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At This Hour

Five Killed in Colorado Springs' Club Q Bar; Man Who Tackled Club Q Gunman Details Incident; Lindsey Graham to Testify before Georgia Grand Jury; Interview with Senator John Hickenlooper (D-CO) on Red Flag Laws. Aired 11-11:30a ET

Aired November 22, 2022 - 11:00   ET




VANESSA YURKEVICH, CNN BUSINESS AND POLITICS CORRESPONDENT: If just one rail union does not come up with a deal by their deadline, all of the rail unions, all 12 will head out on strike -- Jim.

JIM SCIUTTO, CNN ANCHOR AND CHIEF NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: We'll see if they can make a deal in time for that deadline. Vanessa, thank you so much.


SCIUTTO: Thanks to all of you for joining us today during this holiday week. I'm Jim Sciutto. "AT THIS HOUR" with Kate Bolduan starts right now.


KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR: Hello, everyone.

AT THIS HOUR, the U.S. Army veteran who disarmed a gunman inside a Colorado bar speaks to CNN as we are learning about each of the five people killed in that attack. We'll bring that to you.

Plus Vice President Kamala Harris laying out what she intends to do if President Biden runs for a second term.

And the World Cup is becoming about much more than just the game as controversies and protests are competing with all of the action on the field.

This is what we're watching AT THIS HOUR.


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

Police and officials in Colorado, they have now identified all of the five victims killed by a gunman inside an LGBTQ+ bar. And that is where we're going to start off today, telling their stories and remembering their lives.

We're also hearing from one of the heroes of the tragedy, Richard Fierro, an Army veteran, who authorities credit with saving many lives and subduing the gunman until police arrived.

Officials say the shooter had multiple firearms on him, including an AR-15-style rifle. That suspect is facing murder and hate charges today. Rosa Flores is starting us off.

What more are you learning about the victims from the attack?

ROSA FLORES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: We're learning more about their -- about them from their families, Kate. They issued statements.

Daniel Aston, his family saying that he moved to Colorado Springs to be close to his mom and dad.

Raymond Green Vance, he was 22. And his family described him as being kind and selfless and gifted and always willing to go out of his way for anyone.

Kelly Loving; her sister, Tiffany, said that she was a good person, that she was loving and carrying and sweet and everyone loved her.

Ashley Paugh, her husband saying they were high school sweethearts and she worked at a nonprofit that helps foster children find homes.

And Derrick Rump; I spoke to a survivor, Ed Sanders, who knew Derrick very well, who said that he was such a kind person and he always made sure that he had a ride home and, if he didn't, Derrick would give him a ride home, he said.

Now all this as we are learning more about the suspect and his condition. At this point what we know from police is that he is still hospitalized. He has not made statements to police and he has not been formally charged.

But the DA here does say that he is being held, pending multiple charges. Now some of the charges could include first degree murder and hate crimes. And the DA said that those charges could be expanded, especially because, Kate, as you know, not only did five people die, there were 19 others who were injured.

And so we, of course, are learning more about what happened here from them and the survivors.

BOLDUAN: Absolutely. Rosa, thank you so much for that.

So I mentioned off the top, Army veteran Richard Fierro. He went to Club Q on Saturday to celebrate a friend's birthday, he says, with his family. They were watching a drag show when the gunfire erupted.

And Fierro said that, at that moment, his combat instincts from four deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan is what kicked in. Police are crediting him and another patron, Thomas James, with stopping the tragedy from being even worse, tackling the gunman and beating him with his own gun to stop him.

Now by the end of the night, three of Fierro's loved ones were shot and one of them died. John Berman spoke with Fierro last night about it all.


MAJ. RICHARD FIERRO, U.S. ARMY (RET.), Q CLUB HERO: I saw the shooter. I had no idea what was going on.

But apparently I saw him going to the patio area because I saw a lot of people in the window. It may not even have been a window. But I saw a lot of people and this guy was there and I saw the ACU pattern flag pits, and for me that was like, there's a handle, I'm getting it.

So I ran across the room, grabbed the handle, pulled them down, and then started to -- I think I went for his gun with him. His rifle flew in front of him. And the young man that tried to jump in there with me.

He -- we both either pulled him down or whatever, but he ended up at his head right next to the AR and then with the AR, I told him push the AR. Get the AR away from him.

The kid pushed the AR, I don't know what his name was.


FIERRO: And then I proceeded to take his other weapon, a pistol, and then just start hitting him where I could, but the armor is in the way and I just started -- I found a crease in his -- between his armor and his head, and I just heard wailing away with his gun.

And then I told the kid in front of me, kick him, keep kicking him. And we were -- I was guided them. I was telling people, "Call 9-1-1. Call 9-1-1."

I brought him down. I was in mode. I was -- I was doing what I did, I do down-range, you know? I trained for this.

I don't want to ever do this. I didn't even retire, because I was just -- I was done doing this stuff. It was too much. And I -- you know, it came in handy.

And I got to protect my kid. I lost my kid's boyfriend. I tried. I tried with everybody in there. I just -- there's five people that didn't go home. And this (INAUDIBLE), this guy, I told him while I was hitting him, I said, "I'm going to kill you, man, because you tried to kill my friends. My family was in there."

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: We're so sorry for the loss that you and your family have gone through, for the loss of your daughter's boyfriend. And we are so sorry for your two friends that are still recovering in there. And I can't imagine going through you and your family did, even with your training.

Your training was for a war zone. You trained to do that in combat, you know, not out for a night on the town.

FIERRO: Yes, but it lives in you. If you actually do this stuff, it is in you. I was proud to be a soldier. I don't like these guys running around here doing GI Joe stuff and they're not. I'm not a GI Joe. I'm just a normal guy, man.

I'm protecting my family and I reached up and I did what I had do it. And honestly, I don't care about myself in that moment. I cared about everybody that was around me and I cared especially about my family.

As soon as I got done with that guy and the cop came in, I went across the room and started first aid with my friend who was shot in the chest and the legs and the arms.

And I told her, "Joanne (ph), stay with me. Look me in the eye. Stay with me."

And I moved her head so she wouldn't see her heart because she was shot.

And Chip was right there, her husband was reaching for her. I put her hand in his hand so that they can be together. I didn't know that if they were going to make it.

This guy, man. This whole thing was a lot.

My daughter and wife should have never experienced combat in Colorado Springs and everybody in that building experienced combat that night, not to their own accord but because they were forced to.

And I told my daughter, for me, downrange, it was always, hey, get in the next patrol, get in the next patrol and you're done. Get over it. Get in the next patrol.

They don't have that option. Nobody in that building has the option to get on the next patrol. They have to live with this now to whatever -- it is a lot for any human, man.

This kid that was helping me, he was kicking another human in the head and I told him to do it.


BOLDUAN: Joining me now is Jessi Hazelwood, a friend of Derrick Rump, a bartender at Club Q, who was killed in that attack.

Jessi, thank you so much for coming on. I'm so sorry for you and your family and your community and everyone going through this. And we just heard from Richard Fierro and you could clearly feel his emotion in all of this.

But how are you today?

Where is your heart and head?

JESSI HAZELWOOD, DERRICK RUMP'S FRIEND: My heart is with my community today. I think that, more than anything, we just need to be leaning on each other in this time.

BOLDUAN: Yes. I've been reading so much --


BOLDUAN: Oh, I'm sorry go ahead.

HAZELWOOD: No, go ahead. It's OK.

BOLDUAN: I've been reading so many tributes about your friend, Derrick, that describe him as he was heart of Club Q, that he was seen as the glue that held together the queer community in Colorado Springs. And very sweetly I saw it written that if you heard Britney playing, you knew he was behind the bar that night.

How do you describe your friend?

Tell me about him.

HAZELWOOD: Derrick and Daniel both were some of the first people I met when I moved to Colorado. And I moved from an area that wasn't very open to the LGBTQ community. And when I came here it was --


HAZELWOOD: -- I was unsure of what the community was like. And I was introduced to Club Q and immediately I felt at home. Just like so many other people, everybody in this community has some kind of connection to Club Q or to the community surrounding Club Q and supporting Club Q for everything that it has done for the LGBT.

There is so many people who have come out at Club Q, because they couldn't come out at home, because they couldn't come out to their families. So we created a community, they created a community for us to feel safe and to be able to choose our family, to choose who is going to support us and know us, our true selves.

Derrick and Daniel were the light in the heart of Club Q. And I think it is interesting, a lot of us, we don't say, like, oh, the LGBTQ community; we say the Club Q community because that is what it is here in Colorado Springs. It is the Club Q community.

It is a facility that gave us a safe space to be who we are all the time. And Derrick and Daniel especially were always the glue -- yes, correct -- the heart that kept everything together. If anybody was having a hard time, if anybody was new to the community, they always had open arms for everybody.

Even people who weren't part of the LGBTQ community could go there and celebrate their friendships, their allyships because they made everybody feel safe. They made everybody feel like they could be exactly who they are all of the time.

BOLDUAN: And what is it -- what does it mean now to have this glue, these beautiful souls gone from the community but gone from your life? And also it has been described in terms of Club Q as a safe haven, as

you're describing it as well, just kind of having that safety of really shattered in just a tragic way.

HAZELWOOD: I don't think that our community could ever replicate the sense of Club Q that it was with Derrick and Daniel. I don't think we'll ever be able to be exactly the same.

I do think that it is very important for us to lean on the ones that we love and the ones that we hold dear to us now more than ever, to show that we are united, regardless of these acts of horror. I don't think that we will ever be able to be the same. And I don't think anybody can expect us to be.

But I think it is very, very important that we hold our community close right now. There are still a lot of people we're unsure about, that we don't know how they are or if they're OK. We're still waiting.

And this waiting game is horrifying for us. Slowly, we're getting more and more information. But it is horrifying, not knowing if your friends are OK.

BOLDUAN: Yes. It is going to be a long time to try to make any sense of any of this, when you can't make sense of any of it. But thank you, Jessi, for coming on to celebrate the memory of your friends and to tell us more about what beautiful lives they lived and the beautiful place that you all created together. Thank you very much.

HAZELWOOD: You're welcome.

BOLDUAN: Thank you.

So the New York City Police Department is releasing -- we're going to show you now this new surveillance video of an alleged vandal, who is -- who has been and is targeting an LGBTQ+ bar in New York City's Hell's Kitchen neighborhood.

So this most recent incident at the first bar has captured -- was captured on surveillance camera. And it shows a man, as you see there, throwing a brick at a shatterproof window on Saturday night. And that is the third time that this same bar has had its windows smashed in the last week.

So then you have new video of this suspect, which was recorded at a deli nearby. And now police who are still looking for this man, still looking for this person, they're asking for help and anyone who recognizes this man to contact 800-577-TIPS.

Still ahead for us, the midterm election is now in the rearview mirror. Vice President Kamala Harris is now talking about her 2024 ambitions if President Biden runs for re-election. Much more news ahead. That is next.




BOLDUAN: So after months of fighting against it, Senator Lindsey Graham is scheduled to testify today before the Fulton County grand jury investigating whether actions by Trump and associates amounts to criminal activity when trying to overturn Georgia's 2020 election results. Sara Murray has much more on this for us.

What are you hearing about the focus here in questioning Graham today?

SARA MURRAY, CNN NATIONAL POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, look, this has been a long time coming. Obviously the senator spent months trying to quash the subpoena. He was unsuccessful.

And what the DA really wants to get from Graham is more information about phone calls he made to Georgia election officials after the 2020 election. One of the calls was to Georgia's secretary of state Brad Raffensperger.

And Raffensperger told CNN at time that he came away with -- from that call under the impression that Graham was asking him to throw away ballots potentially to benefit Donald Trump's election challenges at that time.

Now Graham has denied that was case. One thing that's important about his appearance today is even though the court said he had to appear, they did leave him room to not answer certain questions, to challenge certain questions.


MURRAY: And if he says, I was pursuing something as part of my legislative activity and part of my decision-making about whether to certify the 2020 election results, prosecutors may hit a dead end.

But lower courts did say, look, if you are coordinating with the Trump campaign and if you're trying to cajole election officials into doing something, that is not legislative activity.

BOLDUAN: We'll see very soon exactly what comes of it. It is good to see you, Sara, thank you so much.

So a federal appeals court today is hearing arguments in the Justice Department's challenge to the special master appointment put in place to vet the documents seized the Mar-a-Lago estate. Paula Reid is focusing on this for us, live in Atlanta.

Paula, what is the challenge here and what could happen?

PAULA REID, CNN SENIOR LEGAL AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT: Well, good morning, Kate. Today this appeals court will hear arguments from prosecutors, who want these judges to remove what has been one of the biggest obstacles in their investigation and that is the requirement that a third party review all of the materials seized from former president Trump's home in Mar-a-Lago back in August.

Now Trump requested this review process because he argued that privileged materials may have been swept up in the search. A lower court judge granted that request.

Now also interesting, this is the first court hearing since the appointment of special counsel Jack Smith. He will not be here today. But he has personally approved all of the arguments that the prosecutors will make today.

And really the big question is whether they could move this along any faster. Speed is an important issue in this investigation. We know the former president has successfully and strategically used delay as a litigation tactic for decades. But if they could potentially get this special master removed, that will help investigators move along a lot faster.

BOLDUAN: Interesting. It is good to see you, Paula. Thank you for that.

With the midterm elections behind them and the next two years of divided government ahead of them, Democrats are looking toward 2024. And Vice President Kamala Harris is speaking to her future plans, saying that if President Biden does run again, she will join him.

Jeremy Diamond is live at the White House with more on this.

Tell us more about what the vice president is saying here.

JEREMY DIAMOND, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, we're seeing, if you look over at Capitol Hill, House Democratic leadership, wholesale change in the leadership there.

But as of now it appears that the 2024 Democratic presidential and vice presidential ticket will look very much the same as it did in 2020 because Vice President Harris saying today that the president intends to run.

And if he does, she intends to run with him as his vice presidential candidate. Now President Biden is set to begin those discussions with his family that he had promised that he would be having toward the end of the year, over the Christmas and Thanksgiving holidays, to decide whether he will run for re-election.

So far all indications that are the president will run for reelection. He said it is his intention to do so. His 80th birthday this week certainly called attention once again to those questions about his age, about his fitness to continue to serve.

The president has addressed those questions repeatedly, making clear that he believes he is fit to serve and pointing to his record of accomplishments over the past two years. That was also a point that the vice president raised when she was asked this question in the context of former president Trump announcing his bid for re-election.

The vice president talking about the Biden-Harris administration's record on everything from COVID to combating the climate crisis to other pieces of legislative accomplishments. So you could certainly expect that to be the contrast they raise as president Trump begins his campaign in earnest.

BOLDUAN: In earnest. It is good to see you. Thank you so much.

So the mass shooting at an LGBTQ+ bar in Colorado is now putting red flag laws back in the spotlight. Colorado has a law in place.

Could it have stopped this tragedy?

That is next.





BOLDUAN: In the wake of another deadly mass shooting in Colorado, it has renewed the question of how best to stop dangerous people from getting guns. We know the Colorado Springs shooter was arrested back in 2021 over an alleged bomb threat to his mother then actually.

Yet he did not face prosecution then and he clearly was able to get the weapons used here, despite the state having a red flag law. Joining me now is Democratic senator John Hickenlooper, a former governor of Colorado as well.

Senator, thank you for being here.

From everything that you've seen and heard about this horrible incident --



BOLDUAN: -- and the alleged gunman's past, do you think the state's red flag laws would have prevented this from happening if used?

HICKENLOOPER: Well, I think they are in an infancy. We're just working, figuring out how to implement them properly. I mean the key is we are seeing the LGBTQ community paying with their lives for all of the hate and bigotry we're seeing everywhere, especially on the social media.

And so things like the red flag laws are efforts to try and bring the community together, the country together, to say what are things that we could do to try to make this a safer environment?

And obviously the implementation was not.