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Grand Jury To Consider Charges Against Gunman's Wife; Investigation; Sources: Killer's Wife WEnt With Him To Buy Ammunition; Med. Examiner On Entering The Club: "Like Time Stopped"; When Love Was The Target of Hate; Dems Filibuster For Gun Control; FBI Issues Bulletins To Orlando Area Gay Clubs; Toddler's Body Recovered After Gator Attack. Aired 9-10p ET

Aired June 15, 2016 - 21:00   ET


[21:03:21] ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: We are live from outside the Orlando Regional Medical Center where more than 20 people are still hospitalized after the shooting at the Pulse Nightclub.

Tonight, there is breaking news about the shooter, what the investigators learned from the data on his cell phone and what his wife has been telling the law enforcement officials. We'll have all of that for you in a moment.

Most important aspect to this tragedy of course is the people, the people in the hospital behind me fighting for their lives, the people who lost their lives. We're going to bring you more of their stories over the next hour. And hear from medical examiner himself when he's in the club it's all beyond imaginable.

First, let's get the latest on the investigation with of course without using the shooters name or picture our justice correspondent Pamela Brown, joins us for that.

What more authorities would have been known now at this hour?

PAMELA BROWN, CNN JJUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: Well, the most important person right now in the investigation, Anderson, is the wife. They continue to interview her.

We learned from law enforcement that she's been giving some conflicting reports to investigators. Initially she said when her husband left the house from Saturday, that she didn't have any incline of what he was going to do.

And then through the course of more interviews she had said that she has a suspicion he might launch an attack, and perhaps it would be on Pulse Nightclub. And she didn't call police as we know.

COOPER: Oh, yeah.

BROWN: She claims that she tried to stop him from launching an attack. But what's interesting, what we are learning from our sources is that for months if not years he talked about doing something violent, so clearly that inclination was there for a while and the question is why didn't anyone speak up to it.

COOPER: And she may have known it was at Pulse that day and yet she did nothing.

BROWN: Right, I mean she, you know, she has a lawyer with her during all these interviews. But now she's sort of coming around and saying, well, I had a suspicion he might launch an attack, and perhaps maybe it would be at Pulse.

She's not being definitive about that according to our sources, but clearly changing the story from initially saying "I didn't have incline of what was going on."

[21:05:01] COOPER: And we know they got the phone back. They recovered the shooter's phone. Do we know if they've been actually able to get information off it?

BROWN: They have been able to get a little bit data of that phone. It was submerged in water and blood so it took awhile to get some data off, but if they've been able to use that plus some other data from service providers to piece together a time line of where he was, who he was talking to in hours before the attack. And that's key because as we know, Anderson, he actually made calls ...

COOPER: Right.

BROWN: ... in the club during the shooting.

COOPER: Yeah, and we heard a lot about that from the people actually overheard those phone calls and from the T.V. producer, one of the people he called. It's incredible that he called the T.V. producer in the middle of this.

BROWN: Right. It just makes you wonder, what was he thinking. I mean , clearly this is someone who wanted his story out.

COOPER: Right.

BROWN: And not only that he called this T.V. producer and 911 but he called his friend that he has that he called his friend to say goodbye ...

COOPER: Right.

BROWN: ... which is really of interest to investigators. They had interviewed this friend. We are told and want to find out what the friend knew about the gunman's plans, and who this person is.

Clearly, this is someone that means something to the gunman otherwise he wouldn't call him to say goodbye during all those.

COOPER: All right, Pamela Brown, thank you so much. Appreciate the reporting. We've got -- we've seen so many communities in the aftermath tragedy from Newtown to Aurora to Boston. We've seen city after city come together at a rally around survivors and victims' families. Well, the city of Orlando, this is city is no exception. None at all.

Joining me right now is Orlando City commissioner Patty Sheehan and Orlando sentinel senior reporter Paul Brinkmann. Thank you both for being with us.

First of all, what do you -- what is going on in your mind right now? I mean, you have been working around the clock ever since this happened ...


COOPER: ... you represent this community.

SHEEHAN: And, you know, I'm the first openly gay elected official. So of course I have really, you know, deep ties to the club and the owners ...

COOPER: Right.

SHEEHAN: ... and ...

COOPER: Right, you know the owner of the club?

SHEEHAN: I know him.

COOPER: This is the club that has hosted events for the community.

SHEEHAN: And for me, I mean, fundraisers for me. I mean, you know, they've just been gracious -- very gracious and wonderful people, and very supportive in this community.

COOPER: Do you see this changing the community in any way? I mean, I talked to so many young gay and lesbians who are at the club or friends of people who are at the club who, you know, though they're fearful they say it makes them want to, you know, walk taller, and stand taller, and hold hands in public and be more present than they have even been after now.

SHEEHAN: I'm not getting a sense of fear. I am getting a sense of grief. I just came from a church service at my church. I think people are really grieving. But I also see this -- I do see a change. I mean, there are ministers and people in this community who've never been supportive of the gay community at all ...

COOPER: Right.

SHEEHAN: ... of the LGBT community. They could care less. And they've actually been very nasty.

And now they're getting together. I was -- went to something in Orange County today, there was a bunch of faith leaders and they were basically saying, "Love your neighbor. You know, we shouldn't be behaving this way. We should not be espousing hatred."

And I'm like I've never heard them talk like that before. So, I don't think that these young people died in vain. I think that they really reached the hearts because I think it's hard to look at the young faces those young faces full of promise.

COOPER: We know all of those people.

SHEEHAN: Yeah, exactly.

COOPER: I mean, we don't know them personally, but we've all been there. We know when that's right.

SHEEHAN: And I think it finally took something this horrible to make people realize that hate is not the answer. And this hate speech and this kind of talk encourage this kind of violence.

COOPER: What are you been focusing on in terms of your reporting?

PAUL BRINKMANN, SENIOR REPORTER, ORLANDO SENTINEL: I spent the first two days after the attack at the center because there was such a convergence of people from the community coming in there for help and to donate resources.

COOPER: Helping with family members who are coming from all around.


COOPER: I mean there's so many little details that you never think of that could be dealt with.


COOPER: A lot of people aren't from Orlando originally. Their families are coming from all over.

SHEEHAN: How many visas and things to be able to travel here.

COOPER: Right.

BRINKMANN: Right, they were actually overwhelmed there eventually and it became like a media center team for international media. But, they were also expressing that, you know, they had never received this kind of attention from the community before and that they were just blown away by the support.

They had semis pulling up with food and water, refrigeration trucks donated, 200 plus counselors coming by to donate their services. So ...

COOPER: You know, I was struck by, I think it was tweet I saw from Los Angeles police department of brass at the L.A., I think it was at the gay pride parade holding up signs saying, "We are Orlando".

SHEEHAN: Yeah. COOPER: You know, there's such a history in this country. Oh, you know, there was a fire bombing of a gay bar in New Orleans in the '70s that the person who did it was never found. It seems like to have law enforcement in the forefront, speaking out about what happened here and investigating this vigorously and ...

SHEEHAN: Oh, Anderson, I have openly gay officers in very high ranking in New Orleans police department. I think that makes a big difference.

COOPER: You get a sense how things have changed ...

SHEEHAN: Yeah. Yeah.

COOPER: ... how much are these has been made.

SHEEHAN: Yeah, absolutely.

COOPER: What do you focus on right now?

SHEEHAN: Right now, you know, I'm kind of coming down a little bit right now. It's the cemetery though. You know ...

COOPER: That was the Greensboro ...

SHEEHAN: ... yeah, the Greensboro church of course is threatening to come. And my people have never been -- my cemetery folks have never dealt with that.

[21:10:04] I've dealt with this ...

COOPER: Honestly, I know ...

SHEEHAN: ... I've dealt with the ...

COOPER: ... I've never even talked about this people in the air.


COOPER: No, no, because all they want is attention and ...

SHEEHAN: Exactly.

COOPER: ... they are -- they represent nobody else other than themselves.

SHEEHAN: The hate extremists are coming.

COOPER: Right.

SHEEHAN: And my folks have never dealt with that cemetery. I've dealt with them because I've been involved with pride festivals and everything like that and they always show up. And we've always managed to find a way.

We usually put dancing boys in front of them. And we can't do that to cemetery, but we're going to do a human screen, and, you know, deal with them as best we can.


SHEEHAN: But, you know, providing screening and all like that.

COOPER: What do you want people to know about this community, about Orlando?

SHEEHAN: We are a resilient and loving community. And, you know, this is the thing. I mean, what's kind of cool for me as a GLBT person GLBTQ is to look and see that the symbol of Orlando right now internationally is the rainbow. I mean, that really gets me in my heart because I would have never thought that that would have been because, you know, as a young gay person fighting for my rights and run nondiscrimination policies and the politician and everything like that to have seen this outpouring of support is such incredible.

COOPER: I appreciate both what you are doing and taking the time to talk to us tonight. Thank you so much.

SHEEHAN: Thank you.

COOPER: Yeah, as I mentioned tonight, we are -- we're getting a new perspective on the scope of the tragedy that happen inside the nightclub. The medical examiner himself who saw the worst of the aftermath, Dr. Sanjay Gupta spoke with him. He joins me now.

Sanjay, I mean, it's rare that you hear from the medical examiner on that.

SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: He wanted to come out and talk about this. You know, they moved very, very quickly as you know. You know, they want to identify the bodies, they want to do the autopsies. A lot of it is just out of respect for these families that are waiting.

But this is a veteran medical examiner, he's seen aviation disasters, natural disasters, but he said he never seen anything like this. He was on the scene, I asked him to sort of describe it. Take a listen.


JOSHUA STEPHANY, CHIEF MEDICAL EXAMINER, ORANGE COUNTY, FLORIDA: It's almost like time stopped. There were still things, background TVs playing, lights blinking, drinks that are just in poured, checks that about to pay, food half eaten, and that's not even thinking about the bodies on the ground I'm just looking around, and seeing it's like time stood still. All of a sudden everything is gone, everything stopped.

But when you actually see everyone lying down in one place or went down in one place or their final positions, you can feel it.


COOPER: You know, over the years I've talked to medical examiners, I mean they are people who are caring for the dead before the families and dignity is so important to them, even in placement of the bodies.

GUPTA: No question.

COOPER: He talked to you about that.

GUPTA: He did and, you know, they had an area where they're doing the autopsies, but it was important that the shooter was transported separately from all the victims, was in a separate building from all victims. He did not want the shooter's autopsy performed in the same room. And then he did the autopsy of the shooter himself.

COOPER: All those who lost their lives were together and the shooter was in separate.

GUPTA: That's right. And he made a real point that's not a rule or a protocol or anything. That was just sort of a sign of respect. And, you know, this medical examiner, I mean, he's been very busy, obviously, for the last several days. He pointed out that this particular shooter's body has not yet been claimed but he also did the autopsy in Christina Grimmie and her assailant. He did obviously all the people in Orlando shooting and he's going to be doing the autopsy on this two-year-old boy, Lane Graves, as well. I mean, that's what the medical examiner in Orlando, that's what he's been doing the last several days.

COOPER: Sanjay, I appreciate you coming on. Thank you very much.

That just ahead, we're going to hear two more stories from survivors, two friends who frankly are lucky to be alive but devastated their friend did not make it out.

Also tonight, the FBI issued a bulletin to other gay clubs in Orlando. There is no specific threat. There have been other times the gay club has been targets of deadly violence from Louisiana, Le Georges, and The Virginia. A sad look back at other times that love was the target of hate.



[21:17:32] COOPER: Right now, a story that is frankly hard to hear. Three best friends they called themselves the three amigos and they often did. They went out together Saturday night to Pulse Night Club. They never could imagine that only two of them return for that night out. Gary Tuchman tonight reports.


GARY TUCHMAN, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Three close friends, Christian, Carlos and Jimmy and a heftier evening at the Pulse Nightclub in Orlando, the same club were they went this past Saturday night. This is Christian and Carlos.

CHRISTAIN ORTIZ SURVIVOR OF ORLANDO ATTACK: Our relationship we're called the three amigos because we always work together always. TUCHMAN: The three amigos all three were standing next to each other when the rampage started, gunshots ringing out, the deejay stopping the music and yelling that everyone should get to the floor.

ORTIZ: And then the lights went off, it was so dark. I can see the people falling dead in front of me. I could see everything was everybody was dead. Everybody was like a truly massacre or something like that.

TUCHMAN: Carlos made a decision they needed to try to crawl to a bathroom where they saw others going. He tried to hold onto Jimmy and Christian but was only able to maintain a grip on Christian amid the flying bullets.

CARLOS MUNOZ, SUVIVOR OF ORLANDO ATTACK: So I just grab him by the shirt and dragged him with me into the bathroom. And Jimmy still there it just lying down and at the moment Jimmy was still alive but he was, his brows he as so panicked. That he crawl, he laid down, face down and cover his face like this.

ORTIZ: I was looking for Jimmy but I can find him. I said, "Jimmy, where you are? Jimmy, Jimmy, Jimmy." But everybody was screaming. And I was trying to find for Jimmy. And when I looked back, that's when I saw that everybody was getting there. He was shot and the people on floor.

TUCHMAN: Christian and Carlos were in the dark bathroom with about 30 other frightened people.

ORTIZ: We can see the blood was coming from under the door, like it was like water when you break water, it goes on the floor. It was the same thing but it was blood. It was getting under the floor. It was very horrible.

TUCHMAN: People trembling in fear as the gunshots and screaming continued.

ORTIZ: It was like a buzz like it was like a movie like those carpet movies.

TUCHMAN: The police then storming the club, exchanging fire with the killer. Everybody in the bathroom, including Christian and Carlos running for their lives.

ORTIZ: When I get out I was looking for Jimmy. And I saw him dead on the floor.

MUNOZ: He look and he saw Jimmy.

ORTIZ: And it was three, I mention by a head and everybody was dead, everybody was.

[21:20:00] There was nobody alive inside that club. We can't be with him. Nobody was moving.

TUCHMAN: As they sit here now, Christian and Carlos wonder why did they survive while the other member of the three amigos, Jimmy, did not. They have survivor's guilt.

You guys were so courageous, but you did so much for each other and did your best for your best friend, too. And I hope you take comfort in that.

ORTIZ: I know, I know. But it makes me feel like horribly. We are supposed to be the three amigos, not two. It's just horrible that you can lose somebody you love and just leave in seconds. And I got I mean two person in my life and I hope that he can rest in peace because I loved him very much. And I'm sorry he died that way that's what I can say.


COOPER: Three amigos. Is there help available for some counseling for people? Because I mean there are a lot of people who need it.

TUCHMAN: Counseling is been made available for free for survivors and family members of victims and Christian, the more emotional man in our story has received two such counseling sessions so far and it's done him well. But you could see Carlos, who was the less emotional, admits he is holding it in. And he says he may not be able maintain that on Friday because that would be the viewing Jimmy when he sees Jimmy's body. But so far he hasn't received any counseling and he is the one I am more worried about right now.

COOPER: It's just awful. Gary, thank you very much for telling that story. Its heart breaking with someone would have to deal surviving a trauma like this at the same time they're grieved for someone they love.

Yesterday, we heard from a young woman named Patience who's still in the hospital. She wrote an incredibly moving poem that referenced what she called "A heavy guilt of feeling grateful to be alive".

Survivors' guilt is not uncommon after a tragedy like this. And I know we want to an expert who have been speaking with families, Indhira Acosta.

She's a victim's advocate in crisis council of the Victim Service Center of Central Florida she joins me now. Thanks for being with us.


COOPER: What do you say to someone who comes in? I mean is it -- I know some people deal with -- everybody deals with grief differently and some people want to talk, some people don't. What do you tell people?

ACOSTA: Yes and based on the fact it is very individualized, the best thing is to assess where the individual is, and assess if they're ready to talk or if they just need someone to stand by their side, and provide support and strength.

COOPER: So sometimes you don't have to talk. Sometimes just being there, sometimes just ...

ACOSTA: Absolutely. Sometimes being there and that's a lot of what we did over the last few days, is just be there for people that recently found out, you know, that they lost a loved one. We at the Victim Service Center were working with federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies determining the way that we were going to welcome the families, and making sure they received comfort and strength and support along the way.

COOPER: You know, I remember reading an interview with a hospice worker who said that you know if somebody has cancer there's a you have time to settle things, you have time to talk you have time to kind of communicate your feelings for them and them for you. When there's a violent act like this, it's so sudden, there isn't time.

ACOSTA: Right. And that's what makes it so difficult for many to heal so it takes a very long time to go through the healing process. And it may take years for that to take place.

COOPER: There is no timetable for grief. I think that's one thing people maybe -- I mean experience grief I know you know I've had friends that lost somebody and other friends said "Well, you know it's been a month, it's been two months the time to get over it," it doesn't work like that.

ACOSTA: It absolutely does not. I take time there is absolutely no timetable. And the people may experience -- spouse, of, you know, ups and downs. And it's a process that the person needs to allow those emotions to carry out. As they not as they will.

COOPER: It's also -- it seems -- because it's not just people who directly knew these people, it's not even just people who are in Orlando. I've got an, you know, e-mails and text from friends and of the country that you never see who find themselves is breaking down in odd times or could just find themselves so stunned by what happened here. What do you advise somebody who has no direct connection and yet is carrying this with them?

ACOSTA: An experience like this can definitely trigger responses in other people that weren't necessarily here. And I would definitely encourage to stay connected with family, friends, speak to a counselor. To connect with local church, support groups, local agencies for the city of Orlando. It would be an agency like victim service center but many agencies that are local that would provide the services you know that would help them go to that process of healing.

[21:25:05] COOPER: Well, thank you so much for what you're doing it's so important and I appreciate you taking time to talk to us.

ACOSTA: Thank you.

COOPER: Thank you very much, Indhira Acosta.

Up next, Democrats filibuster for gun control on the Senate floor. This is been going on now for more than eight hours today. We'll talk with the house of member who's a former marine also pushing for changes in gun laws. We'll be right back.


[21:29:15] COOPER: Well tonight, attention over the Orlando mass shooting at the LGBT nightclub is bringing the U.S. senate to a stand still.

The filibuster now heading into its 9th hour, Democrats promising to keep talking until action is taken on several gun control measures including making it tougher for suspected terrorists to get guns. Deborah Feyerick tonight with more on what's going on.


DEBORAH FEYERICK, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Even though the Pulse Nightclub killer had once been on the FBI's terror watch list, in the days before his murderous rampage.

He was able to buy two firearms. One of them an MCX carbine assault style semi-automatic. He's not the only one. Nine out of 10 people on terror watch lists who want to buy a gun are given the green light after passing a federal background check according to a government accountability report.

[21:30:00] SEN. KIRSTEN GILLIBRAND, (D), NEW YORK: No one outside of our military who are trained to use these weapons needs to have access to a weapon that can fire hundreds of bullets in a minute, hundreds of bullets in a minute.

FEYERICK: On the Senate floor a filibuster from Democratic lawmakers to force action on legislation on gun legislation.

GILLIBRAND: We have to make it harder for hateful angry violent people to get a hand on a weapon.

FEYERICK: Last year, 23.1 million background checks were run through the FBI national database. Of those, 244 were identified as being on the terror watch list, 223 were approved, 21 were denied. To be denied you have to be among other reasons, a felon, fugitive, domestic abuser, undocumented immigrant or have illegally declared mental health issue. Being on the terror watch list is not an automatic strike.


FEYERICK: The figures in the last 12 years have remained consistent. In 2004, the FBI began crosschecking criminal backgrounds against terror watch lists. Since then, 2,477 on the watch list received a background check 2,265 passed 212 were denied, meaning 91 percent passed the background check.

The FBI director says joint terrorism and task forces are alerted if someone on the watch list is cleared to buy a firearm. The nightclub killer was taken off the watch list in 2014 when it was determined he was not a threat. The FBI has three business days to process background checks. If three days go by and the FBI hasn't completed that background check, the gun dealer can sell the firearm to the buyer.

Deborah Feyerick CNN Washington.


COOPER: On the house side, Democratic Council Seth Moulton in Massachusetts a U.S. marine is another voice for changes to gun laws. Here's a tweet posted Tuesday morning, "I know assault rifles, I carried one in Iraq, they have no place on America's streets."

That photo of him holding one in his uniform, now that tweet led to an op-ed for "New York Daily News." Representative Seth Moulton joins me right now from Capitol Hill. Thanks so much councilor for being with us.

So you wrote in the op-ed, "I'm a marine, I carried guns everyday in Iraq, guns very similar to ones used to perpetrate the Orlando murders and many other mass shootings in America. Have you used guns in combat, more than one occasion they saved my life but there's a big difference between a U.S. marine with a rifle and civilian with a gun."

I remember General Stanley McCrystal expresses similar sentiments after Newtown massacre. Do you believe actually anything is going to be different this time?

REP. SETH MOULTON MASSACHUSETTS: Well, I certainly hope so. I don't have confidence that it will change. I don't know how many more innocent Americans have to die before we in Washington have courage to even just have a debate about passing common sense reforms through this gone violence. Bu I do sense that people are paying attention now, and maybe this time will be different.

COOPER: There's so much suspicion on all sides. And look, a lot of gun owners are going to say any gun control is a slippery slope. What do you say to them?

MOULTON: I think it's a ridiculous argument because we already have a lot of restrictions on every amendment to the constitution, including the second. You're not allowed to own landmines, or anti-tank rockets. There are a lot of weapons of war that are already outlawed an assault rifle like the one used to perpetrate this attack in Orlando is a weapon of war, it has no place on America's streets or in America's schools.

COOPER: On Monday you joined with a couple other congressional colleagues and you left during the moment of silence. Can you explain why?

MOULTON: You know, I tweeted the day after the shooting that my thoughts and prayers go to the victims. And I heard from so many people on my Twitter account that thoughts and prayers aren't enough, that passing prayers aren't working. That we need to take action and so I decided that I'm not standing in silence anymore in watching them. And the people of Massachusetts didn't send me to Washington to stand in silence. They sent me to Washington to take action to keep the community safe.

COPER: Congressman Moulton, I appreciate you being with us. I appreciate it we'll see what happens to days ahead.

Just ahead the FBI issuing bulletins to Orlando gay clubs, and there's no specific threat, so attacks in gay nightclubs stretch back mote than four decades will take a look in the deadly history. I'll also talk with we rider Andrew Sullivan about what's different this time and what's been shattered once again with the attack on Pulse Nightclub.


[21:38:38] COOPER: The timing of the attack on Pulse Nightclub during gay pride month has many people on edge for obvious reasons. The massacre has prompted the FBI to issue intelligence bulletins to gay clubs in the Orlando area, the aim to just heighten awareness.

Were told there's no credible specific threat of an imminent attack. The fact is though past attacks on gay nightclubs haven't been proceeded by threats. When hit strikes tends to catch victims off guard. Randi Kaye tonight looks back.


RANDI KAYE, CNN JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: This was the scene back in 1973. The Upstairs Lounge, a gay club in New Orleans, Louisiana in June that year, an arsonist poured lighter fluid on the stairs leading to the club then rang the doorbell. Flames swept inside some fled others got trapped by windows covered in bars. The bartender reportedly helped 20 people escape but unintentionally locked the fire escape door so the fire wouldn't spread, trapping everyone else inside.


RONNIE ROSENTHAL, SURVIVOR: Everybody was screaming. Everybody was just like so confused. Several people had jumped out of windows hurt fatally or hurt.

KAYE: 32 people died. By the time firefighters got inside, bodies were piled up at windows, many left unclaimed, victims who had never come out to family members. Family members were then too embarrassed to bury them. Police reportedly never actively pursued the case, no one was ever charged in the attack.

[21:40:02] In 1980, a New York City gay bar became a target, the suspect reportedly aimed and fired his oozy at men standing in line at the Ramrod Bar. One man died instantly another died at the hospital others were left bleeding and wounded on the sidewalk.

JIM LEVIN, GAY ACTIVIST: They say that we should wait, we should just be quiet, moron people. KAYE: Before the shooting, the gunman reportedly said, "I'll kill them all, the gays, they ruin everything." The suspect was found not responsible by reason of mental disease or defect and put in a secure psychiatric hospital. He died last year.

In Roanoke, Virginia, the Back Street Bar came under attack in September, 2000.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He was randomly shooting, he was that that simple and, you know, several people were hit and I guess everybody was scramming to try to get out of the way.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The suspect had conversations yesterday along the lines of wanting to find some gay people and shoot them.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And his arm was up like this. The gun was pointing down and he just started firing.

KAYE: One man was killed, six others we're wounded. "The Washington Post" reported that the suspect always hated his last name which happened to be gay and the taunting that came with it. He was sentenced to four life terms.

In Seattle, the Neighbors Nightclub was another terrifying scene. A man had chosen the busiest night of the year, New Year's Eve, to set fire to the club as revelers rang in 2014, flames appear just after midnight.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And we saw a smoke, we can feel the heat and make in the ceiling.

KAYE: Staff and clubgoers got to fire out quickly and everyone more than 700 people escaped. The suspect claimed he didn't remember setting the fire, but the judge concluded he had done it because he disliked gays.

A friend had reportedly told investigators that the suspect had once said homosexual people should be exterminated. He was sentenced to ten years in prison. Randi Kaye, CNN, New York.


COOPER: We watched Randi's reporting, given to what happened here, you might be tempted to say, will hate endures. And yes, it does, what happened Sunday morning is the latest proof.

But here's what's different in 2016. Take a look at this photo, It's taken Sunday at the Los Angeles, gay pride parade, just hours after the killings at Pulse. That's the chief of LAPD standing next to the mayor who's holding a sign of "Support for Orlando" and there at the gay pride parade.

Joining me now on the phone is Andrew Sullivan, contributing editor at New York Magazine. It is different now, Andrew when you think about the generations of gay people who've been attacked at gay clubs, gay clubs which used to be raided by police, and it was the only place gay people really can congregate, and it was illegal for them to congregate and even dance together.

To you, what is the progress? What is the difference?

ANDREW SULLIVAN, NEW YORK MAGAZINE, CONTRIBUTING EDITOR: Well, someone, if you think of still well in 1969, you had a bunch of cops raiding and rushing a bar in order to arrest the gay people inside it. And in 2016 you have a bunch of cops rushing a bar to save the gay people inside it.

And that's a, you know, that's a huge difference. Also as we know, what happened to those people in the Austin fire or in the shooting in New York in 1980. They were quickly forgotten.

No one talks about them. People almost embarrassed. Sometimes their families wouldn't even pick up the body. And now we have a recognition at least that we are human beings, and especially in a moment like this, and in a place like this.

If you take, you know, when you think about it, when you think about this young Latin men and I saw their pictures and read their profiles that the people who'd been murdered, when you think about their lives and you realize that of all the places they could have felt safe, this was probably the safest place they knew.

And this man went into that almost sacred space and laid waste to them in the most horrifying way because they're gay or they were gay or he thought that they were gay. And - yeah, go on.

COOPER: I think a lot of people who are not gay or lesbian in this country or even around the world may not understand the role a gay bar can play and young gay person's life in particular.

And I think we all are as gay people, we all remember the first gay bar we have already went to and then suddenly being in a place where you could look somebody else in the eye without fear of attack, where you saw yourself in their eyes and them returning your stare. And you could meet people. Some of my closest friends are people I met in gay bars when I was much, much younger. It there is a role that these bars play in particularly in young gay people's lives.

SULLIVAN: Yeah, I mean, I met my husband on the dance floor, I mean, we meet each other there, and when we grow up, and then we come out, when we come of age from the experience that first liberation, that's where we feel it.

[21:45:00] That's where we feel the freedom, sometimes for the first time, sometimes around people that we don't have to hide anything from.

And so, I think there were a lot of gay people are experiencing this week and I feel it kind of sinking in, if that they come into that sanctuary and they destroyed it, well, they robbed it of its innocence.

And you know, that's to me we're not going back there. I hope we all go back there and stay there. But it means something horrible has been done to our psyche and to our community. And it breaks a lot of people's hearts to understand that we in the people would then suddenly trying to politicize it, or exploit it in some way. It's just, it just the poem and just look at the faces of people who were the victims of this.

COOPER: The other thing I think some people may not understand, is why, why do you need a gay bar to go to, to meet other people and have a sense of safety. And I keep thinking coming back to trying to explain to people, you know, how many times do you actually see gay people on the street holding hands with each other? How many times do you actually see gay people in an airport, kissing each other goodbye or hello just like everybody else? Even as far as things have come in this country, there are still many places were we have to edit ourselves in public spaces on the streets.

SULLIVAN: Yes, and of course there's always the threat of some violence hanging in the background if you are to do that and these places are definitely its safer places to do that. And that is a huge thing as well here, although again it's night and day compared to 20 years ago or 30 years ago, it's really is.


SULLIVAN: But that makes this all the more poignant and also of course, this man himself was clearly had some complicated issues with sexuality. This is not easily fit into the template of a sort of radicalized ISIS members attacking random people.

This is someone also obviously dealing in some way with his own demons. And now way that this was someone that was on that part of us, some within us to destroy this out of -- and the source was again people don't focused on the source of that is religion. It is what our faith has been telling us about our worth and equality as gay human beings.

And especially fundamentalist is wrong and I obviously the vast, vast, vast majority of Muslims do not feel in any way like this about gay people. That the ability of a few to use religion in this way to attack a group of people, specifically to the this group of people, and this is an attack on gay people and on homosexuality itself.

We've got to come to terms with the religious origins of some of the hatred and tackle it in our own community in our state community and churches and definitely within Islam itself.

COOPER: I was talking to a council woman here who was saying that, you know, there was a church service where faith leaders who previously had not spoken and, you know, positively in any way about gay and lesbian people were embracing gay and lesbian people, and she saw that is a sign of progress.

We've seen politicians who've traditionally have not spoken in a positive way about gay and lesbian Americans and the fought for -- against, you know, a gay equality and equality for that and marriage equality, coming forward, being very public. Do you think that's a good thing? SULLIVAN: It has to be a good thing, Anderson. I mean, anything that gets people to see the humanity of these people. Sometimes it is a horrifying fact that it takes to see human beings gunned down in their own safe space to realize, "Man, these people are human too."

Of course the deaminization of these people is wrong and of course things I've said in the past, was done in the past, does isn't, wasn't as sensitive to them as human beings, it needs to be corrected. So I, you know, you could -- and your right to hold people account their past but we have to also welcome them if they're truly allies again in the struggle.

COOPER: Andrew Sullivan, it's always good to talk to you. I appreciate you being with us. Thank you.

Up next, another tragedy, another grieving family just down the road from here at Disney World. The latest when 360 continues.


[21:52:59] COOPER: Another tragedy unfortunately to tell you about tonight here in Central Florida.

This one, a Disney World that you no doubt about, we've already heard about, another family now planning a funeral instead of enjoying a vacation. Martin Savidge reports.


MARTIN SAVIDGE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Horror at the happiest place on earth. That Walt Disney World of frantic search that went from darkness to daylight ends with heartbreak.

SHERIFF JERRY DEMINGS, ORANGE COUNTRY, FLORIDA: At about 3:30 today, we recovered the remains of the two year old from the water.

SAVIDGE: The toddler identified as two year old lane graves was on vacation from Nebraska with his parents and older sister. They were relaxing Tuesday night by the Seven Seas Lagoon behind a luxury Grand Floridian Hotel.

Just after 9:00 p.m., witnesses say a 4 to 7 foot alligator snatched the child as he waded in the water in front of his horrified parents.

DEMINGS: The father entered the water, and he tried to grab the child, was not successful in doing so. At some point, I'm told that the mother also may have entered the water.

SAVIDGE: Search boats swarm the 178 manmade lake a helicopter would light, circled over ahead, and teams used sonar to search below.

The child's body was found intact in 6 feet of water just 25 feet from where he was taken. The apparent cause of death thought to be drowning.

Orange Country Sheriff Demings described to me how the family reacted when he told them the news.

DEMINGS: They were very distraught, but as I said, you know, they've also relieved I think at the same time that we honor our commitment to them.

SAVIDGE: Authorities believed they may have already caught and killed the alligator, but will keep searching.

NICK WILEY, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, FLORIDA FISH & WILDLIFE: We're going to make certain that we have the alligator that was involved and that we remove it from the lake.

SAVIDGE: The numbers show attacks like these are rare in Florida, but two people have now died in the last year.

In a statement, Disney said, "There are no words to convey the profound sorrow we feel for the family and their unimaginable loss."

[21:55:02] But many wonder why signs along the Disney lake only warn guests not to go swimming, leaving out any mention of the real life danger lurking beneath the surface in a land famous for make believe.


COOPER: And Martin, is the investigation still ongoing?

SAVIDGE: Yeah. There are number of them. I should point out that the family has just put out a statement and it's short. But, it essentially says that they are grateful for all the prayers and thoughts, grateful for the law enforcement search. And they want to be left alone.

But to your point, there are about three investigations really pushing forward to this hour. The overarching one is going to be done by Orange County. They're going to try to determine exactly what went wrong, and if there is any responsibility here.

And then there's also the one that's done by Florida Fish and Wildlife. They'll be trying to find the alligator. They say that's very important. I think they may have found it, but they're going to keep searching.

And if they find it, they'll euthanize it. You cannot just put it somewhere else.

And then lastly, there is going to be an internal investigation by Disney, they have an after-action report that will be anticipated.

An insider say, they're expecting there's going to be real change. Disney will do the right thing. That remains to be seen, Anderson.

COOPER: All right. Martin Savidge. Martin, thanks very much. We'll be right back.


COOPER: We want to end tonight with a story that was recently posted on Facebook.

[22:00:03] A flight attendant on Facebook said that on a recent flight, there was a grandmother, one of the victim's 20 year old, Luis Omar Ocasio-Capo.

She was making a hard journey to her dead grandson alone, but she wasn't alone for long.