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Anderson Cooper 360 Degrees
Independence Day Shooting In Illinois; Interview With Sen. Chris Murphy (D-CT); Police: Shooting Suspect Bought Multiple Weapons Legally; Suspect Charged With 7 Counts Of First Degree Murder; New Details In Uvalde Mass Shooting Investigation; Jan. 6 Committee Schedules Next Hearing For July 12 At 10 A.M. Aired 8-9p ET
Aired July 05, 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: The White House defended its actions saying officials are in contact with Griner and her family and that bringing her home is a top priority.
Thanks so much for joining us. AC 360 with Anderson starts now.
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: And Good evening.
A seventh person has now died from gunshot wounds suffered at yesterday's July Fourth Parade in Highland Park, Illinois, just outside Chicago. Seven people celebrating this country's foundational holiday sacrificed to its modern reality.
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COOPER: Police say a single gunman with an AR-15-type rifle fired upwards of 70 rounds from a rooftop into the crowd. The suspect now in custody, charged tonight with seven counts of murder. Apparently, a young nobody with a history of posting violent imagery online.
Police say they had two encounters with him in 2019. One involving a reported suicide attempt. The other, after a family member told police he said he was going to, "Kill everyone." They confiscated 16 knives at that time.
As always, we'll not be showing his photo or using his name. We will however begin tonight by telling you what we know about the people whose lives he allegedly took.
Jacki Sundheim was a lifelong member of the North Shore Congregation Israel, where she served as an event coordinator. Before that, a preschool teacher. A local shopkeeper told "The New York Times" she always brought a smile and a hug and described her as a beautiful ray of light. Jacki Sundheim was 63.
Nicolas Toledo had come from Mexico to visit family in Highland Park, father of eight. A granddaughter told CNN affiliate WBBM he loved fishing and painting and walks with his family. According to "The Times," he was sitting in a wheelchair between his
son and a nephew when the shooting began. Another granddaughter told "The Times," "We brought him over here so he could have a better life." His sons wanted to take care of him and be more in his life. Nicholas Toledo was 78.
Irina and Kevin McCarthy, ages 35 and 37, were at the parade with their son, Aiden, just two years old. During the chaos, he became separated from his mom and dad. Both were shot and killed. Aiden's extended family is now taking care of him.
Stephen Straus was 88. A grandson telling CNN he was very active, attended music festivals, loved to get outside, ride his bike. Another grandson saying he had a lot of life left in him. Adding, and these are his words, "This just doesn't happen in other places."
Two others were killed. We only know the name of one, Katherine Goldstein -- excuse me, Katherine Goldstein. She was 64. We'll try to find out the name of the other as soon as it has been released.
A lot to talk about tonight. Vice President Harris is expected in Highland Park shortly, expected to speak there and we'll obviously bring that to you when it happens.
In a moment, we'll speak with the city's Mayor, also a survivor and the remarkable measures he had to take to keep his loved one safe.
First, CNN's Miguel Marquez with how it all unfolded.
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MIGUEL MARQUEZ, CNN SENIOR NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice over): 10:00 AM, Highland Park's Fourth of July Parade kicks off. The streets filled. Hundreds celebrating.
MARQUEZ (voice over): Then 10:14 AM. Gunshots dozens of them rapidly being fired into the crowd.
JOHN WHITEHEAD, WITNESS: It had you been 20 to 30 at least that I heard. And then --
MARQUEZ (on camera): Shots.
WHITEHEAD: And then, 20 to 30 pops, right, which were shots.
MARQUEZ: One after the other.
WHITEHEAD: Which pop, pop, pop, pop -- had no clue that it was a gun.
As soon as I recognized everyone running, I knew it had to have been a shooter.
MARQUEZ (voice over): A 21-year-old suspected gunman disguises himself as a woman and fires off more than 70 rounds with a high- powered rifle. He had climbed to a fire escape to shoot from the rooftop of a business.
DR. DAVID BAUM, HELPED TREAT VICTIMS AT HIGHLAND PARK PARADE: And the injuries that I saw, those are wartime injuries. Those are -- those are what are seen in victims of war, not victims at a parade.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Everybody started running and there was panic. Total pandemonium.
MARQUEZ (voice over): Police say the gunman then dropped the rifle and escaped the scene.
DEPUTY CHRISTOPHER COVELLI, LAKE COUNTY SHERIFF'S DEPARTMENT: He walked to his mother's home who lived in the area and he blended right in with everybody else as they were running around almost as he was an innocent spectator as well.
MARQUEZ (voice over): From there, the suspected gunman took his mother's vehicle.
COVELLI: We are aggressively looking for the individual who is responsible for the shooting.
MARQUEZ (voice over): Hours into the manhunt, a break. An alert citizen calls 9-1-1 after seeing the car, which leads to a brief police chase and the shooter is arrested.
Of the seven people killed, the Lake County Coroner says five adults died at the scene and two at the hospital. A hospital official says a total of 39 patients were taken to four area hospitals ranging in age from eight to 85.
Tonight, nine patients remain hospitalized.
COOPER: And Miguel Marquez joins us now from Highland Park. Miguel, Highland Park is normally a pretty quiet Chicago suburb. What has it been like now for this community?
MARQUEZ: Yes, I think just absolute shock and disbelief. One person who we met today said, look, it can happen here, it can happen anywhere.
I want to give you a sense of what it looks like. This is about where the parade had started and you can see the remnants of what people left behind, and how quickly they left the chaos, the confusion, and the violence of what happened in this spot.
It is starting to become hallowed ground. Lots of people from town now coming down here to sort of take in this scene, they walk up to this yellow tape, and some of them burst into tears. They're also starting to -- we see all these things, they are starting to put up makeshift memorials, and hang orange ribbon for prevention of gun violence all throughout this area. And I'm only guessing that we have seen it too many times that we're
going to see a very big memorial pop up here in the hours ahead -- Anderson.
COOPER: Yes, Miguel, we were just showing on the side of our screen images of Vice President Kamala Harris there greeting the mayor, police officials as well. We anticipate her making comments any moment. We'll obviously bring those to our viewers.
Miguel, appreciate it.
CNN senior investigative correspondent, Drew Griffin has been looking deeper into what authorities have been learning. He joins us now.
Drew, what have you learned about the weapon used in this attempt?
DREW GRIFFIN, CNN SENIOR INVESTIGATIVE CORRESPONDENT It was one of five that the shooter legally owned, and when you hear about the shooter and the red flags in his past, I think a lot of victims' families are going to just be scratching their heads, Anderson, how could this possibly be?
The gun was a rifle. It was dropped at the scene because he had legally purchased it. The ATF was immediately able to track that gun back directly to the suspect. They found his second rifle in his "getaway car." The car that was borrowed from his mother. And then there were three pistols that he owned that were confiscated at his home.
So five guns all together, which this individual owned, one of which police say he used to slaughter these seven people -- Anderson.
COOPER: And what more have you been learning about this person's background? I just want to remind our viewers, we're not showing pictures of him or you know, there's videos of him, music videos. He clearly is desperate for attention and we just don't want to give that to him. We want people to remember the names of those people who were killed, not this person's name. But what have you been learning about his background?
GRIFFIN: Yes. Well, the social media posts that he put up, which are all taken down now were quite disturbing, and in and of itself, should have been some kind of warning to his family that this kid was struggling.
But now we're learning from police that back in 2019, he had attempted suicide. Police were called. There were some mental health intervention going on there. And then just months later, police were called back to that home again. He was threatening to kill everybody, the police said and they confiscated a collection of knives, including a dagger and a sword.
Yet despite all of that, there was no red flag warning, which prevented him from going ahead and legally purchasing a firearm later on and eventually purchasing the firearm that led to this. He does come from a bit of a troubled past. We know early on, even as
a toddler that there was an event where his mother was charged with leaving him in a hot car for about 27 minutes. She pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge on that.
But again, when we see the immediate red flags, the police intervention just in the last couple of years, his friends describing him as a bit of a loner, quiet, keeping everything inside. There is obviously, as in so many of these cases, Anderson that you and I have covered, these red flag warnings that just people did not take the next step and intervened -- Anderson.
COOPER: And police say they did forward the information to State Police about his threaten to kill everybody, right, and the times they confiscated the knives.
GRIFFIN: Yes, and we're still trying to figure out exactly what happened with Illinois State Police. The initial immediate answer has been, "Well, he didn't own guns at the time." So therefore, they didn't see to put him on the red flag list in Illinois, which had just been gone into effect in 2019, by the way, which would have kept him from purchasing a gun within two weeks.
But it begs the question, if something more couldn't have been done, if some more intervention could have been done or quite frankly if a detective had just done a little digging and seeing if there was anything disturbing on his social media sites or anything else about this kid that was screaming out for attention, that also needed to scream out some sort of intervention, mental health or otherwise.
COOPER: Drew Griffin, appreciate it. Thank you.
Perspective now from CNN senior law enforcement analyst, Charles Ramsey who served as top cop in DC, as well as Philadelphia, which also had a shooting yesterday that wounded two police officers.
Chief Ramsey, as we watch Vice President Harris talking to police officials, other local officials, what does it tell you that this shooter had these two prior contacts with law enforcement in 2019, one of which was after the family member reported the shooter was saying that he was going to, "kill everyone." And still he was able to purchase five guns.
CHARLES RAMSEY, CNN SENIOR LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: Well, the first contact was involving a suicide or at least attempt suicide on his part that's handled as mental health and mental health professionals dealt with that. But the second one, when he was threatening to kill everyone, they did seize knives from the home, no one in the home wanted to sign complaints against him. The police officers didn't witness anything, so they had no probable cause.
But forwarding that information to the State Police, it's going to be interesting to get the response from the State Police to find out why that was not included as part of the Red Flag Law that had recently been passed. It would seem to me like that would be part of -- that would at least be something that would justify that. But that was a new process, and maybe it fell through the cracks. I don't know.
But the bottom line is, this is clearly an individual who should not have access to firearms, but he was able to legally purchase several firearms.
COOPER: The motive is still unknown at this point. Investigators have said that they've "been in discussions" their words -- with the shooter. Can you explain what those discussions are like behind the scenes with authorities, obviously, trying to get as much information out of the suspect as possible?
Obviously, I assume he's been read his rights. He don't know if he has an attorney or has chosen to have one.
RAMSEY: Well, that's all part of the interrogation as they begin to question him about the event itself, but it is also going through to social media, other evidence that they may have recovered during the course of their execution of search warrants and so forth to see whether or not in his writings or anything will indicate why he did what he did.
Now, it didn't stop him from being charged with murder. You would need a motive if he was going to be charged with a hate crime, obviously, but as far as the murder charge goes, it is not uncommon for that to occur, to not have a motive. At least you never find a motive from the individual whenever you have a case like this, that's not uncommon.
COOPER: Chief Ramsey, appreciate it. Thank you.
Our next guest tonight was at the Highland Park parade with his little brother, just four years old, also his five-year-old son, his partner, her six-year-old daughter, and their dog. They got there early. And as you can see from the photos they took, everything about the moment was exactly what all hoped the Fourth of July might be, just a great summer day outside with the family until it wasn't.
Thankfully, Alexander Sandoval and his family are all safe tonight. He joins us now.
Alexander, those pictures of your family they are just so beautiful. Take me through what you experienced when you first heard shots ring out, what did you think?
ALEXANDER SANDOVAL, HIGHLAND PARK, ILLINOIS SHOOTING SURVIVOR: I mean, my first reaction was to think that it was just something part of the parade. I had seen the Navy pass by with the marching soldiers and I thought that they had stopped to salute the flag and shot into the air and, but as soon as the shots became more sporadic, and I saw people falling to the ground and people running, then I realized that that was not the case.
So that is when I picked up my five-year-old son, I picked up my little brother, my four-year-old brother and our puppy and I just started to run for cover. I ran to one of the local store fronts behind me and I tried to break an entrance to the door -- the glass door. I wasn't able to punch through the glass and I then decided that I just needed to continue to move and get out of harm's way.
So we continued to run around the corner of the building, and that's when I was able to locate some dumpsters and I put my son in there, I put my little brother in there. I put our puppy in there and I asked him to, you know, just to stay there and be safe that I had to go find the rest of our family.
And I asked a couple of the people that were hiding in the dumpster and a lady that was on the roof if she could please watch my children while I went back to look for the rest of my family.
SANDOVAL: And I ran back to the front of the parade --
COOPER: They -- the kids must have been so distraught. I mean, that must have been so hard to leave them there in the dumpster.
SANDOVAL: Yes, it was -- it was very hard, but at the moment, I thought it was what I needed to do. Because in the back of my mind, I just had the rest of my family that I had to locate and that's what I did. I went back, I went to look for them. I found my phone, I saw somebody's.
I saw a horrible scene of a small seven or eight-year-old-boy being carried. And, you know, all I had to do -- all I needed to do was find my family and go back reunite and get out of there as fast as possible.
But it was a horrible scene and something that no family should have to endure.
COOPER: You saw a little boy being carried away by police?
SANDOVAL: It was either a police officer or one of the people that were helping in the parade, one of the medical experts and I just saw his head, you know, hanging and then you know, I just -- I just thought about my family and I had to just get back to my son, and I had to locate the rest of my family and just move as far away as possible as we could from that situation.
COOPER: But when you got back to where you had been, was the shooting -- had the shooting stopped by then?
SANDOVAL: It had stopped. It had stopped, and I think that's why I was able to get to where we were originally seated and grabbed, you know, my phone so I can locate my partner, but yes, it had ceased and it was just now a scene of terror.
There was a couple of people on the ground, a short distance in front of us, in front of me agonizing. There were people helping them. You know, they were bleeding. There was a man shot in the back still running. You know, I think he was looking for his family and it was just -- just horrible.
And to be in that situation, and know that I had my children, my son, waiting for me is what -- that was all that was in my mind that I had to get back to them.
COOPER: Yes. How are all the kids doing now?
SANDOVAL: You know, surprisingly, I think they seem to be okay. We explained to them, it was fireworks. But my son is a very smart boy. He realized what was going on. And I had to explain to him and that night, last night, you know, around 9:00 PM, you know, he broke down and he started to cry and he said we had such a nice day. He was so excited. Why did that man had to ruin it? Why did he have to shoot?
You know, I don't ever want to go to a parade. You know, I'm afraid that, you know, where is he? Did they catch him? And a friend of mine had sent me -- had posted on my Facebook a picture of the suspect being detained and I was able to -- I had to show my son. I had to explain to him that this was a situation and that he was gone. And he was just worried asking, well, how far is he? Is he in jail? You know, can he escape. And this morning, we went to the police department and spoke to a few of the Sheriffs.
COOPER: Alexander, you spoke to police. I'm glad. And I appreciate that. Alexander, I want to listen to Vice President Harris.
Thank you so much for talking with us. And I wish your family the best.
SANDOVAL: Thank you. All right, thank you very much.
KAMALA HARRIS (D), VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: And we are here for you and we stand with you. And of course as we always say because it is true, our prayers are with you.
The President and I and our administration have put all of the resources and will continue to put all the resources that the Mayor and the Chief and others need in terms of the Federal assistance. So the FBI, the ATF are here.
There is a lot of healing that's going to have to happen, that is both physical and emotional. There is no question that this experience is something that is going to linger in terms of the trauma. And so I'd like to urge all the families and all the individuals to do seek the support that you so rightly deserve, and we'll deal with what we need to deal with in terms of also as we move forward, all agreeing that we've got to be smarter as a country in terms of who has access to what, and in particular assault weapons.
And we've got to take this stuff seriously, as seriously as you are because you have been forced to have to take it seriously. The whole nation should understand and have a level of empathy to understand that this can happen anywhere in any peace loving community, and we should stand together and speak out about why it's got to stop. Thank you.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Madam Vice President, thank you for coming.
HARRIS: Thank you.
CROWD: Thank you.
COOPER: That is Vice President Kamala Harris tonight in Highland Park. We'll be joined shortly by Highland Park's Mayor who was there to greet her.
Later, with one of the members revealing new death threats against him and his family, the House January 6 Select Committee announces the date for the next hearing. I'll speak with Congresswoman Zoe Lofgren about what is on the agenda.
We'll be right back.
COOPER: As we mentioned before the break, Vice President Harris is in Highland Park. She arrived at the shooting scene a short time ago, spoke briefly, saying a lot of healing needs to happen, pledging support from the Biden administration, promising to take the problem of gun violence as seriously as the people of Highland Park had been forced to.
Joining us now is now is Chris Murphy -- let's go to Senator Murphy, who is standing by. Senator Chris Murphy standing by with us.
Senator, thanks so much for joining us. Appreciate it. We had a little miscommunication here.
I'm wondering what your reaction is to the information that authorities have now released that there were two engagements law enforcement had with this alleged shooter previously. The police say that they referred it to State Police. It's not clear exactly why this person wasn't on a Red Flag ordinance that had been passed recently. What stands out to you about this incident?
REP. CHRIS MURPHY (D-CT): Well, first of all, I apologize for my informal appearance. I'm in the middle of my Annual Walk Across Connecticut, I just finished up about 15 miles, but I wanted to join you tonight because this is obviously important.
Listen, I think what we know is that Illinois has on the books, a Red Flag Law, but it's a law that is not utilized very often. In fact, from what I understand, there is one county that accounts for about 60 to 70 percent of all of the Red Flag Laws ordered in the State. That means that it's an ineffective program. The bill we just passed through Congress a week and a half ago
appropriates almost a billion dollars to help states like Illinois, teach law enforcement, first responders how to use a Red Flag Law well.
And you have to wonder if everybody knew how to use Illinois' Red Flag Law, would they have used it in this case? Because it certainly does appear that there was enough information about this young man to cause a Court, to cause law enforcement to go in and take his guns away.
There are other provisions of the bill that might have been impactful here, but certainly a well-run Red Flag Law might have gotten the trick here.
COOPER: What -- can you just talk about a Red Flag Law? And what it would allow law enforcement to do in a situation?
MURPHY: Sure. Every state's Red Flag Law is different, but basically, what it allows for is a Court Order to allow police to take weapons away, including guns from individuals who pose a clear threat to themselves or others. This law works in places like Florida, where people who are threatening suicide or threatening to harm others have their guns taken away.
And the standard of proof is different in every State. But, you know, clearly this was an individual who had previously made threats of a mass shooting. I don't know all the details, but it appears that in this case, Illinois' Red Flag Law could have been used to temporarily take those guns away.
And the problem is there's only about 20 States that have these laws on the books. So our legislation gives money to States like Illinois to disseminate information about how to operationalize these laws and gives money to other States as incentives for them to adopt the laws that are right now working in States like Florida, working less well, it seems in States like Illinois.
COOPER: Right around the same time that Gun Safety Bill passed, the Supreme Court ruled on this case targeting a New York law which makes it more difficult for States to pass laws restricting concealed carry. It's always been very difficult in New York City to get a concealed carry permit.
How much do you fear that's going to cancel out some of the progress you were hoping to see from your new law?
MURPHY: The Supreme Court ruling was very narrow. The concern is some of the language that accompanied that narrow ruling. There may be five members of the Supreme Court who hold an extreme view of the Second Amendment in which almost no regulation of firearms would be deemed constitutional, thus taking away from the people the ability to keep our communities safe.
Listen, it's no secret that I don't think our gun law goes far enough. But our gun law does allow States to make their Red Flag Laws work better. That could have made a difference here. Our gun law does also alert law enforcement anytime that someone under
21 is trying to buy a weapon. Local law enforcement in this case, query whether things might have gone differently if local law enforcement, not the State Police had been alerted when this young man was trying to buy these assault weapons.
Ultimately, we need to go further, but I don't think anything in that Supreme Court ruling invalidates the law that Congress just passed and there are elements of that law that could have -- could have made a difference here.
COOPER: Senator Murphy, good luck on the rest of your walk. Thank you so much for joining us.
MURPHY: Thank you.
COOPER: Back next with Highland Park's Mayor. More ahead.
COOPER: Of all the responsibilities a modern mayor has this is probably the saddest leading a president or vice president through your city in the wake of a tragedy like the one that was visited on Highland Park.
Joining us now is Nancy Rotering, who had that sad duty just now tonight. She's mayor of Highland Park.
Mayor Rotering, thanks for being with us. You just met with Vice President Harris before you embrace you invited her to your town. What did you tell her? What did she tell you?
NANCY ROTERING, MAYOR, HIGHLAND PARK, IL: We shared with her the profound grief that our community is experiencing right now. And she gave a very important message to our first responders. So that was that they need to take care of themselves. We know that the scene was unbelievably gruesome the aftermath. And it was important for them to hear that message that even though they're tough they need to be able to get the assistance that they need and we've been fortunate to have resources sent to us federally, state, county locally. So we will make sure that our personnel are availing themselves of that support.
COOPER: What's your reaction to the news tonight that Illinois State Police granted a firearm car to the suspect after -- apparently after they'd received report from local police that he threatened to kill his family in 2019.
ROTERING: I'm looking forward to an explanation of what happened. We in Highland Park, our police department did the right thing, filed the necessary reports. And I am waiting for that explanation, I expected in the next few days. This should have never happened. And let's be clear, this is a unique circumstance. But it's 1,000% not it's been going on all over our nation. And we know that another country's people suffer from mental illness, they suffer from anger. Maybe they play violent video games, but they can't get their hands on these weapons of war. And they can't bring this kind of carnage to their hometowns. This has to stop.
COOPER: What do you think can or should be done to identify those at risk committing violent acts and intervene before something happens?
ROTERING: Well, we have red flag laws in Illinois. And we saw in the recent federal bipartisan bill, more resources put towards addressing red flags and addressing the mental health needs of so many people. But we need people to speak up and not watch what's happening on social media and find it to be entertainment. These are signals that people are having issues, these are signals that they have intentions, we know that this suspect planned these murders for months in advance, people need to speak out. This has to end.
But again, Anderson, I'm going to go back to my original point, we need to take away access to these types of weapons, the weapons that can bring this kind of carnage to our streets.
COOPER: I know that you knew the accused shooter when he was the young boy in the Cub Scouts. Just personally, that's got to be -- that's such a strange thing to have that experience. I mean, I'm wondering if it changes the way you see this in any way.
ROTERING: It does not. He brought pure evil to my hometown on a day that families were out celebrating freedom. This isn't freedom. And having known him as a small boy, that's one thing that was a very long time ago. He now is somebody who will be held accountable for murdering seven people.
COOPER: What is your message to, you know, we just talked to a man who was at the parade with his family. You know, his, one of his young kids is scared. He took him to go meet with police and the police talked to him and the young son and made him feel better. But what's your message to young kids and families in your community who might be fearful the next time there's a public event?
ROTERING: I can totally relate. I think we all are faring a little bit at the moment. This is a day frankly of mourning, and processing. Yesterday was a day of shock. And I'm encouraging everybody that I can to go seek the counseling that's being provided free of charge. As I've walked through town today, it has been a series of hugs and tears. We are all feeling this deeply. And this can't continue.
COOPER: Mayor, I appreciate your time tonight. I'm so sorry it's under these circumstances. I wish you and your community the best.
ROTERING: Many thanks, Anderson. I appreciate it.
COOPER: Take care of Mayor Rotering. Appreciate it.
A lot more news ahead to tell you about we are following events in Georgia. It's been six weeks also since the mass shooting at an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas, that shooting 21 students and teachers were killed there. CNN's Shimon Prokupecz has been searching for information on the police response for weeks and he's -- we have details on that next.
And efforts on election fraud in Georgia. Investigation into the President's efforts to overturn the election results in the state of Georgia. More on that ahead.
COOPER: As we continue bringing the latest details from the Independence Day shooting in Illinois there are new details on the investigation to the Robb Elementary School shooting in Uvalde, Texas. It has been 42 days since the shooting killed -- the person killed 19 students and two teachers and we are still uncovering details about law enforcement response or lack of response. Just hours ago both Uvalde mayor and Texas State Senator Roland Gutierrez sent a letter to Texas Governor Greg Abbott, calling on him to remove the local District Attorney he appointed to oversee the victim's compensation and other services. And in an interview with CNN the Uvalde mayor said he fears there's a cover up of the investigation.
Shimon Prokupecz spoke with the mayor earlier today. He joins me now from Uvalde. What did you hear for the mayor Shimon?
SHIMON PROKUPECZ, CNN CRIME AND JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: Yes, certainly, Anderson, he's raising some serious allegations. He's very concerned over how this investigation which is being run by state investigators how they're running this investigation. And as you can see, there's just a ton of mistrust here between all these agencies is that's one of the reasons why that letter was written asking for the DEA to recuse herself from monitoring and giving out any of the funds.
But certainly Anderson the mayor raising some serious allegations. Take a listen to what he told me.
DON MCLAUGHLIN, MAYOR, UVALDE TX: To cover up on --
PROKUPECZ (on-camera): On (INAUDIBLE), they're covering up.
MCLAUGHLIN: McCraw was covering up.
PROKUPECZ (on-camera): For who?
MCLAUGHLIN: For maybe his agencies or, you know, maybe he told the story he told that, you know, it's hard you know, when they say that, it's always hard when you tell a lot of you have to keep telling a lot. I'm not saying he's lying. Maybe he was misled with him information --
PROKUPECZ (on-camera): But he hasn't changed his story, right?
[20:45:02] MCLAUGHLIN: No, no.
PROKUPECZ (on-camera): Since that Friday he did -- and then he did the Senate hearing.
PROKUPECZ (on-camera): And I think that --
MCLAUGHLING: Was it -- which was --
PROKUPECZ (on-camera): Which was even more he was even more emphatic about chief Arredondo being the man who was responsible for everything here blaming everything on him.
MCLAUGHLIN: Well, again, you know, every agency in that hallway is going to have to share the blame. And like I said, again, I'll go back to when have you ever seen a federal or state law enforcement officer take their cues from local law enforcement?
PROKUPECZ (on-camera): DPS is a big agency in this state.
PROKUPECZ (on-camera): The governor, I mean, they were --
PROKUPECZ (on-camera): So do you think McCraw should step aside, should step down, should resign?
MCLAUGHLIN: You know, I think the he's going to have to be held accountable. When this is all said and done to. We all are. I mean, like I said, I mean, you can't your story can't change of something is horrific. Three times, four times in three days. And that's what it's done.
Let's be candid.
PROKUPECZ (on-camera): Yes.
MCLAUGHLIN: I mean, when I got to that scene, there were 30 to 40 DPS officers already on scene. In the various videos you see from outside, you see DPS officers run around with flak jackets own and ballistic helmets own a different thing. That's video that's been shown on the outside. But yet, we want to talk about no presence of DPS there in the hallway. I know at one time, there were 14 of them in the hallway. Now, if they stayed there or not, I can't tell you because I hadn't seen the video.
But I mean, you know, like I said, if this is a failure, it's a failure on everybody's part.
PROKUPECZ (on-camera): Well, it is, it is a failure. You can't say if this is a failure?
PROKUPECZ (on-camera): You have to say it is failure.
MCLAUGHLIN: It is a failure. But I mean, that failure every agency has to own (INAUDIBLE).
PROKUPECZ (on-camera): Right. Your issue is that everything is being pointed towards one place?
PROKUPECZ (on-camera): In some way.
MCLAUGHLIN: And if we put the truth, if we point everything over here, then the truth is not going to come out. And these families in this community, they deserve to know what happened.
PROKUPECZ (on-camera): Are you concerned that the truth is not going to come out?
MCLAUGHLIN: I think we will get to the truth. I think they put themselves back themselves in a corner. They don't have a way out yet. And they're just trying to figure out, how do you, because they've released so much BS, in my opinion, that they put themselves in a corner. So how do you come out of the corner?
COOPER: He's -- the allegation he's making is a serious one. And it's an important point that he's making. He's essentially saying that the Texas Department of Public Safety is focusing all, you know, their blame on Arredondo who understandably, why they might do that, be given Arredondo's lack of decision making in the moment. But he's saying that the Texas Department of Public Safety had officers in that hallway as well. And they bears should bear some responsibility as well. Correct?
PROKUPECZ: Right, that's exactly what he's saying Anderson, he feels that everything is being directed towards the one chief here, Chief Arredondo who runs the school district, and then none of the blame is being placed on any of the other officials there from the state. You know, DPS is a very large organization here, they certainly have different kinds of training, they're more experienced, certainly than the school police and perhaps even Chief Arredondo.
So that's why he's saying, well, what is it that the head of the DPS here the Colonel McCraw, what is it that he feels, he feels he's hiding something because every time he does any kind of statement about this, or when he testified, before the state senators here, everything was blamed on the local officials and that everything that DPS may have been doing on scene was left out in that in that testimony, Anderson.
COOPER: And how's DPS responded?
PROKUPECZ: So, you know, they're really not talking about this anymore, because they say there's this investigation and the district attorney's office who many people have issues here with how she's conducting herself and how she's doing the investigation, families and local officials. But they're saying that they're not permitted to talk about this because of her investigation but they also say that look, they're working with the other investigators involved in this and that they expect that at some point that that information regarding what happened here will come out.
COOPER: You know, I said this days after the slaughter there to you and you've been doing such a remarkable job staying on this. It's so important to stay on this because a lot of these officials want nothing more than to this to just go away and issue some report down the road that no one reads or pays attention to. I'm so glad you're there and on it
Shimon Prokupecz, thank you.
Still to come tonight, there's more ahead. New information on the next public hearing of the January 6 committee, plus whether they plan a criminal referral for the former president.
Also new tape the disturbing phone calls and voicemails the office of one Republican committee member has been receiving.
COOPER: Just short time ago the January 6 committee announced its next hearing will be a week from today July 12th at 10:00 a.m. It did not announce any witnesses nor the topic. But Congressman Adam Schiff, who is on the committee previously said that the next hearing will focus on quote efforts to assemble that mob in the mall, end quote. As well as the connections between the former president's allies and extremist groups at the capitol that day.
Now the hearings have drawn wide attention the previous one with witness Cassidy Hutchinson drew about 13 million viewers according to Nielsen. With that attention has also come threats of violence against members of the committee Republican. Congressman Adam Kinzinger today published a series of voicemails and phone calls his office has received. We're going to play a short portion of them now. We want you the language is graphic, and include threats of violence.
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Are you little (INAUDIBLE) sucker. Going to come protest in front of your house this weekend. We know who your family is and we're going to get you, get little (INAUDIBLE) sucker. You (INAUDIBLE) little bastard. Going to get your wife, going to get your kids. You little (INAUDIBLE) bastard.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You son of a (INAUDIBLE). You gave $200 to that black bastard had killed Ashli Babbitt. I hope some, somebody like him kills your nasty mom, and your nasty wife. It's not a threat. It's a hope.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You're going to swing (INAUDIBLE) treason, you communist (INAUDIBLE).
(END AUDIO CLIP)
COOPER: Also this weekend the other Republican member of the committee, Congresswoman Liz Cheney indicated that the committee could make a criminal referral for the former president, perhaps others. Listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So we did that the committee will or will not make a criminal referral?
REP. LIZ CHENEY (R-WY): We'll make a decision as a committee about it.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So it's possible there'll be a criminal referral.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Which would be effectively the committee saying that he should be prosecuted and this evidence that we've --
CHENEY: The Justice Department doesn't have to wait for the committee to make a criminal referral, and there could be more than one criminal referral.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Separately, the special grand jury in an independent probe in Georgia has subpoenaed key allies of the former president include Rudy Giuliani, Senator Lindsey Graham, and another legal adviser John Eastman.
Joining me now is Congresswoman Zoe Lofgren, a member of the January 6 Select Committee.
Congresswoman, thanks so much for being with us.
You heard the threatening voicemails that Congressman Kinzinger received. Do you think people grasp how dangerous it has become for lawmakers and other current and former government workers who want to share what they witnessed just to stand up for facts and the rule of law?
REP. ZOE LOFGREN (D-CA): Well, I don't know. But those calls were really despicable. I mean, in addition to Adam service in the Congress, he still flies planes for our militaries. And he's in the reserve and serves in the military. You know, I bet those callers don't realize what a patriotic American he really is, from his service in the Congress to his service in the military, and that those horrible comments are just despicable.
You know, people need to stand up and say that, and all the political parties, it can't just be Democrats condemning that were the voices of the Republican leaders in our country today. I want them to step forward and condemn this, all of us should be opposed to violence in the political sphere. And if there's violence from another quarter, I condemn it. It's not the way our country is supposed to run.
COOPER: As you know, the former president has turned to Congresswoman Cheney for suggesting he could face a criminal referral to the Justice Department. What do you make of his increasingly hostile reactions to your committee? Is that a sign? Do you think that that he is rattled by some of the testimony that has come forward?
LOFGREN: You know, I gave up long ago trying to psychoanalyze the former president. I don't know what's going on. But I do think --
COOPER: Your life is probably better off for it.
LOFGREN: It is much better, much simpler. But I do think that the information that the committee has been able to display is very telling. It's meaningful to people. I know some of his, for example, Mick Mulvaney, who I used to serve with, who was a former chief of staff really said this changes the picture completely. And so, people who have been very tied to the president are thinking it's very serious, and I think it is very serious.
COOPER: Congresswoman Cheney correctly pointed out that the Department of Justice doesn't have to wait for a criminal referral from the committee. Do you think a criminal referral from your committee would make a difference in some way with the Department of Justice?
LOFGREN: It's hard to know, there's no actual statutory process for doing it. It essentially amounts to sending a letter to the Department of Justice. I would hope that they're not waiting for a letter from us to take action. But as Liz said, we haven't had a discussion yet among the committee of whether to send a letter with the evidence to the DOJ or not, they should be working hard. They should be subpoenaing witnesses. They should be gathering evidence. And of course, we'll be, you know, not stand in their way of getting information pertinent to their quest.
COOPER: What is your reaction to the news that several the former president's allies were subpoenaed today by a Georgia special Grand Jury investigating the effort to overturn the election results?
LOFGREN: I think that's a very big deal. These are the individuals who we have shone through our hearings, conspired with bogus claims of fact, bogus legal theories to essentially overturn the democracy, and many of them have refused to really come in and tell the truth to us. They're going to find a very different situation in Georgia in this criminal grand jury. And I think it's a very important step forward. Obviously, we have no way of knowing the details of the investigation, but I think it is very significant.
COOPER: Yes. Congresswoman Zoe Lofgren, I really appreciate your time tonight. Thank you so much. LOFGREN: You bet. Anytime.
COOPER: Take care. The news continues. Want to hand things over to Kasie Hunt in "CNN TONIGHT." Kasie.