and to move forward. It's not about forgetting. But it's about living, in honor, of those that we lost.
COLLINS: How's Toni (ph) doing? I mean, she, I see her sitting next to you. She's just 10-years-old.
ASSELIN: She's doing OK.
I mean, would you like to tell her how you're doing? No? It's OK. It's understandable.
No, she's doing pretty good. She's -- I've been watching her, over the last couple of days, processing this. And it's hard, as a parent, to know what to say. But I feel comfortable with the relationship I have with her that we've always had an open line of communication.
And I've always treated her, not necessarily as an equal, but equal enough that she deserves the right to know certain things, and to be honest with her. And so, when she asked me, those tough questions, I picked the right moment that it's appropriate to talk to her about it.
And, but I've also allowed her to still continue to try to be a kid. Today, she wanted to play with her friends. And I'm like, "Yes, absolutely. Go play with your friends."
COLLINS: What I keep thinking about? And that's a conversation you should never have to have with your 10-year-old daughter.
COLLINS: But, I mean, the position that you're in, is one that so many American families have been put in, where their lives have been forever changed, by gun violence, by a shooting, like this one.
ASSELIN: Yes. And I've thought about that. That was one of my -- one of my first thoughts was, "Is this real? Is this -- did my -- essentially become a statistic?" you know? And I never thought that would ever be possible. I mean, nobody ever obviously, in a situation like this, thinks it's ever possible.
But when it happens, it's still, I'm still processing it myself, and still trying to get to a point that I can try to learn to accept that, "Yes, it is really, yes, it did happen." And it's going to take me some time, because I go in and out of the emotions, and thinking, "No, it didn't really happen. It didn't really happen," and then, I'm constantly reminded it did. So, yes, it's difficult.
COLLINS: Tammy, I just, I want to say thank you, for coming on, for being able to speak, about what you and Toni (ph) have been through this week. I'm so touched by what you said, about Robert Card's family as well.
And I know our audience is too. And your compassion is amazing, in this moment.
And I just want to thank you, for coming on. And that we're all thinking of you, and your family, and remembering Tricia. So, thank you for that.
ASSELIN: Thank you so much, for giving us the opportunity, for wanting to hear and learn.
COLLINS: Unfortunately, it's a lot of learning, and it's all too common. Thank you so much, Tammy.
ASSELIN: Yes. You're welcome. Thank you.
COLLINS: And of course, we're thinking of Tammy, and her family. We're thinking of all of the families, of the 18 victims, of these shootings.
We'll be back in just a moment.
COLLINS: Back to our major breaking news, tonight. The manhunt in Maine has now ended. Multiple sources telling CNN that the suspect, in Wednesday's mass shootings, Robert Card, has been found dead, from an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound.
We are awaiting a news conference, very soon, from the authorities.
As we wait on those, and those official confirmations, from the authorities, I want to bring in the former FBI Deputy Director, Andrew McCabe, who is here with us.
Andrew, just a few hours ago, what we were hearing, at that press conference, at 5 PM, was that they had no major leads, no real significant sightings, of this suspected shooter. I mean, it shows you how quickly all of this can change.
ANDREW MCCABE, FORMER FBI DEPUTY DIRECTOR: It really does, Kaitlan.
These manhunts, as we've seen, even over the last couple of months, with the few that we've tracked, you really never know where they're going to go.
And in September, with the Cavalcante manhunt, in Pennsylvania, we had sightings of the escapee, on a very regular basis. Couple of times a day, he was tripping cameras, out in the -- out in a park, near the prison -- near the prison, where he escaped, showing up at people's houses, stealing things from garages.
This one was very different. There hasn't been a trace of him, since the shootings, on Wednesday night, which raises all sorts of questions, in investigators' heads.
Quite frankly, the resolution here is a common one. It's very common that mass shooters end up taking their own lives. And despite that, investigators have to think for the worst-case scenario.
So, when you haven't seen this, any sightings of this person, in 12 hours, 24 hours, 36 hours, 48 hours, you really begin to get concerned, that he's gone beyond the scope of your search, which complicates things enormously.
But quite frankly, as sad and tragic as this whole episode is, this resolution is a relief.
It's a relief for the many men and women, who were out there, in the woods, in the river, on the roads, going house to house, responding to calls, and concerned that any time they may have interacted, with him, had there been a confrontation, with law enforcement, before this thing was resolved, there's really no limits to how lethal and devastating it could have been.
So this is, in many ways, a sigh of relief, probably, can be heard throughout this community.
COLLINS: Yes. I mean, many of them were still on lockdown as of this hour. I mean, may still be as we're waiting to hear from the authorities here.
As you are going to, listen in, on this press conference? Obviously, now that they have found him, they can answer more questions. I think, before, obviously, they wanted to protect the investigation. What are you going to be listening for, in just a moment?
MCCABE: Yes, well, they've been very protective of the investigation so far.
I think I'm hoping that they'll be a little freer with information than they've been so thus far. And there's really no reason not to be. There's no prosecutions hanging in the balance here. So, they should be able to share with us, some details, about how they discovered, where he was located.
Was it just a simple grid search, in an area of woods that they had identified, as a possible location? Or was there some lead that drew them to that point?
I'd really be interested in hearing more details about the note that he left, presumably for his family members, and whether that was involved.
And then, of course, there's a lot of good questions, to be raised, about the weapons that he had. Certainly, the weapon that he used during the shooting, but other weapons that he may have had, in his home, and how he acquired those, and whether there may have been any violations of law involved. COLLINS: Yes. John Miller saying it's typically a long gun, used for shooting large animals.
Andrew McCabe, standby, because we'll get back to you, in just a moment.
CNN's Shimon Prokupecz was in this area, today, near where the suspect may have been found. We're waiting for official confirmation.
Shimon, what are you learning, tonight?
ON THE PHONE: VOICE OF: SHIMON PROKUPECZ, CNN SENIOR CRIME AND JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: Yes, so Kaitlan, this area, where we believe he was found, near this recycling center area, is actually a location that we believe Police were, at yesterday, searching.
We were -- we've been in Lisbon, for the past few days, since this happened, arriving the day after, early in the morning. And Police are out there searching.
But something had occurred yesterday. And we believe it's around the time that officials had been searching the suspect's home. Something was discovered in that home. We now know it's a -- some kind of a note, perhaps, that led them to this recycling center, yesterday.
We know from the officials that we were talking to, on the ground, in Lisbon, there was a building, in this one particular area. It was around 3 o'clock. We were actually doing a live shot, just in this area. And there was a lot of activity (ph) behind us. We tried to go up the street. The Police would not allow us.
And what we were told by someone, on the ground, they had some information. This person was not specific. But said, there was something going on, in the area. And we believe this is where they found the body, today, perhaps when we're being told that Police found him.
We were there yesterday. We were in this area. We believe this is an area that Police knew about that they had searched previously. But I think what has happened, today, from what we had seen, on the ground, a lot more resources came in. And they were doing deeper searches.
We saw officers, today, actually in the woods, searching. We had not seen that before, today. And so, I'm wondering, and I'm thinking that perhaps, they went a little deeper, and that is when they found the body.
This is about several minutes, from that boat latch, that boat area where they found the car, so it's within walking distance. It's few minutes in the car. So, it would be within walking distance, of where that boat latch is, if that is the location. That's what we believe the location is.
And it also tells you that he's familiar. He was very familiar with this area, so more planning, perhaps. But we'll have to hear from officials exactly what happened. I mean,
they knew about this location. And today, the only thing I can say is there was an intensity to the search that we have not seen previously. And that is what likely led, and it was very apparent, that that is what likely led to this discovery.
COLLINS: Yes. And we are waiting to get those answers, from the authorities that are going to come out, any moment now.
Shimon Prokupecz, thank you. We'll check back in with you.
ON THE PHONE: VOICE OF: PROKUPECZ: Sure.
COLLINS: We will be back, in just a moment, as we are waiting to hear, from these authorities now, that we have confirmed the suspected shooter, in Maine, has been found dead. More, right after this.
COLLINS: The Androscoggin County Sheriff, in Maine, has now confirmed, in a Facebook post, that the suspected shooter there, Robert Card, has been found dead.
I want to bring in CNN's Chief Law Enforcement and Intelligence Analyst, John Miller, here with me, who first broke this reporting.
John, I mean, obviously there's a lot of questions, for these officials, who are coming up. But just the fact that they found him, is a huge relief to this community. But still a lot of questions about his background, about the profile that these authorities are going to want to learn?
MILLER: There are. And a lot of these questions that you're framing right here, they have put off, and logically so, on the idea that "We'll get to those questions. And we'll do it in due time. But, right now, our focus is finding him. And we have a community that's on lockdown."
So, this essentially opens the door, for them to now look backwards, in this incident, about what were the threats, and drivers, that drove him to this shooting. What were the opportunities, if any, that might have been missed that they would look at, to say, "What can we learn from this?"
But on top of that, you have a small city, Lewiston, and the surrounding communities, that are a part of that area, that are facing simultaneous death of 18 people, which means 18 funerals, and wakes, that have to be carried out, in funeral homes, around that area, in fairly rapid succession.
And the big game-changer here is that, as they were going into this morning, wondering how long he would be at large? It was, "How do we secure 18 funerals? And how long will it take to get through them? And how will we deal with people, even if we take them off lockdown?" Which they did today. Who said, "We know he's still out there, we don't feel safe," especially at gatherings that have something to do with these killings, like those services, in churches, in funeral homes, and at wakes.
So, that weight has been lifted, which will allow people, to start grieving, with sadness, but without fear.
COLLINS: Yes, which was just that double insult to them. They were already dealing with a sudden loss, a tragic loss, a senseless loss, and on top of that, also living in fear, for over 48 hours now.
We also have former Washington, D.C. Police Chief, and of course, former Philadelphia Police Commissioner, Charles Ramsey, here with me.
Chief Ramsey, what's your reaction, to this breaking news, tonight?
CHARLES RAMSEY, FORMER WASHINGTON, D.C. POLICE CHIEF, FORMER PHILADELPHIA POLICE COMMISSIONER: Well, it's a huge relief to the residents, to the families of the victims, to all the Police officers, to everyone that this is finally over. It ended the way many of these things end, with the death of the perpetrator. But it's just a huge relief. And it's finally over.
When they had the press conference, earlier, they were lifting the shelter-in-place, which is something they had to do, no question about it. But that just adds another level that you have to be concerned about, from a policing standpoint, when people are back out, and about.
So, this is just something that, I mean, it's a tragedy all the way around. But thank God, it's over.
I think that we'll learn a lot more, at this press conference, coming up at 10 o'clock. And a lot of the questions that we couldn't have answered before, hopefully, will be answered during this press conference.
COLLINS: Yes, we're seeing the room, right now, there, in Lewiston, Maine. Obviously, we're waiting for officials to come out.
And Chief Ramsey, they have not been very forthcoming, in these press conferences. The one earlier, it was pretty brief. They said, "We'll keep you updated." But they didn't want to share a lot for obvious reasons, I think, understandable reasons.
How much more do you think that they'll be prepared to share now, or how much of this investigation, is still going to go on, into this suspect's background?
RAMSEY: Well, there'll be a lot more being done, in terms of the investigation, into the background, of the individual processing the scene, all the things that have to be done. And they'll have to wrap it up. But they'll continue on. But, things like what was actually in the note, for an example? From what we've been hearing, from John's reporting, there was a lot of information that would lead one to believe that he was suicidal, that perhaps, he recognized that he would either take his own life, or his life would be taken in a shootout with Police, or what have you.
So, we'll probably learn more about that, certainly, more about the weapon, and more about the circumstances that led to his body being found. Was that a tip that they just happened to find him, as they were doing one of their grid searches? What led them to that location? So, those are the kinds of things that I think we'll find out in a few minutes.
And John Miller, I mean, the questions that I still have, especially after hearing, Tammy there, and just such a heartbreaking moment, as she learned this news, and having this moment of empathy, though, are about the warning signs that were there.
And what you were reporting. 10 days before that incident, where he said he was hearing voices, and wanted to harm people, he had just bought a gun. And how it slipped--
COLLINS: Two guns. And how it slipped through, I mean, anyone's notice?
MILLER: I mean, this is a cycle of discussion that we keep going through, after each one of these mass shooting incidents, where we look backwards, and we can see the signs clearly. And the struggle we have is A, we have too many of these and too often, and B, while they're clear, looking backwards, so often, when they're right in front of people, they don't know the seriousness.
COLLINS: And, I mean, but we see it time and time again. I mean, you saw it in Nashville. You've seen it in other shootings, where those signs were there.
I mean, what kind of questions are there, for the -- he was serving in -- he's an Army Reservist. He was -- it was other National Guards, his superiors there that had heard him, saying he wanted to harm other soldiers. I mean, what kind of questions did they have, going forward, to face?
MILLER: So, Kaitlan, it really boils down, if we look at it there is what did the National Guard, in New York, where they intervened with him, in that incident? What opportunity did they have, to pass that on to authorities, in Maine, where he lived, where he was going back to, where he served with other soldiers? And where -- what action did they take or not take, what did they miss?
COLLINS: Yes, a lot of big questions that remain. John Miller, thank you for your reporting, and your perspective on this.
MILLER: Thanks, Kaitlan.
COLLINS: We'll continue watching, as we are waiting, any moment now, for the authorities, in Lewiston, Maine, to hold a press conference, after we have gotten confirmation, from a Sheriff, in the area that the suspected shooter there has been found dead. More answers to come, hopefully.
Our special coverage, of this breaking news event, continues right now, with Abby Phillip.