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Hero Student Rushed Colorado School Shooter; WAPO: White House Revokes Press Passes for Some Journalists; More Than 1,000 guns Seized from Upscale L.A. Home. Aired 11:30a-12p ET

Aired May 9, 2019 - 11:30   ET



[11:30:28] KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR: It is the terrifying choice that more and more school children in America are having to face: What will they do if a gunman bursts into their classroom and opens fire? On Tuesday, several students at a Colorado school were faced with that horrific reality. And in the face of extreme danger, Kendrick Castillo, Brendan Bialy and another classmate lunged at the shooter to try to save themselves and other students. And 18-year-old Kendrick did not survive. His classmates now are speaking out and honoring him.


BRENDAN BIALY, STUDENT: I want to make something very, very clear. Kendrick Castillo died a legend. He died a trooper. He got his ticket to Valhalla and I know he'll be with me for the rest of my life.

CHRIS ELLECJA (ph), STUDENT: I know that his smile illuminated the walls in our school. Everybody looked up to that kid. He was brilliant. He was -- he was probably the best of us. He was one of the best of us by far. He was just an extraordinary kid. He was the most undeserving of what happened to him.


BOLDUAN: He was the best of us.

CNN's Scott McLean sat down with Kendrick's parents to talk about their son and their loss. Here's Scott.


SCOTT MCLEAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Kate, there are a lot of parents and students who owe a debt of gratitude to 18-year-old Kendrick Castillo. He was one of the three students who tackled one of the shooters to the ground on Tuesday. He was the only person who was killed.

I spoke with his parents who said they weren't surprised by what their son did.

I can't imagine what it's like to lose a child. I'm just hoping you can tell me about what your reaction was when you first heard what happened in that classroom and what your son had done.

JOHN CASTILLO, FATHER OF KENDRICK CASTILLO: My immediate reaction was, you know, not knowing his condition, that he was maybe just injured. He was going to be OK. And then I received a text from his friend saying that, you know, he had rushed the shooter and chased him.

They broke the news to us in a small room that was adjacent to the nurse's station that after we identified him that he had passed and was still at the school at the scene. And that's when we found out. You know, I just couldn't believe it. Couldn't believe this was happening to my son.

MCLEAN: You had to watch all the other parents link up with their own kids.

JOHN CASTILLO: Oh, yes, they were there. Buses were coming in. They were on the phone and making contact. And we didn't have that. You know? And I don't know. That's when I found out. And you know, not being able to hold him. We asked if we could see him, at least see him. And they're like, you know, since it was an active scene, he's still in the school, that we wouldn't be allowed to. And we sat and waited. And we had friends and students. They asked if, you know, we wanted the students there around us and stuff. I said absolutely, you know, as I coached the robotics team and I'm around those kids all the time.

MCLEAN: They were able to tell you what he had actually done.

JOHN CASTILLO: One of the kids told me that like a flash, he jumped up. She said, you know, he's a hero. He saved me. She said he jumped up and he ran. You couldn't see how fast he was running. You know. Out the door and after this person.

MCLEAN: Were you surprised by that?



JOHN CASTILLO: Not at all. You know, because we raised him that way. We raised him to be good. And you know, yes, until you're a parent and have something like this happen, you struggle. I know that because of what he did others are alive. And I thank God for that. I love him. And he's a hero. He always will be. But there's another part of you that wishes he would have just turned and ran, retreated, hid. You know, did something to put himself out of harm's way if that was possible.

MCLEAN: One of the things that one of the mothers who had a son in that classroom told one of my colleagues is that if it hadn't been for Kendrick, I wouldn't have my baby today. And I can't imagine. How does it make you feel to hear that?

JOHN CASTILLO: It makes me happy that she has her son. And you know, but it makes me sad that mine is not here. But in hindsight, I wouldn't have it any other way. I knew Kendrick would -- there's no way he would have traded any of that. He's that kind of hero. And I'm glad. Those kids, when I looked around the room last night at the hospital, they were shaken to the core. But they weren't harmed.

[11:35:11] MCLEAN: I'm curious about something that you told me earlier about your son being a patriot and about his grandfather being a Marine. JOHN CASTILLO: Yes.

MCLEAN: So many people are going to just really idolize your son's bravery. Do you think maybe he got some of that from your family?

JOHN CASTILLO: Absolutely. Absolutely. You know, dad taught him. Dad taught him everything. When my father passed away, you know, Kendrick was proud of him. Proud of the marine insignia on the funeral car. Proud of the salute. Proud of everything about it. That his grandfather was a hero. And you know, there's a part of me that knows, you know, Kendrick wanted to live that legacy. He loved the patriotism. You know, we're Hispanic by nature, but we're Americans to the core. And he loves that. He loves everything about it.

MCLEAN: One of the things you told me earlier is, you know, for other parents out there, you should really teach your kid to be selfless. How did you teach your son to be selfless?

JOHN CASTILLO: We taught him how to be selfless in every way, shape, and form. We were raising him. You know, we're not wealthy folks, but we would sacrifice and buy things. But to horde something valuable or keep it to yourself is worth nothing. So we taught him to share. You know, and that's how we raised him. And to serve, you know. We serve people every day. And you can't fake it. I mean, you have to love people. Often, not all people are going to be nice to you, but the one after that will be. You just deal with that.

MCLEAN: Is there anything else that I didn't ask that you wanted the world to know about your son?

JOHN CASTILLO: I want the world to know that he was a gift. And you know, if I have one thing to say to people, it's if you have children, you know, nothing is more important than your kids.

MCLEAN: And the vigil for Kendrick Castillo went a little sideways last night when a group of students actually walked out after two democratic lawmakers spoke, including Senator Michael Bennett, who is running for president. At one point, this group was chanting "mental health," seemingly in opposition to the political message they were hearing on guns.

Meanwhile, according to a law enforcement source with direct knowledge of the investigation, one of the suspects had taken the two guns that were used on Tuesday from his parents, who had bought them legally -- Kate?


BOLDUAN: Scott McLean, thank you so much for your delicate, delicate way of handling that.

Now, let's just be honest, this news, these stories, they're soul crushing, if we're going to be honest about it. But please don't become immune to this. You watch the story and realize that children, they were terrorized in their school. A child died. Please don't become immune. This is not normal. These kids, they shouldn't face these choices.

We'll be right back.


[11:43:03] BOLDUAN: So North Korea fires missiles twice in one week. Iran announces it's pulling out of part of the nuclear deal as a U.S. strike group heads to the region. And the president's son is facing a subpoena by a Republican-controlled Senate committee. All things you would want and expect reporters to ask the White House about today, but they can't, at least not on camera, because there hasn't been an official White House press briefing in 59 days. Now the administration is making even more difficult for reporters to do their jobs. In a new move stripping White House hard passes from a huge group of reporters, making it more difficult for all of them to gain access to the building and the president that they're tasked with covering on a daily basis.

One of those reporters is the "Washington Post's," Dana Milbank. He's joining me right now. He writes about this in a new column titled "The White House Revoked My Press Pass. It's Not Just Me -- It's Curtailing Access for All Journalists."

Dana, thanks so much for joining me.


BOLDUAN: You wrote this and I wanted to read for your viewers, you wrote, "I'm not looking for pity. Trump's elimination of briefings and other changes have devalued White House coverage anyway, but there's something wrong with the president having the power to decide which journalists can cover him."

What does this move by the White House mean?

MILBANK: Well, everybody remembers what happened to your own Jim Acosta. He went to court, and the judge said you have to give his credentials back, you have this haphazard system for how you revoke credentials. Guess what, here's comes the White House trying to put in an organized system and said we're going to kick out anyone who has not been there 90 out of the last 180 calendar days, which is basically seven out of 10 workdays. Guess what, this eliminates most of the White House press corps because even the president isn't there that often. It eliminated the entire White House team for the "Washington Post," for example.

BOLDUAN: I want to make sure that's not lost on folks. That that standard eliminated the entire "Washington Post" --

[11:45:02] MILBANK: Right. Exactly.

BOLDUAN: -- team from their hard passes. But then they are factoring these exemptions or exemptions.

MILBANK: Exactly. Exactly. They didn't actually revoke everybody's pass. They gave exceptions to whoever they wanted to give exceptions to, you know, people on the beat, or others. They requested exceptions for my colleagues at "The Post" and for me. They granted it to my colleagues but not to me and not to several others. So it appears, at least, that they're sort of picking and choosing winners and losers as they say. They put the others on more of a temporary basis, a six-month thing. But basically this means for everybody at the White House who didn't meet this 90-day standard, you're all sort of working on this kind of a temporary tentative basis so that, at any moment, they can just kick you out and take your press pass away, do what they did to Jim Acosta, and we're not going to have legal ground to stand on.

BOLDUAN: Here's the problem with the standard they set with the 90 out of 180 days, is that one of the big problems with that, and I have heard it from a lot of folks, is one reason reporters aren't swiping their badges into the White House every day is because they're not having these briefings.


BOLDUAN: They're not having daily briefings for you to ask formal questions.

MILBANK: Exactly, they have gotten rid of those daily briefings. Lot of the events that used to be open press are now just for the pool, for handful of reporters in that rotating thing.


MILBANK: There's less and less of a reason. At the end of this, they said, aha, since you haven't been here, we're taking your press pass away. So it's sort of the combination of all of those things has people wondering exactly what they're up to here.

BOLDUAN: Dana, so, basically, they're done with the briefings, if you will, in the briefing room. Now there's this odd new normal we have been seeing of these informal kinds of gaggles in the driveway of the White House. Like the non-briefing briefing with Sarah Sanders. What do you -- what do you think that's about?

MILBANK: Well, it's not just the White House briefing. They rarely do them at the Pentagon, at the State Department now.

BOLDUAN: I think as of April, mid-April, the Pentagon, it had been 300 days without an on-camera briefing.

MILBANK: Right. It's clearly an overall strategy. The president himself gives few sort of full-blown news conferences. He takes a few spray questions from the pool or when he's about to get on the helicopter. I think the idea is this avoids overall sort of extended questioning and extended follow-up so they can take a question or two on the news of the day, not be probed more deeply. It's sort of an informal way of getting your information out there without having quite as much scrutiny from the press.

BOLDUAN: And let's just also make the case here, and we can leave it here, even though, as you said, there's maybe less value in an on- camera White House briefing because of, as we have seen, what you can get from those briefings, on a daily basis, that should not be reason to not have consistent and easy access to the building and the president that you are covering.

MILBANK: That, until now, has always been the tradition.

BOLDUAN: Thanks so much, Dana. Really appreciate it.

MILBANK: Thanks, Kate.

BOLDUAN: So, an anonymous tip leads police to a home in an upscale Los Angeles neighborhood. What they found was shocking. Just look at the pictures. We'll have a live report, next.


[11:52:44] BOLDUAN: Federal agents make a stunning discovery in an upscale Los Angeles home. Take a look at this video. More than 1,000 firearms and god knows how many rounds of ammunition, piles and piles of them, discovered after agents executed a search warrant at this home following a tip that someone was illegally selling weapons from inside.

Joining me right now is David Katz, the CEO of Global Security Group. He's a former senior special agent with the Drug Enforcement Administration and a firearms expert.

Great to see you again, David.


BOLDUAN: The video is certainly startling when you see it like laid out on a sheet and, you know, and law enforcement kind of going through and cataloguing each one of these weapons. But the fact of the matter is there isn't just -- there isn't a limit on how many guns any one person can own, correct?

KATZ: No, not at all. The issue is what type of weapons they are and how they are being used. And unfortunately, what we know now is we don't know exactly the nature of the charges and what he was doing with it. I personally know people with hundreds of firearms. They are collectors. They have a different purpose in mind. So until we know exactly what this individual was doing, it's kind of hard to make a comment as to legality or illegality of this -- of these weapons.

BOLDUAN: Right. There's a ton more that needs to be known. Police were acting on this anonymous tip, and he's charged with illegally possessing, selling and manufacturing assault weapons under California law.

KATZ: Right.

BOLDUAN: An ATF spokesperson said that there's no reason to believe that the public was in any danger. How do you square that?

KATZ: So the people -- what people need to understand is when you define a weapon as an assault weapon and the colloquial weapon is so far wrong. It has nothing to do with what we see -- people say it's an assault weapon. It is not. There are jurisdictions defining assault weapons largely on the base of the attachments, like does it have a miss follow grip or flash suppressor. I know people who have been prosecuted for this, take off the flash protector and the pistol grip and now they have changed the initial configuration so they can technically be charged with manufacturing an assault weapon.

BOLDUAN: What's startling here, if this guy is doing something wrong in there, and I would argue could be potentially dangerous --

KATZ: It could be.

BOLDUAN: -- if he's breaking the law, of course. Is there something short of an anonymous tip that can raise red flags when it comes to drug purchases like this for --


KATZ: You mean gun purchases?

BOLDUAN: What's going on there? The guy next door, it's terrifying.

[11:55:09] KATZ: Well, apparently - apparently, he has a federal firearms license, so the number of weapons would come up in their system. The question is, is he a re-seller? Is he an exporter? What is the type of license he has? So that's really an issue. If he's just a collector, he could have as many guns as he wants. Again, it's what he does with them that's the defining issue here. And we don't know, yet except that he somehow was manufacturing assault weapons, which they weren't clear on.

BOLDUAN: Still, that's a lot of guns --


BOLDUAN: That's a lot of guns to be laying out in somebody's driveway right there.

Great to see you, David. Thank you so much.

KATZ: My pleasure, sure.

BOLDUAN: Really appreciate it.

Coming up, the fight between the Trump administration and lawmakers is heating up. The president's own son is now facing a subpoena. Details on that ahead. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)