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tv   Situation Room With Wolf Blitzer  CNN  August 6, 2019 2:00pm-3:00pm PDT

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set up science experiments in his kitchen and make potions with his grandchildren. that is jut three. 28 other innocent lives were stolen in the two tragedies and our hearts are with their families and friends, may their memories be a blessing. our coverage on cnn continues right now. happening now, breaking news, violent ideologies. the fbi just revealed the gunman who killed nine people in specific violent ideologies - before the attack. an fbi special agent in charge also said there is no indication sunday morning's rampage was racially motivated. but with the gunman dead, big questions remain. what was his motive? apprehended. new details of how the suspect in the el paso mass shooting gave himself up. there is a direct account from the officer who made the arrest at -- and fortifying stories to
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the witness of the shooting. welcoming president trump. as he plans the visit to dayton and el paso, some citizens are asking him to stay home. and the white house is dodging questions about the impact of the president's rhetoric. can he be consoler in chief? and wounded city. police and witnesses say the el paso gunman intentionally targeted hispanics. it now ranks as one of the worst terror attacks on latinos in modern history. what are el paso citizens saying and how can they heal? i'm wolf blitzer and you're in "the situation room." >> announcer: this is cnn breaking news. we're following breaking news. in the wake of the mass shootings that left at least 31 people dead. in dayton, the fbi just announced there is evidence that the gunman was exploring specific violent ideologies before the attack. an fbi special agent just told
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reporters there is no indication of a racial motivation for the attack. and investigators still aren't sure why he opened fire sunday morning in a very popular entertainment district. in el paso police reveal the gunman drove up to a motorcycle officer after the attack, got out of his car, with his hands up and turned himself in. police and witnesses say the gunman specifically targeted latinos during the attack. president trump stayed out of sight today. although he will visit both dayton and el paso tomorrow. white house officials are dodging questions on the impact of the president's rhetoric. the presidential spokesperson told reporters we have to blame the people who pulled the trigger. we'll speak with new york mayor and democratic presidential candidate bill de blasio and our correspondents and analysts are standing by with full coverage of all of the breaking news. cnn's resources are especially focusing in on dayton, el paso and the white house.
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let's start with cnn's brynn gingras. the fbi announced the gunman was exploring what they described as violent ideology. what else are you learning? >> reporter: that is right, wolf. and that is why the fbi is -- and part of the reason they're involved because of the violent ideologies that they say the gunman was interested in and he followed. now they won't point to specifics, but we do know from the investigation that connor betts was obsessed with mass shootings. he researched them and told people that he wanted to commit one. he even showed from an ex-girlfriend a video of a mass shooting to her on one of their first dates so we know that. as you said, investigators were able to rule out the fact about the motive. we don't have the big picture but we know it wasn't racially motivated and we also know from investigators that connor bets was not on their radar. this as we are getting exclusive video into cnn of the treats here behind me. the chaos that broke out when betts went on his shooting
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rampage. tonight new terrifying video inside of a local bar. the shooter right at the doorstep. these grainy images show the moment a gunman emerges from a dark alley, a dark figure seen in the video hunched over a high-powered gun taken from the crowded patio as the shooting rampage began. another camera shows the chaos amid the hail of bullets. one man jumping to the ground to shield his girlfriend from gunfire. as investigators search for a motive -- >> we have uncovered evidence throughout the course of the investigation that the shooter was exploring violen ideologies. and based upon this evidence we're initiating an fbi investigation side-by-side with the dayton police homicide investigation to make sure we get to the bottom and we explore everything and we have to try to understand the best we can why this horrific attack happened. >> reporter: red flags are emerging around the deceased gunman connor betts. a former girlfriend said she saw
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signs of trouble firsthand. >> this is a man who is in pain and didn't get the help that he feed. >> reporter: betts was also a member of a misogynistic heavy metal band known for songs about sexual violence. >> it sounds like there were missed opportunities but it speaks to the lack of mental health services in our communities. it is problematic. >> reporter: until a motive becomes clear, state officials under pressure to act. governor mike dewine proposing a new law to allow courts to temporarily take guns away from people who could act out. >> we have to empower people to get help for family or loved ones who may be a danger to themselves or danger to others. >> reporter: the governor did not propose any gun restrictions that would limit high-powered weapons like the one betts used to cause so much destruction. >> just kept saying i love you, get up. get up. >> reporter: on what should have been a night of fun, deon green didn't realize his father had been hit until he held him in
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his arms as he took his last breath. >> soon as i get closer to him. >> grab him and get behind his head and i see the blood just coming from both sides of his head and i just lost it and then i just grabbed on to my dad until somebody could pull me off. >> reporter: he thenen countered an injured woman nearby he believed was the gunman's sister. >> she said can you call the police i've been shot and so i'm calling the police and trying to pay attention to my dad and her, it turns out to be his sister. >> reporter: we know that authorities are looking at digital evidence as part of the investigation. we've also learned that they don't believe that betts was influenced by the el paso shootings but authorities say they have three questions they are trying to answer right now, wolf. the first one is what more about the ideology may have influenced betts to carry out this attack and number two is who, if anyone, knew of his intentions to do this and the third question is the big one that everyone is asking, why? what is the big picture motive? why did he do this, the killing
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of nine people and injuring several others here in dayton, ohio. >> brynn, thank you. in dayton. let's go to brian todd in el paso at the corner where the suspect surrendered to police. so what is the latest you're getting about the investigation? >> reporter: right, wolf. we have a dramatic new illustration of the gunman's path in the moments just after the shooting. i'll show you the sign. you see the sign in the distance. that is the sign for the walmart. that is the front of the building. now we have new information that the gunman was able to get in his car and drive all the way up hoar, almost a half mile to the corner of sun mount drive and vibe ount boulevard and this is where he was apprehended and we have details about his capture and the witness accounts of the chaos inside of the store. tonight dramatic new information on the apprehension of the suspected walmart killer. el paso police tell cnn patrick crusius drove up to a nearby corner where a police motorcycle officer was securing the
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parameter and got out of a honda civic, put his hands up and told the officer he was the shooter. according to police, the officer, having no time to call for back-up, immediately handcuffed the suspect. then texas rangers contained the scene. tonight witnesses to the shooting are giving new accounts to cnn of the chaos inside of the tore -- of the store earlier. >> people were running inside screaming. and i was just -- i just ran toward the back where they were opening the doors. and they told us to leave the building and go into the containers in the back and then hide in there just in case the gunman came outside that he wouldn't know we were back there. >> reporter: daniel flores, an employee of the store got a horrifying glimpse of the killer as he eyed his victims. >> he was just there to kill. whoever crosses his path, he was going to kill. there was no remorse, there was nothing. there was nothing.
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there was just -- pure hate. >> reporter: a veteran fbi s.w.a.t. team leader said the shooter had the advantage over police because of the layout of the walmart. >> each row, the rows cascade against each other and they go perpendicular and you have different sections, you have plants on one side and electronics on the other and some of the superwalmarts have a grocery store, people could hide in there if there are bad guys, they could hide there. >> reporter: we're also learning how the alleged shooter made his way to the walmart where he killed 22 people soon after allegedly posting an anti-hispanic hate-filled screed online. >> he took about 10 to 11 hours traveling from allen, texas, to el paso. as soon as he got here, he was lost in a neighborhood, after that he found his way to the walmart because we understand he was hungry. >> reporter: the shooter who is in custody and held without bail has been unployed for five months and bought his high-powered rifle legally. >> from the beginning, this was
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not coerced or threats or anything like that. he volunteered most of the evidence that we're able to utilize at this time. >> reporter: daniel flores, who devoted his career to servicing the walmart customers can't get his mind around the motive to target latinos. >> he is looking for someone that looks like me. that is the biggest issue. he was targeting me. >> reporter: and just moments ago the family of the alleged shooter patrick crusius issued a statement. it reads in part, patrick's actions were apparently influenced and informed by people we do not know and from ideas and beliefs that we do not accept or condone in any way. he was raised in a family that taught love, kindness, respect and tolerance, rejecting all forms of racism, prejudice, hatred and violence. there will never be a moment for the rest of our lives when we will forget each and every victim of this senseless tragedy. there are other parts to the statement, wolf, that is the operative part.
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patrick crusius's family coming out and saying they had nothing to do in their psyche with anything that happened here. >> brian todd in el paso. thank you very much. president trump by the way will visit both dayton and el paso tomorrow. let's go to our chief white house correspondent jim acosta. trump is dodging questions for now about the impact of the president's own rhetoric. >> reporter: that is right, wolf. president trump is laying low today and steering clear of the cameras as he prepares to head to ohio and texas tomorrow to check in on the communities devastated by last weekend's massacre. aides to mr. trump say he will make the trip despite some lawmakers in the states saying the president and his offensive rhetoric are not welcome. with the president staying out of sight, his aides are responding to leaders in the shell shocked cities of el paso and dayton who question whether mr. trump should just remain at the white house. >> what is your reaction to
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[ inaudible ]. >> the president is the president of all of the people. >> reporter: dayton mayor is encouraging her residents to speak out against the president. >> look, i know that, you know, he's made this bed and he's got to lie in it, you know. he hasn't -- you know, his rhetoric has been painful for many in our community and people should stand up and say they're not happy that he's coming. >> reporter: and candidate beto o'rourke is telling mr. trump, don't come. >> this is the most racist president we've had since perhaps andrew johnson in another age and another century and he is responsible for the hatred and the violence that we're seeing right now. >> reporter: the president was glued to support of segments on fox news tweeting, i am the least racist person. but the president is facing plenty of new questions about the connections between his slurs against migrants and the manifesto adopting mr. trump's use of the term "invasion". >> this is an invasion. >> this is an invasion, we have
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a country that is being invaded. >> something his campaign did on facebook as noted by the "new york times." >> reporter: the white house is rejectioning any notion the president is to blame for the violence. >> it is not the politicians fault when someone acts out the evil intention. you have to blame the people here who pulled the trigger. >> reporter: the president jumped into the debate on twitter asking did george bush ever condemn president obama after the sandy hook school shooting? that was in response to a statement tweeted out by former barack obama who said we should soundly reject language coming out of the mouths of any of our leaders that feeds a climate of fear and hatred. the department of homeland security is calling for more funding to guard against white supremacist violence. >> is it now our top domestic terrorist threat? >> that is the information we have from the fbi over the last two years. that the number of the investigations are racially motivated and within that category the majority are white supremacists extremist motivated. >> reporter: democrats are calling on senate majority leader mitch mcconnell to bring
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lawmakers back to washington to vote on new gun-control measures. after protesters gathered outside of his home this week. >> i don't know what he's waiting for and i don't know what republicans in the senate are waiting for. they should be calling on mitch mcconnell to bring the senate back to vote on this legislation today. >> reporter: the white house officials say the president was meeting with aides to prepare for tomorrow's trip to ohio and texas, looking at a wide range of policies potentially aimed at preventing mass shootings but we talked to a republican source a short while ago who said the white house sent out talking points to surrogates earlier today that mainly touted the president's actions on guns in the past and there is no indication there is a groundswell of support in the white house for new gun-control measures in the aftermath of the shootings. >> jim acosta at the white house. now the public information officer for the el paso police department, sergeant robert gomez. sergeant, thank you so much for joining us.
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>> thank you for having me. >> so what is the latest? what can you tell us about the current state of your investigation? >> what i can say about the current state of the investigation is it is ongoing. we're working closely with the fbi, detectives, department of public safety and continuing the investigation to bring conclusion or give answers to the public. the only -- the ome thing i can say it is ongoing and moving forward. >> you heard our correspondent brian todd there in el paso and just reported how the suspect drove up to one of your police officers and turned himself in. can you walk us through how that unfolded? >> unfortunately i don't have all of the details about exactly how he was apprehended. i can confirm that he did surrender to the el paso police department, a motorcycle officer. but i don't have his path or what transpired and i really can't comment on that as of right now. that investigation or this investigation is very important to us.
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and our main priority is a conviction and making sure that all of our efforts go toward that purpose. >> i know he's been answering all of the questions you and your colleagues have been asking. he's cooperating. did he tell you why he decided to give himself up? >> i don't know his motives for giving himself up. he is cooperating with investigators. the last word that i received, but at this time we really don't know what his true motives are. it might be months before we have a clear picture before we have clear answers to exactly why this occurred. >> and as you point out, he is cooperating. but he's apparently not remorseful. has he admitted for example to writing what is being described as that hateful document, that so-called manifesto that was posted only about 20 minutes before the shooting began? >> you know, our chief of police
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asked that every time -- every day since this incident occurred and for all indications from investigators, there is no indication of remorse. that i can say. >> no indication of remorse. but can you confirm that he did, in fact, write that hateful screed? >> everything points to that at this point time. but i can't get a definite answer. there is still a lot of avenues that have to be taken before we can actually confirm that that manifesto is attributed to the shooter. it is part of the investigation. it is way too early to definitively say, but everything points to it. but i can't confirm right now, again our accuracy on this investigation, our journey to prosecution and ensure this person is prosecuted
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justly and is the most important thing in our minds to -- >> i want to move on to other issues, sergeant, but you could confirm that he still stands by the hateful ideology written down? >> again, i don't know a lot of information about his interviews. i do know that he wasn't remorseful. i would assume that he stands by his ideologies. if that is true and that manifesto is directly linked to him. >> i want to get your thoughts on president trump's visit to your beautiful city tomorrow. some el paso democrats, as you know, they are publicly calling on the president not to come to el paso tomorrow. he's coming to el paso, going to dayton as well. is it appropriate, do you believe, and i suspect you might not want to answer this question, but is it appropriate for the president to come to el paso at this very, very delicate
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moment? >> i do believe that it is important that the president come to el paso. think it is important that all leaders, local, federal, state come together and remember the victims that lost their lives in this tragedy. i think it is a time that leaders need to come together and put aside their politics and work towards the victims. the el paso police department is working towards the investigation in order to bring closure to these victims and justice and i think it is important that all leaders, federal, local, come together and put issues aside and work through it. so i would agree it is something good for the community. >> let's hope it certainly does console and help. as you know, this was clearly a terror attack on the latino community in el paso. do you have any message to the country, sergeant gomez, about how to fight this kind of hatred? >> you know, i don't have the answer on how to fight this kind of hatred. that is something that is beyond my expertise or what -- i can
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express is that this is not el paso. this is one individual that had an agenda and had wanted to do harm to people. and as long as that is something that people want to do, we will stand here and protect our community as much as possible. but i want to first and foremost say this is not el paso. el paso is a loving, caring city and we need to continue to support each other through the tragedy. >> how is the community doing, sergeant gomez? >> they're doing very well. i've lived in el paso my whole life and el paso is like no other city that i've ever lived in or visited. the hospitality, the community that this city has is unbelievable and very hard for people to understand unless they come and visit. they're doing well. they're supporting each other. we're working with the community and they are working with us and that is all that any police department or civil organization
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or city can expect. and we're doing -- as good as we can be. >> that is encouraging to hear that. please send our love to all of the folks in el paso. i know and i agree, i've been there, it is a wonderful city. sergeant gomez of the el paso police department, thank you for joining us. thanks for what you're doing. >> thank you, sir. thank you for having me. up next, i'll speak with new york city mayor bill de blasio also running for the democratic presidential nomination and he has strong thoughts on what is going on. what would he do about the nation's epidemic of gun violence if he were in the white house. there you see him. we'll speak to him when we come back. wednesdays. at outback, they're for steak and beer. walkabout wednesdays are back! get a sirloin or chicken on the barbie, fries, and a draft beer or coca-cola - all for just $10.99. hurry in! wednesdays are for outback. outback steakhouse. aussie rules. wednesdays are for outback. we're oscar mayer deli fresh your very first sandwich,m... your mammoth masterpiece. and...whatever this was.
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maybe that's why most of our clients come from other money managers. fisher investments. clearly better money management. in the wake of mass shootings that left 31 people dead in el paso and dayton, we're seeing renewed calls from democrats for the nation's gun laws. joining us now bill de blasio running for democratic president. thanks for joining us. >> thank you, wolf. >> there are disturbing developments unfolding and officials say the dayton gunman was obsessed with mass shootings and the shooting a week earlier in gilroy california, is also now being investigated as
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another incident of domestic terrorism. in gilroy the fbi now said they found a list of nationwide organizations that may have been potential targets, including religious, government and political institutions, federal buildings, courthouses and the garlic festival. what does all of this say, these three mass murders in the last few days, what does this say about our country? >> wolf, it says something very dangerous is going on. and it comes from someplace. let' be blunt about this. go back three or four years, we're not having this -- this kind of way, one after another. this is directly related to the divisive racist rhetoric of donald trump, it is as simple as that. >> as you know, over the last many years there have been a lot of mass gun shootings in the united states. >> right. but wolf, the difference is what you just laid out. increasingly what we're seeing is the shootings are motivated by white nationalism, by white supremacy and an ideology which
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has its chief spokesperson in the white house. and it has to be very clear, when trump -- the next day gave his platitudes and acted like we should all love each other after he's done so much to tear us apart, my message is he broke it, he owns it. he created this reality. i understand other people pull the trigger. that is not the point. he normalized hate in america. and it is going to take the people to undo. we'll all have to work together to undo it. this is not what we are as america. >> let's talk about gun control legislation. what is your trop priority? >> i think right now this congress needs to come back, this is a moment that must be addressed, i think if they don't come back there will be tremendous anger among constituents. i think mitch mcconnell has to finally live up to his constitutional role. he is being called massacre mitch right now for a reason. because he literally is refusing to allow pieces of legislation to the floor even though they
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have bipartisan support, legislation that would actually start to reduce the dangers to our children, to our seniors, who is dying in these massacres, the hate-inspired massacres. look at the ones we've been through and look at the tree of life synagogue in pittsburgh, seniors, children, families being massacred. because assault rifles are so easy to get and there is no background checks or no waiting period. the congress of the united states could address this right now in august. you're starting to see bipartisanship coming from some people. and i give congressman pete king credit for speaking up. we need more republicans to speak up. but unless mitch mcconnell likes that phrase, massacre mitch, he has got to bring the senate back and bring this legislation to the floor. >> do you agree with beto o'rourke who is also running for the democratic presidential nomination and other democrats that the president should not visit that city tomorrow?
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>> i respect what representative o'rourke is saying and he's going through pain with his community and it is an honest feeling but i have analityive view. i think donald trump should have to go see what he created. he should have to go see the suffering that he has wrought by bringing racism and division right into the oval office. let's just remember, he started his campaign, the first day attacking mexican-americans. the very first day. and that horrible series of quotes that we just saw earlier on your broadcast, the use of the word invasion, telling the american people that folks who don't look like the majority of americans, are quote, unquote invading which is madness. there are people of all colors and all backgrounds and all faiths in this country and that is true since the founding of the republican and that is what the founding fathers understood. you see it in the constitution. it is right there. that is the kind of country we were meant to be. but donald trump has tried to explicitly tell white americans
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that folks who don't look like them are a danger. and is it any surprise that some people are picking up a gun and using it when the person who is supposed to be the ultimate voice of american nationhood is aiding and abetting domestic terrorism. that is what is happening right now in america. >> a few of your democratic rivals, including beto o'rourke by the way, have described president trump as a white supremacist. do you agree. >> unquestionably. he is someone, first day of the campaign, attacks mexicans. has of late attacked one after another african-american leader as if it is a support. he attacks immigrants all of the time but then he preys on innocents from countries as being the people who contribute. it couldn't be clearer and look at this -- there is no more faking it for donald trump. everyone understands this is a guy who is using racism and division for his political ends. he's part of a long tradition of right-wing populist white
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supremacists who tried to divide people for political power. but this is a country that won't help that any more. and you're going to see a revolt among -- the fact that his words have now led to this kind of action, this is not america. this is not what we all signed up for. there is plenty of americans -- i would dare say including pop would voted for donald trump, who are going to say this is absolutely unacceptable. and before him, no, we did not see one after another after another. this is not the way our country was before donald trump. >> mayor bill de blasio, thanks so much for joining us. >> thank you, wolf. coming up, we have more on the latest developments out of dayton, ohio, the gunman and what police are now -- and the fbi are now describing as his violent ideologies. authorities believe he was exploring those violent ideologies before his attack. if your gums bleed when you brush, you may have gingivitis. and the clock could be ticking towards bad breath,
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breaking news, rear learning new details about the gunman in the dayton, ohio, massacre and the so-called violent ideologies authorities now say he was exploring before the shooting. our experts are here with analysis. evan perez, violent ideologies, what does this development tell you? >> wolf, these are extremist ideologies that he has apparently was consuming. we heard from the investigators
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early in the case they found that he seemed to be consumed and obsessed with violence. i think the girlfriend has given an interview in which she said he showed her videos of mass shootings on the first date which is the oddest thing i've ever heard but this tells us, wolf, that what the fbi and the dayton police found in their searches gives them reason to believe that there is something deeper here that they want to make sure that they could get -- they could try to figure out whether there is some parts of the internet that he's been consuming and whether this is driving not only this shooting but others as well. >> others as well. the gilroy california, the fbi now said they are investigating that as domestic terrorism because they found a list of organizations, religious organizations, political organizations, federal buildings, courthouses that this individual who did this shooting had accumulated as potential targets. >> right.
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exactly. and i think el paso is the game-changer in all of this. and you saw it with the fbi over the weekend say that one of the things they're doing is essentially using some of the resources from the counter-terrorism and agents who investigate counter-terrorism and using the same tactics to investigate the radicalization of people who are trying to follow isis. and i think that is what you're going to see. you'll see perhaps a call to people to say if you see something, if you see someone disturbed, you have to say something. we spent a lot of time, wolf, talking to muslim families a -- saying if you see somebody being radicalized, say something to the fbi. it is the same thing that families all over the country should do. >> this is all true and the fbi is engaged in a good-faith effort and i'm glad they're doing it. but let's keep something in mind. the legal system has a hard enough time figuring out what happened in the past much less figuring out what is going to happen in the future. the notion that we can sort of
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go on the internet or see what video games people are watching, and figure out who is going to be a mass killer is a myth. dave collin wrote a brilliant book about columbine and there is a line in the book that i always remember which is, there is no profile. there is no one profile that predicts what is going to happen and who is going to do terrible things and i just think that is worth keeping in mind as we think about these fbi efforts. >> bianna, give us your thoughts on the president who i assume wants to be consoler in chief when he goes to el paso and dayton tomorrow. give us your thoughts on what is likely to happen? >> well, wouldn't you think that the president would feel pain knowing that we're having this conversation as to whether or not he should come to a city that has been so aggrieved now by this mass shooting. anybody else would take a moment to think why is that? why is it that there is now a debate? why is it the mayor of el paso had to twist himself into a
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pretzel yesterday trying to justify why he agreed to invite and accept the president to visit the city. this is the president of the united states. we've always wondered what happened when it came to whether or not donald trump could step up to the mantle of being consoler in chief and we remember him tossing out paper towels in puerto rico and there is hope or optimism next time will be different and we have yet to see the next time. you would think in a certain world one president would reach out to another president, a former president who is from that very state, george w. bush, to come together for a ceremony. you think back to 2016 when five police officers in dallas were killed, nine others injured and you had president obama and president bush there consoling the nation. we've always come together to heal. the process that is missing is the prevention, what is the next step to make sure this isn't happening again and again as it is in this country and this country alone.
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and now it seems like we don't have either step. we're missing the consoler and missing obviously the steps that need to be taken to make sure this comes to an end. and that -- by that i mean legislation. >> manu raju is with us usually covering congress. what are you hearing about the senate majority and republican colleagues. >> mitch mcconnell has been under enormous pressure from house dpks a-- house democrats and others to bring up the legislation that passed in the house this year, the universal background checks. a bill he doesn't support and the president doesn't support and i'm told that mcconnell is not going to bring forward any bill the president doesn't support or have a support from a wide array of members in his own conference. so behind the scenes he's talking about other things that they could do to deal with the aftermath of these shootings. he had a conference call yesterday with the committee chairman to figure out a way forward. among the things now under consideration, i'm told, are dealing with the mental health issues the president laid out
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talking about the so-called red flag legislation to essentially empower states to deny access to guns to people who could be at risk to public safety. but also look into what the president also raises a specter of yesterday, dealing with violent video games. that is one thing republicans are considering to see if there is a legislative path forward so they may come up with a variety of efforts to push ahead but won't do what democrats want which is universal backgrounds checks and won't come back early to deal with the issues because they are rejecting what they are calling for. >> short answer, they won't do anything that the national rifle association doesn't want them to do. they can play ludicrous games about video games and nonsense about that this is a cause for these horrible murders, but remember who is really in charge of the republican party on this issue. it is the national rifle association. >> one of the issues is there is
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no easy fix or even the assault weapons bans. we found and law enforcement will tell you this, that if you ban a specific kind of firearm, what happens is manufacturers will simply change a couple of specifics and then it doesn't specify. and for example, the dayton shooter used an ar-15 pistol which looks a hell of a lot like a rifle. under all of the assault weapons bans proposals, that dayton shooter's weapon would not be covered. so, again, it is very difficult when you have an industry that -- they're innovating and changing things very rapidly. and i'm not sure how you write a law that covers all of that. >> democrats are divided about how to deal with the the assault weapons and some are pushing nancy pelosi to move forward on that and bring back the house this session, in august, to deal with that and she said focus on the background -- >> and the irony is the one
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person who could really move this conversation forward with regards to legislation serious gun legislation is a republican president right now. it is president trump. any time a democrat is an incumbent you see gun purchases go up because many americans are fearful of this president perhaps coming and taking your guns away. we saw that with president obama for sure. so if anything to happen it would have to come from this president. we saw after the park land shooting, he perhaps mentioned something that he would be open to and there was optimism. that never came to fruition after one lunch that he apparently had with the nra. this country was able to combat cigarette use in this country and it only took a couple of decades. the fact that we have yet to move the needle when it comes to any sort of significant gun legislation in 25 years is really telling. >> everybody stick around. there is more news we're following. police and witnesses now say the shooter in el paso intentionally and methodically targeted hispanics during his rampage.
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el paso police and eyewitnesses to saturday's mass shooting say the gunman specifically targeted latinos. eight mexican citizens are among the 22 dead and multiple reports rank the el paso shootings as the worst domestic terror attack on hispanics in modern u.s. history. ed lavandera is talking to people in el paso and joining us
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now live. what are they telling you? >> reporter: hi, wolf. el paso often goes by the nickname el chucko and it means different things to different people but it has come to symbolize a bond of -- among many residents here that share an experience of growing up here in this dusty outpost in far more than 100 years ago street cars passed back and forth between mexico and texas. today the trolleys circle the heart of the city and as passengers stare out at the city, they reflect on the horror that rattled their hometown. clarisa boone crosses the border to attend the university of texas in el paso. she says the walmart shooting has cast an eerie feeling over both the cities of el paso and juarez. did you feel protected? >> yes. i know there are a lot of
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hispanics here and we're a community. >> reporter: you never had to face that? >> no. people here are very supportive, very nice, and to have that coming is like, i don't know -- >> it's bound together el paso strong and we all have a big heart. >> reporter: mike is a retired combat veteran turned artist and community activist. he owns the rock house gallery in one of the most historic neighborhoods in the city. he describes el paso as a modern day ellis island. how do you make sense of what's going on? >> it's horrific to just understand something like this could actually happen here. we've never been under siege this bad by a local, homemade terrorist. >> reporter: the wound left on this city by the massacre of 22 people by a white supremacist has unleashed a wave of intense emotions. this parking lot corner by the walmart is a place for thousands to share in their grief. >> i wanted to pay my respects
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to the people who passed away at my walmart. it's hitting hard. >> reporter: as we rode the el paso street car talking with 37-year-old rene, he felt a sense of optimism the shooting will not change the core spirit of the place he was born and raised. >> we have a very strong sense of family values. >> reporter: does this shatter that sense of security that you have here? >> no, i don't think so. we're a safe community because the majority of the people have that respect for one another. they don't cross those boundaries. >> reporter: and, wolf, the one thing you hear over and over from people around here it wasn't one of us that did this. it was the sense of someone coming from the outside to inflict this carnage and this pain, and they know at the end of the day as time passes and the healing begins that it wasn't one of their own that
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inflicted this much pain and heartache. wolf? >> ed, thanks for that report. just ahead, an exclusive new eyewitness account for the massacre in dayton, ohio, where victims became first responders right after the attack. stay with us. you're in "the situation room."
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authorities say the gunman that slaughtered nine people in dayton, ohio, was exploring violent ideologies before the massacre. police brought down the shooter before he was able to continue the killing inside a very crowded bar. a manager at the bar tells our brooke baldwin that victims of the attack quickly became first responders. >> he immediately went out front and started assisting the two people that are directly in front of our business with cpr, calling out that he needs tourniquets, taking off t-shirts, bar t-shirts that we have and making tourniquets out of them. >> reporter: and you're running and helping grab bar t-shirts and towels. >> and towels, yes. >> reporter: to give to him to apply pressure. >> literally every towel that we had, every t-shirt that we had, we were chucking it out there, they were making makeshift to tourniquets until the police could take over. looking down the street you saw
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customers, patrons, our staff doing everything they can to save as many people as they could whether it was wrapping them up, applying pressure to wounds, holding hands, telling people it's going to be okay. you're going to make it. that's immediately what i saw. >> reporter: so you were the victims' first responders? >> none of us want to think of ourselves as heroes. we're just the people that were there at the time trying to do the right thing to the best of our abilities. coming up, we're getting new reaction to the el paso massacre from the family of the alleged gunman. we're going to bring you that information when we come back. u. your very first sandwich, your mammoth masterpiece. and...whatever this was. because we make our meat with the good of the deli and no artificial preservatives.
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click, call or visit a store today. happening now, breaking news. new evidence. authorities now say the gunman behind the mass shooting in dayton, ohio, was exploring violent ideologies. what are they learning about his motive as the feds are now taking the lead in the investigation? pure hate --
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new accounts of the el paso shooting massacre as witnesses describe the gunman's cold-blooded stare and police reveal new details of his surrender. what more might he be telling investigators tonight? unwelcome visit. the president is defying democrats who oppose his trip to el paso tomorrow amid concerns the shooter was influenced by mr. trump's anti-immigrant rhetoric. what message will he send to grieving latino families? and targetless -- new information tonight about the gunman in last week's shooting at a california food festival. we'll tell you who was on his chilling list of potential targets. we want to welcome our viewers in the united states and around the world. i'm wolf blitzer. you're in "the situation room." this is cnn breaking news. breaking news tonight, the fbi just revealed that the dayton gunman had a history of exploring very speci


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