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Mass Shooting At Pittsburgh Synagogue; Leicester City's Owner's Helicopter Crashes; Erdogan Calls on Saudi Arabia to Extradite Khashoggi Murder Suspects. Aired 3-3:30a ET
Aired October 28, 2018 - 03:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
CYRIL VANIER, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): Breaking news in the U.S. A deadly mass shooting, a gunman opens fire at a synagogue in Pittsburgh. One FBI agent calls it the most horrific crime scene he's ever seen.
Breaking news also in the U.K., a helicopter crashes outside the Leicester City football stadium. The helicopter belonged to the club's billionaire owner. It's still unknown if he was in the aircraft.
We're live from the CNN Center in Atlanta, I'm Cyril Vanier.
VANIER: U.S. flags at the White House and government buildings across the country are at half staff Sunday as the nation grapples with yet another mass shooting, this one Saturday at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Mourners gathered at vigils to honor the 11 killed in Saturday's rampage.
Six people were also wounded, including four police and SWAT team officers, who responded to the active shooter calls. The FBI agent in charge calls it the most horrific crime scene he had ever seen.
Police have identified the lone gunman as 46-year-old Robert Bowers. He was taken into custody alive but wounded. He was shot multiple times, it's believed, by the officers who captured him.
According to CNN affiliates citing police criminal complaints, Bowers told a SWAT team officer he wanted all Jews to die and he claimed Jews were committing genocide to his people. He's also believed to have posted anti-Semitic and anti-immigrant slurs online.
He's charged with 29 criminal counts, including hate crime charges. The Anti-Defamation League says it believes this is the deadliest attack on the American Jewish community in U.S. history.
Police were met with a hail of gunfire when they first rushed to the synagogue after 9-1-1 calls about an active shooter came in. We have some of the chilling audio to share with you now as radio chatter between first responders and dispatchers, as police sought to apprehend the gunman.
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We've got a guy barricaded, actively shooting at SWAT officers.
Operator shot! I've got one operator shot at this time.
Third floor contained in one room. One operator down.
(END AUDIO CLIP)
VANIER: The shooter eventually crawled out to police from where he had barricaded himself inside the synagogue and surrendered. CNN's Jessica Dean is in Pittsburgh. She has all the latest on the investigation.
JESSICA DEAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: The investigation continues here in Pittsburgh. On Saturday night the Department of Justice announced it had filed 29 criminal charges against the alleged gunman in this case, Robert Bowers.
This as their investigators continue to pore over every detail of his life. They're looking at his home, his vehicle, his social media accounts, which have anti-Semitic messages all throughout them.
They're going to be digging through all of these pieces of evidence, trying to put together the story of what happened, how he ended up at the synagogue this morning.
In the meantime, here in Squirrel Hill, there was a vigil on Saturday night. A large crowd gathering here, coming from all over to be together, make sure that they could comfort one another, that they had a place to grieve but also to say that they wanted to stand against the hate with love.
They came out to the church here behind me. They also came outside for a candlelight vigil. Again, a lot of hugging, a lot of comforting. People I talked to here say Squirrel Hill is the type of neighborhood you grow up in and a lot of people don't ever leave. They get to know each other's children, their children go to school together.
Certainly this coming as a great shock to them. There is a large Jewish community here, a very strong Jewish community. But again, tonight, everybody here just trying to gather to support one another through what has been a heartbreaking day -- Jessica Dean, CNN, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
VANIER: Let's bring in Tom Fuentes, former FBI assistant director. Sir, what is the FBI doing now?
TOM FUENTES, CNN LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: In the shooting case in Pittsburgh today, you know, they're doing as much as they can to find out about Bowers' background, to find out if there's possibly anybody else or he's part of a group that may have inspired this or wanted to carry out this attack at the synagogue today or yesterday.
So they'll be delving into that, much of it having to do with his past, his attitude, interviewing everybody close to him, going through his social media, trying to see if there's anybody else that could have been involved and what it was that caused him to want to do this.
VANIER: The suspect is being charged with a hate crime.
VANIER: Does that change in any way how the FBI works on a case like this?
FUENTES: No, the FBI is going to work just as hard on this. It's going to possibly in this case carry the death penalty, so they'll be working extremely hard. But they'll be treating this like they would any serious case, you know, with the investigators working very, very hard on this to gather the evidence, to prove the case that he was the one that did this.
It's pretty hard to argue that he wasn't, since they take him into custody while he's in the middle of the gun battle. But still, they want to get everything tied down that they can to determine that it was just him and not part of a greater group.
VANIER: There were anti-Semitic posts on his social media. There was also that latest post where he said, "Too bad about your optics, I'm going in."
Do you feel it's possible that something was missed?
Or do you feel, given that law enforcement responded within a minute of getting the active shooter call, there's just nothing more you can do about something like this?
FUENTES: Well, what would you mean by something missed?
VANIER: Well, my question is -- and we've seen this multiple times, when we catch the suspect, we see that there's a pattern of hate speech and sometimes incitement to violence on their social media. And it appears to have been the case for this suspect.
I just wonder whether the FBI or law enforcement looks at this and thinks, well, we could have perhaps detected some of this or seen this coming.
FUENTES: They'll look at it but, you know, to try to look at this in perspective, if you have tens of millions of social media users all over the world, to try to pick out chats here and there, messages here and there and say, that's it, we have to go get this guy, he's about to do something, is pretty tough.
Unless, once he posted, somebody notified the FBI or the police that they believe something's about to happen.
But really, you know, these cases get put in perspective after the fact because, in most cases, there's no way to know in advance. There's not enough ways to monitor the Internet and all these social media sites to know somebody is about to do something like this.
And there's probably thousands of these kind of rants every day where the person just doesn't really mean and it puts this stuff out there to get attention and they just can't prove that that person was going to actually do something.
VANIER: Is it possible to stop something like this from happening again?
FUENTES: No. Simple answer, no.
How would you?
If you don't know someone's going to do it, if they own the weapons legally -- and right now it appears that maybe he does -- if he doesn't tell anybody else other than these kind of posts but if he's not specific to a neighbor, friend, associate that he's going to do an attack at a particular place, at a particular time, it's really -- that's why they haven't been stopped yet. If they could stop it, they would have many, many events ago.
VANIER: And Donald Trump suggested that there might have been a better outcome, a less deadly outcome, had somebody been armed inside the synagogue. This is something he's said multiple times, after every shooting we've seen, he's suggested that one answer may be actually more people being armed.
How does that argument sit with the law enforcement community?
FUENTES: I think, in one way, you could argue it, if this person came in with a small handgun and shot people and killed them like that, then you could say, OK, if there was a police officer at the front door, off-duty police officer with a handgun, maybe it would be somewhat of an even fight and they could prevent this person from doing it.
But if you had one or two security guards at the front door of the synagogue, a guy comes through the door with an assault rifle and three or four more pistols with him, they're just going to be among the victims. There's no way to really stop that effectively.
If the guy has that kind of power in a weapon, now that assault rifle is capable of going right through body armor. So you're not going to have at every place of worship in this country a guard at the front door or multiple guards with long weapons to counteract someone coming in with a long weapon. Also, you could have somebody come through the front door and even if
back doors are locked, which they're usually not because of the fire codes, so people can get out if the building's on fire, but you could have somebody come in with no weapon whatsoever, come in the front door, then go to one of the back doors or side building doors and then crack it open for someone else to come in and do this.
Or the person could do, like happened in the Aurora, Colorado, theater shooting, where the person bought a ticket, came in the theater with no weapons, went to the exit door at the front of the theater and then cracked it open so that it wouldn't completely close, went to the car, got weapons, came back in and killed 13 people.
FUENTES: So you know, really these kind of public assembly buildings, whether it's a church or a school or a movie theater, shopping mall, restaurant, are going to be very difficult.
You'd need a small army of security guards with tremendous firepower to be able to guard every single door and take on every single person that might come in with a great deal of firepower like this guy had.
VANIER: Tom Fuentes, you're the former FBI assistant director. It's been great to get your expertise on this, thank you so much.
FUENTES: You're welcome, thank you.
VANIER: Earlier our Brooke Baldwin spoke with Rabbi Chuck Diamond. He used to lead the congregation at Tree of Life Synagogue. The rabbi described what Saturday mornings are normally like at that synagogue.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CHUCK DIAMOND, FORMER RABBI AT TREE OF LIFE SYNAGOGUE: The shooting took place at about -- I think 8:45 is when services start. There are three congregations who share the space.
It's a beautiful building. At the beginning of services there, there aren't a lot of people there, I have to say. That was, I guess, fortunate for the people who come later.
But I knew exactly who would be there. The regulars who always come, who you can depend on. And, unfortunately, some of them didn't make it out alive. This isn't necessarily about just being Jewish, although clearly it seems to be an anti-Semitic act.
But it's against humanity and what is good in humanity. And I think that -- you know, I'm tired of throwing up my hands when things like this happen and saying, what can we do?
I think we need to take some sort of action. I hope our leaders are leaders and take action. There's a lot involved in this issue. I think, for the short-term, we have to provide comfort for those in the community and we have to watch each other's back and we have to be there for each other. (END VIDEO CLIP)
VANIER: U.S. President Donald Trump first reacted to the mass shooting by suggesting it could have been avoided.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: This is a case where if they had an armed guard inside, they might have been able to stop him immediately. Maybe there would have been nobody killed except for him, frankly. So it's a very, very difficult situation.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VANIER: Later, he offered a more full-throated condemnation of the killings. Here's what he said at two separate political rallies in Indiana and Illinois.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: This was an anti-Semitic act. You wouldn't think this would be possible in this day and age. But we just don't seem to learn from the past. Those seeking their destruction, we will seek their destruction. When you have crimes like this, whether it's this one or another one on another group, we have to bring back the death penalty. They have to pay the ultimate price.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VANIER: Mr. Trump told reporters he had considered canceling his trip to the Midwest but he said that doing so would only make the gunman seem more important than he was.
VANIER: We're also following this major story for you. A helicopter belonging to the Leicester City football club's owner has crashed just outside their stadium. It happened about an hour after a home game against West Ham United. There's no word yet whether the club's owner, Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha, was on board.
Sports journalist Mark Bolton is on the scene in Leicester for us.
Mark, I know we're expecting a statement from the club possibly in the coming hours. For the moment, we don't have it.
So what do we know, what do we not know?
MARK BOLTON, SPORTS JOURNALIST: We've found very little information. Just to clarify what we do know, we've been told by the accident emergency services here and Leicester City football club, who handed the investigation over to the air accident investigation branch, who say they are looking into a helicopter crash that occurred behind us about 40 meters into the car park, away from the stadium, involving a helicopter that took off at 8:30 last night British time. That helicopter we know belonged to the owner of the club, the Thai
billionaire. Unfortunately, we believe through sources we trust, he was on board that helicopter. That is unconfirmed as yet. We've spoken to people who for sympathetic reasons and respect for the family don't want to go public with information they feel they've gleaned or learned from people in and around the stadium last night.
But because it's a well-known fact that the owner arrives on a match day in his helicopter and lands on the football pitch itself, then departs in that manner, too, the fact that we know that the helicopter, in fact, did leave last night, according to official sources, it is natural and logical to conclude that the owner was on board and may have been involved in what we believe, tragically --
BOLTON: -- to be a potentially life-threatening crash. We've had no confirmation in terms of the medical situation regarding any of the passengers on board.
Again, sources have suggested to us, we understand there may have been four passengers as well as the pilot. Because there's been no word from the hospital in terms of casualties or death at this stage, we have no more information with regard to that.
But there was a fireball. There are pictures that confirm that. We're told the helicopter reached the height of 25 meters, it cleared the stadium roof but then seemed to have lost rotation in terms of its propellers and descended rapidly to hit the ground.
The fireball looks to have caused obvious, irreparable damage to the craft itself and the fire investigation team were onsite immediately. They've been here all night, doing their work. We've heard little else, but we expect in the course of the next few hours to find out more from official sources.
VANIER: A statement expected from the Leicester City Football Club in the coming hours. We hope to find out a lot more. I should point out to viewers, CNN is not in a position to independently confirm or deny what we've been hearing, perhaps that the football club's owner was in the helicopter. We simply don't have that information confirmed yet.
Mark Bolton, thank you so much for your reporting.
CNN sports anchor Patrick Snell joins me with his unique insight into this.
Patrick, tell me more about the chairman, the owner of Leicester City football club.
PATRICK SNELL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha, Cyril, self-made multibillionaire, chairman of the club, really a special bond with fans of the Leicester City football club. Best known for founding the duty-free giants King Power in the late 1980s. One of the richest men in Thailand. A few eyebrows raised maybe when in 2010 he took over the club. He
purchased the club for reportedly around $70 million. Back then, Leicester City were in the second tier in English football in the championship.
And talk about an impact. Investing into the club, investing money that would take them to the highest prize in the game, a huge, huge moment for fans of Leicester City.
VANIER: That's really the Leicester City -- that's when I came to know them. I'm not a football fan but that's when I came to know Leicester City. That put them on the map.
SNELL: Within six years they would go on to win the English Premier League title. Beyond the wildest dreams of any of those fans, I can tell you that. They were 5,000:1 rank outsiders.
Normally it's a league dominated by the big powerhouse names, Manchester United, Manchester City, Liverpool, Arsenal. But this was a team that just defied all expectations and it was just as superb moment.
I just want to specify and show you what it meant to fans. It really put the club on the global stage.
This is from Leicester City actually in Thailand after winning the Premier League title in 2015-2016. The Thai based King Power taking that to Thailand. The Premier League is already hugely popular all over the world but talk about this really emphasizing the fact in Thailand, a special moment for Leicester City there in Thailand.
VANIER: And now we're talking about his helicopter having crashed just outside the stadium. We don't know who was in the helicopter but you've been looking at social media and there's reaction there?
SNELL: Yes. So at times like this, the global football community comes together as one. It's really noticeable, seeing this reaction that's been developing in the hours after this incident.
And certainly I want to pick up on a couple of tweets, if you like, from one of the Leicester players, Jamie Vardy, one of the leading lights in that 2015-2016 campaign, taking to social media, really quite simply -- and this kind of sums it up, prayer very much the keyword here, along with Harry Maguire as well, the England international defender, very much same thing, the use of the same emoji.
And Britain's biggest club, arguably, Manchester United, taking to social media as well.
"The thoughts of everyone at Manchester United are with Leicester City and those affected by tonight's incident at the King Power Stadium."
So you just get a sense there of how the football family, the global football family, are coming together as one like never before. VANIER: And we're hoping for the very best, fingers crossed as the facts continue to come in on this developing story. Patrick Snell, thank you very much.
And CNN's "WORLD SPORT" will be back in about 10 minutes with an update on the helicopter crash in Leicester.
Turkey wants more answers from Saudi Arabia in the Jamal Khashoggi case. We'll have the latest on the journalist's killing when we return.
VANIER: Plus Brazilian voters choose between a candidate known for racist comments and another that's close to a huge corruption scandal. We'll have those details. Stay with us.
VANIER: Turkey's president wants answers and suspects in the case of killed journalist Jamal Khashoggi. On Saturday, Recep Tayyip Erdogan again called on Saudi Arabia to turn over 18 suspects in the case, 18 Saudis believed to have played a role in Khashoggi's death.
Mr. Erdogan wants to know who sent them to Turkey and who they may have worked with or for. Turkey believes Khashoggi was killed at the Saudi Istanbul consulate earlier this month. For the latest, CNN's Nic Robertson is live in Istanbul.
Nic, surely Turkey knows that Saudi Arabia is not going to hand over Saudis to a rival power for questioning?
NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR: It must surely be clear to President Erdogan that that would be absolutely unlikely. And that is exactly what the Saudis are indicating. These are Saudi nationals detained in Saudi Arabia. And it would seem that they have no intention of handing them over whatsoever.
The Saudi justice minister a week ago said that jurisdiction was in their hands. The foreign minister this weekend has indicated that they're not about to hand them over to Turkey.
So yes, President Erdogan must understand that. So that raises the question of why he would do this. This is because he believes that Saudi Arabia hasn't been forthcoming with all the details that he has dropped heavy hints that he's privy to.
So where does it actually leave this?
At the moment, it very much leaves it waiting for the investigation teams on both sides to come up with their results. Perhaps Turkey is angling here, although it's not calling for it but says it will go along, angling for some kind of international investigation that would expose what they believe is Saudi Arabia's deep malfeasance in all of this, that it wasn't a rogue operation, that this was something sanctioned from above.
Clearly partners and allies of the United States and around the world are also waiting to see if this information does come out of either investigation.
VANIER: Nic, you've been on the ground more than 10 days now.
Do you think we'll ever know for sure what happened to Jamal Khashoggi and who's behind it?
ROBERTSON: Without knowing what's on that recording that was played to CIA chief Gina Haspel when she was here earlier in the week by Turkish investigators, we don't know what Turkish officials know or what now the CIA would appear to know.
President Erdogan has hinted that he has more documents, "don't think we don't have more documents," he said just a couple of days ago --
ROBERTSON: -- indicating there's more information out there. If what we understand at the moment to be correct, that Turkey had some kind of surveillance and observation going on inside the consulate, which is what they've hinted at, which would seem to be what has produced the audio recordings Gina Haspel has listened to, then there is more information that could come into the public domain that may tell us precisely more accurately the moments and a fuller understanding of Jamal Khashoggi's killing.
But at the moment that doesn't seem to be leading investigators to his body and his body would potentially offer more forensic details. But his body has completely disappeared so far, despite Turkey's demands that Saudi Arabia tell them where the body is, tell them who the so- called collaborators that they handed the body to.
Despite all of that, you know, it does seem at the moment that finding Jamal Khashoggi's body is a long way off. One doesn't know what can develop in an investigation. But at the moment that feels a long way away. So full closure, if you will, for his family, outside a legal perspective, may be a long, long time coming, if it comes.
VANIER: Fascinating and sad story and the international power play is still going on between Turkey on the one hand, Saudi Arabia on the other and the U.S. is part of that triangle as well. Nic Robertson, covering that from the ground for us in Istanbul, Turkey, thanks.
A huge fire has engulfed this historic building in Lima, Peru. Take a look, stunning video.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
VANIER (voice-over): Local media say dozens of firefighters worked since early Saturday morning to put out the flames. Amazingly, no one was killed. A firefighter's bodycam shows a woman being rescued inside the building. It was gutted but the exterior is actually mostly intact. Investigators are looking into what caused the fire.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VANIER: In a few hours, Brazilians will go to the polls to elect a new president. Violence and scandal have made this one of the most polarizing political campaigns in Brazil's history.
The runoff election pits far-right candidate Jair Bolsonaro against Workers Party Fernando Haddad. Bolsonaro's rhetoric has been compared to Donald Trump. The Workers Party meanwhile has been embroiled in a huge corruption scandal.
Britain's prince Harry and wife Meghan were welcomed in New Zealand on the final stage of their 16-day Pacific tour. The royal couple laid a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Warrior and visited the newly unveiled U.K. memorial. Sunday evening they are scheduled to attend a reception celebrating the 125th anniversary of women's suffrage.
Thank you for watching CNN NEWSROOM. I'm Cyril Vanier. We have the headlines for you in just a few minutes, stay with us.