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3 Dead, 11 Hurt At California Food Festival Shooting; Trump Taps Loyalist Rep. John Ratcliffe For Top Intel Chief; Baltimore Stands Up For Its City After Trump Attacks. Aired 7-7:30a ET

Aired July 29, 2019 - 07:00   ET


ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: All right. We want to welcome our viewers in the United States and around the world. This is NEW DAY. John and I will are in Detroit this morning ahead of the CNN DEMOCRATIC PRESIDENTIAL DEBATE tomorrow night, but we begin with breaking news from Northern California.

There's been a deadly mass shooting at this very popular food festival, it's called the Garlic Festival. It's in Gilroy California. Three people were killed and at least 11 others injured. Police say they confronted and killed the gunman almost immediately after the shots were fired.

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: We're learning that one of the victims is a six-year-old boy. Six years old named Steven Romero. His mother and his grandmother were also shot. That's a picture of six-year-old Steven. At this time, police say they do not have a motive for this shooting. Authorities are searching for a possible second suspect.

CNN's Dan Simon is live in Gilroy, California with the very latest. What are the new clues in this investigation?

DAN SIMON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, hi, John. We are on the edge of these festival grounds. We have seen officers go in and out. We know that they are processing the scene. They will be here all day long.

Now, I can tell you that authorities say this all began at about 5:40 in the evening at the tail end of this three-day festival. Investigators say that the shooter somehow got in, bypassed security that he hopped over a creek and then basically broke through a fence to get on to these grounds. Now, incredibly officers engaged the suspect about one minute after he started firing.



UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What's going on? What's going on? Was that fire?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Get right here. Get right here.


(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) SIMON(voice-over): Chaos and confusion erupting at the Gilroy Garlic

Festival in Northern California. With gunfire sending people into a panic.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I thought it was like a firework at first. I got - but then I saw him like point the weapon up like this.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We just heard pop, pop, pop, pop.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And I saw everybody running getting shot and so I was terrified. I was terrified.


SIMON(voice-over): The rampage leaving three people dead and at least 11 others injured. One woman telling CNN affiliate KRON, her six- year-old grandson, Steven Romero, was one of those killed.


MARIBEL ROMERO, GRANDMOTHER OF VICTIM: This is really hard. There's no words to describe because he was such a happy kid. I don't think that this is fair.


SIMON(voice-over): Bystanders stepping in to help some of those hurt on sidewalks and on the back of pickup trucks. Just after 5:40 pm, police received the call.


DISPATCH: Getting reports of a shooter at the Garlic Festival.

OFFICER: I'm in the area and it sounds like there is an active shooter in the park. People are running.


SIMON(voice-over): Quickly racing to the scene on the north side of the festival.


SCOT MITHEE, CHIEF, GILROY POLICE DEPARTMENT: Officers were in that area and engage the suspect in less than a minute. The suspect was shot and killed.


SIMON(voice-over): Authorities describing how they believe the shooter was able to avoid security.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) MITHEE: It appears as though they had come into the festival via the

creek which borders a parking area and used some sort of a tool that cut through the fence to be able to gain access.


SIMON(voice-over): The gunshots rang out while the band TinMan was doing an encore on stage.


CHRISTIAN SWAIN, BAND MEMBER AND WITNESS: We ran to the other side of the stage. Got down to the - underneath it and we waited till the police arrived.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: They told us, "You got to run. There's somebody in the bushes or in the field. So you got to run. Get out of here. Just keep going."


SIMON(voice-over): Police are still investigating whether someone assisted the gunman.


SMITHEE: We have some witnesses reporting that there may have been a second suspect, but we don't if that suspect was engaged in any shooting or whether they may have been in some sort of a support role.


SIMON(voice-over): Survivors of the attack say they are grateful they made it out alive.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We're lucky we didn't scream or anything, because we were that close. He would have shot us.


SIMON: And authorities recovered the weapon at the scene. It's been described as some kind of assault rifle. Now, in terms of the shooter at this point we do not have a motive. Witnesses described him as being somewhere between the age of 25 and 35 years old, a white male. He was wearing a protective vest.

Now as you heard there, authorities say there may be a second suspect involved based on some of the descriptions they heard from witnesses but at this point they cannot say that definitively. John and Alisyn, we'll send it back to you.

CAMEROTA: OK, Dan. Thank you very much. Bring us any updates as soon as you have it. Joining us now to talk about this is Philip Mudd, CNN Counterterrorism Analyst and Juliette Kayyem, former Assistant Secretary for the Department of Homeland Security and a CNN National Security Analyst.

I don't know, Phil, what the motive could ever be for somebody to shoot this six-year-old boy. The pictures of this beautiful smiling little six-year-old boy named Steven Romero, we just had an eyewitness on - look, at this little boy. We just had an eyewitness on who said that she's always wanted to go to the Garlic Festival because it is such a nice family festival, older grandparents bring little kids. She said the shots rang out near a bouncy house.

[07:05:09] OK. This is an agricultural area. I mean, obviously, we don't want to speculate but I worry, Phil. I worry about what the motive is here. How our law enforcement going to begin to piece together a motive when they haven't released yet the suspect's identity?

PHIL MUDD, CNN COUNTERTERRORISM ANALYST: Well, assuming they've got an identity, there's a lot of ways you can do that. Obviously, one of the questions is whether there was an accomplice and whether you can question that person. Even if we take that off the table, there are some things you're going to be thinking about from day one, not only friends and family but stuff like what did the person post on social media.

What I'd be interested in seeing is what kind of stuff did that individual order over time. We saw a protective vest, but more interestingly what was the individual's, if he's got a laptop or desktop, what was his search record overtime in a search engine. What kind of stuff was he looking at maybe to educate himself, maybe to go down a path of violence.

As soon as you identify him, there's not only the traditional paths of talking to friends and family, stuff like search history and social media is going to be gold. I'm going to close though by saying I would bet anything that we would have known motive after just a couple days in Las Vegas a few years ago and they closed that case. We still don't fully understand what happened there.

BERMAN: There are a couple of data points we have this morning, Juliette. Number one, that he cut the fence to get in. Number two, that he was wearing this protective vest. So that shows some level of premeditation and planning. What do you see here?

JULIETTE KAYYEM, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: Oh, absolutely. This was the area that was clearly staked out. He had an understanding of how he could enter without being caught and this is the challenge of these soft targets. As we get better about securing them because everything we're hearing is that entry was secure that there was a strong presence.

An assailant like this will find another way in. So in this case, he clearly went through a fence or a back fence or gated area and so that's the sort of challenging - you put a measure as a security person in place and a countermeasure is used by the assailants. That gets to the second part which is clearly if in fact as we're hearing that he was engaged within a minute of starting to shoot. I just want to make clear to the viewers what that means. That means

that he was able to get out at least what we now know I think 14 or 15 rounds because we have 14 injured or 15 to 17 rounds, we have 14 injured and three dead within a minute. So that's just high weaponry. This is a person who clearly wanted to kill people very, very quickly and then have some sort of exit. He just got engaged too fast by law enforcement, fortunately.

CAMEROTA: Phil, if the gunman does not have any ID on him and sometimes they're so dumb they do bring ID, but if he doesn't have any ID on him, how do investigators begin to figure out who he is?

MUDD: Well, let me give you a couple options.

CAMEROTA: So, OK, go ahead.

MUDD: Let me give you a couple of options first, obviously ...

CAMEROTA: Hold on, Phil, go ahead.

MUDD: They would have fingerprinted him already, so those fingerprint databases are very rapid. Facial recognition as you know is blowing up in terms of how quickly you can do facial recognition. I assume they've done some of that. As soon as they come up with a photo and pass it around, there's going to be questions about whether family or friends call in.

So just the identification on the technical side of facial recognition and fingerprinting would have been done really quickly.

BERMAN: Juliette, the type of event that this is, I haven't been to the Garlic Festival in Gilroy, but I've been to all kinds of agricultural festivals in California and there's nothing more joyous and festive than this. There's nothing more communal than this.

So for someone to target an event like this, they are making a statement.

KAYYEM: Oh, that's exactly right and it's the biggest challenge for sort of security professionals because when you have a festival like this, once you're in, people are separate. It's not like seats where you might - if something happens, say, the football game, you would actually be able to identify people. People would be together at a festival like this. Your kids go off somewhere. You're in line somewhere.

And so I do want to commend at least what we saw overnight when I was on there, the police department were very much focused on family unification. I've said it unfortunately a lot of times before when we have these incidents that getting these families together is key.

You're not going to stop the shooting often, but you can actually sort of minimize, I think, the sort of tension and the stress. You get family units together and then therefore that that family can leave. But this is the kind of target that even though they put strong security at the entrance, someone's coming in through the back side, you're never going to fully secure them and that's why people like me will say on air what we need to do is really focus on this weaponry that can kill people that quickly.

I'm looking at these numbers. If he was only shooting for a minute that is some weaponry. We don't know yet what weapon he had.

[07:10:00] CAMEROTA: Phil, moving on to another subject that involves National Security and election security. It has been announced that the DNI Dan Coats is leaving and President Trump would like to replace him with someone in Congress who has become a fierce loyalist of the president John Ratcliffe what do you think that means for national and election security?

MUDD: I think it means there's going to be a difficult series of confirmation questions about whether the congressman represents the party or whether he represents the intel that will not correspond with what the President wants him to say. Let me give you some specific examples across the board.

The Intel picture of North Korea is not going to be something the President wants to hear. The picture of what the Russians do in the next election, the President is not going to want to hear that. The information about Saudi complicity at the leadership level in the murder of a journalist. The president doesn't want to hear that.

So repeatedly you're going to have somebody who's nominated for a position that has to walk in to somebody he supports and say, "Mr. President, you can say what you want on Twitter but the intel we have is different." The final thing I'd say is that individual is also going to have to testify in front of Congress, in front of a camera.

When the President is watching and a Director of National Security gets to question about Russia or North Korea and says something or wants to say something that's different than what the President thinks, what do you do? Does he speak the truth or does he protect the President? That's going to be tough.

BERMAN: Juliette, one of the things you were hearing from some Democrats this morning is that the President is engaged in some kind of personal takeover over the rule of law and justice, the justice apparatus and now the intelligence apparatus. He's got a loyalist, William Barr, in the Justice Department and now he's going to put one at DNI in charge of intelligence. Are those concerns justified?

KAYYEM: Oh, absolutely. I mean, Ratcliffe has no business being nominated. He is unqualified in every aspect for this position except for one and that is his skepticism about Russian influence in election meddling. He's made that his sort of cause celebre over the last year. He floats in, I shouldn't even say floats, he sort of embraces this strange conspiracy theories that we saw coming out in the hearing with Mueller last week.

But this is what the President - the one qualification he does want is someone who is skeptical about Russian influence and if you put this together, if you put this nomination together with what McConnell is doing in the Senate which is stopping any laws that would protect our election. These appointments are really about 2020.

They are not about running an agency. They are essentially ensuring that the United States is ill-prepared or unprepared to deal with the Russian influence in 2020. I don't think it's a coincidence that just a week or two ago Coats had announced a Russian sort of task force, Russian election meddling task force for 2020. Ratcliffe, I have no doubt will end that if confirmed, but that is a big if as Phil said.

BERMAN: All right. Juliette Kayyem, Phil Mudd, thanks for being with us this morning. The President we know that Twitter is his official means to reach the American people, so he put out an official statement that no human being would ever want to live in Baltimore. But the people who do live there this morning, they're fighting back. That's next.


[07:17:18] BERMAN: New this morning, the people of Baltimore are fighting back after President Trump tweeted that no human being would want to live there. CNN's Alexandra Field is live this morning in Baltimore with the reaction. Alexandra, what are you here?

ALEXANDRA FIELD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: John, you can only call it hurt, outrage, disgust. The people of Baltimore certainly did nothing to trigger an attack from President, be it politically motivated or motivated in any other way. And yet they found themselves on the receiving end of a Twitter tirade over the weekend that took aim at their longtime Congressman, Representative Elijah Cummings, chairman of the House Oversight Committee. Also took aim at the City of Baltimore and the 7th district itself.

Locals here are quick to point out that this district is home to the Inner Harbor, home to the Social Security Administration, Johns Hopkins Hospital, a place where the median income is above the national average, also a majority black district. Also, a place that President Trump this weekend called a rat and rodent infested mess.

The Baltimore Sun blasted the President with this blistering editorial writing, "We would tell the most dishonest man to ever occupy the Oval Office that he's still not fooling most Americans into believing he's even slightly competent in his current post. Or that he possesses a scintilla of integrity. Better to have some vermin living in your neighborhood than to be one."

Local officials spoke out quickly saying that they would not ignore the President's words, that the problems that this district does face would only be solved with the help of the federal government. As for Representative Cummings whose Oversight Committee has launched several investigations into the Trump administration, well, he responded over the weekend with just a single tweet saying it's his constitutional duty to conduct oversight of the executive branch, but that it is his moral duty to fight for his constituents. John, Alisyn, he's leaving it with that.

BERMAN: All right. Alexandra Field for us in Baltimore which I will note is in the United States of America. CAMEROTA: Last time I checked.

BERMAN: And Donald Trump is the President of the United States of America. Joining us now is April Ryan, CNN Political Analyst and White House Correspondent for American Urban Radio Networks. Also joining us CNN Political Commentators former Michigan Governor Jennifer Granholm. Joe Lockhart, former Clinton White House Press Secretary and Karen Finney former Senior Spokesperson for Hillary for America.

April, I want to start with you because this morning I think it is worthy of known and I'm not going to read the tweets, but the President is tweeting more about Elijah Cummings. He's tweeting more about prominent African-Americans. He is leaning into this despite the criticism we just heard from Baltimore and despite the controversy we heard over the weekend. This is a choice he's making this morning, why?

[07:19:58] APRIL RYAN, WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT, AMERICAN URBAN RADIO NETWORKS: It's a choice he's making because he wants to get a certain part of America to vote for him. He wants to show a certain part of America that he's with them.

He says he's not a racist, but the racists believe he's a racist and for someone like me, proud Baltimorean, born in Baltimore, still call that area home, it hurts. It hurts because that's a city, an area that has so many different types of people. It's a community of love and of survival and overcoming. It's a community that's been hurt over and over again, but still we rise like Maya Angelou says.

For this president to demean, to diminish, to discredit a community predominantly black to say - that act as if it doesn't even belong to the United States almost as if it was like Puerto Rico when he was throwing the towels as if, "Oh, I'm doing you a favor."

He is the president of all America. He should not be doing this. He should be creating an urban renewal plan. He has the authority to do that. Governor, you remember when Detroit was in such disarray, the White House, the Obama White House put it in such a - they put it in a special category to look over, to nurture it, to help it.

Why can't this president think beyond the box and do that. This is an American city just, 36 miles from the White House. Why can't this president do that? He could create a state of emergency for a city like Baltimore for a city like Flint, Michigan. He could be doing that right now. Instead, he's scoffing and laughing at it all to appease his white base.

It's not about his black base he's trying to get 8 percent more. Well, he had 8 percent in the last election praying that he'll get more, I doubt it now. But this is about a certain type of America. I would even say Mitch McConnell's America, Appalachia America who did not realize ACA was Obamacare.

CAMEROTA: Governor, where are the Republicans? Where are the Republican colleagues of Elijah Cummings who have worked with him? Where is Congressman Mark Meadows who would have us believe that Elijah Cummings is a dear friend of his.

So this morning as the President is personally going after Elijah Cummings and Elijah Cummings who in February, we remember publicly, went to bat for Mark Meadows when there was an implication that Mark Meadows had done something racist. Elijah Cummings unprompted stood up for him. Let's remind people of what Elijah Cummings did in February.


REP. ELIJAH CUMMINGS (D-MD): Mr. Meadows, as you know and of all of the people on this committee, I've said it and got in trouble for it, that you're one of my best friends. I know that shocks a lot of people.

REP. MARK MEADOWS (R-NC): And likewise, Mr. Chairman.

CUMMINGS: Yes, you are. And I could see and feel your pain. I feel it and so - and I don't think Ms. Tlaib intended to cause you that.


CAMEROTA: Mark Meadows has had some time this weekend to come out and say something similar about Elijah Cummings.

FORMER GOVERNOR JENNIFER GRANHOLM (D-MI): And nothing, nothing and here's what I think every single Republican who was elected and anybody in America has to think about, this President is attempting to divide urban and rural. This is terrible for America.

Joe and I were just talking about Joe Biden saying that this is about the soul of America. This election will be. Are we a United States of America or is he just going to divide city and said, "We're here in Detroit," I'm waiting for Detroit to be the next city on his chopping block because it's majority African-American. He's already gone after Chicago. We know that, Atlanta.

I mean how often are Republicans going to stand by and say, "Yes, this is good for America to divide people like this." I have never seen a nation so divided and I don't think electorally this is a good strategy for him." But it's certainly not a great strategy for the rest of the Republicans who are sitting on their hands because they're too afraid to come out and oppose the President. It's a choice.

BERMAN: He clearly thinks it's a good strategy for him.

GRANHOLM: Yes, but is it? I mean is it a 30-year-old strategy that will work today? I mean this notion of allowing, giving permission for all of this divisiveness to come out is also giving permission for people to act on that divisiveness, which is why we've seen a significant increase in hate crimes over the - since the President has been doubling (ph), since the President has been in office. He's giving permission for people to be divided and that is terrible for this nation.

BERMAN: A Democratic strategist, Joe, yesterday suggested to me that one of the reasons the President is doing - look, there can be a number of reasons one can be that he's worried about the Mueller testimony. The second thing could be that he likes to tweet racist things.

Another one could be that there's a democratic debate happening this week right behind us and the President can't stand people talking about anyone else, so he wants to make himself the focus and wind people up as they head into this moment. So if you're one of the Democrats who will be standing on this stage behind us in the next few days, they're faced with this every day during the campaign, what do you do? How do you deal with this?

[07:25:20] JOE LOCKHART, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Yes, I think you can't deal with every tweet that comes out, but you do as the Governor was just saying have to frame in a way that I think Biden has, that this is a battle for America. This is not a new strategy, but it's a different strategy.

Lee Atwater famously said that they learned in 1968 that there is an appeal to white working-class people on race, their resentment towards African-Americans towards Latinos but they learned in the '68, in the '70s that they can't run around using the N word anymore. So they learned code words, dog whistles.

What Donald Trump is doing is reverting back to the 1960s and saying, "I'm going to be overt about this." I'm going to say because he's betting that when push comes to shove, there is enough active racism in this country that will be enough to get him elected and he's not worried about the soul, he's worried about getting reelected.

LOCKHART: So I think the strategists you talked to is right, there's the narcissism here at play. He did want to get off Mueller because that was beginning to play badly. But this is not just a one or two day thing. We are going to see this now through election day and it is, as Governor said, it is dangerous because someone is going to get hurt.


LOCKHART: And it's going to --

CAMEROTA: I mean, there's a mass shooting this morning. There's another mass shooting this morning at the Garlic Festival, an agricultural area in California. The little boy who was six years old has a Hispanic last name, that's all we know.

FINNEY: Yes. I think there are a couple things though here. Remember this was the strategy in 2016. It was about race baiting, it was about taking advantage of people's fear of change right and so when people were saying things like, "I'm afraid my kids won't have a better life than mine."

What they were saying is and what Donald Trump said, it's those people's fault and he pointed at black people and he pointed at Latinos and he criticized women for our roles outside of the home now. He took advantage of those cultural anxieties. They were very bold and blunt talking about it after the election and then tried to make the argument that he was going to become the president of everybody and we know that's actually not happening, that's not what he's interested in doing.

I do think though having gone up against Donald Trump in 2016, these Democrats have to be very careful how much time you let yourself get dragged into fighting on his turf versus fighting on our turf in terms of, yes, he is a stain on this country, God willing it will be a distant memory in some period of time, but we have to beat him.

And part of the way we beat him, you have to address these kinds of comments. No question. At the same time you then have to also try to think about how are you uniting the country. I think we need to be having that conversation and I will say as a mixed-race person whose parents are from the south who thought we had moved past some of this, I surely believe we need to get back to some of that.

And then third, what is your positive vision for the future. So I really think Democrats have to be careful how much time you spend playing on his turf, because that was a big mistake remember that Republicans made in the primary in 2016.

BERMAN: Governor, I just want to leave on this point too as someone who has won election in this state several times both as Governor and Attorney General, do you also have to be careful about telling Republican supporters or any supporters of President Trump that they're racist?

GRANHOLM: Well, they may not be. They have to recognize that he is though. And certainly racism and racist is a word that nobody wants applied to them and people justify saying, "I support the President. I don't agree with his tweets, but his economy is good."

I think that we need to let people know that the longer he's in office, the more divided this country becomes. And yes there are pockets of racists everywhere, including in Michigan but I think honestly Michigan is better than that. It showed that in 2018 and if people are awake and understand that we have moved beyond this as a nation, they will come together and reject this and this will be but a blip or a stain in our history that will be long forgotten after November of 2020.

CAMEROTA: Guys, thank you very much for all of the analysis. So be sure to tune into the CNN DEMOCRATIC PRESIDENTIAL DEBATES. Two big nights, 10 candidates each night tomorrow and Wednesday night at 8:00 pm Eastern live from Detroit only on CNN.

BERMAN: All right. The breaking news this morning is the mass shooting in Gilroy, California. Three people killed including a six- year-old child. What will be done about this? What do you tell the family of six-year-old Steven Romero. That's next.