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At This Hour

Massacre at Thailand Child Care Center; Kidnapped California Family of Four Found Dead; Ian's Death Toll Soars to 125; U.S. Gas Prices Rise after OPEC+ Production Cut; Ukraine Suspected behind Killing of Putin Ally's Daughter. Aired 11-11:30a ET

Aired October 06, 2022 - 11:00   ET




KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR: Hello, everyone, AT THIS HOUR, a tragedy in Thailand; 2 dozen children killed in a massacre at a day care center.

Plus a CNN exclusive, an officer hired to protect students in Uvalde as she's under investigation over the horrible response to the Uvalde school shooting, leaving families disgusted.

And gas prices in California spike to a near record high. And the White House is grappling right now with how to respond to the blow coming from OPEC.

This is what we're watching AT THIS HOUR.


BOLDUAN: Thank you for being here. I'm Kate Bolduan.

It is nothing short of a horrific tragedy. A massacre at a day care center in Thailand. An attacker killed at least 36 people, most of them are children. Officials say the attack started when a man armed with a gun and a knife entered the childcare facility and police say most of the victims were stabbed.

Officials are saying the that attacker who killed himself is a former police officer. Selina Wang is tracking all of this live in Tokyo.

What is the very latest that you're learning?

SELINA WANG, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Kate, we're just getting new details from the police about this horrific tragedy. The death toll has risen to 37 people dead, including 24 children and one pregnant woman. Ten more are injured.

Earlier the Thai government has described this massacre as a mass shooting but now they say many of the people died from knife stabbing wounds. Police say that this 34-year-old gunman went to this nursery in northeastern Thailand, looking for his 2-year-old stepson. He went there and couldn't find him. He managed to enter a room where 24 children were sleeping during

their lunchtime naptime. He then began stabbing and shooting at the staff members and the children in the room. All but one child died in that room.

After that, police say the gunman drove back to his home; in the process he had run through passerbys (sic) and when he got home, he killed his stepson, his wife before taking his own life.

The Thai authorities put out a wanted man poster of this man before he killed himself at the scene afterwards in the aftermath, you could see images of the family members of the victims sobbing and weeping as the ambulances and medical workers are around.

In terms of motive, police have not ruled anything out including drug use, hallucination or personal stress but they have ordered a blood test. This gunman had been dismissed from the police force on drug charges. And just hours before the shooting he was in court, appearing in court on those drug charges, Kate.

BOLDUAN: Selina, thank you so much.

Unfortunately we need to go from one tragedy to another, this one in California. A family of four, including an 8-month-old baby, has been found dead. Two days after surveillance videos you're looking at here captured them being abducted at gunpoint.

A suspect is in police custody and talking to investigators. Natasha Chen is live in Los Angeles.

Natasha, what else are you learning here?

NATASHA CHEN, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: A devastating conclusion to the search. The family was looking for answers and they got one early evening yesterday. It is not the answer they were hoping for, however.

The sheriff did say that four family members were found in a rural orchard found by a farm worker and close together. But he didn't say how they died. Want to show you a little bit of the surveillance video that lawmaker shared with us from Monday, from family's place of business.

Their trucking business where the abduction happened, if you take a look at the surveillance, that is the two men there being led away with their hands tied behind their back with zipties.

And you could see a firearm in that man's hand later leading this woman and the 8-month-old baby girl down the back steps to the same truck where the other two men were.

Just a really difficult situation to try and figure out. Right now the sheriff's office said that they have been able to speak to the man they have in custody, which was difficult yesterday because he had tried to take his own life before law enforcement got involved.

So he was initially sedated. It took a while to try and have conversations with him. The sheriff wouldn't share details from what they're learning in those conversations.


CHEN: But could you tell that he was really emotional and angered by what he was learning.


SHERIFF VERN WARNKE, MERCED COUNTY, CALIFORNIA: The circumstances around this, when we are able to release everything, should anger the hell out of you on how things went down. I told the other crew here earlier, there is a special place in hell for this guy. And I'm hoping he -- he's there for a long time.


CHEN: And he's angered enough there to say that he's hoping for the death penalty; just to remind folks there is a moratorium on that in the state of California.

While we don't have an official motive, the sheriff did point to the ATM transaction of a card belonging to one of the victims and the suspect's history. So he said money may be part of this equation, Kate.

BOLDUAN: Natasha, thank you.

Joining me now is CNN chief law enforcement and intelligence analyst John Miller and NYPD former deputy commissioner of intelligence and counter-terrorism and has held so many other jobs it is hard to list them out.

John, what do you think of everything that Natasha has laid out, if you have picked more of what happened in California?

JOHN MILLER, CNN CHIEF LAW ENFORCEMENT AND INTELLIGENCE ANALYST: This is probably an economically driven crime. You're talking about Jesus Manuel Salgado, who went to jail in December of 2005 for an armed robbery of a female victim, intimidating a witness in the same case.

He gets out in June of 2015. What we see here is the kidnapping of four people, the attempt to use their ATM card. So it sounds like he is doing what his criminal history tells us.

BOLDUAN: Clearly the authorities say that he is communicating, he is speaking, also violent every time he comes out of sedation, is how they've described it. And they also say that he tried to kill himself before they got their hands on him.

But the sheriff, as Natasha plays some the sound, he said that they believe they're going to uncover before the end of this that there are more -- that there are more people involved here.

What would he or could he be basing that on?

MILLER: First of all, why that family and that location, what did he expect to get?

Clearly if you go by robbery as the motive, he thought there would be a windfall there, not just trying to get away with using their ATM card.

So that means who was part of the planning, who put him on to this target?

The second question is, it is hard but not impossible but hard for one individual even with a gun to control four people in a moving vehicle, bringing them in and out of locations, ultimately killing them.

So you really, as an investigator, have to leave open the possibility of people involved in the planning and targeting and people involved along the way.

BOLDUAN: And you could see from the sound that we played from the sheriff, he's furious, understandably furious, very angry.

The things that he's saying was that there is a special place in hell for people that would commit such a crime and not holding back, saying he would hope that this is a man that would get the death penalty if charged in all of the above.

I say you were going to speak and you've worked in and around law enforcement for so long.

I mean what do you think of that when you see, you know, the head of a department, the leader of any department who gets so emotional?

MILLER: Well, he's on the scene where these bodies have been found and in a farm fairly close together.

When you're looking at a baby who has been executed, a mom who has been executed, two other people who have been killed in cold blood by somebody who probably should have still been in jail, that's going to -- if it doesn't reach your emotions as a law enforcement official, then you're not human.

BOLDUAN: I want to ask you about the other horrible crime in Thailand at this day care center, so many children killed. Also this man, they believe, he was in court just hours before on drug charges. There is a ton of questions about what exactly a motive would be.

But from everything you've learned from criminal profiling, when you see the details of this, what are you thinking?

MILLER: Well, we've seen mass murders of children and we don't have to go all the way to Thailand. We could go as far as Newtown, Connecticut. We've seen people kill their own families when their life was in distress.

When a police officer is arrested on drug charges it is not just, well, I have to face a criminal charge. It is an upset of their entire identity. Yesterday I was a hero and now I'm a criminal and I'm a pariah. Fitting those two things together, the mass murder of children when he

shows up there, trying to get his children and they say that child isn't here, if I can't have my child, I'm taking everybody's child, that is a projection there.


MILLER: Going home and killing his wife and child, this is clearly some -- we're struggling to attach rationality to purely unrational (sic) acts. But this is clearly someone that was totally unglued.

BOLDUAN: Perfectly said. It is good to see you, John. Thank you very much.

We're going to move over to the Korean Peninsula right now because North Korea flew a dozen warplanes near the border with South Korea today, forcing the South to scramble fighter jets.

This was all just hours after North Korea testfired two more ballistic missiles. The United States, South Korea and Japan are trying to present a unified front in response to these latest moves from North Korea, with the U.S. Navy even moving assets to the region. Oren Liebermann is live at the Pentagon with the latest on this.

What are you hearing about all of this?

OREN LIEBERMANN, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: As North Korea seems and shows its determination to keep testing ballistic missiles, one this week that overflew Japan for the first time in years, the U.S. is determined to respond.

Its own show of military force, one that emphasizes the work with its allies in the region, with South Korea and Japan. Over the course of the past several days, we've seen several exercises.

Last Friday a U.S.-South Korea-Japan joint anti-submarine exercise led to aerial exercises with those countries, in which the U.S. and South Korea test fires a JDAM. That is a guided bomb.

And then the U.S. and South Korea test fired four ATACMS, those are long range precision guided missiles as a show of force.

And this missile defense exercise with the U.S. and South Korea and Japan. According to the South Korea Joint Chiefs of Staff, the purpose was to improvement the ability to detect and intercept a North Korean ballistic missile launch.

So that is the emphasis here. But it is not just the ballistic missile launches. Also North Korea flying aircraft in such a way that forced South Korea to scramble 30 aircraft in response. Secretary of state Antony Blinken saying nothing good if North Korea continues upon this path.


ANTONY BLINKEN, SECRETARY OF STATE: We believe that North Korea would be much better served by not only refraining from these actions but actually engaging in dialogue.

I think what we're seeing is that if they continue down this road, it will only increase the condemnation, increase the isolation, increase the steps that are taken in response to their actions.


LIEBERMANN: The U.S. ambassador to the U.N. has said there are two countries that have provided cover for North Korea without naming them. That was a clear reference to Russia and China.

BOLDUAN: Oren, thank you so much for that.

Coming up for us, people in southwest Florida return home for the first time, returning to an island community and their homes that are unrecognizable. A live report is next.





BOLDUAN: The death toll from hurricane Ian is soaring to at least 125 now. More than a week after the storm, people who had been living in some of Florida's hardest hit areas like Sanibel Island are returning now to see what is left.

CNN's Randi Kaye is live in Naples, been there all along and rode along with some of the residents heading home for the first time.

What did they find?

RANDI KAYE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It was really emotional. A lot of people had not seen their homes since the storm. The couple that we rode with had evacuated. They thought they would be gone for a few days and finally looked at their home yesterday.

It is amazing the house was still standing but there was mud and muck and mold all over the lower level. And they're going to have pay for that themselves because flood insurance on Sanibel Island does not cover the lower level. Here is what they told us about their home.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This was our dream home. This was our last home. This is where we were going to spend our quiet, simple life together. This was the last house. And we keep looking for the quiet, simple life. And although Sanibel provided it to us for two years, it was wonderful --

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Until Ian took it away.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: -- until Ian took it away. (END VIDEO CLIP)

KAYE: And in their garage their mini Cooper was destroyed and it was full of mud and the water had gotten up to six feet in the lower level. But they do plan to rebuild because they do have hurricane and flood insurance for the rest of their home.

The state of Florida is getting some data that we've had access to in terms of how many people died here and what they died from. It looks like dozens of people died during hurricane Ian from drowning. Of 72 deaths, drowning is listed as possible or a known circumstance in 40 of those cases, Kate.

BOLDUAN: It is good to see you, thank you so much for reporting this out. It is so tragic to see that number -- the death toll has risen that high and now we're seeing what these people have died from.

Gas prices we need to turn to because gas is on the rise. AAA is reporting the national average gallon is $3.87, up 10 cents in the last week. In Los Angeles County, the sticker shock is setting in, averaging $6.49.

And prices are likely to keep rising after OPEC announcing it will cut oil production by 2 million barrels a day. Let's talk about the impact of all of this. Joining me now is Mark Zandi, the chief economist for Moody's Analytics.

Good to see you. The announcement is from OPEC, this is the opposite of what the Biden administration wants and needs.


BOLDUAN: I'll play how one White House adviser reacted to OPEC's decision today. Listen.


AMOS HOCHSTEIN , STATE DEPARTMENT SENIOR ADVISER FOR GLOBAL ENERGY SECURITY: OPEC+, led by Saudi Arabia and Russia, were -- what they did yesterday was a huge mistake and unwarranted. Prices are frankly, when they say there is -- energy security has a price, that is true. But not this price.


BOLDUAN: Mark, do you see it as OPEC weaponizing oil at this point?

MARK ZANDI, ECONOMIST, MOODY'S ANALYTICS: Well, it is not good, Kate. It is certainly not helpful. Just to give you a sense of it, the one thing that you note, it is 2 million barrel per day cut.

But in reality it is closer to 1 million because you have some OPEC producers that weren't producing at their quota prior to this. So that is still not great. But it is not as bad as the 2 million would suggest. It is probably going to add, $5, $10 to a barrel and probably 35-40

cents to a gallon of gas. So we're going to be back over $4 a gallon. So that is not good.

You know, I don't know I would go so far as to say they're weaponizing oil. I think they're doing things in their own best interest. They want to generate as much revenue as they possibly can so they will raise prices to generate that revenue.

Hopefully it doesn't undermine global demand and hurt the global economy to a significant degree. So they're doing it in their own self-interest. It's pretty tough when the United States and most other countries are working hard to get inflation back down.

So it would have been nice if they could have held off here and let us get inflation back in. And then think about doing something like this. So not helpful.

But I don't know if I would go so far as to say it is weaponizing oil.

BOLDUAN: The way the president reacted to it today is that it is a disappointment.

And looking at the levers and other tools that could be used, what really can be done?

Tapping into the strategic reserve when it is an all-time low, is that smart to do?

ZANDI: I think it is. I think they will continue to do this. There is still plenty in the Strategic Petroleum Reserve. That is about a million barrels a day going to refineries so that is key to helping keep prices down.

The administration has been thinking about winding those releases down at this point; I would keep them in place to try to fill the void here left by these production cuts. So I think that is still very, very helpful.

BOLDUAN: Looking at the overall bigger picture, the IMF this morning said they believe the risk of recession is rising. And the way they said it is, even when growth is positive, it will feel like a recession because of shrinking real incomes and rising prices.

What do you think of this?

ZANDI: Yes, that is right. I do think that, under any scenario, it is going to be a struggle right, because we've got this very high inflation. We've got to get that back in. A reserve and other central banks are raising interest rates to slow down the economy's growth rate, to quell the raise in price pressures.

So it is going to feel uncomfortable over the next 12, 18, 24 months. But I will say there is a meaningful difference between a slowing in the economy's growth rate and coming to a standstill and going into recession. If you go into recession, that means a lot of jobs will be lost and

unemployment will go higher. To give you context, in the average recession since World War II -- and there has been 12 of them -- the unemployment rate would go from 3.7 percent, which is where it is, to 6 percent.

That is a lot of financial pain and suffering. So we don't want to go into a recession but I think the IFM is right, even if we don't, it will be a struggle.

BOLDUAN: It is good to see you, Mark. Thank you for coming in.

Coming up for us, Brittney Griner's wife talking about the sad conversations that she's having with her wife, who is still in a Russian prison.


CHERELLE GRINER, BRITTNEY'S WIFE: She's like, you know, saying things to me like, my life just don't even matter no more.






BOLDUAN: There is a new twist today about that car bombing assassination of the daughter of a prominent Putin ally. Sources are telling CNN that the U.S. intelligence community believes the bomb that killed Darya Dugina was authorized by elements within the Ukrainian government.

CNN's Natasha Bertrand is live in Washington.

What else are you learning about this?

NATASHA BERTRAND, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: So what we're learning is that the U.S. international community have intelligence suggesting that elements within the Ukrainian government, certain officials, authorized an attack on Alexander Dugin, who is a prominent political figure in Russia, a thought leader there.

But what happened was they got his daughter because she was driving his car at the time of this attack.