Return to Transcripts main page

At This Hour

Dramatic Images Appear To Show Russian Warship Before It Sank; 6 Killed, Dozens Hurt As Explosions Rock Schools In Kabul; Police Called For Noise Complaint Prior To Pittsburgh Mass Shooting. Aired 11:30a-12p ET

Aired April 19, 2022 - 11:30   ET



KATE BOLDUAN, CNN HOST: It's really great to see you in person after so long. You've been on this ship. We have these conflicting reports still, these new images out, what are you hearing about it?

MATTHEW CHANCE, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: I mean, well, the conflicting reports are really about how it sank. I mean, we now know it's definitely sunk. The Russians have confirmed that, the Ukrainian said that almost straight away. But it's how it got to that -- into that position.

What the Ukrainians say is that they hit it with a couple of anti-ship missiles that they developed themselves called Neptune missiles like cruise missiles, and that cause such damage to the hull of this -- of this ship that it soon you know capsized and sank to the bottom of the sea. The Russians haven't talked about that at all. What they've said is that there was a fire on board that it spread to the ammunition storage facility, it set some ammo off, and the damage caused by that, not Ukrainian fire, is what plunged it to the bottom of the -- bottom of the sea, the Black Sea where it is.

But you know, the point is this flagship vessel, one of the most powerful ships in the Russian Navy now is no more, it's gone. And that sends a very powerful message. And is a really strong blow for the Russians that it lost the flagship of the Black Sea Fleet.

BOLDUAN: Matthew, I was going to ask you about that because it's been described as a tactical victory for Ukraine, regardless of how it went down, right, because it's out of commission, but it is also a symbolic victory for Ukraine and a big embarrassment for Russia. How important have you been finding that these symbols -- these symbolic wins and losses are in this war?

CHANCE: Well, they're incredibly important. But I mean, you're right to say it's a tactical win as well because I mean, this is a powerful ship that was launching cruise missiles against targets in Ukraine. It was also a platform for air defenses. And so it enabled Russian aircraft to -- you know, to provide cover for them in the skies over Ukraine.

When I visited the ship, was it seven years ago when it was off the coast of Syria, that's the reason it was deployed there to provide cover for Russian warplanes as they attack targets on the ground inside Syria. But you're right, apart from the tactical side of things, it's a hugely symbolic victory. I mean, this is the flagship of the Black Sea Fleet. It's so important to the Russians.

In the sense that -- you know look, we're watching Russian state television the other day, they've hardly even mentioned this you know in their main news bulletin, their current affairs show, which is three hours long at the weekend, it only was a 32nd item, an hour into the -- an hour into the show. So they're really trying to keep this under wraps and they're not admitting that this was a battlefield loss.

BOLDUAN: And one of the mysteries now is what -- that Russia hasn't released, as far as I know, any information about casualties or really what's happened with the crew that was on board. I mean, are you -- are you hearing that people in Russia are starting to questions?

CHANCE: Yes. I mean, again, part of that, you know, process that that policy of trying to keep the lid on this has meant that the casualties that were inevitable when you see a ship like that lost at sea, they're not being mentioned, either. I mean, there was some video that emerged, it was broadcast on state television of the Admiral of the Fleet, sort of inspecting the survivors, the crew had said from onboard the Moskva, the ship that had been evacuated onto the shore.

But there's lots of stories emerging about the people who may have been lost, that there's been, you know, parents of the sailors on board that can't find their sons, either on the list of casualties or in the list of missing persons. They just sort of seem to have disappeared. And so, you know, we've seen this before in Russia when it suffers a horrific loss like this. It does whatever it can -- whatever a state can do to cover up as much as -- as much as possible. But you know when you've got families involved, when you got parents involved looking for their kids, you know, it's very hard to do that even in Russia.

BOLDUAN: I also wanted to ask you. You're reporting in Ukraine throughout this war has been essential. I mean, you were in -- you were in Ukraine as the initial invasion set in and I remember -- I remember we were on the phone with you and in one 24-hour period, we were talking about it afterward, you were navigating this bombed-out roadway, which was just remarkable to see, walk -- navigating past dead bodies of dead soldiers and also live grenades.

And then in the same 24-hour period, you're one of the first reporters to get into the bunker to interview President Zelenskyy after the initial invasion. I mean, just -- it's been essential, Matthew. What has -- it's not over but what is stuck with you most in this war so far?

CHANCE: Well, let me first say that -- I mean, I put a lot of years of work --


CHANCE: Into establishing my contacts in Ukraine. I've been traveling there for many, many years, more than 10, maybe 15 years I've been going in and out of Ukraine, certainly since the beginning of this Zelenskyy presidency. But what stuck out to me the most of this particular moment is the fact that it happened at all.

I mean, I was standing there on that hotel rooftop in the center of Kyiv, and before the cruise missiles started to land and started to crash into the outskirts of the city, I did not think that Putin -- that Russia would take this step that he would cross the Rubicon into a full-on conflict in Ukraine.


CHANCE: Obviously, looking back on it, looking at all the wars that I've covered from Putin -- I've been covering Russia since before Putin was around, I've covered all of his wars. And there is a progression -- a progression -- a progressive use by him of violence to assert Russia on the -- on the domestic and international stage. This is just another step that he took.

But still, it was immensely surprising to me that he took this step because the strategy that he had beforehand of threatening war of getting concessions from the U.S. and from the West, was already working without a bullet haven't been fired. And so it was surprising to me and to a lot of other people who watch Russia very closely that he would pull the trigger on this conflict.

BOLDUAN: No, we are where we are.

CHANCE: We are.

BOLDUAN: It's great to see you, Matthew, thank you.

CHANCE: You too.

BOLDUAN: Great to see you. Coming up for us, multiple explosions rocking schools in Kabul, several people have been killed, including students. We've got the breaking details coming up in a live report. That's next.



BOLDUAN: Also tracking some breaking news. Multiple explosions rocking two schools in Kabul, Afghanistan, at least six people are believed dead, dozens more injured. CNN's Arwa Damon is tracking the latest for us. She joins us now. Arwa, what are you hearing about this?

ARWA DAMON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Kate, this is absolutely heart-wrenching and gutting, especially for all those families who said goodbye to each other this morning, only to then be confronted by the sort of horrific violence. Many people still trying to find out if their loved ones are dead or alive, injured, somewhere potentially buried underneath the rubble.

What we do know is that among those dozens who were injured, at least seven of them were children. These attacks were targeting a boy's high school and an educational center, happening in a western part of the capital Kabul, an area that is predominantly Hazara Shia Muslim. And here is how one eyewitness described the aftermath.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE1: Speaking a foreign language.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: When we went outside, we saw the suicide attack happen there. When we wanted to see what had happened, the area was full of smoke, dust, and blood. People were running away and crying. Their condition was not good.


DAMON: Others have described the rather gruesome direct aftermath of what the force of these explosions did to some of the people that were in the closest vicinity of it. We also saw images of blood-splattered, notebooks and schoolbooks. Getting information from the ground has been quite difficult. The Taliban has not been all that forthcoming.

And from numerous people who CNN spoke to throughout the course of the day journalists included, they said that the Taliban was preventing the media from reporting from the site. It's worth noting, Kate, that the Hazara community has been regularly persecuted and targeted pretty much throughout its history, and this very same neighborhood in Kabul, this very same area back in May 2021 also targeted. In that case, it was school girls who were targeted and at least 85 people were killed in that attack a year ago, Kate.

BOLDUAN: Arwa, thank you so much for the update. I really appreciate it. Also developing right now, attorneys for the family of a black man killed by police in Grand Rapids, Michigan, they're releasing new details about his death now. Patrick Lyoya's family, they just wrapped a news conference and during it they announced the results of an independent autopsy and saying it confirmed that Lyoya was shot in the back of the head while he was lying facedown on the ground.


BEN CRUMP, ATTORNEY FOR FAMILY OF PATRICK LYOYA: We told the Lyoya family that we will be intentional and very intense in investigating every aspect of how this Grand Rapids police officer escalated a simple misdemeanor traffic stop and to a deadly execution with him shooting an unarmed civilian in the back of his head. The autopsy -- find this from the independent autopsy.


BOLDUAN: So Patrick Lyoya, he was 26 years old when he was killed earlier this month during a struggle with a police officer following a traffic stop. Part of that stop was caught on police body camera video that we've shown here on the show. His family has called for the officer to be fired and charged. The officer has not yet been named. The State Police are still investigating. Coming up for us, new details in that deadly mass shooting in Pittsburgh, police called to the home 90 minutes before shots rang out. That's next.



BOLDUAN: There are some new developments in that deadly mass shooting out of Pittsburgh. Police now say that they responded to a noise complaint at the rental home 90 minutes before shots rang out. We're also seeing a new video from inside that huge party where it all unfolded.





BOLDUAN: You can see people just clearly running for their lives when the shots rang out. Police say the shooters are still on the loose right now. CNN's Shimon Prokupecz is here with more on this. That video is terrifying, Shimon. What do you hearing?

SHIMON PROKUPECZ, CNN CRIME AND JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: It's certainly terrifying. And now you understand why some of the people were jumping out of windows to get out of that -- get out of that house. So as you said this 90-minute call -- this call 90 minutes before the shooting started was for a noise complaint, that that's what the police say. They say they went there, they didn't see anything unusual.


PROKUPECZ: They did warn an adult male there that if they had to come back, if there was another call or another noise complaint, that they would shut the party down. Obviously, many more people arrived since the time the police were there too when the shooting started so perhaps maybe that's why they didn't see all the number of minors that were there. The police have said that the majority of the people that were in that home were minors.

We're also learning the identity of two of the 17-year -olds that were killed, high school students there in the area. One of them is Mathew Steffy-Ross. I believe we have a photo of this 17-year-old. You know, reading the local papers there, the principal of the school said that he was a talented kid, he was into music. And then also the second individual is Jaden Brown, 17 years old also, and he goes to school there in the neighborhood. At least four of the other victims are students in that neighborhood.

So, the schools have had a lot to deal with counseling and trying to help some of the kids there with support services. Four people that were in the hospital have been released. One of them remains at the hospital. But obviously, there are some questions City Council folks, they're asking questions about why is it that the police didn't do more in the 90 minutes before that? So that is something that local officials are trying to figure out.

BOLDUAN: And remind folks that the least all the -- all the reporting out there is that there was something maybe up to like 200 people goes at this rental home.

PROKUPECZ: That's rights. Multiple guns were used, police believed because they've had -- 100 shots were fired, and they have different shell casings from different guns.

BOLDUAN: Unbelievable.

PROKUPECZ: So the question is, why aren't people coming -- more people aren't coming forward? So that's something that's certainly very troublesome for the community there and for the police. And also this was an Airbnb. So, Airbnb says they're going to be suing the renter of this property because this should not have happened. They prohibit parties at rentals. So this is something that Airbnb is dealing with. And then obviously, the individuals responsible for this, what's going on with that and that's the big question as this manhunt continues.

BOLDUAN: And still, as far as we know, is still right now, no suspects named, no suspects found.

PROKUPECZ: That's right.

BOLDUAN: And so that's at least those bullets -- Shimon, thank you very much for that update. Let's get a further update now. Joining me right now is Pittsburgh's police chief, Scott Schubert. Chief, thanks for coming back in. We were just playing some of that cell phone video that has -- gives us a view into the house as the shots were being fired. It's really quite terrifying. What is your department turned up so far?

SCOTT SCHUBERT, CHIEF, PITTSBURGH POLICE: It -- yes, it is. It's terrifying. It's heartbreaking to see that level of violence with that many people in that place. Our detectives are actively working on the case. You know, talking to people, pulling up videos, going on social media, doing everything they can to help piece it together and ultimately to bring the -- those that are responsible to justice.

BOLDUAN: 48 hours later, give or take, when you have as many as 200 people at that party and as we know, all of them with cell phones, and you haven't been able to name a suspect yet, what's going on? What's holding -- what's the challenge, do you think?

SCHUBERT: Well, it's right now just working, trying to piece it together. We do have some people who have come forward but we still need more. We know there were a lot of people there and you know, I'm sure there's people with video, with photos before this happened that may have captured the people with the guns on that. So our detectives are diligently working to piece that together. We're working with the FBI, the ATF, and other local law enforcement agencies to help us with this, and it's a top priority for us. BOLDUAN: Chief, do you suspect gun -- gang violence is involved here?

SCHUBERT: No, I don't -- I don't believe that. But that still you know, pending the investigation it seems like there was some sort of altercation and then shots were exchanged.

BOLDUAN: You said yesterday the -- an officer was called to the house for a noise complaint about 90 minutes before the shooting. So was something missed?

SCHUBERT: It doesn't appear to be that. You know, we looked into that. We get calls across the city you know every day almost on loud music and the officers were dispatched, they went there, is the officer pulled up there was somebody standing near the entrance to the -- to the residence and asked him are you the resident? He said no, he's upstairs. And came downstairs and the officer talked to him said hey, you know we got a complaint for loud music, you need to keep it down, and if -- you know if we get another call and we come back then there's other consequences for it. But nothing stood out to give an appearance of something that was wrong in -- the officers went back in service.

BOLDUAN: Chief, are you optimistic you're going to be able to find out who did this, or are you hitting -- are you hitting some kind of a wall here?


SCHUBERT: No, no, I'm optimistic. You know I have the utmost confidence and respect in our detectives that are handling this case, and our partnership with the FBI, ATF, and others that are helping us, you know, it's -- we just got to, you know, keep looking, keep going through things, it's meticulous, and trying to come up with the images to identify the shooters.

BOLDUAN: And part of this, of course -- I mean, this is a tragedy for Pittsburgh, but also your city is now the new focal point of the country's ongoing gun violence, problem, and crisis. I'm sure you know that. What do you say to that?

SCHUBERT: I do. Yes, I do. And, you know, I wish we were here under better circumstances and I wish we didn't have two young men die from this, you know. But it is. It's a -- it's a national issue crime, his -- and violent crime has risen in every city and across the country and you know, there's a number of illegal guns out on the street more than I've ever seen before.

And the fact that you have Glock trigger switches, which turn a weapon from, you know, semi-automatic to full automatic, the extended magazines, drum magazines, it's just -- it's incredible how many are out there and how many are in the hands with of juveniles as well. So we have to do everything we can.

We need responsible ownership of firearms for securing them, we get a lot that are stolen out of vehicles and burglaries, and people trading them for drugs in straw purchases. So all of us, this isn't just the law enforcement thing, but we all got to come together and try to get this fixed and save lives.

BOLDUAN: And first and foremost, it's picking up these -- picking up the suspects and people who did this and killed those two boys. It's good to see you, Chief. Thank you for coming in. Thank you all so much for being here. I'm Kate Bolduan. INSIDE POLITICS starts after this.