Hardball with Chris Matthews, Transcript 10/2/17 Las Vegas shooting

Guests: Candice DeLong, Shawn Henry, Darrin Porcher, Bryan Hopkins, Dina Titus, David Shepherd, Darrin Porcher, Shawn Henry, Buzz Brainard, Brian Claypool

Show: HARDBALL Date: October 2, 2017 Guest: Candice DeLong, Shawn Henry, Darrin Porcher, Bryan Hopkins, Dina Titus, David Shepherd, Darrin Porcher, Shawn Henry, Buzz Brainard, Brian Claypool

CHRIS MATTHEWS, HOST: There was the Pulse nightclub in Orlando, where 49 people were killed, Virginia Tech, where 32 were, Sandy Hook Elementary school, where it was 27 people, including 20 children. Now it`s Las Vegas, with 59 shot and killed. The list of mass shootings, as we know, is longer. A church meeting in Charleston, a community college in Roseburg, Oregon, a high school in Colorado, an office party in San Bernardino, at the Navy yard here in Washington, a movie theater in Colorado, at Fort Hood, Texas, and even at a congressional baseball practice over in Virginia. We catalog each by the name of a city. And now there is Las Vegas.

Good evening. I`m Chris Matthews in Washington. The casualty numbers are staggering, at least 59 people killed, more than 500 injured out there. It`s the deadliest mass shooting in U.S. history. For thousands of concertgoers last night in Las Vegas, it was a night of horror.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Shots fired from Mandalay Bay. There`s many people down stage left. Just be advised.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We have multiple casualties, GSW (ph) (INAUDIBLE) multiple casualties!

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: There`s bullets ricocheting, like, down by the bottom of our feet because we all got on the floor crawling out, rushing because everybody`s rushing out.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We hid behind the building, and we just could hear hundreds of rounds going off. And then about 10 minutes later, the police came and then blocked off all the streets. And just very overwhelming and -- and very scary.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: My friend that was standing next to me got shot three times. So he went down.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Once I came out of the event, there were a lot of people just bleeding everywhere. It was just -- didn`t know where the blood was coming from, didn`t know whose blood it was.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MATTHEWS: Well, the suspect in last night`s rampage is 64-year-old retiree Stephen Paddock. His brother today said he had no mental illness. Law enforcement said he was not in their radar prior to last night.

Well, Paddock checked into the Mandalay Bay Hotel in Las Vegas on the Strip last Thursday. His hotel room looked out on a music festival that attracted more than 22,000 people. Then last night, he used a hammer-like device to crack open his windows and suddenly opened fire.

At 10:08 PM local time, police responded to the reports of the shooting. By the time they located and stormed his hotel room more than one hour later, Paddock had killed himself. Police say they found 16 guns in the room. The question everyone is asking today, why.

I`m joined by NBC News senior national correspondent Chris Jansing, who`s out in Las Vegas. Chris, thank you. You`ve been covering it all day. And I guess tell us what you can now for the evening viewer about this tragedy that happened just about 24 hours ago.

CHRIS JANSING, NBC CORRESPONDENT: Well, first of all, the numbers are absolutely staggering when you consider 59 people killed. Officials say that number could rise. When you have 527 people with a wide range of injuries, many of them gunshot wounds, at least 12 of them in critical condition at the trauma unit at the level 1 trauma hospital here in Vegas.

The chaos that ensued, people not knowing where the bullets were coming from, and the question as the sun came up, why. No better answers. We learned more about the person himself, Stephen Paddock. His brother said he was someone who was successful. That doesn`t fit. He didn`t have a terror motive, as we saw apparently in San Bernardino. He didn`t have a political motive, which was what we saw most recently, Chris, in Virginia with the shooting of Steve Scalise. Wasn`t an unhappy student, as we saw at Columbine and Virginia Tech.

This is a 64-year-old guy who was in a relationship, living in a retirement community. And he didn`t seem to have any mental health history, as we saw in Tucson when Gabby Giffords was shot. In fact, everyone that has been very close to him, like his brother, has said that they are absolutely flabbergasted. Just a couple of weeks ago, he called and checked on his mom, who had lost power during Hurricane Irma.

But he did have an arsenal on the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay, which is right behind where I am standing here. As you said, Chris, he broke out those windows and opened fire.

The stories of some of the 22,000 people who were in that crowd are absolutely harrowing, talking about running for their lives, talking about not knowing where those bullets were coming from, hiding under trucks, waiting for moments when he would apparently stop and reload, and they would take off again, one person describing the gunfire as absolutely relentless.

And then in a search of his home, which is in Mesquite, 18 additional firearms, but also several thousand rounds of ammunition and explosives. We don`t know why, but clearly, he was ready. He was somebody, Chris, who had the financial capability of preparing these arsenals and came here clearly to inflict maximum damage.

Even though that is clearly the case, what we have also seen is remarkable, the outpouring from the community, people waiting in line five, six, seven hours to give blood, people donating hundreds of thousands of dollars, and local officials in that press conference that just ended, Chris, saying that this is a resilient community and this is a community that will come together. But clearly, still waiting for answers, Chris.

MATTHEWS: Thank you so much, NBC`s Chris Jansing in Las Vegas. NBC News justice correspondent Pete Williams joins us right now. Pete, tell what`s we know about Stephen Paddock.

PETE WILLIAMS, NBC CORRESPONDENT: Well, we know a fair amount about him, but we don`t know the answer to the big question, which is why did he want to come it that hotel and commit mass murder? We know that he lived for a time in Florida. He lived in Texas. He lived in Nevada, in Mesquite, which is about 80 miles away. He had a couple of properties in the state.

His brother describes him as a multi-millionaire, said that he was an accountant, worked for a while in the 1980s for a predecessor company of Lockheed Martin as an accountant, or as an internal auditor, and then got more and more interested in real estate, managed some properties with his brother in Texas, and then got more into real estate development. He liked to gamble. He had spent -- he`s been a pretty high roller in these Las Vegas casinos, placing tens of thousands of dollars worth of bets in recent weeks.

But why he did this, they simply have no clue. They know he`s been acquiring weapons over the past several mouths. He`s bought at gun stores in Nevada, possibly outside the state, as well. That part of Nevada he is from, Mesquite, is right on the border. He could go to other states to try to buy weapons and have them sent back to the gun dealers in Nevada to do it legally.

But the big question here is how did he acquire automatic weapons. You`ve heard the sounds on the videos of these rapid shots. Machine guns are illegal in the U.S., but it`s possible to buy conventional semiautomatic weapons, meaning they fire every time you pull the trigger but just one round, and convert them. But that conversion process can make the weapons illegal.

So the authorities are trying to figure out how he managed to get his hands on these automatic weapons. He had some of those in the room. He had sniper rifles with scopes. So he clearly intended to have a great deal of firepower.

They say when he checked into the hotel last Thursday, he had all this arsenal with him in 10 suitcases, so 10 pieces of baggage. So nobody would have seen, obviously, that he was carrying in weapons to the hotel, Chris.

And they say that while he was there Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday, and then into today, he didn`t -- he didn`t have them out in plain view, that the hotel housekeeping staff had been in and out of his room and never noticed anything out of line.

MATTHEWS: Well, that`s a horrific reality you describe. What about his father being on the -- number one -- the 10 Most Wanted List? What do you make of that? I don`t believe in sort of inherited psychopathy, but what do you make of it?

WILLIAMS: Well, it`s certainly something that they want to look at. His father, Benjamin Hoskins Paddock, was arrested for robbing banks in Phoenix in 1960. And then in 1968, while he was serving a 20-year sentence for the conviction on that, he escaped. And that`s what you`re looking at now is his wanted poster from the FBI back in `68.

Then they described him on that poster, Chris, down there at the bottom under where it says, "Caution," as somebody who was diagnosed as psychopathic and has suicidal tendencies. And whether it means anything or not, after he was -- escaped -- rather, after he robbed the bank in Phoenix, he was arrested in Las Vegas.

MATTHEWS: Wow.

WILLIAMS: So the Paddockses have some connection to Las Vegas. They`ve been in and out of that area. They lived in Arizona and Nevada. So this is a part of the country that he`s comfortable with.

But what the father`s background has anything to do with his current frame of mind, we just have no way of knowing because, Chris, none of the usual indicators here, none of the electronic breadcrumbs seem to be in place, no social media, no note left behind, no note left behind, no at this point obvious Internet conversations that we know of, none of these little indicators that we tend to have found by this many hours after these past shootings.

MATTHEWS: Wow. Great reporting, Pete. We`re going to find out more as the days go on, I`m sure.

I`m joined right now by Mick Akers, a reporter with "The Las Vegas Sun." You know, I have to tell you that that must be something of a lead, Mick, the fact that the father was on the most Wanted List and was listed in the Wanted poster as psychopathic.

MICK AKERS, "LAS VEGAS SUN": Oh, yes, definitely. Although he has no background, really. It just, you know, adds a little something there.

MATTHEWS: Well, what do you make of -- what do you know right now about this witnesses? What witnesses do we have on the 32nd floor where he was shooting from?

AKERS: Yes, I spoke with one gentleman from Atlanta. He said he was about five rooms away. He was asleep. About between 10:00 and 10:15, he said, he was awoken by hundreds of rounds of shots. And he could smell the gunpowder. He immediately called the front desk. They said they`re aware of an active shooter situation and to remain in his room. So he said he hit the ground and just waited it out. And then eventually, metro police came up and escorted him out of his room and down the 32 floors.

MATTHEWS: Well, let`s get down the floors to this concert area. What do you know that you can tell us about the casualties in this sort of random, 1,200 feet away machine gunning of a crowd, where he`s just aiming the gun into the crowd and it`s like a horrible lottery for those people.

AKERS: Yes. It just seemed like he was kind of playing a game. He would wait for them to get up and then start shooting. And once they hit the ground, he would stop, and then they`d get up again and then he would start shooting again. So a lot of people were just jumping up and down and -- and this one brother and sister I spoke with -- the sister was 30 years old and he was 21. And every time they jumped, she would jump on him and cover him because she wanted to take the bullet for him because she had he had a longer life to live and he had more aspirations. So she`d gladly take the bullet for him.

MATTHEWS: Well, the shooter had a tripod, or come (ph) some tripods. He also had a scope. Was he -- you`re telling me that he was a sniper, that he could actually shoot personal targets from that distance?

AKERS: I`m not sure if he was able to do that. I know he was shooting at will. So I`m sure with the 22,000 people there in attendance, it wasn`t that hard for him to hit people even from that distance.

MATTHEWS: Thanks so much, Mick Akers, for joining us.

I`m joined right now by Bryan Hopkins. He`s a musician who was at last night`s concert. Bryan, thank you. Anyway, shortly after the shooting started, Hopkins and others ran for cover, eventually hiding in a large freezer on the concert grounds. Bryan, tell us about your experience last night.

BRYAN HOPKINS, EYEWITNESS: It was -- it was kind of crazy because when it happened, I wasn`t sure what was going on. And we were right in front, near the front of the stage. And I heard bang, bang, bang, bang, bang, bang, bang, bang, bang. And then when it really lit (ph), people started running.

And I grabbed a couple of people, a couple of girls right in front of me and my best friend, took off and got trampled. He got up and started running. And I took these people around the back side because I was back stage, so I knew how to get there. And I ran down a wall, down the wall. And you could just hear bang, bang, bang, bang, bang happening. And you could hear it banging off the rooftop behind me and hitting around us.

So I -- I don`t know how -- I remembered there was an opening where the entrance was to the right. And we ran into a fence. And I knew I could get over, but I couldn`t get all the people that were screaming and -- over. So I see this cooler. And when I opened it up, one of my friends was inside. And we just started throwing people inside. It was about five feet off the ground. And it was an actual freezer. And we locked ourselves in there. And we could hear -- we could hear the firing.

And it was so cold inside. And the two young ladies that I was helping, they were amazing because they were calming down the one person and the guy who was throwing his fingers in front of the camera was banging on the walls. And we were trying to calm him down.

And then I got up to open up the door, and there was more firing. So we shut the door. And I looked at my friend across the way. And I said, Everything is going to be OK. And he shook his head, like, It`s not. So we waited a couple minutes.

And I thought to myself, we`re not going to die in here. And so I opened up the -- he got up with me. We opened up the door. And someone had put a ramp up along the fence. And one guy jumped out. Another guy jumps. And I asked the guy, the second guy to wait. And I jumped down and I started helping the ladies get up over the fence until everyone was just -- was trying to get over. And we were helping until the last two. And they were the two that I helped. They stayed with me, and I couldn`t get them over. So I turned to Ron. And a police officer runs at me and screams, This way! This way! And I remember he`s sweating and he`s -- he was just shaken up.

But as soon as I get past him, he starts running to where all the noise is coming from, where all the bad is happening. He runs to it. And I`ll never forget it because then we were running down, and there was a body and body and another body. And the girls start to panic and they started -- one of them started crying and wanted to call her dad. And I just said, Keep running.

And then we see a gentleman with a hole in his belly and his friends trying to bring him to life. And I started shaking, but it was just, like, Keep moving, keep moving. And we run across the street. And there are people barricaded behind a car. And the guy in the passenger seat was shot. And so I just told everybody run to the dark. Just run. And people were following me.

And we ran as far as we could run, but it was still not out of reach. It was only, like, 50 yards. And two gentlemen on another side pull a gate so we can get me through and I could pull the gate open so everyone could get through this gate with us and start running to Hooters.

It was terrifying, and I don`t -- I remember being calm during the whole thing. And as soon as I got home, I broke down because I don`t -- I should have -- you know, part of me, like, Oh, that fence, I can over that fence. I can get out of here now. And I ended up jumping in a cooler with everybody to try and keep them calm, but I didn`t know if there were shooters running around shooting, and trying to get people quiet. I had no idea. And I lost my best friend. And I didn`t know where he was. So I just stayed with these people.

MATTHEWS: Sir, I don`t know you, but you have a good heart and you`ve got great instincts for saving people. Thank you so much, Bryan Hopkins, for that incredible narration of the horror last night.

HOPKINS: Thank you.

MATTHEWS: Joining us right now the Nevada U.S. Congresswoman Dina Titus. Thank you -- joins us from Las Vegas. I`ve been watching you, Congresswoman. You know, what I hear is automatic weaponry. I heard a machine gun. And I heard it relentless. So it`s a lot of clips in it, a lot of bananas, as we say, just kept firing and firing and firing.

This guy goes into a hotel room with over a dozen weapons. What does it tell you about the state of Las Vegas and the law in Las Vegas? What should it be? What have we got here?

REP. DINA TITUS (D), NEVADA: Well, I have to commend law enforcement here in Las Vegas, along with first responders and with the private security at Mandalay Bay. I don`t know how you could have prevented this. They are looking at now Las Vegas being more of a hard target than a soft target to see how we can improve security.

But if you look at what all they did, they saved lives, as you heard Mr. Hopkins say, running into the area that was full of people who were being harmed.

MATTHEWS: Well, what do you make of the elements at work here? I don`t want to make this into a crusade on a night of horror where we should just sort of grieve and accept reality for a while. But the reality is this guy goes into a hotel room with all these weapons, all these rounds of ammunition, with tripods and scopes, everything, with the clear intention to use them. He wasn`t going to carry them home with him. Is there anything we can do about stopping the act, this kind of act?

TITUS: Well, you`ve got to remember, these were all in suitcases. He was staying for several days. He was in a suite. The housekeeping staff had been in and out and not seen anything out of the way because nothing was visible. What do you do to check people`s suitcases when they come in? That`s something to look at.

But I can tell you, we don`t want to make it political on this day of mourning, as you said. Our office is trying to be of service and of solace. But I have stood for one too many times for a moment of silence on the floor of the House.

MATTHEWS: I just wonder about picking up at least suitcases with guns in them. I`d notice they were extra heavy. Anyway, thank you. I like your patience with us tonight and your judgment. We`ll get to this debate later -- U.S. Congresswoman Dina Titus of Las Vegas.

Still ahead, new details about the gunman himself, who he was, and what we know about his motive. Boy, that`s the question of the night, motive for last night`s horror. Those people were all alive this time yesterday. In fact, this time, they were all alive and never expected this horror. They were going out to a concert, and this guy ended their lives. This one guy did it. We`ve got to find out why.

Our coverage continues after this.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MATTHEWS: We`re learning more about the suspect in last night`s mass shooting.

Sixty-four-year-old Stephen Craig Paddock had been gambling significant amounts of money in Vegas` casinos over the past few weeks.

Earlier today, our NBC station in Orlando caught up with the suspect`s brother. Here is what he said.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ERIC PADDOCK, BROTHER OF SHOOTER: Our condolences to everyone. We just don`t understand. It`s like I said. An asteroid just fell out of the sky. And we have no reason, rhyme, rationale, excuse.

There is just nothing. I mean, he has no criminal record. He has nothing, nothing, nothing.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MATTHEWS: NBC News correspondent Catie Beck joins us now from Mesquite, Nevada, near the suspect`s home.

Katie, thank you.

What can we find out from his house?

CATIE BECK, NBC NEWS CORRESPONDENT: Well, Chris, we are actually in his community, which is a sleepy retirement community in the desert.

It`s about 80 miles from Las Vegas. This is an upscale neighborhood, where people largely just come to relax. That`s where his brother thought he was coming to do when Stephen Paddock moved in here in 2015.

What we have witnessed today is basically police executing a search warrant on his home, looking for any type of evidence, any type of clue that could solve the mystery behind the motive. Why did he do it? What was the motivation? And what lies in that house that could potentially solve that for them?

They have been in there throughout the day, trying to find anything that would give them those answers.

Late this afternoon, they finally wrapped up. And when they did come out, we learn they`d had left with 18 firearms, several thousand rounds of ammunition and explosive devices, among other things.

They weren`t giving us exact details on the other items that were taken out. We imagine they did some forensics on his computers, any type of communications that was on any devices within that home. But we are told that they have completed the execution of that search warrant. And now they`re going sift through that evidence and see if there is a motive in there somewhere -- Chris.

MATTHEWS: You mean the 18 weapons, in addition to that -- almost that amount in the hotel room? Is that right?

BECK: Correct.

And we have also learned independently that -- that is correct. We have also learned independently that Paddock bought several firearms from a gun store just two miles down the road from here. That store owner told us that the background checks were completed when he purchased those firearms, and he didn`t see anything in Paddock that would strike him as unfit to own a gun.

MATTHEWS: Well, AR-15s.

Anyway, thank you, NBC`s Catie Beck in Mesquite, Nevada.

It`s been less than 24 hours since America woke to the news that the gunman callously opened fire on thousands of people at a country music concert. There`s the scene there.

In the aftermath, as we grapple with this act, the big question is, why did this guy do it?

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

QUESTION: Do you have any kind of motives you could be looking at, at this point?

JOSEPH LOMBARDO, CLARK COUNTY, NEVADA, SHERIFF: No, ma`am. I can`t get into the mind of a psychopath at this point.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is a classic WMD. This is a weapon and a man of mass destruction.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This is a crazed lunatic full of hate. We don`t know much about his background.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MATTHEWS: Well, statistics, we`re told, tell us, show that the Vegas gunman, he is 64 years old, was twice the age of the average mass shooter, whatever good that tells us.

In an interview with reporters, his brother Eric said that his brother was not a normal guy and frequently played high-stakes video poker. We`re getting kind of a disconnect there, not a normal guy and then never been any trouble. Well, we will see how that fixes together.

For more on what we could have -- what could have motivated him, I`m joined right now by Clint Van Zandt, former FBI agent and MSNBC contributor, also Candice DeLong, former FBI profiler and psychiatric nurse.

Clint and Candice, what do you make of those combined accounts from the brother, one, he is just a law-abiding guy, never broke any rules, to the other, but he is not quite normal? What? What do we -- how does that sound to you?

(CROSSTALK)

CLINT VAN ZANDT, MSNBC ANALYST: Well, to me, this guy is really an anomaly, Chris.

So far, we don`t have any of the indicators that we see in the past. We don`t see money. We don`t see health issues. We don`t know about girlfriends. We know he is older than the average age. We know he lived in a retirement, where he should have been drinking beer and watching baseball, instead of accumulating 35 weapons.

And ammonium nitrate? All you have to do is mix fuel oil, and you have got Oklahoma City. So, whether this is two personalities, the one he showed his family and the rest of the world, and one he kept hidden, that`s still something we have to learn.

MATTHEWS: Candice, what do you make of the father, the father being on the most wanted list and described in the wanted posters as psychotic?

CANDICE DELONG, FORMER FBI PROFILER: Well, he was described as psychopathic, which is different. Basically, it`s a personality disorder where someone just lacks empathy. They never feel guilt or remorse for anything they do, which makes it easy for them to commit crimes and become a criminal.

It`s my understanding the father tried to run down a cop, which is why he was on the 10 most wanted list.

MATTHEWS: I see.

DELONG: It is -- it does make me wonder.

That happened in 1968 -- and the offender, the shooter in Las Vegas was, I think, born in 1954, `55 -- what his home life was like. He is being raised by a criminal. We don`t know all that much yet.

In regards to the brother`s contrary statements, Chris, it`s rare for families to come forward after something like this and say, I knew something like this was going to happen, even if they did.

MATTHEWS: Boy, that`s intelligent.

Let me get back to Clint on that.

What do you think? Does that sound right? Can -- it sounds right to me. You don`t want to incriminate yourself by saying, I knew the guy was heading for trouble.

VAN ZANDT: Well, you know, Ted Kaczynski`s brother raised his hand and said, I think there is a problem with my brother.

When I was an FBI agent, I sought his father. His father was a top 10 most wanted fugitive. And we were looking for the guy in the `70s. So, when I heard that name, there was a distant bell.

But, again, I don`t know that -- you made the comment earlier. I don`t know if there is a connection there. We don`t know how much influence the father had over him. There`s a lot of things -- Chris, there is so much we don`t know and so much we need to know.

But we got three things. We got to deal with the psychology of shooters, how to understand their motivation and get in front of them, instead of behind them. We have to limit their access to guns. And we have to develop technology that`s going help law enforcement react faster.

It took an hour and five minutes. And the cops did the very best job the world can do. It still took them an hour and five minutes. Chris, what, for example, if they had a remote-control plane, a little handheld robot that you throw up in the air? It goes up to the 32nd floor and it says, gee, there the guy is.

We need to get ahead of these guys...

MATTHEWS: Yes.

VAN ZANDT: ... in technology, in thinking, in psychology. We can`t be behind them all this time.

MATTHEWS: Candice, what do you make of the -- I`m not calling this guy MacGyver or anything like that, to make light of it.

But he did have the capacity to go out and get the magazines. He had all the firepower. He had the scope. He had the tripod. He knew how to break open a window. He knew he would to -- hotels don`t have open windows anymore. Office buildings don`t either.

He seemed to have the whole thing scoped out intelligently. And if he wanted to commit mass mayhem, he did it.

So, in terms of his effectiveness, does that tell you anything about his psychology, that he has got a competence that is frightening to go with his bad psychology?

DELONG: Well, it tells me something about his state of mind.

For example, let`s compare him to James Holmes, the young Colorado -- University of Colorado student that went into the heater in Aurora.

MATTHEWS: Right.

DELONG: It turns out he was seriously mentally ill, as bad as it gets, psychotic, hearing voices, delusional.

And he did a lot of planning as well. But it certainly wasn`t on the level that the Las Vegas shooter`s planning was. One of the things that strikes me about what happened in Las Vegas is that this person, for 72 hours at least, was able to plan things out, not apparently jump ahead.

Maybe he was waiting for Sunday night, because that was the big event. That was the end of the concert. The headliner was playing. That tells me he probably was not hearing voices, was not delusional.

MATTHEWS: Yes.

DELONG: There is a famous, or a notorious, shooting back the `60s at the University of Texas.

MATTHEWS: Sure.

DELONG: Charles Whitman went up to the clock tower, and one by one killed 13 people, before he was killed by a cop.

And it turns out the autopsy revealed that he had an undiagnosed brain tumor. Things like that, brain tumors -- we know what chronic encephalopathy can do. There may be something turn up in his physical and mental health that will help explain this madness.

MATTHEWS: Back then, it was a rarity, Candice. Now it`s not anymore.

Thank you.

Mass shooting.

Clint Van Zandt, as always, sir.

Candice DeLong.

Coming up: The swift response by law enforcement is being credited with saving many lives last night. We`re going look at the police work that went into finding the shooter. That`s also a detective story.

Our coverage continues after this.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MATTHEWS: Welcome back to HARDBALL and our coverage of the deadly shooting in Las Vegas last night.

Well, the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police were quick to mobilize amid reports of the shooting last night. The challenge was determining exactly where the shots were coming from.

A police scanner captured the response among law enforcement officials as they tried to locate the shooter.

(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Coming from upstairs in the Mandalay Bay! Upstairs in the Mandalay Bay, halfway up! I have seen the shots coming from Mandalay Bay halfway up!

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We have an active shooter. We have an active shooter inside the whereabouts!

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I`m going to form a strike team, Mandalay Bay and the boulevard. I need five officers on me.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Be advised it is automatic fire, fully automatic fire from an elevated position. Take cover.

(END AUDIO CLIP)

MATTHEWS: Fully automatic fire. Everyone is saying that now.

Law enforcement made their way to the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay resort, closing in on the room where gunman Stephen Paddock had massacred his victims from over 1,000 feet away. Let`s listen to the moment they breached the door with explosives.

(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We`re going to sit on the suspect`s door. I need everybody in that hallway to be aware of it and get back.

We need to pop this and see if we get any type of response from this guy, see if he`s in here, or he`s actually moved somewhere else.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: All units on the 32nd floor, SWAT has explosive breach. Everyone in the hallway needs to move back. All units, move back.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Breach, breach, breach.

(EXPLOSION)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MATTHEWS: That was the explosion opening the door on the 32nd floor to where the shooter was shooting from.

According to Sheriff Joseph Lombardo, authorities believe Paddock killed himself before his room was breached.

He says 16 guns were found inside and chemicals commonly used in explosives were found in his car. Eighteen additional firearms and explosives were also found at his home in Mesquite.

I`m joined right now by Shawn Henry, former executive assistant director of the FBI, and Darrin Porcher, a retired lieutenant from the New York Police Department. And David Shepherd served 24 years in the FBI and is the former executive director of security for the Venetian Resort Hotel and Casino.

Darrin, you start.

I want to talk about the problem with these very high-rise hotels and the difficult in this case of locating the shooter.

Your thoughts?

DARRIN PORCHER, FORMER NEW YORK POLICE LIEUTENANT: Well, of course, it`s a difficult and arduous task when you have a high-rise.

But one of the things that alerted law enforcement to the position of the suspect was the smoke detector. He shot -- he fired so many rounds while he was in the room on the 32nd floor, the smoke detectors ignited.

And that`s what triggered the response to the 32nd floor. But whenever you`re trying to pursue a suspect in a high-rise -- and I take into consideration a place like New York City -- it`s always a very arduous task.

Oftentimes, you may not want to use the elevators. You may want to use the stairs to go up. But, once again, you need to be in great shape to get up 32 flights of stairs to encounter that assailant in that room.

MATTHEWS: Why wouldn`t you want to use the elevator?

PORCHER: Because a host of things.

The assailant can actually stop the elevator himself. And you don`t want something like that to occur. Take into consideration whenever there is a fire. You never use the elevator, fear of a malfunction with that elevator.

And the same premise holds true with law enforcement responding to an assailant in a place like this.

MATTHEWS: Shawn Henry, I want to ask you about this use of the fact that a smoke alarm was the indicator of which room was the shooter`s room.

And that means, it seems to me, if you want to follow that out, if they didn`t have the smoke alarm, he would have kept shooting, because they wouldn`t have known where to find the guy for a while.

SHAWN HENRY, FORMER EXECUTIVE ASSISTANT FBI DIRECTOR: Well, I think that they eventually would have found him.

MATTHEWS: Eventually.

HENRY: There were some reports from -- from some of the neighboring guests about loud noises that were coming out. The officers that were out in the venue who were looking up and were reporting where they were seeing bright lights, and then, from there, you count up and you count over, and you can start to triangulate on what the shooter`s position was.

I mean, law enforcement in this case, Chris, were very, very active in saving people, and getting them off to a safe place, as well as identifying where the shooter was, so that tactical team could get up, make that explosive breach, get into that -- into that room, and to eliminate or neutralize the threat.

MATTHEWS: What do you make of a guy having a -- he obviously modified his semiautomatic. He turned into it a machine gun, by all the reports.

You can hear the rat-tat-tat. You could hear the sound of an automatic weapon. And then he knew he could shoot 1,200 feet away, basically, what, four football fields away, four football fields away with some accuracy.

Was that the elevation that he wanted? He got the right room he wanted on the corner, which was the closest to the concert area. So much thought and calculation went into this thing, it seems to me.

Your thoughts?

HENRY: He absolutely had a strategic position. And the elevation provided him with that distinct advantage. I don`t think there is anything to him in terms of marksmanship. I think he was trying to put as many rounds possible down range to try and inflict as much harm as he could.

Those .223 rounds travel at a high velocity, and they do travel for a very long distance. I think he was trying to put as much lead down into that space to try and kill as many people as possible. And he certainly did that, Chris.

MATTHEWS: David, tell us about Vegas and how this fits with your experience out there with security for these hotels. Because here you got protect people from somebody in the hotel. This isn`t the usual guy stealing somebody`s diamonds. This is a guy out there with automatic weapon effectively shooting out the window and knowing that he could break the window with a hammer, with whatever he used, a hammer-like object, whatever he had. This guy had it figured.

DAVID SHEPHERD, FORMER DIRECTOR OF SECURITY, VENETIAN HOTEL & CASINO: Well, he planned well from the beginning. This is something that a lot of the active shooters do. And what you`re looking at is a person that wanted to do that.

He planned. He looked for closest area. He planned it all out as much as he could.

The security chiefs, we deal really close with the metropolitan police. We do a lot of training with them. We discuss different scenarios. We do the same thing for the Southern Nevada Counterterrorism Fusion Center to look at different type of events. And it`s constantly going on.

MATTHEWS: Is there a lot of despondency out there about losing? I`m sure there, because Vegas was built on people losing, obviously, not winning. And I thought -- everybody keeps talking back east here about how tens of thousands of dollars he lost in the last several days.

My hunch is he brought those guns with him to do something with those guns. He didn`t just somehow conjure up guns after he lost a few days at the gaming table.

DARRIN PORCHER, FORMER NYPD LIEUTENANT: This wasn`t an -- this was a planned attack. He checked in on the 28th. And so, he had some time to coordinate his assault --

MATTHEWS: Right.

PORCHER: -- or his offensive against these individuals.

But just going back to what you mentioned in terms of the aim, it was like shooting ducks in a bow. We have 22,000 people right in front of him. It`s the equivalent of throwing a bowl into the ocean.

Unfortunately, when you look at the weaponry that he used in this, it kind of remind me, I`m an ex-army officer. And it reminded me of my training on the firing line. It was either a belt fed or a weapon that had a drum magazine, because there were numerous rounds that came in continuous succession. We only had three breaks.

MATTHEWS: Yes.

PORCHER: We had hundreds of rounds that were fired at these individuals. So there was no marksmanship deployed here.

MATTHEWS: Darrin, what do you make of this testimony we got from a live witness, Bryan Hopkins, that this guy was picking them off. They`d get up. He`d shoot them when they got up. They would get down, he left them alone. He said he was playing like them like a board game or something, an electronic game. He said the guy was shooting, he was sniping.

PORCHER: The witness or the person that shot is in the state of fear. So I can understand them looking at it from that perspective. But the truth of the matter is, we just have a person firing aimlessly. He is destined to hit hundreds of people from --

MATTHEWS: OK.

PORCHER: We look at three football fields, that`s nothing when we look at a .223 or a .366 rifle.

MATTHEWS: Right. Thank you so much. Thank you so much, David Shepherd, Darrin Porcher, I just spoke with, and Shawn Henry.

Coming up, harrowing witness accounts continue following last night`s shooting. We`re going to speak to one man who was just a few feet from the stage when the gunfire rang out.

Our coverage continues after this.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MATTHEWS: As we mentioned earlier, the death toll from last night`s mass shooting now stands at 59 dead, 527 injured. Do you believe it? Five hundred twenty-seven people injured, in addition to the deaths.

And the latest, let`s go to NBC`s Steve Patterson who is in Las Vegas.

Steve, give us the latest, what we have missed so far that we haven`t done yet.

STEVE PATTERSON, NBC NEWS CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Chris, well, I mean, look, it`s nearly 20 hours since that fatal shooting, which is just in the scene behind the police blockade that is behind me.

What I can tell you is we were here almost immediately after that shooting started ringing out in this area. This was, if you can believe it, this was the staging area for police, EMTs, for fire crews, for everybody that was a first responder on that scene. It was completely littered with squad cars, mostly with units and guys in full riot gear and long guns going from hotel to hotel to hotel doing sweeps.

As we arrived on scene, there was a crowd of people rushing our way because of the gunfire that was ensuing behind them.

MATTHEWS: Yes.

PATTERSON: As we went in, we heard victim stories, as we`ve been hearing all day. I mean, we`ve been hearing about a woman who used the bodies around her to play dead, to escape the fire. We heard about a woman who hid in a bush to escape that gunfire. And people who were shepherding those folks from the scene in their cars away from the scene to safety.

So, tremendous stories of survival here on scene, Chris.

MATTHEWS: Well, you`re there for the scene. Thank you, NBC`s Steve Patterson, with that great report in Las Vegas.

One of the witnesses to last night`s mayhem joins us by phone. Buzz Brainard is host of "The Highway". That`s on Sirius XM Radio. He was just a few feet from the stage when the shooting started.

Buzz, tell me about what you saw, what you felt, what you went through.

BUZZ BRAINARD, SIRIUS XM HIGHWAY HOST, WITNESSED SHOOTING (via telephone): Well, we were in the artist tent, which is right off the stage. And it was our last -- our last performance of the three-day festival. And we`d been here for three days, and everybody was in a good mood celebrating. And we heard the bam bam bam bam bam.

And I think everybody just thought it was fireworks. And I heard that from everybody. And it happened again. People stepped out of the tent. And somebody said it might be some of the power lines above us. And then the third time we realized it was gunfire.

And so, we were lucky because we were in the backstage area where there was a lot of equipment and there was some tour buses. And we immediately dove under the tour buses for cover. And the bullets were coming down you and you could see them hitting the dirt in front of you. And the dirt would shoot up in your face.

We stayed there for a while. And then security decided it was time for us all to leave. So, we all got to run, everybody backstage. And our quickest exit was right over the stage, running straight away from Mandalay Bay.

And we joined -- we joined the masses of people who were trying to exit, the 22,000 who were in the middle there and it was just chaos, and, you know?

MATTHEWS: Buzz, when it first happened, and you first realized something was going on and people were getting shot, what was your instant guess who was doing it? What was your first instinct?

BRAINARD: We didn`t have a clue because you didn`t know where it was coming from, and that`s why we started running because we thought, maybe there were charging towards the venue. So, if we have known, it was just somebody stationary. We were safe under the buses, but everybody there was just trying to run because we didn`t know how many people. There was so many shots that we didn`t have an idea and the idea was to run as far away as quickly as we could.

And I have my son in town. He lives in L.A. He came to visit, hang with his dad and watched the concert, and I grabbed his hand and we sprinted until we made it to the Tropicana.

MATTHEWS: OK.

BRAINARD: And we thought we`re safe.

MATTHEWS: Buzz, thank you. Buzz Brainard, I have to say, I congratulate you on working for Sirius XM. It`s a big part of my life listening to that radio. I love that station.

Joining me right now by phone, Brian Claypool. He`s another witness to last night.

Brian, you have been heralded as a very good witness. Give me the color of this horror. What it was like to actually be in part of it.

BRIAN CLAYPOOL, SHOOTING EYEWITNESS (via telephone): Yes. So, I was staying in what`s called the neon lounge area, which was a VIP (INAUDIBLE), just to the left of the stage. So, Jason (INAUDIBLE) with the audience. My section is to the left.

So, I was actually in the front row, so I was exposed to where the shooting came down. And by the way, I was staying on the 24th floor of the Mandalay Bay.

So, about the fourth song in, I heard a few pops. They felt very close, thought it was fireworks, Jason on the last annex (ph), looked up in the air. I didn`t see any fireworks. That worried me.

And then Jason now being kind of hesitated during the song when those pops hit. That worried me, kind of paused and then a few seconds later, heard about five or 10 more pops, and the part that really sears my mind is that Jason now being actually dropped his guitar, threw it to the ground and sprinted, off the stage. So, I know that moment, there is something very serious going on.

I ran -- I started running and I only made to a little ways, a little part of the stairwell to go out of the VIP area and then the mass -- I mean, I`m talking -- it had to go on for 30 seconds. It was forward after forward (ph), there was nothing in between. It was boom, boom, boom, boom, boom, boom --

MATTHEWS: Yes.

CLAYPOOL: -- for 30 seconds.

MATTHEWS: Could you tell where it was coming from? Could you hear it coming from the Mandalay Bay 32nd floor? Can you sense it was that direction?

CLAYPOOL: Well, we -- nobody -- I mean, anybody tells you they knew that was coming from inside that venue, I don`t think they`re being honest, because I thought -- I knew it was coming from a direction in the Mandalay, but I thought the shooter was just outside the gate. There`s about a five- foot fence strip behind, that`s continuous to Las Vegas Boulevard.

MATTHEWS: Yes.

CLAYPOOL: I was right in that corner area to Mandalay Bay is, kind of (INAUDIBLE), where I thought the shooter was right outside the gate and based on the number of shots, I thought there was multiple shooters. I mean (INAUDIBLE) in your views. Is there one shooter? Two shooters? Three shooters? Are they going to jump the fence and then we`re in big trouble.

So, that was going through, you know, my mind --

MATTHEWS: Well, acoustics can confuse you. Acoustics are tricky businesses and you don`t know. But anyway, thank you for that, Brian Claypool, for, you know, great firsthand account.

Our coverage of last night`s tragedy in Las Vegas will continue after this.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MATTHEWS: President Trump called last night`s shooting in Las Vegas an act of pure evil. In the past, the president has said that mass shootings would be less deadly if more people carried guns to protect themselves. The White House lowered its flag to half-mast today and held a moment of silence on the South Lawn. There is the flag flying there.

President Trump is planning on going to Las Vegas on Wednesday after traveling as planned to Puerto Rico tomorrow.

I`m joined right now by NBC`s Hallie Jackson at the White House.

So, what are the president`s plans in terms of reacting to this horror?

HALLIE JACKSON, NBC NEWS CHIEF WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: So I think you`ve seen some of it already, Chris. You`ve seen the moment of silence. You`ve seen the president scramble the morning plans that he had. He was supposed to hold a deregulation event. And instead, he came out and delivered that speech. As you noted, calling what happened in Las Vegas an act of pure evil.

This speech was more spiritual in tone than what we`ve heard from the president before. He used language about Scripture, language about faith that he hasn`t always talked about after moments like these.

We then saw the president add to his schedule what we`re watching right now, which is that moment of silence with the first lady, the vice president and the vice president`s wife as well, Chris. And then, Sarah Huckabee Sanders said now is not the time to be talking about gun control, which here in Washington some lawmakers, particularly Democrats do want to have the conversation about.

MATTHEWS: Well, we have to wonder when we do have a conversation about it, if not now.

Anyway, NBC`s Hallie Jackson at the White House.

With more than 500 injured last night, incredible numbers injured in Las Vegas. Officials are calling for blood donations.

I`m joined now by NBC`s Jo Ling Kent who is at a blood bank out in Las Vegas.

Jo Ling, thank you.

JO LING KENT, NBC NEWS CORRESPONDENT: Hey, Chris.

This line stretches about 150 yards. And I want to show how long this line is. People have been standing here five, six, seven, eight, nine, ten hours. And what they want to do is donate blood because the city has called for it.

Obviously, there are 500 folks in the hospital injured who need that, but what you see here is an outpouring of community support. It`s a really remarkable feeling.

Even though this tragedy has hit Las Vegas so hard, you have you the public coming together in a way that a lot of people here say they`ve never seen before. And so as a result, you have families bringing groceries, donating food. Big companies, small bakeries, all coming out to make sure everyone is hydrated, that they`re eating, that they`re able to wait in line.

And all the way around here, you see there are folks lined up, and they are all here to donate blood, Chris. And they`re not going to close down until they can`t take anymore.

MATTHEWS: It`s so great to see that. Thank you, Jo Ling Kent, to bring us something to feel good about in this horror.

You can donate blood, by the way, with United Blood Services. That`s United Blood Services at 6930 West Charleston, in Las Vegas. See the numbers up there, it`s 601 Whitney Ranch Drive in Henderson. That`s another place.

That`s HARDBALL for now. Thanks for being with us.

Our coverage continues right now from Las Vegas with "ALL IN WITH CHRIS HAYES".

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED. END

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