Return to Transcripts main page


Three Killed, 12 Hurt in Mass Shooting at California Festival; Police Identify Shooter as 19-Year-Old Male; Trump Responds to Mass Shooting; Democratic Presidential Candidates Weigh in on Mass Shooting, Gun Control; Kamala Harris Releases Her Medicare-for-All Plan; Rep. Debbie Dingell (D-MI) Discusses Harris' Medicare-for-All Plan, Affordable Health Care, the Debates, Trump Attacking Elijah Cummings, Baltimore. Aired 11-11:30a ET

Aired July 29, 2019 - 11:00   ET



[11:00:35] KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR: Hello, everyone. I'm Kate Bolduan. Coming to you live from Detroit, Michigan, the site of CNN's Democratic presidential debates. And for all intents and purposes, let's be honest, the center of the political universe right now.

It's great to be here. We're going to have much more on all of that in just a moment.

But, first, we're going to begin with some breaking news. A deadly mass shooting in California at a food festival in Gilroy, about an hour from San Francisco. Three people are dead, including a 6-year- old boy, 12 others were injured. A gunman is also dead.

And here's how eyewitnesses described the chaos.


UNIDENTIFIED BOY: I thought I was going to die.


UNIDENTIFIED BOY: I went under a table.

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: And you stayed there?

UNIDENTIFIED BOY: Yes, until they -- until the police got them.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I seen him shooting everyone and it just looked like he wanted to shoot everyone. He didn't have any direct target.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He was just walking and aiming and walking and shooting, but he was kind of like aiming at -- he was just shooting everywhere.


BOLDUAN: An officer killed the shooter about a minute after he opened fire. That's according to police. There's a news conference scheduled for a couple hours from now.

But the biggest question that is likely not going to be answered is the most important one, which is why.

Right now, let's focus on the victims.

CNN's Sara Sidner is in Gilroy. She's joining me right now.

Sara, one of them was just 6 years old. What are you hearing about him and the other victims?

SARA SIDNER, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: That's right, Stephen Romero. We have to keep saying his name, a name that matters, as well as the other two people who were killed. And 11 people injured. We're talking about families, 100,000 people that would show up for this festival. This was Sunday, obviously, this was a family day at the festival.

This garlic festival is one that is a quintessential part of the summertime here in northern California. A lot of folks know it and love it. Families were out just trying to enjoy themselves.

And we should point out the timing of all of this. Police say they were able to engage the shooter within one minute. But in that one minute, as you hear those rounds going off so quickly, he was able to kill three people and injured 12 others in that one-minute span of time.

So many families screaming, so many families worrying, so many people in shock and felt terror at those moments in that one minute when he was able to shoot at innocent in the crowd.

We should also mention that people are still at the hospital. We understand that the mother of that 6-year-old who was killed was also shot, according to her family members, in the hand and in the stomach. She still remains in the hospital.

I want you to hear from the grandmother of 6-year-old Stephen Romero. She talks about her grandson. She talks about her grief.


MARIBEL ROMERO, GRANDMOTHER OF STEPHEN ROMARO: This is really hard. There's no words to describe, because he was such a happy kid, you know. I don't think that this is fair. I just wish that they get the people who did it.


SIDNER: Such a happy kid. You hear from her. You hear her shock. You hear that she had also been able to see him. And how disturbed they are, especially since his mother and his grandmother, his other grandmother, both hit by gunfire, according to the grandmother there.

We should also mention there were witnesses talking about children actually saving and helping other children. A 10-year-old saving her brother or sister, putting that child underneath a table to keep that child away from the gunfire.

These are children experiencing what happens in war. A horrible day here in Gilroy.

BOLDUAN: Just horrific, Sara. Some witnesses talking about the bounce house that children were playing in. Just really chilling. What a family friendly wonderful gathering that this was, just shattered by yet another horrific mass shooting. The question why endures over all of this.

Sara, thank you so much.

At the very same time, as we lift up and remember the victims, there's also a manhunt that is under way for a second suspect that police believe was involved in the shooting.

[11:05:05] For more on that and the investigation, joining me now is CNN law enforcement analyst, Josh Campbell.

Josh, what do you make of the possibility that there was an accomplice here? The gunman is dead. What do you make of this?

JOSH CAMPBELL, CNN LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: Yes, Kate, this certainly puts law enforcement in a difficult spot because, as we heard yesterday from authorities, there was an eyewitness accounts that there was policy a second person that was involved.

I can tell you, having studied these past incidents, there's almost never a second shooter or accomplice. But nevertheless, when authorities have witnesses telling them there may be someone involved, they have to investigate that. We understand that is happening right now, taking place, trying to identify, was there someone else that was potentially involved, or did this person act alone. That is one phase of the investigation.

What you can't see behind me right now, as we pan down, is, just a few minutes ago, they started pushing us back, authorities. We saw a more a robust presence. You can see down there the FBI's emergency Evidence Response Team vehicle and a lot of personnel down there meeting right now, getting ready to continue to process the scene. Again, just a flurry of activity that we've seen in about the last 20 minutes.

This is a forensics investigation. Law enforcement officers want to account for every single round that occurred here. Again, they want to talk to witnesses. They want to gather as much evidence as they can, both to get to the motive of why the person did what he did and then also, as we mentioned before, rule out whether this person came here alone or there was evidence that someone else may have been involved.

BOLDUAN: Absolutely.

At this point, what is your biggest question right now that you would hope to be learning from officials when they give their next update to the public this afternoon, Josh? CAMPBELL: So what I would want to know is what they're finding

associated with the subject, his social media, perhaps anything at his residence that may have indicated why he did what he did.

I was just over there at the father's house. We saw a number of police vehicles that were there on the scene. We don't yet know if the family is cooperating or what information they're providing. We understand the law enforcement presence, that will be a key scene for them to gather evidence and get this that person's mind set.

This is a festival that's been here for some four decades. It's an important part of the community. The one thing we want to know is, did the person come here trying to target someone, did he come here trying to indiscriminately try to kill people.

Again, many more questions to have answered right now. We hope to learn more from law enforcement at a press conference here in a couple of hours -- Kate?

BOLDUAN: And, Josh, actually, as you were just speaking, I was told from the Control Room and I'm looking down at my email, that two law enforcement officials have now identified the suspect in the Gilroy shooting to CNN. He has been identified by investigators as Santino William Legan, 19 years old, Josh. That's from two law enforcement officials telling CNN.

And also the reporting this morning, CNN spotted multiple cars at the home of his father, who lives in Gilroy, California, as well, Josh.

CAMPBELL: Exactly. We just cleared that reporting. Again, the naming the subject here, the shooter.

Now, what's going to be important for law enforcement as they move forward, we've already heard from them. They're imploring the public, if you have any tips on this person, if you saw anything here at the festival or if you know about him in general, they want to hear from you.

So the fact that we're able to provide the name, if there are people out there that know the subject, that know what may have been motivating him, law enforcement certainly wants to hear from them.

Again, as you mentioned, declaring the name here, a 19-year-old.

One other question, again, with his age, is we want to know about the weaponry. How did he get his hands on it? That will be a key part of this investigation as well. The weapon of war that he used to come and slaughter people here in California.

BOLDUAN: And then we will be hearing an update from law enforcement in the next couple of hours. We'll obviously be bringing that to you when that happens.

Josh is on the ground for us.

Josh, thank you so much. Really appreciate your reporting on this. Thank you.

A few minutes ago, President Trump was speaking at an event and he also spoke about the shooting. Listen to this.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: While families were spending time together at a local festival, a wicked murderer opened fire and killed three innocent citizens, including a young child. We grieve for their families. And we ask that God will comfort them with his overflowing mercy and grace. We're praying for those who are recovering right now in the hospital.


BOLDUAN: We'll have much more on that coming up.

As we also know, the 2020 Democratic presidential candidates are also weighing in.

Athena jones is here with that.

Athena, what are you hearing from the candidates on this?

ATHENA JONES, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Kate. Well, another sad story is shaping the conversation at this debate a few days out. We have candidates who have been responding since last night. They are also talking about thoughts and prayers, but they're also talking about action.

So Vice President Biden tweeted, "This violence is not normal. How many more families will have to lose a love one before we fix broken gun laws. We must take action, starting with real reform. Our thoughts are with everyone in Gilroy this evening. Enough is enough."

[11:10:05] Kamala Harris tweeted, "Simply horrific. I'm grateful to the first responders who were on the scene in Gilroy. And my thoughts are with that community tonight. Our country has a gun-violence epidemic that we cannot tolerate."

And Bernie Sanders tweeting, "This is sickening to wake up to. Our corrupt political system, which is controlled by the gun lobby, has a lot of waking up to do. When our children are being shot in places that should be safest, we're failing. Let's get serious about gun control."

Much like the first debate in Miami, Kate, we can expect the news, events of the day to shape the conversation on stage a couple of nights ago. In Miami, it had to do with immigration. The father and his young daughter who died crossing the border. And now it's going to be giving the candidates a chance to talk about their thoughts on gun control.

There's broad support among Democrats for things like universal background checks, closing the gun-show loophole, banning assault weapons and high-capacity magazines. And we know that gun control is important to Democratic voters. You

may remember, a few months ago, there was a compelling and emotional moment where Beto O'Rourke was visiting a classroom and he heard from a young student who was fearful for her life. She said, "I'm afraid I'm going to go to school one day and not come home." So this is important to candidates.

And some have put out real plans, ambitious plans. Cory Booker wants to make it a requirement that you have a federal gun license, just like a driver's license or a passport. You need to be fingerprinted and interviewed and have some sort of gun safety course.

Kamala Harris wants to have what she calls near universal background checks where any gun dealer that sells five or more guns a year, would have to conduct a background check.

So this is going to give them a chance to talk about their plans and the need for gun control if this country -- Kate?

BOLDUAN: And where they will draw a very clear -- as a group and individually, very clear distinction between President Trump and where things stand on this issue and many others.

Athena, thank you so much. I appreciate it.

Coming up for us, Senator Kamala Harris is once again trying to -- is explaining her health care plan and, in doing so, also clearing up confusion surrounding her position on health care. Does the new Medicare-for-All plan that she's just rolling out today, does that plan do that? The campaign is joining me here, live.

Plus, a massive backlash, but no apologies right now. The president is tripling down at this point on his attack against Democratic Congressman Elijah Cummings and the city of Baltimore.

Stay with us as we count down the CNN presidential debate live from Detroit, Michigan.


[11:17:28] BOLDUAN: We are live from Detroit ahead of the Democratic debates here on CNN. They begin tomorrow night. And the showdown over health care could very likely be front and center as Democratic presidential candidate, Kamala Harris, is unveiling her plan for universal coverage. She is now calling for Medicare-for-All with a role for private insurance.

This comes after months, really, of somewhat mixed messages and some confusion from the California Senator on whether she -- on where she stood on full Medicare-for-All, and the role of private health insurance, would she scrap it outright as part of her own plan.

CNN's Kyung Lah is joining me now with much more on what was rolled out just this morning.

Kyung, what's in the plan that Kamala Harris has laid out? Lay it out for us.

KYUNG LAH, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Before I get to that, I want to show you quickly what's happening here. We're in a section of Detroit. This is an area where there are quite a few entrepreneurs, black-owned businesses. Kamala Harris is actually inside. You can see the media scrum right there. And you take a look at the inside picture, she's smiling and ordering coffee cake, having tea, and really just taking a break from debate prep.

This is the same morning that she rolled out a new health care plan. And to get to some of those questions, Kate, what she is putting in black and white, she is putting in ink is a plan that scales up the current Medicare system. It is a plan that puts her squarely between Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders.

This plan that Harris has rolled out involves traditional Medicare. It's a program that we all refer to as the government program, but it also leaves a roll for private insurance.

Now, currently, there's a private insurance program that approximately a third of Medicare enrollees can buy into. It's called Medicare Advantage. She wants to scale that up. This is definitely a difference from Bernie Sanders, who wants to eliminate private insurance.

The second thing that Harris is pointing to is that she wants to expand the transition time. Under the Sanders plan, it is a four-year period before his Medicare-for-All would go into place. She believes it will take at least 10 years in order for a smooth transition.

And the third part of her plan, no middle-class tax hike. It is something that she said on CNN that she would not do. She does not want to tax families who make less in their household of $100,000. Anyone who makes above that would be subject to a progressive tax, Kate.

[11:20:07] We are anticipating that Senator Harris, after she comes out of this very packed coffee shop, will be taking some questions about exactly why she decided to roll it out a day before this debate. Certainly, the optics here are that she wants to play offense. She wants to put these questions to rest.

BOLDUAN: All right. We'll see if she takes questions.

Always great and we'll be right there, Kyung. Thank you so much. Appreciate it.

This is a big moment for Kamala Harris.

And joining me right now to talk about what's going to be playing out over the next couple of days in her home state of Michigan, Congresswoman Debbie Dingell.

It's great to see you, Congresswoman. Thank you for being here.

REP. DEBBIE DINGELL (D-MI): It's great to be here, great to have you here in my hometown.

BOLDUAN: Thank you. And thank you for holding off any thunderstorms until at least after the show. Thank you. I know that's a personal favor to me.

Medicare-for-All and what we heard Kyung is laying out that Kamala Harris is laying out, what do you think of Harris' plan in terms of keeping a role for private insurance, promising that she won't be raising taxes on the middle class? Do you think that is possible?

DINGELL: So, first of all, I haven't read the details of the plan, but what I'm hearing -- look, you've got to have a vision. I am co- chair of the Medicare-for-All in the House.


DINGELL: I admit it's, quite frankly, been a Dingell family priority for decades.

BOLDUAN: Decades.

DINGELL: And by the way, it takes time. But if you don't have vision, you're not going to get there.

So the Medicare-for-All plan we have in the House would keep a role for private insurance. It sounds like we are similar in that.

I want to put all the stakeholders at the table and develop a plan that's going to work. So I want to look at what she's saying.

And when all the candidates are up there and everybody says, is there a role for private insurance, I want to shake them because you're in a state where we've had very good private insurance. The autos have always had the Cadillac of insurance plans and people don't want to lose that.

But what people are forgetting is that if you're a salaried employee for what we call OEMs, one of G.M., Ford or Chrysler, you lose your health care at 65. It's gone. You're no longer guaranteed it. Which for decades, it was.

And people forget that, in 2008, the auto companies have become health care providers that happen to make cars on the side.

BOLDUAN: So you're saying that all of them could be right, the Bernie Sanders vision and the Kamala Harris vision?

DINGELL: We've got to sit down at the table and put every stakeholder there and get a plan that actually works. It took 20 years to get Medicare.

BOLDUAN: That's why this is really interesting as it relates to the debates. Do you want this debate to be -- do you want this to be what is debated over the next couple of nights?

Because everyone agrees, it seems to me on the stage, generally they want to provide for coverage at a lower cost, if possible, to Americans. A very different vision than Donald Trump. But they're going to be -- but you have Joe Biden, without saying her name, calling the idea of not raising taxes as part of this plan a fantasy land. There are going to be -- there's a fight over this.

DINGELL: So I think that every one of us, every American should want quality affordable health care for every person. We're on the only industrialized nation in the world that does not guarantee every one of its citizens health care.

And by the way, just the straight competitiveness of it, our companies are competing in a global marketplace where other companies don't have to pay that cost.


BOLDUAN: Would you call it a fantasy land, though? Are you --


DINGELL: No, I'm not because -- I'm not going to call it -- I think we're going to save money through certain things. People are not going to be paying as much for their health care plan. So there will be a conversation. But I think people, overall, are going to find that the costs are less.

And I think we need to stop calling names and really say, hey, we all want every American to have quality affordable health care, how are we going to get it, and keep working towards that goal.

BOLDUAN: So what are Michigan voters looking for? You have been in a unique position -- and we talk about every time. You are one of the few people that predicted that President Trump was likely to win Michigan in 2016. You saw and heard his appeal to working-class voters in your state.

Do you hear anything that -- that was '16, looking at 2020. Do you hear anything different in 2020 that Democrats are going to fare any better here now?

DINGELL: I'm worried. In 2018, a lot of people were worried. We elected a Democratic ticket up and down and an all-woman ticket.


DINGELL: But I'm out there. I think, you're going to talk about Macomb County the next couple of days. My down rivers are like Macomb County and they've got a lot of hardworking people.

The economy is doing better. They feel like somebody cares about them. As Democrats, we've got to show them that we care about them. That we care about trade deals that have shipped their jobs to Mexico. That we care that they're competing with Mexico that pays $1.50. A Blazer plant -- General Motors but a Blazer plant in Mexico last August. They're paying $1.50, $1.50 an hour. That's not a level playing field. They want to know that we're going to fight to level the playing field

for them. They care about their pensions. They've worked a lifetime and they wanted to have a safe and secure retirement. They're disappearing.

[11:25:12] BOLDUAN: How does the next element play into this? Because you're talking about what Democrats need to be talking about.

President Trump going after Congressman Elijah Cummings, attacking him, continuing the attack today. I heard you say about his tweets over the weekend that this has made you angrier than you've been in a long time. Why is that?

DINGELL: You know, a president -- I respect the office of the president. And I've said that and I've said I would work with him if he was going to do something to help the people in my district.

But last week, when he went after not just the squad, he was going after Arab-Americans and Muslims, and I've got kids in schools who are afraid someone is going to come to their home in the middle of the night and they're not going to see their parents again. They are actually saying that to me.

And now we're going after one of the major cities in this country and calling it a rat hole? His job is to unite us as a country, not to divide us. And he is dividing us.

BOLDUAN: But dividing, especially racial division, we are hearing, seems very clearly, his strategy. There's a great reporting in the "Washington Post" that they think this is working for them. What do you say to that?

DINGELL: I want to say, can all of us look in our hearts and think about who we are. Is that who we want to be as Americans? We've got to look at what our democracy stands for. And look at our Pledge of Allegiance, united we stand, divided we fall.

And I hope some of us are going to start looking in our hearts and really thinking about is that who we want to be. And I'm not afraid to stand up and say I'm not for that.

BOLDUAN: And very quickly, to Republicans who have not stood up, and your Republican colleagues that are not standing up on this attack to defend Elijah Cummings?

DINGELL: I have said to many of them, how can you just keep standing on the side. You know, Paul Mitchell, one of my colleagues from Michigan, had the courage to speak up two weeks ago. And he's leaving. And you know what? We've got to stay and fight. We've got to stay and fight for the soul of America.

And I'll work with the president if it's going to help my people. But if you're going to divide this country, you're going to encourage hatred and fear and poison, I'm taking you on.

BOLDUAN: Congresswoman, thank you very much for being here. DINGELL: Thank you.

BOLDUAN: Thank you for having us here. I'm real looking forward to what you think of the debates and how they speak to Michigan voters over the next couple nights.

Thank you so much. Really appreciate it.

DINGELL: Thank you.

BOLDUAN: Coming up for us, Senator Bernie Sanders' campaign already coming out and slamming the Harris health care plan as she rolled it out today. The Harris campaign is responding. Her national press secretary joining me live, next, here in Detroit.