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Biden Says Purpose Can Take You Through Tragic Loss of Loved One; Dayton Shooting Survivor Shielded Girlfriend During Attack; Bar Staff Speaks Out on Horrifying Moments in Dayton Attack; Beloved Author Toni Morrison Dies at 88. Aired 3:30-4p ET

Aired August 6, 2019 - 15:30   ET



[15:30:00] JOE BIDEN (D) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Janet, you lost your brother, you understand. It really takes a part of your soul, I mean it is and what I tell people is that it's going to take a long time, but the person you lost is still with you. Still part of you. And I -- what happened to me when I got a phone call, when I was in Washington, after I was elected before I got sworn in.

They put a first responder on the phone, God love her, and she said you've got to come home, there's been an accident. What happened? A tractor -- I said they're dead. Your wife and daughter are dead and your son. And I remember thinking to myself, my God. I just remember being so angry. Angry with everything. I shouldn't say it, but angry with god. Just angry.

And I remember people came up to me and say -- meaning well -- I understand. You feel like saying you have no idea. You have no idea. You know they mean well, but the people who, in fact, have been through it, you know they understand. And it gives you solace that they made it.

They just -- you just want to know, can I make it through? And I had an older gentleman, 35 years my senior and former elected official in the state of New Jersey call me, former governor. He said I understand. I almost said to him -- and he said, I was walking home from lunch and I was the Attorney General and my wife came, a woman who helps out once a seek came running across the mall saying she's dead, she's dead. Your wife just died.

And I realized he did know. He said, you know what I did? And my advice it helped me anyway is two things. One, he said get a piece of graph paper and mark every single day how you felt from one to ten that day. Because you know you lost your brother, when a thought would come to you, after a while, you'd be just as down as the moment it happened. He said don't look at it for six months.

Mark it on the graph paper one to ten. The downs will be just as far down. But you know your going to make it when they get further and further and further apart. You still get down.

ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: It never goes away. BIDEN: But it never goes away. But, but that's when you know you can make it. That's when you know you can embrace the family members that are left. That's when you know that you can make a contribution. It's like when I lost my son. Beau. I remember him saying to me, I wrote a book about it, unfortunately. That was harder than I thought it was going to be.

I wanted people to know what he was like. And he looked at me when he -- when we'd go home on Fridays to have dinner with him, he lived about a mile from us. And he asked his wife to take the kids upstairs. And my wife had gone home to change before she came back, we got right off the train.

He said, dad, look at me, dad. He said I'm going to be OK no matter what happens. He knew he only had months to go. And he said promise me, dad, promise me you'll be OK. And I said, Beau, I'll be OK. And I know people make fun of it, but we had a thing in our family. Dad, promise me as a Biden, give me a word as a Biden you'll be OK.

Because that's a sacred thing we do. And I said I will, Beau. But I knew what he meant. He meant, dad, don't do what you want to do. You want to turn inward. You want to just wall yourself off. You don't want to be part of it all. He just wanted me to make sure that the things that have animated my life my whole life I didn't walk away from.

He knew I'd take care of the kids, he knew I would be there for the family. But it's the thing -- the other thing I would strongly urge people and they can't do it now. They just can't even think through the fog right now. But eventually what will take you through is purpose. Find a purpose. Something that matters. Particularly something connected to the loss you just had.

I'm being too personal -- I get up in the morning and I think to myself in the morning, is he proud of me? Am I doing what he wants? And I'm sure that it's the same way with you and a whole lot of other people. And at a moment there will come a time when you think of the person you lost -- it takes a long while -- where you get a smile before you get a tear. That's when you know you're going to make it.

[15:35:00] And so many people have gone through what I've been through without the help I had. Think of all the heroes out there walking those streets today. They get up every single morning. They put one foot in front of the other and they move. They move.

COOPER: My mom used to say this saying from a Scottish philosopher. The sayings is be kind because everybody you meet is fighting a great battle.

BIDEN: Exactly right.

COOPER: That's the important thing.

BIDEN: Kierkegaard also said, faith sees best in the dark. Sometimes it's really dark, but there is hope.


BROOKE BALDWIN, CNN HOST: Wow. That was Anderson's interview with the former Vice President Joe Biden. Just reading Dr. Biden's book recently and she talks about exactly what he said. Biden, tell me you're OK as a Biden. Anderson, thank you so much for sharing that. We are here in Dayton, Ohio.

Coming up, standing next to me is a young man who is being praised for what he did here. Shielding his girlfriend in the midst of rapid gunfire here early, early Sunday morning. We will talk to him as he has now come back to this part of Dayton for the first time since that evening. We'll be back.


BALDWIN: Welcome back to our special CNN coverage here in Dayton, Ohio. We have been getting a better picture of exactly how this mass shooting unfolded right here on this very street. Nine people were murdered. My next guest not only survived the attack, but his split- second action was captured on a nearby surveillance video. We've got it for you. So we'll roll it.

He and his girlfriend Brittany both you'll see in a second dressed in white run from the gunshots. There they are. Brittany trips in the chaos. He goes to cover her using his body as a shield. He then pushes her to safety behind the concrete wall. And Camryn Crowder is with me now. Cameron, thank you so much for being with me. I know you've seen that video over and over and over. How are you doing and how's Brittany?

CAMRYN CROWDER, SHIELDED GIRLFRIEND FROM GUNSHOTS OUTSIDE OF BAR: I'm doing fine. But Brittany is like, shaken up. She wants to be left alone. She's pretty much terrified of going anywhere, going out now at this point.

BALDWIN: Do you blame her?

CROWDER: Not at all. I mean --

BALDWIN: It was just two days ago.

CROWDER: It was pretty close. And she like we could literally see the bullets fly past us they were flying. I mean I don't blame her at all.

BALDWIN: Tell me how close -- I was asking him because you actually hadn't been down to this district because where this all happened. We're feet from it and we're feet from where you were, we're feet from where the shooter was. How close were you?

CROWDER: I was within a couple feet. Probably within 10, 20 feet of where, you know, the shooter was and where he initially started shooting at.

BALDWIN: Did you know instantly gunshots?

CROWDER: I mean, no. I thought that it was pretty loud. I am thinking like car or something. Or something happened. But --

BALDWIN: You were saying maybe motorcycle.

CROWDER: Yes. It just repeated. That's not nothing I should stay around and look out for, so us just get to moving away from here as fast as I can.

BALDWIN: So you just instinctively threw yourself on your girlfriend.

CROWDER: Well, yes, I actually pushed her down. Because I saw a bullet fly past us. And she was like went straight up. And I pushed her down. And then she fell. And then when she fell, I kind of came back and got on top of her.

BALDWIN: You felt it.

CROWDER: Yes. I seen it like, go past and hit something near us. And I'm like, well, that's getting really close to us. So you know, let's get down and just hope they don't hit.

BALDWIN: What did you do next and what was happening around you?

CROWDER: I mean everybody was just running pretty much. I pretty much just covered her. I didn't want her to get hit or anything. My main concern which she was safe. And just make sure that she didn't die from injuries or anything.

BALDWIN: And I can't even imagine what it would have been like an di don't think I would have wanted to look up. Did you look up? Did you look to see which direction he went in?

CROWDER: Yes. I was looking to see where he was at, making sure he wasn't behind or anything to make sure I was looking around to see, well, all right, where is he at now? Where is he going towards? To see where I get her to be safe and everything. I see across the street trying to head over that way. Yes.

BALDWIN: You're born and raised in Dayton, Ohio, boy.

CROWDER: Correct.

BALDWIN: This is home for you. Do you come down here often? I mean try to help people understand who have never been to this section of the country how happening, how busy, you know, on any given Saturday night, in the summer, especially?

CROWDER: Yes. On the weekend, this is where everybody comes. Everybody in Dayton comes here to hang out. It's like pretty much the only spot people come to because there's bars everywhere. You can just bar hop, hang out on the street and just talk to people you know from wherever. Everybody just comes from all over and congregates here. Regularly, every weekend just to socialize pretty much.

BALDWIN: Did you ever -- because sadly I've talked to a number of young people, a number of survivors of mass shootings, it's happening all too often obviously in this country. Everyone always says never thought it would happen here. What do you --

CROWDER: Yes. I never thought it would happen here. I mean the only thing you see here is people might fight here if they're drunk or whatever. That's just about it. People fight, argue, whatever. Move about their way. Never that serious. But when you see that, you're just like, that's way out of ordinary. But nobody really knew what was going on when it initially happened. They were just confused. Like, hey, well, what is that?

BALDWIN: Well, give Brittany our love. Thank you so much for coming by. I appreciate you very much. Camryn.

CROWDER: Any time. Thank you.

BALDWIN: Thank you, thank you.

Now to this. The world today lost an icon. Tony Morrison, the first African American woman to win the Nobel Peace Prize in literature has died. Hear her in her own words next.


BALDWIN: It is believed the shooter here in Dayton was heading straight into one of the most popular and most crowded bars in Dayton Saturday night.

[15:50:00] This place across the way from me, Ned Peppers. Police shot and killed the shooter basically at the bar's front door, and we're learning today in my exclusive interview with one of the managers and one of the guys at the time behind the bar, Dane Thomas, that this bar staff is really like a family and they quickly went from victims to first responders trying to help save lives before of course the Dayton paramedics arrived.

The doorman even grabbing the gun from the shooter to stop the bloodshed at the front door.


DANE THOMAS, OPERATIONS MANAGER, NED PEPPERS BAR: The doorman is standing right here. In this spot. And --

BALDWIN: Holding the gun?

THOMAS: Yes. And the shooter is outside of the door and then it is a sea of police. A literal sea of police around -- all guns pointed at him. At that point he was still moving slightly so they just wanted to make sure nothing else was going to happen.

BALDWIN: So you see the doorman understandably is upset. You, knowing how to handle -- you grabbed the gun safely with someone else and what did you do?

THOMAS: The other employee took the gun downstairs and put it in a safe spot. While another one after the situation -- after he quickly realized it was under control came and he was assigned to stay with the front door guy. He calmed him down, walk him around and keep him as under control as you could keep somebody that has just seen that and did that.

BALDWIN: What did he say to you? Why did he want to grab that gun?

THOMAS: He was on the radio as it was happening out front, letting us all know what was going on. He -- after of course grabbed the gun and stopped radio chatter and as soon as he came back and turned around, his first words to me was, I'm sorry, I couldn't stop it. I couldn't do more.

BALDWIN: So he being out front and, on a radio, saw it happening down the street coming to your front door?

THOMAS: Yes. And he let us know from the guy standing next to him to the guys that are at the back gates, the back doors what was going on. And they knew what to do at that point.

BALDWIN: And he wanted the gun because he wanted to stop it?



BALDWIN: How about that. Dane, again, a heartfelt thank you to you and Austin and the staff there at Ned Peppers. Juts quickly, the doorman is OK, he is in the hospital. He's got shrapnel, got a shrapnel wound but he will be all right.

And now to this. The world is remembering a literary icon today. Toni Morrison, the first African American woman to win the Nobel Prize in literature died Monday in New York. Her career began as a professor at the height of the civil rights movement when she began publishing some of the most celebrated novels of American history. Works like "The Bluest Eye", "Song of Solomon" and "Beloved" for which she won a Pulitzer Prize.

And Orpah Winfrey who took the fact-based novel to Hollywood is remembering Morrison this way today, quoting Orpah, she was our conscience, our seer, our truth-teller. She was a magician with language who understood the power of words. She used them to roil us, to wake us, to educate us and to help us grapple with our deepest wounds and try to comprehend them, end quote.

In 2012 she was given the Presidential Medal of Freedom by former President Barack Obama and while her character is documented, the complexities of being black in America, Toni Morrison often used her voice to confront the root of racism and white supremacy.


TONI MORRISON, AUTHOR, WINNER OF NOBEL PRIZE FOR LITERATURE: Well, there is a certain kind of moral leadership that could help. I mean the contempt for poor people, the contempt for difference that is everywhere in education, in politics, everywhere. It is not just school responsibility. I mean imagine raising your children to despise other people. Imagine living in a world in which you are perfectly willing to trash all of your big cities.

To flush all of the big cities down the toilet because of the word inner city which means those people who live there. Or to trash your whole public-school system, to sink it in other words because of the contempt for those people. But if the racist white person, I don't mean the person examining his consciousness and so on, doesn't understand that he or she is also a race, it is also constructive.

It is also made and it also has some kind of serviceability but when you take it away, I take your race away and there you are all strung out and all you got is your little self and what is that? What are you without racism? Are you any good? Are you still strong? Still smart? You still like yourself?

[15:55:00] I mean these are the questions. If you can only be tall because somebody is on their knees then you have a serious problem.


BALDWIN: That interview was from 1993. Her words still so important and tragically relevant 26 years later. In a country still suffering from division and violence, her wisdom will be missed.


BALDWIN: Before I let you go, we are watching the markets right now before the closing bell. We are two minutes away. The Dow Jones up more than 300 points just a day after the 800-point swing in the opposite direction. It was the biggest single day drop this year. All of this sparked by the escalation of trade war between the U.S. and China.

China retaliating saying it will bar companies from buying U.S. agricultural goods. I'm Brooke Baldwin here in Dayton. We'll be back here tomorrow. In the meantime "THE LEAD" with Jake Tapper starts right now.