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At This Hour

Mass Shooting in Virginia Walmart Leaves at least Six Dead; Suspect in Colorado Springs Bar Shooting to Appear in Court; Nearly 55 Million in U.S. Travel for Thanksgiving; Holiday Shoppers to Spend More Despite Inflation. Aired 11-11:30a ET

Aired November 23, 2022 - 11:00   ET




ERICA HILL, CNN ANCHOR: Hello, everyone. America's gun violence getting worse by the day. A deadly shooting at a Walmart store overnight.

Explosions rock Jerusalem, killing a teenager and striking fear across Israel.

And the Thanksgiving holiday expecting the biggest rush of traveling in years. That's what we're watching AT THIS HOUR.

I'm Erica Hill in for Kate Bolduan here today.

A Walmart employee opened fire inside a Virginia store, killing six. This is the second high-profile mass shooting in America in a matter of days. On Saturday a gunman shot and killed five people, injuring more at a Colorado LGBTQ+ bar.

There have been over 600 mass shootings in the U.S. so far this year. It is the sobering reality of this country's very real gun violence epidemic. Let's begin our coverage with Brian Todd, live in Chesapeake, Virginia, with the latest for us.

BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Erica, we're piecing together more details of how the shooting unfolded. Police telling us a short time ago the shooter killed six people, then killed himself. They are not releasing the shooter's name, because his next of kin have not been notified yet.

We're told from a law enforcement source that the shooter is an employee of the store. The shooter came into a breakroom where people were gathering, opened fire, later turned the gun on himself. There is an account from an employee, a witness.


BRIANA TYLER, WALMART EMPLOYEE AND EYEWITNESS: Yes, he just came in and started shooting throughout the entire breakroom. And I watched multiple people just drop down to the floor, whether they were trying to duck for cover or they were hit.

He just opened fire. He looked directly at me but he luckily missed my head by like a inch or two. He just came around the corner and he just started shooting. The first person that was in his eyesight, he shot them down. And the next thing you know, he just started running throughout the entire breakroom. He did not say a word.


TODD: Police, again, not releasing the shooter's name, because the next of kin have not been notified yet. A statement from the president reads, "Jill and I grieve for these families, for the Chesapeake community and for the commonwealth of Virginia, which just suffered a terrible shooting at the University of Virginia this month.

"We also mourn for all those across America who have lost loved ones in these tragic shootings, that we must come together as a nation to stand against."

That from President Biden just a short time ago. Another couple quick details, for you, Erica. We pressed the police on what kind of weapon was used. They say the shooter used a pistol. They don't have the information on any possible motive yet.

We're trying to get those details, including any information as to whether there was a conflict at the store between employees.

HILL: Certainly, Brian, appreciate the reporting. Thank you.

Joining me is Andrew McCabe, former deputy director of the FBI, and analyst Charles Ramsey, former Washington, D.C., police chief and Philadelphia police commissioner.

Good to see you both here. Unfortunately we're here again. I'd like to drill down on a couple of points that we seem to be seeing more of.

As Brian was just noting, police have confirmed the shooter was an employee of the store. A woman told ABC News that the shooter was her manager. If in fact this is yet another example of workplace violence, for me, this sets up a gun violence issue, which is absolutely real and an issue.

And there's violence overall and people looking to potentially violence as a way to solve an issue.

How do you tackle that part of it, that violence seems to be the answer in many cases?

ANDREW MCCABE, CNN SENIOR LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: It's an incredibly important and tough question. There is no question that we can all look to examples of the rising tide of violence and grievance. There's no question the temperature is rising.


MCCABE: We're not the only nation that experiences, you know, political division, polarity and people who resort to violence. What makes us different is we have an unbelievable multiple of more guns in this country than any place on Earth.

We have 120 guns for every 100 people. We are absolutely number one on the list of civilian-owned guns. Number two is the Falkland Islands at 62 guns per 100.

So it gives us a sense how far in front of every other nation we are. We are eight times as likely to die by a firearm here than you would be in Canada, 22 times more likely to die by a firearm than in the European Union or Australia.

The fact that people can carry guns openly without permits in many states, that turns arguments or fist fights into shooting sprees.

HILL: We heard from Virginia state senator Louise Lucas, understandably upset. I want to play a portion of what she had to say.


LOUISE LUCAS, VIRGINIA STATE SENATOR: A lot of us didn't get much sleep last night, did not rest well and will not rest well until we get a handle on this gun violence. I'll tell you, for all the people saying that their hearts and prayers go out to these people, I don't want to hear any more about that until they get serious about gun violence prevention.

For the people that don't think it's going to happen in their community, just wait. They're going to be in line.


HILL: You know, you took us through some of those numbers. Mass shootings have nearly doubled since 2018. More than 2,500 shot just this year alone.

Commissioner, do you think the politicians ultimately making these decisions, are they listening when law enforcement speaks to them about the issue of gun violence and guns on the streets?

CHARLES RAMSEY, CNN LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: No, I have no reason to believe they're listening. This isn't new. I mean, you know, obviously we're talking about more than 600 mass shootings this year.

That doesn't take into account people being murdered on the streets every single day, one, two, three at a time. It may not by definition be a mass shooting but it's just as tragic as the incident we're talking about now.

What we getting from our elected officials is just the thoughts and the prayers and all that sort of thing or they pass legislation that nips around the edges but they don't deal with the issue of gun violence and take solid steps to try to eliminate or at least reduce the harm.

Nothing is going to be foolproof. But in this country we could do a far better job of keeping guns out of the hands of people who should not have them. I don't know why we don't ban assault weapons, extended magazines, all those things. We just don't need that in the civilian population.

HILL: Charles Ramsey, Andrew McCabe, always appreciate your insight. Thank you both.

RAMSEY: Thank you.

HILL: Turning now to that mass shooting in Colorado, which again was just over the weekend, the suspect accused of shooting and killing five people and injuring many more at a bar on Saturday, set to make their first court appearance in a matter of hours. Rosa Flores is in Colorado Springs with the latest for us.

Rosa, good morning.

ROSA FLORES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Erica, good morning. As you said, the suspect is expected to face a judge in the next few hours. Here is what we are expecting will happen there.

Now this is the suspect's first appearance. So what will happen in court is the defendant, the suspect here, will learn the constitutional rights that are available to every defendant in the United States.

Then the charges, as they are written in the charging documents, will be read. These could include five counts of first degree murder, also five counts of hate crimes. To be clear, this is not an arraignment. This is only the first appearance. These are not formal charges.

According to district attorney, the formal charges could be presented next week or the week after that. That will take more of an investigation. Again, these are the preliminary charges. This is only the first appearance.

The DA also points out that the suspect is being held without bond. Now Erica, we have not been able to get a mug shot from authorities. Authorities have also been very tight-lipped about the condition of the suspect here. Remember, the suspect was beaten by the patrons at Club Q to subdue the subject -- the suspect.


FLORES: That's how they were able to stop the rampage. We'll be able to see the suspect for the first time when he appears in court. Erica.

HILL: Rosa Flores, thank you.

Here in New York City, police arresting a man they say is responsible for a series of attacks on a LGBTQ+ bar in Manhattan. Sean Kuilan is accused of throwing a brick at a shatterproof window. This is the third time the windows have been smashed in the last week.

This surveillance video shows the suspect walking into a store near the bar after Saturday's attack. In fact, authorities are crediting neighbors with tips that led to the arrest. He's been charged with vandalism but not charged with a hate crime.


HILL: The holiday weekend is officially here for so many. Americans hitting the road, taking to the skies and the rails. We have live reports across the U.S. with a look at your travel.





HILL: Millions of Americans hitting the road today. This is, as always, one of the busiest travel days of the year. CNN's Pete Muntean is live in Washington.

Ooh, could be some gridlock today out there. The good news, Pete, if you're stuck in traffic, my friend, gas prices actually falling a bit.

PETE MUNTEAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It's so true, Erica. That is a bit of good news, although you have to consider the fact this is the highest gas has been for Thanksgiving rush, ever; $3.61 is the national average according to AAA.

We're hearing from drivers, they're not actually all that daunted. This is I-95 near Woodbridge, Virginia. You know this spot if you've driven between D.C. and Richmond or points south.

This is the linchpin where everything comes to a grinding halt. Virginia DOT says traffic here will be really heavy. We're kind of in the worst time right now to travel for the rush, 11:00 am to 8:00 pm today. That is the worst time. That is the time to avoid. If you're trying to time your trip out, maybe wait until after dinner.

if you're trying to time your trip home, maybe early Saturday or Sunday. But it's tricky, especially when you consider so many places have traffic like what we're seeing. Metro areas across the country, Atlanta, New York, San Francisco, L.A., Chicago, you may see congestion twice the norm today, according to AAA.

We touch on travel by road first, because Thanksgiving is very much a driving holiday, according to AAA; 48.7 million people expected to hit the road, 50 miles or more, over the next five days.

That's not all that far off from what we saw in 2019 before the pandemic. When it comes to air travel, though, the numbers are still high; 2.5 million people expected by TSA, at airport checkpoints across the country today. That could be the highest we have seen, Erica, since the start of COVID. We're stuck here in traffic on I-95 and we'll keep you posted on how we get out.

HILL: You're living the dream there with so many of your fellow travelers alongside you. Appreciate it, Pete. Thank you. Well, inflation is going to make your Thanksgiving a little bit more

expensive. You may have already noticed. The American Farm Bureau Federation estimates it'll cost 20 percent more.

CNN's Gabe Cohen, you've been checking the prices. I keep looking at milk and eggs with teenage boys at home. It's a rough one, Gabe.

GABE COHEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Erica, we're hearing sticker shock from shoppers coming out of the store. Just about every food around the table is a bit more expensive this year.

Right at the center of it is turkey, up 24 percent this year. Plus, we're seeing price hikes on items like potatoes and cranberry sauce, pies, the list goes on and on. It's just one more inflation strain for millions of families that have been weathering these price hikes for months, on groceries, heating, heading into the winter, gasoline, electricity.

And one of the things so many people have told me about how they try to save money is by adjusting the way they eat, whether it's less meat or going out to dinner less often. We're seeing that bleed into the way they shop for Thanksgiving. Some have told me they just plan to have less food on the table this year.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I just made the sacrifice and probably just didn't buy as much, we won't have as many leftovers.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We went through all her canned foods to see if there's any canned foods we could do.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'm looking to make smaller dishes.


COHEN: We also heard from a couple friends who said they were having dinner together because their families couldn't afford to literally travel here for Thanksgiving.

HILL: Yes, certainly. Gabe, appreciate it. Thank you.

What about holiday shopping?


HILL: Shoppers are expected to spend more this season. CNN's Vanessa Yurkevich has more.


VANESSA YURKEVICH, CNN BUSINESS AND POLITICS CORRESPONDENT (voice- over): On this year's holiday shopping menu, more sales but with a healthy side of inflation.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Cutting off your circulation. UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'm going crazy.

YURKEVICH (voice-over): Denise Saliette (ph) is in the middle of her holiday shopping.

DENISE SALIETTE (PH), SHOPPER: This is for my mom. Then I got stuff for my kids and my niece and, oh, my God.

YURKEVICH (voice-over): This year the wish list is looking a little different. Last month inflation cooled but was still running hot at 7.7 percent year over year.

SALIETTE (PH): I've had to cut back on shopping. Things are just too expensive. I do have three girls. They do understand that times are hard right now and it's just me, being a single mom.

YURKEVICH: The National Retail Federation estimates that nearly 8 million more people will shop between Black Friday and Cyber Monday and spend up to 8 percent more this year than they did last year.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We're looking at records in all categories. Consumers are still finding a way to power the economy, drive economic activity.

YURKEVICH (voice-over): Last month, retail sales beat expectations, up 1.3 percent in October. But this month, consumer sentiment fell. Still, higher prices haven't stopped some people from shopping.

YURKEVICH: Has that impacted the way you're going to spend this holiday season?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: For me, not really, because I try not to overspend anyway, so even before this has been going on, I try not to exceed what I can do.

YURKEVICH (voice-over): According to the National Retail Federation, while online sales are expected to increase this year, a return to in- store shopping will make up a larger portion of all holiday sales.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I kind of like in person more.

YURKEVICH: Why is that?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I don't know, just more of the feel of being able to touch it, being able to see it and try it on in a store that you're allowed to. Then being amongst everybody else.

YURKEVICH (voice-over): It's that holiday nostalgia that Willowbrook Mall says will help this year's season return to pre-pandemic expectations.

YURKEVICH: Do you anticipate that inflation will play a role in how people shop, people coming to the mall?

RYAN HIDALGO, SENIOR GENERAL MANAGER, WILLOWBROOK MALL: I think people are planning better in terms of what their spend will be. I think they have budgeted.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I don't cut back at Christmas.

YURKEVICH: How many more stores?


YURKEVICH: Five more?



YURKEVICH: Shoppers are certainly looking for holiday deals. They will find big savings this year. Sales will run a lot longer. That's because retailers are trying to offload excess inventory.

If you remember last year, retailers had a hard time getting inventory because of supply chains. One major change coming to some retailers this year, is they're doing away with free return shipping.

That is because, along with consumers, retailers are also being affected. They're trying to save a bit with their bottom line. So just make sure read the fine print.

HILL: Check the return policy and what you will owe for the shipping. Thank you, Vanessa.

Joining me now, CNN economic and political commentator, Catherine Rampell, an opinion columnist at "The Washington Post."

So Catherine, I think this is yet another head-scratching moment when it comes to the economy. We just saw in Vanessa's piece, consumer confidence dipped but people are expected to spend more. The GM of that mall in New Jersey where she was, didn't seem to be all that concerned.

Is inflation maybe not impacting holiday spending the way it is impacting Thanksgiving meal spending, as we just heard?

CATHERINE RAMPELL, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: It may or may not. I think people have been predicting somewhat of a crash or at least a decline in consumer spending, retail spending, for a while that hasn't come.

In the meantime, we have seen, according, prices increase. We have seen households spend down their savings and people are worried about recession. So how people process all of those factors simultaneously is a bit hard to predict.

HILL: As we wait and watch for that, one of the other things a lot of folks have been watching, myself included, is not just the cost of Thanksgiving dinner but the cost of groceries in general.

Are we starting to see some signs in some areas, some categories, some prices could begin to come down? If so, when?

RAMPELL: It does look like overall inflation is cooling and we have seen some moderation. For example, avian flu was very disruptive for egg prices as well as poultry meat.


RAMPELL: And I think we've seen some moderation there. But as long as the war in Ukraine continues, we will still see effects on a lot of food categories that depend on wheat.

So the hope is inflation comes down. But it's very hard to predict, again, unfortunately, exactly when all the stars will align and consumers will feel like they're not being stretched as much.

HILL: If only we had that magic crystal ball to tell us the answers.

RAMPELL: I wish.

HILL: Right?

Always good to have you put it in perspective for us, Catherine. Thank you.

RAMPELL: Thank you.

HILL: Just ahead, explosions rock Jerusalem. A teenager is dead. We'll take you live to Israel on this developing story, next.