Return to Transcripts main page


Police Force in Italy Mourns; President Trump Targets People of Color; Unrest in Hong Kong Continues; Suicide Attempts Rise Due to Chaos. Aired 3-3:30a ET

Aired July 30, 2019 - 03:00   ET



ROSEMARY CHURCH, CNN ANCHOR: A hunt for answers. Police are investigating the gunman after another mass shooting in the United States.

And protesters now targeting Hong Kong subways, blocking two of the city's main lines to show their outrage.

Plus, Italy mourns a slayed police officer as officials investigate two Americans being held in connection with these killings.

Hello and welcome to our viewers joining us from all around the world. I'm Rosemary Church, and this is CNN Newsroom.

The U.S. city of Gilroy, California is grappling with the aftermath of Sunday's deadly shooting. Three people were killed and at least a dozen wounded after a gunman opened fire at the Gilroy garlic festival. That event is popular with families, and two children are among the dead.

People have started this memorial bringing flowers and stuffed animals.

CNN's Sara Sidner has more on the attack and the shooter who was killed by police.

SARA SIDNER, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Tonight, a search for answers. Police now identifying the gunman as a 19-year-old, Santino William Legan, saying he was armed with an AK-47 style assault rifle purchased legally in Nevada three weeks ago.


SCOT SMITHEE, POLICE CHIEF, GILROY POLICE DEPARTMENT, CALIFORNIA: Despite the fact they were out gunned with their handgun against a rifle those three officers were able to fatally wound that suspect.


SIDNER: Police now trying to figure out why.


CRAIG FAIR, ASSISTANT SPECIAL AGENT IN CHARGE, FBI: Our pre-emitting and principal concern at this point is motivation, ideological leniency, was he affiliated with anyone or any group?


SIDNER: An Instagram account created four days ago under the suspect's name with two images posted shortly before the shooting, one is a photo taken from the garlic festival, the other posted an hour later is a photo of smoky bear, warning of high fire danger. The caption recommends reading of white supremacists' book, telling followers that towns paid more open space to make room for hoards mestizos, a person of mixed race and Silicon Valley white expletives.

Police say Legan entered the festival by cutting through a fence around the property, avoiding security.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I see him shooting that everyone he looked like he just wanted to shoot at everyone, he didn't have, no direct target.


SIDNER: They are still investigating witness reports of a second suspect but believe Legan was the only shooter.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You can hear bullets and the bullets are hitting the ground you can see it go up and that's why I call that's a real gun.


SIDNER: We also now know that two of the three people killed were children, a 13-year-old girl and a 6-year-old boy named Stephen Romero.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I couldn't believe what was happening, they told me he was in critical condition and that they were working on him and then five minutes later they told me that he was dead.


CHURCH: CNN's Sara Sidner reporting there and we also like to tell you more about the two other people killed in Sunday's attack. Trevor Irby was 25. He graduated from college in New York in 2017. His grandmother says that he had moved to California recently to be with his fiance. Keyla Salazar was also killed. She lived nearby in San Jose. She would've turned 14 years old next week.

Well, fresh attacks by Donald Trump in just the past few hours on the city of Baltimore and its high-profile Congressman, Elijah Cummings. The president claims without proof that billions of dollars earmark to help this city has been stolen or wasted over the years.

More now from CNN's Abby Phillip at the White House.

ABBY PHILLIP, CNN CORRESPONDENT: President Trump today escalating his attacks on House oversight committee chairman Elijah Cummings, saying his Baltimore district has the worst crime statistics in the nation, 25 years of old talk, no action. So tired of listening to the same old bull.

And expanding his attacks to include Civil Rights leader and TV host Al Sharpton who Trump claims hates waits and cops.

For the second time in two weeks Trump using language like infestation to describe the places where people of color live and combined with his racist attack on four Democratic congresswomen of color who he told to go back to the countries from which they came even though they are all American.

[03:05:03] Trump is now making racial division the centerpiece of his 2020 reelection campaign, warning Democrats that if they defend the radical left squad and king Elijah's Baltimore fail it will be a long road to 2020.

The president's aides insisting this isn't about race.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No human being would want to live there.



UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This is being perceived as racist, do you understand why?

MULVANEY: I understand why but that doesn't mean that it's racist. The president is pushing back against what he sees is wrong.


PHILLIP: Also underlying Trump's attacks on Cummings his growing concern that the powerful committee chairman is using his oversight powers to investigate people close to him.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) REP. ELIJAH CUMMINGS (D-MD): It's not about not liking the president. It's about loving democracy. It's about loving our country. I'm begging the American people to pay attention to what is going on.


PHILLIP: Last week, Cummings said his committee will subpoena the text messages and e-mails of Trump's son-in-law Jared Kushner and his daughter Ivanka Trump. Trump responding on social media accusing Cummings of trying to hurt innocent people through oversight.

And President Trump announced on his Twitter feed a surprise meeting that was not on his schedule with a group that he called inner-city pastors. These are mostly African-American pastors who support him and came to the White House today.

This meeting was scheduled ahead of time but some of those individuals came out to speak to reporters and defended President Trump against the allegations that his comments recently have been racist, but they did not specifically defend his attacks on Elijah Cummings, Al Sharpton, or the city of Baltimore.

Abby Phillip, CNN, the White House.

CHURCH: CNN political analyst Julian Zelizer joins me now from New York. Great to have you with us.


CHURCH: So, President Trump doubling down on his attacks against Baltimore's Democratic Congressman Elijah Cummings. What are the political risks for Mr. Trump going after the man he now calls King Elijah, especially given we are now learning that rental properties in Baltimore owned by the president's son-in-law, Jared Kushner are in fact, rat- infested?

ZELIZER: Well, the most obvious risk for him is that this kind of rhetoric even if it's popular or acceptable with certain parts of the electorate, overall it doesn't sit well with a lot of Americans.

And there was even a poll today that working-class women in a lot of the areas President Trump needs to win for reelection are not happy and might not vote for him because of this kind of language.

And then there is the dimension of the president's own family and real estate property in the city, so there is many risks involved with this.

CHURCH: Yes, indeed. And I wanted to ask you what you think the motivation is behind Mr. Trump's attacks and how does it look when the president of the United States calls Cummings a racist while at the same time being accused of being exactly that himself.

ZELIZER: Look, the president has a long record both as president and before he was president of getting involved in this kind of racial politics, when they were talking about his role in a case in New York called the Central Park Five in the 1980s, through the birther movement against President Obama through all the tweets and rhetoric's we have seen as president.

So, he doesn't have strong ground to stand on attacking Cummings for being racist. But I think the opposite argument is a pretty strong one.

CHURCH: Yes. Because President Trump has also attacked African- American activist Al Sharpton, so we are starting to see a very clear pattern here. But Republicans don't appear to have any problem with any of this, why is that?

ZELIZER: Well partisanship is very strong, we've seen this on many issues from the president tweeting these kinds of statements to the attacks on the law and order, the Republicans stay silent. And this story of the president, is so far one of them is that the GOP is aligned with President Trump at least on paper regardless of what he does. They are one and the same.

CHURCH: Right. And of course, the president's chief of staff Mick Mulvaney insist his boss is not a racist.

You are a historian, have you ever, ever witnessed a situation where United States president has had to have someone come out and insist that he is not a racist, and will that denial be enough to convince his critics?

ZELIZER: No, I don't think it will be, this is a unique situation, certainly in the modern period in the last couple of decades, you haven't had a situation like this.

Sometimes we had presidents who used coded language like Ronald Reagan which was sad to appeal to racial divisions but never have we had a president openly and continually using language directly connected to white backlash politics again and again.

[03:10:08] So I don't think Mulvaney's comments will convince any critic that that's not what's going on.

CHURCH: And at the same time though, it doesn't seem to have an impact on President Trump, does it? He appears to be bulletproof and certainly seems to be held to different standard compared to what people expect from the line up on the Democratic side, for instance.

But why is it that President Trump, what is it about him that allows him to say and do things that no other politician has ever gotten away with?

ZELIZER: Well, it's a good question and I think his base have supported the Republican Party which we discussed is the key to that answer. And as long as the party supports him and his silence when it does things like this, that gives him enormous freedom.

And unlike presidents in recent history he now has an enormous media platform both Twitter and also Fox News and conservative sites that support him whenever he makes the statement. And that is a kind of political firewall that he counts on whenever he's in these moments.

CHURCH: Julian Zelizer, always great to get your analysis and perspective, certainly from a historical point of view as well. We always appreciate it.

ZELIZER: Thanks for having me.

CHURCH: We turn now to Italy where mourners pay their last respects to a policeman stabbed to death. Two Americans have been accused of the crime. The killing has dominated Italian headlines and the funeral was televised nationally from the same church where the policeman had recently been married.

CNN contributor Barbie Nadeau joins us now from outside a police station in Rome. So, Barbie, what is the latest information you have on the investigation into the murder of this police officer.

BARBIE NADEAU, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Well, there are a lot of moving parts to this investigation and in a couple of hours there will be a press conference and this will be the very first time the police are speaking publicly and they will lay out the investigation so far.

Some of these things we've learned ahead of this press conference is a little bit of detail about the knife. The knife it was used allegedly by Finnegan Elder in the stabbing death of this 35-year-old Carabinieri police officer, was a seven-inch military style knife, that according to the police he brought with him from the United States and identified it to them as his own.

Some of the other aspects that we are learning are that the young American men say that the police officers working undercover did not identify themselves with a badge. That's some of what is in the official document.

The police, there were two police officers, the surviving police officer said they did identify themselves as Carabinieri which is the military police here in Italy. It's unclear whether the Americans would have understood that they were indeed police officers from that.

But as I said, this is a fast-moving investigation and we are finding out more and more as the hours continue and I think around two hours from now when we get this official detail from the police, we may see a picture of the murder, we may see some additional footage.

Right now, no surveillance footage has emerged of the actual stabbing itself. The police are saying that it was a military style killing. That cannot be verified unless obviously there is some video to back that up. Rosemary?

CHURCH: Right. And what more are you learning about the two American suspects, and of course, the leaking of that photograph of one of them blindfolded.

NADEAU: Well, the police are telling us that they are turning against each other, essentially one blaming the other for their role in this terrible murder of this police officer. We are learning a lot of information from the police. We are not hearing much from the victims' defense attorney themselves.

The attorney for Gabriel Natale did give a short statement yesterday in which he said -- he's the young man who blindfolded in that shocking photo, he gave a statement yesterday in which he said that his client was treated unfairly and truly that would've led to anything he said to the police during the interrogation.

He also said that his client could not be held responsible for the behavior of others around him. We have heard a lot less from the attorney for Finnegan Elder and we expect that we may get a response to this press conference today from them. Rosemary?

CHURCH: All right. We'll wait to hear more on that. Barbie Nadeau, bringing us the very latest from Rome. Many things to you.

Well, despite threats and insults from officials in Beijing, the unrest continues in Hong Kong, with protestors targeting morning rush hour on the city's subway. We'll take a look at that when we return.


CHURCH: At least 12 civilians and five military personnel were killed in Rawalpindi, Pakistan when a military plane crashed into a neighborhood. The military says two high-ranking officers are among the dead. No word yet on what caused that crash.

The unrest continues in Hong Kong with hundreds of protesters disrupting Tuesday's peak hour commute by blocking two of the city subway lines. Mass demonstrations began eight weeks ago, the subway is the most recent target where activists accusing the MTR Corporation which runs the rail system of colluding with police to suppress the protest movement.

Hundreds of thousands have taken to the streets concerned about a slow but consistent erosion of the city's independence by the communist government in Beijing. They're also demanding Hong Kong's chief executive resign.

On Monday, China's top Hong Kong policy officer released this -- it released its first official statement on the protest calling them evil and criminal acts.


YANG GUANG, SPOKESMAN, HONG KONG AND MACAU AFFAIRS OFFICE (through translator): No civilized society under the rule of law will tolerate rampant violence. It is our hope that the general public will understand clearly the seriousness of the current state of affairs, and jointly condemn the evils and crimes committed by the radicals and prevent them from harming Hong Kong.


CHURCH: The protests are also taking a toll on the mental health of some in Hong Kong. Crisis hotline report an increase in calls and some suspected suicides have been linked to the protest. Anna Coren met a woman mourning her best friend and urging anyone who

is troubled to seek help.


ANNA COREN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: In the peacefulness of a park a sanctuary from bustling Hong Kong, Yong Pui-tung sits on a bench looking through mementos.

In Hong Kong?


COREN: What a beautiful photo. Look how happy you both are.

She's referring to Mak (Ph), her best friend of 15 years, whose identity we're concealing to protect the privacy of her family.

PUI-TUNG: And this is the (Inaudible).

COREN: And she made that for you?

PUI-TUNG: Yes, she made it, she is very artistic, she also made this necklace. And I also put this on during the memorial.

COREN: Twenty-eight-year-old Mak (Ph) took her life earlier this month, it's the four suspected suicide that local media has linked to the Hong Kong protest against the government's controversial extradition bill.

Yong says her best friend was extremely upset about what was happening in her city and like so many others was on the streets protesting.

She didn't notice any changes in her friend's behavior. Mak's (Ph) stunning demeanor a constant in their daily conversations. Mak (Pk) sent a message to Yong after the 1st of July protest. That would be their last contact. Two days later, Mak (Ph) took her own life.

[03:20:07] PUI-TUNG: She's a person who is afraid of pain so it is even more difficult for me to imagine. Yes.

COREN: On her bed, Mak (Ph)left several notes, one calling for a revolution in Hong Kong and another was addressed to Yong.

PUI-TUNG: And it feels much better every time when I talked to you, but sorry, I can't listen and I can't record any voice message any more. Yes. That's her final words for me.


COREN: Thousands turned out for Mak's (Ph) memorial, the photos she had taken during the protest on display for all to see. Some people here knew Mak (Ph), many didn't, but collectively, they are all grieving.

They have come to this memorial tonight to honor her memory and desperately hope that her death will be the last. It's a concern shared by health professionals.

Since the protest intensified in June one social welfare organization says they've seen a dramatic rise in the number of calls to their crisis intervention hotline.


CLARENCE TSANG CHIN-KWOK, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, SAMARITAN BEFRIENDERS HONG KONG: For young people most of them are feeling hopeless, they said that there was no way out, they didn't see the future.


COREN: After the high-profile death of the first suspected suicide victim, a 35-year-old man, both sides have sounded the alarm.

One pro-democracy lawmaker who has become a hero of the protest movement is pleading for people not to take their lives. He ran to the scene when the first protestor died and doesn't want this to happen again.


ROY KWONG, HONG KONG PRO-DEMOCRACY LEGISLATIVE COUNCILOR (through translator): We don't want this to be contagious, we must protect them, we don't want to lose any more family members.


COREN: The acute fear is the risk of copycat acts, the government, health experts and volunteers have mobilized, offering support through help lines and forums. Psychologists say suicides can have several triggers and warned against glorifying those who have died. They have this advice for people worried about family or friends.


IP KIM-CHING, CLINICAL PSYCHOLOGIST: They should call to them and try to listen what they worry, their problem (Ph) and try to comfort them and if very serious they should bring them to consult some professionals.


COREN: For Yong who is suffering she is appealing for everyone to look out for one another.


PUI-TUNG: We should all talk more to our friends, we really need every single one's strength -- yes, to fight.


COREN: Walking around this local neighborhood, taking photos was something Yong and Mak (Ph) enjoyed doing together. For now, she navigates the streets without the friend she calls her soulmate.


PUI-TUNG: I know that it's possible to find somebody to replace her, it's never possible, it's never going to happen so how to face that emptiness, I think it will be a lifelong lesson for me.


COREN: Anna Coren, CNN, Hong Kong.

CHURCH: And if you or anyone you know has been impacted by the issues raised in this report, the International Association for Suicide Preventions, as well Befrienders worldwide can provide contact information for crisis centers around the world.

We'll be right back.


CHURCH: Well, the Democrats hoping to win back the White House in 2020 are getting ready to face off in their second round of debates, among other things they will have to face the facts, the music, and the critics and how their faces react is critical.

Here's Jeanne Moos.

JEANNE MOOS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Sometimes the faces debate candidates make are debatable, and who better to dissect them than the guy who wrote the book, actually several books on facial decoding. Dan Hill has some advice for the Dems based on their previous performance, what not to do.


DAN HILL, FACIAL DECODING EXPERT: Glare and stare and all of the grimaces. You have to come across as someone who is going to occupy the White House not burn the place down.


MOOS: He points the finger at Bernie Sanders, yes, you Bernie.




MOOS: President George W. Bush once looks so cranky during a debate that the Democrats turned it into a negative ad. Call it faces of frustration. OK, not too annoyed but not too smiley, either.


HILL: The biggest thing you shouldn't do is big, cheesy grins just like this.


MOOS: And they looked like pleasant smiling to us.


SEN. AMY KLOBUCHAR (D-MN), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Immigrants they do not diminish America, they are America.


MOOS: But Hill says a took away from Amy Klobuchar's gravitas, he compared it to Walter Mondale smiling too much when Reagan joked about not-exploiting --




MOOS: Joe Biden has plenty of experience but our facial decoder cited hesitation.


HILL: During the hesitation the mouth would follow open a little bit.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You did not raise your hand. Did you raise your hand?



MOOS: Kamala Harris got props for her unusual use of sadness.




MOOS: You really can't attack someone who is showing sadness. You are going to look like a hill. So, Biden had no place to go emotionally.


MOOS: And then there was that face, not physically present on the Democratic debate stage but ever-present. Our facial experts say it's not so much the funny faces President Trump makes but his signature expression. Chin pushed up, a sign of disgust and sadness.


HILL: Donald Trump shows the largest percentage of sadness of any president we ever had.


MOOS: So sad it makes you want to rub your eyes and blink.

Jeanne Moos, CNN, New York.

CHURCH: And you will get a chance to check out the latest facial expressions for yourself during the CNN Democratic presidential debates. Two big days, 10 candidates at each debate, live from Detroit only here on CNN.

Thank you so much for joining us this hour. I'm Rosemary Church. Inside Africa is next. But first, I'll be back with the check of the headlines. You are watching CNN.