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Anderson Cooper 360 Degrees
Police: Buffalo Shooting Suspect Visited The Area In Early March; Rep. Stefanik Pushes Back On Criticism Of Her Facebook Ads Getting Renewed Scrutiny After Buffalo Massacre; Sheriff: Gunman Inspired By Racist White Replacement Conspiracy; Security Guard Hailed As Hero After Buffalo Mass Shooting; Investigators: Suspect In Deadly California Church Shooting Was Likely Politically Motivated; Key Primary Races In Pennsylvania, North Carolina Tomorrow. Aired 8-9p ET
Aired May 16, 2022 - 20:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ERIN BURNETT, CNN HOST: One thing they have not solved though is crucial, if Ukraine's economy is to survive, and that is fuel. Right now gas station after gas station is empty. The ones that have fuel limit purchases to about two and a half gallons a visit, and the lines we saw last week were hours long just for that much.
Now many of the trucks we saw waiting at the border, you see here were refueling in Poland, and it was all trucks at the border waiting hours and days because when we got there this time, there were virtually no cars.
Everyone who has wanted to leave Ukraine or can leave Ukraine has gone.
Thanks for joining us, AC 360 starts now.
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: Good evening ring especially hello tonight. A little boy who just turned three this weekend is now two days into a lifetime without his dad. His father, Andre Mackniel was shot and killed at a supermarket Saturday picking up a surprise birthday cake for his son. He was murdered for the color of his skin on his son's third birthday.
Ten people were killed Saturday at Toms Friendly Market in a racially motivated attack allegedly by an 18-year-old white man who is now in custody charged with first degree murder. It wasn't even the only mass shooting this weekend.
We've learned a lot about the alleged killer, already his background, prior red flags, the racist poison he apparently drew on and how widespread it sadly is, and we'll talk about all of it tonight, but we're not going to use his name or show his photo.
He livestreamed the killings. He wants fame. We don't want to be part of giving him that.
Instead we begin tonight by telling you what we know about those whose lives were stolen on Saturday like Andre Mackniel. By the way, he went everywhere we're told with his son, his fiancee says that little boy would follow his dad like a shadow.
Saturday on her Facebook page, she said: "Today my baby was born, but today my soulmate was taken. How do I tell my son his daddy is not coming home? How do I as a mother make it okay? Someone please tell me because I really don't know."
Andre Mackniel was 53.
Katherine Massey was 72. She was known as Kat. She was a community activist, a letter writer who care a lot about her community and advocated for them and for her city. A year ago she wrote a letter to the editor of "The Buffalo News" urging Federal action to prevent shooting deaths. She is now dead.
Margus Morrison was a school bus aide. His stepdaughter says he loved kids and they loved him back. He was a hero to his family and he went out of his way to provide for his disabled mother. Margus Morrison died buying snacks for movie night with them.
Aaron Salter, Jr., 55 years old was a retired Buffalo Police Lieutenant who was working as a store security guard. He died protecting shoppers exchanging gunfire with the killer who was wearing body armor.
Geraldine Talley's niece describes her aunt as the life of the party, an avid baker, and the one who would always put their family reunions together. Geraldine Talley was 62.
Ruth Whitfield was 86 and the mother of a former buffalo Fire Commissioner, loved deeply by her family.
Pearl Young was 77 and still serving as a substitute teacher in the Buffalo Public School System. She cared about kids that much. Her family describes her as a true pillar of the community.
Celestine Cheney was a grandmother of six. She survived breast cancer several years ago and brain aneurysms before that. A fighter, says her grandson who tells us there was never a dull moment with her. She was always laughing, he said, spreading joy and love.
Roberta Drury was only 32. Her brother says she dedicated much of her time to helping him with his leukemia treatment and helping her family at the local restaurant they own. He says she was a happy person who always tried to do the right thing.
And 67-year-old Heyward Patterson was a taxi driver, a Deacon at his church. His nephew says he took pride in helping people, someone who would give someone a free ride if they needed one. Someone with a big heart. Mr. Patterson was shot and killed helping a passenger outside the supermarket.
Joining us now, his close friend and fellow church, Deacon Lenny Lane. Deacon Lane, I appreciate you being with us. I'm so sorry for your loss, and I'm sorry that we're talking under these circumstances. What do you want people to know about Deacon Heyward Patterson? DEACON LENNY LANE, CLOSE FRIEND OF HEYWARD PATTERSON: Deacon Heyward Patterson was a giver. He was a lover of people. He loved his community. He loved his church and he loved his family. And he was one of the ones who would go out of his way to make sure you were all right. He will go out of his way to make sure you were comfortable.
He would go out of his way to make sure that maybe you had a little bit more than he did. I mean, he was very diligent. He was very attentive. At the church cleaning, mopping, sweeping, vacuuming, very attentive to our Pastor, Pastor Russell C. Bell and First Lady Bell. He was one of the ones you would love to have around, you know around you.
He loved to sing, you know. And of his songs, he would always have sung, you know, he loved the old song "Trouble In My Way," you know what I mean? And that's one of the songs when, you know, I mean, you think about it and how he sung it. He sung it with passion. He sung it with -- you know what I mean, when you know that trouble is in the away, you know, sometimes you have to, you know what I mean? You have to cry sometimes.
You know what I mean? You have to let God know, you know what I mean, that you are feeling the pain, but at the same time he knows that God is yet still in control. But at the same time, Deacon Heyward Patterson, was one that, you know, was a class act, you know what I mean?
Every time you see him, he was dressed very well. And when he did it, he made sure that he honored those people that he loved the most. And that was his family and those were the one that he carried around doing transportation in front of the Tops --
COOPER: Well, yes, I understand when the shooting happened, he was actually loading groceries into his car for someone he had driven to the market when it happened. So he was helping them get the groceries into the car, and he regularly volunteered to drive people to and from Tops Market pick up groceries for years. Is that right?
LANE: Absolutely. And that's what he did. He loved, you know, doing that. He loved taking care of people, you know, to the supermarket and from the supermarket. You know, he will wait for them. He would sit in the car patiently. And he was the one that you know what I mean, did make a difference how far -- you know how far he had to go, close or far. He wanted to make sure that they got home with their groceries because you know, being the only supermarket within the area, sometimes some of these families travel, you know, three and four miles and he -- they knew that they could trust him.
They love, you know, his car. He kept it great, you know, a car and he was one of the ones that you can count on when they had bags of groceries to take home and he loved -- he loved his family.
COOPER: He also had a 12-year-old son, two adult daughters. I mean, for a 12-year-old son who now faces life without their dad, I mean, it's just unthinkable. LANE: It's horrible. It's just unimaginable that something like this can happen that someone can come here from, you know, three hours or four hours away, and come and snatch those that we love, you know, and it hurts it and this community is broken, you know, for all the victims, who lost their lives.
And you know, they say that we want to make sure that we stand with his family, we want to stand with his son, with the ones that he loved and let them know that your father -- I look at your father, even in doing that, he was a hero. You know what I mean? He was one of the ones that would stand in the way of whoever, you know, trying to get in anyone's way.
You know, he was a protector. He was a provider, not only for his family, but for the community and he will be sorely missed, you know, in the community and at our church where he diligently loved, you know, working for the Pastor and First Lady and made sure that they were taken care at our church at Stake Tabernacle.
COOPER: Well, I know -- I know also, you've been serving food to people in the community today and helping people out. Lenny Lane, I really appreciate you taking the time to speak with us and again, our condolences and I wish you the best. Thank you so much.
LANE: Thank you so much, Mr. Cooper.
COOPER: More now on what we've been learning about the man who took the life of Heyward Patterson and nine others. CNN's Brian Todd has the latest.
JOHN GARCIA, ERIE COUNTY, NEW YORK SHERIFF: This was a straight up. Hate crime. Pure evil.
BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): Tonight, police revealing details about the meticulous planning that went into the massacre of 10 people at a Buffalo store and how it could have been worse.
JOSEPH GRAMAGLIA, BUFFALO POLICE COMMISSIONER: He had plans had he gotten out of here to continue his rampage and continue shooting people. He'd even spoken about possibly going to another store.
TODD (voice over): The 18-year-old accused of murdering several people in the parking lot, he exchanged gunfire with a security guard and shot more people in the store before surrendering to police.
GRAMAGLIA: He was very heavily armed. He had a tactical gear. He had a tactical helmet on. He had a camera that he was livestreaming what he was doing.
TODD (voice over): CNN obtained a 180-page statement attributed to the suspect, which was posted online just before the attack. The document's author says he was inspired after seeing a clip of another racially motivated attack in New Zealand in 2019, where a gunman livestreamed his murder of 51 people at two mosques. The document details how the shooter has been radicalized by online message boards describing the great replacement theory, which suggests the false belief that the White race is dying out.
LETITIA JAMES, NEW YORK ATTORNEY GENERAL: He had the N-word which unfortunately, was carved into one of his weapons, clearly is bent on hate.
TODD (voice over): CNN has obtained a photo of two other rifles the gunman brought to the scene that have writing on them, including the phrase "White lives matter."
The shooter allegedly wrote he had chosen the Buffalo store based on the racial makeup of zip code, and he had been serious about carrying out the attack since January.
GRAMAGLIA: The individual was here a few months ago back in early March.
TODD (voice over): He'd been buying ammo, surplus military gear, and shooting irregularly and had mapped out the store intending to shoot all Black people.
The main gun, a Bushmaster XM-15 was bought from this gun store before he illegally modified it. But according to "The New York Times," he had no problem purchasing the weapon even after an incident at the Susquehanna Valley High School last June, when he was a student there on the Honor Roll, school documents show.
GARCIA: The gun dealer was able to sell these weapons to this individual because there were no red flags that came up.
TODD (voice over): A spokesperson for the School District tells CNN the suspect was interviewed by police after he made an ominous reference to murder-suicide in a school project, although there was no specific threat.
GARCIA: He stayed a facility, I don't -- I'm not sure if it was a hospital or a mental health facility for a day and a half.
TODD (voice over): The gunman's neighbors we spoke to didn't want to give their names. They are frustrated.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Something got missed. You know, he was flagged in high school. Why didn't he get the mental healthcare he needed then and the system failed him that caused this tragedy to occur.
TODD (voice over): They say the shooter was quiet and seemed like a normal teenager.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Then when I found out he was caught, I said, I sure as hell hope he isn't from Conklin. So and then it turns out he was, and then it turns out, he is loose on my street. So we were all totally shocked about this whole thing.
TODD (voice over): The suspect is currently in custody and on suicide watch.
GARCIA: He's in a segregated unit, aside from the rest of the general population, and that's for his safety.
COOPER: And Brian joins me now from the alleged gunman's neighborhood in Conklin, New York. So I understand that some new information about the firearms this person had.
TODD: That's right, Anderson. The online diatribe that this gunman posted online has some detail. We're also getting details from authorities, the authorities say that he was able to purchase at least one of the firearms legally and that's the AR-15 that he actually used to kill people inside that store.
But according to his own document, he also had a rifle and a shotgun in his car. The shotgun he claims he bought at a store in Pennsylvania, the rifle was given to him by his father for Christmas in 2020. And according to his own document, he planned to shoot other Black people on the street with those two weapons in his car as he drove away from the supermarket after that attack.
And all of this Anderson, he's able to procure these weapons, despite what we mentioned in the piece, this mental health episode that he had in June of 2021, where he made an ominous reference to committing murder-suicide as part of a school project, and then he was given a mental health evaluation. He was let go after about a day and a half.
Despite all of that, he was able to get these very, very deadly weapons.
COOPER: I mean, what is so -- I mean, it is all so sickening, but you know, that he was encouraged by the shooter in Christchurch in New Zealand several years ago who livestreamed his massacre, and that he wanted to essentially follow in that person's footsteps and chose to livestream this as well.
I mean, he wanted to be famous in the community of sick individuals and racists who would praise what he had done.
TODD: That's right, Anderson. And that makes it even more disturbing. And, you know, as some of the video that he livestreamed, we've been going through some of that, and he stopped at a certain point and pointed his gun at one person in the video that we've gone through, and the person screams "No" and he and he says, "Sorry," then he moves on.
So, you know, again, just the disturbing nature of all of this, the planning of it, the people he wanted to target, and maybe someone he came across that he didn't want to target. We're getting some of those details as we go and it's all just horrifying.
COOPER: Brian Todd, I appreciate it. Thank you.
Next, the third ranking Republican in the House answering allegations and in the words of a fellow Republican, she is tolerating or even pushing the so-called white replacement theory that inspired the alleged murderer in Buffalo.
Later, new details about the mass shooting at a California church this weekend that we're now learning could have been far worse.
We will be right back.
COOPER: We're talking tonight about another racist mass shooting, but also the driving notion behind this and several others and more controversially, the question whether that notion, white replacement theory, as it is called has been tolerated or even perpetuated by someone in the political right.
There is breaking news right now in one such figure, a New York Congresswoman, the third ranking House Republican, Elise Stefanik. She is being accused of using replacement theory language in campaign ads, something she denies.
Liz Cheney, the Republican congresswoman whose leadership job she took tweeted today: "The House G.O.P. leadership has enabled White nationalism, White supremacy and anti-Semitism. History has taught us that what begins with words ends in far worse. G.O.P. leaders (Cheney says) must renounce and reject these views and those who hold them."
Republican Congressman Adam Kinzinger was more specific. "Here is my replacement theory," He tweets: "We need to replace @EliseStefanik, @GOPLeader @RepMTG @CawthornforNC and a number of others. The replacement theory they are pushing/tolerating is getting people killed."
Just a short time ago, CNN's Manu Raju caught up with Congresswoman Stefanik. He joins us now. What did the Congresswoman have to say?
MANU RAJU, CNN CHIEF CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, she rejected the criticism that she defended her comments and remember, this was all spawned in the aftermath of what we saw this week, focus on ads that she put out through a campaign committee back in 2021.
On a Facebook page, she said in her Facebook ads: "Radical Democrats are planning their most aggressive move yet. A permanent election insurrection. Their plan to grant amnesty to 11 million illegal immigrants will overthrow our current electorate and create a permanent liberal majority in Washington."
Now that has gotten a lot of criticism including from the number two Senate Democrat today, Dick Durbin, who went to the Senate floor and said that she was echoing the likes of Tucker Carlson's, quote "dark gospel of fear and hate and racism."
And when I asked Stefanik about that, she pushed back.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RAJU: Dick Durbin today criticized you Facebook ads said that they were part of the dark gospel, fear, and hate racism. Can you respond to that?
REP. ELISE STEFANIK (R-NY): I condemn racism. The difference of opinion on immigration is I support a secure border, while Democrats have advisory boards. I don't support allowing illegals to vote.
RAJU: And you disavow this replacement theory.
STEFANIK: I have never made racist comments. And I know nationally, expanding the Republican Party among -- by supporting Black candidates and Hispanic candidates.
RAJU: Thank you. Appreciate it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
RAJU: So yes, that last exchange asking her if he disavowed the replacement theory, she said that she supports a broad tent Republican Party, including with Black members, Hispanic members, but she has gotten some criticism internally, too, Anderson, including from Congressman Don Bacon, who told me today that those comments essentially put the party on quote, "thin ice."
And he went on to say that anytime you suggest a whole group of people have a certain base, part certain -- ideology, he said, I don't think it's a good place to be. But Anderson, some other members of the conference did defend, Elise Stefanik, including one, Jeff Van Drew, the Republican from New Jersey who told me that he had no issue with what she said.
COOPER: Manu Raju, appreciate it. Thanks.
More now on the so-called replacement theory, its roots which go back generations and the new tendrils that seem to be spreading right now.
Joining us is Kathleen Belew, Assistant Professor of American History at the University of Chicago and author of "Bring the War Home: The White Power Movement in Paramilitary America."
So Kathleen, the fact that the shooter was focused on white replacement theory, which is, you know, a fringe conspiracy, which has been a theme for Tucker Carlson and other prominent conservatives on television, on radio. How much responsibility do you put on public figures who traffic in these kinds of ideas?
KATHLEEN BELEW, ASSISTANT PROFESSOR OF AMERICAN HISTORY, UNIVERSITY OF CHICAGO: The problem with replacement theory, Anderson, is that it doesn't -- it becomes less important whether these mainstream politicians and pundits mean to be calling out the violent White Power Movement and the other activists on the militant right, that will take this theory to its most violent conclusions. The problem is that whether or not that is their intention, that is what has happened.
So we are now in a moment of urgent need for condemnation of this from all corners of our mainstream civil society. This is a horrible act that belongs in a string of other horrible acts. We have to think about El Paso and Christchurch and Charleston, and the Tree of Life Synagogue. All of these actions were carried out by the same organized White Power Movement.
They are all ideological, all of them are mobilizing replacement theory in one way or another. And the fact that there isn't a clear, disavowal of these ideas is alarming to say the least.
COOPER: You talk about the mobilizing replacement theory. How do you mean?
BELEW: So replacement theory is a new sort of vogue phrase for certain -- by new I mean, since the 2010, for a set of ideas that has been in currency in the White Power Movement since the 1980s, and has been in and out of favor throughout our recent history as a nation.
The idea is much more focused on the thing that these activists would like to protect, which for extremists, is the White birth rate and the reproductive capacity of White people in order to avoid racial extinction. And for people who are not on the fringe might appear something more like the violent defense of the idea that America is inherently a White nation, politically, or culturally or otherwise.
And sort of the defense of that against what they might think of as demographic threats like immigration, but the threat becomes less important than the act of protection, especially when we get into the violent fringe because this is the thing that escalates this idea set into a set of sort of apocalyptic emergencies.
So we see immigration rendered as a threat to these activists because they think it will overwhelm the White race with racial others. We see abortion rendered as a threat to these activists because they think that reproductive freedom and women's rights, we will need more White women out of the home and not having enough babies to maintain the birth rate.
We see African-American communities, even distant ones in the case of Buffalo as a threat because they simply present a threat of interracial marriage and a threat to the White majority and the White nation.
So all of this together is a profoundly violent ideology. There should be no space for it anywhere in our mainstream discourse.
COOPER: It also seems like it this one attack feeds on another attack. I mean, this -- excuse me, the shooter, you know, had 180-page incoherent rant, racist rant, that clearly motivated by as you mentioned, the Christchurch shooter in New Zealand who livestreamed, you know, one motivates the other.
BELEW: Yes, and in this case, it's not even just about motivates the other. I ran part of it through a plagiarism detection software. I'm a college professor, so I have one of these at my disposal and large chunks of the Buffalo document or the document attributed to the purported shooter in Buffalo is lifted directly from the document attributed to the mass shooter in Christchurch.
BELEW: There's a whole -- yes --
COOPER: So you ran it through a plagiarism software program and this guy basically lifted things from the Christchurch shooter?
BELEW: Yes, absolutely. And so I mean, the next question to my mind is, what is the purpose of the document like that and in his discord, which I have not personally reviewed, but other experts have been looking through, you know, there is talk about whether the document is a red herring meant to direct us away from his true intentions.
But he does say that he believes in the racist sort of framing of that document, and the other part of that document that is very important is the long section on tactics and target selection, gun selection, protective gear, assessing of the route, how the attack should be carried out.
The hyper attention on details like that, which we also saw in Christchurch and in El Paso shows that that document is meant to radicalize future violent actors and prepare them to carry out similar attacks.
COOPER: Kathleen Belew, I really appreciate your expertise on this. Thank you so much for joining us.
BELEW: Thank you for having me.
COOPER: Up next, we'll have more on the Buffalo attack. New details on the security guard at the supermarket who died trying to protect those in the store and likely saved others from losing their lives.
COOPER: We continue bringing the latest in the mass shooting in Buffalo that left 10 people dead including the supermarket security guard Aaron Salter. As we mentioned earlier, the former Buffalo Police Lieutenant was killed by the government after bravely stepping up and engaging the shooter.
CNN's Jason Carroll has more on his story.
JASON CARROLL, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): He died while trying to save others. That's how those who knew Aaron Salter say he should be remembered.
BYRON BROWN, MAYOR, BUFFALO NY: He was a strong individual. He was a warm individual. A real caring person cared about the community, someone who devoted a lot of his life to public safety to keeping the community safe.
CARROLL (voice-over): Buffalo's Mayor Byron Brown knew Salter for years back when Salter was a Buffalo Police officer.
BROWN: I remember first meeting him through his parents, Aaron and Carol Salter, very warm people. They had a business in the community. And I saw him as a loving son, always trying to take care of his parents. Make sure his parents were OK. That's the kind of person that he was. He had a caring spirit and a desire to take care of other people.
CARROLL (voice-over): That desire helps Salter rise through the ranks in the police department, he eventually became a lieutenant. His love of community and law enforcement was one of the reasons he went to work as a security guard at the top supermarket after he retired from the force. Saturday armed only with a handgun, he engaged the shooter.
JOSEPH GRAMAGLI, COMMISSIONER, BUFFALO POLICE: He was shot at multiple times by Officer Salter, a retired police officer shot at him multiple times and was on target with at least one of those rounds. He had heavy plated armor on. He had a tactical helmet on.
CARROLL (voice-over): Law enforcement officials say it is clear he saved many lives.
FRAGRANCE HARRIS STANFIELD, SHOOTING SURVIVOR: My daughter was crouched down in the front end for the entire shooting.
CARROLL (voice-over): His actions it gave Fragrance Harris Stanfield who works at the market with their daughter that time they needed to take cover,
STANFIELD: Everyone started running. At that point, I grabbed my daughter, kept running and kept running until I got all the way to the back door.
CARROLL (voice-over): Those who knew Salter say even though he retired from the force, he never stopped being a police officer.
BROWN: I think he would want to be remembered as someone who cared about his community, who cares about cared about his family, and someone that did his job and stood up when other people were in danger trying to keep others safe.
CARROLL: Salter was 55 years old, even though he was not a police officer at the time of his death. There is a movement in Buffalo due to his actions to have him buried with a full formal funeral as if he was an active duty police officer. The mayor says he supports that he's simply waiting to hear from the family to see what is best. Anderson.
COOPER: Jason Carroll, appreciate it. Thank you.
Joining me now is John Flynn, the district attorney of Erie County, where Buffalo is located.
Mr. Flynn, appreciate you. You've been with us.
This is still obviously an accurate investigation. Can you tell us the where things stand tonight the kind of evidence your office is looking at?
JOHN FLYNN, DISTRICT ATTORNEY, ERIE COUNTY: Sure, we're looking at all the evidence that we've gathered so far, and we're looking at all the evidence that potentially is out there as well. As far as you know where standard things stand right now, we have a felony hearing that is scheduled for Thursday. But we have the arraignment on Saturday. And he has now going to be facing the murder in the first degree charge at that felony hearing on Thursday at 9:30.
COOPER: The -- how important is this 180 page racist rant that the shooter allegedly wrote, We just talked to a professor in our previous segment who ran it through a plagiarism software program and found a lot of it or chunks of it were taken directly from the Christ Church shooter in New Zealand's racist rant.
FLYNN: It's a very important piece of evidence Anderson in the sense that it does two things. It provides us with information on his intent. You know, one of the elements of the murder charge is the intent to kill multiple people. So the intent element that I have to prove now in my murder charge, you know, that that manifesto is a potential source for that intent analysis.
Secondly, it's important for looking at other crimes that he may have committed. So the way this is going to work is that, I use that murder in the first degree charge kind of as my mechanism to get in the grand jury. And that'll be the next step after Thursday, will be the grand jury investigation. So, I use that murder first degree charge to open the door for the grand jury for lack of a better phrase. And then when I get into grand jury, I can then add on more charges, potentially, again, I got to have the evidence, obviously. But that manifesto and other pieces of evidence that we've gathered is important in the analysis that I'm going to go through to potentially add more charges.
COOPER: The Buffalo Police Commissioner said that the shooter had an additional target beyond the grocery store. Was that the plan to shoot from the vehicle as he drove away or was that something else?
FLYNN: We're trying to determine that right now? Where do we know where we have that piece of evidence? I can confirm that. But you know, I can't specifically, you know, articulate to you right now what my analysis is of that? Yes, that'd be unfair to my procedures. But we are looking at that. And we are now using that to determine what may have been his next step. Now, again, I obviously can't prosecute him on, you know, a crime that never occurred, you know, again, you know, assuming that the next step was a crime, but I can use that potentially, in my intent analysis for the crime that I'm alleging that he did do.
COOPER: The live stream of this that I assume is evidence as well, I mean, obviously.
FLYNN: Yes, that that's a very powerful piece of evidence, obviously. I mean, you know, I, you know, I've done hundreds of murder investigations and hundreds of homicide prosecutions, you know, as the DA. And, you know, anytime you have video, obviously, it's extremely helpful. So, again, I don't want to comment specifically on like, how it's helpful and what it shows.
FLYNN: But I can kind of generally tell you that overall, that's very helpful.
COOPER: John Flynn, appreciate your time tonight. Thank you.
FLYNN: Thanks, Anderson.
COOPER: There's breaking news tied to another shooting this weekend, one at a church in California, what investigators are saying about the motivations of that suspected gunman, next.
COOPER: Breaking news now in the investigation to another shooting that happened over the weekend, this one at a church in Orange County, California on Sunday. Investigators did the shooting that left at least one person dead and five others wounded was likely politically motivated. There new details tonight on how the suspect suspected gunman carried out the attack. According to the Orange County Sheriff the suspect plays Molotov cocktail like incendiary devices around the church. Authorities say he also changed some of the doors closed and disable some locks with superglue.
CNN's Stephanie Elam has more details.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I think we all feel a little less safe today.
STEPHANI ELAM, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The shooting started after Sunday church services had ended for the Irvine Taiwanese Presbyterian Church in Laguna Woods California. The suspect is a 68- year-old man who emigrated from China to the U.S. many years ago and was living in Las Vegas, according to the Orange County Sheriff. The FBI opening a federal hate crimes investigation after officials discovered anti-Taiwanese writings in his possession. DONALD BARNES, SHERIFF, ORANGE COUNTY SHERIFF'S DEPT.: We can tell you that within the vehicle he left not a manifesto but some notes that supported what I shared with you earlier and that would be his really hatred. The Taiwanese people.
ELAM (voice-over): While it was unclear if he was at the earlier service, law enforcement says parishioner saw the suspect during the luncheon before he began shooting at the roughly 50 people gathered there, but officials say the gunman tried to prevent anyone from getting away.
BARNES: The suspect was able to secure the doors within the church with chains and tried to disable locks within the church with superglue.
ELAM (voice-over): The sheriff said more ammunition along with explosive devices were found at the scene.
BARNES: We located several bags within the facility. They contained magazines with additional ammo, four Molotov cocktail like incendiary devices that he had placed around the inside of the church.
ELAM (voice-over): A local city council member with ties to the church spoke to one man who was in the church during the shooting.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I heard from one of the congregants who told me that, you know, everyone was taking pictures with a pastor. It was in luncheon to welcome him back. And what after the gunman started shooting, he was reloading his gun. And that was an opportunity for the pastor to strike him with a chair and everybody else tackled hi,
ELAM (voice-over): In all six people were shot. One man was killed 52- year-old physician John Cheng.
BARNES: Dr. Cheng, is a hero in this incident. Dr. Cheng charged the suspect attempted to disarm him which allowed other parishioners to then intercede taking the suspect into custody.
ELAM (voice-over): The sheriff says the bloodshed could have been far worse.
BARNES: Without the actions of Dr Cheng, it is no doubt that there have been numerous additional victims in this crime.
ELAM (voice-over): But instead, those potential victims, mostly elderly Taiwanese worshipers fought back.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We believe a group of churchgoers detain him and hogtied his late with an extension cord and confiscated at least two weapons from him.
BARNES: They acted spontaneously heroically, and if not for their quick action, the way that these individuals set up that environment to kill many more people, there would have been many, many more lives lost.
COOPER: And Stephanie Elam joins me now. What more do we know about the charges that the shooters is facing?
ELAM: Right now, Anderson, we know that he's facing one felony count of murder and five felony counts of attempted murder. And we know at this point, it is possible that he could face the death penalty, but they're still weighing out the charges at this point, Anderson.
COOPER: All right, Stephanie Elam thanks so much.
Tomorrow's another big day for voting. Some of the most hotly contested races of the election cycle are bound to be decided. What happened in the final hours of some of those key contests? Chris Wallace is here to break it all down for us. We'll talk with Chris in just a moment.
COOPER: Five states are holding primary elections tomorrow, Idaho, Kentucky, Oregon and a lot at stake, particularly in the battlegrounds, Pennsylvania and North Carolina. Nomination contests there could play a big role in determining which party controls the Senate next year. There's been a lot of last hour twist in Pennsylvania, the leading candidate in that state's Democratic primary John Fetterman just suffered a stroke days before the vote.
And on the GOP side, there's been a late surge by far right candidate Kathy Barnette, who's helped push the former president's big lie and also has a history of anti-Muslim and anti-gay statements.
CNN's Chris Wallace joins us with more. Chris, it is great to have you on the program.
What do you think is the most or what race are you watching the most?
CHRIS WALLACE, CNN ANCHOR: Oh, I think the Pennsylvania Senate race tomorrow. In fact, it's been generally regarded the Pennsylvania Senate race as the Democrats best chance to flip a Republican seat to the -- to their side to the Democratic side. Pat Toomey, the incumbent Republican is retiring. It's an open seat in a state that Joe Biden won in 2020. And there really are fascinating primary contests on both --
WALLACE: -- the Republican and Democratic side.
COOPER: I mean Fetterman, the stroke, you know, it we're told it's a mild stroke, he's still in the hospital. How has that going to affected on the Democratic side, you think? WALLACE: Well, it certainly doesn't help he's not going to be able -- he wasn't able to campaign today. He's not going to be able to campaign tomorrow. On the other hand, according to the polls, he was well in front of Connor Lamb, a congressman from the western part of the state. And, you know, to the degree that you can believe political experts Fetterman is going to win, despite the fact that he has had this obvious health setback.
He's an interesting candidate, 6'8, shaved head, walks around even in the middle of winter in basketball shorts, pretty liberal, supported Bernie Sanders in 2016. You know, if you were going to believe the political consultants, they'd have a better chance of flipping the seat with Connor Lamb who's more moderate. But fortunately, consultants don't choose candidates. The voters do and they seem to be really in favor of Lieutenant Governor John Fetterman moving up to be their Senate nominee for the in November.
COOPER: And on the Republican side, I mean, that that racist is fascinating, a lot of money thrown by Mehmet Oz. And now, he got the endorsement, obviously, of President Trump, but now you have this other candidate Barnette who has not spent a lot of money as the other two, and is doing very well.
WALLACE: Well, that's right. I mean, everybody thought this was going to be a battle between two multimillionaires Dr. Mehmet Oz, as you say. He has the Trump endorsement, he has all the TV celebrity. David McCormick, a hedge fund billionaire. And they've been battling back and forth and spent hundreds of thousands, billions of dollars in TV ads.
And suddenly in the last week or so out of nowhere, Kathy Barnette never held office, doesn't have any money. But she ended debate made a very powerful statement. It turns out that she was the byproduct as she puts it, of a rape. Her mother was 11 years old of course, people talk about abortion and exceptions for rape and incest. She says she's the product of the rape of her mother when she was 11. And that has apparently struck a chord with Pennsylvania conservatives and she's he's she's now within striking distance of the two billionaires.
COOPER: It's interesting though the former president, President Trump has come out saying that she is too extreme to win in a general.
WALLACE: He has said that and apparently, he was making some calls today, robo calls, trying to stop the Barnette boomlet. On the other hand, he also said if she ends up as the nominee, he's going to support her. So, it's going to be very interesting to see. Again, I think the consultants would say that in terms of trying to hold this Republican seat, which is important if the Republicans are going to take back the Senate that Oz and McCormick would have a much better chance. But it's up to the voters they may go for Barnette.
COOPER: In North Carolina, you also have GOP congressman Madison Cawthorn, who is competing, he's obviously had, I don't know a lot of issues, I guess we can say lately personal and political. The former President said today that the Cawthron deserves a second chance. I guess he kind of stopped short of actually endorsing him. How do you see that race?
WALLACE: Well, its Cawthorn is to lose and he may just lose it. I mean, you've got the Republican senator, Republican senator, his own party in North Carolina, Tom Tillis actively campaigning against Cawthorn saying that he's an embarrassment, that he's a disaster. He's had all kinds of things from getting in airports and being stopped by TSA with a loaded gun, to claiming that he saw orgies with cocaine and sex among Senate House colleagues. It's his to lose but he may lose it.
COOPER: Yes. And then also in Pennsylvania you have the candidate the former president has endorsed the governor for Governor Doug Mastriano. President's sort of a late endorser on Mastriano.
WALLACE: Yes, this is in Pennsylvania. And he is very late Saturday. But I guess, you know, he's trying to President Trump top up his batting average. And it looks like Mastriano is going to win it. Again, it's very interesting. If you're going to pick the political consultants, they would say, former congressman Lou Barletta has a much better chance of taking that seat from the Democrats. So now we'll hold the governor's chair in Pennsylvania.
But again, it appears the voters like Mastriano, Mastriano, was very involved in January 6, he tried to do an audit of the Pennsylvania vote. It's one of the reasons that Trump likes him, but it's one of the reasons why some Republicans are scared that he's too far to the right and might end up losing against the sitting Attorney General Josh Shapiro in November.
COOPER: Yes. Chris Wallace, great to talk to you --
WALLACE: Other than that, we have nothing to talk about tomorrow.
COOPER: You know, we're -- it's going to -- we're going to we got a lot of hours on the air. So, you and I -- we'll have a lot to talk about.
WALLACE: You bet.
COOPER: I look forward to it. Take care.
Join us for CNN Special Election Coverage beginning at 7:00 p.m. Eastern. Chris Wallace is going to join us.
We returned to the new developments on the Buffalo massacre head. You're about to hear from the son of Celestine Chaney, a loving grandmother survivor of breast cancer, who did not survive an ordinary visit at the supermarket this weekend. Her murder live streamed by this killer. Tonight we remember Celestine Chaney, next.