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Hate Crimes Killed 29 People in Texas and Ohio; Internet Used by Gunmen to Spread Propaganda; President Trump Says Hate Has no Place in the Country; Democrats Blame President Trump for the Shooting Incidents; Protesters in Hong Kong Not Calming Down. Aired 3-4a ET

Aired August 5, 2019 - 03:00   ET



GEORGE HOWELL, CNN ANCHOR: We continue following the breaking news this hour. Two separate mass shootings in the United States from Texas to Ohio and two communities dealing with the aftermath.

Welcome to viewers here in the United States and the around the world. I'm George Howell at CNN world headquarters in Atlanta.

At least 29 people are dead in total after these mass shootings, the latest shooting in Dayton, Ohio that happened on Sunday. Nine people were killed there when a gunman opened fire outside of a bar in the city's Oregon district. The attacker was shot dead by police.

Then 13 hours before that a different mass shooting in El Paso, Texas, the alleged gunman there killing 20 people. In El Paso the case is being treated as domestic terrorism. The alleged gunman is in custody charged with capital murder. Authorities say that he posted a racist manifesto online, this just moments before the attack.

CNN's Ed Lavandera has the very latest on the investigation.

ED LAVANDERA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: At 10.39 Saturday morning, came the first calls for help, a 21-year-old white male walk into this Walmart store in east El Paso and unleashed a deadly attack with an assault style rifle.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm looking to see what's going on and more people are coming in and then I hear, boom, boom, boom. We all ran out of the --


LAVANDERA: Thousands of shoppers including families simply thinking of their back to school shopping list filled the store and parking lot where the shooting started.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There were people were running from inside the mall to (Inaudible) and they were screaming to get out.

ADRIA GONZALEZ, WITNESS: I told my mother, mom, there are gunshots, we need to go and she just froze and did not move and I told her, let's move, get down, get down.


LAVANDERA: Shoppers took cover. Businesses went on lockdown and first responders rush to locate an active shooter.

Within hours, El Paso police spokesman Robert Gomez said an arrest had been made.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We do have one person in custody. I can confirm that it is a white male in his twenties.


LAVANDERA: The suspect lives some 600 miles away in the town of Allen, Texas a sprawling suburb north of Dallas. The gunman was arrested without incident just a few blocks from the Walmart store.

Federal sources tell CNN the shooter left an online manifesto filled with anti-immigrant views and a hatred of Hispanics.


GREG ALLEN, CHIEF, El Paso POLICE DEPARTMENT: Right now, we have a manifesto from this individual that indicates to some degree that he has a nexus to potential hate crime. The FBI will be looking into that with other federal authorities. Right now, we are looking at potential capital murder charges for this individual.


LAVANDERA: Hours after the attack local political leaders try to grasp the magnitude of the loss.


STATE REP. JOE MOODY (D-TX): There are 20 families that woke up whole this morning with their loved ones and then when the sun sets tonight here in El Paso, they will go to bed without them.


LAVANDERA: On Sunday, El Paso's District Attorney Jaime Esparza announced the gunman will face the most severe punishment.


JAMIE ESPARZA, DISTRICT ATTORNEY, TEXAS: The state charge is capital murder and so he's eligible for the death penalty, we will seek the death penalty. JOHN BASH, U.S. ATTORNEY: We are treating it as a domestic terrorism

case and we're going to do what we do to terrorists in this country, which is deliver swift and certain justice.


HOWELL: Ed Lavandera there with the reporting.

Now to Ohio. Authorities there don't know yet know what the motive behind the shooting in Dayton. But former classmates say that the gunman had a list of students that he neither wanted to kill or hurt back in high school.

Nine people in total were killed and many more were injured, this when the shooter opened fire outside of a bar early Sunday.

CNN correspondent Ryan Young has the latest from the scene.

RYAN YOUNG, CNN CORRESPONDENT: A flurry of shots shows the brief but deadly moment that the suspect a gunman opened fire on Saturday night crowds in downtown Dayton, Ohio. Police say the gunman parked his car and walk through Dayton, Oregon district, a neighborhood known for its night life and began firing shots just after 1 a.m.

Surveillance video shows crowds running from the shots.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Shots fired. (Inaudible) Shots fired.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: A3, where are you at?


YOUNG: Dayton police routinely patrol this area on Saturday nights and they were able to respond in seconds.


MAYOR NAN WHALEY (D-OH): A suspect opened fire along the Oregon district, he was wearing body armor and used a .223 caliber high capacity magazine, he had additional magazines.

[03:05:02] RICHARD BIEHL, CHIEF, DAYTON POLICE DEPARTMENT: The threat was neutralized in approximately 30 seconds of the suspect firing his first shots.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Dispatch, we got shots fired. We got multiple people down. We're going to need multiple medics.


YOUNG: Two women say they were out with girlfriends.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: People started running, they started pushing us out the back door.


YOUNG: Her friends say she remembers chatting with a woman about their outfits but the next time she saw her.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: She was laying on the concrete dead outside of the club that we were at.


YOUNG: Robert Woodruff says he was standing several feet away from the gunman as he fired shots.


ROBERT WOODRUFF, SHOOTING SURVIVOR: I thought about the Dayton officer. He was standing over top of me, he started shooting at the guy so he saved everybody that was out here.


YOUNG: Despite the quick response, at least nine were killed and more than a dozen injured, one of those killed was the shooter's own 22- year-old sister.


GOV. MIKE DEWINE (R-OH): The officers who were involved in ending this tragedy, their professionalism, their quickness, their amazing courage, and their response undoubtedly saved many, many, many lives. We will never know how many lives were saved. The assailant was obviously very, very close to being able to kill dozens and dozens more people.


YOUNG: Ryan Young, Dayton, Ohio.

HOWELL: The head of the FBI is ordering agents across the country to conduct a nationwide threat assessment for mass shooting. Sources say the field offices in the U.S. will scour for threats that sounds similar to the shootings in Dayton, in El Paso, and Gilroy, California concerned about possible copycats.

The FBI had already set up a so-called fusion cell to focus on white supremacist and hate crimes.

The internet message board 8chan went offline just a few minutes ago. Our last check at 3 a.m. Eastern Time. It is offline this after internet infrastructure company Cloudflare stop providing support for the site.

Officials believe the suspect in the El Paso shooting posted a white nationalist message on the site just before that attack. Cloudflare says it will no longer help 8chan online because it believes the site is, quote, "lawless."

It goes on to say this, "Even if 8chan may not have violated the letter of the law in refusing to moderate their hate filled community they have created an environment that rebels in violating its spirit."

Let's talk more now about this with security and terrorism expert Glenn Schoen. Glenn joining this hour in Sweden. Good to have you with us.


HOWELL: Look, there is a lot to focus on with this web site, the police say the alleged gunman posted his manifesto to that site is now down as of 3 a.m. Eastern Time. The chat board is rife with white supremacist and anti-Semitic conspiracy theories. How significant is it that the site is now off line, or does that even matter? Do these people just find another place to go?

SCHOEN: In the long run I'm afraid it won't matter very much, it's a very important site for this particular group, if we can call it that, it's not really an organized group but aficionados of this kind of conspiracy causes, extreme right wing causes that like to connect in the digital domain and seek one another's approval, seek and another's ideas, seek to communicate.

And the big concern now the last few months has been that this kind of platform, in this case, 8chan or Infinitechan, is also a platform for actually radicalizing these people.

So, it's not just communication that's the concern, but that we now have people who go there to get the ideas, maybe get the urging from fellow people on the web site to launch these kinds of attacks.

And, yes, you're right, George. It's a concern here in the sense that, this particular site may go down from. But we've seen in the past that time and time again, they find new platforms to use and often it takes law enforcement if not several days, at least several weeks to catch up to figure out where people migrated to and to then start to monitor the new platform.

HOWELL: The FBI director has ordered offices around the country to do this new threat assessment to identify risk and prevent future mass attacks. How challenging would you say it is for authorities to monitor these groups and to try to stay ahead of people who would actually carry out some of these ideas that they share online or with friends?

SCHOEN: It's quite challenging, we see some parallels but also some differences when we look at other forms of terrorism, particularly when we look, for instance, Islamic terrorism or extremism that we've seen in the past. [03:10:02] What you notice with these web sites is that people like to connect in some cases, in larger groups and be part of an infrastructure or a network. When it comes to extreme right wing it's more often individuals pinning ideas and concepts off one another and not really becoming part of a bigger organization.

It makes them harder to track, harder to trace, harder to identify in the first place, when we talk about the concept of lone wolves we see actually in the execution the crime and the buildup that we see this actually more with extreme right-wing than we do with other causes, whether it's left wing, nationalist, or Islamic.

So, when we look at this right-wing extremism it's an extremely hard form of terrorist activity to be able to track at an early stage, unless you really have experts who know those particular chat rooms, those particular groupings and individuals who hang around particular issues.

And I think right now what we heard Director Wray talk about with the FBI is something that in essence a lot of people in the security community have been calling for on a much larger scale for a longer time in the sense that we already do this kind of large scale basis on an ongoing basis for other forms of terrorism but very little yet for extreme right wing terrorism.

HOWELL: We have just a short amount of time but I do want to ask you this question. Should authorities be concerned about this possibility, you know, of copycats given what we've seen?

SCHOEN: Absolutely. When we talk about the extreme right wing and we look at these kinds of acts of violence, particularly here in El Paso it's less clear what's happening with Dayton, we see that there is this kind of dynamic. We've seen that from Breivik running all the way to New Zealand in March of this year, and we see it now again with people feeding off one another.

What's still not clear from all the analysis is just how tight these links are which people are susceptible to follow up with this kind of activity, but that it exists and that they feed off one another and previous incidents is exceedingly clear.

HOWELL: Live via Skype from Gothenburg, Sweden, Ben -- Glenn Schoen, thank you again for your time.

SCHOEN: Thank you.

HOWELL: The victims of the two mass shootings are being remembered, we'll tell you what those communities in Dayton and El Paso what they are doing, to remember and honor the dead.


HOWELL: Two communities, El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio these communities remembering the victims of people who were killed in a deadly weekend, two mass shootings. On Sunday, people came together to join into a march against gun

violence in El Paso. And in Dayton, Ohio, hundreds of people also held a vigil, they held candles, they sing songs and they prayed for all the lives lost.

We are also learning that one of the victims in El Paso protecting her baby. The family of Jordan Anchondo says that she shielded her two- month-old son while the shots were being fired. Her husband Andre was also among those killed.

The baby survived. The baby was treated at a hospital at the suffering broken bones. Jordan's sister spoke with NBC News about her sibling. Listen.


LETA JAMROWSKI, VICTIM'S SISTER: She was an incredible, she had a personality that could light up an entire room. Everybody loved her. She was an incredible mom too. She was just a wonderful person and she would give anything for those kids, anything, even her life.


HOWELL: Authorities are treating the El Paso shooting as domestic terrorism, they're also considering bringing hate crime charges against the suspect. It all stems from a racist post that he is believed to have written before the attack happened. Now one resident in El Paso says that for the first time she feels attacked because of her race.


CHRISTINA CARRILLO, EL PASO RESIDENT: We are being isolated for our color. We are way past now, we are way -- we are years past color, we should be way past where we are right now and this is why we're here, and I share that same sentiment. We are being attacked. And our government needs to step in, if not, the people here will step in.


HOWELL: CNN's Sara Sidner has more now on the suspect.

SARA SIDNER, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: He has a very strong anti- immigration believes, there is a lot of hatred being spewed, if indeed it turns out that this manifesto is linked to the suspected shooter, and in fact he posted it on an online forum called 8chan.

He talks in that about going to die today, he says, but he goes down this really disturbing rabbit hole, talking about immigrants, both legal and illegal immigrants, he is after anyone who has come to this country looking for a better life. He is talking about particularly Hispanic immigrants. So, he's talking about brown people and wanting to get rid of brown people.

There is a lot of fear that you can see as you read through it. It's a fear of being, quote, "replaced." This is an idea that is spouted by white nationalists, and neo-Nazis and white supremacists, the haters of the world spout this a lot based on the fear that somehow, the white race is going to disappear, and that that is the fault of the black and brown people and they want to either rid the earth of them or at least keep them out of the country in which they live.

And that goes for here in America or same kind of rhetoric is being used in Europe as well, very disturbing stuff, very strongly anti- immigration. He talks about job loss. Although what's interesting with him, as you know, this is a young man, right, and in his LinkedIn, we look at that and it appears that the suspect talks about being a lit lazy himself, not being motivated himself.

[03:19:57] And so these are the confusing cues that you get from some of these suspected shooters but he is definitely virulently racist and virulently anti-immigration.

He came here according to police all the way from Allen, Texas. I used to live right near that area, he went to Plano High School, according to police. The suspected shooter drove hundreds of miles to come here because this is where the border is, this is where folks are that he deems not worthy of being in America. And so, according to police he shot and killed 20 people, injured 26.

HOWELL: Sara Sidner on the story. Sara, thank you.

The family of one shooting victim from Ohio is speaking out about the tragedy, one family member remembered Thomas McNichols as a kind man, the other had a direct message to the U.S. president. Here's what they had to say.


DONNA JOHNSON, AUNT OF DAYTON SHOOTING VICTIM: His name was Thomas McNichols, he was 25 years old, he was a father of four ages two to eight. He was a gentle giant, loved his family, loved his kids and he worked yesterday and just wanted to come home and have a nice time.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He was in line at the bar here behind us.

JOHNSON: He was in line at Ned Peppers and got shot, just waiting to get into the bar.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: One thing you were telling me I know you're wearing a shirt here that says love, but love was something that he had a lot to give.

JOHNSON: He had lots of love, every time he left the house, he always said I love you. That was our thing, he never left nowhere, whenever he said goodbye, he was always - I love you.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And he lived with you because he lost his mom.



JOHNSON: My sister, my baby sister and she -- he was her baby boy.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: So, you looked after him --


JOHNSON: Yes, I do.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: -- for years and now this.

JOHNSON: And now this.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What will you tell his children?

JOHNSON: I will tell his kids, they have an amazing dad and they know that their dad loved them, he was a -- he love his -- he was a loving family man and they -- he know that -- their kids know -- his kids know that he loved them.

DAMON DAVENPORT, COUSIN OF TWO SHOOTING VICTIMS: Our family is lost for words, but I got to remain a strong. You know, we have people in high places, you know, and I'm going to get on every news station I'm going to shout this out.

You know, we have gun laws, people can just go and buy guns, and you know, not even be registered or not qualified, you know, they can just walk into a gun store and buy high-powered equipment and walk right out and kill people in broad daylight, broad nighttime, you know I'm saying? Like, this has got to stop, this has to stop, and today is going to be the day that it does stop.

I'm shouting out to the president of the United States, I want this to go viral, I'll make sure that this is on every news station because my cousins did not deserve to lose their life, they had children, hardworking people, all they were doing was enjoying a night out on the town, and they're dead. Never to come home again, never to see their family again. They are gone.

And I want the president to hear this, Donald Trump, I want you to hear this, you need to be here right now, you need to.


HOWELL: Our show is seen to viewers around the world and many of those viewers in different corners of the world wonder what is going on as do many people here in the United States, why these shootings keep happening.

In Ohio, police are being credited with saving lives because of their quick response to what happened in Dayton. Overall, nine people were killed.

This when a gunman started shooting just outside of a bar. Officers were nearby, they got there fast and they killed the gunman within 30 seconds of his opening fire.

Dayton's mayor said it all happened in a crowded area that is popular for nightlife.


WHALEY: It was a great night last night in Dayton, this area is Brick Street with tons of local businesses, it's one of the places to be in our region, certainly a centerpiece of our community.

It was named by the American Planning Association two years ago as the best business street building in the country, so very walkable, very connected, and a place that's very diverse and everyone feels safe and wants to be there, and a very safe place for our community overall.

So, to see this and have this happen to the community last night is truly been a tragedy for the families, the people that were injured but our entire community.


HOWELL: Our Drew Griffin reports that former classmates of the gunman are offering disturbing details about his previous threats.

DREW GRIFFIN, CNN SENIOR INVESTIGATIVE CORRESPONDENT: Dayton Ohio police say this shooter was not on their radar but we have learned from former high school classmates that the suspected shooter in this case actually did have a record in high school where he had threatened on a kill list to kill or harm his fellow students.

[03:25:04] Four of those students who say they were on that list according to school officials, say the list was divided in two. For men or boys, it was a kill list, for girls it was a rape list.

One of those students says that during the sophomore year of the shooter's high school career he was on a school bus, when police boarded the bus, supposedly right after finding this list and took the suspect and arrested him. Take a listen.


SPENCER BRICKLER, GUNMAN'S FORMER CLASSMATE: I saw him get pulled off the bus after school one day, and apparently, he had made a kill list and I happen to be on it, I don't know why. We just got off the school and we were all getting on the bus to get home and

I mean, I just sat down. Me and my sister just sitting down and he sat down, I think he was behind us, and I look up and there's two police officers standing on the bus and asking him to get off the bus and go with them. I was confused.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: School resource officers or --


BRICKLER: No, actual police officers, yes. Why did he make the list? Why -- what was happening in his life that made him do it?

(END VIDEO CLIP) GRIFFIN: The students tell us that the shooter did come back to high school about a later, appeared to be changed, got involved with band and acting in the school and actually graduated from high school in 2013, but apparently, he had a long history of threatening women, especially those who denied his advances.

Police looking into all of this background as they try to search for a motive in this person who killed nine an injured dozen here in Dayton, Ohio.

Drew Griffin, CNN, Dayton.

HOWELL: Drew, thank you. And of course, you can get more information on how you can help the victims of the mass shooting. Of course, you can head to There you will find a link that leads to nonprofit organizations that we vetted, of course dedicated to helping the victims and their families.

Still to come on Newsroom, some Democratic presidential candidates say that the president and his anti- immigrant rhetoric encourages violence and hate.


[03:30:00] GEORGE HOWELL, CNN ANCHOR: And you're watching CNN breaking news coverage from Texas to Ohio, two shootings here in the United States and two communities now dealing with the aftermath.

I'm George Howell at CNN headquarters in Atlanta. Welcome back to viewers here in the U.S. and around the world.

In the coming hours U.S. President Donald Trump says that he will make an official statement about this past deadly weekend. In all, 29 lives were lost.

Mr. Trump on Sunday offered his condolences, he ordered American flags to be flown at half-staff to remember the victims and also acknowledge that more can be done, Mr. Trump says to address gun violence in the United States.

The president also pressuring his administration to develop some type of an action plan, this in response to the deadly shootings here in the U.S. which he may reveal in his upcoming announcement.

CNN's Kaitlan Collins has more now on the president's response so far, to the shootings.

KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN White House CORRESPONDENT: Well, the president address these two mass shootings that happened within just hours of each other, for the first time on camera as he was leaving his golf club in New Jersey as he was speaking with reporters before getting on Air Force One, when he praised law enforcement for their swift action but also said that he believes hate has no place in this nation.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: I want to extend our condolences to the people of El Paso, Texas and Dayton, Ohio, they are incredible people and they've been through a lot. Hate has no place in our country. And we are going to take care of it.


COLLINS: One phrase the president didn't use was white supremacy or white nationalism even though federal authorities have said they are investigating the shooting at that Walmart in El Paso as domestic terrorism.

Now this comes as Democratic presidential candidates are directly tying things the president has said to the shootings like the one in El Paso where the shooter made comments about immigrants before he did carry out that mass shooting. Even though White House aides say it has nothing to do with the president.

And the Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney told ABC News he believes that it's crazy for the president to be blamed for a shooting like this.


MICK MULVANEY, ACTING WHITE HOUSE CHIEF OF STAFF: This was a sick person, the person at Dayton was a sick person. No politician is to blame for that. The people who were responsible here are the people who pulled the trigger. We need to figure out how to create less of those kinds of people as a society and not trying to figure out who gets blamed going into the next election.


COLLINS: Now Trump said he is going to address this further at the White House at 10 o'clock on Monday morning. And our sources inside the administration, the Justice Department are telling us they do feel some of pressure to put new proposals forward as the president does address the nation.

The question of what those proposals is going to be -- are going to be is still open because of course we've seen the president in past -- in the past make certain promises or make certain proposals going forward, like potentially going forward with the universal background checks, raising the age limit to buy certain weapons, and only later to back off of those stances after he spoke with NRA leadership.

So, we'll be waiting to see what it is that the president says to comfort the nation after these two mass shootings happened within just hours of each other here in the United States.

Kaitlan Collins, CNN, the White House.

HOWELL: Kaitlin, thank you.

And we are hearing from Democratic candidates running for president in 2020, several of them say that President Trump's rhetoric has encouraged violence and hate. Listen. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. CORY BOOKER (D-NJ), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Donald Trump is responsible for this, he is responsible because he is stoking fears and hatred and bigotry, he is responsible because he is failing to condemn white supremacy and see it as it is which is responsible for such a significant amount of terrorist attack.

JULIAN CASTRO (D), FORMER HUD SECRETARY, PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: The manifesto that apparently this shooter wrote that says that Hispanics are taking over the state of Texas and changing the country, this echoes the kind of language that our president encourages talking about invaders.

JAKE TAPPER, CNN HOST: Do you think President Trump is a white nationalist?


SEN. KAMALA HARRIS (D-CA), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We have the president of the United States who uses the microphone, which is probably one of the most powerful tools in the hands of the president of the United States and uses it that microphone in a way that is about sowing hate and division our country.

[03:30:04] MAYOR PETE BUTTIGIEG (D-FL), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: You don't have to use a lot of imagination to connect the dots here. This is very clear that this kind of hate is being legitimize from on high. And if that were not true the president would be acting and speaking very, very differently than what he's doing right now.


HOWELL: And now to get the perspective of Scott Lucas. Scott a professor of international politics at the University of Birmingham in the United Kingdom, also the founder and editor E.A. World View. Good to have you with us, George.


HOWELL: So, I want to talk just a bit and very briefly, I don't want to get too deep into it about this alleged gunman's manifesto that police say he posted online. It's about an anti-immigration, anti- Hispanic, essentially anti-brown message and talk of being replaced by and losing jobs to minorities. These are tropes commonly used by the far-right, used by white supremacists.

The U.S. president had this to say about the hate that has been seen here in El Paso. Listen.


TRUMP: These are two incredible places; we love the people. Hate has no place in our country, and we are going to take care of it.


HOWELL: Mr. Trump's words they are clear and direct but several politicians are pointing their finger straight to the top, the rhetoric of Mr. Trump himself. What are your thoughts?

LUCAS: Hate has no place in our country. But, George, we need to be honest, this is what Mr. Trump has said, he has repeatedly said that there is an invasion of immigrants to overrun America including white folks in America. He has said that at rallies. That language was used by the suspected El Paso shooter Patrick Crusius.

Donald Trump has told people of color including Democratic legislators in recent weeks to go back to their countries. Patrick Crusius said in his manifesto that immigrants should go back to their countries.

The man who is in the White House has compared migrants to animals, criminals, and rapists. Hate has no place in our country but the man in the White House has used language that quite often can be seen to be hateful.

And just as politicians or Martin Luther King can inspire us, just like Franklin Delano Roosevelt could hold us together in time of crisis, so a man who is president can also fuel anger, frustration, and yes, indeed violence if this language is not that that what brings us together or what supposedly divides us.

HOWELL: Look, from what we have seen over the weekend, Scott, certainly the shooting in El Paso raises the issue of white supremacy and the issue of immigration front and center, also along with the carnage in Dayton, Ohio, the questions about gun violence seems to be the common denominator in both.

The president is set to soon speak on what happened over this deadly weekend, how do you expect that he will handle it?

LUCAS: He will cover his backside, George. I mean, let us be honest again, because if we are not, we will have a Groundhog's Day over and over again, over and over again with these incidents.

The first is when you have more than 300 million guns including many semiautomatic weapons in American hands, it is more likely that you will have mass killings.

But intersecting with that is, is when you have an escalation of language from any politician or any public figure which tries to whip up at least suspicion and indeed, hatred of a particular group, it is more likely that those guns will be used, and simply saying, we have a plan as Mr. Trump said yesterday when clearly he doesn't have a plan.

And simply saying, these are great people in Dayton and El Paso. They are great people. They are great people in America, from San Bernardino to the churches in Texas to the synagogue in Pittsburgh to the church in Charleston and they should not die and they should not dive because supposedly one-color American is better than another color American.

And it's time that Donald Trump if he really wants to lead this country needs to be firm and clear rather than evasive about this.

HOWELL: Scott, we appreciate your time today, thank you so much.

LUCAS: Thank you, George.

HOWELL: Another story we are following around the world, stranded travelers are filling Hong Kong's international airport. Up next, why one of the world's busiest cities is grinding to a halt.


HOWELL: Live images right now you're seeing in Hong Kong. It is 3.42 p.m. there, major story we are following as pro-democracy activists are staging a citywide strike and holding massive demonstrations there. You see the police there with their gear, and we understand protesters on the other side of the street. We're monitoring this closely, of course.

Let' bring in CNN's Kristie Lu Stout following all developments now. Kristie?

KRISTIE LU STOUT, CNN ANCHOR: George, tension is high on this huge day of strike action and rallies as Hong Kong is in its ninth consecutive week of protest. There have been reports of travel chaos at the MTR, that's the city's mass rapid transit system with major lines reporting suspensions or delays, travel chaos at the Hong Kong International airport, the eighth busiest airport in the world with over 100 flight cancellations.

We have also been following reports of clashes between protesters and police in Wong Tai Sin, also reports of additional clashes in another northern suburb or Hong Kong where tear gas has been deployed. We know that the Hong Kong police will hold a press conference at 4 p.m. local time, that's at the top of the hour, any new lines we'll bring it to you right here on CNN.

Amidst all these we're also monitoring those seven simultaneous rallies happening across different districts in Hong Kong where Hong Kong workers are walking out, striking in protest against the extradition bill and for democracy.

We have Ben Wedeman joining us, as well as Anna Coren. Ben Wedeman in the flash point district of Admiralty, Anna Coren has been monitoring events at the Hong Kong International Airport.

Ben, let's go to you first. The protests there in Admiralty have become so large I can see the protesters and the umbrellas from my position here in the other side of the Hong Kong harbor, and I understand that they are getting so big, they're spilling out and impeding traffic in major highways. What's the latest?

BEN WEDEMAN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Kristie, we are in the middle of Hardcourt Road which of course is a main thoroughfare here in Hong Kong, it is here on the 12th of June that the -- that the -- it was the first time that the police fired tear gas at protesters. And what we are seeing here is this scene very reminiscent of how that protest on the 12th of June

The road is blocked on both sides. We are hearing to my left people seem to be dismantling the railings on the side of the road to set up barricades, other people are rushing down the roads with hat -- with umbrellas, they're using those to block the vision of the police to hide the identities of protesters.

[03:45:09] Earlier, we heard people chanting revolutionary in our time, liberate Hong Kong. So, what we see is the atmosphere is very much revolutionary, so to speak.

It was not far from here in the legislative council building that chief executive Carrie Lam came out and held this press conference but she did not concede anything. She insisted that the government is going to hold its position, they're not, for instance, going to form an independent commission to investigate police brutality. And she, for her part said she has no intention to step down which is one of the demands of the protesters here. Kristie?

LU STOUT: All right. Ben Wedeman reporting on the Hong Kong strikes this day and the mass disruptions on the streets of Hong Kong there in the Admiralty district.

Now let's go to Anna Coren standing by at the Hong Kong International Airport where the strikes have disrupted international air travel. Anna, tell us how and what's happening.

ANNA COREN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Kristie, right now, we are at a demonstration at the arrivals lounge here in Hong Kong, and as you can see there's older protesters and younger protesters, some as young as 16. They are demanding that the Hong Kong government withdraw the bill that they have that independent inquiry into police brutality, release the protesters. They are calling for universal suffrage and they also want the government to retract the riots at classification.

So, this is just happened in the last hour, and the idea is that to educate people who have arrived and as you can see there are people arriving from overseas landing here in Hong Kong, and these people want to educate them as to what is actually taking place.

We know that the airport is only operating at 50 percent capacity as far as the runway and the air spaces is concerned. The reason is that 2,300 aviation staff from Hong Kong International Airport have gone on strike. So, it really is quite extraordinary.

We're talking about air traffic control, we're talking about cabin crew, we're talking about the ground operation staff. Two thousand three hundred people have gone on strike here in Hong Kong International Airport and it really has disrupted the travel.

The board was just filled with cancellations, 100 inbound cancelled, 100 outbound have been cancelled. Hong Kong, Kristie, as we know is an incredibly efficient airport but today it has just been chaotic.

STOUT: Yes, scenes of chaos and protests at the world's eighth busiest international airport. Anna Coren reporting live for us. And George, we'll continue to monitor the situation in Hong Kong from

the airport to those seven districts across Hong Kong where authorized and unauthorized rallies are taking place, but also those additional flash points that have bubbled up of clashes between police and protesters.

In Wong Tai Sin tear gas being deployed, in the northern suburb of Hong Kong of Tin Shui Wai. Again, Hong Kong police trying to hold a presser at the top of the hour. Any new lines we'll bring it to you right here on CNN. George?

HOWELL: All right, Kristie, thank you.

And again, as we continue to watch it gets a little later there in Hong Kong, certainly we'll want to see exactly how these things play out.

A lot happening there in Hong Kong. And on the topic, I spoke earlier, just on Sunday with Michael Tien. Michael, a pro-Beijing legislative council member in Hong Kong and the Hong Kong deputy to the National People's Congress.

I asked him why the protesters are still out on the streets even after that controversial extradition bill had been shelved. Here's what he had to say.


MICHAEL TIEN, MEMBER, HONG KONG LEGISLATIVE COUNCIL: The top two demands which I think is true with the protesters and the non- protesters are setting up an independent commission of inquiry into all the police protesters conflict, and also a complete withdrawal of the bill.

It met with 97 percent of the protesters making it the top two demands and for non-protesters 70 percent for the commission inquiry and 60 percent for the complete withdrawal.

Now the problem with the complete withdrawal is that everybody in Hong Kong that I know has no problem with it except one person, Carrie Lam, the chief executive. She is yet to give a reason and that's the easiest thing for her to do.

For the commission and inquiry, it's actually quite complicated. The police have openly voiced the opposition to it. Carrie Lam have promised the police that she will not go forward with it.

[03:49:59] But then, of course, the perception to normal Hong Kong citizen even for those who did not think the police did anything wrong or were brutal and they're using violence are starting to think why is it that the police is having such a strong opposition to it.

So now this has become the top of the agenda. And I have talked to Carrie Lam a couple of days ago, face-to-face, one-on-one, and I said, the violence is escalating, eventually it's going to get out of hand, there's going to casualty, she is going to go down in the history books as the chief executive who actually led to, you know, bloodshed in Hong Kong. That is not wise. And she really needs to think about those two demands.

Now with regards to the commission inquiry what I suggested to her because the police are saying there is no president in the world about outside people investigating the police, it's usually the police having their internal unit doing the investigation.

Then I pointed out that it's not true. In 1991 in Los Angeles there was a Christopher Commission with a judge investigating police brutality. OK? Now if that can be done why it cannot be done in Hong Kong?

So, I suggest that using that as an example for the chief executive to talk to the police again. What this commission should be doing is not on a case by case basis finding out which policeman did what to whom and whether anybody should go to jail or whatnot, but rather a higher order in terms of reference, the whole background, what is the background of protesters, has police been trained in handling mass riots. What is the directive with inside the police about what they can use guns or tear gas or, you know, all these water artilleries and all that?

So far, it's been hush, hush and everything has been so secretive. So, every time there is a confrontation there's arguments on both sides, police say this is not excessive, and the other side says of course it's excessive. I was throwing an umbrella at you, all right? Why are you hitting me with a band, right?

So, these things go on and on and on, we definitely need an independent inquiry led by a judge to look for how to settle all these police protesters confrontation for the future, not just this particular incident but for the future.

Now, the chief executive worry that this may not settle the dispute now because people will not be satisfied with a higher order inquiry, not going to the detailed case by case, but I said to her this is still better than nothing and this is probably the only thing that police can accept or will buy in.


HOWELL: Again, getting the perspective there. Keeping in mind that many of the protesters still on the streets there, they simply do not trust the leadership of Hong Kong. We will continue to follow the story of course. We'll be right back after the break.


HOWELL: A total of 29 people were killed over the weekend in the shootings in Ohio and Texas, 20 people in El Paso, nine people in Ohio. The names of the dead are listed on your screen.