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Police: Six-Year-Old Who Shot Teacher Used Gun Owned By His Mom; President Biden And Canadian PM Trudeau Meet At Summit In Mexico; Doctors: Hamlin Could Be Released From Hospital In 24-48 Hours. Aired 11:30a-12p ET

Aired January 10, 2023 - 11:30   ET




KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR: Police in Virginia say the six-year-old accused of shooting his teacher at school used a gun legally purchased by his mother. Prosecutors now are weighing who to charge. Brian Todd is live in Virginia for us with much more on this. Brian, what do you learn in there?

BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Kate, what we were told earlier today by the police chief of Newport News, Steve Drew, is that there is "certainly a possibility that the mother of this child could face charges in this case." We have asked the police chief repeatedly about why the mother has not been charged, the mother did legally purchase that gun, a nine-millimeter Taurus handgun. And the police chief said they can't make that determination yet until they speak more with Child Protective Services, until they speak with investigators further, and until he, the police chief, speaks to the Commonwealth's attorney to make the determination as to whether the mother could be charged. But him telling CNN this morning, that there is certainly a possibility that she could be charged.

You know, lots of other kind of burning questions about this case, how did the child obtain the handgun in the home? We know that the child got the handgun in the home somehow. put it in his backpack, took it to work, pulled it out, and fired a single shot at the teacher Abby Zwerner. So, those are the details that we do know. But the key question as to how the child obtained the gun at the house. I specifically asked the chief whether that gun was secured at the house, but he did not really answer that. He was not able to answer that at the time. I think some of this is still being determined in the investigation.

The chief is also talking about heroes in this case. And we do have a number of them to talk about. He was really effusive in his praise of that teacher Abby Zwerner for getting all those kids out of the classroom. She was the last one to leave the classroom. And there was one other teacher, Kate, who went in and restrained the child until the police got there. The child became combative and struct the school employee, but they were able to restrain the child until police got there. So, that person is hailed as a hero this morning as well.

BOLDUAN: Yes, just tragic all around them. That is for sure. Brian, thank you very much for that. I really appreciate it.

And this heartbreaking story and all of the questions surrounding it as Brian's well laying out is tragically similar to at least one other case. In 2000. 6-year-old Kayla Rolland was shot and she was killed by one of her first-grade classmates at a Michigan Elementary School. The Boy who shot her was also six years old. The prosecutor did not pursue charges against the boy and the adult man was sentenced though for involuntary manslaughter for allowing the child to have access to the gun. He spent two and a half years behind bars.

The prosecutor who handled that tragic case had to -- had to make those charging decisions, Arthur Bush, and he joins us right now. Arthur, thank you for taking the time to speak with me about this. What -- first off, what did you think when you read the news of this new shooting about -- of the details of this shooting in Virginia?

ARTHUR BUSH, PROSECUTED ADULT AFTER 6-YEAR-OLD KILLED CLASSMATE IN 2000: Well, initially, you know, the case is so eerily similar to what happened way back in 2000, in the shooting in Mount Morris Township. My first thought was not again, how could this be? And then the placement of it on the internet, and then the media, it almost seemed as though we were beginning to normalize child deaths.

And I guess the second thing I thought was the police and others are talking about this as if it was a criminal case with the little boy initially. This is a civil case. It's a neglect case as far as he's concerned.

And I think the police chief who is speaking for the community, as correctly focused in on who -- how did they get the gun? That's what we did. And then whether or not that conduct and leaving that gun in the house where a kid could get it was grossly negligent. And whether it's foreseeable that somebody could be shot or killed in some other place.


BOLDUAN: Yes. I did --

BUSH: The only dissimilarity is that in my case, we had a death another first-grader was killed. Here, fortunately, we don't have a death.

BOLDUAN: Yes. I did want to ask you -- I want to play for you actually, Arthur, the police chief in Virginia, and what do he said at a press conference about what they have learned about this situation. Let me play this for you.


STEVE DREW, CHIEF, NEWPORT NEWS POLICE: Everything we have at this point that he was -- it did -- it was intentional. I do believe that. I believe that the actions were at or towards the teacher, but you never know how someone's going to -- want to react with a firearm with students. And we're talking about a six-year-old child. I don't know what all was going through that young man's -- that individual's -- that child's mind.


BOLDUAN: Yes. His use of the term intentional, and you also said that this was not accidental. What do you make of that, Arthur?

BUSH: Well, I make of them to the chief is a little -- w little behind the times so are just not up to what the law is. First of all, children that age can't be charged. It's been of the common law. We talk about the age of understanding. Six years old isn't that age.

This little guy probably believes still in Santa Claus, the tooth fairy, you know, the Easter Bunny. He probably has his front teeth out -- falling out, and he's just a little kid. So, I get from the police chief, he's either not around kids that are really young, or he isn't around lawyers who can tell him that there's no way that he could ever charge this child. So, to treat him as a --

BOLDUAN: And that's actually something I wanted to ask you about because I know that you -- that you had -- you faced this very same -- I don't know if you even considered it a struggle in the case that you were had to deal with.

BUSH: It's --

BOLDUAN: But what can't be lost in this is what a six-year-old is like, right? A child who you wouldn't really leave alone in a bathtub still. A child that doesn't even -- maybe doesn't even know how to tie their shoes yet. I mean, in my view, I've got a five-year-old, these are still babies. I mean, how did you work through that when you were facing that case back in 2000?

BUSH: Well, I checked my politics out at the door when I walked in the office and I went to the lawyers and had them do some research. And it's pretty clear was within 24 hours, maybe even sooner than that, the first time I talked to CNN, I knew I wasn't going to charge this kid because it was legally impossible. So, the -- you have to have two things to have a crime. You have to have the Actus Rea, or the Act, which we have here, the shooting. Two, you have to have the Mens Rea, or the mental capacity to form intent.

Children that old had been held by courts for centuries, decades, not to be able to form the intent necessary to commit a crime. So, take that off the table. This is a civil case regarding him. The community ought to wrap its arms around this young kid tried to get him out of that horrific situation where his parents obviously think that guns will protect her but don't understand that they don't protect the community, and especially children in hers, could have just as been easily the child being injured.

So, you know, this is the mindset in America, that has to change, OK? The mindset has to be less on the rights of somebody less on the parents' fear, and more on the victims, or potential victims, which is you and me and my kids and your kids. I think the country needs to have a constitutional amendment for Victim Rights. The outrageous thing here is that we have many states who have Victim Rights -- crime victim rights in their state constitutions, the United States Constitution doesn't, so, when the Supreme Court comes calling, and I've argued a case in front of the Supreme Court, about a school shooting way back in just a couple of years after this case, they're more interested in the NRA point of view and less interested in the victims. And I wouldn't be happy to argue that any day of the week, whether we should care about dead schoolchildren or wounded schoolchildren versus the right to have these guns. And when we get in the constitution, that debate will change significantly.

BOLDUAN: Right now, we're still looking at, at the very most basic level, a six-year-old -- community shattered, a six-year-old life shattered, a family shattered, and it's something that you, very sadly, are very familiar with, and which is such an eerily similar case that you had to deal with.

BUSH: Exactly.

BOLDUAN: Thank you very much, Arthur. Appreciate your time.

BUSH: Thank you.

BOLDUAN: We do need to turn that we are moments away from hearing from President Biden, a big meeting with the Canadian Prime Minister, while they're in Mexico City for Summit. We're going to bring it to you live.



BOLDUAN: President Biden and the Canadian Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau meeting right now at the summit in Mexico. Let's listen in.


JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: If we work together, we can achieve great things. And I believe that. I know the American press is targeting me saying this, but I'm optimistic -- I'm optimistic about the future in the near term. And it's going to be hard, but there's a lot we can do to get there. In fact --


BIDEN: Involved in the North American Leaders Summit. Today, we're going to be going over and seeing our counterpart, the president of Mexico. But I think what we should be doing, and now we are doing is demonstrating the unlimited economic potential that we have when we work together, and in the hemisphere -- and to help the entire hemisphere. And there's a lot we're going to be talking about, including clean energy. We should be that clear as the powerhouse of the world. And that's not hyperbole, I genuinely mean that

And we're also in a situation where we're going to -- we're in the process at home and you are as well, and we've talked about it, strengthening our supply chains so that no one can arbitrarily hold us up or a pandemic in Asia causes us to not have access to critical elements that we need to do everything from build automobiles to so many other things. And together, I think we're achieving some really significant things. Today, we're going to discuss how we can try to help stabilize Haiti, how we can deal with migration, and at the same time bolster our national security.


So, I want to thank you again, you've always been there. Whenever I've called, you picked up the phone obviously, because the same here. I don't think we have, as I told one foreign leader who was with a different perspective than you and I have on world peace. And I said to him -- I said, well, I'm lucky. I got Canada, North, and Mexico to the south, and two oceans on either side, you've got and I described your circumstance. And he just looked at me like -- but it's true, we got to make the most of it. So, thank you for everything.

JUSTIN TRUDEAU, CANADIAN PRIME MINISTER: Thank you, Joe. It's so good to be able to spend a little time with you here on some more local issues. You and I have been working so closely on significant global issues, whether it's the pressures of China and Russia, and Russia's illegal invasion of Ukraine and the need to continue to stand up strong for democracy and the rule of law, for opportunities and inclusive economic growth around the world. But as you say, there are tremendous things that we can build on here at home.

North America is the largest free trading bloc in the world, larger even than the European Union. We have a tremendous amount to contribute to the world in goods and services, but also the technologies and solutions that the world really needs. And our capacity to work together has brought us to places of extraordinary success. But at a time of disruption around the world, a ton of very real challenges, we can and must be doing even more. So, I'm really pleased with all the work that our folks have been doing over the past many months and years on aligning or coordinating so that we're leading the way on the -- on the net zero transition we all have to do while at the same time ensuring that individual, Canadians and Americans and Mexicans and others around the world can see themselves in the future in an optimistic way, and understand that yes, we're at a time the challenges and strife.

But you're right. There's a lot of reasons to be optimistic, especially for those of us in our countries. But it's going to take a lot of work something that neither you nor I nor mostly our citizens have ever been afraid of, rolling up our sleeves and building a better future and most better communities is absolutely essential. So, as we talk about issues, whether it's Haiti, whether it's some of the challenges in South America, whether we talk about critical minerals and energy and how we're going to continue to move forward to create those efficient and resilient supply and value chains that we need, there's a lot that we're going to be able to do together. (Speaking in a foreign language)

BIDEN: Every time you end like that, I think to myself I should have spent more time when I was in college. I took French for years but I never (INAUDIBLE). Thank you.



BOLDUAN: All right, they're definitely not taking questions at this moment but they could face some questions later this afternoon. With me to discuss right now, is CNN's Priscilla Alvarez. She's watching this with us. She was standing by. She's traveling with the president. She's in Mexico City for us.

So, Priscilla, the Prime Minister, and President Biden making very clear noting the friendship between the two nations all the areas that they do cooperate, coordinate and work together already, and the areas where they are -- there's a lot of work still to be done, migration a huge issue. There's a lot on the table that they need to get to today.

PRISCILLA ALVAREZ, CNN WHITE HOUSE REPORTER: That's right, Kate. It's a busy day ahead at for them. The two leaders really underscoring that relationship saying they're going to build on it and expressing optimism for the road forward. Now, they mentioned a few issues there like clean energy, economic development, trade, but key among them is migration. That is an issue that is important even for the U.S. neighbor to the north. And it is one that the administration has said needs to be worked on regionally. It is not something that the United States can tackle alone. And today, the administration rolled out announcements to that effect.


They planned to roll out two measures, one, a virtual portal for migrants to apply for legal pathways to come to the United States, or Canada or Mexico, sort of a one-stop shop, and then also setting up a physical center in southern Mexico at Tapachula, that is a transit location where migrants pass through where they can also get information to legally migrate instead of going to the U.S.-Mexico border. Now, of course, a senior administration official tells me that this is an experiment and they are still working through this. But again, that all expected to come up when the three leaders meet later today.

BOLDUAN: Priscilla, thank you so much for that. They will be meeting later today. We'll also be making statements to the press later today. We will be watching for that. Thank you so much.

So, there's also this. Damar Hamlin is back in Buffalo. What doctors are saying about what may have triggered his collapse and where his recovery goes from here? That's next.



BOLDUAN: Damar Hamlin is back in Buffalo and doctors now say he could be released from the hospital within the next 24 to 48 hours. It has been a just a week since he collapsed during the game against the Bangles, suffering cardiac arrest on the field. Let's get over to Coy Wire. He's in Buffalo for us once again. Coy, an incredible, incredible recovery considering where he was a week ago.

COY WIRE, CNN ANCHOR: Yes, Kate, the huge, wonderful news is expected to come within the coming hours. I just spoke with Michael Hughes, Senior Vice President and Chief Administrative Officer at Kaleida Health. He tells me doctors are finishing tests right now to determine whether there were any pre-existing conditions that cause Damar's cardiac arrest, and there was optimism that that was not the case so far, rather it was the collision that was the cause.

Mr. Hughes tells us the hospital plans to release a written health update within the coming hours. We may even see, Kate, a photo of Damar with some of his new friends here at Buffalo General. The nurses have been described as mother hands and second fathers to the family here. There's also optimism, Kate, that Hamlin will be healthy enough to be released from Buffalo General within 24 to 48 hours.

And an even better news. We're also told that -- by Mr. Hughes, that Hamlin's parents flew from Cincinnati to Pittsburgh, and then back here to Buffalo. And this morning, they were at the Bills' facilities. But then they made their way up here to Buffalo General to be alongside their son once again.

BOLDUAN: It's pretty unbelievable. Coy, thank you so much.

WIRE: You got it.

BOLDUAN: Joining me now for more on this is CNN chief medical correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta. Sanjay, he could be released in the next 24 to 48 hours from the hospital. Are you surprised to see him make just this rapid recovery?

DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes. I mean, it's pretty -- it's pretty fast, no question. I mean, most of the data when you look at sudden cardiac arrest admittedly, are in people who are older, and are not professional athletes. I think being a young man in his early 20s, and conditioned as a professional athlete probably really helped him. But it's a fast recovery. No question.

BOLDUAN: Yes. Why this happened is still a question. We know that his doctors say that he's going to continue to go through testing to determine the cause of the collapse and -- of the cardiac arrest. Of course, I want to play for everyone what his -- what his doctor said about this. Let me play this.


DR. TIMOTHY PRITTS, DAMAR HAMLIN'S DOCTOR: We anticipate that he will undergo in an ongoing series of tests and evaluations to determine the etiology of what caused the incident on Monday night, and to treat any pathology that may be found.


BOLDUAN: What kind of testing are -- could they need to do or are they going to do to try to figure this out? GUPTA: Well, was there some sort of electrical problem that was, you know, he already existed in his heart? Was there something that was congenital, something that he may have had, you know, his whole life but never was an issue till now? Was his heart too large, something known as cardiomyopathy?

These are the sorts of things, Kate, that they look for. And honestly, a lot of that testing has probably already been done. And you just heard from Coy's reporting as well, that doctor Mr. Hughes, I guess, at the hospital there in Buffalo said, if the findings so far hold true, then, --that the injury was caused strictly by blunt force trauma, meaning that was the cause. They don't know for sure. They're not saying for sure yet, but so far, that's what the early test findings have shown.

BOLDUAN: Do you -- do we see that then collectively as good news if it was caused only by one force trauma?

GUPTA: That's a good question. I mean, you know, I think it does raise this question then for someone like him, for example, if you've had this happen to you once, where you have this arrhythmia as a result of blunt force trauma, are you more likely to have it happen to you again? We know that with concussions, for example, Kate. If you've had one concussion, you're more likely to have a second. And I think that that's what they're going to try and answer as well.

But this is rare. And so, there's not a lot of data on this, so I think that that's going to be a judgment call that the doctors and Mr. Hamlin and his family make together you know, what is this game for him going forward?

BOLDUAN: Yes. That's exactly right. I was kind of -- because I have been wondering what the doctors, what his family, what he needs to see to know that he can get back to playing.

GUPTA: Right. And does it mean something even more broadly for the NFL in terms of protectors of the sternum? I mean, we went through this whole conversation with helmets, right, and concussions. Again, I just want to stress. This is rare.


GUPTA: So, I don't want to make a mountain out of a molehill. But still, it may warrant some of those discussions.

BOLDUAN: It still. I mean, when you see what happened to him, it's definitely going to spark -- to spark discussion and start -- to spark a conversation.

GUPTA: Absolutely.

BOLDUAN: But truly amazing and wonderful. It's great to report good news that he's doing so well.


BOLDUAN: And could be out in the next 24 to 48. It's good to see you, Sanjay. Thank you.

GUPTA: You too. Thank you.

BOLDUAN: I really appreciate it. And thank you all so much for joining us AT THIS HOUR. I'm Kate Bolduan. Thanks for watching. "INSIDE POLITICS" with John King starts right now.